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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

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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.

 

Football

Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Very Close: Top Journalist gives exciting Arsenal transfer updates

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Arsenal are “really close” to striking a deal with Shakhtar Donetsk in a bid to add winger Mykhaylo Mudryk to Mikel Arteta’s squad at the Emirates this month, journalist Rudy Galetti has told GiveMeSport.

The Gunners have now submitted a third offer for the wide man, after seeing two bids worth £52m and £62m rejected.

Arsenal transfer news – Mykhaylo Mudryk

According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have submitted a bid worth £62m plus add-ons in a third attempt to bring Mudryk to the Emirates during the January transfer window.

With the north London side having seen their first two offers turned down and fellow Premier League side Chelsea showing an interest, the league leaders have had no choice but to move to try and get a deal over the line as quickly as possible.

Before Arsenal’s latest offer, Romano had told GiveMeSport that the Gunners were still negotiating with Shakhtar but a deal was not imminent.

However, Galetti believes that the Gunners’ latest bid, which is rumoured to be worth around £79m including add-ons, may see a move completed “in the next few days.”

What has Galetti said about Arsenal and Mudryk?

Galetti told GiveMeSport: “We know that at the beginning, Shakhtar valuated Mudryk at around £90m as confirmed by vice director Nicolini.

“He said that Mudryk is better than Antony in their evaluation. We know that Manchester United paid about £86m for Antony.

“This was the previous valuation, but now Arsenal and Shakhtar are really close to reaching an agreement for a little bit less, worth around £75m and £79m as the overall package. In the next few days, this could probably be a done deal.”

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