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Latest on Russia-Ukraine: Countries talk ‘possible ceasefire’; Canada preps 3rd shipment of lethal aid


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Latest on Russia-Ukraine: Countries talk ‘possible ceasefire’; Canada preps 3rd shipment of lethal aid

theThe latest on Russia and Ukraine from Canada and around the world Monday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:50 p.m.: Canada’s preferred tool to express outrage with Russia didn’t change with the invasion of Ukraine.

Since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from its neighbouring country, the federal government has wielded economic sanctions to cut off choice Russian figures and businesses from Canada.

Read the list of the Russian individuals Canada has sanctioned since the invasion.

5:30 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his FSB mismeasured the worth of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has rallied his nation and much of the rest of the world in a way few could have imagined short weeks ago.

Read the piece from contributor Nathan M. Greenfield.

5:30 p.m. According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 500,000 Ukrainians have arrived in neighbouring countries, by car, train, or on foot, since Russian forces first invaded Thursday, sparking the biggest war in Europe since the Second World War.

However, Africans fleeing the conflict say they’ve faced discrimination and racism at the Polish border, being forced to wait for days behind Ukrainian citizens, sparking concern from African governments over the treatment of their citizens abroad.

Read the full story from the Star’s Lex Harvey.

5:20 p.m. Economic penalties being imposed upon Russia are starting to be felt in the country.

Videos and photos show Russians trying to withdraw their savings from banks in other currencies than the ruble, which has dropped in value since last week’s invasion. On top of that, Russia’s Central Bank more than doubled the interest rate to 20 per cent from 9.5 per cent Monday, shortly before it shut the country’s stock exchange for trading.

Read the full story from Allan Woods reporting from St. Petersburg.

4:45 p.m. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says nearly 4,000 Ukrainians have been approved to immigrate to Canada since conflict with Russia began.

The Canadian government prioritized existing immigration applications from Ukraine since thousands of people began to flee Russian aggression in the region.

The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says about 500,000 people in Ukraine have fled to neighbouring countries so far.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Russian President Vladimir Putin has created a refugee crisis, and the immigration minister says more actions to address the crisis will be announced in coming days.

3:48 p.m. (updated) The federal government has asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to review the presence of the Russian state-run broadcaster, RT, on Canada’s airwaves.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says action is needed to combat falsehoods and disinformation by Russia about the invasion of Ukraine, including on social media.

The move follows the decision of Rogers, Bell and Shaw to pull the Kremlin- backed broadcaster from their lineup of channels.

Read the full story from the Star here.

3:46 p.m. (updated) The National Hockey League and International Ice Hockey Federation punished Russia for its invasion of Ukraine on Monday.

The IIHF convened a meeting of its council, where it decided to boot perennial contender Russia and invasion-supporter Belarus from tournaments in every age category, including May’s men’s world championship, the rescheduled world junior men’s championship in Alberta in August and the women’s world championship in September.

The NHL broke off its business relationships in Russia, halted its Russian language social media and digital sites and will not consider that country as a location for future NHL events.

The IIHF’s sanctions impact six tournaments and didn’t rule out further action against Russia and Belarus. Russia is scheduled to host the world men’s championship in May 2023.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine,” IIHF president Luc Tardif said in a statement.

“We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF world championship program.”

“We were incredibly shocked to see the images that have come out of Ukraine,” Tardif added.

2:44 p.m. From calling for ejection to athletes lobbying for more punishment, Canada has invested in sport sanctions against Russia on multiple fronts.

International sport governing bodies barring Russia from events in response its invasion of Ukraine means Russians will likely not compete in March’s women’s world curling championship in Prince George, B.C.

Six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser was among Canadian and international athletes calling for the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee to take the ultimate step of booting Russia and invasion-supporter Belarus out of the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

“I 100 per cent believe until Russia, the aggressor in this war, and anyone supporting Russia and the invasion and the killing of innocent people, until that stops Russia has no place in the Olympic movement, which is about peace and the world working together,” Wickenheiser told The Canadian Press on Monday.

“I think they need to ban Russia, Belarus.”

Just over a week after the close of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the IOC recommended Monday that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials be excluded from competition by international sport federations.

2:33 p.m. VMedia Inc. is joining Canada’s largest telecommunications companies in dropping a Russian government-controlled news station from its channel offerings after Russia invaded Ukraine last week.

The Toronto-based telecommunications and broadcast company says until further notice, it will no longer offer the RT channel to customers.

VMedia says it made the move because RT has been an outlet for propaganda and misinformation, especially as a “brutal” war is being waged against Ukrainians.

