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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4:33 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Pressure mounts on Biden administration to act on growing Ukrainian refugee crisis

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Ukrainian refugees try to stay warm at a border crossing near Medyka, Poland, on March 1.
Ukrainian refugees try to stay warm at a border crossing near Medyka, Poland, on March 1. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Sizable Ukrainian populations in the US and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are pressuring the Biden administration to act on the growing refugee crisis as a result of Russia’s invasion. 

The recent resettlement of Afghan evacuees has, to a degree, set expectations among Ukrainians in the US, desperate to have their family with them.

While most Ukrainian refugees are headed to other parts of Europe, Biden administration officials are preparing to send money to help with the cause, in the absence of an onslaught of refugees arriving to the US in the immediate future. 

More than half a million people are already spilling into neighboring countries, including Poland, Moldova and Slovakia, in what the United Nations refugee agency said could become "Europe's largest refugee crisis this century.” Countries in the region have become the first destination for those desperately seeking refuge. 

That stands in contrast to the evacuation out of Afghanistan last summer, when the US took in thousands of Afghans who had worked for or on behalf of the US during the decades-long war. 

The Biden administration made a series of accommodations to relocate more than 76,000 Afghans after the fall of Kabul in August. As of now, it’s unclear whether those authorities, like humanitarian parole and special refugee designations, will be similarly extended to Ukrainians. 

A State Department spokesperson said the administration is working with European allies and partners, as well as international organizations and NGOs, “to support those displaced internally within Ukraine and those who may seek safety in neighboring countries.”

Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, there had already been a steady stream of Ukrainian refugees to the United States in recent years. Dmytro, a Ukrainian national, arrived in the US and resettled in Michigan only weeks ago. The feeling is bittersweet.  

“It’s pretty stressful to understand that the country you left is essentially not the same country and it’s only been three weeks,” he told CNN through an interpreter. CNN agreed to identify him only by his first name over security concerns for family still in Ukraine. 

Read more here.

4:14 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

New military strike in Kharkiv hits apartment complex near hospital, videos show

From CNN's Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase and Paul P. Murphy

A new military strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, has hit an apartment complex near a hospital, according to videos that have been geolocated and verified by CNN.

The explosion near the hospital comes hours after a military strike caused significant damage to Kharkiv's regional administration building.

In one video, a fire rages at a clearly damaged apartment complex, located just across the street from the hospital. 

"The building is gone," someone in the video says. 

In another video, which is an edited series of separate videos outside the apartment complex combined, at least two bodies are seen on the ground in the area surrounding the apartment buidling.

"The animals, simply animals," someone said, appearing to refer to those responsible for the military strikes. 

"A house," another person said. "Look at what they've done."  

A number of people are seen walking away from the apartment complex in the video.  

"People are carrying out their suitcases," a voice says in the video.  

Watch here (Warning: This video contains graphic images):

CNN's Josh Pennington contributed to this report.

4:04 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Top general overseeing US nuclear arsenal is "satisfied" with US defensive posture

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

The top general who oversees the US nuclear weapons and nuclear capabilities said Tuesday that he is “satisfied” with the US defensive posture right now, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine and President Putin’s recent announcement that he has put his country’s deterrence forces on high alert.

US Strategic Command Admiral Charles Richard made the comments during a House Armed Services committee hearing. 

Richard participated in the hearing virtually from US Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. He told lawmakers he stayed in Nebraska to make sure he can “assess and be satisfied in terms of our defensive posture.” 

Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Sasha Baker said the Defense Department is “comfortable with our strategic defensive posture,” echoing Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s previous statements.

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: