Ukraine, Russia war live updates: Vladimir Putin's nuclear forces decision condemned, New Zealand announces humanitarian support

Russian and Ukrainian authorities will meet within the next day to discuss the war underway in eastern Europe, but it comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday morning ordered his nuclear deterrence forces to be on high alert.

The Ukrainian armed forces described the last 24 hours as a "difficult time" for the military, with Russian troops continuing "shelling in almost all directions". However, Ukraine continues to hold major centres like Kyiv and Kharkiv. 

Western nations also continue to pile sanctions on Russia, with Japan the latest nation to join the United States and European Union in blocking certain Russian banks' access to the SWIFT international payment system.

What you need to know:

  • Russia's Vladimir Putin has ordered his nuclear deterrence forces to be on high alert, claiming to be concerned by recent statements by NATO countries and economic sanctions. This has been condemned by the West
  • Ukraine and Russian officials will meet on Ukraine's border with Belarus to discuss the conflict
  • Japan has joined the the EU, US, UK and Canada in blocking certain Russian banks' access from the SWIFT payment system
  • At least 352 Ukrainians, including 14 children, have been killed, with more than 1600 wounded
  • Despite Russian attacks and the last 24 hours being a "difficult time", Ukrainian forces say they continue to hold Kharkiv, the country's second biggest city. Fighting continues on the outskirts of Kyiv
  • New Zealand is providing an initial $2 million in humanitarian assistance
  • The UN Security Council voted in favour of holding a historic General Assembly meeting on Tuesday (NZT). 

Newshub's live updates have finished for the day.

4:45pm - New Zealand is constantly monitoring our travel ban list, which is comprised of 80 people at the moment, Ardern says. The Government works closely with international partners to ensure it has up-to-date information and knows who it needs to target, she says. At the moment, it's working on the inclusion of people from Belarus.

4:40pm - Asked about China's position, where it is not explicitly condemning Russia but is expressing a desire for calm in Ukraine, Ardern says it's in the world's interest that no country takes a position that "might further entrench difficult regional issues that we continue to navigate".

She says New Zealand won't make any "assumption" about China's position and Kiwi officials are in dialogue with Chinese officials about Russia's activity.

No decisions have been taken about expelling the Russian Ambassador to New Zealand. Ardern says officials need to consider the flow-on effect on Kiwis in Russia. All options are being considered every day.

She says she cannot imagine what it would be like to have your homeland invaded like Russia is invading Ukraine. The PM describes it as "inhumane" and "extraordinary".

4:35pm - In regards to potentially freezing assets of Russians in New Zealand, Ardern says all options are on the table. There has been minimal investment into New Zealand by Russians recently, but Ardern wants to ensure that doesn't grow as a result of other countries' actions.

Ardern says that legally, the Government can't direct investment funds on how they make investments, but she's been advised that the guardians of the Super Fund are going through a process looking at investments linked to Russia.

4:30pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tells media that Cabinet has discussed advice on how to stem any "onward investment flows into New Zealand" as a result of other governments introducing sanctions. 

"We have got a couple of streams advice going at the moment relating to the Overseas Investment Act but also whether or not we can design something specifically targeted at Russia."

Changing the law on autonomous sanctions may not be as timely as other options, Ardern says. 

She is looking at options that will enable the Government to act as quickly as possible.

The Government is focusing on humanitarian aid and stopping exports to the Russian military rather than sending military equipment to Ukraine, Ardern says. She says the smaller scale of New Zealand's armed forces means we don't have as much available equipment in our reserves as other countries that are sending military aid.

4pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is now speaking. We will bring you all the Ukraine-related updates here.

3:55pm - The livestream of the Prime Minister's press conference can be found above in the video component. Refresh your page if you can't see it. 

3:45pm - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Sky Tower and Auckland War Memorial Museum will light up in solidarity with Ukraine from Monday night until Wednesday.

"I am pleased to announce that after talking yesterday with representatives from these key landmarks that Auckland will light up for Ukraine over the next three nights," he says

"The war waged against the people of Ukraine by Putin is Europe’s darkest hour since World War II and stands condemned by the world.

"In lighting up our skies, we send our unequivocal support for the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Ukrainians who are experiencing an unprovoked and unjustified act of aggression from Putin. It is also an expression of our admiration for the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

"Ukrainians based in Aotearoa are experiencing incredible distress for their homeland and their family and friends who live there. The display of Ukraine’s flag colours demonstrates our support for them as their people suffer from destruction and loss of lives as the attack on Ukraine continues."

3:35pm - The Prime Minister is holding a press conference at 4pm. It's expected she will speak about the conflict in Ukraine. Earlier, the Government announced $2 million would be provided to assist with humanitarian aid for those in Ukraine.

You'll be able to watch the conference above.

3:15pm - The Ukrainian state special communications service is saying blasts have been heard in the capital of Kyiv.

"Explosions are heard again in Kyiv and Kharkiv. Before that, it was calm in the Ukrainian capital for several hours."

3:10pm - National's Gerry Brownlee says the Government should expel the Russian Ambassador to New Zealand, recall our Ambassador in Moscow and pass autonomous sanctions legislation.

Here's what he has to say:

"New Zealand’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine so far has been seriously lacking compared to the rest of the global community. It’s vital the world demonstrates a united front against Russian aggression, and New Zealand must play its part in that.

"When our traditional partners and allies are imposing serious economic sanctions, often at great cost to themselves, Labour’s travel ban on officials and limits on diplomatic engagement are simply not good enough. It’s time to stop issuing press releases and start taking action.

"Expelling an ambassador is a serious diplomatic move, but it’s clear that President Putin has no intention of engaging constructively through diplomatic channels. The time for diplomacy was last week.

"While our own ability to sanction Russia is hamstrung by Labour’s refusal to implement an autonomous sanctions framework, we need to be using every other tool at our disposal to demonstrate to the Russian Government, the people of Ukraine and our global partners exactly where we stand.

"National also reiterates our call for the Government to urgently pass autonomous sanctions legislation. I have submitted a bill that could be passed this week.

"The Government should pass it, expel Russia’s Ambassador, and get on board with the rest of the international community in getting serious about sanctions."

2:55pm - The governors of a handful of U.S. states have ordered government-run liquor stores to stop selling Russian-made vodka and distilled spirits in solidarity with the Ukrainian people after Russia's invasion of the neighboring country.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox became the latest over the weekend, instructing the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Saturday to take off all Russian-produced and branded products from the shelves of its retail stores.

In issuing the executive order, Cox joined the governors of New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania in taking what is largely a symbolic gesture of support for besieged Ukraine, which came under attack by Russian military forces last week.

"We will do our part to push back on the Russian invaders and stand with our sisters and brothers in Ukraine," said Cox. He also said that Utah would review all state procurements to check for any Russian ties.

The boycott is unlikely to have a tangible impact. Only 1.2% of U.S. vodka imports came from Russia in the first half of 2021, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, which tracks such data.

Many Russian-styled vodkas sold in the United States, including Smirnoff, Svedka and Stolichnaya, are actually made in other countries, including in the United States.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ownership of the Stolichnaya brand has been under dispute between a Russian state-owned company and the Stoli Group, but the vodka sold in the United States is produced by the latter.

Stoli Group, which produces the Stolichnaya brand in Latvia, has said it supports the Ukrainian people. Those visiting Stoli's website now see an opening page with a pale blue and yellow dove carrying an olive branch on a white background.

Below the dove reads a message: "Stoli Group stands for peace in Europe and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people."

Russian Standard vodka, the most popular Russian-made vodka sold in the United States, is distributed by Moscow-based Roust Group and Roust International. It is also sold under the brand name Green Mark Vodka. Reuters was not able to reach a spokesperson late on Sunday.

Some Canadian provinces, including Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, made similar moves last week, ordering provincial liquor stores to stop selling Russian-made brands. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott urged all liquor stores and restaurants in the state to stop serving Russian-made products on a voluntary basis. "Texas stands with Ukraine," he said in a Twitter message.

- Reuters

2:45pm - Ukraine’s state special communications service says aircraft fighters are currently flying from Belarus towards Ukraine. The service communicated the message on its Telegram account alongside two videos purporting to show the aircraft.

2:40pm - Japan is considering imposing sanctions against some individuals in Belarus, including government executives, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Monday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government hopes to reach a decision at the earliest date possible.

Hayashi and Kishida made the remarks at an upper house budget committee meeting, in response to questions by a ruling party lawmaker on Japan's response to the Ukraine crisis

- Reuters

2:25pm - Ukrainians continue to stream across the border with Poland.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) director Samantha Power has been at the border and told CNN that most of those coming across were women and men. That's likely because Ukraine is prohibiting men between 18 and 60 from leaving, encouraging them to stay and fight Russia.

"As somebody who has covered a lot of refugee crises over the years, really one of the most striking features of today's population coming over is that it's almost exclusively women and children and this speaks to the kind of society-wide mobilisation that has occurred in Ukraine and that fighting-age men are staying behind to be part of these territorial defense units."

She described the journey many families had faced getting to Poland as "harrowing".

2:05pm - Alphabet Inc's Google confirmed on Sunday (local time) it has temporarily disabled in Ukraine some Google Maps tools which provide live information about traffic conditions and how busy different places are.

The company said it had taken the action for the safety of local communities in the country, after consulting with sources including regional authorities. Ukraine is facing attacks from invading Russian forces.

- Reuters

1:55pm - A key feature of the international community’s response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been the adoption of sanctions.

But what exactly are sanctions and how do they operate in practice?

And most importantly, are they likely to have any meaningful impact?

Read more from The Conversation here

1:45pm - There have been a number of major developments in the war on Monday. If you're just joining us, here are some of the key points you may have missed:

  • President Vladimir Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a barrage of Western reprisals for his war on Ukraine, which said it had repelled Russian ground forces attacking its biggest cities.
  • Ukrainian and Russian officials were due to hold talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office said on Sunday.
  • European nations and Canada moved on Sunday to shut their airspace to Russian aircraft.
  • Japan will join the United States and other Western countries in blocking certain Russian banks' access to the SWIFT international payment system.
  • U.S. equity futures sank with the euro while the safe-haven dollar and yen were in demand on Monday after Western nations imposed fresh sanctions on Russia. The Russian rouble plunged nearly 20% to a record low versus the dollar.
  • Energy major BP opened a new front in the West's campaign to isolate Russia's economy, with its decision to quit the oil-rich country the most aggressive move yet by a company in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
  • The European Union will tighten sanctions on Russia, target Russian ally Belarus with measures and fund weapons for Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia's invasion, top EU officials said on Sunday. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".
  • Russia has attacked Ukrainian oil and gas facilities, sparking huge explosions.
  • At least 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine's health ministry said on Sunday, with 1,684 people wounded.
  • People fleeing Ukraine poured into central Europe, with queues at border crossings stretching for kilometres after the invasion pushed nearly 400,000 people to seek safety abroad.
  • More than 5,500 people have been detained at various anti-war protests in Russia since the invasion began.
  • Ukraine lodged a case against Russia at world court, citing erroneous allegations of genocide against Kyiv.

- Reuters

1:30pm - Exxon Mobil likely will face new pressure to severe ties with Russia's largest oil producer, said analysts, after rival BP agreed to unload a Rosneft stake.

Russia's attack on Ukraine has unleashed broad economic and political rebukes and corporate withdrawals by banks, technology and other firms unprecedented in their extent. BP on Sunday said it would take a $25 billion writedown to abandon its Rosneft holdings.

Exxon holds a 30% stake, alongside Rosneft, Japan's SODECO and India's ONGC Videsh, in Sakhalin Island oil and gas fields in Russia's Far East. The group with Exxon as operator has exported more than 1 billion barrels of oil and 1.03 billion cubic feet of natural gas since production began in 2005.

