politics

Biden Calls Putin a ‘War Criminal'; NATO Chief Demands Russia Stop the War

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

Residential buildings in the Ukrainian capital have come under fire again on Wednesday, with Russian shelling attacks leading to the partial collapse of an apartment block, authorities have said.

The fresh bombing of homes in Kyiv comes ahead of more negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials. Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian participant in the talks, said Tuesday that although the process was "difficult," there was "definitely room for compromise."

U.S. lawmakers gave Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy several standing ovations in his address to Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "glory to heroes" in Ukrainian in introducing the war-weary president, according to an English interpretation of her remarks.

Russian invasion 'largely stalled on all fronts,' says UK ministry

Russian forces have made "minimal" progress in their invasion of Ukraine in recent days and continue to suffer heavy losses, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said Thursday.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts," including land, sea and air, the ministry said in a intelligence update.

Ukrainian resistance remains stubborn and well coordinated, the ministry said, with all major Ukrainian cities and most territory still in Ukrainian hands.

Russia's foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

— Ted Kemp

Russia resorting to 'older, less precise' weapons

Russian forces attacking Ukraine are likely turning to less precise heavy weapons that are less effective from a military standpoint and more likely to kill civilians, a European government said.

The U.K. Defence Ministry said late Wednesday local time that Russia has expended more of its "stand-off air launched weapons" than it had expected, because it has failed to achieve its objectives or to gain control of Ukrainian airspace.

"Stand-off" weaponry refers to missiles that Russian aircraft can fire from a long distance without exposing themselves to Ukrainian anti-aircraft weapons. Ukraine's anti-aircraft capabilities are still active and taking down Russian helicopters and jets.

"As a result, it is likely Russia is resorting to the use of older, less precise weapons, which are less militarily effective and more likely to result in civilian casualties," the ministry said in an intelligence update.

Weapons like rockets, "dumb" unguided bombs, and long-range artillery are less accurate and therefore more likely to hit unintended targets.

Russia's foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

According to the most recent confirmed UN figures, more than 700 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the invasion began, but the actual number is likely to be much higher.

Death tolls from cities under artillery bombardment, such as Kharkiv and Mariupol, are unknown.

— Ted Kemp

How Western sanctions are impacting everyday life in Moscow

Empty shelves, closed restaurants and retail chains are becoming part of everyday life in Russia as Western economic sanctions take hold.

A woman looks at empty shelves in a shopping mall on March 16, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.
Konstantin Zavrazhin | Getty Images
A woman looks at empty shelves in a shopping mall on March 16, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.
Men walk past a closed McDonald's restaurant inside a shopping mall on March 15, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. McDonald's closed all its restaurants, KFC suspended any investment in Russia as a result of the U.S. and EU economic sanctions.
Konstantin Zavrazhin | Getty Images
Men walk past a closed McDonald's restaurant inside a shopping mall on March 15, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. McDonald's closed all its restaurants, KFC suspended any investment in Russia as a result of the U.S. and EU economic sanctions.
A woman looks at a closed Louis Vuitton store, which decided to temporarily close its stores in Russia, at a shopping mall on March 9, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.
Konstantin Zavrazhin | Getty Images
A woman looks at a closed Louis Vuitton store, which decided to temporarily close its stores in Russia, at a shopping mall on March 9, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.
A seller leaves a Prada store, which decided to stop doing business in Russia on March 9, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.
Konstantin Zavrazhin | Getty Images
A seller leaves a Prada store, which decided to stop doing business in Russia on March 9, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.

Adam Jeffery

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill hold virtual meeting

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill hold a video conference to discuss the situation in Ukraine on March 16.

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill hold a virtual meeting, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the Vatican, March 16, 2022.
Vatican Media | Reuters
Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill hold a virtual meeting, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the Vatican, March 16, 2022.

Adam Jeffery

International Court of Justice orders Russia to 'stop the invasion'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addresses the US Congress from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 16, 2022, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.
Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addresses the US Congress from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 16, 2022, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.

The International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Ukraine and ordered Russia to immediately suspend its ongoing war.

In its ruling the court wrote:

  • "The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine."
  • "The Russian Federation shall ensure that any military or irregular armed units which may be directed or supported by it, as well as any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control or direction, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations referred to in point."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that the United Nations' top court handed a "complete victory" in its case against Russia.

"The order is binding under international law. Russia must comply immediately. Ignoring the order will isolate Russia even further," Zelenskyy added.

Russia has previously snubbed the International Court of Justice hearings on the matter.

— Amanda Macias

Pentagon says Russian forces haven't made a lot of progress on the ground

Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia are seen atop of a tank during Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 15, 2022. 
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters
Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia are seen atop of a tank during Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 15, 2022. 

A senior U.S. Defense official said Russian forces have not made significant progress in the ongoing 21-day war in Ukraine.

"They have not made a lot of progress on the ground," the official said, adding that Russian forces are plagued by logistics and supply issues and are facing a tough resistance by Ukrainian fighters.

"Let's not forget that they [the Russians] still have an awful lot of combat capability available to them," the official said adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin has dedicated approximately 75% of his total military to the fight in Ukraine.

The official added that Russian troops remain largely stalled in their advance on Kyiv.

— Amanda Macias

Russia increases shelling from warships

Russian Navy's Project 22160 Patrol Vessel Dmitriy Rogachev 375 sails through the Bosphorus Strait on the way to the Black Sea past the city Istanbul as Suleymaniye mosque is seen in the backround on February 16, 2022.
Ozan Kose | AFP | Getty Images
Russian Navy's Project 22160 Patrol Vessel Dmitriy Rogachev 375 sails through the Bosphorus Strait on the way to the Black Sea past the city Istanbul as Suleymaniye mosque is seen in the backround on February 16, 2022.

The Pentagon has seen an increased tempo in shelling on Ukrainian cities near the Black Sea, a senior U.S. Defense official said on a call with reporters.

"We have observed on our own the shelling of some cities, some towns near Odesa, but not in Odesa," explained the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share new details from U.S. military reports.

The official said the missiles are believed to be coming from Russian warships located in the Black Sea.

"I really don't want to speculate but it could be that they're simply preparing the way to make it easier for some sort of ground assault on Odesa," the official said, cautioning that the Pentagon does not have a full view of the Kremlin's war plans.

Russian forces have launched more than 980 missiles into Ukraine since the Feb. 24 invasion, according to the official.

— Amanda Macias

Biden calls Putin a 'war criminal'

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin in Moscow, Russia March 2, 2022. 
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin in Moscow, Russia March 2, 2022. 

President Joe Biden called Russian leader Vladimir Putin "a war criminal" for his attacks on Ukraine.

It appears to be the first time that Biden has publicly branded Putin with that phrase.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later said Biden was speaking from his heart and from what he's seen on the news, which are "barbaric actions by a brutal dictator."

She noted that there's a separate legal process to determine whether Putin has violated international law and committed war crimes, which is currently underway at the State Department.   

— Dan Mangan

NATO chief tells Putin 'stop this war immediately,' says the military alliance has been strengthened

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "immediately" stop the war in Ukraine, adding that Russia's efforts to undermine the alliance had failed.

"President Putin must stop this war immediately [and] engage in diplomacy in good faith," Stoltenberg said at an extraordinary meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the alliance's Defence Ministers at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels on March 16, 2022.
Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the alliance's Defence Ministers at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels on March 16, 2022.

The military alliance had agreed to double down on its support for Ukraine, providing further military supplies, financial help and humanitarian aid, he said.

Stoltenberg added that member states would expand their defenses across land, air, sea and space in response to the "new reality for our security," applauding recent finance commitments from Germany and Denmark.

"President Putin's aim was to undermine NATO. What he's done is to strengthen NATO ... He's getting more NATO on its borders," he said.

Here's the additional firepower Biden just authorized for Ukraine

U.S. Army infantryman fires a Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile during a combined arms live fire exercise as part of Exercise Eastern Action 2019 at Al-Ghalail Range in Qatar, Nov. 14, 2018.
US Army photo
U.S. Army infantryman fires a Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile during a combined arms live fire exercise as part of Exercise Eastern Action 2019 at Al-Ghalail Range in Qatar, Nov. 14, 2018.

Here's what's in the colossal $800 million U.S. military arms package President Joe Biden approved for Ukraine:

  • 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
  • 2,000 Javelin missile systems
  • 1,000 light anti-armor weapons
  • 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems
  • 100 tactical unmanned aerial systems
  • 100 grenade launchers
  • 5,000 rifles
  • 1,000 pistols
  • 400 machine guns
  • 400 shotguns
  • 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition, grenade launcher and mortar rounds
  • 25,000 sets of body armor
  • 25,000 helmets

— Amanda Macias

Putin is committing 'war crimes right out in public,' Sen. Elizabeth Warren says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is "willing to commit war crimes right out in public," Sen. Elizabeth Warren told CNBC, as she reflected on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to Congress earlier in the day.

"We want to help Ukraine in every way possible that will be helpful to Ukraine," the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview on "The Exchange."

When asked specifically about Zelenskyy's calls for a no-fly zone, Warren said it's important the U.S. stays on the same page with its European allies on how to best lend support.

"Where everyone is right now is giving lots and lots of military and humanitarian aid to help support the Ukrainians but not going into direct conflict," she said.

— Kevin Stankiewicz

Biden vows to do everything to end 'tragic and unnecessary war'

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on Ukraine during an event in the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House on March 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden delivered remarks on U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on Ukraine during an event in the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House on March 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden delivered remarks on U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine as an "outrage to the world," just before sending $800 million in military and humanitarian support to the war-torn nation.

"This is a struggle that pits the appetites of an autocrat against humankind's desire to be free," Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "And let there be no doubt, no uncertainty, no question — America stands with the forces of freedom. We always have, we always will."

The funds will go toward 800 anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-armor systems, 7,000 small-arm machine guns, as well as grenade launchers and shotguns.

Biden said Putin was inflicting "appalling devastation." He cited reports of Russian forces holding hundreds of doctors and patients hostage at a hospital in Mariupol.

"These atrocities are an outrage to the world," Biden said.

— Dawn Kopecki

Russian attacks protested with concerts in Lviv

Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy. 

Russian attacks are protested with a concert on March 16, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy.
Abdullah Tevge | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian attacks are protested with a concert on March 16, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy.
Russian attacks are protested with a concert on March 16, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy.
Abdullah Tevge | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian attacks are protested with a concert on March 16, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy.
Russian attacks are protested with a concert on March 16, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy.
Abdullah Tevge | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian attacks are protested with a concert on March 16, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine. Concerts were held at Rynok Square and Svobody street by Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy.

— Adam Jeffery

NATO chief tells Putin 'stop this war immediately,' says the military alliance has been strengthened

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "immediately" stop the war in Ukraine, adding that Russia's efforts to undermine the alliance had failed.

"President Putin must stop this war immediately [and] engage in diplomacy in good faith," Stoltenberg said at an extraordinary meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the alliance's Defence Ministers at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels on March 16, 2022.
Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the alliance's Defence Ministers at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels on March 16, 2022.

The military alliance had agreed to double down on its support for Ukraine, providing further military supplies, financial help and humanitarian aid, he said.

Stoltenberg added that member states would expand their defenses across land, air, sea and space in response to the "new reality for our security," applauding recent finance commitments from Germany and Denmark.

"President Putin's aim was to undermine NATO. What he's done is to strengthen NATO ... He's getting more NATO on its borders," he said.

U.S. House will vote on revoking normal trade relations with Russia soon, Hoyer says

The U.S. House will vote on revoking Russia's "most favored nation" trade status soon, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.

The Democrat from Maryland said lawmakers "are working very hard on getting agreement" on legislation that would end normal trade relations with Moscow. Taking the step would allow the U.S. to impose punishing tariffs on Russian goods.

"There is no doubt that there is consensus in the Congress that we want to remove permanent normal trading relations with Russians," Hoyer said, adding that the House could vote this week if lawmakers reach a deal.

Both the House and Senate would have to pass a bill to remove Russia's most favored nation status.

— Jacob Pramuk

International Criminal Court prosecutor meets with Ukrainian officials

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to discuss the Kremlin's war.

"Grateful to Ukrainian authorities for receiving me in incredibly challenging circumstances. Pursuit of #justice requires us to work together," the Hague wrote on Twitter.

Khan also met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of war crimes after repeated reports of Russian strikes killing civilians.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. and international law enforcement officials hold oligarch task force meeting

Stevo Vasiljevic | Reuters
Yacht "Solaris" linked to Russian oligarch and politician Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich is seen in the waters of Porto Montenegro in Tivat, Montenegro March 12, 2022.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Attorney General Merrick Garland met virtually with their counterparts from Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Commission to launch their multilateral task force to track down the assets of Russian oligarchs.

The Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs task force, or REPO, was created last month to coordinate an international effort to enforce sanctions imposed against Russia, its President Vladimir Putin, his allies and their families.

In the last three weeks, the group has seized multiple yachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Treasury. The group discussed the need to preserve evidence and whether frozen assets should be subject to forfeiture. The Justice Department set up Task Force KleptoCapture earlier this month to aid in the hunt.

— Dawn Kopecki

Putin says Western attempt at global dominance will fail

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin in Moscow, Russia March 2, 2022. 
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin in Moscow, Russia March 2, 2022. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the West would not succeed in what he called its attempt to achieve global dominance and dismember Russia.

If the West thought that Russia would step back, it did not understand Russia, Putin said on the 21st day of the war against Ukraine.

"Behind the hypocritical talk and today's actions of the so-called collective West are hostile geopolitical goals. They just don't want a strong and sovereign Russia," Putin said.

He said Russia was ready to discuss Ukraine's neutral status in talks aimed at ending hostilities, but it would still meet the objectives of its military operation, which was "going to plan." In remarks to government ministers that were broadcast on state television, Putin said the West would only strengthen Russia with its hostile actions.

— Reuters

U.S. warns Russia against using chemical or biological weapons

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2021.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2021.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned Russian Security Council Secretary Gen. Nikolai Patrushev of the consequences should Moscow decide to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.

The warning follows claims by Russian officials that the United States is working on secret biological weapons in Ukraine. The United States, Ukraine and western allies have denied the claim.

Biden's top security adviser also reiterated U.S. "commitment to continue imposing costs on Russia, to support the defense of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to reinforce NATO's eastern flank, in continued full coordination with our allies and partners," the White House wrote in a readout of the call.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy: "I call on U.S. to do more, all American companies should leave Russia"

'Flooded with our blood': Zelenskyy pushes U.S. companies to leave Russian market

Zelenskyy invoked the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terror strikes on America on Wednesday as he pleaded with the U.S. Congress for more aid for his embattled country to fight against its invasion by Russia.

The Ukrainian president, who was greeted with three standing ovations from an audience of lawmakers, asked the U.S. to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine to stem the Russian attacks, additional weapons, sanctions and humanitarian support.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addresses the US Congress on March 16, 2022, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.
J. Scott Applewhite | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addresses the US Congress on March 16, 2022, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.

He also urged members of Congress to get companies in their legislative districts to leave the Russian market "because it is flooded with our blood."

Zelenskyy was introduced for his address, which was delivered remotely from the Ukraine capitol Kyiv, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

— Dan Mangan

Ukrainian forces stalling Russian invasion, UK says

A fragment of a destroyed Russian tank is seen on the roadside on the outskirts of Kharkiv on February 26, 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
A fragment of a destroyed Russian tank is seen on the roadside on the outskirts of Kharkiv on February 26, 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russian forces are "struggling to overcome the challenges posed by Ukraine's terrain," the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.

"Russian forces have remained largely tied to Ukraine's road network and have demonstrated a reluctance to conduct off-road maneuver," the ministry said in an intelligence update. "The destruction of bridges by Ukrainian forces has also played a key role in stalling Russia's advance."

British officials added that Russia's continued failure to gain control of the skies had "drastically limited their ability to effectively use air maneuver, further limiting their options."

"The tactics of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have adeptly exploited Russia's lack of maneuver, frustrating the Russian advance and inflicting heavy losses on the invading forces."

Chloe Taylor

Ukraine foreign minister calls for ‘deputinization’

A placard showing a picture of Russian president Vladimir Putin with a red hand print during a rally in support of Ukraine in Santa Monica, California, on February 27, 2022.
Ringo Chiu | AFP | Getty Images
A placard showing a picture of Russian president Vladimir Putin with a red hand print during a rally in support of Ukraine in Santa Monica, California, on February 27, 2022.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on world leaders to "cut all ties" with Russia on Wednesday.

— Chloe Taylor

Kremlin: Making Ukraine a neutral state like Sweden ‘can be seen as a compromise’

Moscow has hinted that its objectives in talks with Ukraine could include seeing Ukraine become a so-called neutral state like Sweden.

"The Russian Federation believes that the Swedish version of a neutral state in Ukraine can be seen as a compromise," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

He added that Western sanctions on Russian big business could "only be called banditry at the state level."

"Personal sanctions of Russia against the leaders of unfriendly countries will follow," he said, but he noted that Moscow's imposition of sanctions on U.S. President Joe Biden this week "does not mean a rejection of contact."

— Chloe Taylor

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to address U.S. Congress

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address Congress in hopes of getting more aid as Kyiv and other key cities come under heavy fire from Russia.

90% of Ukrainians could face poverty if war escalates, UN warns

Alexandra, 86, cries after her apartment was destroyed by a grad rocket attack of the Russia in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Alexandra, 86, cries after her apartment was destroyed by a grad rocket attack of the Russia in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.

An early projection released by the U.N. Development Program Wednesday said 90% of the Ukrainian population could face poverty and "extreme economic vulnerability" if the war deepens.

This would "set the country – and the region – back decades and leave deep social and economic scars for generations to come," the UNDP warned.

The organization found that in the event of a continuing war, 18 years of socio-economic achievements could be lost, with almost one in three people living below the poverty line and a further 62% at high risk of falling into poverty within a year.

"While the need for immediate humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians is of the utmost importance, the acute development impacts of a protracted war are now becoming more apparent," UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said in a press release.

"An alarming economic decline, and the suffering and hardship it will bring to an already traumatized population must now come into sharper focus. There is still time to halt this grim trajectory."

— Chloe Taylor

International Chess Federation suspends Russian and Belarusian teams

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

The International Chess Federation said Wednesday that the national teams of Russia and Belarus were suspended from participating in its tournaments until further notice.

— Chloe Taylor

President Zelenskyy: International Criminal Court collecting evidence in Ukraine

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.

A team working for the International Criminal Court is working in Ukraine to collect evidence of war crimes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address on Wednesday.

"We are doing everything to bring occupiers to justice," he said. "There will be an international tribunal for all they did against Ukraine and our people for every act of terror by the Russian troops on the territory of our country."

He added that Ukraine's prosecutor general was also working on this.

Zelenskyy said that Moscow's forces had continued to shell peaceful Ukrainian citizens overnight, but said the number of Russian troops killed in the conflict was approaching 14,000. CNBC has not been able to independently verify this figure.

A total of 103 children had been killed so far in the war, Zelenskyy said.

— Chloe Taylor

Switzerland announces further sanctions on Russia

Marijan Murat | Picture Alliance | Getty Images
Swiss President Guy Parmelin sits in front of the Swiss coat of arms at the "Pop-Up House Of Switzerland", a temporary meeting place in the city centre for people interested in Switzerland.

Switzerland has announced further sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Guy Parmelin, head of Switzerland's Federal Department of Economic Affairs, approved the sanctioning of more than 200 individuals and entities connected to what the Swiss government called "serious violations of international law by Russia in Ukraine."

The move meant Switzerland's sanctions list now "fully mirrors that of the EU," the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

"A further 197 individuals are now subject to financial sanctions and travel restrictions and 9 additional entities are now subject to financial sanctions," the government said. "Among those individuals are further oligarchs and prominent businesspeople. Assets in Switzerland belonging to these individuals must be frozen and reported to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs."

The sanctions came into force on Wednesday at midday local time.

— Chloe Taylor

At least 500 civilians killed in Kharkiv since start of war, Ukrainian officials say

Firemen work to clear the rubble and extinguish a fire by a heavily damaged building after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on March 14, 2022, amid the ongoing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
Firemen work to clear the rubble and extinguish a fire by a heavily damaged building after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on March 14, 2022, amid the ongoing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, more than 500 civilians have been killed in the conflict in Kharkiv alone, Ukraine's State Emergency Service said on Wednesday.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify the figures.

Kharkiv is Ukraine's second-largest city. Two people were reportedly killed when airstrikes hit apartment buildings in Kharkiv early this morning.

— Chloe Taylor

Secretary Austin reiterates U.S. commitment to NATO at start of two-day meeting

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a press conference on the second day of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on February 17, 2022.
Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a press conference on the second day of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on February 17, 2022.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, for a two-day meeting of defense ministers.

During his brief opening remarks, Austin reiterated U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the alliance's founding treaty.

A cornerstone of the 30-member alliance is the principle of collective defense, known as Article 5, which states that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all allies.

"We believe that our commitment to NATO, our Article Five commitment is ironclad. You can expect that, as the president has said a number of times that we will abide by that commitment," Austin said alongside Stoltenberg.

Austin's trip comes one week before President Joe Biden heads to NATO to attend a leaders' meeting.

— Amanda Macias

West should consider sanctioning China if it helps Russian effort in Ukraine: Estonia foreign minister

US President Joe Biden meets with China's President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
US President Joe Biden meets with China's President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021.

Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets has told CNBC that Ukraine's allies should consider imposing sanctions on China if Beijing does move to help Russia with its invasion of Ukraine.

Asked by CNBC's Silvia Amaro whether the West should respond with sanctions if China assisted Russia in the war, Liimets said: "Yes, we should discuss it definitely."

"So far, we have seen that Belarus has helped Russia in this war, and from the European Union side we have also approved sanctions against Belarus because they are part of the conflict," she said. "And of course, if other countries continue to support Russia's unjustified war in Ukraine, we have to consider these kind of actions."

Reports emerged in recent days that Moscow had asked Beijing for military equipment to help with its invasion of Ukraine. Both countries vehemently denied those allegations.

— Chloe Taylor

Remember the destruction of Aleppo or Grozny? Kyiv could suffer the same fate, analysts fear

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klichko makes an examination in the area at a damaged residential building that was hit by a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klichko makes an examination in the area at a damaged residential building that was hit by a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.

Ukraine's capital Kyiv has been heavily fortified in anticipation of a largescale Russian attack but analysts fear the city could face the same scale of destruction that the Chechen capital Grozny, and Aleppo in Syria, experienced in recent conflicts.

Read the full story here.

Holly Ellyatt

Three million migrants flee Ukraine — with more than half going to Poland

More than 3 million people have now fled the conflict in Ukraine, with more than half going to Poland.

In less than three weeks, the east European country has welcomed 1.85 million refugees — almost twice the 1 million authorities had anticipated and increasing its population by 4.8%.

A child greets from the window of a bus after crossing the Ukrainian border with Poland at the Medyka border crossing, southeastern Poland, on March 14, 2022.
Louisa Gouliamaki | AFP | Getty Images
A child greets from the window of a bus after crossing the Ukrainian border with Poland at the Medyka border crossing, southeastern Poland, on March 14, 2022.

As the number of refugees requiring humanitarian assistance spirals well beyond initial estimates, it is putting considerable strain on governments and the relief agencies, raising questions about what more the European Union will do to provide support.

So far, the EU has assigned 500 million euros ($547 million) for humanitarian aid. Yet estimates from the Economist Intelligence Unit suggest that the cost of supporting 5 million refugees could be 50 billion euros in 2022 alone.

Read the full story here.

Karen Gilchrist

Japan reportedly set to downgrade Russia’s trade status

Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, speaks during a press conference on March 16, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.
Stansislav Kogiku | Getty Images
Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, speaks during a press conference on March 16, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan is set to strip Russia of its "most favored nation" status, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Wednesday, paving the way for Tokyo to slap tariffs on imported Russian goods.

"Most-favored nation" status is a classification within the World Trade Organization that exempts a country from tariffs.

The U.S., the U.K., Canada and the EU have already unveiled plans to revoke Russia's MFN status.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Wednesday that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan would work with G-7 countries to prevent Russia from accessing IMF loans.

— Chloe Taylor

Ukrainian officials say Russian troops holding hostages in Bucha

Officials in Bucha — a city just outside Kyiv — has said Russian forces have ransacked the city's main administrative building and have captured six hostages.

