- Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will ban all Russian oil imports. The E.U. and U.K. also announced plans to reduce Russian oil dependency.
- Two million refugees have now fled Ukraine in 13 days, the United Nations estimates, the vast majority to Poland.
- Temporary humanitarian corridors have opened, allowing some Ukrainian women and children to flee cities, including Sumy and Mariupol.
- The U.N. says at least 406 civilians have been killed so far; U.S. intelligence puts it closer to 2,000 deaths.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the U.K to increase sanctions on Russia and issue a no fly zone over Ukraine in an address British lawmakers.
Follow Newsweek’s live blog for the latest updates.
Dual Citizen Charged for Acting as Unregistered Russian Agent
Federal prosecutors have charged a dual citizen of the U.S. and Russia with running a Russian propaganda campaign.
Elena Branson, 61, was charged on Tuesday with evading requirements she register as an agent of a foreign government. Additionally, prosecutors say she participated in a scheme to fraudulently secure visas for Russian officials and made false statement to the FBI.
According to a U.S. Justice Department press release, since 2011, Branson was part of a Russian government campaign spreading “aggressive propaganda” aimed at recruiting its diaspora and consolidating the Russian-speaking youth community.
Branson formed the “Russian Center New York,” which the Justice Department described as “a Russian propaganda center” that launched an “I Love Russia” promotional campaign. The Justice Department alleges Branson corresponded with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking government officials. She also received tens of thousands of dollars in funding from the Russian government she used “to host events and engage in public messaging.”
She left the U.S. in 2020 for Russia and remains at large.
Russian Central Bank Restricts Withdrawals of Dollars
With the ruble in freefall, Russia’s central bank announced limits on the amount of foreign currency citizens can purchase or withdraw from their accounts.
The Bank of Russia posted a statement to its website Wednesday morning local time outlining the restrictions that would be in place from March 9 through September 9, 2022.
“Banks will not sell cash to citizens during the term of the temporary order,” the Bank of Russia said in its statement.
Under the restrictions, customers could withdraw foreign currency accounts up to $10,000 dollars in cash, with any other funds issued in rubles at an amount determined at the market rate of the day of issue. The bank said that about 90 percent of foreign currency accounts do not exceed $10,000.
Customers cans still open new foreign currency accounts and make deposits, but they will only be able to withdraw cash in rubles.
UN Gives Update on Civilian Casualties in Ukraine
Civilians killed or injured during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now stands at 1,335, according to a United Nations monitor.
Since Russia launched its invasion February 24, a total of 474 civilians have been killed and another 861 injured, according to the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the agency said in a statement.
Of those killed, included 97 men, 54 women, 8 boys, and 4 girls, as well as 17 children and 294 adults whose sex is yet unknown. Of those injured, 76 are men, 55 women, 11 girls, and 3 boys, as well as 30 children and 686 adults whose sex is yet unknown.
The contested Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the eastern part of Ukraine saw higher casualties at 545 (96 killed and 449 injured), according to the agency.
The mission said it believes the “real figures are considerably higher” because intensive fighting has delayed the transfer of information.
1,335 civilian casualties in the country: 474 killed and 861 injure
Pentagon Says Poland Jet Transfer Idea Not Feasible
The Pentagon shot down an idea floated by the Polish government to transfer its entire MIG-29 jet fleet to help Ukrainian armed forces combat Russia.
The Polish Foreign Ministry outlined its plan in a statement earlier Tuesday that involved Poland’s military delivering all of its MIG-29 jets to the U.S. military at its Ramstein Air Base, in southwestern Germany. The jets would be expected to be passed along to the Ukrainian armed forces.
“It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated on Twitter. “We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.”
Kirby said a particular problem with the plan is fighter jets, in the possession of the U.S., departing a NATO-aligned air base and flying into air space contested by Russia. He said the Pentagon will continue consulting with its allies and that “Poland’s proposal shows just some of the complexities this issue presents.”
Hungarian prime minister says sanctions on Russian energy would harm his country’s economy
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but opposes oil and gas sanctions, saying they would hurt his country’s economy.
Orbán declared his opposition to energy sector sanctions in London, following talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The two agreed “we all have a vested interest in this war coming to an end as soon as possible through negotiation.”
But Orbán said they also discussed how crippling economic sanctions against Russia are “taking their toll on everyone throughout Europe.” According to Orbán, Russia provides most of Hungary’s oil and natural gas imports, and 90 percent of Hungarian families use gas to heat their homes. He said: “The Hungarian economy simply cannot function without oil and gas.”
“The extension of the sanctions to the energy sector, to the oil and gas sectors, would represent a disproportionately large burden for Hungary,” Orbán said in a statement. “Therefore I made it clear that while we condemn Russia’s armed offensive and we also condemn the war, we will not allow Hungarian families to be made to pay the price of the war; and so the sanctions must not be extended to the areas of oil and gas.”
Thousands of Babies Born, Marriages in Ukraine
There has been a glimmer of hope in the face of war as thousands of Ukrainians welcomed babies and tied the knot during the first days of the invasion.
More than 4,300 babies were born in Ukraine and 3,973 Ukrainian couples exchanged vows in the first 10 days of Russia’s invasion. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine posted the celebratory news on March 5.
“No matter how the enemy wants to destroy and break us, but life goes on.. and a new is born, despite the war,” the ministry said. “Despite Russia’s armed aggression, Ukrainians do not lose their spirit and strength of faith. The enemy will be destroyed! We will win!”
Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight boxing star and brother of Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, posted a video from inside a Kyiv hospital on March 7. He said 82 babies were born in the hospital since the war began.
“There are very precious moments in life,” Klitschko said. “Even in desperate, challenging times like these. So heartwarming.”
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Rolex Stop Business in Russia
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Rolex are among the latest major companies to suspend business in Russia.
Pepsi-Co has operated in Russia for more than six decades, entering the market at the height of the Cold War. Tuesday, the company announced it’s suspending the sale of Pepsi-Cola and global beverage brands including 7Up and Mirinda amid the “horrific” events in Ukraine. PepsiCo is also pulling capital investments and advertising in Russia.
“As a food and beverage company, now more than ever we must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business,” PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta wrote in a letter to associates. “That means we have a responsibility to continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily essentials such as milk and other dairy offerings, baby formula and baby food.”
“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” The Coca-Cola Company wrote in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”
Rolex also announced Tuesday it will halt exports to Russia, Bloomberg reports.
Currently, the only Rolex watches sold in Russia are by independent and privately owned local retailers with inventory received before February 24, a Rolex spokesperson told the publication.
Blinken Wraps Up Eastern European Tour in Estonia, France
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his European trip Tuesday.
Blinken began his day in Estonia, the final stop on his tour of the Baltics, where he met with Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
Kallas said their discussion focused on “the sharply deteriorated security situation in Europe” and ways to support Ukraine, isolate Russia and “adapt to the new reality and make changes in our own defense.”
“Putin’s war against Ukraine is an act of military aggression against an independent and sovereign state that wants to fulfill its European dream,” she said. “The democratic world has stepped up against the war with speed, strength, and determination.
She said NATO needs to remain united and “prepared for the worst” that is still yet to come.
“Putin’s violence must be in correlation with the further sanctions and also isolation decisions,” she said. “We are in this for the long haul.”
Blinken thanked Estonia for providing humanitarian and military aide to Ukraine, joining European Union sanctions against Russia and welcoming more than 10,000 Ukrainian refugees. He also reiterated the U.S.’s “ironclad” commitment to defend NATO allies.
He said it is important for the alliance to “build up” efforts to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its continued aggression.
“We’re reminded today especially of how important it is that we have that [U.S. -Estonia] partnership, that we have the alliance that joins us, and that we have the extraordinary coordination and cooperation that we’ve experienced over the last month’s especially, and I think we’re both determined to see that continue,” he said.
Kallas said NATO’s eastern flank needs “everything” from its western allies, including troops and technology.
“Considering that we are a border country to a very aggressive Russia, we need to enhance our defense posture,” she said. “So far it has been deterrence posture, but we have to have a defense posture.”
Blinken also spoke with this Estonian counterpart about strengthening NATO’s eastern flank and imposing consequences on Russia is its aggressions against Ukraine continue. He then spoke at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn
“I leave Tallinn confident that U.S.-Estonian relations are stronger than ever,” Blinken said in a tweet.
Blinken also spoke with her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock about their unified commitment to supporting Ukraine and imposing costs on Russia.
He then traveled to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron.
“Here in Paris to continue to work in solidarity with our French Allies to counter the threats that Kremlin aggression pose to democracy and peace in Europe,” Blinken said in a tweet. “France’s leadership has been crucial to Europe’s unified, unprecedented response to Putin’s war of choice.”
Blinken and Macron talked about “the need for continued strong U.S.-France cooperation in the face of the Russian government’s unprovoked war against Ukraine,” according to a readout from the State Department.
Staffing Concerns Grow at Chernobyl
A Ukrainian regulator raised concern of the “worsening” situation for the more than 200 personnel who have been working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant for 13 days straight.
The regulator told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Tuesday of the “increasingly urgent and important” need to rotate staff to ensure safe management. The shift includes more than 200 technical personnel and guards. Russian forces took control of the site on the first day of its invasion of Ukraine, February 24.
Staff access to food, water and medicine is limited, the regulator told IAEA. The regulator asked the agency to lead efforts to replace current personnel and provide an effective staff rotation system.
“I’m deeply concerned about the difficult and stressful situation facing staff at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the potential risks this entails for nuclear safety,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Tuesday. “I call on the forces in effective control of the site to urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there.”
Grossi also indicated that remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems installed at Chernobyl “had been lost.”
The Ukrainian regular said the handling nuclear material has been paused at the site. The regulatory authority said e-mail is the only source of communication with the plant, IAEA said.
Grossi offered to travel to Chernobyl to speak with both parties to ensure the security of Ukraine’s nuclear sites. IAEA is investigating the status of safeguards monitoring systems at other sites in Ukraine.
Chernobyl was the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
Poland Ready to Supply U.S. With Stockpile of Fighter Jets
Poland said it is ready send air support to a U.S. air base in Europe to help aid Ukraine’s defensive efforts.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it can deploy all of their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base, a U.S. Air Force base in southwestern Germany, “immediately and free of charge.”
The jets will be placed at the disposal of the U.S. government.
In return, Poland is asking that the U.S. provides them with “used aircraft with corresponding operational capabilities.”
The Polish government is also calling on other NATO allies with MIG-29 jets to do the same.
Johnson Calls for Reconstruction Fund for Ukraine
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on leaders of the Visegrad Group Tuesday to develop a reconstruction fund to aid Ukraine following the war.
The group, also called V4, is comprised of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Leaders met Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine crisis at Lancaster House in London.
Johnson called for a “Marshall Plan for Ukraine” to help with rebuilding efforts, the Financial Times reports.
“We will employ every method we can for however long it takes to ensure Putin’s invasion fails and Ukraine is free once more,” Johnson said earlier Tuesday.
An associate of Johnson’s said the plan could be financed, in part, by the alienated property of Russian oligarchs, the Kyiv Independent reports.
The Marshall Plan was a U.S. program that provided foreign aid to Western Europe after World War II. The program was crafted by U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall and enacted in 1948. Also called the European Recovery Program, it provided over $15 billion in rebuilding efforts to several European countries.
Ukraine Official: Russian Military Actions Killed at Least 400 Civilians
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov released a report of estimated casualties, injuries and damages from Russian military action since the invasion in Ukraine began.
At least 400 civilian deaths and 800 injuries have been recorded, though Reznikov said the data is “definitely incomplete.”
This includes 38 children who were killed and the more than 70 who are wounded. During an address to British Parliament, Ukrainian President Zelensky said at least 50 children had died.
Reznikov said Russian strikes have destroyed more than 200 Ukrainian schools, 34 hospitals and 1,500 residential buildings.
He estimated10,000 foreign students, from places including India, China and the Persian Gulf, are stuck in Ukraine due to the fighting.
Reznikov also claimed Ukrainian forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian troops.
McDonalds to Close Russian Restaurants
Fast food giant McDonalds has decided to temporarily close all restaurants in Russia.
While McDonalds has “become an essential part of the 850 [Russian] communities” in which they operate, the company said, “our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”
Therefore, the company has closed all Russian restaurants and paused all operations in the Russian market.
McDonalds has 62,000 Russian employees and works with hundreds of local Russian suppliers and partners.
“We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia,” the company said in a statement. “This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in Russia will continue to operate, as will those in Ukraine and in neighboring countries to provide medical and humanitarian aid for children and their families.
McDonalds said it is “impossible to predict” when they will reopen those restaurants and will continue to monitor the ongoing situation.
“As always, McDonald’s will be guided by our values and our purpose to feed and foster communities across the globe,” the statement said.
Zelensky Open to Negotiate With Russia’s Demands
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is open to compromising with Russia’s list of demands to end the war.
Russia’s wish list includes Ukraine not pursuing NATO membership. Zelensky seemed open to negotiating the issue, saying NATO is not “ready to accept Ukraine.”
Russia’s Four Demands:
- Ukraine must not pursue membership into NATO or the European Union
- Acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory
- Recognize the Lugansk and Donetsk regions as independent states
- Ukraine to stop all military action
Several rounds of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia have yielded few results in recent days. In an interview with ABC News late Monday, Zelensky reiterated the wide implications if the war continues, saying “the more this beast eats, he will want more.”
“I think he’s capable of stopping the war that he started,” Zelensky said.
“He should know one important thing that he cannot deny, that stopping the war is what he’s capable of. This war will not end just like this. This will trigger the world war, it should be stopped now.”
U.S. Gas Prices Reach Record $4.17
U.S. gas prices soared to a record $4.17 on Tuesday, AAA reports, as President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will ban Russian oil imports.
Tuesday’s national average is up 10 cents from Monday, 55 cents higher than one week ago and a staggering $1.40 higher than one year ago, according to AAA.
The price of benchmark U.S. crude jumped 8% to nearly $130 per barrel on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.
Top 10 states with highest prices:
- California $5.44
- Hawaii $4.72
- Nevada $4.67
- Oregon $4.59
- Washington $4.55
- Alaska $4.50
- Illinois $4.42
- New York $4.37
- Connecticut $4.35
- District of Columbia $4.35
*Prices are for a gallon of regular unleaded gas on 3/8/22, according to AAA.
E.U., U.K. to Reduce Russian Oil Dependency
The European Union (E.U) announced plans Tuesday to reduce dependency on Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of 2022 and fully phase out dependency “well before 2030.”
“We are too dependent on Russian fossils fuels,” E.U Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “We must ensure a reliable, secure and affordable supply of energy to European consumers.”
The measures introduced Tuesday include responding to rising energy prices in Europe and ways to replenish gas stocks for next winter.
“RePowerEU will diversify our gas supplies, speed up the renewable roll-out, improve energy efficiency and replace gas in heating and power,” von der Leyen said.
The E.U. imports 90% of the natural gas used to generate electricity and heat homes, with Russia supplying nearly 40% of EU gas and a quarter of its oil, the Associated Press reports.
“Putin’s war in Ukraine demonstrates the urgency of accelerating our clean energy transition,” Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said.
The United Kingdom will phase out importing Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, U.K. Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said Tuesday.
“This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports – which make up 8% of U.K. demand,” Kwarteng said. “Businesses should use this year to ensure a smooth transition so that consumers will not be affected.”
The U.K. will additionally work with companies throughout the year to find alternative supplies.
“Beyond Russia, the vast majority of our imports come from reliable partners such as the U.S., Netherlands and the Gulf,” Kwarteng explained. “While the UK is not dependent on Russian natural gas – 4% of our supply – I am exploring options to end this altogether.”
Zelensky Receives Standing Ovation from U.K. Parliament
During an address to British Parliament, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the lawmakers to do more to protect Ukraine and reiterated the enduring strength of Ukrainian forces.
Zelensky received a standing ovation from the House of Commons ahead of his address as he outlined what the fight against Russian forces has looked like over the last 13 days.
He said 50 children have been killed since the Russian invasion began.
“These are children that could have lived,” he said. “But these people have taken them away from us.”
Zelensky also compared Ukraine’s battle against Russian aggression to the British war effort against Nazi Germany in World War II.
“We do not want to lose what we have, what is ours, our country, Ukraine, just the same way you once didn’t want to lose your country when Nazi’s started to fight your country,” he said.
Zelensky asked the U.K. to recognize Russia as a “terrorist state,” increase pressure of sanctions against the Kremlin and to continue to support the Ukrainian defense efforts, including issuing a no fly zone to “make sure that our Ukrainian skies are safe.”
He said Ukraine will continue to fight Russian forces “in the forests, in the streets, on the banks of rivers.”
“We will not give up and we will not lose,” Zelensky said. “We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Zelensky’s speech and promised to “employ every method” to ensure Putin’s invasion of Ukraine fails.
‘Ukraine Will Never Be a Victory for Putin,’ Biden Says
As the war continues for a thirteenth day, President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin will never be able to take all of Ukraine.
“Russia may continue to grind out its advance at a horrible price, but this much is already clear… Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin,” Biden said during a speech Tuesday. “Putin may be able to take a city but he’ll never be able to hold the country.”
The U.N. estimates two million people have fled Ukraine in the past 13 days, as Russian forces target cities, apartment buildings, hospitals and schools.
“Putin seems determined to continue on his murderous path, no matter the cost,” Biden said. He also referred to Russia’s attack last week on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, saying Putin did so “with an apparent disregard for the potential of triggering a nuclear meltdown.”
The U.S. will continue to provide security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Thus far, the U.S. has provided more than $1 billion in security assistance. Shipments of defensive weapons arrive in Ukraine on a daily basis. Biden said the U.S. is also working with humanitarian organizations to send tens of thousands of tons of food, water and medical supplies into Ukraine.
Biden praised the Ukrainian people for their bravery the past two weeks.
“They’ve inspired the world with their bravery, their patriotism, their defiant determination to live free,” Biden said.
“When the history of this war is written, Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” he concluded.
Biden Says ‘Defending Freedom is Gonna Cost’
Biden blamed the rise in gas prices on “Russian aggression.”
“Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home.”
Gas prices in the U.S. went up 75 cents since Putin began his military buildup in Ukraine, Biden said.
Biden said, however, that the decision made today to ban Russian oil imports “is not without cost here at home,” as gas prices will continue to go up.
“Defending freedom is gonna cost,” he said.
The White House already announced the release of 60 million barrels of oils from joint reserves with partners. About 30 million barrels are coming from the United States, Biden said.
Biden called on oil and gas companies and finance firms to back his decision and warned that this is “no time for profiteering or price gouging.”
“War is causing prices to hike,” he said. “But it’s no excuse to exercise excessive price increases or padding profits or any kind of effort to exploit this situation or American consumers.”
He also said it was “not true” that his administration or his policies are “holding back domestic energy production.”
Biden said the U.S. companies pumped more oil in his first year in office than during President Donald Trump’s first year.
“Ninety percent of U.S. onshore oil production takes place on land not owned by the federal government,” he said.
Biden said this crisis highlights the need to become energy independent and transition to clean energy.
In doing so, Biden said it will “allow the United States to not worry about prices at gas pump in the future.”
Biden Says European Allies May Not be Able to Join in Ban
Biden said the decision to ban Russian oil was made in consultation with partners and allies.
However, he said many of our European allies “may not be in a position to join us” in enacting a similar ban.
The U.S. produces more oil domestically than all of Europe combined, Biden said.
He said the U.S. is working with partners to develop a long-term strategy to “keep pressure mounting on Putin.”
Biden added that he is pushing European allies to move off their dependence on Russian energy and move towards clean energy.
He said this “crisis is a stark reminder” that “we need to become energy independent.”
U.S. Bans Russian Oil Imports
Biden just announced the U.S. is banning all Russian oil imports.
This means Russian oil “will no longer be accepted at U.S. ports,” he said.
He called the move “another powerful blow to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war machine.”
“We will not be part of subsidizing Russia’s war,” he said
Two Million Have Fled Ukraine in 13 Days
Two million refugees have fled Ukraine in 13 days, U.N. officials said Tuesday.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi provided the figure, calling it “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”
The U.N. estimates some 12 million people inside Ukraine and more than four million refugees will need protection and assistance in the months to come.
Where are refugees going?
Below are the most updated numbers compiled by the UNHCR as of Tuesday.
- Poland: 1.2 million
- Hungary: 191,000
- Slovakia: 141,000
- Moldova: 83,000
- Romania: 82,000
- Russia: 99,300
- Belarus: 453
- Other European countries: 210,000
Wait times continue to be long as hundreds of thousands flee Ukraine daily. The vast majority are headed to Poland. Below, crowds wait in cold temperatures at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland after fleeing Ukraine on March 7.
WATCH: Biden Announces New Actions to ‘Hold Russia Accountable’
President Joe Biden will address the nation this morning on the situation in Ukraine.
Biden is set to announce new actions to “continue to hold Russia accountable,” which will reportedly include banning Russian energy imports.
China Issues First Evacuation Notice
Newsweek‘s John Feng, contributing Asia editor, reports…
The short bulletin, released via the embassy’s official account on messaging and social media app WeChat on Monday, predicted a further escalation of fighting, saying the “worsening tensions” looked to be “rising sharply.”
The majority of its citizens in Ukraine had already left the country, the security notice said. It urged remaining Chinese nationals to leave “as soon as possible.”
The government placed the number of Chinese citizens in Ukraine at around 6,000, the first of whom were evacuated west in buses on February 28, a full four days after the hostilities began.
Shell Ends Russian Oil Imports, With Profits To Help Ukrainians
This just in…
Well, expectations of a U.S. ban on Russian all seem to be having an effect.
Oil company Shell has said it will stop buying Russian oil and give the remaining profits from the oil it has already bought to set up a fund for Ukrainians.
The company said it would work with aid partners and humanitarian agencies to determine where the funds can be best distributed to “alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine,” the company said in a statement.
Russian Economy Could Default on April 15—Morgan Stanley
As the U.S. plots to ban Russian oil…
Russia may default on its foreign debt by the middle of next month, experts have warned, makes borrowing funds significantly more difficult and expensive.
“We see a default as the most likely scenario,” Simon Waever, Morgan Stanley’s head of emerging-market sovereign credit strategy, wrote in a note on Monday, Bloomberg reports.
That assessment came before the import ban looked likely.
Russia’s economy is reeling from tough international sanctions, many targeting the country’s financial sector. Russia’s top banks have been cut off from SWIFT international payments system and its currency, the ruble, went into free fall.
A default, which happens when a government is unable to service its national debts, may come as soon as April 15, after the end of a 30-day grace period.
Sumy Evacuation Continues
Away from concerning claims in Maripoul…
The evacuation in the eastern city of Sumy appears to be going smoother at present.
As of about 30 minutes ago, Ukraine’s emergency service said a second convoy of more than 35 buses, carrying more than 600 people, had left the city
The corridor is scheduled to be open until 19:00 GMT today.
‘Ceasefire Violated!’ Russians Shell Escape Corridor, Ukraine Says
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Oleg Nikolenko has accused Russian forces of breaching an agreed ceasefire in Mariupol.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry has joined him in accusing Russian troops of shelling an humanitarian corridor out of the southern port city.
U.S. To Ban Imports of Russian Oil—Reports
Joe Biden’s administration looks set to ban imports of Russian oil, according to Washington Post and Bloomberg News reporters.
A White House announcement could be made later today, Bloomberg’s senior White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted a short while ago.
Axios first broke the news that the White House was considering talks with Saudi Arabia about how the middle east might boost oil supply.
The U.S. only imports about 8 percent of its oil from Russia; Europe, however, is much more dependent, with about 40 percent of its gas coming from the country.
Amid concern from Germany (which already shut Putin’s $11bn Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline) and Netherlands, sources told Reuters this week that the U.S. could act alone in imposing a ban.
Russia’s economy is still largely powered by energy sources, and any sanctions could potentially cripple its economy.
In Pictures: Civilians Flee Irpin, Near Kyiv
Civilians are attempting to leave Irpin, near Kyiv, today (Tuesday) via humanitarian corridors.
Many will be feeling anxious after Russian forces shelled at a battered bridge used by evacuees fleeing the fighting on Sunday. It left four dead.
Kremlin Calls for Cold War-esque U.S.-Russia Relations
This just in…
Russia’s foreign ministry has suggested Russia and the U.S. should return to peaceful co-existence like during the Cold War, reports Interfax news agency.
Russian Foreign Ministry’s Alexander Darchiyev, director of the North America Department, said he hoped relations would return to normal swiftly.
“We are open for an honest and mutually respectful dialogue to the same extent as the U.S. will be ready for it,” he said.
