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Russian representative interrupts moment of silence for Ukraine during UN Security Council meeting

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on the situation between Russia and Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., February 23, 2022.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba requested a minute of silence following the completion of his remarks before the United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

As Kuleba and other ministers rose to acknowledge the moment of silence, the permanent Russian representative to the United Nations interrupted to ask for the floor.

“We are rising to remember the memory of all lives lost,” Russia’s Vasily Nebenzya said in a brief statement before the international forum.

Nebenzya then rose to participate in the moment of silence.

— Amanda Macias

The Eiffel Tower lights up blue and yellow for one anniversary of war in Ukraine

France’s famed Eiffel Tower donned blue and yellow lights in solidarity for the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Sweden will send up to 10 Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Leopard 2 tanks destined for Ukraine delivery stand parked at the training ground in Augustdorf, western Germany on February 1, 2023, during a visit of the German Defence Minister of the Bundeswehr Tank Battalion 203, to learn about the performance of the Leopard 2 main battle tank.

Ina Fassbender | AFP | Getty Images

Sweden announced it plans to send as many as 10 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, joining a number of European allies including Poland and Germany who pledged to do so in recent weeks.

“Sweden is joining the ‘Leopard family’ in support of Ukraine, through Swedish Leopard 2 tanks,” a tweet from the Swedish prime minister’s official account read. “Today’s military package also includes further air defence components. We will continue to help Ukraine win the war.”

Kyiv received its first delivery of the powerful, German-made tanks on Friday from Poland, after months of requesting them.

The green-lighting of their delivery by their country of origin, Germany, took several months and prompted criticism of Berlin for what other Western partners said was reluctance to take more serious action.

Germany’s leadership stressed that it did not want to provoke Russia, but has since pledged tank deliveries to Ukraine and is urging allied countries to send their tanks to the country as well.

— Natasha Turak

France’s finance minister rejects attempts to ‘water down’ language in G-20 communique

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire hit out at attempts to soften the language of the G-20 communique during the meeting of the world’s top 20 economies in India.

India wants Russia’s war in Ukraine to be referred to as a “crisis” or “challenge,” and is trying to build a consensus toward a more neutral term than “war.” Western nations oppose this. The communique is meant to be issued Saturday night.

“There has been a very clear condemnation of the decision of Russia to attack Ukraine, during the G-20 in Bali, we should stick and we must stick to this statement,” Le Maire told CNBC, referring to the previous such summit in November of last year.

“The second reason why I strongly oppose any water down of this statement, is that things are not moving in the right direction. We have losses in Ukraine, we have destruction in Ukraine. Many countries are facing the very deep and strong consequences of the war on their growth and inflation, so it is not time to water down the communique, its time to stick to very strong wording,” he said.

“France, and I think all European countries, cannot accept any water down of the G-20 communique.”

— Natasha Turak

UK imposes export ban on every piece of equipment Russia is found using on the battlefield

The U.K. announced its latest export ban package on Russian goods, this time targeting every item of equipment Russia is known to be using in battle in Ukraine.

“Ukrainians are turning the tide on Russia but they cannot do it alone. That is why we must do more to help Ukraine win,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

“Today we are sanctioning the elites who run Putin’s key industries and committing to prohibit the export to Russia of every item Russia has been found using on the battlefield.”

The new sanctions target “aircraft parts, radio equipment and electronic components that can be used by the Russian military industrial complex,” the Guardian newspaper reported, citing the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

— Natasha Turak

U.S. Commerce Department announces new export restrictions to mark one-year anniversary of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Soldiers carry the coffins of fellow soldiers Roman Tsyganskyi, 34, at his funeral and that of Yuriy Gubyak, 37, at the Church of the Most Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on February 24, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images

The U.S. Commerce Department announced four new rules aimed at controlling exports to countries participating in Russia’s one-year old full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The rules were announced in conjunction with a historic tranche of over 200 sanctions released by the White House on the anniversary of the invasion.

Existing sanctions against Russian and Belarusian oil and gas production, commercial, industrial, chemical and biological industries are enhanced under the new rules. Iran has also been targeted with export control measures to limit the use of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles in Russian warfare.

The Commerce Department is also adding 86 global entities under 89 entries to its Entity List targeting those at risk for participating in weapons of mass destruction programs for actions supportive of Russia’s war effort. The rules will revise four existing entities under the destination of Russia.

