March 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Sana Noor Haq, George Ramsay, Ed Upright, Amir Vera and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022
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12:20 p.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Pelosi announces US House will vote to ban Russia oil imports today

From CNN's Annie Grayer

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter that the US House would vote today on a bill to ban imports of Russian oil and energy products. 

According to Pelosi, the bill contains "three major provisions that will further isolate Russia from the global economy and leave it weaker in every way."

She went on to list the components:

  • "The bill will ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States."
  • "The bill will take steps to review Russia’s access to the World Trade Organization and explore how we can further diminish Russia in the global economy."
  • "The bill will reauthorize and strengthen the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act so that the United States can impose further sanctions on Russia."

Earlier today, US President Joe Biden said his administration is banning Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports to the US in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The US will make the move unilaterally, without its European allies, due to disagreement among European nations about whether to ban Russian energy imports. EU countries have significantly more exposure to Russian energy than the US.

12:18 p.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Ukrainian governor says evacuation from Sumy is about to end

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Dmytro Zhyvytsky, head of the regional administration in the Sumy region, has said that the evacuation route out of the city is about to close at 7:30 p.m. local/12:30 p.m. ET.

The city of Sumy has seen heavy attacks in the last few days and is almost cut off from the rest of the country. Twenty-one people were reported killed in the city in an airstrike Monday night.

"At the moment, citizens are being evacuated by their own vehicles. The organized column set off in the direction of the city of Romny. There are private cars there. They are accompanied by a Red Cross car," Zhyvytsky said on his Telegram channel.

"The final time of departure from Sumy is 19:30. After 19:30 the checkpoint closes and it will be impossible to leave Sumy. The ceasefire regime has been agreed until 21:00."
11:53 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Moscow Stock Exchange to remain closed on March 9

From CNN staff

The Moscow Stock Exchange will remain closed on March 9, the Russian Central Bank announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Only limited operations will be allowed, according to the statement.

The exchange has been closed since Feb. 28, as the United States, European Union and other Western allies imposed sanctions and the Russian ruble plunged to record lows against the US dollar.

11:47 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

US intel estimates between 2,000 and 4,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

The US intelligence community estimates between 2,000 and 4,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine since Moscow launched its invasion last month, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said Tuesday.

DIA Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier told the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that the intelligence community has “low confidence” in its assessment of how many Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine, but that the range is between 2,000 and 4,000 troops. 

Berrier said that the estimate is based both on intelligence sources as well as open-source material. 

11:46 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Biden says "Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin"

(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin will never be successful in taking the whole of Ukraine.

"Putin seems determined to continue on his murderous path no matter the cost," Biden said at the White House.

"He has already turned two million Ukrainians into refugees. Russia may continue to grind out its advance at a horrible price, but this much is already clear: Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin. Putin may be able to take a city, but he'll never be able to hold the country. And if we do not respond to Putin's assault on global peace and stability today, the cost of freedom, and to the American people, will be even greater tomorrow," he said.

Biden also commended the Ukrainian people for their resistance in the face of war.

"They've inspired the world with their bravery, their patriotism, their defiant determination to live free. Putin's war — Putin's war — has caused an enormous suffering and needless loss of life of women, children, everyone in Ukraine — both Ukraine and, I might add, Russians," he said.

11:45 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Biden: "Putin's war is already hurting American families at the gas pump"

(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden acknowledged that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is already hurting American families, including rising gas prices. He admitted that his decision to ban Russian oil imports will cost at home.

"The decision today is not without cost here at home. Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump. Since Putin began his military build-up at the Ukrainian border, just since then, the price of gas in America went up 75 cents. With this action is going to go up further," he said Tuesday.

Biden added, "I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home."

He also addressed the American oil and gas companies, saying the war and its impacts are "no excuse to exercise excessive price increases" that exploit the American consumer, adding that he will not tolerate it.

"Russia's aggression is costing us all. And it's no time for profiteering or price gouging. I want to be clear about what we'll not tolerate," he said.

But he also acknowledged the firms that were "leading by example" by pulling out of Russia.

"This is a time when we have to do our part," he said.

11:40 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Biden on ban of Russian oil imports: "Defending freedom is going to cost"

(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden said banning Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports to the United States will have a price in the country, but lawmakers are united in taking action.

"There will be cost as well here in the United States. I said I would level with the American people from the beginning, and when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost, it's going to cost us as well in the United States. Republicans and Democrats understand that alike. Republicans and Democrats alike are clear we must do this," the President said from the White House.

He also said the US has provided more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. 

"Shipments of defensive weapons are arriving in Ukraine every day from the United States, and we in the United States are the ones coordinating delivery of our allies and partners of similar weapons — from Germany to Finland to the Netherlands. We're working that out. We're also providing humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people," he said.  

11:44 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

UK to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022

From CNN's Chris Liakos

The UK will phase out “the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022,” UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said Tuesday.

“This transition will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports – which make up 8% of UK demand,” he said on Twitter.

Kwarteng added that the government will work with companies to support them in finding alternative supplies. 

“The UK is a significant producer of oil and oil products, plus we hold significant reserves. Beyond Russia, the vast majority of our imports come from reliable partners such as the US, Netherlands and the Gulf. We’ll work with them this year to secure further supplies,” Kwarteng said.

He added that while the UK is not dependent on Russian natural gas, it only makes up 4% of UK supply, he is exploring options to end this altogether.

Read his tweets:

11:25 a.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Putin nuclear announcement "very unusual" but intended as "deterrence," top US intelligence official says  

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he was elevating the readiness status of his nuclear forces was “very unusual,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers on Tuesday, but she said that it was better understood as messaging rather than an immediate threat to the United States. 

“We obviously take it very seriously when he's signaling in this way,” Haines said. “But we do think [that] he is effectively signaling, that he's attempting to deter” NATO from getting involved in the conflict in Ukraine, she said during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. “That’s been his main purpose in doing so.”

Haines also said that the Russian announcement that Russian strategic forces would be placed on “special alert status” did not refer to a “technical term as we understand it within their system.” 

The intelligence community has closely tracked any Russian strategic movements, Haines said, but “we're not seeing something at this stage that indicates that he is doing something different than what we've seen in the past.”