Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its second month, with casualties mounting on both sides.
Ukraine’s forces continue to resist, while its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.
Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.
For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.
Read our in-depth coverage:
— Russia’s Lavrov lauds India for not taking sides on Ukraine
— Apple to cut iPhone, AirPods output amid Ukraine war uncertainty
— China launches diplomatic blitz with Russia ties in balance
— Is Putin cracking? Voice analysis belies steely exterior
Entries include material from wire services and other sources.
Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.
Here are the latest developments:
Tuesday, April 5 (Tokyo time)
2:30 a.m. France and Germany will expel Russian diplomats in response to the alleged killings of civilians in Bucha.
Germany will declare about 40 Russian diplomats as personae non gratae, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says. Germany media say these diplomats will have to leave the country within five days of such a declaration.
Moscow says it will respond to Paris’ decision, RIA Novosti reports.
2:05 a.m. The U.S. will work with its partners to try to suspend Russia’s membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council, says Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. representative to the U.N.
The ambassador is part of an international chorus of voices denouncing Russia after new allegations of war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow denies that its forces were responsible for civilian deaths in Bucha.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss expresses her support for locking Russia out of the Human Rights Council.
12:35 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden labels Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal and calls for a war crimes trial as the global outcry mounts over civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
“You saw what happened in Bucha,” Biden tells reporters at the White House, referring to the discovery of a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range. “This warrants him — he is a war criminal.” The Kremlin denies any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha.
12:30 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it will be more difficult for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia after the scale of atrocities carried out by Russian troops in occupied territories has become known. The Ukrainian leader speaks on national television from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, where tied bodies shot at close range, a mass grave and other signs of executions have been found in territory retaken from Russian troops.
Moscow has denied any accusations related to the killing of civilians in Bucha.
Monday, April 4
8:28 p.m. France faces a repeat of the 2017 presidential election showdown between Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, with Macron still favored but in a much tighter race as his lead narrows, opinion polls show ahead of the first round of voting on Sunday.
Five years ago, Macron beat Le Pen with 66.1% of the vote in the runoff, with voters of all stripes rallying behind the centrist. But the latest poll forecasts just a 53%-47% margin of victory for President Macron. Le Pen has improved her standing with a campaign focused on the declining purchasing power of middle- and lower-income voters.
5:00 p.m. Russia’s chief investigator orders an official investigation into what he calls a “provocation” from Ukraine after Kyiv accused the Russian military of massacring civilians in the town of Bucha. Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee, has ordered that the investigation on the basis that Ukraine had spread “deliberately false information” about Russian armed forces in Bucha, according to the committee.
3:52 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says more sanctions on Russia are needed after Ukraine accused Russian forces of killing civilians in the town of Bucha. Macron told France Inter radio that there were “very clear clues” indicating that Russian forces were responsible for war crimes in Ukraine. Russia on Sunday denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town and said Ukraine had staged a performance for Western media.
12:05 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise video appearance at the music industry’s star-studded Grammy Awards celebration in Las Vegas and appealed to viewers to support his country “in any way you can.” “What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” said Zelenskyy in the video. “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today, to tell our story. Support us in any way you can. Any, but not silence.” He added, “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos, they sing to the wounded, in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them, but the music will break through.”
10:10 a.m. Oil prices extend losses Monday as investors eye the release of supplies from strategic reserves from consuming nations, while a truce in Yemen could ease supply disruption concerns in the Middle East. Brent crude futures fell 79 cents, or 0.8%, to $103.60 a barrel by 0037 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $98.45 a barrel, down 82 cents, or 0.8%. Both contracts slipped $1 when markets opened Monday. The United Nations has brokered a two-month truce between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi group aligned with Iran for the first time in the seven-year conflict. Saudi oil facilities have come under attack by the Houthis during the conflict, adding to supply disruption from Russia.
8:00 a.m. Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a fourth consecutive landslide win in Sunday’s election, as voters endorsed his ambition for a conservative, “illiberal” state and shrugged off concerns over Budapest’s close ties with Moscow. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had appeared to upend Orban’s campaign, forcing him into awkward maneuvering to explain decade-old cozy business relations with President Vladimir Putin. But he mounted a successful campaign to persuade his Fidesz party’s core electorate that the six-party opposition alliance of Peter Marki-Zay promising to mend ties with the European Union could lead the country into war, an accusation the opposition denied.
5:50 a.m. Pope Francis pays tribute to journalists killed during the Ukraine war, saying he hoped God would reward them for serving the common good whatever side they were on. At least six journalists have died since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February.
Speaking with journalists aboard the papal plane returning from Malta, Francis reiterates that he is ready to visit Kyiv but adds that he has yet to decide whether it is feasible.
12:28 a.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accuses Russian forces of carrying out a “massacre” in the town of Bucha as images of corpses in civilian clothes left behind by departing Russian troops prompt calls from officials in Ukraine and Europe for tougher sanctions on Russia.
Russia’s Defense Ministry denies the allegations, calling footage and photographs showing dead bodies in the town near Ukraine’s capital “another staged performance by the Kyiv regime for the Western media.”
Sunday, April 3
11:26 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells CNN the images of dead Ukrainian civilians found in Bucha after Russian troops left are a “punch in the gut” and that those responsible for any war crimes must be held accountable. Ukrainian forces had moved into the town near Kyiv and found what officials and witnesses say were the bodies of nearly 300 civilians killed by Russian troops.
Blinken would not confirm reports that the U.S. is facilitating the transfers of Soviet-era tanks to Ukrainian forces from eastern European allies, but says that there “are or will soon be in Ukraine more than 10 anti-tank systems for every Russian tank.”
9:44 p.m. Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk shows journalists dead bodies in an area he says Chechen fighters controlled during the month that Russian forces occupied the Ukrainian city on the northern outskirts of Kyiv. One corpse appeared to have his hands bound by white cloth, and to have been shot in the mouth.
“The Russians have demonstrated that they were consciously killing civilians,” Fedoruk alleges.
Reuters, which was taken to the scene by Ukrainian authorities, was not immediately able to verify the mayor’s allegations. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Chechnya is a region in southern Russia that has deployed troops to Ukraine to support Russian forces.
