March 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Maureen Chowdhury, Jason Kurtz and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:01 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022
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5:42 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Ukrainians camp in Kyiv subway station

From CNN's Kyle Almond

People take shelter in a Kyiv subway station on Wednesday.
People take shelter in a Kyiv subway station on Wednesday. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

As the city of Kyiv braces for a major Russian attack, many residents are hunkering down in bomb shelters, basements and subway stations.

These photos, taken on Wednesday by Timothy Fadek, show life inside one of those subway stations in the capital. 

(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)
(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)
(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Blankets and sleeping beds stretch down the corridor. Some people have tents or air mattresses.

People use their phones or read books to pass the time. Many of them are women and children. 

There were also dogs and cats seen in the station as people brought their pets with them.

(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)
(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

5:45 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Though facing "overwhelming odds," Sen. Menendez feels Ukrainians "have a real chance" at surviving invasion

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Displaced Ukrainians take shelter in an auditorium in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 2.
Displaced Ukrainians take shelter in an auditorium in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 2. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Despite the vast challenges and brutal violence facing the people of Ukraine, Senator Bob Menendez says he doesn't believe the situation is hopeless.

"I don't come to that conclusion, although they are facing what could be considered overwhelming odds," Menendez told CNN's Jake Tapper.

"When we freeze Russia's reserves abroad and [Putin] can not get access to it ... he doesn't have the money to fuel a lot of this in the longer term," said Menendez, adding, "so I still believe that the Ukrainian people have a real chance here, but it is undoubtedly a very difficult one."

Meanwhile, Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues. Menendez noted that "Russia has a 40-mile caravan of critical equipment that it logistically [does] not seem to be able to deal with." As such, says Menendez, "they have turned to the indiscriminate bombing that we have seen in the last few days and that is condemnable."

The bombing of civilian buildings and hospitals, says Menendez, "[amounts] to war crimes."

The Democratic from New Jersey is part of a group of bipartisan senators asking for temporary protected status (TPS) for Ukrainians in the US.

Continuing his live conversation with Tapper, Menendez explained why such a cause is so important.

"You can't take Ukrainians who legally enter the United States and happen to be here, to then send them back to a war zone. You can't tell Europe and our allies ... that are doing the right thing by accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees, and then [have them] send back people from Ukraine back to Ukraine," Menendez said, concluding that he "would expect the administration to ultimately grant TPS. I don't see how they do not."

5:09 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

EU sanctions 22 Belarusian officials and military for involvement in Russian invasion of Ukraine

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London  

The European Union has sanctioned 22 Belarusian officials and military personnel for their involvement in supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

In a document published Wednesday, the EU said the 22 Belarusian high-ranking individuals were being targeted "in view of the gravity of the situation and of the fact that Belarus is participating in a Russian unprovoked invasion against Ukraine by allowing military aggression from its territory."

The bloc also announced further restrictions on Minsk, banning certain imports from Belarus into the EU, and EU’s exports of machinery to Belarus.  

"Certain sectors of the Belarusian economy in particular the wood, steel and potash sectors" are also set to be impacted by the measures, the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union announced in a tweet on Wednesday. 

5:06 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Seven Russian banks removed from SWIFT

From CNN's Donald Judd in Washington DC

A VTB Bank branch is seen in Moscow on February 28.
A VTB Bank branch is seen in Moscow on February 28. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Seven Russian banks have been removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging service that connects financial institutions around the world.

In a statement Wednesday, SWIFT said “Diplomatic decisions taken by the European Union, in consultation with the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, bring SWIFT into efforts to end this crisis by requiring us to disconnect select Russian banks from our financial messaging services. As previously stated, we will fully comply with applicable sanctions laws,” they wrote.

The statement went on to say, “To this end, in compliance with the legal instruction in EU Council Regulation (EU) 2022/345 of 1 March 2022, we will disconnect seven designated Russian entities (and their designated Russia based subsidiaries) from the SWIFT network. This Regulation requires us to disconnect the identified entities on 12 March 2022, and we will do so accordingly. The SWIFT community will be kept regularly updated across multiple channels, including in the customer section on swift.com.”

On Wednesday in a statement the Council of the EU said the Russian banks removed from SWIFT are Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank, Sovcombank, VNESHECONOMBANK (VEB), and VTB BANK.

The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada said in a joint statement on Saturday warned they would disconnect "selected" Russian banks from SWIFT in order to punish Russia for invading its neighbor.

5:01 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

US House passes symbolic resolution of support for Ukraine

From CNN's Kristin Wilson and Ellie Kaufman, with additional reporting from Ali Zaslav

(House TV)
(House TV)

The House overwhelmingly voted 426-3 to approve a resolution declaring their support for Ukraine as the country continues to fend off a week-long Russian invasion.

Three Republican members, Rep. Tom Massie of Kentucky, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, voted against the resolution. 

The resolution, co-sponsored by Ukrainian-born Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana, “demands an immediate cease-fire and the full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory” and “supports, unequivocally, Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and presses to send security assistance to help Ukraine fight the Russians.

The US has given more than $1 billion in total security assistance to Ukraine over the past year including an additional aid package of $350 million authorized last week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Feb. 26. 

The 17-point resolution also affirms the United States’ “ironclad commitment” to Article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that an attack on one NATO nation is an attack on all, with a mutual pledge to defend all other NATO nations, and warns Russian President Vladimir Putin that “it will never recognize or support any illegitimate Russian-controlled leader or government installed through the use of force.”

The move by the House follows a similar tack taken by the Senate in mid-February, when they unanimously approved a symbolic resolution condemning Russia for its aggressive actions towards Ukraine. That resolution was agreed to by a voice vote after the Senate failed to move a binding package of sanctions against Russia and its interests.

Biden administration officials have said they will continue to provide aid to Ukraine, and some lawmakers have called for additional humanitarian, lethal and non-lethal assistance to be sent amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country.

 

4:42 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

US delivered hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine this week, sources say

From CNN's Kylie Atwood and Zachary Cohen

The US has delivered hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine for the first time over the last few days, including over 200 on Monday, according to a US official and a congressional source briefed on the matter.  

Earlier this year the US gave the green light to Baltic countries including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send American-made weaponry that they have to Ukraine, including Stingers. But until now the Biden administration had held off on the US providing the Stingers directly to Ukraine, while they have provided other lethal weaponry.

Some members of Congress have been pushing for additional Stinger missiles to be sent to Ukraine for months. The Ukrainians have repeatedly made pleas more weaponry from the US, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. 

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters on Wednesday that at this time Ukraine is still able to receive “vital defensive military equipment” that it needs.

More background: There are different generations of Stingers that the US produces and US officials have been cognizant of not providing the newest model to the Ukrainians in case they fall into the hands of the Russians who could steal the US technology.  

Earlier this week German announced that they would deliver 1,000 antitank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, marking a change in its previous stance of not sending weaponry to Ukraine amid this crisis.

NBC News was first to report on the delivery of US Stingers to Ukraine.

4:16 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Sweden Armed Forces: Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace

From CNN's Abby Baggini and Henrik Pettersson

Four Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Swedish Armed Forces. 

Two Russian Su-27s and two Russian Su-24s violated Swedish airspace east of the island of Gotland, across the sea. The Swedish Air Force carried out an operation using its Jas 39 Gripen fighter aircrafts "out of emergency preparedness." 

"We were on site to secure territorial integrity and Sweden's borders," said Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edström. "We have full control of the situation."

Sweden banned Russian aviation in its airspace on Monday, Feb. 28.

"In light of the current situation, we take the incident very seriously. It is an unprofessional and irresponsible action on the part of Russia," Edström said.
4:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Kyiv mayor says preliminary reports indicate no one is hurt in blast close to city railway station 

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv  

The mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has said that preliminary reports suggest there were no casualties in a blast that shattered windows at the city's railway station Wednesday evening. 

But he added: "We are clarifying the details." 

Klitschko said in a Telegram post that despite shelling in a number of Kyiv suburbs Wednesday, "Thank God, there are no casualties." 

"The enemy was trying to breakthrough to our city, but Ukrainian defenders are repulsing the occupiers and defending our capital," he continued.

It's unclear what caused the blast near the station.

An Interior Ministry adviser said the damage was caused by the falling wreckage of a cruise missile after it had been intercepted by Ukrainian air defense systems.  

4:06 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Pentagon: Russian push toward Kyiv, including large military convoy, "remains stalled"

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Russian forces moving toward Kyiv in the northern part of Ukraine, including a large Russian military convoy, “remain stalled,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

“They haven’t from our best estimates made any appreciable progress in the last 24-36 hours,” Kirby said of the Russian forces moving towards Kyiv. “Nothing very significant.”

Kirby said the stall is likely due to a number of factors including Russian forces deliberately “regrouping themselves and reassessing the progress that they have not made and how to make up the lost time,” “logistics and sustainment challenges,” and “resistance from the Ukrainians,” Kirby said.

In the southern part of Ukraine, Russian forces “appear to be experiencing in general less resistance than they are up in the north,” Kirby said. Kherson and Mariupol, two major population centers in the south, are still contested, Kirby said.

“Our assessment is, as they get closer to these two population centers down in the south, we believe they are facing more resistance,” Kirby said.