Ukraine-Russia War: Atrocities Continue Going Into a Full Week of Fighting

Live Updates
  • European leaders on Tuesday welcomed Ukraine's application for EU membership; however there is a still a way to go to Ukraine joining.
  • Russia continued a sixth day of attacks against its neighboring country.
  • Russian forces are expected to launch a major offensive on Kyiv. The number of Ukrainian refugees could top four million, according to the United Nations.
  • U.S. support for Ukraine was on full display during President Joe Biden's State of the Union address where praise for the country's resistance drew the biggest applause. Biden announced new measures to punish Russia economically, but said no U.S. troops are headed to Ukraine.
  • Russian forces lay siege to Kharkiv, the second-largest city, on Tuesday, the sixth day since the invasion began. Explosions rocked the central Freedom Square earlier, in an attack Zelensky called a "war crime."
Ukraine-Russia War
A Ukrainian serviceman helps a child to cross the destroyed bridge on March 1, 2022 in Irpin, Ukraine. Russian forces continued to advance on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as their invasion of its western neighbor entered its sixth day. Intense battles also continue in Ukraine's other major cities. Photo by Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images

The live updates for this event have ended.

Putin Clamps Down on Bringing Foreign Currency Out of Russia

With the Russian ruble in free-fall, the country's president banned any cash valued at over $10,000 from leaving its borders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed an order prohibiting the export of foreign currency, reports Russian News agency TASS, citing the Kremlin.

"The export of foreign currency cash and foreign currency instruments over $10,000 calcuated based on the official exchange rate set by the Russian Central Bank on the day of export will be banned starting on March 2," the decree reads, according to the news service

One Russian ruble was valued at 0.0091 of a U.S. dollar as of Wednesday local time. Nearly, a month ago a ruble was worth 0.013 of a U.S. dollar.

Ukrainian Tennis Star Will Donate Prize Money to Army

Elina Svitolina, a professional Ukrainian tennis player, said she'll donate all her prize money to her country's military after beating her Russian opponent at the Monterrey Open.

Wearing her country's colors of yellow and green, Svitolina beat Russia's Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 6-1 at the event affiliated with the Women's Tennis Association being held in Monterrey, Mexico.

"It's a very, very special event, this one for me," Svitolina said following her win on Tuesday. The tournament runs through March 6.

Biden Reaffirms That U.S. Troops Will not Fight Russia in Ukraine

While the State of the Union address made clear that U.S. political leaders broadly support for Ukraine, President Joe Biden said that support wouldn't mean sending troops to defend it against Russia.

"Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine," Biden said, echoing his previous commitment.

Instead, Biden said that U.S. forces would be headed to Europe to defend NATO allies, including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Biden said U.S. ground forces, air squadrons, and ship deployments would be stationed in those countries in case Russia President Vladimir Putin moved beyond Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

"As I have made crystal clear the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power," said Biden.

U.S. Support for Ukraine on Display During State of Union Address

Bi-partisan support for Ukraine was on full display during the State of the Union address as members of Congress and attendees rose in applause as President Joe Biden spoke of the country's struggle against Russia.

Biden said that six days ago Russian leader Vladimir Putin "sought to shake the foundations of the free world thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways" by invading Ukraine.

"But he badly miscalculated," continued Biden. "He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people."

The remark was one of the biggest applause lines of Biden's address.

U.S. Closing All Airspace to Russia: Biden Says in SOTU Address

President Joe Biden announced during his State of the Union address that the U.S. will ban all Russian air traffic, following similar bans by the European Union.

Biden said closing that air traffic will further isolate Russia and add "an additional squeeze on their economy." During the speech, Biden said the Russian ruble has lost 30 percent of its value, rendering President Vladimir Putin's war fund "worthless."

Biden also announced a U.S. Department of Justice task force "to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs."

"The Russian economy is reeling and Putin alone is the one to blame," said Biden.

ExxonMobil Says It's Leaving Russian Project Over Ukraine

ExxonMobil is ending its involvement in an oil and natural gas project in Russia as western countries continue to pull out of the country.

"ExxonMobil supports the people of Ukraine as they seek to defend their freedom and determine their own future as a nation," the company said in a statement Tuesday. "We deplore Russia's military action that violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine and endangers its people."

The Texas-based energy company said it has begun winding down operations at Sakhalin-1, a project ExxonMobil is overseeing on behalf of Japanese, Indian, and Russian companies. As operator of the project, located eastern Russian island of Sakhalin, the company said it has an obligation "to ensure the safety of people, protection of the environment and integrity of operations."

"Given the current situation, ExxonMobil will not invest in new developments in Russia," the company said in a statement.

Earlier BP and Shell announced they were pulling investments out of Russia.

Ukraine's Armed Forces Commander Says Russian Invasion Slowing

The top commander of Ukraine's military said Russia's advance has slowed after losing tactical advantage during a battle earlier Tuesday.

Lieutenant General Valery Zaluzhny said in a Facebook post that the Ukrainian armed forces wounded the head of a Russian army unit and killed the commander of a brigade of paratroopers. The loss caused Russian forces to call up reserves to go on, according to his post.

"Russian invaders have two options: be destroyed or surrender," Zaluzhny wrote in his post. "We are on our land, and therefore we will protect it to the last drop of blood."

