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February 24, 2023 - It's now one year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began

What we covered here

  • One year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion, Moscow's forces hit targets across Ukraine. Residents in the city of Kherson are without heating due to shelling, according to local officials.
  • President Volodymyr Zelensky said 2023 will be the year of Ukraine's victory, and he told troops: "You will decide whether Ukraine is going to exist."
  • US President Biden, asked about Kyiv's plea for fighter jets, said Ukraine "doesn't need F-16s now."
  • Putin's power play: Inside Russia’s plot to plunge Ukraine into darkness, and how Ukrainians have survived.
  • Scenes of war: How Russia's full-scale invasion unfolded.
Want to help? Support the people of Ukraine here.
12:13 a.m. ET, February 25, 2023

Our live coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has moved here.
7:37 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

Biden dismisses China's proposed peace plan

US President Joe Biden dismissed China's proposed peace plan for the war in Ukraine on Friday, suggesting its implementation would only benefit Russia.
"If Putin is applauding it, so how could it be any good?" Biden said in an interview with ABC News. "I’m not being facetious. I’m being deadly earnest."
"I've seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia if the Chinese plan were followed," Biden said. 

Beyond his criticism of the peace plan, Biden outright rejected the notion of China negotiating peace in the war, calling it irrational.

"The idea that China is going to be negotiating the outcome of a war that is a totally unjust war for Ukraine is just not rational," Biden said.
Biden also weighed in on the possibility of China providing lethal weapons to Russia, which US officials have warned of in recent days.

Biden declined to outline the consequences of China arming Russia, but suggested China would face the same "severe sanctions" as any other country or entity that has supplied weapons to Russia.

Some background: The US has intelligence that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in the war in Ukraine, three sources familiar with the intelligence told CNN.

It does not appear that Beijing has made a final decision yet, the sources said, but negotiations between Russia and China about the price and scope of the equipment are ongoing.

China's Foreign Ministry said Friday that the country takes a "responsible approach" to military exports and does not provide arms sales to conflict areas. The statement comes a day after a German media outlet claimed Beijing is negotiating with Moscow to supply drones.
7:29 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

It's been one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Here's what you need to know

On the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shared messages of hope as anxiety and resolve filled the air throughout Ukrainian cities.
Zelensky declared 2023 as the year of Ukraine's victory over Russia, and expressed confidence in his country's ability to fend off attacks, but did not speculate on how soon the fighting could end.
Officials around the world joined Zelensky in his hopeful message, releasing statements emphasizing their support for Ukraine.
If you're just now catching up, here's what you need to know:
China developments: China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Friday that China is willing to play a constructive role in resolving issues between Ukraine and Russia, but did not provide concrete details on what that looks like. His comments come after China released a document Friday outlining its position on the conflict in Ukraine, which Ukrainian diplomat Zhanna Leshchynska called "a good sign." Russia's Foreign Ministry also voiced appreciation Friday for the proposal, and blamed Ukraine and the West for the lack of negotiations on it.
Zelensky said Friday Ukraine "will work with China" if they show respect for international law and territorial integrity. The Ukrainian president said he would like to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Shelling continues. Ongoing Russian shelling has killed at least three civilians in Ukraine's east and south, and injured several others over the last 24 hours, according to situational updates from local authorities. The heating system in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson has been damaged due to Russian shelling and residents may have to remain without heat for several days, the Kherson region military administration said Friday. A spokesperson for Ukraine's Air Force said the Ukrainian military is on alert for any attacks by Russian forces and that security measures across the country have been increased.
Sanctions. The European Union has approved a 10th round of sanctions against Russia, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU said on Friday. And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rolled out more sanctions, visa restrictions and additional tariffs for Russia in a Friday announcement. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he also intends to present the idea of imposing new sanctions against Russia during a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and Zelensky. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly too announced a new package of sanctions and trade measures against Russia on Friday. The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Russia’s economy will experience more difficulties due to the continued sanctions.
Military assistance. Germany will send four more Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, increasing the number it's sending from 14 to 18, according to the German defense ministry. Sweden also pledged to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in a military package that includes further air defense components, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Friday. A first delivery of Leopard 2 tanks from Poland has arrived in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Polish defense ministry said. Meanwhile, Russia could provide Iran with fighter jets as military cooperation between the two countries deepens, the White House said Friday.
7:39 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

Biden says Ukraine "doesn't need F-16s now"

A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon flies over Iowa on August 11, 2022.  (Airman 1st Class Tylon Chapman/US Air National Guard)

US President Joe Biden told ABC News on Friday that Ukraine “doesn’t need F-16s now,” despite reporting that Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have, in recent days escalated their public lobbying campaign for the US-made fighter jets, arguing they need them urgently to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks.
"Look, we're sending him what our seasoned military thinks he needs now. He needs tanks, he needs artillery, he needs air defense, including another HIMARS,” Biden told ABC News’ David Muir. "There's things he needs now that we're sending him to put them in a position to be able to make gains this spring and this summer going into the fall."

Pressed on Zelensky’s calls for the US to provide the fighter jets, Biden told Muir: “There is no basis upon which there is a rationale, according to our military now, to provide F16s,” adding “I am ruling it out, for now.”

Earlier Friday, Biden balked when asked by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond what he told Zelensky during his visit to Kyiv about the possibility of providing F-16s, responding: “That’s a private discussion.”

Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during a town hall Thursday the F-16s came up during the US president's surprise trip to Ukraine.
“F-16s are not a question for the short-term fight. F-16s are a question for the long-term defense of Ukraine and that’s a conversation that President Biden and President Zelensky had,” Sullivan said.
Some context: Ukraine's renewed public push for the planes, which Ukraine's foreign minister publicly described as a "priority" last month, appears driven in large part by a belief in Kyiv that with enough public pressure, the Ukrainians can eventually secure weapons systems that were once deemed a red line by the west.
"What is impossible today is absolutely possible tomorrow," Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told NPR in January.

A Ukrainian military official echoed that sentiment in comments to CNN, saying, "It's going to come sooner or later."

6:54 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

Biden says there's no evidence "so far" that China is supporting Russia in Ukraine

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before he boards Marine One on February 24 in Washington DC. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

There's no evidence "so far" that China will militarily back Russia in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden said Friday while warning any support would have economic ramifications for Beijing.

Asked if he was worried China would fight with Russia, the president said he spoke to Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the issue and about the economic consequences during the summer. "And I said, ‘Look, it's not a threat. It's just a statement,” Biden said as he departed the White House.
Biden added: “When in fact, Europeans saw what was happening, and Americans saw what was happening in Russia and Europe, guess what? Six other corporations pulled out and left — they didn’t want to be associated with it. I said, ‘You [Xi], told me that the future of China rests on investment from the Western world — that matters.’ I said, I’d just keep an eye on there's no evidence he’s done it yet.” 
Some context: The US has intelligence that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in the war in Ukraine, three sources familiar with the intelligence told CNN.

It does not appear that Beijing has made a final decision yet, the sources said, but negotiations between Russia and China about the price and scope of the equipment are ongoing.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue when he met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Saturday on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, officials said.
“The secretary was quite blunt in warning about the implications and consequences of China providing material support to Russia or assisting Russia with systematic sanctions evasion,” a senior State Department official told reporters.
7:17 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

US leads the world in aid to Ukraine one year into war

One year after Russia's invasion, the US still leads the world in bilateral aid sent to Ukraine, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German research institute that has been tracking more than $150 billion in aid to Ukraine from January 2022 through January 15 of this year.

US commitments, including financial, humanitarian and military aid, have exceeded $70 billion, more than the EU member countries and institutions combined, which are nearing $55 billion.

See how other countries measure up:

But smaller nearby countries, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are throwing a greater portion of their economic power behind Ukraine, leading aid contributions as a percent of GDP.
See other countries and their bilateral commitments as a percentage of GDP:

3:32 p.m. ET, February 25, 2023

European Union approves 10th round of sanctions against Russia

The European Union has approved a 10th round of sanctions against Russia, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU said on Friday.

“It’s one year since Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine, today, the EU approved the 10th package of Russian sanctions,” the presidency said on Twitter

The Swedish Presidency of the EU added the new sanctions package has imposed “the most forceful and far-reaching sanctions ever to help Ukraine win the war.”

The package includes:

  • Targeted restricted measures against individuals and entities supporting the war, spreading propaganda or delivering drones used by Russia in the war
  • Measures against Russian disinformation 
  • Tighter export restrictions regarding dual-use and advanced technology
“The EU stands united with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We will keep supporting Ukraine, for as long as it takes,” the presidency continued. 
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson tweeted that he welcomed the EU’s agreement on its 10th round of sanctions.
“To keep unity in support for Ukraine is the number one priority for the Swedish EU Presidency,” he wrote.

4:46 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

EU foreign policy chief predicts Russian economy will suffer in war’s second year

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell speaks during a plenary session at the European Parliament on February 15 in Strasbourg, France. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images) 

As the war enters its second year, the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said Russia’s economy will experience more difficulties due to Europe largely cutting out Russian gas and continued sanctions.

“Last year, Russia could cut a lot of money because of the high prices of energy, and we were still very much dependent on Russian gas imports,” Borrell told CNN’s Isa Soares on Friday. “But that’s over, Europe is no longer consuming Russian gas. We were 40% dependent, now we are only 6% dependent. No Russian oil.”

“From an economic point of view, Russia is going to pay a big price for this war. The sanctions work, but they work slowly,” he continued.
When Russia’s war broke out, Western countries hit back with unprecedented sanctions to punish Moscow and pile pressure on President Vladimir Putin. Russia’s economy did weaken as a result, but also showed resilience. As demand for Russian oil fell in Europe, Moscow redirected its barrels to Asia.

The European Union — which spent more than $100 billion on Russian fossil fuels in 2021 — has made huge strides in phasing out purchases. 

The bloc, which dramatically reduced its dependence on Russian natural gas last year, officially banned most imports of Russian crude oil by sea in December. It enacted a similar block on refined oil products this month.

CNN's Julia Horowitz contributed reporting to this post.

3:34 p.m. ET, February 24, 2023

Nearly 1 in 10 Ukrainian hospitals damaged in Russian attacks, according to report

More than 250 attacks during Russia’s invasion last year left nearly one in 10 Ukrainian hospitals damaged, some repeatedly, according to new analysis reviewed by CNN by investigators from the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Ukraine published Tuesday.

The analysis is a joint undertaking of five nongovernmental organizations: eyeWitness to Atrocities (eyeWitness), Insecurity Insight, the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and the Ukrainian Healthcare Center (UHC). CNN has reviewed their analysis but cannot independently confirm the details of each attack.

Nearly 200 medical workers, who at the time of war are protected under international human rights laws, were either killed, injured, kidnapped or arrested, the collaboration between the NGOs revealed.

Researchers documented 707 health care attacks between February and December 2022, including damage to facilities, such as strikes by ground-launched explosives, and other attacks, such as looting, denial of access to health care and disruption of patients’ access to utilities necessary for medical care.

“These findings should be a wake-up call for the global community to act now to end impunity for wanton violence against health workers, in Ukraine and around the world,” Christian De Vos, report co-author and research director at Physicians for Human Rights, a US-based human rights NGO, told CNN.

CNN has asked the Russian government for comment but has not yet received a response. Russia has previously claimed that it only fires on targets of military value. 

Read more here.