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Ukraine war: Free to read

Ukraine from March 24 to April 12: Over 10,000 civilians killed in Mariupol siege, mayor says

All options on table if Russia uses chemical weapons, U.K. says; Fighting in eastern region to intensify

Graves of civilians killed during the Russian invasion lie in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on April 10.   © Reuters

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

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has entered its second month, with casualties mounting on both sides.

Ukraine's forces continue to resist, while its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.

Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

-- How Russia spread its fabricated pretexts for invading Ukraine

-- Russia's war struggles will delay any China move on Taiwan: expert

-- Ukraine war's impact on Asian economies splits global lenders

-- Is Putin cracking? Voice analysis belies steely exterior

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.

Tuesday, April 12 (Tokyo time)

4:00 p.m. All options would be on the table in response to any use of chemical weapons in Ukraine by Russia, British armed forces minister James Heappey said. British foreign minister Liz Truss on Monday said the country was working with its partners to verify the details of reports Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on Mariupol. "There are some things that are beyond the pale, and the use of chemical weapons will get a response and all options are on the table for what that response could be," Heappey told Sky News on Tuesday.

2:20 p.m. Fighting in eastern Ukraine will intensify over the next two to three weeks as Russia continues to refocus its efforts there, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin. Russian attacks remain focused on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk, with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv and a renewed push toward Kramatorsk, British military intelligence said. The report also said Russian forces continue to withdraw from Belarus in order to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine.

Graves of civilians killed during the Russian invasion lie in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on April 10.   © Reuters

11:14 a.m. The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol told the Associated Press that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city and that the death toll could surpass 20,000, with weeks of attacks and privation leaving bodies "carpeted through the streets." Mayor Vadym Boychenko also accused Russian forces of having blocked humanitarian convoys from entering the city for weeks in an attempt to conceal the carnage there from the outside world.

11:00 a.m. Japan's Cabinet has approved additional sanctions against Russia, freezing assets of 398 Russian individuals, including President Vladimir Putin's daughters and the wife of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

An Idemitsu Kosan oil refinery in Ichihara, east of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. The Ukraine crisis and a weak yen have pushed up the costs of fuel and raw materials in Japan. (Kyodo via Reuters)

10:05 a.m. Japan's wholesale inflation remained near record-high levels in March as the Ukraine crisis and a weak yen pushed up the costs of fuel and raw materials, government data shows. The corporate goods price index, which measures the prices that companies charge each other for goods and services, rose 9.5% in March from a year earlier. That followed a revised 9.7% spike in February, which was the fastest pace on record. The March index, at 112.0, was the highest level since December 1982.

6:24 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address late on Monday that Russia forces could use chemical weapons in Ukraine, but he did not say that chemical weapons have already been used. Unconfirmed reports earlier in the day had suggested that chemical weapons were used in the besieged southern port of Mariupol.

5:00 a.m. European Union officials discussing additional sanctions on Russia have failed to agree on a Russian oil embargo despite support from some countries.

Many of the ministers meeting in Luxembourg showed support for sanctions on Russian oil imports, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell says. But for others, such a ban would constitute an "asymmetric shock," he says. The bloc did agree to step up the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.

1:38 a.m. Axel Springer says it has hired the former Russian state TV worker who made international headlines last month by bursting onto her then-employer's live newscast to protest the war.

Marina Ovsyannikova will report for the German company's Welt brand as a freelance correspondent, including from Ukraine and Russia. She will write for the newspaper and regularly contribute to Welt news channel coverage, according to Axel Springer.

Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 rubles ($373 at current rates) in mid-March and could still face further prosecution in Russia.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer speaks during a news conference in Moscow after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.   © Reuters

1:30 a.m. "This is not a friendly visit," Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer says in a statement issued by his office about talks just outside Moscow with Vladimir Putin.

This marked the first meeting with the Russian president by a European Union leader since the invasion of Ukraine started more than six weeks ago.

Nehammer has expressed solidarity with Ukraine and denounced apparent Russian war crimes. His government last week ordered the expulsion of a total of four Russian Embassy and Russian Consulate personnel over conduct that has "not been in accordance with their diplomatic status" -- generally a euphemism for spying.

Monday, April 11

10:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on South Korea to send weapons to his country to defend its people against a Russian invasion.

In his 17-minute speech to South Korean lawmakers, Zelenskyy showed images of the ravages of war in Mariupol and other cities.

Seoul's defense ministry on Monday said it had rejected a request by the Ukrainian defense minister for anti-aircraft weapons, Reuters reports.

6:00 p.m. Witnessing Russia's struggles in Ukraine, China is likely reassessing any plans it had to make a move on Taiwan, a prominent Japanese scholar on China says in Tokyo.

"If China does possess a scenario of invading Taiwan, it will rethink, push back or at least make sure that all preparations are made before proceeding. It is unthinkable that they will decide to bring forward an invasion," Shin Kawashima, a professor at the University of Tokyo, says at the Japan National Press Club. Read more.

5:44 p.m. Tens of thousands of people have likely been killed in Russia's assault on the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. "Mariupol has been destroyed, there are tens of thousands of dead, but even despite this, the Russians are not stopping their offensive," Zelenskyy said in a video address to South Korean lawmakers.

5:14 p.m. Russia has destroyed S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems which had been supplied to Ukraine by a European country, Russia's defense ministry said. The ministry said that Russian sea-launched Kalibr missiles on Sunday destroyed four S-300 launchers which were concealed in a hangar on the outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. Russia said 25 Ukrainian troops were hit in the attack. Russia did not say which European country had supplied the S-300 systems.

10:50 a.m. A senior U.S. official in Washington said Russia has appointed Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, one of its most-seasoned military chiefs, to oversee the invasion, The Associated Press reports. Dvornikov gained prominence as head of Russian forces deployed to Syria in 2015 to shore up President Bashar Assad's government during the country's devastating civil war. U.S. officials say he has a record of brutality against civilians in Syria and other war theaters.

Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, left, meets with commanders in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine on March 28.   © Reuters

9:41 a.m. Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's republic of Chechnya, says there will be an offensive by Russian forces on the besieged port of Mariupol, Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. "There will be an offensive ... not only on Mariupol, but also on other places, cities and villages," Kadyrov said in a video posted on his Telegram channel. "Luhansk and Donetsk -- we will fully liberate in the first place ... and then take Kyiv and all other cities." He said, "I assure you: Not one step will be taken back."

5:00 a.m. Ukraine's economic output will likely contract by a staggering 45.1% this year as Russia's invasion has shuttered businesses, slashed exports and destroyed productive capacity, the World Bank said in a new assessment of the war's economic impacts. The World Bank also forecast Russia's 2022 GDP output to fall 11.2% due to punishing financial sanctions imposed by the United States and its Western allies on Russia's banks, state-owned enterprises and other institutions.

3:30 a.m. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, he said, adding he hoped to help build bridges between Russia and Ukraine and stop the "war of aggression." Nehammer's meeting would be the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and a European Union leader since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, triggering a broad Western effort to isolate Moscow.

"I'm going to meet Vladimir #Putin in Moscow tomorrow," Nehammer wrote on Twitter. "We are militarily neutral, but (have) a clear position on the Russian war of aggression against #Ukraine," he wrote, referring to Austria's position. "It must stop! It needs humanitarian corridors, ceasefire & full investigation of war crimes."

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed to RIA news agency that Putin would be holding talks with Nehammer on Monday.

2:50 a.m. The death toll from a missile strike on the train station in Ukraine's Kramatorsk has risen to 57 people, Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said. Kyrylenko said 109 people were wounded in the attack, which Ukraine has blamed on Russia. Moscow has denied responsibility, saying the missile was Ukrainian.

Sunday, April 10

1:38 p.m. A new grave with dozens of civilian Ukrainians was found on Saturday in Buzova, a liberated village near the capital Kyiv that for weeks was occupied by Russian forces, a local official says. Taras Didych, head of the Dmytrivka community that includes Buzova and several other nearby villages, told Ukrainian television that the bodies were found in a ditch near a petrol station. The number of dead is yet to be confirmed. "Now, we are returning to life, but during the occupation we had our 'hotspots', many civilians died," Didych said.

10:41 a.m. Ukraine has banned all imports from Russia, one of its key trading partners before the war with annual imports valued at about $6 billion, and called on other countries to follow and impose harsher economic sanctions on Moscow. "Today we officially announced a complete termination of trade in goods with the aggressor state," Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko wrote on her Facebook page. "From now on, no Russian Federation's products will be able to be imported into the territory of our state."

6:11 a.m. The British Ministry of Defense says Russian forces are continuing to use improvised explosive devices to inflict casualties, lower morale and restrict Ukrainian freedom of movement, Reuters reports. "Russian forces also continue to attack infrastructure targets with a high risk of collateral harm to civilians," the ministry says in a statement, citing intelligence reports. Russia's departure from northern Ukraine leaves evidence of the disproportionate targeting of non-combatants, the statement adds.

Saturday, April 9

11:40 p.m. The European Commission pledges 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to support Ukraine and countries receiving refugees fleeing the war following Russia's invasion, Reuters reports. "Six hundred million of those will go to Ukraine, to the Ukrainian authorities and partially to the United Nations," the president of the EU's executive branch, Ursula von der Leyen, says at a fundraising event for Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland. "And 400 million euros will go to the frontline states that are doing such an outstanding job and helping the refugees that are coming."

11:22 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a surprise trip to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy. "Right now a visit of Boris Johnson in Kyiv started from one-on-one meeting with President Zelenskyy," Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of Ukraine's president office, said on Facebook.

Officials in the U.K. confirm the meeting, saying the two are discussing long-term support for Ukraine as well as further financial and military aid. Johnson's trip is "in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people," a Downing Street spokesperson says.

"The U.K. will send more defensive weapons to Ukraine and will work with G-7 partners to target every pillar of the Russian economy to ensure Putin fails," Johnson tweeted earlier on Saturday.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet in Kyiv on April 9. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service handout via Reuters)


11:10 p.m. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala says the country should cut its dependence on Russian energy resources within five years, calling the current situation one of the Czech Republic's "greatest security risks." The EU member meets its gas needs almost entirely through shipments directly or indirectly from Russia, and gets roughly half its crude imports from the same source. Fiala adds the country's energy sector has to change "completely."

