- US announces plans to expel 12 Russian diplomats from country’s UN mission in New York.
- Pentagon says US not considering no-fly zone for Ukraine.
- UN General Assembly holds emergency meeting on Ukraine.
- ICC prosecutor says he plans to launch investigation into alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
- High-level talks between Kyiv and Moscow end with no agreement except to keep talking.
- US, UK, EU, Canada impose sanctions on Russia’s central bank.
- Civilian death toll now stands at 352 people, including 14 children, Ukraine’s health ministry says.
- More than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russian invasion began, UN says.
- FIFA and UEFA suspend Russia from international football.
Here are the latest updates:
White House appears to rule out no-fly zone
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that implementing a no-fly zone would be a step toward sending US troops to fight Russia.
“A no-fly zone would require implementation,” she said, adding it would require “deploying US military to enforce, which would be … potentially a direct conflict, and potentially a war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of”.
Ukrainian ambassador presses US for more assistance
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, met with US lawmakers on Monday to press for more assistance to stave off Russia’s attack.
“The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large,” Marakova said after leaving the meeting, accusing Russian forces of using a “vacuum bomb”.
Democratic Representative Brad Sherman, who attended the meeting, said the Ukrainians had asked for a US-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine but that he felt that was too dangerous because it could provoke conflict with Russia.
Congress ‘would never’ authorise no-fly zone, says US senator
Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy ruled out approving a no-fly zone for Ukraine in Congress, saying the move would amount to war between the United States and Russia.
“It’s a bad idea and Congress would never authorize it,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
“Military equipment for Ukraine, humanitarian support for Ukraine, crippling sanction on Russia, movement of US troops to the eastern flank of NATO – these are all the right moves. But direct war between the world’s two nuclear powers should be a non-starter.”
There’s been a lot of loose talk from smart people about “close air support” and “no fly zones” for Ukraine.
Let’s just be clear what that is – the U.S. and Russia at war. It’s a bad idea and Congress would never authorize it.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 28, 2022
Facebook to restrict access to Russian state media outlets in EU
Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced plans to restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik across the European Union.
Meta’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, tweeted on Monday afternoon that the social media company had received requests “from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media”. Read more here.
US not considering no-fly zone in Ukraine
Hours before Ukrainian President Zelenskyy urged a no-fly zone for Russian aircraft on Monday, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Washington is not considering such a move.
Zelenskyy says it is time to consider no-fly zone for Russian aircraft
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said it was time for the West to consider imposing a no-fly zone for Russian missiles, planes and helicopters in response to Russian shelling of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
In a video address, Zelenskyy did not specify how and by whom a no-fly zone would be enforced. He said Russia had launched 56 rocket strikes and fired 113 cruise missiles against Ukraine in the past five days.
“I believe that Russia is trying to apply pressure in this unsubtle way. Do not waste time. We do not accept such tactics. Fair negotiations can occur when one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the very moment of negotiations,” he said.
Western leaders laud ‘bravery of the Ukrainian people’
US President Joe Biden held a phone call with leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and the UK as well as representatives of NATO and the European Union, the White House said on Monday.
“The leaders recognized the bravery of the Ukrainian people in the face of Russian aggression and discussed their continued support to Ukraine, including security, economic, and humanitarian assistance,” the White House said in a statement describing the talks.
“They also discussed their coordinated efforts to impose severe costs and consequences to hold Russia accountable while working to maintain global economic stability, including with regard to energy prices.”
I spoke today with Allies and partners to discuss Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine. We are continuing our support for the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and affirmed our readiness to keep imposing severe costs on Russia if they do not de-escalate. pic.twitter.com/mpQKYOvmUj
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 28, 2022
US to expel 12 Russian diplomats from UN mission
The United States has announced plans to expel 12 Russian diplomats from Moscow’s mission to the United Nations in New York.
In a statement on Monday, the US mission to the UN said it had started the process of expelling the diplomats for “engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security”. It described the diplomats as “intelligence operatives”.
Denouncing the US move as “hostile”, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters the diplomats had been asked to leave by March 7. Read more here.
ICC announces plans to launch investigation
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor says he plans to launch an investigation into the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that war crimes have taken place.
Karim A A Khan said the probe would look into alleged crimes committed by “any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine”, adding that his office will proceed with the investigation “as rapidly as possible”.
“I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine,” Khan said in a statement. Read more here.
Banning Russian flights is not off the table: White House
The White House said barring Russian flights over the United States is not off the table but there had not been a decision made on the matter.
“No option is off the table,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. Psaki noted there are a lot of US airlines that fly over Russia to get to Asia and other parts of the world. “We factor in a range of factors,” she said.
EU slaps 26 additional Russians with sanctions
The European Union has imposed sanctions on 26 more Russians, including oligarchs, senior officials and an energy insurance company, bringing the total of people targeted to 680.
EU headquarters said those listed include “oligarchs and businessmen active in the oil, banking and finance sectors”, government officials, top military brass and “propagandists who contributed to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda and promote a positive attitude towards the invasion of Ukraine”.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Monday, February 28, here.