Russia-Ukraine live updates: Third world war would be nuclear, Lavrov warns

(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”

Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, don’t appear to have advanced closer to the city since coming within about 20 miles, although smaller advanced groups have been fighting gun battles with Ukrainian forces inside the capital since at least Friday.

Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy as well as Putin himself.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Mar 02, 6:18 am
Third world war would be nuclear and destructive, Lavrov warns

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday that if a third world war were to take place, it would involve nuclear weapons and be destructive, according to Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.

Mar 02, 5:55 am
Putin’s fiercest critic Navalny calls for daily anti-war protests

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is urging people in Russia and around the world to stage daily protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We — Russia — want to be a nation of peace. Alas, few people would call us that now,” Navalny said Wednesday in a series of posts on Twitter via his spokesperson. “But let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar.”

“They say that someone who cannot attend a rally and does not risk being arrested for it cannot call for it. I’m already in prison, so I think I can,” he tweeted. “We cannot wait any longer. Wherever you are, in Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet, go to the main square of your city every weekday and at 2 pm on weekends and holidays.”

“Yes, maybe only a few people will take to the streets on the first day. And in the second — even less,” he added. “But we must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war. Each arrested person must be replaced by two newcomers.”

Navalny called on people to not just “be against the war” but to “fight against the war.”

“If in order to stop the war we have to fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves, we will fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves,” he tweeted. “Everything has a price, and now, in the spring of 2022, we must pay this price. There’s no one to do it for us.”

Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, was imprisoned last year when he returned to Russia from Germany after recovering from an attempted assassination with nerve agent poisoning in Siberia. Russia has denied carrying out such an attack.

Mar 02, 5:19 am
‘You can’t stay neutral right now,’ Zelenskyy warns

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Wednesday that the international community “can’t stay neutral,” as the Russian invasion entered its seventh day.

“Neutral Switzerland has supported EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs, officials, the state, and companies. Once again – neutral Switzerland. So why do other countries wait?” Zelenskyy said in a televised address. “Our anti-war coalition has already been joined by those countries that Moscow was counting on a week ago. This is an extraordinary result. You can’t stay neutral right now.”

“We are in our homeland and there will be an international tribunal for waging the war against us,” he added.

Zelenskyy also praised his fellow Ukrainians for being “united.”

“During this time, we have truly become one,” he said. “Today you, Ukrainians, are a symbol of invincibility. A symbol that people in any country can become the best people on Earth at any moment.”

Mar 02, 4:37 am
Russia claims to have captured Ukrainian port city

Russia claimed Wednesday to have captured Ukraine’s southern port city of Kherson, the largest Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces since the start of the invasion.

“Russian forces have taken full control of the Kherson regional center,” Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a press briefing Wednesday.

Russia-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine have also seized several cities and towns, advancing nearly 100 miles since launching the offensive, according to Konashenkov.

“Ukrainian servicemen will go home as soon as they make a written pledge not to take part in the hostilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russian forces have “disabled” the instrument room of the the main television tower in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, “putting an end to information attacks on Russia,” according to Konashenkov, who noted that “no damage was done to residential buildings in the course of the strike.”

Konashenkov also claimed that Russian aircraft had delivered a “massive strike” on Ukraine’s military infrastructure on Wednesday.

“Sixty-seven sites have been hit,” he added. “In all, 1,502 elements of Ukrainian military infrastructure have been disabled in the course of the operation. These include 51 command and communications centers belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 38 S-300, Buk M-1 and Osa air defense missile systems and 51 radar stations.”

Mar 01, 10:59 pm
Boeing suspends all plane maintenance support for Russian airlines

The Boeing Company has suspended all parts, maintenance and technical support for Russian airlines as the conflict continues, the company announced Tuesday.

This is expected to have a significant impact on Russian carriers, as planes need constant maintenance.

“We have suspended major operations in Moscow and temporarily closed our office in Kyiv,” Boeing said in a statement. “We are also suspending parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines. As the conflict continues, our teams are focused on ensuring the safety of our teammates in the region.”

Mar 01, 10:56 pm
GOP points at Biden for Russian invasion in State of the Union response

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds implied Russia’s attack on Ukraine is connected to a lack of leadership from President Joe Biden in the Republican response to the State of the Union address, saying Biden has “sent us back in time” to the 1970s and ’80s, when the “Soviet army was trying to redraw the world map.”

Reynolds said Biden has failed on his promise to make America respected around the world once more and criticized Biden for the lead-up to the invasion, including waving sanctions against Russia and “focusing on political correctness.”

“Weakness on the world stage has a cost,” Reynolds said. “… We can’t project strength abroad if we’re weak home.”

Mar 01, 10:17 pm
‘Free world is holding Putin accountable,’ Biden says in SOTU address

In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden began by discussing the war in Eastern Europe and condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden invoked the strength of the Ukrainian people amid the attack, lauding the civilians who took up arms to defend their country and highlighting the work Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova has done on behalf of her people.

“She’s bright. She’s strong, and she’s resolved,” Biden said as first lady Jill Biden hugged Markarova.

Many lawmakers in attendance showed their support for Ukraine by wearing color-coordinated outfits and lapel pins in blue and yellow.

Biden described the invasion as “premeditated and totally unprovoked,” vowing, alongside NATO allies, to hold Putin accountable with sanctions on the Russian economy and Putin and the oligarchs themselves.

“When dictators do not pay a price for their aggressions, they cause more chaos,” Biden said. “They keep moving.”

Biden announced that American airspace would be closed to all Russian flights and pledged $1 billion in direct assistance to help “ease suffering” in Ukraine.

The president also “made clear” that while American forces would not go fight in Ukraine, he has mobilized the military to protect NATO countries.

“The United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power,” he said.

Mar 01, 9:45 pm
Biden announces ban on Russian flights in US airspace

President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address announced the U.S. will ban Russian flights from its airspace, joining Canada and the European Union, which issued bans on Russian planes in their respective airspaces over the weekend.

“Tonight I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights — further isolating Russia — and adding an additional squeeze on their economy,” Biden said.

The ban will apply to “operations of all aircraft owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by, for, or for the benefit of, a person who is a citizen of Russia,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration. “This includes passenger and cargo flights, and scheduled as well as charter flights, effectively closing U.S. air space to all Russian commercial air carriers and other Russian civil aircraft.”

The ban will be “fully effective” by the end of the day Wednesday, the FAA said.

Mar 01, 9:12 pm
Lawmakers working to court ambassadors, diplomats ahead of UN vote to condemn Russia

While all eyes in Washington are on President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, some lawmakers have been working the phones to rally support at the United Nations for a resolution before the General Assembly to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and call for a peaceful resolution.

Working with the United States Mission to the United Nations, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have identified more than a dozen countries to target and called for ambassadors and key diplomats to leverage relationships to build more support for the nonbinding resolution.

“This has been a way for Congress to really play an important role working with the executive branch in getting this done and showing the world that Russia’s actions are illegal and should be condemned,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, a senior member of the committee that is leading the effort, told ABC News.

The vote “is an opportunity for countries to take a stand, and it’s especially a chance for the United States to demonstrate leadership among the nations of the world,” he said.

“President Biden and his administration, and now Congress, I believe, have demonstrated our ability to marshal our allies to condemn something the world has worked for decades to root out — which is a sovereign nation invading another,” Castro said.

Republicans have also been working to build support for the measure in the General Assembly, Castro said.

Mar 01, 8:35 pm
Ukrainian foreign minister addresses reports of racism

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the accounts of racism at the border by people of color attempting to flee, tweeting Tuesday, “Ukraine’s government spares no effort to solve the problem.”

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also addressed the reports of racism and discrimination during a powerful speech at the U.N. Assembly on Tuesday.

“Every refugee must receive protection, no matter what their nationality, no matter what their religion, no matter of the color of their skin,” Baerbock said.

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