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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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.

Read more:

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. 

3:28 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Images show devastation and rubble across key cities after weekend of shelling

Attacks on residential housing in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this image taken from social media.
Attacks on residential housing in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this image taken from social media. (State Emergency Service Ukraine)

New images released by Ukrainian authorities show the extent of damage in key cities, as Russia steps up its unprovoked assault with standoffs continuing in several locations.

The southern city of Mykolaiv was hit by multiple rockets on Monday morning, said the State Emergency Service of Ukraine on Facebook. It posted images along with its statement, with one showing emergency workers and a firetruck outside still-smoking buildings.

Another image showed the inside of the ruined apartment; much of the home had been reduced to rubble, with the outer wall torn open, dust and slabs of broken concrete covering the floor.

The northeast city of Kharkiv also endured shelling and bombing on both Saturday and Sunday night, said the National Police of Ukraine in a Facebook statement. Images show the aftermath, the glow of fires lighting up the darkness at night and similar homes torn apart.

The aftermath of Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, over the weekend is seen in this image taken from social media.
The aftermath of Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, over the weekend is seen in this image taken from social media. (National Police of Ukraine)

3:27 a.m. ET, March 7, 2022

Moldova PM urges more aid for refugees: "After just 10 days of war, we are at capacity"

From CNN's Ivan Watson

Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita gave an exclusive interview to CNN on Sunday, March 6.
Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita gave an exclusive interview to CNN on Sunday, March 6. (CNN)

In an exclusive interview with CNN on Sunday, Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita urged the international community to step in as Ukrainian refugees leave the country by the thousands.

"We are seeing an extraordinary humanitarian crisis," said Gavrilita. "Already 230,000 people have crossed the Moldovan border from Ukraine, and about 120,000 have chosen to stay. 96,000 are Ukrainian citizens."

That figure makes up 4% of Moldova's entire population of 2.6 million, she added. "Every eighth child in Moldova is now a refugee."

She "strongly condemned" Russia' invasion into Ukraine, adding that the Moldovan government was doing its best to support refugees -- but their capacity was limited.

"We wouldn’t have been able to deal with this massive inflow if it wasn’t for the extraordinary solidarity of people," she added. "At least three fourths of the refugees are staying with families. A lot of Ukrainians have friends or relatives in Moldova -- but also regular people have just taken in Ukrainian families, and invited them into their homes."

She urged the European Union to set up corridors to help refugees move toward other countries, warning, "after just 10 days of war, we are at capacity. I think the flow of refugees is higher and faster than even predictions indicated."