A Ukrainian serviceman guards his position in Mariupol, Ukraine, Saturday, March 12, 2022. Image Credit: AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned NATO on Monday that its member states would soon be attacked by Russian forces after an air strike hit a Ukrainian military base close to the Polish border. Meanwhile, the number of people fleeing the fighting now tops 2.6 million, the UN estimated. While, Washington and its EU allies have sent funds and military aid to Ukraine and imposed unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia. Follow live updates:

2,000 cars left Ukraine's Mariupol via humanitarian corridor: local authorities

Some 2,000 civilian cars have been able to drive out of the besieged southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol along a humanitarian evacuation route, the city authorities said Tuesday.

"As of 14:00 (1200 GMT) it is known that 2,000 cars left Mariupol," the city council said on Telegram, adding that a further 2,000 vehicles are waiting to leave the city.

Ukraine-Russia talks to continue Tuesday

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Monday that negotiations with Russia are to continue on Tuesday.

Zelensky also said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as part of a negotiation effort to end the war with Russia "with a fair peace."

"Our delegation also worked on this in negotiations with the Russian party," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"Pretty good, as I was told. But let's see. They will continue tomorrow."

Ukraine's Zelensky submits bill extending martial law until late April

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted a bill to parliament late on Monday that seeks to extend martial law for another 30 days from March 24, according to the president's website.

The war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he called a "special military operation," the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

World Bank provides $200m in more funds for Ukraine

The World Bank on Monday approved nearly $200 million in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraines support of vulnerable people as Russian forces continued the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

The funding comes on top of $723 million approved last week and is part of a $3 billion package of support that the World Bank is racing to get to Ukraine and its people in coming weeks.

World Bank President David Malpass told a virtual event hosted by the Washington Post that the bank hoped to finalize the $3 billion package within six to eight weeks.

"The magnitudes are astronomical," he said of Ukraine's needs, adding that the rebuilding effort would involve highways, bridges and other major infrastructure.

"That amounts to tens of billions of dollars," he said.

To help Ukraine now, the bank was bringing forward "as much cash as we can," Malpass said. He said it was also working on specific projects to help Ukrainians, some of whom were now living in Poland and elsewhere, under the $3 billion package.

"Our immediate focus right now ... is how do we help the people that are under attack at the moment?"

Kremlin says doesn't rule out taking 'full control' of major Ukraine cities

The Kremlin said Monday that it may still opt to take control of large cities in Ukraine, as Moscow's military advances steadily towards several major urban hubs in its pro-Western neighbour.

"Putin gave orders to hold back on any immediate assault on large cities because the civilians losses would be large," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding however that, "the defence ministry does not rule out the possibility of putting large cities under its full control".

Two people were killed on Monday as various neighbourhoods of the Ukraine capital Kyiv came under shelling and missile attacks, city officials said.

"One person was killed and 10 wounded when a residential building was shelled in the Obolon district" in the north of the city, officials said, adding that later in the morning "missile fragments fell on the street in the Kurenivka district killing one person and wounding six."

2 killed in attack on Ukraine aircraft factory

Ukrainian authorities say two people have died and seven were injured after Russian forces struck an aircraft factory, and another person was killed when a residential building was fired upon.

The Antonov aircraft factory is Ukraine's largest and is best known for producing many of the world's largest ever cargo planes.

The Kyiv city government says a large fire broke out after the strike on the factory. One person died and three were injured when the residential building was hit, authorities said.

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Image Credit: Vijith Pulikkal, Assistant Product Manager | Graphic News

20 dead in Donetsk after Ukraine attack

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Monday that a strike by Kyiv's forces on the rebel's defacto capital Donetsk had left at least 20 people dead, ahead of talks to resolve the fighting.

Rebel officials said that fragments from a Ukrainian Tochka missile that was shot down had landed in the centre of the city and that, "20 people were killed and nine were injured," as a fourth round of talks was scheduled to end more than two weeks of fighting.

At least two dead in strike on residential building in Kyiv

At least two people died and 12 were wounded following an air strike on a residential building in Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the country's emergency service said on Monday.

"As of 07:40, the bodies of two people were found in a nine-storey apartment building, three people were hospitalised and nine people were treated on the spot," the emergency service said on Facebook, adding that the building was in Kyiv's Obolon district.

Russia continues strikes on Kyiv suburbs

Russian forces fired artillery strikes on suburbs northwest of Kyiv overnight and targeted points east of the capital, the head of the Kyiv region said on Monday.

A town councilor for Brovary east of Kyiv was killed in fighting there, regional administration chief Oleksiy Kuleba said on Ukrainian television. He also reported strikes overnight on the northwest towns of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia's stalled attempt to take the capital.

The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said on Monday morning that Russian troops have not made major advances over the past 24 hours despite expanding strikes to the west.

Ukrainian forces are targeting Russian bases, targeting their logistical abilities, the general staff said in a statement on Facebook marking the 19th day of the conflict.

Zelensky vows to keep negotiating with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he will continue negotiating with Russia and is waiting for a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Zelensky has repeatedly called for a meeting with Putin. But so far, his requests have gone unanswered by the Kremlin. Zelenskyy said on Sunday during his nightly address to the nation that his delegation has a “clear task” to do everything to ensure a meeting between the two presidents.

Zelensky said talks are held daily between the two countries via video conference. He said the talks are necessary to establish a cease-fire and more humanitarian corridors. He said those corridors have saved more than 130,000 people in six days.

The humanitarian convoy to the besieged city of Mariupol was blocked Sunday by Russian forces. Zelensky said they would try again on Monday.

Zelensky has repeatedly called for a meeting with Putin.

Red Cross: Besieged Mariupol needs cease-fire

The Red Cross is warning of a “worst-case scenario” for hundreds of thousands of civilians in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol unless the parties agree to ensure their safety and access to humanitarian aid.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, said in a statement said Sunday that residents of Mariupol “have endured a weeks-long life-and-death nightmare.”

The Geneva-based humanitarian agency said hundreds of thousands of people in the city are “facing extreme or total shortages of basic necessities like food, water and medicine.”

“Dead bodies, of civilians and combatants, remain trapped under the rubble or lying in the open where they fell,” the ICRC added. “Life-changing injuries and chronic, debilitating conditions cannot be treated. The human suffering is simply immense.”

The Red Cross called on the parties to agree on the terms of a cease-fire, routes for safe passage, and to ensure the deal is respected. It offered to act as a neutral intermediary in negotiations.

Ukraine says Chernobyl power line restored

Ukraine says it has restored a broken power line to the Chernobyl power plant, the scene of a nuclear meltdown in 1986, which is held by Russian troops.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that “heroes” from the national power grid company managed to restore the connection. The power is used to run pumps which keep spent nuclear fuel cool to prevent radiation leaks.

Ukraine said on Wednesday that power had been cut to the site and that there was enough diesel fuel to run on-site generators for 48 hours. The International Atomic Energy Agency played down concerns, saying it saw little risk of the pools containing the spent fuel overheating even without electricity.

Belarus said Thursday it had set up an emergency power line to Chernobyl from its nearby border.

UN says 596 civilians killed since Ukraine conflict began

The UN human rights office says at least 596 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the conflict, and at least 1,067 have been injured.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Sunday that 43 of those killed were children, while 57 were injured.

The Geneva-based office had documented 579 civilian deaths and 1,002 injured a day earlier.

It said most recorded civilian casualties were caused “by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area,” such as shelling from heavy artillery and missile strikes.

UN officials said they believe the actual number of casualties is “considerably higher” than so far recorded because the receipt of information has been delayed and many reports still need to be corroborated.