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Satellite images show destruction in Mariupol; Zelenskyy says 100,000 trapped in 'inhumane conditions'

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. Follow the latest updates
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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more pressure on Russia as the war appears to be entering a period of stalemate.

In his latest video address, Zelenskyy said that about 100,000 people are still stuck in the port city of Mariupol under a "complete blockade" and suffering under "inhumane conditions."

Russian air strikes have turned the besieged port city into the "ashes of a dead land," the city council said , as the U.S. and Europe prepared to slap more sanctions on Moscow.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin's "back is against the wall" and he could resort to using more severe tactics in Ukraine.

Amid few wins for Russia's forces, and a continuing staunch resistance from Ukraine, Kyiv claimed on Tuesday that around 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far in the fighting.

Zelenskyy will address NATO Summit on Thursday

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the NATO Summit on Thursday, his spokesperson told NBC News.

Spokesperson Serhii Nikiforov said Zelenskyy will speak to attendees at the summit, which will include NATO heads of state, via video link.

The military alliance will send a "strong message of NATO's unity and solidarity with Ukraine" at the summit, according to a NATO statement that cited Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana on Tuesday. NATO also plans to "focus on resetting NATO's deterrence and defence for the longer term, bolstered by major investments in defence."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will chair the summit, which will be held in Brussels.

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which wanted NATO membership, has united the Atlantic alliance and prompted member states to assess bolstering their military posture in Europe.

Zelenskyy has addressed several legislative bodies since Russia invaded Ukraine, including the European Parliament at the beginning of March and British Parliament a week later.

Last week, Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. Congress, asking for more weapons and humanitarian support. He was greeted by at least three standing ovations by Republicans and Democrats alike.

— Ted Kemp

VIDEO11:1311:13
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses British Parliament via video, gets standing ovation

'No real consensus' about how to deal with Russia, says think tank

VIDEO3:1803:18
There's little global unity on how to deal with Russia, says think tank

There is no global consensus on how to deal with Russia's attacks on Ukraine, according to Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

"China is not the only significant power that's not on board with a Western policy of economic punishment of Russia," Carpenter told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Wednesday. He pointed to India, South Africa and some Middle East nations that are not supportive of the U.S. approach as well.

"Once you get outside the traditional U.S.-led network of allies, there is very little global unity on how to deal with Russia," he said.

Carpenter pointed out that more than 30 countries abstained from a UN vote condemning the Russian invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Moscow's forces "even though it was purely a symbolic vote."

Even within NATO, some countries are reluctant to escalate sanctions and disagree with each other on weapons aid for Ukraine, he said.

"There is no real consensus within the alliance and if Washington pushes that, I think we will see some visible splits in NATO's ranks," said Carpenter.

— Abigail Ng

Satellite images show destruction in Mariupol caused by airstrikes

Maxar satellite image of additional burning residential apartment buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

Residential buildings and factories in the southeastern city of Mariupol have been destroyed, according to satellite images taken on Tuesday by U.S. firm Maxar Technologies.

Maxar, which works with U.S. government agencies to provide commercial satellite imagery, released photos that showed damage to apartment buildings and a factory.

The latest batch of images, all dated March 22, also showed smoke billowing from buildings in Mariupol.

Maxar satellite imagery shows closer view of damaged Azovstal Metallurgical factory buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies | Getty Images
Maxar satellite imagery of the overview of fires burning in residential area, Livoberezhnyi District, Mariupol, Ukraine.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

— Abigail Ng

Around 100,000 still in Mariupol under 'inhumane conditions,' Zelenskyy says

Sywasz Elizabeth, Samarska Ludmyla and Pylypenko Arsenij wait on a bus after arriving safely on a train from the besieged city of Mariupol that is under Russian military attack on March 22, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Around 100,000 people remain in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol under "inhumane conditions," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

"No food, no water, no medicine. Under constant shelling, under constant bombing," he said in a video address, according to an English transcript by NBC News.

Ukraine has been trying to evacuate people from the city and bring in humanitarian aid for more than a week, Zelenskyy said. "Almost all our attempts, unfortunately, are disrupted by the Russian occupiers. By shelling or deliberate terror."

The president also said that Ukrainian representatives are continuing "very difficult" negotiations virtually. "Step by step we are moving forward," he said.

He said he was grateful for the support of international mediators and leaders. "Today was one of those days that allows us to say with confidence that the whole world is with us," he said.

— Abigail Ng

Thousands of Starlink satellite internet kits have been sent to Ukraine, SpaceX president says

SpaceX, Elon Musk's space company, has sent "thousands" of Starlink satellite internet dishes to Ukraine, company President Gwynne Shotwell told CNBC.

The kits — which comprise an antenna, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router — can be used to connect directly to SpaceX's network in orbit.

A Starlink logo of a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX is seen on a smartphone and a pc screen.
Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Starlink terminals were sent to Ukraine after an official, Mykhailo Fedorov, sought help from Musk after Russian attacks disrupted internet services in the country.

Shotwell said most of the funding for the Starlink kits has come from private sources. She also added that "France helped," and "I think Poland is helping."

— Abigail Ng

Ukraine says 'confrontational' Russia talks moving forward

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addresses the US Congress from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 16, 2022, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.
Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Talks between Ukraine and Russia are confrontational but moving forward, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday, as the West plans to announce more sanctions against the Kremlin amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Hundreds of thousands are believed to be trapped inside buildings, with no access to food, water, power or heat. Both civilians and Ukrainian troops were coming under Russian fire, said regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Russian forces and Russian-backed separatist units had taken about half of the port city, normally home to around 400,000 people, Russia's RIA news agency said, citing a separatist leader. But in an early morning address, Zelenskiy held out hope for negotiations, which have yielded little since the Feb. 24 invasion began.

"It's very difficult, sometimes confrontational," he said. "But step by step we are moving forward."

— Reuters

Biden's Brussels trip to highlight new Russia sanctions

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to the media about the war in Ukraine and other topics at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2022.
Leah Millis | Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and his European counterparts will announce new sanctions against Russia and new measures to tighten existing sanctions during his trip to Brussels this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Biden also will discuss longer-term adjustments to NATO force posture and contingencies in the case of nuclear weapons use, Sullivan said. Biden also will announce "joint action" on enhancing energy security in Europe, which is highly reliant on Russian gas.

The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia as punishment for invading Ukraine and supplied billions of dollars in weapons and aid for Ukraine's defense. Biden has pledged not to send U.S. soldiers into Ukraine, but promised to keep Washington's commitment to defend NATO members if they were attacked.

Biden leaves on Wednesday for Brussels, where NATO and the European Union are based, for meetings on Thursday with fellow leaders. He will attend an emergency NATO summit, meet with G7 leaders, and address European Union leaders at a meeting of the European Council, Sullivan said.

— Reuters

Russian strikes turning Mariupol into 'ashes'

Ukrainian emergency employees work at a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.
Evgeniy Maloletka | AP

Intense Russian air strikes are turning besieged Mariupol into the "ashes of a dead land," the city council said, as the United States and Europe planned more sanctions to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Street fighting and bombardments raged in Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said, a day after it rejected an ultimatum from Russia to surrender. Hundreds of thousands are believed to be trapped inside buildings, with no access to food, water, power or heat.

Russian forces and Russian-backed separatist units had taken about half of the port city, normally home to around 400,000 people, Russia's RIA news agency said, citing a separatist leader.

"There is nothing left there," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address to Italy's parliament.

— Reuters

Inside an underground shelter in Lviv

 People hide in one of the official underground shelters in Lviv during an air alarm. 

People hide in one of the official underground shelters during an air alarm.
Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images
People hide in one of the official underground shelters during an air alarm. 
Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images
People hide in one of the official underground shelters during an air alarm. 
Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images
People hide in one of the official underground shelters during an air alarm. 
Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images
People hide in one of the official underground shelters during an air alarm. 
Mykola Tys | Lightrocket | Getty Images

— Getty Images

Cuellar is the latest Democrat to distance from Koch as the company remains in Russia

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) gives an interview in Laredo, Texas, October 9, 2019.
Veronica Cardenas | Reuters

Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar is no longer accepting campaign contributions from Koch Industries after the conglomerate decided to remain in Russia despite Moscow's attack on Ukraine.

"Congressman Cuellar has not received any money from the Koch Brothers this year and will not accept any future campaign contributions until they disassociate from Russia," Jake Hochberg, a chief advisor for Cuellar, told CNBC in an emailed statement.

Cuellar's decision to distance himself from Koch comes after CNBC first reported on two other Democratic lawmakers who said they stopped taking campaign contributions from Koch Industries' political action committee after the company refused to cut its operations in Russia. Many other business are fleeing Russia as the U.S. and its Western allies levy harsh sanctions on the country.

Koch Industries' glass manufacturer Guardian Industries, which has two facilities in Russia, will remain fully active despite the Kremlin's war with Ukraine, Koch Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson said in a statement last week.

— Brian Schwartz

Biden press secretary won't make NATO trip due to Covid

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, October 27, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for Covid, and won't travel with President Joe Biden on his upcoming trip to Europe to meet with other NATO leaders, she said.

Biden tested negative for Covid after taking a PCR test on Tuesday, according to Psaki, who said she and the president had two "socially distanced meetings" Monday.

Biden is departing for Brussels on Wednesday to join NATO leaders at a summit to discuss the organization's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Biden will also attend a meeting of the G7 where world leaders are expected to discuss additional sanctions against the Kremlin.

— Dan Mangan

US.. asks energy companies to be on 'hyperalert' for Russian cyberattacks

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks about the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack shut down during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, May 11, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the Biden administration has asked U.S. energy and electric companies to be "hyperalert" for potential retaliatory Russian cyberattacks.

"It's not a surprise to anybody who has been watching Russia's activities that their expertise in this realm causes great concern. So this is why it's really important for individual actors and governments to be shields up as we say," Granholm told reporters on a conference call.

Granholm said companies should be talking with each other and sharing information in order to safeguard against any attack on the U.S. energy infrastructure.

Granholm declined to say whether the U.S. has seen any attempts by the Russians to tamper with American power grids or other relevant electric systems.

– Amanda Macias

Downed Russian drone strike near Ukraine's National Academy of Science in Kyiv

Military emergency service members in the area of a research institute that's part of Ukraine's National Academy of Science, after a strike in northwestern Kyiv.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content. The following photos contain images of casualties.

Ukrainian servicemen with a downed Russian drone in Kyiv in March.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
A Ukranian serviceman stands next to a downed Russian drone in the area of a research institute, part of Ukraine's National Academy of Science, after a strike, in northwestern Kyiv, on March 22, 2022.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
Military emergency service members remove the body of a dead Ukrainian serviceman in the area of a research institute, part of Ukraine's National Academy of Science, after a strike, in northwestern Kyiv, on March 22, 2022.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
Military emergency service members remove the body of a dead Ukrainian serviceman in the area of a research institute, part of Ukraine's National Academy of Science, after a strike, in northwestern Kyiv, on March 22, 2022.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

— Getty Images

U.S. airlifts 4 Ukranian kids with cancer to Memphis

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. has airlifted four kids with cancer out of Ukraine so they can continue their treatment in the U.S.

The children were transported to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., he said in a tweet.

St. Jude said it's the first U.S. hospital to receive pediatric cancer patients, who will receive trauma-informed psychosocial therapy, in addition to medical treatment.

More than 1.5 million kids have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, according to UNICEF. Far more have been displaced from their homes and separated from their families, placing them at a high risk of human trafficking, the international children's aid organization said.

— Dawn Kopecki

Russian forces largely stalled, beset by fuel shortages and frostbite

A Ukrainian serviceman mans a military check point in Kyiv on March 21, 2022 before the start of a 35-hour curfew at 8:00pm.
Fadel Senna | AFP | Getty Images

A senior U.S. Defense official said Russian forces are still largely stalled on almost all fronts in Ukraine as the nearly one-month-long war marches on.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told reporters on a call that the Russian military is increasingly beset by logistics, command and control issues and morale problems.

"They're having trouble with fuel, even in the maritime environment. They're concerned about being able to keep their ships fueled," the official said, adding that a lack of food and personal equipment is also a challenge for Russian troops.

"We picked up indications that some troops have actually suffered and been taken out of the fight because of frostbite," the official added.

The official also said that for the first time since Feb. 24 Russia's combat power dedicated to the fight has dipped below 90%, the Pentagon has observed.

"For the first time, the Russians may be slightly below a 90% level of assessed available combat power," a senior U.S. Defense official said, adding the figure was "not an assessment of all Russian military power."

– Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy invited to address NATO summit this week

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference after a bilateral meeting at the European Union headquarters in Brussels on December 16, 2021.
John Thys | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was invited to address the NATO leaders summit later this week via a secure video link, NATO confirmed in a statement to CNBC.

"This will be an opportunity for Allied leaders to hear directly from President Zelensky about the dire situation facing the people of Ukraine because of Russia's aggression," NATO said in the statement. "At the Summit, Allies and Ukraine will discuss what more Allies can do to strengthen our support for Ukraine," the official added.

