March 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Eric Levenson, Meg Wagner, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Ben Church, Jeevan Ravindran, Maureen Chowdhury, Melissa Macaya and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 11:12 a.m. ET, March 16, 2022
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7:01 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

At least 19 people killed in strike in northwestern Ukraine on Monday, authorities say

From Taras Zadorozhnyy and Ivana Kottasová in Lviv 

A strike against a TV tower near the city of Rivne in northwestern Ukraine on Monday killed at least 19 people and injured nine others, the head of Rivne regional administration Vitalii Koval said Tuesday. 

"The rescue mission is still underway and as of 8:30 a.m. [Tuesday] we have 19 dead and nine injured. We continue to clear the debris. This is not a final number, we need several more hours to clear the entire area," he said. 

The tower was hit at 5:20 a.m. local time on Monday and authorities had initially reported no casualties from the strike. 

Despite the hit, Koval said radio and television broadcasting has continued in the region. "We now have free access to satellite broadcasting in the whole Rivne region. We have restored the broadcasting signal to the cable network," he said.

Multiple TV towers across Ukraine have been targeted by Russian forces in recent weeks, including in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Vynarivka in the Kyiv region.

6:49 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Kyiv extends curfew to whole day on Wednesday

From CNN’s Ivana Kottasová and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv

Kyiv's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko (C) and his brother Vladimir Klitschko (L) visit a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 14 March.
Kyiv's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko (C) and his brother Vladimir Klitschko (L) visit a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 14 March. (Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A 35-hour curfew will be imposed in Kyiv on Tuesday evening, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on his official Telegram channel.

The curfew will come into effect at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and will last until 7 a.m. on Thursday. Curfew is currently in place in Kyiv, but only during night time, between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Residents will be prohibited from leaving their homes without special permits during the curfew, Klitschko said, adding that people will still be able to leave to go into bomb shelters.

"I ask all [residents of Kyiv] to prepare for the fact that they will have to stay at home or, in case of an emergency, in a shelter, for two days," Klitschko said.

Two people were killed in shelling of a residential area in western Kyiv early Tuesday morning, according to Ukraine Emergency Services. 

At least four residential buildings across the Ukrainian capital were hit by strikes early Tuesday, according to the emergency services.

7:20 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic en route to meet Zelensky in Kyiv

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

The prime minsters of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have departed on a train bound for Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

The train with the leaders on board departed before 9 a.m. local time, the head of the chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, Michal Dworczyk, said Tuesday. The train took off from Poland, a press officer for the Czech government told CNN. 

Traveling to the Ukrainian capital is Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki and his deputy Jarosław Kaczyński, Slovenia's Janez Janša and the Czech Republic's Petr Fiala.

The purpose of the visit is "to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and to present a broad package of support for the Ukrainian state and society," a government spokesperson said.

They said the trip had been organized in agreement with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and added that the international community would be informed about the delegation visit through international organizations, including the United Nations.

"At such breakthrough times for the world, it is our duty to be where history is forged; because it is not about us, but about the future of our children who deserve to live in a world free from tyranny," Morawiecki said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Morawiecki said he and the other leaders were going to Kyiv to "show Ukrainians our solidarity" and denounced "Putin's criminal aggression against Ukraine."

6:12 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Dnipro airport hit in Russian missile strike, says regional head

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Andrew Carey in Lviv

Two Russian missiles hit Dnipro airport in the east of Ukraine overnight, putting the runway out of use and damaging the terminal building, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration.

"The destruction is on a large scale and will take a long time to re-build," the statement on Reznichenko’s Facebook page said.

The statement made no reference to any casualties.

6:21 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Around 350,000 people still trapped in Mariupol, official says

From CNN’s Ivana Kottasová and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv

People take cover from shelling inside an entryway to an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13.
People take cover from shelling inside an entryway to an apartment building in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 13. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Around 350,000 people are still trapped in Mariupol, the city in southeastern Ukraine that has been besieged by Russian troops since March 1, a local official said.

"Considering there are 540,000 residents and around 150,000 people evacuated in the first three days when it was still safe to do so, we estimate around 350,000 people to be stuck in Mariupol," Petro Andriushchenko, adviser to the Mariupol mayor, said on Ukrainian television Monday.

