‘Empire of lies’, says Putin as US freezes assets of Russian central bank | Business Standard News

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Russia bans citizens from transferring money abroad

Ukraine Russia

Russian military operations against Ukraine continued for the fifth day on Monday, as ceasefire talks remained inconclusive. Photo: Reuters

Russia banned airlines from 36 countries from its airspace in retaliation to a similar move from European states, ratcheting up the confrontation with nations that have rushed to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine.

A Ukrainian delegation led by the defence minister began talks with Russian officials on the border with Belarus, while in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed doubt the negotiations can yield progress toward halting the violence and repeated a request for his country to be fast tracked into the European Union.

Meanwhile, Russia’s currency and bonds plunged and authorities scrambled to erect economic defences against a battery of sanctions launched by the US, the EU, Japan and other countries against Moscow and sent Russian markets into a tailspin.

Kharkiv authorities cite dead, wounded in shelling

Authorities in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, said heavy shelling in residential areas killed and wounded civilians, according to the Ukrainska Pravda website. “It is a war, a real war,” Kharkiv’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, told Pravda. Clashes took place in multiple locations in the northeastern part of the city, near the Russian border, after Kremlin-led military units entered Kharkiv on Sunday, Pravda said.

Televised footage shared widely on social media showed a barrage of strikes on a residential neighbourhood. Fighting also continued in the suburbs of Kyiv, the capital, as well as the northern city of Chernihiv.

Expect more sanctions: UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the UK cabinet to expect further sanctions on Russia shortly, his spokesman, Max Blain, told reporters in London. The premier is still pushing for Russia to be fully excluded from the SWIFT system of international payments, Blain said. Johnson will speak to the Polish president and Group of Seven leaders later Monday, before heading to Poland and Estonia.

“You can expect us to have further sanctions on individuals and businesses in the coming days and weeks,” Blain said. “We do think that Russia should be cut out not just economically, but culturally as well.”

Blain said the UK estimates that about 100,000 Ukrainians will be eligible to enter the country under plans unveiled by Johnson on Sunday to let in close family members of people already settled in the country.

US bans transactions

The US on Monday banned people and companies from doing business with the Bank of Russia, the Russian National Wealth Fund and the Ministry of Finance. The Treasury Department said the actions effectively immobilise any Russian central bank assets held in the US or by US nationals.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the measures will “target the funds Putin and his inner circle depend on to enable his invasion of Ukraine.

Japan to restrict trading with Russian central bank

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his administration will restrict trading with the Russian central bank, the Kyodo news service reported. Kishida said he had spoken with Zelenskiy and that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko would also be subject to Japanese sanctions.

Singapore joins sanctions

Singapore’s government will impose unilateral sanctions against Russia, a move which a former diplomat said was the first time in decades that the city-state was penalising a foreign nation without United Nations Security Council backing. Singapore plans to impose export controls on items that can be used as weapons “to inflict harm or to subjugate the Ukrainians,” Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said. Singapore’s biggest banks are also restricting trade financing for Russian raw materials.

Minute’s silence at UNGA meeting

The United Nations opened a rare emergency special session of the General Assembly.

Russia is due to find out just how isolated it is on the world stage during the meeting, only the 11th time in the UN’s history that such a session has been held.

Assembly president Abdulla Shahid led all of the UN’s 193 members in the moment of meditation before calling for “an immediate ceasefire.”

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