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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11:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

American couple escapes to safety by walking to Ukraine-Poland border with 4-day-old baby

Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann.
Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann. (CNN)

Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann, an American couple, traveled to Kyiv last month for the birth of their daughter through a Ukrainian surrogate. But two days after the birth, Jessie woke to the sound of shelling as Russia's invasion began.

They tried driving to the western city of Lviv to reach a temporary US Embassy there, but a massive gridlock turned what is normally a six-hour drive into a 27-hour crawl.

Jessie Boeckmann with daughter Vivian.
Jessie Boeckmann with daughter Vivian. (Courtesy Jessie Boeckmann)

En route, they learned the embassy was closed — so they changed direction for the Polish border, as combat vehicles rolled past outside their windows.

About 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the border, traffic came to a standstill. On a cold day, after hours sitting in the car with barely any movement, they had to make a choice: wait or walk.

"We decided that it was going to be the warmest part of the day, and the only opportunity to make it to the border before nightfall would be to get out and walk," Jacob told CNN on Wednesday. "Our biggest concern, with our daughter being 4 days old, was hypothermia. It was really cold. But we felt like if we didn't act then, then we wouldn't know how much longer it would be until we would make it across."

Jessie Boeckmann crossed from Ukraine into Poland on foot with her newborn.
Jessie Boeckmann crossed from Ukraine into Poland on foot with her newborn. (Courtesy Jessie Boeckmann)

So they wrapped up baby Vivian tight and started walking. When they finally got to the border, it was chaos, with "thousands and thousands of people, all kind of packed on top of one another trying to exit the country," Jacob said.

Since women and children are being prioritized, Jessie and the baby were able to get to the front of the line and enter Poland, with Jacob crossing separately hours later.

The family is now safely home in California, but they're aware how lucky their escape was.

They've lost touch with their Ukrainian surrogate, who until then had been in continuous contact. And though they walked 8 miles with a newborn, many people across Ukraine are "walking so much further than that in order to get to the border," Jessie said.

10:53 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

New satellite images show destruction wreaked by Russian strikes in areas north of Kyiv

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

A bridge across the Stryzhen River appears to have been destroyed.
A bridge across the Stryzhen River appears to have been destroyed. (Maxar Technologies)

New satellite images of areas in Ukraine hit by Russian military strikes show the extent of the damage in the first five days of the invasion.

The images were captured on February 28 by Maxar Technologies. Since then, dense cloud cover has prevented most satellites from observing anything on the ground across the country. 

Homes on fire in the village of Rivnopillya.
Homes on fire in the village of Rivnopillya. (Maxar Technologies)

The images show homes on fire in the village of Rivnopillya in the Chernhiv region, roughly 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) north of the capital, Kyiv. Dozens of impact craters can be seen dotting the fields surrounding the village.

In Chernihiv, a bridge across the Stryzhen River appears to have been destroyed, while residential buildings and a factory nearby seem to have sustained damage. A Russian military convoy was also seen on a nearby roadway.

Burned remains of Russian military vehicles in a residential area in Bucha.
Burned remains of Russian military vehicles in a residential area in Bucha. (Maxar Technologies)

The satellite images also show the burned remains of Russian military vehicles in a residential area in Bucha, a town outside of Kyiv. On Sunday, Ukrainian officials claimed they had thwarted the advance of a Russian column in Bucha. 

A large impact crater is seen in Sukachi.
A large impact crater is seen in Sukachi. (Maxar Technologies)

In Sukachi, a small town 70 kilometers (about 43.5 miles) northwest of Kyiv, a large impact crater is seen in the middle of a roadway, with houses nearby appearing significantly damaged.

A line of people is seen outside a grocery store in Kyiv.
A line of people is seen outside a grocery store in Kyiv. (Maxar Technologies)

The images also captured scenes of daily life amid the war in both Chernihiv and Kyiv, with dozens of people lining up outside supermarkets.

10:16 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Mother sheltering in Kyiv: Despite "constant fear," Ukrainians are "united like never before"

Olena Gnes is sheltering with her children in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.
Olena Gnes is sheltering with her children in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. (CNN)

Olena Gnes has been hiding in a basement in Kyiv with her three children, the youngest only a few months old, since the Russian invasion began, while her husband fights to defend Ukraine.

On Wednesday, she took advantage of the relative quiet to bring her children home for a quick shower and to stock up on supplies before returning to the shelter. "I thought maybe the children will play a little bit over there ... but they were afraid to stay at home. They were asking all the time, are bombs flying?" she told CNN late Wednesday.

This is the new reality for Gnes, her family and millions of Ukrainians — an unrelenting and exhausting fear as they watch the war unfold, and hear news from relatives in other cities of the destruction there.

"There is the feeling, the constant fear, like it is somewhere in my stomach ... in my heart," she said. "People are tired to be afraid, every day, every night."

She added that she had hoped Western countries — specifically the United States and NATO members — would come to their defense. "They are so powerful and so cool," she said. "But it looks like this is our problem ... Maybe I watch too much Hollywood movies."

"We've been in the Soviet Union, there was nothing good for us Ukrainians in the Soviet Union — and we will not want to come back," she said.

But, she added, as Ukraine's forces push back hard against Russian troops, people's spirits have risen with the resistance.

"Ukrainians are now united like never before," she said. "We have companies that give for free medications, even give salaries in advance ... Even in 2014 (during the annexation of Crimea) there were people who sympathized with Putin. But now, nobody would meet him with bread and breakfast ... People are very united, and they say they come to save Ukrainians."
9:45 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Canada's Prime Minister offers further support for Ukraine in call with President Zelensky

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Atlanta

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, during which he expressed solidarity and offered further support for the Ukrainian people, according to a statement from Trudeau's office.

In a tweet, Zelensky thanked Trudeau for his leadership in imposing sanctions on Russia, adding he “stressed the need to expand restrictive measures.”

Canada began providing lethal military aid to Ukraine last month, reversing its prior policy. 

Trudeau said he commended Zelensky’s bravery and frontline leadership, calling it inspirational for Canadians and people around the world.

Russia would be held "accountable for its unjustifiable and illegal invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign territory," Trudeau said.

According to the statement, the two leaders discussed ways in which Canada could continue to support Ukraine in the immediate future.

9:28 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

1 million refugees have fled Ukraine in a week, UN says

From CNN’s Sahar Akbarzai and Jennifer Landwehr 

People fleeing war-torn Ukraine get food, clothing and toiletries at Hauptbahnhof main railway station in Berlin, Germany, on March 2.
People fleeing war-torn Ukraine get food, clothing and toiletries at Hauptbahnhof main railway station in Berlin, Germany, on March 2. (Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images)

One million refugees have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a tweet Wednesday evening.

“In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries,” Grandi said. 

“For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it’s time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided,” he added.

Want to help? You can learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine here. 

9:16 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

South Korea moves embassy out of Kyiv to undisclosed "safe area"

From CNN’s Gawon Bae in Seoul, South Korea

South Korea is relocating its embassy in Ukraine from Kyiv to a "safe area," the country's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday as Russian troops step up their assault on the Ukrainian capital.

The ministry did not disclose the embassy’s destination, citing safety reasons. The embassy will resume operations once it settles down in the new location, the ministry said.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba by phone on Wednesday, according to the ministry. 

Aid to Ukraine: Following Ukraine’s request, South Korea will deliver emergency medical supplies including PPE, first aid kits, gloves, masks, and blankets. This is in addition to the $10 million of humanitarian support already pledged, the ministry said.

The ministers agreed to ensure the safety of nationals of both countries in Ukraine and South Korea. Seoul has granted stay extensions for Ukrainians in the East Asian country.

10:29 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces in southern city of Mykolaiv

From CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh

Ukrainian forces captured several Russian troops on Wednesday in the southern city of Mykolaiv, where fierce fighting broke out in recent days, according to the region's governor and a member of Ukraine's Parliament pictured with the captured soldiers.

Roman Kostenko, a lawmaker and secretary of the Parliament’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, told CNN that a reconnaissance unit of the Russian GRU’s 10th brigade had been intercepted on the outskirts of Mykolaiv.

“We encircled them and they gave themselves up. They are with the SBU," he said, referring to the Ukrainian security services. He said one of the five Russian soldiers had died, one was taken straight to hospital and three were alive.

CNN cannot independently verify the circumstances of the capture or the status of the prisoners. CNN has observed clashes in the past days as Russian troops tried to enter the city.

“They are attacking Mykolaiv occasionally, but the fight is on the outskirts and they try to go around us to close the loop on us," Kostenko said.

Mykolaiv is close to the Black Sea, located about an hour away from Kherson, a strategically important city that has seen heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops this week.

Russian soldier calls home: One of the captured Russian soldiers was filmed while being allowed to call his mother on the telephone, according to a video posted on Telegram by the region's governor, Vitaliy Kim.

"Don’t worry, I am OK," the soldier told his mother.

A Ukrainian soldier took over the call and said, "You know what your son does? He fights and kills our civilians."

The Russian soldier added, "Mom, I am a prisoner. And, basically, Mom, go to the military registration and enlistment office and start getting together the Council of Soldiers' Mothers so that they would get our people out of here, those who are fighting in Ukraine."

The Ukrainian soldier added, "We will not touch him because I am half Russian and Ukrainian." 

8:51 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Canada's Embassy in China put up a banner supporting Ukraine. It was vandalized within a day

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

Earlier this week, the Canadian Embassy in Beijing put up at least two banners outside its building in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, bearing the words "We support Ukraine."

The embassy tweeted a photo of the banners on Tuesday, with the caption, "Stand with Ukraine."

By Wednesday night, one of the banners had been vandalized by graffiti using expletive language against NATO, as seen by a CNN producer in Beijing. 

It's unknown if any arrests have been made in connection with the incident. 

Some context: China has found itself in a complex position regarding Ukraine, juggling its close strategic partnership with Moscow with growing international outrage over President Vladimir Putin's invasion and Beijing's own seemingly contradictory policy of supporting state sovereignty.

Beijing has avoided condemning Russia's attack on Ukraine, with Chinese officials instead blaming the invasion on "NATO expansion eastward all the way to Russia's doorstep."

Read more about the China-Russia relationship:

8:42 p.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Canada sanctions 10 people in Russia's energy sector

From CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph

Canada announced new sanctions Wednesday against 10 individuals from two Russian energy companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The measures aim to put more pressure on Russia’s leadership to stop the war, according to a news release from Canada’s Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Canada’s support for Ukraine and its people is unwavering,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly said in the release. “We will continue to meet every act of aggression by Russia’s leadership with measures designed to weaken its ability to wage war. As the horrific events in Ukraine continue to unfold before our eyes, it is clear more must be done. Those who aid and abet Russian aggression will be held accountable. Canada stands with Ukraine.”