Russia attacks Ukraine: Russian paratroopers land in Kharkiv, officials say

Ukraine’s forces continued to battle with Russian troops for a sixth day Tuesday as a 40-mile Russian military convoy reached the outskirts of Kyiv.

>> Read more trending news

The news came amid reports that 70 Ukrainian soldiers died when Russian artillery hit a military base Sunday in Okhtyrka, which is located between Kharkiv and Kyiv, according to The Associated Press.

Here are the latest updates:

Crypto donations to Ukraine near $34M

Update 11:36 p.m. EST March 1: A staggering $33.8 million in digital currency has been donated to Ukraine since Russia invaded the independent neighboring nation six days ago, The Associated Press reported.

Chief Scientist Tom Robinson of Elliptic, a firm that tracks cryptocurrency transactions, told the news outlet that the funds have been pledged to both Ukraine’s government and non-governmental agencies, with nearly one-third of the haul donated on Tuesday.

Ukraine issued a plea for digital currency contributions via Twitter last week. To date, it has received 30,000 donations, including $5.8 million from Gavin Wood, the British programmer who co-founded ethereum, along with several other donations of more than $1 million each, the AP reported.

Russian paratroopers land in Kharkiv

Update 11:20 p.m. EST March 1: Russian paratroopers have landed in Kharkiv, the Security Service of Ukraine stated in an alert issued just before 3 a.m. local time.

The agency stated that the Russian soldiers attacked a military medical center, noting that a “battle broke out between the invaders and the Ukrainian defenders.”

According to The Guardian, Kharkiv, with a population of about 1.5 million, has been encircled by Russian troops for several days and reported the deaths of at least six people after a suspected Russian missile struck the region’s administrative building on Freedom Square.

Ukraine death toll stands at 136, including 13 children, UN says

Update 10:32 p.m. EST March 1: The United Nations confirmed Tuesday that at least 136 people, including 13 children, have died in Ukraine since Russia invaded the independent nation six days ago.

Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, confirmed to CNN that another 400 civilians, including 26 children have been injured in the fighting.

“These are only the casualties we were able to cross-check, and the real toll is likely to be much higher,” Throssell told the network.

By contrast, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported on Sunday that 332 civilians have died and 1,684 had been injured since the invasion began Feb. 24.

Map shows Russian troops’ ground advances in Ukraine

Update 10:20 p.m. EST March 1: The Washington Post has been visually tracking the advancements of Russian troops in Ukraine.

The latest data indicated that troops have now advanced from the north, south and east, but a more than 40-mile convoy remains on the outskirts of capital city Kyiv. Meanwhile, Russia has claimed control of Mariupol in Ukraine’s south.

See the Post’s latest visualizaiton below:

Biden unveils task force targeting Russian oligarch crimes

Update 10:10 p.m. EST March 1: President Joe Biden confirmed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night that the U.S. Justice Department is assembling a task force “to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.”

“We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets…We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” Biden said.

Boeing severs ties with Russia

Update 9:54 p.m. EST March 1: Boeing announced on Tuesday it is suspending all major operations in Moscow.

According to the BBC, the U.S. planemaker will no longer provide technical support, maintenance or parts for Russian aircraft.

The move comes one day after the aerospace giant closed its office in Kyiv, Ukraine, and halted its pilot training operations in Moscow.

A spokesperson told the BBC that Boeing was “focused on ensuring the safety of our teammates in the region.”

Belarus preparing to enter Ukraine, defense ministry says

Update 9:47 p.m. EST March 1: Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says it has evidence that Belarus, a Russian ally, is preparing to send troops into Ukraine, The Associated Press reported late Tuesday.

In a statement posted on Facebook at midnight local time, the ministry stated that Belarussian troops have been brought into combat readiness and are concentrated close to Ukraine’s northern border.

“During the past 24 hours, according to intelligence findings, there has been significant aircraft activity. In addition, there has been movement of a column of vehicles with food and ammunition” approaching the border, the statement said.

Biden bans Russian aircraft from US airspace

Update 9:30 p.m. EST March 1: President Joe Biden officially closed U.S. airspace to Russian aircraft in response to the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

>> Related: Biden bans Russian aircraft from US airspace

Biden to announce ban on Russian aircraft from US airspace

Update 8:18 p.m. EST March 1: President Joe Biden is expected to announce during the State of the Union address that the United States will ban Russian aircraft from U.S. airspace, The Wall Street Journal reported.

When asked if they were considering this move in recent days, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the number of US flights that fly over Russia to go to Asia and other parts of the world played a role in the decision, CNN reported.

The U.S. move would follow earlier prohibitions by European and Canadian authorities, the Journal reported.

G-7 plans further sanctions against Russian elites, Yellen says

Update 8:09 p.m. EST March 1: In an effort to punish key Russian elites after the country invaded neighboring Ukraine, the Group of Seven allies intend to freeze and seize their assets, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday.

In a statement obtained by The Washington Post, Yellen said that the G-7 will convene a task force targeting the elites to “make clear that no one is beyond our collective reach.”

The seizures – coupled with sanctions already imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union – will, over time, debilitate Russia’s economy and “hamstring the Russian government’s ability to fund its invasion,” Yellen added.

Video shows aftermath of Russian missile striking Zhytomyr homes

Update 7:58 p.m. p.m. EST March 1: Video released by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service on Tuesday shows a rescue operation following a Russian cruise missile strike in a northern Ukraine neighborhood.

The video, obtained by The Guardian, shows clouds of smoke and rescue workers digging through debris in Zhytomyr, where homes were struck by the Russian missile intended to hit a nearby air base.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, said on his Telegram channel on Tuesday that four people were killed in the blast, The Guardian reported.

Nike nixes online sales in Russia

Update 7:30 p.m. EST March 1: Nike Inc. on Tuesday made merchandise purchases on its website and app unavailable in Russia, citing its inability to guarantee delivery of goods to customers in the country, Reuters reported.

Nike joins Apple, Ford Motor Co., Boeing, Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures Entertainment in levying its own stoppages on Russian soil.

ExxonMobil to exit Russian oil field project

Update 7:20 p.m. EST March 1: ExxonMobil confirmed late Tuesday that it will cease operations at the Sakhalin-1 oil field and will not make new investments in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a news release, Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil issued the following statement:

“ExxonMobil supports the people of Ukraine as they seek to defend their freedom and determine their own future as a nation. We deplore Russia’s military action that violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine and endangers its people.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives and support the strong international response. We are fully complying with all sanctions.

“ExxonMobil operates the Sakhalin-1 project on behalf of an international consortium of Japanese, Indian and Russian companies. In response to recent events, we are beginning the process to discontinue operations and developing steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 venture.

“As operator of Sakhalin-1, we have an obligation to ensure the safety of people, protection of the environment and integrity of operations. Our role as operator goes beyond an equity investment. The process to discontinue operations will need to be carefully managed and closely coordinated with the co-venturers in order to ensure it is executed safely.

“Given the current situation, ExxonMobil will not invest in new developments in Russia.”

3 largest global shipping companies halt deliveries to, from Russia

Update 7:12 p.m. EST March 1: The world’s three largest shipping companies are suspending deliveries to and from Russian ports in response to the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

Swiss-headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s largest shipping firm, confirmed that its “temporary stoppage” on all cargo to and from Russia takes effect Tuesday night, though a service update issued late in the day indicated that deliveries of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian good would continue, according to the Post.

Denmark’s Maersk confirmed Tuesday that it intends to immediately block all shipments – excluding the same three categories – to and from all Russian ports, noting in an update that the “stability and safety of our operations is already being directly and indirectly impacted by sanctions,” the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, France’s CMA CGM confirmed via an online announcement that it would suspend all bookings to and from Russia indefinitely, citing concerns over safety and supply chain continuity, the Post reported.

World Bank prepares $3B in aid for Ukraine

Update 6:53 p.m. EST March 1: The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund are preparing financing support for Ukraine, the BBC reported late Tuesday.

The World Bank said it would pledge $3 billion in support to Ukraine in the coming months, including at least $350 million made available within the next week.

In a joint statement, leaders of the two agencies said that they were troubled by the potential spillover effects of the Russian invasion, citing increasing commodity prices, disruptions in financial markets and the risk of further fueling global inflation, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, the IMF confirmed that it will quickly review Ukraine’s request for emergency financing and hopes to make $2.2 billion available to assist Ukraine through June, the network reported.

Airstrikes hit Holocaust memorial in Kyiv, Ukrainian official says

Update 6:46 p.m. EST March 1: Tuesday airstrikes targeting Kyiv struck the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in the capital city, Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, confirmed.

The memorial is located near the Kyiv TV Tower, which was also damaged during Tuesday’s bombardment, CNN reported.

The network was interviewing Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky when Yermak advised Zelensky that the Holocaust memorial was hit. Officials representing the remembrance site confirmed the strike in a prepared statement.

“Putin seeks to distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country is utterly abhorrent. It is symbolic that he starts attacking Kyiv by bombing the site of the Babyn Yar, the biggest of Nazi massacre,” the statement, attributed to the memorial’s advisory board chair, Natan Sharansky, read.

“We remind the Russian leadership that Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities were last subjected to massive bombing by Nazi Germany during World War II. Now they are burning under the blows of Putin’s army, under the false and outrageous narrative of ‘denazifying’ Ukraine and its people,” Sharansky added.

Forced Russian withdrawal from Ukraine focus of Wednesday UN General Assembly vote

Update 6:13 p.m. EST March 1: The U.N. General Assembly will vote Wednesday afternoon on a resolution demanding that Russia immediately stop using force against Ukraine and withdraw all its military forces, The Associated Press reported.

The resolution also would condemn Moscow’s decision “to increase the readiness of its nuclear forces.” To date, the measure touts 92 co-sponsors from around the globe, including Afghanistan and Myanmar, both of which saw their elected governments ousted last year, the AP reported.

After Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution Friday demanding that Russia immediately stop its use of force and send its forces home, the U.S. and other supporters started the procedural steps to call an emergency special session of the General Assembly where there are no vetoes. The council then approved an emergency special session of the 193-member assembly on Monday, the first since 1982. The session began Tuesday and is expected to wrap up Wednesday morning.

The resolution will be put to a vote in the afternoon, General Assembly spokesperson Paulina Kubiak confirmed to the AP on Tuesday.

Apple halts all product sales in Russia

Update 5:55 p.m. EST March 1: Apple Inc. confirmed Tuesday that it has suspended sales of iPhones and other products in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple stated, adding, “We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”

The company also confirmed that it halted all exports into its Russian sales channels last week, the Journal reported.

In addition, Russia’s RT News and Sputnik News apps are no longer available for download through Apple’s App Store outside of Russia; Apple Pay has been limited in Russia; and traffic and live incidents from its Maps feature have been disabled in Ukraine, the newspaper reported.

Video shows military strike on apartment complex near Kharkiv hospital

Update 5:44 p.m. EST March 1: Videos obtained, geolocated and verified by CNN show a military strike hit an apartment complex near a hospital in Kharkiv, just hours after a separate strike significantly damaged the city’s regional administration building.

In one video, a fire burns at a visibly damaged apartment complex, located just across the street from the hospital, the network reported.

“The building is gone,” a voice in the video’s background says.

In another video, which is an “edited series of separate videos outside the apartment complex combined,” at least two bodies are seen on the ground in the area surrounding the apartment building, CNN reported.

The Kyiv Independent provided the following update on the blast just before 7 p.m. Tuesday:

The shelling doesn’t stop’

Update 5:35 p.m. EST March 1: Heavy shelling continued Tuesday in Ukraine’s southeastern port city of Mariupol, which local leaders said has been under near-constant bombardment from invading Russian forces.

According to The Washington Post, Ukrainian government officials described the precarious situation in a string of Facebook posts, detailing destroyed buildings, homes and a school. The posts also referenced at least 20 people have been wounded and a “still unknown” number of fatalities.

“This is an inhumane, cruel and incredibly vile act,” Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko wrote, adding, “We will never forget and we will never forgive.”

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry called the attacks a war crime, noting that Russian rockets had hit the city center and appeared to be targeting civilian structures, the Post reported.

Meanwhile, Pavlo Kirilenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Administration, said the city was facing “a flurry of Russian rocket artillery.”

“The occupiers strike at all districts of the city. The shelling doesn’t stop,” Kirilenko wrote, adding, “This is another crime of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, against humanity.”

European Parliament recommends EU candidate status for Ukraine

Update 5:25 p.m. EST March 1: The European Parliament adopted a resolution Tuesday calling on European Union institutions “to work towards granting” Ukraine the status of EU candidate country, according to a news release.

According to CNN, the resolution, which also demanded the EU impose “tougher sanctions” on Russia, was voted in favor by 637 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It condemned “in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and demands that the Kremlin end all military activities in the country.”

The members also emphasized that the EU’s financial sanctions against Russia should go further, stating that “all Russian banks should be blocked from the European financial system and Russia should be banned from the SWIFT system,” the network reported.

“While welcoming the swift adoption of EU sanctions, MEPs want to see broader restrictive measures aimed at strategically weakening the Russian economy and industrial base. In particular, imports of the most important Russian export goods, such as oil and gas should be restricted, they say. New EU investment in Russia and new Russian investment in the EU should be banned,” the news release stated.

Ford halts operations in Russia

Update 5:17 p.m. EST March 1: Ford Motor Co. confirmed Tuesday that it will suspend its operations in Russia indefinitely in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Ford’s full statement can be viewed below:

Oil reserves to be released

Update 5:05 p.m. EST March 1: Member countries of the International Energy Agency have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the BBC reported.

The 31 members of the Paris-based intergovernmental agency that advises on oil policy, agreed to release reserves in order to “send a unified and strong message to global oil markets that there will be no shortfall in supplies” resulting from the Ukraine conflict, the group stated.

The agency’s move comes as oil prices have risen sharply, stoking energy supply fears, the BBC reported.

Members include the United States, United Kingdom, EU nations, Mexico, Canada, Japan and others.

“Today’s announcement is another example of partners around the world condemning Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” the White House said in a prepared statement, adding that efforts to get away from Russian energy supplies remain ongoing.

UK issues sanctions on Belarus

Update 3:50 p.m. EST March 1: The UK is issuing sanctions against specific people and organizations in Belarus, CNN reported.

The move was “in response to the role the country is playing in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including facilitating the invasion from within its borders,” the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.

So far four defense officials and two military companies are have been sanctioned.

“We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him. We will not rest until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in the statement, CNN reported.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s administration is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and, according to Truss, “actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion,” CNN reported

U.N. court will hold hearing at request of Ukraine to stop Russian invasion

Update 3:35 p.m. EST March 1: Ukraine is asking the courts to stop the Russian invasion. Ukraine leaders petitioned the United Nations’ International Court of Justice asking for the court to issue “provisional measures” to stop the invasion, saying that Russia is planning genocide in their country, The Associated Press reported.

The case is scheduled to be heard on March 7 and 8 as Ukrainian lawyers present their case on the first day and their Russian counterparts present a response the next.

The court’s president, U.S. Judge Joan Donoghue sent a message to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that Russia should “act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects,” the AP reported.

Nord Stream AG lays off all 106 employees

Update 3:28 p.m. EST March 1: Nord Stream AG, the company that owns the gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany directly is insolvent and as a result has had told all 106 employees they do not have a job, The New York Times reported.

The owner of the $11 billion natural gas pipeline has filed for bankruptcy.

>>Related: Ukraine invasion: What sanctions are being imposed on Russia?

Biden to ensure America’s allies are united in response to invasion; in contact with Zelenskyy on secure satellite phone

Update 3:00 p.m. EST March 1: President Joe Biden told reporters hours before his State of the Union address Tuesday that he wants to make sure Americans know that our country’s allies are united in the response to the Russian invasion, CNN reported.

The meeting was an off-the-record luncheon with anchors from various networks and the president.

The statement however was allowed to be shared and was on the record and was reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The White House also gave more details on how Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy are able to communicate via phone.

The U.S. gave the Ukrainian president a secure satellite phone last month, CNN reported. In the past, the two governments spoke through the embassy in Kyiv but sent the phone when the embassy was preparing for evacuations.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has a similar satellite phone, CNN reported.

Former Russian foreign minister calls for diplomats to resign

Update 2:15 p.m. EST March 1: Andrei Kozyrev, a former Russian foreign minister, has asked Russian diplomats to resign as a protest to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

In a tweet, Kozyrev, who served under President Boris Yeltsin from 1991 to 1996, said “you are professionals and not cheap propagandists,” CNN reported.

He called the crisis the “bloody fratricidal war in Ukraine.”

Biden, Zelenskyy speak, discuss support and sanctions

Update 2:15 p.m. EST March 1: President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke on the phone for more than 30 minutes Tuesday and the support that the U.S. is giving the country that is under attack by Russian troops.

Biden “underscored the United States’ sustained help for Ukraine, including ongoing deliveries of security assistance, economic support, and humanitarian aid,” the White House said, according to CNN.

They also discussed the escalation of attacks by Russia in key areas of Ukraine, many of which targeted sites frequented by civilians, CNN reported.

The UN says more than 675,000 people have left Ukraine since the invasion started last week with 150,000 leaving in the past 24 hours, CNN reported.

Russia says second round of talks scheduled for Wednesday; NATO emergency meeting scheduled for Friday

Update 1:00 p.m. EST March 1: Russia said a second meeting between Ukraine and Russian representatives is scheduled for Wednesday, but Ukraine officials have yet to confirm the sit-down, CNN reported.

Russia’s TASS news agency said it was a date that both governments had previously agreed on.

The talks are apparently going to happen in Belarus near the border with Poland with delegations expected to start arriving in Minsk Tuesday night.

The first meeting happened on Monday and lasted for five hours but neither side reached an agreement, CNN reported.

NATO foreign ministers will participate in an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the Russian invasion, The New York Times reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be there in person and will beet with E.U. officials before traveling to Moldova and three Baltic nations.

>>Related: Russia, Ukraine crisis: Oil prices hit 7-year high

Zelenskyy tells Biden to give ‘useful’ message during State of the Union

Update 12:00 p.m. EST March 1: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged President Joe Biden to give a strong and “useful” message about what’s happening in Ukraine during Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

Zelenskyy spoke with CNN and Reuters from a bunker in Kyiv.

“It’s very serious ... I’m not in a movie,” Zelenskyy, who was a comedian and actor before being elected president, told the media outlets. “I’m not iconic. I think Ukraine is iconic ... Ukraine is the heart of Europe, and now I think Europe sees Ukraine is something special for this world. That’s why [the] world can’t lose this something special.”

Despite being targeted by Russian forces, he’s staying in Kyiv, CNN reported

Television tower attack kills five people

Update 11:51 a.m. EST March 1: The Associated Press reported that five people have been killed after Russia hit a television tower, according to Ukraine’s emergency agency. Others were wounded.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said an electrical substation that powered the tower and a control room on the tower were damaged, the AP reported.

More than 400 missiles have been fired

Update 11:30 a.m. EST March 1: U.S. military leaders say Russia has fired more than 400 missiles, but that the Ukrainian air missile defense systems are still “viable and intact and engaged,” CNN reported.

‘Heavy fighting’ continues in and around Kharkiv; Kyiv advance ‘where it was yesterday

Update 11:22 a.m. EST March 1: U.S. defense officials said there is still heavy fighting going on in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, CNN reported. Russian forces are making “more progress” in the southern part of the country and are moving on two axes — one going northwest from Crimea, a second going northeast.

The Russians are also inching closer to Mariupol but haven’t gotten into the city yet, officials told CNN.

Meanwhile, a U.S. defense official told CNN that the Russian troops closing in on Kyiv are “basically... where it was yesterday.

The defense official, who was not named, said that Russian troops are facing “fuel and sustainment” issues and are showing signs that they’re running out of food, CNN reported.

Russian forces hit near TV tower in Kyiv; Negotiations to resume

Update 10:58 a.m. EST March 1: CNN reported that an area near a television broadcast tower has been hit by Russian military strikes. The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement that “The channels will not work for a while. The backup broadcasting of some channels will be enabled in the near future.”

The Associated Press reported that the Ukrainian parliament confirmed the tower’s hit.

The strike comes after the Russians had warned those living in Kyiv that they were going to target locations in the capital with “high-precision weapons” “to suppress information attacks against Russia.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that the next round of talks between Ukraine and Russian leaders are scheduled for Wednesday, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

>>Related: Russia, Ukraine crisis: Cruise lines change itineraries due to conflict

U.S. Secretary of State speaks to U.N. Human Rights Council

Update 10:04 a.m. EST March 1: Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday, criticizing leaders, without naming names, who have said that all countries are responsible for the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

“These are the human rights abuses this council was created to stop,” Blinken said, according to The New York Times. “If we cannot come together now, when will we come together?”

Blinken also suggested the possibility of removing Russia from the Human Rights Council.

“One can reasonably ask whether a 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,” Blinken said, according to CNN.

Blinken accused Russia of targeting “schools, hospitals and residential buildings,” CNN reported.

“They are destroying critical infrastructure, which provides millions of people across Ukraine with drinking water, gas to keep them from freezing to death, and electricity. Civilian buses, cars, and even ambulances have been shelled. Russia is doing this every day – across Ukraine,” Blinken said.

The council is elected by the U.N. General Assembly and consists of 47 member states. It is meeting in Geneva for its 49th regular session with the meetings scheduled to run through April 1.

Russia warns of strikes against Kyiv facilities

Update 9:27 a.m. EST March 1: Russian military is warning that it will soon start striking facilities in Kyiv, telling civilians living in the area it is time to leave.

The targets are expected to be the Security Service of Ukraine and the 72nd Main Center for Information and Psychological Operations, the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to the Russian state news agency TASS and CNN.

The facilities are being targeted by “high-precision weapons” “to suppress information attacks against Russia.”

Russia prepares to launch information operation against Ukraine, Ukrainian Defense Minister says

Update 8:50 a.m. EST March 1: Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov claims Russia is getting ready to start a “large-scale information and psychological operation” and “Its goal is to break the resistance of Ukrainians and the Ukrainian army with lies,” CNN reported.

Part of the plan may be to create “communication problems” and false reports that the Ukrainians have “agreed to surrender” to Russia, Reznikov said.

Meanwhile, nearly 100 diplomats walked out of a speech given by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a conference on disarmament, The New York Times reported.

The walkout was in protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and was led by Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations during the meeting of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.

Lavrov delivered his speech via video to the largely empty conference hall because European countries had banned flights from Russia, preventing his travel to Geneva.

During his comments, Lavrov said Ukraine was trying to acquire nuclear weapons, which has been unsubstantiated and one of the reasons Moscow has given for the invasion. He also said that Ukraine had “made territorial claims against the Russian Federation, threatened to use force and acquire a military nuclear capability.”

Lavrov blamed the U.S. and the allies for turning the world to anti-Russia, the Times reported.

‘Enemy is on the outskirts’ of Kyiv

Update 8:34 a.m. EST March 1: The mayor of Kyiv said that “the enemy is on the outskirts of the capital” and that the Ukrainian military is “preparing to defend Kyiv.”

Vitali Klitschko made the declaration in a video message released Tuesday, CNN reported.

He has warned the Kyiv residents to stay inside and don’t go out unless necessary, adding that fortifications and checkpoints have been created at city entrances.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that defending Kyiv is the “key priority.”

Since the invasion started, the United Nations said that at least 136 civilians have been killed, The New York Times reported. Another 400 had been hurt by Monday night, but those numbers are only the U.N. staff verified counts, and the real number of injured or killed is expected to be much higher.

NATO chief: No need to change nuclear alert level

Update 8:07 a.m. EST March 1: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance does not feel the need to change its nuclear alert level, The Associated Press is reporting.

“We will always do what is needed to protect and defend our allies, but we don’t think there is any need now to change the alert levels of NATO’s nuclear forces,” he told the AP in an interview Tuesday.

The Kremlin has reported that its nuclear forces are on high alert, according to the AP.

Although NATO does not have nuclear weapons, three NATO members do have them, including the U.S., Britain and France, the news agency reported.

Ukraine says 7 killed, 24 hurt in Kharkiv blast

Update 7:50 a.m. EST March 1: Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said at least seven people are dead and 24 hurt after an explosion destroyed a government building in Kharkiv earlier Tuesday, according to The New York Times.

Officials said 11 people, including one child, were being treated at area hospitals, the Times reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a Russian missile strike caused the blast, which he described as “frank, undisguised terror,” according to The Associated Press.

Zelenskyy addresses European Parliament via video link

Update 7:17 a.m. EST March 1: In an address to the European Parliament on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is “fighting for survival,” CNN is reporting.

“We desire to see our children alive,” Zelenskyy said in the address, which received a standing ovation.

Zelenskyy added that Ukrainians are also fighting “to be equal members of Europe,” according to the news outlet.

UN: 660K people have fled Ukraine

Update 6:50 a.m. EST March 1: The United Nations’ refugee agency said Tuesday that more than 660,000 people have fled from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, according to The Associated Press.

“The situation looks set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century, and we have reinforced our operations to respond as quickly and effectively as possible,” the agency tweeted.

Ukraine says at least 20 people hurt in Kharkiv blast

Update 6:06 a.m. EST March 1: The number of people hurt in a Kharkiv explosion has risen to at least 20, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said Tuesday.

According to a video posted by the agency, Russian “artillery shelling” caused the blast, which damaged a government administration building and a second building nearby, CNN reported.

RT, Sputnik YouTube channels blocked in Europe

Update 5:32 a.m. EST March 1: Google announced Tuesday that it is blocking the YouTube channels of RT and Sputnik, two Russian state-controlled broadcasters, in Europe.

According to The Associated Press, the decision is “effective immediately” but may take time for systems to fully implement, Google said.

Ukraine foreign minister says Russian missile caused Kharkiv blast

Update 5:11 a.m. EST March 1: Ukraine’s foreign minister tweeted Tuesday that a Russian missile caused the large explosion in Kharkiv earlier in the day, according to CNN.

The blast left six people hurt, including one child, the news outlet previously reported, citing Ukraine’s State Emergency Service.

“Barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted alongside a video of the blast and its aftermath. “Putin is unable to break Ukraine down. He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians. The world can and must do more. INCREASE PRESSURE, ISOLATE RUSSIA FULLY!”

Russian, Belarusian athletes banned from international ice skating competitions

Update 4:07 a.m. EST March 1: The International Skating Union announced Tuesday that it is banning athletes representing Russia and Belarus from competing in international ice skating events, CNN is reporting.

“With immediate effect and until further notice, no skaters belonging to the ISU members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in international ice skating competitions, including ISU Championships and other ISU events,” the ISU said in statement. “The same applies to officials listed in the respective ISU communications and/or regulations under Russia and Belarus.”

The organization added that it will “closely monitor the situation in Ukraine” and “take additional steps if and when required.”

Shelling resumes in Kharkiv; blast destroys government building

Update 3:40 a.m. EST March 1: The administration building in Kharkiv, along with residential buildings in the area, came under Russian shelling Tuesday, the head of Kharkiv’s regional administration said.

According to The Associated Press, Oleh Sinehubov did not provide the number of casualties in the latest attack; however, CNN, citing Ukraine’s State Emergency Service, reported Tuesday that six people were hurt when an explosion targeted a government building in the city. One of the victims is a child, Ukrainian officials said.

Israel sends humanitarian aid to Ukrainians

Update 2:38 a.m. EST March 1: Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the country has started to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

“The first of three planes carrying 100 tons of humanitarian assistance from Israel for Ukraine is being loaded with thousands of winter tents, blankets, coats and sleeping bags, 17 tons of medicines and medical equipment from Israel’s Ministry of Health, as well as water purification, storage and distribution systems,” the Israel Agency for International Development Cooperation captioned a Facebook post featuring photos of the items.

The planes are bound for Poland, and the goods will be taken to Ukraine from there, according to the AP.

The first of three planes carrying 100 tons of humanitarian assistance from Israel for Ukraine is being loaded with...

Posted by MASHAV on Monday, February 28, 2022

Taiwan sends 27 tons of medical supplies to Ukraine

Update 1:39 a.m. EST March 1: Taiwan announced Tuesday that it has sent medical supplies to Ukraine, The Associated Press is reporting.

“We #StandWithUkraine by sending 27 tons of medical supplies,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted from its official account.

Taiwan also has pledged to impose economic sanctions on Russia but hasn’t said what those penalties will be, according to the AP.

US Olympic & Paralympic Committee backs ban on Russian, Belarusian athletes

Update 1 a.m. EST March 1: The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced Tuesday that it is backing a ban on athletes representing Russia and Belarus, according to CNN.

In a statement posted on social media, the organization, along with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Advisory Council, said it joins the International Olympic Committee “and the global Olympic community in calling for a complete ban on international sport participation, effective immediately and inclusive of the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, for Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials.”

The statement continued: “As the world watches in horror while Russia brazenly attacks the innocent people and athletes of Ukraine, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace has been restored.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

More coverage:

>> Vladimir Putin: Who is Russia’s president?

>> Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Who is Ukraine’s president?

>> What does the Russian invasion of Ukraine mean for America’s economy?

>> Russia attacks Ukraine: How to donate to people in Ukraine

>> 6 things to know about Ukraine

>> Why did Russia fight for control of Chernobyl, the site of a nuclear disaster?

>> How to talk to children about the conflict in Ukraine

Timeline HTML