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Russia - Ukraine crisis | News summary 23 February

All the latest news as President Biden labels Russian troops in the Donbas region an "invasion" and brings economic sanctions against Moscow.

Ukraine-Russia crisis: live updates

- Vladimir Putin announces "special military operation" in Ukraine to de-militarize and de-nazify country

- Explosions heard in Kyiv and Kharkiv, as well as Dnipro, Kramatorsk, Kharkiv, Odessa and Mariupol

- Russian troops have landed in Odessa and crossed the border near the city of Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian official

- Footage of gunfire, missiles, explosions, shelling, as well as people fleeing Kyiv, posted to Twitter

- President Joe Biden issues statement condemning the Russian attacks on Ukraine and saying the world will hold Russia accountable.

- Ukraine parliament approves state of emergency

- Donald Trump speaks out on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, describing Putin as "genius" and "savvy"

- Germany announces that it will put the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on hold. The pipeline would have transported natural gas from Russia, running under the Baltic Sea.

- President Biden accuses Russia of "a flagrant violation of international law" in White House speech

- US State Department advises all American citizens to "depart Ukraine immediately"

- US introduces new economic sanctions preventing trade with breakaway Donbas region 

- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky: "We are on our own land, we are not afraid of anything and anybody"

What you need to know about the conflict

- When did Ukrainebecome an independent state?

- What did Biden say in White House address on Russia - Ukraine?

- What new economic sanctions can the West impose on Russia, Russian citizens and the Donbas region?

- Explainer: What is a false flag operation and why would Russia need to use one?

- Why did Russian authorities expel American diplomats from Moscow embassy?

- United States urges American citizens to leave Ukraine due to severe safety concerns

- How many time zones are there in Russia?

Related news articles:


Ukraine suspends flights

Air traffic services have been closed in Ukraine as the country comes under attack.

It suspended all flights "due to the high risk of aviation safety for civil aviation".

Ryanair says it has cancelled all flights to and from Ukraine for at least the next 14 days.


US, G7 allies to hold Russia accountable - Biden

The US president said Washington would also coordinate with NATO allies "to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the alliance."

Biden, who served as America's vice president and was deeply engaged in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, will be joined for the G7 call in the White House Situation Room by Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Russian bombing: huge explosion in Ukraine captured

Russian forces attacked Ukraine this morning with a military assault, bombing military camps in the big cities, and several people caught it on camera.


European stocks plunge

Reuters - European stocks plunged 3% on Thursday as investors dumped riskier assets after Russia attacked Ukraine, raising fears that a war in Europe will fuel higher inflation and derail economic growth.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 2.9% - hitting its lowest since May 2021 while marking a correction or 10% decline from its January record high.

The German DAX fell 3.7% to March 2021 lows, bearing the biggest brunt of the sell-off on fears over the country's heavy reliance on energy supplies from Russia.

A surge in oil prices helped limit losses on the UK's commodity-heavy FTSE 100, which fell 2.4%.

Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its south coast on Thursday, officials and media said, after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation.

The United States and its allies will impose "severe sanctions" on Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden said.

Europe's oil & gas index fell the least among sectors, down 1.2% as oil prices surged about 6%, pushing Brent crude past $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

European banks most exposed to Russia including Austria's Raiffeisen Bank, UniCredit and Societe Generale dropped between 5% and 6.6%, while the wider banking index fell 4.2%.

Technology and travel & leisure were among the other top decliners.

Futures tracking New York's S&P 500 fell 2.0% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 dropped 2.6%.


EU preparing 'massive package of sanctions'

European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen says that later today, European leaders will be presented with "a package of massive and targeted sanctions" for approval.

"With this package, we will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to key technologies and markets. We will weaken Russia's economic base and its capacity to modernise," she says.

"In addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the EU and stop the access of Russian banks to the European financial market. Like with the first package of sanctions, we are closely aligned with partners and allies. These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin's interests and on their ability to finance the war."


LIVE: Maiden Square - Kyiv, Ukraine


Biden: President Putin has chosen a premeditated war

"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering," says US President Joe Biden.


People dead and missing

Vladimir Putin announced the military operation into Ukraine at 5.55am Moscow time and minutes later the first shelling and missiles were launched into Ukraine.

Seven people have died in bombing by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian police. Nineteen people are also missing.


Ukraine president: Putin wants to destroy our state

Reuters - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday he had appealed to world leaders to impose all possible sanctions on Russia, including on President Vladimir Putin, saying that the Kremlin leader wanted to destroy the Ukrainian state.


Russian planes shot down

The Ukrainian armed forces said on Thursday that they have shot down five Russian planes and a helicopter.


Russian military convoys cross the border

Russian military convoys have crossed into Ukraine in northern Chernihiv and Sumy regions, and in the eastern Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, according to Ukraine's border guard service (DPSU).

Which companies could be affected by the Russia - Ukraine crisis?

With the announcement that Russia was recognising the independence of two Ukrainian provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, NATO and the EU announced a swathe of sanctions aimed at curtailing the financial power of the Russian government. Businesses, football clubs, and individuals will be affected by the limitations.

Read more


Explosions heard across the country

People, some carrying bags and suitcases, walk at a metro station in Kyiv early on February 24, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a 'full-scale invasion' was underway.

(Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)


Ukrainian people leaving country after Putin announcement

The government is urging people to stay at home and to be prepared to go to shelter.


What Putin has said

"I have decided to conduct a special military operation," says Putin.

"Its goal is to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide... for the last eight years. And for this we will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.

"And to bring to court those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation."

(Photo: Reuters)


What's next?

- US President Joe Biden will meet with his counterparts from the Group of Seven allies early Thursday to map out more severe measures against Russia after President Vladimir Putin launched what Biden called "a premeditated war" against Ukraine.

- European Union leaders will discuss a further sanctions package on Russia at an emergency meeting later on Thursday, the EU said in a statement.

- NATO ambassadors to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday


Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

Reuters - Here's what you need to know about the Ukraine crisis right now:

- Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a "special military operation" against Ukraine early on Thursday to eliminate what he called a serious threat.

- Putin says his aim is to demilitarise and 'denazify' Ukraine.

- Russian forces fired missiles at several Ukrainian cities and landed troops on its south coast on Thursday, officials and media said.

- Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk have launched large-scale strikes against Ukrainian forces along the line of contact, Russia's Interfax news agency cited a separatist spokesman as saying on Thursday.

- Ukraine Defence Minister says the enemy began intense shelling of Ukrainian units in the east, military control centres and airfields.

- US President Joe Biden condemned unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.


Russia claim to have neutralised Ukraine's air bases

The Russian military is claiming the barrage of missiles this morning has disabled all of Ukraine's air bases; according to the Russian military the Ukrainian border forces "are not putting up any resistance to Russian units."


NATO members react

It's going to be a very busy morning as the various institutions wheel into action to decide how to best react to Russia's atrocious invasion of Ukraine. 


Ruble collapses

The ruble lost 15 percent of its value on Tursday after Russia invaded Ukraine drawing condemnation from around the world. The US and its allies have vowed to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia for its belligerent act.


International Law thread

This is a good thread from Professor Ben Saul, Challis Chair of International Law, Sydney University. Basically there are absolutely no legal grounds for Russia militarily invading Ukraine. 

People leaving Kyiv

People leaving Kyiv

Cars leaving Kyiv after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised military operations in the country, with explosions being heard in the Ukrainian capital this morning. 


Moscow stock exchange suspended

The Moscow Exchange has suspended trading on all markets until futher notice. 


Ukrainian air force "fighting off" air attack

A statement from the Ukrainian armed forces says their air force is "fighting off" an air attack by Russia. It also said Russia had begun "intensive shelling" of its units in the east of the country. 

The Ukrainian military has also denied reports of Russian troops landing in the port city of Odessa on the Black Sea.


