Russian troops advancing closer to Kyiv, US says: Live News

Russian troops advancing closer to Kyiv, US says: Live News
  • Russian soldiers are advancing in the direction of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a US official says, as Moscow continues to flow troops into the country.
  •  The UN refugee agency says an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes.
  • US President Joe Biden unveils new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine while Western powers decry Moscow’s move.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin launches sweeping Ukraine invasion.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vows to defend his nation, declares martial law.

Here are all the latest updates:

Red Cross fears ‘massive casualty numbers’ in Ukraine

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could unleash death and destruction on a scale that is “frightening to contemplate”.

“I fear increased suffering, with the potential of massive casualty numbers and extensive destruction of civilian objects like water and electricity plants, as well as mass displacement, trauma, family separation, and missing persons,” Peter Maurer said in a statement.

“The ICRC has seen many conflicts start and escalate in recent years, but too few of them end, and in each one it is the civilian populations that bear the consequences,” he added.

Ukraine foreign minister speaks to Turkish counterpart

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said that he has spoken to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu over the phone.

The pair discussed “practical steps to ensure security in the Black Sea region,” Kuleba said in a Twitter post.

Ukraine has earlier asked Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian ships.

Call with @MevlutCavusoglu. Turkey supports Ukraine. Discussed practical steps to ensure security in the Black Sea region against the backdrop of Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine. Ukraine expects resolute actions. Our joint security is at stake now.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 24, 2022

Ukrainian leader signs decree on general mobilisation of population

Zelenskyy has signed a decree on the general mobilisation of the population in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the Interfax Ukraine news agency has said.

Citing a decree on the presidential website, the agency said the mobilisation would be carried out within 90 days of the decree coming into force.

Blinken, in call with India, stresses collective condemnation of Russian invasion

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and urged a “strong collective response” to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the State Department has said.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of a strong collective response to condemn Russia’s invasion and call for an immediate withdrawal and ceasefire,” the State Department said in a statement.

Russia SWIFT ban ‘still on table’: EU financial services commissioner

The European Union may not decide to cut Russia off from the SWIFT global interbank payments system this evening, but the measure has not been taken off the table as a possible sanction, the bloc’s financial services commissioner has said.

The possibility of cutting Russia from SWIFT “is still on the table. It may not emerge tonight but it is not off the table”, Mairead McGuinness told Ireland’s RTE television.

US Congress to provide $600m for new Ukraine weapons

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said lawmakers want to provide Ukraine with $600m for “lethal defence weapons” to battle Russia’s unfolding attack.

“What we’re doing with Ukraine is making sure that we have humanitarian assistance to help the people; that we have lethal defence weapons going into Ukraine to the tune of $600 million for them to fight their own fight,” she said, speaking to reporters in San Francisco.

Russia plans to ‘decapitate’ Ukraine government, US official says

The US believes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is designed to decapitate Ukraine’s government and one of the three main axes of assault is directed at the capital Kyiv, a senior US defence official has said.

“The indications we’ve seen thus far, in just these first, not even 12 hours, are in keeping with our assessment earlier, that would be his goal: to decapitate this government,” the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said this appeared to be only the first phase of a large-scale Russian invasion that so far has used a limited number of the more than 150,000 Russian troops arrayed around Ukraine.

“We don’t believe he has committed anywhere near a large portion of the forces that he has available to him,” the official said.

New US sanctions to isolate Russia from global economy: Correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington, said new US sanctions on Russia, which are being coordinated with European allies, aim to isolate the country from the global economy.

“Any assets that Russia currently holds in the United States are now frozen,” Halkett said.

INTERACTIVE- Conflict at a glance

100,000 Ukrainians believed to be displaced

The UN refugee agency has said an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes and that several thousand have crossed into neighbouring countries, mainly Romania and Moldova.

Russian forces advancing closer to Kyiv: US defence official

Russian forces are making advances on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and Moscow has continued to flow forces into the country, a senior US defense official has said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that so far Russia had fired more than 160 missiles at Ukrainian targets.

US decries Russia’s ‘aggression’, thanks Baltic states

Blinken has condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine as “premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified”, the department said in a statement.

Blinken spoke with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, and Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets on Thursday, spokesman Ned Price said.

“Blinken thanked the Baltic states for their steadfast support of Ukraine and for hosting US and NATO forces. Blinken strongly condemned Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine and emphasised the importance of Allied unity for the strong, swift response to Russia’s aggression,” Price said in a readout of the call.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Thursday, February 24, here.

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