New Delhi, March 22: Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said his country would be "destroyed" before it surrenders its cities to invading Russian forces, as he doubled down on a call for direct talks with Vladimir Putin as the key to ending the war.

As Russia defended overnight strikes that reduced a Kyiv shopping mall to rubble, killing eight, US President Joe Biden held a call with European leaders to address the increasingly "brutal tactics" employed by Moscow -- undeterred by unprecedented Western sanctions.

Russian accusations that Kyiv has biological and chemical weapons are false and illustrate that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering using them himself in his war against Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday, without citing evidence.

The Ukrainian army said it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important Kyiv suburb, after a fierce battle.

That prevents Russian forces from encircling the capital from the northwest, the Defence Ministry said.  Russia-Ukraine War: Students Who Returned From Ukraine To Get Admission in Karnataka Colleges

According to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, since February 24, 651 residential buildings have been completely destroyed, and about 3,780 houses have been partially destroyed.

In the last 24 hours, Russia has completed 300 aircraft sorties over Ukraine, reported the news organisation, Kyiv Independent. A sortie is a combat mission of an individual aircraft, starting from when the aircraft takes off.  Russia Demands Ukrainian Forces Lay Down Arms in Mariupol But Ukraine Says No

A senior U.S. official said that while the frequency of military aircraft sorties by Russia has increased, it has still not achieved aerial supremacy.

The Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Ukraine will resume on Wednesday after 22 member states, including France, the UK and the US, wrote to the President of the 193-member UN body, Abdulla Shahid, to convene the meeting.

The UN General Assembly, the most representative body of the United Nations, had on February 28 convened the rare emergency session on Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

Shahid presided over the unprecedented session from February 28 to March 2. It was only the 11th such emergency session of the General Assembly since 1950.

President Joe Biden warned US companies that Russia could be preparing to launch cyberattacks against critical infrastructure amid the war in Ukraine.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 22, 2022 10:50 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website