Russia-Ukraine war updates for Feb.22, 2023

Russia-Ukraine war updates for Feb.22, 2023

Marking one year of war in Ukraine, U.N. chief denounces Russia

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to the media during a visit to the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Lviv, Ukraine August 18, 2022. 

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the founding U.N. Charter and international law and called out Russian threats about possible use of nuclear weapons.

Since Moscow invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24 last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly hinted that Russia could use a nuclear weapon if threatened.

“We have heard implicit threats to use nuclear weapons. The so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is utterly unacceptable. It is high time to step back from the brink,” Guterres told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly at a meeting to mark the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.

The General Assembly is set to adopt a draft resolution — likely on Thursday — stressing “the need to reach, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in line with the U.N. Charter.

— Reuters

NATO chief sees ‘some signs’ China could back Russia’s war

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has already previewed new moves by the alliance, announcing on Monday that it would increase its rapid response force and will bolster its battlegroups in eastern Europe.

Yves Herman | Reuters

NATO’s chief said that the military alliance has seen “some signs” that China may be planning to support Russia in its war in Ukraine, and strongly urged Beijing to desist from what would be a violation of international law.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also told The Associated Press in an interview that the alliance, while not a party to the war, will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

Asked whether NATO has any indication that China might be ready to provide arms or other support to Russia’s war, Stoltenberg said:

“We have seen some signs that they may be planning for that and of course NATO allies, the United States, have been warning against it because this is something that should not happen. China should not support Russia’s illegal war.”

— Associated Press

Russia’s sports exile persists 1 year after invading Ukraine

One year after the invasion of Ukraine began, Russia’s reintegration into the world of sports threatens to create the biggest rift in the Olympic movement since the Cold War.

Russia remains excluded from many international sporting events, but that could soon change. Next year’s Paris Olympics are fast approaching and qualifying events are under way. The International Olympic Committee is working to bring athletes from Russia and ally Belarus back into competition, but not everyone agrees.

If Russian athletes are to return to competition, the sports world must resolve two key issues that became clear in the days after the invasion: How can Russian athletes return without alienating Ukrainians? And what can be done about the Russians who support the war?

As the first battles raged, the Ukrainian fencing team refused to compete against Russia at a tournament in Egypt, holding up a sign reading: “Stop Russia! Stop the war! Save Ukraine! Save Europe!”

A year later, one of the biggest obstacles to a Russian return to sports is Ukraine’s insistence it could boycott rather than risk handing its enemy a propaganda success or further traumatizing Ukrainian athletes affected by the war. Other European countries have also spoken of boycotting the Olympics if Russians are allowed to participate.

— Associated Press

Two ships leave Ukrainian ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

A ship carrying wheat from Ukraine to Afghanistan after inspection in the open sea around Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul, Turkiye on January 24, 2023.

TUR Ministry of National Defence | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Two vessels carrying about 65,000 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agriculture from the country said.

The ships are destined for China and are carrying corn and sunflower meal.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen.

So far, more than 700 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

WHO records more than 800 attacks on vital health services in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion

Medical workers help an injured woman as she arrives to hospital after a helicopter falls on civil infrastructure buildings, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine January 18, 2023. 

Nacho Doce | Reuters

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year, there have been at least 802 attacks on vital health services in the country, the World Health Organization’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care estimates.

The organization reports that healthcare facilities were damaged 713 times, ambulances were targeted in 99 cases and at least 202 attacks affected crucial medical supplies. The group also estimated that attacks on health services led to at least 101 deaths and 135 injuries.

The Kremlin has previously denied that it targets civilian infrastructure like hospitals, schools and apartment buildings.

— Amanda Macias

Biden meets with Bucharest 9 NATO allies, confirms commitment to Ukraine

President Joe Biden met with the Bucharest Nine allies and reiterated NATO allies’ commitment to supporting Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

The B9 represents the countries comprising the eastern flank of the NATO alliance: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungry, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. They are the allies closest to Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also attended.

A statement released after the meeting by the White House outlined the discussion, stating Biden “reiterated the United States’ ironclad commitment to NATO’s Article 5.” The allies will reconvene at the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.

Emma Kinery

Russia attempting to erase Ukrainian heritage by targeting cultural sites, UN experts say

A woman walks next to an armoured vehicle of pro-Russian troops the building of a theatre destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 10, 2022. 

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

U.N. experts expressed their deep concern over the “denigration of the history and identity of Ukrainian people” due to the deliberate destruction of sites, institutions and objects of cultural and religious significance in Ukraine.

The experts warned that attacks against Ukrainian culture, history and language by Russian “may amount to an attempt to erase their identity.” The UN experts reiterated that cultural properties are protected under Article 1 of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

“In our communication to the Russian government, we cited several examples of documented destruction of cultural sites, libraries and places of worship. Properties of this nature must be protected and preserved at all times,” the U.N. experts wrote in a statement.

“We express great concern at the extent of damage and destruction in violation of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” the experts added.

— Amanda Macias

Giving Ukraine fighter jets is ‘difficult’ because we need them, Swedish defense minister says

Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson said that giving Ukraine fighter jets is “difficult,” because Sweden needs them “to maintain [its] territorial integrity.”

“When I look at the Russian capabilities, they’re severely downgraded when it comes to land components right now. But when it comes to assets in the air and naval assets, [they] are pretty much unchanged, so, for right now, [giving Ukraine] Gripen is in the ‘too hard to do’ box for me,” Jonson told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro, referring to the Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets.

Jonson also highlighted that Sweden is very aware of what he described as Russia’s “low threshold” for the use of military force.

“[Russia] takes great political and military risk, and that’s something we’re cognisant about,” Jonson said, as he emphasized how important it was that Ukraine wins against Russia.

“This is a war that Russia started,” Jonson said. “If Russia would win this war, it would have disastrous geopolitical military and security policy consequences for Europe and Sweden as well.”

“We’re with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he added.

Sweden is currently in the process of applying to join the NATO military alliance, along with Finland. It is only a “matter of time” for the country to obtain its membership, the Swedish foreign minister said earlier Wednesday.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

‘We have to be prepared,’ Norway’s foreign minister warns of nuclear risks

'We have to be prepared,' Norway's foreign minister says of nuclear risks

Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeld said Wednesday that NATO allies “have to be prepared” for rising nuclear risks, following Russia’s decision to suspend its nuclear-arms treaty with the U.S.

Huitfeld told CNBC that the geopolitical situation was currently “stable” in northern Europe, but warned that Russia’s nearby nuclear arsenal was a cause for concern.

“The situation in the north is stable, but we have to be prepared,” she told Silvia Amaro.

“Russia has one of their largest nuclear arsenals very, very close to the Norwegian border, and they still have these capacities despite the conventional loses that we’ve seen at land,” she said.

President Putin announced on Tuesday that Russia was suspending its participation in the New Start nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S. — a pact that limits the two sides’ strategic nuclear arsenals.

Huitfeld added that the region would be “even more secure” once Sweden and Finland are ratified into the NATO military alliance.

“When that will happen, I cannot be sure. But they are delivering on everything, so they are prepared, and we are ready to support them,” she said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Blinken heads to UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends Security Council ministerial debate over international peace and security, conflict and food securitya UN Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security at UN headquarters in New York on May 19, 2022.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to New York City tomorrow to attend the United Nations Security Council ministerial meeting on Ukraine.

Blinken will also meet with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss the broad range of economic, security and humanitarian support the United States and other U.N. member states are providing to Ukraine.

The two are also expected to “sustain and expand the Black Sea Grain Initiative as a vital means of addressing the global food security crisis,” State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote in a statement.

“During the Security Council meeting, the secretary will underscore U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and call upon the international community to endorse U.N. actions that will help secure a just and durable peace in Ukraine,” Price added.

— Amanda Macias

Biden: Putin suspending New START nuclear treaty is a ‘big mistake’

President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend participation in the New START Treaty a “big mistake.”

Putin announced the move Tuesday in a speech to a joint-session of the country’s parliament. Both chambers unanimously voted to back the decision the following day.

The treaty is the last major nuclear weapons pact remaining between the two countries. It took effect in 2011 and is set to expire in February 2026. The agreement allows the countries to inspect each others’ nuclear arsenals periodically throughout the year and requires regular communication to avoid potential misunderstandings about nuclear weapons.

After Putin made his announcement, he clarified Russia would still abide by the general terms of the treaty by agreeing not to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Emma Kinery

Putin attends stadium concert to rally public support for war

People arrive for a patriotic concert dedicated to the upcoming Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on February 22, 2023.

Yuri Kadobnov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin briefly attended a concert in Moscow Wednesday to mark the national “Defender of the Fatherland” day in Russia.

Giving a brief speech to pro-war crowds gathered in the Luzhniki arena, Putin led the audience in chants of “Russia!” and said the country was fighting in Ukraine “for lands that were historically ours,” NBC News reported.

“Today, as part of a special military operation … We have gathered here for, in fact, a festive event, but I know that I was just listening to the country’s top military leadership about the fact that right now there is a battle on our historical borders, for our people,” Putin added, according to further comments reported by state news agency Tass.

Putin expressed his pride in Russia’s forces and said each soldier was a defender of the Motherland.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s war needs must be met, Lithuanian president says

Ukraine's weaponry needs must be met, Lithuanian president says

How the war in Ukraine ends will largely depend on the decisions made by Ukraine’s allies with regards to Kyiv’s ongoing weaponry needs such as long-range missiles and jets, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda told CNBC.

“Our decision making is a very important part of the success of Ukrainian military troops on the battefield,” Nauseda said, adding that recent decisions regarding weaponry for Ukraine, such as battle tanks, had been accelerated and had already crossed Russia’s self-professed “red lines” when it comes to the West’s assistance for Ukraine.

“Is it enough? I wouldn’t say it’s enough … our friends the Ukrainians say they more. They need long-range missiles, they need fighter jets and soon we will decide [whether] to provide them with these kinds of equipment,” he said.

Nauseda told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick in Warsaw that he saw no immediate prospects for an end to the war, nor for a diplomatic path to end the conflict, at this point.

“Both sides, both camps are just too far away from each other to find some [common] subject for peace discussions,” he said.

“This is the reason why I don’t believe in [the possibility of] peaceful discussions and negotiations now, but it doesn’t mean that tomorrow it won’t be possible,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia tested intercontinental ballistic missile before Biden trip, officials say

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meet in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 20, 2023.

Presidency of Ukraine | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia notified the U.S. it was going to test an intercontinental ballistic missile before President Joe Biden’s trip to Ukraine earlier this week, according to an administration official and a U.S. official.

An administration official told NBC News that the test — which is thought to have failed — occurred before the president arrived in Ukraine and was not timed to coincide with his trip. These officials would not comment on the exact timing of the test.

The administration official said such tests are routine and the Russians used the notification process in the New Start Treaty, a nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the U.S., to let the U.S. know. Russia announced Tuesday that it was suspending its participation in the pact.

This official also said the test did not pose a risk to the United States and that the Biden administration did not view the test as an anomaly or an escalation.

CNN was first to report the test occurred around the time of the president’s visit.  

— Holly Ellyatt

Kremlin slams the West’s reaction to nuclear arms treaty suspension

A person walks past a New Year decoration Kremlin Star, bearing a Z letter, a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine, at the Gorky Park in Moscow on December 29, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

The Kremlin said Wednesday that the West’s initial reaction to Russia’s suspension of the New Start nuclear arms treaty, which it announced yesterday, did not bode well for a resumption of talks to re-open the pact.

We see the first reaction. It is quite consolidated among the representatives of the collective West. This reaction, of course, does not give us any reason to hope for any readiness for dialogue or negotiations,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, told reporters Wednesday, according to an NBC translation.

Peskov said, however, that “circumstances are changing, and here it is very important for Russia to do everything to ensure its own security, including in matters of strategic stability and arms control. And to maintain a patient approach while waiting for our opponents to mature for a normal dialogue.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that Russia was suspending its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the U.S. and threatened to resume nuclear tests as Putin accused the west of turning the war in Ukraine into a global conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later dubbed the decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.”

Asked under what conditions Russia would be ready to return to the implementation of the treaty, Peskov said “everything will depend on the position of the West. President Putin has clearly outlined what concerns us.”

“We see NATO’s involvement in the conflict, we see, as the President said, that NATO is trying to turn this local conflict into a global one. And on the other hand, NATO maintains its openly hostile position towards Russia. Not only in words, but also in deeds, encroaching on our security. We can’t not react to this,” he said adding that “as soon as there is a willingness to take into account our concerns, then the situation will change.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin looks to deepen ties with China as he meets top diplomat

Russian President Vladimir Putin looked to deepen ties with China Wednesday as he met one of Beijing’s top diplomats in Moscow.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi visited the Russian capital and held talks with his Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as Putin himself, signaling the value the Kremlin has placed on Moscow’s relationship with Beijing, one of the few powerful allies Russia has left in the global community following its invasion of Ukraine a year ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping enter a hall during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 5, 2019.


Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said that relations between Beijing and Moscow could not be influenced by other countries and that China wished to deepen its strategic cooperation with Russia, in remarks broadcast on Russian state TV and reported by Reuters.

Meanwhile, Putin said he was looking forward to a visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping and to deepening the partnership between the two countries, Reuters added. President Xi is expected to visit Russia in spring.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian forces fighting in center of Bakhmut, official claims

Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces is moving toward the center of Bakhmut, according to a Russian official and advisor to the acting head of the pro-Russian “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine.

Jan Gagin, an advisor to Denis Pushilin, told the Rossiya-1 TV channel on Wednesday that fighting in Bakhmut — a city that Russia calls “Artemovsk”— had progressed to the point where Ukraine’s surrender was just a matter of time.

“The initiative is now in the hands of our fighters, our troops have long entered from the northern side of Artemovsk. Now they are already fighting almost in the center of the city,” Gagin said in comments reported by news agency Ria Novosti.

A Ukrainian serviceman of an artillery unit throws an empty shell as soldiers fire toward Russian positions on the outskirts of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, on Dec. 30, 2022.

Sameer Al-doumy | Afp | Getty Images

Bakhmut has been fought over for months with military analysts conceding that Russian forces have made gains in and around the area in recent weeks, albeit at a large cost to its forces with hundreds of Russian soldiers believed to be dying every day.

Ukraine has downplayed Russian advances in Donetsk and said Wednesday that its forces had repelled an attack on a stronghold near Bakhmut.

Russia sees the capture of Bakhmut as a key goal as it looks to cut Ukrainian supply lines and transport hubs, and as it looks to seize Donetsk, Luhansk and the entire Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

China’s top diplomat expects new agreements with Russia during Moscow visit

China State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss the conflict in Ukraine on September 22, 2022 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday that he expects new agreements to be struck during his visit to Moscow on Wednesday.

Wang said he would work to “strengthen and deepen” relations between Moscow and Beijing. He provided no specific details on what agreements could be reached.

The Kremlin said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will also meet Wang Yi later on Wednesday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said Moscow values its strategic “no limits” partnership with Beijing.

— Reuters

Russia has shown there is nothing it won’t do to achieve political goals, Swedish minister says

Russia has shown it is willing to go to extreme lengths to realize its political goals, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said, adding that Poland and the Baltic states could be at risk.

“What Putin’s illegal aggression on Ukraine has done is that it has broken the world security order as it was before, and we are not going to go back to that again, so we have to find new ways forward,” he told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro in Stockholm.

“Russia has shown very clearly there’s nothing they won’t do in order to use military means to reach political goals, and this is what made Sweden and Finland decide upon joining NATO, for us this meant leaving behind a 200-year policy of non-alignment so it shows how serious the situation is,” he noted.

Sweden NATO membership is happening, Swedish foreign minister says

“There is nothing stopping them from doing more. We have to look at Poland, we have to look at the Baltic states, who are also very close to Russia and we are in the same neighborhood as them and are sharing the same security concerns,” he said.

Sweden and Finland have applied to join the Western military alliance NATO since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago. There are ongoing efforts to persuade NATO member Turkey to drop its opposition to the applications from Sweden and Finland after Ankara said both countries were too lenient on groups it considers extremist.

Sweden’s Billstrom told CNBC that it has fulfilled NATO membership criteria and that the ball is now in Turkey’s court. Ankara has signaled it is willing for accession talks to continue but a membership deadline is not yet in sight.

— Holly Ellyatt

War will end when Russia returns to its own borders, Latvian president says

Latvia president: Ukraine conflict cannot end until Russia moves back to recognized borders

Latvia’s President Egils Levits said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine can end only when Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine and returns to its own internationally recognized borders.

“Without that, the conflict cannot end … it’s clear that the aggressor should go back, obviously,” he told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick Tuesday.

Levits said that Russia poses a dilemma for the West because of its aggressive ideology, and that the West made a mistake in not reacting to earlier provocations by Moscow in Ukraine, with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and nearby Georgia, which Russia invaded in 2008 in a bid to support pro-Russian separatists.

