March 1, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Jessie Yeung, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2305 GMT (0705 HKT) March 8, 2022
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4:01 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Overstretched Russian forces could struggle to hold Ukraine at current levels, expert predicts

Analysis from CNN's Brad Lendon

Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion has shown strength that has surprised many observers, but one international expert pointed out how historical precedent bodes poorly for Moscow should its forces be unable to subdue Ukraine quickly under current Russian troop levels.

“The Russian army is overextended and in a precarious position if Ukraine becomes a protracted war,” Seth Jones, vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a social media post.
“Assuming 150,000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine and a population of 44 million, that is a force ratio of 3.4 soldiers per 1,000 people. You can’t hold territory with those numbers,” Jones said.

Jones compared the current Russian force ratio to occupations after previous wars around the world, saying successful occupations had force ratios that were “astronomically higher.”

For example, he said:

  • The Allied forces occupying Germany in 1945 had 89.3 troops to 1,000 inhabitants.
  • NATO forces in Bosnia in 1995 had 17.5 troops to 1,000 inhabitants.
  • NATO forces in Kosovo in 2000 had 19.3 to 1,000.
  • And international forces in East Timor in 2000 had 9.8 to 1,000.
“High numbers of troops and police are critical to establish basic law and order,” Jones said.
“In fact, the number of Russian soldiers in Ukraine aren’t even enough to hold any major cities for long.”

And if Russian occupiers face a guerrilla war in the event the Ukrainian government falls, the odds won’t be in Russia’s favor, he said.

“They will be in serious danger of being picked apart by Ukrainian insurgents.”

3:53 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russian and Belarusian athletes suspended from all international ice skating competitions, ISU says

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

The International Skating Union (ISU) on Tuesday suspended Russian and Belarusian skaters from participating in all international ice skating competitions, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Skaters will be banned from participating in ISU championships and other events, the ISU said in a statement.

“The ISU Council reaffirms its full solidarity with the ISU Members in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Speed Skating Federation and the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation," the statement said. "The ISU Council will evaluate possibilities for swift humanitarian assistance to its Ukrainian ISU Members."

The same rules will apply to “officials listed in the respective ISU Communications and/or regulations under Russia and Belarus," according to the statement.

The governing body said the suspension will come into immediate effect and will remain in place until further notice.

The ISU Council will continue to closely monitor the situation in Ukraine and its impact on the ISU activity and will take additional steps if and when required.”
3:27 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

At least 6 injured as blast destroys government building in Kharkiv

From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie, Teele Rebane and Ivana Kottasová

The area near the regional administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, which was hit by a missile according to city officials, in this handout picture released on March 1.
The area near the regional administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, which was hit by a missile according to city officials, in this handout picture released on March 1. (Ukrainian State Emergency Service/Reuters)

At least six people were injured, including a child, in an explosion in Ukraine's second biggest city, Kharkiv, Ukraine's State Emergency Service said in a Telegram post Tuesday. 

The blast destroyed a government building, according to videos of the incident posted by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ukrainian government officials. The clips were posted on social media early Tuesday local time and have been verified by CNN. 

“Russia is waging war in violation of international humanitarian law. Kills civilians, destroys civilian infrastructure. Russiaʼs main target is large cities that are now fired at by its missiles,” the Ukrainian MOFA tweeted Tuesday, sharing a video showing what appears to be a missile attack on the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building. 

A separate video posted by Kostiantyn Nemichev, the Head of Defense Staff of Kharkiv, showed the aftermath of the purported strike, including the inside of the building which had been reduced to rubble. 

The Regional State Administration building houses local government offices. It is located in "Freedom Square" the main square of Kharkiv and an architectural landmark.

Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, also shared a video on his official Telegram account taken from street level at Freedom Square. The video shows the site of the explosion, and the debris on the ground where the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building once stood. 

3:01 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Indian Embassy in Kyiv advises its nationals to "urgently" evacuate

From CNN's Esha Mitra and Arpit Goel in New Delhi

The Indian Embassy in Kyiv has asked its citizens to "urgently" leave the Ukrainian capital, as Russia's military convoy closes in on the city. 

“All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available,” the embassy wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours earlier, the embassy had advised Indian citizens to “remain calm, peaceful and united,” asking them to remain patient as large crowds were expected at railway stations.

Tuesday's announcement comes after reports of Indian students allegedly being harassed while trying to cross Ukraine's border into neighboring countries.

In response to a question about the alleged harassment, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, said during a news conference Monday they continue to speak to the ambassadors of both Russia and Ukraine to ensure the safety of Indians.

India's announcement comes as a Russian military convoy made up of armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other logistical vehicles reached the capital's outskirts Tuesday, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies. 

2:29 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russia responds to Swiss sanctions with tit-for-tat flight ban

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Moscow

Russia has banned aircraft registered in Switzerland from entering its airspace, the country's federal aviation authority, Rosaviatsiya, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The move was in retaliation for a similar move by Switzerland, the statement said.

Swiss sanctions: Switzerland would forego its commitment to "Swiss neutrality" in favor of adopting sanctions against Russia, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said Monday, adding that Bern's measures would be in line with those already adopted by the European Union.

The sanctions include closing Swiss airspace to all flights from Russia, including private jets, with the exception of humanitarian flights, search flights and emergency situations.

2:02 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

China begins evacuating its citizens from Ukraine

From CNN's Simone McCarthy in Hong Kong

China has started evacuating its citizens from Ukraine, state media said.

Some 400 students based in the Black Sea Port city of Odessa, and another 200 from the capital, Kyiv, left the country on Monday, according to state-run tabloid Global Times, which cited the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine. Another 1,000 citizens are expected to be evacuated into neighboring countries on Tuesday, it added.

Plans for charter flights to get Chinese citizens out were put hold over the weekend as fighting intensified, with the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine citing security risks.

Unlike nationals from many other countries, Chinese nationals in Ukraine did not receive instructions to leave the country before Russia's invasion began. Prior to Russia's attack, Chinese officials pushed back on warnings from the United States and its allies that an aggressive move from Moscow was imminent.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday defended Beijing's approach, saying the ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine “issued relevant safety warnings in a timely manner.”

There are about 6,000 Chinese nationals in Ukraine, according to state media.

1:30 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Analysis: Biden addresses an anxious world as Putin makes nuclear threats

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson and Maeve Reston

As Russian President Vladimir Putin rattles the West with nuclear threatsPresident Joe Biden faces an even tougher-than-expected task in Tuesday's State of the Union address.

He must recognize the fatigue, suffering and pessimism in a nation exhausted by the Covid-19 pandemic, rocked by rising inflation and high gas prices and now suddenly thrown by Russia's invasion of Ukraine into the worst geopolitical crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Then he must somehow conjure optimism about better times to come ahead of this year's midterms as he faces ebbing confidence among Americans that he has the plans, skills and endurance to end the crises.

At the same time, the President needs to send a message of US resolve amid fears the Ukraine crisis could spin out of control and trigger a direct clash with Russia, which has the world's most nuclear warheads. But any further escalation with Putin, who on Sunday ordered his nuclear deterrent to higher alert, carries significant risks.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine shattered 30 years of relative peace in Europe after the end of the Cold War. The battle for Ukraine is the first real fight in the new war for dominance between autocracy and democracy, which the President has long predicted.

Biden faces a rhetorical balancing act. He needs to avoid the impression that his role as the leader of the free world is distracting him from economic pain, rising crime, and the cascade of domestic crises that he inherited and promised to fix but has not yet done so.

The unpromising political environment for Democrats — partly bequeathed by a President whose approval rating has dipped to 40% in CNN's average of the most recent national polls — is already playing out in nascent 2022 election campaigns around the country, where Democrats are finding out that strong job growth and an economic bounce-back despite the Omicron wave are being disguised by rising prices of basic goods. The Ukraine crisis is only driving gas prices higher.

Read the full analysis:

2:24 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Taiwan to block Russian banks from SWIFT

From CNN's Wayne Chang and Eric Cheung

Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang speaks during a session on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, at the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan, on March 1.
Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang speaks during a session on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, at the parliament in Taipei, Taiwan, on March 1. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Taiwan will join moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system “in lockstep” with Western countries, Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters Tuesday.

“Taiwan has condemned Russia for its invasion in conjunction with our global democratic partners … we will cooperate on decisions made against the [Russian] banks simultaneously,” Su said, ahead of a parliamentary session.  

In addition, Taiwan will “scrutinize” products exported to Russia in accordance with the Wassenaar Arrangement — which regulates export controls for weapons and dual-use goods and technologies, economic affairs minister Wang Mei-hua told lawmakers.

Such exports won't be permitted “unless there are legitimate reasons," he said.

Wang acknowledged that Taiwan’s trade with Russia is minimal, but said major Taiwanese chipmakers have all pledged to comply with government policies and relevant regulations. “We will announce specific measures in due course,” she said.  

Taiwan accounts for more than half of the world's output of semiconductor chips.

Separately, Taiwan sent 27 tons of medical supplies to Ukraine on Monday.  

Read more about the SWIFT sanctions here.

5:07 a.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Newlyweds spend honeymoon fighting for Ukraine

Newlyweds Yaryna Arieva (right) and Sviatoslav Fursin have taken up arms to defend Ukraine.
Newlyweds Yaryna Arieva (right) and Sviatoslav Fursin have taken up arms to defend Ukraine. (CNN)

Just hours after their wedding on the first day of Russia's invasion, Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslav Fursin joined the fight to protect their country.

The couple were due to get married in May but rushed to tie the knot in Kyiv last week when Russia invaded, before joining the Ukrainian resistance.

Wearing camouflage jackets and holding a rifle, the couple told CNN's Don Lemon about spending their honeymoon living in a city under siege and taking up arms to fight against Russian troops invading their homeland.

"It's hard to understand, this new reality that we have," said Arieva, who is from Kyiv.

She said it's the first day of spring and usually people would be sowing sunflowers — Ukraine’s national flower — instead, they will be resisting Russia's attack. 

“No one here is saying that we will lose, or is crying. Everyone here believes we will win. It's all just a question of time. So, I am very happy to see this great amount of people, really being ready to fight. Being ready to kill for their land. Having no doubt about our win in this war," she said.

Her husband, Fursin, was born in the western city of Lviv and said his "people always want to be free. These people are ready to fight for their freedom."

Going on combat missions, he is worried for the safety of his family — his wife, parents and sister — but said he "will do everything to protect them."

Arieva said she is working every day and though it's "hard waiting for my husband to come back from combat missions," everyone is helping each other.

"Life here is different, but it is life. People joke and laugh. That is very interesting to see. It is another kind of life that has changed with the beginning of war but it is life," she said.

The couple called on the international community to help Ukraine with money, food, weapons, and medical assistance and to place more sanctions on Russia.

Fursin said he hopes the time will come soon when he can gather his family and friends "all in one place and drink a good glass of wine. And say to everybody, 'Hurray, war is ended, we won.'"

Before that time, though, he said he wants "everybody in this world, including Russia and the Russian people, to remember" that they are fighting "for the freedom of the world."