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Russia Ukraine live updates: Shelling in Kyiv and Kharkiv

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Belarus has shared a photo of the venue where Russian and Ukrainian representatives are scheduled to meet today for what many hope could be peace talks.

The brutal invasion of Ukraine is raging on with blasts rocking Russia’s two main targets in Kyiv and Kharkiv — cities Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly ordered the military to take by force today.

New satellite pictures overnight showed a convoy of Russian forces that stretched 5km moving towards Kyiv.

Stream the latest news on the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine live & on demand on Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October, 2022 >

There was a pause in fighting overnight which experts say signalled that Putin’s army is recalibrating and will come next with even greater force.

That appears to be happening now with reports of shelling in Kyiv and the Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv.

At least two other Ukrainian cities – Berdyansk and Kakhovka – have been lost to Russia, with the nation’s military reporting it had claimed air superiority over the defenders.

However, Ukraine says Russian troops have slowed down “the pace of the offensive” as Russia’s military begins its fifth day of operations in the country. “The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive, but are still trying to develop success in some areas,” Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers posted to Twitter on Monday.

The UK Defence Ministry reported “logistical failures and staunch Ukrainian resistance continue to frustrate the Russian advance”, with the bulk of Putin’s forces still 30km north of Kyiv.

Meanwhile, talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives will be held today on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border – but in a grim sign, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his deterrence forces, which includes nuclear weapons, to be placed on high alert.

Read on for live updates below.

Belarus votes to renounce non-nuclear status

Belarus has reportedly prepared the venue that will host talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia, hours after controversially voting to renounce its non-nuclear status.

Ukraine has agreed to send a delegation to meet Russian representatives in neighbouring Belarus, a key Kremlin ally that has allowed Russian troops passage to attack Ukraine.

“The venue for talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus has been prepared, the arrival of delegations is expected,” the Belarusian foreign ministry said on social media, releasing a picture of a long table with Russian and Ukrainian flags.

Separately, Belarusian foreign ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said: “The talks will start as soon as all the delegations arrive at the meeting point.” Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, sending shockwaves around the world. Kyiv was initially reluctant to send a delegation to Belarus, given the country’s role as facilitator in Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Ukraine has vowed not to give ground at the talks, which come as its forces fiercely resist the Russian offensive and a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered his defence chiefs to put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was sceptical about the prospect of talks in Belarus.

“As always: I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try,” he said.

Earlier, Belarus claimed voters decided to lift the nation’s non-nuclear status at a referendum. According to the Belarus Central Elections Commission, 78.63 of the eligible voting population cast a vote, with 65.16 per cent voting in favour.

The vote also allowed dictator Alexander Lukashenko the opportunity to run for two additional terms in office.

“If America or … France, two nuclear powers, start transferring nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania, on our borders … I will go to Putin so that he will return to me the nuclear weapons that I, without any special conditions, gave to them,” Lukashenko said on Monday.

According to CNN, Belarus’ new constitution could “theoretically allow Moscow to place nuclear weapons on its neighbour’s territory for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union”.

Lines for food in Kyiv as curfew lifts

Citizens remaining in Ukraine have emerged from curfew, with residents on the ground reporting lines at grocery stores on Monday morning local time.

The Kyiv City Council reported a “calm” evening overnight, but the threat still looms for a Russian offensive as skirmishes continue on the city’s outskirts.

“Overall, last night was calm, excluding some skirmishes and fights with sabotage and reconnaissance groups. However, the city was mostly busy preparing for its defense. So, if you‘ll happen to go to the city after 8:00, you’ll see fortifications, tank traps, and other defensive structures that have appeared on the streets of Kyiv,” the council said in a statement.

Russian troops “demoralised” as fifth day of war drags on, reports Ukrainian military

The Ukrainian military said on Monday that Russian troops had slowed down their offensive as Moscow’s assault against Ukraine went into its fifth day.

“The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive, but are still trying to develop success in some areas,” the general staff of the armed forces said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, sending shockwaves around the world. Ukraine forces, backed by Western arms, have managed to slow the advance of the Russian army.

The Ukrainian military also accused Russia of launching a missile strike on residential buildings in the cities of Zhytomyr and Chernigiv, cities in the country’s northwest and north.

“At the same time, all attempts by the Russian invaders to achieve the goal of the military operation failed,” the military said.

“The enemy is demoralized and bears heavy losses,” the military claimed.

Kyiv braces for impact, refugees continue to flee west

Residents still in major cities across Kyiv have emerged from curfews this morning, as concern for what could be the most dangerous day of the conflict mounts.

According to local media, the capital of Kyiv has endured repeated blasts, with air raid sirens periodically blaring warning civilians to seek cover.

The Ukrainian capital is still being held by the current government after days of fighting.

Residents remaining in Kyiv have been told to prepare molotov cocktails and block roads in the city where they can to repel Russia’s tank forces.

According to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency, 368,000 people have already fled the country, with many filtering into bordering nations like Romania, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia.

The US embassy in Ukraine warned the situation “continues to be unpredictable, with active fighting inside many cities and other locations”.

“Conditions may deteriorate as military attacks by Russia continue in various parts of the country without any warning,” the embassy said in a statement.

It has warned US citizens in Ukraine to “depart now using privately available transportation options if it is safe to do so”, with wait times at border crossings reportedly taking up to 30 hours.

‘Take either Kyiv or Kharkiv today’: Putin

Russian commanders in Ukraine have been ordered to take either Kyiv or Kharkiv — the two biggest cities — by today, says a Moscow report.

A source said General Army Staff set the task of taking one or the other by Monday “at any price”, reported Russian VCHK-OGPU Telegram channel which has close links to the security services.

This edict — seen as ultimately coming from Vladimir Putin — was despite the objection of Russia’s paratroop command which feared a catastrophic bloodbath.

“The command of the Airborne Forces was against it, saying the price would be too heavy in terms of human losses,” said the report.

“The General Staff said it was taking on itself full responsibility for this decision.”

If true, the order indicates Russia’s high command is ready for horrific bloodshed to achieve its military aim.

The channel boasts that it “reveals the secrets” of senior state and security officials, claiming inside knowledge.

It came as both cities were under extreme attack from Russian forces.

In Kyiv, snaking lines of tanks were visible.

Overnight images showed a suspected long-range Iskander attack on Cherkasy Missile strike in Cherkasy, southeast of capital city Kyiv. A missile struck a residential building in Chernihiv.

A propaganda channel named Siloviki showed a video apparently aimed at spreading fear among Ukrainians and the world.

It showed what purported to be a rain of missiles and told viewers: “Good night to everyone who is going to sleep.”

There is no suggestion it is an actual attack in Ukraine.

Russians awoke this morning to soaring prices of basics due both to sanctions – including financial subs on banks — and panic.

Reports Kyiv, Kharkiv under attack

The pause in fighting did not last long. Hours after satellite images showed a huge convoy of Russian vehicles and artillery heading along the road to the capital Kyiv, there were reports of shelling.

Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information reported that blasts were heard in both cities just before 6am local time.

Ukraine’s national news agency, Ukrinform, also reported explosions were heard in both cities on Monday morning.

Both Kyiv and Kharkiv are home to huge populations. Many have fled but plenty more have decided to stay, either to fight or to wait it out in the city’s overcrowded subway stations and bunkers.

Disturbing reason for Russia’s tactical pause

The Russian military has been surprised by Ukraine’s resistance and the current pause in fighting is designed to allow Putin’s army to recalibrate for a new phase with even greater force, experts say.

The Institute for the Study of War has published analysis after the first few days of the invasion.

It points out that Ukraine outperformed expectations and Russia is about to respond accordingly.

“The Russian military has likely recognised that its initial expectations that limited Russian attacks would cause the collapse of Ukrainian resistance have failed,” the institute wrote.

“The Russian military is moving additional combat resources toward Ukraine and establishing more reliable and effective logistics arrangements to support what is likely a larger, harder, and more protracted conflict than it had originally prepared for.

“The tide of the war could change rapidly in Russia’s favour if the Russian military has correctly identified its failings and addresses them promptly, given the overwhelming advantage in net combat power Moscow that enjoys.

“Ukrainian morale and combat effectiveness remain extremely high, however, and Russian forces confront the challenge of likely intense urban warfare in the coming days.”

The institute, which is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organisation, says Russia has taken an “operational pause … but will likely resume offensive operations and begin using greater air and artillery support in the coming days.”

Chilling images show forces ‘moving towards Kyiv’

Alarming new satellite pictures have revealed Russian forces advancing towards the Ukrainian capital.

The images, from Maxar Technologies, show a massive, almost five kilometre-long convoy of Russian troops, tanks and self-propelled artillery on the move.

It comes amid confirmation that EU nations will provide “fighter jets” to Ukraine in the battle against Putin’s forces, with Alexandre Krauss, a senior political adviser at Renew Europe, stating they will be “flying in Ukraine skies within the hour”.

Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated in a Facebook post that it was a “difficult time” for defence forces, with Russia continuing “shelling in almost all directions”.

“The air force confronts the aggressor both in the sky and on the ground,” the statement reads.

“For the current day, bombing and storming aviation struck rocket-bomb strikes on six columns of the occupiers’ military equipment.

“Stormers … attacked and destroyed the columns of enemy equipment … The combat work of the stormmen on the ground was continued by bombing aviation.

“Units of anti-aircraft missile forces shot down the enemy helicopter Ka-52 and Orlan-10 drone.”

400,000 Ukrainians have crossed into Europe

As Russian forces continue their advance towards major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, the European Union is preparing for the potential of millions of refugees needing resettling.

Hundreds of thousands — some estimates say 400,000 — Ukrainians have crossed into the EU since the start of the offensive according to AFP.

Half of them entered Poland.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said there could be millions arriving from Ukraine and the bloc needed to be ready to host them.

It comes as images flood social media from brave Ukrainians who decided to stay and fight, many fashioning whatever weapons they could from supplies.

The resistance has surprised onlookers and been effective in slowing Russia’s advance. It will be bolstered by news today that the EU will finance weapon support for Ukraine’s army and its civilian supporters.

Ukraine’s ‘prisoners of war’ website banned in Russia

Russian soldiers taken prisoner after invading Ukraine were being paraded on a website titled Ishchi svoikh which translates to “look for your own”.

The site had been created by Ukrainian authorities for the families of Russian soldiers and included documents and photographs of those taken by the enemy.

But Russia has blocked the site — and in turn blocked loved ones from accessing that information.

The BBC reports that Ukraine’s interior ministry announced it was setting up the website on Saturday as a “gesture of goodwill towards Russian mothers”.

The website, seen by news.com.au, features dozens of videos purporting to show Russian soldiers who have been captured.

Many have had their eyes taped shut while they are quizzed about what they’re doing in the country.

Ukraine resistance mystifying observers

Military sources say Russian President Putin had hoped to capture Kyiv and have Ukrainian President Zelensky “surrender and sign over his country to Russia”.

The Times’ defence editor Larisa Brown this morning wrote that “the plan was for President Zelensky to surrender and sign over his country to Russia at the historic Pechersk Lavra monastery, which Putin visited in 2004, a military source claimed”.

But, she wrote, the war has “not gone to plan” and Ukraine has surpassed expectations by taking down warplanes and blowing up dozens of tanks.

“They have surpassed expectations, mystifying observers and even western military experts by preventing Russia from gaining control of the skies, denying Putin his initial strategic objectives,” she wrote.

Putin humiliated as assaults fail

Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, has hit back at “lies” stating the capital was surrounded by Russian troops.

He defiantly stated that Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands.

“In the evening, Russian online publications spread information with reference to me that Kyiv was allegedly surrounded and evacuation of people was impossible,” Mr Klitschko said in a statement.

“And it is strange that Ukrainian telegram channels started to spread it … Do not believe lies! Trust information only from official sources. Together, we will stand together. Ukraine will win!”

Meanwhile, Russia’s failed bid to seize the second-largest city of Kharkiv has been seen as the latest embarrassment facing Vladimir Putin.

The army had been sitting outside the city for some time, but on Sunday night decided to launch an assault via multiple rocket launch systems and heavy artillery.

Swarms of troops entered the city, sparking fears it could fall – but within hours, it was clear the attempt had failed.

Oleg Synegybov, the governor of Kharkiv region, declared victory within hours, and claimed that “dozens” of prisoners had been captured.

“Control over Kharkiv is completely ours! The armed forces, the national police and the defence forces are working and the city is being completely cleansed of the enemy,” he said in a statement on Telegram.

“Captured Russian fighters speak of complete exhaustion and demoralisation, they have no connection with the central command, do not understand or know their next actions.”

‘Under their control’: Ukrainian cities fall to Russia

The acting mayor of Berdyansk has confirmed Russian troops have taken over control of the Ukrainian city.

The news was confirmed by Oleksandr Svidlo in a Facebook update for residents.

“A few hours ago, you and I witnessed how heavy military equipment and armed soldiers entered the city and began advancing throughout our hometown,” he said.

“As soon as I learned about that, I tried to inform all the residents of the city so that you have the opportunity to hide in shelters.

“Some time ago, armed soldiers entered the executive committee building and introduced themselves as soldiers of the Russian army, they informed us that all administrative buildings were under their control and that they were taking control of the executive committee building.”

Berdyansk is located on Ukraine’s southern coast, and has a naval base and a population of around 100,000.

Authorities from Kakhovka have also announced that the small city, which is home to a strategically crucial hydro-electric power plant, had also been lost.

Mayor Volodymyr Kovalenko took to Telegram to reveal troops had taken over council buildings and removed all Ukrainian flags, while deputy mayor Vladimir Arnaut posted a disturbing video of himself with chest injuries on Twitter.

“Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson Oblast is completely under the control of Russian troops, they seized the city executive committee, removed all Ukrainian flags from buildings,” Mr Kovalenko said.

Belarus vote sparks nuclear fears

As expected, a vote in Belarus to change the constitution and revoke the nation’s non-nuclear status has passed.

It is feared the change could pave the way for Russian nuclear weapons to be deployed from Belarus against Ukraine.

‘Worst will happen’: Fears second nation will join Putin’s invasion

Disturbing comments from the President of Belarus – a staunch ally of Vladimir Putin – has sparked fears that the neighbouring nation could be poised to join the conflict against Ukraine.

“The conflict in Ukraine is the thin edge of the wedge. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about,” dictator Alexander Lukashenko said.

“If it continues like this, the worst will happen. He [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] will not be hidden in any American or some other bunker. That’s why the war should be ended today.

“I wouldn’t even call it the war. This is a conflict. The war will last for one-two days, but there will be a meat grinder in three days.”

Mr Lukashenko’s comments come amid plans to adopt a new constitution which would repeal Belarus’ non-nuclear status, which many fear could lead to Russia using the nation as an invasion launch pad.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting that Kyiv’s former defence minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk has claimed Belarus is set to join forces with Russia.

“Republic of Belarus is highly likely to join the Russian war against Ukraine. On Russian side,” he said.

“There is an information about airborne troopers from Republic of Belarus loaded on the planes to enter Ukraine.

“This is a terrible development as it involves a country, which until very recently was a great friend of Ukraine; which people always considered Ukraine as a brotherly nation. Ukraine and Belarus has never been to war one with another in their many hundred years of history.

We believe that the only reason for that decision was personal demand from President of Russia, which completely depends from Putin in its policy.”

Ukraine’s vow after plane destroyed

Ukraine’s official Twitter account has vowed to rebuild the biggest plane on the planet – the “Mriya” – after it was destroyed by Russian troops near Kyiv.

‘Terrorist behaviour’: Russia accused of ‘war crimes’

Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova has accused Russia of engaging in “terrorist behaviour”, and warned that upcoming talks between the two nations were likely to fail.

CNN reports Ms Markarova also vowed Ukraine was “not ready to surrender” and that “we will defend our country, and we will win”.

“There is an ongoing, full-fledged war with war crimes conducted by Russians in Ukraine on a daily basis. So how genuine is this [peace talk] proposal? We don’t know,” she said.

She said Mr Putin’s decision to put Russia’s nuclear weapons on “high alert” was “one more example of a terrorist behaviour”.

“They attacked our country. They are scaring everyone.”

UN calls emergency meeting

The United Nations Security Council has called for an emergency special session of the general assembly in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

It’s the first time in four decades a request like this has been made.

Ukraine hits back at ‘genocide’ claims

President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed Ukraine is taking Russia to the International Court of Justice over claims Ukraine had committed acts of “genocide”.

In the ICJ application, Ukraine states that Russia has “falsely claimed that acts of genocide have occurred” against ethnic Russians in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, known as the Donbas region.

Hopes rise as peace talks confirmed

Ukrainian and Russian representatives are scheduled to meet today for what many hope could be peace talks.

Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Evgeny Yenin has confirmed that the meeting will be held on Monday morning European time.

“The politicians have agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River,” Mr Yenin’s office confirmed.

“[Belarusian President] Aleksander Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on the Belarusian territory will remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, meeting and return.”

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said in a video address he was not hopeful the meeting would lead to a resolution.

“I’ll say frankly, like always, that I don’t believe in the result of this meeting,” he said.

“But let’s try, so that no citizen of Ukraine would have any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war when there was even a chance.”

How Australia will ‘turn the screws’ on Putin

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to send “lethal aid” to Ukraine, with Mr Morrison and other key ministers announcing a US$3 million pledge to NATO’s Trust Fund for Ukraine to support nonlethal military equipment and medical supplies.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Nine Network he spoke with US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen on Sunday night.

“We agreed to continue to work closely in turning the screws on Vladimir Putin and his associates,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Assassination fears grow

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell has claimed that insiders expected Kyiv to be overrun overnight and attempts made by Russia to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Thankfully, neither have come to pass, although the situation is far from resolved.

“The belief, at this time at least, appears to be that Vladimir Putin will not risk conflict with NATO and his invasion would end at the Ukrainian border,” Mr Clennell said.

“Obviously a worrying time for the world.”

Russians turn on Putin

More than 5500 Russians have been arrested during anti-war protests which have been held in dozens of cities across the nation since the invasion began last week.

The arrests include many well-known Russians from the entertainment, business and journalism fields, who have put their careers and freedom at risk by speaking out.

“For years, Russian authorities have been suppressing free speech and peaceful protests to stifle critical voices,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“Now the government is silencing all those who speak out against the war with Ukraine.”

14 kids killed during invasion

There’s some more sad news coming out of Ukraine, with the health ministry confirming more than 350 civilians – including 14 children – had been killed in the conflict so far.

More than 1600 have been injured, including more than 100 kids.

Russia’s nuke talk slammed

Russia’s “rhetoric” surrounding its nuclear capabilities has been lashed during a UN Security Council meeting.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told Russia to back down on its “dangerous rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons”.

“This is another escalatory and unnecessary step that threatens us all,” she said.

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