March 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Amy Woodyatt, George Ramsay, Ed Upright, Jessie Yeung, Steve George and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:38 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022
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6:30 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Dire conditions in Volnovakha as civilians hide underground for days on end

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Kyiv

Fears are mounting for civilians trapped in the besieged southern Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, as the onslaught from Russian forces continues.

One man, who escaped from Volnovakha two days ago, told CNN about the conditions in parts of the city, where he spent days hiding in a basement.

"People are there for 11 days now. Some got out, but around 450 are still there," he told CNN, adding that he has had no communication with the people since he left, and they are still there as far as he knows.

People are sick. There is no toilet. Girls and women use a bucket for toilet and they take it out when there is no shelling," he said.

Food and water are very limited, he warned, and the basement only gets fresh air when there is no shelling -- which is rare.

"It stinks a lot all the time. Children are vomiting. There is no place to lie down so people sleep sitting," he told CNN.

6:00 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukraine given nearly 20k anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles so far

From CNN's Jim Sciutto

Ukrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the US security assistance to Ukraine, at the Boryspil airport, Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 11.
Ukrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the US security assistance to Ukraine, at the Boryspil airport, Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 11. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The United States and other NATO members have so far sent Ukraine 17,000 antitank missiles and 2,000 stinger anti-aircraft missiles, a senior US official told CNN.

Even before Russia's invasion began February 24, the skies above Europe have been filled with military cargo aircraft of the US and others, particularly C-17s, the backbone of the US airlift fleet. The flights have been repositioning troops along NATO's eastern flank, but also moving weapons to the transfer points where they can be delivered to Ukraine. And the pace of the flights has only increased.

Once Russia's invasion began, 14 countries have sent security assistance to Ukraine, some of whom had rarely sent such substantial equipment before, a senior Defense Department official previously told CNN

The "vast majority" of a $350 million US security assistance package has already been delivered to Ukraine, according to the official, only one week after it was officially approved by the White House.

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5:37 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

There's heavy fighting around Kyiv

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

There has been heavy fighting early on Monday in a broad area from the north to the west of Kyiv, according to Ukrainian officials and social media content.

Russian forces appear to have gone on the offensive in several areas to push towards the Ukrainian capital.

With extreme rage, the enemy destroys Bucha, Hostomel, Vorzel, Irpin. They deliberately kill civilians," said Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko.

Multiple reports speak of heavy fire in all four districts on Monday as civilians continue to flee the fighting.

"We are doing everything in the capital to support the city, to create a reserve of food, medicines, essential goods. We distribute and provide aid to those who need it the most today. Humanitarian aid was also sent to Chernihiv [a city north of Kyiv]," Klitschko added.

"We are trying to deliver it to Bucha and Hostomel. We are forming humanitarian cargoes for some other cities. The capital is preparing for defense. I ask all Kyiv residents to keep calm, to stay at home, or -- in case of alarm -- in shelters."

The mayor of Hostomel, Yuriy Prylypko, was killed while "handing out bread to the hungry and medicine to the sick, comforting the desperate," according to the town's Facebook page. Two others with him were also killed.

5:35 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Putin loses all his positions at the International Judo Federation

From CNN's Aleks Klosok

Arkady Rotenberg (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend judo training at Yug Sport complex on February 14, 2019 in Sochi, Russia.
Arkady Rotenberg (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend judo training at Yug Sport complex on February 14, 2019 in Sochi, Russia. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and oligarch Arkady Rotenberg have been removed from all their positions at the International Judo Federation (IJF), the sport’s governing body said in a statement on Sunday.

The decision comes after the IJF announced it had suspended Putin's role of honorary president last month due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The International Judo Federation announces that Mr. Vladimir Putin and Mr. Arkady Rotenberg have been removed from all positions held in the International Judo Federation,” reads the latest one-line statement.

The IJF is one of a number of governing bodies to strip Putin of honorary sporting titles since the outbreak of the war.

World Taekwondo stripped Putin of his honorary black belt conferred in November 2013, while the International Swimming Federation (FINA) withdrew the FINA Order previously awarded to the Russian president in October 2014.

Rotenberg, meanwhile, had been a member of the IJF's executive committee as development manager since 2013.

5:30 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russian forces continue offensive towards strategic port city of Mykolaiv

From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh

Russian troops continued an assault towards the strategic port city of Mykolaiv Monday morning, with officials warning residents to stay in their shelters.

Regional governor Vitali Kim, said in a Telegram message: “We are going on the offensive. The enemy entered our airport.”

The warning of an assault came hours after Mykolaiv Mayor Oleg Senkevich said the city had been hit by Russian missiles at dawn.

Today all Mykolaiv woke up from sounds of the Russian attacks,” he wrote on Telegram. “As throughout Ukraine, the enemy vilely aimed at the city's apartment buildings.”

The mayor warned civilians not to touch unexploded ordnance. CNN saw Sunday evidence that cluster munitions had landed near civilian areas.

One person had been killed and three injured in the shelling, an official at one Mykolaiv hospital told CNN.

5:10 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Indian Prime Minister Modi holds phone call with Zelensky on student evacuations

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone on Monday to discuss the need to evacuate Indian students from Ukraine.

“The Prime Minister thanked Ukrainian authorities for their facilitation in evacuating more than 20,000 Indian citizens from Ukraine. He expressed deep concern for the safety and security of Indian students remaining in Ukraine and emphasized the need for their quick and safe evacuation,” a press release issued by Modi’s office read.

The call, which was the second phone call between the two leaders since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, comes amid the Indian government’s efforts to evacuate at least 700 students who are stranded in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, which is close to the border with Russia.

During the call, Modi called for an “immediate cessation of violence” and noted that “India has always stood for a peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties,” according to the release.

In a tweet on Monday, Zelensky said that India was committed to “direct peaceful dialogue at the highest level.”

4:50 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

China indicates willingness to "mediate" between Russia and Ukraine

From Hannah Ritchie and CNN’s Beijing Bureau

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is seen on screens during a press conference at the Media Center on March 7, in Beijing, China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is seen on screens during a press conference at the Media Center on March 7, in Beijing, China. (Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images)

China’s top diplomat has indicated that Beijing is willing to “mediate” between Russia and Ukraine for the first time since Moscow launched an invasion against its neighbor.

“China is ready to continue to play a constructive role in promoting peace talks and work with the international community to conduct necessary mediation, when necessary,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at his annual press conference on the sidelines of the country’s legislative session.

Wang offered no further details on what such a role might entail, or the level of China’s potential involvement. Wang has previously said China supports all constructive international efforts aimed at a political settlement in Ukraine.

In a separate exchange, Wang reiterated that the friendship between Russia and China is "as firm as a rock" and represents "one of the most crucial bilateral relations in the world."

“The development of China-Russia relations has a clear historical logic and strong internal driving force. The friendship between the two peoples is as firm as a rock and the prospects for bilateral cooperation are bright,” Wang said when asked by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti if the pressure from international sanctions being imposed on Moscow would impact Russia-China relations. 

“No matter how dangerous the international situation may be, China and Russia will maintain strategic focus and promote comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era,"  Wang continued in response to the question, adding that both nations “oppose a return to the Cold War mentality." 

In a call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday, Wang urged the United States, NATO, and Europe to engage in "equal dialogue" with Russia regarding the war in Ukraine.

Some background: China has so far avoided calling Russia's military activity in Ukraine an "invasion," instead reiterating that the conflict stems from a "complicated history and reality" and pointing to NATO’s eastward expansion as the root cause for Moscow’s invasion – a key Russian talking point – according to statements and remarks from Chinese officials.

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3:46 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

European markets open sharply lower as oil prices surge

An electric board shows the world's stock market prices in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on March 7.
An electric board shows the world's stock market prices in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on March 7. (The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP)

European markets have opened sharply lower after oil prices surged to the highest level in 13 years. In the opening minutes of trade the German Dax fell more than 3% and the French CAC 40 is down nearly 3%. The UK FTSE 100 was around 0.5% lower. 

The sell-off follows big losses in Asia. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sank as much as 5% in morning trading. It was last down 3.4%, on track to log its worst daily drop in seven months. Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.6%. South Korea's Kospi dropped 2.5%. China's Shanghai Composite lost 1%.

On the US market, Dow futures fell 450 points, or 1.3%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were down 1.6% and 2% respectively.

The latest turmoil came as US crude futures surged more than 7% to trade at $124.17 a barrel, the highest level since August 2008. Brent crude also rose to the highest level since 2008, up 8% to $127.66 a barrel.

Oil prices soared further after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday in an interview with CNN that the United States is working with its allies in Europe to look into the possibility of banning Russian oil imports in an effort to further punish the country.

3:32 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russia has killed at least 8 people in Kharkiv over the last 24 hours, Ukrainian authorities say

From CNN's Radina Gigova in Atlanta

A man walks in front of a building damaged by recent shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 6.
A man walks in front of a building damaged by recent shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 6. (Oleksandr Lapshyn/Reuters)

At least eight people have died as a result of Russian bombardments of residential areas in the northeastern city of Kharkiv over the last 24 hours, Ukraine's Emergency Service said in a statement Monday. 

The Emergency Service said a bombing that took place around 7:15 p.m. local time Sunday (12:15 p.m. ET) "completely or partially demolished" multi-story residential buildings, administrative buildings, medical institutions, educational institutions and dorms.

There were also large-scale fires in 21 buildings in the central part of the city, the Emergency Service said. 

About 200 people were rescued and evacuated by rescuers during the fires. Authorities are still gathering information about additional possible victims.