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Get the latest live updates on the war unfolding in Ukraine below:
March 17, 2022
Ukraine consul general honored in the North Bay
Ukraine Consul General Dmytro Kushneruk was honored at Sonoma City Hall on Thursday.
City of Sonoma (City) Mayor Jack Ding, and members of the city council, local government officials, dignitaries, and the Sonoma Sister Cities Association (SSCA) welcomed Consul General Kushneruk and his consular delegation to Sonoma's City Hall for an outdoor press conference..
The city says hosted the delegation in support of the people of Ukraine, including those in Sonoma's sister city of Kaniv, who are fighting for their freedom and suffering because of the ongoing assault on Ukraine from Russian military forces.
"We're so happy to see so many of you here today. So many citizens of Sonoma have just spend their time to come and express their support for Ukraine," Consul Kushneruk said.
"It's very important to know for the people, that they are not alone in this fight against Russia, that people all over the world, support them.
He added, "I'm proud to be here today to represent Ukraine... I'm honored to be here to greet you on behalf of all the Ukrainian people, the freedom loving people, who for years have been resisting Russia and those who give their best sons and daughters to stop this full scale Russian invasion."
US citizen killed in Chernihiv, Ukraine
An American man was killed in a Russian attack on the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, where he was seeking medical treatment for his partner. The death of Jim Hill, of Diggs, Idaho, was reported Thursday by his sister.
"My brother Jimmy Hill was killed yesterday in Chernihiv, Ukraine. He was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snippers," his sister, Cheryl Hill Gordon, wrote on Facebook. "His body was found in the street by the local police."
Ukrainian officials reported that 10 people were killed Wednesday in Chernihiv while standing in the bread line.
Chernihiv police and the U.S. State Department confirmed the death of an American but did not identify him. Hill was at least the second U.S. citizen to be killed in the conflict, after the killing of journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud last week.
In poignant posts on Facebook in the weeks before his death, Hill described "indiscriminate bombing" in a city under siege.
Hill, who identified himself as a lecturer at universities in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, and Warsaw, Poland, said he was in Chernihiv with his partner for her to receive medical treatment.
March 14, 2022
Spain asks China to use influence to end war
Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said Monday that he has asked his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to use Beijing's influence over Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.
"We are at a historical moment that requires responsibility and vision of all world leaders," Albares told Wang during a telephone conversation on Monday, according to a statement from the ministry.
It said that Albares condemned "the Russian aggression on Ukraine" by telling Wang that "Russia has undermined the foundations of peace and stability in Europe and threatens the international community."
Russia keeps up attacks in Ukraine as two sides hold talks
Russia and Ukraine kept a fragile diplomatic path open with a new round of talks on Monday even as Moscow's forces pounded away at Kyiv and other cities across the country in a punishing bombardment that the Red Cross said has created "nothing short of a nightmare" for the civilian population.
Meanwhile, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the lethal siege that has pulverized homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.
The latest negotiations, which were held via video conference, were the fourth round involving higher-level officials from the two countries and the first in a week. The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying the negotiators took "a technical pause" and planned to meet again Tuesday.
The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Mykhailo Podolyak, the aide to Zelenskyy, said over the weekend that Russia was "listening carefully to our proposals." He tweeted Monday that the negotiators would discuss "peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees."
Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, produced no lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting.
March 11, 2022
Officials warn of 'humanitarian catastrophe'
Ukrainian authorities have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the port city of Mariupol, which has been encircled by Russian forces and cut off from deliveries of food and medicine.
Mariupol officials said Friday that 1,582 people had been killed in the 12 days since the siege began.
"There is a humanitarian catastrophe in the city and the dead aren't even being buried," Mariupol's mayor's office said in a statement Friday, calling for Russian forces to lift the siege.
Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of shelling evacuation routes and preventing civilians from escaping the city of 430,000 people.
IAEA: Power line repairs begin at Chernobyl
Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday that technicians have started repairing damaged power lines at the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant in an effort to restore power supplies, the U.N. nuclear agency said.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian authorities said that Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, was knocked off the power grid, with emergency generators supplying backup power.
The Ukrainian nuclear regulator said Friday that workers repaired one section of the lines, but there still appears to be damage in other places, the IAEA said. Repair efforts would continue despite "the difficult situation" outside the plant, which was taken by Russian forces early in the invasion, it said.
The Ukrainian regulator said additional fuel was delivered for generators, but it remains important to fix the power lines as soon as possible. The IAEA reiterated that the disconnection "will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site."
The Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog said that it still isn't receiving data from monitoring systems installed to monitor nuclear material and activities at Chernobyl, but transmission from the Zaporizhzhia plant - Ukraine's biggest, which Russian forces seized last week - has been restored after being lost earlier this week.
Russia widens social media crackdown by blocking Instagram
Russian regulators said Friday that the country's internet users will be blocked from accessing Instagram, saying it's being used to call for violence against Russian soldiers.
In Moscow's latest move to restrict access to foreign social media platforms, communications and media regulator Roskomnadzor said in a statement that it's restricting national access to Instagram. It said the platform is spreading "calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel."
Roskomnadzor cited a Thursday tweet by Meta spokesman Andy Stone conveying a company statement saying it had "made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules on violent speech, such as 'death to the Russian invaders'."
US restricts export of luxury goods to Russia, Belarus
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Friday that it will restrict the export of U.S. luxury goods to Russia and Belarus, as well as "certain Russian and Belarusian oligarchs and malign actors located worldwide," as a result of their actions in Ukraine.
March 10, 2022
At least 549 civilians, including 41 children, killed in Ukraine
At least 549 civilians, including 41 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Meanwhile, at least 957 civilians, including 52 children, have been injured, OHCHR figures show.
March 9, 2022
Russian attack severely damages maternity hospital in Mariupol
A Russian attack severely damaged a maternity hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukraine said. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that there were "people, children under the wreckage" of the hospital and called the strike an "atrocity." Authorities said they were trying to establish how many people had been killed or wounded.
Over 2.15 million refugees have fled Ukraine
More than 2.15 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the United Nations refugee agency.
March 8, 2022
McDonald's to temporarily close 850 restaurants in Russia
McDonald's has announced it will temporarily close all 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the invasion in Ukraine.
UK to phase out Russian oil by end of 2022
The United Kingdom will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year, as part of its sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine, U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced Tuesday.
US banning Russian oil imports
President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the U.S. will ban all Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia's economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, but he acknowledged it will bring costs to Americans, particularly at the gas pump.
March 7, 2022
Ukrainian adviser: Little progress in talks
An adviser to the Ukrainian president says a little progress has been made on safe corridors to allow civilians to flee some besieged Ukrainian cities during a third round of talks Monday with Russia.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said without elaboration that "there were some small positive shifts regarding logistics of humanitarian corridors." He said that consultations will continue on ways to negotiate an end to hostilities.
Efforts to set up safe passage for civilians over the weekend fell apart amid continued shelling. But the Russian Defense Ministry announced a new push Monday, saying civilians would be allowed to leave the capital of Kyiv, Mariupol and the cities of Kharkiv and Sumy.
Russia's top negotiator Vladimir Medinsky, said he expects that humanitarian corridors in Ukraine will finally start functioning Tuesday. He said no progress has been made on a political settlement, but voiced hope that the next round could be more productive.
"Our expectations from the talks have failed, but we hope that we would be able to make a more significant step forward next time," Medinsky said. "The talks will continue."
French Foreign Minister Le Drian criticizes corridor offer as 'trap'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian criticized Russia's offer of humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian civilians as a "trap" that could possibly lead to more bombing in Ukraine.
Le Drian referred to Russia's tactic of bombing and then offering humanitarian corridors in the past, citing Aleppo in Syria and Grozny, in Chechnya. He said in such cases Russia's proposal of establishing humanitarian corridors actually led to more bombings after negotiations failed.
"We must not fall into traps," Le Drian said Monday in France's southern city of Montpellier after a meeting of European ministers.
"I'm even wondering if in Russian military schools there are classes to explain: 'bombing, corridor, negotiations, breach (of negotiations), we start it all again'. It's quite tragic but unfortunately it sends shivers down your spine," he said.
Ukrainian foreign minister again calls for NATO no-fly zone
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Monday called for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying Russian planes were targeting civilians.
"The Russian Air Force dominates in the skies and continues bombing our cities and killing many civilians," Kuleba told George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America."
U.S. and NATO officials have rejected calls from Ukrainian officials to impose a no-fly zone, saying doing so could provoke Russia, perhaps pulling other European countries and NATO members into the conflict. The U.S. and NATO have offered other military aid, including a possible deal to send aircraft to Ukraine.
