The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:
DETROIT — McDonald’s said Tuesday it is temporarily closing all of its 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The burger giant said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia. But in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempckinski said closing those stores is the right thing to do because McDonald’s can’t ignore the “needless human suffering in Ukraine.”
McDonald’s owns 84% of its Russian restaurants. In a recent financial filing, the company said Russia and Ukraine contributed 9% of the company’s revenue last year.
LONDON — Consumer goods conglomerate Unilever said Tuesday that it has suspended all imports and exports of its products into and out of Russia, and that it will not invest any further capital into the country.
The company condemned the war in Ukraine as “a brutal and senseless act by the Russian state” Tuesday. It said it will continue to supply everyday essential food and hygiene products that are made in Russia to people there, but will keep that under review.
Unilever, which owns hundreds of food and personal care brands including Hellmann’s and Dove, also said it has stopped business operations in Ukraine and will instead focus on helping its employees.
LONDON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy evoked British wartime leader Winston Churchill as he told the U.K. Parliament that his country would fight Russia’s invasion to the end in Ukraine’s cities, fields and riverbanks.
Zelenskyy told British lawmakers “we will not give up and we will not lose,” in a speech that evoked Churchill’s stirring “never surrender” speech during the darkest days of World War II.
Speaking by video from Ukraine to a packed House of Commons chamber, Zelenskyy urged Britain to increase sanctions on Russia and to recognize Russia as “a terrorist country.”
Tuesday’s address was the first time a foreign leader was allowed to speak in the House of Commons. Screens and simultaneous translation headsets were set up in the House of Commons so lawmakers could hear him.
PARIS — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss the response to Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Macron was briefing Blinken on his most recent round of conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is pressing ahead with the Ukraine invasion despite global condemnation and severe sanctions being imposed on his country.
The two men were also to discuss the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, which are nearing an end with conflicting signals about whether the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s atomic program can be salvaged.
Blinken arrived in Paris for a two-hour stop from a tour of the Baltic states, Moldova and Poland where he heard firsthand dire concerns about Russia’s actions from leaders.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch defense ministry says it is working with Germany to station Patriot surface-to-air missiles in Slovakia at the request of NATO.
Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said Tuesday that the Dutch ruling coalition agrees “in principle” to the deployment on the alliance’s eastern flank as a defensive measure.
Ollongren says that some 150-200 Dutch troops will head east with the missile system as soon as the Cabinet gives formal approval. The defense ministry said the missiles can take down airplanes, helicopters and cruise missiles up to an altitude of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles).
The Dutch military’s Patriot systems have previously seen service in both Gulf wars and were stationed in southern Turkey from 2013-2015 to intercept missiles from Syria.
Germany announced late last month that it planned to send Patriots to Slovakia.
BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Canada will prolong its military mission in Latvia in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine and plans to send more troops there soon.
Canada’s Operation Reassurance is conducting training and exercises alongside its NATO partners in Latvia to help deter Russia from launching an attack on any of the Baltic states or Poland.
“This mission was set to expire next year and in light of the situation in Europe, we decided to renew it ahead of schedule,” Trudeau said. He says 130 more Canadian personnel would join it in coming weeks.
Trudeau also defended Canada’s decision to supply lethal aid to Ukraine, including rocket launchers and hand grenades, despite some weapons shortfalls at home.
“All those weapons are much more useful right now and in the coming weeks, in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their lives than they would be in Canadian hands,” he said.
Speaking alongside Trudeau at the Adazi military base in Latvia, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that Spain is also set to send around 150 more troops to the Baltic state to bolster its presence there.
WASHINGTON — President Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. is “targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy” by banning imports of Russian oil, the latest sanction intended to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
“We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” he said in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
Biden’s announcement came amid rising pressure from Democrats and Republicans, and it reflects a willingness to accept the political risk of rising gas prices to economically retaliate against Russia.
“Defending freedom is going to cost,” Biden said. “It’s going to cost us as well in the United States.”
Although Biden has tried to work in concert with European allies, he acknowledged that many are not announcing a similar ban because they’re more reliant on Moscow for oil and gas.
“So we can take this step when others can not,” he said. “But we’re working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.”
LONDON — Britain is joining the United States in announcing a ban on imports of Russian oil.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says oil and oil products from Russia will be phased out by the end of the year. He said the transition period “will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports,” which account for 8% of U.K. demand.
Kwarteng said the U.K. would work with its other oil suppliers, including the U.S., the Netherlands and the Gulf states, to secure extra supplies.
President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine. It follows pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to U.S. and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission in the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion.
The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin had another phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he also spoke to Bennett on Tuesday and thanked him for his mediation.
Bennett visited Moscow for a meeting with Putin on Saturday, trying to help broker an end to the war with Ukraine. After meeting with Putin, Bennett spoke to Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron and also visited Berlin on Saturday for talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Bennett also spoke to Putin by phone on Sunday.
LONDON — Sports apparel and shoe company Adidas is the latest Western brand to halt its operations in Russia because of the Ukraine invasion.
The company said Tuesday that it has suspended the operations of its retail stores and e-commerce website in Russia until further notice, though it continues to pay its employees there.
Adidas, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, said it will make future business decisions and take action as needed, “prioritizing our employee’s safety and support.”
“As a company, we strongly condemn any form of violence and stand in solidarity with those calling for peace,” the company said in a statement.
It’s also donating 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to refugee and children’s charities and clothing to the Global Aid Network for people in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Last week, Adidas suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union. Nike has also shut its stores in Russia.
Sales in Russia account for only about 3% of Adidas’s total global revenue, according to company data.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s top intelligence official said Tuesday the U.S. believes Russia underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance before launching an invasion that has likely caused thousands of Russian casualties.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a congressional panel that U.S. officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin feels “aggrieved” by Russia’s failure to subdue Ukraine and that he perceives that he cannot afford to lose the war. But what Putin might consider a victory could change given the escalating costs of the conflict to Russia, Haines said.
Despite Putin’s announcement that he would raise Russia’s alert level for nuclear weapons, Haines said the U.S. has not observed unusual changes in Russia’s nuclear force posture.
Haines said it is “unclear at this stage” whether Russia will try to conquer all of Ukraine, something that would require more resources than Putin has committed.
HELSINKI — Flights from the eastern Finnish town of Savonlinna near the Russian border to the capital, Helsinki, have been temporarily suspended due to disruptions in GPS signal in eastern parts of the Nordic country, preventing pilots from landing safely.
Finnish communications authority Traficom confirmed Tuesday that GPS disruptions have been recorded in eastern Finland, but declined to comment on how long or how wide the disruptions were.
Transaviabaltika, a Lithuanian airline that operates on the Finnish domestic route with a small turboprop plane, said its pilots have tried landing several times at the Savonlinna airport since Sunday, but have been forced to turn back to Helsinki each time as the GPS signal was disrupted.
Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (833-mile) land border with Russia. The lakeside town of Savonlinna is a mere 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the border.
In late 2018, the Finnish government said the country’s GPS location signals were intentionally disrupted in the northern Lapland region and the country’s prime minister acknowledged that it was possible that Russia was the disrupting party.
At the same time, the Norwegian Defense Ministry said Russian forces in the Arctic disturbed GPS location signals during a large NATO drill in the country.
GENEVA — The international scientific laboratory that is home to the world’s largest atom smasher says it is suspending Russia’s observer status and halting any new collaboration with Russia or its institutions “until further notice.”
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, said its 23 member states — all European, plus Israel — condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is one of seven associate member states, and Russia, like the United States, Japan and the European Union, has had observer status.
The CERN council made the decisions about Russia at a special meeting on Tuesday and expressed its support “to the many members of CERN’s Russian scientific community who reject this invasion.”
CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator.
HELSINKI — Finland will donate 15 decommissioned ambulances and two fire trucks to Ukraine, and they are expected to be delivered in the country within a week, Finnish media outlets say.
Ten of the ambulances come from hospital districts across Finland and five from rescue services, Finnish public broadcaster YLE said Tuesday.
The ambulances have just recently been taken out of service, YLE said, quoting health and rescue officials. Decommissioned ambulances are usually sold, but now it was decided to donate them to Ukraine, YLE said.
Finland will also give humanitarian help to Moldova including a field kitchen, five large multi-purpose tents for emergency accomodation and two shower tents to be used by refugees from Ukraine.
A Danish ambulance services and patient transportation company Falck said last week that it donated 30 ambulances to Ukraine and neighboring countries. ___
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Latvian lawmaker has traveled to Ukraine to fight alongside Ukrainians, the Baltic country’s Justice Minister Janis Bordans said Tuesday.
Juris Jurass, who is the chairman of the Saeima assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee and a member of the same party as Bordans, “has volunteered to defend the territory of Ukraine and to fight against the invaders,” the justice minister said.
“He made the decision based on his private and moral principles,” Bordans told the Baltic News Service. He was not immediately available for comments.
On Twitter, Ukraine 4 Freedom, a volunteer project by students of international relations at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, wrote that he had joined a foreign legion unit for international volunteers.
MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Civilians in the besieged port of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine are anxiously waiting for news of evacuation efforts as they struggle to survive in a city where bodies have been left uncollected on the streets.
Since Saturday, Russian and Ukrainian authorities have committed to setting up evacuation routes but efforts have repeatedly collapsed amid more fighting along the route. Another effort was made Tuesday.
With water supplies cut, people have been collecting water from streams or melting snow. Power cuts mean that many residents have lost internet access and now rely on their car radios for information, picking up news from stations broadcast from areas controlled by Russian or Russian-backed separatist forces.
GENEVA — The International Committee for the Red Cross says it’s not involved in any evacuation of civilians from two Ukrainian cities and is emphasizing the strict rules under international law about the use of the red cross emblem in an armed conflict.
Videos have shown buses leaving northern Sumy and heading toward Mariupol in the southeast bearing a red cross on the side. It’s not clear who put them there.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the International Red Cross was “forbidding the use of its emblem on our cars,” without elaborating.
ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson said “we don’t forbid per se” but cited rules about use of protective emblems like the red cross. “In armed conflict, it may be used by medical staff and facilities, including army medics and vehicles. It may also be used by Red Cross and Red Crescent workers, vehicles, facilities, and the humanitarian relief they bring,” he said.
ICRC said it has no staffers in Sumy but has been working with Ukrainian and Russian authorities toward an agreement to help people leave Mariupol.
LONDON — Trading in nickel, much of it produced in Russia, was suspended Tuesday on the London Metal Exchange after prices doubled to an unprecedented $100,000 per metric ton.
Nickel is used mostly to produce stainless steel and some alloys, but increasingly it is used in batteries, particularly electric vehicle batteries.
Russia, facing severe economic sanctions after invading Ukraine, is the world’s third biggest nickel producer. The Russian mining company Nornickel is a major supplier of the high-grade nickel that is used in electric vehicles.
Nickel prices had quadrupled in a week over supply issues and the spike Tuesday forced the LME to shut down electronic and floor trading.
Trading in nickel will not resume Tuesday and the halt could last longer than that “given the geopolitical situation which underlies recent price moves,” the LME said Tuesday.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says it is willing to “do everything to put itself at the service” for peace in Ukraine.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is Pope Francis’ secretary of state, spoke by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday. In the call, Parolin “relayed the deep worry of Pope Francis for the war underway in Ukraine and reaffirmed what the pope said last Sunday,” Bruni said.
Francis had announced he was sending two cardinals to Ukraine this week to express Christian concern for the suffering and stress the pope’s oft-cited words that “war is madness.” Parolin also told Lavrov that the Holy See is willing to do everything to help bring about peace.
GENEVA — The U.N. human rights office says it has confirmed 474 civilian deaths in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.
The office said Tuesday that the number of confirmed civilian injuries now stands at 861.
The U.N. office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has been able to verify.
It acknowledges that the real figures are much higher, in part because intense fighting has delayed its receipt of information and many reports still have to be corroborated.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The U.K. delegation to the global chemical weapons watchdog says in a tweet that it and a group of supporters walked out of a meeting Tuesday in response to what the delegation called “unacceptable Russian falsehoods on Ukraine.”
It was not immediately clear what the Russian representative said at the behind-closed-doors meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ executive council to prompt the walkout.
The British delegation tweeted a photo of more than 50 people standing with two Ukrainian flags on the steps outside the OPCW’s headquarters in The Hague.
France’s ambassador, Luis Vassy, says in a tweet that the walkout by European Union nations and their supporters came as Russia’s representative “was denying basic facts about Ukraine” and other issues tackled by the OPCW.
In a written statement posted on the OPCW’s website, U.K. ambassador Joanna Roper urged the organization to be vigilant. “The UK remains concerned that Russia may use the pretext of chemical weapons to try to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine and we know only too well that Russia is also prepared to use chemical weapons against others,” she said.
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