Russia attacks Ukraine: Russian general killed, Ukraine intelligence agency says

Ukraine and Russia are scheduled to hold a third round of talks Monday as the Russian invasion into Ukraine enters its 12th day.

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Meanwhile, intelligence officials expect Russia to step up the pace and strength of its attacks, particularly in the capital of Kyiv.

Here are the latest updates:

World Bank approves $723 million for Ukraine

Update 11:30 p.m. EST March 7: The World Bank has approved emergency financing of $723 million to help Ukraine’s government pay public-sector wages, welfare and pensions, the BBC reported.

According to the bank, the aid package incorporated funding from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland.

The World Bank also confirmed that it is working to release an additional $3 billion for Ukraine and its neighboring countries in the coming months, the network reported.

Ukraine says Russian general killed

Update 9:44 p.m. EST March 7: A Russian general was killed in the fighting around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which Russian forces have been trying to seize since the invasion began, The Associated Press reported, citing the Ukrainian military intelligence agency.

According to the agency, the man killed has been identified as Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, who fought with Russian forces in Syria and Chechnya and participated in the 2014 seizure of Crimea.

Russia has not commented on the agency’s claim, and the AP was not able to independently confirm Gerasimov’s death.

More US companies nix Russian operations

Update 9:35 p.m. EST March 7: Both Procter & Gamble Co. and PVH Corp. said Monday that they will scale back operations in Russia, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In a letter to employees. P&G CEO Jon Moeller confirmed that the stalwart brand of household items will halt spending on capital investments, advertising and promotions while selling only products that focus on basic health, hygiene and personal care.

“As we proceed with the reduced scale of our Russian operations, we will continue to adjust as necessary,” he wrote in the letter, which was posted online.

Meanwhile, PVH Corp., the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, confirmed that it is temporarily closing its stores and suspending commercial operations in Russia and Belarus, the Journal reported.

Russia UN ambassador unveils cease-fire plan

Update 8:17 p.m. EST March 7: Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, said late Monday that Russia will carry out a cease-fire at 10 a.m. Tuesday Moscow time, during which humanitarian corridors will be opened to evacuate citizens from Kyiv, Chernigov, Sumy and Mariupol, The Associated Press reported.

Nebenzia’s announcement came at the close of an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting held Monday to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

“This proposal doesn’t have any demands about the citizens being sent necessarily to Russia, into Russian territory,” Nebenzia told the body.

“There’s also evacuation offered towards Ukrainian cities to the west of Kyiv, and ultimately it will be the choice of the people themselves where they want to be evacuated to,” he added.

US gas prices top July 2008 record

Update 7:55 p.m. EST March 7: U.S. gas prices hit their highest mark late Monday, shattering the record set post-Hurricane Katrina in July 2008.

According to the Oil Price Information Service, the firm that collects and calculates prices for AAA, the price for a gallon of regular gas now stands at $4.14, breaking the 2008 record of $4.14 per gallon, CNN reported.

Prices at U.S. pumps have risen steadily since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

UPS halts cargo plane flights over Russia

Update 6:08 p.m. EST March 7: United Parcel Service Inc. confirmed to The Wall Street Journal late Monday that it has adopted longer, alternative routes on flights to and from the United States and Asia to avoid cargo flights venturing into Russian airspace.

The longer flight times and higher fuel costs associated with the altered routes are exacerbating global supply chain woes, the newspaper reported.

According to the International Air Transport Association, more than a quarter of the world’s air-cargo traffic – including consumer electronics, computer chips, apparel and machine parts – is flown to and from Asia and the U.S.

FedEx, UPS and other cargo carriers, including the DHL unit of Deutsche Post AG, had already suspended delivery services to and from Russia.

Meanwhile, cargo carriers from China, South Korea and Ethiopia continue to operate over Russia, the Journal reported, citing FlightRadar24.

UN Security Council talks worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

Update 5:42 p.m. EST March 7: The United Nations needs safe passage to deliver humanitarian aid to conflict zones in Ukraine, a senior official with the organization told the Security Council during an emergency meeting held late Monday afternoon in New York.

“Civilians in places like Mariupol, Kharkiv, Melitopol and elsewhere desperately need aid, especially life-saving medical supplies,” undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs Martin Griffiths told colleagues exploring ways to minimize the civilian impact of Russia’s 12-day assault on Ukraine, The Guardian reported, citing Agence France-Presse reports.

Meanwhile, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. took direct aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin in her comments, accusing him of having a plan to “brutalize Ukraine.”

However, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., claimed during discussions that Ukrainians are shelling themselves, The Guardian reported.

Zelenskyy: Staying ‘as long as it takes to win this war’

Update 5:18 p.m. EST March 7: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted his latest video address, saying he is staying in his office in Kyiv, the BBC reported.

“Not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone. [I’m staying] as long as it takes to win this... war!,” Zelenskyy said, making a point to show views of the night sky in the capital city to prove that his message was recorded on Monday evening.

5,000 more US troops heading to Europe

Update 3:30 p.m. EST March 7: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed Monday afternoon that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment of about 5,000 more troops from the U.S. to Europe amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Kirby emphasized Monday that the troops will support NATO forces and will not engage with Russian troops.

“These additional personnel will be going to NATO’s eastern flank,” he said, adding that troops will be going to Greece, Germany, Poland and Romania.

Discussions ongoing about possible US ban on importing oil from Russia

Update 3:15 p.m. EST March 7: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that conversations are ongoing about whether to ban imports of Russian oil in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“No decision has been made at this point by the president,” Psaki said. “Those discussions are ongoing internally and also with our counterparts and partners in Europe and around the world.”

She said President Joe Biden is focused on “ensuring we are continuing to take steps to deliver punishing economic consequences on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin while taking all action necessary to limit the impacts to price at the gas pump.”

>> Related: ‘Out of control:’ Gas prices averaging $4 per gallon nationwide

She said that in 2021, the U.S. was importing 700,000 barrels of crude oil and petroleum from Russia per day. In the same year, Europe imported about 4.5 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum daily.

Biden speaks with French, German, British leaders about invasion of Ukraine

Update 2 p.m. EST March 7: President Joe Biden held a secure video call Monday with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom to discuss the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a readout shared by the White House, officials said Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “affirmed their determination to continue raising the costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”

The group also “underscored their commitment to continue providing security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine” and “discussed their respective recent engagements with the Ukrainian and Russian presidents,” according to the White House.

Negotiations between Ukraine, Russia end with ‘small positive’ movements, Ukrainian official says

Update 1:10 p.m. EST March 7: A third round of talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia ended Monday with “small positive” movements “in improving the logistics of humanitarian corridors,” according to Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Intensive consultations have continued on the basic political block of the regulations, along with a ceasefire and security guarantees,” Podolyak said in a statement posted on Twitter.

More than 400 civilians killed in Ukraine invasion, UN says

Update 12:45 p.m. EST March 7: More than 400 people have died and over 800 others have been injured since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Officials said 93 people have been killed in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including on territory controlled by separatists. In addition, 313 people have been killed in other parts of Ukraine, according to the United Nations.

Officials said a majority of those killed or injured were wounded “by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.”

Authorities with OHCHR warned that they believe the numbers to be lower than the actual number of casualties.

Putin removed from positions with International Judo Federation

Update 11:10 a.m. EST March 7: Officials with the International Judo Federation on Sunday announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been removed from his positions with the organization.

In a statement, officials with IJF said Putin and Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg “have been removed from all positions held in the International Judo Federation.” The statement did not mention the conflict in Ukraine, although the group last week removed Putin as an honorary president and ambassador of the group “in light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine.”

>> Read more: International Judo Federation strips Putin of titles

Third round of diplomatic talks to begin soon between Ukraine, Russia

Update 10:05 a.m. EST March 7: Officials are expected to soon begin a third round of diplomatic talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia amid ongoing conflict between the two countries.

In a social media post, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said talks with Russia were expected to begin “in a few minutes.” In the post, he criticized Ukraine’s neighbors to the east as “a country that seriously believes that large-scale violence against civilians is an argument.”

“Prove that this is not the case,” he wrote.

Russian and Ukrainian delegations are meeting in Belarus, according to BBC News. Officials from both countries met twice before for negotiations aimed at ending the conflict in Ukraine, though talks remain ongoing.

Ukrainian foreign minister calls for more sanctions against Russia, more weapons for Ukraine

Update 9:30 a.m. EST March 7: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday urged countries to enact “more severe sanctions on Russia” and to send “more weapons, including combat aircraft and air defense, for Ukraine” in a statement posted on social media.

“Russia aggression is different to all other wars of this century,” Kuleba wrote. “The scale and the inhuman ideology behind it are reminiscent of WWII.”

EU leaders to discuss Ukraine’s membership application in coming days

Update 8:30 a.m. EST March 7: Leaders of the European Union plan to discuss Ukraine’s application to join the 27-member bloc “in the coming days,” according to a statement shared on social media by European Council President Charles Michel.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a request to join the EU on Feb. 28, four days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on the country. He asked that officials immediately consider the request.

The leaders of eight EU member states -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland Slovakia and Slovenia -- voiced support for allowing Ukraine to immediately become an EU candidate country in a letter released Feb. 28.

Ukraine, Russia foreign ministers to meet in Turkey this week

Update 8 a.m. EST March 7: The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine are slated to meet near Antalya, Turkey, this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.

According to The Associated Press, Cavusoglu, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, will meet on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

Number of Ukrainian refugees grows to 1.7 million

Update 7 a.m. EST March 7: More than 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the country late last month, the United Nations’ refugee agency said Monday.

According to The Associated Press, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that since Feb. 24, about 1.735 million people from Ukraine have arrived in other countries, including 1.03 million in Poland, 180,000 in Hungary and 128,000 in Slovakia.

Ukrainian official rejects corridors to Belarus, Russia

Update 6 a.m. EST March 7: Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk has rejected a Russian plan to evacuate civilians from Ukraine to Russia and Belarus, according to The Associated Press.

“This is an unacceptable option for opening humanitarian corridors,” Vereshchuk said Monday, adding that the Russian Federation must “stop manipulating and abusing the trust of the leaders of France, China, Turkey and India.”

Russia had proposed evacuation routes for civilians from Kyiv to Gomel, Belarus, as well as from Kharkiv and Sumy to Belgorod, Russia, the AP reported. Belarus has been a key Russian ally.

Ukraine’s government is proposing eight humanitarian corridors that would allow civilians to evacuate to Ukrainian regions that have not been under fire, according to the AP.

Ukraine rep to UN court: ‘Russia must be stopped’

Update 5 a.m. EST March 7: A Ukrainian representative appeared before the United Nations’ top court on Monday, calling for Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.

“Russia must be stopped, and the court has a role to play in stopping it,” the representative, Anton Korynevych, told the International Court of Justice.

Russia failed to send representatives to the hearing, the AP reported.

Chinese foreign minister: Russia is Beijing’s ‘most important strategic partner’

Update 4 a.m. EST March 7: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday said Russia is Beijing’s “most important strategic partner” despite the Russian invasion into Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.

“No matter how perilous the international landscape, we will maintain our strategic focus and promote the development of a comprehensive China-Russia partnership in the new era,” Wang said at a news conference Monday, calling the countries’ ties “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world” and describing their friendship as “iron-clad.”

Human Rights Watch condemns Russian laws censoring media

Update 3 a.m. EST March 7: Human Rights Watch, an organization that focuses on protecting human rights globally, is slamming Russia for enacting laws that censor and criminalize independent media.

“Russia has enacted two laws, adopted and brought into force on March 4, that criminalize independent war reporting and protesting the war, with penalties of up to 15 years in prison,” the organization said in an article published Monday. “The laws make it illegal to spread ‘fake news’ about the Russian armed forces, to call for an end to their deployment and to support sanctions against Russian targets.”

Hugh Williamson, the group’s director for Europe and Central Asia, said in a statement that the laws “are part of Russia’s ruthless effort to suppress all dissent and make sure the population does not have access to any information that contradicts the Kremlin’s narrative about the invasion of Ukraine.”

Cease-fire, humanitarian corridors planned in some areas, Russia says

Update 2 a.m. EST March 7: A Russian task force said a cease-fire will begin and humanitarian corridors will open Monday morning in Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy, The Associated Press is reporting.

Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti published evacuation routes showing that civilians will be able to leave Ukraine for Russia and Belarus, according to the AP.

It wasn’t immediately clear how long the cease-fire would last or whether it would be observed in other areas, the AP reported.

Ukraine foreign minister: 20K from 52 countries have volunteered to fight

Update 1 a.m. EST March 7: At least 20,000 people from 52 countries have volunteered to fight in Ukraine as part of a new international legion, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Sunday night.

According to The Associated Press, Kuleba announced the news on Ukrainian television, saying the world “is on Ukraine’s side not only in words but in deeds.”

Kuleba did not disclose the volunteers’ home countries, the AP reported. It was not immediately clear how many of them have arrived in Ukraine.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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