March 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Maureen Chowdhury, Jason Kurtz and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:01 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022
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8:53 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

US in contact with Zelensky through secure satellite phone

From CNN's Kylie Atwood and Zachary Cohen

The United States 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 US 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.