Russian forces close in on Ukraine’s capital as death toll mounts

Transgender woman says transphobia and discriminatory laws keeping her hostage in Kyiv

Zi Faámelu was born and raised in Crimea, an area of Ukraine that was invaded and taken over by Russia in 2014. Now the 31-year-old lives in Kyiv, the capital city that has been under Russian siege for nearly a week. She is running out of food and hasn’t left her house for days as gunfire erupts outside.

And she says she can’t leave. 

Faámelu, who is transgender, said that transphobia is pervasive in the city and neighboring countries, and fears that if she leaves, the tension of the ongoing conflict will make her more susceptible to violence. Faámelu was previously a popular contestant on the Ukrainian singing competition show “Star Factory.”   

“Sometimes we think it’s just all a dream, that we’re stuck inside some kind of a video game. Because you just live in a quiet society, and then you hear bombings and you wake up to the sound of bombings,” she said. “…A few hours ago I heard bombings and my windows were shaking. … I’m literally scared for my life.” 

By Li Cohen

U.S. nuclear posture has not changed in response to Putin’s announcement

The head of U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, said Tuesday he’s satisfied with the current U.S. posture and has recommended no changes.

Navy Admiral Charles Richard, commander of Strategic Command, was asked during a House subcommittee hearing what steps he was taking in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Sunday that he was putting nuclear forces on heightened alert. Richard said he stayed in Omaha, Nebraska, the home of Strategic Command, in order to assess the announcement.

“Part of why I’m in Omaha is a part of our ability to assess and be satisfied in terms of our defensive posture,” Richard said. “I am satisfied with the posture of my forces. I have made no recommendations to make any changes.”

By Eleanor Watson

Biden says he’s determined to see all allies on the same page on sanctions

President Biden on Tuesday, in an otherwise off-the-record session with journalists, said his goal is for all of the United States’ allies to be on board with sanctions against Russia.

“My determination is to see that the EU, NATO, all of our allies are on the same exact page on sanctions against the Russian invasion,” the president said. “The one thing that gives us power is to impose consequences.”

By Kathryn Watson

More on how long Ukraine may withstand Russian assault

A U.S. official tells CBS News that a tactical seizure of Ukraine is possible within the next 4-6 weeks, based on the assessments of what is currently taking place on the ground with the Russian military. 

As David Martin has reported, it is expected to take one week before Kyiv is surrounded, and another 30 days could elapse before Ukraine’s capital is seized. This U.S. official says it is not clear whether Russia would gradually strangle the city or engage in street-to-street fighting. These scenarios were laid out for members of Congress Monday as the initial battle to destroy the Ukrainian military and government. It is also not clear whether Russia would then decide to go west toward Lviv or as far west as the Polish border.

The situation is dynamic, so this remains an estimate on what is militarily possible. This U.S. official also could not say when the sanctions that have been rolled out so far will have a practical impact on the Russian military. The low morale and shortages of food and fuel are not a result of the sanctions now in place. At some point, however, the Russian military will be impacted by the sanctions.

Given the durability of the Ukrainian resistance and its long history of pushing Russia back, the U.S. and Western powers do not believe that this will be a short war. The U.K. foreign secretary estimated it would be a 10-year war. Lawmakers at the Capitol were told Monday it is likely to last 10, 15 or 20 years — and that ultimately, Russia will lose.

By Margaret Brennan

Ukrainian ambassador to U.S. attending State of the Union address

The Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, will attend the State of the Union address Tuesday night as a guest of first lady Jill Biden, according to the White House. The ambassador will sit in the first lady’s box.

By Bo Erickson

Russian troops have been running out of food and fuel, U.S. senior defense official says

The Russian advance on Kyiv has slowed in the past few days because of logistical and sustainment problems, including running out of food for troops, according to a senior defense official.

“We are also picking up signs that they’re having problems feeding their troops, that they’re- not only are they running out of gas, but they are running out of food,” the official said Tuesday.

The Russian advance on Ukraine’s capital has made no appreciable movement since Monday, according to the official, and the main advance forces are still about 25 kilometers (15 miles) out from the city center.

Russian troops have faced stiff resistance from the Ukrainians. The Russians’ slow progress could also be deliberate to give them time to reassess how to gain momentum, the official said.

“One reason why things appear to be stalled north of Kyiv is that the Russians themselves are regrouping and rethinking and trying to adjust to the challenges that they’ve had to date,” the official said.

There are indications that morale among the Russian troops is flagging, and several units have surrendered, some without even putting up a fight. According to the official, some of the soldiers are conscripts who have never been in combat before and who might not even have been told they were going to participate in combat.

By Eleanor Watson

Towering home to Russian diplomats in N.Y. has long been an enigma

Mystery and intrigue have always surrounded the Russian Diplomatic Compound in New York. Tall steel fencing and cameras, too.

The 20-story white building is unmissable. It towers over the tree-lined Henry Hudson Parkway and is far taller than any nearby structure in the Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood. It is home to the families of diplomats serving in the Russian Mission to the United Nations – and maybe also a few spies.

By Graham Kates

Pelosi says Congress may add Ukraine aid to spending bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday it’s possible Congress will include additional aid for Ukraine in the omnibus spending bill Congress is currently negotiating.

Pelosi said there are a “couple of different opportunities” for approving more aid, including through the spending bill. The current short-term spending bill expires after March 11.

It’s unclear exactly how much aid would be included.

-Ellis Kim, Kathryn Watson

U.S. official says Russia could isolate Kyiv in a week, take it within 30 days after that

The current U.S. assessment is that Russian forces could isolate Kyiv in a week and take the city within 30 days after that, according to a U.S. official.

The assessment is that the Russians are worried about the Ukrainian resistance to the north in Chernihiv and that if Russian forces continue to move west toward Kyiv, it will be exposed to attacks in the rear from the Ukrainian forces fighting at Chernihiv.

The Russian advance in the south is not proceeding as rapidly as planned but is making steady progress, the official said. The aim appears to be to link up forces coming from the south with forces coming down from Kharkiv, consolidate their positions in the east and then move west, but not all the way to the Polish border, leaving Lviv as the capital.

By David Martin

Biden and Zelensky speak by phone

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke by phone for just over 30 minutes Tuesday, a White House official said.

Zelensky said on Twitter he and Mr. Biden discussed sanctions imposed on Russia and military assistance to Ukraine.

“We must stop the aggressor as soon as possible,” Zelensky tweeted. “Thank you for your support!”

Ukraine’s president spoke earlier Tuesday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about Russian troops’ shelling of residential neighborhoods in Ukraine. Zelensky said he “emphasized the need to close the sky” over Ukraine, an apparent reference to a request for a no-fly zone over the country.

“The work on Ukraine’s accession to the #EU needs to be accelerated,” he said in a tweet about the call.

Asked Monday about Zelensky’s calls for NATO and the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said doing so would essentially be a “step toward” sending U.S. troops to fight against Russia, which Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he will not do.

“A no-fly zone would require implementation. It would require deploying U.S. military to enforce, which would be a direct conflict- potentially a direct conflict and potentially war with Russia, which is something we are not planning to be a part of,” she told reporters.

By Melissa Quinn

Russia banned from international ice skating events

The International Skating Union (ISU) announced it is barring all Russian ice skaters from participating in international skating competitions.

The ISU said in a statement that no skaters from Russia and Belarus “shall be invited or allowed to participate in International ice skating Competitions including ISU Championships and other ISU Events.” Belarus is a close ally of Russia.

By Christopher Brito

Ukraine says 5 killed in Russian attack on Kyiv TV tower

Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations said Russian strikes on the Kyiv TV tower killed five people and left five more wounded.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko shared a video of the tower being hit. Klitschko said an electrical substation powering the tower and a control room on the tower were damaged as a result.

The tower is located near Ukraine’s main Holocaust memorial, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak, said on Facebook that a “powerful missile attack on the territory where the (Babi) Yar memorial complex is located” is underway.

Babi Yar, a ravine in Kyiv, is where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed within 48 hours in 1941 when the city was under Nazi occupation. The killing was carried out by SS troops along with local collaborators.


U.N. seeks billions in humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians in their “darkest hour”

The United Nations and humanitarian agencies have launched an emergency appeal to raise $1.7 billion, citing a “steep rise in humanitarian needs as essential supplies and services are disrupted and civilians flee the fighting.” The U.N. estimates that 12 million Ukranians need protection and relief. 

“Families with small children are hunkered down in basements and subway stations or running for their lives to the terrifying sound of explosions and wailing sirens,” U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said Tuesday as the U.N. agencies launched the appeal for nations to contribute funds. “Casualty numbers are rising fast.”

“This is the darkest hour for the people of Ukraine,” he said. “We need to ramp up our response now to protect the lives and dignity of ordinary Ukrainians. We must respond with compassion and solidarity.”

At least 677,000 people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began, and many more are expected to leave.

The World Food Program launched an emergency operation in the country “to provide urgent food assistance for 3.1 million people fleeing the conflict,” said David Beasley, the program’s executive director. 

By Pamela Falk

Ukraine’s parliament says Russia fired at Kyiv TV tower

Ukraine’s parliament said Russian forces fired at the TV tower in Kyiv on Tuesday.

The parliament posted a photo of clouds of smoke around the tower.

Local media reported that there were several explosions and that Ukrainian TV channels stopped broadcasting shortly afterward.


At least 677,000 Ukrainians have fled their country

At least 677,000 Ukrainians have fled their country as of Tuesday, the sixth day of Russia’s invasion, according to UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency.

It’s an exodus that shows no signs of slowing, and appears set to become the largest refugee crisis in Europe this century, UNHCR says.

At Ukraine’s border with Poland, refugees line up for more than 20 miles in freezing temperatures, yearning for safety, Chris Livesay reports for “CBS Mornings.”

Visa, Mastercard block services to sanctioned Russian banks

Visa and Mastercard said they are blocking services to Russian banks, complying with U.S. sanctions levied on the nation amid its war against Ukraine.

The crippling sanctions are designed to block Russia from tapping the global financial system, ranging from freezing assets at major Russian banks — including the state-owned VTB, and prohibiting U.S. citizens from participating in any transactions with Russia’s Central Bank, its National Wealth Fund or the Russia Ministry of Finance.

By Aimee Picchi

Putin stripped of taekwondo black belt over Ukraine invasion

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn strong condemnation around the world, from officials to corporations and the small communities in between. On Monday, World Taekwondo voiced its own opposition — and stripped Putin of his black belt.

World Taekwondo, the international governing body of the sport, said that Russia’s attack on Ukraine goes against the group’s vision of “Peace is more precious than triumph,” as well as the values of respect and tolerance.

By Li Cohen

Wide support for Russia sanctions – CBS News poll

U.S. actions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — including sanctions and protecting NATO allies nearby — find wide, bipartisan support from Americans.

But Americans also voice concern about the conflict widening further. And so those who plan to watch President Biden’s State of the Union address say the war — even more so than the economy, inflation, and the pandemic — is the top thing they want to hear about Tuesday night.

-Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Kabir Khanna and Fred Backus

China’s top diplomat calls Ukraine counterpart and says Beijing “deeply regrets” Russia conflict

China’s foreign minister spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart on Tuesday and called for a resolution to the crisis through negotiation, Chinese state media said, as Beijing treads a difficult diplomatic line on the invasion by its close ally Moscow.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Dmytro Kuleba that Beijing “deeply regrets that conflict has broken out between Ukraine and Russia, and is paying extreme attention to the harm suffered by civilians”, state broadcaster CCTV reported, adding that Wang called for the two countries to “find a way to resolve the issue through negotiations.”

China has come under mounting pressure from Western nations as it is the only United Nations Security Council member other than Russia that declined to vote in favor of a resolution condemning Russia’s assault on Ukraine. Russia used its power as one of five permanent members of the Council to veto the resolution last week, while China abstained.

China and Russia have deepened their ties in recent years as both nations have become more estranged from the West, and more at odds with the U.S.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during their meeting in Beijing, China, February 4, 2022.
Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP

President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing in early February to attend the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, but he met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, during the stop, as he massed his forces around Ukraine’s borders and insisted he had no intention of invading.


Europeans drive hours to offer Ukrainian refugees a ride and some help in Poland

At a receiving station for refugees in a grocery store parking lot in Przemysl, a Polish town very close to Ukraine’s western border, people from all over Poland and Europe have lined up along the bus route to offer rides and housing to those fleeing Russia’s attack.

A person fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine holds a teddy bear at a temporary camp in Przemysl, Poland, March 1, 2022.

Many of the volunteers hold signs saying “Germany,” and CBS News spoke with several Germans who had driven all night to come to help strangers fleeing the war.

One German man said he felt he had to come help, as those in need were his “neighbors.”

We met another couple from the south of Germany, near the border with France, who were loading up a van to drive refugees to Strasbourg. 

Ukrainian refugees prepare to board a van driven by a German couple who spent hours getting to Przemysl, a Polish town near Ukraine’s border, to offer a ride and help to people fleeing Russia’s attack on Ukraine, March 1, 2022.
CBS/Christina Ruffini

Sitting in one of the van’s seats was a woman who looked to be in her 80s, who started sobbing when we spoke to her.

She was traveling with the family of her son-in-law, who told CBS News they had managed to get on a train out of Kyiv. The man, an Egyptian national, said Ukrainian authorities tried to separate him from his family, as they were evacuating women and children first, but he refused and they managed to stay together.

They had no plan and nowhere to sleep, but he said from the moment they reached Poland, everything was taken care of. Now they’re going to Germany to see what happens next.

Through sobs, the woman in the van mentioned a grandchild she’d had to leave behind, but she was desperate to thank everyone in Poland for their help. 

By Christina Ruffini

Kyiv residents build makeshift barricades and wait for Russian troops, “not with flowers, but with Molotov cocktails”

A number of makeshift barricades have been installed around Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv by groups of neighborhood volunteers in preparation for a possible siege by Russian forces. Satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies show what is said to be a 40-mile-long convoy of Russian military troops and machinery moving toward Kyiv, but still 15-20 miles from the center of the capital.

Made of wood, tires and machine parts, the hope is that the barricades will make it harder for Russian troops to move around the city. In one instance, an abandoned city bus was parked across a road to block incoming Russian vehicles.

“This little, crazy guy [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is shooting at residential districts in Kyiv, in Kharkiv… You can see how many casualties there are. We cannot let him go anymore,” Zhanna, a volunteer working on one of the barricades, told CBS News.

A woman walks past a street barricade as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 28, 2022.
Jedrzej Nowicki/Agencja via REUTERS

“What you see here is an attempt by local people to organize themselves and not allow this scum to be on our land… There is no place for defeat. We have no place to run away, and we don’t plan to live out of Kyiv or our country. We try to be scary, so we are waiting for them. And we wait for them not with flowers, but with Molotov cocktails,” she said.

By Haley Ott

Ukraine’s Zelensky asks EU to “prove you are with us”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an impassioned video address to the European Parliament on Tuesday, asking for Ukraine to be treated as an equal member of Europe.

“We are fighting for our rights, for our freedoms, for life. And now we are fighting for survival. This is the highest of our motivation, but we are fighting also to be equal members of Europe,” Zelensky said. “We have proven our strength. We have proven that, at a minimum, we are exactly the same as you are, so do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you indeed are Europeans. And then, life will win over death, and light will win over darkness.”

Rescuers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher outside the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.

Zelensky said Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, had suffered two large missile attacks on Tuesday, including one that hit its central Freedom Square.

“This morning was a very tragic one for us… two cruise missiles hit Kharkiv,” he said, referring to a Russian attack on the country’s second most populous city. Kharkiv, only about 25 miles from the Russian border, has been hammered by Russian artillery for at least a day. Emergency services said at least 10 people were killed in the city on Tuesday and many more injured.

“This is the largest square in Europe, called Freedom Square,” Zelensky said. “Can you imagine? This morning, two missiles hit this Freedom square. Dozens killed. This is the price of freedom.”

Charles Michel, president of the EU’s governing political council, said European Union institutions and governments would have to look seriously at Ukraine’s “symbolic, political, and legitimate” request for membership in the bloc, though he said there was no unity on the issue.

“It is going to be difficult,” Michel said. “We know there are different views in Europe.” 

By Haley Ott

Ukrainian mom recounts “horror” of frantic escape from Kyiv after reaching safety in Florida

“It’s like horror. I never imagine I have five minutes – I must take all my cases and run, run from Kyiv,” Victoria Hurtova, who left Kyiv with her 9-month old baby, told CBS Miami this week about her harrowing escape from Ukraine.

Now safe in Florida, Hurtova said she and her husband Dennis decided to make a run for it with his 9-year-old twins, Matthew and Mark, and baby Anna after their home in Ukraine’s capital was hit by shelling.

“It’s really biggest joy that can happen,” Tania Adolf, Victoria’s mother, told CBS Miami.

The young family’s last days in Ukraine were tense, and she documented their escape on her iPhone.

Watch CBS Miami’s full report in the player below.

U.K. says it’s first nation to ban “ALL ships with ANY Russian connection whatsoever” from ports

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Tuesday that he United Kingdom had “just become the first nation to pass a law involving a total BAN of ALL ships with ANY Russian connection whatsoever from entering British ports.”

The U.K. government has been proactive for weeks in sanctioning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, joining the U.S. and European Union nations in blocking access by a number of Russian banks to the international SWIFT transfer system, and cracking down on the U.K. assets of Russian oligarchs.

In his tweet on Tuesday, Shapps urged “all countries to do the same in support of the people of Ukraine.”

Speaking later on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British ports ban on all vessels linked to Russia would take effect within hours.  

By Tucker Reals

U.N. says “about 1 million” displaced from homes inside Ukraine by Russian invasion

The United Nation’s refugee agency said on Tuesday an estimated one million people had been displaced inside Ukraine by the Russian invasion, in addition to hundreds of thousands who have fled abroad.

“We still don’t have reliable figures regarding the number of people displaced inside Ukraine but we estimate that it has to be about one million people who have fled internally or who are currently on a train, a bus or in a car trying to get to a safety,” Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR representative to Ukraine, told a press conference in Stockholm.


Ukrainian envoy says Russia has used cluster and vacuum bombs

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, along with rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused Russia of using cluster bombs and vacuum bombs in its attack on Ukraine. 

Both types of weapons are widely condemned by international organizations, and a number of countries — though not Russia or the U.S. — have signed a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. Thermobaric or vacuum bombs are prohibited by the Geneva Convention, of which Russia is a signatory. 

Cluster bombs explode and release smaller bombs or bomblets that can wreak havoc if used in areas with civilians present. Vacuum bombs suck in oxygen to create a high-temperature explosion with a larger shockwave than traditional bombs and are capable of vaporizing human bodies.

“They used a vacuum bomb today,” Ambassador Oksana Markarova said Monday. Videos posted online show a purported detonation of one of the weapons, but U.S. officials have not confirmed their use in Ukraine yet and CBS News cannot independently verify the claims.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said if the reports “were true, it would potentially be a war crime.”

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted on Tuesday that “the Russian troops don’t conduct any strikes against civilian infrastructure and residential areas,” and he rejected the accusations of cluster or vacuum munitions as fabrications.

CBS News has witnessed first hand significant damage to civilian housing and other non-military infrastructure from Russia’s artillery barrage in major Ukrainian cities.

By Haley Ott

Port city of Mariupol loses power after Russian assaults

The key southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea lost power due to attacks from advancing Russian forces, the head of the region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said Tuesday.

“Mariupol and Volnovakha are ours!” Kyrylenko wrote on Facebook. “The two cities are under pressure from the enemy but they are holding on. In Mariupol, electricity lines have been cut and the city is without power.”

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said Tuesday his city was constantly being shelled, leaving civilians dead and damaging infrastructure, according to the Reuters news agency.

“We have had residential quarters shelled for five days. They are pounding us with artillery, they are shelling us with GRADS, they are hitting us with air forces,” Boichenko said. “We have civilian infrastructure damaged – schools, houses. There are many injured. There are women, children killed.


Central square of Ukraine’s second-largest city shelled, governor says

The central square of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, was shelled by advancing Russian forces Tuesday, hitting the building of the local administration, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said.

“This morning the central square of our city and the headquarters of the Kharkiv administration was criminally attacked,” Sinegubov said in a video on Telegram. “Russian occupiers continue to use heavy weaponry against the civilian population,” he said, adding that the number of victims wasn’t yet known.

He posted footage of the massive blast and debris inside the building.

Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, has a population of around 1.4 million.

It’s been a target for Russian forces since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine last Thursday. 

Ukrainian service members stand guard outside the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack in central Kharkiv on March 1, 2022.


Russian army on outskirts of southern Ukrainian city Kherson, mayor says

The Russian army on Tuesday reached the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, near Moscow-controlled Crimea, and is setting up checkpoints on its outskirts, the city’s mayor said.

“The Russian army is setting up checkpoints at the entrances of Kherson,” mayor Igor Kolykhayev said on Facebook. “Kherson has been and will stay Ukrainian,” he said. 


Zelensky: Increased Russian shelling was meant to pressure Ukraine delegation at talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian troops have intensified their shelling of Ukraine, in an effort to force his government into making concessions during talks held Monday.

In a video address late Monday, Zelenskyy said “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronizing of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure (on Ukraine) with this simple method.”

The president gave no details about the hours-long talks themselves. But he said Ukraine isn’t prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”

Zelenskyy says Kyiv, the capital, remains “a key goal” for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery. 

By Associated Press

Huge Russian convoy approaching Kyiv

A huge Russian military convoy was massing on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital Tuesday as fears grew the invading forces were set to launch devastating assaults aimed at taking control of Kyiv and other major cities.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed a long build-up of armored vehicles and artillery starting 18 miles north of the city.

The Russian army has been regrouping and massing its forces over the past 24 hours “primarily to encircle and take control of Kyiv and other major cities,” the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces wrote on Facebook.

The column is more than 40 miles long and covers the entire road from near Antonov airport outside Kyiv to the town of Prybirsk, U.S. satellite imaging company Maxar said.

“Some vehicles are spaced fairly far apart while in other sections, military equipment and units are traveling two or three vehicles abreast on the road,” Maxar said.

The images also showed “additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units” in southern Belarus near the Ukraine border.

Eastern city Kharkiv’s mayor Igor Terekhov, quoted by Ukrainian media, warned that Moscow’s armored vehicles and tanks are “everywhere around the city.”


U.S. expands Russia sanctions, targets Central Bank

By Jordan Freiman

“Today was very sobering”: House members react to classified Ukraine briefing

The House held a classified briefing on Ukraine with the White House national security team on Monday. One member who was in the room told CBS News that the timetable laid out in the briefing showed that Kyiv would likely be “encircled within days.” How long it takes for Kyiv to fall depends on Ukrainians’ will to fight, the member said, adding that giving specifics is like shooting in the dark. The member stressed there are still a lot of unknowns, including what exactly Russia’s strategy will be in Kyiv.

Representative Andy Kim, a former member of the National Security Council, told CBS News that “today was very sobering in terms of telling us how this is probably going to go on for a very protracted amount of time.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of that will to fight on the Ukrainian side and hopefulness about things,” Kim added. “I think, you know, they’re going to come up against some real challenges here, just as this battle continues. I think there was a sense from this briefing that Russia, while they’ve had some setbacks, they have amassed so much force that they, over time, they continue to be able to just wear down the Ukrainians, especially if the Ukrainians are going to have difficulty in terms of getting resupply and other efforts there.” 

House Armed Services Committee chair Adam Smith said what stood out was bipartisan commitment to helping Ukraine “in any way we can,” particularly with respect to weapons and humanitarian assistance. As with other members, he confirmed the briefers did give estimates about when Kyiv might fall, but refused to give specifics. 

Smith said there was no discussion of a no-fly zone in the House classified briefing. 

Congressman Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, said Putin’s nuclear threat did come up, but would not go into detail. “The only thing I could say is we’re taking it very seriously,” Allred said.

-Caroline Linton, Ellis Kim, Nikole Killion

Bipartisan group of senators ask Biden to shield Ukrainians from deportation

A group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers asked President Biden on Monday to temporarily shield Ukrainians living in the U.S. from deportation, citing the dangerous conditions in Ukraine, which is under a large-scale Russian military attack.

Forty-two senators — 40 Democrats and two Republicans — said the Biden administration should offer Ukrainians in the U.S. access to Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a humanitarian deportation relief program for immigrants whose native countries have been beset by war, natural disasters or other crises.

The ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine has made it “too dangerous” for deportees to return there, the lawmakers told Mr. Biden in a letter.

“Forcing Ukrainian nationals to return to Ukraine in the midst of a war would be inconsistent with America’s values and our national security interests,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

What to know about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has become the face of his country’s spirited defense against Russian aggression. Throughout the conflict, he has sought to reassure his people by providing selfie-style video updates in Ukraine and even offering words of encouragement during dire moments.   

In spite of his calming presence, CBS News foreign correspondent Holly Williams reported Monday there are “grave fears” for Zelensky’s safety. Zelensky himself said he and his family are Russia’s top targets. Yet, even in the face of danger, he reportedly told U.S. officials, ”I need ammunition, not a ride” after they offered to transport him to safety – and it has become a signature tagline associated with the president.   

As anti-war protests worldwide popped up in many major cities, he has become a resistance symbol against Russian President Vladimir Putin at those rallies. But before he got into politics, Zelensky was used to the spotlight in the homes of Ukrainians.

By Christopher Brito

U.N. General Assembly emergency session hears overwhelming global support for Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly began meeting on Monday for a rare Emergency Special Session to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. and Albania requested a Sunday Security Council meeting to vote to convene the emergency General Assembly session, the first of its kind in 40 years and only the 11th such session in U.N. history. 

At the special session, leaders condemned Russia’s military attacks on Ukraine. Switzerland, which traditionally stays neutral and has been known as a safe haven for global finance, announced that it will impose the same sanctions as the European Union and blocked the travel of five oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

By Pamela Falk

More than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine, U.N. estimates

The United Nations estimates more than half a million people have already fled Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion. 

Some Ukrainians have been waiting in the freezing cold for days in a line that now stretches more than 20 miles long, longing to reach safety across the border in Poland. At Lviv’s main train station in Western Ukraine, thousands are trying desperately to get out. 

But these scenes aren’t just limited to the border with Poland — virtually all of Ukraine’s European neighbors are taking in refugees. 

The European Union fears there could eventually be more than seven million displaced people. 

By Chris Livesay

States ban Russian liquor, divest pension funds over Ukraine invasion

Seeking to tighten the financial squeeze on Russia over its war against Ukraine, governors and lawmakers in numerous U.S. states were taking actions Monday to pull state investments from Russian companies while encouraging private entities to do the same.  

The effect of sanctions by U.S. states often pales in comparison to national ones, but state officials said they wanted to show solidarity with Ukraine and do what they could to build upon the penalties imposed on Russia by the U.S. government and other Western nations.  

On Monday, the Indiana House passed legislation that would block Russian-controlled businesses and nonprofits from acquiring property in Indiana for one year. It now goes to the Senate. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Sunday forbidding her state from doing business with Russia.

By Associated Press

Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. alleges Russia used a thermobaric weapon

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States alleged that Russia used a thermobaric weapon on Monday. Thermobaric weapons, also known as “vacuum bombs,” are one of the most devastating weapons short of nuclear weapons, CBS News’ Charlie D’Agata reported.  

Ambassador Oksana Markarova said the alleged use of the weapon demonstrated that “the devastation Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.”

For Ukrainians, home is no longer safe. But some are staying.

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