Wednesday, February 8

JUST IN : Military aid from Lithuania arrives in Ukraine

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(Lithuania Ministry of Defense)

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense said in a tweet early Sunday that military aid from the Baltic country has arrived in Ukraine.

“Shipment of Lithuanian military aid has reached Ukraine. Lithuania will continue rendering support to our dear friend Ukraine!” the tweet read.1 hr 41 min ago

South Korea says missile launch by North is “undesirable” while world is trying to resolve the war in Ukraine 

South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) said North Korea’s missile launch on Sunday is “undesirable” while the world is trying to resolve Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Blue House.

Following North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile on Sunday morning local time, the NSC held an emergency meeting where they expressed “deep concern and severe regret” over the launch, which is North Korea’s eighth missile test in 2022.

The members said North Korea should respond to offers from the international community for a dialogue and urged the North to “immediately stop actions contrary to peaceful resolution through diplomacy.”

Some context: Analysts suggest the increased testing this year shows leader Kim Jong Un is both striving to meet domestic goals and show an increasingly turbulent world that Pyongyang remains a player in the struggle for power and influence.

“North Korea is not going to do anyone the favor of staying quiet while the world deals with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” Leif-Eric Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul, said following Sunday’s test.1 hr 42 min ago

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin calls for “decisive action” in support of Ukraine

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin called for “decisive action” aimed to support Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

Youngkin announced an immediate review of the state’s procurement of all goods and services involving Russian companies and called for an end to statewide sister-city partnerships with Russia, according to a statement released by his office on Saturday. 

The governor directed the state’s General Services Department to review all contracts to ascertain whether state tax dollars are being spent on goods and services from primarily Russian companies. 

The governor also called on the mayors of Norfolk and Roanoke to end their sister-city partnerships with Kaliningrad and Pskov, respectively, and urged the Virginia Retirement System and university endowments to immediately divest Russian holdings.

“The invasion of Ukraine by Soviet dictator Vladimir Putin cannot stand, and the people of the Commonwealth are ready to rally in opposition to this senseless attack on a sovereign nation and western ideals,” Youngkin said.
“Today, we are acting to show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they defend their country. And while these are important steps, it is incumbent upon President (Joe) Biden to take a stronger, more decisive leadership position to end this war.” 

2 hr 9 min ago

Interactive: Inside the battle for Kyiv

Russia has launched a brutal and unprovoked military attack on Ukraine. Now, Ukraine’s outgunned forces are fighting to hold onto the capital city Kyiv and the country’s independence.

CNN follows how the invasion unfolded, from the first explosions near the capital in the early hours before dawn on Thursday, to residents facing a gut-wrenching decision of whether to flee their homes, and Ukrainians surveying the damage of alleged Russian airstrikes as they braced for intensifying conflict.

Inside the battle for Kyiv

One civilian killed in Kharkiv as apartment building hit by artillery fire

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said a nine-story residential building in the eastern city of Kharkiv was hit by “enemy artillery” on Saturday night, killing one woman.

The emergency service said the building was extensively damaged and about 80 people were rescued. Most had been sheltering in the basement. 2 hr 21 min ago

“The whole world right now needs to unite.” Ukraine supporters rally across US

People in New York's Times Square embrace during a rally in support of Ukraine on Saturday.

Cities across the world have seen rallies in support of Ukraine this weekend as the invasion by Russian forces continues.

In the US, crowds gathered on Saturday in cities including Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New York.

New York: Olga Ladygima, who is from Kyiv, told CNN at a rally in Times Square she hasn’t slept for the last three nights, worrying about her loved ones who remain in Ukraine.“I think that the whole world right now needs to unite,” Ladygima said, adding: “Now is the time to say no and stop one person who keeps in fear the whole world.”

Some Ukrainian supporters, like Merrick Brown, whose great-grandparents came to the US from Ukraine, think the international community should do more.

“I believe the US and NATO should provide military assistance to Ukraine,” Brown, who also attended the Times Square rally, said. He described the demonstration as peaceful and “more pro-Ukraine than anti-Russia.”

Atlanta: Dozens of people gathered downtown for a “Stand with Ukraine” rally. Some attendees wore blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, while others carried signs that read, “Pray for Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Anton Kilpa, whose parents live in Kyiv, told CNN affiliate WGCL, learned the invasion had begun when a Canadian-Ukrainian friend called him earlier this week, just before bed, and told him to phone his parents immediately.“It was hard to believe,” Kilpa told WGCL. “It was (a) new reality.”

Washington, DC: Another crowd demonstrated in front of the White House. One demonstrator, JP Wheeler, said he was “just a concerned citizen” with no personal ties to Ukraine. “No family or friends, just a human connection and a desire to support the Ukrainians and (their) struggle,” Wheeler said.

A couple miles away, Eleanor Shiori Hughes, a graduate student at Georgetown University, left flowers on the steps of the Ukrainian embassy, where a sign read “Long Live Free Ukraine.”

'The whole world right now needs to unite': Rallies are being held across the US in support of Ukraine

Protests across the world show support for Ukraine

People protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Thursday.
People protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Thursday. (Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images)

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to shock the world, people all over the planet are watching in horror and disbelief.

Rallies, vigils and prayer meetings are being held across the globe in support of Ukraine. Many of those attending have personal or family ties to the country. And they’re asking world leaders to stop Russia’s attack.

From Berlin to Buenos Aires, Moscow to Minneapolis, people are showing their anger at the Russian invasion and solidarity for the Ukrainian people.

See the protests in pictures here:

Photos: Protests across world show support for Ukraine

Six-year-old boy killed in Kyiv clashes, several more Ukrainian civilians wounded

Heavy gunfire in a western district of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Saturday evening killed a six-year-old boy and injured several other people, according to a local hospital.

Serhii Chernysuk, a doctor at Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt hospital, said the injured included two teenagers and three adults. 3 hr 22 min ago

Ukraine and Russia’s militaries are David and Goliath. Here’s how they compare

Ukrainian service members sit atop armored personnel carriers Thursday as they drive on a road in the Donetsk region.

Here’s how the two country’s military capabilities stack up:

Defense spending: Ukraine spent $4.7 billion in 2021, just over a tenth of nuclear-armed Russia’s $45.8 billion, according to a recent “The Military Balance” report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Manpower: Russia has 900,000 active personnel in its armed forces, and 2 million in reserve. Ukraine has 196,000 and 900,000 reservists. In land forces, Russia has a twofold advantage, with 280,000 troops to Ukraine’s 125,600. And its air force is nearly five times as strong, with 165,00 to Ukraine’s 35,000. Russia had an estimated 200,000 personnel in and around Ukraine.

Weaponry and vehicles: Russia has more than 15,857 armored fighting vehicles, for example, to Ukraine’s 3,309. It has more than 10 times the aircraft — 1,391 to Ukraine’s 128, and 821 helicopters to Ukraine’s 55, if you include Navy aircraft. Where Russia has 49 submarines, Ukraine has none, according to IISS.

Combat will: Ukrainian forces have, however, launched some successful counterattacks. Experts have noted that the sheer combat will among Ukrainian troops to defend their homes and families against Russian acts of violence has been the armed forces’ greatest strength.

Ukraine and Russia's militaries are David and Goliath. Here's how they compare

Russian aircraft banned from German airspace

Germany has ordered the ban of Russian aircraft from entering the country’s airspace, according to German Minister of Transport Volker Wissing.

The restriction is being prepared at the moment, a ministry spokeswoman told CNN.

German airline Lufthansa will also avoid Russian airspace immediately due to the war in Ukraine, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said Saturday. The airline said it will no longer operate services to Russian destinations.

All flights to and from Russia have been suspended from Saturday for the next seven days. Flights that are in Russian airspace will leave it within a short time. 

“The safety of our passengers and crew has utmost priority for us at any time,” Lufthansa said in a news statement sent to CNN.

UK defense ministry: Russia’s force “suffering from logistical challenges and strong Ukrainian resistance”

Russian forces are facing stiff resistance in Ukraine and making slower progress than they planned, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense in a statement late on Saturday.

“Russian forces are not making the progress they had planned. They are suffering from logistical challenges and strong Ukrainian resistance,” the United Kingdom MOD intelligence update said. 

The MOD said Russian forces are “sustaining casualties and a number of Russian troops have been taken prisoner by Ukrainian forces.”

“The Russian government has reportedly restricted access to a number of social media platforms in a probable attempt to conceal details regarding the situation in Ukraine from their own people,” it added.

An explosion lights up the sky to the south of Kyiv, Ukraine, early on Sunday.

Ukraine’s highly-motivated, outgunned forces held their capital against the Russian onslaught for a third day Saturday, as battles continued across the country, while a defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged citizens to defend their country against the invading forces.

If you’re just joining us, here’s what you need to know:

  • Two large explosions near Kyiv and oil tanks on fire: Two large explosions lit up the night sky to the southwest of Kyiv early Sunday morning. They appear to have been around Vasylkiv, some 30 kilometers, or about 18 miles, south of Kyiv — a town with a large military airfield and multiple fuel tanks. Shortly after, CNN verified video of a fire raging at an oil storage area at the Vasylkiv Air Base, southwest of the air base’s main runway.

  • Russian banks expelled from SWIFT: The White House, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada, said they back the expulsion of certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world, and pledged efforts to “collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”

  • Stiff resistance: Russia is encountering “stiffer than expected” resistance from the Ukrainian military as well as unexpected difficulties supplying its forces, two senior US officials with direct knowledge told CNN. Russia is suffering heavier losses in personnel and armor and aircraft than expected, and has yet to establish air supremacy over Ukraine, a senior defense official said.

  • Social media giants step in: Russian state media outlets will no longer be allowed to run advertising or otherwise monetize their content on any platform owned by Meta, the parent of Facebook and Instagram, the company said Friday evening. Similarly, YouTube blocked Russian state media outlet RT from Ukraine and suspended its ability to monetize its content on the platform globally.

  • Presidential appeal: Zelensky also appealed to Ukrainians to resist the invasion, and called for those living abroad to return and defend the country. He also welcomed volunteers from abroad, saying, “we will give you weapons.”

  • Ukrainians flee: More than 120,000 Ukrainians have already left while 850,000 are internally displaced, according to the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. She said up to 4 million Ukrainians could flee if the situation continued to deteriorate, and that there were queues at a number of border crossings.

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