Joe Biden opened his first State of the Union address Tuesday evening by accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of ‘underestimating’ western allies and the Ukrainian people and closing off U.S. air space to all Russian flights.
‘Six days ago, Russia’s Vlaidmir Putin sought to shake the very foundation of the free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated,’ Biden said with Vice President Kamala Harris sitting behind his right shoulder and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on his left.
‘He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over,’ Biden continued of Putin. ‘Instead, he [was] met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or expected – he met the Ukrainian people.’
Biden spent the first 12 minutes of his address to the nation from Congress speaking about Russia and their invasion of Ukraine – as well as the U.S. response.
The remarks came as new blasts rocked Kyiv Tuesday night after Russia was slammed as ‘barbaric’ for bombing a TV tower near the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial in Ukraine’s capital on the site of one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Holocaust.
‘We in the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people. Throughout our history, we’ve learned this lesson – When dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos, they keep moving.’
Several lawmakers showed their solidarity with Ukraine by wearing the colors of their flag – blue and yellow – while others wore brightly colored pins and scarfs as Ukraine continues to face a full-scale attack from Russia.
‘Along with twenty-seven members of the European Union including France, Germany, Italy, as well as countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, even Switzerland are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine,’ Biden listed.
‘Putin is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been,’ the president added.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova attended as guest to first lady Jill Biden and received a several-seconds standing ovation from members of Congress and all others in attendance.
‘She’s bright, she’s strong, she’s resolved,’ Biden said in the midst of the clapping.
Many in the first lady’s visitor box were wielding mini Ukrainian flags.
The White House said: ‘In a sign of support for the Ukrainian people, the FLOTUS has an embroidered appliqué of a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, sewn to the sleeve of her dress near her wrist.’
President Joe Biden said during his first State of the Union on Tuesday evening that President Vladimir Putin is ‘more isolated than ever’ and told Russian oligarchs ‘we’re coming for you’ as Moscow continues its attack on Kyiv. Pictured behind the president are Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova (pictured left) attended the State of the Union as guest to first lady Jill Biden holding a Ukrainian flag
Many lawmakers wore bright yellow and blue to show their solidarity with Ukraine. Pictured Center: Ukrainian-born Representative Victoria Spartz speaks with Steve Scalise (left) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (right)
Democratic lawmakers take a selfie in their pro-Ukraine garb. From L-R: Lisa Blunt Rochester, Terri Sewell, Brenda Lawrence and Hakeem Jeffries standing behind them
Biden announced during his remarks that the U.S. would be closing its airspace to all Russian flights and air craft
Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin underestimated the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the way world governments would rally against his invasion of Ukraine.
He also announced the U.S. is closing its air space to Russian aircraft – taking the directive from partner and ally countries that already enacted their own ban on Russian aircraft in their air space.
Lawmakers at the Capitol were told Monday that even though all signs lead toward Russia ultimately losing the war it kicked off in Ukraine, it’s likely to last up to 20 years.
The United Kingdom’s foreign secretary estimated a 10-year conflict between given the durability of the Ukrainian resistance.
At least 136 civilians have been killed by Russia’s assault as of Tuesday, according to the United Nations’ human rights office – among those casualties are 13 children.
Biden’s address was initially intended to focus on his domestic agenda, especially after he failed to get through Congress his Build Back Better plan, but with the waging conflict between Russia and Ukraine, priorities have shifted.
During his remarks to the nation Tuesday night, Biden took credit for the sweeping global sanctions that hit Russia following its full-scale invasion into Ukraine last week.
‘Together along with our allies we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions,’ Biden said Tuesday night.
He then listed some of those sanctions: ‘We’re cutting off Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system, preventing Russia’s central bank from defending the Russian Ruble, making Putin’s $630 billion ‘war fund’ worthless. We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come.’
‘Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have built billions of dollars off this violent regime no more,’ Biden continued. ‘The United States Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs. We’re joining with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets.’
‘We’re coming for you ill-begotten gains,’ he warned.
Several of Kyiv’s neighborhoods are currently under attack, according to local reports. The Kyiv Independent reported at 11:29 p.m. local time (4:29 p.m. EST) that Russian bombs have struck Vyshneve, a town outside the capital.
It also said the residential neighborhoods of Rusanivka, Kurenivka and Boiarka – as well as the area near Kyiv International Airport – were coming under attack. Rusanivka in particular is very central.
It also reported a loud explosion was heard at Bila Tserkva, a city in Kyiv Oblast, when a duel depot was attacked, according to the UNIAN news agency.
The locations of the reported attacks suggest Russian forces are tonight closing in from multiple sides of the capital, particularly from the west. They come as a 40-mile long Russian military convoy inches closer to Kyiv.
According to a British correspondent in the city, a new round of explosions were heard at around 10:50 p.m. local time (3:50 p.m. EST). ‘Sounds of heavy explosions in #Kyiv just now,’ journalist Sara Firth tweeted.
Elsewhere, at least three people were killed and 10 houses destroyed in an airstrike in the city of Zhytomyr – around 85 miles west of Kyiv – at 10:16 p.m., according to Ukraine’s emergency services. More might still be trapped in the rubble, the state emergency services said in a Tweet.
Earlier, explosions erupted around the capital’s 1,300ft TV tower, built by the ravine where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed by SS troops in two days in 1941 during Adolf Hitler’s campaign against the Soviet Union.
At least two large blasts were seen near the foot of the tower, around three miles from central Kyiv, around 5.30pm local time. The first missile struck the TV tower but the second hit the memorial.
At least five people were killed in the latest onslaught which came just hours after Russia told Ukrainian civilians to evacuate because it was about to begin bombarding ‘strategic’ targets. Footage of the immediate aftermath of the explosions showed bodies in the streets below.
It was not immediately clear whether the tower had been the target of the strikes, or whether they had been targeting nearby buildings. The tower remained standing, but several state broadcasts went off air.
Biden’s address comes as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine as it closes in on capital city of Kyiv. Pictured: Ukrainian emergency services search through the rubble after an airstrike hit Zhytomyr on Tuesday night, that reportedly at least three people
Russian forces have advanced to the outskirts of Kyiv from two sides, with a huge column of armour and artillery heading for the city as diplomats warned Putin may soon resort to ‘medieval’ siege tactics
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated on Tuesday the Russian military ‘strikes only military facilities and uses exclusively precision weapons’ despite abundant evidence of shelling of homes, schools and hospitals.
After the attack, Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted: ‘To the world: 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…’
Meanwhile the Ukrainian foreign ministry said: ‘Russian troops fired on the TV tower, near the Memorial complex #BabynYar. Russian criminals do not stop at anything in their barbarism. Russia = barbarian.’
Israel’s Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre voiced ‘vehement condemnation’ of what it described as a ‘deadly Russian attack on the vicinity of the (Babyn Yar) Holocaust memorial site’, although government statements on the incident did not mention Russia.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Putin against committing a ‘unalterable moral humanitarian catastrophe’ amid several attacks on civilian targets in the capital Kyiv.
Urging the Russian leader not to ‘double down’, Mr Johnson told ITV News on a visit to Poland and Estonia: ‘I think that he’s gone into a cul-de-sac and it’s very difficult for him to back out, and that’s the problem we’ve got.
‘And if you’re sitting where he is, his only instinct is going to be to double down and to try and ‘Grozny-fy’ Kyiv if you know what I mean. And to reduce it to [rubble], and I think that that would be an unalterable moral humanitarian catastrophe and I hope he doesn’t do that.’
His ‘Grozny-fy’ comment refers to the capital city of the Chechen Republic in Russia’s south which Russian forces spent more than a decade suppressing – resulting in thousands of deaths and large areas being laid to waste.
It came shortly after Moscow’s ministry of defense said it would be launching strikes into the city targeting Ukraine’s security service and intelligence agencies with what it called ‘precision munitions’.
That raised fears that Kyiv was about to come under heavy bombardment after the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kherson were hit by indiscriminate shelling earlier in the day.
A column of Russian artillery units and tanks 40 miles long has been pictured snaking its way towards Kyiv as analysts warned it will likely be tasked with surrounding the city, besieging it and bombing it into submission as Putin resorts to ‘medieval’ tactics in an attempt to force victory.
But the convoy has reportedly stalled as its forces face logistics challenges, including a shortage of food for some units, and Russians appear to be reevaluating how to move forward on the city, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.
‘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,’ the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said. Another official claimed the Russian advance is ‘basically… where it was yesterday’.
Meanwhile Ukraine warned that Belarus had also thrown its own soldiers into the fight with an attack on the north eastern city of Chernihiv.
Day 6 of the biggest ground war in Europe since World War II has found Russia increasingly isolated by tough economic sanctions that have thrown its economy its disarray and left the country practically friendless, apart from China and Belarus.
Pictured: Ukrainian emergency services search through the rubble after an airstrike hit Zhytomyr on Tuesday night
Pictured: A fire caused by an air strike is seen in the city of Zhytomyr, that lies about 85 miles west of Kyiv
Smoke rises around Kyiv’s main television tower after several explosions near the base of it on Tuesday afternoon
Footage shows the missile hitting the TV tower during the airstrike which has killed at least five people in the latest Russian attack
Explosions erupted around the capital’s 1,300ft TV tower this afternoon, built near the ravine where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed in two days in 1941
Pictured: An explosion is seen in the distance in Zhytomyr – around 85 miles west of Kyiv on Tuesday night
Pictured: Emergency services are seen at a fire caused by an air strike in Zhytomyr – around 85 miles west of Kyiv
Russia has been slammed as ‘barbaric’ for bombing the Babyn Yar holocaust memorial in Kyiv on the site of one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Holocaust (file image)
Pictured: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Babyn Yar (Babiy Yar), one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, in Kyiv Ukraine September 29, 2021
Smoke and flames rise up the side of Kyiv’s 1,300ft TV tower after Russia bombed it on Tuesday. The tower remained standing but buildings around it were damaged, with some broadcasts knocked off air
Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured today) tweeted: ‘To the world: 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…’
At least two explosions were seen around the base of the tower before Ukraine said several state broadcasts were taken down
A body lies on the ground as a woman walks past debris and broken glass after the airstrike hit the TV tower in Kyiv this afternoon
Smoke is seen rising from Kyiv’s main TV tower after it was hit by Russian bombs on Tuesday afternoon
Just hours before the tower was targeted, Russia had told civilians to evacuate and warned it was about to destroy facilities belonging to intelligence services
Soldiers are seen around piles of sand to block the roads out of Kyiv after warning civilians to flee before unleashing a barrage of attacks
A member of the military walks near a partially-destroyed building hit in a Russian attack on Kyiv’s TV infrastructure
A burned-out car and rubble is seen strewn in the streets in Brovary, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, amid fears the Ukrainian capital is about to come under heavy Russian bombardment
A partially-destroyed building and burned-out van are seen in the streets in Brovary, near Kyiv, after attacks by Russian forces
A damaged Ukrainian armored vehicle in the aftermath of an overnight shelling at the Ukrainian checkpoint in Brovary
Ukrainian policemen stand guard in the aftermath of an overnight shelling at the Ukrainian checkpoint in Brovary
Mothers and children take shelter in the basement of the Ohmadyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv
A damaged vehicle in the aftermath of an overnight shelling at the Ukrainian checkpoint in Brovary
A man is seen crouching down inside a vehicle that was damaged by shelling in Brovary, outside Kyiv
The Babyn Yar massacres
Babyn Yar is a ravine found in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, and also the site of massacres carried out by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
Approximately 33,771 Jews were killed in the first and largest massacre that took place over 80 years ago on 29 to the 30th September, 1941.
It came after the Nazis made the decision to kill all Jews in Kyiv, and during Germany’s campaign against the Soviet Union.
Up until that date, it was considered to be the single largest mass-killing during the Holocaust carried our by Nazi Germany, until the Odessa massacre of more than 50,000 a month later in October 1941.
In addition to the thousands of Jewish victims, Soviet prisoners of war, communists, Ukrainian nationalist and Roma were slaughtered at the site.
It is estimated that during German occupation, between 100,000 and 150,000 people were killed at Babyn Yar.
Pictures from 1941 showed Soviet soldiers were forced by the Nazis to cover the bodies in the mass grave on October 1, while efforts were later made in 1944 to conceal it.
Harrowing testimony later revealed that the victims of the September 29 and 30 massacre were ordered to go to the site by 8am, believing they would be resettled.
Under threats of beatings, they were ordered to undress and were forced into the ravine where they were killed.
One witness said some were killed before they even knew what was happening, while others were made to lie on top of victims who had already been shot, before being killed themselves.
After the war, several SS commanders who organised the massacres were put on trial. Paul Blobel, the commander of the SS unit being the massacre, was sentenced to death during Nuremberg Trials. He was hanged on June 7, 1951.
Others were convicted in Soviet tribunals and sentenced to death.
Due to Soviet Union policies, Jewish commemoration efforts specifically were hindered. It wasn’t until after the collapse of the Soviet Union that memorials were built at the site.
The memorial is site of pilgrimage for many Jews.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Babyn Yar (Babiy Yar), one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, in Kyiv Ukraine September 29, 2021
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, with a population of about 1.5 million, at least six people were killed when the region’s Soviet-era administrative building was hit. Explosions tore through residential areas, and a maternity ward was moved to an underground shelter.
Kharkiv’s Freedom Square – Ukraine’s largest plaza, and the nucleus of public life for the city – was struck with what was believed to be a missile, in an attack seen by many Ukrainians as brazen evidence that the Russian invasion wasn’t just about hitting military targets but also about breaking their spirits.
The strike blew out windows and walls of buildings that ring the massive central square, which was piled high with debris and dust. Inside one building, chunks of plaster were scattered, and doors, ripped from their hinges, lay across hallways.
‘People are under the ruins. We have pulled out bodies,’ said Yevhen Vasylenko, representative of the Emergency Situations Ministry in Kharkiv region. In addition to the six killed, 20 were wounded in the strike, he said.
Zelensky called the attack on Kharkiv’s main square ‘frank, undisguised terror,’ blaming a Russian missile and calling it a war crime. ‘This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation,’ he said.
In an emotional appeal to the European Parliament later, Zelensky said: ‘We are fighting also to be equal members of Europe. I believe that today we are showing everybody that is what we are.’
He said 16 children had been killed on Monday, and he mocked Russia’s claim that it is going after only military targets.
‘Where are the children, what kind of military factories do they work at? What tanks are they going at, launching cruise missiles?’ Zelensky said.
In a worrying development, Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Local residents have also reported the use of the munitions in Kharkiv and the village of Kiyanka, though there was no independent confirmation.
If confirmed, that would represent a worrying new level of brutality in the war and could lead to even further isolation in Russia.
The Kremlin denied Tuesday that it has used such weapons and insisted again that its forces only have struck military targets – despite evidence documented by Associated Press reporters of shelling of homes, schools and hospitals.
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said earlier this week that he plans to open an investigation into possible war crimes.
Unbowed by Western condemnation, Russian officials upped their threats of escalation, days after raising the specter of a nuclear attack. A top Kremlin official warned that the West’s ‘economic war’ against Russia could turn into a ‘real one.’
The first talks Monday between Ukraine and Russia yielded no stop in the fighting, though the two sides agreed to another meeting in the coming days.
Throughout the country, many Ukrainian civilians spent another night huddled in shelters, basements or corridors. More than a half-million people have fled the country, and the U.N. human rights office said it has recorded the deaths of 136 civilians. The real toll is believed to be far higher.
A convoy of Russian tanks, artillery pieces, fighting vehicles and support trucks now stretches all the way from Hostomel, on the outskirts of Kyiv, to the village of Prybirs’k some 40 miles away (part of the convoy is seen, right)
There are fears the purpose of the convoy (pictured) is to surround Kyiv, besiege it and bomb it into submission – mirroring tactics Russia used in Syria while fighting alongside the forces of Basahar al-Assad
Russian vehicles are seen to the southeast of Invankiv and heading towards Kyiv in this satellite image taken on Monday
A handout satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows part of a military convoy and burning buildings, northwest of Ivankiv
A volunteer of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces walks by a damaged armored vehicle at a checkpoint in Brovary
A member of the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine stands guard in the aftermath of an overnight shelling at the Ukrainian checkpoint in Brovary
Ukrainian soldiers stand in the aftermath of an overnight shelling at the Ukrainian checkpoint in Brovary
Aftermath of an overnight shelling at the Ukrainian checkpoint in Brovary nearKyiv
A woman takes photos of a destroyed accommodation building near a checkpoint in Brovary, outside Kyiv
Putin propaganda channel Russia Today WILL disappear from British TV screens
Russian state-owned media outlet RT will no longer be available on Sky, the culture secretary has said.
Nadine Dorries said the move would mean ‘Putin’s polluting propaganda machine’ would be ‘severely restricted’ in Britain.
In a tweet, Ms Dorries said: ‘Shortly, the French satellite which broadcasts Russia Today (RT) in both the EU and UK will be switched off.
‘This means RT will no longer be available via Sky.
‘Putin’s polluting propaganda machine will now have severely restricted access into British homes via our TV screens.’
It comes after the video-sharing website YouTube blocked channels linked to RT and Sputnik across Europe, including the UK.
The Google-owned platform said the ban was effective immediately though it may take some time for the block to become fully effective.
The technology giant had previously limited the ability for RT and other Russian channels to make money from advertisements that appear on videos but has extended its sanctions.
‘Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately,’ a statement from Google Europe said.
‘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.’
Fellow social media platform Facebook has also blocked access to RT and Sputnik on its platform having previously also limited those channels’ ability to make advertising revenue.
The change means the pages of the organisations are not visible on Facebook or Instagram in the EU, but for now, they remain visible in the UK.
Former UK deputy prime minister, Sir Nick Clegg, who is now vice president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said the firm had been asked by governments to take further action against Russian state-backed media.
‘We have received requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media,’ he said on Twitter on Monday night.
‘Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time.’
‘It is a nightmare, and it seizes you from the inside very strongly. This cannot be explained with words,’ said Kharkiv resident Ekaterina Babenko, taking shelter in a basement with neighbors for a fifth straight day. ‘We have small children, elderly people and frankly speaking it is very frightening.’
