Russia-Ukraine updates: Western officials walk out during Lavrov remarks

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

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

Russians moving from Belarus towards Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, don’t appear to have advanced closer towards the city since coming within about 20 miles, although smaller advanced groups have been fighting gun battles with Ukrainian forces inside the capital since at least Friday.

Russia has been met by sanctions from the U.S., Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting Russia’s economy and Putin himself.

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

Mar 01, 7:54 pm
Putin will ‘put Ukraine in a vice grip,’ US official says

Despite debate within the U.S. administration on whether Russia is suffering military setbacks in Ukraine, a senior U.S. official reiterated to ABC News that the invasion will be devastating for Ukraine.

“Putin is going to put Ukraine in a vice grip,” the official said, adding that Putin has ratcheted up his determination to carry on.

The dominant analysis within the administration involves Putin acting out with incredible ferocity and intent, believing this is his destiny, the official said.

The massive Russian convoy heading toward Ukraine is just as mighty as it looks from satellite imagery, the official added.

Taking out just half a dozen of those tanks would seriously slow down the convoy, because the roads are surrounded by mud in many places, so it would be difficult for the tanks to maneuver around the crippled vehicles, the official said.

President Joe Biden is under pressure to act, but the U.S. military is wary about any proposals that would bring American troops into open conflict with Russia. The U.S. military is also adamant that about avoiding anything that would trigger conflict, the official said.

-ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz

Mar 01, 7:51 pm
Biden to announce ban on Russian carriers from US airspace

President Joe Biden is expected to announce the U.S. will ban Russian carriers from its airspace in his State of the Union address, according to a person familiar with his remarks.

The U.S. now joins Canada and the European Union, which issued bans on Russian planes in their respective airspaces over the weekend.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Mar 01, 7:33 pm
ExxonMobil to stop Russian investments

Oil giant ExxonMobil announced Tuesday it will be ending current and future investments in Russia.

Specifically, it will cease operations at its Sakhalin-1 venture, which the company operates on behalf Japanese, Indian and Russian companies.

“As operator of Sakhalin-1, we have an obligation to ensure the safety of people, protection of the environment and integrity of operations. Our role as operator goes beyond an equity investment,” the company said in a statement.

ExxonMobil said its stoppage of investments in Sakhalin-1 will “need to be carefully managed and closely coordinated with the co-venturers.”

The company added that it wouldn’t invest in future developments in Russia.

Mar 01, 5:50 pm
Jewish groups condemn attack on Ukrainian Holocaust memorial

Several Jewish groups condemned Russia for a missile attack that struck a Ukrainian Holocaust memorial.

The missiles struck the site of the Babyn Yar massacre where 33,000 Jewish men, women and children were killed in September 1941.

The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum in Poland tweeted, “It’s hard to expect the Russian army to respect the dead if it is not capable of respecting human lives.”

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the site last year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the event.

“We stand with him and the Ukrainian people during these critical times,” the museum said in a statement.

Israel’s Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, called on the international community to protect sites such as Babyn Yar as well as the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

“Rather than being subjected to blatant violence, sacred sites like Babi Yar must be protected,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Conor Finnegan

Mar 01, 4:14 pm
Apple pauses sales in Russia

Apple is taking “a number” of actions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including pausing product sales in Russia, stopping exports into the country and limiting Apple Pay there, according to a statement from the tech giant on Tuesday.

In addition, RT, Russia’s state-run news network, and Sputnik have been removed from the AppStore outside of Russia.

Apple has also disabled traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine for safety of Ukrainian citizens.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said in the statement. “We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”

-ABC News’ Zunaira Zaki

Mar 01, 3:04 pm
UK imposes sanctions on Belarus for its role in invasion

The United Kingdom is imposing sanctions on Belarus in response to the role the country is playing in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including facilitating the invasion from within its borders.

Four senior defense officials have been sanctioned, leaving them unable to travel to the U.K. and freeing any of their U.K.-based assets. Also sanctioned are a Belarusian aircraft repair plant and a military semiconductor manufacturer.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “We are inflicting economic pain on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and those closest to him. … The [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko regime actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion and will be made to feel the economic consequences for its support for Putin.”

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Mar 01, 3:14 pm
UK imposes sanctions on Belarus for its role in invasion

The United Kingdom is imposing sanctions on Belarus in response to the role the country is playing in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including facilitating the invasion from within its borders.

Four senior defense officials have been sanctioned, leaving them unable to travel to the U.K. and freeing any of their U.K.-based assets. Also sanctioned are a Belarusian aircraft repair plant and a military semiconductor manufacturer.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “We are inflicting economic pain on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and those closest to him. … The [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko regime actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion and will be made to feel the economic consequences for its support for Putin.”

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Mar 01, 3:10 pm
Russian missile hits Kyiv TV tower killing at least 5

The tower that provides the main signal to TV and radio in Kyiv has been struck by a Russian missile, leaving at least five dead, Ukrainian officials said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that the tower “is situated on the territory of Babyn Yar. On September 29-30, 1941, Nazis killed over 33 thousand Jews here. 80 years later, Russian Nazis strike this same land to exterminate Ukrainians. Evil and barbaric.”

Ukraine’s President President Volodymr Zelenskyy tweeted, “What is the point of saying «never again» for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeating.”

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Mar 01, 1:51 pm
Russians running out of food, gas: US official

The Russian forces charging toward Kyiv haven’t made progress in the last day as they face Ukrainian resistance and low food and gas supply, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Tuesday.

However, it could be a deliberate pause, the official said. “Part of the stall could be … as a result of their own self-determined sort of pause in operations — that they are possibly regrouping, rethinking, reevaluating,” the official said.

The U.S. believes Russian forces “have committed now more than 80% of what was their pre-staged combat power,” the official added.

The official said some Russian soldiers weren’t told they were going into combat. The official said “not all of them were apparently fully trained and prepared.”

The strong Ukrainian resistance has also hurt morale, according to the official.

Russia has now launched more than 400 missiles on Ukraine, the official said. The U.S. believes Russia has launchers that could be used for thermobaric weapons, but cannot confirm their use, the official said.

Russian forces are making the most progress in the south. Russians are attacking Kherson in south Ukraine, which “appears very much to be contested city at this point,” the official said.

Russians are also approaching Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, and while they haven’t yet entered the city, “they are close enough now that they could attack Mariupol with long range fires,” the official said.

Two towns on the path to Mariupol are believed to be occupied by the Russians, according to the official.

The U.S. believes the Russians hope to move north out of Mariupol up to the heavily-contested city of Kharkiv. The official said they believe Russian forces are trying to encircle Kharkiv.

The U.S. official noted that they’ve seen “certain risk-averse behavior by the Russian military” over the last week.

“Take the amphibious assault, for instance. They put those troops ashore a good 70 kilometers away from Mariupol because they knew Mariupol was going to be defended and they could put them ashore in an uncontested environment. And they still haven’t reached Mariupol,” the official said.

“They are not necessarily willing to take high risks with their own aircraft and their own pilots,” the official said.

“And of course we’re seeing that on the ground — the fairly slow and steady progress that they have made, and you guys are seeing it for yourselves on the ground where … units are surrendering, sometimes without a fight.”

-ABC News’ Matt Seyler

Mar 01, 11:43 am

 

136 civilian deaths reported

 

A spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said 136 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, including 13 children.

Mar 01, 11:14 am
US, allies agree to release of 60 million barrels of oil from emergency reserves

The 31 countries on the International Energy Agency’s Governing Board have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their 1.5 billion barrels of emergency reserves “to send a unified and strong message to global oil markets that there will be no shortfall in supplies as a result of Russia’s invasion,” the IEA said in a statement.

Russia is the biggest oil exporter on the globe and the third-largest producer, the IEA said.

Mar 01, 10:57 am
677,000 people have fled Ukraine

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said the number of Ukrainians who’ve fled their country has climbed to 677,000.

Mar 01, 10:16 am
Western officials walk out during Lavrov remarks

Diplomats from Western countries were seen on video walking out in protest as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council and Conference on Disarmament.

The meeting was held Tuesday in Geneva and Lavrov gave his address via video.

The Human Rights Council has faced criticism for years for including human rights abusers, including Russia. In a prerecorded video to the council, Secretary of State Antony Blinken questioned whether Russia should be allowed to keep its seat.

“One can reasonably ask whether a U.N. member state that tries to take over another U.N. member state — while committing horrific human rights abuses and causing massive humanitarian suffering — should be allowed to remain on this council,” he said.

Blinken accused Russia of hitting civilian targets like schools, hospitals, residential buildings, critical infrastructure, and cars, buses, and ambulances — including the “monstrous rocket strikes” on an apartment complex in Kharkiv.

“Reports of Russia’s human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law mount by the hour,” he said.

“These are the human rights abuses this council was created to stop. If we cannot come together now, when will we come together?” he asked.

-ABC News’ Fergal Gallagher, Conor Finnegan

Mar 01, 9:43 am
‘Growing number’ of unaccompanied and separated refugee children

Filippo Grandi, U.N. high commissioner for refugees, told the Security Council Monday there’s “a growing number of unaccompanied and separated children” in the unending lines of refugees fleeing Ukraine.

UNICEF said there are “anecdotal reports of heartbreaking stories of fathers — or families — arriving at the border with their children and relinquishing them to the border guards, then remaining in Ukraine.”

UNICEF said it doesn’t have numbers yet on unaccompanied or separated children.

Mar 01, 9:23 am
Six killed in attack on Kharkiv civilian building

A rocket attack on an administrative building in Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine has killed at least six people and injured another seven, Ukrainian officials said.

An Indian student was among those killed, according to the Indian government.

A senior administration official told ABC News the U.S. has learned that Russia continues to plan for a “devastating” attack on Ukraine, warning that “the Russians … will crush Ukraine.”

Mar 01, 7:40 am
YouTube blocks RT, Sputnik in Europe

Google on Tuesday said it had blocked RT and Sputnik, Russian state-linked channels, from YouTube in Europe.

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.

— Google Europe (@googleeurope) March 1, 2022

“Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action,” the company said.

Mar 01, 6:39 am
Zelenskyy calls Russian attack ‘undisguised terror’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said the Russian attack on Kharkiv’s main square was an act of “undisguised terror.”

“After that, Russia is a terrorist state. No one will forgive. Nobody will forget,” he said on Facebook.

Mar 01, 6:22 am
About 660,000 refugees have fled Ukraine: UN

At least 660,000 people have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries in the six days since the Russian invasion began, the U.N. Refugees Agency said.

At the Polish border, UNHCR staff reported queues that were miles long.

“Those who crossed the border said that they had been waiting up to 60 hours,” the agency said on Tuesday. “Most arrivals are women and children from all parts of Ukraine. Temperatures are freezing and many have reported spending days on the road waiting to cross.”

Agency staff said people were waiting up to 20 hours to enter Romania. In Hungary, arrivals were “steady and waiting times vary.” The 37-mile trip between Odessa, Ukraine, and the border with Moldova was taking some refugees 24 hours, the agency said. And arrivals in Slovakia, where asylum laws were rapidly changed, were lower than elsewhere, agency staff said.

An unknown number of Ukrainian citizens have also been displaced within the country, Filippo Grandi, the agency’s commissioner, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

“The situation is moving so quickly, and the levels of risk are so high by now, that it is impossible for humanitarians to distribute systematically the aid, the help that Ukrainians desperately need,” he said.

The International Organisation for Migration said more than 470,000 people of various nationalities, “including a large number of overseas students and labour migrants,” are still in Ukraine.

Mar 01, 4:11 am
Russian bombardment strikes central square in Kharkiv

Russia on Tuesday launched a major bombardment of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, hitting a central square and its civilian administration building.

Video from the scene shows a large projective hitting next to the regional state administration building on Kharkiv’s Freedom Square, causing a huge blast. Aftermath shot on phones from the scene and inside the building, show it shattered with debris strewn around.

Ukraine’s emergency services ministry said at least six people, including one child were injured. It was unclear if anyone was killed.

Kharkiv Mayor Oleg Sinegubov confirmed the strike, calling it a “war crime.”

Monday’s shelling followed a sustained bombardment of civilian areas yesterday and overnight in Kharkiv by Russian heavy artillery, including multiple rocket launchers and an alleged use of cluster munitions.

“What is happening in Kharkiv is a war crime!” Sinegubov wrote on Facebook. “The Russian enemy is shelling whole residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv, where there is no critical infrastructure, no Ukrainian armed forces positions, which the Russians could be targeting.”

Sinegubov accused Russia of conducting the attacks during the day, when civilians were on the street. He said the city’s emergency services are unable to keep up with the number of attacks and injured.

So far at least 11 are dead, with dozens injured, he said.

Russian forces in Kharkiv appear to have shifted tactics to employing heavy artillery indiscriminately against the city, in an apparent effort to bombard and terrorize it into submission.

Sinegubov claimed the Russians were changing tactics because their offensive capabilities on the ground were running out and so they had nothing left but to launch aerial bombardments.

Mar 01, 3:28 am
‘Leave Kyiv urgently today,’ Indian Embassy tells citizens

The Indian Embassy in Kyiv on Tuesday urged Indians still in the capital to “leave Kyiv urgently today.”

“All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today,” the embassy said on Twitter. “Preferably by available trains or through any other means available.”

Mar 01, 2:48 am
’We will fight until the end,’ says Ukrainian parliament member

Solomiia Bobrovska, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, on Monday said Ukrainians would “fight to the end” as they defend Kyiv from a Russian invasion.

“That’s the mood of Ukrainians. We are staying behind altogether, and we do understand that with the total second line staying behind their shoulders. And I think we will fight until the end,” Bobrovska told ABC News’ Linsey Davis.

Mar 01, 12:14 am
Russian troops ‘operational’ near Ukrainian nuclear power plant, agency says

Ukraine said its nuclear power plants are still being operated “safely and securely,” the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote in an update late Monday.

However, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he “remained gravely concerned about maintaining their safety and security during the current conflict.”

Ukraine’s foreign ministry told the IAEA on Monday that Russian troops are “operational” near a functioning nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, but the troops haven’t entered it so far. Any fighting near nuclear facilities causes alarm, and Ukraine has four sites in total with 15 reactors.

“It is extremely important that the nuclear power plants are not put at risk in any way,” Grossi said in a statement. “An accident involving the nuclear facilities in Ukraine could have severe consequences for public health and the environment.”

The IAEA Board of Governors will hold a meeting Wednesday to discuss the “safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine.”

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