Russia-Ukraine updates for Tuesday, March 1, 2022
The latest on Russia and Ukraine from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
8:30 p.m.: President Joe Biden plans to announce that the U.S. is banning Russian planes from its airspace in retaliation for the Ukraine invasion, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The announcement follows similar actions by Canada and the European Union and is set to come during his State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the address.
8:10 p.m.: Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says it has evidence that Belarus, a Russian ally, is preparing to send troops into Ukraine.
The ministry statement, posted on Facebook at midnight, said the Belarussian troops have been brought into combat readiness and are concentrated close to Ukraine’s northern border.
“During the past 24 hours, according to intelligence findings, there has been significant aircraft activity. In addition, there has been movement of a column of vehicles with food and ammunition” approaching the border,” the statement said.
8 p.m.: ExxonMobil says it will not invest in new developments in Russia because of Russian military attacks on Ukraine.
The company said in a statement it supports the people of Ukraine as they seek to “defend their freedom and determine their own future as a nation.”
ExxonMobil operates the Sakhalin-1 project on behalf of an international consortium of Japanese, Indian and Russian companies. The company says that in response to recent events, they are beginning the process to discontinue operations and developing steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 venture.
7:55 p.m.: A Russian airstrike hit a residential area near a hospital late Tuesday in Zhytomyr, a city about 140 kilometers west of Ukraine’s capital, Mayor Serih Sukhomlin said in a Facebook video.
Ukraine’s emergency services said the strike killed at least two people, set three homes on fire and broke the windows in the hospital.
Zhytomyr is the home of the elite 95th Air Assault Brigade, which may have been the intended target.
7:32 p.m.: United Airlines said Wednesday it has stopped using Russian airspace for flights between the U.S. and Mumbai and Delhi in India.
An airline spokesperson called the move “temporary,” but gave no further details.
American Airlines has avoided Russian airspace for flights between Delhi and New York by flying south of Russia.
7:14 p.m.: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says his government will not impose any economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The president often cites a guiding principle of nonintervention in foreign affairs.
He said Tuesday that “we want to maintain good relations with all the world’s governments, and we want to be in a position to be able to speak with all parties to the conflict.”
Russian investment in Mexico is estimated at some $132 million and the bilateral trade at more than $2.4 billion.
López Obrador also sounded off on the censoring of some Russia media outlets and called on Twitter to answer accusations that it is removing messages favorable to Russia. In his words, “We can’t be speaking of freedom and at the same time limiting freedom of expression.”
7 p.m.: Republican politicians across the U.S. are criticizing President Joe Biden over his domestic energy policies and urging his administration to do more to embrace domestic production.
The sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies on Russia for its war with Ukraine so far do not include oil and gas exports from the country, a step that would have severely hurt Russia’s ability to generate revenue.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio both urged Biden on Tuesday to take steps to stop Russian oil imports to the U.S.
“The recent events in Ukraine are yet another example of why we should be selling energy to our friends and not buying it from our enemies,” Stitt wrote to Biden.
Portman said it doesn’t make sense to import Russian oil at the same time the Biden administration shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have transported tens of thousands of barrels each day from Canada to U.S. refineries.
Cutting off Russian oil and gas imports could drive prices at the pump higher and have even more serious consequences for U.S. allies in Europe, which relies on natural gas from Russia for a third of its fossil fuel consumption.
6:20 p.m.: President Joe Biden says that dictators who do not “pay a price for their aggression” cause more chaos.
According to excerpts released Tuesday ahead of his first State of the Union address, Biden says that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was premeditated and unprovoked.
Russian attacks against Ukraine’s largest cities continue around the clock, forcing many residents to remain in underground shelters. rescuers in ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, give inspect buildings damaged by rocket and artillery fire. (The Associated Press)
He will also highlight the importance of European allies in the speech before Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday evening. Biden says that the alliance established after World War II to secure “peace and stability” in Europe is just as relevant now.
He said that Putin believed he could divide the NATO alliance, but he was wrong.
6:07 p.m.: The Canadian representative for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says it’s too early to begin resettling Ukrainian refugees who have fled Russian aggression in their country by the thousands.
Rema Jamous said the scale of displacement from Ukraine is daunting, as some 500,000 people have already fled to neighbouring countries seeking safety.
If trends continue, the UNHCR estimates there could be as many as four million Ukrainian refugees and up to 12 million people inside Ukraine who will need relief and protection.
Still, most people who left Ukraine hope to return home when it is safe to do so, she said.
“We’re talking really, really early days for resettlement,” Jamous said in an interview. “People will always want to go home before they think about going anywhere else.”
Jamous’ colleagues have reported large numbers of women and children crossing the border out of Ukraine, she said.
Vivid images of Ukrainians saying goodbye to their families while they take up arms against Russia to defend their homeland have also spread all over the world.
That leaves hundreds of thousands of refugees camped out in neighbouring countries awaiting the outcome of the war.
6 p.m.: Apple has stopped selling its iPhone and other popular products in Russia as part of an intensifying corporate crackdown spurred by the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The trendsetting Silicon Valley company disclosed its punitive measures in a statement Tuesday amid worldwide outrage over Russian President Vladmir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
Other major U.S. companies, including prominent tech firms such as Google and Twitter, also have curtailed their business in Russia. But Apple’s actions could sharpen the backlash.
The iPhone and other devices such as the iPad and Mac computer are prized products for work and leisure. In the final three months of last year, for instance, Apple sold more smartphones than any other company in the world, according to the research firm International Data Corp, which didn’t break out sales within Russia.
Apple also doesn’t disclose how much of its roughly $365 billion in annual revenue comes from Russia either.
Besides halting sales of its devices, Apple said its mobile app store is blocking downloads of RT News and Sputnik News from outside Russia. It also has stopped live traffic updates on Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety measure, mirroring action Google has already taken.
“We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking,” Apple said in its statement. “We join all those around the world who are calling for peace.”
5:52 p.m.: The federal government is digging into the finances of Russian oligarchs in Canada, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday, with an eye to imposing more sanctions to choke off President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.
And Freeland had a warning for Canadians — future sanctions against Russian business interests in Canada could cause some economic “collateral damage” domestically. But she said the cost will be worth it if sanctions succeed in stopping Putin from successfully invading Ukraine, which would upend the post-Second World War international order.
“We are looking carefully at the holdings of all Russian oligarchs and Russian companies inside Canada. We’re reviewing them and everything is on the table,” Freeland said, making clear that more sanctions against Russia by Canada and its G7 partners would go even further in the coming days.
“We have to be honest with ourselves, I have to be honest with Canadians, that there could be some collateral damage in Canada,” she added.
Freeland said any future pain would be far worse for European countries, which are heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas and have deeper economic ties with Russia than Canada. Freeland did not single out any specific Russian business interests.
Canada’s co-ordinated moves with its Western allies against Russia on the economic front were bolstered earlier Tuesday by new moves in the global legal arena.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced Canada’s intent to petition the International Criminal Court to speed up its investigation into Russia for possible war crimes as images spread of Russian bombardment of civilian targets in Kyiv and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.
5:28 p.m.: The U.N. General Assembly will vote Wednesday afternoon on a resolution demanding that Russia immediately stop using force against Ukraine and withdraw all its military forces. The resolution also would condemn Moscow’s decision “to increase the readiness of its nuclear forces.”
So far, the resolution has 92 co-sponsors from all over the world, including Afghanistan and Myanmar, both of which saw their elected governments ousted last year.
After Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution last Friday demanding that Russia immediately stop its use of force and send its forces home, the U.S. and other supporters started the procedural steps to call an emergency special session of the General Assembly where there are no vetoes.
The council approved an emergency special session of the 193-member assembly on Monday — the first in decades — and it began on Tuesday.
With 118 speakers signed up, the meeting was continuing Tuesday and is expected to wrap up on Wednesday morning, with the United States one of the last speakers. The resolution will then be put to a vote in the afternoon, General Assembly spokesperson Paulina Kubiak said Tuesday.
Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but they do have clout as a reflection of international opinion.
4:09 p.m.: The U.S. on Tuesday injected a strong note of caution into the persistent reports that Russian military progress — including by the massive convoy outside Kyiv — has slowed, plagued by food and fuel shortages and logistical problems.
One senior Defense official said that the U.S. has seen Russian military columns literally run out of gas, and in some places running out of food, and that morale is suffering as a result.
But the official added that it is important to be pragmatic. The Russians still have a significant amount of combat power that has not yet been tapped, and “they will regroup, they will adjust, they will change their tactics.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military assessments. Overall, the U.S. assesses that Russia has launched more than 400 missiles into Ukraine, of various types and sizes. As of Tuesday, the Ukrainian air and missile defense systems remain viable and are being used. Also, weapons from the U.S. and others continues to flow into Ukraine. The official said that the aid is getting to the Ukrainian military and troops are “actively using these systems.”
The official said Russians have made progress in the south, moving along two routes out of Crimea – one to the northeast and one to the northwest. It’s not clear that Russians have taken control of Kherson, but heavy fighting continues. And, the official said Russian forces have not yet advanced into Mariupol, but are close enough to strike into the city with long-range weapons.
4 p.m.: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of National Defence Anita Anand and Minister of International Development of Canada Harjit Sajjan held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the situation in Ukraine.
“The battleground today is in Ukraine, but this is our fight too. President Putin has made a grave and historic error. This is the last gasp of a failing kleptocracy,” said Freeland
Sajjan announced that Canada will provide humanitarian assistance for the people in Ukraine as well as refugees fleeing the country. $100 million will be provided for water, sanitations and food assistance.
Anand also announced that Canada will be provinding 1,600 fragmentaiton vests and 400,000 individual meal packs. These items were specifically requested by Ukraine.
Anand said that Canada is “ eaving no stone unturned” to help Ukraine, including through military support. Canada provided $10 million in military aid before Feb. 22 as well as $25 million in further non-lethal aid, like gas masks and body armour. On Monday the government said it would send 100 anti-tank guns with 2,000 rounds.
Canada also committed to help with transport needs in Europe.
“We have and we will continue to support Ukraine,” said Anand.
Freeland added that there will be more sanctions to come in the next few days. She said she has been collaborating with allies and has found that it’s best to announce any sanctions as a unified force.
“We are the most effective when we work together,” said Freeland.
3:20 p.m.: Ukraine has effectively asked that Russia be kicked off the internet.
In a letter sent Monday to the president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Ukraine’s deputing minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, cited the “atrocious crimes” of Russia’s invasion, including it’s alleged breach of the Geneva Conventions in attacking civilian targets.
Federov said the crimes “have been made possible mainly due to the Russian propaganda machinery” and cited cyberattacks “from the Russian side” that have impeded the ability of Ukrainians and their government to communicate.
Federov asked that ICANN revoke, permanently or temporarily, the domains .ru and .su and shut down the root servers in Moscow and St. Petersburg that match domain names and numbers.
“Russian citizens must feel the cost of war,” government spokesperson Oleksandr Ryzhenko said Tuesday.
ICANN had no immediate comment but the regional internet naming authority for Europe and the former Soviet Union, RIPE NCC, rejected the request.
In an email to members, RIPE’s executive board said it believes “the means to communicate should not be affected by domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war.”
Kicking Russia off the internet would be an annoyance to Russian hackers but it wouldn’t stop them since they could still use different top-level internet domains. But it would badly isolate the Russian public from international discourse.
3:15 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a decree that prohibits taking more than $10,000 worth of foreign currency in cash and “monetary instruments” out of Russia.
The move comes in response to the crippling sanctions Western nations have imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which this week tanked the ruble and sent Russians flocking to banks and ATM in fear for the fate of their savings.
Other measures Putin ordered this week included obligating Russian exporters to sell 80 per cent of their revenues in foreign currency, prohibiting Russian residents from providing non-residents with foreign currency under loan agreements and from depositing foreign currency into foreign bank accounts.
3:10 p.m.: The United Nations’ top court has scheduled hearings next week into a request by Ukraine for the court to order Moscow to halt its invasion.
Kyiv filed a case with the International Court of Justice on Saturday accusing Russia of planning genocide in Ukraine and asking for urgent “provisional measures” instructing Moscow to halt hostilities.
Lawyers for Ukraine will present arguments March 7 supporting its request. Russia’s lawyers will be given time to respond on March 8.
Ahead of the hearings, the court’s president, U.S. Judge Joan E. Donoghue, sent an urgent message Tuesday to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underscoring the necessity for Russia to “act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects.”
The International Court of Justice rules in disputes between states. It often takes years to reach decisions, but orders on provisional measures are often delivered quickly.
3:07 p.m.: The United States says it is expelling a Russian “intelligence operative” working for the United Nations, in addition to the 12 members of the Russian Mission to the United Nations whose expulsions were ordered Monday for engaging in espionage.
The U.N. was informed Monday that the U.S. was taking action to expel a staff member working for the U.N. Secretariat, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed.
“We regret that we find ourselves in this situation but are engaging with the host country,” he said Tuesday.
Dujarric refused to comment further on grounds of privacy and the sensitivity of the issue but did say “what makes this decision a little difficult to understand is that the staff member was scheduled to end his assignment on March 14.”
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a statement Monday that the 12 Russian diplomats had “abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission said Tuesday: “On Feb. 28, the United States also initiated the process to require the departure of one Russian intelligence operative working at the United Nations who has abused their privileges of residence in the United States.” The spokesperson was not authorized to speak publicly and commented on condition of anonymity.
3:04 p.m. One of Canada’s largest institutional investment funds is divesting all Russian holdings citing the invasion of Ukraine and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
Alberta Investment Management Corp. says the decision reflects “a change in the price of geopolitical risk” and sustained impairment to the underlying value of the respective companies.
It says it has a fiduciary duty to clients to act in their best interests and that the decision reflects its “prudent investment of capital.”
AIMCo says it had less than $99 million in direct and indirect exposure to Russian securities as of market close on Monday, accounting for 0.06 per cent of its more than $160 billion in assets under management.
2:31 p.m. The International Skating Union council becomes the latest in sport to ban athletes from Russia or Belarus in its events until further notice.
“The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country,” they said in a statement.
This includes the barring of Beijing Olympics gold medallist Anna Shcherbakova and Kamila Valieva — the teen skater involved in a doping controversy — from participating in the World Championships taking place at the end of March.
1:57 p.m. Canada is hitting several more of Vladimir Putin’s top political lieutenants with economic sanctions — including top figures like former president Dmitry Medvedev — as the federal government continues to try and financially squeeze Russian elites over the invasion of Ukraine.
The additional sanctions came through an order from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet on Monday that added 18 Russian individuals and three financial institutions under regulations that ban them from doing business with Canadians.
The order made it official that, as Trudeau promised last Friday, Canada is hitting Russian President Vladimir Putin with sanctions. It also included a host of his top lieutenants that the Trudeau government had promised to sanction.
These include his long-serving foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, chief of staff Anton Vaino, finance minister Anton Siluanov, defence minister Sergey Shoygu, and justice minister Konstantin Chuychenko.
But the list — provided to the Star by the federal Privy Council Office — also includes new targets not yet announced by the Trudeau government. Among them is Medvedev, who succeeded Putin as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012, when Putin returned to the job.
Medvedev was then Russia’s prime minister until 2020, and now sits as deputy chair of the country’s security council.
1:20 p.m. Military experts are worried that Russia’s attack on Freedom Square in Ukraine’s second largest city means the Kremlin could be shifting tactics.
Russia’s strategy in Chechnya and Syria was to use artillery and air bombardments to pulverize cities and crush the resolve of their fighters.
In a second assault on a crowded urban area, Russian forces bombarded Kyiv’s main TV tower, causing some Ukrainian channels to briefly stop broadcasting.
The attack on the TV tower came after Russia’s Defence Ministry announced it would target transmission facilities in the capital used by Ukraine’s intelligence agency.
1:10 p.m. The Canadian representative for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says it’s too early to begin to resettle Ukrainian refugees who have fled Russian aggression in their country by the thousands.
Rema Jamous said the scale of displacement from Ukraine is daunting, as some 500,000 people have already fled to neighbouring countries seeking safety.
