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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5:41 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich among seven Russian oligarchs added to UK sanctions list

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and George Ramsay

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC, following his team's victory during the UEFA Champions League Final at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, in Porto, Portugal.
Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC, following his team's victory during the UEFA Champions League Final at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, in Porto, Portugal. (Alexander Hassenstein/UEFA/Getty Images)

The UK government has sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, freezing his assets, including English Premier League soccer club Chelsea.

In a statement Thursday, the UK government said Abramovich has had "his assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions imposed."

Abramovich, who has owned Chelsea since 2003, announced last week that he was selling the club, but the sanctions now cast doubt on the sale and the immediate future of the Premier League side.

"To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club," UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said in a tweet.

She added that the government's priority is to "hold those who have enabled the Putin regime to account."

According to the UK government, Chelsea can continue to "fulfil its fixtures and carry out football business," but certain actions will not be permitted, such as selling tickets for games beyond those already sold to fans.

Abramovich and Putin ally Igor Sechin are among seven oligarchs and politicians to be added to the UK's sanctions list.

The sanctions are estimated to be worth close to $20 billion (£15 billion), the UK government said.

Last month, UK lawmaker Chris Bryant called for Abramovich to lose ownership of Chelsea after seeing a leaked 2019 UK government document identifying Abramovich as an individual of interest due to his "links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices."

In its statement, the UK government said Abramovich, who is worth around $12 billion (more than £9 billion), is "one of the few oligarchs from the 1990s to maintain prominence under Putin."

Seven further oligarchs and politicians are being added to its sanctions list, including:

  • Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC and has stakes in steel giant Evraz and Norilsk Nickel
  • Oleg Deripaska, who has stakes in En+ Group
  • Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft
  • Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB bank
  • Alexei Miller, CEO of energy company Gazprom
  • Nikolai Tokarev, president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft
  • Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Rossiya
3:53 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

3 dead after Mariupol maternity hospital bombing

From Tim Lister in Kyiv

Ukrainian services at the site at a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9.
Ukrainian services at the site at a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Three people died after they were injured in a Russian bomb attack on a maternity hospital in southern Ukraine, Mariupol city council said Thursday

"As of today, we know that after the terrorist bombing by Russian aircraft of the children's hospital in Mariupol there are 17 victims — children, women, doctors — and three died, among them one child, a girl," the council said.

The full extent of the casualties is unclear but preliminary reports said at least 17 people were injured in the bombing.

3:41 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

France condemns Russian attack against Mariupol maternity hospital

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris

An injured pregnant woman walks downstairs in a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9.
An injured pregnant woman walks downstairs in a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has denounced a Russian strike against a maternity and children's hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, as “inhumane” and “unjustifiable.”

“I want to say in the name of the French government that the strike by Russia against Mariupol’s pediatric hospital was inhumane and cowardly. It’s women, children, health care workers who were targeted, it’s unjustifiable,” he said in an interview with French radio station RTL.

Calling again for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Attal predicted the worst is yet to come in the Russian invasion.

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.