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Kyiv TV Tower was targeted in a strike yesterday Raphael Lafargue/PA Images
AS IT HAPPENED

As it happened: UN General Assembly overwhelmingly votes in favour of telling Russia to withdraw its troops

Russian airborne troops have landed in Ukraine’s second city, sparking immediate and “ongoing” fighting.

LAST UPDATE | 2 Mar 2022

HERE ARE THE latest developments as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues for a seventh day.

  • The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that “demands” Russia “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine.
  • Russian airborne troops have landed in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, sparking immediate and “ongoing” fighting, according to the Ukrainian military.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, gave an address where he urged Jewish people around the world to condemn the Russian invasion: “Nazism is born in silence. So… shout about the murders of Ukrainians.”
  • The Russian army said it had taken control of Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine.
  • Nearly 875,000 people have fled Ukraine, UN figures showed, with that figure expected to reach a million refugees before the end of the week
  • Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich said he will sell Chelsea, saying it is in its “best interest” 
  • US President Joe Biden branded Vladimir Putin a “dictator” in his keynote annual State of the Union address.
  • Biden also announced that Russian aircrafts will be banned from US airspace.
  • Russia yesterday stepped up its bombing campaign, hitting Kyiv’s main television tower, two residential buildings in a town north west of the city and local government headquarters in Kharkiv.
  • The EU has banned Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in the bloc.

For the latest you can find it in our main points piece

Good morning, Hayley Halpin here. To kick things off here’s a quick update on the latest from the situation in Ukraine:

  • Russian airborne troops have landed in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, sparking immediate and “ongoing” fighting, the Ukrainian military said.
  • US President Joe Biden branded Vladimir Putin a “dictator” in his keynote annual State of the Union address, saying Russia faces withering economic and diplomatic isolation.
  • Biden also announced that Russian aircraft will be banned from US airspace.
  • Russia yesterday stepped up its bombing campaign, hitting Kyiv’s main television tower, two residential buildings in a town north west of the city and local government headquarters in Kharkiv.
  • Russian checkpoints have encircled the Black Sea city of Kherson. Its port and railway station are now in Russian hands, according to the mayor.
  • More than 677,000 people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, the UN’s refugee agency says, with the number rising rapidly.
  • Russia has blocked an independent TV channel and a liberal radio station, tightening a virtual media blackout on news of the war. The EU, meanwhile, has banned Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in the bloc.  

Here’s a round-up of the latest assaults on Ukraine: 

As just noted, Russian airborne troops have landed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv overnight. 

In a statement on Telegram, the Ukrainian army said: “Russian airborne troops landed in Kharkiv … and attacked a local hospital. There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians.”

Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, has a population of around 1.4 million.

It has been a target for Russian forces since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine last Thursday and which intensified yesterday..

In Kherson on the Black Sea, where officials had yesterday reported Russian checkpoints encircling the city, Russian forces took control of the railway station and the port overnight, city mayor Igor Kolykhayev was quoted by local media.

In Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, more than a hundred people were injured yesterday in Russian fire, the mayor of the city, Vadym Boychenko was quoted as saying by Ukrainian media.

In Borodyanka, 50 kilometres from Kyiv, Russian airstrikes destroyed two residential buildings yesterday, according to Ukraine’s deputy minister of foreign affairs Emine Dzhaparova, who shared a video of the grey buildings partially in ruins, with apartments in flames.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence also said overnight that it feared an attack from Belarus.

“Belarusian troops have been put on high alert and are concentrated in areas closest to the border with Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.

During the day yesterday, Ukrainian intelligence noted “significant activity” of aircraft in the border area, and convoys of vehicles carrying food and ammunition were observed there, the statement said.

In view of these movements, Belarus “could probably support the Russian invaders in the Russian-Ukrainian war in the future”, warned the ministry.

“Missile attacks against military and civilian targets” in Ukraine have been “systematically” launched from Belarusian territory since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the ministry added.

State of the Union

US President Joe Biden has delivered his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and the American people.

In his speech, Biden branded Putin a “dictator” facing withering economic and diplomatic isolation for invading neighboring Ukraine, and warned the world is in a “battle” between democracy and autocracy.

He praised the Ukrainian “wall of strength” that has stood tall against Russian invaders.

Biden also made clear there would be no US boots on the ground in the week-old war on Europe’s doorstep.

“Let me be clear: our forces are not engaged, and will not engage, in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.”

On Putin, he said:

“A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world.

“In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.”

Taking aim at Russian oligarchs and “corrupt leaders” who Biden said have bilked billions of dollars off Putin’s regime, the US president delivered a stern warning that the West will “seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets”.

“We’re coming for your ill-begotten gains,” Biden said to applause.

Biden announced a ban on all Russian aircraft from US airspace.

Putin, he said, had badly underestimated the powerful response his invasion would illicit from Western nations as sanctions inflict “pain” on Russia’s economy.

“Putin’s war was premeditated, totally unprovoked,” he said.

“He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy. He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond. He thought he could divide us at home. He thought he could divide us in Europe as well.”

“But Putin was wrong. We are ready. We are united.”

apple-logo-on-opera-store-paris-france Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Apple has stopped selling iPhones and other popular products in Russia in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

As well as halting product sales, Apple says its mobile app store is blocking downloads of RT News and Sputnik News from outside Russia.

It also has stopped live traffic updates on Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety measure, similar to action Google has already taken.

“We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking,” the company said in its statement.

“We join all those around the world who are calling for peace.”

The Russian army has claimed it has taken control of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.

“The Russian divisions of the armed forces have taken the regional centre of Kherson under full control,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.

The UN General Assembly is poised to vote today on whether it will vigorously deplore Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demand Moscow withdraw troops immediately.

The resolution is non-binding, but – if it passes – will serve as a powerful rebuke to Russia on the world stage and a marker of its isolation.

The vote must reach a two-thirds threshold to pass.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has this morning urged the world’s Jews to speak out after a Russian missile strike on a Kyiv television tower built on the site of a Holocaust massacre.

“I am now addressing all the Jews of the world. Don’t you see what is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world not remain silent right now,” he said.

“Nazism is born in silence. So shout about killings of civilians. Shout about the murders of Ukrainians.”

Zelenskyy has also this morning accused Russia of seeking to “erase” Ukrainians, their country and their history.

In a video address, the Ukrainian leader said a missile strike on a target at the site of a Holocaust massacre shows that “for many people in Russia our Kyiv is completely foreign.

“They know nothing about our capital. About our history. But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase us all,” he said.

The UK Ministry of Defence has given on update on the latest intelligence on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It says while Russian forces have reportedly moved into Kherson, overall Russian gains “have been limited” in the last 24 hours. 

“This is probably due to a combination of ongoing logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance,” it tweeted. 

“Heavy Russian artillery and air strikes have continued to target built-up areas over the past 24 hours, primarily focused on the cities of Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv.

“The number of civilians displaced and forced to flee Putin’s invasion has reportedly passed 660,000.”

Here’s a look at Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine of yesterday: 

politics-ukraine PA Images PA Images

Airline Wizz Air has said it will donate 100,000 free seats on short-haul flights departing from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania this month. 

Spain will supply “military hardware” to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament this morning. 

defence-secretary-ben-wallace-gives-a-statement-about-russia-and-ukraine-at-a-joint-expeditionary-force-ministerial-meeting-at-belvoir-castle-leicestershire-picture-date-tuesday-february-22-2022 UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Russian troops had been deceived by their leaders and were suffering due to the lack of logistic support, meaning they were low on supplies and food.

“We have definitely seen cases of very quick surrenders by Russian forces, we have seen lots of abandonment of incredible pieces of equipment,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“That is what happens when your military leaders don’t prepare you, lie to you or deceive you and also you base a military plan based on an arrogant assumption that you are the liberator.”

He rejected a suggestion that Russian deserters should be offered asylum in the West, saying:

“I take the view that the best thing that Russian deserters can do is go back to Russia, tell the Russian people they are being deceived, tell the Russian people that their military leaders are causing huge amounts of unnecessary suffering and losses because of either incompetence or arrogance, and they can go back and tell the mothers, who are wondering where their thousands of disappeared sons are.”

Minister for Finance and President of the Eurogroup Paschal Donohoe is travelling to Estonia today and Finland tomorrow for a series of meetings. 

Donohoe will meet with Finance Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus in Tallinn, Estonia today to discuss the current geo-political situation, and also to discuss Eurogroup issues including the Economic Governance Review and Banking Union.

He will also meet with Madis Müller, President of the Central Bank of Estonia. 

While in Estonia, Minister Donohoe will take part in a special ECOFIN VC meeting to discuss the economic and financial aspects of the situation in Ukraine.

Tomorrow, Donohoe will travel to Helsinki, Finland to meet with Finance Minister Annika Saarikko.

He will also have a meeting with Matti Vanhanen, Speaker of the Parliament of Finland. In addition, he will meet with Dr Olli Rehn, Governor of the Central Bank of Finland.

Ahead of his trip, Donohoe said: 

“These dark times only underscore the importance of diplomacy, solidarity, and unity.

“We are taking action to respond decisively to the exceptional and egregious Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Nonetheless, we must also continue our work on the policy issues that form the foundations of our Union.

“I am pleased to be able to travel in person to meet with my Eurogroup colleagues in their capital cities, to discuss these issues. We will continue our work to strengthen and deepen our Economic and Monetary Union.”

The European Commission has this morning set out its proposal for EU member states to let Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion stay and work in the bloc for an initial two years.

The urgent plan is being rolled out as over 650,000 people have already fled across the border into eastern EU states Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania that neighbour Ukraine.

Many more are expected as the Kremlin’s forces unleash ferocious bombardments against major cities.

The United Nation’s refugee agency, UNHCR, said yesterday an estimated one million people were displaced inside Ukraine by the Russian invasion.

“Europe stands by those in need of protection. All those fleeing Putin’s bombs are welcome in Europe,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

“We will provide protection to those seeking shelter and we will help those looking for a safe way home.”

The proposal by the EU’s executive would give refugees from Ukraine and family members a residence permit and the right to access work and education for an initial two years.

The Commission said it would be able at any time to ask member states to extend the protections by one more year or end them if the situation stabilises in Ukraine.

The plan is to be put to EU interior ministers meeting tomorrow and has to be agreed by a majority of at least 15 member states.

If approved it would be the first time the bloc would be activating its 2001 Temporary Protection Directive.

The directive was originally drawn up for refugees from the conflicts that wracked the former Yugoslavia, with provisions for handling a massive inflow of people and measures to distribute them across EU nations. But it has never been used until now.

The EU said the proposal would also cover “non-Ukrainian nationals and stateless people legally residing in Ukraine” such as asylum-seekers.

The Commission’s proposal also includes temporarily relaxing border controls to allow people from Ukraine to enter the EU even if they do not have a valid passport or visa.

Under existing rules Ukrainians with passports bearing biometric data are allowed to enter the EU without a visa and stay for up to three months.

Videos have emerged on social media of residents of Energodar, Ukraine blocking a road to prevent occupants from passing. 

Peace talks

The Kremlin has this morning said a Russian delegation is ready to continue peace talks with Ukraine.

“Our delegation will be ready to continue talks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow’s delegation expected the talks to resume this evening.

He said Putin’s aide Vladimir Medinsky remained Russia’s top negotiator on Ukraine but did not say where the next round of talks would take place.

A first round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations took place on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, but brought no results.

AFP is reporting four people have been killed and nine people have been wounded in Ukraine’s Kharkiv.

This video shows a regional government building on fire in Kharkiv, Ukraine:

TheJournal.ie / YouTube

The Kyiv Independent is reporting the Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 has filed for bankruptcy. 

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is urging Russians to stage daily protests against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, saying the country should not be a “nation of frightened cowards”.

“I am urging everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook, calling on Russians not to be afraid of going to prison.

“Everything has a price and now, in the spring of 2022, we should pay that price.”

He also tweeted out a thread this morning, which you can read here: 

Nearly 836,000 refugees have now fled the conflict in Ukraine for safety in neighbouring countries, United Nations figures show this morning. 

In all, 835,928 people have fled the country’s borders, according to the website of the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

dhl-logo Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

German logistics giant DHL has announced it is stopping deliveries to Russia and Belarus.

The “inbound services to Russia and Belarus have been suspended”, DHL said in a statement, adding that it was “not accepting shipments to those countries until further notice” after also closing its offices and operations in Ukraine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoke to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy this morning. 

A Downing Street spokeswoman said Johnson condemned the “abhorrent attacks on Ukraine in the recent hours and days”.

“The Prime Minister told President Zelenskyy that the UK was rallying UN General Assembly members today, to ensure the strongest possible condemnation of Russia at this afternoon’s UN meeting in New York,” the spokeswoman added.

“Sharing his disgust at the attacks on Ukraine, the Prime Minister said the UK was doing everything possible to support the Ukrainian people and their resistance.

“President Zelenskyy thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s support and leadership in ensuring defensive aid reached Ukraine and said it had been vital in holding back Russian forces.

“Both leaders agreed on the need for sanctions to go further to exert maximum pressure on president Putin in the coming days.

“The Prime Minister said his thoughts and prayers, and those of the UK, were with the Ukrainian people.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister has responded to reports that African nationals were being prevented by border guards from safely crossing the border.

He said they need to have the “same opportunities to return to their home countries safely”. 

 Yesterday Al Jazeera reported criticism from the African Union, which said it was “disturbed” by reports. 

“Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach international law,” the organisation said.

Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete at the upcoming Beijing Winter Paralympic Games, the international committee said.

In a statement the International Paralympic Committee said that the athletes will take part as neutrals and will compete under the Paralympic flag and will not be included in the medal table.

Vika Buch, the owner of a beauty salon in Ballincollig Co Cork, had travelled to her home country two weeks ago when Russian forces invaded. 

She spent days trying to get to and across the Ukrainian border so she could get back to Ireland. 

Speaking to Cork 96FM, she said there were thousands of cars queuing to get to the border, with mostly women and children. Buch said some fathers tried to cross over the border with their children but were turned back. 

“When we were on the border, the military came to us and asked ‘can you take children in your car, someone’s children?’” she said.

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that Irish people will not be found wanting in terms of our humanitarian response to Ukraine.

He says the response needed will be on a scale “we’ve never experienced before”.

“We as a country have to now get our heads around that and start preparing.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has asked the Taoiseach to expel the Russian ambassador, though she acknowledged the point made by Martin in terms of diplomatic links. 

The Taoiseach said he won’t cut off channels that might help Irish people get out of Ukraine.

Labour leader Alan Kelly has told the Dáil: “There is no way on this earth that the Russian ambassador should stay in Ireland. What is the point of having diplomatic channels with someone who lies? You can’t trust him. If he’d said nothing it would have been better.”

Here’s a look at Russian-occupied territory near Kyiv as of yesterday: 

politics-ukraine PA Images PA Images

More than 2,000 civilians have died in a week of war with Russia, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said, though PA News said independent confirmation is not possible.

Reader Q&A

It’s been a week since Putin launched his attack on Ukraine. 

You may have heard a lot about things like Nato, Kharkiv and each country’s military capabilities in the days since the invasion began. 

As the attack continues and information emerges throughout each day, it’s understandable to be left with questions about what’s going on. 

With the help of some experts, we want to answer your questions on everything from the impacts of sanctions and the Swift system, to why Russia began to attack Ukraine in the first place.

Send your questions to answers@thejournal.ie and we’ll do our best to answer them in a piece published later this week. 

The Dáil will later this evening vote on a motion condemning Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine” and in supports of the integrity of Ukraine’s borders. 

The motion is being tabled by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald TD telling the Dáil this afternoon that she hopes the government’s motion “receives cross-party support”. 

That’s all from myself, Hayley Halpin, for today.

My colleague Gráinne Ní Aodha will keep you updated for the next while. 

The damage done to Ukraine’s capital city is growing, day by day.

kyiv-ukraine-mar-02-2022-war-of-russia-against-ukraine-view-of-a-civilian-sports-club-gym-and-sporting-goods-store-damaged-following-a-russian-rocket-attack-the-city-of-kyiv-ukraine A sports club and sports store are severely damaged after a Russian rocket attack on Kyiv. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

 

Hello, Gráinne Ní Aodha here taking over the Liveblog from my colleague Hayley.

 

We’ll start with a move from Ukraine to emphasise the very human part of war:

AFP reports: Ukraine has invited the worried mothers of Russian troops captured on the battlefield to come and collect their sons, in an apparent attempt to embarrass Moscow.

“A decision has been taken to hand over captured Russian troops to their mothers if they come to collect them in Ukraine, in Kyiv,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

A tactic not only to embarrass Vladimir Putin, but also to garner any support it can for Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion.

Downing Street said possible war crimes were occurring “almost hourly” in Ukraine.

Asked whether Boris Johnson regarded the Russian attack on the Kyiv holocaust memorial at Babi Yar or the targeting of apartment blocks as war crimes, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think all of those you’ve listed could fall in that category.

“Obviously, formally it will be for a criminal court to make that ruling but I think no one can be in any doubt that what we’re seeing daily, almost hourly now, are horrific acts that would certainly appear to be war crimes.”

The spokesman confirmed it was the first time No 10 had explicitly stated that view.

BBC journalist Joel Gunter paints a horrific picture of the port city of Mariupol, in the south east of Ukraine.

Nearly 200,000 people have fled Ukraine in just 24 hours, bringing to 875,000 the number of refugees seeking shelter in neighbouring countries since the full-scale Russian military invasion began last Thursday.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has projected that more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees may eventually need protection and assistance, while the EU’s crisis management commissioner has said the figure could reach 7 million.

Ukraine has a population of around 45 million.

This sums up the views of a lot of Ukrainians – “where should we go? This is our home.”

Some more on the extraordinary stories coming from people in Ukraine, as war rages all around them. Here’s the story of a mother who gave birth in the Soviet bunker in a Kyiv hospital, as reported by the Guardian

“Even when I started to feel the pain, I couldn’t believe I’d be giving birth during war.

“When we arrived, all the lights were turned off because hospital staff were afraid about being bombed. My doctor met us and showed us to a very comfortable and colourful room.

“But two hours later we heard sirens. It was very loud. It was unreal to look through the window and see all the beautiful Gothic architecture and hear the sirens. While I was pregnant I had taken yoga classes, prepared for gentle birth-giving, took courses. It wasn’t like this.

I was so happy when I saw my son, Fedor. With his black hair he looked like a small copy of my husband, who cut the cord. When I held Fedor he was very warm. I just felt, wow, love and pure happiness and all these mystical feelings.

As I held him in the bunker, I said to him: “You’re lucky, you’re unique, you’re born in Ukraine, you’re a new Ukrainian.”

 

An update from Kherson:

A very surreal moment when Zelenskyy is told the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial in Kyiv had been bombed, caught on camera buy Channel 4. Zelenskyy is Jewish. 

At 6.15 this evening, Trinity College Dublin is lighting up its façade in the Ukrainian colours to show solidarity.

The lights will be switched on by Ukrainian student Maksym Tieriekhov.

Georgia will “immediately” apply for EU membership, the Black Sea nation’s ruling party said, a day after the European Parliament backed war-torn Ukraine’s bid to apply for EU membership.

The ruling Georgian Dream party chairman, Irakli Kobakhidze announced the party’s “decision today to immediately apply for the EU membership”.

Georgia calls on the EU “to review our application in an urgent manner and to make the decision to grant Georgia the status of an EU membership candidate,” he told a press conference.

An Irish medical student stuck in a Ukrainian city 50 kilometres from the Russian border says conversations with family at home keep her calm amid ongoing fighting.

Racheal Diyaolu from Carlow is sheltering in student accommodation in the city of Sumy.

The UN General Assembly voted today on whether to demand that Russia immediately withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

The response from countries overwhelming favoured that proposal, with 141 countries giving it their support.

35 abstained and five, including Russia, voted against it. The other four were Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria.

European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles, who also leads the EU’s foreign affairs, said the vote shows that the world “stands united in defending the laws and the principles on which international peace and security is based”.

He has called an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council for Friday, inviting representatives of Ukraine, the US, UK, Canada and NATO to join.

 

Earlier today, head of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference that the organisation is “deeply concerned about reports of attacks on health facilities and health workers”.

He said attacks on healthcare were “in violation of international humanitarian law”. 

The sanctity and neutrality of healthcare, including of health workers, patient supplies, transport and facilities, and the right to safe access to care must be respected and protected.

Dr Ghebreyesus said the WHO had confirmed a report last week in which a hospital came under attack from heavy weapons, killing four people and injuring 10, including six health workers.

In Kherson, a Ukranian port city on the Black sea, Russia says its forces have taken “full control”.

However, the city’s mayor, Ihor Kolykhaiev, says “we are still Ukraine, still firm”, AFP reports.

The United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations has accused Russia of moving cluster munitions and other arms that are banned under the Geneva Convention into Ukraine, AFP reports.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that it “appears Russia is preparing to increase the brutality of its campaign against Ukraine”.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly, she said: “We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs — which are banned under the Geneva Convention.”

 

new-york-united-states-06th-july-2021-us-permanent-representative-to-the-un-ambassador-linda-thomas-greenfield-briefs-press-on-humanitarian-operation-at-syrian-border-crossing-at-un-headquarters-i US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield (File photo) Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In Lviv, a city in western Ukraine around 70km from the Polish border, thousands of people have travelled by car, train and other means of transport to flee the Russian troops coming from the east, with many leaving for neighbouring countries.

 

ukrainians-flee-to-poland-by-train

ukrainians-flee-to-poland-by-train

ukrainians-flee-to-poland-by-train Pau Venteo / PA Images Pau Venteo / PA Images / PA Images

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, has just announced that he has decided to sell the club.

In a statement, Abramovich, a Russian billionaire, said: “In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”

The sale of the Club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club.

“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated,” he said.

“The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”

You can find the full statement here.

The Explainer

In this week’s episode of The Explainer, we spoke to Olga Tokariuk, an independent journalist in western Ukraine about what life is like for people who have remained in the country – the dwindling access to food, incessant air strikes, the possibility that they might have to take up arms, and the psychological impact on children.

We also spoke to Gabriele Leu, Romania’s spokesperson at the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who painted a picture of those who are fleeing: they are almost exclusively mothers and children, as young men stay back to fight the war, and they have many immediate legal, information and medical needs.

 

Listen here for more:


The Explainer / SoundCloud

A former world chess champion, and chairman of a human rights foundation said that appeasement allowed Putin to strike Ukraine, and if he succeeds in taking the country over, there will be further actions of aggression from Russia.

“The price to stop him has gone up every time he has advanced unchallenged. Ukrainians are paying that price in blood.”

Trinity college is lit up in Ukraine’s colours this evening.

paul-sarp Paul Sharp / SHARPPIX Paul Sharp / SHARPPIX / SHARPPIX

The Czech government said it would stop issuing visas for Belarusians, except in humanitarian cases, over Belarus’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

Two major reports emerging this evening, but we only have the bare details right now:

  • Russia is reportedly expelling US Ambassador John Sullivan.
  • There have been some reports of a significant explosion in Kyiv, reportedly near a train station.

We’ll update you as we get it. 

President Michael D Higgins spoke to President of Latvia Egils Levits, via telephone yesterday.

Uachtarán Higgins discussed the invasion of Ukraine and the response of the EU, and the two leaders agreed to stay in touch.

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