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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Feb. 23

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The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, is illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag to show solidarity with the country as Russia launches a military operation, Feb. 23, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

For the latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EST:

11:33 p.m.: White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweets that President Joe Biden was briefed on a secure call this evening by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about the ongoing attack on Ukraine by Russian military forces.

11:05 p.m.: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg "strongly" condemns "#Russia’s reckless attack on #Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives."

10:59 p.m.: Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweets that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

10:30 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement, saying “the prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces."

Biden will speak with G-7 leaders Thursday morning. Afterward, he will announce “the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”

10:26 p.m.: Explosions were heard in Kyiv early Thursday, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced "military operations" in Ukraine's Donbas region.

10:03 p.m.: As the U.N. Security Council meets, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation about 6 a.m. local time, announcing a military operation in Ukraine’s Donbas.

Putin said that he had "made the decision of a military operation" in Ukraine to defend separatists in the east of the country, according to media reports.

He added that those who oppose the Russian action in the Donbas region will face “consequences they have never seen.”

Around the same time, several rumbling explosions were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, away from the city center.

9:30 p.m.: The U.N. Security Council begins holding a nighttime emergency session Wednesday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

8:50 p.m.: Safe Airspace, a conflict zone monitor, warned Wednesday that airlines should stop flying over any part of Ukraine because of the risk of an unintended shootdown or a cyberattack targeting air traffic control amid tensions with Russia, Reuters reported.

7:47 p.m.: Ukraine announced late Wednesday it was closing airports in eastern Ukraine from midnight through 7 a.m. local time because of the confrontation with Russia. Ukrainian aviation authorities also have declared some airspace in the east to be “danger areas” because of attempts by Russian aviation authorities to seize control of the airspace, according to The Associated Press.

7:10 p.m.: VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer confirmed the United Nations Security Council was holding an emergency session Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

7:06 p.m.: Pentagon: Russian Troops Near Ukraine Border ‘Ready to Go’ -- Another sweeping cyberattack struck Ukrainian government websites Wednesday, as the Pentagon said Russian forces are closing in on Ukraine’s borders, readying “to conduct military action” “at virtually any time now.”

“We believe that they are, they're ready," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Wednesday.

From left, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
From left, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

6:45 p.m.: With the Russian threat growing against his country, Ukraine President Volodymry Zelenskyy is pleading for peace and says Russian President Vladimir Putin would not accept his call. Zelenskyy rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and lamented that a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” he said in Russian during an emotional address Wednesday night to the nation. But if the nation comes under an attack, he said, "We will fight back.” Hours earlier, he had declared a nationwide state of emergency.

He also said he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin, but there was no answer from the Kremlin.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks at the general assembly hall, Feb. 23, 2022, at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks at the general assembly hall, Feb. 23, 2022, at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

5:20 p.m.: Ukraine Minister to UN: ‘Russia Will Not Stop at Ukraine’ -- Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to the international community on Wednesday to “take swift, concrete and resolute actions” to help preserve his country from Russian military aggression. “Russia will not stop at Ukraine,” Kuleba told a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. He added that a full-scale war against Ukraine would be the end of the world order as we know it.

5:14 p.m.: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Wednesday night that Ukraine “has initiated an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council in connection with the appeal of the Russian occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk to Russia for military support, which is a further escalation of the security situation.”

4:21 p.m.: VOA Eastern Europe Bureau Chief Myroslava Gongadze reports: “Ukraine has introduced a nationwide state of emergency, which enters into force at midnight tonight, February 24, for 30 days.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 23, 2022, where she condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his aggression in Ukrain
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 23, 2022, where she condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his aggression in Ukrain

3:12 p.m.: US Lawmakers: Russia Incursion Into Ukraine Is Assault on Democracy -- Top U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into the occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine an assault on democracy.

“It’s stunning to see – in this day and age – a tyrant rolling into a country. This is the same tyrant who attacked our democracy in 2016,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference, recalling Putin’s interference in U.S. elections.

3:12 p.m.: Earlier, Kuleba tweeted the entire night shift of Titan chemicals plant in Armyansk evacuated from the facility, located in Crimea. “This might be a preparation for another staged provocation by Russia. Moscow seems to have no limits in attempts to falsify pretexts for further aggression,” he tweeted.

2:49 p.m.: US Warns Of Russian Cyberattacks Against Ukraine -- The United States and Britain warned Wednesday of new malware that attacks network devices, which the U.S. says has been commonly used by Russia.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an advisory informing “organizations of Cyclops Blink, a new malware used by Sandworm and Voodoo Bear to target network devices.”

Sandworm, also known as Voodoo Bear, is allegedly a cyber military unit of Russia’s agency in charge of Russian military intelligence.

2:19 p.m.: The U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, deployed to Poland to reassure NATO allies, was seen Wednesday, operating out of a camp at a landing field near Arlamow, in eastern Poland. Washington sent 4,700 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Poland, more than doubling the U.S. troop presence there.

1:58 p.m.: White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara reports that President Joe Biden will impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Biden said he would "not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate."

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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