"I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are,” Biden said at a news conference Image Credit: AP

More than a month into the war, the biggest attack on a European nation since World War Two, more than 3.8 million people have fled abroad, thousands have been killed and injured, and Russia's economy has been pummelled by sanctions. Follow the latest developments from the war zone:

US sends senior national security official to India to discuss Ukraine

President Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser for economics, Daleep Singh, will travel to New Delhi and meet government officials to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine and develop an economic framework for the Indo-Pacific, the White House said on Tuesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is also planning to visit India, one of the biggest buyers of Russian commodities.

New Delhi has called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine but has refused to explicitly condemn Moscow’s actions.

India has also abstained from voting on multiple UN resolutions on the war.

“Singh will consult closely with counterparts on the consequences of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and mitigating its impact on the global economy,” the White House said in a statement.

12 dead, 33 injured in airstrike in Ukraine's Mykolaiv

At least 12 people were killed and 33 wounded on Tuesday when a Russian missile hit a regional government building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, emergency officials said.

The strike hit the nine-storey building shortly before 9 am local time, destroying the entire central part of the structure.

"The bodies of 12 people have been recovered from the site of the destruction and 33 people have been injured," Ukraine's emergencies agency said in a statement on Telegram.

Biden says wait and see on a Russian pullback in Ukraine

Biden said he wants to see how Russia acts in Ukraine after Kremlin negotiators said its military would pull back from attack on Kyiv and Chernihiv, following talks in Turkey.

"I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are,” the president said at a news conference with Singapore's prime minister. "We'll see if they follow through on what they're suggesting."

In a call with the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy earlier, Biden said, there also seemed to be "a consensus that, let's just see what they have to offer. We'll find out what they do."

US weighs $500 million more in aid for Ukraine

The US government is considering providing Ukraine with an additional $500 million in aid and is pushing European allies to match the contribution, according to people familiar with recent discussions. The Ukrainians could use the money to shore up government services or for humanitarian aid or military purposes, one of the people said.

Officials in the governments of several NATO allies, including the US and UK, are skeptical of recent Russian announcements that it will scale back its assault on Kyiv and have urged increased support to Ukraine, the people said.

Russia targets military airfield in west Ukraine

Russian forces on Tuesday struck a military airfield in a west Ukraine town destroying fuel supplies, its mayor said.

"We have been showered with missiles since the first day of the war, but today the attack was very serious and caused significant damage," Starokostyantyniv Mayor Mykola Melnychuk wrote on Facebook, noting there were no casualties.

He added the bombardments had destroyed fuel and lubricant stocks in the city of around 35,000 between the capital Kyiv and Lviv.

Belgium orders 21 Russian diplomats to leave

Belgium has decided to expel 21 Russian diplomats for activities related to espionage or unlawful influence peddling.

The diplomats were given two weeks to leave the country, foreign affairs spokeswoman Elke Pattyn told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Russia to reduce military operations near Kyiv

Moscow said it would sharply cut military operations near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and Chernihiv after negotiators from Ukraine and Russia wrapped up discussions in Turkey on Tuesday aimed at de-escalating the war.

A Ukrainian negotiator said the country is seeking international security guarantees for territory that doesn't include the separatist-controlled areas of Donbas and Crimea. Russia indicated the talks could pave the way for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the delegations in Istanbul ahead of the talks that concrete results were expected. "An immediate cease-fire and peace is in everyone's interest," he said.

Ukrainian soldiers ride on APC through the town of Trostsyanets, some 400 km eastern of capital Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldiers ride on APC through the town of Trostsyanets, some 400 km eastern of capital Kyiv, Ukraine. Image Credit: AP

Russian strike hits government building in Mykolaiv

A Russian strike battered the regional government building in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, a key port under heavy assault for weeks, the regional governor said Tuesday.

"The regional administration building was hit," governor Vitaly Kim wrote on Facebook. He said that most people inside the building had not been injured but several civilians and soldiers were unaccounted for.

"We're clearing the rubble. Half the building was destroyed. My office was hit," Kim said in a video statement.

Images posted to Telegram on the governor's official channel showed a tall administrative building with a large section torn away and debris piled up at the base of the building.

"Eight civilians are still under the rubble. We hope to be able to get them out," he said. "We are also looking for three soldiers," he added.

Ukraine says it's running 3 evacuation routes

The Ukrainian government says it is operating three humanitarian corridors Tuesday to move civilians out of the besieged port of Mariupol and two Russian-occupied cities in the south.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says that besides Mariupol, evacuations will run from Enerhodar and Melitopol. Those cities have both been under Russian control for weeks and have seen protests and alleged kidnappings of pro-Ukraine local politicians.

The routes all converge in the Ukraine-controlled southern city of Zaporizhzhia.

Russia operates its own evacuation routes, which Ukraine has alleged are cover for forcibly deporting Ukrainian civilians to Russia. Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of obstructing evacuations.

Turkey calls for cease-fire as talks resume

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a cease-fire as the Russian and Ukrainian delegations resumed their talks in Istanbul.

In a speech he delivered at the start Tuesday, Erdogan said progress in the talks could pave the way for a meeting between the two countries' leaders.

"We believe that there will be no losers in a just peace. Prolonging the conflict is not in anyone's interest," Erdogan said. "As members of the delegations you have taken on a historic responsibility. The whole world is awaiting the good news that will come from you."

The delegations are scheduled to hold two days of talks in a government building adjacent to the 19th-century Ottoman palace, Dolmabahce, on the shores of the Bosporus.

Ahead of the talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country is prepared to declare its neutrality, as Moscow has demanded, and is open to compromise on the fate of the Donbas, the contested region in the country's east.

Bloomberg suspends work in Russia and Belarus

Bloomberg News says it has suspended its operations in Russia and Belarus, citing international condemnation and sanctions against Russia over its attack of Ukraine.

The financial news company said customers in both Russia and Belarus will be unable to access any of Bloomberg's financial products including terminals, data licenses, data feeds and electronic trading platforms.

Trading functions for Russian securities were disabled in line with international sanctions, it said.

Earlier, Bloomberg suspended the work of its journalists in Russia and removed Russian stocks from its global equity indexes. Russian bonds will be removed with the month-end rebalancing, the company said in a statement.

It said Bloomberg Philanthropies had pledged $40 million to the International Rescue Committee and the World Central Kitchen to help Ukrainians and refugees in the region and elsewhere.

Ukraine says resuming evacuations after Russian 'provocations'

Ukraine said Tuesday it was reopening humanitarian corridors and evacuating civilians from war-scarred regions after a one-day pause over what Kyiv called possible Russian "provocations".

"Three humanitarian corridors were agreed for today," Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement posted on Telegram, a day after announcing their closure citing intelligence reports.

Air raid sirens wail as Ukraine hopes for ceasefire from peace talks

Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine before dawn on Tuesday as Ukrainian and Russian negotiators prepared to meet in Turkey for face-to-face talks, with Kyiv seeking a ceasefire without compromising on territory or sovereignty.

Ukraine and the United States hold little hope of a breakthrough at the meeting later on Tuesday, the first direct talks between the two sides in more than two weeks, even though Russia's attack appeared to have stalled on several fronts.

New round of talks aims to stop the fighting in Ukraine

Another round of talks aimed at stopping the war in Ukraine is scheduled for Tuesday as the fighting looks increasingly like a stalemate on the ground, with the two sides trading control of a town in the east and a suburb of the capital.

Ukrainian forces retook Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, from Russian troops, who were regrouping to take the area back, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday as he sought to rally the country. "We still have to fight, we have to endure," Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address to the nation. "We can't express our emotions now.

Ukraine retakes Kyiv suburb, as talks resume under shadow

Ukrainian forces recaptured a key Kyiv suburb and desperately clung onto control of the besieged city of Mariupol, as negotiators prepared to meet Russian counterparts for face-to-face talks in Istanbul Tuesday.

Troops "liberated" the suburban town of Irpin, Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said, wresting a key gateway to the capital's northwest from Russian control.

AFP journalists witnessed continued heavy shelling in the area and encountered fleeing residents, who described hellish scenes of bombs raining from the sky and people killed in cold blood while trying to escape.

Western experts described the loss of Irpin as a significant setback for Russian forces, who are still trying to regroup and after a failed first attempt to encircle the capital.

UN chief wants Ukraine humanitarian cease-fire

The United Nations chief has launched an initiative to immediately explore possible arrangements for "a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine" in order to allow the delivery of desperately needed aid and pave the way for serious political negotiations to end the month-long war.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he asked Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, the head of the U.N.'s worldwide humanitarian operations, to explore the possibility of a cease-fire with Russia and Ukraine. He said Griffiths has already made some contacts.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly, by an overwhelming majority of about 140 nations, has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine twice - on March 2 and on March 24 - and Guterres told reporters he thinks "this is the moment" for the United Nations "to assume the initiative."

Since Russia's attack of Ukraine on February 24, the secretary-general said there has been a "senseless loss of thousands of lives," displacement of 10 million people, systematic destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure, "and skyrocketing food and energy prices worldwide."