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Here we follow all developments on the military offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine today.

19.30pm – UK sanctions two more oligarchs

Russian billionaire of Uzbek origin Alisher Usmanov and former Russian deputy prime minister Igor Chouvalov were sanctioned directly by the United Kingdom, the British Foreign Office announced in a statement.

Usmanov had already been sidelined by the Everton football club.

“Sanctioning Usmanov and Chouvalov sends a clear message that we will hit the oligarchs and individuals closest to the Putin regime and its barbaric war. We won’t stop here. Our objective is to paralyze the Russian economy and take food from Putin’s war machine.”

19:13 – Russian secret services accuse West of wanting to “destroy” Russia

The director of the SVR, the Russian intelligence services, Serguey Narychkin, in a threatening text accused the West of intending to “destroy” Russia and justified the invasion of Ukraine with Kyiv’s desire to equip itself with nuclear weapons with the knowledge and support of the United States.

“Masks fall off. The West is not just looking to surround Russia with a new ‘iron ring’. These are attempts to destroy our state – its “nullification”, declared Narychkin, in a long text analyzing Russian-Western relations.

“Today, the war has approached the very borders of our homeland. So for us it is no longer exactly a ‘cold’ war but on the contrary ‘hot’”, he added.

In a reply tweet, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba denounced yet another “hallucination” by the head of the SVR.

“Again I refute this sick lie. Ukraine has always been and remains a responsible member of the NPT”, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

18:30 – Nearly 7,000 Russian scientists against the invasion of Ukraine

More than 6,900 Russian scientists, mathematicians and academics have signed an open letter to President Vladimir Putin to protest “firmly” against the war in Ukraine.

“We, the scientists and science journalists working in Russia, strongly protest against the military invasion of Ukraine launched by the Russian army” a week ago, they wrote in a letter published by the website trv-science.runews

The letter’s more than 6,900 signatories risk fines and imprisonment under legislation adopted a few years ago that authorizes Russian authorities to prosecute any citizens who criticize the government.

This week, the Russian parliament began debating a bill to strengthen sanctions against critics of the war in Ukraine.

18:25 – Fights in Enerdogar

Russian forces are fighting for control of a vital energy-producing city in southern Ukraine and have also gained ground in an attempt to isolate the country from the sea.

The Energodar footage shows fire and thick smoke along the road leading to the city.

Residents are erecting barricades along the road with cars and tires to stop Russian troops from advancing.

The authorities of Energodar, where the largest nuclear power plant in Europe is located, say that Ukrainian forces are fighting Russian troops on the outskirts of the city.

Self-defense units, along with nuclear plant staff and volunteers, are on 24-hour surveillance to protect the city.

With Russians at the gates of the city, residents are asked not to leave their homes.

18:20 – US coordinates Ukrainian air defense

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that he was coordinating with his US counterpart Antony Blinken the reinforcement of Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and the extension of sanctions on Russia.

“Russia must cease hostilities to allow the opening of humanitarian corridors,” Kulena wrote on Twitter.

18:10 – Queen Elizabeth II makes “substantial” donation to refugees

“Thank you so much to Her Majesty the Queen for continuing to support the Disaster Emergency Committee and for making a generous donation to the DEC Humanitarian Appeal for Ukraine,” tweeted an alliance of British charities.

Buckingham Palace said this is a private matter and declined to release further details.

18:00 – State of play

The Ukrainian president wants to speak directly with Vladimir Putin. Zelensky argues that this dialogue “is the only way to stop the war”. And he accused Russia of wanting to attack other European targets next to recreate the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin also spoke out and accused Ukrainian forces, which he dubbed “neo-Nazis”, of using civilians as “human shields” following “fascist” tactics, assuring that he is defending Ukrainian “brothers”.

The second round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine ended a moment ago. It was agreed to create a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians.

Kiev is under bombing. The Russians already control the city of Kherson, in the south of the country. It is the first major city taken by Russia. The bombing of two schools and residences killed at least 33 people in a northern town.

“The worst is yet to come” warns the French president. The head of French diplomacy also assured that the ceasefire is essential and urgent for the negotiations.

5:54 pm – White House asks US Congress to help Kiev

The White House announced today that it has asked the US Congress for around €30 billion for humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and to fund the new anti-covid strategy.

The financial package includes around US$10 billion (around €9 billion) to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons so that the Kiev government can protect the Ukrainian power grid and combat cyber and disinformation attacks by part of the Russian invader, the White House said in a statement.

This money will also allow the United States to finance the response against Moscow, starting with sanctions against Russian oligarchs.

17:45 – Unicef. More than 500,000 refugee children in a week

UNICEF today denounced that the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused “more than half a million refugee children” in the space of a week, warning of the “tragic consequences” and the “very high price” of this conflict.

“The use of explosives in cities could quickly turn this crisis into a catastrophe for Ukraine’s children. There are no armed operations of this scale that do not result in harm to children. The consequences will be tragic,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia, quoted in a communiqué.

In the information note, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports the death of 17 children and the injuries of another 30 since February 24 (the day of the beginning of the Russian invasion), noting that these figures are “only the reports that the United Nations were able to verify” and that the number of casualties “is probably much higher”.

The organization that forms part of the United Nations system said that the conflict forced the displacement of a significant part of Ukraine’s population, which “may soon constitute one of the biggest refugee crises in Europe since World War II”, underlining the reports of schools, orphanages and health centers badly damaged.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are without drinking water due to damage to water supply infrastructure, and many have been prevented from accessing other basic services such as healthcare. The country is running out of essential medical supplies and has been forced to stop ongoing efforts to stop a polio outbreak,” the same statement said.

17:38 – The second round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations ended

It was agreed to establish a humanitarian corridor to help Ukrainian civilians.

However, expectations on both sides were not fulfilled. A third round was therefore scheduled, still with no date or place.

17:34 – 33 confirmed dead in Chernigiv

The latest balance of Russian bombings in Chernigiv points to 33 dead, announced the Ukrainian emergency services.

Two schools and residential homes in the city were hit and relief efforts amidst the smoldering rubble continue.

5:30 pm – Portugal has already received 530 requests for temporary protection

Since Tuesday, Portugal has received 530 requests for temporary protection under the resolution approved by the Council of Ministers to host refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Secretary of State for Internal Affairs announced today.

On the endorsement of temporary protection agreed by the 27, it reveals unconditional solidarity from the EU, said the Portuguese minister

17:38 – The second round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations ended

It was agreed to establish a humanitarian corridor to help Ukrainian civilians.

However, expectations on both sides were not fulfilled. A third round was therefore scheduled, still with no date or place.

17:34 – 33 confirmed dead in Chernigiv

The latest balance of Russian bombings in Chernigiv points to 33 dead, announced the Ukrainian emergency services.

Two schools and residential homes in the city were hit and relief efforts amidst the smoldering rubble continue.

5:30 pm – Portugal has already received 530 requests for temporary protection

Since Tuesday, Portugal has received 530 requests for temporary protection under the resolution approved by the Council of Ministers to host refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Secretary of State for Internal Affairs announced today.

On the endorsement of temporary protection agreed by the 27, it reveals unconditional solidarity from the EU, said the Portuguese minister

17:23 – BASF suspends new contracts with Russia

The largest chemical group in the world, German BASF, announced the suspension of all business with Russia and Belarus with the exception of food production, with immediate effect.

“BASF will not conclude any new contracts with Russia and Belarus, except in the food production sector as part of humanitarian measures,” quoted German magazine Wirtschafts Woche from a company statement.

“With immediate effect, BASF will only fulfill existing contractual obligations with Russia and Belarus in accordance with applicable law, and international regulations and rules.”

5:15 pm – Russian tycoon offers reward for Vladimir Putin’s arrest

Alex Konanykhin, exiled in the United States, posted a post on social media in which he claims to offer one million dollars for the arrest of Vladimir Putin. The Russian businessman called Putin a “war criminal” and assured that he will continue to help Ukraine and try to “denazify” Russia.

17:06 – Moldavia officially proposes its application for membership of the European Union.

16:57 – Vladimir Putin speaks on television

“Russians and Ukrainians are one people”, the Russian President began by saying, then accusing the Ukrainians of resorting to “fascist” tactics, using civilians as “human shields” and placing weapons and armor in residential areas.

“We want to protect the civilian populations” he guaranteed in a statement on Russian state television, on the eighth day of the invasion of Ukraine and after a meeting of his Security Council. “Our soldiers are defending our country” against Ukraine’s “neo-Nazis”, “including against nuclear weapons”.

Vladimir Putin also promised monetary compensation to the families of soldiers who fell in the operations, adding that Russian military operations are proceeding according to plans.

“The special military operation is proceeding strictly on schedule, as planned,” Putin said.

