March 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Sana Noor Haq, George Ramsay, Ed Upright, Amir Vera and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022
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3:12 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Russian airstrike on Sumy apartment building kills 9, including two children, Ukraine authorities report

From Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Nine people were killed by a Russian air strike of the northeastern city of Sumy on Monday night, according to the State Emergency Services (SES) in Ukraine.

Two children were among the dead, SES said.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said the attack was an air strike against an apartment building. One injured woman was rescued from the rubble. 

3:26 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Museums race against time to save Ukraine's cultural treasures

From CNN's Atika Shubert in Lviv

Artefacts are moved to storage in case of possible damage from shelling at the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum on March 7 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Artefacts are moved to storage in case of possible damage from shelling at the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum on March 7 in Lviv, Ukraine. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The walls of Lviv's National Museum stand bare. Elaborate gold lacquered panels, on display after being recovered from 17th century Baroque churches, have been bundled up and hidden in the basement in a race to save the city's cultural treasures from possible Russian attack.

"Today we see how Russia is shelling residential areas (and) even people that are evacuating," says National Museum Director of Lviv, Ihor Kozhan. "They guaranteed they wouldn't but now we can't trust them. And we need to take care of our heritage because this is our national treasure."

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already destroyed a museum containing works by renowned Ukrainian painter Maria Prymachenko, whose vivid and imaginative art was admired by both Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall.

Now, the city of Lviv, often dubbed Ukraine's cultural capital, is racing to protect its rich collection of historic art.

Ancient artifacts in cardboard boxes: The rush to save its books, paintings and other artifacts has left little time to wait for specialized packing materials. Instead, volunteers make do by hastily nailing together crates from whatever wood is available.

On Monday, volunteers hastily packed ancient manuscripts into cardboard boxes originally intended for transporting bananas to supermarkets. Among them was a thousand-year-old bible decorated with gold thread.

At religious sites, people are also preparing for the worst. The Armenian Cathedral of Lviv removed a medieval wooden sculpture, depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, for safe storage. Having survived World War II, the giant stained-glass windows of Lviv's Latin Cathedral have now been boarded up with steel plates. Many of the city's landmark statues are now swaddled in bubble wrap.

Read the full story:

3:36 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

At least 1.2 million refugees have crossed into Poland

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London and Antonia Mortensen in Milan

A temporary reception area has been set up at a warehouse at Korczowa, Poland, on March 7, to cope with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing through the Korczowa-Krakowiec border.
A temporary reception area has been set up at a warehouse at Korczowa, Poland, on March 7, to cope with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing through the Korczowa-Krakowiec border. (Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

At least 1.2 million refugees have crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland since the Russian invasion began on February 24, the Polish Border Guard tweeted early Tuesday.

141,500 refugees passed through the border on Monday alone, according to the Border Guard.

In total, at least 1.7 million refugees have left Ukraine, according to the United Nations. Though the majority have crossed into Poland, many others have also entered Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.

2:34 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Lviv mayor says city is struggling to feed and house 200,000 displaced Ukrainians

From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie in Sydney 

Beds seen in a gym where internally displaced persons are placed in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 7.
Beds seen in a gym where internally displaced persons are placed in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 7. (Mykola Tys/SOPA Images/LightRocke/Getty Images)

The mayor of Lviv said on Tuesday that the city, located in western Ukraine, was struggling to provide food and housing to some 200,000 displaced Ukrainians who fled there from war-torn parts of the country.

“About 200,000 Ukrainians have already arrived in Lviv. Women, children, the elderly, hiding from shelling and bombing, were forced to flee their homes. We accommodate everyone provide food and everything necessary. But the trains are going, and the numbers are growing,” said Mayor Andriy Sadovyi in a video statement. 

He urged international organizations to provide help "here in Lviv, in Ukraine."

"We need mobile centers for temporary stay with equipped bathrooms and food outlets. Medical and psychological support, medicines, bulletproof vests, and helmets. Mobile hospitals for children and adults,” he said.

In a separate statement Monday, Sadovyi had said the city was reaching the limit of its capacity. About 440 cultural and educational facilities in Lviv are being used to house displaced persons, along with 85 religious buildings, the mayor’s office said.  

7:07 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Russia violated obligations under international humanitarian law, says Human Rights Watch

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Lviv, Ukraine

The US-based organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Russian forces had "violated their obligations under international humanitarian law not to conduct indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks that harm civilians."

The comments come after eight civilians were killed over the weekend while fleeing the Russian army's advance.

"For several hours on March 6, 2022, Russian forces bombarded an intersection on a road that hundreds of civilians were using to flee the Russian army's advance in northern Ukraine to Kyiv," the HRW said in a statement Tuesday.
"About a dozen Ukrainian security force members and at least two military vehicles were at the intersection during the attack, but they were vastly outnumbered by the large number of fleeing civilians,” the statement said, citing witnesses.

