Ukraine Day 4: 1,684 wounded and 352 killed, Ukrainian Health Ministry – National Post

Ukraine Day 4: 1,684 wounded and 352 killed, Ukrainian Health Ministry – National Post

Putin ordered his military command to put Russia’s deterrence forces on high alert, citing aggressive statements by NATO leaders and economic sanctions against Moscow

6:00 p.m. EST — Shelling in all directions

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces described Sunday as “a difficult time” for the military, saying Russian troops “continue shelling in almost all directions.”

In an English-language post on Facebook, the general staff said defense force members in the Vasylkiv military air base south west of Kyiv were resisting artillery strikes and Russian attacks.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council called for a rare emergency special session of the 193-member General Assembly on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which will be held on Monday.

The vote by the 15-member council was procedural so Russia could not wield its veto. A resolution convening the General Assembly session was adopted with 11 yes votes. Russia voted no, while China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstained.

3:20 p.m. EST — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine kills 352 civilians, including 14 children

Ukraine’s health ministry said on Sunday that 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It also said that 1,684 people, including 116 children, had been wounded.

2:30 p.m. EST — Russian convoy of ground forces, fuel, tanks moving toward Kyiv, FIFA bans matches in Russia, no flag or anthem for team, UPS and FedEx halting shipments to Russia and Ukraine

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.

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

UPS and FedEx have said they are halting delivery service to Russia and Ukraine because of the conflict.

The companies said both inbound and outbound services were temporarily suspended to the two countries, in online statements seen on Sunday.

2:00 p.m. EST — Belgium to send machine guns and grenade launches to help Ukraine, Zelenskyy says

Ukraine will receive 3,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers from Belgium, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy 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.

It was nice to learn that in addition to yesterday’s agreements, Belgium is sending us another 3,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers. Thank you @alexanderdecroo for your leadership.

12:45 p.m. EST — Ukraine reports damage to two nuclear waste facilities

Two Ukrainian facilities containing nuclear waste suffered damage amid Russia’s now four-day-old invasion, international monitors reported on Sunday.

Missiles hit a radioactive waste-disposal site in Kyiv, and an electrical transformer was damaged in a similar depot in Kharkiv, according to an email from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Inspectors are still awaiting radiation measurements from local authorities to determine the extent of the damage.

“These two incidents highlight the very real risk that facilities with radioactive material will suffer damage during the conflict, with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.

“I urgently and strongly appeal to all parties to refrain from any military or other action that could threaten the safety and security of these facilities.”

Ukraine is Europe’s second-biggest generator of nuclear power after France. Energoatom, the utility which runs its reactors, has continued to operate its four plants housing 15 reactors even as Russia’s military incursion unfolded. Atomic energy generates about half the country’s power.

Russia also seized the area around the shuttered Chernobyl nuclear power plant during its advance into Ukraine.

12:30 p.m. EST — EU tightens Russian sanctions and buys weapons for Ukraine

The European Union will tighten sanctions on Russia, target Russian ally Belarus with measures and fund weapons for Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia’s invasion, top EU officials said on Sunday.

“For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

She said the European Union would close its airspace to Russian aircraft, including the private jets of Russian oligarchs.

12:00 p.m. EST — Ukrainian official says missiles launched from Belarus to Ukraine

Missiles launched from Belarus had hit an airport in Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine on Sunday, 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.

11:45 a.m. EST — Russia says its soldiers have been killed, wounded in Ukraine offensive

Russia’s defense ministry said on Sunday Russian soldiers had been killed and wounded during an offensive in Ukraine, but added its losses were far lower than those suffered by Ukraine without specifying a number, the Interfax news agency reported.

Since the start of what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, armed forces have hit 1,067 Ukrainian military sites, Interfax cited the ministry as saying.

11:40 a.m. EST — Airplane carrying Norway NATO troops lands in Lithuania

A military aircraft carrying Norwegian troop reinforcements landed in Lithuania on Sunday, part of a wider NATO buildup in the Baltic region following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Norwegian troops – 44 soldiers from a mechanized infantry battalion – will join the alliance’s enhanced forward presence battlegroup in Lithuania, deployed since 2017 in response to Russia’s takeover of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.

Norwegian enforcements also include four CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, three of which were transported by a separate plane, a Ukrainian-made Antonov An-124.

“In my company I have main battle tanks, I have new CV90s, highly technological, and a lot of other vehicles,” said Captain Endre Saurstroe, commander of Norwegian troops in Lithuania.

11:00 a.m. EST — 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.

10:55 a.m. EST — 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 Zelenskyy’s office said on Sunday.

10:50 a.m. EST — Turkey to implement pact limiting Russian warships to Black Sea

NATO member Turkey changed its rhetoric to call Russia’s assault on Ukraine a “war” on Sunday and pledged to implement parts of an international pact that would potentially limit the transit of Russian warships from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

Kyiv had appealed to Ankara to block any more Russian ships from entering the Black Sea, from which Moscow launched an incursion on Ukraine’s southern coast. At least six Russian warships and a submarine transited Turkey’s straits this month.

“It is not a couple of air strikes now, the situation in Ukraine is officially a war… We will implement the Montreux Convention,” Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk.

Balancing its Western commitments and close ties to Moscow, Ankara has in recent days called the Russian attack unacceptable but until Sunday had not described the situation in Ukraine as a war.

The rhetorical shift allows Turkey to enact the articles of the 1936 Montreux Convention that permits it to limit naval transit of its Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits during wartime, or if threatened.

Yet Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey cannot block all Russian warships accessing the Black Sea due to a clause in the pact exempting those returning to their registered base.

10:00 a.m. EST — Police detain more than 900 people at anti-war protests across Russia

Police detained more than 900 people at anti-war protests that occurred in 44 Russian cities on Sunday, raising the total since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 to over 4,000, independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info said.

Sunday’s protests coincided with the seventh anniversary of the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. Some of Sunday’s arrests took place at an improvised memorial just outside the Kremlin at the site where Nemtsov was shot, a Reuters witness said.

9:30 a.m. EST — 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. 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 said on ABC’s “This Week” program.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that Putin’s actions had escalated the conflict and were “unacceptable.”

9:20 a.m. EST — Canada to shut its airspace to Russian operators immediately

Canada has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft operators effective immediately due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Canada’s minister of transportation said on Sunday.

“We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” Omar Alghabra wrote in a Twitter post.

9:00 a.m. EST — Ukraine and Russia agree to talks without preconditions, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet for talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said on Sunday.

The talks, the first since Russia unleashed a full scale invasion of Ukraine last week, would be held without preconditions and are the result of a phone call between Zelenskyy and the Belarusian president, Zelenskyy said.

“We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River,” he said in a statement.

8:30 a.m. EST — Russia’s 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.

7:30 a.m. EST — G7 says West to cut some Russian banks from SWIFT

Group of Seven (G7) leaders said on Sunday that western allies had decided to cut off “certain Russian banks” from the worldwide interbanking communication system called SWIFT.

The statement, in a joint declaration published by the French presidency, did not specify which Russian banks would be affected. It added a transatlantic task force will soon be put in place to coordinate sanctions against Russia.

6:30 a.m. EST — EU foreign ministers will adopt Russia sanctions later on Sunday

European Union foreign ministers will adopt a third round of sanctions on Russia at a virtual meeting later on Sunday, chief EU diplomat Josep Borrell said.

The measures will include the exclusion of some Russian banks from the global payment system SWIFT, he said on Twitter.

6:10 a.m. EST — Ukraine submits application against Russia to ICJ

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday his nation had submitted an application against Russia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“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 and expect trials to start next week,” Zelenskyy wrote on his Twitter.

Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ. 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 and expect trials to start next week.

5:40 a.m. EST — U.N. nuclear watchdog to hold emergency meeting on Ukraine

The U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA’s board of governors will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday on the situation in Ukraine, diplomats said on Sunday.

One diplomat told Reuters the agenda item would be “the safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine.” Another said it was called by Canada and Poland, which are members of the 35-nation board, at the request of Ukraine, which is not on the board.

4:20 a.m. EST — Internet in Ukraine disrupted as Russian troops advance

Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been affected by the Russian invasion, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting has been heaviest, internet monitors said on Saturday.

Russian forces captured the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol on Saturday, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, as Moscow launched coordinated cruise missile and artillery strikes on several cities, including the capital Kyiv.

Connectivity to GigaTrans, Ukraine’s main internet provider, dropped to below 20 per cent of normal levels before returning to higher levels in the early hours of Friday morning, according to internet monitoring organization NetBlocks.

“We currently observe national connectivity at 87 per cent of ordinary levels, a figure that reflects service disruptions as well as population flight and the shuttering of homes and businesses since the morning of the 24th,” Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, told Reuters.

2:40 a.m. EST — Ukraine rejects Russian offer of talks in Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected a Russian offer of talks in Belarus on Sunday, saying Minsk itself was complicit in the Russian invasion, but leaving the door open to negotiations in other locations.

The Kremlin said on Sunday its delegation was ready to meet Ukrainian officials in the Belarusian city of Gomel.

2:38 a.m. EST — U.N. 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 5:00 p.m. on 26 February, (U.N. human rights office) OHCHR reports at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 dead,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a status report,

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

Damage to civilian infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity or water. Hundreds of homes had been damaged or destroyed, while bridges and roads hit by shelling had left some communities cut off from markets, it said.

It cited the U.N. refugee agency as saying more than 160,000 people had been internally displaced and more than 116,000 forced to flee into neighbouring countries.

2:30 a.m. EST — Russia ready for talks with Ukraine

A Russian delegation has arrived in Belarus for talks with Ukraine, a Kremlin spokesperson was quoted by the Ifax news agency as saying on Sunday, the first negotiations since Russia started its invasion on Feb. 24.

2:00 a.m. EST — Russian cruise missile downed by Ukrainian forces

Ukrainian forces have downed a cruise missile that was launched by a Russian Tu-22 strategic bomber from the territory of Belarus, Valery Zaluzhny, the chief commander of the armed forces, said on Sunday.

1:30 a.m. EST — Two blasts heard near Kyiv

A blast was heard to the west of the Kyiv city center on Sunday, minutes after air raid sirens, a Reuters correspondent reported. Two more blasts were heard about 20 minutes later, around 8:40 a.m.

Ukraine is establishing a foreign “international” legion for volunteers from abroad, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

1:00 a.m. EST — Battles on the streets of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv

Ukrainian forces were battling Russian troops on the streets of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv on Sunday, said regional governor Oleh Sinegubov.

“The Russian enemy’s light vehicles have broken into Kharkiv, including the city center,” Sinegubov said. “Ukraine’s armed forces are destroying the enemy. We ask civilians not to go out.”

With additional reporting by Reuters, Bloomberg and The Canadian Press

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