Russia attacks Ukraine live updates: Russian forces close on Kyiv

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Russia attacks Ukraine live updates: Russian forces close on Kyiv



Servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard take positions in central Kyiv as they ready for an anticipated assault on the city by Russian ground forces [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Russia attacks Ukraine live updates: Russian forces close on Kyiv

11 mins ago (12:26 GMT)

EU threatens Russia with further sanctions

The European Union’s executive arm has warned Moscow that the bloc could impose more sanctions on Russia yet, a day after its leaders agreed on a robust package of measures.

“When it comes to the sequencing of packages we have always said we have a massive package prepared and we will be applying this package in a progressive way, responding to concrete actions by Russia, and we are not at the end,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told a daily news conference.

27 mins ago (12:10 GMT)

Ukrainian president urges EU to toughen sanctions on Russia

Zelenskyy has urged Kyiv’s European allies to act more quickly and forcefully in imposing sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine, accusing the continent’s leaders of politicking as Russia’s forces advance on Kyiv.

“Europe has enough strength to stop this aggression,” the Ukrainian president said, adding that everything from banning Russians from entering the European Union to cutting Moscow off from SWIFT to an oil embargo should be on the table.

“You still can stop this aggression. You have to act swiftly,” he said.

33 mins ago (12:04 GMT)

In call with Putin, Xi says China supports dialogue: Report

Chinese state television CCTV reports that the country’s president, Xi Jinping, has told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Beijing supports Moscow in efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis via dialogue.

The leaders held talks on the situation by phone, CCTV reported.

47 mins ago (11:50 GMT)

Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Europe’s most vulnerable president?

Zelenskyy has said he believes Moscow has marked him down as “the number one target” amid Russia’s invasion of his country.

“They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state,” he said.

But who is the comedian-turned-politician now facing down the Kremlin as it reportedly seeks regime change?

55 mins ago (11:42 GMT)

Syria’s Assad offers Putin his backing

Bashar Al-Assad has called Putin to express his support for Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, according to a statement issued by the Syrian president’s office.

“During the call, they talked about the situation in Ukraine and the special military operation by the Russian Federation to protect the civilian population in the Donbas region,” the statement said.

“President Assad stressed that what is happening today is a correction of history and a restoration of balance in the global order after the fall of the Soviet Union,” it added.

Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow, which intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015 to support al-Assad, turning the tide of the conflict in his favour.

A Russian Army military vehicle is seen in the annexed-Crimean peninsula
Russian forces have attacked Ukraine by land, air and sea as part of a multi-pronged invasion ordered by Putin [Reuters]

1 hour ago (11:35 GMT)

Only way forward for Ukraine is neutrality, Russian spy chief says

Russia’s Foreign Intelligence chief has said the only way forward for Ukraine is neutrality after an adviser of Zelenskyy suggested Kyiv was ready for talks with Moscow, including on adopting a neutral status regarding NATO,

Sergei Naryshkin’s remarks came after the Kremlin said it had noted the statement by Mykhailo Podolyak, given to the Reuters news agency, and was in the process of analysing his comments.

Ukraine was promised eventual NATO membership as far back as 2008, drawing Moscow’s ire. In the run-up to Russia’s invasion, President Vladimir Putin demanded that the United States-led alliance commit to never accepting Kyiv into its ranks.

NATO and Washington flatly rejected to provide such guarantees.

1 hour ago (11:19 GMT)

US eyeing training Ukrainian troops remotely: Report

The US is considering ways to train Ukrainian forces remotely if Russia takes control of the country, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has told officials from the House of Representatives, according to a report by the Axios news website.

The secretary of defence also said on his call with legislators that Washington was looking into providing Kyiv with more defence equipment, but that doing so had become more difficult amid the Russian advance, Axios reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.

Austin reportedly added that the US will continue to support Zelenskyy’s government for as long as it remained “viable”.

2 hours ago (10:59 GMT)

What is SWIFT and could it be used to punish Putin?

Russia’s invasion has triggered sanctions against the country as well as calls to sever it from the main global payments system.

Ejecting it from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network could cripple Moscow’s ability to trade with most of the world and deal a heavy blow to the Russian economy.

2 hours ago (10:50 GMT)

Moscow says Ukraine must lay down arms before talks can take place

Russian Foreign Minister says Moscow will only be ready to hold talks with Kyiv once Ukraine’s military has laid down its arms.

Sergey Lavrov also claimed Russia wants the Ukrainian people to be independent and have the possibility to freely define their destiny, but warned the Kremlin did not want “neo-Nazis” to govern Russia’s neighbour.

He added Russia sees no possibility of recognising the current Ukrainian government as democratic.

2 hours ago (10:31 GMT)

The view from Kyiv, via The Take podcast

In this episode, Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast explores Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through the eyes of one woman in Kyiv.

2 hours ago (10:24 GMT)

Kyiv authorities warn residents ‘active hostilities’ are approaching

Local authorities in Kyiv have told residents in the city’s north-western Obolon district to stay off the streets as “active hostilities” are approaching.

“In connection with the approach of active hostilities, residents of Obolon district are asked not to go outside,” the city council said in an alert.

2 hours ago (10:14 GMT)

UN rights office condemns Russia anti-war protests arrests

A spokeswoman for the UN’s human rights office has condemned the “arbitrary” arrests of more than 1,800 people in Russia for protesting against the country’s invasion of Ukraine and called for their immediate release.

“Arresting individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression or a peaceful assembly constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty,” Ravina Shamdasani told reporters.

At least 1,831 protesters were detained by police at anti-war demonstrations held in 60 cities throughout Russia on Thursday evening, according to the OVD-Info monitoring group.

3 hours ago (10:05 GMT)

UEFA shifts Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris

UEFA has announced it will move this year’s Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

European football’s governing body also said that the home games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams competing in UEFA competitions will be played at neutral venues “until further notice”.

“UEFA will 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,” it added in a statement.