March 1, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Jessie Yeung, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 6:05 PM ET, Tue March 8, 2022
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9:16 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russian military warns of strikes against facilities in Kyiv, according to statement via state media

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

The Russian military said Tuesday it will carry out strikes against the facilities in Kyiv, warning civilians living near the areas to leave.

The Russians will target the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the 72nd Main Center for Information and Psychological Operations (PSO) in Kyiv, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement Tuesday via Russian state news agency TASS. 

"In order to suppress information attacks against Russia, the technological facilities of the SBU and the 72nd main PSO center in Kyiv will be hit with high-precision weapons," the statement said, according to TASS. "We call on Ukrainian citizens attracted by Ukrainian nationalists to carry out provocations against Russia, as well as residents of Kyiv living near relay nodes leave their homes."

Speaking about the "relay nodes," CNN's Clarissa Ward said, "we understand that to mean communications towers. So large antennas, things of that nature." 

"This is not a surprise in a sense that people here have been bracing themselves for an uptick in the Russian onslaught. Up until now, most attacks have really been targeting the outskirts of the city. But now it appears that things will move to the center of the capital as so many had feared," Ward said.

More background: A massive 40-mile-long Russian military convoy — made up of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles — has reached the outskirts of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies. 

Russia has repeatedly claimed it is not hitting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. But social media videos, photos and satellite images analyzed and geolocated by CNN confirm that on several occasions densely populated areas have been hit by Russian forces.

In the past two days, accelerated strikes on the second-largest city of Kharkiv that have struck civilians suggest Russia is shifting toward a far less-restrained bombing campaign, in contrast with its earlier attacks that were more focused on military targets.

The UN says that at least 102 civilians have been killed across the country and 304 injured, though those figures are likely to underestimate the true toll.

9:50 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine are choking the country's borders

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen and AnneClaire Stapleton

Refugees from Ukraine line up to get in to Poland at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, on February 28.
Refugees from Ukraine line up to get in to Poland at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, on February 28. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images)

There are now more than half a million refugees from Ukraine in neighboring countries, the UN said Monday, with people desperately heading west towards central Europe after Russia's invasion last week.

Here's a snapshot of the situation at Ukraine's borders:

Poland: More than 100,000 people crossed from Ukraine into Poland on Monday, according to Poland's border guard, the highest figure received by Ukraine's EU neighbors since the invasion began.

Since February 24, border authorities have cleared the entry of at least 377,400 people at its border crossings with Ukraine, according to a tweet Tuesday.

The longest line is at the Medyka crossing, border guard spokesperson Anna Michalska said.

On the Ukrainian side of that frontier, a 20-kilometer (12-mile) line of vehicles stretches through nearby villages. Residents told CNN the amount of people moving to the border has dropped in the past day.

The first few days of evacuations were chaotic, with many people walking vast distances to the border in cold conditions, they said. But now many volunteers from local villages have set up temporary shelter and are offering food.

A CNN team at the border has spoken to many non-Ukrainian citizens who say officials are still giving preferential treatment to Ukrainians crossing the border.

CNN has also met Ukrainian nationals who were waiting in line in their cars, but decided to abandon their vehicles and walk to the border instead, because they thought it would be faster.

Many men are escorting their families to the border, knowing they will likely be turned away and not be able to leave. Ukraine has banned military-aged men from leaving the country as it seeks to boost its armed forces.

Slovakia: Waiting times at Ukraine's borders with Slovakia stretch up to 35 hours in Ubla, towards the northeast of Slovakia, and 12 hours in Vysne Nemecke, towards the southeast. Another crossing in Velke Slemence is seeing less congestion.

A total of 54,304 people had entered the country by Tuesday morning, according to the Slovak border police.

According to the agency's spokesperson, guards have not turned around a single person since the beginning of the conflict, meaning any such incidents happened on the Ukrainian side. Roughly 15,000 people crossed through three crossings from Sunday morning to Monday morning, around a third of whom were non-Ukrainians, they said.

Romania: A total of 89,000 Ukrainian citizens have come through the Romanian border since the Russian invasion, with 50,000 then exiting to other countries, according to official border records.

Congestion has been seen at the border with Hungary, but police confirmed to CNN that the crossings are less busy today and people clearing the crossings faster.

8:55 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

World's biggest container shipping companies temporarily halt cargo bookings to and from Russia

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Two of the world’s biggest container shipping companies are halting cargo bookings to and from Russia.

“As the stability and safety of our operations is already being directly and indirectly impacted by sanctions, new Maersk bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with exception of foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies,” shipping giant Maersk said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are deeply concerned by how the crisis keeps escalating in Ukraine,” the company added noting that it starts “seeing the effect on global supply chain flows such as delays, detention of cargo by customs authorities across various transshipment hubs, unpredictable operational impacts.”

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) will also stop all cargo bookings to and from Russia starting today, “covering all access areas including Baltics, Black Sea and Far East Russia,” the company said in a statement.

MSC will continue to accept and screen bookings for delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods.

8:40 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russia preparing to launch large-scale information operation against Ukraine, says Ukraine's defense minister

From CNN's Olya Voitoych in Kyiv

Russia is preparing to launch a “large-scale information and psychological operation” against Ukraine, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Tuesday.

“Its goal is to break the resistance of Ukrainians and the Ukrainian army with lies,” Reznikov said in a statement.

According to the defense minister, Russia has planned to create “communication problems” and to fabricate reports that Ukraine’s military and political leadership have “agreed to surrender” to the Russian Forces.

“As a ‘confirmation’ of this, fake — supposedly signed — documents as well as edited fake videos will be spread,” Reznikov said.

“This is a lie. This won’t happen. There will be no surrender! Only victory,” he added. 

9:48 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Germany and Luxembourg express support for Ukraine

From Inke Kappeler in Berlin

The leaders of Germany and Luxembourg expressed their support for the people of Ukraine during a joint news conference in Berlin Tuesday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “immediately stop all combat operations, withdraw all Russian troops and return to dialogue.”

“The bloodshed has to come to an end. Vladimir Putin is offending the Ukrainian people," Scholz added. “These will be very dramatic times. The pictures with the many dead and injured, the destroyed buildings and infrastructure that we have had to bemoan are only a beginning of what is likely to come."

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel echoed similar sentiments, “It is our damned duty to stand for the Ukrainian people." 

“You are not forgotten. You are not alone,” Bettel added. “We must continue our diplomatic efforts. We must achieve a ceasefire, and without talks this will not be possible.”

8:23 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Kyiv mayor says the "enemy is on the outskirts" of the Ukrainian capital

From Olya Voitoych in Kyiv  

The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, warned Tuesday in a video message that “the enemy is on the outskirts of the capital,” adding that the Ukrainian military is “preparing to defend Kyiv.”

“Our armed forces, Territorial Defense Forces, are fighting heroically for our land,” Klitschko said. 

“Fortifications and checkpoints have been built at the entrances to the city. I ask everyone to keep calm. Do not go outside unnecessarily and stay in shelters in case of alarm,” he added. 

A massive 40-mile-long Russian military convoy — made up of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles — has reached the outskirts of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies. 

In an earlier video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said defending Kyiv is the government’s “key priority.” 

“Kyiv is special. If we protect Kyiv, we will protect the state. This is the heart of our country, and it must keep beating,” Zelensky said. 

Echoing the president’s remarks, Klitschko said that Russian Forces want to “take the heart of our country.” 

“We will fight and we will not give Kyiv up,” he asserted.

8:06 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

"Prove that you will not let us go": Zelensky asks EU leaders for solidarity after Ukraine applies to join bloc

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Members of the European Parliament applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who appears on a screen as he speaks in a video conference during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 1.
Members of the European Parliament applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who appears on a screen as he speaks in a video conference during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 1. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on European leaders to “prove” their solidarity with his country, just a day after signing an official request to join the European Union. 

“We have proven our strength. We have proven that, at a minimum, we are exactly the same as you. So prove that you are with us. Prove that you will not let us go. Prove that you are, indeed, Europeans,” Zelensky said in a video address to the European Parliament on Tuesday. 

Zelensky said his country is "fighting for survival" amid the Russian invasion.

“Then, life will win over death and light will win over darkness,” he continued. “We are fighting for survival — this is the highest of our motivations — but we are also fighting to be equal members of Europe.” 

Tweeting on Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the “best decision the EU can make now is to accept Ukraine as a new full-fledged member” of the organization.

“Historic times require big and historic decisions which can change the flow of events,” he added, urging EU leaders to admit Ukraine to the bloc “without delay.” 

Addressing the European Parliament via video link, Zelensky stressed that the Ukrainian people are fighting for their lives, urging EU leaders to stand by Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. 

“We are dealing with real people, real lives. We are giving our lives for our values, our rights, our freedom, for the desire to be equals — as much as you are,” Zelensky said. 

“Nobody is going to break us. We are strong. We are Ukrainians,” he added.

 

7:55 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

"Economic wars quite often turn into real ones," former Russian President Medvedev says

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Moscow and Xiaofei Xu in Paris

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has lashed out against remarks by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who earlier said that France was waging an economic war against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. 

“Watch your tongue, gentlemen,” Medvedev, who is the current deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council tweeted on Tuesday. “Don’t forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones.”

Earlier on Monday, Le Maire said in an interview with French broadcaster FranceInfo that his country and the EU would “launch total economic and financial war against Russia.”

7:48 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russian Change.org petition against Ukraine war has more than 1 million signatures

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

A Russian-language Change.org petition against the war in Ukraine has gathered more than a million signatures, and members of Russian professional organizations have signed similar petitions, according to a CNN review.

Veteran human-rights activist Lev Ponomarev launched a "No to war" petition that has over 1 million signatures as of early afternoon Moscow time Tuesday.

A Russian website — https://we-are-not-alone.ru/ — has aggregated petitions of over three dozen Russian professional organizations representing academics, artists, journalists, musicians, economists and other professions. By their count, nearly 100,000 individuals have signed these petitions.

Prominent Russian media figures, including author and journalist Mikhail Zygar and documentary filmmaker Yury Dud — who has over 5 million Instagram followers — have posted on social media against the war.