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Russia-Ukraine War: What to know on Day 7 of Russian assault

On Day 7 of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russia continued its attacks on crowded Ukrainian cities and a lengthy convoy of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced slowly toward the capital, Kyiv.

Russia’s escalation Wednesday came as President Joe Biden, in his State of the Union speech to Americans, warned that if the Russian leader didn’t “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression wouldn’t stop with one country.

Here’s a look at key things to know about the conflict:

POSSIBLE TALKS

A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that a Russian delegation would be ready Wednesday evening to resume talks with Ukrainian officials about the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said his country was ready.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH RUSSIA’S HUGE MILITARY THE CONVOY TO KYIV

The 40-mile (64-kilometer) convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles is on a road to Kyiv, a city of nearly 3 million people. The West feared it was part of a bid by Putin to topple the government and install a Kremlin-friendly regime.

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A senior U.S. defense official said Russia’s military progress has slowed, plagued by logistical and supply problems. Some Russian military columns have run out of gas and food, the official said. The Russian military has also been stalled by fierce resistance on the ground and a surprising inability to completely dominate Ukraine’s airspace.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN KHARKIV?

Russia’s assault on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, continued with a Russian strike hitting the regional police and intelligence headquarters, according to the Ukrainian state emergency service, which said three people were wounded.

The strike blew off the roof of the five-story police building, setting the top floor on fire and sending debris into nearby streets, according to videos and photos released by the emergency service.

At least four people were killed and nine were wounded in the strikes, according to the emergency service.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack on Kharkiv “undisguised terror.”

WHAT DOES RUSSIA SAY ABOUT ITS ATTACK ON KYIV’S TV TOWER?

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday that Russia’s airstrike Tuesday on the main TV tower in Kyiv was aimed at disabling Ukraine’s ability to stage “information attacks.”

Konashenkov didn’t discuss the five people who Ukrainian officials say were killed in the attack, which damaged a TV control room and power substation and briefly knocked some channels off the air. But he did say no residential buildings were hit.

WHAT ABOUT VIOLENCE ELSEWHERE?

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Two cruise missles hit a hospital in the northern city of Chernihiv, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN quoted the city’s chief health administrator, Serhiy Pivovar, as saying. The hospital’s main building suffered damage and authorities were working to determine the casualty toll, he said. No other information was immediately available.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said Tuesday that it had seen an increase in Russian air and artillery strikes on populated urban areas over the past two days. It also said Russian forces had encircled the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine’s northeast, and the southern coastal cities of Kherson and Mariupol.

WHAT DID BIDEN SAY?

Biden used his first State of the Union address to highlight the resolve of a Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and adopt tough sanctions — including closing U.S. airspace to all Russian flights.

Biden devoted the first 12 minutes of his address to Ukraine, with lawmakers of both parties repeatedly rising to their feet and applauding as he praised the bravery of Ukraine’s people and condemned Putin’s assault.

HOW IS THE RUSSIAN ECONOMY FARING?

Russia has found itself increasingly isolated, hit by sanctions that have thrown its economy into turmoil and left the country practically friendless, apart from a few nations like China, Belarus and North Korea. Biden said the sanctions have left Russian President Vladimir Putin ”isolated in the world more than he has ever been.”

Leading Russian bank Sberbank announced Wednesday that it was pulling out of European markets amid tightening Western sanctions. The bank said its subsidiaries in Europe were facing an “abnormal outflow of funds and a threat to the safety of employees and branches,” according to Russian news agencies. They did not provide details of the threats.

The U.S. and EU have levied sanctions on Russia’s biggest banks and its elite, frozen the assets of the country’s Central Bank located outside the country, and excluded its financial institutions from the SWIFT bank messaging system.

The sanctions and resulting crash of the ruble have left the Kremlin scrambling to keep the country’s economy running. For Putin, that means finding workarounds to the Western economic blockade.

Former Treasury Department officials and sanctions experts expect Russia to try to mitigate the impact of the financial penalties by relying on energy sales and leaning on the country’s reserves in gold and Chinese currency. Putin also is expected to move funds through smaller banks and accounts of elite families not covered by the sanctions, deal in cryptocurrency and rely on Russia’s relationship with China.

WHAT IS THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION?

It’s worsening. Roughly 874,000 people have fled Ukraine and the U.N. refugee agency warned the number could cross the 1 million mark soon. Countless others have taken shelter underground.

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it was impossible to verify the claim. The U.N. human rights office said it had recorded the deaths of 136 civilians, including 13 children, in Ukraine since the Feb. 24 start of the invasion.

The EU is stepping up aid for Ukraine and moving toward granting temporary protection to those fleeing Russia’s invasion. The EU Commission said Wednesday that it will give temporary residence permits to the refugees and allow them rights to education and work in the 27-nation bloc. The move would still need the approval of member states, but they expressed broad support for the idea over the weekend.

Human Rights Watch said it documented a cluster bomb attack outside a hospital in Ukraine’s east in recent days. Residents also reported the use of the weapons in Kharkiv and Kiyanka village. The Kremlin denied using cluster bombs.

DEVELOPMENTS AT THE UNITED NATIONS

The U.N. General Assembly will vote Wednesday on a resolution demanding that Russia immediately stop using force against Ukraine and withdraw its military from the country, and condemning Moscow’s decision “to increase the readiness of its nuclear forces.”

The 193-nation General Assembly met Tuesday for a second day of speeches about the war, with more than 110 member states signed up to speak. Unlike the U.N. Security Council, the General Assembly doesn’t allow vetoes. And unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions aren’t legally binding, though they have clout in reflecting international opinion.

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