“As our export controls continue to bite, Putin and his cronies will become more desperate in seeking the means to sustain this illegal war,” said Alan Estevez, undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security.

“Today’s package of rules shows that our commitment — and that of our allies — is not wavering, and that we will meet whatever Russia, Belarus, Iran, private firms, such as those from China, or anyone globally who seeks to support them can muster with strong, coordinated action.”  

— Chelsey Cox

U.S. unveils $2 billion in aid for Ukraine, sanctions and tariff hikes on Russia a year after invasion

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks ahead of the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, during an event outside the Royal Castle, in Warsaw, Poland, February 21, 2023.

Aleksandra Szmigiel | Reuters

The United States authorized $2 billion in aid to Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion Friday, and ramped up sanctions and tariffs on Moscow as it tries to bolster Kyiv’s war effort.

The weapons package announced by the Defense Department includes funding for contracts for HIMARS rockets, drones and counter-drone equipment, mine-clearing devices, 155-millimeter artillery ammunition and secure lines of communication.

President Joe Biden met virtually with leaders of the G-7 and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday morning to mark the occasion, one year after the group first met to discuss aid.

The Biden administration also announced it would sanction more than 200 individuals and entities tied to the Russian war effort, including by targeting the country’s metals and mining sector. The U.S. also said it would ramp up its export controls on Russian goods and increase tariffs on Russian products like metals and minerals.

— Emma Kinery

Poland delivers first Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

A Leopard 2 A6 heavy battle tank.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Poland delivered its first Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the country’s President Andrzej Duda announced, roughly one month after Germany’s government agreed to allow the German-made tanks to be sent by allied countries to Ukraine’s front lines.

Duda said he was happy that the first of the advanced and powerful tanks going to Ukraine were coming from Poland, which has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies since the war began.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that “the prime minister couldn’t be here, he went to Kyiv to bring Leopard tanks which are the first batch delivered to Ukraine.”

In a tweet, Polish government spokesperson Piotr Müller also confirmed the delivery of the Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Poland has pledged to send 14 tanks to its embattled neighbor; it is not clear how many were delivered on Friday.

— Natasha Turak

White House and Treasury Department sanction over 250 entities on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during her visit at the Microsoft India Development Center in Noida at Uttar Pradesh India on November 11, 2022.

Imtiyaz Khan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Treasury Department has issued sanctions against 22 individuals and 83 entities and has targeted the metals and mining sector of the Russian economy on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement comes as the U.S. government, in partnership with G-7 countries, announced a historic tranche of sanctions against 250 Russian entities, according to the White House.

The Treasury sanctions will affect over a dozen Russian financial institutions and wealth management agencies as well as firms that produce or import high-tech equipment used for warfare. The over 20 individuals targeted for sanctions evasion include bad actors from Switzerland, Italy and Germany, the announcement said.

Joint Stock Company Burevestnik Central Scientific Research Institute, OOO Metallurg-Tulamash, TPZ-Rondol OOO and Mtsenskprokat are the four companies within the metals and mining sector designated for sanctions for manufacturing arms for the Russian military.

Access to all property on U.S. soil or in the hands of a U.S.-based individual belonging to those sanctioned will be blocked. The U.S. has sanctioned more than 2,500 individuals and entities involved in Russia’s war since 2022, according to the Treasury.

— Chelsey Cox

Despite a ravaged economy, Ukraine’s IT sector has grown in the last year

Ukraine’s IT sector grew in 2022, despite a devastated economy and reduced population due to Russia’s invasion.

The World Bank estimates that Ukraine’s economy shrank by 35% over the last year. But the country’s export of IT services was up 5.8%, and revenue from IT was up 13%, according to the IT Ukraine Association and the National Bank of Ukraine.

By May 2022, Ukraine’s IT sector “managed to restructure, relocate and adjust to the war realities,” and was “the only sector of Ukrainian economy that was and is growing despite all odds, bringing revenue in the budget of the devastated nation,” an information technology blog from tech consulting firm Gartner wrote.

Ukraine’s IT sector has long been one of its strongest exports. In 2021, Ukraine was the number one IT outsourcing market in Central and Eastern Europe by number of engineers and hosted more than 110 multinational R&D centers, the Gartner blog post wrote, citing national data.

There were 200,000 Ukrainian developers in the country in 2020, according to Amsterdam-based software development outsourcing company Daxx, which says that 20% of Fortune 500 companies have their remote development teams in Ukraine.

— Natasha Turak

Destroyed Russian tank parked in front of Russia’s embassy in Berlin

German supporters of Ukraine parked a destroyed, rusty Russian T-72 tank in front of Russia’s embassy in Berlin, marking what they said was a memorial to the war in Ukraine, one year after Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

“The tank was destroyed by an anti-tank defense … it is also assumed that at least one person died, so in the end we are also facing a soldier’s grave,” one of the activists said while next to the tank, according to a Google translation.

A key aim of the effort is to force the Russian embassy and others to “be faced with the suffering that this war has caused,” the activists said.

The tank was destroyed by an anti-tank mine on March 31, 2022, close to a village near Kyiv, Reuters cited the organizers as saying. It was later moved to Germany with the assistance of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense and of the Ukrainian National Museum of Military History, they said.

Destroyed Russian tanks have become a symbol of triumph for Ukrainians, who also lined the streets of their capital Kyiv with many of the ruined Russian vehicles while commemorating Ukrainian independence day on Aug. 24 of last year.

— Natasha Turak

Von der Leyen: Putin ‘failed to achieve a single one of his strategic goals’

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the European Council Building in Brussels, on December 21, 2022.

John Thys | Afp | Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a stinging rebuke of Moscow’s war in Ukraine and of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s performance in the war, one year since the fully-fledged conflict began.

“One year on, from the start of his brutal war, Putin has failed to achieve a single one of his strategic goals,” von der Leyen said, during a press conference in Estonia to commemorate the country’s independence day.

“Instead of dividing the European Union, he finds us united and determined to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes. Instead of dominating the global energy market, he has seen his main source of revenue slashed. Instead of wiping Ukraine off the map, he is confronted with a nation more vigorous than ever.”

Von der Leyen stressed that Europe would stand firm with Ukraine, but warned that Putin is now pushing a more intense phase of the war.

“Putin has upped the stakes. He is sending hundreds of thousands of young Russians as cannon fodder in the trenches in Ukraine… it also comes with real and renewed danger for Ukraine. So now is the time to double down.”

The EU leader vowed to continue enforcing sanctions on Russia while economically and militarily supporting Ukraine “until the Russians end this war and leave Ukraine.”

— Natasha Turak

Putin is preparing for ‘more war,’ not peace, NATO chief says

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his address dedicated to the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow, Russia, in this picture released February 23, 2023.

Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin is only preparing for more war, not peace, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during remarks in Estonia on Friday.

Putin “has not given up on his goals” and is “not preparing for peace, but for more war,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the Russian leader wants a Europe where his country “can dictate what neighbors do.”

The NATO leader was speaking alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, where they were commemorating the Baltic state’s independence day. It also comes a year after Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow routinely rejects NATO’s accusations, instead claiming that NATO and the West started the war in Ukraine, despite Russia itself launching a physical military invasion of its neighbor one year ago.

— Natasha Turak

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy sends defiant message on war’s anniversary: ‘This is a year of our invincibility’

“On 24 February, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag. Not fleeing, but facing. Facing the enemy. Resistance and struggle,” Zelenskyy wrote in a post on Telegram.

Julien De Rosa | Pool | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a defiant message on the day marking one year since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“On 24 February, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag. Not fleeing, but facing. Facing the enemy. Resistance and struggle,” Zelenskyy wrote in a post on Telegram.

“It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity. And this is a year of our invincibility. We know that this will be the year of our victory!”

— Natasha Turak

Turkey, Finland and Sweden to resume talks on NATO accession in mid-March

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference at the end of a two-day meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Feb. 15, 2023.

Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Friday that talks among Sweden, Finland and Turkey will resume next month after coming to a standstill in January.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the defense alliance back in May. So far, 28 out of the 30 NATO member nations have approved their membership, but Hungary and Turkey have yet to do so. Budapest says it will hold parliamentary debates on the two accessions in the coming weeks, but the timeline from Ankara is a bit more vague given upcoming elections and tensions with Stockholm.

Back in January, discussions between Turkey, Finland and Sweden were put on hold after far-right activists burnt a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

Signaling an improvement in relations, Stoltenberg said on Friday that the three nations will resume talks and come together in Brussels in mid-March.

“We agreed to restart the talks and convene a trilateral meeting between Finland, Sweden and Turkey at NATO headquarters in mid-March,” he said at a press conference in Estonia.

