Military news from Ukraine

Military news from Ukraine

The media has fipped from “the Ukraine is winning” to panic over the Russian advance on Kyiv, much as described by Gonzalo Lira, the Saker and others.

Ukrainian Army bases on fire in Kyiv – Russia: “We open a corridor – Let the civilians leave”

Russian phalanx 27 km long to Kyiv

Article writer: Vassilis Kapoulas

The Russian Army attacked with cruise missiles and Iskander-M ballistic missiles hitting Ukrainian Army military bases in northeastern Kyiv in the Brovary region.

There are reports that many Ukrainians have been injured as at least two Ukrainian bases have been hit. Moscow is preparing the ground to enter the capital military phalanx 27 km long!

In the Brovary region the Ukrainian Army has:

  • The Headquarters of the Army Intelligence Services
  • The Center for Electronic Spying
  • S-300 air defense network
  • The 72nd Center for Information and Psychological Enterprises

Watch the video 

US officials: “25 km from the center of Kiev the Russians”  

Senior US officials have said that the Russian Army is encircling Kyiv in many directions. At this point, let us emphasize that the Russians have been claiming since yesterday that the city has already been surrounded.

The Americans are very worried about possible “siege tactics” that the Russians will apply in the city.

In addition, they emphasize that the Russians have “adjusted their tactics by now hitting with cruise missiles and long-range missiles targets in Kiev.”

“We expect that they will want to continue moving towards the city and try to encircle it in the coming days,” said the source, according to which Russian forces are about 25 kilometers from the center of Kiev.

Russia: Civilians flee Kyiv

The Russian military said today that civilians could leave Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, “freely”, while accusing Ukrainian authorities of using them as human shields.

“The Russian army has surrounded Kyiv. We open a Narrow Corridor for civilians to leave.

“All civilians in the city can leave the Ukrainian capital freely via the Kiev-Vasilkiv highway in southwestern Kiev, ” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konachenkov told television. At the same time, he noted that all the Nazis who caused harm will be identified and will pay.

Watch video

 

 

 

Russian military phalanx 27 km long in the direction of Kyiv

Huge Russian military phalanx is moving towards Kyiv. According to satellite photos, the military phalanx of the Russian Army is 27 kilometers long.

On Monday, it was about 20 miles north of Antonov Airport on the outskirts of Kiev and 30 miles from the city limits. The escort extends to at least 27 km, with some gaps in the vehicle rows.

The range of vehicles is so large that it was not fully captured in today’s satellite imagery. In some areas, vehicles have a depth of two to three rows.

This is a huge convoy with Russian tanks T-72B3, TOMA BMP-3, BMP-2, BTR-82, a / a Tor-M1 / -2, Buk M1 / ​​2.

Watch video

 

 

 

 

 

Image

Secret shock data from the US: The second major Russian invasion is coming – “There will be a massacre in Kyiv”

Russian “mammoth convoy” on the outskirts of Kiev

A new second wave of large-scale military offensive by US officials predicts that it will likely be able to reduce the resistance of Ukrainian forces, while expressing fears of tragic civil war in the capital Kyiv.

More specifically, US government officials warned US lawmakers during a secret briefing Monday that a second wave of large Russian troops was likely to consolidate the country’s positions inside Ukraine and overcome the Ukrainian resistance, according to two figures. who are aware of the updates.

Tragic scenes in Kyiv

“This piece was disappointing ,” a lawmaker told CNN.

Officials also said Russia was likely to besiege Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and predicted tragic civil war scenes, said one source familiar with the matter.

Huge military convoy

The news spread earlier by the American company Maxar Technologies about the size of the military convoy that has approached the suburbs of Kiev, confirms the above estimates of the USA.

In particular, Maxar said that the Russian convoy reaches a length of about 67 kilometers and consists of armored vehicles, tanks, trailers and other logistics vehicles, while it is located near the capital of Ukraine, Kiev.

Ukraine Russian troops

 

This American company has been monitoring the movements of Russian troops for weeks.

New satellite images released show that the Russian military convoy that arrived on the outskirts of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is even larger than previously broadcast.

And according to its latest announcement, the length of the Russian convoy reaches 67 kilometers, in contrast to the 27 kilometers that the company had announced earlier on Monday . The difference is due to the collection and analysis of new satellite images, Maxar explained.

On a tightrope

Meanwhile, the war situation on the Ukrainian front is acrobatic on a tightrope as Kyiv and Moscow have completed the first round of consultations and agreed to return to the negotiating table in the coming days.

At the end of the talks, powerful explosions rocked Kyiv, while Russia has been pounding Kharkov, Mariupol and other cities relentlessly since this morning, with Ukraine talking about dozens of dead and President Zelensky signing the application for membership in Europe. Join.

 

“Hard answer”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned the European Union of a “tough response” to its decision to send heavy weapons to Ukraine.

According to Reuters, Moscow says meaningfully that countries that send military equipment to Ukraine will be held responsible if the equipment is used during the Russian campaign.

At the same time, as reported by TASS, Russia emphasizes that “the EU moves will not be left without a tough response.”

From this morning, via Hal Turner

*********FLASH ********* ALL CIVILIANS SHOULD LEAVE KIEV IMMEDIATELY

The Russian Ministry of Defense has issued an urgent bulletin saying “All civilians should leave Kyiv.”

They can do so by taking the highway towards Vasilkov, a city located 20km southwest of the capital, it said in a statement on Monday, claiming that “this direction is open and safe.”

The ministry added that Russia “only attacks military objects” and insisted that the civilian population will not be at risk if they are using this route. 

Looks as though the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus are not going too well.

To date, the Russians have been very careful not to bomb civilian targets.  They have taken great losses of men in order to conduct their operations in this manner.  Apparently the cost has become too high, or the Ukrainians are too intransigent at negotiations, and the gloves are coming off.

For Russia to publicly announce All Civilians should leave Kiev” shows that heavy bombing of that city is actually coming.

Things are about to get very much worse. . .

From the Saker

Day 4 of the Russian offensive in the Ukraine

First, a hodgepodge sample of the kind of recent news: (sorry for the chaotic presentation, I am going this all under time pressure)

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) wants to sanction a Russian chess player for supporting the Russian intervention in the Ukraine.  Hey, losers!  This won’t help you!  If you remove the Russians, the Chinese and Indians will still take all the titles from you 😛

The Scala in Milan has dropped the Russian conductor Gergiev because he “failed to condemn” the Russian military operation.  Bravo Italy!  Bravo!

EUFA/FIFA have banned all Russian clubs sine die.

The battle for Russia House is over. That can, I suppose, count as a Nazi victory over Russia. Bravo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russia House, a restaurant and dining lounge, in DC has been vandalized.  I guess a few local Nazis had their own, private, mini-Kristallnacht.  That will show ’em Snow Niggers who’s boss!  Bravo!

The EU has closed most of its airspace to Russian carriers.

Russia has closed her entire airspace of carriers from 36 countries.

The Ukies are doing two things at the same time: they are blowing up bridges and explaining that they have defeated the Russian attack and are now counter-attacking on all fronts (Note: blowing up bridges is not what a winning force does).

You know what else the Ukronazis are doing? Distributing huge amounts of weapons to anybody willing to pick them up.  Question: is that “tactic” known as something the winning sides does?  Exactly…

And, finally, Ze has said that anybody in jail who is willing to pick up arms will be freed and armed.  As a result, gangs of looters are shooting each other in Kiev and other cities. Question: is that “tactic” known as something the winning sides does?  Exactly…

At the same time, a Ukrainian delegation and a Russian one met in Belarus.  They are still talking, but I don’t expect anything to come out of this, at least not in the early stages of these negotiations.

Still, apparently the two delegations have agreed to “certain things” and have adjourned for the day.  I have no idea what that means, but I certainly do approve of ANY negotiations as long a they do not slow down the Russian movements in the Ukraine (and the current ones do not, the Russians refused to make even a short stop).

There is also REALLY good news: the Zaparozhie nuclear plant is under Russian control.  Thus, no false flag there and no false flag in Chernobyl.  Good!

The big story today is the gradual closing of the operational cauldron in the East.

Now the latest map:

The big story here is the gradual closing of the operational cauldron in the East.  Once it it closed, about 10-12 Ukie brigades will have to chose: surrender or die.

Next, Kiev: the city is blocked from three directions, but the Russians have left one open corridor which anybody can take to safely get out.

Mariupol: the Russians have entered the surrounded city and combats are taking place.

Kharkov: heavy combats are taking place with both sides using artillery and MLRS.

Volnovakha: surrounded but the Russians are not storming the city.

Schastie and Novaia Astrakhan: have been liberated

The Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman has declared that Russia has air supremacy over the entire Ukraine.

In the meantime, the US-NATO base in Achakkov has been totally destroyed by Russian missiles, as shown on this video:

This is crucial – it shows that US or not US, NATO or not NATO, Russia will destroy any threat to herself or to the Russian military anywhere in the Ukraine.  This clear warning strongly suggest that NATO hotheads might want to think long and hard before sending in hardware or troops inside the Ukraine.

Finally, A SMALL ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT OUR SERVERS:

Due to the incredibly intense traffic we are getting, we had to do some hardware upgrades on our servers.  This is why the blog was down for about 1 hour this night.  We hope that these upgrades will give you all a quicker load time (which was very slow over the past 2 days).  Please remember that hardware costs money, even rented hardware, so one way for you to help us is send us donations to increase our IT budget, making our servers both quicker and more secure against attacks.

RT is under constant DDoS and their anti-DDoS protection does not work very well.

TASS in English was accessible yesterday, but not the Russian version.

RIA, Izvestia and Commersant are all under DDoS attack.

There is a real possibility that Telegram will be blocked or, at least, throttled down around the Ukraine.

Finally, and let’s be honest here, besides Andrei Martyanov’s “Reminiscence of the Future…” blog and Bernhard Horstmann’s “Moon of Alabama” – there are no news sources which I could recommend to you even though there are A LOT of websites and authors which are desperate to use the situation in the Ukraine to increase their visibility.  This is especially bad considering the absolutely HUGE increase in fakes, false narratives, trolls (paid or not) and the hammering of the brains of those who still expose themselves to the western media.

So please be aware of the fact that we are definitely losing the “informational battle” so far.

Now, finally, I have a real gem for you.  Remember the Russian spies which were betrayed by Poteev and eventually expelled from the USA?  Yes, the one in which the entire western media focussed on the sexy Anna Chapman aka Anna Kushchenko?  Well, she was amongst the LEAST interesting of the lot, except for her looks I suppose.

One of these spies, Andrei Bezrukov, now is a teacher and a member of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.  He is also often a guest of various Russian talkshows.  Yesterday he made rather interesting comments and I ask our new volunteer interpreters to race with each other for a quick translation.  This morning, one was already in (thanks N.!!!!!!!). Just to clarify: Andrei Bezrukov used to be an “illegal” (NO COVER) spy for the PGU/SVR, and he is superbly educated (I read his writings and listen to his interviews, he is truly a world-class specialist of the West).  Listen to what he (and people like him) are saying nowadays:

Transcript of Andrei Bezrukov’s comments on Russian TV yesterday: (emphasis added by me)

I cannot forget several things…which I would just like to mention
Firstly, I want to state the fact that the West succeeded in dragging us into this war
No matter how we tried to resist this, so, this is their tactical victory.
They succeed in colliding two brotherly nations against one another
From this we can draw the following conclusion – now we have been practically forced, especially after the latest packet of sanctions, into a position where we have no other choice but to totally restructure our economy, financial system, and in essence our domestic policy.
De facto, war has been declared against us

War…I don’t want to say that. Who am I to use such terms?
Nonetheless, we have been put before the fact – our very survival is at risk.
Here we have both danger and a gigantic opportunity
The point is, by tactically winning and by successfully quarrelling us with the Ukrainian people, and war, naturally is the ultimate level of quarrel, they have not understood that now, by doing so, they have totally destroyed the very system which they had built in the world.
It is not visible yet, but in a few months, it will become apparent that the severed financial chains, broken ideological messages and the broken security system –
I agree – this is the breakdown of the security system.

Allow me a question:
Given such sanctions, does it make sense for us to stop with Ukraine?
Of course, not! Of course, not.

I want to go further…
Two short messages which shows the mentality which we should consider.
We are being intimidated and, in fact, many are now afraid that for decades Russia will be disconnected from everything, will become impoverished, she will lose all her friends, etc. etc. etc.

We’ve been through this before. The young Soviet Republic was encircled and even worse off. Then everyone formed diplomatic relations and it all normalized…This does not last long…
But I’m not talking about this

Thing is, western people, and especially Anglo-Saxons – all their thinking is based on the concept of “the rational man”…their entire legal system is based on this concept of “the rational man”…All their strategic solutions are built on the concept of “the rational man”.
What does this mean? When you are put before a choice: “Look, we will punish you. You don’t want to be punished, right? Then you must behave in a way to avoid this punishment”… and so on… “If you are threatened with sanctions, you won’t like that, will you? You will do something to avoid it… you will come and negotiate on our terms.”

This principle of “the rational man” is in effect now. They think this way even now: “We will push Russia to the limit and she will surrender”. But, for Russian mentality, Slavic mentality, Orthodox mentality, Eastern mentality …
this rational mentality is totally alien!
Here, we have: “I’d rather die than surrender!” It’s a completely different mentality.

Here, it’s not about that at all. This they didn’t consider. And the main mistake.
The point is – this is not the time to judge Russia.
It is time to serve Russia. The serving class of Russia has always pulled her out of all the liberal failures – of which there have been four over the last 200 years.

I begin with the Decembrists, and so on…
And it has always been the serving class, those people who are in uniform, those who don’t ask a lot of questions…pick up their machine guns and go when they are commanded….those that stand, hungry, for 24 hours at the machine bench …it is these people that have served and will continue to serve… they will pull Russia out!

The Russian people don’t think about “Courchevel and iPhones”…in their midst they are thinking about fairness and development…. That is what the people want from their leadership…and they will support it.
For us… now we have an enormous opportunity to build an entirely different economy
Well, they gave us no choice…we will have to. But I remind you, this economy will be based on those principles that we will have to build again, it was the second largest economy in the world… and it was developing the fastest.
So, here I am an absolute optimist.
And if they have committed such a gigantic strategic error, why shouldn’t we show them the whole stupidity of this mistake?

Right now, discussions are going on … in the USA, and in other countries… they have rational people there saying: “Look, how we have cornered the Russians…what are we going to get from that? Nothing good. The main thing is, we are not thinking…”
“Never mind” – others are saying: “In the short term, things will be pretty bad for Russia, but in the long term, in a few decades, things will get really bad… and it will just collapse” – I’m talking about the sanctions, how they argue.
In actuality it is exactly the opposite.
It will be really bad for us for a short time. Maybe not for everyone, but, nonetheless…and then, later on, in the long run, it will give us the opportunity to breathe normally, build a self-sufficient economy, because, in that shell that was formed in the 1990’s around us, Russia can no longer live. It cannot remain in that small, tight shell….in Domestic Policy, in Foreign Policy…
They are the ones that have broken that shell.

Tonight I need to leave my home for several hours.

I will do my best to report here again, but no promises.

If not, I hope to “see you” all tomorrow morning, probably with some major news.

Andrei

Zelensky Urges Biden To Impose No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine; Turkey Shuts Straits To All Warships

Update(1845ET)Ukraine’s President Zelensky has urged the West to consider imposing a no-fly zone against Russian aircraft. Zelensky on Monday appealed directly to Joe Biden to consider a no-fly zone for “significant parts” of Ukraine. The Ukrainian leader issued the statement in an exclusive Axios report. He told Axios that there’s a chance for Ukraine’s armed forces to “beat the aggressor” if the Western allies are willing to “do their part.”

He also suggested that this would result in less total bloodshed, and spare civilians: “If the West does this, Ukraine will defeat the aggressor with much less blood,” Zelensky conveyed through an advisor. 

However, not only did Biden rule out sending American troops to Ukraine in a Monday statement, but press secretary Jen Psaki also stressed that a no-fly zone is also ruled out, given that either scenario would bring Washington into direct war with Russia, and likely lead to WW3. 

“Here’s what’s important for everybody to know about a no-fly zone: What that would require is implementation by the U.S. military. It would essentially mean the U.S. military would be shooting down Russian planes,” Psaki told MSNBC on Monday.

Zelensky had described additionally of current measures, “The sanctions are heading in the right direction. In addition to disconnecting the Russian Central Bank from SWIFT and providing more Stingers and anti-tank weapons, we need the West to impose a no-fly zone over significant parts of Ukraine.”

An additional major development Monday is that Turkey as expected has invoked the Montreux Convention and has now closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to all Russian warship traffic. This means Russian vessels cannot enter the Black Sea from the vicinity of the Mediterranean. But this also applies to all warships at this time

“When Turkey is not a belligerent in the conflict, it has the authority to restrict the passage of the warring states’ warships across the straits. If the warship is returning to its base in the Black Sea, the passage is not closed. We adhere to the Montreux rules. All governments, riparian and non-riparian, were warned not to send warships across the straits.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğluhas since declared that “all countries, that have coast to Black Sea, or not, not to let warships pass through the straits” according to state-run Anadolu. It follows Turkey issuing formal recognition of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “war” – which in turn triggers the Montreux Convention.

He said the following:

“We warned all countries, that have a coast on the Black Sea or not, not to let warships go through the straits,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters after a Cabinet meeting in Ankara, Anadolu reported.

“To date, there has been no request for passage through the straits [since the war started],” he clarified.

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Update(1449ET): Already Putin has previously been on record as saying Western actions such as sanctioning a sitting head of state or targeting the central bank would be viewed as an “act of war”. But now another red line has been drawn, following more and more European governments – most notably Germany – ditching their policies of neutrality when it comes to shipping their weapons into foreign conflicts:

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS THOSE SUPPLYING LETHAL WEAPONS TO UKRAINE WILL BEAR RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD THESE WEAPONS BE USED DURING RUSSIA’S MILITARY OPERATION – IFAX

More than likely, US and UK-supplied weapons, particularly anti-tank missile systems as well as possibly Stingers, are already being used by Ukraine forces against Russian tanks and armored vehicles. Unverified footage circulating widely online suggests as much at this early stage.

But it appears Russia’s military is taking steps – or at least threatening action – against any external supply lines coming from NATO countries in support of Ukrainian forces. This clearly has the potential to quickly spiral into direct military conflict with the US and West

Meanwhile, President Biden has sought to ‘assure’ the US public…

BIDEN SAYS AMERICANS SHOULD NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR

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Update(1200ET): In what can be called the first positive development coming on day five of this war, the Russian and Ukrainian sides left the multiple-hour long meeting along the Belarus border agreeing to continue another round of talks in “the coming days” – Bloomberg reports citing Interfax.

“Russian and Ukrainian sides have agreed to continue another round of talks in the coming days, Interfax reports, citing Russian official Vladimir Medinsky.”

The next round of talks is expected to take place on the Polish-Belarus border. This after Ukraine’s government was reportedly adamant in saying it’s “not ready to surrender or capitulate” to Russia, in a separate statement made to the press, and reported by CNBC. The development also comes after Zelensky signed an application for Ukrainian membership to the European Union.

And now with Switzerland closing its airspace to Russian flight traffic, there’s a near total European blockade of airspace outside Russia…

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Update(11:15am ET)President Putin on Monday signed a decree implementing ‘countermeasures’ as retaliation for EU-wide and US severe sanctions against the Russian economy. Russian residence are effectively barred from transferring foreign currency to their accounts, also including deposits in foreign banks, according to Interfax.

The decree entitled “On the application of special economic measures against the United States and countries that have joined them,” is now law, according to a Kremlin statement. “Exporters must sell 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings credited from 1 January 2022,” the Kremlin press service stated of the new measure.

“For residents participating in foreign economic activity to carry out the mandatory sale of foreign currency in the amount of 80 percent of the amount of foreign currency credited starting from 1 January 2022 to their accounts in authorized banks on the basis of foreign trade contracts concluded with non-residents and providing for the transfer of goods to non-residents, the provision of services to non-residents, performance of work for non-residents, transfer to non-residents of the results of intellectual activity, including exclusive rights to them, no later than three working days from the date this decree comes into force,” the decree reads according to a Russian media translation. 

Kremlin press photo

Bloomberg details further:

  • The steps, which take effect March 1, also include restrictions on companies buying back their own stock, according to the text of the decree published Monday.
  • The U.S. and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia’s biggest banks, including the central bank, and limits on billionaires and top officials including Putin himself for the invasion of Ukraine.
  • The moves triggered a sharp drop in the ruble and forced the central bank to take emergency steps to stabilize the market.

Putin said of the new measures and of the Ukraine war more broadly that “a settlement is possible only if Russia’s legitimate security interests are unconditionally taken into account.”

According to media statements: “At the same time, it was noted that the Russian side is open to negotiations with Ukraine and expects that they will lead to the desired results.” The security demands include the objectives recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea and the “demilitarization” and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine. And on Monday, there were these further significant developments:

  • U.S. MONITORING RUSSIAN NUCLEAR FORCES AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE, HAVEN’T SEEN ANY SPECIFIC MUSCLE MOVEMENTS AS RESULT OF PUTIN’S ALERT ORDER – OFFICIAL SAYS
  • U.S. SAYS “NO REASON TO CHANGE” NUCLEAR ALERT LEVELS AT THIS TIME AFTER PUTIN DIRECTIVE-WHITE HOUSE
  • ZELENSKYY HAS SIGNED AN APPLICATION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP

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Update(9:36am ET)Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have reportedly lasted almost 3 hours, according to Pravda Ukraine. At the same time the Kremlin announced its Northern and Pacific fleets along with its strategic bombers are all in a state of ‘maximum alert’ – though it’s unclear as yet precisely what this really means. As for the ceasefire meeting in Belarus, Ukraine issuing the following to international press agencies:

UKRAINE IS ‘NOT READY TO SURRENDER OR CAPITULATE’ TO RUSSIA, FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS – CNBC 

“Ukraine demanded an immediate ceasefire and Russian troop withdrawal on Monday, as a delegation arrived for talks with Russia at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, per Ukrainian presidency statement,” according to a CNN foreign correspondent. The Ukrainian delegation was headed up by Defense Minister Reznikov; however President Zelensky was not present – while the Russian side reportedly included relatively low level officials at the ministerial level. Below: Latest NYT war map…

At this early point it doesn’t look like Monday’s meeting near the Belarusian border resulted in any breakthroughs, however details are still pending. Meanwhile the below footage provides a glimpse at what the Russian occupation will look like, after Russian forces have reportedly taken two Ukrainian cities, and as fighting continues in the suburbs of Kiev.

China has on Monday issued a strong statement urging a cessation to the conflict and for negotiations toward a ceasefire to continue. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing Monday:

“We call on all parties to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and a political settlement as soon as possible. We also suggest undertaking a comprehensive settlement of the Ukraine problem through negotiations and consultations,” he said.

“We call on all parties concerned to demonstrate calmness and restraint and to avoid further escalation,” he emphasized. This as Russia heightened its nuclear readiness posture once again. While calling it an unnecessary “escalation” – the UK had this to say:

Vladimir Putin putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert is an attempt to distract people from “what’s going wrong in Ukraine”, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

Mr Wallace said Mr Putin was engaged in a “battle of rhetoric” by trying to “remind the world” he had a deterrent.

He said Russia was behind schedule on its invasion of Ukraine and Ukrainians were putting up a “very strong fight”.

Others in Europe agreed it was a “distraction attempt” – as the BBC notes in its headline. And here’s the latest from the Swiss government:

SWISS DEFENCE MINISTER SAYS WE HAVE CONCLUDED USE OF RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS RELATIVELY UNLIKELY, POPULATION SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID

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Update(7:52am ET)“We were ready,” said a Biden administration official of the series of sanctions and punitive measures it’s now hitting Moscow with. The latest in the below breaking news includes extensions of prior US announced actions being taken against Russia:

  • U.S. BANS TRANSACTIONS WITH RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK
  • SENIOR BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL SAYS U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK WERE MONTHS IN THE PLANNING, ‘WE WERE READY’ U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK HAS BEEN ATTEMPTING TO BRING ASSETS TO RUSSIA, OTHER SAFE HAVENS SINCE SATURDAY’S SANCTIONS ANNOUNCEMENT
  • U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS TODAY’S ACTION TO PROHIBIT TRANSACTIONS WITH RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK WILL HINDER RUSSIA’S ABILITY TO ACCESS HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
  • U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS COORDINATED ACTION WILL CAUSE WEAKENING OF RUSSIAN CURRENCY, MAKE FINANCING MORE DIFFICULT
  • U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS ALWAYS SAW RUSSIA’S $630BLN IN RESERVES AS INSURANCE POLICY, ACTION TODAY ‘REMOVES THAT INSURANCE POLICY’
  • U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS ACTIONS BY U.S., ALLIES WILL PREVENT RUSSIA FROM USING ITS DOLLARS, EUROS, POUNDS OR YEN TO DEFEND ITS CURRENCY
  • UKRAINIAN MEDIA: UKRAINIAN NEGOTIATING DELEGATION DEMANDED WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM UKRAINE, INCLUDING CRIMEA AND DONBASS

And in another major announcement regarding Russian nuclear forces posture, Interfax reveals the following, though it’s unclear precisely what the designation means:

RUSSIAN NUCLEAR FORCES PLACED ON ENHANCED COMBAT DUTY IN LINE WITH PUTIN ORDER – INTERFAX QUOTES DEFENCE MINISTRY

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In the fifth day since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, talks have kicked off between a Ukrainian delegation and Kremlin delegation somewhere inside Belarus at a precise location that’s being kept secret – though it’s somewhere along the border. The Russians have not sent anyone top level from the Foreign Ministry, instead its delegation is reportedly headed by an aide to President Putin and former culture minister named Vladimir Medinsky.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei in welcoming the Ukrainian leadership assured the group they are “completely safe” and that it’s Belarus’ “sacred duty” to ensure it. Initial photos have come out of the meeting, which President Zelensky’s office described as having the ultimate aim of achieving an immediate ceasefire and total withdrawal of Russian troops, however unlikely that remains at this moment.

Image source: TASS/Reuters

“Dear friends, the President of Belarus asked me to welcome you and to provide everything for your work, as agreed with President Zelensky and President Putin. You may feel completely safe here. This is our sacred duty,” Belarusian FM Makei introduced

“President Lukashenko sincerely hopes that, during today’s talks, it will be possible to find solutions to all the questions of this crisis. All Belarusians are praying for this. Any proposals, in terms of organizing today’s meeting, will be considered and absolutely fulfilled,” Makei said. “We look forward to the results.”

Zelensky has described the talks as occurring with “no preconditions” while also noting they were unlikely to produce results. Additionally as Bloomberg describes“The low profile of the Russian delegation, at deputy ministerial level, further weighed on expectations of any breakthrough.”

The Ukrainian president said Sunday he “doesn’t really believe” there will be a breakthrough with the Russians, but expressed there could be “a chance, however small, to de-escalate the situation” – according to his words carried in regional media. 

Ukraine’s delegation arriving to talks by helicopter Monday. Source: BelTA/TASS

Heavy fighting continued Monday as the talks kicked off, particularly in neighborhoods on the outskirts of Kiev, and in the cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

“They are fighting against everyone and everything alive, against kindergartens, against residential buildings and ambulances,” Zelenskiy said of the Russians in a Sunday statement, which the Kremlin rejected, saying it is only targeting military sites and movements. 

And as for weekend reports that Kiev had been surrounded, which was widely reported due to statements attributed to the mayor of the capital city, Zelensky’s office issued the following statement:  “Russians can only dream about it. Kyiv is completely controlled by the Ukrainian forces, arrivals to Kyiv are available. Yes, in some suburbs the confrontation continues, there were heavy battles. But we will not give up the capital.”

Meanwhile on Monday the Vatican has offered “to facilitate” dialogue between Moscow and Kiev toward ending the war, with Vaitcan Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin saying “there is still and always room for negotiation. It is never too late.” 

And in another breaking development, the United States as suspended the operations of its embassy in Minsk, Belarus – which also comes after this weekend the State Department began telling US nationals inside Russia to begin planning their departure given widespread European airspace closures around Russia.

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