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Ukraine refused Russian demands to surrender Mariupol on Monday, with the besieged port city the focal point of a war that has reached a brutal stalemate but is fueling a devastating humanitarian crisis.
Kyiv rejected the demand to give up the city after Moscow promised to allow civilians trapped amid the bombardment without water, heat or medicine to escape if its defenders laid down their arms.
Seizing control of the strategic city would represent a significant victory for Russian forces, with their advance seemingly ground to a halt elsewhere and their campaign shifting to intensifying aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities.
A fresh attack on Kyiv on Sunday night left at least eight people dead and a shopping center destroyed, Ukrainian officials said. An official death toll was still being determined.
President Joe Biden will head to Europe this week as the United States and its allies seek to bolster Ukraine and punish the Kremlin for its invasion. The trip will include a visit to Poland, a NATO ally neighboring Ukraine, the White House announced late Sunday.
Oil slips below $114 as E.U. split on Russian ban
Oil slipped below $114 a barrel Tuesday as European Union members disagreed on the possibility of an oil embargo on Russia.
European Union foreign ministers have been divided on whether to join the United States in the ban, with some countries saying the bloc is too reliant on Russia's fossil fuels to go through with the embargo.
Brent crude fell $1.92, or 1.7 percent, to $113.70 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. GMT (5:20 a.m. ET). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped $2.82, or 2.5 percent, to $109.30. Both contracts had settled up more than 7 percent on Monday.
Oil slipped as the dollar strengthened after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Monday suggested there would be a more aggressive tightening of monetary policy than previously expected.
Powell said the U.S. central bank is prepared to raise interest rates as needed to contain "much too high" inflation.
Russia ends WWII peace talks with Japan over Ukraine sanctions
Russia has responded to Japanese sanctions by terminating World War II peace treaty talks with the country, which responded angrily Tuesday.
The two countries never formally ended hostilities because of a territorial dispute over an island chain that lies between them. The islands, which Russia calls the Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories, were occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945.
Moscow is halting the talks with Tokyo as well as efforts toward joint economic activity on the islands, Russia's Tass news agency reported Monday, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“It is impossible to discuss the signing of a fundamental treaty in bilateral relations with a country that takes an outspokenly unfriendly stance and tries to cause harm to the interests of our country,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Japan has banned strategic exports, frozen bank assets and imposed sanctions on individuals and companies. Last week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan would revoke Russia's most-favored-nation trade status. On Tuesday, he criticized Russia's decision to end the talks, which have made little progress in seven decades despite more than 20 meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“The current situation is entirely the result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and for them to shift this onto Japan-Russia relations is extremely unjust and absolutely unacceptable,” Kishida said.
Zelenskyy says Russia shelled humanitarian corridor
LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces shelled along a humanitarian corridor Monday, wounding four children who were among the civilians being evacuated, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address to the nation. He said the shelling took place in the Zaporizhzhia region, the initial destination of those fleeing Mariupol.
The Ukrainian government said that about 3,000 people from Mariupol were evacuated on Monday.
Zelenskyy said he spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French President Emmanual Macron to coordinate their positions before Western leaders meet on Thursday.
“Our position will be expressed and will be expressed strongly, believe me,” Zelenskyy said.
Russian troops flummoxed, frustrated, Pentagon says
Russian forces in Ukraine, increasingly frustrated by their lack of progress, are increasing their attacks on civilians, Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said Monday.
"The Russians have been flummoxed. They've been frustrated. They have failed to achieve a lot of their objectives on the ground," he said, adding that "they are essentially still stalled outside Kharkiv, outside Chernihiv and so many other places."
As a result, Kirby said, Russian forces are "lobbing an awful lot of hardware into the cities to try to force their surrender. And it's increased over the last few days."
President Joe Biden last week called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "murderous dictator," and Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed up by saying, "Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a legal process was underway to determine whether Russia and its leadership could be held accountable, ostensibly by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Iowa senator says Ukrainians want more lethal aid after congressional trip to Poland, Germany
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Poland and Germany over the weekend, said lawmakers spoke with Ukrainian civil society leaders who "delivered a clear message to the United States, and that message was: We need more lethal aid, and we need it as soon as possible."
Ernst said at a news conference at the Capitol that the delegation met with Ukrainians who conveyed a willingness to "fight to the very last man" and that "they will win this war."
Asked about potential concerns that military aid could fall into the wrong hands, Ernst replied: "I have full faith and confidence in the Ukrainian military as long as they have the means to defend themselves and push Russia out.
"So am I worried about that? It might be in the back of my mind, but I know that if we're enabling the Ukrainians, they will put up the best fight ever and they can push on the victory," she added. "We know that this is very different than Afghanistan.”
Holocaust survivor, 96, killed in Kharkiv after Russian forces shell apartment
A Holocaust survivor was killed in Ukraine when Russian forces shelled his apartment building in the eastern city of Kharkiv, a memorial foundation said Monday.
Boris Romanchenko, 96, survived several Nazi concentration camps but died Friday after the attack burned his building, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation said.
Romanchenko, who was born in northeastern Ukraine, was deported to Dortmund, Germany, in 1942, the organization said. After a failed escape, he was sent to four camps — Buchenwald, Peenemünde, Mittelbau and Bergen-Belsen.
Russia's claims about missiles could be hypersonic hype, officials say
Russia claims it destroyed a Ukrainian ammunitions depot with hypersonic missiles capable of flying five to 25 times the speed of sound.
If confirmed, it would mark a dramatic escalation of Russia's brutal campaign to crush the pro-Western government in Kyiv and drag the country back into Moscow’s orbit.
But so far, Pentagon officials and military experts say, what Russia has unleashed appears to be hypersonic hype about a potentially devastating weapon.
8,000 Ukrainians evacuated Monday using 7 humanitarian corridors
More than 8,000 civilians were evacuated Monday through seven humanitarian corridors, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
About 3,000 Mariupol citizens fled to Zaporizhzhia, and more than 4,370 people were evacuated from Velyka Dymerka in the north to nearby Brovary, according to the officials. Hundreds of others received humanitarian aid in Vorzel, near the capital city of Kyiv, and in the Luhansk region northeast of Mariupol.
Evacuations were thwarted from Kozerovychi village after Russian forces started shooting at the column, Vereshchuk said.
Chernobyl staff returns home nearly month after Russian forces attacked nuclear plant
Ukrainian crews who have been living at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant since Russian forces attacked the site nearly a month ago have finally returned home for much-needed rest, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement Monday.
About half of the plant's technical staff left Sunday and the rest followed Monday, with the exception of 13 employees who declined to rotate. Many security guards also remained at the site, according to Ukraine's regulatory authority.
Rotating staff in and out has been complicated in recent weeks by damaged roads and bridges, marooning staff members since Feb. 23, one day before Russian forces took control of the site.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director of the IAEA, has been working to create a framework aimed at "ensuring the safety and security of all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities," the agency said in a statement.
In southern Ukraine, the two operating units of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant are operating at two-thirds capacity with three high-voltage off-site power lines available, including one on standby.
Eight of Ukraine's 15 reactors remained operational, and radiation levels are in the normal range, the IAEA said.
Ukraine will not submit to Russian ultimatums, Zelenskyy says
Ukraine will not yield to ultimatums proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and any potential compromise with Russia, including joining NATO, would be put to a referendum, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday during an interview with Eurovision News.
"Our people will have to say and give an answer to certain formats of compromises," he said. "What will those be? It will be defined by our conversation and understanding between Ukraine and Russia."
When asked whether a historic change is taking place within his country, Zelenskyy said "democracy is not a revolution" but instead the tangible power of its people.
"If you want to be the leader of your society, you have to be the leader of society, not to command, but to be a leader and live with them in the same spirit," he said.
"An ultimatum is a bad thing because it will lead to genocide and the destruction of the Ukrainian people," Zelenskyy added. "We are for peace. I repeat it again. No matter how difficult it is, it is better than war, and even though we hate these troops who are destroying us and killing our people [and we hate] their policy. We don't care. If we want peace, we need to sit down and talk."
Russia may target U.S. businesses with cyberattacks, Biden admin warns
The Biden administration urged U.S. businesses Monday to take added precautions amid "evolving" intelligence that Russia could target American companies with cyberattacks.
As the war in Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February rages on, the White House on Monday released a fact sheet telling U.S. companies to "Act Now to Protect Against Potential Cyberattacks." President Joe Biden is also slated to attend a meeting later Monday with Business Roundtable, an association of American CEOs, to discuss the war, among other topics.
"This is a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience," Biden said in a Monday statement. "I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners."
"Today, my administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks," he continued.
Ukraine defends strategically important Mariupol amid relentless attacks
Ukraine rejected demands from Moscow on Monday to surrender the strategically important port city of Mariupol, as Russian forces continued relentless attacks aimed at forcing the city into submission.
Shortly after Russia said that Ukraine had until 5 a.m. Monday to give up Mariupol in exchange for safe passage out of the city, Russian shelling hit an art school where civilians were sheltering, the second strike on a public building in less than a week. A theater in Mariupol where more than 1,000 people were sheltering was leveled in an attack Wednesday. A maternity hospital in the city was also shelled March 9.
Mariupol has been subjected to weeks of shelling and grisly urban warfare as Russian forces have struggled to take over the city.
Mariupol is considered a key strategic target for Russia because it would create a bridge between Crimea — which Russia annexed by force in 2014 — and areas of eastern Ukraine held by Moscow-backed separatists, making it easier for Russia to move people and supplies into the country.
Zelenskyy to Ukraine: 'Do everything to protect our state'
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implored citizens to "do everything to protect our state" from Russian "slaves of propaganda" in a video message posted to his Telegram account Monday.
"I want to address the Ukrainian cities and its brave inhabitants separately," he began, calling out different regions that have come under attack in recent weeks.
Addressing the southern city of Kherson, where Zelenskyy said Russian forces were targeting innocent civilians, he urged residents to "hold on" and not lose hope, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's army as "slaves sent by Russia [who] have never seen so many free people in the squares and streets."
"They have never seen thousands of people who have no fear of them, of slaves with weapons in their hands. Slaves perceive the freedom as savagery, as danger. They are scared," he went on.
"I really want you, all our Ukrainians in the south, to never think even for a moment that Ukraine does not remember you," he said. "Whenever it is difficult for you, whenever it hurts you, when you resist above all, please know that our hearts are broken at this time, because we are not with you. We ask God to support you until we cannot threw out strangers. This is a feat. It is a feat that you are protesting. It is fortunate that we have such people, that we are all Ukraine."
NATO official sees Russia war entering a stalemate: ‘Neither side here can win’
BRUSSELS — The nearly monthlong Russian war in Ukraine is on the verge of entering a stalemate, a senior NATO intelligence official said Monday, with Ukrainian forces preventing Russia from making progress but Russian President Vladimir Putin showing no willingness to back down.
“If we’re not in a stalemate, we are rapidly approaching one,” said the NATO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military assessments. “The reality is that neither side has a superiority over the other.”
Belarus, a close Russian ally, may soon attack Ukraine itself and is preparing to potentially let Russia position nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil, the official said. Belarus has already allowed Russia’s military to use its territory to invade Ukraine.
The ominous assessment comes as President Joe Biden and world leaders prepare for a NATO major summit on Thursday here in Belgium and other high-level meetings focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Russia 'desperate' to gain momentum in Ukraine, senior U.S. official says
Russian forces are struggling to make significant territorial advances in their invasion of Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin's troops continue to launch attacks across the country.
"They are looking for a chance to break out," the official said. "They are looking for a chance to gain some momentum."
Russia's most recent wave of attacks on civilian targets could be aimed at boosting its leverage at the negotiation table, the official said.
"When you look at the map, you can count literally on one hand the number of population centers that we assess are in Russian hands right now," the official said, asking rhetorically, "What have they have gained in ... 26 days?”
