Ukraine Latest News: Ukrainian Cat Stepan Raises $10K to Help Animals

Live Updates

Today is Day 33 of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine would consider neutral status as part of a peace deal. Peace talks are set to resume in Turkey as soon as Tuesday.
  • President Joe Biden said Monday he's not walking back nor apologizing for his comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power," saying he was expressing his "moral outrage."
  • Russian forces have stepped up attacks near Kyiv. Ukraine says it won't open up humanitarian corridors from besieged cities on Monday over fears of Russian forces will attack fleeing citizens.
  • Russian media outlets have been banned from reporting Zelensky's offer to compromise to Putin.
  • More than 3.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine, the United Nations estimates, adding civilian casualties are nearing 3,000. Ukrainian juvenile prosecutors report 143 children have been killed.

Ukrainian Cat Stepan Raises $10K to Help Animals

Humanitarian support for those impacted by the war in Ukraine has poured in from all around the world -- but the latest boost in funding comes from a Ukrainian cat influencer.

Stepan has 1.2 million followers on Instagram. He used his social media fame to help his fellow four-legged friends in Ukraine who have been forced from their homes with their humans.

Monday, Stephan announced more than $10,000 was raised to support various Ukrainian animal charities.

"My dear friends, I'm heartedly grateful for your responsiveness and support!" Stepan's post says. "Your contributions are priceless — thanks to your support, we might provide decent care and treatment for every animal in Ukraine."

Funds will benefit an organization helping homeless cats and dogs, two zoos and a Ukrainian animal rights organization.

Campaign to Rename Streets Where Russian Embassies Are Located

Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is calling on countries to rename streets where Russian embassies and consulates are located to "Ukraine Street," to give Russian diplomats a "great daily reminder" of Ukraine's sovereignty.

The ministry shared a campaign site Monday with links to petition the name change. Russian embassies and consulates are located in 53 cities in 34 countries around the globe, including the U.S., Turkey and Poland.

"There is one way you can support Ukraine in spirit," the campaign website reads. "You can rename Russian embassies' and consulates' addresses to Ukraine Streets. This would be a simple but significant act of symbolic support for the courageous Ukrainian people who defend the values of freedom and democracy from one of the strongest military powers in the world."

"Russia with its leader Vladimir Putin demonstrates quite poor historical knowledge about Ukraine," the campaign site continues. "Russia seems to forget that Ukraine is a sovereign state. Walking down Ukraine Street to their embassies and consulates, Russian diplomats and citizens worldwide would get a great daily reminder of Ukraine's sovereignty."

The campaign is aimed towards officials, mayors, activists and citizens worldwide.

Biden Stands by Remark That Putin Can't Remain in Power

President Joe Biden said he's not walking back nor apologizing for his comment Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power."

"I was expressing my outrage... he shouldn't remain in power," Biden said during a press conference Monday. "Just like, you know, bad people shouldn't continue to do bad things. But it doesn't mean we're going to have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way."

Biden said he added the remarks to his speech because he was speaking to the Russian people.

"This is just stating a simple fact that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable," Biden said. "I'm not walking anything back. I wasn't then, nor am I now, articulating a policy change. I was expressing the moral outrage that I felt and I make no apologies for it. People like this shouldn't be ruling countries, but they do. Doesn't mean I can't express my outrage about it."

Biden's original comment was made at during a speech in Poland on Saturday after meeting with Ukrainian refugees. Biden concluded the speech saying, "for God's sake, this man [Putin] cannot remain in power."

The White House quickly walked back the statement, clarifying that Biden was not calling for a regime change.

Changes Following Peace Deal Would Take at Least a Year

Amid pending peace talks set to take place in Turkey this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said any agreements made must be guaranteed on paper and voted upon in Ukraine.

"I want it not to be another piece of paper like the Budapest Memorandum," Zelensky said. "We are interested in turning this paper into a meaningful agreement, which will be signed by all guarantors. Verification of this document must also be carried out in the parliaments of the guarantor countries, and a referendum on this issue must be held in Ukraine."

