March 10, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, George Ramsay, Jack Guy, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Jason Kurtz, Aditi Sangal and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:11 a.m. ET, March 11, 2022
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3:31 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Ukraine says it is opening new humanitarian corridors 

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

The Ukrainian government said it is opening humanitarian corridors in several parts of the country Thursday.

As of 10 a.m. local time it was not clear whether the corridors — designed to allow civilians to escape to safer regions — had been agreed with Russia or international humanitarian agencies.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukrainian minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, said on Facebook the corridors would apply to three routes in eastern Ukraine — Sumy to Poltava, Trostianets to Poltava and Krasnopilllia to Poltava.

Another corridor is set to be opened from the eastern city of Izium to the city of Lozova in Kharkiv region. Additionally, she said, the Ukrainians planned to open corridors from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzia 

Vereshchuk added that a corridor would be opened from districts north of the capital, Kyiv: Bucha, Borodianka, Irpin and Hostomel. Attempts to evacuate people from those districts Wednesday were only partially successful.

2:58 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

More evacuations planned in Ukraine's Sumy region on Thursday

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Evacuations from Sumy, Ukraine, on March 8.
Evacuations from Sumy, Ukraine, on March 8. (Kirill Timoshenko/Telegram)

Three evacuation corridors are planned to be opened in Ukraine's northeastern Sumy region on Thursday, the head of the regional administration Dmytro Zhyvytsky said on his official Telegram channel. 

"Green corridors" allow civilians to escape to safer regions of the country as Russian forces bombard Ukrainian cities.

The proposed evacuation routes were tentatively set to start at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) Thursday, he said, with civilians heading to Poltava, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) away in central Ukraine.

Efforts to evacuate civilians from Sumy have been stepped up after at least 21 people were killed Tuesday in a Russian airstrike on the city.

Some context: Nearly 35,000 people were rescued via humanitarian corridors in Ukraine on Wednesday, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukrainian authorities were preparing six humanitarian corridors to get people out of areas under attack by Russian forces, he added.

But local authorities in areas close to Kyiv said efforts to evacuate people to safety Wednesday failed. The city council of Bucha said 50 buses were blocked by the Russian military in nearby Stoyanka.

2:20 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Calls grow for international investigation into alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova speaks with journalists during a press conference in Lviv, Ukraine on Wednesday, March 9.
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova speaks with journalists during a press conference in Lviv, Ukraine on Wednesday, March 9. (Alyona Nikolayevich/Ukrinform/NurPhoto/AP)

A loud and growing chorus is calling for an international effort to investigate potential war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Russian bombing of a maternity and children's hospital in the southern city of Mariupol Wednesday a "war crime" and "proof of a genocide of Ukrainians."

"We never did and we would have never done nothing like this anything close to this war crime in any cities of Donetsk or Luhansk region, or any region," he said, referring to two separatist-held territories of eastern Ukraine.

The UN said it would follow up "urgently" and that health care facilities, hospitals and health workers should not "ever, ever be a target."

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova called for a "new model" of investigative efforts to tackle alleged war crimes in the country, saying a special tribunal should be created for the "unprecedented" crisis. She said 39 countries have joined Ukraine’s appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Russia. 

Russia's attack of a nuclear power plant, suspected use of cluster bombs and so-called vacuum bombs in dense areas, and targeting of hospitals, schools and civilian areas have also been described as war crimes.

Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said it would immediately proceed with an active investigation of possible war crimes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The UN is also establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate possible human rights violations by Russia.

What is a war crime? The ICC has specific definitions for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Targeting civilian populations, violating the Geneva Conventions, targeting specific groups of people and more could be potential Russian war crimes. "One thing is certain, that intentionally directing shelling or targeting civilians or civilian objects is a crime within the jurisdiction of the court," the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, told CNN last week.

What is the ICC? Located in The Hague, Netherlands, and created by a treaty called the Rome Statute first brought before the UN, the ICC operates independently. Some 123 countries are parties to the treaty, but there are very large and notable exceptions, including Russia and the United States. And, for that matter, Ukraine.

Read more about war crimes:

1:43 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Analysis: 2 weeks of war have revealed cracks in Putin's master plan for Ukraine

Analysis from CNN's Tim Lister

Two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, Russia's "precision strikes" have become much less precise and its ground forces arelaboring to seize territory.

On the eve of the offensive, some US officials predicted Kyiv would fall within 48 to 72 hours of hostilities beginning. Yet the blue-and-yellow flag of Ukraine still hangs from its buildings.

If, as Putin asserted, Ukraine was not a real country, it would surely have collapsed by now. But even with 150,000 Russian troops inside its borders, according to US assessments, they control at most about 10% of Ukraine.

On the ground: Serious defenses and countless checkpoints have popped up around Kyiv. Ukrainian forces — to the surprise of many observers — have been nimble and effective against Russian armor that has struggled to make progress.

Small, mobile units that know the territory have cut down Russian convoys. The anti-tank weapons acquired mainly from the US and UK have left smoking hulks on roads across the country. Turkish-made attack drones have been deployed to precise effect.

In the few areas occupied by Russian forces — even those that are predominantly Russian-speaking — crowds of hundreds have hurled abuse at bewildered Russian soldiers. They have built mountains of tires to defend their towns and painted over street signs.

Not that the Ukrainians have the upper hand: They can't defeat a vastly superior Russian force, but the evidence so far suggests that — fortified by weapons and other help flowing across the border from Poland — they may yet deny Putin victory.

Read the full analysis:

1:26 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

China's promotion of Russian disinformation indicates where its loyalties lie

From CNN's Simone McCarthy and Beijing Bureau

In public statements and at international summits, Chinese officials have attempted to stake out a seemingly neutral position on the war in Ukraine, neither condemning Russian actions nor ruling out the possibility Beijing could act as a mediator in a push for peace.

But while its international messaging has kept many guessing as to Beijing’s true intentions, much of its domestic media coverage of Russia’s invasion tells a wholly different story.

There, an alternate reality is playing out for China’s 1.4 billion people, one in which the invasion is nothing more than a “special military operation,” according to its national broadcaster CCTV; the United States may be funding a biological weapons program in Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is a victim standing up for a beleaguered Russia.

To tell that story, major state-run news media outlets — which dominate China’s highly censored media space — have been largely echoing Russian state media stories or information from Russian officials.

A CNN analysis reviewed nearly 5,000 social media posts from 14 Chinese state media outlets during the first eight days of Russia’s invasion posted onto China’s Twitter-like platform, Weibo. The analysis found that of the more than 300 most-shared posts about the events in Ukraine almost half were what CNN classified as distinctly pro-Russian, often containing information attributed to a Russian official or picked up directly from Russia’s state media.

Read the full story:

1:12 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Bodies buried in mass grave as Mariupol endures unrelenting Russian assault

From CNN's Jonny Hallam

Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9.
Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Disturbing photos show bodies being lowered into a mass grave in the besieged city of Mariupol, southern Ukraine on Wednesday. 

The images from the Associated Press show men, some dressed in overalls or blue protective suits, placing bodies into a trench. In some photos, the corpses are in body bags, but others are wrapped only in what appear to be blankets.

The city has been under attack for days, bombarded and isolated by Russian forces.

At least 1,300 civilians have been killed in Mariupol since the Russian invasion began, an adviser to the city's mayor said Wednesday.

Some of the bodies are in body bags, but others are wrapped only in what appear to be blankets.
Some of the bodies are in body bags, but others are wrapped only in what appear to be blankets. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Residents have been cut off from water and electricity and on Tuesday Ukraine's Foreign Minister accused Russia of committing war crimes by holding 300,000 civilians “hostage.

"Really, we can't calculate how many deaths we have — I mean three to four times more. We are not even able to count how many people on the streets have been killed by bombing and artillery," Mariupol's deputy mayor, Sergei Orlov told CNN.
"We do not know how many, because we cannot collect all the bodies and we cannot count."

