March 21, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Travis Caldwell, Amy Woodyatt, George Ramsay and Hafsa Khalil, CNN

Updated 12:23 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
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9:16 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

Zelensky appeals to Germany to help save Kyiv

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video message from Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video message from Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an appeal to Germany to save the capital city of Kyiv, in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

Kyiv, used to be called a “new Berlin,” similar in its spirit of “openness, emotion, freedom in the squares, sincerity of the people, clubs and parties,” Zelensky said. “Now Kyiv is closed. It is silent in anticipation of a new air raid siren that will force people into shelters.”

Zelensky played a 20-second clip of an air raid siren, calling it a sound Ukrainians have been hearing "for hours, days and weeks." 

"The sound of the siren is something Ukrainians live with, work with and try to sleep. They treat their wounds; they give birth to babies and die," he added.

Both Europe and Germans specifically "have the power" to place pressure on Russia, Zelensky said, saying that without "your trade, your companies and banks Russia will not have the money to fund this war." 

He reiterated calls from Ukraine to close European ports to Russia, relinquish Russian energy sources and cut off the supply of goods to Russia.

"I am sure that peace is possible. But you must act to reach it. Each of you in Germany, in Europe. So that Kyiv could be called a new Berlin again, so that our streets and our squares are as safe as yours," Zelensky said.
8:35 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

WHO: 6 additional attacks occurred on Ukrainian health care facilities on Sunday

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

The World Health Organization has reported six additional attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine on Sunday. 

On Twitter, the WHO said there have now been 52 verified attacks on health care in the past 25 days since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

“This is unacceptable,” it tweeted. “Health care must always be protected.”

8:21 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

David Beckham hands over Instagram account to Ukrainian doctor in Kharkiv

From CNN's Toyin Owoseje

David Beckham handed over control of his Instagram account Sunday to a doctor in Ukraine in a bid to highlight the "amazing work" of medical professionals caring for patients amid the Russian invasion of the country.

Throughout Sunday, the former England football captain, who has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005, enabled Dr. Iryna -- head of a perinatal center in Kharkiv -- to show his 71.6 million followers the conditions under which she and her colleagues are working.

During the takeover, organized by UN children's agency UNICEF, Iryna, who is identified only by her first name, posted clips and images from the facility in Ukraine's second-largest city on Beckham's Instagram Stories and revealed how the war had affected her role and the work of her team.

Iryna said she now works "24/7," adding that while her team were "probably risking (their) lives" working during the conflict, "we love our work."

Read more here:

8:10 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

Ukrainian Defense Minister says Mariupol defenders played a "huge role in destroying the enemy's plans"

From Tim Lister and Julia Kesa

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the defenders of Mariupol had played a "huge role in destroying the enemy's plans," as he gave an update in which he claimed Russian forces were stalled elsewhere but acknowledged a "difficult situation" nationwide.

By confronting so much Russian firepower in Mariupol, Reznikov said on Facebook, "so many tens of thousands of lives throughout Ukraine were saved. Today Mariupol is saving Kyiv, Dnipro and Odesa. Everyone must understand this."

Ukraine rejected an ultimatum to surrender the besieged city of Mariupol after a Russian deadline set at 5 a.m. Moscow time (10 a.m. ET) Monday passed.

Reznikov claimed that Russian ground forces elsewhere were stalled. This, he said, was why Moscow was "making desperate attempts to push Belarusian troops into the hell of war in Ukraine."

Reznikov said Russia "no longer dreams of capturing Kyiv, and they are out of breath in the Chernihiv & Sumy regions and receiving painful blows near Kharkiv, in the Mykolaiv, Kherson and Luhansk regions."

Chernihiv and Sumy, in the country's north, are surrounded and have been heavily damaged but are still under Ukrainian control. Meanwhile, the southern city of Kherson is occupied by Russian forces but has seen persistent civilian protests, and there were further protests at the weekend in the southeastern town of Enerhodar after the deputy mayor was detained.

Russian troops in southern Ukraine are “still attempting to circumvent (the southern city of) Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odessa,” Britain's defense ministry said late Sunday. Russian naval forces, it said, "continue to blockade the Ukrainian coast and launch missile strikes on targets across Ukraine."

Kharkiv has been subject to heavy missile and rocket attacks since the invasion began on February 24 but is not yet completely surrounded, according to Ukrainian officials.

Reznikov said that after 25 days of combat, "we are taking losses. The enemy is destroying our cities and undermining our economy. The situation is very difficult.

"But as long as our army, which is reinforced by reserves, is preserved -- we will fight. And we will win!"

8:37 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

UN chief: Conflict in Ukraine could have "major implications for the global climate agenda"

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt, Matt Egan and Julia Horowitz

UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on February 22.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on February 22. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

The fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its impact on food and energy markets could have serious effects on the fight to curb the climate crisis, the UN chief has warned.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said that "the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine risks upending global food and energy markets -- with major implications for the global climate agenda," in comments to The Economist Sustainability Summit.

"As major economies pursue an 'all-of-the-above' strategy to replace Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures might create long-term fossil fuel dependence and close the window to 1.5 degrees. Countries could become so consumed by the immediate fossil fuel supply gap that they neglect or knee-cap policies to cut fossil fuel use," he added.

A major UN-backed report, published last month, found the impacts from human-caused climate change were larger than previously thought and warned of irreversible impacts if the world exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.

Some background: Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the prices of key agricultural products produced in the region have skyrocketed. The biggest problem is wheat, a pantry staple. Supplies from Russia and Ukraine, which together account for almost 30% of global wheat trade, are now at risk. Global wheat prices hit an all-time high earlier this week.

Another major problem is access to fertilizer. Essential for farmers to hit their production targets for crops, it's never been more expensive, as exports from Russia grind to a halt. Output in Europe has also plunged thanks to the surging price of natural gas, a key ingredient in nitrogen-based fertilizers like urea.

The situation is ringing alarm bells for global health experts. The cost of corn, soybeans and vegetable oils has been jumping, too.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has also sent oil prices surging over the past month, driving gasoline prices in the United States to record levels. Although prices have since pulled back from their recent highs, oil soared back above $100 a barrel on Thursday on renewed concerns about the impact to Russian energy suppliers.


7:45 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher raise $30 million in donations for Ukrainian refugees

From CNN's Zoe Sottile

Actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have raised over $30 million for Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing the country amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

The couple, who first rose to fame on the sitcom "That '70s Show," previously vowed to match all donations to the fundraiser up to $3 million.

In a video shared on Kutcher's Instagram, the couple thanked supporters for their donations. "Over 65,000 of you donated," said Kunis. "We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support."

She pointed out that while the donations will not solve the crisis, "our collective effort will provide a softer landing for so many people as they forge ahead into their future of uncertainty."

Read more here:

7:32 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

Kyiv mayor declares new curfew across capital

From CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Kyiv

Vitali Klitschko delivers a message via social media on March 21.
Vitali Klitschko delivers a message via social media on March 21. (Vitali Klitschko/Instagram)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Monday announced a new curfew in the capital.

In a statement on Telegram, Klitschko said the curfew would begin Monday at 8 p.m. local time and would last until 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

"Shops, pharmacies, gas stations, institutions will not work tomorrow," he said.
"Therefore, I ask everyone to stay at home or in shelters -- at sound of an alarm. Only those with special permits will be able to move around the city."

Some background: At least eight people were killed in a Russian attack on a shopping center in Kyiv's Podilskyi district, according to information from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. That number was based on what the Prosecutor General called preliminary information, suggesting the number could rise. CNN’s team on the ground heard several blasts in Kyiv on Sunday, and Klitschko said explosions in the Podil neighborhood, which is part of the city’s larger Podilskyi district, targeted residential and business areas.

7:23 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

Air pollution elevated in Kyiv following Russian attack on shopping center, mayor says 

From CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Kyiv

People examine the damage after shelling of a shopping center in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21.
People examine the damage after shelling of a shopping center in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Monday that air pollution had been detected in the capital following the Russian strike on a shopping center in the city's Podil district, which killed eight people.

In a statement on Telegram, Klitschko said the fires resulting from the strike burned down a shopping center and damaged six apartment buildings, leaving three of them unfit for habitation. Meanwhile, the premises of two schools and two kindergartens were damaged, he said.

"Due to fires after air strikes in the capital and the region, air pollution has been detected," he said.
"So do not open your windows. And when you go outside -- protect your lungs by wearing even a type FFP2 medical mask."

Klitschko also urged citizens not to shoot videos or post them on social media of military checkpoints, vehicle convoys or defenses around strategic installations. "Do not help the enemy!" he wrote.

7:08 a.m. ET, March 21, 2022

Russian military says it carried out cruise missile strikes against targets in Ukraine

From CNN's Nathan Hodge

Russian forces fired air-launched cruise missiles early Monday at what Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman, described as a Ukrainian military training center in Nova Lyubomyrka, in Ukraine's northwestern Rivne oblast.

In a statement, Konashenkov claimed the strike inflicted dozens of casualties. CNN could not verify any of those claims.

Separately, Konashenkov said cruise missiles also destroyed an ammunition depot and the headquarters of a mechanized brigade near the western village of Selets, without providing additional details. 

Vitalii Koval, head of the Rivne regional administration, said in a statement on Telegram that two Russian missiles struck the territory of a military training ground. He added that a special commission was investigating and details would be released later.

Russian forces have made a series of strikes in recent days employing cruise missiles and hypersonic missiles, launched from outside Ukrainian territory.