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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2:15 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Mariupol officials say about 1,300 civilians have been killed in the city since start of Russian invasion

From CNN's Tim Lister in Kyiv

Two officials in the besieged city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine say that about 1,300 civilians there have been killed since the Russian invasion began.

The city was first shelled in the opening days of the conflict and has been under siege for almost a week.

"Preliminarily, 1,300 Mariupol residents have already died during the blockade genocide of the Russian Federation," Petr Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, told the Ukrainian agency UNIAN.

"We will fight for everyone," he added.

Earlier Wednesday, Mariupol's Deputy Mayor, Sergei Orlov, said that at least 1,207 victims of shelling had been confirmed through Tuesday. 

"Really we can't calculate how many deaths we have — I mean three to four times more. We are not even able to count how many people on the streets have been killed by bombing and artillery," Orlov told CNN.

2:12 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

On the ground: Strangers leave strollers, winter coats and toys at Polish border for Ukrainian refugees

From CNN's Alisha Ebrahimji, AnneClaire Stapleton and Anna-Maja Rappard

Strollers for refugees and their babies fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine are left at a train station in Przemysl, Poland, on March 2.
Strollers for refugees and their babies fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine are left at a train station in Przemysl, Poland, on March 2. (Francesco Malavolta/AP)

To help alleviate some of the stress and emotions that millions of refugees may be experiencing after fleeing Ukraine, strangers in Polish communities are helping strangers get settled with basic necessities in a place that may not feel anything like home.

Hundreds of thousands of children are among two million refugees who have fled Ukraine, since the Russian invasion began. Most of those who have fled have gone to Poland, to Ukraine's west, with large numbers also entering Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia. The journey, in many cases, lasts several days and they arrive with next to nothing.

Polish citizens left shopping carts filled with diapers at the Przemyśl train station platform.
Polish citizens left shopping carts filled with diapers at the Przemyśl train station platform. (Anna-Maja Rappard/CNN)

Strollers, carriers, jackets, toys, stuffed animals, diapers, even walkers for the elderly, have filled the area alongside the railway.

Dozens of volunteers with yellow vests, speaking multiple languages, are helping the refugees any way they can.

And help isn't just available in the form of physical supplies — some people have been holding up signs, offering rides to different places across Europe and volunteers are helping refugees find a place to stay.

Read the full report here.

2:08 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

The Constitutional Court of Russia withdraws from the Conference of European Constitutional Courts 

From Mariya Knight

The Constitutional Court of Russia announced it has withdrawn from the Conference of Constitutional Courts of Europe (CECC) as of March 5, the court said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.

Russian state media said that the Russian Constitutional Court’s withdrawal comes after the CECC chairman emailed ballots on March 4 to all members of the organization members to vote on terminating or suspending the Russian Constitutional Court's membership and associated membership of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus.

Russian state media quoted the Russian Constitutional Court as saying in a statement that “the authors [CECC] of this initiative proposed terminating the Russian Constitutional Court's membership as part of the CECC on the grounds that the Russian Constitutional Court justified the annexation of Crimea in its ruling of March 19, 2014.”

The statement went on to say the CECC efforts are also because the Russian Constitutional Court has “not clearly expressed their disapproval of the Russian Federation's actions in Ukraine, therefore, no efficient loyal cooperation can be expected any longer between the CECC and the Russian Constitutional Court.”

Russian state media quoted the Russian Constitutional Court justifying its decision to withdraw as saying: “The Conference of European Constitutional Courts considered it possible to openly, in a form completely unacceptable for the courts, to join the one-sided and biased position taken by the governments of the respective countries regarding the latest events in Ukraine." 

"Taking into account the foregoing and reaffirming its commitment to the goals and values for which the Conference of European Constitutional Courts was originally formed, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, under the circumstances, considers its further participation in the Conference of European Constitutional Courts impossible and declares its withdrawal from it from March 5, 2022,” according to the statement.

The Constitutional Court of Russia emphasized that it can exercise its powers only within the procedural framework outlined by the constitution.

2:04 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

On the ground: How a convention center in Bucharest is preparing for an influx of Ukrainian refugees

As the United Nations estimates more than two million people have fled Ukraine so far, the neighboring country of Romania is preparing for an influx of those escaping violence.

In the capital of Bucharest, CNN's Miguel Marquez detailed how officials are readying the city's convention center to accommodate up to 2,000 refugees.

Cots line the floor, and donations of food, water, blankets and clothing are being organized. There is also a separate area for mothers and babies.

"As far as we know, the people coming here are only in transit. A few of them remain in Romania. The rest are going through eastern countries. But we don't know how many people will come so we need to be prepared," Cosmina Simiean, Bucharest's general manager of the directorate of special services, told Marquez.

4:53 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

Here's a look at the latest companies to announce they are pulling back their business in Russia

From CNN's Amir Vera and Matt Egan 

As NATO and Western powers continue to economically isolate Russia via sanctions, companies are taking note of their ties to the country and are halting or modifying business as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Here are just some of the companies who have recently announced they are pulling back from Russia:

General Electric suspended operations in Russia, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

John Deere, the world’s largest agriculture equipment maker, halted shipments of its products to Russia two weeks ago, the company told CNN on Wednesday.

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.

Papa John's International announced Wednesday it has suspended all corporate operations in Russia. The company said it has stopped all operational, marketing and business support to, and engagement with, the Russian market. However, the Papa John’s brand will still exist in Russia. 

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

Hilton has shut down its corporate office in Moscow and is suspending all new development activity in Russia, the hotel company announced Wednesday. Hilton said that it will “ensure continued work and pay” for employees impacted by the closure of its Moscow office. The company also announced it is donating up to 1 million room nights to support Ukrainian refugees and humanitarian relief efforts across Europe.

