Russia-Ukraine crisis LIVE: Explosions rock Kyiv as Russian assault continues | One million refugees flee Ukraine

Four major explosions have lit up the night sky in Kyiv, captured by witnesses on video – as the Russian assault on the city continues.

The Ukraine military says Russian paratroopers have landed in its second-largest city Kharkiv.

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At least 21 people were killed and 112 wounded in the shelling of Ukraine's second most populous city Kharkiv,the city’s mayor has said.

A woman cries outside houses damaged by a Russian airstrike, according to locals, in Gorenka, outside the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

It comes as US President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to announce US airspace was closed to Russian flights, adding his administration would be joining the UK and other allies in pursuing the Russian oligarchs and “corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off (Vladimir Putin’s) violent regime”.

Scotland will send half a million items of medical supplies to Ukraine to help those “fighting a battle for democracy and freedom” against the Russian invasion, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister visited an NHS Scotland distribution centre in North Lanarkshire on Wednesday to see the medical equipment being packed before it is flown to Ukraine.

Ms Sturgeon said the shipment will be an “initial consignment” of items requested by the Ukrainian Government from NHS Scotland’s reserve stockpile, and she pledged to continue providing the “maximum we possibly can” for the duration of the conflict.

Russian forces unleashed their attack on Ukraine last week on the orders of Vladimir Putin, who announced a “special military operation” at dawn.

There have been reports of significant shelling overnight in Chernihiv in the north of Ukraine overnight.

G7 leaders have condemned Russia’s “unprovoked and completely unjustified attack” on Ukraine as a “serious violation” of international law.

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Ukraine conflict: Boris Johnson leads emergency meeting in response to crisis as...
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There have been called for the UK to do more to help with the refugee crisis in Ukraine.

You can follow updates in our live blog.

Russia-Ukraine crisis LIVE: Explosions rock Kyiv as Russian assault continues | One million refugees flee Ukraine

Key Events

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    One of Scotland’s leading universities holds more than £1m in shares in a major Russian state-owned bank which has been targeted by sweeping UK and US sanctions.

    Although they have not had to move far, protesters have been told they are no longer allowed to stand, or put their signs, right outside the front of the consulate.

    Speaking ahead of First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon expressed her “horror” at Russia’s “illegal invasion” of the country, which began a week ago.

    Ms Sturgeon also pledged £2 million of the £4 million Scottish Government money announced for Ukraine will go the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

    The appeal will raise funds for member charities to urgently respond to the crisis and provide people fleeing the violence with shelter, food, water and medical support.

    The First Minister expressed her “admiration of and solidarity with the people of Ukraine”, adding: “All of them are showing incredible bravery as they stand up for the values of democracy and sovereignty and freedom.

    Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) has temporarily stopped production at its Kyiv factory and evacuated employees following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The London-listed company, which has seen shares plunge in recent weeks due to its exposure to Russia and Ukraine, added that it has scrapped its forecasts for the current year due to the conflict.

    Coca-Cola HBC generated roughly 20% of its sales volumes and profits in 2021 from Russia and Ukraine.

    “The safety of our employees is our highest priority,” the company said in a statement.

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the NHS must stop using energy supplied by the Russian-owned firm Gazprom.

    A senior government source told the PA news agency that Mr Javid has been in talks with NHS England over ending the contracts, which are reported by Politico to have been worth £16 million in 2021.

    More than a dozen NHS trusts are thought to be supplied by Gazprom, alongside several local councils.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said tackling Russian aggression was a fight for “all of our freedom and security”.

    Speaking at a press conference in Lithuania, Ms Truss outlined the steps already taken by the UK, but said “we need to go further” by including all Russian banks in the ban from the Swift payment system, and reducing dependency on hydrocarbons from Russia.

    She said: “This is a struggle not just for Ukraine’s freedom and self-determination, but for all of our freedom and security.

    “By continuing to respond with strengths we will together ensure that Putin loses.”

    The prospect of a normal diplomatic relationship with the Russian government is “almost impossible” after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Defence Secretary has said.

    Ben Wallace, in a message to the Russian leader, said it is not too late for the war to be stopped as he warned Mr Putin will be “isolated for decades to come”, while security minister Damian Hinds suggested the UK could follow Europe in seizing the assets of Russian oligarchs.

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