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Ukraine war: Free to read

Ukraine from Feb. 24 to March 9: Over 2.1m people have fled country, UNHCR estimates

Air alert in Kyiv as fighting continues; EU has enough gas for this winter, says Von der Leyen

The United Nations says that over 2 million refugees from Ukraine have fled the country.   © Reuters

Russia has unleashed an invasion of Ukraine after months of massing troops near its borders. The military action, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 24, amounts to a full-scale invasion, says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Casualties are mounting on both sides. The repercussions are being felt beyond Europe as rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets rock Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine crisis page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

-- China says Moscow relations solid, accuses U.S. of building 'Pacific NATO'

-- Russia offers Middle East fighters '$400 a week' to join Ukraine war

-- U.S. lawmaker urges India to speak out against Ukraine invasion

-- Turkish drone success in Ukraine sets stage for Asia roadshow

-- Russia sanctions put spotlight on crypto: 5 things to know

Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Note: Nikkei Asia on March 5 decided to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.

This blog file is now closed. For the latest developments, head over here.

Wednesday, March 9 (Tokyo time)

6:00 p.m. The number of people fleeing Ukraine since the Russian invasion began has probably now reached 2.1 million to 2.2 million people, according to the head of the UNHCR, the United Nation's refugee agency. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi says in a news conference during a visit to Stockholm that "the time is now to try to help at the border" rather than discuss how to distribute refugees between countries. Grandi added that Moldova, which is not a member of the European Union, in particular is facing a tide of refugees.

4:24 p.m. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the bloc has bought enough liquefied natural gas that it should be independent of Russian imports up until the end of the winter. Von der Leyen also told Germany's ARD television that sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine were designed to cause maximum impact on Moscow while causing the least damage possible to Western economies.

3:12 p.m. Britain says Ukraine's air defenses are having success against Russian jets, likely preventing Russia from controlling the airspace. "Ukrainian air defences appear to have enjoyed considerable success against Russia's modern combat aircraft, probably preventing them achieving any degree of control of the air," the defense ministry says in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.

People walk past a damaged building in the town of Irpin outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as they flee from advancing Russian troops on March 8.   © Reuters

2:24 p.m. An air alert was declared Wednesday morning in and around Kyiv, with residents urged to get to bomb shelters as quickly as possible. "Kyiv region -- air alert. Threat of a missile attack. Everyone immediately to shelters," regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram. For days, as Russian forces have laid siege to Ukrainian cities, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting.

12:00 p.m. Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo called for a cease-fire in the war between Russia and Ukraine and said continued dialogue rather than economic sanctions on Russia is the way to resolve the crisis. Speaking in an exclusive face-to-face interview on Tuesday with Nikkei Editor-in-Chief Tetsuya Iguchi, Widodo said sovereignty and territorial integrity "must be respected by all parties."

11:59 a.m. Yum Brands, parent company of fried chicken chain KFC, says it is pausing investment in Russia, a key market that helped the brand achieve record development last year. Yum also says it is suspending operations of its 70 KFC company-owned restaurants in the country and finalizing an agreement to suspend all Pizza Hut restaurant operations in Russia, in partnership with its master franchisee. Yum has at least 1,000 KFC and 50 Pizza Hut locations in Russia, nearly all of them independent franchisees.

The credit rating agency Fitch has further downgraded Russia into junk territory, saying a default is imminent as sanctions and trade restrictions undermine its willingness to service debt.   © Reuters

7:57 a.m. Credit rating agency Fitch downgrades Russia's sovereign rating by six notches further into junk territory to C from B, saying a default is imminent as sanctions and trade restrictions undermine its willingness to service debt. "Further ratcheting up of sanctions and proposals that could limit trade in energy increase probability of a policy response by Russia that includes at least selective non-payment of its sovereign debt obligations," the rating agency said in a statement.

7:40 a.m. Universal Music Group says it is suspending all operations in Russia and closing offices, as it joins a growing number of companies protesting the violence in Ukraine. The world's largest music company's decision followed the announcement last week by Spotify that it would close its offices in Russia in response to what it described as Moscow's unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

6:25 a.m. Chinese companies that defy U.S. restrictions against exporting to Russia may be cut off from American equipment and software they need to make their products, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tells The New York Times. The U.S. could "essentially shut" down Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. or any Chinese companies that defy U.S. sanctions by continuing to supply chips and other advanced technology to Russia, she says.

6:00 a.m. Starbucks says it is suspending all business activity in Russia, as is Coca-Cola. The coffee chain will suspend shipment of its products as well as cafes run by a licensee. Meanwhile, soft-drink and snack maker PepsiCo says it will suspend all advertising in Russia and stop the sale of its drink brands.

A Polish MiG-29 taxis after a training mission at a military airport east of Warsaw.   © Reuters

4:56 a.m. Poland is ready to deploy all its MiG-29 jets to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and put them at the disposal of the U.S., the Foreign Ministry says, urging other NATO members that possess planes of that type to do the same. The move follows a plea Saturday from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for fighter aircraft.

Warsaw is supporting Kyiv with defensive weapons, but has said it would not send jets to Ukraine, as Poland is not a direct party to the conflict between Ukraine -- which is not a NATO ally -- and Russia.

4:30 a.m. The International Atomic Energy Agency's director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, says that remote data transmission from safeguards monitoring systems at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been lost.

The systems refer to the field of IAEA work aimed at keeping track of nuclear material. The IAEA is looking into the status of safeguards monitoring systems at other locations in Ukraine. Russia's military entered the Chernobyl site following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

3:15 a.m. The BBC says it has decided to resume English-language reporting in Russia, which it had suspended last week in light of a new law that makes it illegal to report news that could discredit the Russian armed forces.

The move to restart reporting comes after "careful deliberation," the British broadcaster says. It contrasts with The New York Times' decision to pull its reporters from Russia.

Meanwhile, McDonald's says it will temporarily close its restaurants in Russia. The U.S. fast-food chain will continue to pay the salaries of its 62,000 employees in the country.

2:50 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vows to resist the Russian invasion in a video address to the U.K. House of Commons with echoes of Winston Churchill.

"We will fight until the end. At sea, in the air, we will continue fighting for our land whatever the cost," Zelenskky says through an interpreter.

1:57 a.m. Britain will phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says, joining other nations including the U.S. in reducing energy dependency on Russia. Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng says he is exploring options to end British imports of Russian gas, which accounts for about 4% of supply in the country.

U.S. President Joe Biden says America will halt imports of Russian energy, saying there is widespread support among Democrats and Republicans for such a move while acknowledging Americans will pay more for gasoline.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson exempted natural gas from the measure.   © Reuters

1:20 a.m. Russia is believed to be recruiting fighters in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East to fortify the military forces as its attacks on Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities meet stiff resistance.

A senior U.S. Defense Department official says Moscow was recruiting mainly Syrians to fight in the war. Read more.

Tuesday, March 8

9:00 p.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in his latest tweet is asking global businesses to stop supporting Russia financially. "Ukraine requests the ethically and socially responsible global businesses to stop or suspend operations with or in Russia, therefore refusing to finance its violence, murders, and crimes against humanity," Kuleba says in the twitter account of the ministry where he attached his full appeal to the global business community.

8:47 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin have spoken on the phone and expressed "hope for the next round of talks between Moscow and Kyiv soon and an agreement on the key issues lying in the center of the Ukrainian crisis in order to settle it and cease hostilities," Interfax reports, citing the Russian foreign ministry. The latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine on Monday reportedly ended with no significant results.

8:40 p.m. The advance of Russian forces in Ukraine has slowed significantly and Ukrainian forces are counterattacking in some areas, Reuters reports citing Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych.

8:30 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for "maximum restraint" in Ukraine and said China is "pained to see the flames of war reignited in Europe," Reuters reports, citing state broadcaster CCTV, in his strongest statement to date on Russia's invasion. Speaking at a virtual meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Xi said the three countries should jointly support peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Thirteen days into President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, a foreign ministry official was cited by Interfax as saying that Moscow was ready to hold a dialogue with the U.S. and that "it would do well to remember the well-forgotten principle that worked during the Cold War, peaceful co-existence."   © Reuters

6:58 p.m. Moscow is ready for dialogue with the U.S. and expects that its relationship with Washington to return to normal, according to an Interfax report citing Alexander Darchiyev, director of the North America Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"We are open for an honest and mutually respectful dialogue to the same extent as the U.S. will be ready for it," Darchiyev says, adding, "it would do well to remember the well-forgotten principle that worked during the Cold War, peaceful co-existence, despite the values and ideals separating us which must not be forced on each other."

6:43 p.m. Ukrainian officials say the evacuation of residents has begun in the northeastern city of Sumy which is under siege by the Russian military. It is the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine that people are being evacuated through so-called humanitarian corridors where fighting is ongoing. Evacuations have also begun in Irpin, near Kyiv.

Residents of the town of Irpin, near Kyiv, evacuate on March 7. (Agencja via Reuters)

5:02 p.m. The Japanese credit card company JCB announces that it is halting payment transactions in Russia from March 14, moving in line with major U.S. credit card companies that have already suspended operations to squeeze Russia out of international banking.

4:50 p.m. Russia has opened "humanitarian corridors" so people can be evacuated from Kyiv and four other Ukrainian cities -- Cherhihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol -- the Interfax news agency quotes Russia's defense ministry as saying. The ministry adds that Russian forces in Ukraine introduced a "silent regime" to ensure civilians' safety from 07:00 GMT, Interfax reports.

3:00 p.m. Japan will ban exports of oil refining equipment to Russia and dual-use products to Belarus as it expands sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, the top government spokesman says. A total of 32 Russian and Belarusian individuals, including government officials and business magnates, along with 12 entities, including military-related companies, have been added to the list of those facing asset freezes in Japan.

A pipe is checked at Lukoil's Imilorskoye oil field outside the West Siberian city of Kogalym on Jan. 25, 2016.   © Reuters

12:20 p.m. Viva Energy, one of Australia's two refiners, says it will stop buying Russian crude oil, joining a growing number of companies to sever trade ties with the country over its invasion of Ukraine. The fuel supplier, which operates in Australia under the Shell brand, says it is "appalled" by the events in Ukraine as Russia continues its incursion. A spokesperson for Ampol, Australia's only other refiner, says the company has not bought Russian crude oil or products since the conflict started.

11:41 a.m. Fitch becomes the second major credit rating agency, following Moody's, to suspend its commercial operations in Russia with immediate effect on Monday, saying its analysts outside the country will provide its coverage instead. Ratings companies are concerned about a new law passed in Russia last week that threatens prison terms of up to 15 years for spreading what the Russian government describes as "fake" information.

8:10 a.m. OPEC has no control over the events that have led to higher global oil prices, and there is not enough capacity to compensate for the loss of Russian supply, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo says. Russia is the world's top exporter of crude and fuel, shipping around 7 million barrels per day, or 7% of global supplies. "There is no capacity in the world that could replace 7 millions barrels per day," Barkindo tells reporters at an industry conference in Houston.

5:40 a.m. Russia may respond to European sanctions by halting the flow of natural gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, says Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, according to Interfax. No decision has been made yet, Novak adds.

Negotiators from Ukraine, left, and Russia meet in Belarus' Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, north of Brest, on March 7. (BelTA pool photo via AP)

3:30 a.m. Russian negotiators say they have no positive developments to report following talks with Ukraine and warn against expecting the next round to bring a final result. The talks "are not easy," negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said. Ukraine negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak says that some small progress was made over logistics for the evacuation of civilians but that no agreement that significantly improves the broader situation was reached.

12:55 a.m. Ukrainian officials say a bread factory has been hit by a Russian airstrike, Reuters reports. The bodies of at least 13 civilians were recovered from rubble after the factory in Makariv, west of Kyiv, was hit.

12:20 a.m. Japanese apparel chain Uniqlo plans to continue selling clothes at its 50 locations in Russia, with Tadashi Yanai, CEO of parent Fast Retailing, saying Russian people need access to daily necessities.

"Clothing is a necessity of life," Yanai says. "The people of Russia have the same right to live as we do." Read more.

Monday, March 7

11:55 p.m. Moscow approves a list of foreign states and territories that committed "unfriendly actions" against Russia, its companies and its citizens, state news agency Tass reports. The list includes Ukraine, Japan, the U.S., Canada, European Union states, the U.K., South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

The decree, following international sanctions against Russia, lets the country's citizens, companies and government entities use rubles to pay foreign exchange obligations to foreign creditors in those regions.

11:50 p.m. A third round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials has begun, Interfax reports.

In a Twitter post ahead of talks, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak urged the Russia to prove its commitment to halting widespread attacks on civilians.

8:35 p.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are set to meet during a diplomacy forum in Turkey's Antalya on Thursday, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Turkish minister says he will attend the meeting.

8:30 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "suggested" to Russian President Vladimir Putin that "a direct conversation" between the Russian leader and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, "may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts."

Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin in 2019: In a phone call, the Indian leader told his Russian counterpart that direct talks with Ukraine's President Zelenskyy "may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts."   © Reuters

An Indian government statement about their phone call said Putin "briefed" Modi on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams. It added that Modi welcomed the talks and hoped they would lead to a cessation of the conflict.

The statement said the Russian president also "briefed [the] prime minister about the ongoing measures related to humanitarian corridors for facilitating evacuation of civilians, including Indian students [stuck in Ukraine]."

5:40 p.m. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says that relations with Russia are "rock-solid" as he repeated calls for dialogue to end the war in Ukraine. China's top diplomat does not directly address questions about calls from his Ukrainian counterpart for Beijing to broker a cease-fire between Moscow and Kyiv, and there was little sign that Beijing was changing its cautious stance on the bloody conflict.

5:16 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday who has briefed him "in detail about the conflict situation and the ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and Russia," according to an Indian government statement. On his part, Modi expressed "deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis" and reiterated his call for "immediate cessation of violence."

3:30 p.m. Russia's defense ministry says its military will hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities on Monday. During the weekend, fighting stymied evacuation efforts, and civilian casualties mounted. The corridors will open at 10 a.m. Moscow time. They will lead from the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, and are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron, the ministry says. "Attempts by the Ukrainian side to deceive Russia and the whole civilized world ... are useless this time," the ministry adds.

2:39 p.m. Australia will construct a nuclear submarine base in the east of the country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. The project, estimated to cost more than 10 billion Australian dollars ($7.4 billion), is aimed at enhancing the country's defense and checking China's ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. The announcement also came in the shadow of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Morrison framed as part of a larger "assault" by autocracies against the rules-based international order.

2:11 p.m. Japan has raised its travel alert for Russia to its second-highest level to warn against all trips there, as additional sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine have left far fewer flights available and have begun seriously disrupting the local economy and citizens' lives. Japan's foreign ministry lifted its risk warning to Level 3 on its four-point scale, after European countries and the United States closed off their airspace to Russian flights while Russia shut its airspace in retaliation.

12:20 p.m. Japan's Nikkei share average plunges more than 3% to a fresh 15-month low, as the war in Ukraine shows no signs of abating, pushing up oil and other commodity prices and stoking fears of a stagflationary shock to the global economy.

11:30 a.m. Palladium jumps to a record high, while gold hits the key level of $2,000 per ounce, as concerns over the Russia-Ukraine conflict pushed investors toward haven assets.

9:25 a.m. U.S. gasoline prices at the pump jumped 11% over the past week to their highest since late July 2008 as global sanctions cripple Russia's ability to export crude oil, according to automobile club AAA. The average price for U.S. regular gasoline hit $4.00 per gallon on Sunday, up 11% from $3.60 a week ago and up 45% from $2.76 a year ago, AAA said.

9:12 a.m. Oil prices soar more than 10% in hectic trading as the risk of a U.S. and European ban on Russian products and delays in Iranian talks triggered what was shaping up as a major stagflationary shock for world markets.

KPMG and PwC say they will leave Russia due to the country's invasion of Ukraine.    © Reuters

7:46 a.m. Accounting firm KPMG says it will leave Russia and Belarus, its announcement coming soon after PwC declared its intent to leave Russia. "We believe we have a responsibility, along with other global businesses, to respond to the Russian government's ongoing military attack on Ukraine. As a result, our Russia and Belarus firms will leave the KPMG network," the firm said in its news release.

6:37 a.m. PwC has severed ties with its Russian businesses, making it the first of the Big Four accounting firms to exit the country since Ukraine was invaded, the Financial Times reports. The firm has some 3,700 partners and staff in Russia across 11 locations. PwC's Russian operations will carry on as a stand-alone firm but with no formal connection to the global brand.

5:51 a.m. Netflix and TikTok announce suspensions to their respective services in Russia. Netflix's decision cites "circumstances on the ground," while TikTok says it will halt livestreaming as well as video uploads to its platform in the country. TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media company, adds it is reviewing "the safety implications" of a media law signed on Friday by President Vladimir Putin imposing jail terms of up to 15 years for spreading what Moscow calls "fake news."

2:15 a.m. Russia's sovereign bond payments to nonresidents will depend on sanctions imposed by the West, the country's finance ministry says.

Russia will use rubles to make payments to residents on bonds denominated in foreign currency, according to the ministry.

12:21 a.m. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, at least 364 civilians are confirmed to have been killed in the country and another 759 wounded, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. The figures comprise casualties through Saturday and are probably "considerably higher," the monitoring mission reports.

A building damaged by recent shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine.   © Reuters

Sunday, March 6

11:12 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday to coordinate the response to the Russian assault on Ukraine, a U.S. State Department spokesperson says.

11:00 p.m. Russian shelling prevents evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, local authorities say. The shelling continues despite a temporary cease-fire agreement.

9:35 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin warns Ukraine that Russia's military operation would only be halted if Kyiv stops resisting and fulfills all of the Kremlin's demands.

"It is hoped that during the planned next round of negotiations, Ukraine's representatives will show a more constructive approach, fully taking into account the emerging realities," the Kremlin says in a readout of a call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

4:22 p.m. South Korea will implement export controls against Belarus for "effectively supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine," Seoul's foreign ministry says. The ministry did not detail what measures would be taken, but says they will be applied in a similar way to moves already taken by South Korea against Russia. It condemned Moscow as having launched an "armed invasion" of Ukraine.

9:35 a.m. U.S. payments firms Visa and Mastercard are suspending operations in Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, and they will work with clients and partners to cease all transactions there.

7:52 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about "Moscow's premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine," a U.S. State Department spokesperson says.

