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Ukraine Crisis

LIVE: LATEST ON THE INVASION OF UKRAINE

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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

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

Ukraine Crisis

Biden & Johnson plans huge military build-up in Europe to counter Putin

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U.S. President Joe Biden announces increase in America’s military presence across Europe over threat from Vladimir Putin

It comes as tensions between Russia and the West remain tense over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

There will now be a permanent U.S. army headquarters in Poland, with new warships on their way to Spain, fighter jets to the UK and even ground troops to Romania.

President Biden announces plans to bolster U.S. presence in Europe

Biden says the strategic alliance will be “strengthened in all directions across every domain – land, air and sea”.

NATO’s longstanding commitment to ‘defend every inch of its territory’ has been reaffirmed and Biden warns “an attack against one is an attack against all.”

The pledge from Biden includes more naval destroyers stationed in Spain, two F-35 fighter jet squadrons positioned in the United Kingdom and a permanent headquarters in Poland for the U.S. 5th Army Corps.

This increased force posture comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on and countries in Europe grow increasingly nervous about the war on their continent.

“The United States and our allies, we’re going to step up,” Biden said the start of the NATO summit in Madrid.

“We’re proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been and it’s as important as it ever has been.”

The current location of 13 U.S. bases in Europe

U.S. presence grows

Since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense has increased the number of U.S. troops in Europe to more than 100,000 service members, up from 80,000.

Here’s what the U.S plans to do in each European country:

  • Poland: permanent station for the 5th Army Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, an Army garrison headquarters, and a field support battalion, to allow the U.S. to more easily deploy combat troops along NATO’s eastern flank
  • Romania: position a rotational brigade combat team
  • The Baltic region: increase rotational deployments of armored, aviation, air defense, and special operations forces
  • Spain: increase the number of destroyers stationed at Rota from four to six
  • United Kingdom: station two squadrons of F-35 fighter jets.
  • Germany: forward-station an air defense artillery brigade headquarters, a short-range air defense battalion, a combat sustainment support battalion headquarters, and an engineer brigade headquarters
  • Italy: forward-station a short-range air defense battery

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Ukraine Crisis

Sean Penn visits President Zelensky in Kyiv

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Sean Penn is the latest celebrity to travel to Ukraine and meet with President Zelensky

Actor Sean Penn is reportedly creating a documentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He is seeking to visit the war-torn areas where Russian troops have allegedly committed war crimes.

The leader thanked Penn for his support during the meeting. It comes a week after Zelensky met with Hollywood star Ben Stiller, who was visiting for humanitarian reasons.

“The whole world will soon be able to see the whole truth about the war thanks to his film. Sean, thank you for the support of our state and our people.”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Meanwhile, fresh vision has emerged of a Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in the country’s east.

It’s understood 18 people are dead, and dozens are still missing. Moscow says it struck a nearby arms depot and is claiming the mall was empty at the time.

The blast sent shockwaves around surrounding areas, where people can be seen running away from the areas of impact.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky is calling Russia a terrorist state. He urged his U.N. counterparts to stand up and pay their respects, as he dialled in for urgent talks.

“Who of you does not agree that this is terrorism?”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Zelensky named victims of the war, including a three-month-old. He also drew on the U.N. Charter for maintaining international peace and security.

Meanwhile, Russia’s representatives expressed concern about President Zelensky’s speech. Dmitry Polyanskiy says he did not receive any consultation beforehand.

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Ukraine Crisis

Finland and Sweden one step closer to NATO membership as Turkey agrees

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Finland and Sweden are one step closer to NATO membership after Turkey officially agrees to support their nominations

Turkey has officially agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership applications, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the strategic alliance. 

Lifting its veto, Turkey has now ended a weeks-long debate which has tested Western unity over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Finland’s President says the breakthrough comes after the three nations signed a joint memorandum to extend support against threats to each other’s security. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the memorandum addresses Turkey’s concerns.

FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference on the eve of a NATO summit, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

“I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” he told reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid.

“Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism,”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

This all happened just hours before a NATO summit began in Madrid, with leaders hoping to display unity in the face of Russian aggression. 

Finland and Sweden’s application to join the nuclear-armed alliance is the biggest shift in European security in decades. 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the leaders of the G7 nations on Monday, pressing them for more heavy weaponry and help to end the war before winter sets in.

It comes as Russia defaults on debt for the first time in a century.

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