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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10:14 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Kherson has no more armed resistance against Russia forces, mayor tells CNN

From CNN's Jennifer Deaton

Kherson’s Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev told CNN "we don’t have more weapons to resist" Russian forces that surrounded the city.

“The people of Kherson are unarmed. We don’t have more weapons to resist, to put up an armed resistance,” he said to CNN’s John Berman.

“We don’t have the army in the city. The army has been defeated. The Ukrainian army had to retreat, so there are no arms. They’ve retreated towards Nikolaev,” he continued.

Kolykhaiev said the Russian troops will remain in control of Kherson unless and “until the Ukrainian army can advance on Kherson,” adding of Russian forces, that “they’re quite settled here.”

"Russian troops are everywhere," he added.

Kolykhaiev told Berman that life goes on, but all city services are down.

“The normal services have stopped because the normal services have no way of operating," he said.  

He also made an appeal for humanitarian assistance, saying that “production, critical infrastructure has been suspended. The city is without power and without water.”

Kolykhaiev said there was no way of getting aid into the city because the only way to get aid in is via Crimea from the Russian side.

“So Russians want to send their humanitarian aid, but the people of Kherson are refusing it. Because they are patriots and they don’t want aid from Russians. They want aid from Ukrainians. So we are not receiving humanitarian aid at the moment,” he said.   

“We have a lot of people here in need," he said. "We have cancer patients, children who need medication. This medication is not currently getting through to them.”

Kherson is a strategically important city on an inlet from the Black Sea with a population of nearly 300,000. 

10:09 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Ukrainian foreign minister praises protests against Russia in some cities

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has tweeted video from two cities in Ukraine – Berdyansk and Kherson – showing protests against Russian occupation.

Kuleba said: “Courageous Kherson inspires Ukraine and the world! Thousands of peaceful Ukrainians protests Russian occupation in front of armed Russian soldiers. What a spirit.”

“Also in Berdyansk peaceful Ukrainians demonstrate that their city does not belong to Russian invaders. I admire the fearless spirit of my compatriots and call on everyone around the globe to support them!”

It is not clear when the videos were recorded.

CNN has confirmed there have been protests against Russian occupation in both cities Saturday, as well as at least one in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.  

10:08 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Putin says countries imposing no-fly zone would be considered "participants in a military conflict"

From CNN's Mostafa Salem

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he would consider countries imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participating in the conflict. 

“We will immediately consider them as participants in a military conflict, and it doesn't matter members of which organizations they are,” Putin said in a meeting with flight crewmembers of Russian national airlines. 

“It is impossible to do it, on the very territory of Ukraine, it's possible only from the territory of some neighboring states. But any movement in this direction will be considered by us as participation in an armed conflict,” Putin added.

More background: President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly pleaded with NATO and Western officials to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. 

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that a no-fly zone is not an option being considered by the alliance.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that the establishment of a no-fly zone in Ukraine by the United States and its NATO allies could lead to a “full-fledged war in Europe,” but added that Washington would continue to work with its allies to provide Ukrainians with the means to defend themselves from Russian aggression.

9:32 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Russia’s largest airline suspends international flights to everywhere except Belarus, according to state media

From CNN's Amy Cassidy

Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline, will suspend all flights abroad from March 8 — except flights to Minsk, Belarus — Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported Saturday. 

Passengers with return tickets to Russia will not be allowed on international flights from March 6 if the departing flight is scheduled from March 8 “to mitigate the risks of impossibility to use return flights to Russia,” according to the report.

It comes after the majority government-owned carrier’s ability to sell seats was crippled on Thursday after being removed from the global distribution system, marking the latest measure against Russia's aviation industry after most of the western world closed airspace to Russian aircraft.

RIA Novosti cites “the occurrence of additional circumstances that impede the operation of flights” as the reason behind the temporary cancellations. 

Rossiya and Aurora airlines will also cancel international flights, the report added.

9:09 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Ukrainians in Mariupol in "desperate need," according to Doctors Without Borders

From Sharon Braithwaite in London 

A medical worker reacts after failing to save the life of an 18-month-old boy who was wounded by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine on March 4.
A medical worker reacts after failing to save the life of an 18-month-old boy who was wounded by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine on March 4. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Staff members of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have reported "dire conditions" on Saturday in Mariupol, Ukraine.