March 5, 2022
Ukraine: Next talks with Russia on Monday
The next round of talks between Ukraine and Russia will be held on Monday, Ukrainian official Davyd Arakhamia said Saturday.
Arakhamia is head of the parliamentary faction of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Servant of the People party and a member of Ukraine's delegation at the talks.
Monday's will be the third round of talks as the two sides try to negotiate a cease-fire and safe passage corridors for civilians.
Russia headed toward 3rd nuke plant
Russian forces have now seized two Ukrainian nuclear power plants and are advancing toward a third, Ukraine's president said during a call with U.S. senators Saturday.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the third plant currently under threat is the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Mykolaiv, one of several cities the Russians were trying to keep encircled Saturday.
One of the plants under the Russians' control is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. The other is Chernobyl, which is not active but is still staffed and maintained. Previous Russian shelling sparked a fire at the Zaporizhzhia plant that was extinguished without a release of radiation.
Technical safety systems are intact and radiation levels are still normal at the Zaporizhzhia plant, according to the country's nuclear regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday.
Two out of the six reactors at the plant, Europe's biggest, are now operating after Russian forces took control of the site, the nuclear regulator told the IAEA.
Ukraine has four nuclear plants with a total of 15 reactors.
March 4, 2022
Newsom orders CA agencies to ensure contracts comply with sanctions
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing state agencies and departments to ensure their contractors are complying with economic sanctions imposed in response to Russia's attacks on Ukraine. He's also calling on businesses to stop new investments, financial transactions and transferring of tech to Russia.
NEW: More support for Ukraine coming from California.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 4, 2022
I’m ordering state agencies & departments to end contracts with anyone subject to US government sanctions on Russia.
We are also calling on California companies to stop new investments & sharing technology with Russia.
Vice President Harris to visit Poland, Romania
The White House announced Friday that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Poland and Romania next week to meet with officials to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and impact the war is having on the region.
Harris' agenda for the March 9 to 11 visit to Warsaw and Bucharest is expected to center on economic, security and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.
"The Vice President's meetings will also focus on how the United States can further support Ukraine's neighbors as they welcome and care for refugees fleeing violence," said the vice president's deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.
President Joe Biden spoke on Friday with Poland's President Andrzej Duda.
Poland is assisting about 700,000 Ukrainians and others who have fled the war so far. The United States has also more than doubled its military presence in Poland, which is a member of NATO, to 9,000 troops in recent weeks.
Russia blocks access to Facebook over war
Russia's state communications watchdog has ordered to completely block access to Facebook in Russia amid the tensions over the war in Ukraine.
The agency, Roskomnadzor, said Friday it decided to cut access to Facebook over its alleged "discrimination" of the Russian media and state information resources. It said the restrictions introduced by Facebook owner Meta on the RT and other state-controlled media violate the Russian law.
A week ago, the watchdog announced "partial restrictions" on access to Facebook that sharply slowed it down, citing the platform's moves to limit the accounts of several state-controlled Russian media. Facebook and Twitter have played a major role in amplifying dissent in Russia in recent years.
The move against Facebook follows the blocks imposed Friday on the BBC, the U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza as the government seeks to uproot independent sources of information about the invasion of Ukraine.
Facebook's parent company Meta tweeted in response: "We have been closely following the invasion in Ukraine and taking steps to help protect and support our community." They also listed a few actions the company has already taken to combat this blcok.
We have been closely following the invasion in Ukraine and taking steps to help protect and support our community. Below are a few of the actions we’ve already taken.— Meta (@Meta) March 4, 2022
G7 says war criminals will be held accountable
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven major world powers say that those responsible for Russian military attacks on civilians in Ukraine must be held accountable for their crimes, amid reports of the use of cluster bombs and other banned munitions.
In a statement after talks in Brussels on Friday, the G7 ministers said they are "deeply concerned with the catastrophic humanitarian toll taken by Russia's continuing strikes against the civilian population of Ukraine's cities."
They underlined that "indiscriminate attacks are prohibited by international humanitarian law," and that they "will hold accountable those responsible for war crimes, including indiscriminate use of weapons against civilians."
The ministers also welcomed the investigations and evidence-gathering being done to establish what war crimes might have been committed in Ukraine.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor has launched an investigation that could target senior officials believed responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide amid a rising civilian death toll and widespread destruction of property.
BBC suspends operations inside Russia
The BBC says it is temporarily suspending the work of all its journalists in Russia after the country's lawmakers approved legislation criminalizing reporting of the war in Ukraine that differs from the government line.
Tim Davie, director-general of the British broadcaster, said the legislation "appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism." He said the corporation was halting newsgathering work by its journalists and support staff in Russia "while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development."
"The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs," he said.
Davie said the BBC's Russian-language news service would continue to operate from outside Russia.
The Russian parliament voted unanimously Friday to approve a draft law criminalizing the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be "fake" reports. It could be signed by President Vladimir Putin and take effect as soon as Saturday.
Russian convoy outside Kyiv still stalled
A Western official says a huge Russian military convoy advancing on Kyiv has made little progress for several days.
The official said the convoy, which has been estimated at up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) long, had become a huge traffic jam that included damaged or destroyed vehicles.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence, said the convoy had been attacked from the air by the Ukrainians, but that Ukraine's ability to do so was limited.
The official assessed that Ukrainian forces remain in control of much of the country's territory but that Russia holds the cities of Kherson, Melitopol and Berdiansk in the south.
Multiple Western officials have said Russia's invasion of Ukraine has advanced more slowly than planned, with Russian forces meeting stiff Ukrainian resistance and encountering myriad logistical problems.
Russian President Vladmir Putin said Thursday that what he calls a "special military operation" was on course to meet its goals.
Putin says Ukraine must meet Russian demands
President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready for talks with Ukraine but insisted that it must meet Moscow's demands.
Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Ukraine must agree to demilitarize, accept Moscow's sovereignty over Crimea and surrender territory to Russia-backed rebels in the east, the Kremlin said in its readout of Friday's call.
Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 following the ouster of the country's former Moscow-friendly leaders and cast its support behind the rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Putin recognized the separatist "people's republics" as independent states just before he launched an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, citing their plea for military assistance.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators on Thursday held the second of two rounds of talks, reaching a tentative agreement on setting up safe corridors to allow civilians to leave besieged Ukrainian cities and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. They also agreed to keep talking on ways to negotiate a settlement, but Putin's tough demands make prospects for a compromise look dim.
Ukrainian negotiators said the parties may conduct another round of talks over the weekend.
Russian forces advancing on major Ukrainian city, local official warns
Russian forces are advancing on Mykolaiv, another key city in southern Ukraine, the regional governor warned Friday.
In a video message posted on social media, Mykolaiv Oblast Gov. Vitaliy Kim said Russian troops are moving on Mykolaiv city from two directions and that some have already entered the city limits but are not yet inside in significant numbers.
The city is preparing to defend itself, according to Kim.
March 3, 2022
Russian troops shelling nuclear power station
Russian troops are shelling Europe's largest nuclear power station in Ukraine.
"We demand that they stop the heavy weapons fire," Andriy Tuz, spokesperson for the plant in Enerhodar, said in a video posted on Telegram. "There is a real threat of nuclear danger in the biggest atomic energy station in Europe."
The plant accounts for about one quarter of Ukraine's power generation.
The fighting at Enerhodar, a city on the Dnieper River that accounts for one-quarter of the country's power generation, came as another round of talks between the two sides yielded a tentative agreement to set up safe corridors inside Ukraine to evacuate citizens and deliver humanitarian aid.
The mayor of Enerhodar said Ukrainian forces were battling Russian troops on the city's outskirts. Video showed flames and black smoke rising above the city of more than 50,000, with people streaming past wrecked cars, just a day after the U.N. atomic watchdog agency expressed grave concern that the fighting could cause accidental damage to Ukraine's 15 nuclear reactors.
US establishes direct line with Russia
The Pentagon has established a channel of direct communication with the Russian ministry of defense to avoid unintended conflict related to the war in Ukraine.
A U.S. defense official said the "de-confliction line" was established March 1 "for the purpose of preventing miscalculation, military incidents, and escalation." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the communication line has not been announced.
Associated Press Writer Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.
US unveils new sanctions against oligarchs
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration on Thursday announced new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and others in President Vladimir Putin's inner circle as Russian forces continue to pummel Ukraine.
Those targeted by the new sanctions include Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, and Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov, one of Russia's wealthiest individuals and a close ally of Putin. The U.S. State Department also announced it was imposing visa bans on 19 Russian oligarchs and dozens of their family members and close associates.
"These individuals and their family members will be cut off from the U.S. financial system; their assets in the United States will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use," the White House said in a statement announcing the new penalties.
The White House described Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, as a "top purveyor of Putin's propaganda."
The property of Usmanov and the others will be blocked from use in the U.S. and by Americans. His assets include his superyacht, one of the world's largest. Usmanov's private jet, one of Russia's largest privately owned aircraft, is also covered by the sanctions.
Putin claims Russia is offering safe corridors
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Russian military has offered safe corridors to civilians to allow them to leave areas of fighting in Ukraine.
Putin, speaking in a video call with members of his Security Council, has charged that Ukrainian nationalist groups are preventing civilians from leaving.
The Russian leader said the groups were also using civilians as shields, taking up firing positions to provoke the Russian retaliatory fire. Putin's claim couldn't be independently verified.
The Russian military says it has only struck military facilities and haven't targeted residential areas, a claim that has been contradicted by the abundant evidence of massive casualties and damage to residential areas of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and other cities in Ukraine documented by The Associated Press.
Putin reaffirmed his claim that the Russian military was fighting "neo-Nazis," adding that some Ukrainians were also "fooled by nationalist propaganda."
He hailed the Russian military as heroes and ordered additional payments to families of the soldiers who were killed and servicemen who were wounded in action.
Ikea, Apple, Ford among companies cutting ties with Russia over Ukraine invasion
A growing number of international companies, including Apple, Disney and Ford, are dialing back operations in Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. See the list here.
Zelenskyy asks West for more military aid
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to sit down for talks while urging the West to offer a stronger military assistance to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion.
In a sarcastic reference to a long table Putin used for his recent meetings with foreign leaders and Russian officials, Zelenskyy said: "Sit down with me to negotiate, just not at 30 meters," adding, "I don't bite. What are you afraid of?"
During Thursday's news conference, Zelenskyy said that prospects for another round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiations don't seem promising, but emphasized the need to negotiate, adding that "any words are more important than shots."
He said the world was too slow to offer support for Ukraine and prodded Western leaders to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine to deny access to the Russian warplanes. The U.S. and NATO allies have ruled out the move that would directly pit Russian and Western militaries.
Zelenskyy charged that if the West remains reluctant to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, it should at least provide Kyiv with warplanes.
Fight for control of city with Europe's largest nuclear plant
The mayor of Enerhodar says Ukrainian forces are battling Russian troops for control of the city that has Europe's largest nuclear plant.
UN concerned about reports of cluster bombs
The U.N. human rights chief says military operations in Ukraine are "escalating further as we speak" and warned of "concerning reports" of the use of cluster bombs.
Michelle Bachelet said the Ukrainian town of Volnovakha in the eastern Donetsk region, where pro-Russian separatists seized territory in 2014, leading to a drawn-out military conflict, "has been almost completely destroyed by shelling," with residents hiding in basements.
She spoke Thursday during an "urgent debate" at the Human Rights Council, where country after country spoke out against Russia's invasion. Many Western envoys sported blue or yellow ties, scarves, jackets or ribbons on their lapels - colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Delegates will vote Friday on a resolution that would create a three-person panel of experts to monitor human rights and report on rights abuses and violations in Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador Sheba Crocker said her country was "deeply alarmed" by reports of "Russia's deployment of weapons such as cluster munitions and thermobarics against cities where innocent people are sheltering." She urged countries to vote for the resolution.
Chen Xu, China's ambassador, hailed diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine but said his country opposed efforts to "politicize" human rights. He said China would vote against the resolution.
Ukraine and Russia begin 2nd round of talks
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office says a second round of talks with Russia about the war in Ukraine has begun in neighboring Belarus.
A video released by Zelenskyy's office Thursday showed the informally dressed Ukrainian delegation walking into the meeting room where they shook hands with Russian delegates in suits and ties.
The talks are aimed at stopping the fighting that has sent more than 1 million people fleeing over Ukraine's borders, but the two sides appeared to have little common ground.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine that it must quickly accept the Kremlin's demand for its "demilitarization" and declare itself neutral, formally renouncing its bid to join NATO. Putin has long contended that Ukraine's turn toward the West is a threat to Moscow, an argument he used to justify last week's invasion.
The talks came as the Russian military made significant gains in the south of Ukraine as part of an effort to sever the country's connection to the Black and Azov seas.
March 2, 2022
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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."
YouTube blocks RT, Sputnik in Europe
Google on Tuesday said it had blocked RT and Sputnik, Russian state-linked channels, from YouTube in Europe.
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.— Google Europe (@googleeurope) March 1, 2022
"Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action," the company said.
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.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.