March 6, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright, Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 8:07 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022
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12:17 a.m. ET, March 6, 2022

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

From CNN's 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 Warsaw providing fighter jets to Ukraine along with consulting with other allies, a White House spokesperson confirmed, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pushes 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 on Saturday said Zelensky indicated Poland had signaled it is prepared to send MiG fighter jets but “they are only waiting for you [the US] to allow it.”

8:32 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Mariupol evacuation stalls as Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of breaking ceasefire

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová, Radina Gigova, Olga Voitovych and Tim Lister

Ukrainian authorities say thousands of civilians remained trapped in the southeastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha and have accused Russian forces of breaching an agreement to pause fire to allow safe passage out.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said earlier Saturday it would stop bombarding Mariupol and Volnovakha, which have endured days of heavy, indiscriminate shelling. Residents there have hunkered down in basements without power and with limited supplies of food and water, volunteers gathering information from the ground told CNN.

But just a few hours after the announcement to pause fire, a top regional official accused Russia of breaking its agreement.

"Due to the fact that the Russians are not observing the ceasefire regime and continue shelling Mariupol and its outskirts, the evacuation of the population has been postponed for security reasons," governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, announced on Twitter.

Iryna Vereshchuk, the Ukrainian minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, said Saturday that about 200,000 people were to be evacuated from Mariupol and a further 15,000 from Volnovakha.

Kyrylenko said 400 people were evacuated from Volnovakha and surrounding villages on Saturday, adding that while the authorities "intended to evacuate a much larger number of people, the convoy had to stop moving as the Russians resumed the ruthless shelling of Volnovakha and it was extremely dangerous to move there."

Meanwhile, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said in a statement that just as the city was ready to begin evacuations of its residents to Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro, Russian forces "began shelling along the corridor, where we were supposed to go."

"This morning we received a confirmation from the Russian Federation, from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, that the corridor from Mariupol to the cities of Zaporizhzhia and the Dnipro is safe. We received a guarantee of ceasefire regime ... there is no ceasefire regime now," he said.
"This does not give us a sense of security for going to Zaporizhzhia."
8:32 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Life under Russian occupation: "They shoot at anyone who tries to leave"

From CNN's Tamara Qiblawi and Gianluca Mezzofiore

Kherson, a key port city on the Black Sea, in southern Ukraine, was overrun by Russian forces in the early hours of Wednesday, after days of heavy bombardment and shelling. The Ukrainian flag was still hoisted on government buildings, and the mayor of the city, Ihor Kolykhaiev, remained in his post.

On Saturday, Kolykhaiev announced that Russian troops were everywhere, and the city of nearly 300,000 people was without power and water, and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

Kolykhaiev said that the Russian forces had "settled in" to the city, and showed no signs of leaving.

"We have a lot of people here in need. We have cancer patients. Children who need medication. This medication is not currently getting through to them," he told CNN, adding that the Russians wanted to send aid, but residents were refusing it.

People living in Kherson under Russian occupation describe days of terror confined to their apartments and houses, fearful to go outside for even basic necessities — their city now a dystopian shell of the home they knew and loved.

Checkpoints manned by Russian troops pepper the city's streets, five Kherson residents told CNN in recent phone calls. The roads are virtually empty because inhabitants have either fled the fighting, or are staying indoors for fear of encountering Russian soldiers. Grocery stores have been emptied and medicine is running out, residents and officials said.

Russian troops have encircled the city and are shooting at anyone who attempts to leave, according to the residents, including a top local health official who CNN is not naming for security reasons.

On Thursday, Russian forces shot two men at a checkpoint after they attempted to pass, killing one and seriously wounding the other, the official told CNN.

Andriy Abba, who works as a tax lawyer, says he is determined to stay in Kherson regardless of the occupation, for as long as the Ukrainian flag remains flying on government buildings.

"Even if we wanted to evacuate women and children from here, it's just plain impossible," he added. "They shoot at anyone who tries to leave."

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8:32 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

War in Ukraine will have "severe impact on the global economy," IMF warns

From CNN's Ramishah Maruf

The International Monetary Fund said on Saturday it would bring Ukraine's request for $1.4 billion in emergency financing to its executive board as early as next week.

Countries with close economic ties to Russia are also at risk for shortages and supply disruptions, the IMF added. It is in talks with neighboring Moldova for aid options.

"The ongoing war and associated sanctions will also have a severe impact on the global economy," the IMF said.

After a meeting Friday led by Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF said there were serious economic consequences in the region. Energy and wheat prices have surged, adding to the effects of inflation from the pandemic and global supply chain disruptions.

"Price shocks will have an impact worldwide, especially on poor households for whom food and fuel are a higher proportion of expenses," the IMF said in a statement. "Should the conflict escalate, the economic damage would be all the more devastating."

The IMF said the effects of sanctions on Russia would also spill into other countries.

Monetary authorities throughout the world will have to carefully monitor rising prices in their nations, it added, and policies should be implemented to protect economically vulnerable households.

Ukraine, whose airports have been damaged and are now closed, will face significant reconstruction costs, according to the IMF. The organization said earlier this week the country has $2.2 billion available between now and June from a previously approved standby arrangement.

9:42 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

People around the world are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine — but don't plan to check in

From CNN's Faith Karimi and Samantha Kelly

Volodymyr Bondarenko spends most of his day holed up in his apartment in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Between listening for air-raid sirens and frantically messaging family for updates, he trades messages with a flurry of Airbnb guests booking his one-bedroom rental in the heart of Ukraine's capital.

Sometimes, he sends a crying emoji. Other times, the praying hands emoji. It's his way of thanking those who are booking his apartment — even though they have no intention of ever showing up at his door.

Airbnb hosts in Ukraine are being flooded with bookings from people all over the world who have no plans to visit. It's part of a creative social media campaign to funnel money to besieged Ukrainians who need financial assistance as Russian forces bombard their country and cut off services.

The idea has picked up momentum. On March 2 and March 3, guests from around the world booked more than 61,000 nights in Ukraine, according to an Airbnb spokesperson. More than half of those nights were booked by Americans, the spokesperson said.

CNN spoke to people in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia who've booked Ukrainian rentals on Airbnb in recent days.

"More than 10 bookings came in today. This was surprising, it's very supportive at the moment," Bondarenko, 36, told CNN early Friday. "I told many of my relatives and friends that I plan to use this money to help our people who need it at this time."

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7:13 p.m. ET, March 5, 2022

Putin: Western sanctions are the "equivalent of a declaration of war"

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová, Radina Gigova, Olga Voitovych and Tim Lister

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a series of threats against Ukraine and Western powers Saturday, as Ukrainian officials accused Russia of shelling evacuation routes out of two battered cities.

Ukrainian authorities said thousands of civilians remained trapped in the southeastern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha and accused Russian forces of breaching an agreement to pause fire to allow safe passage out.

Putin, meanwhile, used a meeting with Russian flight crew members at an Aeroflot training center in Moscow, to make his first expansive remarks since the invasion nine days ago.

"The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they put under question the future of Ukrainian statehood," Putin said. "And if that happens, it will be entirely on their conscience."

Putin also said Western sanctions were the "equivalent of a declaration of war," and warned he would consider countries imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine as "participants in a military conflict."

President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly pleaded with NATO and Western officials to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a move which could prevent Russian forces from carrying out airstrikes against their country.

But NATO 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 establishing such a zone could lead to a "full-fledged war in Europe," but added Washington would continue to work with its allies to provide Ukrainians with the means to defend themselves from Russian aggression.

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