Ukraine-Russia: Kyiv Near 'Catastrophe,' Berdyansk Falls, UN Session Called

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Ukraine regains control of Kharkiv from Russia
Ukraine resistance fighters have regained control of the key city of Kharkiv from Russia's invading forces. Getty Images

U.S. to Send Anti-Aircraft Stinger Missiles to Ukraine

The U.S. will send powerful anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to Ukraine as part of a larger package approved by the White Hose earlier this week, marking the first time the nation has approved such a delivery.

Officials familiar with the matter told the Associated Press on Sunday that the exact timing of the shipment is not yet known, but that the U.S. is currently working to finalize logistics. The high-speed missiles will be used to shoot down helicopters and other aircraft as Ukrainian forces continue fighting against Russia's invasion.

The revelation comes on the same day that the European Union announced it will support the purchase and delivery of $500 million worth of weapons to Ukraine. A day earlier, Germany announced its own pledge to send 500 Stinger missiles and other anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have been pleading with Western nations to send more of the advanced weapons as the conflict reaches into its fourth day.

Georgian Captain Refuses to Fuel Russian Ship: 'Go F*** Yourself'

The assistant captain of a Georgian maintenance ship refused to help a stranded Russian ship with refueling amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, telling a crew member to "Go f**** yourself."

In footage shared widely on social media Sunday, the captain can be heard asking if the ship requesting assistance is Russian. When they respond with "yes," he replies, "We refuse your refueling."

The Russian ship then asked him to "leave politics aside," prompting the captain unleash profanities and state, "Glory to Ukraine." He then adds that the Russian ship "can always use oars, so row on."

A recording of the exchange was shared by former Ukrainian ambassador Olexander Scherba:

U.N. Security Council to Hold Emergency Special Session on Monday

The U.N. Security Council voted to hold a rare emergency session of the 193-member General Assembly on Monday to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In a Sunday motion, 11 members voted in favor of the session, while Russia opposed and China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstained.

"This is not an ordinary moment. We need to take extraordinary action to meet this threat to our international system and to do everything we can to help Ukraine and its people," said U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon, and the Security Council will put vote on a resolution that calls for an immediate end to hostilities in Ukraine, as well as protection for civilians and humanitarian aid, the New York Times reported.

Russia Gains Control of Southern City Berdyansk: Mayor

Russian forces have taken control of the small Ukrainian city Berdyansk, located on the southern coast, according to acting mayor Oleksandr Svidlo.

Svidlo posted a message to Facebook on Sunday describing how armed soldiers with heavy military equipment successfully advanced on the city.

"Some time ago, armed soldiers entered the executive committee building and introduced themselves as soldiers of the Russian army, they informed us that all administrative buildings were under their control and that they were taking control of the executive committee building," he wrote in the message to residents, according to CNN.

Svidlo added that officials were asked to continue working "under the control of armed men," but that he considered the proposal to be unacceptable, so members of the operational headquarters instead chose to leave the building.

"Today Berdyansk was on the line of fire. I don't know what tomorrow will be like, but I think tonight will be very, very hard," Svidlo said at the end of his post.

Berdyansk has a small naval base and a residential population of around 100,000. Earlier on Sunday, Russia's defense ministry said that it had completely "blocked" Berdyansk and the nearby city Kherson, according to Reuters.

Mayor Says Kyiv Nearing 'Catastrophe,' Spokesperson Walks Back 'Encircled' Claim

A spokesperson for Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Sunday said he "misspoke" during an interview in which he claimed that the city is "encircled" by Russian troops.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Klitschko said that "all ways are blocked" leaving the city, and that Kyiv is surrounded by Russian forces, drawing concerns that the capital is in a more vulnerable position than previously thought.

However, the spokesperson walked back on those claims.

"His spokesperson said that he misspoke, and that such information is 'a lie and a manipulation,'" the Kyiv Independent reported.

In the same AP interview, Klitschko also said that Kyiv is "at the border of a humanitarian catastrophe" and lacks the infrastructure necessary to receive food and medical deliveries.

However, Klitschko maintained optimism and offered a message of unity for Ukrainians. "We are strong," he said. "Every Ukrainian is proud to be independent, proud to be Ukrainian, and we are proud to have our own country."

Ukraine Hospitals Are Running Out of Oxygen, WHO Warns

Hospitals in Ukraine are reaching dangerously low levels of oxygen amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Sunday.

The organization said that the majority of hospitals in the country could exhaust their oxygen reserves "within the next 24 hours," while others have already run out.

"The oxygen supply situation is nearing a very dangerous point in Ukraine. Trucks are unable to transport oxygen supplies from plants to hospitals across the country, including the capital Kyiv," the organization said in a statement. "This puts thousands of lives at risk."

Oxygen reserves are needed to treat a variety of hospital patients, including nearly 1,700 people currently being treated for COVID-19 in Ukraine. The WHO said it is now working with the nation's health authorities to identify immediate supply needs and attempting to bring in more oxygen through regional networks, such as transporting supplies through neighboring Poland.

African Migrants Reportedly Being Turned Away While Trying to Flee Ukraine

African migrants in Ukraine are reportedly being denied refuge as hundreds of thousands of citizens attempt to flee the nation amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Several social media videos have emerged in the past few days allegedly showing that Black people being turned away or blocked from boarding trains while white Ukrainians are able to pass through.

In one video, a social media user alleged that Black people attempting to reach Poland were unable to cross over and instead were met with armed soldiers who "threatened to shoot."

One Black man and father of three told The Independent that he and his family members were waved away from the border on Saturday after being told "No Blacks."

"In all of my years as an activist, I have never seen anything like this. When I look into the eyes of those who are turning us away, I see bloodshot racism; they want to save themselves and they are losing their humanity in the process," said Osarumen, a Nigerian national who has lived in Ukraine since 2009.

Russian Billionaires Speak Out Against Ukraine Invasion: 'Catastrophic'

Prominent Russian billionaires have spoken out against the war in Ukraine, with one telling reporters that the conflict will likely have "catastrophic" consequences.

"It is going to be catastrophic in all senses: for the economy, for relations with the rest of the world, for the political situation," a Moscow-based billionaire, who requested anonymity, told Reuters in an article published Sunday.

Two other Russian billionaires, Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska, similarly urged for an end to the conflict.

"Peace is very important," Deripaska said in a Telegram post, while calling for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to take place "as fast as possible."

Meanwhile, Fridman wrote in a letter that he was born in western Ukraine, where he lived until he was 17.

"My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favorite city, he stated. "But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses. I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both."

Zelenksyy Not Expecting Much From Talks With Russia: 'Let Them Try'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that he doesn't expect to reach much of a resolution in an upcoming talk with Russia at the Ukraine-Belarus border.

"I will say frankly, as always: I do not really believe in the result of this meeting, but let them try. So that no citizen of Ukraine would have any doubt that I, as president, did not try to stop the war when there was even a small chance," Zelesnkyy said during a televised meeting.

"And while our guys are there, the president is here, the chief of staff is here, the prime minister is here, the army is here, the commander-in-chief is here. We will all defend our state and our borders," he added.

Earlier on Sunday, Zelenskyy confirmed that talks would take place on Monday morning (local time) near the Pripyat River. He said Belarus has confirmed that all Russian "planes, helicopters and missiles" stationed on Belarusian territory will remain on the ground to ensure the safety of delegates.

Ukraine Seeks Red Cross Help With Bodies of Fallen Russian Soldiers

Families of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine deserve the chance "to bury them with dignity," said a Ukrainian official.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, the country's ambassador to the United Nations, made the statement on Twitter while calling on the Red Cross to help with the "repatriation of thousands of bodies of Russian soldiers."

He included in his post Saturday a chart that reiterated Ukraine's claim that around 3,500 Russian soldiers have been killed during the invasion so far.

"Don't let Putin hide [the] scale of tragedy," he added.

NATO Blasts Putin for "Dangerous Rhetoric" Over Nuclear Alert

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg criticized Vladimir Putin for using "dangerous rhetoric" after the Russian leader announced Sunday that his nuclear forces would be put on high alert.

"This is a behavior which is irresponsible. And of course, if you combine this rhetoric with what they're doing on the ground in Ukraine, waging war against an independent sovereign nation, conducting a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, this adds to the seriousness of the situation," Stoltenberg said in an interview with CNN.

Putin said he is placing the country's nuclear deterrence forces on high alert and transferring them "to a special mode of combat duty" as a response to hefty sanctions and "aggressive statements" by NATO.

Stoltenberg and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Putin's decision falls in a line with a pattern of aggressive and unnecessary action from Russia.

"It just highlights the importance of NATO allies standing together, America and Europe standing together, and that's exactly what we are doing," Stoltenberg added.

European Union Unites in Banning All Russian Aircraft

The EU said Sunday that it will implement a united ban against all Russian aircraft after at least a dozen European countries already moved to suspend flights.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Union commission, made the announcement while listing a new round of actions against Russia. She said the EU will finance the donation of weapons to Ukraine, ban the Russian state-funded broadcaster RT and expand sanctions against Belarus.

The action comes as several more EU countries—including Germany, Italy and Belgium—on Sunday announced that they would block Russian air travel as fighting reaches its fourth day in Ukraine.

EU Commissioner Warns There Could Be 'Millions' of Ukrainian Refugees

Ylva Johansson, the European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs, said Sunday that EU members should prepare for the possibility of millions of Ukrainian refugees.

"It's very difficult to guess how many, but I think we should be prepared for millions," Johansson said during an interview, according to CNN.

Previous estimates by the United Nations have predicted that number could reach as high as 5 million.

So far, around 300,000 Ukrainians have sought refuge in EU countries, Johansson added on Sunday. The EU is now preparing to launch a "solidarity platform" to coordinate support to member states as more Ukrainians are expected to arrive in the coming days.

White House Slams Putin for Putting Nuclear Forces on High Alert

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday criticized Vladimir Putin for putting Russia's nuclear forces on high alert and said the move is part of a Russian "pattern" to "manufacture threats."

"This is really a pattern that we've seen from President Putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don't exist in order to justify further aggression—and the global community and the American people should look at it through that prism," Psaki said during an interview with ABC News.

"We're going to stand up for it, we have the ability to defend ourselves, but we also need to call out what we're seeing here from President Putin," she added.

Earlier on Sunday, Putin said he would place Russia's nuclear forces on high alert in response to economic sanctions from the West and "aggressive statements" from senior NATO officials.

Videos Show Long Lines at Russian ATMs as Panic Increases Over SWIFT Ban

Video footage on Sunday appeared to show Russians forming long lines at ATMs in Moscow amid fears that economic sanctions and the expulsion of some banks from the SWIFT system will make it difficult to withdrawal cash.

One video captured lines snaking throughout a building, while other footage appeared to show that some ATMs have already begun running out of money.

On Saturday evening, the U.S. and several European allies agreed to expel certain Russian banks from SWIFT, a high-security banking system that connects major banking systems all over the world.

"This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally," the White House said in a statement. "We stand with the Ukrainian people in this dark hour. Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine."

U.K. Official Warns Russia May Use 'Most Unsavory Means' to Defeat Ukraine

Britain's foreign secretary warned Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin may use the most "unsavory" means—including the use of chemical or nuclear weapons—to win the war in Ukraine.

"This could well be the beginning of the end for Putin. I fear that he is prepared to use the most unsavory means in this war," Liz Truss told Sky News, adding that she fears the conflict "could be very, very bloody."

"I urge the Russians not to escalate this conflict but we do need to be prepared for Russia to seek to use even worse weapons. I think it would be hugely devastating. We need to avoid this at all costs," Truss said.

Truss' comments came just before Putin announced Sunday that Russia's nuclear forces would be placed on high alert. Putin said he made that decision in response to crippling economic sanctions and "aggressive statements" from senior NATO officials.

U.S. Pledges $54M in Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine

The U.S. said Sunday that it is sending nearly $54 million in new humanitarian aid to assist Ukrainians as fighting against Russia continues.

"The U.S. is providing nearly $54 million in additional humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine. This assistance enables humanitarian organizations to support citizens of Ukraine already in need and those newly affected by Russia's unprovoked and unjustified attack," U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken tweeted.

Blinken added that the aid will be channeled through NGOs and includes "provision of food, safe drinking water, shelter, emergency health care, winterization and protection."

Zelenskyy Announces Meeting Between Ukraine and Russia on Belarus Border

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed on Telegram Sunday that the country has agreed to meet with Russian delegations on the Ukraine-Belarus border.

"We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River," he wrote. "[Belarus President] Alexander Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during Ukrainian delegations travel, talks and return."

Zelenskyy's statement comes after he earlier rejected Belarus as a location for peace talks and accused the nation of being complicit in Russia's invasion. During a Sunday call between the two countries, Lukashenko denied that his troops were taking part in the conflict even though some Russian troops have accessed Ukraine through Belarus.

Putin Places Russia's Nuclear Forces on High Alert

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ordered for the nation's nuclear deterrent forces to be put on high alert in response to sanctions and "aggressive statements" by leading NATO officials.

"Senior officials of the leading NATO countries also allow aggressive statements against our country, therefore I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff [of the Russian Armed Forces] to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty," Putin said in a televised statement, according to The Guardian.

The order means that Russia's nuclear weapons will be prepared for increased readiness to launch.

Andrew Roth, a Moscow-based reporter for The Guardian, tweeted Sunday that Putin's order is "a bluff until it isn't."

More European Countries Announce Ban on Russian Airlines

Several more European countries on Sunday announced that Russian airlines will be banned from their airspace.

Germany, Italy, Belgium, Finland, and Denmark have joined a growing list of nations that have blocked Russian air travel as fighting continues in Ukraine. On Saturday, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Latvia also announced a ban on Russian airlines, while urging "all EU countries to do the same." Others that closed their airspace earlier include the U.K., Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Since at least a dozen European countries have already announced a halt on Russian flights, an EU official said Sunday that the EU may initiate a formal ban among all members as part of a new round of sanctions, according to Reuters.

Ukraine Agreed to Talks in Belarus, Russia Claims

Moscow claimed on Sunday that Ukraine agreed to meet its delegation in the Belarusian city of Gomel.

It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had a phone call with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to the Interfax news agency.

Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy rejected Belarus as a location for peace talks with Russia, but touted alternative locations. Zelenskyy this morning called Russia's decision to send a delegation to Belarus for talks "propaganda" and said Belarus was complicit in Russia's full-scale invasion against Ukraine.

Zelenskyy hasn't yet publicly commented on whether Ukraine has agreed to a meeting.

Russia earlier issued an ultimatum to Ukraine on the talks, saying Ukraine had until 3 p.m. Minsk time to decide whether to participate in negotiations in Gomel.

Zelenskyy Says He Spoke With Belarusian Counterpart Lukashenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday afternoon that he has spoken with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a Putin-backed politician.

He made the announcement on his Telegram channel, without elaborating.

Zelenskyy has accused Belarus of taking part in Russia's full-scale invasion against Ukraine. Lukashenko has denied his country's troops were taking part, although some Russian troops accessed Ukraine through Belarus.

9 Kyiv Civilians Killed, Including 1 Child, Mayor Says

At least nine civilians, including one child, have been killed in Ukraine's capital Kyiv since Russian forces invaded on February 24, mayor Vitaly Klitschko said Sunday.

Klitschko said a further 47 civilians have been injured, including three children.

The mayor claimed there are no Russian troops remaining in Kyiv.

"Our military, law enforcement and territorial defence continue to detect and neutralize saboteurs," Klitschko wrote on his Telegram channel.

Kharkiv Under Ukrainian Control, Says Mayor

In an update Sunday, Kharkiv's mayor said Ukraine has taken back control of the city after Russian forces infiltrated earlier this morning.

"Control over Kharkiv is completely ours! The armed forces, the police, and the defense forces are working, and the city is being completely cleansed of the enemy," Kharkiv Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in a statement.

Earlier, Sinegubov asked residents to remain at home after Russian troops entered Ukraine's second largest city.

"Ukraine's armed forces are destroying the enemy," he said this morning.

Germany Turns on Russia, Announces Huge Boost to Military Spending

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced the country will increase military spending by €100 billion ($113 bn), meaning that for the first time the country will be spending above NATO's target of 2% of GDP.

This, combined with Germany announcing it would send weapons directly to Ukraine and that it would build new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to break free from the country's dependency on Russia's natural gas, all reveal a remarkable turnaround in Germany's attitude towards Russia since the invasion of Ukraine started.

Putin Made 'Strategic Mistake' as Ukraine War Could Drag on For Years—U.K.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Russia's Vladimir Putin made a "strategic mistake" by invading Ukraine and that the war could be the "beginning of the end" for him.

The conflict could go on for "a number of years," Truss said in an appearance on the Trevor Phillips On Sunday show.

Truss also said she feared that the fighting in Ukraine could be "very, very bloody" amid concerns that Russia could soon deploy themobaric weapons against Ukraine.

"I urge Russians not to escalate this conflict, but we do need to be prepared for Russia to seek to use even worse weapons," Truss said. "I think it would be hugely devastating."

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Russia Issues Ultimatum to Ukraine on Belarus Talks

Russia on Sunday issued an ultimatum on talks in Belarus, saying their Ukrainian counterparts have until 3 p.m. local time to decide whether to participate in negotiations in the Belarusian city of Gomel.

"The delegation of the Russian Federation, headed by Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, remains in Minsk and is ready to wait until 15:00 Belarusian time for the Ukrainian side to confirm its readiness to take part in the negotiations in Gomel," Leonid Slutsky, a member of the State Duma of Russia, wrote on his Telegram page on Sunday.

In a video address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Belarus as a location for talks with Russia, but left the door open for talks elsewhere. He said Belarus was complicit in Russia's full-scale invasion against Ukraine.

"The sooner the negotiation process starts, the more lives will be saved," Slutsky wrote.

He warned that "in the event of another refusal and new excuses, the entire responsibility for the further development of events will lie with the current government of Ukraine."

Ukraine Brings Lawsuit Against Russia to the International Court of Justice

Ukraine has filed a lawsuit against Russia in the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Sunday.

"Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ," Zelenskyy tweeted Sunday afternoon. "

The leader said Russia must be held accountable for "manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression."

"We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week," he wrote.

The move comes four days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" against Ukraine.

Ireland to Ban Russian Aircraft, Official Says

Ireland is moving to shut off its airspace to all Russian aircraft, Foreign Affairs minster Simon Coveney said Sunday morning.

"Shocking Russian attacks on Ukraine overnight. #Ireland will move to shut off Irish Airspace to all Russian Aircraft. We encourage other EU partners to do the same," he tweeted.

Coveney added, "We also support new wide-ranging sanctions to be agreed today at EU FAC & new assistance package for #Ukraine."

It comes after Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Romania announced similar measures on Saturday. The United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic have also imposed curbs closing their airspace to Russian flights.

Finland also said on Sunday officials would implement flight bans.

Russia has responded by closing its airspace to planes from Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Estonia, the Czech Republic, UK, Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania.

Putin Ally: Zelenskyy Committing 'Crime' By Rejecting Belarus Talks

The speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament on Thursday accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of committing a "crime against the people of Ukraine, against the world community" for declining talks with his Russian counterparts in Belarus.

"In the current situation, in the interests of the citizens of Ukraine, Zelensky should look for any opportunity for negotiations. But instead of participating in them, he is looking for excuses," Vyacheslav Volodin, a senior lawmaker, wrote on his Telegram channel on Sunday.

Zelenskyy rejected Belarus as a location for negotiations with Russia, but left the door open for talks elsewhere. He said Belarus was complicit in Russia's massive military operation against Ukraine.

Zelenskyy Declines Belarus as Location For Peace Talks With Russia

In a video address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Belarus as a location for peace talks with Russia, but touted alternative locations.

A Kremlin spokesman said Sunday that a Russian delegation arrived in Belarus for "first negotiations" with Ukrainian counterparts, according to IFAX news agency.

Zelenskyy called Russia's decision to send a delegation to Belarus for talks "propaganda" and said Belarus was complicit in Russia's full-scale invasion against Ukraine.

He said Kyiv is prepared to engage in talks "in other locations."

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov hit back by claiming that Ukrainian officials chose the Belarusian city of Gomel as the location for negotiations, multiple Russian state-run media outlets reported Sunday.

Zelenskyy Calls For Foreign fighters, Putin Thanks Russian Soldiers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday morning called for foreigners to come and fight against Russia.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, urged prospective foreign fighters "willing to defend Ukraine and world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine" to contact their foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in their respective countries.

"Anyone who wants to join in defending Europe and the world's security can come and stand side by side with Ukrainians against the invaders of the 21st century," Ukraine's Armed Forces added in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meanwhile thanked his soldiers on Sunday in a televised address. Russian forces are "heroically fulfilling their military duty" in Ukraine, Putin said.

64 Civilian Deaths Confirmed So Far, UN Says

At least 64 civilians have been killed in Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, but the "real figures are considerably higher," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said late Saturday.

"Hundreds of thousands of people" have also been left without access to water or electricity in Ukraine due to damage to civilian infrastructure, the agency said.

Russian officials have repeatedly claimed that its forces are targeting only Ukrainian military infrastructure with prevision weapons in a mission ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24.

Russian Forces Enter Ukraine's Kharkiv

Russian troops entered Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, on day four of Russian President Vladimir Putin's full-scale invasion.

Ukrainian armed forces on Sunday clashed with Russian forces on the streets of the northeastern city, located 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.

"The Russian enemy's light vehicles have broken into Kharkiv, including the city center," Kharkiv Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in a statement. "Ukraine's armed forces are destroying the enemy. We ask civilians not to go out."

Anton Herashchenko, adviser to the interior minister, published videos showing light military entering the city. He urged Kharkiv's 1.4 million residents to remain at home.

The State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection said Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in the city, warning that the explosion could cause an "environmental catastrophe."

Residents have been asked to cover their windows with a damp cloth and to drink plenty of fluids.

Ukrainians still hold all major cities in the country, government officials said Sunday, days after Putin announced a "special military operation" against Ukraine.

Ukraine Official Announces 'IT Army' in Fight Against Russia

Ukraine's vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, said Saturday that the nation will launch an "IT Army" to protect itself from Russian cyberattacks and to conduct cyber spying missions, according to Reuters.

Several Ukrainian government agencies and banks have been attacked by malicious data-wiping software in the past week. The U.S. and U.K. have blamed such attacks on Russia, though the Kremlin has denied its involvement.

The European Union (EU) similarly announced this week that it will activate its Cyber Rapid Response Team to help Ukraine defend against vulnerabilities. The team includes experts from Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania and marks the first time it is being deployed.

Zelenskyy Says U.K. Has Made 'New Decisions' to Enhance Ukraine Military

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that he spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and that the U.K. has made "new decisions" to enhance Ukraine's army.

"Had a phone conversation with @BorisJohnson. Grateful to the British Prime Minister for his position, new decisions to enhance the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian army. Agreed on further joint steps to counter the aggressor," he wrote on Twitter.

Earlier on Saturday, Germany announced that it will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 "Stinger" surface-to-air missiles to boost Ukraine's military.

"The world has seen Ukrainians are powerful, Ukrainians are brave," Zelenskyy said during a Saturday speech. "We will fight as long as it takes to liberate the country."

Russian Artillery Reportedly Strikes Children's Hospital in Kyiv

Russian artillery fire has reportedly struck a children's cancer hospital in Kyiv, killing at least one child and wounding two others, along with two adults, according to local Ukrainian news outlet TSN.

Throughout the day, Ukrainian forces largely remained successful at slowing the advancement of Russian troops in Kyiv and other cities, but reports in the evening indicated that the capital was again experiencing regular shelling.

"Eyewitnesses reported that the city is under fire from multiple-launch rocket systems," the Kyiv Independent added in a tweet on Saturday evening.

Also on Saturday, at least six people were injured after a Russian missile struck a residential apartment building on the outskirts of Kyiv. Videos and images of the attack showed a massive hole in the side of the building.

Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in an afternoon statement that Russian forces have changed their tactics and are more often "firing on residential housing, hospitals, and schools."

Pentagon Denies Claims U.S. Used Surveillance Drones to Help Ukraine Navy Attacks

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Saturday denied Russia's claims that the U.S. used surveillance drones to assist the Ukrainian Navy in attacking its vessels over the Black Sea.

"Russian claims that the United States was involved in any way with Ukrainian naval operations near the Zmiiny Island are false. We did not provide ISR or any other support. Chalk this up to just one more lie by the Russian Ministry of Defense," Kirby told CNN.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense said it was "highly likely that it was American UAVs" that directed 16 Ukrainian boats to attack ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet near Zmiiny Island on Friday.

"During the attack by Ukrainian boats over the provocation area, U.S. strategic unmanned aerial vehicles RQ-4 'Global Hawk' and MQ-9A 'Reaper' were overhead," Russian defense ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov claimed in a statement.

Konashenkov also said that six boats of the Ukrainian navy were destroyed during the altercation, but that 82 Ukrainian servicemen from the island were not injured.

Germany to Send Anti-Tank Weapons, Missiles to Ukraine After Push From Allies

Germany on Saturday announced that it will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 "Stinger" surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine after facing criticism from European leaders that it wasn't doing enough to help against Russia's invasion.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement, marking a significant shift in the country's policy. "In this situation, it is our duty to help Ukraine, to the best of our ability, to defend itself against Vladimir Putin's invading army," he added.

The German economy and climate ministry also said Germany is allowing the Netherlands to ship 400 German-made anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, according to the Associated Press.

The announcement comes after Germany previously said it would avoid exporting deadly weapons to Ukraine. The nation came under fire earlier on Saturday for contributing 5,000 helmets to Ukraine's defense, a move that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called "a joke."

YouTube Blocks Ads From Russian State Media Outlets

YouTube on Saturday said that it would suspend the state-funded Russian media outlet RT and other Russian channels from selling advertisements on its platform.

The streaming service will also limit recommendations to videos posted by those channels, and said that such outlets would no longer be accessible in Ukraine due to "a government request," according to YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo.

The move comes after other big tech companies, including Twitter and Meta (which owns Facebook), blocked Russian state media from generating ads on their social media platforms.

Consensus Reached on Booting Russia From SWIFT, Claims Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed Saturday that the process has been put in place for Russia to be barred from the international payment system SWIFT by the European Union.

"It seems that Ukraine has gained the sincerity and attention of the whole normal, civilized world. And the practical result is here—SWIFT," Zelenskyy said, according to Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform. "Our diplomats have been fighting around the clock for all countries in Europe to agree on a very strong and fair decision to cut Russia off from the international interbank network. We also have this important victory."

Zelenskyy noted that this will likely means billions in losses for Russia.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also claimed earlier on Saturday that the process has been put in place for Russia to be barred from SWIFT.

"The official decision has not yet been made, but the technical preparation for the decision and the implementation of this sanction has already begun. We gnawed and gnawed. The whole vartikalʹ [sic] of Ukrainian diplomacy worked - from the President of Ukraine to the atache [sic] in the Ukrainian embassy," Kuleba wrote on Facebook.

"This victory is dedicated to all defenders of Ukraine," he added.

Sources familiar with the process told the Ukrainian news agency LB.ua that Hungary, Cyprus and Germany—three countries that previously expressed skepticism in implementing the ban—have chosen to join the rest of the EU in their decision. In order to disconnect Russia from SWIFT, all 27 EU member states must unanimously agree to it.

The move would deal a significant blow to Russia's economy and its ability to trade with most of the world. SWIFT, which stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a high-security network that connects more than 11,000 financial institutions globally.

Russia Threatened With Financial Exclusion as Support Grows for SWIFT Ban

Russia increasingly faces the threat of being banned from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system, as European leaders continue weighing punishments for the nation's attack against Ukraine.

Italy on Saturday became one of the latest countries to support blocking Russia from the high-security network that connects over 11,000 financial institutions around the world.

Other leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have issued support for the ban, signaling that the European Union might soon implement the action. However, some countries, including Germany, have expressed hesitation. The move would make it harder to buy Russian oil and gas and would ultimately require support from all 27 members of the European Union.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Friday, "Russia is waging a horrific war of aggression in Europe. Here is your 'never again' test: BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT and kick it out of everywhere."

Over 2,770 Detained for Anti-War Protests Across Russia

At least 2,776 people have been detained for participating in anti-war protests across Russia since Thursday, the independent protest-monitoring site OVD-Info reported on Saturday via Twitter.

Of those, at least 1,300 have been detained in Moscow alone and more than 300 were arrested on Saturday. Protests have been happening in dozens of cities throughout the country for days, with thousands of people urging the government to seek peace and put an end to the conflict.

Russia's Investigative Committee warned that such demonstrations were illegal and that those arrested may be left with criminal records and a "mark" on their future.

Ukraine Denies Refusing Negotiations, But Won't Allow 'Unacceptable' Conditions

A Ukrainian official on Saturday denied Russia's claim that Ukraine is refusing to negotiate a ceasefire, saying his country will not participate in talks with "unacceptable conditions."

"It was yesterday that the aggressive actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation escalated, up to evening and night mass air and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities. We consider such actions only an attempt to break Ukraine and force it to accept categorically unacceptable conditions," Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told Reuters.

Earlier on Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov claimed that Ukraine had "declined talks" and that Russian troops would continue to advance in the country.

Ukrainians Dismantle Road Signs to Confuse Russian Troops

Road service employees and others in Ukraine are dismantling road signs in order to complicate navigation for Russian troops as they advance throughout the country.

"[The State Road Agency of Ukraine] Ukravtodor calls on all travel organizations, territorial communities, local governments to immediately begin dismantling road signs nearby," the agency said in a Saturday statement, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

"The enemy has a miserable connection, they do not navigate the terrain. Let's help them go straight to hell," the agency added.

Some Ukrainians have gone a step further and changed road signs to instead read "Go F*** Yourselves," journalist Christo Grozev tweeted on Saturday.

https://twitter.com/christogrozev/status/1497570179026403329

Poland's Prime Minister Slams Germany for 'Selfishness,' Demands More Action

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Germany of "selfishness" on Saturday and urged the country to better assist Ukraine as it works to defend itself from Russia's invasion. His country is grappling with an influx of refugees as a result of the crisis.

"I came to Berlin to shake the conscience of Germany so that they would finally decide on truly harsh sanctions that will influence the Kremlin's decisions," Morawiecki said ahead of talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

"All sanctions against Russia should be on the table," he continued, while noting that "we have no time to lose."

Morawiecki has also slammed Germany for not sending sufficient weapons and ammunition to Ukraine and urged the country to "cut reliance on raw materials, cut off Russian financial institutions from capital markets, confiscate assets of oligarchs, and close off SWIFT for Russia."

He noted Germany sent helmets to Ukraine, adding, "This must be a joke."

'Anonymous' Hacking Group Claims Responsibility as Russian Government Websites Go Dark

The international hacking group Anonymous on Saturday claimed responsibility for "ongoing" attacks against Russian government websites.

"Anonymous has ongoing operations to keep .ru government websites offline, and to push information to the Russian people so they can be free of Putin's state censorship machine. We also have ongoing operations to keep the Ukrainian people online as best we can," the group tweeted.

Several notable websites that have have gone dark include the Kremlin, Russia's Ministry of Defense, and the State Duma, according to the network tracking tool NetBlocks, which added that the hacks appear to be "consistent with previous cyberattacks."

The Kremlin denied it was being attacked by Anonymous in a state-run media report on Friday, according to CNN. However, each of the government websites has been inaccessible for a period of time over the past three days

Four More European Countries Ban Russian Airlines

At least four European countries on Saturday moved to ban Russian airlines from their airspace as fighting continues in Ukraine.

The governments of Estonia, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia each announced that they would temporarily ban Russian flights in an effort to stand with their Ukrainian allies.

"We invite all EU countries to do the same. There is no place for planes of the aggressor state in democratic skies. #StandWithUkraine," Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted Saturday.

The Romanian delegation to NATO also tweeted: "Unprovoked & unjustified Russia attack on Ukraine brings serious consequences," in announcing an airline ban.

The move comes after the U.K., Poland, Moldova and the Czech Republic closed their airspace to Russian airlines this week following the invasion.

Ukraine's Ex-President Poroshenko Claims 3,500 Russian Troops Killed in Conflict

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed Saturday that as many as 3,500 Russian troops have been killed as the country attempts to defend Kyiv and other cities from further invasion.

Poroshenko used those numbers on CNN, while giving a plea for the nation to receive more weapons, including anti-tank javelins and anti-aircraft weapons, in order to continue fighting.

Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also said Saturday that as many as 200 Russian soldiers have been taken prisoner, while 14 warplanes, eight helicopters, 102 tanks and 536 armored vehicles have been shot down.

Podolyak also stressed in a statement that as fighting continues, "the situation in Kyiv and Kyiv region is under control," according to Anadolu Agency.

However, Poroshenko noted that those who remain in Kyiv are aware that they face the possibility of death.

"When you are protecting your nation, there is a unique opportunity to be above your fear," Poshenko told CNN. "I hate the idea to bid my country goodbye. But we should protect the nation."

"I am proud of these people, I am proud of this country. and I am proud to be Ukrainian," he added.

Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said that 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed during the Russian invasion.

Russian Lawmaker Criticizes Invasion, Demands End to War "Immediately"

A Russian lawmaker is speaking out against the ongoing conflict, stating defiantly that the war in Ukraine must be "stopped immediately." Mikhail Matveev, a member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), said this weekend that he voted for the independence of two rebel-backed regions in eastern Ukraine, but that he has not condoned the advancement of Russian troops or the bombing of cities.

"I think that the war should be stopped immediately. Voting for the recognition of the DNR/LNR, I voted for peace, not for war. For Russia to become a shield, so that Donbass is not bombed, and not for Kyiv being bombed," according to Moscow Times reporter Felix Light.

Matveev's statement makes him the first federal-level Russian lawmaker to oppose the ongoing invasion, Light noted.

Russia Accuses Ukraine of Rejecting Negotiations, Will Continue to Advance Troops

The Kremlin on Saturday claimed that Ukraine is rejecting talks just one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would be ready to pause military efforts for possible negotiations.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov told reporters on Saturday that Russian troops would continue to advance in the country "since the Ukrainian side has essentially declined talks," according to The New York Times.

Ukraine has not confirmed whether it's rejected such negotiations, leading many to suspect Russia is presenting a false narrative about the ongoing conflict.

During Saturday's call, Peskov continued to claim that Russian troops are advancing in order to fight "nationalists and Banderovites." Banderovites is a pejorative term that refers to World War II–era Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, according to the Times.

Russian Authorities Threaten to Censor Journalists for Spreading "False" Information

Russia's government-run communications and media regulator, Roskomnadzor, is censoring independent journalists and media outlets for reporting on Ukraine in ways that conflict from "official Russian sources," according to the International Presse Institute.

The department has stated that any reporter who is going against the government and "disseminating false information" could be threatened with a fine of up to 5 million rubles ($59,650).

At least three Russian journalists with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have so far been detained in Moscow for covering anti-war protests, according to the IPI. Others have been ordered to remove reports about strikes against Ukrainian cities, with Roskomnadzor deeming them to be "false reports about acts of terrorism."

"IPI strongly condemns the cynical efforts by Russian authorities to suppress and censor independent reporting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine," IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said in a statement on Friday.

"We strongly oppose the attempts by the government and security forces to threaten media outlets into silence with fines or stifle independent journalism which threatens to puncture the Kremlin's narrative. The arrest of clearly identifiable journalists who were simply covering a peaceful anti-war demonstration is a worrying sign of the increasing censorship likely to follow."

US State Department Authorizes $350M in Military Aid to Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Saturday that the Biden administration has authorized up to $350 million in immediate military aid to Ukraine.

Blinken said he has "authorized, pursuant to a delegation by the President, an unprecedented third Presidential Drawdown of up to $350 million for immediate support to Ukraine's defense."

"This brings the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion," he added. "

The funds will include additional lethal defensive assistance for Ukraine."

"It is another clear signal that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign, courageous, and proud nation," Blinken said.

Russia Changing Tactics After Failure, Says Ukraine's Defense Minister

Russia is changing its military tactics after encountering setbacks, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov claimed in a statement Saturday afternoon.

"The enemy is trying to change its tactics. Russian troops are firing on residential housing, hospitals, and schools," Reznikov said on his Facebook page.

The defense minister said that Russian forces have switched to sabotage and paratroop assaults "since their plan for a quick offensive fell flat."

Reznikov said more than 200 Russian soldiers had been taken prisoner since February 24 "and their number continues to increase."

"They did not expect us to fight back and are surrendering," he added.

Ukraine Withstood and Repelled Attacks, Says Zelenskyy, as Moscow Pushes Fleeing Claims

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a video address Saturday said his armed forces have successfully withstood and repelled attacks from Russian forces.

"We successfully fought off enemy attacks," he said. "We are defending our country, our land, the future of our children. Kyiv and key locations near the capital are under our control."

The Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, meanwhile claimed on Saturday that Zelenskyy had left Kyiv, for the city of Lviv.

He provided no concrete evidence to support his claims but said deputies from the State Duma had attempted to meet him in Kyiv.

"Zelenskyy hastily left Kyiv. He wasn't in the capital of Ukraine yesterday. Together with his entourage, he fled to the city of Lviv, where he and his assistants were equipped with a place to live," Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel.

Volodin also sought to claim that Zelenskyy's recent video addresses were pre-recorded.Zelenskyy turned down an offer from the U.S. to evacuate on Friday, saying: "The fight is here."

Appeasing Dictators Does Not Work - Former Nato Chief

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Former Nato Secretary General, has written for Newsweek arguing:

"We cannot just throw an iron ring around NATO and leave Kyiv to its fate. Doing so would not only sell out 44 million Ukrainians; it would leave the entire world less secure."

Read the full article here.

Kyiv Mayor Imposes Stricter Curfew as Clashes Intensify

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Saturday afternoon imposed a stricter curfew on the capital's residents, as clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces intensified.

Effective Saturday, Klitschko said a 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew would be in place, "for a more effective defense of the capital and the security of its residents."

The mayor said the curfew would be enforced until the morning of February 28.
It replaces a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew that was rolled out on February 24—when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" against Ukraine.

"All civilians on the street during the curfew will be considered members of the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance groups," Klitschko said. "Please treat the situation with understanding and do not go outside."

Russian Aircrafts Scattering Explosives Disguised as Toys, Valuables, Officials Warn

Russian aircrafts are scattering children's toys, mobile phones and valuables filled with explosives in Ukraine's Sumy province, officials with the Ukrainian Rada—its parliament—said in an alert on Saturday.

Ukraine's parliament issued its warning on Twitter, a day after residents of the Odesa province were warned that explosives can be scattered in the city disguised as toys and mobile phones.

"These items can be filled with explosives. Never touch or lift these things. Warn children and loved ones," the Odesa Regional State Administration said on Facebook Friday.

6 Injured in Russian Strike on Apartment Building: Officials

At least six people were injured after a Russian missile struck an apartment building on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukrainian government's emergency services said in an update early Saturday, the New York Times reported.

A Russian rocket hit the residential building in the early hours on Saturday morning, prompting Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba to issue a list of demands in a statement condemning the attack.

"I demand the world: fully isolate Russia, expel ambassadors, oil embargo, ruin its economy. Stop Russian war criminals!" Kuleba tweeted this morning.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko shared an image of the building after the missile strike, showing a gaping hole on one side of the apartment complex.

Kyiv Mayor: 'Don't Go Out'

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko urged residents on Saturday not to leave their homes or shelters, and to avoid going into the city.

"For safety's sake, stay at home or in shelters as much as possible! Leave your home just to go to the shelter. We are defending our city!" he said on Twitter.

Russia Claims Full Control of Ukrainian City of Melitopol

The southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol was captured by Russian forces on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to the Interfax news agency.

"Units of the Russian Armed Forces have established full control over the city of Melitopol," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"Russian servicemen are taking all measures to ensure the safety of civilians and exclude provocations from the Ukrainian special services and nationalists," he added.

Ukrainian officials have yet to comment on the reports.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Kherson, Igor Kolykhaiev, said in a statement on Saturday that the city, located in the south, remains under Ukrainian control.

Russian forces established attack lines overnight into Kherson, as well as into Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, and the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv.

More Than 120,000 Ukrainians Have Fled Country, UN Says

Over Ukrainian refugees have fled the country since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion against Kyiv on February 24, according to the UN refugee agency.

"We now see over 120,000 people that have gone to all of the neighboring countries," the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly Clements, told CNN in an interview.

"The reception that they are receiving from local communities, from local authorities, is tremendous. But it's a dynamic situation. We are really quite devastated, obviously, with what's to come," she added, noting that the majority of Ukrainians are seeking refuge in Poland, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

The Polish border service said Saturday that roughly 47,500 people crossed the Ukrainian border with Poland on February 25.

Sean Penn Urges U.S. to Fight

Sean Penn, who is currently in Ukraine filming a documentary, has called on America to join the fight against Russia or risk losing its soul.

Penn arrived in Ukraine this week to continue filming a documentary about Russian aggression towards Ukraine. In a statement sent to Newsweek on Friday night, Penn said, "Already a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken, and If he doesn't relent, I believe Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humankind."

Read the full Newsweek story here.

Death Toll Continues to Rise, Says Ukrainian Health Minister

At least 198 people have been killed and more than 1,000 others have been wounded since Russia launched a full-scale invasion against Ukraine, the Ukrainian health minister said on Saturday.

Three children were among those killed, and 33 children have been injured in the Russian offensive since February 24, health minister Viktor Lyashko said in a statement.

Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said early Friday that at least 137 people had been killed and 316 wounded as a result of clashes with Russian forces.

Ukrainian Forces Still in Control of Kyiv, Says Mayor

In a video address, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Russian troops were present throughout the capital, but said Ukrainian forces were still in control.

"Ukraine's troops are repelling air strikes, they destroyed military transport aircraft carrying Russia's paratroopers, continue to carry out systematic fighting," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook.

The mayor also announced on Saturday morning that Kyiv's metro stations will be used as shelters. Metro trains will no longer be running in the city, he said.

"There will be no transport," Klitschko wrote on his Telegram channel.

The Kiev City State Administration earlier on Saturday asked residents to remain at home, and to hide in a shelter should they hear a siren.

A 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew has been in place in Kyiv since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" against Ukraine.

35 People Wounded, Including 2 Children as Clashes Intensify in Kyiv

Clashes between Russian forces and Ukrainian military intensified overnight as Moscow established attack lines into Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv, and Kherson in the south.

As Ukrainian defense forces sought to maintain control of the capital, explosions and gunfire were heard as Moscow launched coordinated strikes on the third day of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

In Kyiv, 35 people were injured, including two children, due to street clashes with sabotage groups, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

"Unfortunately, sabotage groups operate in Kyiv. As of 06:00, there were several clashes, skirmishes, 35 people were injured, including two children," Klitschko said on Telegram on Saturday.

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Saturday morning condemned a missile strike on an apartment building in southwestern Kyiv, located near Sikorsky Memorial Airport.

"Kyiv, our splendid, peaceful city, survived another night under attacks by Russian ground forces, missiles. One of them has hit a residential apartment in Kyiv. I demand the world: fully isolate Russia, expel ambassadors, oil embargo, ruin its economy. Stop Russian war criminals!" Kuleba said in a statement.

No casualties have been reported at this stage.

Explosions Rock Kyiv as Invasion Enters Day Three

As the sun begins to come up signalling the third day of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, fighting continues in Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv.

Internet access has faced disruption in both Kyiv and the country's second-largest city, Kharkiv. While access has been mostly restored, connections are intermittent throughout parts of the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has alleged that the Ukrainian government is full of "drug addicts" and "neo-Nazis" without evidence. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has fought back against these claims, saying, "You are told we are Nazis, but how can a people support Nazis that gave more than 8 million lives for the victory over Nazism? How can I be a Nazi? Tell my grandpa, who went through the whole war in the infantry of the Soviet Army and died as a colonel in independent Ukraine," according to a translation from GZERO Media CEO Ian Bremmer.

Zelenskyy is himself Jewish, and has spoken in the past about family members killed in the Holocaust, including his great-grandparents.

Eiffel Tower Lights Up Blue and Yellow for Ukraine

Paris, France has lit up its iconic Eiffel Tower in blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine.

The special lighting was done at the request of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, according to the fact-checking site Snopes.com. Images of the tower have been shared numerous times on social media.

France has pledged to provide defensive equipment and 300 million Euros (roughly $338.2 million) to Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a Friday speech.

"Sanctions toward Russia will be on the level of the aggressions it is itself guilty of," Macron said in a Thursday speech. "On the military and economic level, as well as the field of energy, we will be without weakness," he added.

The Eiffel Tower isn't the only landmark to be lit up in the colors of the Ukrainian flag since Russia's invasion.

The Empire State Building in New York City, the London Eye Ferris wheel in England, St Andrew's House in Scotland, the medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria, the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, the Fisherman's Bastion in Hungary and the Colosseum and Mole Antonelliana temple spire in Italy have all also been lit up in blue and yellow.

Major Ukraine Internet Provider Disrupted Amid Fighting

Data from NetBlocks, an organization that monitors cybersecurity and the governance of the internet, shows a major disruption to Ukraine's internet service in Kharkiv, the second-largest city.

"Significant internet disruption registered in Ukraine-controlled city of Kharkiv shortly after huge explosions heard; users report loss of fixed-line service on provider Triolan while cellphones continue to work," NetBlocks posted on Twitter.

NetBlocks said users reported losses of fixed-line service, which is wired networks that support fixed broadband and telephone services. The organization noted that the disruption began when there were reports of huge explosions in the area.

On Saturday morning, local time, another internet provider, GigaTrans, reported a major disruption. GigaTrans supplies connectivity to several other networks as well.

Though some connectivity returned to GigaTrans roughly an hour ago, NetBlocks says the service is still intermittent.

"Work is ongoing to assess the incidents and their contexts. Telecoms disruptions in Ukraine have so far been attributed to power outages, cyberattacks, sabotage, and kinetic impacts," NetBlocks said.

Facebook Bans Russian State Media From Advertising

Facebook is now prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing any content worldwide, Facebook's head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher announced Friday night.

"We also continue to apply labels to additional Russian state media," Gleicher's announcement continued. "These changes have already begun rolling out and will continue into the weekend."

He said Facebook will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and will publicly share its steps to protect Facebook users.

Russian officials have recently said they would partially restrict its citizens' access to Facebook to "protect Russian media" and protest the platforms "violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms."

In actuality, Russia has opposed Facebook's fact-checking of numerous Russian government and state media accounts. Facebook is also an organizing tool of Russian dissidents who are most likely to oppose Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier on Friday, Twitter announced it would not be serving advertising to users in both Russia and Ukraine.

Putin Calls Ukrainian Government 'Drug Addicts and Neo-Nazis'

During a speech to Russia's security council, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Ukrainian government "drug addicts and neo-Nazis" and urged the Ukrainian military to overthrow them.

"I am addressing the servicemen of Ukraine's Armed Forces once again: Do not let neo-Nazi and Bandera supporters use your children, your wives, and seniors as a human shield. Take matters into your own hands" Putin said, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

"It seems that you and I will have a better chance of reaching an agreement than with that gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis that are holed up in Kyiv and are holding the entire Ukrainian nation hostage."

Putin and Russian media have tried to cast Ukraine's government as illegitimate, corrupt and anti-Semitic.

Military experts, including former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, believe that Putin's chief military objective in the invasion is to oust the current Ukrainian government and replace officials with individuals who will bend to Putin's desire, The Denver Gazette reported.

In response to Putin's claims, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, "You are told we are Nazis, but how can a people support Nazis that gave more than 8 million lives for the victory over Nazism? How can I be a Nazi? Tell my grandpa, who went through the whole war in the infantry of the Soviet Army and died as a colonel in independent Ukraine," he said, according to a translation from GZERO Media CEO Ian Bremmer.

In response to Putin's remarks Friday, Ukraine's government posted an image on Twitter showing a small version of Putin being affectionately patted by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

4-Mile Long Line of Vehicles Trying to Leave Ukraine

Satellite images taken Friday evening show a 4-mile long traffic jam of vehicles attempting to leave Ukraine.

Images were released by U.S.-based company Maxar Technologies, which has been tracking the Russian military's movement for weeks.

Maxar says the images show a 4.3-mile long "traffic jam of people, cars and trucks trying to leave Ukraine and cross into Romania near the Siret border crossing."

Early Friday afternoon Maxar released additional satellite images revealing "several large deployments of ground forces, ground attack and transport helicopters (nearly 150) and support equipment in southern Belarus, approximately 20 miles from the border with Ukraine and less than 100 miles from Kyiv."

Maxar noted a deployment of more than 90 helicopters parked on a road extending for more than five miles. The satellite images also showed an additional 50 helicopters at the V.D. Bokov airfield near Mazyr, Belarus.

Schumer Says Sanctions Will Make Russia 'Weaker and Weaker'

As Russian officials continue to mock western allied sanctions, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the economic punishments will make Russia "weaker and weaker."

"I believe that the sanctions that [President Joe Biden] has put in will constrict Russia's ability to function as a strong economy. It will restrict it and make them weaker and weaker," Schumer said in a Friday night interview on MSNBC.

However, Schumer also acknowledged that it would take some time for the sanctions to start to squeeze Russia's economy. In the meanwhile, he said that Russian troops should expect extreme resistance from Ukrainians fighting against another Russian occupation, the likes of which last occurred during World War II.

"These are people who don't want the Russians to do what they have done to Ukraine in the past, as recently as the '30s, with Stalin's horrible tactics of starving millions of Ukrainians," Schumer said. "There is going to be fierce resistance. Putin will come to regret this."

"Look," Schumer added, he's a bully. He's a thug. He has a monomaniacal desire to restore the Soviet Empire. But he will ultimately fail."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions so far have demonstrated the West's "absolute impotence" with foreign policy.

The White House has so far issued sanctions against major Russian banks and oligarchs as well as the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline and the import of U.S. technologies into the country.

On Friday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he has spoken with U.S. President Joe Biden about "strengthening sanctions" on Russia. His plea echoed bipartisan calls in the U.S. to do the same.

Zelenskyy Asks Israel, Ally to Russia and U.S., To Mediate Negotiations

Ukraine President Zelenskyy has asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to serve as a mediator for potential negotiation with Russia due to the country's close ties to both the U.S. and Russia, according to the Jerusalem Post.

"Whatever we can do to stop the bloodshed we must do," Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said. Ukraine wants "Putin to stop, to sit over the table and to speak instead of killing our people," he added.

Zelenskyy is hoping Israel can use its close ties with Moscow to help sway Russian President Putin to stop the invasion. Israel has been in a tough position choosing sides of the conflict.

Although Israeli leaders condemn Russia's attack on Ukraine, Israel has a standing relationship with Moscow that lets the country use the airspace in Syria, which is controlled by Russia. Israel sees a need to continue the relationship with Russia to combat the smuggling of weapons," according to Times of Israel.

"We are more looking for the Israeli diplomatic effort, as an intermediary," Korniychuk said. "We always look to Israel as one of the most prominent possible intermediaries for Mr. Putin."

Over 500 Russian Protesters Detained By Police

Russian police detained over 500 protesters demonstrating against the invasion of Ukraine, according to journalist Anna Nemtsova.

The number is in addition to the nearly 1,800 anti-invasion protesters who have already been arrested in 54 different Russian cities over the last 36 hours, according to The Guardian.

Russia has tried to justify its invasion to the Russian public and the world by claiming that it's necessary to stop ethnic Russians under attack in the eastern Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. However, Russia has also cracked down on any public protests challenging this narrative. Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelenskyy of being a Neo-Nazi, despite Zelenskyy being both Jewish and the grandchild of holocaust survivors.

Some older Russians have been sympathetic to the invasion, wanting to restore the prestige and wealth of the former Soviet Union, according to The New York Times. Other Russians oppose the war, in part because millions of them have friends and relatives in Ukraine.

A poll conducted by the independent, nongovernmental Russian polling agency Levada last year found that more than half of Russians supported Russia's laying claim to the eastern Ukrainian territories.

"We know that millions of Russians do not want war," European Union President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a public statement on Thursday. "President Putin is trying to turn back the clock to the times of the Russian empire. But in doing so, he is putting at risk the future of the Russian people."

Explosions, Gunfire Rock Kyiv as Russian Troops Close In

Heavy battles have been reported in the cities of Vasylkiv and Kyiv early Saturday morning, local time.

Rapid gunfire and explosions can be heard outside the Ukrainian capital from a live stream video on Youtube.

The latest update from the Ministry of Defense Ukraine says Russia attempted to attack a military unit on Victory Avenue in Kyiv but repelled the ambush.

"Our anti-air defense forces demonstrate true military skill by destroying modern opponent's aircraft and helicopters by firing winged missiles in the sky," the Ukraine Armed Forces posted on Facebook. "There are hundreds of lives saved."

Ukrainian Member of Parliament Kira Rudik spoke to CNN on Friday and said the Ukraine military has done a good job keeping Russians from the capital.

"So it's intensifying and there are Russian forces on in the north and the south of the city, but they're not moving and making great progress," Rudik said.

Rudik also reported "thousands" of Russian army casualties over the past two days.

Large Crowd Turns out to Protest Putin in Times Square

Protests in New York City's Times Square entered their second night as hundreds of people demonstrated against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.

Protesters waved yellow and blue Ukrainian flags, a large blue and yellow banner held above the street as well as numerous hand-painted signs.

They also chanted "Stand with Ukraine", "Stop Russia now", "Stop Putin, stop war," "Hands off Ukraine," as well as "F*** Putin, not okay. Ukraine is not for you to take."

Temperatures during the protest dropped to below freezing. Also on Friday, protesters gathered outside of the Russian mission to the United Nations. New York City has the largest Ukrainian community in the U.S., according to Reuters.

On Thursday, a protest occurred outside Russia's embassy in Washington D.C. around 1 a.m. EST, shortly after Russia's declaration of war against Ukraine.

Protests occurred worldwide on Thursday and Friday in Russian embassies in Tokyo and Tel Aviv as well as outside of government offices in cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Dublin and Prague, Reuters added.

Kazakhstan Will Not Send Troops to Ukraine in Support of Russia

Russian ally Kazakhstan has said that it will not deploy troops to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to NBC News.

Kazakhstan has said that it will not officially recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, the two Russian-controlled territories in east Ukraine that Russia used as a pretext for its invasion.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin talked with Kazakh President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev on Friday to discuss "joint efforts to prevent the decrease of trade volume between the two nations" amid international sanctions against Russia for its invasion, according to Radio Free Europe.

Russia claimed the east Ukrainian territories were essentially part of its country since many ethnic Russians reside there. Russia has armed, financed and politically controlled separatist factions in the regions since 2014, according to The Guardian.

Russia sent its military on a so-called peacekeeping mission to those territories and announced its intention to occupy them as well after claiming that Ukrainians had committed genocide against its ethnically Russian residents. The claim of genocide has been disregarded as fake by the U.S. intelligence agencies and other international intelligence agencies.

Russian Paratroopers Land in Vasylkiv, 25 Miles from Capital

Ukraine news organizations are reporting that Russian paratroopers have landed in Vasylkiv, which is about 25 miles away from the capital city, Kyiv. Ukrainian forces are reportedly fighting the paratroopers in the area.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Twitter that it shot down a Russian plane carrying paratroopers towards Kyiv.

"At around midnight, two enemy targets, a helicopter and a Su-25 attack aircraft of the Russian occupation forces were shot down by the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of the Joint Forces operation," the ministry said on Twitter.

Ukraine's Armed Forces have continuously updated their Twitter with updates on the battle while keeping morale high.

"More than 40 hours of repulse to the Russian occupiers proved that we have the most powerful army in Europe and a fearless people," said Oleksii Reznikov, minister of Defense of Ukraine.

Chef Jose Andres Feeding Refugees in Poland

Spanish-American chef José Andrés has announced that he and his organization, World Central Kitchen (WCK), will provide food to Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland to escape the Russian invasion.

"People of the World...Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack," the Washington D.C.-based chef wrote in a Friday tweet. "We must come together as a force for good! @WCKitchen is on Poland border delivering meals tonight—Romania soon. In addition to your donations...I am committing support from the Bezos award to Ukraine."

The award refers to a $100 million "Courage and Civility Award" that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave to Andrés in mid-2021.

In a video accompanying his tweet, Andrés announced that he would donate between $5 and $10 million to local chefs and organizations in Poland who are already helping feed refugees. The funding will help them continue.

"A very hard situation, obviously, and many of you are thinking, 'What can I do?'" Andrés said in his video.

"Here is a fight and we're going to make sure that nobody's going hungry and they're shown the respect that they deserve," he continued. "There's no more of allowing people that they think they are top of the world, that they are bad people bringing the worst out of humanity. We need to be a force of good. And you know how we do this? By believing in longer tables. Not to start bombing. Food at the center of communities, this is how we will create a better world.

The United Nations estimates that nearly 100,000 refugees have already left Ukraine. These refugees will need food, clothing, shelter, possibly "formal pathways to legal status," education, and healthcare and other needs, according to Vox.

Founded by Andrés in 2010, WCK has distributed over 60 million fresh meals to people affected by natural and man-made disasters, according to its website.

A documentary about the organization, We Feed People, will premier at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas on March 19. The documentary was directed by Ron Howard.

Kinzinger: 'Too Dangerous to Hope' Putin Ends Attacks With Ukraine

U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) took to Twitter Friday posting a grim warning saying Russian President Putin is "too dangerous to hope he is satisfied with 'just Ukraine.'"

Kinzinger hints that Putin may also invade other countries if he is not stopped. Kinzinger suggested leaders declare a "no fly zone" over Ukraine skies—if Ukrainian leaders agree to it in order to give Ukraine "a fair fight."

"History teaches that taking a stand is inevitable and gets more costly with time," Kinzinger said. "We own the skies, Russia cannot hold a candle to our air power."

The Representative also made a grim declaration. He said Ukraine's fate will also determine the West's.

"The fate of Ukraine is being decided tonight, but also the fate of the west," he said.

Twitter Suspends Ads in Ukraine, Russia

Twitter announced that it is temporarily suspending ads in Russia and Ukraine while the conflict continues.

Twitter said the pause in ads is "to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don't detract from it." Twitter says its top priority is keeping people on the platform safe.

That includes limiting ads from hindering important information from officials like Ukraine President Zelenskyy who has been very active on Twitter. Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has also posted daily updating citizens on their movement.

Twitter has blocked "Tweet Recommendations" for users in Russia and Ukraine. The pause doesn't allow tweets from people a user doesn't follow to be recommended to "reduce the spread of abusive content."

Russian Woman Who Hung 'No to War' Banner From Balcony Charged

A Moscow woman has been charged with "participating in an unsanctioned protest" for hanging a homemade banner from her balcony that said, "No to war," according to the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The woman reportedly violated part 5 of article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.

Nearly 1,800 anti-invasion protesters have been arrested in 54 different Russian cities over the last 36 hours, according to The Guardian. The Russian government, which controls most mainstream national media, regularly cracks down against any protests criticizing the government.

However, international observers have said the number of Russian protesters would have to dramatically increase in order to genuinely destabilize and challenge the government.

Georgia—Invaded in 2008—Rallies Against Russia

Roughly 30,000 people attended a Ukraine solidarity rally on Friday night rally in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital city. Russia invaded the country of Georgia in 2008.

The rally was partly in reaction to Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's Friday announcement that Georgia won't issue sanctions against Russia for its invasion.

Attendees waved the Ukrainian and Georgian flags, singing both countries' national anthems and chanted anti-Russian slogans, Agence France Presse reported. Others demanded that Garibashvili resign.

Government critics including opposition parties the United National Movement (UNM), Lelo, Girchi—More Freedom, the Labour Party, and European Georgia, have criticized the government for not more forcefully opposing Russia's invasion, according to east European news website OC Media.

Elsewhere, protesters assembled outside of the Ukrainian Embassy in the city.

Russian Ambassador Denies Ukraine Bombing

During the United Nations Security Council meeting, Russian Ambassador
Vasily Nebenzya denied Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Nebenzya said there was no way to confirm Ukrainian citizens are dying.

"Russian troops are not bombing Ukrainian cities and we said that they are not threatened by anything," said Nebenzya. "There is no verifiable confirmation whatsoever about the deaths of civilians."

Nebenzya went on to cite videos that have gone viral on the internet of tanks and armored trucks paving through Ukraine's territory. He said the tanks in the video aren't Russia's because they don't have that kind of technology.

"The Russian military does not have this kind of equipment," Nebenzya said. "They are obsolete. This is the kind of fake information that you are using."

Russia's denying of the invasion shook the internet. Twitter users accused Nebenzya of gaslighting the situation and asked if not Russia then who is invading Ukraine.

Most Americans Think Putin Wouldn't Have Invaded Ukraine Under Trump: Poll

Approximately 62 percent of American voters believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine if former President Donald Trump had remained in office, according to Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released on Friday.

Approximately 85 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats shared this opinion.

Additionally, 59 percent said they believed Putin invaded Ukraine because he saw weakness in President Joe Biden. Alternately, 41 percent said that Biden's weakness wasn't a factor in Putin's decision to invade.

The poll echoes sentiments voiced by Trump and other U.S. Republican Congress members like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.

Opponents of this viewpoint state that Trump repeatedly permissive towards Putin throughout his presidency.

During his campaign, Trump suggested that he was OK with Russia keeping the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which Russia aggressively seized under Putin in 2014. Trump also opposed U.S. involvement in NATO. Putin also opposes NATO, an organization specifically formed to challenge Russia's military expansion.

Photo Appears to Show 80-Year-Old Ukrainian Trying to Join Army

A bone-chilling photo is circulating on Twitter of what appears to be an elderly man speaking to Ukrainian soldiers. The caption claims the man wanted to enlist in the army to fight for his country.

Shared on Twitter by Kateryna Yushchenko, former first lady of Ukraine, the picture shows the man holding a small suitcase, containing "2 t-shirts, a pair of extra pants, a toothbrush and a few sandwiches for lunch."

When asked why he wanted to sign up, the post claims he said he was doing it for his grandkids.

This is just another heartbreaking visual of Ukrainian citizens being shared. A viral video on Thursday showed a couple saying their goodbye at a subway station in Ukraine.

The father and daughter were both crying and embracing each other. The picture was devastating. The video concluded with the mother and daughter on a bus, likely leaving town for safety. The father then puts his hand on the window.

NATO States May Give Sanctuary to Fleeing Ukraine Forces

Countries of the 30-state NATO military alliance may offer safe haven for Ukrainian troops as they flee advancing Russian forces that threaten to take the capital Kyiv, Newsweek has learned after speaking with a number of the bloc's officials.

A spokesperson for Estonia's Foreign Ministry told Newsweek that all Ukrainians—whether in civilian clothes or in uniform—will be allowed to enter the country under its existing visa waiver program. The spokesperson said Estonia has decided to extend the allowed period of stay for Ukrainian citizens beyond the 90 days enshrined in law.

Read the complete story here.

'Miracle' Baby Born in Kyiv Metro Station Amid Airstrikes

A baby was miraculously born on Friday afternoon in one of Kyiv's metro stations as Russian forces attacked above ground, according to Ukraine's Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security. The center is part of Ukraine's Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.

Thousands of Kyiv residents have spent their night in metro stations and bomb shelters around the city—sometimes bringing children, pets and a small allotment of food and supplies—as rocket attacks and explosions occur above ground, the BBC reported.

Some people staying in metro stations said they will stay underground until the fighting stops, though they're unsure how long that might be.

Ukraine's metro stations were built deep underground and designed to double as bomb shelters in case of enemy attack, according to journalist Camille Squires. The Kyiv city government's map of nearly 3,000 designated bomb shelters includes 47 of the city's 52 subway stations, she wrote.

Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said, "Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany."

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution Condemning Ukraine Invasion

The United Nations Security Council is holding a meeting as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues.

Russia vetoed a draft UN resolution that would have deplored Moscow's attack on Ukraine, making troops withdraw immediately. The 11-1 vote—with China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining—showed the majority of UN allies in opposition of the war.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke against Russia's decision.

"Not surprisingly, Russia exercised its veto power today in an effort to protect Russia's premeditated, unprovoked, unjustified and unconscionable war in Ukraine. But let me make one thing clear, Russia you can veto this resolution, but you cannot veto our voices," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"You cannot veto the truth," she continued. "You cannot veto our principles. You cannot veto the Ukrainian people."

Ukraine President Zelenskyy echoed Thomas-Greenfield's stance saying Russia is the minority in the UN, voting to veto the resolution.

"As Russia continues to attack Kyiv, the draft resolution is co-sponsored by an unprecedented number of UN Member States. This proves: the world is with us, the truth is with us, the victory will be ours," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter after the meeting.

Russian Plane With Paratroopers Shot Down, Ukraine Military Says

Ukraine's military says it has shot down a large Russian plane carrying paratroopers, according to the Netherlands-based BNO News Agency.

Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Serhiy Shaptala says his country's air defenses shot down a Russian Ilyushin II-76 aircraft carrying Russian forces. The plane was reportedly shot down near Vasylkiv, a region south of Kyiv.

The aircraft is over 152 feet long, has a wingspan of 165 feet and weighs about 79 tons.

Zelenskyy warns Russia may attack Kyiv Friday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Russian forces will likely storm Kyiv Friday night.

"Tonight we must endure! The fate of the country decides right now," Zelenskyy said in an address late Friday.

Several Ukrainian cities are now under attack, but Zelenskyy emphasized Ukraine "can't lose the capital." He called on Ukrainians to stop Russian forces where possible.

"The enemy will use all the forces at his disposal to break our resistance," he said. "Vile, harsh and not human. That night they will storm Kyiv. We all need to understand what awaits us. Tonight we must endure! The fate of the country decides right now."

Zelenskyy was on the ground with other government officials in Ukraine earlier Friday, vowing to fight for the country. He posted the below video on his Facebook page, writing "it was a tough but courageous day!"

Це був важкий, але сміливий день!

The message the White House has for Ukrainians

During a press briefing Friday, Jen Psaki was asked what the White House's message is to the Ukrainian people, who are fighting back against Vladimir Putin even as Russian airstrikes threaten civilian lives.

"We are amazed by your courage, your remarkable courage in standing up against what President Putin is doing," the White House press secretary said.

"It is not easy to protest in many scenarios, but it's certainly not easy to protest against the actions of an autocratic leader. And that's exactly what these protesters are doing."

Psaki said it was "horrific" and "heart-wrenching" to watch the scenes coming out of Ukraine as Russia attacks major cities and attempts to overtake the capital of Kyiv.

"Our message to the Ukrainian people continues to be that we stand with you, we support you," Psaki said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden will have a meeting with his national security team members in Delaware tomorrow, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Psaki noted that Biden is traveling to Delaware to attend the memorial service of a family member and will still be able to take secure calls there as the White House monitors developments in Ukraine.

"Every president can work from anywhere they are because that is how presidencies are equipped," Psaki said. "The president has the capacity to make a secure call from anywhere."

Up to 12,000 U.S. troops now on heightened alert

Thousands more U.S. troops have been placed on prepare to deploy orders as the NATO Response Force (NRF) is activated for the first time, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Friday.