To deal with the sheer number of bodies, city workers dug a deep trench over 75 feet (22 meters) long inside a graveyard and laid to rest the bodies of soldiers and civilians who had been killed during repeated attacks by Russian forces. 

Evgeniy Maloletka, a photojournalist with the AP who captured the scene, said some of the bodies are "brought wrapped in carpets or plastic bags." "Forty came Tuesday, another 30 so far Wednesday," he added.

12:40 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Analysis: Hospital bombing increases heat on US and allies to do more to stop Russia

Analysis from CNN's Maeve Reston

Pressure is growing on the Biden administration and its European allies to justify whether they are doing enough to stop the atrocities that are being inflicted on the Ukrainian people as horrific new images emerged Wednesday from the alleged Russian bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol.

The photographs of pregnant women emerging from the bomb-ravaged hospital in blood-stained clothing were the kinds of images certain to stir the consciences of people around the world watching their own leaders try to respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s widening campaign, which is increasingly resulting in civilian casualties.

What the democratic nations of the world are willing to do in the face of mounting Ukrainian casualties and millions of refugees fleeing the country is the most unnerving question now facing the US and its allies.

Read the full analysis:

12:19 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Ukrainian air defenses denying Russians access to airspace, US official says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Ukrainian air defenses are largely denying the Russian military access to Ukrainian airspace, a US official said Wednesday, but cautioned Russia’s superior combat power still has the capability to overwhelm the country's defenses.

Russia’s air force is largely avoiding Ukrainian airspace because of an array of anti-aircraft systems that have denied Russia air superiority, according to the US official.

Russia is flying 150-200 sorties per day, but they’re virtually all over Russian territory, the official said. Russian pilots have not ventured far into Ukrainian airspace because of the effective use of surface-to-air missiles, including portable Stingers provided by the US and larger systems.

Although some Russian aircraft have entered Ukrainian airspace quickly for an attack, they don’t loiter or provide significant cover for Russian ground forces. 

Ukrainian air defenses have denied Russia the freedom to maneuver in the skies, underscoring what Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said earlier Wednesday about the “limited” effectiveness of Russian air operations

Air defense is from anti-aircraft systems: In addition, Ukraine has operational jets, but they are not flying a significant number of combat missions, the official said. The air defense is coming primarily from their anti-aircraft systems, which is why it’s more effective to provide Ukraine with the weapons that have proven most problematic for the Russians: anti-armor missiles and anti-aircraft missiles. 

Russian losses: Russia has lost approximately 20-25 helicopters and 15-20 other aircraft, the official said, while also losing hundreds of vehicles, including tanks and armored equipment. CNN previously reported that Russia has lost 8-10% of its military assets in the invasion.

Some context: The official’s comments come after the Pentagon said it did not support the transfer of Polish MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine through the US. Kirby said Wednesday the proposal would offer little benefit to the Ukrainian military, which already has operational aircraft, but entails a high risk of escalation with Russia.

Ukrainians effectively fighting back: Despite the massive Russian advantage in combat power, they have not been able to bring that force to bear at a decisive place and time, the official said. Ukraine has fought back very effectively, using small teams composed of light infantry to attack large Russian convoys which generally travel by road.

The Ukrainians are fighting on their home turf, giving them an advantage in knowing the terrain and allowing them to use the local population as their eyes and ears. The US also has anecdotal evidence of dissension in the Russian ranks.

12:15 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

About 6,000 Russian troops may have been killed in Ukraine, US official says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Russia has potentially suffered 6,000 troops killed in action since its invasion of Ukraine began, according to a US official, who cautioned that an accurate estimate of combat casualties is incredibly difficult to make — especially as the fighting unfolds in real time.

The official said the number of Russian troops killed could be in the 5,000 to 6,000 range or even higher, but emphasized there is low confidence in the numbers.

Some context: The latest assessment comes after the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier told the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday the intelligence community assesses that 2,000 to 4,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine.

Berrier also said there is “low confidence” in the assessment.

The number of wounded could be three times as high, he added.