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Ukraine latest: Russian regulator blocks Google News | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #hacking | #aihp

Russia has unleashed an invasion of Ukraine after months of massing troops near its borders. The military action, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24, amounts to a full-scale invasion, says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Casualties are mounting on both sides. The repercussions are being felt beyond Europe as rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets rock Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

— China exit? Russia crisis has businesses thinking the unthinkable

— NATO eyes warning to China against aiding Moscow

— Analysis: Xi’s pro-Russia stance rooted in fear of Gorbachev model

— Russian invasion is a ‘violation of all norms’: Lithuanian diplomat

— Independent opinions ‘silenced’ in Russia, Meduza CEO says

Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.

Here are the latest developments:

Thursday, March 24 (Tokyo time)

12:30 p.m. The U.S. State Department says Russia has begun the process of expelling several more diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The department said that on Wednesday it received a list of diplomats who have been declared “persona non grata” by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn’t say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours. The foreign ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan on Monday to protest President Joe Biden’s description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” over the invasion of Ukraine.

11:00 a.m. Russia’s communications regulator has blocked Google’s news aggregator service, accusing it of allowing access to what it calls fake material about the country’s military operation in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency says. “We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” Google said in statement. “We’ve worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible.”

10:35 a.m. Japan has no clue yet about how Russia would carry out its claim to seek payment in rubles for energy sold to “unfriendly” countries, the finance minister says. “Currently we’re looking into the situation with relevant ministries, as we don’t quite understand what is [Russia’s] intention and how they would do this,” Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said in a parliament session.

A girl at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv waits in the basement to be evacuated to Poland on March 2. The World Health Organization says Russian attacks on health care in Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 21 resulted in 15 deaths and 37 injuries.  (Agencja via Reuters)

8:30 a.m. The World Health Organization says it has verified 64 instances of attacks on health care in Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 21, resulting in 15 deaths and 37 injuries. Close to 7 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced in the one month of war, with 1 in 3 of them suffering from a chronic health condition, according to the global health agency.

3:50 a.m. “Based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.

While acknowledging that “a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases” of alleged war crimes, Blinken says the U.S. government “will share information we gather with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate.” Read more.

2:35 a.m. One of the Kremlin’s faces to the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special climate envoy Anatoly Chubais, has resigned.

Chubais quit of his own accord, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells the Financial Times, without saying whether the move came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bloomberg first reported the resignation. Chubais, an architect of Russia’s post-Soviet economic overhaul and an oligarch in his own right, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

Russia’s Anatoly Chubais attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2021. He had serves as President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for relations with international organizations to achieve sustainable development goals

  © Reuters

2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have spoken again, this time by phone.

“Bennett shared his assessment of the situation around Ukraine, considering his recent contacts with leaders of several foreign countries, and expressed some ideas in relation to the negotiating process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives,” Interfax reports, citing the Russian presidential press service.

12:50 a.m. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows that “full-fledged war is an instrument of their policy, and therefore we have to be prepared to confront such a reality,” Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania’s ambassador to NATO, tells Nikkei ahead of the alliance’s summit in Brussels on Thursday.

The meeting is expected to cover not only the Ukraine conflict, but also bolstering the defenses of former Soviet states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region that many fear may be in Russia’s sights as well. These include Lithuania, which borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad as well as Belarus, where Moscow holds growing sway. Read more.

Wednesday, March 23

11:55 p.m. NATO has plans to provide Ukraine with equipment for defending against chemical and nuclear weapons, the head of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg says.

The defensive equipment would be part of additional support expected to be agreed upon Thursday by NATO leaders in Brussels, Stoltenberg says.

Nestle says the focus of its Russian businesses since the Ukraine invasion is on “providing essential food … not on making a profit.”

  © Reuters

11:00 p.m. KitKat, Nesquik and other Nestle brands will be suspended in Russia, the global food group says.

“We have already halted non-essential imports and exports into and out of Russia, stopped all advertising, and suspended all capital investment in the country,” Nestle says in an update on its Russian activities. The company says the focus of its businesses there since the Ukraine invasion is on “providing essential food … not on making a profit.”

10:00 p.m. Russia will seek payment in rubles for gas sold to “unfriendly” countries, President Vladimir Putin says, and European gas prices soare on concerns the move would exacerbate the region’s energy crunch. European nations and the U.S. have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. But Europe depends heavily on Russian gas for heating and power generation, and the European Union is split on whether to sanction Russia’s energy sector.

9:30 p.m. Japan’s top oil refiners Eneos Holdings and Idemitsu Kosan are halting Russian crude oil imports after the fulfillment of current contracts, as sanctions on Russia have made it hard to conduct business and also as companies come under pressure to boycott the country. Japan imported about 13.3 million kiloliters of crude oil in January, of which 4.3% were from Russia.

7:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warns Japanese lawmakers in a virtual speech that Russia was escalating its attacks on Ukraine, including possibly employing chemical or nuclear weapons, as he called for tougher sanctions.

“I have received reports that Russia is preparing chemical attacks by using chemical weapons such as sarin,” he tells Japan’s parliament. “How would the world react if nuclear weapons are used is also now discussed around the world.” Read more.

5:43 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says sending peacekeepers to Ukraine may lead to a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. Poland last week suggested sending an international peacekeeping mission to help Ukraine defend itself.

4:38 p.m. Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia, which holds the rotating chair of the Group of 20, says President Vladimir Putin intends to travel to Bali for the G-20 summit in November.

“It will depend on many, many things, including the COVID situation, that is getting better,” ambassador Lyudmila Vorobieva tells reporters. “So far, his intention is … he wants to.”

Asked about suggestions Russia could be excluded from the G-20, she said it was a forum to discuss economic issues and not a crisis like Ukraine. “Of course expulsion of Russia from this kind of forum will not help these economic problems to be resolved. On the contrary, without Russia it would be difficult to do so.”

4:12 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will participate virtually in a NATO summit Thursday to discuss the war with Russia, Interfax Ukraine cites Zelenskyy’s press spokesman as saying. Zelenskyy will make a video address to the meeting and might join the full discussion, Interfax said.

12:20 a.m. NATO members are debating how best to express concern over possible Chinese cooperation with Russia in a joint statement after an extraordinary summit Thursday, amid fears that military and financial support from Beijing could reinvigorate Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

A European diplomat with direct knowledge of the draft process says that “the joint communique will mention concerns about China’s potential military support to Russia.” Talks are ongoing about whether it will include language regarding consequences for any such actions, the diplomat says. Read more.

Tuesday, March 22

11:50 p.m. “Italy wants Ukraine to join the EU,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi tells Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, taking a clear stand on the war-torn nation’s hope of becoming a European Union member.

Draghi’s endorsement comes after Zelenskyy addresses the Italian parliament by video.

“Today, Ukraine does not just defend itself,” Draghi says. “It defends our peace, our freedom, our security. It defends that multilateral order based on rules and rights that we have painstakingly built up since the war.”

6:52 p.m. Zhang Hanhui, China’s ambassador to Russia, met several Chinese businessmen in Moscow on Sunday, and “instructed” them how to seize the opportunities in the current “crisis” and adjust their business structure to “fill the void” in the Russian market, according to a WeChat post by the Russia Confucius Culture Promotion Association.

“The current international situation is complex. Large enterprises are facing great difficulties in trade settlement and some of them even get disrupted in the supply chain. This is the time for Chinese private, and small and medium-sized enterprises to play a role. The Chinese government has been trying to adjust various channels, in a timely manner, to form a new platform to solve the problems of trade settlement and logistics,” Zhang says.

5:57 p.m. Britain’s defense ministry says Russian forces have not managed to take over the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol despite weeks of bombardment and days of street fighting. In an update posted on social media, U.K. officials say that “despite heavy fighting, Ukrainian forces continue to repulse Russian attempts to occupy” the city. It says Russian forces have made “limited progress” elsewhere in Ukraine in the last day, and remain “largely stalled in place.”

The Ukrainian military says it is still defending Mariupol and had destroyed a Russian patrol boat and an electronic warfare complex. But the defense ministry said Russia for now controls the land corridor from Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014, and is blocking Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov.

5:53 p.m. United Nations’ Refugee Agency says 3,528,346 Ukrainians have now fled the country, with more than 2 million crossing the border into Poland.

5:53 p.m. One of Putin’s main priorities is to take control of the capital Kyiv but trying to do so will be “suicide,” Ukrainian adviser to the president Oleksiy Arestovych says in a televised interview. He also says active hostilities between Ukraine and Russia could end within 2 to 3 weeks.

2:06 p.m. Ukraine’s army says early Tuesday that it had forced Russian troops out of a strategically important Kyiv suburb following a fierce battle. The regained territory allowed Ukrainian forces to retake control of a key highway to the west and block Russian troops from surrounding Kyiv from the northwest.

But Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says Russian forces battling toward Kyiv were able to partially take other northwest suburbs, Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, some of which had been under attack almost since Feb. 24 when Russia began its invasion.

Russian forces are increasingly concentrating their air power and artillery on Ukraine’s cities and targeting civilians, killing many and sending millions fleeing.

9:00 a.m. Russian accusations that Kyiv has biological and chemical weapons are false and illustrate that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering using them himself in his war against Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden says, without citing evidence. Putin’s “back is against the wall and now he’s talking about new false flags he’s setting up including, asserting that we in America have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe, simply not true,” Biden said at a Business Roundtable event. “They are also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a clear sign he’s considering using both of those.”

8:00 a.m. S&P Global Ratings says it will withdraw ratings for all Russian entities before April 15. The decision comes weeks after parent company S&P Global said it was suspending commercial operations in Russia, joining a global exodus of companies out of the country due to tightening economic sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

6:58 a.m. A court in Moscow formally bans Meta Platforms from doing business in Russia over “extremist” activities. The court does not ban Meta’s WhatsApp messenger service, instead focusing on the U.S. tech giant’s already-blocked Facebook and Instagram social networking services.

5:30 a.m. Russia’s growing censorship of the war in Ukraine is forcing independent voices into silence, says Galina Timchenko, a Russian journalist and CEO of the independent news website Meduza.

“The administration is using propaganda to paint a picture of a united Russia,” Timchenko tells Nikkei in a recent interview.

Timchenko founded Meduza in the Latvian capital of Riga in 2014 after she was fired as chief editor of a major Russian news website. Meduza is now one of the few Russia-focused outlets to call the conflict in Ukraine a “war” instead of a “special military operation,” the description used by the Kremlin. Read more.

5:00 a.m. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) disqualifies Sergey Karjakin from FIDE-rated competitions for six months, after its Ethics and Disciplinary Commission convicts the grandmaster of acts that cast the game “in an unjustifiable unfavorable light and in this way damage its reputation.” On social media, Karjakin had supported the invasion and accused the Ukrainian side of genocide.

The Chess Federation of Russia says it will appeal the decision and asks FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich “to take the matter under personal control.”

Karjakin and Dvorkovich are affiliated with the Russian chess federation, according to FIDE. Dvorkovich, a former senior Kremlin official, has condemned the invasion.

3:53 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says any compromises with Russia to end the war would need to be voted on by Ukrainians in a referendum. “The people will have to speak up and respond to this or that form of compromise,” he says in an interview published by Ukrainian public broadcasting company Suspilne.

Such issues could concern territories occupied by Russian forces, including Crimea, or security guarantees offered to Ukraine by countries in lieu of NATO membership, he said.

3:38 a.m. President Joe Biden urges U.S. partners in the private sector “to harden your cyber defenses immediately,” as the White House warns of “evolving intelligence” that Russia is exploring options for potential cyberattacks. Everyone needs “to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time,” he says.

1:39 a.m. European Union foreign ministers disagree on whether and how to slap sanctions on Russia’s lucrative energy sector over its invasion of Ukraine. While some call for targeting Russian oil, as the U.S. and Britain have done, other EU members such as Germany say the bloc remains too dependent on Russian oil.

12:40 a.m. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday says it will withdraw from negotiations with Japan for a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities in response to sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Japan, along with the U.S. and Europe, have imposed far-reaching economic penalties on Russia following the invasion. Japan is damaging Russian interests by taking an “openly unfriendly” stance toward the country, the ministry says in its statement. Read more.

Monday, March 21

9:06 p.m. Several hundred mines have drifted into the western Black Sea after breaking off from cables near Ukrainian ports due to storms, Russia’s main intelligence agency says.

Novorossiisk Port Authority, in a note seen by Reuters, says shipping is at risk in the area. The Black Sea is a major shipping artery for grain, oil and oil products.

3:30 p.m. Australia has imposed an immediate ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia, the government said on Sunday, as part of its ongoing sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. “Russia relies on Australia for nearly 20% of its alumina needs,” the Australian government said in a joint statement from several ministries, including the prime minister’s office. It added that the move will limit Russia’s capacity to produce aluminum, which is a critical export for Russia.

3:15 p.m. Sinopec Engineering Group, a Hong Kong-listed unit of Chinese state-owned oil conglomerate Sinopec, says its four ongoing engineering projects in Russia remain “relatively stable” despite the wave of sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Chairwoman Sun Lili told analysts during the company’s annual results call that risks in Russia “are, in general, controllable.” The four contracts, all related to gas and chemical projects, are together worth more than $1 billion, she said.

1:00 p.m. An ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has contaminated an area with a radius of more than 5 km, officials say. Sumy’s regional governor, Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, didn’t say what caused the leak. The Sumykhimprom plant is on the eastern outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 263,000 and has been regularly shelled by Russian troops in recent weeks. Authorities urged people in Sumy to breathe through gauze bandages soaked in citric acid.

A Ukrainian service member in the in the Sumy region: An ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the city of Sumy has contaminated an area with a radius of more than 5 km, officials say.

  © Reuters

12:52 p.m. President Joe Biden has added a stop in Poland to his trip this week to Europe for urgent talks with NATO and European allies, as Russian forces concentrate their fire upon cities and trapped civilians in a nearly month-old invasion of Ukraine. Biden will first travel to Brussels and then to Poland on Friday to meet with leaders there, press secretary Jen Psaki says in a statement Sunday night.

10:00 a.m. European Union governments will consider whether to impose an oil embargo on Russia as they gather this week with U.S. President Joe Biden for a series of summits designed to harden the West’s response to Moscow. “We are working on a fifth round of sanctions and many new names are being proposed,” a senior EU diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity because the discussions are not public. EU governments will take up the discussion among foreign ministers on Monday, before Biden arrives in Brussels on Thursday for summits with NATO’s 30 allies, as well as the EU and in a Group of Seven format including Japan.

9:50 a.m. Ukraine says there is no question of surrendering the city of Mariupol after Russia called on Ukrainian forces on Sunday to lay their down arms in the besieged port city. “There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms,” the Ukrainska Pravda news portal cited Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk as saying. “We have already informed the Russian side about this.”

7:30 a.m. Shelling hit residential houses and a shopping district in Kyiv’s Podil district late on Sunday, killing at least one person, Mayor Vitali Klitschko says. “According to the information we have at the moment, several homes and one of the shopping centers [were hit],” Klitschko says on his Telegram channel. He says rescue teams are putting out a large fire at the shopping center, while other details are still to be confirmed.

5:21 a.m. Management of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, says that 50 staff members who had been on the job since the plant was seized by Russian forces on Feb. 24 have been rotated out and replaced. Officials had repeatedly expressed alarm that the staff was suffering exhaustion after weeks of forced, unrelieved work and that this endangered the decommissioned plant’s safety.

2:40 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praises Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and calls for Israeli support in defending his own countries’ cities.

“We are turning to you and asking whether it is better to provide help or mediation without choosing a side,” Zelenskyy says in an address to lawmakers in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

  © Reuters

2:00 a.m. Russia and Ukraine have moved closer to an agreement on issues “critical” to a hoped-for cease-fire, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tells Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper.

“We observe that they almost agreed on the first four articles, but decisions on some issues need to be given at the leaders level,” the foreign minister says in an interview.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN he was ready for talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.


1:31 a.m. Qatar is in discussions over the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany, QatarEnergy says in a statement. Germany told Qatar it was fast tracking two terminals to facilitate LNG shipments, the state-owned company says.

12:29 a.m. Accounts that thousands of residents in Ukraine’s besieged port city Mariupol have been forcibly deported to Russia are “disturbing” and “unconscionable” if true, says Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Thomas-Greenfield tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that the U.S. has not confirmed the allegations made Saturday by Mariupol’s city council via its Telegram channel.

12:15 a.m. Meeting in Phnom Penh, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Cambodian leader Hun Sen have agreed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violates the United Nations Charter. But the joint statement issued after their talks neither mentioned Russia by name nor condemned its assault.

The two leaders called for an immediate end to hostilities and a withdrawal of armed forces from Ukrainian territory. Read more.

Sunday, March 20

11:00 p.m. Senior government officials from South Korea and Germany have headed to Qatar, one of the world’s biggest exporters of liquefied natural gas, to discuss energy.

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum and German Economy Minister Robert Habeck both met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Qatar News Agency reports.

5:00 p.m. Russia struck Ukraine with cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, and launched hypersonic missiles from Crimean airspace, the Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov says. Russia had carried out strikes against Ukraine’s military infrastructure on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

3:38 p.m. Russian forces have bombed an art school in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where about 400 residents had taken shelter, the city council says. There was no immediate word of casualties from the Saturday attack, although the council says the building was destroyed and there were victims under the rubble.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a reward ceremony for police special team members in Kyiv on March 19. (Handout photo from the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)

  © Reuters

3:04 a.m. A new shipment of U.S. weapons will arrive in Ukraine soon, including Javelin and Stinger missiles, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov says. The weapons “will be on the territory of our country in the nearest future. We are talking about days,” he says.

2:32 a.m. Kyiv city authorities say 228 people had been killed in the capital since the invasion began, including four children. A further 912 people have been wounded, the Kyiv city administration says in a statement. The figures could not be independently verified.

12:30 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agree the war in Ukraine must be resolved in accordance with international law. Kishida is on a trip to New Delhi where he also is holding discussions with Modi about security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. In a joint statement issued after the talks, they aired “serious concern about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine, and urged an “immediate cessation of violence,” but did not refer to Russia directly.

Saturday, March 19

10:43 p.m. Zelenskyy calls for comprehensive peace talks with Moscow to stop its invasion, saying it would otherwise take Russia “generations” to recover from its losses in the war. He accuses the Kremlin in an overnight video address of deliberately creating “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

9:28 p.m. Russia says it used a Kinzhal hypersonic missile to destroy an arms depot in western Ukraine. If confirmed, it would be the first time Moscow has used such a weapon since its troops invaded Ukraine.

7:35 p.m. Germany will explore liquefied natural gas supply in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and aims to secure a hydrogen deal, making it less dependent on Russia, Economy Minister Robert Habeck says before traveling to the two Persian Gulf countries. Russia is the largest supplier of gas to Germany, according to data on the Economy Ministry’s website.

2:35 p.m. Nearly 6.5 million people have been displaced inside Ukraine, according to the U.N. migration agency, in addition to the 3.2 million who have already fled the country. That means about one in five of Ukraine’s 44 million people have been forced from their homes. The agency says in a report that more than 2 million others were actively considering leaving their homes due to the war.

8:00 a.m. Three Russian cosmonauts have arrived at the International Space Station, where they were welcomed by the crew of American, German and Russian astronauts orbiting the earth.

Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergei Korsakov blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Interfax reports.

2:50 a.m. The U.S. Commerce Department moves to effectively ground 100 airplanes that have recently flown to Russia and are believed to violate U.S. export controls, including a plane used by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, reports Reuters.

Companies and other entities around the world may be subject to U.S. enforcement actions for any refueling, maintenance, repair, or the provision of spare parts or services that violate the export controls, the department said.

1:45 a.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping has told U.S. President Joe Biden that “the Ukraine crisis is not something we want to see,” according to Chinese state media, following a nearly two-hour video call between the two leaders.

Coming at Biden’s request, the discussion was the first time the leaders spoke since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has reshuffled both men’s foreign policy maneuvering since their first video call in November. Read more.

12:30 a.m. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address to Japan’s parliament on Wednesday, ruling party sources say. The leader of the war-torn country has addressed the U.S. Congress as well as lawmakers in the U.K., Germany and Poland, calling for military aid and stronger sanctions on Russia.

He is expected to call on Japan to provide support and maintain solidarity with the international community against the Russian invasion.

Friday, March 18

11:30 p.m. Russia’s central bank has held its key interest rate steady at 20%. The rate had been sharply hiked to the current level to try to halt a plunge in the ruble.

A rally in Russian bonds continued on Friday as investors bet Moscow had averted a sovereign default by making interest payments in dollars. JPMorgan had processed $117mn in coupon payments that had been due on two bonds on Wednesday, passing the money to payment agent Citigroup for distribution to bondholders, the Financial Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a concert in Moscow marking the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

  © Reuters

11:00 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a rally at a packed Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow to justify the invasion of Ukraine, telling tens of thousands of people that all the Kremlin’s aims would be achieved.

“We know what we need to do, how to do it and at what cost. And we will absolutely accomplish all of our plans,” Putin says.

He says the “special military operation” in Ukraine illustrates the unity of Russia.

But coverage of his speech on state television was unexpectedly interrupted by what the Kremlin said was a technical problem with a server.

10:00 p.m. Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman says 130 people have been rescued from a bombed theater in Mariupol, but that there is still no information on more than 1,000 other people officials believe were sheltering there when the bomb fell.

“Rescuers are working. There is only this information: 130 people are alive and have been taken out. The rest are waiting for help,” she says on national television.

6:00 p.m. Russia has lost all illusions about relying on the West, and Moscow will never accept a view of the world dominated by a United States that wants to act like a global sheriff, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on March 18 that his country has lost all faith in the West and will never accept a world dominated by the U.S.

  © Reuters

5:50 p.m. Over 2 million refugees have entered Poland from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, the Polish border guard says. “Today, March 18 at 0900 (local time) the number of refugees from Ukraine exceeded 2 million. Mainly women and children,” the border guard wrote on Twitter.

Smoke rises from a factory building near Lviv airport on March 18.

  © Reuters

3:03 p.m. Russian missiles struck an area near the airport of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Friday, its Mayor Andriy Sadovy said, though he added that the airport itself had not been attacked. Authorities are assessing the situation and will issue updates, he said. Television station Ukraine 24 earlier said at least three explosions had been heard in the city.

12:00 p.m. Japan says it will impose sanctions against 15 Russian individuals and nine organizations, including defense officials and state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport. Japan has now imposed sanctions, which include asset freezing, on 76 individuals, seven banks and 12 other organizations in Russia, according to the Finance Ministry. The government has newly designated Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and several military equipment makers, including United Aircraft Corp., which manufactures fighter jets.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova is among the 15 people newly sanctioned by Japan.

  © Reuters

11:54 a.m. The Bank of Japan has decided to stick with its huge stimulus in the face of economic headwinds such as commodity inflation and the Ukraine war, even as other major central banks shift to tighter policy. In a two-day meeting that ended on Friday, the BOJ opted to keep its key policy levers unchanged, guiding short-term interest rates to minus 0.1% and long-term rates around zero.

9:42 a.m. Australia says it has placed sanctions on Russia’s finance ministry and 11 additional banks and government organizations, covering the majority of the country’s banking assets along with all entities that handle Russia’s sovereign debt. “With our recent inclusion of the Central Bank of Russia, Australia has now targeted all Russian government entities responsible for issuing and managing Russia’s sovereign debt,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne says in a statement.

6:30 a.m. Sixty-five Turkish citizens and their relatives have been evacuated from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reports.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stands by as President Joe Biden speaks about assistance the American government is providing to Ukraine on March 16.

  © Reuters

3:50 a.m. China “has a responsibility to use its influence with President Putin and to defend the international rules and principles that it professes to support,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells reporters, adding that Beijing has so far refused to condemn Russia’s aggression.

Blinken’s remarks come ahead of a phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“President Biden will be speaking to President Xi tomorrow and will make clear that China will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia’s aggression, and we will not hesitate to impose costs,” Blinken says.

In the same briefing, Blinken confirms that an American citizen has been killed in Ukraine but says he has no further details.

3:30 a.m. In case you missed it, former California governor and “The Terminator” star Arnold Schwarzenegger has weighed in on the Ukraine war.

2:20 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives in New Delhi this weekend for a meeting with Indian Prime Ministetr Narendra Modi, during which the Russia-Ukraine conflict and ways to boost cooperation among Quad nations are expected to be high on the agenda. Read more.

12:50 a.m. The war in Ukraine “could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from among its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater instability in the region,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa argues.

Ramaphosa’s latest remarks on the Ukraine war come on Twitter and in the South African parliament.

The day before, the president said he had spoken to Russia’s Putin. “When I spoke to President Putin, I got a sense that we are looking at an agreement possibly in the making soon because he too would like to bring this conflict to an end, and I think the president of Ukraine would also like to do that, and I’m hoping to speak to him as well,” Ramaphosa said in a speech.

Ramaphosa isn’t the only African voice expressing support for Russia’s security interests.

Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba of Uganda, son of the country’s president, last month tweeted: “The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right!” Read Nikkei Asia’s interview with the Ugandan president here.

A theater in Mariupol where hundreds were sheltering was hit by a Russian airstrike on Wednesday. (Donetsk Regional Civil-Military Administration Council via AP)

12:05 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has discussed the situation in Ukraine in a call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Erdogan reiterated a proposal to host Putin and Zelenskyy for talks, Anadolu Agency reports. It was unclear how Putin responded to the offer.

Earlier, Turkey’s foreign minister visited Ukraine.

Thursday, March 17 (Tokyo time)

6:30 p.m. Ukrainian authorities are struggling to determine the fate of hundreds of civilians who had been sheltering in a theater hit by a Russian airstrike in the besieged city of Mariupol. A photo released by Mariupol’s city council shows an entire section of the large, three-story theater had collapsed after the strike Wednesday evening. Several hundred people had taken refuge in the building, seeking safety from Russia’s three-week assault on the strategic Azov Sea port city.

4:00 p.m. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts, with Russian forces suffering heavy losses and making minimal progress on land, sea or in the air in recent days, British military intelligence says. “Ukrainian resistance remains staunch and well-coordinated,” The Ministry of Defense said. “The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands.”

3:15 p.m. Hungary expects a “bigger wave” of refugees to arrive from Ukraine next week, Prime Minister Viktor Orban says in a video posted on his Facebook page. Visiting a border crossing near Hungary’s border with Romania and Ukraine, Orban says more border guards would be stationed there next week to handle the expected influx of refugees.

A woman and child evacuate from a Kyiv residential building damaged by shelling as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters)

2:02 p.m. At least one person was killed and three wounded after remains of a downed missile hit a residential building in Kyiv, the emergency service of Ukraine says. The 16-story building was struck at 5:02 a.m., it said in a statement, adding that 30 people have been evacuated and a fire has been put out.

12:41 p.m. Japan’s defense ministry says it has spotted four large Russian amphibious warfare ships sailing close to its islands as they traveled west, possibly toward Europe. Photos of the amphibious transports, typically used for landing expeditionary forces ashore, published by the ministry show what appeared to be military trucks loaded onto the deck of one of the vessels. Asked if they could be bound for Ukraine, a ministry spokesman said, “We don’t know where they are heading, but their heading suggests it is possible.”

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces rest during tactical exercises near Lviv, Ukraine, on March 16.

  © Reuters

9:00 a.m. China’s ambassador to Ukraine this week assured the head of the Lviv military administration that his country would “never attack Ukraine,” according to media reports and a translated news release from the website of the Lviv Regional State Administration. Praising the “unity” of the Ukrainian people, Ambassador Fan Xianrong is quoted as saying: “I can responsibly say that China will forever be a good force for Ukraine, both economically and politically. We will always respect your state, we will develop relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We will respect the path chosen by Ukrainians, because this is the sovereign right of every nation.”

5:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden’s characterization of Putin as a “war criminal” is “unacceptable and unforgivable,” the Kremlin says.

4:49 a.m. Russian forces have bombed a theater sheltering hundreds of civilians in Mariupol, resulting in an unknown number of casualties, Ukraine’s foreign ministry says. The ministry accuses Moscow of a war crime in the encircled port city.

Russia denies targeting civilians, saying that the Azov Battalion nationalist Ukrainian group instead blew up the theater.

4:10 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden calls Putin a “war criminal” while speaking to reporters at the White House. Asked about the comment, White House press secretary Jen Psaki says, “The president’s remarks speak for themselves” and he was “speaking from his heart, and speaking from what we’ve seen on television, which is barbaric actions by a brutal dictator.”

Wednesday, March 16

11:34 p.m. The World Bank says poor countries may face grain shortages due to their high dependence on Ukrainian wheat exports that have been disrupted by Russia’s invasion.

The World Bank’s latest Trade Watch report identified Gambia, Lebanon, Moldova, Djibouti, Libya, Tunisia and Pakistan as the most exposed to the disruptions of wheat exports from Ukraine.

“These importers will have trouble quickly switching to alternative sources, possibly leading to supply shortages in the short run,” the World Bank said.

11:23 p.m. President Zelenskyy urges the U.S. Congress to provide more weapons to help his country fight off Russian airstrikes.

“Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death,” he told a meeting of the House of Representatives and Senate. “I need to protect our skies.”

11:18 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will announce an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday, with the funding coming from a massive spending bill he signed into law that includes $13.6 billion in new aid to Ukraine. The new funding will provide additional humanitarian, security and economic assistance, and roughly half of the aid package will be used to deploy troops to the region and send defense equipment to Ukraine.

11:05 p.m. President Zelenskyy begins his address to U.S. lawmakers, in which he is expected to appeal urgently for more help in fending off a Russian invasion that has brought death and destruction and sent a wave of refugees fleeing his country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presents his national statement at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, U.K., on Nov. 1.

  © Reuters

7:12 p.m. Russia says that a neutral Ukraine with its own army along the lines of Austria or Sweden was being looked at as a possible compromise in peace talks with Kyiv. “This is a variant that is currently being discussed and which could really be seen as a compromise,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

5:55 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that some formulations for agreements with Ukraine are close to being agreed on, claiming neutral status for Kyiv is under “serious” consideration.

Earlier, in a video message, Zelenskyy had said that positions during the negotiations were becoming more “realistic,” but that the meetings continue and more time is needed “for the decisions to be in the interests of Ukraine.”

Rescuers help a woman evacuate a residential building damaged by shelling in Kyiv, in this handout picture released March 16 by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service.

  © Reuters

5:37 p.m. Ukraine’s armed forces are launching counteroffensives against Russian forces “in several operational areas,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak says on Twitter without giving details. “This radically changes the parties’ dispositions,” he says.

4:10 p.m. International drugstore chain Watsons, a unit of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison Holdings, is shutting down all its stores in Russia. It says it made the decision in January due to “unsatisfactory business performance.”

4:50 a.m. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu plans to visit Russia on Wednesday, followed by Ukraine, as Ankara makes diplomatic efforts to end the war between the two countries, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.

“The Ukraine crisis has reminded us that it is not a choice but an obligation for Turkiye to be strong in the political, economic, and military fields and to be in a position to support its friends and brothers beyond its self-sufficiency,” Erdogan is quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

4:35 a.m. The leaders of three EU member stats have arrived in Kyiv in a show of European solidarity even as Russian shelling continued on residential neighborhoods in the Ukrainian capital.

The trip by the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia is the highest-profile visit to the Ukrainian capital since Russia began its invasion on Feb. 24. Read more.

3:40 a.m. Over 3 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says, as the rapidly growing crisis tests international cooperation.

More than 100,000 — and sometimes over 200,000 — refugees have left Ukraine daily since the war began Feb. 24. UNHCR describes the exodus as the “fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II” and predicts that 4 million or more ultimately will leave Ukraine. Read more.

2:20 a.m. President Zelenskyy suggests his country may give up on joining NATO, which has no apparent desire to admit it.

“If we cannot enter through open doors, then we must cooperate with the associations with which we can, which will help us, protect us … and have separate guarantees,” Zelenskyy is quoted as saying.

The leaders of NATO states will meet next week for an extraordinary summit in Brussels, with U.S. President Joe Biden to attend.

2:00 a.m. Tributes are pouring in from the media industry for Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, who was killed when a vehicle in which he was traveling came under attack near Kyiv.

1:40 a.m. Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who owns the Chelsea football club, is said to be in Moscow now. His arrival comes the same day the European Union added him to a list of sanctions aimed at squeezing Putin and his allies.

1:08 a.m. France will offer diplomatic support to a Russian woman who interrupted a live news bulletin on Russia’s state TV Channel One to denounce the war in Ukraine, President Emmanuel Macron says, according to media reports.

“Stop the war. No to war,” the woman protester, Marina Ovsyannikova, shouted as the news anchor continued to read from her teleprompter. The Kremlin called her act of dissent a form of “hooliganism.” Ovsyannikova’s act drew international praise, including from Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak.

1:00 a.m. Russia bans 13 individuals including U.S. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from entering the country, in response to sanctions imposed by Washington on Russian officials.

The move is “in response to a series of unprecedented sanctions banning, among other things, entry into the United States for Russian top officials,” according to a Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement quoted by Interfax.

But Moscow says it is maintaining official relations with Washington and will ensure that any necessary high-level contacts with the people on the list can take place.

As Russian forces continue to attack Kyiv, fire fighters and rescuers do their jobs by a residential building damaged by shelling. (Photo courtesy of State Emergency Service of Ukraine via Reuters)

Tuesday, March 15 (Tokyo time)

11:30 p.m. The U.K. announces additional sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, targeting more than 370 additional people.

“Russian oligarchs now subject to UK sanctions include Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan. The oligarchs who will be sanctioned today have a combined estimated worth of more than 100 billion pounds,” or $130 billion, according to a statement by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

11:15 p.m. Asked whether Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev should play at Wimbledon this year, U.K. sports minister Nigel Huddleston avoids giving a direct answer but says: “We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to try and get some assurances along those lines.”

Daniil Medvedev hits a shot in his third round match against Gael Monfils (FRA) during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. (Kamin Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

10:59 p.m. Russia will propose its own United Nations resolution on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, Moscow’s U.N. ambassador Vassily Nebenzia tells reporters.

The ambassador accuses Ukrainian forces of acts including the use of cluster munitions — accusations that have been leveled against Russia’s own forces. Asked by a reporter what it would take for Russia to agree to a cease-fire, Nebenzia says Russia will stop its “special military operation” when its goals are achieved. These include the “demilitarization” of Ukraine.

10:15 p.m. Talks between Ukraine and Russia have resumed, according to a Ukrainian negotiator.

10:00 p.m. Japan wants the United Arab Emirates to make further active contributions as a member of OPEC to stabilize oil prices, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tells Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a phone call.

Kishida spoke with reporters in Tokyo after the call. He declined to comment on whether he asked the UAE’s de facto leader to increase oil output.

Meanwhile, both international benchmark Brent crude and U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate have fallen below $100 a barrel as Russia shows support for resuming the Iran nuclear deal.

7:41 p.m. The northern Ukrainian region of Chernihiv warns of nationwide air attacks, urging citizens to head to shelters. It is not immediately clear whether other regions had issued similar warnings of new airstrikes by Russian forces that invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

6:26 p.m. Russian forces fired rockets at the main civilian airport in Ukraine’s eastern Dnipro region overnight, destroying its runway and damaging the terminal building, regional Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko says.

6:09 p.m. The capital Kyiv will impose a curfew from 8 p.m. (6 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday to 7 a.m. (5 a.m. GMT) on Thursday after several apartment blocks were struck by Russian forces based outside the city, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko announces. Two people were killed in the latest bloodshed, he says.

4:40 p.m. The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia will travel to Kyiv on Tuesday to meet President Volodomyr Zelenskyy as representatives of European Union leaders overall, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala says on social networks, according to Reuters. “The purpose of the visit is to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” he said. “The aim of this visit is also to present a broad package of support for Ukraine and Ukrainians.”

1:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the woman who staged an anti-war protest during a Russian state TV news broadcast. “I am grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth,” he said, “to those who fight disinformation and tell the truth, real facts, to their friends and loved ones, and personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war.”

Marina Ovsyannikovan, identified by an independent protest-monitoring group as an employee of Channel One, holds a sign protesting the Ukraine war during a live broadcast.

11:50 a.m. The war in Ukraine is likely to be over by early May when Russia runs out of resources to attack its neighbor, says Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff. Talks between Kyiv and Moscow — in which Arestovich is not personally involved — have so far produced very few results other than several humanitarian corridors. In a video published by several Ukrainian media, Arestovich said: “I think that no later than in May, early May, we should have a peace agreement — maybe much earlier, we will see. I am talking about the latest possible dates.”

10:31 a.m. An anti-war protester interrupted a live news bulletin on Russia’s state-run Channel One television on Monday, holding up a sign behind the studio presenter and shouting slogans denouncing the war in Ukraine. The sign began in English, “NO WAR,” then said in Russian: “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you here.” The woman was named by an independent protest-monitoring group as Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of the channel.

10:15 a.m. Japan has decided to freeze assets of an additional 17 Russian individuals, the Ministry of Finance says. Eleven members of the State Duma, five family members of banker Yuri Kovalchuk and also billionaire Viktor Vekselberg were targeted in the sanctions. The move brings the total number of Russians targeted by Japan’s asset freezes in response to the Ukraine crisis to 61.

Businessman Viktor Vekselberg and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a ceremony for the unveiling of a monument to World War II resistance heroes in concentration camps and ghettos at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow on June 4, 2019. 

  © Reuters

5:29 a.m. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat, Politburo member Yang Jiechi, discuss the war in a seven-hour meeting in Rome.

The officials “underscored the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and China,” according to the White House.

5:04 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are in complete agreement that a cease-fire must be reached as soon as possible in Ukraine, Scholz tells reporters after the two leaders meet in Ankara.

“We will persistently continue our efforts in order for a lasting cease-fire to be reached,” Erdogan says.

Both Scholz and Erdogan have positioned themselves as mediators in the ongoing conflict.

3:30 a.m. The World Bank has approved almost $200 million more in funding for social services in Ukraine, bringing the total financing mobilized by the lender for the war-torn country to more than $925 million.

Of this amount, $350 million has already been disbursed to Ukraine, the World Bank says.

Besides creating a massive outflow of refugees into neighboring countries, the war in Ukraine has also displaced at least 1.85 million people within the country, according to United Nations estimates published last week.

A woman walks past a burning apartment building after shelling in Mariupol.

  © AP

3:00 a.m. President Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have discussed the situation in Ukraine over the phone, the Kremlin says.

Bennett has emerged as a potential mediator between Russian and Ukraine as the war grinds on. He has been in contact with both Zelenskyy and Putin, flying to Moscow recently to meet with the Russian president in person. Israel has been proposed as a potential location should Zelenskyy and Putin agree to meet face to face.

“Bennett informed the Russian president about his recent contacts about Ukraine with leaders of a number of countries,” Interfax reports, citing a Kremlin statement on the two leaders’ phone call. “Vladimir Putin, for his part, shared his evaluation of the negotiation process between the Russian and Ukrainian representatives taking place by video link these days.”

Monday, March 14

11:10 p.m. Cease-fire negotiations between Ukraine and Russia are in a “technical pause” until Tuesday, a Ukrainian negotiator says.

Meanwhile, a convoy of more than 160 cars has left the besieged city of Mariupol, carrying civilians out of the fighting.

10:50 p.m. Russia’s Finance Ministry is preparing to service some foreign currency debt Wednesday by paying in rubles if sanctions prevent banks from honoring debts in the currency of issue.

“Is that a default? … From Russia’s point of view, we are fulfilling our obligations,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says on state TV. Russia has to pay coupons on Eurobonds on Wednesday and has already asked Western banks to carry out the transaction, he says.

9:50 p.m. The Chernobyl nuclear power station is having problems again with its external supply of electricity and is relying on diesel generators, Ukraine’s state-owned grid operator Ukrenergo says.

9:30 p.m. Putin has signed a law allowing Russian airlines to operate leased planes without a foreign certificate, news agency Tass reports.

“The law is aimed at preserving the foreign airplane fleet with Russian operators for purposes of smooth operation of civil aviation as part of anti-sanction measures,” Tass says, citing an official explanation of the law.

9:00 p.m. A fourth round of talks between Russia and Ukraine on a cease-fire has begun, according to Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolya. Hopes for progress are lifting stocks and reversing some of crude oil’s gains.

8:43 p.m. Russia says it has not asked China for military assistance. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denies reports to that effect, and says Russia can fulfill its aims in Ukraine.

6:00 p.m. Ninety children have been killed and more than 100 wounded in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, the Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office says. “The highest number of victims are in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson, Mykolayiv and Zhytomyr regions,” it says in a statement. Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine.

6:00 p.m. India is considering taking up a Russian offer to buy its crude oil and other commodities at discounted prices with payment via a rupee-ruble transaction, two Indian officials say, amid tough Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. India, which imports 80% of its oil needs, usually buys about 2% to 3% of its supplies from Russia. But with oil prices up 40% so far this year, the government is looking at increasing supplies from Russia if it can help reduce its rising energy bill.

5:42 p.m. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will discuss the war in Ukraine with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at talks in Ankara on Monday, his office says, as both countries press on with efforts to secure a cease-fire 19 days into Russia’s invasion.

NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties with both. It has said the invasion is unacceptable and voiced support for Ukraine, but has also opposed sanctions on Moscow, while offering to mediate.

4:47 p.m. More than 2,500 residents of the Black Sea port city of Mariupol have been killed since Russian invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ukraine’s presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych says in a televised interview. He says he was citing figures from the Mariupol city administration, and accuses Russian forces of preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the encircled city on Sunday. Russia says it does not target civilians.

4:46 p.m. Ukraine will try to evacuate trapped civilians through 10 “humanitarian corridors” on Monday, including from towns near the capital Kyiv and in the eastern region of Luhansk, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk says.

“We will, once again, try to unblock the movement of the humanitarian convoy carrying food and medicine to (the port city of Mariupol) from Berdiansk (in southeastern Ukraine),” she says in a video address.

4:07 p.m. Australia says it is imposing new sanctions on 33 Russian oligarchs and business people, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Australia supports moves by the U.S., U.K., Canada, the European Union and New Zealand to take action against high-profile Russians.

1:33 p.m. Japan is urging crypto exchanges not to process transactions involving crypto assets subject to asset-freeze sanctions against Russia and Belarus, officials say. The government will work to strengthen measures against the transfer of funds using crypto assets that break the sanctions, the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) say in a joint statement. Unauthorized payments to targets under sanctions, including in crypto assets — such as cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens — are subject to punishment of up to three years in prison or a 1 million yen ($8,488) fine, according to the FSA.

11:20 a.m. Taiwanese personal computer maker ASUS will put in place a plan to “evacuate” its staff and business in Russia, Taiwan’s economy minister says, after a Ukraine minister asked it to leave Russia. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and minister of digital transformation, tweeted a letter on Thursday to ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih calling on the company to end its business in the country. Russia has invaded Ukraine in what Moscow calls a “special operation.”

9:14 a.m. Ukrainian officials negotiating with Russian counterparts are to ensure direct talks between the countries’ leaders that could lead to peace, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says. The next round of Ukraine talks is scheduled for early Monday, via video links. Ukraine has repeatedly called for direct talks between Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, pointing to the Russian leader as the one making the final decisions.

7:30 a.m. Bermuda’s aviation regulator says it is suspending certification of all Russian-operated airplanes registered in the British overseas territory due to international sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The move is expected to affect more than 700 planes. The regulator says it is unable to confidently approve the planes as airworthy due to the impact of sanctions on its ability to conduct safety oversight. Manufacturers are no longer providing parts to Russian airlines as part of the sanctions.

3:06 a.m. Talks between Russia and Ukraine are not taking place right now but will continue on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency. Peskov made the comments after Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Ukraine and Russia were actively conducting talks on Sunday, with the situation around the besieged city of Mariupol a particular focus.

 A Flag is being waved at half time in support of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion before the Premier League Arsenal vs Leicester City match at Emirates Stadium, London, Britain, Mar.13.

  © Reuters

1:35 a.m. Russia said had attacked the Yavoriv training facility in western Ukraine, adding the strike had killed “up to 180 foreign mercenaries” and destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by outside nations. Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that Russia would continue its attacks against what he called foreign mercenaries.

Ukrainian regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said 35 people were killed and 134 wounded in the attack

12:05 a.m. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi will meet in Rome Monday, the White House National Security Council said. Talks will center on “efforts to manage the competition between our two countries and discuss the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security,” Emily Horne said. .

Sunday, March 13

11:23 p.m. An American journalist was shot and killed by Russian forces in the town of Irpin in Ukraine’s Kyiv region and another journalist was wounded, Kyiv regional police chief Andriy Nyebytov said. Nyebytov initially said the dead journalist worked for The New York Times.

However the Times said that the journalist had previously worked for the paper but was not currently working for it. The Times named the journalist as Brent Renaud. “We are deeply saddened to hear of Brent Renaud’s death. Brent was a talented photographer and filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years,” The Times said in a statement posted on Twitter by its spokesman.

Nyebytov said that Renaud was shot by Russian forces in Irpin, but did not give details of the incident. He did not identify the wounded journalist.

3:30 p.m. Russian missile attack on a large Ukrainian military facility near the border with NATO member Poland killed 35 people and wounded 134, a Ukrainian official said. Ukraine said foreign military instructors have previously worked at the base, but a NATO official said there were no personnel from the alliance at the base.

12:42 a.m. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says Moscow has warned the U.S. “that pumping weapons from a number of countries it orchestrates isn’t just a dangerous move — it’s an action that makes those convoys legitimate targets.”

12:15 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a 75-minute phone call with President Putin, with the EU leaders calling for an immediate cease-fire in the war. “The conversation is part of ongoing international efforts to end the war in Ukraine,” a German government spokesman says, according to Reuters.

A French official who took part in the call says Putin did not appear ready to end the war.

Ukrainian servicemen stand by a destroyed bridge as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Irpin outside Kyiv.

The Kremlin readout of the phone call does not include a mention of a cease-fire, Reuters reported, but says Putin had briefed Scholz and Macron about the state of play in negotiations and responded to their concerns about the humanitarian situation.

Saturday, March 12

11:55 p.m. President Zelenskyy updates the Ukrainian troop death toll, saying about 1,300 soldiers have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion. He adds between 500 and 600 Russian soldiers surrendered on Friday.

3:20 p.m. Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of damaging a cancer hospital and several residential buildings in the southern city of Mykolaiv with shelling from heavy artillery. The hospital’s head doctor, Maksim Beznosenko, said several hundred patients were in the hospital during the attack but that no one was killed, according to AP. The assault damaged the building and blew out windows. Russian forces have stepped up their attacks on Mykolaiv, located 470 km south of Kyiv, in an attempt to encircle the city.

6:08 p.m. Russian forces have shelled a mosque in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where more than 80 adults and children, including Turkish citizens, have taken refuge, Ukraine’s foreign ministry says. Ukraine has accused Russia of refusing to allow people out of Mariupol, where a blockade has left hundreds of thousands trapped. Russia blames Ukraine for the failure to evacuate people.

1:00 p.m. Russian regulators say that the country’s internet users will be blocked from accessing Instagram, saying it’s being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers. In Moscow’s latest move to restrict access to foreign social media platforms, communications and media regulator Roskomnadzor said in a statement that it’s restricting national access to Instagram. It said the platform is spreading “calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel.”

This psychiatric hospital was hit by an artillery shell, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, in the village of Oskil, Ukraine, on March 11. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters)

  © Reuters

10:53 a.m. Many Nike stores throughout Russia were still open on Friday afternoon, according to checks made by Reuters, more than a week after the world’s biggest sports retailer said it was temporarily closing down all its shops in the country. Nike says the stores that are open are owned and operated by independent partners, and that it will soon update its store locator online to reflect Nike’s closed owned-and-operated stores.

5:09 a.m. The leaders of Russia and Belarus agreed on Friday that Moscow will supply its smaller neighbor with the most up-to-date military equipment in the near future, the official Belarus Belta news agency says. Belta also reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko agreed at their Kremlin meeting on joint steps for mutual support in the face of Western sanctions, including on energy prices. It did not give details.

A building damaged by shelling is lit up by sunset in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 11. (AP Photo/Andrew Marienko)

  © Reuters

4:39 a.m. Ukraine accuses Russian forces of violating international law — the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols — by abducting the mayor of Melitopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine that fell under Russian control during the invasion. Russia has not commented on Mayor Ivan Fedorov. Ukraine says Russian forces kidnapped him after falsely accusing him of terrorism.

3:12 a.m. Ukraine alleges that neighbor Belarus may plan to invade its territory, as Kyiv accuses Russia of trying to drag its ally into the war by staging air attacks on Belarus from Ukrainian airspace. Belarus has served as a staging post for Russian troops, but the country has not deployed its own forces in active battle.

People cross the Irpin river as they evacuate from Irpin town next to a destroyed bridge outside of Kyiv.

  © Reuters

2:18 a.m. The U.S. assesses that Russian strikes in western Ukraine during the past 24 hours are aimed at preventing airfields from being used by Ukrainian forces, a senior American defense official says. The mayor of Lutsk says four people were killed and six wounded in an attack on an airfield there, a rare strike on a target deep in western Ukraine far from the battlefields in the north, east and south.

Friday, March 11

10:35 p.m. The electricity supply to the Chernobyl nuclear power station has not been restored, Ukraine’s nuclear regulator says, despite Russia’s energy ministry claiming it was restored by Belarusian specialists on Thursday. Ukraine has warned of an increased risk of a radiation leak if the high-voltage power line, damaged in fighting, is not repaired. The plant is occupied by Russian forces.

6:18 p.m. Wen Wei Po, China’s state-backed newspaper in Hong Kong, has lambasted public support for Ukrainians shown by businesses and university student groups, calling it “political interference.” The broadsheet criticized a Ukrainian restaurant for “inciting people to be anti-government,” after the business voiced support and asked for donations on social media.

A new safe confinement structure can be seen over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in April 2018.

  © Reuters

The paper also called university groups “anti-China rioters” for posting a statement to support Ukraine. Meanwhile, a public opinion research group canceled its release of a poll on the war after it was also targeted in the paper.

2:20 p.m. The Japanese government is disbursing 8.8 billion yen ($75.3 million) from fiscal 2021 reserve funds for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine following its invasion by Russia. Japan will offer the assistance to relevant international organizations including the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and back the activities of Japanese nongovernmental organizations helping Ukraine, the finance ministry said. The amount is part of the emergency humanitarian aid worth $100 million that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged last month.

President Joe Biden plans to announce on March 11 that, along with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, the U.S. will move to revoke “most favored nation” trade status for Russia.

  © AP

1:30 p.m. President Joe Biden will announce that, along with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, the U.S. will move to revoke “most favored nation” trade status for Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, AP reports, citing sources. Biden’s move comes as bipartisan pressure has been building in Washington to revoke what is formally known as “permanent normal trade relations” with Russia.

12:00 p.m. Twitter will place labels on and limit the spread of posts from Belarus state media and their senior staff, the company says, in a move aimed to curb misinformation from Russia’s ally over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Social media services, including Twitter, in recent years have begun labeling accounts of state broadcasters and news websites to note that the organizations are government-backed. Labeled accounts and their posts are limited in search results and recommendations on Twitter.

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, told reporters the company would label about 15 Belurasian outlets, the largest among them news agency BelTa, which has nearly 37,000 followers. “We’ve seen evidence that these outlets, as well as their affiliates in Russia, have engaged in information warfare and are employing media and other assets that they control to propagate favorable narratives and to confuse and distract the public about what is going on,” Roth said.

5:00 a.m. More than 2.3 million refugees have fled the war in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, says about $500 million in funding is needed for relief activities in Ukraine and neighboring nations.

2:30 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discusses the Ukraine conflict in a 45-minute phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Erdogan said Turkey continues to make efforts for a political solution, describing the country as an important facilitator able to talk with both the Russian and Ukrainian sides, according to a readout of the call from the Turkish presidency’s communications office.

Erdogan said he expects Turkey’s request to buy 40 new F-16 fighter jets to upgrade its fleet should be concluded as soon as possible, adding that lifting all “unjust” sanctions on the Turkish defense industry was long overdue.

1:30 a.m. Russia’s energy ministry says Belarusian specialists restored electricity supply to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. But the International Atomic Energy Agency says it does not have confirmation that power has been restored at the plant.

Chernobyl lost power amid fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via teleconference in Moscow on March 10. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

12:30 a.m. Vladimir Putin strikes a defiant tone on Western pressure against Russia’s economy, saying he expected the sanctions.

“Together with our partners, those who don’t recognize these illegal actions, we will undoubtedly find solutions to all those problems that they’re trying to create for us,” Interfax quotes Putin as telling a meeting of government officials.

“We need to go through the period,” the Russian president also says. “We will continue import substitution in all areas, and in the end all this will lead to our greater independence, self-reliance and sovereignty.”

He also says Russia will find “legal solutions” to seize assets based in the country from multinationals that have decided to close their operations over the Ukraine invasion.

Goldman Sachs becomes the first big Wall Street firm to withdraw from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

  © Reuters

12:10 a.m. Goldman Sachs becomes the first big Wall Street firm to withdraw from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Thursday, March 10

11:07 p.m. Russia bans exports of telecom, medical, automotive, agricultural, electrical and tech equipment, as well as some forestry products, until the end of 2022, in retaliation for Western sanctions on Moscow. Over 200 items are on the suspension list, which also covers railway cars, containers, turbines and other goods.

9:10 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba fail to agree on a cease-fire during a 90-minute meeting near the Turkish resort city of Antalya. Kuleba had hoped to organize a humanitarian corridor from the besieged southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol and reach an agreement for a 24-hour truce.

8:35 p.m. Japanese clothing company Fast Retailing is suspending operations in Russia, where it operates 50 Uniqlo stores. Fast Retailing is reversing course after CEO Tadashi Yanai said the company planned to keep its stores open amid sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. His comments drew a backlash on social media.

8:30 p.m. The U.K. government announced sanctions against seven oligarchs, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, and industrialist Oleg Deripaska, freezing their assets in the country and banning them from traveling there.

Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the U.K. which means that all his assets in the country are now frozen.

  © Reuters

“Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine,” said British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in a statement.

5:15 p.m. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian says that “in handling relations with Russia, the U.S. side must not impose so-called sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction on Chinese enterprises and individuals, and must not harm China’s legitimate rights and interests.”

“Otherwise,” he warns, “China will firmly strike back.”

3:22 p.m. Rio Tinto says it will end its business with Russian companies. Though the Anglo-Australian resources giant doesn’t disclose reasons, the decision is seen as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company operates aluminum refineries in the country’s east together with Russian aluminum producer Rusal International.

3:01 p.m. Sony Group’s game division and Nintendo say they have suspended software and hardware shipments to Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine.

3:01 p.m. Russia says the Ukrainian claim that it bombed a children’s hospital in Mariupol is “fake news” because the building is a former maternity hospital that had long been taken over by troops. “That’s how fake news is born,” tweeted Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

1:54 p.m. Japan’s Hitachi announces its decision to suspend operations in Russia following a request from the Ukrainian government. The company says in a statement it will stop exports and cease most operations in Russia except for those involving vital electrical power facilities.

1:29 p.m. China’s government is walking a fine line on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stopping short of condemning Moscow but repeatedly calling for peace talks. A quick scroll through Chinese social media platforms like Weibo suggests that in recent days the public has been much more pro-Russia than the official narrative. But experts say the true picture of Chinese sentiment is more complex. Read more.

8:03 a.m. The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approves $1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine to help meet urgent spending needs and mitigate the economic impact of Russia’s military invasion. The global lender said Ukrainian authorities had canceled an existing standby lending arrangement with the IMF but would work with the fund to design an appropriate economic program focused on rehabilitation and growth when conditions permit.

6:15 a.m. Ukraine informs the International Atomic Energy Agency that the Chernobyl nuclear plant has been disconnected from the electricity grid and lost its supply of external power.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA’s director general, says the disconnection will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site, where radioactive waste management facilities are located. But it likely will further weaken operational radiation safety at the site, he says, noting that around 210 technical experts and guards essentially have lived there around the clock since Russian forces took control of the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

3:00 a.m. Russia’s foreign-currency revenues have plunged as more overseas buyers steer clear of its crude oil over the invasion of Ukraine, eroding its purchasing power for key imports.

The country already faces an acute shortage of foreign currencies after the majority of its reserves were frozen by international sanctions. A continued decline in oil-related income would squeeze its ability to pay for cars, semiconductors and other largely imported products. Read more.

2:50 a.m. U.S. stocks are rallying on an easing of crude oil prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 800 points, or 2.4%, in early afternoon trading. The broader S&P 500 index is up 2.8%.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures are down 14% from the previous day.

The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington, Yousef AL Otaiba, says in a statement to the Financial Times: “We favor production increases and will be encouraging OPEC to consider higher production levels.”

An image taken from video provided by the Mariupol City Council shows the aftermath of an alleged Russian attack on a hospital on March 9. Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the air strike an “atrocity.”

  © AP

1:50 a.m. Ukraine has denounced what it said was an Russian airstrike on a children’s hospital in Mariupol.

Ukrainian authorities say the attack came during an agreed cease-fire period. Reuters quotes regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko as saying 17 people were wounded.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately comment, but a spokesman blamed the Ukrainian side for problems with the civilian evacuations, saying they “did not yield the expected results.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the WHO has verified 18 attacks on health facilities, health workers and ambulances, including 10 deaths and 16 injuries.

1:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have discussed the situation in Ukraine over the phone, Interfax reports, citing the Kremlin press service.

Putin and Scholz “discussed options of political and diplomatic efforts, including the results of the third round of the talks between the Russian delegation and representatives of the Kyiv authorities,” Interfax quoted the Kremlin as saying.

Putin also briefed Scholz on efforts to create humanitarian corridors.

Wednesday, March 9 (Tokyo time)

10:39 p.m. Britain plans to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles to help it defend its skies from Russian invasion, Defense Minister Ben Wallace tells Parliament, noting that the technology falls within the definition of defensive weapons.

9:32 p.m. Russia must prioritize grain supplies to domestic bakeries over export markets, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said. According to Reuters, he also unveiled fresh measures to support the domestic economy in the face of international sanctions over Ukraine.

9:20 p.m. The European Union has agreed to impose sanctions on 160 more Russian individuals, including 14 oligarchs and prominent businesspeople, and freeze transactions with the Belarus central bank related to the management of reserves or assets, the EU Commission says.

The new sanctions include restricted provision of SWIFT services to Belagroprombank, Bank Dabrabyt and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, as well as their Belarusian subsidiaries.

The new safe confinement arch over reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in December 2019. A power outage to the plant opens up the risk of radiation leaks in the next 48 hours. 

  © Getty Images

9:13 p.m. Radioactive substances could be released from Ukraine’s infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant because it cannot cool spent nuclear fuel after its power connection was severed, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company Energoatom says.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also tweeted that the “reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP.” Once that capacity is exhausted, “cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent.”


7:05 p.m. The International Monetary Fund has approved $1.4 billion in emergency support for Ukraine to finance government expenditures and shore up the country’s balance of payments, central bank Gov. Kyrylo Shevchenko said in a statement.

6:55 p.m. Toyota Motor says it will donate up to 2.5 million euros ($2.7 million) for Ukraine through organizations such as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross. The Japanese carmaker will donate 500,000 euros unconditionally, while its European wings will contribute up to 2 million euros, or four times the amount employees across Europe donate.

In addition, Toyota will allow up to 40 paid hours a year per employee if they offer Ukrainian refugees temporary housing in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and other countries, or if they provide language assistance for refugees.

Toyota Motor says it will donate up to 2.5 million euros ($2.7 million) for Ukraine through organizations such as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross.

  © Reuters

6:00 p.m. The number of people fleeing Ukraine since the Russian invasion began has probably now reached 2.1 million to 2.2 million people, according to the head of the UNHCR, the United Nation’s refugee agency. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi says in a news conference during a visit to Stockholm that “the time is now to try to help at the border” rather than discuss how to distribute refugees between countries. Grandi added that Moldova, which is not a member of the European Union, in particular is facing a tide of refugees.

4:24 p.m. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the bloc has bought enough liquefied natural gas that it should be independent of Russian imports up until the end of the winter. Von der Leyen also told Germany’s ARD television that sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine were designed to cause maximum impact on Moscow while causing the least damage possible to Western economies.

3:12 p.m. Britain says Ukraine’s air defenses are having success against Russian jets, likely preventing Russia from controlling the airspace. “Ukrainian air defences appear to have enjoyed considerable success against Russia’s modern combat aircraft, probably preventing them achieving any degree of control of the air,” the defense ministry says in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.

People walk past a damaged building in the town of Irpin outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as they flee from advancing Russian troops on March 8.

  © Reuters

2:24 p.m. An air alert was declared Wednesday morning in and around Kyiv, with residents urged to get to bomb shelters as quickly as possible. “Kyiv region — air alert. Threat of a missile attack. Everyone immediately to shelters,” regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram. For days, as Russian forces have laid siege to Ukrainian cities, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting.

12:00 p.m. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called for a cease-fire in the war between Russia and Ukraine and said continued dialogue rather than economic sanctions on Russia is the way to resolve the crisis. Speaking in an exclusive face-to-face interview on Tuesday with Nikkei Editor-in-Chief Tetsuya Iguchi, Widodo said sovereignty and territorial integrity “must be respected by all parties.”

11:59 a.m. Yum Brands, parent company of fried chicken chain KFC, says it is pausing investment in Russia, a key market that helped the brand achieve record development last year. Yum also says it is suspending operations of its 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in the country and finalizing an agreement to suspend all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia, in partnership with its master franchisee. Yum has at least 1,000 KFC and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia, nearly all of them independent franchisees.

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