March 9, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, George Ramsay, Jack Bantock, Ed Upright, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Amir Vera, Maureen Chowdhury and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022
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12:57 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Amazon halts retail shipments to Russia and cuts off Prime Video

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Amazon has suspended access to Prime Video in Russia, and the e-commerce giant is no longer shipping retail orders to customers in both Russia and Belarus, the company said Tuesday.

In addition, Amazon added, it is no longer selling New World, the company's recently released online multiplayer video game, in Russia.

The decisions mark the latest steps by Amazon to back away from Russia, and coincide with a move CNN previously reported to halt new signups for Amazon Web Services, Amazon's massively lucrative cloud computing platform.

"Given the ongoing situation in Russia and Ukraine, we’ve taken additional actions in the region," Amazon said in a blog post. "We’ve suspended shipment of retail products to customers based in Russia and Belarus, and we will no longer be accepting new Russia and Belarus-based AWS customers and Amazon third-party sellers. We are also suspending access to Prime Video for customers based in Russia, and we will no longer be taking orders for New World, which is the only video game we sell directly in Russia."

The announcement follows an earlier Amazon statement that it has been providing cybersecurity assistance to Ukraine and had observed malicious state and non-state actors attempting to hack "charities, NGOs, and other aid organizations in order to spread confusion and cause disruption."

12:54 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

University and Mariupol city building near hospital also hit by apparent Russian military strike, videos show

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Katie Polglase, Celine Alkhaldi, Gianluca Mezzofiore, Anatasia Graham-Yooll and Mariya Knight

Destruction from a bombing at a city administration building and a university in Mariupol are seen in this image made from video.
Destruction from a bombing at a city administration building and a university in Mariupol are seen in this image made from video. (from Telegram)

A city administration building and a university in Mariupol, less than a kilometer from the children's and maternity hospital that Ukrainian officials say was bombed by Russian forces, has been identified by CNN as a second location in the city hit by an apparent Russian military strike.

CNN was able to identify Pryazov State Technical University and the Mariupol City Council Administration building as the second military strike location in Mariupol through videos posted to social media, which were geolocated and verified as authentic.

The videos show significant destruction at the university and city council building.

In one video, an alarm is heard echoing out as the remains of a minivan are seen. The video pans to show the destroyed buildings and debris-covered street. Explosions are heard in the video, but it's unclear what is causing them. 

"This is [PSTU],"a man is heard saying, referring to the university. 

Another video showed the remains of a restaurant on the ground floor of one of the bombed-out buildings. 

"Behind the fighting remains, as you can hear," the man said.

A third video shows that a portion of a building has collapsed. 

The explosion at the university and city council building took place around the same time as the explosion at the children's and maternity hospital.

12:44 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

WHO has verified 18 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine, director general says

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

The World Health Organization (WHO) has verified 18 attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine so far, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. 

So far, WHO has verified 18 attacks on health facilities, health workers and ambulances, including ten deaths and 16 injuries,” Tedros said in a media briefing. 

“More than 2 million people have left Ukraine and WHO is supporting neighboring countries to provide health care for refugees, most of whom are women and children. Some of the main health challenges we see are hypothermia, and frostbite, respiratory diseases, lack of treatment for cardiovascular disease and cancer, and mental health issues. WHO personnel and have been deployed to neighboring countries to provide mental health and psychosocial support.”

Tedros said the organization has delivered 81 metric tons of supplies to the region and is working on establishing a pipeline to get supplies to health facilities. 

“Yesterday, we delivered 5 metric tons of medical supplies to Kyiv to support surgical care for 150 trauma patients and other supplies to manage a range of health conditions for 45,000 people for a month. More supplies will be distributed today,” he said. 

Dr. Adelheid Marschang, senior emergency officer, said “remarkably” Covid-19 surveillance in the country remains in place and cases appear to be decreasing. 

“We have to say remarkably, Ukraine has maintained its Covid-19 surveillance and response system. And we have noted in the last week 731 Covid-19 deaths, the numbers of cases seem to decrease,” she said, noting that the organization is also monitoring the risk of spread of measles and polio in the crisis. 

“The reality is that the conditions we see in Ukraine are the worst possible ingredients for the amplification and spread of infectious disease,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. 

“It doesn't matter if it's Covid, doesn't matter if it's polio, doesn't matter if it's measles, doesn't matter if it’s cholera. You put that many people in desperation on the move, women and children packed together, people in basements. People stressed, people not eating, not sleeping. These are the conditions which immune systems are weak. People's defenses are low, and infectious diseases can rip through populations like this,” Ryan said.

The only real solution to this situation is peace,” Tedros said.

“WHO continues to call on the Russian Federation to commit to a peaceful resolution to this crisis and to allow safe, unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance for those in need. A peaceful resolution is possible, and that's true in every war and humanitarian crisis to which WHO is responding around the world,” the director general said.

12:31 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

British foreign secretary says UK will supply air defense systems to Ukraine

 From CNN's Sugam Pokharel and Sharon Braithwaite

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Wednesday that the UK will supply air defense systems to Ukraine. 

“The best way to help protect the skies is through anti-air weaponry, which the UK is now going to be supplying to Ukraine,” Truss said speaking alongside her American counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington. 

The UK is not seeking to set up a no-fly zone over evacuation corridors in Ukraine as that would "lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. And that is not what we are looking at," she said.

Truss said the UK would like see a full ban on Russia from the SWIFT payment system and all the G7 countries ending its use of Russian oil and gas.  

“So we must go further and faster in our response. We must double down on our sanctions,” she added. 

The foreign secretary said that while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing "immense pain and suffering,” Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not making the progress he planned.” 

“We have surprised Putin with our unity and the toughness of our sanctions, hitting the banks, the ships, the planes, the oligarchs, and the oil and gas revenues. And the brave Ukrainian people have surprised him with their determination and their leadership,” she said.  

Now is not the time to let up. Putin must fail,” Truss said. 
12:27 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

US defense official says Russia still has about "90% of their available combat power" ready to use in Ukraine

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Russia has about “90% of their available combat power still ready for their use” in Ukraine, a senior US defense official told reporters on Wednesday.

The US assesses Russia no longer has “several hundred vehicles of different stripes and sizes” available to them, but the US does not know if those vehicles were captured, destroyed or abandoned, the official added.  

CNN first reported Tuesday that the US estimated that as much as 8% to 10% of Russian military assets used in the invasion of Ukraine are now destroyed or inoperable, according to a US official familiar with the latest intelligence as of Tuesday.

The equipment lost includes tanks, aircraft, artillery and other military assets. That is close to double the losses that CNN reported last week when it was estimated Russia had lost 3% to 5% of its military assets.

12:10 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

British prime minister condemns hospital bombing: "We will hold Putin to account for his terrible crimes"

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

People are assisted as they leave a building at the site of a bombing at a hospital in Mariupol.
People are assisted as they leave a building at the site of a bombing at a hospital in Mariupol. (from Twitter)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday condemned the bombing of a children's and maternity hospital in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, saying, "There are few things more depraved than targeting the vulnerable and defenceless.”

In a tweet, he said that Britain "is exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes and we will hold Putin to account for his terrible crimes,” adding the hashtag "#PutinMustFail." 

The city council of Mariupol has posted video of a devastated maternity and children's hospital in the city and accused Russian forces of dropping several bombs on it from the air.  

12:46 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Mariupol authorities accuse Russians of bombing children's and maternity hospital

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv and Olga Voitovych

A vehicle burns at the site of a maternity hospital that was bombed in this image taken from video.
A vehicle burns at the site of a maternity hospital that was bombed in this image taken from video. (from Twitter)

The city council of the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol has posted video of a devastated children's and maternity hospital in the city and accused Russian forces of dropping several bombs on it from the air.

"The destruction is enormous. The building of the medical facility where the children were treated recently is completely destroyed. Information on casualties is being clarified," the council said.

"A maternity hospital in the city center, a children’s ward and department of internal medicine ... all these were destroyed during the Russian air strike on Mariupol. Just now," said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional administration.

Donetsk region police say that according to preliminary information, at least 17 people were injured —mothers and staff — as a result of the Russian attack.

"Information on victims is being clarified," the police said

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the air strike on the hospital in Mariupol.

"Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?" Zelensky said on his Telegram account.

The president again directed his anger at NATO for refusing to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying "Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity."

CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase and Celine Alkhaldi contributed reporting to this post.

Watch more here:

12:17 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

British American Tobacco says it will continue to operate in Russia and suspends planned investment

From CNN's Robert North

British American Tobacco (BAT) says it will continue to operate in Russia and will suspend all planned investment into the country to focus on its portfolio of locally produced tobacco products.

“In Russia, we have a full establishment of our people right across the country, including substantial local manufacturing. Our business in Russia continues to operate. As a key principle we have a duty of care to all our employees at this extremely complicated and uncertain time for them and their families," the tobacco firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement added: “Furthermore, we are scaling our business activities appropriate to the current situation, including rationalising our marketing activities. This fast-moving and complex situation demands us to constantly assess a wide range of factors and considerations. We are complying, and will continue to comply with, all international sanctions related to this conflict in full.”

BAT currently employs around 2,500 people at its regional offices and St. Petersburg manufacturing plant.

British American Tobacco said it had suspended all business and manufacturing operations in Ukraine and was providing support and assistance to its staff there.

Earlier, tobacco firm Imperial Brands said that it had suspended all operations in Russia, including halting production at its factory in Volgograd and ceasing all sales and marketing activity. The firm said it would continue to pay all of its staff in Russia. Imperial Brands had already suspended its operations in Ukraine to prioritize the “safety and wellbeing” of its 600 employees.

12:22 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

US and Polish officials are still discussing possible jet deal, but logistical hurdles remain

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak

US and Polish officials have had a number of conversations since United States officials were caught off guard by Poland’s statement yesterday about providing fighter jets, an administration official said, adding that the relationship between the two countries remains strong despite the disagreement.

And a senior administration official says providing Ukraine with MiG fighter jets remains a priority for the administration, even after the US rejected Poland's proposal to transfer them first to the US, senior administration officials say. 

While the White House was caught by surprise when Poland made its offer publicly, officials do not believe the episode precludes coming to some type of agreement that would allow the jets to get to Ukraine.

But at the same time, Tuesday's disagreement underscores the logistical difficulties that have so far prevented Ukraine from securing the jets. And officials indicated that the odds are stacked against finding a solution to provide the jets and that there are no immediate apparent solutions to facilitate the delivery.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday the United States is continuing to consult with Poland and other NATO allies on how to provide fighter jets to Ukraine.

“I think what we're seeing is that Poland’s proposal shows that there are some complexities that the issue presents when it comes to providing security systems. We have to make sure that we're doing it the right way,” Blinken said at a press conference at the State Department.

There are also a handful of other countries with the jets — including Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria — and officials are not ruling out talks with those nations as they seek a way forward. One official said that Ukraine's initial request was directed at Poland, plus those three countries, but that Poland was the only country initially willing to entertain a possible jet transfer.

Officials describe the issue as two-fold: a logistics problem of getting the jets to Ukraine, and a political problem of avoiding escalation with Russia. US officials described the Polish plan as failing to adequately address both.

One administration official said the US was concerned Russia could interpret jets flying into Ukraine from a NATO base as an attack.

Another official said pressure to get the jets to Ukraine noticeably ramped up after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded with US lawmakers to facilitate a transfer during a Zoom call on Saturday morning. 

Prior to the call, US officials had downplayed the prospects of helping with a transfer of the MiG planes, which Ukrainian pilots have been trained to fly. Officials said they were focused mainly on other areas of security assistance, including sending anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. The logistical challenges of getting the aircraft to Ukraine appeared to some officials an unworkable challenge, and they questioned how effective the planes would be.  

But Zelensky’s request on the call, which lawmakers described as impassioned, seemed to change the calculus. Immediately after the session ended, both Republicans and Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, came out in support. 

That left the administration with little choice but to publicly get behind the idea, even if some officials were skeptical. By Sunday, Blinken said the US was working with Polish officials to transfer the planes to Ukraine and “backfill” with US jets.  

An administration official said the bilateral relationship between the two countries remains strong and that the additional US security assistance has continued to flow into Ukraine via Poland, including in the last day.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.