HRW added that over recent talks between Russia and Ukraine have “failed” to establish safe routes of evacuation, and urged all parties involved to "take all feasible steps to remove the civilian population from the vicinity of fighting or military objects.”

Some context: Several attempts to evacuate civilians during temporary ceasefires have failed, with Western leaders accusing Russian forces of continuing to target pre-approved routes.

Almost all of Russia’s proposed routes out of Ukraine lead to Russia or its close ally Belarus, which Ukrainian authorities described as unacceptable.

On Monday, Ukraine's Ambassador to the UN accused Russia of blocking attempts to evacuate civilians, adding it was “appalling” that Russian troops were opening fire on evacuees after both countries had allocated certain roads to be utilized as evacuation corridors. 

2:34 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

US embassy in Ukraine says situation is “unpredictable” and warns US citizens not to cross into Belarus

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Lviv, Ukraine

The US Embassy in Ukraine said Tuesday the security situation throughout Ukraine “continues to be unpredictable,” warning US citizens trying to flee that conditions at each border “can change very quickly.”

Wait lines can also change without warning, the embassy said.

Photos from various border points have shown long lines of thousands of people waiting to cross.

The embassy also reminded its citizens not to cross into Belarus, citing “the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine and the build-up of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine.”

“Do not travel to Russia,” it added, warning of “the potential for harassment against US citizens by Russian government security officials” and the embassy’s “limited ability to assist US.citizens in Russia.”
12:45 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

World Bank approves $723 million emergency financing package for Ukraine 

From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie in Sydney

The World Bank has approved a $723 million emergency financing package of loans and grants for Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion, it said in a statement Monday. 

The package includes a $350 million loan supplement to a prior World Bank loan. 

The bank also promised to work on creating another $3 billion dollar support package for Ukraine to be rolled out “in the coming months." In its statement, it said it would provide additional support for Ukraine’s neighbours as they take in more than 1.7 million refugees,.

“The World Bank Group stands with the people of Ukraine and the region," said World Bank President David Malpass in the statement. "This is the first of many steps we are taking to help address the far-reaching human and economic impacts of this crisis.”
12:45 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Family and friends await word about American athlete Brittney Griner after her arrest in Russia

From CNN's Travis Caldwell

The arrest of WNBA superstar and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner over alleged drug charges in Russia has left family members, friends and supporters with little information about her well-being and anxious for her safe return.

And the heightened tension between the US and Russia over the latter's invasion of Ukraine means that a resolution may prove difficult to reach.

Griner's wife, Cherelle, wrote on Instagram on Monday, "People say 'stay busy.' Yet, there's not a task in this world that could keep any of us from wondering if you are safe."

"My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats everyday that goes by without hearing from you. I miss your voice. I miss your presence. You're our person! There are no words to express this pain. I'm hurting, we're hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family," she wrote.

Playing overseas: Griner, like many other WNBA players, plays overseas in the offseason where salaries can be much higher. She won the EuroLeague Women championship last year with Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg, where she has played since 2015 during her offseasons.

Her arrest: Details about her arrest and detention are murky. Russian officials say it was in February at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport upon arriving from New York, but have not given a date. Griner's whereabouts aren't publicly known.

CNN has reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment but has not heard back.

Read more:

12:42 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Analysis: Zelensky's heroism is coming up against Western red lines

From CNN's Stephen Collinson

(Volodymyr Zelenskyy/Facebook)
(Volodymyr Zelenskyy/Facebook)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's daily videos highlighting his country's heroism make it impossible to look away from the horror of the Russian invasion.

But he's also increasingly running headlong into the war's harsh reality: President Joe Biden and European leaders face political and geopolitical red lines that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a nuclear-armed tyrant, simply does not in his relentless destruction.

Soaring oil prices are also playing into the underlying equation of the war: Will Western pressure strangle the Russian economy and force Putin's hand before Ukraine and its people are destroyed or driven to a mass refugee exodus? And how long can public opinion in the US and Europe hold firm?

Call to the world: Zelensky's poignant appeals have made lawmakers in the US and Europe cry on video calls, revived the West from its post-Cold War slumber and captivated the world with his defense of democracy. He's the antipode to the cruelty of Putin. If one man ever changed the world, few have done so as quickly as Zelensky.

In the latest video message, Zelensky left his bunker and appeared defiantly in his government office, lauding Ukrainians protesting against Russian troops.

"(They say), 'I'm here, it's mine, and I won't give it away. My city. My community. My Ukraine,' " Zelensky said in the message on Monday.

The West hitting a wall: But nearly two weeks after the invasion began, the question for the West is becoming what options there are for stepping up the economic heat rising on Russia while avoiding a parallel military escalation.

And there are increasing signs that for all his heroism, Zelensky may be coming up against the West's prudent desire to avoid triggering a worstcase scenario that could lead to a third world war.

Read the full analysis here.