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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4:03 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian military announces "safe" corridor for Kyiv residents to leave

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

Smoke rises over the Kyiv skyline on February 27.
Smoke rises over the Kyiv skyline on February 27. (Evgen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

The Russian military announced an "open and safe" corridor for Ukrainian civilians to leave the capital, Kyiv, on Monday.

"We appeal to the people of Kyiv. All civilians in the city can freely leave the capital of Ukraine along the Kyiv-Vasilkov (Vasylkiv) highway. This route is open and safe," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Defense, said in a statement.
"Once again, I want to emphasize that the armed forces of the Russian Federation strike only military targets. The civilian population is not in danger."

At least 352 civilians in Ukraine have been killed since the invasion began, including 14 children, according to Ukraine's Interior Ministry. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of targeting civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings and schools.

Konashenkov's statement also included a baseless claim that the Ukrainian government was using Kyiv residents as a "human shield," repeating an allegation that Ukrainian "nationalists" have deployed artillery in residential areas of the capital.

CNN teams on the ground in Kyiv have seen firsthand Ukrainian civilian volunteers — even members of Parliament — taking up arms and making preparations to defend the capital.

3:31 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Ukrainian military says Russian offensive is slowing, accuses invading troops of hitting civilian targets

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Russian troops "have slowed their offensive" but are still pushing forward in Ukraine, according to a statement from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Monday. 

"During the air-offensive operation, the enemy continued engaging military and civilian airfields, military command points, air defense systems, important critical infrastructure, populated centers, and units in the area of defense," the statement read.

"In violation of the norms of international humanitarian law, the occupiers have insidiously inflicted missile strikes on residential buildings in Zhytomir and Chernyhiv."

The statement added that Ukrainian forces were repelling Russian attacks, "forcing the enemy to abandon the offensive."

As of Monday, artillery fire from one of the Ukrainian brigades had destroyed more than five Russian convoys, the statement said.

CNN is unable to independently verify these claims.

Desertion claims: The statement also said "the enemy is demoralized and sustaining heavy losses," and that "frequent cases of desertion and disobedience were noted."

"The enemy realized that propaganda and reality were different. The occupiers are afraid of us. Defenders of Ukraine continue to maintain a stable defense," it said.

On Sunday, Russia acknowledged a number of injuries and deaths among their troops for the first time since the invasion began, but did not provide precise numbers.

3:55 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

UK Defense Ministry: Most Russian forces still more than 30 kilometers north of Kyiv

From Sharon Braithwaite in London

Satellite image of a damaged aircraft hanger at Antonov Airport in Hostomel, Ukraine, on February 27.
Satellite image of a damaged aircraft hanger at Antonov Airport in Hostomel, Ukraine, on February 27. (Maxar Technologies/Getty Images)

The bulk of Russian ground forces are still more than more than 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) north of Kyiv, the UK's Ministry of Defense said in a tweet on Monday.

Russia's advance was "slowed by Ukrainian forces defending Hostomel airfield, a key Russian objective for day one of the conflict," the ministry said.

"Heavy fighting continues around Chernihiv and Kharkiv however both cities remain under Ukrainian control.
"Logistical failures and staunch Ukrainian resistance continue to frustrate the Russian advance.
"Despite continued attempts to suppress details of the conflict from the Russian population, the Russian Armed Forces has for the first time been forced to acknowledge suffering casualties."

Some context: For the first time since the beginning of the invasion, Russian authorities acknowledged a number of deaths and injuries among their forces in Ukraine on Sunday — but did not provide precise numbers.

Russia also claimed the losses were “considerably lower” than those seen in Ukrainian forces.

9:13 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

UK imposes "strongest" sanctions against Russia

From CNN's Jake Kwon

The United Kingdom will immediately impose more sanctions against Russia, banning British entities from undertaking financial transactions involving the Russian Central Bank, the Russian National Wealth Fund and its Ministry of Finance, the government said in a statement Monday.

London will make further designations this week, the statement said.

The measures — enacted in concert with the United States and European Union — will prevent the Russian Central Bank “from deploying its foreign reserves in ways that undermine the impact of sanctions imposed” by the UK and its allies, and will "undercut its ability to engage in foreign exchange transactions to support the Russian rouble,” the statement said. 

Raft of sanctions: Monday’s punitive action follows earlier British sanctions against members of the Russian Parliament who voted in favor of recognizing the independence of two pro-Moscow separatist republics in eastern Ukraine, and an earlier raft of measures against five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals announced by the UK Prime Minister.  

“Our package of sanctions, the strongest economic measures the UK has ever enacted against Russia, will inflict devastating consequences on President Vladimir Putin and Russia,” the statement said.
3:10 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian Central Bank to raise key interest rate from 9.5% to 20%

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Moscow

The Russian Central Bank will raise its key interest rate from 9.5% to 20% per annum, it said in a statement on Monday.

“External conditions for the Russian economy have drastically changed,” the bank said in the statement. “The increase of the key rate will ensure a rise in deposit rates to levels needed to compensate for the increased depreciation and inflation risks.”
“This is needed to support financial and price stability and protect the savings of citizens from depreciation.”
9:12 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian presidential aide says talks with Ukraine scheduled for noon Moscow time, state media reports

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

Russian presidential advisor Vladimir Medinsky speaks to the media during a visit to Belarus on February 28.
Russian presidential advisor Vladimir Medinsky speaks to the media during a visit to Belarus on February 28. (Sergei Kholodilin/BELTA/AFP/Getty Images)

A Russian presidential aide said talks between Russia and Ukraine near the Ukraine-Belarus border are anticipated to begin at noon Moscow time (4 a.m. ET) on Monday, Russian state news agency TASS reported. 

Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who is leading the Kremlin's delegation, said his team was "ready for negotiations immediately after their (the Ukrainian side's) arrival."

Separately, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted Medinsky as saying the logistics for the Ukrainian delegation were "very difficult," with the arrival time being postponed several times.

More on the meeting: The two delegations will meet near the Pripyat River at the border. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called Zelensky on Sunday and offered safety guarantees, saying Lukashenko had "taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on the Belarusian territory will remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation's travel, meeting and return."

Monday's planned meeting follows a flurry of statements from the Kremlin, which claimed earlier the Ukrainian side had countered Russia's proposal to meet in Belarus with a proposal to meet in Warsaw and then dropped contact. Zelensky's office denied claims that Kyiv refused to negotiate.

Read more on what to expect from the talks:

2:54 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Ukraine ministers: Russian forces have reduced the pace of their offensive

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Russian forces have reduced the pace of their offensive against Ukraine, according to Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers.

"The Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive, but are still trying to develop success in some areas in the offensive against Ukraine," the Cabinet of Ministers posted on their official Twitter page on Monday, without providing more details. 
3:18 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Kyiv city authorities say they are strengthening defenses after a "calm" night

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova and Olga Voitovich in Kyiv

A deserted street in Kyiv, Ukraine, shortly after curfew ended on the morning of February 28.
A deserted street in Kyiv, Ukraine, shortly after curfew ended on the morning of February 28. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

The Ukrainian capital had a "calm" night on Sunday, Kyiv City Council said Monday morning — but authorities warned residents should remain home as fighting continued.

"Overall, last night was calm, excluding some skirmishes and fights with sabotage and reconnaissance groups. However, the city was mostly busy preparing for its defense. So, if you'll happen to go to the city after 8:00, you'll see fortifications, tank traps, and other defensive structures that have appeared on the streets of Kyiv," the council said in a statement. 

Grocery stores and public transportation in Kyiv will be open from 8 a.m. local time, though metro trains will run less frequently than usual.

"Please don't leave your homes unless you have an urgent need," such as buying groceries or medicine, the statement said, adding that "street fights continue to occur in the streets of every district in the city."

"We urge you to join forces and help each other: ask your neighbors if they need help, especially when it comes to the elderly or families whose relatives are defending Ukraine. Look after the apartments of neighbors who have left the city to prevent looting," the council said.

A curfew in the city remains in force from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time. 

2:43 a.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian Defense Ministry claims "air supremacy" over Ukraine

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

The Russian military claimed Monday that it has gained control over Ukrainian airspace. 

"Russian aviation has gained air supremacy over the entire territory of Ukraine," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman, said in a statement.

CNN is not able to verify that statement. Since the war began, the Russian military has made incorrect claims regarding its military operations.