Russian Military Convoy North of Kyiv Stretches for 40 Miles: Maxar
WASHINGTON—Satellite images taken on Monday show a Russian military convoy north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv that stretches for about 40 miles (64 km), substantially longer than the 17 miles (27 km) reported earlier in the day, a U.S. private company said.
Maxar Technologies also said additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units were seen in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles (32 km) north of the Ukraine border.
Official: Artillery Kills 70 Ukraine Soldiers
KYIV, Ukraine—More than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian artillery hit a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, the head of the region wrote on Telegram.
Dmytro Zhyvytskyy posted photographs of the charred shell of a four-story building and rescuers searching rubble. In a later Facebook post, he said many Russian soldiers and some local residents also were killed during the fighting on Sunday. The report could not immediately be confirmed.
White House Responds to Proposal for ‘No-Fly’ Zone Over Ukraine
The Biden administration and NATO both rejected calls for a “no-fly” zone over Ukraine, saying that it would escalate the conflict.
Over the past weekend, there were calls for the United States and NATO to set one up over Ukraine, as Russian jets have carried out bombing runs on Ukrainian targets. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) was one of those who called for such a move, which drew sharp criticism on social media.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on MSNBC Monday morning that setting up a no-fly zone would require enforcement, meaning that the United States and NATO would be shooting down Russian planes.
“That is definitely escalating and would potentially put us in a place in a military conflict with Russia. That’s something the president doesn’t want to do,” she remarked. Psaki said the White House and President Joe Biden have repeatedly said that American troops won’t be fighting Russian soldiers unless Moscow decides to attack a NATO member in an Article 5 situation.
Hollywood Halts Releases in Russia, Including ‘The Batman’
NEW YORK—Three major Hollywood studios have moved to pause their upcoming theatrical releases in Russia, including rolling out “The Batman” in theaters there this week.
Warner Bros., the Walt Disney Co., and Sony Pictures said Monday that they would “pause” the release of their films in Russia. Each studio has significant upcoming releases that had been set to debut internationally in the coming weeks. “The Batman,” one of the year’s more anticipated films, launches Friday in North America and many overseas territories.
Warner Bros.′ move closely followed a similar decision Monday by the Walt Disney Co. The studio had planned to open the Pixar film “Turning Red” in Russia on March 10. That film is going straight to Disney+ in the United States.
Sony followed suit, saying it would delay its release of the comic book film “Morbius” in Russia.
Russia is not a leading market for Hollywood, but the country typically ranks in the top dozen countries globally in the box office.
Australia Commits $50 Million in Support for Ukraine
CANBERRA, Australia—Australia will provide Ukraine with $50 million in missiles, ammunition, and other military hardware to fight Russian invaders.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday elaborated on his country’s plans after revealing a day earlier that his government would provide Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky with lethal military equipment. Morrison promised only non-lethal military equipment last week.
“President Zelenskyy said: ‘Don’t give me a ride, give me ammunition,’ and that’s exactly what the Australian government has agreed to do,” Morrison said.
Australia had committed $50 million to provide both lethal and non-lethal defensive support for Ukraine through NATO, he said.
“The overwhelming majority of that … will be in the lethal category,” Morrison said.
“We’re talking missiles, we’re talking ammunition, we’re talking supporting them in their defense of their own homeland in Ukraine and we’ll be doing that in partnership with NATO,” Morrison said.
“I’m not going to go into the specifics of that because I don’t plan to give the Russian government a heads up about what’s coming their way, but I can assure them it is coming your way,” he added.
Ukraine Says More Russia Shelling During Talks
KYIV, Ukraine—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian troops have intensified shelling of Ukraine, calling it an effort to force his government into making concessions during talks held Monday.
In a video address late Monday, Zelensky says that “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronizing of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method.”
The president gave no details about the hours-long talks themselves. But he says Ukraine is not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”
Zelensky says that Kyiv, the capital, remains “a key goal” for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery.
US Has Asked 12 Russian UN Diplomats to Leave the Country
The United States has asked 12 Russian United Nations diplomats to leave the country due to their alleged engagement in “activities that were not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats,” Ambassador Richard Mills, Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, said during a UN Security Council meeting Monday afternoon.
The U.S. Mission to the UN also said in a statement that the 12 Russian diplomats were “intelligence operatives … who have abused their privileges of residency in the U.S. by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”
Ukraine Releases Video of Drone Demolishing Russian Missile Systems
A Ukrainian military official released footage on Feb. 27 that appears to show a missile system belonging to the Russian Armed Forces being destroyed by a Ukrainian drone.
Valery Zaluzhny, the chief commander of the armed forces of Ukraine, said on social media that a Turkish-made Bayraktar drone was used to destroy the Russian machinery in the area around the city of Malyn in the Zhytomyr region.
The Epoch Times could not independently verify the footage.
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Finland Sends Weapons and Ammunition to Ukraine in Policy Shift
Finland will send weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Monday, in a shift of policy.
The shipment will include 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 bullets, 1,500 anti-tank weapons and 70,000 food packages, Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen added.
The decision means a shift in policy for Finland which has maintained an image of a non-aligned country since the Soviet Union in 1956.
Russia–Ukraine Ceasefire Talks End With No Agreement
Negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials in a third country on Feb. 28 yielded no results, officials said after concluding.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told reporters after talks broke off, that the primary aim was to discuss a ceasefire.
“The parties have determined several priority topics on which certain decisions have been envisioned,” Podolyak said. “The parties are returning to their capitals to have the possibility to implement these decisions.”
“The next meeting will take place in the coming days at the Polish-Belarusian border,” Podolyak said.
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Ukrainian President Signs Formal Request to Join EU
A top adviser to Ukraine’s president says the first round of talks with Russia about ending the fighting in Ukraine has concluded, and more talks could happen soon.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president has signed an application for his country to join the European Union, in a bid to solidify his country’s bond with the West.
President Volodymyr Zelensky posted photos of himself signing the application, and his office says the paperwork is on its way to Brussels, where the 27-nation EU is headquartered.
Ukraine ‘Not Ready to Surrender or Capitulate’ to Russia
Ukraine vowed that it will not surrender to Russia amid talks between delegates from both countries along the border.
“Ukraine is ready to continue seeking a diplomatic solution, but Ukraine is not ready to surrender or capitulate,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told CNBC on Monday, coming several days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion of Ukraine.
Kuleba told the news outlet that he’s not sure whether the talks are going to be successful or not. On Sunday, Ukrainian officials confirmed there would be talks along the Ukraine–Belarus border.
“I’m a diplomat, I have to believe in the success of talks, but at the same time my main goal as a diplomat now is to impose more sanctions on Russia, to bring more weapons to Ukraine, and to isolate Russia as much as we can in the international arena so I’m focused on this part of diplomacy,” he said, adding that “we stand not only for ourselves but for the world order as we all know it.”
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Russia–Ukraine Ceasefire Talks Begin
Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials began on the Belarusian border on Monday, as Russia faced deepening economic isolation four days after invading Ukraine in the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.
Russian forces seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area around a nuclear power plant, the Interfax news agency said on Monday, but ran into stiff resistance elsewhere.
Talks began with the aim of an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces, the Ukrainian president’s office said, after a Russian advance that has gone more slowly than some expected.
Russia has been cagier about the talks, with the Kremlin declining to comment on Moscow’s aim.
It was not clear whether any progress could be achieved after President Vladimir Putin on Thursday launched the assault and put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday.
The talks are being held on the border with strong Russian ally Belarus, where a referendum on Sunday approved a new constitution ditching the country’s non-nuclear status at a time when the former Soviet republic has become a launch pad for Russian troops invading Ukraine.
US Blocks Americans From Transactions With Russia’s Central Bank
The United States on Monday blocked Americans from engaging in any transactions involving Russia’s central bank, dealing a crushing blow to the country’s economy in further punishment of Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
The fierce economic sanctions imposed by the United States, which also bar transactions with Russia’s finance ministry and national wealth fund, are likely to jack up Russian inflation higher, cripple its purchasing power, and drive down investments, U.S. officials said on Monday as the new measures took effect.
The move comes after the United States and its allies last week imposed several rounds of sanctions targeting Moscow, including against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s largest lenders, after the country’s forces invaded Ukraine.
“Our objective is to make sure that the Russian economy goes backwards if President Putin decides to continue to go forward with an invasion in Ukraine, and we have the tools to continue to do that,” a senior U.S. administration official said on Monday.
US Closes Embassy in Belarus
The United States closed its embassy in the capital of Belarus, a neighbor of Ukraine, and all American staff have left the country, officials announced Feb. 28.
Belarus shares borders with Ukraine and Russia but has been letting the Russian military send troops through its space to bring attacks from additional fronts against Ukrainian forces, U.S. officials say.
Russia Closes Its Airspace to 36 Nations
Russia has closed its airspace to carriers from 36 nations, including European countries and Canada, responding in kind to their move to close their respective airspaces to all Russian aircraft.
The move, announced Monday by the state aviation agency, follows a decision by the EU and Canada over the weekend to close their skies to the Russian planes in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
It added that planes from those countries could only enter Russia’s airspace with special permission.
UN Says Ukraine Radioactive Waste Site Struck
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says missiles have hit a radioactive waste disposal site in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, but there are no reports of damage to the buildings or indications of a release of radioactive material.
In a statement late Sunday, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said Ukrainian authorities informed his office about the overnight strike. He said his agency expects to soon receive the results of on-site radioactive monitoring.
The report came a day after an electrical transformer at a similar disposal facility in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was damaged.
Such facilities typically hold low-level radioactive materials such as waste from hospitals and industry, but Grossi said the two incidents highlight a “very real risk.” He said if the sites are damaged there could be “potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment.”
New York Orders Russia Sanctions, Invites Ukrainian Refugees
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Sunday forbidding her state from doing business with Russia, including cancelling its investments there.
The governor also said New York will welcome Ukrainian refugees in response to Russia’s invasion, noting at a press conference in Albany that her state is home to the largest Ukrainian population in the United States.
“We have said we’ll open up our hearts, our homes, our resources to the people of the Ukraine, to say, ‘We stand with you,’” Hochul said. Federal estimates show that around 140,000 of the more than 1 million people in the United States who report Ukrainian ancestry live in New York.
Hochul didn’t immediately get into specifics regarding her state’s economic sanctions against Moscow—including how much the state has invested in Russian entities—but pointed out that New York’s economy is larger than that of Russia.
South Korea Bans Exports of Strategic Items to Russia, Joins SWIFT Sanctions
South Korea will tighten export controls against Russia by banning exports of strategic items, and join Western countries’ moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, Seoul’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
The Korean government has also decided to promote the additional release of strategic oil reserves for stabilization of the international energy market and to further review other measures such as the resale of LNG to Europe, the ministry said in statement.
“The Korean government condemned Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine and, as a responsible member of the international community, decided to actively participate in the international community’s efforts, including economic sanctions, for a peaceful resolution of the situation,” the statement said.
Among the strategic items that will be controlled are supplies of electronics, semiconductors, computers, information and communications, sensors and lasers, navigation and avionics, and marine and aerospace equipment.
South Korea will boost humanitarian aid to Ukraine, the ministry added, saying its decisions have been officially notified to the U.S. government through diplomatic channels.
Facebook-Owner Meta Says Ukraine’s Military, Politicians Targeted in Hacking Campaign
Meta Platforms said a hacking group used Facebook to target a handful of public figures in Ukraine, including prominent military officials, politicians, and a journalist, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country.
Meta said in the last 48 hours it had also separately removed a network of about 40 fake accounts, groups, and pages across Facebook and Instagram that operated from Russia and Ukraine targeting people in Ukraine, for violating its rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior.
A Twitter spokesperson said it had also suspended more than a dozen accounts and blocked the sharing of several links for violating its rules against platform manipulation and spam. It said its ongoing investigation indicated the accounts originated in Russia and were attempting to disrupt the public conversation around the conflict in Ukraine.
Australia to Provide Lethal Military Equipment to Ukraine
Australia will provide lethal military equipment to Ukraine to help the Ukrainians resist the Russian invasion.
The Australian government’s announcement Monday gave no details on what material it may be sending. The move follows an offer on Friday of non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies, and a $3 million contribution to a NATO trust fund for support of the besieged country.
Australia has imposed sanctions on more than 350 Russian individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, since Thursday.
Australia has also targeted with sanctions 13 individuals and entities in Belarus, including that country’s defense minister, Viktor Khrenin. Belarus is supporting Russia in its war with Ukraine.
Zachary Stieber, Jack Phillips, Lorenz Duchamps, CNN, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.