Biden heading to Brussels for NATO meeting; two Fox News journalists killed in Ukraine

This is CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine. See below for the latest updates. 

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to travel to Brussels next week to meet with NATO allies about bolstering support for Ukraine as it fights to fend off Russia's unprovoked attack.

The "extraordinary summit" on March 24 will bring together North American and European leaders to discuss "further strengthening NATO's deterrence & defence," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

The alliance is expected to call on its military commanders Wednesday to send more troops and missile defenses to eastern Europe, Reuters reported. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also scheduled to address U.S. lawmakers Wednesday morning.

Russia military 'struggling' to conduct operations as losses mount

Russia is transferring troops to Ukraine from as far away as its Pacific Fleet and is recruiting more mercenaries as it tries to replace lost personnel, according to an assessment from the U.K. Defence Ministry.

"As a result of these losses, it is likely Russia is struggling to conduct offensive operations in the face of sustained Ukrainian resistance," the ministry said. "Continued personnel losses will also make it difficult for Russia to secure occupied territory."

Russia's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear how many Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion began in late February. Ukraine officials said over the weekend that Ukraine has lost 1,300 soldiers.

Ukrainian soldier Yaroslav prays on March 15 over the coffin of his father, also a Ukrainian soldier, who was killed fighting on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Moscow is redeploying troops from as far away as Armenia, its Eastern Military District, and the Russian Pacific Fleet, the ministry said.

The Pacific Fleet is based in Vladivostok, Russia. By air, Vladivostok is more than 4,400 miles (7,100 km) from Kyiv.

The U.K. Defence Ministry said Russia is seeking mercenaries from Syria and "private military companies," the term used to describe Russia-based firms that hire out armed fighters.

Moscow will likely use those mercenaries to hold seized Ukrainian territory so it can shift more of its regular troops to fight Ukrainian forces and "renew stalled offensive operations," the U.K. ministry said.

Russian corporate fighters have been accused of committing human rights abuses in Syria, Libya and the Central African Republic while working on behalf of Moscow.

Such mercenary services already operated in eastern Ukraine prior to Russia's current invasion, according to the U.S. government.

In 2017, the U.S. Treasury placed sanctions on the biggest Russian mercenary company, PMC Wagner, and its founder, Dmitriy Utkin, for "actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine."

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said last year that Moscow provided security and military services through private mercenary companies to the government of the Central African Republic in exchange for the right to extract gold, uranium and diamonds.

— Ted Kemp

Surveying the damage from a rocket attack in Kharkiv

First responders work in a building that was struck by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv.

First responders work in a building that was struck by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
First responders work in a building that was struck by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
First responders work in a building that was struck by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Alexandra, 86, cries after her apartment was destroyed by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
First responders work in a building that was struck by a Grad rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Wolfgang Schwan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

-Adam Jeffery

NATO to begin planning for more troops on eastern flank

French Army soldiers are pictured at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta, Romania, on March 3, 2022.
Daniel Mihailescu | AFP | Getty Images

NATO is set to tell its military commanders on Wednesday to draw up plans for new ways to deter Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, including more troops and missile defenses in eastern Europe, officials and diplomats said.

Defense ministers will order the military advice at NATO headquarters, just over a week before allied leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, gather in Brussels on March 24.

Ministers will also hear from their Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, who is expected to plead for more weapons from individual NATO countries, as Russian attacks on Ukraine's cities continue and the Russian military seeks control of Kyiv.

"We need to reset our military posture for this new reality," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier Tuesday. "Ministers will start an important discussion on concrete measures to reinforce our security for the longer term, in all domains," he told reporters.

— Reuters

Ukrainian journalist working for Fox News dies while on assignment

Fox News journalist Oleksandra "Sasha" Kuvshynova, who was killed in Ukraine after the vehicle in which she was traveling was struck by incoming fire, works with colleagues Trey Yingst and cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski in Ukraine in an undated photograph.
FOX News | via Reuters

A second journalist on assignment for Fox News in Ukraine has died, the television news network confirmed.

Oleksandra Kuvshynova, affectionately called Sasha, died alongside cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski after their vehicle was struck by incoming fire on Monday.

The confirmation of Kuvshynova's death follows that of Zakrzewski.

"Sasha was just 24 years old and was serving as a consultant for us in Ukraine. She was helping our crews navigate Kyiv and the surrounding area while gathering information and speaking to sources. She was incredibly talented and spent weeks working directly with our entire team there, operating around the clock to make sure the world knew what was happening in her country," CEO Suzanne Scott wrote in a statement.

"Her dream was to connect people around the world and tell their stories and she fulfilled that through her journalism," Scott wrote.

— Amanda Macias

State Department says Russia isn't negotiating in good faith

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price holds a press briefing on Afghanistan at the State Department in Washington, August 16, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The State Department said the U.S. is prepared to engage with Russia on ending the war in Ukraine, but Moscow has yet to take negotiations seriously.

"We have yet to find a Russian interlocutor that is either able or willing to negotiate in good faith and certainly not in the context of de-escalation," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"A number of our partners are engaged directly with the Russian Federation at high levels. I think what is clear is that none of these engagements have yet resulted in a diminution of violence or in a reduction of the loss of life that we've seen across Ukraine," Price added.

President Joe Biden last spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 12., nearly two weeks before Russian troops began their invasion of Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Russia has launched more than 950 missiles into Ukraine

A crane removes a ruined car from in front of a destroyed apartment building after it was shelled in the northwestern Obolon district of Kyiv on March 14, 2022.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

Russian forces have launched more than 950 missiles since the start of the Ukraine invasion, a senior U.S. Defense official said, adding that the Pentagon has observed a steady rise in missile launches amid stalled ground movements.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Russian arsenal includes short-range, medium-range, ballistic and cruise missiles.

The official said "Kyiv remains under bombardment by long-range fires" and targets include residential areas. The official said Russian forces have not appreciably advanced on Kyiv and are approximately 10 miles northwest of the capital and about 13 miles to the east.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. lobbyists connect Ukraine officials with powerful allies to help in war against Russia

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces take an oath to defend the country, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 14, 2022.
Mykola Tymchenko | Reuters

Lobbyists are working to connect Ukrainian officials with powerful allies in the U.S., including mayors, governors and representatives of at least one firearms dealer, in an effort to help the war-torn country in its fight against Russia.

At least one U.S. firm and a separate lawyer each recently disclosed to the Department of Justice's Foreign Agents Registration Act unit that they started pro-bono work for Ukrainian government officials since the start of Russia's invasion. These advisors have started to help Ukrainian leaders as Western sanctions have led lobbyists to distance themselves from Russian-backed entities. The powerful lobbying firm Sidley Austin dropped VTB Bank as a client after the Biden administration sanctioned the financial institution.

Your Global Strategy, a lobbying and communications firm co-founded by international political strategists Shai Franklin and Michael Steiner, is working to connect local Ukrainian government officials with American mayors and governors, Franklin told CNBC in an interview on Tuesday. He later noted that he is the sole lobbyist from Your Global Strategy working on this effort.

Steiner previously worked closely with Russia as the Moscow-Russia CEO for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, winning a special citation from the Russian Federation for "contributions to the development of nationalities," according to his bio.

— Brian Schwartz

Large Russian convoy heading for Kyiv is stalled, Pentagon says

A satellite image shows a military convoy near Invankiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022.
Maxar Technologies | Reuters

A large Russian military convoy, widely tracked by satellite imagery, appears to have made little progress for nearly a week, according to U.S. military estimates.

"We have no updates on the convoy. It is still stuck," a senior U.S. Defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told reporters Tuesday when asked about the latest satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies.

Last week, the official told reporters that "the convoy is not really going anywhere" and that it was not immediately clear how many vehicles are in the Russian convoy.

— Amanda Macias

'That is just the beginning': White House says more Russian yachts and assets set to be seized

Superyacht Valerie, linked to chief of Russian state aerospace and defence conglomerate Rostec Sergei Chemezov, is seen at Barcelona Port in Barcelona city, Spain, March 9, 2022.
Albert Gea | Reuters

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had a strong warning for Russian oligarchs: the United States and its Western allies are not done seizing their yachts.

"That is just the beginning," Psaki said after she confirmed U.S. allies had seized a number of yachts around the world.

President Joe Biden's administration recently announced a taskforce that would seek to deprive Russian oligarchs of assets and other tools used to evade sanctions following their country's invasion of Ukraine.

Psaki confirmed that five additional yachts owned by Russia's wealthiest executives have been seized by authorities, including a nearly 300-foot superyacht owned by Sergey Chemezov. Psaki said the yacht was seized in Spain. Chemezov, the CEO of Russian conglomerate Rostec, was sanctioned by Biden's administration.

The yacht is named Valerie and is worth about $100 million, according to Superyacht Fan.

— Brian Schwartz

Biden will head to Brussels for NATO summit

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday, June 14, 2021.
Patrick Semansky | AP

U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels for a March 24 NATO summit about how to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the White House said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Biden will discuss "ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia's unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine, as well as to reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced what he called an "extraordinary" meeting earlier in the day.

"We will address #Russia's invasion of #Ukraine, our strong support for Ukraine, and further strengthening NATO's deterrence & defence," Stoltenberg wrote in a tweet. "At this critical time, North America & Europe must continue to stand together."

— Jacob Pramuk

White House press secretary holds briefing on Ukraine, Covid

Fox News cameraman killed while working in Ukraine

Pierre Zakrzewski, a cameraman for Fox News, was killed on Monday while reporting from Ukraine, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott announced to employees in a memo.

"It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we share the news this morning regarding our beloved cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski. Pierre was killed in Horenka, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine. Pierre was with Benjamin Hall yesterday newsgathering when their vehicle was struck by incoming fire," Scott wrote.

Scott wrote that Zakrzewski, a long-time war zone photographer with dispatches from Iraq and Syria, traveled to Ukraine in February. She said he had "vast" talents and "did it all under immense pressure."

Scott offered condolences to Zakrzewski's family and noted that Benjamin Hall, a Fox correspondent injured in Ukraine, remains hospitalized.

On Sunday, award-winning American filmmaker and journalist Brett Renaud was killed in Ukraine, the first U.S. reporter to die in the conflict.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. imposes sanctions on Russians over human rights violations

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia February 18, 2022.
Sergey Guneev | Sputnik | Reuters

The United States imposed sanctions on Russians it accused of gross human rights violations and slapped fresh measures on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, increasing pressure on Moscow and its close ally amid the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on four people and one entity it accused of playing a role in concealing events around the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky or of being connected to human rights violations against human rights advocate Oyub Titiev.

The Treasury statement also said it was adding to its sanctions against Lukashenko and also targeting his wife.

— Reuters

Russia bars Clinton, Biden, Blinken and others

US Secretary of State Hillary Clintontalks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the arrival ceremony for the Asian-Pacific Economic CooperationSummit in Vladivostok, Russia, September 8, 2012.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Russia said has barred U.S. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top officials from entering the country.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also named to Russia's "stop list" along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA chief William Burns and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. They were included on a list of 13 individuals banned from Russia in response to sanctions imposed by Washington on Russian officials.

But the foreign ministry said it was maintaining official relations with Washington and if necessary would make sure that high-level contacts with the people on the list could take place.

— Reuters

NATO has no plans to deploy nuclear-capable weapons systems amid Russia threat, Stoltenberg says

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a news conference following a NATO leaders virtual summit, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium February 25, 2022.
Yves Herman | Reuters

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the 30-member military alliance has no plans to shift mobile nuclear-capable weapons systems closer to Russia's borders, disputing a previous claim by Moscow.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his nation's nuclear forces on high alert amid tensions with the West over his invasion of Ukraine. At the time, Putin said he ordered the elevation because of "aggressive statements" made against Russia by NATO.

"We have no plans to deploy nuclear-capable intermediate-range land-based systems in Europe," Stoltenberg said ahead of a two-day NATO defense ministers meeting.

"At the same time, we need to be able to make sure that we are able to respond and protect all allies in the new security environment where Russia has deployed more nuclear-capable missiles," he said, adding that the alliance would invest in "readiness and the ability to monitor and detect" missile threats.

"We also need to make sure that NATO's nuclear deterrence remains safe and secure and effective and that's exactly what we're doing," he added.

— Amanda Macias

Russian missile strikes residential building in Kharkiv

Rescuers remove debris from a residential building damaged by an airstrike in the city of Kharkiv, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues.

Rescuers remove debris from a residential building damaged by an airstrike, as Russia?s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.
Vitalii Hnidyi | Reuters
Rescuers remove debris from a residential building damaged by an airstrike, as Russia?s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.
Vitalii Hnidyi | Reuters
Rescuers evacuate a woman from a residential building damaged by an airstrike, as Russia?s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.
Vitalii Hnidyi | Reuters
An interior view shows an apartment inside a residential building damaged by an airstrike, as Russia?s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.
Vitalii Hnidyi | Reuters

— Adam Jeffery

NATO chief Stoltenberg says he is concerned Russia is weighing chemical weapons use

NATO is increasingly concerned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering the use of chemical weapons in his invasion of Ukraine, the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg said that the Kremlin has started to spread false propaganda that Ukraine and its allies are developing chemical weapons, leading the NATO chief to worry whether Putin himself is weighing the use of the illegal munitions.

"Any use of chemical weapons will be a violation of international law," Stoltenberg said at a news conference from NATO headquarters in Brussels. "We are concerned Moscow could stage a false flag operation in Ukraine, possibly with chemical weapons."

Thomas Franck

Biden slated to authorize $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine