Russia invades Ukraine: Street fighting erupts in battle for capital Kyiv

Russia invades Ukraine: Street fighting erupts in battle for capital Kyiv
Live Story
26 February, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers repulsed a Russian attack in the capital, the military said on Saturday after a defiant President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his pro-Western country would not be bowed by Moscow.

"I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapons are our truth," Zelensky said, as Russia said it had fired cruise missiles at Ukraine's military infrastructure.

Wearing olive green military-style clothing and looking tired but determined, Zelensky said: "Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this.

"This is what I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine!"

It was the third day since Russian leader Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion that has killed dozens of people, forced more than 50,000 to flee Ukraine in just 48 hours and sparked fears of a wider conflict in Europe.

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

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12:08 AM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's live coverage of the latest on the Ukraine-Russia crisis concludes for today.

Join us tomorrow for the latest news and analysis on Ukraine-Russia.

Make sure to follow our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date.

11:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Extraordinary Western sanctions to cut Russian banks from the global system and hobble the country's central bank make Moscow a financial "pariah" facing a ruble in "freefall," a senior US official said Saturday.

"Russia has become a global economic and financial pariah," he said, and the Russian central bank now "can't support the ruble."

"Only Putin can decide how much more cost he is willing to bear," the official said, adding that a task force will "hunt down" Russian oligarchs' "yachts, jets, fancy cars and luxury homes."

Extraordinary Western sanctions have been placed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine
11:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Satellite imagery taken on Saturday showed Russian ground forces assembled in Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine, at and near the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant on the Dnieper River, a private U.S. company said.

The images, released by Maxar Technologies, showed trucks on the dam for the hydroelectric plant as well as others parked on a road. Nova Kakhovka is in southern Ukraine.

The images released by Maxar, which has been tracking the buildup of Russian forces for weeks, could not be independently verified by Reuters.

10:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France's President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday asked his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to ensure the "withdrawal of Russian troops" from Belarus, the French presidency said.

The president asked the Belarus leader "to demand as soon as possible the withdrawal of Russian troops from his soil," and urged him to cooperate with the international community to allow humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people, it said in a statement.

Russian forces continued to bomb Ukraine for a third day
9:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

German airline Lufthansa said Saturday it was halting flights to Russia and will stop overflying the country for the next seven days, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Lufthansa will no longer use Russian airspace in the next seven days due to the current and emerging regulatory situation. Flights to Russia will be suspended during this period," said the company in a statement.

"Flights that are currently in Russian airspace will leave it shortly," it added.

Lufthansa will stop overflying Russia for the next seven days
8:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France will send more military equipment, as well as fuel, to Ukraine to help fight off the Russian invasion and slap more economic sanctions on Moscow, the presidency said Saturday.

The new sanctions would encompass "national measures to freeze the financial assets of Russian figures", as well as "new measures" to be taken "with European partners concerning the SWIFT" interbank system, the Elysee said in a statement.

Ukrainian forces battled with the Russian military for a third day
7:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Nations told Ukraine Saturday that it will work to increase humanitarian assistance in the wake of the Russian invasion.

With the war already prompting tens of thousands of people in Ukraine to flee their homes, Secretary General Antonio Guterres assured President Volodymyr Zelensky in a telephone conversation of "the determination of the United Nations to enhance humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine."

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have already fled their country
7:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that he asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to strip Russia of its vote at the UN Security Council as punishment for invading Ukraine.

"To deprive the aggressor country of the right to vote in the UN Security Council, to qualify Russian actions and statements as genocide of the Ukrainian people, to help with the delivery of corpses of Russian soldiers. Talked about it in a conversation with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres," Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council with the right to veto decisions, along with China, France, the UK and the United States.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council
7:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed Germany's decision Saturday to send weapons to battle Russia's invasion, after a U-turn from Berlin on its policy on sending lethal aid.

"Germany has just announced the provision of anti-tank grenade launchers and stinger missiles to Ukraine. Keep it up, Chancellor Olaf Scholz!" Zelensky tweeted.

Germany's move made it the latest in a string of countries vowing to send arms to Ukraine to help it check the Russian advance.

Zelensky welcomed the move on Saturday
6:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A journalist and a photographer from Danish tabloid Ekstra-Bladet were shot and injured while reporting from eastern Ukraine on Saturday, the paper said.

Journalist Stefan Weichert and photographer Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen were shot while driving in a car in the town of Ohtyrka, some 90 km northwest of Kharkiv, according to Ekstra-Bladet.

"This is an ugly reminder of the dangers journalists in Ukraine face every day to document the horrors of the war," Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter.


6:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia releases images of captured Chernobyl plant

The Russian military has released images of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine that it seized after President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the country this week.

Russian troops took control of the area - one of the most radioactive places on earth - on the first day of their offensive into Ukraine.

Images released by Moscow's defence ministry showed Russian soldiers patrolling the plant, which is encased in a giant sarcophagus, with snipers dressed in black uniforms and a tank parked on the territory.

A masked soldier said radiation levels were "under control".

The soldier claimed the Russians were protecting the area "with the Ukrainian National Guard", but Ukrainian authorities have said staff had been evacuated as Moscow's forces took control.

Ukraine on Friday said the radiation levels had increased since Chernobyl - which lies on the path of the Russian advance from Belarus to the capital Kyiv - was seized by Moscow's troops.

Ukrainian authorities said they had informed the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that they had lost control of highly radioactive fuel rods from the power plant.

5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Germany approves weapon deliveries to Ukraine: govt source

Germany has approved the deliveries of 400 anti-tank rocket launchers to Ukraine, a government source in a U-turn from its longstanding policy of banning weapon exports to conflict zones.

"Given the Russian attack on Ukraine, the government is prepared to release urgently needed material for the defence of Ukraine," the source said in a statement.

The anti-tank launchers will be delivered through the Netherlands, which had purchased the equipment from Germany but which had required Berlin's green light to transfer the weapons to Kyiv.

Besides the anti-tank launchers, 14 armoured vehicles have been approved for Ukraine.

The vehicles will be handed over to Ukrainian services, and "will serve for the protection of personnel, possibly for evacuation purposes", said the source.

Up to 10,000 tonnes of fuel will also be transferred through Poland to Ukraine, said the source, adding that other "possible support services is now being examined".

5:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Twitter says its site is being restricted in Russia

Twitter is being restricted for some users in Russia, the social media company said in a tweet on Saturday.

On Friday, one day after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moscow said it was partially limiting access to Meta Platforms Inc's Facebook, accusing it of "censoring" Russian media.

Twitter said it was working to keep its service safe and accessible. It did not immediately respond to a question on whether Russia had communicated with the company about any actions.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks reported that Twitter had been restricted on leading networks.

Russia has been trying to exert tighter control over the internet and big tech companies for years, in efforts that critics say threaten individual and corporate freedom, and are part of a wider crackdown against outspoken opponents of the Kremlin.

Twitter is being restricted for some users in Russia [Getty]
5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia bars flights from Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic

Russia has closed its airspace to flights from Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic in tit-for-tat punitive measures following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Britain has banned Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot from flying over the UK and several countries, including Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic, have closed their airspace to Russian carriers.

"Air carriers of these states and/or registered in them are subject to restrictions on flights to destinations on the territory of the Russian Federation," the federal air transport agency Rosaviation said, referring to Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic.

It added that the restrictions included transit flights through Russia's airspace.

Meanwhile, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and Romania also said they were banning Russian flights.

"There is no place for planes of the aggressor state in democratic skies", Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa quoted Kallas's tweet saying that "Slovenia will do the same".

Romania said it was also closing its airspace to all Russian flights and repatriating its diplomats from Ukraine.

But humanitarian or emergency flights would be exempted from the ban, it added.

Romania said it was also closing its airspace to all Russian flights [Getty]
5:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

115,000 Ukrainians cross border into Poland: official

Poland's Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker has said that 115,000 people had crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine since Russia's invasion started this week.

Just four hours earlier he had put the number at 100,000 arrivals, showing just how quickly the refugees are flowing into their EU neighbour.

"At this moment, there are 115,000 people who have crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border since the war erupted" on Thursday, Szefernaker told reporters in the border village of Dorohusk, eastern Poland.

The head of the Polish border guard, Tomasz Praga, said nearly 50,000 people had crossed into Poland from Ukraine on Friday alone.

Poland, which was already home to an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians before Russia's invasion and which has expressed steadfast support for Ukraine, has so far seen the bulk of those fleeing Ukraine cross into its territory.

"More than 150,000 Ukrainian refugees have now crossed into neighbouring countries, half of them to Poland, and many to Hungary, Moldova, Romania and beyond," UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi tweeted on Saturday.

"Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid," he added.

A displaced woman and a boy sit in a bus before fleeing the Ukrainian city of Debaltseve
5:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

Zelensky asks India's Modi for UN Security Council support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "political support" at the UN after New Delhi abstained from a Security Council vote.

India is currently on the UN's top body but - along with China and the UAE - did not vote on a resolution on Friday that deplored Russia's "aggression" against Ukraine and demanded the immediate withdrawal of its troops.

Russia vetoed the resolution using its power as a permanent member of the council.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Zelensky said he had spoken with Modi and told him that "More than 100,000 invaders are on our land."

"Stop the aggressor together!" he tweeted.

Despite being a democracy and a member of the "Quad" grouping with Australia, Japan and the United States, India has neither explicitly condemned Moscow's actions, nor called them an invasion.

Russia vetoed the resolution using its power as a permanent member of the council [Getty]
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Blinken to Russian people: you don't deserve 'pointless war'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reached out to the people of Russia in their own language, saying they do not deserve a "pointless war" against their Ukrainian neighbors.

In a message tweeted in both English and Russian, Blinken sought to counter President Vladimir Putin's argument that the West threatens Russia with an eastern expansion of NATO into former Soviet bloc countries.

"To the people of Russia," Blinken wrote, "you deserve to live with security and dignity like all people everywhere. No one is seeking to jeopardize that."

"You do not deserve a pointless war with your neighbors, friends and family in Ukraine," he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reached out to the people of Russia [Getty]
4:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

Half of Russian invasion force now inside Ukraine: Pentagon

Russia now has at least 50 percent of its massive invasion force inside Ukraine but is making slow progress due to unexpectedly stiff resistance, a senior US defence official has said.

"We would estimate that more than 50 percent of the Russian force that Mr. Putin had arrayed against Ukraine ... has been committed inside Ukraine," the official told reporters.

"We have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the north parts of Ukraine," the official said, insisting on anonymity.

As of early on Saturday Washington time, the Russian military had still not taken control of any Ukraine city, nor has it gained air superiority over the country, the official said.

Russian troops remained some 30 kilometres (18 miles) outside of Kyiv, the official said, while stressing that battlefield situations were actively changing.

Ukrainian resistance remains "viable," and Western allies are still able to get weapons and other supplies to them despite the Russian attack.

The Russians "have been frustrated by ... a very determined resistance and it has slowed them down."

"Based on what we've observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected," the official said.

4:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian troops destroy Ukrainian dam that blocked water to Crimea - RIA

Russian troops have destroyed a concrete dam built in Ukraine's Kherson Region in 2014 to cut off water to Crimea, the RIA news agency quoted the governor of Russian-annexed Crimea Sergei Aksyonov as saying.

Ukraine cut off the fresh water supply to Crimea by damming a canal that had supplied 85% of the peninsula's needs before Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

The Soviet-era canal was built to channel water from the River Dnieper to arid areas of Ukraine's Kherson region and Crimea

4:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian troops ordered to advance in Ukraine

Russia has ordered its troops to advance in Ukraine "from all directions" as the Ukrainian capital Kyiv imposed a blanket curfew and officials reported 198 civilian deaths.

Kyiv residents took shelter to the sound of explosions as Ukraine's army said it had held back an assault on the capital but was fighting Russian "sabotage groups" which had infiltrated the city.

Moscow said it had fired cruise missiles at military targets and would "develop the offensive from all directions" after accusing Ukraine of having "rejected" talks.

But, on day three of Russia's invasion, a defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his country would never give in to the Kremlin.

Zelensky spoke in a video message, wearing olive green military-style clothing and looking tired but determined.

"I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapons are our truth," the 44-year-old said.

"Our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children and we will protect all of this."

A Russian military vehicle is seen near the village of Oktyabrsky [Getty]
4:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Man Utd players plead for peace in Ukraine

Manchester United and Watford players stood together with a sign saying "peace" in six languages ahead of Saturday's Premier League match in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian flags were also waved among the crowd at Old Trafford as a show of support for the beleaguered nation.

On Friday, United announced they had terminated a deal with Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot following President Vladimir Putin's actions, which have been met with heavy international sanctions.

"It's just an incredible situation we have a kind of war in Europe," United interim manager Ralf Rangnick said on Friday.

"When I watch TV in the morning and the evening I still cannot believe what I see there. I very much hope politicians all over the world de-escalate the situation."

Both teams pose behind a sign reading Peace in several languages [Getty]
4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

Greece protests to Russia over ethnic Greek civilian deaths

Greece has said it would summon the Russian ambassador to protest the deaths of two ethnic Greek civilians during the bombing of a Ukrainian village.

"Greece expresses its abhorrence and condemns outright the bombing of civilians by a Russian aircraft on the outskirts of the village of Sartana earlier today, which resulted in the death of two expatriates and the injury of six others, including a child," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Russian ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry, the ministry said.

It added that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had "urgently" raised the protection of over 100,000 ethnic Greeks in Ukraine during a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a few days before the Russian invasion.

Athens had also taken Kiev to task earlier this month when a Greek expatriate died in a brawl in eastern Ukraine which Athens blamed on Ukrainian soldiers.

A blanket covers the body of a woman killed by shellfire in Ukraine [Getty]
3:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK says Russian advance has slowed, likely caused by logistical problems, resistance

The Russian advance into Ukraine has temporarily slowed, probably because of logistical problems and strong resistance, Britain's defence ministry has said.

"The speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance," the ministry said in a regular intelligence update posted on Twitter.

"Russian forces are bypassing major Ukrainian population centres while leaving forces to encircle and isolate them. Overnight clashes in Kyiv are likely to have involved limited numbers of pre-positioned Russian groups. The capture of Kyiv remains Russia's primary military objective."

3:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sweden join Poles in boycotting Russia in World Cup play-offs: Federation

Sweden will not play Russia in the 2022 World Cup play-offs because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine the football federation.

Sweden would have to beat the Czech Republic and Russia overcome Poland for them to face each other on March 29 in Russia.

"Whatever FIFA decide, we will not play against Russia in March," Karl-Erik Nilsson, president of the federation said in a statement.

Sweden would have to beat the Czech Republic and Russia overcome Poland [Getty]
3:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Kyiv imposes blanket curfew until Monday: mayor's office

Kyiv authorities have announced a day-and-night curfew until Monday morning, after some invading Russian forces entered the Ukrainian capital.

"The curfew in Kyiv will start on Saturday at 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) and end at 8:00 (0600 GMT) on Monday," city authorities said on Telegram, adding that "all civilians that are on the streets during the period of the curfew will be considered members of sabotage groups of the enemy".

3:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pro-Putin Chechen leader says his troops are in Ukraine 

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's Chechnya region and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Saturday that Chechen fighters had been deployed to Ukraine.

In a video posted online, Kadyrov said his forces had yet to suffer any losses.

"The president (Putin) took the right decision and we will carry out his orders under any circumstances," he said.

Kadyrov, who has previously described himself as Putin's "foot soldier", has deployed his forces abroad to support Kremlin military operations before - in Syria and Georgia.

Moscow fought two bloody wars with separatists in Chechnya, a mainly Muslim region in southern Russia, after the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union.

It has since poured huge sums of money into reconstruction efforts in Chechnya and given Kadyrov a large measure of autonomy to run things.


Ramzan Kadyrov is leader of Russia's Chechnya region [TASS via Getty]
2:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia disputes claim over Black Sea access

Russia, via the Interfax news agency, had said it has had no official notification of the closure of the Black Sea - claims made earlier by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which he suggested that Turkey had pledged to close the straits to access the Black Sea.

There has been speculation that Zelenskiy’s tweet may have been a request for Turkey to take action, rather than a confirmation that it would be in place.

Earlier, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Interfax as saying that his country was ready to work closely with all constructive forces for the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis in the interests of "peace and stability".

Lavrov made the comments in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was ready for a peaceful resolution
2:15 PM

Ukrainian president says Turkey will ban Russian warships from Black Sea

Turkey will block Russian warships from passing through the Black Sea, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said.

Turkey will stop warships passing through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits, which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, Zelenskiy suggested in a tweet, adding that Ankara pledged military and humanitarian support for his country.

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ankara pledged military for his country [Getty]
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

EU still mulling cutting Russia from SWIFT after fresh Zelensky appeal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again asked European nations to sever Russia from the SWIFT banking system as Hungary and Italy suggested they were not blocking the move.

SWIFT's messaging system allows banks to communicate rapidly and securely about transactions, and cutting Russia off would cripple its trade with most of the world.

"There is already almost full support from the EU countries to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. I hope that Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision," Zelensky said in a video address posted online.

The Hungarian government angrily denied suggestions it had blocked moves to exclude Russia from SWIFT.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Facebook that such claims were "fake news".

"We have never spoken out against a single sanction proposal, we have not blocked and are not blocking anything," he said.

Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs further tweeted that "Hungary stands 100 percent in alignment with the joint EU effort.

"We're doing no less than what the EU position calls for. And it's not dependent on Hungary to do more," he added.

SWIFT's messaging system allows banks to communicate securely about transactions [Getty]
1:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK's Prince William and wife say they stand with Ukraine

Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate have said they stood with the people of Ukraine as they "bravely fight" the invasion by Russia, in a rare public comment for British royals on political issues.

"In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future," Queen Elizabeth's grandson William and Kate said on Twitter.

"Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future."

The British royal family do not usually comment on major political matters, sticking to a constitutional norm that they should remain neutral.

However, William's younger brother Harry and his wife Meghan, who have stepped down from royal duties to move to Los Angeles, said on their website on Thursday that they also stood with the Ukrainian people "against this breach of international and humanitarian law".

Prince William and his wife Kate said they stood with the people of Ukraine [Getty]
1:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia says Ukraine 'prolonging conflict' by refusing talks

The Kremlin has accused Ukraine of "prolonging" the military conflict by refusing to negotiate as Russia pressed on with its invasion of the pro-Western country.

"In connection with the expected negotiations, the Russian president yesterday afternoon ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces of the Russian Federation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call.

"Since the Ukrainian side refused to negotiate, the advance of the Russian forces resumed this afternoon."

On Friday, as Moscow's forces approached Kyiv, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin was ready to send a delegation for talks to Belarus, where Russia has stationed thousands of troops.

It is one of the places from where Ukraine says it is being attacked.

A few hours later, Putin called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow the country's leadership whom he described as "terrorists" and "a gang of drug addicts" and "neo-Nazis".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had repeatedly called for talks with the Russian leader during a weeks-long diplomatic push in which Western countries tried to deter Putin from launching an attack.

As Russian troops closed in on Kyiv on Friday, Zelensky issued a new statement urging talks.

"I would like to address the President of the Russian Federation once again. Fighting is going on all over Ukraine. Let's sit down at the negotiating table to stop the deaths of people," he said.

Putin called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow the country's leadership [Getty]
12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Blinken announces $350 million in new US military aid to Ukraine

The United States is providing Ukraine with $350 million in additional military equipment to fight off Russia's "brutal and unprovoked assault," Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced.

"This package will include further lethal defensive assistance to help Ukraine address the armoured, airborne, and other threats it is now facing," Blinken said in a statement.

Blinken said that last fall as Russia started amassing troops on the border with its pro-Western neighbour, President Joe Biden authorised $60 million in immediate military assistance to Ukraine, then another $200 million in December as President Vladimir Putin's threat became more acute.

Now the US is authorising a third package "as Ukraine fights with courage and pride against Russia's brutal and unprovoked assault," Blinken said.

This means total US security assistance committed to Ukraine over the past year now exceeds a billion dollars, the secretary said.

Blinken did not detail what kind of weaponry was involved.

"It is another clear signal that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign, courageous, and proud nation," he said.

Blinken did not detail what kind of weaponry was involved [Getty]
12:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

100,000 Ukrainians cross border into Poland

Polish Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker says that 100,000 people have crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine since Russia's invasion this week.

"From the onset of warfare in Ukraine through today, along the entire border with Ukraine, 100,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland," Szefernaker told reporters in the border village of Medyka, southeastern Poland.

The head of the Polish border guard, Tomasz Praga, added at the press conference that on Friday alone nearly 50,000 people had crossed into Poland from Ukraine.

Poland, which was already home to an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians before Russia's invasion and which has expressed steadfast support for Ukraine, has so far seen the bulk of those fleeing Ukraine cross into its territory.

"Latest update is that almost 116,000 have fled to neighbouring countries since 24 Feb - mainly Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania," the UN refugee agency UNHCR tweeted on Saturday.

"Numbers are rising," it added.

Read more here: 100,000 Ukrainians cross border into Poland: official

People wait for a train to Poland at the railway station in Lviv [Getty]
12:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

Kyiv toughens curfew, violators to be considered 'enemy': mayor

Kyiv authorities have toughened curfew orders in the city, saying violators would be considered "enemy" saboteurs as Russian forces press to capture Ukraine's capital.

Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko said that to improve the defence of the capital the curfew will be extended from 5:00 pm to 8:00 am local time between Saturday and Monday.

"All civilians who are on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance groups," Klitschko wrote in an online post.

11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine says 198 civilians killed in Russian invasion

Some 198 civilians, including three children, have been killed so far by Russian forces attacking the pro-Western country, Ukraine's health minister has said on Saturday.

"Unfortunately, according to operative data, at the hands of the invaders we have 198 dead, including 3 children, 1,115 wounded, including 33 children," Health Minister Viktor Lyashko wrote on Facebook.

Civilians are seen after an attack on a residential building in Kyiv [Getty]
10:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

UAE calls for immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Ukraine

The United Arab Emirates has called at a meeting of the UN Security Council for an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday.

It expressed "particular alarm at the consequences for civilians present in Ukraine, as well as for the region, and for the international community," WAM added.

UAE calls for cessation of hostilities in Ukraine [Getty]
10:29 AM
The New Arab Staff

Clashes in the capital Kyiv

Occasional blasts of what soldiers said were artillery and Grad missiles being fired in an area northwest of the city centre were heard in Kyiv early on Saturday. There were also loud explosions in the centre.

Emergency services said a high-rise apartment block was hit by shelling overnight, posting a picture that showed a hole covering at least five floors blasted into the side of the building. Kyiv's mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, said that the building had been hit by a missile.

"The enemy is trying to break into the city, in particular from Gostomel, Zhytomyr, where the aggressors are neutralized," Klitschko said, referring to two settlements to the northwest and west of the city.

"Now in Kyiv there are, unfortunately, sabotage groups, there were several clashes, shootings," he said.

Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko [Getty]
10:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Prague to give arms worth millions of dollars to Kyiv

The Czech Republic will donate machine guns, automatic and sniper rifles, pistols and ammunition valued at 7.6 million euros ($8.6 million) to Ukraine, the defence minister said Saturday.

"The government on Saturday approved further help to Ukraine, which is facing a Russian attack," Minister Jana Cernochova said in a tweet.

"The defence ministry will also take care of transport to a place set by the Ukrainian side. Our help is not over," she added.

In January, Prague had donated 4,000 artillery shells worth 1.5 million euros to Ukraine.

10:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

France's Macron warns of a 'long war'

The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday.

"I can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last," Macron's told France's annual agriculture fair.

"This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences," Macron added, warning: "We must be prepared".

Macron cut short his visit to the agriculture fair, usually one of the main fixtures on the French political calendar, in order to return to dealing with the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.

"War has returned to Europe, this was chosen unilaterally by President (Vladimir) Putin, with a tragic humanitarian situation, a (Ukrainian) people who are resisting and a Europe that is there and resisting by the side of the Ukrainian people," said Macron.

Read more: France's Macron warns of a 'long war' following Russia's invasion of Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron warned that 'war has returned to Europe' [Getty]


The New Arab Staff
The New Arab Staff & Agencies