(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, 12:18 pm
White House mulling Russian oil ban without European allies participating: Official
The White House indicated on Monday that it was considering a ban on Russian oil even without the support of its European allies, an official with the National Security Council told ABC News.
Europe relies much more on Russian oil and gas than the United States does and would likely see much higher prices if such a significant chunk of their energy imports were suddenly cut off.
If the United States banned Russian oil imports without Europe doing the same, the impact on Russia would be much smaller than if the U.S. and Europe worked in concert. Russia exported 1% of its oil exports to the United States in 2020.
Moving forward without Europe would also be a departure from Biden’s approach of working in lockstep with Europe on sanctions against Russia.
Bloomberg reported Sunday night that the Biden administration was weighing this move.
Mar 07, 12:13 pm
Zelenskyy tells David Muir path to peace ‘more difficult’ than acknowledging Putin’s ultimatums
In an exclusive interview Monday with ABC News anchor David Muir, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the path to peace is “more difficult than simply acknowledging” another ultimatum from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelenskyy spoke with Muir from the Presidential Office in Kyiv and said he will stay in his country for the duration of the war.
“When the Kremlin says these three conditions to end the war … that you must give up on joining NATO, recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize the independence of those two separatist regions in the east … you say it’s a nonstarter, not willing to [accept] those three conditions right now?” Muir asked.
Zelenskyy responded, “It is more difficult than simply acknowledging them … this is another ultimatum and we are not prepared for ultimatums.”
He went on, “But we have the possible solution resolution for these three items, key items, what needs to be done is for President Putin to start talking. Start the dialogue instead of living in the information bubble without oxygen. I think that’s where he is. He is in this bubble. He’s getting this information and you don’t know how realistic that information is that he’s getting.”
Mar 07, 11:04 am
Biden to speak with UK, French and German counterparts about Ukraine
President Joe Biden is scheduled to hold a secure video teleconference Monday morning with leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom to discuss the latest developments regarding Russia and Ukraine, according to the White House.
Biden is expected to be in the White House Situation Room when he participates in a teleconference with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to the White House.
The teleconference will be closed to the press and will occur after Biden received his daily intelligence briefing, the White House said.
Mar 07, 9:57 am
Putin falsely claims his forces are ‘taking measures to save lives’
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with European Council President Charles Michel on Monday and according to a Kremlin readout of the conversation, falsely claimed Russian forces are “taking all possible measures to save the lives of civilians” in Ukraine.
Putin also repeated the Russian military’s claim that Ukrainian “nationalists” are preventing humanitarian corridors from being opened to allow the evacuation of civilians. But Ukrainian authorities have claimed efforts to evacuate its citizens out of the country have been disrupted by Russian forces shelling the humanitarian corridors Moscow agreed to in a cease-fire.
“The main threat comes from nationalist formations, which essentially use the tactics of terrorists, hiding behind the civilian population,” Putin told Michel, according to the report.
The Russian president “called on the European Union to make a real contribution to saving people’s lives, to put pressure on the Kyiv authorities and force them to respect humanitarian law,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
-ABC News’ Patrick Reevell
Mar 07, 7:42 am
Ukrainian foreign minister again calls for NATO no-fly zone
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Monday called for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying Russian planes were targeting civilians.
“The Russian Air Force dominates in the skies and continues bombing our cities and killing many civilians,” Kuleba told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.
U.S. and NATO officials have rejected calls from Ukrainian officials to impose a no-fly zone, saying doing so could provoke Russia, perhaps pulling other European countries and NATO members into the conflict. The U.S. and NATO have offered other military aid, including a possible deal to send aircraft to Ukraine.
“We believe that the rejection of the idea of the no-fly zone is based in the lack of confidence in the strength of NATO as an alliance,” Kuleba said. “Because the military might of NATO is incomparably bigger compared to Russia. So why would Russia dare to shoot down a NATO plane, knowing it is doomed, eventually doomed, if a war with NATO begins.”
Kuleba over the weekend had urged the international community to help in the struggle against “Russian barbarians.” He posted a photo on Twitter on Sunday of an unexploded bomb, which he said landed on a residential building in Chernihiv.
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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