International News

Ukraine war: Russia bans Boris Johnson from country over Ukraine war

BBC, One year ago

Russia has banned Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior ministers from entering Russia over the UK's "hostile" stance on the war in Ukraine.Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and 10 other senior politicians - mostly members of the Cabinet - have also been barred.Moscow said the decision had been made in retaliation to the UK's sanctions against it since it invaded Ukraine.In March, Moscow imposed a similar ban against US President Joe Biden.The full list is:    Prime Minister Boris Johnson    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace    Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, and Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab    Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps    Home Secretary Priti Patel    The Chancellor Rishi Sunak    Minister of Entrepreneurship, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng    Minister of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries    Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey    First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon    Attorney General for England and Wales and advocate general for Northern Ireland Suella Braverman    Conservative MP and former British Prime Minister Theresa MayIn a statement, Russia's foreign ministry said: "London's unbridled information and political campaign aimed at isolating Russia internationally, creating conditions for containing our country and strangling the domestic economy" were responsible for its decision.It added: "In essence, the British leadership is deliberately aggravating the situation around Ukraine, pumping the Kyiv regime with lethal weapons and coordinating similar efforts on the part of Nato."Earlier this week, the UK and US governments announced further sanctions on Russia.The sanctions included financial measures designed to damage Russia's economy and penalise President Putin, high-ranking officials, and people who have benefited from his regime.Nato countries - including the UK and US - are also supplying weapons, ammunition and other military equipment to Ukraine, although they have ruled out sending in Nato troops or implementing a no-fly zone.On Wednesday, the US said that more sophisticated offensive weaponry would be sent to Ukraine as part of a $800m (£612m) package.In response, Moscow on Friday warned the US that there would be "unpredictable consequences" if it refused to stop sending weapons to Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldier on the battle that "changed the course of the war," and what he fears Russia will do next

CBC News, One year ago

Kyiv -- Ukraine's government has issued urgent warnings to its own people, telling residents of the eastern Donbas regions to get out amid expectations that Russia is preparing to shift the focus of its onslaught to the area. There are fears Russian troops could carry out massacres there like they're alleged to have done in the suburbs of Kyiv.Ukraine's president and other officials have issued increasingly urgent calls for the U.S. and its NATO partners to provide more -- and more advanced -- weapons to help the country stop Russia's brutal invasion.Even before President Vladmir Putin ordered that invasion on February 24, Ukraine had been fighting Russian-backed separatists in Donbas for eight years, since his last invasion in 2014.    Putin's daughters, Russian banks hit with new sanctionsSenior Lieutenant "Starsky" -- a military callsign, not his real name -- was among the troops engaged in the simmering conflict in the east. He told CBS News correspondent Debora Patta that his passion was forged during the defiant days of the 2014 "Maidan" uprising, against Russian influence in Ukraine. Starsky was injured during the protests, which inspired him to join his country's national guard. He spent the following years on the frontlines in Donbas, fighting Russia's proxy forces. "We spent eight years of learning to fight specifically against Russians, so they made a big mistake," he said of what came next. Starsky put his skills to good use when, on the first day of Putin's new invasion, 35 Russian helicopters started attacking Hostomel airport on the northwest outskirts of Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.He told CBS News that as he and his men opened fire on the incoming attack helicopters with their rifles, "at first I thought: 'Stupid idea,' because they're armored!"But Starsky and his unit of Ukrainian defenders mounted a fierce resistance. After a vicious three-day battle that laid waste to the facility's runway, hangar and planes stored there, they scored an improbable victory: The Ukrainians wrested back full control of the airport.    "Later, we realized what we had done had changed the course of the war," he told Patta.By holding onto Hostomel airport, even if it meant destroying it, Starsky and his fellow soldiers denied Russia the ability to establish an air bridge from Russia into the Kyiv region. Had they failed, Putin's military would have been able to fly in supplies, equipment and, crucially, more manpower. They may well have gone on to seize Kyiv itself."If they managed to land their cargo airplanes at Hostomel, we would have a full Russian brigade stationed just 10 kilometers [about 6 miles] away from Kyiv, and that would be a huge problem," Starsky told Patta. "I think that invasion would look absolutely different."  The defeat at Hostomel slowed the Russians down, but it did not stop them from seizing control of nearby Bucha and other towns, where they stand accused of executing hundreds of civilians. Bucha residents have told CBS News and other news outlets that the Russian occupiers murdered people in cold blood during their time in control of the town, some of them with their hands bound, shot point-blank and then left on the street or thrown into shallow mass graves.But Starsky is worried the war could get even dirtier. He told Patta Ukraine's forces know Russian officers operating in Donbas have received antidotes to protect them against the effects of their own chemical weapons."We have information that chemical weapons will be used on the frontlines," he told CBS News.U.S. officials have for weeks warned that Russian claims -- dismissed as nonsense by Washington -- about supposed American work in Ukraine on biological and chemical weapons could be a preamble to Putin's forces using banned substances themselves. President Biden called the Russian claims a "clear sign" that Putin was considering use of chemical weapons.The Pentagon and its partners have also warned that Putin's troops, after taking serious casualties and being forced to pull back from the Kyiv area, are regrouping, and preparing to stage a major offensive in Donbas. Russia has made it clear that it will shift the focus of what Putin calls his "special military operation" in Ukraine to the eastern part of the country.But Starsky is standing firm. He said that while the biggest plane in the world -- nicknamed "The Dream" -- was destroyed in the battle to defend Hostomel, the Russians will not manage to kill Ukraine's dream to hold onto its freedom.