February 27, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Rob Picheta, Jeevan Ravindran, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Amir Vera and Emma Tucker, CNN

Updated 8:17 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022
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3:14 p.m. ET, February 27, 2022

On the ground: How an artsy European metropolis turned into a war zone in less than a week

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Kyiv

Families are enjoying the sun on the bank of the Dnieper river in Kyiv on Sunday, February 20.
Families are enjoying the sun on the bank of the Dnieper river in Kyiv on Sunday, February 20. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

Last Sunday, Kyiv was a buzzing European city with hip cafes, artwork at every corner and fresh sushi available on demand at midnight. Now, it’s a war zone.

Sirens blasting through the city, the unmistakable loud bangs of explosions and strikes. The transformation inflicted on the city by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been surreal.

Just a week ago, Dniprovsʹkyy Park was full of runners and cyclists taking advantage of the sunny weather to get their Sunday workout done.

Cyclists pass the National Museum of History of Ukraine in the Second World War on Sunday, Ferbruary 20.
Cyclists pass the National Museum of History of Ukraine in the Second World War on Sunday, Ferbruary 20. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

The traffic-free park sits on an island across the river from the old town, its banks lined by sandy city beaches where kids are normally running around, watching the ducks swim by.

In the historical Mariinskyi Park families were strolling around, with kids enjoying the park’s playground that features large boat-shaped monkey bars.

Now, the same city is reeling from a steady stream of news of yet another terrifying incident. A six-year-old boy killed in heavy gunfire. A high-rise apartment building being hit. The dam of Kyiv reservoir destroyed. The streets are deserted, the sense of dread hanging in the air.

Many have fled the city, encouraged by the authorities to go while there still was a chance. The state railway company has been dispatching extra trains heading to the west for days now, Kyiv’s main train station full of families hoping to get onto the next one.

The same people who were happily shopping in fashion stores lining Kyiv’s boulevards, dining at trendy restaurants are now hunkered down in basements, underground parking lots and subway stations.

Instead of hanging out with friends, enjoying the sunshine, they are now sleeping on the floors, trying to calm their children that don’t understand why they can’t go to kindergarten.

Despite the shock and suffering brought in recent days, Kyiv’s residents are showing incredible resolve and defiance.

Within hours after the invasion started, more than 18,000 have responded a call to defend the city, collecting their firearms from authorities, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

In the hotel where many western journalists are staying in the city center, the staff, who are now staying there instead of being at home with their families, are alternating between distributing blankets and water bottles in the bomb shelter and serving four different types of egg dishes at the buffet breakfast.

A vast explosion lits up the Kyiv night sky on Sunday, February 27.
A vast explosion lits up the Kyiv night sky on Sunday, February 27. (Sean Walker/CNN)

And Kyiv’s roads once clogged with heavy traffic are now empty. The electronic signs that were displaying traffic updates just last week are now showing a very different message: “Glory to Ukraine!”

A traffic sign seen on a deserted street in central Kyiv says "Glory to Ukraine" on Saturday, February 26.
A traffic sign seen on a deserted street in central Kyiv says "Glory to Ukraine" on Saturday, February 26. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

9:01 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Here's where Russian troops have advanced in Ukraine

Fighting has broken out on the streets of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, after Russian forces entered the city.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has previously said it was targeting only military infrastructure, saying in a statement: “The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation do not strike cities and towns, they take all measures to save the lives of civilians.”

But Zelensky said Sunday: “They lied when they said they would not target civilian population. Since the first hours of the invasion, Russian troops have been hitting civilian infrastructure.”

“This is terror,” he added, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russia was committing "war crimes."

Meanwhile, the commander of Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Oleg Synegubov, has claimed that dozens of Russian troops have surrendered amid continued fighting in the city, which is some 20 miles from the Russian border.

Battles have also raged in the capital of Kyiv and the southern city of Kherson in recent days.

But Russian forces have been unable to capture any of Ukraine's major cities since launching their invasion on Thursday.

Russia is encountering "stiffer than expected" resistance from the Ukrainian military as well as unexpected difficulties supplying its forces, two senior US officials with direct knowledge tell CNN.

On the battlefield, Russia is suffering heavier losses in personnel and armor and aircraft than expected. This is due in part to the fact that Ukrainian air defenses have performed better than pre-invasion US intelligence assessments had anticipated.

In addition, Russia has yet to establish air supremacy over Ukraine, a senior defense official said, as the Ukrainian Air Force and air defense systems fight for control of the airspace.

9:26 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Sporadic explosions heard around Kyiv Sunday

From CNN's teams in Kyiv

Ukrainian servicemen take positions at the military airbase Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, February 27.
Ukrainian servicemen take positions at the military airbase Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, February 27. (Maksim Levin/Reuters)

There have been sporadic explosions Sunday morning on the outskirts of Kyiv — to the northeast across the Dnieper River and to the west.

The Ukrainian military says it has thwarted the advance of a Russian column in the western Kyiv neighborhood of Bucha.

Earlier, some sort of projectile hit an apartment building in the same area. There are no details of casualties.

Smoke from the fires caused by a Russian missile attack on the airfield at Vasylkiv on Saturday night was still visible 12 hours later. 

9:15 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Ukrainian commander in Kharkiv says dozens of Russians surrendered

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv and Olya Voitovych

A screen grab from a video shows a Russian armored vehicle burning after it was destroyed by Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 27.
A screen grab from a video shows a Russian armored vehicle burning after it was destroyed by Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 27. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The commander of Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Oleg Synegubov, has claimed that dozens of Russian troops have surrendered amid continued fighting in the city, which is some 20 miles from the Russian border.

He also claimed that the captured soldiers had complained of demoralization and not understanding the mission, as well as being short of fuel.

Synegubov posted photographs of some of the Russian soldiers allegedly captured on his Facebook account. 

He warned civilians to stay indoors, saying that "Leaving their positions, Russian fighters try to hide among the civilians, asking people for clothes and food."

Social media videos on Sunday showed several abandoned Russian military trucks surrounded by Ukrainian soldiers in Kharkiv, as fighting was reported to continue after an overnight bombardment by Russian artillery.

Earlier Sunday, Vadym Denysenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, said that Russian forces had tried "to break into our cities. But the city of Kyiv, the city of Chernihiv, the city of Mariupol, the city of Kharkiv, are completely under Ukrainian control. Despite the fact that the Russians are sending their sabotage groups and they shell critical infrastructure, we have defended all our cities.”

 

9:41 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

In pictures: Global rallies in support of Ukraine

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to shock the world, people all over the planet are watching in horror and disbelief.

Rallies, vigils and prayer meetings are being held across the globe in support of Ukraine. Many of those attending have personal or family ties to the country. And they're asking world leaders to stop Russia's attack.

Here's a look at some of the events that took place Sunday:

Thousands of people gather in Tiergarten park to protest against the ongoing war in Ukraine on February 27, in Berlin, Germany.
Thousands of people gather in Tiergarten park to protest against the ongoing war in Ukraine on February 27, in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A woman hangs a flag from a window during a demonstration in support of Ukraine, on February 27, in Brno, Czech Republic.
A woman hangs a flag from a window during a demonstration in support of Ukraine, on February 27, in Brno, Czech Republic. (Vaclav Salek/CTK/AP)

People gather in protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside of the Russian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on February 27.
People gather in protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside of the Russian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on February 27. (Sanghwan Jung/Shutterstock)

Demonstrators hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 27, in Madrid, Spain.
Demonstrators hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 27, in Madrid, Spain. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

People hold candles during a protest in support of Ukraine on February 27, in Kyoto, Japan.
People hold candles during a protest in support of Ukraine on February 27, in Kyoto, Japan. (Kyodo News/Getty Images)

CNN's Brook Joyner contributed to this post.

