Ukraine’s ambassador to the US accused Moscow of using a vacuum bomb in its invasion * Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said states that commit war crimes shouldn’t get a permanent UNSC seat.

 The Ukrainian national flag is seen in front of a school which, according to local residents, was on fire after shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022. (photo credit: Vitaliy Gnidyi/Reuters)
The Ukrainian national flag is seen in front of a school which, according to local residents, was on fire after shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022. (photo credit: Vitaliy Gnidyi/Reuters)


The recent shelling of the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine by Russian forces was a war crime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said as the conflict stretched into its sixth day.

The president called for a no-fly zone for Russian missiles, planes and helicopters, though he did not specify how this would be enforced. Washington has firmly declined a Ukrainian request for the West to impose a no-fly zone to shield Ukraine from Russian airstrikes – a step that would bring Western forces into direct conflict with the Russian military.

Zelensky argued that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, specifying that the artillery shelling of the city of Kharkiv constituted as the targeting of civilians.

According to Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova, Russian forces used an illegal weapon known as a vacuum bomb against Ukraine.

“They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention,” Markarova said after briefing members of the US Congress. “The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

Ukraine's ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova walks between meetings with members of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, US. February 28, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova walks between meetings with members of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, US. February 28, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)


A vacuum bomb uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, typically producing a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than that of a conventional explosive.

In addition, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both said that Russian forces appeared to have used widely banned cluster munitions, with Amnesty accusing them of attacking a preschool in northeastern Ukraine while civilians took shelter inside.

Amnesty International said international humanitarian law prohibits the use of inherently indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions. Launching indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians constitutes a war crime.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she had seen reports but did not have confirmation that Russia had used such weapons. “If that were true, it would potentially be a war crime,” she told a press briefing, noting that there are international organizations that would assess that and President Joe Biden’s administration “would look to be a part of that conversation.”

The Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Any state that has committed war crimes should not be allowed to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Zelensky said.

“Dozens of eyewitness accounts” indicated that this was a targeted attack of a residential area without military facilities, Zelensky said, according to the New Voice of Ukraine news outlet. “The Russians knew where they were shooting,” he said, adding that “No one in the world will forgive you for killing peaceful Ukrainian people.”

This comes after the International Criminal Court said they might investigate any war crime committed in Ukraine.

Military developments

Satellite images taken on Monday show a Russian military convoy north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv that stretches for about 40 miles (64 km), substantially longer than the 17 miles (27 km) reported earlier in the day, according to Maxar Technologies.

Further, Ukraine cut communications for Russian cellphone numbers in the country, according to the Derzhspetszviazok (The State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine), the country’s intelligence and technical security service.

In addition, Ukraine will allow foreigners traveling to the country to help fight against Russia to do so without a visa, according to a new decree signed by the president that went into effect Tuesday.

The decree, signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, allows for all foreigners hoping to join the new unit for foreign volunteers, known as the International Legion of the Territorial Defense Force, with the exception of those coming from Russia.

The new unit for foreign volunteers was announced on Sunday, with Ukrainian authorities having said the next day that thousands have already applied to join.

Some young volunteers are traveling straight to Ukraine to enlist.

Others are applying at Ukrainian embassies and consulates before quitting jobs or dropping out of university. Full story here.


Zelensky said the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were conducted against the background of Russian bombardments into Ukrainian territory.

The fact that these two events took place at the same time, Zelensky said, was no coincidence, accusing Moscow of doing it intentionally, according to NV.

“Don’t waste your time, we don’t accept this tactic,” Zelensky said, according to NV. “Fair negotiations can only happen when one side doesn’t hit the other with artillery during negotiations.”

Regarding the points brought up in the talks themselves, Zelensky said that he would go over what was discussed with the Ukrainian delegation when they return to Kyiv so they can decide how to move forward when the second round of negotiations begins, according to Ukrainian media.


Ukraine has made an effort to reach out to the West repeatedly during the conflict, including Europe.

Zelensky officially applied on Monday to join the European Union, with the application being on its way to Brussels for processing, Ukrainian President’s Office deputy head Andrij Sybiha wrote on Facebook.

In response, the heads of state for eight different EU member states – Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic – pushed for immediately admitting Ukraine into the bloc.

This follows Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger telling Politico that Ukraine should have a “special track” towards EU membership.

Energy ministers from European Union countries on Monday agreed to urgently link a European power system to Ukraine’s grid, a move that would increase its independence from Russia.

Ukraine disconnected its grid from a Russian system last week and has asked for emergency synchronization with a European system. That would mean Russia would no longer control technical aspects of Ukraine’s network such as grid frequency. EU officials said the link could be completed within weeks. Full story here.

Sanctions, economy and corporate reactions

The financial impact of the conflict, international reaction to it from businesses and Western sanctions has been noted in analyses of the Russian economy.

The rouble stabilized somewhat on Tuesday after its crash to an all-time low, while the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc were steady after their biggest rallies in almost seven weeks with traders focused squarely on the developing crisis in Ukraine.

This impact was also felt by Russian companies, with many of its key companies taking hits.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday morning that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had offered his country, which is under attack from its neighbor Russia, more support in the form of sanctions and weapons.

A stream of Western companies pulling out of Russia is expected to grow on Tuesday, as corporations and investors across industries follow the lead of energy firms BP and Shell, which abandoned multi-billion-dollar positions after the invasion of Ukraine.

Disney is believed to be the first major Hollywood studio to pause theatrical releases in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The impact has also been felt in sports, too.

International football governing body FIFA has expelled Russia from competing in the World Cup, with Russia’s business partnerships with the US hockey league the NHL ending and Russia and Belarus being sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation sanctioned Russia and Belarus, which is supportive of the invasion, banning both nations from upcoming world championship tournaments.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post