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Ukraine: EU ramps up sanctions amid Russian assault

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Moscow, Feb 28: Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its fifth day EU closes airspace to Russian flights, sends fighter jets to Ukraine Ukraine agrees to peace talks with Russia UN General Assembly to hold emergency session on Monday.

Ukraine: EU ramps up sanctions amid Russian assault

Hundreds detained in Belarus for anti-war protests

In Belarus, over 500 people have been detained for demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Viasna human rights centre — the most well-known human rights watchdog in Belarus — provided the names of 530 people who had been detained across the country.

In a tweet the organization posted up a tally of those who had been detained as of Sunday night.

There have been demonstrations in cities around Belarus. In Minsk, protesters carried flags and piled flowers outside the Ukrainian embassy.

Belarus appears to have played a key role in Russia's invasion strategy, with the two countries having conducted large-scale military exercises together shortly before the attack.

EU chief keen on Ukraine joining bloc

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has expressed her desire to have Ukraine join the EU. Speaking to French news network Euronews, von der Leyen said: "Indeed over time they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in."

The EU chief also pointed out that a number of areas of cooperation already existed with the country.

Her comments on Ukraine came shortly after an unprecedented EU decision to supply weapons to Kyiv.

On Monday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted about a phone conversation with von der Leyen and tweeted that they had spoken about "concrete decisions on strengthening Ukraine's defense capabilities, macro-financial assistance and Ukraine's membership in the EU."

Sunday 'a difficult time' for Ukraine's military

Ukraine's armed forces described Sunday as "a difficult time" for the military.

"Occupiers continue shelling in almost all directions," read a statement posted on Facebook by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

According to the statement the air force was "confronting the aggressor both in the sky and on the ground."

Ukraine's military said there had been rocket strikes on six Russian columns. Anti-aircraft units were reported to have shot down an enemy helicopter and drone.

A Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle also reportedly engaged a Russian column with a Buk missile system.

The British Ministry of Defence's (MOD) intelligence update from Sunday said that Ukrainian forces had engaged Russian forces for a second night running within Kyiv, although fighting was said to be "at a lower intensity than the previous evening."

The update stated that there had been "intensive exchanges of rocket artillery overnight" which was followed by heavy fighting in Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv.

The MOD said that Russian forces were continuing to advance into Ukraine "from multiple axes" but pointed out they were being "met with stiff resistance from the Ukrainian Armed Forces."

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Sunday

Ukraine agreed to start negotiations with Russia without preconditions. Kyiv said the talks would be held at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, but it's not clear when.

Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country's nuclear deterrent forces on high alert in response to what he called "aggressive statements" by NATO members.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Parliament that as a result of Russia's invasion, his government would allocate €100 billion ($111 billion) extra for the German armed forces in the 2022 budget.

The European Union will, for the first time in its history, purchase weapons for a country under attack, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The bloc will also ban state-owned Russia Today (RT), Sputnik and their subsidiaries.

Anti-war demonstrators rallied in dozens of cities across Russia, defying the country's strict protest laws to express their anger at the worsening conflict. More than 2,000 people were arrested, according to an independent monitor.

At least 100,000 people took to the streets of Berlin to show their support for Ukrainians.

Ukraine said 352 civilians have been killed since Thursday, including 14 children. Nearly 1,700 people have been wounded.

Almost 400,000 people have now fled Ukraine since the conflict started, according to the UN.

The UN Security Council called for a special session of the General Assembly as a result of the conflict, to be held on Monday.

Source: DW

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