March 14, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Helen Regan, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt, Ben Church, Ed Upright, Maureen Chowdhury and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022
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12:47 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Russian advances "remain stalled" in Ukraine, senior US defense official says

From CNN's Michael Conte, Ellie Kaufman and Jeremy Herb 

“Almost all” of the Russian advances in Ukraine “remain stalled,” a senior US defense official said Monday during a background briefing with reporters.

Russian forces moving on Kyiv, including the infamous convoy to the north, have not appreciably progressed over the weekend, said the official, though the US does see Russia trying to “flow in forces behind the advance elements” moving to the north of Kyiv.

The official said the assaults on the cities of Chernihiv and Kharkiv also remain stalled, but that Russia has split off a force of 50 to 60 vehicles to move towards the town of Izium, presumably to block off the flow of Ukrainian forces from the western part of the country.

Ukraine continues to defend Mariupol, though the city remains isolated, according to the official.

Russian forces have also not moved closer to the town of Mykolaiv, according to the official, from which they could have their forces move on Odessa or north towards Kyiv.

Additional aid to Ukraine: More security assistance shipments from the US went into Ukraine over the weekend, a senior US defense official told reporters on Monday. The security assistance that arrived over the weekend is from the $350 million drawdown package US President Joe Biden approved at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Department of Defense is also working “fast” on “filling out” the security assistance packaged Biden approved over the weekend. That package is for $200 million in security assistance, the official said.

“We are hard at work at mapping that out, what that would look like, what would be in the first go, and working on when it would get there,” the official said.

Russia’s missile strikes on a Ukrainian military training center near Lviv in western Ukraine will not affect US efforts to provide weapons shipments to the Ukrainian military, a senior US defense official said Monday. 

The official said that Russia attacked the Yavoriv training facility with cruise missiles launched by bombers from Russian airspace, which the Lviv regional administration said Sunday had killed 35 people. 

The official said that Yavoriv was not being used as a shipment site for US security assistance. It would be a “wrong conclusion” to say the strike was targeting US security shipments into Ukraine, which a Russian official had threatened in a statement over the weekend. 

There were no US military troops or contractors at Yavoriv when it was struck Sunday, the official said. Before Russia’s invasion, Florida National Guard troops who had been stationed at Yavoriv were redeployed out of Ukraine. 

12:35 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian prime minister calls for Russia's expulsion from Council of Europe in speech to chamber

From CNN’s Sarah Dean 

(Council of Europe)
(Council of Europe)

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal pleaded “Ukraine is on fire” as he asked for Russia to be ousted from the Council of Europe on Monday, in a speech to the chamber. 

Shmyhal was standing in for President Volodymyr Zelensky who was scheduled to give the address earlier on Monday. 

"For the past 18 days the world finally opened its eyes," Shmyhal said, referring to Russian actions in Ukraine.

Following an applause for Shmyhal, Tiny Kox, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said the meeting will now examine whether “for the first time in modern history” a member state could be excluded.

Kox said the consequences of the Russian army’s invasion would be debated in the coming hours and Tuesday.

More background: The Russian Federation became the 39th member State of the Council of Europe on 28 February 1996, according to the Council of Europe website.

“On 25 February 2022, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Committee of Ministers and in the Parliamentary Assembly, in accordance with Article 8 of the Statute of the Council of Europe,” the website adds.

However, Russian senator Alexander Bashkin told state news agency RIA Novosti on Monday the Russian Electoral Commission has suspended its work in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and will not take part in meetings. The head of the Russian delegation to PACE, Pyotr Tolstoy, suggested Russia may withdraw from the organization, according to RIA.

4:28 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

CNN spoke to some foreign volunteers who are helping defend Ukraine. Here's why they joined. 

More than 20,000 volunteers and veterans from 52 countries have expressed a desire to join and fight to defend Ukraine in their international legion, an official from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said last week. CNN's Jim Sciutto and his team met some of these volunteers in Ukraine.

Their resumes range from combat experience to no military training at all.

Brian, a 25-year-old Minnesota resident, served two years with the US Marines in Okinawa, Japan, and has volunteered to fight with and for Ukrainians.

"I'm a US Marine. If I have to die to help these people, I will," he told CNN.

Oskar, a volunteer from Sweden, has no formal military training.

"We're here to help people. Hopefully, it's going to be over before we reach the fronts, before we need to fire a bullet or save someone with medical resources. That's the best for everyone. But if that's what it comes to, we'll be there," he said.

All volunteers get some training. While many can contribute on the battlefield, others may never see combat.

David, a 33-year-old Canadian, said he can help fix tires to keep Ukrainian military vehicles on the road. 

"If it's black and round and made out of rubber, I can fix it. One of the most important things of the gears of war is keeping it moving," he told CNN.

However, arming thousands of people is not without its risks.

"They might be dangerous," said Roman, a man who vets the background of all foreign volunteers. "We try to check their biography, try to check their past as best we can."

And Ukraine does not just need on-field fighters. Volunteers with combat medical experience are urgently required too.

That's what brought Sky Barkley, a US Marine and missionary to Ukraine, along with six other Americans. Barkley said this war does not compare to an insurgency or even the fight against ISIS.

"I mean, we're talking about the sheer amount of missiles being launched across the country, the ability of the Russians to reach out across hundreds and hundreds of kilometers and kill from that kind of distance," he told CNN.

Part of Barkley's team is Missouri native Maddie Hayes, who served as a nurse in Iraq.

"I just have a heart for these people. I just really want to help them. I don't see my life more valuable than their life," she said.

Sciutto reports that the training the Ukrainian military is able to offer foreign volunteers is limited — volunteers will get three to 14 days of basic training, and it's not a short-term commitment. Those who volunteer to fight are asked to sign on for a year of commitment in Ukraine. 

Ukrainian officials have made clear this is "not a calling for adventurers or weekend warriors," but a "service against a massive and ruthless invading army," Sciutto reports.

Just last week, the State Department warned Americans who travel to Ukraine and fight with Ukrainian forces in the ongoing war will be treated by Russians as “mercenaries” or foreign fighters, Russians have said, which puts them at a greater risk of mistreatment.

US citizens could also face criminal prosecution, capture or death from Russia for fighting on behalf of Ukraine in the war, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing Friday, adding that the US will also not be able to evacuate American citizens from Ukraine at any point.

Watch Jim Sciutto's report:

12:52 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Biden administration weighing expediting some Ukrainian refugee cases, official says 

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

A Ukrainian passport is shown at a center for the registration of Ukrainian refugees, at the Palace 8 hall of Brussels Expo on March 14.
A Ukrainian passport is shown at a center for the registration of Ukrainian refugees, at the Palace 8 hall of Brussels Expo on March 14. (James Arthur Gekiere/Belga/Sipa USA/AP)

The Biden administration is considering expediting the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees with US ties, including family already living here, according to a US official, amid growing calls from advocates to do more for the millions of people fleeing war-torn Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris have repeatedly committed to welcoming Ukrainian refugees to the US, but the reality for those trying to reconnect with family in the US is different given the limited ways Ukrainians can legally come to the country. 

Nearly 3 million people have already fled Ukraine into neighboring countries, according to the United Nations refugee agency. While most Ukrainian refugees are likely to stay in Europe, there are those who want to come to the US where they have family. There are over 1 million people of Ukrainian ancestry in the United States, according to 2019 census estimates.

The options for Ukrainian refugees looking to come to the US are limited. The US refugee resettlement process, for example, can take years to complete, prompting a push from advocates to expedite the process for people who already have relatives in the US and could more easily settle down where those family members are located.  

A State Department spokesperson said the US is working with European allies and partners, along with international organizations, to support people displaced by the war. 

“If there are Ukrainians who are not able to remain safely and for whom resettlement in the United States is a better option, we will work with UNHCR and the EU to consider them. That is not a quick process, and so we will be looking at other options and what more we can do,” the spokesperson said in a statement last Thursday, noting that the US expects Ukrainians will want to stay in neighboring countries or in the European Union. 

New York Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi, meanwhile, is expected to call Monday for the administration to grant tourist visas to Ukrainians seeking to travel to the US. But that too comes with its challenges.  

To obtain a tourist visa, Ukrainians must apply, get an appointment at a US consulate, and prove that they’re coming to the US for a short period of time – a requirement set in law. 

Marina Shepelsky, an immigration attorney who works with Ukrainian clients, told CNN some people had success in getting a tourist visa, but the demand has been a challenge. 

“It's very difficult. It's always been difficult to get tourist visa period but now there's so many people applying, they really have to pick and choose,” Shepelsky said. 


11:47 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

White House having early discussions about President Biden traveling to Europe, sources say

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Joe Biden during a speech at the White House on March 11.
President Joe Biden during a speech at the White House on March 11. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

White House officials are having early discussions about having US President Joe Biden travel to Europe soon amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning. 

The trip would come on the heels of visits of several top aides, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

No trip has been finalized or announced. 


11:33 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

At least 636 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russian invasion began, UN says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

As of Sunday, at least 636 civilians have died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, the UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) said Monday in a statement sent to CNN.

This is an increase of 40 deaths compared to the previous daily update.

Among the dead are six girls, 10 boys and 30 more children whose gender is not known, the OHCHR says.

According to the agency, at least 1,125 civilians have been injured so far. 

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes," the agency said.

"OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration," it added.


11:31 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

People beginning to escape from Mariupol through evacuation corridor, mayor's office says

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv and Olga Voitovych

Women talk as they take shelter inside an entryway to an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13.
Women talk as they take shelter inside an entryway to an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

An adviser to the mayor's office in the city of Mariupol says that civilians are at last able to get out of the city through an evacuation corridor — and head towards the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is under Ukrainian control.

The official, Petro Andriushchenko, said that as of 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) "we have confirmation of the ceasefire regime" on an evacuation corridor for "private transport along the route: Mariupol - Melekine - Portovske - Mangush - Berdiansk - Zaporizhzhia."

Berdiansk is under Russian control.

"As of now, more than 50 private cars have already passed Berdiansk and are moving towards Zaporizhzhia," the official added.

Andruishchenko cautioned: "As of now, there are no difficulties in passing checkpoints" but "we cannot officially guarantee security on this corridor. But this is the only corridor that has official approval and that actually works today."

Mariupol's city council says that this green corridor is half-official and they don't guarantee the safety of people who decide to use it. Moreover, only the people who have personal vehicles can use it. This corridor is not for buses.

According to the city council, 160 cars got out of Mariupol and passed Berdyansk. The latest information about it was at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET). 

Mariupol has a population of some 400,000. It's not known how many people left ahead of the Russian invasion and encirclement of the city.

The city has suffered extensive devastation and Ukrainian authorities say more than 2,500 people have been killed. 

11:30 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

"The senselessness is staggering," US first lady Jill Biden says of Russia's Ukraine invasion 

From CNN's Kate Bennett

US First Lady Jill Biden addresses the 16th annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC, on March 14.
US First Lady Jill Biden addresses the 16th annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC, on March 14. (Leah Millis/AFP/Getty Images)

US first lady Jill Biden spoke at the State Department Monday to honor the 2022 International Women of Courage Awards.

In remarks on the significance of women around the world, the first lady briefly touched on what is happening in Ukraine. “Like all of us, my heart has ached watching videos of Ukraine,” she said.

“Sick kids fleeing on makeshift medical trains. The unthinkable bombing of a maternity ward. Parents weeping over their children’s broken bodies in the streets. The senselessness is staggering," she continued.

Biden went on to discuss the importance of women telling their stories of courage and determination in the face of violence and oppression, as many of the 12 recipients of the IWOC awards have done in their countries.

“There can be no true democracy, no true prosperity, without women’s voices,” said Biden. “Women warriors everywhere need to hear what’s possible.”

More background: A White House official told CNN Friday that Biden has yet to initiate one-on-one contact with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska due to deep security concerns but would not confirm whether any communication had already occurred from Zelenska to Biden.

The first lady is expected to speak with Polish first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda in the coming days after the Polish first lady reached out, an aide to the President tells CNN. The call is expected to happen as the first lady is also weighing a trip to Eastern Europe.

11:07 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

It's 5 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN Staff

A view of destruction after an apartment building was hit by Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 14.
A view of destruction after an apartment building was hit by Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 14. (Emin Sansar/Anadolu AgencyGetty Images)

Heavy explosions have been heard Monday in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as Russia expands its assault. One person has died and six more were injured when an apartment building in the city's Obolon district was hit earlier today. Not a single window was left intact when the residential building was hit, a staircase in the middle of it completely destroyed and burnt.

People living in the area were visibly in shock. Many were crying, seeking refuge with relatives and friends. A man and a woman who live on the ninth floor of the building told CNN they were woken up by the sudden sound of a massive explosion.

Here's a catch up of other major developments in Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

  • Clashes around Ukraine: There have been fierce battles across the country, including in the strategic maritime city of Mykolaiv. At least two people were killed and 10 injured during shelling on its outskirts Monday, according to the town’s community group post on Facebook.
  • More than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine, UN agency says: As of Monday, more than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine for neighboring countries, including 127,000 third-country nationals, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a UN agency, said. According to UNICEF, the war in Ukraine is having a "devastating impact" on more than 7.5 million children.
  • Fourth round of Ukraine-Russia talks on "technical pause" until Tuesday, Ukrainian negotiator says: Ukrainian negotiator, Mykhailo Podoliak, said in an update on Twitter that a "technical pause" has been taken in the Ukraine-Russia talks until Tuesday. "For additional work in the working subgroups and clarification of individual definitions. Negotiations continue,” Podoliak said. He said the fourth session was being held virtually, not in person, with the Ukrainian negotiating team in Kyiv.
  • President Zelensky will give virtual address to members of US Congress Wednesday: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will give a virtual address to the US Congress on Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET, according to a letter sent to House and Senate members by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. 
  • Mariupol death toll estimated at more than 2,500: An adviser in Zelensky's office says that the Russian bombardment of the southern city of Mariupol has now caused more than 2,500 deaths. One of the defining images from the conflict in Ukraine last week was the photograph of a pregnant woman being stretchered out of a maternity hospital in Mariupol after it was bombed. Today, her surgeon told Ukrainian television from the city that the mother and her baby have both died.