Russia-Ukraine conflict live report: Russian forces step up offensive, Belarus sanctioned for supporting invasion. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its seventh day. The southern city of Kherson was surrounded, and many buildings, including the municipal building in the second largest city, Kharkiv, were bombed. U.S. President Joe Biden delivered a State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night, announcing a ban on Russian planes from entering U.S. airspace. The European Union has approved new sanctions against Belarus, citing its role in supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia-Ukraine conflict live report: Russian forces step up offensive, Belarus sanctioned for supporting invasion
The International Paralympic Committee announced Wednesday that Russian and Belarusian athletes will compete in the Beijing Winter Paralympics as neutrals and will not be included in the medal tally.
Athletes from both countries will compete under the Paralympic flag and anthem, the International Paralympic Committee said. Russian athletes must cover the Russian Olympic Committee logo on their uniforms at all official ceremonies and competitions, and Belarusian athletes must cover their flag.
The IPC also said they would not host any events in Russia or Belarus “until further notice”.
In the past few days, other international sports organizations have also responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The International Olympic Committee on Monday recommended that all Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from international competitions.
The International Skating Union and the IAAF announced Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials would be banned from competing, and the international tennis governing body said Russian and Belarusian players could compete, but not in their names.
Prior to this, FIFA and UEFA announced the suspension of Russian club teams and national teams from participating in international competitions.
China said it would continue to play a constructive role in de-escalating the situation in Ukraine, but said it opposed unilateral sanctions.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Wednesday that China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts that are conducive to a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis. It is hoped that Russia and Ukraine will maintain the process of dialogue and negotiation and seek a political solution that accommodates their legitimate security concerns.
When asked whether China will continue to buy Russian natural gas and sanctions, Wang Wenbin said that China “resolutely opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions” and that China and Russia will continue to conduct normal trade cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, also said at the State Council press conference on the same day that China would not participate in sanctions on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, “because its effect is not good, and it does not have much legal basis.” He said that China and Ukraine will not participate in sanctions. Relevant parties continue to maintain normal economic, trade and financial exchanges.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba spoke on the phone. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Beijing expressed its readiness to make every effort to help end the war through diplomatic means, and Ukraine asked Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to prevent Russia’s invasion of its neighbors.
France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Wednesday (March 2) that the bloc approved new sanctions against Belarus, citing its role in supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
France said on its official Twitter that the sanctions targeted certain sectors of the Belarusian economy, notably the timber, steel and potash sectors, and that the relevant measures came into effect after they were published in the EU’s Official Journal.
On Tuesday, the United Kingdom announced sanctions on four senior Belarusian defense officials and two military-industrial companies.