Russian navy forces escalated assaults on civilian areas of Ukraine’s largest cities Wednesday because the nation’s leaders pledged to repel the invaders and the citizenry joined the navy effort to defend their battered nation.
“We’re a individuals who in every week have destroyed the plans of the enemy,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated in a video tackle early Thursday native time. “They’ll haven’t any peace right here. They’ll haven’t any meals. They’ll have right here not one quiet second.”
In the meantime, the United Nations Common Meeting voted 141-5, with 35 abstentions, to demand Russia halt the struggle. The vote got here after the 193-member meeting convened its first emergency session in 1 / 4 century.
Additionally Wednesday, the prosecutor for the Worldwide Felony Court docket opened an investigation into whether or not Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, have dedicated struggle crimes.
Zelenskyy, in a televised tackle to the nation one week into the hostilities, rallied his folks and praised them for his or her resolve.
“Throughout this time, we now have actually develop into one,” Zelenskyy stated. “We forgave one another. We began loving one another. We assist one another. We’re anxious for one another.”
Russian forces seem to have gained their first main prize by taking management of Kherson, a port metropolis of just about 300,000 in southern Ukraine. Zelenskyy’s workplace stated the preventing in Kherson continued, however Mayor Igor Kolykhaev stated there have been no Ukrainian forces left.
Exterior Kyiv, an monumental Russian navy convoy — estimated at 40 miles — continues to come across robust Ukrainian resistance and provide issues, stalling its progress towards the capital metropolis.
Within the besieged northeastern metropolis of Kharkiv, Mayor Igor Terekhov stated the unrelenting assault has triggered “huge destruction.” A rocket strike hit the regional police headquarters, killing 4 folks and wounding a number of others, Ukraine Emergency Providers stated.
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Meals, medication and different provides have been being distributed at central areas and by vans rolling by means of the town of 1.5 million residents, the mayor stated. Efforts have been underway to offer warmth to misplaced utilities within the bombing as temperatures dip towards freezing.
“Kharkiv is holding on and can maintain on,” Terekhov stated on Ukrainian TV. “As we speak the principle objective of our enemy is to sow panic and devastation, however Kharkiv will all the time stand.”
In Melitopol, a metropolis of 150,000 folks within the southeast, 1000’s of individuals took to the streets to cease the Russian occupation of the town, the federal government stated.
In a single week, greater than 2% of Ukraine’s inhabitants has been pressured in a foreign country, in accordance with a tally from the United Nations launched to The Related Press. The quantity topped 1 million on Wednesday.
►U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will depart Thursday on a visit of six European international locations, 5 of them in Russia’s periphery — Poland, Moldova and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Blinken will first cease in Belgium for a gathering of NATO overseas ministers.
►The Swedish Armed Forces stated 4 Russian fighter jets violated Sweden’s airspace over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, briefly flying over the realm east of the island of Gotland. The European Union, which Sweden belongs to, banned Russian plane from its airspace over the invasion of Ukraine.
►The U.N. human rights workplace reported 136 civilian deaths, however the true toll was probably a lot greater. Ukrainian emergency providers, in the meantime, say greater than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have died. Observers say Russian troops have killed lots of of civilians, together with greater than a dozen youngsters.
►The Related Press, citing a senior Western intelligence official, estimated that 5,000 Russian troopers had been captured or killed within the largest floor struggle in Europe since World Warfare II. Zelenskyy estimated the Russian demise toll at 6,000.
►Oil costs soared above $100, to their highest degree since 2014, and traders shifted more cash out of shares and into ultra-safe U.S. authorities bonds as Russia stepped up its struggle on Ukraine.
Worldwide Felony Court docket seems to be into struggle crimes by Putin, Russia
Urged by a coalition of 38 international locations led by the U.Okay., the Worldwide Felony Court docket’s prosecutor opened an investigation Wednesday into doable struggle crimes, crimes towards humanity or genocide in Ukraine relationship again to 2013, but additionally masking the present battle sparked by Russia’s invasion.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan was in a position to proceed on to an investigation with out the necessity of judicial approval after receiving a state celebration referral from the biggest coalition of nations in ICC historical past.
“Russia’s use of indiscriminate drive towards harmless civilians, in its unlawful and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, quantities to struggle crimes, for which the (President Vladimir) Putin regime have to be held accountable,” the U.Okay. Overseas Workplace stated in an announcement.
The discharge additionally quoted Overseas Secretary Liz Truss as saying: “An investigation by the Worldwide Felony Court docket into Russia’s barbaric acts is urgently wanted and it’s proper that these accountable are held to account. The UK will work intently with allies to make sure justice is completed.”
— Josh Meyer
Amid conflicting experiences about whether or not the southern port metropolis of Kherson has been taken over by the Russians, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s workplace stated preventing continues to be ongoing, including that it couldn’t remark additional whereas the battle was being waged.
Nevertheless, Russian officers stated they’re in “full management,” and Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaev made it sound just like the battle is over, saying Russian troopers got here into the town administration constructing. Kolykhaev stated he requested them to not shoot civilians and to permit them to assemble up the our bodies from the streets.
“I merely requested them to not shoot at folks,” Kolykhaev stated in an announcement. “We don’t have any Ukrainian forces within the metropolis, solely civilians and other people right here who need to LIVE.”
The United Nations Common Meeting voted 141 to five to demand Russia halt the struggle. China was amongst 35 international locations that abstained. Belarus and North Korea have been amongst Russia’s supporters, together with Syria and Eritrea. Longtime allies China, Cuba and Venezuela abstained.
U.N. Secretary Common António Guterres stated after the vote that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine have to be revered in keeping with the U.N .Constitution. He stated the “brutal results” of the battle on Ukrainians have been plain to see – and that the scenario would get a lot worse.
He additionally stated the U.N. attraction for humanitarian support was met with document generosity that may fund supply of significant medical and well being provides, meals, consuming water, shelter and safety.
“The message of the Common Meeting is loud and clear. Finish hostilities in Ukraine now,” Guterres stated. “Silence the weapons now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy now.”
Final week Moscow vetoed an identical decision earlier than the U.N. Safety Council.
USA TODAY FACT CHECK ROUNDUP:What’s true and what’s false about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russian credit rating slashed to ‘junk’ status by major ratings agencies
Two of the world’s big three credit agencies downgraded Russia’s rating to “junk” status Wednesday, arguing that sanctions imposed by other countries in response to the Ukrainian invasion have jeopardized Russian financial stability.
Fitch on Wednesday downgraded Russia from BBB — good credit — to B status — highly speculative. Moody’s downgraded the country from Baa3 to B3, or from moderate to high risk. Last week, S&P downgraded Russia’s rating from BBB- to BB+, also below investment grade.
The ratings are considered non-investment grade, or “junk.”
Fitch cited U.S. and EU sanctions to the central bank of Russia as having “a much larger impact on Russia’s credit fundamentals than any previous sanctions.”
Justice Department to target oligarchs who support Putin
The U.S. is trying to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin from a number of angles, and one of them is his financial support.
The Justice Department on Wednesday announced a special task force to go after the assets of billionaire oligarchs who support Putin and benefit from his regime.
President Joe Biden zeroed in on Russian financial and political elites in his State of the Union address Tuesday, saying: “Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime: ‘No more.’
“We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement the primary goal of the task force will be to enforce the sweeping sanctions and restrictions the U.S. and its allies and partners have imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
— Josh Meyer
Ukraine says station where residents have sought refuge was hit by missile
The office of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The Associated Press that a missile hit Wednesday in central Kyiv between the Southern Railway station and the Ibis hotel, an area near Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. It was not known how much damage the strike caused and whether there were casualties.
The Southern Railway station is a major part of the main passenger rail complex that thousands have used to flee the war over the past week. Two stations are connected by an overhead corridor that crosses over about a dozen tracks.
“Russian terrorists launched an air strike on the South Railway Station in Kyiv, where thousands of Ukrainian women and children are being evacuated,” the national railway company said.
The U.S. is slapping additional sanctions against Russia and Belarus over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The White House said Wednesday the U.S. will impose stringent export controls on Belarus, which has hosted Russian troops and equipment and has been a Russian staging ground for the attack. The export controls aim to prevent the diversion of items, technologies and software through Russia to Belarus and limit the two countries’ ability to obtain materials they need for the invasion.
The State Department is imposing sanctions that target Russia’s defense sector. Twenty-two Russian defense-related entities will be targeted, including firms that make combat aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military.
The U.S. also is restricting exports on oil and gas extraction equipment to Russia, which could degrade Moscow’s status as a leading energy supplier, and is targeting entities that have been involved with or supported Russian and Belarusian security services, military and defense sectors.
That will keep the military, aerospace, maritime and high-technology sectors in those countries from obtaining U.S. goods and technology that can be used to support Russian technical maintenance and innovation, the White House said.
– Michael Collins
The massive Russian military convoy remains stalled outside Kyiv, encountering stiff resistance from Ukrainians and continuing shortages of fuel and food, a senior Defense Department official said Wednesday.
The convoy, whose estimated length is 40 miles, is a mix of combat and supply vehicles, said the official who described intelligence estimates on condition of anonymity. There are indications that Ukrainian forces have targeted the convoy with attacks.
The official estimated that 82% of Russia’s combat forces have entered Ukraine, nearly one week into its invasion. That’s up slightly from 80% on Tuesday.
The Russians continue to seek control of Ukraine’s largest cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, and have been met with “ferocious” resistance, the official said.
The Russian convoy has made no appreciable progress in the last 24 hours, leaving it about 15 miles from Kyiv’s city center. They continue to face fuel and shortages and appear to be behind schedule, the official said.
Russia has yet to gain control of Ukrainian air space. Meanwhile, U.S. shipments of arms and other supplies has continued to arrive in Ukraine, the official said, declining to say how it was transported.
Russia’s failure thus far to coordinate its air, ground and sea attack has come a surprise, the official said. Ukrainian resistance, supply problems and a risk-averse approach appear to be hindering the Russians.
— Tom Vanden Brook
Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner who turned Chelsea into one of the British Premier League’s top clubs with his massive infusion of money, said he will sell the soccer team and donate the net proceeds to victims of the war in Ukraine.
Abramovich had been looking for a way to relinquish control of the club while retaining ownership, but a week into Russia’s invasion, pressure was growing on the British government to include him among the wealthy Russians to be targeted in sanctions.
Abramovich said in a statement that it pained him to part with Chelsea, but was making the decision “in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”
He also said gains from the sale would be used to set up a charitable foundation. “The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”
Some Russian oligarchs speak out against war
Russia’s war on Ukraine has rattled many wealthy Russians at home and around the world who suddenly face sanctions that could jeopardize their jetset lifestyles. President Joe Biden, in Tuesday’s State of the Union, warned that “we are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
Alexei Mordashov, a steel magnate and Russia’s richest man, has been blacklisted by the European Union. Mordashov said he doesn’t see how his sanctions will help settle the “dreadful conflict” in Ukraine, according to his statement to TASS, a Russian news agency.
“I have absolutely nothing to do with the emergence of the current geopolitical tension,” Mordashov said Monday. “I do not understand why the EU has imposed sanctions on me.”
Metals mogul Oleg Deripaska, Alfa Bank founder Mikhail Fridman and banker Oleg Tinkov urged an end to the war.
London’s Evening Standard newspaper published a front-page, anti-war statement from its Russia-born owner, Evgeny Lebedev, this week. “As a Russian citizen I plead with you to stop Russians killing their Ukrainian brothers and sisters,” Lebedev said. “As a British citizen I ask you to save Europe from war.”
– Gabriela Miranda
Grassroots resistance fuels Ukrainian war effort
U.S. officials say Russian forces have grown increasingly frustrated by Ukrainian resistance, but they have warned that Moscow’s military superiority will likely limit Ukraine’s ability to fight back over time. Ukrainians are nonetheless still finding ways big and small to resist Russian President Vladimir Putin any way they can.
“Freedom is above all for us,” said Oleksandr Rybitskyi, 27. On Monday, he detained three Russian agents masquerading as Ukrainians in his city, which he didn’t want to identify for fear of drawing attention to it. “I help maintain order.”
In the western city of Lviv, dozens of volunteers lined up at the library to help shred old shirts, sheets and other cloth into long strips, to be braided into camouflage coverage for troops on the frontlines.
“We don’t want to spend all day running back and forth to a bunker, waiting for the worst,” said Iryna Bidna, 24.
– Karina Zaiets and Katelyn Ferral
Zelenskyy to Ukrainians: ‘The whole world admires you’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the actor turned wartime president, has earned international praise for his viral speeches from the streets of war-battered Kyiv while boosting morale among Ukrainians on the ground.
“Take care of your brothers in arms. I admire you,” Zelenskyy said in a speech Wednesday. “The whole world admires you, from Hollywood stars to politicians. Today, you Ukrainians are a symbol of invincibility. A symbol that people in any country can become the best people on Earth at any moment.”
He chided the Russians targeting major cities such as Borodyanka, Kharkiv and Kyiv, saying the attacks were meant to “erase our country. Erase us all.” Zelenskyy said more than 6,000 Russian troops had died in the first six days of fighting, according to the Ukrainian military’s count.
“To get what? To get Ukraine? It is impossible,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy reiterated Ukraine’s desire to join the European Union, a move EU officials have praised. Ukraine formally signed an accelerated application to join the bloc days after Russia’s invasion of the country began.
– Matthew Brown
Twitter suspends Russian state media in Europe
Twitter will ban the accounts of Kremlin-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik in Europe after sanctions from European Union officials targeted Russian state media for spreading disinformation. Twitter joins other social media giants such as TikTok, YouTube and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, in restricting access to Russian state media. Apple, Google and Microsoft pulled RT apps from their platforms in Europe.
RT and Sputnik have been accused of spreading false information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Broadcasters in Europe including France, Germany and the United Kingdom have banned RT from the airwaves. The Kremlin has threatened to retaliate on Western media outlets operating in Russia should Russian-state media continue to be blocked.
– Matthew Brown
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that another world war would be “nuclear and destructive” for all parties, and he condemned Western sanctions on the Kremlin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. Lavrov, in an interview with Al-Jazeera News, claimed Russia would face “real danger” should Ukraine acquire nuclear weapons; Ukraine has not attempted to acquire nuclear weapons and Russia has provided no evidence to support its claims to the contrary.
Putin over the weekend ordered the Kremlin’s nuclear arsenal to be on heightened alert, a provocative step that officials in the Biden administration and NATO allies called reckless. Military aid to Ukraine and more rounds of sanctions, however, did not waver after the escalation.
Lavrov said that while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government had been prepared for the series of stringent economic sanctions levied at Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, they had been caught off-guard by sanctions on athletes and personnel.
– Matthew Brown
The Ukrainian government raised $270 million in war bonds after it began issuing the assets to fund its defense of the country from Russian invasion. Ukraine’s central bank enacted capital controls amid the Russian invasion, making it difficult for foreign investors to participate in the program. That hasn’t stopped many international and local investors from buying the bonds, according to Ukraine’s finance ministry.
“The proceeds from the bonds will be used to meet the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to ensure the uninterrupted provision of the state’s financial needs under the war,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance tweeted.
The Ukrainian authorities continues to foyer for stricter sanctions on Russian monetary establishments and companies. Western sanctions on Russia have to this point triggered the ruble to plummet in worth, whereas on a regular basis Russians and financial elites rush to protect their wealth from monetary disaster.
– Matthew Brown
Harris: US troops gained’t battle Russians in Ukraine
Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated that U.S. troops won’t battle Russians in Ukraine because the Kremlin continues its advance. Showing on NBC Information Wednesday morning, Harris additionally stated it could be “irresponsible” to have interaction in nuclear escalation after Russian President Vladimir Putin stated he had put the nation’s nuclear arsenal on alert.
“Our place is we aren’t going to contribute to an escalation in that route and we now have no intention of fixing our posture,” Harris advised NBC Information anchor Savannah Guthrie.
Harris made the rounds Wednesday throughout a number of community morning reveals.
“We aren’t going to place U.S, troops in Ukraine to battle Russians on the bottom or within the air, however we’re agency in our preparedness to defend our allies,” she stated, echoing President Joe Biden’s vow to defend “each inch of NATO territory.”
Ukraine shouldn’t be a member of NATO, however the U.S. has despatched troops to strengthen NATO’s japanese flank.
– Rick Rouan
Russian negotiators are able to resume talks with Ukrainian officers however can’t “predict whether or not Ukrainian negotiators will present up or not,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated Wednesday.
“Let’s hope this occurs,” Peskov stated. “Ours shall be there and prepared.”
Peskov stated Putin’s tradition adviser Vladimir Medinsky stays the principle negotiator for Russia. Talks held Monday close to the Belarus-Ukraine border produced no breakthrough, although the 2 sides agreed to satisfy once more. It was not clear when talks would proceed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has beforehand accused the Kremlin of attempting to drive him into concessions by intensifying the invasion.
“Honest negotiations can happen when one facet doesn’t hit the different facet with rocket artillery on the very second of negotiations,” he stated.
– John Bacon
World champion biathlete Dmytro Pidruchnyi, who final month was competing on the Winter Olympics for Ukraine, has joined his nation’s navy. He posted a photograph on Instagram of himself in uniform, and the post drew more than 7,300 “likes” and many comments of support.
“I’m grateful to everyone who texts me and worries about my family and to those who support and help Ukraine,” Pidruchnyi wrote. “I’m currently in my hometown Ternopil serving in the National Guard of Ukraine. This photo was taken during air alarm.”
In another post, Pidruchnyi asks for donations for the Ukraine army and for moral support.
“Don’t tell me that sport is not related to the politics,” he said. “IT IS RELATED!! when the soldiers and civilians of my Motherland are dying while you are reading this.”
– John Bacon
Biden: Putin is more ‘isolated from the world’ than ever
President Joe Biden hailed the united response of the U.S. and Western allies against Russian President Vladimir Putin during his State of the Union address Tuesday night as Russia continues its war in Ukraine.
Biden called the attack “premeditated and totally unprovoked,” adding that Putin thought he could divide the world. “But Putin was wrong. We are ready. We are united,” Biden said. “Putin is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been.”
Biden said the U.S. and western allies are enforcing “powerful economic sanctions,” including cutting off Russia’s largest banks from international financial systems, preventing Russia’s central bank from shoring up the Russian ruble and “making Putin’s $260 billion war fund worthless.”
He announced the U.S. is closing off airspace to all Russian flights, joining a growing number of countries around the world that have made similar moves in recent days. Biden also said he is working with 30 countries to release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves around the world to ease the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy markets.
– Joey Garrison
Is Putin committing war crimes? What the experts say.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described Russian President Vladimir Putin’s overnight attack on in civilian areas of Kharkiv as a “war crime.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said he plans to open an investigation “as rapidly as possible” into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
“Is Vladimir Putin committing a war crime? Yes. It’s very clear,” said David Schwendiman, a former senior Justice Department lawyer and international war crimes prosecutor.
But war crime experts say the post-World War II effort to create an international framework to thwart brutal dictators such as Adolf Hitler is too toothless, caught up in power politics and focused on war crimes already committed to make a difference when it comes to Russia’s invasion. Read more here.
– Josh Meyer
WHAT ARE WAR CRIMES?Ukraine accuses Russia of them, but what exactly constitutes a war crime?
President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address Tuesday night that the U.S. is closing its airspace to Russian planes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The U.S. joins a growing list of countries that have announced plans to close their airspace to Russian aircraft in response to the invasion. The European Union took that step Sunday after several European countries, including France, Italy and Denmark, announced the move.
Canada also joined the international move to cut off Russian aircraft.
– Michael Collins and Courtney Subramanian
The war has thrown a global spotlight on Ukraine’s two largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv.
Kyiv’s (KEE-ev) population of 2.7 million people would make it the third largest in the U.S. slightly ahead of Chicago. The city covers 330 square miles – bigger than Chicago or New York, about the size of San Diego.
Kyiv is in north-central Ukraine, not far from the borders with Russia and Belarus. Ukrainian and Russian are commonly spoken in the city, among the oldest in Eastern Europe.
Kharkiv (kar-KEEV), 300 miles east of Kyiv and near the Russian border, has a population of about 1.4 million spread over about 135 square miles – about the size of Philadelphia, which has a population of about 1.5 million.
The country of Ukraine has a population of about 45 million people, a few million more than California, and is about 233,000 square miles – a bit smaller than Texas.
– John Bacon
Contributing: Kate Gutman, USA TODAY; The Associated Press