There have been major developments on day three of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A massive explosion has rocked the capital Kyiv, where millions are under curfew trying to keep safe.
The US and Europe will bar some Russian companies, banks and individuals from SWIFT
From The New York Times:
The Biden administration and key European allies announced on Saturday that they would remove certain Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system, essentially barring them from international transactions, and impose new restrictions on Russia’s central bank to prevent it from using international reserves to undermine sanctions.
The actions, agreed to by the European Commission, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United States, represented a significant escalation in the effort to impose severe economic costs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s war represents an assault on fundamental international rules and norms that have prevailed since the Second World War, which we are committed to defending,” the countries said in a joint statement. “We will hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for” President Vladimir V. Putin.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said that “cutting banks off will stop them from conducting most of their financial transactions worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports.”
Zelenksy speaks with Boris Johnson
President Zelensky of Ukraine has spoken again by phone with Boris Johnson.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the prime minister “paid tribute to the incredible heroism and bravery of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people”.
The pair were also said to have “agreed on the need for the international community to isolate Russia completely diplomatically and financially”.
And they “welcomed the increased willingness to take action on excluding Russia from Swift”.
The latest developments on day three of the Russian invasion:
- In Kyiv, a city-wide curfew has come into effect and will last until Monday morning as the city braces for a fresh Russian assualt
- Mayor Vitali Klitschko says anyone seen in the streets will be considered a Russian “saboteur”
- The Netherlands has promised it will send additional military support to Ukraine.
- Pope expresses “his deepest sorrow” in phone call with Zelensky
- Elsewhere, authorities in Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, say troops have fought off a Russian attack. A residential area in the town of Okhtyrka has come under heavy shelling
- The leader of Russia’s Chechnya region says he has deployed his fighters to Ukraine to join battle with Russian troops
- Pentagon denies Russia’s claim that it’s “highly likely” US used surveillance drones to help Ukrainian navy
- Hungarian PM Viktor Orban tells the BBC his country will fully support all EU sanctions against Russia
- Germany has dropped its block on the delivery of German-made lethal weapons to Ukraine via third countries
- More than 120,000 people are estimated to have fled Ukraine to countries further west since the invasion
- $4.1 million in cryptocurrency funnelled to Ukrainian military since Russia invaded
Europe is preparing for winter: how can you keep costs down?
Britain is facing a surge in cold weather, with icy conditions and fog expected for much of this week
The UK Met Office has issued a Yellow warning, which means there could be damage to buildings as Britons brace for cold conditions.
Like much of Europe, the UK are bracing for very strong winds on Wednesday, causing disruption to travel and some utilities.
Drivers are also urged to take extra care on the roads, with warnings in place for icy stretches forming on UK roads.
But some residents who are seeking to heat their homes are on edge, as power prices remain high.
Peter Smith is the director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, who said the rising cost of living is impacting Britons.
“The average annual bill has almost doubled since this time last year.”
The organisation seeks to close the gaps when it comes to energy affordability. It predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty in the coming months.
This means millions of Britons will be unable to afford living in a warm, dry and safe home.
“So far the milder than usual weather has protected many from the spiralling bills as they haven’t needed to heat their homes as high or as long as usual,” Mr Smith said.
How to keep warm without blowing your bill
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged people to make their own decisions, as he met with world leaders in tropical Bali last week.
“There are things that we can do—all of us—to improve the efficiency with which we use energy, to be careful about it,” he said.
For example, an efficient heater; taking advantage of the sun, where appropriate; and rearranging furniture are some cost-effective methods to reduce the burden on gas and energy bills.
In addition, there are some other cheap ways to reduce dependence on gas and electricity bills, as the temperature continue to plunge.
- close off rooms you’re not using
- lower the temperature of heating
- make sure windows are fully closed
- block cold drafts from under doors using door snakes or carpet.
The UK Government has placed a cap freeze on energy prices.
This means households will pay an average £2,500 on their energy bills. But there is a catch: if households use more, they pay more.
National Energy Action believes an additional 2.2 million homes could be in fuel poverty, when compared to the same time last year.
Why are energy prices so high?
As demand increases, so too does the cost of heating homes.
But there is another factor, which has sent prices rising across Europe: the war in Ukraine.
However, countries are struggling to find alternative supplies after sanctioning Moscow for the ongoing conflict.
Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was expected to double the amount of Russian gas shipped to Europe.
In July, Russia cut the amount of gas pumped through Nord Stream 1 to 20 per cent capacity.
Hoax call between Polish and “French” Presidents
Poland President Andrezj Duda spoke to a hoaxer posing as France counterpart Emmanuel Macron, on the night a missile hit near the Poland-Ukraine border.
The news was confirmed after two Russian pranksters, Vovan and Lexus, posted a recording of the incident, and Duda’s office also affirmed the incident.
During the call, Duda was asking who was responsible for the attack on November 15, wanting to avoid a war with Russia.
The missile landed six kilometres from the border.
Initial reports suggested the missile was Russian-made, but it was later discovered to likely be a Ukrainian air defence missile.
This is the second time the pranksters have targeted the Poland President, who have made their names going after celebrities and politicians, especially those opposed to the Kremlin.
Russian missiles hit NATO territory, killing two
Russian missile hits Poland, as the west assesses the attack on a NATO member
Reports a Russian missile has landed in Poland, killing two people. A projectile struck an area where grain was drying in the village of Przewodów, near the Ukraine border.
An anonymous U.S. intelligence official suggested a barrage of Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian power grid, and spilt into neighbouring Poland.
Poland is a NATO member, therefore, this signifies a potential escalation to the ongoing war. It also marks the first time weapons have impacted a NATO country.
Currently, the Polish government are holding urgent talks. A Polish spokesman Piotr Mueller has confirmed that top leaders are holding an emergency meeting regarding the “crisis situation.”
Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack on one country is considered an attack on all.
The White House has not confirmed the reports but the Pentagon is assessing the situation.
While NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, including in response to the situation in Syria and the Russian invasion of Ukraine—it has only invoked Article 5 once.
For the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States, NATO evoked Article 5 and came to the defence of the United States.
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