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

Ukraine's request to formally join the EU is "legitimate," European Commission vice president says

From CNN’s Zeena Saifi and Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, applauds as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (on screen) delivers a speech at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 1.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, applauds as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (on screen) delivers a speech at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 1. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

There is widespread support for Ukraine to become a member of the European Union, the European Commission Vice President Margaritas Schinas told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Tuesday. 

The statement comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on European leaders to “prove” their solidarity with Ukraine a day after signing an official request to join the European Union. 

“Nobody forgets that democracy was born in Ukraine after young Ukrainians were shot at for waving EU flags in Maidan (Square). We do not have short memories in Europe. We know that Ukraine is a part of the family and they are absolutely right and legitimate in their request to formally join the European Union,” Schinas said. 

He also said that the EU is set to announce blanket protection status for all those fleeing war in Ukraine that would give them automatic access to the EU’s health, education and housing facilities. That decision, Schinas said, along with the EU using its funds to buy weapons for Ukraine are “unprecedented steps.”

He told CNN he is confident when European leaders next meet, they will decide to set up the process at a pace that will allow for Ukraine to accede to the European Union “soon.”

When pressed by Anderson about how soon, he said “there is no set timetable in pre-accession negotiations.” 

12:31 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

NATO foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting over Ukraine on Friday  

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Sharon Braithwaite in London  

NATO foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Friday over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In a statement released Tuesday, NATO said the meeting will take place in person at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The meeting will be chaired by the alliance's chief, Jens Stoltenberg.  

12:30 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels stops in St. Petersburg, Russia, for 2022

From CNN’s Alison Kosik

Norwegian Cruise Line says that it will alter cruise itineraries that include stops in St. Petersburg, Russia, due to the “escalated situation between Russia and Ukraine,” according to a statement from the company. 

A spokesperson for Norwegian said, “the safety and security of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our top priority. We are currently working to confirm replacement ports and will advise all impacted guests and travel advisors as soon as possible.” 

On the cruise line’s earnings call last week, Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio called the tense situation in Ukraine “regrettable.” 

“Our hopes are that the conflict ends quickly with minimal impact to the safety and welfare of those in the region. We are following the situation carefully as it impacts our voyages in the area. It is disappointing because St. Petersburg is one of the crown jewels of the Scandinavian itineraries, ” Del Rio said. 

He added that Norwegian has no vessels in the region until late May and that it will update guests on its plans and affected itineraries as needed.  

1:03 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

US oil prices reach seven-year high after emergency release agreement

From CNN’s Matt Egan

A contractor replaces piping above a subterranean salt cavern at the US Department of Energy's Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, on June 9, 2016.
A contractor replaces piping above a subterranean salt cavern at the US Department of Energy's Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, on June 9, 2016. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Oil prices surged to fresh seven-year highs on Tuesday as an agreement from countries around the world to release 60 million barrels of emergency oil failed to ease supply fears gripping energy markets.

“The bottom line is this is not enough to cool off the market. It’s a bit of a band-aid solution,” said Michael Tran, managing director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets. 

The International Energy Agency announced Tuesday that member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from emergency reserves to send a “strong message to global oil markets that there will be no shortfall” as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. About half of that total – 30 million barrels – will come from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, sources told CNN.

The oil market was not impressed. US crude spiked about 10% Tuesday morning to an intraday high of $105.14 a barrel. That’s the highest level since 2014. Brent crude, the world benchmark, soared about 8% to $105.40 a barrel.

“You need to super-size the numbers,” said Robert Yawger, vice president of energy futures at Mizuho Securities. 

Still, energy industry executives and analysts conceded the Russia-Ukraine crisis is precisely what the SPR is designed for: to cushion the market against national security-related supply shocks. “It’s better than doing nothing,” Yawger said.

But it’s not a long-term solution. There is a finite amount of oil in emergency reserves. In fact, the SPR holds the least amount of oil since September 2002, according to government statistics

Matt Smith, lead Americas oil analyst at Kpler, said emergency releases are arguably bullish from a market sentiment standpoint.

“Every time the US announces a release from the SPR,” Smith said, “it’s one less bullet that it has to be able to use later on.” 

12:09 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

US believes morale of Russian forces "is flagging" in some units, senior US defense official claims

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Ellie Kaufman

The US has “indications that morale is flagging in some” of the Russian forces’ units, a senior US defense official claimed on Tuesday.

“We have picked up independently on our own, indications that morale is flagging in some of these units. That they again did not expect the resistance that they were going to get, and that their own morale has suffered as a result,” the official said.

A significant number of the Russian military forces being used to invade Ukraine are “conscripts, very young men drafted into service,” the official said. 

“Apparently, again, we’re picking this up as best we can, but not all of them are apparently fully trained and prepared or even aware that they were going to be sent in to a combat operation,” the official added.

12:14 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

At least 5 killed in strikes near Kyiv TV tower, Ukraine interior ministry says

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Olya Voitovych and Tim Lister

A fireman runs towards the Kyiv TV tower after a shelling on March 1.
A fireman runs towards the Kyiv TV tower after a shelling on March 1. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Five people were killed and five more injured in strikes near the Kyiv TV Tower, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

The ministry released an operational update reading:

“As of 06:00 p.m. 5 people were killed and 5 were injured in the shelling of the Kyiv TV Tower in the Shevchenkivskyi district. The work continues.”

The update comes as graphic new video from a park close to the Kyiv TV tower showed several bodies and a continuing fire. The video was also released by the ministry.

 CNN's Nathan Hodge contributed to this report from Moscow.

12:07 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Ukraine's President Zelensky urges Biden to give "useful" message in State of the Union


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged US counterpart Joe Biden to give a strong and "useful" message about Russia's invasion of Ukraine at his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with CNN and Reuters from the bunker in Kyiv in which he is leading his military's response.

"It's very serious ... I'm not in a movie," Zelensky, a former comedy actor, told CNN. "I'm not iconic, I think Ukraine is iconic ... Ukraine is the heart of Europe, and now I think Europe sees Ukraine is something special for this world. That's why [the] world can't lose this something special."

Zelensky previously said he is the number-one target for Russian forces, but he has decided to stay in the country's capital. He discussed the talks undertaken by Ukrainian and Russian officials in Belarus.

"They decided to begin to speak about the situation. And I wanted — I really wanted — and I urged them, you have to, first of all, everybody has to stop fighting and to go to that point from where ... it began, five, six — today, six days ago. I think there are principal things you can do it, and that is [a] very important moment. If you'll do these and if those side is ready, it means that they are ready for the peace. If they don't ready, it means that you're just, you know, just ... wasting time," he said.

He was asked by CNN's Matthew Chance: "Do you think you're wasting your time or do you think they're ready?" to which Zelensky responded, "we'll see." 

More from Zelensky: The Ukrainian president earlier said the protection of the country's capital, Kyiv, is the “key priority” for the state. 

"We are fighting just for our land and our freedom," Zelensky told European Parliament today, causing the EU translator on the English language feed to choke up with emotion. "We desire to see our children alive. I think it's a fair one."

"We are fighting for our life ... We are fighting for survival. This is the highest of our motivation," Zelensky said.

"But we are fighting also to be equal members of Europe," he added. "I believe that today we are showing everybody that's exactly what we are."

Zelensky requested for Ukraine to be added to the EU on an expedited process on Monday.

He received a standing ovation across the chamber both before and after his speech.

12:25 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Jaguar Land Rover pauses delivery of vehicles into Russia

From CNN's Livvy Doherty and Anna Cooban in London

Jaguar Land Rover is suspending the delivery of vehicles into the Russian market due to the "the current global context."

In a statement to CNN, the carmaker said "the current global context presents us with trading challenges so we are pausing the delivery of vehicles into the Russian market and continually monitoring the situation on behalf of our global customer base."

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tweeted that he welcomed this decision, adding "there is now a rapidly growing number of companies and governments joining the whole international community in isolating Russia, both diplomatically and financially."

Other car companies' actions: Jaguar Land Rover follows Volvo, which said it would be stopping shipments to Russia until further notice on Monday, “considering the potential risks associated with trading material with Russia, including the sanctions imposed by the EU and US."

Renault confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that they had paused production at their plant in Moscow and that they were observing some "logistic impacts" there. The plant produced over 75,000 vehicles in 2020. 

As of now, Ford has not stopped production in Russia or shipments to the country, telling CNN on Tuesday "we’re deeply concerned about the situation in the Ukraine and the safety and well-being of people there and throughout the region but have nothing more to add at this time."

12:03 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

White House says oil reserve release is meant to condemn "Putin's war of choice"

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House says the decision by the US and allies to release 60 million barrels from their oil reserves "is another example of partners around the world condemning Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and working together to address the impact of President Putin’s war of choice."

"President Biden was clear from the beginning that all tools are on the table to protect American businesses and consumers, including from rising prices at the pump," the White House said in a statement following the Tuesday decision.

As part of the announcement, the US is committing to releasing 30 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. European and Asian nations are releasing another 30 million barrels.