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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3:00 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

More than 2.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine. Here's where they are going.

From CNN's Benjamin Brown in London

Ukrainian refugees wait to be transferred to a train station after crossing into Poland on March 7.
Ukrainian refugees wait to be transferred to a train station after crossing into Poland on March 7. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

With more than 2.8 million people having fled Ukraine for neighboring countries since the start of the Russian invasion in late February, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), CNN data tracks where refugees are headed with the most recent available numbers. 

More than 1.7 million people had fled Ukraine for neighboring Poland as of Sunday, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The number of Ukrainians or Ukrainian residents seeking temporary refuge in Poland is considerably lower, with many of those fleeing the conflict continuing their journey to other European countries.  

The number of refugees registered as crossing into Poland includes most of the nearly 150,000 people who have arrived in Germany, according to the German Ministry of the Interior. However, due to the absence of border checks between Poland and Germany, the actual number of incoming refugees could be significantly higher, an interior spokesperson told CNN.

Hungary has had 255,291 refugees arrive from Ukraine according to the UNHCR on Sunday, with 2,212 formally seeking asylum, according to the Hungarian National Directorate-General of Immigration.

Neighboring Romania by Monday had registered 80,000 Ukrainians who remain in the country, according to State Secretary at the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs Raed Arafat.

The number of Ukrainian refugees entering Romania has declined significantly, with daily arrivals down by more than 50% compared to last week, according to Romanian Border Police. The number of new arrivals dropped from on average around 30,000 per day last week to 14,000 on Sunday.

Nearly 205,000 refugees have entered Slovakia according to the UNHCR on Sunday. It remains unclear how many remain in the country.

More than 101,000 Ukrainian refugees are currently in Moldova, Foreign Affairs Minister Nicu Popescu said Sunday.

Lithuania's Ministry of the Interior has said that by Sunday, 12,039 people had entered the country from Ukraine.

More than 6,000 Ukrainians have been registered in Belgium, the Federal Agency For The Reception of Asylum Seekers said Monday.

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

In Denmark, 1,575 Ukrainians had applied for refugee status as of Sunday, according to the Danish Immigration Service.

On Thursday, the French Citizenship Minister Marlene Schiappa said that 7,251 Ukrainian refugees had arrived in France, with authorities preparing accommodations for 10,000 people.

Italy by last Wednesday had seen the arrival of over 24,000 Ukrainians, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Austria's Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday said that 56,000 people have arrived in the country from Ukraine, with 70% of refugees immediately continuing to another country.

As of last Tuesday, Estonia, according to its Police and Border Guard Board, had registered 10,478 Ukrainian refugees.

By Wednesday, 3,849 Ukrainian refugees had come to Croatia, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

Cyprus has taken in 2,935 Ukrainian refugees, the Ministry of the Interior said Thursday.

By Wednesday, Portugal had seen 4,039 arrivals, according to the Immigration and Border Service.

In Sweden, 3,520 Ukrainian refugees have applied for asylum status, the Swedish Migration Agency said Wednesday.

The Netherlands by Thursday had taken in more than 2,600 refugees, according to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service.

In Spain, 1,000 Ukrainian refugees have requested government assistance, Spain's Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration told CNN Friday.

2:39 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Russia’s ruling party proposes to introduce criminal penalties for companies that comply with Western sanctions

From CNN's Josh Pennington

The United Russia Party is proposing to hold companies that abide by the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries criminally liable, Russian state run news agency Tass reports, citing Andrey Turchak, secretary of the general council of the party.

Turchak said the ruling party will prepare relevant amendments for the Russian Parliament in the near future.

"We have just adopted amendments that established administrative and criminal liability for [companies] that support sanctions against Russian individuals. Moreover, such indirect support for foreign sanctions inside [our] country qualifies as nothing other than treason," Turchak said.

The party proposes "to establish harsh, including criminal liability for such [business] entities and their managers for abiding by and implementing Western sanctions," according to Turchak.

Turchak went on to say that against the background of "western sanctions hysteria, there are recorded cases when Russian companies, including companies with state participation, refuse to work with sanctioned banks and enterprises under the pretext that they themselves risk being targeted with sanctions. Dishonest competitors also take advantage of the situation, actively spreading calls to end cooperation with companies hit by sanctions."

2:17 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

UK residents offered $457 a month to host Ukrainian refugees

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London

A new British government scheme will offer UK residents $467 (£350) per month to host Ukrainian refugees, according to Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Leveling Up.

All Ukrainian nationals and residents will be eligible for the “Homes for Ukraine,” Gove said, stressing that “there will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can benefit from this scheme.”  

Ukrainians arriving in the UK “will have full and unrestricted access and benefits, health care, employment,” Gove said. 

Under the scheme, sponsors will have to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months and will have to undergo “necessary vetting checks,” according to Gove.

The UK has “a long and proud history of supporting the most vulnerable during their darkest hours,” Gove told lawmakers in the UK parliament on Monday. 

The scheme will initially “facilitate sponsorship between people with known connections” with the government hoping to “rapidly expand” the scheme to encompass charities, churches and community groups.

2:36 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

"You can't believe how it's possible that anyone survived," says Clarissa Ward of residential building attack

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Police officers stand in front of an apartment block in Kyiv, Ukraine, that was hit by shelling on March 14.
Police officers stand in front of an apartment block in Kyiv, Ukraine, that was hit by shelling on March 14. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

As evening sets in Kyiv, CNN’s Clarissa Ward describes another day complete with violence and destruction.

“It's been a lot of noise and a lot of fighting today in Kyiv. Honestly, it's really been going on throughout the day in a way that we haven't heard on other days ... I can still hear some booms in the distance,” she reported from the Ukrainian capital.

Ward went on to detail one incident in particular.

“We did start the day with a large attack. A shell hit a residential building in the suburb of Obolon, which I should say is just five subway stops or five underground metro stops from here in the center,” detailed Ward.

“You look at the images ... and you can't believe how it's possible that anyone survived. One person was killed and several were injured. But you can imagine how much worse that could have been,” she added.

As Russian forces continue an assault on the Ukrainian capital, Ward shared specifics of another violent encounter.

“We did also hear some loud explosions in the late morning. We believe that was Ukrainian air defense systems intercepting some kind of a missile," she explained.

"There was some damage from that interception. Shrapnel fell onto a Kyiv city bus. Again, at least one person was killed in that attack. But remarkably, not more people dead in that attack,“ Ward continued, adding, “at the moment on the ground here in Kyiv and in many cities across this country, it feels very grim indeed.”

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

US defense official: Russians haven't achieved "air superiority over all of Ukraine" 

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Jeremy Herb

The airspace over Ukraine “remains contested,” a senior US defense official told reporters Monday. 

“We still maintain the airspace is contested, that the Russians have not achieved air superiority over all of Ukraine,” the official said.

Because the airspace is “dynamic” there are “times and places” where Russia or Ukraine “has more dominance,” the official added.

“The Russians certainly have, although they have not achieved air superiority, they certainly have more assets available to them and they are flying many more times per day than the Ukrainians are,” the official added.

The Ukrainian air plan changes every day, the official said.

“I can’t speak to the Ukrainians air plan, it changes every day, they’re being, we think appropriately careful with their air assets and how they’re using them and what they’re using them for,” the official said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “100% of his assembled forces inside Ukraine,” the official said.

“He’s moved everything in,” the official added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as Russia continues strikes across the country. The US and NATO have opposed creating a no-fly zone in Ukraine, warning that such a move could lead to a "full-fledged war in Europe."

1:25 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian refugee says her country will survive Russia's invasion: "We deserve to be a part of Europe"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz


As the fighting in Ukraine continues, CNN's Ed Lavandera spoke live with a woman who had spent two days traveling from Kyiv to Poland in search of safety and health care.

"It is a nightmare. It is unreal for me," said Alexandra Voitenko, who left her husband behind in Ukraine while she seeks breast cancer treatment for her mother.

"We feel so proud of our people, of our Ukraine. We will be more happy every time, every second after all this. This horror," Voitenko told Lavandera.

Despite the bombings, and the violence, Voitenko says she still plans to return to Ukraine once her mother's care is arranged.

"I need to be in Ukraine, after all this war in Kyiv," she said.

With the conflict entering a third week, Voitenko feels stronger than ever that her country will survive, and emerge unified.

"Absolutely, yes. Absolutely, yes. We deserve to win," she said. "We deserve to be a part of Europe. We are absolutely a perfect people and nation."

1:10 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Pope sends cardinal to Ukraine to show solidarity with refugees

From CNN's Nicola Ruotolo in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite

Cardinal Michael Czerny visiting refugees who fled the war from Ukraine in Barabas, Hungary, on March 9.
Cardinal Michael Czerny visiting refugees who fled the war from Ukraine in Barabas, Hungary, on March 9. (Darko Vojinovic/AP)

The Vatican’s cardinal in charge of human development will make a second trip to Ukraine at the request of Pope Francis.

Cardinal Michael Czerny will visit the Ukrainian border with Slovakia to “show the closeness of the Holy Father to those who are suffering the consequences of the war in progress,” Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said Monday.

Pope Francis is following this mission with prayer, like those of the past few days, and, through His Eminence, he wishes to be close to those fleeing the fighting and suffering from the violence of other men,” he added. 

The Pope made an appeal for peace in Ukraine during his Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, calling Russia’s attacks an “unacceptable armed aggression” against Ukraine.

Czerny will arrive in Slovakia on Wednesday and will go to the Ukrainian border in the following days.

1:03 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian armed forces say Russians using airpower to destroy military and civilian infrastructure

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

In their latest update on the conflict, the Ukrainian armed forces said Russian forces have continued "conducting systematic combat operations using bomber aviation in order to destroy the military and civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. " 

"The occupiers use high-powered ammunition and disordered strikes on civilians. Such actions are classified by the International Humanitarian Law as a war crime," the armed forces said in a statement. 

Amid heavy fighting in the south, the armed forces said Russian forces continued their efforts to surround the city of Mykolaiv, which is seen as a critical route to the major south-western city of Odessa. They said Russian forces had been held back. 

Around Kyiv, the Ukrainian armed forces said Russian forces were trying to get beyond the Irpin River to gain a foothold around the settlements of Bucha and Irpin — two suburbs of Kyiv that have seen intense combat since the invasion began. They said Russian forces were regrouping in order to resume offensive actions in the direction of Kyiv. 

The armed forces statement said that in eastern Ukraine, the Russians were focused on recovering from losses inflicted around Kharkiv and Izium. Both cities have seen widespread damage and civilian suffering. 

On Monday, according to Lyudmila Denisova, the Human Rights commissioner of the Ukrainian parliament, enemy forces fired on a private minibus in the Izium area. "The fate of the passengers is unknown," she said. 

"The enemy is constantly firing at [the city] with aircraft and artillery day and night. There are no possibilities for the delivery of humanitarian aid or evacuation. The number of civilian casualties cannot be determined," Denisova said.

The armed forces acknowledged that in Donetsk Russian forces were having "partial success in some areas due to their numerical advantage." 

The armed forces statement said that so far, 77 Russian aircraft, 90 helicopters and nearly 400 Russian tanks had been destroyed. CNN cannot verify the Ukrainian claim of Russian losses. 

1:08 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

US House Democrat urges Biden administration to make exception for Ukrainians seeking tourist visas

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Rep. Tom Suozzi during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in December.
Rep. Tom Suozzi during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in December.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images)

Rep. Tom Suozzi, a New York Democrat, on Monday urged the Biden administration to make an exception for Ukrainians who are trying to come to the US on a tourist visa to connect with family. 

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.

That’s kept some Ukrainians from being able to travel to the US given the uncertain circumstances in their country, including the relatives of a family who joined Suozzi Monday.

“This is a terrible quirk in the law that many people, thousands of people, probably tens of thousands of people are caught up in right now,” Suozzi said Monday during a news conference. 

Suozzi said his office is working with two families who have run into issues obtaining tourist visas, including a family who joined him on Monday.  

“To go through the motions of having my sister being there on her own, bouncing from country to country in Europe without having a house to stay, without having the support of her family, without having a real stable roof, it’s really devastating,” said Jenya Semekova, who’s sister and brother-in-law fled Ukraine and are in Italy. 

Semekova called her sister who’s been denied a tourist visa during the news conference.

“Now we’re in Italy. But we think we go next country because it’s hard to rent apartment in Italy and it’s too expensive, so we need to move to other country,” Semekova’s sister, Kseniia Isaienko, said. 

Suozzi sent a letter directed to US President Joe Biden on Friday raising the issue of tourist visas. He’s since been in touch with the administration. 

“These are family members trying to help other family members, but because the law is such that you have to show you have a place to go home to, they can’t demonstrate that because they don’t know what’s going to happen to their home,” Suozzi said.