LIVE Russia-Ukraine crisis: SWIFT preparing to comply with curbs on Russian banks

EU foreign ministers will meet on Sunday as the European Union faces calls from Kiev to beef up its military support, toughen sanctions.



By Team KT

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 9:06 AM

Last updated: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 3:51 PM

Russian forces on Thursday fired missiles at several Ukrainian cities and landed troops on its south coast after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation in the east. Explosions could be heard in the pre-dawn quiet of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Gunfire rattled near the capital’s main airport. The action prompted suspension of flights and roiled global markets. Oil, gold and silver prices have surged.

Follow the latest updates here:


7.20am: SWIFT preparing to comply with curbs on Russian banks

The SWIFT international payments system said on Saturday it was preparing to implement Western nations' new measures targeting certain Russian banks in coming days.

6.40am: Trump condemns invasion, again hints at 2024 presidential run

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and said he was praying for Ukrainians, marking a shift of tone from earlier this week when he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump delivered his remarks at the CPAC conservative gathering in Florida a few hours after the United States and allies announced sweeping new sanctions that would kick some Russian banks off the main global payments systems and limit the ability of Russia's central bank to support the rouble.


11.52pm: EU foreign ministers to meet on Sunday over Ukraine

EU foreign ministers will meet on Sunday, diplomats said, as the European Union faces mounting calls from Kiev to beef up its military support and toughen sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting will take place by video conference at 1700 GMT, several EU diplomats told AFP, on the fourth day of Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine that has already seen Russian President Vladimir Putin personally targeted by sanctions.

11.49pm: Over 3,000 detained for anti-war protests in Russia since Thursday

More than 3,000 Russians have been detained for holding anti-war protests since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine three days ago, an independent monitor said on Saturday.

“In the last 3 days, at least 3,052 people were arrested,” the independent OVD-info monitor that keeps tracks of arrests during protests said on Twitter. It said 467 people were arreted in 34 cities on Saturday alone.

11.42pm: Ukraine to disconnect its power grid from Belarus network

Ukraine will not be connecting its electricity grid to Belarus grid after it had completed testing, its energy minister told Ukrainian TV on Saturday.

Earlier, Ukraine has started testing its power grid in a step to link it up with a European network and decouple from a grid linked to Belarus and other former Soviet States.


11.34pm: UK forces arrive to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank

United Kingdom’s sea, land and air forces have arrived to reinforce NATO in the East in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the statement, Challenger 2 tanks and armoured vehicles of the Royal Welsh battlegroup have arrived in Estonia from Germany, with further equipment and around 1,000 troops arriving over the coming days.


11.25pm: Zelensky asks UN to strip Russia of its security council vote

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that he asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to strip Russia of its vote at the UN Security Council as punishment for invading Ukraine.

“To deprive the aggressor country of the right to vote in the UN Security Council, to qualify Russian actions and statements as genocide of the Ukrainian people, to help with the delivery of corpses of Russian soldiers. Talked about it in a conversation with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.


11.19pm: Zelensky welcomes offers to moderate talks with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is welcoming efforts to open talks with Russia.

In a video message Saturday, Zelensky said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev offered to help organize talks and that “we can only welcome that.”


11.07pm: Dutch to supply anti-tank, air defence rockets to Ukraine

The Netherlands will supply air defence rockets and anti-tank systems to Ukraine, the Dutch government said in letters to parliament on Saturday.

The Dutch agreed to a Ukrainian request to rapidly ship 200 Stinger air defence rockets and 50 “Panzerfaust 3” anti-tank weapons with 400 rockets, the letters said.


11.00pm: Ukraine official says about 3,500 Russian troops killed or injured

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday Russia’s attack on Kyiv was not advancing and that around 3,500 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured so far in Moscow’s assault on Ukraine.

“We are striking the enemy around Kyiv. The enemy is not moving for now,” said Oleksiy Arestovych.


10.30pm: 219 Indian students reach Mumbai, another flight takes off from Bucharest

The first flight from Romania carrying Indian students who had left the conflict situation in Ukraine reached Mumbai on Saturday as the efforts continued for the safe evacuation of Indians in the wake of Russia’s military action in Ukraine.


10.19pm: Ukraine official says Russian troops approaching Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Russian troops are approaching Ukraine’s nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia and have aimed their rockets at the site, Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on Saturday.

Russia has already captured the defunct Chernobyl plant, some 100 km north of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.


10.02pm: Two Danish journalists suffer gunshot wounds in Ukraine

Two Danish journalists sustained gunshot wounds after unknown gunmen targeted their car in Ukraine Saturday, their employer said, on the third day of a Russian assault on the country.

Reporter Stefan Weichert and photographer Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen “were rapidly taken to hospital and are out of danger”, the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet said.


9.42pm: Modi offers help in peace efforts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered to help in peace efforts in the Ukraine crisis, during a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Modi expressed his “deep anguish about the loss of life and property due to the ongoing conflict” while reiterating his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue, a government statement said.


9.37pm: Greece says six expats killed in Ukraine, summons Russian ambassador

Greece said on Saturday that six Greek nationals had been killed and six others wounded by Russian bombing near Mariupol in Ukraine, and that it had summoned Russia’s ambassador to the foreign ministry on Monday after a verbal demarche.

The bombing took place in the outskirts of Sartana and Bugas villages and one of those injured was a child, the foreign ministry said.


9.13pm: More US military aid to arrive in Ukraine soon

A $350 million package of additional U.S. military assistance to Ukraine announced Saturday includes “anti-armor, small arms and various munitions, body armor and related equipment,” according to John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

Separately, a senior defence official said the assistance includes Javelin anti-tank weapons and that it will be delivered to Ukraine in phases and as soon as possible.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said the US has delivered military assistance to Ukraine by unspecified means as recently as “the last couple of days,” and that ground routes for delivery of the additional material “would certainly be on the list of options we would consider.”


9.05pm: Anonymous bomb threats made about Moscow train stations and airports

Anonymous messages threatening to place bombs at Moscow’s train stations and airports have been received by the authorities and checks are being made, the RIA news agency reported on Saturday.

It also said that the Russian embassy in London was in touch with British police after receiving phone threats related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow had described as a “special military operation.”


9.00pm: Russia closes its airspace for Romanian airliners

Russia closed its airspace for Romanian airliners “due to unfriendly decisions by Romanian aviation authorities”, Russian federal aviation agency Rosaviatsiya said on Saturday.

Earlier Romania said it would ban Russian airlines from its airspace, joining other countries in central Europe doing the same after Russia invaded Ukraine.


8.39pm: Russian troops destroy Ukrainian dam that blocked water to Crimea

Russian troops have destroyed a concrete dam built in Ukraine’s Kherson Region in 2014 to cut off water to Crimea, the RIA news agency quoted the governor of Russian-annexed Crimea Sergei Aksyonov as saying on Saturday.

Ukraine cut off the fresh water supply to Crimea by damming a canal that had supplied 85% of the peninsula’s needs before Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

The Soviet-era canal was built to channel water from the River Dnieper to arid areas of Ukraine’s Kherson region and Crimea.


8.28pm: Russian troops ordered to advance in Ukraine

Russia on Saturday ordered its troops to advance in Ukraine “from all directions” as the Ukrainian capital Kyiv imposed a blanket curfew and officials reported 198 civilian deaths.

Kyiv residents took shelter to the sound of explosions as Ukraine’s army said it had held back an assault on the capital but was fighting Russian “sabotage groups” which had infiltrated the city.


8.04pm: Putin paused military operation but resumed after Ukraine refused to negotiate, says Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the suspension of advancement of its military forces in Ukraine on Friday (local time) but the operation was resumed Saturday afternoon after the Ukrainian leadership refused to talk, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“Yesterday afternoon, in connection with the expected negotiations with the Ukrainian leadership, the Russian president and supreme commander ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces,” Peskov said, speaking to reporters on Saturday.

“Since the Ukrainian side essentially refused to negotiate, the advance of the main Russian forces resumed this afternoon in accordance with the operational plan,” he added, reported Sputnik.


7.50pm: In policy shift, Germany to approve export of RPGs to Kyiv by third country

Germany is in the process of approving the delivery of 400 RPGs to Ukraine by a third country, an EU diplomat told Reuters, a major shift in policy after Berlin faced criticism for refusing to send weapons to Kyiv, unlike other Western allies.

Germany has a long-standing policy of not exporting weapons to war zones, rooted partly in its bloody 20th-century history and resulting pacifism. Countries aiming to onpass German weapons exports need to apply for approval in Berlin first.


7.40pm: UK says Russian advance has slowed

The Russian advance into Ukraine has temporarily slowed, probably because of logistical problems and strong resistance, Britain’s defence ministry said on Saturday.

“The speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance,” the ministry said in a regular intelligence update posted on Twitter.

“Russian forces are bypassing major Ukrainian population centres while leaving forces to encircle and isolate them. Overnight clashes in Kyiv are likely to have involved limited numbers of pre-positioned Russian groups. The capture of Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective.”


7.33pm: Russia resumes Ukraine offensive from all directions after pause

All Russian units in Ukraine were on Saturday given the order to resume their offensive from all directions after a pause on Friday, the RIA news agency quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying.

Echoing similar comments by the Kremlin, the ministry said Friday’s pause had been made in anticipation of talks between Moscow and Kyiv but the offensive resumed after Ukraine refused to negotiate.


7.21pm: Chechen leader, a close Putin ally, says his forces have deployed to Ukraine

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Saturday that Chechen fighters had been deployed to Ukraine and urged Ukrainians to overthrow their government.

In a video posted online, Kadyrov boasted that Chechen units had so far suffered no losses and said Russian forces could easily take large Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, but that their task was to avoid loss of life.


7.10pm: Russian official issues stark threats to the West

Moscow may respond to Western sanctions by opting out of the last nuclear arms deal with the US, cutting diplomatic ties with Western nations and freezing their assets, a senior Russian official warned Saturday as Russia’s ties with the West dived to new lows over its invasion of Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, also warned that Moscow could restore the death penalty after Russia was removed from Europe’s top rights group — a chilling statement that shocked human rights activists in a country that hasn’t had capital punishment for a quarter-century.

The sanctions placed new tight restrictions on Russian financial operations, imposed a draconian ban on technology exports to Russia and froze the assets of Putin and his foreign minister, a harsh response that dwarfed earlier Western restrictions. Washington and its allies say that even tougher sanctions are possible, including kicking Russia out of SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions.


6.47pm: Fighting in Kyiv as Ukraine says 198 civilians killed

Ukrainian forces repulsed a Russian attack on Kyiv but “sabotage groups” infiltrated the capital, officials said Saturday, as Ukraine reported 198 civilian deaths, including children, following Russia’s invasion.

A defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his pro-Western country would never give in to the Kremlin even as Russia said it had fired cruise missiles at military targets.


6.40pm: Kremlin website down


6:20pm: Russia bans words ‘invasion’ and ‘assault’ in media

Russia’s communications regulator on Saturday ordered independent media to remove reports describing Moscow’s attack on Ukraine as an “assault, invasion, or declaration of war” or face being blocked and fined.

As Russian forces moved into Kyiv, Moscow’s defence ministry also said that Russian media should stick to the official version of events.

In a statement, the communications watchdog accused a number of independent media outlets of spreading “unreliable socially significant untrue information” about the shelling of Ukrainian cities by the Russian army and civilian deaths.


6.00pm: Ukraine president Zelensky speaks with Modi, seeks India’s support at UNSC

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought India’s political support at the UN Security Council to stop Russia’s military offensive against his country. Zelenskyy also informed Prime Minister Modi of the course of Ukraine repulsing the Russian aggression.

India abstained on a UN Security Council resolution by the US that “deplores in the strongest terms” Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, as New Delhi called for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities and asserted that dialogue is the “only answer” to settling disputes.


5.43pm: Belgium says to deploy 300 troops in Romania, send machine guns to Ukraine

Belgium will deploy 300 troops in Romania as part of NATO efforts to strengthen its eastern flank, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Saturday, as Russia pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles for a third day.

“Belgium assumes its responsibility within NATO Rapid Response, of which elements were activated yesterday. In the current phase, 300 Belgian soldiers will be deployed in Romania,” he said on Twitter.

Belgium will also support the Ukrainian forces with 2,000 machine guns and 3,800 tons of fuel, according to De Croo, who added that the government in Brussels was looking into further requests for help from the government in Kyiv.


4.53pm: Blinken announces $350 million in new US military assistance to Ukraine


4.44pm: Kremlin says Putin ordered troops to stop on Friday

The Kremlin has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered troops to stop advancing in Ukraine yesterday, but they continued to move today.


4.18pm: ‘This war will last,’ warns France’s Macron on Ukraine

The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow launched an invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday.

“I can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last,” Macron’s told France’s annual agriculture fair.

“This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences,” Macron added, warning: “We must be prepared”.


4.15pm: Russia bans Polish, Bulgarian, Czech airlines from its airspace

Russia has banned airlines from Bulgaria, Poland and Czech Republic from flying to and over its territory in response to similar moves by those countries, the Russian civil aviation authority said on Saturday.

Earlier this week, Russia banned all British airlines from its airspace in retaliation for London’s ban on flights to Britain by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot.


4.08pm: Kyiv toughens curfew, violators to be considered ‘enemy’

Kyiv authorities on Saturday toughened curfew orders in the city, saying violators would be considered “enemy” saboteurs as Russian forces press to capture Ukraine’s capital.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said that to improve the defence of the capital the curfew will be extended from 5:00 pm to 8:00 am local time between Saturday and Monday.

“All civilians who are on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy’s sabotage and reconnaissance groups,” Klitschko wrote in an online post.


3.51pm: Ukraine oil refinery shut down

Ukrainian presidential aide Naftogaz says the Shebelinsky oil refinery has been shut down due to risk of hostilities.


3.36pm: France intercepts Russian cargo ship

French officials say marines patrolling the English Channel area have intercepted a cargo ship sailing under the Russian flag and escorted it to the port of Boulogne-Sur-Mer for an investigation.

The interception of the ship, carrying cars, early Saturday was triggered by financial sanctions levied days ago against Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine. Maritime spokesperson Veronique Magnin said it appeared to be the first such action in the English Channel.

The approximately 130-meter-(427-foot) ship was headed from Rouen, in Normandy, to Saint Petersburg, and was stopped near Honfleur, Magnin said.

Customs officials carrying out the investigation were verifying if the vessel is indeed linked to Russian financial interests, the spokesperson said. The process could take up to 48 hours.


3.27pm: Ukraine security service denies Russian attack in Lviv region

Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) denied a report earlier on Saturday that Russian helicopters had landed in the Lviv region, a development that would have signalled a widening of the theatre of Moscow’s invasion.

The mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, said Russia had landed three helicopters near the city of Brody in the western Lviv region and that Ukrainian forces had repelled the attack.

The SBU said the information was false and that no such landing had taken place. It said a Ukrainian helicopter had done a reconnaissance flight in the area.


3.07pm: 100,000 Ukrainians cross border into Poland

Polish Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker on Saturday said 100,000 people have crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion this week.

“From the onset of warfare in Ukraine through today, along the entire border with Ukraine, 100,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland,” Szefernaker told reporters in the border village of Medyka, southeastern Poland.

He said 90 percent of the refugees have concrete places to go in Poland, such as the homes of friends or family, but that the remainder are seeking help at nine reception centres set up along the border. The centres offer meals and medical care, a place to rest as well as any necessary information.


2.50pm: Zelensky says Ukraine still in control of Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that the capital Kyiv was still under Ukrainian control after Russia launched an invasion on Thursday.

“We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on,” he said in a video message posted on his social media.

“We already have almost full support from EU countries for disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. I hope that Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision. We have the courage to defend our homeland, to defend Europe,” Zelenskiy added.


2.15pm: 6 civilians hurt as rocket hits high-rise

A rescue worker says at least six civilians were injured by a rocket that hit a high-rise apartment building on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital.

Petro Prokopov, a firefighter who was taking part in rescue efforts, said the building on the southwestern edge of Kyiv near Zhuliany airport was hit between 16 and 21 floors on Saturday. He said at least six people were injured and apartments on two floors were gutted by fire. Emergency responders have evacuated 80 people.

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko posted an image showing a gaping hole on one side of the apartment building.


1.30pm: Over 120,000 people have fled Ukraine

The UN refugee agency says that over 120,000 Ukrainian refugees have left the country since Russia began its attack on its neighboring country this week.

Speaking as Russian troops were engaging in battle with Ukrainian forces in the capital Kyiv on Saturday, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly Clements, said in an interview on CNN the situation was expected to get worse.


1.03pm: Czechs to ship weapons, ammunition to Ukraine

AFP
AFP

The Czech government approved on Saturday sending weapons and ammunition worth 188 million crowns ($8.57 million) to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s attack, the Czech Defence Ministry said.

The shipment, which includes machine guns, assault rifles and other light weapons, will be delivered by the Czech side to a location picked by Ukraine, the ministry said.

“Our help is not over!” the ministry said on Twitter.


12.58pm: At least 198 Ukrainians killed in Russian invasion

At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Health Ministry was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Saturday.

He said 1,115 people were wounded, including 33 children. It was unclear whether he was referring only to civilian casualties.


12.34pm: Dozens wounded, including children, in Kyiv

Dozens of people were wounded in overnight fighting in Kyiv, city mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Saturday morning.

As of 6am, 35 people, including two children, had been wounded, he said. It is unclear whether he was referring only to civilians.

Klitschko added there was currently no major Russian military presence in Kyiv, although he said saboteur groups were active.


12.31pm: Ukraine embassy staff evacuating from Moscow

The staff of Ukraine’s embassy in Moscow is evacuating to Latvia, the Latvian foreign ministry told Reuters on Saturday.

“It was their plea, we readily agreed. We are assisting them in the process and help with settling down,” Latvian foreign ministry spokesperson Janis Bekeris said.

He declined to say whether the embassy staff had already arrived in Latvia, citing security concerns.


12.09pm: No deaths from strike on residential building in Kyiv

AFP
AFP

A missile that struck a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv earlier on Saturday killed no one, an adviser to the interior minister said.

Anton Herashchenko also said Russia was lying about not shelling civilian infrastructure. According to the adviser, at least 40 such sites had been hit and Russian troops were shelling civilian sites.


11.55am: 'This war will last,' warns Macron

“This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences. We must be prepared”.


11.37am: Kyiv apartment block hit by missile

A high-rise apartment block was hit by shelling overnight in Kyiv as fighting raged between Russian attackers and Ukrainian forces, emergency services said Saturday.

The authorities said the number of victims was “being specified” and that an evacuation was underway. They posted a picture online of the tower block with a hole covering at least five floors blasted into the side and rubble strewn across the street below.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said online that the building had been hit by a missile.


11.11am: Two missiles hit Ukraine's Kyiv

AFP
AFP

Two missiles hit areas southwest of the Kyiv city centre on Saturday, a Reuters correspondent reported.

One of the missiles landed in the area close to the Zhulyany airport, he said.

Another witness said the missiles hit the area near the Sevastopol square, while the Kyiv city government said one of the missiles struck a residential building.


10.46am: Russia captures Ukraine’s Melitopol

Russian troops have captured the city of Melitopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhya region, Russia’s Interfax news agency cited the Russian defence ministry as saying on Saturday.

The ministry also said Russia has used air- and ship-based cruise missiles to carry out overnight strikes on military targets in Ukraine.


10.21am: Ukrainian president vows to fight on in Kyiv

“We will not put down weapons, we will defend our state."


10.01am: Fighting under way near three Ukrainian cities

AFP
AFP

Fighting was under way on Saturday near the southern Ukrainian cities of Mariupol, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odessa, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s office said.

“Heavy fighting is taking place near Mariupol,” Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser, told a briefing. “But there is no chance that Mariupol will surrender or be captured.”


9.40am: Ukraine reports fresh air, cruise missile strikes

Ukraine’s military command said areas near the cities of Sumy, Poltava and Mariupol were hit by air strikes on Friday, with Russian Kalibr cruise missiles launched at the country from the Black Sea.

More details here


9.36am: Facebook bans Russia state media from monetising

Facebook on Friday restricted Russian state media’s ability to earn money on the social media platform as Moscow’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine reached the streets of Kyiv.

“We are now prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world,” Nathaniel Gleicher, the social media giant’s security policy head, said on Twitter.


9.32am: Gunfire heard in central Kyiv

AFP
AFP

Gunfire was heard close to the government quarters in the centre of Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Saturday morning, a witness told Reuters.

Ukraine earlier reported an attack on a military base close to the city centre, which it said had been repelled.


9.21am: 'The enemy wants to destroy us'

"Shots and explosions are ringing out in some neighbourhoods. Saboteurs have already entered Kyiv. The enemy wants to put the capital on its knees and destroy us.”


9.05am: Street fighting begins in Kyiv

Kyiv officials are warning residents that street fighting is underway against Russian forces, and they are urging people to seek shelter.

The warning issued Saturday advised residents to remain in shelters, to avoid going near windows or on balconies, and to take precautions against being hit by debris or bullets.


8.20am: 'I need ammunition, not a ride'

AFP
AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was asked to evacuate Kyiv at the behest of the US government but turned down the offer.

Zelensky said in response: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation, who described Zelenskyy as upbeat.


7.25am: Ukraine says two commercial ships hit by Russian missiles

Ukraine said Russian warships shelled a Moldovan-flagged chemical tanker and a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship due to load grain near Odessa port in the Black Sea on Friday, one day after Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

A total of three non-military vessels have now been hit since the start of the invasion. On Thursday, the Turkish-owned Yasa Jupiter cargo ship was struck off Odessa.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said that the Moldovan-flagged vessel, the Millennial Spirit, was carrying 600 tonnes of diesel at the time of the attack from a Russian military ship.

More details here


7.08am: Japan considering imposing sanctions against Belarus

AFP
AFP

Japan is considering imposing economic sanctions on Belarus, in line with the United States, for its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two government officials with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear which individuals or entities would be targeted by such sanctions. The officials told Reuters Tokyo will coordinate with other members of the Group of Seven industrial powers.

More details here


6.18am: US to impose sanctions on Putin and Lavrov

The United States said Friday it would impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, following similar announcements by Britain and the European Union in the wake of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that a travel ban would be part of the sanctions.

More details here


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