Russia-Ukraine news and live updates

Russian troops are closing in on Kiev and significant destruction is seen in towns and villages as Moscow continues its bombardment of Ukraine. Multiple explosions were heard by CNN crews on the ground shortly before 6 a.m. on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Lviv.

Russia could target foreign weapons: Russia has threatened to fire on arms shipments to Ukraine, saying foreign arms convoys could be seen as “legitimate targets”. The warning, issued by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, raises the risk of a direct confrontation between Moscow and a NATO country.

US rushes for military aid: The warning came as the United States authorized the allocation of $200 million in “immediate” defense aid and services, including military education and training, to Ukraine. A US official said the aid will include “anti-armour, anti-aircraft and small arms systems to support Ukrainian frontline defenders in the face of Russia’s unprovoked attack”.

Russian troops are closing in on Kiev: The bulk of the Russian ground forces are about 25 kilometers from the center of the Ukrainian capital, the British Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence assessment on Saturday. Russian strikes continue to hit civilian areas: A large swath of Makariv, a village 30 miles west of Kiev, suffered heavy damage from apparent Russian airstrikes. Photos posted on social media, geotagged and verified by CNN, show extensive damage to residential apartment complexes, schools and a medical facility.

Chernobyl powered by generators: Repairs to the nuclear power plant’s electrical system, damaged in a Russian attack on March 9, are underway as the plant now depends on external diesel generators to keep its reactors running, the International Energy Agency said. atomic energy (IAEA). Russian officials have also arrived at Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, demanding to take control of the facility, according to a statement from Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear energy company.

Significant destruction: The cities of Kharkhiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Dnipro, Chernihiv and Sumy are under sustained Russian attack and Russian forces have extended their offensive into Ukraine westward. In the besieged city of Mariupol, satellite images showed damage and fires in apartment buildings and gas stations. A Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator told CNN that the city is currently “in a disaster phase.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “a few small towns no longer exist. … They just disappeared.”

Evacuations: Seven civilians, including women and a child, were killed by Russian troops as they tried to flee the village of Peremoga in the Kyiv region, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Zelensky said 12,729 Ukrainians were successfully evacuated on Saturday.

United Ukraine: Zelensky said his country is more united than ever in the face of Russian violence, but sees “a lack of courage on the part of NATO members to come together for Ukraine. This is a huge problem. A problem philosophy of the covenant”. Zelensky said Ukraine lost around 1,300 soldiers on Saturday and the whole country was “a front line”.

Christi C. Elwood