Live updates: Russia banned from US airspace

WASHINGTON -- According to two sources familiar with the matter, President Joe Biden will announce that the U.S. has banned Russian planes from its skies in retaliation to the invasion of Ukraine.

Live updates: Russia banned from US airspace

This announcement comes after similar actions taken by Canada and the European Union. It will be made during Tuesday's State of the Union address.

To preview the address, the people spoke under the condition that they remain anonymous.

--Zeke Miller

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KYIV, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claims it has evidence that Belarus is planning to send troops into Ukraine as a Russian ally.

The ministry statement was posted on Facebook at midnight and stated that the Belarussian troops were brought into combat readiness. They are now located close to Ukraine's north border.

According to intelligence, there was significant aircraft activity over the past 24 hours. The statement added that there was also movement of a column with food and ammunition "approaching the border".

IRVING (Texas) -- ExxonMobil has stated that it will not invest money in Russia due to Russian military aggression on Ukraine.

In a statement, the company stated that it supported Ukrainians in their efforts to "defend freedom and decide their future as a nation."

ExxonMobil manages the Sakhalin-1 project for an international consortium consisting of Japanese, Indian, and Russian companies. According to ExxonMobil, the company is implementing steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 project and has begun to cease operations in light of recent events.

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KYIV, Ukraine -- On Tuesday night, a Russian airstrike struck a residential area close to a hospital in Zhytomyr. The city is about 85 miles (140 km) west of Kiev's capital. Mayor Serih Sukhomlin posted a Facebook video.

According to Ukraine's emergency services, at least two people were killed in the strike. Three homes were set on fire and windows were broken at the hospital.

Zhytomyr may be the location of the elite 95th Air Assault Brigade.

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CHICAGO -- United Airlines announced Wednesday that it had stopped using Russian airspace to fly between the U.S., Mumbai and Delhi in India.

A spokesperson for the airline said that the move was temporary, but did not provide further details.

American Airlines flew south of Russia to avoid Russian airspace when flying between Delhi and New York.

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador has said that his government will not impose economic sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The president frequently cites the guiding principle of nonintervention foreign affairs.

He stated Tuesday that "we want good relations with all world's government, and we want be in a place to be able speak with all parties to this conflict."

Russian investments in Mexico are estimated to be around $132 million, and bilateral trade is more than $2.4 Billion.

Lopez Obrador voiced concern about the censorship of Russian media outlets. He also called for Twitter to respond to accusations that it was removing favorable messages to Russia. He said, "We cannot be talking about freedom while at the same moment limiting freedom to expression."

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Republican lawmakers across the U.S. have been critical of President Joe Biden's domestic energy policies, and are urging his administration more to embrace domestic production.

The U.S. and its allies have not placed sanctions on Russia in connection with its war against Ukraine. This would have adversely affected Russia's ability generate income.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, U.S. Senator. Rob Portman, Ohio, urged Biden to take action Tuesday to stop Russian oil imports into the U.S.

Stitt wrote to Biden, "The recent events of Ukraine are yet another example why we should sell energy to our friends rather than buying it from our enemies,"

Portman stated that it is not logical to import Russian oil while the Biden administration closes down the Keystone XL Pipeline. This pipeline would have transported tens to thousands of barrels daily from Canada to U.S. refining plants.

The U.S. could cut off Russian oil and natural gas imports, which would drive up prices at the pumps and have more severe consequences for its allies in Europe. Europe relies on Russian natural gas for about a third of its fossil fuel use.

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WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden said that dictators who don't "pay a cost for their aggression" create more chaos.

Excerpts released Tuesday before Biden's first State of the Union address show that Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine premeditated.

In his speech to Congress on Tuesday evening at the U.S. Capitol, Biden will also emphasize the importance of European allies. Biden states that the alliance formed after World War II in order to ensure "peace, stability and security" in Europe is still relevant today.

He claimed that Putin believed he could split the NATO alliance. But he was wrong.

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CUPERTINO (Calif.) -- Apple has stopped selling iPhones and other popular products to Russia in response to Russia's invasion.

In response to the worldwide outrage at Russian President Vladmir Putin's attack on Ukraine, Silicon Valley's trendsetting company released its punitive measures Tuesday in a statement.

Other prominent U.S. tech companies like Google and Twitter have also reduced their Russian business. However, Apple's actions may increase the backlash.

Apple's iPhone, along with other devices like the iPad and Mac computers, are highly prized for their versatility and use in work and play. According to International Data Corp, a research firm, Apple sold more smartphones in the last three months than any other company worldwide. However, sales in Russia were not broken out.

Apple doesn't even disclose the amount of Russia-sourced revenue it generates each year, which amounts to $365 billion.

Apple also announced that its mobile app store was blocking the downloads of RT News, Sputnik News and other news sources from outside Russia. As a security measure, Apple has also stopped live traffic updates for Apple Maps Ukraine. This is similar to the action Google took.

Apple stated in a statement that it will continue to assess the situation and communicate with relevant governments about the actions it is taking. "We stand with all peace-loving people around the globe."

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UNITED NATIONS -- Wednesday's vote at the U.N. General Assembly is for a resolution requesting that Russia cease using force against Ukraine and immediately withdraw its military forces. This resolution would also condemn Moscow's decision to "increase the readiness of its nukes forces."

The resolution has 92 cosponsors so far from around the globe, including Afghanistan, Myanmar and Myanmar, which both saw their elected governments removed last year.

The U.S. and its supporters commenced the process to call an emergency session of the General Assembly, where there are no vetoes, after Russia vetoed the Security Council resolution demanding that Russia stop using force and send its troops home.

On Monday, the council approved an emergency session of the 193 member assembly. It began on Tuesday.

The meeting, which had 118 participants, was still going on Tuesday. It is expected that it will conclude Wednesday morning with the United States as the last speaker. Paulina Kubiak, spokesperson for the General Assembly, said Tuesday that the resolution would then be put to vote.

General Assembly resolutions, unlike Security Council resolutions and resolutions that are legally binding, have the power to reflect international opinion.

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WASHINGTON -- Tuesday's U.S. cautionary note was issued in response to persistent reports that Russian military advancement -- including the large convoy outside Kyiv - has slowed. The report also highlighted the logistical difficulties and food shortages that have plagued the country.

According to a senior Defense official, the U.S. has witnessed Russian military columns run out of fuel and food in certain places, and that morale is being affected.

The official said that it was important to remain pragmatic. Russians have significant combat power, which has yet to be tapped. "They will regroup, adjust, and they will change tactics."

To discuss military assessments, the official spoke under anonymity. The U.S. estimates that Russia has launched over 400 missiles against Ukraine of different types and sizes. The Ukrainian missile and air defense systems are still in use and viable as of Tuesday. Weapons from the U.S., and other countries continue to flow into Ukraine. According to the official, the aid is reaching the Ukrainian military and the troops are using the systems "actively".

According to the official, Russians made significant progress in the south and moved along two routes to Crimea: one to the northeast and one towards the northwest. Although it is not clear if the Russians have taken over Kherson, heavy fighting continues. Officials claim that Russian forces are not yet in Mariupol but are close enough for them to strike the city with long-range weapons.

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This report was contributed by Lolita C. Baldor, Washington Associated Press writer.

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KYIV, Ukraine -- Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, stated Tuesday that Russia should cease its bombardment in Ukraine. This is before further talks about ending the war are held.

Since the start of the six-day-long conflict, one round has been held between Ukrainian and Russian officials. Apparently, they are now planning another.

In a joint interview with CNN and Reuters, Zelenskyy stated that dialogue is possible. However, he suggested that people should stop bombarding each other first and instead start negotiating later.

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KYIV, Ukraine -- Ukraine has asked for Russia to be removed from the internet.

Mykhailo Fedorov (Ukraine's deputy minister for digital transform) sent Monday a letter to the president of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. He cited "atrocious crimes", including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its alleged violation of the Geneva Conventions by attacking civilian targets.

Federov stated that the Russian propaganda machine made the crimes possible and pointed to cyberattacks by the Russian side that had impeded communication between the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people.

Federov requested that ICANN revoke permanently or temporarily the domains.ru/.su, and close down the root servers at Moscow and St. Petersburg which match domain numbers and domain names.

Oleksandr Ryzhenko, a government spokesperson, stated Tuesday that Russian citizens must feel the consequences of war.

ICANN did not respond immediately to the request, but the regional internet naming authority in Europe and the former Soviet Union (RIPE NCC) rejected it.

In an email sent to members by RIPE, the executive board stated that it believes communication should not be affected or impeded by domestic political disputes, war, or international conflicts.

Although it would be a nuisance to Russian hackers, it wouldn't stop them from using other top-level domains. It would also isolate the Russian public form international discourse.

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MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Tuesday a decree prohibiting the taking out of Russia more than $10,000 in foreign currency, cash or "monetary instruments".

This is in response to crippling sanctions Western countries have placed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The ruble has tanked and Russians have fled to ATMs and banks in fear of losing their savings.

Putin also ordered that Russian exporters sell 80% of their revenue in foreign currency. He also prohibited Russian residents from providing foreign currency to non-residents under loan agreements or from depositing foreign currencies into foreign bank accounts.

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THE HAGUE (Netherlands) -- Hearings are scheduled next week by the United Nations' highest court into a request from Ukraine to have Moscow stop its invasion.

Kyiv filed a case before the International Court of Justice Saturday, accusing Russia of genocide in Ukraine. Kyiv asked for urgent "provisional" measures instructing Moscow to halt hostilities.

Ukraine's lawyers will present arguments March 7, supporting the request. Russia's lawyers will have time to respond by March 8.

The court's president, U.S. judge Joan E. Donoghue sent an urgent message Tuesday, to Sergey Lavrov, urging Russia to "act in such way that will enable any order made by the Court on the request to take provisional measures to have their appropriate effects."

The International Court of Justice decides on disputes between countries. Although it can take years for decisions to be made, orders on interim measures are often issued quickly.

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UNITED NATIONS -- The United States has announced that it is exiling a Russian intelligence operative working for the United Nations. This includes 12 members of Russia's Mission to the United Nations whose expulsions were made Monday for their involvement in espionage.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed that Monday's U.S. informed the U.N. of its intention to expel a U.N. Secretariat staff member.

He said Tuesday that while he regretted being in such a situation, he was open to engaging with the host nation.

Dujarric declined to comment on the matter due to privacy concerns and the sensitive nature of the issue, but did state that "what makes this decision a little hard to understand is the fact that the staff member was to finish his assignment on March 14."

Monday's statement by the U.S. Mission at the United Nations stated that 12 Russian diplomats had "abused" their privileges of residence in the United States, engaging in espionage activities which were detrimental to our national security.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission stated Tuesday that the United States initiated the process to request the departure of one Russian intelligence agent working at the United Nations. The spokesperson was not authorized and spoke only under condition of anonymity.

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Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, contributed to this report.

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GENEVA -- Canada's top diplomat announced Tuesday that Russia will be referred to the International Criminal Court by Canada for war crimes and crimes against humanity related to its invasion of Ukraine. This will expedite the investigation by the court’s top prosecutor.

After leading a walkout by scores of diplomats from Human Rights Council, Melanie Joly, Foreign Minister, made these comments. Her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov also addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council in recorded video remarks.

"Minister Lavrov was broadcasting and giving his version of what is going on in Ukraine. Joly was flanked by the Ukrainian ambassador, standing behind its blue-and-yellow flag.

Karim Khan (ICC chief prosecutor) announced Monday that he will open an investigation into "as quickly as possible" into war crimes in Ukraine and crimes against humanity.

Khan instructed his team to look into ways to preserve evidence of crime and suggested that the next step be to get authorization from the judges to open an inquiry. He said that the court would speed up the process if a member country requested an investigation through what is called a referral.

Canada's announcement will initiate this acceleration.

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JERUSALEM -- Holocaust organizations in Israel condemn a Russian attack on the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial.

Yair Lapid, the Israeli Foreign Minister, issued a statement condemning the incident and stating that Israel would assist in repairing any damage. In a tweet, he stated that "We are calling to the preservation and respect of this sacred site." He did not mention Russia.

This memorial commemorates the Nazi Germany's 1941 massacre of 33,000 Jews. It is situated on the outskirts Kyiv, adjacent to the TV tower. Ukrainian authorities claim that five people were killed in an attack by Russia.

A memorial spokesperson stated that the Jewish cemetery on the site was damaged, but that it would take daylight to assess the extent of the damage.

Natan Sharansky (chairman of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial) stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin "seeks distort and manipulate Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion in a sovereign democratic nation is utterly disgusting." It is symbolic that Putin bombs the Babyn Yar site in Kyiv, one of the most horrific Nazi massacres.

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MOSCOW -- After the authorities threatened to close it down for its coverage of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, a top radio station critical the Kremlin was removed from the airwaves.

Echo Moskvy is one of Russia's oldest radio stations and has been critical of the authorities. This comes amid increasing pressure on Russia's independent media outlets to report on the attack on Ukraine according to the official line.

On Tuesday, Russian officials threatened to shut down Dozhd (Russia's most independent TV station). According to the Prosecutor General, the outlets were accused of inciting extremist activities and "false information about the actions of Russian military personnel in a special operation" in Ukraine.

Russian officials threatened to close independent media outlets if they reported on the invasion of Ukraine differently from the official narrative. This included referring to the assassination as "invasion" and "a war".

After receiving notification from authorities, the website of Current Time, a Russian television channel that was launched by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, went down on Sunday.

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ANKARA (Turkey) -- Recep Tayyip Erdan, the Turkish President, has demanded an immediate ceasefire between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

Erdogan spoke Tuesday at a joint news conference held with Vjosa Osmani­Sadriu, the Kosovar President.

After Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, signed an application to join EU, the Turkish leader stated that Turkey is open to any overtures made by European Union officials towards Ukraine. He asked the EU to show the same compassion towards Turkey. Although the country is considered a candidate for EU membership, its accession negotiations have been stopped by a variety of issues including the country's democratic backtracking.

Erdogan asked, "Are you going bring Turkey's application on the agenda when someone declares War on it and attacks?"

Erdogan reiterated the support for NATO's expansion by Turkey, the country with the second-largest army in the alliance.

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MOSCOW -- Russia's Prime Minster Mikhail Mishustin stated Tuesday that the government had prepared measures to temporarily prevent foreign investors from acquiring Russian assets. He said the move would allow them to make "a thoughtful decision" and not succumb to political pressure.

Mishustin stated that a presidential decree was being prepared, imposing "temporary restraints on exiting Russian assets." He didn't give details or state if these restrictions would be applicable to certain types of investments or all.

Western corporations are being pressured to sell stakes in Russian companies. Oil company BP stated Sunday that it would sell its stake in Russian oil producer Rosneft, and Shell announced Monday it would end all of its Russian businesses. France's TotalEnergies holds 19.4% of Novatek, a major stake.

Russian officials have taken steps in order to mitigate the effects of severe economic sanctions. The central bank raised interest rates to protect the ruble's currency rate. It also required companies to sell their foreign exchange earnings and made unlimited short-term credit available to banks.

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FRANKFURT (Germany) -- The International Energy Agency's 31 members have agreed to let 60 million barrels oil from their strategic reserves. This is half the amount that was taken from the United States.

The board of the Paris-based IEA decided Tuesday that there would be no shortage of oil supplies after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Energy Secretary, stated in a statement that President Joe Biden had approved a commitment to 30 million barrels of oil and that the U.S. was ready to "take additional steps" if necessary.

Russia is the third largest oil producer in the world and plays a significant role on global energy markets.

Although Russia has not been sanctioned by the West, it is still a threat to global markets. Oil prices rose Tuesday. The benchmark crude oil from the United States surpassed $100 per barrel, which is the highest price recorded since 2014.

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