Russia invades Ukraine: Deadly air strike hits Kyiv ahead of new round of talks

Russia invades Ukraine: Deadly air strike hits Kyiv ahead of new round of talks
The New Arab is providing live updates of the latest on the ground and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 
23 min read
14 March, 2022

An air strike on a residential building in Ukraine's capital killed at least one person today, the country's emergency service said, as Moscow maintained its devastating assault ahead of a fresh round of talks.

The strike, which injured at least a dozen people, came as Russian troops edged closer to the city and kept up their siege of the southern port city of Mariupol, where officials said nearly 2,200 people have been killed.

"As of 7:40 am (0540 GMT) the body of one person was found dead in a nine-storey apartment building" in the capital's Obolon district, the emergency service said in a statement, revising an earlier toll.

Ukrainian and Russian representatives were set to meet via videoconference today, a Ukrainian presidential adviser and a Kremlin spokesman both said before the latest strike.

According to Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the talks would begin at 0820 GMT.

The New Arab is providing live updates of the latest on the ground and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more updates. 

6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab concludes its live coverage of the latest updates from the Russian invasion of Ukraine for Monday. 

Here were the key developments for today:

Russia could take 'full control'

As Russian forces surround several Ukrainian cities Moscow warns it could place them under the Kremlin's "full control".

A Kremlin spokesman says Russian forces have so far held off on a full-scale onslaught on large cities "because the civilian losses would be large" but that Moscow "does not rule out the possibility of putting large cities under its full control".

Fourth round of talks

The warning comes as a fourth round of talks between Ukraine and Russia are held via videoconference.

Russian officials describe the talks as "hard" as the two sides trade accusations over civilian deaths.

'23 dead' in attack on rebel region

Russia says 23 people were killed in a Ukrainian missile strike on the separatist stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, calling it a "war crime".

The Russian-backed separatists earlier said 16 people died after they shot down a Ukrainian rocket.

Strike hits Kyiv apartments

One person is killed and 12 others injured after an air strike on a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which has been bracing for a major offensive.

The toll was revised down from an earlier figure of two dead.

Zelensky to address Congress

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the US Congress by video link-up on Wednesday, House and Senate leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announce.

Congress last week approved nearly $14 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Join us tomorrow for more live updates on the latest news and developments from Russia's war on Ukraine.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.

5:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lviv-area base struck by missiles launched from Russia: US official

The cruise missiles that devastated a western Ukrainian military base were launched from aircraft flying in Russian air space, a US defence official has said, indicating that a no-fly zone would not have prevented the attack.

A "couple dozen" cruise missiles were launched from bombers flying over Russia to the Yavoriv overnight Saturday, killing 35 people and wounding 134.

The base was located west of Lviv and just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Ukraine's border with EU and NATO member Poland.

5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Putin signs law to allow online voting at elections across Russia

An online voting system that was criticised by some defeated candidates at parliamentary elections last year will be rolled out for use across Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed electronic voting procedures into law today.

A coalition of defeated parliamentary candidates in Moscow claimed they were cheated of victory in a parliamentary election last September by the system and sought to try to overturn the results via lawsuits and public pressure.

Then only used in some regions, the system can now be used at elections and referendums across Russia at a national and regional level, after an online government portal showed Putin had signed the law, which had already passed through parliament.

5:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

Erdogan says too early to comment on more Russian arms purchases given Ukraine war

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said it was too early to comment on Turkey's possible purchase of more Russian weapons given Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, and Ankara would decide after seeing what conditions arise.

Speaking in Ankara alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Erdogan said Turkey had provided support for Ukraine in a manner NATO allies had not been able to despite its ties with Russia. Ankara was continuing to send humanitarian aid to Kyiv, he said.

NATO member Turkey was slapped with US sanctions in December 2020 over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems and had been criticised by Western allies over the move.

Ankara has said it was forced to opt for the Russian weapons because allies did not provide weapons on satisfactory terms.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan [Getty]
4:52 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK 'looking at' housing refugees in seized oligarch homes

The UK government has said it was considering housing Ukrainian refugees in property owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs, as it prepared to announce a programme for people to open their homes to those fleeing the war.

