Russia invades Ukraine live updates: Russian military convoy stalls north of Kyiv as airstrikes destroy TV tower in the capital

Published March 1, 2022 at 7:48 AM EST
A fireman walks past fragments of a missile after Russian airstrikes hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Sergei Supinsky
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AFP via Getty Images
A fireman walks past fragments of a missile after Russian airstrikes hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on Tuesday.

A U.S. defense official says Russian troops stalled about 18 miles north of Ukraine's capital, short on fuel and food. Also, Russian strikes have hit the main television and radio tower in Kyiv, as well as a memorial to the site where Nazis killed tens of thousands of Jews during World War II.

Here's what we're following today:

The convoy stalls: As night fell on Ukraine on Tuesday, the 40-mile-long Russian convoy was still about 18 miles north of Kyiv — representing little or no change from Monday, the official said.

Apparent Russian strikes have hit the main television and radio tower in Kyiv, as well as a memorial to the site where Nazis killed thousands of Jews during World War II. Ukraine's foreign ministry confirmed the attack in a tweet, in which it equated Russia with barbarism.

Oil

The U.S. and 30 other countries will release oil from their reserves to try to calm markets

Posted March 1, 2022 at 1:23 PM EST
Gas prices are seen at a Mobil gas station in Vernon Hills, Ill., on June 11, 2021.
Nam Y. Huh
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AP
The United States will release an additional 30 million barrels from its reserves as part of the action by the International Energy Agency.

The United States and other members of the International Energy Agency are releasing 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic petroleum reserves after crude prices surged following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

That represents just 12 days' worth of Russian oil exports, and by itself, the move is seen as unlikely to significantly bring down oil prices. In fact, crude prices continued to rise despite the news — the global benchmark, Brent, soared past $107 a barrel to set a new 7-year high.

The global release is also smaller than a similar release coordinated by the U.S. with individual allies in November, which also did not move prices down.

This time around the U.S. will release 30 million barrels from its reserves as part of the IEA action.

So far Russian oil and gas exports have not been directly targeted with sanctions, as the U.S. and Europe are wary of disrupting global energy supplies.
However, traders and analysts report that financial sanctions on Russia and concerns over the risk of future energy sanctions are already slowing down the sale of Russian oil and gas, though not stopping it completely.

The U.S. has also signaled that direct energy sanctions remain on the table, as Moscow shows no sign of backing off its military assault on Ukraine.

"We are prepared to use every tool available to us to limit disruption to global energy supply as a result of President Putin's actions," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday. "We will also continue our efforts to accelerate diversification of energy supplies away from Russia and to secure the world from Moscow's weaponization of oil and gas."

Oil markets are also waiting for an OPEC+ meeting Wednesday. Many analysts expect the powerful cartel will stick to a gradual increase in oil supplies, rather than accelerate production — another force keeping oil prices high.

Kyiv

Russia bombards Kyiv TV tower and Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site

Posted March 1, 2022 at 12:35 PM EST
Firefighters run towards a tall TV ower, surrounded by charred trees on a nearly empty road.
Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images
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AFP
A fireman runs after Russian airstrike hit Kyiv's main television tower in Kyiv on Tuesday. -

Apparent Russian strikes have hit the main television and radio tower in Kyiv, as well as a memorial to the site where Nazis killed thousands of Jews during World War II. Ukraine's foreign ministry confirmed the attack in a tweet, in which it equated Russia with barbarism.

The State Emergency Service said five people were killed and another five injured in the attack on the Kyiv TV tower, according to Interfax.

Citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it also reported that the broadcaster's control room was hit and TV channels will not work "for some time."

The ministry said backup broadcasting of some channels will be switched on in the near future, and the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection is asking Kyiv residents to rely on regional TV channels until then.

Video verified by the New York Times shows an object hitting the tower, with another two explosions igniting in the same area and setting off billowing clouds of smoke. Similar videos, not yet verified by NPR, have been posted on social media.

The tower — which appears to still be standing — is located near the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, where Nazis killed nearly 34,000 Jews over a 36-hour period in September 1941. The center says Nazis shot between 70,000 and 100,000 people at Babyn Yar, including nearly all of Kyiv's Jewish population, between 1941 and 1943.

It had issued a statement earlier Tuesday strongly condemning Russia's actions, characterizing them as a crime against humanity and calling Russia "the biggest instigator and initiator of war in the 21st century."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the Russian strikes in a tweet in which he confirmed five people had been killed, but did not specify at which location.

"To the world: What is the point of saying never again for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?" he wrote. "History repeating..."

Other Ukrainian officials were quick to condemn the attack on social media:

The Assault

Russia’s 40-mile convoy has stalled on its way to Kyiv, a U.S. official says

Posted March 1, 2022 at 12:34 PM EST
A satellite image captured Monday by Maxar Technologies shows a Russian military convoy southeast of Ivankiv, Ukraine.
Maxar
A satellite image captured Monday by Maxar Technologies shows a Russian military convoy southeast of Ivankiv, Ukraine.

Logistics problems are stalling Russia’s massive convoy that’s pushing its way toward Kyiv, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The convoy, which has been measured as stretching for 40 miles, is apparently being hampered by fuel and food shortages. The news comes as Russia continues to concentrate attacks on the large cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv.

As night fell on Ukraine Tuesday, the convoy was still about 18 miles north of Kyiv — representing little or no change from Monday, the official said. They added that some elements within the military column are “literally out of gas” and having difficulty feeding their troops.

“The U.S. says about 80% of the estimated 190,000 Russian troops that rimmed Ukraine are now in the country,” NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman reports. ”About 400 missiles have been fired by the Russians since the invasion began last week.”

Despite Russia’s vastly larger armed forces, Ukraine’s airspace remains contested, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s country currently mounting a viable defense, the senior defense official said.

As in the first days of the war, Russia appears to be having more military success in southern Ukraine, the official said.

Impact

Russia's invasion could trigger food shortages in and beyond Ukraine

Posted March 1, 2022 at 11:56 AM EST
A landscape view of an agricultural field.
Pierre Crom
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Getty Images
The view of an agricultural field on the coastline of the Azov Sea on Feb. 15 in Stepanivka Persha, Ukraine.

Russia's escalating attacks on Ukraine are harming civilians, destroying infrastructure and sparking a massive exodus of refugees. They are also poised to limit access to food in hard-hit Ukraine as well as other countries around the world.

Ukraine could soon face a food shortage

A leader of a humanitarian group warned NPR's Tim Mak of a looming food shortage in western Ukraine.

(Side note: Mak has been live-tweeting updates from Ukraine throughout the day, and you can follow along here.)

Reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Programme highlight how conflicts are a primary driver of food insecurity.

Celebrity chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen are among the volunteers providing food to refugees fleeing Ukraine at the Polish border, as well as in neighboring countries including Romania and Moldova.

Middle Eastern countries rely heavily on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine

Russia's war in Ukraine could also disrupt global grain markets, potentially wreaking havoc for the Middle Eastern nations that depend heavily on the region.

As NPR's Jason Beaubien reports, Egypt imports more wheat than any nation in the world, with 85% coming from Russia and Ukraine. Iraq, Syria, Iran and North African nations also rely on wheat imports.

Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter, followed by Australia. Last year, Ukraine surpassed the U.S. in wheat exports last year for the first time. Read more from Beaubien here, and continue below for likely short- and long-term effects.

Experts anticipate short- and long-term effects

The ongoing conflict will likely have immediate and longer-term effects on the global food supply, according to a report from the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Most wheat, barley and sunflower seed exports are completed by February, it says, though Ukraine maize exports typically remain heavy into the early summer. Most grain flows out of Odessa and western ports on the Black Sea, and could be disrupted by Russia's offensive.

"Military operations could have short- and long-term consequences in the capacity to move Ukraine’s crop production within and beyond its borders, especially if port facilities and railroads are damaged through terrestrial and aerial operations, or cyber-attacks targeting various infrastructures and their management," the report reads.

Looking farther ahead, it says that the world's response to Russia's aggression could impact its exports of natural gas and fertilizers. Sanctions from the EU, U.S. and others on Russia and Belarus could drive prices up, and the IFPRI says fertilizer shortages could take a particular toll on agriculture in developing countries.

The report argues that food and fertilizer exports should be allowed to "continue unimpeded," but if they do not, mitigation packages should be provided to the third-party countries affected by shortages.

"Placing sanctions on those sectors will only exacerbate world shortages and penalize mainly populations that are already food insecure," it explains.

Sports

Russian figure skaters are banned from this month’s world championships

Posted March 1, 2022 at 10:53 AM EST
No Russian skaters will be allowed to compete in the world championships later this month, the International Skating Union says. Here, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is greeted by fans as she arrives home from the Beijing Olympics, at the Sheremetevo airport outside Moscow on February 18.
Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images
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AFP
No Russian skaters will be allowed to compete in the world championships later this month, the International Skating Union says. Here, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is greeted by fans as she arrives home from the Beijing Olympics, at the Sheremetevo airport outside Moscow on February 18.

The International Skating Union is banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in any of its events — including the upcoming figure skating world championships — because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move comes one day after the International Olympic Committee recommended that no Russian or Belarusian athletes or officials should be allowed to take part in international sports. The ISU said it has received many calls asking for the ban.

Responding to the move, the Russian Figure Skating Federation said it is extremely disappointed, adding that it sees the ban as another sign of politics' influence in sports. It also complained that Russian athletes are suffering — but when the IOC issued its statement on Monday, it addressed that point by noting that Ukrainian athletes were also being sidetracked.

The ban is effective immediately, the ISU said. That status sets it apart from the IOC’s actions, which left open the possibility that Russian and Belarusian athletes might participate in the upcoming Beijing Paralympics, as long as they are seen as “neutral” and not representing their countries.

“The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country,” skating's governing body said.

The world figure skating championships begin on March 21 in Montpelier, France. The contest had been widely anticipated, even after Russian female skaters’ historic successes in Beijing were marred by controversy over a positive doping test. In the end, Russian star Kamila Valieva was cleared to compete in Beijing, in a ruling that also would have allowed her to skate at the world championships.

Speed skating and short track championships are also being held this month, in Norway and Canada, respectively.

Picture Show
On the ground

Photos: Some Ukrainians return home to find family and to fight

Posted March 1, 2022 at 10:40 AM EST
People carry suitcases towards the Medyka border crossing to enter Ukraine from Poland on Monday.
Claire Harbage
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NPR
People carry suitcases towards the Medyka border crossing to enter Ukraine from Poland on Monday.

Thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing the country and entering Poland following Russia’s invasion last week. But some are returning to Ukraine to get to their families or to join the Ukrainian military and fight against Russian forces.

Oleksand Sashenko
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Oleksand Sashenko

Oleksand Sashenko, 29, is going back into Ukraine to join the military and fight. He says he's scared, but adds that fear is important to stay safe, and he believes it is time to return home.

Natalia Belova
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Natalia Belova

Natalia Belova, 50, is returning to Ukraine to pick up her children. She hopes to meet them and then leave as soon as possible, then travel to another EU country.

Sergei Smushko, 36, Ruassian, weeps after he drops off a Ukrainian woman at the border.
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Russia Sergei Smushko weeps after he drops off a Ukrainian woman at the border.

Sergei Smushko, who is Russian, says he will pick up Ukrainians who are fleeing and take them where they need to go.

“I’m proud [of] Ukrainians because they are fighting a war they didn’t start. And I think we should help each other and not fight each other. Because it’s a bad thing, it should not happen now and in the future. But it’s happening and we should do something, that is why I’m here,” he says.

Nadia Kyzhyl
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Nadia Kyzhyl

Nadia Kyzhyl, 38, is returning to Ukraine to meet her family in Chernobyl.

Ihor Kobryn
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Ihor Kobryn

Ihor Kobryn, 52, is proud to be a Ukrainian and is returning to his country to fight after working as a driver in Poland.

On the ground

The mayor of a small Polish town becomes a wartime Santa

Posted March 1, 2022 at 10:21 AM EST
Polish mayor as Santa
Lauren Frayer
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NPR
Jarosław Perzyński, mayor of a small town in Poland, has been handing out stuffed toys to Ukrainian children who are fleeing Russian bombs.

KROSCIENKO, Poland — With his red jacket and sack full of gifts for children, Jarosław Perzyński could easily be mistaken for Santa Claus.

Perzyński is a small-town mayor from northern Poland. Last weekend, he drove 7 hours on snowy roads to reach the Ukraine-Poland border, where he’s been handing out stuffed animals to Ukrainian children whose families are fleeing Russian bombardment.

“We need to help,” he tells NPR. “Because we’re scared we could be in the same situation.”

Russia is Poland’s historic foe, and Perzyński is one of the thousands of Polish officials and laypeople who’ve mobilized to help Ukrainian victims of Russian attacks.

NPR met Perzyński at the Kroscienko border crossing, where Ukrainian children squealed with delight when the mayor presented them with gifts: a sparkly pink rabbit for a 10-year-old girl, a puffy orange blowfish doll for a toddler.

Perzyński, a father of two, drove to the Ukrainian border with a truck full of what he said was more than 20,000 pounds of relief supplies for Ukrainian refugees donated by residents of his town of Sierpca.
Lauren Frayer
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NPR
Perzyński, a father of two, drove seven hours to the Ukrainian border with donations from residents of his town, Sierpca .

He’d driven to the Ukrainian border with a truck full of what he said was more than 20,000 pounds of relief supplies for Ukrainian refugees — donated by residents of his town of Sierpca, population about 18,000, north of the Polish capital Warsaw.

“From our children, to the Ukrainian children!” he exclaims. Some of Sierpca’s children donated their own toys, he says.

Perzyński says he got the idea when he heard a rumor about a Ukrainian mother dropping her two children off at the Polish border, to ensure their safety. He’s a father of two himself.

“When you have children the same age,” the mayor trails off, choking up. “It’s very emotional.”

Watch
Diplomacy

Zelenskyy calls on the European Union to prove it stands with Ukraine

Posted March 1, 2022 at 9:51 AM EST

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called in a live video address to the European Parliament for the European Union to prove it is with Ukraine as it resists Russia’s invasion.

“Without you, Ukraine is going to be alone," he said. "We have proven our strength. We have proven that, at a minimum, we are exactly the same as you are. So do prove you are with us, do prove that you will not let us go."

The parliament, meeting in a special plenary session, gave Zelenskyy a standing ovation.

Zelenskyy has been calling for the EU to admit Ukraine, officially signing an application for membership on Monday. Here's how that process works.

Diplomacy

EU leader welcomes Ukraine’s request, saying Europe’s way of life ‘is worth a cost’

Posted March 1, 2022 at 9:45 AM EST
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola called on the EU to end its reliance on Russian gas and build up its defense capabilities, during an extraordinary session on Ukraine Tuesday. Metsola said Ukrainians are proving that the European way of life is worth fighting for.
Virginia Mayo
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AP
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola called on the EU to end its reliance on Russian gas and build up its defense capabilities during an extraordinary session on Ukraine on Tuesday. Metsola said Ukrainians are proving that the European way of life is worth fighting for.

The European Union has officially welcomed Ukraine’s application to join, with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola saying the union will work with Ukraine toward that goal. “We must face the future together,” Metsola said.

“The message from Europe is clear: We will stand up. We will not look away when those fighting in the streets for our values face down Putin’s massive war machine,” said Metsola, a Maltese politician who was elected as the Parliament’s president in January.

Metsola spoke at the start of a special plenary session on Russia's wide-scale invasion of Ukraine. Addressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — who received a standing ovation when he later appeared by video link —- the parliament president extended her gratitude.

“Mr. President, thank you for showing the world what it means to stand up,” she said.

Pointing out several instances of bravery and resistance shown by Ukrainians, Metsola said, “They showed the world that our way of life is worth defending. It is worth a cost.” She added, “For us, for the next generation, for all those in Ukraine and around the world who believe in Europe and in our way. For all those who want to be free.”

“This must be our “whatever it takes” moment,” she said, noting the sanctions the EU has enacted, as well as the moves by Ukraine’s neighbors to help people who are fleeing violence. Metsola also applauded European countries sending arms to Ukraine, as well as efforts to disengage from Russian oligarchs and propaganda.

Looking to the future, Metsola laid out four goals for the EU:

  • Europe must end its reliance on “Kremlin gas.”
  • Russian oligarchs can no longer “hide behind a veneer of respectability.”
  • Europe must invest more in its own defense and security.
  • The EU “must fight the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.”

Singling out social media and big tech companies, Metsola said they should take their responsibilities seriously, adding that it’s not tenable to insist on neutrality when the choice is “between the fire and the fire brigade.”

On the ground

Photos: Refugees arrive at a temporary shelter near the Polish-Ukrainian border

Posted March 1, 2022 at 9:29 AM EST
A temporary shelter is set up for people who have recently crossed into Poland by bus from Ukraine near the Korrczowa-Krakovets border crossing.
Claire Harbage
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NPR
A temporary shelter is set up for people who have recently crossed into Poland by bus from Ukraine near the Korrczowa-Krakovets border crossing.

Olena Karpenko is staying at a temporary shelter near the Korczowa-Krakovets border crossing after entering Poland by bus. She is a travel agency manager and a mother of three from Sumy, a city in northeastern Ukraine that was hard hit by Russian bombing. Sumy is near the border, but Karpenko said she never imagined the Russians would attack it.

“Now they’re bombing everything, including Kyiv and western Ukraine,” she says. “[They're] attacking us, everyday Ukrainians.”

Kseniia Onyshchenko contributed to this report.

Olena Karpenko, a travel agency manager from Sumy, Ukraine stays at a temporary shelter after crossing the border into Poland by bus.
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Olena Karpenko, a travel agency manager from Sumy, Ukraine stays at a temporary shelter after crossing the border into Poland by bus.
Karpenko's children play with other kids in the temporary shelter after crossing the border into Poland by bus.
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Karpenko's children play with other kids in the temporary shelter after crossing the border into Poland by bus.

Nadir Fayzullaev, who’s from Uzbekistan, fled Kyiv after the kebab shop he worked in was bombed. He was there when it happened and ran away with the clothes on his back — he’s still wearing his work uniform. Now he’s sipping hot tea at the shelter near the Korczowa crossing, waiting to go back home to Uzbekistan. “I am praying for Ukraine,” he says. “It’s been good to me.”

Nadir Fayzullaev stays at the temporary shelter near the Korczowa-Krakovets border after having recently crossed into Poland. He fled Kyiv where he had a kebab shop.
Claire Harbage
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NPR
Nadir Fayzullaev stays at the temporary shelter near the Korczowa-Krakovets border after having recently crossed into Poland. He fled Kyiv where he had a kebab shop.

Media

YouTube is the latest platform to drop Russian state media across Europe

Posted March 1, 2022 at 9:06 AM EST

Google announced on Tuesday that it is blocking YouTube channels connected to two Kremlin-backed outlets across Europe, effective immediately, citing the war in Ukraine.

"It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up," it said in a tweet. "Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action."

YouTube is the latest platform to drop the state-sponsored media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, after the European Union pledged on Sunday to ban them and their subsidiaries across the continent.

They "will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, adding that the body is "developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe."

Facebook, TikTok and Microsoft have all since announced steps to restrict access to the outlets in EU countries, with Google and Facebook also blocking them in Ukraine at the request of the government. For its part, Twitter is adding warning labels to tweets with links to stories from Russian media and making it less likely for people to see them.

Facebook, Google and Twitter are also blocking Russian state media from running ads on their platforms.

The crackdown follows mounting pressure on tech companies to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and curb the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

RT and Sputnik push a pro-Kremlin agenda to their millions of followers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as NPR's Shannon Bond has reported.

"RT, which has more than 7 million followers on its main Facebook page and 4.6 million subscribers to its main YouTube channel, has framed Russia's invasion as a response to Ukrainian aggression and toed the Kremlin's line in calling it a 'special operation,'" Bond explained.

Editor's note: Meta pays NPR to license NPR content. Microsoft is among NPR's financial supporters.

Residents of Kyiv

A Ukrainian reporter describes day-to-day life in Kyiv under attack

Posted March 1, 2022 at 8:46 AM EST
People queue to enter a supermarket in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Tuesday.
Genya Savilov
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AFP via Getty Images
People queue to enter a supermarket in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Tuesday.

Ukrainian forces have continued to hold control of Ukraine's capital Kyiv, but renewed bombardment by more Russian forces is expected soon. Many residents have evacuated and left Kyiv for safer areas.

Asami Terajima, a reporter atThe Kyiv Independent, has no plans to leave.

"People are doing their best to stay calm," she says of Kyiv residents.

She's one of Ukraine's reporters covering the war from inside her country. She spoke to NPR's Steve Inskeep about daily life in Kyiv today.

She says while some people have evacuated, that wasn't an option for many residents. Not everyone can afford to leave, and some have stayed in the hopes of protecting their homes as well as their country, says Terajima.

She notes that much of the public left in Kyiv is remaining calm, despite the tense situation. She says the stress that comes from Russian aggression isn't new to residents and was last felt in 2014 when Russia attacked parts of Ukraine.

She said the line to get into a large supermarket to shop was so long yesterday, she ultimately went to a smaller store. There, she saw that fresh produce and grains were sold out, but the shelves were stocked with plenty of other food.

"No one is panic buying, everyone is only buying whatever they need for the next couple of days," Terajima reports.

Terajima says while some people have been staying in metro stations for safety from potential bombings, many residents of Kyiv are staying in their homes. She says many of those residents watch the news closely and are prepared to evacuate somewhere safer in the event of shelling or other attacks.

Ukrainian forces are still in control of Kyiv, but a 40-mile-long convoy of Russian tanks, armored vehicles and artillery appears to be headed to the capital.

"The upcoming days or even weeks could be very difficult for the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian people," says Terajima.

She says the Ukrainian military has been heroic in holding off Russia's forces for this long.

"We'll see what happens. We're doing our best to stay calm and analyze the situation rationally."

🔊 Listen to the full interview with Terajima here.

📰 Read Terajima's coverage in The Kyiv Independent here.

Member Station Reports
In the U.S.

Across the U.S., communities gather to show solidary with Ukraine

Posted March 1, 2022 at 8:29 AM EST

Six days into the conflict, communities continue to gather across the U.S. in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Boston

Thousands gathered in Boston on Sunday to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people. As GBH's Meredith Nierman reports:

Many waved the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and sang the country's national anthem while others held up signs voicing their support and condemning Russia’s actions — and in particular, those of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“My parents and friends are all there," said Kateryna Slovodian, who is from Ukraine and attended the rally. "I’m so proud of how strong they are, how strong our spirit, and there is nothing, nothing that Putin can do that will change that. We are unbreakable.”

More from GBH

Philadelphia

As WHYY's Tennyson Donyéa reports:

Hundreds gathered with Ukrainian Flags at Philadelphia's Independence Mall on Sunday to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It was a sea of blue and yellow, as many came to stand up for their loved ones who sheltered in place throughout Ukraine

Some said they’ve lost contact with relatives because Russian forces have knocked out power grids. “It’s been 26 hours and I haven’t heard from [my grandmother],” Anastasia Dovbik said.

More from WHYY

Cleveland

AsIdeastream Public Media's Lisa Ryan reports:

Many people who came to the prayer service at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, on Sunday were praying for loved ones still in Ukraine. Lena, who didn’t want to give her last name, has family in Kyiv. She's scared for them and feels hopeless.

"They're hiding, they're staying home," she said with tears in her eyes. "When I ask them if they move closer to the border, they got angry at me. They said they're not leaving, they're staying."

More from Ideastream Public Media

Kansas City

As KCUR's Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga reports:

Volodymyr Kavetskyi, a Kansas State University student who was raised in Kyiv, said he came to the protest as a call for help on behalf of people still in Ukraine.

“I’m protesting to bring peace to Ukraine, for America to put sanctions on Russian Federation,” he said, “and to let U.S. citizens know that we are in danger. They have to make some steps to protect our country because if they don’t protect us, next day it can be them who will suffer from this.”

More from KCUR


Ukraine invasion — explained

On the ground

U.N. Human Rights group says at least 136 Ukrainian civilians have been killed

Posted March 1, 2022 at 8:11 AM EST
Men stand on a damaged bridge over a rushing river holding assault rifles.
Aris Messinis
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AFP via Getty Images
Members of a Ukrainian civil defense unit pass new assault rifles to the opposite side of a blown-up bridge on Kyiv's northern front on Tuesday,

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed at least 136 civilians, including 13 children, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said today. But the agency warns that the death toll is “is likely to be much higher,” as it lists only the casualties it was able to cross-check and confirm.

“Hostilities must end now,” the agency said.

In addition to those killed, at least 400 civilians are injured, including 26 children, the office said on Tuesday. The Geneva-based agency said its figures cover the timeframe from the start of the war on the morning of Feb. 24 to midnight on March 1.

“Most of these casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and air strikes,” the rights office said. It warned that the use of such weapons brings “very high risks of indiscriminate and disproportionate impact on civilians.”

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights also provided an update on anti-war protests in Russia, saying that some 6,400 people have been arrested since last Thursday. Many of those arrested were reportedly released within hours, the agency said. But it added that arresting people who are exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly “constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”

On the ground

Russia shells Ukraine's second-largest city as a huge convoy approaches the capital

Posted March 1, 2022 at 7:49 AM EST
Satellite imagery shows a line of vehicles stretching down an entire road, between plots of land and trees.
Maxar
Along parts of the route, some vehicles are spaced fairly far apart while in other sections military equipment and units are traveling two or three vehicles abreast on the road north of Invankiv, Ukraine.

Kyiv and other cities remain in Ukrainian hands as the sixth day of Russia's invasion begins in the U.S.

But while initial Russian moves seem to have failed, dramatic images show the growing threat their forces pose to Ukrainian civilians in the country's two biggest cities, Kyiv and Kkarkiv.

Russian strikes hit a Kharkiv government building and residential areas

Kharkiv is Ukraine's second-largest city, home to 1.5 million people and thousands of university students.

When NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited just a month ago, no one there was worried about an invasion — but fighting broke out over the weekend when Russian troops briefly pushed through to the city center. She has since spoken to several residents who are either fleeing the city or taking shelter in an underground bunker. Listen here.

Russia appears to be stepping up its assault on Kharkiv this week.

Video footage released by Ukrainian officials and verified by Reuters shows the bombardment of the northeastern city, where Russian forces shelled a government building as well as residential areas.

NPR's Tim Mak toldMorning Edition from Ukraine that NPR has geolocated one of the videos — showing a series of explosions within the city — and identified it as a residential area, filled with a shopping mall, bank, apartments and a sushi and wine shop. Kharkiv's mayor says dozens of civilians were injured and at least nine were killed. Of those, four people died after they left a bomb shelter to try to get water.

Beardsley reports that an Indian student was among the victims of the shelling.

A massive Russian convoy is heading towards Kyiv

Meanwhile, a huge convoy of Russian tanks, trucks and artillery appears to be heading towards Ukraine's capital.

Satellite imagery provided to NPR by the U.S. firm Maxar Technologies shows a column of armored vehicles stretching for nearly 40 miles, from near Antonov airport in the south to the northern end of the convoy near Prybirsk.

Here's what that looks like.

It's not the only threat facing Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says hundreds of "saboteurs" have been sent to undermine defense there, Mak reports.

Ukrainians continue to resist and fight back. In Kyiv's city center, they are erecting billboards addressing troops in Russian. According to Mak, one reads: "Stop. How can you look your children in the eyes? Leave. Stay human."

On the ground

Zelenskyy calls Russia a 'terrorist state' after its military hits Kharkiv’s central square

Posted March 1, 2022 at 7:49 AM EST
This government building in the center of Kharkiv was hit by Russia's military. "Russian occupiers continue to use heavy weaponry against the civilian population," regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said on Tuesday as he discussed the attack in a Telegram video.
Sergey Bobok
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AFP via Getty Images
This government building in the center of Kharkiv was hit by Russia's military. "Russian occupiers continue to use heavy weaponry against the civilian population," regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said on Tuesday as he discussed the attack in a Telegram video.

Russia’s shelling of Kharkiv’s residential areas and city square is a war crime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said today.

“Russia is a terrorist state,” Zelenskyy said in an address to his nation. “Obviously.”

Zelenskyy said Russia’s military used a cruise missile to strike at government offices in Kharkiv’s Freedom Square, leaving dozens of victims. The strike on the square of Ukraine’s second-largest city was caught on camera, with footage showing a massive fireball engulfing the façade of a large office building.

The president said the missile was fired from Belgorod, a Russian city that sits on the other side of the border, some 50 miles from Kharkiv. He noted that the two cities have shared a close relationship in the past, but that everything changed after a missile hit “the face of our Kharkiv.”

“This is terror against the city,” Zelenskyy said. “There was no military target on the square. Just as in those residential areas of Kharkiv hit by rocket artillery.”

Zelenskyy called on the international community to hold Russia responsible for war crimes, and he urged Ukraine’s citizens and military to keep resisting the Russian invaders.

“This is what the price of freedom is,” he said, adding that defending Kyiv, the capital, is of the utmost importance.