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Russia warns Kyiv residents to leave, convoy nears capital

An explosion rocked central Kharkiv as peace talks between Ukraine and Russia stalled.

This blog has now ended. Follow our continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine here.

Russia's attack on Ukraine stretched into its sixth day Tuesday, as a massive armored convoy advanced toward the capital, Kyiv, and major cities were hit by more heavy shelling.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, video captured a deadly explosion at the regional state administration building that left at least 10 people dead, according to Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko.

The International Criminal Court said Monday it would open an investigation into whether Russia has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. The decision was announced hours after peace talks in Belarus ended without any clear progress.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implored the European Union to accept Ukraine's application to join the bloc in a speech before the European Parliament on Tuesday that was met with a standing ovation.

It came amid a swift Western response to Russia's invasion, with countries imposing widening sanctions that hit Russia's economy hard and forced its currency, the ruble, to drop to around 30 percent against the U.S. dollar Monday.

Follow our in-depth coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis here.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy tells Russia "just stop the bombing" before more ceasefire talks


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday 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.

Speaking in an interview in a heavily guarded government compound, Zelenskyy urged NATO members to impose a no fly zone to stop the Russian air force, saying this would be a preventative measure and not meant to drag the alliance into war with Russia.

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

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."

State of the Union: Biden to announce appointment of prosecutor focused on Covid fraud

Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

President Joe Biden plans to announce in his address Tuesday night that the Justice Department is appointing a chief prosecutor to focus on pandemic fraud, including identity theft, according to an administration official.

Biden will also announce that he plans to sign an executive order in coming weeks that will include new directives to help prevent and detect identity theft in public benefits programs, as well as enhance support for victims of identity fraud, according to a White House fact sheet on the issue provided to NBC News.

The new prosecutor will “lead teams of specialized prosecutors and agents focusing on major targets of pandemic fraud, such as those committing large-scale identity theft, including foreign-based actors,” according to the fact sheet. The procesutor will also investigate criminal fraud in federal programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and Unemployment Insurance benefits, according to the fact sheet.


Foreign minister: Ukraine will spare 'no effort' to evacuate Africans amid reports of racism at border

Responding to criticism that Africans at the Ukrainian border are facing racism and hostility as they attempt to flee the country, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said the country will spare "no effort" to help citizens and non-citizens evacuate. 

"Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected Ukrainians and non-citizens in many devastating ways. Africans seeking evacuation are our friends and need to have equal opportunities to return to their home countries safely," he tweeted Tuesday.

Thousands of African immigrants have joined the more than 670,000 Ukrainians fleeing the country and many say they are met with discrimination as they attempt to reach safety. Videos posted to social media show officials appearing to threaten to shoot groups of African students, a woman shielding an infant from the cold, officials chasing groups of people and people reported to be stranded in Ukraine. 

Kuleba said "Ukraine’s government spares no effort to solve the problem."

Klain says U.S. has formed a coalition to 'devastate' the Russian economy

Teaganne Finn

White House chief of staff Ron Klain says Putin has launched an "unjustified, unprecedented assault on Ukraine." 

"The concern is that he continues to target civilians in Ukraine," Klain said in an interview ahead of Biden's State of the Union address. "I care less about what hour of the day or night this happens and more about the fact that what Vladimir Putin is doing in Ukraine is wrong." 

Klain adds that the U.S. has assembled a coalition led by Biden and leaders around the globe to "devastate the Russian economy." 

Russia's inflation is over 20 percent, "so they are paying a price for what they're doing whatever hour of the day or night they do it," he said. 

A civilian trains to throw Molotov cocktails to defend the city in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, on Tuesday.

Image: A civilian trains to throw Molotov cocktails to defend the city in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, on March 1, 2022.
Viacheslav Ratynskyi / Reuters

Biden to say Putin's war was 'premeditated and unprovoked'

Teaganne Finn

During his State of the Union address, Biden plans to say Putin's war was premeditated and unprovoked. 

"Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson — when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos," Biden is to say, according to excerpts released by the White House. "They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising."

Putin "rejected efforts at diplomacy" and thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond, Biden plans to say. "And he thought he could divide us here at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready." 

A woman hugs a girl as refugees from Ukraine wait for a transport at the Moldova-Ukrainian border's checkpoint near the town of Palanca on Tuesday.

Image: A woman hugs a girl as refugees from Ukraine wait for a transport at the Moldova-Ukrainian border's checkpoint near the town of Palanca on Tuesday.
Nikolay Doychinov / AFP - Getty Images

Sasse, Biden's national security adviser spar over intelligence sharing with Ukrainians

A Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the Biden administration Tuesday of moving too slowly to share lethal targeting intelligence with Ukrainian forces, drawing a heated response from national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

In an interview Tuesday on NPR, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a member of the Intelligence Committee who attended a classified briefing Monday night about Ukraine, contended that administration lawyers were responsible for delaying the passage of crucial intelligence to Ukraine.

“They need to be sending more actionable intelligence in real time to the Ukrainians,” Sasse said, “because we’re not moving fast enough. Knowing where a Russian tank was 10 hours ago isn’t very helpful to a Ukrainian who is fighting to defend his or her family.”

The U.S. is sharing intelligence, Sasse acknowledged, but he called the Biden administration process “way too lawyerly.”

In response, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said it was “absolutely false” that White House or National Security Council lawyers had taken any steps to block the sharing of intelligence with Ukrainians. “It's just not true,” he said.

Sullivan declined to comment on whether actionable intelligence was being shared.

Sasse, in a new statement to NBC News, accused Sullivan of not telling the whole truth.  

“We are not getting Ukrainians enough lethal targeting intelligence and we’re not getting it to them fast enough,” Sasse said. “I don't know what process BS Sullivan is hiding behind — lethal targeting intel needs to go to [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy so he can defend his country.”

Sullivan responded, “It’s plain that Senator Sasse doesn’t have any information that NSC has done anything.”

Two Democratic congressional officials familiar with the matter said Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner, D-Va., and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., believe the Biden administration has been proactive in sharing intelligence with Ukraine, with one calling the information “forward leaning.”

But they acknowledged that some of the issues posed by the sharing require examination by lawyers. Under international law, providing targeting information is considered directly participating in a war.

Apple to stop selling products in Russia

Apple has halted all sales of physical products in Russia because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, a company spokesperson said Tuesday.

Apple, which does not have any stores in Russia, normally ships its phones, computers and tablets through its online stores, and it also sells products through third-party retail stores there.

The company had already recently stopped Apple Pay service in Russia after the U.S. sanctioned Russian banks.

Apple has also restricted the apps for the Russian state news outlets RT and Sputnik to be visible only in Russia, said Fred Sainz, the Apple spokesperson, and Apple Maps is no longer showing traffic in Ukraine to help protect Ukrainian residents.

The App Store will still function, and users in Russia will still be able to update their software. 

Read the full story here.

Zelenskyy gets standing ovation after speech to European Parliament: 'Nobody is going to break us'

An impassioned speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy highlighting his country’s determination and worth got a standing ovation from the European Parliament and choked up a translator.

"Our people are very much motivated, very much so, we are fighting for our rights, for our freedoms, for our life," Zelenskyy said. "And now we are fighting for survival, and this is the highest of our motivation." 

"But we are fighting also to be equal members of Europe. I believe that today we are showing everybody that’s exactly what we are. The European Union is going to be much stronger with us — that’s for sure."

The European Parliament was moved by Zelenskyy's words, standing and applauding for nearly a full minute after he concluded his remarks.

"We’re dealing with reality. We’re dealing with killed people, real life, you know," he said.

He detailed Russia's bombings of Kharkiv earlier in the morning.

He said the city is home to more than 20 universities. Students and residents of Kharkiv often gather in Ukraine's largest square — Freedom Square — for celebrations, he said.

"Can you imagine, this morning two cruise missiles hit this freedom square, dozens of killed ones," Zelenskyy said. "This is the price of freedom."

A translator was overcome with emotion at this point of the speech. His voice cracked repeatedly, and he took a deep breath in before gathering himself.

Read the full story here.

Universal Pictures halting film releases in Russia

The movie studio Universal Pictures confirmed Tuesday it would stop releasing films in Russia because of the Ukraine invasion.

“In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Universal Pictures has paused planned theatrical releases in Russia," a studio spokesperson said. (Universal Pictures is a unit of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

Three other major media companies — Disney, WarnerMedia and Sony — announced Monday night they would pull new movies from Russian theaters.

Universal's slate of upcoming films includes Michael Bay's "Ambulance" and "Jurassic World Dominion."

Teachers and their families shelter at school while feeding army and those displaced

Oksana Parafeniuk

Dozens of teachers in the School No. 5 in Vinnytsia have been working nonstop since Thursday.

Women have been making dumplings, cabbage rolls, salads, hot borshch and other Ukrainian dishes to feed the Ukrainian army, people helping with defense measures and those displaced by the war. Around 35 people, many of them teachers and their families, are currently living at the school for protection from shelling and air strikes. This school has also collected donations of clothing.

Local residents volunteer to help Ukrainian army and displaced population
Teachers at School Number 5 make pelmeni, a type of traditional Ukrainian dumpling.Oksana Parafeniuk
Local residents volunteer to help Ukrainian army and displaced population
Children of teachers play in the school basement.Oksana Parafeniuk

Nataliia Kuchma, 46, a director of the school, said the city council quickly designated the school as one of the main hubs in the city for aid. 

Zina Shevchuk, 72, a local resident and volunteer who has been helping the Ukrainian army for four years, came to the school after her relatives told her of the invasion. "I'm dying because I can't go to the frontline and do something to help," she said. "I'm even ready to carry those injured soldiers, carry them to the hospital, I'm not afraid of this." 

Local residents volunteer to help Ukrainian army and displaced population
Zina Shevchuk, 72, eats borshch in the school.Oksana Parafeniuk
Local residents volunteer to help Ukrainian army and displaced population
Volunteers cut strips of cloth to make camouflage nets for the Ukrainian military.Oksana Parafeniuk

New York's Met Opera severs ties with Putin artists

The Metropolitan Opera in New York will sever ties with artists and institutions who support Russian President Vladimir Putin or received support from him, Peter Gelb, the theater's manager, said Monday.

"We can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him, not until the invasion and killing has been stopped, order has been restored and restitutions have been made," Gelb said in the video statement posted to Facebook. "We stand in solidarity with Ukraine, its brave leaders, citizens and artists. We dedicate the rest of our season to their courage."

The cast of Don Carlos at the Metropolitan Opera later lined up on stage Monday night, ahead of their performance, to sing the Ukrainian national anthem. 

It is unclear what persons or institutions might be targeted by the Met, but Putin reportedly is closely tied to the Mariinsky Theatre, which is dedicated to opera and ballet in his former home of St. Petersburg. That theater's artistic director, Valery Gergiev, who was a former guest conductor at the Met, could also be a point of focus. 

Gergiev, a vocal supporter of Putin and his government, was fired from his position as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic on Tuesday. Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich, reportedly said that Gergiev was fired when he did not respond to the mayor's demand that he condemn Putin's "brutal war of aggression."

Meanwhile, renowned Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who sang at the opening ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia, said Monday she had decided "to withdraw from concerts until further notice" and canceled upcoming performances. 

Many had speculated on her closeness to Putin despite her stating her opposition to the war last week. That statement, however, included the caveat that "forcing artists, or any public figure, to voice their political opinions in public and to denounce their homeland is not right."

2 Russian media outlets accused of 'false' information blocked

Journalists say two independent Russian media outlets, TV Rain and Echo of Moscow, had their websites blocked within the country Tuesday after the Prosecutor General's Office accused them of reporting "false information" on Russian troop movements.

Echo of Moscow, considered a liberal-leaning radio station, tweeted that the Prosecutor General's Office "demanded to restrict access" to it as well as TV Rain, Russia's sole independent television operation.

RIA, a Russian state-owned news agency, said the outlets were tagged by the government for restriction because of "materials calling for extremist activity" and for publishing "false information about the actions of the Russian military as part of a special operation" in Ukraine.

The website GlobalCheck, which tracks website restrictions, said the outlets' sites had been blocked. Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow, also said that the station was "taken off the air."

"We believe that we did not violate anything," he told the Interfax news agency in Moscow.

Rain TV tweeted that it would continue publishing via social media.

Former head of news for Russian tech giant decries censorship of war

Lev Gershenzon, former head of news at Yandex, a Russian tech giant that operates one of the country's most popular search engines, posted a plea to Facebook on Tuesday calling on his former colleagues to take a stand against censorship. 

Gershenzon wrote that Yandex's news portal is not showing important information about casualties or about destruction in Ukrainian cities.

"The fact that a considerable part of Russia's population can think that there is no war is the main and driving force behind this war," Gershenzon wrote in Russian. "Yandex today - is the key element in hiding information about the war. Every day and hour of such 'news' - is human lives. And you, my former colleagues, are also responsible for that."

Gershenzon's post comes as Russian pushback against the war continues to percolate amid reports that the initial wave of the invasion has not lived up to Putin's expectations

Yandex's main news portal features articles aggregated from various Russian news agencies. On Tuesday, its news page featured a sparse selection of articles about the war, with one prominent article about a survey showing Russian support of Putin had risen in recent days (NBC News has not verified that claim).

NBC News

Biden administration to release 30 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve

Charles Herman

Dareh Gregorian and Charles Herman

The Biden administration is releasing 30 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat rising fuel prices sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the White House said Tuesday.

The release is being done in coordination with allied countries in the International Energy Agency who are releasing an additional 60 million barrels. The U.S. Energy Department said the move was being done in an effort to stabilize global energy markets. 

"President Biden was clear from the beginning that all tools are on the table to protect American businesses and consumers, including from rising prices at the pump," press secretary Jen Psaki said. 

This is the second time in recent months that the administration has coordinated the release of oil reserve with other nations in an attempt to keep prices from rising. In November, during peak supply chain disruptions and rising inflation, the administration released 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve along with other nations in an attempt to keep prices steady. Experts then questioned if the release would have a sustained impact on oil prices.

 The federal government’s Energy Information Agency estimates that globally, 99 million barrels of oil were used each day in January 2022, an increase of 6.6 million from a year ago. The agency forecasts that oil consumption will rise in 2022 and 2023.


U.K. inflicts sanctions on Russian ally Belarus

The United Kingdom on Tuesday announced a first round of sanctions against Belarus for its support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him," U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement. "We will not rest until Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored."

Among those sanctioned are two military enterprises and four senior defense officials in Belarus, including the chief of the country's general staff, Major Gen. Viktor Gulevich. He directs joint military exercises with Russia and consented to the deployment of Russian troops along the border of Belarus with Ukraine, Truss said.

Gulevich and other individuals sanctioned will be unable to travel to the U.K. and any U.K.-based assets they own will be frozen.

Ukraine's ambassador to U.S. to attend State of the Union speech as guest of Jill Biden

Jesse Rodriguez

Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, will be attend President Joe Biden's State of the Union address Tuesday night as a guest of first lady Jill Biden, seated in her viewing box, a senior administration official told NBC News.

A full list of the first lady’s other guests for tonight’s address is expected to be made public later Tuesday afternoon.

Car manufacturers halt shipments to Russia

Car manufacturers around the world are suspending vehicle exports to Russia amid its ongoing war with Ukraine.

General Motors, which annually ships 3,000 cars to the country, has stopped exporting vehicles to Russia in part due to difficulty gaining access into the country, the company told NBC News.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine at this time,” the company wrote in a statement. “The loss of life is a tragedy and our overriding concern is for the safety of people in the region.”

Meanwhile, Swedish manufacturer Volvo Cars has also halted sending cars to Russia. Last year, the company sold more than 9,300 vehicles to the Russian market totaling 1.3 percent of its global sales, the company said.

“Considering the potential risks associated with trading material with Russia, including the sanctions imposed by the EU and US, Volvo Cars will not deliver any cars to the Russian market until further notice,” the company wrote in a statement to NBC News.

GM said it no longer owns or operates any manufacturing facilities in Russia, but it does operate a national sales company for the country. 

“We remain in constant contact with our team based in Moscow and are taking appropriate steps to safeguard our people and our business,” the company said. GM said the suspension is until further notice and that it will comply with economic sanctions.

Gabe Piscione

JoElla Carman

Biden and Zelenskyy spoke about anti-Russian sanctions today

NBC News

Presidents Biden and Zelenskyy spoke for about 30 minutes over the phone today, according to a White House official. 

The Ukrainian president said on Twitter that "American leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and defense assistance to Ukraine was discussed." 


Russian military convoy's advance on Kyiv appears 'stalled'

A Russian military convoy closing in on Kyiv from the north appears to be advancing slowly after facing resistance from Ukrainian fighters and fuel and food shortages, a senior U.S. defense official said Tuesday.

"It is not exactly moving with great speed," the official said. "They continue to be bogged down coming down from the north to get to Kyiv."

Satellite images captured by U.S. firm Maxar Technologies on Monday showed the vast convoy along a highway north of Ivankiv, located about 50 miles northwest of Kyiv. The official said the Russians' laggard pace could be a result of their own self-determined pause in operations, but they are certain to regroup.

"We generally sense that the Russian military movement on Kyiv is stalled at this point," the official said, adding, "That said, there has been in the last six days evidence of a certain risk averse behavior by the Russian military."

Zelenskyy invokes barbarism of Nazi Germany in stark appeal to world

In a tweet Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, invoked the barbarism of the Holocaust in one of his most direct appeals for international intervention in his beleaguered country.

"To the world: what is the point of saying 'never again' for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed," Zelenskyy said, referring to Russian missile strikes at a site where Nazi Germany committed atrocities during World War II. "History repeating…"

Russia forces struck a television tower that is located on the territory of the Babyn Yar, a Kyiv ravine where Nazi forces carried out massacres during their campaign against the former Soviet Union.

International Energy Agency releases 60 million barrels of oil from reserves

The International Energy Agency said it would release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves to shore up global oil markets and ensure "there will be no shortfall in supplies as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

The intergovernmental organization, made up of 30-member countries, holds 1.5 billion barrels of oil in emergency stockpiles.

Chaired by U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the governing board made the decision and encouraged member countries to support Ukraine's oil supply, "recommending that governments and consumers maintain and intensify conservation efforts."

Russia is the world's largest exporter of oil and the third largest producer. Its approximate daily exports of about 5 million barrels a day of crude oil makes up about 12 percent of global trade, the International Energy Agency noted.

The country's role in global energy markets has been one of its largest bargaining chips when negotiating with countries in past. 

“The situation in energy markets is very serious and demands our full attention," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, who applauded the move. "Global energy security is under threat, putting the world economy at risk during a fragile stage of the recovery.”

Multiple dead after Russia fires at Kyiv TV Tower, Ukraine says

Russian forces on Tuesday fired at the Kyiv TV Tower in the nation's capital, killing at least five people and injuring another five, Ukrainian officials and the State Emergency Service said on Telegram.

Video and images posted on social media near the tower, a more than 1,200-foot-high steel structure used for radio and television broadcasting, showed smoke rising and an explosion from a building nearby.

Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said a preliminary report indicates it was damaged by two missiles.

"The transformer substation, which supplies electricity to the TV tower, as well as the hardware on the TV tower itself are damaged," he wrote on Telegram.

Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the damage potentially disrupted the tower's signal, Reuters reported. NBC News could not immediately confirm the extent of the damage and the reported deaths.

Kyiv's tower, built in 1973, is one of the tallest freestanding lattice towers in the world.

'We are in very big danger': Kharkiv residents shelter as Russia attacks

Rhoda Kwan

Mo Abbas

Rhoda Kwan and Mo Abbas

UMAN, Ukraine — Yasmina Vladimirovich and her baby have fled deep underground, but they still don’t feel safe from the Russian bombs raining down above them.

“All the time we hear the bombing and shooting and we don’t know how to sleep and how we will live tomorrow,” the teacher said as she huddled with her 5-month-old in a basement near the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. “I hear the sounds of falling bombs. We are in very big danger.” 

Swaddled in blankets and a sky-blue wool cap, Tymur lies peacefully in his carriage, seemingly oblivious to the events swirling around him. Vladimirovich, 31, is sheltering with neighbors and family, with one man holding a chihuahua in his lap.

The group heard bombing until late Tuesday morning, and Vladimirovich said she was afraid to sleep amid the sounds of explosions and gunshots overhead.

Read the full story here.

Blinken questions whether Russia should remain on the U.N. Human Rights Council

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken questioned Tuesday whether Russia should remain a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council in light of what he described as human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. 

"One can reasonably ask whether the U.N. member state that tries to take over another U.N. member state while committing horrific human rights abuses and causing massive humanitarian suffering should be allowed to remain on this council," he said in a speech delivered before the council.

Blinken said that council members "should stop using language implying that all sides bear equal responsibility for the unprovoked attack of one side."

The secretary of state also said that even before the invasion, Russia was ramping up repression within its own country by shutting down human rights groups and harassing, poisoning and imprisoning anti-corruption activists and political opponents. 

Signal assures users it has not been hacked

Signal, the nonprofit encrypted messaging app generally regarded as most secure by Western cybersecurity experts, has not been hacked, the company said Monday evening.

Several hacking-themed social media accounts have circulated claims on Twitter and Telegram in recent days that falsely claimed that Signal had been hacked or proven insecure.

Signal's encryption is publicly vetted, and messages sent through it are stored only on users' devices. By contrast, Telegram, one of the most popular messaging apps in Ukraine and Russia, stores backups of users' data, and doesn't encrypt all messages.

Indigenous people are snapping selfies in kokum scarves in solidarity

Graham Lee Brewer

After watching a video of a fighter jet dropping missiles on a Ukrainian village, Jayroy Makokis said he was haunted by the sound of a child crying in the background. It made Makokis, 30, think about how his community — the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta — had a long history of friendship with immigrants from Ukraine, who settled nearby in the early 1900s. 

Through shared hardships — the forced relocation of his Indigenous community and Canada’s discrimination against the new Ukrainian immigrants — they grew together and made sure that their children did not suffer, he said. 

One symbol of the Cree’s friendship with Ukrainians is the “kokum” — brightly colored scarves, called “babushkas,” embroidered with ornate flowers. Ukrainian immigrants shared them with the Cree, who called them “kokum,” a Cree word for “grandmother.” The scarves have been popular for generations of Indigenous people in Canada and the U.S., particularly among elders, who often wear them for community gatherings. 

“What I want to ask of my fellow people of Turtle Island is that if you have a kokum scarf, put it on for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine,” Makokis said.

Read the full story here.

Hospital building destroyed after fresh shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine's parliament says

Ukraine's parliament has reported a fresh shelling in Kharkiv Tuesday.

In a post on Telegram, the Ukrainian parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada, accused Russian forces of launching another strike on Kharkiv, "destroying a building of a hospital."

NBC News could not immediately confirm any deaths or injuries associated with the incident. 

International law firms cutting ties with Russia in light of sanctions

At least 20 major international law firms have ties to or offices in Russia, and many are now faced with navigating or exiting those relationships, Reuters reports

The firms White & Case, Baker McKenzie and Morgan, as well as Lewis & Bockius have worked in the past with VTB bank, a state-owned Russian bank that was sanctioned by the U.S. last week. The firms are now in the process of complying with sanctions.

The firms Sidley Austin and Venable said Friday that they will also no longer lobby on behalf of VTB and Sherbank, according to Bloomberg Law.

U.S. officials fear Putin's government may arrest Americans in Russia

Josh Lederman

BRUSSELS — The U.S. government is concerned that the Russian government may retaliate for recent Ukraine-related sanctions by arresting American citizens in Russia and holding them as pawns in the conflict, current and former U.S. officials tell NBC News.

Among the concerns national security officials are discussing is that President Vladimir Putin’s government may target Americans doing business in Russia — such as employees of U.S. companies — if they comply with the new U.S. sanctions

That could force Americans in the country to make an undesirable choice between violating U.S. law and running afoul of the Russian government.