9:59 p.m. European Union countries sharing borders with Russia and Belarus bar some cargo vehicles registered in the two countries from entering due to sanctions, the Russian customs service says, according to Reuters. Vehicles used as international transport that have Russian and Belarusian number plates will not be able to move goods on EU territory, the Russian customs service says. This comes after the EU on Friday formally adopted new sanctions against Russia, including bans on the import of coal, wood, chemicals and other products, while also preventing many Russian vessels and trucks from accessing the bloc.

3:31 p.m. S&P lowers Russia's foreign currency ratings to "selective default" on increased risks that Moscow will not be able and willing to honor its commitments to foreign debtholders. Facing waves of sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia could face its first sovereign external default in over a century after it made arrangements to make an international bond repayment in rubles this week, even though the payment was due in dollars.

An Amnesty International activist protests outside the Russian Embassy in Mexico City on March 24. Russia has revoked the registration of 15 foreign organizations, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.   © Reuters

11:50 a.m. Russia's justice ministry says it has revoked the registration of 15 foreign organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Russian units of the 15 organizations, which include the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "were excluded due to the discovery of violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation," the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The decision, which did not give details of any violations, was announced days after New York-based HRW said it had found "several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations" in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied war crimes allegations by Ukraine and Western countries during its six-week-long invasion of Ukraine and denies targeting civilians.

Protestors take part in a demonstration "Oil Embargo - If not now, when?" in front of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin on April 8.   © Reuters

4:10 a.m. Germany is working to end imports of Russian oil and believes it may do so this year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz says in London during a news conference with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The European Union is studying ways to phase out its imports of Russian oil, according to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But ending German dependence on Russian natural gas poses a higher hurdle. No timeline has been set for such a transition.

The U.K. has announced plans to phase out imports of Russian coal and crude oil by the end of 2022, followed by gas imports at an early date.

3:17 a.m. The U.S. believes Russia used a short-range ballistic missile to strike a railway station in east Ukraine on Friday, a senior U.S. defense official says. Ukraine said at least 50 people were killed and many more wounded in the strike.

2:15 a.m. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledges to offer a speedier start to Ukraine's bid to become a member of the European Union. "It will not as usual be a matter of years to form this opinion but I think a matter of weeks," she says.

1:45 a.m. Slovakia has donated its S-300 air defense system to Ukraine, Prime Minister Eduard Heger says.

12:30 a.m. The Czech Republic has delivered tanks, multiple rocket launchers, howitzers and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine among military shipments that have reached hundreds of millions of dollars and will continue, reports Reuters, citing two Czech defense sources.

Friday, April 8

10:30 p.m. The ruble rallied after Russia's central bank cut its main interest rate in a surprise move. The cut, which follows new sanctions on Russia including a U.S. ban on crude oil imports, partly reverses an emergency rate hike in late February after the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Today's decision reflects a change in the balance of risks of accelerated consumer price growth, decline in economic activity and financial stability risks," the Central Bank of Russia says in a statement reported by Interfax.

8:50 p.m. Russian citizens are spending on average 40% of their disposable income on food, about double the amount from before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the director of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's Russia liaison office tells Reuters. Russian government data shows annual food inflation hit 18.75% on April 1 as the economy reels from Western sanctions. The average European Union household spends about 12% of its income on food, the director says.

Meanwhile, global food prices have hit record levels in the wake of the Ukraine war, the latest FAO data shows.

6:00 p.m. More than 30 people were killed and over 100 were wounded in a Russian rocket strike on a railway station in eastern Ukraine on Friday as civilians tried to evacuate to safer parts of the country, the state railway company says. It said two Russian rockets struck a station in the city of Kramatorsk, which is used to evacuate civilians from areas under bombardment by Russian forces.

4:50 p.m. Japan's Foreign Ministry says it will expel a number of Russian diplomats stationed in the country in Tokyo's latest response to the civilian killings reported during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Eight Russians, including diplomats, will be expelled, it announced Friday. Japan has been cautious about expelling Russian diplomats up to now, but changed course as the U.S. and European countries have moved to punish Russia diplomatically. Tokyo's decision is likely to prompt Moscow to make tit-for-tat expulsions of Japanese diplomats from Russia.

3:30 p.m. India's central bank cuts its economic growth forecast for the fiscal year that started April 1 to 7.2%, from the 7.8% projected in February, citing the Russia-Ukraine war.

"Although India's direct trade exposure to countries at the epicenter of the conflict is limited, the war could potentially impede the economic recovery through elevated commodity prices and global spillover channels," Reserve Bank of India Gov. Shaktikanta Das says.

There are several other factors at work, he adds. "Financial market volatility induced by monetary policy normalization in advanced economies, renewed COVID-19 infections in some major countries with augmented supply-side disruptions and protracted shortages of critical inputs, such as semiconductors and chips, pose downside risks to the outlook."

3:18 p.m. Ukraine says it aims to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors to evacuate trapped civilians on Friday, but civilians trying to flee the besieged southern city of Mariupol will have to use private vehicles. The 10 planned safe corridors announced by Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk were all in southern and eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials say Moscow plans to seize as much territory as it can in the eastern part of Ukraine known as Donbas bordering Russia.

11:00 a.m. The chairman of Russian aluminum giant Rusal calls for an impartial investigation into the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, which he described as a crime, and urged an end to the "fratricidal" conflict. While the statement from Chairman Bernard Zonneveld, a Dutch national, did not touch on who was to blame for the deaths of civilians in the town, it is unusual for a large Russian company to comment publicly on the conflict. "We support an objective and impartial investigation of this crime and call for severe punishment for the perpetrators," he said.

Japan's industry minister, Koichi Hagiuda, said on April 8 that the country would seek to phase out imports of Russian coal to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.   © Reuters

10:18 a.m. Japan will phase out Russian coal imports as part of its sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, Japan's industry minister says, joining other Group of Seven industrialized nations. Koichi Hagiuda told a regular news conference that Japan will gradually reduce the amount imported from Russia, and eventually break Japan's dependence on its coal, saying, "We seek to stop importing in the end." The move comes a day after G-7 foreign ministers vowed to "expedite" plans to end their energy dependence on Russia by phasing out and banning Russian coal imports to punish Moscow.

9:05 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says work has begun to dig through the rubble in Borodianka, a city northwest of Kyiv that was occupied by Russian military forces. He also said "it is much scarier" there, with even more victims of Russian troops. In his daily nighttime video address to the nation Thursday, Zelenskyy said the Russians were preparing to shock the world in the same way by showing corpses in Mariupol and falsely claiming they were killed by the Ukrainian defenders.

Ukrainian soldiers walk next to destroyed Russian tanks and armored vehicles.   © Reuters

4:30 a.m. Pink Floyd is releasing its first new music in almost three decades to raise money for the people of Ukraine, the band announces. "Hey Hey Rise Up" features Pink Floyd members David Gilmour and Nick Mason, with vocals from Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the band BoomBox. Roger Waters, who left the band in the 1980s, is not involved. The track features Khlyvnyuk singing a patriotic Ukrainian song from a clip he recorded in front of Kyiv's St. Sophia Cathedral and posted on social media.

2:51 a.m. Russia has sustained "significant" troop losses in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells British television channel Sky News.

"We have significant losses of troops, and ... it's a huge tragedy for us," he says when responding to interviewer Mark Austin's question: "You've lost thousands of troops. How many troops have you lost?"

Peskov expresses hope that the operation will achieve its goals, or end via negotiations, in the coming days but also calls verified imagery of dead civilians in Bucha a "bold fake."

Russia's Defense Ministry reported March 25 that 1,351 service members had been killed, and 3,825 wounded, since the start of the operation, state news agency Tass says in a brief story about the interview.

2:00 a.m. The United Nations suspends Russia from the Human Rights Council in a vote. Ninety-three member states voted for the resolution. Twenty-four voted against, including Russia and China. India was among the 58 member states that abstained. The Western-led draft resolution expressed "grave concern regarding reports of 'gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights' and 'violations of international humanitarian law'" by Russia in the Ukraine war.

Thursday, April 7

11:55 p.m. The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly backs legislation to remove "most favored nation" trade status for Russia and its close ally Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine, allowing for higher tariffs on imports from the two countries. As voting continues, the tally in the 100-member Senate was 65-0 in favor of removing Permanent Normal Trade Relations status.

Senate approval will send the measure to the House of Representatives, where passage is expected later on Thursday, sending the legislation to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.

6:30 p.m. Russia's communications watchdog said on Thursday it was taking punitive measures against Google, including a ban on advertising the platform and its information resources, for violating Russian law. Roskomnadzor accused Google's YouTube video-sharing platform, which has shut out Russian state-funded media globally, of becoming "one of the key platforms spreading fakes (fake images) about the course of (Russia's) special military operation on the territory of Ukraine, discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation."

3:40 p.m. Shell will write down up to $5 billion following its decision to exit Russia, higher than previously disclosed, while soaring oil and gas prices boosted trading activities in the first quarter, the company says. The post-tax impairments of between $4 billion and $5 billion in the first quarter will not impact the company's earnings, Shell said in an update ahead of its earnings announcement on May 5. It had previously said the Russia write-downs would reach around $3.4 billion.

A woman carries her cat past buildings destroyed by Russian shelling near Kyiv on April 5.   © Reuters

1:30 p.m. The U.N. General Assembly will vote on Thursday on a U.S. push to suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council over reports of "gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights" by Russian troops in Ukraine. A two-thirds majority of voting members -- abstentions do not count -- can suspend a country from the 47-member council. Western diplomats are confident they have enough support among the 193-member General Assembly to adopt a resolution to suspend Moscow.

10:30 a.m. International Energy Agency states have agreed to tap 60 million barrels of oil from storage, the director of the group says, on top of a 180-million-barrel release announced by Washington last week aimed at cooling prices after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The move by the U.S.-allied IEA countries, which represent 31 mostly industrialized countries but not Russia, would be their second coordinated release in a month and would be the fifth in the agency's history to confront oil market outages.

10:18 a.m. U.S. sanctions against two of Russia's largest banks are "a direct blow to the Russian population [and] ordinary citizens," the Tass news agency cites Russia's U.S. ambassador as saying on Wednesday. Anatoly Antonov made his remarks after Washington hit Sberbank, which holds a third of Russia's total banking assets, and Alfabank, the fourth-largest financial institution.

5:30 a.m. U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweets about her meeting with NATO Quint counterparts.


5:00 a.m. The U.S. believes Russian forces have completely withdrawn from the area around Kyiv, a senior American official says.

The troops were pulling back to Belarus and Russia to regroup, the official says. They may join the fighting in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, which Russia has designated the new focus of its "special military operation" -- what Moscow calls its invasion.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also says a small number of Ukrainians are receiving training in the U.S. to use tank-killing Switchblade drones. These Ukrainians are supposed to return to their country soon, the official says.

A tank-killing Switchblade 600 drone, an extended-range loitering missile system. (AeroVironment via AP)

4:00 a.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping's personal alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin is hampering China's diplomacy. That is becoming clearer as the war in Ukraine rages on.

Both men have laid the groundwork to stay in power until the middle of the 2030s. Both have territorial ambitions: reestablishing the former Soviet Union's sphere of influence for Putin, Taiwan for Xi. But the association comes with significant risk. Read more in this week's China Up Close.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says he has made the Biden administration's position clear to this year's G-20 president, Indonesia.   © Reuters

2:30 a.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she has told this year's Group of 20 president Indonesia that the American side "we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there."

U.S. President Joe Biden has called for Russia to be removed from the G-20 over its invasion of Ukraine.

2:00 a.m. One world leader willing to accept Russia's demand to pay for natural gas in rubles is Hungary's Victor Orban.

The Hungarian prime minister, whose right-wing ruling party won by a landslide in a parliamentary election Sunday, tells a news conference he has called on Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine immediately and says he is reconsidering his country's close ties with Moscow. Yet Orban says "if the Russians request it, we will pay in rubles," the Financial Times reports.

Germany and other countries have rejected Putin's demand for payment in rubles, which Russia has yet to enforce.

2:10 a.m. New U.S. sanctions on Russia add the country's top bank, Sberbank, to the list of targets, as well as family members of Russia President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. These and other international responses to Russia's invasion of Ukraine are not lost on China, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman says.

"The strong and coordinated response from the international community, including nations in the Indo-Pacific, to Russia's flagrant violations on international law and principles like sovereignty and territorial integrity sends a strong signal that such actions will not go ignored," Sherman tells the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The range of sanctions and "unprecedented" coordination between the U.S. and its partners give Chinese President Xi Jinping a "good understanding of what might come his way should he in fact support Putin in any material fashion," Sherman says.

On support for U.S. partners, Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas says: "Putin's invasion of Russia shows us how critical it is to give our allies the weapons they need before an invasion and not after." McCaul is preparing to introduce a bill that would create "a security assistance program for Taiwan."

A Chinese military officer adjusts a Russian flag ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's 2018 visit to Beijing.   © Reuters

Wednesday, April 6

8:00 p.m. Mere months ago Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on the ropes. The lira had crashed and his unorthodox monetary policy was being ridiculed in financial markets.

But the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and its subsequent struggles on the battlefield, have led to a dramatic diplomatic turnaround for Turkey, which finds itself at the center of efforts to establish a cease-fire.

It stands in contrast to China and India, who have been criticized by the global community for sitting on the fence. Read more.

6:00 p.m. Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar says in parliament that New Delhi is "deeply disturbed" by the reports of civilians killed in Bucha. "We strongly condemned the killings which have taken place there. This is an extremely serious matter, and we support the call for an independent investigation," he adds.

India, which has extensive defense dealings with Russia, has been reluctant to speak out against the invasion.

"If India has chosen a side, it is the side of peace and it is for an immediate end to violence," Jaishankar says.

Pope Francis holds up the Ukrainian flag that was sent to him from Bucha.   © Reuters

5:37 p.m. Pope Francis condemns the "massacre of Bucha," while holding up a Ukrainian flag sent to him from the town where hundreds of civilians were executed and mass graves have been found.

"Recent news from the war in Ukraine, instead of bringing relief and hope, brought new atrocities, such as the massacre of Bucha," he said during his weekly address. "Cruelty that is increasingly horrendous, even against civilians, defenseless women and children. They are victims whose innocent blood cries out up to heaven and implores: 'Stop this war! Let the weapons fall silent! Stop sowing death and destruction.'"

The Kremlin said on Tuesday allegations that Russian forces committed war crimes by executing civilians in Bucha were a "monstrous forgery" aimed at denigrating its army.

11:18 a.m. U.S. chipmaker Intel says it has suspended operations in Russia, joining a slew of companies exiting the country following its invasion of Ukraine. The company, which last month suspended shipments to customers in Russia and Belarus, said it has implemented business continuity measures to minimize disruption to its global operations.

IBM, too, has suspended shipments, as Ukraine urged U.S. cloud-computing and software companies to cut off business with Russia. Servers from IBM, Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard top the market in Russia, where companies and government agencies have relied on technology developed by the West as the basis for their IT systems.

4:20 a.m. The U.S. and its Group of Seven and European Union allies on Wednesday will impose new sanctions against Russian banks and government officials and ban investment in Russia, a source familiar with the announcement tells Reuters.

The measures will "degrade key instruments of Russian state power, impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia and hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's war," the source says.

3:00 a.m. NATO foreign ministers will meet with their counterparts from the Asia-Pacific this week, seeking to gain their cooperation in deepening the economic and diplomatic isolation of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Top diplomats from eight countries and the European Union will take part, including Ukraine as well as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In light of reports of alleged war crimes by Russia in Ukraine, the ministers are expected to discuss their responses, including additional assistance to Kyiv.

"Targeting and murdering civilians is a war crime," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tells reporters on Tuesday. Read more.

2:45 a.m. Asked whether the U.S. was providing military training to Ukrainians outside of Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says: "To use some of the gear, certainly they have to have training, and we're doing that."

Austin's comments come at a House Armed Services Committee hearing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley.

2:30 a.m. The United Nations has failed to function in the face of the worst war crimes since World War II, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told the U.N. Security Council.

Russia has used its Security Council veto as a license to kill, Zelenskyy says. Tuesday's emergency meeting was called to discuss Ukrainian allegations that Russian troops killed unarmed civilians in Bucha. Read more.

Tuesday, April 5

11:13 p.m. The Czech Republic has sent T-72 tanks and BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a Czech defense source tells Reuters. Public broadcaster Czech Television had shown footage on Twitter of a train loaded with five tanks and five fighting vehicles, saying the shipment was a gift agreed upon with NATO allies.

10:00 p.m. The 30 NATO allies would welcome Finland and Sweden into the alliance if they decided to join, but any such move is up to the two nations, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says.

NATO likely would find ways "to address the concerns they may have about this interim period between having applied and until the last ratification [by allies] has taken place," he says, referring to possible Russian retaliation before the pair were fully under NATO protection.

5:52 p.m. Italy has expelled 30 Russian diplomats because of security concerns, according to Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. Denmark says it will expel 15 Russian diplomats, in line with steps taken by other European Union countries, after reports of mass graves of civilians being found in Bucha. "This is another example of brutality, cruelty and war crimes, which apparently have taken place in Bucha," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told a press briefing.

5:30 p.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukraine has no option but to negotiate with Russia to end the fighting but that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin may not personally hold talks. "All of us, including myself, will perceive even the possibility of negotiations as a challenge," Zelenskyy says in an interview with Ukrainian journalists broadcast on national television.

2:50 p.m. Ukrainian forces have retaken key northern terrain, forcing Russian forces to retreat from areas around the city of Chernihiv and north of the capital, Kyiv, British military intelligence says. Low-level fighting is likely to continue in some of the recaptured areas but reduce this week as the remainder of the Russian forces withdraw, the defense ministry said in a regular bulletin on Twitter. Many of the withdrawing Russian units are likely to require significant reequipping and refurbishment before they redeploy for operations in the country's east, the ministry added.

12:10 p.m. The U.S. has stopped the Russian government from paying holders of its sovereign debt totaling more than $600 million from reserves held at American banks. Under sanctions put in place after Russia invaded Ukraine, foreign currency reserves held by the Russian central bank at U.S. financial institutions were frozen. But the Treasury Department had been allowing Moscow to use those funds to make coupon payments on dollar-denominated sovereign debt on a case-by-case basis.

11:54 a.m. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi returns home from Poland, bringing 20 evacuees from Ukraine in a show of Tokyo's latest support for the war-torn nation and neighboring countries. The 20 people who boarded a Japanese government plane in Warsaw had hoped to travel to Japan but had been unable to secure their own transportation, according to Hayashi.

9:56 a.m. Russia will respond proportionately to the expulsion of its diplomats from a number of Western countries, says Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and current deputy secretary of the country's Security Council. "Everyone knows the answer: It will be symmetrical and destructive for bilateral relations," he said on his Telegram channel. "Who have they punished? First of all, themselves."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with Ukrainian military in Bucha, outside Kyiv, on April 4.   © Reuters

8:42 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he will address the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday and predicted that further and worse instances of mass killings of civilians by Russian troops would be discovered. Tuesday's Security Council session is to consider Ukrainian allegations of the murder of civilians by Russian soldiers in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, following the discovery of hundreds of bodies, some bound and shot at close range.

4:33 a.m. A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross is detained by police during an attempt to reach the Ukrainian city of Mariupol to evacuate civilians and is being held nearby in Manhush, a spokesperson tells Reuters. "It's not a hostage situation," the spokesperson says. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says the Red Cross team is being held by "the occupation authorities."

U.S. President Joe Biden walks toward reporters after arriving at Fort Mcnair Army Base in Washington on April 4.   © Reuters

4:30 a.m. The Biden administration will announce additional sanctions on Russia this week, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan tells a news conference. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss "mounting evidence of war crimes, including from Bucha," U.K. Ambassador Barbara Woodward says

4:00 a.m. Japan is not included in Russia's latest retaliation against international sanctions: restricting visa issuance. President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending simplified visa issuance for countries Moscow has deemed "unfriendly" over their response to its invasion of Ukraine.

While Japan is one of these "unfriendly" nations, it is not among the countries selected for visa restrictions. Those targets are European Union members and non-EU countries in Europe such as Norway and Switzerland.

2:30 a.m. France and Germany will expel Russian diplomats in response to the alleged killings of civilians in Bucha.

Germany will declare about 40 Russian diplomats as personae non gratae, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says. Germany media say these diplomats will have to leave the country within five days of such a declaration.

Moscow says it will respond to Paris' decision, RIA Novosti reports.

2:05 a.m. The U.S. will work with its partners to try to suspend Russia's membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council, says Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. representative to the U.N.

The ambassador is part of an international chorus of voices denouncing Russia after new allegations of war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow denies that its forces were responsible for civilian deaths in Bucha.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss expresses her support for locking Russia out of the Human Rights Council.


12:35 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden labels Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal and calls for a war crimes trial as the global outcry mounts over civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

"You saw what happened in Bucha," Biden tells reporters at the White House, referring to the discovery of a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range. "This warrants him -- he is a war criminal." The Kremlin denies any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha.

12:30 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it will be more difficult for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia after the scale of atrocities carried out by Russian troops in occupied territories has become known. The Ukrainian leader speaks on national television from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, where tied bodies shot at close range, a mass grave and other signs of executions have been found in territory retaken from Russian troops.

Moscow has denied any accusations related to the killing of civilians in Bucha.

Monday, April 4

8:28 p.m. France faces a repeat of the 2017 presidential election showdown between Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, with Macron still favored but in a much tighter race as his lead narrows, opinion polls show ahead of the first round of voting on Sunday.

Five years ago, Macron beat Le Pen with 66.1% of the vote in the runoff, with voters of all stripes rallying behind the centrist. But the latest poll forecasts just a 53%-47% margin of victory for President Macron. Le Pen has improved her standing with a campaign focused on the declining purchasing power of middle- and lower-income voters.

5:00 p.m. Russia's chief investigator orders an official investigation into what he calls a "provocation" from Ukraine after Kyiv accused the Russian military of massacring civilians in the town of Bucha. Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee, has ordered that the investigation on the basis that Ukraine had spread "deliberately false information" about Russian armed forces in Bucha, according to the committee.

3:52 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says more sanctions on Russia are needed after Ukraine accused Russian forces of killing civilians in the town of Bucha. Macron told France Inter radio that there were "very clear clues" indicating that Russian forces were responsible for war crimes in Ukraine. Russia on Sunday denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town and said Ukraine had staged a performance for Western media.

12:05 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise video appearance at the music industry's star-studded Grammy Awards celebration in Las Vegas and appealed to viewers to support his country "in any way you can." "What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people," said Zelenskyy in the video. "Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today, to tell our story. Support us in any way you can. Any, but not silence." He added, "Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos, they sing to the wounded, in hospitals, even to those who can't hear them, but the music will break through."

10:10 a.m. Oil prices extend losses Monday as investors eye the release of supplies from strategic reserves from consuming nations, while a truce in Yemen could ease supply disruption concerns in the Middle East. Brent crude futures fell 79 cents, or 0.8%, to $103.60 a barrel by 0037 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $98.45 a barrel, down 82 cents, or 0.8%. Both contracts slipped $1 when markets opened Monday. The United Nations has brokered a two-month truce between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi group aligned with Iran for the first time in the seven-year conflict. Saudi oil facilities have come under attack by the Houthis during the conflict, adding to supply disruption from Russia.

8:00 a.m. Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a fourth consecutive landslide win in Sunday's election, as voters endorsed his ambition for a conservative, "illiberal" state and shrugged off concerns over Budapest's close ties with Moscow. Russia's invasion of Ukraine had appeared to upend Orban's campaign, forcing him into awkward maneuvering to explain decade-old cozy business relations with President Vladimir Putin. But he mounted a successful campaign to persuade his Fidesz party's core electorate that the six-party opposition alliance of Peter Marki-Zay promising to mend ties with the European Union could lead the country into war, an accusation the opposition denied.

5:50 a.m. Pope Francis pays tribute to journalists killed during the Ukraine war, saying he hoped God would reward them for serving the common good whatever side they were on. At least six journalists have died since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February.

Speaking with journalists aboard the papal plane returning from Malta, Francis reiterates that he is ready to visit Kyiv but adds that he has yet to decide whether it is feasible.

A man stands next to a grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 3.   © Reuters

12:28 a.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accuses Russian forces of carrying out a "massacre" in the town of Bucha as images of corpses in civilian clothes left behind by departing Russian troops prompt calls from officials in Ukraine and Europe for tougher sanctions on Russia.

Russia's Defense Ministry denies the allegations, calling footage and photographs showing dead bodies in the town near Ukraine's capital "another staged performance by the Kyiv regime for the Western media."

Sunday, April 3

11:26 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells CNN the images of dead Ukrainian civilians found in Bucha after Russian troops left are a "punch in the gut" and that those responsible for any war crimes must be held accountable. Ukrainian forces had moved into the town near Kyiv and found what officials and witnesses say were the bodies of nearly 300 civilians killed by Russian troops.

Blinken would not confirm reports that the U.S. is facilitating the transfers of Soviet-era tanks to Ukrainian forces from eastern European allies, but says that there "are or will soon be in Ukraine more than 10 anti-tank systems for every Russian tank."

9:44 p.m. Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk shows journalists dead bodies in an area he says Chechen fighters controlled during the month that Russian forces occupied the Ukrainian city on the northern outskirts of Kyiv. One corpse appeared to have his hands bound by white cloth, and to have been shot in the mouth.

"The Russians have demonstrated that they were consciously killing civilians," Fedoruk alleges.

Reuters, which was taken to the scene by Ukrainian authorities, was not immediately able to verify the mayor's allegations. Russia's Defense Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Chechnya is a region in southern Russia that has deployed troops to Ukraine to support Russian forces.

8:10 p.m. A leading rights group says it documented "apparent war crimes" committed by Russian military forces against civilians in Ukraine. Human Rights Watch says it found "several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations" in Russian-controlled regions such as Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv.

The statement, published in Warsaw, comes one day after dead civilians were found lying scattered through the streets of Bucha, three days after the Russian army pulled back after a monthlong occupation of the area 30 km northwest of Kyiv.

7:16 p.m. Ukrainian grain exports in March were four times less than February levels, due to the Russian invasion, the economy ministry says. March grain shipments overseas included 1.1 million tons of corn, 309,000 tons of wheat and 118,000 tons of sun oil. Ukraine was the world's fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020-21 season, according to International Grains Council data, with most of its commodities shipped out via the Black Sea.

7:00 p.m. Allegations of attacks against civilians during Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says, adding that the U.K. will fully support any such move by the International Criminal Court.

"As Russian troops are forced into retreat, we are seeing increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha," Truss says in a statement, referring to places near Kyiv. "Their indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians during Russia's illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with government members and top officials for economics issues.   © Kyodo

4:15 p.m. Work on evacuating people with the help of Red Cross from Mariupol will continue on Sunday with buses attempting to come close to the besieged city, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.

"Seven buses will try to get closer to Mariupol, accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross," Vereshchuk says in an online video. There will be 17 buses prepared to evacuate people from Mariupol and Berdyansk, she says.

3:10 p.m. Russia says that peace talks had not progressed enough for a leaders' meeting and that Moscow's position on the status of Crimea and Donbas remained unchanged. "The draft agreement is not ready for submission to a meeting at the top," Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky says on Telegram. "I repeat again and again: Russia's position on Crimea and Donbas remains UNCHANGED."

2:15 p.m. Russian naval forces continue to blockade the Ukrainian coast on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, preventing resupply by sea, British military intelligence says. Russia retains the capability to attempt an amphibious landing, but such an operation is likely to be increasingly high risk due to the time Ukrainian forces have had to prepare, the Ministry of Defense tweets in a regular bulletin.

1:00 p.m. Missiles struck Ukraine's southern port city of Odesa in the early hours of Sunday, the city council says in an online post. One of the city's "critical infrastructure facilities" was hit, regional administration spokesperson Sergey Bratchuk tells Ukraine's public broadcaster.

6:29 a.m. Russian forces want to seize east and south Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says in a late night address, adding Western nations had not provided enough anti-missile systems in their aid. Ukraine's president also heaps praise on his forces defending Mariupol, saying the fierce resistance in the besieged port city was giving the country's other cities valuable time.

4:27 a.m. Ukrainian military reports Russia is sending soldiers to Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria, where they were preparing to launch "provocations" along the border, near Odesa, the Financial Times reports.

Russian troops already in Transnistria were preparing for "a demonstration of readiness for the offensive and, possibly, hostilities against Ukraine," says the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Moldova's Foreign Ministry says it is unaware of a troop buildup while officials in Transnistria deny the reports as "completely untrue."

3:35 a.m. Ukraine says it has seized back all areas around Kyiv, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since the invasion. As Russia's forces regrouped for battles in the east, areas north of Kyiv were littered with destroyed Russian tanks. Ukraine presidential adviser Okeksiy Arestovych says its troops have retaken more than 30 towns and villages since Russia pulled back from the area this week, Reuters reports.

Ukrainian soldiers in Bucha, a city in Ukraine's Kyiv Oblast, which has been cleared of Russian forces for now.    © Reuters

Saturday, April 2

8:34 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev agree during a phone call that it is vital for an agreement to be reached for a neutral, nonaligned and nuclear-free Ukraine, Reuters reports.

A readout of the call, released by Kazakhstan's presidential office, says Putin had briefed Tokayev on the progress of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

7:27 p.m. Pope Francis comes the closest he has yet to implicitly criticizing Vladimir Putin over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying a "potentate" was fomenting conflicts for nationalist interests, according to Reuters.

"From the east of Europe, from the land of the sunrise, the dark shadows of war have now spread. We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past," the pope says in an address to Maltese officials after arriving on the Mediterranean island nation for a two-day visit.

"However, the icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and affected us all."

3:00 p.m. Ukrainian troops continue to advance against withdrawing Russian forces in the vicinity of Kyiv, British military intelligence says. Russian forces are also reported to have withdrawn from Hostomel airport, near the capital, which has been subject to fighting since the first day of the conflict, Britain's Ministry of Defence said in a regular bulletin. "In the east of Ukraine, Ukrainian forces have secured a key route in eastern Kharkiv after heavy fighting," the ministry added.

10:32 a.m. A Red Cross convoy traveling to Mariupol will make another attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged port on Saturday as Russian forces looked to be regrouping for new attacks in the southeast. A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross had tried to move into the city on Friday but had to turn back. "They will try again on Saturday to facilitate the safe passage of civilians," the ICRC said in a statement.

The Bykovets family members -- Olga, 42; Ilya, 13; and Yegor, 5 -- gather in a courtyard in Mariupol. The Red Cross is making a second attempt in as many days to move into the southern port city to bring civilians out.   © Reuters

9:14 a.m. The U.S. Department of Defense will provide Ukraine with an additional $300 million worth of laser-guided rocket systems, drones, commercial satellite imagery services and other security assistance. "This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide new capabilities to Ukraine's Armed Forces," Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

3:00 a.m. A total of 6,266 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Friday, a senior Ukrainian official says, with 3,071 people leaving the besieged city of Mariupol.

2:05 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his latest call with U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.


1:46 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his offer to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey is ready to host a summit between Russia and Ukraine for debate on difficult issues such as Crimea and the Donbas region of Ukraine.

"Erdogan said it is important for sides to act with common sense and keep the dialogue," the Turkish side says after his phone call with Putin.

A statement released by the Russian side says that Putin thanked Turkey for its assistance in hosting another round of Russia-Ukraine talks. Neither statement showed any signs of Putin warming up to the idea of a summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a tweet, Zelenskyy calls Erdogan a "real friend" of Ukraine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a February visit to Kyiv. Erdogan has sought to play a mediating role since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.   © Reuters

Friday, April 1

11:00 p.m. Friday's European Union-China summit, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine, was "not business as usual" and took place in a "very sober atmosphere," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.

"We also made very clear that China should, if not support, at least not interfere, with our sanctions," von der Leyen tells a news conference.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, for his part, says China and the EU should work together to provide "stabilizing factors" in a turbulent world. "Xi pointed out that the Ukraine crisis has come on top of a protracted COVID-19 pandemic and a faltering global recovery," Xinhua reports.

Xi urges the EU to "to form its own perception of China" and "adopt an independent China policy," in an what appears to be a vield criticism of alignment with the U.S. Read more.

9:20 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tells his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar that his country was grateful for New Delhi's neutral stance on the Ukraine crisis amid Western efforts to isolate Moscow over the invasion.

"We appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of facts, not just in a one-sided way," Lavrov said during a two-day visit to the Indian capital. Read more

9:02 p.m. Some Russian troops remain in the "exclusion zone" around the Chernobyl nuclear power station as of Friday morning local time, a day after ending their occupation of the defunct plant itself, a Ukrainian official says.

8:57 p.m. Gazprom will exit its business in Germany, the Russian energy giant says, amid a row between the two countries over Moscow's insistence on switching payments for Russian gas to rubles from euros. It was unclear how the move would affect the supply of Russian gas, on which Germany depends for about 40% of its needs.

German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that the German economy ministry was considering expropriating the Gazprom and Rosneft units in the country amid concerns about the security of energy supplies.

12:42 p.m. Japan "does not intend to withdraw" from oil and liquefied natural gas development projects in Russia, trade minister Koichi Hagiuda told reporters on Friday, as it makes a choice between energy security and further tightening sanctions on Russia for the war in Ukraine. Japanese trading and other companies have invested in the Sakhalin-1, Sakhalin-2 and Arctic LNG 2 (ARC 2) projects. Each has been deemed essential to Japan's energy security.

12:08 p.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his country will be sending armored Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine to help in its war against Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy specifically asked for the Australian-manufactured four-wheel-drive vehicles during a video appeal to Australian lawmakers for more aid on Thursday. Morrison told reporters the vehicles will be flown over on Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport planes, but he didn't specify how many Bushmaster vehicles would be sent or when.

7:16 a.m. Russia is redeploying elements of its forces from Georgia to reinforce its invasion of Ukraine, British military intelligence says. "Between 1,200 and 2,000 of these Russian troops are being reorganized into 3x Battalion Tactical Groups," Britain's Ministry of Defence says.

5:02 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding that foreign buyers pay for Russian gas in rubles starting today or have their supplies cut, a move European capitals rejected and which Germany said amounts to "blackmail." Putin's decree leaves Europe facing the prospect of losing more than a third of its gas supply. Putin said buyers of Russian gas "must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting" April 1. Energy exports are Putin's most powerful lever as he tries to hit back against sweeping Western sanctions.

3:44 a.m. The International Atomic Energy Agency says it is preparing to send an "assistance and support mission" to the radioactive waste facilities at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power station, following "consultations with Ukrainian authorities."

The U.N. watchdog's plan comes after Ukraine's state nuclear company Energoatom says most of the Russian forces that occupied the Chernobyl station during Moscow's invasion have left, and only a "small number" remain.

12:35 a.m. President Joe Biden will announce the largest-ever release of U.S. strategic oil reserves, putting an average of 1 million additional barrels on the market daily for the next six months to combat higher fuel prices faced by Americans, the White House says.

Biden also will authorize use of the Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese, the White House says, part of a push to accelerate the country's transition to cleaner, domestic energy sources.

Thursday, March 31

11:30 p.m. The far-reaching Western sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine could push countries to form small currency blocs along trade lines, says the International Monetary Fund's Gita Gopinath.

"The dollar would remain the major global currency even in that landscape but fragmentation at a smaller level is certainly quite possible," the IMF's first deputy managing director tells the Financial Times in an interview. "We are already seeing that with some countries renegotiating the currency in which they get paid for trade."

11:00 p.m. Japan will change how it spells Kyiv in official documents to make it closer to the city's Ukrainian pronunciation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

The new Japanese spelling sounds like "kiiu," while the old one was pronounced "kiefu." The Japanese spelling of Chernobyl and other geographical names has also changed.

The pronunciation of the capital is a point of pride for Ukrainians and has even spawned a Twitter hashtag, #kyivnotkiev.

8:24 p.m. Russian forces in Ukraine are not withdrawing but regrouping, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says on Thursday, commenting on Moscow's announcements about a scaling down of military operations around Kyiv. Stoltenberg also says the alliance has yet to be convinced that Russia was negotiating in good faith in peace talks in Istanbul because Moscow's military objective since launching its invasion of Ukraine has not changed.

A Mariupol resident stands next to the grave of his friend killed during Ukraine-Russia conflict.   © Reuters

7:00 p.m. A convoy of Ukrainian buses set out for the southern port city of Mariupol to try to deliver humanitarian supplies and bring out civilians, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and the Red Cross says. According to Vereshchuk, 45 buses are on their way to Mariupol after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed Russia had agreed to open a safe corridor.

6:21 p.m. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has urged Japan to impose an embargo on Russian oil and gas, calling on Japanese companies to pull the plug on the Sakhalin-2 project in the Russian Far East in an online interview with Nikkei Asia.

6:03 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asks the Dutch parliament for weapons, reconstruction aid and to halt all business with Russia in response to its invasion of his country. "Stronger sanctions are needed so that Russia doesn't have a chance to pursue this war further in Europe," he told lawmakers via video link. "Stop all trade with Russia."

5:06 p.m. Japan will not abandon its stake in the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Russia as it is essential to energy security, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says, his clearest comments yet on Tokyo's plans for the development.

4:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells Australia's parliament that new and stronger sanctions against Russia are needed to increase the pressure on Moscow over its invasion of his country. Australia has supplied defense equipment and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, as well as imposing a ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia. It has imposed a total of 476 sanctions on 443 individuals, including businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 33 entities, including most of Russia's banking sector and all entities responsible for the country's sovereign debt.

4:17 p.m. Global computer brands are cutting their forecasts for the next six months amid concerns over inflation and the war in Ukraine, in a sign that the two-year boom in PC demand is starting to cool. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to a surge in remote working and learning, which in turn fueled demand for computers. That trend lasted through the January to March quarter, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted supply chains and thrown PC makers' planning for the coming quarters into disarray.

4:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has recalled his country's ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco, suggesting they haven't done enough to persuade those countries to support Ukraine and punish Russia for the invasion. "With all due respect, if there won't be weapons, won't be sanctions, won't be restrictions for Russian business, then please look for other work," Zelenskyy said in a nighttime video address to the nation.

11:57 a.m. The Biden administration is considering releasing up to 180 million barrels of oil over several months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Reuters reports, citing U.S. sources. That comes as the White House tries to cool fuel prices driven up by the war in Ukraine. The move would mark the third time the U.S. has tapped its strategic reserves in the past six months and would be the largest release in the nearly 50-year history of the SPR.

10:00 a.m. Russian forces bombarded areas around Kyiv and another city just hours after pledging to scale back operations in those zones to promote trust between the two sides, Ukrainian authorities say. The shelling -- and intensified Russian attacks on other parts of the country -- tempered optimism about any progress in talks aimed at ending the punishing war.

6:30 a.m. The U.S. believes Russia has started to reposition less than 20% of its forces that had been arrayed against Ukraine's capital, but they are not expected to return home, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby says.

Washington's assessment of the situation near Kyiv suggests the troop movements may not lead to a Russian de-escalation despite Moscow's claim that it was scaling back its military operations around the capital.

Meanwhile, Washington says there are indications Vladimir Putin may be receiving inaccurate information from commanders.

"We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military, which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership," White House communications director Kate Bedingfield tells reporters in a briefing.

4:31 a.m. Russia's invasion of Ukraine risks sending wheat prices to fresh highs this summer, inflicting economic pain from food-insecure developing countries to rich nations.

Ukraine and Russia together account for around 30% of global wheat exports. They play an especially large role during summer and fall, the harvest season for the Northern Hemisphere. With everything from spring planting to logistics being hit by the war and Western sanctions, the situation could come to a head this summer. Read more.

2:00 a.m. With Russia now more than a month into its invasion of Ukraine and showing little sign of backing down, how has Russian President Vladimir Putin's mindset changed over the course of the conflict? The answer may lie in his voice.

An analysis of the audio suggests his stress levels were elevated starting in the days before the invasion and climbed sharply in early March, when Moscow responded to the tightening sanctions net around the country. Read more.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen speaking on the phone in this photo taken in February.   © Reuters

1:45 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweets that he discussed specific defensive support with U.S. President Joe Biden in an hourlong call Wednesday. The two leaders also discussed a new package of enhanced sanctions against Russia, Zelenskyy says, as well as financial and humanitarian aid support for Ukraine.


1:39 a.m. The president of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia says the territory will take steps soon to become part of Russia. Moscow recognized the territory and the coastal region of Abkhazia as independent after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008, extending financial support to the area as well as offering Russian citizenship and stationing troops there.

1:32 a.m. The offices of Russian gas major Gazprom are raided by European Union antitrust officials, sources tell Reuters, as the watchdog intensifies an investigation into the company's gas supplies to Europe.

The investigation began in January when EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager asked gas companies including Gazprom about tight supplies after accusations it was withholding extra production that could be released to lower rising prices.

The raid comes amid the backdrop of tightening sanctions against Russian gas and other energy exports over the invasion.

12:50 a.m. Russia is suffering from brain drain as a result of Western sanctions, the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences says.

"It's hard to estimate the scope of the losses, but I think they are high," Alexander Sergeyev, the physicist who serves as the academy's president, is quoted by Interfax as saying. "It's necessary to offer benefits and increase the financing of science so that, apart from prestige, there should also be a proper material basis for it."

Wednesday, March 30

11:00 p.m. Volkswagen-owned German truck-maker Man will put up to 11,000 workers in Germany on shortened hours as it struggles to secure a key component made in Ukraine.

"The war in Ukraine is leading to massive supply gaps for truck wiring harnesses at Man Truck & Bus," the company says in a statement. "As a result, since March 14 there has been a standstill in the truck plants in Munich and Krakow as well as significant production downtimes at the Nuremberg, Salzgitter and Wittlich plants."

Earlier this month, wire harness maker Sumitomo Electric Industries of Japan said it will add production lines at its Romanian and Moroccan plants, having suspended operations at its factory in western Ukraine at the end of last month.

9:00 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells a regional summit that recent developments in Europe have raised a question mark over the stability of the international order, but he stops short of referring directly to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Modi says it its important to make the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation's activities more active.

"It has also become essential to give greater priority to our regional security," he says in a virtual address at the meeting, hosted by current chair Sri Lanka. Read more.

8:00 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will pay a two-day visit to New Delhi starting Thursday, the Indian government says in a one-line statement on Wednesday. It is the highest-level Russian visit to India since Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Ukraine crisis is expected to figure prominently in Lavrov's meetings in New Delhi, even though the Indian statement did not reveal the agenda.

7:00 p.m. The Kremlin says it welcomes the fact that Kyiv has set out its demands for an end to the conflict in Ukraine in written form, but says there is no breakthrough yet. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters that Russia has not noticed anything promising or that looked like a breakthrough, and says there is a long period of work ahead.

6:46 p.m. Russia's Federal Security Service says on Wednesday it has detained 60 supporters of what it describes as a Ukrainian "neo-Nazi" group and has seized weapons in 23 regions across Russia, news agencies report. The FSB has previously identified the alleged group as the MKU. State television in December said the abbreviation stood for "Maniacs. Cult of Murder." The FSB says the group had been set up by a Ukrainian under the patronage of Ukraine's intelligence services.

6:34 p.m. The United Nations has named three human rights experts to conduct an investigation into possible war crimes and other violations committed in Ukraine. The independent panel, to be led by Erik Mose of Norway, has a mandate to "investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and related crimes in the context of the aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation," according to a statement.

6:06 p.m. Russia denies a claim by Ukraine that it had struck the town of Uman, visited by tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews each year, showing pictures of what it says are Ukrainian forces loading arms near a synagogue there. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Israeli lawmakers on March 20 that Russia had struck Uman on the first day of the invasion in February, according to a transcript of the speech supplied by The Times of Israel.

5:49 p.m. Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says Russia will invite "friendly countries" to take part in its national university games, at a time when its own athletes remain banned from competitions. He does not specify which countries will be invited to the event, which had been under planning since before Russia's invasion.

5:42 p.m. There are now 4,019,287 Ukrainians who have fled abroad, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

5:30 p.m. Ukraine officials report shelling around the capital Kyiv and the northern region of Chernihiv, despite a promise by Moscow to reduce military operations there. Russian forces were also shelling nearly all cities along the front separating Ukraine-controlled territory from areas held by Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donetsk region, the regional governor says. Heavy fighting was also reported in Mariupol. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says Russia has been transferring forces from northern Ukraine to the east to try to encircle Ukrainian troops.

4:10 p.m. Russian forces hit industrial facilities in three overnight strikes in the Khmelnytskyi region of western Ukraine, regional governor Serhiy Hamaliy says. He gave no details of the targets but said fires had been "localized" and checks were being made to determine whether there were any casualties.

4:07 p.m. The governor of Ukraine's northern Chernihiv region says he saw no letup in Russian attacks despite a promise by Moscow to scale down military operations there. "Do we believe in [the promise]? Of course not," Gov. Viacheslav Chaus said via the Telegram messaging app. "The 'decreased activity' in the Chernihiv region was demonstrated by the enemy carrying out strikes on [the city of] Nizhyn, including airstrikes, and all night long they hit [the city of] Chernihiv."

3:50 p.m. Russia and China agree to widen cooperation at a meeting of foreign ministers in China, according to the Interfax news agency, citing Russia's foreign ministry amid what Moscow described as "difficult international conditions." Interfax says cooperation included building up foreign policy coordination and speaking with one voice on global affairs. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui.

3:45 p.m. Ukraine's armed forces say there is a danger of ammunition exploding at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power station and that Russian forces occupying the plant must pull out of the area, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. She also says Ukraine had asked Russia on Tuesday to allow 97 humanitarian corridors to be established in the worst-hit towns, cities and villages. "We demand that the U.N. Security Council immediately take measures to demilitarize the Chernobyl exclusion zone and introduce a special U.N. mission there to eliminate the risk of the repeat of a nuclear catastrophe," she said.

3:26 p.m. Shelling could be heard outside Kyiv overnight but the Ukrainian capital itself was not shelled by Russian forces, Deputy Mayor Mykola Povoroznyk says. "The night passed relatively calmly, to the sounds of sirens and the sound of gunfire from battles around the city, but there was no shelling of the city itself."

3:15 p.m. Britain will take a very skeptical view toward any promises coming from Russia about Ukraine and will respond to Moscow based on its actions, not its words, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab says. "I would be very careful in taking at face value what is coming out of Putin's war machine," he told Times Radio, adding that room for diplomacy must still be made.

Tuesday, March 29

10:40 p.m. The Ukraine invasion has triggered the dismissals of some brilliant Russian musical figures from the classical scene in the West. In some cases, the firings have been sudden. Russian maestro Valery Gergiev was sacked as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra on March 1.

After Russia had invaded Ukraine, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter immediately presented the Russian conductor an ultimatum. Either "clearly and unequivocally distance himself" from Russia's "special military operation" or leave.

"I had hoped that he would reconsider his very positive assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin," the mayor said in his March 1 announcement. "He has not done so." Read more.

9:57 p.m. The Russia-Ukraine negotiations in Istanbul have concluded, host Turkey says Tuesday, adding that the peace talks will not continue for a second day.

9:40 p.m. Ukraine proposes adopting neutral status, in the first sign of progress toward negotiating peace in its talks with Russia.

Under the proposals, Kyiv would agree not to join alliances or host bases of foreign troops, but would have security guaranteed in terms similar to "Article 5," the collective defense clause of the trans-Atlantic NATO military alliance, negotiators from Kyiv say.

They named Israel and NATO members Canada, Poland and Turkey as countries that may give such guarantees. Russia, the U.S., Britain, Germany and Italy also could be involved.

9:21 p.m. Russia will curtail military activity around the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, its deputy defense minister says, after talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams in Istanbul. The official, Alexander Fomin, says the decision was taken in the interest of creating mutual trust and the conditions for further talks.

6:00 p.m. Ukraine's president has spoken with South Korea's incoming leader.


6:30 p.m. Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have begun the first direct peace talks in more than two weeks on Tuesday in Istanbul, with the surprise attendance of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who is sanctioned by the West over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The two teams sat facing each other at a long table in the presidential office, with the Russian oligarch sitting in the front row of observers, a Turkish presidential video feed showed. Two of Abramovich's superyachts are docked at Turkish resorts.

5:00 p.m. Russia's Foreign Ministry called in the ambassadors of the three Baltic nations on Tuesday to announce the expulsion of some of their diplomats in a tit-for-tat move, the TASS and RIA news agencies cited a source as saying. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania expelled a total of 10 Russian diplomats in a coordinated move earlier this month.

4:10 p.m. Progress in talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators starting in Istanbul on Tuesday would pave the way for a meeting of the countries' two leaders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the delegations ahead of the talks. In a televised speech to the negotiators in Istanbul, Erdogan said the time has come for talks to yield concrete results and called for an immediate cease-fire, saying that "stopping this tragedy" was up to both sides.

3:00 p.m. German consumer sentiment looks set to slump heading into April as the war in Ukraine pushed households' economic and income expectations to their lowest since the 2009 financial crisis, a survey shows. The GfK institute said its consumer sentiment index, based on a survey of around 2,000 Germans, tumbled to -15.5 points heading into April, down from a revised -8.5 points a month earlier, the lowest reading since February 2021.

Japan will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia, including luxury cars, from April 5 in its latest response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.   © Reuters

10:30 a.m. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno says Japanese companies will be requested to refuse if Russia asks for payments in rubles, especially in the energy sector. Russia demanded last week that "unfriendly" countries must pay in rubles, not euros, for its gas in the wake of the United States and European allies teaming up on a series of sanctions aimed at Russia.

10:00 a.m. Japan will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia in its latest response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, effective April 5, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry says in a statement. Prohibited items include luxury cars, motorcycles, liquors, cosmetics, fashion items and art pieces.

6:45 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden offers an explanation for his eyebrow-raising exclamation Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power."

"I wasn't then nor am I now articulating a policy change," Biden tells reporters at the White House. "I was expressing moral outrage that I felt, and I make no apologies."

5:15 a.m. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, suffered symptoms of poisoning in Kyiv in early March after peace talks with Russia, the Financial Times reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.

Two Ukrainians involved in the talks also suffered symptoms. Abramovich's eyesight "completely disappeared" for several hours, the Financial Times reports.

"We did not identify the substance," the newspaper quotes a person close to Zelenskyy as saying. "No idea who was behind [the attack] -- but it looks like Roman was the main target."

The suspected poisoning was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

A local resident cries before leaving the besieged southern port of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 27: The city's mayor says all citizens must be evacuated to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.   © Reuters

4:30 a.m. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the country's most ambitious goal at talks with Russia in Turkey this week is to agree on a cease-fire. "The minimum program will be humanitarian questions, and the maximum program is reaching an agreement on a cease-fire," he said on national television when asked about the scope of the latest round of peace negotiations, expected to kick off Tuesday. "We are not trading people, land or sovereignty."

3:08 a.m. U.S. lawmakers are probing Credit Suisse Group's compliance with sanctions related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, asking the Swiss bank to provide documents tied to the financing of yachts and jets owned by potentially sanctioned individuals, according to a letter sent by a House of Representatives committee to the bank's chief executive, Thomas Gottstein.

The probe comes after the Financial Times reported this month that Credit Suisse asked hedge funds and other investors to destroy documents relating to its richest clients' yachts and private jets in an attempt to stop information leaking about loans to oligarchs who were later sanctioned.

2:00 a.m. The exodus of many of the world's top brands from Russia in protest of the country's invasion of Ukraine has created a cottage industry in patent applications for strikingly similar logos. They include one that looks like McDonald's golden arches turned on their side and a blue-and-yellow IKEA look-alike. Read more.

12:30 a.m. Group of Seven economies will reject Russia's demand to pay for natural gas in rubles, their energy ministers have agreed in an online meeting, according to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that only "unfriendly" countries would have to pay for Russian energy in rubles. This list includes the U.S. and Japan.

These transactions have mostly been paid for in dollars and euros. Natural gas from the Japanese-backed Sakhalin-2 project has been paid for mainly in dollars.

Monday, March 28

11:45 p.m. International brewers Heineken and Carlsberg say they plan to exit Russia, joining other big consumer brands.

Carlsberg has more exposure to Russia than any of its peers, the Financial Times reports. The country makes 9% of its revenue in the country and employs 8,400 people there.

10:01 p.m. Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor Dmitry Muratov was a co-winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, is suspending online and print activities until the end of Russia's "special operation" in Ukraine. The investigative paper, which already removed material from its website on Russia's military action in Ukraine to comply with a new media law, says it received another warning from the state communications regulator about its reporting, prompting it to pause operations.

6:22 p.m. Chinese state energy company Sinopec will continue to buy crude oil and gas from Russia, a top executive says, even as Western democracies step up sanctions in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine. The company, known formally as China Petroleum and Chemical, is involved in two major projects in Russia: an oil and gas production joint venture called Taihu in the Volga-Ural petroleum basin, and the development of the Amur gas chemical complex and processing plant with Sibur in the Russian Far East, adjoining China.

6:19 p.m. The Kremlin says that peace talks between Russia and Ukraine may get underway in Turkey on Tuesday and said it was important that the talks would be held face-to-face despite scant progress in negotiations so far. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a cease-fire in Ukraine.

5:36 p.m. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and echoed calls for an immediate cease-fire made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Cambodia currently chairs. In his remarks, Hun Sen invoked Cambodia's own history of occupation by Vietnam and cast doubt on Russia's ability to capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

4:59 p.m. Ukrainian and Russian negotiators will begin peace talks in Istanbul later Monday, a senior Turkish official said, without elaborating. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a cease-fire.

4:54 p.m. Russian forces are regrouping but are unable to advance anywhere in Ukraine, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar says. Russian forces were trying to reinforce positions they already hold and were trying to break through the defenses of Kyiv but had no hope of capturing the capital, she says.

4:48 p.m. Ukraine has no plans to open any humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from besieged cities on Monday because of intelligence reports warning of possible Russian "provocations" along the routes, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.

4:35 p.m. The mayor of Mariupol says all civilians must be evacuated from the encircled Ukrainian city to allow them to escape a humanitarian catastrophe. Mayor Vadym Boichenko says 160,000 civilians were still trapped in the southern port city on the Sea of Azov without heat and power after weeks of Russian bombardment.

He says 26 buses were waiting to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, which normally has a population of about 400,000 people, but Russian forces had not agreed to give them safe passage. He did not say where they were waiting.

4:04 p.m. Chinese drone maker DJI has dismissed as "utterly false" accusations that the Russian military is using its drones in Ukraine after a German retailer cited such information as the reason for taking its products off the shelves. The rejection followed Friday's Twitter revelation of the removal by German electronics and home appliances giant MediaMarkt in response to "information from various sources," although it gave no details on the information it had received.

2:08 p.m. Japan will revise its foreign exchange law to prevent Russia from evading financial sanctions via cryptocurrency assets. A proposed revision to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act will be submitted to the Diet to deter Russia from dodging sanctions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also called on Monday for the law to be amended, stressing the need for coordinated actions with Western allies after attending last week's Group of Seven summit in Belgium.

11:23 a.m. Hollywood shared some of its big night with Ukrainians on Sunday, using text on a screen to ask the world for financial contributions. But rather than turning the Academy Awards into a platform about Ukraine, the show's directors opted for a silent message that did not mention Russia, which invaded Ukraine 31 days ago. "We'd like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders," read the message posted on screen just before a commercial break.

11:11 a.m. Russian forces have left the Ukrainian town of Slavutych, home to workers at the defunct nuclear plant of Chernobyl, after completing their surveying task, the mayor says. On Saturday, the Kyiv regional governor said Russian forces had taken control of the town just outside the safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986, where Ukrainian staff still manage the plant.

6:51 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says that neither NATO nor U.S. President Joe Biden aims to bring about regime change in Russia. Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech on Saturday that "this man cannot remain in power." The White House and other U.S. officials rushed to clarify that Biden was not actually calling for Putin to be toppled. Asked during a Sunday appearance on ARD television whether Putin's removal is in fact the real aim, Scholz replied: "This is not the aim of NATO, and also not that of the American president," adding, "We both agree completely that regime change is not an object and aim of policy that we pursue together."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a news conference after a NATO summit in Brussels on March 24.   © Reuters

3:09 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a cease-fire and better humanitarian conditions are needed. "Stressing the need for the immediate establishment of cease fire and peace between Russia and Ukraine as well as the amelioration of the humanitarian situation in the region, President Erdogan stated that Turkiye would continue to lend every kind of support regarding the process," Erdogan's office says in a Twitter thread about the phone call, using Turkey's new English rendition of its own name.

Erdogan and Putin agree that the next round of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be held in Istanbul.

3:08 a.m. Ukraine is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia, but it would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum, Zelenskyy says in an interview.

Speaking to a group of Russian journalists via video call, Zelenskyy says the invasion caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine and says the damage exceeded that from the Russian wars in Chechnya.

1:51 a.m. Russia's communications watchdog tells Russian media not to report on an interview done with Zelenskyy and says it has started a probe into the outlets that had interviewed him.

In a short statement distributed by the watchdog on social media and posted on its website, it says a host of Russian outlets had done an interview with Zelenskyy.

"Roskomnadzor warns the Russian media about the necessity of refraining from publishing this interview," it says. It does not give a reason for its warning.

Sunday, March 27

9:30 p.m. The U.S. has no strategy of regime change for Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells reporters in Jerusalem. "I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President [Vladimir] Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else," Blinken says.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after their meeting in Jerusalem on March 27.   © Reuters

"As you know, and as you've heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia -- or anywhere else, for that matter," he adds. "In this case, as in any case, it's up to the people of the country in question. It's up to the Russian people."

3:37 p.m. Ukraine and Russia have agreed on two "humanitarian corridors" to evacuate civilians from front-line areas on Sunday local time, including allowing people to leave by private car from the southern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says.

3:52 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power" in a comment soon walked back by a White House official. "The president's point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region," the official says. "He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change."

Biden's comments, including an earlier one in which he called Putin a "butcher," mark a sharp verbal escalation in the American approach to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Saturday, March 26

8:56 p.m. Ukraine received additional security pledges from the United States on developing defense cooperation, its Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says. "We did receive additional promises from the United States on how our defense cooperation will evolve," Kuleba tells reporters.

7:06 p.m. More than 100,000 people still need to be evacuated from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says on national television.

6:53 p.m. Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov says that he and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had held a joint meeting with their U.S. counterparts for the first time. "We discuss current issues & cooperation in political and defense directions between Ukraine and the United States," Reznikov says on Twitter, posting a photograph of the meeting in Warsaw with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

5:54 p.m. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was seen chairing an army meeting and discussing weapons supplies in a video posted by his ministry, the first time he had publicly been shown speaking for more than two weeks. In the video, uploaded on social media, Shoigu said he had discussed issues related to the military budget and defense orders with the finance ministry.

5:25 p.m. Russian forces have taken control of the town of Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, the governor of the Kyiv region Oleksandr Pavlyuk says. In an online statement, Pavlyuk says Russian troops had occupied the hospital in Slavutych and kidnapped the mayor.

3:46 p.m. The war in Ukraine has killed 136 children in the 31 days since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine's office of the prosecutor-general said on Saturday in a message on the Telegram app. Of the total, 64 children have been killed in the Kyiv region, the office said. A further 50 children have died in the Donetsk region, it said. Additionally, 199 children have been wounded.

10:39 a.m. About 300 people were killed in the Russian airstrike last week on a Mariupol theater that was being used as a shelter, Ukrainian authorities say, in what would make it the war's deadliest known attack on civilians yet. The bloodshed at the theater fueled allegations Moscow is committing war crimes by killing civilians, whether deliberately or by indiscriminate fire.

Service members of pro-Russian troops are seen atop of an armored vehicle with the symbols "Z" painted on its sides in Dokuchaievsk in the Donetsk region, Ukraine.   © Reuters

3:30 a.m. A senior Russian military official says that the first phase of its "special operation" -- Moscow's name for the invasion of Ukraine -- has been mostly completed and that the focus is now on the eastern Donbas region.

"The military capacities of Ukraine's armed forces have been significantly decreased, which allows efforts to be focused on achieving our main aim: liberating Donbas," Sergei Rudskoy says, referring to a region where Russian-backed separatists have declared themselves "republics." Ukraine does not recognize their independence.

Russia's hints at a potential scaling back of its territorial ambitions in Ukraine come amid reports of military setbacks. Russian forces no longer have full control of Kherson, the first major Ukrainian city they captured, The New York Times reports, citing a senior Pentagon official.

U.S. President Joe Biden is welcomed by Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak as he arrives at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport in Poland.   © Reuters

2:55 a.m. Zelenskyy gives an update on his latest talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


1:30 a.m. The U.S. aims to supply 15 billion cu. meters of liquefied natural gas to the European Union this year to help ease its dependence on Russian energy. Read more

Friday, March 25

11:55 p.m. Ukraine is likely to be on the agenda for a meeting of Quad leaders being planned for April. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the summit host, has reached out to U.S. President Joe Biden on a possible visit to Japan for the talks involving Australia and India.

11:00 p.m. Moscow reacts to talk of excluding Russia from the Group of 20.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov says the G-20 format is "important," but "in the current conditions, as most of the participants in this format are in a state of economic war with us at their own initiative, nothing deadly harmful will happen" if Russia is left out.

Peskov's comments were reported by Interfax.

10:19 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden lands in Rzeszow, Poland, to assess humanitarian efforts to help some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country and talk to American troops shoring up NATO's defenses.

A man looks on from a cultural center destroyed in shelling earlier this month in the village of Byshiv outside Kyiv on March 24.   © Reuters

5:04 p.m. Russia's armed forces destroyed a major fuel depot outside Kyiv in a missile strike, the country's defense ministry says. Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the strike happened on Thursday evening, using Kalibr cruise missiles fired from sea. Konashenkov said the depot was used to supply Ukraine's armed forces in the center of the country.

4:40 p.m. Rescuers were searching for survivors among debris on Friday after two missiles hit a Ukrainian military unit on the outskirts of the city of Dnipro, causing "serious destruction," regional governor Valentyn Reznychenko said on social media.

Russian ex-President Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday that it is "foolish" to believe Western sanctions could have any effect on the Moscow government.   © Reuters

1:40 p.m. It is "foolish" to believe that Western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on the Moscow government, Russian ex-President and Deputy Head of the country's Security Council Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying on Friday. The sanctions will only consolidate Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Medvedev told Russia's RIA news agency in an interview.

"Let us ask ourselves: can any of these major businessmen have even the tiniest quantum of influence of the position of the country's leadership?" Medvedev said. "I openly tell you: no, no way."

1:25 p.m. Four Russian officials, including hackers with a government intelligence agency, have been charged with the malicious hacking of critical infrastructure around the globe including the U.S. energy and aviation sectors between 2012 and 2018, the U.S. Justice Department and British Foreign Office say. Among the thousands of computers targeted in some 135 countries were machines at a Kansas nuclear power plant -- whose business network was compromised -- and at a Saudi petrochemical plant in 2017 where the hackers overrode safety controls, officials say.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukrainians "need to achieve peace" and halt the Russian bombardment that has forced millions to flee to countries like Poland. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

10:30 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Ukrainians "need to achieve peace" and halt the Russian bombardment that has forced millions to flee to countries like Poland, where U.S. President Joe Biden is due to visit and witness the crisis first hand. Appearing exhausted in a brief video address early on Friday, Zelenskyy said he had made appeals to Western leaders "all for one reason -- so that Russia understands that we need to achieve peace. Russia also needs to achieve peace."

6:10 a.m. The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approves a resolution blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate cease-fire and protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival. There was loud applause in the assembly chamber as the result of the vote was announced: 140-5 with only Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea joining Russia in opposing the measure. There were 38 abstentions, including Russian ally China, India, South Africa, Iran and Cuba.

4:40 a.m. "The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades," BlackRock CEO Larry Fink writes in his annual letter to shareholders of the world's largest asset manager.

Fink predicts "companies and governments will also be looking more broadly at their dependencies on other nations. This may lead companies to onshore or nearshore more of their operations, resulting in a faster pull back from some countries." Read more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. President Joe Biden said he thinks Russia should be excluded from the G-20.   © Reuters

3:30 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says he thinks Russia should be removed from the Group of 20, or if that fails, Ukraine should be allowed to participate in meetings. Biden acknowledges that such a decision "depends on the G-20." This year's G-20 president, Indonesia, has indicated it plans to let Russia stay in the grouping.

2:49 a.m. China understands its economic future is more closely tied to the West than to Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden says on the sidelines of emergency meetings in Europe, after warning Beijing it could face consequences for aiding Moscow's war in Ukraine.

"I made no threats, but I made it clear to him -- made sure he understood the consequences of helping Russia," Biden said of a recent conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A service member of pro-Russian troops walks past a truck painted with the letter "Z" in the separatist-controlled Donetsk region on March 1.   © Reuters

1:12 a.m. Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations warn Russia not to use biological, chemical or nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine, in their statement after summit talks in Brussels. All countries are ready to welcome refugees from Ukraine, they say.

12:40 a.m. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly demands aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine and criticizes Russia for creating a "dire" humanitarian situation with its invasion a month ago.

The resolution, drafted by Ukraine and allies, received 140 votes in favor and 5 votes against -- Russia, Syria, North Korean, Eritrea and Belarus -- while 38 countries abstained, including China and India.

12:30 a.m. Ukraine says it has destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, at the Russian-occupied port of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov.

Video footage shows a column of smoke rising from a blaze at a dock, and the flash of an explosion.

Two vessels, one of which appeared to have been damaged, were seen in the footage sailing out of the dock as a third ship burned.

Thursday, March 24

10:30 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and a plan to accept up to 100,000 Ukraine refugees, a senior administration official says.

The U.S. is also launching the "European Democratic Resilience Initiative" with $320 million to support media freedom, social resistance and human rights in Ukraine and nearby countries, according to the official.

Ukrainian refugees wait to board a train back to the Ukraine outside of Przemysl Glowny train station in Poland.   © Reuters

7:49 p.m. Ukrainian authorities in besieged Mariupol say about 15,000 civilians have been illegally deported to Russia since Russian forces seized parts of the southern port city. Ukrainian officials say civilians trapped in Mariupol, which is normally home to about 400,000 people, face a desperate plight without access to food, water, power or heat.

6:30 p.m. Britain has frozen the assets of Russia's Gazprombank and Alfa-Bank, and the state-run shipping firm Sovcomflot, in its latest round of sanctions. They were among 59 individuals and entities added to the sanctions list which has been used to target Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine. Gazprombank is one of main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas. Alfa-Bank is one of Russia's top private lenders.

5:40 p.m. Zelenskyy urges Western nations gathering in Brussels on Thursday to take "serious steps" to help Kyiv fight Russia's invasion, as an unprecedented one-day trio of summits -- NATO, G-7 and EU -- got underway. The hectic day of meetings, aimed at maintaining Western unity, kicks off at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the trans-Atlantic defense alliance's leaders will agree to ramp up military forces on Europe's eastern flank.

"At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us," Zelenskyy said in a video address released early on Thursday.

A charred Russian tank is seen on the front line in the Kyiv region on March 20. (Ukrainian Ground Forces/Handout via Reuters) 

3:30 p.m. NATO estimates that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in four weeks of war in Ukraine, where fierce resistance from the country's defenders has denied Moscow the lightning victory it sought, AP reports. By way of comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 troops over 10 years in Afghanistan. A senior NATO military official said the alliance's estimate was based on information from Ukrainian authorities, what Russia has released -- intentionally or not -- and intelligence gathered from open sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO.

3:15 p.m. Turkish telecoms company Turkcell, one of three main operators in Ukraine, said around 10% of its infrastructure in the country has been disabled by Russia's invasion, but added there was no damage to its central network. While Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city a month after it launched its invasion, the fighting has left cities in ruins and destroyed critical infrastructure.

12:30 p.m. The U.S. State Department says Russia has begun the process of expelling several more diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The department said that on Wednesday it received a list of diplomats who have been declared "persona non grata" by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn't say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours. The foreign ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan on Monday to protest President Joe Biden's description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "war criminal" over the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's communications regulator accuses Google News of allowing access to what it calls fake material about the country's military operation in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency says.   © Reuters

11:00 a.m. Russia's communications regulator has blocked Google's news aggregator service, accusing it of allowing access to what it calls fake material about the country's military operation in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency says. "We've confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end," Google said in statement. "We've worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible."

10:35 a.m. Japan has no clue yet about how Russia would carry out its claim to seek payment in rubles for energy sold to "unfriendly" countries, the finance minister says. "Currently we're looking into the situation with relevant ministries, as we don't quite understand what is [Russia's] intention and how they would do this," Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said in a parliament session.

A girl at Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital in Kyiv waits in the basement to be evacuated to Poland on March 2. The World Health Organization says Russian attacks on health care in Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 21 resulted in 15 deaths and 37 injuries.  (Agencja via Reuters)

8:30 a.m. The World Health Organization says it has verified 64 instances of attacks on health care in Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 21, resulting in 15 deaths and 37 injuries. Close to 7 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced in the one month of war, with 1 in 3 of them suffering from a chronic health condition, according to the global health agency.

3:50 a.m. "Based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia's forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine," Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.

While acknowledging that "a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases" of alleged war crimes, Blinken says the U.S. government "will share information we gather with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate." Read more.

2:35 a.m. One of the Kremlin's faces to the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin's special climate envoy Anatoly Chubais, has resigned.

Chubais quit of his own accord, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells the Financial Times, without saying whether the move came in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Bloomberg first reported the resignation. Chubais, an architect of Russia's post-Soviet economic overhaul and an oligarch in his own right, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

Russia's Anatoly Chubais attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2021. He had serves as President Vladimir Putin's special representative for relations with international organizations to achieve sustainable development goals   © Reuters

2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have spoken again, this time by phone.

"Bennett shared his assessment of the situation around Ukraine, considering his recent contacts with leaders of several foreign countries, and expressed some ideas in relation to the negotiating process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives," Interfax reports, citing the Russian presidential press service.

12:50 a.m. Russia's invasion of Ukraine shows that "full-fledged war is an instrument of their policy, and therefore we have to be prepared to confront such a reality," Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania's ambassador to NATO, tells Nikkei ahead of the alliance's summit in Brussels on Thursday.

The meeting is expected to cover not only the Ukraine conflict, but also bolstering the defenses of former Soviet states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region that many fear may be in Russia's sights as well. These include Lithuania, which borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad as well as Belarus, where Moscow holds growing sway. Read more.

For earlier updates, click here.

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