Russia’s military said it would cease fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities Monday – yet continued to pound residential areas of battered cities with rocket attacks.
A third round of talks were planned for Monday after two previous negotiations proved fruitless.
The Russian Defense Ministry had said a cease-fire would allow safe passage for evacuations from the capital of Kyiv, the southern port city of Mariupol, and the cities of Kharkiv and Sumy. Some of the evacuation routes, however, would funnel civilians toward Russia or its ally Belarus, a plan that Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk called “unacceptable.”
“Providing evacuation routes into the arms of the country that is currently destroying yours is nonsense,” said UK Europe Minister James Cleverly.
Ukraine Defense Secretary Aleksey Danilov said Russia “violates the agreements reached – blocks the opening of “green corridors”, does not allow humanitarian supplies, but at the same time tries to create a false picture of a ‘joyful meeting’ of the occupiers by local residents.”
►President Joe Biden will discuss the latest developments in a secure video teleconference today with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
►The International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he is “extremely concerned” that Russian forces are beginning to assert authority over operation of Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, Ukraine’s largest, that they seized last week.
►The death toll of the conflict has been difficult to measure. The UN human rights office said at least 364 civilians have been confirmed killed since the Feb. 24 invasion, but the true number is probably much higher.
►Netflix said Sunday it’s suspending service in Russia, joining the growing list of companies shunning the country. Earlier in the day, TikTok and American Express said they would suspend operations in the country, which followed announcements by Visa and Mastercard Saturday. TikTok also said it will start labeling content from accounts used by state-controlled media.
GET UKRAINE UPDATES:We’ll email you the latest news once a day
VISUALS:Mapping and tracking Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
EU official warns refugee total could reach 5 million
The number of refugees who have fled Ukraine surpassed 1.7 million on Monday, and an EU official warned the number would likely reach 5 million. The UN refugee agency said Monday that more than a million of them crossed the border into Poland. EU foreign affairs policy chief Josep Borrell called on mobilizing “all the resources” of the bloc of 27 nations to help countries welcoming the refugee.
“If they continue to bomb Ukrainian cities in an indiscriminate manner, we can expect 5 million migrants,” said EU foreign affairs policy chief Josep Borrell. “Not migrants, we can’t call them migrants. These are exiled people.”
USA TODAY spent 36 hours with a team of overseas nurses, engineers and logistics personnel invited by Ukraine’s authorities to build a field hospital for emergency and specialized trauma care in Lviv. It is being established to serve an expected wave of people – military and civilian – impacted by Russia’s assault on Ukraine as Moscow counters resistance to its invasion with more firepower. The location of the planned hospital on the fringes of Lviv in western Ukraine – identified as a potential capital if Kyiv falls to the Kremlin.
“I’ve set up hospitals in war zones, and we’ve deliberately marked ones that have been bombed and we’ve left them unmarked and gotten bombed,” said Ken Isaacs, the American who is leading the effort to build the hospital. “When an airplane wants to bomb you, they bomb you.” Read more here.
– Kim Hjelmgaard and Jessica Koscielniak
Russia snubs UN court hearings in case brought by Ukraine
Russia has snubbed a hearing at the United Nations’ top court into a legal bid by Kyiv to halt Moscow’s devastating invasion of Ukraine. A row of seats reserved for Russian lawyers at the International Court of Justice was empty Monday morning as the hearing opened. The court’s president, American judge Joan E. Donoghue, said Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands informed judges that “her government did not intend to participate in the oral proceedings.” The hearing went ahead without the Russian delegation.
The International Court of Justice is opening two days of hearings at its headquarters, the Peace Palace, into Ukraine’s request for its judges to order Russia to halt its invasion. Ukraine is scheduled to present its arguments Monday morning and Russia has the opportunity to respond on Tuesday.
A decision is expected on the request within days, though that does not mean Russia would abide by any order the court might issue.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has begun a trip to the three Baltic states that are increasingly on edge as Russia presses ahead with its invasion of Ukraine. The former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all members of NATO and Blinken aims to reassure them of the alliance’s protection. Since the invasion of Ukraine last month, NATO has moved quickly to increase its troop presence in its eastern flank allies.
Blinken’s Baltic tour opened Monday in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, where support for Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion government is palpable with signs of solidarity with Ukrainians in many businesses and on public buildings and buses.
French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the few leaders pressing head with diplomatic efforts to end the war. Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin have spoken four times since Russian forces attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also becoming a mediator, meeting Putin in Moscow on Saturday and speaking with him again by phone on Sunday.
Blinken will go to Paris Tuesday to hear from Macron, who holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, directly about his latest conversations with Putin.
New Zealand’s government said Monday it plans to rush through a new law that will allow it to impose economic sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Unlike many countries that have already introduced sanctions, New Zealand’s existing laws don’t allow it to apply meaningful measures unless they’re part of a broader United Nations effort. Because Russia has UN Security Council veto power, that has left New Zealand hamstrung.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the new legislation would allow it to target people, companies and assets connected to those in Russia associated with the invasion, including oligarchs. It would allow New Zealand to freeze assets and stop superyachts or plans from arriving.
The bill will be specific only to the Ukraine invasion but could allow New Zealand to impose sanctions on countries seen to be helping Russia, such as Belarus.
Australia’s prime minister has described Russia and China’s closer relationship as opportunistic rather than strategic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday labeled the alliance an “Arc of Autocracy” and said Russia and China would prefer a new world order to the one that has been in place since World War II.
Morrison has criticized Beijing’s failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s expansion of trade in Russian wheat while other countries are imposing sanctions.
Australia last week promised Ukraine $50 million in missiles, ammunition and other military hardware to fight Russian invaders.
Morrison said on Monday: “Our missiles are on the ground now.”
The price of oil surpassed $10 a barrel as shares fell sharply Monday.
Brent crude oil surged more than 12% during the day in Asia, while benchmark US crude gained about $10 at more than $125 a barrel.
the effects of rising gas prices have been mounting across the world and in the US, where the national average price for gas has topped $4 a gallon for the first time in over a decade. US futures also fell, with the contract for the benchmark S&P 500 down 1.6% and that for the Dow industrials falling 1.3%.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Sunday evening that Congress is exploring “strong legislation” that would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the US If passed, the legislation would almost certainly affect oil and gas prices worldwide.
Russia doesn’t export much oil to the United States, but it’s just enough that the threat of banning its crude from American shores is driving gas prices and leaving some regions – notably the West Coast – facing the prospect of less crude to process at refineries and making costs even higher at the pump, experts say.
— Celina Tebor and Craig Harris
OIL FROM RUSSIA:How much oil does the US buy from Russia? Not much, but gas prices are rising amid Ukraine invasion
GAS PRICES ARE RISING:What can Biden do to lower costs at the pump amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
Biden administration requests $10B in support for Ukraine
The Biden administration has requested $10 billion in humanitarian, military, and economic support for Ukraine, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced in a news release Sunday evening.
Biden has strongly affirmed that he will not send US troops to fight in Ukraine, but the funds, which will be part of the federal government’s omnibus funding legislation, will likely provide military equipment and support US allies who are supplying airplanes to Ukraine, Pelosi’s release said.
She also said the US House of Representatives is exploring “strong legislation” that would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the US, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step in denying Russia access to the World. Trade Organization.
— Celina Tebor
Contributing: The Associated Press