Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Ukraine says Russia seizes food and goods to send home

A member of pro-Russian troops in uniform without insignia is seen atop a tank during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, March 18, 2022.

Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters

Ukraine’s armed forces said in an update Monday morning that Russian troops were “terrorizing” local populations and looting occupied towns.

“The enemy is exporting household appliances, cars, food and other material resources to the Russian Federation,” the update read.

Officials also accused Russia of ordering working-age men from the village of Stanychno-Luhansk to report to the local police department for registration on April 1.

“The reasons for this ‘registration’ are not explained, although they are related to the next wave of mobilization of the 2nd Army Corps to be sent to the combat zones,” Ukrainian officials said.

A Russian government spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Chloe Taylor

Ammonia leak reported at chemical plant in northeast Ukraine

There is an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine, according to its regional governor in an update on the Telegram messaging app.

The affected area has a radius of about 5 km around the plant, Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said.

Emergency crews are working on the spot, but there is no threat to the city of Sumy at the moment as the wind direction is not towards the city, according to the update. The leak was reported at 4:30 a.m. local time.

Tan Weizhen

Mariupol rejects Russia’s surrender ultimatum

A local resident walks past a tank of pro-Russian troops during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the beleaguered port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, March 18, 2022.

Alexander Ermoshenko | Reuters

The besieged city of Mariupol has rejected an ultimatum from Russia to surrender at 5 a.m. today, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications said via Facebook on Monday that Ukraine had rejected Moscow’s demands for Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko to hand over the city by the deadline. It was unclear whether the 5 a.m. cut-off time was Mariupol time or Moscow time.

Russia had said it would open humanitarian corridors outside the city if Boychenko accepted the ultimatum.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, told Pravda newspaper in the early hours of Monday morning that Russian authorities had sent an eight-page letter describing “a ‘return to history’ and other nonsense”.

“They sent the same letter to the UN, to the International Committee of the Red Cross and hoped that the international structures would react and start putting pressure on Ukraine,” Vereshchuk said, according to a translation by NBC News.

Meanwhile, the Russian state-controlled news agency RIA reported overnight that the Russian side would spare the lives of “all those who laid down their arms”, quoting Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the country’s National Defense Control Center.

“We call on units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defense battalions, foreign mercenaries to stop hostilities, lay down their arms and enter the territories controlled by Kyiv along the humanitarian corridors agreed with the Ukrainian side,” he said. Mizintsev said during a briefing on Sunday, according to RIA.

“At the same time, everyone who laid down their arms is guaranteed a safe exit from Mariupol and the preservation of life.”

Mariupol is a key target for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because its capture could help Moscow create a land corridor to Crimea, a peninsula in the south of the country which it invaded and annexed in 2014.

—Chloe Taylor

Shares of Russian Rusal plunge after alumina ban

Hong Kong-listed shares of Rusal, a Russian aluminum producer, fell 8.9% on Monday after the Australian government announced it would ban alumina exports to Russia.

Several Australian government departments jointly announced a ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia on Sunday.

The ban is part of Australia’s sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, Canberra sanctioned two Russian oligarchs who have ties to Australia’s mining industry, Reuters reported. One was Oleg Deripaska, who has a stake in Queensland Alumina, a joint venture between Rusal and British-Australian mining company Rio Tinto.

Shares of Rio Tinto traded in Sydney rose slightly on Monday.

—Ted Kemp

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Russian advances on Kyiv from northeast ‘stalled’, UK MoD says

Russian forces advancing on the Ukrainian capital of kyiv from the northeast have “stalled”, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defense.

“Heavy fighting continues north of kyiv,” the ministry said, adding that the city “remains Russia’s main military objective” despite the continued lack of progress.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands among the damage in a residential area after the bombardment of kyiv on March 18, 2022, as Russian troops attempt to encircle the Ukrainian capital as part of their slow-moving offensive.

Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

“Forces coming from the direction of Hostomel to the northwest were repulsed by fierce Ukrainian resistance.”

The bulk of the Russian forces remain more than 25 kilometers from the center of the city, according to the ministry.

— Eustance Huang

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