“Our aim is both for Sweden and Finland to join as soon as possible,” he added.

Speaking at a press conference that also marked one year since Russia began its full-invasion of Ukraine, Stoltenberg said that Putin “has not given up on his goals” and that he is “not preparing for peace, but for more war.”

— Silvia Amaro

Ukrainian refugees could help Germany’s labor market, but not for long: They’re ‘ready to go home’

Pupil Marharyta (l) sits next to her German classmate Milena (r) during geography lessons in a classroom at Lorup primary and secondary school (Werlte municipality).

Friso Gentsch | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Germany’s labor market is under severe pressure, and the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees is unlikely to solve the country’s workforce issues in the long term. More than half of German companies are struggling to find skilled workers to fill vacancies, the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry reported in January.

Aside from Poland, Germany has taken in more refugees than any other region since Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago. The conflict has ravaged swathes of Ukraine and seen 8 million people leave in search of safety.

Over a million of these Ukrainian refugees have been recorded as arriving in Germany, a country that has warmly welcomed them.

The arrival of these often highly educated Ukrainians could bring benefits for Germany, particularly when it comes to bolstering its workforce. Sylvain Broyer, chief EMEA economist at S&P Global Ratings, said the presence of refugees would be “positive” for the Germany economy right now.

Read the full story here.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Ukraine and the West prepare for the biggest reconstruction since World War II

Ukraine needs $40 billion to $48 billion this year to function, IMF says

One year since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure are in tatters, with the government and its allies planning the largest rebuilding effort since World War II.

The World Bank estimates that Ukrainian GDP shrank by 35% in 2022, and projected in October that the population share with income below the national poverty line would rise to almost 60% by the end of last year — up from 18% in 2021.

The World Bank has so far mobilized $13 billion in emergency financing to Ukraine since the war began, including grants, guarantees and linked parallel financing from the U.S., U.K., Europe and Japan.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the Ukrainian economy contracted by 30%, a less severe decline than previously projected. Inflation has also begun to decelerate, but ended 2022 at 26.6% year on year, according to the National Bank of Ukraine.

In a statement following a visit to Ukraine this week, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said she saw “an economy that is functioning, despite the tremendous challenges,” commending the government’s vision to move from recovery to a “transformational period of reconstruction and EU accession.”

Read the full story here.

— Elliot Smith

After a year of death and destruction, Ukraine braces itself for major escalation in the war

Destruction seen through a broken car window in Lyman, Ukraine, on Feb. 20, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

As Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine enters its second year, military analysts say they believe that capturing the Donbas region, which includes Donetsk and Luhansk (regions where two self-proclaimed, pro-Russian “republics” are located), remains a key aim for Russia as it launches a new large-scale offensive using several hundred thousand conscripts drafted by Putin last September.

How that offensive proceeds, and how quickly and effectively Ukraine can counter it, will be decisive, defense experts warn.

Russia’s “main strategic goal remains to destroy Ukraine, all of it,” Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s former defense minister, told CNBC ahead of the one-year anniversary.

Read the full story here.

— Holly Ellyatt

Both Russia and Ukraine face an ammunition shortage, Eurasia Group chairman says

China is likely to offer a peace plan for Russia and Ukraine, consultancy says

The Russia-Ukraine war is characterized by an ammunition shortage, Eurasia Group chairman Cliff Kupchan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

China providing Russia with the ammunition it lacks could “swing … the war in Russia’s favor,” said Kupchan. “That’s one of the reasons I’m so concerned and focused on China right now,” he added.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s “main concern” is getting more ammunition to the Ukrainians, who are running out, said Kupchan.

“I don’t think either side has a structural advantage, in that they’re both hurting pretty bad,” he said.

It is also unlikely that Putin will invade Poland, said Kupchan. Putin “can’t get a straight yes out” that Ukraine is a sovereign, independent country, he added.

“I don’t think that he thinks of any other country like he thinks about Ukraine.”

— Audrey Wan

China reiterates call for cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia

China reiterated its call for peace talks and a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine

“All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually deescalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive ceasefire,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

China added that it supports the International Atomic Energy Agency in playing a “constructive role in promoting the safety and security of peaceful nuclear facilities.”

China said the international community should “help parties to the conflict open the door to a political settlement as soon as possible, and create conditions and platforms for the resumption of negotiation.” It added it is ready to “play a constructive role in this regard”

— Jihye Lee

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