In a statement issued Saturday, one staff member of MSF gave the following account:

"The situation is the same as in recent days. This night the shelling was harder and closer. We collected snow and rain water yesterday to have some utility water. We tried to get free water today but the queue was huge. We also wanted to get ‘social’ bread but it is not clear the schedule and the places of distribution. According to people, multiple grocery stores were destroyed by missiles and the remaining things were taken by people in desperate need. Still no power, water, heating and mobile connection. No one heard about any evacuation yet. Pharmacies are out of medicine."

MSF said in the statement that people are now effectively trapped in Mariupol, where the war arrived so suddenly that many could not even flee.

MSF Director of Operations Christine Jamet on Saturday called for safe routes to allow civilians to flee from Mariupol, including MSF staff and their families. 

"Civilians must not be trapped in a war zone," Jamet said, adding that "people seeking safety must be able to do so, without fear of violence”.

CNN's Nada Bashir contributed reporting to this post.

8:23 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Spanish clothing retailer Inditex suspends activity at more than 500 stores in Russia 

From CNN’s Al Goodman in Madrid

Spain’s Inditex, the global fashion giant whose brands include Zara, announced Saturday it is “temporarily suspending” activity in its 502 stores in the Russian Federation, Inditex said in a statement. 

“Inditex reports that in the current circumstances it cannot guarantee the continuity of its operations and the commercial conditions in the Russian Federation,” the statement said, adding that the suspension also applies to the firm’s online sales there. 

Of the 502 stores, 86 are of the Zara brand, the company said, adding that Russia accounts for about 8.5% of the company’s pre-tax profits, as measured by EBIT. Inditex has more than 9,000 employees in the Russian Federation and is developing a “special support plan” for them, the statement said.  

Inditex sent its statement to Spain’s stock market regulator, known by its Spanish initials, CNMV, on Saturday.  

Inditex has eight brands that sell online globally, and also in some 7,000 stores in 96 countries, according to the firm’s website. 

2:34 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Germany registers more than 27,000 refugees from Ukraine

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

People fleeing Ukraine arrive at Hauptbahnhof main railway station on March 5, in Berlin, Germany.
People fleeing Ukraine arrive at Hauptbahnhof main railway station on March 5, in Berlin, Germany. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

More than 27,000 refugees have arrived in Germany from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, according to Germany’s interior ministry. 

Germany’s Federal Police has registered 27,491 refugees from Ukraine in Germany to date, an interior ministry spokesperson confirmed to CNN Saturday.

But the actual number of incoming refugees could be significantly higher, the ministry said.

"Since there are no border controls, the number of war refugees entering Germany may in fact already be much higher," according to the interior ministry statement sent to CNN.

Here's a look at the the number of people who've fled to countries bordering Ukraine:

8:20 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Russian plane shot down on outskirts of northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, Ukrainian officials say

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Ukraine's State Emergency Service (SES) says that a Russian plane was shot down at the edge of the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, which has seen intense fighting for almost a week.

The plane crashed into a residential area, the SES said, adding that it was unknown if there were casualties. The crash caused fires in four private homes.

Local people were being evacuated after three 500-kilogram bombs were found, the SES said.

Authorities said 17 people were killed in the Chernihiv region over the 24 hours to 8 a.m. Saturday as a result of shelling. Another person died due to fire.

CNN cannot independently confirm the number of deaths.

According to the Chernihiv Regional State Administration, "during the day on March 4 and on the night of March 5, Russian aircraft systematically bombed Chernihiv, mostly residential areas."

8:13 a.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Germany's military says more reservists are reaching out following Russia's invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany's armed forces (Bundeswehr) say ''an increasing number of reservists'' are coming forward to offer support for the country's military services following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

''Following the start of the war of aggression on Ukraine, an increasing number of reservists are contacting various departments of the Bundeswehr to offer their support,'' the Bundeswehr website said Friday.

''Currently, a concrete requirement for the Bundeswehr is not yet foreseeable; on the other hand, the development of the situation is characterized by high dynamics,'' the statement on the Bundeswehr website added. 

The Bundeswehr also said that communications channels have now been set up on its website for inquiries.

According to the Bundeswehr website, Germany introduced conscription in 1956 with men over the age of 18 expected to serve in the military for a year -- although they could claim exemption due to moral obligations.

Germany scrapped compulsory military service in 2011 in a step that marked a historic change for the country's post-World War II forces. Since 2011, Germany's armed forces has relied on volunteers to fill its ranks. In the event of a national defense emergency, an automated reactivation of conscription takes place.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has reignited a debate in Germany, however, about whether young men and women should be required to fight for their country.