The United Kingdom has made it a criminal offense for Russian aircraft to enter British airspace as part of further sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced via Twitter on Tuesday.
When Russia’s invasion began on February 24, Britain initially banned any aircraft “owned, chartered or operated by a person connected with Russia, or which is registered in Russia.”
This latest move places the matter in the hands of the police rather than aviation authorities.
“We’ll be able to be more specific, for example where we have aircraft which might be connected with Russian oligarchs flying into the country, they should know … we can impound your aircraft and turn this into a criminal offense,” Shapps told Sky News on Wednesday.
The new law gives the government additional powers to detain Russian planes already present in the UK, according to an official press release.
New trade sanctions banning the export of aviation and space-related goods and technology to Russia were announced by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Wednesday.
These include cancelling insurance policies in the sector and prohibiting UK insurers from paying claims.
At least 1.33 million people have arrived in Poland from Ukraine since Russia launched its military invasion, Poland’s embassy to the European Union tweeted Wednesday, citing figures from the country’s border guard agency.
“Among them 93% are Ukrainian, 1% are Polish and 6% are from 100 other different countries,” the post read.
On Tuesday alone, some 125,800 people crossed into Poland according to the agency.
The Ukrainian military has agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire with Russia on Wednesday to allow civilians to escape through humanitarian corridors, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Vereshchuk added that Prime Minister Denys Shmygal would be talking to the International Committee of the Red Cross Wednesday about the proposed routes for the ceasefire, which runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m local time.
“I appeal to the Russian Federation: you have made a formal public commitment,” she said.
Vereshchuk said the ceasefire would allow civilians to escape through “green corridors” in the following areas:
- Vorzel, Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka, Gostomel-Kyiv
Vereshchuk highlighted two routes in particular — the evacuation of civilians from the port city of Mariupol and the eastern town of Volnovakha, both of which have been surrounded by Russian forces for several days.
“The residents of Volnovakha turn to me and ask me to get the promise of the Russian Federation today fulfilled, people have to be able to leave the places where they are now hiding from the hail of GRADs [rockets] and the devastating fire that is killing them,” she said.
Vereshchuk said there would also be a special operation to evacuate an orphanage near Kyiv, in the suburb of Vorzel. She said there were 55 children and 26 staff members there.
Not only is Maria Prymachenko among the 20th century’s great self-taught artists, she is an icon of Ukrainian national identity.
Her fantastical paintings, praised during her lifetime by the likes of Pablo Picasso, are now found in some of the country’s most important museums. Her work has also been featured on postage stamps and her likeness is immortalized on commemorative coins.
But 25 years after her death, the Russian invasion is threatening Prymachenko’s legacy.
Last week, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said that several of the artist’s paintings were among those destroyed at a museum in her native region of Ivankiv, about 50 miles northwest of the capital, Kyiv, following an attack by Russian forces.
Her brightly-colored, almost childlike depictions of flora and fauna — as well as of farmers tending crops and plowing fields — were among the items initially thought to have been lost.
But reports have since emerged suggesting that an act of bravery may have saved more than a dozen of her works from the blaze.
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Heineken has become the latest major brand to halt operations in Russia.
The Dutch brewer said it is stopping the sale, production and advertising of its Heineken brand beer in the country.
It will also take immediate steps to ringfence its Russian operations from its wider business and said it will no longer “accept any net financial benefit derived from our Russian operations”. Heineken had already announced plans to stop all new investment and exports to Russia.
In a statement Wednesday, Heineken said it is “assessing strategic options for the future of our Russian operations. We see a clear distinction between the actions of the government and our employees in Russia. For more than 20 years, our local employees have been valued members of our Heineken business. Supporting our employees and their families is a clear principle as we define the path forward.”
Heineken said it will also step up support and donations for NGOs operating in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Some context: It comes as McDonald’s and Starbucks said they are shutting their restaurants and cafes in Russia, and Coca-Cola is suspending its operations there in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. PepsiCo is also pulling some products from the country.
The New York Times (NYT) has pulled all its correspondents out of Russia, marking the first time in over a century that the paper will have no reporters on the ground there.
“Very sad day for the history of @nytimes in Moscow. Pulling all its correspondents out of the country. We have had reporters there continuously since 1921, with one or two short interruptions due to visa hiccoughs. Not Stalin, not the Cold War, nothing drove us out,” Neil MacFarquhar, a former NYT Moscow bureau chief tweeted.
The paper announced its formal withdrawal from Russia in a statement Tuesday, citing new legislation which seeks to criminalize journalists reporting on Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine by outlawing any references to “war.”
“Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine. For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now,” said New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha.
Read more on the difficult decisions news outlets are making in Russia:
Ukraine’s air defenses have “enjoyed considerable success against Russia’s modern combat aircraft,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense tweeted Wednesday.
In its latest intelligence update on Russia’s invasion, the ministry said Ukraine has “probably” prevented Russia from “achieving any degree of control of the air.”
“Fighting north-west of Kyiv remains ongoing with Russian forces failing to make any significant breakthroughs,” the statement added.
In a separate update posted Wednesday, the ministry warned the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain “encircled by Russian forces and continue to suffer heavy Russian shelling.”
An evacuation corridor from the city of Sumy, northeastern Ukraine will stay in operation Wednesday, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said in a social media post.
“Friends! The negotiation team worked all night, and they extended the humanitarian corridor operation from Sumy to Poltava today,” Zhyvytskyy said early Wednesday, adding the corridor will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. local time.
People will be able to travel in their personal vehicles, he said. Also, 22 buses used during Tuesday’s evacuation will be returned to the city from the central city of Poltava to help the evacuations from about 2 p.m. local time, he said.
“They are the same buses we had yesterday for the first transport column. They will be used to transport pregnant women, women with children, elderly, and people with disabilities,” he added.
The corridor enabled some 5,000 civilians to evacuate the city on Tuesday, according to deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office Kirill Timoshenko.
Some context: Sumy has been subjected to heavy attacks by Russian forces in the past few days, with most of its population cut off from the rest of Ukraine. An overnight airstrike in the city on Monday killed at least 21 civilians.
A staggering surge in the elevated cost of filling up since Russia invaded Ukraine represents another gut punch for consumers already swamped by a 40-year peak in inflation coming out of the pandemic.
And Biden acknowledged on Tuesday there is more pain to come, telling reporters his executive order banning imports of Russian energy signed Tuesday will heap more pain on gasoline prices ahead of spring break and summer vacation.
The war in Ukraine created yet another extreme challenge for Biden, who took office in the face of the worst public health crisis in 100 years and has seen his personal approval ratings plunge after failing to quickly conquer Covid-19 last year.
The gas price issue encapsulates a dilemma that can often afflict presidents at times of international crises.
Biden is being compelled to take action in defense of critical global imperatives like the defense of international law, the plight of a people under vicious bombardment and a desire to deter a dangerous dictator. But he knows that his actions will have a detrimental impact back home.
In the current polarized national environment and with only eight months to go before congressional elections, the downside for the President will only be magnified.
Read Collinson’s full analysis here: