March 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Amy Woodyatt, George Ramsay, Ed Upright, Jessie Yeung, Steve George and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:38 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022
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12:23 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Explosions from military strikes and large plume of smoke seen in Mykolaiv

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

(from Telegram)
(from Telegram)

Intense fighting in Mykolaiv is continuing on Monday, as video shows new explosions from military strikes and large plumes of smoke around the Ukrainian city located about 250 miles south of Kyiv.

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the videos. 

In one of the videos, taken in the Korabelnyi district — the southern-most neighborhood in Mykolaiv — explosions from military strikes are seen over a residential area. In recent days, fire fights between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries have centered around the military base on the southeastern side of the city.

In a video posted to Telegram, the regional administrator for the Mykolaiv area, Vitali Kim, claimed the Russians were retreating after they lost two tanks in a "tank battle" at the airport. Kim also said some of the Russian forces had been evacuated from the area by helicopter. CNN has been unable to verify Kim's claims, and he did not offer any evidence to support them.

Another video shows a dark plume of smoke rising from the northern neighborhood of Solyani.

11:12 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Canada announces further sanctions on Russia targeting 10 individuals

From CNN's Aliza Kassim in New York 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced new sanctions on 10 individuals “complicit" in Russia's "unjustified invasion” of Ukraine.  

The individuals include former and current senior Russian government officials, oligarchs and supporters of the Russian leadership, Trudeau said, speaking alongside his British and Dutch counterparts in London.  

"The names of these individuals come from a list compiled by jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The sanctions put increased pressure on Russia’s leadership including Putin’s inner circle,” Trudeau said.  

The Canadian leader said he hoped the sanctions and "massive tariffs" imposed on Russian and Belarusian imports would punish "Putin where it hurts most in particular financial systems and sanctioning their central bank so far."

11:11 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

US considering supplying air defense systems to NATO allies amid growing worry over Russia's threats

From CNN's Barbara Starr

The US is considering supplying critical air defense systems to NATO allies in eastern Europe as anxiety mounts that the Russians could consider launching missiles or aircraft against the alliance’s eastern flank, according to a US official familiar with current administration thinking.

“The US is considering a range of capabilities,” the official said.

There is no specific plan yet, but the idea centers around the concern that Russian missiles or aircraft might deliberately attack targets inside NATO territory at some point if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides those nations are a risk to his invasion because of their support for Ukraine. And because of close proximity of the airspace, there is also concern that air defense be available if there is inadvertent straying into NATO airspace. The establishment of a US Russia so-called deconfliction line was in part to address those worries. But there is a sense an umbrella of air defense is needed.

Because of the defensive nature of these systems, the US will emphasize that the Russians should have no concerns. The most likely systems that could be deployed by the US are likely to be the Patriot and the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system which have successfully been used in the Middle East to help shoot down incoming ballistic missiles. The US estimates that Russia has already fired some 600 missiles since the invasion began.

10:46 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

UK announces additional $230 million in aid for Ukraine

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister, speaks during a joint news conference with Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, and Mark Rutte, Netherland's prime minister, on the war in Ukraine, in London, on March 7.
Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister, speaks during a joint news conference with Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, and Mark Rutte, Netherland's prime minister, on the war in Ukraine, in London, on March 7. (Jason Alden/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an additional $230 million (175 million pounds) in aid for Ukraine.

This is the moment for "Ukraine's friends to create a coalition of humanitarian, economic, and defensive military support to ensure that Putin fails in this catastrophic invasion," he said Monday, while speaking during a joint news conference with his Dutch and Canadian counterparts in London.

The United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands "stand shoulder to shoulder" against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Johnson added. 

"Our new international Ukraine support group will coordinate the efforts of the international community to provide long term and unwavering assistance now and in the future, and we will be encouraging more countries to join us," Johnson told the news conference.

In 12 days of Russian invasion into Ukraine, Johnson said it's clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a "miscalculation" in underestimating Ukraine.

“He has underestimated the Ukrainians and their heroic resistance. He has underestimated their leader and he has underestimated the unity of the West," Johnson said.

10:37 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

UN says more than 406 civilians killed in Ukraine

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London and Tim Lister in Kyiv

More than 406 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement Monday.

A further 801 civilians have been injured, OHCHR said.

OHCHR acknowledged that the real figures are likely “considerably higher.”

These figures include data collected between 4 a.m. local time on February 24, 2022, when the Russian Federation’s armed attack against Ukraine started, and midnight on March 6, 2022, the OHCHR said.

 

10:32 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Biden weighs easing sanctions on Venezuela to isolate Russia and increase oil production

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand

The Biden administration is weighing the possibility of easing sanctions on Venezuela so that the country can begin producing more oil and selling it on the international market, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move would be aimed at reducing global dependence on Russian oil amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and at isolating Russia from one of its key allies in South America, the person said.

Biden administration officials, including National Security Council Director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez and US special presidential envoy for hostage affairs Roger Carstens, were dispatched to Caracas over the weekend for talks on the issue, the person said, as well as to discuss the American citizens currently detained in the country. The New York Times first reported the officials’ travel to Venezuela. 

Remember: Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil in 2019 and closed its embassy in Caracas after deeming Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s election victory in 2018 to be a sham.  

U Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the US and allies were actively exploring ways to ban Russian oil imports, thereby damaging Russia’s economy even further. The West has been reluctant so far to impose significant sanctions on Russia’s energy sector because of how it might impact the global economy, but are now getting closer to doing so as Europe works to diversify its energy sources. 

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has already criticized the discussions, tweeting over the weekend, “Rather than produce more American oil,” Biden “wants to replace the oil we buy from one murderous dictator with oil from another murderous dictator.”

But the source with knowledge of the talks said that merely increasing American oil production would not make up for the amount lost by cutting off Russia. 

10:29 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

US secretary of state: Ukraine is using defense support funding "effectively against Russian aggression"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference at the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia, on March 7.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference at the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia, on March 7. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that 70% of the additional $350 million in defense support to Ukraine that President Joe Biden authorized in recent weeks “is already in the hands of Ukrainians, being used very effectively against Russian aggression.”

Speaking at a news conference in Latvia, Blinken said he expected $10 billion in emergency aid to be provided by the US Congress “very quickly,” and said such aid will go to “additional security assistance,” “humanitarian assistance for Ukraine both inside Ukraine and outside,” and “to further efforts to reinforce NATO's eastern flank.”

The top US diplomat reiterated that the US believes a no-fly zone has the potential to widen the conflict.

“Our efforts are all in the direction of ending this war as quickly as possible, ending the suffering as quickly as possible. And what we don't want to do is to widen it, and to widen it to our own countries, to our own territory. The no-fly zone, to be very clear about what that involves is, that means that if Russian planes violate the zone that's declared, we shoot them down. And that runs the considerable risk of creating a direct conflict between our countries and Russia and thus a wider war, which is in no one's interest, including the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said.

10:20 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Third round of Ukraine-Russia talks has started, Russian state media reports

Delegations attend the third round of Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Brest, Belarus, on March 7.
Delegations attend the third round of Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Brest, Belarus, on March 7. (Foreign Ministry of Belarus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia has started in Belarus, state media agency Russia 24 announced on air.

The location for this event has not been disclosed. The first round of talks, on February 28, and the second set, on March 3, both took place in Belarus. 

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will meet Thursday in Antalya, Turkey, according to the Russian foreign ministry. This has not yet been confirmed by the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

10:20 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Here are the latest companies cutting ties with Russia over the invasion in Ukraine

From CNN's Aliza Kassim

As Russia's invasion continues, more companies continue to announce that they're ceasing to do business with Russia.

On Monday, Italian fashion group Prada and Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan became the latest businesses to pull out.

Prada has suspended operations in Russia, citing Russia's invasion in Ukraine. The Prada group also owns, Miu Miu, Car Shoe, Churches and Marchisi.

Prada's spokesperson Marta Monaco told CNN, "the Prada Group suspended its retail operations in Russia. Our primary concern is for all colleagues and their families affected by the tragedy in Ukraine, and we will continue to support them." The statement follows a pledge by Prada and other Italian fashion houses to donate aid to Ukraine. Companies giving support include Armani, Bottega Veneta and Dolce & Gabbana.

Responding to the donation, UNHCR's representative for Italy, Chiara Cardoletti, said, "We estimate that 12 million people in Ukraine will need help and protection, while more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees could need protection and care in the neighboring countries in the forthcoming months." Citing the need for immediate assistance, Caedoletti added in her news statement, "Enormous resources are needed and this is why we hope that in the coming hours other companies in the fashion sector, and in other sectors as well, will give their contribution.”

Nissan announced today it is suspended the export of vehicles to Russia. In a news statement released by the company, the Japanese manufacturer added that it "anticipates that production will stop soon at our plant in St. Petersburg."

The statement stressed Nissan's commitment and support to assisting with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by creating a 2.5 million euros fund (about $2.7 million). "1 million Euros would be donated to the Red Cross and other non-profit organizations to support ongoing emergency activities that provide lifesaving assistance and essential supplies to families and children at this time. Where it can help, the company is also prepared to donate vehicles."

The company's CEO, Makoto Uchida, said “We have all been moved by the suffering of so many people and families – including members of our own Nissan family. We have created the Nissan Cares fund to stand by our employees, and to support to the international efforts working around the clock to respond to this immeasurable human tragedy.”

Other car companies that are stopping their business with Russia include: General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

On Sunday, American Express became the latest credit card company to announce it is ending its operations in Russia as its invasion into Ukraine escalates.

The company said in a statement that globally issued American Express cards will no longer work in Russia, and cards issued in Russia won't work outside the country.

American Express also said it is ending its business operations in Belarus.

"This is in addition to the previous steps we have taken, which include halting our relationships with banks in Russia impacted by the US and international government sanctions," American Express said in a statement Sunday.

One day earlier, Mastercard said it was suspending its network services in Russia, and Visa also announced it was suspending all operations there.

Social media companies are also restricting access in Russia. In the latest move, TikTok said Sunday it is suspending some features in Russia in light of the country’s new law penalizing misinformation. 

“In light of Russia's new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law,” the company tweeted. “Our in-app messaging service will not be affected.”

The company added in a blog post: “We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority.” 

Facebook parent company Meta said that it would block access to Russian news outlets RT and Sputnik across the European Union.

The move comes after receiving “requests from a number of governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state controlled media,” Nick Clegg, the company’s VP of global affairs, wrote in a tweet.

Meta has also said it has applied algorithmic restrictions to Russian state media that should prevent it from surfacing as prominently in users’ feeds.

Twitter has similarly announced plans to “reduce the visibility and amplification” of Russian state media content.

A whole host of more companies are pulling out of Russia. Read more here.