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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4:13 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Ukraine agrees to proposed humanitarian evacuation routes 

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

People help an elderly woman in the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 7.
People help an elderly woman in the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 7. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

The Ukrainian military has agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire with Russia on Wednesday to allow civilians to escape through humanitarian corridors, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Vereshchuk added that Prime Minister Denys Shmygal would be talking to the International Committee of the Red Cross Wednesday about the proposed routes for the ceasefire, which runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m local time.

"I appeal to the Russian Federation: you have made a formal public commitment," she said.

Vereshchuk said the ceasefire would allow civilians to escape through "green corridors" in the following areas:

  • Energodar-Zaporizhia
  • Sumy-Poltava
  • Mariupol-Zaporizhia
  • Volnovakha-Pokrovsk
  • Izium-Lozova
  • Vorzel, Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka, Gostomel-Kyiv

Vereshchuk highlighted two routes in particular — the evacuation of civilians from the port city of Mariupol and the eastern town of Volnovakha, both of which have been surrounded by Russian forces for several days.

"The residents of Volnovakha turn to me and ask me to get the promise of the Russian Federation today fulfilled, people have to be able to leave the places where they are now hiding from the hail of GRADs [rockets] and the devastating fire that is killing them," she said.

Vereshchuk said there would also be a special operation to evacuate an orphanage near Kyiv, in the suburb of Vorzel. She said there were 55 children and 26 staff members there.

3:41 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Russian forces almost destroyed this Ukrainian artist's work. Now it's becoming a global symbol of peace

From CNN's Oscar Holland

Maria Prymachenko's work is a celebrated example of "naïve art," a term used to describe work by artists without formal training.
Maria Prymachenko's work is a celebrated example of "naïve art," a term used to describe work by artists without formal training. (Prymachenko family foundation)

Not only is Maria Prymachenko among the 20th century's great self-taught artists, she is an icon of Ukrainian national identity.

Her fantastical paintings, praised during her lifetime by the likes of Pablo Picasso, are now found in some of the country's most important museums. Her work has also been featured on postage stamps and her likeness is immortalized on commemorative coins.

But 25 years after her death, the Russian invasion is threatening Prymachenko's legacy.

Last week, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said that several of the artist's paintings were among those destroyed at a museum in her native region of Ivankiv, about 50 miles northwest of the capital, Kyiv, following an attack by Russian forces.

Her brightly-colored, almost childlike depictions of flora and fauna — as well as of farmers tending crops and plowing fields — were among the items initially thought to have been lost.

But reports have since emerged suggesting that an act of bravery may have saved more than a dozen of her works from the blaze.

Read the full story:

3:39 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Dutch brewer stops sale and production of its Heineken beer in Russia

Heineken has become the latest major brand to halt operations in Russia.

The Dutch brewer said it is stopping the sale, production and advertising of its Heineken brand beer in the country.

It will also take immediate steps to ringfence its Russian operations from its wider business and said it will no longer “accept any net financial benefit derived from our Russian operations”. Heineken had already announced plans to stop all new investment and exports to Russia. 

In a statement Wednesday, Heineken said it is “assessing strategic options for the future of our Russian operations. We see a clear distinction between the actions of the government and our employees in Russia. For more than 20 years, our local employees have been valued members of our Heineken business. Supporting our employees and their families is a clear principle as we define the path forward.”

Heineken said it will also step up support and donations for NGOs operating in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

Some context: It comes as McDonald's and Starbucks said they are shutting their restaurants and cafes in Russia, and Coca-Cola is suspending its operations there in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. PepsiCo is also pulling some products from the country. 

3:22 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

New York Times withdraws all correspondents from Russia for first time in more than a century 

From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie

The New York Times (NYT) has pulled all its correspondents out of Russia, marking the first time in over a century that the paper will have no reporters on the ground there. 

"Very sad day for the history of @nytimes in Moscow. Pulling all its correspondents out of the country. We have had reporters there continuously since 1921, with one or two short interruptions due to visa hiccoughs. Not Stalin, not the Cold War, nothing drove us out," Neil MacFarquhar, a former NYT Moscow bureau chief tweeted.

The paper announced its formal withdrawal from Russia in a statement Tuesday, citing new legislation which seeks to criminalize journalists reporting on Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine by outlawing any references to "war."

"Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine. For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now," said New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha.

 Read more on the difficult decisions news outlets are making in Russia:

2:27 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

UK Defense Ministry: Ukraine's air defenses enjoying "considerable success" against Russian aircraft

From CNN’s Josh Campbell and Hannah Ritchie

A Ukrainian serviceman walks past the vertical tail fin of a Russian Su-34 bomber lying in a damaged building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 8.
A Ukrainian serviceman walks past the vertical tail fin of a Russian Su-34 bomber lying in a damaged building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 8. (Andrew Marienko/AP)

Ukraine's air defenses have "enjoyed considerable success against Russia's modern combat aircraft," Britain’s Ministry of Defense tweeted Wednesday. 

In its latest intelligence update on Russia's invasion, the ministry said Ukraine has "probably" prevented Russia from "achieving any degree of control of the air."

"Fighting north-west of Kyiv remains ongoing with Russian forces failing to make any significant breakthroughs," the statement added. 

In a separate update posted Wednesday, the ministry warned the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain "encircled by Russian forces and continue to suffer heavy Russian shelling."

1:06 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Evacuation corridor out of Sumy will remain open Wednesday, regional governor says

From CNN's Hannah Ritchie and Teele Rebane

Residents evacuate from Sumy, Ukraine, on March 8.
Residents evacuate from Sumy, Ukraine, on March 8. (Ukrainian Presidency handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

An evacuation corridor from the city of Sumy, northeastern Ukraine will stay in operation Wednesday, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said in a social media post.

“Friends! The negotiation team worked all night, and they extended the humanitarian corridor operation from Sumy to Poltava today," Zhyvytskyy said early Wednesday, adding the corridor will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. local time.

People will be able to travel in their personal vehicles, he said. Also, 22 buses used during Tuesday's evacuation will be returned to the city from the central city of Poltava to help the evacuations from about 2 p.m. local time, he said.

“They are the same buses we had yesterday for the first transport column. They will be used to transport pregnant women, women with children, elderly, and people with disabilities,” he added. 

The corridor enabled some 5,000 civilians to evacuate the city on Tuesday, according to deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office Kirill Timoshenko.

Some context: Sumy has been subjected to heavy attacks by Russian forces in the past few days, with most of its population cut off from the rest of Ukraine. An overnight airstrike in the city on Monday killed at least 21 civilians. 

1:07 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Analysis: Biden slams "Putin's price hike" as high gas prices add to Democrats' woes

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

America’s immediate political future will turn on this critical point: whether drivers stung by record gas prices blame Russian President Vladimir Putin or US President Joe Biden.

A staggering surge in the elevated cost of filling up since Russia invaded Ukraine represents another gut punch for consumers already swamped by a 40-year peak in inflation coming out of the pandemic.

And Biden acknowledged on Tuesday there is more pain to come, telling reporters his executive order banning imports of Russian energy signed Tuesday will heap more pain on gasoline prices ahead of spring break and summer vacation.

The war in Ukraine created yet another extreme challenge for Biden, who took office in the face of the worst public health crisis in 100 years and has seen his personal approval ratings plunge after failing to quickly conquer Covid-19 last year.

The gas price issue encapsulates a dilemma that can often afflict presidents at times of international crises.

Biden is being compelled to take action in defense of critical global imperatives like the defense of international law, the plight of a people under vicious bombardment and a desire to deter a dangerous dictator. But he knows that his actions will have a detrimental impact back home.

In the current polarized national environment and with only eight months to go before congressional elections, the downside for the President will only be magnified.

Read Collinson's full analysis here:

12:00 a.m. ET, March 9, 2022

It's 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Western nations are targeting Russia's oil exports as President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine — which has forced at least 2 million refugees to flee the country — enters a 14th day.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Sumy evacuation: tense and fleeting evacuation from Ukraine’s northeastern city of Sumy took place after a Russian airstrike killed 21 people, Ukrainian authorities said. About 5,000 people fled the city on Tuesday, according to a Ukrainian official. Some 700 Indian students also made it out, according to Indian authorities.
  • Russian oil export ban: President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports to the US — a step he warned could lead to a spike in gas prices. The UK said it will phase out "the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022" and the EU said it plans to slash Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year and phase out dependence before 2030.
  • Poland's jets: The US is sending two Patriot missile batteries to Poland as a "defensive deployment" to counter any potential threat to US and NATO allies, a spokesman for US European Command said. Earlier Tuesday, the Pentagon dismissed Poland's proposal to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US for delivery to Ukraine, calling it not "tenable."
  • Zelensky channels Churchill: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UK House of Commons, urging lawmakers to strengthen sanctions against Moscow. Echoing former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's famous wartime speech, Zelensky said, "We will fight until the end at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost."
  • Ukraine wary over ceasefire: The Ukrainian Armed Forces said it "is difficult to trust the occupier," after Russia announced a new ceasefire starting at 10 a.m. Moscow time (9 a.m. Ukrainian/2 a.m. ET) Wednesday. Russia said it’s ready to provide evacuation corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, along with other cities negotiated with the Ukrainian side.
  • Civilians held "hostage": The ceasefire proposal comes as Ukraine's foreign minister said Russian troops are holding 300,000 civilians "hostage" in the besieged southern city of Mariupol, where he said a child died of dehydration. Ukrainian authorities said a long-awaited convoy of humanitarian aid to the city appeared to have come under fire.
  • US brands pull out of Russia: McDonald’s and Starbucks became the latest Western businesses to close operations in Russia, following Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which is also pulling some products from the country. 
10:21 p.m. ET, March 8, 2022

Russian-American charged with acting as illegal Russian agent in the US

From CNN's Sonia Moghe

A dual Russian-American citizen has been charged with acting as a spy in the US, according to court filings that say she ran organizations that "sought to spread Russian propaganda."

Elena Branson was charged Tuesday with acting and conspiring to act in the US illegally as an agent of the Russian government, willfully failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, conspiring to commit visa fraud and making false statements to the FBI, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint alleges that Branson fled to Russia in 2020.

From at least 2011, Branson worked on behalf of the Russian government and Russian officials to advance Russian interests in the US, the complaint says. Prosecutors allege she coordinated meetings for Russian officials to lobby US political officials and businesspeople, and operated organizations to publicly promote Russian government policies.

CNN has attempted to contact Branson for comment on the charges.

The charges come as tensions between the US and Russia continue to intensify following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine last month, with the US front-and-center in a multinational effort to punish Russia for its actions.

Read more: