As Russia bombs Ukrainian cities, Biden warns Putin ‘Has no idea what’s coming’

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  • Biden closes US airspace to Russian planes
  • Apple halts iPhone sales in Russia
  • Russia shows no signs of halting its attack
  • The Ukrainians put up fierce resistance

WASHINGTON/Kyiv, March 2 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin that the Russian leader “has no idea what’s coming” as Western nations tightened an economic noose around Russia, whose invading forces were bombing Ukrainian cities and poised seemed to be advancing on Kyiv.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled the fighting since Putin ordered a full-scale invasion almost a week ago, when a kilometer-long Russian military convoy north of Kyiv prepared to advance towards the capital.

However, Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city, and Western analysts say Moscow appears to have resorted to tactics that include devastating shelling of built-up areas before entering.

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“While he may make gains on the battlefield, in the long run he will pay a sustained heavy price,” Biden said in his State of the Union address. Deviating from the prepared text, Biden added, “He has no idea what’s coming.” He didn’t elaborate. Continue reading

US lawmakers stood, applauded and roared, many waving Ukrainian flags and wearing the country’s blue and yellow colors, as Biden delivered his address to the House of Representatives chamber. Continue reading

A senior US defense official said Tuesday the advance of the invading forces on Kyiv has stalled due to logistical problems, including shortages of food and fuel, and some units appeared to have low morale.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters it’s unclear if the convoy itself has stalled, but he’s not making much progress. Continue reading

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Russia to stop bombing civilians and resume talks.

“It is necessary to at least stop bombing people, just stop the bombing and then sit down at the negotiating table,” he told Reuters and CNN in a joint interview at a heavily guarded government building in Kyiv.

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday will censure Russia for invading Ukraine and demand that Moscow cease fighting and withdraw its forces, a move aimed at diplomatically isolating Russia from the world body.

As of Tuesday night, nearly half of the 193-member General Assembly had pledged to co-sponsor a draft resolution ahead of a vote on Wednesday, diplomats said. The text “regrets” Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine.” Continue reading

Putin last Thursday ordered the “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine, capture the “neo-Nazis” who rule the country and dashed their hopes for closer ties with the West.

CIVILIAN DEATHS

Russia’s attack included strikes on Kyiv, although the heaviest bombardment to date appears to have been around Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, near the border with Russia.

Dozens of residents, including children, were killed when a Russian strategic bomber fired 16 guided missiles at a residential area on Monday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said.

West of Kyiv, in the town of Zhytomyr, four people, including a child, were killed by a Russian cruise missile on Tuesday, a Ukrainian official said. Continue reading

In the largely Russian-speaking Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which lies in Russian-backed separatist-controlled territory, authorities said three civilians were killed by Ukrainian shelling.

Reuters could not confirm any of the reports of casualties. The United Nations says at least 136 civilians were killed in the invasion, but the actual number of people is likely much higher. Continue reading

Far outnumbered by the Russian military in terms of numbers and firepower, the Ukrainian Air Force is still flying and its air defenses are still considered viable – a fact that baffles military experts. Continue reading

“Airspace is actively contested every day,” said a senior US defense official on condition of anonymity. Continue reading

‘FREEZE AND CAPTURE’

Biden announced a further tightening of sanctions against Moscow and joined the European Union and Canada in banning Russian planes from US airspace. He also said the Justice Department will seek to seize the yachts, luxury homes and private jets of wealthy Russians with ties to Putin.

After a call with Group of Seven officials, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States had agreed with G7 partners to convene a task force “to freeze and seize the assets of key Russian elites.”

Ukraine, a western-leaning democratic non-NATO country of 44 million people, has urged the US-led military alliance to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine — a demand rejected by Washington, which fears a directive to foment conflict between the two largest nuclear powers in the world.

Washington and its allies have instead sent arms to Kyiv.

According to a media report on Wednesday, dozens of Japanese men have responded to a call from Ukraine for foreign volunteers to help fight the Russian invasion. Continue reading

The West’s main strategy for diplomatically isolating Russia is to isolate the Russian economy from the global financial system and pressure international companies to halt sales, cut ties and divest tens of billions of dollars of investments.

Exxon Mobil joined other major Western energy companies, including Britain’s BP PLC and Shell, in announcing they were leaving oil-rich Russia for the invasion. Continue reading

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) halted sales of iPhones and other products in Russia and made changes to its Maps app to protect civilians in Ukraine. Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL.O) Google has removed Russian state publishers from its news and Ford Motor has suspended operations in the country. Continue reading

US planemaker Boeing (BA.N) said it was suspending parts, maintenance and technical support for Russian airlines. Continue reading

Russia on Tuesday imposed temporary restrictions on foreigners trying to leave Russian assets, meaning billions of dollars worth of securities held by foreigners are at risk of being caught. Continue reading

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Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Kyiv, Kevin Liffey in London and other Reuters bureaus including Moscow; writing by Stephen Coates & Simon Cameron-Moore; Adaptation of Lincoln Feast

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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