LIVE Russia-Ukraine crisis: Russian forces step up attacks on Ukraine's civilian areas

Moscow holds drills with nuclear subs, land-based missiles

By Team KT

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A view of the square outside the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. Photo: AFP
A view of the square outside the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 7:31 AM

Last updated: Wed 2 Mar 2022, 1:53 AM

The Russian military assault on Ukraine is on its sixth day.

A Russian military convoy threatening Kyiv is far bigger than initially thought, with satellite images from Monday showing it occupying much of a 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of road north of the Ukrainian capital.


Explosions and gunfire were heard in embattled cities in eastern Ukraine as Russia’s attack met unexpectedly stiff resistance.

A Ukrainian delegation held talks with Russian officials at the border with Belarus, though they ended with no agreements except to keep talking. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with Putin, urging him to halt the offensive.


Here's a round-up of all top developments on March 1:


1.51am: Russia sees ‘no desire’ from Ukraine to find legitimate solution

Russia sees “no desire on the part of Ukraine” to try to find a legitimate and balanced solution to the problems between the two countries, Gennady Gatilov, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told Lebanese television in an interview aired on Tuesday.

Gatilov said Russia “supports diplomacy based on respect for the positions of all countries and equality, but for now we don’t see that”, the Russian news agency RIA quoted him as saying in the interview.


1.30am: UK bans all ships with Russian links from British ports

Britain on Tuesday banned any ship with Russian connections from entering its ports as the country stepped up efforts to isolate President Vladimir Putin’s government because of its war in Ukraine.

Announcing the blanket ban in a tweet, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps encouraged other countries to prohibit ships tied to Russia from using their ports.

More details here


12.10am: ICJ to hold Ukraine war hearings on March 7, 8

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

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

More details here


10:20pm: Nations agree to release 60M barrels of oil amid Russian war

The IEA's 31 member countries agreed Tuesday to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves — half of that from the United States — “to send a strong message to oil markets” that supplies won’t fall short after the Russian attack of Ukraine.

The group’s “decision reflects our common commitment to address significant market and supply disruptions related to President Putin’s war on Ukraine,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

Russia plays an outsized role in global energy markets as the third-largest oil producer. Its exports of 5 million barrels of crude per day amount to about 12% of the global oil trade. Some 60% goes to Europe and another 20% to China.

More details here


9:55pm: UK relaxes immigration rules for Ukrainian refugees

The UK on Tuesday relaxed its immigration requirements for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s attack, after criticism it was not doing enough to accommodate refugees.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said some 100,000 Ukrainians could enter the country for 12 months as a result of changes to criteria for close family members.

Measures relaxed include language requirements and salary thresholds while also widening eligibility to grandparents, children over 18 and siblings of “any person settled in the UK”.

“There is no limit on the numbers eligible. Those arriving will be able to work and access public funds”


9:52pm: Russian forces step up attacks on Ukraine’s civilian areas

A fireman runs after Russian airstrike hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on March 1, 2022. Photo: AFP
A fireman runs after Russian airstrike hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on March 1, 2022. Photo: AFP

Russian forces stepped up their attacks on crowded urban areas Tuesday, bombarding the central square in Ukraine’s second-biggest city and Kyiv’s main TV tower in what Ukraine’s president called a blatant campaign of terror.

Ukrainian authorities said five people were killed in the attack on the TV tower, which is a couple of miles from central Kyiv and a short walk from numerous apartment buildings. Officials said a TV control room and a power substation were hit, and at least some Ukrainian channels briefly stopped broadcasting.

“Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget.”


9:09pm: Russia holds drills with nuclear subs, land-based missiles

Russian nuclear submarines sailed off for drills in the Barents Sea and mobile missile launchers roamed snow forests Tuesday in Siberia after President Vladimir Putin ordered his nation’s nuclear forces put on high alert over tensions with the West over the attack of Ukraine.

Russia’s Northern Fleet said in a statement that several of its nuclear submarines were involved in exercises designed to “train manoeuvring in stormy conditions.” It said several warships tasked with protecting northwest Russia’s Kola Peninsula, where several naval bases are located, would join the manoeuvre.

More details here


9pm: Ukraine’s Kharkiv struck by cluster bombs, experts say

Multiple cluster bombs were fired on Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv on Monday, two munitions experts said after reviewing footage posted on social media.

Reuters geo-located two separate videos that show thuds and flashes over a wide residential area in the city of 1.4 million in northeast Ukraine. Reuters was unable to obtain the original footage to confirm the time and date of the recordings, which were posted online on Monday.

Kharkiv has been the target of some of the worst aerial attacks since Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces on Feb. 24.

“Kharkiv appears to have been the target of multiple cluster munition attacks yesterday”


8:33pm: Five killed in Russian strike on Kyiv TV tower

A fireman runs after Russian airstrike hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on March 1, 2022. Photo: AFP
A fireman runs after Russian airstrike hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on March 1, 2022. Photo: AFP

An apparent Russian airstrike hit Kyiv’s main television tower in the heart of the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday, knocking out some state broadcasting but leaving the structure intact.

After a blast sounded around the city and smoke was seen rising in the Babi Yar district, the interior ministry said equipment had been damaged and “channels won’t work for a while”.

The interior ministry said that back-up systems would be put into operation to restore programming.


8:04pm: Zelensky to Russia: stop your bombs before ceasefire talks can start

This handout video grab taken and released by the Ukraine Presidency press service on March 1, 2022 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivering an address in Kyiv. Photo: AFP
This handout video grab taken and released by the Ukraine Presidency press service on March 1, 2022 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivering an address in Kyiv. Photo: AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday Russia must call a halt to bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful talks on a ceasefire could start, as a first round of negotiations this week had yielded scant progress.

Speaking in an interview in a heavily guarded government compound, Zelenskiy urged NATO members to impose a no fly zone to stop the Russian airforce, saying it was a preventative measure and not meant to drag the alliance into war with Russia.

Zelenskiy, who has refused offers to leave the Ukrainian capital as Russian forces advanced, also said Ukraine would demand legally binding security guarantees if NATO shut the door on Ukraine’s membership prospects.


6:05pm: Ukraine asks China to make Russia stop war

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asked his Chinese counterpart in a phone call on Tuesday to use Beijing’s ties with Moscow to stop Russia’s military assault of its neighbour, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kuleba that Beijing was ready to make every effort to help end the war through diplomacy.

China, which has grown closer with Moscow in recent years while it has also had cordial diplomatic ties and strong trade links with Ukraine, has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on the country or to call its actions there an invasion.


6pm: Ukraine asks Germany to help close skies

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) applauds Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) who appears on a screen as he speaks in a video conference during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian attack of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 01, 2022. Photo: AFP
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) applauds Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) who appears on a screen as he speaks in a video conference during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian attack of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 01, 2022. Photo: AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he had asked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday to help close the skies over Ukraine to halt the shelling of civilians by Russia.

“Had a phone conversation with Chancellor Scholz. Spoke about Russia’s shelling of residential neighborhoods in Ukrainian cities during peace talks. Emphasized the need to close the sky over Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said.

He also told Scholz to move swiflty on Ukraine’s EU membership bid.


Maps of Ukraine comparing areas under Russian control as of February 24 to February 28 at 2000 GMT - AFP
Maps of Ukraine comparing areas under Russian control as of February 24 to February 28 at 2000 GMT - AFP

5:45pm: Italy moves Ukraine embassy to Lviv

Italy said Tuesday it was moving its embassy in Ukraine from the capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv, following similar decisions by other Western countries.

“Due to the deterioration of the security situation in Kyiv, and the consequent impossibility of guaranteeing full functionality, the Italian embassy in Kyiv is being transferred to Lviv,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had repeated his government’s advice that Italians in Kyiv should leave the city and exercise “maximum caution”.


5:31pm: Russia warns Kyiv residents

Russia’s defence ministry is warning residents in Kyiv to leave their homes as it plans to strike targets in the Ukrainian capital, Russian state news agency Tass is reporting.

In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the defence ministry says Russian forces are preparing to launch “high-precision strikes” against the “Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the 72nd Center for Information and Psychological Operations (PSO)“ in Kyiv.

We urge Ukrainian citizens involved by Ukrainian nationalists in provocations against Russia, as well as Kiev residents living near relay stations, to leave their homes.


5:20pm: Russian forces link up with separatist allies

Russian troops and pro-Moscow rebels have linked up in a key region along the Azov Sea coast in eastern Ukraine, a defence ministry spokesman said Tuesday, on the sixth day of Moscow’s attack of Ukraine.

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that rebels had “joined the military units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which took control of the regions of Ukraine along the coast of the Sea of Azov”.


4:58pm: Putin has ‘shattered peace’ in Europe: NATO chief

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said Russian President Vladimir Putin had “shattered peace in Europe” by invading Ukraine, adding that the Western defence alliance would defend “every inch of our territory”.

He spoke during a visit to the Lask airbase in NATO member Poland, whose neighbour Ukraine has been fighting back against a Russian offensive that is now in its sixth day.

“President Putin has shattered peace in Europe. Allies condemn the unjustified and brutal invasion of Ukraine. The Russian assault is totally unacceptable, and it is enabled by Belarus. NATO allies provide support to Ukraine”


4:41pm: Zelensky tells EU to ‘prove you are with’ Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday called in a live video address to the European Parliament for the EU to “prove” it is with Ukraine as it resists Russia’s attack.

“Without you, Ukraine is going to be alone. We have proven our strength. We have proven that, at a minimum, we are exactly the same as you are. So do prove you are with us, do prove that you will not let us go,” Zelensky said.

More details here


4:40pm: Russia cuts off Ukraine military from the Sea of Azov -TASS

Emergencies personnel carry the body out of the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. (Photo: AFP)
Emergencies personnel carry the body out of the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. (Photo: AFP)

Russian forces have cut off the Ukrainian military from the Sea of Azov north of the Black Sea, the TASS news agency quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying on Tuesday.

The forces of Russian-backed separatists have reached the borders of Ukraine’s Donetsk province and joined Russian troops, another agency, RIA, quoted the ministry as saying.


4:38pm: Europe’s fate ‘in the balance’ in Ukraine war: von der Leyen

Russia’s attack of Ukraine is “a moment of truth for Europe” and the future of the continent is at stake, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

As part of the EU’s response, she said, Brussels would provide 500 million euros ($560 million) in extra funding to help deal with the “humanitarian consequences” of the war, including the flow of refugees into the bloc.

“The destiny of Ukraine is at stake, but our own fate also lies in the balance”


4:37pm: Ukraine says Russia plans to spread fake news about surrender

Ukraine believes Russia is preparing a mass disinformation campaign to suggest senior military and political figures have surrendered, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Tuesday.

“To ‘confirm’ this fake information, seemingly signed ‘documents’, as well as fake, edited videos will be distributed,” he said in an online statement.


4:30pm: Russia accuses West of pushing Ukraine towards war - RIA

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday the West continued pushing Ukraine towards war by providing it with weapons, the RIA news agency reported, citing Oleg Gerasimov, the ministry’s deputy head of information and press.

It also said the behaviour of tech giants Alphabet and Meta, which the ministry said had carried out “anti-Russian propaganda”, was unacceptable.


4:29pm: Russia strikes Ukrainian cities as troops mass near capital

AP
AP

Russian forces struck cities in eastern Ukraine and massed armoured vehicles and artillery near the capital Kyiv on Tuesday, as Western powers promised further sanctions to bring down Russia’s economy.

On the sixth day of Russia’s aggression, officials in Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, said the Russian army had shelled the local administration building, killing at least 10 people.

An AFP reporter saw emergency services carrying a body out of the building, which was surrounded by rubble and whose windows were completely shattered.

“This is state terrorism on the part of Russia”


1.40pm: Indian student killed in shelling, says top official

A view of the square outside the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. (AFP)
A view of the square outside the damaged local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1, 2022, destroyed as a result of Russian troop shelling. (AFP)

An Indian student has lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, according to Arindam Bagchi, official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The authority is in touch with the student's family.


1.00pm: ‘Leave Kyiv urgently today’, embassy advises Indians

The Indian embassy in Ukraine on Tuesday advised its nationals to leave the capital city Kyiv 'urgently today' amid the deteriorating security situation due to the Russian-Ukraine crisis.

“Advisory to Indians in Kyiv: All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available,” the Indian embassy in Ukraine tweeted.

A student being hugged by a family member on her return from Ukraine. (PTI)
A student being hugged by a family member on her return from Ukraine. (PTI)

The Union government has launched Operation Ganga to bring back stranded students and Indian citizens from conflict-torn Ukraine.

This advisory comes as satellite images have emerged showing a long convoy of Russian military vehicles snaking along roadways northwest of Kyiv, CNN reported.

12.23pm: France says sanctions will cause ‘collapse’ of Russian economy

France said that Western sanctions against Moscow over its attack of Ukraine will cause the Russian economy to collapse.

“We will bring about the collapse of the Russian economy,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the Franceinfo broadcaster a day after France, the EU and others said they would impose a new round of sanctions on Russia.

The balance of power in the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia is “totally” in favour of the EU which “is in the process of discovering its own economic power”, he said.


12.11pm: Ukraine, rights groups say Russia used cluster, vacuum bombs

Human rights groups and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States on Monday accused Russia of using cluster bombs and vacuum bombs, weapons that have been condemned by a variety of international organizations.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both said that Russian forces appeared to have used widely banned cluster munitions.


10.45am: Russian army on outskirts of Ukrainian city of Kherson: mayor

The Russian army on Tuesday reached the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, and is setting up checkpoints on its outskirts, the city’s mayor said.

“The Russian army is setting up checkpoints at the entrances of Kherson,” mayor Igor Kolykhayev said on Facebook.

“Today, I am responsible for the life of our city and provide protection in the way that our capabilities allow,” Kholykhayev said.

He asked people not to leave their homes outside curfew hours.

Kherson has a population of around 280,000 and lies north of the Crimea peninsula.


9.15am: Mastercard blocks multiple financial institutions over sanctions on Russia

Mastercard Inc said late on Monday it had blocked multiple financial institutions from its payment network as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia over Moscow's attack on Ukraine.

Reuters
Reuters

Mastercard will continue to work with regulators in coming days, the company said in a statement. It also promised to contribute a $2 million for humanitarian relief.

Separately, Visa Inc said in a statement that it is taking action to ensure compliance with sanctions and would also comply with any additional sanctions that may be implemented.

7.00am: Russian forces shell Ukraine's second largest city and menace Kyiv

Russian forces shelled Ukraine's second-largest city on Monday, rocking a residential neighbourhood, and closed in on the capital, Kyiv, in a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles, as talks aimed at stopping the fighting yielded only an agreement to keep talking.

The country's embattled president said the stepped-up shelling was aimed at forcing him into concessions.

“I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday in a video address. He did not offer details of the hourslong talks that took place earlier, but said that Kyiv was not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”

Stepping up his rhetoric, Putin denounced the US and its allies as an “empire of lies.”

Meanwhile, an embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its ties to the West by applying to join the European Union — a largely symbolic move for now, but one that is unlikely to sit well with Putin, who has long accused the U.S. of trying to pull Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit.

A top Putin aide and head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, said that the first talks held between the two sides since the attack lasted nearly five hours and that the envoys “found certain points on which common positions could be foreseen.” He said they agreed to continue the discussions in the coming days.

As the talks along the Belarusian border wrapped up, several blasts could be heard in Kyiv, and Russian troops advanced on the city of nearly 3 million. The vast convoy of armored vehicles, tanks, artillery and support vehicles was 17 miles (25 kilometers) from the center of the city and stretched for about 40 miles, according to satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies.

The Maxar photos also showed deployments of ground forces and ground attack helicopter units in southern Belarus.

6.30am: Americans, Canadians answer Ukraine call for foreign fighters

Reuters
Reuters

With their governments refusing to send troops to Ukraine out of fear of sparking a world war, Americans and Canadians told Reuters they were inspired by Ukrainians' fierce resistance. Many believe their democratic rights at home may ultimately be jeopardized if they do nothing to defend Europe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Sunday for the formation of an "international legion." Some young volunteers travelled straight to Ukraine to enlist.


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