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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1:40 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Israel's prime minister met with Putin in Moscow, official says

From CNN's Hadas Gold

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on February 27.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on February 27. (Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met for about three hours Saturday with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, according to an Israeli official.

The unannounced meeting took place with the blessing of the US administration, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The Israeli official said that Bennett’s diplomatic push was also coordinated with Germany and France and added that the Israeli leader “is in ongoing dialogue with Ukraine.”

Bennett also spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday following his meeting with Putin.

Ukraine's ambassador to Israel told CNN that Ukrainian leadership was informed in advance of Bennett's meeting with Putin and had been supportive of it.

Following the conclusion of the Moscow meeting, Bennett is now en route to Berlin for a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Israeli official said.

Three days ago, Bennett held separate phone conversations with both Putin and Zelensky.

Zelensky has appealed to Israel to mediate efforts to bring about a ceasefire.

While Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion in comments by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bennett himself has avoided direct criticism of Russia or Putin.

Israel has sought to maintain good relations with Russia in recent years so it can continue air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria – which Israel regards as critical to prevent the transfer of precision-guided missile technology to Hezbollah.

 

6:05 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

It's just after 8 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

This is the latest on Russia's invasion into Ukraine, which is in its 10th day:

Evacuation corridors suspended: Ukrainian authorities halted evacuations from the besieged city of Mariupol on Saturday, accusing Russian forces of breaching an agreement to pause fire and give civilians safe passage out.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said Saturday night it would resume its offensive in Mariupol and Volnovakha.

In a statement carried by Russian news agency TASS, the defense ministry said that "not a single civilian was able to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha along the announced security corridors."

The defense ministry had said earlier on Saturday it would stop bombarding the cities, which have endured days of heavy, indiscriminate shelling. But just a few hours after the announcement to pause fire, a top regional official said Russia broke its agreement.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also said it “understands” that civilian evacuations from Mariupol and Volnovakha will not go ahead on Saturday as planned.

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

Putin also said on Saturday that he would consider countries imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participating in the conflict. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly pleaded with NATO and Western officials to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which the US and NATO have said they oppose. Zelensky asked US lawmakers over Zoom today to assist with the establishment of a no-fly zone and harsher Russian sanctions.

Ukrainian officials praise protests: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has tweeted video from two cities in Ukraine – Berdyansk and Kherson – showing protests against Russian occupation. CNN has confirmed there have been protests against Russian occupation in both cities Saturday, as well as at least one in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.  

New video posted to social media shows at least one man getting hit by gunfire during a protest against the Russian military in the small town of Novopskov in northeastern Ukraine. CNN has geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the video.

Humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate: As cities come under heavy shelling, some Ukrainian officials say people lack basic access to food, water and medication.

The US secretary of state visited a refugee center in Poland, where waves of people from Ukraine continued to come in from over the border. The UN estimates over 1.2 million refugees have fled since Feb. 24.

1:09 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Russia says "offensive operations" have resumed in areas where evacuation corridors were agreed upon 

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv and Mariya Knight in Atlanta

The Russian defense ministry said its forces have resumed their offensive in Mariupol and Volnovakha, where evacuation corridors had been arranged between Ukraine and Russia.

In a statement to Russian news agency TASS, the ministry said that "not a single civilian was able to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha along the announced security corridors."

"The population of these cities is being held by nationalist formations as human shields. The nationalist battalions took advantage of the silence to regroup and strengthen their positions," said Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian defense ministry.

"Due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or to extend the ceasefire, offensive operations have been resumed from 18:00 Moscow time," Konashenkov said.

More background: The Russian defense ministry said earlier on Saturday it would stop bombarding Mariupol and Volnovakha, which have endured days of heavy, indiscriminate shelling.

Residents there have hunkered down in basements without power and with limited supplies of food and water, volunteers gathering information from the ground told CNN.

But just a few hours after the announcement to pause fire, a top Ukrainian regional official accused Russia of breaking its agreement and evacuations were ceased.

12:56 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Russian government plane headed to US will take Russian diplomats back to their country

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Jamie Crawford

A Russian government plane heading from St. Petersburg to Washington, DC, will return Russian diplomats back to their country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Saturday on her Telegram channel.

"This plane will return to their homeland [the] Russian diplomats, whom the US Government has declared persona non grata," Zakharova added. No timeline was provided in Zakharova’s statement.

The US government approved a flight chartered by the Russian government to facilitate the departure of Russian United Nations Mission personnel who were expelled for abuse of their privileges of residence. This special exception was done in accordance with federal regulations to ensure Russian mission personnel and their families departed by the date we had instructed, a state department spokesperson said.

12:01 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

How the world has changed in the 10 days since Russia's invasion of Ukraine

By CNN's Joshua Berlinger

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has taken hundreds of lives on the battlefield and in the Ukrainian cities under bombardment. But internationally, it's also affecting everything from food security in Cairo to gas prices in California. It's pushed to the fore major geopolitical shifts and changed the way some of the globe's most prominent institutions work.

Here's how the world has changed in the 10 days since war returned to Europe.

A shifting world order

The invasion of Ukraine didn't usher in a new era of big power politics. It was the violent exclamation point confirming one of the most significant changes in the geopolitical world order since 9/11.

In the ensuing years, global terrorism consumed much of Western leaders' attention. Al Qaeda and ISIS were the enemies that needed countering. The Kremlin was no longer viewed as the same threat it once was -- so much so that, in 2012, President Barack Obama mocked then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney as out of touch for calling Russia the number-one geopolitical foe of the United States.

By that time, Putin had already shown he was keen to upend the post-Cold War order.

The former KGB intelligence officer took office in 2000 vowing to restore Russia's former glory, sometimes through military force. As prime minister in 1999, he launched an offensive in the Russian republic of Chechnya against separatist guerrillas. In 2008, the Kremlin invaded Georgia and recognized two breakaway republics in the country, which at the time was growing closer to Europe.

Later, Putin's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — ostensibly as an ally in the war on terror — earned him no favors with Western democracies, not least because of the credible reports of the Syrian dictator's decision to attack his own people with chemical weapons. Putin's decision to annex Crimea in 2014 and back separatists in eastern Ukraine led to sanctions and were roundly condemned. So too were Russia's alleged attempts to assassinate its enemies on foreign soil.

But Putin remained an important player and partner, albeit an unsavory one, for leaders from Washington to Warsaw during the 2010s. Russia was important factor in the fight against ISIS; Europe's main energy supplier; and helped negotiate major diplomatic pacts like the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Last week's invasion may have ended that. After a quarter century of the Western world dealing with Putin, he may have finally pushed the envelope and become a pariah.

In response, the Western world has hit Russia with unprecedented sanctions that have crippled its financial institutions, sending its economy and the ruble into a tailspin, and even targeted Putin and some of his inner circle personally.

"Putin is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been," US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday in his State of the Union address.

Read more from the full article:

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

Ukrainian authorities accuse Russians of opening fire on civilian protest

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Tim Lister, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Olga Voitovych

Video posted to social media shows at least one man getting hit by gunfire during a protest against the Russian military in Novopskov, Ukraine.
Video posted to social media shows at least one man getting hit by gunfire during a protest against the Russian military in Novopskov, Ukraine. (From Instagram)

New video posted to social media shows at least one man getting hit by gunfire during a protest against the Russian military in the small town of Novopskov in northeastern Ukraine.

CNN has geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the video.

"People tried to stop the Russians, but they opened fire on the unarmed people. There are three wounded, they are in hospital," according to Sergiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk regional administration.

CNN cannot confirm the reported casualty figures.

The video from Saturday showed a crowd walking up a street carrying Ukrainian flags and chanting "Ukraine." A man in front of the crowd walked toward troops before shots rang out. He fell to the ground, apparently wounded in the leg.

"Everybody must leave the area now," a voice is heard saying in the distance.

A photograph from the scene showed a man with a bloodied leg being carried away; it appears to be the same individual.

A few sporadic shots rang out, and then a barrage of small arms fire followed as the crowd scatters. It's unclear whether the gunfire is being directed at or above the crowd.

Additional videos from the scene show that prior to the man being shot, the Russian military was firing their guns — not hitting the protesters — and giving apparent warning shots. 

One of the videos, taken before the protester was hit, showed the crowd walking forward toward the Russian troops, who have set up camp in an open-air market, surrounded by grocery stores and shop in the center of town. 

Despite the gunshots, the crowd did not move.

1:08 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Waves of Ukrainian refugees walk across border as US secretary of state visits reception center in Poland

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with refugees at a reception center in Korczowa, Poland on March 5.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with refugees at a reception center in Korczowa, Poland on March 5. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the Korczowa Refugee Reception Center in Poland today with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau to meet with Ukrainians who have recently fled their country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to reporters traveling with Blinken, waves of Ukrainian refugees walked across the border into Poland as Blinken was there. They each dragged one or two bags behind them, with young children with backpacks holding hands with adults and infants being carried while they slept. Polish soldiers escorting them carried babies for their tired parents, helped the elderly and carried bags. 

They could be seen walking into processing tents as they made their way into Poland, according to the pool producer.

People sit on camp beds in a refugee reception center in Korczowa, Poland on March 5.
People sit on camp beds in a refugee reception center in Korczowa, Poland on March 5. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Blinken, who traveled to Poland today from a stop in Brussels, spoke earlier in the day about the role Poland is playing responding to the crisis.

“Poland is also a leading responder to the humanitarian crisis that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked. As Zbigniew just said, as of today, more than 700,000 people have been forced to flee the violence perpetrated by Russia by crossing the border from Ukraine to Poland, with more coming every single day,” Blinken said during an appearance with Rau earlier today after his arrival in Poland. 

“I’m going to have the opportunity to speak to some of the folks who’ve come over just recently from Ukraine, but I have to say it’s an incredibly powerful reflection of Poland’s values that vulnerable people know that here, they will find refuge,” he said.

Blinken also met with members of Ukrainian civil society during his visit to Poland, where he praised and thanked them for the work they were doing.

“One of the things that Vladimir Putin is trying to tear apart is the brave work that you are doing. I think that’s in a sense not a coincidence because to the extent Ukraine is a successful, strong democracy, with a strong civil society at its core, stands in very stark juxtaposition the society and system that President Putin has constructed in Russia,” Blinken said.

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: