Russia-Ukraine updates: Third world war would be nuclear, Lavrov warns

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(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”

Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, don’t appear to have advanced closer to the city since coming within about 20 miles, although smaller advanced groups have been fighting gun battles with Ukrainian forces inside the capital since at least Friday.

Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy as well as Putin himself.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Mar 02, 9:29 pm
House passes symbolic resolution in support of Ukraine

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan resolution Wednesday that expresses support for the people of Ukraine.

“The camera of history is rolling on all of us today,” Rep. Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said during a House floor debate.

The resolution, which does not carry the force of the law and is largely symbolic, states that the House “stands steadfastly, staunchly, proudly, and fervently behind the Ukrainian people in their fight against the authoritarian Putin regime.”

It also calls for the U.S. and its allies “to deliver additional and immediate defensive security assistance” to Ukraine, and that America “will never recognize or support any illegitimate Russian-controlled leader or government installed through the use of force.”

The vote was nearly unanimous, 426-3. Three House Republicans voted against the resolution: Reps. Thomas Massie, Matt Rosendale and Paul Gosar.

Paul Gosar, Rosendale, and Thomas Massie just voted NO in the house of reps on a resolution supporting the people of Ukraine. Unreal.

— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) March 2, 2022

Rep. Adam Kinzinger called his Republican colleagues out on Twitter, saying their no vote was “unreal.”

Gosar replied: “Talk to me when our border is secure.”

Massie explained his vote on Twitter, saying that he thought the resolution was overly broad and that targeting Russia’s economy could backfire and cause and further economic stress for low-income Americans.

Rosendale has previously argued that the U.S. has no moral obligation to help either side in the conflict.

Mar 02, 9:07 pm
Latest sanctions will ‘tighten the ratchet’ on Russia in long term, experts say

The U.S.’s latest sanctions will likely not have much of an immediate effect but will impact Russia’s economy in the long-term, experts told ABC News.

With new sanctions on additional entities linked to the Russian defense sector — and by focusing on the long-term capability of Russia’s oil and gas sector — the U.S. is “continuing to keep tightening the ratchet” on Russia, Emily Kilcrease, a former U.S. trade official, told ABC News.

Extending the strict export controls that the U.S. imposed on Russia to Belarus — meaning Belarus also won’t be able to import technology like semiconductors with any U.S-developed components — sends “a very clear signal that any country that supports Russia is going to be subject to really harsh responses,” Kilcrease, a senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security, said.

Going after oligarchs — whose assets the Justice Department created a task force to seize — will have a “psychological” effect on the Russian elite, creating a “feeling of being closed out of the developed world,” Eliot Cohen, a former senior State and Defense Department official who is now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told ABC News.

The U.S. and Europe have yet to block all imports of Russian oil and gas. Energy expert Ben Cahill said Russia’s energy sector is already feeling “de facto sanctions,” with companies reluctant to do business there “because of the fear factor.”

Fully sanctioning Russia’s oil and gas exports would “be a much, much bigger scale, the price impact would be dramatic, and it would lead to a scramble around the world for alternative supplies,” said Cahill, who is also with CSIS.

The world just doesn’t have enough oil and gas to make up the difference, he said.

Mar 02, 7:41 pm
Nearly 9,000 Russian soldiers killed since start of invasion, Zelenskky claims

In a televised address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that almost 9,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the start of the invasion.

He said in the Mykolayiv region in southern Ukraine they’ve had to use dozens of helicopters to evacuate dead and wounded soldiers.

“Ukraine doesn’t want to be covered with Russian corpses,” Zelenskyy said, appealing to the Russian troops. “Tell your commanders that you don’t want to die, get back to where you’ve come from.”

Ukraine’s figures stand in stark contrast to Russian reports on its casualties. Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier Wednesday that 498 Russian service members have been killed and 1,597 wounded since the invasion started.

ABC News hasn’t independently verified a total.

Mar 02, 7:00 pm
Hundreds of anti-aircraft missiles delivered to Ukraine: US official

Several hundred Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were delivered to Ukraine’s military Tuesday, a senior U.S. official has confirmed to ABC News.

Additional shipments of the portable surface-to-air missiles are anticipated in the near future, the official said.

The missiles are part of a $350 million lethal defensive aid package to Ukraine that President Joe Biden authorized late last week. It also includes anti-tank weapons, small arms and body armor.

Germany also announced in recent days it will provide 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, along with 1,000 anti-tank weapons.

-ABC News’ Luis Martinez

Mar 02, 6:21 pm
7 Russian banks to be removed from SWIFT network

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communication, aka SWIFT, confirmed Wednesday that seven Russian banks will be removed from its network as part of sanctions issued against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

That includes the banks’ Russia-based subsidiaries, SWIFT said.

“Diplomatic decisions taken by the European Union, in consultation with the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, bring SWIFT into efforts to end this crisis by requiring us to disconnect select Russian banks from our financial messaging services,” SWIFT said in a statement. “As previously stated, we will fully comply with applicable sanctions laws.”

The European Union identified the affected banks as Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, Sovcombank, VEB and VTB.

The sanctions go into effect on March 12, SWIFT said.

Mar 02, 6:05 pm
International Criminal Court now investigating possible war crimes in Ukraine

The International Criminal Court has “immediately” started investigating whether war crimes have been committed in Ukraine, its chief prosecutor announced Wednesday.

ICC prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan had indicated earlier this week that he would move to request an investigation, though he first required authorization for a pretrial chamber or a referral from the court’s member states.

On Wednesday, 38 members made the referral — marking the largest referral in the history of the ICC, according to the British Foreign Office. Khan’s office can now move straight into its probe.

“With an active investigation now underway, I repeat my call to all those engaged in hostilities in Ukraine to adhere strictly to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law,” Khan said in a statement. “No individual in the Ukraine situation has a licence to commit crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.”

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is among the court’s 123 members, but Ukraine has provided authorization for an investigation in its territory, Khan said.

Mar 02, 5:23 pm
Blinken expresses little optimism for Russia-Ukraine talks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed little optimism for talks between Ukraine and Russia.

“The demands that Russia put on the table were beyond excessive, they were of course nonstarters and what we’ve seen repeatedly is that Russia goes through the pretense of diplomacy to distract and continue on its aggressive path,” Blinken warned.

Blinken also addressed the Russian people in a press briefing Wednesday.

“This is President Putin’s war. This isn’t the Russian people’s war. It’s becoming clearer by the day that the Russian people oppose it. Members of the Russian military oppose it and had no idea what they were being sent to do. And now the Russian people will suffer the consequences of their leader’s choices,” Blinken said.

“The economic costs that we’ve been forced to impose on Russia are not aimed at you. They’re aimed at compelling your government to stop its actions, to stop its aggression. And just as millions of us around the world stand together against Moscow’s aggression, we also stand together with you as you demand that your leaders end this war,” Blinken added.

Blinken said the U.S. is documenting Russian attacks that may have targeted civilians and wants to ensure there’s accountability, among other things.

“This is shameful. The number of civilians killed and wounded, the humanitarian consequences will only grow in the days ahead,” he said.

Blinken accused Russia of hitting schools, apartment budlings, hospitals, roads, critical infrastructure like drinking water, electricity, and gas – along with Kyiv’s TV power and Babyn Yar.

He praised the U.N. General Assembly’s vote to condemn the Russian invasion and commented on the five states who voted against the resolution saying, “as Groucho Marx once sort of said, this is not very much a club that I would want to be a member of.”

He said the Biden administration’s working very actively to get U.S. assistance into Ukraine including lethal defensive aid, but declined to comment on whether the U.S. or Europe would potentially providing war planes to Kyiv.

Mar 02, 5:06 pm
Pentagon postpones ICBM missile test 

The Pentagon announced it will postpone an intercontinental ballistic missile test previously scheduled for this weekend to demonstrate that the U.S. is a “responsible nuclear power.”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby called out Russia for elevating its nuclear alert status and said the U.S. did not take its decision lightly.

“Such provocative rhetoric and possible changes to nuclear posture involving the most consequential weapons and our respective arsenals is unacceptable,” said Kirby. “The United States has not taken any similar steps.”

“In an effort to demonstrate we have no intention in engaging in any actions that can be misunderstood, or misconstrued, the Secretary of Defense has directed that our Minuteman-III intercontinental ballistic missile test launch scheduled for this week to be postponed,” said Kirby.

Kirby said that “in this time of heightened tensions” the U.S. and the international community saw Russia’s announcement as “dangerous and irresponsible and, as I’ve said before, an unnecessary step.”

Kirby said the decision to cancel the test is not a step back in U.S. readiness, and does not imply it will cancel other routine activities to ensure “credible nuclear capability.”

Mar 02, 4:56 pm
Senior defense official says Russian convoy ‘stalled’ in the north

The 40-mile-long Russian convoy has “stalled” and is not moving at a rate indicating they have solved their problems, a senior U.S. defense official said.

The official said Wednesday they do not have perfect visibility into what’s happening on the ground, but they believe the stall is due to several factors, one of which is stiff Ukrainian resistance north of Kyiv to include attempts to attack the convoy.

“We have some indications that they have also at places and at times tried to target this convoy,” the official said of the Ukrainian forces.

Another factor continues to be “significant logistical and sustainment challenges.”

“As for the food and fuel … our assessment is that they are suffering shortages of both,” the official said.

As in days past, the official emphasized that “We would expect that the Russians will … learn from these missteps and the stumbles and will try to overcome them.”

“We think there’s some degree that the purpose of this convoy is to help with resupply as well. So … I think they’re going to try to alleviate the food and fuel shortages that they’ve experienced,” the official said.

About 82% of the Russian forces that were arrayed at the border are now inside Ukraine — up from approx 80% yesterday, according to the official.

Russia has now fired about more than 450 missiles against Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion, the official said.

The official said that it is not always clear when civilians are being deliberately targeted by Russian attacks or are just being hit by errant strikes meant for nearby military targets.

Airspace over Ukraine remains “very contested,” the official said.

Russians continue to fare better in the south. “They have been achieving more progress down there,” the official said.

Mar 02, 4:17 pm
Blinken will travel to Europe to coordinate with allies, address refugee crisis

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he will be traveling to Brussels, Poland, Moldova and the Baltic countries starting Thursday.

Blinken will be continuing discussions and consultations with NATO allies and partners regarding the invasion of Ukraine, including consequences and severe economic costs on Russia.

In Brussels, he will participate in NATO and G7 summits and meet with EU counterparts, as well as hold additional meetings.

In Poland, he will meet his Polish counterpart and “thank Poland for generously welcoming hundreds of thousands of displaced persons from Ukraine.”

In Moldova, where Russian troops occupy the breakaway region Transnistria, Blinken will meet with leadership.

Blinken will also be traveling to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where he will reassure the three NATO allies about possible further Russian action.

Mar 02, 3:47 pm
Some Russian losses due to weapons provided by
US

At least some of the losses the Russians acknowledged Wednesday were due to weapons the U.S. provided Ukraine, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Kristina Kvien told ABC News.

The U.S. has supplied defensive weapons to Ukrainians including anti-tank Javelins and anti-aircraft Stingers, along with ammunition and other supplies.

“We don’t know which individual piece of hardware did which individual thing, but let’s just say my understanding is Javelins have been extremely effective against Russian onslaught,” Kvien said.

“When you see on television some of these Russian tanks or planes blowing up that’s partly due to the weapons we have been able to provide,” she added.

Kvien told ABC News the U.S. would continue to push weapons and ammunition into the hands of the Ukrainians, but declined to discuss how they are getting into the country.

Mar 02, 3:41 pm
White House announces new sanctions, restrictions on Russia, Belarus

The White House announced it will impose several new sanctions and restrictions on Russia and Belarus on Wednesday.

The U.S. will be placing export controls on extraction equipment and refining technology needed for Russia’s oil and gas industry.

The White House argues this will degrade Russia’s oil and gas industry over time, as it will prevent them from maintaining and upgrading current projects and, to some degree, future projects and likely make Russia a less desirable place for foreign oil and gas companies to invest in.

The U.S. will also impose full-blocking financial sanctions, its toughest sanctions, on 22 entities that support Russia’s defense sector. These entities make combat aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military, according to the White House.

Export controls currently placed by the U.S. on Russia will be extended to Belarus, cutting them off from access to semiconductors and other technology. The U.S. will also sanction entities that support Belarus’s military.

Mar 02, 3:35 pm
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich to sell Chelsea FC

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich confirmed on Wednesday that he will sell the Chelsea soccer club.

Abramovich said he instructed his team to set up a charity for the victims of the war in Ukraine where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated.

“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery,” Abramovich said in a statement.

Abramovich said the sale of the club will not be fast-tracked.

“This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club,” Abramovich said. “This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the Club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the Club.”

Mar 02, 2:44 pm
UN refugee agency says 874,026 people have fled Ukraine

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Wednesday that 874,026 people have fled Ukraine, more than half of which have fled to Poland, according to its count.

According to the UNHCR, 453,982 Ukrainians have fled to Poland, 116,348 people to Hungry and 79,315 to Moldova. The agency said 69,600 people have fled to other European nations.

Mar 02, 2:16 pm
WHO warns of possible COVID surge in Ukraine

The World Health Organization on Wednesday warned of a possible COVID-19 surge in Ukraine and critical oxygen shortages with at least three major oxygen plants in the country closed.

Ukraine is experiencing a critical shortage of oxygen impacting the ability to treat those patients.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said that just prior to the war, Ukraine was experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

With low testing rates since the start of the conflict, there’s likely to be significant undetected transmissions, Ghebreyesus said.

Ghebreyesus warned that with low testing and vaccination rates in Ukraine, the risk of large numbers of people developing severe disease increases.

The WHO said it is seeking ways of accessing oxygen from neighboring countries and ways to deliver it safely, saying there is an urgent need to establish a corridor for humanitarian workers and supplies to reach people in need.

Ghebreyesus said he is deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian emergency in Ukraine. The first WHO shipment meant to meet the needs of 1,000 patients in Ukraine will arrive in Poland on Thursday. It contains 6 metric tons of supplies for trauma care and emergency surgery.

The WHO has released $5.2 million from their contingency fund for emergencies and said it will need $45 million for Ukraine for the next 3 months and $12.5 million to support neighboring countries in their care for refugees.

Mar 02, 2:16 pm
Ukrainian nationalists, army lost nearly 2,900 people, some 3,700 injured

Nearly 2,870 Ukrainian nationalists and army have died and some 3,700 have been injured, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

According to confirmed data from the Russian Defense ministry, 572 Ukrainian troops have been captured.

Russia said civilians wishing to leave Kyiv in the direction of Vasylkiv won’t be stopped by its forces.

“Russian troops are not hindering the exit of the civilian population,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said civilians can leave the city of Mariupol.

“I would like to emphasize that all civilians wishing to leave Mariupol for safety reasons can exit in the eastern direction via the Mariupol-Shyrokyne motorway,” Konashenkov said.

Mar 02, 1:42 pm
Ukraine president praises UN for vote to condemn Russian invasion 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday praised the United Nations General Assembly for its vote to condemn the Russian invasion and call for the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Zelenskyy called the results of the vote “destructive” for the aggressor, and said it shows “a global anti-Putin coalition has been formed and is functioning.”

“I praise the approval by the #UN GA with an unprecedented majority of votes of the resolution with a strong demand to Russia to immediately stop the treacherous attack on. I’m grateful to everyone & every state that voted in favor. You have chosen the right side of history,” Zelenskyy said in a tweet.

“The world is with us. The truth is on our side. Victory will be ours!” Zelenskyy said.

Mar 02, 2:22 pm
UN General Assembly votes to condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine

By a vote of 141-5, with 35 countries abstaining, the United Nations General Assembly voted on Wednesday to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and call for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces.

In its third day, the emergency meeting of the UNGA showed the divide between the West and Russia and its allies.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed the country’s support for Ukraine, warning that Russia plans to ramp up its attacks.

“It appears Russia is preparing to increase the brutality of its campaign against Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “We’ve seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield–that includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs, which are banned under the Geneva Convention.”

“At every step of the war, Russia has betrayed the United Nations. Russia’s actions go against everything this body stands for,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“To the Russian soldiers sent to the front lines of an unjust, unnecessary war. I say your leaders are lying to you–do not commit war crimes, do everything you can to put down your weapons and leave Ukraine. The truth is that this war was one man’s choice, and one man alone. President Putin,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Thomas-Greenfield also called on Belarus to stop its support of the war and to stop allowing its territory to facilitate this aggression.

The representative for Belarus denied the accusation that the country is involved in the unlawful use of force against Ukraine.

“We categorically reject accusations against Belarus that we are involved in unlawful use of force against Ukraine. I will let you in on a secret. Yes, we are involved. The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, personally is sparing no efforts to ensure contacts between the Russian and Ukrainian sides,” said Valentin Rybakov, the representative for Belarus.

Claiming the country had been embroiled in “a state of civil war” for nearly a decade, Rybakov said “we all bare our share of responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine.”

The country voted against the resolution condemning the Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s Sergiy Kyslytsya urged the body to move quickly to condemn Russia, warning that a delay would result in the loss of more lives as it did during the Second World War.

“They have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist. They have come to resolve the ‘Ukrainian issue,"” Ukraine’s Sergiy Kyslytsya said of Vladimir Putin and other top ranking Russian officials. “Just stop and think if whether these words remind you of something.”

He also mentioned the destruction of the Babyn Yar holocaust memorial. “What an irony when victim of Nazis are being killed for a second time by Nazi modern followers,” he said. “It’s already clear the goal of Russia is not an occupation only. It is genocide.”

Kyslytsya urged each country to take a stand or face the same plight as Ukraine.

“The evil will never stop. It requires more and more space to conquer. If tolerated, it advances further and further. The draft resolution is one of the building blocks to build a wall to stop it,” he said. “The wall to protect all of you.”

Mar 02, 1:27 pm
Russia claims it took control over Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Monday that it took control over Ukraine’s Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe.

Russian military claimed it took control of the cities of Energodar and Berdyansk and the territory around the power plant, Major General Igor Konashenkov, the representative of the Russian Defense Ministry said in an official statement.

“The NPP staff continues to work on maintenance of facilities and monitoring of the radioactive situation in the normal mode. The radioactive background is normal,” Konashenkov said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Russia informed the body that its forces took control over the plant, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said on Wednesday.

In an official letter to the Director General dated Tuesday, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna also said personnel at the plant continued their “work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation. The radiation levels remain normal.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine informed the IAEA that all its nuclear power plants remained under the control of the national operator, the IAEA said on Wednesday.

In an update on Wednesday, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine informed the IAEA that it maintained communications with the country’s nuclear facilities and that they continued to operate normally.

The Zaporozhye plant contains six out of the country’s 15 nuclear energy reactors, according to the IAEA.

Ukraine has not released a statement confirming or denying Russia’s claims.

Mar 02, 12:29 pm
Russia says nearly 500 soldiers killed, 1,600 wounded in invasion

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday said that 498 Russian servicemen have been killed and 1,597 have been wounded since the start of its invasion of Ukraine.

This is the first time Russia has announced the number of military casualties it has suffered.

Ukraine claims over 5,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the start of the invasion.

Mar 02, 11:59 am
Biden says ban on Russian oil a possibility

President Joe Biden told reporters Wednesday that “nothing is off the table” when asked if he is considering banning Russian oil imports.

Biden also confirmed Russia is intentionally targeting civilians while refraining from commenting on whether Russia was committing war crimes, saying “it’s early to say that.”

When asked whether he thinks Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is safe or whether he should evacuate, Biden reiterated U.S. support for the leader.

“I think it’s his judgment to make and we’re doing everything we can to help him,” Biden said.

Mar 02, 8:37 am
Over 800,000 people have fled Ukraine, UNHCR says

Some 836,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched an invasion there on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

About 453,000 of them have gone to neighboring Poland, UNHCR said.

More than four million refugees from Ukraine may need protection and assistance in neighboring countries in the coming months. Meanwhile, an estimated 12 million people in Ukraine are in need of emergency assistance and protection, according to UNHCR.

Mar 02, 8:23 am
Children ‘in grave danger’ as Russian forces close in on Ukrainian capital

Children in Ukraine “are in grave danger, especially from the threat of explosive weapons,” international humanitarian group Save the Children warned Wednesday.

“Children injured in conflict zones are at even greater risk than adults due to their specific vulnerabilities and treatment needs for blast wounds,” Save the Children said in a statement. “Younger children injured in blasts are particularly at risk of death compared to adults and need to be treated differently.”

At least 14 children have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, according to the United Nations.

Save the Children, which has been delivering essential humanitarian aid to children and their families in Ukraine since 2014, called for an immediate end to violence amid fears that many more lives are at risk as Russia’s military operation intensifies in major cities and satellite images purportedly show a miles-long convoy of Russian forces closing in on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Mar 02, 8:04 am
Harris stops short of calling for Putin’s ouster

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris stopped short of calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ouster on Wednesday while urging for an end to the invasion of Ukraine.

“What we want is that the Ukrainian people will be free and that they will be safe. But we are now at a place where obviously Russia has yet again invaded Ukraine and we must stand in solidarity with our allies and make sure there are severe and swift consequences which is what we’ve been doing,” Harris told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on Good Morning America.

When asked whether there is anything more the United States and its allies could be doing, Harris argued that the actions taken thus far have already had an effect.

“We are seeing the impact of the work that we have done. We are seeing the ruble in a free fall. We are seeing the stock market in Russia has essentially closed. What we have seen is that the credit rating of Russia is now junk,” she said. “So, what we know is that we’re having an impact and we’re taking it quite seriously.”

When pressed again that Putin appears to be willing to take the cost and is not backing down, Harris insisted: “We’re going to do everything that we can to support the Ukrainian people.”

“We are doing that through our security assistance, through economic assistance, humanitarian assistance,” she added. “We’re not going to let up.”

Harris dodged a question about whether about whether U.S. intelligence now suggests that Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, will fall to Russian forces.

“This is Putin’s war, and we are very concerned and we are monitoring it,” she said. “We are fully aware that if there’s any intentional targeting of civilians, that we are looking at the fact that there may be a violation, very well may be a violation of international law. So this is an issue that we should all be paying attention to. It is atrocious and it is a violation of all of the standards and principles that we as particularly NATO nations take seriously.”

Mar 02, 7:41 am
Russia says it’s ‘ready’ for new talks with Ukraine

A Russian delegation will be sent to an undisclosed location to await a possible second round of talks with Ukraine on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“Our delegation will be waiting for the Ukrainian negotiators on-site this afternoon, closer to the evening,” Peskov told reporters Wednesday, noting that he would not be revealing the location for now.

“We can try to predict whether Ukrainian negotiators will show up or not. Let’s hope this happens,” he added. “Our [negotiators] will be there and ready.”

The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, has said that they would be on the Belarus-Poland border but there’s been no confirmation of that location.

Ukraine has not yet confirmed that it will take part in the talks with Russia on Wednesday. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said earlier that his country was ready to negotiate but that Russia had not changed its position and was still issuing ultimatums.

Wednesday’s talks would follow a meeting between both sides near the Belarus-Ukraine border on Monday that failed to reach a breakthrough.

Mar 02, 6:18 am
Third world war would be nuclear and destructive, Lavrov warns

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday that if a third world war were to take place, it would involve nuclear weapons and be destructive, according to Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.

Mar 02, 5:55 am
Putin’s fiercest critic Navalny calls for daily anti-war protests

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is urging people in Russia and around the world to stage daily protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We — Russia — want to be a nation of peace. Alas, few people would call us that now,” Navalny said Wednesday in a series of posts on Twitter via his spokesperson. “But let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar.”

“They say that someone who cannot attend a rally and does not risk being arrested for it cannot call for it. I’m already in prison, so I think I can,” he tweeted. “We cannot wait any longer. Wherever you are, in Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet, go to the main square of your city every weekday and at 2 pm on weekends and holidays.”

“Yes, maybe only a few people will take to the streets on the first day. And in the second — even less,” he added. “But we must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war. Each arrested person must be replaced by two newcomers.”

Navalny called on people to not just “be against the war” but to “fight against the war.”

“If in order to stop the war we have to fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves, we will fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves,” he tweeted. “Everything has a price, and now, in the spring of 2022, we must pay this price. There’s no one to do it for us.”

Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, was imprisoned last year when he returned to Russia from Germany after recovering from an attempted assassination with nerve agent poisoning in Siberia. Russia has denied carrying out such an attack.

Mar 02, 5:19 am
‘You can’t stay neutral right now,’ Zelenskyy warns

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Wednesday that the international community “can’t stay neutral,” as the Russian invasion entered its seventh day.

“Neutral Switzerland has supported EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs, officials, the state, and companies. Once again – neutral Switzerland. So why do other countries wait?” Zelenskyy said in a televised address. “Our anti-war coalition has already been joined by those countries that Moscow was counting on a week ago. This is an extraordinary result. You can’t stay neutral right now.”

“We are in our homeland and there will be an international tribunal for waging the war against us,” he added.

Zelenskyy also praised his fellow Ukrainians for being “united.”

“During this time, we have truly become one,” he said. “Today you, Ukrainians, are a symbol of invincibility. A symbol that people in any country can become the best people on Earth at any moment.”

Mar 02, 4:37 am
Russia claims to have captured Ukrainian port city

Russia claimed Wednesday to have captured Ukraine’s southern port city of Kherson, the largest Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces since the start of the invasion.

“Russian forces have taken full control of the Kherson regional center,” Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a press briefing Wednesday.

Russia-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine have also seized several cities and towns, advancing nearly 100 miles since launching the offensive, according to Konashenkov.

“Ukrainian servicemen will go home as soon as they make a written pledge not to take part in the hostilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russian forces have “disabled” the instrument room of the the main television tower in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, “putting an end to information attacks on Russia,” according to Konashenkov, who noted that “no damage was done to residential buildings in the course of the strike.”

Konashenkov also claimed that Russian aircraft had delivered a “massive strike” on Ukraine’s military infrastructure on Wednesday.

“Sixty-seven sites have been hit,” he added. “In all, 1,502 elements of Ukrainian military infrastructure have been disabled in the course of the operation. These include 51 command and communications centers belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 38 S-300, Buk M-1 and Osa air defense missile systems and 51 radar stations.”

Mar 01, 10:59 pm
Boeing suspends all plane maintenance support for Russian airlines

The Boeing Company has suspended all parts, maintenance and technical support for Russian airlines as the conflict continues, the company announced Tuesday.

This is expected to have a significant impact on Russian carriers, as planes need constant maintenance.

“We have suspended major operations in Moscow and temporarily closed our office in Kyiv,” Boeing said in a statement. “We are also suspending parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines. As the conflict continues, our teams are focused on ensuring the safety of our teammates in the region.”

