(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.” Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as well as major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Mar 30, 5:27 am
Over four million refugees have fled Ukraine: UNHCR
More than four million people have been forced to flee Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency.
The tally from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) amounts to just over 9% of Ukraine’s population — which the World Bank counted at 44 million at the end of 2020 — on the move across borders in 35 days.
More than half of the refugees crossed into neighboring Poland, UNHCR figures show.
Mar 30, 3:41 am
Russian authorities may ‘single out and detain’ Americans in Russia and Ukraine, US warns
The United States is warning that Russian authorities “may single out and detain U.S. citizens” in both Russia and Ukraine.
The warning came Tuesday as the U.S. Department of State issued new travel advisories for the two warring countries.
The State Department previously warned Americans in Russia that they could be targets for harassment by Russian authorities. But the latest advisory makes it explicit that U.S. citizens could be “singled out,” “including for detention.”
The State Department has also previously warned Americans against traveling to Ukraine to join the fight against Russian forces, pointing to statements from Russian authorities that anyone detained while fighting will not be considered a lawful combatant. That could mean mistreatment or worse, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
“There are continued reports of U.S. citizens being singled out and detained by the Russian military in Ukraine and when evacuating by land through Russia-occupied territory or to Russia or Belarus,” the latest advisory for Ukraine states.
Both Russia and Ukraine have been on the State Department’s “Travel Advisory Level 4 – Do Not Travel” for months, as tensions ratcheted up and with little to no diplomatic presences on the ground.
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