Ukraine latest updates: Kyiv TV tower hit in alleged attack

Russia-Ukraine crisis news from March 1: Washington says Russian ‘crimes’ in Ukraine are ‘mounting by the hour’.

Smoke is seen billowing from near a television tower in Kyiv
Some Ukrainian television channels reportedly stopped broadcasting following the alleged Russian attack [Ukrainian Interior Ministry Press Service/AFP]
  • A huge Russian military convoy is edging closer to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, where an alleged Russian attack has struck a television tower.
  • Russian forces have entered the southern city of Kherson, Ukrainian interior ministry says.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine and appealed for the European Union to admit his country as a member.
  • At least 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed on Monday in a Russian artillery attack on a military base in Okhtyrka, a local official says.
  • Mayor of Mariupol says the key southeastern port city is being “pounded” by Russian shelling.
  • Russian missiles have struck residential areas in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, according to a regional official.
  • Negotiations between delegations from Kyiv and Moscow held at the Ukraine-Belarus border on Monday ended with no agreements except to keep talking.

The live blog is now closed; thank you for joining us. Here are the updates for March 1:

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 6

United Airlines suspends flying over Russian airspace

United Airlines confirmed it has temporarily suspended flying over Russian airspace, joining other major US carriers.

United had been continuing to fly over Russian airspace to operate some flights to and from India in recent days. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Parcel Service all confirmed this week they had halted flights over Russia as the White House considers following Canada and the European Union in banning overflights of US airspace by Russian carriers.

World Bank, IMF say they are racing to get aid to Ukraine

The heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank said they were racing to provide billions of dollars of additional funding to Ukraine in the coming weeks and months, and warned that the war threatened to create “significant spillovers” to other countries.

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass warned that commodity prices were rising, which risked further fuelling inflation, and disruptions in financial markets would continue to worsen should the conflict persist.

Strong US majority backs sanctions against Russia: Poll

Americans’ approval of Biden’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine rose during the past week, with 43 percent saying they approve in a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Tuesday, up from 34 percent last week.

A strong majority – 71 percent – of respondents said they believed the United States should provide Ukraine with weapons. Some 77 percent said the United States should impose additional sanctions on Russia as a result of its attacks in Ukraine.

‘Now is not the time for the world to look away,’ says US envoy

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US envoy to the United Nations, said Russian attacks have caused a “devastating loss of life” across Ukraine. “Now is not the time for the world to look away. Now is the time to act,” she wrote on Twitter.

Apple halts sales in Russia

Apple Inc said it has paused all product sales in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said in a statement. “We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”

Russian, Belarusian drivers allowed to race as neutrals, says FIA

Motorsport’s governing body FIA condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but said Russian and Belarusian drivers could still take part in its competitions in a neutral capacity.

The decision was announced following an extraordinary meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC). The meeting also confirmed the cancellation of this year’s Russian Grand Prix. The decision would allow Nikita Mazepin, the only Russian on the grid, to continue to race in Formula One.

Canada shuts ports to Russian ships

Canada has shut its ports to Russian-owned ships, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said.

Canada has taken a series of measures, including imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, closing Canadian airspace to Russian planes, and forbidding Canadian financial institutions from dealing with the Russian central bank as part of Western nations’ moves to isolate Russia.

“Russia must be held accountable for its invasion of Ukraine,” Alghabra said.

EU bans Russian media outlets, banks from SWIFT: EU presidency

The European Union has banned Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in the bloc while banning “certain” Russian banks from the SWIFT bank messaging system, the EU’s rotating presidency said.

The moves, due to come into force Wednesday after publication in the official journal of the EU, come as Brussels intensifies its sanctions regime on Moscow in response for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Slovenia’s consulate in Ukraine destroyed in attack on Kharkiv: ministry

The Slovenian foreign ministry has said its consulate in Ukraine was destroyed in a military attack on the city of Kharkiv.

The ministry said on its Twitter account that it condemned the act and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

No employees were injured in the attack, Slovenia’s STA news agency cited the ministry as saying.

Indian student killed in Ukraine shelling

An Indian student has been killed in shelling in Ukraine, New Delhi said, as it urged Moscow and Kyiv to secure safe passage for around 12,000 of its stranded nationals.

“With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Twitter.

People fleeing the war in Ukraine include citizens of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Some said they experienced mistreatment at the border as Ukrainian and Polish officers prevented them from crossing into the European Union.

INTERACTIVE_RefugeesDAY6 - March1_5

Russia’s sporting freeze grows over Ukraine invasion

Russia has been frozen out by a snowballing list of sports following an appeal by the International Olympic Committee.

Russian teams were barred from competing in international ice skating, skiing, basketball, track, and some tennis events, a day after being kicked out of football competitions and hockey.

Russian and Belarusian tennis players were allowed to play on the ATP and WTA tours and at the Grand Slams, but without national flags.

The decisions followed the IOC’s request to international sports federations to keep Russian athletes out of events they organise.

Russian steelmaker suspends Europe sales on sanctions

Russian steelmaker Severstal PJSC has suspended sales to Europe, its biggest export market, after billionaire owner Alexei Mordashov was sanctioned, along with other tycoons in the country.

The company, which sells about three million tonnes of steel per year to Europe, was looking at new avenues for sales after being forced to suspend deliveries, a person familiar with situation told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity.

The European Union imposed sanctions on Mordashov and other wealthy Russians following the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian forces enter Kherson: Ukrainian official

Russian forces have entered the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, but Ukraine still controls the city administration building, Ukrainian interior ministry advisor Vadym Denysenko said on television.

ICJ to hold Ukraine war hearings on March 7, 8

The International Court of Justice has said it will hold hearings on March 7 and 8 about 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.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan already announced he was launching an investigation on the “situation in Ukraine” following Russia’s invasion.

Zelenskyy speaks with Biden about sanctions, defence aid

Zelenskyy has spoken to US President Joe Biden about US leadership on sanctions against Russia and defence assistance to Ukraine.

“We must stop the aggressor as soon as possible. Thank you for your support!,” he said on Twitter.

The UK imposed sanctions against Belarusian individuals and organisations over the country’s role in facilitating the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck asked the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarus as soon as possible. Morawieck said the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen was in agreement.

Cultural backlash intensifies against Russia over invasion

The cultural backlash against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified as the Cannes Film Festival said no Russian delegations would be welcome this year and the Venice festival announced free screenings of a film about the 2014 conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Hollywood also joined the blockade of Moscow, with Paramount becoming the latest studio to pull its upcoming films from Russian theatres.

UN head condemns Russia’s use of heavy weapons

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned Russia’s use of heavy weapons in its attack on Ukraine, his spokesperson said.

“The secretary-general is very concerned about the use of heavy weapons against urban centres in Ukraine,” Stephane Dujarric said in New York, as Russia pummelled the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the country’s second-biggest city Kharkiv.

The UN Human Rights Council said at least 136 civilians have been killed so far. Dujarric said, however, that there was likely a high number of unreported cases.

Abu Dhabi leader vows “energy market stability”

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed has pledged to maintain energy market stability, the UAE’s state news agency said.

In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sheikh Mohammed spoke of the “need to maintain the stability of the global energy market,” WAM reported, as oil prices surged due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The crown prince was also briefed by Putin on “the developments of the crisis with Ukraine”.

“Vladimir Putin gave a detailed account of the reasons, goals and targets of the Russian special operation,” the Kremlin added.

Zelenskyy tells Russia “just stop the bombing” before second talks

The Ukrainian president has said Russia must stop bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful talks on a ceasefire could start, as a first round of negotiations this week had yielded scant progress.

Setting out his conditions for further talks with Russia, Zelenskyy told Reuters and CNN in a joint interview, “It’s necessary to at least stop bombing people, just stop the bombing and then sit down at the negotiating table.”

Missile attack hits Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial: Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy’s office has reported a powerful missile attack on the site of the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial, near the TV tower that has been hit in Kyiv.

Russia said it is only targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure, air defence, and air forces with high-precision weapons.

There was no immediate confirmation of casualties in the aftermath of the attack.

Russian strikes on Kyiv’s TV tower kill five people

An attack by Russian forces on a television tower a couple of miles from central Kyiv has killed five people and wounded five others, Ukrainian emergency services have said in a statement.

Officials said a TV control room and a power substation were hit, and at least some Ukrainian channels briefly stopped broadcasting.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Lviv, said the attack was preceded by a warning by the Russian defence ministry about two hours prior. The ministry warned Kyiv residents living near installations possibly used for military intelligence purposes to evacuate.

The definition, however, applies to a vast number civil installations. “This could apply to police stations, even,” Simmons said.

Turkey calls for ceasefire, supports NATO enlargement

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Ukraine and Russia to immediately stop fighting and to “contribute to world peace”, adding that Ankara is not opposed to NATO enlargement.

Turkey, a NATO member,  shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia and has good ties with both. On Monday Ankara said it was closing its Black Sea straits during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, limiting the passage of some Russian ships from the Mediterranean.

Symbolic pressure on Russia growing in the United States

US cultural, sporting and business pressure on Russia is building as its attack on Ukraine continues, but advocates want further action yet.

Read more here.

As Russia’s convoy advances, Kyiv shudders to a standstill

In Kyiv, some supermarket shelves are now bare after people rushed to get supplies amid Russia’s offensive.

In Silpo, a supermarket in the central Pechersky district, all that was left on offer on Tuesday was cured ham, French cheeses, Swiss chocolate and mangoes imported from Thailand.

Staple, more affordable foodstuffs were gone. The shop’s bread, vegetables, meat and oils had all been anxiously bought up.

“We’re expecting a delivery tomorrow, it’s not that easy logistically,” Konstantin, a cashier in a mask adorned with a tiny Ukrainian coat of arms, said.

A woman is seen looking at empty shelves in a Kyiv shop
A woman stares at empty shelves at a store in the capital [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

Nearby, queues were forming outside of a pharmacy, as people waited patiently for their prescriptions.

“It’s one man out, one man in,” Leonid Goncharenko, a 79-year-old former firefighter, said. Goncharenko, who has diabetes and a heart condition, needed a range of medications.

But except for the lines in front of essential stores, Kyiv’s streets were largely empty.

Ukrainian forces are seen on a road in the centre of Kyiv
Tension in Kyiv is increasing as a miles-long Russian military convoy edges towards the city [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

Some of those on the move were trickling into one of the city’s subway stations-turned bomb shelters, where a group of stern, gun-toting military officers in khaki uniforms and masks were checking the identification of everyone who attempted to enter.

Other servicemen were operating nearby checkpoints

“There are Russian spies operating in Kyiv already, they spot the location of strategic sites, we have to find and detain them,” one of the servicemen said.

Reporting by Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.

Russian attack hits Kyiv television tower, Ukrainian official says

Russian forces have attacked a television tower in Kyiv, potentially disrupting its signal, Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko says.

Local television channel 1+1 said work would be done to restore any lost signal.

The Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian English-language news outlet based in the capital, said Ukrainian TV channels had stopped broadcasting following the attack.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the veracity of the reports.

‘I’m afraid of total isolation’: Fear for the future in Russia’s Saint Petersburg

Russians in the country’s second city of Saint Petersburg say they are feeling the effects of the global blowback to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

“These sanctions are really affecting ordinary people, not just some rich oligarchs,” Boris, who declined to give his surname, said.

“Our savings and wages are falling. If McDonald’s [outlets] start disappearing from the high street, people will wonder why. And if things get really bad, there might be major unrest, and a Russian revolution is an ugly thing.”

Boris, a 20-something entrepreneur, also said he was also nervous about Russia’s increasing international sporting and cultural isolation.

“I’m really afraid of total isolation [from the rest of the world],” he added. “There’s a sense that this horrible cloud is descending on us and we can do nothing about it.”

UK PM rules out deploying troops to battle Russian forces in Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the United Kingdom’s troops will not fight Russian forces in Ukraine, and that recent NATO reinforcements on the alliance’s eastern flank were firmly within the borders of its member states.

“These are nothing more than defensive measures, which have been the essence of NATO for more than 70 years,” Johnson said during a visit to Estonia, where the UK has deployed additional troops.

“I want to be crystal clear finally, on that point, we will not fight Russian forces in Ukraine and our reinforcements like these reinforcements here in Tapa are firmly within the borders of NATO members and they are profoundly the right thing to do.”

INTERACTIVE- NATO members in Europe expand eastwards

Blinken says Russian ‘crimes’ in Ukraine mounting by the hour

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed that Russian “crimes” in Ukraine are “mounting by the hour”, with attacks allegedly hitting hospitals, schools and residential buildings.

Addressing the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, Blinken called for the body to “send a resolute and unified message that President Putin should unconditionally stop” the war.

He said the forum’s urgent debate on Ukraine scheduled for Thursday, where a resolution brought by Kyiv and allies would set up an international probe into violations, is an “important step toward ensuring documentation and accountability”.

Russians flock to ATMs, experience payment issues as sanctions bite

As the rouble plummets following Western sanctions, Russians are flocking to cash machines in a bid to withdraw as much currency as possible.

Meanwhile, some attempting to use their debit and credit cards have had issues, as measures directly targeting a string of Russian banks come into effect.

“I’ve had several customers today who couldn’t pay because their cards aren’t working,” a fried shrimp vendor in Saint Petersburg’s Galleria shopping mall said.

Those with foreign bank accounts are not immune from the financial punishment being imposed on Russia over its invasion either.

Long queues have reportedly snaked outside of money transfer firms, such as Western Union, as people try to claw money back from abroad to cover their costs of living.

Lives in a suitcase: The refugees fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war

At the Romanian border, mothers with young children and teenagers travelling alone carry their lives in their luggage.

Take a look here.

Life in a suitcase
Veronica, 32, and her two daughters fled from Chernivtsi a city in western Ukraine [Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
Life in a suitcase
Yulia, 31, and her son [Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
Life in a suitcase
Jana, 13, left Chernivtsi with her family, including their two pet dogs [Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

Ukrainian journalist urges British PM, NATO to enforce a ‘no-fly zone’

Footage of a Ukrainian journalist pleading with Johnson for the United Kingdom and its NATO allies to enforce a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine is being shared widely on social media.

Take a look below.

EU must prepare for millions of refugees from Ukraine, official says

The European Union must prepare for “millions” more refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the bloc’s commissioner for home affairs has said.

Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Slovakia, Ylva Johansson said she hoped the European Council would activate the bloc’s temporary protection directive – a special mechanism aimed at giving protection to displaced persons – in the coming days.

She added officials were looking at deploying more people to assist the EU member states bordering Ukraine.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already passed from Ukraine into the bloc as they flee Moscow’s offensive.

UN scales up aid for Ukraine, appeals for $1.7bn

UN agencies have launched an emergency appeal to respond to the rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for $1.7bn to help people who have fled the country and those still trapped inside.

“The crisis has turned very ugly very fast,” Martin Griffiths, the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, told journalists at a news conference in Geneva. He called for compassion to match the scale of the crisis.

Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, said at the same briefing that 150,000 more people had fled Ukraine in the last 24 hours.

The rise means the total number of people who have sought safety in other countries since Moscow launched its assault now stands at nearly 680,000.

Sense of ‘dread’ sweeping across Ukraine: AJE correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine, says there is a sense of “dread” sweeping across the country.

“We are hearing of a lot of fighting in the south, in the area near Mariupol, and that is getting fiercer all the time,” Simmons said.

“And people are dealing with a massive explosion, and a number of rocket attacks, in Kharkiv,” he added.

“Furthermore, 70 soldiers were killed on Monday in a barracks, according to the Ukrainian defence ministry – a colossal number.

“This whole country has a tremor of fear of right now on what is going to happen next.”

Locals in Ukraine breakaway regions recount short-lived joy, hope

Al Jazeera has spoken to several residents in Ukraine’s breakaway regions about their feelings after Moscow moved to recognise the territories independence, and then launched an all-out assault on Ukraine.

Read more here.

Russia says it will hit security service sites in Kyiv: Reports

Russia will attack sites in Kyiv belonging to Ukraine’s security service and a special operations unit, the country’s defence ministry has been quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

The strikes aim to prevent “information attacks” on Russia, the RIA Novosti and TASS news agencies quoted the ministry as saying.

The ministry also urged those near the sites to leave the areas, according to the agencies.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Kyiv MAP DAY 6
(Al Jazeera)


Make Moscow end its assault, Kyiv asks Beijing

Ukraine’s foreign minister has asked his Chinese counterpart for Beijing to use its ties with Moscow to stop Russia’s military invasion, according to the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

The ministry said in a statement that Dmytro Kuleba had made the request during talks by phone with Wang Yi.

According to the statement, Wang Yi told Kuleba Beijing was ready to make every effort to help end the war through diplomacy.

UK foreign secretary says Russia becoming a ‘global pariah’

The UK’s foreign minister says Russia is becoming a “global pariah” in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine and has urged countries to isolate it further yet.

“We are working to squeeze the Putin regime harder and harder by steadily tightening the vice,” Truss told the UN Human Rights Council.

She accused the Russian president of “violating human rights on an industrial scale”.

“I urge nations to condemn Russia’s appalling actions, and isolate it on the international stage,” Truss said.

Ukraine claims Russia planning 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 has said.

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

‘Unbearable scenes’ at a Kyiv railway station as people attempt to flee the capital

Video footage from a railway station in Kyiv shows throngs of people desperately scrambling to board a train as they bid to escape the city.

Shaun Walker, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper present at the scene, described the unfolding humanitarian crisis as “unbearable”.

“Old people, kids, disabled people, pets, this train is already packed full,” he tweeted. “People fear it could be the last chance to flee.”

An enormous Russian military convoy is currently lumbering towards the capital, raising fears of an imminent uptick in fighting there.

EU to seriously look at Ukraine’s ‘legitimate’ request for membership

EU institutions and governments will have to seriously look at Ukraine’s “legitimate” request for membership of the bloc, the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel has said.

Michel noted however that while Ukraine’s application was “symbolic”, there was no unity on the issue of enlargement in the 27-nation bloc.

“It is going to be difficult, we know there are different views in Europe,” Michel told a special sitting of the European Parliament in Brussels.

“The council [of EU governments] will have to seriously look at the symbolic, political and legitimate request that has been made and make the appropriate choice in a determined and clear-headed manner,” he added.

UN official estimates one million people displaced within Ukraine

The UN refugee agency’s (UNHCR) representative in Ukraine has estimated that about a million people have been displaced in the country as a result of Russia’s invasion.

“We estimate that it has to be about one million people who have fled internally or who are currently on a train, a bus or in a car trying to get to a safety,” Karolina Lindholm Billing told a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

She cautioned that the agency still did not have reliable figures.

Map of refugees leaving Ukraine

“Prove you are with us”, Zelenskyy urges EU

Ukraine’s president has urged the EU to prove that it sided with Ukraine in its war with Russia, a day after he signed an official request for Kyiv to join the bloc.

“The European Union is going to be much stronger with us, that’s for sure. Without you, Ukraine is going to be aline,” Zelenskyy told a special sitting of the European Parliament by video link.

“Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans and then life will win over death and light will win over darkness. Glory be to Ukraine,” he continued.

Poland calls for more sanctions on Russia if war continues

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau has called for further sanctions on Russia if Moscow does not end its invasion of Ukraine.

“What has been achieved so far indicates that if the war was to last longer, the scope of sanctions would increase. There is agreement between us on this,” he said after meeting his German and French counterparts.

Poland has accepted about 400,000 refugees since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, but the number might yet reach one million, Rau added.

Russian security official slams French threat of ‘economic war’

Ex-president and top Russian security official Dmitry Medvedev has warned Western officials to “watch their tongues” after France’s finance minister promised to wage an economic war against Russia.

“Today, some French minister has said that they declared an economic war on Russia. Watch your tongue, gentlemen! And don’t forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones,” Medvedev tweeted.

Bruno Le Maire had earlier on Tuesday told France Info radio that Paris was going to “deliver a total economic and financial war against Russia”.

An array of countries have moved to roll out sweeping sanctions on Moscow in the wake of its incursion.

Analysis: Can African gas replace Russian supplies to Europe?

European capitals are looking to end their dependence on Moscow’s gas supplies.

African countries, which have some of the world’s deepest gas reserves, may be able to step up in Russia’s stead.

But a lack of infrastructure, not capacity, could hurt their chances of filling the gaps.

Read more here.

At least 10 killed in latest rocket attacks on Kharkiv, Ukrainian official says

At least 10 people were killed and 35 others wounded in rocket bombardment by Russian forces on the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Herashchenko, the interior ministry adviser, has said.

“The rubble is being cleared and there will be even more victims and wounded,” Herashchenko said.

The reported deaths on Tuesday came after at least 11 people were killed on Monday by an earlier spate of Russian rocket attacks on Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian officials.

There was no response from Moscow to either of the claims, while Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify any of the figures provided.

Lukashenko says Belarus deploying more forces to Ukraine border

Belarus is deploying more forces on its border with Ukraine, the country’s state news agency, Belta, has quoted President Alexander Lukashenko as saying.

“Those are well trained rapid deployment groups which are ready to stop any provocation and any military action against Belarus,” Lukashenko said.

Russia-Ukraine war: Which sporting bodies have banned Russia?

Moscow is facing a major sporting fallout over its assault on Ukraine.

FIFA and UEFA have banned Russian national and domestic club teams from their competitions “until further notice”, while the International Olympic Committee has urged sport federations to exclude Russian athletes

Click here for a rundown of some of the action taken so far by the global sporting community.

Russia players pose for a team group photo before a match against Turkey on September 7, 2018
Russian national teams have been suspended from all competitions by Fifa and Uefa [File: Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Zelenskyy accuses Russia of ‘state terrorism’ over Kharkiv strikes

Ukraine’s president has claimed that Russian artillery attacks on Kharkiv amount to “state terrorism”.

“The terror aims to break us, to break our resistance,” he said in a video address shared on social media, during which he described Kyiv and Kharkiv as Moscow’s main targets.

UN reports 136 civilian deaths, including 13 children

At least 136 civilians, including 13 children, have been killed and 400 others wounded since Russia launched its invasion, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office (OHCHR) has said.

“The real toll is likely to be much higher,” Liz Throssell told a news briefing.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.

Indian student killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv, gov’t spokesman says

An Indian student has been killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs has said.

“With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning. The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family,” Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

He added that India’s foreign secretary had called the Russian and Ukrainian envoys to India in for meetings to reiterate New Delhi’s demands “for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones”.

Ukraine is home to thousands of international students, many of whom are attempting to flee the country amid Russia’s offensive.

NATO’s Stoltenberg urges Russia to end war in Ukraine immediately

NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg has called on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine and withdraw all of Russia’s forces but reiterated the alliance will not send troops or combat jets to support Kyiv as it does not want to become part of the conflict.

“The Russian assault is totally unacceptable and it is enabled by Belarus,” Stoltenberg said after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“NATO is a defensive alliance, we do not seek conflict with Russia. Russia must immediately stop the war, pull all its forces from Ukraine and engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts,” he added.

Russia’s Lavrov makes Ukraine nuclear weapons claim

Russia’s foreign minister has claimed Kyiv has been seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, telling a Geneva disarmament meeting that this is a real danger that Moscow needed to prevent.

“Ukraine still has Soviet technologies and the means of delivery of such weapons,” Sergey Lavrov told the Conference on Disarmament in a pre-recorded address. “We cannot fail to respond to this real danger.”

He delivered the speech to a thin crowd after diplomats from several countries staged a walk-out to protest against Russia’s invasion.

They stood in a circle outside the meeting for the duration of Lavrov’s speech, holding a Ukrainian flag. Lavrov was supposed to attend the session in person but the visit was cancelled, with Russia accusing unidentified EU states of blocking his flight path.

Diplomats are seen walking out in protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine while Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addresses the Conference on Disarmament
Several diplomats staged a walk-out during Lavrov’s speech [Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via Reuters]

UN refugee agency says more than 660,000 people have fled Ukraine

More than 660,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries since Russia invaded, UNHCR says.

The agency’s spokeswoman, Shabia Mantoo, told a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva that there were reports of people waiting for up to 60 hours to enter Poland.

Meanwhile, queues at the Romanian border are up to 20km (12 miles) long, she added.

Russia demands no military bases in ex-Soviet countries

The West must not build military facilities in any countries of the former Soviet Union, Lavrov has been quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Russia’s foreign minister also said Moscow found it unacceptable that some European countries hosted nuclear weapons from the US and was taking measures to prevent Ukraine from acquiring similar weapons, the RIA Novosti and TASS news agencies reported.

Russia to continue Ukraine ‘operation’ until goals achieved, defence minister says

Russia will continue its so-called “military operation” in Ukraine until it achieves its goals, the country’s defence minister has said, according to a report by the Interfax news agency.

Sergei Shoigu said Moscow’s main goal was protecting itself from threats created by the West and claimed Russia was not occupying Ukraine’s territory.

Russian forces laying siege to Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukrainian official says

Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych says Russian forces are trying to lay siege to Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Russian troops fired artillery at Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol overnight while the Ukrainian side shot down Russian military planes around the capital, Arestovych said in a televised briefing.

Separatist leader says his forces aim to encircle Ukraine’s Mariupol

A Russian-backed separatist leader in eastern Ukraine has said his forces aim to encircle Mariupol, according to a report by RIA Novosti.

“The task for today is to directly encircle Mariupol,” RIA quoted Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), as saying.

His remarks came after Mariupol’s mayor said the city was under constant shelling.

Ukrainian FM shares footage of alleged Kharkiv attacks

Ukraine’s foreign minister has posted a video on Twitter that appears to show an enormous explosion in Kharkiv’s Freedom Square.

“Barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv,” Kuleba said.

“Putin is unable to break Ukraine down. He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians,” he added, before calling on other countries to “isolate Russia fully”.

The source of the footage shared by Kuleba was unknown. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the video.

Kuleba’s post came after the head of the regional administration in Kharkiv, Oleg Synegubov, said Russian missile attacks had hit the centre of the city, including residential areas and the city administration building.

The humanitarian situation: What we know

At least 352 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed amid Russia’s assault, according to Ukraine’s health ministry.

The UN currently puts the civilian death toll at 136 people, including 13 children, but warns the real figure is likely to be “much higher”.

Russia has not commented on civilian casualties, while Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the figures provided.

Meanwhile, more than 660,000 people have fled Ukraine in search of safety in other countries, according to the UN.

The exodus has sparked a mounting crisis at border crossing points, where vast crowds await passage into neighbouring states including Poland, Hungary and Romania.


Mariupol being ‘pounded’ by Russian attacks, mayor says

The mayor of Mariupol says the city is under constant shelling by Russian forces, adding that civilians have been killed and infrastructure damaged amid the attacks.

“We have had residential quarters shelled for five days. They are pounding us with artillery, they are shelling us with GRADS, they are hitting us with air forces,” Vadym Boichenko said in a live broadcast on Ukrainian TV.

“We have civilian infrastructure damaged – schools, houses. There are many injured. There are women, children killed.”

Lukashenko says Belarus won’t join Russian ‘operation’ in Ukraine: Report

Belarus has no plans to join Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine, Lukashenko has been quoted as saying by Belta.

The Belarusian president also denied allegations by Kyiv that Russian troops are attacking Ukraine from Belarus, Belta reported.

Russians ‘upping their tempo of attacks on large urban centres’

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull, reporting from Lviv, says Russian forces are “upping their tempo of attacks on large urban centres”.

“There are reports of explosions being heard in Kyiv this morning … and the enormous convoy to the northwest, 40-miles long, which contains Russian armour, troops, logistical and support supplies, that’s ready to attempt to move on the capital,” Hull said.

“There’s another convoy coming up from the southeast, the idea is to try and encircle the capital and apply maximum pressure on the civilian population inside and the government of president Zelenskyy,” he added.

“The other big urban centre under continued attack is Kharkiv … and attacks are going on as well at military targets.

“One very large incident is being reported this morning in Okhtyrka  … which apparently sustained attack [yesterday] by very heavy munitions, potentially a missile strike … [in which] 70 Ukrainians soldiers were killed.”

Kharkiv official says Russian missiles have struck residential areas

Synegubov, the head of the regional administration in Kharkiv, says Russian missile attacks have hit the centre of Ukraine’s second-largest city, including residential areas and the city administration building.

Synegubov said Russia had launched GRAD and cruise missiles on the eastern city and accused Moscow of being guilty of war crimes. He added the city’s defences were holding despite the bombardment.

Air raid alerts in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities: Report

The Kyiv Independent is reporting air raid sirens in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities, including Vinnytsia, Uman and Cherkasy.

It also cited a hospital administrator as saying that Russian shelling has hit a maternity hospital in the village of Buzova, near Kyiv.

“All people were evacuated from the building,” The Kyiv Independent reported.

Russian forces ‘surround city of Kherson’: Reports

Russian troops have surrounded the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, according to a journalist and a local official.

“The city is actually surrounded, there are a lot of Russian soldiers and military equipment on all sides, they set up checkpoints at the exits,” Journalist Alyona Panina told the Ukraine 24 TV channel.

The city’s Mayor Igor Kolykhaiev also said on Facebook that the “Russia army is setting up checkpoints at the entrances of Kherson”.

Kherson has a population of around 280,000 and lies north of the Crimea peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014. Russia claimed to have besieged the city on Sunday.

Japan freezes assets of Russia’s central bank

Japan is joining the US and other allies in slapping additional sanctions on Russia, including freezing assets of the country’s leaders and three financial institutions.

Aside from those held by six individuals including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Japan will freeze assets of Russia state-owned Promsvyazbank and Vnesheconombank, as well as the country’s central bank.


Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers killed in Russian attack

A Ukrainian official says a Russian artillery attack on a military unit in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, killed at least 70 Ukrainian soldiers on Monday.

Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, head of the Sumy Regional State Administration, posted photographs of the charred shell of a four-storey building and rescuers searching through its rubble for potential survivors.

People are seen removing debris in Okhtyrka
People remove debris at the site of the Okhtyrka military base [Irina Rybakova/Press service of the Ukrainian ground forces/Handout via Reuters]
The military base in Okhtyrka
A local official said Russia’s strike had killed at least 70 Ukrainian troops [Head of Sumy Regional State Administration Dmytro Zhyvytskyi/Handout]
People are seen removing debris in Okhtyrka
Rescuers searched through the rubble for potential survivors [Irina Rybakova/Press service of the Ukrainian ground forces/Handout via Reuters]

Warner Bros halting release of The Batman in Russia

Warner Bros and Sony Pictures are following Walt Disney Co’s suit and halting the release of their films in Russia.

Warner Bros said it is pausing the release of The Batman in Russia ‘in light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”. The movie was due to open in Russian cinemas on March 3.

Sony said it will also suspend its upcoming theatrical releases in Russia, including the film, Moribus.

Read more here.

Russians ‘have fallen behind timeline’, says US legislator

Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy says he was told during a classified briefing that Russia has fallen behind schedule in its invasion of Ukraine due to fierce resistance as well as equipment and logistics failures.

Russia will try to encircle and cut off Kyiv in the “next several weeks,” Murphy said, adding that the battle for the capital will be long and bloody.

Ukraine military says Russia is planning to use Belarus troops

Ukraine’s Armed Forces say Russia is planning to involve the “most trained military units” of the Belarusian army in its invasion.

Belarus previously denied the claim on Monday.

“Belarusian servicemen are carrying out tasks in accordance with the Armed Forces’ training plan for the 2021-2022 training year within Belarusian borders only and are not taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine,” the Belarusian defence ministry said.

Mastercard blocks several financial institutions over Russia sanctions

Mastercard has blocked multiple financial institutions from its payment network as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The US credit card company did not say which institutions were blocked.

It promised to contribute $2m for humanitarian relief.

Australia commits $50m in support for Ukraine

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government will provide Ukraine with $50m to help fend off the Russian invasion.

“The overwhelming majority of that … will be in the lethal category,” he said.

“We’re talking missiles, we’re talking ammunition, we’re talking supporting them in their defence of their own homeland in Ukraine and we’ll be doing that in partnership with NATO.”
Refugee movement from Ukraine to neighboring countries

Diplomats accuse UAE of ‘dirty deal with Russia’

Diplomats say the United Arab Emirates (UAE) abstained from two votes on UN Security Council resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in order to win Moscow’s support for an arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

A Security Council diplomat told Reuters news agency that UAE made a “deal with the devil” to secure Russia’s support.

“UAE’s two abstentions on Ukraine bought the Russian yes vote,” the diplomat said.

Another diplomat told AFP: “We are very angry with the Emirates and convinced they made a dirty deal with Russia” that links the Houthis and Ukraine.

Both the UAE and Russia denied a deal was made on voting.

Read more here.

Disney halts film releases in Russia

Disney says it is suspending the release of its films in cinemas in Russia after Moscow’s assault on Ukraine

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming ‘Turning Red’ from Pixar,” the US entertainment giant said in a statement.

Putin stripped of taekwondo black belt

World Taekwondo has stripped Russian President Vladimir Putin of his honourary taekwondo black belt over his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It added that it would join the International Olympic Committee in banning the Russian flag and anthem at its events.

World Rugby suspends Russia, Belarus

Rugby’s world governing body is suspending Russia and Belarus from all international rugby “until further notice”.

It also suspended Russia’s membership indefinitely.

“World Rugby reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and the facilitation of this action by Belarus,” the body said.

Blinken ‘assures Ukraine of more sanctions and weapons’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has offered Kyiv more support in the form of sanctions and weapons.

“In our call, Secretary Blinken affirmed that the U.S. support for Ukraine remains unfaltering,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

“I underscored that Ukraine craves for peace, but as long as we are under Russia’s assault we need more sanctions and weapons. Secretary assured me of both. We coordinated further steps.”

Satellite images show 40-mile-long Russian convoy descending on Kyiv

The Russian military convoy descending on Ukraine’s capital stretches for about 40 miles (64km), according to Maxar Technologies.

The US satellite-imaging company said pictures taken on Monday shows the convoy “contains hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles”.

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

A satellite image shows southern end of convoy armour towed artillery trucks, east of Antonov airport, Ukraine, February 28, 2022.
A satellite image shows the southern end of a military convoy, east of Antonov airport, Ukraine, February 28, 2022 [Maxar Technologies/Handout via Reuters]

Ukraine says Russia used a vacuum bomb

Oksana Markarova, Kyiv’s ambassador to the US, says Russia had used a vacuum bomb in Ukraine on Monday.

Also known as a thermobaric bomb, the weapon uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, typically producing a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than that of a conventional explosive.

“They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention,” Markarova said after a meeting with US legislators. “The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

Russia ‘continued shelling Ukraine during talks’

Ukraine’s president says Russian troops intensified shelling of Ukraine in an effort to force his government into making concessions during talks held earlier on Monday.

In a video address, Zelenskyy said that “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronising of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method”.

The president said Ukraine is not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”

Zelenskyy says that Kyiv, the capital, remains “a key goal” for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery.

Zelenskyy seeks ban on Russia in all global airports and ports

Ukraine’s president is seeking a global ban on Russian planes and ships as punishment for attacking his country.

“We must close entry for this state in all ports, all canals and all the world’s airports,” Zelenskyy said on Facebook. He also urged the international community to “consider a total closure of the skies to Russian missiles, planes and helicopters”.

Ukraine says Starlink equipment has arrived

Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation says equipment to use SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service has arrived in his country.

Mykhailo Fedorov thanked SpaceX founder Elon Musk for the equipment in a Twitter post on Monday that was accompanied by a photo of boxes on the back of a truck.

Starlink is a satellite-based internet system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. It markets itself as “ideally suited” for areas where internet service is unreliable or unavailable.

Canada to ban Russian oil imports, supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his country will ban imports of Russian crude oil and supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons and upgraded ammunition.

“We are announcing our intention to ban all imports of crude oil from Russia, an industry that has benefitted President Putin and his oligarchs greatly,” he told reporters in Ottawa.

Canada will also step up “lethal aid” to Ukraine and will send 100 Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems and 2,000 rockets “as quickly as possible,” said Defence Minister Anita Anand.


Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes

Kyiv’s Ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, says Russian troops are “attacking hospitals, mobile brigades and ambulances” in Ukraine.

“This is not the action of a state with a legitimate security concern,” Kyslytsya said at a UN Security Council emergency meeting. “This is the action of a state determined to kill civilians. There is no debate. These are war crimes.”

Ukraine opens entry to foreign war volunteers

Ukraine’s president has signed a decree temporarily lifting the requirement for entry visas for any foreigner willing to join Ukraine’s international defence legion and fight on Ukraine’s side against invading Russian troops.

Zelenskyy’s decree takes effect on Tuesday and will remain in effect as long as martial law is in place.

White House rules out no-fly zone

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be a step towards sending US troops to fight Russia.

“A no-fly zone would require implementation,” she said, adding it would require “deploying US military to enforce, which would be … potentially a direct conflict, and potentially a war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of”.

US Congress ‘would never’ authorise no-fly zone, says legislator

Murphy, the Democratic US senator, is ruling out approving a no-fly zone for Ukraine in Congress, saying the move would amount to war between the US and Russia.

“It’s a bad idea and Congress would never authorize it,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.

“Military equipment for Ukraine, humanitarian support for Ukraine, crippling sanction on Russia, movement of US troops to the eastern flank of NATO – these are all the right moves. But direct war between the world’s two nuclear powers should be a non-starter.”

Facebook to restrict access to Russian state media outlets in EU

Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced plans to restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik across the EU.

Meta’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, tweeted on Monday afternoon that the social media company had received requests “from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media”.

Read more here.

Zelenskyy urges West to consider no-fly zone for Russian aircraft

Ukraine’s president says it is time for the West to consider imposing a no-fly zone for Russian missiles, planes and helicopters in response to Russian shelling of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

In a video address, Zelenskyy did not specify how and by whom a no-fly zone would be enforced. He said Russia had launched 56 rocket strikes and fired 113 cruise missiles against Ukraine in the past five days.

“I believe that Russia is trying to apply pressure in this unsubtle way. Do not waste time. We do not accept such tactics. Fair negotiations can occur when one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the very moment of negotiations,” he said.

Hours before Ukrainian Zelenskyy called for the no-fly zone, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Washington is not considering such a move.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Monday, February 28, here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies