March 13, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:15 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022
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6:16 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Village school outside Mykolaiv demolished in Russian military strike

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Natalie Gallon and Mariya Knight

A school in the village of Zelenogai, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Mykolaiv, has been demolished by a Russian military strike, Mykolaiv regional administrator Vitali Kim said.

Video and photos from the scene, which have been geolocated and their authenticity verified, show much of the school has been reduced to rubble. Kim confirmed that a school in the Mykolaiv region was hit and posted the video and photos online.

"Some people got under the rubble and we are evacuating them," Kim said. 

Firefighters and rescue services are seen in the video. 

Later on Saturday evening, Kim said that the military strike left several people either dead or in critical condition.

3:50 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Senate Armed Forces Committee member: US should supply Ukraine with military planes

From CNN's Devan Cole

US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said Sunday that the US should supply Ukraine with military equipment, including planes, as it defends itself against Russia.

“Means of air defense, such as planes, drones, anti-aircraft, batteries and missiles, all means of air defense, should be considered. And my personal feeling is we should provide those planes because they are potentially very important to the Ukrainian defense,” Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on “Newsroom.”

He continued: “Not with American pilots, but with the training that Ukrainians need to fly those planes and make them effective as a deterrent as well as a force to protect the Ukrainian people against the air superiority of the Russian jet fighters.”

The Pentagon said last week the US was opposed to a Polish plan to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine through the US and a German air base “at this time.” CNN previously reported that NATO members have expressed concerns that providing fighter jets to Ukraine -- even if done bilaterally -- could be perceived by Russia as the alliance becoming directly involved in the war. National security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN earlier Sunday that the US is focused on providing other anti-air systems that could help Ukrainians make progress.

4:01 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Humanitarian aid convoy fails to reach the city of Mariupol

From CNN's Tim Lister & Sasha Ochman 

A Ukrainian serviceman guards his position in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 12.
A Ukrainian serviceman guards his position in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 12. (Mstyslav Chernov/AP)

Mariupol's city administration confirmed Sunday night that a large convoy of humanitarian aid destined for the besieged city had not arrived, and was still stuck in Berdyansk, some 50 miles to the west.

Berdyansk is held by the Russians as are the approaches to Mariupol.

In a Telegram post, the Mariupol city administration said: "A little more left. The humanitarian caravan almost reached Mariupol."

"According to drivers, the road is very difficult, the convoy is slow, but continues to move. You can go only during the day, this is due to safety rules. In almost two days, the caravan traveled more than 200 km along the previously agreed route. There is about 80 km to the destination."

"With all the agreements in place, a green corridor is to open tomorrow morning and the humanitarian caravan will continue to Mariupol, where 400,000 people are waiting for help," they said.

3:42 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Kherson mayor says protests "show that citizens' position is that Kherson is Ukraine"

From CNN’s Emmet Lyons & Mariya Knight

Ihor Kolykhaiev, the mayor of Russian-occupied Kherson, has said that mass protests show that “Kherson is Ukraine” and insisted that he retains administrative control of the city.

Speaking in a video posted on Facebook on Sunday, Kolykhaiev said, “the city is living in a normal mode, the City Council is working, all the deputies are at work, all the utility establishments are up and running. Kherson mayor’s office has a flag waving in the front. Kherson is Ukraine.”

Kherson has been occupied by Russian forces since March 3. In recent days, at least one Kherson regional council official warned that occupation forces were laying the groundwork for the “Kherson People’s Republic.”

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators flocked the streets of the Russian-occupied city to protest against the suspected Russian plans. The mayor said that it was a "peaceful protest to show that citizens' position is that Kherson is Ukraine.”

In reference to reports of Russian coercion, Kolykhaiev warned that there “seem to be behind the scenes talks held and the people who want to change the political structure of our country and the south of Ukraine are trying to influence this situation.”

The mayor also said that the city had been cut off from humanitarian aid and was running out of resources.

He said that the city “can’t receive a humanitarian cargo here, food is finishing in the stores, we are running out of gas, we only have diesel oil left at the gas stations. We are running out of the medications and insulin.”

“Our main weapon is unity,” he added.

3:04 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

UK's Johnson speaks to Zelensky, says UK will continue to pursue options to bolster Ukraine's self-defense

From CNN's Lauren Kent in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday in which he condemned "Putin’s barbaric actions" and said that Britain will continue to pursue options for bolstering Ukraine’s self-defense, according to the Downing Street readout. 

"The Prime Minister said Putin’s barbaric actions were testing not just Ukraine but all of humanity," according to the readout.

The readout added that Johnson and Zelensky condemned the deaths of American journalist Brent Renaud and "countless innocent Ukrainians."

"The Prime Minister outlined the support the UK continues to deliver to Ukraine. He said the UK would continue to pursue more options for bolstering Ukraine’s self-defense, working with partners including at Tuesday’s meeting of the Joint Expeditionary Force in London," according to Downing Street. "The Prime Minister said the UK would continue to stand behind Ukraine in all their efforts to bring an end to this disastrous conflict."

2:49 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Resident of Mariupol paints grim picture of situation: "This is horror"

From CNN's Eoin McSweeney

A resident of the besieged city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine has recorded a video diary of the desperate situation in the city.

The video was recorded Sunday morning on deserted streets and posted to Twitter. It also shows looted shops and people trying to cook outdoors in sub-zero temperatures.

Nearly 2,200 people have been killed in the bombardment of the city. Repeated efforts to get humanitarian aid into the city have so far failed. 

Here is what the resident said:

"The town of Mariupol, March 13. The 18th day of the war. The town is besieged....
There’s no humanitarian aid and will not be. The evacuation of peaceful people is impossible. People are in a devastating situation. Water, food are coming to an end, people are forced to break into shops, in search for necessities , including logs - it’s minus 7 right now . And here’s what we see in every shop. 
Russian military vehicles and also from DNR [the Russian-backed Peoples Republic of Donetsk] are not ashamed of air strikes, the town is under air strikes, and shelling from grads and mortars...
There are thousands of victims among peaceful civilians… in all parts of the city! I've been on the left side, now I am in Illicha [a district of Mariupol] … It’s like a meat grinder here. 
We feel bitterness, desperation — this land has been soaked with this …  
Russians came here under a reasonable, in their view, proposition, but they sowed despair fear, bitterness … they have taken away our peace … They are killing us … That’s what’s happening … The town has no electricity for 13 days, no heating, water … And the world doesn’t know what’s happening here… 
This is horror… Here’s our good morning... "

2:30 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

About 5,500 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland, Prime Minister says

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Emmet Lyons in London

About 5,500 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said on Sunday.

“We’ve had about five and a half thousand into Ireland at this stage,” Martin told the BBC’s Sophie Raworth in an interview. “Our primary impulse is to assist those fleeing war… there is huge human empathy there obviously to help the women and children.”

“If Ukrainians come into Ireland, they will get access to our social protection. Access to our health services, access to our education, the right to work immediately. And we believe that is the correct thing to do in the context of the worst displacement of people and refugee crisis since World War II,” Martin said.

“Speed is important in a situation like this,” he added.


2:19 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Ukraine says it resumed power supply to Chernobyl nuclear plant

A general view shows the structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine November 22, 2018.
A general view shows the structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine November 22, 2018. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Ukraine’s National Energy Company (NEC) Ukrenergo completed repair work and resumed power supply to the Chernobyl NPP, the company announced on Sunday.

“Ukrainian specialists of NEC “Ukrenergo” completed repair works on the 330 kV line… and resumed power supply to the Chernobyl NPP and town of Slavutych,” Ukrenergo posted on its Telegram channel.

Some more context: The Chernobyl nuclear power plant's electrical system was damaged during a Russian attack on March 9. Following the attack, the plant was dependent on external diesel generators to keep its reactors operating, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. Russian officials have also arrived to Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant, demanding to take control of the facility, according to a statement from Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-operated nuclear energy company.

1:47 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

It's 7:45 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Ukrainian servicemen cross a makeshift path next to a destroyed bridge in Irpin, Ukraine on March 13.
Ukrainian servicemen cross a makeshift path next to a destroyed bridge in Irpin, Ukraine on March 13. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian airstrikes hit a large military base near the western city of Lviv, which is close to the Polish border, killing 35 people and leaving more than 130 in hospital, the Lviv regional administration said. More than 30 missiles fired from warplanes over the Black and Azov seas hit the military base, according to a statement.

If you're just reading in, here are the latest headlines from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • American journalist killed in Ukraine: Award-winning American journalist Brent Renaud was killed by Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine, according to Kyiv region police in social media posts on Sunday. Kyiv police said another American journalist was wounded by Russian troops. An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, said in a statement that Renaud “paid with his life for attempting to expose the insidiousness, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor," according to a New York Times report.  
  • Russian troops inch closer to Kyiv: The bulk of Russian ground forces are about 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from the center of the Ukrainian capital, the UK's Ministry of Defense said Saturday in its latest intelligence assessment. Russian strikes continue to hit civilian areas: A large swath of Makariv, a village 30 miles west of Kyiv, has sustained significant damage from apparent Russian airstrikes. Photos posted to social media, geolocated and verified by CNN, show major damage to residential apartment complexes, schools and a medical facility.
  • Other cities in Ukraine are under attack: The cities of Kharkhiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Dnipro, Chernihiv and Sumy are under a sustained Russian onslaught and Russian forces have been expanding their offensive in Ukraine to the west. As a long-awaited humanitarian convoy remains some distance from Mariupol, officials in the besieged city said, it has suffered 22 bombing attacks in the last 24 hours (to 10 a.m. ET). "To date, 2,187 Mariupol residents have died from attacks by Russia," the city council said. That is a sharp increase on the figure of nearly 1,600 last announced.
  • Protesters continue to fill the streets in Ukraine: Hundreds of demonstrators have flocked the streets of Russian-occupied Kherson to protest against suspected Russian plans to turn the southern Ukrainian oblast into a breakaway republic. In recent days, at least one Kherson regional council official warned that occupation forces were laying the groundwork for the “Kherson People’s Republic.” Demonstrators in Kherson on Sunday morning waved Ukrainian flags, chanted anti-Russian slogans and shouted expletives at Putin, videographer Artem Ivanov, who is on the ground in Kherson, told CNN.
  • Demonstrators being detained in Russia: Russia’s riot police arrested more than 776 people in 37 Russian cities on Sunday, almost half detained in Moscow, according to OVD-Info, an independent human rights protest-monitoring group. According to the group, more than 5,000 people were arrested across Russia for participating in the anti-war protests last weekend and more than 14,763 protesters have been detained in 151 Russian cities since the start of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.