March 19, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Luke McGee, Jeevan Ravindran, Joe Ruiz, Adrienne Vogt and Emma Tucker, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, March 20, 2022
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8:30 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Two children killed in shelled building collapse during Russia’s attack in eastern Ukraine

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Oleksandra Ochman, Olga Voitovych and Yulia Kesaieva

While Ukraine’s army reported little in the way of offensive operations by Russian forces around Kyiv and in parts of the south on Saturday, further east fighting continued to rage.

Two children were killed in the town of Rubizhne after being pulled from the rubble of a residential building pummeled by Russian artillery fire, the emergency services said. 

A woman also died in the same building collapse; her daughter survived and was in a stable condition.

Some context: Rubizhne is part of a cluster of small towns and villages that remain in Ukrainian hands but lie close to two breakaway pro-Russian statelets inside eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army’s most recent assessment of the war makes clear they are seen as a current focus of Russia’s campaign in the east — to link the two strongholds around Luhansk and Donetsk with territorial gains made to the northwest in the region around Kharkiv.

Saturday’s daily update from the army’s central command — released in the early afternoon — reported a series of Russian offensives with “the main efforts focused on attempts to capture Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Popasna.”

Further deaths and destruction: On Friday, four people were killed and ten others injured as Russian artillery opened up across a series of communities in the region, local Ukrainian authorities said. 

Regional head Serhii Haidai said a total of 54 buildings had been hit, including 19 apartment blocks and two health care centers.

Some 23 towns and villages were without gas supplies and 26 were without electricity by the day’s end.

Many of those wounded in recent days were among 700 people evacuated through a humanitarian corridor on Saturday, Haidai reported. 

8:32 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

It's 2 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Residents from Mariupol play with their children in temporary accommodations for refugees in the Rostov region of Russia on March 16.
Residents from Mariupol play with their children in temporary accommodations for refugees in the Rostov region of Russia on March 16. (Arkady Budnitsky/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

In the early morning hours on Sunday in Ukraine, these are the latest developments in the war:

Mariupol residents forced to go to Russia against their will: Residents of Mariupol are being taken to Russian territory against their will by Russian forces, according to a statement from the Mariupol City Council.

Captured Mariupol residents were taken to camps where Russian forces checked their phones and documents, the city council said. They were then redirected to remote Russian cities.

The besieged city is under almost constant bombardment, according to a major in Ukraine's army, and residents are rationing food and water as bodies are left in the streets.

More than 6,600 people evacuated via humanitarian corridors: At least 6,623 people were evacuated via humanitarian corridors from besieged Ukrainian cities on Saturday, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in President Volodymyr Zelensky's office.

Tymoshenko said 4,128 people, including 1,172 children, were evacuated from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

Russia hopes military operation in Ukraine ends with security guarantees: Russia hopes its military operation in Ukraine will end with a “comprehensive agreement” on security issues and Ukraine agreeing to neutral status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday.

Lavrov believes Russia’s cooperation with China will “get stronger” in the face of western sanctions because "at a time when the west is blatantly undermining all the foundations on which the international system is based, we -- as two great powers -- need to think how to carry on in this world."
7:50 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Russia hopes military operation in Ukraine ends with security guarantees, expects Chinese relations to "get stronger"

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston in London

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talks during a news conference in Antalya, Turkey, on March 10.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talks during a news conference in Antalya, Turkey, on March 10. (AP)

Russia hopes its military operation in Ukraine will end with a “comprehensive agreement” on security issues and Ukraine agreeing to neutral status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a Saturday media event. 

Lavrov said Moscow is “ready” to look for guarantees of security and “to coordinate them for Ukraine, for the Europeans and, of course, for ourselves beyond the expansion of the North-Atlantic treaty.”

Lavrov believes Russia’s cooperation with China will “get stronger” in the face of western sanctions because "at a time when the west is blatantly undermining all the foundations on which the international system is based, we -- as two great powers -- need to think how to carry on in this world."

The view was echoed at a separate event in Beijing on Saturday. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said Western sanctions against Russia were getting "more and more outrageous," according to Reuters.

Although China has expressed concern about the war in Ukraine, Beijing has fallen short of condemning the Russian invasion. Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden during a video call Friday, “the Ukraine crisis is something we don't want to see.”

10:39 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Mother shields baby daughter from shelling, prevents her being harmed, Ukrainian hospital says

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser in Atlanta

Olga and her husband Dmytro at the Ohmatdit Children's Hospital. According to the hospital, Olga covered the baby with her body, miraculously saving her daughter from injuries.
Olga and her husband Dmytro at the Ohmatdit Children's Hospital. According to the hospital, Olga covered the baby with her body, miraculously saving her daughter from injuries. (Ohmatdit Children's Hospital)

A mother covered her one-month-old baby with her body while their home was being shelled in Kyiv, according to a Facebook post from National Children's Specialized Hospital Ohmatdit on Friday.

The child was unharmed, but the mother sustained multiple injuries, the post said.

The child's mother and father were at home feeding their baby in the early morning hours when their building was shelled. They heard the sounds of shelling throughout the night getting closer and closer, the hospital said.

"When I went down to the yard, I saw that a shell had hit the kindergarten next to our house. There is no more ceiling, windows and doors in all the houses nearby. The debris of glass flew right on us," her husband said, according to the hospital.

The father was treated for scraping wounds to his leg and the mother underwent surgery for her injuries.  

A picture of the family in the hospital shows the mother feeding her baby with a large bandage around her head while the father looks on.

WATCH HERE:

6:35 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Ukraine says more than 6,600 people evacuated via humanitarian corridors on Saturday

From CNN’s Michelle Velez

People stand next to an evacuee bus after fleeing from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on March 19.
People stand next to an evacuee bus after fleeing from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on March 19. (Reuters)

At least 6,623 people have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors from besieged Ukrainian cities on Saturday, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in President Volodymyr Zelensky's office.

Tymoshenko said that 4,128 people, including 1,172 children, were evacuated from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

In the Kyiv region, 1,820 people have been evacuated from smaller towns and cities -- including Bucha, Bilohorodka, Piskivka and Horenychi -- and were then transported into the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, he said. 

In other parts of Ukraine, 675 people have been evacuated from the Luhansk region, Tymoshenko said.

6:35 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Mariupol residents forced to go to Russia against their will, city council says

From Olga Voitovch in Lviv

Residents from Mariupol, Ukraine wait for refugee accommodations in the Rostov region of Russia on March 16.
Residents from Mariupol, Ukraine wait for refugee accommodations in the Rostov region of Russia on March 16. (Arkady Budnitsky/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Residents of Mariupol, Ukraine, are being taken to Russian territory against their will by Russian forces, according to a statement Saturday from the Mariupol City Council.

“Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents have been taken to Russian territory. The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhny district and from the shelter in the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant bombing,” the statement read.

Captured Mariupol residents were taken to camps where Russian forces checked their phones and documents, the city council said, and then were redirected to remote Russian cities.

The besieged city is under almost constant bombardment, according to a major in Ukraine's army, and residents are rationing food and water as bodies are left in the streets.

There are also conflicting reports over the status of one of Ukraine’s key industrial facilities, the Azov steel plant, in Mariupol. New satellite imagery shows the destruction of the city's bombed theater, with the word "children" clearly visible on the outside of the building.

The statement quoted Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko, who said, "What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people.”

"It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century people can be forcibly taken to another country," he added.
3:59 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

It's 10 p.m. in Ukraine. Here are the latest developments

Ukrainian soldiers carry the body of a soldier through debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on March 19.
Ukrainian soldiers carry the body of a soldier through debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on March 19. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

As Saturday nears its end in Ukraine, this is what you need to know about Russia's invasion:

Status of attacks in key cities: Rescue efforts are taking place in the southern city of Mykolaiv on Saturday morning at the scene of a missile strike on barracks housing soldiers, regional official Vitalli Kim said. Dozens of troops are reported to have been killed in the attack by Russian forces, according to journalists from CNN Swedish affiliate Expressen who were at the scene.

The besieged city of Mariupol is under almost constant bombardment, according to a major in Ukraine's army, and residents are rationing food and water as bodies are left in the streets. There are also conflicting reports over the status of one of Ukraine’s key industrial facilities, the Azov steel plant, in Mariupol. New satellite imagery shows the destruction of the city's bombed theater, with the word "children" clearly visible on the outside of the building.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Russia continues to make "incremental gains" in Ukraine's south and has used "brutal, savage techniques'' in the way it has targeted civilians.

Staggering numbers of refugees: Approximately 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began and are at risk of being trafficked, according to UNICEF, while “countless others” are displaced inside the country.

The mayor of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv told CNN that about 200,000 refugees from around the country are in his city right now.

US says Russia has used hypersonic missiles: US officials confirmed to CNN that Russia launched hypersonic missiles against Ukraine last week, the first known use of such missiles in combat.

Russia's Ministry of Defense said Saturday powerful hypersonic "Kinzhal" missile destroyed a military ammunitions warehouse in western Ukraine on Friday.

Deaths climb: As of Friday, at least 847 civilians — including 64 children — have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, according to the latest update from the United Nations, but the actual toll is believed to be much higher.

Biden to Europe next week: US President Joe Biden is set to go to a NATO summit in Brussels on March 24 and will also join a European Council meeting, according to the White House. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today called on Biden to visit Ukraine while in Europe.

3:49 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Ukraine's foreign ministry claims more than 14,000 Russian personnel killed as of Saturday

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

A destroyed Russian tank sits on a main road after a battle near Brovary, north of Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 10. 
A destroyed Russian tank sits on a main road after a battle near Brovary, north of Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 10.  (Felipe Dana/AP)

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said nearly 14,400 Russian personnel have been killed in Ukraine as of Saturday, with thousands of pieces of Russian equipment also lost since the Russian invasion into Ukraine.

According to a post from the ministry's official Twitter account Saturday, there have also been 95 Russian aircraft, 115 helicopters, 1,470 armored vehicles, 213 artillery pieces, and several other pieces of equipment items lost from the Russian Armed Forces since the invasion.

CNN is unable to verify these claims. 

Information from Russia is rarely forthcoming, and officials rarely report on its losses. 

The most recent figure seems to have been released on March 2, when Russia said 498 of its service members had died since the start of the campaign.

US estimates of Russian casualties range from between 3,000 to 10,000, according to information from US and NATO officials speaking to CNN. 

2:51 p.m. ET, March 19, 2022

Former Ukrainian president says Biden should come to Ukraine while in Europe next week

Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18.
Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. (Miguel A. Lopes/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said US President Joe Biden should visit Ukraine while in Europe at a NATO summit in Brussels next week.

"Why don't — very good friend of mine, very good friend of Ukraine, Joe Biden, the leader of the global world, who demonstrate now the leadership — why don't he come visit here next week as a symbol of our solidarity?" Poroshenko, wearing a military vest and flanked by soldiers in Kyiv, said to CNN's Jim Acosta.

The President will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in a NATO summit on March 24 and will also join a European Council meeting, according to the White House.

"That would be extremely right step for demonstration, the whole world is together with us against Russia," Poroshenko added. 

The President will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in a NATO summit on March 24 and will also join a European Council meeting, according to the White House.

Biden will "discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts," during the NATO summit and reaffirm the US' commitment to its NATO allies, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

"He will also join a scheduled European Council summit to discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine, including trans-Atlantic efforts to impose economic costs on Russia, provide humanitarian support to those affected by the violence and address other challenges related to the conflict," she said.

Poroshenko also said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "crazy maniac" and said Ukrainians have "bulletproof unity."

Poroshenko called for increased sanctions against Russia. "We need to give additional steps to increase the sanctions and to increase the supply of weapons to Ukraine to make Putin [go back] to Russia," he added. 

"We're not only fighting for Ukrainian soil. We're fighting for European security, freedom, and democracy and for global security. And for you also, for the United States," Poroshenko said. "My request is please, help us to save the world. Help us to save Europe. Help us to save you."