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US, UK, EU, Canada’s fresh sanctions on Putin, others over Ukraine invasion, casualties

Presidents Joe Biden (US) and Vladimir Putin (Russia)

*The United States, besides NATO allies, rules that American companies must now obtain licences to sell computers, sensors, lasers, navigation tools, telecoms, aerospace, marine equipment, and related products built with US technology to Russia

*First Lady Aisha Buhari joins all parents in human solidarity to pray for the safety of 5,600 Nigerian students and other professionals trapped in heightened insecurity in Ukraine

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Following the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and further advancing of its troops to the Ukrainian Capital Kyiv, the United States (US) has imposed new sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

ConsumerConnect reports Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in statement issued Friday, February 25, 2022, said: “We are united with our international allies and partners to ensure Russia pays a severe economic and diplomatic price for its further invasion of Ukraine.

Russian attacks on Ukraine   Photo: Lapresnalatina

“If necessary, we are prepared to impose further costs on Russia for its appalling behaviour on the world stage.”

It was gathered the Treasury Department also would impose “full blocking sanctions” on state-owned Russian Direct Investment Fund, a White House spokesperson said in a tweet Friday.

The Fund is a financial entity functioning as a sovereign wealth fund, and designed to attract capital into high-growth sectors in Russia.

Besides, the US has restricted exports to Russia of a broad set of US-made products and foreign-produced goods built with US technology.

As regards how the country’s regulations are expected to affect both sides and the world at large, six experts on US trade law provide answers posed to them by Reuters.

What are the new restrictions? US companies must now obtain licences to sell computers, sensors, lasers, navigation tools, and telecommunications, aerospace and marine equipment.

The US will deny almost all requests, report noted.

But how will Russia be affected in this regard? Emily Kilcrease, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said the restrictions would freeze Russia’s technology where it is today.

However, William Reinsch, a trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he expected a slow escalation of impact.

“Eventually they will be hurting, but maybe not for months. It’s not an immediate body blow,” Reinsch stated.

People shelter in subway station in Ukraine   Photo: CNN

What tech isn’t covered? The measures include carve-outs for consumer items, such as household electronics, humanitarian goods, and technology necessary for flight safety. Cell phones are permitted as long as they are not sent to Russian government employees or certain affiliates.

It was also learnt not restricted also are consumer encryption technologies, which an attorney described as a sign that the US and its allies do not want to disrupt protesters and the media.

EU, UK, Canada follow suit, slamming sanctions on Russian leaders

Similarly, the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and Canada announced Friday, that they would introduce sanctions targeting Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had announced the US move to sanction Putin and Lavrov, was made in the last 24 hours in coordination with European allies.

Psaki said: “It’s been on the table for some time, but through coordination and discussion with our European partners over the last day or so.”

Report further indicates that the decision to target President Putin directly across Western allies marks the most personal escalation of a sweeping effort at responding to Russia’s actions through economic penalties.

While it’s unclear the extent of the direct effect ─ officials have long said Putin’s finances are opaque and difficult to track ─ the symbolism of targeting the Russian leader is clear, reports CNN.

The White House Press Secretary also noted she “believes” a travel ban of some kind will be included in the US sanctions against the Russian President, but she did not have specific details yet.

“There are very limited examples of of this being done, as you all know, but that is a standard part,” she said.

The Joe Biden administration, Friday evening, also announced that several members of Russia’s National Security Council would also be sanctioned, including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

“Treasury has previously designated eleven members of the Russian Security Council and will continue to impose costs on the ruling elite as Russia prosecutes this brutal war of choice,” a US Treasury Department statement said.

The EU and UK have also targeted a series of Russian officials, report said.

Earlier this week, the US also allowed sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany to go forward, after Germany said it would not certify the pipeline following the Russian invasion.

It was gathered that those sanctions were issued in coordination with European countries to punish Moscow for its latest attack on Ukraine.

Ukraine beckons hackers to protect critical national infrastructure

Amid the Russian military bombardment, the Ukrainian Government is asking for volunteers from the country’s hacker underground to help in protecting the country’s critical infrastructure and conduct cyber spying missions against Russian troops, agency report said.

The post reportedly stated: “Ukrainian cybercommunity! It’s time to get involved in the cyber defence of our country.”

Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady

It asked hackers and cybersecurity experts to list their specialities in a Google docs, according to report.

Stranded families seek shelter in Kyiv metro station

The Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv has been the target of a sustained attack from Russia’ military in recent days as President Vladimir Putin orders the Russian troops to conduct a special military operation in the country.

Subsequently, there have been multiple reports of artillery fire hitting residential buildings, and over the past two days hundreds of Ukrainians are thought to have died, according to report.

Amid the bombardment, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, issued a decree banning male citizens aged betwen 18 and 60 from leaving the country so they can support the country’s defence against the Russian invasion.

Several Kyiv residents are left sheltered uderground until the Russian invasion can be halted, or Putin chooses to withdraw from further offensive.

Dozens of people wounded in overnight fighting in Ukrainian capital

The Russian troops’ invasion of Ukraine has come with human casualties as dozens of people were wounded in overnight fighting in Kyiv, city mayor Vitali Klitschko said morning on Saturday, February 26, 2022, Reuters report said.

Report indicates Mayor Klitschko stated that as of 6 a.m. local time (0400 GMT), 35 people, including two children, had been wounded, but it is unclear whether he was referring only to civilian casualties.

Klitschko added there was currently no major Russian military presence in Kyiv, although he said saboteur groups were active in terms of street fighting.

Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari joins parents in prayers for Ukraine

As anxiety mounts over the safety of millions of people, including Nigerians resident in the country, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady, has joined other parents in prayers and solidarity for the safe evacuation of their children and Nigerian students trapped in the troubled Ukraine.

ConsumerConnect reports Mrs. Buhari expressed her position Friday, February 25 via her  social media message in Abuja.

The Fisrt Lady also commended the Federal Government’s directive on the immediate evacuation of 5,600 Nigerian students trapped in Ukraine.

Buhari stated: “In view of the state of heightened insecurity in Ukraine, I stand with all Nigerian parents in praying for global peace and human solidarity.

“I commend the directives of Federal Government and the House of Representatives for the evacuation of our more than 5,600 students trapped in the conflict.”

Buhari as well appealed to Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to handle the situation as quick as possible in order to save precious human lives amid the confusion in Ukraine.

She said: “The Minister of Foreign Affairs should treat this matter as an emergency, while our citizens should stay calm, comply with safety procedures and avoid self-help in order to avoid the mischief of human traffickers.”

Putin ready to negotiate with Ukraine?     

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of his country’s collateral damage in Ukraine in the last few days, the Kremlin Friday said President Putin was ready to send a delegation to Belarus for talks with Ukraine, as Russian forces approached Kyiv on the second day of Moscow’s invasion.

It was gathered Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader was “ready” to send a high-level delegation “for talks with a Ukrainian delegation” to Belarusian capital Minsk, which has previously hosted rounds of peace talks over the Ukraine crisis.

Peskov disclosed that Putin’s ally, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, told him that he would “create the conditions” for such a summit.

Russia has thousands of troops stationed in Belarus, and Ukraine said it was being attacked from several sides, including from Belarus.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy had repeatedly called for talks with the Russian leader during a weeks-long diplomatic push in which Western countries tried to deter Putin from launching attack.

Hours before Putin announced he was sending troops to Ukraine, President Zelenskyy noted that he tried to call the Kremlin chief, but “there was no answer, only silence”, according to report.

However, as Russian troops closed in on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital Friday, Zelenskyy again, issued a new statement urging talks with Putin and other leaders.

The Ukrainian President said: “I would like to address the President of the Russian Federation once more.

“Fighting is going on all over Ukraine. Let’s sit down at the negotiating table to stop the deaths of people.”

Putin had announced the start of a military operation against Ukraine in the hourly hours of Thursday when Moscow was asleep.

He reportedly did so after recognising two pro-Moscow separatist republics in eastern Ukraine as independent.

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