When asked if he supported calls for oligarchs' houses to be seized for refugees, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said it was "something we're looking at".

Health minister Sajid Javid earlier cautioned that the mansions should not be the "first place" considered to house refugees, warning of "legal hurdles" to clear first.

The UK has faced criticism over its policy towards those fleeing the violence, with places limited at the moment to those who already have family in the country.

But the government's "Homes for Ukraine" programme could see "tens of thousands" of Ukrainians without family ties be allowed to stay in the UK.

Boris Johnson [Getty]
4:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

Biden may go to Europe to meet allies over Russia-Ukraine - source

White House officials are discussing the possibility of US President Joe Biden traveling to Europe in the coming weeks to discuss Russia and Ukraine with allies, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

It is not certain whether the trip will take place as the plans are not yet finalised, the source added.

The White House has declined to comment. 

Joe Biden [Getty]
4:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine economy could collapse if war drags on: IMF

Ukraine's government continues to function, the banking system is stable and debt payments are viable in the short term, but the Russian invasion could plunge Ukraine into a devastating recession, the International Monetary Fund has said.

And it warned that the war could have broader repercussions, including threatening global food security due to rising prices and the inability to plant crops, especially wheat.

At a minimum the country would see "output falling 10 percent this year assuming a prompt resolution of the war," the IMF said in an analysis of the economy in the wake of the Russian invasion.

But the fund warned of "massive uncertainty" around the forecasts, and if the conflict is prolonged, the situation will worsen.

Citing wartime data for conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, the IMF said the "annual output contraction could eventually be much higher, in the range of 25-35 percent."

The country's economy grew 3.2 percent in 2021 amid a record grain harvest and strong consumer spending.

But in the wake of the Russian invasion on February 24, "the economy in Ukraine dramatically changed," said Vladyslav Rashkovan, alternate executive director for Ukraine on the IMF board.

"As of March 6, 202 schools, 34 hospitals, more than 1,500 residential houses including multi-apartment houses, tens of kilometers of roads, and countless objects of critical infrastructures in several Ukrainian cities have been fully or partially destroyed by Russian troops," the official said in a statement.

Ports and airports also have been closed due to "due to massive destruction," he said.

4:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

EU sanctioning Abramovich, other Russians over Ukraine: diplomats

The EU is to sanction Roman Abramovich and other oligarchs in its latest round of punishment of Russians seen as supporting Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, two diplomats told have told AFP.

The billionaire owner of the Chelsea football club and the others are being added to a list of individuals whose assets in the EU -- including super-yachts and mansions -- can be seized and entry into the bloc refused, the diplomats said.

They are part of a fourth round of EU sanctions against Russia, the details of which were expected to be published later Monday.

Roman Abramovich [Getty]
3:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine urges Russia's 'immediate' expulsion from Council of Europe

Ukraine has demanded that Russia be immediately expelled from the Council of Europe (COE), saying it had no right to remain a member of the pan-European rights body after invading its neighbour.

"We urge you to take a decision on the immediate expulsion of Russia from the Council of Europe," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, eastern France, via video link.

He added that Russia's attack meant it "cannot stay in the European family".

"Ukraine is on fire, hundreds of houses have been destroyed, millions of Ukrainians lack electricity, heating," said the premier, addressing the session in place of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was said to be handling urgent developments amid talks with Russia.

"We need to unite our efforts to defend Ukraine but also to defend all of Europe," Shmyhal said.

The parliamentary assembly, meeting in an extraordinary session to discuss the invasion, does not have the power to expel a member but it could recommend that the committee of ministers effectively take such a step.

The assembly is expected on Tuesday to adopt a resolution recommending that the committee "invite" Russia to withdraw from the body.

Parliamentary Assembly of the the Council of Europe [Getty]
3:39 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia will respond to Slovakia's 'unjustified' expulsion of diplomats

Moscow will respond to Slovakia's "unjustified" expulsion of three Russian embassy staff, a foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying on Monday.

"This unjustified action will not go unanswered," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

3:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

Slovakia expels three Russian embassy staff - foreign ministry

Slovakia has decided to expel three Russian embassy staff based on information from the secret service and they must leave the country within 72 hours, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs... at the same time strongly urges the Embassy of the Russian Federation that their representatives perform their activities in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," it said in a statement.

2:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

Germany's Scholz says Ukraine talks must lead to a ceasefire soon

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials and other diplomatic activity addressing the war in Ukraine but said the meetings must soon produce results that allow a ceasefire.

"We have to make sure that results are achieved soon that will make a ceasefire possible," Scholz told reporters after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

Live Story
2:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia's attack on Ukrainian base launched from Russian airspace - US official

Russia's carried out its weekend attack on a large Ukrainian base on Sunday using air-launched cruise missiles fired from Russian airspace by long-range bombers, a senior US defence official has said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the strike on the Yavoriv International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security near the border with NATO member Poland would not affect the West's military resupply effort for Ukraine.

The official said there were no U.S. troops, contractors or civilian government workers at the base.

2:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Zelensky to deliver virtual address to US Congress

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver a virtual address to the US Congress as the Russian war on his country intensifies.

Zelensky will speak on Wednesday to members of the House and Senate, the Democratic leaders announced.

“The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement today.

They said all lawmakers are invited to the talk that will be delivered via video at the US Capitol.

It comes as Congress recently approved $13.6 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

“We look forward to the privilege of welcoming President Zelenskyy’s address to the House and Senate and to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy,” the leaders said.

Zelensky spoke by video with House and Senate lawmakers earlier this month, delivering a desperate plea for more military aid.

Zelensky [Getty]
1:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine-Russia conflict talks to restart on Tuesday: Kyiv

Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv are due to restart on Tuesday, a Ukrainian delegate said, after fourth-round meetings over two weeks of fighting concluded without breakthrough earlier in the day.

"A technical pause has been taken in the negotiations until tomorrow," senior Ukrainian negotiator and president aide Mikhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter Monday, after both sides over the weekend raised hopes that an initial agreement would be announced.

1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine seeks to protect cultural sites from Russian guns

With Russian forces pushing deeper into their country, Ukrainians are scrambling to safeguard a rich cultural history that experts warn could be deliberately targeted in a bid to force Kyiv into submission.

Museums have rushed to remove collections to safer storage, and in many churches stained-glass windows have been boarded up or altars removed entirely.

In the southern port city of Odessa, sandbags have been piled up in front of the statue honouring the French Duke of Richelieu, a governor under the Russian emperor Alexander I.

But many sites have already been damaged or destroyed by Russia's bombardments of city centres, which have also hit schools, hospitals and other civilian structures.

The mayor of the northern city of Chernihiv posted a video Friday of a library reduced to rubble by shelling, heightening fears of indiscriminate targeting.

The UN cultural agency UNESCO is helping local officials mark sites with the distinctive blue-and-white shield, hoping that Russia will honour the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflicts, of which it is a signatory.

"We call on all states to respect the international law they have signed and therefore not to target important sites in the country," Lazare Eloundou, director of UNESCO's World Heritage programme, told AFP at the agency's headquarters in Paris.

He warned of extensive damage already to museums and other cultural venues and monuments, some dating back to the 11th century.

"It is a whole cultural life that risks disappearing," Eloundou said.

12:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Electronics giant ASUS says shipments to Russia at 'standstill'

Taiwanese computer maker ASUS has said today its shipments to Russia are at a "standstill" due to the war in Ukraine, days after a top Kyiv official called for the firm's withdrawal.

ASUS, headquartered in Taipei and one of the world's largest PC vendors, is the latest company to voice concerns over the spiralling conflict.

"(The Ukraine) situation - combined with complex challenges across supply chains, logistics and banking, plus other factors - has created an effective standstill of shipments to the Russian market," it said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"We hope that peace will be restored soon and timely humanitarian aid will reach everyone in distress," it added.

12:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

More than 2.8 million flee Ukraine war: UN

The number of refugees who have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24 has topped 2.8 million, the United Nations has said today.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said 2,808,792 refugees had now left the country - up another 110,512 from Sunday - making it the largest refugee exodus in Europe since World War II.

UNICEF said more than one million children had fled Ukraine in search of safety and protection.

"They need peace NOW," the UN children's agency added.

The UNHCR initially estimated that up to four million people could leave, but last week admitted that figure might well be revised upwards.

Before the conflict, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist regions in the east.

"People continue to flee the war in Ukraine every minute," said the UN's International Organization for Migration.

Some 127,000 third-country nationals, mainly students and migrant workers, are among the 2.8 million who have fled Ukraine, IOM said.

Ukrainian refugees [Getty]
12:13 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian rouble up in Moscow as Ukraine talks continue

The Russian rouble edged up in afternoon trade in Moscow as Ukraine said it had begun "hard" talks with Russia on a ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops and security guarantees.

At 1340 GMT, the rouble was 1% higher at 113 against the dollar, rising from 116.2 at the market's opening. It was 1.6% weaker versus the euro at 122.9 after trading at 125.70 in the morning.

Offshore, the rouble was trading as much as 11% stronger against the dollar, but at a similar level to the one in Moscow, around 112. On international markets the rouble has broadly held within a range of 112-133 to the dollar in thin trading since hitting a record high of 150 a week ago.

Russia is due to pay $117 million in coupons on two Eurobonds on Wednesday and is prepared to do so in roubles if foreign currency transactions are blocked by western sanctions, the finance ministry said today.

11:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

France detains two over protest at villa of Putin's former son-in-law

French police were holding two men for breaking into a villa owned by the former son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin in protest at the invasion of Ukraine, prosecutors said today.

One of the men who broke into the luxury seaside residence in the southwestern resort of Biarritz was a French activist called Pierre Haffner.

The other described himself as an opponent of the Putin government.

They are under investigation for intruding into a private home, the Alta Mira villa belonging to Kirill Shamalov, during "the past 48 hours", a source close to the case told AFP.

Businessman Shamalov is described by international media as Putin's former son-in-law. He was married to the Russian leader's younger daughter, Katerina Tikhonova.

A video Haffner posted on Youtube showed one of the two anti-Putin activists strolling through the vast late 19th-century home, built on a cliffside with sweeping views of the Atlantic.

"This house was bought with money stolen by Putin, by his mafia, from the Russian people and the peoples oppressed by Putin's Russia," the man said.

Another video on the streaming platform showed the second man waving a Ukrainian flag from one of the villa's balconies.

A subtitle read, "The house of the people is ready to host refugees from the Putin regime."

Kirill Shamalov's villa [Getty]
11:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

Protesters seize London mansion linked to Russian oligarch

Protesters have seized a mansion linked to the sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in one of central London's most exclusive addresses.

Banners were unfurled from the property at 5 Belgrave Square, including one stating "This property has been liberated", alongside the Ukrainian flag.

Police, who were called out in the early hours, set up a cordon before later using a drill to break open the front door to gain entry and used a crane to access the balcony.

One of those inside told AFP by telephone: "We are a property liberation front. That's what we do. It's not really squatting, it's liberating."

Another said: "Our intention is to use it to house (Ukrainian) refugees."

The activists criticised the length of time it may take to implement UK sanctions against those identified by the government as being part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

Oleg Deripaska's mansion [Getty]
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine's Chernobyl loses power again: operator

Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986, has once again lost its electricity supply, Ukraine's energy operator Ukrenergo said today.

"The line that supplies the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the town of Slavutych was damaged by the occupying forces," Ukrenergo said on its Facebook page, referring to Russian forces that invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Chernobyl [Getty]
10:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Underground gas storage unit in Ukraine damaged by shelling

The premises of an underground gas storage facility in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine have been damaged by shelling, the Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz said today.

A shell hit a building on the territory of Olyshiv storage unit and damaged a methanol pumping station.

Gas storage personnel were evacuated and nobody was hurt, Naftogaz said.

10:42 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine negotiator says talks with Russia are hard but ongoing

Talks between Russia and Ukraine on Monday have started and communication between the two sides is hard but ongoing, Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter.

Tweeting a photo of the talks, which are being conducted via video conference, Podolyak said: "The parties actively express their specified positions. Communication is being held yet it's hard. The reason for the discord is too different political systems."

10:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

India considers buying discounted Russian oil, commodities, officials say

India is considering taking up a Russian offer to buy its crude oil and other commodities at discounted prices with payment via a rupee-rouble transaction, two Indian officials said, amid tough Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

India, which imports 80% of its oil needs, usually buys about 2% to 3% of its supplies from Russia. But with oil prices up 40% so far this year, the government is looking at increasing this if it can help reduce its rising energy bill.

"Russia is offering oil and other commodities at a heavy discount. We will be happy to take that. We have some issues like tanker, insurance cover and oil blends to be resolved. Once we have that we will take the discount offer," one of the Indian government officials has said.

Some international traders have been avoiding Russian oil to avoid becoming entangled in sanctions, but the Indian official said sanctions did not prevent India importing the fuel.

Work was ongoing to set up a rupee-rouble trade mechanism to be used to pay for oil and other goods, the official said.

The officials, who both declined to be identified, did not say how much oil was on offer or what the discount was.

10:17 AM
The New Arab Staff

Top Putin ally says Ukraine war has been slower than expected

One of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies has said Russia's military operation in Ukraine had not all gone as quickly as the Kremlin had wanted, the strongest public acknowledgement yet from Moscow that things were not going to plan.

National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov, speaking at a church service led by Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Sunday, blamed the slower than expected progress on what he said were far-right Ukrainian forces hiding behind civilians, an accusation repeatedly made by officials in Russia.

His comments appeared at odds with an assessment on Friday by Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu who told Putin that "everything is going according to plan".

"I would like to say that yes, not everything is going as fast as we would like," Zolotov, once in charge of Putin's personal security, said in comments posted on the National Guard's website.

"...But we are going towards our goal step by step and victory will be for us, and this icon will protect the Russian army and accelerate our victory."

The United States and its European allies have cast Putin's invasion as an imperial-style land grab that has so far been poorly executed because Moscow underestimated Ukrainian resistance and Western resolve to punish Russia.

Zolotov is a powerful security official who was once Putin's security chief.

He now heads the National Guard, a kind of internal military force that includes the riot police and other forces. It is subordinated directly to Putin and has forces deployed in Ukraine.

Zolotov is a powerful security official who was once Putin's security chief [Getty]
9:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Separatists say 16 dead in Donetsk after Ukraine attack

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said today that a strike by Kyiv's forces on the rebel de facto capital Donetsk left at least 16 people dead, ahead of talks to resolve the war.

Rebel officials said fragments from a Ukrainian Tochka missile that was shot down had landed in the centre of the city leaving more than two dozen dead with many more injured.

"Sixteen deaths have been recorded" the self-proclaimed region's health ministry said, adding that another 23 people had been injured.

The updated toll rounds down from 20 - an earlier count from separatist authorities.

Official separatist Telegram channels distributed photos and video of the aftermath, showing burnt out cars, bodies strewn in the street, and damage to the exterior of shops.

9:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

Foreign tanker with Russian cargo bound for US anchors in Med

Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Elli which made a Russian port call and is bound for the United States has anchored off Gibraltar awaiting further instructions from its charterer, the vessel's manager has said.

Last Tuesday, US President Joe Biden imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Greece-based Halkidon Shipping Corporation, which manages the Elli, said on Friday the vessel "was instructed by her charterers to remain and await orders off Gibraltar, while en-route from Novorossiisk, Russia to the U.S. Gulf Coast".

"The vessel is in laden condition," Halkidon said in a statement.

"Halkidon Shipping Corporation is taking regular advice from government and industry bodies who are providing up-to-date information about international sanctions and other legal and security matters which might impact our operations."

A company spokesperson added on today that the vessel's dirty petroleum products cargo had loaded at Novorossiisk.

The Elli reported its position near Gibraltar today, ship tracking data on Eikon showed.

9:13 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russia accuses West of seeking 'artificial default'

Russia's finance ministry has today accused foreign countries of wanting to force Russia into an "artificial default" through unprecedented sanctions over Ukraine and said it would meet its debt obligations.

"The freezing of foreign currency accounts of the Bank of Russia and of the Russian government can be regarded as the desire of a number of foreign countries to organise an artificial default that has no real economic grounds," finance minister Anton Siluanov said in a statement.

Ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded Russia's sovereign debt rating farther into junk territory, warning that the decision reflects the view that a default is "imminent."

But Siluanov denied that Russia "cannot fulfil the obligations" of its government debt.

He said Russia "is ready to make payments in rubles" according to the exchange rate of Russia's central bank on the day of the payment, including its eurobond issued since 2018.

Ratings agency Fitch [Getty]
9:02 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russian rouble steady in Moscow as more Ukraine negotiations due

The Russian rouble was relatively steady in early Moscow trade today, with more negotiations over the war in Ukraine scheduled later in the day.

After weekend talks Russia and Ukraine gave their most upbeat assessments on diplomatic efforts to resolve their differences, even though Russia attacked a base near the Polish border and fighting raged elsewhere.

At 0730 GMT, the rouble was 0.7% weaker than Friday's close at 115.0 against the dollar and had lost 1.5% versus the euro to trade at 122.8 - both small declines when compared with wild fluctuations in recent weeks.

Offshore, the rouble was trading as much as 10% stronger against the dollar, but at a similar level to the one in Moscow around 115.0. On international markets the rouble has broadly traded in a range of 112-133 to the dollar in thin trading since hitting a record high of 150 a week ago.

Russian rouble [Getty]
8:43 AM
The New Arab Staff

Instagram no longer accessible in Russia

Instagram was inaccessible in Russia today, after Moscow accused its parent company Meta of allowing calls for violence against Russians, including the military, on its platforms.

The move comes after Facebook and Twitter were blocked in early March as part of sweeping efforts by Moscow to control information available to Russians about its military operation in Ukraine.

Instagram appeared today on a list of "restricted" online resources on a list published by Russia's media regulator Roskomnadzor.

Facebook and Instagram are widely used in Russia, the latter being the most popular social media platform among young Russians.

For many small Russian businesses, Instagram was a key platform for advertising, processing sales and communicating with clients.

8:36 AM
The New Arab Staff

'Very unlikely' Russian missiles will land in NATO territory - UK minister

It is not impossible that Russian missiles could land in NATO territory but it is very unlikely, British health minister Sajid Javid has said, adding that the alliance would respond if it did happen.

Asked about the possibility of Russian missiles landing on NATO territory after a weekend attack on a Ukrainian military training base near Poland, Javid told BBC Radio: "It is not impossible ... but I still think at this stage it's very unlikely."

"We've made it very clear to the Russians, even before the start of this conflict, even if a single Russian toecap steps into NATO territory, then it will be considered an act of war."

Sajid Javid [Getty]
8:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

Iran's foreign minister to visit Russia on Tuesday

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will visit Russia on Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesperson has said, amid concerns over the outlook for talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact.

The talks face the prospect of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations for an undetermined time despite having a largely completed text.

8:12 AM
The New Arab Staff

China slams US claims that Russia asked it for military aid as 'disinformation'

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has said today that assertions from US officials that Russia asked Beijing for military equipment for its campaign in Ukraine were "disinformation" from the United States.

The comments came during a regular Chinese foreign ministry briefing in Beijing.

8:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine says Russia talks focus on ceasefire, troop withdrawals and security guarantees

The fourth round of talks between Ukraine and Russia today will focus on achieving a ceasefire, troop withdrawals and security guarantees for Ukraine, one of the Ukrainian negotiators Mykhailo Podolyak said.

Ukraine's position remained unchanged in insisting on a ceasefire before talks on future relations could happen, he said in a social media post and accompanying video.

"Negotiations. 4th round. On peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees. Hard discussion," he wrote, adding that he believed Russia "still has a delusion that 19 days of violence against (Ukrainian) peaceful cities is the right strategy."

Russia denies targeting civilians. The Kremlin describes its actions as a "special operation" to demilitarise and "deNazify" Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies call this a baseless pretext for a war of choice.