The lack of real reaction after the Russian attack [on] Georgia in 2008 led to the next attack against Ukraine in 2014, [where there was] also a very weak reaction,” Levits said. That led to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, he noted, adding that “we should not make this failure again, to not react.”

Holly Ellyatt

Fears of an arms race between Russia and U.S. are ‘overblown,’ diplomat says

Russia may not be positioned to carry out a large-scale offensive, says former U.S. diplomat

Fears of an arms race between the U.S. and Russia are “overblown,” the former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, William Courtney, told CNBC Wednesday.

His comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled out of the Kremlin’s last nuclear treaty with the U.S.

“Neither the U.S. nor Russia is really interested in an arms race for nuclear weapons,” said the diplomat. Both sides have a track record of “dramatically” reducing their nuclear arms since the 1960s, he noted.

Russia appears to have started a new offensive in Ukraine, but it appears to be less intense than people expected, added Courtney. Russia is using “probing attacks” as it may not be positioned to carry out a large-scale offensive, he said.

The last year’s fighting has depleted Russia’s forces in Ukraine and many of its experienced soldiers have become casualties, Courtney added.

Audrey Wan

Moscow bullish about nuclear arms treaty suspension

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address, announcing that Moscow is suspending its nuclear arms treaty with the U.S.

Mikhail Metzel | Afp | Getty Images

Officials in Moscow appeared bullish on Wednesday about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the New Start nuclear arms treaty — the last remaining nuclear arms control pact between the U.S. and Russia that sought to limit the nuclear arsenals of both countries.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that the decision to suspend the treaty was “overdue” and that Russia’s move would have “a huge resonance in the world in general and in the United States in particular.”

Medvedev repeated a Russian claim that the U.S. “wants the defeat of Russia” and that the world is on the brink of a new global conflict. “If the United States wants to defeat Russia, then we have the right to defend ourselves with any weapon, including nuclear,” Medvedev said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was reported in Russian media Wednesday as saying that Moscow would still be able to “fairly reliably assess” the U.S.’ nuclear potential from outside of the agreement.

“There are national technical means that make it possible to fairly reliably assess what is happening. We, in addition, have accumulated experience in tracking what is happening in the United States, and not only in the United States, in this area, using other possibilities. Yes, this is not the same as information exchange within the framework of the agreement. But the situation has changed radically, so we will proceed from what is available,” Ryabkov told reporters, according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

The New Start treaty allowed for mutual inspections of each other’s nuclear weapons sites, although in practice, these have been suspended since the Covid-19 pandemic and have not resumed since the war in Ukraine began.

Ryabkov also said Russia would continue to adhere to the “central quantitative restrictions” under the treaty, saying that at this stage, Moscow considered “this sufficient from the point of view ensuring predictability and maintaining strategic stability.”

Medvedev signaled, as did Moscow’s Foreign Ministry in a statement on Tuesday, that Russia’s suspension of the treaty is reversible but that it wants to see Washington show “political will …for a general de-escalation and create conditions for the resumption of the full functioning” of the treaty. Russia has also said it wants to see Britain and France’s nuclear arsenals counted in any future Start treaty.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine ‘doing everything to contain’ Russian attacks on Donetsk, Luhansk

Destruction seen through a broken car window in Lyman, Ukraine, on Feb. 20, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine continues to battle relentless attacks on the eastern Donbas region, which comprises Luhansk and Donetsk. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday night that Ukraine is doing “everything” it can to defend its positions along the front line there.

“Today’s Staff of the Armed Forces meeting is expansive and detailed, including reports from the front lines from our commanders in the hottest areas. Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhny reported on the general situation at the front and enemy rocket attacks on our positions,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

“Special emotions are evoked by reports on Donetsk and Luhansk regions. We are doing everything to contain the enemy attacks there — constant intensive assaults, which Russia does not stop, even though it is suffering huge losses there,” he said.

Zelenskyy said military commanders had reported continuing fierce battles in the Bakhmut and Lyman areas as well as around Avdiivka and other areas. “The occupiers are using the whole range of weapons there against our guys, even including tear gas grenades. But it is very important, despite all the pressure on our forces, that the front line has not undergone any changes,” the president added.

— Holly Ellyatt

G-7 foreign ministers say additional economic measures against Russia are on the way

The foreign ministers of G-7 member countries said that the group will impose additional sanctions against Russia for its war in Ukraine.

“We will impose further economic costs on Russia, and on individuals and entities – inside and outside of Russia – that provide political or economic support to these violations of international law,” the group wrote in a statement.

“We reiterate our condemnation of Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric. It will not distract or dissuade us from supporting Ukraine, for as long as necessary,” wrote the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., the U.S. and the High Representative of the European Union.

The ministers did not elaborate on the upcoming economic measures.

— Amanda Macias

Biden promises more defense aid to Ukraine as Zelenskyy touts ‘tank coalition’

During President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv, the American leader announced nearly $500 million more in military aid to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the decision to send U.S.-made Abrams main battle tanks “the foundation for establishing a tank coalition.”

After weeks of political maneuvering, the U.S., Germany and the U.K. have all pledged to send modern tanks to Ukraine, which includes 31 Abrams, the Leopard 2 and the Challenger 2.

Here’s a quick look at Biden’s trip to Kyiv and the mighty tanks headed to Ukraine’s frontlines:

— Brad Howard, Jeff Morganteen and Amanda Macias

‘Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia,’ Biden says in speech days before one-year war anniversary

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Warsaw Castle Gardens in Warsaw on February 21, 2023.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia in an address days before the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

“Brutality will never grind down the will of the free,” Biden said in remarks from Warsaw’s Royal Castle.

“Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia,” the U.S. president added.

Biden also said that the U.S. would announce additional sanctions on Russia in coordination with G-7 members and other allies.

Biden’s remarks follow a surprise 23-hour visit to Ukraine’s war-weary capital on Monday. Under extraordinary secrecy, Biden traveled by plane, then by train for 10 hours overnight to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

While in Kyiv, Biden announced a weapons package worth nearly $500 million and hailed Zelenskyy’s leadership as his country fights the biggest air, sea and ground assault in Europe since World War II. 

— Amanda Macias

Biden says U.S. support for Ukraine is ‘unwavering’

U.S. President Joe Biden is welcomed by Polish President Andrzej Duda for talks at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on February 21, 2023.

Mandel Ngan | Afp | Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday reiterated the U.S.’s “unwavering” support for Ukraine during talks with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Warsaw.

“As I told President Zelenskyy when we spoke in Kyiv yesterday, I can probably say that our support for Ukraine remains unwavering,” Biden said.

Biden was in Warsaw ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Friday. On Monday, he made a surprise trip to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy.

Duda said Biden’s visit to Poland was an important sign of the U.S.’s commitment to maintaining security in Europe.

“Your visit is an important sign of security, a signal of U.S. responsibility for the security of the world and Europe. America can keep the world order,” Duda said during the meeting.

Putin hits out at Russian oligarchs, says they ‘got robbed’ in the West

Putin made a slew of apparent barbs at his sanctioned oligarch familiars on Tuesday, in remarks labelling them as traitors of the Russian state.

The Russian president claimed elite business people were now paying the price for taking advantage of Western influence and the liberalization of financial markets following the fall of the Soviet Union to move wealth out of the country.

“Instead of creating employment here, this capital was spent buying elite real-estate, yachts,” he said. “Some came to Russia,” he noted, “but the first wave was spent on consuming Western goods.”

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska described it as a “colossal mistake” for Russia to invade Ukraine, in a rare rebuke from a member of Russia’s elite.

Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images

Putin said that sanctions leveled against many Russian business people in the wake of the Russia-styled “special military operation” in Ukraine showed that the West was not a sanctuary.

“The latest events have demonstrated that the West was just a ghost in terms of being a safe haven,” he said.

“Those who saw Russia as just a source of income and were planning to live abroad, they saw that they just got robbed in the West,” he continued.

“Many of you will remember that I joked you will be running around Western courts, trying to save your wealth in the West, and this is exactly what happened.”

“None of the simple citizens of this country were sorry about those who lost massive bank accounts in the West,” he added.

— Karen Gilchrist

‘They started the war,’ Putin says, accusing West of provoking Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday claimed Western allies “started the war” in Ukraine during his annual state of the nation address.

Speaking in Moscow, Putin accused the West of developing military contingents on the border of Russia.

“I would like to repeat, they started the war, and we used the force in order to stop it,” Putin said according to a translation of the speech.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Moscow has referred to the conflict as a “special military operation.”

“We did everything possible in order to resolve this problem in a peaceful way. We were patient in our negotiations to come out of this terrible conflict. However behind our backs a completely different scenario was being prepared,” he said.

— Karen Gilchrist

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