Ukraine’s leader defiant as Russian bombs fall, civilian deaths mount

Department of Defense postpones ICBM test-launch in effort to de-escalate

In an effort to de-escalate tensions with Russia, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has decided to postpone a test launch of the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that was scheduled for this week.

The decision comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday he was putting nuclear forces on higher alert, a move the Pentagon has called unnecessary and escalatory. 

The Pentagon has not made any similar moves and remains confident with its current deterrent posture. 

“It is a wise and prudent decision by the secretary to send a strong clear unambiguous message to Mr. Putin how seriously we take our nuclear responsibilities at a particularly tense time,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said at a Wednesday press briefing.

By Eleanor Watson

Powerful explosion in Kyiv near rail station

Ukrainian officials reported a powerful explosion in Kyiv between a central railway station and the Ibis hotel, an area near Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

The Ukrainian Railway Service said that thousands of women and children were being evacuated from the station at the time of the strike. The station building suffered minor damage, and train traffic continued. Officials said it was not immediately clear whether there were any casualties.

“Russian terrorists launched an air strike on the South Railway Station in Kyiv, where thousands of Ukrainian women and children are being evacuated,” the national railway company said.

The station is one of two that make up the main passenger rail complex. The two stations are connected by an overhead corridor that crosses over about a dozen tracks.

The stations are about 2 miles from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the square that was the site of huge protests in 2014 and 2004.

By Associated Press

WHO chief concerned by reports of attacks on medical facilities

The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday the agency is concerned by reports of attacks on medical facilities and health care workers.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said during a briefing the agency was able to confirm one incident in which a hospital “came under heavy weapons attack” last week, killing four people and injuring 10 others, including six health care workers.

“We’re currently in the process of verifying several other incidents,” Tedros said.

Before the war, Ukraine reported a surge of COVID-19 cases, and the recent low rates of testing since Russia’s invasion means “significant undetected transmission” is likely, he said. On Sunday, WHO warned of a dangerously low medical oxygen supply in Ukraine, which Tedros said will have a critical impact on treating patients with severe COVID symptoms and other conditions.

“At least three major oxygen plants in Ukraine have now closed and we’re seeking ways of accessing oxygen from neighboring countries and ways to deliver it safely to where it’s needed,” he said.

The organization said it still needs $45 million to help those impacted in Ukraine and another $12.5 million to support neighboring countries providing care for refugees. WHO is asking for donations to help provide emergency and trauma care, COVID-19 care and support for health facilities.

By Tori B. Powell

WHO sending medical aid to Poland to help thousands

The World Health Organization said it sent a medical aid shipment to Poland. The 36 metric ton delivery, which includes trauma care tools and other “essential medical supplies,” is set to arrive Thursday and will meet the needs of around 1,000 patients and 150,000 people, the organization said.

“The sanctity and neutrality of health care including of health workers, patients, supplies, transport and facilities and the right to safe access of care must be respected and protected,” WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a COVID-19 media briefing.

He said WHO distributed emergency supplies to 23 hospitals before the war but that they are now inaccessible in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. He called for the urgent establishment of a humanitarian corridor to ensure workers and supplies “have safe and continuous access to reach people in need.”

By Tori B. Powell

Exxon exits $4 billion Russia deal over Ukraine attack

ExxonMobil is closing its operations in Russia, joining fellow energy giants BP, Equinor and Shell in pulling back from the world’s third-largest oil producer after its invasion of Ukraine.

Exxon late Wednesday announced it was exiting the Sakhalin-1 project, an oil and gas operation on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East that the company operates on behalf of an international consortium. Exxon is also dropping new investments in Russia, the company said.

By Irina Ivanova

Americans should brace for $5 a gallon gas, analyst warns

Americans can expect increasing pain at the pump as rising oil costs continue to push up prices at gas stations across the U.S. That spike is unlikely to ease anytime soon as Russia’s war with Ukraine intensifies, experts say.

The current national average price of gas is $3.61 a gallon, up 26 cents from February and roughly a dollar from a year ago, according to data from AAA. In U.S. states with the priciest fuel, motorists already are paying nearly $4.50 a gallon, according price tracker GasBuddy.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, tweeted on Monday that the average gas price in some U.S. cities will reach $5 a gallon “in the next couple of weeks.”

By Anne Marie Lee

Want to help people in Ukraine? Here are ways to donate

Americans eager to help the people of Ukraine as Russia’s military pounds the Eastern European country can donate to a range of organizations already offering support.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Ukraine for neighboring countries, while European Union officials predict that as many as 7 million could eventually be displaced. Here is a list of some of the charities and other groups that are soliciting donations to help Ukrainians.

By Kate Gibson

Kamala Harris on Ukraine-Russia conflict

Vice President Kamala Harris said there is “so much at stake” when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, telling “CBS Mornings” Wednesday that images coming out of Ukraine are “heart-wrenching.” While the Biden administration has ruled out sending U.S. troops to Ukraine, Harris said they will continue to stand in unity, offering financial support and military assistance. 

“I will tell you, the president is clear, we are clear, we are not going to put U.S. troops in Ukraine to fight the Russians, not on the ground and not in the air. But we are going to continue working with our allies, to one, defend every inch of territory as it relates to NATO territory, but also what we will continue to do with the billions of dollars of humanitarian security and military assistance that we have been providing Ukraine.”

John Kelly “not really” surprised by slow pace of Russian advance

John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff and retired four-star Marine Corps general, said he is “not really” surprised at the slow pace of the Russian advance on Kyiv, saying the Russians “have never been known for their logistics.”

“The Russian military has a lot of strengths, but they also have a great many weaknesses. It doesn’t surprise me they’re going so slow,” Kelly told CBS News. “What surprises me is that they’re seemingly unfocused on what they’re attempting to do.”

Kelly, who oversaw U.S. Southern Command from 2012 to 2016 before serving in the Trump administration, said the Russians’ struggles to maintain supply lines have hampered their efforts to quickly take the Ukrainian capital.

“One of the things that most people have no appreciation for is the amount of logistics that it takes to move, or to execute these operations. Tens of thousands, millions of gallons of fuel a day to move tanks and armored personnel carriers and all the rest of it,” he said. 

“One of the sayings in the U.S. military is, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics,” he continued. “At the end of the day, the people who win the fight, give them all the credit in the world, tend to be the logisticians.”

Kelly said he believes the Russians “have bitten off a little bit more than they expected to, and they’re paying the price.”

By Stefan Becket

U.N. General Assembly vote sends clear message to Russia: The world is against the war in Ukraine

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly during an extraordinary Emergency Session on Wednesday to pass a Resolution condemning Russia’s military action against Ukraine. The resolution, which passed with 141 votes in favor, 35 abstentions and just five votes against, demands that Russia “immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine.”

“The truth is that this war was one man’s choice and one man alone: President Putin. It was his choice to force hundreds of thousands of people to stuff their lives into backpacks and flee the country. To send newborn babies into makeshift bomb shelters. To make children with cancer huddle in hospital basements, interrupting their treatment, essentially sentencing them to death. Those were President Putin’s choices. Now it’s time for us to make ours,” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said before the vote.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a special session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, March 2, 2022, in New York City.
Michael M Santiago/Getty

After the votes were tallied, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told diplomats the General Assembly’s message “is loud and clear: End hostilities in Ukraine — now. Silence the guns — now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy — now… The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine must be respected in line with the UN Charter.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the vote, saying those who backed the Resolution had “chosen the right side of history.”

Pamela Falk, Tucker Reals

Former top Pentagon official weighs in on Putin’s choices in Ukraine

On “Intelligence Matters,” host Michael Morell spoke with Mike Vickers, former undersecretary of defense for intelligence and a former Special Forces officer and CIA operations officer. Vickers and Morell discussed whether and how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine may have been a gross strategic miscalculation, how and when the West might have deterred his moves, and what future scenarios for the conflict exist.

Listen to this episode on ART19

Vladimir Putin has been banished… from a wax museum in Paris

A museum in France has done what many Ukrainians would love to do — it has removed Russian President Vladimir Putin from public life. The Grévin Museum of waxworks in Paris decided to put its wax figure of Putin in storage because of current events — and after it was damaged by visitors over the weekend.

“It is the first time at the Grévin Museum that we have removed a personality so rapidly like this, because of current, historic events,” explained the museum’s General Director Yves Delhommeau, as he separated Putin’s head from his body and locked it away in its own case.

Yves Delhommeau, Musee Grevin’s French Director General, packs a wax statue of Russian President Vladimir Putin before it is stored, as a reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on March 1, 2022 at the Grevin Museum in Paris, France.

“The staff don’t want to walk past him every day,” added Delhommeau.

Several world leaders are represented at the museum, but Delhommeau said it never shows figures of “dictators like Hitler,” adding: “We don’t want to represent Putin today.” 

The wax likeness of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s head is packed into a box before being placed into storage, as a reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, March 1, 2022 at the Grevin Museum in Paris, France.

The Putin figure had stood between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Asked who might replace him in the exhibit, Delhommeau said it could be Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

“He has become a hero for having resisted and for not fleeing his country,” the museum director said. “He could perfectly well take his place among the great men of history.”

By Elaine Cobbe

Ukraine official says 21 children killed and 55 wounded since Russian invasion began

Ukrainian government ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said on Wednesday that Russia’s invasion and bombardment of her country had killed 21 children and left 55 more wounded a week after it began.  

Paramedics move a young man injured by shelling in a residential area, outside a maternity hospital converted into a medical ward and used as a bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.
Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Among those casualties were three boys — all born in 2006 — who were injured by shelling from Russian missiles as they played outdoors in the southeastern city of Mariupol on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. One of the boys, who lost both legs, died soon after arriving at a hospital. The other two were rushed into intensive care. Their family members told the AP that the boys had been near their school playing soccer when the shelling hit.

Russia’s national emergency response service said earlier on Wednesday that more than 2,000 civilians had been killed in all since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

By Haley Ott

U.S. notes videos of banned “vacuum bombs,” says Russia “preparing to increase” brutality of Ukraine attack

“It appears Russia is preparing to increase the brutality of its campaign against Ukraine,” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Wednesday, addressing an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly. 

“We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs – which are banned under the Geneva Convention,” she said.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States accused Russia this week of using cluster and vacuum bombs in its attack on her country. 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 munitions 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 when used in civilian areas. 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.

 - Pamela Falk, Tucker Reals, Haley Ott

Blinken visits Ukrainian church, says Putin made “horrific, terrible mistake”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited a Ukrainian church in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning, where he met with church leaders and reiterated the U.S. commitment to Ukraine.

Joined by Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., Blinken said Putin “made a horrific, terrible mistake in committing this aggression.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits a Ukrainian church in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
CBS News

“What we’re seeing is the Ukrainian people insisting on their freedom, insisting on their independence, insisting on their right to go forward as a sovereign, independent country,” he said at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family. “And that’s inspiring the world.”

Blinken also spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday and reiterated “the United States’ commitment to providing security, financial, and humanitarian support as Ukraine faces increasingly brutal bombardment by Russian forces,” according to the State Department.

Kuleba said on Twitter that the two had a “productive call” and discussed “further sanctions on Russia until it stops its war against Ukraine and withdraws its forces.” He said he had emphasized that Ukraine “needs additional deliveries of weapons, especially for our Air Force, now.”

By Stefan Becket

Biden on banning Russian oil: “Nothing is off the table”

President Biden didn’t rule out eventually banning the import of Russian oil and gas on Wednesday, a step the West has been hesitant to take.

“Nothing is off the table,” Mr. Biden said at the White House.

The U.S. and European allies have so far declined to target the Russian energy sector in sanctions targeting Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Banning Russian oil and gas would cut off a key revenue source for Putin, but would also roil worldwide energy markets and drive the price of oil even higher. The U.S. and 30 other countries have released 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves to help alleviate supply shortages, as oil prices have climbed to their highest level since 2014.

Appearing on MSNBC earlier, White House press secretary Jen Psaki the U.S. is “very open” to sanctioning Russian energy.

“We’re considering it. It’s very much on the table, but we need to weigh what all of the impacts will be,” she said. “We’re not trying to hurt ourselves. We’re trying to hurt President Putin and the Russian economy.”

Ukrainian leaders have urged the West to cut off Russian energy, despite the economic impacts. Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, called for a “full embargo on Russian oil and all Russian exports” to the U.S. and Europe in an essay in the New York Times on Wednesday. 

“These measures would not be without cost to the world economy, but the alternative is far worse,” Yermak wrote. 

By Stefan Becket

Ukraine leader points to Russian shelling of Holocaust memorial, calls on Jews to speak out

A Russian missile strike on Tuesday hit the Babyn Yar memorial to tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews massacred during the Holocaust in Kyiv, drawing a special plea for support from Ukraine’s Jewish president.

“I am now addressing all the Jews of the world – don’t you see what is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world do not remain silent right now,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message. “Nazism is born in silence. So shout about the killings of civilians. Shout about the killings of Ukrainians.”

Zelensky said Russia’s invasion of his country had brought Ukrainians together.

Today Ukrainians are a symbol of invincibility. A symbol that people in any country can become the best people on earth at any moment. Glory to Ukraine!
אלוהים יברכך, מדינה מאוחדת! לא במקרה בחרתי לאמר “מאוחדת”. היום השביעי במלחמה נוראה זו החל. מלחמה בה כולנו חשים כאחד.
כולנו הופגזנו אמש בקייב, וכולנו מתנו שוב בבאבי יאר ממתקפת טילים. על אף שהעולם מבטיח בעקביות “לעולם לא עוד!”.
לאדם הנורמטיבי אשר יודע היסטוריה, באבי יאר הינו מקום מיוחד בקייב. מקום מיוחד באירופה. מקום של תפילות. מקום זיכרון של אלפי ומאות אלפי אשנים אשר נרצחו בידי הנאצים. מקום בתי הקברות העתיקים של קייב. מדוע להפוך מקום כזה למטרה לתקיפת טילים? אתם הורגים את קורבנות השואה פעם נוספת.
בימי הסובייטים, מרכז טלוויזיה הוקם מהיסוד, כמו גם מרכז ספורט. נבנה פארק, על מנת למחוק את ההיסטוריה הנושאית של באבי יאר. אך מדוע הוא הופצץ? פעולה זו הינה מעבר להבנה האנושית. מתקפה שכזאת, מוכיחה שבשביל רבים ברוסיה, קייב הינה לגמרי זרה. הם אינם יודעים דבר על בירתנו, על ההיסטוריה שלנו. אך למרות זאת, הם הורו להשמידאת ההיסטוריה שלנו, את המולדת שלנו. להשמיד את כולנו.
ביומה הראשונה של המלחמה, אומן, הופגזה בצורה מאסיבית. המקום בו מאות ואלפי יהודית מגיעים בכל שנה להתפלל. לאחר מכן- תקפו את באבי יאר, היכן שמאות אלפי יהודים נורו למוות.
אני פונה כעת, לכל יהודי העולם- אינכם רואים מה מתרחש כאן? ולכן חשוב שמיליוני היהודים ברחבי העולם לא ישארו דוממים למראות הללו. מפני שהנאציזם נולד בדממה. צעקו נגד הרג אזרחים. צעקו את צעקת הרג האוקראינים!

Posted by Володимир Зеленський on Wednesday, March 2, 2022

“During this time, we have truly become one. We forgave each other a lot. We started loving each other. We help each other. We are worried for each other. Yesterday morning on Freedom Square, we were all Kharkiv residents. Then the enemy destroyed us all by striking at residential buildings in Borodyanka. We were all bombed in Kyiv last night. And we all died again in Babyn Yar — from a missile strike. Although the whole world promises constantly – ‘never again.'”

By Haley Ott

Russian oligarchs moving their super yachts as the U.S. comes after their assets

Yachts owned by Russian billionaires are on the move as the U.S. and its allies seek to hunt down the assets of Russia’s wealthiest people in response to the invasion of Ukraine.  

Data from MarineTraffic, a global intelligence group, shows yachts owned by Russian oligarchs are on the move, including aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska’s $65 million Clio and oil executive Vagit Alekperov’s $80 million Galactica Super Nova.

“No self-respecting oligarchy exists without a super yacht. And so what we’re seeing now is a hightailing it on the high seas,” financier and anti-corruption activist Bill Browder told CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge.

In response to Putin’s war against Ukraine, the Biden administration created a task force to go after Russian oligarchs’ wealth. Browder said the goal is to get the oligarchs to pressure Putin to stop the war. 

“We’re not ready to engage in military warfare. And so there’s an expression: We should fight them in the banks if we can’t fight them with tanks,'” he said. 

Watch Herridge’s report below:

Value of Russia’s ruble falls further to less than 0.9 cents

Russia’s central bank said stock trading on the Moscow exchange would remain closed Wednesday for a third day, though trading of currencies and precious metals would resume for the first time this week.

The value of Russia’s ruble fell further to less than 0.9 U.S. cents despite its central bank’s decision Monday to raise interest rates to defend the currency.

An unprecedented litany of sanctions from the U.S., Europe and other nations around the world has severely limited Russian exports and access to international transfer systems, while global businesses continue to disavow themselves of any ties to Moscow. 

On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department banned transactions with Russia’s Central Bank, its National Wealth Fund and the Russia Ministry of Finance, sparking the fall of the ruble’s value.   


U.N. says almost 700,000 people have fled across Ukraine’s borders

People from across Ukraine continue trying to flee across the country’s borders to escape Russia’s violent invasion, creating a massive humanitarian crisis throughout the region that is growing by the day. The United Nations says almost 700,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. People are waiting up to five days at some chaotic border crossings.

CBS News correspondent Christina Ruffini has been meeting some of the newest refugees as they make their way into Poland — some of them arriving after journeys of up to 60 hours, much of it done on foot.

“In Ukraine, it is like hell, so we are running,” said one woman.

Ruffini met a pair of siblings who had walked alone overnight to get to the town of Medyka in Poland after their father dropped them off as close as he could get — 11 miles from the border.

Click on the player below to see Ruffini’s full report from Poland.

U.S. closing airspace to Russian planes

The U.S. is banning Russian aircraft from entering U.S. airspace in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, joining European nations in cutting off Russian access to the skies. President Biden vowed to close U.S. skies to all Russian planes in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. 

“Tonight I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy,” Mr. Biden said. He took aim at Russian oligarchs, warning that the U.S. is “joining with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets.”

The Transportation Department said the ban applies to “all Russian commercial air carriers and other Russian civil aircraft.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an official notice saying the closure will go into effect at 9 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Exceptions will be made for humanitarian and diplomatic flights given explicit FAA authorization, as well as aircraft “experiencing in-flight emergencies,” according to the FAA’s notice.

The European Union announced on Sunday that Russian planes would not be allowed over its 27 member nations. One flight en route to New York was forced to return to Moscow after Iceland denied it access to its airspace over the North Atlantic.

The U.S. and its Western allies have imposed punishing sanctions taking aim at the Russian economy and President Vladimir Putin since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine last week. On Monday, the Treasury Department banned transactions with Russia’s Central Bank, its National Wealth Fund and the Russia Ministry of Finance. The Russian ruble plummeted in value as a result.

By Stefan Becket

Ukrainian ambassador gets a standing ovation in Britain’s parliament

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, received a rare standing ovation from British lawmakers in the House of Commons on Wednesday as he sat in the chamber for the weekly “Prime Minister’s Questions.” 

Parliamentarians applauded him as he watched from the public gallery of the House of Commons.

“We generally do not allow applause in this chamber,” noted Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle, “but on this occasion the House quite rightly wants to demonstrate our respect and support for your country and its people in the most difficult of times.” 

By Tucker Reals

Russian shelling of Ukraine’s 2nd largest city continues, reportedly killing 4 more

Russia continued its brutal assault on Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, on Wednesday, striking the police and intelligence headquarters, according to the Ukrainian state emergency services. Ukrainian officials also reported Russian paratroopers landing in Kharkiv, but there was no immediate confirmation of that.

The city’s mayor said strikes were also hitting residential areas.

Photos and video shared by the emergency services showed fragments of the intelligence building strewn across the ground as firefighters worked to put out flames still shooting from its windows. 

A photo provided by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine shows a building in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, on fire after an apparent Russian missile strike, March 2, 2022.
Ukraine State Emergency Service/Handout

At least four people were killed and nine others injured during Wednesday’s shelling, the emergency services said.

“There are practically no areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not hit,” Ukrainian Interior Minister official Anton Gerashchenko said.  

By Haley Ott

India tells citizens to flee Russian onslaught in Kharkiv “immediately,” citing “inputs” from Russia

The Indian Embassy in Ukraine issued an urgent advisory Wednesday telling all Indian nationals in the eastern city of Kharkiv to “leave immediately repeat immediately” and get to the outlying towns of Pesochin, Babaye, or Bezlyudovka. They were told to reach one of those locations “under all circumstances” by 6 p.m. local time, on foot if necessary. The nearest of the locations is seven miles from Kharkiv, and as it was already after 1 p.m. in Ukraine when the alert was posted online.

“Urgent advisory to all Indian nationals in Kharkiv. For their safety and security they must leave Kharkiv immediately repeat immediately in light of the deteriorating situation. Proceed to Pesochin, Babaye and Bezlyudovka as soon as possible. Under all circumstances they must reach these settlements by 1800 HRS (Ukrainian time) today,” read a tweet from the embassy.

The evacuation order “is based on inputs from the Russian side,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of India’s External Affairs Ministry, said at a media briefing on Wednesday.  

The dramatic warning came as Russian shells continued to hit Ukraine’s second largest city for a third day, and a day after an Indian medical student was killed there. Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, 21, from South Indian state of Karnataka, had been studying medicine at Kharkiv National Medical University.

India has already evacuated 12,000 of its students from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began last Thursday. Hundreds have walked miles to cross the borders into Romania and Hungary, from where they were brought home on special evacuation flights arranged by the Indian government.

But thousands of Indians, mostly students, still remain in the country and have been desperately seeking help. 

By Arshad R. Zargar

Kyiv bolsters defenses and braces for an expected Russian assault

Air raid sirens rang out in Kyiv again on Wednesday as the city braced for more Russian strikes. Large commercial avenues that had been bustling only days earlier were deserted.

Defenses have been put up around the city, including sand bags in building windows and metal road blocks. The city is peppered with checkpoints manned by defense forces, including many recently-armed civilian volunteers. Barbed wire has been laid across some streets.

In Kyiv’s main Maidan Square, security forces were positioned alongside anti-tank defenses.

A 40-mile-long Russian convoy heading towards Kyiv from the north appeared to be paused, but another convoy was spotted approaching the city from the east. A U.S. official told CBS News on Tuesday that a full-scale siege on the capital may just be a matter of time, with American intelligence predicting Russian forces could surround Kyiv in a week and take it over within 30 days after that.

  – Haley Ott, Charlie D’Agata, Justine Redman

Kremlin says Russia “ready to continue talks” with Ukraine

The Kremlin said Wednesday that a Russian delegation was ready to continue peace talks with Ukraine as Moscow’s invasion of the pro-Western country entered its seventh day.

“Our delegation will be ready to continue talks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow’s delegation expected the talks to resume Wednesday evening. He said that President Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladimir Medinsky remained Russia’s top negotiator on Ukraine but did not say where the next round of talks would take place.

Russia’s TASS news agency later quoted an official from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office as saying the talks would resume Wednesday in Belovezhskaya Puscha, in Belarus. 

A first round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations took place on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, but brought no results.

Putin said last Thursday that he had ordered troops to invade pro-Western Ukraine to “de-militarize” and “denazify” the country, after months insisting that there were no plans to invade despite a huge military buildup around Ukraine’s borders.


Dozens of Japanese men reportedly volunteer to join Ukraine’s battle against Russian invasion

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, a major Japanese daily, has reported that “about 70” Japanese men have volunteered to fight in Ukraine, most with experience in the Japan Self-Defense Forces — a highly unusual move for this self-declared pacifist country.

Japanese officials have repeatedly tried to dissuade people from the country from traveling to the war zone for any reason, and it was unclear if some of the volunteers might end up working remotely from Japan, for instance, in the IT field. The Ukrainian Embassy in Japan announced that it had raised $17 million from 60,000 supporters in the country to help with efforts to defend Ukraine from Russia’s attack.

The embassy has been working with Japanese officials to decide what jobs to assign to volunteers from the country. In a post on Twitter, the Ukrainian Embassy said on Wednesday that it was seeking volunteers with medical, IT, communication and firefighting experience, but it wasn’t clear if Ukrainian officials wanted any Japanese nationals to travel to Ukraine, or just help from afar.  

By Lucy Craft

U.N.’s International Court of Justice to hold hearings over “allegations of genocide” against Russia

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, said Wednesday that it would hold public hearings early next week “concerning Allegations of Genocide” by Ukraine against Russia.

The hearings, set for March 7 and 8, would be “devoted to the request for provisional measures submitted by Ukraine,” the United Nations’ court said.  

The court’s president, Judge Joan Donoghue, in a statement posted to the ICJ’s Twitter page, called on Russia to “act in such a way as will enable any order the court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects.”

By Tucker Reals

U.K. says Russian advance still stalled by “logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance”

A new “Intelligence Update” posted online by Britain’s defense ministry early on Wednesday  said that while some Russian forces had “reportedly moved into the center” of Kherson, Russia’s “overall gains across axes have been limited in the past 24 hours.” It said the halting advance was probably due to “ongoing logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance.” 

Reports on Tuesday suggested that at least one Russian convoy, inching toward Kyiv from the east, had run out of fuel. BBC News reported Tuesday night that the Russian forces there had managed to gas back up, but they were still not advancing quickly on the capital.

By Tucker Reals

Zelensky says Russia wants to “erase” Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia Wednesday of seeking to “erase” Ukrainians, their country and their history.

In a video address, the Ukrainian leader said a missile strike on a target at the site of a Holocaust massacre shows that “for many people in Russia, our Kyiv is completely foreign.

“They know nothing about our capital. About our history. But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase us all,” he said.


Biden devotes beginning of his State of the Union to war in Ukraine

President Biden used his first State of the Union address to highlight the resolve of a reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and adopt tough sanctions, which he said have left Russian President Vladimir Putin “isolated in the world more than he has ever been.”

“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson — when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Mr. Biden said. “They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”

Biden devoted the first 12 minutes of his Tuesday evening address to Ukraine, with lawmakers of both parties repeatedly rising to their feet and applauding as he praised the bravery of Ukraine’s people and condemned Putin’s assault.

By Associated Press

Concern rising over possible Russian strategy shift

Many military experts worry that Russia may be changing tactics. Moscow’s strategy in Chechnya and Syria was to use artillery and air bombardments to pulverize cities and crush fighters’ resolve.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said it had seen an increase in Russian air and artillery strikes on populated urban areas over the past two days. It also said three cities – Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol – were encircled by Russian forces.

In Kharkiv, which has a population of about 1.5 million and is Ukraine’s second largest city, at least six people were killed Tuesday when the region’s administrative building on Freedom Square was hit with what was believed to be a missile. The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said its consulate in Kharkiv, located in another large building on the square, was destroyed.

The attack on Freedom Square – the nucleus of public life in the city – was seen by many Ukrainians as brazen evidence that the Russian invasion wasn’t just about hitting military targets but also about breaking their spirit.

By Associated Press

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