Sunday, December 4, 2022

Live: Biden Announces New Sanctions, Says Putin ‘Wants To Reestablish Soviet Union’

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This live blog has ended. For current coverage, read today’s live blog. (Additional reporting by Anna Kaplan and Siladitya Ray)

A man walks past a building damaged following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, … [+] Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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February 25, 2022 1:00 PM EST

More Than 50,000 Refugees Have Fled Ukraine, UN Says
More than 50,000 refugees have left Ukraine in less than 48 hours, according to the United Nations. Filippo Grandi, United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said in a tweet that a majority of the refugees have gone to Poland and Moldova and that many more are heading toward borders. The United Nations estimated earlier this week tens of thousands of people could be displaced due to the Russian invasion.

February 25, 2022 12:26 PM EST

U.S. Thinks Russia Will Push For Ukrainian Surrenders Through Disinformation
Russia appears to be publishing false reports of Ukrainian troop surrenders, part of a campaign to “discourage [Ukrainian forces] and induce surrender through disinformation,” a U.S. official told Forbes. Russia may also threaten Ukrainian soldiers’ family members if they don’t surrender, according to the official.

Russian forces have pummeled Ukraine with hundreds of missile strikes since Thursday, and are invading the country through lines of advance near the capital city of Kyiv, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the Crimean Peninsula in the south. Ukraine’s military is putting up more resistance than Russia likely expected, and the country’s air defenses are intact, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday, though only about one-third of the troops Russia assembled for the invasion have entered Ukraine.

February 25, 2022 12:18 PM EST

European Union Freezes Putin And Lavrov’s Assets
The European Union agreed to freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as part of the union’s second sanctions package, Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in a tweet. Read more about the sanctions here.

February 25, 2022 12:10 PM EST

Russia Banned From Eurovision Song Contest
The European Broadcasting Organization said Russia will not be allowed to compete in this year’s Eurovision contest—becoming the latest cultural organization to bar Russia from participating.

Earlier on Friday, Formula 1 canceled the Russian Grand Prix, writing in a statement it would be “impossible” to hold the race in the “current circumstances.” The Union of European Football Associations also moved the Champions League Final from St. Petersburg to Paris due to the “unparalleled crisis.” The world’s largest telecommunications gathering, the Mobile World Congress, announced it would not have a Russian pavilion at the event and a “handful” of Russian firms would be banned due to sanctions imposed on the country.

February 25, 2022 11:41 AM EST

Pentagon Claims Russia’s Approach On Kyiv Moving Slower Than Expected
As Russian forces advance on Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, they are facing more resistance from Ukrainian troops than the Kremlin likely expected, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday.

Russia’s line of advance near Kyiv appears to be moving “slower than the Russians had anticipated,” the official said, though forces are still trying to move on the city. Fighting is heavy at a second line of advance near the northeastern city of Kharkiv. And in the country’s south, some of the Russian forces invading through the Crimean Peninsula have begun heading toward the city of Mariupol and eastern Ukraine’s contested Donbas region. Only about one-third of the forces Russia has assembled for its invasion have entered Ukraine yet, according to the official.

“In general, the Russians have lost a little bit of their momentum. They are not advancing as far or as fast as we believe they expected they would do that,” the defense official said, noting that no Ukrainian population centers have been seized and Ukraine’s air defenses are still working.

However, CNN reported earlier Friday that U.S. intelligence officials are worried Kyiv may fall to Russia within days, and the Biden Administration told members of Congress late Thursday that Kyiv could fall quickly, according to the New York Times. And Russian forces were spotted Friday in Kyiv’s suburban Obolon district, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed.

The U.S. official says a total of 200 Russian cruise and ballistic missiles have been launched toward Ukraine so far, most of which have targeted military locations. Some missiles have impacted residential areas, but it’s not clear whether that was intentional.

February 25, 2022 11:20 AM EST

Radiation Levels At Chernobyl Rise After Russian Takeover
Ukraine’s nuclear agency said radiation levels at the Chernobyl nuclear site exceeded control levels on Friday after Russian forces seized the zone, though Ukraine’s Interior Ministry noted the levels are currently “not critical” for Kyiv. Read more about the rise in levels here.

February 25, 2022 11:03 AM EST

Kyiv In ‘Defense Phase’ As Russia Targets Ukraine Capital
Russian forces have made “limited progress” in their attempt to target Kyiv, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said Friday, noting that as of Friday afternoon local time, Ukraine retained control of its cities. Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitchko said Friday the city had gone into a “defensive phase.” Russian missiles continued to strike Kyiv as citizens crowded in shelters and Ukrainian military equipment headed in to defend the capital city from an assault, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. The New York Times reports top Biden Administration officials warned members of Congress late Thursday Kyiv could fall quickly, as the city is surrounded by Russian forces from almost all sides.

February 25, 2022 9:55 AM EST

Russia Is Ready For Talks With Ukraine
Russia signaled Friday it was prepared to negotiate with Ukraine, on the second day of fighting amid Russia’s invasion. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation to hold talks with Ukrainian representatives, Forbes Ukraine reported. The offer comes in response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s offer for the country to have a non-aligned status with NATO, according to the AP. Russia has previously demanded that Ukraine not be allowed into the alliance. Western countries repeatedly rejected Putin’s demand in the weeks leading up to the invasion.

February 25, 2022 9:22 AM EST

Pope Francis Visits Russian Embassy in Rome

(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Pope Francis visited the Russian Embassy to the Vatican on Friday to express his personal concerns about the war, the official Vatican News outlet reports. The Pope rode in a small white car and remained at the embassy for about 30 minutes, where he appealed “to those with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war,” according to the Vatican News. Russian Ambassador to the Vatican Alexander Avdeev told Russia’s state-run news agency Tass that Francis “wanted to personally ask about the situation in Donbass and Ukraine.” NBC News reports the Pope’s visit appears to have no recent precedent.

February 25, 2022 7:18 AM EST

Syrian Leader Assad Backs Russia, Calls Invasion ‘Correction Of History’
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad expressed his support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a call with Putin on Friday, Reuters reported. A statement released by Assad’s office towed the line used by Moscow calling the invasion a “special military operation to protect the civilian population” in Ukraine’s separatist Donbass region.

According to the AFP, Assad also called Russia’s actions a ‘correction of history.’

February 25, 2022 5:37 AM EST

UEFA Champions League Final Moves From St. Petersburg To Paris
Paris will host the Champions League Final—the biggest annual event in European club soccer— the Union of European Football Associations announced on Friday. The move comes after original plans to host the final in St. Petersburg was scrapped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, UEFA noted that it would work with the French government and “fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”

February 25, 2022 5:11 AM EST

Gunfire Reported As Russian Forces Enter Kyiv
Reports of gunfire in central Kyiv emerged Friday morning as Russian military forces entered the capital city, inching closer towards the government’s seat of power.

This was confirmed by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry which tweeted that Russian troops have entered Obolon district, a suburb in the northwest part of Kyiv. The ministry urged citizens to report the movement of Russian equipment and attack them with Molotov cocktails if possible.

February 25, 2022 4:17 AM EST

Russia Has Lost 450 Soldiers, Failed To Capture Any Major Objective: U.K. Defense Secretary
Russia has not taken any of its major objectives in the first 24 hours of combat following its invasion of Ukraine and has lost more than 450 personnel, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in an interview on Sky News on Friday.

Wallace said that the U.K. government believes that Putin intends to invade the whole of Ukraine but London’s assessment suggests that Russia’s military operations are running “behind its hoped-for timetable.”

February 25, 2022 3:35 AM EST

13 Ukrainian Border Guards Killed On Snake Island Will Be Honored – Zelenskyy
Thirteen Ukrainian guards who fatally stood their ground against a Russian warship on Snake Island will be honored as national heroes, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday.

Audio posted by Ukrainian outlet Pravda, but not independently verified by Forbes, appears to show the border guards were approached by the warship on the small island in the Black Sea on Thursday and told to “put down arms immediately to avoid bloodshed.”

According to a CNN translation, one of the guards replied: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

February 25, 2022 2:19 AM EST

Rocket Strikes And Shelling Cause Devastation In Kyiv

Firefighters work at a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a suburb of the Ukrainian … [+] capital Kyiv, where a military shell allegedly hit.

AFP via Getty Images

Natali Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine.

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Photos Show Devastating Impact Of Rocket Strikes And Shelling On Kyiv

February 25, 2022 2:06 AM EST

Defiant Zelenskyy Says Russia Will Be Forced To Negotiate, Thanks Russian Anti-War Protestors
In a recorded speech shared on Facebook,  President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continued to strike a defiant tone and said Russia will have to talk about ending its invasion “sooner or later” and “the sooner this conversation begins, the less Russia’s losses will be.”

