A massive, 64km convoy of Russian forces has “stalled” en route to Kyiv for days on end, in the latest sign Putin’s invasion is failing.
Ukrainian officials fear large numbers of people may be dead after “more than 15 hours” of shelling on a city near the Russian border.
The Deputy Mayor of the southeastern city of Mariupol, Sergiy Orlov, has told the BBC a riverside district, normally home to 130,000 people including his father, has been “nearly totally destroyed”.
“We cannot count the number of victims there, but we believe at least hundreds of people are dead. We cannot go in to retrieve the bodies,” he said.
The Russian army is working through all their weapons here – artillery, multiple rocket launch systems, aeroplanes, tactical rockets. They are trying to destroy the city,” Orlov says.
He said Russian forces are several kilometres away on all sides.
It comes as Russia ramps up assaults on key Ukrainian cities, sparking a bleak warning President Vladimir Putin may be planning to use banned weapons against Ukraine.
Read on for the latest updates.
‘No movement closer’: 64km convoy failing miserably
A massive, 64km-long convoy of Russian troops and vehicles heading to Kyiv has been hit by major logistic nightmares, with “no appreciable movement closer to the city” made over the past two days.
That’s according to a senior Pentagon official, who claimed Russian forces were now facing serious food and fuel shortages.
The official added that Ukrainians had been strongly resisting north of the capital, and had potentially also “at places and times” targeted the convoy, according to the New York Times.
The insider also confirmed that Russia had failed to take control of Ukrainian skies, and that “Ukrainian air and missile defence capabilities remain intact and viable.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also confirmed the convoy remained “stalled”, CNN reports.
“They haven’t from our best estimates made any appreciable progress in the last 24-36 hours,” Mr Kirby said.
While he said “nothing very significant” had happened in terms of progress, forces were likely intentionally “regrouping themselves and reassessing the progress that they have not made and how to make up the lost time”.
Four countries side with Russia
A handful of rogue nations have sensationally sided with Russia during a UN vote “deploring” Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine”, which also called for the immediate withdrawal of its forces.
The only nations to vote no in support of Vladimir Putin were Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria, with long-term Russian allies Cuba and Venezuela joining China and 32 others in abstaining.
Meanwhile, 141 of the 193 member states voted in favour of the resolution.
During the meeting, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, compared Mr Putin to Adolf Hitler in a passionate speech, calling on the world to unite against him.
It comes amid increasing signs Belarus plans to take a more direct role in supporting Russia against Ukraine, with Ukrainian officials claiming some Belarusian troops had already crossed the border.
ICC launches investigation into invasion
The International Criminal Court has announced plans to investigate the unfolding crisis in Ukraine.
“On 28 February, I announced my decision to seek authorisation to open an investigation into the situation in Ukraine, on the basis of my office’s earlier conclusions arising from its preliminary examination, and encompassing any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court…,” ICC Prosecutor, Karim AA Khan QC, said in a statement.
“In the same statement, I indicated that active investigations by my office would be significantly expedited if a State Party to the Rome Statute … were to refer the situation to my office, as provided in article 14 of the Statute…
“I have notified the ICC Presidency a few moments ago of my decision to immediately proceed with active investigations in the situation. Our work in the collection of evidence has now commenced.”
Belarus ‘participating in invasion’
The EU has cracked down on 22 Belarusian officials and military personnel found to be “participating” in the brutal Ukraine invasion.
In a document published Wednesday, the EU said the individuals were being targeted “in view of the gravity of the situation and of the fact that Belarus is participating in a Russian unprovoked invasion against Ukraine by allowing military aggression from its territory”.
A number of Belarusian imports will also be blocked.
Russia’s sick plan to use banned weapons
US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has told a UN General Assembly emergency special session on Ukraine that Russia was intentionally destroying crucial infrastructure – and that she feared worse was to come.
“We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield,” she said.
“That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs – which are banned under the Geneva Convention.
“We have seen the 40-mile-long (60km) lethal convoy charging toward Kyiv. President Putin continues to escalate – putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, threatening to invade Finland and Sweden. At every step of the way, Russia has betrayed the United Nations. Russia’s actions go against everything this body stands for.”
Ukrainian city falls to Russia
A major city in Ukraine’s south has reportedly been captured as the nation continues to be battered by fresh shelling.
Kherson – considered to be a strategically key centre – has become the first Ukrainian city to fall to the invaders.
The city, which has around 300,000 residents, would enable Russia to control a significant chunk of the southern coastline and allow troops to head west towards the port city of Odessa.
According to the New York Times, mayor Igor Kolykhaev confirmed Russian troops had encircled the city with Ukrainian forces retreating to the nearby city of Mykolaiv.
Dead Russian soldiers litter Ukraine
Confronting pictures of dead Russian soldiers are emerging amid conflicting reports regarding the number of Russian troops have been killed during the invasion.
According to Russia’s military, the fatalities are less than 500, while Ukrainian authorities put that figure far higher, at more than 7000.
They claim hundreds of Russian troops have also been captured and are now prisoners of war.
China’s bombshell Russia move
A shocking Western intelligence report has revealed that China allegedly asked Russia not to invade Ukraine until after the Beijing Winter Olympics had concluded.
According to the New York Times, the report proves Beijing has prior knowledge of the invasion, which began on February 24 – just four days after the Olympic closing ceremony.
In fact, Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing on February 4 ahead of the opening ceremony, raising eyebrows at the time.
It comes as China abstained from a UN vote condemning Russia’s invasion.
Russian prisoners turn on Putin
Ukraine’s Security Service has posted videos of emotional, captured Russian soldiers slamming the invasion and claiming they were being treated like “cannon fodder”.
One prisoner of war claimed troops were fighting against “peaceful people defending their territory” while others said they were “lied to” and that they did not want war with their neighbours.
“This is not our war. Mothers and wives, collect your husbands. There is no need to be here,“ an injured soldier said.
“They don’t even pick up the corpses, there are no funerals,” another added of the widespread devastation.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian officials invited Russian mothers to come and pick up their wounded or captured sons in an apparent dig at Moscow.
“A decision has been made to hand over captured Russian troops to their mothers if they come to collect them in Ukraine, in Kyiv,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
The ministry has also set up a telephone hotline for Russian parents to find out if their sons had been killed or captured.
“You will be received and taken to Kyiv where your son will be returned to you,” the ministry statement said.
“Unlike Putin’s fascists, we Ukrainians are not waging war against mothers and their captured children.”
Blast hits Kyiv train station
Reports are emerging of a major explosion near the Vokzalna train station in the capital city of Kyiv.
There are fears the blast has knocked out heating supply to residents.
2000 dead in brutal invasion
Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that more than 2000 ordinary Ukrainian citizens had been killed over the course of the invasion so far.
“Children, women and defence forces are losing their lives every hour,” Ukraine’s emergency service said in a statement.