Hyatt is halting development in Russia and new investments there following the invasion of Ukraine, the hotel company told CNN in a statement on Wednesday.

3M has halted operations in Russia, the post-it maker said in a statement to CNN.

Whirlpool, one of the world’s largest appliance makers, told CNN the company is limiting production in Russia and it has suspended its sales operation in Ukraine. Whirlpool did not specify how much of its operations in Russia will be sidelined.

A full list of the companies and industries pulling back from Russia can be found here.

1:47 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

White House points to "serious logistical bottleneck" with plans to send jets to Ukraine

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The White House suggested that there are “clearly logistical challenges” with a proposal from Poland to provide Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine.

“Secretary Austin, Chairman Milley and members of our defense department are in touch with Ukrainian counterparts, NATO counterparts, discussing what are clearly logistical challenges here,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said while offering a status update Wednesday amid uncertainty over how and if to proceed with plans to send jets to Ukraine. 

She pointed to a statement from Pentagon press secretary John Kirby Tuesday, saying the Pentagon did not believe Polish proposal was “tenable.” 

Kirby “made clear that obviously the proposal from yesterday, that fighter jets manned by Americans departing a NATO base to fly into airspace contested with Russia raises serious concerns for the United States and NATO,” she said.  

Psaki cited some of the logistical and operational challenges: getting planes into Ukraine in a way that is not escalatory, potentially having to take the planes apart and putting them back together, and ensuring the planes’ safe movement amid a war. 

She later called it a “serious logistical bottleneck,” saying that discussions on the matter are ongoing.

The US, Psaki emphasized, has otherwise “not held back” on military aid to Ukraine, including weapons, anti-missile systems, and tank systems.

1:55 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

New satellite images show homes, buildings, grocery stores and shopping malls destroyed in Mariupol 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Buildings and homes in central Mariupol are seen in this image taken in June 2021.
Buildings and homes in central Mariupol are seen in this image taken in June 2021. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

The same buildings and homes in central Mariupol are seen in this image taken March 9, 2022.
The same buildings and homes in central Mariupol are seen in this image taken March 9, 2022. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

As the dense clouds that have covered the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol for days break, the destruction of Russia's invasion has waged in the city is beginning to be captured on new satellite images from Maxar Technologies.  

In the images, which were taken Wednesday at 10:16 a.m. local time, a number of homes, buildings, grocery stores and shopping malls have been damaged in the fighting. 

In a residential area in central Mariupol, a number of homes have sustained damage and at least two have been completely destroyed. 

In western Mariupol, a fire appears to have damaged the Silpo and Epicenter K supermarkets. 

Portcity Shopping Mall and other buildings are seen in this image taken in June 2021.
Portcity Shopping Mall and other buildings are seen in this image taken in June 2021. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Portcity Shopping Mall and other buildings are seen damaged and destroyed in this image taken March 9, 2022.
Portcity Shopping Mall and other buildings are seen damaged and destroyed in this image taken March 9, 2022. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

A mile north, the Portcity Shopping Mall, also appears to have sustained significant damage from fire. 

It's unclear from the satellite images how the fire began, but the buildings have clearly been gutted by fire. 

A number of homes in the left bank neighborhood, located in Mariupol's east, also appear to have damaged. Entire roofs are missing on some of them. 

1:34 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

UK plans to supply Ukraine with anti-air missiles as Russia changes "tactics," British defense secretary says 

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

The United Kingdom is planning to send anti-air missiles to Ukraine to help Kyiv combat Russia's "indiscriminate and murderous" airstrikes, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“The Russians are changing their tactics, so the Ukrainians need to, too,” he said, adding that “it is therefore vital that Ukraine maintains its ability to fly and to suppress Russian air attack.”

Wallace told lawmakers that Ukraine’s defense “capability needs strengthening” and in response to Ukrainian requests, the UK government has "taken the decision to explore the donation of Starstreak high-velocity, man-portable anti-air missiles."

"We believe that this system will remain within the definition of defensive weapons, but will allow the Ukrainian forces to better defend their skies. We shall also be increasing supplies of rations, medical equipment, and other non-lethal military aid," Wallace said.

The defense secretary also said that the UK has increased the supply of anti-tank weapons (NLAWs), small arms and ammunition to Ukraine. 

"As of today, we have delivered 3,615 NLAWs and continue to deliver more. We will shortly be starting the delivery of a small consignment of anti-tank Javelin missiles as well. I want to assure the House that everything we do is bound by the decision to supply defensive systems and is calibrated not to escalate to a strategic level," Wallace said.

1:21 p.m. ET, March 9, 2022

UN reacts to Mariupol hospital bombing: Health care should not "ever, ever be a target"

From CNN's Richard Roth

The United Nations is following up “urgently” on “shocking reports” of the bombing of a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, saying health care facilities hospitals and health care workers should not “ever, ever be a target”

“It bears reminding that we have called, WHO has called for an immediate halt to attacks on healthcare, hospitals, health care workers, ambulances — none of these should ever, ever be a target,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday.

Dujarric said the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine “continues to deteriorate rapidly” – even as he described a productive meeting Wednesday between UN and Russian ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.

At the high level meeting in Moscow partners agreed to strengthen their cooperation to continue to facilitate “timely humanitarian assistance.”

More than 2.2 million people have crossed international borders escaping Ukraine, Dujarric said.

The secretary-general also spoke with the President of Poland to thank him for welcoming refugees, Dujarric said.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told President Andrzej Duda that he will do everything possible to mobilize the UN system to support Poland’s generosity.