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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12:28 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

South Korea to ban 7 Russian banks as part of international sanctions

From CNN’s Gawon Bae in Seoul, South Korea

South Korea will ban financial transactions with seven major Russian banks and their affiliates as part of its economic sanctions on Russia.

The country’s Finance Ministry on Tuesday released a detailed plan on the sanctions after consulting with the US Department of the Treasury.

The seven Russian banks are Sberbank, VEB, PSB, VTB, Otkritie, Sovcom and Novikom.

The ban will follow the US’ grace period for sanctions, and exceptional transactions will be allowed for agriculture, Covid-19 medication and energy support.

The ministry “strongly recommended” local public and financial institutions stop their investments in Russian government bonds issued after Wednesday.

South Korea will also “immediately” block Russian banks from the SWIFT global payments system as soon as the European Union specifies its detailed plan, the ministry added.

12:36 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Biden on new measures: Putin has "no idea what's coming"

( Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)
( Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine — and warned of further measures to punish Russia.

"Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime, no more," Biden said during his State of the Union address as he announced a new task force under the US Justice Department to investigate Russian oligarchs.

"We are joining with our European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, and their private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains," he said.

The US is also closing its airspace to Russian aircraft, joining a number of countries that took similar measures this past week, "further isolating Russia," Biden said.

He then added, referring to Putin: "He has no idea what’s coming."

"Putin has unleashed violence and chaos. But while he may make gains on the battlefield — he will pay a continuing high price over the long run," Biden said.

11:20 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden tells Americans "now is the hour" for the US to save democracy

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

US President Joe Biden sounded an optimistic note in wrapping his first State of the Union address, citing the response of the American people and lawmakers in the House chamber to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a reason to be confident in the face of a critical moment.

In a speech that focused on the war in Ukraine before pivoting to domestic challenges, Biden said the American people are ready for the task ahead of them in keeping the world united in the face of autocracy.

"Now is the hour, our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself. It is in this moment that our character is formed. Our purpose is found. Our future is forged," Biden said in closing.
"Well, I know this nation. We will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy. As hard as these times have been, I am more optimistic about America today than I have been my whole life."

Standing ovation: Speaking to political leaders in Washington, Biden started his State of the Union address by sending a resounding message to the world: The West is united in its response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and condemns the Russian leader for his aggression. Near the beginning of the speech, Biden encouraged all in the chamber to show that support with a resounding standing ovation and said the US and its allies have "an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny."

Biden noted that Putin's aggression had only made the world's democracies strengthen their resolve to counter rising autocracies.

"Six days ago, Russia's Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated," Biden said. "He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people."
He added, "Let each of us here tonight in this chamber send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world. Please rise if you are able and show that, yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people."

Read more here.

10:33 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Military strike in town west of Kyiv tears through multiple apartment blocks

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Josh Pennington and Eoin McSweeney

A Russian military strike Tuesday tore through two apartment blocks in Borodjanka, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the center of Kyiv.
A Russian military strike Tuesday tore through two apartment blocks in Borodjanka, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the center of Kyiv. (From Facebook)

A Russian military strike in the small Ukrainian town of Borodjanka on Tuesday tore through two apartment blocks, videos on social media show.  

Borodjanka, located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the center of Kyiv, is the latest civilian area facing a hail of Russian munitions as President Vladimir Putin's forces advance on the capital.

CNN is unable to verify whether there were any injuries or fatalities in the military strike in Borodjanka. CNN has reached out to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry for comment but has not yet received a response.

The videos from Borodjanka have been geolocated, and their authenticity verified by CNN. 

"Look what's happening," a man yells in a video taken moments after the military strike, with smoke still rising nearby and the bombed-out apartment complexes in view. "They are bombing everything."

Videos showed a restaurant on the first floor of the complex reduced to rubble. A number of people, bundled in heavy coats, are shown running away. Additional videos show the extent of the destruction, with the ground behind the complex littered with burning cars.

Parts of the apartment buildings have collapsed, with significant portions missing from the facades. A playground nearby is on fire, with the swinging benches and slides strewn with rubble and splintered trees.

"A plane flew by twice dropping three or four bombs here," another man says in the one of the videos. "Cries can be heard (from inside the rubble). We are trying to find out if anyone's still alive (in there), based on their sounds. Good Lord!"

Back in front, near the destroyed walls of the restaurant, another video shows the roadway littered with debris and the twisted metal frame of a vehicle.   

"The Russian world has come to us," a man says in the video. "Just take a look at what they've done."
8:52 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Maternity clinic near Kyiv hit by a missile, clinic chief says

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam 

A missile hit a private maternity clinic near Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, according to the Adonis maternity clinic chief Vitaliy Gyrin's Facebook post

"A missile hit the maternity clinic. Much damage was done but the building is standing. Everyone has been evacuated," Gyrin wrote on his Facebook page.

Gyrin also specifically asked people not to come to the clinic, "Most important is do not come now to get anyone from here. Everyone is in a secure place and in safety. This is for sure."

Gyrin also posted photos on his Facebook page that show the damaged building of the Adonis clinic.

10:38 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

Airstrikes that targeted Kyiv on Tuesday hit the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in the city, 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.”

8:18 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 

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." 

8:10 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 Vladimir Putin’s recent announcement 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.

6:56 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Britain imposes new sanctions on Moscow and bans Russian ships from UK ports

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London 

The United Kingdom on Tuesday introduced new sanctions against Russia, including a ban on ships with Russian connections from accessing British ports, the government said in a statement

"The ban on Russian ships from UK ports, and new economic sanctions against key Russian financial institutions including its central bank, in close coordination with our allies, will degrade Russia’s economy and help make sure Putin loses," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

Additional economic measures, "including against the Russian Central Bank and the state’s sovereign wealth fund, also mean the majority of Russia’s financial system” is now covered by UK sanctions, the statement read. 

Starting on Tuesday, "I’m instructing all UK ports to turn away any vessel that is flagged, registered, owned, or operated by Russia," British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

"By banning Russian ships from our ports, we are further isolating Russia and crushing its economic capabilities, starving Putin’s war machine."