Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned NATO Monday that its member states would soon be attacked by Russian forces after an air strike hit a Ukrainian military base close to the Polish border.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths in the strategic southern port city of Mariupol, facing acute deprivation amid a prolonged siege, has topped 2,000, officials there said.
While western Ukraine has largely been spared so far, Russian air strikes overnight Saturday into Sunday carried the war deep into the west, killing 35 people and wounding 134 at a military base near Yavoriv, outside the city of Lviv — which is dangerously close to the frontier with EU and NATO member Poland.
“If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory, on NATO territory, on the homes of NATO citizens,” Zelensky said in a video address released shortly after midnight, urging NATO to impose a no-fly zone over his country.
Washington and its EU allies have sent funds and military aid to Ukraine and imposed unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia.
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Poland on Monday said frozen assets belonging to the Russian state and oligarchs should be confiscated and used to create a fund to rebuild Ukraine.
Russian military action has destroyed Ukrainian infrastructure and homes since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on February 24, forcing more than 2.8 million people to flee the country.
The West has since imposed harsh sanctions on Moscow and Kremlin-linked oligarchs, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the owner of Chelsea Football Club Roman Abramovich.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday called on the international community to give Ukrainians “a hope of reconstruction, the hope of a future” through a “large fund based on Russian assets”.
“Freeze the Russian state’s assets completely, confiscate them. Freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs, big and small, businessmen and politicians,” he said following a meeting with his Lithuanian and Ukrainian counterparts.
“Let them (the assets) aid the reconstruction of the (Ukrainian) state that is heroically defending its independence and sovereignty.”
Russian missile strikes on a Ukrainian base near the Polish border are deeply concerning but will not deter Britain from continuing to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday.
The Russian defence ministry said the strike had destroyed “foreign mercenaries and a large amount of foreign weapons”.
“These strikes are deeply concerning,” Johnson’s spokesman said.
Asked whether they would deter Britain from sending further weapons, he said: “No. We will absolutely carry on providing this defensive, lethal capability to the Ukrainian government. It is vital we do so, we know it has been helpful, we know it has been successfully deployed.”
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc said on Monday it would maintain humanitarian supply of medicines to Russia and would donate all profits from its Russian unit to causes that provide direct support to the people of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday sanctions pressure should be increased on Russia and called for a global boycott of international companies that have kept their operations open in Russia.
In a briefing, Kuleba also called for international ports to bar passage to Russian ships and cargo.
A website for Britons interested in housing and sponsoring Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion will go live on Monday as the government steps up its efforts to deflect anger over its response to the refugee crisis.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to portray Britain as helping lead the global response to the Russian invasion – which Moscow calls a “special operation” – but his government has faced criticism over delays in accepting refugees.
The new scheme called “Homes for Ukraine” will let refugees from the war come to Britain even if they do not have family ties, the government said on Sunday.
Britain will pay people 350 pounds ($460) a month if they can offer refugees a spare room or property for a minimum period of six months.
Squatters have occupied the London mansion suspected of belonging to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was placed on Britain’s sanctions list last week, unfurling a Ukrainian flag and a banner saying ‘This property has been liberated’.
Police said they were called in the early hours of Monday after it was reported that the squatters had entered the multi-million pound mansion in Belgrave Square, in an upmarket area of the British capital which is home to numerous foreign embassies.
“By occupying this mansion, we want to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but also the people of Russia who never agreed to this madness,” said a statement from squatters, who described themselves as anarchists.
“You occupy Ukraine, we occupy you,” the statement said.
Russia has not asked China for military assistance and has sufficient military clout to fulfil all of its aims in Ukraine in time and in full, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said that Russia had asked China for military equipment.
A Russian attack on a large Ukrainian base near the border with NATO member Poland was aimed at creating panic among the civilian population, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday, a day after the attack which killed 35 people.
“A missile attack just 20 km from our border shows how Russia operates. (Russia) wants to create panic among the civilian population,” Morawiecki said at a joint media conference with his counterparts from Ukraine and Lithuania.
More than 2,400 civilians have been killed in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol since Russia invaded the country last month, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.
Borrell, speaking at a news conference in Skopje, said that more than 2.6 million people have fled Ukraine and the number of refugees could swell to 4-5 million.
Two people were killed on Monday as various neighbourhoods of the Ukraine capital Kyiv came under shelling and missile attacks, city officials said.
“One person was killed and 10 wounded when a residential building was shelled in the Obolon district” in the north of the city, officials said, adding that later in the morning “missile fragments fell on the street in the Kurenivka district killing one person and wounding six.”
A high-voltage power line to Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear plant was damaged by Russian forces not long after electricity supplies were restored to the facility, grid operator Ukrenergo said in a statement on Monday.
It did not say if all external power supply to the plant had been lost as a result of the damage, but demanded access to the area to carry out repairs.
Ukrenergo did not produce evidence of the damage or the actions of the Russian forces and Reuters was unable to independently verify the extent of the damage or the cause of it.
Russian forces occupied the plant soon after invading Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Top European Union diplomats have agreed to add Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich to the EU list of Russian billionaires sanctioned after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, two diplomatic sources said on Monday.
The informal greenlight to Abramovich’s listing came in a meeting on Sunday, one source said, and the EU envoys will reconvene at 1100 GMT on Monday to adopt the measure and a further set of economic sanctions against Russia.
Israel will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other western countries, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday during a visit to Slovakia.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating the issue together with partners including the Bank of Israel, the Finance Ministry, the Economy Ministry, the Airports Authority, the Energy Ministry, and others,” he said after meeting Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok.
Deutsche Bank reversed course and said it would pull out of Russia completely while the London Stock Exchange suspended all its services in the country as Western governments impose sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Deutsche, which had faced stinging criticism from some investors and politicians for its ongoing ties to Russia, said late on Friday that it would wind down its business there.
The surprise move puts the German lender alongside major U.S. banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which exited Russia after the Feb. 24 invasion, and will add to pressure on rivals to follow in severing ties.
Deutsche had argued that it needed to support multinational firms doing business in Russia. But on Friday evening in Frankfurt, the bank suddenly reversed course.
“We are in the process of winding down our remaining business in Russia while we help our non-Russian multinational clients in reducing their operations,” Deutsche said.
“There won’t be any new business in Russia.”
- Russians rushed to buy electronics and pharmaceuticals and spent more on clothes and food in the first week of March, Promsvyazbank (PSB) said, stockpiling goods as the rouble plunged in value and Western sanctions cut off trade.
- Prices for goods have increased across the board since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, prompting sanctions that have isolated Russia economically and sent the currency to historic lows. Many of the world’s top companies have suspended operations in the country and it is largely excluded from the international financial system.
- An ordinary Russian spent 21% more in the first week of March compared to the average for February, driven both by inflation and a rush to stockpile, state bank PSB said in a note after analysing credit and debit card transactions.
Ninety children have been killed and more than 100 wounded in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, the Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office said on Monday.
“The highest number of victims are in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson, Mykolayiv and Zhytomyr regions,” it said in a statement.
Reuters could not immediately verify the information. Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarise and “deNazify” Ukraine.
Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said Monday that a strike by Kyiv’s forces on the rebel de facto capital Donetsk left at least 16 people dead, ahead of talks to resolve the war.
Rebel officials said fragments from a Ukrainian Tochka missile that was shot down had landed in the centre of the city leaving more than two dozen dead with many more injured.
“Sixteen deaths have been recorded” the self-proclaimed region’s health ministry said, adding that another 23 people had been injured.
The updated toll rounds down from 20 — an earlier count from separatist authorities.
- Ukraine said Monday it would demand an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops during a fourth round of negotiations to end more than two weeks of fighting after Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine.
- “Peace, an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Russians troops — and only after this can we talk about regional relations and about political differences,” Kyiv’s lead negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said in a video statement posted to Twitter.
- Russia has asked China for military and economic aid for its war in Ukraine, US media reported Sunday, hours after the White House warned Beijing would face severe “consequences” if it helps Moscow evade sanctions.
- Beijing refused to directly address the reports, instead accusing Washington of maliciously spreading “disinformation” over China’s role in the Ukraine war.
- US officials told media that Russia had requested military equipment and support from its key ally.
- Moscow also asked Beijing for economic assistance against the crippling sanctions imposed against it by most of the Western world, the New York Times said, again citing anonymous officials.
- The officials declined to explain exactly what Russia had requested, or whether China had responded, according to the reports.
- An air strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s capital killed at least one person Monday, the country’s emergency service said, as Moscow maintained its devastating assault ahead of a fresh round of talks.
- The strike, which injured at least a dozen people, came as Russian troops edged closer to the city and kept up their siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, where officials said nearly 2,200 people have been killed.
- “As of 7:40 am (0540 GMT) the body of one person was found dead in a nine-storey apartment building” in the capital’s Obolon district, the emergency service said in a statement, revising an earlier toll.
- Ukrainian and Russian representatives were set to meet via videoconference Monday, a Ukrainian presidential adviser and a Kremlin spokesman both said before the latest strike.
- According to Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the talks would begin at 0820 GMT.
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At least two people died and 12 were wounded following an air strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, the country’s emergency service said Monday.
“As of 07:40, the bodies of two people were found in a nine-storey apartment building, three people were hospitalised and nine people were treated on the spot,” the emergency service said on Facebook, adding that the building was in Kyiv’s Obolon district.
- Russia and Ukraine were set for a third round of talks Monday as Moscow’s invading forces maintain their devastating assaults across the former Soviet state.
- The discussions come as Russian troops edge closer to Kyiv and keep up their relentless bombardment of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where nearly 2,200 people have been killed in the onslaught, according to local officials.
- Ukrainian and Russian representatives will meet via videoconference Monday, a Ukrainian presidential adviser and a Kremlin spokesman both said.
- According to Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the talks will begin at 0820 GMT.
- “And our goal is that in this struggle, in this difficult negotiating work, Ukraine will get the necessary result… for peace and for security,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said early Monday, adding that both sides speak every day.
- Diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine were stepping up on Monday, with Ukrainian and Russian negotiators set to talk again after both sides cited progress, even after Russia attacked a base near the Polish border and fighting raged elsewhere.
- A barrage of Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Yavoriv International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security, a base just 15 miles (25 km) from the Polish border that has previously hosted NATO military instructors, killing 35 people and wounding 134, a Ukrainian official said on Sunday.
- Russia’s defence ministry said up to 180 “foreign mercenaries” and a large number of foreign weapons were destroyed. Reuters could not independently verify the casualties reported by either side.
- Thousands of people have died since Feb 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he called a special military operation to rid Ukraine of dangerous nationalists and Nazis.
- The spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington responded to media reports on Sunday that Moscow had asked Beijing for military equipment since launching its invasion of Ukraine by saying, “I’ve never heard of that.”
- The spokesperson, Liu Pengyu, said China’s priority was to prevent the tense situation in Ukraine from getting out of control.
- “The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting,” he said in an emailed response to a query from Reuters.
- Ukraine’s defense ministry on Saturday began using Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology, the company’s chief executive told Reuters, after the U.S. startup offered to uncover Russian assailants, combat misinformation and identify the dead.
- Ukraine is receiving free access to Clearview AI’s powerful search engine for faces, letting authorities potentially vet people of interest at checkpoints, among other uses, added Lee Wolosky, an adviser to Clearview and former diplomat under U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
- The plans started forming after Russia invaded Ukraine and Clearview Chief Executive Hoan Ton-That sent a letter to Kyiv offering assistance, according to a copy seen by Reuters.
US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron underscored in a call on Sunday their commitment to holding Russia accountable for the invasion of Ukraine, the White House said in a statement.