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The Latest: Footage: Russian Vehicles Crossing from Crimea

February 24, 2022

The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis:

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MOSCOW — Security camera footage shows a line of Russian military vehicles crossing into Ukraine from Russian-annexed Crimea.

Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday. President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.”

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is urging global leaders to provide defense assistance to Ukraine and help protect its airspace from the “aggressor.”

Zelenskyy said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has unleased a war with Ukraine and the entire democratic world.” He added that the Russian leader “wants to destroy our state, everything that we have built.”

He praised the nation’s soldiers, hailing their courage and urged civilians not to panic.

“We are starting the creation of an anti-Putin coalition,” he said. “I have already urged global leaders to slam Putin with all possible sanctions, offer large-scale defense support and close the airspace over Ukraine for the aggressor.”

“Together we must save Ukraine, save the democratic world, and we will do it,” Zelenskyy said.

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BEIJING — World stock markets have plunged and oil prices surged by nearly $6 per barrel after President Vladimir Putin launched Russian military action in Ukraine.

Market benchmarks tumbled in Europe and Asia and U.S. futures were sharply lower. Brent crude oil jumped to over $100 per barrel Thursday on unease about possible disruption of Russian supplies.

The ruble sank 7.5% to more than $87 to the U.S. dollar. Earlier, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.8% to an eight-month low after the Kremlin said rebels in eastern Ukraine asked for military assistance.

Investors already were uneasy about the possible impact of the Federal Reserve’s plans to try to cool inflation.

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BEIJING — China’s Foreign Ministry is repeating calls for talks to resolve the worsening crisis in Ukraine, while refusing to criticize Russia’s actions and accusing the U.S. and its allies of worsening the crisis.

Spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters Thursday that “the Ukraine issue is complex in its historical background … what we are seeing today is the interplay of complex factors.”

Hua said China still hopes “that the parties concerned will not shut the door to peace and engage instead in dialogue and consultation and prevent the situation from further escalating,”

Although China has not endorsed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of independence for Ukraine’s separatist areas or his decision to send Russian forces there, Hua said China “called on parties to respect others’ legitimate security concerns.”

Hua said that “all parties should work for peace instead of escalating the tension or hyping up the possibility of war” — repeating the language China has consistently used to criticize the West in the crisis.

Hua asked: “Those parties who were busy condemning others; what have they done? Have they persuaded others?”

Hua did not describe Russia’s actions as an invasion or directly refer to the movement of Russian forces into Ukraine.

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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron, who had labored until the last minute for a diplomatic solution, says that “France firmly condemns Russia’s decision to wage war” and is promising support for Ukraine.

Macron said Thursday that “Russia must end its military operations immediately.” He spoke by phone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who demanded “united European support” for Ukraine, according to a statement from the French presidency.

Macron said France is “working with its partners and allies to end the war.”

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BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s defense ministry says that two F-16 aircraft from the Romanian military on a NATO air policing mission intercepted a Ukrainian Air Force plane that had entered Romanian airspace, and escorted it to an airbase in Bacau.

The ministry wrote that the Romanian planes “strictly applied national procedures and international rules applicable in such situations, through the interception and visual identification of the aircraft entering the Romanian airspace.”

The ministry said that the Ukrainian military pilot made himself available to Romanian authorities on Thursday morning.

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BRUSSELS — The European Union says it is planning the “strongest, the harshest package” of sanctions it has ever considered at an emergency summit Thursday, as the Russian military attacked Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that “the target is the stability in Europe and the whole of the international peace order, and we will hold President (Vladimir) Putin accountable for that.”

“We will present a package of massive and targeted sanctions to European leaders for approval,” she said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called it the “strongest, the harshest package” ever considered.

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Western allies will not stand by as Russia attacks Ukraine.

In an early morning call, Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he was appalled by events in Ukraine, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

“The Prime Minister said the West would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people,” Johnson’s office said in the statement.

Johnson added that Ukraine was in the thoughts of everyone in the U.K. “during this dark time.”

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are condeming the Russian operation in Ukraine as a “crime against Ukrainian people.”

In a joint statement, the three countries’ foreign ministers condemned strongly “the open large scale Russian aggression against the independent, peaceful and democratic Ukraine.”

They called it “a blatant violation of the international law, of all international norms and a crime against Ukrainian people that we condemn.”

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said the Russian move is “an attack on the security order throughout Europe.”

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TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned Russia’s military actions in the Ukraine and said his country will respond in a speedy fashion in concert with the United States and other allies.

“This Russian invasion stands to put at risk the basic principle of international order that forbids one-sided action of force in an attempt to change the status quo. We strongly condemn Russia, and we will respond speedily in cooperation with the U.S. and other Western nations,” he said at his official residence in Tokyo.

Spain, France, Australia and Italy were among others condemning the attack. Germany and Turkey also warned their citizens in Ukraine to stay in a safe place.

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is ending his two-day visit to Moscow hours after Russia began a military operation in Ukraine.

Pakistani government officials have offered few details on the substance of Khan’s visit, which was planned more than a month ago and was expected to focus on Pakistan’s energy needs. It was the first visit to Moscow by a Pakistani leader in more than 20 years.

Khan was to have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin following his arrival on Wednesday, though the foreign ministry has not spoken of it. Khan’s decision to still go ahead with the visit despite a growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine surprised some analysts.

In recent years Pakistan has grown closer to Russia, which has traditional ties with Islamabad’s long-time foe and neighbor India. Russia and Pakistan have shared military exercises and grown closer as peace was sought to the relentless conflict in Afghanistan.

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BRUSSELS — NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has convened a meeting of NATO ambassadors to assess the invasion of Ukraine, which borders several NATO members.

The meeting Thursday morning will “address the situation in Ukraine and the consequences of Russia’s unprovoked attack.”

Earlier, Stoltenberg had already condemned Russia’s invasion. “Despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression,” Stoltenberg said.

He also warned Moscow that the alliance will will “do all it takes to protect and defend” NATO members.

He called the invasion a “grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. I call on Russia to cease its military action immediately.”

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MOSCOW — The Russian military says it has knocked out Ukraine’s air defense assets and airbases.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian strikes have “suppressed air defense means of the Ukrainian military,” adding that the infrastructure of Ukraine’s military bases has been incapacitated.” It denied the claims that a Russian warplane was shot down over Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military, meanwhile, reported that it has shot down five Russian aircraft while fending off the Russian attack on the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he unleashed an attack on Ukraine in a televised address early Thursday, drawing international condemnation.

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BEIJING — China is advising its people in Ukraine to stay home because of ongoing military actions and chaos but made no mention of Russian forces.

The notice issued on its Kyiv embassy’s social media account Thursday said: “Social order is chaotic and out of control, especially in the cities where at times of serious unrest.”

It said a person walking on the streets could be a target of attack and traffic could be stopped at any time. It added that people should remain calm and contact local authorities if they come into danger.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the military operation in eastern Ukraine early Thursday.

China has denounced sanctions against Russia, with which it has increasingly aligned its foreign policy to challenge the West, and blamed the U.S. and its allies for provoking Moscow.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s border guard agency says that the Russian military has attacked the country from neighboring Belarus.

The agency said that the Russian troops unleashed artillery barrage as part of an attack backed by Belarus. They said the Ukrainian border guards were firing back, adding that there was no immediate report of casualties.

Russian troops have deployed to its ally Belarus for military drills, a move that the West saw as a prelude to an invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is about 75 kilometers (50 miles) south of the border with Belarus.

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BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has sharply condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine calling it “a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe.”

The chancellor said Thursday morning that “the Russian attack on Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law. It cannot be justified by anything.”

He added that “Germany condemns this reckless act by President Putin in the strongest possible terms.”

Scholz said in a written statement that “our solidarity is with Ukraine and its people. Russia must stop this military action immediately.”

He added Germany would coordinate closely with others within the framework of the Group of Seven, NATO and the European Union.

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BERLIN — The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is telling air operators of a high risk to civilian aircraft over Ukraine, reminding air operators that “this is now an active conflict zone.”

In the bulletin issued early Thursday, EASA said that “airspace and critical infrastructure, including airports, are exposed to military activities which result in safety risks for civil aircraft. In particular, there is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft.”

It added: “The presence and possible use of a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a HIGH risk for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels.”

It recommended that, “additionally, as a precautionary measure, operators should exercise extreme caution and avoid using the airspace” within 100 nautical miles of the Belarusian- and Russia-Ukraine border.

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UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says Russia’s attack on Ukraine — as he appealed for President Vladimir Putin to stop his troops — was “the saddest moment” of his five-year tenure.

The U.N. chief opened the emergency Security Council meeting by urgently appealing to Putin: “In the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia.”

But during the meeting, Putin announced early Thursday that he was launching a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine.

Guterres later urged the Russian president to withdraw his troops and added: “In the name of humanity do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century, with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation, but with an impact we cannot even foresee in relation to the consequences for the global economy.”

“What is clear for me is that this war doesn’t make any sense,” Guterres said, stressing that it violates the U.N. Charter and will cause a level of suffering if it doesn’t stop that Europe hasn’t know since at least the 1990s Balkans crisis.

 

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