8:10 p.m. A leading rights group says it documented “apparent war crimes” committed by Russian military forces against civilians in Ukraine. Human Rights Watch says it found “several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations” in Russian-controlled regions such as Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv.
The statement, published in Warsaw, comes one day after dead civilians were found lying scattered through the streets of Bucha, three days after the Russian army pulled back after a monthlong occupation of the area 30 km northwest of Kyiv.
7:16 p.m. Ukrainian grain exports in March were four times less than February levels, due to the Russian invasion, the economy ministry says. March grain shipments overseas included 1.1 million tons of corn, 309,000 tons of wheat and 118,000 tons of sun oil. Ukraine was the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020-21 season, according to International Grains Council data, with most of its commodities shipped out via the Black Sea.
7:00 p.m. Allegations of attacks against civilians during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says, adding that the U.K. will fully support any such move by the International Criminal Court.
“As Russian troops are forced into retreat, we are seeing increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha,” Truss says in a statement, referring to places near Kyiv. “Their indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians during Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes.”
4:15 p.m. Work on evacuating people with the help of Red Cross from Mariupol will continue on Sunday with buses attempting to come close to the besieged city, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.
“Seven buses will try to get closer to Mariupol, accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross,” Vereshchuk says in an online video. There will be 17 buses prepared to evacuate people from Mariupol and Berdyansk, she says.
3:10 p.m. Russia says that peace talks had not progressed enough for a leaders’ meeting and that Moscow’s position on the status of Crimea and Donbas remained unchanged. “The draft agreement is not ready for submission to a meeting at the top,” Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky says on Telegram. “I repeat again and again: Russia’s position on Crimea and Donbas remains UNCHANGED.”
2:15 p.m. Russian naval forces continue to blockade the Ukrainian coast on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, preventing resupply by sea, British military intelligence says. Russia retains the capability to attempt an amphibious landing, but such an operation is likely to be increasingly high risk due to the time Ukrainian forces have had to prepare, the Ministry of Defense tweets in a regular bulletin.
1:00 p.m. Missiles struck Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa in the early hours of Sunday, the city council says in an online post. One of the city’s “critical infrastructure facilities” was hit, regional administration spokesperson Sergey Bratchuk tells Ukraine’s public broadcaster.
6:29 a.m. Russian forces want to seize east and south Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says in a late night address, adding Western nations had not provided enough anti-missile systems in their aid. Ukraine’s president also heaps praise on his forces defending Mariupol, saying the fierce resistance in the besieged port city was giving the country’s other cities valuable time.
4:27 a.m. Ukrainian military reports Russia is sending soldiers to Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, where they were preparing to launch “provocations” along the border, near Odessa, the Financial Times reports.
Russian troops already in Transnistria were preparing for “a demonstration of readiness for the offensive and, possibly, hostilities against Ukraine,” says the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Moldova’s Foreign Ministry says it is unaware of a troop buildup while officials in Transnistria deny the reports as “completely untrue.”
3:35 a.m. Ukraine says it has seized back all areas around Kyiv, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since the invasion. As Russia’s forces regrouped for battles in the east, areas north of Kyiv were littered with destroyed Russian tanks. Ukraine presidential adviser Okeksiy Arestovych says its troops have retaken more than 30 towns and villages since Russia pulled back from the area this week, Reuters reports.
Saturday, April 2
8:34 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev agree during a phone call that it is vital for an agreement to be reached for a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine, Reuters reports.
A readout of the call, released by Kazakhstan’s presidential office, says Putin had briefed Tokayev on the progress of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
7:27 p.m. Pope Francis comes the closest he has yet to implicitly criticizing Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying a “potentate” was fomenting conflicts for nationalist interests, according to Reuters.
“From the east of Europe, from the land of the sunrise, the dark shadows of war have now spread. We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past,” the pope says in an address to Maltese officials after arriving on the Mediterranean island nation for a two-day visit.
“However, the icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and affected us all.”
3:00 p.m. Ukrainian troops continue to advance against withdrawing Russian forces in the vicinity of Kyiv, British military intelligence says. Russian forces are also reported to have withdrawn from Hostomel airport, near the capital, which has been subject to fighting since the first day of the conflict, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a regular bulletin. “In the east of Ukraine, Ukrainian forces have secured a key route in eastern Kharkiv after heavy fighting,” the ministry added.
10:32 a.m. A Red Cross convoy traveling to Mariupol will make another attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged port on Saturday as Russian forces looked to be regrouping for new attacks in the southeast. A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross had tried to move into the city on Friday but had to turn back. “They will try again on Saturday to facilitate the safe passage of civilians,” the ICRC said in a statement.
9:14 a.m. The U.S. Department of Defense will provide Ukraine with an additional $300 million worth of laser-guided rocket systems, drones, commercial satellite imagery services and other security assistance. “This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide new capabilities to Ukraine’s Armed Forces,” Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
3:00 a.m. A total of 6,266 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Friday, a senior Ukrainian official says, with 3,071 people leaving the besieged city of Mariupol.
2:05 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his latest call with U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
1:46 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his offer to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey is ready to host a summit between Russia and Ukraine for debate on difficult issues such as Crimea and the Donbas region of Ukraine.
“Erdogan said it is important for sides to act with common sense and keep the dialogue,” the Turkish side says after his phone call with Putin.
A statement released by the Russian side says that Putin thanked Turkey for its assistance in hosting another round of Russia-Ukraine talks. Neither statement showed any signs of Putin warming up to the idea of a summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a tweet, Zelenskyy calls Erdogan a “real friend” of Ukraine.
Friday, April 1
11:00 p.m. Friday’s European Union-China summit, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine, was “not business as usual” and took place in a “very sober atmosphere,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.
“We also made very clear that China should, if not support, at least not interfere, with our sanctions,” von der Leyen tells a news conference.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, for his part, says China and the EU should work together to provide “stabilizing factors” in a turbulent world. “Xi pointed out that the Ukraine crisis has come on top of a protracted COVID-19 pandemic and a faltering global recovery,” Xinhua reports.
Xi urges the EU to “to form its own perception of China” and “adopt an independent China policy,” in an what appears to be a vield criticism of alignment with the U.S. Read more.
9:20 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar that his country was grateful for New Delhi’s neutral stance on the Ukraine crisis amid Western efforts to isolate Moscow over the invasion.
“We appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of facts, not just in a one-sided way,” Lavrov said during a two-day visit to the Indian capital. Read more
9:02 p.m. Some Russian troops remain in the “exclusion zone” around the Chernobyl nuclear power station as of Friday morning local time, a day after ending their occupation of the defunct plant itself, a Ukrainian official says.
8:57 p.m. Gazprom will exit its business in Germany, the Russian energy giant says, amid a row between the two countries over Moscow’s insistence on switching payments for Russian gas to rubles from euros. It was unclear how the move would affect the supply of Russian gas, on which Germany depends for about 40% of its needs.
German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that the German economy ministry was considering expropriating the Gazprom and Rosneft units in the country amid concerns about the security of energy supplies.
12:42 p.m. Japan “does not intend to withdraw” from oil and liquefied natural gas development projects in Russia, trade minister Koichi Hagiuda told reporters on Friday, as it makes a choice between energy security and further tightening sanctions on Russia for the war in Ukraine. Japanese trading and other companies have invested in the Sakhalin-1, Sakhalin-2 and Arctic LNG 2 (ARC 2) projects. Each has been deemed essential to Japan’s energy security.
12:08 p.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his country will be sending armored Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine to help in its war against Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy specifically asked for the Australian-manufactured four-wheel-drive vehicles during a video appeal to Australian lawmakers for more aid on Thursday. Morrison told reporters the vehicles will be flown over on Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport planes, but he didn’t specify how many Bushmaster vehicles would be sent or when.
7:16 a.m. Russia is redeploying elements of its forces from Georgia to reinforce its invasion of Ukraine, British military intelligence says. “Between 1,200 and 2,000 of these Russian troops are being reorganized into 3x Battalion Tactical Groups,” Britain’s Ministry of Defence says.
5:02 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding that foreign buyers pay for Russian gas in rubles starting today or have their supplies cut, a move European capitals rejected and which Germany said amounts to “blackmail.” Putin’s decree leaves Europe facing the prospect of losing more than a third of its gas supply. Putin said buyers of Russian gas “must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting” April 1. Energy exports are Putin’s most powerful lever as he tries to hit back against sweeping Western sanctions.
3:44 a.m. The International Atomic Energy Agency says it is preparing to send an “assistance and support mission” to the radioactive waste facilities at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power station, following “consultations with Ukrainian authorities.”
The U.N. watchdog’s plan comes after Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom says most of the Russian forces that occupied the Chernobyl station during Moscow’s invasion have left, and only a “small number” remain.
12:35 a.m. President Joe Biden will announce the largest-ever release of U.S. strategic oil reserves, putting an average of 1 million additional barrels on the market daily for the next six months to combat higher fuel prices faced by Americans, the White House says.
Biden also will authorize use of the Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese, the White House says, part of a push to accelerate the country’s transition to cleaner, domestic energy sources.
Thursday, March 31
11:30 p.m. The far-reaching Western sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine could push countries to form small currency blocs along trade lines, says the International Monetary Fund’s Gita Gopinath.
“The dollar would remain the major global currency even in that landscape but fragmentation at a smaller level is certainly quite possible,” the IMF’s first deputy managing director tells the Financial Times in an interview. “We are already seeing that with some countries renegotiating the currency in which they get paid for trade.”
11:00 p.m. Japan will change how it spells Kyiv in official documents to make it closer to the city’s Ukrainian pronunciation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.
The new Japanese spelling sounds like “kiiu,” while the old one was pronounced “kiefu.” The Japanese spelling of Chernobyl and other geographical names has also changed.
The pronunciation of the capital is a point of pride for Ukrainians and has even spawned a Twitter hashtag, #kyivnotkiev.
8:24 p.m. Russian forces in Ukraine are not withdrawing but regrouping, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says on Thursday, commenting on Moscow’s announcements about a scaling down of military operations around Kyiv. Stoltenberg also says the alliance has yet to be convinced that Russia was negotiating in good faith in peace talks in Istanbul because Moscow’s military objective since launching its invasion of Ukraine has not changed.
7:00 p.m. A convoy of Ukrainian buses set out for the southern port city of Mariupol to try to deliver humanitarian supplies and bring out civilians, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and the Red Cross says. According to Vereshchuk, 45 buses are on their way to Mariupol after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed Russia had agreed to open a safe corridor.
6:21 p.m. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has urged Japan to impose an embargo on Russian oil and gas, calling on Japanese companies to pull the plug on the Sakhalin-2 project in the Russian Far East in an online interview with Nikkei Asia.
6:03 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asks the Dutch parliament for weapons, reconstruction aid and to halt all business with Russia in response to its invasion of his country. “Stronger sanctions are needed so that Russia doesn’t have a chance to pursue this war further in Europe,” he told lawmakers via video link. “Stop all trade with Russia.”
5:06 p.m. Japan will not abandon its stake in the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Russia as it is essential to energy security, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says, his clearest comments yet on Tokyo’s plans for the development.
4:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells Australia’s parliament that new and stronger sanctions against Russia are needed to increase the pressure on Moscow over its invasion of his country. Australia has supplied defense equipment and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, as well as imposing a ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia. It has imposed a total of 476 sanctions on 443 individuals, including businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 33 entities, including most of Russia’s banking sector and all entities responsible for the country’s sovereign debt.
4:17 p.m. Global computer brands are cutting their forecasts for the next six months amid concerns over inflation and the war in Ukraine, in a sign that the two-year boom in PC demand is starting to cool. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to a surge in remote working and learning, which in turn fueled demand for computers. That trend lasted through the January to March quarter, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted supply chains and thrown PC makers’ planning for the coming quarters into disarray.
4:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has recalled his country’s ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco, suggesting they haven’t done enough to persuade those countries to support Ukraine and punish Russia for the invasion. “With all due respect, if there won’t be weapons, won’t be sanctions, won’t be restrictions for Russian business, then please look for other work,” Zelenskyy said in a nighttime video address to the nation.
11:57 a.m. The Biden administration is considering releasing up to 180 million barrels of oil over several months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Reuters reports, citing U.S. sources. That comes as the White House tries to cool fuel prices driven up by the war in Ukraine. The move would mark the third time the U.S. has tapped its strategic reserves in the past six months and would be the largest release in the nearly 50-year history of the SPR.
10:00 a.m. Russian forces bombarded areas around Kyiv and another city just hours after pledging to scale back operations in those zones to promote trust between the two sides, Ukrainian authorities say. The shelling — and intensified Russian attacks on other parts of the country — tempered optimism about any progress in talks aimed at ending the punishing war.
6:30 a.m. The U.S. believes Russia has started to reposition less than 20% of its forces that had been arrayed against Ukraine’s capital, but they are not expected to return home, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby says.
Washington’s assessment of the situation near Kyiv suggests the troop movements may not lead to a Russian deescalation despite Moscow’s claim that it was scaling back its military operations around the capital.
Meanwhile, Washington says there are indications Vladimir Putin may be receiving inaccurate information from commanders.
“We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military, which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield tells reporters in a briefing.
4:31 a.m. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risks sending wheat prices to fresh highs this summer, inflicting economic pain from food-insecure developing countries to rich nations.
Ukraine and Russia together account for around 30% of global wheat exports. They play an especially large role during summer and fall, the harvest season for the Northern Hemisphere. With everything from spring planting to logistics being hit by the war and Western sanctions, the situation could come to a head this summer. Read more.
2:00 a.m. With Russia now more than a month into its invasion of Ukraine and showing little sign of backing down, how has Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mindset changed over the course of the conflict? The answer may lie in his voice.
An analysis of the audio suggests his stress levels were elevated starting in the days before the invasion and climbed sharply in early March, when Moscow responded to the tightening sanctions net around the country. Read more.
1:45 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweets that he discussed specific defensive support with U.S. President Joe Biden in an hourlong call Wednesday. The two leaders also discussed a new package of enhanced sanctions against Russia, Zelenskyy says, as well as financial and humanitarian aid support for Ukraine.
1:39 a.m. The president of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia says the territory will take steps soon to become part of Russia. Moscow recognized the territory and the coastal region of Abkhazia as independent after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008, extending financial support to the area as well as offering Russian citizenship and stationing troops there.
1:32 a.m. The offices of Russian gas major Gazprom are raided by European Union antitrust officials, sources tell Reuters, as the watchdog intensifies an investigation into the company’s gas supplies to Europe.
The investigation began in January when EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager asked gas companies including Gazprom about tight supplies after accusations it was withholding extra production that could be released to lower rising prices.
The raid comes amid the backdrop of tightening sanctions against Russian gas and other energy exports over the invasion.
12:50 a.m. Russia is suffering from brain drain as a result of Western sanctions, the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences says.
“It’s hard to estimate the scope of the losses, but I think they are high,” Alexander Sergeyev, the physicist who serves as the academy’s president, is quoted by Interfax as saying. “It’s necessary to offer benefits and increase the financing of science so that, apart from prestige, there should also be a proper material basis for it.”
Wednesday, March 30
11:00 p.m. Volkswagen-owned German truckmaker MAN will put up to 11,000 workers in Germany on shortened hours as it struggles to secure a key component made in Ukraine.
“The war in Ukraine is leading to massive supply gaps for truck wiring harnesses at MAN Truck & Bus,” the company says in a statement. “As a result, since March 14 there has been a standstill in the truck plants in Munich and Krakow as well as significant production downtimes at the Nuremberg, Salzgitter and Wittlich plants.”
Earlier this month, wire harness maker Sumitomo Electric Industries of Japan said it will add production lines at its Romanian and Moroccan plants, having suspended operations at its factory in western Ukraine at the end of last month.
9:00 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells a regional summit that recent developments in Europe have raised a question mark over the stability of the international order, but he stops short of referring directly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Modi says it its important to make the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’s activities more active.
“It has also become essential to give greater priority to our regional security,” he says says in a virtual address at the meeting, hosted by current chair Sri Lanka. Read more.
8:00 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will pay a two-day visit to New Delhi starting Thursday, the Indian government says in a one-line statement on Wednesday. It is the highest-level Russian visit to India since Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Ukraine crisis is expected to figure prominently in Lavrov’s meetings in New Delhi, even though the Indian statement did not reveal the agenda.
7:00 p.m. The Kremlin says it welcomes the fact that Kyiv has set out its demands for an end to the conflict in Ukraine in written form, but says there is no breakthrough yet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters that Russia has not noticed anything promising or that looked like a breakthrough, and says there is a long period of work ahead.
6:46 p.m. Russia’s Federal Security Service says on Wednesday it has detained 60 supporters of what it describes as a Ukrainian “neo-Nazi” group and has seized weapons in 23 regions across Russia, news agencies report. The FSB has previously identified the alleged group as the MKU. State television in December said the abbreviation stood for “Maniacs. Cult of Murder.” The FSB says the group had been set up by a Ukrainian under the patronage of Ukraine’s intelligence services.
6:34 p.m. The United Nations has named three human rights experts to conduct an investigation into possible war crimes and other violations committed in Ukraine. The independent panel, to be led by Erik Mose of Norway, has a mandate to “investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and related crimes in the context of the aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation,” according to a statement.
6:06 p.m. Russia denies a claim by Ukraine that it had struck the town of Uman, visited by tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews each year, showing pictures of what it says are Ukrainian forces loading arms near a synagogue there. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Israeli lawmakers on March 20 that Russia had struck Uman on the first day of the invasion in February, according to a transcript of the speech supplied by The Times of Israel.
5:49 p.m. Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says Russia will invite “friendly countries” to take part in its national university games, at a time when its own athletes remain banned from competitions. He does not specify which countries will be invited to the event, which had been under planning since before Russia’s invasion.
5:42 p.m. There are now 4,019,287 Ukrainians who have fled abroad, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
5:30 p.m. Ukraine officials report shelling around the capital Kyiv and the northern region of Chernihiv, despite a promise by Moscow to reduce military operations there. Russian forces were also shelling nearly all cities along the front separating Ukraine-controlled territory from areas held by Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donetsk region, the regional governor says. Heavy fighting was also reported in Mariupol. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says Russia has been transferring forces from northern Ukraine to the east to try to encircle Ukrainian troops.
