Ukrainian servicemen next to a destroyed armored vehicle, which they said belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2022. (Maksim Levin/Reuters)

Ukraine’s health minister said Thursday that the ongoing Russian invasion has killed 57 Ukrainians and wounded 169 more, according to the Associated Press.

Health minister Viktor Lyashko said the country’s authorities are repurposing Ukrainian health care facilities to accommodate people who need medical assistance because of the attack. 

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said earlier Thursday there had been hundreds of casualties as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the north, east and the southern Crimea peninsula.

Russia launched an aggressive aerial bombardment targeting nearly every major Ukrainian city early Thursday morning local time, including the capital city of Kyiv, before ground forces crossed the Russia-Ukraine border.

An adviser to Ukraine’s office of the president confirmed Russian forces captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant late Thursday following battles in the nuclear exclusion zone, according to Reuters. 

“Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted.

Meanwhile, President Biden unveiled new sanctions on Russian banks Thursday afternoon in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden noted that while the U.S. had previously cut off Russia’s largest bank from the U.S. financial system, that he would now be blocking four more major banks.

“We’ve now sanctioned Russian banks that together hold around $1 trillion in assets,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

Yet Biden has not followed through on his threats to sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin directly. Despite Ukrainian requests, Russia has also not been disconnected from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT system, which is managed by the National Bank of Belgium and hosts a large share of international business transactions.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also denied recent reporting that President Biden had been presented with options to disrupt Russia’s Ukraine invasion with massive cyberattacks.

“This report on cyber options being presented to @POTUS is off base and does not reflect what is actually being discussed in any shape or form,” Psaki wrote in a tweet.

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