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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4:28 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

UK launches visa scheme for Ukrainian families fleeing war, British government says 

From CNN's Max Foster and Arnaud Siad

Britain has launched the "Ukraine Family Scheme" for Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia to enter the UK, the British Home Office announced on Monday.

“The UK Government’s Ukraine Family Scheme is the first visa scheme in the world to launch since President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” the Home Office tweeted.

“It gives Ukrainian people the freedom and means to support themselves while they are here in the United Kingdom, […] that includes immigration security, the right to work and free access to healthcare, education and housing,” the tweet said.

According to the Home Office, 8,900 applications have been started so far under the scheme, with 300 visas issued till date.

The Home Office said it had “surged staff” and increased the number of appointments at its visa application centers in Rzeszow, Warsaw, Bucharest, Budapest, Chisinau and Prague. 

4:22 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

UN humanitarian official outlines 3 priorities in providing aid in Ukraine

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator outlined three immediate priorities in his speech to the UN Security Council Monday aimed at minimizing what he called the pain and suffering the whole world is watching unfold in Ukraine. 

Martin Griffiths said that the first priority is that parties “must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian homes and infrastructure in their military operations.” 

“This includes allowing safe passage for civilians to leave areas of active hostilities on a voluntary basis, in the direction they choose. All civilians, whether they stay or leave, must be respected and protected," he said.

He then requested the need for “safe passage for humanitarian supplies into areas of active hostilities.” 

“Civilians in places like Mariupol, Kharkiv, Melitopol, and elsewhere desperately need aid, especially life-saving medical supplies. Many modalities are possible, but it must take place in line with the parties’ obligations under the laws of war," Griffiths said.

Lastly, in his third point Griffiths said there needs to be a "system of constant communication with parties to the conflict and assurances to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid.” 

Griffiths said he has already conveyed the three points to Ukraine and to the Russian Federation adding that his office has sent representatives to Moscow “to work on better humanitarian civil-military coordination” allowing his team to scale up humanitarian efforts. 

“We have planned, we have mobilized and fundraised and to meet the challenge we face. We have the capacity and the know-how to meet the most urgent needs in Ukraine, if the parties cooperate,” Griffiths said. 

“But make no mistake, we are unable to meet the needs of civilians today. I hope we will not fail them tomorrow," he said.

4:04 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

US Ambassador to UN says "it's clear Mr. Putin has a plan to destroy and terrorize Ukraine"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler


US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “it’s clear Mr. Putin has a plan to destroy and terrorize Ukraine,” adding that the United States is “concerned that the world needs to be prepared for a very long and very difficult road ahead.”

“If the last two weeks have shown us anything, it’s that the Ukrainian people are not going to give up. And many Russian people themselves, including many Russian soldiers, do not want this war,” Thomas-Greenfield said at a UN Security Council meeting.

Thomas-Greenfield added that “Putin is clearly willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of Russian soldiers to achieve his personal ambitions.”

“We have been warning Moscow for weeks that, in the end, Russia will be weaker, not stronger, for launching this war. This is already proving true,” she said. “The question is how much devastation President Putin is willing to wreak for this enormous mistake.” 

In her remarks, Thomas-Greenfield said the US is “outraged by increased reports of Moscow’s attacks harming Ukrainian civilians in its unprovoked and unjustified war against the Ukrainian people,” and expressed increasing concern “about the protection of civilians in this conflict, particularly women and girls who are vulnerable to gender-based violence, LGBTQI Ukrainians, as well as Ukraine’s population of older adults and people with disabilities.”

She said her Polish counterpart told her 100 refugees per minute were crossing from Ukraine into Poland.

“We also call for the protection and care for all vulnerable children, including separated and unaccompanied children and those in institutional care,” Thomas-Greenfield said, adding, “Children should never, never be involved in conflict — period.”

“Children should never be involved in conflict. They must be protected,” she repeated.

“As UNICEF has reported, we know already that dozens of children have been killed in Putin’s war. And as we work to confirm cases, we know the actual numbers are actually far greater,” she said. “Young children have also been severely traumatized by the violence and destruction. They’ve witnessed so many things to the point they have stopped speaking. The physical and psychological wounds of this war will be long lasting.”

Thomas-Greenfield described Ukrainian cities “under siege, under relentless Russian shelling.” 

“Hospitals are running out of supplies, food is dwindling, and civilian casualties are mounting, while the most vulnerable groups – those with disabilities, the elderly, children – continue to bear the brunt of suffering. We have seen besiegement before – from Leningrad to Aleppo. These are tragedies of immense proportions,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield called on Moscow to provide a “firm, clear, public, and unequivocal commitment to allow and facilitate immediate, unhindered humanitarian access for humanitarian partners in Ukraine.”

“Very specifically, we call for the Russian Federation to agree to and honor in good faith Ukrainian proposals for time-bound humanitarian safe passage in specific, agreed upon locations. We call for the establishment of a ground-level notification system that will facilitate the safe movement of humanitarian convoys and flights,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She also called on “Russia to change course, withdraw its forces, deescalate through diplomacy” and said the US supports “Ukraine’s call for a ceasefire.”

“In the meantime, we applaud those doing everything in their power to alleviate the suffering Putin has unleashed on the Ukrainian people,” she said.

She noted the US is “closely coordinating with the Government of Ukraine, neighboring countries, and international organizations, including those within the UN system, to monitor the situation and will work with them to address humanitarian needs both in Ukraine and in the region.”

“Whatever course Russia’s invasion may take, we must do everything – and I stress everything – everything we can do to help the people of Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Kyiv still stands, and we stand with Kyiv,” she concluded. “We stand with Ukrainians.”

3:44 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russian troops clash with protesters and fire weapons in Ukraine's Chaplynka 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington 

Protesting residents of Chaplynka are the latest Ukrainians to clash with Russian military forces occupying their town, videos from Monday show.

CNN has geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the videos.  

Dozens of Russian troops are seen in the videos, set up in a line at an intersection on the eastern side of Chaplynka, more than 300 miles south of Kyiv. Chaplynka is on the southern side of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region and is located deep within Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine.

Dozens of protesters are also seen in the videos.    

"Idi domoy," some in the crowd chant — "go home" in Russian.  
"Idi dodomu," others in the crowd chant — "go home" in Ukrainian.   

Gunshots are then heard in the video, but no one appears hurt.

The crowd doesn't budge. "Go home boys, go back home," someone is heard yelling.    

3:39 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russian forces' main advance toward Kyiv remains "stalled," senior US defense official says

 From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

The main advance towards Kyiv by Russian forces remains “stalled,” a senior US defense official told reporters Monday. The official did not have an update on how far away a large Russian military convoy is from Kyiv’s city center.

“We still believe they’re outside, the main advance is still stalled outside the city,” the official said Monday. “I don’t have a distance today of how far out from Kyiv they are, but we don’t assess that they are, the advance elements are in the city. They do continue to try to make progress.”

The convoy’s progress remained stalled on March 6 as well, an official said. Late last week, it was approximately 25 kilometers (about 16 miles) from the city center of Kyiv.

Even though the main advance has not made progress, “clearly there’s fighting in Kyiv, they continue to bombard it and hit it,” the official added. 

The “vast, vast majority of missile strikes” from Russian forces continues along “three lines,” north down towards Kyiv, “from the south up from Crimea towards Mykolaiv and towards Mariupol,” and “a northeasterly route towards Kharkiv,” the official said. 

“We’ve seen no significant activity in the west of Ukraine,” the official added.

3:24 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Church in Ukrainian village of Zavorychi on fire after alleged military strike

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington

The St. George's Church in Ukraine's Zavorychi ​was on fire Monday, videos show, after an alleged Russian military strike. 

In the ​Monday videos ​of the church, the green roof of the blue-walled church was on fire.   

"They have attacked our church; guys don't go in there," a man in the video says. "They've gone and hit our church." 

"The Russian world," another says in another video. "Here is your Russian world!" 

On their website, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church confirmed that the church was on fire, saying that parishioners reported that it had been hit by Russian military strikes. 

The rector of St. George Church archpriest Petro Kotyuk said in a statement posted on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church website that a shell hit the church's dome and that Russian troops shot at houses.  


2:53 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

US Ambassador to NATO: Alliance "not prepared to move forward with a no-fly zone" in Ukraine

From CNN's Emmet Lyons and Ken Olshansky 

US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said Monday that the alliance will not move forward with a no-fly zone in Ukraine as it stands. 

“Our goal right now is to actually stop the war. We don't want to expand this conflict beyond Ukraine, and so right now, the signal from NATO collectively is that NATO is not prepared to move forward with a no-fly zone,” Smith told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview. 

Smith did, however, say that members of NATO were taking steps to “provide lethal support to Ukraine and assess their security needs in real time.” 

Smith also said that the alliance is taking steps to protect its members. “We will defend every inch of NATO territory. NATO is prepared to do that and is already taking steps to reinforce its eastern flank,” she said.   

The ambassador said that US officials are discussing with the Polish government the potential for Poland to send MiG-29 Soviet-era fighter jets in support of the Ukrainians. “That is a sovereign decision for Poland to take. The US has noted that it is willing to sit down and talk through some of the challenges of that. There are a lot of open-ended questions about the number of Ukrainian pilots that are available, how these jets would actually move from Poland to Ukraine. That's all being worked right now.”   

When asked about whether the Russians have dominance in the skies, Smith said that Moscow does not have air superiority in Ukraine and that it’s “bad news for President Putin.” 

“They have not taken Kyiv as they planned to do in the first few days of this conflict. President Zelensky is still the president of Ukraine, and what we've seen is some of these convoys, the 40-kilometer convoy that everyone has been keeping an eye on, in essence, has gone nowhere,” she said.  

“It tells us a lot about the ability of the Russian military and the challenges, particularly the logistic challenges, that the Russians are facing.” 

“It's quite astounding actually, their inability to provide their forces with the simple things like meals and fuel,” Smith added.   

2:45 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukraine says more 20,000 foreign volunteers want to join special unit to combat Russian forces

From CNN staff

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says it has created a special unit — the International Legion — which has already started to carry out combat missions to counter Russian aggression.

More than 20,000 volunteers and veterans from 52 countries have expressed their desire to join, according to Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov, commander of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry that will run this legion.

Burdanov expressed his gratitude to the fighters and said they are mostly experienced fighters who have participated in many peacekeeping campaigns around the world.

"Any help is worth its weight in gold," he said.
2:47 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky will address UK House of Commons on Tuesday

From CNN’s Max Foster and Arnaud Siad 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on at a press conference on March 3 in Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on at a press conference on March 3 in Kyiv. (Laurent Van der Stockt/For Le Monde/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to make a "historic" address to the British House of Commons on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET.

Zelensky will address members of parliament via video link – “the first time they have done so in the Chamber,” while formal parliamentary business will be suspended, according to a news release from the House of Commons on Monday. 

Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle granted that request, saying, “Every parliamentarian wants to hear directly from the president, who will be speaking to us live from Ukraine, so this is an important opportunity for the House.”  

“Thanks again to our incredible staff for working at pace to make this historic address possible,” Hoyle added in the statement. 

MPs will be able to watch the speech on screens installed overnight above either side of the Chamber, with over 500 headsets enabling members to hear a simultaneous translation in English, the House of Commons said.   

There will be no questions-and-answers session at the end of the address, it added.