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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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.
1:40 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Ukraine denies Russia's claims it has killed up to 180 foreign mercenaries during strike on Yavoriv military base

From CNN’s Mick Krever in Lviv

Ukraine responded to Russia’s claims it has killed up to 180 foreign mercenaries during a strike on Yavoriv military base, calling it “pure Russian propaganda,” Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesperson Markiyan Lubkivsky told CNN. 

“This is not the truth. Pure Russian propaganda,” Lubkivsky said in a message to CNN, further saying there are still no foreigners confirmed among the dead in Yavoriv military base.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a briefing, "On the morning of March 13, high-precision long-range weapons attacked the training centers of the Ukrainian armed forces in the village of Starichi and at the Yavoriv military base. At these facilities, the Kyiv regime deployed a point for the training and combat coordination of foreign mercenaries before being sent to the areas of hostilities against Russian military personnel, as well as a storage base for weapons and military equipment coming from foreign countries. As a result of the strike, up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large consignment of foreign weapons were destroyed. The destruction of foreign mercenaries who arrived on the territory of Ukraine will continue."

1:23 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

UK prime minister to host Nordic and Baltic leaders for summit on European defense

From Alex Hardie in London

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to host the leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) for a summit on European defense this week.

Representatives from Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway will attend meetings “on shoring up European security and increasing defensive military support to Ukraine,” according to a UK government statement released Sunday.  

The statement adds that “leaders are expected to discuss joint military exercises in the High North and Baltic regions.”

Johnson said in a statement, “European security has been shaken by the attack of Russia on Ukraine, and alongside our partners, we will take action to ensure we emerge stronger and more united than before.”

“Ensuring we are resilient to Putin’s threats needs to go beyond our military footing - together alongside our North and Baltic Sea partners we must ensure we are insulated from Russia’s interference and impact on our energy supplies, economy and values,” he added.

The group will have dinner at Chequers on Monday, before meeting in London on Tuesday.

1:22 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

American journalist Juan Arredondo in hospital after being wounded by Russian forces, Kyiv police say

From CNN's Lauren Kent in London and Clarissa Ward in Kyiv

Kyiv region police said on Sunday that two other journalists were wounded by Russian troops. One of the wounded journalists is believed to be Colombian-American photographer Juan Arredondo, who is now in the hospital, according to social media video and international media reports. 

In a Facebook post, head of the Kyiv region police Andriy Nebitov said that Russian forces killed American journalist Brent Renaud and that "two more journalists were injured, adding that "the injured have been already saved and moved to a hospital in the capital. What condition they are in is unknown at the moment."

Social media footage has emerged of a journalist identified as Juan Arredondo at Okhmatdyt hospital in Kyiv, in which he describes being shot at by Russian forces while driving through a checkpoint in Irpin, Ukraine, while on the way to film refugees leaving the city. 

"There was two of us, my friend Brent Renaud. And he's been shot and left behind," Arredondo said in the video, adding that Renaud was shot in the neck. "We got split and I got pulled into the [points to stretcher] ... an ambulance, I don't know."  

Arredondo, a filmmaker and visual journalist who is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School, posted photos from Zhytomyr, Ukraine on Saturday, noting in an Instagram post that he is "#onassignment." 

The Dean of Columbia Journalism School, Steve Coll, told CNN, "We don’t have any independent information about his injuries at this time but are working now to learn more and to see if we can help."

The Committee to Protect Journalists also noted Arredondo's injuries in a statement released Sunday, in which the organization also denounced the shooting and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. 

Arredondo is a 2019 Harvard Nieman fellow. He has previously had his photography featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, ESPN, Vanity Fair, and other media outlets, according to his personal website bio