"Supermajor E&Ps and major service providers with exposure to Russia will now be facing tremendous pressure to pull investments from Russia," said Rystad Energy analyst Artem Abramov.

"I will not be surprised if we see big announcements similar to (the) BP-Rosneft one in the next few days, but it will be difficult to speculate on how exactly things will play out," he said.

An Exxon spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

- Reuters

1:20pm - Ukraine belongs in the European Union and the bloc would like to see the country be a part of it in time, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Euronews on Sunday in an interview.

"Indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in," Von der Leyen said.

Her comments came hours after the 27-nation EU decided to supply weapons to Ukraine, a first in the bloc's history.

- Reuters

1:15pm - Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told AP that nine civilians have been killed in the city so far, including a child. He's put in place a curfew that lasts until 8am on Monday (local time), with any unauthorised person outside until then considered a saboteur. 

"We are hunting these people, and it will be much easier if nobody is on the street," he told AP.

Klitschko said six Russian saboteurs were killed on Saturday night. 

1pm - The map below illustrates the parts of North America and Europe which are currently not allowing Russian aircraft into their airspace: 

12:45pm - The Ukrainian Tennis Federation urged the International Tennis Federation on Sunday to immediately expel Russia and Belarus.

In a letter seen by Reuters, the federation said the action was warranted given Russia and Belarus' "unprecedented, cynical and bloody" attacks on Ukraine over the past four days.

- Reuters

12:35pm - The International Space Station (ISS) could be in danger from sanctions imposed on Russia, the head of the country's space agency has warned.

Roscosmos director general Dimitry Rogozin also suggested that President Joe Biden was suffering from Alzheimer's and told the US not to "behave like an irresponsible gamer" in a bizarre Twitter thread.

Read more here. 

12:20pm - We've just received this statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta's office about New Zealand's contribution of humanitarian aid to support those in Ukraine:

"Aotearoa New Zealand stands by the people of Ukraine impacted by Russia’s unprovoked invasion," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"It is deeply disturbing to hear reports of the growing numbers of deaths and injuries from this conflict. The harrowing and horrific images of displaced, or suffering civilians, in Ukraine speak volumes of this unfolding tragedy, and underlines the consequences of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.

"New Zealand is providing an initial $2 million to help deliver essential humanitarian assistance, with a focus on supporting health facilities and meeting basic needs such as provision of food and hygiene items.

"These are early days and we will continue to monitor events closely as the scale of the conflict, and the resulting humanitarian crisis, becomes clearer. We know the consequences of Russia’s actions will be significant, and tragically many of these will fall on innocent civilians.

"We repeat our call, alongside international partners, for Russia to cease military operations in Ukraine, and immediately and permanently withdraw to avoid a catastrophic and pointless loss of innocent life.

"Russia must take all possible steps to protect civilians in line with international humanitarian law, and return to diplomatic negotiations to de-escalate the conflict,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

New Zealand also provides annual funding to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which has announced it has allocated $20 million to help humanitarian agencies scale up their Ukraine response.

12:15pm - With the EU (and other jurisdictions) having made the decision to ban Russian news channel RT, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked whether Britain would also.

He replied by saying that RT was "peddling" content that was "doing a lot of damage to the truth", but said he would leave it up to broadcasting regulator Ofcom to decide if it infringed the country's rules.

It was put to the Prime Minister that it sounded like he would block the channel if could do so. 

"Yes but the difference between us and Russia is that the power is not with me, and that's the right thing. And that, you know, is partly what we're fighting for."

The BBC reports an Ofcom spokesperson as saying it is prioritising complaints about RT's coverage.

12pm - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday declined to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, while departing from his government's official stance at the United Nations to say Brazil would remain neutral.

Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, recently snubbed U.S. entreaties not to visit Putin in Moscow ahead of the invasion, and angered Western allies by saying he was "in solidarity with Russia," without elaborating.

On Friday, Brazil voted for a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would have denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine, despite reluctance by Bolsonaro.

At a press conference, Bolsonaro said he spoke for two hours with Putin on Sunday. Brazil will remain neutral in the conflict, he said, noting that Russia and Ukraine were "practically brother nations."

"We will not take sides, we will continue being neutral, and help with whatever is possible," Bolsonaro said. "A big part of Ukraine's population speaks Russian."

Bolsonaro declined to elaborate on the Ukraine aspect of his call with Putin.

Asked by a reporter whether he was willing to condemn Putin's actions, he said he would wait for a final report, or see how the situation is resolved, before giving his opinion.

He added that he was against any sanctions that could bring negative repercussions for Brazil, citing Russian fertilizers which are crucial for its giant agribusiness sector.

Bolsonaro also said he did not think Putin's forces would carry out any mass bloodletting in Ukraine.

"A chief of state like that of Russia does not want to undertake a massacre, anywhere," he said, adding that in two southern regions of Ukraine, some 90% of the population wanted to "approximate themselves to Russia."

In reference to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, Bolsonaro said Ukrainians have "placed the hope of their nation in the hands of a comedian."

On Saturday, Bolsonaro tweeted that his government would not cease in efforts to evacuate Brazilians from Ukraine.

"I ask all Brazilians in contested territory to stay firm, follow instructions and report any incidents to us. I know about the difficulties, but we won't spare any efforts to solve them," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday, Bolsonaro said his government had so far managed to remove some 70 Brazilians from Ukraine. 

- Reuters

11:55am - Two of the world's largest logistics companies - US-based United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx - are stopping their service to both Ukraine and Russia.

Reuters also reports German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL as saying it had temporarily suspended shipmenets to and from Ukraine and was avoiding the airspace.

Airlines have been told to avoid the airspace over Ukraine due to the conflict there.

11:45am - A New Zealand man's wife and baby son are caught in the chaos in Ukraine as they desperately try to flee the country over the Romanian border.

Nigel Peterson told AM he wants the New Zealand Government to help those Ukrainians seeking refuge, as the country faces the biggest assault on a European nation since World War II.

Russia invaded Ukraine last week, something Moscow has downplayed as a "special military operation".

"My wife's seen the chaos and there are a lot of families, particularly children and women who are left without their husbands, who are trying to flee," Peterson said on Monday.

Read more here. 

11:30am - According to a Reuters report, the Ukrainian military says Sunday (local time) was a "difficult time" for the country's defence forces with heavy Russian shelling.

11:15am - Dmitry Kiselyov, a Russian state TV presenter and propagandist, has told viewers of his evening programme that Russian submarines "are capable of launching over 500 nuclear warheads, which guarantees the destruction of the US and all Nato countries to boot".

"That's according to the principle 'why do we need a world if Russia's not in it?'"

Kiselyov, who often makes outlandish threats about Russia's ability to use nuclear weapons against the US, said the West should not "try to frighten Russia". 

11:05am - As Vladimir Putin wages war in Ukraine, tens of thousands of Russians around the world and in their homeland are rallying against the invasion.

Reuters reports two 27-year-old Russian friends named Alexandra and Anna as being among a number of Russians who attended the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow on Sunday.

They say their brothers have been deployed with Russian's National Guard, one as a conscript and the other as a contractor. 

"I'm categorically against this war and I want it to end immediately. My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people, to those who have died, suffered and who are in the conflict zone," said Alexandra.

She told Reuters that her friends opposed the war, but most Russians - including her parents - supported it. 

"My parents live in the provinces. They watch television and the propaganda affects them, they are in an information vacuum ... We argue every day."

Anna said she regretted not supporting opposition politicians more in the past and blamed herself for the invasion. She's been protesting every day since the invasion began. 

"There is no one to organise us now. They're all either in jail or labelled extremists ... We have missed the moment," she said. "We are to blame for what is happening. And myself personally."

10:50am - Amid the Russian ground invasion of Ukraine, the battles in cyberspace have also ramped up with technology companies taking action in response to Vladimir Putin's aggression.

From Google and YouTube to Meta, tech giants are responding to the conflict in various ways.

Newshub's Mike Kilpatrick outlines the details here

10:40am - Alphabet Inc and YouTube should ban users pushing war propaganda as part of measures to stop disinformation after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, EU industry chief Thierry Breton told the chief executives of the two companies on Sunday.

Alphabet's Google on Saturday barred Russia's state-owned media outlet RT and other channels from receiving money for ads on their websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook after the invasion of Ukraine.

In a video call with Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Breton said the two companies should go further.

"Freedom of expression does not cover war propaganda. For too long, content from Russia Today and other Russian state media has been amplified by algorithms and proposed as 'recommended content' to people who had never requested it," Breton said in a statement.

"War propaganda should never be recommended content - what is more, it should have no place on online platforms at all. I count on the tech industry to take urgent and effective measures to counter disinformation," he said.

Breton said the companies' terms and conditions for users should be expanded to include war propaganda, giving them the power to kick violators off their platforms.

The Commission said there was agreement to adapt and update the platforms' policies in view of the current situation.

European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova also took part in the video call.

Google said it had already taken unprecedented steps to halt disinformation on Ukraine.

"As we said to the Commissioners, our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock and are ready to take further action," a Google spokesperson said.

Banning accounts promoting war propaganda could be problematic, however, because of the difficulty of defining what constitutes propaganda and from whose perspective. 

- Reuters

10:30am - According to a report from CNN, the city of Berdyansk, which is on Ukraine's southern coast, has fallen to Russian forces.

The city's acting Mayor Oleksandr Svidlo said Russian soldiers entered the executive committee building and "informed us that all administrative buildings were under their control and that they were taking control of the executive committee building".

The Russians asked the Ukrainian officials to continue working, but they all left, the acting Mayor said.

"Today Berdyansk was on the line of fire. I don't know what tomorrow will be like, but I think tonight will be very, very hard."

10:25am - The UN Association of New Zealand has released a statement condemning Russia's military actions towards Ukraine "as an act of aggression that is clearly in violation of international law".

"We call on the New Zealand government to use its membership in the United Nations to help end the military action, restore peace and prevent further humanitarian suffering caused by the Russian action."

10:10am - Speaking at the UN Security Council, Ukraine's representative Sergiy Kyslytsya said it was very concerning that Putin had resorted to "nuclear blackmail".

"The world must take this threat very seriously," he told member states.

Kyslytsya said most of the fighting in Ukraine was around Kyiv and in north-eastern regions.

Missiles have hit an oil depot south of the capital, causing a massive explosion, he said, while shelling struck a gas pipleline in Kharkiv.

10:05am - Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv's Mayor, says reports that the capital is surrounded by Russian troops are false. He said it was strange that such reports originated on Ukrainian Telegram channels. 

"Do not believe lies! Trust information only from official sources. Together, we will stand together. Ukraine will win!"

10am - New Zealand won't be sending military equipment to Ukraine at this stage, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, after the EU announced its intention to buy and deliver weapons to the nation facing the biggest assault in Europe since World War II.

Ardern said, during an interview with AM's Melissa Chan-Green on Monday, that the Government would continue to support Ukraine through humanitarian aid. 

She said the Government would remain in close contact with its Ukrainian counterparts.

Read more here

9:40am - France has joined the US in calling for its citizens to leave Russia immediately. The US cited the growing number of airlines cancelling flights in and out of the country as well as the surrounding airspace closing to Russian planes. 

9:35am - All nations that have spoken so far at the UN Security Council meeting - including the US, Albania, France and Mexico - have condemned Russia's actions, excluding China.

China welcomed the announcement that Russia and Ukraine will soon speak at the Belarus border, while also calling for talks between Russia and the EU about the future of security in Europe.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged Russia to tone down its "dangerous rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons."

"This is another escalatory and unnecessary step that threatens us all," she said.

9:25am - Ukraine's health ministry said on Sunday that 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It also said that 1,684 people, including 116 children, had been wounded. 

- Reuters

9:20am - The United Nations Security Council is currently meeting to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine. We've embedded a YouTube livestream of the meeting above and will bring you key updates as they come in.

The council voted in favour of a rare session of the UN General Assembly to be held on Tuesday (NZT). It's reportedly the first time such an emergency session has been called for in decades.

The vote passed with 11 votes in favour. Russia voted no, while China, India, and the United Arab of Emirates abstaining. Russia couldn't use its veto powers.

9:15am - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called a move by President Vladimir Putin to put Russia's nuclear forces on high alert "a distraction from the reality of what's going on in Ukraine", the Press Association reported on Sunday.

It also quoted Johnson as praising Ukrainians for "fighting back ... with more resistance than the Kremlin had bargained for" and promising to be "very generous" over Ukrainian refugees coming to Britain to allow people to enter when they were in fear of persecution or to reunite with family.

- Reuters

9:10am - Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy head, has made a number of announcements:

  • EU foreign ministers support new sanctions on Russia
  • Poland will act as a logistical hub for the transport of weapons to Ukraine
  • EU airspace will be closed to Russian air traffic
  • Russians who enable the invasion of Ukraine will also have to pay a price for their actions 

Borrell said the bloc was worried that the crisis triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine could spill into neighbouring countries, including Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkans.

"We are worried about what may happen in the region," Borrell told a news conference in Brussels after a virtual meeting of EU foreign ministers on the crisis.

"We are afraid that Russia is not going to stop in Ukraine, and the Russian influence can start working in the neighbouring countries."

9am - Two Russian billionaires, Mikhail Fridman and Oleg Deripaska, called for an end to the conflict triggered by President Vladimir Putin's assault on Ukraine, with Fridman calling it a tragedy for both countries' people.

Billionaire Fridman, who was born in western Ukraine, told staff in a letter that the conflict was driving a wedge between the two eastern Slav peoples of Russia and Ukraine who have been brothers for centuries.

"I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17. My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favourite city," Fridman wrote in the letter, excerpts of which Reuters saw.

"But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses. I am deeply attached to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both."

Read more here

8:45am - Meta Platforms Inc has restricted some accounts in Ukraine, including some accounts belonging to Russian state media organizations, at the request of the Ukrainian government, the company's head of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a tweet on Sunday.

"The Ukrainians have also suggested that we remove access to Facebook and Instagram in Russia. However, people in Russia are using FB and IG to protest and organize against the war and as a source of independent information," Clegg said in another tweet.

He said the Russian government was already throttling Meta's platform to prevent these activities and that turning off its services would "silence important expression at a crucial time." 

- Reuters

8:35am - Sweden is sending military aid to Ukraine, the first time it has sent arms to a country engulfed in conflict since 1939.

"Sweden is now proposing direct support for Ukraine's armed forces. It includes 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields and 5,000 anti-tank weapons," Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday.

She said this will be the first time Sweden has sent military aid of this kind to another country during an armed conflict since the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939. 

8:30am - Satellite company Maxar says the latest images it has obtained show a large deployment of Russian ground troops heading towards Kyiv. The forces are approximately 64km away and the convoy extends about 5km. It includes tanks and fuel supplies, the company said.

8:25am - A Kiwi journalist reporting from Ukraine says a large number of Ukrainians want to stay and fight for their country amid the biggest assault on a European state since World War II.

"One very important fact is that, at the moment, men in Ukraine between 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country," journalist Tom Mutch told AM.

"They've been called up for a general mobilisation; given weapons, given instructions, given instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails so for them it's the only choice is to stay and fight - but the vast majority of people I've spoken to have said that they really want to do whatever they can to defend their country."

Read more here

8:10am - BP, the oil and gas behemoth, will exit its 19.75 percent stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft. According to Reuters, the company didn't explain how it will leave its stake, but it could end up with charges of up to $25 billion. Rosneft accounts for about half of BP's reserves.

"I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and my heart goes out to everyone affected. It has caused us to fundamentally rethink BP's position with Rosneft," BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney said.

8am - One of the biggest developments overnight has been the announcement that Ukrainian and Russian authorities will speak on the Ukraine-Belarus border.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova told CNN that President Zelenksy will not be part of the Ukrainian delegation.

While Ukraine was ready for talks, the Ambassador said "we are not ready to surrender".

"We will defend our country, and we will win. There is an ongoing, full-fledged war with war crimes conducted by Russians in Ukraine on a daily basis. So how genuine is this proposal? We don't know."

The Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier said the talks - that come without preconditions - were "already a victory". Belarus has also agreed it won't use force against Ukraine between now and the time the talks end, the minister said.

He believes that Putin ordered his nuclear forces to be activated to raise the stakes ahead of the talks. Russia previously wanted to negotiate, but with conditions. Those were dropped though in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance to Russian forces.

7:55am - The United States is speaking out against Putin's decision to put nuclear deterrence forces on high alert. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said this was an example of the Russian President "manufacturing threats that don't exist in order to justify further aggression". 

"At no point has Russia been under threat from NATO, has Russia been under threat from Ukraine, this is all a pattern from President Putin," Psaki told ABC.

"And we’re going to stand up for it. We have the ability to defend ourselves, but we also need to call out what we’re seeing here from President Putin."

7:50am - Speaking to AM, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she hasn't spoken to any world leaders over the weekend about the Ukraine situation, but has done previously. The Foreign Affairs Minister is in Europe and is having conversations with her counterparts, Ardern says.

Ardern says there will be an announcement about humanitarian assistance later on Monday. She says the focus is currently on financial assistance. Many people fleeing Ukraine aren't currently considering permanent relocations but need financial help, Ardern says.

She says New Zealand is seeking advice on what restrictions could be imposed on Russians seeking to invest here in Aotearoa. 

7:45am - The White House has called on China to explicitly condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"This is not a time to stand on the sidelines. This is a time to be vocal and condemn the actions of President Putin and Russia invading a sovereign country," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview with MSNBC. 

China has said countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be upheld, but hasn't criticised Russia over its recent actions. 

The Greens' co-leader Marama Davidson on Saturday said New Zealand should use its good relationship with China to persuade the Chinese to speak out against Russia

7:30am - Kia ora, good morning, and welcome to Newshub's live updates of the Ukraine-Russia war for Monday.

If you're just waking up and want to know the key developments overnight, here's the latest snapshot from Reuters: 

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military command to put Russia's deterrence forces - a reference to units which include nuclear arms - on high alert, citing aggressive statements by NATO leaders and economic sanctions. The United States and NATO condemned the move.
  • Ukrainian and Russian officials were due to meet for talks at a venue on the Belarusian border with Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office said on Sunday.
  • European nations and Canada moved on Sunday to shut their airspace to Russian aircraft.
  • Japan will join the United States and other Western countries in blocking certain Russian banks' access to the SWIFT international payment system, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Sunday.
  • A decision by Western allies to block certain Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system is likely to lift oil prices well above $100 a barrel as risks with trading Russian oil spike, analysts say.
  • Russian military vehicles pushed into Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv on Sunday, on a fourth day of fighting.
  • Russia has attacked Ukrainian oil and gas facilities, sparking huge explosions.
  • Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom said on Sunday that Russian gas exports via Ukraine to Europe continued normally, in line with requests from customers.
  • At least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed, the head of Ukraine's Health Ministry was quoted as saying. A U.N. relief agency said its estimates showed at least 64 civilians had been killed among 240 civilian casualties, but that the real numbers were likely "considerably higher".
  • Ukraine is running out of oxygen supplies that critically ill people need, the World Health Organization said on Sunday, calling for safe passage for emergency imports.
  • People fleeing war in Ukraine poured into central Europe, with queues at border crossings stretching for kilometres after the invasion pushed nearly 400,000 people to seek safety abroad. Pope Francis called for humanitarian corridors to help refugees out of Ukraine.
  • Police detain more than 900 people at anti-war protests across Russia - monitoring group.
  • Ukraine lodges case against Russia at world court, citing erroneous allegations of genocide against Kyiv.