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European Union freezes assets of Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov

Latvia, February 25: Latvia’s foreign minister says the European Union has agreed to freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov along with other sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

The move indicates that Western powers are moving toward unprecedented measures to force Putin to stop the brutal invasion of Russia’s neighbor and from unleashing a major war in Europe.

Foreign Minister Edgard Rinkevics announced the EU decision Friday in a tweet.

He said another package of sanctions is to be prepared by the EU.

The leader of the Belarus opposition in exile says the European Union should slap tougher sanctions on Belarus for its role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sviatlana Tiskhanouskaya says Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, has turned her country into “an aggressor” in Ukraine.

She told The Associated Press on Friday that Belarus has become “an aircraft carrier” for the Russian military, carrying troops to Ukraine, re-fueling its war machine and housing soldiers of the invading force.

The United States, the EU, Britain and Canada last year imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials, businesses and several sectors of the economy and the financial system following a brutal crackdown on Lukashenko’s opponents. They were protesting his fraudulent re-election for a sixth term.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday called the Belarus government “an accomplice” in Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and said it will also be targeted with sanctions.

Russian state broadcaster RT says it was subjected to “massive” denial-of-service attacks after the online collective Anonymous pledged to carry out cyberattacks in support of Ukraine, which is being invaded by Russian forces.

RT said in a statement that the attacks on its websites came from about 100 million devices, mostly based in the U.S. But the broadcaster said it was resolving the issues and its website appeared to be functioning normally Friday.

Anonymous announced a day earlier on Twitter that it is “officially in cyber war against the Russian government” and noted later that the Russian Ministry of Defence website was down.

But it is difficult to attribute a cyberattack to Anonymous or even confirm that someone is a member of a collective that is open to anyone who claims to use hacking for a particular cause.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense says the bulk of Russian forces advancing on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are more than 50 kilometres from the centre of the city.

The ministry said it continues to monitor “sporadic clashes” between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the northern suburbs of the capital.

The intelligence update, delivered via Twitter, also said that armoured units were forced to open a new route toward Kyiv after failing to capture Chernihiv, a city northeast of the capital near the Belarusian border.

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