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BLOG: The Russia-Ukraine Conflict as it happens

A man takes part in a protest against Russia's actions in Ukraine during a rally at Shibuya district in Tokyo on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

A man takes part in a protest against Russia's actions in Ukraine during a rally at Shibuya district in Tokyo on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

Published Feb 24, 2022

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After a series of threats by President Vladimir Putin, Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday.

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Stranded South African students in Ukraine hiding in subways, desperate to come home

Scared and desperate to be evacuated from the battle zone that is Ukraine after the Russian invasion on Thursday, some South African students who are pursuing their studies in the eastern European country are desperate to come home after being awoken by violent explosions.

The students went abroad to pursue their studies in medicine at Ukranian universities, but after thousands of troops swooped in on Thursday, the students said they find themselves living in fear, hiding in subways after Ukraine turned into a conflict zone.

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One of the students, Vutlhari Mtonga - who hails from Tzaneen, is a medical student currently in Kharkiv. She says she was awoken by sounds of shelling and explosions on Thursday morning.

“We were woken up by an explosion,” she says speaking with fear in her voice.

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Biden unveils new sanctions on Russian banks, businesses after Ukraine attack

President Joe Biden unveiled harsh new sanctions against Russia on Thursday after Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine, imposing measures to impede Russia's ability to do business in the world's major currencies along with sanctions against banks and state-owned enterprises.

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“This is a premeditated attack,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected attempts by the West to engage in dialogue and had violated international law.

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences.”

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UN scaling up Ukraine aid operations, allocates $20m emergency funds

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres said on Thursday the world body was scaling up its humanitarian operations in Ukraine and the protection of civilians must be the top priority.

He allocated $20 million from a UN emergency fund to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Ukraine.

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'Multi-pronged' Russian assault aims to encircle Ukraine forces

Russia's military strike against its neighbour Ukraine is designed to claim air superiority before ground troops that have massed on the country's borders encircle Ukrainian forces from the north and south, experts told AFP.

The assault, after more than 150 000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine's borders in recent weeks, has been accompanied by a massive wave of air and missile strikes, while ground troops push on several fronts including towards the capital Kyiv.

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US president Joe Biden unveils harsh sanctions against Russia

President Joe Biden unveiled harsh new sanctions against Russia on Thursday after Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine, imposing measures to impede Russia's ability to do business in the world's major currencies along with sanctions against banks and state-owned enterprises.

"This is a premeditated attack," Biden told reporters at the White House, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected attempts by the West to engage in dialogue and had violated international law.

"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences."

Biden said the sanctions were designed to have a long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and its allies. And he said Washington was prepared to do more.

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South African MPs call for peaceful solution to conflict between Russia and Ukraine

MPs have called for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine saying all parties must work together to find a solution.

Chairperson of the portfolio committee on international relations and co-operation Supra Mahumapelo said they were concerned about the situation in Ukraine.

“We are extremely concerned for two reasons, firstly South Africa believes that we should always seek a peaceful outcome to any challenge and we are extremely worried about the bellicose statements coming from all sides,” said Mahumapelo.

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Russia intends to ‘decapitate’ Ukraine government: US

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is aimed at capturing the capital Kyiv and removing the country’s leadership, with troops advancing on three fronts backed up by aerial bombardment, a US defence official said on Thursday.

The Russian military opened its attack with about 100 missile launches in the first two hours, mainly targeting military infrastructure facilities, as well as sorties by 75 heavy and medium bombers, the official said.

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Ukranian flags flying high across Europe

Protesters turned out in cities around the world on Thursday to show solidarity with Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin's "surreal war" on the former Soviet country.

In Berlin, several hundred people rallied at the Brandenburg Gate, which had been lit up in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukraine flag the previous evening.

In Paris, several hundred people gathered outside the Russian embassy.

In Dublin on Thursday morning, a small group of protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy where red paint was splattered on the mission's emblem by a gated entrance.

In Tokyo, a female protester who wanted to remain anonymous said she had been unable to contact her mother in Ukraine for three hours on Thursday morning, as the invasion began.

In Beirut, protesters outside the Russian embassy waved flags and chanted "Russia go home".

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Man City and Ukranian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin ’I hope you die the most painful death,’ Man City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko tells Vladimir Putin

Manchester City’s Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko has taken to Instagram to slam Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Putin sanctioned the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, which saw the shelling of various citirs, and thousands of Russian troops entering the Eastern European country.

“I hope you die the most painful suffering death, creature,” he said.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates victory after the Euro 2020 group B qualifying soccer match between Ukraine and Serbia at the Arena Lviv stadium in Lviv, Ukraine, Friday, June. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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Civilians, infrastructure must be spared from attacks in Ukraine - International Committee of the Red Cross

Civilians and critical infrastructure such as water and power systems in Ukraine must be protected from attacks in line with the rules of war, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

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South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine

The South African government on Thursday called for a peaceful resolution of the escalating conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

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Poland to open reception centres for Ukrainian refugees

Poland said Thursday it will open nine reception centres along its border with Ukraine in anticipation of an influx of refugees after Russia invaded the country.

Fears have spiked about a refugee crisis in the region after Russia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, with reports of explosions at several locations across the country.

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In a statement from the White House, President Biden says "the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way."

🎥 Newsy

Russia destroys over 70 military targets in Ukraine

Russia said Thursday that its military had destroyed more than 70 military targets, including 11 airfields in Ukraine.

"As a result of strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces, 74 Ukrainian military ground facilities were destroyed," said Igor Konashenkov, a defence ministry spokesman.

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Sanctions to 'dramatically limit' Russian access to EU, US markets: Germany

Western allies will unleash sanctions that will drastically restrict Russia's access to the European and American markets, Germany's vice chancellor said Thursday, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The "strong sanctions package" will "cut off the Russian economy from industrial progress, will attack and freeze assets and financial holdings, and will dramatically limit access to the European and American markets," said Robert Habeck.

"This hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure," UK prime minister Boris Johnson said Thursday as he vowed a massive package of economic sanctions against Moscow following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

🎥 France24

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned Russia's "cold-blooded"' invasion of Ukraine and said the alliance would take new deterrence and defence steps including putting over 100 warplanes on high alert and further increase the presence of troops in eastern Europe.

🎥 France24

Despite West's help, Ukraine forces vastly outnumbered by Russia

Ukraine's armed forces find themselves vastly outnumbered and outmatched in firepower by their Russian opponents, despite growing military assistance for Kyiv's troops by the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country had massed some 150,000 troops on the border in recent months, on Thursday ordered military operations against Ukraine.

According to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Russia's armed forces amount to 900,000 troops, plus some two million reserves and more than half a million other forces.

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Russia's 'brazen' attack on Ukraine 'will not go unpunished'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday condemned Russia's "egregious" and "unprovoked" attack on Ukraine, calling on Moscow to immediately withdraw from the country and saying its aggression "will not go unpunished."

"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia's egregious attack on Ukraine," Trudeau said in a statement issued in the hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of military operations.

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Despite sanctions, UK accused of swimming in 'dirty Russian money'

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves to confront Moscow over its Ukraine invasion, he stands accused of leaving the financial back door wide open by ignoring a "sewer" of Russian money coursing through Britain.

Johnson on Wednesday confirmed another delay to an "economic crime" bill, which he says will eventually dismantle the "Matryoshka doll" hiding the ownership of UK companies and properties by Russian oligarchs.

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Bloodshed and tears as eastern Ukraine faces Russian attack

A son wept over the body of his father among the wreckage of a missile strike in a residential district in the eastern Ukrainian town of Chuguiv as the country woke up Thursday to Russian invasion.

"I told him to leave," the man in his 30s sobbed, next to the twisted ruins of a car.

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NATO Deploys Additional Forces on Eastern Flank

NATO is deploying additional defensive forces eastward in connection with the situation in Ukraine and considers Russia's actions as a threat to Euro-Atlantic security, the alliance’s council said on Thursday.

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Ukrainians fleeing over the border in Poland on Thursday (February 24) described the situation as "total war" after Russia invaded Ukraine.

🎥 Reuters

Israel condemns Russian attack on Ukraine

Israel condemned Russian actions in Ukraine on Thursday and called on world powers to resolve the crisis swiftly.

Russia's attack on Ukraine is a grave breach of international order. Israel condemns the attack, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a televised statement.

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Local residents on the scene of a shelled residential building in Chuguev, Ukraine, despair. Homes have been destroyed and a body lies on the ground under a blanket, as Russia launches a military attack and crosses over the Ukrainian border.

VIDEO: AFP

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich banned from UK residence due to links with Russian government

Chelsea Football Club’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has been banned from living in Britain ever again, according to reports on Thursday.

This comes after Russia’s full scale invasion of the Ukraine was also confirmed on Thursday.

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WATCH: Explosions in Ukrainian cities

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement on Russian state TV that he had authorised a military operation in eastern Ukraine, explosions were heard and seen in the breakaway city of Donetsk and the capital city of Kyiv.

According to Asian News, Russian officials said it posed no threat to Ukrainian civilians as it carries out operations and that it will not target civilians.

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Belarus says its army not taking part in Ukraine invasion

Belarus's leader Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday that his military is not taking part in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Kyiv said Moscow's troops were entering the country from Belarusian territory.

Our armed forces are not taking part in this operation, said Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow has stationed tens of thousands of troops in Belarus.

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During the second emergency UN Security Council session in three days, members of the Council plead with Russia to step back from war with Ukraine.

"President Putin, in the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia. In the name of humanity, do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century," says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

🎥 AFP

Italy summons Russian envoy over Ukraine invasion

Italy on Thursday summoned the Russian ambassador after the Kremlin launched an air and ground assault on Ukraine, which Rome slammed as an "unjustified and unprovoked aggression".

Moscow's "extremely serious" attack on the former Soviet republic was "a clear and distinct violation of international law," Italy's foreign ministry said.

EXPLAINER: This is why Russia is invading the Ukraine

The world woke up to news of Russia's full-scale invasion of the Ukraine.

This comes after a series of threats issued by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Interfax Ukraine reported rocket attacks on military facilities throughout Ukraine and that Russian troops had landed in the southern port cities of Odessa and Mariupol. It also reported staff and passengers evacuating Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport.

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'Unprovoked and unjustified': World reacts to attack on Ukraine

World leaders on Thursday swiftly condemned Russia's military attack on Ukraine, with Western capitals vowing to escalate sanctions against Moscow while the head of the United Nations demanded the conflict end immediately.

Key reactions:

- US President Joe Biden — "The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," the US president said shortly after the operation began.

He warned: "Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring."

"The world will hold Russia accountable," he declared.

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Russia rules out any threat to Ukrainian civilians during military action

Russia has ruled out any threat to Ukrainian civilians as it carries out military operations in the country, local media reported.

The Russian Defence Ministry has clarified that the Russian army is not carrying out any missile, aviation or artillery strikes on the cities of Ukraine and is not targeting civilians, Sputnik News reported.

"Military infrastructure, air defence facilities, military airfields, aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being put out of action by [Russia's] high-precision means of destruction," the news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

The ministry added that the military action does not threaten the Ukrainian civilian population.

The ministry's remarks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special "military operation to protect Donbas" in eastern Ukraine.

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US, G7 allies to meet after Putin launches ’premeditated war’

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with his counterparts from the Group of Seven allies early Thursday to map out more severe measures against Russia after President Vladimir Putin launched what Biden called "a premeditated war" against Ukraine.

Biden, who spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy late on Wednesday, said the United States and its allies will respond in "a united and decisive way" to what he called "an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces" on Ukraine.

"President (Vladimir) Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering," Biden said in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

It came shortly after Putin told Russian state TV he had authorised a military operation in eastern Ukraine and explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the breakaway eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

Read the full story here.

Russia launches full-scale invasion of Ukraine, top official says

Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and is targeting cities with weapons strikes, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet on Thursday.

Interfax Ukraine reported rocket attacks on military facilities throughout Ukraine and that Russian troops had landed in the southern port cities of Odessa and Mariupol. It also reported staff and passengers evacuating Kyiv's Boryspilairport.

"Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes," Kuleba said,referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now."

Read the full story here.

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