March 10, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, George Ramsay, Jack Guy, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya, Jason Kurtz, Aditi Sangal and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:11 a.m. ET, March 11, 2022
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10:52 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

China is pushing a Russian conspiracy theory about an alleged US bioweapons lab in Ukraine

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian. (CCTV)

China has joined Russian propaganda efforts in promoting a conspiracy theory that the United States has funded the development of biological weapons in Ukraine.

Speaking in a briefing Thursday, Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Washington should accept "multilateral inspection" of an alleged US-controlled bioweapons lab in the embattled country.

Zhao was referring to a report Monday by China's state broadcaster CCTV, which cited allegations by a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman that Washington had funded the development of biological weapons in Ukrainian labs.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday dismissed the accusations as "conspiracy theories."

"The Russian military operation that uncovered secrets about US laboratories in Ukraine is not something to be brushed off by saying it’s so-called propaganda and so-called ridiculous," Zhao said Thursday.

Some background: A CNN analysis on Thursday found state-run news outlets in China — which dominate the country's highly censored media space — have largely echoed Russian state media or information from Russian officials about the invasion of Ukraine.

In a series of tweets this week, Psaki slammed the biological weapons claims, noting the US had also seen Chinese officials "echo these conspiracy theories."

"Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them. It’s a clear pattern,” she said.

Psaki also noted Russia’s “long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons” as well as its pattern of “accusing the West of the very violations that Russia itself is perpetrating.”

Ukraine labs: Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, US-funded biolabs were established in Ukraine — partly to secure old weapons left behind in the former Soviet republics. The State Department has described the claims as nonsense — and the US and Ukrainian governments have repeatedly, and for years now, tried to bat down conspiracy theories about the labs and spoken about the work that is actually being done in them

Russia's claims discussed at the UN: The United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting Friday at the request of Russia about the allegation the US is developing chemical weapons in Ukraine. The US' UN Mission spokeswoman Olivia Dalton said the move was "exactly the kind of false flag effort we have warned Russia might initiate to justify a biological or chemical weapons attack."

Read more about Russia's disinformation machine:

11:00 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Russian major general killed in Ukraine at end of February

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington

Russian Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky seen in March of 2021.
Russian Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky seen in March of 2021. (Sergei Malgavko/TASS/Sipa USA)

Russian Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky was killed while fighting in Ukraine, according to a statement from the Novorossiysk city government in Russia on March 3.

In the statement, the government said Sukhovetsky — the deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Russian Ground Forces — died on Feb. 28 "while performing a combat mission during a special operation in Ukraine."

Sukhovetsky had previously served in the Russian military during operations in the North Caucasus region and Syria, the statement said. 

10:39 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

US Senate passes government funding bill with $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid

From CNN's Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav, Ted Barrett 

The US Senate has voted on a bipartisan basis to pass the massive $1.5 trillion government funding bill that includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine.

The final tally was 68 to 31. 

The bill, which the House passed Wednesday evening, can now be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.

What the Ukraine aid includes: Of the $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, money is set aside for humanitarian, defense, and economic assistance. The bill also includes provisions for sanctions enforcement.

The emergency aid package sets aside $4 billion to help refugees who have fled or were displaced within the country and it increases the President's authority for defense equipment transfer to Ukraine and other allied nations to $3 billion, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee.

10:25 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Biden to announce US will move to revoke most-favored-nation status for Russia

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Joe Biden will announce Friday that the US, along with the G7 and European Union, will call for revoking "Most Favored Nation" status for Russia, referred to as permanent normal trade relations in the US, sources familiar with the move tell CNN.

Each country is expected to implement this measure based on its own national processes. The sources made note of congressional efforts to revoke Russia's permanent normal trade relations.

The move would require an act of Congress.

Read more:

11:23 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

US warns Russia is "gaslighting the world" as UN Security Council discusses chemical weapons claims

From CNN's Senior UN Correspondent Richard Roth

The United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting Friday at the request of Russia about an allegation the United States is developing chemical weapons in Ukraine.

The US' UN Mission spokeswoman Olivia Dalton said the move was "exactly the kind of false flag effort we have warned Russia might initiate to justify a biological or chemical weapons attack."

"Russia has a well-documented history of using chemical weapons and has long maintained a biological weapons program in violation of international law. Russia also has a track record of falsely accusing the West of the very violations that Russia itself is perpetrating," Dalton said.

"We’re not going to let Russia get away with gaslighting the world or using the UN Security Council as a venue for promoting their disinformation."

Some context: At a UN meeting Thursday, Russia accused the US of funding research for chemical weapons in Ukraine. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki slammed the allegations as "false claims."  

9:07 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Ukraine asks to withdraw more than 300 peacekeepers from UN missions

From CNN's Richard Roth and Laura Studley

Ukraine has requested to withdraw more than 300 peacekeepers from five operations, a United Nations representative said Thursday.

According to UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the peacekeepers are in Mali, Cyprus, Kosovo, South Sudan and Abyei — a disputed border region claimed by Sudan and South Sudan.

This includes 250 troops, 36 staff officers and experts on mission and 22 police officers —  a total of 308 personnel from Ukraine.

“It is the right of any member state to withdraw, and we do need to thank the Ukrainian personnel and the use of their equipment for their longstanding contribution to peace operations and obviously the individual peacekeepers themselves as well," Dujarric said. 

Additional peacekeepers from other regions will remain in these five locations.

“We are in discussions with other states to maintain our troop capabilities in all those missions," Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the Secretary-General told CNN Thursday. 

It comes after an earlier Ukrainian request to withdraw peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

8:58 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Ukraine has lost all communications with Chernobyl, UN nuclear watchdog says

From CNN's Hira Humayun

Ukraine has lost all communications with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement Thursday.

