February 24, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya, Rob Picheta, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Ed Upright, Maureen Chowdhury and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 8:06 a.m. ET, February 25, 2022
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10:14 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

7 dead in Russian missile strike near Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities say

From Tim Lister in Kyiv

Ukrainian authorities say seven people have been killed and 17 wounded in a missile attack on a military area northeast of the capital of Kyiv.

The mayor of the city of Brovary, Ihor Sapozhko, said the attack occurred at 2:30 p.m. local time. Brovary has a Ukrainian Special Forces base.

It was one of several Russian strikes close to Kyiv on Thursday.

 

10:13 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Germany will extend support of NATO air policing in Romania

From CNN’s Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Christine Lambrecht (SPD), Federal Minister of Defense, speaks to media representatives after the special session of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, Berlin, Germany on February 24.
Christine Lambrecht (SPD), Federal Minister of Defense, speaks to media representatives after the special session of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, Berlin, Germany on February 24. (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Germany is ready to extend and expand its support of NATO's air policing mission in Romania and also to comply with further requests from the alliance, the German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced Thursday.

"I have given (an) order to expand and extend our engagement in the air policing in Romania," Lambrecht told reporters after briefing Germany's parliament defense committee.

Lambrecht added that Germany was also prepared to comply with further NATO requests.

Earlier today, he said in a statement, ''Russia's attack on Ukraine is a drastic breach of international law,'' adding, '' Putin alone is responsible for the terrible suffering that is associated with it.''

Earlier this month, Germany sent three combat aircraft to participate in the NATO mission to protect Romanian airspace. Germany also recently deployed 350 more troops to Lithuania as part of its NATO engagement in addition to its 550 troops which are part of the German-led NATO combat unit.

10:14 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Biden will deliver remarks at 12:30 p.m. ET on Russia's attack on Ukraine

From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden will address the nation with an update on Ukraine at 12:30 p.m. ET, the White House announced in an update to its schedule.

Biden, the White House said, “will deliver remarks on Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine.”

Biden is expected to unveil new measures that could cut off Russia from advanced technology, announce new restrictions on large financial institutions and slap sanctions on additional members of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The planned sanctions, the latest US reprisals against Moscow this week, had been reserved as Biden hoped to maintain some leverage in dissuading Putin from a full-scale invasion. 

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post.

10:00 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Russia has surrounded Ukraine from three sides

From CNN's Henrik Pettersson

As locations across Ukraine come under Russian military assault, here's a look at the locations of Russian troops:

Russia has surrounded Ukraine from three sides
Russia has surrounded Ukraine from three sides CNN's Henrik Pettersson
9:56 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

The G7 meeting has started

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The G7 Leaders’ meeting started at 9:17 a.m. ET, a White House official says. 

“President Biden and Leaders are discussing their joint response to President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” the official added. 

A number of national security officials arrived at the White House this morning ahead of Biden’s participation in the virtual meeting.

10:00 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Here’s what you need to about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and how the events have unfolded so far

Smoke rises from an air defense base in Mariupol, Ukraine, on February 24.
Smoke rises from an air defense base in Mariupol, Ukraine, on February 24. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

After a speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing a military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, Russia launched a large-scale invasion on Ukraine at about 5 a.m. local time. 

What happened overnight

CNN teams heard explosions in and near multiple Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, the second-largest city Kharkiv, Odessa, and distant firing from Zaporizhzhia. Images released by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office showed large explosions to the east of the capital Kyiv with huge columns of smoke rising into the air.

Ukrainian officials said more than 40 soldiers and as many as 10 civilians had been killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began shortly before dawn.

Response

Zelensky moved to enact martial law in his country.

"Putin began war against Ukraine, against the entire democratic world. He wants to destroy my country, our country, everything we've been building, everything we are living for," he said in a Facebook message. 

The European Union, United States, United Kingdom and a slew of other countries have condemned the attacks, promising to impose more sanctions on Russia.

US President Joe Biden is expected to spell out a raft of sanctions later Thursday in an address. 

The Russian military released a statement Thursday claiming it was not targeting Ukrainian cities, saying "the civilian population is not at risk."

On the ground

CNN reporters on the ground have witnessed rockets appearing to be launched from Russia to Ukraine, military vehicles headed to the country and families crowded in a subway station for shelter.

Russian airborne troops have taken control of the Antonov Airport, which is about 25 miles away from the center of Kyiv, Ukraine, according to CNN's Matthew Chance.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry confirmed that one Russian helicopter and three other unknown helicopters were downed in the Kyiv region.

In Kyiv and Lviv, air raid sirens have been sounded.

CNN teams across Ukraine and Russia contributed to this report.

9:47 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Ukrainian targets have been impacted by more than 80 strikes, per UK defense ministry

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Lindsay Isaac in London

Many Ukrainian locations have been impacted by Russia with a series of missile attacks against locations near the capital Kyiv, as well as the use of long-range artillery.

More than 80 strikes have been carried out against Ukrainian targets, according to latest UK intelligence.

The UK Ministry of Defense provided an intelligence update via Twitter on Thursday, condemning Russia's further violation of "Ukrainian sovereignty."

"More than 80 strikes have been carried against Ukrainian targets," the defense ministry said. Russian ground forces are "advancing across the border" across "at least three axes from North and NE, East, and South from Crimea," the defense ministry added.
10:42 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

The EU is undecided on whether to cut Russia from a vital global payment network

From CNN's Luke McGee

As Western allies work on their coordinated response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there appears to be a real possibility that the European Union might take the controversial step of cutting Russia off from SWIFT, a high-security payment network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.

Removing Russia from SWIFT would make it almost impossible for financial institutions to send money in or out of the country. This would seriously impact Russian businesses with foreign customers and could do real damage to the country's economy.

However, EU nations are split on whether to take this step or not. Senior EU sources have told CNN that there is a divide in the member states between countries like Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who want SWIFT as part of the sanctions package that will be announced later today, and the likes of Germany, Italy, Hungary and Cyprus, who have stronger economic ties to Russia and do not want SWIFT included in the new sanctions.

A senior EU diplomat said “there is a conversation happening” but believes it is “likely” the economic interests will win the argument and Brussels will not cut Russia from SWIFT.

9:43 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

On the ground: In Lviv, Ukraine, air raid sirens have sounded for the first time since World War II 

From CNN’s Tamara Qiblawi and Mohammed Tawfeeq in Lviv, Ukraine 

People wait in line at a gas station in Lviv, Ukraine, on February 24.
People wait in line at a gas station in Lviv, Ukraine, on February 24. (Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday morning, air raid sirens sounded in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv for the first time — outside of regular drills — since World War II. Like clockwork, the picturesque city transformed from a tourist hotspot to a place preparing for war.

Even as TV screens flashed warnings of an imminent attack on the country in recent days, tour groups continued to flock the city’s cobblestoned streets, where dazzling baroque-style architecture stretches for miles. Diplomatic missions and international groups fled to the relative safety of Lviv from the capital Kyiv shortly after.

But that bubble burst when Russia attacked three locations — military facilities — in the Lviv region on Thursday morning.

"It was very tough this morning," Lviv Deputy Mayor Andriy Moskalenko told CNN on Thursday morning. "This morning, we had sirens and it was a sign for people to move to underground shelters ... the explosions were far away from the city."

Most shops in the city were shuttered. Long queues extended outside the few open stores— pharmacies, supermarkets, and even pet stores. The wait is over two hours long at most petrol pumps, or gas stations, where fuel is being rationed in an attempt to prevent fuel shortages.

Svetlana Locotova lets out a hearty laugh from a long queue outside a cash machine. She’s on the phone with her relatives in the heavily shelled eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where many of the city's inhabitants are taking cover in the city’s subway station.

Next to her is her 12-year-old daughter, Margarita. Speaking to CNN, but also — it would seem — to her daughter, who nervously forces a smile, she says cheerily, “It’s totally normal that this would happen. I expected this queue. This is just how people react."

She and Margarita have just returned from a shooting range — a common pastime here lately. “We’re confident, but we’re preparing for the worst,” she says.

People here go about the day with a sense of defiance, even as the city seems transformed. “Ukraine is no stranger to war” is the common refrain. The change in mood is almost imperceptible. Many still exchange smiles and jokes, even as they speak about preparing their homes to receive relatives from the significantly harder-hit east of the country.

“Ukrainian society got used to war, not at this scale of course. But we’re used to it,” says Lviv-based Maria Toma, an official at the Mission for Russian-occupied Crimea at the Ukrainian president’s office.

“What I would like to see is [Russian President Vladimir Putin] at The Hague in court,” says Toma. “I believe he will be convicted as a war criminal.”