Ukraine pushes for cease fire as fighting rages sanctions hit Russia economy

Kyiv’s position has been bolstered by its staunch early resistance, military assistance from countries across the world and a growing global effort to isolate Russia economically.

Fighting raged around key cities in Ukraine on Monday as its first talks with Russia since last week’s invasion concluded with no immediate breakthrough.

Even as Moscow said officials negotiating at the border had "heard" each other, Ukraine said its second-largest city was coming under attack from heavy Russian shelling.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin faced the growing fallout from an intensifying assault on his democratic neighbor that has rallied the West behind Kyiv and against the Kremlin.

Ukraine’s position has been bolstered by its staunch early resistance, military assistance from countries across the world and a growing sanctions effort that has sent Moscow’s economy reeling.

The conflict was now also being fought in the shadow of nuclear threats, with the Russian military saying Monday that its nuclear deterrent forces had been put on high alert after Putin’s order.
While growing numbers of people have fled the Russian advance, those who stayed were enduring an air assault that Kyiv and international watchdogs said was increasingly hitting civilians.

Russian forces were accused of carrying out massive shelling in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. Graphic video shared on social media Monday appearing to show the assault and its aftermath. In one video, bodies can be seen on the ground in pools of blood.

Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko shared video appearing to show flashes in the sky as smoke filled the air, and said that dozens had been killed and hundreds wounded.

"This horror must be seen by the whole world," he said.

NBC News has verified the video is authentic, but it has not confirmed reports of any casualties from the incident. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Monday that 102 civilians, including seven children, were killed across Ukraine since Thursday. But those figures probably undercounted the full extent of the national death toll, she added.

The head of the U.N. refugee agency, meanwhile, said that more than a half a million people had fled the country of 44 million in the wake of the Russian attack.

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