At least 11 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded on Monday because of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s second most populated city Kharkiv, the regional governor said.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the West as an “Empire of Lies” as he discussed the state of the country’s economy with officials following the imposition of sanctions against Moscow.
He made the comments hours after talks between Ukraine and Russia started at the border with Moscow’s ally Belarus.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he was not optimistic about the discussions. He also urged the European Union to grant his country “immediate” membership as Russia’s attacks continued for the fifth day.
Though, reports said that Ukrainian troops slowed Russia’s advance and held onto the capital Kyiv and other important cities.
Here are the top updates of the day:
10.45 pm: After the talks between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak says Moscow is “extremely biased”.
10.30 pm: Several large explosions across the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
10.25 pm: The next round of dialogue between the Russian and Ukrainian officials will be held on the Polish-Belarusian border, Sputnik reports, citing the Moscow delegation chief. The outcome of the negotiations of the first round is not made public yet.
10.10 pm: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signs a request to join the European Union amid attacks from Russia, reports Reuters.
10 pm: Talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegation has ended, multiple reports are saying.
9.59 pm: Russia’s actions in Ukraine are being distorted, claims the country’s United Nations ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, reports The Guardian. “The root for the current crisis lies in the actions of Ukraine itself,” he adds. “For many years it sabotaged and flouted its direct obligations under the Minsk package of measures.”
9.40 pm: Ukraine’s ambassador at the United Nations tells the Security Council that 352 people, including 16 children, have been killed so far in the Russian invasion. “These numbers growing nonstop, shelling continue,” Sergiy Kyslytsya adds.
9.20 pm: Meanwhile, addressing the UN General Assembly in its first emergency meeting since 1982, Secretary General António Guterres calls Russian president putting nuclear defenses on alert “a chilling development”.
9.15 pm: French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes amid the escalating tensions with Ukraine, reports the Financial Times. The French president urged Putin to halt Moscow’s offensive in Kyiv.
Putin, however, stressed that a negotiation “is possible only if Russia’s legitimate security interests are unconditionally taken into account”.
9 pm: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says civilians must be protected and attacks against them is “totally unacceptable”.
8.45 pm: The United Nations General Assembly’s meeting to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has started. This is the eleventh Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
In his opening speech, General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid of Maldives calls to “meaningfully and rapidly de-escalate” the crisis. “Let us give peace a chance,” he adds. “Let peace prevail.”
8.37 pm: At least 11 civilians have been killed in Russian strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv city, says regional governor Oleg Sinegubov, reports AFP. He adds, “The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas.”
8.15 pm: Russia’s foreign minister has cancelled a trip to the United Nations, citing “anti-Russian sanctions” imposed by the European Union countries, says the country’s mission in Geneva.
8.13 pm: A total 1,396 students have reached India in six evacuation flights under “Operation Ganga”, the Ministry of External Affairs says. Three more flights are planned in the next 24 hours – two from Bucharest to Mumbai and Delhi and one from Budapest to Delhi.
8.08 pm: Dozens of people have been killed in rocket strikes by Russian troops in the eastern city of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian interior ministry claims, according to The Guardian. Hundreds are also injured in the attack.
8 pm: Switzerland President Ignazio Cassis announces that the country will follow the European Union in sanctioning Russia and freezing Moscow’s assets in the country, reports AP.
7.44 pm: Russian President Vladimir Putin denounces the West as an “Empire of Lies” as he discusses the imposition of sanctions on Moscow with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, reports Reuters.
7.29 pm: Ukraine’s envoy to India, Igor Polikha, tells PTI that the country is helping Indians even though the situation is “very difficult and complex” as Russian forces are attacking schools, ambulances and civilian areas.
“My resources are limited,” he adds. “We are victims of aggression. Still, we are trying to help people including those from other countries.”
Several Indian students have alleged that they were assaulted by the Ukrainian authorities and not being allowed to cross over to the neighbouring countries.
7.25 pm: Russia has closed its airspace to the carriers of 36 countries, according to CNN. Moscow had pledged to retaliate after European nations and Canada shut their airspace to Russian aircraft.
7.20 pm: Russian troops have seized the towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in southeastern Zaporizhzhya region of Ukraine along with the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Reuters reports, citing news agency Interfax.
6.52 pm: The United States has closed its embassy in Belarus and has asked non-essential staff in Ukraine embassy to leave the country, reports The Associated Press. A senior US intelligence official has said that Belarus is expected to send troops into Ukraine to aid Russia.
5.50 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs says four Union ministers will be deployed to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to oversee evacuation efforts. Jyotiraditya Scindia is being sent to Romania, Kiren Rijiju to Slovak Republic, Hardeep Puri to Hungary and VK Singh to Poland.
5.47 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs says that situation in Ukraine is concerning but the government has accelerated evacuation process. About 8,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the ministry rolled out its first advisory.
5.17 pm: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is involved in the Russia-Ukraine talks, The Guardian reports. “I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since,” a spokesperson says.
5.15 pm: After Russian nuclear forces were put on high alert, the Chinese foreign ministry says all sides should be calm and avoid further escalation of tensions, reports Reuters.
5 pm: Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei welcomes delegations from Ukraine and Russia for the talks. He says delegates should feel “completely secure”.
4.55 pm: Over 5,00,000 people have fled Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24, the United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi says in a tweet.
4.44 pm: The Moscow stock exchange will not open today after the value of the rouble plummeted following the measures announced by the United States and the European Union to target the Russian central bank, reports CNN.
4.30 pm: Talks between Russia and Ukraine have started at the Belarussian border, reports AFP.
Earlier, Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky had said that the country is interested in reaching an agreement that is in the interest of both the sides, while Ukraine said its goal for the talks was a ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian forces.
3.43 pm: Russia’s state communications regulator has ordered Google to restrict access to information posted as part of the search engine’s advertisement service, Google Ads, Al Jazeera reports.
Russia has claimed that Google Ads contain inaccurate information about casulaties of Russian forces and Ukrainian civilians.
3.12 pm: List of officials who are part of the Ukrainian and Russian delegations which will hold talks in Belarus later on Monday.
3.09 pm: More than two lakh people, including Indian students, have crossed over to Ukraine from Poland, the country’s Ambassador to India Adam Burakowski tells ANI
3.04 pm: Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says countries of the military alliance are stepping up support to Ukraine by providing air defence missiles, anti-tank weapons, as well as humanitarian and financial aid.
2.57 pm: Russian military announces an “open and safe” corridor for Ukrainian civilians to leave Kyiv, reports CNN.
“All civilians in the city can freely leave the capital of Ukraine along the Kyiv-Vasilkov (Vasylkiv) highway,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Defence, says in a statement.
2.52 pm: In a video message, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 16 children have been killed and 45 wounded since the Russian invasion started.
2.50 pm: Ukraine will demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops in the meeting with the Russian delegation, CNN reports citing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office.
2.47 pm: A photo of the venue where the talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations will be held.
2.45 pm: Mandatory negative RT-PCR report, vaccination certificate and other Covid-19 guidelines relaxed for Indians being evacuated from Ukraine, ANI reports citing health ministry advisory.
2.38 pm: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says he has asked the European Union for immediate accession under new special procedure, reports Reuters.
2.34 pm: Ukrainian delegation arrives for talks with Russia on border of Belarus, reports AP
2.25 pm: An investigation agency in Russia says it will begin looking into accusations of torture of Russian prisoners of war by Ukrainian forces, AP reports.
Earlier, Russia’s defence ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov had promised to track all the alleged culprits down and bring them to justice. However, he did not cite any evidence for his claim.
2.15 pm: The Ukrainian delegation has reached the venue for talks with Russia, AFP reports.
1.55 pm: Moscow is interested in reaching an agreement that is in the interests of both Russia and Ukraine, Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky says, according to Reuters.
He says that talks between the two countries in Belarus are expected to begin at 12 pm local time [2.30 pm according to Indian Standard Time].
1.50 pm: Indian authorities start a bus service to take Indians stuck in Ukraine’s border village of Shehyni to other transit points and to facilitate their entry into Poland.
1.39 pm: In an attempt to salvage its currency, Russia’s central bank more than doubles its key interest rate from 9.5% to 20%
Higher interest rates offer lenders a greater return relative to other countries. So typically, higher interest rates attract foreign capital and results in a rise in exchange rate of currencies.
Earlier in the day, Russian currency rouble fell more than 30% to a record low against the US dollar in the wake of sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine.
1.29 pm: A flight belonging to Russian operator Aeroflot violated Canada’s ban on Russian flights entering its airspace, Transport Canada says.
“We are launching a review of the conduct of Aeroflot and the independent air navigation service provider, NAVCAN, leading up to this violation,” the authority says. “We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action and other measures to prevent future violations.”
1.16 pm: Russian forces have slowed down the pace of their offensive, officials in Ukraine have claimed, according to AFP.
“The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive, but are still trying to develop success in some areas,” the officials say.
This is the fifth day of Russia’s attack on Russia.
1.06 pm: The Vatican’s seniormost diplomat says that the city-state is willing to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reports. Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin says that despite the war “unleashed by Russia against Ukraine”, he is convinced that there is always scope for negotiation.
12.58 pm: Indian private airline Spicejet will operate a special evacuation flight to Hungary’s capital Budapest to bring back citizens stranded in Ukraine, ANI reports. The flight will leave Delhi at 17.00 hours, as per Co-ordinated Universal Time.
12.52 pm: Ukrainian civilians can freely leave the capital city of Kyiv, the Russian army says, according to AFP.
The statement comes ahead of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus slated for today.
12.42 pm: A flight carrying 240 Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine has left from Budapest for Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says. This is the sixth flight that is a part of evacuation efforts of Indians from Ukraine.
12.15 pm: Belarus’ ministry of foreign affairs releases a photo of arrangements for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, which are slated to start today.
“In Belarus, everything is ready to host Russia-Ukraine negotiations,” it says. “Waiting for delegations to arrive.”
12.10 pm: Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and VK Singh will visit neighbouring countries of Ukraine to co-ordinate evacuation efforts, The Indian Express reports.
12.00 pm: The Indian Embassy in Ukraine says that the weekend curfew in the capital city of Kyiv has been lifted. “All students are advised to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to the western parts,” the embassy says on Twitter. “Ukraine Railways is putting special trains for evacuations.”
11.52 am: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says that his country will adopt a neutral stance on Ukraine, and will not impose sanctions on Russia, CNN reports.
Bolsonaro says that Ukrainians “trusted a comedian with the fate of a nation”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was earlier an actor and comedian.
The Brazilian president says that while he supports peace, he does not want to cause more problems for his own country.
11.45 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi shares a video purportedly of security forces manhandling Indian citizens amid the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. He urges the Union government to share its evacuation plan with those stranded in Ukraine, as well as their families.
11.40 am: The fifth flight carrying 249 Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine lands in Delhi, according to PTI.
The Air India flight originated from Romania’s capital city of Bucharest.
11.25 am: The United States’ Embassy in Kyiv urges its citizens to leave Ukraine through private options if it is safe to do so. It recommended that they should leave the country through border crossings into Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
11.18 am: Ukraine says that its troops pushed back several attacks by Russian forces attempting to storm the outskirts of Kyiv, the BBC reports.
“We showed that we can protect our home from uninvited guests,” Colonel General Alexander Syrsky, the Commander of the Armed Forces, says.
Overnight, many cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, reported several explosions.
11.10 am: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the country will not capitulate and will not “give up a single inch of our territory,” ahead of talks with Russia at the Ukraine-Belarus border, AFP reports.
11 am: Ukraine tells the International Atomic Energy Agency that missiles hit a radioactive waste disposal facility in Kyiv, but there were no reports of damage to the building or any indications of a radioactive release.
On Saturday, the country’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine had said that an electric transformer at a similar disposal facility near the city of Kharkiv was damaged. No radioactive release was reported at Kharkiv either.
“These two incidents highlight the very real risk that facilities with radioactive material will suffer damage during the conflict, with potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment,” Director General of the IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi says
9.30 am: Amid the crisis in Ukraine, a referendum in Belarus approves a new constitution renouncing its non-nuclear status, according to Reuters.
Belarus’ central election commission says that 65.2% of the participants voted in favour of the ending the country’s non-nuclear status.
9.25 am: Ukraine’s foreign ministry says that the “world’s largest plane”, the Mriya, has been destroyed by Russian forces. It said that the plane was a symbol of hope in the times of Covid-19, and carried large quantities of vaccines and personal protective equipment.
9.15 am: The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution on holding a special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Eleven countries vote in favour of the resolution.
The emergency session of the General Assembly will be held on Monday. This will be the 11th such session of the General Assembly since 1950, and the first such session since 1982.
9.10 am: India abstains from voting in the United Nations Security Council on whether a special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly should be held to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The Indian envoy to the global body, TS Tirumurti, says that India reiterates its call for an immediate stop to violence, and welcomes the announcements on talks to be held near the Belarus border.
China and the United Arab Emirates also abstain from voting, while Russia votes against the resolution.
On Friday, India had abstained from voting on a separate Security Council resolution that deplored Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine.
9.00 am: A total of 210 civilians have been killed in Ukraine till Sunday due to the attack by Russia, the BBC reports.
Several children are among those who died.
8.57 am: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy agrees to send a team to the country’s border with Belarus to meet Russian officials, but says that he expects little to come out of it, The New York Times reports.
“I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try to make sure that no citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as a president, have not tried to stop the war,” he says.
8.35 am: Australia announces that it will give lethal equipment to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia, according to AP.
The official announcement, however, does not provide details on the nature of the equipment.
Earlier, Australia had imposed sanctions on over 350 Russian individuals, including President Vladimir Putin, on account of its attack on Ukraine.
8.30 am: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he believes the next 24 hours will be crucial, the BBC reports.
Johnson praises Zelenskyy’s leadership and says that his country will take all measures to ensure that defensive aid reaches Ukraine.
8.10 am: The Russian rouble crashed over 30% as markets opened, reports The Guardian. The rouble dropped to as low as 119 per dollar, and was last down 28.77% at 118 from its closing price 83.64 on Friday. This comes after several sanctions imposed on Moscow, including some Russian banks from the Swift international payments system.
8 am: Here are the top updates on the invasion from Sunday:
- The United Nations’ refugee agency said that as many as 3,68,000 people have fled Ukraine since the invasion by Russia began.
- Russian troops entered Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv.
- Russian forces targeted oil facilities near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. The forces blew up an oil terminal in Vasylkiv town, located southwest of Kyiv, and a gas pipeline in Kharkiv.
- Ukraine submitted an application against Russia in the International Court of Justice.
- Ukraine agreed to having talks in Belarus, after initially saying it would not because Belarus was under Russian control.
- The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France and Germany removed Russian banks from the Swift international payments system.
- Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his military to put the country’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert. Putin said his order was in response to the “aggressive statements” made by NATO countries.