Russia-Ukraine War Day 12: Civilian Deaths Toll Rises, Oil Prices Surge

Live Updates

The Russo-Ukrainian war entered its twelfth day on Monday, February 7.

This liveblog has ended. Follow the latest (Day 13) here.

Here's how events unfolded:

  • Reports of civilian casualties increased amid heavy Russian shelling in multiple Ukrainian cities
  • A third round of peace talks ended with little agreement
  • Over 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations
  • As gas prices surged, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that a U.S. and European ban on Russian exports was the only "moral" decision
  • President Joe Biden has not made a decision yet on whether to ban Russian oil, but a bipartisan group of lawmakers are hoping to force the issue with legislation
  • The U.S. is coordinating plans for Poland to send fighter jets to Ukraine, as the Pentagon announces 500 additional U.S. troops will deploy to Europe

2 Million Have Fled Ukraine, U.N. Says

As we bring you that footage...

The U.N. has said more than 2 million people have now fled Ukraine.

Its high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, tweeted the milestone a short while ago.

Russian Strike Kills Children in Residential Building

Children were among more than 10 civilian deaths after a Russian bombing campaign struck residential buildings in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy on Monday.

Sumy Oblast Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said that a nighttime Russian air raid in Sumy and its suburbs had resulted in multiple homes being "wiped off the face of the earth," according to a video message posted to Facebook.

"Residential buildings were bombed in some settlements," Zhyvytskyi said. "And just almost in the center of the city of Sumy, on Romenskaya Street, several houses were destroyed by a bomb hit. Completely wiped off the face of the earth. These are private houses."

"There are dead," he added. "Unfortunately, there are dead children. And the count of the dead is already going on - more than 10 people."

Earlier on Monday, Russia announced that a partial ceasefire would take place on Tuesday morning to allow for the evacuation of civilians from Sumy, Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv.

Russia Becomes World's Most Sanctioned Country

Russia has surpassed Iran as the country bearing the world's most international sanctions only 10 days after launching its military assault on Ukraine.

Sanctions on Russia have more than doubled since February 22, reaching a total of 5,532, according to a tracking dashboard from Castellum.AI. Runner-up Iran has 3,616 sanctions, with the next most-sanctioned countries being Syria at 2,608 and North Korea at 2,077.

The U.S. has imposed more sanctions on Russia than any other country since 2014, although the lion's share of the new sanctions have come from Europe. Most of the new sanctions—2,427—target individuals, while 343 sanctions target entities and a small number impact vessels and aircraft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the rising tide of sanctions as "akin to declaring war" while addressing a group of Aeroflot flight attendants over the weekend in Moscow, according to the Associated Press.

Russia Says Tuesday Will Have a Cease Fire to Evacuate Ukrainians

A Russian ambassador to the United Nations reportedly said Russia has called for a cease fire Tuesday in Ukraine, beginning at 10 a.m. local time, to allow Ukrainians from certain cities to evacuate.

This could mean either an olive branch from the large Russian military, or a heavy shelling that will ensue.

Vassily Nebenzia, who's the Russian U.N. ambassador, told of the cease fire to the U.N. Security Council, according to the Associated Press.

Nebenzia said humanitarian corridors could likely be seen moving away from Kyiv, Mariupol, Sumy, and Chernigov, whichever direction the evacuees wished to go.

More than 1.7 million people have already fled Ukraine, and there have been more than 400 civilian deaths, according to a U.N. report. Although, the death toll could be much higher.

House Introduces Bill to Ban Russian Oil Imports

A group of bipartisan lawmakers in the House have vowed to "stick it" to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a ban on Russian oil imports.

The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency while directing President Joe Biden to prohibit Russian imports of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquified natural gas, and coal.

The bill was introduced in the House by 30 members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. It is a companion piece to a previously introduced bipartisan bill in the Senate.

"We can't subsidize Putin's war in Ukraine with American dollars,' Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), the bill's main sponsor, said in a statement on Monday evening. "The Russians are killing innocent civilians, violating cease fires in refugee corridors, and escalating assaults."

"We need to hit Putin where it hurts," he added. "By banning the import of Russian oil here to the U.S., we have the opportunity to stick it to Putin, work with our allies to stabilize the energy market across the world, safeguard our nation's energy security, and boost America's energy independence."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has lobbied for the ban, calling it the "moral decision." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration had made "no decision" concerning a ban on Monday.

Ukraine Recalls Peacekeeping Troops to Fight Russians at Home

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has recalled all of his country's United Nations peacekeeping forces to help defend against the ongoing Russian attack.

Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the Ukraine President's Office, shared a photo of Zelensky's executive order for the recall in a Facebook post on Monday.

"President of Ukraine V. Zelensky made the decision to recall Ukrainian peacekeepers - high-professional military - from all missions in the world," Sybiha commented. "Along with the equipment. To strengthen our army now in the retreat of Russian aggression. Glory to Ukraine!"

While it was not clear how many Ukrainian troops were participating in peacekeeping missions at the time of the invasion, the number is believed to be small. Ukraine's armed forces reported that 331 service members were participating in eight different missions globally last July.

Russia Recruiting Syrian Urban Warfare Fighters

Russia is reportedly recruiting Syrian mercenaries to participate in the invasion of Ukraine.

Syrians are being asked to volunteer for six months postings as "guards," in addition to those being sought as "mercenaries with wide privileges," according to Deir Ezzor 24. Payment for the guard postings ranged from between $200 and $300, although the frequency of the payments was unclear.

Unnamed American officials reportedly told the Wall Street Journal of the Russian plan to recruit Syrian fighters on Sunday. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) publicly commented on the recruitment scheme on Monday.

"We find that noteworthy that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] believes that he needs to rely on foreign fighters to supplement what is a very significant commitment of combat power inside Ukraine as it is," a senior DoD official said.

Mercenaries from Syria's Deir Ezzor province were already reportedly fighting with the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group. Last week, the private military group tried and failed to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the Times of London.

Russia has previously threatened to launch "criminal" prosecutions of any foreign fighters who volunteer to fight on behalf of Ukraine.

Ukraine Kills Russian Senior Military Official Who Helped Capture Crimea

Ukraine has killed a senior Russian military official who aided in the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine's Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Defense Ministry said on Monday that Major General Vitaly Gerasimov had been "eliminated" in a battle near Kharkiv.

Gerasimov was a veteran of the second Chechen war and received a medal for helping to "capture Crimea" in 2014, according to the Kyiv Independent. During the Ukraine invasion, he was serving as chief of staff and first deputy commander of Russia's 41st Army.

Ukraine confirmed the death by intercepting a phone call that a Russian Federal Security Service officer placed using a local SIM card after secure communication channels were lost. Several other "senior officers" were also said to have been killed or wounded alongside Gerasimov.

The Ukrainian Areas Under Russian Control

The Pentagon provided an update Monday on areas in Ukraine where Russia has taken control, noting Russian troops are still "making up for lost time."

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said two smaller cities and a massive nuclear power plant are under Russian control, according to the Pentagon's assessments.

Under Russian control:

  • Kherson
  • Berdiansk
  • Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant: This is Europe's largest nuclear power plant

Areas of heaving fighting:

  • Kyiv: Remains under Ukrainian control
  • Kharkiv: Heavy fighting outside of the city. Kirby said its become "victim" to multiple long range fire attacks
  • Chernihiv: Russian troops are trying to encircle the city
  • Mariupol: Kirby said Russia is "very much aimed" on Mariupol and is trying to encircle the city, but have not yet. He described the city as a "violent" place to be right now. There are also ongoing power outage and water supply issues.

"We still maintain that they [Russia] are several days behind what they probably thought they were going to be in terms of their progress," Kirby said. "[They're] meeting a very stiff and determined Ukrainian resistance."

He also said it's unclear if all of the Russian soldiers currently in Ukraine realized their mission.

"It is not clear to us that all of the soldiers that Russia has put into Ukraine realize that that's what they were doing... that they were actually going to invade Ukraine," Kirby said.

500 More U.S. Troops to Deploy to Europe

Nearly 500 additional U.S. military personnel will deploy to Europe to reinforce NATO's Eastern flank, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The deployment order was given over the weekend by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The troops will be deployed to Greece, Poland, Romania and Germany to support U.S. forces already in the European theater.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the moves are temporary and reiterated that troops will not be sent to Ukraine.

"The additional personnel are being positioned to respond to the current security environment caused by Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and certainly to help reinforce and bolster deterrence and defense capabilities in the NATO alliance," Kirby said during a press conference Monday.

Between 10,000 and 12,000 U.S. troops remain on "heightened alert."

Breakdown:

  • Fairfield Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington: 150 personnel will deploy to Greece
  • Fort Stewart, Georgia: 40 personnel to Poland and Romania
  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina: 300 personnel to Germany

Ukrainian Soldiers Get Married on the Battlefield

Amid the missile strikes, civilian evacuations and escalating Russian military actions, two Ukrainian soldiers found a moment of joy.

The soldiers, Lesia and Valeriy, got married in their camouflage uniforms on the battlefield Sunday at a checkpoint outside of Kyiv.

According to Bloomberg Quicktake, the couple have been together for over 20 years and have one daughter. They decided to get married because "you never know what's going to happen to you tomorrow."

The small ceremony took place in front of a group of fellow soldiers, who joined the newlyweds in song.

Their commanders set up the ceremony to show that "the future and life is going on."

"We are determined to push back on the enemy and take back our lands and win," Lesia told Bloomberg.

The couple serve in difference places and Lesia said this is the first time she has seen her husband since the invasion began.

Nearly All of Russia's Combat Power Is Now in Ukraine

Nearly all of Russia's combat power is now in Ukraine as Russian troops struggle to make "noteworthy" progress in the north and east, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Monday.

"As they continue to get frustrated, they continue to rely now more on what we would call long range fires," Kirby said during a press conference.

Russia has amped up attacks in the form of 'long range fires,' including missile strikes and long range artillery in recent days. The attacks have resulted in more deaths and causalities along with destroying and damaging more infrastructure.

"We think it's because, again, they have not been able to make up for the lost time that they continue to suffer from on the ground," Kirby said.

He added morale continues to be a "problem" among Russian forces, particularly in the north and east, noting some success in the south.

The Pentagon said there are indications that Russia may be seeking foreign fighters to aid in its attack, as it believes nearly 100 percent of Russia's combat power is now in Ukraine.

As of Monday, the 40-mile-long convoy of Russian tanks and combat vehicles headed to Kyiv is still stalled, Kirby said. The Pentagon believes its main purpose is resupply.

Biden Has No Plan to Ban Russian Oil Imports

President Joe Biden has not made a decision yet on whether he will ban Russian oil imports from the U.S.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said discussions are ongoing internally and with European and NATO allies.

Psaki said the president is continuing to take steps to deliver "punishing economic actions" on Russian President Vladimir Putin and limit the impact on Americans at the gas pump.

Russia, Ukraine Foreign Ministers to Meet in Turkey

The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers have agreed to meet during a diplomatic forum in Turkey later this week.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, at the initiative of Turkey's President.

"Upon President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's] initiatives & our intensive diplomatic efforts, Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia & Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine have decided to meet with my participation on the margins of Antalya [Diplomacy Forum]," Çavuşoğlu said Monday. "Hope this step will lead to peace and stability."

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is set for March 11-13.

WATCH: Pentagon press briefing

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby will hold a news conference Monday afternoon to provide an update amid Russia's ongoing attacks in Ukraine.

The press conference is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. ET, watch live on the Department of Defense website.

Hundreds of Schools, Homes Destroyed Across Ukraine

Hundreds of Ukrainian schools and homes are damaged or destroyed as Russia continues its twelfth day of attacks.

Ukrainian Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak provided a damage report Monday, saying 202 schools, 34 hospitals and over 1,500 residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed.

Attack in Irpin
A factory and a store burn after having been bombarded in Irpin on March 6. Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo

He added nearly 1,000 settlements have no power or water. The area around Irpin has been cut off from electricity, water and heat for three days, according to the Associated Press.

"Barbarians of the XXI century," Podolyak said. "The Russian army doesn't know how to fight against other armies. But it's good at killing civilians."

WATCH: White House Press Briefing

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will give the daily press briefing soon.

President Joe Biden spoke with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky over the week to discuss security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

There are reports from Reuters that Biden is willing issue a ban on Russian oil imports to the United States without the participation of European allies.

Biden spoke with leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom Monday.

The briefing will stream live at 2 p.m. ET on the White House website and YouTube channel.

Russian Forces Hit an Industrial Bakery, Killing 13

Russian forces carried out a deadly hit on an industrial bakery in Makarov, according to Ukrainian government officials.

Based on initial reports, there were 30 people on the premises during the attack.

So far, five people were rescued and 13 people were killed, according to the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine.

Markarov is about 50 kilometers west of Kyiv.

Third Round of Ukraine-Russia Talks Have Ended

The third round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have ended.

A member of the Ukrainian delegation said there were some gains in improving civilian evacuations. The ceasefire agreement will continue.

"There are small positive subductions in improving the logistics of humanitarian corridors," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet. "Intensive consultations have continued on the basic political block of the regulations, along with a ceasefire and security guarantees."

Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian negotiation delegation, told Russian state media that their expectations for the negotiations were not fulfilled. He said he hopes the next round of talks will bring "more significant step forward."

Deal Reached to End U.S. Trade Relations With Russia, Belarus

The House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee have reached an agreement on bipartisan legislation to suspend normal U.S. trade relations with Russia and Belarus.

The announcement was made Monday by House Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-TX), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), Senate Finance Committee Republican Leader Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).

"As Russia continues its unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian people, we have agreed on a legislative path forward to ban the import of energy products from Russia and to suspend normal trade relations with both Russia and Belarus," a joint statement reads.

"Taking these actions will send a clear message to Putin that his war is unacceptable and the United States stands firmly with our NATO allies. While Congress needs to do more, as the congressional leaders with jurisdiction over our nation's trade policy, we are committed to using the tools at our disposal to stop Russia's unconscionable and unjust war on Ukraine and to hold Belarus accountable for its involvement."

The legislation would give President Joe Biden the authority to further increase tariffs on products from Russia and Belarus.

It also calls on the U.S. Trade Representative to "seek suspension of Russia's participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and halt Belarus' WTO accession."

Civilians Killed as Attacks Continue in Irpin

Russian forces continue to attack the city of Irpin Monday, as residents evacuate the city on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv.

Disturbing video shows what appears to be two bodies on a road in Irpin, one next to a suitcase. Ukraine's former Ambassador to Austria Olexander Scherba posted the video on Twitter.

"Video of a civilian family killed today while evacuating in Irpin," Scherba wrote. "Right next to a burning church. Wherever Putin comes, he brings inferno."

The video also shows flames destroying what's left of the church while debris covers the road nearby.

Irpin Mayor Oleksander Markyshin estimated eight civilians were killed by Russian shelling, including a family, the Associated Press reports. The Irpin area has been cut off from electricity, water and heat for three days.

A Russian airstrike destroyed a bridge in Irpin over the weekend. Residents continue to evacuate Monday, crossing a narrow plank over the river. Ukrainian officers were seen helping residents, including children, elderly and pets.

30 percent of Irpin is controlled by Russian troops as of Monday, Ukrainian news outlet Euromaidan Press reports.

Residents flee Irpin
Residents of Irpin flee heavy fighting via a destroyed bridge as Russian forces entered the city on March 7. Chris McGrath/Getty Images
People fleeing Irpin
People cross on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while fleeing the town of Irpin on March 5. Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo
Woman flees Irpin with dog
A woman holds a dog while crossing the Irpin River on an improvised path under a bridge that was destroyed by a Russian airstrike, while assisting people fleeing the town of Irpin on March 5. Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo

Blinken Continues Tour of NATO's Eastern Flank

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with leaders in Latvia and Lithuania Monday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and reaffirm their solidarity as NATO allies.

Blinken met with Lithuanian President Gitnas Nauseda, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis to reaffirm U.S. support for NATO.

He applauded the Baltic nations that have "formed a democratic wall that now stands against the tide of autocracy that Russia is seeking to push further into Europe."

"The United States is more committed than ever to standing with you as our democracies rise to the challenge," he said.

Blinken said the U.S. commitment to NATO's mutual defense agreement is "sacrosanct."

"We will defend every inch of NATO territory if it comes under attack," he said. "No one should doubt our readiness. No one should doubt our readiness; no one should doubt our resolve."

Blinken acknowledged the Baltics' continued defensive and humanitarian support to Ukraine and NATO allies and their united sanctions against the Kremlin.

Lithuania's Nauseda advocated for a "forward defense" against Russian forces.

"Putin will not stop in Ukraine if he will not be stopped," he said. "It is our collective duty as a nation to help all Ukrainians with all means available. I mean, indeed all means all, if we want to avoid the Third World War. The choice is in our hands."

Blinken then left for Latvia to meet with President Egils Levits, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, and Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

Rinkevics said NATO allies are focused on military, energy and cyber defense.

