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
79 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:14 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian forces moved about 3 miles closer to Kyiv's city center since yesterday, US defense official says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman & Jeremy Herb

The Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv “remains slowed,” but Russian forces moved five kilometers (about three miles) closer to the city center since yesterday.

The Russian forces are now “roughly 25 kilometers out of Kyiv,” a senior US defense official told reporters Monday morning eastern time. That is about 15 miles.

“Their advance on Kyiv still appears to be their main line of effort, and we expect that they’re going to want to continue to move forward and try to encircle the city in coming days,” the official said.

Taking Kharkiv “remains an objective” for the Russians, and “they continue to try to advance on” the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, but the Russians have not taken either city yet, the official said.

“The current belief is that if they can get Kharkiv and they can get Mariupol, if you draw a line between those two cities, you can see that that would allow them to section off the eastern part of Ukraine,” the official said.

The US has not seen “anything specific” since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he ordered his country’s deterrence forces, including nuclear weapons, on high alert on Sunday, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday. 

“We’re still monitoring and watching this as closely as we can, given President Putin’s announcement yesterday,” the official said. “I don’t believe we’ve seen anything specific as a result of the direction that he gave.”

“We remain comfortable and confident in our own strategic deterrence posture,” the official added.

 

11:22 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

UN secretary-general: "The fighting in Ukraine must stop"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York on February 28.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the General Assembly emergency special session in New York on February 28. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the UN General Assembly Monday in its first emergency meeting since 1982, saying of the Russian invasion “enough is enough.”

“The fighting in Ukraine must stop,” he said.

The top UN leader also called Russian putting nuclear defenses on alert “a chilling development.”

“The mere idea of a nuclear development is simply inconceivable,” Guterres said, adding “nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons.”

He said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated a half a million Ukrainians have fled the country, and there are credible reports of damage to residential buildings and critical civilian infrastructure. The UN leader called the death of civilians, including children, “totally unacceptable.”

Guterres expressed hopes that direct talks between Ukraine and Russian delegations would welcome an immediate stop to the fighting and a diplomatic solution.

“The sovereignty of Ukraine must be respected,” he said earlier.

 

10:56 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Residential neighborhood in Kharkiv hit by rocket attack, Ukrainian officials say

From CNN's Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase and Paul Murphy

A residential neighborhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, has been hit by a rocket attack on Monday, according to Ukrainian officials and multiple social media videos geolocated by CNN. 

The videos show multiple rockets exploding closely together in a residential part of the Saltivka neighborhood in north-east Kharkiv, close to a supermarket.

One video shows a rocket booster lodged in the street pavement, as civilians look on. 

According to the Kharkiv City Council, the latest shelling of the city has left one female civilian dead, and 31 wounded. The wounded are made up of 15 servicemen and 16 civilians, according to the city council in a news statement.  

Dan Kaszeta, a London based defense specialist and an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said the images are consistent with a multiple rocket launch system attacks.

“The appearance of at least one image of a rocket booster section lends credence to this having been a rocket attack,” he said. 

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s head of the ministry of internal affairs, said “Kharkiv has just been subjected to massive Grad shelling! Dozens of victims.” 

He described the situation as “a nightmare."

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova also took to Facebook to describe the situation in the city. “It’s more hellish in Kharkiv today than it was yesterday."

Venediktova posted a video showing a missile that hit a kitchen window and tore off the leg of a woman who later died in hospital, she said.  

More background: Over the last few days, the Kharkiv City Council has recorded 44 wounded, including 20 servicemen, and a total of seven killed. The seven fatalities include two servicemen and five civilians.

CNN is reaching to the Russian authorities for comment on today’s attack. 

On Monday, CNN witnessed on the Russian side of the border south of Belgorod at least three ‘Uragan’ multiple rocket launchers heading towards the Kharkiv front line. They saw three launchers and a loading vehicle with missiles on it.

On Friday, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov sought to reassure the world about civilian casualties on day two of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Nobody is going to attack the people of Ukraine," he said during a heated news conference, telling CNN that there were "no strikes on civilian infrastructure."

10:32 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Here's a look at the latest actions by European countries against Russia

From CNN's Jack Guy, Inke Kappeler, Sharon Braithwaite and Pamela Boykoff

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press statement at EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 27.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press statement at EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 27. (Stephanie Lecocq/AP)

Russia is facing universal condemnation and increased sanctions from countries across Europe over its unprovoked assault on Ukraine, and more moves are being announced each day.

If you're just reading in today, here's a look at the latest actions by European countries against Russia:

EU closes its airspace to Russia, including the private jets of oligarchs

On Sunday, the EU announced it is closing its airspace to Russia, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

“We are proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian-registered and Russian-controlled aircraft. These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the European Union. This will apply to any plane,” von der Leyen said. 

“Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane. And that includes the private jets of oligarchs too," she added.

The UK has also banned Russian private jets from its airspace on Friday.

Russian state media outlets banned

Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell also announced a ban for Russian news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik.

Speaking in a joint news conference in Brussels on Sunday, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announced that the bloc would ban the two outlets in a bid "to fight" Russian disinformation.

"Today we are taking a crucial step to turn off the tap for the Russian's information manipulation in Europe by banning Russia Today and Sputnik from broadcasting in the European Union," Borrell said. "We are killing the snake on its neck." 

Central bank reserves of Russia blocked by new sanctions

More than half of the central bank reserves of Russia will be blocked as part of new EU sanctions against the country, Borrell said Sunday.

Measures against neighboring country, Belarus will also be "reinforced," Borrell said, in return for its role in "facilitating the Russian assault against Ukraine."

Von der Leyen also announced that the EU will provide finance to purchase weapons for Ukraine, adding that this is the first time the bloc has ever done so.

Borrell said the EU is doing so "because this war requires our engagement in order to support the Ukrainian army."

"We asked for SWIFT and we asked for arms and now we are delivering on both sides," the diplomat remarked.

Switzerland will forego "Swiss neutrality" and adopt the same sanctions as EU against Russia

On Monday, Switzerland announced that it will forego its commitment to “Swiss neutrality” in favor of adopting sanctions against Russia, Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said, adding that Switzerland’s sanctions will be in line with those already adopted by the European Union. 

“The Swiss Federal Council has decided today to fully adopt EU sanctions,” Cassis said during a news briefing. “It is an unparalleled action of Switzerland, who has always stayed neutral before.”

“Russia's attack is an attack on freedom, an attack on democracy, an attack on the civil population, and an attack on the institutions of a free country. This cannot be accepted regarding international law, this cannot be accepted politically, and this cannot be accepted morally,” Cassis added. 

Norway's energy giant Equinor to exit its partnerships in Russia

Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor will stop all new investments in Russia and begin to exit its joint ventures there, the company said in a statement Monday.

“We are all deeply troubled by the invasion of Ukraine, which represents a terrible setback for the world," said Anders Opedal, president and CEO of Equinor.

The company said it had $1.2 billion in long-term investments in Russia at the end of 2021. It has operated in Russia for more than 30 years and has a cooperation agreement with Russia's state-owned oil company Rosneft. 

This is significant because the Norwegian government owns two-thirds of Equinor, according to the company's website. On Sunday, the Norwegian government also announced in a statement that it will ask its sovereign wealth fund to divest from Russia. The fund describes itself as one of the world’s largest, holding 1.5% of all shares in global listed companies.

Several European football associations announce they will not play international football fixtures against Russia until further notice

Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Albania followed in the footsteps of England, Czech Republic, Sweden and Poland in refusing to face Russia at any level of international football.

1:15 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Happening now: UN General Assembly meets on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Delegates stand for a moment of silence during an emergency session of the UN General Assembly, on February 28, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Delegates stand for a moment of silence during an emergency session of the UN General Assembly, on February 28, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. (John Minchillo/AP)

The United Nations General Assembly is meeting now as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. In his opening speech, General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid of Maldives renewed his call for immediate ceasefire, the first since 1982.

He called on the parties to use “rare” dialogue opportunity to “meaningfully and rapidly de-escalate” situation.

10:22 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

US State Department once again urges Americans to not travel to Russia

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

The US State Department has once again urged Americans not to travel to Russia on Monday, citing “the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine."

The alert also noted "the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”

The alert comes after the department told Americans in Russia to considering “immediately” departing the country while there are still commercial flights leaving the country.

The security alert on Monday reiterated those warnings.

“Due to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, an increasing number of airlines are cancelling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines. In addition, air space around southern Russia is restricted and a number of airports in the area have closed,” the alert said. “U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the districts of the Russian Federation immediately bordering Ukraine should be aware that the situation along the border is dangerous and unpredictable.”

Given the “ongoing armed conflict” fighting on the border of Russia and Ukraine the alert also advises against traveling by land from Russia to Ukraine.

Earlier Monday, the State Department is also allowing non-emergency employees and family members to depart the US embassy in Russia due to safety and security issues.

The State Department is expected to hold a press briefing at 2 p.m. ET.

10:23 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

1 civilian dead and 31 wounded in latest shelling in Kharkiv, city council says

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

A damaged school near the center Kharkiv, Ukraine, located close to the Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28.
A damaged school near the center Kharkiv, Ukraine, located close to the Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest shelling of the city of Kharkiv has left one female civilian dead and 31 wounded, according to the city council.

The wounded are made up of 15 servicemen and 16 civilians, according to the city council in a news statement.

Over the last few days, the city council has recorded 44 wounded, including 20 servicemen, and a total of seven killed. The seven fatalities include two servicemen and five civilians.

More background: Ukrainian forces successfully repelled a Russian advance on Sunday on a strategic airfield near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, which has been under near-constant attack.

Read more about where things stand in Russia's invasion here.

11:27 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Global CEOs speak out against Russia invasion of Ukraine 

From CNN’s Alison Kosik

The CEOs of several major companies took to Twitter over the weekend to express their feelings about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, tweeted on Saturday, “Yes, it’s the weekend. But in Ukraine it’s anything but a weekend. Think for a minute of the children, the mums and dads, the young men and women bravely trying to defend their country, the wounded and the dying. Let all our thoughts be with them all this weekend.”   

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted last week, “I am deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine. We’re doing all we can for our teams there and will be supporting local humanitarian efforts. I am thinking of the people who are right now in harm’s way and joining all those calling for peace.”   

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted a picture Friday of his great-grandfather, who he said was born in Ukraine, adding that “tonight my soul is rocked & I am crying for my family & friends in Kiev who are now displaced on the streets reminding me of my great grandfather Issac Benioff born in this great city. Will we ever love thy neighbor as thyself? May the one who brings peace bring peace to all.” 

Other CEOs offered not just words of solidarity, but also action. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted on Monday that the company is working with its hosts to house up to 100,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine, free of charge. 

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, asked Telsa CEO Elon Musk via Twitter on Saturday to provide Ukraine with Starlink internet satellites as the country suffered power outages due to the invasion. 

"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine," Musk tweeted in response. "More terminals en route." 

Fedorov also tweeted letters to the CEOs of Apple, Rakuten and PayPal, requesting that the execs block their companies’ services in Russia. 

10:18 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

French President Macron spoke to Putin and Zelensky separately

From Xiaofei Xu in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) chairs a Defense Council regarding Russia's attack to Ukraine, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on February 28.
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) chairs a Defense Council regarding Russia's attack to Ukraine, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on February 28. (Yoan Valat/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke separately to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and afterwards to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Monday.

The call with Putin lasted an hour and 30 mins, according to the Élysée Palace.

Macron said he pressed for the “need to implement an immediate ceasefire.”