World watches fifth day of the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two as fighting rages on multiple fronts in Ukraine while its western allies pile sanctions against Russia. Latest updates:

A satellite image shows a blaze at a warehouse and destroyed fields in Chernihiv, Ukraine on February 28, 2022.
A satellite image shows a blaze at a warehouse and destroyed fields in Chernihiv, Ukraine on February 28, 2022. (Reuters)

Monday, February 28, 2022

Ukraine reports more Russian shelling during talks in Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian troops of intensifying shelling of Ukraine as delegates of both sides held talks in neighbouring Belarus, calling it an effort to force his government into making concessions.

In a video address, Zelenskyy says that "the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronising of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method."

The president gave no details about the hours-long talks themselves. But he said Ukraine is not prepared to make concessions "when one side is hitting the other with rocket artillery."

Zelenskyy said that Kiev, the capital, remains "a key goal" for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery.

Zelenskyy signs decree allowing foreign war volunteers in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree temporarily lifting the requirement for entry visas for any foreigner willing to join Ukraine's International Defense Legion and fight on Ukraine's side against invading Russian troops. 

The decree by President Zelenskyy takes effect Tuesday and will remain in effect as long as martial law is in place.

Zelenskyy said it was time to consider imposing a no-fly zone for Russian missiles, planes and helicopters in response to the Russian shelling of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

In a video address, Zelenskyy did not specify how and by whom a no-fly zone would be enforced. 

He said Russia had launched 56 rocket strikes and fired 113 cruise missiles against Ukraine in the past five days.

US orders 12 Russian diplomats from UN to leave America

The United States has said it is expelling 12 Russian diplomats at the United Nations for engaging in activities not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats.

US deputy ambassador Richard Mills confirmed the expulsions after Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council that he had just been informed of "yet another hostile step undertaken by the host country" against the Russian Mission.

Nebenzia called the US expulsions a "gross violation" of the UN agreement with the United States as the host of the United Nations and of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations.

Canada pledges more military aid to Ukraine

Canada will be supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons systems, upgraded ammunition and is banning all imports of crude oil from Russia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the shipments are in addition to the three previous shipments of lethal and non-lethal equipment. 

Canada announced this week it would be sending new shipments of military supplies, including body armour, helmets, gas masks, and night-vision goggles.

Canada does not import much oil from Russia.

Trudeau called for the end to the war, saying its costs would only grow steeper and that those responsible will be held accountable.

UN General Assembly set to isolate Russia

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly began meeting on the crisis in Ukraine ahead of a vote this week to isolate Russia by deploring its "aggression against Ukraine" and demanding Russian troops stop fighting and withdraw.

The General Assembly will vote this week on a draft resolution similar to a text vetoed by Russia in the 15-member Security Council on Friday. 

No country has a veto in the General Assembly and Western diplomats expect the resolution, which needs two-thirds support, to be adopted.

Navalny's supporters call for civil disobedience

The movement of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny called for a campaign of civil disobedience to protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Putin declared war on Ukraine and is trying to make everyone think that Ukraine was attacked by Russia, that is, by all of us. But that's not right," the Navalny team wrote on its Twitter account.

"We must show that we do not support the war. We call on Russians to show civil disobedience. Do not be silent."

Demonstrators shout slogans during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Demonstrators shout slogans during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in St. Petersburg, Russia. (AP)

Hungary won't allow Ukraine-bound weapons to pass

Hungary said that it would not allow weapons to be transported through its territory after the European Union pledged military aid to Kiev.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has sought to foster close ties with Moscow but Hungary has closed ranks with the rest of the EU on tough sanctions against Russia.

"We will not allow the transfer of deadly weapons across the Hungarian territory," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto wrote on Facebook.

He said the decision was taken to ensure the safety of Hungarians both in their country and across the border in Ukraine.

Russia expelled from World Cup

Russia has been expelled from the 2022 World Cup and its teams suspended from all international football competitions "until further notice" after its invasion of Ukraine, FIFA announced in a joint statement with UEFA.