On Wednesday, Russia said 498 Russian soldiers had been killed and 1,597 others were wounded.

16:37 – “Planes, we need planes” appeals Zelensky

President Volodymyr Zelensky assured, at a press conference in the bunker where he has been sheltering in Kiev, that he wants peace and is willing to have a direct dialogue with President Vladimir Putin, applauding the union and alliances that “protect the little ones” and guarantee that “we all have the same rights”.

Zelensky thanked Ukraine for the support it has received and revealed to talk to world leaders without any bureaucracy, but mainly asked for “airplanes”, describing the current situation in Ukraine as “very difficult” due to the disproportion of forces.

“If you don’t have the strength to close the sky, then give us planes!” appealed. The Ukrainian president has called for an area exclusion zone of space over Ukraine, a request already refused by Western leaders due to fears of internationalization of the war.

“We are very united and Russia is afraid of that”, affirmed Zelensky, to explain the Russian motives for the war and accusing Putin of wanting to “conquer countries of the former USSR”.

The Ukrainian president has repeatedly assured journalists that his country wants peace and that he is willing to speak directly with Vladimir Putin.

“I have to talk to Putin”, he said, stressing that he will remain in Kiev and considering that the direct conversation between them “is the only way to stop the war” and adding that he is “open”, “ready to address all issues” with the Russian President.

“I just want my children to have a future. Mine and everyone else’s,” he said. “I want to ask the world not to give up support”, the Ukrainian president also appealed.

16:25 – Oil drops after breaking series records

The barrel of Brent came to be traded at 119.84 dollars to end up falling to 112.21 around 15:00.

New York’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose to $116.57, a record since 2008, before falling to $108.75.

Metals and agricultural products, of which Russia is one of the main producers, also remain uncontrolled due to the uncertainty created by the Ukrainian conflict.

16:08 – Canada imposes 35% import tariffs on Russian and Belarusian products

Canada will on Thursday revoke the special status granted to Russia and Belarus and impose 35 percent customs duties on products from both countries, announced Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Feeland.

“Russia and Belarus will not continue to benefit from advantages, particularly low tariffs, that Canada allows to World Trade Organization member countries,” she explained.

Until now, only North Korea paid 35 percent of customs duties in Canada.

16:03 – Russia doubles efforts to control Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have stepped up efforts to take control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the south-east of the country.

The Russians are trying to get past the barricades built on the roads by residents and local Ukrainian defense ground forces, Interior Minister Anton Herashchenkos said in an online publication.

Another contingent was trying to take over the town of Energodar where the plant’s workers live. The situation is “alarming”, said another Ukrainian ministerial source, Vadym Denysenko.

15:56 – Kremlin studies imposition of Martial Law in Moscow

3:51 pm – Zelensky wants to speak with Vladimir Putin, “the only way to stop the war”

“I have to talk to Putin”, said Zelensky at a press conference in Kiev, considering that the direct conversation between them “is the only way to stop the war” and adding that he is “open”, “ready to address all questions ” with the Russian President.

15:50 – European agreement to grant “temporary special protection” to refugees

The EU agreed to grant “temporary protection” to refugees. The 27 member states of the European Union have just reached an agreement for the “temporary protection” of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The news was announced a moment ago by the French government minister Gérald Darmanin and the European commissioner Ylva Johansson.

“Historic decision by the Justice and Home Affairs Council at the moment: the EU will give temporary protection to those fleeing the war in Ukraine”, announced the European Commissioner for the Protection, Ylva Johansson, in a publication on the social network Twitter.

Also on that platform, representing the French presidency of the Council of the EU, the French minister responsible for it, Gérald Darmanin, spoke of a “historic agreement”.

“The European Union is united to save lives”, said Ylva Johansson and Gérald Darmanin.

At today’s extraordinary meeting, the EU’s Home Affairs ministers endorsed the proposal presented on Wednesday by the European Commission to activate the directive allowing temporary protection to refugees, aimed at Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, as well as the creation of emergency “corridors” in cross-border controls.

The UN estimates that the first seven days of the conflict have already resulted in more than one million refugees.

15:48 – Loukoil, Russian oil giant calls for an end to the war with Ukraine

Loukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil company, on Thursday called for a “fast end” to the war in Ukraine, becoming the first major national company to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We advocate a speedy end to the armed conflict and fully support its solution through a process of negotiation and diplomacy,” the company’s management said in a statement.

The oil company said it was “concerned by the current tragic events in Ukraine” and expressed “its deep sympathy for all those affected by this tragedy”. Lukoil also assured “to do everything possible to continue to operate stably in all countries and regions” of the world.

15:38 – At least 22 bodies recovered from rubble

Ukraine’s emergency services are looking for more victims among ruins caused by Russian air strikes in the Chernihiv region. So far 22 bodies have been found.

The digitally published publication does not mention the precise location but minutes ago the governor of Chernigiv reported nine dead in a first assessment of Russian aerial bombings that hit two schools and a residential neighborhood.

15:27 – Russia accuses BBC of internal destabilization

A spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the BBC, the British official television, of being used to weaken the internal political situation in Russia.

Maria Zakharova stated that foreign media including those from the UK give the world a partial view.

15:25 – Arctic Council suspends meetings

The Arctic Council countries canceled their trip to Russia for a new round of meetings on sharing the region’s resources, in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, and will suspend participation in all Council meetings.

In a joint statement, the countries “condemned Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlined the serious impediments to international cooperation, including in the Arctic, that Russian actions have provoked.”

The Arctic Council includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States, in addition to Russia.

15:20 – Three topics on the negotiating table

The adviser to the Ukrainian president also published on the social network Twitter an image of the beginning of the negotiations, listing in the caption the three major topics on the table: “immediate ceasefire, armistice and the creation of humanitarian corridors for the withdrawal of civilians from cities. destroyed or subject to constant bombardment”.

15:10 – Nine dead in Chernigiv in attack on schools

The information was provided by the local governor. Nine people were victims of a Russian attack. Two schools and residential areas in the northern Ukrainian village were hit.

“Russian aviation attacked two schools in the neighborhood of Stara Podsoudovka, rescuers are working. According to the emergency services, a preliminary toll gives nine dead and four injured,” Governor Viatcheslav Tchaous wrote on his Telegram account, along with photographs. and a video of the buildings in ruins.

Located 140 kilometers northeast of Kiev, Cherniguiv was attacked by Russian troops on February 25, the day after the start of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, and is situated on one of the main roads leading to the capital.

15:00 – Second round of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow has already started

The second round of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow has already begun, according to the adviser to the Ukrainian president, quoted by international agencies. The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reported the start of talks, sharing an image of the negotiating table on the social network Twitter.

The Ukrainian delegation has just arrived in Brest, a Belarusian city on the border with Ukraine where the negotiations will take place.

The two sides are expected to discuss the possibility of a ceasefire and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor. The Russian delegation says it has a block of proposals to discuss that include technical-military, humanitarian and political aspects.

14:47 – What are the real chances of Ukraine joining the European Union?

Ukraine has been reiterating its interest in joining the European Union. On Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a formal application for membership, demanding “the immediate entry of Ukraine”. But the process is complex, time-consuming and can drag on for several years or even decades.

In fact, the EU itself assumes these difficulties: “Becoming a member of the EU is a complex procedure and does not happen overnight”.

14:24 – Macron after phone conversation with Putin: “The worst is yet to come”

The French president spoke this Thursday with his Russian counterpart. According to the Élysée Palace, the French head of state was convinced that “the worst is yet to come” after the telephone call with Vladimir Putin, according to AFP.

Putin expressed “great determination” to continue the offensive and assumed that the main objective is to secure control of the entire country.

Putin told Macron that the offensive was “proceeding according to Moscow’s plans” and that it will only get worse if Ukrainians continue to reject the Kremlin’s demands.

“Nothing in what President Putin said was reassuring,” Emmanuel Macron’s adviser later described, adding that Putin reiterated the “narrative” that he was trying to “denazify Ukraine”.

“He is lying to himself,” Macron replied to his Russian counterpart, according to the same official. “It will cost your country dearly, your country will end up isolated, weakened and under sanctions for a long time.”

14:04 – Ukrainian delegation arrived at the place of negotiations with Russia

The Russian agency Tass said that the Ukrainian delegation had already arrived in Brest, a Belarusian city on the border with Ukraine where the second round of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow will take place.

The Ukrainian delegation expected to arrive earlier at the meeting place, but logistical difficulties ended up delaying the arrival of the delegation.

The Russian delegation arrived at the scene on Wednesday night. The two sides are expected to discuss the possibility of a ceasefire and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor. The Russian delegation says it has a block of proposals to discuss that include technical-military, humanitarian and political aspects.

13:51 – Poland, Ukraine’s neighbor, increases Defense budget to 3% of GDP

The country will increase the Defense budget for 2023, from 2.2% to 3% of GDP.

In recent years, Poland is one of the NATO members that meets the requirement of at least 2% of GDP in defense spending.

1:48 pm – Portuguese, Russian and Ukrainian doctors create humanitarian support office

The Order of Ukrainian and Russian Doctors and Doctors created a humanitarian support office to help refugees along the borders with Ukraine and even provide support in Ukrainian hospitals.

The decision came after meetings of the Order of Physicians with around two hundred Ukrainian and Russian doctors, many of them with dual nationality, who practice in Portugal and who conveyed that help can be provided at various levels.

They indicate that this help can be provided by sending food, medicines and other medical and surgical material that will be decisive in caring for the wounded among the civilian and military population and refugees.

The objective, says the chairman, Miguel Guimarães, is “to help Ukrainian doctors, Russian doctors and, above all, to help the people who are being massacred in a war that should never have happened”.

1:44 pm – Hospital S. João with 138 beds to accommodate the wounded and sick

Hospital de São João, in Porto, will have 138 beds available in various specialties, including Pediatrics, to accommodate Ukrainian patients if necessary.

The information was provided by Nelson Pereira, director of the Autonomous Unit for Emergency Management and Intensive Medicine, in statements to the Lusa agency.

The hospital guarantees “readiness” in specialties such as Orthopedics, Plastic Surgery, Physical Rehabilitation Medicine and Oncology.

“One of the great consequences of any conflict is the interruption of the treatment of tumor diseases”, recalls the person in charge.

1:30 pm – Kiev requests suspension of Moscow’s participation in the WTO

Ukraine has requested the suspension of Russia’s participation in the World Trade Organization. At the WTO as at other international organizations in Geneva and elsewhere, the Ukrainian authorities are stepping up efforts to isolate Russia.

Bryce Baschuk, a Bloomberg journalist specializing in WTO-related matters, citing the Organization’s Article 21 on national security.

13:10 – Putin told Macron that Russia will fulfill its objectives in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that the goals of the Russian operation in Ukraine – its demilitarization and neutral status – will be achieved no matter what.

Putin said that any attempt by Kiev to delay the negotiations would cause Moscow to add more points to its list of demands.

12:47 – Governor of Mariupol says Russian forces are trying to blockade the city

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Russian troops were trying to create a blockade around the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, cutting off rail links to stop civilians from leaving.

Constant attacks over the last 24 hours have cut off water and electricity supplies. Boichenko says local authorities need a ceasefire to restore electricity.

“The invaders are systematically and methodically trying to blockade the city of Mariupol,” said the governor.

The city was bombed for 15 consecutive hours. Russia’s latest attacks on the Ukrainian port city have claimed more than 100 fatalities.

12:32 – Nuclear threat looms over “all humanity”, says UN

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned this Thursday of the nuclear threat looming over “all humanity” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Russian Federation’s military attack on Ukraine has opened a new and dangerous chapter in world history”, underlined Michelle Bachelet at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) debate, taking place in Geneva.

“The increase in the nuclear weapons alert level underlines the seriousness of the risks for all of humanity,” she added.

A few days after the start of the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian army’s deterrent forces to be placed on special alert, including nuclear weapons, which sparked strong protests in the West.

The 47 member states of the HRC are meeting for an urgent debate on the war in Ukraine, at the request of Kiev, which has drafted a resolution demanding an international investigation.

The Russian representative at the UN Human Rights Council said earlier that he sees “no need to pursue today’s debate”.

12:05 – Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia begin “in the next few hours”

A Ukrainian delegation is in a helicopter en route to Belarus to continue negotiations with Russia. Negotiations begin “within a few hours,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.

According to Ukrainian negotiator Davyd Arakhamia, talks start at 2 pm. Kiev’s priority this Thursday is to discuss opening humanitarian corridors before addressing other issues, he added.

A few minutes ago, the Belarusian state news agency Belta said that negotiations should start at 12:00, citing the chief negotiator representing Russia, Vladimir Medinsky.

11:30 am – War in Ukraine. Essential information at this time

– Precisely a week ago, Russia began its military offensive against Ukraine. Today, the defense lines continue to resist the attacks, with “relentless” bombing over the last few hours, according to Ukrainian President Zolodymyr Zelensky.

– This morning, the Russian Foreign Minister accused the West of preparing for a war against Moscow. In a press conference, Sergei Lavrov indicated that the nuclear threat “is in the head” of the adversaries and not of the Russian leaders, guaranteeing that “no provocation” will unbalance Moscow.

The head of Russian diplomacy also said that the Russian offensive will continue “until the end” and that one of the objectives remains to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.

– On the ground, the situation is complicated in several cities. This is the case in Mariupol, where authorities accuse Russia of bombing critical civilian infrastructure, cutting off access to water, heating and energy.

The cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv remain in the hands of Ukrainian authorities despite the attacks. The port city of Kherson will already be in Russian hands, says Moscow.

In Kiev, the 60-kilometre military column at the city’s gates remains stationary, in an apparent sign of tactical failure and technical problems in the military operation.

– Despite territorial attacks and heated rhetoric on both sides, Russia and Ukraine are preparing for the second round of negotiations, to be held in Belarus from 12:00.

11:14 am – Finnish president calls for “cool head” in NATO membership debate

The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, asked this Thursday that the country try to keep calm in the debate on possible accession to NATO.

“In the midst of an acute crisis like this, it is particularly important to keep a cool head and carefully assess the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on our security,” he said after a meeting with lawmakers and defense officials.

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine has sparked a heated debate in Finland over whether the country – militarily unaligned, with a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, which remained neutral during the Cold War – should or should not apply to NATO.

According to a recent poll, and for the first time, a majority of Finns are in favor of accession.

11:01 am – IKEA temporarily closes stores in Russia and Belarus, move affects more than 15,000 employees

“The war is having a huge human impact and is causing serious disruptions to the supply chain and business conditions, which is why company groups have decided to temporarily pause IKEA’s operations in Russia.”

10:58 am – Volkswagen suspends activities in Russia

The German car maker announced this Thursday that it will suspend production and export of vehicles to Russia until further notice.

Production at the Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod plants will be suspended until further notice and vehicle exports to Russia will cease with immediate effect.

10:42 am – Talks between Russia and Ukraine resume this Thursday

The second round of negotiations between the two countries should start this Thursday in Belarus, the Belarusian news agency Belta advances, citing the main negotiator for Russia, Vladimir Medinsky.

10:38 am – At least 227 civilians died – UN

A statement from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates that at least 227 civilians have died in Ukraine, including 15 children and a total of 28 minors. At least 525 civilians were injured in the first week of the conflict.

10:30 am – Port of Mariupol surrounded by Russian troops

Anton Herashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, said this Thursday that the port of Mariupol, in southern Ukraine, is surrounded by Russian troops.

“The occupiers want to turn it into besieged Leningrad,” he said, referring to the Soviet city surrounded by Nazi Germany.

“Deliberately, during the last seven days, they are destroying the critical infrastructure that supports the city’s life. We have no light, water or heating, again”, say the local leaders of Mariupol.

“We are being destroyed as a nation. This is the genocide of the Ukrainian people,” said the statement, quoted by Reuters.

10:24 am – “We will not allow any provocation to unbalance us”

“The topic of nuclear attacks is constantly on the minds of Western politicians, but not on the minds of Russians. I assure you that we will not allow any kind of provocation to unbalance us”, said Sergei Lavrov.

Also during the press conference, in response to attacks on civilian areas and buildings, the Russian MNE assured that Russian troops have concrete orders to use high-precision weapons and must only target military infrastructure.

10:16 – “The West cannot ignore our worries forever”

Speaking to Russian state television this Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the West “knows about Russia’s concerns” and will have to address them sooner or later.

He accused NATO of trying to maintain military supremacy and also assured that Moscow will continue the military operation in Ukraine “until the end”, with one of the main objectives being to prevent Ukraine from joining the Atlantic Alliance.

9:46 am – World leaders are preparing war against Russia, denounces Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that he believes some world leaders are preparing for a war against Russia.

He further accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of presiding over “a society where Nazism flourishes”.

9:41 am – French customs authorities seize another cargo ship with connections to Russia

The ship “Pola Ariake” sails under the flag of Panama, but French authorities indicate that it has Russian-owned ties.

She is the second Russian freighter that French authorities have seized in the English Channel in the space of a week for checks related to sanctions imposed on Russia.

9:21 am – Civilians block Russian troops from entering Energodar. Ukrainian MNE calls for closure of airspace

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba published a photograph this morning of a huge group of civilians occupying a road in order to prevent the advance of Russian troops on Energodar.

