Russian saboteurs want to bring panic to Kyiv, mayor says
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Sunday that authorities in his city are searching for possible Russian saboteurs who may have entered in disguise.
“They want to make (a) terror attack and to bring the panic to our city,” Klitschko said, according to the Associated Press. He described them as small groups of armed troops dressed as civilians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier said that sabotage groups had entered the city of 2.8 million people with the aim of killing government officials.
Klitschko said that the presence of possible saboteurs was one reason for residents to obey a curfew. “We try to hunt these people. It will be much easier if nobody is in the street,” he said.
The mayor told the AP that nine civilians in Kyiv had been killed so far, including one child. NBC News has not independently verified those figures.
Dow futures fall as much as 500 points
Maggie Fitzgerald, CNBC
45m ago / 1:36 AM UTC
U.S. stock futures moved lower in overnight trading on Sunday as investors grew concerned about the economic ramifications of the fighting between Russia and Ukraine.
Dow futures dropped as many as 500 points. S&P 500 futures fell as much as 2.12% and Nasdaq 100 futures lost as much as 2.37%.
U.S. and global equities experienced volatile trading last week as geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated.
The Russian ruble was set to tumble at least 19% with banks offering it at about 100 rubles per dollar, according to Reuters. It closed Friday at 84 rubles per dollar.
Blinken: U.S. to provide $54 million for ‘ordinary Ukrainians’
The U.S. will provide nearly $54 million in additional humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.
“It is with the welfare of ordinary Ukrainians in mind that we are announcing the provision of nearly $54 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by Russia’s further invasion,” Blinken said in a statement.
The aid, which will go through independent organizations, will be spent on providing food, safe drinking water, shelter, emergency health care, winterization and protection, the State Department said. It brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance in the Russia-Ukraine crisis to $405 million since 2014.
Blinken said U.S. diplomats were working with Ukraine’s neighboring countries to keep borders open for refugees and to assist refugees.
“As with any refugee situation, we call on the international community to respond to the needs of those seeking protection in a way consistent with the principle of non-refoulement and our shared obligations under international law,” he said. (Non-refoulement is the principle that no one should be returned to a country where they would face irreparable harm.)
E.U. diplomat says Ukraine conflict ‘is a defining moment for European history’
The Russia-Ukraine conflict will help to define the history of Europe, Josep Borrell, the E.U.’s foreign policy chief, said Sunday.
“They are unprecedented times because the war is back in our borders. And that’s why it is a defining moment for European history,” Borrell said at a briefing with reporters, explaining the E.U.’s decision to finance a package of lethal assistance to Ukraine.
He said there had been a “taboo” against the E.U.’s using collective resources to provide arms to a country that’s at war with another, but, he said, “Another taboo has fallen these days.”
The total package would be more than 556 million Euros, and Poland has agreed to serve as a logistical hub for the delivery of aid.
Zelenskyy, in call with U.K.’s Johnson, says next 24 hours will be ‘crucial’ for Ukraine
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a call with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the next 24 hours will be a “crucial period” for Ukraine, according to a readout of the call.
“The Prime Minister said he would do all he could to help ensure defensive aid from the UK and allies reached Ukraine,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement. “The leaders agreed to continue to stay in close contact and the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
Johnson also praised Zelenskyy’s leadership and lauded the resistance of the Ukrainian people as “heroic.”
Kids with cancer shelter in Kyiv hospital basements with limited access to meds, food and water
Kids with cancer and the staff members treating them are huddled in the basements of two children’s hospitals in Kyiv with waning access to medication, food and water, an official with Ukraine’s largest children’s cancer charity said.
Pharmacies and warehouses with medication that the children need have closed down, Yuliya Nogovitsyna, the director of programming for the charity Tabletochki, said in an interview.
The kids have access to only basic forms of chemotherapy, she said. Other treatments have been interrupted, raising concerns that the children could relapse, not achieve remission and grow sicker.
“When we speak about casualties in war, we just count those who are killed in the fighting,” Nogovitsyna said. “These children, they have been also killed by it, but slowly, because their treatments are interrupted.”
A further challenge is finding drivers to deliver food and water, she said. The hospitals have made deals for food and water, but not many people are willing to drive through the conflict-ravaged city of Kyiv.
A truck taking water to the children Saturday was shot at and the driver has had to shelter at the hospital, she said.
Thirteen children with cancer at the older of the two hospitals are being treated by four doctors, two nurses and two assistant nurses, who have decided to stay there. The basement is humid and moldy, Nogovitsyna said.
The organization hopes to move some of the children by bus to a hospital in Lviv in western Ukraine as soon it is safe. After that, the kids have been offered beds and treatment if they can reach Poland. The logistics remain challenging, however.
“It’s not possible to leave Kyiv for the moment — there is a curfew,” Nogovitsyna said. “Nobody is allowed to move outside of the buildings because every person will be regarded as an enemy and will be shot.”
Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador condemns Putin’s ‘nuclear blackmail’ and claims of genocide
Russian President Vladimir Putin has resorted to “nuclear blackmail” and perverted the basis of the international Genocide Convention for his own agenda, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, said at a public Security Council meeting Sunday.
Kyslytsya detailed attacks in Ukraine on residential areas and the country’s infrastructure from “bloody and mad Russian leadership” in his speech to fellow U.N. ambassadors Sunday. He said the world must take Putin’s threat of nuclear armament very seriously.
Ukraine has filed a case with the International Court of Justice on the basis of the Genocide Convention and asked the world court to issue provisional measures against Russia, Kyslytsya announced.
“Russia, however, has twisted the concept of genocide and perverted the solemn treaty obligation to prevent and punish genocide,” Kyslytsya said. “It has made an absurd and unfounded claim of alleged genocide as a justification and pretext for its own aggression against Ukraine and violation of the sovereignty and human rights of the Ukrainian people.”
Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian diplomat assigned to the U.N., denied accusations that Russian armed forces were targeting Ukrainian civilians. He continued to push the narrative that crimes by Ukrainian nationalists were the catalyst for Putin’s invasion.
The Russian Federation blocked a previous resolution denouncing Russia’s invasion, which Nebenzya said was “imbalanced.” He asserted that any attempt to “circumvent” the Russian Federation’s position on the Security Council would undermine the U.N. Charter.
“This is precisely why the council has the vested right for permanent members to block a decision,” Nebenzya said. “This is not a privilege. This is a mechanism for ensuring the balance of interests, which is of such paramount importance for the entire world, and through this balance of interest for the achievement of global stability.”
U.S. citizens should consider leaving Russia immediately, State Department says
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow warned U.S. citizens Sunday that they should consider leaving the country immediately as more countries impose airspace restrictions on Russia.
“An increasing number of airlines are canceling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines,” the embassy said in a statement. “U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available.”
The embassy added that U.S. citizens should have a contingency plan “that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.” Americans also should monitor local and international media, keep in contact with family and friends, stay alert of their surroundings when in public, review security plans and always carry their passports with current Russian visas, the embassy said.
Since January, the State Department has said Americans should not travel to Russia because of “ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”
Ukrainians pack church for first Sunday service since Russian invasion
6h ago / 7:55 PM UTC
The St. Paraskeva church in the Ukrainian town of Kalynivka was packed with people for the first Sunday service since the Russian invasion.
“Bullets kill people, children die, these explosions. This is crazy,” the Orthodox priest told the congregation.
As she left the church after the service, Svitlana Khvostoriezova, 64, said she had heard sirens as she walked to attend the service but that they had not deterred her from attending.
She added that she hid at least three or four times a day in the basement of the 10-story building where she lives in the small town, around 150 miles southwest of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
There, she said, she was joined by five or six families, including one with a 3-month-old baby. It used to be a hookah bar, she said.