The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) said that there were reports that Ukrainian civilians are being targeted by Russian forces and urged the Kremlin to make sure that the fight not escalate beyond the line.
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Russia's invasion of Ukraine was causing horrific suffering and that the humanitarian impact was devastating.
"We have a responsibility to ensure the conflict does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine," Stoltenberg said, adding, "We will protect and defend every inch of all allied territory."
His statement came hours after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was no longer pressing for NATO’s membership for his country, a delicate issue that was one of Russia's stated reasons for invading its pro-Western neighbour.
"I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that ... NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine," Zelenskyy said in an interview.
"The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia," the President added.
Meanwhile, Russian forces intensified their bombardment of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, the US said. Residents of the northeastern city of Sumy fled west in buses, a train and their own vehicles, taking advantage of humanitarian corridors.