Russia's invasion of Ukraine: Civilians killed in 'ruthless' shelling of Kharkiv

Russia's invasion of Ukraine: Civilians killed in 'ruthless' shelling of Kharkiv
Live Story
28 February, 2022

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its fifth day on Monday, the war has become increasingly merciless, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said on Monday, with strikes reported on residential areas.  

"The Russian military campaign is becoming more and more ruthless and Ukrainian armed forces are fighting back with courage," Borrell told journalists. 

"There are a lot of civilian casualties... and the flow of people looking for shelter, escaping the war is increasing."

Russian shelling killed at least 11 civilians in Ukraine's second most populated city Kharkiv on Monday, the regional governor said, adding that dozens more were wounded.

The shelling came one day after Ukrainian troops repelled an attack on Kharkiv by Moscow's army.

"The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas of Kharkiv, where there is no critical infrastructure, where there are no positions of the armed forces," Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

"As a result of the bombardments that are ongoing, we cannot call on the emergency services... currently there are 11 dead and dozens wounded," he added.

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

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.

6:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab concludes its live coverage of the latest on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We leave you with key events from today’s developments.

11 killed in Kharkiv

At least 11 civilians are killed in ongoing shelling of Ukraine's second city Kharkiv in the east of the country.

'352 civilians killed'

Kyiv says 352 civilians have been killed, including 14 children, since the invasion began last Thursday. Russia has acknowledged for the first time that it has suffered losses.

Ukraine demands Russians withdraw

Ukraine demands an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops as talks with the Kremlin start on Ukraine's border with Belarus.

Kyiv attacks rebuffed

Ukraine's army says it fought off several attempts by Russian forces to storm the outskirts of Kyiv overnight with the capital also hit by three missile strikes.

'Let us join EU': Zelensky

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky appeals to the EU to grant his country "immediate" membership.

Russians 'slowed'

Ukraine claims it has killed 4,300 Russian troops and that Moscow's offensive has "slowed". Washington says Russia has yet to establish air superiority, but Moscow insists it controls the skies over Ukraine.

Ruble crashes

Russia's central bank more than doubles its main interest rate to 20 percent, with the ruble collapsing against the dollar and euro. Moscow says it will ride out Western sanction but France says its economy is being "progressively unplugged" from the world.

EU sending arms and fighter jets

EU countries will give fighter jets to Ukraine, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says as the bloc agrees to transport weapons worth 450 million euros to Kyiv.

Toughest ever sanctions

Brussels' latest wave of swingeing sanctions against Russia and Belarus are its toughest ever, closing EU airspace to Russian aircraft and banning two Russian broadcasters.

Join us tomorrow for more updates and additional analysis on the conflict's significance. 

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more.


5:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

Pentagon studying Putin nuclear order

The Pentagon said it was still studying Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to mobilise his nuclear forces, and that Belarus troops had not yet joined the conflict in Ukraine.

"We're still monitoring and watching this as closely as we can given President Putin's announcement yesterday," a senior US defence official said.

"I don't believe we've seen anything specific as a result of the direction that he gave," the official told reporters.

On Sunday, four days after launching the invasion of Ukraine, Putin announced that he had ordered his military chiefs "to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service."

But Western officials say there has been no palpable change in the stance of Russia's powerful nuclear arsenal.

The US official called the move "unnecessary and very escalatory," insisting that Russia was facing no strategic threat from the West, and added that it was difficult to know what Putin's intentions were. 

5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Norway to send weapons to Ukraine, in change of policy

The Norwegian government will send weapons to Ukraine, it has said in a statement, the latest European nation to do so following Russia's invasion.

The decision overturns a Norwegian policy in place since the 1950s of not sending arms to non-NATO countries that are at war or at risk of armed conflict.

5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Shell to exit Russia operations after Ukraine invasion

Shell has said it will exit all its Russian operations, including a joint venture at a major liquefied natural gas plant, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The decision comes a day after rival BP abandoned its stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft in a move that could cost over $25 billion.

Shell will quit the flagship Sakhalin 2 LNG plant in which it holds a 27.5% stake, and which is 50% owned and operated by Russian gas giant Gazprom.

The company also plans to end its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, which it helped finance as a part of a consortium of companies.

Shell said the decision to quit the joint ventures in Russia will lead to impairments. Shell had around $3 billion in non-current assets in these ventures in Russia at the end of 2021, it said.

"We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security," Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

The company also plans to end its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline
4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia bans residents from transferring money abroad: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned residents from transferring money abroad as part of measures to prop up the ruble which has plummeted in value as a result of Western sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

A decree signed by Putin also said that exporters would be required to hold at least 80 percent of revenue in rubles in a move to prop up the Russian economy.

4:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia, Ukraine complete peace talks for now, will hold second round

Officials from Russia and Ukraine ended peace talks on Monday and will return to their respective capitals for further consultations before a second round of negotiations, RIA news agency quoted Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak as saying.


3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK to freeze assets of all Russian banks 'in days'

The UK will introduce further sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, promising a "full assets freeze" on all of the country's banks.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the freeze would take effect "in days", as part of new legislation to squeeze Russia's economy for its "unjustified aggression".

Britain last weekend joined the United States and Western allies in preventing the Russian central bank's ability to use reserves to support the plummeting ruble.

And it also cut selected banks from the SWIFT international money transfer system, which Truss said was only the first step in a "total SWIFT ban".

As Truss spoke in parliament, the Treasury announced asset freezes on Russia's state development bank VEB, and commercial lenders Otkritie and Sovcombank.

The sanctions add to those announced last week on a series of Russian banks, businesses, billionaires, the Russian president himself and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Truss said the UK wants "a situation where they (Russia) can't access their funds, their trade can't flow, their ships can't dock and their planes can't land".

More than 50 percent of Russian trade is denominated in dollars or sterling and the new powers "will damage Russia's ability to trade with the world", she said.

"As soon as this legislation comes into force, we will apply it to Sberbank, Russia's largest bank," she added.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the freeze would take effect "in days" [Getty]
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

FIFA in 'advanced discussions' to expel Russia from World Cup

FIFA is in "advanced discussions" to suspend the Russian national team from international competitions including the World Cup following the invasion of Ukraine, AFP has reported.

The source said Russia would be expelled from the World Cup "unless the situation improves".

The Russian team is due to play Poland in a World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on March 24, and would go on to face Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place at the finals in Qatar later this year.

FIFA announced on Sunday that Russian teams would be allowed to continue playing under the name of the Football Union of Russia, playing home games on neutral territory and behind closed doors, and with the Russian flag and anthem banned.

Those measures were dismissed as "totally unacceptable" by Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza, who added that Poland would not play their World Cup play-off with Russia, "no matter what the name of the team is."

Sweden and the Czech Republic followed suit, with Swedish FA chief Karl-Erik Nilsson saying he was "displeased" with FIFA's decision.

Global players' union FIFPro on Monday released a statement saying it "strongly disagrees" with the measures so far taken by FIFA.

FIFPro criticised FIFA for "imposing the lightest of sanctions on the Russian Football Union" and said that participation of Russian teams in international competitions was now "not a possibility".

FIFA had said on Sunday that Russian teams would be allowed to continue playing
3:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Special UN General Assembly session on Ukraine opens with minute's silence

The United Nations General Assembly observed a minute of silence for Ukraine as it opened a special emergency session to discuss whether to condemn Russia's invasion of its neighbour.

Assembly president Abdulla Shahid led the UN's 193 members in the moment of meditation before calling for "an immediate ceasefire" in the conflict.

The United Nations Security Council meets at the UN Headquarters in New York City
2:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Macron urges Putin to spare Ukrainian civilians

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to spare civilians in Ukraine, the French leader's office said in a statement.

Macron's office said that in a 90-minute phone call he had asked the Russian leader to stop attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and secure major roadways, in particular the road from the south of Kyiv. 

"President Putin confirmed his willingness to make commitments on these three points," the statement said.

Macron also "reiterated the demand of the international community to stop the Russian offensive against Ukraine, and reaffirmed the need to implement an immediate ceasefire," the Elysee said, but did not give the Russian leader's response.

Macron also called on Putin to respect international humanitarian law, and allow aid shipments to reach the population, the statement said.

Macron had a 90-minute phone conversation with the Russian leader [Getty]
2:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia's Ukraine invasion getting 'more and more ruthless': EU

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is becoming increasingly merciless, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said, as strikes were reported on residential areas.  

"The Russian military campaign is becoming more and more ruthless and Ukrainian armed forces are fighting back with courage," Borrell told journalists. 

"There are a lot of civilian casualties... and the flow of people looking for shelter escaping the war is increasing."

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell [Getty]
2:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK PM condemns 'barbaric' Russian airstrikes against civilians

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned Russian shelling of civilians, after at least 11 people were killed in Ukraine's second most populated city, Kharkiv.

Johnson's office said in a call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky "the leaders categorically condemned the barbaric airstrikes being carried out by Russia against innocent civilians, including children".

Boris Johnson has condemned Russian shelling of civilians [Getty]
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian shelling kills 11 in Ukraine's second city: official

Russian shelling killed at least 11 civilians in Ukraine's second most populated city Kharkiv, the regional governor said, adding that dozens more were wounded.

The shelling comes on the fifth day of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and one day after Ukrainian troops repelled an attack on Kharkiv by Moscow's army.

"The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas of Kharkiv, where there is no critical infrastructure, where there are no positions of the armed forces," Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

"As a result of the bombardments that are ongoing, we cannot call on the emergency services... currently there are 11 dead and dozens wounded," he added.

The Kremlin said earlier that the Russian military's main task was to ensure the safety of civilians.

But Russia has also accused nationalist groups in Ukraine of using civilians as human shields and the Ukrainian military of deploying heavy weapons to residential areas, as potential pretexts justifying civilian deaths.

A school destroyed by fighting near the centre of Ukrainian city of Kharkiv [Getty]
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

US, Canada ban transactions with Russian central bank

The United States and Canada have banned all transactions with Russia's central bank, effective immediately, in an unprecedented sanction meant to punish the country for its invasion of Ukraine.

Transactions to support the ruble, "will no longer be possible and fortress Russia will be exposed," a senior US administration official told reporters.

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the ban is meant "to ensure that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure."

"Canada is firmly on the side of the heroic resistance of the people of Ukraine and we will continue to take further action to ensure President Putin does not succeed," she said in a statement.

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The US official said the package of coordinated sanctions will create a "vicious feedback loop," and Moscow "will be forced to deplete their domestic rainy day fund far more quickly, experience a weakening of their currency making funding their war of choice much more expensive."

"Inflation is very likely to spike. Purchasing power is likely to plummet. Investment is likely to plummet," the official said.

"Our objective is to make sure that the Russian economy goes backwards if President (Vladimir) Putin decided to continue to go forward with an invasion of Ukraine, and we have the tools to continue to do that," the official said.

Washington also slapped sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a state-owned institution that Moscow uses to raise funds overseas. It is run by Kirill Dmitriev, who is close to Putin.

"This fund and its leadership are symbols of deep-seated Russian corruption and influence peddling globally," said the official.

The United States has already sanctioned 24 individuals and organisations in Belarus, which Russia used as a launch pad for its invasion, and while no new measures were announced on Monday, the official warned, "those costs will continue to ratchet much higher."

1:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

African governments seek to help nationals flee war in Ukraine

Nigeria, South Africa and other African governments have scrambled to help their nationals escape the Russian invasion in Ukraine as reports emerged of racist and unfair treatment of their citizens at border crossings.

African nationals, many of them students, are among hundreds of thousands of people trying to flee into Poland and other neighbours.

Nigeria has urged border officials in Ukraine and elsewhere to treat its citizens equally.

"There have been unfortunate reports of Ukrainian police and security personnel refusing to allow Nigerians to board buses and trains heading towards the Ukraine-Poland border," said presidential advisor Garba Shehu in a statement.

"In one video widely circulating on social media, a Nigerian mother with her young baby was filmed being physically forced to give up her seat to another person."

1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Luxembourg to send anti-tank weapons, jeeps to Ukraine, defence minister says

Luxembourg will send 100 NLAW anti-tank weapons, jeeps and 15 military tents to Ukraine, Defence Minister Francois Bausch has said in a statement.

On top of this, Luxembourg is offering allied countries transport capacities on board of its A400M military transport plane and chartered aircraft, Bausch added.

The European Union agreed on Sunday, for the first time in its history, to fund weapons for Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia's attack. 

12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff

US closes embassy in Belarus, lets staff leave in Russia

The State Department has closed the US Embassy in Belarus and is allowing non-essential staff at the US Embassy in Russia to leave the country due to the war in Ukraine.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the suspension of operations at the Minsk embassy and the authorised departure from Moscow in a statement on Monday.

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

Antony Blinken announced the suspension of operations at the Minsk embassy [Getty]
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russian cluster bombs killing Ukraine civilians

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

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

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

Amnesty said the attack "appears to have been carried out by Russian forces, which were operating nearby, and which have a record of using cluster munitions in populated areas".

"There is no possible justification for dropping cluster munitions in populated areas, let alone near a school," Amnesty Secretary General Agnes Callamard said in a statement on Sunday.

Over 100 countries have signed the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions banning the production and use of the weapons, but not Russia or Ukraine.

Cluster bombs hit a preschool in northeastern Ukraine used to shelter civilians
12:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Putin issued nuclear order in response to Liz Truss comments, Kremlin says

Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert in response to comments made by foreign secretary Liz Truss, the chief spokesperson for the Russian president has said.

Dmitry Peskov blamed "unacceptable" comments from Western politicians for prompting the move, and singled out Truss.

"There were unacceptable statements about possible conflict situations and even confrontations and clashes between Nato and Russia," said Peskov.

"I will not name the authors of these statements, although it was the British foreign secretary."

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12:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

Russia state-owned news site Tass hacked with 'Putin makes us lie' message

The website of Russian state news agency TASS has been hacked, with the regular site replaced with an anti-war message and calls to stop President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

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

"Putin is forcing us to lie and is putting us in danger...It's not our war, let's stop him!"

The message has since been removed. The website now says: "Sorry, the page you are looking for is currently unavailable. Please try again later."

12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

Google, Facebook, Twitter must combat Ukraine fake news - Polish, Baltic leaders

Alphabet unit Google and its subsidiary YouTube, Facebook and Twitter must do more to tackle disinformation related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the premiers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia said.

In a joint letter to the chief executives of the four companies dated Feb 27, the four prime ministers criticised the US tech giants, saying what they have done so far is inadequate.

"Although the online platforms have undertaken significant efforts to address the Russian government's unprecedented assault on truth, they have not done enough," they said in the letter.

"Russia's disinformation has been tolerated on online platforms for years; they are now an accessory to the criminal war of aggression the Russian government is conducting against Ukraine and the free world."

They urged the companies to proactively suspend accounts denying, glorifying or justifying wars of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

They also urged the tech giants to suspend the official accounts of Russian and Belarusian government institutions, state-controlled media and personal accounts of the countries' leadership and their associates that consistently disseminate disinformation about the situation in Ukraine.

The four prime ministers criticised the US tech giants [Getty]
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Kremlin says Russia will ride out Western sanctions

Russia says it could ride out Western sanctions over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine as President Vladimir Putin huddled with officials to discuss the economic turmoil of the five-day-old war.

"The Western sanctions on Russia are hard, but our country has the necessary potential to compensate the damage," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

He added that "today Putin will be working on economic questions" and meeting key ministers.

"The economic reality has significantly changed, let's put it this way," he said, adding that Russia had taken steps to prepare for it.

"Russia has been systematically preparing for quite a long time for possible sanctions, including the heaviest sanctions that we are now facing," he said.

The severe financial punishment imposed by the West has sent the ruble into a tailspin, with the Russian currency down 20 percent against the dollar in midday trading.

The Russian central bank more than doubled its main interest rate to 20 percent to try prop it up.

Moscow's stock market remained closed for the day, meanwhile.

Dmitry Peskov, Russia's presidential spokesman [Getty]
11:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Dozens killed in rocket strikes on Ukrainian city of Kharkiv

Dozens of people were killed in rocket strikes by Russian forces on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv this morning, Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko has said.

"Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads (rockets). Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded," he said in a post on Facebook.


A damaged residential building after shelling in Kharkiv [Getty]
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Japan to sanction Belarus president, Russian central bank

Japan will sanction Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko and limit trade with Russia's central bank over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said.

"In light of Belarus' apparent involvement in this aggression, we will take sanctions against President Lukashenko and other individuals and organizations and export control measures," Kishida said, after holding talks with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

"In order to enhance the viability of financial sanctions against Russia in the international community, we have decided to impose sanctions to restrict transactions with the Central Bank of Russia," Kishida added.

The moves come as Japan acts with Group of Seven partners to pressure Moscow over the invasion, with a series of sanctions on Russian financial institutions and chip exports.

Tokyo has also pledged $100 million in loans and another $100 million in emergency humanitarian aid, and Kishida said measures would be taken to allow Ukrainians in the country to extend their stay if they have concerns about going home.

In a tweet, Zelensky welcomed Japan's moves to support "tough sanctions".

"Thank you! A truly global anti-war coalition works."

11:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Families torn apart as more than 500,000 refugees flee Ukraine

Ukrainian women and children have left their husbands and fathers behind after the authorities ordered men aged 18-60 to stay and fight the Russian invasion.

“We left dad in Kyiv and dad will be selling things and helping our heroes, our army, he might even fight,” Mark Goncharuk, a young boy choking with tears, said as he and his relatives fled the capital.

More than half a million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion five days ago, with more than half fleeing into Poland, the United Nations said Monday.

"More than 500,000 refugees have now fled from Ukraine into neighbouring countries," UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said in a tweet.

10:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Airbnb to house up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees

Home rental company Airbnb Inc has said its non-profit arm would offer free, temporary housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Chief Executive Brian Officer Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, the chairman of, have sent letters to leaders of Poland, Romania, Germany and Hungary offering help to house the refugees. The countries share borders with Ukraine.

At least 300,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the European Union so far after Russia's invasion of the country, and the bloc needs to prepare for millions more, senior EU and French officials have said., which provides temporary stays for people during crisis, will work closely with governments to help address needs in each country including by providing longer-term stays.

The stays will be funded by Airbnb, donors to the Refugee Fund and hosts of

10:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine raises $13 mln in crypto after crowdfunding appeal

Ukraine's government has raised cryptocurrency worth almost $13 million after posting appeals on social media for donations of bitcoin and other digital tokens, data from blockchain analysis firm Elliptic has showed.

Ukraine's official Twitter account made the appeal for cryptocurrency donations on Saturday following the country's invasion by Russia, posting digital wallets addresses for tokens including bitcoin and ether.

Ukraine's Vice-Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted the wallet addresses.

"Stand with the people of Ukraine. Now accepting cryptocurrency donations," wrote Fedorov, who is also minister of digital transformation.

The donations came as Russian forces seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area around a nuclear power plant, the Interfax news agency said, but ran into stiff resistance elsewhere as Moscow's diplomatic and economic isolation deepened.

By 08:50 GMT on Monday, the wallet addresses had received crypto worth $12.8 million across almost 17,300 donations, London-based Elliptic said.

The company tracks the movement of digital coins on the blockchain, a public ledger that records crypto transactions.

Ukraine's ministry of digital transformation confirmed the tweets were genuine and added: "How will we use money? To destroy as much Russian soldiers as possible."

Ukraine's government has raised cryptocurrency worth almost $13 million [Getty]
10:20 AM
The New Arab Staff

Kremlin will not 'declare position' ahead of Ukraine talks

The Kremlin has said it would not declare its official position ahead of talks with a Ukrainian delegation.

"I suggest we wait for the talks," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"I would not declare any negotiating positions and so on."

10:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ukraine demands 'immediate ceasefire' ahead of talks

Ukraine has called for an immediate Russian ceasefire and troop withdrawal as its delegation arrived in Belarus for talks with Russian negotiators.

Ukraine's delegation is set to meet Russian representatives for the first talks since Moscow's invasion.

The meeting will take place just across the border in neighbouring Belarus, a key Kremlin ally that has allowed Russian troops passage to attack Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian delegation arrived at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border to take part in talks with representatives of the Russian Federation," the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

"The key issue of the talks is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine."

President Volodymyr Zelensky in a separate statement urged Russian troops to abandon their equipment and leave the battlefield in order to save their lives, claiming that more than 4,500 Russian soldiers had already lost their lives.

Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russian forces to abandon their arms [Getty]
10:00 AM
The New Arab Staff

Zelensky demands 'immediate' EU membership for Ukraine

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

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

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

He said 16 children had died during the first four days of Moscow's assault and another 45 were wounded as he hailed "Ukrainian heroes".

"Ukrainians have shown the world who we are. And Russia has shown what it has become," Zelensky said.

Volodymr Zelensky appeals to the EU to grant his country "immediate" membership
9:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

Ruble crashes amid Western sanctions

The ruble collapsed against the dollar and the euro on the Moscow Stock Exchange as the West punished Moscow with new sanctions.

The ruble fell sharply at the start of trading, reaching 100.96 to the dollar, compared to 83.5 on Wednesday, the day before the invasion of Ukraine, and 113.52 to the euro, compared to 93.5 before the assault.

This came after the ruble-based MOEX index increased the upper trading limit.

That followed an announcement by the West that it would remove some Russian banks from the SWIFT bank messaging system, and freeze central bank assets.

The ruble had already fallen sharply against the main world currencies and many Russians queued at ATMs over the weekend, hoping to withdraw ruble savings and exchange them for foreign currency before rates plunged further.

The Russian central bank on Monday took emergency measures to prop up the economy: hiking the key interest rate to 20 percent from 9.5 percent in order to "support financial and price stability and protect citizens' savings from depreciation".

It also announced that Russian resident companies that earn income from exports from Monday will have to sell 80 percent of their foreign currency earnings.

Russians queued at ATMs over the weekend [Getty]
9:44 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russian offensive 'slowed down'

Fierce fighting has raged since Monday morning and Ukraine forces are reporting some success.

"The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive," the general staff of the Ukraine armed forces said.

According to the latest operational report released by the Ukrainian military this morning, Russia has "slowed down its offensive" after firing on military and civilian airfields, military control points, air defence facilities and critical infrastructure.

The force added that Ukrainian artillery fire destroyed "more than five columns of enemy equipment and enemy manpower".

"The enemy is demoralised and bears heavy losses," the general staff of the armed forces said.

"Frequent cases of desertion and disobedience were noted. The enemy realised that propaganda and reality were different."

Ukraine forces are reporting some success [Getty]
9:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Russia, Ukraine set for talks

Russia and Ukraine are preparing for their first talks since Moscow's invasion.

Ukraine said on Sunday it agreed to send a delegation to meet Russian representatives on the border with Belarus, which would be the foes' first public contact since war erupted.

Belarus announced Monday that the venue for the talks had been prepared and they would start as soon as the delegations arrived.

However, with his government reporting hundreds of civilian deaths and Russian troops besieging key cities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was sceptical about the talks.

"As always: I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try," he said.



The New Arab Staff