February 24, 2024 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Chris Lau, Andrew Raine, Sophie Tanno and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 0510 GMT (1310 HKT) February 25, 2024
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2:30 p.m. ET, February 24, 2024

Russia enters its third year of war in Ukraine with an unprecedented amount of cash

From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh and Florence Davey-Attlee

Russia is entering its third year of war in Ukraine with an unprecedented amount of cash in government coffers, bolstered by a record $37 billion of crude oil sales to India last year — over 13 times its pre-war amounts, according to the analysis by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), exclusively shared with CNN.

Some of the crude is refined into oil products at refineries on India’s western coast, and then exported to the US and other countries signed up to sanctions on Russian oil. Products refined outside of Russia are not covered by sanctions, an omission critics call a “refinery loophole.”

The analysis by the CREA estimated the US was the biggest buyer of refined products from India made from Russian crude last year, worth $1.3 billion between early December 2022 and the end of 2023. The organization’s estimates are based on publicly available shipping and energy data.

Russia’s federal revenues ballooned to a record $320 billion in 2023 and are set to rise further still. Roughly a third of the money was spent on the war in Ukraine last year, according to some analysts, and a greater proportion still is set to finance the conflict in 2024.

India has justified its purchases from Russia as a means of keeping global prices lower as it’s not competing with Western nations for Middle Eastern oil. India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri told CNBC last week: “If we start buying more of the Middle Eastern oil, the oil price will not be at $75 or $76. It will be $150.”

Read more.

2:30 p.m. ET, February 24, 2024

Europe is facing difficult questions as Ukraine marks 2 years of Russia’s invasion

Analysis by CNN's Luke McGee

As the world prepares to mark the second anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion Saturday, Europe must ask itself some searching questions about the war that unexpectedly erupted on its borders – and how it will approach the next 12 months.

Arguably most important among those questions: How long can it practically sustain such draining financial support for Ukraine?

That thought is not new, but is increasingly echoed privately in some corners of officialdom. It also reflects several current grim truths.

No serious Western voices want to abandon Kyiv, but it’s undeniable that fatigue is setting in as the bills grow.

Earlier this month, European Union leaders agreed to a $54 billion package for Ukraine between now and 2027. The United Kingdom, arguably the major security player in the region, has also pledged more than $15 billion to Ukraine since 2022. For context, according to the Kiel Institute the US has spent $66 billion, with another $60 billion in the pipeline.

While the West’s resounding support for Ukraine since 2022 has surprised many in the diplomatic world, the longer the war drags on, the more the fatigue grows.

Read more.

2:29 p.m. ET, February 24, 2024

2 years after the war began, Kherson residents report worst Russian shelling yet

From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Anna-Maja Rappard, Kosta Gak and Brice Laine

A view of a shelled building in Kherson, Ukraine, on January 19.
A view of a shelled building in Kherson, Ukraine, on January 19. Wojciech Grzedzinski/Anadolu/Getty Images

Two years ago, Kherson became the first major Ukrainian city to fall, as Russian forces swept in from Crimea. It was liberated by Kyiv’s forces nine months later.

Yet, as the war enters its third year, Kherson feels as if it is under remote occupation. Its residents describe the shelling from Russian forces under a mile away across the Dnipro River as the worst yet.

Drones and artillery pound the city at a remarkable frequency, suggesting Russian forces are not burdened with the same ammunition shortages that Ukrainian troops say they face.

And despite the icy Dnipro lying between Ukrainian forces and a Russian assault, freshly dug trenches line parts of the riverside.

Read more about how Russia's invasion has changed Kherson.