“Perhaps, it would do well to remember the well-forgotten principle that worked during the Cold War, peaceful coexistence, despite the values and ideals separating us which must not be forced on each other,” Darchiyev told Interfax.
“And the proverbial ‘rule-based order’ alongside the ‘progressive’ norms rejecting the traditional morals also must not be forced upon us,” the diplomat said.
“If we proceed from this understanding of the basis of bilateral relations in light of Russia and the U.S.’s special responsibility for the fate of the world as nuclear superpowers, we retain hope that normalcy in relations between our countries will come back,” he said.
“But it, of course, demands the reciprocal movement of both parties. I would like to reiterate that we are ready for such reciprocity,” Darchiyev said.
How Many Civilians Have Died in the War?
Estimating the number of civilian casualties is difficult.
Latest U.N. figures put the number at 1,207 civilian casualties—406 killed and 801 injured—since Russia first launched its full-scale invasion.
It is “likely to be much higher,” admits Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
U.S. intelligence suggests it could be five-fold, with close to 2,000 deaths and as many as 10,000 injured in the first 11 days of fighting.
Newsweek’s William M. Arkin reports.
12,000 Russian Fighters Killed in War, Ukraine Says
Latest figures from the Ukrainian government report that 12,000 Russian personnel have been killed as of Tuesday since Russia invaded.
That’s a rise of 1,000 since it’s last assessment on Sunday.
Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs also said 48 aircraft, 80 helicopters, 303 tanks, 1,036 armed vehicles, 120 artillery pieces and 27 anti-aircraft warfare systems were also destroyed.
Russia is yet to respond to Ukraine’s figures, but acknowledged early last week that 498 Russian troops had been killed and 1,597 injured.
Video: Civilians Flee Cities Via Humanitarian Corridors
Residents are leaving Ukrainian cities this morning as humanitarian corridors open.
Video footage (above) posted by the Ukrainian government on Tuesday showed people on boarding buses heading out of north-eastern city Sumy.
People are also leaving the besieged southern port city Mariupol.
Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said 30 buses were heading to the city to take people west to Zaporizhia, Reuters reports.
The evacuation of civilians from Irpin, near Kyiv, is also underway, the news agency reports, citing a Ukrainian official.
New humanitarian corridors were agreed by Ukrainian and Russian negotiators in the third round of talks on Monday.
Global Wheat Markets in Turmoil
Price of wheat is approaching an all-time high as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to cause unprecedented supply shortages of the essential grain.
Wheat futures rose 85 cents to reach $12.94 a bushel on Monday, capping a 40 percent price increase over the past week, and 70 percent rise this year.
Ukraine, often referred to as “The Breadbasket of Europe,” is the third largest exporter of wheat, holding a share of 12 percent of the global export market. If Russia succeeds in taking control over Ukraine’s wheat exports, it would hold a quarter of the total wheat exports worldwide.
According to ING Think analysis, concerns over Ukraine will be largely related to domestic production as well as disruptions to export flows, which can be affected by closure or loss of control over ports. The conflict could also disrupt husbandry and the application of necessary fertilizers, the analysts warned.
“Assuming the conflict ends before the 2022/23 harvest starts in July, we could still see lower yields impacting output next season. In addition, if the conflict persists, there is the potential that not all areas will be harvested for the upcoming season,” ING’s Warren Patterson wrote on Monday.
Planespotters Puzzled By Qatar Flight Path Over Ukraine Conflict Zone
A Doha-Montreal flight was initially projected to head straight through the airspace closed for commercial flights because of intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
The Canada-bound Qatar airliner was spotted via Flightradar24, a free online service that maps real-time commercial aircraft flight tracking data.
The Boeing 777 airliner flight QR763 was projected to fly over Crimea and Odessa, heading in the direction of Central Ukraine, where airspace is closed because of the security threat due to ongoing fighting and artillery fire.
At one point 85,000 people were following the flight live on FlightRadar24.
But Flightradar24 later updated the plane’s path, showing it passing through Turkey, approaching the Black Sea coast.
It is unclear whether the original path projection was a mistake, or whether the plane did indeed cross into the closed airspace.
International airlines have been warned to avoid the Ukraine airspace, partially due to concerns stemming from the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014, allegedly by the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied its involvement in the incident.
Zelensky Posts from Snowy Kyiv, Amid Fears Over Cold Weather
Volodymyr Zelensky has posted another video via Instagram in the last hour.
In it, Ukraine’s president is seen on the snowy streets of Kyiv, where he is based.
Ukrainian soldiers have been building makeshift urban defences in the capital, using subway entrances and other landmarks.
“Snow has fallen. Such a spring. What a war, such a spring, sad… but everything will be fine. We will overcome everything,” he said.
However there are fears the cold weather could lead to a worsening crisis across Ukraine, where—as we’ve been reporting—between 220,000 and 640,000 are without power.
Zelensky’s defiant video posts have won him many fans in Ukraine and the West.
In his previous video, the 44-year-old leader vowed to push back Russian forces and rebuild Ukraine.
220,000 – 640,000 Ukrainians Are Without Power
More than 200,000 Ukrainians are without energy this morning (Tuesday), according to a U.S. company tracking power outages in the country.
Poweroutage.com, which is reporting on most but not all regions, has found the most widespread outages are in:
- Donetsk 88,941
- Chernihiv 73,836
- Luhansk 42,989
- Kyiv 25,289
Russian attacks have left in excess of 900 communities without electricity, water or heating, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Monday.
“Barbarians of the XXI century. Russia damaged/destroyed 202 schools, 34 hospitals, 1500+ residential buildings,” he wrote on Twitter.
The energy ministry said 646,000 people across Ukraine had no electricity, and that 130,000 were without gas.
Ukraine Claims to Have Killed Top Russian General That Helped Annex Crimea
The Ukrainian military claims to have eliminated the second high ranking Russian military officer in a week.
Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, a top Russian military official who received medals for his roles in the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and Russia’s war in Chechnya, was allegedly killed in action near Kharkiv on Monday.
Moscow has not yet commented on the reports. Christo Grozev, executive director of investigative journalism outfit Bellingcat, corroborated the report, citing an intercepted phone call between a Russian officer and an FSB contact in Russia.
If confirmed, this is the second death among Russia’s top brass in Ukraine in a week, after Russian Major General Andrey Sukhovetskiy was reported to have died in combat last week.
Read more on the story here.
Russia Warns Oil Could Fetch $300 a Barrel
More now on the surge in oil prices…
Russia has warned that oil prices could hit an an astonishing $300 a barrel.
That’s more than twice the current price of $139—already a near 14-year peak.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak, made the claim in response to Ukraine and Western lawmakers for a ban on Russian gas and oil.
Novak said Russia could close its main gas pipeline to Germany if the West went ahead with such a ban, causing “catastrophic consequences” for the market, and that it is “impossible to quickly find a replacement for Russian oil” for Europe.
U.S. lawmakers are trying to push a bill through to secure the ban, and is reportedly considering a move to ask Saudi Arabia to boost supply.
But Europe is much, much more dependent on Russian fuel, getting about 40 percent of its gas and 30 percent of its oil from there.
Read more about Russia’s reliance on energy: As in the Cold War, Russia Is Vulnerable on Energy
This graphic, produced by Statista, shows key exporters of Russian fuel.
What Did Zelensky Say in Defiant Video from Kyiv?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a defiant speech (above) on Monday evening, pledging to beat back invading Russian forces and rebuild.
In a video message, Zelensky was seen in his Kyiv office for the first time since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Here are some of the key lines:
- Zelensky vowed to stay in Kyiv. “I’m not hiding,” he said. “And I’m not afraid of anyone. As much as it takes to win this patriotic war of ours.”
- He said “everyone,” including civilians who protest the invasion “contribute to our victory,” which he said will “definitely be achieved.”
- In an apparent swipe to Putin’s assertion that Ukraine and Russia are one civilization, Zelensky said, “and the one who repeated: ‘We are one people’—certainly did not expect such a powerful reaction.”
- In his speech, Zelensky pointed to destruction caused by Russian troops to civilian infrastructure, including a bread factory and church built in 1862
- Zelensky said his government will continue to participate in negotiations after having concluded the third round on Monday in Belarus
- “We know that hatred that the enemy brought to our cities with shelling and bombing will not remain there,” he said. “There will be no trace of it. Hatred is not about us. Therefore, there will be no trace of the enemy. We will rebuild everything.”