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August 9, 2022
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Ukraine war: sanctions-hit Russian rouble crashes as Zelenskiy speaks of ‘crucial’ 24 hours

Some analysts expect a ‘complete collapse’ in currency amid signs one state-backed bank could fail, while Ukraine president warns key moment has arrived

The Russian rouble crashed more than 40% after trading began on Monday in the wake of unprecedented international sanctions against the country’s financial system over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The news came as Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the British prime minister that the next 24 hours would be “crucial” for his country and amid reports that a column of Russian tanks was heading for the capital.

Belarus is reportedly preparing to send soldiers into Ukraine in support of the Russian invasion. The Washington Post spoke to an unnamed US administration official on Sunday evening who said the deployment could begin as soon as Monday. “It’s very clear Minsk is now an extension of the Kremlin,” they said. Kyiv Independent reported the move was likely after Putin failed to secure a swift victory. The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the claim.

Blasts were heard in the capital Kyiv and in the major city of Kharkiv early on Monday morning, Ukraine’s state service of special communications reported.

Ukraine’s interior ministry said 352 Ukrainian civilians have been killed during Russia’s invasion, including 14 children. It says an additional 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded.

Ukraine has agreed to send a delegation to meet Russian representatives on the border with Belarus, which would be the two sides’ first public contact since war erupted. Zelenskiy said he was not confident that any progress would be made, but that he would try. “I’ll say frankly, like always, that I don’t believe in the result of this meeting,” he said. “But let’s try, so that no citizen of Ukraine would have any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war when there was even a chance.”

A rare emergency special session of the UN general assembly is due to be held on Monday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, marking the first time in 40 years the security council has made such a request.

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