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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8:30 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

US working with Poland on the possibility of providing fighter jets to Ukraine

From Arlette Saenz

 A file photo of a Polish Air Force MIG-29 seen at 22nd Air Base Command in Malbork, Poland on August 27, 2021.
A file photo of a Polish Air Force MIG-29 seen at 22nd Air Base Command in Malbork, Poland on August 27, 2021. (Cuneyt Karadag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/FILE)

The US is working with Poland on the possibility of Poland providing fighter jets to Ukraine along with consulting with other allies, a White House spokesperson confirms, as Ukrainian President Zelensky is pushing for eastern European countries to send fighter aircraft into his country.

As part of the conversations with Poland, the US is determining what “capabilities we could provide to backfill Poland if it decided to transfer planes to Ukraine,” said the spokesperson, who would not detail what backfill options are under consideration.

The spokesperson said sending fighter jets into Ukraine is a “sovereign decision for any country to make” and noted there are a host of logistics to work through, including how the aircraft would be transferred from Poland to Ukraine.

Two lawmakers participating in a zoom call with the Ukrainian president earlier Saturday said Zelensky said Poland has signaled its prepared to send MiG fighter jets but that “they are only waiting for you [the US] to allow it.”

7:15 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

President Volodymyr Zelensky thanks Elon Musk for Starlink systems for destroyed cities

From CNN’s Jonny Hallam and Hira Humayun

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and said Ukraine will receive additional Starlink antennas to assist destroyed cities without internet access.

“I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds," Zelensky said in a tweet early Sunday. "Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities."

Starlink antennas can be used to connect to the company’s satellite-based internet service which, according to the Starlink website, is “ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable.”

The Starlink dishes can be assembled “in a matter of minutes to support emergency responders in disaster scenarios,” according to its website.

Musk sent a truckload of Starlink equipment to Ukraine this week, responding to a plea from the country's vice prime minister amid fears Ukrainians could lose internet access if Russia continues its attacks on communication infrastructure.

However, Musk also warned Ukrainians to use the technology "with caution." In a Thursday tweet, he said the Starlink system has a high probability of being targeted by Russian forces since it is "the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine."

8:06 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Mayor of Ukrainian city Mariupol speaks of dire situation, no power or water, no way to collect the dead

From CNN staff

Smoke rises after apparent shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 4.
Smoke rises after apparent shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 4. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Vadym Boichenko, the mayor of the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, has painted a grim picture of life in the city.

"The situation is very complicated," Boichenko said in an interview on a YouTube channel Saturday. "The Russian army has already put up a blockade on the humanitarian corridor. We have a lot of social problems, which all the Russians have created."

Boichenko said the city, which has a population of nearly 400,000, has been without power for five days. "All our thermal substations rely on this power supply, so accordingly, we are without heat," he said.

Boichenko said there are no mobile networks, and "since the attack on Mariupol, we lost our reserve water supply, and so we are totally without water now. "

"[The Russian army] is working to besiege the city and set up a blockade," he said. "They want to cut us off from the humanitarian corridor, shutting down the delivery of essential goods, medical supplies, even baby food. Their goal is to choke the city and place it under an unbearable stress."

Boichenko said the "wounded and dead over these past five days number in the dozens. By the eighth day, there were hundreds. Now, we are already talking about thousands.

"These figures are only going to get worse," Boichenko said. "But this is the sixth straight day of airstrikes and we are not able to get out to recover the dead.

"They say they want to save Ukrainians from being killed by the Ukrainian [state] but they are the ones doing the killing," Boichenko said. "Listen, our brave doctors have been saving lives here now for 10 straight days. They live and sleep at our hospitals with their families."

Boichenko talked about the humanitarian corridor, which had been cancelled Saturday. 

"We had 50 buses full of fuel, and we were just waiting for a ceasefire and for the roads to open so we can get people out of here," he said. "But now we are down to just 30 buses. We hid those buses in another location, away from the shelling, and lost another 10 there. So we are down to 20.

"So, when this humanitarian corridor finally opens to us tomorrow or whenever, we may not have any buses left to evacuate the people."

Boichenko said saving the city was out of the question. "The only task now is to open up the humanitarian corridor to Mariupol at any cost.

"All these talks are lies," he said. "All this is being done, I will repeat for the thousandth time, to destroy us as a nation."

Boichenko insisted morale in Mariupol was strong but they are "just hanging on."

"We are holding out hope that maybe tomorrow at the crack of dawn, perhaps a tiny dewdrop of love will splash down on the people of this city," he said.

"The city of Mariupol has ceased to exist," Boichenko told the YouTube interviewer, "at least the city that you once saw."

6:22 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

British PM Boris Johnson to lay out Ukraine action plan ensuring "Putin must fail"

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Lauren Kent

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the 10 Downing Street, in London, on March 2.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the 10 Downing Street, in London, on March 2. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out a six-point plan of action on the Russia-Ukraine war during meetings with Canadian, Dutch, and Central European leaders next week. 

Johnson is set to tell his counterparts they must come together under his plan to ensure Russian President Vladimir Putin "fails in his ambition,” according to a Downing Street news release on Saturday.

The plan, according to the news release, calls on countries to mobilize “an international humanitarian coalition for Ukraine, support Ukraine in its efforts to provide its own self-defense and maximize the economic pressure on Putin’s Russia.” 

According to the news release, the plan also calls on the UK’s partners to “prevent the creeping normalization of what Russia is doing in Ukraine, pursue diplomatic paths to de-escalation but only on the basis of full participation by the legitimate government of Ukraine and begin a rapid campaign to strengthen security and resilience across the Euro-Atlantic area."

“Putin must fail and must be seen to fail in this act of aggression," the release said. "It is not enough to express our support for the rules-based international order – we must defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by military force.”

6:30 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Mastercard and Visa suspends all transactions and operations in Russia

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images)
(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Credit card companies Visa and Mastercard have suspended their operations in Russia.

Citing the “unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment,” Mastercard announced its decision in a statement issued Saturday.

“Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways that most of us could not imagine,” its statement said. “This decision flows from our recent action to block multiple financial institutions from the Mastercard payment network, as required by regulators globally.”

Mastercard, which has operated in Russia for more than 25 years, said “cards issued by Russian banks will no longer be supported by the Mastercard network.”

The credit card company, which said it has nearly 200 employees in Russia, added “any Mastercard issued outside of the country will not work at Russian merchants or ATMs.” 

Visa said it plans to work with its clients and partners within Russia to suspend all Visa transactions and operations in the country, according to a statement also issued Saturday.

Visa said in the coming days “all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and any Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will no longer work within the Russian Federation.”

“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” said Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly. “We regret the impact this will have on our valued colleagues, and on the clients, partners, merchants and cardholders we serve in Russia. This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values.”

6:04 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

President Volodymyr Zelensky urges Ukrainians to keep up resistance

From CNN’s Mariya Knight and Hira Humayun

(Volodymyr Zelenskyi/Facebook)
(Volodymyr Zelenskyi/Facebook)

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday urged Ukrainians to keep up their resistance, saying, “Ukrainians! In all of our cities, where the enemy invaded, go on the offensive. Go out on the streets. We need to fight every time we have an opportunity.”

In a video address posted on his official Facebook page, Zelensky said Ukrainians would not give their country “away to an enemy" and commended the Ukrainian people's faith.

“When you don't have a firearm but they respond with gunshots and you don't run … This is the reason why occupation is temporary. Our people -- Ukrainians -- don't back down,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky applauded the Ukrainian people's resistance and protests.

"They scream at occupants to go home, like the Russian battleship, pushing the occupants out of our territory," he continued. "Every meter of our Ukrainian land reclaimed by protest is a step forward, a step toward victory.”

4:04 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Shell Oil commits profits from Russian oil purchase to Ukrainian refugees

From CNN's Aliza Kassim

The Shell logo is displayed outside one of its gas stations on May 27, 2021 in Leeds, England.
The Shell logo is displayed outside one of its gas stations on May 27, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Shell Oil, Europe’s largest oil company, has said it will donate the profits from a recent purchase of Russian crude oil to a fund designed to help Ukrainian refugees following criticism from Ukraine's foreign minister.

“We will commit profits from the limited amount of Russian oil we have to purchase to a dedicated fund," the company said in a statement. "We will work with aid partners and humanitarian agencies over the coming days and weeks to determine where the monies from this fund are best placed to alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine.” 

Shell Oil purchased the oil at a significant discount, saying it had to in order to meet and satisfy purchase orders from prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, said the oil smelled of "Ukrainian blood" in a Saturday tweet.

"I call on all conscious people around the globe to demand multinational companies to cut all business ties with Russia," he said.

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: