March 3, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Laura Smith-Spark, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
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9:40 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Ukrainian tennis star says he returned to his country to fight Russia so it has "a history to tell to my kids"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky at the Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 27, 2019.
Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky at the Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 27, 2019. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)

Sergiy Stakhovsky, a former Ukrainian tennis pro who left his family to go fight Russia, said he decided to go back to his country because he "would like it to still be on a map."

Stakhovsky and his wife did not tell their three young children where he was going, but he said he thinks they may figure it out.

"It was not an easy decision. ... If I would stay home, I would feel guilt that I didn't come back. And now that I'm here, I feel guilty that I left them at home," he told CNN from Kyiv.

Stakhovsky beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013.

"I was born here, my grandparents are buried here. And I would like to have a history to tell to my kids. If I would stay home and Ukraine would fail, then there would be no Ukraine, not even in the history books," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's "lies would be transformed into history books," he said. "The modern history of Ukraine would be nonexistent."

He said he has had a basic military training class and that "people like me will be the last resort," but he is also in good health.

When asked if he'd be willing to sacrifice his life for his country, he said:

"This is a question which I don't have an answer to. I'm not sure that there is one individual who is ready to tell you now whether he's ready to sacrifice his life. I want to see my kids, that's for sure. I want to see my wife. That's my goal. But in a given moment, nobody knows what's happening."

Watch the interview:

9:33 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Russian airline yanked from global reservation system, a crippling blow to travel in the country

From CNN's Pete Muntean

The reservation system that is the backbone of airlines worldwide says it has terminated its agreement with Russia's government-owned carrier, which could significantly hamper domestic travel.  

The technology company Sabre says Aeroflot has been removed from its global distribution system, meaning the airline will not be shown in its "marketplace used by travel agencies, travel websites and corporations around the world to shop, book and service flight reservations."

The move is the latest significant measure against Russian aviation industry after the western world closed airspace to Russian aircraft. Earlier this week, Boeing and Airbus said they would no longer do business with Russian customers. Last week, Delta Air Lines ended its codeshare booking agreement with Aeroflot.

“Sabre has been monitoring the evolving situation in Ukraine with increasing concern," said Sabre CEO Sean Menke in a statement. “We are taking a stand against this military conflict."

9:16 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Biden's Cabinet meeting today illustrates how his administration is consumed by Ukraine

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

As US President Joe Biden collects his Cabinet for a meeting today in Washington, DC, the officials sitting around the table will provide a good illustration of how widely the Ukraine crisis is being dealt with in the Biden administration.

Nearly every agency or department represented has played some type of role, a rare example of the tired phrase "whole of government" actually being true.

Around the table today will be:

  • Vice President Kamala Harris, who traveled to Germany last month to meet with allies and deliver a message from the US at the Munich Security Conference.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has assumed overall responsibility for military aid to Ukraine, including the Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that were delivered this week.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has quarterbacked the sanctions packages rolled out over the last week by the administration, and also worked with phones with counterparts in Europe to ensure they are aligned.
  • Attorney General Merrick Garland announced yesterday the "Kleptocapture" task force meant to go after oligarchs yachts, private jets and luxury apartments.
  • Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo's department has assumed responsibility for the export controls levied on Russia and Belarus that restricts critical technology.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration, which enforces the ban on Russian flights in US airspace.
  • Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm worked this week to coordinate the release of 30 million barrels from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, along with other nations.
  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will have oversight of potential temporary protection status for Ukrainian refugees, along with ensuring there are no spillover security concerns within the US.
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has led the US intelligence community at one of its most extraordinary junctures as the Biden team employs a strategy of declassifying and releasing intelligence about Russia's intentions and plans. She also traveled to Europe to coordinate intel sharing with allies.
  • US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has assumed her highest-profile yet with speeches at the Security Council and General Assembly castigating Russia for its invasion.
  • United States Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young will head-up White House efforts to secure $10 billion in lethal and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

And while Secretary of State Antony Blinken is not expected to attend, his absence is because he is traveling to Europe for meetings today with NATO allies.

8:50 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Situation in Mariupol "remains difficult" but Ukrainian military will not surrender city, official says

From CNN’s Katharina Krebs 

The situation in the city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine “remains difficult,” a spokesperson of the Ukrainian National Guard told CNN Thursday, stressing however that the military “is not going to surrender the city.” 

“Soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine, together with the Armed Forces, continue to defend the city,” the spokesperson said. 

“The Ukrainian military is not going to surrender the city and will strike at the occupying forces. The military will also continue to destroy enemy sabotage groups on the outskirts of Mariupol," the official continued.

Where things stand in the city: According to the spokesperson, Russian forces have been “constantly bombing” the city, with the objective of destroying infrastructure — including the city’s rail network. 

“Shelling is taking place even in the direction of residential buildings, schools and kindergartens,” the spokesperson told CNN. 

Earlier on Thursday, the city’s Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov said during an interview on CNN’s New Day that Mariupol had faced 26 hours of continued shelling, describing the situation as “critical.”

 

10:20 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

One week into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, here's what you need to know

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv, seven days after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Here are today's latest developments:

  • Russia squeezes the south: Russian forces are battling to take control of strategic cities in southern Ukraine, after days of intense fighting.
  • Mariupol under siege: Mayor Vadym Boichenko said the Russian military is creating a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the port city.
  • Battle for Kherson: The mayor of the southern city of Kherson indicated it had fallen on Wednesday, saying Ukrainian forces had left. However the situation remains unclear, according to British military intelligence.

  • Expected talks: A second round of talks are set to take place in Belarus on Thursday between Russian and Ukrainian delegations. The first round on Monday lasted five hours and ended without a breakthrough.
  • Wave of refugees: More than one million people have left Ukraine in just a week, according to the UN. You can learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine here. 

  • Moscow changes tactics: Russian troops are engaging in more direct attacks on Ukrainian cities after attempts to encircle targets such as Kyiv were frustrated, said a NATO official.
  • Shelling in Kharkiv: In northeast of Ukraine, 34 civilians were killed by Russian attacks on the Kharkiv region in the past 24 hours, emergency services announced this morning.

8:41 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Volkswagen stops car production in Russia and suspends shipments

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Volkswagen is stopping production of vehicles in Russia and will suspend exports to the Russian market.

“The Volkswagen Group has received the news about the war in Ukraine with great dismay and shock. Volkswagen continues to hope for a cessation of hostilities and a return to diplomacy. We are convinced that a sustainable solution to the conflict can only be found on the basis of international law,” the carmaker said.

“Against the background of the Russian attack on Ukraine and the resulting consequences, the Group Board of Management of Volkswagen AG has decided to stop the production of vehicles in Russia until further notice. This decision applies to the Russian production sites in Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod,” it added, noting that vehicle exports to Russia will be stopped “with immediate effect.”

Other car makers, including Ford and Renault, have also paused production in Russia. Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo said they are stopping shipments to Russia until further notice.

9:02 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs warns against protests, according to state media

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

Security forces intervene with anti-war protesters in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, on March 2.
Security forces intervene with anti-war protesters in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, on March 2. (Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs warned Thursday against calls for unauthorized protests against the war in Ukraine and said it has introduced "extra measures to ensure law and order," Russian state news agency TASS reported. 

The ministry warned that all attempts to carry out unsanctioned actions will be stopped, and their organizers and participants will be prosecuted, TASS said.

OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group that tracks detentions in Russia, says over 7,500 people have been arrested in anti-war protests over the past week. 

Authorities in Russia forbid rallying without a permit and may consider broadcasting or reporting specific information on unauthorized rallies to be considered organizing illegal protests.

9:00 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

White House requests $10 billion for Ukraine aid as part of broader emergency funding request

From CNN's Phil Mattingly and Betsy Klein

Shalanda Young, acting Office of Management and Budget director, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., on February 1.
Shalanda Young, acting Office of Management and Budget director, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., on February 1. (Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The White House has asked lawmakers to approve $10 billion in lethal and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as part of a $32.5 billion emergency funding request sent to Capitol Hill as Russia continues its advance on Ukraine.

The request follows weeks of discussions between White House officials and lawmaker about the shape of any potential emergency request, which was expected to focus heavily on Covid-19 needs. But the escalating Russian invasion has dramatically increased the size of the request for Ukraine specifically.

Lawmakers are in the midst of negotiations over a long-term funding deal and face a March 11 deadline to reach an agreement.

The Ukraine funds are expected to be attached to any final deal, but the process remains fluid.

“This request identifies an immediate need for $10.0 billion in additional humanitarian, security, and economic assistance for Ukraine and Central European partners due to Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion,” the formal request sent Wednesday from acting Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young to Congressional leadership says. 

Young suggested the initial $10 billion request for Ukraine would address “immediate needs” and more funding could be needed.

“Given the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine, I anticipate that additional needs may arise over time. This funding request is based on the Administration’s best information on resource requirements at this time, and we will remain in touch with the Congress in the coming weeks and months as we assess resource requirements beyond these immediate needs,” she said. 

More on the funding request: The detailed request provides $4.8 billion to the Department of Defense, including $1.8 billion for support in the region as US military units support the US European Command and NATO Response Force, $1.3 billion for cybersecurity and other defense support, and $1.8 billion for replenishment of DOD stocks. It also calls for $5 billion for the Department of State and US Agency for International Development (USAID), including $2.8 billion in humanitarian assistance like food and other support, $500 million in military assistance through the Foreign Military Financing program, and $1.8 billion in economic assistance to help “support continuity of government and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, as well as emergent needs in the region.”  

The request also provides $21 million for the Department of Commerce to bolster export controls, $30 million for the Department of Energy to provide “technical assistance for electric grid integration,” $59 million for the Department of Justice to support a newly-announced Task Force KleptoCapture to enforce sanctions on Russia and other funding for the Multinational Task Force, and $91 million for the Department of Treasury for sanctions support and IRS criminal investigations, among other expenditures.

8:25 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Biden's Cabinet meeting today is expected to focus heavily on invasion of Ukraine, officials say

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Maegan Vazquez

US President Joe Biden will convene his Cabinet Thursday afternoon for a meeting that is expected to focus much more heavily on foreign policy than usual, officials told CNN.

At 2 p.m. ET Thursday, Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with top aides in the Cabinet room as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to unfold.

The White House said this morning that the President will also hold a secure video call in the Situation Room at 9 a.m. ET with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan “to discuss the war against Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific.” It is closed to press.

What we expect to happen in today's Cabinet meeting: The President is set to make brief remarks at the top of the meeting on the latest developments in Ukraine, White House officials said. He last convened a Cabinet meeting in November, which was focused on infrastructure.

Biden has remained highly focused this week on the invasion as Ukraine's cities have continued to be attacked by Russian forces, dedicating a large portion of Tuesday's State of the Union address to the conflict.

The US and allies have issued a wide range of actions in recent weeks intended to punish Moscow for the invasion.

During his address to Congress, the President announced that the US would join other countries in banning Russia's aircraft from US airspace and that the US and its allies had agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves. And after Biden told Russian oligarchs during the speech that the US was "coming for you," an official told CNN the Treasury Department is preparing further sanctions on more oligarchs and could impose those in the coming days. The sanctions are still being finalized, the official said.

Read more about the Cabinet meeting here.