Some 8,500 U.S. troops were placed on 'heightened alert' in late January. During a press conference Friday, Kirby said that number is now between 10,000 and 12,000. U.S. troops will be earmarked for NATO territory, he said, adding "some" will be earmarked for the NRF.

How the NRF works:

NATO approves a defense plan, then activates the force (which happened Friday), contributing nations then fill those needs. Therefore, no specific details are available as of Friday in terms of units, timelines or schedules as it relates to U.S. troops.

Kirby said the activation acts as an "additional notice" or warning order to allies who contribute to the NRF. He called the activation "historic."

Russia had some setbacks:

Friday marked the second day of Russia's invasion into Ukraine. Kirby said Russia "experienced some setbacks" in its initial attack.

"We see clear indications that Ukrainian forces are fighting back and bravely defending their country," Kirby said.

What's next?

Kirby said the U.S. will continue to provide additional security assistance to Ukraine.

"How that is going to be done is still being worked out," he said, noting the contested airspace over Ukraine.

The U.S. has provided several shipments of aid to Ukraine, but Kirby did not detail each due to the current situation.

Kirby acknowledged that Putin's future intentions remain unclear, saying the goal is to continue to reassure NATO allies and bolster capabilities.

"It's not entirely clear if Mr. Putin has designs beyond Ukraine," Kirby said.

U.S. Will Continue Work With Russia on Iran

The State Department said there are areas where the U.S. will engage with Russia to fulfill its national security priorities despite the ongoing invasion in Ukraine.

For example, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. will continue to work with Russia regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal.

"It remains in our interests to see to it that Iran is never able to acquire a nuclear weapon," Price said. "The fact that Russia has now invaded Ukraine should not give Iran the green light to develop a nuclear weapon."

While Russia's "brutal" and "unprovoked" invasion into Ukraine has changed the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Russia, the United States "will not stop caring about our own wellbeing.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said diplomacy requires the U.S. to work with countries with which it disagrees.

"Diplomacy around the world requires us to engage with countries even where we have strong disagreements, strong oppositions, strong condemnations," Psaki said.

Psaki added that it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to act in the best interest of the American people, which includes working with Russia to reduce Iran's capacity and ability to have a nuclear weapon.

"There's no question that the achievement of [the Iran Nuclear Deal] would make the world safer," she said.

U.S. to Sanction Putin, Lavrov

The U.S will join the European Union and United Kingdom in placing sanctions on Russia President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said these direct sanctions on Putin comes in united step with U.S. allies to send "a clear message about the strength of the opposition to the actions by [Putin]."

Psaki said the sanctions on Putin have been on the table for sometime and the White House will release more details later today.

A travel ban from the Unites States may be included in the sanction package on Putin and Lavrov.

Moldova airspace closed as refugees arrive

Moldova closed its airspace Thursday as Russian forces began to attack Ukraine.

"In order to avoid putting at risk civilian flights, in the context of actions near the border, the Republic of Moldova, through the Civil Aviation Authority, ordered the closure of the airspace," the Moldova government tweeted. "Flights to Chisinau will be redirected to Iasi."

The Canadian government shared the closure Friday, saying "if you need to take a flight, you may travel to Romania by land."

Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights after Russia began attacking the country. Airspace has also been closed in parts of Russia and Belarus.

A state of emergency was declared in Moldova, as the country expects tens of thousands of refugees from Ukraine, its neighboring country.

Moldova's President Maia Sandu welcomed the first Ukrainian citizens arriving in her country, reporting 4,000 crossings Thursday.

Sandu tweeted a picture showing temporary placement centers near Palanca and Ocnița.

"All options on table'" when it comes to more sanctions

Friday, in a press briefing, a reporter asked State Department spokesperson Ned Price if the United States plans to impose additional sanctions on Russian President Putin.

Price stated that "all options are on the table," adding that Washington is looking closely at additional options that may apply appropriate pressure on Russia, Putin, and those around him.

Price says Russia "plans to kill families of soldiers"

During a press briefing Friday, U.S. State Dept Spokesperson Ned Price revealed that the US is following reports that the Russian Federation plans to kill family members of Ukrainian soldiers if they do not surrender.

"These tactics are classic intimidation. They are synonymous with the Kremlin. They are unacceptable," Price said.

Price continued stating, "this is not the outcome we wanted."

"Both are a tragedy for Ukraine; Putin has decided for the people of Russia, not by them," Price added.

WATCH: UN Security Council, White House briefings

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet and the White House will hold its daily briefing Friday afternoon amid Russia's invasion into Ukraine.

The UN Security Council meeting is set to begin at 3 p.m. ET, watch live here or below:

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold the daily press briefing, also scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.

Watch live on the White House YouTube page or below:

Polish PM opens border to all Ukrainians

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has confirmed that the Polish border is open for all Ukrainians, even those without a valid ID document.

According to Sky News, Morawiecki has also said that Ukrainian refugees can bring their pets with them.

In addition, Minister Obrony Narodowe Mariusz Błaszczak tweeted Friday that the convoy with the ammunition they hand over to Ukraine has already reached their neighbors.

"We support Ukrainians, we stand in solidarity, and we firmly oppose Russian aggression," Blaszczak tweeted.

State Department Press Briefing Pushed Back

The State Department press briefing was pushed back about 45 minutes to 2:30 p.m. ET.

Spokesperson Ned Price should begin the briefing momentarily.

Johnson urges NATO to "inflict maximum pain" on Putin

In a tweet Friday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he had told NATO leaders that "immediate action" must be taken to ban Russia from the SWIFT payment platform to "inflict maximum pain" on Vladimir Putin.

"This afternoon, I urged NATO leaders to take immediate action against SWIFT to inflict maximum pain on President Putin and his regime," Johnson tweeted.
The prime minister, who attended the virtual meeting of the leaders, warned Nato that Mr. Putin was "engaging in a revanchist mission to overturn post-cold war order," according to a No 10 spokesperson.

SWIFT is a network used by banks to send secure messages about transfers of money and other transactions. More than 11,000 financial institutions in nearly 200 countries use SWIFT, making it the backbone of the international financial transfer system.

Johnson told the leaders, "the UK would introduce sanctions against President Putin and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov imminently, on top of the sanctions package the UK announced yesterday," bringing the government in line with measures announced by the EU.

"The UK will introduce sanctions against Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov imminently, on top of the sanctions package already announced," Johnson added in the tweet.

WATCH: State Department Gives Daily Press Briefing

The State Department spokesperson Ned Price will give a daily press briefing shortly.

The briefing is set to start at 1:45 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on the State Department website and YouTube channel.

Biden, Zelenskyy discuss stronger sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed stronger sanctions with President Joe Biden Friday, as Russia continued its invasion into Ukraine for a second day.

Zelenskyy said the pair discussed strengthening sanctions, concrete defense assistance and an anti-war coalition.

"Grateful to the U.S. for the strong support to Ukraine!" he tweeted.

Biden announced a new round of sanctions against Russia Thursday, including cutting off $1 trillion in Russian assets from U.S. banks, blocking four other major banks, cutting off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports, prohibiting Russia's largest state-owned enterprises from doing business in the U.S. and impairing the capability to finance and grow the Russian military.

Zelenskyy again pushed for harsher sanctions from the West as he spoke with several Western leaders Thursday into Friday.

"Not all possibilities for sanctions have been exhausted yet," Zelenskyy told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "The pressure on Russia must increase."

Zelenskyy also spoke with the Presidents of France, Canada, Poland, U.K. and Finland, among others.

Zelenskyy Shares Video on the Ground in Ukraine

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recorded a video of himself and officials on the ground in Kyiv.

He said the citizens, troops and government officials are ready to protect Ukrainian independence.

"We are all here defending our Independence, our state," he said. "It will continue to be so. Glory to our defenders! Glory to Ukraine!"

This video comes after reports the president had fled the capitol. Zelenskyy has said he will remain in Ukraine during Russia's invasion.

Zelenskyy has received an outpour of support online for the video, including from European Council President Charles Michel.

"Deep respect to President Zelenskyy and the brave people of Ukraine," Michele said in a tweet. "The spirit of a free and democratic Ukraine is strong."

EU, UK to slap sanctions on Putin, Lavrov

The European Union (EU) has agreed to freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to Latvia's Foreign Minister.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a sanctions package Friday, which included freezing the assets of the two Russian leaders, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted.

Rinkevics said the council is preparing another package of sanctions.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday he will also introduce sanctions against Putin and Lavrov, Reuters reports.

Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden said imposing personal sanctions against Putin is still "on the table."

The move is the latest effort among several Western countries to stop Russia's invasion as the US, EU, Australia and Japan announced new sanctions against Russia.

NATO calls on Russia to "immediately cease" military assaults

NATO Heads of State and Government released a statement Friday on Russia's attack on Ukraine, calling on Russia to cease further attacks.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, enabled by Belarus. We call on Russia to immediately cease its military assault, to withdraw all its forces from Ukraine, and to turn back from the path of aggression it has chosen."

In the statement, NATO officials also said that Russia bears full responsibility for the conflict with Ukraine.

"Russia bears full responsibility for this conflict. It has rejected the path of diplomacy and dialogue repeatedly offered to it by NATO and Allies. It has fundamentally violated international law, including the UN Charter," the statement added.

NATO continued the statement by standing firm with Ukraine and offering condolences for all those who were killed, injured, and displaced due to Russia's aggression.

"We stand in full solidarity with the democratically elected president, parliament, and government of Ukraine and with the brave people of Ukraine who are now defending their homeland. Our thoughts are with all those killed, injured, and displaced by Russia's aggression and with their families," the statement said.

"In light of Russia's actions, we will draw all the necessary consequences for NATO's deterrence and defence posture."

"We stand united to protect and defend all Allies. Freedom will always win over oppression," NATO concluded in the statement.

The European countries relying on Russia for gas

Russia's invasion into Ukraine could drive up the cost of gas even higher, as prices soar in the U.S. and Europe.

Global oil prices topped more than $100 a barrel in trading Thursday, the first full day of Russia's invasion.

Data released by the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators show 13 European countries that depend on gas from Russia, including three exclusively.

Germany is reliant on Russia for nearly half of its gas and France receives about a quarter of its supply from Russia.

Here's a breakdown:

  • The data shows North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova are completely reliant upon Russia for gas.
  • Finland and Latvia are 94% and 93% reliant, respectively.
  • Bulgaria 77%, Germany 49%, Italy 46%, Poland 40% and France 24%.
  • Netherlands 11%, Romania 10% and Georgia 6%.
  • Ukraine has purchased its gas from the EU since 2015.
European countries dependent on Russian gas

On Tuesday, Germany announced it would halt certification of Nord Stream 2, the $11 billion dollar pipeline connecting Russian and European gas lines via Germany. President Joe Biden directed his administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the pipeline, and its corporate officers Wednesday.

Biden says the U.S. is taking steps to limit the pain at the pump, warning prices will be impacted amid Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Defence of Ukraine details Russian losses

In a tweet Friday, the Defence of Ukraine detailed losses that troops invading Ukraine have already suffered.

The Defence of Ukraine said that since the beginning of the open large-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine, 2,800 Russian troops have lost their lost lives along with up to 80 tanks, 516 armored combat vehicles of various types, ten aircraft, and seven helicopters.

"We are strong! Victory for us," the Defence of Ukraine added.

Russia ready to negotiate with Ukraine, Putin tells Xi

Russia is willing to hold negotiations with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday.

President Xi reportedly told Putin to reject the "Cold War mentality," according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Xi also supported Russia resolving the crisis through negotiations with Ukraine.

According to the foreign ministry, Xi emphasized to Putin the importance of respecting "reasonable security concerns of all countries and reach a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation."

Part of the statement released by China's Foreign Ministry:

"He [Putin] noted that the United States and NATO have long turned a blind eye to Russia's legitimate security concerns, and have repeatedly negated their promises to Russia. Their continued military deployment eastward has challenged Russia's strategic red line. He also expressed Russia's willingness to have high-level negotiation with Ukraine.

President Xi noted that the dramatic change of the situation in eastern Ukraine recently has attracted a high level of attention from the international community. China determines its position concerning the Ukrainian issue on its own merits. It is important to reject Cold War mentality, take seriously and respect the reasonable security concerns of all countries and reach a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation. China supports Russia in resolving the issue through negotiation with Ukraine. China has long held the basic position of respecting all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, and abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China is prepared to work with other members of the international community to promote common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and to resolutely safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law."

Zelenskyy Fears Leaders May Not See Him Alive Again

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a grim warning to European leaders Thursday night.

On a call with leaders of the European Union, Zelensky reportedly said "this might be the last time you see me alive."

While this was initially reported by Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Zelenskyy's sentiment was later confirmed by the Swedish Prime Minister.

During a press conference after the call, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Zelenskyy looked like he was in a bunker or basement during the video call with leaders.

"He told us about the situation in Ukraine," she said. "When we said goodbye we all knew it was a possibility we'll never see each other again."

Zelenskyy said Thursday that he and his family remain in Ukraine amid the violent Russian invasion.

He said during a press conference that Russia has marked him and his family as targets number one and two.

"They want to damage Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state," he said.

Kyiv train Station packed with people seen fleeing

On Friday, BNO News shared a video in a tweet of hundreds of people trying to get on the train at a Kyiv train station.

This comes after multiple missile attacks were reported in different areas in Ukraine.

Initially, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko had called on the city's three million people to stay indoors unless they worked in critical sectors and said everyone should prepare go-bags with necessities such as medicine and documents.

Russian Forces Attack Kindergarten and Orphanage

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Friday called for an investigation following reports that Russia launched an attack on a kindergarten and an orphanage in Okhtyrka, a small city in Ukraine's Sumy province.

Local news outlet the Kyiv Independent reported that there are casualties and severely injured people, some of them children.

Pope Makes Unexpected Visit to Russian Embassy to Express Concern Over Ukraine War

Pope Francis visited the Russian embassy in the Vatican in person to express his concern about the war in Ukraine.

"He went to express his concern over the war," Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesman, told Reuters.

In what has been described as "unprecedented departure from protocol," the 85-year-old Argentinian spent more than half an hour at the embassy discussing the humanitarian situation in Ukraine with the Russian ambassador, Aleksandr Avdeyev.

Avdeyev told Russian state news agency TASS that the Pope wanted to "discuss the situation in Donbas and Ukraine in person," but refuted media reports from Argentina that suggested the Pope offered help in mediating the crisis.

Typically popes receive ambassadors and heads of state in the Vatican, and diplomatic protocol would have called for the Vatican foreign minister to summon the ambassador, according to the Associated Press.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Calls For Meeting With Putin 'To Put A Stop To People Dying'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold talks to end fighting.

The Kremlin welcomed Zelenskyy's proposal to negotiate a non-aligned status for Ukraine as a "move in the positive direction" that needs to be studied, but didn't say if Putin would agree to the talks.

Later on Friday Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, issued another statement saying that president Putin was willing to send a "diplomatic delegation," including representatives of the defense and foreign ministries, to meet Ukrainian officials in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

Russian Tank Crushes Ukrainian Car With Civilian Inside

One of the most shocking videos to emerge from the conflict so far captures the moment a Russian tank appears to crush a car with a civilian still inside.

One of the videos, posted by Ukrainian journalist Alexander Khrebet, was recorded from some distance away on a rooftop in the Obolon district of Kyiv and showed the moment the tank crushed the car.

Another video, that has begun circulating on social media, showed members of the public's attempts to rescue the civilian inside the vehicle. It is unclear whether the man inside was seriously injured.

Moldovan Vessel "Hit by Russian Ship" in Black Sea - Ukraine

"Millenium Spirit," a bunkering vessel sailing under a Moldovan flag, was shot at by a Russian ship in the Black Sea, according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Initially the official claimed the vessel was Romanian.

"The bunkering vessel MILLENNIUM SPIRIT sailing under the Romanian flag was damaged by the Russian ship in 12 miles on the way to the Pivdennyi Seaport in Ukraine," a statement on the Lieutenant general Valerii Zaluzhnyi's official Facebook page said.

Zaluzhnyi later posted a correction, stating the vessel was in fact sailing under the flag of Moldova, which is not part of NATO.

It said while the circumstances were being investigated, there was no communication with the ship at the time of posting. The Facebook post included two photos purportedly of the damaged vessel.

If confirmed, this would be the second such incident in the past two days, since Russia launched its Ukraine offensive.

On Thursday, a Turkish-owned ship was hit by a bomb off the coast of Ukraine's port city of Odessa on Thursday, according to a statement from Turkey's Maritime General Directorate.

Former Ukraine President Holds Up AK-47 on TV, Vows to Fight

An interview by CNN Petro Poroshenko shows the former leader of Ukraine with a group of armed people on the streets of Kyiv ready to fight off the Russian invasion.

Brandishing an AK-47 on camera, he said that Vladimir Putin would be dealt with like a man who has "lost reason."

"[Vladimir Putin] is just simply mad, he is just simply crazy, he's just simply evil, to come here to kill Ukrainians," he said.

China's Xi Tells Putin to Negotiate with Ukraine

China has changed tack with regards to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with leader Xi Jinping telling Vladimir Putin on a phone call to abandon "the Cold War mentality."

"Recently, the situation in eastern Ukraine has been undergoing rapid changes, which attracts increased attention from the international community," Xi said, according to a readout of the call from Chinese broadcaster CCTV and reported by Russian outlet RIA Novosti.

"China supports the settlement of the problem between Russia and Ukraine through negotiations," Xi added.

Moscow 'Ready' for Talks if Ukraine Surrenders

More now from that press conference with the Russian foreign secretary...

Moscow would be ready for negotiations if Ukraine's military surrendered, Russian Foreign Minister said on Friday.

Sergei Lavrov said: "We are ready for negotiations at any moment, as soon as the armed forces of Ukraine respond to our call and lay down their arms," Lavrov was quoted by AFP in its report.

He stated that Putin's operation's goal was "openly declared: demilitarisation and de-Nazification."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin took the decision to conduct a special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine so that, freed from oppression, Ukrainians themselves could freely determine their future," Sergei Lavrov said.

Lavrov also said that "nobody is going to attack people of Ukraine," despite the UN reporting that at least 25 civilians have been killed by airstrikes, which are known to have hit at least one residential building in Ukraine.

Woman Prays to Saints On Mural in Kyiv

A woman appeared to be praying outside a monastery in Kyiv on Friday, as Russia pressed its invasion of Ukraine to the outskirts of the capital.

Media crews caught the moment on camera (below).

Explosions sounded before dawn in Kyiv and gunfire was reported in several areas. Russian troops have entered the suburbs.

Ukraine Fights Back—Russian Military Base Blown Up

Ukrainian missiles appear to have hit a Russian military base in Millerovo, according to unconfirmed social media video.

Social media posts show photos and video footage of the Millerovo air base, about 10 miles from the border of the two countries, set alight.

Kyiv Independent journalist Illia Ponomarenko tweeted on Friday that "a number of enemy aircraft have been destroyed."

Video: Shelling Hits Kyiv Residential Building

A multi-story residential building on the outskirts of Ukraine's capital Kyiv was hit by shelling Friday morning, damaging several floors.

The Ukrainian Emergency Service evacuated 150 residents and reported 8 injured but no fatalities, the Associated Press reported.

Kyiv Citizens Asked to Use Molotov Cocktails

Ukrainian officials have instructed civilians to prepare Molotov cocktails to fight off invading Russian troops.

"We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralize the enemy," the Ukrainian ministry of defense said on social media, urging citizens to build homemade petrol bombs.

The alert came as the ministry said Russian forces appeared to have infiltrated a residential district of Kyiv.

Videos posted on social media showed Russian tanks driving through Obolon, located just north of downtown Kyiv.

Dozens of Civilians Killed in Airstrikes, UN Says

At least 25 civilians have been killed in Russian airstrikes on Ukraine, the United Nations has said.

The UN has received reports 25 civilians have been killed and 102 injured by "shelling and airstrikes." It suspects the death toll to be higher.

Map Plots Russian-Ukraine Clashes in Kyiv

There have been multiple reports of Russian-Ukraine clashes in Kyiv on Friday.

Eastern European media outlet Nexta has released this map, showing where the battles have been taking place this morning.

Russia 'Will Free Ukrainians from Nazism'—Foreign Secretary Claims

Russia's foreign secretary is holding a televised press conference right now.

At it, Sergei Lavrov said Putin's troops "will free Ukrainians from Nazism."

It echoed Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, who told journalists on Thursday that Russia hoped to "cleanse [Ukraine] of Nazis."

Lavrov suggested Western powers were being hypocritical in condemning Russia's all-out attack on Ukraine.

Russia had preferred "diplomatic solutions" before invading, he told a reporter from China.

We'll bring you more on this later.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on September 9, 2021. He said there are no immediate plans for an inauguration of the Taliban cabinet. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/Getty

Unexploded Missiles in Residential Streets

Several pictures and videos have been appearing on social media, purporting to show unexploded missiles in the ground in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city.

The images showed one man standing just a few feet away to take a photo, and a car parked about a yard away.

Kharkiv came under heavy bombardment from Russian troops on Friday morning.

Here are a couple of the images. Newsweek has not been able to verify them.

Unexploded missiles in ground in Ukraine
Social media pictures and videos showed unexploded missiles stuck in the ground in civilian areas. Telegram

Why Does Putin Want Chernobyl? Explained

Russia has just said its forces are holding the Chernobyl nuclear plant to "protect it." It is the site of the 1986 disaster that left high levels of radiation in the area.

Russia's defence ministry said it is preventing "nationalistic groups and other terrorist organisations" from using the conflict "to stage a nuclear provocation."

A more likely reason for Russia taking the nuclear plant?:

The shortest route from Russia to Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, is from the north, passing through the abandoned zone around the power plant.

chernobyl
A rescue worker sets flag signalling radioactivity in front of Chernobyl nuclear power plant during a drill organized by Ukraine's Emergency Ministry 08 November 2006. Anton Gerashchenko has warned of military fighting in the Chernobyl exclusion zone during Russia's invasion. Sergei Supinsky/Getty Images

Russian troops entered Kyiv on Friday, coming via Belarus and Chernobyl.

It may have represented the clearest path for Russian forces, with Ukrainian forces reportedly there to detect invasion warning signs, rather than to repel.

"We collect information about the situation along the border" and convey it to Ukraine's intelligence agencies, Colonel Shakhraichuk told the New York Times in a January 22 report.

Intense Bombardment in Kharkiv

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, has come under heavy fire in the last few minutes.

Rapid fire blasts could be heard a short while ago in the city, located about 30 miles from the Russian border.

It comes as Russian troops enter Kyiv.

Zelenskyy Pushes for Harsher Russia Sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told the West that "pressure on Russia must increase."

In a tweet in the last hour, he noted "not all possibilities" had been exhausted.

"Not all possibilities for sanctions have been exhausted yet. The pressure on Russia must increase. Said this to [EU chief Ursula von der Leyen]," he tweeted.

Western sanctions, although sizeable, stopped short of removing Russia from the Swift international payments network—a move that would put Russia banking under severe strain.

The U.S., U.K., Poland and other European nations backed the move, but Germany is reportedly among those holding up such a move.

"I am grateful to [von der Leyen] for her decision on additional financial assistance," Zelenskyy added.

Russian Forces Enter Kyiv. Video Shows Tanks in Suburbs

This just in...

Russian forces appear to have infiltrated a residential district of Kyiv, Ukraine's defence ministry has confirmed.

Russian tanks can be seen driving through Obolon, located just north of downtown Kyiv, in videos posted on social media.

In the last few minutes, sirens have broken out in Kyiv for the third time today, according to local reports.

On Thursday, U.S. officials told Newsweek Ukraine's resistance would likely soon be neutralized should Kyiv fall to Russian troops.

"After the air and artillery end and the ground war really starts, I think Kyiv falls in just a few days," one former senior U.S. intelligence officer said.

"The military may last slightly longer," the former intelligence officer added, "but this isn't going to last long."

'Cruise or Ballistic Missiles': Kyiv Siege Latest

Kyiv is under siege. Here's the latest...

Russian forces are bombarding the capital as tanks descend from the north.

"Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, Ukraine government adviser told reporters via text message Friday, CNN reports.

At least one residential block is known to have been hit in the attacks.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin's troops are understood to be heading toward the city from the Chernobyl zone, about 80 miles north of Kyiv, via Belarus.

Russia Advances towards Ukraine Capital

Ukrainian sources claim Russian tanks are heading toward Kyiv from the Chernobyl zone, which is about 80 miles north of Kyiv. Russia seized control of Chernobyl on Thursday.

Clashes are reported between the Russian tanks and Ukraine soldiers in Ivankov. The Ukrainian military blew up a bridge near the town to stop Russian advancement, reports say.

Meanwhile, Ukraine sources say Russia landed operations in the city of Pavlovka, which is about three hours away from Kyiv.

Over 800 Russian Troop Fatalities Reported

Ukraine's Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar reports at least 800 Russian personnel fatalities.

Ukraine reports its defense has been strong and unwavering. The Minister of Defense says Ukraine has taken down seven aircraft units, six helicopters, more than 30 tanks and 130 armored vehicles.

Ukraine's fight did not go with casualties as well. At least 137 Ukrainians, soldiers and civilians, have lost their lives, Ukraine President Zelenskyy said in a video message.

He also said nearly 316 people have been wounded defending Ukraine.

"Let those who gave their lives for Ukraine be remembered forever," Zelenskyy said.

"Unlikely" That Russia Achieved Day 1 Objectives In Invasion: U.K.

The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense says that, despite consistent attacks and heavy losses, it is "unlikely" that Russia achieved its day one military objectives during the invasion of Ukraine.

"Ukrainian forces have presented fierce resistance across all of Russia's advance," the ministry said.

Even with this development, however, the ministry noted that the Russian military did make significant headway in a number of areas as the invasion crossed into its second full day.

"Russian forces have likely captured the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant," the ministry said. "Workers have reportedly been detained by Russian troops."

Despite the military advancements, the ministry did add that: "The Ukrainian Armed Forces have reportedly halted Russia's advance towards Chernihiv. Fighting probably continues on the outskirts of the city."

The United Kingdom is one of a number of countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia in the aftermath of the invasion.

Zelenskyy Advisor Compares Invasion to WWII

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv remains under attack by Russian forces as numerous missiles have shot toward the city.

Mykhailo Podoliak, advisor to Ukraine President Zelenskyy, compared the current attack to Ukraine's struggle in WWII when virtually all of Ukraine fell to Germany's control.

"Our capital was bombed at such a time and in such a way twice in history," Podoliak said. "Just like in 1941, now the attacker can only get the hatred of the people and nothing more."

Similar to WWII Western leaders are concerned that Ukraine could fall to Russia.

Ukrainian Father Says Goodbye to Daughter as He Fights Russia

An emotional viral video on Twitter appears to show a Ukrainian father saying goodbye to his daughter in order to stay behind and fight the Russian invasion.

The video was posted online late Thursday night. The footage shows the crying daughter being comforted by her father, who is also in tears. The pair are seen sharing an emotional moment as the father prepares his daughter to get on a bus, apparently to flee the country.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered that all men aged 18 to 60 were no longer allowed to leave the country as the Russians continued advancing.

Ukraine Apartments Destroyed By Plane

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv has been targeted with numerous missiles by the Russian military.

Kyiv locals captured videos of fiery debris falling from the sky some allegedly striking an apartment building in the area.

Sources say Ukraine's air defense systems shot down a Russian aircraft causing it to crash into the building, setting it ablaze.

There are reports of a second apartment building on fire from burning debris.

Three people were injured, one in critical condition, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Additional Countries Announce Sanctions Against Russia

A trio of countries have announced further sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, including New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

Japan and Australia had both previously announced restrictions in an effort to deter further action from Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Friday morning, these countries doubled down, stating that they would enact an additional tranche of sanctions.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that, in addition to direct penalties against Russia, he would also be sanctioning 300 Russian lawmakers who had voted to attack Ukraine.

Japan announced similar sanctions, with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying: "It is an extremely serious situation with ramifications for the international order, not just in Europe but Asia and beyond."

New Zealand, meanwhile, also announced their first slate of moves to try and quell the advance of Russian invasion. This includes banning Russian military exports and restrictions on Russian officials heading to New Zealand, the Wall Street Journal reported.

New Zealand does not have an independent sanctions law to use against Russia, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that additional restrictions could be implemented in the future.

Ukrainian Soldier Live Streamed Russian Attack On Island That Killed 13

Footage was captured by a Ukrainian soldier of the moment that Russian warships began firing on the tiny Ukrainian-owned Zmiinyi Island, resulting in the death of all 13 troops stationed there.

In the five second video, the first frame captures one of two reported Russian warships, Moskva and Vasily Bykov, as they circled around the island in an attempt to get the Ukrainians to surrender.

A loud bang is then heard in the next moment as the ship begins opening fire. The soldier then drops to the ground and shouts an expletive as the video ends.

In the aftermath of the attack, audio files emerged of the radio conversation between Ukrainians on the island and the Russian warships.

When prompted by the Russians to surrender, the Ukrainians replied: "Russian warship, go f**k yourself."

Officials noted that, in spite of the attack from the Russians, the tiny island of approximately 30 people served little strategic advantage.

Explosions Reported in Kyiv

For the second night in a row, Kyiv is apparently under attack by the Russian military.

Ukrainian journalists are reporting "loud explosions" in Kyiv.

"Strikes on Kiev with cruise or ballistic missiles have just continued," Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said.

Reports say Ukraine's air defense systems reportedly shot down missiles fired by Russia towards Ukraine's capital.

This comes after reports of Russian troops closing in on the capital after sieging surrounding cities.

President Biden Releases New Statement on Ukraine Invasion

President Joe Biden has released a new statement on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"The next few days, weeks, and months will be hard on the people of Ukraine," Biden said on Twitter Thursday night. "Putin has unleashed a great pain on them."

"But the Ukrainian people have known 30 years of independence — and they have shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards," the president said.

During a prior statement, the president said that "America stands up to bullies."

"We stand up for freedom," Biden added. "That's who we are."

The statements follow a new round of sanctions against Russia being implemented by Biden. These include limitations on Russian exports that the president said are designed to "impose severe cost on the Russian economy both immediately and over time."

"We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximize the long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," President Biden said while announcing the sanctions.

Biden noted that the current sanctions had already had caused the ruble, Russia's official currency, to hit its weakest level in its history.

Friday Will Be "Worst" Day Of Russian Invasion: Officials

Ukrainian officials say that Friday is expected to be the "worst" day so far for the ongoing Russian invasion.

Ukrainian military intelligence suggested that Friday's barrage of attacks will include airstrikes, ground-based assaults, and an overall encircling of Ukrainian territory, according to reports.

Russian military troops are also expected to penetrate deeper into Ukrainian territory. The news comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is expected to fall to Russian invaders.

As the siege continues, at least 137 people have died and hundreds more were wounded, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a statement. Zelenskyy added that a number of "enemy sabotage groups" had also entered the country and were prepared to bolster the current Russian invasion.

Russian Military Moves Towards Ukraine Capital

The Russian military is closing in on Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

As military convoys take surrounding cities under siege, Russian military convoys are getting closer to Kyiv.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that "all evidence suggests that Russia intends to encircle and threaten Kyiv," and "Moscow has developed plans to inflict widespread human rights abuses – and potentially worse – on the Ukrainian people."

Blinkin did not elaborate on what "potentially worse" might mean for Ukraine.

Ukraine Invasion May Impact US-Russian Space Partnership

Russia's space program won't be affected just yet by their Ukraine invasion.

Although President Biden said that the U.S. and its allies will impose sanctions on Russia, NASA says they will try to make it work on the International Space Station.

"It will degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program," Biden said in a White House address outlining new sanctions Thursday.

NASA released a statement saying U.S.-Russia civil space will continue to cooperate.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Says Russia Is Out To Kill Him

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that the Russian military is "out to kill him" as the invasion of his country continues.

The president added that Russian "saboteurs" had entered the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv. A curfew for all residents of the city has been enacted, and Zelenskyy urged citizens of Kyiv to stay indoors and seek shelter.

Zelenskyy further described himself as the "number one enemy" of the Russian people.

During a followup television address to the Ukrainian people, the president said that Russia, along with its president, Vladimir Putin, was acting in the same way that Adolf Hitler did when he invaded Poland, triggering World War II. Zelenskyy added that Ukrainians were engaged in "heavy fighting fending off attacks in Donbas in the east in the north and in the south" and urged all Ukrainians who were able to join the fight to do so.

"The enemy has sustained heavy casualties and they will be even heavier ... they came to our land," Zelenskyy warned Russia.

Kyiv May Be Attacked By Russia At 8 P.M. ET: Report

There is the potential for an attack in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv in the near future, according to reports.

Kyiv may fall victim to a further attack at approximately 8 p.m. ET, or the middle of the night in Ukraine, according to Ukrainian news source The Kyiv Independent.

The report follows an estimation from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that "all evidence suggests that Russia intends to encircle and threaten Kyiv."

"Moscow has developed plans to inflict widespread human rights abuses – and potentially worse – on the Ukrainian people," Blinken said Thursday.

Other cities could be attacked overnight in Ukraine, according to the Kyiv Independent news site.

Department of Homeland Security Ready if Threat Detected

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that it is ready for any threats of terrorism or violence on U.S. soil, adding that nothing has been detected at this time.

"The President has designated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the lead Federal agency to coordinate domestic preparedness and response efforts related to the current Russia-Ukraine crisis," the DHS said in a statement. "While there are no specific threats to the homeland at this time, DHS is taking appropriate steps to ensure Federal efforts are coordinated should the need arise."

"DHS has established a Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to ensure unity of effort across the Federal Government in preparing for and responding to possible threats to the homeland; develop and pursue strategic objectives and priorities; and coordinate with Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial officials, as well as representatives of the private sector and nongovernmental entities in support of these objectives and priorities," the statement continued. "As the situation continues to evolve, organizations – regardless of size – are encouraged to improve both their physical and cyber resilience."

The DHS website also provided a link to a webpage with information on staying safe from cyber attacks.

"Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which has been accompanied by cyber-attacks on Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations, may have consequences for our own nation's critical infrastructure," the webpage said.

The DHS urged anyone who fears they may be the victim of a cyber attack or hacking to contact the authorities.

Ukraine Subway Stations Turned Into Bomb Shelters

As Russia troops continue their way into Ukraine, civilians have fled to subway stations to take shelter from missiles.

Families, including seniors and children, are huddling in the freezing underground stations in two of Ukraine's largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv.

With temperatures being an icy 35 degrees outside, photos of packed subway show civilians bundled up with hats, coats and blankets.

Many of those seeking shelter underground had only backpacks and small luggage.

A 29-year-old Ukrainian citizen communicated with Newsweek via WhatsApp from Kharkiv, Ukraine who said she is now in one of the underground metro station-turned-bomb shelters.

"At the moment the safest place is underground. [N]ow, it's not safe to go out at all and as we see on our official news and the direction of the Russian border, they want to make their land corridor to the Crimea that they invaded and escalated," she said.

Louis C.K. Planning Show In Kyiv Despite Invasion

Comedian Louis C.K. is reportedly still planning to perform a comedy show in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, despite the invasion of the country by Russia.

Social media posts noted that, while tickets for the often-controversial standup were listed at 30 percent off, seats for his show are still very much available.

One fan posted a notice on Twitter that appeared to be from the show's production team.

"Dear attendants, Louis C.K. performance will take place, as planned, on February 25 and 26, 2022," the notice said. "Tickets for Louis C.K. show purchased earlier remain valid for new dates and do not require an exchange."

If they go ahead as expected, the shows will be the comedian's first in Ukraine.

U.S. Is Ready To Accept Ukrainian Refugees: Press Secretary

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says that the United States is ready to accept refugees who are fleeing Ukraine.

Psaki's remarks came during a press briefing on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Psaki added that U.S. troops in neighboring European countries will assist them in bringing in refugees as well.

As it stands, Ukrainian refugees will be allowed to enter the European Union without a visa. The neighboring nations of Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary have all committed to welcoming in refugees.

Psaki added that U.S. troops in these countries will also help facilitate the flow of refugees.

As the invasion from Russia goes forward, reports of thousands of people attempting to flee the country continue to come in.

"We estimate that more than 100,000 must have already moved out of their homes in Ukraine seeking safety in other parts of the country," United Nations Refugee Chief Filippo Grandi said. "We are particularly worried about displacement - about people on the move."

Grandi said that the humanitarian crisis arising from the invasion would be "devastating."

Sanctions On Russian State Bank Could Halt Citigroup Sale

Economic sanctions imposed by the United States could prove to be troublesome for Citigroup's Russian branch.

Citigroup is attempting to sell off its business to another entity within Russia. However, so far, the only reported bidder has been Russian state-run bank VTB - one of the financial institutions hit with sanctions by President Joe Biden.

The financial giant has approximately $5.5 billion of assets in Russia, which, while significant, represented only 0.3 percent of Citigroup's worldwide assets.

Citigroup previously put its Russian business up for sale this past April in an attempt to exit the international market. VTB executives then confirmed in September that they had extended an offer to Citigroup.

The sanctions on VTB, which greatly limit the degree to which the Russian bank can conduct business with U.S. companies, could put an end to the deal for the foreseeable future, according to financial analysts. This could significantly impact Citigroup, which, while having a small amount of Russian assets, is the most-exposed U.S. lender in Russia, according to research from JPMorgan Chase.

UN Calls for Ukraine Neighbors To Keep Borders Open

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi warns that Russia's actions will devastate many Ukrainian civilians.

The humanitarian consequences on civilian populations will be devastating," Grandi said. "There are no winners in war, but countless lives will be torn apart."

Grandi said civilian lives and civilian infrastructure should be protected and safeguarded at all times. He announced that the UN is working with bordering countries to place refugees.

"UNHCR is also working with governments in neighboring countries, calling on them to keep borders open to those seeking safety and protection," Grandi said in a statement. "We stand ready to support efforts by all to respond to any situation of forced displacement."

All 13 Ukrainian Soldiers On Island Die After Refusal To Surrender

All 13 Ukrainian soldiers guarding the Black Sea's Zmiinyi Island died in an attack from Russia, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The defenders of the sparsely-populated island, which is owned by Ukraine, were reported to have been killed by the Russians after refusing to surrender.

Full details of the attack are not yet known. However, in response to a request to surrender from circling Russian warships, the Ukrainian defensive forces reportedly said: "Russian warship, go f**k yourself."

Following this encounter, two Russian ships, the Moskva and Vasily Bykov, began bombarding the island. The island was then captured by Russian forces a short time later.

President Zelenskyy said all 13 soldiers who had died would posthumously be given the Hero of Ukraine Medal.

Ukrainian officials noted that, despite the attack from Russian forces, Zmiinyi Island carried little strategic value.

Ukraine Military Destroys 30 Russian Tanks

Ukraine's military says it has destroyed 30 tanks, five planes and six helicopters belonging to the Russian army.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine also announced that its Rapid Reaction Brigade shot down three out of 34 Russian helicopters.

Simultaneously, the ministry said Ukraine guards launched an artillery strike at the airport where Russian aircrafts landed.

137 Ukrainians Dead, 306 Injured Following Russian Invasion

At least 137 Ukrainians have died and an additional 306 have been injured following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The confirmed death toll was revealed in an update on the invasion from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Images of significant amounts of violence continue to surface as Russian forces continue to push into Ukraine from the east. Various videos show fireballs raining down from the sky, along with artillery shelling, bombing, and gunfire.

Russia has currently launched at least 160 missiles, the U.S. believes, with more casualties expected in the near future.

Russia Enters Ukraine Capitol

Ukraine President Zelenskyy announced that Russian forces entered the Ukraine capital Kyiv on Thursday evening.

"The enemy's sabotage forces have entered the capital. Me and my family are remaining," Zelensky said.

Ukrainian troops have been moved to defend the capital, according to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

"Certain forces and means were transferred to the defense of the city of Kyiv," the ministry tweeted.

Ukraine Retakes Hostomel Airport from Russian Troops, Ministry Says

Ukrainian forces have regained control of the Antonov Airport from the Russian military, according to Ukraine's Defense Ministry.

Earlier reports said that Russian forces had successfully captured the military airport, but the defense ministry tweeted a statement Thursday afternoon that Ukrainian forces still held control over the base.

Ukrainian forces prevented Russia's air enforcements from landing at the airport, and the fight is still ongoing, said the tweet, which was attributed to Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar.

If the airport, which is just 15 miles west of Kyiv and near Hostomel, were to fall to Russia, it could be a key loss for Ukraine since it could help Russia launch an attack on Kyiv.

Over 1700 Anti-War Protestors Arrested in Russia, Most in Moscow

Thousands of Russians protested against their country's invasion of Ukraine Thursday. Large groups demonstrated in dozens of cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, many holding signs reading 'no war.'

"I'm worried about the people very much, I'm worried to tears," Korolyov resident Zoya Vorobey told the Associated Press.

More than 1,700 people were detained in at least 50 Russian cities by Thursday night, the AP reports. Nearly 1,000 were detained in Moscow alone.

Thursday, warnings were issued by Russia's Investigative Committee as a reminder that unauthorized protests are against the law, according to the AP.

Tens of thousands of Russians signed letters and online petitions against the violence. One petition started by Lev Ponomavyov, a prominent human rights advocate, gathered nearly 340,000 signatures by Thursday night.

The petition demands an immediate ceasefire by the Russian Armed Forces and announces the formation of an anti-war movement.

"We appeal to all sane people in Russia, on whose actions and words something depends," the petition translates. "Become part of the anti-war movement, oppose the war."

Russia anti-war protest
Demonstrators shout slogans in St. Petersburg, Russia on Feb. 24. Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo

Tommy Tuberville Says Russian Invasion is to Obtain 'More Farmland'

Sen. Tommy Tuberville told an Alabama chamber of commerce group that Russia is invading Ukraine because it is a communist country that needs more land, according to 1819 News.

"[Vladimir Putin] can't feed his people," said Tuberville. "It's a communist country, so he can't feed his people, so they need more farmland."

"For 80 years, Americans have sacrificed to bring security and peace to the European continent. The events of the past 24 hours underscore that it is time for Europe to contribute more to its own security. The United States should support Ukraine and provide assistance to Ukraine's military through weapons and funding for emergency equipment while leveling tough and targeted sanctions to halt Russian escalations and cripple Russia's economy."

Tuberville added that allies and adversaries across the globe "must be left with no doubt about our strength and resolve."

Ukraine Wants Russia Off Twitter

The official Ukraine Twitter account is calling for Russia to be banned from social media.

The Ukraine account asked Twitter to remove the official Russia government account from the platform.

"No place for an aggressor like Russia on Western social media platforms," Ukraine said. "They should not be allowed to use these platforms to promote their image while brutally killing the Ukrainian people."

Russia does appear to have responded publicly to the tweet.

Ukraine Closes Airspace to Civilian Flights As Russian Invasion Continues

No commercial flights were going in or out of Ukraine Thursday as Russia forces continued their widely-watched invasion.

A real-time map from Flightradar24, a Swedish site that tracks commercial flights across the world, showed planes traveling in countries surrounding Ukraine, but none inside the nation. The airspace above parts of western Russia was also shown to be devoid of commercial aircrafts.

Ukraine has closed its airspace for civilian flights because of the "high risk" amid Russia's ground and air assault. Russia has done the same along its western border with Ukraine and Belarus.

The Federal Aviation Administration also announced Thursday that it was expanding its no-fly zone to include all of Ukraine and Belarus, as well as a part of western Russia.

Ukraine Reportedly Won't Allow Men Aged 18 to 60 to Leave Country

Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 years old will reportedly not be allowed outside of the country due to martial law, according to a Lviv official.

Head of Lviv regional customs Daniil Menshikov posted the "urgent" message on Facebook late Thursday.

"An urgent message!! To the attention of citizens!! Due to the military state, men - citizens of Ukraine, aged 18 to 60 will not be released outside our state," the post translates.

"Please do not create panic and do not try to cross the border on your own! Victory is upon us! Glory to Ukraine!"

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The country began enlisting reservists between the ages of 18 and 60 on Wednesday according to the country's armed forces, Reuters reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would introduce the conscription of reservists Tuesday, but said there would not be a general mobilization, the outlet added.

Canada's New Sanctions Include Canceling All Export Permits for Russia

Canada unveiled new sanctions against Russia Thursday, joining a growing list of nations and organizations imposing economic measures on the nation in response to the Ukrainian invasion.

Sixty-two organizations and entities are targeted in the new measures, which include cancelling all export permits for Russia and rejecting all new applications, government officials said during a news conference.

No Canadian aerospace, technology or mineral goods will be sent to Russia either, according to Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly

"We call on Russia to stop its attack immediately," Joly said. "This madness has to stop."

Ukrainian Death Toll Rises

The Ukrainian death toll rises to 57, Ukraine's Minister of Healthcare Oleh Lyashko said Thursday.

At least 169 people have been injured as Russia continues its invasion into Ukraine.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have moved within Ukraine to try and avoid the violence.

"There has been significant displacement inside the country – it seems that more than 100,000 people have moved within the borders fleeing the violence for safety," Matthew Saltmarsh, a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency said. "And there have been movements towards and across international borders. But the situation is still chaotic and evolving fast."

EU Leaders Approve Russian Sanctions That Will Have 'Severe Consequences'

European Union leaders agreed during an emergency summit Thursday to add new sanctions that will have "massive and severe consequences" on Russia.

The outlined measures, which must be legally authorized and published before going into effect, take aim at the country's financial, energy and transport sectors. They also add restrictions on exports and financing and tack more Russian individuals on the existing sanctions list.

The forthcoming sanctions are only one package out of a host of economic measures announced around the world today.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden also outlined sanctions Thursday aimed at chipping away at Russia financially as the nation's forces make their way toward the Ukrainian capital.

Russia Won't Be Ousted Yet From SWIFT, But Biden Says It's 'Always An Option'

New U.S. sanctions against Russia unveiled by President Joe Biden Thursday did not include ousting the country from the SWIFT banking system.

Biden told reporters that it's "always an option," just not the one the White House is opting to take right now.

SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a Belgium-headquartered cooperative society for financial institutions. Overseen by major state banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve System and Bank of England, it does not transfer funds for patrons, but serves as a secure messaging system.

More than 200 countries and territories, as well as 11,000 financial institutions, are linked through SWIFT, according to its website.

If Russia were to be kicked out of SWIFT, it would be blocked off from most global financial transactions across the world. This includes oil and gas production profits, which make up 40 percent of Russia's revenue, NBC reported.

Sanctions on Putin Remains 'On the Table'

President Joe Biden said imposing personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin is still an option.

"It's not a bluff, it's on the table," Biden said during a press conference Thursday. Biden would not elaborate further, including why those sanctions would not be imposed now.

He made the remarks after announcing another round of sanctions against Russia, including cutting off $1 trillion in Russian assets from U.S. banks.

During the press conference, Biden was asked what it would take to stop Putin from further aggression, as repeated threats of sanctions did not deter military action. Biden said threating sanctions and imposing sanctions are "two different things."

"Now... he's going to begin to see the effect of the sanctions," Biden said. "It will so weaken his country that he'll have to make very, very difficult choices."

U.S. Sanctioning 24 Belarusian Individuals over Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

The United States is now sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals and entities over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday.

The U.S. sanctions target two state-owned banks -- Belinvestbank and Bank Dabrabyt -- as well as Belarus' defense and security industries and defense officials, the U.S. Treasury said.

In addition, they target Aliaksandr Mikalaevich Zaitsau, a former Belarusian government official and a member of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko's inner circle, the department added.

At Least 40 Ukraine Troops Killed By Russian Forces

At least 40 Ukrainian troops and "dozens" of Ukrainian civilians have already been killed and wounded by Russian forces, a Ukraine official said.

During a press conference Thursday morning, Oksana Markarova, the Ukraine Ambassador to the U.S., said the Russians have also struck hospitals.

"Make no mistake, it's not a military operation," she said. "It's a war against Ukraine."

Markarova said a Russian platoon surrendered to Ukraine forces because they didn't know they were brought into the country to kill civilians.

"They didn't know that they were brought to Ukraine to kill Ukrainians," she said. "They thought they were doing something else."

Ukrainian forces shot down two Russian helicopters just outside of the capitol and took out seven other Russian aircrafts and several other trucks.

Markarova also said Kyiv is "fully in control" and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other senior officials remain in Ukraine.

She called for world leaders to issue more sanctions on Russia, but added that Ukraine does not "expect anyone to fight for us."

"It will end with Ukraine winning this," she said. "Because we are in our home. We are defending our home. We never attacked anyone."

U.S. Expels Russia's Second-Ranking Diplomat in Washington

The United States expelled Russia's second-ranking diplomat from its Washington embassy, amid ongoing disputes over embassy staffing.

The State Department expelled Minister Counselor Sergey Trepelkov, the Associated Press reports. The State Department informed the Russian Embassy of the decision on Wednesday.

The expulsion is in retaliation to Russia expelling the second-ranking U.S. diplomat in Moscow, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman, in mid-Feb.

The move was "a direct response to the unprovoked Russian expulsion of our deputy chief of mission," a senior State Department official told the Associated Press.

The expulsion comes as Russia invaded Ukraine late Wednesday.

Russian Embassy in Washington
The Russian Embassy is seen in Washington on Feb. 24. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Biden Remarks Recap: Russia Sanctions, U.S. Troops and Putin's 'Larger Ambitions' for Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced new Russian sanctions, the deployment of additional U.S. troops to Germany to aid NATO and the possibility of sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin himself during remarks at the White House Thursday.

Biden also said that Putin has "larger ambitions" in Ukraine that include reestablishing the former Soviet Union, which Ukraine had been part of before the USSR's disbandment.

The sanctions include cutting off $1 trillion in Russian assets from U.S. banks, blocking four other major banks, cutting off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports, prohibiting Russia's largest state-owned enterprises from doing business in the U.S. and impairing the capability to finance and grow the Russian military.

"That means every asset they have in America will be frozen," Biden said.

Biden said that he gave the green light for the "deployment of ground and air forces stationed in Europe to the eastern flank" and for "additional US force capabilities to deploy to Germany as part of NATO's response." But he clarified that U.S. troops are not being sent to Europe to fight within Ukraine's borders, but to help defend NATO.

He also promised that the U.S. is trying to shelter Americans from rising gas prices and taking "active steps" to bring down gas costs.

Putin's aggression against Ukraine "will end up costing Russia dearly, economically and strategically," Biden said.

"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war," he said.