President Joe Biden plans to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the 30-member strong alliance during the March 24 meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Biden will then travel to Poland, a NATO ally assisting with the budding humanitarian crisis spilling over Ukraine's borders.

– Amanda Macias

At least 7 Russian warships have begun firing on Mariupol, Pentagon says

A woman reacts while speaking near a block of flats, which was destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 17, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

A senior U.S. Defense official said at least seven Russian warships are firing on the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

"What we observe in the last 24 hours is that the Russians have likely been firing into the city from the Sea of Azov," a senior Defense official said, adding "that wasn't the case yesterday."

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share new details from U.S. military reports, said the Russians have a mixture of amphibious landing ships, surface combatants and a minesweeper.

In the neighboring Black Sea, the Russians have approximately 21 warships, the official said.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Russians have attempted to encircle Mariupol from both the north and up its coast.

"They clearly want to take Mariupol. It's a city port city there on the Sea of Azov and it's a link between the Donbas area and Crimea," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a press conference.

"You can see why Mariupol might be of interest but the Ukrainians are defending it bravely and have been able to stymie the Russians' efforts to take it," he said.

– Amanda Macias

'It is time to end this absurd war,' UN secretary-general says

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks to press about war in Ukraine at the Security Council Stakeout of UN headquarters in New York City, United States on March 14, 2022.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on Russia to end its nearly one-month-long war in Ukraine.

"Continuing the war Ukraine is morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily nonsensible," Guterres said from the United Nations headquarters in New York. "It is time to stop the fighting now and give peace a chance. It is time to end this absurd war," he added.

Guterres said the Kremlin's war in Ukraine is sending reverberations worldwide in "skyrocketing food, energy and fertilizer prices" with a potential to "spill into a global hunger crisis."

"Developing countries were already suffocating under the burden of Covid-19 and the lack of access to adequate financing. Now they are also paying a heavy price as a result of his war," he said.

– Amanda Macias

Putin critic Alexei Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison by Russian court

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link during the verdict in his embezzlement and contempt of court trial at the IK-2 prison colony in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region on March 22, 2022. - A Russian court on March 22 sentenced jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to nine years in prison after he was found guilty of embezzlement and contempt of court, an AFP journalist said.
- | Afp | Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was convicted of fraud and contempt of court and sentenced to nine years in a maximum security prison, in a trial Kremlin critics see as an attempt to keep President Vladimir Putin's most ardent foe in prison for as long as possible.

A judge also ruled that Navalny would have to pay a fine of 1.2 million rubles (about $11,500). Navalny can appeal the ruling.

Navalny, who is already serving 2½ years in a penal colony east of Moscow, had been accused of embezzling money that he and his foundation raised over the years and of insulting a judge during a previous trial.

— Associated Press

Steel vests production by vehicle scraps in Ukraine

Steel vests are made by vehicle scraps amid Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. The Kyiv Independent reported that the Ukranian scrap metal association is preparing to reuse the metal from seized Russian military vehicles that are damaged beyond repair.

Steel vests are made by vehicle scraps amid Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 21, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Steel vests are made by vehicle scraps amid Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 21, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Steel vests are made by vehicle scraps amid Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 21, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Steel vests are made by vehicle scraps amid Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 21, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Steel vests are made by vehicle scraps amid Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 21, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

— Anadolu Agency

President Zelenskyy calls for sanctions to be stepped up on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the Italian parliament via videolink, on March 22, 2022 in Rome.
Remo Casilli | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said sanctions on Russia need to be stepped up.

Addressing the Italian Parliament via video link, he said: "The Ukraine people supported you during the pandemic. We sent you doctors, and the Italians helped us during the flood [of 2020]."

"We are grateful, but the invasion has lasted 27 days, almost a month, and we need more sanctions, more pressure," he said, news agency ANSA reported, before telling Italian lawmakers that Russian forces were guilty of crimes like those committed by the Nazis.

Zelenskyy reportedly received a standing ovation of Italian lawmakers both at the start and end of his address, a sign of respect and admiration shown by politicians around the world.

Earlier on Tuesday, Zelenskyy had a telephone conversation with Pope Francis. Zelenskyy tweeted that he had spoken to the head of the Catholic church "about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops."

He said if the Vatican could play a mediating role in ending the conflict that would be appreciated.

Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says over 15,000 Russian troops have been killed

Crosses are pictured under smoke from a garbage in the cemetery of Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 21, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine's Defense Ministry claims roughly 15,300 Russian troops have been killed since the Kremlin launched its onslaught on Feb. 24.

In an update posted on Telegram, the ministry said 509 tanks, 1,556 armored combat vehicles and 252 artillery systems are among Russia's military losses through to March 22.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify these figures.

Russia reported on March 2 that 498 of its armed forces had been killed in the fighting. Moscow has not since provided an official update.

The pro-Kremlin Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Monday, citing Russia's Defense Ministry, that 9,861 Russian soldiers had died since the beginning of the war. It has since deleted the article.

The newspaper's Kremlin correspondent the newspaper was hacked and a false story was published on its site, Reuters reported. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he was unable to comment on the incident.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine deputy PM says concessions from Russia are needed for talks to succeed

Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the Kremlin must make concessions if talks are to bring an end to the war, describing Russia's demands for peace as "simply meaningless."

In an interview with the French TV channel LCI, Vereshchuk said Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is ready to hold talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Vereshchuk said Ukraine has demonstrated its readiness for productive diplomacy from the outset of Russia's invasion, according to a translation provided by the Ukrainian government.

The Kremlin said Monday that peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv had not yet made any significant progress.

— Sam Meredith

UN says more than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion

People, including an elderly woman wearing a Unkraine flag, line up to get into the buses for further transportation at the Medyka Polish-Ukrainian border crossing on March 18, 2022.
Wojtek Radwanski | AFP | Getty Images

The United Nations Refugee Agency said more than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion of the country on Feb. 24, Reuters reported.

Over 2 million people are estimated to have crossed the border into neighboring Poland.

— Sam Meredith

Putin is desperate — and could resort to using chemical weapons, German Marshall Fund director says

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Governor of the Novgorod Region Andrei Nikitin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 22, 2022.
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

Michal Baranowski, senior fellow and director of the German Marshall Fund's Warsaw office, argues that Russia's war against Ukraine has reached a precarious moment with President Vladimir Putin desperate for a victory.

VIDEO7:1607:16
Putin is desperate — and could resort to using chemical weapons: German Marshall Fund director

Holly Ellyatt

Russia says it fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. What are they?

A MiG-31K fighter jet with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile flies over Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in 2018.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia's purported use of hypersonic missiles in Ukraine in recent days is not only a sign that the military could be resorting to using more destructive weaponry, but also an opportunity for Russia to flaunt weapons it says it's been developing for several years.

Russia's Defense Ministry said on Friday that it had deployed "Kinzhal" (meaning "Dagger" in Russian) hypersonic aeroballistic missiles to destroy a large underground warehouse of Ukrainian missiles and aviation ammunition in Delyatin, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of western Ukraine.

Read more: CNBC has a brief guide to hypersonic missiles and what Russia claims to have used here.

Then on Saturday, the ministry said it had used Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missiles again to destroy a large Ukrainian storage base for fuels and lubricants in the Mykolaiv region; Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement it was the main fuel supply base for Ukrainian armored vehicles in combat areas in southern Ukraine.

Russian news agencies said the reported use of hypersonic missiles was the first time Russia's military had used them in its invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb.24.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the claims of hypersonic weapon use. The Pentagon said it wasn't able to either, but Russia has been flaunting the development of several types of hypersonic weapons for several years.

Holly Ellyatt

Most Russian forces 'largely stalled in place,' UK Defense Ministry says

Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia gather around a fire outside a residential building which was damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 11, 2022. 
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Russia continues to face strong opposition in many parts of Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update on Twitter.

"Despite heavy fighting, Ukrainian forces continue to repulse Russian attempts to occupy the southern city of Mariupol," the ministry said.

"Russian forces elsewhere in Ukraine have endured yet another day of limited progress with most forces largely stalled in place," the update added.

Still, many cities in Ukraine are suffering heavy Russian air and artillery bombardment, according to the ministry.

— Abigail Ng

Biden: Putin's back is 'against the wall' and he could resort to using chemical weapons

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks while joining the Business Roundtable's chief executive officer quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin's "back is against the wall" when it comes to the invasion of Ukraine and that he could resort to using more severe tactics in the country.

Speaking at a Business Roundtable event on Monday, Biden said Putin could resort to using "false flags" to justify a chemical or biological weapons attack on Ukraine.

"Now he's talking about new false flags he's setting up ... asserting that we in America have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe, [it's] simply not true I guarantee you," Biden said at the business event in Washington.

"They are also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That's a clear sign he's considering using both of those," Biden said, without presenting evidence. Biden again reiterated that there would be "severe consequences" if Russia did use such weapons.

Concerns have risen in recent weeks that Russia could resort to using chemical weapons in Ukraine as its invasion has been met by a staunch resistance from Ukrainian forces and civilian volunteer fighters.

Western officials and strategists have warned the threat posed by Moscow and Putin in this regard is credible and serious.

Holly Ellyatt

'Russians have been flummoxed': Pentagon says Russia is struggling to achieve its goals

A local resident walks with a child past a tank of pro-Russian troops during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 18, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Nearly a month since Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian forces have been unable to achieve their objectives, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

"We're on day 26 [and] the Russians have clearly not achieved many, or almost all of the objectives that ... we believe they were setting out to achieve," said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby at a briefing on Monday.

"They wanted to get after population centers so that they could take control of key ports, key cities, key government institutions," he said, adding that the Kremlin wanted to install a government that is "more friendly to Russia."

So far, Kirby said, Pentagon leaders believe the Russians have taken Kherson, and the Ukrainians have launched a counterattack there.

"I think what we're seeing here is the Russians have been flummoxed, they've been frustrated. They have failed to achieve a lot of their objectives on the ground," he added.

— Sumathi Bala 

'I don't think Russia can win': How Russia's invasion is stalling in Ukraine

Service members of pro-Russian troops are seen atop of tanks during Ukraine-Russia conflict on the outskirts of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 20, 2022. 
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

With Russia's invasion of Ukraine now approaching its fourth week, President Vladimir Putin's forces have exerted brutal force and destruction on the Eastern European nation, forcing people to flee and making millions homeless.

But Russia's economy is now creaking under the immense weight of international sanctions and the costs of war, having largely failed to achieve major military victories in Ukraine.

Close watchers of Moscow, and Putin, say there are increasing signs of desperation in Russia's military campaign and siege tactics.

"I don't think Russia can win," Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, told CNBC.

"They're bogged down. They're having trouble with supplies. They are having trouble with ammunition. They are not able to take the major cities. They're not advancing. They are showing a lot of desperate measures like calling in Syrians or asking the Chinese for help, or threatening to attack the NATO countries' [weapons] supplies [to Ukraine] and raising the specter of biological or chemical or nuclear use," he noted.

"These are all signs of, I think, desperation," Volker said, his views echoed by other analysts.

Holly Ellyatt

Trapped Ukrainians will 'fight till the end' and ultimatums won't work, says Zelenskyy

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with Eurovision News that his country will not submit to ultimatums from Russia.

"People will either leave the city or those who cannot leave will fight till the end. Therefore, an ultimatum, is a bad thing because it will lead to genocide and the destruction of the Ukrainian people," he told the European Broadcasting Union, an alliance of public broadcasters, on Monday.

Whether it comes to Ukraine's membership to NATO, or other forms of compromises, it needs to be accepted by the people, Zelenskyy added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addresses the US Congress from Kyiv, Ukraine on March 16, 2022, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.
Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

"When you talk about certain changes and they can be historic, we are not going anywhere. We will come to the referendum. Our people will have to say and give an answer to certain formats of compromises," he said. "What will those be? It will be defined by our conversation and understanding between Ukraine and Russia."

The president said residents of occupied cities such as Melitopol and Berdyansk will continue to resist Russian forces.

"We hate these troops who are destroying us and killing our people, [and we hate] their policy. We don't care, if we want peace, we need to sit down and talk," he added. "The right word is to negotiate. Negotiate as you have to. But to negotiate, not to execute ultimatums."

— Sumathi Bala

NATO official sees Russia war entering a stalemate

A police officer stands guard next to the Wreckage and debris outside a damaged shopping centre in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv by Russian air strikes, amid Russian invasion, in Kyiv, Ukraine, 21 March 2022.
Ceng Shou Yi | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The nearly monthlong Russian war in Ukraine is on the verge of entering a stalemate, said a senior NATO intelligence official, with Ukrainian forces preventing Russia from making progress but Russian President Vladimir Putin showing no willingness to back down. 

"If we're not in a stalemate, we are rapidly approaching one," said the NATO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military assessments. "The reality is that neither side has a superiority over the other."

Belarus, a close Russian ally, may soon attack Ukraine itself and is preparing to potentially let Russia position nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil, the official said. Belarus has already allowed Russia's military to use its territory to invade Ukraine.

— NBC News

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