United Nations Security Council fails attempt to condemn Ukraine invasion as Russia uses veto power

The United Nations Security Council has failed in its attempts to condemn the invasion after Russia used its veto powers.

Countries are reluctant to send their own troops to Ukraine, preferring more sanctions, as the conflict is fast becoming a refugee crisis.

In southern Ukraine, the city of Melitopol is practically under Russian occupation. Close to Crimea, it's strategically important.

Ukrainian forces are preparing to take it back but their tanks are ageing. But the soldiers are tired and the residents are furious. 

A mother could be heard chastising Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying she wished he would take back what she called "his idiots." 

Putin, of course, has no such intention, despite protests and condemnation worldwide. But the international community is reluctant to put planes in the sky or boots on the ground. 

The UK's Armed Forces Minister James Heappey is adamant British and NATO troops must not get involved.

"We must all be clear what the risks of miscalculation could be, and how existential that could very quickly become, if people miscalculate and things escalate unnecessarily," Heappey said. 

Britain and the European Union have moved to freeze European assets linked to Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. 

The United States also prefers sanctions over military intervention.

"He is not going to put the American public, the American people or the United States in a position of fighting a war with Russia," said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

With Downing Street lit up in the Ukrainian colours, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to the people of Russia in their own language.

"I do not believe this war is in your name," he said in Russian.

Right now Johnson believes the most crippling thing the West could do is block Russia's access to the international payment system known as SWIFT. 

"By removing the ability for Russian banks to communicate over the SWIFT network, it will by and large cut them off from a large part of the world's economy," says sanctions lawyer Jason Hungerford.

The United Nations Security Council moved to condemn Russia's actions. But Russia has veto power - and it used it. China, expected to side with Russia, abstained.

"Make no mistake, Russia is isolated. It has no support for the invasion of Ukraine," said UK Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward.

While people outside Ukraine discuss what to do, stories of defiance and sacrifice in Ukraine are beginning to emerge, like that of Vitaly Skakun, who blew himself up on a bridge to stop Russian tanks from crossing.

While on a tiny island in the Black Sea, 13 border guards were killed by a Russian warship after refusing to lay down their arms. The final words were telling the ship to go f**k itself.

Men of fighting age are banned from leaving Ukraine. They're taking up arms and waiting for orders. 

But women and children are leaving in their thousands. The conflict is fast becoming a refugee crisis. Satellite images at the border with Romania show a queue 6.5 kilometres long. 

At the Polish border, people are fleeing from the only lives they've ever known.

"It's difficult because I know in Poland I'm safe but in Ukraine I have my family," a Ukrainian woman said.

Some have walked 80 kilometres in below-zero temperatures to safety. One woman said her daughter had no shoes and her hands and feet were frozen.

But the border isn't entirely one-way traffic. One man was going in the opposite direction - back to Ukraine to fight.