The tension between Russia and Ukraine reached new levels as Russia began a military operation in the European nation in February.

Here are the latest updates on the unfolding situation.

Hundreds of Ukrainian troops evacuated from Mariupol steel plant

Tuesday, May 17

Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who were trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks plant have been evacuated, according to BBC News.

What they’re saying: “Fifty-three seriously injured people were evacuated from Azovstal to a medical facility in Novoazovsk for medical care,” said Hanna Malyar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, per CNN. “Another 211 people were taken to Olenivka through the humanitarian corridor.”

  • “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He went on to thank the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the intelligence agency, the negotiating team, the Red Cross and the United Nations.
  • “The operation to rescue the defenders of Mariupol was started by our military and intelligence officers. To bring the boys home, the work continues, and this work needs delicacy. And time,” said Zelenskyy.

Details: There are other rescue missions underway to evacuate the remaining fighters in the steel plant, per Al Jazeera. An estimated 600 troops were inside the plant who continued fighting after Russian forces had gotten a hold of the city.

  • The plant has been functioning as a shelter for civilians and soldiers with its extensive tunnel network.

Here’s what Putin said in his Victory Day speech

Monday, May 9

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Victory Day, a Russian holiday that marks the Soviet Union’s World War II triumph over Nazi Germany.

He was accompanied by a military parade in Moscow’s Red Square, followed by a march where people were invited to carry signs with pictures of their relatives who fought in the war, according to BBC News. Planned air shows were canceled.

Driving the news: In his speech, he accused NATO of being the root cause of the war against Ukraine, while labeling Russian actions a necessary defense against “aggression.”

What he said: “Russia called on the West for an honest dialogue, to search for reasonable, compromise solutions, to take into account each other’s interests. All in vain. The NATO countries did not want to hear us, which means that in fact they had completely different plans,” Putin said, per CBS News.

  • “The NATO bloc has begun active military development of the territories adjacent to us. Thus, a threat that is absolutely unacceptable to us was systematically created, moreover, directly at our borders,” Putin said, according to NBC News.
  • Putin said, per NPR: “Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression. This decision was forced, timely and the only correct one — a decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country.”

State of play: Predictions indicated that Putin could formally announce war on Ukraine on Victory Day or at least signal any military or political shifts.

Fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine as Russia aims for full control of the south

Friday, May 6

The largest port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine has been surrounded by Russian forces since March and now the region is mostly under Russian control.

Driving the news: The focus has been redirected on the Azovstal steel plant.

  • According to BBC, the steel plant has been stormed by Russian forces, with Ukrainian soldiers losing ground.
  • This week, close to 50 civilians have been evacuated, per Reuters. However, 200 people are still stuck in the steel plant.

What they’re saying: “The process (of evacuation) is ongoing. For now it is difficult to comment on it or talk about any results, as it has not finished yet,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Donetsk region, said on Ukrainian television late Friday local time, per CNN.

  • “When people are already on the territory controlled by Ukraine, when the first aid is provided to them and they are safe, then we will talk about numbers. Therefore, it’s too early to comment on the second stage of the process.”

What else: Fighting is intensifying in the east of Ukraine as Russia pulls back forces from the capital Kyiv, and solely focuses on the disputed Donbas region, specifically the city of Izyum.

Did U.S. intelligence help Ukraine kill Russian generals?

Friday, May 6

A New York Times report from May 4 said that Ukrainian forces have been able to kill “approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts.”

What they’re saying: Pentagon spokesperson John F. Kirby said the agency “will not speak of the details of that information” but added that the United States assists “Ukraine with information and intelligence that they can use to defend themselves,” per the report.

  • On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Kirby said: “Dmitry Peskov, the (Kremlin) spokesman, said something similar just yesterday, acknowledging that this is just the United States now involved in some sort of proxy effort. So it’s not helpful.”
  • An NBC News report suggested that the U.S. helped sink the Russian warship Moskva, to which Kirby said: “What I can tell you is we didn’t provide them specific targeting information for that ship and we were not involved in their decision to strike that ship,” per CNBC News.

Yes, but: While the U.S. has, on occasion, provided Ukraine with information, the Times reported that it isn’t hard to find generals who used “unsecure phones and radios.”

  • “It shows poor discipline, lack of experience, arrogance and failure to appreciate Ukrainian capabilities,” said Frederick B. Hodges, the former top U.S. Army commander who now works with the Center for European Policy Analysis.
  • “It is not hard to geolocate someone on a phone talking in the clear.”

More than 5.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine, U.N. says

Monday, May 2

At least 5.5 million people have fled Ukraine since late February, while close to 7.7 million people are displaced within Ukraine, per CNN.

The bigger picture: The United Nations projects 8.3 million people will flee Ukraine this year.

What they’re saying: “The scale of the crisis, definitely the rapidity of people fleeing, we have not seen in recent times,” said Shabia Mantoo, U.N. refugee agency spokesperson.

So far, more than 3,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion started, data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights revealed.

Russia strikes Kyiv as U.N. chief visits Ukraine

Friday, April 29

Russian missiles attacked Kyiv while United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was in the city meeting with Ukrainian officials.

Per The Guardian, the Russian defense ministry confirmed that two “high-precision, long-range air-based weapons” destroyed buildings where the Artyom missile is produced.

Yes, but, the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, said a 25-story residential building was also hit in the airstrike.

  • The attack was launched after Guterres held a press conference.
  • Radio Free Europe said that one of its journalists, Vira Hyrych, had died when the missile struck the residential building.

What they’re saying: Guterres and his team were “shocked” by the proximity of the attacks, close to central Kyiv, according to an Al Jazeera report.

  • “It is a war zone but it is shocking that it happened close to us,” the U.N. spokesperson said.
  • “This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude towards global institutions, about attempts of Russian authorities to humiliate the U.N. and everything that the organization represents,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address. “Therefore, it requires corresponding powerful reaction.”

Trevor Reed, a U.S. citizen detained in Russia since 2019, has been released in a prisoner swap

Wednesday, April 27

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that Russia freed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed from detention in a prisoner swap.

What they’re saying: “Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly,” Biden said in a statement. “Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention.”

“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Biden added. 

Details: A post on Telegram from Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that Reed was “exchanged for Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an American court in 2010.”

Flashback: According to The Washington Post, Yaroshenko was sentenced in September 2011 on charges of conspiring to smuggle more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the U.S.

Russia cuts off gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria as Putin warns countries from intervening

Wednesday, April 27

Russia’s state-controlled natural gas corporation Gazprom said on Wednesday that it had suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, after the two countries refused to pay for the shipments in rubles, according to NBC News.

State of play: “The announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

  • “This is unjustified and unacceptable,” she added.
  • Currently, both countries are said to have secured alternate gas supplies, per The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned countries from intervening in what he calls a “special military operation.”

  • “Our response, our retaliation, those attacks will be very fast. We have all instruments for that. Such instruments as nobody can boast and we’re not going to boast. We’re going to use them if we have to. I want everybody to know that,” Putin said before Russia’s Council of Legislators in Moscow, per CNBC News.

At defense talks in Germany, 40 countries unite to support Ukraine

Tuesday, April 26

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, host of defense talks with NATO officials at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, started the talks by saying, “As we see this morning, nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperial aggression,” per Reuters.

Driving the news: During the talks, which focused on giving aid to Ukraine, Austin acknowledged Germany’s decision to send 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft systems as “significant,” per NBC News.

What he said: “We have to move at the speed of war,” said Austin. “We’re here to help Ukraine win the fight against Russia’s unjust invasion and to build up Ukraine’s defenses for tomorrow’s challenges. ... Ukraine clearly believes that it can win. And so does everyone here.”

Yes, and: The allies will meet monthly to discuss war strategy for Ukraine, according to CNN.

Meanwhile: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the danger of nuclear war “serious and real.” Top U.S. Gen. Mark Milley said Lavrov’s comments were “irresponsible,” but added that the danger should not be “underestimated,” per CNN.

Kyiv to remove Soviet-era statue commemorating ‘friendship’ between Ukrainians and Russians

Monday, April 25

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on Monday that workers will dismantle the Soviet-era sculpture that commemorated Ukraine’s friendship with Russia.

What they’re saying: “This week we will dismantle a bronze sculpture of two workers, erected in 1982 ‘to commemorate the reunification of Ukraine with Russia,’” Klitschko, a former boxer, said, per CNN.

  • “The eight meters of metal of the so-called ‘friendship of two peoples’ will be removed from the center of Kyiv.”
  • The rainbow-shaped arch stretching over the monument, originally called the People’s Friendship Arch, will be renamed and painted blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Here are key takeaways from Blinken and Austin’s meetings in Kyiv

Monday, April 25

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Sunday, where they met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as other officials.

Why it matters: Blinken and Austin are the highest-level U.S. officials to have traveled to Ukraine since the invasion began, according to CNBC News.

Driving the news: Per Zelenskyy’s request, the U.S. officials didn’t come empty-handed — they informed the president of more than $700 million in new military aid to Ukraine and other countries, as well as the intent to resume diplomatic operations in Ukraine, which means bringing U.S. diplomats back to the country, according to The Washington Post.

What they’re saying: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said at a news conference at an undisclosed location in Poland, per CNN. “So it has already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.”

State of play: U.S. officials continue their stance of not being directly involved in the war, but will, instead, give “the right equipment and the right support” to Ukraine, said Austin, per the report.

Ukraine war could last until the end of 2023

Friday, April 22

The war between Ukraine and Russia may not end until the final months of 2023, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Details: Johnson said that Russia will likely use artillery in the next months to chip away at the Ukrainian military, according to BBC News.

  • He also said there “is a realistic possibility” that the war will continue until the end of 2023.

What he said: “Putin has a huge army,” he said, per BBC News. “He has a very difficult political position because he’s made a catastrophic blunder.

  • “The only option he now has, really, is to continue to try to use his appalling, grinding approach driven by artillery, trying to grind the Ukrainians down.”

Yes, but: Johnson said Putin’s military may be strong, but “he will not be able to conquer the spirit of the Ukrainian people.”

Other predictions: Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s former chief economic adviser, said a few weeks back that the war could end within a month if the West decided to embargo all Russian oil and gas, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • Other experts see multiple potential outcomes for the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia could install a pro-Russian government in Kyiv, or divide Ukraine into separate nations, one of which would show support for Russia, experts recently told CNBC.
  • At the same time, there’s belief that Russia would remove itself from the war if Ukraine keeps up the fight and drains Russia’s resources.
  • The most extreme prediction would be Russia deciding to attack other NATO countries, leading to a full-scale world war.

Putin claims ‘success’ in Mariupol; Biden announces new aid for Ukraine

Thursday, April 21

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed “success” in the city of Mariupol — a critical port city that’s been the center of recent battles between Ukraine and Russia.

  • But, per NBC News, Putin also ordered his forces not to rush into the Ukrainian resistance in the city, opting to keep it blocked “so that not even a fly comes through.”
  • Putin said it would be “impractical” to attack the last holdout, which is reportedly at a steel plant, per The New York Times.
  • It’s still unclear if the city has completely fallen to Russia.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden announced a ban Thursday on Russian-affiliated ships in U.S. ports, as well as $800 million in new aid for Ukraine, per The Washington Post

  • “We’re not sitting on the funding that Congress has provided for Ukraine,” Biden said on Thursday. “We’re sending it directly to the front lines of freedom to the fearless and skilled Ukrainian fighters who are standing in the breach.”

Biden’s announcement comes as Russia has shifted its battle to the eastern region of Ukraine, specifically the Donbas region — which is seen as a major shift in Russia’s ongoing invasion of the European nation.

The Moskva — Russia’s flagship in the fleet — has sunk, Russian media says

Thursday, April 14

Russia’s defense ministry said Thursday that the Moskva — Russia’s flagship in the fleet — has sunk, according to local Russian media reports, per BBC News.

  • Ukraine said it struck the warship with missiles. However, Russia did not mention such an attack, according to The New York Times.
  • Russia’s defense ministry said the ship sunk due to “stormy seas,” per BBC News.

What they said: “During the towing of the cruiser Moskva to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to hull damage received during a fire from the detonation of ammunition. In the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank,” the defense ministry’s statement said, according to TASS, per CNN.

Russia threatens to deploy nuclear weapons if Finland, Sweden join NATO

Thursday, April 14

Russia hinted at possibly deploying nuclear weapons if Finland and Sweden join NATO, CNBC reports.

What’s happening: Dmitry Medvedev, former president and deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, wrote in a Telegram post on Thursday that the Baltic region would no longer be nuclear-free if Finland and Sweden are accepted into NATO.

What he said: “If Sweden and Finland join NATO, the length of the alliance’s land borders with the Russian Federation will more than double. Naturally, these borders will have to be strengthened,” Medvedev said, per CNBC.

Catch up quick: Finnish officials recently hinted that they’re going to request Finland join NATO in the coming days, according to The Washington Post.

  • Sweden has been looking to make a similar move.
  • Both countries “are officially nonaligned militarily, but they are reconsidering their status in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — prompting escalating warnings from Russia,” per The Washington Post.

Final fights in Mariupol as battle shifts to eastern Ukraine

Wednesday, April 13

Both Russia and Ukraine made claims about what’s happening in Mariupol, a key port city of Ukraine where fighting is winding down as the war shifts to the eastern region of Ukraine.

What’s happening: Russia said Wednesday that 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in the city of Mariupol, per BBC News.

However: Ukraine rejected the claim, saying that the marines left to join the Azov battalion, which is “an ultra-nationalist militia now part of the Ukrainian armed forces,” according to BBC News.

What they’re saying: Dr. Aglaya Snetkov, lecturer in International Politics at University College London, told BBC News that a total surrender from these soldiers would not surprise her.

  • “Their supplies have been degrading, they’ve run out of food, ammunition and water,” she said.

What’s next: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that peace talks between Russia and Ukraine had reached a dead end.

  • However, he said Russia would focus its wartime efforts on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where there have been pro-Russia separatists since 2014, per The New York Times.

What he said: “We will act rhythmically and calmly, according to the plan that was initially proposed by the general staff,” Putin said, per The New York Times. “Our goal is to help the people who live in the Donbas, who feel their unbreakable bond with Russia.”

Russian President Putin admits talks with Ukraine are at a dead end

Tuesday, April 12

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that peace talks with Ukraine are “at a dead end” and said Russia would continue its invasion, per Bloomberg.

  • Ukraine recently accused Russian troops of committing war crimes by “killing unarmed civilians in Bucha and other towns in the north,” according to Bloomberg.
  • Putin said Russia’s offensive is going “according to plan.”
  • “We have again returned to a dead-end situation for us,” Putin said, according to Reuters.

Putin said that Russia has no choice but to continue the invasion because it has to defend Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine, per Reuters.

Russia readying troops to fight in the East, Zelenskyy says

Monday, April 11

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia has been building troops in eastern Ukraine to begin a new phase of the war.

  • Zelenskyy said Russia has concentrated tens of thousands of troops in eastern Ukraine, per BBC News.
  • Russia has been adding more firepower to its army as it prepares for a new showdown in the east, which could begin in the next few days, according to ABC News.

What they’re saying: “Russian troops will move to even larger operations in the east of our state,” Zelenskyy said Sunday night, per ABC News.

Why it matters: “Experts have said that the next phase of the battle may begin with a full-scale offensive,” according to ABC News.

  • “The outcome could determine the course of the conflict, which has flattened cities, killed untold thousands and isolated Moscow economically and politically.”

Ukraine asks NATO for ‘weapons, weapons, weapons’ for the fight against Russia

Thursday, April 7

Ukraine made an appeal to NATO Thursday to provide arms for Ukrainian forces to continue the dogged fight against Russia, per The Washington Post.

Driving the news: Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed a gathering of NATO members, saying the country needed “weapons, weapons, weapons” to keep fighting Russia.

What he said: “The more weapons we get, and the sooner they arrive in Ukraine, the more human lives will be saved,” Kuleba said before the meeting, per The Washington Post.

  • “The more cities and villages will not be destructed. And there will be no more Buchas.”

The bigger picture: The call for more weapons comes amid reports of multiple civilian killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • Last weekend, photographers and officials shared reports and photos of mass civilian killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.
  • Many of the citizens had their arms tied behind their backs, per Axios.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy addresses the U.N. amid claims of alleged Russian war crimes

Tuesday, April 5

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the United Nations Tuesday morning just days after reports emerged of civilian killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

Quick flashback: The reports of the Bucha killings immediately led to claims of alleged Russian war crimes, including from President Joe Biden, who called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a war criminal” over the incident.

The latest: Zelenskyy called on the U.N. Security Council to remove Russia “as an aggressor and a source of war, so it cannot block decisions about its own aggression, its own war.”

  • He said Russian troops committed multiple atrocities on civilians, mentioning graphic details of what happened to the people in Bucha.
  • Zelenskyy also proposed more security from the U.N. He mentioned creation of a new international group — called U-24 — that would prevent an outbreak of war. He previously mentioned this group in a speech to U.S. Congress.
  • He said there is no difference between the Russian military and ISIS.
  • Zelenskyy also said that Russia hopes to occupy Donbas and the South of Ukraine in order to create an easy connection to Crimea.

What he said: “Now the world can see what they have done in Bucha,” Zelenskyy told the Security Council, according to CBS News. “But the world has yet to see what Russia has done in other regions.”

  • “They [the Russians] are creating mass starvation. They even blow up shelters where civilians are hiding.
  • “The massacre at Bucha is only one example of the horrors the occupiers have unleashed.”
  • “Ukraine has the moral right to propose a reform of the world security system.”

What’s next: Zelenskyy said he hopes Russia’s military is brought to justice.

President Biden calls Putin ‘a war criminal’ after Bucha killings

Monday, April 4

President Joe Biden called Russian Vladimir Putin “a war criminal” Monday after recent events in Bucha.

Catch up quick: Multiple officials reported civilian deaths in the city of Bucha over the weekend, according to Axios.

  • In photographs, many of the civilians who died were seen with their hands tied behind their backs.
  • The European Union said it would create new sanctions against Russia in response.
  • Russia’s defense ministry rejected the reports.

What Biden said: “You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden said, according to a readout from the White House. “Well, the truth of the matter — you saw what happened in Bucha. This warrants him — he is a war criminal. 

  • “But we have to gather the information, we have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight, and we have to get all the detail so this can be actual — have a wartime trial. 
  • “This guy is brutal. And what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it.”

One last note: When asked if what happened in Bucha is genocide, Biden replied, “No, I think it is a war crime.”

Ukraine President Zelenskyy offers a message at the Grammys

Monday, April 4

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video message at the 2022 Grammy Awards Sunday night, asking everyone to support in the ongoing war with Russia.

What he said: “Our musicians wear body armour instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them. ... But the music will break through anyway,” he said, per The Guardian.

  • “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities the war is destroying.”

Then: American singer John Legend performed a song called “Free,” according to BBC News.

  • He was joined by Ukrainian musicians Mika Newton and Suzanna Iglidan.
  • Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk performed a poem as well.

Ukraine accuses Russia of attacks despite its promise to scale back

Wednesday, March 30

Ukrainian officials said there were continued attacks in Chernihiv and Kyiv even though Russia claimed Tuesday it would reduce attacks in those areas.

What happened: Officials in Kyiv said Russia continued with missile strikes and shelling in residential neighborhoods, per The Washington Post.

  • The governor of Chernihiv said Russian forces “spent the whole night striking” the city and damaging buildings in the area.

Flashback: Russia’s military said Tuesday that it will “fundamentally cut back” and “drastically reduce” operations outside of Kyiv and Chernihiv.

  • Russia’s deputy defense minister Alexander Fomin said Russia will “radically reduce” military activity.

The bigger picture: Russia and Ukraine held peace negotiation talks on Tuesday morning in Istanbul, looking to reach an agreement about the ongoing war.

Russia says it will ‘dramatically reduce’ attacks around Kyiv, Chernihiv

Tuesday, March 29

Russia’s military said Tuesday that it will “fundamentally cut back” and “drastically reduce” operations outside of Kyiv and Chernihiv in order “to increase trust” in peace talks.

Driving the news: Russia’s deputy defense minister Alexander Fomin said Russia will “radically reduce” military activity outside those two major cities, according to TASS, a state media outlet of Russia, per BBC News.

The bigger picture: Russia and Ukraine held peace negotiation talks on Tuesday morning, hoping to come to an agreement about the ongoing war.

  • In those talks, Ukraine reportedly proposed adopting neutral status in exchange for security guarantees from Russia, per Reuters.
  • This would mean Ukraine would not join military alliances — like NATO — or host military bases, Ukrainian negotiators said Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is open to ‘neutrality’ if Russia leaves Ukraine first

Monday, March 28

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that he is open to declaring “neutrality” and ending Ukraine’s bid to join NATO — but Russian troops would need to leave Ukraine first.

Details: Zelenskyy told a Russian news outlet about the potential peace agreement. However, the decision to become neutral would need to be voted on by national referendum and without Russian troops in the country, per The Washington Post.

What he said: “Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point,” Zelenskyy said, per Reuters.

One thought to go: Zelenskyy said Ukraine would consider using the Russian language in Ukraine as a part of its talks with Russia, per The Hill.

U.S., Europe create a new partnership to decrease Europe’s need for Russian energy

Friday, March 25

The United States and the European Union agreed to a new partnership that will aim to undercut Russian energy across the world, The Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: This is a move to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russia for energy and isolate Russia from the rest of Europe.

What happened: President Joe Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin uses energy to “coerce and manipulate his neighbors” in Europe.

  • Biden said Putin will use the profits from energy to “drive his war machine.”

But now, Biden and European allies will create a new partnership that will help reduce Europe’s need for Russian oil, according to The Associated Press.

  • Biden said this was “only the right thing to do from a moral standpoint” but “it’s going to put us on a stronger strategic footing.”

Details: The U.S. will work with other countries to create more liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe, according to The Washington Post.

The bigger picture: “We’re going to have to make sure the families in Europe can get through this winter and the next while we’re building the infrastructure for a diversified, resilient and clean energy future,” Biden said during remarks in Brussels, per The Washington Post.

NATO leaders meet as Ukraine war reaches second month

Thursday, March 24

NATO leaders gathered in Brussels Thursday to discuss the ongoing Ukraine war, which has reached its second month, per BBC News.

Why it matters: The alliance is set to discuss improving military assistance for Ukraine and how to best protect Ukraine from any Russian escalation.

Driving the news: President Biden is expected to announce that the United States will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, according to The Washington Post.

  • Leaders are also expected to warn Russia against using chemical or nuclear weapons.

Ukraine ‘on the brink of surviving war,’ President Zelenskyy says

Tuesday, March 22

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country is close to surviving the ongoing war with Russia, per BBC News.

What he said: “We are on the brink of surviving war,” he told members of parliament in Italy, according to BBC News.

  • He said he had spoken with Pope Francis and said the Vatican could play a role in negotiating the end of the war.

Meanwhile, Ukraine continued to refuse Russian demands for surrender in Mariupol Monday, rejecting Russia’s ultimatum to give up the city in exchange for safe passage and evacuation, per NBC News.

  • People in Mariupol have been trapped without water, heat or medicine as Russia has continued its bombardment of the city.

Ukraine rejects Russia’s demand for surrender in crucial city

Monday, March 21

Ukraine rejected demands from Russia to surrender in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, a key city in Ukraine that has fallen under attack since the war began.

What happened: Russian forces demanded Ukrainian officials “lay down arms and raise white flags Monday in exchange for safe passage out of the besieged strategic port city,” per The Associated Press.

Some context: Dmytro Gurin, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, accused Russia of trying to starve Mariupol as close to 300,000 people remain trapped there without power or running water, according to BBC News.

What they’re saying: “I’ve only heard it. I can’t confirm it,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, America’s ambassador to the U.N., told CNN. “But I can say it is disturbing. It is unconscionable for Russia to force Ukrainian citizens into Russia and put them in what will basically be concentration and prisoner camps.”

Russian missile strikes hit Ukraine's capital city Kyiv and the outskirts of Lviv

Friday, March 18

Russian military forces continued their assault on Ukraine with new missile strikes Friday, shelling the capital city Kyiv and the western city Lviv, per The Associated Press.

Why it matters: The flood of missiles in Lviv struck near the center of the city, which has served as “a crossroads for people fleeing from other parts of Ukraine and for others entering to deliver aid or fight,” The Associated Press reports.

  • “It is the closest the war has come to the historic city in western Ukraine, which has been a safe haven for people fleeing fighting,” according to BBC News.

What we’re watching: President Joe Biden will speak with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on Friday to discuss the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

  • “The two leaders will discuss managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Survivors emerge from bombed Mariupol theater

Thursday, March 17

Survivors have begun to emerge from a Mariupol theater full of civilians that was attacked Wednesday, officials told BBC News.

Details: The building has been left in ruins, officials said.

  • There were reportedly between 1,000 and 1,200 people inside during the attack.
  • The amount of casualties is unknown right now.

The bigger picture: Local leaders in Mariupol told The Washington Post that it’s unclear how many people were injured in the attack because the damage has been so significant.

What they’re saying: Russia “purposefully and cynically destroyed the Drama Theater in the heart of Mariupol,” the city council said in a statement posted to Telegram, per The Washington Post. “It is still impossible to estimate the scale of this horrific and inhumane act because the city’s residential areas are continually shelled.”

U.N.’s highest court orders Russian Federation to suspend invasion of Ukraine

Wednesday, March 16

The United Nations’ highest court Wednesday ordered the Russian Federation to suspend military operations in Ukraine.

Details: Ukraine asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to look into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official decision for the invasion, which says that he is trying to end the “genocide” of Russian supporters in Ukraine, according to the court’s development page.

Why it matters: The U.N. ruling will “have largely symbolic significance,” per The Washington Post.

  • “A final ruling, potentially years away, would also be expected to have negligible impact.”

Russia, Ukraine move closer to peace talks

Wednesday, March 16

Russia and Ukraine are moving closer to peace talks as Russia continues its shelling and military strikes against Ukraine.

Driving the news: Per The New York Times, Russian officials said that their recent negotiations with Kyiv have shown “progress on a number of positions” and that there is “hope that a certain compromise can be reached.”

What to watch: Russia is nearing peace talks because its military has faced tremendous setbacks amid the war.

  • One option being considered is making Ukraine a neutral territory, similar to Austria and Sweden, which are not members of NATO, according to The New York Times.
  • Mykhailo Podoliak, a member of the Ukrainian negotiating team, reportedly rejected this deal, per BBC News.

Kyiv faces major attacks as European leaders plan a visit

Tuesday, March 15

Kyiv — the capital city of Ukraine — will go under a 35-hour curfew beginning tonight after multiple missile strikes hit residential buildings in the city, per CNBC.

What they’re saying: “The capital is the heart of Ukraine, and it will be defended. Kyiv, which is currently the symbol and forward operating base of Europe’s freedom and security, will not be given up by us,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said, per BBC News.

  • “Today is a difficult and dangerous moment. This is why I ask all Kyivites to get prepared to stay at home for two days, or if the sirens go off, in the shelters.”

The bigger picture: The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia will visit Kyiv Tuesday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

  • The three leaders will visit an ongoing war zone.

What they’re saying: “The purpose of the visit is to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” Poland’s government said Tuesday, per Axios.

  • “The aim of this visit is also to present a broad package of support for the Ukraine and Ukrainians,” it added.

Russian shelling hits Kyiv as peace talks continue

Monday, March 14

A Russian airstrike shelled an apartment complex in Kyiv Monday as Ukraine looked to hold new ceasefire talks with Russia, per Reuters.

What’s happening: Ukraine and Russia worked toward a ceasefire agreement over the weekend after previous attempts at ceasefires failed.

  • Ukraine and Russia have been trying to reach a ceasefire, which Ukraine hopes to use as a way to evacuate citizens from the country.

Driving the news: Shelling hit an apartment in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. At least one person died in the attack with three more sent to the hospital, per BBC News.

Russian air strike hits Ukrainian military base, killing 35

Sunday, March 13

A Russian military air strike crush a military training base in Ukraine’s Western region, signaling a shift in Russia’s invasion, per The Associated Press.

  • At least 35 people died in the attack.
  • The base was close to Ukraine’s western border with NATO member Poland, per AP.
  • The Western region of Ukraine, which includes Lviv, has remained mostly untouched in the war.

The U.S. to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” status

Friday, March 11

The United States and its G7 allies are set to drop Russia from its status as a “most favored nation” after Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, Reuters reports.

What to expect: Biden will announce Friday that Russia’s status will be revoked.

  • The “most favored nation” status primarily signals Russia as a primary trading partner with the United States, according to CNN.

Yes, but: Congress will need to approve the decision, per CNN.

  • Congress is expected to introduce legislation for the decision after Biden makes his announcement.

No ceasefire deal reached as Ukraine, Russia hold talks

Thursday, March 10

Ukraine and Russia’s foreign ministers met Thursday to discuss a ceasefire but reportedly no progress was made toward reaching one, Reuters reports.

  • Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine sought a 24-hour ceasefire for the entire combat zone and an opened corridor for people to evacuate Mariupol.
  • But Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov did not agree to the deal, according to Reuters.

Kuleba said that Ukraine has not given up in its fight against Russia. He said Ukraine is willing to meet again.

  • “I want to repeat that Ukraine has not surrendered, does not surrender, and will not surrender,” he said, per BBC News.

Vice President Kamala Harris calls for war crimes investigation of Russia

Thursday, March 10

Vice President Kamala Harris called for an investigation of Russia for committing war crimes but stopped short of accusing Russia of war crimes while she spoke from Warsaw, Poland, Thursday morning.

What she said: “Absolutely there should be an investigation, and we should all be watching,” said Harris, per The Associated Press.

  • Harris also expressed anger over the bombing of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol Wednesday.

Flashback: A Russian airstrike hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, prompting outrage across the world, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • Ukrainian officials said that adults and children were buried under the rubble from the strike, per WSJ.

Russia might use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, Biden admin says

Wednesday, March 9

Russia might look to use chemical or biological weapons in its ongoing war with Ukraine, the Biden administration said Wednesday.

Context: Per The Associated Press, the Biden administration rejected claims made by Russia that there has been “illegal chemical weapons development in the country it has invaded.”

  • An official with the U.S. told NBC News Russia would make this claim “to justify a false-flag operation or them using chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine themselves.”
  • “We do believe that we should be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons,” the official said.

What they’re saying: “Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them. It’s a clear pattern,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a tweet.

Civilian evacuations continue amid ceasefire

Wednesday, March 9

Russia agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire Wednesday, allowing citizens to flee six of the worst-affected areas of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, per BBC News.

  • Citizens specifically fled the city of Sumy again, with 7,000 evacuated on Tuesday alone.

Yes, but: Reports suggest that constant Russian shelling has stopped people from evacuating, per BBC News.

What to watch: Ukrainian authorities opened an evacuation corridor from Irpin and Bucha to Kyiv. Thousands have entered Kyiv through this route, according to The Associated Press.

  • “We have a short window of time at the moment (for evacuations). Even if there is a ceasefire right now, there is a high risk of shells falling at any moment,” said Yevhen Nyshchuk, who works in Ukraine’s territorial defense forces, per The Associated Press.

Congress agrees to a new deal for Ukraine aid

Wednesday, March 9

Congress has added $13.6 billion in Ukraine-related aid in a massive new government funding bill, according to The Hill.

  • The bill would offer humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

By the numbers: The bill sends a number of funds to different government agencies and groups, per NBC News.

  • $6.5 billion would be given to the Defense Department
  • $3.5 billion would aim to replenish equipment sent to Ukraine
  • $3 billion would be for U.S. troops who are helping to defend NATO in Europe. 

What’s next: Per The Hill, the House will vote on the bill Wednesday. The Senate will likely vote by the end of the week.

President Biden to ban Russian oil imports

Tuesday, March 8

President Joe Biden will announce a ban on Russian oil imports Tuesday morning, a move that signals Biden’s plan to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked war on Ukraine.

Details: Biden will announce a ban on Russian oil imports, per The Associated Press.

  • Russia still receives plenty of cash from energy exports, so the move will be a direct hit to Russia’s cash float.
  • The U.S. will be acting alone without the help of Europe on this sanction. Europe relies more heavily on Russian energy supplies.

Why this matters: Oil and energy prices are expected to skyrocket if the United States bans Russian oil imports. A jump in prices could lead to more financial hardships for families as there will be a trickle-down effect throughout the economy, per Fortune.

The first stage of Ukrainian evacuations begins

Tuesday, March 8

Ukraine’s foreign ministry announced Tuesday that the first round of evacuations in Ukraine began after three rounds of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.

What happened: Both sides agreed for there to be a safe passage from the eastern city of Sumy to Poltava, which is closer to the middle of Ukraine, according to The Hill.

  • The evacuation allows citizens and foreign students to leave Sumy.

Yes, but: Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said those fleeing Sumy could go into western Ukraine, or travel directly to Russia, per USA Today.

Russia offers new ceasefire proposal for 5 Ukrainian cities

Monday, March 7

Russia has issued a new ceasefire proposal — which would begin at midnight MT — that Ukraine has not approved yet.

What’s happening: Per CNN, Russia’s proposal would be a ceasefire agreement that would allow for open evacuation corridors in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

  • “Russia declares a ceasefire from 10 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors: from Kyiv and adjacent settlements to the Russian Federation through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel,” according to Russian media, quoting the Russian Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine, per CNN.

Context: The proposal comes after Russia and Ukraine agreed to a ceasefire in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, which would have allowed citizens to leave those cities safely without harm, according to The Associated Press.

  • However, Ukraine’s evacuation plans did not go as expected. Multiple Ukrainian officials said assaults from Russian troops stopped evacuations from the city of Mariupol, per The Associated Press.

President Biden speaks with world leaders about Ukraine

Monday, March 7

President Joe Biden spoke with multiple world leaders Monday about the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Biden talked in a private phone call with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom about ongoing sanctions against Russia for the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Per the White House, the leaders spoke about:

  • Raising the costs on Russia for invading Ukraine.
  • Offering security, economic and humanitarian help to Ukraine.
  • Recent conversations with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine President Zelenskyy warns Russia is preparing to bomb Odessa

Monday, March 7

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Sunday that Russia is preparing an aerial assault on Odessa, a city on the Black Sea coast, according to The Washington Post.

  • Zelenskyy said more attacks will come.

What’s next: He urged NATO to enact a ”no-fly zone” over Ukraine to help stop the assault, per Al Jazeera.

  • “We repeat every day: close the sky over Ukraine. Close for all Russian missiles, for Russian combat aircraft, for all their terrorists,” he said.

Yes, but: NATO has been opposed to putting a no-fly zone over Ukraine. In fact, top Republican lawmakers in the United States spoke out against the idea over the weekend.

  • “I think people need to understand what a no-fly zone means ... it’s not some rule you pass that everybody has to oblige by,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told ABC “This Week” on Sunday.
  • “It’s the willingness to shoot down the aircrafts of the Russian Federation, which is basically the beginning of World War III.”

How many refugees have fled Ukraine

Monday, March 7

More than 1.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion of the country, the United Nations announced Monday.

  • The United Nations said people fleeing Ukraine was a refugee crisis since the number of people leaving the country topped 1.5 million in 10 days, per Axios.

What they're saying: UN refugee agency commissioner Filippo Grandi said in a tweet that the exodus has been “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”

Russia proposes routes for civilians to escape; Ukraine calls them immoral

Monday, March 7

Ukraine and Russia have continued to struggle over agreeing on civilian escape routes, halting citizens from leaving the country safely amid the ongoing war.

What happened: Russia announced a new ceasefire proposal that would create ways for civilians to flee key cities in Ukraine, per BBC News.

  • “People in Kyiv will be offered safe passage to Russia’s ally Belarus, while those in Kharkiv will have a corridor leading only to Russia itself,” BBC News reported.

Yes, but: Ukrainian officials denounced the escape routes.

What they said: A spokesperson for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Reuters that the evacuation plan from Russia is “completely immoral.”

  • Russia is trying to “use people’s suffering to create a television picture,” the spokesperson said, per Axios.

Flashback: Over the weekend, Russia and Ukraine agreed to a ceasefire in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, allowing citizens to leave those safely without harm, per The Associated Press.

  • However, evacuation plans have not gone as expected. Multiple Ukrainian officials said over the weekend that assaults from Russian troops stopped evacuations from the city of Mariupol, per The Associated Press.

Russian assault halts evacuation plan in Ukraine again, officials said

Sunday, March 6

The plan to evacuate Ukrainian civilians amid Russia’s invasion went awry again over the weekend.

  • Multiple Ukrainian officials said assaults from Russian troops halted evacuations from the city Mariupol, per The Associated Press.

What they’re saying: “There can be no ‘green corridors’ because only the sick brain of the Russians decides when to start shooting and at whom,“ Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on Telegram, according to The Associated Press.

What’s next: Ukrainian officials said they want to encourage Russia to agree on new terms to get citizens near Ukraine’s capital city.

Flashback: Russia and Ukraine agreed to a ceasefire Saturday in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to allow citizens to leave safely, per The Associated Press.

  • This did not go according to plan, though. CNBC reports that Ukraine said Russia violated the ceasefire then, too.

Ukraine, Russia reached a ceasefire in two cities, but it hasn’t gone as planned

Saturday, March 5

Ukraine said Saturday that Russia violated the ceasefire agreement between the two countries as Russia continues to attack the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, CNBC reports.

What happened: Russia and Ukraine agreed to a temporary ceasefire Saturday in those two cities to allow citizens to leave safely, per The Associated Press.

  • But Ukraine said the ceasefire fell apart because shellings against the civilian areas continued.

What they said: “The Russian side is not holding to the cease-fire and has continued firing on Mariupol itself and on its surrounding area,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, according to The Associated Press. “Talks with the Russian Federation are ongoing regarding setting up a cease-fire and ensuring a safe humanitarian corridor.”

  • Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told reporters that Russia breached the deal in Volnovakha, too.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issues dark warning over a no-fly zone

Saturday, March 5

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a grave warning Saturday against any third party that enacted a no-fly zone over Ukraine, per The Associated Press.

  • Putin said it would be considered “participation in the armed conflict.”
  • The Russian president said “any move in this direction” as an intervention that “will pose a threat to our service members.”
  • “That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are,” the Russian president said, per The Associated Press.

Putin also warned any action would put Ukraine’s future at risk.

  • “The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” he said at a meeting in Moscow Saturday, per The New York Times.
  • “If that happens,” he said, “they will have to be blamed for that.”

Context: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been calling for NATO to issue a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would stop Russia from shelling the country, according to NBC News.

  • “For nine days we’ve seen a fierce war. Our cities are being destroyed,” Zelenskyy said, according to an NBC News translation of his recent statements. “They are shelling our people, our children, residential areas, churches, schools — everything that provides people with a normal life.”

Yes, but: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg both said that a no-fly zone would directly involve countries in war.

  • “The only way to actually implement something like a no-fly zone is to send NATO planes into Ukrainian airspace and to shoot down Russian planes, and that could lead to a full-fledged war in Europe,” Blinken told reporters.

CNN to stop broadcasting in Russia

Friday, March 4

CNN announced Friday afternoon that it will stop broadcasting in Russia.

  • “CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward,” CNN said in a statement, per CNN media reporter Brian Stelter.

Context: CNN’s decision to stop broadcasting in Russia comes as other news outlets — like BBC and CBC — announced they would suspend reporting from Russia as well.

  • The decision to stop reporting from Russia comes after the Russian parliament passed a new law Friday that will make it a criminal offense to spread “fake” or “false” news about Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine, The Guardian reports.

Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Poland amid Ukraine crisis

Friday, March 4

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Warsaw, Poland, and Bucharest, Romania, from March 9-11, according to White House deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.

  • “Her visit will demonstrate the strength and unity of the NATO Alliance and U.S. support for NATO’s eastern flank allies in the face of Russian aggression. It will also highlight our collective efforts to support the people of Ukraine,” Singh said in a statement.
  • Harris will speak with leaders in Poland and Romania about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how the U.S. can support Ukraine during the ongoing war.

U.S. condemns Russian attack on Ukrainian nuclear plant

Friday, March 4

The United States condemned Russia’s recent attack on Europe’s largest atomic power plant in Zaporizhzhia, per AFP.

What they’re saying: “By the grace of God, the world narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe last night,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, according to AFP.

  • “Russia’s attack last night put Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at grave risk.”
  • “It was incredibly reckless and dangerous. And it threatened the safety of civilians across Russia, Ukraine and Europe,” she said.
  • “Nuclear facilities cannot become part of this conflict,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Flashback: A Russian attack ignited a fire at the power plant Thursday, per The Associated Press.

  • No radiation spikes were reported from Sweden to China.
  • Ukrainian officials said Russia took control of the site.
  • Firefighters extinguished the fire, which began with a Russian projectile, per The Associated Press.

BBC suspends work of journalists in Russia

Friday, March 4

The BBC is “temporarily suspending” the work of its news journalists and staff in Russia after Russian authorities passed new laws that crack down on independent foreign outlets.

What they’re saying: BBC interim director Jonathan Munro tweeted: “It’s with a heavy heart that we have had to suspend @BBCNews operations in Russia until we assess impact of new laws which outlaw independent journalism. Thoughts with colleagues in Moscow whose voices cannot be silenced for long.”

  • “We are not pulling out @BBCNews journalists from Moscow, as some articles are suggesting. We cannot use their reporting for the time being but they remain valued members of our teams and we hope to get them back on our output as soon as possible.”

Why it matters: The Russian parliament passed a new law Friday that would make it a criminal offense to spread “fake” or “false” news about Russia’s war with Ukraine, The Guardian reports.

  • The punishment could be up to 15 years in prison.

Russia using ‘cluster bombs’ during Ukraine attack

Friday, March 4

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday morning that Russia has been using “cluster bombs” in its assault on Ukraine.

What he said: “We have seen the use of cluster bombs and we have seen reports of the use of other types of weapons which would be in violation of international law.”

Details: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided to investigate Russia for war crimes due to the use of these “cluster bombs.”

  • “Cluster bombs” — also known as “cluster munitions” — are rockets or missiles that can send out a large number (or cluster) of small explosives, per BBC News.
  • “Usually they are fired from the ground, and as the projectile reaches its target, it opens up and disperses all its bomblets,” according to BBC News.

Why it matters: Cluster bombs don’t always explode, meaning there could be leftover bomblets that don’t explode, making the return to normal more difficult, per The Associated Press.

  • “Their use suggests the Russians are trying to break morale, inflict terror on the civilian population and the defenders in order to try and force a negotiation or just retreat,” Justin Bronk, a research fellow at London think tank Royal United Services Institute, told The Associated Press.

Fire out at key Ukraine nuclear plant

Friday, March 4

No radiation leaked out of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant after a Russian attack ignited a fire there Thursday, per The Associated Press.

What happened: U.N. and Ukrainian officials said Friday that firefighters had extinguished the blaze that began at the location, which began after it was hit by a Russian “projectile,” according to The Associated Press.

Details: No radiation spikes were reported from Sweden to China.

  • Ukrainian officials said Russia took control of the site.

Why it matters: Atomic experts are worried that Russia’s capture of the location could give them access to radiation data, per Reuters.

Yes, but: Experts said they didn’t see any immediate risks. It helps, too, that the nuclear reactors are still not damaged.

The White House announced new sanctions on Russian oligarchs

Thursday, March 3

The White House announced new sanctions on Russian oligarchs on Thursday, according to a fact sheet from the White House.

Details: The list includes eight oligarchs who are “Putin’s cronies and their family members.”

  • It includes Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov, “one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals,” and Dmitry Peskov, “a top purveyor of Putin’s propaganda,” according to the fact sheet.
  • They will be cut off from U.S. financial institutions, their assets in the U.S. will be frozen and property blocked from use.
  • Further, 19 more oligarchs and 47 family members and close associates will face visa restrictions.

Why it matters: This move will target oligarchs “known to direct, authorize, fund, significantly support, or carry out malign activities in support of Russia’s destabilizing foreign policy,” according to the fact sheet.

One week into the Russian invasion — military developments continue

Thursday, March 3

It’s been seven days since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The British Ministry of Defence released a map showing the extent of the invasion on major Ukrainian cities.

South: Russian forces are trying to take control of strategically important cities in the south. Among them is Kherson, which was reported to have fallen, per Reuters.

  • According to CNN, the situation in Mariupol, another southern city, “remains difficult” as the National Guard of Ukraine and Armed Forces continue to defend the city.
  • They also have control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, in the southeast, per The Guardian.

North: Last week, the Russian military took control of the Chernobyl power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, in northern Ukraine.

Russia has still made little progress on Kyiv, in north-central Ukraine, in the past three days because of “staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion,” the British Ministry of Defence said.

East: Entering the seventh day of the invasion, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was under heavy attack.

Putin told French counterpart Macron he will continue war in Ukraine

Thursday, March 3

Russian President Vladimir Putin told French leader Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that Russia will continue its military intervention until goals are achieved.

What they talked about: Putin, who initiated the call, said Russia hopes to achieve demilitarization and neutrality of Ukraine, “so that a threat to the Russian Federation will never emanate from its territory,” according to Reuters. They plan to do this by diplomatic or military means.

  • Putin also said that any attempts of dragging out negotiations will result in an added list of demands.
  • Per CNN, he denied bombarding Kyiv, but said the situation will worsen and it will be Ukraine’s fault.

In the 90 minute call, Macron said that the Russian president was “lying to himself” and his country would end up “isolated, weakened and under sanctions for a very long time,” per The Guardian.

  • He added that there is still time to address the issues with diplomacy and dialogue but these discussions can’t happen “under Russian control.”

U.N. demands Russia ends war with Ukraine

Wednesday, March 2

The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Wednesday that demanded Russia stop the war in Ukraine and withdraw all troops.

The resolution demands “that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and withdraw its military forces,” per the U.N.

  • In total, 141 nations condemned the invasion, per Axios reporter Dave Lawler.
  • Only Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria stood by Russia.

Russia continues massive assault on Ukraine as civilians are attacked

Wednesday, March 2

Russia continued to batter Ukraine Wednesday, lighting up the skies with explosions in heavily-populated areas that put civilians in danger, per The Associated Press.

What happened: Russia’s strikes hit locations across the country, including a strike on a hospital in northern Ukraine.

  • At the same time, Russia attacked Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, damaging residential buildings and local offices, according to The Associated Press.
  • Police headquarters and university buildings were shattered in the destruction.
  • Authorities reported 21 people dead and 112 injured in the last 24 hours, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Yes, but: Ukraine’s front line has held the city despite Russia’s continued assault, per The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: “The assault on civilian areas shows how Moscow has switched to a strategy of indiscriminate aerial assaults. Its focus at the start of the war on military and strategic targets has fallen away as it tries to demoralize Ukraine’s population,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Russia claims control of the Ukrainian city of Kherson

Wednesday, March 2

The Russian army said it had taken control of Kherson, a southern city of Ukraine deemed a strategically-important city in the ongoing war, Al Jazeera reports.

  • The Russian defense ministry said it is currently holding talks on how to maintain order within the city.

What they’re saying: “The Russian divisions of the armed forces have taken the regional centre of Kherson under full control,” said defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, per Al Jazeera.

Yes, but: The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense denied reports that Kherson had fallen, according to CNN.

  • “According to the info from our brigade the battles are going on now,” a spokesperson for the ministry said, CNN reports. “The city is not captured totally, some parts are under our control.”

U.N, to condemn Russia over Ukraine invasion

Wednesday, March 2

The United Nations will vote Wednesday to condemn Russia over its recent attack on Ukraine and will demand an immediate withdrawal, according to Reuters.

  • Right now, 94 countries have co-sponsored the resolution, a sign that this will be a lopsided vote to condemn Russia.

What it says: The resolution “demands that the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” NPR reports.

  • And the resolution shares “grave concern at reports of attacks on civilian facilities such as residences, schools, and hospitals, and of civilian casualties, including women, older persons, persons with disabilities, and children,” according to NPR.

Biden addresses Ukraine, Russian war in State of the Union

Tuesday, March 1

President Joe Biden opened his State of the Union address Tuesday night by speaking directly about Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine crisis.

  • “(Putin) thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead, he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people,” Biden said.
  • Biden added, “Let each of us here tonight in this chamber send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world. Please rise if you are able and show that, yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people.”
  • “Throughout our history, we’ve learned this lesson — when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression they cause more chaos. They keep moving. And the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.”

Biden called on all Americans to support Ukraine during the ongoing struggle, adding that more sanctions will come against Russia in the next days and weeks.

Russia’s 40-mile convoy slows down 15 miles from Kyiv

Tuesday, March 1

Russia’s massive 40-mile convoy of military vehicles slowed its journey toward the Ukraine capital city of Kyiv Tuesday, per USA Today.

  • The military convoy bogged down about 15 miles outside of Kyiv’s center as troops ran out of gas and food, officials said, according to USA Today.
  • Meanwhile, Ukraine’s second-biggest city Kharkiv suffered multiple strikes from Russian shells, BBC News reports.

President Biden speaks with President Zelenskyy ahead of the State of the Union

Tuesday, March 1

President Joe Biden — who will deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night — had a phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the White House said.

  • The two sides discussed how the United States and its Allies will hold Russia accountable for the recent invasion.
  • Zelenskyy and Biden also spoke about Russia’s escalation of attacks on sites used by civilians in Ukraine, including a bombing near Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial.

Turkey and China urge for a ceasefire between Russia, Ukraine

Tuesday, March 1

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, The Associated Press reports.

  • “Our call to both Russia and Ukraine is: let the firing stop as soon as possible, let Russia and Ukraine make a beautiful contribution to peace,” Erdogan said Tuesday during a joint news conference with Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, according to The Associated Press.

Similar moves: China signaled Tuesday that it would hope to have a role in finding a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, per the Financial Times.

  • “Ukraine is willing to strengthen communications with China and looks forward to China playing a role in realising a ceasefire,” the Chinese statement said, according to the Financial Times.

Russian convoy heads toward Kyiv. Here’s what to know

Tuesday, March 1

A Russian convoy of military vehicles is slowly closing in on Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine.

Details: Russia — facing resistance from Ukrainian fights on the ground — appears to be escalating forces by sending a huge military convoy toward Kyiv, per NBC News.

  • The convoy of Russian tanks and military armored vehicles was about 17 miles away from Kyiv on Tuesday night.
  • The convoy stretches for 40 miles.

Yes, but: Britain’s defense ministry said Tuesday Russia’s advance toward Kyiv was hit by logistical problems, which made it hard to move forward, according to NBC News.

What’s next: Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that it is preparing to launch “high-precision strikes” in Kyiv.

“We urge Ukrainian citizens involved by Ukrainian nationalists in provocations against Russia, as well as Kiev residents living near relay stations, to leave their homes,” the ministry said in a statement, per The Guardian.

Zelenskyy accuses Russia of war crimes

Tuesday, March 1

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of war crimes after its siege on Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second-biggest city.

Details: Zelenskyy released the new video address Tuesday.

  • He said he hopes the European Union will admit Ukraine as a member and become an equal member of Europe as a result.

What he said: “Today, Russian forces brutally fired on Kharkiv from jet artillery. It was clearly a war crime,” Zelenskyy said, according to CNN.

  • “Kharkiv is a peaceful city, there are peaceful residential areas, no military facilities. Dozens of eyewitness accounts prove that this is not a single false volley, but deliberate destruction of people: the Russians knew where they were shooting.”
  • “There will definitely be an international tribunal for this crime — it’s a violation of all conventions. No one in the world will forgive you for killing peaceful Ukrainian people,” he said.

Ukraine’s second-biggest city hit with massive Russian attack

Tuesday, March 1

Russia pummeled Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, on Tuesday as a 40-mile convoy of Russian tanks and military vehicles heads toward Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.

What happened: Per The Associated Press, Kharkiv suffered from serious Russian attacks Tuesday.

  • “Explosions tore through residential areas, and a maternity ward relocated to an underground shelter,” according to The Associated Press.
  • Russian attacks targeted Kharkiv’s Freedom Square — which has been compared to New York City’s Times Square — with missile strikes, which led to damage to city hall in Kharkiv, per Axios.

Why it matters: A senior Pentagon official told Axios that capturing Kharkiv — and the other major city of Mariupol — “would allow Russia to cut off eastern Ukraine and the Ukrainian forces there.”

Major film studios halt release in Russia

Tuesday, March 1

Major film studios — including Disney, Warner and Sony — said they would halt the release of new films in Russia due to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Details: Big new films such as Warner Bros. “The Batman,” Pixar’s “Turning Red” and Sony’s “Morbius” will not be released on schedule within Russia, per BBC News.

  • The delayed releases come as countries have imposed sanctions on Russia due to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

What they said: “In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said, per BBC News.

  • “Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a Sony spokesperson told BBC News.
  • “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from Pixar,” said Disney in a statement to Deadline.

Americans shouldn’t worry about nuclear war, President Biden says

Monday, Feb. 28

President Joe Biden said Monday that Americans shouldn’t be concerned about nuclear war, according to The Hill.

Flashback: Biden’s comments come one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces to stay on alert, per the Associated Press.

FIFA, UEFA ban Russia from international soccer

Monday, Feb. 28

FIFA — the governing body for international soccer — announced Monday it would ban Russia from international soccer competitions, according to The New York Times.

  • Russia is now banned from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup just weeks before Russia was set to compete for one of the 2022 World Cup spots.
  • The move also bans Russian club teams from international competitions. This includes one of the major Russian clubs, CSKA Moscow.
  • UEFA, which governs European soccer, banned Russia, too.

Flashback: The announcement came after the International Olympic Committee called on all sports organizations to exclude all Russian, Belarusian athletes and officials from events, as I reported earlier for the Deseret News.

No agreement yet between Russia, Ukraine

Monday, Feb. 28

Talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations Monday ended with no immediate agreements, per The Associated Press.

  • “Russian and Ukrainian officials held their meeting on Day Five of the war under the shadow of Putin’s nuclear threats, and with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine running into unexpectedly fierce resistance,” according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed an application to join the European Union, a move that might not sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been accusing the EU and the United States of making Ukraine an ally, per The Associated Press.

Zelenskyy is also calling on President Joe Biden and NATO to impose a “no-fly zone” over “significant parts” of Ukraine, according to Axios.

  • “Ukraine can beat the aggressor. We are proving this to the world. But our allies must also do their part,” Zelenskyy said, per Axios.

Ukraine, Russia war: What to watch today

Monday, Feb. 28

The battle between Russia and Ukraine continues. Here’s what to look for this week.

Biden: President Joe Biden hosted a secure call with Allies and partners to discuss new developments of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “to coordinate a united response,” the White House said Sunday night in a press release emailed to the Deseret News.

Belarus: The White House is watching Belarus closely after officials said Belarus could team up with Russia to attack Ukraine, according to CNN.

  • “We’re watching those events very carefully,” a Biden administration official told CNN.
  • “We’ve said to the extent Belarus continues to aid and abet Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, they will also face consequences,” the official said. “We’ve already rolled out some of those measures. Those costs will continue to ratchet much higher.”

State of the Union: President Biden will deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol on Tuesday.

  • Per The Washington Post, Biden’s team rewrote Biden’s speech to focus on the Ukrainian crisis instead of Biden’s own political agenda.

IOC calls for ban on Russian, Belarusian athletes for international events

Monday, Feb. 28

The International Olympic Committee has called on all sports organizations to exclude all Russian, Belarusian athletes and officials from participating in international events.

The IOC’s executive board said in a statement that sports organizations should “do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus.”

  • “Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be (a)ccepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed,” the IOC said.

The bottom line: “The IOC EB reaffirms its full solidarity with the Ukrainian Olympic Community. They are in our hearts and thoughts,” the IOC said.

Ukraine calls for a ceasefire, Russian withdrawal as talks begin

Monday, Feb. 28

Ukrainian and Russian delegations have both been meeting at the Belarusian border to discuss the future of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Details: Talks between the two sides are already underway, per CNN.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said Ukraine would demand a complete ceasefire between the two countries, USA Today reports.
  • Ukraine has also asked to “urgently” become a member of the European Union.
  • And Ukraine has demanded that Russia withdraw troops from the country.

U.S. adds major sanctions to Russia

Monday, Feb. 28

The Biden administration expanded sanctions against Russia Monday, cutting off any transactions between American businesses with Russia’s central bank, according to The Hill.

Details: The move also freezes assets within the United States.

  • The sanctions target Russia’s National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, according to The Hill.
  • “The sanctions also ban any foreign financial firm from sending U.S. dollars to the Russian central bank, finance ministry and wealth fund,” The Hill reported.

What they’re saying: “We wanted to put these actions in place before our markets open because what we learned over the course of the weekend from our allies and partners was the Russian Central Bank was attempting to move assets and there would be a great deal of asset flight starting on Monday morning from institutions around the world,” a Biden administration official said, according to CNBC.

  • “Our strategy to put it simply is to make sure that the Russian economy goes backward. As long as President Putin decides to go forward with his invasion of Ukraine,” the official added.

U.S. closes embassy in Belarus, makes a change to the Moscow embassy

Monday, Feb. 28

The U.S. Department of State announced Monday it would suspend operations at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, after officials said the European nation may soon join Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • The U.S. authorized non-emergency employees and families living at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to leave the country, too.

What they’re saying: “We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine,” the state department said.

  • “We ultimately have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens, and that includes our U.S. government personnel and their dependents serving around the world.”

Flashback: The U.S. Embassy in Moscow warned Sunday that American citizens in Russia should consider leaving the country “immediately.”

Belarus to join Russian attack on Ukraine

Sunday, Feb. 27

Belarus is readying to team up with Russia and send soldiers into Ukraine, a U.S. official told The Washington Post.

  • “It’s very clear Minsk is now an extension of the Kremlin,” the official told The Washington Post.
  • Belarus could deploy troops as soon as Monday, the official said.

Context: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin are allies.

  • Earlier Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Russia’s request to hold negotiations in Belarus due to Belarus’ impartial nature.
  • Zelenskyy later agreed to send the Ukrainian delegation to meet with the Russian delegation at the Belarus-Ukraine border, per Axios.

Ukraine agrees to talk with Russia at the border

Sunday, Feb. 27

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would agree to sending a Ukrainian delegation to meet Russian delegations at the Belarus-Ukrainian border, per Axios.

The announcement came hours after Zelenskyy rejected a request to speak with Russia in Belarus, saying the country was not neutral.

Russia puts nuclear deterrent forces on alert

Sunday, Feb. 27

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces to remain on alert as Russia continued to attack Ukraine, per the Associated Press.

Ukraine’s president rejects Russia's offer for talks in Belarus

Sunday, Feb. 27

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected the Kremlin’s request to hold negotiations in Belarus because the country is not neutral in the ongoing conflict.

  • “Russian delegation is ready for talks, and we are now waiting for the Ukrainians,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, per the Associated Press.
  • However, Zelenskyy said in a video address that he would be open to talking, just not in Belarus.
  • Zelenskyy offered Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul and Baku as other cities to hold these talks, according to Axios.

What he said: “If there had been no aggressive action from your territory, we could talk in Minsk ... other cities can be used as the venue for talks,” Zelensky said.

  • “We want peace, we want to meet, we want an end to the war,” he added.

Russia advances on Ukraine’s ports as fighting continues

Sunday, Feb. 27

Russia advanced into Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, on Sunday, leading to street fighting between the two sides.

Yes, but: Video footage shared throughout the weekend display Ukrainian soldiers mounting a comeback and resistance against Russia.

  • “The images underscored the determined resistance Russian troops face while attempting to enter Ukraine’s bigger cities,” per Associated Press. “Ukrainians have volunteered en masse to help defend the capital, Kyiv, and other cities, taking guns distributed by authorities and preparing firebombs to fight Russian forces.”

Elon Musk confirms Starlink internet is up for Ukraine

Saturday, Feb. 26

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Saturday that SpaceX’s Starlink service — which can provide internet service to people who can’t connect normally — is now active in Ukraine.

  • “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk said.

Flashback: Musk’s announcement came after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov asked Musk to help connect Ukraine to the internet, per Newsweek.

  • He said: “@elonmusk [Elon Musk] while you try to colonize Mars—Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space—Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”

Video footage shows gas pipeline on fire in Kharkiv

Saturday, Feb. 26

The State Special Communications Service of Ukraine released video footage Saturday of a gas pipeline on fire in the city of Kharkiv following a Russian attack, per The Kyiv Independent.

The footage “shows a powerful explosion in the shape of a mushroom cloud in the sky over the city in eastern Ukraine,” according to The Kyiv Independent.

U.S., EU, U.K. agree to block Russia from SWIFT

Saturday, Feb. 26

The United States, European Union and United Kingdom agreed Saturday to put crippling sanctions in place against Russia, including a block from the global financial system SWIFT, per The Associated Press.

Details: The sanctions include key Russian banks from SWIFT, which currently moves billions of dollars around through 11,000 banks and other financial institutions across the planet.

Flashback: For days, world leaders have questioned whether or not to ban Russia from SWIFT, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

Ukraine holds Kyiv amid gunfire and explosions

Saturday, Feb. 26

Ukrainians are holding onto the Ukraine capital city of Kyiv, keeping the city in the government’s control amid a Russian invasion, per The Washington Post.

Why it matters: Russian troops have been inching closer to the capital, according to The Associated Press.

What’s happening: “Outmanned Ukrainian forces are holding on to their capital after hours of street fighting that included explosions and bursts of gunfire. Smoke was billowing from the sites of some clashes, but as the Kremlin assault entered its third day, Kyiv was still in Ukrainian government hands,” according to The Washington Post.

What they’re saying: “The real fighting for Kyiv is ongoing,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday night, per The Associated Press.

Yes, but: Russia is expected to amplify its military presence due to the strong Ukrainian resistance. Per Foreign Policy, Russia has only sent one-third of its troops to the borders of Ukraine.

NATO to deploy troops to Eastern Europe

Friday, Feb. 25

NATO announced it planned to send some of its response force to help protect its member nations in Eastern Europe, per The Associated Press.

  • NATO did not specify how many troops it would send.
  • However, NATO said troops would include land, air and sea.

Context: This is the first time in history that NATO has sent troops in a defensive capacity, per CNBC.

  • The NATO force consists of 40,000 trained and combat-ready soldiers from NATO countries. It’s unclear how many of those soldiers will be sent to Eastern Europe.

‘This might be the last time you see me alive,’ Ukrainian president says

Friday, Feb. 25

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told European Leaders in a call Thursday night that “this might be the last time you see me alive,” according to officials who spoke with Axios.

  • Per Axios, Zelenskyy talked with European leaders in a conference call that took place before the EU leaders decided on new sanctions for Russia.

Flashback: Before the call, Zelenskyy announced to Ukraine that “enemy sabotage groups” had entered Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, per The Washington Post.

  • Zelenskyy said in the same speech that he was “target No. 1” for Russian forces, per The New York Times.
  • Zelenskyy said his family was target No. 2

Russia ready to send delegation to speak with Ukraine

Friday, Feb. 25

Russia is ready to send a delegation to Belarus for a discussion with Ukraine, the Kremlin said Friday.

Per The Associated Press, the two sides are willing to speak with each other.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he’d be interested in reaching “a non-aligned status for Ukraine,” according to The Associated Press.
  • Moscow, meanwhile, wants Ukraine to drop its bid to join NATO and become neutral.
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to send a delegation to Belarus to respond to such an offer.

Russia inches closer to Ukraine capital

Friday, Feb. 25

Russian troops have inched closer to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, The Associated Press reports.

  • Gunfire and explosions were heard as troops invaded closer to the Ukrainian government’s home.
  • “Amid growing casualties from the deadly warfare — including shelling that sliced through the facade of a Kyiv apartment building, bridges and schools — were increasing signs that Vladimir Putin’s Russia may be seeking to overthrow Ukraine’s government,” per The Associated Press.

Explosions hit Kyiv as Russia continues invasion

Thursday, Feb. 24

Russia continued its invasion into Ukraine toward the outskirts of Kyiv, the country’s capital city, according to The Associated Press.

  • Russia unleashed airstrikes on cities and military bases while also sending troops and tanks into Ukraine.

Details: Video footage showed large explosions in the sky outside of southern Kyiv, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, per The New York Times.

  • At least one rocket crashed into a civilian building within the city.
  • “Horrific Russian rocket strikes on Kyiv,” Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister, wrote on Twitter.
  • “Witnesses filmed fiery debris falling over parts of the city,” according to The New York Times.

Ukrainian president says ‘enemy sabotage groups’ have entered capital

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that “enemy sabotage groups” had entered Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, per The Washington Post.

  • Zelenskyy said Russian saboteurs had entered Kyiv and that he was “target No. 1” for Russian forces, per The New York Times.
  • Zelenskyy said his family was the next target for Russian forces.

What he said: “There is also information about the enemy’s sabotage groups entering Kyiv,” he said. “This is why I am asking citizens of Kyiv to be vigilant and adhere to the rules of martial law.”

Russia invades Ukraine's capital; President Zelenskyy stays behind

Thursday, Feb. 24

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday afternoon that Russian special forces had entered the capital city of Kyiv and that he was sticking behind.

Zelenskyy said 137 Ukrainians had died and 306 were wounded due to the Russian invasion, which began less than 24 hours prior.

  • Zelenskyy also reportedly signed a decree on the general military mobilization of the Ukrainian population, per DW.

57 Ukrainians have been killed due to the Russian invasion

Thursday, Feb. 24

Ukraine’s Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said Thursday that at least 57 Ukrainians have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion, per The Associated Press.

  • In total, 169 people have been wounded due to the attacks.
  • This includes both military and civilian casualties, according to the Kyiv Independent.
  • Lyashko said Thursday that Ukraine’s authorities are working to make room at Ukraine’s health care facilities for those who need medical assistance, per The Associated Press.

Biden announces tough sanctions against Russia, talks gas pump prices

Thursday, Feb. 24

President Joe Biden said during a speech to the American people Thursday that the U.S. and its NATO allies will impose harsh sanctions against Russia and deploy more troops to Eastern Europe to protect NATO allies.

Details: Biden said that NATO and the US will block assets of four large Russian banks while imposing new sanctions against the country and connected oligarchs, per CNN.

What he said: “Let me say it again: Our forces are not — and will not — be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine.”

  • “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said.
  • “We will limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen.”
  • “Every asset they have in America will be frozen, including VTB, the second largest bank in Russia.”
  • “I know this is hard ... I will do everything I can to limit the pain Americans are feeling at the gas pump.”
  • “This aggression cannot go unanswered. ... America stands up to bullies. We stand up for freedom.”
  • “It’s going to be a cold day for Russia. You don’t see a lot of people coming to [Putin’s] defense.”

World leaders announced sanctions, requests against Russia

Thursday, Feb. 24

A number of world leaders reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine Thursday, revealing sanctions will be given against Russia, per The Associated Press.

Ukrainian president says Russia is trying to seize Chernobyl

Thursday, Feb. 24

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that Russian military forces are trying to seize the infamous Chernobyl nuclear plant, which was the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, per The Associated Press.

  • Zelenskyy said on Twitter: “Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the #Chornobyl_NPP. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated. Reported this to @SwedishPM.
  • “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”

Why it matters: Chernobyl was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident after a reactor there exploded in April 1986, per The Associated Press.

  • The protective shelter currently covers the exploded reactor.
  • The entire plant has been decommissioned.

At least 40 people were killed in Russia’s attack on Ukraine

Thursday, Feb. 24

At least 40 people were killed Thursday in Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, per ABC News.

  • Several dozens more people were injured in the attacks.

UEFA to cancel Champions League final in Russia

Thursday, Feb. 24

UEFA — the governing body of European soccer — is expected to move the 2022 Champions League final away from Saint Petersburg given Russia’s attack on Ukraine, ESPN reports.

  • Krestovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg was announced as a host in 2021.

What they’re saying: UEFA said in a statement: “Following the evolution of the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the UEFA president has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee for 10 a.m. CET [4 a.m. ET] on Friday 25 February, in order to evaluate the situation and take all necessary decisions.

  • “Further communication will be made after the meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee.”

What’s next: Alternate venues for the final are still being discussed, per ESPN.

Russia says it wiped out Ukraine’s air defense systems; Ukraine reportedly strikes back

Thursday, Feb. 24

Russia said Thursday that it had neutralized Ukraine’s air defense systems and some military infrastructure during its military attack on the country, according to The Associated Press.

  • In response, Europe claimed the airspace above Ukraine as a conflict zone.

Other unverified reports suggested Ukraine said it had shot down several Russian aircraft, per the Associated Press.

Ukraine’s president declares martial law, urges citizens to remain calm

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video statement Wednesday night, declaring martial law for Ukraine as Russia began military strikes within the country, per The Associated Press.

  • Zelenskyy said he spoke with President Joe Biden, too.
  • He urged citizens to remain calm and not to panic as Russia launched military strikes in Ukraine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemns Russia’s attack

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin in the hours after Russia began a military operation in Ukraine.

  • “I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps,” Johnson tweeted.
  • “President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.”
  • “The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”

Explosions heard throughout Ukraine

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Major explosions were heard throughout Ukraine as night turned to day in the European nation.

  • Per The Associated Press, explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and other cities across Ukraine.
  • CNN showed a live shot of reporter Matthew Chance, who is in Kyiv, hearing explosions in the background of the shot.
  • “I just heard a big bang right here behind me,” he said.

President Biden reacts to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Wednesday, Feb. 23

President Joe Biden released a statement Wednesday night in response to Russia’s announcement of a military operation in Ukraine.

“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.

“I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security. We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announces military operation in eastern Ukraine

Wednesday, Feb. 23

President Vladimir Putin announced in a live speech to the Russian people that Russia will conduct a military operation in eastern Ukraine, per The Associated Press.

  • Putin warned any attempt from other countries to interfere with Russian action would lead to  “consequences they have never seen.”
  • He said the goal is to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine. 

At the same time, the United Nations Security Council held a meeting to condemn Putin’s actions.

What they said: “We are here tonight because we believe, along with Ukraine, that a full-scale, further invasion into Ukraine by Russia is imminent,” said U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

  • “If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: Pres. Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance,” said U.N. Secretary-General Guterres.

Ukraine’s president addresses Ukraine after rebels ask for Russia’s help

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Ukrainian rebels asked Russia for military support Wednesday, prompting widespread concern and worry that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent, according to BBC News.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Ukraine in the hours after rebels in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions asked for Russian support, saying their request could bring about a full-scale war.

  • “This step could be the start of a big war on the European continent. The whole world is talking about what could happen any day now,” said Zelenskyy, according to Max Seddon, Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times. “Any provocation. Any flare-up — one that could burn everything.”
  • “They’re telling you that this flame will liberate the people of Ukraine, but the Ukrainian people are free. They remember their past and are building their future,” Zelenskyy said, per Seddon’s report. “Ukraine on your TV news and the real Ukraine are two totally different countries. Ours is real.”
  • “The government of Ukraine wants peace. It’s doing everything it can,” he added. “We’re not alone. That’s true, lots of countries support Ukraine. Because this isn’t about peace at any price. It’s about peace, principles, justice, international law, the right to determine your own future.”

Ukraine will enter a state of emergency tonight

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Ukraine’s parliament voted Wednesday to declare a state of emergency amid fears that Russia will invade the country, BBC News reports.

  • The state of emergency will begin at midnight.
  • It is expected to last for 30 days.

What’s next: Ukraine also started to mobilize and draft reservists ages 18 to 60, per Reuters.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a general mobilization would not happen, per The Hill.
  • “There is no need for general mobilization today. We need to promptly replenish the Ukrainian army and other military formations,” the president said, according to The Hill.
  • “As the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces of Ukraine, I issued a decree on the conscription of reservists during a special period,” he added.

Ukraine tells citizens to leave Russia

Wednesday, Feb. 23

Ukraine has urged its citizens living in Russia to leave the country immediately as tension continues to escalate between the two countries.

  • About 3 million Ukrainian citizens are believed to live in Russia, BBC News reports.

Driving the news: Ukraine will soon introduce a nationwide state of emergency with special restrictions to keep the country at ease during the Russian invasion crisis, according to Reuters.

  • Ukraine hopes to keep its economy stable through the new restrictions.

Biden announces new sanctions on Russia, condemns Putin

Tuesday, Feb. 22

President Joe Biden announced harsh financial sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs Tuesday for what he called “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

  • “Russia has now undeniably moved against Ukraine,” he said. “Today, I’m announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia.”
  • He added: “We’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates.”

Per The New York Times, Biden said the Russian action is “a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community.”

  • “To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” Biden said. “He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view. … This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he indicated, and asked permission to be able to do from his Duma.”

Biden said that he has authorized more U.S. forces and equipment in Europe to support countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania against any potential Russian threats, according to The Washington Post.

White House calls Russian moves on Ukraine an invasion

Tuesday, Feb. 22

The White House is now calling Russian moves on Ukraine an invasion, setting the stage for strong sanctions from the United States, according to The Associated Press.

  • “We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told CNN,
  • “I think ‘latest’ is important here,” Finer said. “An invasion is an invasion, and that is what is underway. But Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014.”

Russia says recognition of separatist areas in eastern Ukraine includes territory held by Ukraine

Tuesday, Feb. 22

Russia said Tuesday morning that the recognition of separatist areas in eastern Ukraine currently includes areas occupied by Ukrainian forces, which raises concerns that Russia will invade more of Ukraine, according to The Washington Post.

Flashback: Russia recognized two rebel-held regions as independent republics over the weekend.

  • Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said these two regions established their borders in 2014. Since then, Ukraine has taken back sections of those regions, per The Washington Post.

Why it matters: “Russia’s declaration could lead to attempts to expand the breakaway region by force,” according to The Washington Post.

Germany halts Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

Tuesday, Feb. 22

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that the Nord Stream 2 “cannot go online” because Russian troops are in eastern Ukraine.

  • Per NPR, Scholz said that Germany is looking into other ways to access the energy it needs.

Why it matters: “The U.S. has said that Europe would be too dependent on Russia for its energy needs should the project come to fruition,” according to NPR.

Flashback: The announcement came after Putin sent troops into eastern Ukraine after recognizing rebel-held regions that were so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, per The New York Times.

Russia orders troops into Ukraine

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Tuesday, Feb. 22

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military troops Monday to “maintain peace” in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, signaling more tension between Ukraine and Russia, according to The Associated Press.

Yes, but: Russia did not explain when troops would enter Ukraine.

The other side: White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden “will soon issue an Executive Order that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing” in the regions, or on anyone “determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine.” 

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