February 28, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Maureen Chowdhury, Jason Kurtz, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022
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3:57 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

International Criminal Court opens investigation into Russian invasion of Ukraine

An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. (Michel Porro/Getty Images/File)

The International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, will open an investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “rapidly as possible,” ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan said in a statement Monday.

Following a preliminary examination into the situation, Khan said he confirmed that there is a reasonable basis to “believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine.” 

 

3:48 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russia will continue to ensure realization of its national interests despite sanctions, foreign ministry says

From CNN’s Alla Eshchenko and Josh Pennington

In a statement Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry lashed out against the EU's plans to provide arms to Ukraine, adding that Russia will continue to ensure the realization of its national interests despite sanctions.

“EU citizens and structures involved in supplying lethal weapons and fuel and lubricants to the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be responsible for any consequences of such actions in the context of the ongoing special military operation. They cannot fail to understand the degree of danger of the consequences,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement read.

The statement went on to diminish Western sanctions, saying that Russia will continue to ensure the realization of its national interest.

“Another myth that had been propagated by the EU in the past — that their unilateral restrictions, which are illegitimate under international law, are not directed against the Russian people — has been finally dispelled. Brussels functionaries, who until recently portrayed themselves as our country's ‘strategic partner’, are not hiding any longer: they intend to inflict maximum damage on Russia, hit its weak points, seriously destroy its economy and suppress its economic growth,” the statement read.

The statement continued: “We want to assure you it will not. The actions of the European Union will not go unanswered. Russia will continue to ensure the realization of its vital national interests without regard to sanctions and their threats. It is time for Western countries to understand that their undivided dominance in the global economy is long a thing of the past."

3:11 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russia well behind its own schedule for Ukraine invasion

From CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh in Odessa

A western official told CNN there was a “failure on the first day to destroy Ukraine’s air defenses” by Russia and that it was “well behind the schedule it set,” for the invasion. Russia has about half the forces it massed on Ukraine’s borders “forward and operating in Ukraine,” the source added.

Earlier on Monday a senior US defense official said that it is their assessment Russia has committed nearly 75% of its military power that it had arrayed around Ukraine ahead of the invasion.

The official said they were concerned with the “risks that come with a lack of Russian progress” especially the “use of rockets today and tube artillery — in Kyiv and Kharkiv — which risks being far more indiscriminate.”

The official said while there had been “some progress in the south” — with forces that come out of Crimea having some gains — “in other areas we have not seen a lot of progress in maneuver.”

The official declined to give a figure for Russian casualties but noted that in the first days Russia's defense ministry denied having any, but later had to admit to some. They said this was “what we would assess to be a significant number of casualties. Their ability to hide that is over. The impact of this operation will be seen and felt back in Russia itself.”

3:16 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Missile strike in Kyiv region destroys dormitory and residential buildings, Ukrainian official says

From Katharina Krebs

A missile strike earlier today on Vasylkiv, Bila Tserkva and Kalinovka in the Kyiv region destroyed a five-story dormitory and two five-story residential buildings, Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior said.

Three state emergency service units are on their way to provide assistance to the dormitory that was hit in Bila Tserkva.

Emergency service units are not en route to the two five-story residential buildings in Vasylkiv and Kalinovka because the shelling is ongoing.

3:15 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Putin placing Russian nuclear weapons on high alert is "as unnecessary as it is escalatory," Pentagon says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses his nation in this file photo from February 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses his nation in this file photo from February 21. (Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/Pool/AP)

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia's deterrence forces — including its nuclear weapons — have been placed on high alert, the Pentagon responded by calling the announcement “as unnecessary as it is escalatory.” 

The response was issued by Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby during a briefing on Monday.

Kirby went on to note that the Pentagon is “reviewing and analyzing” Putin’s announcement.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is “comfortable with the strategic deterrent posture of the United States, and our ability to defend our homeland and our partners,” Kirby also said.

3:12 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Pentagon: Russian forces are trying to move closer to Kyiv but are still outside city center

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the Russian forces are trying to move closer to Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, but still are outside of the city center.

"But clearly we continue to see Russian forces move on — or try to move closer to so they can move on Kyiv from the ground," Kirby during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. "We still assess that they're outside the city center, and but, what we know clearly, that they have intentions with respect to Kyiv."

Ukrainians are “resisting quite effectively around Kyiv,” Kirby added. “They’ve made it a tough slog for the Russians to move further south.”

Kirby could not say specifically that a Russian convoy that has been seen on satellite imagery is headed for Kyiv, but he said “it clearly appears to, just anecdotally, as just a piece of their desire to continue to move on the capital.”

 

2:57 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Norway will provide military equipment to Ukraine 

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

Norway will provide $226 million in humanitarian assistance and military equipment to Ukraine.

The Norwegian government announced the support measures in a statement Monday, saying that this "extraordinary allocation to Ukraine is intended to enhance the efforts of humanitarian actors to help the most vulnerable groups, including children."

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre condemned Russia's "military attacks in Ukraine," which he said were "causing widespread loss of life and suffering in the civilian population, destroying vital infrastructure and forcing people to flee their homes."

As far as military aid is concerned, Norway will send "military equipment such as helmets and bulletproof vests to Ukraine." The equipment was all requested by Ukraine and can be sent quickly, Norwegian Defense Minister Roger Enoksen added. 

He highlighted the plight of the Ukrainian people "fighting for survival against a superior military force."

"Russia’s attack on Ukraine is threatening European security in a way we have not experienced since the second world war. It poses a threat to the norms, values and principles on which our democratic societies are founded," Enoksen continued.

Norway is joining the European Union to impose "harsh sanctions against Russia," according to the statement, adding that further sanctions announced Monday "will also target Belarus." 

Norwegian Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum is also set to ask the Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, to "freeze all its investments in Russia immediately" and divest from Russia. 

Norway's final move is closing its airspace to Russian airlines, joining a host of other European airlines in doing so. 

2:34 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urges world leaders to keep up the pressure on Putin

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to members of the Ukrainian community at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in central London on February 27.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to members of the Ukrainian community at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in central London on February 27. (Jamie Lorriman/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged G7 and other world leaders to continue to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons and to keep up the pressure on Putin’s regime.

Following a call with world leaders Monday, a Downing St. spokesperson said the leaders all agreed that Ukraine’s “valiant resistance” to Russian troops is “truly inspirational.”

Johnson also “underlined the need for an international response to the emerging humanitarian crisis, including through supporting Ukraine’s neighbours to deal with large numbers of Ukrainians escaping violence in the country,” according to the statement.

The prime minister stressed the need to keep hitting Russia with trade restrictions and sanctions including SWIFT, a messaging service that connects financial institutions around the world.

The leaders agreed to “pursue every avenue to ensure that Putin fails in his ambitions,” the statement said.

2:46 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian military convoy has advanced from Ivankiv to outskirts of Kyiv, satellite images show

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

A Russian military convoy that was outside of Ivankiv, Ukraine, on Sunday has since made it to the outskirts of Kyiv, satellite images show.

On Sunday, the convoy was roughly 40 miles northwest of the Ukrainian capital, according to images provided by Maxar Technologies.

Maxar said that roughly 17 miles of roadway is chocked full of the convoy, which consists of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles.  

The private US company said the convoy was located on the T-1011 highway at Antonov air base around 11:11 a.m local time.

Antonov is roughly 17 miles from the center of the Ukrainian capital.

The Antonov air base was the site of intense fighting on Thursday. It's also the site where the largest plane in the world — the Antonov AN-225 Mriya — was kept. The Ukrainian government has said that Russian military destroyed the plane.