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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6:25 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky seen in his office for first time since Russian invasion began

From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv

(Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky)
(Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has posted a video of himself in his office in Kyiv Monday night, the first time he has been seen there since the invasion began on Feb. 24. 

Looking out of the window before closing the curtain, Zelensky opened his video statement, saying:

“I’m staying in Kyiv. In my office. I’m not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone,” Zelensky said.

Apart from a brief outdoor appearance with members of his government soon after the invasion began, this is the first time he has been seen outside of his bunker since the Russian invasion began.  

5:44 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Pentagon spokesperson: We believe Putin is trying to recruit fighters from Syria to fight in Ukraine

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

The Pentagon does believe reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to recruit foreign fighters, specifically from Syria, to fight in Ukraine on behalf of Russian forces are true, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday.

“We do have indications that corroborate that story that in fact they are trying to enlist and recruit foreign fighters, which we find noteworthy that with more than 150,000 troops, a stalled military advance inside Ukraine, particularly in the north, that Mr. Putin has found it necessary to try to recruit foreign fighters for this war of his,” Kirby said when Tapper asked if the story, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was true.
4:58 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Ukrainian foreign minister will meet with Russian counterpart Thursday

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, is seen on Saturday after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Korczowa, Poland.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, is seen on Saturday after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Korczowa, Poland. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has confirmed he plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, March 10.

Kuleba said on Ukrainian television Monday that if Lavrov was ready for a serious substantive conversation, then he was ready as well. Kuleba said he would talk to anyone so that peace could be established.

4:44 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Russia proposes new ceasefire in 5 Ukrainian cities. Ukraine hasn't agreed yet.

Russia has proposed a new ceasefire starting 10 a.m. Moscow time, which is 2 a.m. ET Tuesday, which indicates it’s ready to open evacuation corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, Russian media reports quoting the Russian Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine.

Ukraine has yet to formally agree to the ceasefire proposal. 

"Russia declares a ceasefire from 10 a.m. (Moscow time) on March 8, and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors: from Kyiv and adjacent settlements to the Russian Federation through the territory of the Republic of Belarus to Gomel," Russian media quotes the statement.  

The Russian statement added that evacuation corridors "will also be open from Chernihiv through the territory of Belarus, from the city of Sumy along two routes to Poltava and to the territory of Russia, from Kharkiv to the territory of Russia or to Lviv, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk. Also, a humanitarian corridor will be opened from Mariupol along the two routes to the territory of Russia and Zaporizhie.”

Russia said it is offering to agree on the plan for the evacuation corridors with Ukraine by 3 a.m. ET Moscow time on Tuesday, ahead of the ceasefire starting at 10 a.m. ET local time.

6:15 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

500 more US troops will deploy to Poland, Romania, Germany and Greece, Pentagon says

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Vanessa Price

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby talks to reporters on Monday.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby talks to reporters on Monday.

The Pentagon announced Monday another 500 US troops would be deploying to Europe to reinforce NATO’s flank, including, Poland, Romania, Germany and Greece.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced the new deployments on Monday, which he said are being positioned to support US forces already in Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The new deployments include KC-135 refueling aircraft from Fairfield Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, to Greece, along with 150 personnel for refueling support. An air support operations center made up of 40 troops from Fort Stewart, Georgia, are deploying to Poland and Romania. And 300 US personnel are deploying to Germany to make up a modular ammunition ordnance company from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and a support maintenance company out of Fort Stewart. 

“These are purely defensive forces,” Kirby said. “These are specifically, the ones we’re talking about today, are enablers. And we said before, when we deployed the additional 7,000, that there would be associated enablers with them. This is part of that support.”

What is the latest with the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Russian forces continue to see more success in southern Ukraine. They have taken control of Kherson, a town on the coast of the Sea of Azov, and Berdyans’k, another coastal town, Kirby said. The US also believes Russia is in control of the nuclear power plant near the Dnieper River, Kirby said.

“We believe they are very much aimed on taking Mariupol, Mariupol is a violent place to be right now, this is another location for long-range fires and bombardment,” Kirby added.

Russian forces continue to rely more and more on “long-range fires,” including “bombardment, missile strikes, and long-range artillery into city centers,” the Pentagon press secretary said on Monday.

“What we assess is as they continue get frustrated, they continue to rely now more on what we would call long range fires. So this is bombardment, missile strikes, long range artillery into city centers that they aren't in yet at least not on the ground in any significant number,” Kirby said.

The US does not see Russian forces taking control of Kyiv, the capital. There is “heavy fighting outside” of Kharkiv and “they are still attempting to encircle” the city of Chernihiv in the north, Kirby added.

A large Russian military convoy outside of Kyiv is “still stalled, it is still stuck,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday. 

 “We don’t assess over the course of the weekend that it has made any progress,” he added.

 The main purpose of the convoy is mainly “re-supply,” Kirby said. 

“When you look at the images from the air you can see a lot of it they don't, they don't look like armored vehicles so much as they look like we supply trucks. That's not to say that there aren't combat vehicles in there, we don't have perfect visibility on,” Kirby said.
4:27 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022

US stocks fall again as Ukraine worries weigh on investors

From CNN's Paul R. La Monica 

US stocks fell sharply on Monday as investors continued to monitor the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

It was the worst day of the year for the Dow and S&P 500. The Nasdaq is now in a bear market as tech stocks were crushed. Energy stocks and utilities were among the few winners following a big spike in crude oil and gas prices. Several defense stocks hit new all-time highs as well. Bed Bath & Beyond surged after Ryan Cohen, the Chewy co-founder who is trying to turn around GameStop, disclosed he purchased a big stake. 

Here's how the markets closed on Monday:

  • The Dow was down 2.4%, or about 797 points.
  • The S&P 500 fell 3%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite plunged 3.6%.

Note: As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might still change slightly.

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

(UNTV)
(UNTV)

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.”