Russia attacks Ukraine: Number of refugees from Ukraine top 1 million

Fighting intensified across Ukraine early Wednesday, with several cities reportedly falling under Russian control and a 40-mile Russian military convoy idling on the outskirts of Kyiv.

>> Read more trending news

Although its capital remained under Ukrainian control seven days after Russian troops invaded the independent neighboring nation, its second-largest city, Kharkiv, greeted daylight embroiled in a firefight with Russian paratroopers who landed in the predawn hours and attacked a military medical center.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have confirmed that the southern cities of Kherson and Mariupol are encircled by Russian troops and that four civilians died Tuesday after homes in the city of Zhytomyr west of Kyiv were hit by a suspected cruise missile.

Here are the latest updates:

Wells Fargo, Bank of America pledge donations

Update 11:13 p.m. EST March 2: Wells Fargo and Bank of America pledged to each donate $1 million to humanitarian relief in Ukraine, The New York Times reported. Wells Fargo will send money to the American Red Cross, the World Central Kitchen and United Service Organizations, the newspaper reported. Bank of America will donate to the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Ukraine and to the World Central Kitchen.

Canada’s Trudeau offers more support for Ukraine

Update 10:35 p.m. EST March 2: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and expressed solidarity and more support for the embattled nation, CNN reported.

Zelenskyy tweeted thanks to Trudeau for his leadership in imposing sanctions on Russia, adding he “stressed the need to expand restrictive measures.”

BBC launches shortwave frequencies for Ukrainians

Update 10:11 p.m. EST March 2: The BBC announced that it had launched two new shortwave frequencies, which can be heard on cheap, portable devices and can be received clearly in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and parts of Russia. The BBC said it will broadcast four hours of World Service news in English a day on the shortwave frequencies.

Japan will accept Ukrainian refugees

Update 9:15 p.m. EST March 2: Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his country will accept refugees from Ukraine forced to flee their homes.

Kishida told reporters that people with relatives or friends in Japan would be given priority, The Guardian reported.

“But we will not stop there and will respond (to other applications) from a humanitarian perspective,” Kishida said. “The Ukrainian situation is tense, and refugees are growing in large numbers. We will make preparations to cope with this situation as soon as possible.”

Ukraine refugee total reaches 1 million

Update 8:17 p.m. EST March 2: The U.N. ‘s refugee agency said 1 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion a week ago, The Associated Press reported.

The number from UNHCR amounts to more than 2% of Ukraine’s population. The World Bank said Ukraine’s population at the end of 2020 was 44 million, according to the AP.

In an email, UNHCR spokesperson Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams told the news organization, “Our data indicates we passed the 1M mark” as of midnight in central Europe.

Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin resigns as Guggenheim Museum trustee

Update 6:42 p.m. EST March 2: Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men and a key supporter of the Guggenheim Museum, announced he is stepping down as one of the museum’s trustees, The New York Times reported.

Potanin has been a trustee since 2002, according to the newspaper. In a statement, the museum gave no reason for Potanin’s decision, but referenced the war in Ukraine and the oligarch’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich will sell Chelsea FC

Update 5:54 p.m. EST March 2: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell his soccer team, Chelsea FC, ESPN reported.

On Saturday, Abramovich, 55, gave up supervision of the club he owned for 20 years to the charitable foundation of Chelsea.

On Wednesday, Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell the club in a statement on the Blues’

ESPN reported earlier on Wednesday that the 55-year-old was willing to listen to offers for the club, and Abramovich confirmed his plans in a statement on the Blues’ website.

“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner,” Abramovich said in a statement on Wednesday. “However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.”

The club will set up a charitable foundation to benefit “all victims” of the war in Ukraine, Abramovich said.

ICC opening probe into potential war crimes

Update 5:43 p.m. EST March 2: The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor opened an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in Ukraine dating to 2013, according to The Associated Press and The Guardian.

Prosecutor Karim Khan said he launched the probe after 39 of the court’s member states requested an investigation, which is known as a referral.

“These referrals enable my office to proceed with opening an investigation into the Situation in Ukraine from 21 November 2013 onwards, thereby encompassing within its scope any past and present allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed on any part of the territory of Ukraine by any person,” Khan said in a statement. “Our work in the collection of evidence has now commenced.”

Publix removing Russian-made vodka from liquor stores

Update 5:38 p.m. EST March 2: Publix Super Markets has become the latest retailer to remove Russian-made vodka from its liquor store shelves in a show of support for Ukraine.

>> Publix removes Russian-made vodka from shelves in support of Ukraine

The Florida-based supermarket chain announced the decision Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported. Publix has stores in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the chain’s website.

“Publix stands with the people of Ukraine,” Maria Brous, a spokesperson for the grocery chain, said in a statement. “To show our support, we have decided to remove Russian-made vodka brands from our shelves,” Brous said.

Sweden claims Russia violated airspace

Update 4:43 p.m. EST March 2: Four Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Swedish Armed Forces.

CNN reported that two Russian Su-27s and two Russian Su-24s violated Swedish airspace east of the island of Gotland. 

“We were on site to secure territorial integrity and Sweden’s borders,” said Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edström. “We have full control of the situation.”

Sweden banned Russian flights in its airspace on Monday.

Report: China asked Russia to delay Ukraine invasion until Olympics ended

Update 4:28 p.m. EST March 2: A Western intelligence report indicated that Chinese officials asked senior Russian officials to wait until after the Beijing Olympics to begin an invasion of Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

Chinese Communist Party officials passed along that information to Russian officials at that time, U.S. officials told the newspaper. It was not clear whether Chinese President Xi Jinping directly discussed the timing of an invasion with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“That was one of Xi’s biggest concerns” -- that an invasion not happen “until after the closing ceremonies,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Post.

The intelligence report was first reported by the New York Times.

Ukrainian city of Kherson falls to Russia, New York Times reports

Update 3:45 p.m. EST March 2: Igor Kolykhaev, mayor of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, confirmed to The New York Times on Wednesday that the city has been captured by Russian forces.

“There is no Ukrainian Army here,” he told the newspaper. “The city is surrounded.”

The city of 300,000 is the largest to be seized by Russian forces since fighting started last week, according to the Times. It is considered a strategic hub because of its position on the southern coastline, the newspaper reported.

In a Facebook post, Kolykhaev said that there were “armed visitors in the city council today.”

“I made no promises to them. I just have nothing to promise,” he wrote. “I am only interested in the normal life of our city! I just asked not to shoot people. We don’t have Ukrainian Armed Forces in the city, only civilians and people who want to live here.”

Hours earlier, a spokesperson for the military denied that Kherson had fallen to the Russians.

“According to the info from our brigade the battles are going on now,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said, according to CNN. “The city is not captured totally, some parts are under our control.”

Powerful explosion in Kyiv near rail station

Update 3:30 p.m. EST March 2: Ukrainian officials have reported a powerful explosion in central Kyiv, between the Southern Railway station and the Ibis hotel, an area near Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that it was a missile strike.

Officials said it wasn’t immediately clear how damaging the strike was, whether there were any casualties or where exactly the missile hit.

The Southern Railway station is one of two stations that make up the main passenger rail complex that thousands have used to flee the war over the past week. The two stations are connected by an overhead corridor that crosses over about a dozen tracks.

The stations are about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the square that was the site of huge protests in 2014 and 2004.

Russian convoy headed for Kyiv remains stalled, Pentagon spokesman says

Update 3:20 p.m. EST March 2: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said a 40-mile convoy headed for Kyiv remained stalled on Wednesday with no “appreciable progress geographically” seen in the last 24 to 48 hours.

Kirby said officials did not know exactly what was behind the delay, although he said officials believe it’s a combination of several things, including Russians regrouping and reassessing the progress they’ve made and unexpected issues with logistics and sustainment.

In addition, Kirby said officials have seen reports that the convoy is dealing with resistance from Ukrainians.

“We have some indications that the Ukrainians have, in fact, tried to slow down that convoy,” he said, adding that authorities have not been able to verify the reports.

Blinken discusses new sanctions on Russian defense sector, export controls on Belarus

Update 3:10 p.m. EST March 2: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said officials are imposing “sweeping sanctions” on Russia’s defense sector, targeting 22 companies that produce everything from combat aircraft to electronic warfare systems.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Blinken said the systems are “now being used to assault the Ukrainian people, abuse human rights (and) violate international humanitarian law.”

Officials are also enacting export controls on Belarus. Blinken called the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, a “co-belligerent in (Russian President Vladimir Putin’s) war of choice.”

“We will choke off Belarus’ ability to import key technologies,” the secretary of state said. “If Lukashenko’s support for the war continues, the consequences will escalate.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine raises price of metal targeted by catalytic converter thieves

Update 2:55 p.m. EST March 2: Catalytic converter thefts are getting worse in light of the Russian attack on Ukraine that began last week, WHBQ-TV reported.

Thieves target the devices to resell the expensive metals used within them, which includes palladium, according to the news station. Russia is the world’s No. 1 producer of palladium, and sanctions recently levied against the country have driven the price of the precious metal up, WHBQ reported.

>>

Russia accused of using thermobaric weapons against Ukraine

Update 2:35 p.m. EST March 2: Officials have accused Russia of deploying devastating thermobaric or “vacuum” bombs against Ukraine as part of its ongoing invasion of the country.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, told reporters on Monday that Russia used a vacuum bomb during its attack on the country, according to Reuters.

“The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large,” she said.

>> Read more: Vacuum bombs: What are thermobaric weapons and how do they work?

US hits Russia, Belarus with new sanctions

Update 2:20 p.m. EST March 2: The White House has announced additional sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus, including extending export controls that target Russian oil refining and entities supporting the Russian and Belarusian military.

Among Wednesday’s new measures are sanctions targeting 22 Russia defense entities that make combat aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military.

The U.S. Commerce Department also announced additional export controls on oil and gas extraction equipment that would hurt Russia’s refining capacity over the long term.

The Biden administration, and Western allies, have largely stayed away from hitting the Russian energy sector to avoid causing tremors to the global supply of energy. The White House, however, said in a statement that U.S. and allies “share a strong interest in degrading Russia’s status as a leading energy supplier over time.”

The latest sanctions imposed on Wednesday include the U.S. closing off its air space to all Russian flights. President Joe Biden previewed that he would making the move in his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

United Airlines avoiding Russian airspace

Update 1:55 p.m. EST March 2: A spokesperson for United Airlines told CNN on Wednesday that the company has begun to avoid Russian airspace, although the U.S. government has not banned aircraft from the area.

Leslie Scott told CNN that the decision prompted the company to cancel flights between San Francisco and New Delhi, India, and between Newark New Jersey and Mumbai, India, for the next few days. The company will also reroute flights between Newark and New Delhi and Chicago and New Delhi, according to CNN.

Ukraine, Russia to hold talks on Thursday

Update 1:15 p.m. EST March 2: A top aide for Russian President Vladimir Putin says Ukrainians are on their way to Belarus for talks that have been scheduled for Thursday.

“As far as I know, the Ukrainian delegation has already departed from Kyiv, is en route ... We’re expecting them tomorrow,” Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, told reporters Wednesday evening

According to Medinsky, the two sides agreed on the Brest region of Belarus, which borders Poland, as the site of the talks.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office confirmed to The Associated Press that the delegation is on its way, but gave no details on the time of the arrival.

Vice President Harris: ‘The eyes of the world are on the brave people of Ukraine’

Update 12:55 p.m. EST March 2: Vice President Kamala Harris shared support Wednesday for the Ukrainian people as they continue to fight off a Russian invasion launched last week.

“They are fighting not just to defend their homes and their families but to defend their worth and their freedom, their sovereignty and their territorial integrity,” she said during an appearance in North Carolina. “We stand with the people of Ukraine in this fight. ... We stand with our partners and our allies on the side of knowing that we must always be vigilant in defending the ideals that we hold dear.”

The vice president shared the remarks while visiting Durham to tour the IBEW local 553 apprentice program at Durham Technical Community College.

Zelenskyy praises UN General Assembly after vote to condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine

Update 12:35 p.m. EST March 2: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the United Nations General Assembly after it voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine.

“I’m grateful to everyone (and) every state that voted in favor,” Zelenskyy said in a statement posted on social media. “You have chosen the right side of history.”

The U.N. General Assembly voted 141 to 5 to demand that Russia end its war with Ukraine. Zelenskyy said the vote showed “that a global anti-(Russian President Vladimir) Putin coalition has been formed and is functioning.”

“The world is with us,” he wrote. “The truth is on our side.”

Kroger pulls Russian-produced vodka from shelves

Update 12:30 p.m. EST March 2: Officials with the Kroger grocery chain on Tuesday announced that over the weekend, they removed Russian-produced vodka from the shelves of their nearly 2,800 stores nationwide.

“As America’s grocer, we’re taking action to show our support and solidarity with Ukraine,” officials with the chain said in a statement posted on Twitter. The company is also sending emergency food assistance to the UN World Food Programme’s Ukraine Emergency Fund.

