Live coverage – House tees up vote on Russian fuel ban, sanctions
The U.S. House is expected to vote on a sanctions package on Tuesday that includes a ban on Russian fuel and a review of Russia’s status as part of the World Trade Organization in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
The vote comes as President Biden announced that the U.S. will ban imports of Russian oil, natural gas and coal.
Follow The Hill’s live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine below.
Democrats pressing ahead with the ban on Russian fuel imports are quietly wary of the political blowback sure to follow if domestic gas prices increase, which is likely, and Republicans blame President Biden for the rise, which is certain.
Yet despite the risks heading into November’s midterm elections, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the more important consideration is helping Ukraine defend itself from an unprovoked Russian assault that’s already killed hundreds of civilians and aims to topple the government in Kyiv.
“Yes, our majority is on the line,” Hoyer told reporters on a press call. “But what’s on the line, really, is freedom, sovereignty, the world that operates consistent with international law.”
— MIKE LILLIS
The Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo issued a warning against Chinese-based companies who defy U.S. restrictions on exporting goods to Russia amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with The New York Times published on Tuesday, Raimondo said the Biden Administration could “essentially shut” down Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation or any Chinese based companies if they defy the restrictions.
“[Russia] is certainly going to be courting other countries to do an end-run around our sanctions and export controls,” Raimondo told the Times.
Raimondo added if the U.S. were to find a company that was selling chips to Russia, officials would shut SMIC down because we prevent them from using our equipment and our software.”
“They have their own self-interest to not supply this stuff to Russia. So they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. It would be devastating to China’s ability to produce these chips,” Raimondo told the newspaper.
The Polish government on Tuesday said it is ready to “immediately” deploy its entire fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets to a U.S. air base in Germany, giving Washington the chance to then send the planes to Ukrainian forces.
“After consultations between the President and the Government,” Poland is “ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America,” Poland said in a statement.
“The Polish Government also requests other NATO Allies – owners of MIG-29 jets – to act in the same vein.”
Congressional leaders have reached a deal to provide roughly $14 billion in Ukraine-related aid, which they expect to include in a massive government funding package.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the deal, which will include humanitarian assistance and military aid in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Where we’ve ended up is at $14 billion,” McConnell said.
An aide confirmed there was a deal but tagged the figure closer to $13.5 billion. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) told reporters it would be “a little less than” $14 billion.
The spending is being dropped into a massive government funding package that congressional leaders are aiming to unveil on Tuesday.
— JORDAIN CARNEY
An 11-year-old Ukrainian boy who fled his war-ravaged country alone to Slovakia is being hailed as a hero.
The boy, who only traveled with a plastic bag, a passport, and a telephone number scrawled on his hand, safely escaped from his native city of Zaporizhzhia, according to The Washington Post.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Monday, Slovakia’s interior minister, Roman Mikulec, said the boy, named Hassan, showed “huge determination, courage, and fearlessness that sometimes adults don’t have.”
“I am really very sorry for him and all the other children and their families who have to flee their country because of what is happening in Ukraine. Together with his siblings, he already asked for temporary protection,” Mikulec wrote in his Facebook post.
Zelensky to UK Parliament: Recognize Russia as a ‘terrorist state’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday implored the West to recognize Russia as a “terrorist state” while urging British lawmakers to impose more penalties on Moscow and send military assistance to Ukraine.
“We are looking for your help, for the help of the civilized countries,” he said.
“We are thankful for this help… please increase the pressure of sanctions against [Russia], and please recognize this country as a terrorist state, and please make sure that our Ukrainian skies are safe,” Zelensky said, referring to earlier calls for NATO members to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
U.K. officials on Tuesday announced plans to phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022 as a response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Authorities said in a statement that the latest move will give the government more time to adjust supply chains, adding that it will work with companies through its task force on oil to support them in finding new alternative supplies.
British officials also said they plan to work closely with their allies to end the country’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons amid the conflict, recognizing the different circumstances and transition timelines.
“In another economic blow to the Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions, “ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
House lawmakers will vote Tuesday on a package of sanctions targeting Russia, including a ban on fuel and a new review of Russia’s status as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The legislation will also expand an existing human rights law, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which empowers presidents to apply sanctions to those regimes that commit human rights violations — a charge facing Russian President Vladimir Putin for allegedly targeting civilians in Ukraine.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the package in a letter to Democrats, describing the legislation as a vital step in the global effort to rein in Putin amid Russia’s bloody assault on Ukraine, where hundreds of civilians have been killed and more than a million forced to flee the country.
“Because this legislation is an urgent imperative – both morally and for our security interests – the House will consider this legislation on the Floor today,” she wrote.
Pelosi characterized the proposals as a compliment to the executive actions of President Biden, who announced his own ban on the import of Russian fuel Tuesday morning.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a statement released Tuesday, saying that its 23 member states “deplore the resulting loss of life and humanitarian impact.”
The CERN Council decided that the organization will promote initiatives in support of Ukrainian scientific activity as well as suspending the “Observer” status of the Russian Federation in the organization.
CERN will no longer collaborate with Russia in any capacity, it added.
“CERN was established in the aftermath of World War II to bring nations and people together for the peaceful pursuit of science: this aggression runs against everything for which the Organization stands,” the statement said. “CERN will continue to uphold its core values of scientific collaboration across borders as a driver for peace.”
Russia on Tuesday said Ukrainian officials only endorsed one out of 10 evacuation routes proposed for refugees fleeing the invasion.
According to Moscow, five of the proposed routes included pathways toward territory controlled by Ukraine that lead to Poland, Moldova and Romania, Reuters reported. Another five included routes toward Russia, it added.
Evacuation were proposed for the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, according to Reuters.
Ukraine on Monday dismissed corridors proposed by Russia as “completely immoral,” saying they led to Russia or Russian ally Belarus.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday said a child died after suffering from dehydration in Mariupol, the besieged Ukrainian city that Russian forces have encircled and cut off from water and power.
In a televised address, Zelensky said trucks carrying humanitarian aid have been sent to Mariupol, according to ABC News. The president blamed Russia for killing Ukrainians but said western allies have also not fulfilled promises to ship fighter jets to Ukraine.
“We have been hearing promises about support for 13 days that the jets are about to arrive,” he said, per ABC. “We have heard promises about securing humanitarian corridors. They didn’t work. We don’t have time to wait. People in Mariupol don’t have time to wait.”
At least 840 children have been wounded and at least 28 have died since the war began nearly two weeks ago, according to a Ukrainian official.
Russia is likely to escalate its military actions in Ukraine even as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ability to maintain long-term influence over its neighbor remains unlikely, U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers Tuesday.
“We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose, but what he might be willing to accept as a victory may change over time given the significant costs he is incurring,” National Intelligence Director Avril Haines told lawmakers at the annual worldwide threats hearing.
The hearing continued the U.S. government’s practice of openly sharing its intelligence gathered on Putin’s thinking on Ukraine as a way of battling disinformation from the Russian government.
Russian authorities said on Tuesday that 723 residents have been evacuated from the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, CNN reported.
Multiple news agencies reported that Indian, Chinese, Jordanian, and Tunisian citizens were also evacuated from the city.
Russia’s defense ministry said the residents were evacuated along an agreed evacuation route in Sumy.
The announcement comes as Ukrainian officials said the first convoy that left Tuesday morning reached the city of Poltava without incident, according to CNN.
Ukraine’s top security service on Tuesday announced that it had successfully conducted a strike on Russian vehicles in the Kyiv region after receiving a public tip from residents through the automated tip line on Telegram.
The “Stop Russian War Bot” account gathers tips on Russian troop movements from Ukrainian civilians, according to NBC News.
“Your messages about the movement of the enemy through the official chatbot… bring new trophies every day,” the translated announcement says. “This time we received the coordinates of enemy vehicles marked ‘V’ in Kyiv region. The result – in the photo: fiery ‘hello’ to the occupiers.”
The messaging app Telegram, which has been popular in Europe and parts of Asia, has become crucial in communicating during the war as an aid to Ukrainian officials in broadcasting amid the instability of other communication outlets.
German sportswear company Adidas announced its plans to close brand and online stores in Russia amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The sportswear brand also said it plans to suspend current operations in Russia but will continue to pay its employees there.
“As a company, we strongly condemn any form of violence and stand in solidarity with those calling for peace,” an Adidas spokeswoman told the Journal on Tuesday.
Adidas also ended its sponsor partnership with the Russian Football Union last week, according to the Journal.
Adidas joins other major businesses and suppliers who have decided to halt sales of its product and suspended operations in the country in the past two weeks.
A total of 474 Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the Russian invasion, the United Nations reported Tuesday.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights also noted that 861 civilians have been injured.
Casualties have been counted since Russia first invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The U.N. has documented the deaths of 29 children.
A group of foreign policy experts is calling for a “limited no-fly zone” over Ukraine that would protect established safe corridors for those evacuating the country and “deter Russian bombardment” to protect civilians.
In an open letter to the Biden administration that was obtained by Politico, 27 foreign policy experts urged for a “limited No-Fly Zone over Ukraine starting with protection for humanitarian corridors that were agreed upon in talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials on Thursday.”
“What we seek is the deployment of American and NATO aircraft not in search of confrontation with Russia but to avert and deter Russian bombardment that would result in massive loss of Ukrainian lives. This is in addition to the request from Ukrainian leaders for A-10 and MIG-29 aircraft to help Ukrainians defend themselves, which we also strongly support,” the group later added.
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday slammed the detentions of war protesters in Russia.
“I remain concerned about the use of repressive legislation that impedes the exercise of civil and political rights and criminalizing non-violent behavior,” Bachelet said to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to Reuters.
She added that “vague and overly broad definitions” of incitement to hatred have contributed to Russia leaning toward interpretations of the law that do not align with its human rights responsibilities, Reuters noted.
Shell said on Tuesday that it will stop purchasing Russian oil and natural gas, following backlash over its decision to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil.
Shell “announced its intent to withdraw from its involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, gas and liquefied natural gas… in a phased manner, aligned with new government guidance.”
“As an immediate first step, the company will stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil,” it said.
The company added that it “will also shut its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia.”
Hillary Clinton blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of his invasion of Ukraine, saying he is “acting out his own insecurities.”
“It’s so heartbreaking to me that Putin is acting out his own insecurities, his own resentments and grievances against the people of Ukraine — waging a war against a smaller state that is totally unprovoked,” the former secretary of State told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on Tuesday. “It really tells us everything we need to know about Putin.”
“I don’t know how it ends, but I think the person who is most surprised that it is still going on is probably Vladimir Putin,” Clinton added, referring to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, during an interview at the Forbes 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi.
The first stage of evacuations along safe corridors in Ukraine began on Tuesday following three rounds of talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry announced that both sides had agreed to a safe corridor between the eastern city of Sumy to Poltava, which sits closer to Ukraine’s center. The foreign ministry said that safe corridor would run between 10:00 a.m. local time to 9:00 p.m. and allow both civilians and foreign students to evacuate.
The foreign ministry also posted a video of a bus with a red cross on it with civilians evacuating. Later that morning, it said that the cease-fire had been violated.
The United Nations announced that about 2 million people have fled from Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion of the country.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that millions have left Ukraine, with nearly 500,000 fleeing on Sunday alone, according to The Washington Post.