4:10 p.m. Russian forces hit industrial facilities in three overnight strikes in the Khmelnytskyi region of western Ukraine, regional governor Serhiy Hamaliy says. He gave no details of the targets but said fires had been “localized” and checks were being made to determine whether there were any casualties.
4:07 p.m. The governor of Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region says he saw no letup in Russian attacks despite a promise by Moscow to scale down military operations there. “Do we believe in [the promise]? Of course not,” Gov. Viacheslav Chaus said via the Telegram messaging app. “The ‘decreased activity’ in the Chernihiv region was demonstrated by the enemy carrying out strikes on [the city of] Nizhyn, including air strikes, and all night long they hit [the city of] Chernihiv.”
3:50 p.m. Russia and China agree to widen cooperation at a meeting of foreign ministers in China, according to the Interfax news agency, citing Russia’s foreign ministry amid what Moscow described as “difficult international conditions.” Interfax says cooperation included building up foreign policy coordination and speaking with one voice on global affairs. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui.
3:45 p.m. Ukraine’s armed forces say there is a danger of ammunition exploding at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power station and that Russian forces occupying the plant must pull out of the area, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. She also says Ukraine had asked Russia on Tuesday to allow 97 humanitarian corridors to be established in the worst-hit towns, cities and villages. “We demand that the U.N. Security Council immediately take measures to demilitarize the Chernobyl exclusion zone and introduce a special U.N. mission there to eliminate the risk of the repeat of a nuclear catastrophe,” she said.
3:26 p.m. Shelling could be heard outside Kyiv overnight but the Ukrainian capital itself was not shelled by Russian forces, Deputy Mayor Mykola Povoroznyk says. “The night passed relatively calmly, to the sounds of sirens and the sound of gunfire from battles around the city, but there was no shelling of the city itself.”
3:15 p.m. Britain will take a very skeptical view towards any promises coming from Russia about Ukraine and will respond to Moscow based on its actions, not its words, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab says. “I would be very careful in taking at face value what is coming out of Putin’s war machine,” he told Times Radio, adding that room for diplomacy must still be made.
Tuesday, March 29
10:40 p.m. The Ukraine invasion has triggered the dismissals of some brilliant Russian musical figures from the classical scene in the West. In some cases, the firings have been sudden. Russian maestro Valery Gergiev was sacked as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra on March 1.
After Russia had invaded Ukraine, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter immediately presented the Russian conductor an ultimatum. Either “clearly and unequivocally distance himself” from Russia’s “special military operation” or leave.
“I had hoped that he would reconsider his very positive assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the mayor said in his March 1 announcement. “He has not done so.” Read more.
9:57 p.m. The Russia-Ukraine negotiations in Istanbul have concluded, host Turkey says Tuesday, adding that the peace talks will not continue for a second day.
9:40 p.m. Ukraine proposes adopting neutral status, in the first sign of progress toward negotiating peace in its talks with Russia.
Under the proposals, Kyiv would agree not to join alliances or host bases of foreign troops, but would have security guaranteed in terms similar to “Article 5,” the collective defense clause of the trans-Atlantic NATO military alliance, negotiators from Kyiv say.
They named Israel and NATO members Canada, Poland and Turkey as countries that may give such guarantees. Russia, the U.S., Britain, Germany and Italy also could be involved.
9:21 p.m. Russia will curtail military activity around the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, its deputy defense minister says, after talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams in Istanbul. The official, Alexander Fomin, says the decision was taken in the interest of creating mutual trust and the conditions for further talks.
6:00 p.m. Ukraine’s president has spoken with South Korea’s incoming leader.
6:30 p.m. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have begun the first direct peace talks in more than two weeks on Tuesday in Istanbul, with the surprise attendance of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who is sanctioned by the West over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The two teams sat facing each other at a long table in the presidential office, with the Russian oligarch sitting in the front row of observers, a Turkish presidential video feed showed. Two of Abramovich’s superyachts are docked at Turkish resorts.
5:00 p.m. Russia’s Foreign Ministry called in the ambassadors of the three Baltic nations on Tuesday to announce the expulsion of some of their diplomats in a tit-for-tat move, the TASS and RIA news agencies cited a source as saying. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania expelled a total of 10 Russian diplomats in a coordinated move earlier this month.
4:10 p.m. Progress in talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators starting in Istanbul on Tuesday would pave the way for a meeting of the countries’ two leaders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the delegations ahead of the talks. In a televised speech to the negotiators in Istanbul, Erdogan said the time has come for talks to yield concrete results and called for an immediate cease-fire, saying that “stopping this tragedy” was up to both sides.
3:00 p.m. German consumer sentiment looks set to slump heading into April as the war in Ukraine pushed households’ economic and income expectations to their lowest since the 2009 financial crisis, a survey shows. The GfK institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, tumbled to -15.5 points heading into April, down from a revised -8.5 points a month earlier, the lowest reading since February 2021.
10:30 a.m. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno says Japanese companies will be requested to refuse if Russia asks for payments in rubles, especially in the energy sector. Russia demanded last week that “unfriendly” countries must pay in rubles, not euros, for its gas in the wake of the United States and European allies teaming up on a series of sanctions aimed at Russia.
10:00 a.m. Japan will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia in its latest response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, effective April 5, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says in a statement. Prohibited items include luxury cars, motorcycles, liquors, cosmetics, fashion items and art pieces.
6:45 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden offers an explanation for his eyebrow-raising exclamation Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
“I wasn’t then nor am I now articulating a policy change,” Biden tells reporters at the White House. “I was expressing moral outrage that I felt, and I make no apologies.”
5:15 a.m. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, suffered symptoms of poisoning in Kyiv in early March after peace talks with Russia, the Financial Times reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.
Two Ukrainians involved in the talks also suffered symptoms. Abramovich’s eyesight “completely disappeared” for several hours, the Financial Times reports.
“We did not identify the substance,” the newspaper quotes a person close to Zelenskyy as saying. “No idea who was behind [the attack] — but it looks like Roman was the main target.”
The suspected poisoning was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
4:30 a.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the country’s most ambitious goal at talks with Russia in Turkey this week is to agree on a cease-fire. “The minimum program will be humanitarian questions, and the maximum program is reaching an agreement on a cease-fire,” he said on national television when asked about the scope of the latest round of peace negotiations, expected to kick off Tuesday. “We are not trading people, land or sovereignty.”
3:08 a.m. U.S. lawmakers are probing Credit Suisse Group’s compliance with sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, asking the Swiss bank to provide documents tied to the financing of yachts and jets owned by potentially sanctioned individuals, according to a letter sent by a House of Representatives committee to the bank’s chief executive, Thomas Gottstein.
The probe comes after the Financial Times reported this month that Credit Suisse asked hedge funds and other investors to destroy documents relating to its richest clients’ yachts and private jets in an attempt to stop information leaking about loans to oligarchs who were later sanctioned.
2:00 a.m. The exodus of many of the world’s top brands from Russia in protest of the country’s invasion of Ukraine has created a cottage industry in patent applications for strikingly similar logos. They include one that looks like McDonald’s golden arches turned on their side and a blue-and-yellow IKEA look-alike. Read more.
12:30 a.m. Group of Seven economies will reject Russia’s demand to pay for natural gas in rubles, their energy ministers have agreed in an online meeting, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that only “unfriendly” countries would have to pay for Russian energy in rubles. This list includes the U.S. and Japan.
These transactions have mostly been paid for in dollars and euros. Natural gas from the Japanese-backed Sakhalin-2 project has been paid for mainly in dollars.
Monday, March 28
11:45 p.m. International brewers Heineken and Carlsberg say they plan to exit Russia, joining other big consumer brands.
Carlsberg has more exposure to Russia than any of its peers, the Financial Times reports. The country makes 9% of its revenue in the country and employs 8,400 people there.
10:01 p.m. Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor Dmitry Muratov was a co-winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, is suspending online and print activities until the end of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine. The investigative paper, which already removed material from its website on Russia’s military action in Ukraine to comply with a new media law, says it received another warning from the state communications regulator about its reporting, prompting it to pause operations.
6:22 p.m. Chinese state energy company Sinopec will continue to buy crude oil and gas from Russia, a top executive says, even as Western democracies step up sanctions in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The company, known formally as China Petroleum and Chemical, is involved in two major projects in Russia: an oil and gas production joint venture called Taihu in the Volga-Ural petroleum basin, and the development of the Amur gas chemical complex and processing plant with Sibur in the Russian Far East, adjoining China.
6:19 p.m. The Kremlin says that peace talks between Russia and Ukraine may get underway in Turkey on Tuesday and said it was important that the talks would be held face-to-face despite scant progress in negotiations so far. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a cease-fire in Ukraine.
5:36 p.m. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and echoed calls for an immediate cease-fire made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Cambodia currently chairs. In his remarks, Hun Sen invoked Cambodia’s own history of occupation by Vietnam and cast doubt on Russia’s ability to capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
4:59 p.m. Ukrainian and Russian negotiators will begin peace talks in Istanbul later Monday, a senior Turkish official said, without elaborating. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a cease-fire.
4:54 p.m. Russian forces are regrouping but are unable to advance anywhere in Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar says. Russian forces were trying to reinforce positions they already hold and were trying to break through the defenses of Kyiv but had no hope of capturing the capital, she says.
4:48 p.m. Ukraine has no plans to open any humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from besieged cities on Monday because of intelligence reports warning of possible Russian “provocations” along the routes, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.
4:35 p.m. The mayor of Mariupol says all civilians must be evacuated from the encircled Ukrainian city to allow them to escape a humanitarian catastrophe. Mayor Vadym Boichenko says 160,000 civilians were still trapped in the southern port city on the Sea of Azov without heat and power after weeks of Russian bombardment.
He says 26 buses were waiting to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, which normally has a population of about 400,000 people, but Russian forces had not agreed to give them safe passage. He did not say where they were waiting.
4:04 p.m. Chinese drone maker DJI has dismissed as “utterly false” accusations that the Russian military is using its drones in Ukraine after a German retailer cited such information as the reason for taking its products off the shelves. The rejection followed Friday’s Twitter revelation of the removal by German electronics and home appliances giant MediaMarkt in response to “information from various sources,” although it gave no details on the information it had received.
2:08 p.m. Japan will revise its foreign exchange law to prevent Russia from evading financial sanctions via cryptocurrency assets. A proposed revision to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act will be submitted to the Diet to deter Russia from dodging sanctions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also called on Monday for the law to be amended, stressing the need for coordinated actions with Western allies after attending last week’s Group of Seven summit in Belgium.
11:23 a.m. Hollywood shared some of its big night with Ukrainians on Sunday, using text on a screen to ask the world for financial contributions. But rather than turning the Academy Awards into a platform about Ukraine, the show’s directors opted for a silent message that did not mention Russia, which invaded Ukraine 31 days ago. “We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders,” read the message posted on screen just before a commercial break.
11:11 a.m. Russian forces have left the Ukrainian town of Slavutych, home to workers at the defunct nuclear plant of Chernobyl, after completing their surveying task, the mayor says. On Saturday, the Kyiv regional governor said Russian forces had taken control of the town just outside the safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, where Ukrainian staff still manage the plant.
6:51 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says that neither NATO nor U.S. President Joe Biden aims to bring about regime change in Russia. Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech on Saturday that “this man cannot remain in power.” The White House and other U.S. officials rushed to clarify that Biden was not actually calling for Putin to be toppled. Asked during a Sunday appearance on ARD television whether Putin’s removal is in fact the real aim, Scholz replied: “This is not the aim of NATO, and also not that of the American president,” adding, “We both agree completely that regime change is not an object and aim of policy that we pursue together.”
3:09 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a cease-fire and better humanitarian conditions are needed. “Stressing the need for the immediate establishment of ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine as well as the amelioration of the humanitarian situation in the region, President Erdogan stated that Turkiye would continue to lend every kind of support regarding the process,” Erdogan’s office says in a Twitter thread about the phone call, using Turkey’s new English rendition of its own name.
Erdogan and Putin agree that the next round of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be held in Istanbul.
3:08 a.m. Ukraine is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia, but it would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum, Zelenskyy says in an interview.
