These are the key events so far on Monday, March 21.
Russia has shelled houses and a shopping area in Kyiv’s Podil district, killing at least four people, city authorities say. An official in Odesa says Russia has started using “unmanned aerial vehicles in urban areas”. Ukraine and its Western backers say Russian ground forces have not advanced much in the past week, concentrating instead on artillery and missile attacks – often into urban centres. Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, has rejected a Russian call for Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to lay down their arms. UK defence ministry says Russian forces advancing from Crimea are trying to go around Mykolaiv as they attempt to get to Odesa. Dmytro Zhyvytskyy, governor of Sumy, says the villages of Novoselytsya and Verkhnya Syrovatka have been contaminated by an ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the northeastern part of the city besieged by Russian troops.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators will continue with their online talks on Monday, according to the Ukrainska Pravda. The Kremlin says peace talks have not yet made any significant progress. Moscow has accused Kyiv of stalling talks by making proposals unacceptable for Russia. Ukraine has said it is willing to negotiate but will not surrender or accept Russian ultimatums. European Union foreign ministers will meet on Monday to start discussing imposing tougher sanctions on Russia, including an oil embargo. US President Joe Biden arrives in Brussels on Thursday for summits with the 30 members of NATO, the EU, and in a Group of Seven (G7) format including Japan.
3.3 million refugees
More than 3.3 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the invasion and nearly 6.5 million are thought to be internally displaced within the country, the UN refugee agency has said. The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, has called on the World Council of Churches to help organise “real” humanitarian corridors.