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Canada says it plans to launch an investigation into an Aeroflot flight from Miami to Moscow that entered Canadian airspace Sunday — violating a ban on all Russian flights due to the ongoing invasion in Ukraine.
“We are aware that Aeroflot flight 111 violated the prohibition put in place earlier today on Russian flights using Canadian airspace. We are launching a review of the conduct of Aeroflot and the independent air navigation service provider, NAVCAN, leading up to this violation. We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations,” Transport Canada said Sunday on Twitter.
Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said earlier Sunday that the country's airspace was closed to all Russian aircraft operators. "We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” he said in a tweet.
CNN has reached out to Transport Canada and Aeroflot for additional details.
Russia's unprovoked assault on Ukraine has faced universal condemnation from Western powers. But putting troops on the ground in Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, is a line that the US and other Western allies have not been willing to cross.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN on Sunday that the Biden administration "has made clear" the US will not "put boots on the ground."
Here are some factors behind that decision:
- It could touch off a global war: As President Joe Biden told NBC News earlier this month, "That's a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another." Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a national security and military analyst for CNN, said on Sunday that while the Russian invasion was devastating, "it is still a regional conflict," that could spiral into a multinational one if the US or NATO sent troops into the country.
- What about troops in Europe? While the US has thousands of troops across Europe, they are not there to fight the Russians — rather, to defend and reassure NATO allies, Biden said on Thursday.
- When could the US get involved? Ukraine borders the NATO member countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. If Russia threatened one of these countries, the US — along with France, Germany, the UK and the rest of the 30-member NATO alliance — would be required by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to respond.
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Sunday, adding that Brazil would "adopt a neutral stance on Ukraine" and will not impose sanctions on Russia.
Speaking at a news conference while on vacation, Bolsonaro said Ukrainians had "trusted a comedian with the fate of a nation" — referring to Zelensky's former career as an actor and comedian.
He also pointed out that Brazil is dependent on Russian fertilizer, and that action against Moscow "could bring serious harm to agriculture in Brazil." He added that he was in support of peace — "but we don't want to bring more problems to Brazil."
When questioned about a possible massacre in Ukraine, Bolsonaro said it was "an exaggeration to speak of massacre," and defended Russia’s move to recognize the pro-Moscow separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine as independent.
Bolsonaro met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a visit to Moscow on Feb. 16.
The Brazilian President's comments Sunday came after the United Nations Security Council voted by majority to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss Russia's invasion. Brazil voted in favor of holding the meeting while Russia voted against it. India, China and the UAE abstained.
US President Joe Biden will hold a call with US allies on Monday morning to discuss the situation in Ukraine and their coordinated response, according to the White House.
The call will take place at 11:15 a.m. E.T.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his G7 counterparts “underscored” the “unified response to Russia’s invasion,” in a call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, according to a State Department readout.
Google will no longer allow Russian state media outlets to run ads, following a similar decision on Saturday by the tech giant's video subsidiary, YouTube.
“In response to the war in Ukraine, we are pausing Google monetization of Russian state-funded media across our platforms," Google said in a statement. "We’re actively monitoring new developments and will take further steps if necessary.”
The announcement marks the latest blow to Russia-linked media amid a wave of criticism directed at Big Tech platforms in the past week for allowing monetization to continue despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
On Friday, Meta, Facebook's parent, said it would suspend Russian state media's ability to run ads and monetize them on its platforms.
The stage is set for a meeting between Russia and Ukraine Monday on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River.
Is this a diplomatic breakthrough or a political sideshow while Russia continues its offensive in Ukraine?
Let's be clear what this isn't: The meeting is not a summit between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Instead, it's a meeting between delegations from both sides. Zelensky's office said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called the Ukrainian President Sunday and offered safety guarantees, saying Lukashenko had "taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on the Belarusian territory will remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation's travel, meeting and return."
But can Ukraine accept any guarantees from Lukashenko? This is the same leader whose authorities forced down a Ryanair flight over Belarusian airspace last year, alleging a "security alert," and arrested a young Belarusian dissident, prompting international outcry.
Monday's planned meeting follows a flurry of statements from the Kremlin, which claimed earlier the Ukrainian side had countered Russia's proposal to meet in Belarus with a proposal to meet in Warsaw and then dropped contact. Zelensky's office denied claims they refused to negotiate.
What the meeting might produce: Zelensky himself on Sunday set low expectations for the meeting, and it is tempting to guess that the meeting on the border will yield little. But it does offer Putin at least some potential room for an exit from the war in Ukraine, if his troops continue to encounter battlefield setbacks against Ukrainian forces.
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US first lady Jill Biden expressed concern for the mental health of those anxious about the conflict in Ukraine on Sunday.
“I imagine many of us are feeling the weight of what is happening in Ukraine over recent days,” she said in a series of tweets. “Parents are sitting in front of the television with their children, explaining reports from thousands of miles away. Teachers are standing in front of classrooms, answering questions of ‘why’ and ‘what is going to happen next?’"
She encouraged people to reach out for help, and added that she and US President Joe Biden were praying for "the brave and proud people of Ukraine."
"Our hearts are with our troops and our military families, including those who are stationed throughout Europe demonstrating solidarity with our Allies. We are profoundly grateful for your service," she wrote.
Google Maps has blocked two features in Ukraine that provide information to users in real time, the company confirmed to CNN on Sunday.
The disabled features include Google Maps' live traffic overlay — a feature some researchers have used to monitor the conflict from afar — as well as Live Busyness, a feature that displays how popular a location may be at a given time.
Google made the change in an effort to help keep Ukrainians safe and after consultations with local officials, the company said.
Traffic updates are still available in Ukraine while using Google Maps' navigation mode, Google said.