Russian troops advance on Kyiv as Ukraine continues to resist

Explosions were heard in Kyiv As Russian troops pressed Ukraine’s capital and Ukrainian officials reported shelling in Chernihiv and Kharkiv overnight, as officials prepared for peace talks Monday.

The latest: Russia’s currency collapsed in overnight tradingwith the ruble plummeting against the dollar, as the West ramps up sanctions over the invasion. Russia’s central bank announced a raft of measures on Monday in response to the fallout.

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State of play: There was a flurry of announcements on Sunday — peace talks from President Volodymyr Zelensky, a nuclear warning from President Vladimir Putin and pledges of support from Europe.

  • A senior Pentagon official said on Sunday that Russia has committed two-thirds of its massed forces to fight in Ukraine and fired over 320 missiles, but still does not hold a major population center.

  • The invasion has caused at least 352 civilian consequence, including 14 children with another 1,684 people, including 116 children, injured, Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior announced Sunday.

Catch up quick: Zelensky announced following a conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Russia and Ukraine had agreed to hold peace talks with “no preconditions” on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River.

  • The talks would begin on Monday morning and the precise location will not be disclosed, according to Russia’s TASS state news agency.

  • Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert Sunday, citing Western sanctions and “aggressive statements.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this was an attempt “to put additional pressure on the Ukrainian delegation” in peace talks.

  • Maxar satellite images showed a massive Russian convoy 40 miles from Kyiv and moving toward the city. But Russian troops continued to suffer setbacks. The Pentagon official said Sunday that the bulk of Russia’s forces had stalled about 19 mile from Kyiv’s city center.

  • Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said all of Kharkiv — Ukraine’s second-largest city, which lies on its eastern border with Russia and has endured some of the heaviest fighting of the war — was back under Ukrainian control Sunday.

Meanwhile, the European Union announced sweeping sanctions on Russian aircraft and state media and said that, for the first time, the bloc will buy and deliver weapons to Ukraine — including transferring Soviet-era fighter jets.

What to watch: The United Nations will convene a rare emergency session of the 193-member General Assembly on Monday to vote on a resolution calling for peace in Ukraine.

What they’re saying: Announcing the peace talks plan, Zelensky said, “Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return.”

  • “Our president, from the beginning, even before the war started, was focused on the diplomatic solution,” Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova said after the announcement, per CNN.

  • “But he always said, ‘we’re ready for peace talks, we’re not ready to surrender,'” added Markarova, who compared Putin’s tactics to those of Adolf Hitler.

Between the lines: It’s unclear what exactly can be achieved from the negotiations between the negotiations sent by Putin and Zelensky, given that Putin’s unprovoked invasion appears to be aimed largely at removing Zelensky from power.

Zoom in: Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told AP Kyiv residents had water and electricity, “but the infrastructure is destroyed to deliver the food and medication,” which he said could cause a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

What else is happening: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the all “Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft,” including the private jets of oligarchs, would be banned from European airspace.

The Kremlin and state media continue to tell Russians that no “war” or “invasion” is taking place, but instead states there’s a limited defensive operation in eastern Ukraine.

What to watch: Having already threatened independent publications that report on Russian consequence or aggression considered with censorship, the Kremlin announced Sunday that “the provision of any assistance to a foreign state” during the “military operation” would be a treason.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Editor’s note: This is a breaking story, check back for updates.

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