Key Ukrainian City Under ‘Massive’ Russian Bombardment

“Massive” Russian bombardment of Ukraine’s battleground eastern Lugansk region and key city Severodonetsk has been “hell” for soldiers there, Kyiv said, while insisting that defenders would hold “as long as necessary.” Moscow’s troops have been pummeling eastern Ukraine for weeks and are slowly advancing, despite fierce resistance from the outgunned Ukrainian military.  With President Vladimir…

IKEA to Close Russian Stores – Vedomosti

Home retail giant IKEA is moving to close its stores in Russia nearly four months into the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the Vedomosti daily reported Wednesday. IKEA has notified landlords at 10 Moscow shopping malls that it will terminate its lease agreements before they expire, the newspaper cited commercial real estate sources as saying.  Three…

Moscow Vows ‘Serious Consequences’ for Lithuania Over Kaliningrad Rail Ban

Russia’s response to Lithuania’s rail blockade of its exclave Kaliningrad will carry “serious negative consequences” for the Baltic country’s citizens, Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev said Tuesday.  European Union member Lithuania banned the rail transit of sanctioned Russian goods through its territory on Saturday, enforcing an earlier decision made by the bloc. The move…

In Photos: Ukrainian Medics on the Frontlines

Ukraine on Sunday celebrated Healthcare Workers Day, which was established by the U.S.S.R. in 1980, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. In a video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated nurses who “have literally been on the frontlines since Feb. 24” and called them an example of “extraordinary heroism.” During the four months of Russia’s offensive, these medical…

Russia Adds Ukraine Separatist Recognition to School Curriculums

Russian high schools will start teaching students about the Kremlin’s recognition of eastern Ukraine’s breakaway republics as independent states in the upcoming academic year, according to a course outline published on the federal Institute for Education Development Strategy website. In a break with the international community, President Vladimir Putin formally recognized the independence of the…

Russia Threatens To Retaliate as Lithuania Bans Rail Transit to Kaliningrad

Russia on Monday demanded the immediate lifting of Lithuania’s “openly hostile” restrictions on the rail transit of EU-sanctioned goods to Moscow’s exclave of Kaliningrad that borders Lithuania and Poland. Moscow accused the Baltic nation of banning the rail transit of goods subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union over Russia’s miliary campaign in Ukraine.…

Russia to Expand High-Tech Surveillance to Ukraine Border Areas – Kommersant

Russia plans to expand its high-tech surveillance program to areas near Ukraine amid a spate of cross-border attacks during Moscow’s nearly four-month invasion, the Kommersant daily reported Monday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the project. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry plans to deploy the “Safe City” program in annexed Crimea, as well as the Krasnodar, Voronezh and…

Putin Slams Western ‘Economic Blitzkrieg’ at Muted Economic Showcase

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the West’s “economic blitzkrieg” and vowed that Russia would withstand sanctions levied over its invasion of Ukraine in his address at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) Friday. After starting nearly two hours late due to alleged cyberattacks, the Russian president delivered an impassioned speech that scorned the U.S.-led…

Russia Launches Tourist Route to Putin’s Vacation Spots

Russian tourism authorities have developed a new tourist route that will take travelers to some of President Vladimir Putin’s holiday destinations as the country’s invasion of Ukraine has limited Russians’ international travel options.  The Russian president is known for taking well-publicized vacations in the Siberian taiga, where he is photographed performing various outdoor exploits in…

Russian Senator Denies Automatic Citizenship for Babies in Occupied Ukraine

This story has been recast to add the denial from Moscow. A Russian senator has denied that children born in Moscow-occupied Ukraine will automatically receive Russian passports. Officials in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions’ pro-Moscow military-civilian administrations had claimed earlier Thursday that babies born there after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine would automatically be given Russian citizenship. “There…

‘It’s Our Way to Protest’: Anti-War Russians Volunteer to Help Ukrainian Refugees

Networks of anti-war volunteers are among those helping more than a million Ukrainian refugees inside Russia despite difficulties with gaining access to temporary accommodation centers and a risk of criminal prosecution.  After leaving war-torn eastern Ukraine, many refugees are not only traumatized, but find themselves trapped in Russia without money, documents or even clothes.  “It’s…

Russia Blacklists 121 Australians, Including Defense Officials and Journalists

Russia’s Foreign Ministry placed sanctions on 121 Australian citizens Thursday, accusing them of promoting a “Russophobic agenda.”  The list of sanctioned individuals include politicians and journalists, such as Defense Force Chief General Angus Campbell, Chief of Air Force Mel Hupfeld, and Chief of Navy Michael Noonan, as well as journalists from Australia’s ABC News and…

China Vows Support for Russia, Drawing U.S. Ire

President Xi Jinping on Wednesday assured Vladimir Putin of China’s support on Russian “sovereignty and security” — leading Washington to warn Beijing it risked ending up “on the wrong side of history.” China has refused to condemn Moscow’s massive military assault on Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by blasting…

U.S. Announces $1Bln More in Arms for Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden announced $1 billion worth of new arms for Ukraine Wednesday as Pentagon officials defended the pace and quality of supplies as meeting Kyiv’s battlefield needs. Ukrainian troops shelled Russian targets on the frontlines in the eastern Donbas region with newly arrived French Caesar howitzers, as Ukraine officials met in Brussels with…

Chechen Authorities Using Threats and Blackmail to Recruit Soldiers for Ukraine — Investigation

Authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya are forcing local men to join “volunteer” battalions for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, investigative news outlet The Insider reported Wednesday.  Soldiers have reported the use of intimidation, blackmail, or threats of torture and kidnapping against their loved ones, according to The Insider’s sources. While the exact number of…

Taliban, Separatists and Lukashenko: Russia Kicks Off Diminished St. Petersburg Forum

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s annual showcase event for foreign investors, opened Wednesday amid a reduced participant list, increased secrecy and boycotts by some Western governments.  As the war in Ukraine has sent the Russian economy spinning toward recession and deepened Moscow’s international isolation, SPIEF – once dubbed “Russia’s Davos” – looked…

Xi Tells Putin China Will Keep Backing Russia on ‘Sovereignty, Security’

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a call Wednesday that Beijing would keep backing Moscow on “sovereignty and security,” according to state media. China is “willing to continue to offer mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” Chinese state broadcaster…