The hostages are made up of employees and volunteers, the city council said.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify the claims.

"On Tuesday evening, March 15, the Russian occupiers ransacked the administrative building of the Bucha City Council and captured our staff and volunteers, who helped the residents of our city under fire," Bucha City Council said in a post on Telegram Wednesday morning.

The post called on the Ukrainian Presidential Office and Kyiv Regional State Administration to "help release our people."

— Chloe Taylor

21 killed in attack on TV tower

A total of 21 people were killed in an airstrike on a television tower in the Ukrainian city of Rivne, local authorities have said.

In a briefing on Wednesday morning, Vitaliy Koval, head of the Rivne regional administration, confirmed that rescue work in the wake of the strike on Monday had been completed, and that 21 people had died in the attack while nine had been wounded.

— Chloe Taylor

Russian forces have widened their attack, Ukraine says

Russian forces have targeted the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia for the first time since invading Ukraine, local authorities said Wednesday.

Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, said in a statement that civilian infrastructure in the city had been attacked for the first time.

"The morning was not good," he said, according to an NBC News translation. "The main news is that for the first time in Zaporizhzhia, civilian objects have been bombed. The rockets landed in the area of the Zaporizhzhia-2 railway station. According to preliminary data, no one was killed."

A second rocket had landed in the city's botanical gardens, Starukh added.

In recent days, Zaporizhzhia has been the government-designated destination for civilians fleeing the besieged city of Mariupol.

According to Starukh, Zaporizhzhia had received and resettled more than 3,000 people, including 772 children, as of 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

— Chloe Taylor

Biden administration may provide 'Switchblade' killer drones to Ukraine

AeroVironment Switchblade 600 Drone
Courtesy: AeroVironment
AeroVironment Switchblade 600 Drone

The United States may provide Ukraine with killer drones that fly directly into targets before detonating, NBC News reported Tuesday night, citing unnamed congressional officials.

"Switchblade" drones are made by U.S.-based AeroVironment and carry explosives. They come in two varieties, one designed for pinpoint strikes on personnel, and a bigger one for attacking tanks and armored vehicles.

The smaller, single-use Switchblade 300s cost only about $6,000 each, NBC News reported.

No decisions have been made on the drones, the report said, but U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to discuss the Switchblades on Wednesday as part of the next round of military aid to Ukraine.

NBC News first reported on the Switchblade 300 in December.

AeroVironment officials did not respond to requests for comment.

— Ted Kemp

Ukraine says Russian forces holding hostages in Mariupol hospital

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Wednesday morning that Russian forces have seized a hospital in Mariupol, where they are holding 400 hostages.

She also said in a video address that Russian troops were firing from the hospital.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify or confirm the reports.

Vereshchuk added in her address on Wednesday that Ukraine had not received a response to its proposals to open humanitarian corridors today, but said officials were still open to discuss establishing evacuation corridors in the cities of Izyum and Mariupol. In the current circumstances, she said, authorities could not safely evacuate civilians.

Early attempts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol had to be halted because Ukrainian authorities said Russian forces had violated cease-fire agreements in the city.

Mariupol is crucial in the war for Ukraine, as its capture could help Russian forces create a land corridor to Crimea — a peninsula in the country's south that Moscow invaded and annexed in 2014.

— Chloe Taylor

Russia’s Lavrov says there’s ‘some hope of reaching a compromise’ in talks with Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint news conference with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Moscow, Russia March 14, 2022.
Evgenia Novozhenina | Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint news conference with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Moscow, Russia March 14, 2022.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has signaled some optimism toward the ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine.  

"In the talks between Russia and Ukraine, there is some hope of reaching a compromise," Lavrov said in a televised interview with Russia's RBC.

"The neutral status of Ukraine is now being seriously discussed in the negotiations in conjunction with other security issues. There are already specific formulations that are close to being agreed upon."

Lavrov added that Russia's so-called special operation in Ukraine was "not so much about Ukraine, but about the world order."

"The United States under Biden subjugated Europe, and the current crisis is an epochal moment in defining the world order," he said.

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials are scheduled to resume today following continued negotiations on Tuesday.