Mar 01, 10:56 pm
GOP points at Biden for Russian invasion in State of the Union response

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds implied Russia’s attack on Ukraine is connected to a lack of leadership from President Joe Biden in the Republican response to the State of the Union address, saying Biden has “sent us back in time” to the 1970s and ’80s, when the “Soviet army was trying to redraw the world map.”

Reynolds said Biden has failed on his promise to make America respected around the world once more and criticized Biden for the lead-up to the invasion, including waving sanctions against Russia and “focusing on political correctness.”

“Weakness on the world stage has a cost,” Reynolds said. “… We can’t project strength abroad if we’re weak home.”

Mar 01, 10:17 pm
‘Free world is holding Putin accountable,’ Biden says in SOTU address

In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden began by discussing the war in Eastern Europe and condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden invoked the strength of the Ukrainian people amid the attack, lauding the civilians who took up arms to defend their country and highlighting the work Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova has done on behalf of her people.

“She’s bright. She’s strong, and she’s resolved,” Biden said as first lady Jill Biden hugged Markarova.

Many lawmakers in attendance showed their support for Ukraine by wearing color-coordinated outfits and lapel pins in blue and yellow.

Biden described the invasion as “premeditated and totally unprovoked,” vowing, alongside NATO allies, to hold Putin accountable with sanctions on the Russian economy and Putin and the oligarchs themselves.

“When dictators do not pay a price for their aggressions, they cause more chaos,” Biden said. “They keep moving.”

Biden announced that American airspace would be closed to all Russian flights and pledged $1 billion in direct assistance to help “ease suffering” in Ukraine.

The president also “made clear” that while American forces would not go fight in Ukraine, he has mobilized the military to protect NATO countries.

“The United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power,” he said.

Mar 01, 9:45 pm
Biden announces ban on Russian flights in US airspace

President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address announced the U.S. will ban Russian flights from its airspace, joining Canada and the European Union, which issued bans on Russian planes in their respective airspaces over the weekend.

“Tonight I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights — further isolating Russia — and adding an additional squeeze on their economy,” Biden said.

The ban will apply to “operations of all aircraft owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, for, or for the benefit of, a person who is a citizen of Russia,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration. “This includes passenger and cargo flights, and scheduled as well as charter flights, effectively closing U.S. air space to all Russian commercial air carriers and other Russian civil aircraft.”

The ban will be “fully effective” by the end of the day Wednesday, the FAA said.

Mar 01, 9:12 pm
Lawmakers working to court ambassadors, diplomats ahead of UN vote to condemn Russia

While all eyes in Washington are on President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, some lawmakers have been working the phones to rally support at the United Nations for a resolution before the General Assembly to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and call for a peaceful resolution.

Working with the United States Mission to the United Nations, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have identified more than a dozen countries to target and called for ambassadors and key diplomats to leverage relationships to build more support for the nonbinding resolution.

“This has been a way for Congress to really play an important role working with the executive branch in getting this done and showing the world that Russia’s actions are illegal and should be condemned,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, a senior member of the committee that is leading the effort, told ABC News.

The vote “is an opportunity for countries to take a stand, and it’s especially a chance for the United States to demonstrate leadership among the nations of the world,” he said.

“President Biden and his administration, and now Congress, I believe, have demonstrated our ability to marshal our allies to condemn something the world has worked for decades to root out — which is a sovereign nation invading another,” Castro said.

Republicans have also been working to build support for the measure in the General Assembly, Castro said.

Mar 01, 8:35 pm
Ukrainian foreign minister addresses reports of racism

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the accounts of racism at the border by people of color attempting to flee, tweeting Tuesday, “Ukraine’s government spares no effort to solve the problem.”

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also addressed the reports of racism and discrimination during a powerful speech at the U.N. Assembly on Tuesday.

“Every refugee must receive protection, no matter what their nationality, no matter what their religion, no matter of the color of their skin,” Baerbock said.

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