Talks between Ukraine and Russia are due to begin on Monday morning near the Belarus border, with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying the next 24 hours are “crucial”.
Russian forces have pressed into Ukraine from the north, east and south since the start of the invasion that was launched last week.
Below are the key moments from Monday, February 28, the fifth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
- Russian and Ukrainian officials ended their first round of talks to discuss a ceasefire and will return to their capitals for consulations before a second round.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin told France’s Emmanuel Macron that a Ukraine settlement was only possible if Kyiv was neutral, “de-Nazified” and “demilitarised” and Russian control over annexed Crimea was formally recognised, the Kremlin said.
- Ukraine’s allies increased weapons transfers in support. Finland agreed to ship 2,500 assault rifles and 1,500 anti-tank weapons.
Blasts in Kyiv
- Blasts were heard in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and in the second-biggest city of Kharkiv in the morning, Ukrainian officials said, while a residential building in the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine was on fire after being struck by a missile.
Ukraine says Russian troops ‘reduced pace’
- The Ukrainian military said Russian troops had slowed down “the pace of the offensive”.
Moscow gains in the south
- The Russians made headway in the south, with Kyiv admitting the Black Sea city of Berdyansk had fallen, with Kherson on the other side of Crimea also besieged.
11 killed in Kharkiv
- At least 11 civilians were killed in the ongoing shelling of Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv in the east of the country.
Ukraine demands Russians withdraw
- Ukraine demands an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops as talks with the Kremlin start on Ukraine’s border with Belarus.
Russia’s strategic missile forces placed on high alert
- Russia’s defence ministry said its nuclear missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets had been placed on enhanced combat duty, Interfax news agency reported.
NATO allies ‘stepping up’ support
- NATO partners are providing Ukraine with air-defence missiles and anti-tank weapons, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet.
Russian central bank scrambles
- Russia’s central bank announced a slew of measures to support domestic markets as it scrambled to manage the fallout from the sanctions.
The Vatican says ready to help
- The Vatican is ready to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine to end the war, its top diplomat said.
Half a million refugees
- Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, said that more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries since the start of the invasion.
Airlines brace for sanctions
- Airlines braced for a potentially lengthy sanctions war after the EU banned Russian airlines and Moscow pledged to retaliate.
Seven million could be hit
- The European Union warned that up to seven million people could be uprooted if the war drags on.
Macron demands Moscow ends its offensive
- French President Emmanuel Macron urged Putin to stop all strikes on civilians in Ukraine. In its own statement on the talks, the Kremlin said Putin had told Macron that a settlement on Ukraine was only possible if Kyiv was neutral and “demilitarised.”
You can read key moments from Day 4 here