The men's team had been due to play in qualifying play-offs in March for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, while its women's side had qualified for the European Championship in England, to be held in July.

The announcement also affects Russian clubs involved in European competitions.

FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Rus sian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice

Joint statement of FIFA and UEAFA

Russia expected to try and encircle Kiev in coming days

The United States expects Russian forces to try to encircle Kiev in the coming days and could become more aggressive out of frustration with their slow advance on the Ukrainian capital, a senior US defence official said.

"We expect that they're going to want to continue to move forward and try to encircle the city in the coming days," the official said, adding that Russian troops were about 25km from Kiev's city centre.

US officials believe that stiff Ukrainian resistance has slowed the progress of Russian troops and planning failures have left some Russian units without fuel or other supplies.

One of the things that could result is a reevaluation of their tactics and the potential for them to be more aggressive and more overt, in both the size and scale of their targeting of Kiev

A Senior US defense official

Moscow, Kiev plan 'second round' of conflict talks

Negotiators from Ukraine and Russia will return to their capital cities for consultations and have plans for fresh talks, both sides have announced after meeting for their first talks since the outbreak of war last week.

"The delegations are returning to their capitals for consultations and have discussed the possibility of meeting for a second round of negotiations soon," Ukrainian negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak said. 

"We agreed to keep the negotiations going," the Russian delegation head, Vladimir Medinsky said.

UN chief warns of 'disastrous implications' of Russia-Ukraine war

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of potential "disastrous implications" of Russian military actions in Ukraine and urged the protection of civilians.

"We are facing a tragedy for Ukraine, but also a major regional crisis with potentially disastrous implications for us all," said the UN chief in his remarks at a rare emergency session of the UN General Assembly.

Guterres also called for an end to the fighting in Ukraine, saying: "It is raging across the country, from air, land, and sea. It must stop now."

Nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons. The guns are talking now, but the path of dialogue must always remain open

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

Putin says Ukrainian neutrality key to any settlement

Russia's Vladimir Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron that a Ukraine settlement was only possible if Kiev was neutral, "denazified" and "demilitarised" and Russian control over annexed Crimea was formally recognised.

He made the comments in a telephone call with the French leader, the Kremlin said in a readout.

"Russia is open to talks with representatives of Ukraine and expects the talks to lead to the desired results," it said.

Handful of Russian media websites display anti-Putin message after hack

The websites of several Russian media outlets were hacked, with their regular sites replaced by an anti-war message and calls to stop President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

"Dear citizens. We urge you to stop this madness, do not send your sons and husbands to certain death," the message read. 

"Putin is forcing us to lie and is putting us in danger."

The website of Russian state news agency TASS, along with news websites,, and of the Izvestia outlet all suffered outages, with several displaying the message.

The news websites showed an anti-war message blaming President Vladimir Putin for forcing Russian journalists to lie.
The news websites showed an anti-war message blaming President Vladimir Putin for forcing Russian journalists to lie. (TASS)

Arab League calls for diplomacy over Ukraine

The Arab League has voiced concerns about the war in Ukraine, but it refrained from demanding an end to the Russian invasion. 

The pan-Arab organisation supports all ongoing efforts to resolve the crisis “through dialogue and diplomacy”, the organisation said in a communique after a meeting of representatives of the 22-member Arab League in Cairo.

The communique didn’t mention Russia, which has close ties with regional powers like Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

France freezes assets of the Russian Central Bank

France boosted its sanctions against Moscow on the fifth day of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The intensified economic and financial sanctions include the freezing of Russian Central Bank assets and cutting off of certain banks from the SWIFT network, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declared.

All of the bank's assets were frozen on Sunday night in a move that involved "very significant sums amounting to tens of billions of euros," Le Maire told reporters in Paris following a high-level defence council meeting.

UK warns against all travel to Russia

The UK government warned against "all travel to Russia", after the Kremlin ordered its troops into Ukraine, prompting swingeing Western sanctions.

