Russian state media declare ceasefire in Ukraine

PayPal suspends services in Russia

The PayPal application is visible on a mobile phone.

Felix Kastle | wedding ring | Getty Images

PayPal announces it is suspending services in Russia, adding to the number of businesses pulling out of the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a letter to the Ukrainian government.

The payment processor had already discontinued domestic services in Russia in 2020. This latest action relates to its remaining operations in the country, including sending and receiving functions and the ability to make international transfers through the platform. Xoom funds transfer service from PayPal.

PayPal is the latest payment organization to sever ties with Russia, which faces a series of sanctions from the West following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

The sanctions saw SWIFT, the global interbank messaging network, ban several Russian banks, while Visa and Mastercard said they would block Russian financial institutions from their networks.

ryan browne

Zelenskyy says humanitarian crisis on Polish border resolved

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends an interview with foreign media in Kiev, Ukraine, March 3, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

In an address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had spoken with the French and Polish presidents and had been “able to resolve a humanitarian crisis on the border”.

“We managed the situation so that Ukrainian women and children could find a safe place,” he said, according to a translation from NBC News. “Nobody asks what his nationality is, what his faith is, how much money he has. De facto, we no longer have borders with Poland.”

Polish border guards said on Saturday that since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, more than 787,000 people have fled Ukraine to Poland.

Zelenskyy added in his speech that he was “sure” authorities would soon be able to tell people he was safe to return to Ukraine.

“We are already thinking about the future of all Ukrainians after the war, how we will rebuild our cities, our economy,” Zelenskyy said. “I spoke to the head of the World Bank, the CEO of the IMF — the [world’s] the largest financial institutions support Ukraine.”

— Chloe Taylor

Footage shows protests in Russian-occupied Kherson

Videos have emerged of protesters gathering in Kherson, a port city in southern Ukraine that was taken by Russian forces this week.

In a video, released by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, residents of the city are seen in Kherson’s Svobody Square – many waving Ukrainian flags – as gunshots are heard.

— Chloe Taylor

Russia to continue ‘broad front offensive’ in Ukraine: Russian media

Russian forces are continuing their “broad front offensive” in Ukraine, according to the Moscow-based Interfax news agency.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, according to the report.

His comments came after Russia announced a temporary ceasefire in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to allow civilians to evacuate.

— Chloe Taylor

Mariupol begins evacuation of civilians

Mariupol, one of two Ukrainian cities where a temporary ceasefire has been put in place, has released plans for the evacuation of civilians.

The city council said Saturday the ceasefire would be in place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time (2 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET), with the evacuation beginning at 11 a.m. local time.

Civilians will be evacuated from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, a city in the west, via a municipal bus.

Authorities will carry out evacuations from three locations in the city, the council said, and noted that private transport would also be allowed along the designated route and asked drivers to make full use of space in their vehicles.

Deviating from the agreed route was strictly prohibited, officials said.

— Chloe Taylor

Elon Musk rejects calls for Starlink to block Russian media

Elon Musk speaks during a press conference at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near the village of Boca Chica in southern Texas on February 10, 2022.

jim watson | AFP | Getty Images

Elon Musk said on Saturday that SpaceX’s Starlink would not block Russian news outlets “except at gunpoint”, saying some governments – with the exception of Ukraine – had asked the company to do it.

Starlink is a division of SpaceX that plans to build an interconnected network with thousands of satellites to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the planet.

“Sorry to be a free speech absolutist”, Musk said on Twitter.

— Chloe Taylor

UK says 4 Ukrainian towns are surrounded by Russian forces

The UK Ministry of Defense said it appears four Ukrainian towns are surrounded by Russian troops.

“Ukraine continues to hold the key cities of Kharkiv, Cherniv and Mariupol,” the ministry said in its daily intelligence update on Saturday.

“There have been reports of street fighting in Sumy. It is highly likely that the four towns are surrounded by Russian forces.”

According to the UK, “the overall rate of Russian air strikes and artillery seen over the past 24 hours has been lower than in previous days.”

The ministry added that Russian forces were also “probably” advancing towards the southern port city of Mykolaiv, but noted that it was possible that some forces were trying to bypass the city to prioritize progress towards the port city of Mykolaiv. Odessa.

— Chloe Taylor

Temporary ceasefire declared in two Ukrainian cities

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office who took part in negotiations with Russian officials this week, confirmed on Saturday that a temporary ceasefire had been declared in two Ukrainian cities.

The ceasefire, which was to begin at 10 a.m. Moscow time (2 a.m. ET), would allow civilians to leave the towns, which have been ravaged by fighting in recent days.

Russian state-controlled media claimed that the country’s Defense Ministry had agreed exit routes with Ukrainian authorities.

— Chloe Taylor

Samsung Electronics stops shipments to Russia

Samsung Electronics has joined the slew of tech and consumer electronics companies that have stopped sending products to Russia.

The South Korean smartphone giant said it would suspend shipments to Russia and donate $6 million to humanitarian efforts “in the region”.

Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Google and Meta have made it harder for Russians to access some of the world’s most used technology as President Vladimir Putin continues his invasion of Ukraine.

Samsung Electronics is Russia’s top handset maker, with a 30% market share in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters. Xiaomi and Apple in China are second and third respectively.

—Ted Kemp

Amazon says notifying Ukrainian organizations of cybersecurity threats

Amazon Web Services logo.

Chesnot | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Amazon said on Friday that various teams in its cloud computing unit have briefed Ukrainian organizations and global governments on cybersecurity threats from state and other malicious actors.

“Our teams have seen new malware signatures and activity from a number of state actors that we are monitoring,” Amazon said. “As this activity has escalated, our teams and technologies have detected threats, learned patterns, and placed remediation tools directly into the hands of customers.”

AWS has also detected an increase in activity by non-state actors where malware has been targeted at charities, NGOs, and other aid organizations “in order to confuse and cause disruption”, said Amazon. In these cases, malicious actors have sought to disrupt medical supplies, food and clothing aid.

Amazon said it is also working with Ukrainian customers and partners to keep their applications secure, including helping them move their on-premises infrastructure to AWS to protect it from any potential physical or virtual attacks.

Western companies reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in several ways. Microsoft said it was helping to keep Ukraine informed about cyberattacks and also suspended the sale of new products and services in Russia. Apple announced on Tuesday that it will stop selling products at its Apple Store in the country.

AWS has no data centers, infrastructure or offices in Russia, and it has a “longstanding policy of not doing business” in the country, Amazon said. Amazon’s biggest customers using AWS in Russia are companies headquartered outside of the country that have development teams there, the company added.

—Annie Palmer

Ukraine invites US Senate to Zoom meeting with Zelenskyy

United States First Lady Jill Biden applauds her guest, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, in the first lady’s box, as President Joe Biden greets Markarova during her speech on the State of the Union during a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Washington, United States, on March 1, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

The entire US Senate has been invited to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via Zoom on Saturday morning, NBC News reported, citing unnamed sources.

The meeting was organized by the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States, and it will come a day after Zelenskyy promised leaders in European capitals that Ukraine will repel the invasion launched by Russian forces last week.

Since the start of Russia’s unprovoked offensive, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have overwhelmingly supported the Biden administration’s efforts to bolster Ukraine’s resistance as well as U.S. sanctions designed to cripple the Russian economy.

During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, many lawmakers wore the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, or wore the flag itself on their lapels.

At one point, Biden asked the public to stand up and “send an unequivocal signal to the world and to Ukraine” of American support.

They did and greeted Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, who was seated with First Lady Jill Biden.

-Dan Mangan

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