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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6:21 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

"I'm not afraid of anyone": Read President Zelensky's full 9-minute speech to Ukraine

(Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky)
(Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has posted a video of himself in his office in Kyiv Monday night, the first time he has been seen there since the invasion began on Feb. 24. 

In a nine-minute speech, from behind his desk, at the Presidential Palace, Zelensky said "the Ukrainian army holds its positions." He added that he remains in Kyiv and is "not afraid of anyone."

The Ukraine Presidential Office released a transcript of his full speech. You can read it below:

Monday. Evening. You know, we used to say: Monday is a hard day. There is a war in the country. So every day is Monday. 

And now we are used to the fact that every day and every night are like that. 

Today is the 12th. 12th evening of our struggle. Our defense. 

We are all on the ground, we are all working. 

Everyone is where they should be. I am in Kyiv. My team is with me. The territorial defense is on the ground. The servicemen are in positions. Our heroes! Doctors, rescuers, transporters, diplomats, journalists... 

Everyone. We are all at war. We all contribute to our victory, which will definitely be achieved. By force of arms and our army. By force of words and our diplomacy. By force of spirit, which the first, the second and each of us have. 

Take a look at our country today. 

Chaplynka, Melitopol, Tokmak, Novotroitske and Kherson. Starobilsk. Everywhere people defended themselves, although they do not have weapons there. But these are our people, and that's why they have weapons. 

They have courage. Dignity. And hence the ability to go out and say: I'm here, it's mine, and I won't give it away. My city. My community. My Ukraine. 

Every Ukrainian man and woman who protested against the invaders yesterday, today and will protest tomorrow are heroes. 

We shout at the invaders together with you. We stand in the squares and streets with you. We are not afraid with you when the invaders open fire and try to drive everyone away. 

YOU do not back down. 

WE do not back down. 

And the one who repeated: "We are one people" - certainly did not expect such a powerful reaction. 

In the south of our country, such a national movement has unfolded, such a powerful manifestation of Ukrainianness that we have never seen in the streets and squares there. And for Russia it is like a nightmare. 

They forgot that we are not afraid of paddy wagons and batons. We are not afraid of tanks and machine guns. When the main thing is on our side, truth. As it is now. 

Mariupol and Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Sumy. Odesa and Kyiv. Mykolaiv. Zhytomyr and Korosten. Ovruch. And many other cities. 

We know that hatred that the enemy brought to our cities with shelling and bombing will not remain there. There will be no trace of it. Hatred is not about us. Therefore, there will be no trace of the enemy. We will rebuild everything. We will make our cities destroyed by the invader better than any city in Russia. 

Enerhodar. Chornobyl. And other places where barbarians just don't understand WHAT they want to capture. WHAT they want to control. Your work, your hard work on critical objects is a real feat. And we see it. We are sincerely grateful for it. 

The Ukrainian army holds positions. Well done! It inflicts extremely painful losses on the enemy. Defends. Counterattacks. If necessary - can take revenge. Necessarily. For every evil. For every rocket and bomb. For each destroyed civilian object. 

Today in Makariv, Kyiv region, they fired at the bread factory. For what? The old bread factory! Think about it - to fire at the bread factory. Who should you be to do that? 

Or to destroy another church - in the Zhytomyr region. The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin built in 1862. 

These are NOT people. 

There was an agreement on humanitarian corridors. 

Did it work? Russian tanks worked instead. Russian "Grads". Russian mines. They even mined the road, which was agreed to transport food and medicine for people and children in Mariupol. 

They even destroy buses that have to take people out. But ... At the same time, they are opening a small corridor to the occupied territory. For several dozen people. Not so much to Russia, as to propagandists. Directly to their TV cameras. Like, that's the one who saves. Just cynicism. Just propaganda. Nothing more. No humanitarian sense. 

The third round of negotiations in Belarus took place today. I would like to say - the third and final. But we are realists. So we will talk. We will insist on negotiations until we find a way to tell our people: this is how we will come to peace. 

Exactly to peace. 

We must realize that every day of struggle, every day of resistance creates better conditions for us. Strong position to guarantee our future. In peace. After this war. 

Apart from the dead people and the destroyed cities, the war leaves destroyed the aspirations that once seemed very important, but now ... You don't even mention them. 

Almost three years ago, as soon as the election took place, we entered this building, this office, and immediately began planning our move. 

I dreamed of moving from Bankova. Together with the government and parliament. To unload the center of Kyiv and in general - to move to a modern, transparent office - as befits a progressive democratic European country. 

Now I will say one thing: I stay here. 

I stay in Kyiv. 

On Bankova Street. 

I’m not hiding. 

And I'm not afraid of anyone. 

As much as it takes to win this Patriotic War of ours. 

Today I signed a decree to present state awards of Ukraine to 96 Ukrainian heroes - our military. 


The Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky of the second degree is awarded to: 

Major Oleksandr Oleksandrovych Sak. Commander of the mechanized battalion who entered the battle with the battalion tactical group of the enemy and won thanks to a rational approach to combat and non-standard tactics. 

Captain Rostyslav Oleksandrovych Sylivakin. Commander of the mechanized battalion, which successfully fought the overwhelming forces of the enemy, liberating Ukrainian towns and villages in the Sumy region. 

The Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky of the third degree is awarded to: 

Lieutenant Ihor Serhiyovych Lozovyi. Acting as part of the group, he stopped a column of enemy vehicles numbering about 150 units, which was moving in the direction of the Zhytomyr-Kyiv route. Destroyed. 

Lieutenant Vitaliy Viktorovych Poturemets. He showed exemplary courage and composure in the battle, destroying a column of enemy equipment near the city of Kyiv. He was wounded. 

The Order "For Courage" of the third degree is awarded to: 

Master Sergeant, Commander of the Automobile Platoon Valentyn Viktorovych Baryliuk. Thanks to his brave actions and personal determination, the tank unit received fuel in time and left the encirclement, destroying the enemy on the way. 

All 96 of our heroes are like these five! 

Our gratitude to all the military. 

Our gratitude to the Armed Forces of Ukraine! 

Our gratitude is boundless. 

Glory to Ukraine! 

6:25 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky seen in his office for first time since Russian invasion began

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv

(Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky)
(Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has posted a video of himself in his office in Kyiv Monday night, the first time he has been seen there since the invasion began on Feb. 24. 

Looking out of the window before closing the curtain, Zelensky opened his video statement, saying:

“I’m staying in Kyiv. In my office. I’m not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone,” Zelensky said.

Apart from a brief outdoor appearance with members of his government soon after the invasion began, this is the first time he has been seen outside of his bunker since the Russian invasion began.  

5:44 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Pentagon spokesperson: We believe Putin is trying to recruit fighters from Syria to fight in Ukraine

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

The Pentagon does believe reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to recruit foreign fighters, specifically from Syria, to fight in Ukraine on behalf of Russian forces are true, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday.

“We do have indications that corroborate that story that in fact they are trying to enlist and recruit foreign fighters, which we find noteworthy that with more than 150,000 troops, a stalled military advance inside Ukraine, particularly in the north, that Mr. Putin has found it necessary to try to recruit foreign fighters for this war of his,” Kirby said when Tapper asked if the story, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was true.
4:58 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukrainian foreign minister will meet with Russian counterpart Thursday

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, is seen on Saturday after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Korczowa, Poland.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, is seen on Saturday after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Korczowa, Poland. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has confirmed he plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, March 10.

Kuleba said on Ukrainian television Monday that if Lavrov was ready for a serious substantive conversation, then he was ready as well. Kuleba said he would talk to anyone so that peace could be established.

4:44 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russia proposes new ceasefire in 5 Ukrainian cities. Ukraine hasn't agreed yet.

Russia has proposed a new ceasefire starting 10 a.m. Moscow time, which is 2 a.m. ET Tuesday, which indicates it’s ready to open evacuation corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, Russian media reports quoting the Russian Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine.

Ukraine has yet to formally agree to the ceasefire proposal. 

"Russia declares a ceasefire from 10 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors: from Kyiv and adjacent settlements to the Russian Federation through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel," Russian media quotes the statement.  

The Russian statement added that evacuation corridors "will also be open from Chernihiv through the territory of Belarus, from the city of Sumy along two routes to Poltava and to the territory of Russia, from Kharkiv to the territory of Russia or to Lviv, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk. Also, a humanitarian corridor will be opened from Mariupol along the two routes to the territory of Russia and Zaporizhie.”

Russia said it is offering to agree on the plan for the evacuation corridors with Ukraine by 3 a.m. ET Moscow time on Tuesday, ahead of the ceasefire starting at 10 a.m. ET local time.

6:15 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

500 more US troops will deploy to Poland, Romania, Germany and Greece, Pentagon says

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Vanessa Price

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby talks to reporters on Monday.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby talks to reporters on Monday.

The Pentagon announced Monday another 500 US troops would be deploying to Europe to reinforce NATO’s flank, including, Poland, Romania, Germany and Greece.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced the new deployments on Monday, which he said are being positioned to support US forces already in Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The new deployments include KC-135 refueling aircraft from Fairfield Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, to Greece, along with 150 personnel for refueling support. An air support operations center made up of 40 troops from Fort Stewart, Georgia, are deploying to Poland and Romania. And 300 US personnel are deploying to Germany to make up a modular ammunition ordnance company from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and a support maintenance company out of Fort Stewart. 

“These are purely defensive forces,” Kirby said. “These are specifically, the ones we’re talking about today, are enablers. And we said before, when we deployed the additional 7,000, that there would be associated enablers with them. This is part of that support.”

What is the latest with the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Russian forces continue to see more success in southern Ukraine. They have taken control of Kherson, a town on the coast of the Sea of Azov, and Berdyans’k, another coastal town, Kirby said. The US also believes Russia is in control of the nuclear power plant near the Dnieper River, Kirby said.

“We believe they are very much aimed on taking Mariupol, Mariupol is a violent place to be right now, this is another location for long-range fires and bombardment,” Kirby added.

Russian forces continue to rely more and more on “long-range fires,” including “bombardment, missile strikes, and long-range artillery into city centers,” the Pentagon press secretary said on Monday.

“What we assess is as they continue get frustrated, they continue to rely now more on what we would call long range fires. So this is bombardment, missile strikes, long range artillery into city centers that they aren't in yet at least not on the ground in any significant number,” Kirby said.

The US does not see Russian forces taking control of Kyiv, the capital. There is “heavy fighting outside” of Kharkiv and “they are still attempting to encircle” the city of Chernihiv in the north, Kirby added.

A large Russian military convoy outside of Kyiv is “still stalled, it is still stuck,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday. 

 “We don’t assess over the course of the weekend that it has made any progress,” he added.

 The main purpose of the convoy is mainly “re-supply,” Kirby said. 

“When you look at the images from the air you can see a lot of it they don't, they don't look like armored vehicles so much as they look like we supply trucks. That's not to say that there aren't combat vehicles in there, we don't have perfect visibility on,” Kirby said.
4:27 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

US stocks fall again as Ukraine worries weigh on investors

From CNN's Paul R. La Monica 

US stocks fell sharply on Monday as investors continued to monitor the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

It was the worst day of the year for the Dow and S&P 500. The Nasdaq is now in a bear market as tech stocks were crushed. Energy stocks and utilities were among the few winners following a big spike in crude oil and gas prices. Several defense stocks hit new all-time highs as well. Bed Bath & Beyond surged after Ryan Cohen, the Chewy co-founder who is trying to turn around GameStop, disclosed he purchased a big stake. 

Here's how the markets closed on Monday:

  • The Dow was down 2.4%, or about 797 points.
  • The S&P 500 fell 3%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite plunged 3.6%.

Note: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

4:28 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

UK launches visa scheme for Ukrainian families fleeing war, British government says 

From CNN's Max Foster and Arnaud Siad

Britain has launched the "Ukraine Family Scheme" for Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia to enter the UK, the British Home Office announced on Monday.

“The UK Government’s Ukraine Family Scheme is the first visa scheme in the world to launch since President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” the Home Office tweeted.

“It gives Ukrainian people the freedom and means to support themselves while they are here in the United Kingdom, […] that includes immigration security, the right to work and free access to healthcare, education and housing,” the tweet said.

According to the Home Office, 8,900 applications have been started so far under the scheme, with 300 visas issued till date.

The Home Office said it had “surged staff” and increased the number of appointments at its visa application centers in Rzeszow, Warsaw, Bucharest, Budapest, Chisinau and Prague. 

4:22 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

UN humanitarian official outlines 3 priorities in providing aid in Ukraine

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator outlined three immediate priorities in his speech to the UN Security Council Monday aimed at minimizing what he called the pain and suffering the whole world is watching unfold in Ukraine. 

Martin Griffiths said that the first priority is that parties “must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian homes and infrastructure in their military operations.” 

“This includes allowing safe passage for civilians to leave areas of active hostilities on a voluntary basis, in the direction they choose. All civilians, whether they stay or leave, must be respected and protected," he said.

He then requested the need for “safe passage for humanitarian supplies into areas of active hostilities.” 

“Civilians in places like Mariupol, Kharkiv, Melitopol, and elsewhere desperately need aid, especially life-saving medical supplies. Many modalities are possible, but it must take place in line with the parties’ obligations under the laws of war," Griffiths said.

Lastly, in his third point Griffiths said there needs to be a "system of constant communication with parties to the conflict and assurances to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid.” 

Griffiths said he has already conveyed the three points to Ukraine and to the Russian Federation adding that his office has sent representatives to Moscow “to work on better humanitarian civil-military coordination” allowing his team to scale up humanitarian efforts. 

“We have planned, we have mobilized and fundraised and to meet the challenge we face. We have the capacity and the know-how to meet the most urgent needs in Ukraine, if the parties cooperate,” Griffiths said. 

“But make no mistake, we are unable to meet the needs of civilians today. I hope we will not fail them tomorrow," he said.