>> Read more: Kroger pulls Russian-produced vodka off shelves

Nearly 500 Russian soldiers killed since start of Ukraine invasion: reports

Update 12:25 p.m. EST March 2: Officials with Russia’s defense ministry on Wednesday said that 498 Russian soldiers have died and nearly 1,600 others have been wounded since the start of the attack on Ukraine, BBC News and The Guardian reported, citing Russian media reports.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov denied reports that Russia had suffered “incalculable losses,” calling them “disinformation,” according to The Associated Press.

Ukrainian officials have claimed that they have killed more than 5,840 Russian troops, BBC News reported.

UN General Assembly adopts resolution to demand Russia stop war

Update 12:05 p.m. EST March 2: The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday voted to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine “in the strongest terms.”

The vote was 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions. It came after the 193-member assembly convened its first emergency session since 1997.

Assembly resolutions aren’t legally binding, but they do have clout in reflecting international opinion. A Russian veto sank a similar resolution in the more powerful U.N. Security Council on Friday, but the assembly allows no vetoes. Under special emergency session rules, a resolution needs approval of two-thirds of those countries voting, and abstentions don’t count.

The resolution also “demands that the Russian Federation immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” CNN reported.

Ukraine says 21 killed in attack on Kharkiv

Update 11:50 a.m. EST March 2: A Ukrainian official says the advance of Russian troops in Kharkiv has been stopped, but that Russians have responded by shelling the city with heavy rocket launchers and air attacks.

“Kharkiv today is the Stalingrad of the 21st century,” said Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Oleg Sinehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration, said that over the past 24 hours 21 people were killed and at least 112 were injured by Russians.

Explosions on Wednesday thundered on Constitution Square, near the buildings of the City Council and the Palace of Labor. A missile attack also destroyed the building of the regional police department in Kharkiv and the university building, which is located across the street.

Arestovich said that several Russian planes were shot down over Kharkiv.

The Russians used Iskander missile systems to bombard Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

Arestovich said Iskander missile systems can deviate from their target, making them “a danger to civilian objects.”

EA Sports removing Russian teams from FIFA games, products

Update 11:45 a.m. EST March 2: Officials with EA Sports on Wednesday announced that the company has begun to remove the Russian national teams and Russian soccer clubs from all its products, including its FIFA 22 video game.

In a statement, company officials said they stand “in solidarity with the Ukrainian people” and called for an end to the invasion of Ukraine.

Justice Department launches task force targeting Russian oligarchs

Update 11:40 a.m. EST March 2: The Justice Department on Wednesday launched a task force aimed at targeting Russian oligarchs to put pressure on the country amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the interagency “KleptoCapture” task force will enforce sanctions, export restrictions aimed at isolating Russia from global markets in response to its attack on Ukraine.

“The Justice Department will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,” Garland said. “We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war.”

US ambassador to UN: ‘President Putin continues to escalate’

Update 11:20 a.m. EST March 2: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to escalate” in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia is destroying critical infrastructure, vital services which provide millions of people across Ukraine with drinking water to stay alive, gas to keep people from freezing to death, and now it appears Russia is preparing to increase the brutality of its campaign against Ukraine,” she said in an address Wednesday to the U.N.

“We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and cluster bombs, which are banned under the Geneva Convention. We all have seen the 40-mile long lethal convoy charging towards Kyiv.”

Biden: ‘Nothing is off the table’ in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine

Update 10:45 a.m. EST March 2: President Joe Biden said Wednesday that “nothing is off the table” as the U.S. continues to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

His response came following a question about banning Russian oil imports. He told reporters that it remained too soon to say whether Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.

Ukraine asks UN to reconsider Russia’s membership on Security Council

Update 10:40 a.m. EST March 2: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday urged the United Nations to reconsider Russia’s position as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, CNN reported.

In a televised address, Kuleba called for a “thorough and unbiased” review of the country’s membership, according to CNN.

“We are confident that when the analysis is complete, it will be evident that Russia’s presence at the UN Security Council is illegitimate,” he said. “Everything depends on readiness and determination of the legal team of the UN secretariat to investigate this.”

Pittsburgh man, his priest save 3 dozen children from Kyiv

Update 10 a.m. EST March 2: A Pittsburgh man and his priest are being credited with rescuing more than three dozen people, including 22 orphans and six adults, from Kyiv amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

>> Read more: Russia, Ukraine crisis: American, priest rescue dozens of children

More than 874,000 refugees have fled Ukraine, UN says

Update 9:45 a.m. EST March 2: Since Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine on Feb. 24, more than 874,000 people have fled the country, according to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency.

More than 50% of refugees have ended up in Poland, according to UNHCR. Officials estimate that as many as 4 million people might flee from Ukraine in the coming weeks and months.

Vice President Harris reiterates that US will not put troops in Ukraine

Update 9:20 a.m. EST March 2: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday echoed earlier comments from President Joe Biden emphasizing that the U.S. does not plan to put troops on the ground in Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

During an appearance on the “Today” show, Harris said officials are continually reassessing their response and pointed to sanctions placed on Russian officials, oligarchs and businesses.

“Everything is on the table for consideration, frankly,” the vice president said.

“We are not going to put U.S. troops in Ukraine to fight the Russians on the ground or in the air. But we are firm in our preparedness to defend our NATO alliances and our allies -- every inch of the NATO territory, and we will continue to do that.”

Officials fear hundreds dead in attack on Mariupol

Update 9:10 a.m. EST March 2: Officials told BBC News that they fear hundreds may be dead in an attack on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol near the Russian border.

“We cannot count the number of victims there, but we believe at least hundreds of people are dead, Deputy Mayor Sergiy Orlov told the news network, adding that Russian forces “are trying to destroy the city.”

“The Ukrainian army is very brave and they will continue to defend the city but the style of the Russian army is like pirates,” he said, according to BBC News. “They do not fight with their army, they just destroy entire districts.”

The city’s mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said earlier Wednesday that Russian forces had been “flattening us non-stop for 12 hours now,” The Guardian reported, citing the Interfax news agency.

“We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop,” Boichenko said.

Video shows aftermath of Zhytomyr missile strike

Update 8:45 a.m. EST March 2: A video shared Wednesday by Ukraine’s parliament showed the damage caused by a suspected cruise missile that struck Zhytomyr in the northwestern part of the country.

More than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians killed amid Russian invasion, officials say

Update 8:20 a.m. EST March 2: More than 2,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, officials with the country’s emergency services said Wednesday, according to a statement obtained by CNN, The Guardian and BBC News.

“Children, women and our defense forces are losing their lives every hour,” officials said in the statement. “During the seven days of war, Russia has destroyed hundreds of transport hubs, residential buildings, hospitals and kindergartens.”

Officials said 10 rescuers have also been killed, according to BBC News.

Area near Kharkiv city council building targeted

Update 7:55 a.m. EST March 2: A military strike has damaged the area surrounding Kharkiv’s city council building, CNN reported.

Video, confirmed by CNN, showed smoke coming from nearby the government building.

Beijing Paralympics will have Russian, Belarusian competitors

Update 7:42 a.m. EST March 2: Athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete in the upcoming Winter Paralympics that are being held in Beijing, The New York Times reported.

Organizers had been under pressure to prevent Russia from competing as a punishment for invading Ukraine. Several other sports have excluded Russian athletes from competition or have pulled sporting events from the country.

The International Paralympic Committee’s executive board said Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete as neutrals and that any medals they would win will not be counted in the Games’ medal table. They will also compete under the Paralympic flag and have been ordered to cover any identifying marks on their uniforms, including their country’s flag, the Times reported.

“What we have decided upon is the harshest possible punishment we can hand down within our constitution and the current IPC rules. Post-Beijing 2022, we will also take measures with our 206 member organizations to determine whether any breaches of the Olympic Truce for future Paralympic Games could lead to the possible suspension or termination of an NPC,” the committee said, according to CNN.

Belarus is facing the same regulations as Russia due to its support of the Russian invasion. The board condemned the invasion saying that it goes against the Olympic Truce that runs until March 21, but they contend that Russia and Belarus did not break any specific Olympic rule, the Times reported.

The Beijing 2022 Paralympics will start Friday with its opening ceremony and competition starting on Saturday, CNN reported.

Ukraine Foreign Minister unsure if, when talks will happen

Update 7:36 a.m. EST March 2: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he is not sure when new talks with Russia will happen, CNN reported.

Earlier Wednesday, Russian ministers said they were ready to meet Wednesday to try to come to an agreement that would stop their invasion.

“The first round of talks took place .... Russia’s conditions remain unchanged,” Kueba wrote on Facebook, according to CNN.

He said Ukraine is “ready for diplomacy, but we are not in any way ready to accept any Russian ultimatums.”

However, a Ukrainian presidential aide told CNN that talks will happen Wednesday and will have the same delegates as the talks had on Monday.

‘We disapprove of the financial sanctions’: China will not sanction Russia

Update 7:09 a.m. EST March 2: China says it will not sanction Russia as other countries have done.

China stands alone as the only major government that has not pushed back against Russia after its attack on Ukraine. China is a major buyer of oil and gas from Russia, The Associated Press reported.

Beijing says there is no legal way countries can enforce sanctions and that the financial maneuver “will not have a good effect,” Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said, the AP reported.

Ukraine asks for help protecting nuclear plants

Update 6:48 a.m. EST March 2: Ukraine officials are asking for help to protect the country’s nuclear power plants, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said, CNN reported.

The request, which covers Chernobyl sites among others, came as Russia said they’ve seized the area around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

A Russian letter said the plant’s workers continue to “work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation. The radiation levels remain normal.”

Director General of the IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi said the group will maintain contacts and will be holding consultations on Ukraine’s request, CNN reported.

Grossi said he is “gravely concerned” about what is happening in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

He said it is “the first time a military conflict is happening amid the facilities of a large, established nuclear power program.”

Kremlin calls countries that issued sanctions ‘de facto unfriendly’

Update 6:20 a.m. EST March 2: The Kremlin is considering countries that have sanctioned Russia as “unfriendly.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “Judging by the measures that many countries are taking against us, they are now all de facto unfriendly. Whether they are on the list or not,” CNN reported.

“In this case, the list is secondary. But the response to these unfriendly, hostile actions, must be analyzed, no one is going to shoot ourselves in the foot to harm someone. We do what we need to, what suits us, and we’re doing it with a sober head.”

The list Peskov is referring to was published last year with two countries included at the time — the United States and the Czech Republic.

The European Union, U.S., United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland, Australia and Taiwan have all sanctioned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. CNN reported.

Nuclear workers block road to Russians

Update 6:12 a.m. EST March 2: Workers at a nuclear power plant near Enerhodar are blocking the road to the plant, trying to prevent access by Russian troops, CNN reported. The mayor of the town, Dmytro Orlov, said that the plant is under the protection of its workers and the residents of Enerhodar and they will not surrender. The plant continues to function in emergency mode, Orlov said

Kharkiv still under attack

Update 6:09 a.m. EST March 2: Officials say Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, is still under heavy attack and is being rocked by “massive shelling and bombing” Wednesday morning. An administrative building has collapsed after missile strikes caused fires, CNN reported.

At least four people were killed at the building. Nine people were hurt.

Pope remembers Ukrainians taking shelter during Ash Wednesday message

Update 5:43 a.m. EST March 2: Pope Francis used part of his Ash Wednesday message to ask the faithful to remember those taking shelter underground as Russia continues to attack Ukraine, Reuters reported.

He also thanked Poland for opening its border to refugees who are fleeing the attacks.

“You were the first to support Ukraine, opening your borders, your hearts and the doors of your homes to Ukrainians fleeing war,” the pope said. “You are generously offering them everything they need to live in dignity, despite the drama of the moment. I am deeply grateful to you and I bless you from my heart!”

The pope mentioned that his translator during his weekly general audience, Father Marek Viktor Gongalo, is from Ukraine.

“His parents are now in underground shelters to protect themselves from the bombs in a place near Kyyiv,” Pope Francis said, according to Reuters. “By accompanying him, we accompany all the people who are suffering from the bombings, including his elderly parents and so many other elderly who are in underground shelters defending themselves. Let us remember these people in our hearts.”

Putin opposition calls for protests against war

Update 5:38 a.m. EST March 2: Critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin are urging Russians to protest the invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

Aleksei Navalny said in a statement from prison that the Russian people should speak out against “the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane czar.” Navalny also said that Russians “must, gritting our teeth and overcoming fear, come out and demand an end to the war,” the Times reported.

Russian delegation ready to talk with Ukraine; Russian forces surround Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Update 5:22 a.m. EST March 2: The Russian delegation is ready to sit down with their Ukrainian counterparts Wednesday to negotiate. The time and the location have not been announced, and there’s no word if the Ukrainian delegation is willing to meet, The Associated Press reported.

The two sides met on Sunday near the Belarus-Ukraine border. No agreement to end the fighting was reached but they did say they would meet a second time.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is based in Vienna, Italy, said that the Russian military has surrounded Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog group said it received a letter from Russia saying that the employees of the plant continued their “work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in the normal mode of operation,” the AP reported.

Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors with six at the Zaporizhzhia site.

Russia has already seized control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant which has been decommissioned after the meltdown in 1986, the AP reported.

Mariupol target of heavy shelling; Conflicting reports of Kherson status

Update 5:05 a.m. EST March 2: Russian forces and separatists have surrounded the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Mayor Vadym Boychenko said that the number of wounded “is growing every day” as the city is the target of heavy shelling, CNN reported.

Russian state media had said another city, Kherson, was under their forces’ full control but the Ukrainian Minister of Defense has denied those reports, CNN reported.

Kherson is a port city near the Black Sea northwest of Crimea, The New York Times reported. It is home to about 300,000 people.

Two sites in Kharkiv have been targeted by Russian troops. CNN confirmed that the city’s regional police department and Kharkiv National University had been hit Wednesday morning. At least three people had been hurt in the attack.

21 killed, 112 wounded in Kharkiv, mayor says

Update 1:51 a.m. EST March 2: At least 21 people died and 112 were wounded when Russian troops shelled Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, in the predawn hours Wednesday, The Guardian reported, citing social media posts by the city’s mayor.

Overnight, Ukrainian defense positions were “constantly under the influence of enemy fire, aviation, jet artillery, and firearms,” Oleh Sinehubov said in an update on his official Facebook page Wednesday morning.

Sinehubov also confirmed earlier reports of a Russian attack on a military hospital and said that the city’s northeast and northern sectors were attacked.

Oil hits $110 a barrel as fighting rages in Ukraine

Update 1:42 a.m. EST March 2: Despite myriad measures aimed at calming concerns about the global impact of Russia invading Ukraine, crude oil topped $110 a barrel late Tuesday, the highest level seen in more than seven years, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The spike occurred even after the International Energy Agency’s members agreed Tuesday to release 60 million barrels of oil from emergency stockpiles, the BBC reported.

“The sheer magnitude of the supply at risk of disruption means even a decent chunk of reserves being released may not make a dent,” Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ in Sydney, told the Journal.

Sony donating $2M in humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Update 1:33 a.m. EST March 2: Sony is donating $2 million as humanitarian aid to Ukraine though the United Nations Refugee Agency and aid group Save the Children, The Associated Press reported.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment company has already said it will halt theatrical releases in Russia, including " Morbius,” featuring the Marvel comics hero.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and hope this crisis will be resolved quickly,” Sony Pictures said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Mickey Mikitani, chief executive of Japanese online retailer Rakuten, donated 1 billion yen, or $8.7 million, to the Ukrainian government through the embassy in Japan, the AP reported.

Kherson occupied by Russian troops, mayor says

Update 1:08 a.m. March 2: Igor Kolykhayev, the mayor of Kherson, confirmed to local radio that Russian troops had captured the city’s port and railway station Tuesday night, according to BBC Russia.

“The fighting is going on now, and the occupation of our city is under way,” Kolykhayev said.

Meanwhile, CNN shared screenshots from a webcam in the city that showed Russian military vehicles parked on Kherson’s main square. Video obtained by the network showed Russian military vehicles at a roundabout in the norther Ukraine city.

Meanwhile, video obtained by BBC Russia showed shelling and Russian troops entering Kherson.

With a population of nearly 300,000, Kherson is located between Mykolaiv and New Kakhovka, the BBC reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related content:

Vladimir Putin: Who is Russia’s president?

Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Who is Ukraine’s president?

What does the Russian invasion of Ukraine mean for America’s economy?

Russia attacks Ukraine: How to donate to people in Ukraine

6 things to know about Ukraine

Why did Russia fight for control of Chernobyl, the site of a nuclear disaster?

How to talk to children about the conflict in Ukraine

Ukraine invasion: What sanctions are being imposed on Russia?

World’s largest airplane reportedly destroyed in Ukraine

Ukrainian government raises $20 million after plea for cryptocurrency

Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively to match up to $1M in donations to Ukraine refugees

Green Day cancels stadium concert in Moscow

Russia, Ukraine crisis: Cruise lines change itineraries due to conflict

Comments on this article