March 3, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Jack Guy, Laura Smith-Spark, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 4, 2022
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10:48 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Ukrainian delegation en route to second round of talks with Russia

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio and Katharina Krebs

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, Russia, on February 23.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, Russia, on February 23. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Delegations from Russia and Ukraine are set to meet for a second round of talks in Belarus today, after a Ukrainian presidential adviser confirmed that their representatives were on the way.

Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that the Ukrainian delegation was traveling to the meeting point after Russian officials said they would take place on Thursday. 

“En route to talks with Russian Federation. Already in helicopters. We will start in couple of hours," tweeted Podolyak alongside a photo of himself with David David Arakhamia, a senior official of the governing party. Arakhamia said in a Facebook post that talks are expected to begin around 9 a.m. ET.

“The talks will take place,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier in a video conference.

Lavrov claimed — without evidence — that the Ukrainian side had deliberately delayed their arrival, and suggested that the Ukraine is a puppet state of the United States.

Also on Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said a Russian delegation was in Belarus waiting for their Ukrainian counterparts.

"Our delegation was in place last night. It was expecting Ukrainian negotiators last night, all night, then in the morning. They are still waiting," he said. "

"But as you know, the talks have not started. Ukrainian negotiators are clearly in no hurry. Let's hope they arrive today," added Peskov.

Delegations from both countries were due to meet Wednesday for a second round of talks.

The first round of talks on Monday lasted for five hours and ended without a breakthrough.

7:32 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Foreign ministers of 10 Southeast Asian countries call for a ceasefire in Ukraine 

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh in Hong Kong 

Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are calling for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, according to a statement tweeted by the Office of the Cambodian Prime Minister. 

"The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN are deeply troubled by the intensifying gravity of the situation and ensuing worsening humanitarian conditions resulting from the ongoing military hostilities in Ukraine," the statement said. 

"We therefore, call for an immediate ceasefire or armistice and continuation of political dialogues that would lead to sustainable peace in Ukraine," it said, adding that a ceasefire would create an "enabling environment for negotiations" and "avoid expanding suffering of innocent people."

"There is still room for a peaceful dialogue to prevent the situation from getting out of control and halt the growing number of civilian and military losses and casualties," it added. 

The statement said ASEAN "stands ready to facilitate, in any way possible, peaceful dialogue among parties concerned."

ASEAN is comprised of 10 Southeast Asian states, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

7:26 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

IKEA temporarily suspends operations in Russia and Belarus, affecting 15,000 employees

From CNN's Chris Liakos

IKEA is temporarily pausing operations in Russia and Belarus, the company said in a press release Thursday.

“The war has a huge human impact already. It is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions. For all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause IKEA operations in Russia,” it said.

IKEA said it has decided to pause all exports and imports in and out of Russia and Belarus and to stop all IKEA retail and industry operations in Russia. IKEA has 17 stores in the country.

“These decisions have a direct impact on 15 000 IKEA co-workers. The ambitions of the company groups are long term and we have secured employment and income stability for the immediate future and provide support to them and their families in the region,” according to the statement.

IKEA also announced “an immediate donation of €20 million for humanitarian assistance to those who have been forcibly displaced as a result of the conflict in Ukraine,” in response to an emergency appeal from the UN refugee agency.

7:22 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

South Korea's President Moon hails "courage and sacrifice" of Ukrainians in call with Zelensky

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in expressed his condolences for the lives lost and "respect" for the "courage and sacrifice" of the Ukrainian people during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday.

Moon delivered his “deepest condolences for the lost lives and to the bereaved families," Moon’s spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee said in a statement after the call, which lasted around 30 minutes.

Park said Moon "expressed respect" to the Ukrainian people and President Zelensky for their "courage and sacrifice."

During the call, Zelensky requested South Korea to provide "available support" for the country to defend itself against Russia's invasion, according to the presidential Blue House.

Moon said that South Korea would provide $10 million in humanitarian aid.

He said he hopes "Ukraine will return to peace and stability as soon as possible," adding that "South Korea will be with Ukrainians.”

11:45 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

On the ground: Kherson resident tells CNN that people are struggling to get food and medicine 

From CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh in the Odessa region and Tim Lister in Kyiv 

A resident from the Ukrainian city of Kherson told Thursday that there had been chaos and panic in the city as residents tried to get basic necessities amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. 

According to the local resident, the town is suffering a severe lack of food and medicine — particularly insulin — with pharmacies being looted. 

The local resident also claimed that there had been a significant amount of looting by Russian troops, and said that Russian soldiers had been seen arresting men. 

Kherson’s Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev said Wednesday in a statement shared on his Facebook page that the Ukrainian military is no longer in the city and that its inhabitants must now carry out the instructions of “armed people who came to the city’s administration” – indicating that the city has now fallen under Russian control.  

British military intelligence released early Thursday noted that “some Russian forces have entered the city of Kherson,” but cautioned that the military situation on the ground “remains unclear.” 

In a statement on Thursday, Hennadii Lahuta, the head of the Kherson Regional State Administration, said Russian forces have “completely occupied” the regional state administration building. 

“We have not given up our responsibilities. The regional operational headquarters, which I lead, continues its work and addresses issues to help residents of the region. We are waiting for humanitarian aid,” Lahuta added.  

Speaking to CNN, the Kherson resident said some locals had approached Russian soldiers in the city, who told them that they were from the Russian city of Voronezh and doubted they would leave the city alive. 

11:45 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Japan sanctions Russian oligarchs and Belarussian officials over invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo 

Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, speaks during a press conference on March 3, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, speaks during a press conference on March 3, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Getty Images)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the country will sanction Russian oligarchs and Belarusian officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko, over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

In a press conference Thursday, Kishida said Japan would freeze oligarchs' assets, following Sunday's decision to suspend the financial assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other key government officials. 

Japan will also ban financial transactions with seven major Russian banks, in addition to restricting transactions with the Russian Central Bank and tightening controls on exports of internationally controlled items and semiconductors.  

"We, along with Western countries, have taken the necessary domestic measures today to isolate Russia from the international financial system and the global economy," Kishida told reporters Thursday. 

Japan will also impose sanctions on Belarus, including President Lukashenko and high-ranking officials, for the country's support of Russia's military aggression, Kishida announced, condemning Belarus for allowing Russian troops to enter Ukraine through its territory.

The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have already levied sanctions against Belarusian individuals and entities for the country's involvement in Russia's aggression.

7:12 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Mayor of Mariupol speaks of "humanitarian catastrophe" amid intense bombardment

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

The mayor of the besieged city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, Vadym Boichenko, says the Russian military are creating a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the city.

In a post on his Telegram account Thursday, the mayor said:

"They are blocking the supply and repair of electricity, water and heat. They have also damaged the railways. They have destroyed bridges and smashed trains so that we can't evacuate women, children and the elderly out of Mariupol."

Russia is stopping food supplies, "blocking us like in former Leningrad [in the Second World War], deliberately destroying the city's critical life-support infrastructure for seven days," said the mayor, who added that the city had no light, water or heat. 

"We are working with international institutions to create a ‘green corridor’ for the humanitarian mission. We are working to ensure ceasefire to restore electricity," said Boichenko.

“We are being destroyed as a nation. This is the genocide of the Ukrainian people. These hypocrites came to ‘save’ Russian-speaking citizens of Mariupol and the region," continued the mayor. "But they arranged the extermination of Ukrainians -- Mariupol residents of Russian, Ukrainian, Greek and other origins."

7:09 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

President Zelensky says first wave of foreign fighters has arrived to assist Ukraine

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

The first foreign fighters have arrived in Ukraine to help defend the country against the Russian invasion, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Ukraine is already greeting foreign volunteers. (The) first 16,000 are already on their way to protect freedom and life for us, and for all,” he said in a video address posted on Facebook Thursday.

The Ukrainian government has called for people around the world to join the fight against Russia.

But governments such as the US and UK have instructed citizens otherwise, while sending help in the form of weapons, aid and sanctions. Zelensky did not specify where the fighters have come from. 

He also praised allies for sending weaponry to Ukraine, saying it receives new “ammunition daily from our partners, from true friends. Every day we have more and more powerful weapons.”

Zelensky announced a plan to rebuild the country after the war, saying a program has been set up to assist Ukrainians who have lost jobs and promised that all pensions will be paid.

“Ukrainians in all regions burnt by war are receiving everything necessary. Coordinating headquarters are working in full, real humanitarian cargos are on their way," he said.

11:46 a.m. ET, March 3, 2022

Western allies must ensure no Russian bank can access SWIFT systems, UK urges

 From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston in London

Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss speaks during a joint news conference with her counterparts from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 3.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss speaks during a joint news conference with her counterparts from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 3. (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Western allies must maintain their attempts to curb Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ensure that no Russian bank has access to the SWIFT bank messaging system, said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

“It’s vital that we keep our foot on the gas. [The United Kingdom] has worked with the US, EU and G7 to cut off funding for Putin’s war machine, kicking Russian banks out of the financial system, we’ve shut our airspace to Russian planes and we’re fast-forwarding sanctions against Russian oligarchs. But we need to go further," said Truss on Thursday.

"We need to make sure no Russian bank has access to SWIFT and we need to go further on reducing dependency on hydrocarbons from Russia including oil, gas and coal,” Truss said, speaking alongside her Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian Vilnius, Lithuania.

On Wednesday seven Russian banks were removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a key messaging service that connects financial institutions around the world.

Truss said she will raise the extending the block to further Russian banks at the G7 meeting on Friday, as well as at the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

"We need to degrade the Russian economy, to stop the ability to fund Putin’s war machine,” Truss added.

However while Truss talks tough, critics have previously said that the British government's hands-off approach to Russian money, coupled with the ability of oligarchs to use the legal system to shield themselves from scrutiny, has allowed Russian expatriates to wield huge influence in the UK.

"The links of the Russian elite to the UK — especially where this involves business and investment — provide access to UK companies and political figures, and thereby a means for broad Russian influence in the UK," the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament said in its 2020 report.

"To a certain extent, this cannot be untangled and the priority now must be to mitigate the risk and ensure that, where hostile activity is uncovered, the tools exist to tackle it at source," it continued.