Exchanges at UN

Tense exchanges at the UN between the Ukrainian and Russian ambassadors. The Russian ambassador is chairing the security council during February. 


Scenes from Mariupol on eastern Ukraine frontline

The port city of Mariupol sits around 35 miles from the border with Russia and about 15 miles from the frontline with separatist controlled territory. As some residents prepare for Russian troops to arrive getting cash others go about their daily business reports Liz Cookman.


Russian ruble falls

The Russian ruble has fallen 5.4% to a new record low in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. 

Brent crude oil is up over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. 


"This is a war of aggression"

Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has confirmed Russia's "full-scale" invasion of Ukraine. "Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.” he said.


Russian troops have not made an assault on Odessa

After Russia began its attack on Ukraine there were early reports of a possible amphibious assault on Odessa which are now confirmed false.


Russian military says it is not targeting civilians

Statement from the Russian military:

"The Russian Armed Forces are not launching any missile or artillery strikes on the cities of Ukraine. High-precision weapons destroy military infrastructure: military airfields, aviation, air defense facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," the statement read. "The civilian population is not at risk." 

There are widespread reports and footage of explosions around Ukraine this morning.


Ukraine's forces attacked by Russian and Belarusian forces

Reports from CNN's Matthew Chance (who was seen donning his flak jacket earlier live) that Ukraine border forces have been attacked by both Russian and Belarusian forces. 


President Biden's message on Russian invasion

Biden has been speaking to Ukraine president Zelenskyy and just tweeted this.


Explosion in Dnipro

Christopher Miller at BuzzFeedNews reported that the Interior Ministry confirms that there are explosions in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro from Russian missile attacks. Additionally, missiles have just struck at the center of the Military Administration, airfields, military depots.

This footage connot be confirmed but is reported to be Dnipro in central Ukraine at a strategic crossing of the Dnieper River.


UK Prime Minister Johnson condemns attacks

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tweeted the following:

"I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps.

President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

The UK and our allies will respond decisively."


EU condems Russia's attack on Ukraine

EU Commission chief Ursual von der Leyen tweeting 20 minutes ago (just before midnight ET)


Explosions in Kyiv

This is reportedly explosions in Kyiv attributed to CNN reporter in the city Matthew Chance.


US to deploy "full scale of sanctions"

The US and its allies are set to put in place the "full scale" of sanctions against Russia that have been discussed over the past few weeks in the build-up to Russia invading Ukraine this morning. 

A senior Biden administration official confirmed the plan, but refused to go into details. The US has planned to target Russia's two biggest banks and other finance firms and cut off access to Western technology for the Russian economy. High ranking Russian officials and members of Putin's inner circle and his family will also be targeted.


Sirens in Kyiv

Scenes in Kyiv just past midnight ET, 7am in Kyiv.


Canada condemns – in the strongest possible terms – Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine. These unprovoked actions are a clear further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and of Russia’s obligations under international law and the Charter of the UN...

These reckless and dangerous acts will not go unpunished.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Zelenskiy confirms missile strikes on Ukraine

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has addressed the nation to confirm that Russia is carrying out missile strikes on Ukraine infrastructure and on border guard posts.


Ukrainian President declares martial law

Martial law has been imposed in Ukraine after Russian forces mounted a full scale invasion in the early hours Thursday morning.


Russian troops have landed in Odessa

According to an advisor for the Interior Minister of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, Russian troops have landed in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. Russia forces have also crossed the border near the city of Kharkiv and there have been missile strikes on the Vasilkovsky airfield near Kyiv. 


Germany condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine

"We call upon all Members of the Security Council and the United Nations to now stand up for Ukraine and against a shameless breach of international law."


Putin threatens anyone "tempted to intervene"

In a thinly disguised threat of launching a nuclear attack on anyone who gets involved to try and stop Russia invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin threatened "those who might be tempted to intervene."

"Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events from the outside. Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard."


There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, ambassador.

Sergei Kislitsa, Ukrainian envoy

Stop what could be the "worst war since the beginning of the century"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Vladimir Putin to stop "what could be the "worst war since the beginning of the century" and bring his troops back to Russia.

Guterres said "This is the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary General of the United Nations."


Ukrainian UN ambassador calls out Russia for invasion

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting with the Russian Federation as the chair. The ambassador from Russia said that there was no war but he was called out by his Ukrainian counterpart. 

Flights over Ukraine

No flights over Ukraine

Image taken from Flight Radar 24 showing skies entirely clear of passenger flights over Ukraine and surrounding areas. Flights of civil aircraft over Ukraine were suspended earlier today.


Attack "grave breach of international law"

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned Russia's "reckless attack" on Ukraine. 

The outcome of the NATO meeting will be eagerly awaited.


Footage of Mariupol being shelled

This footage is reported as showing Mariupol, a costal city near the frontlines in the east of Ukraine, under attack. It hasn't been confirmed yet but their are reports that Russia launched a amphibious attack on the port city.


History of Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin claimed in a speech on Tuesday, declaring the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent from Ukraine, said that Ukraine was an intregal part of Russia. Many took issue with his revisionist version of history. To understand the situation in Ukraine Anne Applebaum gives an explainer.


Footage of explosions, gunfire, air defence filling Twitter

Twitter is being filled with videos of explosions, exchange of gunfire and air defence systems in action. Very few of the videos have been verified as of yet, but it certainly appears there is a major offensive by the Russians underway across Ukraine.


Russian ambassador to the United Nations defends Russia's decision to take military action

Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya made a statement today defending Russia's decision to order military operation in Ukraine:

"The root of today's crisis around Ukraine is the actions of Ukraine itself, who for many years were sabotaging its obligations under the (Minsk agreement)."


Clashes near Mykolaivka

We haven't been able to verify this, but it is supposedly footage of gunfire and shelling near Mykolaivka, which is in the south near Crimea. Fuad Alakbarov, who posted it, is a political commentator who previous worked at Open Democracy and the Jerusalem Post. 


"Last few hours of peace on the European continent"

Stunningly stark message from a Pentagon official to the ABC News journalist: "You are likely in the last few hours of peace on the European continent for a long time to come." Pray that it is not so, but things look very bleak right now.


More strikes across Ukraine

CNN's Clarissa Ward reporting from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, where numerous explosions have been heard.


Reports of missile launches in Begorod, Russia

There are widespread reports of loud noises in Belgorod, Russia, which some on the ground have speculated are long range missile launches. We're looking for more confirmation of this. 


Text of Putin's speech

Mary Ilyushina is a Russian journalist.


Russia launches ballistic attack on Ukraine

Reports across Ukraine of explosions from ballistic missles launched from Russia. Early Thursday morning Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the demilitarization of Ukraine when he announced that Russian forces were beginning military operations into the neighboring country.

Russia has been amassing nearly 200,000 troops and heavy equipment along the border for several weeks.


Oil hits $100 a barrel

Brent Crude jumped to over a hundred dollars a barrel for the first time in seven years on the back of Putin's decision to invade Ukraine.


Stocks and US bond yields fall

Global stocks and US bond yields fell sharply this morning, while dollar, gold and oil prices soared in the wake of Russia's announcement of a military operation in Ukraine. 

"The markets figure Russia will now do what ever it wants given how weak the sanctions were, and are pricing in an invasion," Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank told Reuters.

"The real worry is that Europe is cut off from Russian gas. The EU couldn't cope with such a supply shock and would have to rein in demand, which would be economically debilitating," he added. "Higher energy prices are also where the rubber hits the road as far as global economic growth is concerned, that's got to be bad for risk sentiment."


Explosions in Kyiv and around Ukraine

Russian forces are attacking cities across Ukraine. Reports of explosions are reported in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Odessa. Possible amphibious assults are occurring in the last two cities. Kharkiv is a major city in northeast Ukraine near the border with Russia, key to cutting off Ukrainian troop retreat from frontlines in the east.


White House statement on Russian attack

Statement from US President Joe Biden: 

"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.
President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.

Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”


Explosions in Kyiv

Matthew Chance of CNN is broadcasting live from a hotel rooftop in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, and has scrambled to don a flak jacket and helmet as explosions could be heard in the background. Chance did not know the source of the explosions.


Full scale invasion of Ukraine

Russian forces are entering Ukraine from all sides. President Vladimir Putin said that his forces wouldn't occupy Ukraine in his announcement of military operation on Russian television this morning...


Explosions heard in Kharkiv

CNN are reporting a "steady stream of loud explosions" in Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, which is the country's northeast as shown on the map. 


Putin says plan is "not to occupy Ukraine"

Russian president Vladimir Putin said in his early morning address on national television: "Our plans are not to occupy Ukraine, we do not plan to impose ourselves on anyone". 

Putin said Russian troops will take action in the Donbas area of Eastern Ukraine that contain the regions Russia recognised as independent on Monday. 


The White House responds to Russian invasion of Ukraine

"Russian alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring"


Reports of multiple explosions across Ukraine

There are multiple reports of explosions being heard across Ukraine (please note these have not been verified by official sources so far). 

20 minutes ago CNN reporter Neil Hauer said on Twitter that he'd heard "two booms" from his apartment on Khreshatyk, Kyiv.


Putin says Russian forces will carry out a “special military operation” in Ukraine

The Russian president said the Russian military operation is “to protect people” and to “demilitarise and de-Nazify”  Ukraine, and called on Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their weapons and go home.

As ever Putin will accept no responsibility for any bloodshed, saying that it will be on the hands of the “Ukrainian regime”. He also menacingly says that if anyone tries to “take on” Russia, the response will be “instant”.


Putin announces military operation in Eastern Ukraine


Cyberattacks on key Ukrainian government websites

Ukraine has been hit by a series of cyberattacks since mid-February which escalated on Wednesday. Several key government websites were down early Thursday morning including those of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Infrastructure. 


Senator Marco Rubio claims Russian invasion has begun

Senator Marco Rubio is the Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committee.

Which companies could be affected by the Russia - Ukraine crisis?

With the announcement that Russia was recognising the independence of two Ukrainian provinves, Donetsk and Luhansk, NATO and the EU announced a swathe of sanctions aimed at curtailing the financial power of the Russian government. Businesses, football clubs, and individuals will be affected by the limitations.

These will be the first businesses to be directly impacted, but further escalation would lead to a greater economic fallout that will affect much more than regional businesses; another global economic meltdown could be likely as the supply chain is disrupted further after two years of financial misery.

Read more


Russia has nearly 200,000 troops on borders - Zelensky

In a late-night speech, Ukrainian President Zelensky switched into Russian to "address Russian citizens as a citizen of Ukraine".

"Hear us. The Ukrainian people want peace. The Ukrainian authorities want peace," he said.

"This step could be the beginning of a big war on the European continent," he added.


UN security council to meet tonight for emergency talks


White House speaks on latest developments in Ukraine

President Putin did not expect the United States to have the level of information that we have, did not expect us to put out this amount of information that we have put out, did not expect the global community to be as unified, including in how unified the global community was in putting out the sanctions.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary

We are not going to be in a war with Russia or putting military troops on the ground in Ukraine fighting Russia... what I will tell you is that the president has been crystal clear and consistent - he is not sending US troops to Ukraine.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary

Russian forces could be preparing to enter breakaway republics

According to Russian media, the leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk, the two self-declared  republics in eastern Ukraine, have written to Vladimir Putin, asking for help iagainst ukraine;s military, which they called aggression.

Where does the US get its oil by country 2022? How much oil does the US import each year?

With the fear of a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine at fever pitch, stock markets in the US and Europe tumbled. Wall Street stocks fell between 1 and 2 percent, with Tesla stock being badly hit, dropping 4 percent.

But a commodity that is not sliding on news of war is oil. Prices hit $96 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest in eight years since Russia occupied the Crimea. This marks a massive percent increase since the start of the year.

Read more


Ukraine says plant in Crimea evacuated, may be pretext for aggression

Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, tweeted on Wednesday that a night shift of the Titan chemicals plant in annexed Crimea had been evacuated from the facility.

He said it was a possible preparation for another staged provocation by Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014.

"Moscow seems to have no limits in attempts to falsify pretexts for further aggression," he wrote.



What does Ukraine state of emergency mean for crisis? Video explainer

The BBC has produced this useful explainer on what Ukraine's approval of a state of emergency means for the current crisis:


Ukraine parliament approves state of emergency

Ukraine's parliament has voted to approve a state of emergency in the country. It will begin tomorrow, Thursday 24 February, and is due to last for 30 days.

Does Vladimir Putin speak English? What languages does Putin speak?

President Vladimir Putin rarely speaks publicly in any other language than his native Russian, but he has shown his ability to speak in English.

AS USA's Greg Heilman takes a look at Putin's linguistic capabilities


Russia "near 100%" of anticipated forces on Ukraine border

CNN has quoted a senior US defence official as saying that Russia’s military forces on the Ukrainian border are “near 100%” of the total American intelligence expected President Vladimir Putin to get in position for a full-scale invasion.  

He is near 100% of all the forces that we anticipated that he would move in. He is getting near at 100%,” the official told a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Per CNN, the official added that 80% of Russian forces on the border are “in what we would consider forward positions, ready to go”.

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin's Brandenburg Gate is illuminated in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. "We are showing our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the many Berliners with Ukrainian roots but also with the many Russians who want peace in Russia and Ukraine," Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said in a statement, per Reuters.

(Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Where are the breakaway regions of Ukraine? Ukrainian separatist map

Moscow's recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent signalled the start of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, but where are the two separatist regions?

AS USA's Will Gittins has the full lowdown


US warns Ukraine of imminent all-out Russian invasion

The Biden administration has told Ukraine that its intelligence indicates Russia is readying an imminent all-out invasion, Newsweek has reported today.

The publication has quoted a US official as saying: “The President of Ukraine has been warned Russia will highly likely begin an invasion within 48 hours based on U.S. intelligence.”

The report has been confirmed elsewhere. A short while ago, CNN’s Katie Bo Lillis said she had been able to corroborate the story.


Russia trying to "rewrite the entire global security architecture" - Stoltenberg

"There is much at stake in today's crisis; the risk of conflict is real. Russia is using force and ultimatums not only to redraw borders in Europe, but to try to rewrite the entire global security architecture."

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general
When did Ukraine separate from Russia?

As Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he would recognize two regions in Eastern Ukraine --Donetsk and Luhansk-- as independent countries, many around the world have begun to ask the question of when exactly Ukraine gained its own independence.

Read our full coverage on the referendums that defined Ukrainian's independence after the fall of the USSR.


State of Emergency has been declared by Ukraine's Security Council


Western allies impose first round of sanctions

The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have all imposed sanctions on Russian leaders and business owners after President Putin made a statement recognizing to regions of Ukraine as independent states.

Putin is of the key targets of the sanctions and these countries hope that they are enough to deter him. So far, the answer seems to be no. Sanctions, especially when dealing with more authoritarian governments are not typically as effective as when imposed on strong democracies.

However, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the sanctions are expected to impact the exchange right and value of the ruble which could harm the Russian people.


Putin releases statement with the message that he is still open to diplomacy


Where are the breakaway regions of Ukraine?

The situation in Ukraine is complex and contains many social, historical and political dimensions. Ukraine, aside Russia, was the largest country formed after the break up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and it retains many links to Moscow. This is what President Putin is relying on to justify his illegal invasion of the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine, but the geography of the area is far from straight forward. 

Although Putin has recognised the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Russia-backed leaders there actually claim possession of more lands in Ukrainian territory. This useful map highlights how much more of Ukraine could be at risk of Russian invasion if Putin chooses to support their territorial claims. 


Calls for Russia to be stripped of prestigious Champions League final

The annual Champions League final is the most prestigious game of club soccer, bringing togethe Europe's best to be crowned the best in the continent. This year's final is due to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, but that has been thrown into doubt after President Putin ordered troops into Ukraine yesterday. 

Officials are now concerned that if UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, were to allow the game to go ahead as planned it could undermine efforts to sanction Russia for its aggression. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this morning that she believes that English clubs should boycott the final if they were to reach that stage, but many have accused her of passing the buck.


What is happening in Ukraine?

The advance of Russian troops into the Donbas region of Ukraine on Tuesday was the culmination of months of rising tensions in Eastern Europe, with Russia amassing approximately 180,000 troops along the border. President Putin's decision to launch an invasion, as President Biden termed it on Tuesday, will have huge rammifications for global politics. Here's what you need to know about the situation in Ukraine...


Western leaders unite in response to Russian invasion

“In a single inflammatory speech, he denied that Ukraine had any tradition of genuine statehood, claimed that it posed a direct threat to the security of Russia and hurled numerous other false accusations and aspersions.”

“The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country.”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK

"This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community. Over the last few months, we’ve coordinated closely with our NATO allies and partners in Europe and around the world to prepare that response."

"We’re implementing sanctions on Russian’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either."

Joe Biden, POTUS

How did Russia build up to the invasion of Ukraine?

In the handy explainer video, Ross Atkins of the BBC outlines the escalation of tensions in Ukraine over the past few weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin had initially claimed that Russian troops gathered along the Ukrainian border were simply there for training purposes, but after officially recognising the separatist-led regions of Donetsk and Luhansk on Monday, Putin asked Russian lawmakers to authorise troop movement overseas to provide so-called 'peacekeeping' support in the region. 

On Tuesday President Biden chose to describe the Russian advance as an 'invasion' for the first time, signalling a real change in attitude from the White House. It remains to be seen how Russia will respond to the significant economic sanctions being spoken about by Western leaders in recent days. 

What Donald Trump thinks about Putin's Russia-Ukraine invasion

Former President Donald Trump is rarely one to shy from the spotlight and he has given his opinions on Russia's invasion of Ukraine in an interview with 'The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show'. Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to recognise the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine as indepedent was "genius," adding that it was a "pretty smart" move. 

Trump has often boasted about his relationship with Putin but these remarks may come as a surprise to some. What else did Trump say about Putin in his rambling interview appearance?

Read more


Ukraine prepares for war with Russia

In an interview with UK newspaper The Guardian, Oleh Synehubov, Governor of the Ukrainian municipality of Kharkiv, outlined the preparations that were in place to deal with a Russian invasion. Russian troops have so far moved into the separatist Donbas region along Ukraine's Eastern border but there has not yet been any significant fighting

Synehubov said: "There is a clear plan of action. To start with there will be warning signals for all citizens. There will be television, radio and internet announcements, messages to mobile phones, sirens will sound, patrol cars and fire engines will go through the city with loudspeakers to tell people what to do."

He added that there were also protocols for the evacuation of sites like nursing homes and hospitals, and special instructions for military bases and similar locations to aid with the nation's defence. Ukrainians are fearful of artillery from Russia and bomb shelters are though to be a key consideration after Russian forces tested out bombing equipment along the border in recent weeks. 

He said: "If it’s an artillery attack, then it’s clear everyone has to go to bomb shelters, if it’s a full-scale invasion then we are already in a zone of military action and there would be an evacuation."


What economic sanctions will the US levy on Russia?

In a defiant speech on Tuesday afternoon President Biden denounced Russian activities in Ukraine, describing it as an "invasion" for the first time. Biden reiterated that he will not send US troops to fight in Ukraine but has deployed thousands more to NATO allies in the region to guard against the threat of further Russian expansion. 

More crucial in the short-term will be the package of economic sanctions levied against Russia and Russian citizens overseas. During the course of his speech the President outlined some of the ways in which his administration will look to hit Russia financially, and earlier on Tuesday the White House announced the signing of an executive order banning trade with the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. 


Prolonged conflict in Ukraine could cause more price rises

In recent months the US economy, like many other around the world, has experienced a period of rampant inflation as the global economy ramps up again after nearly two years of pandemic disruption. That has fuelled significant price rises across many sectors and there is concern that the problem could be heightened by a continued Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Western powers have already begun to levy tough economic sanctions on Russia as a result of their actions and the consequence of the measures could be that prices of Russian-produced gas and oil continues to rise. 


Truss calls on English teams to boycott Champions League final

This year's Champions League final, considered the most prestigious game in club football globally, is set to be held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. However after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in recent days that status has been placed in doubt with several authorities calling for Russia to be stipped of that privilege. 

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has suggested that English sides, of which there are four still in the competition, may considered boycotting the final if they were to reach that stage. 


UK offers $500 million in loans to support Ukraine

While Western powers are imposing various economic sanctions on Russia and the breakaway Donbas region, there is also financial support being offered for Ukraine. The cost of a Russian offensive is likely to be high for Ukraine and there will likely be economic costs if it refuses to yield to such a powerful and closely tied neighbour. 

The United Kingdom is making up to $500 million worth of loans available for Ukraine to help them weather the storm. 


Biden decreis "Russian invasion" in White House speech

"Last night, Putin authorized Russian forces to deploy into these regions. Today he asserted that these regions actually extend deeper than the two areas he recognized, claiming large areas currently under the jurisdiction of the Ukraine government.

"He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force in my view. And if we listen to his speech last night, and many of you did, I know, he’s setting up a rationale to go much further. This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his Duma."

Joe Biden, President of the United States
What are Russian-backed separatists?

The Donbas region of Ukraine is a contested area near to the border with Russia which President Putin declared as independent on Monday. The area is controlled by Moscow-backed separatist groups who met with Putin earlier this week to witness the signing of a decree recognising them as independent from Kyiv. 

But Western powers have viewed this as a clear provocation from Russia and have levied severe economic sanctions on the region.

Read more


Bidne issues response to Russian invasion

The President has reiterated that the US will stand with its Western allies and with Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion of the Donbas region. The Donbas, comprised largely of Donetsk and Luhansk, has been recognised as independent by President Putin and troops from Russia have been seen entering the territory in recent days. 


Germany halts approval of Nord Stream 2 pipeline

On Tuesday German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that German authorities would not approve the use of the long-awaited Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. The huge infrastructure project would have made it easier for Russia to sell its huge resources of natural gas to Western Europe, but Scholz's intervention means that will not be possible. It is one of the most significant economic sanctions levied against Russia in recent days. 

Biden-Putin summit conditional on Russia not invading Ukraine - Psaki

Russia's invasion of Ukraine may mean that the much-anticipated summit between President Biden and President Putin can no longer go ahead. Speaking recently Press Sec Jen Psaki said that any meeting would be dependent on Russia not invading Ukraine, a line that was crossed in the early hours of Tuesday morning when columns of Russian military vehicles were seen rolling into the Donbas region of Ukraine. 

Is a meeting between the two world leaders still possible?

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US calls Russian advance an "invasion" for the first time

There had been a clear effort to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine in recent weeks, with President Biden unwilling to call the movement on the border an invasion. However that changed on Tuesday and the President struck a defiant tone in a White House address yesterday. 


Welcome to the AS USA Russia-Ukraine live feed

Tuesday 22 February was a hugely significant day in global politics as Russian troops entered in the Donbas region of Ukraine, shortly after President Putin recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent for the first time. 

President Biden gave a White House address in response in which he promised tough new sanctions on Russia and the breakaway regions, but reiterated that he will not send US troops to fight in the conflict. 

We'll bring you all the latest from Ukraine.