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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 1

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A blast is seen in the TV tower amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, March 1, 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:

11:37: p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden shared a photo of the U.S. Congress during the State of the Union address Tuesday and said, “The United States of America stands with the Ukrainian people.” He called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during his address “unprovoked and premeditated.”

11:04 p.m.: Ukraine has received about $33.8 million in donations of cryptocurrency to its government or non-governmental organizations since the Russia invasion began. About one-third of it on Tuesday, according to a firm that tracks digital currency.

Most of the donations have been in bitcoin or ether, said Tom Robinson, chief scientist of Elliptic, who added that several donations totaled more than $1million, according to The Associated Press. Some people are sending non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, to the Ukrainian government's ethereum account. Elliptic also warned of scammers tricking unsuspecting cryptocurrency holders wanting to donate to Ukrainian causes.

FILE - A representation of virtual currency bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken Jan. 8, 2021.
FILE - A representation of virtual currency bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken Jan. 8, 2021.

10:12 p.m.: Canada will refer the invasion of Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russian forces, according to a statement from its foreign minister.

“We are working with other ICC member states to take this significant action as a result of numerous allegations of the commission of serious international crimes in Ukraine by Russian forces,” Canada's foreign minister Melanie Joly, said in a statement.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly delivers a speech during a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2022.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly delivers a speech during a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2022.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

A referral by a member state will fast-track an investigation by allowing the prosecutor to skip having to seek court approval, Reuters reports, and according to a diplomatic source will shave months off the process of starting an investigation.

Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, acknowledges President Joe Biden as first lady Jill Biden applauds during his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, March 1, 2022.
Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, acknowledges President Joe Biden as first lady Jill Biden applauds during his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, March 1, 2022.

9:45 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden announced, during his State of the Union address, that the U.S. will ban Russian aircraft from U.S. airspace as punishment for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Canada and the European Union made similar moves earlier this week.

He also said the U.S. will release 30 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve. In separate statements issued Tuesday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the Biden administration might release more.

8:30 p.m.: U.S. actor-director Sean Penn, who was in Ukraine to film a documentary on Russia's invasion became one of the refugees walking for the border with Poland.

A spokesperson for the 61-year-old Penn said he has “made it out of Ukraine safely” but declined to discuss his whereabouts or his departure from Ukraine, Reuters reported.

“Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty,” a statement from the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

7:34 p.m.: U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil said Tuesday it will begin a phased withdrawal from Sakhalin-1, the major oil field it operates in Russia, citing Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

“In response to recent events, we are beginning the process to discontinue operations and developing steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 venture,” the group said in a statement, adding that it deplores Moscow's actions in Ukraine and stressing that it will no longer invest in new projects in Russia.

Earlier Italian oil giant Eni said Tuesday it would withdraw from the Blue Stream gas pipeline linking Russia to Turkey, in which it has a 50 percent stake, also according to AFP reports.

“Eni intends to sell its stake” in Blue Stream, a company spokesman said. The company controls the gas pipeline, which links the two countries via the Black Sea, equally with Russian energy giant Gazprom.

BP started the exodus from Russia on Sunday when it announced it was pulling its 19.75% stake in Rosneft. CEO Bernard Looney said he was resigning from the Russian company's board with immediate effect.

FILE - Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipline are pictured in Lubmin, northern Germany, Feb. 15, 2022.
FILE - Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipline are pictured in Lubmin, northern Germany, Feb. 15, 2022.

6:55 p.m.: VOA’s Henry Ridgwell reports that Western nations are continuing to pay Russia hundreds of millions of dollars every day for gas and oil imports, despite the tough sanctions imposed on the country's banking and aviation sectors following its invasion of Ukraine.

With around 40% of Europe's oil and gas imported from Russia, governments are scrambling to find alternatives. European Union ministers met Monday in Brussels to discuss how to break the dependency.

6:35 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the Group of Seven economies will put together a task force to freeze and seize assets of certain Russian elites, according to Reuters.

FILE - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a meeting in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Oct. 6, 2021.
FILE - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a meeting in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Oct. 6, 2021.

The move “will inflict financial pain on the powerful individuals surrounding (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and make clear that no one is beyond our collective reach,” Yellen said in a statement after a virtual G-7 meeting of finance chiefs.

Earlier on Tuesday, Germany's finance minister, Christian Lindner, said the G-7 expected an agreement in the coming days on possible further sanctions, though he gave no details about what moves were under discussion.

4:36 p.m.: Ford Motor Co. suspends Russian operations

4:35 p.m.: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ruled out imposing economic sanctions on Moscow on Tuesday, Reuters reports, saying he wants to “maintain good relations with all the governments of the world.”

“I do not agree with the fact that media from Russia, or from any country, are censored. We must assert freedom,” Lopez Obrador added.

He was responding to a question about possible repercussions for Russian companies operating in Mexico, such as energy giant Lukoil and the airline Aeroflot.

Lopez Obrador on Monday ruled out closing Mexican airspace to Aeroflot, which flies to the Caribbean resort city of Cancun.

4:25 p.m.: Cryptocurrency purchases in rubles are at a record high following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, raising questions about whether the likes of bitcoin can help Moscow get around sanctions, Agence France-Presse reports.

Thanks to sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its Western allies, the ruble is down 27% against the dollar since the start of the year and is trading at more than 100 rubles per U.S. unit, its weakest level on record.

People walk past a currency exchange office screen displaying the exchange rates of U.S. Dollar and Euro to Russian Rubles in Moscow's downtown, Feb. 28, 2022.
People walk past a currency exchange office screen displaying the exchange rates of U.S. Dollar and Euro to Russian Rubles in Moscow's downtown, Feb. 28, 2022.

Crypto data-provider Kaiko has reported record purchasing volumes of bitcoin in rubles since last week's invasion.

“However, it's still relatively low, which shows an interest split between institutional and retail buyers,” Clara Medalie, head of research at Kaiko, told AFP.

4:12 p.m.: Despite strategic partnerships with the Kremlin, no Central Asian government has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine or recognized Luhansk and Donetsk as independent, according to Navbahor Imamova, reporting from the VOA Uzbek Service. Russian claims that regional leaders “understand” President Vladimir Putin's decisions have been refuted or ignored.

3:58 p.m.: Britain’s foreign secretary has announced sanctions against Belarus for its role in supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to several media reports monitored by VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin.


3:27 p.m.: The 31 members of the International Energy Agency said Tuesday they’d release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves to bolster the world’s oil markets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The United States and large energy-consuming countries in Europe have not sanctioned Russian oil, but prices have spiked since the invasion. On Tuesday, the price of a barrel of oil was more than $100 for the first time since 2014. The release is “to send a strong message to oil markets” that there will be “no shortfall in supplies” the group said Tuesday.

3:18 p.m. : Russian consumers are facing higher prices and fewer imported goods after Western sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine sent their currency, the ruble, plummeting, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). People in the Russian cities of Tomsk and Kaliningrad told RFE/RL they were bracing for a drop in living standards.

3:04 p.m. : VOA’s Jamie Dettmer, who is in Lviv, Ukraine, reports that Russia and Ukraine had their first prisoner exchange Tuesday since the Kremlin ordered the invasion of its neighbor six days ago. A Ukrainian military official in the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytskiy, said in a Telegram announcement there had been a prisoner swap. “The first exchange of prisoners took place in Sumy region. We exchanged our five people from the territorial defense for one Russian military police officer,” Zhyvytskiy said. It came on a day of further mayhem and destruction as Russian forces stepped up attacks on cities and towns across Ukraine, striking at civilian infrastructure and communications facilities.

2:50 p.m. : Ukrainian authorities say Russian missile attacks have hit the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, including residential areas and the regional administration building. Kharkiv's regional chief said Russia launched Grad rockets and cruise missiles on the city on March 1. Despite overwhelming evidence of an indiscriminate bombardment of the city, Russia continues to deny its military is hitting civilian targets. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA jointly produce the program Current Time, which posted this report featuring amateur video from Ukraine.

2:26 p.m.: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking at the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday, blamed the United States and what he referred to as a “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv” for the war in Ukraine. His remarks stand in stark contrast with the view of most of the international community. VOA’s Lisa Schlein reports that just as Lavrov began to speak, most of the diplomats in the U.N. Human Rights Council chamber rose and collectively left the room in protest. Lavrov was unaware of it because, as he said, he was compelled to address the council by video conference instead of in person as he had intended.

2:15 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned in a speech Tuesday at the U.N. Human Rights council that rules of the international order that help protect peace and security will be weakened if Russian President Vladimir Putin is allowed to get away with his premeditated invasion of Ukraine. In a video address, Blinken warned the human rights and humanitarian crises affecting Ukraine will get worse if Putin succeeds in toppling Ukraine’s democratically elected government. VOA’s Lisa Schlein monitored the speech and has this report.

2:03 p.m.: VOA’s Katherine Gypson reports that several U.S. legislators are introducing a joint resolution to urge President Joe Biden to remove Russia from the United Nations Security Council.

“The Russian government is actively killing innocent Ukrainian civilians, committing war crimes, and invading sovereign territory unprovoked. At the same time, Moscow is driving decisions in the United Nations through its role as a Permanent Member of the Security Council. Russia must be exiled from the international community,” Senator Marsha Blackburn said in a statement Tuesday. She and Representative Claudia Tenney introduced the resolution.

“Putin is attempting to rebuild the Soviet Union and his ambassador should not be allowed to veto the United Nations’ response to Russian aggression. The Russian Federation is a direct threat to global security and the sovereignty of our international partners,” Blackburn added.

1:45 p.m.: VOA’s Anita Powell shared the White House’s official readout of the phone call earlier today between U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to discuss the United States’ continued backing for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression. President Biden underscored the United States’ sustained help for Ukraine, including ongoing deliveries of security assistance, economic support, and humanitarian aid.

A view shows the area near the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.
A view shows the area near the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.

The leaders discussed how the United States, along with Allies and partners, is working to hold Russia accountable, including by imposing sanctions that are already having an impact on the Russian economy. The leaders discussed Russia’s escalation of attacks on sites used by civilians in Ukraine, including today’s bombing near Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial.”

1:37 p.m. : Russia’s media regulator has warned independent news outlets not to report negatively on the war in Ukraine, including on troop causalities. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday criticized Russia’s actions as repression during remarks at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appears on a screen as he delivers a speech during the 49th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appears on a screen as he delivers a speech during the 49th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2022.

The Russian media regulator, Roskomnadzor, issued letters to at least 10 media outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, run by Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov, and Current Time, a Russian-language digital news network led by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA.

1:14 p.m.: Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the sanctions that followed, has pushed the price of oil to over $100 per barrel, the highest level in eight years. But, it has also opened an opportunity for African oil producers like Nigeria, Angola, Libya, and Algeria to cash in with more crude oil exports, as VOA’s Timorthy Obiezu reports from Abuja.

12:59 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden held a phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Tuesday and they spoke for just over 30 minutes, according to a White House official. VOA White House Correspondent Anita Powell shared Zelenskyy’s readout of the call, where he thanked Biden for his support.

12:56 p.m.: In Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered Ukrainian flags displayed along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. VOA’s Myroslava Gongadze reports that in addition, the John A. Wilson Building will be lit with the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

12:48 p.m.: As Russia's war in Ukraine plays out for the world on social media, big tech platforms are moving to restrict Russian state media from using their platforms to spread propaganda and misinformation, according to The Associated Press.

Google announced Tuesday that it's blocking the YouTube channels of those outlets in Europe "effective immediately" but acknowledged "it'll take time for our systems to fully ramp up."

Other U.S.-owned tech companies have offered more modest changes so far: limiting the Kremlin's reach, labeling more of this content so that people know it originated with the Russian government, and cutting Russian state organs off from whatever ad revenue they were previously making.

12:40 p.m.: Waves of women and children continue to leave Ukraine to seek safety elsewhere. For VOA, Oksana Lihostova has more from western Ukraine in this report narrated by Anna Rice.

Waves of Women and Children Leaving Ukraine
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12:28 p.m.: Ukrainian television is up and running again after a Russian rocket hit and damaged the central broadcast tower in Kyiv Tuesday, according to VOA’s Eastern Europe Chief Myroslava Gongadze. The damage caused broadcasts to cease for a couple of hours, but local sources say the station switched to digital streaming and is currently back on the air, though there are fears Russian forces could target it again. Five people were killed and another five were wounded in the television tower attack, according to The Associated Press.

12:04 p.m.: Russian forces bombarded the central square in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv and other civilian sites Tuesday in what the country’s president condemned as a blatant campaign of terror by Moscow, according to The Associated Press. “Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget,” vowed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

At the same time, a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced on the capital Kyiv, in what the West feared was a bid to topple Ukraine’s government and install a Kremlin-friendly regime. And Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces pressed their attack on other towns and cities across the country, including at or near the strategic ports of Odesa and Mariupol in the south.

A satellite image collected over Ivankiv shows a Russian military convoy passing through scorched countryside, northwest of Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2022.
A satellite image collected over Ivankiv shows a Russian military convoy passing through scorched countryside, northwest of Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2022.

11:38 a.m.: At a press briefing in Islamabad Tuesday, Ukrainian Ambassador to Pakistan Markian Chuchuk said that Pakistan, like other countries in the world, should openly condemn Russian attacks on Ukraine. Tabinda Naeem from VOA’s Urdu Service reported that the Ukrainian ambassador said, ‘We are hoping that our friend Pakistan will take a clear side and condemn the Russian invasion with their decisive action.” The statement came as Pakistan's prime minister recently returned from a visit to Russia and Russian actions in many parts of Ukraine are being condemned by the international community. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said two days ago that Pakistan is in favor of peace, but it remains unclear whether Pakistan will condemn Russia’s actions in the ongoing special session of the U.N. General Assembly.

11:15 a.m.: “Mass exodus and disbelief: How Russia’s invasion caught Ukrainian civilians and the aid response off guard” is a report published Tuesday by The New Humanitarian, a news agency founded by the United Nations in 1995 that is now an independent non-profit news organization.

11:04 a.m.: As Russia intensifies its assault on Ukraine, Turkey is hardening its criticism of Russia and heeding Kyiv’s calls for support - moves that some analysts suggest could threaten Turkey’s attempts to maintain good ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. VOA's Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

Turkey Hardens Criticism of Russia as Ukraine Conflict Intensifies
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10:48 a.m.: In a dramatic speech Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the European Parliament via video link to consider an emergency application by Ukraine to join the European Union.

“We are fighting for our rights, for our freedoms and now we’re fighting for survival. We are also fighting to be equal members of Europe,” Zelenskyy said.

“Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans. And then, life will win over death and light will win over darkness,” he said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen applauds after an address by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, via video link, during an extraordinary session on Ukraine at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, March 1, 2022.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen applauds after an address by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, via video link, during an extraordinary session on Ukraine at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, March 1, 2022.

Charles Michel, the chairman of EU leaders, told the EU Parliament after Zelenskyy's speech that the bloc would have to seriously look at Ukraine's “legitimate” request to join, according to Reuters. But Michel added, “It is going to be difficult, we know there are different views in Europe (about further enlargements).”

1o:35 a.m.: In photos: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, March 1, 2022.

10:23 a.m.: NATO is sending Ukraine anti-tank missiles and air-defense capabilities, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a briefing at Tapa Military Base in Estonia Tuesday. VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin reports on highlights from the news conference in Estonia with the NATO secretary general and prime ministers from Britain and Estonia.

10:02 a.m.: Speaking at the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “We must condemn, firmly and unequivocally, Russia’s attempt to topple a democratically elected government, and its gross human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. And we must take steps to hold the perpetrators accountable. This Council’s decision to hold an urgent debate on the crisis in Ukraine is an important step toward ensuring documentation and accountability, and I thank the many members who supported it.”

9:58 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday criticized Russia for repression, as VOA’s Nike Ching reports from the UN Human Rights Council. Russian officials have issued a warning to journalists that any reporting that refers to the assault in Ukraine as “an attack, an invasion, or a declaration of war” will result in media outlets being blocked and fined.

9:06 a.m.: Australia says it plans to spend $50 million to buy missiles and ammunition to support Ukraine. Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement Tuesday during a press conference. VOA’s Phil Mercer is in Sydney and filed this report.

8:57 a.m.: Governments across Asia are joining international sanctions, or imposing their own, on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. It's more than just U.S. allies, too. Even some countries that try to take a more neutral political stance are condemning the Russian aggression. VOA's Bill Gallo reports from Seoul, South Korea.

8:33 a.m.: The United Nations and partner agencies Tuesday launched an emergency appeal for $1.7 billion to assist with the fallout from the Ukraine crisis. “The UN estimates that 12 million people inside Ukraine will need relief and protection, while more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees may need protection and assistance in neighboring countries in the coming months,” according to a statement.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said: “We are looking at what could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century. While we have seen tremendous solidarity and hospitality from neighboring countries in receiving refugees, including from local communities and private citizens, much more support will be needed to assist and protect new arrivals.”

8:23 a.m.: At first glance Lviv seems like a normal Central European town with some bustle in the streets. But take a closer look and the sightseers are not genuine tourists but evacuees from other parts of Ukraine waiting to join the huge exodus heading to Poland and overwhelming the border posts. Or they are men aged over 18 and younger than 60 years old, who are stuck in Lviv and forbidden to leave the country as they might be enlisted to fight. VOA’s Jamie Dettmer is in Lviv and speaks with people who are watching in fear, and preparing for more conflict.

8:15 a.m. : Heavy shelling is reported in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv on the 6th day of the Russian invasion.

Russia Pummels Ukraine's No. 2 City; Convoy Nears Kyiv
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8:07 a.m.: VOA's Heather Murdock reports from her car as she travels from Kyiv to Lviv Tuesday, describing the scenes on the road and the situation in Kyiv as she left.

VOA Report: On the Road from Kyiv to Lviv
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7:55 a.m.: Over the past week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has attracted praise from western leaders and many Ukrainians for his hands-on leadership style and his strong defiance of Russia’s invasion. But he has also been vilified by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and was the subject of many other reports, some of which later proved to be false. Polygraph.info, a fact-checking website produced by the Voice of America, examined some of the recent reporting about Ukraine’s president to sort through what is true and what is not.

7:33 a.m.: The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has set up a makeshift perinatal center in the basement of a medical center on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city which has come under heavy fire this week. Doctors and nurses have been caring for pregnant women, mothers and newborns under difficult circumstances. UNICEF says the escalating conflict in Ukraine poses an immediate and growing threat to the lives and well-being of the country’s 7.5 million children. UNICEF has called for an immediate cease-fire and reminded all parties of their international obligations to protect children from harm.

Babies are cared for in UNICEF's makeshift perinatal center located in the basement of the medical complex in Saltivka, a residential district in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2022.
Babies are cared for in UNICEF's makeshift perinatal center located in the basement of the medical complex in Saltivka, a residential district in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2022.

6:43 a.m.: A European Commission official told VOA in an email Tuesday morning that it will “soon propose [to] activate the Temporary Protection Directive” to aid “people fleeing the war in Ukraine.”

Press officer Ciara Bottomley said, “All people in need, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or their skin colour, who are fleeing violence in Ukraine should be granted access to the EU.”

She reiterated what European Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on February 27: “All people that need to flee from the war in Ukraine should be welcomed to the European Union. There are third country nationals staying as students in Ukraine – we stand ready help them to get back to their country of origin. If people need international protection they can apply for asylum in the European Union.”

6:15 a.m.: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is appealing for 250 million Swiss francs to assist people affected by the Ukraine conflict.

5:40 a.m.: Diplomats from the European Union and its partners walked out of the room in protest over the crisis in Ukraine, as Russia’s foreign minister addressed the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations.

5:37 a.m.: Conflicting reports about Belarus’ military involvement in Ukraine emerged Tuesday. Ukrainian authorities said Belarus has joined Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. The announcement was posted on the official Twitter account of the Ukrainian parliament Tuesday. “Belarusian troops entered Chernihiv region,” the statement said. Located north of Kyiv, Chernihiv has been hit by heavy shelling. However, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was quoted Tuesday as saying Belarus has no plans to join Russia's military operation in Ukraine. Lukashenko denied Kyiv's allegations that Russian troops were attacking Ukraine from Belarus' territory, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported.

This handout photo released by Ukrainian Emergency Service shows a view of the damaged City Hall building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP)
This handout photo released by Ukrainian Emergency Service shows a view of the damaged City Hall building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP)

4:27 am.: The International Skating Union announced Tuesday that skaters from Russia and Belarus have been suspended from taking part in international ice skating competitions.

“The ISU Council reaffirms its full solidarity with the ISU Members in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Speed Skating Federation and the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation,” the statement said.

3:48 a.m.: Google said it is blocking Russian state media YouTube channels in Europe “due to the ongoing war in Ukraine” effective immediately. “Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action,” the U.S. tech giant announced Tuesday on Twitter.

3:04 a.m. India is ramping up efforts to evacuate students stuck in Ukraine sending four ministers to neighboring countries and announcing more flights to bring them back. There have been desperate appeals from the roughly 18,000 Indian students who make up the largest group of foreign students in the country.

VOA’s Anjana Pasricha reports from Delhi:

2:01 a.m.: Ukrainian authorities said an administrative building in Kharkiv was blown up Tuesday. The country’s ministry of foreign affairs shared a video of the attack on Twitter saying: “Russia is waging war in violation of international humanitarian law. Kills civilians, destroys civilian infrastructure. Russia’s main target is large cities that now fired at by its missiles.”

1:07 a.m.: The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, or the USOPC, issued a statement Tuesday calling for a “complete ban on international sport participation” for athletes and authorities from Russia and Belarus.

“As the world watches in horror while Russia brazenly attacks the innocent people and athletes of Ukraine, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace has been restored,” the USOPC statement said condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

USOPC said the ban is to take effect immediately. The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games is set to begin on March 4.

12:20 a.m.: U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the impact of sanctions imposed by western countries on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine is already felt as the value of the ruble plummets.

12:00 a.m.: Mastercard has suspended certain Russian financial institutions from using its services in an effort to comply with sanctions.

The company said it plans to work with regulators in the coming days to ensure compliance and also promised to donate $2 million to support humanitarian relief, Reuters reported.

In recent days, Russians formed long lines at ATMs over fears that debit cards would stop working or banks would limit cash withdrawals.

For more on a snapshot of the ongoing war, VOA’s Jamie Dettmer reports on what Ukraine’s war looks like from Lviv, Ukraine:

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

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