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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3:57 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Series of explosions heard some distance from Kyiv moments ago

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

There was a series of explosions heard some distance from Kyiv's city limits at around 10:40 p.m. local time on Tuesday (or about 3:40 p.m. ET), according to CNN teams in the area.

4:12 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

European Parliament recommends giving Ukraine EU candidate status  

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London and James Frater in Hungary 

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, center, speaks during a demonstration in front of the European Parliament in Brussels on March 1.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, center, speaks during a demonstration in front of the European Parliament in Brussels on March 1. (Omar Havana/Getty Images)

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Tuesday calling on the European Union institutions "to work towards granting" Ukraine the status of EU candidate country, it said in a statement.

The resolution, which also demanded the EU to impose "tougher sanctions" on Russia, was voted in favor by 637 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It condemned "in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and demands that the Kremlin end all military activities in the country." 

The members also stressed that the EU's financial sanctions against Russia should go further, stating that "all Russian banks should be blocked from the European financial system and Russia should be banned from the SWIFT system." 

"While welcoming the swift adoption of EU sanctions, MEPs want to see broader restrictive measures aimed at strategically weakening the Russian economy and industrial base. In particular, imports of the most important Russian export goods, such as oil and gas should be restricted, they say. New EU investment in Russia and new Russian investment in the EU should be banned," the press release said.  

The lawmakers pushed for the extension of a range of sanctions including the SWIFT ban on Belarus in return for its "direct support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine." 

They also called on EU countries to send Ukraine "defensive weapons more swiftly, in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter, which allows for individual and collective self-defense." 

Finally, all sanctions aimed at individuals responsible for "high-level corruption" in Russia and Belarus including oligarchs and officials should be adopted "swiftly," it said.  

EU countries operating residence by investment schemes or golden visas as they are commonly known should "review all beneficiaries of such residence status and revoke those attributed to Russian high-net-worth individuals and their families, in particular those linked to sanctioned individuals and companies." 

 

3:52 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Airstrikes on Kyiv hit a Holocaust memorial, Ukrainian official says 

From CNN’s Matthew Chance, Hadas Gold and Deb Doft

An explosion is seen near the Kyiv TV tower on March 1. Airstrikes also hit the nearby Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site.
An explosion is seen near the Kyiv TV tower on March 1. Airstrikes also hit the nearby Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Airstrikes that targeted Kyiv on Tuesday hit the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv, according to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak. The memorial is located near the Kyiv TV Tower, which was also damaged on Tuesday.

CNN’s Matthew Chance was interviewing Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky when Yermak advised Zelensky that the Holocaust memorial was struck. The exchange between Yermak and Zelensky was captured by a CNN camera.  

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Site has since released a statement confirming the remembrance site was struck by Russian forces.

According to a statement, the memorial's Advisory Board Chair Natan Sharansky said:

“Putin seeks to distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country is utterly abhorrent. It is symbolic that he starts attacking Kyiv by bombing the site of the Babyn Yar, the biggest of Nazi massacre."

The statement continues, “We remind the Russian leadership that Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities were last subjected to massive bombing by Nazi Germany during World War II, now they are burning under the blows of Putin's army, under the false and outrageous narrative of 'denazifying' Ukraine and its people.”

3:44 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

UK imposes sanctions on Belarusian people and organizations over Ukraine invasion  

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London 

The United Kingdom said Tuesday that it had imposed a first package of sanctions against Belarusian people and organizations "in response to the role the country is playing in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including facilitating the invasion from within its borders," the UK Foreign Office said Tuesday in a statement

"Four senior defence officials and two military enterprises have been sanctioned with immediate effect under the UK’s Russia sanctions regime," it said, adding that those sanctioned include the Belarus Chief of the General Staff and First Deputy Minister of Defense, Major General Viktor Gulevich.  

"We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him. We will not rest until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in the statement. 

"The Lukashenko regime actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion and will be made to feel the economic consequences for its support for Putin," Truss added. 

3:31 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

US oil closes above $100 for the first time since July 2014

From CNN’s Matt Egan

US oil rocketed past $100 a barrel on Tuesday even after the United States and other nations announced a sizable release of emergency oil stockpiles. 

US crude surged 8% to close at $103.41 a barrel, closing above $100 for the first time since July 2014. It marked the oil market’s biggest one-day gain since November 2020.

At its highs of the day, crude spiked as much as 11.6% to $106.78 a barrel, the highest intraday level since June 2014.

Brent, the world benchmark, gained about 8% to around $105 a barrel.

Energy analysts said the rally reflected the sense that the release of 60 million barrels of oil announced by the White House and International Energy Agency won’t be nearly enough given supply concerns in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

2:57 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden says he'll ensure the West is on the same page about Russia's invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

US President Joe Biden told news anchors during a lunch ahead of his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he has one major message he wants to send to the American people: that he will ensure America's allies are united in the response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The off-the-record lunch between news anchors from various networks and the President is traditionally held at the White House each year ahead of the State of the Union address.

CNN's Jake Tapper, who attended the hour-long lunch, said Biden agreed to relay a message on the record that anchors could share with the American people ahead of the address.

Tapper, paraphrasing the President's remarks, said Biden relayed that it's his "determination to see to it that the ... European Union, NATO and all our allies are on the same exact page in terms of sanctions against Russia and how we deal with the invasion of Ukraine — and it is an invasion."

"It's the one thing that gets us the power, the unity of NATO and the West, and that was what he thought was the most important thing," Tapper added.

Watch more here:

3:12 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

US in contact with Zelensky through secure satellite phone given to him by the US

From Kylie Atwood and Zachary Cohen

The White House in Washington, on March 1.
The White House in Washington, on March 1. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The US remains in regular contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky through a secure satellite phone that the US gave the Ukrainian government last month before the invasion occurred, according to a US official familiar with the matter.

Previously most secure communications between the Ukrainians and US officials went through the embassy in Kyiv, two US officials said. When the US was preparing to evacuate the embassy, and as fears mounted about the Russian invasion which is now occurring, the US sent the phone that is now being used to their Ukrainian counterparts. 

The secure phone allows Zelensky to remain in contact with the US while he’s mobile, the official added. Zelensky has made clear he intends to remain in the country and he is currently moving around to multiple locations in Kyiv that are protected with a significant security presence, CNN has reported. 

Previously, Zelensky had filmed video messages of himself speaking in front of monuments or other recognizable buildings but his speech to the European Parliament Tuesday was given via video feed from a nondescript room decorated only with a Ukrainian flag. 

The US provided a similar satellite phone to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the official said. The phones requires electricity but can operate off of a generator or energy from a car if needed. 

Initially it took a few days for the Ukrainians to get the satellite phones up and working because the instructions on how to use it were in English, not in Ukrainian.

Zelensky and US President Joe Biden spoke as recently as Tuesday, according to the Ukrainian President and White House.

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

2:40 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Residents of Kyiv brace for battle of Ukraine's capital

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

Soldiers use sand to block a road in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on March 1.
Soldiers use sand to block a road in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on March 1. (Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A drive through central Kyiv leaves no room for doubt. This is a city preparing for a major Russian attack.

Rows of concrete panels arranged in maze-like formations. Anti-tank road blocks. Piles of sandbags. Improvised barriers built of random pieces of metal, wood, old tires or anything that was at hand.

And everywhere you look, there are blue and yellow Ukrainian flags.

The city is uncannily quiet. Many people have fled in recent days. Those who have stayed are hunkered down in bomb shelters, basements and subway stations.

The checkpoints dotted along the city's entry points are manned by ordinary Ukrainians. These are not soldiers. A week ago, many of these men would have been at work, or enjoying time off with their friends and families.

Now, they are ready to defend their country's capital.

Oleksiy Goncharenko was guarding one of the checkpoints in Kyiv on Tuesday, armed with the rifle he picked up last week after answering the call from Ukrainian authorities to prepare to defend the country.

It was bitterly cold, and Goncharenko was working in shifts, with other volunteers. When not at the checkpoint, he says he is at the base, helping wherever he can: "Humanitarian help, helping people to get [to places], organizing transport, sharing information."

Goncharenko is not — and has never been — a military man. He is a member of Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament.

"I'm not a professional soldier at all, but I can try and I can do my best and I will do it if Russian forces enter Kyiv," he told CNN.

Read the full story here.

2:16 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Former Russian foreign minister calls on country's diplomats to resign in protest over Ukraine war

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in Moscow

Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has called on Russian diplomats to resign in protest over the war in Ukraine.

“I call on all Russian diplomats to resign in protest,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “Dear Russian diplomats, you are professionals and not cheap propagandists.”

“When I worked at the Foreign Ministry, I was proud of my colleagues,” Kozyrev added. “Now it is simply impossible to support the bloody fratricidal war in Ukraine.”

Kozyrev was foreign minister from 1991 to1996 under President Boris Yeltsin.