Read the full story here.

Civilians cross a river on a damaged bridge on Kyiv's northern front Tuesday.

Aris Messinis / AFP - Getty Images

Graphic photos show doctors trying to save Ukrainian girl, 6, mortally wounded in Russian shelling

The desperate struggle of medics, doctors and nurses to save a 6-year-old girl who was mortally wounded in Russian shelling of a residential area captured the world's attention in recent days, as images of the girl in an ambulance began to circulate.

Video footage shows the ambulance pulling up to the Mariupol hospital Sunday with the girl in blood-soaked unicorn pajamas. Her father, also injured, was with her.

A woman reacts as paramedics perform CPR on a girl who was injured during shelling
A woman reacts as paramedics perform CPR on a girl who was injured during shelling, at the Mariupol Hospital in eastern Ukraine on Sunday. The girl did not survive.Evgeniy Maloletka / AP

Though they had arrived at the hospital, medics in the ambulance continued CPR on the girl inside the vehicle until a hospital worker urged them to put her on a gurney and get her inside.

“Take her out! Take her out! We can make it!” the hospital worker shouted, according to The Associated Press.

Click here to read the full story.

Crews survey the destruction after the regional administration building was hit by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday.

Image: The destruction after the regional administration building was hit by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Pavel Dorogoy / AP  Matthew Nighswander  10:20 AM also blog?
The destruction after the regional administration building was hit by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Pavel Dorogoy / AP

No, Steven Seagal isn't fighting for Russia in Ukraine

Steven Seagal is not fighting for Russia in Ukraine, but that hasn't stopped such a rumor from spreading far and wide — including from Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan.

A fake mockup of a CNN story claiming Seagal was spotted with Russian special forces in Ukraine started to spread in recent days, with Rogan posting it to his Instagram account. He later deleted the post and put up a new post noting that Seagal was banned from Ukraine in 2017 and labeled a national security threat.

Misinformation and disinformation continue to spread on social media, with no shortage of false or misleading news stories, images and videos circulating. 

Munich orchestra cuts ties with Russian conductor

Rhoda Kwan

The Munich Philharmonic has cut ties with its star Russian conductor Valery Gergiev after he failed to respond to a request from the city's mayor to distance himself from the conflict in Ukraine, according to a statement on the local government's website Tuesday. 

The decision took place effective immediately, it said. 

Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter had written to Gergiev, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, to request that he "clearly and unmistakably" distance himself from Russia's invasion in Ukraine. The statement said he failed to do so. 

 The decision to part ways with the conductor comes one day after Gergiev's management decided to drop him over the same concerns.

NBC News

A woman takes photos of the destruction inside a residential building in Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

More than 660,000 people have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries, the U.N.'s refugee agency says

More than 660,000 people have fled from Ukraine into neighboring countries over the past six days, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday. 

At a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said the situation was due to become Europe's largest refugee crisis of the century. 

She said the agency, UNHCR, was mobilizing resources to respond to the crisis as quickly as possible and commended neighboring countries for keeping their borders open during Russia's invasion in Ukraine. 

She said most of those seeking refuge have fled to Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia, while others have moved toward other European countries. 

She said UNHCR was also aware of a sizable number of people moving to the Russian Federation.

NBC News

E.U. would be 'stronger' with Ukraine, Zelenskyy says in speech to European Parliament

Anastasiia Parafeniuk

Chantal Da Silva and Anastasiia Parafeniuk

The European Union would be "stronger" with Ukraine as a member, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday in an address to the European Parliament. 

Zelenskyy's comments came a day after he signed an official application for Ukraine to join the E.U. 

Ukrainians, Zelesnkyy said, "are just fighting for our land and for our freedom," he said. "No one will break us. We are strong. We are Ukrainians." 

But as Ukraine fights "for survival," he said the country is also "fighting to be equal members of Europe."

"With us, the European Union will definitely be stronger," he said, adding: "Without you, Ukraine will be lonely."

"We have proven our strength. We have proven that we are just like you," Zelenskyy added. "Prove that you are with us. Prove that you do not let us go. Prove that you are truly European."

In a separate statement, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister for foreign affairs, said "the best decision the E.U. can make now is to accept Ukraine as a new full-fledged member of the European Union without delay."

"Historic times require big and historic decisions which can change the flow of events," he said in a tweet Tuesday. 

Zelenskyy received a standing ovation following his address.

Zelenskyy says Russia should be considered 'terrorist state' after Kharkiv attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia should be considered a "terrorist state" following a deadly attack in central Kharkiv Tuesday.

"This is terror against the city. This is terror against Kharkiv. Terror against Ukraine," Zelenskyy said in a morning speech.

Video shared on social media by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and verified by NBC News appeared to capture the attack, with an explosion rocking the Kharkiv Region State Administration Building earlier Tuesday.

The attack, Zelenskyy said, was "outright, undisguised terror" that "no one will forgive. Nobody will forget."

"This attack on Kharkiv is a war crime," he said. "Russia is a terrorist state." 

Zelenskyy called on "all countries of the world to immediately and effectively respond to this crime of the aggressor's tactics and to declare that Russia is committing state terrorism. We demand full responsibility for terrorists in international courts. "

On Monday, the International Criminal Court said it would open an investigation into whether Russia has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

At least 10 people killed in Kharkiv attack, interior ministry adviser says

At least 10 people were killed, with at least 20 others wounded in a fresh shelling in central Kharkiv Tuesday morning, a Ukrainian interior ministry adviser and state emergency service officials have said.

Interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko announced the death toll in a Telegram post after video showed an explosion rocking the Kharkiv Region State Administration Building. 

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine also confirmed 10 people had died in the incident. It said at least 20 people had been injured. 

In an earlier Telegram post, the state emergency service had said a child had been among those injured. 

India confirmed that one of its citizens has died during an attack in Kharkiv Tuesday morning.

"With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning," Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted.

The deadly attack comes after Ukrainian officials accused Russia of hitting residential areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, with heavy shelling Monday.

Ukraine recalls ambassadors from Kyrgyzstan and Georgia

Rhoda Kwan

Ukraine has recalled its ambassadors from Kyrgyzstan and Georgia over the two countries' responses to the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday.

"Our diplomats are implementing just and absolutely necessary decisions in relation to those countries that have betrayed their word and international law," the president said. 

Zelenskyy recalled Ukraine's ambassador from Kyrgyzstan for "justifying the aggression against Ukraine" and the country's representative from Georgia for blocking volunteers from helping Ukraine and what he described as an "immoral attitude towards sanctions." 

Zelenskyy says defending capital priority: 'If we defend Kyiv, we defend the country'

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that defending Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, is his priority as he appointed a new head to the city's military administration amid Russia's invasion.

"If we defend Kyiv, we defend the country. Kyiv is the heart of our country," Zelenskyy said Tuesday.

Asserting that "defense of the capital is above all," Zelenskyy said he appointed General Zhernov Mykola Mykolayovych as the head of the Kyiv city military administration during the conflict.

"Vitali Klitschko remains the mayor of Kyiv. He will have his own sphere of responsibility and now it will be a joint work," Zelenskyy said.

He also expressed sorrow over heavy shelling in Kharkiv earlier Tuesday. "This is the price of freedom. Such a morning," he said.

India confirms citizen has died in Kharkiv attack

Rhoda Kwan

India has confirmed one of its citizens has died during an attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, Tuesday morning. 

"With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning," Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted.

Bagchi added the ministry has demanded both Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors ensure "urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones."

The country on Monday launched a special operation to evacuate its citizens out of Ukraine, setting up 24/7 hotlines and arranging transport to neighboring countries. India plans to send four senior ministers as special envoys to four different countries, including Slovakia and Romania in the coming days, according to the ministry. 

U.S. troops in Nuremberg, Germany, Tuesday transferred to military base in Grafenwoehr as NATO strengthens efforts in Eastern Europe amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Image: U.S. troops arrive in Nuremberg
U.S. troops in transfer to military base in Grafenwoehr to strengthen NATO efforts in Eastern Europe as Russian invasion on Ukraine continues, leave a plane at the Albrecht Duerer Airport in Nuremberg, Germany, on Tuesday.Andreas Gerbert / Reuters

China starts evacuating its citizens from Ukraine, state media says

Livia Liu

China evacuated a first round of citizens from Ukraine on Monday, including over 400 Chinese students from Odessa and 200 from Kyiv, according to state-backed Chinese tabloid Global Times, citing the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine. 

There are now over 6,000 Chinese nationals registered for evacuation, it added. Nearly 1,000 more Chinese citizens are expected to be evacuated from Ukraine on Tuesday to neighboring countries. 

Beijing, which has been forging closer ties with Russia, has not condemned Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. Instead, it has urged all parties to exercise restraint and called for negotiations. 

Maternity hospital near Kyiv damaged after attack, chief says

Ayumi Fujimoto

The head of a maternity hospital near Kyiv said the facility was hit in an attack on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, Vitaliy Girin said the incident had caused significant damage to the Adonis hospital.

He said officials were able to safely evacuate everyone from the facility, however, and said there appeared to be no serious injuries.

The maternity hospital is located near the Zhytomyr highway, where heavy fighting has been reported in recent days.

President Zelenskyy thanks Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for support

Rhoda Kwan

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their support for Ukraine during Russia's invasion of his country. 

"Olena and I are grateful to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @RoyalFamily that at this crucial time, when Ukraine is courageously opposing Russia's invasion, they stand by our country and support our brave citizens. Good will triumph," the president tweeted on Tuesday.

 Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, had personally expressed their support for Ukraine on Sunday.

"In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future," a tweet from their official account read. 

"Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future 🇺🇦 W & C," it continued. 

Ukraine condemns 'barbaric Russian missile strikes' on Kharkiv

Ukraine's foreign affairs minister condemned what he called "barbaric Russian missile strikes" in central Kharkiv Tuesday morning and called on the international community to "do more." 

In a tweet, Dmytro Kuleba accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of war crimes following the incident. 

"Putin is unable to break Ukraine down," he said. "He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians."

 "The world can and must do more," he said, calling on the international community to "INCREASE PRESSURE, ISOLATE RUSSIA FULLY!"

NBC News has verified video of explosions hitting Kharkiv's Regional Administration Building, but has not confirmed any deaths in connection with the incident.

In a Telegram post, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said the blast had left at least six people injured, including one child, in Ukraine's second-largest city. It said a death toll was still being determined.

On Monday, the International Criminal Court said it would open an investigation into whether Russia has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Destruction in Kharkiv after an explosion at the regional state administration building.

The destruction after an explosion at the Kharkiv Region State Administration Building on Freedom Square in central Kharkiv Tuesday.
Destruction near the regional administration building, which was hit by a missile according to city officials, in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Tuesday.Ukraine State Emergency Service / via Reuters

Google blocks Russian state-backed news sites from YouTube across Europe

Rhoda Kwan

Google has blocked the YouTube channels of Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe. The move comes after the company banned several Russian news sites from earning money from advertisements on the video platform on Saturday. 

"Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately," a tweet from the verified Google Europe account read on Tuesday afternoon. Google added it will "continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action."

The YouTube ban follows the EU's decision to ban the Russian state-backed media TV channels on Sunday. The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen had cited the need to curb the spread of Russian disinformation to justify its invasion of Ukraine.  

Video shows explosion hitting central Kharkiv

NBC News has verified a video of an explosion hitting central Kharkiv Tuesday morning.

In the video, shared on social media by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the blast can be seen at the Kharkiv Region State Administration Building on Freedom Square. It is unclear what exactly caused the explosion. 

In a Telegram post, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said the incident had left at least six people injured, including one child. 

A death toll is still being determined, it said. 

It comes after Ukrainian officials accused Russia of hitting residential areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, with heavy shelling Monday in an apparent escalation of Moscow's assault. 

Videos verified by NBC News appear to show heavy shelling and its aftermath in the city.

Satellite images show military convoy along a highway north of Kyiv, U.S. firm says

Satellite images captured by U.S. firm Maxar Technologies on Monday showed what it said was a military convoy along a highway, north of Ivankiv. 

Ivankiv is located around 50 miles northwest of Kyiv and around 33 miles northwest of Chernobyl.

This Maxar satellite image taken and released on Monday shows a military convoy along a highway, north of Ivankiv, Ukraine.Maxar Technologies / AFP - Getty Images

Ukrainian boxers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko in fight of their lives

The Associated Press

The two big men standing shoulder to shoulder in The Associated Press photo taken Sunday in the mayor’s office in beleaguered Kyiv, Ukraine, were instantly recognizable to most boxing fans.

Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, the sons of a Soviet major general, are both former heavyweight champions and whenever one was in the ring, the other was always helping from the corner.

Now they’re in a fight unlike any they ever imagined. The prize for this one isn’t a gaudy championship belt but the survival of their country.

Vitali Klitschko is helping lead it as mayor of Kyiv. His younger brother plays the role of chief second.

They’re a formidable pair, ready to do whatever it takes to defend their country against invading Russians.

Read the full story here

In New York, Ukrainian heritage schools keep culture alive as country is in peril

When students at the Self-Reliance Saturday School of Ukrainian Studies, in the heart of New York City’s Little Ukraine neighborhood, gathered Saturday for weekly classes, the meeting held special weight.

This time, there were not only lessons about the culture, traditions, history and language of the faraway country that many of their relatives still call home, but there were also tears, prayers and deep reflection as students, teachers and administrators tried to process the chaos following Russia’s invasion of its democratic neighbor.

“This week, we’re at war," Principal Ivan Makar said as he held a bell decorated with gold and blue ribbons in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. "So we’re doing it for unity. We’re doing it so that the children realize that today, something is going on."

Read the full story here

Keir Simmons

World Taekwondo strips Putin of honorary black belt

Tim Stelloh and Alex Lo

Taekwondo's governing body stripped Russian President Vladimir Putin of an honorary grand master black belt Monday, saying in a statement that it condemned the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The "brutal attacks on innocent lives" are contrary to the federation's mantra of "Peace is more precious than triumph," World Taekwondo said.

Putin had been given the 9th dan black belt in November 2013, the federation said.

The announcement comes one day after the International Judo Federation suspended Putin from his role as honorary president and ambassador to the sport.

In a statement Friday, federation President Marius Vizer said the "judo family" had hoped the conflict could be solved to bring "normality and stability in Eastern Europe and the world."

Putin co-authored a 2004 book titled "Judo: History, Theory, Practice" and released an instructional video — "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin" — four years later. 

Warner Bros. will not release 'The Batman' in Russia

WarnerMedia, the corporation behind movies set in the DC Comics universe, announced Monday night it will "pause" the release of a new Batman film in Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine.

"In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film 'The Batman' in Russia," a WarnerMedia spokesperson said. "We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy."

"The Batman," starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, debuts in U.S. theaters Friday.

WarnerMedia's announcement comes hours after the Walt Disney Company said it would suspend the theatrical release of new films in Russia, including the Pixar animated comedy "Turning Red."

Tom Llamas

Satellite images show 40-mile military convoy nearing Kyiv, U.S. firm says

A satellite image taken and released Sunday by Maxar appears to show part of a large convoy of Russian ground forces heading toward Kyiv from the northwest. NBC News has not verified the image.Maxar Technologies / AFP - Getty Images

Satellite images captured by an American firm, Maxar Technologies, showed what it said was a roughly 40-mile military convoy approaching Ukraine’s capital on Monday.

Maxar added that a number of homes and buildings appeared to be burning north and northwest of the area where the convoy was traveling.

Putin may see doubling down as only option, officials say

U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin is growing increasingly frustrated by his military struggles in Ukraine and may see his only option as doubling down on violence, current and former U.S. officials briefed on the matter said.

As the Russian economy teeters under unprecedented global sanctions and his purportedly superior military force appears bogged down, Putin has lashed out in anger at underlings, even as he remains largely isolated from the Kremlin in part because of concerns about Covid, the sources said.

“This is somebody that’s clearly been caught off guard by the size of the Ukrainian resistance,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said on MSNBC. “He has isolated himself. He’s not been in the Kremlin very much. ... You’ve got less and less inputs, and these inputs are from sycophants."

He added: "I do worry that he’s been backed into a corner. I do worry that there is no obvious exit ramp.”

Read the full story here. 

Dennis Miller will stop making talk show for Kremlin-backed RT America

The comedian and political commentator Dennis Miller will stop making a talk show that airs on the Kremlin-funded television network RT America, citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

"Dennis Miller + One" is produced by the media organization Ora TV, which licenses the series to RT America. The channel is part of the Moscow-based RT network, which U.S. intelligence agencies have described as "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."

"He has no plans on going back," the source said.

Miller's show has aired on RT America since March 2020.

"Star Trek" icon William Shatner also has a show that airs on RT America. Shatner's representative did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on his client's relationship with the network.

Canada sending antitank weapons to Ukraine

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is sending antitank weapons systems and "upgraded" ammunition to Ukraine as it fights Russia's invasion.

Trudeau said the weapons and ammunition add to three previous shipments of armaments, as well as to the imminent allotment of night-vision goggles, body armor, gas masks and helmets.

"We also intend to ban all imports of Russian crude oil," Trudeau said Monday in his announcement on Twitter.

Trudeau said that although Canada imports very little Russian oil, the prohibition "sends a powerful message," because global exports of crude account for more than a third of Russia's revenue

Trudeau's crackdown on Russia might also affect its global voice. He has asked federal communications regulators to review the presence of Russian state media, including RT television, on Canada's airwaves and cable systems. Some TV providers in Canada have already announced they're dropping RT, formerly known as Russia Today.

"We cannot allow falsehoods, propaganda and disinformation about Russia’s war to continue spreading in Canada," he said.

Disney pausing release of movies in Russia, including latest Pixar film

The Walt Disney Company, one of the most powerful media corporations in the world, announced Monday it would hold off on putting new movies in Russian theaters because of "the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis."

"We are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming 'Turned Red' from Pixar," Disney said in a statement on Twitter. "We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation."

"Turning Red" had been scheduled to debut in Russian movie theaters March 10. (In the U.S., the film will be released directly to the streaming service Disney+ on March 11.)

Disney's other high-profile coming releases include Marvel's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" and Pixar's "Lightyear."

In recent months, Russian moviegoers have turned out for marquee Hollywood releases, including the international smash "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which has grossed more than $44 million there to date, according to Box Office Mojo.

Ukraine's youngest cancer patients shelter in hospital basements, hoping to evacuate

Over the past five days, as Russia's invasion has continued, the basements of Ukraine's children's hospitals have become bomb shelters for the country's youngest cancer patients.

Thin mattresses, pillows and blankets cover the floors of underground hallways as the sound of explosions and gunfire can be heard above. Parents speak quiet reassurances to their sick children, encouraging them to eat or sleep.

Doctors and nurses try to provide the limited treatments they can, despite dwindling supplies of necessary medications, as well as food and water.

"These children suffer more because they need to stay alive to fight with the cancer — and this fight cannot wait," Dr. Lesia Lysytsia said over the phone from the basement of Okhmatdyt, a Kyiv children's hospital, the country's largest, where sirens warn of bombings every few hours and child victims of the battles are treated.

Read the full story here.

Zelenskyy: 'Fair negotiations can only happen when one side is not shooting at the other'

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said effective diplomacy cannot happen while invading forces from Russia continue their assault. 

"Fair negotiations can only happen when one side is not shooting at the other one during the exact time the negotiations are happening," he said in a translation of a video message posted on the Telegram communications app Monday night.

During Monday's diplomatic effort, requested by Zelenskyy, Russian forces were accused of continuing an incursion in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. 

Moscow said both sides had "heard" each other at Monday's meeting.

Zelenskyy read off the names of dead soldiers to punctuate his condemnation of Russia's onslaught. He asked the world to help close off airspace to Russian air offensives. 

"The evil that is armed with missiles, bombs and artillery must be stopped immediately, destroyed economically, to show that humanity is able to defend itself," Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine's ambassador to U.S. says Russia used a vacuum bomb


Russia used a vacuum bomb on Monday in its invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, said.

"They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention," Markarova said after briefing U.S. Congress members. "The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large."

A vacuum bomb 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.

Markarova said Ukraine was working actively with the Biden administration and Congress to obtain more weapons and tougher sanctions.

"They should pay, they should pay a heavy price," she told reporters after leaving the meeting.

One lawmaker who attended the meeting, Democratic Representative Brad Sherman, said the Ukrainians had asked for a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine but that he felt that was too dangerous because it could provoke conflict with Russia.

Jennifer Pietrofere

Senate leaders discuss America's next steps in Russia-Ukraine crisis

Jacob Fulton

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed the U.S.' next actions in the Russia-Ukraine crisis in remarks on the Senate floor Monday. 

Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate will work on preparing a $6.4 billion bipartisan aid package to be included in the omnibus government funding bill. The package will include humanitarian, economic and defense aid, he said, and it will be implemented "in lockstep with the Biden administration."

McConnell, R-Ky., called for further action from the administration, including a 5 percent increase in defense spending above inflation, in the president's next budget. He said the increases are essential to “seriously meet the growing threats posed by Russia and China,” which he said will not end with Ukraine.  

Sanctions alone will not be a sufficient tool to end this crisis, said McConnell, who warned about potential opposition to more extreme economic hurdles for Russia.

"The sanctions that would hurt Moscow the most would also have a significant impact on our friends in Europe," McConnell said. "So there will continue to be resistance to maximalist sanctions."

U.S. to expel 12 Russian intelligence operatives from U.N. mission, Psaki says

Jacob Fulton

The United States has begun the process of expelling 12 Russian intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission to the United Nations, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Monday. 

The information was first made public Monday afternoon when Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian ambassador to the U.N., announced he had been informed of the decision at the start of a news conference. Nebenzya said the U.S. is requiring the operatives to leave the country by March 7. 

Psaki said the move, which has been in the works for several months, was made because the operatives were engaging in activities she described as "adverse to our national security."

New Twitter feed tracks private jets owned by Russian oligarchs

Jets and helicopters belonging to the owner of the British soccer team Chelsea F.C., Roman Abramovich, were on the move Monday in such far-flung locales as Moscow and Codrington, a town in Antigua and Barbuda.

And at around the same time, a jet owned by steel magnate and fellow Russian oligarch Alexander Abramov touched down in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The comings and goings of powerful Russian elites have come under intense scrutiny since Vladimir Putin's forces invaded Ukraine last week, an attack that's drawn international condemnation.

And that's why 19-year-old Jack Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student, started tracking them on the Twitter feed Russian Oligarch Jets, which he launched this past weekend and which already has more than 52,000 followers as of Monday afternoon. 

Read full story here.

Biden to promote allied unity against Russia, economic gains during State of the Union address

President Joe Biden plans to use his State of the Union address Tuesday to emphasize the united response by the U.S. and its allies against Russia while seeking to promote the condition of the economy and sell an optimistic view of the country’s future, administration officials said ahead of the address. 

The president's team has been reworking his remarks in recent days to more heavily emphasize the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a speech expected to take place amid scenes of a growing assault on Kyiv. But administration officials said Biden’s domestic policy agenda will also be a major focus of his remarks, which are to include a plea to Congress to pass parts of his stalled Build Back Better legislation.  

Read more here.

NBC News

Just catching up? Here's what you need to know

NBC News

Just catching up? Here's what you may have missed:

  • The International Crime Court will open an investigation into potential war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, prosecutor Karim Khan announced Monday. Based on a preliminary examination of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Khan said there is a "reasonable basis" to believe Russia has committed both war crimes and crimes against humanity. 
  • Facebook's parent company said Monday it would restrict state-affiliated media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik for users in the European Union, in response to an E.U. request.
  • President Joe Biden said on Monday that Americans do not need to be worried about a nuclear war, after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Sunday that he was putting his nuclear forces on high alert.