Russia-Ukraine live updates: Ukraine refugees reach 1 million in 7 days

Here are the latest news updates on the war in Ukraine after Russia launched a full-scale invasion.

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Thursday, March 3, 2022
Russia-Ukraine updates: Ukraine refugees reach 1M in 7 days
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The U.N. refugee agency says 1 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion less than a week ago.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Russia has launched a full-scale war in Ukraine, unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending troops and tanks from multiple directions in a move that could rewrite the world's geopolitical landscape. Ukraine's government pleaded for help as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee.

Get the latest live updates on the war unfolding in Ukraine below:

March 2, 2022

5:30 p.m.
Ukraine refugees reach 1 million in 7 days

The U.N. refugee agency says 1 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion less than a week ago, an exodus without precedent in this century for its speed.

The tally from UNHCR amounts to more than 2 percent of Ukraine's population on the move in under a week. The World Bank counted the population at 44 million at the end of 2020.

The U.N. agency has predicted that up to 4 million people could eventually leave Ukraine but cautioned that even that projection could be revised upward.

In an email, UNHCR spokesperson Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams wrote: "Our data indicates we passed the 1M mark" as of midnight in central Europe, based on counts collected by national authorities.

On Twitter, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, wrote: "In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries."

1:45 p.m.
Russia claims it has taken Ukrainian port city

A Russian official says troops have taken the Ukrainian port city of Kherson - a claim that the Ukrainian military denies.

The city is under Russian soldiers' "complete control," Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday.

He said that the city's civilian infrastructure, essential facilities and transport are operating as usual and that there are no shortages of food or essential goods.

Konashenkov said talks between the Russian commanders, city administrations and regional authorities on how to maintain order in the city were underway Wednesday. The claims could not be immediately verified.

A senior U.S. defense official said Wednesday that they have seen claims that the Russians have taken Kherson, but that the Ukrainian military is rejecting that claim.

"Our view is that Kherson is very much a contested city at this point," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to make military assessments.

12 p.m.
Powerful explosion in Kyiv near rail station

Ukrainian officials have reported a powerful explosion in central Kyiv, between the Southern Railway station and the Ibis hotel, an area near Ukraine's Defense Ministry.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that it was a missile strike.

Officials said it wasn't immediately clear how damaging the strike was, whether there were any casualties or where exactly the missile hit.

The Southern Railway station is one of two stations that make up the main passenger rail complex that thousands have used to flee the war over the past week. The two stations are connected by an overhead corridor that crosses over about a dozen tracks.

The stations are about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the square that was the site of huge protests in 2014 and 2004.

10 a.m.
Ukraine, Russia to hold talks on Thursday

A top aide for Russian President Vladimir Putin says Ukrainians are on their way to Belarus for talks that have been scheduled for Thursday.

"As far as I know, the Ukrainian delegation has already departed from Kyiv, is en route ... We're expecting them tomorrow," Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, told reporters Wednesday evening

According to Medinsky, the two sides agreed on the Brest region of Belarus, which borders Poland, as the site of the talks.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office confirmed to The Associated Press that the delegation is on its way, but gave no details on the time of the arrival.

8 a.m.

Over 800,000 people have fled Ukraine

Some 836,000 people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched an invasion there on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). About 453,000 of them have gone to neighboring Poland, UNHCR said.

March 1, 2022

11 p.m.
Bay Area nonprofit trying to save volunteers, dogs stranded in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine continues to unfold, one Bay Area nonprofit is working to help get both their volunteers and animals out of the country to safety. Learn more about it here.

10 p.m.
Ukrainian grandmother tells grandson she's 'ready to fight' as Russian forces move closer to Kyiv

Ukrainian man Slava Chupryna says both of his grandmothers are no strangers to war zones growing up during World War II. Liudmila Reshetniyk is one of them. She's living out of a tiny eight by 16-foot bunker beneath their home. Every day she takes turns cooking meals in frigid temperatures wearing a bullet-proof vest. At 14 years old she was accustomed to hearing bombs go off in the factory she worked in during the second World War.

Now, at age 83, she told her grandson she's still ready to fight.

"She is a true survivor, she will do everything possible to defend Ukraine," Chupryna said. "She said if she has to, she will grab a pitchfork and go stand up for Ukraine." Get the full story here.

5 p.m.
Biden expected to announce US banning Russian carriers from its airspace

President Biden is expected to announce in his State of the Union address Tuesday that the U.S. will ban Russian carriers from its airspace, according to a person familiar with his remarks.

12:30 p.m.
Ukraine wants Russia kicked off the internet

Ukraine has effectively asked that Russia be kicked off the internet.

In a letter sent Monday to the president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Ukraine's deputing minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, cited the "atrocious crimes" of Russia's invasion, including it's alleged breach of the Geneva Conventions in attacking civilian targets.

Federov said the crimes "have been made possible mainly due to the Russian propaganda machinery" and cited cyberattacks "from the Russian side" that have impeded the ability of Ukrainians and their government to communicate.

Federov asked that ICANN revoke, permanently or temporarily, the domains .ru and .su and shut down the root servers in Moscow and St. Petersburg that match domain names and numbers.

"Russian citizens must feel the cost of war," government spokesperson Oleksandr Ryzhenko said Tuesday.

ICANN had no immediate comment but the regional internet naming authority for Europe and the former Soviet Union, RIPE NCC, rejected the request.

In an email to members, RIPE's executive board said it believes "the means to communicate should not be affected by domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war."

Kicking Russia off the internet would be an annoyance to Russian hackers but it wouldn't stop them since they could still use different top-level internet domains. But it would badly isolate the Russian public from international discourse.

12 p.m.
UN's top court to hear Ukraine case vs. Russia

The United Nations' top court has scheduled hearings next week into a request by Ukraine for the court to order Moscow to halt its invasion.

Kyiv filed a case with the International Court of Justice on Saturday accusing Russia of planning genocide in Ukraine and asking for urgent "provisional measures" instructing Moscow to halt hostilities.

Lawyers for Ukraine will present arguments March 7 supporting its request. Russia's lawyers will be given time to respond on March 8.

Ahead of the hearings, the court's president, U.S. Judge Joan E. Donoghue, sent an urgent message Tuesday to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underscoring the necessity for Russia to "act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects."

The International Court of Justice rules in disputes between states. It often takes years to reach decisions, but orders on provisional measures are often delivered quickly.

11:30 a.m.
US to expel Russian 'operative' working for UN

The United States says it is expelling a Russian "intelligence operative" working for the United Nations, in addition to the 12 members of the Russian Mission to the United Nations whose expulsions were ordered Monday for engaging in espionage.

The U.N. was informed Monday that the U.S. was taking action to expel a staff member working for the U.N. Secretariat, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed.

"We regret that we find ourselves in this situation but are engaging with the host country," he said Tuesday.

Dujarric refused to comment further on grounds of privacy and the sensitivity of the issue but did say "what makes this decision a little difficult to understand is that the staff member was scheduled to end his assignment on March 14."

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a statement Monday that the 12 Russian diplomats had "abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security."

A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission said Tuesday: "On Feb. 28, the United States also initiated the process to require the departure of one Russian intelligence operative working at the United Nations who has abused their privileges of residence in the United States." The spokesperson was not authorized to speak publicly and commented on condition of anonymity.

9:30 a.m.
Zelensky urges Biden to send strong message on Russia and says: 'I'm not iconic. Ukraine is iconic'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged US counterpart Joe Biden to deliver a strong and "useful" message about the Russian invasion at his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with CNN and Reuters from the bunker in Kyiv in which he is leading his military's response. In the rare interview on Tuesday afternoon, Zelensky said that as long as Moscow's attacks on Ukrainian cities continued, little progress could be made in talks between the two nations. See the full story here.

8:45 a.m.
Russia kills 5 in attack on Kyiv TV tower

Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday evening that the Russian forces fired at the Kyiv TV tower and Ukraine's main Holocaust memorial, among other civilian sites targeted on the sixth day of the Russian invasion.

Ukraine's State Service for Emergency Situations said the strikes on the TV tower killed five people and left five more wounded.

Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, posted a photo of clouds of smoke around the TV tower, and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko shared a video of it being hit. Klitschko said an electrical substation powering the tower and a control room on the tower were damaged as the result.

The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, Andriy Yermak, said on Facebook that a "powerful missile attack on the territory where the (Babi) Yar memorial complex is located" is underway.

Babi Yar, a ravine in Kyiv, is where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed within 48 hours in 1941 when the city was under Nazi occupation. The killing was carried out by SS troops along with local collaborators.

6:45 a.m.
6 killed in attack on Kharkiv civilian building

A rocket attack on an administrative building in Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine has killed at least six people and injured another seven, Ukrainian officials said. A senior administration official told ABC News the U.S. has learned that Russia continues to plan for a "devastating" attack on Ukraine, warning that "the Russians -- will crush Ukraine."

6 a.m.
YouTube blocks RT, Sputnik in Europe

Google on Tuesday said it had blocked RT and Sputnik, Russian state-linked channels, from YouTube in Europe.

"Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action," the company said.

4:30 a.m.
Disney to stop releasing films in Russia

ABC7's parent company Disney says it will stop releasing films in Russia because of the invasion in Ukraine. In a statement, Disney cited not only the invasion but also the humanitarian crisis it has unleashed in Europe. The company says it's also working with non-governmental organization partners to help people displaced by the attack.

Feb. 28, 2022

11 p.m.
SJ City Hall illuminated in Ukrainian colors, city leader looks to cut ties with Russian Sister City

San Jose City Hall was glowing yellow and blue on Monday night, as the building was illuminated with the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas announced Monday, she wants to take that a step further. Arenas is pushing to end San Jose's Sister City relationship with Russia's fourth largest city.

"It's symbolic in nature," she added. "As we haven't had a very active Sister City relationship with Russia and Ekaterinburg." See the full story here.

6 p.m.
Ukrainian woman 39 weeks pregnant hides in bomb shelter with looming fear of hospital accessibility

As the war in Ukraine continues, we are hearing the story of a woman who is 39 weeks pregnant and hiding in bomb shelter.

Elina Brynza is no longer decorating the nursery to welcome their new born. Instead, she and her husband are gathering items and constantly racing to their bomb shelter. ABC7 News reporter Luz Peña spoke with her during that small window, when she felt safe to be inside her home. See the full interview here.

5 p.m.
Russian forces shell Ukraine's No. 2 city and menace Kyiv

Russian forces are shelling Ukraine's second-largest city, rocking a residential neighborhood, and closing in on the capital, Kyiv, in a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles.

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

Meanwhile, talks aimed at stopping the fighting yielded only an agreement to keep talking.

Amid ever-growing international condemnation, Russia finds itself increasingly isolated, while also facing unexpectedly fierce resistance on the ground in Ukraine and economic havoc at home.

2 p.m.
Meta restricts access to Russian state media

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram says it is restricting access to Russia's RT and Sputnik in Europe over concerns the two state-controlled media outlets are being used to spread disinformation and propaganda.

Monday's action by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Meta came after its announcement over the weekend that it was banning ads from Russian state media and had removed a network of 40 fake accounts, pages and groups that published pro-Russian talking points. The network used fictitious persons posing as journalists and experts, but had yet to create much of an audience. Facebook began labelling Russian state-run media in 2020.

RT and Sputnik are part of Russia's sprawling propaganda machine, spreading information that supports Russia's invasion while seeking to undermine and criticize the response by other nations.

1:30 p.m.
Ukrainian Orthodox bishops call for end to war

Ukrainian Orthodox bishops are calling on their superior in Moscow to urge Russia's leadership to stop the war in Ukraine.

The Holy Synod - the governing body of bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church -- asked Moscow Patriarch Kirill to call on Russian leaders to stop hostilities. The appeal shows a growing chasm between Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, and his own bishops in Ukraine over the war.

Patriarch Kirill has long had friendly ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In statements to date, he has called for an end to "fratricidal" war in Ukraine, but he has not assigned blame for the conflict and has emphasized a call for Orthodox unity.

While the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under the ultimate authority of Kirill, it also enjoys considerable autonomy. Its synod also called for divine intervention on behalf of Ukraine's army.

12:50 p.m.
Canada pledges more military aid to Ukraine

Canada will be supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons systems, upgraded ammunition and is banning all imports of crude oil from Russia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the shipments are addition to the three previous shipments of lethal and non-lethal equipment. Canada announced this week it would be sending new shipments of military supplies, including body armor, helmets, gas masks, and night-vision goggles.

Canada does not import much oil from Russia.

Trudeau called for the end to the war, saying its costs would only grow grow steeper and that those responsible will be held accountable.

12:45 p.m.
US to expel 12 Russian diplomats from UN

The United States says it is expelling 12 Russian diplomats at the United Nations for engaging in activities not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats.

U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills confirmed the expulsions after Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council on Monday afternoon that he had just been informed of "yet another hostile step undertaken by the host country" against the Russian Mission.

Nebenzia called the U.S. expulsions a "gross violation" of the U.N. agreement with the United States as the host of the United Nations and of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations.

12:50 p.m.
FIFA bans Russia from World Cup

Russian teams were suspended Monday from all international soccer, including qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, as Moscow was pushed toward pariah status in sports for its invasion of Ukraine.

