Russian state media declare ceasefire in Ukraine

UK says 4 Ukrainian towns are surrounded by Russian forces

The UK Ministry of Defense said it appears four Ukrainian towns are surrounded by Russian troops.

“Ukraine continues to hold the key cities of Kharkiv, Cherniv and Mariupol,” the ministry said in its daily intelligence update on Saturday.

“There have been reports of street fighting in Sumy. It is highly likely that the four towns are surrounded by Russian forces.”

According to the UK, “the overall rate of Russian air strikes and artillery seen over the past 24 hours has been lower than in previous days.”

The ministry added that Russian forces were also “probably” advancing towards the southern port city of Mykolaiv, but noted that it was possible that some forces were trying to bypass the city to prioritize progress towards the port city of Mykolaiv. Odessa.

— Chloe Taylor

Temporary ceasefire declared in two Ukrainian cities

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office who took part in negotiations with Russian officials this week, confirmed on Saturday that a temporary ceasefire had been declared in two Ukrainian cities.

The ceasefire, which was to begin at 10 a.m. Moscow time (2 a.m. ET), would allow civilians to leave the towns, which have been ravaged by fighting in recent days.

Russian state-controlled media claimed that the country’s Defense Ministry had agreed exit routes with Ukrainian authorities.

— Chloe Taylor

Samsung Electronics stops shipments to Russia

Samsung Electronics has joined the slew of tech and consumer electronics companies that have stopped sending products to Russia.

The South Korean smartphone giant said it would suspend shipments to Russia and donate $6 million to humanitarian efforts “in the region”.

Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Google and Meta have made it harder for Russians to access some of the world’s most used technology as President Vladimir Putin continues his invasion of Ukraine.

Samsung Electronics is Russia’s top handset maker, with a 30% market share in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters. Xiaomi and Apple in China are second and third respectively.

—Ted Kemp

Amazon says notifying Ukrainian organizations of cybersecurity threats

Amazon Web Services logo.

Chesnot | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Amazon said friday various teams in its cloud computing unit briefed Ukrainian organizations and global governments on cybersecurity threats from state and other malicious actors.

“Our teams have seen new malware signatures and activity from a number of state actors that we are monitoring,” Amazon said. “As this activity has escalated, our teams and technologies have detected threats, learned patterns, and placed remediation tools directly into the hands of customers.”

AWS has also detected an increase in activity by non-state actors where malware has been targeted at charities, NGOs, and other aid organizations “in order to confuse and cause disruption”, said Amazon. In these cases, malicious actors have sought to disrupt medical supplies, food and clothing aid.

Amazon said it is also working with Ukrainian customers and partners to keep their applications secure, including helping them move their on-premises infrastructure to AWS to protect it from any potential physical or virtual attacks.

Western companies reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in several ways. Microsoft said it was helping to keep Ukraine informed about cyberattacks and also suspended the sale of new products and services in Russia. Apple announced on Tuesday that it will stop selling products at its Apple Store in the country.

AWS has no data centers, infrastructure or offices in Russia, and it has a “longstanding policy of not doing business” in the country, Amazon said. Amazon’s biggest customers using AWS in Russia are companies headquartered outside of the country that have development teams there, the company added.

—Annie Palmer

Ukraine invites US Senate to Zoom meeting with Zelenskyy

United States First Lady Jill Biden applauds her guest, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, in the first lady’s box, as President Joe Biden greets Markarova during her speech on the State of the Union during a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Washington, United States, on March 1, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

The entire US Senate has been invited to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via Zoom on Saturday morning, NBC News reported, citing unnamed sources.

The meeting was organized by the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States, and it will come a day after Zelenskyy promised leaders in European capitals that Ukraine will repel the invasion launched by Russian forces last week.

Since the start of Russia’s unprovoked offensive, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have overwhelmingly supported the Biden administration’s efforts to bolster Ukraine’s resistance as well as U.S. sanctions designed to cripple the Russian economy.

During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, many lawmakers wore the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, or wore the flag itself on their lapels.

At one point, Biden asked the public to stand up and “send an unequivocal signal to the world and to Ukraine” of American support.

They did and greeted Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, who was seated with First Lady Jill Biden.

-Dan Mangan

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