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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6:30 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Mastercard and Visa suspends all transactions and operations in Russia

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images)
(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Credit card companies Visa and Mastercard have suspended their operations in Russia.

Citing the “unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment,” Mastercard announced its decision in a statement issued Saturday.

“Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways that most of us could not imagine,” its statement said. “This decision flows from our recent action to block multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as required by regulators globally.”

Mastercard, which has operated in Russia for more than 25 years, said “cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network.”

The credit card company, which said it has nearly 200 employees in Russia, added “any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs.” 

Visa said it plans to work with its clients and partners within Russia to suspend all Visa transactions and operations in the country, according to a statement also issued Saturday.

Visa said in the coming days “all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and any Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will no longer work within the Russian Federation.”

“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” said Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly. “We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia. This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”

6:04 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

President Volodymyr Zelensky urges Ukrainians to keep up resistance

From CNN’s Mariya Knight and Hira Humayun

(Volodymyr Zelenskyi/Facebook)
(Volodymyr Zelenskyi/Facebook)

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday urged Ukrainians to keep up their resistance, saying, “Ukrainians! In all of our cities, where the enemy invaded, go on the offensive. Go out on the streets. We need to fight every time we have an opportunity.”

In a video address posted on his official Facebook page, Zelensky said Ukrainians would not give their country “away to an enemy" and commended the Ukrainian people's faith.

“When you don't have a firearm but they respond with gunshots and you don't run … This is the reason why occupation is temporary. Our people -- Ukrainians -- don't back down,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky applauded the Ukrainian people's resistance and protests.

"They scream at occupants to go home, like the Russian battleship, pushing the occupants out of our territory," he continued. "Every meter of our Ukrainian land reclaimed by protest is a step forward, a step toward victory.”

4:04 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Shell Oil commits profits from Russian oil purchase to Ukrainian refugees

From CNN's Aliza Kassim

The Shell logo is displayed outside one of its gas stations on May 27, 2021 in Leeds, England.
The Shell logo is displayed outside one of its gas stations on May 27, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Shell Oil, Europe’s largest oil company, has said it will donate the profits from a recent purchase of Russian crude oil to a fund designed to help Ukrainian refugees following criticism from Ukraine's foreign minister.

“We will commit profits from the limited amount of Russian oil we have to purchase to a dedicated fund," the company said in a statement. "We will work with aid partners and humanitarian agencies over the coming days and weeks to determine where the monies from this fund are best placed to alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine.” 

Shell Oil purchased the oil at a significant discount, saying it had to in order to meet and satisfy purchase orders from prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, said the oil smelled of "Ukrainian blood" in a Saturday tweet.

"I call on all conscious people around the globe to demand multinational companies to cut all business ties with Russia," he said.

3:50 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Town near Kyiv "almost completely destroyed," according to Ukrainian official

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv

A view of heavy damage in the residential area of Borodyanka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 3.
A view of heavy damage in the residential area of Borodyanka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 3. (StahivUA/Twitter/AP)

Oleksiy Kuleba, head of Kyiv's Regional State Administration, said a town northwest of Kyiv is "almost completely destroyed."

"There's no water and electricity there ... There is no Borodyanka. It is almost completely destroyed. The city center is just awful. Borodyanka is under the influence of Russian troops; they control this settlement," Kuleba said.

Kuleba claimed earlier today on his Telegram account that Russian troops appeared to take over a psychiatric hospital there with hundreds of patients, but they have now left. Russian forces are still in the immediate area, he said.

"These people are mostly sick, they are mostly people with special needs. But these are our people and we cannot and will never leave them," Kuleba said earlier.

“Today we do not understand how to evacuate these people, how to help them,” he said, adding that they were running out of medicine and water.

Following a missile attack on a large apartment block in Borodyanka on March 2, the Ukrainian State Emergency Service told CNN yesterday that people may still be trapped in the wreckage of the building. Borodyanka has seen persistent shelling over the past few days, as have small towns around it. 

3:34 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Italian police seize villas, houses and yachts worth over $150 million from Russian oligarchs

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London

The Italian financial police have seized villas, houses and yachts worth 143 million euros (more than $150 million USD) from five Russian oligarchs, the police said Saturday in a statement.

The Special Unit of the Financial Police, in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Police Unit of Imperia and the Aeronaval Operational Department of Genoa, executed asset-freezing orders on Friday against multiple Russian oligarchs, according to the statement.

Freezing orders were executed against the following people:

  • Alexey Alexandrovits Mordaschov: yacht Lady M, located in the port of Imperia, worth approximately 65 million euros (about $71 million)
  • Gennady Nikolayevich Timchenko: yacht Lena, located in the port of San Remo, worth approximately 50 million euros (about $55 million)
  • Alisher Usmanov: real estate compendium located in Golfo del Pevero in Arzachena, worth approximately 17 million euros (about $18 million)
  • Vladimir Roudolfovitch Soloviev: properties located in the province of Como worth approximately 8 million euros (about $8.7 million)
  • Oleg Savchenko: seventeenth-century villa named "Villa Lazzareschi" located in the province of Lucca, worth about 3 million euros (about $3.3 million)

These restrictive measures come after the EU Council imposed sanctions on several persons and entities over Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.

Read more about how Russian elites are scrambling to get ahead of sanctions:

2:53 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

UK calls Russia's proposed pause in fire in Mariupol a likely "attempt to deflect international condemnation"

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

The UK has called Russia's proposed pause in fire in Mariupol a likely "attempt to deflect international condemnation" while they resettled forces for “renewed offensive activity,” the UK Ministry of Defence said Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian defense ministry declared a pause in fire in the southeastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to facilitate the opening of evacuation corridors "for the exit of civilians."  

Later Saturday, though, the ministry said that "not a single civilian was able to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha along the announced security corridors," maintaining that the cities' civilian populations were being "held by nationalist formations as human shields” in a statement carried by Russian news agency TASS.

"By accusing Ukraine of breaking the agreement, Russia is likely seeking to shift responsibility for current and future civilian casualties in the city," the UK ministry said in its statement posted to Twitter.

2:26 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Ukraine demands new round of sanctions against Russia

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during a televised address on Saturday that his country wanted stronger sanctions against Russia.

"They include, among others, banning the Russians bank Sberbank from SWIFT, closing European ports for Russian ships, closing access of Russia to cryptocurrency and stopping purchases of Russian oil," Kuleba said. 

Russian oil "smells with Ukrainian blood today," the foreign minister said, adding that "buying it is financing Russian war crimes."

He reiterated Ukraine's call on international allies to protect Ukrainian airspace from the "indiscriminate and barbaric bombardment by the Russians" and to provide the country with "combat aircraft and serious air defense, missiles and weapons."

"My message to the world is clear. When all European and other leaders at all ceremonies throughout the year, repeat those separate words, 'never again,' they now need to prove with actions that they stand by those words," Kuleba remarked, harking back to the Nazi bombings of European capitals during World War II. 

"Prove now that you have learned to the lessons of the past, that a new brutal force in Europe can be stopped before it drags the whole continent into devastating conflict," the foreign minister said, concluding his speech.

During the message, Kuleba commended the "admirable" courage of "peaceful protestors" in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson who "demonstrated in front of armed Russian invaders," telling them that "they are Ukrainians, and their city belongs to Ukraine."

"The message of the heroic Ukrainian people is simple," he said. "Russians, go home. You are on foreign land where no one needs you. And no one welcomes you with flowers. Putin, leave Ukraine alone. You will not win this war," Kuleba emphasized during the brief message. 

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

Zelensky calls for establishment of no-fly zone and harsher Russian sanctions in call with US lawmakers

From CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, Jeff Zeleny, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky called on the United States for assistance in establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine during a Zoom call with US lawmakers, according to a person familiar with the session.

Zelensky asked US senators for greater sanctions on Russia, including on energy, and for more military assistance directed to Ukrainian forces. He thanked the US for the support it has delivered so far, but his overall message was that his country needs more help as it strains against Russia's invasion.

Another senator on the call said that Zelensky advocated for banning Russian oil imports, suspending all commercial transactions — like Visa and Mastercard — and implored the lawmakers to help Ukraine get more planes that Ukrainian pilots are trained in and can fly. He said they would do the fighting and flying, but he needs the aircraft.

The call, which started at about 9:30 a.m., ET, lasted an hour.

At the end of the call, dozens of lawmakers unmuted themselves to thank Zelensky and voice their support, with some saying “Slava Ukraini,” according to someone who was on the call who said the Ukrainian president was clearly moved by the gesture.

His message was delivered amid ongoing conversations between the US and European allies about the possibility of providing Ukraine with fighter jet aircrafts from Eastern European countries, five sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.

Officials say there is a divide among countries about whether or not individual nations should provide Ukraine aircraft, given the associated risks. The US and NATO oppose creating a no-fly zone in Ukraine — such a move, they have warned, could lead to "full-fledged war in Europe." Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that countries that impose such a no-fly zone would be considered to be participating in the conflict.

Read more about the call here:

1:54 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

US aircraft carrier is in northern Aegean Sea to ensure flight operations if tensions escalate in region

From CNN's Barbara Starr

The American aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman has been in the northern Aegean Sea this week in part to ensure it can conduct flight operations from there if tensions escalate in the region due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a US official familiar with the carrier’s current task.  

The official did not disclose the exact location of the ship, but noted it is not routine to operate in the Aegean’s northernmost waters. The area is relatively confined for carrier operations due to the number of small islands and heavy commercial maritime traffic.

“In the event of further escalation,” the Navy could be told to project more fighter jet air patrols into the Black Sea, the official said. “If Russia sought to run the Turkish strait and Turkey asked for NATO support,” then the carrier aircraft could be used for combat air patrols over the Black Sea and Strait of Dardanelles, according to the official. 

Turkey administers passage permission to transit into the Black Sea for warships, and there is concern about Russia’s future plans there. US fighter aircraft often conduct air patrols for deterrence, and it would not necessarily signal the US is entering conflict. 

The Truman’s fighter jets are currently flying over Romania as part of the NATO mission to demonstrate presence and resolve against Russian aggression.

The carrier is accompanied by the cruiser USS San Jacinto in the North Aegean. Five other US warships and a Norwegian surface combatant are further south in the Aegean.

This development comes as the Pentagon is also acknowledging it may have to reconsider and increase the long-term US military presence in Europe in the wake of Russia’s aggression.