"Available flight options to return to the UK are limited and the Russian economy is becoming increasingly volatile," the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office tweeted.

Borrell: EU to help Ukraine with intelligence

The European Union has asked its satellite centre in Madrid to provide intelligence to Ukraine about Russian troop movements and EU countries are determined to further increase their bilateral military support to Kiev.

The bloc's top envoy Josep Borrell told a news conference that the EU sanctions imposed on Russia will have a cost for Europe.

"But we have to be ready to pay the price, or we will have to pay a much higher price in the future," Borrell said.

Relations with Russia will no longer be determined by trade

Josep Borrell, Foreign Policy Chief of EU

Russia sent mercenaries to kill political leaders in Ukraine

Russia has sent 400 mercenaries to the capital city of Kiev to kill political leaders and high-level officials in the European country, Ihor Ostash, Ukrainian Ambassador to Lebanon, said.

Speaking to reporters at the embassy in Beirut on the Russian attacks on Ukraine, Ostash said the mercenaries are affiliated with Russian security company Wagner.

"According to information from Britain, Wagner sent 400 soldiers to Kiev to kill political leaders in Ukraine in return for a large amount of money. We are not afraid," he said.

Russian shelling kills 11 in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv

At least 11 civilians have been killed in Russian shelling on Ukraine's second most populated city Kharkiv, the regional governor said, adding dozens more had been injured.

"The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas," Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on the Telegram messaging app, saying that: "As a result of the bombardments that are ongoing, we cannot call on the emergency services... currently there are 11 dead and dozens wounded".

READ MORE: In pictures: Hundreds of thousands refugees flee Ukraine as fighting rages

Russia bans airlines from 36 countries

Russia has closed its airspace to flights by airlines from 36 countries including Britain, Germany and Canada in response to a slew of bans on its planes.

Moscow's statement came as Russian airlines are now unable to enter the airspace of the vast majority of European countries as well as Canada.

Airlines will only be able to enter Russian airspace with a special permit.

Hungary will not allow lethal weapons for Ukraine to transit its territory

Hungary will not send troops or weapons to Ukraine and will not allow lethal weapons to transit its territory in order to keep the country safe, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said during a visit to Kosovo.

"The reason for making this decision is that such deliveries might become targets of hostile military action and ... we have to ensure the security of Hungary ... that we are not getting involved in that war," Szijjarto said.

Japan to impose sanctions on Belarus over Ukraine war

Japan announced plans to sanction Belarus over the war between Russia and Ukraine.

"We will impose restrictions on transactions with Russia’s central bank and set in place new sanctions against Belarus," the office of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said following a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Refugees fleeing from Ukraine at Nyugati station, after Russia invaded Ukraine, in Budapest, Hungary.
Refugees fleeing from Ukraine at Nyugati station, after Russia invaded Ukraine, in Budapest, Hungary. (Reuters)

EU plans to grant Ukrainians right to stay for up to 3 years

The European Union is preparing to grant Ukrainians who flee the war the right to stay and work in the 27-nation bloc for up to three years as EU border states would get help to cope with the arrivals.

At least 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the EU so far, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said. 

"We have to prepare for millions (to arrive in the EU)," Johansson told a news conference after a visit to a border crossing between Romania and Ukraine.

US closes its embassy in Belarus

The United States has shuttered its embassy in Minsk and allowed non-emergency employees and family members to depart from its embassy in Moscow as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continued in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

"We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

A photo posted on Twitter by US ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher showed mission staff lowering the American flag. 

Ukraine seeks UN investigation into alleged Russia war crimes

Ukraine and its allies have called for a United Nations inquiry into possible war crimes committed by Russia during its actions in Ukraine.

A commission of three independent experts would investigate all alleged violations of international law in Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions since 2014 and in other areas of Ukraine since Russia's invasion last week.

Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Yevheniia Filipenko, told the Human Rights Council: "Russian forces' attempt to sow panic among the population by specifically targeting kindergartens and orphanages, hospitals and mobile medical aid brigades thus committing acts that may amount to war crimes."

Russian cluster bombs killing civilians: rights groups

Rights groups have called on Russia to stop using cluster munitions in Ukraine, saying fatal strikes using the indiscriminate weapons on a hospital and a school could constitute war crimes.

Amnesty International said cluster bombs hit a preschool in northeastern Ukraine on Friday that was being used to shelter civilians, killing three people, including a child.

The rights groups said the attack in the town of Okhtyrka "may constitute a war crime", after images showed cluster munitions struck at least seven locations on or near the school.

France sends humanitarian aid to Poland, Moldova

France has launched a crisis management mechanism to facilitate humanitarian aid to Poland and Moldova in order to help Ukrainian refugees displaced by the Russian intervention.

A consignment of 33 tons of material of food, medicine, blankets, and tents has been sent to Poland, and a similar package of 30 tons will be sent to Moldova.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that the aid package contains "everything that will help people and children to be welcomed in the best conditions."

Children being treated at a pediatrics hospital have their beds placed in the basement of the hospital which is being used as a bomb shelter.
Children being treated at a pediatrics hospital have their beds placed in the basement of the hospital which is being used as a bomb shelter. (AFP)

Slovakia to send more military supplies to Ukraine

Slovakia's prime minister Eduard Heger announced that his government has approved “further military assistance” to Kiev after speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the phone.

He stated that the assistance included 486 air-defence missiles, anti-tank rockets, and 100 air defence launchers, and vowed that "we'll continue supporting our neighbour in all areas."

South Korea joins US, bans strategic materials export to Russia

South Korea joined the US and its allies in announcing sanctions against Russia over attacks on Ukraine.

Announcing the decision, the Foreign Ministry said that Seoul has banned the export of strategic materials to Russia and removed Moscow from the SWIFT payment system, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Russia's envoy in South Korea warned the move could change relations between the two countries. 

The decision is deeply regrettable, Russia-South Korea relations have developed only in a positive way in the past 30 years. The upward trajectory, I think, will now change course

Andrey Kulik, Russia's Ambassador to South Korea

Spain to propose banning Russian ships from EU ports

Spain will propose banning Russian ships from EU ports and waters, the country’s transport minister said.

Raquel Sanchez said Spain is leading the charge in Europe to bring sanctions against Russia to the maritime space.

She also said banning Russian ships from Spanish waters is also on the table, even though it would mean breaking international agreements.

We are proposing a series of measures that range from banning the importation and exportation of ships, to banning supplying Russian vessels and the measure that I believe would be most effective - banning ships with the Russian flag from docking in Spanish ports.

Raquel Sanchez, Transport Minister of Spain

Ukraine demands ‘immediate ceasefire’, Russian withdrawal

Ukraine has demanded an immediate Russian ceasefire and troop withdrawal as a Kiev delegation arrived for talks with Russian negotiators on the fifth day of the Kremlin's offensive against the country.

"The key issue of the talks is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine," the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said talks between Ukraine and Russia had begun, shortly after the Ukrainian side said the same.

Russia looking to reach agreement with Ukraine

Russia wants to reach agreement with Ukraine to put an end to their conflict, a Kremlin negotiator has said.

"We definitely have an interest in reaching some agreements as soon as possible," Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide, Vladimir Medinsky who travelled to Belarus for the talks, said in televised remarks.

Zelenskyy demands 'immediate' EU membership for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the European Union to grant his country immediate membership.

"We appeal to the European Union for the immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure," the 44-year-old leader said in a new video address.

"Our goal is to be together with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be on an equal footing. I'm sure it's fair. I'm sure it's possible."

China calls for de-escalation as Ukraine talks begin

Beijing has called for de-escalation and "restraint" over the Ukraine crisis as Russia and Ukraine prepared to meet for their first talks since Moscow's invasion of its western neighbour.

China has trod a cautious diplomatic tightrope on the crisis as it tries to balance its core foreign policy line - that a country's sovereignty is sacrosanct and others should not interfere - with its support for close ally Moscow.

Instead it has called for Russia's "reasonable" security demands to be heard, repeatedly refusing to condemn Putin's actions or use the term "invasion".

Over 100 civilians killed in Ukraine war: UN

At least 102 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded five days ago, the UN human rights chief has said, warning true numbers could be far higher.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet said her office had recorded 406 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 102 deaths, since Russia began its full-scale attack last Thursday.

"Most of these civilians were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and airstrikes," she said, warning "the real figures are, I fear, considerably higher".

Turkish, Ukrainian defence ministers hold phone call

In a phone call, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov have discussed the latest developments in Ukraine after Russia's military intervention.

Akar said that Ankara will continue working for peace in the region while continuing its humanitarian aid to Ukraine, according to Türkiye’s National Defence Ministry.

Reznikov also thanked Akar for both humanitarian aid and peace efforts by Türkiye.

Ukraine says world’s largest plane damaged

Ukraine’s defence industry conglomerate has said the world’s largest plane that was in regular operation was heavily damaged in fighting with Russian troops at the airport outside Kiev where it was parked.

The Ukroboronprom company said in a statement that the Antonov-225 was “destroyed” but would be repaired.

The An-225, which is operated by Ukroboronprom’s subsidiary Antonov Airlines, is used to move exceptionally large cargos and has a 84-metre (290-foot) wingspan.

Türkiye’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine arrives at Romanian border

Turkish aid trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Ukraine have reached Romania.

Besides five truck-loads of humanitarian aid waiting at Romania’s southern Giurgiu border gate with Bulgaria, a total of 26 buses that will evacuate Turkish nationals from Ukraine are expected to arrive in Ukraine.

Bus drivers Ergin Ermis and Murat Tamer said they had a difficult journey from Istanbul to Romania due to snowstorm.

Russia says its troops take two towns in southeast Ukraine

Russian forces have taken over the towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhya region, Interfax news agency quoted Russia's defence ministry as saying.

The area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant was also taken over, while the plant's operations continued normally, Interfax reported Russia saying.

Ukraine, however, denies reports that Russia has taken over the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant.

Venue for Ukraine-Russia talks 'ready'

Belarus has prepared the venue that will host talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia, and is expecting the arrival of delegations from both countries, the Belarusian foreign ministry said.

Separately, Belarusian foreign ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said: "The talks will start as soon as all the delegations arrive at the meeting point."

Kiev was initially reluctant to send a delegation to Belarus, given the country's role as facilitator in Russia's attack on Ukraine as a key Kremlin ally.

UK says Putin nuclear remarks aimed to distract from Ukraine troubles

Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the prospect of readying a nuclear deterrent in order to distract from a lack of progress in the invasion of Ukraine, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

"He's made this comment. We keep it under review," Wallace told Sky News after Putin said he was putting Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert.

"But you know, what we shouldn't really forget is that this is a big attempt to distract away from his troubles in Ukraine by just deploying into the sort of media space these phrases."

Rare UN General Assembly session to have say on Russia

The United Nations is set to hold a rare emergency special session of the General Assembly to discuss whether to condemn Moscow's attack on Ukraine.

All 193 members will have their say as the global body decides if it will support a resolution condemning Russia's "unprovoked armed aggression" in Ukraine and demand its immediate withdrawal.

It is only the 11th time in the UN's history that such an emergency session has been held.

Ukraine says Russian troops ‘reduced pace of offensive’

The Ukrainian military has said that "Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive, but are still trying to develop success in some areas."

Ukraine forces, backed by Western arms, have managed to slow the advance of the Russian army.

The military also accused Russia of launching a missile strike on residential buildings in the cities of Zhytomyr and Chernigiv in the country's northwest and north.

US official: Belarus may join Russia in Ukraine

Belarus is expected to send troops into Ukraine soon to fight alongside Russian forces that invaded Ukraine last week, a senior US intelligence official has said.

Belarus has been providing support for Russia’s war effort, but so far has not taken a direct part in the conflict.

The decision by Belarus’ leader on whether to bring the country further into the war depends on talks between Russia and Ukraine happening in the coming days, the anonymous official said.

Internet monitor says Russia blocking Facebook

Russia rendered Facebook largely unusable across leading Russian telecommunications providers amid rising friction between Moscow and the social media platform, internet monitor NetBlocks has reported.

Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor had announced plans to “partially restrict” access to Facebook on Friday while Facebook’s head of security policy said they were barring Russian state media from running ads or profiting on its platform.

Facebook says it has also refused a request by the Kremlin not to run fact checks related to Russia’s activities in Ukraine on the platform for users inside Russia.

Fake social media accounts aimed at Ukraine, says Meta

Pro-Russia groups are orchestrating misinformation campaigns on social media, using fake profiles or hacked accounts to paint Ukraine as a feeble pawn of Western duplicity, Meta has said.

The cyber security team at the tech giant, parent of Facebook and Instagram, said it blocked a set of Russia-linked fake accounts that were part of a social media scheme to undermine Ukraine's efforts to defend itself.

Meta said it connected the network to people in Russia and Ukraine, as well as media organisations NewsFront and SouthFront in Crimea.

UN: Ukraine radioactive waste site struck

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has said missiles have hit a radioactive waste disposal site in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, but there are no reports of damage to the buildings or indications of a release of radioactive material.

In a statement, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said Ukrainian authorities informed his office about the overnight strike. 

He said his agency expects to soon receive the results of on-site radioactive monitoring.

The report came a day after an electrical transformer at a similar disposal facility in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was damaged.

Such facilities typically hold low-level radioactive materials such as waste from hospitals and industry, but Grossi says the two incidents highlight a "very real risk." 

He said if the sites are damaged there could be "potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment."

Australia to send lethal weapons to Ukraine

Australia has said it will provide "lethal" military equipment to Ukraine to help the Ukrainians resist the Russian troops.

The Australian government's announcement gave no details on what material it may be sending.

The move follows an offer on Friday of non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies and a $3 million contribution to a NATO trust fund for support of the besieged country.

Australia has imposed sanctions on more than 350 Russian individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin since Thursday.

Australia has also targeted with sanctions 13 individuals and entities in Belarus, including that country's Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin. 

Minsk is supporting Russia in its war with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, blasts were heard in Ukrainian capital of Kiev and in the major city of Kharkiv in morning, Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection said.

Kiev had been quiet for a few hours prior to that, it said in a brief statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine: More than 350 civilians dead in Russian military assaults

Ukraine's Interior Ministry has said 352 Ukrainian civilians have been killed during Russia's military campaign, including 14 children. 

It said an additional 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded.

The ministry's statement did not give any information on casualties among Ukraine's armed forces.

Russia says its troops are targeting only Ukrainian military facilities, adding that Ukraine's civilian population is not in danger.

Russia has not released any information on casualties among its troops. 

The Russian Defense Ministry however acknowledged on Sunday that Russian soldiers have been killed and wounded, without giving any numbers.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the next 24 hours are crucial for Ukraine, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Johnson said the UK and its allies would do everything possible to guarantee that defensive aid reached Ukraine, the spokesperson said in a statement. 

European subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank 'failing or likely to fail'

The European subsidiary of Russia's state-owned Sberbank is facing bankruptcy, the European Central Bank has said, in the wake of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for its war on Ukraine.

Sberbank Europe AG, headquartered in Austria and with branches in Croatia and Slovenia, has "experienced significant deposit outflows as a result of the reputational impact of geopolitical tensions", the ECB said on Monday.

"The European Central Bank (ECB) has assessed that Sberbank Europe AG and its two subsidiaries in the banking union, Sberbank d.d. in Croatia and Sberbank banka d.d. in Slovenia, are failing or likely to fail owing to a deterioration of their liquidity situation," the ECB said in a statement.

"The bank is likely to be unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due," it added.

For live updates from Sunday (February 27) click 👉🏽 here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies