With no near end in sight, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine entered its sixth day on Tuesday. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin launched a special military invasion in Ukraine last week Thursday.
Here’s what has happened thus far.
Over 70 Ukrainian servicemen killed
More than 70 Ukrainian servicemen were killed by a Russian rocket attack and dozens of civilians have died in “barbaric” shelling, Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday, as a huge Russian military convoy approached the capital Kyiv.
Fierce resistance on the ground has so far denied Putin decisive early gains after he last week launched the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two. Staging a push for the capital, Russia has massed a convoy of armoured vehicles, tanks and other military equipment that stretches about 40 miles (64 km), US satellite company Maxar said late on Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin orders his military command to put Russia’s deterrence forces on high alert:
People flee Ukraine
More than 500 000 people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations refugee agency, setting off a refugee crisis as thousands await passage at European border crossings. A stream of companies pulling out of Russia was growing on Tuesday.
Russian-state controlled media
The European Commission is seeking EU countries’ approval to sanction Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik by restricting their access to the European media market regardless of their distribution channel. The sanction means that EU operators will be prohibited from broadcasting, facilitating or otherwise contributing to the dissemination of any RT and Sputnik content, according to EU industry chief Thierry Breton.
This includes transmission or distribution via cable, satellite, IPTV, internet video sharing platforms or applications, whether new or pre-installed. The sanction will also apply to licences, authorisations and distribution agreements, which would be suspended. Breton expects to get the green light from EU countries later on Tuesday.
YOUTUBE blocks channels
YouTube is blocking channels connected to Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe effective immediately, due to the situation in Ukraine, the company operated by Alphabet Inc’s Google, said on Tuesday. “It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
The company’s actions follow that of Facebook parent MetaPlatforms Inc, which on Monday said it will restrict access to television network RT and news agency Sputnik on its platforms across the European Union. Twitter Inc has also said that it would label tweets containing contents from the Russian state-controlled media and reduce their visibility.
South Korea’s sanctions on Russian banks
South Korea announced sanctions on Russian banks and other measures on Tuesday, a day after saying it would tighten export controls on Russia and join the West’s response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The finance ministry said it would suspend financial transactions with seven major Russian banks – Sberbank, VEB, PSB, VTB, Otkritie, Sovcom and Novikom- and their subsidiaries subject to U.S. sanctions.
Shares in some European banks, which tumbled this week because of their exposure to Russia, recovered some ground on Tuesday but the sector remained volatile with fighting in Ukraine grinding on. Shares of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International traded 2.7% higher early, partly making up for a 14% drop on Monday. Shares of Italy’s UniCredit rose 2.1%, after Monday’s 9.5% fall.
The European Central Bank has put banks with close ties to Russia, such as Raiffeisen and the European arm of VTB, under close observation following sweeping financial sanctions by the West that have already pushed one lender over the edge, two sources told Reuters. Tuesday’s share price swings came as Russia faced increasing isolation over its invasion of Ukraine, with resistance on the ground denying President Vladimir Putin decisive early gains despite heavy shelling and a huge military convoy outside Kyiv.
Shares of leading banks slipped with the European banking sector down 0.1%, after a 4.5% fall on Monday.
The London Stock Exchange said on Tuesday it would stop trading in two global depository receipts (GDRs) for Russia’s VTB Bank after Britain’s financial regulator suspended them in response to sanctions. Amid wild swings in bank shares, bankers have sought to reassure investors and the public, saying they are well capitalised in the region and that their footprints in Russia are relatively small.
Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing told the Bild newspaper that it would be wrong to assume a quick resolution to the crisis following the exclusion of Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system. “That would be the wrong expectation,” Sewing said.
Russia-Ukraine | Possible impact on Russia of blocking the SWIFT banking system: Jayant Menon
Russian, Belarusian sport bans
The International Skating Union (ISU) said on Tuesday that competitors from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to take part in its international events until further notice over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The move comes a day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from taking part in events following the invasion, which Russia says is a “special operation”.
“The ISU Council will continue to closely monitor the situation in Ukraine and its impact on the ISU activity and will take additional steps if and when required,” the international governing body for figure skating, speed skating and short track said in a statement. The decision is the latest blow to figure skating in Russia after the controversy surrounding 15-year-old sensation Kamila Valieva at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The international volleyball federation (FIVB) also said it had stripped Russia of the men’s world championship scheduled to be held in August and September. “The FIVB will seek an alternative host nation(s) to ensure the global volleyball family, including national federations, athletes, officials and fans, all feel safe and proud to participate in a joyous and peaceful festival of sport,” it said in a statement.