The full text of Biden's speech on Russia can be read here.

Putin 'Wants to Reestablish the Former Soviet Union,' Biden Says

Questioned about Vladimir Putin's ambitions beyond Ukraine on Thursday, President Joe Biden said he believes the Russian leader has larger goals than overtaking its neighboring nation.

"You heard the speech he made," Biden said, referring to Putin's lengthy television broadcast aired on Monday evening in Russia. "And almost an hour for the speeches why he was going into Ukraine. He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That's what this is about."

Biden added that such a move, as well as the invasion of Ukraine, will end up costing Putin "dearly." And while it was a dangerous choice for the Russian president to make, both for his country and for Europe, "freedom will prevail."

Biden Wants to 'Limit Pain' at the Gas Pump

President Joe Biden pledged to protect Americans from rising gas prices as Russia invades Ukraine, saying the U.S. is taking "active steps" to bring down costs.

"I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," Biden said during a press conference Thursday. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump, this is critical to me."

He also warned U.S. companies against profiting from the situation.

"American oil and gas companies should not exploit this moment to hike their prices to raise profits," Biden said.

The U.S. is closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruptions and coordinating with major oil producing and consuming countries to secure global energy supplies.

"To elevate collective release from the strategic petroleum reserves of major energy consuming countries," Biden explained. He added the U.S. may release oil as conditions warrant.

"This aggression cannot go unanswered," Biden said. "America stands up to bullies, we stand up for freedom. This is who we are."

Putin Will Be Made Into a 'Pariah On The International Stage,' Biden Says

President Joe Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine "will end up costing Russia dearly, economically and strategically."

He also said that the U.S. and other countries will make sure that "Putin will be a pariah on the international stage."

Other countries associated with Russia and its actions "will be stained by association," Biden said.

New U.S. Sanctions Will Cut Off $1 Trillion in Russian Assets, Limit Russian Imports

President Joe Biden outlined a sweeping new set of U.S. sanctions against Russia Thursday, including cutting off $1 trillion in Russian assets from U.S. banks and blocking four other banks.

"Every asset they had in America will be frozen," Biden said.

The sanctions also include export limits, prohibiting Russia's largest state-owned enterprises from doing business in the U.S. and cutting off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports, among other measures.

He said that he and other G7 leaders were in complete agreement about imposing limits on Putin.

"We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen," he said.

Biden said that Putin "rejected every good faith effort the United States and our allies and partners made to address our mutual security concerns through dialogue to avoid needless conflict and avert human suffering."

"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war," Biden said.

Biden Calls Russian Invasion 'Pre-Meditated Attack'

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Thursday amid Russia's "brutal assault" on Ukraine.

"For weeks, we have been warning that this would happen," Biden said during a press conference Thursday. "And now it's unfolding largely as we predicted."

Biden called the attack unprovoked, unjustified and pre-meditated, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin has been planning the invasion for months.

Biden said Putin's intentions were clear, referring to the 175,000 Russian troops massed along Ukraine's border as well as the blood supply and field hospitals Russia has built.

Traffic Jammed as People Flee Kyiv

Traffic was jammed along main streets in Kyiv early Thursday as people fled the city. Explosions were reported in various Ukrainian cities overnight, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded for peace in an overnight speech, delivered partially in Russian. He also imposed martial law in the country.

Traffic in Kyiv
Traffic jams are seen as people leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 24. Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo

Air raid sirens went off in Ukraine's capital as traffic crawled along the outskirts of the city.

Others rushed to bus and train stations around Kyiv to evacuate. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said if diplomacy fails, Ukraine will fight for its land.

"Fight for every inch of our land and every city and every village," Kuleba said during a press conference Tuesday.

Bus stop in Kyiv
People wait for buses at a bus station as they attempt to evacuate Kyiv on Feb. 24. Pierre Crom/Getty Images
Evacuees at Kyiv train stations
A woman waits for a train trying to leave Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 24. Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo

Ukraine Loses Control of Hostomel Airport Near Kyiv, Official Says

Russian forces have seized control of a military airport near Kyiv after hours of fighting, according to Ukraine's deputy interior minister.

Russian troops arrived at the base earlier Thursday, but ongoing fighting spurred hopes that Ukrainian forces may be able to hold control of the airport.

The fall of the Antonov Airport, which is just 15 miles west of Kyiv and near Hostomel, could be a key loss for Ukraine since it could help Russia launch an attack on the Ukrainian capital.

Three U.S. officials told Newsweek that they expect Kyiv to fall to Russia in the coming days.

Russia and Ukraine Conflict Prompts Global Protests; 'Stop Putin'

Protest have erupted around the world against Russia's invasion into Ukraine.

From London to Berlin, Paris to Beirut, demonstrators are calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his military march into Ukraine and prevent a war.

Protesters waved Ukrainian flags while chanting "stop Putin, stop the war." People held signs reading "Putin Stop War" and "Stand With Ukraine."

Ukraine hit with data-wiping malware attack

Ukrainian government websites were hit with cyberattacks Thursday that included data-wiping malware.

The malware activated a day before, the Associated Press reported. Cybersecurity researchers said the malware infected hundreds of computers, including some in neighboring Latvia and Lithuania.

The attacks appears to have been in preparation for as much as three months, researchers said.

Ukraine has been a target for cyberattacks for a week. It was hit with a denial-of-service attack that continued to keep government websites offline Wednesday and cause sporadic internet outages across the country, Doug Madory, director of internet analysis for the U.S. network management firm Kentik Inc, told AP.

The U.S. and its allies were quick to blame the denial-of-service attacks on Russia's GRU military intelligence agency. Denial-of-service attacks flood websites with junk data, rendering them unreachable.

Ukraine's internet was "under severe stress presently," Madory said.

Measures in place to block the attacks were successful, as the Ukraine defense and interior ministries' websites were functioning Thursday.

Some Russian websites were also under attack. The military and Kremlin sites, hosted by the Russia Sate internet Network, were unreachable or slow to load.

Ukraine and NATO leaders have warned for months that Russia may use cyberattacks as a precursor for invasion. Such attacks were a key Russian tool against Ukraine in 2014 and against Estonia in 2007 and Georgia in 2008.

Russia Says 83 Ukrainian Military Facilities Destroyed in Fighting

Russia has destroyed 83 Ukrainian military facilities in Ukraine since launching its invasion, the nation's Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The statement also offered the first formal confirmation from the Russian Defense Ministry that Russian ground forces had moved into Ukraine from Crimea. Previously, it only confirmed air and missile strikes on air bases, air defense batteries and other military facilities.

Igor Konashenkov, a ministry spokesperson, said that the Russian ground troops have moved toward the city of Kherson, which is northwest of Crimea.

Russian Politician Says War Belongs to 'Bloodthirsty' Putin

In an interview with CNN, Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza expressed his disapproval of Russia invading Ukraine.

Kara-Murza's comments came after Russian President Putin authorized troops to invade Ukraine.

Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian opposition politician who serves as vice-chairman of Open Russia, which promotes civil society and democracy in Russia.

Kara-Murza's comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized troops to invade Ukraine.

"This is not Russia's war. This is not our war. This is yet another adventure by the bloodthirsty and deranged Kremlin dictator by the name of Vladimir Putin," Kara-Murza told CNN's John Berman.

'This Fear Stops Everything,' Kyiv Woman Says

Ukrainian business owner Victoria Repa finds herself in the crosshairs of another conflict as Russia moves into Ukraine. "Everyone is afraid," Repa said.

Repa was born in the Donetsk region and was attending Donetsk National University during the conflict in 2014.

"We began to see Russian separatist troops on the street and hear gunfire near our university dorms," Repa said.

"When you have packed all your belongings under the watch of soldiers, you understand how it feels to have your life in someone else's hands. In this case, I understood what it's like to live in fear like an animal. I was an intelligent and creative woman, but when people are next to you holding guns, you feel as though you are nothing."

Ukranian Business Owner Victoria Repa
Ukrainian business owner Victoria Repa says that herself and her team are living in fear of what will happen in the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Victoria Repa

She relocated to Kyiv, where her business BetterMe is based. Repa hears constant concerns from her employees about losing their jobs amid tensions between the two countries. There are 200 employees based in the Kyiv office.

"Though we are seeing no physical changes to the city of Kyiv, there is panic and mental pressure," Repa said at the time of the interview. "I have seen many people trying to relocate or taking vacation abroad to relieve the stress of the situation. And, no one can concentrate on their work. Everyone is focused on the news and everyone is afraid."

Chernobyl Falls to Russian Forces Hours After Invasion, Reports Say

Russian forces have reportedly taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant hours after launching their invasion into Ukraine.

Several reporters said on social media that the troops had seized control, one citing Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to office of the Ukrainian president.

The condition of the plant was unknown, according to Podoliak.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted earlier Thursday that Russian forces were trying to seize the plant and called it a "declaration of war."

U.S Says Russia is in the 'Initial Phase of a Large-Scale Invasion'

The U.S. said Russia is in the beginning of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russian forces have fired more than 100 missiles at targets in Ukraine Wednesday night, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Thursday.

The missiles from Belarus, Russia and the sea hit airports and other military targets, including nearly 10 airfields. The U.S. estimates that about 75 Russian fixed-wing aircrafts, including a bomber, were involved.

"What we are seeing are the initial phases of a large-scale invasion," the official said.

The main axis of assault are from southern Belarus, northern Crimean and from the northeast to Kharkiv.

Russia is "making a move on Kyiv," the official said, and has "every intention of basically decapitating the government and installing their own method of governance."

"We have not been surprised so far with what we have seen them do," the official said. "It is very much in line with what was expected."

U.K. Sanctions Package Freezes Russian Money, Bans Largest Airline

The U.K. announced a new cache of sanctions against Russia Thursday, including a full asset freeze against the Russian state-owned bank VTB and a ban against Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline.

While addressing the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it would be the "largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen."

The sanctions package will, overall, impose asset freezes on more than 100 entities and individuals "on top of the hundreds that we've already announced," Johnson said.

"We will continue on a remorseless mission to squeeze Russia from the global economy piece by piece, day by day and week by week," Johnson said.

U.K. allies like the U.S. are taking similar measures against Russia, Johnson said.

France Will Respond 'Without Weakness'

French President Emmanuel Macron chaired a video conference call with G-7 leaders early Thursday, promising France would announce necessary measures to defend the stability of European allies.

"By breaking his word, by refusing the diplomatic route, by choosing war, President Putin has not only attacked Ukraine," Macron tweeted Thursday. "He has decided to carry out the most serious attack on peace, on stability in our Europe. To this act of war, we will respond without weakness, with composure, determination and unity."

The meeting continued for more than one hour, concluding around 10:30 a.m. ET according to the The White House.

Participants included U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The world leaders met hours after Russia invaded Ukraine.

G7 Leaders
French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a video-conference of G7 leaders on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Feb. 24. Ludovic Marin/AP Photo

NATO Will Defend 'Every Inch' of Territory from Russian Attack: Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg said the alliance is prepared to defend "every inch" of NATO territory in Europe from Russian attack.

"We will defend any ally against any attack and every inch of NATO territory," Stoltenberg said Thursday.

The alliance has increased its presence in NATO's eastern flank with more troops, ships, planes and other military equipment.

Stoltenberg clarified that there are no NATO combat troops in Ukraine and reiterated that these measures are defensive and seek to prevent a conflict, not provoke one.

He maintained the alliance will act on Article 5 of NATO's founding treaty to ensure the principle of collective defense among members and allies.

"An attack on one ally will trigger the response from the whole alliance," he said.

Ukraine is not part of the alliance but it borders NATO members in eastern Europe, including Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

NATO members have repeated their firm stance in solidarity with Ukraine and its sovereignty.

Russian Police Detain Those Protesting Ukraine Invasion

Russian police have been detaining protestors demonstrating across the country against President Vladimir Putin's attack against Ukraine.

Russian officials and prosecutors had warned against unauthorized gatherings in light of the situation with Ukraine, the Moscow Times reported, but that hasn't completely deterred civilians.

Russian Police Detain Protestors
Police officers detain a man during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Moscow on February 24, 2022. Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

OVD-Info, an independent police-monitoring website, reported nearly 170 detainments as of Thursday afternoon at anti-war rallies across Russian cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg and others.

A video taken in Tyumen, a city located in the Russian region of Siberia, shows a line of what looks to be at least dozens of protestors walking down a street and chanting "No to war!"

Protesters Gather at Russian Embassy in Berlin

Protesters have flocked to the Russian embassy in Berlin to decry Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to deploy troops to the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.

People were waving yellow-blue Ukrainian flags and chanting, "We stand united with Ukraine!" On Tuesday evening, they also assembled in front of the building near the German capital's landmark Brandenburg Gate.

Some held up banners saying "Ukraine will resist," "Say no to Putin," or "Implement sanctions immediately." In contrast, others wrapped themselves in huge Ukrainian flags.

Protesters gathered in front of Russian embassy
Protesters gathered in front of Russian embassy to protest Putin's latest move to invade Ukraine. Associated Press

Newsweek Exclusive: U.S. Expects Kyiv to Fall Within Days Under Russian Assault

From Newsweek's Tom O'Connor, David Brennan and Naveed Jamali...

A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government, who also asked not to be named, agreed with the U.S. assessment that Kyiv could be surrounded within 96 hours. But they did not believe Zelenskyy's government would collapse.

Asked by Newsweek if the government was confident it could break a possible Russian encirclement, the source said, "I think it's too early to say...They say Ukraine is holding better than they expected."

A NATO diplomatic official, who also did not wish to be named as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, told Newsweek of the U.S. assessment: "My personal opinion: unfortunately, it does sound rather believable. However, I think now the first 24 hours are the most critical."

'Murder' Painted Outside Russian Embassy in D.C.

The word "murder" was painted in large, red letters outside the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. following the commencement of Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine.

Crowds of demonstrators had gathered outside the embassy earlier Thursday in solidarity with Ukraine and in protest against Russia, WJLA reported.

Secret Service members and D.C. police began standing watch outside the embassy after the message was discovered.

Police have detained one woman in connection with the incident, NewsNation reported.

Russian Government Websites Appear Offline

A number of Russian government websites appeared down Thursday morning for users outside of Russia.

The official Kremlin website, Kremlin.ru, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation are among the affected sites. The websites display error messages saying "this page isn't working."

There are reports the websites are working in Russia. The issues appear to be for users accessing the sites outside of Russia; however, they are still accessible via VPN. It is unclear why this is occurring.

The issues began hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Several Ukrainian government websites and banks were targeted in a cyberattack Wednesday.

Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were targeted in a mass DDoS attack.

Fedorov also said the attack was also reported by a number of banks. It follows a similar cyberattack last week.

Chernobyl Target for Russian Military Amid Ukraine Invasion: Zelenskyy

Russian forces are trying to seize Chernobyl, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine forces are "giving their lives" to prevent a repeat of the 1986 tragedy when a nuclear reactor exploded, spreading radioactive waste across Europe.

The nuclear plant is located 80 miles north of the Ukrainian capitol Kyiv on the border of Ukraine and Belarus.

The Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs said an attack on Chernobyl may "cause another ecological disaster."

Gunfire, artillery shells or missiles that hit the plant could trigger the release of more radioactivity, threatening citizens nearby.

Anti-War Protests Break Out in Russia

Russian protester
A man holding a placard reading "No to war!" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine at Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square on February 24, 2022. There have been rallies across Russia and around the world against the military aggression. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty

Poignant scenes from Russia to bring you next...

Demonstrators in Russian cities are protesting the invasion of Ukraine.

Small groups of people held signs and chanted "No to war" in Moscow. Similar sights have been witnessed in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

Thomas van Linge, who has been reporting on incidents surrounding the invasion of Ukraine, tweeted footage of what he said was a rally in the city of Tyumen. "police are busy arresting everyone before it takes off," he wrote.

Independent news outlet Meduza also reported that anti-war solo picketers were popping up in cities across Russia.

In Russia, one-person picketers are the only form of protest that does not require the prior approval of the authorities.

False: Video Does Not Show Drone Attack on Russian Tanks

A misleading video claiming to show a drone attack on Russian tanks and ground troops has been shared across several social media channels monitoring Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"It is reported that the Ukrainian army is using Bayraktari against the Russians," one Tweet with the video said. Baykar Bayraktar TB2 are Turkish made medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV).

As a part of its military modernization program the Armed Forces of Ukraine acquired 12 Bayraktar TB2s from Turkey in 2019.

The video, however, is misleading.

It is not depicting the current events in Ukraine, but rather Turkey's military operation in Syria in 2020, Newsweek can confirm.

Several scenes from the video can be observed in a longer version published in March 2020, and also shared on Twitter about the same time. The footage appears to have been digitally flipped across the Y-axis to complicate the process of discovering its provenance via standard image and video verification services.

Take a look at our guide on how to spot misinformation in the conflict...

In Pictures: Ukraine Under Russian Attack

As Ukraine faces the Russian assault, these few pictures offer a glimpse into events that have shook Europe and the world this morning.