Continuing Coverage: Russia Invades Ukraine

Photo: Getty Images

UPDATED: 4/12/22 7:00 a.m.

The next phase of the seven-week war in Ukraine could begin any day. Russian troops have starting pouring into the eastern part of the country where they plan to battle for the breakaway Donbas region. Ukraine's president already said they were ready and the military is now preparing by shifting reinforcements to the area. Some strategists believe soldiers could face triple the amount of Russian troops they fought off around the capital.

The Pentagon is concerned about reports of Russia using chemical weapons in Ukraine. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said he is aware of the reports and will monitor them closely. He said if true, the reports are "deeply concerning." This comes after a National Guard of Ukraine unit claimed chemicals were dropped by an unmanned aerial vehicle in Mariupol [[ mar-ee-OO-pol ]]. The unit said the unknown chemicals caused respiratory failure. President Biden and NATO have both warned that the use of chemical weapons could trigger more action against Russia.

Former President Barack Obama is sharing his take on Russian President Vladimir Putin's deadly invasion of Ukraine. In an exclusive interview with the Today show, Obama said Putin has always been dangerous and ruthless and the West knows it. He painted the Russian leader as someone who is wrapped up in what he called a "twisted, distorted sense of grievance and ethnic nationalism." That said, Obama stressed that he wouldn't have necessarily expected Putin to act so recklessly. Putin seized the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 while Obama was in office.

UPDATED: 4/11/22 7:00 a.m.

The Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. is claiming over 400-thousand Ukrainians have been forcibly relocated into Russia. Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, Ambassador Oksana Markarova said that Ukrainian officials have evidence that the deported at being kept in camps and being stripped of their documents. She said over 90-thousand children are among those being held. Markarova went on to say forced evacuations of women and children are underway in the contested Donbas region. The ambassador's comments come just a day after a deadly Russian missile strike on a train station in eastern Ukraine.

It looks like NATO is expanding. Finland and Sweden are considering joining as soon as this summer, in a move prompted by the war in Ukraine. This would put two more members on and near Russia's border. A Russian official says if that happens, they will have to "rebalance the situation" in terms of ensuring security. NATO officials say the countries would be a huge asset, especially when it comes to intelligence sharing.

UPDATED: 4/8/22 7:00 a.m.

Russia is denying it bombed a train station in Ukraine packed with four-thousand people. Two missile strikes hit this morning, killing at least 30 and leaving more than 100 wounded. Police and emergency crews are on scene of what has been the main evacuation point since the war began seven weeks ago. Ukraine's president says Russian troops are "destroying the civilian population" because they're too afraid to fight on the battlefield.

The NYPD has round the clock police patrols outside a Russian Diplomatic Compound in the Bronx. It began when Russia invaded Ukraine. New York Post photographers say they have spotted two NYPD vans parked outside the massive Riverdale building, where some of the Russian diplomatic core lives. There are at least two officers on patrol outside the 20 story building 24 hours a day. The NYPD says the police presence is similar to what the department provides houses of worship during holidays. Neighbors say the compound has been shrouded in secrecy for years and they wonder aloud whether spies live and work there.

The leader of the Russian Orthodox church says his church and its faithful are holding back the antichrist. In an interview published Thursday by Russia's RIA news agency, Patriarch Kirill said the Orthodox church keeps people from losing their bearings in life. He said the Orthodox faith, living and acting in the Orthodox church is "the force that holds back" the antichrist. The New Testament uses the term antichrist to describe people who substitute themselves in Christ's place before the Second Coming. Patriarch Kirill is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has defended the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a clash with a decadent Western culture.

UPDATED: 4/7/22 7:00 a.m.

Ukraine is calling on the West to impose a full oil and gas embargo on Russia. Ukraine's foreign minister will address the European Union and NATO's 30 allies in a special session today, to maintain international support during the Russian invasion. He told reporters today that Ukraine will continue to insist on a full oil and gas embargo on Russia. The EU foreign policy chief says a fifth package of sanctions will be agreed upon either today or tomorrow, and will include a ban on Russian coal.

The Pentagon says Ukraine can absolutely win the war against Russia. Troops never took control of the capital before they left and have only overrun a few areas. They also didn't topple the government. Press Secretary John Kirby says that shows Ukrainians are fighting hard for their country and denying Russia of its goals. Ukraine's president vows to never give up but says the latest sanctions against Russia aren't enough.

President Biden is one step closer to sending more military equipment to Ukraine even faster. The Senate passed legislation last night to revive a program last used in Word War Two. The measure now heads to the House. If it passes, the U.S. would be able to bypass hurdles and quickly resupply the country as it fights Russia, going on seven weeks now. This is viewed as a sign Western nations believe Ukraine can win the war.

Former President Barack Obama said, when he was in the White House, he didn't believe Russian President Vladimir Putin would risk everything by invading Ukraine. Putin annexed Crimea and sent Russian forces into eastern Ukraine in 2014 after mass protests drove out the country's pro-Kremlin president during Obama's second term. In an event Wednesday at the University of Chicago, Obama said Putin was always ruthless but that he wouldn't have, as Obama put it, "bet the farm this way." Obama also said Putin likely hadn't anticipated the strength of the Ukrainian resistance.

UPDATED: 4/6/22 1:00 p.m.

President Biden is unveiling new global sanctions against Russia. Speaking to a building trade union conference in DC, Biden said new sanctions are targeting the Kremlin's financial sector and Russian "elites." He insisted that ongoing sanctions are wiping out the past 15-years of economic gains in Russia. Biden again condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it brutal. He also praised the bravery and resilience of Ukrainians. 

Gas prices are still surging and House Democrats are shining a spotlight on big oil companies. During a hearing, New Jersey's Frank Pallone accused big oil companies of ripping off U.S. consumers and taking them "for a ride." Washington state Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers blamed President Biden's energy policies. She accused Biden of declaring war on domestic production of oil and gas

UPDATED: 4/6/22 9:00 a.m.

The top Department of Justice official is unveiling new plans to disrupt and prosecute Russia's "unjust war" in Ukraine. During a briefing on agency efforts to address Russian criminal activity, Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed the indictment of Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev with sanctions violations. He noted the U.S. Treasury Department identified Malofeev as one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea. Garland says after Malofeev was sanctioned by the U.S. he attempted to evade them by using co-conspirators to acquire and run media outlets across Europe. The Attorney General also announced the seizure of millions of dollars from a financial account the indictment alleges is related to Malofeev's violations. Garland also acknowledged images coming out of Ukraine, specifically Bucha. He warned the DOJ will hold those accountable who perpetrate war crimes, harm our allies and threaten our national security.

he push to remove Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council could be voted on tomorrow. This is because of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, which hit a new level after hundreds of civilians were found dead in one city alone, some executed. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is expected to bring the issue up today. Linda Thomas-Greenfield says the Security Council saw uncensored video of the victims for the first time yesterday. She called it horrific and admits everyone was speechless.

UPDATED: 4/5/22 7:00 a.m.

Ukraine's president is loudly condemning alleged Russian atrocities in his battered country. Speaking virtually to the UN Security Council, Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia has been targeting and killing civilians, including children. He referred to Bucha, where hundreds of civilians were found dead and again accused Russia of committing war crimes. Zelensky called on the UN to do its job and maintain peace.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is insisting that the Russian invasion of Ukraine must end now. Speaking to the Security Council, Guterres called for an "independent investigation to guarantee effective accountability" in Ukraine. He said Russia is in violation of the UN Charter and international standards for human rights. Guterres noted that Russia is also suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is defending the aid the U.S. has sent to Ukraine during the Russian invasion. He called it considerable and ongoing during a House hearing. Austin said the U.S. has also reinforced NATO allies in Europe. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley called Russia's invasion a war of aggression against a sovereign democracy.

UPDATED: 4/4/22 7:00 a.m.

The war in Ukraine may be turning into a massacre. The country's leader describes Russian troops as murderers and rapists, vowing to hold them accountable for what he calls a genocide. More than 400 bodies have been found in graves and on streets in towns surrounding the capital. It came after soldiers left last week to focus their attack on a new region. The organization Human Rights Watch says it has cases of war crimes in three cities.

Russia says talks with Ukraine aren't making much progress on key issues and its position on key regions like Crimea and Donbas remain unchanged. Russia seized Crimea in 2014 and has been backing separatists in the Donbas region. Russia recognized the area as two separate independent republics immediately before the invasion in late February. Russia's top negotiator also said Sunday that Ukraine has agreed to remain neutral, not have nuclear weapons and not host military bases.

UPDATED: 4/3/22 12:00 p.m.

The Pentagon's top spokesman won't comment on reports Ukraine's President Zelensky ordered an attack on a Russian oil depot. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, retired Admiral John Kirby cited security issues when asked who ordered a helicopter attack on an oil depot within Russian territory. President Zelensky also stated that the matter was between him and military personnel. Kirby insisted Ukraine has every right to defend themselves against Russian attacks. 

The International Criminal Court is starting a probe looking at possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine. That's according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Stoltenberg said he "strongly welcomes" the investigation. This announcement comes amid reports of many bodies of civilians found along the streets of the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. Stoltenberg described the "targeted" violence against civilians as something Europe hasn't seen in decades.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the world is now seeing who Vladimir Putin really is with "our eyes wide open." Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Clinton called the Russian leader a threat to the global stability the world thought it was building over the last 20 years. She said now is the time for the world to "double down" on the pressure on Russia. Clinton noted more economic sanctions can still be levied against the country's banking and energy sectors.

UPDATED: 4/2/22 12:00 p.m.

Ukrainian officials claim their military has retaken the entire region around the capital of Kyiv from Russian forces. Ukrainian member of Parliament Andrii Osadchuk also confirmed the news while speaking with a reporter. Ukraine's deputy defense minister also posted a similar claim on her Facebook page. The Ukrainian military says it now controls the Antonov airport just north of the capital city.

Hundreds of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian war are camped out in Tijuana as they try to cross the U.S. border. An estimated 600 Ukrainian refugees are spread out on blankets and lawn chairs on a patch of grass near the international port of entry near San Diego, and about 500 more are staying in nearby hotels. A Tijuana official says about 100 Ukrainians are being allowed to cross into the U.S. each day. Last week, President Biden vowed to accept about 100-thousand Ukrainians into the U.S.

The U.S. is pledging another $300 million in military aid to Ukraine. The U.S. Defense Department said Friday the military aid will include laser-guided rockets, drones, armored vehicles, ammunition, machine guns, and night-vision. So far, the Biden administration has provided over one-point-six-billion-dollars in assistance to Ukraine during the Russian invasion. 

UPDATED: 4/1/22 6:00 a.m.

The war in Ukraine may be spilling over the border. Russia is accusing the country of sending two helicopters to attack an oil storage facility today. If this is true, it would mark the first airstrike on Russian soil since the fighting began six weeks ago. A Ukraine official says he can't confirm or deny any alleged involvement until he reviews all the military information. Ukraine already said it wasn't involved in a nearby ammunition depot fire two days ago.

The tables may be turning on Russia as the invasion of Ukraine drags on into day 37. Russia is reporting the very first Ukrainian airstrike on its territory since the country invaded its neighbor six weeks ago. Two helicopters were reportedly seen firing on an oil depot today in a city about 25 miles from the border. This comes two days after a nearby ammunition depot caught fire, causing explosions. Ukraine denies it was involved in that, blaming Russian error.

UPDATED: 3/31/22 4:00 p.m.

The White House is defending the ongoing release of intelligence tidbits during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said the releases highlight Russian President Vladimir Putin's "strategic blunder." Bedingfield argued the invasion is making Russia weaker. She also underscored the impact of sweeping global sanctions against Russia, which President Biden has called "crippling."

President Biden says it's too soon to determine whether Russia is really scaling back some military operations in Ukraine. Speaking at the White House, Biden called himself skeptical. He also said he's not fully buying into intelligence saying Russian President Vladimir Putin has been misinformed about his military's performance in Ukraine. Biden cited some intel saying Putin is "self-isolating," but said more hard information is needed.

The U.S. is extending deployment of an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean as the Russian invasion of Ukraine goes on. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the plan that will keep the USS Harry S. Truman overseas through the summer. Aircraft off the carrier have been flying in support of U.S. and NATO efforts to bolster NATO's eastern flank. The carrier is expected to be in the region possibly through August.

UPDATED: 3/31/22 8:00 a.m.

Russia is reacting to claims that its leader is being misled about the war in Ukraine. The White House says Vladimir Putin's advisers are too afraid to tell him how bad their military is performing. But a Kremlin official spoke out today, saying the U.S. doesn't know what's really happening or understand the "decision-making mechanism." This comes as Russia has declared a cease-fire in the hardest hit city so more people can evacuate.

The White House says Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misled by his advisers about the war in Ukraine. Communications director Kate Bedingfield said Wednesday the White House has information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military, "which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership." Bedingfield said they believe that Putin is being misinformed about how badly the Russian military is performing, and how the Russian economy is being hit by sanctions, "because his senior advisors are too afraid to tell him the truth." The Kremlin has not responded to the comments.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling on Australia to support its fight against Russia. Zelensky gave a video address to Australia's Parliament today and said Russian forces are "shelling our cities," "killing our civilians" and "abducting thousands of children to their territories." He called on Australia to share its Bushmaster military vehicles with Ukraine, and for sanctions against Russia to be more strictly enforced. Before the address, Zelensky was welcomed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who praised the "incredible courage" of Ukrainians, and added, "we do not stand with the war criminal of Moscow."

UPDATED: 3/30/22 5:00 a.m.

It doesn't appear Russia is any hurry to end the war in Ukraine, now in its 35th day. Officials say there's no let up in attacks, despite Russia promising to scale back troops in two cities. They confirm air raid sirens have been going off overnight across Ukraine and say several rockets were shot down over the capital. Rescuers are also digging through rubble in another area where several buildings collapsed.

Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations is throwing Russian President Vladimir Putin's words back in his face. Sergiy Kyslytsya told the Security Council Tuesday that the "demilitarization of Russia is well under way," after strong Ukrainian resistance has turned what Moscow expected to be a quick invasion into a drawn out war. His words echoed Putin's claimed goal of the invasion back in February, which was the demilitarization and so-called de-Nazification of Ukraine. Kyslytsya said Russia has lost more than 17-thousand troops and numerous armored vehicles and tanks.

UPDATED: 3/29/22 5:00 p.m.

The White House is skeptical about news that Russia is scaling back ground forces from around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told reporters it's likely a "redeployment, not a withdrawal." Meantime, Bedingfield said President Biden has no regrets about saying Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power." He made the comment during a weekend speech in Poland. Bedingfield said the President was speaking from the heart. 

An Illinois Senator says the Ukrainian military is a big reason why Russian troops are reportedly moving away from the capital city of Kyiv. Democrat Tammy Duckworth said there's still more that can be done to help Ukraine and allies need to continue to send military supplies. Duckworth said India is still getting oil from Russia and there are American companies still dealing with Russia that need to stop. She added the Russian military is an "empty force" and they're poorly led.

Stocks are posting solid gains on optimism over Russia-Ukraine peace talks. Investor sentiment got a boost as ceasefire negotiations resumed today in Turkey. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 338 points to 35,294. The S&P 500 added 56 points to 4,631. The Nasdaq rose 264 points to 14,619.

UPDATED: 3/29/22 7:00 a.m.

Russia is reportedly reducing its military activity near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. That city remains under fire today although Ukrainians have made progress pushing the Russians back from some positions. Russia's deputy defense minister announced the move today. This after Moscow said it plans to focus its efforts in parts of eastern Ukraine where Russia has been backing pro-Russian separatists for years.

A Russian oligarch being sanctioned by the West is turning up at peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Roman Abramovich appeared in Istanbul a day after a Wall Street Journal report which said he and Ukrainian peace negotiators were possibly poisoned after a visit to Ukraine. The paper said it happened following a gathering in the capital city of Kyiv earlier this month. Abramovich is the outgoing owner of popular English soccer club Chelsea.

A U.S. General says there "could be" an intel gap that caused an overestimation of Russia's military capabilities. This gap could have also led to the U.S. underestimating Ukraine's defensive capability against the current Russian invasion. General Tod Wolters made the comments during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Wolters said when the "crisis" is over, there will be an after action review that'll look for weak areas and improve American intelligence.

UPDATED: 3/28/22 1:00 p.m.

The Russian invasion has resulted in almost $565 billion in losses for Ukraine. That's according to its economy minister. She noted that number comes from infrastructure damage among other things. She also vowed Russia will pay for what it has done.

Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark says Congress is prepared to authorize military action in Ukraine, if necessary. However, the assistant House Speaker told Channel 5 over the weekend the U.S. will continue to prioritize sanctions against Russia as long as they're effective. Democrat Clark also supports the President's plan to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. She says the U.S. should be willing to accept even more if needed.

The Biden administration is in clarification mode after the President said over the weekend Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power." In Israel on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. doesn't have a strategy for regime change in Russia "or anywhere else for that matter." Asked directly by reporters yesterday if he had been calling for regime change during his speech in Poland, President Biden said "no." It's been 33 days since Russian forces invaded Ukraine at Putin's direction.

UPDATED: 3/25/22 5:00 a.m.

Poland is the next stop for President Biden as he leaves Brussels today following an emergency NATO summit and talks with world leaders on the war in Ukraine. Following yesterday's meetings, Biden said the U.S. and allies remain firmly united in efforts to help Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion. He also announced new sanctions against Russia that will hit more than 400 so-called Russian "elites." Biden pledged that the U.S. will provide $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including food assistance.

With Russia's invasion of Ukraine now in its 30th day, the U.S. and the European Union have struck a deal that would cut Europe's reliance on Russia for gas. The European Union currently gets about 40-percent of its gas from Russia. Today, President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the formation of a joint task force to increase energy security for Ukraine and the EU for the next two winters. The U.S. has agreed to help provide Europe with an extra 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas this year.

Refugees from Ukraine are arriving in Poland by the tens of thousands and traveling to Warsaw. While the Polish capital has welcomed refugees, the mayor says the city is at its limit and needs help. Warsaw has taken in more refugees than any city in the world, bumping the population up by 20 percent since the start of Russia's invasion 30 days ago.

FedEx is taking relief supplies to Ukrainian refugees. A FedEx Express chartered cargo flight will leave Memphis for Poland tomorrow. The plane will carry 76 tons of medical supplies provided by Direct Relief. FedEx has donated one-and-a-half-million dollars to relief efforts for Ukrainians impacted by Russia's invasion.

UPDATED: 3/24/22 5:00 a.m.

President Biden is at NATO headquarters in Brussels this morning for a special emergency summit. NATO leaders are expected to reveal new sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine a month ago. The President will also meet with G-7 nations and address the European Union in Brussels before traveling to Poland tomorrow.

The mayor of Kyiv says over 260 civilians have been killed since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Wednesday that over 300 people have sustained injuries since the war broke out and 80 buildings in Kyiv have been destroyed. Before the war, Kyiv was home to about three-million people, but the mayor believes only about half of them are still there because many have fled.

As many as 40,000 Russian troops have been killed, injured, captured, or gone missing in the first month of the war in Ukraine. That's according to a NATO estimate which says of that number, between seven- and 15-thousand troops are dead. Russian officials have refused to disclose those numbers. A Kremlin spokesperson says releasing them is the Ministry of Defense's "exclusive prerogative."

UPDATED: 3/23/22 6:00 a.m.

Ukraine's government is urging Russia to allow at least 100-thousand people to leave the besieged city of Mariupol [[ mar-ee-OO-pull ]]. Russian forces continue to bombard the southern port city on this 28th day of fighting, turning into what the city council calls the "ashes of a dead land." And the country's military is warning all Ukrainians of more indiscriminate Russian shelling. Meanwhile, the European Union is due to set out plans today for how it will provide housing, jobs, and education for the millions of refugees who have left Ukraine.

President Biden is leaving for Belgium today. He'll join NATO leaders for a summit tomorrow where he's expected to reveal new sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine. There's reports he could also talk about plans to keep an increased number of troops in NATO countries near Ukraine. The President will also meet with G-7 nations and address the European Union in Brussels before traveling to Poland on Friday.

Russia isn't ruling out the use of nuclear weapons as it continues its month-long invasion of Ukraine. Speaking with CNN's Christiane Amanpour Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow would consider using nukes if it saw an "existential threat" against Russia. Peskov also admitted Russia hadn't achieved its goals in Ukraine and is still demanding that Ukraine demilitarize and remain neutral. And, he repeated Moscow's line that Russia has only attacked military targets in Ukraine, despite evidence to the contrary.

UPDATED: 3/22/22 1:00 p.m.

Some Russian soldiers are dealing with frostbite because they don't have the right equipment to fight the war against Ukraine. That's the word from a senior U.S. defense official. That person added some troops have had to leave the fighting because of frostbite. The update came as a cold snap hit Ukraine recently.

U.S. and NATO officials expect to see troops from Belarus aiding Russia's attack on Ukraine. Officials said it's increasingly "likely" that Belarus will enter the invasion as Russian President Vladimir Putin becomes desperate. There are reportedly thousands of Belarusian forces ready to be deployed as soon as the next few days. A NATO official said the Kremlin will make the final call on Belarus' involvement.

The leader of war-torn Ukraine is invited to speak at this week's NATO summit. NATO confirmed it's offered Ukrainian President Zelensky the opportunity to address the group by secure video link. President Biden will take part in the emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday. News of the invitation comes as Zelensky says he's ready to discuss a deal to end the Russian invasion of his country.

UPDATED: 3/22/22 7:00 a.m.

Death and destruction are spreading across Ukraine as the war nears one month. The capital started a curfew after Russia bombed a mall in the biggest attack on the city so far. Shops, pharmacies and gas stations are closed today and everyone is asked to stay home. The country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, says several cities are beyond recognition but they refuse to surrender. He also points out the invasion has displaced about ten million people.

The U.S. is reportedly sending old Soviet air defense equipment to Ukraine, systems it acquired years ago through a secret program. According to "The Wall Street Journal," the defenses, which include surface-to-air missiles, were originally obtained so U.S. forces could examine tech employed by the USSR. They could be useful to Ukrainian forces, who are already familiar with old Soviet systems, as Pentagon spokesman John Kirby noted during a Monday briefing.

More people are hoping to escape Ukraine today. A convoy of 15 buses will attempt to carry evacuees to safety. They're from a city hit the hardest by Russia in the past three weeks with attacks on an art school, theater and maternity hospital. The country's president says it's been left in ashes but officials refuse to surrender. The Ukrainian army also confirms they've regained control of another city while a curfew is underway in the capital.

UPDATED: 3/21/22 7:00 a.m.

Russia is stepping up its attacks on Ukraine's capital city. The Ukraine State Emergency Service said late Sunday that a shopping center in Kyiv had come under attack. In the southeastern port city of Mariupol, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens remain trapped after officials in Kyiv rejected Russian demands to surrender the city. It's been 26 days now since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his forces into neighboring Ukraine. Millions have already been forced from their homes and more than three-million Ukrainians have left the country.

President Biden is poised to speak by phone this morning with European leaders as Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its 26th day. Expected on the call are British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The White House says the leaders will be discussing "their coordinated responses to Russia's unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine."

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says Russia's use of hypersonic missiles in Ukraine is not a game changer. Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, the Pentagon chief explained that Russian claims of using hypersonic missiles was likely an attempt by Putin to reestablish momentum on the battlefield, and that U.S. officials expect to see it continue. Austin also praised the Ukrainian resistance. The retired general saying their efforts have been the equivalent of President Putin sending Russian troops into a "wood chipper."

UPDATED: 3/20/22 6:00 p.m.

The U.N. refugee agency is reporting close to a quarter of the country's population have fled their homes in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. That's ten-million people. The number includes people that are currently displaced within Ukraine and those who have fled the country altogether. Around 90% of those who have left their homes are women and children, as men aged 18 to 60 are eligible for conscription. 

China is calling for a ceasefire and peace talks in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. That's according to Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang. Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, Gang said that China is sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine but no weapons. However, he refused to condemn the Russian invasion itself and confirmed that the relationship between the two countries hadn't really changed since the violence began.

Estonia's Prime Minister is urging that more NATO military forces be amassed before an emergency meeting this week. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Prime Minister Kaya Kallas said she planned to asked other NATO countries to spend at least two-percent of their GDP on increasing their military strength. She said Estonia was going to bump their GDP contribution up to two-point-five percent. Kallas also called for more troops and defensive weapons on NATO's eastern flank, as well as continued isolation of Russia on all political levels.

UPDATED: 3/20/22 10:00 a.m.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia's attack on the port city of Mariupol is "a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come." In a broadcast late Saturday, Zelensky said the attack on Mariupol would "go down in history" for "war crimes." The Mariupol City Council says Russian forces bombed an art school on Saturday where 400 residents were taking shelter. They did not mention the number of casualties. Russia denies targeting civilians.

A Polish-sponsored peacekeeping mission into Ukraine is only a "preliminary concept." Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Poland's Ambassador to the U.S. Marek Magierowski explained that the idea of sending NATO personnel into war-torn Ukraine was something that needed to be discussed at an upcoming summit in Brussels. He stated that such an operation would be "complicated" in terms of international law in order to avoid provoking Russia further. However, Magierowski could not comment on a claim that a Russian drone shot down by the Ukrainians violated Polish airspace.

The top U.S. representative at the United Nations says it's up to Ukraine to decide how they will compromise with Russia at the negotiating table. UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield tells CNN's State of the Union it's not for the U.S. to say if Ukrainians need to take drastic measures to end the ongoing conflict. Some of those compromises could include complete demilitarization of the country and giving up territory annexed by Russia. Thomas-Greenfield noted that negotiations are an "important factor" in ending the war in Ukraine, but she said Russian demands to reach a diplomatic solution appear to be very one-sided.

UPDATED: 3/19/22 7:00 a.m.

Russia says it used a hypersonic missile in combat for the first time to to knock out a Ukrainian weapons storage facility. Video posted by the Russian Defense Ministry shows a missile slamming into a building followed by a massive explosion. Moscow said the strike destroyed a large underground warehouse containing weapons nearly 400 miles west of Ukraine's capital Kyiv. The unverified claim came after Ukraine's president called for talks aimed at ending Russia's more than three-week old invasion.  

Authorities in Norway say four U.S. Marines have been killed during a NATO training exercise. The Norwegian military says they were killed in the crash of an Osprey aircraft that was taking part in a NATO training mission. While the Pentagon has yet to confirm the deaths, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith tweeted her condolences Saturday to the families of the service members involved. The Marines were aboard assigned to a Marine Expeditionary Force that crashed Friday.

UPDATED: 3/18/22 7:00 p.m.

The United Nations reports they've completed their first convoy of humanitarian aid to northeastern Ukraine. The convoy brought medical supplies, bottled water, ready-to-eat meals and canned food to help the about 35-thousand people living in or around the city of Sumy. Alongside these items, the convey also brought equipment for repairing water systems that impact about 50-thousand people. Those helping the effort include U-N partners like the World Food Programme, UN Refugee Agency, World Health Organization, and the UN Children's Fund. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is working to provide assistance for displaced Ukrainians. In a video message, Zelensky reports Ukraine's ministries are in the process of developing a program to help those fleeing or have lost their homes in the war. The program will help people find jobs where they are located along with providing housing and support. Zelensky added, "At a minimum, they will receive reimbursement of their utility expenses related to housing the resettled people."

Hundreds are still under the rubble of a theater that was bombed in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. That's according to Ukraine's President. He added 130 people have been rescued. Many were taking shelter there on Wednesday when the site was bombed. Ukraine's leader noted the rescue mission is ongoing.

China is not showing its cards on whether to align with Russia during the ongoing invasion with Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said China must decide which side it's going to stand with. That followed a nearly two-hour call between President Biden and Chinese President Xi. Biden warned Xi about "implications and consequences" of Chinese assistance to Russia.

UPDATED: 3/18/22 7:00 a.m.

President Biden is trying to stop the war in Ukraine from getting worse. He's speaking to China's president today in their first direct talks since November. He's expected to urge the leader to use the country's influence and persuade Russia to stop its attacks. He'll also warn that providing any military or financial assistance will have costs. The White House has said Russia is asking for the help, but China denies that claim.

Three American soldiers are alive and well despite Russia claiming they were killed in Ukraine. The Tennessee National Guard says the troops were falsely identified as mercenaries by a Russian newspaper, which gave their names and military rank. They call it a fake report and confirm all members returned home in 2019. Two of the men were still with the Guard. President Biden pulled all troops out of Ukraine before the war.

Pope Francis is calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a "perverse abuse of power." The Pope made the comments today at a Catholic conference in Slovakia. He didn't call out Russia by name, but said the war was being waged for "partisan interests which condemns defenseless people to suffer every form of brutal violence." The Pope added, "The tragedy of the war taking place in the heart of Europe has left us stunned."

UPDATED: 3/17/22 7:00 p.m.

New American intelligence estimates believe at least seven-thousand Russian troops are dead as the country's invasion in Ukraine continues. The New York Times reports that is a conservative estimate, and if that is the case, that means Russia has already lost more soldiers than the U.S. did in 20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The Russian invasion has only been ongoing for roughly three weeks. Ukrainian, NATO, and Russian officials say three Russian generals have died in the fighting, and estimates say 14- to 21-thousand Russian troops have been hurt. It was originally estimated that close to 200,000 troops were amassed at the Ukrainian border before the invasion, meaning almost one in every ten troops sent to fight have been wounded.

A Republican Senator says transferring fighter jets from Poland to Ukraine is "within the rules of the game." Louisiana's Bill Cassidy made the comment at an event put on by "The Hill" a day after Ukraine's President asked for more U.S. military aid. The Pentagon rejected a transfer proposal earlier this month, saying it could be seen as an escalatory step. Cassidy suggested there are ways to get the jets in Ukraine's possession without overt involvement from America. He did note that there must be a balance between helping President Zelensky and avoiding World War Three.

UPDATED: 3/17/22 1:00 p.m.

While the U.S. is committed to helping Ukraine, the Secretary of Defense says American forces won't engage in combat. Speaking in Slovakia, Secretary Lloyd Austin says NATO allies will continue helping Ukraine with all they can to defend themselves from Russian aggression. He doubled down on saying U.S. forces will not be fighting on Ukrainian soil and said installing a no-fly zone over Ukraine's airspace would start a war with NATO and Russia. Austin said Ukraine's been successful in not letting Russia establish dominance in the air and there are plans to help them advance those defenses.

Britain's Ministry of Defense says the Russian invasion of Ukraine has "largely stalled on all fronts." In a Twitter update today, the UK ministry said "Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days," and "continue to suffer heavy losses." The update said Ukrainian forces remain "staunch and well-coordinated" and the vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains "in Ukrainian hands."

UPDATED: 3/17/22 7:00 a.m.

The president of Ukraine is pleading for more support, this time from Germany. He spoke to the country's parliament this morning, urging the chancellor to destroy what he calls a new Russian wall in Europe. Volodymyr Zelensky also said help came too late to stop the war. This follows his speech to Congress yesterday and the Canadian parliament earlier this week, where he again asked for tougher sanctions. He'll address Israeli legislators next week.

Russia is reacting to President Biden calling its leader a war criminal. A spokesperson says it's unacceptable and unforgivable when U.S. bombs have killed thousands of people all over. Other world leaders have called Vladimir Putin's military attacks on Ukraine war crimes, but this was the first time for the President since the invasion. The White House recently confirmed a review is underway before formally accusing Putin of targeting civilians.

UPDATED: 3/16/22 9:00 a.m.

Ukraine's President is pleading for more help as his nation struggles with the ongoing Russian invasion. During a virtual speech to members of the U.S. Congress, President Zelensky called it a brutal and full scale Russian invasion. Speaking through a translator, he said it's a "terror that Europe has not seen" since World War Two.

Zelensky said Ukraine "doesn't give up." He thanked the U.S. for aid that has been provided and again urged NATO allies to establish a no-fly zone to stop Russian bombers. He also said new packages of sanctions against Russia are needed every week. Meantime, Zelensky played a video of Russian bombardments of Ukrainian cities and the impacts on the people of Ukraine. He received a standing ovation from U.S. lawmakers.

Photo: Getty Images

UPDATED: 3/16/22 7:00 a.m.

More homes are being bombed in Ukraine on this 21st day of fighting. Overnight, an apartment complex collapsed and another was damaged. This comes ahead of peace talks continuing with Russia today. The president of Ukraine says they're finally sounding more realistic. Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to plead for more support from the U.S. during a virtual address to Congress this morning. That's set to take place at 9 am Eastern.

Russia has a big debt payment to make today and it's uncertain whether it can. Moscow is due to pay $117 million in interest on two dollar-denominated sovereign bonds. If it doesn't pay, it could risk defaulting on the debt. Russia's economy has been in free-fall since the U.S. and other nations laid on sanctions and hundreds of companies stopped doing business in the country in response to the invasion of Ukraine. 

UPDATED: 3/15/22 4:00 p.m.

Ukraine's President is urging countries to stop trade with Russia. On Twitter, President Zelensky encouraged Ukrainians across the world to contact their local politicians, speak to journalists, or pressure businesses to end relations with Russian markets. He demanded business with Russia be stopped so it wouldn't "sponsor the killing" of Ukrainian children.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is critical of a decision from the Biden administration to not send fighter jets to Ukraine. The decision came over concerns from the Pentagon about how the U.S. would facilitate the delivery of the aircraft, stating that flying the jets into Ukraine could provoke Russian military forces. Murkowski disagreed with the decision, saying Ukraine needs the jets to counter Russia.

A Ukrainian journalist assisting Fox News with coverage of the ongoing Russian invasion is dead after a vehicle she was in was struck by incoming fire outside Kyiv. Oleksandra Kuvshinova was serving as a consultant for the news outlet when she was killed Monday alongside cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski. She was 24-years-old. A Fox senior field producer paid tribute to the young journalist on Twitter, calling her a "beautiful brave woman" and praised her for doing a "brilliant job" in her coverage of the war. Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall was injured in the attack and remains hospitalized.

UPDATED: 3/15/22 7:00 a.m.

A new effort to end Russia's attack on Ukraine is unfolding today. Negotiators will continue the peace talks they paused yesterday as more explosions go off. An apartment complex was among at least four buildings hit in the capital overnight, while another city claims the death toll there is near 20-thousand. Ukraine's president says the military advance has slowed and another top official thinks Russia may run out of resources by early May.

The House is again expected to focus on the war in Ukraine this week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says they'll take up legislation to end normal trade relations with Russia, as punishment for invading Ukraine. President Biden made the move on Friday, calling to revoke "most favored nation" trade status for Russia. The House already voted to ban imports of Russian oil and Congress approved nearly 14-billion dollars in aid for Ukraine.

Refugee advocates are warning that Ukrainians leaving their country to escape Russia's attacks could be a "dream" for human traffickers. Almost three-million people, mostly women and children, have left Ukraine since Russian forces invaded nearly three weeks ago. Refugees International says grassroots efforts to help them could mask moves to turn refugees into human trafficking victims. The City of Berlin today started warning Ukrainian refugees arriving by train to be careful of offers of money or accommodation, out of concern they could be trafficked or forced into prostitution.

An organization that promotes international relationships is urging American cities not to suspend their ties to sister cities in Russia. Sister Cities International said the urge to suspend those ties to show support for Ukraine could cause long-term harm. A letter from the group's CEO says cutting ties with Russian sister cities often closes a line of communication with vulnerable or isolated communities

UPDATED: 3/14/22 12:30 p.m.

Nearly three-million people have fled Ukraine since Russia first invaded. The United Nations says more than 2.8 million have left. The UN tweeted refugees continue to leave the war torn-country "every minute." UNICEF said the war in Ukraine is causing a "devastating impact" on over 7.5 million children.

Most Senate Republicans are opposing talks over reviving the Iran nuclear deal. Now-former President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international accord during his tenure. In a letter to the White House, 49 Republican senators cite public reports and say a new deal would "weaken sanctions and lessen restrictions on Iran's nuclear program." They argue the Biden administration "appears to have given away the store."

UPDATED: 3/14/22 7:00 a.m.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says, when his negotiators meet with Russian representatives today, they'll insist on a meeting between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine has been calling for talks between the two presidents ever since Russian forces invaded Ukraine more than two weeks ago. Reuters reports Ukraine wants direct talks because Putin is making final decisions about the course of Russia's attacks on Ukraine. Zelensky said on Sunday he's sure that a meeting between him and Putin is what "people are waiting for."  

 A Russian oligarch says the world is facing a food crisis because of the war in Ukraine. Andrei Melnichenko became a billionaire producing coal and fertilizer. Today, he's warning that fertilizer prices are rising so fast that many farmers can no longer afford soil nutrients. Melnichenko is one several Russian billionaires who's had his assets frozen because of Western sanctions during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The 50-year-old businessman told Reuters, however, that "we urgently need peace," and that the invasion "will lead to even higher food inflation in Europe and likely food shortages in the world's poorest countries."

UPDATED: 3/13/22 7:00 p.m.

Russia and Ukraine are preparing to hold a potential fourth round of negations as war continues in Eastern Europe. The New York Post reports talks could come as soon as Monday according to Ukrainian officials. They add both sides are in talks with mediators from Turkey and Israel for potential discussion topics, including a cease-fire and Russian withdrawal.

The Latvian President says a permanent military presence along NATO borders is necessary amid the ongoing Russian invasion. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Egils Levits said that the buildup would send a clear message to President Putin about further aggression beyond Ukraine. He also welcomed the arrival of American troops and aircraft into his country. A former Soviet state, Latvia shares a 130-mile border with Russia.

 Senator Amy Klobuchar says Polish planes previously planned to be sent to Ukraine could've become a Russian target. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, the Minnesota Democrat explained that when a defensive strategy is too widely discussed amongst the public, it can become the target of the enemy. She went on to say that other anti-aircraft defense like drones, stingers and javelins could be effective alternatives to fighter jets in Ukraine's fight against Russia. 

UPDATED: 3/13/22 11:00 a.m.

Ukrainian officials say almost 2,200 civilians have been killed in Mariupol from Russian attacks. An official added the south eastern Ukrainian city experienced 22 bombing attacks from Russian forces over the last 24 hours. Russian forces are being accused of purposely attacking residential neighborhoods. Part of a university in Mariupol was bombed on Sunday as well.

"Every Ukrainian is a target" of the invading Russian forces. That's according to the mayor of Kyiv. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir [[ Vladimir ]] called for more sanctions against Russia and additional weapons. President Vladimir Putin's forces are roughly 15 miles outside the center of Kyiv and according to the Klitschko brothers, have the city under a constant threat of shelling. They noted that while they were concerned about Russia's potential use of chemical weapons, they don't believe Kyiv will fall in the near future since the Ukrainian people are "highly motivated" to defend their country.

UPDATED: 3/12/22 7:00 p.m.

The U.S. is sending another $200 million in defense aid to Ukraine. President Biden authorized the funding in a special memorandum under Defense Department emergency rules. The money can be used for military training and other assistance. Earlier, Congress approved a $13.6 billion dollar aid package for Ukraine as the Russian invasion of that country rolls into its third week.

Officials at Chernobyl say the staff has been living at the plant since Russia's March 9th attack. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports the power plant's reactors are now dependent on diesel generators. Chernobyl's operator told the I-A-E-A the 211 guards at the Ukrainian nuclear power "have still not been able to rotate, in effect living there since the day before Russian forces took control." 

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is now in Poland. The group is set to meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Poland as well as U.S. troops from the 82nd Airborne Division. The Senators on the trip include Rob Portman of Ohio, Mississippi's Roger Wicker, Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Wicker's office says the delegation is planning to affirm the United States' commitment to Poland and Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. CNN reports the group will also visit the Ukraine border on Sunday.

UPDATED: 3/12/22 8:00 a.m.

President Biden says the U.S. has a vital obligation to defend NATO allies. Speaking to House Democrats Friday, Biden said he talks to the Ukrainian President daily and thanked lawmakers for supporting sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The President said new sanctions handed down Friday will make it even harder for Russia to do business with America. Biden said the Russian stock market remains closed because the second it opens, it'll fall apart.

President Biden is banning the import of seafood, spirits and diamonds from Russia. This means no more caviar and vodka from Russia because of the Ukraine invasion. The President signed an executive order Friday putting the ban into effect. He also said the U.S. will be going after Russian oligarchs who support Vladimir Putin.

Cities across Poland say they're full of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. The mayor of Poland's second-largest city, Krakow, is now asking for help to move refugees to less populated areas of the country. In Poland's capital, Warsaw's mayor is pleading for international help to relocate Ukrainian refugees. In an interview with MSNBC the mayor said, "We need relocation in Europe, we need relocation in the world."

UPDATED: 3/11/22 11:00 a.m.

President Biden is banning the import of seafood, spirits and diamonds from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. This means no more caviar and vodka from that country. Biden is also calling for Congress to remove "favored nation status," which makes it very hard for Russia to do business with the U.S. The President said there's bipartisan cooperation to stand up against Russia's aggression in Eastern Europe. Biden added the U.S. will be going after Russian oligarchs as they support Russian President Vladimir Putin and harm Russia's citizens.

Russia and its ally Belarus will benefit from Western sanctions. So said Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in-person with Belarus' leader. Putin said the two countries have showed an ability to acquire "new competencies" when sanctions have been handed down in the past. The Russian President said the two nations will move "towards strengthening technological and economic sovereignty." Putin added Belarus and Russia need to rebuild their economies, but they have all they "need to restore" them.

UPDATED: 3/11/22 7:00 a.m.

President Biden is making another move today to punish Russia for invading Ukraine. He's expected to reveal a plan to end normal trade relations with the country, which will allow new tariffs on Russian imports. This comes amid a special U.N. Security Council meeting. Russia asked for it and will reportedly claim the U.S. is doing "military biological activities" in Ukraine. The White House says that's a ploy to justify a possible chemical weapons attack. 

It looks like Russia is about to expand its army of fighters in Ukraine. On this 16th day of war, President Vladimir Putin says he'll allow more than 15-thousand volunteers in the Middle East who want to come help. He also supports handing over captured Western missile systems to Russian-backed rebels. As for Ukraine, officials there say more than 20-thousand people from 52 nations have volunteered to risk their lives defending the country.

UPDATED: 3/10/22 11:00 a.m.

Senators are accusing Russia of weaponizing energy in its invasion of Ukraine. During a Senate hearing, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso said Russia's "barbarism" in Ukraine is being paid for with vast energy profits. Jonathon Elkind testified that Russia's economy "runs on energy." He said Russia has often used oil and gas as a tool to put political pressure on its neighbors. Elkind focuses on global energy policy at Columbia University.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly set to meet with the leader of Belarus in Moscow on Friday. Putin and Belarus' leader will discuss the development of cooperation between the two countries, economic cooperation as sanctions cause pressure, and the war in Ukraine. Belarus is an ally of Russia and its land has been used as a launching point for Russian troops into Ukraine.

The U.S. is increasing aid to Ukraine and some are concerned our critical infrastructure could be in for a Russian cyber attack as a response. The operators of electric grids across the country are preparing. Peter Lake, who heads the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, says there's not much to report so far. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they have not seen an uptick on attacks targeting the electric system. He says that's being monitored closely.

UPDATED: 3/10/22 7:00 a.m.

Ukraine's foreign minister says Russian officals are "living in their own reality." Dmytro Kuleba [[ deh-MEE-tro koo-LAY-ba ]] shared that assessment today after his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov failed to make any progress toward ending Russia's two-week long invasion. Lavrov had earlier denied that Russian forces bombed a children's hospital and maternity ward. Without presenting any evidence, Lavrov told a CNBC reporter the hospital had already been captured by Ukrainian "ultra-radicals." Three people, including a child were killed and many people were injured in the attack.

Vice President Harris is in Poland for talks with that country's president as Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine rolls on into Day 15. She announced this morning that the U.S. has delivered two Patriot missile defense systems to Poland, a NATO ally, and will be giving another 50 million dollars in aid to the UN's World Food Program. Poland has taken in half of the more than two-million people who've fled the war in Ukraine. Officials also offered to supply fighter jets, by first sending them to a U.S. base in Germany but the Pentagon rejected that. Harris heads to Romania tomorrow, another NATO ally, for further talks.

President Biden's ban on importing Russian oil is one step closer to becoming law. The House passed it yesterday, sending the legislation to the Senate. This is the latest blow to the Russian economy over its invasion of Ukraine. The President is banning imports of all Russian energy products, warning the move will lead to higher gas prices. Triple-A's nationwide average jumped overnight to four-32 a gallon, up 59-cents since last week.

UPDATED: 3/9/22 12:00 p.m.

The U.S. Secretary of State is condemning Russia's "increasingly brutal war in Ukraine." Speaking at the State Department, Antony Blinken praised the unity of Western allies who are responding to the invasion. During an event with the British Foreign Secretary, Blinken said tough sanctions against Russia will continue. Elizabeth Truss said, "Now is not the time to let up."

The White House says talks about getting fighter jets into Ukraine are ongoing. Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters there are "clearly logistical challenges" involving Poland's offer to give fighter jets to Ukraine. NATO and Ukrainian officials are involved in the talks. She was asked about sending the jets to a U.S. airbase in Germany or shipping them in parts into Ukraine. Psaki said it's all part of "logistical and operational challenges" that are being discussed by U.S. defense officials and European allies.

Amazon is suspending retail shipments to customers in Russia and Belarus. The company also said it would be stopping access to Prime Video in Russia. This is after Amazon halted new sign ups for Amazon Web services in Russia. The online retailer has been providing cybersecurity assistance to Ukraine as the country continues to be attacked by Russia.

UPDATED: 3/9/22 6:00 a.m.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says civilians continue to be targeted by Russian forces. He spoke via video to the British parliament Tuesday thanking the West for support and declaring his nation would continue to fight the Russian invasion than began two weeks ago. Vice President Harris will be in the region today, stopping in Romania and Poland to look for ways NATO allies can continue to support Ukrainian fighters without becoming embroiled in a direct conflict with Russia.

The Kremlin is accusing the U.S. of declaring "economic war" against Russia. Their spokesperson said Russia would "do what is best for our interests" in order to overcome the current economic conditions. Those comments were made a day after President Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports. That move was just the latest in a series of actions the U.S. and its allies have taken to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The refugee count as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is over 2 million. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says the number stands more than 2.15 million. That's about 5% of Ukraine's population. Today is day 14 of Russia's invasion.

UPDATED: 3/8/22 6:00 p.m.

The President of Ukraine is thanking the U.S. after President Biden imposed a ban on Russian oil imports. President Zelensky encouraged other countries' leaders to follow the Biden administration. Biden called the ban another powerful blow to Russia during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. He noted that Russian oil makes up only a small part of the oil available to the U.S. However, Biden warned the move will likely cause U.S. gas prices to rise even more.

A U.S. general is estimating as many as four-thousand Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine. The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told House members the best estimate is between two-thousand and four-thousand Russian solider casualties. He cited "some intelligence sources, but also open source" information and said he had low confidence in that number. The director of national intelligence also told the hearing that the human cost in the war is "considerable, and only increasing" for both Ukraine and Russia.

UPDATED: 3/8/22 12:00 p.m.

President Biden warns gas prices in the U.S. will keep rising. Today, Biden announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil imports as the Ukraine invasion grows bloodier. He noted that Russian oil makes up only a small part of the oil available to the U.S. However, Biden warned the move will likely cause U.S. gas prices to rise even more. Gas prices are now the highest they've ever been, up to four-dollars and 17-cents a gallon today. The White House has been under increasing bipartisan pressure to halt all Russian energy imports.

The President of Ukraine is telling the UK Parliament the terror unleashed on his country by Russia is not letting up. President Zelensky told a packed chamber today the Russians are attacking more civilian targets. He vowed Ukraine will continue to fight to the end and not "lose what is ours." He added the Russian shelling "did not break us."

UPDATED: 3/8/22 7:00 a.m.

The U.S. secretary of state is calling for European countries to quit relying on Russian energy as the war in Ukraine rages on. Antony Blinken made these comments while speaking with Estonia's prime minister. Blinken said it's "imperative" to move off Russian energy as Russia is using it as a weapon. The Estonian prime minister called for NATO to come up with an "updated strategy" for defense in the region.

More people are escaping Ukraine at this hour as the number of refugees tops two-million. And half of those are children. This is the 13th day of fighting but Russia has reportedly declared a temporary cease-fire in five cities to allow for safe evacuations through tonight. That apparently came out of a third round of talks. Meantime, Russia is warning the price of oil could spike to 300-dollars if the U.S. or others ban energy imports.

Soldiers from Fort Hood are on their way to support American allies in Europe. Nearly 160 members of the Third Armored Corps shipped out on Monday, part of the seven-thousand U.S. military personnel deployed to support the NATO Response Force. The troops are trained and equipped to reinforce the U.S. European Command on NATO's eastern flank. The deployment is in response to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UPDATED: 3/7/22 12:00 p.m.

The United Nations says more than 406 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion. The UN confirmed over 800 civilians have also been injured. The real numbers are most likely "considerably higher." The numbers include data from February 24th to midnight local time on March 6th in Ukraine.

NATO is considering more permanent troop deployments in Eastern Europe as the Russia-Ukraine war goes on. That's according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Speaking in Lithuania, he told reporters NATO is "continuously reviewing" their defense posture in the Baltic region. He emphasized again that if there was to be aggression on NATO territory from Russia, the allies would take action to defend that territory.

United Airlines is announcing an effort to send financial help to Ukraine. Officials with the Chicago-based air carrier say starting today, Mileage Plus members can donate cash or miles to the American Red Cross, Americares, Amerilink, and World Central Kitchen. United will match the first five million donated miles. Meanwhile, the airline has paused all Russian flights and is not accepting any credit card payments from Russia.

UPDATED: 3/7/22 7:00 a.m.

Nearly two weeks after Russian forces invaded, Ukraine's President is urging his countrymen not to give up. In an impassioned speech late Sunday, President Zelensky said "We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war." He added, "There will be no quiet place on this earth for you. Except for the grave." It comes as the United Nations reports nearly 400 civilians have been killed in the fighting and more than a million and a half Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries. 

President Biden will join other world leaders on a call this morning to discuss the war between Russia and Ukraine. The White House says Biden will speak with the leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Countries including the U.S. and its allies in Europe have slapped sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. It's now the 12th day of fighting.

The Senate Majority Leader is urging President Biden to ensure Ukraine gets extra aircraft. It comes as the country enters day 12 of war with Russia. New York Democrat Chuck Schumer says Ukrainian Air Force pilots know how to operate Soviet-made jets that are owned by neighboring European countries, adding the U.S. can facilitate a transfer. Schumer spoke with Ukraine's President on Saturday before making the demand the next day.

A top British official says it isn't just Russia's President who will be held accountable should it be determined that war crimes took place in Ukraine. British Ambassador to the U.S. Karen Pierce said Russian generals will bear that responsibility as well. She noted the International Criminal Court has opened a probe into possible war crimes. Pierce explained dozens of countries have joined the UK in wanting that investigation. The fighting between Russia and Ukraine is approaching the two week mark.

UPDATED: 3/6/22 6:00 p.m.

Russia appears to be pulling out all the stops on its invasion of Ukraine. A senior U.S. defense official told CNN Sunday that the country has fired 600 missiles on its neighbor, and they've also amassed 95 percent of their combat power inside Ukraine. Despite the show of strength, the Russian assault continues to be slowed by the strong Ukrainian resistance. The military convoy that is north of Kyiv also remains stalled, and there hasn't been an update on how far it is from the city's center.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus is praising the Ukrainian resistance to the ongoing Russian invasion. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, the retired general described the Ukrainian military pushback as "resourceful" and "innovative." Petraeus also said that while the Russian convoy nearing Kyiv is a concern, he believed President Putin's forces would face an immense fight. From cutting rail lines to taking over abandoned equipment, Petraeus pointed out that the Ukrainians have done everything to undermine Putin's efforts to take the city.

Netflix is halting service in Russia. The decision was announced Sunday and Netflix said it was made in light Russia's intensifying invasion of Ukraine. The streaming services had already suspended projects and acquisitions in Russia following the country's invasion of its neighbor. TikTok also announced Sunday it would not allow users in Russia to post on its platform.

UPDATED: 3/6/22 7:00 a.m.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia plans to attack the southern port city of Odessa. Zelensky spoke today in a new video, and said if the Russian attack proceeds it will be "a war crime." Around a million and a half Ukrainian refugees have already fled to neighboring countries in the past ten days.

A UN agency says the Ukrainian refugee crisis is the fastest growing refugee build-up in decades. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that over one-and-a half-million refugees have left Ukraine for neighboring countries over the past ten days. Filippo Grandi made the statement today in a tweet and says it is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.

UPDATED: 3/5/22 11:00 p.m.

The U.S. Government is reportedly quietly making plans for a Ukrainian government-in-exile. The Washington Post reports several officials say U.S. and European officials are looking into several routes of continuing to support a government-in-exile for Ukraine, including guerrilla operations, in the event of a Russian victory. U.S. officials noted weapons given to Ukraine's military from the U.S. would be critical for the success of a potential insurgent movement.

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine sends global energy markets reeling, nearly all U.S. Republican governors are calling to increase American energy production. CBS News reports 25 of nation's 28 GOP governors signed the statement urging "President Biden to reverse his policies and restore America's energy independence." They say with measure like restarting construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline the U.S. "can protect national energy security" and sell to allies "rather than buy from our enemies- specifically Russia."

Ukraine's president is thanking SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for supporting the country with words and deeds. This comes after Musk answered a call to provide Starlink antennas to help those in Ukraine without internet access as Russia invades. President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted expressing his gratitude while announcing the country will receive more antennas next week. However, Musk has warned Ukraine the system has a high likelihood of being targeted by Russian forces. 

UPDATED: 3/5/22 8:00 a.m.

A Ukrainian city is halting evacuations after accusing Russia of breaking a ceasefire. Earlier today, Russia and Ukraine said they had agreed to a temporary ceasefire in two southeastern cities, including the port city of Mariupol, so citizens can evacuate. But city officials say Russian forces continued their shelling in violation of the agreement. The Mariupol city council issued a post on social media calling on all residents to take shelter.

A new report says Russia is expected to deploy up to a thousand more troops in Ukraine in the coming days and weeks. A senior Western intelligence official told CNN that Moscow could "bombard cities into submission." A senior defense official said earlier this week that it appears Russian mercenaries were involved in the Ukraine invasion, but it wasn't clear how many. The official said the new fighters would join Russian units who are struggling with morale issues as the invasion enters its second week.

Former Vice President Mike Pence is calling on fellow Republicans to condemn Vladimir Putin's invasion of the Ukraine. Pence issued the challenge during a fund raising speech in New Orleans last night.  In his remarks, Pence criticized those GOP elected officials who have not yet spoken out publicly against Russia's military attack on its neighbor. Pence also took a shot at the White House claiming that President Biden "squandered the deterrence the Trump administration put in place" to contain Putin.

Elon Musk is calling for an expansion of the U.S. oil and gas development sector.  In a tweet yesterday, Musk said "Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately." The Tesla and SpaceX industrialist also tweeted, "sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil & gas exports."

UPDATED: 3/4/22 11:30 p.m.

The United Nations says over 1.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine. More than half have crossed into Poland since Russia began its invasion February 24th. Others left to neighboring countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.

Russian forces are approaching Ukraine's second-largest nuclear facility. That's according to the U.S. ambassador to the U-N Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Speaking at the U-N, she said they are 20 miles out and closing in but she did not specify the name of the plant. This comes after the Zaporizhzhia powerplant, Europe's largest nuclear plant, was lit on fire during a battle a day ago. Thomas-Greenfield said a disaster was "narrowly avoided" then. Russians have since seized control of the plant. 

Senators are being invited to speak with Ukrainian President Zelensky over Zoom on Saturday. A Senate aide confirmed to The Hill that the meeting would take place in the morning. It would be the first time the full Senate has had the chance to speak with Zelensky since Russia invaded last month. Lawmakers are currently working on passing monetary aid in the billions for the country, with the meeting allowing Zelensky the opportunity to tell Congress directly what the country needs.

UPDATED: 3/4/22 11:30 a.m.

A senior defense official says the U.S. has "no reason to doubt" Russian claims that they have taken over the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. The official believes there's no radioactive leakage at the plant and fires in nearby buildings are no longer burning. The U.S. is reportedly "deeply" concerned about what Russia's intentions are with the plant after taking control. There's no indication of what control looks like of the plant in terms of operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says a third round of talks between his country and Ukraine will happen this weekend. Putin reportedly confirmed the meeting on a phone call with the German Chancellor. A second round of talks resulted in humanitarian corridors for civilians being agreed upon.

The U.S. Secretary of State says Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a threat to principles that have been established since World War Two. Speaking in Brussels, Antony Blinken emphasized the lives of Ukrainians are most at risk, but said the ramifications will be felt around the world. He said if Russian President Vladimir Putin is allowed to continue aggressions "with impunity," then it will "open a Pandora's box of trouble" for the entire world. Blinken added the U.S. remains committed to doing whatever it can to stop the war.

UPDATED: 3/4/22 7:00 a.m.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the reactors in a massive Ukrainian nuclear power plant are being shut down. Granholm offered that assurance Thursday. Russian forces attacked Ukrainian troops at Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, setting part of the plant on fire. After speaking with Ukraine's energy minister, Granholm said there are no sign of elevated radiation readings near the plant. She said the reactors at the power station, "are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down."

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine says attacking a nuclear power plant is a war crime. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Southern Ukraine is under Russian control today after fighting at the site overnight between Russians and Ukrainians. A fire that broke out there sparked fears of a potential nuclear disaster. The embassy tweeted this morning that "Putin's shelling of Europe's largest nuclear plant takes his reign of terror one step further."

U.S. authorities targeting Russian oligarchs are trying to seize a "superyacht" worth about $700 million. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday that her department was holding Russian elites accountable for their support of Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine. The Treasury and State departments released a list of Russia's wealthiest men and the opulent possessions they hope to seize, including a giant yacht owned by billionaire mining magnate Alisher Usmanov. The yacht has two helipads and one of the world's largest indoor swimming pools.

UPDATED: 3/3/22 9:00 p.m.

A nuclear plant attacked by Russian forces is reportedly "secured" and "still has essential functions." That's according to the head of the Zaporizhzia regional state administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency. A spokesperson at the plant also says the fighting around the plant has stopped, and radiation levels near the plant are currently normal. Andrii Tuz told CNN that it's not yet known if the plant suffered any critical damage. The White House says President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke Thursday night about the situation, and Biden joined his Ukrainian counterpart in calling for Russia to allow firefighters and emergency responders into the area.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling for an emergency UN Security Council meeting after Russia attacked a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Johnson says the "reckless actions of President Putin" could now threaten the safety of all Europeans. Johnson said he would raise the issue immediately with Russia and other close partners. It comes after the Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant, the largest one in Europe, caught fire after the attack by Russian forces.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the White House are being notified of reports of shelling at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. In a tweet, the I-A-E-A said it was in contact with local authorities about the station at the Zaporizhzia plant. This comes after the mayor of the nearby town of Energodar posted a Facebook video saying Europe's largest nuclear power plant is on fire. He called for an immediate ceasefire of shelling on the largest nuclear plant in Europe. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister is accusing the Russians of "firing on all sides" of the plant on Twitter.

Ukrainian officials are concerned Russia may bomb its own villages to justify its invasion of Ukraine. In a post on Twitter, Ukraine's Foreign Minister said there are reports that Russians may have pointed rocket-launching systems in a Russian border village "towards their own territory." The Foreign Minister added, "Knowing the barbaric nature of Russian actions, we fear a false flag operation might be prepared in order to accuse Ukraine." Ukraine's Ministry of Security also reported Russian military forces in the country that are now aiming missile launchers at Russian villages.

UPDATED: 3/3/22 5:00 p.m.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is going "according to plan." So said Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming the casualties were the fault of Ukrainian "neo-Nazis." He said Ukraine uses civilians as "human shields." Meanwhile, evidence has suggested the war has been poorly planned and Ukraine says Russia is targeting civilians.

President Biden says sweeping economic sanctions on Russia are having a "profound impact." He suggested the sanctions are unprecedented. Biden opened a Cabinet meeting and announced new sanctions on Russian oligarchs. The President said the American people are united in support of Ukraine as it fights back against Russia's massive invasion. The Biden administration calls the newly-sanctioned individuals "cronies" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House press secretary says there are no plans to arrange a face-to-face summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Jen Psaki told reporters, "Now is not the time" as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. Psaki also expressed skepticism about Ukraine's request to the UN to remove Russia from the Security Council. She said, "We don't see that happening."

 UPDATED: 3/3/22 12:00 p.m.

Ukraine-Russia talks are ending without a ceasefire deal. Negotiators from both sides met again as more explosions go off. A Ukraine presidential advisor said, "Unfortunately, the results Ukraine needs are not yet available." Fighting there hasn't stopped even as a military convoy headed for Kyiv may be stalled for the time being. U.S. officials warn those troops could surround the city by next week and seize it within a month.

Ukraine's President says talks between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin need to happen. President Zelensky said, "It's not about I want to talk with Putin, I think I have to talk with Putin." He added talks between the two leaders is the only way to end the war. Zelensky's remarks come as the first Ukrainian city fell to Russian troops on Wednesday.

Russia's foreign minister says his country isn't thinking of nuclear war. Sergei Lavrov said that while also insisting some world leaders were getting ready to fight a war against Russia. He explained mutual respect must drive talks between Russia and the West. Lavrov also asserted a solution to the war with Ukraine would eventually come. Those remarks were made as a second round of peace talks are taking place on this eighth day of Russia's invasion in Ukraine.

UPDATED: 3/3/22 8:00 a.m.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine enters a second week today marked by what appears to be a significant tactical failure. The main Russian assault force has been stalled for days on a highway north of the capital city, Kyiv and Ukrainian troops are blocking other advances on the outskirts of other cities. The quick victory Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have expected just isn't happening, but more than one-million Ukrainian civilians have now fled the country. A similar number of Ukrainians are now internally displaced.

A bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers is calling on the state to divest from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Twenty-three state senators have sent a letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick asking him to start the process of withdrawing the state from Russian investments. The letter says the Russian invasion on Ukraine is not only a risk to world stability, but could also lead to the loss of state funds invested in the country's equities. The state senators propose requiring all Texas companies to divest their positions in Russia within 90 days.

Over a million people have fled Ukraine to escape the Russian invasion. Ukrainian refugees have been crossing the border into neighboring countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania. Some refugees, particularly Africans, have reported mistreatment in their efforts to escape the fighting and say they've been denied access to trains and borders. The UN calls it the swiftest refugee exodus this century and warns the situation may grow bigger than the one-point-three million refugees who fled the Middle East in 2015.

San Antonio Cheesecake Shop Raises $72K For Ukraine

San Antonio Flag Company Doing Brisk Business In Ukrainian Flags

Bipartisan Group Of Texas Lawmakers Urge Divestment From Russia

UPDATED: 3/2/22 4:00 p.m.

The U.S. Secretary of State is defending the nation's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Antony Blinken insisted the sweeping sanctions on Russia are having a powerful effect on the country's economy. He also announced new sanctions against Russia's defense sector. Blinken accused Putin of using "provocative rhetoric about nuclear weapons" and called it highly irresponsible. He said the use of nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences for the entire world.

President Biden says Russian President Vladimir Putin badly underestimated the West and NATO. Speaking in Wisconsin, Biden said Putin will be held accountable for the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. He argued Putin's actions are making Russia weaker while the West grows stronger. Biden went to Wisconsin to promote his domestic agenda after his State of the Union address. 

Electronic Arts is removing Russian teams from some of its most popular video games. NHL 22, FIFA 22, FIFA Online and FIFA Mobile will all have both Russian national teams and professional clubs removed. EA says it has initiated the process for removal, making the decision in line with those by FIFA, IIHF and UEFA to ban Russian teams from competition. EA joins other companies such as Apple, Facebook and Youtube that have altered or removed services in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UPDATED: 3/2/22 12:00 p.m.

Ukraine's President says almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed during the invasion of his country. He made these comments during a televised address. Zelensky said "this is without counting the losses of the enemy last night" and added to "get what? Get Ukraine? it is impossible." The Ukrainian President urged his citizens to keep fighting. The number of Russian casualties claimed by Zelensky couldn't be immediately verified.

Banning Russian oil imports is not "off the table" for President Biden. Speaking with reporters on the White House Lawn, the President weighed in on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. He stated that his administration was following Russia's actions closely and wouldn't completely discount attacking the country's energy sector. When asked about the safety of Ukraine's President, Biden said it was up to him if he wanted to stay in the country, but the U.S. was doing everything it could to support him.

A Pittsburgh businessman and a priest are waiting in Europe after rescuing three dozen Ukrainian orphans. Allen Sherwood and Father Jason Charron are in the Czech Republic working on extraditing 36 orphans and six adults they helped escape from the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv this week. Sherwood says many of the orphans have people in the U.S. trying to adopt them, but most of the paperwork was left behind as they escaped the city. Father Charron and Sherwood say the children are safe and a fund to help them has been set up.

UPDATED: 3/2/22 6:00 a.m.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia is trying to erase Ukrainian history. Zelensky released a video from Kyiv today calling for more international support, including allowing Ukraine to join the European Union. Yesterday, Russian forces destroyed a landmark in Kyiv where tens of thousands of Jews were killed by Nazi forces During World War Two. In his video, Zelensky says it's "no time to be neutral," and claims Russian forces "have orders to erase our history, erase our country," and "erase us all." 

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is calling on Russians to stage daily protests against the invasion of Ukraine. His spokesperson wrote on Twitter today that Navalny is calling on Russians to "protest against the war" in the main squares of their towns every day at 7 pm and weekends at 2 pm. In a series of tweets, Navalny called on Russians to "not become a nation of frightened silent people" and "cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar." Navalny has been in a Russian jail since he returned to Russia from Germany last year.

OPEC and its oil-producing allies, including Russia, will meet today to determine its supply policy going forward. It comes as crude oil prices are the highest in years, driven by fears that supply could be disrupted by sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Oil industry analysts expect the cartel known as OPEC-Plus to stick to its plan of boosting its crude output quota by 400-thousand barrels per day for April.

UPDATED: 3/1/22 8:00 p.m.

More damage is unfolding on this seventh day of fighting in Ukraine. A Russian missile hit the national police building in the country's second largest city and paratroopers stormed a military hospital. That came after rockets targeted a maternity clinic, a Holocaust memorial site and a TV tower. Russia claims it captured another city as a 40-mile military convoy continues to close in on the capital, with what could reportedly be up to 15-thousand soldiers.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia is trying to erase Ukrainian history. Zelensky released a video from Kyiv today calling for more international support, including allowing Ukraine to join the European Union. Yesterday, Russian forces destroyed a landmark in Kyiv where tens of thousands of Jews were killed by Nazi forces During World War Two. In his video, Zelensky says it's "no time to be neutral," and claims Russian forces "have orders to erase our history, erase our country," and "erase us all." 

OPEC and its oil-producing allies, including Russia, will meet today to determine its supply policy going forward. It comes as crude oil prices are the highest in years, driven by fears that supply could be disrupted by sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Oil industry analysts expect the cartel known as OPEC-Plus to stick to its plan of boosting its crude output quota by 400-thousand barrels per day for April.

UPDATED: 3/1/22 8:00 p.m.

President Biden is going after Russia as the war in Ukraine gets bloodier. During his state of the Union Address, Biden said "when the history of this era is written, Putin's war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger. " He added "While it shouldn't have taken something so terrible for people around the world to see what's at stake, now everyone sees it clearly. " He noted the unity among leaders of nations and a more unified Europe a more unified West.

Officials say at least 677-thousand refugees have fled Ukraine so far. That's the latest number from the United Nations as Russia invades Ukraine. The U-N said the conflict could lead to "Europe's largest refugee crisis this century." Refugees are waiting in lines upwards of 60 hours long to try and flee their now war-torn country.

Ford is pausing operations in Russia. The company announced the move Tuesday, saying it is effective immediately. This impacts the motor company's 50-percent stake in Ford Sollers, which is a partnership with Russian company Sollers. Ford said it is "deeply concerned" about the invasion of Ukraine while noting it has "significantly wound down" operations in Russia in recent years.

Boeing is joining other companies that are cutting their ties to Russia as the country's military invades Ukraine. On Tuesday, Boeing announced it will no longer offer maintenance support for Russian airlines. It will also suspend its operations in Moscow. This comes after the company announced that it paused operations at its Moscow Training Campus on Monday.

UPDATED: 3/1/22 2:00 p.m.

At least five people are dead after military strikes around a TV tower in Kyiv. That's according to Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs. The update follows a graphic video of several casualties in a nearby park. The shelling occurred around 6 p.m., local time. There were also five people reported to be injured.

President Biden and the President of Ukraine are having a conversation on stopping Russian aggression. Ukraine's leader tweeted after his discussion with Biden. He said they talked about American leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and supplying defense assistance to Ukraine. He thanked Biden for his support.

A former Russian foreign minister is calling on Russian diplomats to resign in protest of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Andrei Kozyrev took to Twitter to request that all Russian diplomats walk away from President Putin's influence and not be "cheap propagandists." He went on to say it was "simply impossible to support the bloody fratricidal war in Ukraine." His comments come after dozens of diplomats walked out during a video link address by Russia's current Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Kozyrev served as foreign minister from 1991 to 1996 under President Boris Yeltsin.

Norwegian Cruise Line is changing routes that include stops in St. Petersburg, Russia, due to the conflict between that country and Ukraine. A spokesperson said, "We are currently working to confirm replacement ports and will advise all impacted guests and travel advisors as soon as possible." They also stressed that Norwegian has no vessels in the region until late May.

UPDATED: 3/1/22 12:00 p.m.

President Biden and the President of Ukraine are having a conversation on stopping Russian aggression. Ukraine's leader tweeted after his discussion with Biden. He said they talked about American leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and supplying defense assistance to Ukraine. He thanked Biden for his support.

It's being called Europe's largest refugee crisis of the century.  A UN spokesperson says more than 660-thousand people have fled from Ukraine following Russia's invasion. She said Ukrainian residents have mostly been fleeing to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and other neighboring countries over the past six days.  She noted a sizable number moved into the Russian Federation.

The International Energy Agency says member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves as prices soar. The agency says the aim is to send a message to global oil markets that "there will be no shortfall as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki praised the announcement. She said it's another example of allies around the world "condemning Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and working together to address the impact of President Putin's war of choice."

UPDATED: 3/1/22 6:00 a.m.

Russia is moving deeper into Ukraine on this sixth day of fighting. Another rocket attack went off this morning in the country's second-largest city after a bombing yesterday killed at least nine people, including a family of five. Troops are now said to be on the outskirts of another city and setting up checkpoints. This comes as the Pentagon says Russia still wants to capture the capital. New satellite images show a military convoy closing in.

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers are dead in an attack on a military base in eastern Ukraine and a 40-mile long Russian military convoy is said to be bearing down on the capital, Kyiv. More than 70 soldiers were killed in a missile strike on a base near Kharkiv. Russian forces are stepping up shelling and missile strikes on Ukraine's urban areas as an armed convoy from the north has more than doubled in size since the weekend. The head of the convoy is reported is reported to be less than 20 miles from the center of Ukraine's capital.

The online group of global hackers known as Anonymous is launching what it calls a cyber war against Russia and President Vladimir Putin. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week, a Twitter post from an account named Anonymous summoned hackers around the world to target Russia. The Anonymous account has claimed responsibility for disabling websites belong to Russian oil giant Gazprom and the state-controlled news agency RT. Anonymous also claims it's crippled a number of Russian and Belarusian government websites, including the Kremlin's official site.

A Ukrainian Territorial Defence fighter examines a destroyed Russian infantry mobility vehicle GAZ Tigr after the fight in Kharkiv on February 27, 2022.Photo: Getty Images

UPDATED: 2/28/22 8:00 p.m.

At least 406 Ukrainian civilians are dead as Russia invades the country. That's the latest number according to United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. Speaking to the UN Security Council on Monday, Griffiths said "the picture is grim." He noted the casualties could be "considerably higher' as many deaths have yet to be confirmed.

A U.S. defense official says Russian forces moved around three miles closer to the city center of Kyiv since yesterday. The official said Russian forces are now roughly 15 miles outside of Ukraine's capital city. He added the advance on Kyiv seems to be the main effort of Russia and they will try to encircle the city in the next few days. The U.S. hasn't seen "anything specific" since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he ordered his country's nuclear deterrent forces on high alert.

President Biden is committed to keeping U.S. troops out of the conflict with Russia in Ukraine. That's according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. She said a no-fly zone would need troops to implement it. She said the move would require deploying American troops which would mean the potential for a direct conflict and potentially a war with Russia. This comes as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a "complete closure of the sky."

UPDATED: 2/28/22 1:30 p.m.

The White House says President Biden took part in a nearly 90-minute call with allies today. A readout of the secure call will be released by the White House later this afternoon. Those on the call included the leaders of NATO, the European Union, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.

Twitter is making some changes as tech companies are under mounting pressure to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Twitter announced it will now label all content containing links to Russian state media, warning viewers. The social media platform says they'll also use algorithms to demote that sort of content. Reports show over the past week users have shared more than 45-thousand tweets per day containing media from Russian outlets. The move comes following calls from government leaders asking tech giants to crack down on pro-Russian propaganda.

Shell is exiting partnerships with a Russian energy giant and ending involvement in the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. The oil company said in a statement it intends to release its stake in different Russian companies. Shell said they "are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine." At the end of last year, the company had around three-billion-dollars in non-current assets in these companies in Russia.

UPDATED: 2/28/22 11:15 a.m.

Russia is promising retaliation against the nations that are backing Ukraine and some predict that'll take the form of disrupting gas supplies to Europe. Rice University energy expert Gabe Collins says that would have global effects. Russia exports around five-million barrels of crude oil per day. He says there's no way to replace that quickly if the taps get shut off. Discussions have already begun where the U.S. is persuading liquefied natural gas suppliers to redirect cargoes to Europe.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine have reportedly ended in Belarus. The two parties have returned to their respective capitals. An adviser to the Ukrainian President said the main goal of the initial talks was to discuss a ceasefire and end the combat actions of Russia on the territory of Ukraine. This comes as three large explosions were heard in Kyiv shortly after talks between the two sides ended.

The White House press secretary is defending international economic sanctions against Russia. Jen Psaki said the sanctions are the most significant in history and noted more are being planned. She also called the sanctions "crippling." Psaki called for a decrease in rhetoric from Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged him to move toward de-escalation. She accused Putin of using blustery rhetoric to justify his actions. Psaki also said establishing and enforcing "no fly zones" is not a good idea because mishaps could prompt a direct military conflict between the U.S. and Russia. 

UPDATED: 2/28/22 8:30 a.m.

The State Department is authorizing U.S. diplomats at its Russian embassy to leave if they choose to do so. That announcement was made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It was also revealed the U.S. is suspending operations at the embassy in Belarus.

Belarus is opening the door for nuclear weapons on its soil. The Russian ally and supporter of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine has voted to change its constitution to allow nukes for the first time since giving them up after the fall of the Soviet Union. The changes to the constitution gives expanded powers and lifetime immunity to its President.

More than 500,000 refugees have fled Ukraine as the Russian invasion carries on. The UN Refugee Agency announced the numbers today and said they're working with local authorities "to provide humanitarian aid and support those in need." Many refugees have been fleeing to Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. The EU Home Affairs Commissioner said the European Union has shown "unity and firm action" in ways "never seen before."

UPDATED: 2/28/22 5:30 a.m.

Ukraine is demanding a ceasefire on this fifth day of fighting a Russian attack. Officials from both countries are meeting at this hour in an attempt for peace talks. Ukraine's president says the number one demand is for troops to withdraw immediately as they're moving deeper into the country. He gave a video update this morning calling for the European Union to urgently let them join, saying support from several of his counterparts is unconditional.

The United Nations General Assembly will hold a rare emergency session today over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The body is expected to vote on a resolution condemning Russia's actions. While Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly. It's the 11th time a special session like this has been called since 1950.

Russia is feeling the impact of international sanctions as it invades Ukraine. The country's central bank more than doubled its key interest rate to 20-percent today. That came after Russia's currency crashed to a record low, losing more than 30-percent of its value. The bank urged calm over the weekend as people rushed to withdraw money. It also ordered the Moscow stock exchange to remain closed all day.

The International Judo Federation is suspending Russian President Vladimir Putin as the organization's honorary president. The group announced the suspension on Sunday, amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The federation cited "the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine" as its reason. Putin is a black belt in judo. He's also a fan of ice hockey and that sport took a hit as well. Latvian club Dinamo Riga pulled out Sunday from the Russian-owned and run Kontinental Hockey League over what it called the "military and humanitarian crisis."

A boycott of Russia is growing five days after troops invaded Ukraine. In Texas, the governor is asking businesses to remove Russian products. A top lawmaker in Virginia is doing the same. Other states are banning sales of alcohol made in Russia such as New Hampshire and Ohio, while an Arkansas senator tweeted "Dump all the Russian vodka" and "send the empty bottles to Ukraine to use for Molotov cocktails."

A Ukrainian Territorial Defence fighter takes the automatic grenade launcher from a destroyed Russian infantry mobility vehicle GAZ Tigr after the fight in Kharkiv on February 27, 2022. Photo: Getty Images

UPDATED: 2/27/22 6:30 p.m.

4,000 U.S. Army troops deployed in Europe are having their tour of duty extended. While the amount of exact time is unknown, it is expected to be for several weeks. This is part of America's effort to reassure eastern European allies during the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. An Army spokesman said the troops will only be there for as long as they are needed. Additional support troops will also see their tours extended as well.

The EU is set to finance a large amount of "lethal assistance" to aid Ukraine as it attempts to fight of a Russian invasion. The EU's foreign policy chief said lethal arms and lethal assistance will be given to the Ukrainian army at a value of 450-million-euros. An additional 50-million-more will be sent for non-lethal supplies. This is the first time the EU has helped pay for the purchase and delivery of weapons for country under attack.

UPDATED: 2/27/22 5:00 p.m.

Ukraine's president doesn't expect much from upcoming talks with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he doesn't "believe in the result of this meeting, but let them try." He went on to say he's going forward with the meeting so no Ukrainian citizen can say he "did not try to stop the war when there was even a small chance." A group of Ukrainian officials are set to meet with Russian delegates at the Belarus border for talks aimed at ending the military conflict.

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN says extraordinary actions must be taken as tensions rise in Ukraine over Russia's invasion. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country's nuclear department on high alert even though he's invading a country with no nuclear weapons.  Greenfield said it will take courage from fellow UN members but Russia must be held accountable for its actions. She added Ukraine's will to fight and willingness to still find diplomacy should be applauded. The UN Security Council voted Sunday to call for a special emergency meeting that will happen on Monday.

The country of Kosovo is asking for a permanent military base to speed up integration into NATO. This comes as war wages in Ukraine after Russia's invasion. Kosovo's Defense Minister said accelerating his countries membership in NATO would "guarantee peace, security and stability in the Western Balkans." The minister noted Kosovo 's independence is recognized by mainly Western nations, but not by Russia.

he World Health Organization is issuing a dire warning on the situation in Ukraine. The WHO says the country could run out of oxygen supplies in 24 hours. They say trucks aren't able to transport oxygen supplies from plants to hospitals in the war-torn country. It added critical hospital services also face the threat from electricity and power shortages as the Ukrainians continue to fight the invading Russians. They are calling for the establishment of a safe transit corridor to increase oxygen supplies to Ukraine through neighboring Poland.

Facebook is taking steps to block Ukrainians from seeing Russian state-backed media in their feeds. The VP of Global Affairs for Meta, Facebook's parent company, tweeted the Ukrainian government made the request and they have been working to restrict access. Nick Clegg added the company is reviewing requests from other governments regarded Russian media as well. The company has also prohibited ads from Russian state media and are demonetizing their accounts.

UPDATED: 2/27/22 1:15 p.m.

Ukraine's Ministry of Interior says 352 civilians have been killed during Russia's invasion. According to the ministry, at least 14 of the deceased are children. Almost 17-hundred people have been reported injured with 116 of those being children.

President Biden is receiving updates on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A White House official confirmed that Biden is getting regular updates on the evolving situation. According to that same official, Biden is speaking with his national security team regularly.

The United Kingdom is considering a restriction of Russian ships from using British ports. This comes as a Russian-owned oil tanker is due to dock in the country later this week. One Scottish official said the UK has already closed their airspace to Russian airlines and "our waters should be closed to Russian state-owned shipping too."  That official said "no loopholes left available to be exploited by Russian state interests."

UPDATED: 2/27/22 8:15 a.m.

Russian media is reporting President Vladimir Putin is placing the country's nuclear defense forces on higher alert. In a televised speech Sunday, Putin cited "aggressive" statements from leaders of NATO countries as the reason. The Russian leader also reportedly told his defense minister and military chief that sanctions from the West are illegitimate.

The Ukrainian Parliament is saying the country's second largest city is still under Ukrainian control. Russian forces entered Kharkiv Sunday morning. The Ukrainian forces commander in the city claimed dozens of Russian troops have surrendered. A Ukrainian Presidential Advisor said in a briefing, "The enemy is disorganized and now only a small part of its forces is engaged in tries to conduct reconnaissance." Kharkiv is located about 20 miles from the Russian border.

The German Chancellor is announcing his country will commit 112-billion dollars to a special armed forces fund. Olaf Scholz said it's clear Germany needs "to invest significantly more in the security of our country, in order to protect our freedom and our democracy." The move will increase Germany's defense spending above two-percent of its GDP. On Saturday, the German government said it will be sending weapons and supplies directly to Ukraine to help it fight Russian troops.

People protest against Russias invasion of Ukraine during a rally across the White House, in Washington, DC on February 27, 2022.Photo: Getty Images

UPDATED: 2/27/22 6:50 a.m.

The civilian death toll in Russia's invasion of Ukraine now sits at 64. The report from the U.N.'s Office of Humanitarian Affairs in Switzerland says as of Saturday evening the death toll was 64 Ukrainian civilians. Another hundred-76 Ukrainian civilians are reported injured. The report also says total civilian casualties, both injuries and deaths could be higher. The conflict has displaced tens of thousands of people with over a hundred thousand Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in neighboring Poland and Romania. 

Hundreds of people are under arrest in Russia for protesting the invasion of Ukraine. The Hill cites a tweet Saturday by Russian protest monitor OVD-Info that says more than three-thousand protesters have been arrested around the country since the invasion started in earnest this past Wednesday. Russian government officials say the rioters and all who resist law enforcement officers "may face imprisonment."

Big tech's social media giants are now restricting advertising from Russia. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are acting to curtail Russian advertising on their respective platforms following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Facebook cut off ads from official Russian state sources anywhere in the world. YouTube isn't allowing Russian official media sources such as RT to advertise anywhere in Ukraine and has demonetized such sources. Twitter is doing away with all advertising going into Ukraine and Russia. In a statement yesterday, Google officials said the search giant is demonetizing Russian state funded media.

Delta Airlines is pulling the plug on its partnership with Russia's Aeroflot Airline. The arrangement had allowed customers to book flights on either carrier to complete their travel plans. In announcing the suspension, Atlanta-based Delta noted it doesn't fly to Ukraine or Russia. Britain has already banned Aeroflot from flying into the United Kingdom.

UPDATED: 2/27/22 1:30 a.m.

Ukrainians are being called on to take up arms and defend their country against Russia and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is one of those who has answered the call. He's seen in a video that's gone viral calling out Russia's leader as he carries a rifle on the streets of the capital. Ukraine's current President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the "future of European security" is being decided right now in Ukraine.

Former President Trump is praising Ukraine's president as the country deals with a Russian invasion. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, Trump called Ukrainian President Zelenskyy a "brave man." Trump said the invasion is "appalling" adding it's "an atrocity that should never have been allowed to occur." He also noted that he is the "only president of the 21st century" who didn't have an Russian invasion on their watch. During George W Bush's administration, Russia President Putin invaded Georgia, and in Barack Obama's administration Russia annexed Crimea.

The world is coming together to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. From Berlin to Buenos Aires, Moscow to Minneapolis, folks across the globe are holding rallies, vigils and prayer meetings in support of Ukraine. Many of those attending have personal ties to the former Soviet Union country, and are urging world leaders to stop Russia's attack.

Russia Starts Large-Scale Attack On Ukraine

A Ukrainian police officer stands in front of a damaged residential block hit by an early morning missile strike on February 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

UPDATED: 2/26/22 8:30 p.m.

A Republican senator is speaking out against President Biden possibly releasing more barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. James Lankford of Oklahoma says it won't do much, and that Russian oil and gas needs to be replaced around the world. President Biden said recently that the U.S. will release additional barrels of oil "as conditions warrant." The price of gas has been rising because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. AAA says the average price of gas around the country is just short of three-60 a gallon.

One of Florida's U.S. senators says the Senate should come back and be all in on helping Ukraine. Republican Rick Scott said the U.S. needs to give the Ukrainian military everything it needs to defend its homeland. He compared it to the aid America gives to Israel. Scott explained the Senate should also focus on isolating Russian President Vladimir Putin. Scott asked the question of what would stop Putin from going into other countries like Poland if he takes Ukraine.

UPDATED: 2/26/22 4:50 p.m.

Russia's attack on its sovereign neighbor continues today with reports of skirmishes breaking out in the capital city, Kyiv. Ukrainians are being called on to take up arms and defend their country against Russia and one of their former presidents is even answering that call. Petro Poroshenko can be seen in a video that's gone viral calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin while carrying a rifle on the streets of the capital. The U.S. earlier today authorized another 350 million dollars in military assistance for Ukraine.

The U.S. and its allies are cutting Russia out of the SWIFT banking system. That's according to a statement from the White House. The countries claim the move will ensure Russian banks are disconnected from the international financial system. That's in addition to their ability to operate globally being harmed.

A former U.S. Ambassador to NATO says the U.S. and its allies must provide supplies to Ukraine as it fights against a Russian invasion. Kurt Volker said he was heartbroken to see the effects of the attacks Russia has launched. He praised the people of Ukraine and noted they're ready to fight back. Volker said Russia's invasion wouldn't be happening if Ukraine was a part of NATO. Because of that, Volker believes the international body must move right away on Ukraine's admittance to NATO once the fighting is over.

The owner of one of Europe's most well-known soccer teams is giving up control as the Russia-Ukraine conflict goes on. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich announced the move which he said would put the team in the care of its charitable Foundation trustees. Abramovich is a Russian businessman and the move comes after pressure from British lawmakers. 

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