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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8:42 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russia's term as UN Security Council president ends in the next few hours

From CNN’s Liam Reilly and Pooja Salhotra

Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia. (UNTV)

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia’s term as president of the United Nations Security Council ends at midnight ET Monday and he concluded his presidency by calling into question the veracity of statements about Ukraine made by his colleagues. 

“I would like to say … I was surprised, because just the reports and videos and information in Ukraine — some of them are taken as fact. And others … fully-reliable, unquestionably reliable — are being considered inaccurate, unreliable,” Nebenzia said in translated remarks. 

Nebenzia has maintained multiple times on the Security Council floor that Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has not targeted civilian infrastructure and there is no evidence of civilian deaths caused by the Russia military.

He repeated these claims on Monday, stating the “tide of dirty lies replicated in Western mass media unfortunately have become a dangerous mark of our time.”

Fact check: A senior US defense official told reporters that Russian forces are “causing civilian harm and they are striking civilian targets." And social media videos, photos and satellite images analyzed and geolocated by CNN confirm that on several occasions densely populated areas have been hit by Russian forces.

In his final public remarks to the Security Council on Monday, Nebenzia also called February a “busy month” during which not every issue achieved consensus. 

"Abomination": Ukrainian UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said in his remarks Monday that he welcomed the end of Nebenzia’s term.

“I’m looking forward to midnight, even though midnight is the most dangerous time right now because that’s when most of the attacks take place. But I’m looking forward to midnight, when this abomination, occupation of the seat of the president of the council will be over,” Kyslytsya said. 

The presidency of the council rotates between members every month. United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the UN Lana Zaki Nusseibeh will begin her presidency on Tuesday for March.

8:25 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Bipartisan group of senators urges Biden to extend Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainians in the US

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez, Lauren Fox and Jeff Zeleny 

A bipartisan group of senators is urging the Biden administration to extend a form of humanitarian relief, known as Temporary Protected Status, to Ukrainians in the US. 

“In light of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, we respectfully request that your administration promptly take all necessary steps to ensure that Ukrainian nationals present in the United States are not forced to return to Ukraine, including the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS),” the senators wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden. 

TPS applies to people who would face extreme hardship if forced to return to homelands devastated by armed conflict or natural disasters, therefore the protections are limited to people already in the US.

8:17 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

World Rugby sanctions Russia and Belarus

Russia and Belarus have been suspended from all international rugby and cross-border club activities until further notice, the sport's governing body said Monday.

Additionally, the Rugby Union of Russia has been suspended from World Rugby membership until further notice, World Rugby said on its website.

“World Rugby reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and the facilitation of this action by Belarus,” the organization said.
“The global rugby family is united in standing in solidarity with everyone affected by these deeply disturbing events and joins the global community in calling for the restoration of peace.”
7:57 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Ukrainian foreign minister says US offering more support to resist Russia

From CNN's Samantha Beech

The United States is offering more support to help Ukraine resist Russia, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Early Tuesday morning local time, a tweet from the minister’s verified account referenced a conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

Kuleba tweeted, “In our call, @SecBlinken affirmed that the U.S. support for Ukraine remains unfaltering. I underscored that Ukraine craves for peace, but as long as we are under Russia’s assault we need more sanctions and weapons. Secretary assured me of both. We coordinated further steps.”

Last week, US President Joe Biden unveiled a set of harsh measures against Russia, saying: "Putin chose this war."

Blinken announced further actions against Russia on Monday, including barring Russian financial institutions — such as the Russian Central Bank -- from making transactions in American dollars. The US also imposed sanctions on the state-owned Russian Direct Investment Fund, calling it a "known slush fund" for Putin and his inner circle.

Washington also put sanctions on people it described as "corrupt billionaires" and their families who are close to the Kremlin.

7:53 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

US representative says Congress is still waiting to hear what's needed for Ukraine funding

From CNN's Annie Grayer

US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said a top line for new funding to Ukraine has not been decided on yet because Congress is still waiting to be told what is needed. 

“I don't know the answer to that," Hoyer told CNN, when asked if there has been any movement or decisions made on allocating more funding for Ukraine. "It's being discussed and it ought to be what they need," he said.

Asked if he is waiting for a direct number from the President Hoyer said, "I think we're really waiting for a determination as to what's needed. And I think the number ought to be what's needed.”

Hoyer said this funding could be allocated through a separate supplemental or be included in the overall spending bill, as long as it is expedited.

7:47 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN says the country welcomes an ICC investigation into Russia's invasion

From CNN's Liam Reilly and Pooja Salhotra


Ukraine welcomes the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to open an investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Sergiy Kyslytsya, the country's ambassador to the UN.

“We welcome the statement issued today by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, on the situation in Ukraine — his statement about his decision to proceed with opening an investigation,” Kyslytsya told the UN Security Council. “Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is [the ICC prosecutor’s] intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes, falling within the jurisdiction of his office, that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.”

Kyslytsya said the ICC prosecutor “will also be asking for the support of all state parties and the international community as a whole as his office sets about its investigation” and will be calling for additional budgetary contributions to support the investigation.

7:35 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Russian military convoy near Kyiv is more than 40 miles long, according to satellite images

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

(Maxar Technologies)
(Maxar Technologies)

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show the Russian military convoy that has reached the outskirts of Kyiv is even longer than it previously measured.

Maxar said late Monday the convoy is more than 40 miles long. Earlier Monday, Maxar said the convoy took up roughly 17 miles of roadway.

Maxar told CNN earlier Monday the large military convoy consisted of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles. 

Maxar attributed the updated convoy length to additional satellite imagery they collected and analyzed. Maxar said data and imagery taken Monday shows the convoy stretches from the Antonov airbase — about 17 miles from Kyiv's city center — to just north of Pribyrsk, Ukraine.

To put a point on how far away Pribyrsk is from the Ukrainian capital, the small town is closer to the Ukraine-Belarus border and the failed nuclear reactor at Chernobyl than to Kyiv.

Fires seen north of Ivankiv
Fires seen north of Ivankiv (Maxar Technologies)

The company noted it saw plumes of smoke rising from a number of homes and buildings north and northwest of Ivankiv, near the roads where the convoy is traveling. At this time, it's unclear what has caused the plumes of smoke. 

According to Maxar, in some areas the roadways are so choked with military vehicles it's actually causing traffic jams.

On Sunday, Maxar had measured the convoy — then near Ivankiv, Ukraine — at roughly 3.5 miles long.

7:58 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Ukrainian parliament member: Talks with Russia resulted in "heavier air strikes" in Kyiv

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Ukrainian parliament member Kira Rudik
Ukrainian parliament member Kira Rudik (CNN)

Ukrainian parliament member Kira Rudik told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Monday's negotiations with Russia at the Belarus-Ukraine border resulted in "heavier air strikes" in Kyiv.

Rudik, who is located in Kyiv, said that the strikes were "anticipated" because Russian President Vladimir Putin's words cannot be trusted.

"Tonight, there was 'peaceful negotiations,' that obviously resulted in heavier air strikes after — right after the negotiation ended up. And right now, the air strikes intensified and there are more of alarms for the whole night. We anticipated this because — let me give you some tips and tricks on talking to Putin. When he says, 'I want peace,' this means, 'I'm getting my troops to kill you.' If he says, 'It's not my troops,' it means, 'It's my troops and I am gathering them.' And if he says... 'I'm retreating,' this means 'I'm regrouping and getting more troops to kill you,'" she said.

"So it's not news for us when he went on a 'peaceful negotiation' ... that it will end up bringing more troops, destroying more buildings and trying to kill more Ukrainians," Rudik explained.

She added, "So, I spent my day today really gathering everything that I can so the resistance team that I formed can survive the siege if there will be one. And we anticipate that there will be a siege in Kyiv."

Rudik also said that Putin will be "raising the stakes" in the coming days.

"Our first fear is on the air force attacks that will be intensifying. And we have seen that today, already. So tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, there will be more of them to create terror and to create fear. Which we expect. That's why we are not afraid. Second, is he bringing more forces and he will actually try to close in and out to Kyiv. This is something that we are fighting from our side to make sure that he cannot close the entrances and exits to the city. This is where the resistance comes in. And of course, we will be trying to get into the negotiations," Rudik said.

Watch Ukraine MP Kira Rudik's interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer:

7:18 p.m. ET, February 28, 2022

Scenes from Kyiv on Monday as Russia's invasion continues

From CNN's Kyle Almond

Passengers anxiously board trains in Kyiv before heading to destinations in the western part of the country on Monday.
Passengers anxiously board trains in Kyiv before heading to destinations in the western part of the country on Monday. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Photographer Timothy Fadek has been in Ukraine since January, documenting the country’s crisis both before and after the Russian invasion.

He spent his Monday in the capital of Kyiv, which had been under a citywide curfew since Saturday.

Fadek watched as many citizens boarded trains to flee to the western part of the country while Russian forces moved closer to the city. 

People board trains in Kyiv. More than 500,000 refugees have already left Ukraine, according to the United Nations.
People board trains in Kyiv. More than 500,000 refugees have already left Ukraine, according to the United Nations. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Others stayed behind, ready to join the resistance. Volunteers continue to sign up for the Territorial Defense Forces, Ukraine’s military reserve. 

Volunteers in Kyiv sign up to join the Territorial Defense Forces.
Volunteers in Kyiv sign up to join the Territorial Defense Forces. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

One of Fadek’s photos shows Iryna, a 55-year-old woman who was a bank teller before the war. She’s now stationed at the group’s headquarters.

(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)
(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

In another photo, women add plastic foam particles to Molotov cocktails so that the bombs will stick to their targets better.

(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)
(Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

See more photos from Ukraine: