Ukraine says US considering more Russia sanctions

Blinken: US considering sending planes to Poland if needed

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2022.

Susan Walsh / Pool | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that if Poland sends jets to Ukraine, to join the fight against Russia, the US would consider sending replacement planes to Poland.

Speaking at a press conference in Moldova, he added that it was being considered “very, very actively.”

“We are looking actively now at the question of airplanes that Poland may provide to Ukraine and looking at how we might be able to backfill should Poland decide to supply those planes,” Blinken said.

“I can’t speak to a timeline but I can just say we’re looking at it very, very actively.”

—Katrina Bishop

Ukraine president: US is preparing new sanctions; Russia plans to bombard Odessa

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the US is preparing new support for Ukraine and new sanctions for Russia.

“I talk to the leaders of many countries every day and every night. There is no hour when Ukraine does not hear what help it will receive. For example, the United States is preparing new support for Ukrainians and new sanctions for Russia,” he said Sunday, according to a translation of a televised address.

Zelenskyy also said that Russia was planning to bombard Odessa, the third-largest Ukrainian city and a key port on Ukraine’s coast.

“Russians have always come to Odessa, always felt in Odessa only warmth, only sincerity. And now what? Bombs against Odessa, artillery against Odessa, missiles against Odessa,” he added.

“It will be a war crime, it will be a historical crime.”

—Katrina Bishop

UK’s Boris Johnson outlines a six-point plan for Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during a news conference at British Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, March 1, 2022.

Kacper Pembel | Reuters

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out a six-point plan for resolving the Ukraine crisis in a New York Times article, saying the time to act is now.

In the guest essay, entitled “Putin’s Act of Aggression Must Fail,” Johnson said it was no longer enough to share “warm platitudes” about the rules-based international order.

“We are going to have to actively defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by force and other tools, such as economic coercion. We must restore effective deterrence in Europe, where, for too long, the very success of NATO and of America’s security guarantee has bred complacency. What happens in Europe will have profound implications worldwide,” he wrote.

In the article, Johnson calls for allies to do the following:

  • Mobilize an international humanitarian coalition
  • Do more to help Ukraine defend itself
  • Maximize the economic pressure on Putin’s regime
  • Prevent any normalization of Putin’s actions in Ukraine
  • Be open to de-escalation and diplomacy
  • Strengthen “Euro-Atlantic security”

“Ukrainians have bravely defended their country. It is their valor that has united the international community. We can’t let them down,” Johnson added.

—Katrina Bishop

Over 1.5 million refugees have left Ukraine in last 10 days: UN

Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, says that over 1.5 million refugees have left Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country began.

He described it as the “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.”

WHO: Attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine have caused deaths, injuries

The World Health Organization confirms that there have been multiple attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said on Twitter that the attacks had caused “multiple deaths and injuries.”

Ukraine war to last ‘months, if not years,’ UK prime minister warns

Dominic Raab, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs walks in Downing Street on September 3, 2019 in London, England.

Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images

UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Sunday that the war in Ukraine could last months, if not years.

Speaking to Sky News, Raab said: “Our mission with our allies is to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine, and it’s going to take some time — we’re talking about months, if not years — and therefore we have to show some strategic stamina , because this is not going to be over in days.”

Mariupol officials say cease-fire to allow civilians to leave is planned for today

Mariupol City Council says that another temporary cease-fire is planned for Sunday to allow civilians to leave the Ukrainian city.

Fighting is due to stop between 10 am and 9 pm local time. It was not immediately clear if the cease-fire was underway during this time.

The evacuation of civilians is scheduled to begin at midday, the city said in a post on Telegram.

“Following the route of the humanitarian corridor, you can leave the city by private transport, moving in a column of municipal transport (exclusively by bus),” the city said, according to a translation.

“At the head of the column will be accompanied by the Red Cross. We ask all drivers the city to facilitate the evacuation of civilians as much as possible – take people with you, fill the transport as much as possible.”

The safe route — described as a “humanitarian ‘green’ corridor” — will go from Mariupol to Zaporozhye, a city to the west, with a number of stops along the way.

It comes after planned evacuations from Mariupol and Volnovakha were canceled Saturday due to fears of violence in the cities and on the routes out. Iryna Vereshchuk, deputy prime minister of Ukraine, said Saturday that Russia had violated the cease-fire agreement, with fighting continuing in or around both cities.

The cities have born the brunt of some of the most intense fighting in Ukraine over recent days.

Their location — in Ukraine’s extreme southeast corner, near the Russian border, the Sea of ​​Azov and Crimea — makes them strategic targets for Moscow. If they fell to Russia, its troops could join forces with those in Crimea, a peninsula Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014.

—Katrina Bishop

Putin ‘forced to deny’ reports that martial law is coming to Russia

Security forces arrest a Russian anti-war protester in Moscow on March 3, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

President Vladimir Putin was “forced to deny reports” that his government will impose martial law in order to stamp out Russian dissent against the war in Ukraine, according to the UK Defense Ministry.

Putin made the denial at an event in Moscow on Saturday local time. Rumors of impending martial law have swirled in Russia for days as the Kremlin tries to control opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Putin on Friday approved changes to Russian law that imposes prison sentences of up to 15 years for “fake” news about the war in Ukraine.

“These steps likely reveal the extent of Russia’s concern over how the conflict in Ukraine has unfolded and its desire to hide this from the Russian population,” the UK ministry said in a Saturday intelligence update.

Demonstrators have protested the war in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia despite the threat of arrest or worse.

British newspaper the Guardian reported late last week that a bill was introduced in Russia’s legislature, the State Duma, that would forcibly conscript opposition protesters to fight in eastern Ukraine.

—Ted Kemp

Zelenskyy and Biden discuss security, financial support

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine spoke by phone with US President Joe Biden on Saturday evening Washington time, the White House said.

On Twitter, Zelenskyy referred to the conversation as part of a “constant dialogue.”

“The agenda included the issues of security, financial support for Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia,” the Ukrainian president said.

Biden initiated the call, the White House said.

Also on Saturday local time, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, briefly met at the Ukraine-Poland border to discuss Western efforts to support Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country.

The pair of top diplomats discussed supplying additional weapons to Ukraine and efforts to impose sanctions on Russia to further isolate the country and damage its economy.

—Ted Kemp and Annie Palmer

Visa and Mastercard suspend operations in Russia, citing the invasion of Ukraine

Visa and Mastercard logos are seen in front of Russian flag in this illustration taken March 1, 2022.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Visa and Mastercard on Saturday said they will suspend all operations in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The move came after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an impassioned plea during a Zoom call with American lawmakers to restrict the companies’ credit card access in Russia.

Visa said effective immediately it will work to cease all Visa transactions within Russia in the coming days. Afterward, the company said, all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and any Visa cards by financial institutions outside of Russia won’t work within the Russian Federation.

“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa, said in a statement. “This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”

Mastercard said it would suspend its network services in Russia. Cards issued by Russian banks won’t be supported by the Mastercard network, and Mastercard cards issued outside the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs, the company said in a statement.

“As we take this step, we join with so many others in hoping for and committing to a more positive, productive and peaceful future for us all,” the company said.

Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank Rossii PAO, said the moves announced by Visa and Mastercard would not affect users of the cards it issues in Russia, Reuters reported, citing the Tass news agency.

“These decisions will not affect Sberbank’s Visa and Mastercards inside the country,” the Russian news agency quoted the bank as saying, Reuters said.

Terri Collen

Zelenskyy calls on Ukrainian citizens to ‘go on the offensive’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy talks during an interview with Reuters in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.

Umit Bektas | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged citizens of his country to “go on the offensive” against invading Russian troops.

“Every meter of our Ukrainian land won by protest and humiliation of the invaders is a step forward, a step towards victory for our entire state,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted on Telegram. “This is a chance to live.”

“Ukrainians! In all our cities where the enemy entered. Feel it. Go on the offensive,” he added.

Zelenskyy praised the heroism of residents in Kherson, a port city in southern Ukraine that was taken by Russian forces this week. On Saturday, residents gathered to protest the Russian occupation as gunfire rang out, according to one video posted by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

Zelenskyy also addressed people in the rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, located in southeastern Ukraine. He urged them to fight for Ukraine and reject Russian propaganda.

“Look what Russia has done,” Zelenskyy said. “It did it right in front of your eyes. Protect yourself! Otherwise, it will take your life, too.”

— Annie Palmer

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo