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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4:32 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Moldova's prime minister says every 8th child in the country is a refugee

From CNN staff

Moldova Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita
Moldova Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita (CNN)

Moldova's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita spoke exclusively to CNN in the capital city Chisinau on Sunday about how Moldova is responding to the influx of Ukrainian refugees and the escalating conflict in neighboring Ukraine. 

"We strongly condemn this military attack on Ukraine. And we have called for peace ever since the beginning of the war. We are seeing an extraordinary humanitarian crisis. Already 230,000 people have crossed the Moldovan border from Ukraine. And about 120,000 have chosen to stay now," Gavrilita said during the interview. 

"We are also seeing a lot of families and children move from Ukraine. So every eighth child in Moldova is now a refugee .... at least three fourths of the refugees are staying with families ... we are at capacity. The flow of refugees is higher and faster than even predictions indicated."

When asked about the Moldovan government closing its airspace on the first day of the Russian invasion, Gavrilita said the decision was made "to protect civilian airspace," adding "we received a request that indicated there may be military operations in the vicinity of Moldovan airspace. In order to ensure civilian flights are not under risk, we have taken the decision to close the airspace. We have exceptions to this for humanitarian flights and for flights of refugees out of the country."

Gavrilita said a recent visit from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken showed "a strong sign of support" to the Moldovan government's response to the influx of refugees.

The prime minister also spoke about Russian troops currently in the separatist region of the country's eastern Ukrainian border. 

"We have called continuously for the withdrawal of the troops. And we have a negotiating format with the separatist region. We are currently seeing no signs of involvement in the military conflict. And we expect this to remain so," Gavrilita said.

"Moldova is a neutral state. Its military neutrality is enshrined in the constitution and we expect everyone to respect this status."

Gavrilita also shared her thoughts about the Russian people.

"I feel for the Russian people as well because they will also be suffering from the consequences of the war," she said. "And I hope they seek truthful information and choose to oppose this war.

"This conflict is not only affecting Ukraine and neighboring countries. It's also affecting the whole world. We plead for diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the conflict."

3:59 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

It's 11 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

George Keburia says goodbye to his wife and children as they board a train to Lviv in Odessa, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 5.
George Keburia says goodbye to his wife and children as they board a train to Lviv in Odessa, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 5. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

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.  

If you're just reading in now, here are more of the latest Russia-Ukraine developments...

International support for Ukraine and diplomacy efforts

  • US and European officials have been discussing how the west would support a government-in-exile helmed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should he have to flee Kyiv, western officials tell CNN. The discussions have ranged from supporting Zelensky and top Ukrainian officials in a potential move to Lviv in western Ukraine, to the possibility that Zelensky and his aides are forced to flee Ukraine altogether and establish a new government in Poland, the officials said.  
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “undertook to work with partners to provide further defensive equipment” to the Ukrainian armed forces in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday.  “The leaders discussed the urgent needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Prime Minister undertook to work with partners to provide further defensive equipment,” according to a Downing Street spokesperson.  
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has voiced his “grave concern” about nuclear safety during a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday. A readout from the French Presidential Palace says Macron told Putin it was imperative concrete steps should be taken to address nuclear safety, security and safeguards. 
  • Meanwhile, the United States and its allies are looking for more ways to take action against Russia. The US is “now talking to our European allies and partners to look at a coordinated way” to ban Russian oil while “making sure there’s still an appropriate” oil supply globally, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘State of the Union’ Sunday morning. 

Russia's invasion continues

  • More than 360 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began last Thursday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement Sunday. So far, 1,123 civilians have been wounded, including 364 killed and 759 injured, OHCHR said, while acknowledging that the real figures are likely “considerably higher.” 
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency said that the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia in South Eastern Ukraine is now under orders from a Russian forces commander.  
  • There has been heavy shelling to the west and northwest of Kyiv Sunday morning. The impact of explosions was heard by CNN teams in Kyiv and in rural areas to the south-west. Two mortar or artillery shells hit a checkpoint for civilians to cross into Kyiv from the suburb of Irpin. Three people were reported killed, say Ukrainian authorities, including two children. Social media video showed extensive destruction in Irpin, just North West of Kyiv, on Sunday. Several children have died, according to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. 
  • The first emergency medical supply shipment from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has arrived in Kyiv, the international humanitarian organization said in a statement. The supplies include surgical kits, trauma kits, medications for chronic diseases and mass casualty supplies. They will be donated to local hospitals in the city and in other towns further east in Ukraine.  

Odessa under threat

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russia is preparing to bomb Odessa, in a broadcast address on Facebook. “Russian people always used to come to Odessa and they only knew warmth and generosity and what’s now? Artillery, bombs against Odessa. This will be a war crime. This will be historic crime”, Zelensky said. 
  • More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries in 10 days, U.N. refugee agency commissioner Filippo Grandi said Sunday. 
  • The UK Ministry of Defense said Sunday that Russia is targeting populated areas in Ukraine, "likely" as an effort to break Ukranian morale. 

Anti-war protests continue across Russia

  • In Russia, at least 4,357 people have been detained during protests on Sunday, OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group that tracks detentions in Russia reports. People have been detained in 56 cities according to OVD-Info. 
  • Other protests in support of Ukraine took place across the world this weekend in Serbia, the UK, Kazakhstan and Chile, among others. 

More companies are cutting Russia off

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

 

3:56 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

French President Macron speaks to Ukraine President Zelensky about call with Putin

From CNN’s Eva Tapiero and Emmet Lyons

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday and updated him on his earlier call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a read out from the Élysée Palace. 

“The President of the Republic talked to President ZELENSKY about his call today with President PUTIN, during which the latter gave his agreement for joint effort to be undertaken on the basis of the recommendations of the International Agency for Atomic Energy in order to ensure the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine,” the statement said.  

French President Emmanuel Macron had voiced his “grave concern” about nuclear safety during a call with President Vladimir Putin earlier on Sunday.

In his call with Zelensky, Macron had “reiterated the absolute necessity to avoid any attack on the integrity of Ukrainian civil nuclear facilities.”

According to the Élysée, the humanitarian situation was also discussed and Macron had told Zelensky that he will pay “close attention to the needs of Ukraine and France will continue to increase its support in this area.”

3:34 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Kharkiv radio and TV broadcasts knocked out by Russian military strikes

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington

Television and radio broadcasts have been knocked out in Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, after Russian military strikes, according to the Regional Administration.

In a post on Facebook Sunday, the Regional Administration said, "repeated shelling" of the TV tower in Kharkiv had knocked out tv and radio broadcasting. 

"Areas of the building housing technical equipment were destroyed, and it the extent of damage to the towers themselves is still being assessed," the department said in their statement.  

On Tuesday March 1, Russian military strikes targeted Kyiv's TV Tower, also resulting in an interruption in its broadcast capabilities.

 

3:52 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Israel unveils plans for field hospital in Ukraine

From CNN's Hadas Gold

Israel will setup a field hospital in Ukraine in the coming days, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday, to treat victims of Russia’s attack on its southern neighbor. 

Additionally, Israel will send six large generators to the main hospital in Lviv to “allow for its continuous operation even without its regular power supply,” the ministry said in a statement. It also plans to set up assistance centers for refugees at Ukraine’s border crossings, where winter clothes and supplies will be handed out. 

Foreign Ministry officials say at least 10,200 Israeli citizens have now left Ukraine since the government first appealed for them to do so three weeks ago. More than half have left since the start of the Russian invasion last month. 

Also on Sunday, three planes carrying about 300 Ukrainian Jews arrived in Israel, among them ninety orphans. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was at Tel Aviv airport to receive the new arrivals. 

Under Israel’s law of return, any Jew can request Israeli citizenship. With Ukraine home to a large Jewish population, Israeli officials say they are preparing for a potential wave of tens of thousands of Ukrainian emigres. 

Several people who spoke with CNN after arriving from Ukraine on Sunday said they had planned at some point to move to Israel but said the war had sped up the process. 

Lena, originally from Odessa, arrived with her two young boys after traveling since the outbreak of hostilities. 

“I was planning to come here but when the war started it was immediately decided,” she said. 

Lena told CNN she had been forced to leave her husband behind, since men under the age of sixty are not permitted to leave the country, following a law passed in the wake of Russia’s invasion. 

“We are in shock, but I hope everything will be great now,” she said. 

Toavia from Kyiv told CNN she thinks many Jews will now move to Israel. 

“I know people who had not planned to come, but [the invasion] changed their plans. This is happening to lots of Jews,” she said. 

Toavia added she was excited to make it to Israel but said she wouldn’t feel complete until she hugged her family, who have left the country via a different route. 

“I think I am still shaken because I’ve seen war,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Israel’s leaders continue diplomatic efforts. A day after his surprise visit to Moscow for a face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had a phone call with the Russian leader Sunday, according to a statement from the PM’s office. 

Bennett also spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron. While no details of the phone conversations were released, Bennett told Cabinet colleagues earlier in the day he believed Israel had a special responsibility to pursue a diplomatic breakthrough. 

“Even if the chance is not great, as soon as there is even a small opening, and we have access to all sides and the capability, [then] I see this as our moral obligation to make every effort,” he said. 

Monday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will fly to Latvia for a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  

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

(Alamy)
(Alamy)

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.”