Multiple official attempts to establish safe corridors and evacuate civilians from Mariupol have failed in recent days. A large convoy of humanitarian aid that was meant to arrive on Sunday has still not reached the city as of Monday, according to officials.

"Most of the people are staying in the basements and shelters in inhumane conditions. With no food, no water, no electricity, no heating," he said, adding that people were melting snow and dismantling the heating system to get water to drink.

Speaking about civilian casualties, Andriushchenko said the numbers obtained from the police and compiled by medical facilities were likely inaccurate. He said that, as of Sunday, 1,800 people were confirmed to have been killed.

Speaking on Monday, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser in President Volodymyr Zelensky's office, said that the Russian bombardment of Mariupol has caused more than 2,500 deaths.

5:09 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

EU targets Russia with further sanctions

From CNN's James Frater and Duarte Mendonca 

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire answers journalists' questions at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 15.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire answers journalists' questions at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 15. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)

European finance ministers have formally approved a fourth package of sanctions targeting more than 600 Russian nationals, in what French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called a “historical decision."

It is the “fastest, strongest package of sanctions ever adopted by the European Union in its history," the ministers said.

The names of the Russian individuals and entities included in the new round of sanctions were not disclosed.

“You will have a new ban on some exportation like luxury goods and we will withdraw to the Russian state, the most favored nation clause within the World Trade Organization, which will allow us — all the 27 member states — to increase the level of trade tariffs on all Russian goods,” Le Maire said. 

The sanctions were expanded to include, “key oligarchs, lobbyist and propagandists pushing the Kremlin’s narrative on the situation in Ukraine as well as key companies in the aviation, military and dual use, shipbuilding and machine building sectors,” the European Council said in a statement.

When asked if there would be further sanctions, Le Maire said: “I can confirm to you what (French President) Emmanuel Macron said last week, all options remain on the table.”

4:44 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Two killed in shelling of residential areas in western Kyiv, emergency services say

From CNN’s Ivana Kottasová and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv

An elderly resident waits to be rescued by firefighters after an apartment building was hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 15.
An elderly resident waits to be rescued by firefighters after an apartment building was hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 15. (Felipe Dana/AP)

Two people were killed in shelling of a residential area in western Kyiv early Tuesday morning, according to Ukraine Emergency Services. 

A 16-story apartment building in the Sviatoshynskyi district was significantly damaged by shelling and a subsequent fire.

Two people were found dead at the scene and 46 were rescued from the building, the emergency services said.

A separate strike caused minor damage to a nine-story building in the same district, the emergency services said. 

At least four residential buildings across the Ukrainian capital were hit by strikes early Tuesday, including the two in Sviatoshynskyi, according to the emergency services.

The residential areas in the east, north and west of the city center were hit by shelling within an hour of each other. 

4:18 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Polish, Czech and Slovenian Prime Ministers to meet Zelensky in Kyiv today

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, James Frater and Alex Hardie

Leaders from three European countries will travel to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal on Tuesday, according to the Polish government.

In a statement Tuesday, the Polish Prime Minister's office said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša would visit the Ukrainian capital as representatives of the European Council.

“The visit is organized in consultation with the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen,” the statement said.
“The purpose of the visit is to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. The aim of this visit is also to present a broad package of support for Ukraine and Ukrainians."
3:17 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Two residential buildings hit by shelling in Kyiv 

From CNN’s Ivana Kottasová and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv

Firefighters work in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 15.
Firefighters work in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 15. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Two buildings in residential areas of Kyiv were hit by separate strikes early Tuesday morning, according to Ukrainian emergency services.  

A private home in Osokorky — a district east of the city center — was hit by shelling just before 6 a.m. local time Tuesday, the emergency services said in a statement.

A fire broke out in the two-story building but was put out shortly afterwards. No casualties were reported.  

Shortly after the strike in Osokorky, a 10-story apartment building in Podil — north of the city center — was hit in another strike, causing a fire in the first five floors of the building.

One person was taken to hospital, the emergency services said.