9:21 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

If you're just waking up on Sunday, here's what you need to know

Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv became a battleground early Sunday after Russian troops entered the area, while huge explosions lit up the night sky to the southwest of the capital Kyiv. The country's President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of "terror" and called for an international tribunal.

  • Fighting in Kharkiv: Street fighting broke out as Russian troops entered Ukraine's second largest city, and residents were urged to stay in shelters and not travel. Ukrainian forces had managed to prevent the Russians from entering Kharkiv, which has a population of 1.4 million, for the past three days.
  • Talks on the table: Russia proposed talks with Ukraine to be held in Belarus, giving the Ukrainians a deadline of 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) to accept. President Zelensky declined, citing "aggressive actions" from Belarusian territory but saying he would be willing to hold talks elsewhere. Ukraine also said on Sunday that it had intercepted a cruise missile launched at Kyiv from Belarus.
  • War crimes: Zelensky announced Sunday that Ukraine has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice, and earlier the same day accused the Russian troops of targeting civilians, including children, and called for an international investigation into the conflict. Zelensky called their actions "terror" while Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal branded them "war crimes."
  • Civilian deaths: The United Nations said Sunday at least 64 civilians had been killed since the Russian invasion began on Thursday, with several more injured. A six-year-old boy was killed during heavy gunfire in Kyiv on Saturday evening, while one woman died after artillery hit a nine-story residential building in Kharkiv.
  • Refugees on the rise: Nearly 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled their homes since Thursday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported on Sunday. Long queues at the border mean some are waiting more than 60 hours.
  • Russian banks expelled from SWIFT: The White House, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada, backed the expulsion of certain Russian banks from the SWIFT high-security financial network, and pledged efforts to “collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”
  • International military aid: Germany will deliver 1,000 antitank weapons and 500 stinger missiles to Ukraine in a major policy shift, while the US authorized $350 million in new military assistance. Australia will now supply lethal weapons through NATO partners, and France will send fuel and defensive equipment.

Here's a look at where the city of Kharkiv is located:

8:08 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

"No Russian troops" in Kyiv, mayor says

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Sunday there are no Russian troops in the Ukrainian capital.

"There were clashes and skirmishes at night. Destroyed several large sabotage groups," Klitschko posted on his Instagram account.

"Our military, law enforcement, and territorial defense continue to detect and neutralize saboteurs."

Klitschko said that nine civilians, including one child, have been killed in Kyiv since the Russian invasion began, as well as 18 military and territorial defense personnel.

“It is for the safety of the residents that we have imposed a curfew until tomorrow morning. Do not go outside. You can leave only if, at the signal of the air alarm, you go to the shelter,” he said.

“Russia is shelling residential neighborhoods in the Ukrainian capital. Russia is killing Ukrainians all over Ukraine!”

Russia’s Ministry of Defense has said it is targeting only military installations, not civilians.

8:49 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

Ukraine files lawsuit against Russia at The Hague

The Peace Palace housing the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Peace Palace housing the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. (Peter Dejong/AP)

Ukraine has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice following Moscow's invasion of the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday the country submitted its application with the UN's highest court at The Hague.

"Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression," Zelensky said.

He requested the court immediately orders Russia to halt its invasion, and that the country expects trials to begin soon.

7:36 a.m. ET, February 27, 2022

There are now 368,000 Ukraine refugees, UN estimates

From CNN's Pierre Bairin

People coming from Ukraine disembark a ferry boat in Romania, on February 26.
People coming from Ukraine disembark a ferry boat in Romania, on February 26. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled their homes since Russia's invasion on Thursday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported on Sunday.

"#Ukraine refugee numbers have just been refreshed - these are based on data made available by national authorities. The current total is now 368,000 and continues to rise," UNHCR tweeted Sunday.

Vast crowds have sought to escape cities and towns in the country, with roads clogged as people moved westwards towards Poland and the European Union.