After launching its invasion of Ukraine six days ago, Russia has yet to capture the capital city of Kyiv despite having roughly 80 percent of its forces in the country. Russian troops are reportedly facing supply and logistical challenges even with a large convoy headed toward Kyiv.

IMF and World Bank Preparing Billions in Aid for Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank say they're preparing a multi-billion aid package for Ukraine.

The leaders of the international financial assistance institutions said in a joint-statement they were taking action in response to the conflict's humanitarian toll as well as well as its "significant spillovers to other countries."

"Commodity prices are being driven higher and risk further fueling inflation, which hits the poor the hardest," reads the statement. "Disruptions in financial markets will continue to worsen should the conflict persist."

The IMF said it is working on Ukraine's Stand-By Arrangement that'll make $2.2 billion available between now and the end of June. The World Bank is preparing to approve $3 billion package for Ukraine. By this week, the World Bank's board will consider an initial $350 million infusion to shore up Ukraine's budget. That'll be followed by $200 million to support health care and education.

Russia's Invasion of Ukraine has Strengthened NATO: Biden's State of the Union

During his State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden will argue that Russia's invasion of Ukraine shows why NATO still "matters," according to an excerpt released Tuesday ahead of the address later in the night.

"Throughout our history we've learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos," reads and excerpt of Biden's speech. "They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine has made the Cold War-era NATO alliance stronger, according to the speech.

"He thought the West and NATO wouldn't respond," reads the excerpt. "And, he thought he could divide us here at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready."

Apple stopping product sales in Russia

Apple Inc. has joined other companies that are pulling its products from Russian shelves.

The company said Tuesday it would halt, at least temporarily, sales of its high-tech goods in stores in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Apple's decision was applauded by Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation. But he called on the company to go further and block access to its App Store in Russia.

"They kill our children, now kill their access!" Fedorov said in a tweet.

Apple's decision comes a day after Facebook and TikTok said they would restrict Russian-state media's use of their platforms after the European Union announced a series of measures targeting the Kremlin's influence.

Airbnb Offers Free Housing for 100,000 Refugees

Airbnb is working with its hosts to provide free housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine.

"We need help to meet this goal," Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky said. "The greatest need we have is for more people who can offer their homes in nearby countries, including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania."

He said stays will be free for refugees, funded by Airbnb, its donors and through the "generosity" of hosts.

"With more hosts, we can house more refugees," Chesky said. "If you live in Germany, Poland, Romania, Hungary, France, UK, Italy, Netherlands... anywhere a refugee may be, you can help by opening your home."

He said specifics are being finalized and more details will be available in the coming days.

The Airbnb website says those who are interested can offer temporary stays for free or at a discounted rate, it is also accepting donations to house refugees.

As of Tuesday, the United Nations estimates nearly 680,000 refugees have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries.

Battle Continues in the Center of Kherson

A video shared on Twitter shows the moments during attacks as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues.

In the background of the video, gunshots can be heard loudly as the war persists for the sixth day.

"At these minutes, a battle is going on in the center of Kherson, it is reported that near the building of the SBU," the tweet said.

U.S. Senators Call to Halt Russian Energy Imports

U.S. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Ed Markey are among the latest representatives pushing for the U.S. to halt Russian energy imports.

Manchin, also the Chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, called on President Joe Biden to immediately halt Russian imports Tuesday.

"I'm asking the President [Biden] to invoke a ban on purchasing any products, petroleum products, any products from Russia," Manchin said.

Manchin said the U.S. continues to import more than half a million barrels of crude oil and other petroleum products from Russia daily.

"There is no reason why the United States should not be totally energy independent, or at the very least trading with our allies where we need to," he said.

Markey also introduced legislation to ban importing Russian crude oil and petroleum products into the United States on Tuesday.

The Severing Putin's Immense Gains from Oil Transfers (SPIGOT) Act mentions the U.S. imported about 245,000,000 barrels of oil from the Russian Federation in 2021. That figure equals an estimated $17.4 billion in revenue, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"There is no separating Russian oil from the corruption and human rights abuses of the Putin regime," Markey said. "We cannot criticize Europe for its reliance on Russian energy, as we pour dirty oil money into Russia. We cannot stop Putin with Russia's gas in our cars."

Ukraine Ambassador to U.S. to Join First Lady for State of the Union Address

The Ukraine Ambassador to the United States will join First Lady Jill Biden for the State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

Ambassador Oksana Mararova will join the first lady in her viewing box, along with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, President Joe Biden's sister Valerie Biden Owens and other guests, the White House said.

Border Crossings With Wait Times Under 10 Hours

Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Ukraine continue to wait in long lines to enter neighboring countries.

U.S. Embassy Kyiv shared a list of border crossings in Slovakia, Romania and Poland with wait times under ten hours on Tuesday. The embassy noted that wait times are constantly changing.

Slovakia:

  • Vysne Nemecke
  • Slemence (pedestrian)

Romania:

  • Sighetu Marmatiei
  • Halmeu

Poland:

  • Dołhobyczów
  • Hrebenne
  • Ustylah

*The crossings listed about have wait times under 10 hours, as of late Tuesday.

The United Nations reports some 677,000 refugees have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, as of Tuesday. The U.N. estimates Ukrainian refugee numbers may exceed four million in the coming months.

Poland:

410,000 of those refugees have crossed into Poland since Thursday, according to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland.

On Tuesday alone, nearly 60,000 entered through the afternoon.

"Poland continues to evacuate those in need from Lviv, including children from the local hospitals," Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted Tuesday.

"Today a group of young oncology patients left Ukrainian territory. They are headed to Polish and German hospitals, where they will continue their treatment."

Moldova:

Tens of thousands of refugees have also fled to Moldova. Large groups of refugees waited in cold temperatures to board a bus in Palanca, Moldova on Tuesday.

Ukrainian refugees arrive in Moldova
Refugees fleeing war in Ukraine wait to board a bus as they arrive to Palanca, Moldova on March 1. Aurel Obreja/AP Photo

Moldova's President Maia Sandu was seen hugging a refugee over the weekend, as at the border crossing in Otaci.

Russia Level 4 "Do Not Travel" advisory:

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department continues to advise U.S. citizens to avoid travel into Russia and to consider leaving the country. It cautioned, however, that flights are "extremely limited."

"Travelers may also experience difficulty securing airline tickets to depart Russia due to disruptions in the Russian financial system," the U.S. Embassy Moscow, Russia wrote.

"Further, an increasing number of airlines are cancelling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines.  In addition, air space around southern Russia is restricted and a number of airports in the area have closed."

Video Shows Emergency Crews Responding to TV Tower Attack

Emergency crews responded on March 1 to an attack in Kyiv's Shevchenkivskyi district that impacted areas near a large TV tower. Multiple videos taken on March 1 showed explosions in the area.

The State Emergency Service (SES) of Ukraine then reported that at least five people had been killed and five more injured due to attacks in the district.

This footage, released by SES, shows emergency workers responding to fires in the area.

Russia Forces Stalled North of Kyiv, Pentagon Official Says

During a background Pentagon briefing Tuesday morning, a senior U.S. defense official said a 40-mile-long convoy of Russian tanks and combat vehicles is stalled north of Kyiv.

Russian forces may be "regrouping" after their military operation has not yielded the results they expected. The official said forces are facing fuel and food shortages.

The convoy has not moved since Monday, when it was about 30 kilometers north of the Kyiv city center.

Russian forces also remain outside of the southern city of Mariupol and is close enough to attack, the official said.

The Pentagon said about 80 percent of the Russian combat power on the Ukraine border is now committed to the war. The U.S. has seen indications that many Russian troops did not know they were being sent to combat.

Russia has launched about 400 missiles at Ukraine since the start of the invasion, the official said. The Pentagon has seen Russian deploying multiple rocket launcher systems in Ukraine and the official said airspace remains contested.

The International Court Will Hold Hearings Next Week

The International Court of Justice says it will hold hearings on March 7 and 8 over the war in Ukraine as fighting intensifies.

"The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will hold public hearings in the case concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation) on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 March 2022," the court says in a statement

Biden Underscored Support for Ukraine on Call with Zelensky

President Biden said he underscored the U.S.'s sustained help for Ukraine's defense during a call with President Zelensky Tuesday.

Such aid includes ongoing deliveries of security assistance, economic support and humanitarian aid.

The leaders discussed how the U.S. and its allies and partners are working to hold Russia accountable, including issuing economic sanctions, the White House said.

They also talked about Russia's escalating attacks on civilian sites in Ukraine.

One of the targets hit was the Babyn Yar memorial to the Holocaust in Kyiv.

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Files for Bankruptcy

The Swiss-based company which built the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany has reportedly filed for bankruptcy.

The firm, registered in Switzerland and owned by Gazprom, had already sacked all of its 106 employees after being targeted by U.S. sanctions.

Silvia Thalmann-Gut, economic director of Kanton Zug, told Swiss state broadcaster SRF that the authorities attended NS2's offices and were briefed on the situation.

The German government moved to halt the $11bn pipeline's approval last week. Shortly after that President Joe Biden directed his administration to impose sanctions on the operating company.

Ukraine's Application to Join EU Gets Green Light

The European Parliament accepted Ukraine's application to join the European Union (EU) Tuesday, as Russia continues a sixth day of attacks against its neighboring country.

Zelensky addressed the European Parliament Tuesday via video, urging the EU to stand with Ukraine.

"We are fighting for our freedom, for our rights and for our survival," Zelensky said. "And we also fight to be equal members of Europe. With us in it, the EU will be stronger. Please, prove that you are together with us. Then life will conquer death."

His speech received a standing ovation. Parliament adopted the resolution 637 votes to 13, with 26 members abstaining. Several steps will follow Tuesday's vote toward granting Ukraine EU member status.

Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's Parliament, thanked Europe following the vote.

"The European Parliament has recommended that Ukraine be granted EU candidate status! Thank you, Europe!" the Verkhovna Rada tweeted.

"Today the EU and Ukraine are already closer than ever," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

"There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps. But nobody can doubt that a people that stands up so bravely for our European values belongs in our European family."

The vote comes one day after Zelensky filed a request to join the European Union.

Russia Targets Independent Media Outlets

The Russian government is now targeting media outlets to block reporting on the invasion in Ukraine.

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office ordered the censorship of the websites of Dozhd television, also known as TV Rain, an independent station, and the liberal Ekho Moskvy radio station for allegedly promoting "extremist activities" regarding the actions of Russian forces during the "special operation to protect the [Donetsk People's Republic] and [Luhansk People's Republic].

According to the Office, information posted by the outlets "contains calls for extremism, violence against citizens of the Russian Federation, mass violations of public order and public safety, as well as for the participation of citizens of the Russian Federation in mass public events in violation of the requirements of the current legislation and the forcible overthrow of the constitutional order."

"The Prosecutor General's Office demanded to block access to Dozhd and Ekho Moskvy," TV Rain said in a tweet. "According to the Prosecutor General's Office, the website of Dozhd and Ekho Moskvy posted information 'with calls for extremist activity, violence,' as well as 'knowingly false information regarding the actions of Russian military personnel.'"

The station said the notice from the Prosecutor General's Office after it was blocked did not identify a specific violation of Russian laws.

Ekho Moskyv Editor-in-Chief Alexey Venediktov said the radio station have been taken off the air. The station said it is still broadcasting online.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday Russian officials are warning the press that any reporting on the assault in Ukraine as an "attack, an invasion, or a declaration of war" will result in media outlets being blocked and fined.

DirecTV Drops RT America, Social Media Restricts Access

DirecTV is set to drop Russian-state controlled network RT America from its programming amid Russia's invasion into Ukraine. It is the latest move from various social media companies, Google and the European Union to ban and restrict access to Russian state media, especially in Europe.

"In line with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating this year's contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately," DirecTV said in a statement to Axios Tuesday.

RT America is based in Washington D.C., and part of the RT network, funded by the Russian government.

Newsweek has reached out to DirecTV for comment.

Media banned in the EU:

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the European Union would ban Russian state media channels Russia Today and Sputnik.

"We will ban the Kremlin's media machine in the EU," she tweeted Sunday.

"The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries,
will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin's war. We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe."

Google blocks YouTube channels in Europe:

Tuesday, Google announced it would also block the RT and Sputnik YouTube channels in Europe.

"Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we're blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately," Google said in a tweet. "It'll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action."

Changes on Facebook and Instagram:

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU. Meta said it is working "closely" with governments on this issue.

Tuesday, Meta announced further steps to prohibit Russian state media from profiting off its platforms.

"We are now prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world," Meta Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said. "We also continue to apply labels to additional Russian state media. These changes have already begun rolling out and will continue into the weekend."

Zelensky Asks Biden for Support During State of Union Speech

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden Tuesday.

Zelensky said the two leaders discussed the U.S. leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and defense assistance and thanked Biden for his support.

The conversation lasted about 30 minutes, according to the White House.

During an interview with CNN, Zelensky said he urged Biden to give a strong and "useful" message about the Russian invasion during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Zelensky said Americans should care about what's happening in Ukraine because the invasion is about freedom and democracy.

Ukraine Zoo Animals Evacuated to Poland

Ukraine zoo animals are being evacuated and transferred to the Polish border after being surrounded by Russian tanks.

Officials from Zoo Poznań, Poland, told Newsweek that workers are currently waiting at the Polish border for the animals from the Save Wild animal sanctuary near the capital city Kyiv to arrive.

"We are waiting on the Polish-Ukrainian border for the arrival of a transport of animals evacuated from the Save Wild Fund animal sanctuary near Kyiv. Unfortunately, we cannot enter the territory of Ukraine. We are waiting for the arrival of transport to the border," a spokesperson from the Zoological Garden in Poznań said.

On Facebook, the Kyiv Zoo said military actions had caused stress for their animals. Still, so far, all their conditions are stable. "The zoo is closed to visitors, but the care of the animals does not stop," it said. "The war is causing terrible stress for the animals, so some of them have been moved to indoor enclosures and underground galleries. Veterinarians monitor their emotional state and, if necessary, provide a sedative."

Group Who Allegedly Planned to Assassinate Zelensky, Killed

An "elite" Chechen unit allegedly sent to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been eliminated, according to several reports.

"The special operation that was to be carried out directly by the Kadyrovites to eliminate our president is fully known to us today," Ukraine's Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said on television Tuesday, the Kyiv Independent reports.

"And I can say that we received information from representatives of the FSB, who today have no desire to take part in this bloody war. For this, I can say, that Kadyrov's elite group, which went here specifically to eliminate our president, was directly destroyed. We tracked them. One group was covered in Gostomel, another group is now, let's say, under the gun," Danilov said, according to the outlet.

Thursday, Zelensky said he was marked as Russia's number one target, his family was marked as target two.

Five Dead in TV Tower Bombing, Five Others Injured

Five people have died in a Russian airstrike that damaged a Ukraine TV tower in Kyiv.

The death toll was given by emergency services and reported by the Ukrainian news outlet The Kyiv Independent.

Officials have said that five other people were injured in the blast launched by Vladimir Putin's forces.

The Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs said television channels would be off-air after the explosion in the Shevchenkivsky district of the capital.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the ministry, posted footage on social media of the attack that happened on the sixth day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Defence of Ukraine tweeted a message after the TV tower bombing stating, "for a while, the channels will not work. In the near future, the backup broadcast of some channels will be included. The enemy can spread fakes in order to destabilize the situation. You know, Ukraine is fighting and enduring!"

Russian Convoy Nearly 18 Miles Outside of Kyiv

Ukraine's Defense Intelligence says some 300 Belarusian tanks are near the Belarus-Ukraine border, as Russia seeks to introduce Belarusian troops into its attack against Ukraine.

"Russia is preparing a deliberate provocation to justify the introduction of Belarusian troops," Ukraine's Defense Intelligence wrote Tuesday.

"According to available data, there are now about 300 Belarusian tanks near the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. The column has not crossed the border yet and is waiting for the route m. Pinsk - Ivanove - Dragíčyn (about 30 km from the state border of Ukraine)."

UK Ministry of Defense update:

Russian forces are located about 20 miles outside of the center of Kyiv, according to the UK Ministry of Defense. The ministry provided the update Tuesday night, Kyiv local time.

"A Russian column continues to make slow progress towards Kyiv," the UK Ministry of Defense said. "The column is a mixed force of combat and logistics vehicles with the bulk of the forces remaining approximately 30km from the centre of the city."

The UK's latest data also shows Russian air and artillery strikes increased Sunday into Tuesday in urban areas across Ukraine.

"Over the past 48 hours, increased numbers of Russian air and artillery strikes have been conducted against densely populated urban areas across Ukraine," the ministry said. "Ukrainian forces continue to hold the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol however all three cities are now likely encircled by Russian forces."

The ministry shared a map depicting where Russian troops have attacked and are now located, according to the latest UK intelligence. The map shows several areas where Russian troops have advanced and "likely axis" of advance.

Blinken Condemns Russia's Human Rights Abuses

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Russia's human rights abuses during an address at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine.

"Reports of Russia's human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law are mounting by the hour," he said, pointing to hits on Ukraine hospitals, schools, residential buildings and civilian transportation.

If Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeds in his goals of "toppling Ukraine's democratically elected government," Blinken said the human rights and humanitarian crisis "will only get worse."

Blinken called on the Council to stop these abuses and hold perpetrators accountable.

"We must send a resolute an unified message that Putin should unconditionally stop this unprovoked attack and immediately withdraw Russian forces from Ukraine," he said.

The Kremlin is not only violating international humanitarian law in Ukraine, Blinken said, but has been committing similar abuses within its own borders long before the invasion began.

This includes the Russian government harassing and imprisoning of human rights organizations and activists, dissenters holding peaceful protests, political opponents and threatening journalists.

Blinken also called out Council members who imply that "all sides bear equal responsibility of the unprovoked attack" and rejected claims that calling out these abuses is "politicizing" the situation.

"This isn't evenhanded, its' wrong, and fails to place accountability where it belongs," he said.

The Council, Blinken said, must reject Russia's attempt to "falsely" justify this attack as a defense of human rights and press the Kremlin to uphold its obligation to respect international humanitarian law.

He implied that Russia should not be allowed on the Human Rights Council because of its attacks on another member.

"One can reasonably ask whether a UN members state that tries to take over another UN member state while committing horrific human rights abuses and causing massive humanitarian suffering should be allowed to remain on this council," he said.

Blinken added that sovereignty does not give governments "the right to do whatever they want within their borders." Countries who argue that, he said, are "systematically abusing human rights" and have been "eerily silent in face of Russia's flagrant assault on Ukraine's sovereignty."

He called on the Council to stand for the rules members agreed upon to ensure all people enjoy human rights, peace and security.

"If we allow rules of international order to be flagrantly trampled anywhere, we weaken them everywhere," he said. "People in Ukraine looking at us to stand up and stand together. We must not let them down."

Nearly 680,000 Refugees Have Fled Ukraine

The number of Ukrainians who have fled to neighboring countries reached nearly 680,000 on Tuesday, just six days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi provided the updated figure, up from 500,000 the day prior.

U.N. seeks $1.7 billion in emergency aid:

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners launched an emergency appeal for $1.7 billion Tuesday to aid Ukrainians still in the country and those who have fled.

The request is in response to the immediate need of supplies and services. The U.N. estimates some 12 million people inside Ukraine and more than four million refugees will need protection and assistance in the months to come.

The program would provide cash assistance to the most vulnerable people, food, water, sanitation, support to health care and education services and shelter assistance to rebuild damaged homes.

"Families with small children are hunkered down in basements and subway stations or running for their lives to the terrifying sound of explosions and wailing sirens," UN Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths said.

"Casualty numbers are rising fast. This is the darkest hour for the people of Ukraine. We need to ramp up our response now to protect the lives and dignity of ordinary Ukrainians. We must respond with compassion and solidarity."

Long wait times at border crossings:

U.S. Embassy Kyiv is recommending refugees consider traveling by bus or train amid long wait times at border crossings.

"Both have reportedly been much quicker methods to exit the country," the Embassy tweeted Tuesday.

"Our latest reports for Poland border crossings show that the Dorohusk, Ustylah, and Dołhobyczów have wait times of less than 10 hours. If you are headed to Poland, these crossings may be ideal. Note: wait times and environments are constantly changing."

TV Tower in Kyiv Attacked in Bombing

Kyiv's TV tower is shown in smoke after blasts were heard in the Ukraine capital.

A video of the massive structure with smoke has circulated on social media. Ukrainian official Anton Yuriiovych Herashchenko confirmed the capital's TV tower had been attacked, potentially disrupting its signal.

It came minutes after Russia's warning to the residents of Ukraine's capital to evacuate military and intelligence infrastructure.

The tower is located in Babi Yar, a ravine in Kyiv where Nazis carried out executions of Ukrainian Jews.

Video of Unarmed Ukrainians Blocking Russian Military Convoy Goes Viral

Local citizens of Melitopol, a town in the south of Ukraine, stood their ground as Russian troops and military vehicles moved in.

A video showing Ukrainians screaming "fascists!", "occupiers!" and "turn back" at a Russian military convoy driving through the city has been shared tens of thousands of times since being posted late on Tuesday.

Franak Viačorka, an advisor to exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and Matthew Luxmoore, the Wall Street Journal reporter in Moscow, were among those who shared the clip.

As people in the video scream "Go home, fascists, we are unarmed!" one of the soldiers' made a couple of warning shots, before returning inside the vehicle.

Then an armored truck moved ahead, but also got blocked by the crowd.

According to local media reports, Melitopol, which is one of the larger towns between Cherson and Mariupol, key ports in the South of the country, fell to the Russians after being shelled overnight.

The town's mayor, Ivan Fedorov, issued a statement saying that "Melitopol has not surrendered, but it is temporarily occupied."

Putin's Protégé Tells French Lawmakers: 'Watch Your Tongue'

A former president of Russia has told French lawmakers to "watch your tongue" after heated rhetoric on the Ukraine war.

Deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, a close Putin-ally, tweeted: "Today, some French minister has said that they declared an economic war on Russia. Watch your tongue, gentlemen!

"And don't forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones."

France has joined other Western powers in issuing sweeping sanctions on Russia and Putin's inner circle.

Is Kyiv Still Under Ukrainian Control? Latest

As Ukraine's capital braces for the Russians' latest assault, for observers outside Ukraine it becomes increasingly harder to follow the quickly unfolding events and separate fact from fiction.

Satellite images and videos of a huge 40-mile long convoy of Russian military vehicles and troops approaching the city's boundaries, fueling speculation about the city's current status.

Additionally, the Russian military issued a warning to its residents on Tuesday that it plans to carry out "high precision strikes" against the "Security Service of Ukraine" and the "72nd Center for Information and Psychological Operations (PSO)," and telling those living close to those targets to leave their homes.

Meanwhile, Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine's defense minister, warned that Moscow is planning to launch "an info and psycho operation," against the country.

"Its goal is to break the resistance of people and the army. At first, they can arrange a breakdown of connectivity. After-the spread of massive FAKE messages claiming that Ukraine's leadership has agreed to give up. We're in Kyiv! No surrender! Only victory!" Reznikov tweeted.

The city remains under Ukraine's control, according to the country's leaders, including former boxer and the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, who are preparing to defend the capital.

"Our situation is complicated. The enemy is on the outskirts of the capital," he said in a video address on Tuesday afternoon.

"Our armed forces are fighting heroically for our land. We are preparing to defend Kyiv."

U.S. Military Leaders Learn Shocking Putin Lessons

Military observers are flabbergasted that Russia's mighty invasion force has been able to move just tens of miles into Ukraine in nearly six days of fighting.

One retired U.S. Army general told Newsweek: "We know that Russia has a plodding army and that Russian military force has always been a blunt instrument, but why risk the antipathy of the entire planet if you have no prospect of achieving even minimal gains."

The general believes that the only explanation is that the Kremlin overestimated its own forces.

Yet Russia's military failures in Ukraine increase the threat of escalation, including the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons.

In the longer term however, if escalation doesn't worsen and the Ukrainian conflict can be contained, Russian conventional military weakness upends many assumptions that geopolitical strategists—even those inside the U.S. government—make about Russia as a military threat.

Read more here.

Ukraine troops on Russian vehicle in Kharkiv
An Ukrainian Territorial Defence fighter examines a destroyed Russian infantry mobility vehicle GAZ Tigr after fighting in Kharkiv, Ukraine on February 27, 2022. SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images

In Pictures: Kyiv Prepares for Attack

These pictures offer a glimpse inside Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, where Russian forces are expected to mount a massive attack in the coming hours.

The Russian army said Monday that civilians could "freely" leave the the city of 2.8 million people via the soutwest.

"All civilians in the city can freely leave the Ukrainian capital along the Kyiv-Vasylkiv highway. This direction is open and safe," Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.

As we've been reporting, satellite imagery on Monday showed a 40-mile long convoy of Russian forces headed towards Kyiv.

U.S. Officials have previously told Newsweek that Ukraine will likely fall if the capital is taken by Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that defending Kyiv is the "key priority" for Ukraine.

People outside a supermarket in Kyiv
People wait in line to buy food in front of a supermarket with a damaged building in the background in Kyiv on March 1- Russia will continue the offensive in Ukraine until its "goals are achieved," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said. DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Satellite Images Show 40-Mile-Long Convoy Of Russian Forces Closing In on Kyiv

Videos and photos of the bombardment of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, have emerged as authorities said at least 10 people were killed and dozens injured in the strike.

Meanwhile satellite images have shown a 40-mile convoy of Vladimir Putin's army heading to the capital, Kyiv.

Sean Penn Escapes Ukraine, Abandons Car at Border

More than 660,000 people have now fled Ukraine, the U.N. believes.

Millions more will have been displaced by the fighting, which has seen Russian troops shell residential areas.

American actor Sean Penn is among those to have crossed the border into Poland.

In a tweet, he said many cars he saw on the way out contained women and children, "most without any sign of luggage, and a car their only possession of value."

On Saturday, February 26, Penn sent a statement to Newsweek, describing his take on the conflict. He praised the Ukrainian people and the reaction from President Zelensky.

He suggested Putin had made a "most horrible mistake for all of humankind" and went on to call for America not to let Ukraine fight alone.

What Are Vacuum Bombs?

Russian forces have been accused of using thermobaric weapons, known as vacuum bombs, which have been denounced by more than 100 countries.

Vacuum bombs are used to produce large, very hot explosions. They work in two stages:

  1. First, an explosion occurs which sends a cloud of fuel or dust-like material into the air. The cloud then ignites, producing a fireball and a shockwave which expands in all directions
  2. Since the fire consumes the oxygen from the surrounding air, the explosion and initial shockwave leaves behind a vacuum and causes a negative pressure wave which can cause trauma of the lungs

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., told reporters on Monday that Russian forces had used the weapons.

Though there has been no official confirmation of this. CNN journalists have reported seeing a TOS-1 rocket launcher capable of launching such warheads.

Learn more about vacuum bombs and cluster munitions.

U.N. Delegates Walk Out on Sergei Lavrov's Speech

Lavrov's pre-recorded speech to the U.N. did not go down well.

Most delegates at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva walked out of the chamber on Tuesday.

After Lavrov was introduced by UNHRC President Federico Villegas, the members began to leave as soon as the Russian foreign minister started.

This video shows the scene...

In contrast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received a standing ovation earlier as he addressed the European Parliament via video link.

Read more here.

Lavrov Says West 'Shut Their Eyes' to Ukraine Situation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the West of having "shut their eyes" to what he called "violations of human rights by the Kyiv authorities."

In a pre-recorded video message to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Lavrov said Ukrainian protests that led to the ousting of the pro-Kremlin former President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully ignored by Western powers.

"The West have shut their eyes, starting from 2013, when the radicals overthrew the legally elected president and started expelling everything Russian from the country," he said.

Lavrov called on Kyiv to open discussions with Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, who took partial control of Luhansk and Donetsk in 2014.

"We hope that Kyiv will come to its senses, that they will start their dialogue with the population of Luhansk and Donetsk area," he said.

"During recent times, the criminal activities of the Kyiv regime were activized. We have a lot of evidence of violations of human rights by the Kyiv authorities."

Zelensky to European Parliament: "Life Will Conquer Death"

More from Zelensky's speech to the European Parliament....

He once again condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin, who continues to call the invasion a "special operation," falsely claiming that no civilian areas are being targeted.

"Every square in our country will be called The Square of Freedom. Nobody will break us, because we are Ukraine," Zelensky told European MPs.

He finally called on Europe to welcome Ukraine into its ranks.

"We are fighting for our freedom, for our rights and for our survival. And we also fight to be equal members of Europe. With us in it, the EU will be stronger. Please, prove that you are together with us. Then life will conquer death," he concluded.

Zelensky to Europe: "Prove That We Are Together"

President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the European Parliament via video link, telling the country's allies that Ukraine is "fighting for our freedom, for our rights and for our survival."

Zelensky opened by saying he was "extremely happy with what I have seen here and I am happy that we have united all of you, but I didn't want this unity at this price. The lives of the people are a very steep price for us."

He said the country has endured five days of full scale invasion by the Russian Federation. He spoke of the bombing of Kharkiv — a city "very close to Russia, whose people had a good relationship with Russians."

"At least two cruise missiles have hit the main square of that city. That is the price of freedom."

EU 'Will Work Towards' Ukraine Membership

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is addressing European Union lawmakers right now. Before he began speaking...

The European Union has welcomed Zelensky's request for Ukraine's urgent membership of the bloc.

The Ukrainian president made the appeal on Monday for Ukraine to admitted "immediately."

"We welcome Mr. president's, Ukraine's application for candidacy status, and we will work towards that goal," Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, said a few minutes ago at an emergency debate on the war.

"Because we will and we must face the future together," she added.

The process to join the EU, generally takes years. Some member states have backed speeding Ukraine's membership, but others believe now is not the time and that Ukraine needs to do more to tackle corruption.

Roberta Metsola
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, was speaking at an emergency meeting on the Ukraine war, a few minutes ago. EU Parliament

'How Many Children Must Die, Putin?'

Polina, a young girl killed in Ukraine
Polina was killed as she and her parents tried to drive out of Kyiv, and away from Russian shelling. VOLODYMYR BONDARENKO

At least 16 children have been killed and 45 injured in the conflict so far, according to Ukraine.

A photograph of one girl killed adorns the front pages of multiple British newspapers Tuesday morning.

Polina, thought to be aged 10 or 11, was killed while trying to escape Kyiv in a car with her family.

Deputy Mayor Vladimir Bondarenko shared the image of the girl, whose parents were also reportedly killed and whose brother lies injured in hospital.

"How many children must die, Putin?" asked the Sun.
The Daily Mail said it showed "Putin's Inhumanity."

Russian troops continue to shell residential areas. In Kharkiv one child and five adults were injured when rockets rained down on the city's main square earlier. The death toll is unknown.

Russian Shelling of Kharkiv a "War Crime" — Zelensky

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia's strikes on central Kharkiv and the administration building a "war crime and a conscious destruction of people."

"Evil, armed with rockets, bombs and artillery, must be stopped immediately. Destroyed economically," Zelensky said in a new address to the European Parliament via videolink.

The State of Emergency Service of Ukraine said that six people were injured in the single strike on the government building, including one child. The full death toll is yet to be determined, it added.

Earlier this week Zelensky called for an international tribunal to investigate and punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

The international criminal court (ICC) in The Hague announced Monday that it will launch an investigation into possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

The Geneva Convention, which Russia has ratified, states the deliberate targeting of civilians in an armed conflict is a war crime.

Belarus Sends Troops into Ukraine Despite Lukashenko Denials

Belarusian troops reportedly have crossed the border into Ukraine on Tuesday, in the latest escalation to the conflict.

"Belarus has entered the war. Belarusian troops have entered the Chernihiv region," said the statement from a spokesman for North Territorial Defense Forces, the military reserve component of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to the Unian news agency.

The agency cited local residents spotting a Belarusian military column of 33 units passing through villages near the border, including 11 Grad rocket-launchers.

Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, said on state television that the country's air defense systems have been mobilized to "back-stabbing attacks against Russia forces [which entered Ukraine via Belarus]."

Lukashenko Address
Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko visits a centre for migrants that remain in the country after attempting to cross into the EU via the Polish border, near the Bruzgi border point on the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region on November 26, 2021. Photo by Leonid Shcheglov/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

Lukashenko in the past dismissed reports that Belarus would join the fighting, saying "Belarusian army isn't taking part in military action, and never did."

"We can prove this to anyone," he said earlier today.

In Pictures: Kharkiv's Central Square Hit by Rockets

Pictures have emerged showing the destruction of Kharkiv's central square.

Freedom Square in Ukraine's second-largest city has been heavily shelled by Russian forces.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of "war crimes," following the latest devastating assault.

Russian Minister: U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe Are "Unacceptable"

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, has called on the U.S. to remove its nuclear arsenal from Europe, calling in question the trilateral defense pact between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

"Time to return them home," Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a Kremlin-linked newspaper.

"I once again call for the U.S., their allies and clients to strictly comply with their international obligations to not strengthen their own security at the expense of others," said the minister, who was sanctioned last week by the EU and the U.S. following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia was last week reported to be planning to reposition part of its nuclear arsenal into Belarus, an ally of Russia that borders Ukraine to the northwest.

It has recently renounced its non-nuclear status and neutral status, with U.S. intelligence reporting that it expects Belarusian paratroopers to join the Russian forces in the invasion imminently.

Russia, Belarus Ice Skaters Banned

This just in...
Russian and Belarussian ice skaters are the latest athletes to be banned from international competition.

It comes less than an hour after news broke that Russian volleyball players had been banned.

It is the latest isolating of Russia from the sporting world, with Russian soccer clubs and national side having already been banned.

No decision has been announced about Russian's involvement in the upcoming Paralympics, scheduled to begin in Tokyo on March 4.

China Paper Pushes Russia's Kamila Valieva Conspiracy
Kamila Valieva of Russia practices before the women's single skating short program of the figure skating event of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China, on February 15, 2022. Valieva was cleared to compete in her remaining figure skating events after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against a provisional suspension a day earlier. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Working to Seize Putin's Hidden Wealth, Senator Says

Vladimir Putin and his inner circle could face a seizure of their assets in response to his invasion of Ukraine, a U.S. lawmaker has said.

Following "a classified briefing" on the Ukraine crisis, Senator Chris Murphy announced the proposed move on Twitter.

"The U.S. and allies are coordinating to not only freeze the assets of Putin and his oligarch allies but to seize those assets as well," tweeted the Democrat from Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "This is likely a further step than Putin's inner circle anticipated."

Putin's net worth is largely unknown, with many assets hidden behind complex financial schemes.

The wealth of the Russian president's inner circle—about 500 oligarchs—is commonly spread outside of Russia, helping keep it safe from sanctions.

Read more about that hidden wealth in London—dubbed "Londongrad"—here.

Video: Explosion Rocks Downtown Kharkiv

A video tweeted by Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister shows an explosion in the center of Kharkiv, the country's second city.

The explosion rocked Freedom Square, Dmytro Kuleba said.

He accused Russian President of "war crimes," echoing calls by human rights group Amnesty for the Kremlin to face investigation of such atrocities.

BBC News reports it has verified the video, but is unaware of who took it.

Kharkiv has been under siege by heavy rocket fire since Monday, when at least 11 civilians were killed, according to Ukrainian officials.

Russian forces used similar tactics of hitting residential areas in Syria. The Geneva Convention, which Russia has ratified, states the deliberate targeting of civilians in an armed conflict is a war crime.

Read more here.