The statement comes a day after the Russian-controlled site lost external power supplies.

Power to the site: IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said the United Nations' nuclear watchdog is aware of reports that power has been restored to the site and is looking for confirmation.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s regulatory authority told the IAEA that emergency generators were providing electricity to the Chernobyl plant.

“The subsequent loss of communication meant that the regulator could no longer provide updated information about the site to the IAEA,” the statement read.

IAEA cited the Ukrainian regulatory authority, saying: “According to the information received before the loss of communication, both of the site’s power lines had been damaged, in effect disconnecting it from the grid.”

Effect of the disconnection: The IAEA statement said the disconnection from the grid “will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site, where various radioactive waste management facilities are located, as the volume of cooling water in the spent fuel facility is sufficient to maintain heat removal without a supply of electricity.” 

According to the IAEA, Ukraine’s regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors remained operating, including two at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, three at Rivne, one at Khmelnytsky and two at South Ukraine. Radiation levels at the four sites were normal, it said.

Grossi also said the IAEA is in touch with Ukrainian authorities about radiation monitoring systems in Ukraine.

The IAEA has not been able to re-establish communication with the monitoring systems installed to monitor nuclear material and activities at the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia facilities following the loss of remote data transmissions from those systems.

8:36 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Satellite images show suburbs of Kyiv have sustained significant damage

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Fuel storage tanks are seen on fire at the Russian-controlled Antonov Airbase in Hostomel,Ukraine.
Fuel storage tanks are seen on fire at the Russian-controlled Antonov Airbase in Hostomel,Ukraine. (Maxar Technologies)

The northwest suburbs of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and parts of the northern city of Chernihiv have sustained significant damage, new satellite images from Maxar Technologies show.

Satellite images taken on Thursday show fuel storage tanks on fire at the Russian-controlled Antonov Airbase in Hostomel, a northwest suburb of Kyiv. A thick black plume of smoke can be seen rising from the tanks, which are located on the southern end of the airbase.

A series of apartment buildings demolished are seen in Borodyanka, Ukraine, a town just northwest of Kyiv.
A series of apartment buildings demolished are seen in Borodyanka, Ukraine, a town just northwest of Kyiv. (Maxar Technologies)

The images also show a series of apartment buildings demolished in Borodyanka, a town just northwest of Kyiv. CNN has previously reported that these apartment buildings were damaged by Russian military strikes

A burned out warehouse in Stoyanka, Ukraine.
A burned out warehouse in Stoyanka, Ukraine. (Maxar Technologies)

A satellite image shows a warehouse just outside Kyiv's city limits in Stoyanka completely gutted by fire. 

The Epicenter K supermarket destroyed by fire n Chernihiv, Ukraine.
The Epicenter K supermarket destroyed by fire n Chernihiv, Ukraine. (Maxar Technologies)

In Chernihiv, roughly 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Kyiv, the Epicenter K supermarket has also been destroyed by fire, the images show. The charred remains of the building can be seen —  but there is no roof.

A fire burning in an industrial district in Chernihiv, Ukraine.
A fire burning in an industrial district in Chernihiv, Ukraine. (Maxar Technologies)

A fire is also seen burning in one of Chernihiv's industrial districts, located on its south side.

7:58 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Stalled 40-mile-long Russian convoy near Kyiv now largely dispersed, satellite images show

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Russian military vehicles are seen sitting on roadways in residential areas in the town of Ozera, Ukraine -- 17 miles northwest of Kyiv. 
Russian military vehicles are seen sitting on roadways in residential areas in the town of Ozera, Ukraine -- 17 miles northwest of Kyiv.  (Maxar Technologies)

With the clouds temporarily clearing around the Ukrainian capital, new satellite images taken earlier on Thursday show that the Russian military convoy northwest of Kyiv that stretched more than 40 miles (more than 64 kilometers) has "largely dispersed and redeployed," Maxar Technologies says.

The satellite images show that some elements of the convoy have "repositioned" into forests and treelined areas near Lubyanka, Ukraine, according to Maxar. The satellite images were taken at 11:37 a.m. Kyiv time (4.37 a.m. ET) on Thursday.

Just north of the Antonov Airbase in Hostomel, Ukraine, Russian military vehicles are seen sitting on roadways in residential areas in the town of Ozera — 17 miles northwest of Kyiv. 

Towed artillery and other vehicles are seen taking cover in a sparse patches of trees near Lubyanka — about three miles northwest of the Antonov Airbase.

In Berestyanka — 10 miles west of the airbase — a number of fuel trucks and, what Maxar says, appears to be multiple rocket launchers are seen positioned in a field near trees.

Southeast of Ivankiv — the end of what was the 40+ mile convoy — a number of trucks and equipment are still seen on the roadway.

See more of the images below:

In Berestyanka -- ten miles west of the airbase -- a number of fuel trucks and what Maxar says appears to be multiple rocket launchers are seen positioned in a field near trees.
In Berestyanka -- ten miles west of the airbase -- a number of fuel trucks and what Maxar says appears to be multiple rocket launchers are seen positioned in a field near trees. (Maxar Technologies)

According to Maxar, the satellite images show that some elements of the convoy have "repositioned" into forests and treelined areas near Lubyanka, Ukraine.
According to Maxar, the satellite images show that some elements of the convoy have "repositioned" into forests and treelined areas near Lubyanka, Ukraine. (Maxar Technologies)

Southeast of Ivankiv -- the end of what was the 40+ mile convoy -- a number of trucks and equipment are still seen on the roadway.
Southeast of Ivankiv -- the end of what was the 40+ mile convoy -- a number of trucks and equipment are still seen on the roadway. (Maxar Technologies)