March 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark, Angela Dewan, Adrienne Vogt, Joe Ruiz and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 6, 2022
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3:50 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Town near Kyiv "almost completely destroyed," according to Ukrainian official

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv

A view of heavy damage in the residential area of Borodyanka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 3.
A view of heavy damage in the residential area of Borodyanka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 3. (StahivUA/Twitter/AP)

Oleksiy Kuleba, head of Kyiv's Regional State Administration, said a town northwest of Kyiv is "almost completely destroyed."

"There's no water and electricity there ... There is no Borodyanka. It is almost completely destroyed. The city center is just awful. Borodyanka is under the influence of Russian troops; they control this settlement," Kuleba said.

Kuleba claimed earlier today on his Telegram account that Russian troops appeared to take over a psychiatric hospital there with hundreds of patients, but they have now left. Russian forces are still in the immediate area, he said.

"These people are mostly sick, they are mostly people with special needs. But these are our people and we cannot and will never leave them," Kuleba said earlier.

“Today we do not understand how to evacuate these people, how to help them,” he said, adding that they were running out of medicine and water.

Following a missile attack on a large apartment block in Borodyanka on March 2, the Ukrainian State Emergency Service told CNN yesterday that people may still be trapped in the wreckage of the building. Borodyanka has seen persistent shelling over the past few days, as have small towns around it. 

3:34 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Italian police seize villas, houses and yachts worth over $150 million from Russian oligarchs

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite in London

The Italian financial police have seized villas, houses and yachts worth 143 million euros (more than $150 million USD) from five Russian oligarchs, the police said Saturday in a statement.

The Special Unit of the Financial Police, in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Police Unit of Imperia and the Aeronaval Operational Department of Genoa, executed asset-freezing orders on Friday against multiple Russian oligarchs, according to the statement.

Freezing orders were executed against the following people:

  • Alexey Alexandrovits Mordaschov: yacht Lady M, located in the port of Imperia, worth approximately 65 million euros (about $71 million)
  • Gennady Nikolayevich Timchenko: yacht Lena, located in the port of San Remo, worth approximately 50 million euros (about $55 million)
  • Alisher Usmanov: real estate compendium located in Golfo del Pevero in Arzachena, worth approximately 17 million euros (about $18 million)
  • Vladimir Roudolfovitch Soloviev: properties located in the province of Como worth approximately 8 million euros (about $8.7 million)
  • Oleg Savchenko: seventeenth-century villa named "Villa Lazzareschi" located in the province of Lucca, worth about 3 million euros (about $3.3 million)

These restrictive measures come after the EU Council imposed sanctions on several persons and entities over Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.

Read more about how Russian elites are scrambling to get ahead of sanctions:

2:53 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

UK calls Russia's proposed pause in fire in Mariupol a likely "attempt to deflect international condemnation"

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

The UK has called Russia's proposed pause in fire in Mariupol a likely "attempt to deflect international condemnation" while they resettled forces for “renewed offensive activity,” the UK Ministry of Defence said Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian defense ministry declared a pause in fire in the southeastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha to facilitate the opening of evacuation corridors "for the exit of civilians."  

Later Saturday, though, the ministry said that "not a single civilian was able to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha along the announced security corridors," maintaining that the cities' civilian populations were being "held by nationalist formations as human shields” in a statement carried by Russian news agency TASS.

"By accusing Ukraine of breaking the agreement, Russia is likely seeking to shift responsibility for current and future civilian casualties in the city," the UK ministry said in its statement posted to Twitter.

2:26 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Ukraine demands new round of sanctions against Russia

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during a televised address on Saturday that his country wanted stronger sanctions against Russia.

"They include, among others, banning the Russians bank Sberbank from SWIFT, closing European ports for Russian ships, closing access of Russia to cryptocurrency and stopping purchases of Russian oil," Kuleba said. 

Russian oil "smells with Ukrainian blood today," the foreign minister said, adding that "buying it is financing Russian war crimes."

He reiterated Ukraine's call on international allies to protect Ukrainian airspace from the "indiscriminate and barbaric bombardment by the Russians" and to provide the country with "combat aircraft and serious air defense, missiles and weapons."

"My message to the world is clear. When all European and other leaders at all ceremonies throughout the year, repeat those separate words, 'never again,' they now need to prove with actions that they stand by those words," Kuleba remarked, harking back to the Nazi bombings of European capitals during World War II. 

"Prove now that you have learned to the lessons of the past, that a new brutal force in Europe can be stopped before it drags the whole continent into devastating conflict," the foreign minister said, concluding his speech.

During the message, Kuleba commended the "admirable" courage of "peaceful protestors" in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson who "demonstrated in front of armed Russian invaders," telling them that "they are Ukrainians, and their city belongs to Ukraine."

"The message of the heroic Ukrainian people is simple," he said. "Russians, go home. You are on foreign land where no one needs you. And no one welcomes you with flowers. Putin, leave Ukraine alone. You will not win this war," Kuleba emphasized during the brief message. 

2:06 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Zelensky calls for establishment of no-fly zone and harsher Russian sanctions in call with US lawmakers

From CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, Jeff Zeleny, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky called on the United States for assistance in establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine during a Zoom call with US lawmakers, according to a person familiar with the session.

Zelensky asked US senators for greater sanctions on Russia, including on energy, and for more military assistance directed to Ukrainian forces. He thanked the US for the support it has delivered so far, but his overall message was that his country needs more help as it strains against Russia's invasion.

Another senator on the call said that Zelensky advocated for banning Russian oil imports, suspending all commercial transactions — like Visa and Mastercard — and implored the lawmakers to help Ukraine get more planes that Ukrainian pilots are trained in and can fly. He said they would do the fighting and flying, but he needs the aircraft.

The call, which started at about 9:30 a.m., ET, lasted an hour.

At the end of the call, dozens of lawmakers unmuted themselves to thank Zelensky and voice their support, with some saying “Slava Ukraini,” according to someone who was on the call who said the Ukrainian president was clearly moved by the gesture.

His message was delivered amid ongoing conversations between the US and European allies about the possibility of providing Ukraine with fighter jet aircrafts from Eastern European countries, five sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.

Officials say there is a divide among countries about whether or not individual nations should provide Ukraine aircraft, given the associated risks. The US and NATO oppose creating a no-fly zone in Ukraine — such a move, they have warned, could lead to "full-fledged war in Europe." Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that countries that impose such a no-fly zone would be considered to be participating in the conflict.

Read more about the call here:

1:54 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

US aircraft carrier is in northern Aegean Sea to ensure flight operations if tensions escalate in region

From CNN's Barbara Starr

The American aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman has been in the northern Aegean Sea this week in part to ensure it can conduct flight operations from there if tensions escalate in the region due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a US official familiar with the carrier’s current task.  

The official did not disclose the exact location of the ship, but noted it is not routine to operate in the Aegean’s northernmost waters. The area is relatively confined for carrier operations due to the number of small islands and heavy commercial maritime traffic.

“In the event of further escalation,” the Navy could be told to project more fighter jet air patrols into the Black Sea, the official said. “If Russia sought to run the Turkish strait and Turkey asked for NATO support,” then the carrier aircraft could be used for combat air patrols over the Black Sea and Strait of Dardanelles, according to the official. 

Turkey administers passage permission to transit into the Black Sea for warships, and there is concern about Russia’s future plans there. US fighter aircraft often conduct air patrols for deterrence, and it would not necessarily signal the US is entering conflict. 

The Truman’s fighter jets are currently flying over Romania as part of the NATO mission to demonstrate presence and resolve against Russian aggression.

The carrier is accompanied by the cruiser USS San Jacinto in the North Aegean. Five other US warships and a Norwegian surface combatant are further south in the Aegean.

This development comes as the Pentagon is also acknowledging it may have to reconsider and increase the long-term US military presence in Europe in the wake of Russia’s aggression.


1:35 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Jordan to allow Ukrainians to enter country on "humanitarian grounds"

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and Kareem Khadder

Jordan announced that it will allow family members and relatives of Ukrainians residing in the country to enter Jordan without visas on "humanitarian grounds," adding they will be issued temporary residency, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement on Saturday. 

The ministry said the move would be "part of measures that will be implemented through the ministry in coordination with the competent authorities.” 

It added that "it is continuing to cooperate with Jordanian embassies in Ankara and Moscow to conduct 'intensive' diplomatic contacts with all concerned parties and international organizations to push for providing safe corridors for Jordanians in the cities of Sumy and Kharkov," adding that there are no Jordanians registered in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

Jordan has said that it has so far evacuated 718 Jordanians at the border crossings between Ukraine and its neighboring countries, according to Jordan state-run News Agency Petra.

1:41 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Ukraine's foreign minister says he had "productive discussion" with US secretary of state along Polish border

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, right, speaks alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Saturday, March 5.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, right, speaks alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Saturday, March 5. (Pool)

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had a "productive discussion" with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on future steps to support Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion. 

In a televised message on Saturday, Kuleba said he had just returned from the Ukrainian-Polish border, where he held talks with Blinken along the neutral zone before crossing into Ukraine in what Kuleba called a "symbol of support."

"We had a productive discussion about the efficiency of the sanctions already imposed on Russia and the measures taken, but also more importantly about our future steps in supplying Ukraine with necessary weapons and in imposing additional sanctions on Russia," Kuleba announced in English. 

He added that he was "confident" that Ukraine and the US will be implementing the outcome of the talks "in the coming days," adding that the US will join up its efforts with its European allies. 


1:40 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Israel's prime minister met with Putin in Moscow, official says

From CNN's Hadas Gold

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on February 27.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on February 27. (Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met for about three hours Saturday with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, according to an Israeli official.

The unannounced meeting took place with the blessing of the US administration, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The Israeli official said that Bennett’s diplomatic push was also coordinated with Germany and France and added that the Israeli leader “is in ongoing dialogue with Ukraine.”

Bennett also spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday following his meeting with Putin.

Ukraine's ambassador to Israel told CNN that Ukrainian leadership was informed in advance of Bennett's meeting with Putin and had been supportive of it.

Following the conclusion of the Moscow meeting, Bennett is now en route to Berlin for a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Israeli official said.

Three days ago, Bennett held separate phone conversations with both Putin and Zelensky.

Zelensky has appealed to Israel to mediate efforts to bring about a ceasefire.

While Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion in comments by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bennett himself has avoided direct criticism of Russia or Putin.

Israel has sought to maintain good relations with Russia in recent years so it can continue air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria – which Israel regards as critical to prevent the transfer of precision-guided missile technology to Hezbollah.