According to the latest numbers from the United Nations (UN), at least 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled the war-torn country. The Ukrainians are flooding over the borders as Russian forces pick up the intensity and frequency of the attacks. Here is the latest on the war in Ukraine.
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U.S. intelligence officials believe that the next goal of the Russians is to take control over the southern city of Mariupol. This city has come under increasing fire in recent days as troops move in and force residents to flee the bombardment.
The Pentagon said on Monday that the Russians are now relying more on long-range artillery and missile strikes. The Russians are also more focused on destroying city centers rather than the surrounding infrastructure.
While the Russians have set up a 40-mile long truck convoy outside of the capital city of Kyiv, the Ukrainian forces have been able to fend them off thus far. Fortunately for the innocent civilians in Kyiv, the Russian convoy remains stalled approximately 15 miles outside of the city center. However, the attacks just outside of the city limits have intensified over the last few days.
Pentagon Announces More U.S. Troops Deployment
The Pentagon announced that it would be sending an additional 500 U.S. troops to Europe in an effort to lend assistance to NATO. The troops will head to a variety of places, including Poland, Germany, Romania, and Greece. The announcement came from Pentagon press secretary John Kirby on Monday. The bulk of the assistance will come in the area of air support.
Latest Developments on Corporate Sanctions
The U.S. and the rest of the Western world continues to grapple with how to punish Russia for the invasion without putting boots on the ground and igniting a global war. One of the most effective ways to punish Russia has come through the use of large-scale sanctions aimed at crippling their economy and military power.
A number of American countries have thrown their hat in the ring to show support. While some of the actions are in anticipation of incoming federal government sanctions, other companies have gone beyond this line. For example, Exxon, Shell, and BP have all canceled a series of joint investment projects with Russian oil and energy companies.
A number of major retailers, including Nike, Adidas, Ikea, and H&M, have closed Russian storefronts and stopped online sals to the country. Financial stalwarts American Express, Visa, and Mastercard have closed all global services in Russia while aeronautical giant Boeing cut off its support to Russian airlines. Shipping is being made much more difficult throughout Russia as both UPS and FedEx shut services to the country.
The latest global companies to jump on board on Monday included the Italian fashion group Prada and Japanese auto manufacturer Nissan. Nissan joins its competitors General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen in ceasing business operations with Russia.
These are just a few examples of how the corporate world is trying to deter Russia from its goals to take over Ukraine.
U.S. Government Response
In addition to the increasing amount of corporate sanctions, the U.S. government is exploring ways to punish Russia. Four leading Republican lawmakers have banned together to draft a bill that would suspend trade relations with both Russia and Belarus while also giving the White House authority to raise tariffs on these two counties. Belarus has come under fire for helping Russia with the invasion.
The proposed agreement was announced on Monday by Rep. Kevin Brady, Rep. Richard Neal, Sen. Mike Crapo, and Sen. Ron Wyden. According to a statement released by their offices, the bill would give U.S. President Joe Biden the power to raise tariffs on products coming from Russia and Belarus. Under the bill, Biden would also have the authority to restart the normal trade operations subject to some conditions.
The lawmakers also said that they have agreed on a path to ban the import of key energy products from Russia, a move that would undoubtedly be hard on both sides.
Russia Proposes New Ceasefire
Russian officials have proposed a new ceasefire agreement to begin at 10 am Moscow time Tuesday morning. The agreement would allegedly open evacuation corridors from the five major Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Mariupol. As of 6 pm ET, the Ukraine government has not agreed to this proposal.
The official proposal from the Russian Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine said that the corridor will be open through Belarus and into Russia. It is understandable that Ukrainians may not want to take advantage of an evacuation if it takes them into Russia or Belarus.
The proposed ceasefire comes just one day after a Russian strike landed on a civilian evacuation point outside of Kyiv, reportedly killing eight individuals, including two children.
Over the last few weeks, the majority of the Ukrainian refugees have traveled to Poland, Romania, Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia.
Ukrainian President Seen in Office
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been seen numerous times online addressing his people, Monday night marked the first time since the invasion started on February 24 that he appeared in his office. In an act of defiance against the Russians, Zelensky posted the video sitting at his desk in the presidential office, telling viewers that he is not hiding and he is not leaving Kyiv. The appearance is one of the few times that Zelensky has gone on camera outside of his secure bunker.