A vote and legislation changes could take at least one year, he said, but any agreement is contingent upon a ceasefire and Russia removing its troops from Ukraine.

"We must have agreements with President Putin," Zelensky said. "The guarantors will not sign anything if the troops are not withdrawn. With signatures, seals, even blood, doesn't matter. And that's enough to start the process of troops withdrawal. The troops must be withdrawn, the guarantors will sign everything, and all this will start working. Ratifications in parliaments, a referendum in several months, and only then, amendments to the Constitution."

Zelensky added that a personal meeting between he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would be needed. A major topic in negotiations is usage of the Russian language in Ukraine.

"In general, I would like to cut off this constant argument about language," Zelensky said.

"We all speak the way we want and the language we want. We have more than 100 nationalities in the country. That's why I said: only a mirror respect for the history, languages, cultural values of all neighbors. I accept that. I am sure that our people will accept it if they want. Because all this will be decided one way or another by the people, the voters."

Zelensky
President of Ukraine website

Monday, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said no "significant achievements or breakthroughs" have been made thus far in negotiations.

"We cannot and will not speculate about progress for the time being, but the very decision to go ahead with face-to-face talks is important, of course," Peskov said to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.

"For now, we prefer to follow a policy of not disclosing any details of the talks. We believe that otherwise, we might harm the negotiating process. Regrettably, we cannot say there have been any significant achievements or breakthroughs so far."

Zelensky to Call for More Sanctions This Week

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the week ahead will be "very busy from a diplomatic point of view," as peace talks are set to resume in Turkey as early as Tuesday.

"A new round of negotiations is ahead, because we are looking for peace," Zelensky said in a video Monday. "Really. Without delay. As I was informed, there is an opportunity and a need for a face-to-face meeting already in Turkey. This is not bad. Let's look at the result."

What does Ukraine want?

"Our priorities in the negotiations are known," Zelensky said. "Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are beyond doubt. Effective security guarantees for our state are mandatory. Our goal is obvious, peace and the restoration of normal life in our native state as soon as possible."

Also among the most important issues to Ukraine are neutrality and Ukraine's nuclear-free status. Zelensky also said he will call for additional sanctions against Russia this week.

"I will continue to appeal to the parliaments of other countries," he said. "The week is planned to be very busy from a diplomatic point of view. Therefore, no one will be able to hide the Ukrainian interest somewhere in political offices or in bureaucratic loopholes."

Curfew Shortened in Kyiv, Food Fairs Open

As Ukrainians continue to defend Kyiv, there is some semblance of "normal" as activities slowly resume across the capital city. As of Monday, curfew is shorter, students resumed school virtually, food fairs opened, and gardeners were at work across the city.

Curfew will be two hours shorter beginning Monday night, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko announced.

"Curfew is changing in Kyiv and the region," Klitschko wrote on his Telegram. "As of today, March 28, the curfew will begin an hour later and end an hour earlier. And it will last from 21:00 [9 p.m.] to 6:00 a.m."

Mini food-fairs are also popping up across the city Monday. Five fairs in four districts will sell potatoes, vegetables, borscht, groceries and more, Ukraine's Department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development said.

As Newsweek previously reported, Kyiv students of all ages resumed classes remotely Monday. The decision was made to provide "psychological support, communication [and] switching children's attention" amid the ongoing war, school administration said.

City gardeners are also at work across Kyiv. In addition to landscaping work, gardeners are also planting new trees and removing dead ones.

"Despite the fact that the city lives under martial law, landscaping and landscaping work continues," the City of Kyiv said. "In Kyiv's greenhouses, 75 workers grow flowers for the capital's parks, squares, boulevards and squares."

Kyiv gardeners
City of Kyiv
Kyiv gardeners
City of Kyiv

Nearly Four Million Refugees Have Fled Ukraine

The United Nations estimates more than 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries in just over one month. The U.N. has previously said the number could reach four million.

Meanwhile, a humanitarian crisis is growing in the besieged city of Mariupol. Some 160,000 people are still in the city as of Monday, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said.

Where refugees are going, by country:

  • Poland: Nearly 2.3 million
  • Romania: 595,868
  • Moldova: 383,627
  • Hungary: 354,041
  • Slovakia: 275,439
  • Russia: 271,254
  • Belarus: 9,075

*Estimates above provided by UNHCR as of 3/27

Women near Mariupol
A woman pets a dog holding a Bible in her hand at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Mariupol, the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, Ukraine, on March 27. Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo
Checkpoint near Mariupol
Servicemen of Donetsk People's Republic inspect a vehicle at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Mariupol, the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, Ukraine, Sunday, March 27, 2022. Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo
Refugees arrive in Poland
A girl holds her toy as Ukrainian refugees take directions at the central train station in Warsaw, Poland on March 28. Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo
Underground shelter in Lviv
People shelter underground following explosions in Lviv, western Ukraine on March 26. Nariman El-Mofty/AP Photo

Remote Learning Resumes in Kyiv to Support Students

Students are learning remotely in Kyiv once again, as school administrators aim to provide some sense of "normalcy" and support to children.

Class resumed virtually on Monday for all students, including college. The Kyiv City State Administration announced the decision Sunday, following discussions with specialists and psychologists who supported the move.

"From Monday, institutions of general secondary, vocational, professional higher and higher education of the capital will resume education online," Kyiv City State Administration Deputy Chairman Valentyn Mondrievskyi said.

"We made this decision based on the opinion of experts, primarily psychologists who support the resumption of the educational process. The purpose of distance learning during the war is not only the acquisition of new knowledge, but also psychological support, communication, switching children's attention."

Mondrievskyi said the administration is equipped to pivot to online learning following the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Teachers have received a clear signal, learning in these conditions should be without negative assessments or bulky homework," he said. "It should be to help the child, not another stress and anxiety. Now is not the time to focus only on learning new material. Classes should be focused on repetition, it will be more effective."

Over 500 Russian Soldiers Killed Daily, Ukraine Says

Ukraine is calling for more heavy and long-range artillery systems to combat Russian forces as Russia's invasion continues for Day 33.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak claimed up to 530 Russian soldiers are being killed daily in Ukraine.

"510-530 Russian soldiers are killed daily," Podolyak said. "This indicates the high intensity of hostilities and motivation of Ukraine's military. In order to double/triple the number of irretrievable losses for RF [Russia], we need a sharp increase in the supplies of shells to heavy & long-range artillery systems."

Solider on bridge
A soldier stands on a bridge destroyed by the Ukrainian army to prevent the passage of Russian tanks near Brovary, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine on March 28. Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo

Peace Talks to Continue This Week in Turkey

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are set to continue peace talks in Turkey this week, after more than a month of no progress.

A Russian delegation landed at Istanbul Airport Monday, the Associated Press reported. Negotiators will reportedly meet face-to-face for this round of talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Turkey's private DHA news agency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said negotiators were nearing a consensus on four of six major points of disagreement Thursday, following the NATO summit in Brussels.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pushed back against Erdoğan's comments, saying no "consensus" had been reached on the topics. They include: NATO, disarmament, collective security and using Russian as the official language.

"The negotiation process is very difficult," Kuleba said Friday. "The Ukrainian delegation has taken a strong position and does not relinquish its demands. We insist, first of all, on a ceasefire, security guarantees and territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Nearly 3,000 Civilian Casualties, 143 Children Killed

Nearly 3,000 civilian casualties have been recorded by the United Nations amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as Ukrainian prosecutors report at least 143 children have been killed.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported 1,151 civilians have been killed, including 103 children, as of March 27. Another 1,824 have been injured, including 133 children. The office warns actual numbers are "considerably higher."

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes," OHCHR said.

A report from the Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office Monday shows 143 children have been killed and 216 injured, according to juvenile prosecutors.

Prosecutors added more than 730 schools have been damaged by shelling and bombing, 74 are destroyed.

"The worst situation is in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kyiv, Kherson, Chernihiv regions and the city of Kyiv," the Ukraine Prosecutor General's Office said.

Apartment damage Ukraine
A Ukrainian flag is installed on an apartment building damaged by fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops in a village of Lukyanivka, Kyiv region, Ukraine on March 27. AP Photo

German States Outlaw Displaying Russia's 'Z' War Symbol

Displaying the "Z" symbol, which has been used by the Russian military during the invasion of Ukraine, could lead to prosecution in two German states, Lower Saxony and Bavaria, according to officials.

"Whosoever is publicly expressing their consent to the war of aggression of Russian President Putin must expect criminal prosecution," Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony, said in a statement.

Pistorius said the mark "represents the acts of the Russian army against international law."

Those who display the symbol at demonstrations, or paints the mark on cars or buildings, could face up to three years in jail or a fine, he said.

Russian Z symbol
The ‘Z' symbol has been used by the Russian military during the invasion of Ukraine. AFP/Getty Images

G7 Won't Buy Russian Gas in Rubles

The Group of Seven (G7) major economies has agreed to reject the Kremlin's demand to pay for Russian natural gas exports in rubles, Germany's energy minister Robert Habeck said Monday.

"All G7 ministers agreed completely that this [would be] a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts," Habeck told reporters.

He said officials from the Group of Seven major economies met on Friday to make the decision.

"Payment in ruble is not acceptable and we will urge the companies affected not to follow Putin's demand," said Habeck, referring to the demand issued by the Russian President last week.

"Russia will continue, of course, to supply natural gas in accordance with volumes and prices ... fixed in previously concluded contracts," Putin said during a televised meeting with government ministers on March 23.

"Unfriendly" countries would have to pay for Russian gas in Russia's own currency, Putin said.

"The changes will only affect the currency of payment, which will be changed to Russian rubles," he said.

Robert Habeck
German Greens Party co-leaders Robert Habeck gives a press statement after the last round of exploratory talks with the Greens Party and German Free Democrats (FDP) on October 15, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Jens Schlueter//Getty Images

Russia's Advances Remain Stalled—UK

Russian forces have made no significant progress in the past 24 hours, Britain's Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update on Monday, citing supply shortages and a determined resistance from Ukrainian troops.

"Ongoing logistical shortages have been compounded by a continued lack of momentum and morale amongst the Russian military, and aggressive fighting by the Ukrainians," the ministry said.

Officials noted that Russia has gained most ground in the south in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

"Heavy fighting continues as Russia attempts to capture the port," the briefing said.

Putin To Restrict Entry to Russia for Citizens of 'Unfriendly Countries'

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to sign a decree that would restrict entry for citizens from "unfriendly countries," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday.

Lavrov told a press briefing said the move is in retaliation to sanctions from the West.

Russia published an official list of foreign states it considers to be "unfriendly" on March 7.

The countries and territories considered "unfriendly" by the Russian government incude "Australia, Albania, Andorra, United Kingdom, including Jersey, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, the member states of the European Union, Iceland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, San Marino, North Macedonia, Singapore, the United States, Taiwan, Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Japan," according to a decree published on the government's website.

Another Independent Russian Outlet Suspends Operations

Leading Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta announced on Monday that it is suspending operations until after the end of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, the outlet, whose editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said it made the decision after receiving multiple warnings from the Kremlin's telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor

"We received another warning from Roskomnadzor. After that, we are ceasing covering both online and in print until the end of the 'special operation on the territory of Ukraine'," Novaya Gazeta's editors said on social media.

It comes as part of a wider crackdown on independent news outlets for their reporting on the Ukraine invasion.

The Russian parliament in March passed a law that criminalizes the distribution of "fake news" about Russia's military. Those convicted face up to 15 years in jail. Authorities have prohibited media from calling Putin's invasion a "war"—state-run media outlets adopt the term "special military operation."

Other independent Russian news outlets to have suspended operations following pressure over coverage of the Ukraine war include television channel TV Rain (Dozhd) and radio station Ekho Moskvy.

Russian Government Websites Mocked for Keeping 'Banned' Instagram, Facebook Accounts

Social media users have accused the Russian government of hypocrisy after it appeared that a number of official government websites continued to use their Instagram and Facebook accounts, even as the Russian courts declared the Meta-owned platforms "extremist."

One Telegram channel shared a screenshot of the Russian Foreign Ministry's official page, featuring more than half a dozen logos, linking to its various social media accounts.

While the Foreign Ministry's website, which has been under near-constant cyber attacks since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, did not open at the time of writing, Newsweek can confirm that the ministry remains active on Instagram and Facebook.

Similarly, the Meta-owned platform logos still feature on the Defense Ministry's official page, and their accounts are also active, with new posts appearing daily.

Last Monday Russian state censor Roskomnadzor announced that some of the Meta-owned platforms are to be blacklisted and blocked by ISPs in the country, after the company was labeled "extremist." It ruled that Russian media must label these social networks as prohibited, with their logos also banned from being displayed.

Mariupol Mayor Warns of 'Humanitarian Catastrophe'

The mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko warned on Monday of a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the besieged port city if more evacuations are not possible, according to Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne.

Boychenko said that around 160,000 people remain in the city, which has been hard hit since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion against neighboring Ukraine on February 24.

Mariupol had a population of more than 400,000 before Russian forces invaded.

The mayor was quoted as saying that Russian troops were blocking civilians from evacuating from Mariupol.

In an interview Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said some 90 percent of buildings in the city have been burned and destroyed.

"Corpses lie in the city on the roads, on the sidewalks. Corpses are just lying around—no one removes them—Russian soldiers and citizens of Ukraine," said Zelensky.

Former CIA director David Petraeus said on Sunday that the city appears to be poised to fall to Russian forces.

Ukraine-Russia conflict
Ukrainians take part in an action in support of the residents and defenders of Mariupol on March 19, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Alexey Furman/Getty Images

Ukraine-Russia Talks, What We Know So Far

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed during a telephone call on Sunday that Istanbul would host negations between Ukraine and Russia this week.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that the talks may begin as soon as Tuesday, as the negotiators are scheduled to arrive in Turkey on Monday.

Peskov declined to elaborate on the details of the negotiations.

"While we cannot and will not speak about progress at the talks, the fact that they continuing to take place in person is important, of course," said Peskov.

"We are adhering to a policy of not disclosing any information about the talks, which we think could only hurt the negotiation process."

He acknowledged that no "substantial achievements or breakthroughs" have been achieved in prior rounds of peace talks.

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Zelensky in a video address late on Sunday said he will continue to prioritize the "territorial integrity" of Ukraine in this week's talks.

"We are looking for peace, really, without delay," he said. "There is an opportunity and a need for a face-to-face meeting in Turkey. This is not bad. Let's see the outcome. Our priorities in the negotiations are known."

"Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are beyond doubt. Effective guarantees of security are a must. Obviously, our goal is peace and return to normal life in our country as soon as possible."

Earlier on Monday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov played down prospects of a meeting between presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, saying that such talks would be "counterproductive."

Ukraine 'Ready' to Discuss Neutrality, Says Zelensky

In an interview ordered banned by the Kremlin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told four prominent Russian journalists that a potential deal between Russia and Ukraine could include "security guarantees and neutrality, the non-nuclear status of our state."

"We are ready to go for this," he said on Sunday.

His latest remarks come as Ukraine and Russia are set to resume peace talks Tuesday in Istanbul, according to the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long asked for reassurance that Ukraine will not seek membership of the military and political alliance NATO.