Russian court bans Facebook and Instagram under ‘extremism’ law
A Russian court took further action against Meta's Facebook and Instagram on Monday under the country's "extremism" law, banning the companies from doing business in Russia but allowing Russian users to continue using WhatsApp.
The Russian state-owned media outlet TASS reported the court-ordered ban based on a decision from Russian Judge Olga Solopova of the Tverskoy Court of Moscow, which it said went into effect immediately. The court determined that individual Russians will not be held responsible for “extremism” by continuing to use Facebook and Instagram, TASS reported.
The order follows Russia's announcement March 4 that it would block access to Facebook and Twitter after Meta banned several state media accounts.
Meta will now be prohibited from opening branches in Russia and from doing business in Russia, TASS said. The Russian prosecutor general’s office cited calls for violence against Russian citizens on Meta-owned platforms as a reason for the ban.
Monitoring system isn't working in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, nuclear company says
The automated radiation monitoring system in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is not working, Ukraine's state nuclear company announced Monday, raising fears about one of the most radioactive places in the world.
The vast land around the Chernobyl power plant, site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, has been closely watched since Russian forces seized it in late February during their invasion of Ukraine.
In a post on the Telegram messaging app Monday, Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said that there was no data on "the current state of radiation pollution in the Exclusion Zone, which makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats of deterioration of radiation situations in the Exclusion Zone."
It could negatively affect the nuclear situation in Ukraine as well as other countries, Energoatam said, adding that fire services that extinguish forest fires in the Exclusion Zone are currently unable to do so.
"There is a high probability that in the spring and summer the intensity of forest fires in the Exclusion Zone may reach the maximum possible limits, which will lead (in the absence of any fire measures) to almost complete burning of radioactively contaminated forests in the Exclusion Zone and, consequently, to significant deterioration of radiation in Ukraine and throughout Europe," the post read.
Chernobyl, about 60 miles from Kyiv, was home to the worst nuclear disaster in the world. An area of approximately 1,000 square miles around the catastrophe site was then designated an off-limits radioactive "exclusion zone" that, despite the continued absence of human residents, has since become home to some wildlife.
Despite decades passing since the disaster, elements still in the air continue to pose harm.
U.N. says 925 civilians killed in Ukraine since start of invasion
At least 925 civilians have been killed and another 1,496 have been injured in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country nearly a month ago, according to the United Nations human rights office.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the actual casualty numbers are probably much higher, especially in areas of Ukraine controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces.
"The receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration," the U.N. said in a news release.
The bodies of Ukrainian servicemen are covered with blankets and plastic bags outside the Retroville shopping center following a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday.
U.K. summons Russian defense attache over Ukraine invasion
Britain's ministry of defense has summoned Russia's defense attache for the second time over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
"The 2nd Permanent Under Secretary Laurence Lee protested in the strongest terms against the persistent and unjustified acts of violence being committed against innocent civilians by Russian forces," the defense ministry said in a Twitter statement.
It said Lee had "emphasized that schools, theaters and hospitals are not legitimate military targets."
He also warned that the United Kingdom would be "collecting evidence of war crimes" and repeated Britain's demand for the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from Ukraine immediately, the defense ministry said.
Ukraine official accuses Russian forces of 'terrorizing' residents in occupied territories
Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman accused Russian forces on Monday of “terrorizing the local population” in areas they control.
In the Luhansk region, in the southeast of the country, Russian forces were looting and shipping appliances, cars, food and more to Russia, ombudswoman Ludmyla Denisova said in a Telegram post.
She also said that in the southern city of Enerhodar, protests on Sunday had sparked the arrival of 600 riot police carrying batons, shields and firearms.
“They must prevent any acts of resistance and even the slightest crowd,” she said.
She added that “terror of civilians is a war crime.”
Russian bond trading resumes for first time since the start of Ukraine invasion
Russia's central bank reopened bond trading on the Moscow exchange Monday for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine began nearly a month ago.
Stock trading remained closed.
The Bank of Russia said in a statement it had decided to resume trading in federal government bonds Monday. It said a schedule of the Moscow Exchange for the following days would be published at a later time.
The central bank bought bonds to support prices. The bank has imposed wide-ranging restrictions on financial transactions to try to stabilize markets and combat the severe fallout from Western sanctions that have sent the ruble sharply lower against the U.S. dollar and the euro.
People examine the damage on Monday after fresh shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, destroyed a shopping center.
Moscow court reportedly rejects Meta's bid to have extremism charges dismissed
A Moscow court on Monday rejected an attempt by Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms to have extremism charges against it dismissed, Russian news agencies reported.
The company's lawyer, Victoria Shagina, had said in court that Meta was not carrying out extremist activities and stood against Russophobia, Interfax reported. Meta Platforms did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
The reported development comes after Russia banned Facebook for restricting access to Russian media while Instagram was blocked after Meta said it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages urging violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and troops Moscow sent into Ukraine.
Meta has since narrowed its guidance to prohibit calls for the death of a head of state and said its guidance should never be interpreted as condoning violence against Russians in general.
Russia accused of attacking residential buildings in Odesa
Officials in the city of Odesa have accused Russian forces of attacking residential homes in the Black Sea port.
The Odesa city council said in a Telegram post Monday that Russian forces had attacked "the houses where the residents of Odessa slept." It was not immediately clear where exactly the attack unfolded.
The city council said firefighters were able to quickly extinguish a fire following the attack. No one was believed to have died in the assault.
Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov condemned the attack, saying there were no military facilities near the residential area. "These are houses where peaceful people live," he said, vowing to "fight for our city."
At least 8 killed in strike on Kyiv shopping center
At least eight people were killed in a strike on Kyiv that destroyed a shopping center in the capital's Podil district, Ukrainian officials have said.
In a Telegram post, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said at least eight people had died in the attack, with at least one other injured.
Earlier, Ukraine's parliament said a powerful explosion had destroyed the shopping center, with "preliminary data" suggesting at least eight people had been killed.
Ukraine's state emergency service said a fire at the shopping center had been extinguished by late Monday morning local time.
A man reacts as he stands near his ruined house after Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday.
Number of refugees who have fled Ukraine nears 3.5 million
The number of people who have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded has neared 3.5 million, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
In a situation update on Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 3.48 million people have so far fled the country, with many making their way to neighboring nations.
More than 2 million people have fled to Poland, while more than 535,000 have made their way to Romania. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of others have gone to Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and other countries.
New curfew to be imposed in Kyiv from Monday to Wednesday
A reinforced curfew will be imposed in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from 8 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Monday until 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Wednesday, the Kyiv City State Administration said in a Telegram post.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko urged everyone to “stay at home or in shelters when the alarm sounds.”
He added that shops, pharmacies and gas stations would not open Tuesday.
Eight humanitarian corridors agreed to evacuate residents from besieged cities
An agreement has been reached to create eight humanitarian corridors to evacuate residents from besieged cities and villages Monday, Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman, Lyudmyla Denisova, has said.
The corridors will allow people to escape cities including Berdyansk and Mangush, as well as a number of villages, Denisova said in a Telegram post. They will also be used to transport humanitarian aid to areas under attack.
Mariupol, where residents have suffered for weeks due to shortages amid unrelenting attacks by Russian forces, was not included in the list.
Denisova called for “proper coordination of the actions of Russian military units to allow convoys of buses to evacuate in both directions along the route and prevent their shelling.”
Kremlin says 'no significant process' made in peace talks
The Kremlin has said "no significant progress" has been made so far in peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call Monday, Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov suggested there was still a long way to go before a possible meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy could take place.
"In order to talk about the meeting of the two presidents, we first need to do our homework. We need to conduct and coordinate the results of the negotiations," he said. "No significant progress has been made yet."
He also said there were no new discussions on a potential cease-fire as negotiations continue.
People dig a grave for victims killed during the war in Ukraine on a street in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol on Sunday.
China to provide additional $1.57 million humanitarian aid to Ukraine
The Chinese Red Cross will offer an additional 10 million yuan ($1.57 million) worth of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Monday.
Wang announced the commitment during a regular briefing in Beijing.
The promise of aid comes after China said earlier this month that the Chinese Red Cross would provide a batch of humanitarian assistance worth 5 million yuan ($785,657) to Ukraine.
Israel to maintain relations with Kyiv, Moscow
Israel's prime minister says the country is managing its involvement with Ukraine and Russia "in a sensitive, generous and responsible way while balancing various and complex considerations" after Ukraine's president called on Israel to take sides.
Naftali Bennett spoke on the tarmac at Israel's main international airport as an aid delegation was set to depart for Ukraine to set up a field hospital for refugees near the Polish border.
A day earlier Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rebuked Israel in a televised address to Israeli parliament members, saying Israel should provide arms and impose sanctions on Russia.
Israel has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia and has acted as an intermediary between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
Russian carmaker Avtovaz partially suspends production over shortages
Russian carmaker Avtovaz has said it will be partially halting production at its plants in Togliatti and Izhevsk this week due to a shortage of electronic parts.
The carmaker said production would be partially affected from Monday to Friday.
Avtovaz said the LADA Izhevsk plant would continue to produce its Vesta model and vehicles from Monday and Tuesday.
Renault, which controls Avtovaz, has periodically suspended production this month over similar shortages.
Kyiv attack leaves several dead, destroys shopping center, officials say
A fresh attack on Kyiv on Sunday night left several people dead and a shopping center destroyed, Ukrainian officials have said.
In a Telegram post, Ukraine's parliament said a powerful explosion had destroyed the shopping center in the capital's Podil district.
It said at least eight people were believed to be dead, according to "preliminary data." An official death toll was still being determined, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Reuters there had been several blasts in the Podil district. He said a number of homes had also been hit.
Volodymyr, 13, recovers in a Kyiv hospital on Saturday after his family's car was caught in crossfire between Russian and Ukrainian forces, killing his father and injuring his mother in late February.
Ukraine rejects Russia's demand to surrender Mariupol
Ukraine rejected demands from Russia to surrender Mariupol on Monday as a humanitarian crisis continued to unfold in the besieged port city.
Moscow had offered to allow civilians trapped in the city without access to water, heating and medicine to escape if Ukrainian forces surrendered.
Kyiv rejected the demand, however, refusing to give Russia control of the strategic city.
As many as 300,000 people are believed to be trapped in Mariupol, with aid blocked from reaching residents, who have for weeks suffered from worsening shortages amid intensive Russian bombing.
Russian advance toward Kyiv stalls amid heavy fighting north of capital
Russian forces advancing toward Kyiv from the northeast have stalled as heavy fighting continues north of the capital, Britain's Defense Ministry said Monday.
Meanwhile, forces advancing from the direction of Hostomel to the northwest of the Ukrainian capital have been "repulsed by fierce Ukrainian resistance," it said in an intelligence update.
As of early Monday morning, the bulk of Russian forces remained more than 15 miles away from the center of Kyiv, the Defense Ministry said.
Despite the "continued lack of progress," it said Kyiv remains Moscow's primary military objective, with Russian forces expected to "prioritize attempting to encircle the city over the coming weeks."
Rescuers work at site of Kyiv shopping mall hit by airstrike
Emergency officials have contained an ammonia leak at a chemical plant that contaminated a wide area in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, officials said Monday.
Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy didn’t say what caused the leak, which spread about 1.5 miles in all directions from the Sumykhimprom plant.
The plant is on the eastern outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 263,000 and has been regularly shelled by Russian troops in recent weeks.
Biden's European trip to include stop in Poland
President Joe Biden's trip overseas this week will include a stop in Poland, which borders Ukraine, the White House said late Sunday.
It was previously announced that the president would travel to Brussels to meet with NATO allies, European Union officials and leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations to discuss support for Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion.
The newly announced leg of the trip will have Biden going to Warsaw on Friday for a meeting with President Andrzej Duda, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. She tweeted earlier that his travels would not include a stop in Ukraine.
The focus of the trip will be "international efforts to support Ukraine and impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia for its invasion," according to Psaki's statement.