A Ukrainian military official said Belarusian troops joined the war Tuesday in the Chernihiv region, without providing details. But just before that, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country had no plans to join the fight.
One after the other, explosions burst through a residential area of Kharkiv in one video verified by the AP. In the background, a man pleaded with a woman to leave, and a woman cried.
Determined for life to go on despite the attacks, hospital workers transferred a Kharkiv maternity ward to a bomb shelter. Amid makeshift electrical sockets and mattresses piled up against the walls, pregnant women paced the crowded space, accompanied by the cries of dozens of newborns.
Russia’s goals in hitting central Kharkiv were not immediately clear. Western officials speculated that it is trying to pull in Ukrainian forces to defend the city while a larger Russian force encircles Kyiv.
Russian troops continued their advance toward the capital, a city of nearly 3 million. The convoy was 25 kilometers (17 miles) from the center of the city and stretched about 65 kilometers (40 miles), according to satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies.
Flames shot up from a military base northeast of Kyiv, in the suburb of Brovary, in footage taken from a car driving past. In another video verified by AP, a passenger pleaded with the driver, ‘Misha, we need to drive quickly as they’ll strike again.’
And Ukrainian authorities released details and photos of an attack Sunday on a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, saying more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed along with some local residents. The attack could not be immediately confirmed.
The Russian military’s movements have been stalled by fierce resistance on the ground and a surprising inability to dominate Ukraine’s airspace.
Ukrainians used resourcefulness to try to stop the Russian advance: On a highway between Odesa and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, residents piled tractor tires filled with sand and topped with sandbags to block Russian military convoys. In Kyiv, sandbags were heaped in front of doors and windows of City Hall.
Russia’s war on Ukraine is now in its sixth day, but Ukrainian fighters are putting up a fierce resistance and surprisingly, Russia has not been able to dominate the skies.
There are increasing fears that as Russia becomes more isolated under an avalanche of Western sanctions, Vladimir Putin could become even more reckless and set off a world-altering war.
Across Ukraine, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict with families and children huddled in underground subway stations, basements and other shelters.
The Red Cross appealed Tuesday for $272 million to help people affected by the war. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross federation said they fear ‘millions of people face extreme hardship and suffering without improved access and a rapid increase in humanitarian assistance.’
On Monday, a Ukrainian delegation held talks with Russian officials at the border with Belarus, though they ended with no agreements except to keep talking.
Meanwhile, Western sanctions triggered by the invasion sent the Russian ruble plummeting, leading ordinary Russians to line up at banks and ATMs. And Russian teams were suspended from all international soccer matches, including qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, pushing the country toward sports pariah status.
The cultural backlash against the Kremlin has also intensified. Several major Hollywood entertainment companies said they are pausing the upcoming release of films in Russia in response to the ongoing ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Ukraine.
The Cannes Film Festival also said no Russian delegations would be welcome this year and the Venice festival announced free screenings of a film about the 2014 conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
The sporting backlash also continued, with Russian flags and the playing of its national anthem banned in Formula One, the FIA announced on Tuesday in response to the country’s invasion.
Ukrainian authorities say the center of Kharkiv was hit Tuesday by renewed Russian shelling that struck the administration building along with residential buildings. An emergency official said the bodies of at least six people had been pulled from the ruins, and at least 20 other people were injured.
The Russian military convoy threatening Kyiv – a city of nearly 3 million people – is far bigger than initially thought, with satellite images showing it occupying much of a 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of road north of the Ukrainian capital. The convoy was no more than 17 miles (25 kilometers) from the city center on Monday, according to satellite imagery from the Maxar company.
Kyiv’s outgunned but determined troops have slowed Russia’s advance and held onto Kyiv and other key cities – at least for the time being. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – who had earlier cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law and whose defiance has drawn much admiration from the West – asked NATO to impose a complete no-fly zone over Ukraine for Russian airplanes, helicopters and missiles.
Britain’s deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, rejected the call Tuesday, saying it would risk widening the war by putting the alliance in direct conflict with Russian forces.
Zelensky called the attack Tuesday on Kharkiv’s main square ‘frank, undisguised terror,’ blaming a Russian missile and calling it a war crime. ‘Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget.’ Later, in an address to the European Parliament, he said Ukrainians are ‘fighting also to be equal members of Europe.’
‘I believe that today we are showing everybody that is what we are,’ he said.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Tuesday her government wanted to boost the country’s military capabilities following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the ‘general threat level’ had increased.
‘Sweden’s defensive capabilities need to be strengthened, the rearmament needs to be brought forward,’ Andersson said during a televised speech to the nation.
‘Sweden should have a strong defense,’ she said, announcing they would initiate talks for additional resources.
‘We are not under a direct threat of an armed attack against Sweden, but the general threat level has increased,’ she said.
After the end of the Cold War, Sweden slashed military spending. It was only after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 that parliament agreed on a turnaround.
Sweden reintroduced mandatory military service in 2017 and reopened its garrison on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea in January 2018.
In October, it bumped up defense spending by 40 percent with an extra 27 billion Swedish kronor ($2.8 billion, 2.5 billion euros) to be added to the defense budget from 2021 to 2025.
Sweden is not a NATO member, but cooperates closely with the alliance.
Sweden’s decision came after Germany announced last week that it would be increasing its defense spending over 2 percent of its GDP for the first time since the Second World War.
Kharkiv was struck by more Russian rockets on Tuesday morning, with one striking outside the civilian public administration building which was heavily damaged in the blast. The rocket can be seen a split second before it slams into the building, triggering a massive blast
The rocket caused huge damage to the building and threw up a huge plume of smoke in the aftermath of the explosion
A damaged administrative building in the aftermath of a Russian shelling in downtown Kharkiv, Ukraine
Aftermath of a Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine
A view shows the regional administration building following the Russian rocket attack in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022
The bombardment of Kharkiv continued Tuesday morning with a rocket landing just in front of the civilian public administration building, destroying the road outside and blowing the windows out of the building itself. Footage from inside shows the building was heavily damaged, with ceilings collapsing and rubble strewn around
Rescue workers and medics are pictured close to the regional administration building in central Kharkiv, picking their way through the debris following the explosion
Over the weekend, Russian artillery hit a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, where more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, the head of the region wrote on Telegram, posting photographs of the charred shell of a four-story building and rescuers searching through the rubble.
Ukrainian authorities say Russian forces have blocked Kherson, a major port on the Black Sea. Russian troops have made significant gains along Ukraine’s coast in an apparent effort to cut it off from both the Black and the Azov seas.
For many, it has meant sheltering in basements and subway stations while Russian forces attack cities and street fights rage. Others have scrambled to escape, leaving homes and husbands, fathers and sons to fight, taking trains and buses or walking for miles to a safer country.
Across Ukraine and in refugee shelters across the borders, parents have struggled to comfort their children. Mothers rock them on subway platforms or carry them for miles in the cold. At one border station in Poland, refugees were met by boxes of donated clothes and toys.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have sought safety at night in Kyiv’s subway system and other makeshift shelters around the country, where parents try to calm their children’s fears.
On Monday, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said her office had confirmed that 102 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in the Russian invasion and 304 others wounded since Thursday, though she cautioned the tally was likely a vast undercount.
Western officials believe Putin wants to overthrow Ukraine’s government and replace it with a compliant regime, reviving Moscow’s Cold War-era influence. His comments have raised fears that the invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war, whether by design or mistake.
The United States and the European Union have levied sanctions on Russia’s biggest banks and its elite, frozen the assets of the country’s Central Bank located outside the country, and excluded its financial institutions from the SWIFT bank messaging system – but have largely allowed its oil and natural gas to continue to flow freely to the rest of the world.
Sanctions experts expect Russia to try to mitigate the impact of the financial penalties by relying on energy sales and leaning on the country’s reserves in gold and Chinese currency. Putin also is expected to move funds through smaller banks and accounts of elite families not covered by the sanctions, deal in cryptocurrency and rely on Russia’s relationship with China.
The U.N.’s two major bodies – the 193-nation General Assembly and the more powerful 15-member Security Council – held separate meetings Monday to discuss Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The council meeting opened with the news that the United States was kicking out 12 Russian U.N. diplomats whom Washington accuses of spying.
The assembly will give all U.N. members an opportunity to speak about the war and more than 110 signed up to do so, with speeches to continue Tuesday. The assembly, which allows no vetoes, is expected to vote later in the week on a resolution coordinated by European Union envoys, working with Ukraine.
The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, demands that Russia immediately stop using force against Ukraine and withdraw all troops.
In Geneva, meanwhile, scores of diplomats walked out of two meetings at the U.N. in which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was beamed in for a video statement, as a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said he plans to open an investigation ‘as rapidly as possible’ into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine – both alleged crimes committed before the Russian invasion, but also any new crimes that either side might have committed since the invasion started.
The U.N. refugee agency says that about 660,000 people have fled Ukraine for neighboring countries since the Russian invasion began. The number, given on Tuesday, was up from a count of more than 500,000 a day earlier.
UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said in Geneva that ‘at this rate, the situation looks set to become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.’
Earlier, when the overall figure still stood at around half a million, she said the count included 281,000 in Poland, more than 84,500 in Hungary, about 36,400 in Moldova, over 32,500 in Romania and about 30,000 in Slovakia. The rest were scattered in other countries, she said.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, has said the U.N. expects the total to reach 4 million in the coming weeks.
Putin’s war on CHILDREN: Battle to save Polina’s little brother as he lies unconscious in hospital unaware his mother, father and sister were shot dead – as Russian missile strike on KINDERGARTEN kills six
By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline
The lives of the brother and sister of Polina, the Harry Potter mad Ukrainian 10-year-old girl shot dead by the Russians with their parents, still hang in the balance today as a little girl blown up with five others when a missile hit a kindergarten was also named.
Polina was among three members of the same family murdered in their car by one of Putin’s sabotage and reconnaissance units operating in the capital on Saturday.
Anton Kudrin, and wife Svetlana Zapadynskaya and their middle daughter died in a hail of bullets, their eldest daughter Sofia and youngest son Semyon are wounded and in a critical condition in hospital, unaware their family has been killed.
A poignant picture of a relative, head bowed, while clutching Semyon’s hand as he lies stricken on a ventilator epitomises how Putin’s war is targeting civilians and continues to take a terrible toll on Ukraine‘s youngest and most vulnerable. 16 children have died and 45 wounded since last Thursday, with the death toll expected to rise later today.
The brutal treatment suffered at the hands of the Russians by Ukraine’s children has appalled the world as it was also revealed that one child with gunshot wounds died on the way to hospital after his ambulance came under fire from the invaders.
Yesterday images charting the senseless death of the so-called girl in the pink unicorn pyjamas shocked the world. Surrounded by doctors and nurses, the girl of six lay fatally wounded on a paramedic’s trolley being held by her bloodsoaked father – one of the youngest victims of Putin’s murderous onslaught on her country.
A picture of the smiling pink-haired schoolgirl Polina was shared by Vladimir Bondarenko, the deputy mayor of Kyiv yesterday. Mr Bondarenko said: ‘Her name was Polina. She studied in the 4th grade of school in Kyiv. Her and her parents were shot by Russian DRG.’ The 10-year-old loved the Harry Potter books and was in her final year at primary school when she was murdered.
Seven-year-old Alisa Hlans was one of six people who died when her kindergarten was hit on Friday, the second day of the Russian invasion. Pictures of the aftermath of the attack showed bodies strewn around the entrance as the staff tried to flee with the children.
At least one child hiding at the nursery was wounded in the attack.
Prosecutor general Irina Venediktova said Alisa, who was three months away from her eighth birthday, died in hospital on Saturday after the attack in the small town of Okhtyrka, an hour’s drive from Ukraine’s north-east border.
The Russian military were accused of using cluster bombs in the attack, with the shattered kindergarten showing signs of multiple explosions from a single bomb. The Kremlin has denied the claims.
A six-year-old girl called Sofia Fedko and her brother Ivan, who was only a few weeks old, died when five members of the same family came under fire near the southern city of Kherson. The children’s mother Irina and two grandparents, aged 56, also died on the first day of the conflict.
An unnamed boy was killed on the second day of fighting in the small town of Chuhuiv in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, after a shell struck apartments.
While one local doctor told Sky News that a boy of ten died of gunshot wounds on his way to Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv on Friday night. Dr Andrey Vysotskyi said the boy was ‘in the ambulance and also the ambulance was under gunfire’.
Children not killed or injured are among the 500,000-plus people trying to flee Ukraine for the West – many have been forced to say goodbye to their fathers, who are staying behind to fight.
Putin’s disgraceful war waged on the people of Ukraine was laid bare in heart-wrenching pictures capturing the death of an innocent six-year-old – dubbed the girl in the pink unicorn pyjamas – one of 16 children now killed in the conflict.
The upsetting pictures charted the fight to save the unnamed little girl who was fatally injured when the Russians shelled her Mariupol apartment block on Sunday – and epitomised the terrible toll war is having on civilians, especially children.
During the rescue attempt, a doctor in blue medical scrubs, pumping oxygen into the girl, turned to the AP photographer and said: ‘Show this to Putin: The eyes of this child, and crying doctors.’
Polina’s younger brother Semyon Kudrin is supported by a loved one as he lies on a ventilator after being wounded by the Russians in an attack that claimed the lives of his sister and parents. His eldest sibling Sofia also hangs in the balance
Pink-haired Polina, ten, was shot and killed by the Russians while in a car with her parents in Kyiv. The Harry Potter fan was due to finish primary school this year
Seven-year-old Alisa Hlans was one of six people who died when her kindergarten was hit on Friday, the second day of the Russian invasion. Pictures of the aftermath of the attack showed bodies strewn around the entrance as the staff tried to flee with the children in Okhtyrka in Eastern Ukraine. The circles suggest multiple impacts, likely to be from a cluster bomb
Father Anton Kudrin, and wife Svetlana Zapadynskaya and their middle daughter Polina died, their eldest daughter Sofia (at the back) and youngest son Semyon (right) were badly wounded
A woman, who could be the child’s mother, reacts as paramedics perform CPR on the girl who was fatally injured during shelling in Mariupol yesterday. She clutches her blood-soaked hand to her mouth while clutching the child’s belongings with the other including shoes and a scarf
The child lies dead and alone in the city’s hospital after Russian attacks claimed her life in a picture that has shocked the world. 16 children have died in Ukraine since Thursday, 45 are wounded
The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL
Readers of Mail Newspapers have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.
Calling upon that human spirit, we are now launching an appeal to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.
For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.
As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.
All donations to the Mail Ukraine Appeal will be distributed to charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.
In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.
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Clutching her blood-covered hand to her mouth and carrying the child’s slippers, pompom scarf and bobble hat, one woman, who could be her mother, was photographed as attempts were made to resuscitate the six-year-old in the back of an ambulance after the artillery strike.
The next picture, too graphic to be published, shows the girl’s father holding his lifeless child’s hand as the paramedic performs CPR on her tiny body. He is sobbing while covered in what appears to be her blood.
A team of doctors then tenderly carries the child, who is still wearing her red-stained unicorn pyjamas, into the hospital in the coastal city. Her bedclothes are then cut away so a team of seven doctors work on her body, which is still being gripped by her praying father.
The final image shows the child alone on a gurney in an empty ward, having been declared dead in a war that had by Sunday claimed civilian victims of at least 210, including more than a dozen children.
More than 500,000 refugees, mainly women and children, are fleeing Ukraine for the West, with some children separated or even orphaned since the invasion began. Queues of up to 25 miles are reported at the border with Poland and Romania.
It came as Mail readers donated an extraordinary £268,000 on the first day of our Ukraine Appeal. The newspaper’s owner also pledged £500,000 – sending the first day’s monumental total soaring past £750,000 to be given to reputable charities that are already on the ground doling out hot food, blankets and vital shelter to stricken families.
The gut-wrenching picture of the six-year-old child’s pale and lifeless body could become the defining images of the conflict in the same way the photo of three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, washed up drowned on a Turkish beach 2015, horrified the world and laid bare the plight of refugees fleeing the wartorn country.
Her death, and of other children, exposes Putin’s filthy lie that he is not waging war on the Ukrainian people amid calls for him to be treated as a war criminal for his bombing of civilians. Several nurseries and kindergartens have also been hit.
President Zelensky said in a TV address yesterday that 16 Ukrainian children have been killed and 45 wounded in the four days since the invasion began.
Little boy Mark Goncharuk was filmed fleeing with others in a van toward the Ukrainian border, fighting the tears as he spoke about how his father stayed behind to help support the fight against the Russians.
As tears poured down his face he said: ‘We left our Dad in Kyiv. He is helping our heroes, our army, and may even fight himself’. The family were picked up by a team from the Reuters press agency. Mark said: ‘We were walking for three hours and planned to walk for three days. You saved us’.
Putin dramatically escalated East-West tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces put on high alert on Sunday, while Ukraine’s embattled leader agreed to talks with Moscow as Putin’s forces drove deeper into the country.
Putin cited ‘aggressive statements’ by NATO in issuing a directive to increase the readiness of his country’s nuclear weapons – a step that raised fears that the invasion of Ukraine could boil over into nuclear war, whether by design or mistake.The Russian leader is ‘potentially putting in play forces that, if there’s a miscalculation, could make things much, much more dangerous,’ said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
This is the kindergarten blown up by the Russians killing six in happier times before it was hit with a warhead
A Ukrainian father says a tearful goodbye to his son as he boards a train with his mother and sister as men stay behind in Kyiv and other cities to fight the Russians
Gravely ill children, including several diagnosed with cancer, are now receiving treatment on the basement floor of the shelter of Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital
A Ukrainian child sobs alone in a railways station as Europe faces a fresh refugee crisis as millions are potentially displaced by war
Children cling to the windows of coaches or cry as they are separated from families and taken away from the front line
A woman and a child wait for a call to cross the Polish passport control after arriving in a train from Kyiv at the Przemysl main train station
A member of the Slovak Armed Forces carries a child fleeing from Ukraine who arrived in Slovakia with her family, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine