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UKRAINE WRAP | US orders 12 Russian UN diplomats to leave by March 7 -Russian envoy

28 February 2022 - 06:15 By TIMESLIVE
A father and his daughter attend a protest against the massive military operation by Russia against Ukraine, near the Russian embassy in Seoul, South Korea, February 28, 2022.
A father and his daughter attend a protest against the massive military operation by Russia against Ukraine, near the Russian embassy in Seoul, South Korea, February 28, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

February 28 2022 — 10:04

EU sanctions Putin's spokesman, oligarchs, journalists

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is among 26 prominent people sanctioned by the European Union for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the decision published on Monday on the EU's official journal.

The listings include oligarchs and businessmen active in the oil, banking and finance sectors, as well as government members, high-level military people, and "propagandists who contributed to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda," the EU said in a statement.

Among the listed persons are Igor Sechin, the boss of Russia's state oil company Rosneft, and the chief executive of energy giant Transneft, Nikolay Tokarev.

Oligarchs Alisher Usmanov, Petr Aven and Alexander Ponomarenko and the banker Mikhail Fridman are also included in the sanction list.

The list includes Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, other members of the Russian government and top journalists.

The restrictive measures include travel bans, an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals.

This round of sanctions hit also the Gas Industry Insurance Company SOGAZ.

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 21:54

US orders 12 Russian UN diplomats to leave by March 7 -Russian envoy

The United States has ordered 12 Russian diplomats at the United Nations to leave by March 7, Moscow's envoy to the international organization told reporters on Monday.

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 20:00

Ukraine official says talks with Russia were difficult

A member of the Ukrainian delegation at ceasefire talks with Russia on Monday said the negotiations were difficult and the Russian side was biased.

"The Russian side, unfortunately, still has a very biased view of the destructive processes it has launched," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter after attending the talks near the Belarusian border.

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 19:53

Norway to send weapons to Ukraine, in change of policy

The Norwegian government will send weapons to Ukraine, it said in a statement on Monday, the latest European nation to do so following Russia's invasion.

The decision overturns a Norwegian policy in place since the 1950s of not sending arms to non-NATO countries that are at war or at risk of armed conflict.

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 18:45

Ukraine's motorsports federation calls for ban on Russian drivers

Ukraine's motorsports federation has called on Formula One's governing FIA to ban all Russian and Belarusian licence holders from taking part in its competitions, which if accepted could put Russia's Nikita Mazepin out of the sport.

The call for a ban was part of a list of proposals put forward by the Federation Automobile de l'Ukraine (FAU) to Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Sunday in response to a letter written by the FIA president offering the body's full support to the FAU after Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine.

February 28 2022 — 18:45

UK mulls actions to stop anyone from profiting from Russian invasion

Britain is looking at secondary sanctions to target those who seek to profit from gaps left in trade resulting from sanctions that were imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Monday.

Secondary sanctions could be used to punish third countries who seek to do business with Russia.

When asked if she will consider secondary sanctions - sanctions not against Russian entities but against entities in other countries that seek to profit from the gap left in trade - Truss told parliament: "Yes, we are looking at that."

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 18:05

Russia 'extremely likely' to default on debts if Ukraine crisis worsens - IIF

Russia is extremely likely to default on its external debts and its economy will suffer a double digit contraction this year after the West launched sanctions unprecedented in their scale and coordination, the Institute of International Finance said on Monday.

The IIF estimates that half of the foreign reserves of the central bank, which on Monday hiked interest rates and introduced some capital controls, are held in countries which have imposed asset freezes, severely shrinking the firepower policymakers have to support the Russian economy.

The central bank would prioritise the protection of domestic savers with foreign investors "one of the last on the list".

"If we stay here and this (the crisis) escalates, then default and restructuring is likely," Elina Ribakova, the IIF's deputy chief economist told reporters during a media call. She said default would be "extremely likely", although the relatively small size of foreign holdings -- at around $60 billion -- of Russian debt would limit the fallout.

Russia last week invaded Ukraine, leading the West to impose a series of sanctions. These have included the freezing of the central bank's assets, removal of many Russian banks from the global payments system SWIFT and the blacklisting of individuals and entities. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

The IIF's Ribakova said the sanctions, which could yet be toughened even further, were "the most severe economic sanctions imposed on a country" ever and would send the Russian economy into a tailspin, with a low double-digit contraction this year likely and inflation soaring by a double digit amount too.

She said conversion of Russian domestic foreign exchange holdings into roubles was also on the table, although the central bank would be reluctant to deploy that initially as it tried to spare hurting domestic savers.

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 17:45

Moscow hits back by barring EU and Canadian airlines

Airlines on Monday braced for a potentially lengthy dispute after the European Union (EU) banned Russian airlines from its airspace and Moscow responded in kind, barring carriers from 36 countries including all 27 members of the European Union.

Dozens of flights were cancelled or sent on costly detours as the crisis hit airline shares.

The rerouting meant Kazakhstan's airspace saw a tripling of flights to more than 450.Russia's ban came after the EU and Canada on Sunday banned flights by Russian airlines as fighting raged in Ukraine.

Without access to Russia's airspace, carriers will have to divert flights south while also avoiding areas of tension in the Middle East.

-Reuters

February 28 2022 — 15:39

South Africans abroad helping countrymen stuck in Ukraine nightmare

“All they want is to get home.”

So says Hayley Richert, an SA expat in London who is one of a group of women helping SA citizens leave Ukraine safely.

She has had only a few hours' sleep since Thursday.

February 28 2022 —  15:37

Volvo suspends car shipments to Russia

Swedish automaker Volvo Cars said on Monday it will suspend car shipments to Russia until further notice, becoming the first international carmaker to do so as sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine continue to bite.

The company said the decision had been made because of "potential risks associated with trading material with Russia, including sanctions imposed by the EU and US".

"Volvo Cars will not deliver any cars to the Russian market until further notice," the company said.

February 28 2022 —  14:30

Fleeing African and Indian students face racism at Ukraine border

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters a fifth day, an outpouring of support for Ukrainians has been witnessed across much of Europe, Australia, and the West in general.

Tens of thousands of international students have been stuck in Ukraine since the war started. African and Indian students stranded in Ukraine are accusing officials of discriminating against them and pushing them back from getting to the border.

Videos have been posted on social media that are said to show black people being prevented from boarding a train and left stranded at a railway station in Lviv, as Ukrainians were allowed on. Others said they were turned back from a border and were being shot at.

Indian students also claim Ukrainian guards on the Polish border, beat them up and did not allow them to cross. Monika Matus is a human rights activist working for the NGO 'Grupa Granica'. She joins us live on Skype from Warsaw to discuss this.

February 28 2022 —  14:15

Airspace closures send airlines on detours, add to cargo woes

Airlines on Monday braced for a potentially lengthy sanctions war after the EU banned Russian airlines and Moscow pledged to retaliate.

Dozens of flights were cancelled or sent on costly detours as the crisis hit airline shares.

The rerouting meant Kazakhstan's airspace saw a tripling of flights to more than 450.

Airline industry executives said they were expecting Russia to ban their use of routes crossing the country after the European Union on Sunday banned Russian airlines as fighting raged in Ukraine.

On Monday, the Kremlin said there would be a response to Western sanctions against Russia's aviation industry.

"The guiding principle will be reciprocity, and our own interests will be at the forefront of that," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Without access to Russia's airspace, carriers will have to divert flights south while also avoiding areas of tension in the Middle East.

Shares in European airlines and airport operators were down 3-6% in early trade, while Finnish national carrier Finnair cut its guidance and saw its shares tumble 23%.

Germany's Lufthansa said 30 flights to Russia would be cancelled this week by Lufthansa and its subsidiaries Eurowings and Austrian Airlines, while Latvia's AirBaltic said it was extending its suspension of flights to Russia until the end of May.

Lufthansa said its flights from Europe to Tokyo and Seoul would have to fly detours for which the company had secured necessary flight rights.

In Asia Singapore Airlines said on Monday it was suspending all services between Singapore and Moscow until further notice for "operational reasons".

Finnair scrapped its 2022 guidance, fearing significant loss of business as it uses a route across Russian skies from Europe to Asia via its hub in Helsinki.

Korean Air, Japan Airlines and Japan's ANA Holdings said on Monday they were continuing to use Russian airspace but had no plans to add flights to Russia or Europe to replace flights cancelled by European carriers.

Demand to Japan and South Korea has been low due to Covid-related travel restrictions.

Airline Swiss, also owned by Lufthansa Group, said it would continue to fly to Russia as Switzerland has not banned Russian airlines.

Airspace shutdowns and flight cancellations will also set to affect cargo traffic, further exacerbating global supply chain woes caused as the pandemic slows cargo handling worldwide.

"Due to the ongoing dramatic developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Lufthansa will no longer use Russian airspace," Lufthansa Cargo said.

U.S.-based United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp , two of the world's largest logistics companies, said they were halting deliveries to Russia.

Global aircraft also lessors said they would have to terminate hundreds of plane leases with Russian carriers in the wake of EU sanctions that call for such contracts to end by March 28.

Russia's Aeroflot said on Sunday it would cancel all flights to European destinations after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU had decided to close its airspace to Russian traffic.

The United States is considering similar action, but has yet to make a final decision, according to US officials.

The US government said on Sunday citizens should consider leaving Russia immediately on commercial flights, citing an increasing number of airlines cancelling flights as countries close their airspace to Russia.

Reuters 

February 28 2022 —  14:04

Ukraine asks for fast-track EU membership

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked the European Union to allow Ukraine to gain membership under a special procedure immediately as it defends itself from invasion by Russian forces

February 28 2022 —  14:00

Czech PM supports Ukraine efforts on EU entry 

The Czech Republic supports Ukraine's efforts to join the European Union, Prime Minister Petr Fiala was cited as saying by the CTK news agency on Monday.

Fiala said it was necessary to give a clear signal that Ukraine was welcome in Europe's community of democratic countries, CTK reported.

Reuters

February 28 2022 —  13:40

Russia invades Ukraine LIVE | DW News livestream | Headline news from around the world

February 28 2022 —  13:38

Ukraine’s foreign minister asks Russians to stop Putin

Ukraine’s #ForeignMinister #DmytroKuleba released a video message to Russians saying they need to demand that President Vladimir #Putin stop the war with Ukraine.

February 28 2022 —  13:27

Ukrainian brewery switches from making beer to Molotov cocktails

A Ukrainian brewery has switched from making beer to producing Molotov cocktail petrol bombs to fight off Russian forces.

February 28 2022 —  13:15

Recession is the major threat for stock markets shaken by war

With oil again surging as governments step up sanctions on Russia, yield curves signalling growing apprehension over growth and concerns mounting about 2008-style liquidity crunches as the dollar surges, pressure on economies is rising. Should it result in a full-blown downturn, it will become much harder for equities to stay resilient.

US stock futures plunged as much as 2.9% Monday, erasing gains from late last week as speculation that central banks would throttle back on tightening policy gave way to worry that the geopolitical crisis in Europe could slow global economic growth. Getting that call right can be the difference between a 36% drop — the average bear-market decline — in the S&P 500 or a more pedestrian downturn in stocks that could give way to a rebound, said JC O’Hara, chief market technician at MKM Partners.

February 28 2022 —  13:03

Liquidity vanishes across Russia assets as sanctions bite

‘Too risky to deal in’ is the mantra from foreign-exchange to equities trading floors as investors step back from dealing with Russian assets. 

Spreads on the ruble have widened by eight times, with market makers from Sydney to Hong Kong pulling back, traders said. Nomura Holdings’ domestic securities arm said it will suspend taking purchase or sale orders for the time being on four investment trusts that contain Russia-related assets. Singapore said it would block certain Russian banks and financial transactions connected to Russia. 

Evaporating liquidity, due to biting sanctions ramped up over the weekend, is spurring authorities to act, with Russia’s central bank announcing it would temporarily ban foreigners from selling securities. Moscow Exchange said it will start currency and money-market trading only at 10am local time, about three hours later than normal. 

February 28 2022 —  12:50

Fear and anger as Ukrainians asked to seek shelter amid shelling

Blasts were heard in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and in the second-biggest city of Kharkiv on Sunday. Al Jazeera has spoken to some people who have decided to stay in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv - despite being surrounded by fighting and explosions.

February 28 2022 —  12:42

Russia, Ukraine officials to meet as ruble sinks

Ukraine said a delegation led by its defense minister had arrived at the border with Belarus for talks with Russian officials on the fifth day of an invasion that’s triggered a flurry of sanctions against Moscow and sent the ruble into a tailspin. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has voiced skepticism that the talks would yield results but said he was willing to try if it meant any chance of peace. Russia, which sent a relatively low-level delegation including deputy ministers of defense and foreign affairs, expects the meeting to begin soon but has set a limited scope.

Zelenskiy repeated a request Monday for Ukraine to be fast tracked into the European Union. 

The talks come as Moscow more than doubles its benchmark interest rate and takes other emergency measures to shield its economy from the impact of tightening sanctions.

The measures have hit the ruble but also hammered European companies with exposure to Russia and Ukraine, including oil company BP.

Bloomberg 

February 28 2022 —  12:09

Ruble plunges 30% as markets briefly freeze on sanctions stress

Russian markets were paralyzed and traders struggled to price the ruble on Monday as the stress of Western sanctions shook the country’s financial system.  The Russian currency lost a third of its value in offshore markets at one point on Monday and hit an all-time low of 109 per dollar in Moscow.

Quotes were infrequent and volatile at the start of the session, and traders warned that low liquidity was making it difficult to match buyers and sellers. The central bank pushed back the start of ruble trading by three hours as it hoisted its key rate to 20% in an emergency move.

At the local open, a massive gap formed between rubles quoted in Moscow and prices in international markets. The dislocations were unprecedented in recent memory for a market as big as Russia and underscored how trading is being upended as investors scramble to sell. The central bank canceled stock trading altogether on the local bourse on Monday.  

Normal volumes picked up later in the session after the central bank allowed the currency to weaken in steps to a level near the offshore rate. The ruble erased some of its loss to trade 17% weaker at 100 rubles per dollar as of 12:36 p.m. in Moscow. On the offshore market, the ruble was quoted as falling as much as 29% earlier Monday.

“There’s so little liquidity that pricing data we can see at the moment doesn’t really mean anything,” said Paul McNamara, a fund manager at GAM Investments. “People are struggling to get out of forwards because no one can tell what will happen in the next month. We think most foreigners have reduced but not eliminated their exposure.”

The Bank of Russia has stepped in to try to stabilize the currency by raising its key interest rate from 9.5% to 20%, and imposed some capital controls. It also temporarily banned brokers from selling securities held by foreigners starting Monday on the Moscow Exchange, without specifying which securities the ban applies to. At one point on Monday, the ruble was listed at 95.4825 per dollar on the Moscow Exchange and 108.8771 in offshore quotes compiled by Bloomberg.

“The SWIFT sanctions in effect have closed Russia’s capital account,” said Peter Kinsella, global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Union Bancaire Privee in London. “This means you’re likely to end up with huge differences between offshore and onshore pricing. This is a new paradigm for the ruble.”  

Bloomberg

February 28 2022 —  11:09

Blood, tears and defiance in Ukraine: 'We will win'

Ukrainian forces battled Russian troops pushing into Kharkiv, while thousands of people fled to neighboring countries leaving their family members behind.

February 28 2022 —  11:09

Video shows burned military vehicles in a city near Kyiv

The city of Bucha has seen heavy shelling over the past few days. The city's mayor posted this video on the city council's social media accounts, showing destroyed military vehicles. 

Source: Al Jazeera

February 28 2022 —  09:30

Russia hikes rates to 20%, bans foreigners from security

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The Bank of Russia hiked its key interest rate to 20%, introduced mandatory hard-currency revenues sales for exporters and banned brokers from selling securities by foreigners starting Monday in a bid to shield the nation’s assets from sweeping Western sanctions that include penalties on the regualtor itself.

The interest rate will increase from 9.5% to 20%, the central bank said in a statement before ruble trading was due to open at 10 a.m. local time. Earlier Monday the regulator announced a temporary sales freeze on the Moscow Exchange, without specifying which securities the ban applies to. Governor Elvira Nabiullina is due to speak at 4 p.m. in Moscow, the central bank said. 

Bloomberg

February 28 2022 —  09:28

European gas jumps as sanctions spur energy shortage concerns

European natural gas prices surged as another round of sanctions on Russia over the weekend fueled concerned about energy shortages.

Futures traded in the Netherlands jumped as much as 36% on Monday. Western nations agreed to impose new sanctions to further isolate Russia’s economy and financial system after initial penalties failed to persuade President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his forces from Ukraine. While the decision excludes energy, there are fears there’s more to come.

Russia is Europe’s top gas supplier, with about a third of those supplies typically crossing Ukrainian pipelines.

Reuters 

February 28 2022 —  09:21

Russia says its troops take two towns in southeastern Ukraine -Ifax

Russian forces have taken over the towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhya region as well as the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Interfax quoted Russia's defence ministry as saying on Monday.

The plant's operations continued normally, it said.

Reuters

February 28 2022 —  09:07

Here’s what investors say as crisis in Ukraine intensifies

Safe havens like bonds, gold and the US dollar rallied on Monday, while classic risk-sentiment proxies like the Australia dollar tumbled.

Emerging market currencies also came under pressure, with the South African rand and the Turkish lira sinking. US and European equity futures tanked. Crude oil surged.

February 28 2022 —  09:04

World’s biggest plane destroyed in Russian attack on airfield

The world’s biggest aircraft, the Antonov-225 cargo plane, was destroyed by Russian forces while it was under repair at an airfield in Gostomel near Kyiv, according to Ukraine’s state-run Ukroboronprom. 

Restoration of the aircraft, known as Mriya, will take more than five years at a cost of over $3 billion after the attack, Ukroboronprom said in a statement dated Sunday, adding that it aimed to ensure Russia covers the costs.

February 28 2022 —  08:00

Petition to ‘stop SA from being involved’ in Russia and Ukraine conflict gathers momentum

A petition calling on government not to get involved in the deadly conflict between Russia and Ukraine has amassed more than 26,000 signatures to date.

The petition was started late last week after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine. He claimed the move was to “protect” the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and said there was a need to “demilitarise” the country. Ukraine labelled it an “act of war” and filed a suit against Russia at the highest UN court in The Hague, Netherlands.

February 28 2022 —  06:20

WILLIAM GUMEDE | Sorry, Ukraine, the UN hasn’t united nations in a while

The UN has been spectacularly absent in most of the recent violent conflicts between countries, showing the global organisation established after World War 2 to prevent such conflicts has lost its credibility, relevance and authority.

The UN was established in 1945 by 51 countries to maintain international peace and security.

Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine shows how the UN, supposed to be the global arbitrator in conflict between countries, has become obsolete. . It has been left to individual country leaders, the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and the G20 to desperately try to end the hostilities.

February 28 2022 —  06:10

JUSTICE MALALA | This is not a video game, RET brigade. We will all suffer

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfolding in real time, on television screens and social media across the globe.

We witnessed Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, humiliating colleagues and threatening dire consequences for anyone who stands against his actions. We saw the youthful Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr  Zelenskyy, stand alongside his people against the invasion, daring the mighty Russia to walk away.

The world is glued to its screens as if there will be winners and losers, and we, the audience, will then go off to make ourselves a sandwich. We are so wrong. In war, poor people always lose. They lose their lives, they lose sons and daughters, they lose homes and their meagre possessions. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the start of something long-lasting and horrible. It is not a video game.

February 28 2022 —  06:00

GEORGE PHILIPAS | For its own good, SA must take the regional lead against Russia

In the cacophony of diplomatic noise that followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, SA’s swift statement released by the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) hours after the start of the invasion and calling out Russia directly went largely unnoticed.

Unique among Brics, its underlying tone was notably different in its directness. The change in tone was even noticed by the Russian embassy which, in its usual cold, curt and cutting fashion, responded on social media with the simple sentence: “Kindly refrain from interfering.”

To what extent this will mark a turning point in relations between the two remains to be seen. But for some, a change of tact hasn’t come fast enough. For Russia’s engagement with Africa, and in particular, its disinformation campaigns and its “mercenaries-for-mining-concessions” model that preys on weak and largely undemocratic African states, is seen by many as a direct threat to the long-term stability of the continent and even SA.  

February 27 2022 — 22:00

World Court: Ukraine has filed suit against Russia, citing false genocide claims

The highest U.N. court on Sunday confirmed that Ukraine has filed a suit against Russia, saying Russia's claim it invaded Ukraine to prevent a genocide is false and asking judges to order "provisional measures" to protect Ukraine.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky had said earlier on Sunday he had filed the suit at the International Court of Justice, also known as the world court.

In a statement, the court confirmed it has received Ukraine's complaint. It did not say when the case would be heard. 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 21:50

FIFA bans matches in Russia, no flag or anthem for team

No international soccer matches will be played in Russia and the Russian flag and anthem will be banned from any of their matches abroad, governing body FIFA said on Sunday.

It said the national team would not compete as Russia but as the Football Union of Russia (RFU) and any games would be held with no fans on "neutral territory", as part of its sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 21:43

Russian forces appear to shift to siege warfare in Ukraine- U.S. official

Russia, frustrated by early battlefield setbacks in Ukraine, could be shifting its strategy to siege warfare just as President Vladimir Putin raises the risk of a catastrophic miscalculation by putting nuclear forces on heightened alert, a senior U.S. defense official said on Sunday.

Putin gave the order to his nuclear forces as Washington assesses that Russian troops have made limited progress in their four-day-old invasion due to stiff Ukrainian resistance and planning failures that have left some units without fuel or other supplies, U.S. officials said.

The United States assesses that Russia has fired more than 350 missiles at Ukrainian targets so far, some hitting civilian infrastructure, the senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Still, it had so far mainly focused on military targets.Citing a Russian offensive on the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, north of Kyiv, the official cited early indications that Russia might be adopting siege tactics.

"It appears that they are adopting a siege mentality, which any student of military tactics and strategy will tell you, when you adopt siege tactics, it increases the likelihood of collateral damage," the official said.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 21:38

Russian convoy of ground forces, fuel, tanks moving toward Kyiv -Maxar

Satellite imagery taken on Sunday showed a large deployment of Russian ground troops moving in the direction of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv from approximately 40 miles (64 km) away, a private U.S. company said.

The images released by Maxar Technologies Maxar showed a deployment comprised of hundreds of military vehicles and extending more than 3.25 miles (5 km), Maxar said.

The images released by Maxar, which has been tracking the buildup of Russian forces for weeks, could not be independently verified by Reuters. 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 21:30

U.S. blasts Putin nuclear order as 'unacceptable,' considers further sanctions

The United States and NATO on Sunday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to put his nuclear forces on high alert as dangerous and unacceptable, while the White House said it has not ruled out imposing new sanctions on Russia's energy sector.

In issuing the order to prepare Russia's nuclear weapons for increased readiness for launch, Putin cited "aggressive statements" from NATO allies and widespread sanctions imposed by Western nations.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told CBS's "Face the Nation" program that Putin's actions have escalated the conflict and were "unacceptable."

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 20:57

Belgium to send machine guns and grenade launches to help Ukraine, Zelenskiy says

Ukraine will receive 3,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers from Belgium, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a tweet on Sunday.

Ukraine has called on Western allies for weaponry and financial support as it fights to repel a large-scale Russian invasion.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 20:20

White House calls on China to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The White House called on China to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Sunday as Moscow's onslaught against its neighbor continued and Russian President Vladimir Putin put nuclear forces on high alert.

"This is not a time to stand on the sidelines. This is a time to be vocal and condemn the actions of President Putin and Russia invading a sovereign country," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview with MSNBC. 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 20:00

BP to exit stake in Russia's Rosneft and take up to R378bn charge

BP said on Sunday it would exit its 19.75% stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, amid growing pressure from the British government.

The decision to abandon the Rosneft holding will result in charges of up to $25 billion (R378bn) at the end of the first quarter, BP said in a statement.

BP acquired its Rosneft shareholding in 2013 as part of the $12.5 billion (R189bn) sale of a stake in TNK-BP.

BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney and his predecessor Bob Dudley will both step down from the Rosneft board.

"Like so many, I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and my heart goes out to everyone affected. It has caused us to fundamentally rethink bp's position with Rosneft," Looney said. 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 19:40

Sweden to send military aid to Ukraine, but Hungary will stay out of the conflict

Sweden will send military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, helmets and body armour, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Sunday.

"Sweden is now proposing direct support for Ukraine's armed forces. It includes 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields and 5,000 anti-tank weapons" Andersson told a news conference.

Hungary's interest is to stay out of the military conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Sunday, reiterating that Hungary would not send weapons to neighbouring Ukraine but would help all refugees from there.

Orban told state television that his government would focus on Hungary's interests and make decisions that "allow us to stay out of this conflict and also that there should not be sanctions for which we have to pay the price in the end, even if we stay out of the conflict".

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 19:25

Putin Races the Clock as Fast Military Advance ‘Frustrated’

Russia’s plans for Ukraine face rapidly rising costs due to delays caused by tougher-than-expected resistance from forces on the ground, even as its military retains overwhelming advantages.

A person familiar with Russian planning said the military would have hoped for faster progress.

The Kremlin has declined to comment on details of the military operation, and its Defense Ministry says the campaign has been successful.

A senior U.S. defense official said on Saturday the U.S. had indications Moscow had become frustrated by slow progress, caused by an unexpectedly strong Ukrainian defense and failure to achieve complete air dominance.

- ©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

February 27 2022 — 19:00

EU to spend R7.7bn on weapons for Ukraine - source

The European Commission aims to use 450 million euros (R7.7bn) of EU funds to finance arms deliveries to Ukraine, a Commission source told Reuters on Sunday.

An additional 50 million euros (R854m) are meant to be spent on other equipment for Ukraine such as medical supplies, the source said.

The Biden Administration will ask Congress for $6.4 billion dollars (R97bn) in economic and military aid to help Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.

Schumer said the request would be added to a spending bill expected to reach the Senate floor next week.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 18:55

Ukraine's President Zelenskiy says will use every opportunity to secure peace

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that he needed to use every opportunity to secure peace, as Ukraine was due to meet with Russia for peace talks.

"I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as President, tried to stop the war, when there was even a small, but still a chance," Zelenskiy said.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 18:40

Finland sends defence material to Ukraine, considers sending weapons

Finland is considering whether to send weapons to Ukraine directly, Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said on Sunday, in what would be a departure from its long-standing policy of not allowing weapons to be exported to war zones.

The minister also said that Finland, which is not a NATO member and shares a long border with Russia, had given the green light to Estonia to send previously Finnish-owned field guns to Ukraine.

Earlier on Sunday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell proposed to EU foreign ministers that EU funds are used to send weapons and fuel to Ukraine.

Asked if Finland would send weapons to Ukraine directly, Kaikkonen said: "We have not ruled that out."

Finland will send defence equipment to Ukraine, including 2,000 bulletproof vests, 2,000 helmets, 100 stretchers and equipment for two emergency medical care stations, a government statement said.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 18:25

Ukraine adviser says pro-Kremlin politician escaped house arrest, lawyer denies

The Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk has escaped house arrest, Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Sunday, though Medvedchuk's lawyer swiftly denied the allegation.

Medvedchuk, the leader of Ukraine's Opposition Platform - For Life party, had been under house arrest since last year after the authorities opened a treason case against him.

Medvedchuk, a pro-Russian figure who says Russian President Vladimir Putin is godfather to his daughter, denies wrongdoing. Medvedchuk's lawyer said Medvedchuk had been forced to move location due to threats from nationalist groups and had informed the authorities about them.

"In connection with the real danger to life, as well as the need to ensure his protection, Viktor Medvedchuk was evacuated to a safe place in Kyiv," the lawyer Larysa Cherednychenko said.

Medvedchuk would continue to meet his legal obligations during the hearing of the treason case, she added.

Medvedchuk has been under house arrest since last May, facing accusations of treason and attempting to plunder state resources in Crimea, a part of Ukraine which Russia annexed in 2014.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 18:15

Putin's nuclear move could make situation "much, much more dangerous," U.S. official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert during his invasion of Ukraine is escalatory and could make things "much, much more dangerous," a senior U.S. defense official said on Sunday.

"It's clearly, essentially, putting in play forces that, if there's a miscalculation, could make things much, much more dangerous," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 18:10

Ukrainian official says Iskander missiles launched from Belarus to Ukraine

Iskander missiles were launched from Belarus to Ukraine around 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said.

Ukrainian and Russian officials are due to meet for talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office said on Sunday.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 18:00

Ukraine calls Putin's order to put nuclear forces on alert a pressure tactic

Ukraine said on Sunday Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert was calculated to put pressure at the start of talks but that Kyiv would not be cowed.

Speaking at a briefing, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said Russia had dropped its preconditions for talks after suffering military setbacks. Ukraine would listen to what Russia had to say, he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday Russia had agreed to talks at a venue on the Belarusian border near the Pripyat River, the first since Russia invaded its neighbour last week.

It was not immediately clear who would represent both sides at the talks.

Ukrainian media said Ukraine was sending Kuleba's deputy to the meeting, the exact location and timing of which was not disclosed.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 17:45

‘Get out now!’ South Africans’ tales of terror and tears as they flee Ukraine

Desperate South Africans, including some students walking to the Medyka-Szeginie border post on the south-eastern side of the Ukraine, had to face assault by border police when the police decided late on Saturday night that only Ukrainian women and children would be allowed to cross the border.

According to one of the South Africans, the situation started getting tense when thousands of people were cramming into the crossing after some had waited for 60 to 70 hours to get into Poland.

Some of the students were kicked and manhandled when a stampede to get away from the police ensued. A South African woman’s leg was badly injured when she was trampled. Two of the students are now trapped in the area between the Ukrainian and Polish borders as the girl cannot move.

February 27 2022 — 17:38

Pentagon Says Putin Nuclear Move ‘Escalatory’

Vladimir Putin’s move to put Russia’s strategic nuclear forces on higher alert is an “escalatory” step that increases the risk of a miscalculation, the Pentagon said.

The comment, during a briefing by a senior U.S. defense official, came after Putin on Sunday cited what he called “aggressive” statements from the leaders of NATO countries.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commented earlier, saying Putin’s move showed how “serious” the stand-off over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is.

- ©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

February 27 2022 — 17:30

Medical oxygen running out in Ukraine as war rages, WHO warns

Ukraine is running out of oxygen supplies that critically ill people need, the World Health Organization said on Sunday, calling for safe passage for emergency imports as combat rages.

"The oxygen supply situation is nearing a very dangerous point in Ukraine. Trucks are unable to transport oxygen supplies from plants to hospitals across the country, including the capital Kyiv," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement.

"The majority of hospitals could exhaust their oxygen reserves within the next 24 hours. Some have already run out. This puts thousands of lives at risk."

Oxygen is essential for patients with a range of conditions, including the 1,700 in hospital with COVID-19 and those with other critical illnesses stemming from complications of pregnancy, childbirth, sepsis, injuries and trauma.

Critical hospital services were also being jeopardised by electricity and power shortages, while ambulances transporting patients were in danger of getting caught in the crossfire.

The WHO said it was looking to increase supplies, most likely using liquid oxygen and cylinders from regional networks. These supplies would need safe transit routes after leaving a logistics corridor through Poland. 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 17:20

Russia dropped preconditions to talks after military setbacks, Ukraine says

Russia dropped its preconditions for talks after suffering military setbacks, Ukraine's foreign minister said on Sunday, adding that Ukraine would attend the talks to listen to what Russia had to say.

Dmytro Kuleba also told a briefing that Russian President Vladimir Putin's move to put nuclear forces on high alert was timed to put pressure on Ukraine during the negotiations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday said Russia had agreed to talks at a venue on the Belarusian border, the first since Russia unleashed a full-scale invasion of its neighbour last week. 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 17:10

NATO chief calls Putin alert order irresponsible, cites 'dangerous rhetoric'

President Vladimir Putin's move to put Russian forces on high alert is dangerous and irresponsible and adds to the Russian leader's aggressive pattern involving Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday.

"This is dangerous rhetoric. This is a behavior which is irresponsible. And of course when you combine this rhetoric with what they are doing on the ground in Ukraine - waging war against an independent, sovereign nation, conducting full-fledged invasion of Ukraine - this adds to the seriousness of the situation," Stoltenberg said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 17:03

Ukraine Agrees Russia Talks on Belarus Border

Ukrainian officials said they will meet Russian counterparts at the Belarus border, shortly after Vladimir Putin has put Russia’s nuclear forces on higher alert.

Russian forces on Sunday attacked Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city. Much of Europe has closed its airspace to Russia, and offers of military assistance continue to flow in. 

Western nations agreed to exclude some Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, used for trillions of dollars worth of transactions between banks around the world, further isolating Russia’s economy and financial system. 

The nations also said they would act together to impose “restrictive measures that will prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions.”   

- ©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

February 27 2022 — 16:55

Putin nuclear alert order part of pattern of made-up threats, U.S. says

President Vladimir Putin's order to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert is part of a pattern of Moscow manufacturing threats to justify aggression, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Sunday.

"We've seen him do this time and time again. At no point has Russia been under threat from NATO, has Russia been under threat from Ukraine," Psaki said on ABC's "This Week" program.

"This is all a pattern from President Putin and we're going to stand up to it. We have the ability to defend ourselves, but we also need to call out what we're seeing here from President Putin," Psaki added.

The United States is open to providing additional assistance to Ukraine, Psaki said. Washington also has not taken sanctions targeting Russia's energy sector off the table, Psaki added.

"We have not taken those off, but we also want to do that and make sure we're minimizing the impact on the global marketplace and do it in a united way," Psaki said

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 16:30

Kyiv under curfew as Russians shell outskirts, some still trying to leave

The streets of central Kyiv lay almost deserted in the winter sunshine on Sunday, with residents ordered to stay in shelters as Russian forces continued to shell the city's outskirts, although some were still trying to leave despite the curfew.

On the fourth day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the capital was still in Ukrainian government hands, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rallying his people despite Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure.

At Kyiv's main railway station, hundreds of stranded passengers waited for trains to take them west, away from the fighting, watched over by a heavy guard of black-clad police armed with assault rifles.

The United Nations said nearly 400,000 people have fled abroad since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 16:19

Ukraine lodges case against Russia at world court

Ukraine has filed a suit against Russia at the highest U.N. court in The Hague for disputes between states, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday.

It was unclear on precisely what grounds the case was being brought to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). A court official could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ," Zelensky said on Twitter. "Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression. We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now."

The court does not have automatic jurisdiction in cases involving the two nations and Kyiv would have to base its claim on a U.N. treaty in order to give the court authority to hear the matter.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 15:55

Putin escalating in unacceptable manner with nuclear high alert - U.S. ambassador to U.N.

President Vladimir Putin's order to put Russia's deterrence forces, which include nuclear arms - on high alert is unacceptable escalation, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Sunday.

"It means that President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable and we have to continue to stem his actions in the strongest possible way," Thomas-Greenfield said in interview with CBS "Face the Nation." 

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 15:42

Putin escalating in unacceptable manner with nuclear high alert - U.S. ambassador to U.N.

The Czech Republic will not play a potential Fifa World Cup qualifier against Russia following their invasion of Ukraine, the Czech Football Association said on Sunday.

The Czech ruling body is the latest to pull out of the playoff matches after Poland and Sweden announced on Saturday they would not contest the qualifiers in March to decide who will go to the 2022 Fifa World Cup on Qatar.

"The FA executive committee approved unanimously the decision that the Czech national team will under no circumstances play the possible game against Russia's team in the 2022 World Cup qualification," the Czech Football Association said.

"The executive committee tasked Football Association chair Petr Fousek and secretary general Michal Valter to talk to Uefa and Fifa in regards to the decision of the executive committee not to play the possible game against Russia."

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 15:30

Chelsea 'praying for peace' over 'horrific' situation in Ukraine

Premier League club Chelsea, owned by Russian Roman Abramovich, issued a statement on Sunday saying they are praying for peace and described the situation in Ukraine as 'horrific'.

Abramovich announced on Saturday that he was giving "stewardship and care" of the club to trustees of the London side's foundation.

The Russian's comments came after calls in Britain that he be sanctioned over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine but did not include any reference to Ukraine or the conflict.

"The situation in Ukraine is horrific and devastating. Chelsea FC’s thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine.

"Everyone at the club is praying for peace," Chelsea said on their website.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 15:30

Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military command to put Russia's deterrence forces - a reference to units which include nuclear arms - on high alert, citing aggressive statements by NATO leaders and economic sanctions against Moscow.

"As you can see, not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension - I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about very well - but also the top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country," Putin said on state television.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 15:20

Ukraine's government raises crypto worth $8 million in crowdfunding appeal

Ukraine's government has raised almost $8 million in cryptocurrencies after posting appeals on social media for donations of bitcoin and other digital tokens, according to blockchain analysis company Elliptic.

Ukraine's official Twitter account made the appeal for cryptocurrency donations on Saturday following the country's invasion by Russia, posting digital wallets addresses for tokens including bitcoin and ether.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 15:12

Russia demands Google restore access to its media YouTube channels in Ukraine

Russia's state communications regulator on Sunday said it had written to Alphabet Inc's Google and demanded that access to Russian media's YouTube channels be restored on Ukrainian territory.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said it wanted all restrictions imposed on the Russian-language YouTube channels of media outlets RBC, TV Zvezda and Sputnik to be removed.

Moscow on Friday said it was partially limiting access to Meta Platforms Inc's Facebook, accusing it of "censoring" Russian media.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 14:50

Thandi Modise: 'SA hasn't officially been told of citizens requesting evacuation from Russia or Ukraine'

SA has not been informed of its citizens requiring evacuation from either Russia or Ukraine, defence and military veterans minister Thandi Modise said on Sunday.

Asked about this in a media briefing by the ministers of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster in Pretoria, Modise insisted SA believed in “dialogue” to end the conflict.

“We have not officially been told that South Africans wish to be evacuated either from Ukraine or from Russia. SA believes in dialogue and we are hoping that dialogue will actually be followed in this situation. If and when the need arises we will inform ,” said Modise.

The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that President Cyril Ramaphosa was said to be unhappy about the department of international relations & co-operation (Dirco) this week calling for Russia to withdraw its armed forces from Ukraine.

February 27 2022 — 14:30

Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

February 27 2022 — 14:15

'Heartbroken' Pope urges help for Ukraine, condemns warmongers

Pope Francis on Sunday called for humanitarian corridors to help refugees out of Ukraine and said those who make war should not be deluded into thinking that God is on their side.

Speaking to people in St. Peter's Square, some holding large Ukrainian flags, Francis also said his "heart is broken" by the war and condemned those who "trust in the diabolic and perverse logic of weapons"

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 14:04

Russia warns assistance to foreign state can be treason

The Russian state prosecutor's office said on Sunday that anyone providing financial or other assistance to a foreign state or international organisation aimed against Russia's security could be convicted of treason, facing a maximum sentence of 20 years.

"Each fact of providing financial or other assistance...will be legally evaluated," it said in a statement on the fourth day of what Russia describes as a military operation in Ukraine.

- Reuters

February 27 2022 — 13:33

Russian forces enter Ukraine's second city, gas pipelines explode

Russian military vehicles pushed into Ukraine's second-largest city on Sunday and explosions rocked oil and gas installations on a fourth day of fighting in the biggest assault on a European state since World War 2.

Russian soldiers and armoured vehicles were seen in different parts of the northeastern city of Kharkiv and firing could be heard, a witness said. A burning tank was visible in a video posted by the government.

Russian troops blew up a natural gas pipeline in Kharkiv before daybreak, a Ukrainian state agency said, sending a burning cloud up into the darkness.

February 27 2022 — 12:10

Putin suspended as honorary president of International Judo Federation

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been suspended as honorary president of the International Judo Federation (IJF), the sport's governing body announced on Sunday in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

“In light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine, the International Judo Federation announces the suspension of Mr Vladimir Putin's status as honorary president and ambassador of the International Judo Federation,” the IJF said in a statement. 

Putin launched what he called a special military operation before dawn on Thursday, ignoring Western warnings and saying the “neo-Nazis” ruling Ukraine threatened Russia's security. The Kremlin said its troops were advancing again “in all directions” after Putin ordered a pause on Friday. Russia's assault is the biggest on a European state since World War 2 and threatens to upend the continent's post-Cold War order.

February 27 2022 — 12:07

'With what army?' — What you said about SA's potential involvement in the Russia and Ukraine conflict

TimesLIVE readers have made it clear they don't want SA to be involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, jokingly asking what army we would use if called upon.

Tensions that have been brewing for years boiled over this week when Russian president Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Putin claimed the move was to “protect” the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and said there was a need to “demilitarise” the country. Ukraine said it was an “act of war”.

February 27 2022 — 11:54

UK says Russia needs to withdraw from Ukraine for any talks

British foreign minister Liz Truss said on Sunday there could be no talks with Russia over Ukraine while Moscow has troops in its neighbour.

Truss also said she had drawn up a “hit list” of Russian oligarchs and every few weeks the government would target their private jets, their properties and other possessions. The conflict could be protracted, she said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, under pressure over a series of parties at his Downing Street office and residence when Britain was under a strict Covid-19 lockdown, has wanted to take a lead in the West's response to the Ukraine crisis.

February 27 2022 — 09:54

UN reports at least 240 civilian casualties, 64 deaths in Ukraine

At least 64 civilians have been killed and more than 160,000 are on the move after Russian troops entered Ukraine this week, a United Nations relief agency said.

“As of 5:00pm on 26 February, (UN human rights office) OHCHR reports at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 dead,” the UN Office for the co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a status report,

It added the actual figures were likely to be “considerably higher”.

February 27 2022 — 09:45

Oscar Mabuyane supports calls for a peaceful resolution to Russia-Ukraine war

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane has supported calls for a peaceful resolution to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday made a call for mediation and engagement to end the war unfolding between the two countries which is threatening to lead to what some suggest will be “World War 3".

Ramaphosa was addressing the Intergovernmental National Litigation Forum in Pretoria.

February 27 2022 — 09:41

WATCH | Southern Africans in Ukraine speak

Southern Africans spoke with TimesLIVE about their experiences in Vinnytsia, Ukraine as the Russian military advances through the country on February 25 2022.

February 27 2022 — 07:53

Ukrainian oil and gas facilities burn as West prepares new sanctions

Russian forces have attacked oil and gas facilities in Ukraine, sparking huge explosions, officials said on Sunday, as Western allies prepared new sanctions, including banishing key Russia banks from the main global payments system.

Ukrainian forces were holding off Russian troops advancing on the capital, Kyiv, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as the biggest assault on a European state since World War 2 entered its fourth day.

Russian missiles found their mark, including a strike that set an oil terminal ablaze in Vasylkiv, southwest of Kyiv, the town's mayor said. Blasts sent huge flames and billowing black smoke into the night sky, online posts showed.

February 27 2022 — 07:15

The invasion of Ukraine was inevitable given Russian concerns and the folly of Western diplomacy

What we have witnessed in the public discourse building up to the events in Ukraine does not augur well for creating intelligent and nuanced understanding of global affairs.

The single, unsophisticated and wholly unbalanced narrative we have been receiving from Western leaders and the leading global news outlets is not conducive to resolving global challenges.

To the contrary, such brazen and self-serving intellectual ineptitude inflames conflicts. We need to create and embrace new knowledge and innovative frameworks that prevent wars and human strife globally. The future of diplomacy must be reimagined and reinvented.

February 27 2022 — 07:00

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine shifts the world order, which side of history do we want to be on?

So, Vladimir Putin’s inner child finally won. Russia invaded Ukraine. A dictatorship struck deep into a democracy. A new imperialism stalks the future. The West is challenged to an  unimaginable degree  and the world will never be the same again.

Ukraine poses no conceivable threat to Russia, but that is not why the Russian leader invaded. He is frightened of democracy. In his own country, political opponents are murdered or jailed after fake trials.

A billionaire tyrant and former senior KGB officer, Putin has hated every minute of post-Soviet Russia and has never hidden his dreams of restoring Russia’s old empire.

February 27 2022 — 06:45

Ramaphosa 'unhappy' over SA's Russia invasion flip-flop

A storm is brewing after the department of international relations & cooperation (Dirco) this week called for Russia to withdraw its armed forces from Ukraine.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is said to be “unhappy” at the strongly worded statement, with sources close to him saying it “contradicts” SA’s position on the Ukraine issue.  

A highly placed insider in the Union Buildings, who asked not to be named, told the Sunday Times: “The president did not see the statement before it was issued and he does not agree with it. There are people within Dirco with an agenda that we must be enemies with Russia.”

February 27 2022 — 06:30

Ukraine says Russian troops blow up gas pipeline in Kharkiv

Russian troops have blown up a natural gas pipeline in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukraine's state service of special communications and information protection said on Sunday.

A mushroom-shaped explosion was shown in a video it posted on the Telegram messaging app.

It was not immediately clear how important the pipeline was and whether the blast could disrupt gas shipments outside the city or the country. Despite the war, Ukraine continues to ship Russian natural gas to Europe. 

-Reuters

February 26 2022 — 20:18

Ukraine ambassador's press conference hijacked by hackers

Ukraine has activated all rights to self-defence after Russian attacks were launched on kindergartens, orphanages and hospitals on Saturday.

Speaking at a Zoom briefing that was intercepted and disrupted by hackers, Ukraine ambassador to South Africa, Oleh Zvasiuk, said that for the past three days Ukraine had been under full scale attack by Russia, as troops had crossed into the country with ongoing attacks from the east, south and north by air.

Describing the scale of the attacks, she said Russia appeared to be using all military potential and two nights ago Russian missiles had fallen on civilian's heads, as they forced their way into the capital Kyiv.

February 26 2022 — 16:35

Ukraine not refusing to negotiate but not ready for Russian ultimatums -official

kraine on Saturday denied suggestions that it was refusing to negotiate a ceasefire with Russia but said it was also not ready to accept ultimatums or unacceptable conditions.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, told Reuters Ukraine has prepared a negotiating position but was faced with impractical negotiating conditions from Russia.

"It was yesterday that the aggressive actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation escalated, up to evening and night mass air and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities," he said in a message. 

-Reuters

February 26 2022 — 14:07

Russian forces pound Ukraine for third day, Kyiv still in Ukrainian hands

Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for a third day running but a defiant President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the capital Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands.

As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled westwards towards the European Union, top Russian security official and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow's military operations would be waged relentlessly until their goals were achieved.

Ignoring weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday from the north, east and south, an assault that threatens to upend Europe's post-Cold War order.

-Reuters

February 26 2022 — 13:23

France seizes ship suspected of violating sanctions against Russia

rench sea police seized a ship on Saturday that authorities suspect belongs to a Russian company targeted by EU sanctions over the war in Ukraine, a government official told Reuters.

The cargo vessel transporting cars, which was headed for St. Petersburg, is "strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions," said Captain Veronique Magnin of the French Maritime Prefecture.

The ship was diverted to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France between 3am and 4am, Magnin said, adding ongoing checks were being carried out by customs officials and the ship's crew was "being cooperative."

-Reuters

February 26 2022 — 12:51

Ukraine's Zelenskiy says Ukraine still in control of Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that the capital Kyiv was still under Ukrainian control after Russia launched an invasion on Thursday.

"We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on," he said in a video message posted on his social media.

"We already have almost full support from EU countries for disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. I hope that Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision. We have the courage to defend our homeland, to defend Europe," Zelenskiy added.

-Reuters

February 26 2022 — 11:31

Ukrainian city of Melitopol not in Russian hands, British minister says

Russian forces have not captured the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol and armoured columns advancing on the capital Kyiv have been held up by Ukrainian resistance, British armed forces minister James Heappey said on Saturday.

Heappey said it was the British assessment that Russia had so far failed to capture any of its day one targets for its invasion of Ukraine, which began on Thursday.

"Even Melitopol, which the Russians are claiming to have taken but we can't see anything to substantiate that, are all still in Ukrainian hands," Heappey told BBC radio.

-Reuters

February 26 2022 — 10:19

Russian forces launch missile strikes on Ukrainian cities; president defiant

Russian forces launched co-ordinated missile and artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities on Saturday including the capital, Kyiv, where gunfire erupted near government buildings in the city centre, military officials and a Reuters witness said.

Ukrainian authorities have urged citizens to help defend Kyiv from advancing Russian forces who invaded on Thursday in the worst European security crisis in decades.

But even as the fighting grew more intense, the Russian and Ukrainian governments signalled an openness to negotiations, offering the first glimmer of hope for diplomacy since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion.

February 25 2022 — 17:42

WATCH | Tearful Ukrainians protest outside Russian embassy in Cape Town

Ukrainians and Russians living in Cape Town gathered outside the Russian embassy in the Cape Town city centre to protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

With tears in their eyes they remembered their loved ones in Russia and Ukraine and called for an end to the conflict that has sparked outrage around the world.

They chanted “Stop war! Stop War!” while looking up at the windows of the embassy. 

February 25 2022 — 15:02

LISTEN | SA animal rescuer in Ukraine speaks about Russian invasion

Gqeberha wildlife rescuer Lionel de Lange, who flew to Ukraine on Monday as part of a relocation project for a bear named Masha, finds himself amid the country’s tense conflict with Russia and with his rescue plans temporarily placed on hold.

In That Weekend Feeling with Daron Mann this week, De Lange describes what is unfolding in the country — his home for 11 years — and his exit plan.

February 25 2022 — 14:54

F1 cancels 2022 Russian Grand Prix

Formula One on Friday said it will not race in Russia this year after the country launched an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

February 25 2022 — 14:52

Russian F1 racer Mazepin faces uncertain future, says Haas team boss

Haas Formula One team boss Guenther Steiner acknowledged his team's Russian racer Nikita Mazepin faces an uncertain future due to the fallout around Russia's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The 22-year-old was signed to a race seat last year as part of a title sponsorship deal the US-owned team struck with Russian potash producer Uralkali owned by his billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin.

"It needs to be resolved," Steiner told reporters when asked about Mazepin's future.

February 25 2022 — 13:08

French finance minister Le Maire: We want to isolate Russia financially

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday that the European Union wanted to isolate Russia financially, as he spoke alongside his German counterpart Christian Lindner at a European Union finance ministers' meeting.

“We are going to strike the Russian banks. We want to isolate Russia financially. We want to cut off all the links between Russia and the global financial system,” said Le Maire.

Missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital on Friday as Russian forces pressed their advance and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.

February 25 2022 — 12:47

Uefa moves Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris

Uefa has moved this year's Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, European soccer's governing body said on Friday.

The home games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams competing in Uefa competitions would be played at neutral venues "until further notice". The governing body thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his "personal support and commitment" in taking on the final.

Uefa would "fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement".

February 25 2022 — 12:17

Ramaphosa calls for urgent mediation to end Russia vs Ukraine war

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for mediation and engagement to end the war unfolding between Russia and Ukraine, which is threatening to lead to what some suggest will be “World War 3".

Ramaphosa was addressing the Intergovernmental National Litigation Forum in Pretoria on Friday.

His call comes after international relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor urged Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine. 

February 25 2022 — 12:11

Steenhuisen calls on Ramaphosa to speak out against Russia’s aggression

DA leader John Steenhuisen has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to speak out against Russia’s aggression after that country’s invasion of Ukraine this week.

Tensions that have been brewing for years boiled over this week when Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered a “special military operation” to “protect” the Donbas region in the east of the country.

Putin said there was a need to “demilitarise” the country, while Ukraine labelled it an “act of war” and President Volodymyr Zelensky called on those capable of bearing arms to defend the nation.

February 25 2022 — 12:10

Invasion puts Ukraine’s nuclear reactors at risk, monitors warn

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfolding in a nation with 15 atomic reactors operating near full capacity, exposing Europe’s second-biggest nuclear fleet to potential safety risks.

Monitors at the International Atomic Energy Agency said late on Thursday they are gravely concerned by the situation and remain in contact with Ukrainian nuclear safety regulators.

Reactors require steady supplies of electricity and water, both of which could be put at risk by military action.

February 25 2022 — 12:04

Harry, Meghan ‘stand with people of Ukraine’ after Russia invasion

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan, have joined growing outrage against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday launched an all-out invasion on neighbouring Ukraine with missile strikes on cities and pouring its troops into the country, sparking outrage from Western leaders.

US President Joe Biden unveiled harsh new sanctions against Russia hours later, imposing measures to impede Russia's ability to do business in the world's major currencies, along with sanctions against banks and state-owned enterprises.

February 25 2022 — 11:33

'Which South Africa?' — Government urged not to get involved in deadly Russia and Ukraine conflict

Citizens have flooded social media asking “Which South Africa” the government was referring to when it demanded that Russia “immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine”.

Tensions that have been brewing for years boiled over this week when Russian president Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Putin claimed the move was to “protect” the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and said there was a need to “demilitarise” the country. Ukraine said it was an “act of war”.

February 25 2022 — 11:09

'I stand with Russia': Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla hails Putin

Former president Jacob Zuma's daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla has made her allegiance clear in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, praising Russian president Vladimir Putin and calling him “president of the world”.

Ukraine said more than 100 Ukranian military and civilians were killed and there were more than 800 Russian casualties on the first day of an invasion of that country on Thursday. 

Tensions that have been brewing for years boiled over this week when Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Putin claimed the move was to “protect” the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and said there was a need to “demilitarise” the country. Ukraine said it was an “act of war”.

February 25 2022 — 11:01

POLL | Should SA get involved in the Ukraine and Russia conflict?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday has sparked sharp reaction in SA.

As the conflict made global headlines, South Africans took to social media to weigh in on any potential response from our government.

Some said SA would be affected by the conflict and has a duty to get involved. Others said we have our own problems and we should not “stick our nose in other people’s business”.

February 25 2022 — 10:45

'Adopt a policy of non-alignment': Here's how Ndlozi believes Africa should handle Russia-Ukraine conflict

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has weighed in on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, saying Africa must adopt a policy of non-alignment. 

Explosions have been heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russian state TV he had authorised a military operation in eastern Ukraine. 

Russia launched what Western powers have called a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and targeted several cities.

February 25 2022 — 10:25

Oil’s war spike to hurt India, Philippines the worst in Asia

India, the Philippines and Thailand will likely stand to lose the most in Asia as a sustained increase in oil prices fans inflation, slows growth and weakens their currencies, according to Nomura Holdings Inc.

Those impacts in Asia from Russia’s Ukraine invasion will be felt mostly through commodities, specifically fuel and food, analysts including Sonal Varma and Ting Lu wrote in a report Friday, adding that other factors outside the conflict will also keep prices sustained. 

February 25 2022 — 10:05

Millions of barrels of Russian oil, products head for US ports

More than 12-million barrels of Russian-origin crude oil and refined products are en route to the US aboard almost two dozen vessels for delivery in the next month, according to oil-analytics firm Vortexa.

There were no reports of diversions as of Thursday morning, just hours after Russian military units attacked Ukrainian targets and international powers threatened to intensify sanctions. 

One of the numbers traders have been watching: US crude imports from Russia averaged about 106,000 barrels a day last week. Volumes have remained muted in recent weeks after averaging zero for three weeks straight in January. 

February 25 2022 — 09:45

Ukraine's Zelenskiy says Russian actions show sanctions not enough

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that continued Russian aggression against his country showed that sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West were not enough.

Zelenskiy said the world was continuing to observe what was going on in Ukraine after its capital Kyiv and other parts of the country were struck by Russian missiles in the early hours of Friday.

Addressing the Russian population in Russian at the end of a televised speech, Zelenskiy said the bombing of Kyiv was reminiscent of Nazi Germany's attacks during World War 2.

February 25 2022 — 09:20

How war in Ukraine threatens the world’s economic recovery

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine carries huge risks for a world economy that’s yet to fully recover from the pandemic shock.

The conflict already looks like the most serious war in Europe since 1945. Russian forces carried out air strikes, captured army bases and advanced towards Kyiv as civilians fled. Western officials said the capital may fall at any time, with its air defences eliminated

Bloomberg Economics examines how the conflict could impact growth, inflation and monetary policy.

February 25 2022 — 09:00

Russian troops advance on Kyiv as Ukrainian leader pleads for help

Missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital on Friday as Russian forces pressed their advance and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.

Air raid sirens wailed over Kyiv amid unconfirmed reports that a Russian plane had been shot down and crashed into a building a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion that has shocked the world.

A senior Ukrainian official said Russian forces would enter areas just outside the capital, Kyiv, later on Friday and that Ukrainian troops were defending positions on four fronts despite being outnumbered.

February 25 2022 — 08:40

Ukraine fights back against Russia as west ramps up sanctions

Ukraine’s president said his nation continued to resist on the second day of the Russian invasion as the US and European Union stepped up economic penalties and fighting raged north of Kyiv.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s military had stopped Russia from achieving its objectives in the first day of the assault. As air-raid sirens screamed in cities across the country of 41 million and Ukraine reported “horrific” rocket strikes in the capital, the president said Moscow-led forces were attacking military and civilian targets to keep up the pressure.

“Russia will have to talk to us sooner or later, talk about how to end the fighting and stop this invasion,” Zelenskiy, said in a morning address. “The sooner this conversation begins, the smaller the losses of Russia itself.”

February 25 2022 — 06:00

Russia advances on Kyiv, Zelenskiy pleads for help

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed on Friday to stay put in the capital Kyiv as Russian troops launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine from several fronts.

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