Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 7 | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

For the latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EST:

5:33 p.m.: Britain said Monday it was sending visa officers to the French port of Calais to help expedite the processing of Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion, after its response was slammed as a “disgrace” by one lawmaker. Also, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced $230 million in new funding for Ukraine’s government, taking its total aid to more than $520 million.

4:22 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said he will not send conscripts or reservists to fight in Ukraine and that “professionals” fulfilling “fixed objectives” were leading the war, according to Agence France-Presse. “Conscripted soldiers are not participating and will not participate in the fighting. There will not be an additional conscription of reservists either,” he said in a televised address.

3:46 p.m. : Russian oligarchs have expressed concerns over Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine as Western countries continue to slap billionaires close to the Kremlin with more sanctions over the war, according to a report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who has been known for his close ties with President Vladimir Putin, said on Twitter on Monday that the war in Ukraine must be stopped as soon as possible. “We need peace as soon as possible, as we have already passed the point of no return…The entire world will be different, Russia will be different as well,” Deripaska’s tweet said.

FILE – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska, right, walk to attend the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue in Danang, Vietnam, Nov. 10, 2017.

Also on March 7, in a statement addressed to workers of a steel factory in the city of Novolipetsk (NLMK), another Russia tycoon, Vladimir Lisin, said that lost lives in Ukraine were a tragedy that was hard to justify.

Wealthy Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov announced on March 6 that he is no longer a billionaire as he has lost large amounts of money after sanctions were imposed against him and Russia over the war in Ukraine. He also asked reporters not to call him an oligarch. Last week, Tinkov and three other Russian tycoons — Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, and Aleksei Mordashov — who were also targeted by Western sanctions — publicly called for a cessation of hostilities.

FILE - Oleg Tinkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tinkoff Bank, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, June 7, 2019.

FILE – Oleg Tinkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tinkoff Bank, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, June 7, 2019.

3:28 p.m. : A senior U.S. defense official said Monday that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has now committed nearly 100 percent of his pre-staged combat power to Ukraine, VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin reported. Russia has launched more than 625 missiles since the invasion began, most of which are medium and short range surface-to-air missiles and cruise missiles, the senior official said, adding that Ukraine air defense systems are operable though Ukraine’s airspace remains contested.

The U.S. is sending 500 additional troops to Europe, bringing to 100,000 the number of U.S. military personnel stationed and/or deployed to Europe, the defense official stated. “We continued to deliver on the security assistance package over the course of the weekend,” he added, saying the U.S. has “continued to flow things into Ukraine…14 other nations have done the same thing.” He said, “We haven’t seen those avenues closed or threatened.”

The senior official said that Russia is having more military success in the south of Ukraine. “We’ve seen no significant activity in the west of Ukraine,” he added. As for Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian towns and cities, he said, “We do assess that these strikes are hitting civilian targets, civilian infrastructure, residential areas.” But he stated, “We can’t assess with specificity how much of those strikes…are deliberate.”

3:02 p.m. : South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday defended his neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for talks – not condemnation. Critics have blasted the government for failing to support Ukraine against its neighbor. Analysts say South Africa is allowing historic political and economic ties with Moscow to risk relations with the rest of the world, as Linda Givetash reports from Johannesburg.

South Africa’s ties to Russia stretch back to the 1960s when the Soviet Union gave support to anti-apartheid freedom fighters. In subsequent years, politicians, including those from the ruling party, the African National Congress, maintained close ties with Russia.

Another factor at play is the country’s position within the economic bloc BRICS, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Analysts say South Africa may be attempting to maintain trade relations with Russia and China. Whatever the motives, it has left Western nations siding with Ukraine disappointed, and experts warn there could be implications for South Africa in the future.

While the ramifications for South Africa remain uncertain, experts agree it’s unlikely the country will change its position any time soon.

Ukrainians protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in front of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, March 1, 2022.

Ukrainians protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in front of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, March 1, 2022.

2:51 p.m. : Russia did not show up to a key international court hearing aimed at putting a legal stop to fighting in Ukraine that is creating Europe’s biggest refugee crisis in years. At issue is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim of “genocide” to justify his invasion of Ukraine.

2:45 p.m. : As Russia faces unprecedented Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin turns the screws even tighter at home on anyone questioning Moscow’s war, some Russians are looking for a safer place to live elsewhere, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Monday.

President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and bloody attack on Ukraine has turned Russia into an international pariah, complicating travel as 33 countries — including all 27 EU countries — have closed their airspace to Russian carriers.

Aleksei, a Russian national working in media, decided it was time to get out. “That’s why I felt an urgent need to leave my country,” Aleksei, who requested that his last name not be used, told RFE/RL after arriving at Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport on March 3.

One of the few destinations still accessible is Armenia, where the majority of people speak Russian and whose government has so far not condemned Russia’s military or joined sanctions against the Kremlin and Russia’s economy.

A Russian family arrived at the Zvartnots Airport, avoids commenting on why they came to Armenia, March 4, 2022

A Russian family arrived at the Zvartnots Airport, avoids commenting on why they came to Armenia, March 4, 2022

2:26 p.m. : The United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting Monday on the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine as the Russian offensive intensifies. The United States and Albania requested the meeting, which will hear briefings by U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, and Catherine Russell, executive director of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF. VOA’s UN Correspondent Margaret Besheer will monitor the session.

1:57 p.m. : U.S. President Joe Biden held a secure video call Monday with the leaders of France, Germany and Britain, as VOA’s White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara reports. The leaders agreed “to continue raising the costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” while also continuing to provide “security, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine,” according to a White House statement.

1:50 p.m. : Stock prices were tumbling Monday on Wall Street as another big leap in oil prices threatened to squeeze inflation’s grip on the global economy, according to The Associated Press. The S&P 500 fell 2.1 percent after a barrel of U.S. oil surged to $130 overnight on the possibility that the U.S. could bar imports from Russia. Stocks around the world slid even more sharply earlier in the day, also taking their cue from oil’s movements, though their losses moderated as crude receded toward $120 per barrel.

Gas prices are displayed at gas stations in Englewood, New Jersey, March 7, 2022. Gasoline prices are pushing even farther above $4 a gallon, the highest price that American motorists have faced since July 2008, as calls grow to ban imports of Russian oil.

Gas prices are displayed at gas stations in Englewood, New Jersey, March 7, 2022. Gasoline prices are pushing even farther above $4 a gallon, the highest price that American motorists have faced since July 2008, as calls grow to ban imports of Russian oil.

1:42 p.m. : Delegations from Russia and Ukraine held a third round of talks Monday, with an advisor to Ukraine’s president reporting that a little progress had been made on the matter of safe humanitarian corridors for civilians fleeing besieged cities. Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet, without elaborating, that “there were some small positive shifts regarding logistics of humanitarian corridors.” He added, “Intensive consultations have continued on the basic political block of regulations, along with a ceasefire and security guarantees.” Nevertheless, heavy fighting continued at a number of locations in Ukraine.

Delagations from Russia and Ukraine hold talks in the Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, close to the Polish-Belarusian border, northward from Brest, in Belarus, March 7, 2022.

Delagations from Russia and Ukraine hold talks in the Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, close to the Polish-Belarusian border, northward from Brest, in Belarus, March 7, 2022.

Earlier Monday, Russia announced yet another limited cease-fire and the establishment of safe corridors to allow civilians to flee some besieged Ukrainian cities, The Associated Press reported. But the evacuation routes led mostly to Russia and its ally Belarus, drawing withering criticism from Ukraine and others.

The foreign ministers from Russia and Ukraine are scheduled to meet in Turkey on Thursday for further negotiations, according to Turkish officials.

1:21 p.m. : The center of Odesa, a key Ukrainian city located on the Black Sea in the country’s southwest, has been turned into a fortified zone. The positions are defended by Ukrainian soldiers, who are on the lookout for air or sea landings by invading Russian forces. Ukraine’s military said it was fighting “fierce battles” with Russian forces on the edge of the southern city of Mykolayiv, which controls the road to Odesa, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Monday.

The center of Odessa turns into a fortress to repel the Russian attack, March 5, 2022.

The center of Odessa turns into a fortress to repel the Russian attack, March 5, 2022.

1:09 p.m. : Russia’s efforts to sway the opinions of people across the world about the righteousness of its invasion of Ukraine appears to be mirroring the effort of some of its forces on the ground – despite bringing lots of firepower, the Kremlin’s influence operations seem to be stalling, unable to penetrate key audiences.

Much of Moscow’s influence operation has been carried out in plain sight, with Russian-backed media outlets like RT, Sputnik, Ria Novosti, Izvestia and others pumping out stories and social media posts in Russian, English, Spanish, Turkish and Arabic.

But research by Omelas, a Washington-based firm that tracks influence operations in the digital environment, finds that as Russian forces started moving into Ukraine, these media operations began to lose traction with their target audiences. VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin has the story.

12:27 p.m. : Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to VOA’s State Department Correspondent Nike Ching. “The way to stop war is to negotiate,” said Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, speaking at an in-person meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday in Riga, Latvia. “Israel is speaking with both sides, with both Russia and Ukraine” he noted, adding that it is working with its U.S. and European partners. Blinken said the U.S. appreciates efforts by its close partners and allies.

12:25 p.m. Updated – Aid to Ukraine: Countries and organizations that have announced aid since the Russian invasion

12:15 p.m. : Professional legal and accounting firms are now beginning to cut ties with Russia, joining a large number of businesses and organizations who are protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Many prominent international law firms that worked with the Russian Federation are now terminating their services, VOA’s Tatiana Vorozhko Koprowicz reports. Global Arbitration Review (GAR) reported that in the past week, legal firms based in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and other locations have closed down their operations in Russia and have ceased representing that country’s government. Also, at least two prominent Russian law firms are closing their London offices, according to the GAR.

In addition, two of the so-called Big Four accounting firms are pulling out of Russia, The Associated Press reported. KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers both said Sunday they would end their relationship with their Russia-based member firms. KPMG said it was also pulling out of Belarus. The two other Big Four companies – Deloitte and Ernst & Young – didn’t immediately return requests for comment, AP added.

12:06 p.m. : Australia’s prime minister has described Russia and China’s closer relationship as opportunistic rather than strategic, according to The Associated Press. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday labeled the alliance an “Arch of Autocracy” and said Russia and China would prefer a new world order to the one that has been in place since World War II.

Morrison has criticized Beijing’s failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s expansion of trade in Russian wheat while other countries are imposing sanctions.

Australia last week promised Ukraine $50 million in missiles, ammunition, and other military hardware to fight Russian invaders.

Morrison said on Monday, “Our missiles are on the ground now.”

11:32 a.m.: Two more tech giants have been asked to halt services to Russian clients, according to Politico’s Morning Tech report on Monday.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister in charge of digital policy, called Sunday for Amazon to stop providing Amazon Web Services, its premier cloud computing product, to any and all Russian clients. In a letter sent to Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, Fedorov suggested failing to cut Russia off would amount to supporting “bloodshed and disinformation that can be leveraged through digital infrastructures.”

Fedorov also singled out Microsoft for continuing to provide its Azure cloud computing services to Russian clients. In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the Ukrainian official urged the company to additionally sever all existing relationships in Russia for communications and collaboration software Skype and Microsoft Teams, the popular office software suite Microsoft 365 and code hosting platform Github.

11:20 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken continued his diplomatic travels in Europe Monday, re-affirming relationships and discussing humanitarian and security issues with leaders in Lithuania and Latvia. Blinken also met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Riga on Monday to “compare notes” and coordinate positions on the cease-fire efforts after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Blinken’s meeting with Lapid comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy separately in an effort to mediate a cease-fire.

Tuesday, Blinken is heading to Paris after his visit to the Baltic states. Blinken’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron would come after the latter’s diplomatic outreach to both Putin and Zelenskyy.

“There’s certainly no change in our message to Moscow, our message to Russia, to President Putin: end the war, end it now,” urged Blinken.

11:09 a.m.: The United Nations’ human rights office said on Monday it had confirmed the deaths of 406 civilians, including 27 children, in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24, but it said the real figure was likely to be much higher, Reuters reported.

“The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 1,207 civilian casualties in the country: 406 killed and 801 injured,” according to an official report on its website. “Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” OHCHR noted.

The rights office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed. It says it believes the real figures are considerably higher, “especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days.” Fighting has delayed its receipt of information and many reports still need to be corroborated. Ukrainian officials have presented far higher numbers.

10:42 a.m. : The New Humanitarian published a report Monday titled, “Beyond Ukraine: Eight more humanitarian disasters that demand your attention,” noting that aid needs are growing or continuing in several other world hotspots. “With the world’s focus on Ukraine, we cannot forget other crises around the globe, especially as the economic impacts of the Russian invasion are being felt far and wide, and with the gap between humanitarian funding and soaring emergency aid needs already at record levels” the report noted. The New Humanitarian was founded by the U.N. in 1991 and is now an independent non-profit news organization.

10:35 a.m.: An American couple living in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv have decided to stay put, come what may, according to a report by Agence France-Presse. The couple give several reasons for wanting to stay. In Kyiv, they say they feel “at home” for the first time in their lives. “It’s all we have,” they say.

10:35 a.m.: VOA’s photo gallery highlights some of the latest developments following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

10:08 a.m.: The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — a country long known as the “breadbasket of Europe” because of the prodigious amounts of wheat, corn and other cereal grains that it produces — will extend far beyond Europe, wreaking havoc on global food supplies, experts from aid agencies say.

Ukraine produces 16% of the world’s corn, and Ukraine and Russia combined produce 29% of the wheat sold on world markets. Much of what they export goes to Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, and with virtually no cargo moving out of either county’s Black Sea ports, prices for the staple foods are spiking. Still unknown is whether an enduring war in Ukraine will damage this year’s harvest or prevent the sowing of crops for the next growing season, as VOA’s Rob Garver reports.

9:54 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a plea Monday for safe and effective humanitarian corridors to be set up in Ukraine, VOA’s State Department Correspondent Nike Ching reported. “Let the food and medicine in. Let the people out safely and end this war of choice against Ukraine,” Blinken said in remarks at a press conference in Latvia.

9:34 a.m.: Unaccompanied and separated children fleeing the escalating conflict in Ukraine must be protected, according to a joint statement by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

9:20 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss Russia and Ukraine with the French president, German chancellor and Britain’s prime minister Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. EST. The discussion will take place in a secure video teleconference, as VOA’s White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara reports.

9:14 a.m.: At a Romanian Hotel, refugees fleeing Ukraine find welcome and shelter in a ballroom, The Associated Press reports.

As Olga Okhrimenko walked into a bustling ballroom-turned-refugee shelter at a four-star Romanian hotel, her corgi, Knolly, strained at the leash anxiously seeking the warmth inside. It had taken them three days to flee Ukraine by car, bus and taxi in the bitter cold. The 34-year-old Ukrainian marketing manager could hardly contain her emotions, and a simple “are you OK?” filled her eyes with tears she thought she no longer had.

Olga Okhrimenko, who fled the Russian invasion from Kharkiv on March 1, holds her dog Knolly as they sit inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter, in Suceava, Romania, March 4, 2022.

Olga Okhrimenko, who fled the Russian invasion from Kharkiv on March 1, holds her dog Knolly as they sit inside a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter, in Suceava, Romania, March 4, 2022.

The first refugees began arriving more than a week ago at the Mandachi Hotel and Spa in Suceava in Romania, where the owner decided to make the lavish, 850-square-meter ballroom available to them. Since then, more than 2,000 people and 100 pets have taken shelter here, with row upon row of numbered mattresses under an incongruous glittering disco ball.

8:36 a.m.: Poland is embracing fleeing Ukrainians, as Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since 1945. More than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since the Russian invasion. VOA’s Henry Ridgewell has this story from the town of Przemysl on the Polish-Ukraine border.

8:12 a.m.: Map of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The arrows indicate Russia’s current advance.

7:51 a.m.: At the U.N.’s International Court of Justice in The Hague on Monday, Russia snubbed a hearing in a case brought by Ukraine, The Associated Press reports.

Ukraine pleaded with the court to order Russia to halt its devastating invasion, saying Moscow is already committing widespread war crimes and “resorting to tactics reminiscent of medieval siege warfare” in its military onslaught.

Russia did not participate in the hearings and its seats in the Great Hall of Justice remained empty, the AP added. On a lawn outside the court’s headquarters, a protester placed colored candles spelling out the words: “Putin come out.”

Candles are set in the grass with the text 'Putin Come Out' in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, March 7, 2022.

Candles are set in the grass with the text ‘Putin Come Out’ in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, March 7, 2022.

Ukrainian representative Anton Koryneych told judges, “Russia must be stopped and the court has a role to play in stopping it.” Ukraine has asked the court to order Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations” launched February 24. “Ukraine comes to this court because of a grotesque lie and to seek protection from the devastating consequences of that lie,” David Zionts told the court. “The lie is the Russian Federation’s claim of genocide in Ukraine. The consequences are unprovoked aggression, cities under siege, civilians under fire, humanitarian catastrophe and refugees fleeing for their lives,” he stated.

7:38 a.m.: While most of the world is shunning President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the few leaders keeping an open line of communication is French President Emmanuel Macron, according to The Associated Press. Macron’s diplomatic efforts to prevent the war failed, but he’s not giving up: the two men have spoken four times since Russian forces attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24, and 11 times over the past month.

7:23 a.m.: Talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia are scheduled to resume Monday at 9:00 a.m. EST, according to Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s president. Two previous rounds of talks took place in Belarus on February 28 and on March 3. Discussions are expected to focus on setting up humanitarian corridors for civilians, so they can safely leave Ukrainian cities besieged by Russia’s military, among other issues. On Monday, after Russia said it had opened half-a-dozen humanitarian corridors, Ukraine accused Moscow of trying to manipulate Western powers, saying it did not trust Russian forces would refrain from shelling.

7:02 a.m.: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke at the first-ever Spain-U.S. Cybersecurity Seminar held in Madrid, Spain, on Monday highlighting a need for coordinated efforts to thwart cyber attacks.

Analysts have expressed concern in recent weeks that cyber attacks may increase as Russia presses its offensive in Ukraine. “For anyone who may have been skeptical that cyber and tech issues are major foreign policy issues for the 21st century, we need only to look at Ukraine and Russia right now,” Sherman said. “I fear we can expect to see even more cyber attacks, with implications for Ukraine and beyond,” she added.

“In recent years, we have seen increasingly frequent and sophisticated cyber incidents that violate consumers’ privacy, undermine our businesses’ competitiveness, and even threaten the security of our critical infrastructure,” she said. “All of those trends mean that the United States has a vested national security interest in making sure the digital revolution benefits the American people and our allies and partners,” she noted.

6:55 a.m.: A Russian defense ministry statement said that for “humanitarian purposes,” Russian forces would declare a “regime of silence” beginning Monday to open corridors for people to leave the besieged Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy and Mariupol, VOA’s Steve Herman reports. Those who leave Kyiv will be airlifted to Russia, the statement said. The statement added the move was in response to a direct request from French President Emmanuel Macron to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian officials rejected Russia’s plan, in particular evacuation paths that would send people to Russia and Belarus.

“This is not an acceptable option,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschchuk said.

“‘Humanitarian corridors’ will only work if they give safe and agreed passage to places where the evacuees feel safe and of their choosing,” said Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland. “This is a basic lesson from Syria where ‘corridors’ often were not used because they led to areas no one felt safe.”

More than 1.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine, according to data from the U.N. refugee agency, with more than 1 million of those going west to Poland. Data for Russia and Belarus was last updated late last week but showed just more than 50,000 people going to those countries.

A third round of negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow is scheduled to take place Monday. Ukrainian and Russian delegations have met twice in Belarus since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

6:37 a.m.: Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said Monday that Russia’s “reckless aggression against Ukraine” shows it is a threat to European and NATO security, VOA News reported.

“Putin will not stop in Ukraine if he will not be stopped,” Nauseda said during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “It is our collective duty as a nation to help all Ukrainians with all means available. By saying all, I mean, indeed all means, if we want to avoid the Third World War.”

Blinken said, “We have seen countries throughout Europe, across the Atlantic, and, indeed, around the world come together in condemnation of Russia’s aggression and its support for Ukraine.”

“The United States, with all allies and partners, will defend every – every inch of NATO territory should it come under attack, and there should be no doubt about that on anyone’s mind,” Blinken added.

Blinken’s trip also includes stops in Latvia and Estonia as he seeks to reassure the group of NATO members and former Soviet republics of the alliance’s commitment to their defense.

5:44 a.m.: Ukrainian refugees fleeing fighting at home continued to arrive in neighboring Poland in large numbers Monday.

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine surpassed 1.5 million on Sunday, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, and the number of those refugees heading into Poland was expected to surpass 1 million, as Kyiv pressed the West to toughen sanctions and deliver more weapons to repel Russia’s attack.

Poland’s Ukrainian community of around 1.5 million is the region’s largest and makes the country a major destination point for refugees, though fleeing Ukrainians also cross to safety through Slovakia, Hungary and northern Romania. Poland plans to launch a platform that will allow local governments, non-governmental organizations and private companies to better coordinate relief efforts aimed at transporting supplies into Ukraine.

5:22 a.m.: Stock markets in Asia and Australia plunged and oil prices surged Monday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues into its second week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index lost 2.9%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong plummeted 3.8%, while Shanghai’s Composite index fell 2.1%. The KOSPI index in South Korea closed 2.2% lower, and the TSEC index in Taiwan lost 3.1%.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX index finished down just over one percent.

In commodities trading, gold was selling at $2,000.30 an ounce, up 1.7%. Oil prices are continuing to rise amid the growing risk of a U.S. and European ban on imports from Russia. U.S. crude oil is trading at $123.62 per barrel, an increase of 6.8%, while Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is 7.2% higher, selling at $126.63 per barrel, after briefly reaching $139 per barrel. In futures trading, all three major U.S. indices are trending lower.

Stock markets in Asia and Australia plunged and oil prices surged Monday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues into its second week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index lost 2.9%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong plummeted 3.8%, while Shanghai’s Composite index fell 2.1%. The KOSPI index in South Korea closed 2.2% lower, and the TSEC index in Taiwan lost 3.1%.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX index finished down just over one percent.

In commodities trading, gold was selling at $2,000.30 an ounce, up 1.7%. Oil prices are continuing to rise amid the growing risk of a U.S. and European ban on imports from Russia. U.S. crude oil is trading at $123.62 per barrel, an increase of 6.8%, while Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is 7.2% higher, selling at $126.63 per barrel, after briefly reaching $139 per barrel. In futures trading, all three major U.S. indices are trending lower.

4:42 a.m.: The message from Mariupol, Ukraine’s besieged port city on the Sea of Azov, was stark. “We’re still holding on,” a resident, Ihor, concluded his brief 34-word message. The Kremlin is accused of using ceasefires and humanitarian corridors as a war tactic, reports VOA’s Jamie Dettmer.

4:15 a.m.: South Korea is the latest country to announce sanctions to end the country’s transactions with Russia’s central bank. In a press release issued Monday, Seoul’s foreign ministry said South Korea’s sanctions “will be in line with U.S. financial sanctions,” joining a global response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Agence France-Presse has the story.

3:27 a.m.: In its latest intelligence report Monday, the British Ministry of Defence said Russia is “probably targeting” Ukraine’s communication infrastructure in its attempt to cut access to reliable news sources.

2:56 a.m.: A Russian independent media project OVD-Info said about 5,000 people have been detained for demonstrating and participating in the anti-war protests in Russia on Sunday. The media project advocates for human rights and has been monitoring the massive arrests of people.

Protesters were beaten with batons by Russian police Sunday in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

2:44 a.m.: Russian forces bombarded cities in northern and southern Ukraine Monday, as Ukrainian officials warned Russia may be moving closer to storming Kyiv and Russia’s military announced the latest in yet-unfulfilled plans to establish humanitarian corridors for civilians caught amid its invasion. VOA’s Steve Herman has the story.

2:07 a.m.: The price of oil jumped more than $10 a barrel and shares were sharply lower Monday as the conflict in Ukraine deepened amid mounting calls for harsher sanctions against Russia.

Brent crude, the international standard, hit $139.13 per barrel before falling back. It was trading up $10.56 at $128.67 a barrel. U.S. futures fell, with the contract for the benchmark S&P 500 down 1.6% and that for the Dow industrials falling 1.3%.

The Associated Press has the story.

1:51 a.m.: Long-term partners and members of Ukraine’s Civilian Defense Unit, Lesia Ivashchenko and Valerii Filimonov, got married at a checkpoint in Kyiv Sunday, on the 11th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

1:15 a.m.: Israel is becoming involved in efforts to mediate between Ukraine and Russia amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine, now in its second week. For VOA, Linda Gradstein reports from Jerusalem on communications between Russia and Israel, including a visit to Moscow by Israel’s prime minister.

12:50 a.m.: Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces released a status update at 7 a.m. local time on Monday, the 12th day of the Russian invasion. In it, they said Russia continues to carry out rocket bomb and artillery strikes against Ukrainian targets. They also said Russians continue to carry out airstrikes originating from airfields in Belarus.

The release said Russia is violating international humanitarian law by shelling civilians, green corridors and taking women and children hostage. Ukraine also accused Russia of creating a humanitarian crisis in occupied areas including the city of Irpin where, they said, citizens have been without electricity, water and heat for more than three days.

12:05 a.m.: Approximately 700 Indian students who had been studying in northeastern Ukraine are awaiting evacuation which has been promised by the Embassy of India.

The students are in the city of Sumy located about 30 miles from the Russian border. The Indian government has launched what it calls “Operation Ganga” to transport Indian nationals out of the country. According to a report by The Indian Express on March 7, the students were told to be prepared for evacuation at any minute. The Express said Operation Ganga had arranged 76 flights to transport 15,920 Indian nationals, including 13 flights in the past 24 hours.

For the latest on the evacuation efforts of Indian students from Ukraine, VOA’s Anjana Pasricha has more from New Delhi:

FILE - A batch of 250 Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine arrived from Bucharest at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (Rajanish Kakade/AP)

FILE – A batch of 250 Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine arrived from Bucharest at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (Rajanish Kakade/AP)

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.





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