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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 14


In this photo released by Ukrainian State Emergency Service, firefighters evacuate a man from an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 14, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

For the latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, all times EST:

11:50 p.m.: Multiple sources, including The Kyiv Independent, Ukraine’s English-language media outlet, report large blasts in Kyiv, local time 5:45 a.m.

10: 30 p.m.: President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine in fending off Russian aggression and will provide assistance to refugees fleeing the country in search of safety.

“We will make sure Ukraine has weapons to defend against the invading Russian force. We will send money and food and aid to save Ukrainian lives,” Biden said in a tweet.

“We will welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms,” he said.

9:35 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement late Monday: “The United States welcomes the passage of New Zealand’s new sanctions regime, which allows the imposition of sanctions on those responsible for, or associated with, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It also gives the New Zealand government the power to sanction individuals and entities that are of economic or strategic relevance to Russia and will ensure Russia cannot use New Zealand to circumvent sanctions imposed by the international community.”

8:44 p.m.: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Marina Ovsiannykova, an anti-war protester who interrupted a Russian state TV broadcast, in his daily video address in Telegram, switching to Russian to say, "I am thankful to those Russians that do not cease trying to get the truth out, who fight against disinformation and tell the truth, tell real facts to their friends, relatives. And personally to the girl who entered the studio of Channel 1 with a poster against the war. To those who are not afraid to protest, before your country closes totally from the rest of the world, turning into a very big North Korea. You need to fight, you shouldn't miss your own chance."

Ukraine President Zelenskyy Thanks Anti-war Protester Who Interrupted Russian TV Broadcast
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8:13 p.m.: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late on Monday that negotiations with Russia are to continue on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Zelenskyy also said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as part of a negotiation effort to end the war with Russia "with a fair peace."

7:44 p.m.: New Zealand's government said it would introduce a new policy that will enable about 4,000 family members of Ukrainian New Zealanders to move to the country in the short-term following Russia's invasion, Reuters reported on Tuesday. Ukrainian-born New Zealand citizens and residents will be able to sponsor a Ukrainian family member and their immediate family, Immigration Minster Kris Faafoi said in a statement. Those accepted will be granted a two-year work visa and their children will be able to attend school.

7:09 p.m.: The International Atomic Energy Agency said late Monday that power had been restored at Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power station, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986, the Agence France-Presse reported.

5:41 p.m.: An anti-war protester interrupted the main news program on Russian state TV Channel One on Monday, holding up a sign behind the studio presenter with slogans denouncing the war in Ukraine. The sign, in English and Russian, read: "NO WAR. Stop the war. Don't believe propaganda. They are lying to you here." Pavel Chikov, head of the human rights group Agora, said the woman, Marina Ovsiannykova, an employee of the TV channel, had been arrested and taken to a Moscow police station.

3:57 p.m.: A pregnant women who was injured last week in an air strike on a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has died along with her unborn child. The woman was in the maternity ward of the hospital when Russian forces shelled it, and she was pictured in a widely distributed photograph being rushed to an ambulance on a stretcher holding her swollen belly. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

3:26 p.m.: “We are horrified to learn that our fellow correspondent Benjamin Hall was injured as he covered the Ukraine war,” said Shaun Tandon, President of the State Department Correspondents’ Association, on Monday. “We know Ben for his warmth, good humor and utmost professionalism. We wish Ben a quick recovery and call for utmost efforts to protect journalists who are providing an invaluable service through their coverage in Ukraine,” he added. Hall works for the American television network Fox News.

3:19 p.m.: A reporter for Fox News was hospitalized in Ukraine Monday. A memo from Fox News, shared on social media, said that its correspondent Benjamin Hall was “injured while newsgathering outside of Kyiv.” The memo said Hall is being treated in hospital and that Fox has few details about what happened. Hall, a State Department correspondent who joined Fox News in 2015, has covered conflict previously including in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has reported for U.S. and British media including the New York Times, The Times of London and the BBC, according to Jessica Jerreat, VOA's Press Freedom Editor.

2:45 p.m.: U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price said his office is closely monitoring China and other countries to see if they provide financial or other support to Russia. VOA’s Nike Ching reports.

2:40 p.m.: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi in Rome, Italy on Monday. Mr. Sullivan raised a range of issues in U.S.-China relations, with substantial discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to an official statement from his office. They also underscored the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and China, the statement added.

2:38 p.m.: Russian forces let a first column of cars escape Ukraine's besieged port of Mariupol on Monday after 10 days of failed attempts to rescue civilians under relentless bombardment, according to Ukrainian officials. But the Russians blocked an aid convoy trying to reach the city, Reuters reported.

2:13 p.m.: More than two weeks into a war he expected to dominate in two days, Vladimir Putin is projecting anger, frustration at his military’s failures and a willingness to cause even more violence and destruction in Ukraine, in the assessment of U.S. intelligence officials. The Associated Press has the story.

1:54 p.m.: Police on Monday moved in to evict squatters who had occupied a London mansion suspected of belonging to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was placed on Britain's sanctions list last week in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Wearing riot gear, officers entered the multi-million dollar mansion which the squatters had earlier occupied in Belgrave Square. However, they remained in a standoff with the squatters who gathered on the balcony at the front of the property where they had unfurled a Ukrainian flag and placed a banner reading 'This property has been liberated'.

Police officers prepare to enter a mansion reportedly belonging to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was placed on Britain's sanctions list last week, as squatters occupy it, in Belgravia, London, March 14, 2022
Police officers prepare to enter a mansion reportedly belonging to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was placed on Britain's sanctions list last week, as squatters occupy it, in Belgravia, London, March 14, 2022

"You occupy Ukraine, we occupy you," said a statement from the squatters, who described themselves as anarchists.

"Squatting in residential buildings is illegal but we are working to identify the appropriate use for seized properties while owners are subject to sanctions," a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters. "We certainly don't think people should break the law."

1:49 p.m.: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has confirmed the bloc is poised to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

1:46 p.m.: “Ukraine is on fire,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday. “The country is being decimated before the eyes of the world. The impact on civilians is reaching terrifying proportions,” he said at a press gathering at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Guterres expressed grave concern that the war could interrupt the global food supply chain. “We must do everything possible to avert a hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system,” he said, noting that this was one of many grave concerns related to the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In this handout picture taken and released by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine on March 14, 2022, firemen work to extinguish a fire in an apartment building hit by shelling in the Obolon district of Kyiv.
In this handout picture taken and released by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine on March 14, 2022, firemen work to extinguish a fire in an apartment building hit by shelling in the Obolon district of Kyiv.

“In a word, developing countries are getting pummeled,” Guterres said. “They face a cascade of crises – beyond the Ukraine war, we cannot forget COVID and the impacts of climate change – in particular, drought.” In response, he announced the establishment of a new Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance in the U.N. Secretariat to work with member states.

“Make no mistake: everyday people, especially women and children, will bear the brunt of this unfolding tragedy,” he said. “We need peace now.”

1:32 p.m. : The Ukrainian government is doing what it can to keep the country’s economy running. Still, its money is running out fast. The International Monetary Fund executive board approved a $1.4 billion loan to Ukraine on March 10. But experts say it won’t last for long. VOA’s Oksana Bedratenko has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.

Ukraine's Economy Surviving Invasion, But How Long Can it Last?
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1:28 p.m.: Four U.S. senators visited Poland over the weekend to speak to Ukrainian refugees, VOA's Eastern Europe Chief Myroslava Gongadze reports. Senator Amy Kobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Congress is looking at more ways to boost Ukraine’s defenses.

12:52 p.m.: Thousands of people have fled the town of Irpin near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, after civilian areas came under sustained Russian attack. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty spoke to some of the people who remain with no electricity or gas for heating and with corpses yet to be cleared from the streets. (WARNING: Viewers may find the content of this video disturbing.)

12:28 p.m.: Pianists this week are trying to keep spirits up at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine, as exhausted refugees continue to flee the war, Reuters reports.

12:05 p.m.: In Photos: Russia's Invasion of Ukraine, March 14, 2022

11:51 a.m.: Ukrainian families crossing the border into Poland say taking their pets with them made the journey to escape the Russian invasion more difficult. But they tell VOA’s Celia Mendoza the pets are like family and leaving them behind was not an option.

Ukrainian Families Leave Everything Behind, But Not Their Pets
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11:32 a.m.: U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s efforts to counter Russian disinformation. VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin has more on Warner’s comments, delivered at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Monday.

11:12 a.m.: U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc said on Monday it would maintain its humanitarian supply of medicines to Russia but would refrain from starting new clinical trials in the country and recruiting patients for ongoing studies, Reuters reports.

Pfizer said it would work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulators to transition all clinical trials to alternative sites outside Russia. It will continue providing drugs to the patients already enrolled in studies.

A voluntary pause in the flow of medicines to Russia would be "in direct violation of our foundational principle of putting patients first", Pfizer said. "Ending delivery of medicines, including cancer or cardiovascular therapies, would cause significant patient suffering and potential loss of life," it added.

The sanctions, which leave out medicine and medical equipment, have cut off Russian banks from the international financial system, thereby disrupting the movement of goods into the country. Pfizer said it would donate all profits from its unit in the country to causes that provide support to the people of Ukraine. Pfizer, which does not own or operate any manufacturing sites in Russia, said it would stop all planned investments with local suppliers intended to build manufacturing capacity in the country.

10:58 a.m.: Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation, which runs programs promoting and elevating the standards of journalism, has published a remembrance of American journalist Brent Renaud who was shot and killed in Irpin, Ukraine yesterday. Renaud was a documentary filmmaker and photographer and a member of the Nieman class of 2019.

10:41 a.m.: Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau addressed the United Nations Security Council as the current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Monday. Speaking about Ukraine, he said the door to diplomacy is still open. “We cannot stay indifferent,” he said. VOA’s UN Correspondent Margaret Besheer reports.

10:27 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address to members of the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday. “The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer said in a statement released Monday. Zelenskyy spoke by video with House and Senate lawmakers earlier this month, delivering a desperate plea for more military aid. Congress recently approved $13.6 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

10:18 a.m.: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has highlighted Ukraine’s unique culture in a series of Twitter posts, and described efforts to preserve it in the face of Russia’s military invasion. On Monday UNESCO brought attention to traditional Cossack songs from the Dnipropetrovsk Region in Ukraine, which recount the tragedy of war.

10:00 a.m.: The United Nations Security Council holds its annual meeting with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Monday. Among its key duties is monitoring the repeatedly broken ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, according to UN organizers. Poland holds the rotating chairmanship of the OSCE, and its Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau is in New York and will speak at the UNSC meeting. He will also meet U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other U.N. officials. Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo is also expected to brief, the UN stated. VOA’s UN Correspondent Margaret Besheer is monitoring the proceedings.

9:35 a.m.: Rescue efforts continued Monday at an apartment building hit by Russian artillery in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, The Associated Press reports.

9:28 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing Russian airlines to operate leased planes without a foreign certificate, Reuter quoted news agency Tass as saying Monday. Sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine give leasing firms until March 28 to free themselves from deals with Russian airlines.

9:21 a.m.: Warsaw’s central railway station is packed on a chilly evening. Two trains have arrived from the border and disgorge a mass of disheveled, tired people, and blinking children, to join the already jam-packed main entrance hall, where families clutch bowls of soup and bottled water proffered by the volunteers. VOA’s Jamie Dettmer, in Poland, spoke with some of the refugees and has this Reporter’s Notebook account of their journey.

9:19 a.m.: Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said 20 civilians were killed and another 28 wounded by a ballistic missile launched by the Ukrainian forces Monday in the eastern city of Donetsk, center of the separatist Donetsk region, The Associated Press reports. Konashenkov said the missile was fired from an area northwest of Donetsk controlled by Ukrainian forces. His claim could not be independently verified, AP added.

9:06 a.m.: The Ukrainian state power company said Monday the power line supplying the Chernobyl nuclear facility was damaged by Russian forces again, after it was repaired, according to The Associated Press.

The Ukrenergo company said in a statement that its technicians had started to supply power Sunday evening but “before the power supply was fully restored, the occupying forces damaged it again.” Ukrenergo said it will attempt another repair.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has played down concerns over the safety of nuclear waste at Chernobyl, saying that cooling ponds there are large enough to keep the spent nuclear fuel in safe condition even if the power supply is interrupted.

8:33 a.m.: A top Red Cross official says the ongoing Russian war on Ukraine has become “nothing short of a nightmare” for those living in besieged cities. Robert Mardini, the director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, also called the war “catastrophic” for civilians affected by the fighting. He told The Associated Press on Monday that people are out of drinking water, food, medical supplies and fuel for heating — particularly in the surrounded Ukrainian city of Mariupol. While the Red Cross continues to speak with Russian and Ukrainian leaders, there’s so far been no established routes for people to safely leave Mariupol and some other areas facing intense warfare. Earlier, Mardini said on Twitter that history will look back “with horror” if no agreement is reached in Mariupol.

8:19 a.m.: The European Union said Monday it is providing concrete assistance to the people of Ukraine including medical and shelter supplies.

8:05 a.m.: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will head to Moscow on March 15 for discussions on the Iran nuclear deal, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said. The announcement comes days after France, Britain, and Germany warned of a risk that talks on an almost-completed revived nuclear deal could collapse over Russia’s demands to have its trade with Iran guaranteed amid massive sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

7:47 a.m.: Two people were killed in Russian strikes on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv Monday, and an aircraft factory was set ablaze, Reuters reports. At least one person was killed when a Russian shell smashed into an apartment block in Kyiv on Monday and a second person was killed by falling debris after a missile strike on another part of the Ukrainian capital, city authorities said.

Ukrainian television footage showed firefighters clambering through rubble and up a ladder into what was left of the smoldering apartment block that was hit in Kyiv's Obolon district. A corpse lay on the ground, the face covered.

Also, three Russian rockets hit the Antonov aircraft factory in Kyiv and firefighters "localized" a blaze at the plant, Deputy Mayor Mykola Povoroznyk said. There were no immediate reports of any deaths at the factory.

Meanwhile, more than 2,400 civilians have been killed in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol since Russia invaded the country last month, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday. Borrell, speaking at a news conference in Skopje, said that more than 2.6 million people have fled Ukraine and the number of refugees could swell to 4-5 million.

7:32 a.m. On her first Shabbat away from the fighting in Ukraine, Rabbi Julia Gris twice led services to welcome the Jewish holy day. A week earlier, Ukraine's only woman rabbi had been fleeing the war that scattered her Odesa congregation from Moldova to Romania and Israel. Some stayed behind, braving the Russian shelling.

7:04 a.m.: The UN refugee agency reports that as of Monday, over 2.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on February 24. Two U.S. college students have developed a website to try to help Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter in the region. “ is an independent platform connecting Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and housing,” according to their website. The concept was developed by Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein, two undergraduate students at Harvard University, who say that the platform acts as a public bulletin board matching refugees with people offering places to stay and has been attracting thousands of viewers since it was launched earlier this month. Observers note this is one of many efforts, public and private, underway to assist Ukrainian refugees in the region.

6:57 am.: Talks between Russia and Ukraine have resumed Monday, a scheduled meeting held through a video conference.

“The parties actively express their specified positions. Communication is being held yet it’s hard,” Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy, said in a Twitter post. “The reason for the discord is too different political systems.”

Earlier, Podolyak said he was ready for a “difficult discussion” with Russia, to resume the planned negotiation. “The fourth round of negotiations. On peace, a cease-fire, an immediate troop pullout and security guarantees.” Podolyak said. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the two countries have attempted to negotiate three times before March 14 but with no clear outcome.

6:00 a.m.: A bipartisan group of senators are calling for assistance in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country in February.

“Some favoring the no-fly zone, delivery of the aircrafts and air defense system,” reports VOA’s Eastern Europe Chief Myroslava Gongadze.

5:30 a.m.: Ukrainian and Russian delegations resume peace talks Monday, a day after Russia launched a lethal cruise missile attack on a western Ukraine military base just 25 kilometers from Poland, a NATO member. At least 35 people died and 134 were wounded in the attack on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday in his daily nighttime address that Sunday was a “black day” for the country because of the attack.

The president said he had given a “clear warning” to Western leaders about the likelihood of an attack at the base where NATO units train with Ukrainian troops.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman says the Russians used a phosphorus munition in an overnight attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna in the Luhansk region.

Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman, Liudmila Denisova, shared a photograph purporting to show the alleged attack, but did not say if Ukraine had concrete evidence, Reuters reported. “The bombing of a civilian city by the Russian attackers with these weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity according to the Rome convention,” she said. VOA was not immediately able to verify the claim.

While phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon, its use against human beings is banned under international law.

4:51 a.m.: Australia has imposed fresh sanctions on wealthy Russian entrepreneurs because of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. The move is part of Australia’s strategy to penalize people of economic and political value to Russia. For VOA, Phil Mercer reports from Sydney.

4:30 a.m.: Sunday’s closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing marked the end of an almost six-week run for international sports in the Chinese capital that began with the opening of the Winter Olympics on February 4th.

President Xi Jinping was on hand as the Paralympic flag was passed to the mayor and vice-mayor of Milan — Cortina, Italy, where the next Winter Paralympics will be held in 2026.

The Beijing Paralympics opened just eight days after Russia, aided by Belarus, invaded Ukraine. The International Paralympic Committee, after initially declining to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes, reversed course and removed their 83 athletes — 71 from Russia and 12 from Belarus.

Ukraine, with only 20 athletes competing, finished second to China in the medal standings. The ceremony ended a run for Asia of hosting four of the last eight Olympics and Paralympics, starting with the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

4:00 a.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on allies to assist in the country’s fight against Russia’s invasion and “avert a larger war.”

Some Western governments fear that doing so could pull other countries, including NATO member states, into the war, according to Reuters.

“We need you to help us fight. Provide us with all necessary weapons. Apply more sanctions on Russia and isolate it fully,” Kuleba said in a Twitter post Monday.

3:54 a.m.: Every Sunday, dozens of Ukrainian and Russian Christian believers congregate at First Russian Baptist Church in Mount Crawford, Virginia. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, these worshippers say they condemn violence and are focusing on what unites them. VOA’s Yahya Barzinji visited the church, spoke to congregants and filed this report narrated by Namo Abdulla.

Russians and Ukrainians Worship Side by Side in Virginia Church
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3:35 a.m.: Russia continues its unprovoked attack on neighboring Ukraine as the invasion rolls through a third week. On Sunday dozens of people were killed when Russia launched a missile attack on a military training base in western Ukraine near the country’s border with Poland. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.

US Politics Amid The Rising Fear Russia May Use Chemical Weapons in Ukraine
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3:15 a.m.: A government source told Reuters Monday that Germany will purchase up to 35 F-35 fighter jets. The news agency reported earlier that the government in Berlin had decided in principle to buy the U.S. fighter jets.

2:30 a.m.: A residential nine-story building in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was on fire Monday due to Russian shelling, the Kyiv Independent newspaper reported.

State emergency service officials said that the fire broke out shortly after 5 a.m. local time in Obolonskyi district of Ukraine’s capital.

In this photo released by Ukrainian State Emergency Service press service, firefighters evacuate a man from an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)
In this photo released by Ukrainian State Emergency Service press service, firefighters evacuate a man from an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)

In this photo released by Ukrainian State Emergency Service press service, firefighters work at an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)
In this photo released by Ukrainian State Emergency Service press service, firefighters work at an apartment building hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (Ukrainian State Emergency Service via AP)

1:30 a.m.: The WHO warned that the war in Ukraine could lead to COVID-19 outbreaks in the region.

Ukraine’s vaccination rate is about 34% but vaccination efforts have all but stopped due to the fighting. Approximately 2 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee and many inside and outside of the country are living in close quarters where the virus can spread quickly. Since the outbreak, the country has also experienced a polio outbreak and a nationwide polio vaccine program had to be halted due to the fighting.

The WHO also denounced Russian attacks on health care facilities and workers. The organization has reported 31 attacks against health care facilities, ambulances and other locations resulting in 12 deaths.

A joint statement from UNICEF, WHO and the United Nations Population Fund said: “For the sake of health workers, and for all people in Ukraine who need access to the lifesaving services they provide, attacks on all health care and other civilian infrastructure must stop.”

12:30 a.m.: The U.K. Ministry of Defence reported that Russian naval forces have established a “distant blockade” of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast “effectively isolating Ukraine from international maritime trade.”

In addition to preventing trade in and out, Russian naval vessels are conducting missile strikes and Russia conducted an amphibious landing of forces from the Sea of Azov, the ministry reported.

12:15 a.m.: Exclusive via Reuters: Ukraine war must end, Russia’s fertilizer and coal king says

The war in Ukraine is a tragedy that must be stopped or there will be a global food crisis as fertilizer prices are already too high for many farmers, Russia’s coal and fertilizer king Andrei Melnichenko said on Monday.

“The events in Ukraine are truly tragic. We urgently need peace,” Melnichenko, 50, who is Russian but was born in Belarus and has a Ukrainian mother, told Reuters in a statement emailed by his spokesman.

“As a Russian by nationality, a Belarusian by birth, and a Ukrainian by blood, I feel great pain and disbelief witnessing brotherly peoples fighting and dying.”

12:00 a.m.: President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will fly to Rome on Monday to meet with Chinese Foreign Policy Adviser Yang Jiechi to discuss the two countries’ stances on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Beijing has been unwilling to strongly condemn Russia’s actions or to levy sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The New York Times reported on Sunday that Russia has requested military and economic aid from China. Sullivan is expected to tell his counterpart that the U.S. condemns any effort to help Russia evade sanctions or conduct the war.

“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” Sullivan said Sunday on CNN. “We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world.”

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.