The latest on the Ukraine-Russia crisis

By Helen Regan, Brad Lendon, Rob Picheta, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0629 GMT (1429 HKT) February 22, 2022
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11:03 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

US Secretary of State Blinken has not yet canceled meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not canceled his meeting on Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov as of Monday evening, two US State Department officials told CNN -- although top officials have been discussing that decision throughout the day. 

Biden administration officials said they are going to watch what Russia does closely overnight and prepare a significant response on Tuesday.

Part of that response could include a decision about the meeting in Geneva, because the US has already said that it will not happen if Russia further invades Ukraine.

Some context: Russia said earlier Monday it was sending in “peacekeepers” to the Donbas region after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of pro-Moscow regions in Ukraine as independent. US officials believe Russia is still seeking and planning a full invasion of Ukraine. 

The State Department said Monday evening that Russia would have to change its course for diplomacy to be successful.

“As we have said, we are committed to finding a diplomatic resolution that avoids a brutal and costly conflict, but diplomacy cannot succeed unless Russia changes course," said a State Department spokesperson, adding that Putin's actions in Monday “constitute a major escalation."
11:32 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

India calls for "constructive diplomacy" and "restraint" at emergency UN meeting

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi


India called for “restraint on all sides” at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday, saying “constructive diplomacy is the need of the hour" as tensions escalate between Ukraine and Russia.

India's permanent representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti, said India was “closely following the evolving developments" at the meeting in New York.

“The escalation of tensions along the border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation is a matter of deep concern. These developments have the potential to undermine peace and security of the region," Tirumurti said.
"We strongly emphasize the vital need for all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint and intensifying diplomatic efforts to ensure that a mutually amicable solution is arrived at the earliest."

He added that space needed to be given “to recent initiatives undertaken by parties which seek to diffuse tensions.” Notably, Tirumurti did not reference Ukraine's sovereignty, and his comments stopped short of outright condemnation of Russian actions.

Evacuation order for Indians: The safety of the 20,000 Indian students and nationals living and studying in Ukraine “is of priority to us," Tirumurti said.

The Indian government on Monday announced that families of Indian Embassy officials stationed in Ukraine have been asked to "move back to India," according to a source familiar with the matter inside the Ministry of External Affairs. 

The first of three Air India flights scheduled this week between Ukraine and India departs on Tuesday.

11:06 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

Japan condemns Russia's recognition of pro-Moscow regions in Ukraine

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Tuesday condemned Russia's recognition of two pro-Moscow regions in eastern Ukraine, and said Tokyo plans to coordinate with other nations on sanctions against Moscow.

"Our country will monitor the situation with grave concern and coordinate with the G7 and international community on strict responses, which includes sanctions," Hayashi told reporters at a news conference.

Also on Tuesday, the Japanese Embassy in Ukraine issued a statement on its website urging Japanese nationals in the country to evacuate immediately.

G7 summit: Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will attend an online summit of the G7 nations — hosted by Germany — on Thursday to discuss Ukraine, according to Japan's chief cabinet secretary Matsuno Hirokazu.

10:29 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

China ambassador to the UN calls for "a diplomatic solution" in terse statement


China released a terse statement at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, with the Chinese ambassador to the UN saying "all parties concerned must exercise restraint and avoid any action that may fuel tensions."

"We welcome and encourage every effort for and call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and consultation and seek reasonable solutions to address each other's concerns, on the basis of equality and mutual respect," said Zhang Jun in a statement that was significantly shorter than those of the council's major powers. 

"The current situation in Ukraine is the result of many complex factors. China always makes its own position according to the merits of the matter itself. We believe that all countries should solve international disputes by peaceful means in line with the purposes and principles of the UN charter," he said. 

A difficult position: The crisis in Ukraine has put China in a tough spot, as it tries to balance its friendship with Russia with its practiced foreign policy of staunchly defending state sovereignty.

US response: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the Ukraine-Russia situation, said a statement released by the State Department. "The Secretary underscored the need to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," the statement said.

10:06 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

UK will announce new sanctions against Russia, says ambassador to the UN

From CNN’s Mirna Alsharif


The United Kingdom will announce new sanctions on Russia as a result of its decision to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk and send military forces into Ukraine, said Barbara Woodward, permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the UN.

"There will be severe economic consequences to its actions," said Woodward at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Monday night. 

Woodward said Russia's actions "will have severe and far-reaching consequences" to human life, to the sovereignty of Ukraine, and to international law. 

"The council must be united in calling on Russia to de-escalate immediately, in condemning aggression against a sovereign nation and defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine," said Woodward. "Russia has brought us to the brink, we urge Russia to step back.”

10:00 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

China’s embassy in Ukraine warns Chinese nationals to avoid “unstable” regions

From CNN's Lizzy Yee and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong, and CNN's Beijing bureau

China’s embassy in Ukraine has warned Chinese nationals and businesses in Ukraine to avoid “unstable” regions and to stock up on daily necessities such as food and water.

"At present, the situation in eastern Ukraine is undergoing major changes," the Chinese Embassy said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.
“The Chinese Embassy in Ukraine reminds Chinese citizens and Chinese-funded enterprises in Ukraine to pay attention to the safety notices issued locally and do not go to unstable regions."

The embassy also advised Chinese citizens to “take precautions and reserve some daily necessities, such as food and water, in due course,” according to its statement. 

In the statement, the embassy did not give any advice on whether Chinese nationals and businesses should consider leaving Ukraine. 

The Russia-China relationship: China is navigating a complex position as it attempts to balance a robust friendship with Russia with its practiced foreign policy of staunchly defending state sovereignty.

On Feb. 14, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the embassy in Ukraine is “working normally” and continues to provide consular protection and assistance to Chinese citizens and enterprises in Ukraine.

9:52 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

US ambassador to UN says Russia has taken the exact actions US predicted

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said on Monday that Russia has taken the exact actions that the US predicted, and that the US does not believe that Russian President Putin Vladimir will stop now.

“The sequence of events that Secretary (Antony) Blinken spelled out for this council last Thursday appear to be proceeding exactly as he predicted. Today President Putin has torn the Minsk agreement to shreds," said Thomas-Greenfield at a last-minute UN Security Council meeting.
"We have been clear that we do not believe he will stop it, that in light of President Putin's latest actions, we must all stand up for the principles upon which this organization was founded."

US response: Tomorrow, the US will take further measures to hold Russia accountable for this “clear violation of international law," Thomas-Greenfield said. She added there must be "swift and severe consequences" for an attack on Ukraine from the international community.

9:50 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

US ambassador to UN: Russia's recognition of pro-Moscow regions in Ukraine is "pretext for a further invasion"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

(Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
(Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

The US ambassador to the UN said Russian President Vladimir Putin's recognition of separatist regions in Ukraine was an “attempt to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.” The ambassador spoke at a last-minute UN Security Council meeting Monday evening.

Putin's claim that Russian forces entering those regions are “peacekeepers” is “nonsense," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, adding, “We know what they really are."

She added that Putin’s actions on Monday has “put before the world a choice.” 

“We must meet the moment, and we must not look away. History tells us that looking the other way in the face of such hostility will be a far more costly path,” she said. 

Thomas-Greenfield said there was no need to guess Putin’s motivations, noting that he “made a series of outrageous false claims about Ukraine, aimed at creating a pretext for war, and immediately thereafter announced Russian troops are entering the Donbas.”

She said his claim that Ukraine is seeking nuclear weapons from the West is untrue, adding that the US and its allies have “no intention of supplying nuclear weapons to Ukraine and Ukraine doesn’t want them.”

“Then President Putin asserted that Russia today has a rightful claim to all territories, all territories from the Russian Empire, the same Russian empire from before the Soviet Union from over 100 years ago. That includes all of Ukraine. It includes Finland. It includes Belarus and Georgia and Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Lithuania. Latvia, and Estonia. It includes parts of Poland and Turkey,” Thomas-Greenfield said. 
“In essence, Putin wants the world to travel back in time, to time before the United Nations, to a time when empires ruled the world. But the rest of the world has moved forward. It is not 1919. It is 2022. The United Nations was founded on the principle of decolonization, not recolonization, and we believe the vast majority of UN member states and the UN Security Council are committed to moving forward not going back in time,” she said.
9:15 p.m. ET, February 21, 2022

Ukraine foreign minister: “Further Russian actions rely on how the world reacts”

In a tweet early Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said further actions by Russia will “rely on how the world reacts." He spoke ahead of his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“World capitals don’t sleep now, regardless of their time zones. The scope & timeline of sanctions are being finalized. Ukraine insists: further Russian actions rely on how the world reacts. Russia must be in no doubt that the world talks the talk and walks the walk on sanctions," said a tweet from Kuleba's verified account.

Call for sanctions: Kuleba plans to meet with Blinken in Washington on Tuesday, and will then head to New York on Wednesday to address the UN General Assembly, according to the official website of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry.

Kuleba also tweeted, “Taking into account the dynamics of the situation, I had another call with @SecBlinken ahead of our tomorrow’s meeting in Washington, DC. Key topic: sanctions. I underscored the need to impose tough sanctions on Russia in response to its illegal actions.”

US President Joe Biden plans to impose new sanctions on trade and financing in the two pro-Moscow territories in Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize as independent on Monday.