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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3:35 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Growing defiance on display in Russian-held Ukraine

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv and Olga Voitovych

(Obtained by CNN)
(Obtained by CNN)

While the Ukrainian military's resistance against Russia's invasion has been well-documented, the last few days have seen growing popular defiance of Russian forces. In the south of Ukraine, especially, there have been multiple protests in areas where Russian troops have arrived.

At least several hundred people gathered in the center of Kherson on Saturday to protest the Russian occupation of the Black Sea port.

One video of the demonstrations showed people walking into Kherson's main square despite the occasional volley of gunfire. Where that gunfire came from is unclear, but a small detachment of Russian soldiers is seen guarding the Regional Council building.

The protesters chanted "Ukrainia," and the largest cheer went up when a young man waving Ukraine's blue-and-yellow flag scrambled onto a Russian troop carrier.

One man who attended the protests managed to send a sequence of videos to CNN, saying in broken English: "People want to show that Kherson is Ukraine, and all brave people go into this meeting, not afraid of Russian military."

There was a further demonstration in Kherson on Sunday. Videos from this event suggest it was smaller but no less determined. An elderly woman looked steadily into the camera in one video and said quietly: "Save our country! Let them all die, together with Putin."

In the city of Nova Kakhovka, a crowd cheered as an elderly woman brandished a broom and dustpan as a welcome to Russian troops. Two men scrambled up a plinth to raise the Ukrainian flag outside the city hall.

Later, video emerged of smoke rising from among the crowd amid the sound of gunfire. The Ukrainian news agency Interfax said five people had been injured after Russian forces opened fire — apparently above the protestors' heads -- and used stun grenades.

It seemed like almost every town in Kherson was out on Sunday. In Novooleksiika, hundreds sang the national anthem and shouted "Ukraine is above all" as they walked down a rural road.

And in Kalanchak, which lies closer to Crimea, hundreds of people sang the national anthem and shouted "Ukraine is above all" as they walked down a rural road -- with multiple generations of locals bound together in national solidarity.

They then unfurled a huge Ukrainian flag and harangued masked and heavily armed Russian soldiers. Women shouted, "Get out of our land, we don't need you! Get out of our land!"

Since the middle of last week there have been protests against Russia, often involving just a few dozen people, from Berdyansk on Ukraine's south coast to Konotop, hundreds of miles north between Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Read more.

2:30 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Eight civilians dead after shelling hits district, says Mayor of Kyiv district

From CNN staff

Eight civilians were killed in the midst of an evacuation in Irpin — a district west of Kyiv that saw intense shelling on Sunday — the mayor of Irpin Oleksandr Markushyn said in a statement on Telegram Sunday. 

Markushyn said Russians opened fire during an evacuation across a bridge. 

"A family died," he said, "in front of my eyes two small children and two adults died." 

Video from the scene showed civilians moving through the checkpoint before an explosion occurred at a crossroads that appeared to be caused by a shell or mortar. 

"Irpin is at war, Irpin has not surrendered," Markushyn said. "Part of Irpin was indeed captured by Russian invaders, but part of Irpin is fighting and not surrendering." 

Markushyn said another evacuation would begin tomorrow morning. 

2:25 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

American Express becomes the latest credit card company to suspend operations in Russia

From CNN’s Ramishah Maruf


American Express is the latest credit card company to announce it is ending its operations in Russia as its invasion into Ukraine escalates.

On Sunday, the company said in a statement that globally issued American Express cards will no longer work in Russia, and cards issued in Russia won't work outside the country.

American Express also said it is ending its business operations in Belarus.

"This is in addition to the previous steps we have taken, which include halting our relationships with banks in Russia impacted by the US and international government sanctions," American Express said in a statement Sunday.

Mastercard said Saturday it was suspending its network services in Russia, and Visa also announced Saturday it was suspending all operations there.

2:15 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

TikTok suspends some services in Russia

From CNN's Brian Fung 

TikTok said Sunday it is suspending some features in Russia in light of the country’s new law penalizing misinformation. 

“In light of Russia's new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law,” the company tweeted. “Our in-app messaging service will not be affected.”

The company added in a blog post: “We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority.”

2:09 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Russian forces have switched off some mobile networks and internet at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA says

From CNN staff

Russian forces have switched off some mobile networks and the internet at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, according to Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

In a statement, the IAEA said that this meant that “reliable information from the site cannot be obtained through the normal channels of communication.”

Ukraine’s nuclear regulator confirmed that it had started having major problems communicating with staff operating the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, according to the statement.

The IAEA added that there were also problems with food availability and supply at the plant.

“I’m extremely concerned about these developments that were reported to me today. Just a few days after I presented the seven main elements of nuclear safety and security to the IAEA Board, several of them are already being compromised. In order to be able to operate the plant safely and securely, management and staff must be allowed to carry out their vital duties in stable conditions without undue external interference or pressure,” Grossi said.

“The deteriorating situation regarding vital communications between the regulator and the Zaporizhzhia NPP is also a source of deep concern, especially during an armed conflict that may jeopardize the country’s nuclear facilities at any time. Reliable communications between the regulator and the operator are a critical part of overall nuclear safety and security,” Grossi added.

Some more context: The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is now under orders from the commander of Russian forces that took control of the site last week, according to the IAEA.

The statement said that regular staff continued to operate the nuclear power plant, but that “any action of plant management – including measures related to the technical operation of the six reactor units – requires prior approval by the Russian commander.”

5:07 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Pussy Riot member says she's buoyed by Russians risking penalties to protest Ukrainian invasion

From CNN’s Keith Allen


Pussy Riot founding member Nadya Tolokonnikova joined CNN’s State of the Union Sunday and told Jake Tapper that it’s incredible to see the ongoing protests in her native Russia, especially given the risk associated with speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine.

“One thing we need to understand about Russians opposing the war in Ukraine is that the numbers of people who are against the war are actually much higher than those you can see on the streets,” Tolokonnikova said. “The price of participating in it today is increasingly high, especially it became incredibly dangerous over the last week and people are facing jail time up to 15 years, according to the new law, even for tweets and stories and posts on social media. You can go to jail for up to 15 years, and by going into the streets, you’re actually exposing yourself to a greater danger,” she said.

“Knowing that and seeing the thousands of people are still going to the streets and getting arrested shows that a lot of Russians are actually against the war,” she added.

Tolokonnikova told Tapper that in the wake of the government ban of Facebook and closure of the last remaining independent television station, Russians have found alternative means such as using VPN to access accurate information about the invasion, but that the cost involved makes it difficult for many to afford such technology.

The musician and activist also shared with CNN a harrowing story about a family friend beaten and detained in a recent protest and added that her friends back in Russia are angry and terrified by the current circumstances.

“A week ago, police beat a friend of my daughter. My daughter is 14, her friend is 14 as well, and she went with her dad to an anti-war protest, and police started to beat her, and her dad came to the policeman and said, ‘what are you doing — she’s 14, don’t do that.’ Then instead of beating the kid, policemen switched to beating the dad and the dad ended up in the police station for a couple days, pretty brutally beaten. Situations like that, they’re unfortunately happening quite often.”

2:06 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Woman offers shelter to pets left behind in Kyiv

From Timothy Fadek

Sandra Ishchenko runs Dog City in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 5. The center now serves as a shelter for pets left behind by their owners.
Sandra Ishchenko runs Dog City in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 5. The center now serves as a shelter for pets left behind by their owners. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Before Russia launched its war against Ukraine, Sandra Ishchenko ran a pet care center called Dog City. Now, it’s a shelter for pets, mostly dogs, left behind by their owners. The people who left their pets behind in the care of Sandra, hope and expect that they will return to retrieve their pets once the fighting ceases and it is safe to return.

Owners left their bird in Sandra’s care until they can return to Kyiv, Ukraine.
Owners left their bird in Sandra’s care until they can return to Kyiv, Ukraine. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Anastasia, an employee at Dog City, carries a frightened dog into the shelter.
Anastasia, an employee at Dog City, carries a frightened dog into the shelter. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Owners left their cat “Kitty” in Sandra’s care until they can return.
Owners left their cat “Kitty” in Sandra’s care until they can return. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

2:02 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Members of Congress call on Biden administration to facilitate the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine

From CNN's Chandelis Duster

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Sunday called for the transfer of fighter jets to Poland after a plea from Ukrainian President Zelensky for Western countries to send fighter aircraft into his country.

“I strongly urged the Secretary of State yesterday to complete this transaction. You know, the Ukrainians can fly Russian MiGs. But then Poland wants a back order, and that may be possibly F-16s,” McCaul, who is in Poland, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“We're not going to put our troops in there, but you know what we can help the Ukrainian people win this war … I think the will of the Ukrainian people will basically beat the will of the Russian troops. The Russian troops are not into this. But the Ukrainians are. And if we can arm them to defend themselves, that's how we beat the Russians.”

A White House spokesperson confirmed to CNN on Saturday that the US is working with Poland on the possibility of Poland providing fighter jets to Ukraine along with consulting with other allies.

More on this: Following a Zoom call with Ukrainian leader President Volodymyr Zelensky, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer called on the Biden administration to facilitate the transfer of “desperately-needed” aircraft to Ukraine. 

At a Sunday press briefing, Schumer stressed that Zelensky is in short supply of aircraft and that several Eastern European countries have Soviet-made jets which the Ukrainian Air Force pilots know how to operate. 

“Today I’m announcing the push for the U.S. administration to explore all feasible options to transfer these desperately needed aircraft to Ukraine,” Schumer said. “We are asking our administration to do everything they can to facilitate the transfer of planes from Eastern Europe to Ukraine.” 

12:36 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Ukraine’s top diplomat tells CNN that "all western companies must withdraw from Russia"

From CNN’s Emmet Lyons in London

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told CNN that “all western companies must withdraw from Russia” on humanitarian grounds. 

Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, the foreign minister said that it is "simply against basic principles of morale to continue working in Russia and making money there. This money is soaked with Ukrainian blood.” 

After receiving criticism from Kuleba for continuing to buy crude oil from Russia, energy company Shell had said that they “will commit profits from the limited amount of Russian oil we have to purchase to a dedicated fund… to alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine.”

When asked about this by Zakaria, Kuleba said that all energy companies need to “stop buying Russian oil. This goes not only to Shell but also to other companies. Some tough measures were imposed on Russia, but we all know that the biggest revenues come from trade in oil and gas.” 

“Today, Russian oil and gas smells with Ukrainian blood,” Kuleba said. 

Kuleba also reserved criticism for Coca-Cola and McDonalds as two multinational companies that continue to do business in Russia. 

“We were upset to hear companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's remain in Russia and continue providing their products,” he said.