World soccer body FIFA and European authority UEFA banned Russian national and clubs teams from their competitions "until further notice." Russia's men's national team had been scheduled to play in World Cup qualifying playoffs in just three weeks' time.

3:45 a.m.
Stoli Vodka, Smirnoff - neither made in Russia - being dumped out as states boycott

Russian-made alcohol is the latest target in the growing backlash against the country's invasion of Ukraine.

However, many of the top-selling vodka brands that trace their origins to Russia are now distilled in multiple countries - including the United States.

In a statement to CNN Business, Stoli Group said it "unequivocally condemns the military action in Ukraine and stands ready to support the Ukrainian people, our teams and partners."

"For decades, Stoli Group has supported the marginalized and those at risk of unwarranted aggression. We stand now with all Ukrainians and Russians calling for peace," a company spokesperson said.

Smirnoff is another brand being confused as being Russian. Although it traces its heritage to 19th century Russia, the company has long been owned by British spirits giant Diageo and is manufactured in Illinois.

2:41 a.m.
Ukrainian troops hold Kyiv, slow Russia's advance

Outgunned but determined Ukrainian troops slowed Russia's advance and held onto the capital and other key cities. At least for now.

In the face of stiff resistance and devastating sanctions, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's nuclear forces put on high alert. That threatened to elevate the war to a terrifying new level.

Explosions and gunfire that have disrupted life since the invasion began last week appeared to subside around Kyiv overnight.

Ukrainian and Russian delegations prepared to meet Monday on Ukraine's border with Belarus. It's unclear what those talks would yield.

Terrified Ukrainian families huddled in shelters, basements or corridors, waiting to find out. Exact death tolls are unclear. Millions have fled homes or the country all together.

Feb. 27, 2022

2:40 p.m.
US approves delivery of Stinger missiles to Ukraine

The U.S. for the first time has approved the direct delivery of Stinger missiles to Ukraine as part of a package approved by the White House on Friday.

The exact timing of delivery is not known, but officials say the U.S. is currently working on the logistics of the shipment. The officials agreed to discuss the development only if not quoted by name.

The decision comes on the heels of Germany's announcement that it will send 500 Stinger missiles and other weapons and supplies to Ukraine. The high-speed Stingers are very accurate and are used to shoot down helicopters and other aircraft. Ukrainian officials have been asking for more of the powerful weapons. Estonia has also been providing Ukraine with Stingers since January, and in order to do that had to get U.S. permission.

1:40 p.m.
Sweden, Finland to send military aid to Ukraine

The Nordic nations of Sweden and Finland say they will send military aid to Ukraine including anti-tank weapons, helmets and body armor.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said at a news conference Sunday that Stockholm would ship 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 units of body armor and 135,000 field rations in support to Ukraine's military.

Neighboring Finland said earlier Sunday that it would send 2,000 helmets, 2,000 bulletproof vests, 100 stretchers and equipment for two emergency medical care stations.

Russian forces invaded its smaller neighbor Thursday, drawing sanctions and international condemnation.

12 p.m.
Bay Area rallies to show support for Ukraine

There was an outpouring of support for Ukraine Sunday afternoon as hundreds rallied in front of San Francisco City Hall.

"I want to show the whole world how Ukraine is resisting right now. It's been four days and it's really unbearable there," said Sergii Kroshao, a Ukrainian Bay Area resident.

Meanwhile, in Walnut Creek, a Polish School put on a fundraiser for Ukraine.

"We want to do anything and everything we can in order to raise awareness and help these people out who've been left with nothing at this point," said Patryk Grobelny, a volunteer with the school.

7:50 a.m.
World's largest plane destroyed by Russian forces

The world's largest aircraft, the AN-225 "Mriya", has been destroyed by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian officials. "Mriya," which means "dream" in Ukrainian, was parked at an airfield near Kyiv when it was attacked by "Russian occupants," Ukrainian officials tweeted.

7:41 a.m.
Putin orders Russian nuclear forces on alert

Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear forces on increased alert, in an unprecedented escalation of tension with the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union over Russia's assault on Ukraine.

He ordered Russian nuclear weapons prepared for increased readiness to launch. Ukrainians awoke Sunday after a third night of Russia's massive assault to street fighting in the country's second largest city, Kharkhiv.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has agreed to send a Ukrainian delegation to meet with Russian counterparts at an unspecified time and location at the Belarusian border for talks.

The United Nations' refugee agency has updated the number of Ukrainians who have fled to other countries to 368,000.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.