Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine, Mariupol evacuations under threat

A Ukrainian service member walks on the front line near Kyiv, Ukraine on March 29.
A Ukrainian service member walks on the front line near Kyiv, Ukraine on March 29. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

US President Joe Biden, when asked to respond to Russia’s claim it will “reduce” its assault on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, told reporters Tuesday, “We’ll see. I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are. We’ll see if they follow through what they’re suggesting.”

In the meantime, Biden said, the US is going to “continue to keep strong the sanctions. We’re gonna continue to provide the Ukrainian military with their capacity to defend themselves and we’re gonna continue to keep a close eye on what’s going on.”

The US President’s comments came after delegations from Russia and Ukraine met for in-person talks earlier on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey.

Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky said the announcement of plans for a de-escalation by the Russian military around Kyiv and Chernihiv “is not a ceasefire.”

Here’s a look at other key development in the war in Ukraine:

On the ground fighting: Intense fighting continued around the suburbs of Kyiv on Tuesday afternoon, especially in the northwest and northeast of the city, despite an announcement by both Ukrainian and Russian officials that Moscow was pulling some units away from both the capital and Chernihiv.

At least 12 people were killed and 33 injured in a Russian strike on the office of the regional military governor of Ukraine’s southwestern Mykolaiv region on Tuesday, Ukraine’s State Emergency Services said.

This death toll is an increase to figures provided earlier Tuesday by the Mykolaiv regional media office telegram channel.

US and allies “affirmed” efforts to raising costs on Russia: Biden and his counterparts in France, Germany, Italy and the UK “affirmed their determination to continue raising costs on Russia for its brutal attacks in Ukraine, as well as to continue supplying Ukraine with security assistance to defend itself against this unjustified and unprovoked assault,” on a call this morning, according to a White House statement. 

US troops training Ukrainians on weapons supplied by the West: US troops in Poland have been providing Ukrainians with some instruction on how to use weapons and equipment that the West has been shipping into Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, as part of the United States’ efforts to help Ukrainian forces repel Russian attacks. 

Biden said on Monday that those American forces have been “helping train the Ukrainian troops” in Poland. The troops have been deployed there to help bolster NATO’s eastern flank during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Expulsion of Russian diplomats: Multiple countries announced Tuesday they are expelling Russian diplomats from their countries.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands expelled 17 Russian intelligence officers attached to Russian diplomats in the country. It said in a tweet the decision was based on information from Dutch intelligence and security services naming the Russian officers as a threat to national security. 

Belgium said it is expelling 21 Russian diplomats who have been identified as involved in espionage and “influence activities,” Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmes said.

Ukraine invited to a meeting with NATO foreign ministers: Ukraine and a number of non-NATO countries have been invited to attend part of a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers next week, according to a statement from the military alliance headquartered in Brussels.

Here’s a look at where things stand in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion:

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