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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12:36 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.

12:34 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

US and Europe weigh plans for Ukrainian government in exile

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Kylie Atwood

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.

The discussions are only preliminary and no decisions have been made, the sources said.

Western officials have also been wary of discussing a government-in-exile directly with Zelensky, because he wants to stay in Kyiv, and has so far rejected conversations that focus on anything other than boosting Ukraine in its fight against Russia, two western diplomats explained. They added that there have been discussions about sending one or more members of Zelensky’s government to an external location where a government could be set up in case Kyiv falls and Zelensky is unwilling or unable to get out.

“The Ukrainians have plans in place that I’m not going to talk about or get into any detail about to make sure that there is continuity of government one way or another, and I’m going to leave it at that,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS on Sunday.

US and European officials believed in the earlier days of the war that Zelensky moving to Lviv might be feasible because it was not clear whether Russia would target western Ukraine. But now—given Russia’s dramatic escalation over the last several days against civilian targets across Ukraine—they are not as sure that Russia will spare any inch of Ukrainian territory.

12:32 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant under Russian order, says International Atomic Energy Agency

From CNN Staff

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is seen in this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian National Nuclear Energy Generation Company Energoatom, after it was attacked by Russian forces early on Friday morning.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is seen in this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian National Nuclear Energy Generation Company Energoatom, after it was attacked by Russian forces early on Friday morning. (Press Service of National Nuclear Energy Generation Company Energoatom/AP)

The International Atomic Energy Agency tweeted Sunday that Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has reported communication problems with staff operating at the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian authorities have told the IAEA that regular staff continue to operate the plant, “but plant management is now under orders from commander of Russian forces controlling site.”


7:24 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Russia detains at least 4,640 people on Sunday during protests, says independent monitoring group

From CNN Staff

Russian police detain a protester in downtown Moscow on March 6.
Russian police detain a protester in downtown Moscow on March 6. (Yuri Kochetkov/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

At least 4,640 people were detained during protests in Russia on Sunday, OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group that tracks detentions in Russia, reports.

People have been detained in 147 cities, according to OVD-Info. Since the invasion, more than 13,000 people have been arrested in Russia in anti-war demonstrations, OVD-Info calculates.

CNN cannot independently verify these numbers.

Russian state news agency TASS cited the Russian Interior Ministry, which said it arrested 3,500 people “who took part in unauthorized public events” on Sunday. 

“The units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, ensured law and order in places where unauthorized public events were held in a number of constituent entities of the Russian Federation," Irina Volk, the official representative of the Russian Interior Ministry said, TASS reported.

Some of the cities where arrests were made included Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The detainees were “taken to the territorial police departments for investigation,” Volk said, adding "the issue of bringing them to justice is being decided.”

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

At least 964,000 refugees have fled from Ukraine into Poland, says Polish government

From CNN's Emmet Lyons

Ukrainian refugees rest in a tent after crossing the border into Medyka, Poland on March 6.
Ukrainian refugees rest in a tent after crossing the border into Medyka, Poland on March 6. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

The Polish Border Patrol said that nearly one million people have been cleared to cross over the Polish border from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began last month.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Polish Border Guards confirmed that “already 964 thousand people fleeing from Ukraine to Poland have been cleared at border crossings.”

A record number of over 129,000 refugees had crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border on Saturday alone, according to the Polish Permanent representation to the European Union.

11:36 a.m. ET, March 6, 2022

First emergency medical supplies arrive in Kyiv from Médecins Sans Frontières

From CNN's Alex Hardie

The first emergency medical supply shipment from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders 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. 

“It was urgent to do this fast,” said Christopher Stokes, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Ukraine, according to the statement. 

“We may be in a race against time here — we have no certainty how long train access to Kyiv will remain possible. We chose to go with the train option for reasons of speed and the high volume capacity,” he added.

12:20 p.m. ET, March 6, 2022

UK PM Johnson spoke with President Zelensky on need to provide further defensive equipment to Ukrainian forces

From CNN’s Luke McGee and Emmet Lyons

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a joint press conference on March 1 in Tallinn, Estonia. 
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a joint press conference on March 1 in Tallinn, Estonia.  (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone on Sunday on the need to provide further defensive equipment to Ukrainian forces.

“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.

Zelensky and Johnson also discussed the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in the country.

Johnson “outlined what the UK is doing, both to provide humanitarian support and impose economic costs on Russia which strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine. This includes calling on other countries to take further action to remove Russia from SWIFT,” the spokesperson said.

“The leaders discussed the increasing threat Russia's barbaric attacks pose to Ukrainian civilians and the Prime Minister underlined the UK's determination to ensure Putin fails.”

The two leaders agreed to continue speaking, the spokesperson said.


11:31 a.m. ET, March 6, 2022

French President Macron has raised "grave concern" about nuclear safety with Putin

From CNN's Eva Tapiero in Paris

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.

“He (Macron) stressed the absolute necessity to avoid any damage to the integrity of Ukrainian civilian nuclear facilities, whose safety and security must be guaranteed in accordance with the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the proposals of its Director General. The Russian President has agreed that the IAEA should begin work in this area without delay.”

The readout continued: “The (French) President also called for respect for international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and the delivery of aid. He reiterated the importance of a negotiated solution, fully acceptable to the Ukrainians."

"Finally, the President of the Republic took advantage of this exchange to relay his concern about an imminent attack on the city of Odessa,” said the Elysee.

11:22 a.m. ET, March 6, 2022

Kyiv Regional Military Administration appeals for international help in coping with humanitarian crisis

From CNN's Tim Lister

The Kyiv Regional Military Administration has appealed to international organizations for help in resolving a growing humanitarian crisis in the region. 

"Thousands of people found themselves in isolation, because of direct hostilities, and in some places for 5-6 days they survive without electricity, water, food, medical help and means of subsistence. They are in direct danger," the administration said. 

"We ask for a humanitarian corridor to help people affected by the warfare. For the sake of people's lives and health, to ensure the immediate delivery of medical and food aid to those residents of Kyiv region who need it. And to ensure the evacuation of civilians," the administration added,

It said: "The most difficult situation is on the territory from Borodyanka to Hostomel, it is worse than in Mariupol."

Borodyanka and Hostomel, to the north of Kyiv, have seen intense shelling by Russian forces for several days.