If trends continue, the UNHCR estimates there could be as many as four million Ukrainian refugees and as many as 12 million people inside Ukraine will need relief and protection.
12:55 p.m. Russian forces stepped up their attacks on crowded urban areas Tuesday, bombarding the central square in Ukraine’s second-biggest city and Kyiv’s main TV tower in what Ukraine’s president called a blatant campaign of terror.
“Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed after the bloodshed on the square in Kharkiv.
Ukrainian authorities said five people were killed in the attack on the TV tower, which is a couple of miles from central Kyiv and a short walk from numerous apartment buildings. Officials said a TV control room and a power substation were hit, and at least some Ukrainian channels briefly stopped broadcasting.
12:32 p.m. The head of Ukraine’s nuclear-power utility called on international monitors to intervene to ensure the safety of the country’s 15 atomic reactors as an advancing Russian invasion nears Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will convene an emergency session on Wednesday in Vienna to assess the situation. The watchdog has been warning for days that the war threatens to trigger a wider tragedy by damaging nuclear power infrastructure.
“I continue to follow developments in Ukraine very closely and with grave concern, especially the conflict’s potential impact on the safety and security of the country’s nuclear facilities,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said late Monday in a statement. “It is extremely important that the nuclear power plants are not put at risk in any way. An accident involving the nuclear facilities in Ukraine could have severe consequences for public health and the environment.”
12:01 p.m. (updated) Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray announced Tuesday a ban on Russian-owned or registered ships and fishing vessels in Canadian ports and internal waters.
The ban takes effect later this week under the Special Economic Measures Act and is in co-ordination with G7 partners and other countries in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine.
11:55 a.m. The TV tower in Ukraine’s capital has been hit, according to the country’s parliament, which posted a photo of clouds of smoke around it.
Local media reported that there were several explosions and that Ukrainian TV channels stopped broadcasting shortly afterward.
11:35 a.m. (updated) Canada’s opposition lawmakers are backing the Liberal government’s response to the crisis in Ukraine, for now, but their calls for further action hint at political fault lines that could crack that united front.
Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen told the Commons during a parliamentary debate Monday night that the Official Opposition “fully supports the actions of the government of Canada taken so far” in response to the Russian invasion.
But Conservatives are demanding additional steps.
Those include the expulsion of Russia’s ambassador to Canada and the recall of Canada’s envoy in Moscow — which the Liberal government has rejected saying it’s important to have diplomatic eyes and ears in Moscow in a war fuelled by disinformation.
Read the full story from the Star’s Tonda MacCharles
10:25 a.m. The Canadian Paralympic Committee wants Russian and Belarusian athletes excluded from the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games.
The CPC joined a chorus of voices on Tuesday, including the International Paralympic Committee, in condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“With the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games starting in only a few days, this is of great concern to us,” the CPC’s statement said. “All elements of the Games setting should allow athletes to compete in an equitable environment, and the safety and well-being of our athletes is our utmost priority.”
10:15 a.m. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada wants the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into Russia for possible crimes against humanity because of its invasion of Ukraine.
Joly announced Canada’s intent in Geneva Tuessday after she and other Western diplomats walked out in the middle of the address by their Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
On Monday, ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan issued a statement saying he had decided to open an investigation because he found there was a reasonable basis to believe war crimes and alleged crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine.
10 a.m. Major Hollywood entertainment companies including Walt Disney Co. and WarnerMedia are pausing the releases of new films in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Disney has put on hold the debut of the new Pixar movie “Turning Red,” about a girl who turns into a giant panda, citing the “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis”. The film will make its debut in the U.S. on the Disney+ streaming service March 11.
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” the company said in a statement. Disney also said it would also work with international relief organizations to provide aid to refugees.
9:53 a.m. Airbnb and an affiliate nonprofit offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.
Airbnb.org, an independent nonprofit focused on organizing temporary stays for people during crises, plans to partner with resettlement agencies and nonprofits to facilitate the stays.
The stays will be funded by Airbnb, donors to Airbnb.org Refugee Fund and Airbnb.org hosts. Those interested in offering their homes through Airbnb.org do not need to be hosts on Airbnb.
9:34 a.m. (updated) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an emotional appeal to the European Parliament today, telling members his country is fighting to be equal members of Europe.
Zelenskyy says 16 children were killed Monday, and he mocked Russia’s claim that it is going after only military targets.
In a worrying development, Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in eastern Ukraine.
If confirmed, that would represent a worrying new level of brutality in the war and could lead to even further isolation for Russia.
Russian strikes pounded the central square in Ukraine’s second-largest city and at the same time, a 65-kilometre long convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced on Kyiv9:20 a.m. Adidas AG said Tuesday that it’s immediately suspending its partnership with the Russian Football Union following that country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The German sports company, which been partnered with the Russian football program for years, is joining FIFA and UEFA in censuring Russia.
Those organizations on Monday decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. The International Olympic Committee has also urged sports federations around the world to exclude athletes from Russia and Belarus.
Adidas signed a longterm partnership with the Russian Football Union in 2008 and featured prominently when the country hosted the World Cup in 2018. The company had a seat on FIFA’s independent advisory board on human rights, which was created in 2017.
9:10 a.m. An international boycott of Russian vodka is building from the U.S. to Australia as politicians and corporations signal their opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by targeting one of his country’s most iconic products.
At least three U.S. governors ordered the removal of Russian-made or branded spirits from stores, while one of the largest alcohol retail chains in New Zealand pulled thousands of bottles of vodka including the Ivanov and Russian Standard brands — and filled the empty shelves with Ukrainian flags. Boycotts are spreading to other goods in Russia’s European neighbors.
Two of Australia’s biggest liquor chains, Dan Murphy’s and BWS, have stopped selling products of Russian origin, according to Sydney-based owner Endeavour Group Ltd.,
8:50 a.m. Desperate for a coffee and a bite to eat early on Monday morning, I pulled over at the roadside fuel station with the bright blue neon lights.
I feel slightly guilty admitting now that the name in lights was Gazprom Neft, one in a chain of gas station convenience stores partially owned by the Russian government. It’s not under sanctions for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but still …
I ordered a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant and looked around. Mars bars — my favourite — Coke bottles and Pringles chips. A seemingly endless variety of products. The best the world has to sell to Russia and to Russians, something multinational companies have been doing with gusto for 30 years.
How long will it be before those bulging shelves fall bare?
Read the full story from Allan Woods, special to the Star
8:40 a.m. As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine accused Russia of war crimes for deliberately targeting civilians in its unrelenting bombardment of his country, a huge convoy of Russian tanks and mechanized vehicles — stretching some 40 miles in length — massed menacingly just north of Kyiv on Tuesday morning.
With Russian soldiers facing stiff resistance from the Ukrainian army and confronting millions of furious Ukrainian citizens across the nation, Western officials warned that President Vladimir Putin might turn to even more powerful weapons to force his will on Ukraine.
Russian forces have already begun to employ siege tactics in their bid to take control of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. Monday’s bombardment, the most destructive of the war, signaled a potential turn in the biggest military mobilization in Europe since World War II.
8:30 a.m. He has a bag packed with clothing and travel documents.
The car is parked in the driveway with a full tank of gas and a few days’ worth of food, in case they need to get out fast.
In a quaint suburb on the outskirts of Kyiv — the storied city at the heart of a catastrophic war that has enveloped Ukraine in the past week — Sviatoslav Kavetskyi is hunkered down in a small cottage with his family, ready to leave at a moments’ notice.
Read the full story from the Star’s Jacob Lorinc
8:15 a.m. Canada’s preferred tool to express outrage with Russia didn’t change with the invasion of Ukraine.
Since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from its neighbouring country, the federal government has wielded economic sanctions to cut off choice Russian figures and businesses from Canada.
That sanctions campaign has escalated dramatically since Russian troops entered Ukraine on Feb. 24. On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly vowed “there will be more sanctions coming” this week, as Canada and its allies try to “put maximum pressure on Russia, and to isolate it.”
Read the full story from the Star’s Alex Ballingall
7:51 a.m. Many Russians living in Canada are turning against their homeland’s government over its invasion of Ukraine.
In Ottawa, Tatiana Lebedeva said she first felt sadness and dismay for the aggression, and then fury at the Russian government.
She admits she has never been more ashamed to be Russian.
Lebedeva organized a rally outside Russia’s embassy last week and has created a Facebook group called “Ottawa Stands With Ukraine.”
Ottawa has prioritized nearly 4,000 immigration applications from Ukrainians who want to come to Canada.
6:49 a.m.: The U.N. refugee agency says that about 660,000 people have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries since the Russian invasion began.
The number, given on Tuesday, was up from a count of more than 500,000 a day earlier.
Shabia Mantoo, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in Geneva that “at this rate, the situation looks set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.”
She said the agency is urging governments to continue allowing access to all those who are fleeing, including third-country nationals living in Ukraine who are forced to escape the violence. She added: “We stress that there must be no discrimination against any person or group.”
6:19 a.m.: Google is blocking the YouTube channels of Russian broadcasters RT and Sputnik in Europe due to the war in Ukraine.
Google said in a statement Tuesday on Twitter that the decision will be “effective immediately.” But the company added that “it’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up.”
“Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action,” Google said.
6:19 a.m.: The city of Munich said Tuesday it has fired Valery Gergiev as the chief conductor of the city’s philharmonic orchestra because of his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mayor Dieter Reiter said in a statement that Gergiev had failed to respond to a Monday deadline to distance himself from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“I had expected him to rethink and revise his very positive assessment of the Russian leader,” said Reiter.
“After this didn’t occur the only option is the immediate severance of ties,” he added.
Gergiev has already been dropped as conductor of the Verbier Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Vienna Philharmonic’s five-concert U.S. tour and other engagements in recent days.
6:18 a.m.: Italian Premier Mario Draghi is asking the country’s Parliament to step up military aid to Ukraine, a day after his Cabinet approved supplying arms like anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
Draghi told lawmakers on Tuesday that Russia’s attack on Ukraine “obligates us to make choices that were unthinkable” until recently. Some lawmakers in parties in his wide-ranging pandemic unity government have voiced opposition to sending lethal military aid. But both chambers of Parliament are expected to approve the aid in votes this week.
Just last week, the government said it would be sending only “non-lethal” aid to Italy’s military forces, such as equipment to disable landmines. But “it’s necessary that a democratically elected government is able to resist invasion and defend the independence of the nation,″ Draghi said, arguing for supplying lethal weaponry.
6:17 a.m.: China is urging restraint from “all parties” in Russia’s war on Ukraine, continuing its efforts to express support for its northern ally without outright endorsing the invasion.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday reiterated China’s call for the “reasonable security concerns” of all countries to be respected, and assertion that the Ukraine issue has “a complex reality.”
Russia’s “legitimate security demands should be taken seriously and properly addressed” in the face of NATO’s expansion eastward, Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.
“We express regret over the casualties. The current situation is not something we want to see,” Wang said.
“It is imperative that all parties maintain the necessary restraint to prevent the situation on the ground from further deteriorating or even going out of control, and make efforts to effectively safeguard civilians’ lives and property, especially to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis.”
6:16 a.m.: The U.N. human rights office says it has recorded the deaths of 136 civilians, including 13 children, in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, but warned the toll may be far higher.
The Geneva-based office said Tuesday that it has also recorded 400 civilians injured in the conflict, among them 26 children.
“Most of these casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and airstrikes,” it said. “These are only the casualties we were able to cross-check, and the real toll is likely to be much higher.”
It urged parties to the conflict not to use explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas because of the “very high risks of indiscriminate and disproportionate impact on civilians.”
6:14 a.m.: The Kremlin has denied that the Russian military has used cluster munitions in Ukraine and insisted that the Russian forces only have struck military targets.
Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted Tuesday that “the Russian troops don’t conduct any strikes against civilian infrastructure and residential areas.” Peskov’s claim contradicts abundant evidence documented by the AP of indiscriminate shelling of homes, schools, and hospitals across Ukraine.
Peskov also rejected the accusations that the Russian military has used cluster munitions and devastating vacuum weapons, dismissing them as fabrications.
Speaking in a conference call with reporters, he wouldn’t respond to questions about whether the Kremlin is happy with the pace of the offensive and wouldn’t comment on Russian military casualties.
The Russian Defense Ministry said for the first time Monday that it has suffered losses but didn’t name any numbers.
6:12 a.m.: The Red Cross appealed Tuesday for 250 million Swiss francs ($272 million) to help people affected by the war in Ukraine.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross federation said they fear “millions of people face extreme hardship and suffering without improved access and a rapid increase in humanitarian assistance.”
6:10 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says a Russian missile strike hit a central square in the city of Kharkiv, calling it an act of “undisguised terror.”
He said: “Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget.”
Russian shelling pounded civilian targets in Ukraine’s second-largest city again Tuesday.
Russian shelling pounded civilian targets in Ukraine’s second-largest city again Tuesday and a 40-mile convoy of tanks and other vehicles threatened the capital — tactics Ukraine’s embattled president said were designed to force him into concessions in Europe’s largest ground war in generations.
With the Kremlin increasingly isolated by tough economic sanctions that have tanked the ruble currency, Russian troops attempted to advance on Ukraine’s two biggest cities. In strategic Kharkiv, an eastern city with a population of about 1.5 million, videos posted online showed explosions hitting the region’s Soviet-era administrative building and residential areas.
Throughout the country, many Ukrainian civilians spent another night huddled in shelters, basements or corridors.
6:02 a.m.: In 1903, an architect by the name of Vladislav Gorodetsky put the finishing touches on a luxurious apartment building in the centre of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. To say that the building is unusual would be a vast understatement.
Gorodetsky — alternately known in English as Wladyslaw Horodecki — was a Polish-born architect dubbed “the Gaudi of Ukraine.” His namesake building fuses Beaux-Arts and Art Nouveau styles with a roofline and facade bearing a truly bizarre menagerie of grotesqueries: Rows of frogs patrol the roofline, an elephant bulges from the building’s skin, heads of deer and rhinoceros emerge from atop Corinthian columns. And, on the roof, mermaids ride writhing fish.
As arts writer and editor John Pancake once described Gorodetsky House in a 2010 Wall Street Journal dispatch: This was a structure created by “a man who hated the dull, the safe, the easy.”
It therefore could not be more apropos that the building has emerged as an architectural backdrop to one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s urgent social media dispatches. On Saturday, as Russian troops unleashed their attack on Ukraine, and rumours swirled that Zelenskyy might be evacuated from the country, the Ukrainian leader stood firmly before Gorodetsky House and declared: “I am here. We are not laying down our arms. We will defend our state.”
He could be nowhere else. Gorodetsky House exists only in Kyiv.
6 a.m.: As anti-war protests continued across Russia, the police detained at least 411 people in 13 cities Monday, an activist group said. The group, OVD-Info, said there had been at least 6,435 detentions in Russia since the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The protests are a remarkable display of defiance in a country where prosecutors sometimes seek prison sentences for demonstrators. Early last year, there were nationwide demonstrations in the days after the Russian authorities arrested the opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Those rallies were the most widespread in Russia since at least 2017, when thousands of citizens gathered in more than 100 cities to protest corruption.
Monday’s unrest unfolded amid growing public alarm in Russia over how sanctions imposed by the West in retaliation for the invasion would affect the country’s financial stability. As the currency cratered, some people rushed to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Tuesday 5:44 a.m.: Ukraine’s vice prime minister said Monday that internet terminals sent by Elon Musk, which were designed to work with satellites orbiting in space to provide online access, had arrived in the country.
One of Musk’s companies, SpaceX, has deployed thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit over the past three years as part of its business to beam high-speed internet service from more than 100 miles above the planet.
Satellite internet services like Musk’s, which is known as Starlink, can be useful in parts of the world where people cannot easily access conventional internet providers, whether because of technical limitations or government restrictions.
There have been a number of internet disruptions in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began last week. On Saturday, Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov of Ukraine, who is also the minister of digital transformation, wrote to Musk on Twitter to ask for Starlink stations.
“While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine!” Fedorov wrote. “While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people!”
Read Monday’s Russia-Ukraine news.