Investing.com – Gold was up on Thursday morning in Asia, remaining flat as investors’ risk appetites improve. The U.S. Federal Reserve tried to mitigate fears about hawkish interest rate hikes, which countered increasing demand for safe-haven assets spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.Gold futures were up 0.34% to $1,928.80 by 11:25 PM ET (4:25 AM GMT).Russia continues to advance into Ukraine, with the latter’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, suffering heavy bombardment on Wednesday. The invasion itself was denounced with a wide majority in a United Nations vote.The biggest attack on a European state since 1945 has caused hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to flee the country. It has also led to a string of sanctions against Russia and stoked fears of a wider conflict in the West. The latest round of sanctions announced by the U.S. bans the export of specific refining technologies, making it more difficult for Russia to modernize its oil refineries.Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would begin "carefully" hiking interest rates at its upcoming meeting later in the month. However, he added that the central bank would be ready to move more aggressively if inflation does not cool as quickly as expected.U.S. shares gained and benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields rose higher on Wednesday following the comments.The European Central Bank will also release the minutes from its February meeting later in the day.In Asia Pacific, China released its Caixin services purchasing managers index (PMI) earlier in the day, which stood at 50.2 for February 2022. Japan also released its services PMI, which was 44.2.In other precious metals, palladium fell 1.3% to $2,633.65, after hitting its highest level since July 2021 at $2,722.79 on Tuesday. Silver and platinum were both down 0.4%.