Speaking to a group of Russian journalists via video call, Zelenskyy says the invasion caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine and says the damage exceeded that from the Russian wars in Chechnya.
1:51 a.m. Russia’s communications watchdog tells Russian media not to report on an interview done with Zelenskyy and says it has started a probe into the outlets that had interviewed him.
In a short statement distributed by the watchdog on social media and posted on its website, it says a host of Russian outlets had done an interview with Zelenskyy.
“Roskomnadzor warns the Russian media about the necessity of refraining from publishing this interview,” it says. It does not give a reason for its warning.
Sunday, March 27
9:30 p.m. The U.S. has no strategy of regime change for Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells reporters in Jerusalem. “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President [Vladimir] Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blinken says.
“As you know, and as you’ve heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia — or anywhere else, for that matter,” he adds. “In this case, as in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question. It’s up to the Russian people.”
3:37 p.m. Ukraine and Russia have agreed on two “humanitarian corridors” to evacuate civilians from front-line areas on Sunday local time, including allowing people to leave by private car from the southern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.
3:52 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” in a comment soon walked back by a White House official. “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” the official says. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
Biden’s comments, including an earlier one in which he called Putin a “butcher,” mark a sharp verbal escalation in the American approach to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Saturday, March 26
8:56 p.m. Ukraine received additional security pledges from the United States on developing defense cooperation, its Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says. “We did receive additional promises from the United States on how our defense cooperation will evolve,” Kuleba tells reporters.
7:06 p.m. More than 100,000 people still need to be evacuated from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says on national television.
6:53 p.m. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov says that he and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had held a joint meeting with their U.S. counterparts for the first time. “We discuss current issues & cooperation in political and defense directions between Ukraine and the United States,” Reznikov says on Twitter, posting a photograph of the meeting in Warsaw with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
5:54 p.m. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was seen chairing an army meeting and discussing weapons supplies in a video posted by his ministry, the first time he had publicly been shown speaking for more than two weeks. In the video, uploaded on social media, Shoigu said he had discussed issues related to the military budget and defence orders with the finance ministry.
5:25 p.m. Russian forces have taken control of the town of Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, the governor of Kyiv region Oleksandr Pavlyuk says. In an online statement, Pavlyuk says Russian troops had occupied the hospital in Slavutych and kidnapped the mayor.
3:46 p.m. The war in Ukraine has killed 136 children in the 31 days since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s office of the prosecutor-general said on Saturday in a message on the Telegram app. Of the total, 64 children have been killed in the Kyiv region, the office said. A further 50 children have died in the Donetsk region, it said. Additionally, 199 children have been wounded.
10:39 a.m. About 300 people were killed in the Russian airstrike last week on a Mariupol theater that was being used as a shelter, Ukrainian authorities say, in what would make it the war’s deadliest known attack on civilians yet. The bloodshed at the theater fueled allegations Moscow is committing war crimes by killing civilians, whether deliberately or by indiscriminate fire.
3:30 a.m. A senior Russian military official says that the first phase of its “special operation” — Moscow’s name for the invasion of Ukraine — has been mostly completed and that the focus is now on the eastern Donbas region.
“The military capacities of Ukraine’s armed forces have been significantly decreased, which allows efforts to be focused on achieving our main aim: liberating Donbas,” Sergei Rudskoy says, referring to a region where Russian-backed separatists have declared themselves “republics.” Ukraine does not recognize their independence.
Russia’s hints at a potential scaling back of its territorial ambitions in Ukraine come amid reports of military setbacks. Russian forces no longer have full control of Kherson, the first major Ukrainian city they captured, The New York Times reports, citing a senior Pentagon official.
2:55 a.m. Zelenskyy gives an update on his latest talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
1:30 a.m. The U.S. aims to supply 15 billion cu. meters of liquefied natural gas to the European Union this year to help ease its dependence on Russian energy. Read more
Friday, March 25
11:55 p.m. Ukraine is likely to be on the agenda for a meeting of Quad leaders being planned for April. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the summit host, has reached out to U.S. President Joe Biden on a possible visit to Japan for the talks involving Australia and India.
11:00 p.m. Moscow reacts to talk of excluding Russia from the Group of 20.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov says the G-20 format is “important,” but “in the current conditions, as most of the participants in this format are in a state of economic war with us at their own initiative, nothing deadly harmful will happen” if Russia is left out.
Peskov’s comments were reported by Interfax.
10:19 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden lands in Rzeszow, Poland, to assess humanitarian efforts to help some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country and talk to American troops shoring up NATO’s defenses.
5:04 p.m. Russia’s armed forces destroyed a major fuel depot outside Kyiv in a missile strike, the country’s defense ministry says. Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the strike happened on Thursday evening, using Kalibr cruise missiles fired from sea. Konashenkov said the depot was used to supply Ukraine’s armed forces in the center of the country.
4:40 p.m. Rescuers were searching for survivors among debris on Friday after two missiles hit a Ukrainian military unit on the outskirts of the city of Dnipro, causing “serious destruction,” regional governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on social media.
1:40 p.m. It is “foolish” to believe that Western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on the Moscow government, Russian ex-President and Deputy Head of the country’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday. The sanctions will only consolidate Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Medvedev told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.
“Let us ask ourselves: can any of these major businessmen have even the tiniest quantum of influence of the position of the country’s leadership?” Medvedev said. “I openly tell you: no, no way.”
1:25 p.m. Four Russian officials, including hackers with a government intelligence agency, have been charged with the malicious hacking of critical infrastructure around the globe including the U.S. energy and aviation sectors between 2012 and 2018, the U.S. Justice Department and British Foreign Office say. Among the thousands of computers targeted in some 135 countries were machines at a Kansas nuclear power plant — whose business network was compromised — and at a Saudi petrochemical plant in 2017 where the hackers overrode safety controls, officials say.
10:30 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Ukrainians “need to achieve peace” and halt the Russian bombardment that has forced millions to flee to countries like Poland, where U.S. President Joe Biden is due to visit and witness the crisis first hand. Appearing exhausted in a brief video address early on Friday, Zelenskyy said he had made appeals to Western leaders “all for one reason — so that Russia understands that we need to achieve peace. Russia also needs to achieve peace.”
6:10 a.m. The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approves a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate cease-fire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival. There was loud applause in the assembly chamber as the result of the vote was announced: 140-5 with only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea joining Russia in opposing the measure. There were 38 abstentions, including Russian ally China, India, South Africa, Iran and Cuba.
4:40 a.m. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink writes in his annual letter to shareholders of the world’s largest asset manager.
Fink predicts “companies and governments will also be looking more broadly at their dependencies on other nations. This may lead companies to onshore or nearshore more of their operations, resulting in a faster pull back from some countries.” Read more.
3:30 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says he thinks Russia should be removed from the Group of 20, or if that fails, Ukraine should be allowed to participate in meetings. Biden acknowledges that such a decision “depends on the G-20.” This year’s G-20 president, Indonesia, has indicated it plans to let Russia stay in the grouping.
2:49 a.m. China understands its economic future is more closely tied to the West than to Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden says on the sidelines of emergency meetings in Europe, after warning Beijing it could face consequences for aiding Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
“I made no threats, but I made it clear to him — made sure he understood the consequences of helping Russia,” Biden said of a recent conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
1:12 a.m. Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations warn Russia not to use biological, chemical or nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine, in their statement after summit talks in Brussels. All countries are ready to welcome refugees from Ukraine, they say.
12:40 a.m. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly demands aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine and criticizes Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation with its invasion a month ago.
The resolution, drafted by Ukraine and allies, received 140 votes in favor and 5 votes against — Russia, Syria, North Korean, Eritrea and Belarus — while 38 countries abstained, including China and India.
12:30 a.m. Ukraine says it has destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, at the Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov.
Video footage shows a column of smoke rising from a blaze at a dock, and the flash of an explosion.
Two vessels, one of which appeared to have been damaged, were seen in the footage sailing out of the dock as a third ship burned.
Thursday, March 24
10:30 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and a plan to accept up to 100,000 Ukraine refugees, a senior administration official says.
The U.S. is also launching the “European Democratic Resilience Initiative” with $320 million to support media freedom, social resistance and human rights in Ukraine and nearby countries, according to the official.
7:49 p.m. Ukrainian authorities in besieged Mariupol say about 15,000 civilians have been illegally deported to Russia since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city. Ukrainian officials say civilians trapped in Mariupol, which is normally home to about 400,000 people, face a desperate plight without access to food, water, power or heat.
6:30 p.m. Britain has frozen the assets of Russia’s Gazprombank and Alfa-Bank, and the state-run shipping firm Sovcomflot, in its latest round of sanctions. They were among 59 individuals and entities added to the sanctions list which has been used to target Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine. Gazprombank is one of main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas. Alfa-Bank is one of Russia’s top private lenders.
5:40 p.m. Zelenskyy urges Western nations gathering in Brussels on Thursday to take “serious steps” to help Kyiv fight Russia’s invasion, as an unprecedented one-day trio of summits — NATO, G-7 and EU — got underway. The hectic day of meetings, aimed at maintaining Western unity, kicks off at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the trans-Atlantic defense alliance’s leaders will agree to ramp up military forces on Europe’s eastern flank.
“At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us,” Zelenskyy said in a video address released early on Thursday.
3:30 p.m. NATO estimates that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in four weeks of war in Ukraine, where fierce resistance from the country’s defenders has denied Moscow the lightning victory it sought, AP reports. By way of comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 troops over 10 years in Afghanistan. A senior NATO military official said the alliance’s estimate was based on information from Ukrainian authorities, what Russia has released — intentionally or not — and intelligence gathered from open sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO.
3:15 p.m. Turkish telecoms company Turkcell, one of three main operators in Ukraine, said around 10% of its infrastructure in the country has been disabled by Russia’s invasion, but added there was no damage to its central network. While Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city a month after it launched its invasion, the fighting has left cities in ruins and destroyed critical infrastructure.
12:30 p.m. The U.S. State Department says Russia has begun the process of expelling several more diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The department said that on Wednesday it received a list of diplomats who have been declared “persona non grata” by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn’t say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours. The foreign ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan on Monday to protest President Joe Biden’s description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” over the invasion of Ukraine.
11:00 a.m. Russia’s communications regulator has blocked Google’s news aggregator service, accusing it of allowing access to what it calls fake material about the country’s military operation in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency says. “We’ve confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end,” Google said in statement. “We’ve worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible.”
10:35 a.m. Japan has no clue yet about how Russia would carry out its claim to seek payment in rubles for energy sold to “unfriendly” countries, the finance minister says. “Currently we’re looking into the situation with relevant ministries, as we don’t quite understand what is [Russia’s] intention and how they would do this,” Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said in a parliament session.
8:30 a.m. The World Health Organization says it has verified 64 instances of attacks on health care in Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 21, resulting in 15 deaths and 37 injuries. Close to 7 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced in the one month of war, with 1 in 3 of them suffering from a chronic health condition, according to the global health agency.
3:50 a.m. “Based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.
While acknowledging that “a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases” of alleged war crimes, Blinken says the U.S. government “will share information we gather with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate.” Read more.
2:35 a.m. One of the Kremlin’s faces to the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special climate envoy Anatoly Chubais, has resigned.
Chubais quit of his own accord, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells the Financial Times, without saying whether the move came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Bloomberg first reported the resignation. Chubais, an architect of Russia’s post-Soviet economic overhaul and an oligarch in his own right, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have spoken again, this time by phone.
“Bennett shared his assessment of the situation around Ukraine, considering his recent contacts with leaders of several foreign countries, and expressed some ideas in relation to the negotiating process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives,” Interfax reports, citing the Russian presidential press service.
12:50 a.m. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows that “full-fledged war is an instrument of their policy, and therefore we have to be prepared to confront such a reality,” Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania’s ambassador to NATO, tells Nikkei ahead of the alliance’s summit in Brussels on Thursday.
The meeting is expected to cover not only the Ukraine conflict, but also bolstering the defenses of former Soviet states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region that many fear may be in Russia’s sights as well. These include Lithuania, which borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad as well as Belarus, where Moscow holds growing sway. Read more.
For earlier updates, click here.