The invasion of Ukraine continued today on the second full day of Russia’s invasion of the sovereign nation. The Ukrainian military claimed some victories, such as reclaiming the country’s largest airport from Russian forces. Also, the Ukrainian government reported that an entire regiment of troops surrendered, telling the Ukrainians they were never told they were being sent to kill Ukrainians, a people they see as brothers.
The battle has moved into the nation’s capital, Kyiv, with bombing all day and night. Russian troops are reported to be just a few miles outside of the city.
Throughout the day, Ukrainian President Zelensky has been defiant, making it clear he will not leave the capital city. The government has repeatedly asked all able-bodied men to take up arms against the Russian forces.
Reports from Western governments and the Ukrainians indicate Russia is struggling to keep the ground it gained on the first day. They are experiencing setbacks, allegedly including the loss of tanks, troops, and even aircraft. “We certainly have seen indications that the Russians are not, in every case, making the progress that they thought they were going to make,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
Russia said that it would send a delegation to Minsk in Belarus to meet with a Ukrainian delegation. One widely reported condition is that Ukraine needed to lay down its arms before such a meeting could take place. In other words, the Russians would meet with the Ukrainians if the Ukrainians surrendered before the meeting.
Protests were held around the world, including in Russia, against that nation’s aggression in Ukraine. There is nearly universal condemnation of the action.
Russia threatens Finland and Sweden.
Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova threatened Finland and Sweden with military consequences if they chose to join NATO. "Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging the security of other countries, and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences," she said.
The ministry repeated the threat later on Twitter. "We regard the Finnish government’s commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe. Finland’s accession to @NATO would have serious military and political repercussions," the official Twitter page said.
Kazakhstan says no
According to reports from NBC News, Kazakhstan, one of Russia's closest allies and a former Soviet satellite country, told Russia that it would not send troops to aid in the offensive against Ukraine. The news outlet is reporting that the US National Security Council welcomed the news and praised Kazakhstan.
The EU and UK are sanctioning Putin directly; the US will join them, the White House said
Both the European Union and the United Kingdom announced today that they would freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov directly. Both men are reported to be very wealthy, with Putin's worth estimated to be $200 billion.
The United States will join those two bodies in imposing sanctions directly on Putin and Lavrov, a move that many critics of the Biden administration say is overdue.
Biden spoke with NATO allies and Ukraine's Zelensky.
President Biden today spoke with NATO Allies to reiterate their commitment to their alliance and maintain a united front against Russia's aggression in Ukraine. In addition, the alliance made additional commitments to nations on the eastern border of the alliance most in danger of being attacked by Russia. Sweden, Finland, and the European Union were also on the call.
NATO activated Response Force for the first time
NATO's Response Force, the military troops that represent the front line for the alliance, was activated for the very first time in response to Russian aggression.
"This is an historic moment and the very first time the Alliance has employed these high readiness forces in a deterrence and defense role,” NATO Supreme Allied Commander said in a statement. “They represent a flexible, combat credible force that can be employed in multiple ways and we are utilizing their inherent agility fully. These deterrence measures are prudent and enhance our speed, responsiveness and capability to shield and protect the one billion citizens we swore to protect."
The size of the force is not known. The troops have been activated but are not yet being deployed.
Thousands are fleeing Ukraine; Poland has opened its borders.
In a move that flies in the face of recent behavior by most of the countries of the world, Poland has opened its borders to Ukrainians fleeing the fighting in their home country. Roads out of the country have been packed for two days. Buses are full to capacity. Trains are filled with Ukrainians seeking to take themselves, their families, and whatever few positions they can carry to the West, where they can feel safer under the umbrella of NATO.
Poland has been setting up camps, field hospitals, and gathering supplies to welcome the refugees to the northern European nation. The government of Poland clarified no one would be turned away, regardless of if they have official passports or papers or whether they have COVID-19 vaccination records.
Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution condemning its own actions
In a predictable move, the Russian government today vetoed a Security Council resolution that denounced its invasion of Ukraine. China, India, and the United Arab Emirates all abstained. The eleven remaining members voted in favor of the resolution. The resolution will now go to the full 193-member UN general assembly.
US troops being sent to Germany
The United States is sending 7000 troops to Germany to augment US forces already in Europe. The White House clarified that those troops will not be fighting in Ukraine but will be there as a deterrent against Russia attacking any NATO nations.
The NATO treaty includes Article 5, a clause that states that if one NATO nation is attacked by any foreign force, all the other signatory nations will protect it.
UEFA final was taken from Russia
The UEFA Champions League, a league of Europe's top soccer teams, has moved it's final this year from Saint Petersburg, Russia, to Paris, France. This move will probably cost Russia hundreds of millions of dollars in tourist money.
Manchester United cuts sponsorship with Aeroflot.
Manchester United, the British soccer team and the world’s most valuable sports brand, has cut ties with the Russian Airline Aeroflot. The team had a sponsorship agreement that gave Aeroflot massive amounts of exposure worldwide. Since 2013, Aeroflot has been the team's official airline.
Delta Airlines has suspended its code-share agreement with Aeroflot
Delta Airlines has suspended an agreement between itself and Aeroflot, the Russian airline, that allowed Delta passengers to book flights to Russia and Ukraine, further isolating the Russian airline that the Russian Federation owns.
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