7:50 a.m. Ukraine's leader makes a "desperate" plea to American lawmakers for the U.S. to help get more warplanes to his military and cut off Russian oil imports as Kyiv tries to stave off the Russian invasion.

5:29 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that Ukrainian statehood is in jeopardy and likened the West's sanctions on Russia to "declaring war," in a televised meeting with flight attendants from Russian airline Aeroflot.

Ukrainian and Russian flags are seen on a table before the talks between officials of the two countries in the Brest region, Belarus, on March 3. (Handout photo from BelTA)   © Reuters

2:45 a.m. Russia and Ukraine will hold a third round of talks on Monday about ending hostilities, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said in a Facebook post on Saturday, without providing further details, according to Reuters.

Saturday, March 5

11:44 p.m. What looked like a breakthrough cease-fire to evacuate residents from two cities in Ukraine quickly falls apart as Ukrainian officials said shelling had halted the work to remove civilians hours after Russia announced the deal, according to AP.

11:30 a.m. Samsung Electronics says shipments to Russia have been suspended "due to current geopolitical developments." A statement from the company reads, "We continue to actively monitor this complex situation to determine our next steps." Samsung Electronics' handsets are the top seller in Russia, with a 30% share of the market as of the fourth quarter of 2021. Samsung is also donating $6 million, including $1 million in consumer electronics as well as voluntary donations from employees, to actively support humanitarian efforts "around the region," including aid for refugees.

11:00 a.m. Credit rating agency S&P has cut Belarus' rating to "CCC" from "B," meaning its sovereign debt is "vulnerable," and placed it on negative due to the country's involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "International sanctions imposed on Belarus due to its involvement in Russia's military intervention against Ukraine are severe, and we expect them to tighten further," the agency said. MSCI, which ranks companies and countries on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, earlier this week downgraded Russia and Belarus in response to their war on Ukraine.

8:00 a.m. Russia says Meta Platforms' Facebook has been blocked for restricting state-backed channels. Nick Clegg, Meta's head of global affairs says the company will do everything possible to restore services. The move came after the tussle between Russia and Western companies escalated on Friday as Moscow blocked a slew of media companies, and big brands like Microsoft and Electronic Arts announced they were shutting down sales in the country.

A police officer in Moscow: A "fake news" law in Russia has raised concerns among Western media.   © Reuters

7:14 a.m. CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia "while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward," a spokesperson says.

Bloomberg will temporarily suspend newsgathering there, with its editor-in-chief saying a change to the criminal code "makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country." Those who spread "fake news" about the military can be imprisoned for 15 years under the law.

The two U.S. media companies follow the BBC, which announced a similar move earlier.

6:39 a.m. S&P Dow Jones Indices, home to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, says it will remove all stocks listed and/or domiciled in Russia from its standard equity indexes at a price of zero.

It will also change the country's classification from an emerging market to stand-alone, "given the deterioration in the level of accessibility of the Russian market," the company announces.

5:00 a.m. The BBC says it is temporarily suspending its reporting in Russia in response to a new law that BBC Director-General Tim Davie said "appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism."

"The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs," Davie says.

Access to the BBC has been restricted in Russia, along with other media outlets authorities say are "publishing unreliable information about the special military operation in Ukraine," TASS reports, using Moscow's name for the war. Others include Meduza, the Voice of America, Radio Liberty and Deutsche Welle.

3:30 a.m. Foreign ministers from seven leading industrial nations call on Moscow to stop attacks close to Ukraine's nuclear power plants, saying "any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of international law."

The top diplomats from the Group of Seven also say in a statement released by the U.S. State Department that the nations are prepared to impose further sanctions on Russia and Belarus. "We wish to make clear to the Russian and Belarusian people that the severe sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus are a consequence of and clear reaction to President Putin's unprovoked and unjustifiable war against Ukraine," the statement says.

They also condemn Russian attacks on civilians as well as schools and hospitals.

2:40 a.m. NATO has rejected a Ukrainian call for a no-fly zone over the war-torn country, but a U.S. defense official says the Ukrainian air force is still largely intact.

"The Ukrainians still have a significant majority of their air combat power available to them, both fixed-wing and rotary wing as well as unmanned systems and surface-to-air systems," Reuters quotes the official as saying. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

2:15 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan he is "grateful to Turkey for the consistent support," Zelenskyy says on Twitter. He also says he spoke with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, Interfax reports that Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, telling him Russian troops in Ukraine have created corridors for the civilian population in the areas where they hold control.

Friday, March 4

11:48 p.m. Ukraine's central bank governor calls on the U.S. and the European Union to freeze the assets of all Russian banks within their jurisdiction.

"We urge you to take decisions that will help in the international fight against terrorist financing," Shevchenko said in a statement.

6:17 p.m. Russia's defense ministry blames an attack at the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine on Ukrainian saboteurs, calling it a monstrous provocation. Ukraine has said Russian forces attacked the plant in the early hours of Friday, setting an adjacent five-story training facility on fire.

A Russian defense ministry spokesman said the nuclear plant was operating normally and the area had been under Russian control since Feb. 28. "However, last night on the territory adjacent to the power plant, an attempt was made by the Kyiv nationalist regime to carry out a monstrous provocation," spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying.

5:55 p.m. Russia's parliament has passed a law imposing prison terms of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally "fake" information about the armed forces as Moscow fights back in what it casts as an information war over the conflict in Ukraine. Russian officials have repeatedly said that false information has been spread by Russia's enemies such as the United States and its allies in an attempt to sow discord and divide its people.

4:50 p.m. The New Development Bank established by the BRICS group of emerging nations says it has put new transactions in Russia on hold. "In light of unfolding uncertainties and restrictions, NDB has put new transactions in Russia on hold. NDB will continue to conduct business in full conformity with the highest compliance standards as an international institution," it said in a statement posted on its website. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- known together as BRICS -- are members of the NDB.

4:31 p.m. China's foreign ministry has urged all sides to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, after a fire broke out in a building adjacent to a nuclear plant there during intense fighting. "We will monitor the situation and call on all sides to exercise restraint, avoid escalation and ensure the safety of relevant nuclear facilities," Wang Wenbin, ministry spokesman, said at a daily briefing.

3:50 p.m. Russian military forces have seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant -- Europe's largest -- in Ukraine's southeast, the regional state administration says. "Operational personnel are monitoring the condition of power units," it said on social media, quoting the Ukrainian nuclear inspectorate. It also said efforts were being made to ensure the operations were in line with safety requirements.

2:24 p.m. Russia's communications watchdog has restricted access to the Russian-language websites of the BBC and Radio Liberty for spreading what it cast as false information about the conflict in Ukraine.

1:14 p.m. Home rental company Airbnb is suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus, CEO Brian Chesky says in a tweet.

11:46 a.m. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the reactors at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station "are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down." Granholm said on Twitter she had just spoken with Ukraine's energy minister about the situation at the plant, where a fire broke out during fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. "We have seen no elevated radiation readings near the facility," Granholm said.

Alphabet's Google has stopped selling online advertising in Russia, the company said on March 4, "in light of the extraordinary circumstances" in Ukraine.   © Reuters

10:09 a.m. Alphabet's Google says it has stopped selling online advertising in Russia, a ban that covers search, YouTube and outside publishing partners. The move by the world's top seller of online ads by revenue follows similar pauses in Russia by Twitter and Snap following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "In light of the extraordinary circumstances, we're pausing Google ads in Russia," the company said in a statement. "The situation is evolving quickly, and we will continue to share updates when appropriate."

9:40 a.m. A spokesman for Europe's largest nuclear plant says the facility is on fire after Russia attacked the power station in the southern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar. A government official tells The Associated Press elevated levels of radiation are being detected near the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which provides about 25% of the country's power generation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not yet been publicly released.

An exterior view of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is seen in Enerhodar, eastern Ukraine in 2008. A fire broke out in a training building outside the facility during intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, Ukraine's state emergency service said.   © Reuters

4:48 a.m. U.S. prosecutors charge a TV producer for Konstantin Malofeyev, described as a Russian oligarch, with violating Crimea-related sanctions. John Hanick, a U.S. citizen, was arrested in February in London, and the U.S. is seeking his extradition. Malofeyev is closely tied to Russian aggression in Ukraine, prosecutors say in a statement. Malofeyev owns Tsargrad TV, a Christian Orthodox television channel, according to Reuters.

4:40 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says Russia is firing indiscriminately in Ukraine as the U.S. announces additional sanctions to clamp down on Putin and people around him. "The United States will also impose visa restrictions on 19 oligarchs and 47 of their family members and close associates," the White House says in a statement.

4:14 a.m. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi urges Russian and Ukrainian troops to stop fighting in Enerhodar, Ukraine, which is just a few kilometers away from the country's largest nuclear power plant.

4:02 a.m. Officials in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol say they are "being destroyed," with Russia forces knocking out power, water and heating supplies as they bombard the city with heavy shelling. "Mariupol remains under fire. Women, children and the elderly are suffering. We are being destroyed as a nation. This is genocide of the Ukrainian people," the city's council said in a statement.

Hundreds of people fleeing from the Russian invasion of Ukraine arrive at a train station in Poland.   © Reuters

3:17 a.m. Ukraine says a tentative agreement with Russia organizes safe corridors for civilian evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. Cease-fires would be observed in the affected areas, says Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, who took part in the talks in Belarus.

2:30 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin says on television that the military operation in Ukraine is proceeding according to plan and that its soldiers are heroes.

Without evidence, he accuses Ukrainian forces of holding foreigners hostage and using human shields.

2:15 a.m. Ukrainian and Russian peace negotiators begin their second round of talks.

12:54 a.m. Canada will remove most-favored-nation status for Russia and Belarus as trading partners and provide additional lethal aid to Ukraine including rocket launchers and hand grenades.

The two countries join only North Korea in lacking that status. Goods from Russia and Belarus will be subjected to a 35% tariff when imported into Canada, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

12:05 a.m. The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announces that "all activities relating to Russia and Belarus are on hold and under review," citing Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Read here

"As the war in Ukraine unfolds, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) extends its thoughts and sympathy to everyone affected. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering," a statement posted on the Beijing-based lender's website reads.

China is the largest shareholder of the multilateral development lender.   © Reuters

For an institution closely linked to the Chinese government, referring to the conflict as a "war" is rare.

Thursday, March 3

6:12 p.m. Ukraine's defense lines were holding against the Russian attack, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says in his latest video, adding there had been no respite in Moscow's shelling of Ukraine since midnight.

Zelenskyy said Russia's changing tactics and shelling of civilians in cities proved Ukraine was successful in resisting Moscow's initial plan of claiming a quick victory through a land assault.

5:30 p.m. The U.K.'s Ministry of Defense tweeted an intelligence update that says Russia's long convoy heading to Kyiv has made little progress

- "The main body of the large Russian column advancing on Kyiv remains over 30km from the centre of the city having been delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion. The column has made little discernible progress in over three days."

- "Despite heavy Russian shelling, the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol remain in Ukrainian hands. Some Russian forces have entered the city of Kherson but the military situation remains unclear."

A satellite image shows a Russian military convoy near Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Feb, 28.

- "The Russian defence ministry has been forced to admit that 498 Russian soldiers have already been killed and 1,597 wounded in Putin's war. The actual number of those killed and wounded will almost certainly be considerably higher and will continue to rise."

5:13 p.m. Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be able to compete at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, the International Paralympic Committee says, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine for which Belarus has been key staging area. The decision comes a day after the IPC gave athletes from the two countries the green light to participate as neutrals, saying that the governing body had followed its rules and that "athletes were not the aggressors." "Following a specially convened meeting, the IPC Governing Board has decided to refuse the athlete entries from the RPC and NPC Belarus for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games," the IPC said.

2:28 p.m. Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Quad leaders will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday. India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australia's Scott Morrison, and Japan's Fumio Kishida "will exchange views and assessments about important developments in the Indo-Pacific. ... The Quad leaders will also review ongoing efforts to implement the leaders' initiatives announced as part of the Quad's contemporary and positive agenda." The statement does not mention the exact timing of the meeting.

1:30 p.m. is using its logistics capabilities to deliver supplies to those in need, and its cybersecurity expertise to help governments and companies, as part of its support for Ukraine, Chief Executive Andy Jassy says on Twitter. "Amazon stands with the people of Ukraine, and will continue to help," Jassy said, following Russia's invasion, which Moscow calls a "special operation." Amazon, which earlier this week pledged to donate up to $10 million for humanitarian efforts, is the latest company to offer aid.

As Western sanctions continue to rip through Russia's economy and weaken its currency, two ratings agencies have lowered the country's sovereign credit rating by six notches.   © Reuters

11:30 a.m. Fitch and Moody's have downgraded Russia's sovereign credit rating by six notches to "junk" status, saying Western sanctions have thrown into doubt Russia's ability to service its debt. Russia's financial markets have been thrown into turmoil by sanctions imposed over the country's invasion of Ukraine. S&P lowered Russia's rating to junk status last week. The invasion also prompted index providers FTSE Russell and MSCI to announce they will remove Russian equities from all their indexes. The statement came after a top MSCI executive called Russia's stock market "uninvestable."

10:20 a.m. Japan will freeze assets of four additional Russian banks, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki says, bringing the total number to seven. The government did not disclose the name of the four banks.

10:00 a.m. The U.N. refugee agency says 1 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion less than a week ago, an exodus without precedent in this century for its speed. The tally from UNHCR amounts to more than 2% of Ukraine's population on the move in under a week. The World Bank counted the population at 44 million at the end of 2020. The U.N. agency has predicted that up to 4 million people could eventually leave Ukraine, but cautioned that even that projection could be revised upward.

8:02 a.m. The Kremlin says its forces have taken the port of Kherson, a southern provincial capital of around 250,000 people strategically placed where the Dnipro River flows into the Black Sea. Kyiv earlier denied this. Earlier, Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhayev said Russian troops were in the streets and had forced their way into the city council building.

7:52 a.m. The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledges for the first time a substantial number of casualties in Ukraine, saying 498 Russian troops have died and 1,597 more have been injured.

Until now, the Russian side has been disclosed very little information about what it calls a "special military operation."

5:20 a.m. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has decided to sell the Chelsea football club after 19 years of ownership, vowing to donate proceeds of the sale to victims of the war in Ukraine. Read here.

4:35 a.m. A Ukrainian delegation is headed for talks with Russia, Reuters reports, citing Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.

3:52 a.m. The White House imposes more sanctions on Russia and adds penalties against Belarus in response to the Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. "The United States will take actions to hold Belarus accountable for enabling Putin's invasion of Ukraine, weaken the Russian defense sector and its military power for years to come, target Russia's most important sources of wealth, and ban Russian airlines from U.S. airspace," the White House says in a statement.

The new actions include: Restrictions on Belarus to choke off tech imports, sanctions on Russian defense entities, export controls targeting Russian oil refining, targeting entities supporting Russian and Belarusian militaries, and banning Russian aircraft from U.S. airspace.

2:30 a.m. Meanwhile, Russia continues to justify its actions.

"The Russian troops, the Russian army are on an honorable mission: to eliminate the real threat to Russia which until recently was emanating from Ukraine, from where, against the will of the Ukrainian people, NATO bases, nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles were to appear in the near future. Our Motherland will be protected," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov is quote as saying by Interfax.

A view shows destroyed buildings in a residential area of the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr. (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via Reuters)

2:15 a.m. The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelming adopted a resolution calling on Russian forces to leave Ukraine.

The resolution was supported by 141 member states. Russia, Belarus and three other countries voted against it. China and India were among the 35 member states to abstain.

2:00 a.m. Russia has told the International Atomic Energy Agency that Russian forces have taken control of the area around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, according to a statement by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.

The Russian side says that staff at the plant have continued to "work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation," and that "the radiation levels remain normal," according to the statement.

1:40 a.m. Russia's growing isolation from the world of sports has extended to video games. EA Sports, publisher of the FIFA soccer game series, says it will remove the Russian national team and Russian clubs.

12:30 a.m. Toyota Motor will suspend auto production in Russia from Friday as it struggles to source parts from overseas. Read here.

Wednesday, March 2

11:10 p.m. Ukraine disputes Russia's claim that its forces had taken the port city of Kherson. Read here.

Meanwhile, other cities have seen districts turned to rubble by Russian missiles, Ukrainian authorities say. Among them are Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv. Two people were killed and 16 others, including children, injured in the attacks, authorities said Wednesday morning local time.

9:00 p.m. Japan will take in people fleeing Ukraine amid Russia's invasion and consider options to work around stringent coronavirus-related entry curbs, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says.

While Tokyo looks to focus initially on those with family or friends in Japan, it will not limit entry to that group, Kishida said, adding that "we will respond from a humanitarian standpoint."

The move is noteworthy for a country that typically accepts refugees only in very small numbers.

8:30 p.m. Asked whether China would serve as a mediator, as Ukraine has requested, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin tells reporters that Beijing has always supported and encouraged diplomatic efforts toward a peaceful settlement. He says China welcomes peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, and expresses hope that the two will continue with dialogue that takes both sides' legitimate security concerns into account.

China, he says, will continue to play a constructive role.

Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, currently in prison, takes part in a rally in Moscow on Feb. 29, 2020.   © Reuters

7:45 p.m. Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has urged his compatriots to hold daily protests against the invasion of Ukraine, in a lengthy thread posted to his verified Twitter account.

Here's the full thread:

1/12 We - Russia - want to be a nation of peace. Alas, few people would call us that now.

2/12 But let's at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar.

3/12 I cannot, do not want and will not remain silent watching how pseudo-historical nonsense about the events of 100 years ago has become an excuse for Russians to kill Ukrainians, and for Ukrainians to kill Russians while defending themselves.

4/12 It's the third decade of the 21st century, and we are watching news about people burning down in tanks and bombed houses. We are watching real threats to start a nuclear war on our TVs.

5/12 I am from the USSR myself. I was born there. And the main phrase from there - from my childhood - was "fight for peace." I call on everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace.

6/12 Putin is not Russia. And if there is anything in Russia right now that you can be most proud of, it is those 6824 people who were detained because - without any call - they took to the streets with placards saying "No War."

7/12 They say that someone who cannot attend a rally and does not risk being arrested for it cannot call for it. I'm already in prison, so I think I can.

8/12 We cannot wait any longer. Wherever you are, in Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet, go to the main square of your city every weekday and at 2 pm on weekends and holidays.

9/12 If you are abroad, come to the Russian embassy. If you can organise a demonstration, do so on the weekend. Yes, maybe only a few people will take to the streets on the first day. And in the second - even less.

10/12 But we must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war. Each arrested person must be replaced by two newcomers.

11/12 If in order to stop the war we have to fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves, we will fill prisons and paddy wagons with ourselves.

12/12 Everything has a price, and now, in the spring of 2022, we must pay this price. There's no one to do it for us. Let's not "be against the war." Let's fight against the war.

6:52 p.m. The European Union will impose additional sanctions on Russia by blocking seven of its banks from the SWIFT payment network

3:52 p.m. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang each will donate one month's salary to aid humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine, which is standing its ground against a military invasion by Russia, the president said.

3:35 p.m. Sberbank, Russia's largest lender, is leaving the European market as its subsidiaries there face large cash outflows and what it says are threats to the safety of employees and property. The bank says it is no longer able to supply liquidity to European subsidiaries, following a central bank order, but its capital level and asset quality are sufficient to pay all depositors. "The group's subsidiary banks have faced abnormal cash outflows and threats to the safety of its employees and branches," it said in a statement.

10:11 a.m. Exxon Mobil will exit Russia operations, including oil production fields, it announces on Tuesday, becoming the latest major Western energy company to quit the oil-rich country following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Read more.

10:00 a.m. Boeing says it has suspended operations in Russia and temporarily closed its office in Kyiv. The U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer will halt sales of spare parts and maintenance support for Russian airlines, which include national flag carrier Aeroflot and its fleet of Boeing 737s and 777s.

6:40 a.m. Apple pauses all product sales in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

"We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence," Apple says in a statement. "We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region."

The company also says it stopped all exports into its sales channels in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited, the company says. Russian state media, RT News and Sputnik News, are no longer available for download from the Apple Store outside Russia.

6:00 a.m. Canada decides to shut its ports to Russian-owned ships later this week in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says.

"Russia must be held accountable for its invasion of Ukraine," Alghabra said. "Today, we are taking steps to close Canadian waters and ports to Russian-owned or registered ships. We will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine," he added.

1:50 a.m. The European Union is preparing for "millions" more refugees fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson says.

Johansson says it was difficult to estimate precisely how many refugees could stream through EU borders after Russia invaded Ukraine last week, after more than 400,000 had come through so far.

"Unfortunately, we have to prepare for millions of people to come," Johansson tells a news conference in the Slovak capital Bratislava, an EU member that shares a border with Ukraine. "At the same time we have huge and urgent humanitarian needs in Ukraine, a lot of internally displaced people."

People who fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine check the donated goods at a temporary camp in Przemysl, Poland.   © Reuters

12:20 a.m. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks with his Ukraine counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on the phone, with the latter asking for mediation for a cease-fire, CCTV reports.

Wang did not give a clear response as to whether China would play a peace broker.

Tuesday, March 1

10: 40 p.m. The second round of Russia-Ukraine talks is planned for March 2, Russia's TASS news agency reports, quoting a source on the Russian side.

After the first round of negotiations produced no tangible results, the two sides had said they would meet again in the coming days.

6:30 p.m. An Indian student was killed when the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was shelled on Tuesday, India's Ministry of External Affairs says.

5:50 p.m. YouTube is blocking channels connected to Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately, due to the situation in Ukraine, the company operated by Alphabet's Google, says. "It'll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action," a YouTube spokesperson says. The company's actions follows that of Facebook parent Meta, which on Monday said it will restrict access to television network RT and news agency Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union.

5:35 p.m. Human rights groups and Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. accuse Russia of attacking Ukrainians with cluster bombs and vacuum bombs, weapons that have been condemned by a variety of international organizations. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both said Russian forces appeared to have used widely banned cluster munitions. Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, told reporters after meeting with members of the U.S. Congress that Russia had used a thermobaric weapon, known as a vacuum bomb, in its invasion of her country.

A volunteer arranges flags at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014: The IOC has recommended sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from upcoming events after Russia invaded Ukraine last week.   © Reuters

2:40 p.m. The International Olympic Committee's executive board has recommended sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing in events following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The IOC said the executive board made the decision "in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants," and that the body was acting with a "heavy heart." The Russian Olympic Committee slammed the IOC decision, saying it "contradicts both the regulatory documents of the IOC and the [Olympic] Charter."

12:17 p.m. Mastercard says it has blocked multiple financial institutions from its payment network as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwan declares it is in sync with the international "democratic camp" as it heeds calls to block Russian banks from the SWIFT global payments system.   © Reuters

11:08 a.m. Taiwan will join moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, the government says, adding that it has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine in a show of support for the international "democratic camp." As it joins many Western and other democracies in sanctioning Russia, Taiwan is also voicing sympathy for the Ukrainian people, drawing parallels with what it views as Beijing's threats against the island. Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters Taiwan's sanctions decision was in lock-step with its democratic partners around the world, adding that the government will "cooperate" with what Western countries have decided regarding SWIFT.

9:30 a.m. Soccer's FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia's national teams and clubs from international competitions, joining the governing bodies of other sports that have made similar moves in protest of Russia's military attack on Ukraine. It is now likely Russia will be excluded from this year's World Cup and the women's Euro 2022 tournament.

7:55 a.m. Turkey has warned all countries not to send warships through key passages to the Black Sea after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country would take action based on a 1936 agreement to "stop escalation" in Ukraine. Read here.

6:44 a.m. A no-fly zone over Ukraine is "not a good idea," White House press secretary Jen Psaki says.

"What that would require is implementation by the U.S. military," Psaki says. "It would essentially mean the U.S. military would be shooting down planes -- Russian planes. That is definitely escalatory. That would potentially put us into a place where we're in ... a military conflict with Russia. That is not something the president wants to do."

"We are not going to have a military war with Russia with U.S. troops," she says.

6:33 a.m. Shell will exit its joint ventures with Gazprom, including a 27.5% percent stake in Sakhalin-2. Read here.

Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya attends a United Nations Security Council meeting, Feb. 28.   © Reuters

4:15 a.m. The U.S. has moved to expel a dozen Russian diplomats to the United Nations over national security concerns.

Russia's ambassador to the U.N., Vassily Nebenzia, tells reporters that the unidentified officials have been ordered to leave by March 7.

He describes the move as "sad news" and another demonstration of "gross disrespect" by the U.S. regarding its commitments as host of U.N. headquarters in New York.

The American side calls the 12 personnel "intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security."

"We are taking this action in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement," the U.S. statement says. "This action has been in development for several months."

3:36 a.m. Microsoft announces "new steps to reduce the exposure of Russian state propaganda, as well to ensure our own platforms do not inadvertently fund these operations."

"In accordance with the EU's recent decision, the Microsoft Start platform (including will not display any state-sponsored RT and Sputnik content," Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith writes. "We are removing RT news apps from our Windows app store and further de-ranking these sites' search results on Bing so that it will only return RT and Sputnik links when a user clearly intends to navigate to those pages. Finally, we are banning all advertisements from RT and Sputnik across our ad network and will not place any ads from our ad network on these sites."

3:21 a.m. Russia's central bank says Moscow's stock market will not open Tuesday, after it ordered the market to not to open on Monday.

2:00 a.m. Finland will send weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. The aid will consist of 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 cartridges, 1,500 single-shot anti-tank weapons and 70,000 combat ration packages, according to the Finnish Ministry of Defense.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen announce military aid for Ukraine.   © Reuters

1:35 a.m. The initial round of peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials ends, according to Russian sources. The talks will resume in the coming days after negotiators consult with leadership at their respective capitals, Kremlin aide Vladimir Medinsky says.

1:30 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron asks Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone to end attacks on Ukraine's civilians and residential areas, preserve civilian infrastructure, and secure main roads. Macron suggests staying in touch to prevent the situation from worsening, and Putin agrees.

12:50 a.m. Switzerland says it will adopt European Union sanctions against Russians involved in the invasion of Ukraine and freeze their assets.

The alpine country also adopts financial sanctions against President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"Switzerland reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine and its people; it will be delivering relief supplies for people who have fled to Poland," the government says.

12:20 a.m. The International Olympic Committee decides to strip President Vladimir Putin and other Russian government officials of the Olympic Order, the organization's highest award. The IOC also urges sports federations to exclude Russian athletes and officials from international competitions and announces a solidarity fund for Ukrainian athletes. The move follows an earlier call for sports bodies to remove competitions from Russia. The Paralympics are set to begin in Beijing on Friday.

Switzerland faced growing pressure to side clearly with the West against Moscow and adopt punitive sanctions.   © Reuters

Monday, Feb. 28

10:58 p.m. The U.S. shuts its embassy in Minsk and allows nonemergency employees and family members to depart from its embassy in Moscow. All American staff have departed Belarus, U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher tweets.

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

10:56 p.m. The referendum in Belarus to ditch its non-nuclear status is a "greatly worrying" move orchestrated by the country's strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says. The vote to change the constitution, passed with 65% according to official data, could see nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil for the first time since the country gave them up after the fall of the Soviet Union.

10:20 p.m. Russia has barred airlines from 36 countries including Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada from using its airspace -- a retaliatory move after sweeping sanctions targeting its aviation sector.

9:12 p.m. Chinese ride hailer Didi Global has scrapped plans to withdraw from Russia -- a decision a source said reflects pressure in China to stick by Moscow amid the Ukraine war.

8:45 p.m. Dozens were killed in rocket strikes on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Monday morning, an interior ministry adviser says. "Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads (rockets). Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded," Anton Herashchenko writes on Facebook in a post seen by Reuters.

8:30 p.m. The Russian Embassy in China posts a note Monday night about the Feb. 25 call between Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin on the popular messaging platform WeChat, revealing more details that Chinese state broadcaster CCTV didn't mention three days ago.

The embassy said in the post that "Xi Jinping stressed his respect for the actions taken by the Russian leader in the current crisis situation."

The post continues: "The two sides assessed the current international situation and reaffirmed their willingness to further close coordination and mutual support at the [United Nations] and other multilateral platforms. They noted that the use of illegal sanctions to achieve the self-interested goals of individual countries must not be allowed."

7:30 p.m. Talks between Ukraine and Russia are underway at the Belarusian border, a Ukrainian presidential adviser tells Reuters. The Ukrainian president's office has said the goal is to achieve an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Russian forces.

A helicopter carrying members of the Ukrainian delegation arrives to talks with Russian counterparts in the Gomel region, Belarus, on Feb. 28.   © BelTA/Handout via Reuters

5:00 p.m. Latvia's parliament voted unanimously to allow its nationals to fight in Ukraine if they wish, the legislative body says. "Our citizens who want to support Ukraine and volunteer to serve there to defend Ukraine's independence and our common security must be able to do so," said Juris Rancanis, chairman of the parliamentary defense, home affairs and corruption prevention commission, which drafted the law. Latvia, together with Baltic neighbors Estonia and Lithuania, was once ruled by Moscow. The three have long seen Russia as a threat, but unlike Ukraine, they have joined the European Union and NATO, which brings security guarantees.

4:18 p.m. The Russian central bank raises its key interest rate to 20% from 9.5% in an emergency move, and authorities have told export-focused companies to sell foreign currency as the ruble tumbled to record lows. "External conditions for the Russian economy have drastically changed," the central bank said in a statement.

4:10 p.m. Singapore Airlines says it will suspend its flights between the city-state and Moscow effective Monday, citing "operational reasons." In a notice to passengers, the airline says the suspension will continue "until further notice." There were three return scheduled flights per week for the route, according to its website.

4:00 p.m. Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten says it will allow customers to donate their rewards points for humanitarian aid in Ukraine from today through March 31. The fundraising drive follows a personal donation from CEO Hiroshi Mikitani of 1 billion yen ($8.7 million). The company is also accepting donations through Rakuten credit cards and transfers to its subsidiary bank. "The funds raised this time will be used for humanitarian assistance such as the provision of supplies such as drinking water, the provision of health services, and the protection of children through the Ukrainian government and the Japan Committee for UNICEF," Rakuten said in a statement.

2:15 p.m. Australia issues a statement saying it is "holding Russian President Vladimir Putin to account for his egregious unjustified war against Ukraine." The statement says targeted sanctions and travel bans took effect at midnight against Putin and several high-ranking cabinet members. It notes that sanctioning a head of state is "exceedingly rare" and puts Putin in the company of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Canberra also says it is giving $3 million to a NATO trust fund for nonlethal support for Ukraine, and that details of promised "lethal" aid will be forthcoming. The statement also stresses support for removing certain Russian banks from the SWIFT system, and vows to "take complementary steps as required."

1:47 p.m. Australia's A$204 billion ($147 billion) sovereign wealth fund plans to wind down its exposure to Russian-listed companies, a spokesperson tells Reuters, joining a global financial backlash following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Future Fund, which has investments spread across global equities, debt, currency and infrastructure markets, says it has about 0.1% of its holdings, worth about A$200 million ($144 million), in companies listed on the Russian Stock Exchange.

12:55 p.m. The head of a Russian delegation to a virtual United Nations climate conference apologized for his country's invasion of Ukraine on Sunday, according to multiple reports. "Let me present an apology on behalf of all Russians not able to prevent this conflict," the official, Oleg Anisimov, was quoted as saying. He added that he could see no justification for the attack.

12:40 p.m. Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton hits out at China for not using its influence to help stop the war. "This alliance that China and Russia have entered into should be deeply disturbing to the rest of the world," he tells Australia's Sky News. "There's one person now, there's one world leader that's standing out from the rest who are condemning President Putin and that is President Xi [Jinping]. And President Xi has the power and the relationship with President Putin to pick up the phone and to instruct him to pull back and to reconsider what is a dreadful, dreadful decision."

12:10 p.m. Russia's currency fell 40% on Monday morning after the U.S. and major European countries moved to exclude the country's major banks from the SWIFT global payment system. The ruble declined to a record low of 117.75 to the dollar from 83.75 on Friday, according to Bloomberg data.

11:30 a.m. Google confirms it has temporarily disabled for Ukraine some Google Maps tools that provide live information about traffic conditions and how busy various locations are. The company says it took the action of globally disabling Google Maps' traffic layer and live information on how busy places like stores and restaurants are in Ukraine for the safety of local communities in the country.

7:35 a.m. In the latest European move toward financial decoupling with Russia, Norway's government says it will call on the country's oil fund to immediately freeze all Russian investments and ensure that it sells these holdings.

7:09 a.m. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) announces that it will not hold official competitions and events in Russia and Belarus, will not allow the use of Russian and Belarusian flags and national anthems at FIDE-rated international chess events, and will end sponsorship agreements with "any Belarusian and Russian sanctioned and/or state-controlled companies."

The federation says it "condemns any public statement from any member of the chess community which supports unjustified military action and brings the case of chess grandmasters Sergey Karjakin and Sergey Shipov to the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission," raising the possibility of penalizing them for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

7:04 a.m. Aeroflot says it will cancel all flights to Europe, Reuters reports.

6:55 a.m. The Polish Football Association blasts international soccer governing body FIFA for not taking stronger action against Russia over Ukraine.

"If FIFA's Human Rights Policy is more than just words on a paper now is the time to put it into practice by excluding the Russian Football Association from the qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022," writes Cezary Kulesza, president of the Polish association, in a statement.

FIFA's initial measures include forbidding international competitions from being held on Russian territory, with "home" matches being played on neutral territory and without spectators. Russia will compete under the name "Football Union of Russia," and the country's flag and national anthem cannot be used.

But "as a result of the brutal aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the war that continues there, we do not see any possibility of competing with the Russian national team in playoff matches for promotion to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 regardless of the name of the team consisting of Russian footballers and the place of the match," Kulesza writes.

4:40 a.m. The White House is urging China to take a firmer stance against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"This is not a time to stand on the sidelines," press secretary Jen Psaki tells MSNBC. "This is a time to be vocal and condemn the actions of President Putin and Russia in invading a sovereign country."

Meanwhile, U.S. and NATO officials have condemned Putin's order to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert.

2:56 a.m. BP says it will exit its 20% stake in Russian state oil company Rosneft. BP says it will no longer report reserves, production or profit from Rosneft, and its chief executive, Bernard Looney, will immediately resign the Rosneft board. Read more.

2:38 a.m. In a delayed statement, foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have expressed concern over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but without condemning Moscow's move. Read more.

1:40 a.m. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, says European Union airspace is shut down to Russian flights, including private jets of Russian oligarchs.

1:28 a.m. More European countries are closing their skies to Russian flights. Since this post by Flightradar24, Spain and Portugal have joined the list.

12:30 a.m. Talks between Russia and Ukraine have not yet begun, as the negotiators are just arriving at the venue, Interfax reports, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that "all aircraft, helicopters and missiles" deployed in Belarus will remain on the ground during the talks, Interfax reports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a statement in Kyiv on Feb. 27. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via Reuters)

Sunday, Feb. 27

11:05 p.m. Ukraine and Russia have agreed to unconditional talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.

Officials from both sides have agreed to meet as Russian forces continue their campaign.

State television in Belarus also reports on the agreement. President Alexander Lukashenko has sought to broker the talks.

10:00 p.m. Rakuten Group CEO Hiroshi Mikitani announces that he and his family would make a personal donation of 1 billion yen ($8.7 million) for humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian government. The head of the Japanese conglomerate sent a personal letter to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying he was "deeply saddened" by news of Russia's military attack against the country. Rakuten's Viber messaging app is widely used in Ukraine.

9:25 p.m. Japan will join the international effort to block some Russian banks from the global SWIFT payment system, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announces. He tells reporters that Japan also plans to freeze assets held by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials.

9:10 p.m. Israel's army radio reports that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has proposed to Putin that his country could mediate in the crisis.

8:20 p.m. Hungary's foreign minister says 66,000 people have crossed into the country from Ukraine in recent days. The United Nations says the total refugee outflow has hit 368,000 and "continues to rise."

8:10 p.m. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his country has submitted an application against Russia to the International Court of Justice.

7:45 p.m. Germany will raise defense spending to over 2% of gross domestic product in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz says during a special parliament session. He says this is needed to protect Germany's "freedom and democracy." The 2022 budget will include 100 billion euros for the military.

The country has resisted calls from other Western powers to hike defense outlays, partly due to its own 20th century history. But the Ukraine war appears to be forcing a change of heart. The Scholz government has also broken with a policy of not delivering weapons to conflict zones, agreeing to send Ukraine anti-tank weapons, missiles and ammunition.

6:35 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been suspended as honorary president of the International Judo Federation, the sport's governing body announces, "in light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine."

6:03 p.m. The U.K. says Moscow must withdraw its troops before attempting to hold talks. "They cannot negotiate with a gun to the head of the Ukrainians," foreign secretary Liz Truss says.

5:48 p.m. Finland is set to close its airspace to Russian planes, its minister of transport says. Some other European countries, including Lithuania and Latvia, have also said they will do this, while Germany said it was preparing to do so.

4:40 p.m. A Russian delegation has arrived in Belarus for talks with Ukraine, a Kremlin spokesperson was quoted by the Ifax news agency as saying on Sunday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected the offer, saying Belarus itself was complicit in the Russian invasion, but he seems to leave the door open to negotiations in other locations, according to Reuters.

2:56 p.m. Russian troops have entered the city of Kharkiv, according to an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister.

1:15 p.m. Australia will provide "lethal aid" to Ukraine through NATO partners, namely the U.S. and U.K., Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. "We'll be working through those channels because that's the most effective way to do it," Morrison is quoted as saying by national broadcaster ABC. The report says the assistance is likely to take the form of financial contributions to weapons supplies, rather than direct shipments of arms. Canberra had previously promised nonlethal aid including military and medical equipment.

11:45 a.m. Russian troops have blown up a natural gas pipeline in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, according to Ukraine's state service of special communications and information protection. A video posted on Telegram showed a mushroom-shaped explosion. It was unclear what role the pipeline played and whether its destruction could disrupt gas supplies beyond the city or country.

11:07 a.m. Here's our explainer of what Russia's removal from the SWIFT international payments system means.

10:55 a.m. Russian missiles have hit the Ukrainian town of Vasylkiv southwest of the capital, Kyiv, setting an oil terminal ablaze, the town's mayor said in a video posted online.

10:53 a.m. Former U.S. President Donald Trump condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine and said he was praying for Ukrainians, marking a shift of tone from earlier this week when he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

9:05 a.m. Japan will coordinate closely with its G-7 counterparts in deciding whether to impose further sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi says.

Former Foreign Minister Taro Kono asks in a tweet why Japan hasn't joined the West's removal of Russia from SWIFT.

7:43 a.m. The United States, Britain, Europe and Canada on Saturday moved to block Russia's access to the SWIFT international payment system as part of another round of sanctions against Moscow as it continues its assault against Ukraine. The measures, which will also include restriction on the Russian central bank's international reserves, will be implemented in the coming days, the nations said in a joint statement.

5:22 a.m. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has given trustees of the London soccer team's foundation stewardship of the Premier League club, the Russian billionaire says, amid calls in the U.K. that he be sanctioned over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich, who bought the London club in 2003, says the foundation was in the "best position to look after the interests" of the club. Abramovich remains the club owner and a statement did not reveal why he was giving the foundation stewardship nor any detail on how the arrangement would work.

4:20 a.m. An adviser to President Zelenskyy says Russia's attack on Kyiv is not advancing and that about 3,500 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured so far in Moscow's assault. "We are striking the enemy around Kyiv. The enemy is not moving for now," says Oleksiy Arestovych.

3:55 a.m. YouTube suspends multiple Russian channels, including state-funded media outlet RT, from generating revenue on the site, following a similar move by Facebook owner Meta Platforms. "In light of extraordinary circumstances in Ukraine ... we're pausing a number of channels' ability to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions," YouTube said in a statement.

2:31 a.m. Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate say they stand with the people of Ukraine as they "bravely fight" the invasion by Russia, in a rare public comment for British royals on political issues.

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."

2:05 a.m. Berlin will supply Ukraine with defensive anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition, in a shift of policy as Russia's forces continued to pound Kyiv and other cities on day three of its campaign. After facing criticism for refusing to send weapons to Kyiv, unlike other Western allies, Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Berlin will supply Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr stocks. Germany also approves the delivery of 400 rocket-propelled grenades from the Netherlands to Ukraine. Countries aiming to pass on German weapons exports need to apply for approval in Berlin first.

1:18 a.m. Germany pulls an about face over restrictions on Russian access to the SWIFT global interbank payment system, joining other Western powers in support of harsher sanctions aimed at halting Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "We are urgently working on how to limit the collateral damage of decoupling from SWIFT in such a way that it affects the right people. What we need is a targeted and functional restriction of SWIFT," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck say.

12:30 a.m. Five Chinese academics from prominent universities condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a rare instance of high-standing professors going against the government line.

"We strongly oppose Russia's war on Ukraine," the professors say. "We firmly support the actions of the Ukrainian people to defend their country. We are concerned that Russia's acts of force will lead to turmoil in Europe and the entire world, and trigger wider humanitarian disasters."

The statement is signed by Sun Jiang of Nanjing University, Wang Lixin of Peking University, Xu Guoqi, of the University of Hong Kong, Zhong Weimin, of Tsinghua University, and Chen Yan of Fudan University.

The statement was released on WeChat, but has been removed by the platform.

Saturday, Feb. 26

11:53 p.m. Russian forces are becoming increasingly frustrated by what the U.S. believes is "viable" Ukrainian resistance, a U.S. defense official says. "We know that they have not made the progress that they have wanted to make, particularly in the north. They have been frustrated by what they have seen is a very determined resistance," the official tells Reuters, without providing evidence.

11:15 p.m. France seizes a car cargo ship in the English Channel that Washington says was linked to the son of a former Russian spy chief, in one of the first visible displays of the West enforcing sanctions on Moscow over its Ukraine invasion. The Baltic Leader was headed for St. Petersburg but was diverted to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France, Captain Veronique Magnin of the French Maritime Prefecture tells Reuters. The vessel was "strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions," she says.

10:45 p.m. President Joe Biden instructed the U.S. State Department to release up to an additional $350 million worth of weapons from U.S. stocks to Ukraine on Friday as it struggles to repulse a Russian invasion, Reuters reports. Ukraine has been asking for Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles to shoot down aircraft.

10:32 p.m. Hungary is accepting all Ukrainian citizens and legal residents, regardless of whether they are subject to military conscription into the Ukrainian armed forces, Prime Minister Viktor Orban tells a news conference. "We're letting everyone in," Orban says. "I've seen people who have no travel documents, but we're providing them too with travel documents. And we're also allowing in those who have arrived from third countries after the proper screening."

6:15 p.m. Moscow will respond to the seizure of money held abroad by its citizens and companies by seizing the funds of foreigners and foreign companies in Russia, the RIA news agency quoted Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council of Russia, as saying on Saturday. Russia does not rule out nationalizing the assets of companies registered in the U.S., EU and other "unfriendly jurisdictions," Medvedev was quoted as saying.

An apartment building in Kyiv on Feb. 26 after it was damaged by shelling.   © Reuters

5:47 p.m. Russia's communications regulator accused 10 local media outlets on Saturday of falsely depicting what Russia calls a special military operation in Ukraine and distributing false information about events there. Among those sent warning letters were Echo Moskvy, a popular radio station, and Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper critical of the government whose editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize last year. Roskomnadzor, the regulator, ordered the media to delete the offending information or face restricted access to their websites and media resources.

5:28 p.m. At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion, the head of the Ukrainian Health Ministry was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Saturday. He said 1,115 people were wounded, including 33 children. It was unclear whether he was referring only to civilian casualties.

5:04 p.m. The Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow's staff is evacuating to Latvia, the Latvian foreign ministry tells Reuters. "It was their plea, we readily agreed. We are assisting them in the process and help with settling down," Latvian foreign ministry spokesperson Janis Bekeris says. He declined to say whether the embassy staff had already arrived in Latvia, citing security concerns.

2:00 p.m. Zelenskyy was asked by the U.S. to leave Kyiv, but declined, according to The Associated Press. "The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride," he is quoted as saying by an American intelligence official, who describes the president as upbeat despite apparent Russian moves to encircle the capital.

1:47 p.m. After suggesting Chinese nationals display their country's flag in their vehicles for protection in Ukraine two days ago, China's embassy in the nation is now urging its people not to reveal their identity or give any identifying signs. The message was sent through a WeChat post, citing "increasingly extreme behavior" in Ukraine.

11:42 a.m. Russian troops attacked an army base located on a main avenue in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv but the assault was repelled, the Ukrainian military says.

Separately, the Interfax Ukraine agency says Russian soldiers were trying to capture one of the city's electricity generating stations.

9:26 a.m. The U.S. government joins European countries in slapping sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"President Putin and Minister Lavrov are directly responsible for Russia's unprovoked and unlawful further invasion of Ukraine, a democratic sovereign state," the Treasury Department said in a statement.

8:15 a.m. Zelenskyy has asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to mediate in the conflict with Russia, Reuters reports, citing the Ukrainian envoy to Israel said.

The United Nations Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York.   © Reuters

7:54 a.m. Russia vetoed a Western-led U.N. Security Council resolution condemning its invasion of Ukraine by voting against it. India, China, and the United Arab Emirates abstained. There were 11 votes in favor.

"You cannot veto the truth," the U.S. representative says.

7:25 a.m. The U.S. tables a resolution at the U.N. Security Council with an appeal: "Vote no, or abstain, if you do not support the charter and align yourselves with the aggressive and unprovoked actions of Russia. Just as Russia had a choice, so do you."

6:53 a.m. The sports world is grappling with how to react to Russia's invasion. UEFA has moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris, and Formula 1 has canceled its Russian Grand Prix race.

The International Olympic Committee has urged sports bodies to cancel or relocate events in Russia and Belarus. World championships for hockey, volleyball, and shooting are all currently scheduled to be held in Russia.

Russian and NHL hockey star Alex Ovechkin has made an anti-war plea to the media. "Please. No more war. It doesn't matter who is in the war -- Russia, Ukraine, different countries -- we have to live in peace," he says.

The F1 Russian Grand Prix will not be held, and soccer's UEFA Champions League final has been relocated.

5:40 a.m. All eyes are on China and India ahead of a United Nations Security Council meeting. The council is supposed to vote on a Western-led resolution on the situation in Ukraine. Russia is expected to veto, putting the attention on how China and India vote.

The meeting has been delayed by a "language discrepancy" between the U.S. and an important partner.

4:50 a.m. A Russian warning on any moves to include Finland and Sweden in NATO has raised eyebrows.

"Their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences," Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a news conference, adding that there could be "military and political consequences."

3:11 a.m. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has spoken with European counterparts on Ukraine and detailed China's position on the matter.

China "firmly advocates respecting and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and earnestly abides by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter," according to a news release by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "This position is consistent and clear, and it applies equally to Ukraine."

Given decades of NATO eastward expansion, Russia's "legitimate security demands should be taken seriously and properly addressed," but that the current situation in Ukraine is "something we do not want to see," the statement says.

3:00 a.m. Zelenskyy holds a discussion with U.S. President Joe Biden regarding U.S. and allied support for Ukraine.

2:15 a.m. Zelenskyy posts a video from the government quarter in Kyiv following speculation in Russian media that he had fled.

"We are here. We are in Kyiv. We are defending Ukraine," he says in the video.

Zelenskyy stands with other officials, one of whom -- the prime minister -- shows his phone to prove that it's current.

1:25 a.m. Consensus among EU nations remains elusive on the severity of financial sanctions, including the option of banning Russia from the SWIFT global interbank system.

In a meeting of European ministers of economy and finance in Paris, France's Bruno Le Maire maintains that "all the options are on the table."

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner expresses cautious openness to a SWIFT ban.

"We are open, but you have to know what you're doing," Lindner tells reporters.

1:15 a.m. "NATO should have taken a more decisive step" in response to the Ukraine crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells reporters after Friday prayers, adding that Ukraine needs more than just "advice" from Western capitals.

"Without a determined stance, a situation emerges described by [Ukrainian] President Zelenskyy as 'They are only giving us advice, no support,' which is against friendship and solidarity."

12:50 a.m. The European Union plans to freeze assets of Russian President Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, The Washington Post and other media report, citing people familiar with the talks.

"What is important today is that Mr. Putin and Mr. Lavrov, who are responsible for this situation, will now be severely sanctioned by the European Union," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says.

12:20 a.m. U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urges Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to "stand up for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Friday, Feb. 25

8:40 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping tells Russian President Vladimir Putin that China supports resolving the Ukraine issue through negotiation. Xi says China maintains a consistent basic position on respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and abiding by the purposes and principles of the United Nations charter, according to a tweet by the state-run Global Times.

A report on the talks by China's CCTV says Putin explained the historical background and the status of Russia's military operation, stressing that the U.S. and NATO had ignored Russia's concerns. The report says Russia is willing to hold high-level talks with Ukraine. According to the state broadcaster, Xi said China would decide its position based on the merits of the Ukraine issue itself.

6:40 p.m. Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, praises Japan's "swift and certain" sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, warning that a lack of a coordinated response could threaten stability in Asia. "It should be noted why the countries in the Indo-Pacific led by Japan but including Australia and New Zealand, South Korea have spoken up," Emanuel says in a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. "Because whether it's in Europe or here in the Indo-Pacific, there are basic tenets and principles that uphold the system."

5:00 p.m. Japan's Rakuten Group CEO Hiroshi Mikitani says the company will provide coupons for Ukrainian users to make free international calls with its Viber Out service. Viber, which the Japanese e-commerce group acquired in 2014, has 96% market penetration in Ukraine. "A social platform is what we are pursuing ... so we hope a democratic government will be maintained," Mikitani said during a Friday news conference in Tokyo.

4:33 p.m. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expresses concern over the economic fallout of the Ukraine conflict on developing countries during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Khan was the first world leader to meet Putin since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, having arrived in Moscow for a previously planned visit just hours before the attack began.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at a news conference in Moscow on Feb. 10. (Kremlin via Reuters)

4:24 p.m. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin discussed ways to protect bilateral ties in response to sanctions against Russia, Tokayev's office says. Kazakhstan is closely allied with Russia and leads economic and military blocs tied to Moscow. The Kazakh tenge has plummeted along with the ruble since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday.

3:00 p.m. A few dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the Russian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, to protest against the country's invasion of Ukraine. The protesters from multinational backgrounds held up placards calling on Russia and President Vladimir Putin to stop the aggression. Ukrainian participants sang their national anthem in solidarity with their country.

2:15 p.m. U.S. wheat futures hit their highest in nearly 14 years as Russia's invasion of Ukraine stokes fears of disruptions in the supply of grain from the key Black Sea region. The most active CBOT May wheat contract was up 0.9% at $9.43 a bushel, after peaking at $9.60-3/4 earlier in the session, its highest since June 2008.

Wheat's sharp gains over the past few days highlight that the market sees a high chance of wheat from Russia being largely sanctioned off market, said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, according to Reuters.

A wheat field near the Ukrainian village of Zhovtneve. Sharp rises in the price of wheat over the past few days indicate investors see a high chance that sanctions will remove Russian wheat from the market.   © Reuters

10:50 a.m. Australia imposes more sanctions against Russia, targeting several of its elite citizens and lawmakers. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also says it is "unacceptable" that China was easing trade restrictions with Moscow at the time when it invaded Ukraine.

10:38 a.m. Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang says the island will join democratic countries in putting sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, although he did not give details, Reuters reports.

9:57 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says the country will impose additional sanctions on Russia, including restrictions on chip exports. "The Ukraine invasion by Russia is a serious issue affecting international order that includes not only Europe but also Asia," Kishida told reporters in a news conference.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with India's foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, before the Quad meeting of foreign ministers in Melbourne on Feb. 11.   © Reuters

8:00 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after President Joe Biden said Washington had not yet worked out its coordination with New Delhi on the Ukraine conflict.

"Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of a strong collective response to condemn Russia's invasion and call for an immediate withdrawal and cease-fire," according to a statement by State Department spokesman Ned Price.

Neither side provided details on what, if anything, the top diplomats agreed on.

7:00 a.m. U.S. markets swing wildly in reaction to the Ukraine conflict, setting up a turbulent trading day in Asia. The S&P 500 index closes with a gain after taking an early dive.

6:10 a.m. The European Council "condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine."

5:50 a.m. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi tells Putin in a phone call that NATO's expansion is a "serious threat" to the region's security and stability, Reuters reports, citing the semiofficial Nour News.

5:20 a.m. The International Atomic Energy Agency issues a statement on the situation in Ukraine: "Regarding the situation at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine has informed the IAEA that 'unidentified armed forces' have taken control of all facilities of the State Specialized Enterprise Chernobyl NPP, located within the exclusion zone. The counterpart added that there had been no casualties nor destruction at the industrial site. Director General [Rafael] Grossi said it is of vital importance that the safe and secure operations of the nuclear facilities in that zone should not be affected or disrupted in any way."

5:00 a.m. Responding to the Russian attack, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Putin by telephone to appeal for "an immediate cessation of violence," according to the prime minister's office. Read here.

4:50 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden announces new sanctions against Russia following the invasion, trying to cripple the country's ability to conduct business with the world and ultimately pressure the Russian president to reverse course. "Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences," Biden tells a news conference. Read here.

Thursday, Feb. 24

11:15 p.m. Leaders from the Group of Seven advanced economies hold an emergency virtual meeting, agreeing to bring forward "severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions" against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

"This crisis is a serious threat to the rules-based international order, with ramifications well beyond Europe," they say in a joint statement issued after the summit. "We call on the Russian Federation to stop the bloodshed, to immediately de-escalate and to withdraw its forces from Ukraine." Read here.

11:00 p.m. While the conflict unfolds in Ukraine, in Asia, Taiwan says it had scrambled jets in response to Chinese aircraft entering its air defense zone.

9:05 p.m. China's embassy in Ukraine notifies Chinese nationals there that given the rapidly worsening situation, the embassy is preparing charter planes to fly back citizens in batches. The deadline to apply for a spot is midnight on Feb. 27.

9:01 p.m. In Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's first comments on the Ukraine conflict, he says, "We find the military operation unacceptable and reject it."

"This step is against international law and strikes heavy blow to the region's peace tranquillity and stability," Erdogan says in a televised speech, adding, "We are saddened that Russia and Ukraine, both friendly countries with which we have close political economic and social relations, are facing off each other."

5:10 p.m. "Whether or not Putin deepens the crisis with a further shock and awe attack to conduct a regime change in Kyiv or decides to consolidate his conquests in the southeast of Ukraine, there will be a series of significant impacts in Asia," writes Adm. James Stavridis, the 16th supreme allied commander of NATO. Read his op-ed here.

12:02 p.m. Putin addresses Russians in a televised speech, saying a "special military operation" is underway in Ukraine. He says the goal is not to occupy the country but "demilitarize" it.

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