Russian troops in the streets of Kherson, mayor says: Live News | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • Ukrainian official says an explosion near Kyiv’s central train station was caused by falling wreckage from a Russian missile that was downed by Ukrainian air defense.
  • The Pentagon says Russian military push towards Kyiv from the north “remains stalled” due to regrouping and logistical challenges.
  • The UN says 227 civilians have been killed and 525 injured in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion.
  • Russia’s negotiator says a second round of talks will take place on Thursday, while Ukraine is casting doubt on the plan.
  • President Volodymyr Zelensky says Moscow is aiming to “erase” Ukraine.
  • The UN says more than 870,000 people have fled Ukraine in search of safety.

Here are all the latest updates:

EU bars 7 Russian banks from SWIFT, but spares those in energy

The European Union has said it was excluding seven Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, but stopped short of including those handling energy payments.

The second-largest bank VTB, Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, Sovcombank and VEB will each be given 10 days to wind-down their SWIFT operations, the EU said in its official journal.

SWIFT said in a statement that it would disconnect the seven Russian banks from their network on March 12, as required by EU regulations.

INTERACTIVE - Sanctions on Russia SWIFT payment network

War crimes court prosecutor opens Ukraine investigation

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has confirmed he would immediately open an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine, following a request to do so by 39 of the court’s member states.

“These referrals enable my office to proceed with the opening of an investigation into the situation in Ukraine from 21 November 2013 onwards, encompassing any past and present allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed on any part of the territory of Ukraine by any person ”Prosecutor Karim Khan said.

World Bank halts all programs in Russia, Belarus with immediate effect

The World Bank has said it had stopped all programs in Russia and Belarus with immediate effect, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and “hostilities against the people of Ukraine”.

In a statement, the multilateral development bank said it had not approved any new loans to or investments in Russia since 2014, the year Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine.

The bank said it had not approved any new lending to Belarus since mid-2020, when the United States imposed sanctions on the country over a disputed presidential election.

Spotify closes its office in Russia

Spotify said it has closed its office in Russia indefinitely in response to what the audio streaming platform described as Moscow’s “unprovoked attack on Ukraine”.

“Our first priority over the past week has been the safety of our employees and to ensure that Spotify continues to serve as an important source of global and regional news at a time when access to information is more important than ever,” Spotify said in a statement.

Kherson mayor says Russian troops in the streets

The mayor of the southern Ukrainian port city of Kherson, Igor Kolykhayev, has said Russian troops were in the streets and had forced their way into the city council building, the Reuters news agency reported.

Ukraine’s government had previously played down reports that Kherson had fallen into Russian hands.

Kolykhayev urged Russian soldiers not to shoot at civilians and publicly called on residents to walk through the streets only in daylight and in ones and twos. “We don’t have the Armed Forces in the city, only civilians and people who want to LIVE here!” he said in a statement.

The city is under Russian soldiers’ ‘complete control’, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said separately.

He said that the city’s civilian infrastructure, essential facilities and transport are operating as usual and that there are no shortages of food or essential goods.

Yellen says US will address potential sources of leakages in Russia sanctions

The United States will continue to address potential sources of “leakages” in the sweeping sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said.

Yellen said the hard sanctions slapped on Russia were having a significant impact, as reflected in the ruble’s sharp fall. Asked whether energy sanctions could follow, she said nothing was off the table with regard to sanctions.

Mercedes-Benz halts Russia exports over sanctions

Mercedes-Benz has said it was suspending vehicle exports to Russia and local production in the country, becoming the latest carmaker to respond to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Mercedes-Benz will suspend the export of passenger cars and vans to Russia as well as local manufacturing in Russia until further notice,” it said in a statement.

German rivals BMW and Volkswagen made similar announcements earlier this week as Western companies withdraw from sanctions-hit Russia.

INTERACTIVE - Sanctions on Russia SWIFT payment network
(Al Jazeera)

Pentagon says Russian advance on Kyiv ‘remains stalled’

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said the Russian military’s push towards Kyiv from the north “remains stalled.”

“From our best estimates, [Russian forces] have not made any appreciable progress geographically speaking, in the last 24 to 36 hours, ”Kirby told reporters.

He said the Pentagon believes the advance has slowed down because Russian forces are deliberately regrouping while also facing unanticipated logistical challenges and resistance from Ukrainians.

US postpones ballistic missile test: Pentagon

The Pentagon says the US has postponed an intercontinental ballistic missile test previously set for this week to avoid escalation with Russia.

“In an effort to demonstrate that we have no intention of engaging in any actions that may be misunderstood or misconstrued, the Secretary of Defense has directed that our Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test launch scheduled for this week be postponed,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“We did not take this decision lightly, but instead to demonstrate that we are a responsible nuclear power.”

Civilian toll in Ukraine climbs to 227 dead, 525 injured, UN says

The United Nations’ human rights office has said that 227 civilians had been killed and 525 others were injured in Ukraine since the Russian assault began through midnight on March 1.

“Most of these casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and air strikes,” it said in a statement issued in Geneva.

The UN human rights office said it believed the true toll was “considerably higher”, especially in government-controlled territory in the last days, due to reporting delays in some areas where intensive hostilities have taken place.

Meanwhile, more than 870,000 people have now fled Ukraine in search of safety in other countries, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

Wreckage from downed Russian missile caused blast near Kyiv station

An explosion near Kyiv’s central train station was caused by falling wreckage from a Russian missile that was downed by Ukrainian air defense, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko has said in an online post.

The falling debris hit a heating pipe, causing the blast, but caused far less damage and casualties than if the missile had hit its target in central Kyiv, he said, without saying if anyone had been hurt in the explosion.

The station was being used to evacuate thousands of women and children, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement.

Kyiv train station
People wait to board an evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv, at Kyiv central train station [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Read all the updates from Wednesday, March 2, here.

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