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
71 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:26 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

UN General Assembly votes to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine

From CNN’s UN correspondent Richard Roth

Voting results are displayed on screens at the United Nations General Assembly on March 2.
Voting results are displayed on screens at the United Nations General Assembly on March 2. (Seth Wenig/AP)

The United Nations General Assembly just overwhelmingly voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It was a ringing global denunciation by the world against Russia.

The vote was 141 nations in favor of the move and five nations were against it, with 35 countries abstaining.

As the results were placed on the screen in the chamber, a rare standing ovation occurred.

The result while legally non-binding carries some political weight globally, though it is doubtful if it will change Moscow’s military aggression.

The resolution “also demands that the Russian Federation immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”

Before the resolution was put to vote, the Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya received a rare applause from the UN General Assembly chamber.

Shortly after the vote, UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised its message.

"The message of the General Assembly is loud and clear: End hostilities in Ukraine now. Silence the guns now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy now. The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine must be respected in line with the UN Charter," he said.

"We don’t have a moment to lose. The brutal effects of the conflict are plain to see. But as bad as the situation is for the people in Ukraine right now, it threatens to get much, much worse. The ticking clock is a time bomb," he added.

4:01 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russian delegation has arrived in Belarus for a second round of talks with Ukraine

From CNN staff

The Russian delegation has arrived in Belarus for the second round of talks with Ukraine, head of Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky told Russia 24, adding that the Ukrainian delegation has left Kyiv and is en route to Belarus for the talks.

They’re expected to arrive early morning Thursday local time (which is late Wednesday evening ET). 

“Belarusian special services fully ensure the safety in Belarus, and our [Russian] military has ensured a safety passage for their [Ukrainian delegation] movement through Ukraine,” Medinsky said and continued to thank Belarus for hosting the two delegations.

The delegations from Ukraine and Russia over the situation in Ukraine will be represented by the same members as during the first round, Russian state news agency RIA reported. 

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

Polish and Ukrainian officials say all people are being treated equally at border crossings

From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen and Nada Bashir

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Council President Charles Michel visit Ukrainian-Polish border crossing in Korczowa, Poland, on March 2.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Council President Charles Michel visit Ukrainian-Polish border crossing in Korczowa, Poland, on March 2. (Beata Zawrzel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended his country after reports that border guards and security officials were giving preferential treatment to Ukrainians over people of other nationalities attempting to enter Poland.

“Poland serves all the people, all the people fleeing from war from all over the world and refugees of the every country of origin,” Morawiecki said while speaking at a news conference near Poland’s border with Ukraine.

“We are treating everybody with dignity and are in an equal manner because this is the only way how it should be ... treating all people in a humane way and helping all the war refugees regardless if the are Ukrainian or citizens of other countries,” he said.

He urged people not to fall “subject of any manipulation and any propaganda of Russia.”

Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova also said Wednesday that there is “no discrimination based on race or nationality” at Ukraine’s borders for foreign nationals seeking to flee the country in search of safety.

“We understand the will of foreign citizens to leave the territory of Ukraine for a safer place, and we are providing all possible assistance at the border, as we do for all our citizens,” Dzhaparova said.   

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council via video, Dzhaparova said that Russia’s military aggression “kills not only Ukrainians, but also foreign citizens” in Ukraine

More context: Foreign students told CNN that they were left waiting in freezing temperatures with no food, water or blankets to cross the border.

Andriy Demchenko, a spokesperson for the Border Guard Service of Ukraine, told CNN Monday that allegations of segregation at the borders are untrue and that the guards are working under enormous pressure at the borders but are working within the law.

A spokesman for the Polish Border Guard also told CNN Wednesday that there are fewer people crossing over from the Ukrainian side than in previous days.

Since Feb. 24, more than 453,000 people fleeing Ukraine have crossed the border into Poland, according to Poland’s Border Guard.

CNN's Antonia Mortensen, Stephanie Busari and Pierre Bairin contributed reporting to this post.

