Russia vs Ukraine Update: Ukraine’s Armed Forces say Russia is planning to involve the “most trained military units” of the Belarusian army in its invasion

Latest Happenings Today In Russia vs Ukraine War

Ukraine military says Russia is planning to use Belarus troops

Ukraine’s Armed Forces say Russia is planning to involve the “most trained military units” of the Belarusian army in its invasion.

Belarus previously denied the claim on Monday.

“Belarusian servicemen are carrying out tasks in accordance with the Armed Forces’ training plan for the 2021-2022 training year within Belarusian borders only and are not taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said.

Mastercard blocks several financial institutions over Russia sanctions

Mastercard has blocked multiple financial institutions from its payment network as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The US credit card company did not say which institutions were blocked.

It promised to contribute $2m for humanitarian relief.

Australia commits $50m in support for Ukraine

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government will provide Ukraine with $50m to help fend off the Russian invasion.

“The overwhelming majority of that … will be in the lethal category,” he said.

“We’re talking missiles, we’re talking ammunition, we’re talking supporting them in their defense of their own homeland in Ukraine and we’ll be doing that in partnership with NATO.”

Refugee movement from Ukraine to neighboring countries

Diplomats accuse UAE of ‘dirty deal with Russia’

Diplomats say the United Arab Emirates (UAE) abstained from two votes on UN Security Council resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in order to win Moscow’s support for an arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

A Security Council diplomat told Reuters news agency that UAE made a “deal with the devil” to secure Russia’s support.

“UAE’s two abstentions on Ukraine bought the Russian yes vote,” the diplomat said.

Another diplomat told AFP: “We are very angry with the Emirates and convinced they made a dirty deal with Russia” that links the Houthis and Ukraine.

Both the UAE and Russia denied a deal was made on votin

Disney halts film releases in Russia

Disney says it is suspending the release of its films in theaters in Russia after Moscow’s assault on Ukraine

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from Pixar,” the US entertainment giant said in a statement.

Putin stripped of taekwondo black belt

World Taekwondo has stripped Russian President Vladimir Putin of his honorary taekwondo black belt over his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It added that it would join the International Olympic Committee in banning the Russian flag and anthem at its events.

World Rugby suspends Russia, Belarus

Rugby’s world governing body is suspending Russia and Belarus from all international rugby “until further notice”.

It also suspended Russia’s membership indefinitely.

“World Rugby reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and the facilitation of this action by Belarus,” the body said.

Blinken ‘assures Ukraine of more sanctions and weapons’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has offered Kyiv more support in the form of sanctions and weapons.

“In our call, Secretary Blinken affirmed that the U.S. support for Ukraine remains unfaltering,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

“I underscored that Ukraine craves for peace, but as long as we are under Russia’s assault we need more sanctions and weapons. Secretary assured me of both. We coordinated further steps.”

Satellite images show 40-mile long Russian convoy descending on Kyiv

The Russian military convoy descending on Ukraine’s capital stretches for about 40 miles (64 km), according to Maxar Technologies.

The US satellite-imaging company said pictures taken on Monday shows the convoy “contains hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles”.

The Maxar pictures also showed deployments of ground forces and ground attack helicopter units in southern Belarus.

A satellite image shows southern end of convoy armour towed artillery trucks, east of Antonov airport, Ukraine,

A satellite image shows southern end of convoy armour towed artillery trucks, east of Antonov airport, Ukraine, February 28, 2022 [Maxar Technologies/Handout via Reuters]

Ukraine says Russia used a vacuum bomb

Oksana Markarova, Kyiv’s ambassador to the US, says Russia had used a vacuum bomb in Ukraine on Monday.

Also known as a thermobaric bomb, the weapon uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, typically producing a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than that of a conventional explosive.

“They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention,” Markarova said after a meeting with US legislators. “The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

Russia ‘continued shelling Ukraine during talks’

Ukraine’s president says Russian troops intensified shelling of Ukraine in an effort to force his government into making concessions during talks held earlier on Monday.

In a video address, Zelenskyy said that “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronizing of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method”.

The president said Ukraine is not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”

Zelenskyy says that Kyiv, the capital, remains “a key goal” for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery.

Zelensky seeks ban on Russia in all global airports and ports

Ukraine’s president is seeking a global ban on Russian planes and ships as punishment for attacking his country.

“We must close entry for this state in all ports, all canals and all the world’s airports,” Zelenskyy said on Facebook. He also urged the international community to “consider a total closure of the skies to Russian missiles, planes and helicopters”.

Ukraine says Starlink equipment has arrived

Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation says equipment to use SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service has arrived in his country.

Mykhailo Fedorov thanked SpaceX founder Elon Musk for the equipment in a Twitter post Monday that was accompanied by a photo of boxes on the back of a truck.

Starlink is a satellite-based internet system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. It markets itself as “ideally suited” for areas where internet service is unreliable or unavailable.

Canada to ban Russian oil imports, supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his country will ban imports of Russian crude oil and supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons and upgraded ammunition.

“We are announcing our intention to ban all imports of crude oil from Russia, an industry that has benefited President Putin and his oligarchs greatly,” he told reporters in Ottawa.

Canada will also step up “lethal aid” to Ukraine and will send 100 Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems and 2,000 rockets “as quickly as possible,” said Defence Minister Anita Anand.

Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes

Kyiv’s Ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, says Russian troops are “attacking hospitals, mobile brigades and ambulances” in Ukraine.

“This is not the action of a state with a legitimate security concern,” Kyslytsya said at a UN Security Council’s emergency meeting. “This is the action of a state determined to kill civilians. There is no debate. These are war crimes.”

Ukraine opens entry to foreign war volunteers

Ukraine’s president has signed a decree temporarily lifting the requirement for entry visas for any foreigner willing to join Ukraine’s International Defense Legion and fight on Ukraine’s side against invading Russian troops.

Zelenskyy’s decree takes effect Tuesday and will remain in effect as long as martial law is in place.

White House rules out no-fly zone

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be a step toward sending US troops to fight Russia.

“A no-fly zone would require implementation,” she said, adding it would require “deploying US military to enforce, which would be … potentially a direct conflict, and potentially a war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of”.

US Congress ‘would never’ authorise no-fly zone, says legislator

Murphy, the Democratic US senator, is ruling out approving a no-fly zone for Ukraine in Congress, saying the move would amount to war between the US and Russia.

“It’s a bad idea and Congress would never authorize it,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.

“Military equipment for Ukraine, humanitarian support for Ukraine, crippling sanction on Russia, movement of US troops to the eastern flank of NATO – these are all the right moves. But direct war between the world’s two nuclear powers should be a non-starter.”

Facebook to restrict access to Russian state media outlets in EU

Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced plans to restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik across the European Union.