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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4:16 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Sweden Armed Forces: Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace

From CNN's Abby Baggini and Henrik Pettersson

Four Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Swedish Armed Forces. 

Two Russian Su-27s and two Russian Su-24s violated Swedish airspace east of the island of Gotland, across the sea. The Swedish Air Force carried out an operation using its Jas 39 Gripen fighter aircrafts "out of emergency preparedness." 

"We were on site to secure territorial integrity and Sweden's borders," said Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edström. "We have full control of the situation."

Sweden banned Russian aviation in its airspace on Monday, Feb. 28.

"In light of the current situation, we take the incident very seriously. It is an unprofessional and irresponsible action on the part of Russia," Edström said.
4:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Kyiv mayor says preliminary reports indicate no one is hurt in blast close to city railway station 

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv  

The mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has said that preliminary reports suggest there were no casualties in a blast that shattered windows at the city's railway station Wednesday evening. 

But he added: "We are clarifying the details." 

Klitschko said in a Telegram post that despite shelling in a number of Kyiv suburbs Wednesday, "Thank God, there are no casualties." 

"The enemy was trying to breakthrough to our city, but Ukrainian defenders are repulsing the occupiers and defending our capital," he continued.

It's unclear what caused the blast near the station.

An Interior Ministry adviser said the damage was caused by the falling wreckage of a cruise missile after it had been intercepted by Ukrainian air defense systems.  

4:06 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Pentagon: Russian push toward Kyiv, including large military convoy, "remains stalled"

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Russian forces moving toward Kyiv in the northern part of Ukraine, including a large Russian military convoy, “remain stalled,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

“They haven’t from our best estimates made any appreciable progress in the last 24-36 hours,” Kirby said of the Russian forces moving towards Kyiv. “Nothing very significant.”

Kirby said the stall is likely due to a number of factors including Russian forces deliberately “regrouping themselves and reassessing the progress that they have not made and how to make up the lost time,” “logistics and sustainment challenges,” and “resistance from the Ukrainians,” Kirby said.

In the southern part of Ukraine, Russian forces “appear to be experiencing in general less resistance than they are up in the north,” Kirby said. Kherson and Mariupol, two major population centers in the south, are still contested, Kirby said.

“Our assessment is, as they get closer to these two population centers down in the south, we believe they are facing more resistance,” Kirby said.

3:57 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Damage seen near Kyiv central train station after explosion heard 

From CNN's  Paul P. Murphy 

Video posted online, which CNN has geolocated and verified its authenticity, shows a damaged train platform just outside of Kyiv's central train station following a strike Wednesday evening. 

The damage seen in the video is at the Pivnichna train station, which is located just over 700 feet from Kyiv's central station. Hundreds of refugees attempting to flee the conflict in Ukraine are at the central train station in Kyiv.  

In the video, the damaged building appears to be a ticket station on the train platform. 

The sound of the blast could be heard across the city, according to CNN's team on the ground. 

According to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, a major heating pipeline in Kyiv was damaged in the strike.  

3:54 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

UK "gravely concerned" by "reports of use of cluster munitions" by Russia in Ukraine 

From CNN's Dan Wright and Sugam Pokharel

Britain on Wednesday said it was “gravely concerned” by “reports of the use of cluster munitions” by Russia during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. 

The UK, which is also the President of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), said in a statement that it condemns "any use of cluster munitions by any actor, remaining steadfast in our determination to achieve a world entirely free of any use of these weapons."

The convention "was born out of a collective determination to address the humanitarian consequences of these weapons, which have had a devastating impact on civilians in many conflict areas," it added.

The UK called on “all those that continue to use such weapons to cease immediately” and also urged all states that have not yet done so to join the Convention “without delay.”

Earlier on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia was moving banned weaponry into Ukraine.

"We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs – which are banned under the Geneva Convention," she said.

3:59 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Pentagon: US cancels planned missile test to avoid misunderstanding during "heightened tensions" in Ukraine

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Oren Liebermann

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby conducts a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby conducts a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin canceled a planned test of the Minute Man III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that was initially scheduled to occur this week to avoid “any actions that could be misunderstood or misconstrued” during heightened tensions with Russia, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.  

“In order to demonstrate that we have no intention of engaging in any actions that could be misunderstood or misconstrued, the secretary of defense has directed that our minute man three intercontinental ballistic missile test launch scheduled for this week to be postponed,” Kirby said. 

Kirby said the secretary made this decision taking into account the “heightened tensions” caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement earlier this week directing a special alert of Russian nuclear forces. 

Kirby said the US military is taking this step to cancel the ICBM test to “demonstrate” that the US is a “responsible nuclear power.”

“This is not a step backwards in our readiness, nor does it imply that we will necessarily cancel other routine activities to ensure a credible nuclear capability,” Kirby said.

“We remain confident in our strategic posture as I’ve said before and our ability to defend the homeland, and our allies and our partners, remains fully intact and ready,” he added.

3:49 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

French president: "European defense must cross the next step" following Russian invasion of Ukraine 

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan in Atlanta

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that Europeans “cannot depend on others to defend ourselves."

He added, “European defense must cross the next step,” following Russia invasion of Ukraine.

“Europe has entered a new era,” Macron said during a televised address from the Elysee Palace as he announced a summit of European heads of state and government that will take place in Versailles on March 10 and 11 to discuss these topics.

3:41 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Secretary of State Blinken: US still open to diplomacy, but there’s no path unless Russia pulls back forces

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discusses Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discusses Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday. (Elizabeth Frantz/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the US remains open to diplomacy with Russia to end the war in Ukraine, but said there’s no path unless Russia pulls back its forces.

“We of course remain open to pursuing any reasonable path, but it’s very hard to see any path when the bombs are dropping, the planes are flying the tanks are rolling,” Blinken told reporters at the State Department. “So de-escalation, pulling back forces, that would open a path of diplomacy.”

Blinken added that the US would help Ukraine diplomatically if Kyiv believes there’s a path that could end the war, but he noted that Russia often “goes through the pretense of diplomacy” while continuing on its aggressive path, noting the demands Moscow made in its first round of talks with Ukraine were “non-starters.” 

“If Ukraine thinks there is a path that would help advance its interests protect it end the war and we can be helpful in that, of course we’re fully prepared to do that,” Blinken said.

“But we really look to the Ukrainian government to what if anything might make sense. They’re engaged in talks with Russia. They had one round, there may be another one, we’ll see. But, of course, the demands Russia put on the table were beyond excessive, they were of course non-starters," he said.

4:22 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Former NATO commander: Putin "pushing for land corridor to Crimea"

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad and Ben Kirby

Richard Shirreff, NATO's former deputy supreme allied commander, speaks to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
Richard Shirreff, NATO's former deputy supreme allied commander, speaks to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “pushing for a land corridor to Crimea,” a former NATO commander told CNN Wednesday while commenting on Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.   

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, NATO's former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Richard Shirreff said: “It is quite clear that Putin is pushing for a land corridor to Crimea. I mean that is an obvious objective.”

“He’s had Crimea in the Russian Federation since 2014, he’s only been able to supply it across the Kerch Strait bridge, and so of course he’s looking to establish that land corridor down off the Sea of Azov,” Shirreff added.

Shirreff went on to say that Putin has been “humiliated” and his military “had not delivered” given the slow advances into the country.

“[Putin] is going to be ordering Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff, to get cracking, to get stuck in, and to use whatever means he needs at his disposal,” Shirreff said. 

The former NATO Commander said he feared we would see an increase in civilian casualties and humanitarian catastrophe, with potentially the leveling of cities, as a result.

“I’m afraid to say I don’t think we have seen anything yet in terms of the destruction that’s likely to happen,” he said.

Watch former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Richard Shirreff explain why fighting in cities is "tougher on the attacker":