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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2:15 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Beijing is "ready to seek peaceful solution" to Ukraine-Russia conflict, Ukrainian foreign minister says

From CNN’s Emmet Lyons and Maddie Araujo  

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday that the Chinese are “ready to seek a peaceful solution” in diplomatic talks to end the war Russia has launched on Ukraine. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Kuleba had a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Without calling Russia’s military act in Ukraine an “invasion,” Wang had said that China respects every country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and he urged Ukraine and Russia to solve the crisis through negotiations.

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from an undisclosed location in Ukraine, Kuleba said that he “appealed to the Chinese foreign minister to take advantage of their leverage on Putin, of their relations with Russia, and urge Putin to stop this war immediately.” 

When asked by Amanpour as to what sense he has as to whether China would support a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, the Ukrainian top diplomat said that “constructive involvement of China is possible” and pointed to China’s abstention from a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

2:51 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

UK says Russia conducted "increased numbers" of strikes against urban areas in Ukraine in the past 48 hours 

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

Women carry their belongings as they walk on a deserted street in Kyiv on March 1.
Women carry their belongings as they walk on a deserted street in Kyiv on March 1. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Kingdom said Tuesday that over the past 48 hours, "increased numbers of Russian air and artillery strikes have been conducted against densely populated urban areas across Ukraine." 

A Russian convoy continues to make slow progress towards Kyiv, the UK Ministry of Defense said Tuesday in its latest intelligence update.  

"The column is a mixed force of combat and logistics vehicles with the bulk of the forces remaining approximately 30km from the centre of the city," it added. 

"Ukrainian forces continue to hold the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol however all three cities are now likely encircled by Russian forces," it concluded. 

2:06 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Ukrainian air force is targeting Russian columns but Russia dominates the skies, Ukrainian official tells CNN

From CNN’s Emmet Lyons and Maddie Araujo  

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that the country’s air force is targeting Russian military columns headed toward Ukrainian cities. 

“We are using our air forces to destroy columns headed towards our cities,” he said in a TV interview.  

When asked what further help Ukraine needs from the US and NATO, Kuleba replied “air force and anti-missile defense, and weapons.” 

“The problem is Russia dominates in the sky. Our pilots are fighting fiercely against them, but we also have losses. So the Russians use their fighting jets and bombers to attack our cities and we need to counter this threat. This are the two most urgent requests that we lodged with our partners,” he said. 

“We are fighting in the air, but physically Russia has more planes to deploy to Ukraine than we have. So that’s why we put such an emphasis on air defense and air force, and also missile defense,” he told Amanpour, adding “we need better protection from the sky.” 

Kuleba said he cannot speak specifically about whether Ukraine’s air force is also hitting the 40-mile Russian convoy around Kyiv. 

2:37 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden and Zelensky discussed support and sanctions on Tuesday, White House says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

In their call lasting over 30 minutes, US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed “the United States’ continued backing for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression,” according to a readout from the White House. 

Biden, the White House said, “underscored the United States’ sustained help for Ukraine, including ongoing deliveries of security assistance, economic support, and humanitarian aid.” 

The two leaders discussed US and allied efforts to hold Russia accountable, including sanctions, the readout said. 

They also discussed an escalation in attacks Tuesday, including one near a Holocaust memorial. 

“The leaders discussed Russia’s escalation of attacks on sites used by civilians in Ukraine, including today’s bombing near Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial,” according to the White House. 

1:53 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russia prosecutor general blocks 2 independent media outlets for their reporting on Ukraine invasion

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Nathan Hodge in Moscow

The Russian prosecutor general has blocked access to two independent media outlets, Echo of Moscow and TV Rain, because of alleged violations over their reporting on the invasion of Ukraine. 

In a statement, the prosecutor general accused the two outlets of disseminating what it called “information known to be false regarding the actions of Russian servicemen, as part of a special operation to protect the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.” 

It also says Echo of Moscow and TV Rain have been posting information which it says calls “for extremism, violence against citizens of the Russian Federation, mass violations of public order and public security.” Authorities in Russia forbid rallying without a permit and may consider broadcasting or reporting specific information on unauthorized rallies to be considered organizing illegal protests.

On Saturday, Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor warned 10 local news outlets that it would restrict access to their publications unless they stop spreading what it calls false information, including references to the military operation in Ukraine as an "attack, invasion or declaration of war.”

In letters sent letters to these outlets, the regulator said it complained about allegedly “false information” they published on the shelling of Ukrainian cities and the death of civilians caused by the Russian armed forces.

The outlets notified were: Echo of Moscow, InoSMI, Mediazona, New Times, TV Rain, Svobodnaya Pressa, Krym.Realii, Novaya Gazeta, Zhurnalist and Lenizdat. Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace prize in 2021. Some of these outlets have been designated by Russian authorities as foreign agents.

“Unless the above inaccurate information is removed, access to these sources will be restricted,” it said in a statement on Saturday, announcing an investigation into the media outlets.

2:32 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

UN says more than 675,000 people have fled Ukraine during Russia's ongoing invasion 

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London 

Ukrainians wait at the Slovak-Ukrainian border crossing in Velke Slemence, Slovakia, on February 25.
Ukrainians wait at the Slovak-Ukrainian border crossing in Velke Slemence, Slovakia, on February 25. (Peter Lazar/AFP/Getty Images)

About 677,000 people have fled Ukraine in “less than a week” during Russia's ongoing invasion, UN Refugee Agency Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements said Tuesday. 

"677,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries in less than a week. 150,000 in the last 24 hrs," Clements said in a tweet.  

On Tuesday, the United Nations said in a statement that the agency along with its humanitarian partners have launched "emergency appeals" to donors for $1.7 billion to urgently deliver "humanitarian support to people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries."

"The UN estimates that 12 million people inside Ukraine will need relief and protection, while more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees may need protection and assistance in neighbouring countries in the coming months," the agency said in a statement. 

Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian chief, said in the statement that this is the "darkest hour" for the people of Ukraine. 

“Families with small children are hunkered down in basements and subway stations or running for their lives to the terrifying sound of explosions and wailing sirens. Casualty numbers are rising fast. This is the darkest hour for the people of Ukraine," Griffiths said. 

"We need to ramp up our response now to protect the lives and dignity of ordinary Ukrainians. We must respond with compassion and solidarity,” he added.  

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said it "could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century" in the statement.  

1:36 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Mexico's president says he will not impose sanctions on Russia

From Karol Suarez in Mexico City

Mexico will not impose economic sanctions on Russia, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a daily news conference on Tuesday morning.

“We’re not going to take any kind of economic reprisal because we want to have good relations with all the governments in the world, and we want to be able to talk with the parties in conflict,” López Obrador said after he was asked about his stance on the matter. 

“We do not consider that it corresponds to us, and we think that the best thing is to promote dialogue to achieve peace,” he said. 

López Obrador also criticized the “censorship” of Russian state media, after social media companies announced they would take action to limit the reach of Russian-backed news channel RT. 

"I don't agree that there is censorship in the media; I spoke out against it when President Trump's account was canceled, as I also do not agree with the fact that the media, from Russia or any other country, are censored," he said.

1:17 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Russian state media accounts demoted across Facebook and Instagram, Meta says

From CNN’s Brian Fung

A sign is seen outside of Meta's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, 2021.
A sign is seen outside of Meta's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, 2021. (Nick Otto/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Russian state media accounts, as well as content linking to their sites, will now be demoted across Meta's platforms globally, the company said Tuesday.

"I can confirm we are demoting content from Facebook pages and Instagram accounts from Russian state-controlled media outlets, and we are making them harder to find across our platforms," Nick Clegg, Meta's global affairs president, said in a statement.

The move to apply algorithmic restrictions to Russia-backed media outlets follows a similar move by Twitter announced on Monday. And it follows calls by European Union officials for tech platforms to do more to keep those outlets from being recommended to users.

As with Twitter, Meta already labels accounts that it identifies as being operated by state-run media. The additional steps being announced on Tuesday involve the labeling of links and the down-ranking of both the links and the Russian media outlets' own accounts.

In the coming days, users who attempt to share links to Russian state media websites will also be shown interstitial warnings on Facebook and Instagram, added Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta's head of security policy.

1:10 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Here's how Kharkiv looks after Russian bombing

Russian forces bombarded a residential area in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city with rockets on Monday, killing nine civilians, including three children, and wounded 37 others.

Here are some photos from the ground.

Debris is scattered outside of a state administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 1.
Debris is scattered outside of a state administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 1. (Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A destroyed car sits among debris in Kharkiv's central square on March 1.
A destroyed car sits among debris in Kharkiv's central square on March 1. (Pavel Dorogoy/AP)
A member of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces stands inside the damaged administration building.
A member of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces stands inside the damaged administration building. (Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Ukrainian emergency personnel work at the scene of Russian shelling in Kharkiv on March 1.
Ukrainian emergency personnel work at the scene of Russian shelling in Kharkiv on March 1. (Pavel Dorogoy/AP)

Extensive damage is seen inside of the Kharkiv administration building on March 1.
Extensive damage is seen inside of the Kharkiv administration building on March 1. (Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)