5 things to know today about the Russia-Ukraine conflict

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has hit day nine, with an agreement being broken and new threats emerging in the ongoing conflict.

Here are five things you need to know about Saturday’s news from the war:

Russian troops broke cease-fire, Ukrainian officials say

After Russia and Ukraine agreed to a temporary cease-fire on civilian evacuation routes from two cities in southern Ukraine, Mariupol and Volnovakha, Ukrainian officials said Saturday that Russia had gone back on its word.

“The Russian side is not holding to the cease-fire and has continued firing on Mariupol itself and on its surrounding area,” the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said.

“Talks with the Russian Federation are ongoing regarding setting up a ceasefire and ensuring a safe humanitarian corridor,” Tymoshenko added. 

Ukraine has paused civilian evacuations in Mariupol, with the deputy mayor saying residents cannot leave safely. 

Putin threatens Ukrainian statehood

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened Ukraine’s statehood in a statement on Saturday. 

“The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” Putin said. “If that happens, they will have to be blamed for that.”

The Russian president also took aim at Western countries in his comments, calling the sanctions that have been imposed by multiple Western countries “akin to a declaration of war.”

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials continue to push for a no-fly zone over Ukraine as allies balk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials continued to push for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine after the U.S. and NATO rebuffed the request, saying implementing such a zone could lead to large-scale war.

In a Saturday virtual meeting with Congress, Zelensky urged the creation of a no-fly zone, additionally pleading for the U.S. to stop buying Russian oil and send Ukraine more airplanes.

In a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Ukraine-Poland border Saturday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba similarly reiterated the call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

American and NATO officials, however, have clearly stated that the idea is not being considered.

“A no-fly zone is the beginning of World War III. The Russians will not observe a no-fly zone, thus you will have U.S. and Russian forces in combat,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

Media makes moves to protect itself in Russia

As Russia cracks down on the press amid reporting on its invasion of Ukraine, media organizations are responding by making moves to protect themselves and their reporters. 

Putin on Friday signed legislation that said those found to be spreading “fake news” about Russian troops could be punished with up to 15 years in prison.

Following the move, The Washington Post said it would be taking bylines and datelines off some coverage in order to protect its staff. 

BBC, CNN and Bloomberg all announced they are halting all operations in Russia. 

Russian state-media outlets have been restricted and demonetized on a number of social media platforms for spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine. 

State Department warns Americans against traveling to Russia

The State Department issued a level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory for Russia on Saturday due to “arbitrary” laws being implemented in the country.

"Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and have convicted them in secret trials and/or without presenting credible evidence," the advisory stated.

This comes as WNBA star Brittney Griner was arrested on Saturday in Russia for possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil at Sheremetyevo airport.

"If you wish to depart Russia, you should make arrangements on your own as soon as possible. If you plan to stay in Russia, understand the U.S. Embassy has severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens, and conditions, including transportation options, may change suddenly," the advisory said.

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