Breaking News: Russia Begins Large Scale Invasion of Ukraine

Destroyed Ukrainian military vehicle in Sumy, Ukraine. Screenshot of a tweet by Mukhtar Magomedov

Michael McEwen and Diego Diaz / PantherNOW Staff 

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military operation” targeting the eastern portion of neighboring Ukraine, drawing an end to a tense period of anticipation in which 190,000 Russian troops massed at the border between the two countries. 

Artillery strikes and as many as 160 ballistic missiles began to target vital air defense systems and military bases in several Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, within minutes of his address to Russian state media. 

Ground forces moved into the country across the northern border with Belarus shortly after, augmented from the south by large tank battalions moving in from the Crimean peninsula–which was forcefully annexed by Russia in 2014–and the Donbass region, which has faced a Russian-backed separatist insurgency for years. 

A large-scale cyber attack targeting Ukraine’s foreign and defense ministries was also reported, shutting down websites and other communications as the invasion developed.  

In response to the sudden invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared Martial Law, in some cases directing large groups of citizens to de facto bomb shelters in subway stations. 

The heaviest of the fighting is reported to have taken place in the eastern city of Kharkiv–which sits roughly 25 miles from the Russian border–where Russian troops are reported to be advancing on the city following the destruction of it’s air base. 


Latest Updates :

4/1/2022: 

  • An estimated 3,000 civilians fled the southern port city of Mariupol today following weeks of intense shelling and urban combat which has increasingly targeted civilian infrastructure and shelters. 
    • However, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that a mission to evacuate additional civilians had failed on the same day due to continued fighting in and around the strategic port city. 
  • Ukrainian President Zelenskyy announced today the removal of two generals from the Ukrainian armed forces for what he described as “treason,” although additional details or context were not provided. According to Zelenskyy, both generals worked within the Ukrainian security services.
  • Amid what appears to be a sudden withdrawal of Russian troops from areas surrounding the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and northern city of Chernihiv, several suburbs and towns leading out of and surrounding Kyiv have been regained by Ukrainian forces, according to that country’s defense ministry.

3/31/2022: 

  • Along with roughly two-dozen other countries, the United Kingdom has agreed to provide additional military aid to Ukraine in the form of artillery, air defense systems and armored transport vehicles as Russia’s invasion continues in several areas of the country. 
  • As many as 45 buses en route to evacuate the besieged city of Mariupol were held up by Russian forces today, according to deputy Ukrainian interior minister Iryna Versshchuck, only days after the Russian federation agreed to a partial ceasefire to allow civilians to leave what has become an intense urban combat zone over the past several weeks. 
  • Russian troops who have occupied the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for nearly 4 weeks withdrew today, according to Ukrainian officials, who claimed that the soldiers had suffered radiation exposure.

3/30/2022:

  • The Russian defense ministry announced a humanitarian ceasefire in the besieged city of Mariupol to allow civilians to leave after weeks of intense bombing and artillery strikes have left the city of 400,000 residents virtually flattened and unrecognizable. 
  • The United Nations highest human rights council announced the formation of a special commission to investigate war crimes in Ukraine on behalf of Russian forces today, continuing a resolution passed by the council last month which created an inquest into the invasion and the increased targeting of civilians. 
  • Amid claims from the Russian defense ministry that they intended to reduce the presence of Russian forces surrounding Kyiv and Chernihiv, several large strikes targeted the capital city and surrounding towns today, leading Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to describe peace talks as “just words”.
  • A U.S. Pentagon report released today claims that as many as 1,000 private mercenaries employed by Russian-based private military firm Wagner Group are currently fighting in the Donbass region. The report also claims that the firm is actively recruiting fighters from Syria and Libya to bolster Russian forces throughout Ukraine.

3/29/2022: 

  • The United States Department of Defense announced today that they’re deploying six Navy aircraft which specialize in electronic warfare–as well as 240 additional personnel–in an effort to solidify NATO’s defenses in eastern Europe. 
  • Peace negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul are reported to have shown signs of progress today as the two sides discussed several demands in-person for the first time in weeks. 
  • Following the talks, Russia’s defense ministry announced its plans to “significantly” reduce the scale and intensity of its forces in the north of Ukraine, specifically near the capital city of Kyiv and province of Chernihiv. Officials representing the Russian Federation described the move as a “trust-building deescalation”, although they clarified that the move is not a cease fire. 
  • The Ukrainian delegation to the negotiations presented a proposal for accepting both a non nuclear and neutral status in the future, including a facet that would remove all foreign military bases from Ukrainian territory and replace them with binding security guarantees enforced by larger allied nations such as Turkey, the United States and France.

3/28/2022: 

  • As Russian forces continue attempts to unite their southern front with an increasing offensive in Ukraine’s east, Ukrainian defense officials announced today the beginning of several counter attacks across the country. 
  • Ukrainian officials also announced that they do not intend to open humanitarian corridors to evacuate besieged cities amid reports of Russian provocations along the routes. 
  • Both of these developments come as a second round of peace negotiations are set to begin tomorrow, with Ukraine’s potential as a neutral and demilitarized state expected to feature prominently.

3/27/2022: 

  • In some of his most pointed comments to the NATO and Western powers yet, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the allied countries to provide tanks and planes as Russia’s invasion continues beyond its first month. 
  • A memorial dedicated to 15,000 Ukrainian Jews killed outside of the eastern city of Kharkiv during the holocaust was bombed by Russian forces today, the second such memorial in Ukraine to be targeted and destroyed since the war began Feb. 24. 
  • In the wake of U.S. President Joe Biden’s comments regarding Vladimir Putin yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron–who served as a main interlocutor in diplomatic efforts leading up to the invasion–warned against escalation in both words and actions as he believes a diplomatic end to the war remains in sight.

3/26/2022: 

  • Within a day of an official announcement from the Russian Federation that their forces would refocus attacks on eastern Ukraine, particularly the Donbass region, the western city of Lviv was struck by cruise missiles. The largest Ukrainian city in the west of the country, Lviv has been relatively untouched by the war until today, and has served as a transport site for refugees fleeing the violence in the east, south and northern parts of the country. 
  • Amid a marked change in German foreign and defense policy, Ukraine today received up to three million rounds of ammunition, 1,500 anti-air defense systems, 100 machine guns and up to 50 medical vehicles.

3/25/2022: 

  • The Russian Federation’s defense ministry announced today that the “special military operation” announced by President Vladimir Putin a month ago would refocus to the East of Ukraine, where Russian-backed seperatist movements have fought the Ukrainian government as far back as 2014. 
  • Air and ground attacks increased today in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, which has been the locus of a Russian-backed separatist insurgency as far back as 2014 and served as President Vladimir Putin’s main justification for launching the invasion late last month. 
  • The Ukrainian delegation to negotiations with the Russian government announced today that Moscow’s negotiating position and demands have grown more “appropriate” as a number of military offensives have stalled. Although this is a marked improvement from previous weeks of attempted negotiations, the Russian delegation to the summit has remained firm on their demand that the Ukrainian government recognize Crimea as well as the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as independent states. 
  • Amid reports that Russian forces have abandoned their offensive on Kyiv and have changed to defensive positions, Ukrainian forces have retaken “much” of the suburban city of Irpin, which lies within 30 miles of the Ukrainian capital.

3/24/2022: 

  • Now a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Eastern Ukraine, UNICEF estimated today that more than half of Ukraine’s total childhood population has been displaced, along with just under a quarter of the country’s total population of 40 million. 
  • NATO and G7 allies convened for an emergency session today to discuss increasing military and technological aid to Ukraine, as well as increasing NATO military presence along the commission’s eastern flank. 
  • Russian forces in northern Ukraine attempting to lay siege to the capital city of Kyiv have been pushed back into defensive positions, according to a joint U.S. Pentagon and Ukrainian analysis. 

3/23/2022: 

  • A leading climate envoy for the Russian Federation resigned from his position today with immediate effect in protest of the invasion of Ukraine. Originally the apparatchik who gave Putin his first job in the Kremlin, Anatoly Chubais left Russia shortly after his resignation and public comments opposing the war were released. 
  • Amid widespread sanctions which have frozen roughly half of the Russian government’s foreign exchange reserves in under a month, the Russian Federation today demanded that all future imports of Russian gas and oil into Europe–and specifically European Union member states–be paid for in Rubles to avoid the effect of sanctions. At the time of writing, Europe obtains roughly 40% of its natural gas from Russia, to a tune of as much as $800 million Euros per day. 
  • United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said today that the State Department has arrived at the conclusion that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine by targeting and hitting civilian sites with missile strikes and artillery bombardment.

3/22/2022: 

  • Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has reaffirmed that any conditional peace agreement with the Russian Federation would only be passed after a national referendum. 
  • Following a visit to the southern city of Mariupol, a Greek diplomat described the port city as “part of a list of cities that were completely destroyed by war,” comparing it to Guernica, Aleppo and Grozny–the latter of which was flattened by Russian forces in 2004. 
  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced today that he is ready to visit Kyiv to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine in peace talks should they reach “a sufficient level of seriousness”.
  • The wife of a former Ukrainian politician declared up to $28 million and 1.3 million Euros while seeking asylum from the war in Ukraine, according to that country’s migration service. Her husband, Ihor Kotviskyi, had previously faced widespread allegations of corruption while in the Ukrainian parliament.

3/21/2022:

  • The Russian stock market opened today for the first time since February 25th following the invasion of Ukraine a month ago.
  • The German government has announced they’re anticipating between 5-10 million Ukrainians will flee their home country in the coming weeks, destined for other European countries and the United States. 
  • A shopping center in central Kyiv that has served as a crucial supply point for Ukrainian civilians remaining in the capital city was bombed by Russian forces today, signaling a step up in Russia’s air campaign following Ukraine’s refusal to surrender the southern city of Mariupol by a 5 am deadline. 
  • Russia’s foreign minister warned that relations between his country and the U.S. are in danger of failing “beyond repair” after President Joe Biden labeled President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal”.

3/20/2022: 

  • Amid negotiations to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy has categorically rejected any peace agreement in which recognition of Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region is a condition. 
  • Russia’s military campaign in neighboring Ukraine has “stalled”, according to United States defense secretary Lloyd Austin. 
  • Several demonstrators blocked a shipment of goods along the Belarussian-Polish border in hopes of preventing the European-based shipment from reaching Russia.  
  • Mariupol’s city council has announced that an art school sheltering as many as 400 civilians was bombed by Russian forces, with casualty numbers difficult to obtain due to heavy urban combat continuing throughout the city. 

3/19/2022: 

  • An adviser to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has announced that the southern city of Mariupol is effectively cut-off from the rest of Ukraine by Russian forces. Despite this, the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vershchuk warned that Ukrainian forces do not intend to lay down their arms in surrender.
  • The Deputy Commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was killed in an offensive against the city of Mariupol, as reported by the governor of the city where the fleet is based. Andrei Paliy’s death marks the fifth confirmed case of high-ranking Russian officers killed in combat since the invasion began three weeks ago.
  • Le Yucheng, China’s vice foreign minister, said today he believes NATO expansion is to blame for the war in Ukraine, adding that continued sanctions against the Russian Federation will be “catastrophic” for the global economy.

9 PM 3/18/2022:

  • An estimated 3.2 million people have fled Ukraine since the onset of Russia’s invasion 22 days ago, according to the United Nations.

5 PM 3/18/2022: 

  • Russian forces are reported to have entered the center of Mariupol, a port city along Ukraine’s southern coast that has faced relentless bombing for more than two weeks. 
  • Amid ongoing negotiations to establish a ceasefire in the war, the Ukrainian delegation has rejected the Russian condition that they surrender possible EU membership. 
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping communicated to U.S. President Joe Biden today that conflict is “in no one’s interest”, believed to be referring to Russia’s role in the invasion of Ukraine and possibly marking a shift in Beijing’s support for Putin. Biden later warned Xi that China assisting Russia’s war in any way would produce “consequences”. 
  • Although as many as 130 civilians were rescued from the bombed Mariupol theater today, officials fear ‘hundreds’ may still be trapped.

5 PM 3/17/2022:

  • U.S. President Joe Biden has condemned Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” following reports of Russian forces targeting citizens in besieged cities across Ukraine. 
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned that Bosnia will follow the same path as Ukraine should they choose to join NATO. 
  • UNESCO has announced that they will provide body armor to Ukrainian journalists days after a Ukrainian producer and several other reporters have been targeted by Russian gun and artillery fire. 
  • More than 1,000 civilians were sheltering at the Mariupol theater that was bombed by the Russian armed forces on Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian government. Casualty figures are still uncertain.

3PM 3/16/2022: 

  • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has announced the organization’s intention to deploy “substantially more forces” to the eastern border.
  • A Mariupol theater reported to be sheltering hundreds of civilians was struck by Russian artillery, according to the Ukrainian government. 
  • Amid progressing negotiations to end the conflict, the Ukrainian delegation has rejected the Russian demand for Ukraine to adopt a neutrality model similar to that of Austria and Switzerland.
  • As more than 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia’s invasion began 3 weeks ago, the United Nations reports at least 90,000 have fled in the past 24 hours.

12PM 3/16/2022: 

  • According to the Financial Times, Russia and Ukraine have constructed a tentative framework to end the war which includes a ceasefire and Russian troop withdrawal should Ukraine deny its NATO membership.
  • President Joe Biden announces the U.S. will provide Ukraine with armed drones as part of an $800 million military aid package.
  • Ukrainian officials have announced a counteroffensive against Russian forces outside of Kyiv and occupying Kherson, other cities.

10AM 3/16/2022: 

  • While addressing the United States congress via video call, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy compares the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor to “what is happening in Ukraine every day for the past 3 weeks”.
  • The U.S. embassy in Kyiv is reporting this morning that 10 Ukrainian citizens were shot and killed by Russian forces while standing in line for bread. This has yet to be independently verified. 
  • The civilian death toll in Kherson has risen to 500, according to that city’s mayor. 
  • The Russian Federation has announced the combat death of a major general in Mariupol, the fourth general to perish in combat since the invasion began three weeks ago. 
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes “there is a certain hope that a compromise can be reached” in negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

12 PM 3/15/2022: 

  • After months of avoiding taking a side in the developing conflict between Russia and Ukraine–in which the government of Naftali Bennett refused to provide military and other aid–Israel announced today that they would comply with international sanctions levied against the Russian government. 
  • Germany has announced plans to purchase as many as 35 fighter jets from the United States, in hopes of increasing it’s arsenal following an increase in defense spending after decades of avoidance.
  • Military and civilian sites were struck by Russian artillery across Kyiv and western Ukraine this morning as Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, called on China to “clearly condemn” Russia’s invasion.

3/14/2022: 

  • Ukrainian officials have reported as many as 2,500 civilians killed in Mariupol following days of increased bombardment by Russian forces in an attempt to take the city. 
    • 85 children have also reportedly been killed since the conflict began, and another 100 wounded, according to Ukrainian officials. 
  • With an additional 250 arrests on Sunday, rights groups in Russia report as many as 14,000 have been arrested during anti-war protests in Russia since the war began two weeks ago. 
  • Sanctions levied against the Russian Federation in response to their invasion of Ukraine have frozen just under half of the $640 billion in reserves, according to the Russian finance minister. 
  • Russia’s invasion has caused more than $119 billion in infrastructure damage, according to Ukraine’s deputy economic minister. 
  • Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the government of Chechnya and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, appeared to post a video of himself being briefed by Chechen forces on the outskirts of Kyiv Monday, adding that he planned to join Russian forces in attacking the capital city.

3/13/2022: 

  • As many as 30 missiles were launched against a Ukrainian military base in the West of the country by Russian jets, which sits roughly 12 miles from the Polish border–a NATO member state–and housed foreign military volunteers at the time of the strike. 
    • At least 35 were killed, according to the Ukrainian armed forces, although an ambulance operator in nearby Lviv estimated as many as 300 were treated for injuries within hours of the attack. Russian state media reported as many as 180 deaths as the government vowed to continue attacks on “foreign mercenaries” arriving in Ukraine.
    • Following the attack, air-raid sirens were heard in Lviv, which has previously been untouched by the war and has served as a de facto sanctuary for those fleeing conflict in Ukraine’s south, east and north. 
  • The United Nations believes the civilian death toll in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reached 600–with more than 1,000 injured–although the actual number is believed to be much higher. 
  • Amid reports that more than 2.5 million have fled Ukraine since the onset of the conflict two weeks ago, Pope Francis called for an end to the war, labeling it a “massacre”. 
  • The newly installed mayor of Melitopol, whose predecessor was kidnapped during the period in which Russian forces took over control of the city, has asked residents to adjust to the new reality and end their resistance to Russian occupation.

3/12/2022: 

  • United States President Joe Biden has approved an additional $200 million in aid to be sent to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft weapons and small arms. 
  • Nearly 2,000 protestors gathered outside of Melitopol’s city hall, objecting to the kidnapping of the mayor by Russian forces the day before.

3/11/2022

  • Russian airstrikes against major cities across Ukraine have increased drastically, according to the Department of Defense. They have also spread to western cities of Ukraine–previously untouched by the invasion–where airfields have been targeted specifically. 
  • The U.S. has also announced plans to revoke the Russian Federation’s permanent normal trade relations status, which could see much higher duties paid on U.S. products imported into Russia. Should this happen, Russia would join two other countries who have suffered the same fate–Cuba and North Korea. 