During his speech Zelenskyy also thanked the anti-war protesters in Russia stating: “To all citizens of the Russian Federation who are coming out to protest, I want to say we see you. It means that you heard us.”

February 25, 2022 1:15 AM EST

Ukrainian Forces Blow Up Bridge To Slow Russian Advance Into Kviv
Ukrainian troops have blown up a bridge in the city of Ivankov, halting the advance of a Russian convoy that was heading towards the capital Kyiv, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. According to Forbes Ukraine Ivankov is located halfway between the country’s northern border and its capital city.  

According to CNN, top U.S. officials believe that Russian forces entering from the north via Belarus are only about 20 miles away from the capital city.

February 25, 2022 12:58 AM EST

Japan Imposes Additional Sanctions Against Russia
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced fresh sanctions against Russia that include export controls on high-tech materials like semiconductors, a freeze on assets held by the Bank of Russia and investment firm VEB. Japan will also suspend the issuing of visas to certain Russian individuals and entities.

While announcing the sanctions Kishida condemned Russia’s actions as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and said: “Japan needs to show its resolve not to allow any change to the status quo by force.”

February 25, 2022 12:27 AM EST

Talk To Putin: Ukrainian Diplomat Urges Beijing
Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky has urged the Chinese government to “exercise its connection with Russia” and talk to Vladimir Putin. China has refrained from criticizing Russia’s military actions and has even refused to call it as a “invasion.”

“I do believe China can play a much more active role to work with Putin in a manner we expect for civilized countries to do,” Korsunsky told a press conference in Tokyo.

February 24, 2022 11:33 PM EST

Explosions Over Kyiv Caused By Air Defenses And Missile Strikes, Ukrainian Authorities Claim
An explosion heard over the city of Kyiv early on Friday was caused by a Ukrainian air defense system which managed to shoot a Russian missile out of the sky, Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin has claimed, according to CNN.

In a separate statement, interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said that Kyiv had been hit by “cruise or ballistic missiles.” This was claim was reiterated by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who tweeted that Kyiv was being hit by “horrific Russian rocket strikes”

Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at a damaged residential building at Koshytsa Street, a … [+] suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

February 24, 2022 9:57 PM EST

Explosions Audible In Kyiv As Russian Invasion Enters 2nd Day
Explosions were audible throughout Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv early Friday morning, according to Forbes Ukraine, a dire sign as Russia continues an attack on Ukraine that began 24 hours ago.

Reports have circulated of missile strikes and a shot-down plane in Kyiv.

Western officials say Russia is likely planning to encircle and ultimately capture Kyiv, though its troops have faced heavier-than-expected resistance from Ukrainian forces so far.

February 24, 2022 9:06 PM EST

Ukrainian Forces Reportedly Putting Up More Resistance Than Expected
Russian troops are seeking to encircle Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, but they’ve faced heavy resistance from Ukrainian forces, according to multiple reports.

Russia appears to be trying to surround Kyiv and approach the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, Frederick Kagan from the American Enterprise Institute told the New York Times.

Biden Administration officials told members of Congress in a Thursday evening call that it’s still unclear whether Kyiv will fall, but Ukraine is putting up strong resistance, CNN reported, citing unnamed sources on the call. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly told lawmakers the day-old invasion will “take a long time to play out,” but Russia is in for a “bloody mess.”

Likewise, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said it is “unlikely that Russia has achieved its planned Day 1 military objectives,” citing “fierce resistance” from Ukraine. And intelligence company Janes said Russian forces have “become bogged down in heavy fighting” at a Russia-Ukraine border crossing near Kharkiv, in a report cited by the Times.

The Ukrainian military claims it has succeeded in destroying many Russian tanks and planes, but it has also reported hundreds of civilian and military casualties.

February 24, 2022 8:06 PM EST

Heavy Urban Fighting Erupts In Northeastern Ukrainian City
Fierce urban fighting was reported Thursday evening in Ukraine’s northeastern city of Sumy, as Ukrainian forces contend with Russian ground troops and aerial bombardments.

Videos verified by the New York Times show a streetscape in Sumy—a city of more than 250,000 people located 20 miles southwest of the Russian border—engulfed in flames and gunfire. The Times reported the fighting was close to a military installation.

February 24, 2022 7:25 PM EST

U.S. Willing To Accept Ukrainian Refugees—But Most Will Probably Stay In Europe
If Russia’s attack on Ukraine sparks a massive refugee exodus, the United States is willing to take displaced Ukrainians, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, though places like Poland are likely to accept a larger share of the country’s refugees.

Psaki said “we are [willing to accept refugees], but we certainly expect that most … will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So we are also working with European countries on what the needs are [and] where there is capacity.”

The Biden Administration reportedly estimated earlier this month that between 1 million and 5 million of Ukraine’s residents could be displaced in a war, a good number of whom would probably flee to neighboring Poland. President Joe Biden announced in October the United States will resettle 125,000 refugees worldwide in the current fiscal year, meaning a very small share of Ukraine’s displaced population could be accommodated under current U.S. refugee policy.

Thousands of people have already fled Ukraine, according to U.N. officials, with many reportedly crossing into neighboring Poland, Hungary and Romania. Authorities in those countries have eased border restrictions and opened shelters and reception centers. Internal population shifts have also begun: Kyiv’s streets and gas stations were jammed with traffic as scores of people sought to flee the capital following the start of Russia’s attack Thursday.

Further Reading
Thousands Flee Ukraine Amid Russian Invasion That Could Displace Millions, Creating A Refugee Crisis For Europe (Forbes)

February 24, 2022 6:53 PM EST

Ukraine Orders ‘General Mobilization’ Amid Fears Of Imminent Russian Assault On Kyiv
Ukrainian authorities have banned all men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country, as Ukraine fights to repel a massive Russian invasion that began nearly 24 hours ago—an attack that some U.S. and Ukrainian officials warn could reach the capital city of Kyiv imminently.

The travel ban was part of a “general mobilization order” signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Forbes Ukraine reported. The order will also temporarily conscript the country’s military reservists, according to CNN and Reuters. 

Following Russian attacks throughout Ukraine, officials are concerned the Russian military could head toward Kyiv, the seat of Ukraine’s government and a city of nearly 3 million. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia “intends to encircle and threaten Kyiv” in a speech to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, according to CNN. Similarly, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—chair of the House Intelligence Committee—told the New York Times forces are “encircling Kyiv” and might “follow through with plans to topple the government.”

Zelensky—who is currently in Kyiv—also claimed saboteurs may have already entered the capital city, and suggested he and his family are probably targets for Russia.

Zelensky had previously offered to distribute weapons to anybody willing to defend the country, and urged citizens to “support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” a defiant message that served as a jarring reminder of the desperate fighting likely to ensue. The Ukrainian military says it has succeeded in destroying Russian aircraft and tanks, but hundreds of deaths have been reported since the aerial bombardment and ground incursion began early Thursday.

February 24, 2022 6:02 PM EST

In Photos: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine Prompts Mass Protests—And Mass Arrests—At Home
Thousands of Russian citizens protested President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine on Thursday, leading police to reportedly arrest thousands of people.

Antiwar protests formed in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other major cities, with demonstrators chanting and carrying signs, several media outlets reported—a rare occurrence in a country whose government has little tolerance for organized dissent.

Police quickly began cracking down on the protesters. At least 1,762 people were arrested across 56 Russian cities by early Friday morning, with 966 detainees in Moscow alone, according to human rights group OVD-Info.

Putin warned Russians not to oppose the military action in a speech early Thursday morning. He’s also sought to justify the invasion, framing it as an attempt to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine and baselessly accusing Ukrainian officials of carrying out a genocide against Russian speakers.

A man holds a placard reading “No War” during a protest at Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow on … [+] Thursday.

Getty Images

Police officers detain a man holding a placard reading “No War” during the Pushkinskaya Square … [+] protest.

Getty Images

Demonstrators are seen during an unsanctioned anti-war protest in central Saint Petersburg.

Peter Kovalev/TASS

Police detain a demonstrator during a protest in Saint Petersburg.

Peter Kovalev/TASS

February 24, 2022 5:15 PM EST

U.S. Lawmakers Back Biden’s Sanctions On Russia—But Say More Can Be Done
President Joe Biden responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a sweeping package of new sanctions on Russia, targeting large Russian banks and restricting Russia’s access to Western technology. Some members of Congress from both parties welcomed the moves Thursday but pushed for deeper economic penalties.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that Biden’s sanctions will “exact a significant toll on the Russian economy,” but he argued “there is more we can and should do,” including cutting Russian financial institutions out of the SWIFT global bank communications network and sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin personally.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, tweeted the sanctions are a “small step in the right direction” but may not be sufficient: He lauded the sanctions on banks but said the United States should also hit Russia’s crucial oil and gas industry with severe penalties.
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Foreign Relations Committee’s top Republican, called Putin a “madman” and called for “more decisive action,” pushing Congress to pass a Republican-backed bill that would sanction major Russian banks and impose secondary sanctions on entities that do business with those banks.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) tweeted that Putin will “pay a heavy price” for his invasion, but said the “key to sanctions is to keep them in effect until Russia changes its behavior,” noting that Russia will be willing to endure financial penalties for a period of time.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chair of the Armed Services Committee, told CNN more sanctions against Russia are likely, but said Biden is probably “trying to ensure … that these sanctions are supported across the board by our allies.”
However, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted the Biden Administration “continues to misread the moment,” arguing Biden should demand allies’ support for stringent sanctions instead of seeking permission.

Key Background
Cutting Russian banks out of SWIFT—which financial institutions worldwide rely on for interbank communications—could have massive impacts on Russia’s economy. Biden told reporters removing Russia from SWIFT isn’t off the table, but some European allies were reluctant to support the move. Biden also argued his bank sanctions will be even more damaging to Russia: He barred Russia’s largest bank from the U.S. financial system, and froze U.S. assets for the country’s second-largest bank. Other penalties announced Thursday include banning Russian imports of some Western technology, preventing Russian government-owned enterprises from seeking financing from U.S. markets and sanctioning several Russian elites.

Further Reading
Here Are The New Sanctions On Russia Announced By Biden (Forbes)

February 24, 2022 3:47 PM EST

Ukraine Reports 57 Casualties On First Day Of Full Russian Invasion

Ukraine suffered 57 deaths and 169 injuries during the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion, according to its healthcare minister, while Russia has yet to make any casualty information publicly available during the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion that began around dawn Thursday.
Russian forces seized Chernobyl, the infamous nuclear exclusion site near Kyiv, earlier Thursday. Ukraine reported no casualties or damage at the site to the International Atomic Energy Agency, but warned of potential Russian destruction to the nuclear power plant.
Reports of heavy shelling across Ukraine continued well into the night, and more than 25 Ukrainian towns and cities have faced attacks or airstrikes thus far, according to the New York Times’ tracker.
U.S. intelligence suggests Russia launched more than 160 missiles in Ukraine Thursday, an unnamed senior Department of Defense official told reporters.
Kyiv entered a curfew at 10 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), and the curfew will continue until 7 a.m. local time.

February 24, 2022 2:29 PM EST

Biden Says U.S. Will Tap Into Oil Reserve, But Shelves Russian SWIFT Ban
Biden said Thursday the U.S. will release oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve “as conditions warrant,” a day after the White House said the U.S. was mulling the move to counter rising oil prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. is working with other nations on a “collective release” of oil. Biden also said the West will not bar Russia from accessing the SWIFT international banking system, going against Ukraine’s repeated requests to do so, though a ban remains “an option.” Read more on SWIFT here and the U.S.’ new sanctions here.

February 24, 2022 1:59 PM EST

Biden Announces New Sanctions, Including Export Controls On Russia
President Joe Biden unveiled the U.S.’ new set of sanctions designed to “maximize the long-term impact on Russia” during a Thursday afternoon speech. Among the penalties are export controls on Russian goods, personal sanctions against more Russian elites and asset freezes on four more Russian banks, including VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank. Biden pinned the war on Russian President Vladimir Putin, referring to Putin as the sole “aggressor” in the attack, calling it “his war.” Putin has “larger ambitions” past Ukraine and his end goal is to “reestablish the former Soviet Union,” Biden said.

February 24, 2022 1:37 PM EST

Ukrainian Advisors Says Russia Gained Control Of Chernobyl
The Russian military captured Chernobyl Thursday, said Myhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelensky. Zelensky tweeted earlier Thursday Russian forces were “trying to seize” Chernobyl, an exclusion zone that was the site of the worst nuclear disaster ever in 1986. Podolyak said it is “impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” according to AP and Reuters.

February 24, 2022 12:38 PM EST

Boris Johnson Unveils U.K’s New Sanctions Against Russia
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced what he called the “largest and most severe” financial sanctions package ever against Russia during a Thursday address of Parliament. Penalties include banning Russian airline Aeroflot in the U.K., limiting the amount of money Russian citizens can hold in U.K. banks and freezing the assets of more than 100 people and Russia’s second-largest bank. Johnson also outlined a plan to bar Russia from using the SWIFT international financial system.

February 24, 2022 12:11 PM EST

Oil Prices Continue Meteoric Rise
Oil prices continued to climb Thursday in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Brent crude sat at $103.27 per barrel as of 12 p.m. ET, nearly 20% higher than its price a month earlier. Oil prices broke $100 a barrel for the first time in eight years earlier Thursday, as Russia, which supplies 26% of the European Union’s crude oil and 40% of its natural gas, launched its attack.

February 24, 2022 11:57 AM EST

IOC Denounces Russia For Breaking ‘Olympic Truce’ With Invasion
The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it “strongly condemns” Russia for invading Ukraine during the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, violating the Olympic Truce that calls for peace during and shortly after the games. Read more on the IOC’s statement here.

February 24, 2022 11:23 AM EST

Ukraine Demands Russian Ban From SWIFT In New Western Sanctions
Ukraine’s President Volodym Zelensky and its foreign affairs minister each called Thursday for the West to ban Russia from the SWIFT international banking system, a move that would provide a devastating blow for the Russian economy. SWIFT is a global banking service that connects more than 11,000 financial institutions globally, enabling international financial transactions. With a ban, Russia could still participate in the international economy, but transactions will be much more difficult and costly without SWIFT. Despite prior hesitation from the U.S. and European Union on banning Russia from SWIFT, Ukraine appears to have increased Western support on the matter: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “very keen” on banning Russia from SWIFT, an anonymous British official told the Financial Times Thursday. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, tweeted Thursday, “BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT.”

February 24, 2022 11:01 AM EST

Ukraine’s President Zelensky Says Russian Forces Hit Chernobyl
Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelensky tweeted the Russian military is “trying to seize” Chernobyl, the area around the exclusion site surrounding where the deadly 1986 nuclear plant disaster occurred. Chernobyl is about 60 miles north of the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv, where a curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. was recently implemented. In his tweet, Zelensky said Russia’s invasion “is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”

February 24, 2022 10:20 AM EST

Uber Suspends Service, Roads Blocked As Residents Try To Flee
Uber has temporarily suspended operations in Ukraine and has not said when it plans to resume service, reports Forbes Ukraine. Fellow ride sharing services Bolt and Uklon continued normal operations in the country. Ukrainians seeking to flee by car met significant traffic Thursday: Reuters reported traffic out of Kyiv sat at a standstill and vehicles stretched back for dozens of kilometers. Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the south, has received more than 4,000 Ukrainian refugees so far, according to its president. The Russian invasion may cause up to 5 million Ukrainian refugees, according to previous estimates, most of whom are expected to flee to Poland, Ukraine’s neighbor to the west. Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry reported an “increase in traffic” at its western checkpoints, while the United Nations’ refugee agency called for all countries near Ukraine to keep their borders open.

A line of cars is seen at one of Kyiv’s gas stations on Thursday.

Future Publishing via Getty Images

February 24, 2022 10:19 AM EST

Dow Drops 800 Points, Nasdaq Falls Into Bear Market
The stock market plunged on Thursday, with all three major indexes falling more than 2% after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, a move which caused oil prices to rise to over $100 per barrel while investors dumped stocks and fled to safe-haven assets. Read more on the economic consequences of the invasion here.

February 24, 2022 10:17 AM EST

In Photos: Ukrainians Take Cover In Subway Stations And Flee Cities As Russia Attacks
Ukrainians sought shelter in basements and subway stations as explosions were heard in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. See more images here.

A woman reacts as she waits for a train trying to leave Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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February 24, 2022 9:41 AM EST

Live: Russia shells hospital, airport as U.S. moves Air Force jets closer to Ukraine
Significant shelling occurred at an airport in Hostomel, a Ukrainian town just outside of the country’s capital of Kyiv, according to footage captured by the New York Times. Shelling also reached a hospital in Vuhledar, a city in eastern Ukraine, leaving at least four dead and more than 10 others, including doctors, injured. Russia has destroyed 11 Ukrainian airfields and a naval base thus far, claimed Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov. The U.S. announced Thursday morning it will send six Air Force jets to the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions to aid NATO’s defense force.

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