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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Feb. 24

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People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022.

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

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

11:31 p.m.: VOA's Anita Powell reports: On Friday morning, both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet, in separate meetings, with different working groups of NATO allies about the situation in Ukraine.

11:10 p.m.: Ukraine's foreign minister compares situation to 1941 attack by Nazi Germany:

11:06 p.m.: VOA's Jamie Dettmer reports: Missile blasts in Kyiv early hours of this morning; fierce fightback by Ukrainians overnight in Sumy region and down south near Kherson; Ukrainians also managed to recapture a military airport very close to Kyiv that was going to be used by Russians to launch a ground attack on the capital. My overall impression is that yesterday in the first hours of the offensive Russian forces penetrated deeply in east, south and north but with the exception of the south underestimated the resistance they would face and have suffered reversals or containments. Russia will likely redouble efforts on Kyiv, hoping to shorten war.

10:55 p.m.: Kyiv's mayor, a former champion boxer, says he's ready to fight, ESPN reports:

10:51 p.m.: The New York Times reports newborns in Ukraine are being moved to a makeshift bomb shelter:

9:15 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron held a "frank, direct and quick" phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to ask him to stop military operations because the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had asked him to, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

8:28 p.m.: VOA’s Steve Herman tweets: #Ukraine forces putting up fierce resistance, according to #UK.

8:07 p.m.: The U.N. Security Council will vote Friday on a resolution that would condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine “in the strongest terms.” It also would demand an immediate halt to Russia’s invasion and the withdrawal of all Russian troops, according to The Associated Press.

After early morning bombs, families rushed to ATMs and grocery stores to prepare for further strikes on Feb. 24, 2022 in Slovyansk, Ukraine. (Yan Boechat/VOA)/VOA)
After early morning bombs, families rushed to ATMs and grocery stores to prepare for further strikes on Feb. 24, 2022 in Slovyansk, Ukraine. (Yan Boechat/VOA)/VOA)

7:04 p.m.: VOA’s Heather Murdock on what it’s like on the ground in Ukraine:

Like many people in Ukraine today, we knew about the invasion before we could hear the bombs.

Around 5 a.m. our phones were pinging, with WhatsApp, Signal and Facebook posts: “We heard a blast in Kyiv. Blasts heard in Mariupol … bombs in Kramatorsk,” and so on.

By the time we could hear bombing in the distance from our hotel in Slovyansk, a quiet town about 20 kilometers from the nearest place of military significance, we were not surprised. In fact, we were already planning our departure, thinking someplace farther from the battle zones would be safer.

6:08 p.m.: VOA's White House correspondent Anita Powell reports that White House press secretary Jen Psaki has confirmed reports of a hostage situation at Chernobyl: "We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facilities hostage. This unlawful and dangerous hostage taking, which could end the routine civil service efforts required to maintain and protect the nuclear waste facilities is obviously incredibly alarming and partly concerning concerning we condemn it and we request their release."

5:49 p.m.: Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said on Thursday that 57 Ukrainians were killed as a result of the Russian invasion, and 169 more were wounded. Lyashko said Ukraine’s authorities are repurposing the country’s health care facilities to make room for those who need medical assistance because of the hostilities.

4:32 p.m.: Pro-Ukraine rallies were held around the U.S. on Thursday. Hundreds of demonstrators from the Ukrainian community gathered in New York's Times Square to protest against Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion and show support for their loved ones back home. Tetiana Sears says she has many family and friends living in Eastern Ukraine, just a couple hundred kilometers from the Russian border. "I know people there, I talk to them, they're going to fight until they all die," she said.

People hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a vigil to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine in front of the White House in Washington, Feb. 24, 2022.
People hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a vigil to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine in front of the White House in Washington, Feb. 24, 2022.

4:05 p.m.: VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports, “According to U.S. officials, the Russian offensive, still in its initial phase, has targeted Ukrainian defense positions with more than 160 short and medium range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and airstrike from fixed-wing aircraft.”

4:05 p.m.: VOA's White House correspondent Anita Powell shared Vice President Kamala Harris' statement on Ukraine. "We know and believe that this is a war of choice. It is unprovoked. It is unwarranted and it is unjustified. The president made clear from the beginning if Russia were to take aggressive action against Ukraine, our response would be swift and certain and that is in fact what has occurred.

3:29 p.m.: VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports the Russia is continuing to send additional troops into Ukraine.

2:32 p.m.: VOA’s Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.

1:48 p.m.: President Joe Biden announced additional sanctions against Russia that “will impose severe costs on the Russian economy” following its invasion of Ukraine. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said from the White House Thursday.

1:30 p.m.: A Ukrainian official says Ukraine has lost control over the Chernobyl nuclear plant after a fierce battle with Russian forces. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said the condition of the plant’s facilities, a confinement shelter and storage of nuclear waste is unknown. The decommissioned plant was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986

12:50 p.m.: A monitoring group says at least 1,000 people have been detained in anti-war protests across Russia. Earlier, the Investigative Committee, a government body that investigates major crimes, warned Russians of legal repercussions for joining unsanctioned protests related to "the tense foreign political situation.”

12:05 p.m: Ukraine’s U.N. envoy is calling for the United Nations General Assembly to meet in an emergency session following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

11:45 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian forces are trying to seize the Chernobyl power plant, the site of world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986. He says Ukrainian forces are fighting back.

11:16 a.m.: A senior U.S. defense official say Russian military operations in Ukraine are just getting started. “They’re making a move on Kyiv,” the official said.

10:38 a.m.: VOA’s Heather Murdock describes the situation on the ground from a car as she moves from Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine towards Kyiv.

Heather Murdock Reports from Ukraine
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10:25 a.m. The shockwave from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reverberated in the world’s financial markets Thursday, with stocks tumbling worldwide.

9:40 a.m. VOA’s Jamie Dettmer, reporting updates from Ukraine.

“The mayor of Kharkiv (Ukraine’s second largest city) says city effectively encircled.”

9:10 a.m.: President Joe Biden met with his National Security team Thursday morning to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

8:58 a.m.: Video posted on RFE/RL shows explosions in several cities as Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine.

8:17 a.m.: Ukraine’s foreign minister says Ukraine has severed diplomatic relations with Russia and urges “all our partners to do the same.”

8:01 a.m.: VOA’s Jamie Dettmer reporting updates from Kyiv.

“The military airport of Hostomel west of Kyiv was struck early Thursday by attack helicopters, much deeper inside Ukraine than 20 kilometers.”

7:54 a.m. :U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is warning that the humanitarian consequences of Russia’s invasion on civilian populations will be “devastating.”

7:30 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to impose massive sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. “Today, in concert with our allies we will agree a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy,” he said.

7:01 a.m.: VOA’s Jamie Dettmer reporting updates from Kyiv.

“According to former deputy prime minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Russian military forces broke through into Ukraine in the Kyiv region at the Vilcha checkpoint. Border guards together with the Ukrainian military are now fighting to contain the breach. Additionally, Russian forces launched multiple rocket attacks on border guards at Mlachivka, in the region of Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv.”

6:22 a.m.: VOA’s Jamie Dettmer reporting updates from Kyiv.

“Ukrainian army officials also said they had contained an offensive on the port of Mariupol. And in the north-east region of Chernihiv, adjacent Belarus, an attack had also been contained, they say. In the capital former President Petro Poroshenko urged residents of the capital to rally saying that ‘if Kyiv holds, then so does Ukraine.’”

6:16 a.m.: Map of Ukraine locating the main cities where explosions were heard on February 24 and the regions where Russian forces entered, according to Ukrainian border guards. (SIMON MALFATTO, SOPHIE RAMISAFP)

5:32 a.m.: NATO leadership announces to hold a virtual meeting on Friday to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s horrifying attack on Ukraine, which is entirely unjustified and unprovoked,” NATO officials said in a statement Thursday.

5:06 a.m.: Ukraine’s foreign minister said the country is under “a full-scale attack from multiple directions” in a Twitter post.

4:26 a.m.: VOA’s Heather Murdock from Slovyansk, Ukraine. “By 9 a.m. Thursday morning families crowded onto long lines at ATM machines, supermarkets and fuel stations, stocking up in case the bombing begins again. Between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. the crash of shells hitting the area could be heard from towns and cities as many as 50 kilometers from the border with Russia and Russian-backed separatists, as well cities far beyond, including the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.”

3:56 a.m.: VOA’s Jamie Dettmer reporting updates from Kyiv.

3:48 a.m.: European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell calls Russia’s attack “amongst the darkest hours for Europe since the end of WWII.” Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Borrell said Ukraine needs “urgent assistance” and that the EU would “respond in the strongest possible terms."

3:16 a.m.: European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned Russia’s military action calling it a “barbaric attack,” in a speech Thursday. “We will not let President Putin tear down Europe’s security architecture.”

2:59 a.m.: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas says she plans to meet with NATO members and the European Union “to take joint decisions in support of Ukraine, and regarding the strengthening of the security of NATO, including Estonia.” Poland and Baltic countries have triggered consultations under NATO Article 4. The treaty allows member states to consult when the territorial integrity of another is compromised.

2:07 a.m.: Explosions are seen in several Ukrainian cities:

2:03 a.m.: Air raid sirens sound in Kyiv:

2 a.m.: The U.S. Embassy gives instructions to U.S. citizens in Ukraine:

1:57 a.m.: VOA’s Jamie Dettmer in Kyiv: “Hotels quickly emptied with guests checking out in droves. ‘Everything is OK,’ said a worker in a fitness spa in one five-star hotel in the city center. ‘Keep calm,’ she added. By 9 a.m. there were few pedestrians on the streets of the city — with only dog-walkers loitering. Couples could be seen pulling their luggage. One young woman struggling with a huge bag was asked where she was going: ‘Away,’ she responded.”

1:55 a.m.: Joining a chorus of condemnation from European leaders, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte urged that it is “time for strong and united action,” in a Twitter post Thursday.

1:49 a.m.: The spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oleg Nikolenko calls Russia’s military action “an act of war,” in a statement posted on Facebook. Nikolenko said the attack is “a gross violation of the UN Statute and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.”

1:45 a.m.: President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission issued a joint statement on Thursday condemning Russia’s “unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine.”

1:14 a.m.: Russia’s Federal Air Transport agency issues a statement saying that airports in southern Russia have a limited operation. After indicating that the decision was due to the current situation in Ukraine, the statement said, “flights in a number of airports in the South of Russia have been suspended.” The restriction will be in effect until March 2, CNN reported.

12:39 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg affirming U.S. commitment to NATO’s Article 5 is ironclad. The article states that any attack on any of the alliance’s 30 members is considered an attack on all.

12:39 a.m.: VOA's Jamie Dettmer in Kyiv: "Bigger explosion near center of Kyiv. Officials tell me Russians are targeting military infrastructure with cruise missiles. Also told Russian troops have landed near the port city of Odessa in the south. Reports also from officials of Russian soldiers appearing near Kharkiv. Ukrainian officials say they think the Russians are targeting air defense systems. The weird thing is the morning commute is underway and some people are heading to work in Kyiv."

12:37 a.m.: VOA's Eastern Europe Chief Myroslava Gongadze reports Ukrainians will be gathering outside the Russian Embassy in Washington at 1 a.m. EST.

12:15 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law Thursday across the country. He urged his countrymen not to panic and said he had spoken to U.S. President Joe Biden.

Biden confirmed their conversation via Twitter.

VOA's Jamie Dettmer tweets about what he's seeing in Kyiv this morning.

12 a.m.: After the United Nations Security Council’s meeting late Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield a draft resolution would be put on the table Thursday.

A European diplomat said security council members are discussing a resolution that will make clear that Russia is not complying with the U.N. Charter, international law, or council resolution 2202.

Russia would be expected to veto such a measure, but a strong number of members voting for it would increase Moscow’s isolation in the council. Diplomats would then likely move quickly to the General Assembly where it could be adopted without a threat of veto, but with no legal backing.

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

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