(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, don’t appear to have advanced closer to 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 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 07, 5:50 am
Ukraine casts doubt on Russian pledge for civilian pathways
Ukrainian officials said Russia’s proposal on Monday to open “humanitarian corridors” for cities in Ukraine is not a genuine offer because it offers to evacuate civilians only to Belarus and Russia.
Iryna Vereshchuk, a Ukrainian vice prime minister, in a televised briefing called that “unacceptable” and said Ukraine had demanded instead that civilians be allowed to evacuate to other parts of Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry had said it would open a corridor from towns and villages north of Kyiv, where heavy fighting is taking place, but that would allow people to travel to the Belarusian city of Gomel and then be flown to Russia. Russia also offered corridors near the besieged northeastern and eastern cities of Kharkiv, Sumy and Mariupol, but that would also only allow people to leave over the border to Russia.
“This is an unacceptable option of humanitarian corridors. Our people from outskirts of Kyiv won’t go to Belarus and then to Russia,” Vereshchuk said.
She said that Ukraine wants civilians north of Kyiv to be permitted to leave to the capital and for those from Kharkiv to be allowed to western cities by train, and from Mariupol north to the central city of Zaporizhzhia.
“We delivered our proposal on how the corridors should be organized,” Vereshchuk said, later adding, “Humanitarian aid is prepared for a number of towns in the east and south. We ask Russia to confirm these corridors and provide ceasefire.”
Russia has repeatedly violated its own ceasefire since offering humanitarian corridors for Mariupol and another eastern town Volnovakha, including shelling evacuation points in Mariupol according to officials there. The Red Cross, which is trying to organize the evacuations, has said the agreements currently are too vague and without clear understandings for routes out.
Russia said Monday’s offer for the corridors was made following a lengthy phone conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.
Vereshchuk said Russia was trying to exploit Macron’s name for a disingenuous offer of corridors.
“I hope president Macron understands that his name and good intentions are manipulated by Russia,” she said.
-ABC News’ Patrick Reevell
Mar 07, 3:43 am
Refugee arrivals to Poland top 1 million, guard says
More than 1 million people fleeing Ukraine have arrived in Poland since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, the Polish Border Guard said on Monday.
A record 142,000 people arrived on Sunday, the guard said on Twitter. On Monday, about 42,000 people had crossed the border before 7 a.m. local time.
As of Sunday, more than 1.5 million people had fled the war in Ukraine, marking the “fastest growing refugee crises in Europe since World War II,” according to Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees.
Mar 07, 2:43 am
With attacks on TV towers, Russia seeks to isolate Ukrainians, UK says
Russian forces have attacked Ukrainian communications infrastructure to “reduce Ukrainian citizens’ access to reliable news and information,” the U.K. Ministry of Defence said on Monday.
“Russia reportedly struck a TV tower in Kharkiv yesterday, suspending broadcasting output,” the Ministry’s update said.
Russian forces on March 1 struck a TV tower in Kyiv, the capital.
Mar 07, 2:18 am
Russia says cease-fire will allow evacuations from 4 cities
Russia declared a cease-fire starting Monday morning, opening humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy, the Russian interagency humanitarian response staff in Ukraine said.
“Taking into account the disastrous humanitarian situation and its severe deterioration in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Mariupol, and also at French President Emmanuel Macron’s personal request to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Armed Forces are declaring a ceasefire and opening humanitarian corridors for reasons of humanity starting 10:00 a.m. on March 7, 2022,” the staff said.
Ukrainian officials in Mariupol said Russia broke planned cease-fires on Saturday and Sunday.
-ABC News’ Anastasia Bagaeva
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