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Talks on hold as crisis grows; Zelensky to address U.S. Congress on Wednesday

Two attacks rocked residential areas in Kyiv on March 14, killing at least two people. Residents fear violence will only intensify as Russian forces close in. (Video: Jon Gerberg, Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post, Photo: Heidi Levine for The Washington Post/The Washington Post)

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MUKACHEVO, Ukraine — Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia are on hold until Tuesday, after the talks resumed following recent attacks on a military facility 15 miles from the border of NATO member Poland that threatened to widen the war. Unrelenting fighting has obstructed efforts to provide relief to besieged Ukrainian cities, including the port of Mariupol. In the capital, officials said a residential building in Kyiv’s Obolon district was struck by Russian shelling, forcing residents to flee as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames and rescue those trapped inside.

Ukrainian officials had projected a more optimistic tone for the talks than on previous, fruitless occasions. But early Monday evening, Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser, said on Twitter that the talks were on a “technical pause.” The long-anticipated convoy of cars that would evacuate trapped Mariupol residents and deliver crucial food and medicine to the besieged city was also stalled Monday, with Ukrainian officials accusing Russian troops of repeatedly violating a cease-fire agreement.

After reports from U.S. officials that an increasingly isolated Russia has asked China for military equipment and aid — an allegation both countries denied — the White House warned Beijing that there would be “significant consequences" for violating sanctions against Moscow. National security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a direct warning to his Chinese counterpart during a seven-hour meeting in Rome on Monday and expressed "deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time.”

Here’s what to know

  • Both Ukrainian and Russian officials proposed new humanitarian corridors Monday. Russia proposed 10 humanitarian corridors, and Ukrainian authorities agreed to three and proposed 11 additional routes, according to Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defense Control Center. Mizintsev said Russia agreed to the 11 additional corridors, which covered Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol, Luhansk and Donetsk.
  • A high-voltage power line at the former Chernobyl nuclear plant was again damaged by Russian forces, Ukraine’s nuclear agency said one day after it was announced that power had been restored after a previous attack.
  • A United Nations human rights office, which has been tracking civilian casualties, says there have been at least 636 civilians killed and 1,125 injured since Russia began its invasion — though the office acknowledges that the figure is probably a significant undercount.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver a virtual joint address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Democratic leadership announced.
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