March 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark, Angela Dewan, Adrienne Vogt, Joe Ruiz and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 6, 2022
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1:17 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Putin says sanctions introduced on Russia are equal to a "declaration of war"

From CNN's Mostafa Salem

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Aeroflot Aviation School outside Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, March 5.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Aeroflot Aviation School outside Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, March 5. (Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that the sanctions introduced on his country are “equivalent of a declaration of war.”

Putin also said there are not planning on a state of emergency in Russia or enlisiting conscripts for the “operation" in Ukraine. 

“We could have taken a different course of action," he said. "We could have helped the republics of Donbas at the contact line and reinforced them with the Russian army, but in this case, and I mean with the unwavering support from the west, we would have radicals on the other side coming endlessly… with support from the west."

“Our General Staff, the Ministry of Defense, went the other way; the first thing they did was to destroy the entire military infrastructure [of Ukraine], well, not all of it, but partially, mostly. Warehouses with weapons, ammunition, aviation, air defense systems,” he said.

Putin said they have almost completed the destruction of the Ukrainian air defense systems.

CNN cannot independently confirm Putin's claims.

“Hence the demand to close the sky, but the implementation of this demand is associated with colossal and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe, but for the whole world,” he said.

“The current [Ukrainian] leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they put under question the future of Ukrainian statehood. And if that happens, it will be entirely on their conscience,” Putin added.  

12:50 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

On the ground: Ukrainians who endured a week of bombardment near Kyiv flee homes, CNN's Clarissa Ward reports

Residents are evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 5.
Residents are evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 5. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN) 

Ukrainians under heavy bombardment for a week in the northwest outskirts of Kyiv finally were able to flee, CNN's Clarissa Ward reported from the entrance to the city of Irpin.

A bridge was destroyed by Ukrainian forces to prevent Russian forces from moving on central Kyiv, she reported.

"We're seeing a lot of people who are clearly, visibly shaken, petrified because they have been trapped in terrible bombardment for days on end and are just now starting to get out," Ward said.

She said there has been the sound of constant artillery in the background.

"A lot of people are not leaving their homes yet. A lot of people can't get their head around the idea of simply deserting their lives, their families, their homes, their pets, their houses, everything they've worked so hard for. And so, it's extraordinary to see what a high threshold many Ukrainians have. It takes a lot before they're willing to leave their homes. These people have been under bombardment for seven straight days and are only just leaving their homes. And they're leaving them reluctantly, and they're leaving them with the knowledge that they might not be able to go back to them," she said.

People with pets and other belongings, including many elderly Ukrainians, made their way through twisted metal.

Ward paused reporting for a few seconds to assist an elderly man who was struggling to walk and to help a woman carry her bag.

Watch here:

12:10 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Civilian evacuations from Mariupol and Volnovakha will not happen on Saturday, says Red Cross

From CNN's Amy Cassidy

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “understands” that civilian evacuations from Mariupol and Volnovakha will not go ahead on Saturday as planned, after operations were postponed by Ukrainian authorities citing continued Russian shelling in the area. 

"We understand that the safe passage operations from Mariupol and Volnovakha will not start today,” the ICRC said in a statement posted on Twitter

“We remain in dialogue with the parties about the safe passage of civilians from different cities affected by the conflict,” the statement added. 


Russia was accused earlier Saturday of “violating” an agreement on two evacuation corridors from Mariupol and Volnovakha as shelling continued, said Iryna Vereshchuk, the Ukrainian minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories.

11:09 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

US State Department again urges Americans to not travel to Russia

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

The US State Department has once again urged Americans not to travel to Russia on Saturday, citing the “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine,” and “the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials.”

The alert comes after the department told Americans in Russia earlier this week in a similar alert to considering “immediately” departing the country while there are still commercial flights leaving the country. The security alert on Monday reiterated those warnings.

11:36 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

18-month-old boy dies after shelling in Mariupol

CNN Photos

Editor's note: Photos may be deemed upsetting to readers

Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Fedor comfort each other after her 18-month-old son Kirill was killed by shelling in a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday, March 4.
Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Fedor comfort each other after her 18-month-old son Kirill was killed by shelling in a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday, March 4. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo)

Marina Yatsko, along with her boyfriend, Fedor, rushed to the hospital Friday after her 18-month-old son, Kirill, was wounded in a shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Associated Press photographer Evgeniy Maloletka captured the scene as medical workers frantically tried to save the boy’s life. He didn’t survive.

Marina Yatsko, left, runs behind her boyfriend Fedor as they arrive at the hospital with Kirill.
Marina Yatsko, left, runs behind her boyfriend Fedor as they arrive at the hospital with Kirill. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photos)

The key city of Mariupol is under siege by Russian forces determined to tighten their grip on Ukraine. On Saturday, Ukrainian officials accused Russia of shelling the city and civilian corridors out of it, despite Russia's own agreement to hold fire. Western officials have noticed a shift in Russian strategy with increasing attacks on civilians and residential areas.

Marina Yatsko with her son Kirill after he died as her boyfriend Fedor looks on.
Marina Yatsko with her son Kirill after he died as her boyfriend Fedor looks on. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo)

A medical worker reacts after 18 month-old Kirill dies.
A medical worker reacts after 18 month-old Kirill dies. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photos)

10:55 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

"Poland will never recognize territorial changes" in Ukraine brought on by Russian aggression, Polish FM says

From CNN's Aliza Kassim

Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau vehemently stated his country's position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying that Poland will "never recognize territorial changes" brought on by Russian aggression in Ukraine.

“Poland will never recognize territorial changes brought on by unlawful, unprovoked aggression the way in which Russia conducts hostilities based on the desire to break the will of Ukrainian resistance by means of attacks that terrorize the civilian population. Shelling residential areas, nuclear power plants … are war crimes under international law which are not subject to [the] statute of limitations and will be persecuted with utmost determination,” Rau said after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rzeszow, Poland.

Speaking to the press, Blinken and Rau confirmed their unified approach in assisting refugees and standing against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Rau reiterated his country’s support to the people of Ukraine, adding the importance of an evacuation corridor "that would facilitate the evacuation of Ukrainian citizens.” 

Responding to Rau, Blinken reaffirmed his country’s commitment toward the people of Ukraine and thanked Poland for its work in housing the many refugees from Ukraine.

"As allies and partners, Poland and the United States have stood together in many many challenges, now the great ideals that bind us - freedom, democracy, peace, security are under threat in this region as never before, certainly not since the 2nd world war,” Blinken added.

Blinken also touched upon the United States’ efforts to assist “vulnerable” populations within Ukraine but also in neighboring countries, saying, “to help refugees in Poland, the Biden administration just requested from Congress $2.75 billion dollars in humanitarian assistance that is both to meet the needs of vulnerable communities and people inside of Ukraine as well as support refugee services here in Poland.” 

2:59 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Exhaustion of "confined" Chernobyl power plant staff poses "danger" to world, says nearby mayor

From CNN's Wayne Chang in Hong Kong

The growing exhaustion of staffers confined for “10 days” at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is not only “difficult," but could pose “a danger to the world,” Yuriy Fomichev, the mayor of Slavutych, told CNN in a telephone interview on Saturday.

“People are tired; they are exhausted, both mentally and emotionally, but mainly physically,” Fomichev said, adding that more than 100 people in the plant are shift personnel who should have been handed over after 12 hours.

“A nuclear facility run by the same shift of 100 people without a break for 10 days in a row means their concentration levels are too low … the main thing we want to convey is that it is very dangerous,” Fomichev said.

Staffers in the plant only eat one meal per day and have limited amount of time to contact their families, Fomichev said. 

Slavutych, a city in northern Ukraine, was purposefully built in 1986 to house evacuated personnel from the Chernobyl power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

CNN's Irina Morgan in London contributed to this report.

10:35 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Former US vice president calls out Putin "apologists" during Republican retreat

From CNN's Gabby Orr

Mike Pence, the vice president under former US President Donald Trump, on Friday condemned "apologists" in his own Republican party who have used positive language to describe Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin. There is only room for champions of freedom," Pence said, according to a source who was in the room where Pence spoke to top Republican donors at a retreat in New Orleans. The line received applause from donors, the source said. The event was closed to the press.

Pence's speech came just days after Trump described Putin as "genius" and "savvy" for launching a full-scale invasion in Ukraine, where civilian casualties continue to pile up despite global condemnation of the Russian leader's actions.

According to his prepared remarks, which the source said he did not deviate from Friday, Pence called on the Biden administration to take stronger actions against Russia, including sanctions on the country's oil exports.

"Putin only understands strength. As members of the party that won the Cold War, we must send a deafening message: Putin must stop or Putin must pay," Pence said.

Read the story in full here.

10:23 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

India calls for ceasefire after students in Ukraine plead for evacuation

From CNN’s Esha Mitra in New Delhi

The Indian government is speaking to officials in both Russia and Ukraine to press for a ceasefire after Indian students stuck in Ukraine appealed for evacuations, a government spokesperson said Saturday.

“We are strongly urging both sides to have a ceasefire; whether it will happen, when it will happen, is something we will see as it happens," said Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, during a Saturday news conference. "But I hope it happens because that will be something useful and necessary for us, otherwise we are putting them at risk. … We will continue to press on this."

At least 700 Indian students are stranded in Sumy, a city in northeastern Ukraine, according to the ministry.

Bagchi said the other primary concern was transportation, as Sumy is about 30 miles from the Russian border and train lines are not operational.

Bagchi said buses or trucks would be a plausible option; however, the best route out would be determined by officials on ground. Meanwhile, Denis Alipov, the Russian ambassador to India, said Russia had responded to India’s request for help and arranged for “hundreds of buses."

“We have created special groups that are ready to take the Indians to the territory of the Russian Federation and then transport them to India, but the catch is the fighting in these areas continues and where the Indians are, our forces are not,” Alipov said Saturday, adding that Indian diplomats were in Belgrade, Serbia, to coordinate action on ground.

Bagchi said that he understood the students’ feelings of being left behind but urged them to remain in shelters. Students have told CNN that the Indian embassy has not responded to their calls, but Bagchi said, “we are talking to the students directly both from the embassy and our control room here.”

“If there is a corridor, we will find a way to get them out," he said. "If there is a pause in fighting, I assure you we will be able to pull them out."

Bagchi said that all Indian citizens had left Kharkiv as far as the ministry was aware, but the embassy will take a fresh look to identify any citizens that remain.