3/10/2022

  • As another round of diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine have failed, bombing of Mariupol has increased days after a maternity ward and children’s hospital were bombed. 
  • Russian forces have also edged closer to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, where more than half of the civilian population has fled since the onset of the war. 

3/9/2022

  • Russian bombing has completely destroyed a children’s hospital in Mariupol, according to the city council. 
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that foreign companies which have left or plan to leave Russia amid objections to the invasion and economic sanctions will be effectively nationalized, with their properties seized and placed under “external management”. 

3/7/2022

  • The United Nations has announced as many as 1.7 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Europe since the invasion began Feb. 24. 
  • The United Kingdom’s secretary of state for defense has announced that anti-aircraft systems will soon be provided to Ukraine. 

3/6/2022

  • After 10 days of shelling and missile strikes, the mayor of the southern port city of Mariupol has warned that only 20 of 50 buses remain to evacuate the city. 
  • Poland has promised to provide MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine if the United States in turn promises to replace them with U.S. made fighter jets-Politico. 
  • A bridge used by evacuees from the capital city of Kyiv was fired upon by Russian forces, killing three members of the same family and sending many more scrambling for shelter. 
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Russia is ready to negotiate peace after “all known Russian demands are met”. 
  • U.S. State Department officials announced in a briefing that they believe Russia has committed up to 95% of the troops amassed at the border into Ukraine.

4:00 PM 3/3/2022

  • The European Union claims that plans to impose martial law across Russia are advancing through the Kremlin, the Russian Federation’s seat of government. 
  • The United Nations nuclear watchdog commission passes a resolution urging Russia to “cease all actions” at Ukrainian nuclear facilities. This was followed by a warning from the UN Human Rights chief that “all of humanity” is at risk from nuclear threat–The Telegraph.
  •  A second round of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia took place, centering around establishing humanitarian corridors as Russia’s invasion intensifies.

7 AM 3/3/2022

  • The Russian military convoy descending on Kyiv is now within 30 kilometers of the capital city, according to the Ukrainian Interior Minister. 
  • Ukrainian President Zelenskyy announced Thursday that 9,000 Russian troops have been killed since combat began a week ago. 
  • An International Criminal Court prosecutor announced he would investigate ‘war crimes’ allegations against the Russian Federation following their invasion of Ukraine. 
  • A Russian advisor to the World Bank resigned from his post in protest over the invasion of Ukraine today, saying that he “can no longer associate myself with my government, and will have to resign my position.” This marks the first official resignation of a Russian Federation official in protest of the invasion.

1:00 AM 3/3/2022

  • The mass refugee exodus produced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began a week ago, has reached 1 million, according to the United Nations. 
  • The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has reported 752 civilian casualties in a week of conflict with invading Russian forces. 
  • Several senior Biden administration officials and one European official have claimed that Chinese diplomats with knowledge of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions or plans to invade Ukraine asked him to hold off until the end of the Beijing Olympics, which took place earlier this year and ended on Feb. 20–three days before the invasion began.

4:45 PM 3/2/2022

  • According to the United Nations, approximately 840,000 Ukrainians have fled their country since the Russian invasion began a week ago. 
  • The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly today in condemning the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. 
  • The Russian government has published its first casualty figures in an invasion it claims to be conducted under defensive measures, claiming 498 soldiers have been killed and an additional 1,500 injured. 
  • The first Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces is Kherson, located in the south of the country and along a major route connecting the south to the capital, Kyiv.

6:15PM 3/1/2022

  • Diplomats from countries around the world exited today’s United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in protest as Russian Foreign Minister Seregei Lavrov began his address. 
  • Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi claims three Russian missiles have hit a sacred Jewish memorial in Kyiv, where nearly the entire Jewish population of Kyiv was executed by Nazi soldiers between 1941-1943.

4:40 PM 3/1/2022

  • European Union officials are reportedly considering a program which will offer amnesty to any Russian soldier who has not committed a war crime. 
  • Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv was bombarded by Russian missiles and artillery on Tuesday, targeting government buildings in the city center as well as schools and maternity wards.
  • The European Parliament voted 637 in favor to grant Ukraine a candidacy position in the EU.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports they are expecting as many as four million refugees from Ukraine in the coming weeks.

10:05 PM 2/28/2022

  • Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin announced that Finland will support Ukraine with a shipment of 2,5000 assault rifles, 150,000 bullets, 1,500 anti-tank weapons, and 70,000 packages of food. 
  • Japan will freeze Russian leaders’ assets and three financial institutions, with new sanctions also freezing assets of Russia’s Central Bank and banks owned by Promsvyazbank and Vnesheconombank. 
  • Satellite images from Maxar Technologies shows that a Russian convoy made up of of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery, and other logistical vehicles is moving toward Kyiv and is possibly just over 50 KM away. 
  • The United Nations Refugee Agency is anticipating up to four million people fleeing Ukraine in the next few weeks. 

4:40 PM 2/28/2022

  • Ukrainian Defense Minister announces amnesty for any Russian soldiers who lay down their weapons. 
  • The United States is expelling as many as 12 Russian Federation diplomats from the United Nations, claims they were “engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security”.

9:15 PM 2/27/2022

  • In a phone call with British PM Boris Johnson this evening, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy warns the next 24 hours will be a crucial period for Ukraine. 
  • Russian fighter jets have reportedly taken off from Belarus’ second largest city, Gomel, amid reports that Ukraine’s northern neighbor plans to land paratroopers in a growing push to take Kyiv. 

7:15 PM 2/27/2022

  • A constitutional referendum revoking Belarus’ non-nuclear status has passed, likely paving the way for the placement of Russian nuclear weapons in the country-BNO News. 
  • After 5 days of fighting, the United Nations reports as many as 120,000 Ukrainian refugees have sought asylum in neighboring countries, with numerous African asylum seekers made to wait at Polish, Bulgarian border crossings. 

4:45 PM 2/27/2022

  • Satellite imagery has captured a convoy of Russian military vehicles more than three miles long moving in the direction of Kyiv. 
  • The EU has announced additional sanctions which will freeze roughly half of the Russian Federation’s foreign currency reserves, which typically serve as backup funds should a country’s currency rapidly decline in value. 
  • EU foreign affairs and security policy representative Josep Borell says fighter jets may be included as part of a military aid package supplied to Ukraine in the coming days. 

3:10 PM 2/27/2022

  • Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko announces the city is encircled by Russian forces, making the evacuation of the city impossible. 
  • The European Union has announced an agreement between all member states to accept Ukrainian refugees for a period lasting up to three years without requiring asylum applications. 
  • Following a decision to impose sanctions on Belarus banning petroleum imports and the sharing of technology, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces that Belarus is “actively taking part in the war against Ukraine”. 
  • Reversing decades of German foreign policy norms, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz announces the country will begin spending more than 2% of it’s annual economic output onto defense. “On Thursday, President Putin created a new reality with his assault on Ukraine”.

1:00 PM 2/27/2022

  • Andrei Klimov, Chairman of the Russian Federation’s Committee on State Sovereignty, announces that “Russia will attack any transport of weapons to Ukraine”. 
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announces the removal of General Valery Gerasimov as Chief of Russian armed forces. 
  • Anatoly Chubais–who served a key role in the privatization of the Russian economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union–posts an image on his personal Facebook page of Boris Nemtsov, a former Presidential candidate who was killed in front of the Kremlin seven years ago, signaling further possible fractures in Russia’s political leadership.

1:05 AM 2/27/2022

  • The Ukrainian government reports that Kyiv remains under the control of both armed forces and territorial defense units following a night of intensified air strikes and Russian infantry advances. 
  • Russian forces have reportedly broken through the defenses of the eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, leading to heavy fighting in the city limits– Deputy Minister of the Interior.

10:15 PM 2/26/2022

  • As Russian armed forces continue an attempted siege of Kyiv, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy releases another video statement reiterating that Ukrainians will continue to resist “Russian aggression”. 
  • At least 240 civilian casualties have been confirmed by the United Nations from the beginning of the invasion on Thursday, although the UN believes “real figures are considerably higher” amid increasingly intense fighting. 
  • A 6-year old boy has been confirmed killed in western Kyiv today after reports of massive explosions, Russian infantry advance. 
  • Ukrainian Ministry of Interior has requested citizens to disable geolocation capabilities on their cell phones amid reports that Russia has begun tracking large gatherings of people. 

9:30 PM 2/26/2022

  • The United States has announced that they will provide an additional “number” of Stinger air defense systems to Ukraine as part of a $350 million aid package.
  • All European Union member countries have officially agreed to close EU airspace to Russian airlines. 
  • United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the UK will accept Ukrainian refugees following days of controversy over a previous refusal.

6:00 PM Update 2/26/2022: 

  • As night falls on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, large Russian air raids and rocket attacks are expected from multiple sources. This follows large troop advances in the southern port city of Mariupol and reports of Chechen infantry headed for Kyiv via Russian air transport. 
  • A CNN live stream shows a large, pulsating glow over Southwestern Kyiv amid several “large booms”.
  • German government announces the Russian Federation will be completely cut-off from SWIFT international banking system.
  • Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, which sits within 25 miles of the Russian border, reportedly facing heavy attack by land and air units.

12:00 PM 2/26/2022

  • In a notable reversal from previous policy, Germany announces it will supply up to 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the defense of Kyiv, other cities.

10:49 PM 2/25/2022 

  • Heavy gunfire heard in the background of CNN live shot located in the south of Kyiv.

10:32 PM 2/25/2022

  • As intense gunfire is heard close to central Kyiv, President Zelensky reportedly rejects US offer to evacuate capital city.

9:15 PM 2/25/2022

  • Chinese embassy in Kyiv announces activation of evacuation plan for Chinese nationals “as soon as the flight conditions can ensure their safety”. 

6:48 PM 2/25/2022 

  • Heavy fighting reported south of Kyiv in the town of Vasylkiv, where Russia intends to land forces for an attack on Ukraine’s capital city.

6:15 PM 2/25/2022 

  • The United States Treasury department officially announces financial sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chief of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.

6:00 PM 2/25/2022

  • Ukrainian President Zelensky announces he expects the Russian army to “storm” Kyiv tonight, asking citizens to defend city.

5:46 PM 2/25/2022

  • The Chinese Delegation to the United Nations Security Council abstained from a vote demanding the “immediate and complete withdrawal of Russian forces” from Ukraine today, breaking a pattern of mutual support in the council and shocking many in a passive refusal to stand by the invasion.

5:11 PM 2/25/2022

  • Satellite images show an alarming buildup of Russian forces along the Belarussian-Ukrainian border–20 miles from capital Kyiv–of nearly 150 attack helicopters and additional support equipment.
  • In Brussels, NATO leaders conducted an emergency summit on Friday to solidify the increase in forces along the NATO states near Ukraine. The deployments include thousands of NATO and US troops, as well as putting more than 100 jets on high alert.

NATO also announced that it will continue to supply weapons to Ukraine, including air-defense systems.

11:14 PM 2/24/2022

  • A large explosion spotted over suburban Kyiv early Friday morning was reportedly a Russian cruise missile intercepted by Ukrainian anti-air defenses.

10:25 PM 2/24/2022

  • Senior U.S. Defense Department officials have begun warning lawmakers that Russian forces are within 20 miles of Kyiv.

10:18 PM 2/24/2022

  • Speaking at a press conference, Ukrainian Prime Minister Deny Shmyal confirms the Chernobyl exclusion zone and all structures comprising the nuclear power plant are under Russian control.

9:39 PM 2/24/2022

  • Several loud explosions reported in the center of Ukrainian capital city, Kyiv, as the city’s air defense system begins to intercept Russian cruise missiles.

8:44 PM 2/24/2022

  • Following the violent takeover of the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear power plant by Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine, as well as an ongoing hostage situation at the facility, radiation levels more than 20 times higher than average have been detected.

7:38 PM 2/24/2022

  • Thousands of anti-war protesters took to the Russian streets Thursday, calling for the end of the Russian invasion. As of this update more than 1,700 Russians have been arrested for attending these protests

6:58 PM 2/24/2022

6:40 PM 2/24/2022

  • Ukraine announces 137 military casualties in first full day of fighting

6:03 PM 2/24/2022

  • Ukrainian President Zelensky: “The enemy’s sabotage forces have entered the capital. Me and my family are remaining”. 

5:55 PM 2/24/2022

  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announces the deployment of a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to address humanitarian concerns in Ukraine. 

5:36 PM 2/24/2022

  • White House announces stringent financial sanctions on Russia’s two largest banks, Sberbank and VTB, in hopes of cutting the Russian federation off from the global economy. 
  • “We’ve intentionally scoped our sanctions to deliver a severe impact on the Russian economy,” said National Security Advisor Daleep Singh.

5:30 PM 2/24/2022

  • Ukrainian President Zelensky orders general mobilization of all reservists and conscripts in anticipation of nighttime fighting in Kyiv, eastern cities.

3:00 PM 2/24/2022:

2:30 PM 2/24/2022:

  • Speaking to the public, President Joe Biden announced on Thursday the implementation of massive multilateral sanctions as a means of unraveling Russia’s already precarious economy. The multilateral coalition of states comprises more than half of the global economy.

“We’re gonna stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military, We’re going to impair their ability to compete in the high-tech 21 century economy,” said Biden. “We’ve already seen the impact of our actions on Russia. Its currency, the Ruble, hit it’s weakest ever [value] in history.”

The new round of sanctions will primarily be targeting Russia’s military technology and banking sector. Additionally, the sanctions will target Russian business leaders considered part of Putin’s “inner circle.”

“Today’s actions, we’ve now sanctioned Russian banks that together hold around $1 trillion in assets. We’ve cut off Russia’s largest bank that holds more than one-third of Russia’s banking assets,” said Biden. “And today, we’re also blocking four more major banks, that means every asset they have in America will be frozen. 

The new banks being blocked include Russian state-owned VTB bank, which holds $250 billion in assets within the US.    

Biden also announced the convening of a NATO summit between member and allied states as a means of planning future action, including the increased deployment of troops in Central and Eastern European NATO states.

“Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east,” said Biden. “There is no doubt the United States and every NATO ally will meet our article five commitments, which says an attack on one [NATO state] is an attack on all.

Speaking to the potential economic impact the conflict may cause, Biden stated that the US and allied oil producing states will coordinate to release strategic oil reserves as a means of alleviating the predicted price hike.

“I know this is hard, and Americans are already hurting… but this aggression cannot go unanswered.”

Biden ended the speech with a call for global solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and a condemnation of Putin’s actions.

12:00 PM 2/24/2022:

“If the invaders’ artillery hits and ruins/damages the collectors of nuclear waste, radioactive nuclear dust can be spread over the territory of Ukraine, Belarus and the country of the EU,” said Anton Gerschenko, adviser for the interior minister of Ukraine.

International analysts have long believed the conquest of Ukraine to be a primary component to Putin’s foreign policy agenda, which has been staunchly opposed to the possibility of the country achieving NATO membership. 

  • Citing U.S. intelligence, Senator Marco Rubio, who chairs the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, claimed that a large Russian airborne operation destined for Kyiv will encircle the city within days in hopes of forcing the current government to step down. 
  • In preparation for this, Russian troops reportedly seized Antonov airport within hours, which sits only 15 miles from the Kyiv city center. 

Speaking to the press on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova clarified that the Russian Federation’s invasion was not the beginning of a war, but rather the end of one.

The statement echoes remarks made by Putin minutes before the offensive began, reframing the invasion as a “self-defense” measure to “demilitarize” and “denatizify” Ukraine.  

  • Russian authorities also announced on Thursday crackdowns and possible prosecution to any citizen participating in anti-war protests. 

The response of the international community has so far focused on levying increased sanctions on Russian banks and oligarchs, many of whom belong to Putin’s so-called inner circle of financiers and businessmen. 

Four European countries near the conflict, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, have invoked Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, a provision which triggers military consultation in the case of a territorial or sovereign threat to any NATO country. 

Though an ally of the multinational organization, Ukraine itself is not a member state. 

  • China and Iran have so far refused to brand Russia’s actions as an invasion. Though, in a news briefing Thursday morning, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said of the conflict, “China did not wish to see what happened in Ukraine today.” 

Iran, on the other hand, has accused NATO of inciting the conflict, calling for a ceasefire without any mention of Russia’s actions.

“The #Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO’s provocation,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. “Imperative to establish a ceasefire & to find a political and democratic solution.”

The statement may risk the gains made by US and Iranian officials towards the revival of 2015’s JCPOA nuclear agreement.

12:00 AM 2/23/22:

  • As the 15-seat United Nations Security Council met on Thursday to further discuss the troop build up, the invasion began. 

“It’s too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation,” said Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya after being informed of the invasion during the meeting. “I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war.”

Diplomatic efforts spearheaded by the leaders of France, the United States and Germany in the months leading up to the invasion largely focused on demands made by Putin, including an end to NATO expansion and a restoration of Russian influence in the region. 

However, an effort to formally remove Russia from the SWIFT payment system, which facilitates money transfers and other financial information around the world, was blocked by a number of European countries, including Germany, the largest purchaser of Russian gas globally. 

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