2:26 p.m. Shell announces exit to joint ventures with Russian energy giant Gazprom.

“We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security,” Shell’s chief executive officer, Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

“Our decision to exit is one we take with conviction,” said van Beurden. “We cannot — and we will not — stand by. Our immediate focus is the safety of our people in Ukraine and supporting our people in Russia.”

The company said they had around $3 billion in assets in ventures with Russia at the end of 2021. “We expect that the decision to start the process of exiting joint ventures with Gazprom and related entities will impact the book value of Shell’s Russia assets and lead to impairments,” the statement read.

2:17 p.m. The first round of talks between Ukraine and Russia lasted for nearly five hours today but did not end Russia’s invasion.

An aide to President Vladimir Putin says the two sides “found certain points on which common positions could be foreseen.”

A top adviser to Ukraine’s president says the talks focused on a possible ceasefire and that a second round will take place in the coming days on the Polish-Belarusian border.

As the talks were being held, Ukraine’s president signed an application for Ukraine to join the European Union.

That is a multi-year process that may serve to anger Russia’s president.

2:05 p.m. Members of the Ukrainian Canadian community say rallies held in support of Ukraine in Canadian communities — no matter how far flung they may be — are having a legitimate impact.

Mariya Lesiv, an associate professor of folklore at Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L., says her friends and family back home in Ukraine are watching the footage and hearing the reports about these demonstrations. She says it buoys them to know that so many people, even in small places like Newfoundland, are standing behind them as they face a Russian invasion.

Marc Shwec is chair of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’s StandWithUkraine committee, and he says the demonstrations also show Ottawa that there is broad public support for Ukraine, and for federal aid.

1:59 p.m. The Russian Central Bank said in a statement that the Moscow Stock Exchange will remain closed for trading Tuesday.

1:57 p.m. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says she is headed to the Polish-Ukraine border on Tuesday to make sure that Canada’s latest supply of military aid flows into the war-ravaged country.

Joly says she will also be meeting with her Polish counterparts in Warsaw to discuss the refugee crisis spawned by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Joly was speaking from Geneva on Monday, where she earlier told a United Nations panel that Russia lied to the world in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine.

1:54 p.m. Canada Soccer is joining other countries in refusing to play Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

“In steadfast support of Ukraine, its people and Ukrainian-Canadians who represent the third-largest Ukrainian population outside Ukraine and Russia, Canada Soccer, its member associations and clubs will not compete at any level against Russia until sovereignty and territorial integrity are restored,” Canada Soccer said in a statement.

“We wholeheartedly condemn the hostile attack on Ukraine by Russia and stand united with Ukrainians here in Canada and around the globe.”

1:42 p.m. (update) Canada is preparing to send a third shipment of lethal weapons to Ukraine. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says the federal government is preparing to send a third shipment of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Read the full story from the Star’s Tonda MacCharles.

1:40 p.m. The turmoil unleashed in commodity markets by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine worsened on Monday as LNG orders were paused, finance for trade in raw materials dried up and Black Sea wheat sales froze.

As tougher U.S. and European sanctions threaten to partly cut Russia off from the global financial system, disruptions to shipments of raw materials from palladium to wheat mounted. Buyers also paused purchases of Russian liquefied natural gas as they awaited clarity on restrictions against banks and companies. The cost of shipping the nation’s raw materials is soaring, while the fallout is reverberating from London to Hong Kong as international investors ditch Russian commodities assets.

The immediate focus is on disruption to Black Sea trade, which includes millions of barrels of oil a day and about a quarter of the world’s grain exports. While Russian raw materials were so far exempted from sanctions, the threat of a severe dislocation to flows will increase as the conflict escalates.

1:10 p.m. Ukrainian officials Monday accused Russian forces of launching a barrage of rockets on a residential neighbourhood in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, killing dozens of civilians, just as Ukrainian and Russian officials were preparing to meet for talks in Belarus.

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“Kharkiv has been subjected to massive Grad

ing,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, wrote in a text message, referring to a type of rocket attack. There were “dozens of victims,” he added, but the number of casualties could not be independently confirmed.

“Grad,” which means “hail” in Russian, refers to a family of short- to medium-range, truck-mounted multiple-rocket launchers that have been mass-produced since the 1960s and are in use by armies across the former Soviet bloc, including Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

12:53 p.m. FIFA And UEFA have banned Russia and all Russian clubs from world soccer including the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA and UEFA issued a joint statement in which they announced that the Russian national team and all Russia clubs would be banned from international competition until further notice.

12:45 p.m. The World Curling Federation intends to boot Russia from upcoming world curling championships, including the women’s tournament in Prince George, B.C.

“The World Curling Federation strongly condemns the military action undertaken by the Russian Government in their invasion of Ukraine and continues to hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the situation,” the WCF said Monday in a statement.

Russia is among the 13 countries in the field for the women’s world championship March 19-27 at Prince George’s CN Centre. Russia had yet to declare its representative.

12:35 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed an application for Ukraine to join the European Union and has sent the documents off to Brussels.

The news came in a Facebook post of a picture of Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s prime minister and the chairman of its Parliament with the caption: “The history is being created now.”

The UN General Assembly opened an extraordinary emergency session this morning with pleas for peace in Ukraine, starting a day of frenzied diplomacy at the UN.

12:25 p.m. The head of Russia’s delegation at talks with Ukraine said the two sides had agreed to continue negotiations to try to halt the war, the Interfax news service reported late Monday.

Vladimir Medinsky said Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed to meet “in the coming days” on the Polish-Belarusian border after consulting with the leaders of their two countries, according to Interfax. The news service also cited a Ukrainian official, Mikhail Podolyak, as saying the two sides had discussed the possibility of holding a second round of talks soon.

11:50 a.m. We’ve all seen COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation online. Now, with many videos, images and news coming out of Ukraine, among other war-torn countries, it may be hard to identify what is real and what isn’t.

To help prevent the spread of fake news, it’s important to verify sources and content posted on websites or social media. But how can you do that?

Jeffrey Dvorkin, senior fellow at Massey Collage at U of T published a book in 2021 titled Trusting the News in a Digital Age: Toward a “New” News Literacy to help journalists and the public navigate disinformation in an increasingly digital world.

Here is Dvorkin’s general guide on identifying inaccurate news and misused photographs.

11:37 a.m. Delegations from Kyiv and Moscow met Monday morning at a site near Ukraine’s border with Belarus. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had agreed to the negotiations Sunday, despite seeing “small chance to end the war,” and said the fate of his country as an independent nation had now entered a “crucial period.”

In Kyiv, a two-day-long curfew was lifted Monday to allow residents to venture out cautiously to replenish supplies, get some fresh air and survey the state of their city of 3 million people. Many lined up for hours outside gas stations and supermarkets, mostly ignoring the occasional wail of air-raid sirens.

11:30 a.m. Russia’s diplomatic mission says Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has cancelled his trip to the United Nations in Geneva after European Union countries closed their airspace to flights from Russia.

Lavrov had been expected to attend high-level meetings at the Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament. Russians are facing higher prices as Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine sent the ruble plummeting by about 30 per cent.

The exchange rate later recovered ground but the economic squeeze got tighter when the U-S announced more sanctions this morning to immobilize any assets of the Russian central bank in the United States or held by Americans.

10:58 a.m. The International Olympic Committee has made a sweeping move to isolate and condemn Russia because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Olympic body has urged others to exclude the country’s athletes and officials from international events. The IOC’s call also applied to athletes and officials from Belarus, because that country has abetted Russia’s invasion.

10:36 a.m. North American stocks are in the red on worries about how high oil prices will go and how badly the global economy will get hit as Western governments up the financial pressure on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian ruble tumbled to a record low below a penny at one point.

Oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic are up more than three per cent on concerns about what the worsening tensions will do to crude supplies because Russia is one of the world’s largest energy producers.

10:25 a.m. Canada’s foreign minister is telling a United Nations panel in Europe that Russia lied to the world in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly also called on Moscow to respect the rights of Russian people who have taken to the streets to protest their government’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Joly says Russia chose to resort to lies and violence to fabricate an excuse to attack Ukraine. She delivered the denunciation of President Vladimir Putin Monday at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

10:20 a.m. FIFA is in “advanced discussions” to expel Russia from World Cup, sources close to the talks say.

10 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine urged the European Union on Monday to grant his country immediate accession to the bloc in response to Russia’s invasion.

In a passionate speech aimed at rallying Ukrainians to continue to defend their country and encouraging further international support, he thanked EU countries that have decided to supply arms to Ukraine over the past few days and said he had spoken to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, to urge her to take “even stronger steps.”

“We appeal to the European Union for Ukraine’s immediate accession under a new special procedure,” Zelenskyy said in a video broadcast from the capital, Kyiv. “Our goal is to stand alongside all Europeans and, most importantly, to stand on their level.”

9:37 a.m. (updated) Switzerland has announced it will adopt European Union sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, including asset freezes targeting Russians.

That will all but deprive well-heeled Russians of access to one of their favourite havens to park their money.

Swiss president Ignazio Cassis told a news conference today that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is “unacceptable” on moral and political grounds.

9:33 a.m. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced that, effective immediately, all Canadian financial institutions are prohibited from engaging in any transaction with the Russian Central Bank.

“Effective immediately, all Canadian financial institutions are prohibited from engaging in transactions with the Russian Central Bank — eliminating its ability to deploy Russia’s international currency reserves and further restricting Putin’s ability to finance his war of choice,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.

8:50 a.m. (updated) There are high hopes but low expectations for any diplomatic breakthrough as Russian and Ukrainian delegations meet for talks.

Ukraine is demanding an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops. It’s not clear what Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking in the talks, or from the war, but Western officials believe he wants to overthrow Ukraine’s government and replace it with a regime of his own.

European Union defence ministers are meeting Monday to discuss how to get the weaponry they have promised into Ukraine.

That’s as Western sanctions sent the ruble plummeting, leading Russians to line up at banks and A-T-Ms. 8 a.m. The U.S. and European countries are increasing weapons shipments to Ukraine.

Canada is also sending $25 million in defensive equipment to help Ukraine defend itself in Europe’s biggest conflict since the Second World War. U.S. officials believe the invasion has been more difficult, and slower, than the Kremlin envisioned, though that could change as Moscow adapts.

The British Defense Ministry says the bulk of Putin’s forces are still about 30 kilometres north of Kyiv.

7:45 a.m. Steps by the United States and its allies to target some Russian banks for the country’s invasion of Ukraine jarred Russia’s financial system Monday, with its currency falling more than 30 per cent against the dollar.

The fall of the ruble is likely to worsen inflation in Russia, and it has heightened fears of bank runs in the country. Russia’s central bank said over the weekend that it would support Russian financial institutions that had been hit with sanctions and that banks would continue to be able to carry out transactions in rubles and foreign currency.

7:35 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will chair a meeting of his incident response group, a cabinet committee, Monday concerning the crisis in Ukraine.

He’s also expected to participate in a meeting hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden along with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and NATO.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra kicked off Canada’s latest round of sanctions against Russia on Sunday by announcing a ban on all Russian aircraft and operators in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

7:25 a.m. Plane-leasing giant AerCap Holdings NV said it will stop doing business with Russian airlines as sanctions tighten over the invasion of Ukraine, threatening to ground scores of jets at operators including Aeroflot PJSC.

The world’s No. 1 lessor, which is based in Dublin and listed in New York, is responding to broad measures against Russia and its companies imposed by the European Union, U.S. and other countries, it said in a statement Monday.

“AerCap intends to fully comply with all applicable sanctions, which will require us to cease our leasing activity with Russian airlines,” the company said. The lessor didn’t comment on whether it will seek to seize back its planes.

6:42 a.m.: Terrified Ukrainian families huddled in shelters, basements or corridors, waiting to find out. Exact death tolls are unclear, but Ukraine’s president says at least 16 children have been killed and another 45 wounded, among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other casualties. More than 500,000 people have fled the country since the invasion, a U.N. official said Monday — among the millions who have left their homes.

5:52 a.m.: As Russian forces bore down on Ukraine’s capital and officials put the toll of civilian dead at more than 350 since the invasion began, the two countries agreed Sunday to sit down for talks “without preconditions,” but hopes were not high for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Even as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, agreed to send a delegation to meet with Russian officials near the border with Belarus, he made it clear that he expected little to come of it. He declined to agree to any conditions or concessions before the talks, making it clear that he would not grant Russia the upper hand after its unprovoked attacks.

“I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting,” he said, “but let them try to make sure that no citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as a president, have not tried to stop the war.”

Monday 5:52 a.m.: Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said Sunday night that it had shut down influence and hacking campaigns targeting its users in Ukraine. The efforts were tied to people in Russia and Ukraine, as well as to a hacking group thought to be affiliated with Belarus, Meta executives said.

One operation spread links to misleading news articles that claimed Ukraine was a “failed state,” and included messages of support for the Russian government. Meta said it found evidence the effort was linked to another operation the company had disclosed in 2020 that included two publishers, News Front and South Front. The publishers operate out of Crimea and have long been used to spread propaganda targeting enemies of the Kremlin.

The influence network engaged in what Facebook calls “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour,” or groups of Facebook accounts and pages that operate under false names and fake profile photos to spread targeted messages across the platform.

The campaign received fewer than 5,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram before being taken offline, Meta officials said.

Read Sunday’s Russia-Ukraine news.

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