The Russian invasion in Ukraine has entered its fourth day. As western countries, especially the USA and EU, continue their sanctions against Russia, the war has spread to the city centres. Western states are preparing to remove Moscow from the international SWIFT (international money transfer) payment system and Russia has hit oil depots and natural gas lines in Kiev, Kharkiv and Luhansk.
Developments in Ukraine:
Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister announced that 4,300 Russian soldiers have died since the start of the invasion, and Russia has lost 146 tanks.
The number of people fleeing Ukraine has now reached 368,000, according to the UNHCR.
Ukrainian government ombudsman Lyudmyla Denysova stated that more than 210 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and more than 1,100 wounded in Russia’s invasion.
Russian troops have entered Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, attacks are also continuing around Ukraine’s capital Kiev.
Oleksiy Arerestovic, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that there was no significant change in the situation in the country, that Ukraine controls the region west of the capital Kiev and that Russian troops were unable to advance in the south.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced that a Russian delegation consisting of military officials and diplomats has arrived in Homyel in Belarus for talks with Ukraine. “The Russian delegation is ready for talks, now we are waiting for the Ukrainians,” Peskov said.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky noted that his country is ready for peace talks with Russia, but is against holding these talks in Belarus, which is involved in the attacks.
Western countries have announced sweeping sanctions against Russia, including blocking some key banks from the SWIFT payments system.
According to Reuters, a European Union official said that an EU-wide flight ban on Russian planes could be part of a new sanctions package against Moscow.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Ankara tweeted a video saying, “Ukrainian Chief of General Staff – Well Done Bayraktar TB2 drones!”
“We reserve the right to impose further sanctions, we don’t see anything as taboo,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, arguing that Putin is trying to build a Russian empire. Scholz also said, “We will defend every square metre of NATO territory,” adding that the German army will be reinforced.
Belgium, Denmark and Germany decided to close their airspace to Russian aircraft. The countries that have closed their airspace to Russia so far in response to the operation are as follows: Ireland, the UK, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Romania and Bulgaria.