Ukraine Latest News: Chernobyl Staff Rotate After Working 27 Days

Live Updates

Today is Day 26 of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

  • Ukraine rejects Russia's ultimatum in Mariupol. Russia said people could leave the besieged port city if they surrendered. About 300,000 are trapped.
  • Strategically important Mariupol has been turned to rubble with weeks of Russian shelling, with 90 percent of buildings estimated to be damaged.
  • Olena Zelenska, Ukraine's first lady, tells citizens in the city: "Please hold on, dear people, I beg you."
  • In Kyiv, shelling that struck a shopping mall has reportedly left eight dead.
  • Across Ukraine, about 10 million have fled their homes, according to the United Nations' refugee agency; about 3.4 million traveled abroad.
  • Joe Biden will seek to rally U.S. allies in Europe this week, speaking with leaders in Germany, Britain, France, and Italy later Monday. He will travel to Belgium on Wednesday for a NATO emergency meeting about the war and then visit with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw Friday.
  • The U.S. opposes Poland's proposal for a NATO peacekeeping mission.
A serviceman stands in missile attack aftermath
A Ukrainian serviceman looks at a destroyed vehicle in the grounds of the Retroville shopping mall following a Russian missile attack in Kyiv on March 21, 2022. Ukraine's leaders in Kyiv have rejected Russian forces' ultimatum in Mariupol, the besieged port city about 450 miles from the capital. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Chernobyl Staff Rotate After Working 27 Days

Staff who had been stuck working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant for nearly one month straight have finally gone home.

Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the long-awaited staff rotation was completed on Monday. The staff had been working nonstop at the site since February 23, Russian forces took control of the plant the following day. The U.N. nuclear watchdog reported the first half of staff members were able to go home Sunday.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi voiced repeated concern for the staff and subsequent safety of plant operations.

"It is a positive, albeit long overdue, development that some staff at the Chernobyl NPP have now rotated and returned to their families," Grossi said. "They deserve our full respect and admiration for having worked in these extremely difficult circumstances. They were there for far too long."

Staff transportation to nearby Slavutych was complicated due to damaged roads and bridges, Ukraine's regulatory authority said. Thirteen staff members declined to rotate and most Ukrainian guards remained on site. It was reported some 210 technical experts and guards were unable to rotate shifts since Russia seized the site.

Zelensky Urges Citizens to Keep Fighting So 'Ukraine Lives'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged citizens to continue fighting for the country's freedom and peace as Russia's invasion continued on Day 26.

He addressed the nation in a video Monday, beginning with a message of support to Kherson.

"To Kherson, where today we saw slaves shooting at free people," Zelensky said. "Slaves of propaganda that replaces their consciousness. Slaves who used to pack everyone in paddy wagons. Even an old woman with a clean white poster. Even a girl with an A4 sheet on which only one word is written - "peace"."

"These slaves sent by Russia have never seen so many free people in the squares and streets." he continued. "They have never seen thousands of people who are not afraid of them, of slaves with weapons in their hands. Slaves perceive freedom as savagery, as danger. They are scared. The fear that propagandists know how to turn into hatred. And then - shots at peaceful free people."

Mariupol has suffered several major attacks in recent days, including bombings at a school, theatre and maternity hospital. Zelensky said the city is being destroyed to "ashes."

"Mariupol! Hardworking and honest city! Mariupol. Which the occupiers are simply destroying. Destroying to ashes. But it will survive them all. Worthless slaves who do not know how to take care of their own country. Of their own people. And they go to someone else's."

In a strong message of unity, he urged all men and women, who are now fighters, to continue standing up against enemy forces.

"But we will make them believe," he said. "And we will make them remember that they are not welcome. I appeal to all Ukrainians. Wherever we are. Do everything to protect our state. To save our people. Fight. Fight and help. Drive these slaves out! Drive the occupiers out! So that Ukraine lives. So that all of us live with it," he concluded.

Pentagon Sees Increased Russian Activity in the Black Sea

The Pentagon said Russian forces have not achieved many objectives in Ukraine, but is seeing an increase in long-range fires and activity from the sea.

"The Russians are flustered," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a press briefing Monday." And they failed to achieve many of their objectives on the ground."

He added that what Russia has accomplished over the course of the 26-day invasion "is not very impressive."

Russia has taken control of a few small cities, but Mariupol has not yet fallen, as Ukrainian forces continue to fight back.

Kirby said that Russian forces are essentially stalled outside major cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv, and are, therefore, stepping up long-range fires to force a surrender.

He also said the Pentagon has seen increase naval activity in the northern Black Sea, indications some of the bombardment around Odessa is coming from the sea.

"It's difficult to know what this indicates," he added.

Kirby also said the Pentagon believes Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine.

"We continue to see indiscriminate attacks against civilians which we believe in many cases is intentional," Kirby said. "There is no justification for it."

He added that the U.S. has "certainly see clear evidence that Russian forces are committing war crimes" in Ukraine. Pentagon is currently helping with the collection of evidence for that ongoing investigative process, Kirby said.

Ukrainian People Will Vote on Peace Terms, Zelensky Says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Ukrainian people will be able to vote on negotiated terms to end the conflict with Russia.

During an interview with Suspilne News Monday, Zelensky said there will be a referendum so that the Ukrainian people will have the opportunity to respond to certain attempts for compromise.

"The people will have to speak up and respond to this or that form of compromise," Zelensky said during the interview, according to Al Jazeera. "And what they [the compromises] will be is the subject of our talks and understanding between Ukraine and Russia."

Biden, Allies Discuss Concerns Over Russia's 'Brutal Tactics'

President Biden spoke with European allies Monday ahead of his trip to Brussels later this week.

Biden's call with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson about their concerns about Russia's "brutal tactics in Ukraine, including attacks on civilians.

"They underscored their continued support for Ukraine, including by providing security assistance to the brave Ukrainians who are defending their country from Russian aggression, and humanitarian assistance to the millions of Ukrainians who have fled the violence," the White House said in a statement. "The leaders also reviewed recent diplomatic efforts in support of Ukraine's effort to reach a ceasefire."

Biden is set to meet with EU, NATO and G7 leaders in Brussels this week.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "there will certainly be deliverables" on this trip.

"Coming out of this, what the president is hoping to achieve is continued coordination and a unified response to the continued escalatory actions of President Putin," she said.

U.S. Stresses Russia's Obligation to Allow Consular Access to Detainees

The State Department said U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan demanded Russia allows consular access to American detainees in Russia during his meeting with the Russian foreign ministry.

"[Sullivan] took advantage of this encounter to demand Russia follows international law, and basic human decency for that matter, to allow consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, including those in pretrial engine," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Price said this denial of access is "completely unacceptable" and in direct contradiction to Russia's obligation under the Vienna Convention.

The U.S. will seek to maintain communication channels with Russian counterparts and continue to engage in diplomacy.

In response to reports that Russia summoned Sullivan to discuss President Biden's comments calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, Price scoffed that Russia took offense to the so-called "inappropriate comments."

"It's awfully rich to hear a country speak about 'inappropriate comments' when that same country is engaged in mass slaughter, including strikes and attacks that have resulted in civilian lives," Price said.

Price added that there has been no change in the cases of Trevor Reed, Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, the American detainees in Russia.

He said Sullivan stressed Russia's obligation to allow consular access to those detainees.

Biden Warns of Potential Russian Cyber Attack

President Biden said his administration is working to "improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience" in preparation for a possible cyberattack from Russia.

"I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we've imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners," Biden said in a statement. "It's part of Russia's playbook."

Based on "evolving intelligence" that Russia is "exploring options for potential cyberattacks," the Biden administration will continue efforts to strengthen national cyber defense and create innovative public-private partnerships and initiative to enhance cybersecurity.

Biden said the federal government is working with the private sector partners and urged owners and operators of critical infrastructure to "accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors" and "harden cyber defenses immediately."

"You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which Americans rely," he said. "We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow."

Pictures Show Mall in Rubble After Explosion

A once-bustling shopping mall in Kyiv, Ukraine has now been reduced to rubble after a Russian airstrike attack late Sunday evening.

Months ago, the Retroville mall welcomed holiday shoppers. Last night, emergency teams worked to put out flames and today are clearing debris.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, at least eight people were killed.

UN Estimates Over 900 Killed in Ukraine

The United Nations estimates over 900 people have been killed in Ukraine since Russia began its invasion almost a month ago.

The U.N. Human Rights Office in Ukraine said at least 925 people, including 75 children, have been killed and at least 1,496 people have been injured.
The actual figures are much higher, the U.N. said.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said its aware that Ukrainian officials have released reports with higher casualty numbers.

The OHCHR said casualty reports from some locations where "intense hostilities have been going on" have been delayed or are pending corroboration.

U.S. Ambassador Met with Russian Foreign Ministry

The U.S. ambassador to Moscow was summoned by Russia's foreign ministry Monday after President Biden criticism Vladimir Putin.

Russia said relations with the United States are "on the verge of a breach" due to recent "unacceptable statements Biden made about Putin, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Last week, Biden called Putin a "war criminal" and condemned Russia's action in Ukraine.

During the meeting with U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan, the Russia Foreign Ministry said it "emphasized that remarks such as these by the American President, which are unworthy of a state figure of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of a breach," the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said Ambassador Sullivan "demanded that the Russian government follow international law and basic human decency and provide consular access to all US citizens detained in Russia."

"We have repeatedly asked [The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs] for consular access to detainee US citizens, but have been consistently and wrongfully denied this for months," the Embassy said. "This is completely unacceptable."

Blinken Says Lessons of the Holocaust Museum Feel 'Urgent'

While visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the lessons of the museum feel particularly "urgent" amid Russia's current invasion in Ukraine.

"There's never a time I visit here where its lessons do not feel deeply resonant," Blinken said during his remarks. "But I can recall few times its history felt so urgent, the responsibility it imparts on all of us so pressing."

Blinken references the Russian attack on a TV tower in Kyiv and the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site on March 1 that killed five people.

"The same site where just over 80 years ago 33,771 Jews were killed by the Nazis in just two days," Blinken said.

He added that Ukraine is home to 10,000 Holocaust survivors.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has tried to justify the war in Ukraine as a military operation to rid Ukraine of alleged neo-Nazi groups and stop genocide.

Blinken said the Kremlin is "abusing" the word genocide, a term that is reserved for the "greatest atrocities," and is "disrespecting every victim of this heinous crime."

Biden to Travel to Poland Later This Week

President Joe Biden will travel to Poland at the end of the week to meet with President Andrzej Duda to discuss their coordinated efforts to address the crisis in Ukraine.

"The President will discuss how the United States, alongside our Allies and partners, is responding to the humanitarian and human rights crisis that Russia's unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine has created," the White House said in a statement.

Biden will go to Warsaw Friday, March 25 following his meetings in Brussels with NATO, G7 and European Union leaders.

As the details of Biden's European trip are announced, the White House said Biden has no plans yet to travel to Ukraine.

Ukraine Reports New Losses for Russian Armed Forces

Ukrainian officials report about 15,000 Russian personnel have been killed and hundreds of weapon systems have been destroyed since the invasion in Ukraine began.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 1,535 armed vehicles, 97 aircrafts, 121 helicopters, 498 tanks and 969 other vehicles from the Russian Armed Forces have been destroyed.

More Than 100 Children Died in Ukraine, Officials Say

More than 100 children have died as a result of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian officials.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 115 children have died in Ukraine and more than 140 were wounded since the invasion began.

Russian forces have also destroyed 3,500 infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, the Ukrainian MFA said.

"No country can feel safe because of Russia's terror tactics," the MFA said.

Oleg Nikolemko, a spokesperson for the Ukraine MFA said Russia has "forcibly relocated" 2,389 children from Donbass and abducted civilians in violation of international humanitarian law.

"The Russian army deprives our children of parental care and endangers their lives in Russia," he said in a tweet. "These heinous crimes must be stopped."

Russian Forces Open Fire, Throw Stun Grenade Amid Kherson Protest

Footage from Kherson posted on social media
Footage from Kherson posted on social media showed an explosion and smoke, while gunfire could be heard as people fled the scene. Telegram

Videos emerging from Kherson, the Ukrainian town currently occupied by Russian forces, showed troops appearing to use stun grenades and firing automatic weapons as crowds gathered at a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Initial reports accompanying one of the videos appeared to claim that troops were firing at the crowd, with Ukrainian outlet UNIAN reporting some casualties.

While people are seen running away from a group of Russian soldiers, Newsweek could not immediately verify whether the soldiers were shooting at the crowd or firing warning shots into the sky.

The Russian forces were also reported to be using stun grenades to disperse the crowd; explosions and smoke can be seen amongst the crowd of people trying to flee the city's main square.

China, US, ambassador, Qin, Gang, National, Day
Chinese ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang addresses a virtual reception hosted by his embassy to mark the 72nd national day of the People's Republic of China on September 28. Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America

China is not considering providing military assistance for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to China's top diplomat in Washington D.C.

Qin Gang, the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. told CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday: "There's a disinformation about China providing military assistance to Russia. We reject that...," he said, when pressed on the issue, insisting China "opposes war."

"We hate to see the situation over Ukraine come to today's, you know, like this and we call for immediate ceasefire and we are promoting peace talks," he said.

His remarks came after President Joe Biden in a nearly two-hour video call with China's President Xi Jinping warned of "implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia" in Ukraine. More below...

Ukrainian Journalists 'Kidnapped From Their Homes'

A newspaper's editor is missing in the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol, according to union leaders, after journalists were "kidnapped from their homes."

Mikhail Kumoka was taken along with tree of is colleagues from Mestnye Vesti, an independent local news outlet, Ukraine's National Union of Journalists (NUJU) reported on Monday, March 21.

"Today MB-Holding journalists were kidnapped from their homes by a group of armed men and taken to an undisclosed location," it said.

Three out of the four—Yuliaya Olkhovskaya, Lubov Chaika and Yevgeny Boryan—were questioned and later released, after a "conversation about the need to cooperate," Ukraine's NUJ said.

Mestnye Vesti's website, which had earlier called on Ukrainians to "show support for Melitopol's press," has been hacked and taken offline, according to the publication's executive director.

"Pressure, spot searches and kidnappings are in the [Russian] occupants' arsenal of intimidation tools used against journalists and activists in the temporarily occupied territories," the executive director said.

Newsweek is contacting the Russian military for comment.

It is far from the first report of Russian forces targeting journalists in Ukraine.

Mstyslav Chernov, a video journalist for the Associated Press, recently spoke about his experiences with the news agency.

Nazi Concentration Camp Survivor Shot Dead in Ukraine

One of the few remaining survivors of Nazi concentration camps has reportedly been killed at his home in Ukraine.

Boris Romantschenko survived Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen camps during World War II.

"Now he has been killed by a bullet that hit his house," a Buchenwald memorial foundation tweeted, announcing the news, "We are stunned."

Vladimir Putin and Russian leaders have spuriously claimed they are seeking the "denazification" of Ukraine by invading the country and shelling its cities.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Romanchenko's death an "unspeakable crime."

"[Romanchenko] lived his quiet life in Kharkiv until recently," Kuleba said in a tweet. "Last Friday a Russian bomb hit his house and killed him. Unspeakable crime. Survived Hitler, murdered by Putin."

Russian State Blamed for Hoax Calls to British Leaders

Breaking news...

The Kremlin was behind hoax calls to two British secretaries of state, the U.K. government says.

Calls to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel were possible attempts by the Russian state to garner quotes for propaganda purposes, Downing Street suspects.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman said:

"We are seeing a string of distraction stories and outright lies from the Kremlin, reflecting Putin's desperation as he seeks to hide the scale of the conflict and Russia's failings on the battlefield."

Priti Patel and Ben Wallace
British Home Secretary Priti Patel and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace deliver speeches during the Conservative Party Spring Conference at the Blackpool Winter Gardens on March 19, 2022. The two U.K. secretaries of state have been targeted by hoax calls, Downing Street has said. Getty Images

What Does the Russian War Symbol 'Z' Mean?

You may have seen white "Z" symbols on social media or in pictures from the war. It has become a recognisable marker in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

White "Z"s are often pictured on Russian military vehicles, but have increasingly been used on social media to represent pro-invasion sentiments and has been incorporated into Kremlin-approved propaganda.

But where did it come from and does it have any deeper meaning?

russia z symbol
The white Z, as seen above, has become a major pro-Russia symbol amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images

A popular theory among military experts is that the "Z"s reflect the respective areas where the Russian troops are usually stationed, with Z potentially standing for Zapad (west).

Multiple symbols have been employed on vehicles during the invasion of Ukrainian. According to Ukrainian military intelligence, these are the symbols and who they indicate forces are operated by: Z for Russia's Eastern Military District, Z enclosed in a box for Crimea, O for Belarus, V for Marines, X for Chechnya, and A for Special Forces.

Find out more here...

Moscow Stock Exchange Partially Reopens

Russia's stock market partially reopened this morning, nearly three weeks after it was abruptly shut down following market turmoil caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions.

Federal loan bonds trading was set to resume on Monday, the Bank of Russia said in a statement on Friday.

The tentative reopening only allowed trading of ruble-denominated Russian government bonds (OFZs).

Tens of billions of dollars were wiped off the value of Russia's biggest companies following the invasion of Ukraine. One Russian economist toasted the "death" of Russia's stock market live on television.

Russia has been reluctant to open the exchange after the country's currency collapsed to a record low against the dollar.

As of Monday, the currency was trading at 105 RUB per U.S. dollar, down by about a quarter from before the start of the conflict.

Bolstering Ukraine Air-Defence Is 'Urgent Necessity': U.S., Europe

The U.S. has joined European allies in signing a statement underlining "the urgent necessity to upgrade Ukraine air-defence," a leading Ukrainian lawmaker says.

Speaker and chairman of Ukraine's parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, who is expected to takeover from Volodymyr Zelensky in the event of the Ukrainian president's death, made the announcement on Twitter in the last few minutes.

Stefanchuk said he was "genuinely grateful" for the support from Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, the U.S. and the U.K.

Russia has failed to take complete control of the skies over Ukraine, but Ukraine's leaders have repeatedly called for help to bolster its depleted air defences amid Russian shelling of several major cities.

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including long-range missiles and 100 unmanned switchblade armed drones.

U.S. leaders have previously rejected Poland's offer to supply fighter jets to Ukraine's air force. Former senior NATO officials previously told Newsweek the collapse of the plan was something of an embarrassing stain on the alliance.

We'll bring you more details as we get them.

Video: Ukraine Civilians Force Armored Russia Vehicles Back

A video purporting to show the invading Russian forces being pushed back by a group of Ukrainian citizens in the center of Kherson has been shared online.

"Go Home!" people are heard chanting, with others shouting '**** Off!' and other insults at the Russian forces.

Two armored vehicles marked 'Z,' a sign used to demarcate active Russian troops and equipment, are seen being slowly pushed out by an angry crowd of locals.

The video, published by Twitter account MilitaryLand and shared widely on Twitter and Telegram, could not be immediately verified by Newsweek.

We have has previously reported on a number of similar incidents in towns and cities occupied by Russian troops in Ukraine. More below...

Russia's Siege of Mariupol Is 'Massive War Crime'—E.U.'s Borrell

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has decried the Russian attack on the Ukrainian port city Mariupol as "a massive war crime."

"What's happening now in Mariupol is a massive war crime, destroying everything, bombarding and killing everybody," Borrell said, according to Agence France Presse.

It comes amid ongoing E.U. discussions on potentially strengthening sanctions imposed on Moscow.

Ukraine has rejected Moscow's demand to abandon Mariupol and remove its forces from the city by 5 a.m. local time on Monday.

The city has been under assault for weeks. An estimated 90 percent of the city's buildings have been damaged or destroyed, according to local officials.

Girl Who Sang 'Let it Go' in Shelter Takes to Polish Stage

Amelia Anisovych moved millions with her rendition of Disney anthem "Let It Go" from inside a bomb shelter in Kyiv last week.

Now the Ukrainian 7-year-old has happily found a new stage: a 10,000-seater stadium in Poland.

She performed the Ukrainian national anthem in front of a packed house at the Atlas Arena in Łódź on Sunday evening.

Amelia is in Poland with her grandmother and siblings after fleeing the war.

Here she is in action and sounding great.

Zelensky Directly Addresses German People Via New Video

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the German public directly in a new video shared on social media overnight Sunday, warning that invading Russian forces will not stop with Ukraine.

Starting the video by playing a recording of the sound of air raid sirens bellowing through Kyiv at night, Zelensky said that "it is the sound Ukraine hears every minute, every hour, every day," before proceeding to call a minute of silence for the victims of Russian attacks.

"We are continuing our fight against one of the strongest militaries in the world," the Ukrainian leader continued.

"They write 'Towards Berlin!' on the rockets and airplanes, showing that they won't stop at Ukraine."

Ви бачите наше прагнення бути з Європою. Наше прагнення, яке ми виборюємо на полі бою. І яке ви можете вибороти просто у своєму суспільстві. Власною...

Zelensky pointed towards Ukraine's desire to be a part of Europe, appealing to the German people to put pressure on their government and politicians to embrace Ukraine's EU membership application.

"For Ukraine to finally become part of the EU. Germans, you have the power!" he concluded.

Russia's Elite Want Putin Out: Ukraine Intel Chief

A plot to remove Russian President Vladimir Putin from power is underway, Ukrainian intelligence chiefs have suggested.

Moscow's elites are said to have a successor already in mind, according to the chief directorate of intelligence for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The incendiary claims were made on Sunday via a post on the ministry's official Facebook page.

"Poisoning, sudden disease, accident—Russian elite considers the possibility of removing Putin," it read.

"In the environment of the Russian business and political elite, a group of influential persons opposing [Vladimir Putin] is formed.

"Their goal is to remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, destroyed due to the war in Ukraine."

Kyiv Shopping Mall Burns Down After Shelling, Eight Killed

Shopping Center in Kyiv bombed
"Retroville", a shopping mall in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv, was hit by a rocket on the night of Sunday, 20 March. At least eight people were killed in the attack. State Emergency Service of Ukraine

At least eight were killed when a shopping mall in a residential area was hit with a missile in Kyiv, local emergency officials say. Several nearby homes and vehicles were also destroyed.

Several videos of the bombing of the "Retroville" mall, located in the capital's Podilskyi district, emerged on social media this morning, including one shared by the Ukrainian authorities.

Firefighters were later seen trying to rescue people stranded beneath the rubble, with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine sharing more images and videos of the aftermath of the attack.

Olena Zelenska Begs Mariupol Residents 'Hold On'

Olena Zelenska looks on in Virginia
Olena Zelenska looks on as her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky participates in an Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on September 1, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. Zelenska has released her first public statement on the war via an open letter addressed to the global community. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, has addressed people in the besieged city of Mariupol.

In an Instagram post, Zelenska, wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky, shared photographs of destruction in the city which has come under heavy shelling.

Strikes hit an art school sheltering about 400 people shortly before Russia's offer to open two corridors out of the city in return for the surrender of its defenders, according to Ukrainian officials.

Last Wednesday, hundreds more had been sheltering in a theater that was destroyed.

"In that tortured place, I address all of you – Mariupol residents and those whose dear ones are there," Zelenska wrote on Sunday evening.

"The country knows what is happening. The country is doing everything possible to arrange peaceful corridors. The enemy desperately does not want civilians to break through. But they will.

"Please hold on, dear people, I beg you. I will repeat my husband's words, 'Ukraine doesn't abandon her people.'"

What's Happening in Mariupol?

It is difficult to know exactly what is happening in Mariupol, a city surrounded and cut off by Russian forces. Here's what we do:

  • Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev offered two corridors—one east toward Russia, the other west—to those who surrendered (before 5 a.m. local time on Monday). He did not say what Russia planned if the offer was rejected.
  • But it has been rejected. "There can be no talk of any surrender, laying down of arms," Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk told Ukrainian Pravda. "We have already informed the Russian side about this."
  • Mariupol Mayor Piotr Andryushchenko also dismissed the offer
  • Mariupol is a strategically important city in Russia's plan to link the separatist regions to the east via a corridor to Crimea
  • Previous attempts to evacuate the port city and other Ukrainian cities have been thwarted by bombardments continuing as civilians tried to flee
  • At least 2,300 people have died in the siege, AP reports citing local officials
  • About 90 percent of Mariupol's buildings have been destroyed or damaged, according to Vadim Denisenko, a Ukrainian government adviser
  • Mariupol's population has shrunk from about 400,000 to 300,000 as of March 14, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said
  • Food and medicine supplies are running low, according to Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, with many cut off from electricity, water and gas
  • Internet and mobile networks were shut down shortly after the siege began
  • Tearful evacuees have described how "battles took place over every street"
Strike on Apartment in Mariupol
An explosion is seen in an apartment building after Russian's army tank fires in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022. Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo