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Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine after recognizing their independence. In a live address today, Biden called Russia’s actions “a flagrant violation of international law” and announced a wave of sanctions

This digest has now been archived.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

Russian howitzers are loaded onto train cars at a station outside Taganrog, Russia, near the border with Ukraine, on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022.THE NEW YORK TIMES/The New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine after recognizing their independence. Here are the latest updates:

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


9:23 p.m. ET

Putin uses BRICS alliance to win support from emerging economies

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands prior to their talks on the sideline of the 11th edition of the BRICS Summit, in Brasilia, Brazil in Nov. 12, 2019. Amid the soaring tensions over Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is heading to Beijing on a trip intended to help strengthen Russia's ties with China and coordinate their policies amid Western pressure.Ramil Sitdikov/The Associated Press

While his government faces punitive sanctions from many Western countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin knows he can rely on valuable business and political support from the BRICS – the 12-year-old bloc of emerging economies that comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

For the Putin government, trade and investment from BRICS will help to cushion the blow of Western travel bans, asset freezes, banking terminations and a cancelled pipeline. The five-country bloc could provide the economic and financial links that will keep Russia afloat in the face of sanctions.

At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday night, BRICS countries were unwilling to join the Western denunciations of Russia. Diplomats from China, India and Brazil all spoke during the emergency debate, but none criticized Russia’s actions.

The fifth BRICS member, South Africa, is not a current member of the UN Security Council, but it has been conspicuously silent on Ukraine.

-Geoffrey York


8:37 p.m. ET

Canada sanctions Russia over actions in Ukraine, pledges more troops to Europe

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is deploying hundreds more troops to eastern Europe and imposing new economic sanctions on Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin's decision to send forces into two regions of eastern Ukraine.

The Canadian Press


8:30 p.m. ET

Japan imposes sanctions on Russia over actions in Ukraine

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the country is imposing sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, including prohibiting the issuance of Russian bonds in Japan and freezing the assets of certain Russian individuals.

Kishida, who also called on Russia to return to diplomatic discussions, said he did not see a significant impact on energy supplies in the short term from the current situation and said further steps would be considered should the situation worsen.

-Reuters


8:18 p.m. ET

Threat of a European war joins list of concerns weighing on investors this year

Reports that Russia has authorized the use of military force in parts of Ukraine add a significant geopolitical risk to the long list of reasons in 2022 investors are being cautious.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘peak pessimism,’ because that’s almost impossible to quantify. But I would say that we are well along the way to getting there,” David Kletz, portfolio manager at Forstrong Global Asset Management, said in an interview.

The S&P 500 is down more than 10 per cent from its intraday high on Jan. 4. Gold, considered a haven investment, has risen more than US$100 an ounce in February, rising above US$1,900 on Tuesday.

- David Berman


6:05 p.m. ET

Russia’s parliament leaves door open for Putin to launch wider invasion of Ukraine

The Globe’s senior international correspondent Mark Mackinnon reports that Tuesday’s rubber-stamp decision by the Federation Council gave Vladimir Putin the power to send troops ‘abroad’ – a vaguely worded decree that could open the door for a wider invasion of Ukraine.

Even before the Federal Council’s decision, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko told The Globe and Mail that he already considered Russia and Ukraine to be at war.

Shortly after council’s vote, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced he was calling up the country’s military reserves, though not yet ordering a general mobilization. He said he still hoped to resolve the crisis either through direct talks with Mr. Putin or a multilateral format.

Putin said Ukraine could defuse the crisis by recognizing Russian sovereignty over Crimea, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014, by renouncing its ambition to join NATO, and declaring itself a neutral state between Russia and the West.

- Mark MacKinnon


5 p.m. ET

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the Russian military’s deployment into eastern Ukraine at news conference

Canada unveiled what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “first round” of new economic sanctions on Russia for its decision to recognize two breakaway regions in Ukraine and order troops there.

Mr. Trudeau also announced hundreds more troops will be deployed to Europe, as well as an additional frigate and maritime patrol aircraft.”

Russia’s flagrant disregard for the independence of a sovereign nation is a serious threat to security and stability in the region – and around the world,” Mr. Trudeau said.”

We are taking these actions today in a stand against authoritarianism. The people of Ukraine, like all people, must be free to determine their own future.”

– Steven Chase


4:32 p.m. ET

Putin grows impatient with American influence in strategically important Ukrainian fishing town Ochakiv

Evgeniy Poltavchuk operates a marine transportation service that docks next to the naval base at Ochakiv, Ukraine on Feb. 2.Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

They call it “the American Base,” a naval outpost on the Black Sea coveted for millennia by civilizations asserting control here – including, this week, Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The southern Ukrainian port town of Ochakiv, population 15,000, offers to the eye little to suggest its importance: a tired post-Soviet community whose people tend grapes, fish the sea and, over the past decade, have sold goods to the U.S. troops who have come here as part of efforts to build up a more sophisticated naval capacity.

But for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recalls the bitter Russian conquest of Ochakiv under Catherine the Great, this place has become a focal point for a fury against a perceived Western encroachment and historical grievance that has fuelled his military aggression against Ukraine.

– Nathan VanderKlippe


4:04 p.m. ET

Opinion: Putin’s fictions endanger all of us in ex-colonies

Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, Martin Kimani speaks to press before the President of Kenya takes stage at stakeout at United Nations Headquarters.Pacific Press/Getty Images

Near the end of Monday night in New York, as most of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council took turns expressing varying levels of concern at the second invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the ambassador from Kenya, only weeks into his rotating position, gave the moment-defining speech.

“Kenya, and almost every African country, was birthed by the ending of empire,” Martin Kimani observed. Its borders, like the borders of most countries, were drawn amid post-colonial chaos “with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart.”

He was referring to the countries in conflict, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, both birthed from the dissolution of the Soviet empire. And he was referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s view – reiterated in a marathon speech that preceded his order to invade Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions – that his country has a historic territorial claim on all or part of Ukraine and other former Soviet possessions containing ethnic Russians.

Mr. Kimani’s speech resonated further because it recognized that the wars of territorial expansion Mr. Putin has pursued since 2008 represent a direct threat to all of us living in former colonies. They challenge the worldwide understanding, observed since the end of the Second World War, that borders are to be kept as they are and countries forge their identities out of the ever-shifting peoples within them – not by using force to redraw maps.

– Doug Saunders


3:10 p.m. ET

U.S. President Joe Biden says this is ‘beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,’ and announces sanctions

In a live address today, U.S. President Joe Biden called Russia’s actions “a flagrant violation of international law” and demanded a firm response.Alex Brandon/The Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced the “first tranche” of sanctions on Russia after the Kremlin recognized the independence of two breakaway regions in Ukraine and dispatched troops.

Mr. Biden on Tuesday said he would sanction Russia’s development and military banks, bar the country from borrowing money or trading in sovereign debt on American and European markets, and personally sanction members of Russia’s elite and their families.

“Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” the President said at the White House. “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

– Paul Waldie and Adrian Morrow


2:18 p.m. ET

Many of Ukraine’s bomb shelters will not provide protection if war breaks out

Ella Lebed in an underground apartment shelter in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

Sets of stairs leading down from street level across the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson were built to allow residents to access underground emergency shelters – concrete-fortified havens built for protection in case of the kind of war that now looms over the country.

Now, many of those former shelters house subterranean businesses, including a sushi restaurant, women’s fashion shops and a jeweller.

Sold into commercial use by city officials and property owners, the ex-shelters are not simply untended sanctuaries that can easily be restored to their original function. Many of them are no longer capable of offering protection if war breaks out.

“I wouldn’t go into a shelter like this,” said Yevhen Tereschenko, who was minding the counter in an army surplus store that operates out of one of Kherson’s former shelters. He was surrounded by knives, camouflage clothing and air guns shaped like M-16 assault rifles.

Civilian bunkers across the country have met similar fates. Late last year, official statistics showed that just 11 per cent of Ukraine’s 21,000 underground shelters were operational. Since then, the number of Russian troops surrounding Ukraine has swelled, with an estimated 190,000 soldiers under Moscow’s command now encircling the country.

- Nathan VanderKlippe


12:20 p.m. ET

Western allies impose sanctions against Russian interests for military incursion in Ukraine, but they will do little to deter President Vladimir Putin, critics say

Western allies have begun taking aim at Russian banks, oligarchs and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project in a series of moves aimed at punishing Russia for its military incursion in Ukraine. But critics are already saying the sanctions don’t go far enough and will do little to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that the U.K. government will freeze the assets of five Russian banks and three oligarchs who have close ties to Mr. Putin. Government officials said the banks that have been singled out have been instrumental in financing Russia’s defence sector.

In response to Mr. Putin recognizing Donetsk and Lugansk as independent countries Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled sanctions targeted at the two breakaway regions. But he held back from unleashing the much larger sanctions on Russia itself that he previously threatened in the event Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine.

– Paul Waldie and Adrian Morrow


  • Ukrainians gather for "Mariupol is Ukraine" in Mariupol, Ukraine on Tuesday.Sergei Grits/The Associated Press

    1 of 14

11:18 a.m. ET

President Vladimir Putin granted permission to use military force outside the country

Lawmakers gave Russian President Vladimir Putin permission to use military force outside the country today – a move that could presage a broader attack on Ukraine after the U.S. said an invasion was already under way there. Several European leaders said earlier in the day that Russian troops have moved into rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Putin recognized their independence. But it was unclear how large the movements were, and Ukraine and its Western allies have long said Russian troops are fighting in the region. Moscow denies those allegations. Members of the upper house, the Federation Council, voted unanimously to allow Putin to use military force outside Russia – effectively formalizing a Russian military deployment to the rebel regions, where an eight-year conflict has killed nearly 14,000 people.

– The Associated Press


Feb. 22, 10:15 a.m. ET

Canadian dollar firms as oil surges on rising Russia-Ukraine tensions

The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday as the price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, surged on escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions and threats of sanctions.

Oil prices hit their highest since 2014 after Moscow ordered troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, adding to supply concerns.

U.S. crude prices rose 3.4 per cent to $94.15 a barrel, while the Canadian dollar was 0.2 per cent higher at 1.2722 to the U.S. dollar, or 78.60 U.S. cents, after trading between 1.2719 and 1.2769.

- Reuters


Workers are seen at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia.Anton Vaganov/Reuters

Feb. 22, 8:20 a.m. ET

The severity of other sanctions against Russia still in doubt as Germany stops Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Europe’s big unity tests began today, only hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognized the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and poured his “peacekeeper” soldiers into those areas.

Within minutes of the formal takeover of Donetsk and Luhansk, the United States and various European countries threatened to hit Russia with immediate sanctions. This was predictable. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the sanctions came fast and some are still in place.

But the extent and intensity of the new sanctions are hard to predict. By rights, they should be at Crimea-level times 10, since Moscow’s recognition of the two separatist regions was a clear violation of international law and may be a prelude to a wider war. U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News Tuesday morning “that you can conclude the invasion of Ukraine has begun.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz removed some doubt about the sanctions package on Tuesday, when he said he had stopped the certification of the new Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that goes from Russia to northern Germany. Nord Stream 2 was completed in the autumn but had yet to deliver any gas, so Germany will not lose gas deliveries since there weren’t any from this pipeline.

Still, cracks formed in the Western resolve on hitting Russia with sanctions even before Mr. Putin sent his troops into eastern Ukraine; those cracks may not fully close even if the audacity of Mr. Putin’s move should automatically dictate across-the-board unity among the NATO and European Union countries.

- Eric Reguly


Feb. 22, 7:26 a.m. ET

World leaders condemn Russia over Ukraine moves as tensions continue to escalate

With the smell of war in the air over Europe, world leaders got over the shock of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to deploy troops to separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and they are focused on producing as forceful a reaction as possible.

Germany made the first big move, taking steps to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia – a lucrative deal long sought by Moscow, but criticized by the U.S. for increasing Europe’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.

The West insisted Putin’s bold moves in Ukraine violated countless international agreements and since the words of diplomacy had failed, it was time to move toward action.

A conflict could devastate Ukraine and cause huge economic damage across Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy. But Asian nations are also worried.

President Moon Jae-in instructed his officials to prepare for the economic fallout in South Korea if the Ukraine crisis worsens and U.S.-backed nations levy stringent economic sanctions on Russia.

- The Associated Press


Feb. 22, 6:46 a.m. ET

Germany responds to Russia’s Ukraine invasion by ending approval for massive Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, apparently eager to shed the accusation that his country was the “weak link” in the anti-Russia Western alliance, has stopped the approval process of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would have made Germany more reliant on imported Russian natural gas than ever.

His decision to block the pipeline’s approval came the morning after Vladimir Putin formally recognized the independence of two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk, and sent his Russian “peacekeepers” and their armour to occupy them.

Europe’s gas pipelines

Gas pipelines

Entry stations

RUSSIA

Nord Stream 2

NETH.

Yamal

BRITAIN

Sudzha

Mallnow

BEL.

POLAND

UKRAINE

Sokhranovka

FRANCE

CZECH REP.

Russia exports around

16 billion cubic feet

per day (bcfd) of

natural gas to Europe

ITALY

TURKEY

GRAphic news, Sources: BP Review of world

energy; Reuters

Europe’s gas pipelines

Gas pipelines

Entry stations

RUSSIA

Nord Stream 2

NETH.

Yamal

BRITAIN

Sudzha

Mallnow

BEL.

POLAND

UKRAINE

Sokhranovka

FRANCE

CZECH REP.

Russia exports around

16 billion cubic feet

per day (bcfd) of

natural gas to Europe

ITALY

TURKEY

GRAphic news, Sources: BP Review of world

energy; Reuters

Europe’s gas pipelines

Gas pipelines

Entry stations

Nord Stream 2

RUSSIA

NETH.

Yamal

BRITAIN

Sudzha

Mallnow

BEL.

GERMANY

POLAND

UKRAINE

Sokhranovka

CZECH REP.

FRANCE

ITALY

Russia exports around 16 billion

cubic feet per day (bcfd) of

natural gas to Europe

TURKEY

GRAphic news, Sources: BP Review of world energy; Reuters

On Tuesday morning, German energy minister Robert Habeck withdrew the pipeline’s regulatory approval process for the US$11-billion project.

“Without this certification, Nord Stream 2 cannot go into operation,” Mr. Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin, describing Mr. Putin’s recognition of the Russian-controlled regions as a “grave breach” of international law.

Putting the US$11-billion pipeline, which travels through the Baltic Sea from Russia to an import terminal in northwest Germany, in regulatory limbo does not mean Germany will suffer gas shortages. The pipeline, though completed, had yet to deliver any gas. The parallel Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has been delivering Russian gas to Germany for almost two decades and supplies two-thirds of its imported gas, is not affected by Mr. Scholz’s decision.

- Eric Reguly


Feb. 22, 6:36 a.m. ET

Oil hits its highest since 2014 as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalate

Oil hit its highest since 2014 on Tuesday as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated after Moscow ordered troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, adding to supply concerns that are pushing prices to near $100 a barrel.

The United States and its European allies are poised to announce new sanctions against Russia after President Vladimir Putin formally recognized the two regions in eastern Ukraine, escalating a security crisis on the continent.

“The potential for a rally over $100 a barrel has received an enormous boost,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. “Those who have bet on such a move anticipated the escalation of the conflict.”

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up $3.38, or 3.5 per cent, at $98.77 at 1000 GMT, having earlier reached $99.50, the highest since September 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude jumped $4.40, or 4.8 per cent, to $95.47 versus Friday’s settlement, having earlier reached $96, also the highest since 2014.

- Reuters


Feb. 22, 5:46 a.m. ET

As EU mulls sanctions, Russia escalates Ukraine crisis with vote to back treaties with breakaway regions

Russia’s lower house of parliament voted on Tuesday to approve friendship treaties with two self-proclaimed people’s republics in eastern Ukraine, escalating a crisis with Ukraine and the West.

The treaties, which enter force once President Vladimir Putin signs them, could pave the way for Moscow to build military bases there, adopt a joint defence posture and tighten economic integration.

European Union ministers said they would agree on Tuesday to the first round of tough but incremental sanctions against Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Monday, followed by his signing a decree on the deployment of Russian troops to Donetsk and Luhansk, drew international condemnation and immediate U.S. sanctions.

The EU has repeatedly said it was ready to impose “massive consequences” on Russia’s economy if Moscow invades Ukraine but has also cautioned that, given the EU’s close energy and trade ties to Russia, it wants to ratchet up sanctions in stages.

- Reuters


Feb. 21, 9:23 p.m. ET

U.S. imposes sanctions on two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden is imposing sanctions on two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized them as independent entities and announced he would send in Russian troops.

Canada, the European Union and Britain all said they were also preparing sanctions that would roll out in the coming days.

Neither the United States nor Canada, however, described Mr. Putin’s actions of openly sending Russian forces onto Ukrainian territory as an invasion, which would trigger a much larger round of sanctions on Russia itself.

Mr. Biden on Monday issued an executive order barring U.S. citizens, residents and corporations from undertaking new trade, investment or financing with the self-described peoples’ republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The order will also allow the U.S. government to impose personal sanctions on anyone who “operates” in those areas of Ukraine.

Mr. Biden said the aim of the order was to “deny Russia the chance to profit from its blatant violations of international law.”

- Adrian Morrow and Steven Chase


Feb. 21, 2:36 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two separatist regions of Ukraine after recognizing independence

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the independence of two separatist regions in southeastern Ukraine and dispatched Russian troops into the breakaway areas, escalating the crisis between Moscow and Kyiv and increasing the prospects of a full-scale invasion.

Mr. Putin made the announcement and signed the recognition documents at the end of a 40-minute televised address on Monday, most of which was delivered in anger, lamenting the end of the Soviet Union and the loss of territories such as Ukraine that once were part of the Russian empire.

Hours after Mr. Putin spoke, videos posted to social media showed long columns of what appeared to be Russian troop trucks and armoured personnel carriers crossing the Ukrainian border into the separatist-controlled areas.

Recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics” as independent entities immediately raised the stakes along a front line in the Donbas region that has already seen a dramatic increase in artillery fire – nearly all of it emanating from the separatist-controlled areas – since Thursday.

Mr. Putin’s bitter words, which were backed by the presence of between 170,000 and 190,000 Russian troops massed around Ukraine’s borders, also hinted at an intent to dismantle a state that recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence from Moscow.

- Mark MacKinnon


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