— Chloe Taylor

NATO defense ministers to discuss long-term consequences of Ukraine war

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the media along side the US Secretary of State, prior to the start of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2022.
Olivier Douliery | Reuters
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the media along side the US Secretary of State, prior to the start of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 4, 2022.

NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance would "of course address the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia."

"This is devastating for the Ukrainian people, and it will also change our security environment," he told reporters. "It will have long-lasting consequences for our security for all NATO allies."

He noted that hundreds of thousands of troops were already on "heightened alert," with 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe and 40,000 troops under NATO command deployed to the alliance's eastern flank.

"Of course, the United States [is] playing a key role in these efforts," Stoltenberg said. "More U.S. troops in Europe is a strong message of transatlantic unity, and we are extremely grateful for your support to what we do together in the eastern part of the alliance."

At Wednesday's meeting, ministers would address both the immediate consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the longer-term consequences, Stoltenberg said, including the "long-term adaptation of our alliance" and how to "remove any room for misunderstanding and miscalculation in Moscow about our readiness to protect and defend all our allies."

"NATO has a responsibility to ensure that this crisis does not escalate beyond Ukraine, and that's also the reason we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance," Stoltenberg said.

— Chloe Taylor

2 reportedly killed in airstrikes on Kharkiv apartment buildings

A resident carries belongings out of an apartment building heavily damaged after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on March 13, 2022, amid the ongoing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
A resident carries belongings out of an apartment building heavily damaged after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on March 13, 2022, amid the ongoing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Two people have been killed in airstrikes that hit apartment buildings in Kharkiv in the early hours of Wednesday morning, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Ukraine's State Emergency Service said in a statement Wednesday morning that over the past 24 hours, emergency workers had "not stopped eliminating the consequences of air bombardments and artillery shelling of residential areas of Kharkiv" — Ukraine's second biggest city.

Two residential high-rise buildings had caught fire after artillery strikes in the city's Nemyshliany district overnight, the SES said.

The organization added that as of 7:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, four people had been rescued from the rubble and two bodies had been found.

"Search work does not stop," the SES said. "Rescuers on the site … managed to save 189 people."

One person had also been injured during a shelling of a school in Kharkiv at around 3 a.m. local time, officials added.

— Chloe Taylor

Zelenskyy says peace agreement with Russia beginning to 'sound more realistic'

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.

Securing an agreement with Moscow on ending the war in Ukraine is beginning to "sound more realistic," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

In an address to the nation on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said while "we all want peace," efforts to secure an end to the hostilities were still needed.  

"It takes patience," he said. "And work ... in particular, [from] our representatives, our delegation in negotiations with the Russian Federation."

"It is difficult, but important, because any war ends in an agreement," Zelenskyy added. "Meetings continue. As I am told, the positions in the negotiations sound more realistic. However, time is still needed for the decisions to be in Ukraine's interests."

— Chloe Taylor

Kyiv homes hit with more shelling strikes

A view of a heavily damaged apartment building after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on March 13, 2022, amid the ongoing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
A view of a heavily damaged apartment building after a Russian rocket exploded just outside it in Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on March 13, 2022, amid the ongoing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Homes in Kyiv were hit with fresh shelling strikes early this morning, Kyiv emergency services said in a statement.

Emergency services said a 12-storey apartment block in the capital's Shevchenko district had partially collapsed due to shell fragments damaging the building. A neighboring nine-storey building was also damaged, they said.

"According to preliminary information, 37 people were evacuated, 2 of whom were injured," Kyiv's emergency services said.

— Chloe Taylor

Ukrainian official says there’s room for compromise ahead of more Russia-Ukraine talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawieckiand Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansaduring their visit in Kyiv on behalf of EU Council, on March 16, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawieckiand Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansaduring their visit in Kyiv on behalf of EU Council, on March 16, 2022.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a participant in talks with Russian officials, said as talks ended yesterday that officials would pick negotiations back up on Wednesday.

Despite calling the process "very difficult," he said there was "definitely room for compromise."

https://twitter.com/Podolyak_M/status/1503818663866023942

Chloe Taylor

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Biden heading to Brussels for NATO meeting; two Fox News journalists killed in Ukraine

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