politics

Ukraine Says It Killed a Top Russian General; U.S. Collects Evidence of Possible Russian War Crimes

Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

This has been CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Monday. See below for the latest updates.

Ukraine's defense intelligence agency claimed that the country's forces have killed a second Russian general within days of a first general killed last week.

Russian Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov was killed near Kharkiv, the agency said on Monday night local time. Ukraine's second-biggest city has been the scene of intense fighting for days.

The claim could not be independently verified.

Gerasimov was identified by the intelligence agency as the chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army. Another senior officer from that army, Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, was killed by a sniper last week.

Meanwhile, the prospect of a ban on Russian oil and gas sent jitters through energy markets as oil prices hit 13-year highs, though they gave back most of those gains.

Separately, Ukraine says Moscow is seeking to manipulate its cease-fire arrangement by allowing Ukrainian civilians to evacuate only to Russia and Belarus. Moscow claimed Monday that it will stop attacks in four Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, to allow the evacuation of civilians.

Putin still has strong support in some circles in Russia, says former NATO deputy chief

Rose Gottemoeller, a former deputy secretary general of NATO, said there are signs Russian President Vladimir Putin retains strong support in certain parts of the country.

"There are a number of very strong nationalists in Russia. Apparently they were present in … motorcades outside of the Kremlin yesterday, waving flags, supporting the president," she told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Tuesday.

Some polls also suggest that his popularity in Russia is still growing, she added.

On the other hand, people who are informed or have a stake in this, "like the oligarchs who have investments all over the world and want to keep their wealth" may be growing concerned as international sanctions hit.

"I am not surprised that they are becoming increasingly worried," Gottemoeller said.

"I don't think he's going to lose his grip on power, but perhaps some messages will start to get through to him," she said.

— Abigail Ng

Ukraine claims it killed another one of Putin's top generals, other senior Russian Army officers

A man stands on the rubble of a house destroyed by recent shelling during Ukraine-Russia conflict in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 7, 2022.
Oleksandr Lapshyn | Reuters
A man stands on the rubble of a house destroyed by recent shelling during Ukraine-Russia conflict in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 7, 2022.

Ukraine's defense intelligence agency said that Russian Army Major General Vitaly Gerasimov was killed, and other senior Russian Army officers "were also killed or wounded" in action near the city of Kharkiv.

Gerasimov was identified by the intelligence agency as the chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army.

The agency, which said Gerasimov had been "liquidated," claimed that data obtained related to his death near the city in northeast Ukraine "show significant problems with communication" in Russia's army, "and with the evacuation of their defeated units."

The post contains embedded audio files purporting to be intercepted communications between Russians discussing Gerasimov's death.

The reported killing comes days after another deputy commander of the 41st Combined, Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, was fatally shot by a Ukrainian sniper.

—Dan Mangan

Zelenskyy says he's staying at an official residence in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on at a press conference for selected media at his official residence the Maryinsky Palace on March 3, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Laurent Van Der Stockt | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on at a press conference for selected media at his official residence the Maryinsky Palace on March 3, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a new video Monday evening on Telegram, telling his fellow citizens that he is in central Kyiv at an official presidential residence, with no plans to leave the city despite the Russian assault.

"I am staying in Kyiv, on Bankova Street. Not hiding," Zelensky said, citing a street where both the Ukrainian president's office and the House of Chimeras official residence are located.

"I'm not afraid of anyone. For as long as it takes to win this war!" he added, according to an NBC News translation.

Zelenskyy's insistence upon staying in Kyiv as Russian missiles shell the capital and Russian troops advance on it has become a defining image of this conflict.

It has also helped inspire average Ukrainians to mount a fierce resistance to Russia's invasion, one that has surprised experts and military leaders around the world.

Speaking on Monday, Zelenskyy said Russian troops, "forgot that we are not afraid of police vans, of tanks, of machine guns when the most important thing is on our side - truth."

"You are not retreating. We are not retreating," he said.

--- Christina Wilkie

Prepare for a 'difficult road ahead' as humanitarian crisis worsens

People wait in freezing cold temperatures to be transferred to a train station, after crossing the Ukrainian borders into Poland, at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, on March 7, 2022.
Louisa Gouliamaki | AFP | Getty Images
People wait in freezing cold temperatures to be transferred to a train station, after crossing the Ukrainian borders into Poland, at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, on March 7, 2022.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned that the world should brace for the already-dire humanitarian crisis in Ukraine to worsen as Russia continues its invasion.

"The humanitarian toll of Putin's war on Ukraine is mounting," the ambassador said during a meeting of the UN Security Council, of which Russia is a member.

"Children are dying. People are fleeing their homes. And for what?" Thomas-Greenfield said after calling on Russia to commit to the establishment and protection of humanitarian corridors into and out of key areas of Ukraine.

"Young children have also been severely traumatized by the violence and destruction. They've witnessed so many things to the point that they've stopped speaking. The physical and psychological wounds of the is war will be long lasting," she said.

She said it was clear Putin plans to "destroy and terrorize Ukraine," even though many Russians don't want war and the Ukrainian people won't give up.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Putin doesn't seem to be listening, and we are concerned that the world needs to be prepared for a very long and very difficult road ahead," she said.

Kevin Breuninger

U.S. collects evidence of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article contains a graphic photo of soldiers removing human remains.

The United States is collecting evidence of possible war crimes and human rights abuses by Russia during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a National Security Council spokesperson told NBC News.

The U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Michael Carpenter, earlier in the day condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his "unprovoked war," which has driven more than 1.5 million refugees out of the country.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Police officers prepare to remove the bodies of passersby killed in yesterday's airstrike that hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on March 2, 2022.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Police officers prepare to remove the bodies of passersby killed in yesterday's airstrike that hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on March 2, 2022.

Some 45 participating states launched the so-called Moscow Mechanism last Thursday to document and gather evidence of violations of international law by Russia, he said.

"The brutality of this war is both revolting and heartbreaking," said Carpenter. "Children have been killed, grandparents driven from their homes, families forced to flee their country in the face of relentless strikes on civilian infrastructure," he said.

— Dan Mangan

Large number of civilians continue to flee Irpin

Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks.

A Ukrainian serviceman helps evacuees gathered under a destroyed bridge, as they flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
A Ukrainian serviceman helps evacuees gathered under a destroyed bridge, as they flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022.
Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 07, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 07, 2022.
Ukrainian soldiers help an elderly woman to cross a destroyed bridge as she evacuates the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers help an elderly woman to cross a destroyed bridge as she evacuates the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022.
Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 07, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 07, 2022.
A woman carrying her baby crosses a destroyed bridge as they flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
A woman carrying her baby crosses a destroyed bridge as they flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022.

Nearly all of Russia's initial invasion forces now in Ukraine, Pentagon says

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters
A service member of pro-Russian troops in a uniform without insignia walks next to an armoured vehicle with symbols "Z" painted on its side in the separatist-controlled village of Bugas during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 6, 2022. 

Nearly all of the troops Russia amassed on Ukraine's border are now fighting inside the country, a senior Pentagon official said Monday.

President Joe Biden has previously said Russia positioned approximately 190,000 troops outside Ukraine.

Yet even with so much manpower deployed, the two main Russian convoys outside Ukraine's major cities of Kharkiv and Kyiv remain stalled, the official said, according to NBC News.

In the face of logistical and supply chain problems, Russians are increasingly turning to heavy artillery, the official said, effectively trying to bomb Ukraine into submission.

The official also said the United States will deploy another 500 troops to Europe, bringing the total number of American forces on the continent to more than 100,000.

— Christina Wilkie

Deloitte rounds out Big Four accounting firms to cut ties with Russia

Global consulting and accounting firm Deloitte said it will no longer operate in Russia and Belarus.

"While we know this is the right decision, it will have an impact on Deloitte's ~3,000 professionals located in Russia and Belarus," the company said in a press release. "Like others, we know our colleagues in Russia and Belarus have no voice in the actions of their government. We will support all impacted colleagues during this transition and do all we can to assist them during this extremely difficult time."

Deloitte's decision makes it the last of the Big Four global accounting firms to say that it will no longer conduct business in Russia as the Krelim wages war on Ukraine. It joins Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG in making similar announcements.

Thomas Franck

Russia compiles list of 'unfriendly' nations and territories

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia March 3, 2022.
Andrey Gorshkov | Sputnik | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia March 3, 2022.

The Russian government approved a list of dozens of nations and territories deemed "unfriendly" to Russia and its citizens, according to state media in Moscow.

The list includes all 27 European Union member states, as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and others, according to Russian state media.

Those nations have imposed or joined the unprecedented array of crippling sanctions slapped on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin noted that Russians who are in debt to foreign creditors from the countries on that list will be allowed to pay them back, according to the state media outlet.

Kevin Breuninger

More than 1.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine, the U.N. says

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that more than 1.7 million civilians have fled Ukraine since the launch of Russia's unprovoked invasion on Feb. 24. In just 12 days, the exodus from Ukraine has created the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

People wait to board a bus after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the border checkpoint in Medyka, Poland, March 4, 2022.
Yara Nardi | Reuters
People wait to board a bus after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the border checkpoint in Medyka, Poland, March 4, 2022.

The official figure cited by the UNHCR's data portal Monday was 1,735,068. Most of those fleeing are women and children, following Ukraine's decision to bar fighting-aged men from leaving the country.

A couple embraces as passengers, including people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, board a train to leave the city of Odessa, Ukraine, March 6, 2022.
Alexandros Avramidis | Reuters
A couple embraces as passengers, including people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, board a train to leave the city of Odessa, Ukraine, March 6, 2022.

So far Poland has absorbed the largest share of the refugees, the U.N. said, with approximately 1 million border crossings by civilians from Ukraine. Hungary has absorbed slightly more than 180,000, while Slovakia has processed 128,000 civilians.

Civilians seeking to leave the city arrive at a train station in the Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 4, 2022, amid Russian attacks..
Alejandro Martinez | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Civilians seeking to leave the city arrive at a train station in the Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 4, 2022, amid Russian attacks..

Across Europe, government and private rail services are offering Ukrainians free passage on trains, and bus companies are organizing transport for children and the elderly, according to Reuters.

--- Christina Wilkie

United suspends two India routes after pulling out of Russian airspace

A passenger airplane is departing from Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, on January 19, 2022.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A passenger airplane is departing from Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, on January 19, 2022.

United Airlines is suspending two of its four India routes after pulling out of Russian airspace last week.

United had said it would no longer use Russian airspace, shortly before the U.S. said it was banning Russian aircraft from United States airspace last Tuesday.

United had initially canceled its San Francisco-New Delhi and its Newark-Mumbai service last week, flights that are now suspended until further notice. It will continue to operate flights to New Delhi from its hubs in Chicago and from Newark, New Jersey.

"We continue to evaluate and adjust our schedule in response to the evolving situation in Ukraine," United said.

Tit-for-tat airspace closures and safety concerns after Russia's invasion of Ukraine have forced carriers to take longer routes, some of which require refueling stops.

— Leslie Josephs

The U.S. 82nd Airborne on patrol along Polish-Ukraine Border

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in an exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in a exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on , 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.
Omar Marques | Getty Images
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in a exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on , 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in an exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on March 7th, 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.
Omar Marques | Getty Images
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in an exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on March 7th, 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in an exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on March 7th, 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.
Omar Marques | Getty Images
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in an exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on March 7th, 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy mulls state action against Russia-linked Lukoil gas stations

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state is considering action against dozens of Russian-linked Lukoil gas stations as he aims to sever financial ties with the nation in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

"We're trying to figure out what to do with them," Murphy, a Democrat, said of the gas stations on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

There are about 33 Lukoil gas stations in New Jersey, Murphy said. He noted, however, that "they happen to be franchised by local New Jersey interests in most cases."

Lukoil, one of Russia's largest energy producers, has more than 200 gas stations in the U.S. As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to wage war in Ukraine, Americans have called to boycott those stations, a small slice of the Lukoil's overall business that nevertheless has been targeted in the push to punish Moscow's economy.

Kevin Breuninger

Russia and Ukraine hold a third round of talks in Belarus

Delegations attend the third round of Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Brest, Belarus on March 07, 2022.
Foreign Ministry of Belarus | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Delegations attend the third round of Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Brest, Belarus on March 07, 2022.

Envoys from Russia and Ukraine met in Belarus, close to the Polish border, Monday for a third round of talks as Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine entered its 12th day.

Neither side was optimistic for progress, especially after the humanitarian evacuation corridors that were agreed to in the last round of talks were subsequently attacked by Russian forces over the weekend.

Ahead of Monday's talks, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted, "In a few minutes, we will start talking to representatives of a country that seriously believes that large-scale violence against civilians is an argument."

Kyiv has already rejected an initial list of Russian demands that included changing Ukraine's constitution and recognizing the Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics.

--- Christina Wilkie

Secretary of State Blinken tells NATO ally Lithuania 'an attack on one is an attack on all'

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks to U.S. Embassy staff at the Vilnius Rotuse in Vilnius, Lithuania March 7, 2022.
Olivier Douliery | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks to U.S. Embassy staff at the Vilnius Rotuse in Vilnius, Lithuania March 7, 2022.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promised fellow NATO member Lithuania the U.S. will act to repel any Russian military aggression against that country and other Baltic nations.

"The United States commitment to [NATO's] Article 5 – an attack on one is an attack on all," Blinken said, "that commitment is sacrosanct."

Blinken was speaking at a press conference in Lithuania's capital city Vilnius with that country's foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. He made similar remarks in Latvia, another Baltic country that belongs to NATO.

"We will defend every inch of NATO territory if it comes under attack," Blinken said, reiterating comments made by President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address last week. "No one should doubt our readiness; no one should doubt our resolve."

— Dan Mangan

Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid bound for Ukraine

Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid for Ukraine on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada.

Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Lars Hagberg | Reuters
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Lars Hagberg | Reuters
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Lars Hagberg | Reuters
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.
Lars Hagberg | Reuters
Canadian Forces personnel load lethal and non-lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine, on a transport aircraft bound for Poland, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2022.

— Adam Jeffery

Biden to hold a secure call with the leaders of Britain, France and Germany

US President Joe Biden speaks on the phone to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 9, 2021.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
US President Joe Biden speaks on the phone to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 9, 2021.

President Joe Biden will hold a secure video call with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday morning to discuss the latest developments in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the White House has announced.

The virtual meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be held in the secure White House Situation Room starting at 10:30 a.m.

The small number of participants on this call is noteworthy. Ever since Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine began last month, most of Biden's world leader calls have either been one-on-one or with larger groups like the G-7 or European powers.

— Christina Wilkie

International nuclear watchdog wants to meet with Russia and Ukraine on Zaporizhzhia plant

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria, March 7, 2022.
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria, March 7, 2022.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it wants to meet with Ukrainian and Russian authorities to ensure the safety of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which came under attack by Russian forces on Friday.

Currently the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, is remotely monitoring the situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia plant, but there may come a time for the physical presence of observers, the agency's chief said during a press conference in Vienna on Monday.

"I would not say it's being operated unsafely — we are getting the reports and the assessments from the Ukrainian regulator, and for the time being this is the situation," IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. "That being said, the conditions are absolutely extraordinary. This 'normal operation' is a technical term, but there is nothing normal about what is going on," he added.

Russia has expressed support for talks with the IAEA and Ukraine, but rejected the IAEA's proposal of Ukraine's Chernobyl as the meeting site, Grossi said.

Russian forces are now in control the plant, with Ukrainian staff working under their orders. He said it's currently operating safely, "but there are many, many questions on the ability to sustain this for much longer if we don't support these in some way."


— Natasha Turak

Russia reportedly says military action can be stopped 'in a moment' if Ukraine meets conditions

A resident looks out of the destroyed front of a room in a multi-storey building that was badly damaged as a result of Russian missile explosion after it was shot down over the city by Ukrainian air defence on March 6, in Kramatorsk on March 7, 2022.
Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images
A resident looks out of the destroyed front of a room in a multi-storey building that was badly damaged as a result of Russian missile explosion after it was shot down over the city by Ukrainian air defence on March 6, in Kramatorsk on March 7, 2022.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has reportedly said Russia is prepared to bring an abrupt halt to its military action in Ukraine if Kyiv meets a number of highly contentious conditions.

These include Ukraine ceasing military action, changing its constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledging Crimea as Russian territory and recognizing the rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent territories, Peskov told Reuters.

Ukraine's policymakers were made aware of these conditions, Peskov said, "and they were told that all this can be stopped in a moment."

His comments were thought to be Russia's most explicit statement so far of the terms necessary to stop Moscow's onslaught of Ukraine, which entered its twelfth day on Monday.

— Sam Meredith

UK PM Boris Johnson rejects calls to widen visa access for Ukrainian refugees

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at RAF Northolt on March 7, 2022 in London, England.
Wpa Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at RAF Northolt on March 7, 2022 in London, England.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected calls for Britain to make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to enter the country, following sharp criticism that the government's visa routes for those fleeing the conflict are far too restrictive.

"We are a very, very generous country. What we want though is control and we want to be able to check," Johnson told reporters on Monday. "I think it's sensible given what's going on in Ukraine to make sure that we have some basic ability to check who is coming in."

"What we won't do is have a system where people can come into the UK without any checks or any controls at all — I don't think that is the right approach — but what we will do is have a system that is very, very generous," Johnson said.

"As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates people are going to want to see this country open our arms to people fleeing persecution, fleeing a war zone," he added.

His comments came during a visit to a British military base with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Canada's Justin Trudeau.

— Sam Meredith

Top diplomats of Russia and Ukraine to hold talks on Thursday

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia February 14, 2022.
Aleksey Nikolskyi | Sputnik | via REUTERS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia February 14, 2022.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba have reportedly agreed to hold talks in southern Turkey on Thursday, in what will be the highest-level meeting between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine last month.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu said the two diplomats would meet in Antalya where Turkey will hold an international diplomatic forum.

Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, has sought to position itself as a mediator to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

— Sam Meredith

Ukrainian negotiator says third round of talks with Russia will start at 9 a.m. ET

Ukrainian and Russian flags are seen on a table before the talks between officials of the two countries in the Brest region, Belarus March 3, 2022.
Maxim Guchek | Reuters
Ukrainian and Russian flags are seen on a table before the talks between officials of the two countries in the Brest region, Belarus March 3, 2022.

A third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine will start at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET), one of Ukraine's negotiators and an advisor to the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said via Twitter.

The talks come as Russia's onslaught of Ukraine entered its twelfth day and as Moscow's military forces continued to attack some Ukrainian cities.

— Sam Meredith

UN watchdog warns a nuclear accident in Ukraine would be the result of human failure

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria March 4, 2022.
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference in Vienna, Austria March 4, 2022.

U.N. nuclear chief Rafael Mariano Grossi has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation Board of Governors to do everything possible to avert a nuclear accident in Ukraine.

"We see what's happening on the ground in Ukraine. This time, if there is a nuclear accident, the cause will not be a tsunami brought on by mother nature. Instead, it will be the result of human failure to act when we knew we could, and we knew we should," Grossi said via Twitter.

His comments come after Russia's shelling of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant on Friday prompted widespread dismay.

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy makes fresh calls for boycott of Russian oil

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy poses after an interview with Reuters in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.
Umit Bektas | Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy poses after an interview with Reuters in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the international community once again to boycott Russian oil.

"If the invasion continues [and] Russia does not back off on its plans in Ukraine, we will need new sanctions, new steps against this war, for peace," Zelenskyy said in a video address, according to an NBC News translation.

"Boycott oil products from Russia," he continued. "You can call it an embargo, or you can call it a moral obligation when you refuse to finance the terrorist."

The president also urged other countries and global companies to stop imports to Russia, saying that "the international community should be more strict."

The future of the European continent was dependent on how the conflict in Ukraine plays out, he added.

"It is decided on our land whether any other European nation will become the next victim of the same aggression," he said. "The future of the continent depends on us, on our resistance."

He said that he had spoken to the leaders of Poland, the U.K., France, Italy and India, all of whom had given Zelenskyy "important messages that will only strengthen Ukraine."

— Chloe Taylor

EU to discuss reducing reliance on Russian energy

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, said on Twitter on Monday that the bloc would hold discussions on Tuesday aimed at "quickly" reducing the EU's dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

— Chloe Taylor

Polish currency plummets to record low

Andrzej Rostek | Istock | Getty Images

The Polish zloty slumped on Monday, touching a record of 4.9734 against the euro during morning trade, data from Reuters showed.

The currency's previous low against the euro was in 2004, shortly before Poland joined the EU.

— Chloe Taylor

France says it did not ask for humanitarian corridors to lead to Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on February 28, 2022.
Ludovic Marin | AFP | Getty Images
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on February 28, 2022.

France did not ask Russia to evacuate Ukrainian civilians into Russian territory, a French government official told reporters on Monday.

Russia announced on Monday that it would allow a ceasefire from 10 a.m. Moscow time (2 a.m. ET) to enable to evacuation of civilians from four Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv. Russian state-controlled media said this had been done following a personal request from French President Emmanuel Macron to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But Ukraine has accused Moscow of creating "completely immoral" evacuation routes that lead civilians out of Ukrainian cities into Russian territory.

"To the question did you ask that the corridors go to Russia — the answer is obviously no," a French government source told journalists on Monday. "We asked the Russians to stop fighting, to protect civilians and to send aid."

They added: "The personal request of the President of [France] as of the rest of the allies and partners is that the Russian offensive cease. As long as the offensive is underway because the Russians refuse to put an end to it, it is to respect international humanitarian law."

— Chloe Taylor

Economist Stephen Roach says Xi Jinping is the only person with 'leverage' over Putin now

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as leaders gather for a family photo during the Belt and Road Forum on Yanqi Lake, outside Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.
Damir Sagolj | Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as leaders gather for a family photo during the Belt and Road Forum on Yanqi Lake, outside Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.

Economist Stephen Roach said there's only one person in the world right now who has "leverage" over Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that's Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Roach told CNBC that China is holding the "trump card" here and the best thing it can do now is negotiate a deal between Russia and Ukraine.

"I think it's up to Xi to seize this moment," he added.

China has so far said it won't participate in sanctions against Russia and also abstained from a United Nations vote to rebuke Russia for invading Ukraine.

— Weizhen Tan

Ukraine says Moscow is only letting civilians flee to Russia or Belarus

Moscow is seeking to "manipulate" its cease-fire arrangement by only allowing Ukrainian civilians to evacuate to Russia and Belarus, a Ukrainian official has said.

Speaking at a press briefing in Kyiv on Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the safe routes — or humanitarian corridors — were taking citizens to Russia.

"This is an unacceptable variant of the humanitarian corridors opening," she said. "Our people won't go to Belarus and to Russia. I hope that French President Emmanuel Macron understands that Russians are trying to manipulate his honest intention to provide people from Ukraine and other countries a path to safety."

Russian state-controlled media said Monday morning that the latest cease-fire — planned from 10 a.m. Moscow time (9 a.m. Ukraine, 2 a.m. ET) in the cities of Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy — followed a personal request from Macron to Russian President Vladimir Putin for a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

Vereshchuk said Monday morning that the evacuation routes proposed by Moscow led to Belarusian or Russian territory.

For example, the route out of Kyiv was leading to Gomel, Belarus, where civilians would be airlifted to Russia, according to Vereshchuk. Meanwhile, the route out of Kharkiv would take evacuees into Belgorod, Russia, where they would travel by rail to chosen relocation points in Russia, she added. Those fleeing the Ukrainian city of Sumy would also only be taken by road or rail to locations in Russia, Vereshchuk told reporters.

Vereshchuk told the press briefing on Monday that Ukraine had sent "its own vision of humanitarian corridors to Russia," asking Moscow to provide a cease-fire while civilians were evacuated from Kyiv and surrounding towns, as well as Mariupol, Volnovakha, Sumy and Kharkiv to other locations in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Kremlin's evacuation corridors were "completely immoral," according to Sky News.

It comes after evacuation attempts were halted over the weekend after Russian forces were accused of violating a cease-fire in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

— Chloe Taylor

China upholds its relationship with Russia, says negotiations needed to solve Ukraine conflict

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that China's relationship with Russia is "rock solid," while maintaining the position that negotiations are needed to resolve the Ukraine conflict. Wang added the Red Cross Society of China would provide Ukraine with emergency supplies "as soon as possible."

The foreign minister was speaking at an annual public appearance on the sidelines of a parliamentary meeting typically held in March. This year's briefing lasted more than 90 minutes and covered China's relations with a range of countries and regions around the world.

Wang portrayed China's relations with these regions as separate from Beijing-Moscow ties. On relations with the U.S., Wang said that rather than provoking or pursuing competition with China, the U.S. should work to restore relations to the "right track."

— Evelyn Cheng

The time is not now for Finland to join NATO, former Finnish PM says

Alexander Stubb, professor and director at the European University Institute in Florence, discusses his country's response to the war in Ukraine and the prospect of Finland joining NATO.

—Matt Clinch

NATO cannot help Ukraine in direct way, Slovakian minister says

Martin Klus, Slovakian state secretary at the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gives an update on NATO's latest efforts to deter Russia's war in Ukraine as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the invasion.

—Matt Clinch

Russia fails to show up at International Court of Justice hearing

Ukrainian nationals stand outside the International Criminal Court of Justiceor Peace Palace on the first day of hearings on March 7, 2022 in The Hague The Netherlands.
Michel Porro | Getty Images
Ukrainian nationals stand outside the International Criminal Court of Justiceor Peace Palace on the first day of hearings on March 7, 2022 in The Hague The Netherlands.

The International Court of Justice has opened a preliminary hearing in a case brought by Ukraine, in which Kyiv will ask for emergency measures to order Russia to suspend its military campaign under legislation on the prevention of genocide.  

While Ukrainian delegates will give oral evidence at the initial hearings in The Hague on March 7 and 8, Russian officials said they would not send a representative to the court and failed to show up on Monday.  

"The court regrets the non-appearance of the Russian Federation in these oral proceedings," the judge said as she opened the hearing.

— Chloe Taylor

Russia trying to cut Ukrainians off from reliable news and information, UK says

Damage caused by a Russian missile attack on a TV tower in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 2, 2022.
Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Damage caused by a Russian missile attack on a TV tower in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 2, 2022.

In a daily intelligence update on Monday, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said there were reports of Russian forces targeting television towers in Ukrainian cities.

"Russia is probably targeting Ukraine's communications infrastructure in order to reduce Ukrainian citizens' access to reliable news and information," the ministry said.

It added that internet access in Ukraine was likely to be disrupted following attacks on infrastructure, with outages already reported in the cities of Mariupol, Sumy, Kyiv and Kharkiv over the last week.

Within its own borders, Russia has taken steps in recent days to clamp down on news coverage of the conflict in Ukraine. Lawmakers approved a bill on Friday that will make it a criminal offence to call for the introduction of foreign sanctions on Russia, while spreading so-called "fake" information about Russia's military could soon carry prison sentences of up to 15 years.

The Kremlin's official line is that its invasion of Ukraine is a "special operation" aimed at liberating Ukrainians from their own government, but the West has rejected this stance, calling Russia's invasion of Ukraine unprovoked warfare. The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into alleged Russian war crimes.

— Chloe Taylor

Russia claims it will hold fire to allow civilians to leave 4 Ukrainian cities

A view of damaged building after a shelling in Ukraine's second-biggest city of Kharkiv on March 3, 2022.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
A view of damaged building after a shelling in Ukraine's second-biggest city of Kharkiv on March 3, 2022.

Moscow claimed Monday that it will stop attacks in four Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, to allow the evacuation of civilians.

Evacuation attempts were halted over the weekend after Russian forces were accused of violating a cease-fire in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

Russian state-affiliated news agencies reported Monday that the latest cease-fire would begin at 10 a.m. Moscow time (9 a.m. Ukraine, 2 a.m. ET) in the cities of Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy.

Russian humanitarian staff in Ukraine said the decision was a result of the "disastrous humanitarian situation" in the country and "French President Emmanuel Macron's personal request [for a cease-fire] to Russian President Vladimir Putin," Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The Russian government said it has informed the U.N., Red Cross and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe of its cease-fire plans.

Over the weekend, evacuations from Mariupol were aborted on both Saturday and Sunday as Ukrainian officials said Russian troops continued to attack both the city and the planned route out of it.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities said around 400 civilians fleeing Volnovakha came under Russian fire on Sunday despite promises of a safe exit, according to Reuters.

— Chloe Taylor

Economist Stephen Roach says Xi Jinping is the only person with 'leverage' over Putin now

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as leaders gather for a family photo during the Belt and Road Forum on Yanqi Lake, outside Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.
Damir Sagolj | Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as leaders gather for a family photo during the Belt and Road Forum on Yanqi Lake, outside Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.

Economist Stephen Roach said there's only one person in the world right now who has "leverage" over Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that's Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Roach told CNBC that China is holding the "trump card" here and the best thing it can do now is negotiate a deal between Russia and Ukraine.

"I think it's up to Xi to seize this moment," he added.

China has so far said it won't participate in sanctions against Russia and also abstained from a United Nations vote to rebuke Russia for invading Ukraine.

— Weizhen Tan

Putin's 'endgame' is to 'cut off the head' of the Ukrainian government, says professor emeritus

Russian President Vladimir Putin's "endgame" in Russia's war against Ukraine is to "replace the Zelenskyy government" with someone of his "own choosing," said Graeme Gill, professor emeritus at the University of Sydney.

What Putin "really wants is to cut off the head" of the Ukrainian government and put in place a government of his own, he told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Monday.

United States and European officials have begun discussing the possibility of a government in exile led by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the event that he and his aides are forced to flee Ukraine and establish a new government while in Poland.

However, if Russia succeeds in taking over Ukraine, it would prefer it not to be headed by Zelenskyy as he has proved to be "an effective figurehead of the opposition to the Russians in their invasion of Ukraine," he said.

Zelenskyy is reported to have escaped three assassination attempts by Russian-backed special forces, but can "expect there to be further ones," Gill said.

"It's not surprising that there have been attempts on Zelenskyy's life," he added.

Charmaine Jacob

Heightened security fears in the Baltic states following Russia's Ukraine invasion

CNBC's Steve Sedgwick reports from Vilnius, the capital and the largest city of Lithuania, where he explains the geography and history of the region, and why it's so concerned regarding recent Russian military aggression and the invasion of Ukraine.

— Matt Clinch

Three-way talks underway to send fighter jets to Ukraine

Poland, Ukraine and the United States are in talks on a deal that would get more MiG fighter jets into the hands of Ukraine.

NBC News reported that the deal would involve Poland giving MiG fighter planes to Ukraine, and the United States in turn replacing Poland's fighters with U.S.-made F-16s.

Two Polish MiG-29s sit at an airbase in Malbork, Poland, in this file photo from August 2021.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Two Polish MiG-29s sit at an airbase in Malbork, Poland, in this file photo from August 2021.

Neither Ukraine nor Russia has established air superiority in their 11-day old war, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an urgent request for fighter aircraft during a call with 300 members of Congress on Saturday.

Ukrainian pilots are not trained to fly U.S.-made warplanes. However, Poland and Ukraine both operate MiGs — aircraft designed and made in Russia — that are left over from the days of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba over the weekend said warplanes and air-defense systems are his country's "highest demand" as Ukraine faces almost 200,000 Russian troops and their vehicles.

The F-16 is manufactured by General Dynamics, a unit of Lockheed Martin.

—Ted Kemp

No-fly zone over Ukraine would increase risk of a U.S.-Russia war, defense analyst says

Supporters hold up signs during a rally protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine at Lafayette Square across the White House in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2022.
Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images
Supporters hold up signs during a rally protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine at Lafayette Square across the White House in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2022.

A no-fly zone over Ukraine would "greatly increase" the risk of a war between the U.S. and Russia, according to Ted Galen Carpenter, senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

"It's absolutely imperative that the United States resist Zelenskyy's call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine," he told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Monday.

The Ukrainian president has repeatedly asked NATO to establish a no-fly zone over his country, but the U.S. and its allies have so far rejected that request. Setting up a no-fly zone would mean the alliance would have to shoot down Russian aircraft over Ukraine.

"That would greatly increase the danger of a war between the United States and Russia, and we are talking about a war with nuclear implications at that point," Carpenter said.

"I don't think anyone in the United States thinks that Ukraine's security is worth taking that level of risk," he added.

Putin previously said he would consider a third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as "participation of that country in the military action."

— Abigail Ng

U.S. House 'exploring strong legislation' to ban Russian oil

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gestures as she speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 3, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gestures as she speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington March 3, 2022.

In a letter to Democratic colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. House of Representatives is "exploring strong legislation" to ban imports of Russian oil.

The legislation would "further isolate Russia from the global economy," she wrote.

"Our bill would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization. We would also empower the Executive branch to raise tariffs on Russian imports," she said.

The House will vote on aid to Ukraine this week totaling $10 billion in humanitarian, military and economic support.

—Ted Kemp

U.S. crude oil spikes above $125 per barrel on possible Western ban of Russian oil

The crude oil tanker, Chemtrans Cancale, is seen anchored off shore as it waits to dock at Port Everglades on April 20, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
The crude oil tanker, Chemtrans Cancale, is seen anchored off shore as it waits to dock at Port Everglades on April 20, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

U.S. crude oil jumped above $125 per barrel in early trading Sunday evening, as the market continued to react to supply disruptions stemming from the war between Russia and Ukraine and the possibility that the U.S. and its allies and partners could institute a ban on Russian oil and natural gas.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, surged 8%, at one point topping $130 a barrel, to reach its highest level since mid-2008. Brent crude, the international benchmark, traded 9% higher to $128.60, also the highest price seen since 2008.

"Oil is rising on the prospect for a full embargo of Russian oil and products," said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital. "Already high gasoline prices are going to keep going up in a jarring fashion. Prices in some states will be pushing $5 pretty quickly."

— Tanaya Macheel

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