Watch CNN's Sara Sidner report on discrimination at the Poland/Ukraine border crossing, and how things have improved:

2:29 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

US ambassador to UN says Russia is moving banned weaponry into Ukraine

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at a UN General Assembly emergency special session on March 2.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at a UN General Assembly emergency special session on March 2. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on other United Nations member states to hold Russia accountable for invading Ukraine in remarks at a UN General Assembly emergency special session on Ukraine, which she noted was the first such session in 40 years.  

Thomas-Greenfield said Russian forces are destroying infrastructure vital to the Ukrainian people, and Russian President Vladimir Putin seems poised to ramp up the invasion.

"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. We have seen the 40-mile-long lethal convoy charging toward Kyiv. President Putin continues to escalate – putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, threatening to invade Finland and Sweden. At every step of the way, Russia has betrayed the United Nations. Russia’s actions go against everything this body stands for," she said.

Some background: A Russian thermobaric multiple rockets launcher was spotted by CNN team south of Belgorod, Russia, near the Ukrainian border early Saturday afternoon. They are sometimes called “vacuum bombs” because they suck in the oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a powerful explosion and a large pressure wave that can have enormous destructive effects. There is no evidence that thermobaric weapons have been used in the conflict in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed for more help to face down the Russian assault as a 40-mile Russian military convoy continues to edge towards Kyiv.

What Biden has said: US President Joe Biden earlier today was asked if he believed Russia is committing war crimes, to which he responded, “We are following it very closely. It’s too early to say that.”

In her remarks, Thomas-Greenfield also praised Russian citizens protesting against the war and urged Russian soldiers to put down their weapons, placing the blame for the war solely at the feet of Putin.

"The truth is that this war was one man’s choice and one man alone: President Putin. It was his choice to force hundreds of thousands of people to stuff their lives into backpacks and flee the country. To send newborn babies into makeshift bomb shelters. To make children with cancer huddle in hospital basements, interrupting their treatments, essentially sentencing them to death. Those were President Putin’s choices. Now it is time to make ours," she said.  

A cutaway camera from the UN showed the Russian ambassador listening through headphones. 

She concluded by encouraging member states to vote to approve a resolution criticizing Russia for the Ukraine invasion.

CNN's Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.

Correction: The US ambassador to the UN said the US has seen video evidence of banned weapons being moved into Ukraine. She did not address if those weapons have been used. 

11:27 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Ukraine needs additional deliveries of weapons "now," foreign minister tells US

From CNN's Anastasia Graham Yooll and Niamh Kennedy in London

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told his American counterpart on Wednesday that Ukraine needs additional deliveries of weapons "now." 

In a tweet, Kuleba said he held a "productive call" with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the need to place further sanctions on Russia "until it stops its war against Ukraine and withdraws its forces." 

"I emphasized: Ukraine needs additional deliveries of weapons, especially for our Air Force, now," Kuleba said.

US Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez told CNN on Tuesday that the US is providing a "pipeline of assistance into Ukraine," referencing a variety of lethal defensive systems that are being sent to the country. 

See Kuleba's tweet:

11:40 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

New US Justice Department unit will target Russian oligarchs, their yachts and other assets

From CNN's Evan Perez

An exterior view of the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
An exterior view of the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Justice Department said on Wednesday it is launching a special unit to help enforce sanctions against Russian government officials and oligarchs, targeting their yachts, jets, real estate and other assets.

The new task force, dubbed KleptoCapture, is part of the effort by the United States, European Union and other allies to punish Russia and Belarus for the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, using export restrictions and other financial sanctions.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the new task force will include prosecutors and federal agents and experts in money laundering, tax enforcement and national security investigations from the FBI, the IRS, the US Marshals Service and the US Postal Inspection Service.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war. Let me be clear: if you violate our laws, we will hold you accountable," Garland said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, highlighted the effort: “To the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime: No more.”

“We are joining with our European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, and their private jets,” he added.

11:37 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Ukrainian military capabilities losses outweigh Russian losses, sources say

From CNN's Jim Sciutto, Barbara Starr and Katie Bo Lillis

People stand next to a damaged military vehicle after a shelling near Kyiv on March 1.
People stand next to a damaged military vehicle after a shelling near Kyiv on March 1. (Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Russia has lost roughly 3% to 5% of its tanks, aircraft, artillery and other military assets inside Ukraine — compared to Ukrainian losses of roughly 10% of its capabilities, according to two US officials familiar with the latest intelligence. 

US and western officials caution that those ratios are difficult to calculate and likely to change — not only because both sides continue to incur losses as the week-old war grinds on, but also because both Russian and Ukrainian forces are being resupplied. 

But the stark imbalance underscores grim assessments from US and western officials that despite a stiffer-than-expected resistance by Ukraine that has kept major cities out of Russian hands, it is still likely to be overwhelmed as Russia launches an intensified and less discriminate phase of its assault. 

And even despite western assistance, US officials say Ukraine is still vastly outgunned by Russia. Moscow has initially leaned heavily on its more modern precision cruise missiles, according to a source familiar with the intelligence, heavily degrading Ukraine’s military infrastructure. Meanwhile, Ukraine has continued to burn through its supply of shoulder-fired Javelin missiles.

“I've spoken to Biden many times, and I've told them many times that Ukraine will resist and fight stronger than anyone else but on our own against Russia we won't manage it,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN’s Matthew Chance in an interview on Tuesday. 

Ukraine “need[s] the classic bits of kit now. They need bullets, they need bandages. They're going to need fuel. They're going to need ammunition, in addition to the humanitarian support to help with medical assistance, sustaining hospitals, both for combat wounded, and for civilians that are being hurt,” said a senior western intelligence official.

“And they're going to need a lot in ammunition and weapons resupply, because the Russian force is both numerically and qualitatively superior,” this person said. 

Almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have died during the first six days of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, Zelensky claimed Wednesday morning. The senior western intelligence official said Wednesday morning that the western figure is similar — roughly 5,800 — but cautioned that “my number is from yesterday.”

US officials believe that Russia is now changing tactics, according to one American official. While Moscow started off with a more modern combined arms approach — one that also appeared to eschew targeting civilian infrastructure — it has now shifted to what this official called a strategy of “slow annihilation.” Officials anticipate continued heavy weapons bombardment and the possibility that “tens of thousands” of troops will march on major Ukrainian cities, this person said.

Another western official also said that there is a sense that the conflict may be shifting to a grinding war of attrition — not the flash campaign that both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US intelligence had suspected would cause the fall of Kyiv in a matter of days. 

10:58 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Biden says "it's clear" Russia is targeting civilians, but it's "too early to say" if it's committing war crimes

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he believes Russia is intentionally targeting civilians in Ukraine but declined to say whether he believed war crimes were being committed.

“It’s clear they are” targeting civilians, Biden said. 

Asked if he believed Russia is committing war crimes, Biden said, “We are following it very closely. It’s too early to say that.”

As the US looks for ways to punish Russia, Biden also reiterated that sanctioning Russian oil exports remained a possibility, though officials have cautioned that they will work to minimize the impact of such a move on US and global oil prices. 

“Nothing is off the table,” Biden said when specifically pressed on banning Russian oil exports. 

Separately, Biden also said it is up to Ukrainian leader Volodomyr Zelensky to decide whether he wants to remain in his country as it comes under siege by Russia. 

"I think it’s his judgment to make and we’re doing everything we can to help him," Biden said as he departed the White House. 

Zelensky has said he is Russia's top target during the invasion, and that his family is the second. The US has said previously it is providing a broad range of support for Zelensky, though hasn't detailed what measures it's taking to protect him 

CNN has reported previously that the US has discussed contingency plans with Zelensky about leaving Ukraine or relocating to Lviv. Zelensky has stated repeatedly he wants to stay in the capital. 

Biden and Zelensky spoke for about 30 minutes on Tuesday.

10:27 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Parliament gives standing ovation to Ukraine's ambassador to the UK

Members of Parliament applaud Ukraine's Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko during a meeting at the House of Commons, in London, on March 2.
Members of Parliament applaud Ukraine's Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko during a meeting at the House of Commons, in London, on March 2. (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Reuters)

Members of UK parliament applauded Ukraine's Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko during a meeting on Ukraine at the House of Commons in London.

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament that Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions qualify as "war crimes."

"What we have seen already from Vladimir Putin's regime in the use of the munitions that they have already been dropping on innocent civilians ... in my view, [it] already fully qualifies as a war crime," he said.