Ukrainian tanks move on a road before an attack in Lugansk region
Ukrainian tanks move on a road before an attack in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

The Russian military continues to pound Kyiv and other cities with artillery and cruise missiles on day three of a campaign that has sent hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing west toward the European Union, clogging major highways and railway lines. Here are the latest updates:

Russia now 'a global economic and financial pariah': US official

Extraordinary Western sanctions to cut Russian banks from the global system and hobble the country's central bank make Moscow a financial "pariah" facing a ruble in "freefall," a senior US official said on Saturday.

"Russia has become a global economic and financial pariah," he said, and the Russian central bank now "can't support the ruble."

"Only Putin can decide how much more cost he is willing to bear," the official said, adding that a task force will "hunt down" Russian oligarchs' "yachts, jets, fancy cars and luxury homes."

People in Kyiv take cover as Russians approach

Russian troops closed in on Kyiv and skirmishes flared on its outskirts Saturday as Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to continue battling an attack that had the country's people seeking safety underground.

The assault on the Ukrainian capital was clouded by a curfew set to last through Monday morning. Even as journalists were forced inside, the relative quiet of the night in Kyiv was sporadically broken by gunfire.

"We will fight for as long as needed to liberate our country," President Volodymyr Zelensky promised, as he continued to press for additional international help.

Fighting on the city's outskirts suggested that small Russian units were trying to clear a path for the main forces. Small groups of Russian troops were reported inside Kyiv, but Britain and the US said the bulk of Russian forces were 30 kilometers from the city's center as of Saturday afternoon.

Russia claims its assault on Ukraine is aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighbourhoods have been hit since the attack began Thursday with air and missile strikes and Russian troops entering Ukraine from the north, east and south.

France to deliver more military equipment to Ukraine

France will send more military equipment, as well as fuel, to Ukraine to help fight off the Russian attack and slap more economic sanctions on Moscow, the presidency said Saturday.

The new sanctions would encompass "national measures to freeze the financial assets of Russian figures", as well as "new measures" to be taken "with European partners concerning the SWIFT" interbank system, the Elysee said in a statement.

Russia needs to be completely isolated, say UK and Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed during a phone call Saturday that the world needs to isolate Russia "completely diplomatically and financially," Downing Street said.

"The Prime Minister spoke to Ukrainian President Zelensky this evening. The leaders agreed on the need for the international community to isolate Russia completely diplomatically and financially," said a statement from Johnson's office.

The pair welcomed international moves towards excluding Russia from the SWIFT international banking system.

Johnson praised the "incredible heroism and bravery of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people", and both leaders said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces were "being met with a greater Ukrainian resistance than he calculated on".

Johnson and Zelensky also shared their "mutual concern" about the role Belarus has played so far in Russia's attack.

US seeks urgent UN Security Council meeting Sunday on Ukraine

The UN Security Council will convene Sunday afternoon at the request of the United States and Albania to vote on a resolution calling for a special session of the General Assembly over the Russian attack of Ukraine, diplomats said.

Only nine of the 15 Security Council member states would need to vote in favor of the resolution for it to be adopted at the meeting, which is scheduled for 3:00 pm (2000 GMT).

Under a rarely used procedure, none of the five permanent members - Russia is one of them - would be allowed to veto the convening of the special session Monday.

The goal of the "General Assembly special session" will be to "force the 193 members of the UN to take a position" on the conflict and Russia's "violation of the UN Charter," as well as to formally condemn the war, a diplomat speaking under condition of anonymity told AFP.

If the proposed resolution is approved by the Council, rules would require the special General Assembly session to be held within 24 hours.

A resolution written by the US and Albania condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine failed in the Security Council on Friday, due to Russia applying its permanent member veto-power.

The General Assembly will likely be asked to vote on a similar resolution during the special session.

Multiple diplomats told AFP they expect a majority with over 100 UN members to vote in favor of the resolution.

In General Assembly voting, none of the 193 UN members hold a veto, but resolutions are non-binding.

Pope calls Zelensky, expresses 'profound pain'

Pope Francis expressed his "profound pain for the tragic events" resulting from Russia's attack of Ukraine during a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Kyiv's embassy to the Vatican said Saturday.

"Today Pope Francis had a telephone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Holy Father expressed his deepest pain for the tragic events unfolding in our country," the embassy wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine official says about 3,500 Russian troops killed or injured

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday Russia's attack on Kyiv was not advancing and that around 3,500 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured so far in Moscow's assault on Ukraine.

"We are striking the enemy around Kyiv. The enemy is not moving for now," said Oleksiy Arestovych.

Zelensky welcomes moves to cut Russia off from SWIFT

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed moves to disconnect Russia from "global financial civilisation" in a video message on Saturday.

A French presidential official said earlier on Saturday that European Union members were close to agreeing to exclude Russia from the SWIFT international payment system.

"Our diplomats fought around the clock to inspire all European countries to agree on a strong and fair decision to disconnect Russia from the international interbanking network.

We also have this victory," Zelensky said.

"This is billions and billions of losses for Russia - a tangible price for this vile attack of our country... Ukraine won the attention of the entire civilised world. And the practical result? Here it is - SWIFT... Disconnecting from global financial civilisation." He also welcomed proposals by Turkey and Azerbaijan to hold peace talks with Russia, and singled out his conversation with Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi as key agreeing more international support to Ukraine.

"We will fight as long as it takes to liberate the country," Zelensky said in the short video, adding his country was currently lacking oil and oil products.

Netherlands to supply anti-tank weapons to Ukraine

The Netherlands will send anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

The Dutch government will supply 50 Panzerfaust-3 anti-tank weapons and 400 rockets, the ministry said in a letter to parliament.

The Netherlands is also jointly considering with Germany sending a Patriot air defence system to a NATO battle group in Slovakia, it said.

Zelensky welcomes offers to moderate talks with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is welcoming efforts to open talks with Russia.

In a video message Saturday, Zelensky said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev offered to help organize talks and that "we can only welcome that."

Diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed have so far faltered.

Zelenskyy offered Friday to negotiate a key Russian demand: that Ukraine declare itself neutral and abandon its ambition of joining NATO. But movement to actually advance any diplomacy has appeared to sputter.

Zelensky asks UN to strip Russia of its security council vote

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that he asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to strip Russia of its vote at the UN Security Council as punishment for attacking Ukraine.

"To deprive the aggressor country of the right to vote in the UN Security Council, to qualify Russian actions and statements as genocide of the Ukrainian people, to help with the delivery of corpses of Russian soldiers. Talked about it in a conversation with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres," Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council with the right to veto decisions, along with China, France, the UK and the United States.

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Antonio Guterres

Germany to send anti-tank weapons, 'Stinger' missiles to Ukraine

Germany will supply Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr stocks so it can defend itself against Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday.

"The Russian attack of Ukraine marks a turning point. It is our duty to do our best to support Ukraine in defending itself against Putin's invading army," Scholz said on Twitter.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Russia frustrated by 'viable' Ukraine resistance, US says

Russian forces are becoming increasingly frustrated by what the United States believes is a viable and very determined Ukrainian resistance, as Moscow commits more and more troops to its attack, a senior US defence official said on Saturday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said it appeared Russian commanders did not plan for enough fuel and basic logistics support, and were now trying to adjust.

Defiant Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the capital Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands. Authorities there handed thousands of assault rifles to residents and told citizens to make petrol bombs as they prepared to help repel the invaders.

The US defence official said Washington saw indications of "viable Ukrainian resistance." "We know that they have not made the progress that they have wanted to make, particularly in the north. They have been frustrated by what they have seen is a very determined resistance," the official said, declining to explain the sources of US intelligence behind that assessment.

"It has slowed them down," the official added.

The defence official estimated Moscow had now deployed into Ukraine more than half of the over 150,000 troops it had arrayed around the country prior to the attack, up from a previous estimate of 30% just a day earlier.

The United States believes Russian forces were now 30 km north of Kyiv - but that could change at any time, the official said. "(They) have not gotten any closer than that," the official added.

The official also estimated that Russia had fired more than 250 missiles, mostly short-range, at Ukrainian targets, some of which hit civilian infrastructure.

Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine. Image Credit: AP

Shelling in east Ukraine's Donetsk kills 19 civilians

Russian shelling killed 19 civilians and incjured 73 more on Saturday in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported citing regional administration.

"On February 26, as a result of Russian shelling, 19 civilians were killed, 73 people were injured," Interfax quoted Pavel Kirilenko as saying on social media.

Russian army ordered to broaden Ukraine advance

The Russian army has been given orders to broaden its offensive in Ukraine "from all directions", after Kyiv refused to hold talks in Belarus, Moscow's defence ministry said in a statement Saturday.

"After the Ukrainian side rejected the negotiation process, today all units were given orders to develop the advance from all directions in accordance with the operation's plans," Russian army spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

Putin ramps up attack pronouncing peace talks dead

President Vladimir Putin snuffed out any hope of diplomacy to end the fighting in Ukraine and ordered Russia's military advance to press ahead, as western nations rushed aid to help the government in Kyiv defend itself.

Speaking on a conference call Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Kyiv had refused to conduct negotiations, after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a format or a location for any talks. "Because the Ukrainian side in effect refused negotiations, the main Russian forces resumed their advance according to the plan of the operation," he said, declining to provide more details.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak dismissed Peskov's comments as "tactics," saying that Russia was trying to consign diplomacy "to a dead end even before talks begin," according to Interfax. The president "categorically rules out any ultimatums and conditions," it cited him as saying.

US weighs sanctions on Russia's Central Bank

The US is weighing sanctions on Russia's central bank, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that would target much of the $643 billion reserves that President Russian Vladimir Putin had amassed ahead of his attack of Ukraine.

A final decision hasn't been made but the Biden administration is urgently considering all options in an attempt to deter Putin from further devastation in Ukraine, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US aims to make each move in conjunction with allies across Europe for maximum impact, they said.

It's unclear how advanced those discussions are. The issue of potentially targeting the Russian central bank, however, came up in a conversation in late January, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A White House National Security Council spokeswoman declined to comment. The Bank of Russia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chechen leader says his forces deployed in Ukraine

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's Chechnya region and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Saturday Chechen fighters had been deployed in Ukraine, and he urged Ukrainians to overthrow their government.

In a video posted online, Kadyrov boasted that Chechen units had so far suffered no losses and said Russian forces could easily take large Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv but their task was to avoid loss of life.

Putin also urged Ukrainians on Friday to rise up against their own government, which he says is made up of "neo-Nazis".

Russia closes airspace to flights from Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic

Russia said Saturday it was closing its airspace to flights from Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic in response to punishment over Moscow's attack of Ukraine.

"Air carriers of these states and/or registered in them are subject to restrictions on flights to destinations on the territory of the Russian Federation, including transit flights through the airspace of the Russian Federation," the federal air transport agency Rosaviation said.

The measure is set to go into effect from 3 pm local time on Saturday.

Ukraine prolonging conflict by refusing talks, says Russia

The Kremlin on Saturday accused Ukraine of prolonging the military conflict by refusing to negotiate as Russia pressed on with its attack of the pro-Western country.

"In connection with the expected negotiations, the Russian president yesterday afternoon ordered the suspension of the advance of the main forces of the Russian Federation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call.

"Since the Ukrainian side refused to negotiate, the advance of the Russian forces resumed this afternoon."

US announces $350m new military aid to Ukraine

The United States is providing Ukraine with $350 million in additional military assistance to fight off the Russian attack, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Saturday.

"This package will include further lethal defensive assistance to help Ukraine address the armored, airborne, and other threats it is now facing," Blinken said in a statement.

Russia doesn't need diplomatic ties with West: Medvedev

Russia doesn't really need diplomatic ties with the West anymore, ex-president and top security official Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday, shrugging off sanctions imposed on Moscow over its attack of Ukraine.

Medvedev said the sanctions gave Russia a good reason to pull out of a dialogue on strategic (nuclear) stability and, potentially, from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed with Washington in 2010 and extended in 2021.

In comments on his verified page on Russian social network VK, Medvedev wrote: "We don't especially need diplomatic relations... It's time to padlock the embassies and continue contacts looking at each other through binoculars and gun sights." Medvedev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and deputy head of Russia's security council, said the West's "wonderful (sanctions) will not change a thing, of course".

Moscow will continue its military operations in Ukraine until it had achieved goals defined by President Vladimir Putin as "demilitarisation and "denazification", he said.

"The sanctions are being imposed for one simple reason - political impotence arising from their (the West's) inability to change Russia's course," Medvedev wrote.

Greece ready to provide help

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday, saying Greece had favoured the harshest European Union sanctions against Russia after its attack and stood ready to provide assistance.

Greece's health ministry is sending medicines and medical supplies to Ukraine, Mitsotakis' office said.

Greece's embassy staff and its ambassador in Kyiv, who left the city on Friday by car on safety concerns, had safely passed the Moldavian border, the ambassador himself and foreign ministry officials said.

Consulates in Mariupol and Odessa will remain open to assist Greek citizens and expatriates, they added.

Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities including capital Kyiv with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for a third day running.

Zelensky says Ukraine still in control of Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that the capital Kyiv was still under Ukrainian control after Russia launched an attack on Thursday.

"We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on," he said in a video message posted on his social media.

"We already have almost full support from EU countries for disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. I hope that Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support this decision. We have the courage to defend our homeland, to defend Europe," Zelensky added.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a briefing at the Office of the Head of State in Kyiv on February 24, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

100,000 Ukrainians cross border into Poland

Polish Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker on Saturday said 100,000 people have crossed the border into Poland from Ukraine since Russia's attack this week.

"From the onset of warfare in Ukraine through today, along the entire border with Ukraine, 100,000 people have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland," Szefernaker told reporters in the border village of Medyka, southeastern Poland.

Dutch move Ukraine embassy to Poland

The Dutch ministry of foreign affairs said on Saturday it was moving its embassy in Ukraine to Poland to ensure the safety of its staff after Russia's attack on the pro-Western country.

"Foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra has decided that ambassador Jennes de Mol and his team will immediately move to Jaroslaw, on the Polish side of the border with Ukraine, to continue their work there," the ministry said in a statement.

Prior to the Russian attack, The Hague had already moved its embassy in Kyiv to Lviv, 70 kilometres (40 miles) from the Polish border in the west of Ukraine last Sunday.

Since then, nearly 30 Dutch citizens living in Ukraine have contacted the embassy for help, either for travel documents, advice on moving to Poland, or simply for food or someone to talk to, the ministry said.

Ukrainian forces repel Russian attack in Lviv region, says mayor

Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian attack in the Lviv region near Brody in western Ukraine, Lviv's mayor was quoted as saying on Saturday by the Telegram messaging service.

"Russians landed three helicopters near Brody at 0900am.

About 60 people," mayor Andrey Sadovyi said.

"The (Ukrainian) armed forces are repelling the occupier! We are keeping the situation under control," he added.

UN says over 120,000 people have fled Ukraine

The UN refugee agency says that over 120,000 Ukrainian refugees have left the country since Russia began its attack on its neighbouring country this week.

Speaking as Russian troops were engaging in battle with Ukrainian forces in the capital Kyiv on Saturday, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly Clements, said in an interview on CNN the situation was expected to get worse.

Slovak soldiers help Ukrainian woman and children to carry their luggage after they crossed the border in Vysne Nemecke, eastern Slovakia. Image Credit: AFP

“`We now see over 120,000 people that have gone to all of the neighboring countries,'' she said. ``The reception that they are receiving from local communities, from local authorities, is tremendous. But it's a dynamic situation. We are really quite devastated, obviously, with what's to come.''

Most are heading to Poland and Moldova, but also to Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

At least 198 Ukrainians killed in Russian attack: Ifax

 At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed as a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Health Ministry was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Saturday.

He said 1,115 people were wounded, including 33 children.

It was unclear whether he was referring only to civilian casualties.

'No deaths from strike on residential building in Kyiv'

A missile that struck a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv earlier on Saturday killed no one, an adviser to the interior minister said.

Anton Herashchenko also said at least 40 such civilian infrastructure had been hit and Russian troops were shelling civilian sites.

Dozens wounded in overnight fighting in Kyiv

Dozens of people were wounded in overnight fighting in Kyiv, city mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Saturday morning.

As of 6am local time (0400 GMT), 35 people, including two children, had been wounded, he said. It is unclear whether he was referring only to civilians.

Klitschko added there was currently no major Russian military presence in Kyiv, although he said saboteur groups were active.

Residents react after inspecting a fire damaged building following a blast at around 4am during Russian artillery strikes in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Image Credit: Bloomberg

Missile hits high-rise apartment in Kyiv, says mayor

A high-rise apartment block was hit by shelling overnight in Kyiv as fighting raged between Russian attackers and Ukrainian forces, emergency services said on Saturday.

The authorities said the number of victims was "being specified" and that an evacuation was underway. They posted a picture online of the tower block with a hole covering at least five floors blasted into the side and rubble strewn across the street below.Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said online that the building had been hit by a missile.

Firefighters extinguish fire in an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine. Image Credit: Reuters

'This war will last,' warns France's Macron 

The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow launched an attackof its pro-Western neighbour, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday.

"If can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last.... This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences," Macron's told France's annual agriculture fair, warning: "We must be prepared".

Macron tells French farmers: Ukraine war will weigh on you, and it will last

Russia says it has captured Melitopol

Russian troops have captured the city of Melitopol in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhya region, Russia's defence ministry said on Saturday, the first significant population centre to be taken over since Moscow launched an attack.

The ministry also said Russia had used air- and ship-based cruise missiles to carry out overnight strikes on military targets in Ukraine.

It said Russian troops had hit hundreds of military infrastructure targets and destroyed several aircraft and dozens of tanks and armoured and artillery vehicles. Ukrainian officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the matter.

Two missiles hit Kyiv 

Two missiles hit areas southwest of the Kyiv city centre on Saturday, a Reuters correspondent reported. One of the missiles landed in the area close to the Zhulyany airport, he said.

Another witness said the missiles hit the area near the Sevastopol square, while the Kyiv city government said one of the missiles struck a residential building.

Russia suspends space launches from French Guiana

Russia is suspending space launches from French Guiana and withdrawing its technical personnel in response to EU sanctions over Moscow's attack of Ukraine, the space agency said Saturday.

"In response to EU sanctions against our enterprises, Roskosmos is suspending cooperation with European partners over organising space launches from the Kourou cosmodrome and withdrawing its technical personnel... from French Guiana," Dmitry Rogozin, chief of the Russian space agency, said on messaging app Telegram.

US embassy warns Americans in Ukraine to locate their nearest shelter

The United States embassy for Ukraine has warned US citizens that "conditions may deteriorate without warning," and advised them to locate their nearest shelter.

"The security situation throughout Ukraine remains highly volatile, and conditions may deteriorate without warning. US citizens should remain vigilant and know the location of your closest shelter or protected space," the embassy said in a tweet.

Street fighting begins in Kyiv; people urged to seek shelter

Russian troops stormed toward Ukraine’s capital early Saturday, and street fighting broke out as city officials urged residents to take shelter.  The clashes followed two days of fighting that resulted in hundreds of casualties and pummeled bridges, schools and apartment buildings.

Zelensky declines US offer to evacuate Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was asked to evacuate Kyiv at the behest of the US government but turned down the offer.

Zelensky said in response: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation, who described Zelensky as upbeat.

India issues fresh advisory for stranded citizens in Ukraine

Embassy of India, Kyiv, has issued an advisory to all Indian nationals in Ukraine not to move to any of the border posts without prior coordination with Government of India officials at the border posts.

A tweet shared by Arindam Bagchi of the Ministry of External Affairs says, “All Indian Citizens in Ukraine are advised to not move to any of the border posts without prior coordination with Government of India officials at the border posts (helpline numbers established) and the Emergency numbers of Embassy of India, Kyiv.”

Ukraine repels Russian attacks in Kyiv

Ukraine’s army said Saturday it had repelled a Russian attack on one of capital city Kyiv’s main avenues.

Russia “attacked one of the military units on Victory Avenue in Kyiv. The attack was repulsed,” Ukraine’s army said on its verified Facebook page, without specifying where exactly the incident took place.

Russian troops also attacked an army base in Kyiv but the assault was repelled, the Ukrainian military said in another Facebook posting.

Separately, the Interfax Ukraine agency said Russian soldiers were trying to capture one of the city’s electricity generating stations.

UN chief urges Russian soldiers to 'return to barracks'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on soldiers in Russia's war on Ukraine to "return to their barracks" Friday.

"We must never give up. We must give peace another chance," he told reporters after Moscow vetoed a UN resolution condemning its "aggression" in Ukraine.

Russia vetoes UN resolution

Ukraine's president says Russia will try to 'storm' Kyiv overnight

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday before dawn that Russian troops would attempt to take the capital city Kyiv during the night.

"Special attention on Kyiv - we cannot lose the capital," Zelensky said in a video address released by the presidency. "Tonight they will attempt a storm" of the capital, he added in an apparent reference to Kyiv.

Ukraine requests emergency IMF funding

Ukraine has requested additional aid from the IMF following the Russian attack, the fund's leader Kristalina Georgieva said Friday.

The crisis lender has an existing $2.2 billion aid program with Kyiv and "the authorities have also requested IMF emergency financing," Georgieva said in a statement.

The fund's board met to discuss the situation in the country and the IMF chief pledged to continue "to support Ukraine in every way we can."

The existing loan program was due to end in June, but Georgieva said the institution "has a number of instruments in its toolkit" to provide aid.

Canada sanctions Putin, supports barring Russia from SWIFT

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday sanctions against Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over its attack on Ukraine, and expressed support for barring Russia from SWIFT.

"We will be imposing sanctions on President Putin and his fellow architects of this barbaric war, his chief of staff and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov," Trudeau told a news conference.

"These men bear the greatest responsibility for the death and destruction occurring in Ukraine."

Trudeau also expressed "Canada's support to remove Russia from the SWIFT payment system, a critical part of the global banking system."

And he said Belarus too would be sanctioned "for abetting President Putin's attack of a free and sovereign nation."

The Russian military attacked Ukraine's capital on Friday. Here's what we know about the scope of the strikes and ground fighting.

US to impose sanctions on Putin, Lavrov

The White House on Friday said the United States would impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as Washington looks to ramp up pressure on Moscow following Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The rare but not unprecedented US move to impose sanctions on a head of state would come just a day after Russian forces attacked Ukraine, assaulting by land, sea and air in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the decision to target Putin, Lavrov and other officials was made after US President Joe Biden had a phone call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

US dismisses Russia's offer of Ukraine talks

The United States on Friday dismissed Russia's offer of talks with Ukraine, and called on Moscow to show its commitment to diplomacy by withdrawing troops from the country.

After attacking Ukraine, "now we see Moscow suggesting diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun. This is not real diplomacy," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The Kremlin said earlier Friday that President Vladimir Putin was ready to send a delegation to the Belarus capital Minsk for talks with Ukraine, as Russian forces approached Kyiv on the second day of Moscow's attack.

UK freezes Putin, Lavrov assets

The UK government on Friday ordered all assets of President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov frozen over Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The Treasury issued a financial sanctions notice against the two men, adding them to a list of Russian oligarchs who have already had their property and bank accounts in the UK frozen.