February 27, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Rob Picheta, Jeevan Ravindran, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Amir Vera and Emma Tucker, CNN

Updated 8:17 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022
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11:29 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Canada’s airspace closed to all Russian aircraft operators

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Canada’s airspace is closed to all Russian aircraft operators effective immediately, according to the Canadian Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra.

“Effective immediately, Canada’s airspace is closed to all Russian aircraft operators. We will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked attacks against Ukraine,” Alghabra said on Sunday morning. 

Canada joins a number European countries, including Germany, Italy and France, that have announced they will close its airspace to Russian aircrafts and airlines in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

9:41 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

UN ambassador: US looks forward to what comes out of Ukraine-Russia meeting at Belarus border

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on CNN's State of the Union, Sunday. February 27.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on CNN's State of the Union, Sunday. February 27. CNN

As Ukrainian and Russian leaders agree to meet at the Belarus border, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on CNN’s State of the Union the US will “look forward to what comes out of those discussions.”

“We have always indicated that we wanted to find a diplomatic solution, and Russia chose confrontation,” Tomas-Greenfield said to CNN's Dana Bash. “This diplomatic effort is one more effort to bring the Russians to the negotiating table.”

 

Thomas-Greenfield did not give a direct answer when asked if the US felt that this was a good-faith effort by the Russians. 

“I can't get into the Russian’s — into Putin's head or into Russian reasoning, so it remains to be seen, but let's — see what comes of it,” she said.

9:18 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Ukrainian delegation agrees to meet with Russians at Belarus border, according to President Zelensky’s office

From CNN’s Tim Lister

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. (Peter Kovalev/TASS/Getty Images)

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko called the Ukrainian President Sunday.

"The politicians have agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River," his office said.

"Aleksander Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on the Belarusian territory will remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation's travel, meeting and return."

Russian state news agencies also reported Sunday that a Russian presidential aide said that Ukraine had confirmed it would meet a delegation from the Russian Federation in the Gomel region of Belarus, without providing details about who would represent the Ukrainian side.

CNN's Nathan Hodge contributed reporting to this post from Moscow.

9:05 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Germany to construct two liquefied natural gas terminals as it looks to reduce Russian gas dependence

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Germany will construct two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday, pledging to do more to protect Germany’s energy supply and as it looks to reduce its Russian gas dependence.

“We need to do more in order to protect energy supply of our country,” said Scholz adding “and in order to not depend on certain energy suppliers.”

Germany is Russia’s biggest gas customer. CNN has previously reported that Europe relies on Russia for around 35% of its natural gas, Germany over 50%. But with the threat of supply disruption following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Germany along with other European countries has been looking to ramp up LNG imports.

Earlier this week, Germany halted certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which could deliver 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. 

The two LNG terminals can also deal with green hydropower, according to the German Chancellor. 

“The events of the last days and weeks showed to us that an energy policy that looks into the future is decisive for our climate and economy but also for our security and this is why we need to give renewable energy a push, the more we do it the better,” he said.

Scholz also announced that because of the high energy prices, made higher by “Putin’s war,” the government agreed to a package in order to “soften payments of energy for pensioners” and “give allowances to family with low income.”

9:00 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Putin orders deterrence forces — which includes nuclear arms — to be put on high alert

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Nathan Hodge in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation in Moscow, on February 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation in Moscow, on February 21. (Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his country’s deterrence forces – which includes nuclear arms – be placed on high alert.

“Top officials in leading NATO countries have allowed themselves to make aggressive comments about our country, therefore I hereby order the minister of Defense and the chief of the General Staff [of the RF Armed Forces] to place the Russian Army Deterrence Force on combat alert,” Putin said in televised meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.

“Yes, sir,” replied Shoigu.

The Russian President also said the sanctions placed on Russia were unlawful.

According to state news agency RIA Novosti, citing the Russian Ministry of Defense, the strategic forces "are designed to deter aggression against Russia and its allies, as well as to defeat the aggressor (inflicting defeat on him), including in a war with the use of nuclear weapons."

Here's a list of global sanctions on Russia for the war in Ukraine so far.

9:33 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

These are the latest European countries to close their airspace to Russian aircraft and airlines

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau, Hada Messia and Chris Liakos

An Aeroflot Russian Airlines plane arrives at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, on February 23.
An Aeroflot Russian Airlines plane arrives at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, on February 23. (Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Three additional European countries announced that they will close its airspace to Russian aircrafts and airlines in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Germany said it will close its airspace to Russian aircraft from 3 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to a statement from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

“On February 27, 2022, the Federal Ministry issued a notice to air missions (NOTAM) that Russian aircraft and aircraft operators were banned from flying into and over German airspace. The ban applies from February 27, 2022, 3 p.m. It is initially valid for three months,” the statement read.

The Ministry added that humanitarian aid flights were exempt from the ban.

Italy’s government said on Twitter it was closing its airspace to Russian aircraft on Sunday, following a similar action.

France said it will shut “its airspace to Russian aircraft and airplanes from this evening onwards”, France’s Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari tweeted on Sunday.

“To the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe responds with total unity,” Djebbari added.

8:46 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Germany will allocate 100 billion euros for its armed forces and increase defense spending

From CNN's Chris Liakos

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany will allocate 100 billion euros for its armed forces as it looks to increase defense spending in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s clear that we need to invest more in the security of our country in order to protect our freedom and democracy,” Scholz said, delivering a statement on Ukraine at a special parliament session.

Scholz said that the German army needs to have “new strong competences,” including better devices and equipment which “cost a lot of money,” announcing the 100 billion euro special fund for this purpose as part of the 2022 budget.

He added that the country will invest more than 2% of its GDP in defense every year from now on.

“Those who read Putin’s explanation about history, those who have seen him how he announced the war on TV, and before that I had talked to him for hours, so I cannot have any doubt that he wants to have a Russian empire. He wants to change Europe according to his imagination,” Scholz said.

9:13 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Secretary of state announces the US will send nearly $54 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine

From CNN's Aaron Pellish

Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Carolyn Kaster/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the US is sending nearly $54 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine to assist those affected by Russia’s invasion.

In a statement released Sunday, Blinken said the funds will go to international humanitarian organizations to provide food, water, shelter and health care to Ukrainians in need and help reunify families who have been separated amid Russia’s attacks.

“The United States commends the hospitality of the neighboring countries in the region hosting fleeing Ukrainians, and we are engaging diplomatically to support their efforts to keep their borders open and assist those seeking international protection,” Blinken said. “As with any refugee situation, we call on the international community to respond to the needs of those seeking protection in a way consistent with the principle of non-refoulement and our shared obligations under international law.”

The US has provided nearly $405 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, according to the news release.

3:14 p.m. ET, February 27, 2022

On the ground: How an artsy European metropolis turned into a war zone in less than a week

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Kyiv

Families are enjoying the sun on the bank of the Dnieper river in Kyiv on Sunday, February 20.
Families are enjoying the sun on the bank of the Dnieper river in Kyiv on Sunday, February 20. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

Last Sunday, Kyiv was a buzzing European city with hip cafes, artwork at every corner and fresh sushi available on demand at midnight. Now, it’s a war zone.

Sirens blasting through the city, the unmistakable loud bangs of explosions and strikes. The transformation inflicted on the city by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been surreal.

Just a week ago, Dniprovsʹkyy Park was full of runners and cyclists taking advantage of the sunny weather to get their Sunday workout done.

Cyclists pass the National Museum of History of Ukraine in the Second World War on Sunday, Ferbruary 20.
Cyclists pass the National Museum of History of Ukraine in the Second World War on Sunday, Ferbruary 20. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

The traffic-free park sits on an island across the river from the old town, its banks lined by sandy city beaches where kids are normally running around, watching the ducks swim by.

In the historical Mariinskyi Park families were strolling around, with kids enjoying the park’s playground that features large boat-shaped monkey bars.

Now, the same city is reeling from a steady stream of news of yet another terrifying incident. A six-year-old boy killed in heavy gunfire. A high-rise apartment building being hit. The dam of Kyiv reservoir destroyed. The streets are deserted, the sense of dread hanging in the air.

Many have fled the city, encouraged by the authorities to go while there still was a chance. The state railway company has been dispatching extra trains heading to the west for days now, Kyiv’s main train station full of families hoping to get onto the next one.

The same people who were happily shopping in fashion stores lining Kyiv’s boulevards, dining at trendy restaurants are now hunkered down in basements, underground parking lots and subway stations.

Instead of hanging out with friends, enjoying the sunshine, they are now sleeping on the floors, trying to calm their children that don’t understand why they can’t go to kindergarten.

Despite the shock and suffering brought in recent days, Kyiv’s residents are showing incredible resolve and defiance.

Within hours after the invasion started, more than 18,000 have responded a call to defend the city, collecting their firearms from authorities, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

In the hotel where many western journalists are staying in the city center, the staff, who are now staying there instead of being at home with their families, are alternating between distributing blankets and water bottles in the bomb shelter and serving four different types of egg dishes at the buffet breakfast.

A vast explosion lits up the Kyiv night sky on Sunday, February 27.
A vast explosion lits up the Kyiv night sky on Sunday, February 27. (Sean Walker/CNN)

And Kyiv’s roads once clogged with heavy traffic are now empty. The electronic signs that were displaying traffic updates just last week are now showing a very different message: “Glory to Ukraine!”

A traffic sign seen on a deserted street in central Kyiv says "Glory to Ukraine" on Saturday, February 26.
A traffic sign seen on a deserted street in central Kyiv says "Glory to Ukraine" on Saturday, February 26. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)