Russia-Ukraine live updates: Ukraine intel chief says Russia plans ‘Korean scenario’

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(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”

Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have advanced closer to the city center in recent days despite the resistance. Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Kyiv, as well as major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol. Russia also bombed western cities for the first time last week, targeting Lviv and a military base near the Poland border.

Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy as well as Putin himself.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Mar 28, 7:33 am
Nightly curfew in Kyiv shifts back, shortens an hour

The nightly citywide curfew in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, has been shifted back and shortened by an hour.

Starting Monday night, the curfew will be from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time.

There has been a curfew in Kyiv every day since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. The previous time frame was from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time.

-ABC News’ Julia Drozd and Patrick Reevell

Mar 28, 7:00 am
Russian forces attempt to seize key highways, settlements

Russian forces on Monday morning were attempting to breach defenses from the northwest and east of Ukraine to seize key highways and settlements, which are held by Ukrainian troops, according to Ukrainian officials.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said that hypersonic missiles for the Russian military’s Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile system were being delivered to the Belarusian town of Kalinkovichi. Two of the latest strikes to hit Lutsk, a city in northwestern Ukraine, were launched from neighboring Belarus, according to Ukrainian officials.

Mar 28, 6:20 am
New round of talks could start Monday in Turkey

Ukraine and Russia have both said that a new round of peace negotiations with be held in person in Turkey at the start of this week, but it remains unclear whether the talks begin Monday or Tuesday.

One of the Ukrainian negotiators, David Arakhamia, has said the talks would be held Monday through Wednesday.

Russia’s lead negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, has said the talks would start Tuesday.

Arakhamia said the decision to hold the negotiations in person was reached during the latest round of talks via video link, which are taking place everyday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Russian journalists that his country is ready to compromise on Moscow’s demand for neutral status, but wants meaningful security guarantees from Western countries. He said any peace deal is only possible if Russia withdraws all of its troops to areas occupied before the war began.

-ABC News’ Patrick Reevell

Mar 28, 6:16 am
Ukraine intel chief says Russia plans a ‘Korean scenario’

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be seeking to split Ukraine in two after failing to seize the capital, Kyiv, according to the head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency.

Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said in a statement Sunday that Putin may now be pursuing a “Korean scenario” that would see Russian forces try to occupy the east and south of Ukraine since they no longer have the strength to “swallow the whole state.”

“After the failures near Kyiv and the impossibility to overthrow the central government in Ukraine, Putin is already changing his main direction of operations — to the south and east,” Budanov said. “There are grounds to suggest that he is considering the Korean scenario for Ukraine. That is to attempt to lay down a new line of contact between the non-occupied and occupied regions of our country. In fact, it’s an attempt to create in Ukraine a North and South Korea. Indeed, he definitely doesn’t have the strength to swallow the whole state.”

Budanov said he believes Putin still wants to open a land corridor between the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula and the other Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine, which would mean the occupation of besieged Mariupol, a strategic port city in the southeast that has been under heavy Russian bombardment. But he said Ukraine’s continued counterattacks as well as resistance by local people in the occupied areas were disrupting Putin’s plans.

Budanov also predicted the start of guerrilla warfare that would make it impossible for Russia to hold territory.

“Soon the season of the total Ukrainian partisan safari will start,” he said. “Then for the Russians will remain only one relevant scenario — how to survive.”

-ABC News’ Patrick Reevell

Mar 28, 5:07 am
Ukraine says no humanitarian corridors for Monday

Ukraine’s government announced for the first time in nearly three weeks that no humanitarian corridors for evacuating civilians will be open on Monday due to concerns about possible “provocations” from Russian forces.

“Our intelligence has informed us of possible provocations from the side of the occupiers on the routes of the humanitarian corridors,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on her official Telegram channel. “And so in interest of citizens’ safety today we are not opening humanitarian corridors.”

The Ukrainian government has been evacuating hundreds of thousands of civilians from cities and towns in the north, east and south of the country through established corridors. Officials have previously accused Russian forces of shelling some of the evacuation routes, despite agreeing to cease-fires.

-ABC News’ Patrick Reevell

Mar 27, 5:17 pm
Zelenskyy outlines goals for peace agreement to Russian journalists

In his first interview with Russian journalists since his country was invaded, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described some of Ukraine’s positions for ending the war.

During an interview with popular Russian independent news sites TV Rain and Meduza, Zelenskyy said any peace deal is only possible if Russia withdraws its troops to the territory occupied before the start of the invasion, meaning Crimea and the separatist-held areas of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said his main goals are “to maximally reduce the number of casualties (and) to shorten the length of this war.”

“The withdrawal of Russia to compromise territories — but that is everything (that) was before 24 February, before the assault. Let them return there,” Zelenskyy said. “I understand that to force Russia to completely liberate territory is impossible. That will lead to a third world war. I totally understand all that. And I say it: compromise. Return to where all this started and there we will try to resolve the question of Donbas, the difficult question of Donbas.”

Zelenskyy also said that Ukraine is ready to discuss taking a position of “neutrality” and “non-nuclear status” with Russia, but wants security guarantees for his country in return.

He again said he would put the issue to a referendum in Ukraine and that any treaty would need to be ratified by “guarantor countries” — which other officials have suggested must include the United States.

Zelenskyy reiterated that no guarantor countries, such as the United Kingdom and Turkey, will sign any agreement while Russian troops remain on Ukrainian soil.

-ABC News’ Patrick Reevell

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