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Huge explosions rock Kyiv hours after dozens were killed in Russian CLUSTER BOMBS attack

Jimie 2022. 3. 1. 19:24

President Zelensky accuses Russia of WAR CRIMES over brutal shelling of Kharkiv which saw 11 civilians killed and schools destroyed as Ukraine's ambassador to the US claims Putin dropped deadly thermobaric VACUUM BOMB during invasion

  • In an address last night, Zelensky said there would 'definitely be an international tribunal' against Russia
  • He said it had committed a 'violation of all conventions' after launching an attack on eastern city of Kharkiv
  • Attack with alleged cluster bombs on the city today killed at least 11 and injured 44
  • Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. claimed that Russia has also used a vacuum bomb during its invasion
  • If Russia is confirmed to have used cluster bombs it could constitute a war crime


PUBLISHED: 04:55 AEDT, 1 March 2022 | UPDATED: 20:17 AEDT, 1 March 2022


Ukraine's president has accused Russia of war crimes after Vladimir Putin's forces launched what were believed to be cluster and vacuum bomb attacks in an attempt to turn the tide of a conflict that they have so-far been losing.

In a late night address directed at Russia, Volodymyr Zelensky said there would 'definitely be an international tribunal' for what he said was a 'violation of all conventions' and added that 'no one in the world will forgive you for killing peaceful Ukrainian people.' Prosecutors at The Hague say they intend to open a probe 'as soon as possible.'

Zelensky spoke after what appeared to be a cluster bomb attack on the city of Kharkiv on Monday which killed at least 11 people and wounded scores more, and after Ukraine's ambassador to the US accused Putin's forces of using a banned thermobaric bomb on the capital of Kyiv overnight.


Ukraine war: The latest

  • Russia promised on Monday that it would hit back against the EU following its support of Ukraine and warned the West against supplying weapons to the country
  • A second round of talks aimed at ending Russia's attack on Ukraine is set to take place after the first meeting ended without resolution
  • Ukraine's MoD says Russia has lost 5,300 soldiers, 29 planes, 29 helicopters and 151 tanks
  • Russia's MoD has for the first time acknowledged suffering losses, but refused to say how many
  • Ukraine reports 352 civilian deaths since the start of the invasion, including 14 children. The UN puts the civilian toll at 102, including seven children.
  • Russian economy entered freefall as Western sanctions put in place over the weekend took effect, with ruble sliding to its lowest level ever
  • Moscow's central bank has more-than doubled the interest rate to 20 per cent
  • Russia orders people and companies to sell 80 per cent of their revenue in foreign currencies, forcing them to buy the ruble to help prop it up
  • Moscow stock exchange won't open until at least 3pm in an attempt to head off all-out crash
  • Zelensky has allowed Ukrainian prisoners to be freed if they join defence forces to 'repay their debt'
  • Ukraine president also announced creation of 'international brigade' for foreign volunteers wishing to join military, after 'thousands' applied
  • Spain's foreign minister called Putin's order to put nuclear forces on high alert 'one more sign of [his] absolute irrationality'
  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country should be open to hosting nuclear weapons
  • Germany announced a $112million fund to rebuild the country's armed forces, more-than double its current self-defence budget
  • EU announced, for the first time in its history, that it will send funds to Ukraine for weapons - including fighter jets

The bombardment of Kharkiv continued Tuesday morning with a rocket landing just in front of the civilian public administration building, destroying the road outside and blowing the windows out of the building itself. Footage from inside shows the building was heavily damaged, with ceilings collapsing and rubble strewn around.


It came as Russia's invasion of Ukraine - which met with heavy defeat in its initial plan to seize key targets and infrastructure in precision strikes - entered a new phase, with the aim seemingly to surround and besiege cities such as Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol, Sumy and Kherson which have so-far put up fierce resistance - and bomb them into submission using indiscriminate weapons in echoes of tactics Russia used against rebel forces in Syria while fighting alongside dictator Basahar al-Assad.

Fears that Kyiv will be hard-hit have been growing and reached new heights on Tuesday as satellite images revealed a column of Russian vehicles heading towards the capital is actually 40 miles long, as opposed to the 4 miles that were reported on Monday.

The most-advanced units in the column are now just 15 miles from the city, having been significantly slowed by Ukrainian resistance but never-the-less inching closer day by day. Russia's plan appears to be using the heavy armour to encircle and shell the city, before troops move in for street-to-street fighting.

A taste of what was to come struck Kharkiv on Monday when bombs rained down on the most Russia-friendly city in Ukraine – which sits 25 miles from the border and is home to 1.5million people – in a bid to break its will to resist.

The hail of bombs, shells and rockets which began falling at lunchtime left at least 11 dead, including three children, with homes and even a school reduced to rubble.

A military source told MailOnline that videos of the onslaught showed 'cluster' munitions - which are illegal under international law - had been used.

'The BM-21 Grad is a multiple launch rocket system used for "area denial", dropping cluster bombs on a concentrated area,' the expert said. 'It's mainly used on enemy troops before an offensive. Used against civilians, it's not only a war crime, but has only one purpose – to spread terror and alarm among the civilian population.'

Later on Monday, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. claimed that Russia used a devastating vacuum bomb on Ukraine.

Oksana Markarova, speaking after briefing members of the U.S. congress, said: 'They used the vacuum bomb today, which is actually prohibited by the Geneva convention. The devastation that Russia is trying to inflict on Ukraine is large.'

The vacuum bombs, which are also known as thermobaric weapons, can vaporise bodies and crush internal organs. They use oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion, typically producing a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than that of a conventional explosive.

They are among the most powerful non-nuclear weapons ever developed.

Ms Markarova's comments came after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he plans to open an investigation 'as rapidly as possible' into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

As Russia's attempt to overwhelm Ukrainian forces continued, security sources said that, 96 hours in to the invasion, Putin had 'stirred up a hornets' nest' by 'underestimating the strength of the resistance' and the 'will of the people to fight'.

However, in a concerning statement that further signalled the ramping up tensions between the West and Putin, Russia's foreign ministry promised that it would hit back against the EU after the bloc imposed sanctions.

A spokesman also warned that 'EU citizens and structures' involved in sending weapons to Ukraine would be 'responsible for any consequences'.

Amid the ongoing fighting, it was announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Tuesday fly to Poland to visit British troops manning Nato's eastern border with Russia.

It comes after huge explosions rocked a suburb of Kyiv on Monday evening, just hours after the attack in Kharkiv.

Dramatic video showed the moment that the night sky lit up with an enormous fire ball that reportedly stemmed from a military radar communication center in the Brovary suburb of the capital.

Horrific moment missile hits Kharkiv city administration building
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Kharkiv was struck by more Russian rockets on Tuesday morning, with one striking outside the civilian public administration building which was heavily damaged in the blast. The rocket can be seen a split second before it slams into the building, triggering a massive blast

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The rocket caused huge damage to the building and threw up a huge plume of smoke in the aftermath of the explosion

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The blast blew debris across the square outside the administrative building and demolished several parked cars

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This image, posted by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, shows the square outside the administrative building covered in rubble following the rocket attack

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A view shows the regional administration building following the Russian rocket attack in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022

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Rescue workers and medics are pictured close to the regional administration building in central Kharkiv, picking their way through the debris following the explosion

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The bombardment of Kharkiv continued Tuesday morning with a rocket landing just in front of the civilian public administration building, destroying the road outside and blowing the windows out of the building itself. Footage from inside shows the building was heavily damaged, with ceilings collapsing and rubble strewn around

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Kharkiv and Ukraine flags are pictured hanging from a blown out window of the administrative building after the Russian rocket attack in a symbol of defiance

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Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of war crimes on Monday after Vladimir Putin's forces launched what were believed to be cluster and vacuum bomb attacks on the fifth day of their invasion. Above: Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, coming under heavy attack on Monday


But while Ukraine sent its defence minister and other top officials, the Russian delegation was led by Putin's adviser on culture - an unlikely envoy for ending the war and perhaps a sign of how Moscow views the talks.

Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu has reported to Mr Putin that command posts of all of Russia's nuclear forces have been boosted with additional personnel.

The Russian defence ministry said that the high alert status applies to all components of Russian nuclear forces, the strategic missile forces that oversee land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Northern and Pacific Fleets that have submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the long-range aviation that has a fleet of nuclear-capable strategic bombers.

While the exact effect of Putin's order is unclear, it is likely to mean Russian nuclear warheads being moved close to launch systems such as missiles to allow them to be deployed at shorter notice. The two are usually stored separately to avoid the risk of a weapon accidentally being fired.

It could also mean mobile weapons being dispersed around the country to make them harder to track down and destroy, and bombs being loaded on to aircraft though not armed - again to reduce the time it would take to mount an attack.

Putin's order, while short of raising nuclear tensions to the levels seen between East and West during the Cold War, will add to fears that the war in Ukraine could rapidly escalate into a more far-reaching and devastating conflict - or that an accident could occur sparking potentially lethal consequences.

The Russian president gave the order to Shoigu on Sunday - drawing a quizzical look from his usually-stoic defence minister, who is a veteran of every Russian president since the fall of the Soviet Union.

And a senior White House official described it as 'yet another escalatory and totally unnecessary step'. They said in a statement: 'At every step of this conflict, Putin has manufactured threats to justify more aggressive actions.

'He was never under threat from Ukraine or from Nato, which is a defensive alliance that will not fight in Ukraine.

'The only reason his forces face a threat today is because they invaded a sovereign country, and one without nuclear weapons.'

Max Bergmann, a former State Department official, called Putin's talk predictable but dangerous sabre-rattling. 'Things could spiral out of control,' he warned.

The Russian leader is 'potentially putting in play forces that, if there's a miscalculation, could make things much, much more dangerous,' said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss rapidly unfolding military operations.

Putin's directive came as Russian forces encountered strong opposition from Ukraine defenders.

Russian invasion forces seized two small cities in southeastern Ukraine and the area around a nuclear power plant, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday, but ran into stiff resistance elsewhere as Moscow's diplomatic and economic isolation deepened.

Having launched the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two, President Vladimir Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a barrage of Western-led reprisals for his war on Ukraine.

Blasts were heard before dawn on Monday in the capital of Kyiv and in the major city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian authorities said. But, Russian ground forces' attempts to capture major urban centres had been repelled, they added.

Russia's defence ministry, however, said its forces had taken over the towns of Berdyansk and Enerhodar in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhya region as well as the area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Interfax reported. The plant's operations continued normally, it said.

Ukraine denied that the nuclear plant had fallen into Russian hands, according to the news agency.

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As Western governments mustered more support for sanctions against Moscow, diplomatic manoeuvring continued with the Vatican joining efforts to end the conflict by offering to 'facilitate dialogue' between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine said negotiations with Moscow without preconditions would be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Russian news agency Tass cited an unidentified source as saying the talks would start on Monday morning.

Liz Truss will launch savage broadside at Russian leader and accuse him of 'murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately' in UN address

Vladimir Putin has 'blood on his hands', Liz Truss will say on Tuesday at a UN summit.

In a speech in Geneva, the Foreign Secretary will condemn Putin's brutal tactics and accuse him of 'murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately'.

Miss Truss will say: 'The consequences of Vladimir Putin's unjustified aggression are horrific.

'Russian troops are laying siege to once peaceful cities. Tanks are tearing through towns while missiles barrage homes and hospitals.

'Putin is murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately. There is blood on his hands, not just of innocent Ukrainians but the men he sent to die.'

She will hint at potential war crimes prosecutions, accusing the Russian president of 'violating international law, including the UN Charter'.

The Foreign Secretary will continue: 'He is violating human rights on an industrial scale and the world will not stand for it.

'There are no shades of grey. It is about right and wrong. This is Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war against a sovereign nation.'


U.S. President Joe Biden was to host a call with allies and partners on Monday to coordinate a united response, the White House said.

The United States said Putin was escalating the war with 'dangerous rhetoric' about Russia's nuclear posture, amid signs Russian forces were preparing to besiege major cities in the democratic country of about 44 million people.

British defence minister Ben Wallace said that he does not expect Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons.

As missiles rained down, nearly 400,000 civilians, mainly women and children, have fled into neighbouring countries, a U.N. relief agency said.

A senior U.S. defence official said Russia had fired more than 350 missiles at Ukrainian targets since it launched the invasion last week, some hitting civilian infrastructure.

'It appears that they are adopting a siege mentality, which any student of military tactics and strategy will tell you, when you adopt siege tactics, it increases the likelihood of collateral damage,' the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson by telephone on Sunday that the next 24 hours would be crucial for Ukraine, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

So far, the Russian offensive cannot claim any major victories. Russia has not taken any Ukrainian city, does not control Ukraine's airspace, and its troops remained roughly 19 miles from Kyiv's city centre for a second day, the official said.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a 'special operation' that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Western-led political, strategic, economic and corporate sanctions were unprecedented in their extent and coordination, and there were further pledges of military support for Ukraine's badly outgunned armed forces.

The rouble plunged nearly 30% to an all-time low versus the dollar, after Western nations on Saturday unveiled harsh sanctions including blocking some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system.

China's foreign ministry voiced disapproval of the use of sanctions, saying it opposed unilateral, illegal action. Regarding Putin's order to put its nuclear deterrent on high alert, it said that all sides should remain calm and avoid escalation. Japan and South Korea said they would join in the action to block some banks from SWIFT. South Korea, a major exporter of semiconductors, said it would also ban exports of strategic items to Russia.

Singapore, a financial and shipping hub, said it intended to impose sanctions and restrictions on Russia, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

Japan said it was also considering imposing sanctions against some individuals in Belarus, a key staging area for the Russian invasion.

A referendum in Belarus on Sunday approved a new constitution ditching the country's non-nuclear status.

In the Baltic state of Latvia, the parliament gave its blessing to any citizen who wanted to fight in Ukraine against the Russian invaders.

Several European subsidiaries of Sberbank Russia, majority owned by the Russian government, were failing or were likely to fail due to the reputational cost of the war in Ukraine, the European Central Bank said.

Britain said on Monday it was taking further measures against Russia in concert with the United States and European Union, effectively cutting off Moscow's major financial institutions from Western markets.

Russia's central bank scrambled to manage the broadening fallout of the sanctions saying it would resume buying gold on the domestic market, launch a repurchase auction with no limits and ease restrictions on banks' open foreign currency positions.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on economic issues at the Kremlin after Western sanctions took effect, causing the rouble to tank and Russian economy to shrink


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People walk past burned cars a day after a shelling on a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine

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People walk past burned cars a day after a shelling on a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine

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A view shows destroyed Russian Tigr-M infantry fighting vehciles on a road in Kharkiv, Ukraine

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A huge column of Russian tanks and support vehicles is seen near Ivankiv, around 40 miles north of Kyiv, on Sunday. The column is now thought to be around 20 miles from the city

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Russian vehicles are pictured moving in convoy down a highway north of Kyiv at the city of Ivankiv, amid fears that Putin's army is about to significantly step up its assault on the city

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Russian ground forces in convoy near the city of Ivankiv as they advance towards Kyiv, which has been under bombardment and attack by Moscow's advance forces for days

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Shoigu and Gerasimov - Russia's two most senior military officials - looked stony-faced during a meeting with Putin during which he ordered the country's nuclear forces on to higher alert

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Satellite images reveal damage to Gostomel Airport, on the ouskirts of Kyiv, after Russian forces attempted to capture it and use it to deploy paratroopers in an apparent attempt to end the war early

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Damage is seen to the airport at Gostomel, Ukraine, after days of heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces

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Smoke rises into the air over the runway at Gostomel Airport, near Kyiv, which has been the scene of heavy fighting

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Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, second left, and Davyd Arakhamia, faction leader of the Servant of the People party in the Ukrainian Parliament, third right, attend 'peace talks' in the Gomel region, Belarus

It also ordered brokers to block attempt by foreigners to sell Russian securities.

That could complicate plans by the sovereign wealth funds of Norway and Australia, which said they planned to wind down their exposure to Russian-listed companies.

Corporate giants also took action, with British oil major BP BP, the biggest foreign investor in Russia, saying it would abandon its stake in state oil company Rosneft at a cost of up to $25 billion.

The European Union on Sunday decided for the first time in its history to supply weapons to a country at war, pledging arms including fighter jets to Ukraine.

Germany, which had already frozen a planned undersea gas pipeline from Russia, said it would increase defence spending massively, casting off decades of reluctance to match its economic power with military clout.

EU Chief Executive Ursula von der Leyen expressed support for Ukraine's membership in an interview with Euronews, saying 'they are one of us.'

The EU shut all Russian planes out of its airspace, as did Canada, forcing Russian airline Aeroflot to cancel all flights to European destinations until further notice. The United States and France urged their citizens to consider leaving Russia immediately.

The EU also banned the Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council convened a rare emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, or all the United Nations' 193 member states, for Monday.

Rolling protests have been held around the world against the invasion, including in Russia, where almost 6,000 people have been detained at anti-war protests since Thursday, the OVD-Info protest monitor said.

Tens of thousands of people across Europe marched in protest, including more than 100,000 in Berlin.

Nearly, 71,000 Ukrainians had crossed into Romania since the invasion began, a Romanian government spokesman said.

Meta Platforms said it had removed a network of about 40 fake accounts, groups and pages across Facebook and Instagram that operated from Russia and Ukraine targeting public figures in Ukraine, for violating its rules against coordinated inauthentic behaviour.

Twitter said it had also suspended more than a dozen accounts and blocked the sharing of several links for violating its rules against platform manipulation and spam.

Moscow has so far failed to win full control of Ukraine's airspace, despite advances across the country. U.S. officials say they believe the invasion has been more difficult, and slower, than the Kremlin envisioned, though that could change as Moscow adapts.

The conflict - seemingly more quiet overnight Sunday than in past nights - could evolve significantly if Russia gets military help from neighboring Belarus, which is expected to send troops into Ukraine as soon as Monday, according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of current U.S. intelligence assessments who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The official said that whether Belarus enters the war depends on Ukraine-Russia talks set to happen in coming days.

Amid the mounting pressure, Western nations said they would tighten sanctions and buy and deliver weapons for Ukraine, including Stinger missiles for shooting down helicopters and other aircraft. European countries will also supply fighter jets to Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, meanwhile, announced plans for a meeting with a Russian delegation at an unspecified location on the Belarusian border.

It wasn't immediately clear when the meeting would take place, nor what the Kremlin was ultimately seeking, either in those potential talks on the border or, more broadly, from its war in Ukraine. Western officials believe Putin wants to overthrow Ukraine's government and replace it with a regime of his own, reviving Moscow's Cold War-era influence.

The fast-moving developments came as scattered fighting was reported in Kyiv. Battles also broke out in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, and strategic ports in the country's south came under assault from Russian forces.

By late Sunday, Russian forces had taken Berdyansk, a Ukrainian city of 100,000 on the Azov Sea coast, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelenskyy's office. Russian troops also made advances toward Kherson, another city in the south of Ukraine, while Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov that is considered a prime Russian target, is 'hanging on,' Arestovich said.

With Russian troops closing in around Kyiv, a city of almost 3 million, the mayor of the capital expressed doubt that civilians could be evacuated. Authorities have been handing out weapons to anyone willing to defend the city. Ukraine is also releasing prisoners with military experience who want to fight, and training people to make firebombs.

In Mariupol, where Ukrainians were trying to fend off attack, a medical team at a city hospital desperately tried to revive a 6-year-old girl in unicorn pajamas who was mortally wounded in Russian shelling.

During the rescue attempt, a doctor in blue medical scrubs, pumping oxygen into the girl, looked directly into the Associated Press video camera capturing the scene.

'Show this to Putin,' he said angrily. 'The eyes of this child, and crying doctors.'

Their resuscitation efforts failed, and the girl lay dead on a gurney, her jacket spattered with blood.

Nearly 900 kilometers (560 miles) away, Faina Bystritska was under threat in the city of Chernihiv.

'I wish I had never lived to see this,' said Bystritska, an 87-year-old Jewish survivor of World War II. She said sirens blare almost constantly in the city, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Kyiv.

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New members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces clean rifles they have been given in Kyiv, Ukraine

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New members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces take part in training in Kyiv on Monday

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New members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces train with newly received weapons in Kyiv, Ukraine

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Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered to Russian rebel forces in eastern Donbass region are show inside an assembly hall

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Soldiers with Ukrainian flags on their sleeves are pictured after apparently being captured by Moscow's forces

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A man looks at an Ukrainian armored personnel carrier destroyed as a result of fight not far from the center of Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine

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This picture shows Russian infantry mobility vehicles GAZ Tigr destroyed as a result of fight in Kharkiv

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Firefighters perform damage control at the site of a shelling attack in Donetsk

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A building facade damaged in a shelling attack in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine

Chernihiv residents have been told not to switch on any lights 'so we don't draw their attention,' said Bystritska, who has been living in a hallway, away from any windows, so she could better protect herself.

'The window glass constantly shakes, and there is this constant thundering noise,' she said.

Meanwhile, the top official in the EU outlined plans by the 27-nation bloc to close its airspace to Russian airlines and buy weapons for Ukraine. The EU will also ban some pro-Kremlin media outlets, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The U.S. also stepped up the flow of weapons to Ukraine, announcing it will send Stinger missiles as part of a package approved by the White House on Friday. Germany likewise plans to send 500 Stingers and other military supplies.

Also, the 193-member U.N. General Assembly scheduled an emergency session Monday on Russia's invasion.

Putin, in ordering the nuclear alert, cited not only statements by NATO members but the hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including Putin himself.

'Western countries aren't only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,' Putin said in televised comments.

U.S. defense officials would not disclose their current nuclear alert level except to say that the military is prepared all times to defend its homeland and allies.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC that Putin is resorting to the pattern he used in the weeks before the invasion, 'which is to manufacture threats that don't exist in order to justify further aggression.'

The practical meaning of Putin's order was not immediately clear. Russia and the United States typically have land- and submarine-based nuclear forces that are on alert and prepared for combat at all times, but nuclear-capable bombers and other aircraft are not.

In Kyiv, terrified residents hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale Russian assault. Food and medicine were running low, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

'Right now, the most important question is to defend our country,' Klitschko said.

In downtown Kharkiv, 86-year-old Olena Dudnik said she and her husband were nearly thrown from their bed by the pressure blast of a nearby explosion.

'We are suffering immensely,' she said by phone. 'We don't have much food in the pantry, and I worry the stores aren't going to have anything either, if they reopen.' She added: 'I just want the shooting to stop, people to stop being killed.'

Russia's failure thus far to win full control of Ukraine's airspace is a surprising lapse that has given outgunned Ukrainian forces a chance to slow the advance of Russian ground forces. Normally, gaining what the military calls air superiority is one of the first priorities for an invading force.

But even though Russian troops are being slowed by Ukrainian resistance, fuel shortages and other logistical problems, a senior U.S. defense official said that will probably change. 'We are in day four. The Russians will learn and adapt,' the official said.

The number of casualties from Europe's largest land conflict since World War II remained unclear amid the confusion.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said Sunday that 352 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, including 14 children. It said an additional 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov gave no figures on Russia's dead and wounded but said Sunday his country's losses were 'many times' lower than Ukraine's.

Along with military assistance, the U.S., European Union and Britain also agreed to block selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system, which moves money around thousands of banks and other financial institutions worldwide.

Russia's economy has taken a pounding since the invasion, with the ruble plunging and the central bank calling for calm to avoid bank runs.

Russia, which massed almost 200,000 troops along Ukraine's borders, claims its assault is aimed only at military targets, but bridges, schools and residential neighborhoods have also been hit.

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Huge explosions rock Kyiv hours after dozens were killed in Russian CLUSTER BOMBS attack