"We have no illusions about Putin's Russia anymore, we don't really see any good reason to assume Russia might change its policy," Rinkevics said.

Blinken said Russian military is preventing civilian evacuations and is "starving out" Ukrainian cities by blocking food and medical supplies from getting to civilians.

He added that U.S. and NATO leaders are considering putting troops in the Baltic permanently but reiterated the alliance's stance against enacting a no fly zone over Ukraine.

Blinken will then travel to Estonia Tuesday for the last leg of his trip to eastern Europe.

Join Newsweek's Twitter Spaces Discussion on the Latest in Ukraine

Newsweek is hosting a discussion on the latest developments with Ukraine and Russia.

You can listen in on the discussion between Naveed Jamali, Tom O'Connor and David Brennan on Newsweek's Twitter and leave a question in the comments.

1.7 Million Have Fled Ukraine in 11 Days

The United Nations estimates 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine in the past 11 days, as safety concerns grow for children separated from their families.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi called it "the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II."

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are children. U.N. data shows many are unaccompanied or have been separated from their families. UNHCR is now urging countries to immediately identify and register any unaccompanied children.

"Children without parental care are at a heightened risk of violence, abuse and exploitation," UNHCR said. "When these children are moved across borders, the risks are multiplied. The risk of trafficking also soars in emergencies. For children who have been displaced across borders without their families, temporary foster or other community-based care through a government system offers critical protection."

Grandi shared photos from his visit to the Polish/Ukrainian border, showing piles of donated clothing and toys along with volunteers handing out food and beverages.

An estimated 200,000 additional refugees fled Ukraine on Sunday alone, according to the U.N. data.

A large portion of refugees have fled to Poland. Wait times at many border crossings top 10 hours. In Korczowa, refugees are waiting about one day.

Russia Outlines Conditions to End Military Action

Russia said it will stop its military action in Ukraine if Kyiv meets four conditions.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that Russia could "end war immediately" if Ukraine agrees to the following measures:

  • Sign a neutrality agreement that would bar it from entering NATO
  • Recognizes Crimea as Russian
  • Recognize the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent
  • Ceases all military action

Peskov said negotiators on Ukraine's side "were told that all this can be stopped in a moment."

"We really are finishing the demilitarization of Ukraine," he said. "We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot."

EU Working on Further Sanctions, Energy Proposals

The European Union (EU) is working on further sanctions against Russia amid the Kremlin's "recklessness" towards Ukrainian citizens.

President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement during a press conference Monday. If passed, it would be the fourth sanctions package the EU has imposed against Russia.

"We see the downward turbulences in the Russian economy," von der Leyen said in response to the already-imposed sanctions packages. "Now we have to make sure that there are no loopholes and that the effect of the sanctions is maximized."

The EU Commission will additionally present new energy proposals on March 8. Proposals include diversification of supply away from Russia towards "reliable suppliers," massive investment in renewable energy and improved energy efficiency.

"We have to get rid of the dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal," von der Leyen said.

Third Round of Ukraine, Russia Talks Underway in Belarus

A third round of talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations are underway in Belarus.

Ukraine officials will stress the "large-scale violence" against civilians, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.

"The Russian army doesn't know how to fight against other armies. But it's good at killing civilians," he said in a tweet.

Russian officials told state media that they want to ensure humanitarian evacuation corridors are operational amid a ceasefire, but said Ukrainians are blocking those efforts.

Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian negotiation delegation, accused "Ukrainian nationals" of war crimes for using civilians as "living shields."

Ukraine Destroys 30 Russian Helicopters, Leaders Say

As well as reclaiming Chuhuiv and killing Russian military leaders, Ukrainian forces have claimed a major attack on Russian's air force.

Ukraine's military has also claimed its forces have destroyed 30 Russian helicopters in an attack on an airfield near the occupied southern city of Kherson.

"At night, Ukrainian soldiers shelled the Chornobaivka airfield near Kherson. The occupiers decided to partially deploy their fleet there. Thirty enemy helicopters were destroyed, as well as manpower and equipment," Ukraine's Marine Command said in a statement on Facebook.

Russia has not confirmed the attack or whether it lost helicopters or soldiers.

"The morning in Ukraine for Russian evil spirits does not start with coffee," the Marine Command post said, according to a Google translation.

Ukraine Reclaims Chuhuiv, Kills Russian Military Commanders

Injured Helena, a 53-year-old teacher
File photo: Helena, a 53-year-old teacher stands outside a hospital after the bombing of the eastern Ukraine city of Chuhuiv on February 24, 2022, as Russian armed forces attempt to invade Ukraine from several directions. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine's armed forces claimed overnight to have recaptured the small city of Chuhuiv, near Kharkiv, as part of their ongoing counter-offensive in the area.

"In the course of hostilities, the city of Chuhuiv was liberated. The occupiers suffered heavy losses in personnel and equipment," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in an operational update on Facebook.

The Ukrainian army also claimed to have killed two high-ranking Russian military commanders: Lt. Col. Dmitry Safronov, commander of the 61st Separate Marine Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, and Lt. Col. Denis Glebov, deputy commander of the 11th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade.

Ukraine also said it had inflicted heavy losses on Russian forces during the offensive. Newsweek wasn't immediately able to independently verify the claims.

The city of Chuhuiv, home to about 30,000 people, in eastern Ukraine was among the first places to report damage caused by shelling after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion on February 24.

More here.

Damaged buildings in Chuhuiv, Ukraine
File photo: Firefighters work on a fire on a building after bombings on the eastern Ukrainian city of Chuhuiv on February 24, 2022, ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Russia Could "End War Immediately" if Ukraine Meets Moscow's Conditions - Peskov

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, said that fighting could cease if Ukraine agrees to sign a neutrality agreement that would bar it from entering NATO, and recognizes Crimea as Russian and the separatist regions in the East as independent.

He said in an interview with Reuters that negotiators on Ukraine's side "were told that all this can be stopped in a moment."

"We really are finishing the demilitarization of Ukraine," the Kremlin spokesman said, according to Reuters. "We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot."

"We have also spoken about how they should recognise that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognise that Donetsk and Lugansk are independent states. And that's it. It will stop in a moment," he added.

Officials in Kyiv have not yet responded to the claims.

Citing sources close to the negotiations, Bellingcat's Christo Grozev claimed that Moscow has agreed to allow Volodymyr Zelensky to stay on as "pro forma president" of the country if a deal is reached, on the condition that former vice prime minister of Ukraine Yuriy Boyko is installed as the new prime minister.

Zelensky "emphatically" rejected the offer, according to Grozev, who referenced two separate sources close to the talks.

Will U.S., Europe Ban Russian Oil Exports?

statista oil
Statista

As we've been reporting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reiterated calls for Western powers to stop importing oil and gas from Russia.

But Western leaders are unlikely to turn off the faucets without another supply.

The U.S. gets most of its resources from North America, (only about 8 percent of its liquid fuel imports come from Russia: Energy Information Administration).

A bipartisan Senate bill is being fast-tracked right now.

Europe, however, is much, much more dependent on Russia. Germany has already shelved plans to open Russia's $11bn gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2.

But it is unclear how the continent would manage to impose such restrictions.

Axios reports that the Biden administration is discussing a potential trip to Saudi Arabia (a country with its own questionable human rights record) to discuss its leaders producing more oil.

Russia, Ukraine Foreign Ministers Could Meet in Turkey—Russia

A meeting between Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers could take place on the sidelines of an international forum in Antalya, Turkey, later this week, according to a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman.

The talks were agreed in a phone call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to Russian Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova, quoted by TASS.

Turkey's foreign minister said earlier on Monday that the meeting on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the Black Sea resort city could happen as soon as Thursday. But there has been no official confirmation of such plans from Kyiv.

Russian Mothers Say Sons Are 'Cannon Fodder' in Ukraine

Furious mothers of Russian soldiers accused the Kremlin of deploying their sons as "cannon fodder" for the invasion of Ukraine, according to footage purportedly showing a heated confrontation with a regional governor.

Sergey Tsivilev, governor of the Kemerovo region, was filmed on a stage in a gymnasium while women accused the government of "deceiving" their sons.

"We were all deceived, all deceived. They were sent there as cannon fodder. They are young. They were unprepared," one woman said, according to the footage shared online as early as March 5, according to analysis by RFE/RL.

Newsweek has not verified the video. More here.

Zelensky on Full Embargo of Russia: "Let The War Feed Them"

More from Zelensky's statement on Monday

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, once again called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and asked Western allies to supply the country with more fighter jets and missile defense systems.

"We are waiting for a decision to clear our sky - either with force through a no-fly zone, or if you give us fighter jets and missile defense systems that could strengthen our defenses," Zelensky said in a statement published on his Facebook page. "This way the world would be aiding not just Ukraine, but itself too."

Repeating calls for a boycott of Russian oil and gas exports, Ukraine's president said a full embargo, which includes imports into Russia, is the only "moral decision."

"If they don't want to live by the rules of the civilized world, they should not enjoy the benefit of products and services from the civilized world. Let the war feed them," he stated.

Zelensky also addressed the reports of dozens of students from India currently stuck in Ukraine and unable to escape. He said he had spoken to his Indian counterpart, prime minister Narendra Modi, with whom they discussed Russian aggression and peace prospects.

"India appreciates our help for its citizens [in Ukraine] during wartime and our country's commitment to direct peaceful dialogue at the highest level," Zelensky said.

Video: Russian Police Arrested Anti-War Demonstrators

Major anti-war rallies were held across Russia on Sunday, with police arresting thousands of protesters.

More than 4,600 people were detained in 147 different Russian cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Izhevsk, according to monitoring group OVD-Info.

Police reported more than 3,000 arrests across the country.

Refugees Encounter Chaos, Racism—and 'Extraordinary Humanity'

"Can Europe handle the strain?" asks Newsweek's front page today. Diane Harris, Fatma Khaled and Khaleda Rahman report...

FE Cover Refugee Crisis BANNER NEW
Photo-illustration by Newsweek; Source photo by Pavlo Palamarchuk/Getty

They come by bus, train, car and foot, 100,000 to 200,000 every day, enduring often freezing temperatures and waits of up to 60 hours to cross the border.

Ukrainians fleeing the chaos and carnage of the Russian invasion are flooding into neighboring Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia.

United Nations estimates their numbers will likely top 4 million in coming weeks and months in "Europe's largest refugee crisis this century."

For now at least, the refugees have mostly been warmly welcomed by the countries they've entered, both by the government and ordinary citizens.

Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, told Euronews: "Most Ukrainians coming now, they are coming with passports that give them visa-free entry for 90 days. But we have to prepare for day 91."

Get the full story here.

Video: Mortar Shell Hit City Street During Evacuations

Video footage (above) shows the moment a mortar shell exploded in a street in Irpin, near Ukraine's capital Kyiv, as civilians evacuated the area on Sunday.

At least 3 people reportedly died due to the explosion, including two children, the city's mayor said.

The blast hit an evacuation crossing point as civilians traveled through, journalists filming at the checkpoint have said.

Citizens have continued to evacuate the city to get away from the conflict.

Russia Snubs U.N. Hearing Into Ukraine War

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Russia has snubbed the United Nations' top court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The court's president, American judge Joan E. Donoghue, said Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, informed judges that "his government did not intend to participate in the oral proceedings," AP reports.

Ukrainian representative Anton Korynevych condemned Moscow's snub.

"The fact that Russian seats are empty speaks loudly," he said. "They are not here in this court of law. They are on a battlefield waging aggressive war against my country."

Ukraine is seeking an order for Russia to "immediately suspend" military operations in its borders. Korynevych told the court: "Russia must be stopped and the court has a role to play in stopping it."

The hearing is unlikely to end the war, but does offer Ukraine another platform to air grievances about Moscow's invasion.

Moscow-backed Escape Routes Leading Into Russia 'Completely Immoral' — Kyiv

Moscow's offer of "humanitarian corridors" that lead into Russia was met with outrage from Ukraine's government and its allies, which accuse the Kremlin of directing refugees towards the invading country in order to push its own narrative.

"Russian forces, for humanitarian purposes, are declaring a 'regime of silence' from 10:00 a.m. on 7 March and the opening of humanitarian corridors," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It listed evacuation routes from the capital Kyiv as well as Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy, towns that have come under heavy Russian attacks over the past week. While some routes offer two alternative destinations - one into Western Ukraine, and the other to Russia, in others Russia is the only option.

Kyiv called the offer "completely immoral," with Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk claiming Moscow is trying to "manipulate" French President Emmanuel Macron and other Western leaders.

More than a million and a half refugees escaped from Ukraine in the past two weeks, with the vast majority heading west into Europe. Just under 50,000 fled to Russia.

Infographic: Where Ukrainian Refugees Are Fleeing to | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

France Criticizes Putin's Escape Routes

More on those escape routes into Belarus or Russia.

Paris has suggested Russian leader Vladimir Putin is using humanitarian corridors to push his own narrative on the war (which Russia insists is not a war).

New routes for civilians to leave Ukrainian cities were released earlier, with Kyiv and Kharkiv residents set to be forced to go North or East, to Belarus or Russia.

The routes were released by Russian media after talks between French President Emmanuel Macron and Putin.

"It's another way for Putin to push his narrative and say that it is the Ukrainians who are the aggressors and they are the ones who offer asylum to everyone," the Elysee presidential palace told French news station BFMTV.

Heavy shelling closed off earlier routes out of several cities.

"[Macron] insistently asks to let the civilian populations leave and to allow the transport of aid."

Emmanuel Macron Speaks at a Press Conference
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a press conference at the end of a special meeting of the European Council in light of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, on February 25, 2022. Macron has warned the war in Ukraine will have major consequences. OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Map: Russian Proposal for Humanitarian Corridors

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti published the maps of humanitarian corridors for refugees in Ukraine, proposed by Moscow on Monday.

While people fleeing Mariupol and Sumy will have a choice in which direction to go, those escaping Kyiv and Kharkiv will be forced to go North or East, to Belarus or Russia.

Here is the full list of escape routes offered by Russia, which has vowed to maintain a ceasefire. Kyiv has accused Moscow of breaking its previous ceasefire commitments.

Mariupol

Route 1 - Novoazovsk, Taganrog, Rostov-on Don (Russia), then by air, road or rail to a chosen destination or temporary holding place

Route 2 - Portivske, Mangush, Respublika, Rosivka, Bilmak, Polohi, Orekhiv, Zaporizhzhya (Ukraine)

Kharkiv

Nekhoteyevka, Belgorod (Russia) then by air, road or rail

Sumy

Route 1 - Sudzha, Belgorod then by any transport
Route 2 - Sumy, Golubivka, Romny, Lokhvitsya, Lubny, Poltava (Ukraine)

Kyiv

Hostomel, Rakivka, Sosnovka, Ivankiv, Orane, Chernobyl, Gden', Gomel (Belarus), then by air to Russia.

Zelensky Vows to Avenge Atrocities

Volodymyr Zelensky has been speaking this morning (Monday).

In his daily speech, Ukraine's president vowed to avenge atrocities on civilians after Ukrainian officials reported that Russia had attacked schools and hospitals.

We'll bring you more shortly.

Volodymyr Zelensky delivering a speech
Volodymyr Zelensky delivering his speech on Monday, March 7. Facebook

Oil Prices Soar to 13-Year High

Oil prices have risen sharply (not for the first time during this war).

The latest jump has left prices at the highest levels since July 2008.

The global benchmark of Brent crude hit $139.13 a barrel at the start of trading on Monday—up more than $20 on Friday's close of $118.03.

It comes after reports the U.S. and European Union were considering banning Russian oil imports.

Zelensky: Ukraine 'Will Not Forgive Atrocities'

Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday night vowed to find "every single bastard" responsible for civilian deaths in Ukraine, adding that Ukraine "will not forgive atrocities."

"Today is Forgiveness Sunday," Ukraine's president said, referencing an orthodox Christian holiday.

"But we will not forgive hundreds and hundreds of victims. Thousands and thousands of sufferings. And God will not forgive. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. And instead of Forgiveness, there will be a Day of Judgment."

"We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war on our land," he added.

In a video on Facebook on Sunday, Zelensky also hit out Western powers for not reacting to Russia's announcement that it would attack military factories.

"Thousands of people work there. Hundreds of thousands live in the area. That is murder," said the Ukrainian president.

"I have not heard a response from any world leader. Not from any western politician. There are no comments on this announcement," Zelensky said.

Zelensky delivers a daily speech and we expect to hear from him again shortly.

Volodymyr Zelensky at a press conference
File photo shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 3, 2022. Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde/Getty Images

Fastest-Growing Refugee Crisis Since World War II

Good morning.

The humanitarian crisis is growing in Ukraine, where Russian troops have attacked cities and allegedly blocked earlier evacuation routes (although both sides have blamed one another).

More than 1.5 million people have already fled the country. Many more have been displaced within Ukraine's borders, and many more seek to leave.

Filippo Grandi, the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Sunday dubbed it the fastest-growing European refugee crisis since World War II.