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Ukraine says 137 civilians and soldiers killed, U.S. condemns report of hostages at Chernobyl

This digest has now been archived. Find the latest Russia-Ukraine updates here.

A damaged residential building is seenin Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine Friday morning after Russia launched a massive military barrage in the early hours of Feb. 25, 2022.UMIT BEKTAS/Reuters

Russia launches attacks on Ukrainian cities as Putin declares military operation. Here are the latest updates:


12:55 a.m. ET

Zelensky says Russian actions show sanctions not enough

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that continued Russian aggression against his country showed that sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West were not enough.

Zelensky said the world was continuing to observe what was going on in Ukraine from afar.

He was speaking after Ukraine said its capital city Kyiv had been struck by Russian missiles in the early hours of Friday morning.

-Reuters


12:26 a.m. ET

Russian world No. 1 Medvedev calls for peace

Russian Daniil Medvedev said he wanted to promote peace around the world after a “roller-coaster day” when he was confirmed as the world’s top tennis player and his country invaded Ukraine.

U.S. Open champion Medvedev, who took the court in Acapulco, Mexico, hours after Novak Djokovic’s quarter-final loss in Dubai meant the Russian would replace him at the top of the men’s rankings on Monday, said it was not easy watching the news.

“By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world,” the 26-year-old said after reaching the semi-finals at the ATP 500 tournament by defeating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

-Reuters

12:10 a.m. ET, Feb. 25

Analysis: Biden’s toolbox for dealing with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is limited

Ground troops – out of the question. Contemplating a no-fly zone over Ukraine – far too late for that. Moral suasion – it produced nothing. Sanctions – they may bite but won’t prompt Russia to balk.

What’s an American President possessing the world’s most powerful military force and at the head of an alliance of 28 countries on the continent of Europe to do?

This is a vital question when a determined Russian President with nearly a million troops decides to have his way with a country possessing a military about a quarter that size and a fighter aircraft force a tenth the size of Russia’s?

-David Shribman


11:54 p.m. ET

Ukrainian forces down aircraft over Kyiv

Ukrainian forces downed an enemy aircraft over Kyiv in the early hours of Friday, which then crashed into a residential building and set it on fire, said Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister.

It was unclear whether the aircraft was manned or whether it could be a missile. Kyiv municipal authorities said at least eight people were injured when the object crashed into an apartment block.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv had come under a missile attack.

A series of explosions were heard in Kyiv earlier, which Herashchenko said were the sounds of air defences firing at the aircraft. Further explosions could be heard just before dawn, a Reuters witness said.

-Reuters


11:22 p.m. ET

Kyiv Mayor calls on residents to stay indoors

A woman walks past Ukrainian military service members guarding a road that leads to a government block, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022.UMIT BEKTAS/Reuters

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko had called on the city’s three million people to stay indoors unless they worked in critical sectors and said everyone should prepare go-bags with necessities such as medicine and documents.

-Reuters


11:02 p.m. ET

Airline industry shifts attention to Russia risks after Ukraine closure

Alaska’s Anchorage Airport said airlines have started making inquiries about capacity in case routes over Russia are impacted due to the Ukraine crisis, in a sign of the conflict’s growing fallout for the global aviation industry.

The airport was a popular refuelling hub for long-haul flights during the Cold War, when Western airlines were unable to access Russian airspace on routes from Europe to Asia.

Japan Airlines cancelled its Thursday evening flight to Moscow, citing potential safety risks, while Britain closed its airspace to Russian airlines, including Aeroflot, as the conflict’s impact on the industry widened beyond Ukraine to Russia.

Airspace in Ukraine, Moldova, parts of Belarus and in southern Russia near the Ukraine border was closed, giving airlines a narrower range of routing options.

Emirates said it had made minor routing changes to Stockholm, Moscow, St. Petersburg and some U.S. flights that were hit by the airspace closings, leading to slightly longer flight times.

OPSGROUP, an aviation industry cooperative that shares information on flight risks, said any aircraft travelling through Russian airspace should have contingency plans in place for closed airspace due to risks or sanctions.

-Reuters


10:27 p.m. ET

Several explosions heard in Kyiv early Friday as Russian forces pressed on with assault

Explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv early Friday local time as Russian forces pressed on with a full-scale invasion in the first full day of fighting and could eventually rewrite the global post-Cold War security order.

After using airstrikes on cities and military bases, Russian military units moved swiftly to take on Ukraine’s seat of government and its largest city in what U.S. officials suspect is a brazen attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismantle the government and replace it with his own regime.

Ukrainian leaders pleaded for help as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee, and hotels in Kyiv were being evacuated amid early indications of an assault.

One senior U.S. defense official described the attack so far as the first salvo in a multi-phase invasion aimed at seizing key population centers and “decapitating” Ukraine’s government.

-The Associated Press


10:03 p.m. ET

Opinion: Are allies willing to bear the high cost of making Putin pay?

“We cannot allow this to be the end of the post-World-War-Two rules-based order,” Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Thursday. “It could be.”

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister often talks about the rules-based order, and it can sound academic, but in this case it was an appropriately ominous warning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has, at any rate, shattered norms that the world counted on to deter catastrophe, using great-power military might to invade a democracy.

Ukrainians now face bombs and bloody war, but Ms. Freeland’s point was that the threat is not only to Ukraine, but a challenge to the order that has protected democracies from domination by stronger powers. For a long time, autocrats didn’t dare do this, and if nothing is done now, someone – not necessarily just Mr. Putin – will do it again.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted, more than once, that Mr. Putin can’t be allowed to benefit from invasion – and it should be obvious that Canada has every interest in uniting with other democracies to make Mr. Putin pay.

The threat of sanctions didn’t deter Mr. Putin from invasion, but Mr. Biden argued that the effects of the measures – especially over time – will so weaken Russia’s economy that Mr. Putin will face a difficult choice.

-Campbell Clark


9:55 p.m. ET

Russian embassy in Canada says NATO ‘created immediate danger’

The Russian embassy is Canada released a statement Thursday that attempted to justify President Vladimir Putin’s actions.

It said the “political-military situation” and NATO’s military posture in Europe “created a clear and immediate danger for Russia that could not have been mitigated by any other means than those Russia has to use today.”

The embassy said Russia’s repeated efforts to negotiate a new security arrangement in Europe have been scorned by the West.

It warned “attempts by the West to turn Ukraine into a kind of ‘anti- Russia’ will not succeed.”

The embassy said for two decades Moscow had expressed concern over enlargement of NATO, a development it called “a clear threat to our security.” The embassy said Russia had proposed solutions premised on principles including “not strengthening security at the expense of others.” It said this included efforts to incentivize Ukraine to “join this dialogue.”

The embassy said however Russia’s efforts were “put on the back burner or haughtily ridiculed.”

It concluded by saying “the road to peace remains open” and that Russia remains receptive to “meaningful dialogue” on a new security arrangement in “Europe and the Euro-Atlantic.”

-Steven Chase


9:36 p.m. ET

Afghan refugees stuck in Ukraine with no exit in sight

Afghan refugee Jawed Haqmal stands alone in Maidan square in Kyiv, on Feb. 24, 2022.ANTON SKYBA/The Globe and Mail

Afghan refugees who fled to Ukraine after the Taliban takeover of their home country are terrified that they have once again found themselves in a war zone, with no obvious exit.

“Everything is finished,” said Jawed Haqmal, who worked as a translator for the Canadian military in Afghanistan and has been living in a Kyiv hotel with his family since the end of August. “Just like a war zone, everyone is running to the shelters, streets are full of the army. Just like war, the same as what was going on in front of the airport of Kabul on the last day. The same thing is going on here.”

Haqmal’s family of 12 arrived in Ukraine after being evacuated from Afghanistan by Ukrainian special forces, a mission that was carried out following a request from The Globe and Mail to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Their stay in Ukraine was supposed to be a temporary stop on their way to Canada. The family, and others, are now trapped in Ukraine due to a bureaucratic delay.

Aidan Strickland, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, said IRCC “has been made aware of complex cases of Afghan citizens who are seeking resettlement to Canada, but are currently in Ukraine.”

-Janice Dickson


9:20 p.m. ET

Ukrainian-Canadian community rallies as Russian forces attack Ukraine

People in Vancouver attend a rally in support of the people of Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2022.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Canada has the largest Ukrainian population in the world, outside Russia and Ukraine. About 1.4 million Canadians are of Ukrainian ancestry, not counting significant additional populations of non-ethnic Ukrainians, among them Mennonites, Jews, Poles, Romanians and Swedes.

At the Ukrainian Cultural and Education Centre in Winnipeg, Yulia Zmerzla had a sleepless night watching the news in both Ukrainian and Russian. She came to Canada eight years ago and still has many friends and family in Ukraine, including her parents. “I spoke to my parents today, and they told me that life will never be the same again after today,” she said, through tears.

On Thursday, demonstrations were popping up in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to denounce Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and fundraisers were being set up to raise money both for humanitarian aid and military supplies for the country.

Jurij R. Klufas, president of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, said he, too, was having trouble reconciling the reality of what was happening in Ukraine, something he said seemed more like a relic of a primitive past, “when everybody used to resolve issues with war.”

“It’s very troubling to see at this time, in modern society, having somebody push in a military way their colonial convictions from the last two centuries,” he said. “It’s kind of almost crazy, surreal, to be seeing this kind of thing happening in today’s modern society, and in Europe.”

-Jana G. Pruden, Kathryn Helmore and Ntawnis Piapot, with files from Wendy Stueck and Oliver Moore


9:04 p.m. ET

Taiwan to join countries sanctioning Russia

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said the island will join “democratic countries” to put sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, although he did not give details.

The crisis is being watched closely in Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory and has faced increased military pressure by Beijing over the last two years.

”We very harshly condemn such an act of invasion and will join democratic countries to jointly impose sanctions,” Su told reporters in Taipei without giving details. Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua told reporters the island will “harshly scrutinize” exports to Russia and “coordinate” with unspecified allies for further actions. She did not elaborate.

-Reuters


8:20 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s president stays put as Russian invaders advance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Friday to stay in Kyiv as his troops battled Russian invaders who are advancing toward the capital in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials say Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government.

“(The) enemy has marked me down as the number one target,” Zelensky warned in a video message. “My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”

“I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine.”

-Reuters


8:06 p.m. ET

UN gives $20-million to scale up Ukraine humanitarian aid

People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press

The United Nations announced it is immediately allocating $20 million to scale up UN humanitarian operations in Ukraine.

Secretary-general Antonio Guterres made the announcement saying the UN and its humanitarian partners “are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need … regardless of who or where they are.”

“With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine,” the UN chief said. “People – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price.”

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said the $20 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund will support emergency operations along the contact line in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and in other areas of the country, and will “help with health care, shelter, food, and water and sanitation to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict.”

-The Associated Press


8:06 p.m. ET

Watch: History professor from Kyiv on Ukraine’s response to Russia invasion

Olgah Martynyuk, a history professor at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, who left the city this morning by train to Przemysl, Poland. She’s speaking in a reception centre set up in the train station after her 14-hour journey.

The Globe and Mail

They came in a steady stream, looking weary and confused as they made their way through the train station in Przemysl, a small Polish city about 10 kilometres from the border with Ukraine. Some had come from Kyiv, others from Lviv, in western Ukraine, and still more from farther east.

Olgah Martynyuk, a history professor at Kyiv’s Polytechnic Institute, made a mad rush for the train after hearing bombs drop around the capital Thursday morning. “I woke up from blasts in the morning and I packed up,” Prof. Martynyuk said as she sat in Przemysl’s train station after a 14-hour journey. She was happy to be safe but felt unsettled about leaving her country. “I still feel enormous guilt,” she said. “What did we do wrong that all of this is happening?”

Poland has been bracing for months for the possibility of as many as one million refugees from Ukraine in the wake of a Russian invasion. Preparations have been slow to roll out, and on Thursday officials in Przemysl, the Polish city closest to the border, still appeared to be scrambling to come up with some kind of support structure.

On Thursday night the train station was expecting as many as 2,000 refugees to arrive on two trains from Kyiv early Friday morning. But just two local officials were on hand to help. “I’m afraid that we will lose control,” one said.

-Paul Waldie in Prezmysl, Poland and Nathan VanderKlippe in Odessa, Ukraine


7:44 p.m. ET

Energy: the one sanction against Russia the West isn’t prepared to trigger

The most effective economic weapon that the West has in its arsenal to retaliate against Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a boycott of Russia’s oil.

It’s also the one that U.S. President Joe Biden and his allies can’t afford to use.

On Thursday, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine propelled oil prices above US$100 a barrel for the first time in almost eight years as traders weighed the potential of the conflict to cause severe supply disruptions in Europe and beyond.

With inventories tight, the world can ill afford the loss of 4.3-million barrels a day of exports from the third-largest producing country, despite its aggression. Even before the attack, Russia struggled to meet its own OPEC+ commitments to increase output.

The West have set some serious economic sanctions, but not knockout blows as Russian tanks and troops roll into Ukraine. Oil and gas exports account for nearly 60 per cent of Russian exports, so pinching off energy shipments would inflict the most damage. From an oil standpoint, it’s something that would be far too costly for the world, no more so than in the United States.

-Jeffrey Jones


7:26 p.m. ET

U.S. condemns report of hostages at Chernobyl

The White House is expressing outrage at “credible reports” from Ukrainian officials that the staff at the shuttered Chernoybl nuclear plant have been taken hostage by Russian troops.

“We condemn it and we request their release,” said press secretary Jen Psaki.

Psaki spoke after Alyona Shevtsova, an adviser to the commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, wrote on Facebook that the staff at the Chernobyl plant had been “taken hostage” when Russian troops seized the facility.

-The Associated Press


7:02 p.m. ET

Propaganda, fake videos of Ukraine invasion bombard users

The invasion of Ukraine is shaping up to be Europe’s first major armed conflict of the social media age, when the small screen of the smartphone is the dominant tool of communication, carrying with it the peril of an instantaneous spread of dangerous, even deadly, disinformation.

TikTok videos, propagandized headlines and tweets pinging out across screens around the world are confusing millions about the reality of how this battle is unfolding on the ground.

Over the last few days, Putin and Russian media have ramped up false accusations that Ukrainians are committing genocide, and mischaracterizing the majority of the country’s population as Nazis, said Bret Schafer, who heads the information manipulation team at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a non-partisan think tank in Washington.

-The Associated Press


6:49 p.m. ET

Canadian political leaders condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine, declare it ‘a war of aggression’

Canadian political leaders widely condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, with some premiers declaring it “a war of aggression,” and expressing support for efforts by Canada and other western nations to impose economic sanctions on Russia.

“This is a dark day,” B.C. Premier John Horgan wrote on Twitter. “I join the PM and allied nations in deploring this illegal and unjust war. We stand with the people of Ukraine, and the many people in BC with family and friends there.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the invasion “devastating,” tweeting “Weakness invites aggression. The democratic world must be united in standing with Ukraine. That should begin with a hard global embargo of all Russian oil & gas exports.”

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson tweeted that her province joined the federal government in calling on Russia to end its invasion, writing “It’s hard to imagine how difficult watching the news must be for so many Manitobans who have loved ones in Ukraine.”

-Globe Staff


6:30 p.m. ET

Ukrainian President says 137 civilians and military personnel have been killed

A woman holds her baby as she gets on a bus leaving Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says 137 civilians and military personnel have been killed so far in the Russian invasion of his country.

He calls them “heroes” in a video address released early Friday local time, in which he also says hundreds more have been wounded.

Zelensky says that despite Russia’s claim it is attacking only military targets, civilian sites also have been struck. In his words: “They’re killing people and turning peaceful cities into military targets. It’s foul and will never be forgiven.”

The president says all border guards on Zmiinyi island in the Odesa region were killed Thursday. Ukraine’s border guard service earlier in the day reported that the island was taken by the Russians.

-The Associated Press


6:27 p.m. ET

Ukraine president orders full military mobilization

President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree Thursday evening ordering a full military mobilization to challenge the Russian invasion. He said the mobilization would last 90 days.

He ordered the military’s General Staff to determine the number of those liable for service and reservists as well as the order of the call-up.

Zelensky gave his Cabinet the job of allocating funds to pay for the mobilization.

-The Associated Press


6:05 p.m. ET

Opinion: Shock, not awe, as an old-fashioned war unfolds on TV

It began, as invasions always begin, in the hour before dawn. On CNN, at around 10:15 p.m. in the eastern time zone on Wednesday evening, Don Lemon wasn’t talking about Donald Trump’s legal problems any more. He was talking to a jittery Matthew Chase in Kyiv. It was 5:15 a.m. there.

The CNN correspondent was putting on a flak jacket and a helmet, reporting from a hotel balcony that he’d heard numerous explosions in the distance, possibly from near the main airport. The sun would rise there in an hour, and the invasion of Ukraine seemed to be under way. Other CNN correspondents were reporting explosions and troop movements, Mr. Lemon said.

Over on Fox News, the channel’s limitations were obvious: no correspondents in Ukraine to report. Bret Baier sat in the studio and solemnly called on people to pray for Ukraine, adding that President Joe Biden didn’t want “a gunfight” there. As pundits chimed in, the topic of Mr. Trump’s relationship with Mr. Putin was raised but petered out.

The all-news channels were so well-prepared for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it seemed hard to believe it was happening.

-John Doyle


5:40 p.m. ET

Ukrainian-Canadian business leaders voice distress over Russian invasion

Business leaders in the Canadian-Ukrainian community say they are extremely concerned for the safety of friends and employees in Ukraine.

Zenon Potichny, president of the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 200 companies that do business in the two countries, said the situation on the ground is very serious.

He said he hopes all of Canada stands with the people of Ukraine, especially as more than a million Canadians are of Ukrainian descent.

-Chris Hannay


5:26 p.m. ET

Watch: Missile strikes and helicopter deployments mark first day of Russian attacks on Ukraine

Russian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday with some of their movements caught on video. A convoy of armoured vehicles drove into Ukraine from Belarus, Russian forces moved to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and military helicopters flew near a major airport north of Kyiv.

The Globe and Mail

Russian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday with some of their movements caught on video. A convoy of armoured vehicles drove into Ukraine from Belarus, Russian forces moved to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and military helicopters flew near a major airport north of Kyiv.


4:14 p.m. ET

Hundreds arrested as shocked Russians protest attack on Ukraine

Shocked Russians turned out by the thousands Thursday to decry their country’s invasion of Ukraine as emotional calls for protests grew on social media. Some 1,702 people in 53 Russian cities were detained, at least 940 of them in Moscow.

Hundreds of posts came pouring in condemning Moscow’s most aggressive actions since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin called the attack a “special military operation” to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine from “genocide” – a false claim the U.S. had predicted would be a pretext for invasion, and which many Russians roundly rejected.

- The Associated Press


4:14 p.m. ET

Another 3,400 Canadian troops placed on standby to deploy to Europe if necessary, Defence Minister says

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly look on as Defence Minister Anita Anand speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Canada has placed 3,400 military personnel on standby to be deployed to Europe if necessary, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced.

These Armed Forces members from the army, navy and air force are being readied to deploy to a “NATO response force should they be needed,” she said.

Several NATO members including Latvia and Estonia have formally requested consultations under Article Four of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which calls for meetings when “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.” These former Soviet republics have long feared that Russian expansionism would one day target them as well.

“We cannot allow Putin to redraw maps and to rewrite history to suit his own purposes. If we must, we will stand up against these efforts to sow discord, deceit and violence,” Ms. Anand said.

- Steven Chase


3:03 p.m. ET

Russian troops advancing toward Kyiv as war rages in Ukraine

Liudmila Pirolt waits on a ferry to cross the Danube River to Romania after fleeing her home in Izmail, Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Nathan Vanderklippe/The Globe and MailNathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

Russia invaded Ukraine from three directions on Thursday, advancing toward the capital city of Kyiv in the first hours of what has the potential to be the biggest conflict Europe has seen since the Second World War.

Kyiv’s main Boryspil International Airport was hit in Wednesday night’s first wave of attacks, and Russian paratroopers appeared to have taken control of the city’s Hostomel cargo airport by the end of Thursday after a battle that involved a squadron of Russian attack helicopters. Control of Hostomel would allow Russia to fly more troops to the edge of Kyiv, which Western officials believe is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s main target.

As the threat of a battle for the capital grew, tens of thousands of Kyiv residents packed their lives into cars and headed toward the relative safety of Western Ukraine, and the European Union beyond. The exodus created hours-long traffic jams that stretched to the horizon.

The last-minute panic was caused in part by the Ukrainian government’s strategy of playing down the threat of invasion, saying it had been hyped up by Western governments and media. Kyiv abruptly switched tactics this week, declaring a state of emergency and calling up some reservists on Wednesday. On Thursday, a dusk-till-dawn curfew was introduced in most of the country.

Within hours of the attacks, lines and shortages began to form at gas stations, banking machines and currency exchange shops across the country. When Liudmila Pirolt tried to buy groceries Thursday in Izmail, near the Romanian border, she was told “no bread.” Nearby gas stations, too, had gone dry. “So no petrol, no food and people are lined up at banks,” she said.

-Mark MacKinnon and Nathan VanderKlippe


1:52 p.m. ET

Ukraine invasion fuels inflation, putting central banks in delicate position as they look to hike rates

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent energy and agricultural prices soaring, adding to global inflationary pressures and putting central banks around the world in a delicate position as they embark on a much-anticipated rate hike cycle.

Russia is one of the world’s largest energy producers, and both Russia and Ukraine are major food producers, together accounting for more than a quarter of the global wheat exports. Disruptions caused by the conflict have already begun to ripple through global commodity markets, pushing up consumer prices and adding fuel to fears about spiralling inflation.

“Watch the food inflation story. Russia is a global commodity superstore, they are not a gas station. Their ability to inflict serious harm to consumers across the world is substantial,” Helima Croft, Royal Bank of Canada’s head of global commodity strategy, said in an interview.

The price of oil on both sides of the Atlantic shot past US$100 a barrel on Thursday morning for the first time since 2014, although West Texas Intermediate crude was back around $96 a barrel by mid day. Meanwhile, the price of wheat futures contracts in the United States rose around 5.5 per cent on Thursday morning, while corn contracts were up around 2.25 per cent.

-Mark Rendell


1:50 p.m. ET

Canada urged to expel Russia’s ambassador over military offensive against Ukraine

Canada is being urged to expel Russia’s ambassador Oleg Stepanov in the wake of Moscow’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

“The Russian ambassador should be sent home. He represents a terrorist, criminal regime,” said Orest Zakydalsky, a senior official with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which represents people of Ukrainian heritage in Canada.

Marcus Kolga, president of the Central and Eastern European Council in Canada and a senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute think tank, agreed, saying that “expelling the ambassador would send a strong message that Canada will not tolerate his government’s neo-imperialist aggression.”

Former federal Industry Minister James Moore also called for Mr. Stepanov to be expelled, urging Parliamentarians to lead the way by tabling a motion in the House of Commons to this effect. The Canadian government does not require Parliamentary consent for ousting foreign envoys.

-Steven Chase


1:42 p.m. ET

Harder sanctions from Canada, Western allies await Russia over Ukraine invasion

In response to the Feb. 24 attacks on Ukraine, Canada’s new sanctions target a number of individuals and entities, including Russian elites and members of the Russian Security Council. In addition, all export permits to Russia have been cancelled or denied. This amounts to hundreds of permits worth more than $7-million, says Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.

Canada and other western countries are preparing to sanction Russian banks and oligarchs, and impose technology export bans, to punish President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.

The economic measures will freeze the western assets of major Russian financial institutions, curb the flow of semiconductors and other high-technology products into Russia and hit a range of other major Russian companies.

The West, however, stopped short of kicking Russia out of the SWIFT system for processing international financial transactions or imposing new sanctions on Russia’s crucial oil and gas industry. European countries have significant trading relationships with Russia and rely heavily on the country for energy imports.

The leaders of the G7, including U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the heads of the European Union spoke by video conference Thursday morning to co-ordinate measures designed to impose economic pain following Russia’s sweeping attack on its democratic neighbour.

Mr. Trudeau announced afterwards that Canada will target 62 Russian individuals and entities, including members of the Russian elite and their family members, as well as the military contractor Wagner Group and major Russian banks. He said these include members of the Russian Security Council, including the Defence Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Justice Minister.

“These sanctions are wide-reaching. They will impose severe costs on complicit Russian elites, and they will limit President Putin’s ability to continue funding this unjustified invasion,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters.

-Adrian Morrow and Steven Chase


1:24 p.m. ET

Officials say Ukraine no longer in control of Chernobyl site

A presidential adviser says Ukraine lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, where Ukrainian forces had waged a fierce battle with Russian troops.

Adviser Myhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press that Ukrainian authorities did not know the current condition of the facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

“After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had announced several hours earlier Thursday that Russian forces were trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

A nuclear reactor at the plant 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, exploded in April 1986, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe.

The exploded reactor was covered by a protective shelter several years ago to prevent radiation leaks.

A Ukrainian official said Russian shelling hit a radioactive waste repository and an increase in radiation levels was reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

It was not immediately possible for experts to access the repository to assess damage before Russian forces overtook the site.

-The Associated Press


12:45 p.m. ET

Ontario Premier Doug Ford calls Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘thug’

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a despot” and “a thug” for his invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, noting Ukraine’s deep ties to Canada and vowing that democracy must be defended.

“Last night, we witnessed a violent attack on a sovereign nation by a despot, a thug,” Mr. Ford told the Ontario Legislature. “We witnessed Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression begin in Ukraine.”

In a brief but unusually poetic speech that prompted a standing ovation from both sides of the legislature, the premier compared the attack to the beginnings of both the First World War and the Second World War, adding that “we must pray” Feb. 24, 2022, does not become another infamous date in history books.

He said the bonds between Canada and Ukraine run deep, noting the wave of Ukrainian immigrants that settled and farmed across Western Canada, whose descendants remain. And he listed prominent Canadians of Ukrainian origin, such as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, late game show host Alex Trebek and astronaut Roberta Bondar.

“They left a permanent mark on Canadian history,” he said. “Without Ukraine, the Canada we know and love today would not be the same.”

Mr. Ford said Canada “shall never waver” in standing against tyranny, defending democracy and supporting Ukraine. And he warned Russia the strength of Ukrainians would “emerge from the darkness.”

“We must ensure the Ukrainian flag flies high above the skyline. The blue and yellow must be the last colours the invaders see,” the premier said. He ended his remarks with the Ukrainian national salute, partially in Ukrainian, followed by its English translation: “Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.”

Ontario Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she stood in solidarity with Ukrainians and their worried relatives in Canada. She condemned the attack and called for “diplomacy and immediate de-escalation” of military actions. She asked the federal government to welcome Ukrainian refugees and provide humanitarian aid.

“I join global leaders and peace-loving people around the world in condemning this unprovoked attack by the Russian Federation and the violent invasion Putin is using to drag people into the horrors of war,” Ms. Horwath said.

Liberal MPP John Fraser called for unity and warned that “there is evil in the world.” Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said he stood in solidarity with Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians “to denounce this senseless act of aggression by Russia.”

-Jeff Gray


12:20 p.m. ET

U.K. PM Johnson announces sanctions on over 100 Russian individuals and entities

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday announced sanctions on over 100 Russian individuals and entities after Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea.

“Overall we will be imposing asset freezes on more than 100 new entities and individuals on top of the hundreds that we’ve already announced,” Johnson told lawmakers.

“This includes all the major manufacturers that support (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war machine. Furthermore, we are also banning Aeroflot from the U.K..”

-Reuters


12:01 p.m. ET

Russia police detain at least 167 people at anti-war protests

Russian police detained at least 167 people at anti-war protests that took place in 24 Russian cities on Thursday, the OVD-Info protest monitor said.

Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday. The OVD-Info monitor has documented crackdowns on Russia’s opposition for years.

-Reuters


11:48 a.m. ET

Foreign Affairs minister Joly calls Russia envoy on carpet

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has summoned Russia’s ambassador to Canada for a dressing down after his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The minister’s office tells The Canadian Press that Ambassador Oleg V. Stepanov met Joly at the headquarters of Global Affairs Canada, where she condemned “in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine.”

Joly told Stepanov that Russia has violated Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

-The Canadian Press


11:45 a.m. ET

Save the Children raises alarm about Ukrainian children ‘caught in crossfire’ of Russia’s military actions

Save the Children is raising the alarm about millions of children in Ukraine facing grave physical and emotional harm as a result of Russia’s military actions.

The humanitarian group says the explosions in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and other cities have forced thousands of families into bomb shelters, with parents struggling to calm their terrified children, while thousands of others are fleeing their homes in freezing winter conditions.

”Ukraine’s children are caught in the crossfire of this adult war. It should never have come to this,” said Irina Saghoyan, director of Save the Children’s Eastern Europe. “Children are terrified. They are hearing explosions, they are being asked to flee with just the clothes on their backs. The risk to their mental health and potential for long-term trauma cannot be underestimated.”

The group said more than 400,000 children live in Eastern Ukraine where intense fighting between the Ukrainian and Russian troops is taking place.

At least 100,000 of these children and their families are already known to have left their homes since Monday, sheltering with friends, relatives, and strangers, often in cramped conditions, the group said.

Save the Children called for an immediate end to hostilities, and for all parties to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, to ensure that civilians and civilian objects, especially schools and hospitals, are protected from attack.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas risks severe harm to civilians, especially children, and should be avoided at all costs, the group said.

-Globe Staff


11:05 a.m. ET

Canada evacuates its diplomats to Poland from Ukraine amid Russian invasion

Canada has evacuated all its diplomats from Ukraine, including ambassador Larisa Galadza, as Russia’s invasion proceeds.

The approximately 10 to 14 staff were whisked across the border to neighbouring Poland in the early hours of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, a Canadian government source said.

Canada suspended operations at its Kyiv embassy Feb. 12 and a small group of remaining Canadian diplomats then decamped to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where they continued operating and processing immigration and visa applications for Ukrainians or Canadians resident in Ukraine.

It’s not known where the Canadian diplomats have relocated to in Poland but Canada’s embassy in Warsaw is an approximately six-hour drive from Lviv.

-Steven Chase


10:49 a.m. ET

Opinion: Ready or not, Canada must now face the crisis in Ukraine head on

Only hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted the state of emergency he had declared in order to clear protesters from Ottawa’s streets, Russia invaded Ukraine, fomenting a far worse emergency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vicious and unprovoked assault on another European country in a time of peace is the worst collective security crisis of our time. And Canada is completely unprepared.

“What has happened in the last 24 hours is a huge wake-up call” for Canadians, said Stéfanie von Hlatky, director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University.

Canadians typically are reluctant to spend seriously on defence. But this country, as part of the Western military alliance NATO, is now under threat, not only in the Arctic and in Europe but from cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns.

Now we confront the reality of a Russia bent on reasserting control over what it sees as its sphere of influence. That sphere includes both Eastern Europe, where Canada has NATO commitments, and the Arctic, where Canada and Russia are unfriendly neighbours.

Answering this challenge will require major investments. We are looking at tens of billions of dollars in procurement costs. Are Canadians prepared to bear that cost?

-John Ibbitson


10:26 a.m. ET

Biden to announce new sanctions against Russia after G7 leaders hold emergency meeting

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden would announce new sanctions against Russia in a speech early Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday morning, he met with his national security council in the White House situation room, followed by a video call with other G7 leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to co-ordinate their response to the invasion. The President has been briefed by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and other national security officials throughout the Russian attack, the White House said.

-Adrian Morrow


10:02 a.m. ET

Canadian dollar hits two-month low as Russia attacks Ukraine

The Canadian dollar weakened to its lowest level since December against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a flight to safety in global financial markets.

Stock markets globally slumped and the safe-haven U.S. dollar rallied after the biggest attack by one country against another in Europe since World War Two.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.7 per cent lower at 1.2819 to the greenback, or 78.01 U.S. cents, after touching its weakest intraday level since Dec. 27 at 1.2847.

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, climbed 7.60 per cent to $99.10 a barrel as the invasion added to concerns about disruptions to global energy supply.

-Reuters


Apartment buildings in and near Kharkiv, Ukraine were on fire and had extensive blast damage on Feb 24. after witnesses said they were shelled as Russia invades the country.

The Globe and Mail


9:29 a.m. ET

Russia to respond to European, U.S. sanctions in tit-for-tat manner

Russia would respond to European and U.S. sanctions with tit-for-tat measures after Western nations sought to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Thursday.

-Reuters


9:19 a.m. ET

Ukraine’s foreign minister calls for ‘severe’ sanctions on Russia now

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday told other countries to impose tough sanctions on Russia immediately and to provide Ukraine with military and financial support.

“Right now, Putin is plunging Europe into its darkest time since 1939. Any government hoping to sit this out is naive. Don’t repeat mistakes of the past,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

-Reuters


8:37 a.m. ET

Lithuania declares state of emergency after Russia invades Ukraine

Lithuania’s president declared a state of emergency on Thursday, telling the NATO country’s army to deploy along its borders in response to “possible disturbances and provocations due to large military forces massed in Russia and Belarus.”

The state of emergency, declared hours after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, will be valid for two weeks.

Parliament will meet later on Thursday to vote whether to confirm or export President Gitanas Nauseda decision.

-Reuters


8:25 a.m. ET

France will respond without weakness to Russia’s “act of war” on Ukraine, Macron says

France will respond without weakness to Russia’s act of war against Ukraine, said President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, adding that Russia could expect tough sanctions that would hit its military, its economy and its energy sector.

“The events of last night mark a turning point in the history of Europe,” said Macron in a televised address to the French nation, standing before French, European Union and Ukranian flags.

“We will respond to this act of war without weakness, with cold blood, determination and unity,” he added.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had also earlier said that France would reinforce its support to Ukraine “in all its forms,” without further specifying whether or not this could include military means.

-Reuters


8:00 a.m. ET

UEFA to move Champions League final from St. Petersburg in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, source says

UEFA will move this year’s Champions League final from St. Petersburg in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has called an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee on Friday morning and it is expected to agree on moving the final.

The Champions League final, the showcase match in European club football, was set to be held at Zenit St Petersburg’s stadium on May 28 – an event that would have normally drawn thousands of fans from across the continent.

A group of European lawmakers wrote to UEFA on Thursday, asking it to change the venue and to stop considering Russian cities for international football competitions.

-Reuters


7:59 a.m. ET

Ukrainians cross into Poland to face an uncertain future and possibly unwelcome reception

Ukrainian citizens arrive at the main train station in Przemysl, Poland, on Feb. 24 on a route from Odessa via Lviv. The exodus from Ukraine into Poland intensified after Russia's large-stale attack the night before.Omar Marques/Getty Images

Vitali Koval didn’t waste much time packing suitcases after he heard the air raid sirens blaring early Thursday morning around his home in Lviv in western Ukraine.

He and his wife, Oleksandra, quickly stuffed three big suitcase for themselves and their children, Alisa, 5, and Eleonora, who is three. They jumped in a cab, headed for the Polish border and then walked the last short stretch across the boundary, pulling their bags along the highway.

“There is a big queue of the cars on that side,” said Mr. Koval as he pointed across to Ukraine. “There are huge queues at petrol stations and in the markets. People are buying rice or pasta or something.”

The family had already relocated to Lviv from Kyiv a few days ago and now they hope to stay with friends in Poland until they figure out what to do next.

The Kovals were part of a slow but steady stream of people crossing into Poland from Ukraine Thursday morning, just hours after the Russian military intensified its campaign with bombing raids near Lviv, Kyiv and other parts of the country.

While the numbers were small, the fear and anxiety among many of the arrivals was real.

-Paul Waldie in Przemysl, Poland


Video shot in Boryslav in western Ukraine shows a missile moments before an explosion, and another blast in the distance on Thursday Feb. 24. Boryslav is close to the Polish border where some Ukrainians are fleeing from the Russian invasion of the country.

The Globe and Mail


7:52 a.m. ET

Russian exposed European stocks take hit as West prepares more sanctions

Shares in Russian-exposed companies bore the brunt of selling pressure across European equity markets on Thursday after Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Among the hardest hit were shares in London-listed miners Polymetal and Evraz, Polish clothing company LPP, banks Raiffeisen and OTP, and German energy trader Uniper. Their shares were down between 10 and 36% by 9:44 a.m. GMT.

London-listed shares in Russia’s two biggest companies by market value, Sberbank and Gazprom fell as much as 77 per cent and 42 per cent in early trading before recouping some losses. The broader European stock market fell 3 per cent.

-Reuters


7:21 a.m. ET

China rejects calling Russia move ‘invasion,’ urges citizens in Ukraine to stay home

China rejected calling Russia’s moves on Ukraine an “invasion” and urged all sides to exercise restraint, even as it advised its citizens there to stay home or at least take the precaution of displaying a Chinese flag if they needed to drive anywhere.

“China is closely monitoring the latest situation. We call on all sides to exercise restraint to prevent the situation from getting out of control,” said Hua Chunying, spokesperson at China’s foreign ministry.

At a packed daily media briefing in Beijing, Hua bridled at journalists’ characterization of Russia’s actions.

“This is perhaps a difference between China and you Westerners. We won’t go rushing to a conclusion,” she said.

“Regarding the definition of an invasion, I think we should go back to how to view the current situation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian issue has other very complicated historical background that has continued to today. It may not be what everyone wants to see.”

The ministry said later that senior diplomat Wang Yi, also China’s foreign minister, had spoken with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

-Reuters


7:22 a.m. ET

U.K. PM Boris Johnson vows massive sanctions against Russia

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain and its allies would unleash a massive package of economic sanctions to hobble the Russian economy.

“Today, in concert with our allies, we will agree a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy,” Johnson said in a televised address to the nation.

He said the West must end its reliance on Russian oil and gas which had given Russian President Vladimir Putin a grip over Western politics: “Our mission is clear: diplomatically, politically, economically, and eventually military, this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.”

On Wednesday, Johnson told finance chiefs he wanted to impose the “toughest possible next tranche” of sanctions on Russia, an action he described as being able to “make a difference and change the outcome”.

In earlier comments on Twitter, the British leader called the invasion a “catastrophe” for Europe, and said he would talk to other G7 group of rich nations.

-Reuters


  • People rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine early on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press

    1 of 40

7:03 a.m. ET

Ukraine shuts down ports as conflict threatens grain supplies

Ukraine’s military has suspended commercial shipping at its ports after Russian forces invaded the country, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff said, stoking fear of supply disruption from the leading grain and oilseeds exporters.

Russia earlier suspended the movement of commercial vessels in the Azov Sea until further notice, but kept Russian ports in the Black Sea open for navigation, its officials and five grain industry sources said on Thursday.

Ukraine is a major exporter of corn (maize), much of it destined for China and the European Union. It also competes with Russia to supply wheat to major buyers such as Egypt and Turkey.

“The market is still struggling to get a clear picture about the actual military situation on the ground. The ports in the Azov and Black Sea so far seem not to have been damaged according to the initial shipping agency reports,” one European grain trader said.

Shipping group Maersk said on Thursday it has halted all port calls in Ukraine until the end of February and has shut its main office in Odessa on the Black Sea coast, because of the conflict.

-Reuters


6:08 a.m. ET

NATO agrees to beef up eastern flank over Ukraine attack

NATO agreed at emergency talks on Thursday to further beef up its land, sea and air forces on its eastern flank near Ukraine and Russia, putting hundreds of warplanes and ships on alert, after President Vladimir Putin ordered a military offensive in Ukraine.

“We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the alliance, as well as additional maritime assets,” NATO ambassadors said in a statement. “We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said he had convened a virtual emergency summit of the alliance’s 30 nations for Friday, which is set to include U.S. President Joe Biden, and they would be joined by the leaders of Sweden, Finland and European Union institutions.

-The Associated Press


5:06 a.m. ET

Ukrainians flee as Putin warns other countries not to interfere

People wait for buses at a bus station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Pierre Crom/Getty Images

The highways out of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were jammed with traffic on Thursday, as thousands of Ukrainians fled their homes in the first hours after a Russian invasion of their country began.

Residents of the Ukrainian capital were awaked by a series of early morning missile and air strikes, followed by the belated sound of an air raid siren. Attacks were reported on cities across the country, with airports and military bases – along with the Black Sea port of Odessa – appearing to be the main target in the first wave.

In a televised address broadcast as the attack began, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would “lead to consequences you have never seen in history.” He said the aim was to “demilitarize” Ukraine – a country he has sought to portray as a threat to Russia – and said his army didn’t plan to occupy the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the war was about more than just this country. He said Mr. Putin “has unleashed a war with Ukraine and the entire democratic world” and “wants to destroy our state, everything that we have built.” He compared the Russian invasion to the attacks that Nazi Germany launched against its neighbours during the Second World War.

-Mark MacKinnon in Kyiv, Nathan VanderKlippe in Odessa, Ukraine


2:54 a.m. ET

EU plans new sanctions against Russia

European Union leaders will impose new sanctions on Russia, freezing its assets, halting its banks’ access to European financial markets and targeting “Kremlin interests” over its “barbaric attack” on Ukraine, senior officials said on Thursday.

An emergency summit will also discuss offering EU candidate status to Ukraine, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda said, a step Kyiv has long called for, though it may not win approval from all EU leaders.

“President Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said, adding that the EU would hold him accountable.

“With this package, we will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to key technologies and markets,” she said in an emergency statement. “We will weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernize.

Russian assets in the EU would also be frozen and Russian banks’ access to the European financial market would be stopped.

However, cutting Russia off the SWIFT global interbank payments system - one of the toughest, non-military sanctions the West could impose - is unlikely to be agreed at this stage, several EU sources said.

-Reuters


1:55 a.m. ET

Russian military says it has knocked out Ukraine’s air defense assets and airbases

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian strikes have damaged Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and have left the infrastructure of the country’s airbases “incapacitated.” The ministry also denied claims that a Russian warplane was shot down over Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military, meanwhile, reported that it has shot down five Russian aircraft while fending off the Russian attack on the country. Russia denies those reports.

-Reuters



12:38 a.m. ET

A meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday night ended with the Ukrainian representative calling for Russia to stop attacks against his country. Sergiy Kyslytsya told his Russian counterpart "there is no purgatory for war criminals, they go straight to hell."

The Globe and Mail


12:30 a.m. ET

Oil breaches US$100 after Putin declares military operation in Ukraine

Oil prices broke through US$100 early Thursday morning shortly after President Vladimir Putin declared a military operation against Ukraine.

Shortly before dawn European time, Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 4.4 per cent, and rising fast, taking it to more than US$101 a barrel, a new 52-week high. American oil prices, measured by the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, were up by a similar amount, as were natural gas prices.

Gold was also surging in the flight to safety and it is almost certain that equities will go in the opposite direction, and perhaps plunge, when the markets open. On Thursday, U.S. equity futures were down about 2 per cent and European futures down by about 3 per cent.

-Eric Reguly


12:22 a.m. ET

China’s ambassador to UN responds to Russian attacks on Ukraine

Addressing members of the United Nations Security Council, who were holding an emergency meeting at the same time as Russian troops began entering Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday morning, China’s ambassador urged all sides to “exercise restraint.”

“The situation in Ukraine is at a critical juncture,” ambassador Zhang Jun said. “China has been paying close attention to the situation. In the current context, all parties concerned should exercise restraint, and avoid the further escalation of tensions. We believe that the door to a peaceful solution to the Ukraine issue is not fully shut, nor should it be shut.”

He said that there is a “complex historical context for the Ukraine issue” and the “current situation is a result of the interplay of many factors.”

Chinese state media has so far downplayed the conflict, taking only short reports from the Russian TASS newswire. Videos and photos from Ukraine are spreading on social media in China however, sparking a level of condemnation of Moscow and sympathy for Ukrainians that was not seen prior to now in conversations around the potential for war.

-James Griffiths


12:03 a.m. ET

Interfax news agency reports Russian-backed rebels have started an attack on Ukraine

Russian-backed separatists said on Thursday they had launched an offensive on the Ukrainian-controlled town of Shchastia in the Luhansk province, Russia’s Interfax news agency said, as Russia started a military operation in Ukraine.

-Reuters


Wednesday, Feb, 23


11:43 p.m. ET

Trudeau responds to Russian attacks

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada calls on Russia to immediately cease all hostile and provocative actions against Ukraine and withdraw all military and proxy forces. Trudeau says Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine.

-Reuters


11:09 p.m. ET

Russia launches attacks on Ukrainian cities as Putin declares military operation

Explosions could be heard Wednesday in Kyiv, Odessa and several other Ukrainian cities as Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the start of a “special military operation” against Ukraine, the scope of which wasn’t immediately clear.

Several loud explosions could be heard in the directions of Kyiv’s Boryspil airport, shortly after Ukraine announced the closure of its airspace. Blasts were also reported in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Mariupol.

“I have taken the decision to carry out a special military operation,” Mr. Putin said in a televised address, saying he was forced to act by claims of “genocide” in Ukraine that have been refuted by neutral observers, including the United Nations. “Our plans do not include occupying Ukrainian territory.”

-Mark MacKinnon, Nathan VanderKlippe


11 p.m. ET

Britain says wholly unprovoked attack on Ukraine starting

Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine said a “wholly unprovoked attack” on the country was starting after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a special military operation there.

“A wholly unprovoked attack on a peaceful country, Ukraine, is unfolding. Horrified,” British ambassador Melinda Simmons said on Twitter.

-Reuters


10:08 p.m. ET

Putin announces military operation in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday local time, claiming it’s intended to protect civilians.

In a televised address, Putin said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”

Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

Putin said in the case of foreign interference, Russia will react immediately, and that circumstances demand decisive action.

-Reuters


9:45 p.m. ET

Ukraine restricts civilian flights in its airspace, citing potential hazard

Ukraine said early on Thursday it had restricted civilian flights in its airspace due to “potential hazard,” hours after a conflict zone monitor warned airlines should stop overflights over the risk of an unintended shootdown or cyber attack.

The notice to airmen from Ukraine’s authorities, issued at 0156 GMT on Thursday, is due to expire at 2359 GMT on Thursday unless extended. It did not specify whether the restriction was a total ban on civilian flights.

An El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto made a sudden U-turn out of Ukraine’s airspace around the time a notice to airmen was issued, citing the restrictions, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

A LOT Polish Airlines flight from Warsaw to Kyiv also turned back to Warsaw around the same time.

-Reuters


9:30 p.m. ET

UN Security Council holds emergency meeting on Ukraine

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on Ukraine on Wednesday night, just hours after diplomats from dozens of countries take the floor at the General Assembly to deplore Russia’s actions toward the country and plead for diplomacy as fears of a new war in Europe grew.

Citing an “immediate threat of Russian offensive,” Ukraine requested the council session after Russia said that rebels in eastern Ukraine had asked Moscow for military assistance.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is telling Russian President Vladimir Putin to not send Russian troops against Ukraine and “give peace a chance.”

Guterres opened an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council late Wednesday saying the day was full of rumours and indications that an offensive against Ukraine is imminent.

In the recent past, Guterres says, he never believed rumours that Russia would invade Ukraine and was “convinced that nothing serious would happen.”

But, he adds: “I was wrong, and I like not to be wrong again. So if indeed an operation is being prepared I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: Stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”

The council, where Russia holds the rotating presidency this month, was meeting just two days after another emergency session saw no support for Russia’s decision to recognize two rebel regions of Ukraine as independent and to order Russian troops there for “peacekeeping.”

- The Associated Press


9:07 p.m. ET

What further Canadian sanctions on Russia will target: oligarchs, banks and exports

Canada warned this week it has a package of additional sanctions ready to impose on Russia if Moscow proceeds with a further invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has said Ottawa is standing by to “target even more of Russia’s financial sector and oligarchs” as well as “significant announcements related to Canadian 700s to Russia.”

This would be on top of the sanctions against two Russian banks – VEB and PSB – and measures targeting members of Russia’s lower house of parliament announced by Canada in concert with allies on Wednesday.

-Steven Chase


8:55 p.m. ET

Airlines should stop flying over all of Ukraine’s airspace says conflict zone monitor

Safe Airspace, which was set up to provide safety and conflict zone information for airlines after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, said Wednesday that airlines should stop flying over any part of Ukraine because of the risk of an unintended shootdown or a cyber attack targeting air traffic control amid tensions with Russia.

“Regardless of the actual movements of Russian forces into Ukraine, the level of tension and uncertainty in Ukraine is now extreme,” Safe Airspace said on its website. “This itself gives rise to significant risk to civil aviation.”

Russia has closed some airspace in the Rostov flight information region to the east of its border with Ukraine “in order to provide safety” for civil aviation flights, according to a notice to airmen.

Airports at Dnipro, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine are closed to traffic until Thursday morning, also according to notices to airmen. No reasons were provided for the closures.

The United States, Italy, Canada, France and Britain have advised their airlines to avoid certain airspace above eastern Ukraine and Crimea but so far have stopped short of a total ban. Safeairspace.net said it expected updated guidance could be issued soon.

-Reuters


7:42 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s president pleads for peace in emotional early-morning address

By early morning Ukraine time, the main airports in Eastern Ukraine were closed after warnings were issued to pilots to avoid the airspace. In a video address, Mr. Zelensky said he had tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Kremlin had not answered.

“The Ukrainian people want peace,” Mr. Zelensky said after midnight on in Kyiv. He spoke in his native Russian, but acknowledged that it was unlikely most Russians would hear his message via the Kremlin-controlled media. “Any spark,” he warned, “could burn everything down. You are told that this flame will liberate the people of Ukraine, but the Ukrainian people are free.”

- Mark MacKinnon


7:37 p.m. ET

Analysis: Biden touts ‘first tranche’ of sanctions against Russia as toughest measures yet. How effective are they?

When the U.S. government rolled out sanctions on Russia this week, the White House promoted the measures as far tougher than any previously enacted.

But these penalties, announced in concert with other Western allies, including Canada, are relatively mild. They are narrowly targeted at Russian banks and bond issues that don’t have much foreign exposure, as well as a handful of powerful individuals.

President Joe Biden described the measures as a “first tranche” of sanctions, in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizing the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and openly sending Russian troops there. The idea, Mr. Biden suggested, was to steadily ramp up the pressure the further Mr. Putin moved into Ukraine.

So far, the West is simply firing a shot across Russia’s bow rather than giving it a full broadside.

-Adrian Morrow


7:07 p.m. ET

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calls for peace in address to the nation

In an emotional address to the nation late Wednesday, Zelensky rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and lamented that a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives. “The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” he said in Russian, hours after declaring a nationwide state of emergency. But if the nation comes under an attack, “we will fight back.” Zelensky said he tried to call Putin, but the Kremlin remained silent.

- The Associated Press


6:10 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s president says Russia has approved an offensive against Ukraine

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia approved offensive against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not reply to invitation for talks.

-Reuters


6:03 p.m. ET

U.S. Congress backs Biden on Russia sanctions, urge tougher and swifter measures

President Joe Biden has acknowledged the growing likelihood of a new war in Eastern Europe will affect Americans even if U.S. troops don’t deploy to Ukraine.The Associated Press

With rare but fragile alignment, the U.S. Congress is largely backing President Joe Biden’s decision to confront Russia with potentially escalating sanctions for the crisis in Ukraine as lawmakers brace for perhaps the most daunting foreign policy crisis the nation has faced in a generation.

But the next steps are highly volatile.

With isolationist impulses rising at home, Congress has no appetite for war. Yet Americans also appear ambivalent about the U.S. working to keep the peace.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine is “an attack on democracy,” vowing that the U.S. will stand united with its allies around the world in swiftly imposing sanctions on Russia and ensuring financial and political support for an independent Ukraine.

- The Associated Press


5:33 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s decision to remove nuclear arsenal ‘huge mistake,’ final commander says, as Russia deploys troops

A console equipped to launch 10 nuclear missiles at a Soviet-era command centre near Pervomais’k, Ukraine, in what was a highly-secretive facility before Ukraine denuclearized near Pervomais’k, Ukraine on Feb. 23, 2022.Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

When Ukraine was a Soviet republic, roughly a third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal was positioned on Ukrainian soil, with about 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads and thousands of tactical nuclear weapons left in the country at independence.

After independence in 1991, Ukraine briefly had the third-largest nuclear arsenal after the U.S. and Russia – until it agreed to remove them all in exchange for assurances that its borders would remain inviolate.

Now, with Russian troops once again entering the country, those who once had their hands on the nuclear arsenal are asking pointed questions about the wisdom of that decision.

- Nathan VanderKlippe



5:21 p.m. ET

Global equities sell off on escalating Russia-Ukraine fears

Investors around the world lost their appetite for risk on Wednesday with stocks selling off and the U.S. dollar gaining ground as Ukraine declared a state of emergency amid intensifying fears of a full-scale Russian invasion.

Trading in both riskier and safe-haven assets has been volatile since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dispatch of troops earlier this week into parts of Ukraine, which in turn triggered sanctions from Western countries and the threat of more to come if Moscow advances further.

The S&P/TSX composite index lost 163.65 points, or 0.78%, at 20,744.17. It rose to a high of 20,996.07 in early trading before sliding through the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 459.12 points, or 1.37%, to 33,137.49.

-Reuters


4:27 p.m. ET

Ukraine’s Parliament approves state of emergency

Ukraine declared a state of emergency and reservists began reporting to their units Wednesday as President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government braced this country for a Russian assault that seems increasingly likely.

After weeks of questioning Western intelligence reports that suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin was planning a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky and his officials have shifted in recent days to preparing for war.

The 30-day state of emergency will see additional police deployed into the streets and around critical infrastructure, as well as giving them powers to stop people and demand to see their documents. The measures were approved by parliament, which is controlled by Mr. Zelensky’s party, and are expected to come into force Thursday.

“These are preventive issues so that the country remains calm and the economy works,” said Oleksiy Danilov, head of the country’s National Security and Defence Council, in a statement. He said Russia was seeking “to achieve [its] goal through internal destabilization.”

- Mark MacKinnon


3:32 p.m. ET

Russia’s markets suffer record rout

The Russian ruble hit a near two-year low past 81 to the dollar as sanctions and invasion fears hammered Russian assets, with bonds and stocks feeling the force of investor jitters.

Western nations responded to President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of separatist enclaves in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine and subsequent orders to send in “peacekeeping” troops with plans to target banks and elites. Germany froze a major gas pipeline project from Russia, and London and Washington targeted Russian debt.

Ukraine declared a state of emergency and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy in the latest ominous sign for Ukrainians who fear an all-out Russian military onslaught.

By 5 p.m. local time, the ruble was 2.5 per cent weaker against the dollar at 80.77, earlier sinking to 81.0025, its weakest point since March 23, 2020.

The sharp drop in the ruble from levels around 70 to the greenback seen four months ago is expected to fuel already high inflation, one of the main concerns among Russians, which would dent the country’s already falling living standards.

- Reuters



2:15 p.m. ET

Putin’s assault on Ukraine is ‘attack on democracy,’ U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, joined at left by Rep. Eric Swalwell, holds a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday.J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Russian aggression toward Ukraine is “an attack on democracy,” vowing that the U.S. will stand united with its allies around the world in swiftly imposing sanctions on Russia and ensuring financial and political support for an independent Ukraine.

Pelosi, who returned to the Capitol from a diplomatic overseas trip, compared the aggression to Russia’s intervention in the United States’ own democratic process during the 2016 election.

“There will be a price to pay for Vladimir Putin,” she said, flanked by lawmakers who had joined her delegation at the annual security conference in Munich.

Pelosi said the Russian president is one of the richest men in the world and warned that the sanctions being imposed by the U.S. and its allies are only the start of what is possible to inflict financial pain on his regime. “We’re doing this together,” she said.

- The Associated Press


2:09 p.m. ET

U.S. to impose sanctions on company building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, President Joe Biden says

U.S. President Joe Biden is pictured at Camp David, Md., on Feb. 12.The Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his administration will impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, the company in charge of building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“Today, I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

- Reuters

1:42 p.m. ET

Berlin and Paris illuminate buildings in Ukrainian colours in show of unity

A woman takes a photo of the Brandenburg Gate after it was illuminated in the colours of the Ukrainian flag to show solidarity with the country during the tensions with Russia in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday.Markus Schreiber/The Associated Press

The German capital lit up the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark in blue and yellow, the national colours of Ukraine, on Wednesday evening in a show of unity with Kyiv as the crisis with Russia deepens.

In Paris, authorities lit City Hall, seat of the mayor and local administration, in the same colours to also show their support.

Berlin, which represented the front line during the Cold War until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, was sending a clear signal for a free and sovereign Ukraine, said its government.

“We are showing our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the many Berliners with Ukrainian roots but also with the many Russians who want peace in Russia and Ukraine,” Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said in a statement.

“They all want nothing more than an end to the escalation and a peaceful settlement to this threatening conflict,” she added.

- Reuters


12:57 p.m. ET

Ukraine says another cyberattack under way as state websites and banks hit

The Ukrainian government said it was the target of another massive denial of service (DDoS) attack that began at around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Ukrainian authorities said this week they had seen online warnings that hackers were preparing to launch major attacks on government agencies, banks and the defence sector.

Ukraine has suffered a string of cyberattacks that Kyiv has blamed on Russia. Moscow, which is caught up in a mounting confrontation with the West over Ukraine, has denied any involvement.

“At about 4 p.m., another mass DDoS attack on our state began. We have relevant data from a number of banks,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation, adding that the parliament website was also hit.

- Reuters


12:33 p.m. ET

Two convoys of military equipment from Russian border heading toward Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, according to a witness

An image obtained from amateur footage shot on Feb. 22, 2022, by Public Movement "Donetsk Republic" shows a convoy of cars bearing Russian flags driving through the streets of Donetsk, a day after the Russian president recognized the east Ukraine separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent statelets. (AFP Photo/Public Movement "Donetsk Republic")-/AFP/Getty Images

Two separate convoys of military equipment with no identifiable insignia were moving toward the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine along different roads from the direction of the Russian border, a Reuters witness reported today.

One convoy included nine tanks and an infantry fighting vehicle, while the other was made up of trucks and fuel tankers, said the reporter, who was in the territory of two Russia-backed rebel regions recognized as independent by Moscow on Monday.

- Reuters


12:07 p.m. ET

European sanctions on Russia come into force

Ukrainian police officers stand guard in front of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia as Europe braced for further confrontation Wednesday after Russia's leader received authorization to use military force outside his country and the West responded with a raft of sanctions.Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press

They are the first steps in a planned series of retaliatory measures devised to be cranked up if Russian President Vladimir Putin orders an attack or pushes his troops deeper into Ukraine.

The sanctions that took effect Wednesday targeted senior Russian government officials, several companies and hundreds of lawmakers who voted in favour of recognizing the independence of separatist parts of southeast Ukraine.

The sanctions are mostly a freeze on the assets of senior Russian government officials and a ban on them travelling in the 27-nation EU.

The measures come on top of a slew of economic and other sanctions slapped on Russia since it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

– The Associated Press


10:46 a.m. ET

Russia begins evacuating embassy in Ukraine after Putin receives parliamentary power to send troops abroad

  • Russian armored vehicles are loaded onto railway platforms at a railway station in region not far from Russia-Ukraine border, in the Rostov-on-Don region, Russia.The Associated Press

    1 of 28

Russia began evacuating its embassy in Kyiv, and Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia on Wednesday as the region braced for further confrontation after President Vladimir Putin received authorization to use military force outside his country and the West responded with sanctions.

- The Associated Press


8:55 a.m. ET

Ukraine will ask Turkey to close Black Sea access to Russia if war breaks out, ambassador says

Ukraine views the presence of Russian warships near its borders in the Black Sea as a threat and will ask Turkey to consider shutting two waterways to Russian vessels if Moscow invades, Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar said on Wednesday.

Russian’s recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine this week has prompted a swift backlash and sanctions from Western powers. Turkey, which borders both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, is against sanctions in principle, but has called Russia’s move unacceptable.

Earlier this month, six Russian warships and a submarine transited the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits to the Black Sea for what Moscow called naval drills near Ukraine waters.

Asked about the presence of Russian warships near Ukrainian borders, Bodnar told Reuters in an interview that the vessels posed “a great danger” for Kyiv, adding the Russian naval concentration in the Black Sea was “overwhelming”.

“We believe that, in case of a wide military invasion or the starting of military activities against Ukraine - when the war becomes not only de facto but de jure - we will ask the Turkish government to consider the possibility of closing the Black Sea straits for the aggressor state,” he said.

- Reuters


8:33 a.m. ET

Russia evacuating embassy in Ukraine as crisis escalates

Russia began evacuating its embassy in Kyiv, and Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia on Wednesday as the region braced for further confrontation after President Vladimir Putin received authorization to use military force outside his country and the West responded with sanctions.

Russia began pulling personnel from its diplomatic posts in Ukraine, state news agency Tass reported, a day after the Foreign Ministry announced a plan to evacuate, citing threats. By Wednesday afternoon, the Russian flag was no longer flying over the embassy in Kyiv, according to an Associated Press photographer. Police surrounded the building.

After weeks of trying to project calm, Ukrainian authorities also signalled increasing concern on Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry advised against travel to Russia and recommended anyone there leave immediately, saying Moscow’s “aggression” could lead to a significant reduction in consular services.

- The Associated Press


Where are Russian and NATO troops?

Tallinn

NATO

RUSSIA POSITIONS

(as of Feb. 18)

Baltic

Sea

Amari

Tapa

Multinational

battle groups

ESTONIA

Ground forces

Air bases

Air policing

mission

Naval bases

Adazi

NATO members

LATVIA

Riga

Non-NATO

Lielvarde

Moscow

Siauliai

LITHUANIA

Rukla

BELARUS

RUS.

Vilnius

Yelnya

Minsk

Malbork

RUSSIA

Orzysz

Asipovicny

Klintsy

POLAND

Pochep

Baranovichi

Marshala

Zhukova

Rechytsa

Brest

Warsaw

Voronezh

Lask

Pripyat River

Soloti

Kyiv

UKRAINE

Boguchar

Claimed by

separatists,

held by Ukraine

Transnistria:

Russian-backed

breakaway region

of Moldova

Luhansk

Volgograd

SLOVAKIA

Held by

pro-Russian

separatists

Donetsk

:

HUNGARY

Dnieper

River

ROMANIA

Persianovskiy

Rostov

Craiova:

NATO multinational

brigade 4,000 troops

Korenovsk

Bucharest

Sevastopol:

Russian Black

Sea Fleet HQ

Crimea:

Annexed by

Russia in 2014

BULG.

Deveselu:

NATO missile

defence system

Black Sea

GEORGIA

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS

Tallinn

NATO

RUSSIA POSITIONS

(as of Feb. 18)

Baltic

Sea

Amari

Tapa

Multinational

battle groups

ESTONIA

Ground forces

Air policing

mission

Air bases

Naval bases

Adazi

NATO members

LATVIA

Riga

Non-NATO

Lielvarde

Moscow

Siauliai

LITHUANIA

Rukla

BELARUS

RUS.

Vilnius

Yelnya

Minsk

Malbork

RUSSIA

Orzysz

Asipovicny

Klintsy

POLAND

Pochep

Baranovichi

Marshala

Zhukova

Rechytsa

Brest

Warsaw

Voronezh

Lask

Pripyat River

Soloti

Kyiv

UKRAINE

Boguchar

Claimed by

separatists,

held by Ukraine

Transnistria:

Russian-backed

breakaway region

of Moldova

Luhansk

Volgograd

SLOVAKIA

Held by

pro-Russian

separatists

Donetsk

:

HUNGARY

Dnieper

River

ROMANIA

Persianovskiy

Rostov

Craiova:

NATO multinational

brigade 4,000 troops

Korenovsk

Bucharest

Sevastopol:

Russian Black

Sea Fleet HQ

Crimea:

Annexed by

Russia in 2014

BULG.

Deveselu:

NATO missile

defence system

Black Sea

GEORGIA

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS

Tallinn

NATO

RUSSIA POSITIONS

(as of Feb. 18)

Tapa

Baltic

Sea

Amari

Multinational

battle groups

ESTONIA

Ground forces

Air bases

Air policing

mission

Naval bases

Adazi

NATO members

LATVIA

Riga

Non-NATO

Lielvarde

Moscow

Siauliai

LITHUANIA

Rukla

RUS.

Vilnius

Yelnya

BELARUS

Malbork

Minsk

RUSSIA

Orzysz

Asipovicny

Klintsy

POLAND

Pochep

Baranovichi

Marshala

Zhukova

Rechytsa

Brest

Warsaw

Voronezh

Lask

Pripyat River

Soloti

Kyiv

UKRAINE

Boguchar

Claimed by

separatists,

held by Ukraine

Transnistria:

Russian-backed

breakaway region

of Moldova

Luhansk

Volgograd

SLOVAKIA

Held by

pro-Russian

separatists

Donetsk

:

HUNGARY

Dnieper

River

ROMANIA

Persianovskiy

Rostov

Craiova:

NATO multinational

brigade 4,000 troops

Korenovsk

Bucharest

Sevastopol:

Russian Black

Sea Fleet HQ

Crimea:

Annexed by

Russia in 2014

BULG.

Deveselu:

NATO missile

defence system

Black Sea

GEORGIA

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: GRAPHIC NEWS


7:51 a.m. ET

Ukraine to impose state of emergency but no martial law yet

Ukraine will introduce a nationwide state of emergency in which special restrictions will apply in order to keep the country calm and protect its economy amid fears of a Russian invasion, a senior Ukrainian security official said on Wednesday.

The state of emergency will last for 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days, Oleksiy Danilov told a briefing. Parliament must now vote to enact the decision.

Introducing a state of emergency gives powers to the authorities, who can choose which ones to implement. These could include restrictions on transport, extra protection for critical infrastructure and a ban on strikes.

Regional authorities can make decisions on whether to introduce curfews and other measures, Danilov said.

“These are preventive measures to keep calm in the country, so that our economy and our country can work,” Danilov said.

“Depending on the threats that may arise in certain territories, there will be either a more strengthened or more weakened state of emergency. We are talking about border areas where we have a border with the Russian Federation, with Belarus,” he said.

Ukraine has introduced a series of measures including the conscription of reservists as it braces for a possible military offensive from Russia, which sent troops into eastern Ukraine this week to prop up two breakaway regions.

- Reuters


7:10 a.m. ET

U.S. and its allies seek to step up sanctions pressure on Russia over Ukraine crisis

The United States and its allies sought on Wednesday to step up sanctions pressure on Russia over the deployment of troops in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, in one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades.

The Ukrainian military said one soldier had been killed and six wounded in increased shelling by pro-Russian separatists using heavy artillery, mortar bombs and Grad rocket systems in the two breakaway regions over the previous 24 hours.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has massed more than 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, according to U.S. estimates, and signed a decree on the deployment of troops in the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk enclaves to “keep the peace” – a justification the United States says is “nonsense.”

Putin on Monday recognized the separatist enclaves in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine which adjoin Russia, deepening Western fears of a major war in Europe by raising the prospect of a full-scale invasion beyond the breakaway areas.

The United States, the European Union, Britain, n, Canada and Japan responded with plans to target banks and elites while Germany froze a major gas pipeline project from Russia.

- Reuters


6:48 a.m. ET

Oil prices fall as Russia, Ukraine supply fears wane

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, retreating from seven-year highs hit the previous day as it became clear that the first wave of U.S. and European sanctions on Russia were unlikely to disrupt oil supplies.

Brent crude was down 59 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $96.25 a barrel at 10:27 GMT, after hitting $99.50 on Tuesday, the highest since September 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 76 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $91.15 a barrel, after reaching $96 on Tuesday.

Prices jumped on Tuesday on worries that Western sanctions on Russia for sending troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine could hit energy supplies.

However, analysts expect oil prices to continue seeing a level of support from the Russia-Ukraine crisis for the time being, with some Western countries promising to impose more sanctions if Russia launches a full invasion of its neighbour.

- Reuters


6 a.m. ET

Opinion: In Ukraine, Soviet nostalgist Vladimir Putin is trying to rewrite history

It is still unclear how far Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to go in Ukraine, but in a televised address from the Kremlin on Monday, he gave a one-hour lecture on the history – his version – of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet Union. It might as well have been titled, “Russia is Real, Ukraine is a Fiction.”

Mr. Putin has been cagey about his plans in Ukraine. He issues ultimatums that cannot be met, then engages in talks. He masses troops at the border, then says he will never invade.

On Tuesday he continued the game, authorizing the sending of troops into two enclaves in Ukraine already effectively occupied by Russian forces, but saying that he had yet to send them in. It is unclear what the man who took three bites out of Ukraine in 2014, and has waged a low-intensity war inside the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk ever since, intends to do next.

Held by pro-Russian separatists

Claimed by separatists, held by Ukraine

Annexed by Russia in 2014

BELARUS

RUSSIA

POLAND

Kyiv

Luhansk

UKRAINE

Donetsk

MOLDOVA

ROMANIA

Crimea

0

200

Black Sea

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Held by pro-Russian separatists

Claimed by separatists, held by Ukraine

Annexed by Russia in 2014

BELARUS

RUSSIA

POLAND

Kyiv

Luhansk

UKRAINE

Donetsk

MOLDOVA

ROMANIA

Crimea

0

200

Black Sea

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Claimed by separatists,

held by Ukraine

Held by pro-Russian

separatists

Annexed by Russia in 2014

BELARUS

RUSSIA

POLAND

Kyiv

Luhansk

UKRAINE

Donetsk

MOLDOVA

ROMANIA

Sea of Azov

Crimea

0

200

Black Sea

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; REUTERS

But in Monday’s speech, he made it clear how he would remake the region if he faced as little opposition beyond Russia as within. He would absorb Ukraine, all of it, and likely the other former states of the Soviet Union, too.

- The Editorial Board


6 a.m. ET

Analysis: From Trump to Putin, the Age of Disruption is now under way

Now the Age of Disruption has extended its reach into global politics.

Its first elements were visible five years ago, when a new American President – impatient with customs and convention, contemptuous of experts and of the bromides of the past, sure of his own vision and disdainful of the homilies of experts – questioned the pinions of domestic and international politics, the very flying buttresses that supported three-quarters of a century of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity.

This week, we are witnessing the denouement of a disquieting second act, when a Russian President – resentful of the institutions that constricted his homeland even as it allowed its Cold War rivals to prosper, affronted by the Western diplomatic practices that had morphed into traditions, impatient with the fealty that world leaders paid to the maestros of the classical symphonies of statecraft – shattered all the rituals of global behaviour, sent troops into the two separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, and defied anyone to stop him, in what Joe Biden described in remarks Tuesday as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin may not have had a real alliance, but the two of them – their actions animated by their grievances, their outlooks underpinned by “truths” unsupported by verifiable facts – are twin forces on the global stage, the natural political progeny of a period of disruption that has altered how business is conducted, how news and information are transmitted, and how entertainment is produced and sold.

- David Shribman


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