Ukrainian soldiers get organised to pose for pictures next to a captured Russian tank.
Ukrainian soldiers get organised to pose for pictures next to a captured Russian tank. Image Credit: Washington Post

Russia's attack on Ukraine enters on its 33rd day on Monday, showing no signs of abating. Follow the latest developments from the war zone:

Zelensky: Russian forces still attacking Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Monday that Russian forces are still attacking Kyiv, despite being driven out of Irpin, a suburb northwest of the capital that has seen heavy fighting.

He said the Russians remain in control of northern suburbs and are trying to regroup after losing Irpin on Monday. He urged Ukrainians not to let up in the war.

“We still have to fight, we have to endure,” Zelensky said in his nighttime video address to the nation. “We can’t express our emotions now. We can’t raise expectations, simply so that we don’t burn out.”

Zelensky said the situation remains tense in the northeast, around Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkhiv, and also in the eastern Donbas region and in the south around Mariupol, which remains blockaded by Russian troops.

The president said no humanitarian corridors could be opened Monday out of the besieged city.

Zelensky said he spoke Monday with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada and Germany, urging them to strengthen the sanctions against Russia.

Russia's Wagner Group deployed to eastern Ukraine: British intelligence

British military intelligence said on Monday the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, has been deployed to eastern Ukraine.

They are expected to deploy more than 1,000 mercenaries, including senior leaders of the organisation, to undertake combat operations, Britains Ministry of Defence said.

Biden says 'moral outrage' behind Putin comment

US President Joe Biden said Monday his remark in Warsaw that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be removed from power reflected his own moral outrage, not an administration policy shift.

"I wasn't then nor am I now articulating a policy change. I was expressing moral outrage that I felt and I make no apologies," he said, noting that he had just visited with families displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Biden added that he was "not walking anything back" by clarifying the remark. Asked whether the remark would spur a negative response from Putin, Biden said, "I dont care what he thinks. ... Hes going to do what hes going to do.

Oil depot hit, clear line for Ukraine-Russia talks

Governor of Ukraine’s Rivne region says oil depot has been hit by rocket strike.

Ukraine foreign minister said Zelenskiy set clear red lines for talks: "We are not trading people, land, or sovereignty."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would meet "briefly'' with the Ukrainian and Russian delegations ahead of their talks on Tuesday.

In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting Monday, the Turkish leader also said that separate telephone calls he has been holding with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin were progressing in a "positive direction.'' 

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are scheduled to begin two days of face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Kremlin says Biden's comments on Putin 'alarming'

The Kremlin on Monday expressed concern after US President Joe Biden called the Russian leader Vladimir Putin a "butcher" over his military operation in Ukraine.

"This is a statement that is certainly alarming," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Moscow will "continue closely monitoring" statements of the US president.

No 'significant achievements' so far in Russia-Ukraine talks: Kremlin

The Kremlin said Monday talks between negotiators from Moscow and Kyiv have so far made no major breakthroughs on the conflict in Ukraine as the delegations prepare for a new round of talks in Istanbul.

"So far we cannot state any significant achievements or breakthroughs," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that it was "important" that it had been decided to continue the talks in person.

Zelensky: Ukraine seeking peace 'without delay' in talks

LUkraine could declare neutrality and offer security guarantees to Russia to secure peace "without delay," President Volodymyr Zelensky said ahead of another expected round of talks between the two sides - though he said only a face-to-face meeting with Russia's leader could end the war.

In an interview with independent Russian media outlets, Zelensky stressed that Ukraine's priority is ensuring its sovereignty and preventing Moscow from carving it up. But, he added: "Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state - we are ready to go for it." Zelensky has suggested as much before, but rarely so forcefully.

Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine's army in east

With its aspirations for a quick victory dashed by a stiff Ukrainian resistance, Russia has increasingly focused on grinding down Ukraine's military in the east in the hope of forcing Kyiv into surrendering part of the country's territory to possibly end the war.

The bulk of the Ukrainian army is concentrated in eastern Ukraine, where it has been locked up in fighting with Moscow-backed separatists in a nearly eight-year conflict.

If Russia succeeds in encircling and destroying the Ukrainian forces in the country's industrial heartland called Donbas, it could try to dictate its terms to Kyiv and, possibly, attempt to split the country in two.

British intelligence says Russian forces' Ukraine disposition unchanged

The disposition of Russian forces in Ukraine during the last 24 hours has seen no significant change, British military intelligence said on Monday.

However, Russia has gained more ground in the south, in the vicinity of Mariupol, as it fights to capture the port, the defence ministry added.

Mayor of Chernobyl workers' town says Russian forces have left

Russian forces have left the Ukrainian town of Slavutych, home to workers at the defunct nuclear plant of Chernobyl, after completing their task of surveying it, the mayor said early on Monday.

On Saturday, the Kyiv regional governor said Russian forces had taken control of the town just outside the safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986, where Ukrainian staff still manage the plant.

"They completed the work they had set out to do," Yuri Fomichev, the mayor of the northern town, said in an online video post. "They surveyed the town, today they finished doing it and left the town. There aren't any in the town right now." Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

A man stands in front of a house which attacked by Russian forces in the village of Bachtanka near Mykolaiv, a key city on the road to Odessa.
A man stands in front of a house which attacked by Russian forces in the village of Bachtanka near Mykolaiv, a key city on the road to Odessa. Image Credit: AFP


Ukraine pleads for help, says Russia wants to split nation

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the West of cowardice Sunday while another top official said Russia was trying to split the nation in two, like North and South Korea. Zelenskyy made an exasperated plea for fighter jets and tanks to help defend his country from Russia's attacking troops.

Russia now says its main focus is on taking control of the eastern Donbas region, an apparent pullback from its earlier, more expansive goals, but one which is raising fears of a divided Ukraine.

Speaking after US President Joe Biden said in a lacerating speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin could not stay in power - words the White House immediately sought to downplay - Zelensky lashed out at the West's "ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets" and other weapons while Russian missile attacks kill and trap civilians.

Ukrainians brace for attack on Odesa

The Black Sea port of Odesa is mining its beaches and rushing to defend its cultural heritage from a feared Mariupol-style fate in the face of growing alarm that the strategic city might be next as Russia attempts to strip Ukraine of its coastline.

The multi-cultural jewel, dear to Ukrainian hearts and even Russian ones, would be a hugely strategic win for Russia. It is the country's largest port, crucial to grain and other exports, and headquarters for the Ukrainian navy. Bombardment from the sea last weekend further raised worries that the city is in Russia's sights.

Ukraine insists on territorial integrity as talks loom

With peace talks between Russia and Ukraine set to take place in Turkey this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted on the territorial integrity of his country after earlier suggesting he was ready for a compromise.

Zelensky said in his video address to the Ukrainian people late on Sunday that in talks due to take place in Istanbul his government would prioritise the "territorial integrity" of Ukraine.

But in comments made to Russian journalists earlier in the day Zelensky adopted a different tone, saying Ukraine was willing to assume neutral status and compromise over the status of the eastern Donbas region as part of a peace deal.

In the video call that the Kremlin pre-emptively warned Russian media not to report, Zelensky said any agreement must be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum.

"Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it," he added, speaking in Russian.

Even with talks looming, Ukraine's head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said Russian President Vladimir Putin was aiming to seize the eastern part of Ukraine.

"In fact, it is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine," he said, referring to the division of Korea after World War Two. Zelensky has urged the West to give Ukraine tanks, planes and missiles to help fend off Russian forces.

Biden: I'm not seeking regime change

US President Joe Biden said he isn't seeking regime change in Russia after capping the keynote speech of his European trip by saying Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power."

The unscripted comment prompted concern by French President Emmanuel Macron, the UK and Republican lawmakers, all of whom warned against further escalating tension with Russia over the war in Ukraine.

Back in Washington on Sunday, a reporter asked Biden after a church visit whether the US president wanted Putin removed and was calling for regime change. "No," said Biden.

Scholz says NATO doesn't want regime change

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said NATO allies aren't pursuing regime change in Russia. Asked whether President Joe Biden's comment that Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power" was a mistake, Scholz replied: "As far as I'm concerned, he said what he said."

That's not the goal of NATO, and also not of the US president," Scholz said in an interview with German broadcaster ARD on Sunday. We both agree that regime change cannot be the goal of our policies."

Ukraine says Mariupol evacuations continue

More than 1,000 people left the Russian-besieged port city of Mariupol and the town of Rubizhne in the eastern region of Luhansk on Sunday via so-called humanitarian corridors, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement. Ukrainian authorities expect to continue evacuations from devastated Mariupol on Monday and to start a corridors in the northeastern Sumy region.

Ukraine seeks Russia troop withdrawal to pre-war posts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he wants Russia to move its forces to "compromise territories" he said they occupied before the war, even if that means some remain in the country.

The interview with several non-state Russia media outlets didn't go into specifics. While Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine, it always insisted there were no troops in the rest of the country. That's even as Ukraine claimed Moscow had a military presence in Russia-backed separatist areas of Donbas in the east.

"I understand that forcing Russia to liberate this territory completely is impossible as it would lead to WWIII," Zelensky said. He reiterated that he's open to discussing neutrality for Ukraine and that any deal affecting the country's constitution would have to be approved by referendum, which couldn't happen with Russian troops in the country.