“This is a real people’s war for Ukraine. Putin has no chance of winning,” says the Ukrainian MNE.

“We need partners to help defend Ukraine. Especially in the air. Close airspace now!” appeals Dmytro Kuleba.

9:16 am – Zelensky says defense lines continue to resist Russian attacks

In a video published this Thursday, the president of Ukraine said that Ukrainian forces continued to resist Russian attacks in several cities.

Volodymyr Zelensky claims that the bombing of civilians in cities led the Russians to change their strategy, which proves that Ukraine is managing to resist.

He also mentioned that, exactly two years ago, Ukraine registered the first case of Covid-19. “A week ago today we were attacked by another virus”, he underlined, referring to the Moscow offensive.

8:59 am – Elderly survivor of the siege of Leningrad detained by Russian authorities during protest

Since the Russian military offensive in the neighboring country began, thousands of Russians have contested the invasion of Ukraine. On the last night, in St. Petersburg, 235 people were arrested, including an elderly woman with two posters.

Yelena Osipova, 77, survived the military siege of Leningrad by German troops during World War II. At the time, she was a baby when the siege of the city ended.

Since the protests against the invasion of Ukraine began, nearly 8,000 protesters have been arrested.

8:36 am – Portuguese Refugee Council available for reception

Speaking to RTP, Tito Campos e Matos, vice-president of the Portuguese Council for Refugees, reveals that the institution currently has 50 vacancies for immediate temporary reception.

The official also explained the simplified reception regime announced by the Government, similar to the one used on other occasions in the response to asylum seekers.

8:21 am – Toyota suspends operations in Russia

The Japanese automaker has announced that it will suspend operations in Russia “until further notice” due to “supply chain disruptions” and the impact of international sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

7:50 am – Germany to deliver 2,700 more anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine

The German government “has approved additional support for Ukraine”, said a German government source, quoted by the France-Presse news agency, in a reference to STRELA-type missiles.

These missiles are of Soviet manufacture and come from the stocks of the armed forces of the former German Democratic Republic (which was part of the former Soviet Union) and integrated into the armament of the German army, following the reunification of the country after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

7:31 am – Russian and Belarusian athletes excluded from the Winter Paralympics

On the eve of the start of the competition, the International Paralympic Committee announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes are excluded from the Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Previously, the Committee had said that athletes could compete in the Games under a neutral flag, a decision that was contested in several countries.

“The situation of athletes in the village is deteriorating and it has become impossible to guarantee their safety,” the committee said. In recent days, several teams and athletes had threatened not to participate in the competition.

The Beijing Winter Paralympics start on March 13.

7:25 am – Twitter blocks RT and Sputnik in Europe

The social network blocked the accounts of Russian media RT and Sputnik in the European Union. The decision follows a ban decided by member states that took effect on Wednesday.

These two media are accused of spreading “disinformation” on the part of Moscow, accuse the 27.

Thus, it is now impossible to consult the various Twitter accounts of RT and Sputnik in the EU.

7:18 am – “We can fear siege logic”, says French Foreign Minister

“It is possible that the worst is yet to come,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, as the Russian army continues to encircle several Ukrainian cities.

“We can fear a logic of siege”, to which “the Russians are used to”, warned the head of French diplomacy in statements to France 2 television.

“Let’s remember the cases of Aleppo and Grozny,” he said, referring to the two cities in Syria and Chechnya, respectively, that were destroyed by Russian bombing in recent decades.

Ukrainian authorities confirmed this Thursday, during the early hours of the morning, that the port city of Kherson had been captured by Russian troops. The capture of this city had been announced by Russia on Wednesday.

This is the largest urban center to be captured by the Russians since the invasion began precisely a week ago.

The head of Kherson’s regional administration, Gennadi Lakhouta, urged residents, via the Telegram platform, to stay at home, indicating that “occupiers are in all parts of the city and are very dangerous”.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, under heavy attack since the beginning of the week, the fight continues. In the last few hours, Russian air strikes have hit several buildings in the city, including three schools and the cathedral, reports CNN.

“Kharkiv is today the Stalingrad of the 21st century,” said Oleksiy Arestovich, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, comparing it to a historic episode of World War II. At the time, the Soviet army defended the Russian city from Nazi forces for several months.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the first seven days of the conflict caused more than one million refugees.

“In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries,” Filippo Grandi wrote on Twitter this morning.

Source: with agencies

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