While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 25

Ukrainian servicemen are seen next to a destroyed armoured vehicle, which they said belongs to the Russian army, outside Kharkiv, Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS

Ukraine under full-scale attack; West sanctions Russia

Ukrainian forces battled Russian invaders on three sides on Thursday after Moscow mounted an assault by land, sea and air in the biggest attack on a European state since World War II, prompting tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war in a pre-dawn televised address, explosions and gunfire were heard throughout the morning in Kyiv, a city of three million people.

"This is a premeditated attack," US President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House as he unveiled harsh new sanctions coordinated with allies. "Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences."

By nightfall, a picture was emerging of fierce fighting across multiple fronts.

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No plans to leave Kyiv amid Russian attack: Ex-actor Ix Shen

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At about 10pm on Wednesday night (4am on Thursday, Singapore time), Singaporean Ix Shen was standing on his balcony in Kyiv, Ukraine, when he heard a loud explosion in the distance.

It was the first time he had heard such a sound, and he knew that the threat of war was close.

He told The Straits Times: "It was a very instantaneous flash. For a moment, I thought it was the moon being covered by the clouds, but the clouds would not have been able to move that fast.

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Brazilian footballers in Ukraine appeal for rescue

A group of Brazilian footballers based in Ukraine appealed to their government to be rescued following Russia's attack on their host country on Thursday.

"All our friends and family, the situation is serious and we are prisoners in Kyiv awaiting a solution to get out," Junior Moraes, a Shakhtar Donetsk player who is a naturalised Ukrainian, said on Instagram. "We are in a hotel. Pray for us."

In a video recorded at a hotel where around a dozen players had gathered with wives and children, members of the group asked Brazilian authorities to come and rescue them.

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Tennis: Djokovic stunned by qualifier Vesely in Dubai

World number one Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat by qualifier Jiri Vesely at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Thursday, falling to a 6-4 7-6(4) loss in the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 event.

The Serbian's defeat meant that U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev - who is currently competing in Acapulco - will move to the top of the world rankings next week.

Playing in his first event since being deported from Australia ahead of the year's first Grand Slam tournament, an off-colour Djokovic lost serve in the opening game as Vesely matched him stroke for stroke.

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K-pop kings BTS get global music crown for 2nd year running

K-pop superstars BTS were named the 2021 IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year on Thursday, making them the first act to win the award two years running.

The seven-member boy band has led a global K-pop craze since 2013 with their upbeat songs and dances, building a huge and loyal fan base around the world.

Last year, their singles Butter, Permission To Dance and My Universe, a joint release with Coldplay, all topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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