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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12:37 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

No-fly zone would not protect against majority of weapons Russia is using in Ukraine, DIA director says 

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

A no-fly zone over Ukraine would not protect against many of the weapons Russian forces are using in Ukraine right now, said Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier.

Russian forces are using “a combination of mostly missiles, artillery, multiple rocket launchers. There are some precision guided munitions that are being dropped from aircraft, but that number is small,” Berrier said in an exchange with Sen. Angus King.

A no-fly zone would not protect against “inhibit missiles, rockets and artillery,” Berrier added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked NATO allies and the United States to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The airspace over Ukraine remains contested, a senior US defense official told reporters on Wednesday.

12:30 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

The war in Ukraine will likely push inflation up "considerably higher" in Europe, says ECB president

From CNN’s Anna Cooban in London

The European Central Bank (ECB) predicts the war in Ukraine will push levels of consumer inflation up even further in the near term.

“The Russia-Ukraine war will have a material impact on economic activity and inflation through higher energy and commodity prices, the disruption of international commerce and weaker confidence,” ECB President Christine Lagarde said in a speech on Thursday. 

Lagarde said the impact of the conflict could push inflation in the euro area – which hit 5.8% in February – “considerably higher in the near term,” but is still expected to decline progressively to the central bank’s 2% target in 2024.

Financial sanctions against Russia, which include the banning of some Russian banks from the SWIFT payment network, have not yet caused problems for European banks, she said.

“[Sanctions] have so far not caused severe strains in money markets or liquidity shortages in the euro area banking system,” Lagarde said. “Bank balance sheets remain healthy overall, owing to robust capital positions and fewer non-performing loans.”

12:32 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Intelligence chief declines to say if US has new information that led to fighter jet decision

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines would not say if the US has new intelligence that informed the decision not to send US fighter jets to Poland, so that Poland could send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday.

When Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, asked Haines if the intelligence community had new information that said Russian President Vladimir Putin would see Poland sending MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine as escalatory, Haines said there was a “new assessment” done by the intel community that informed that decision. But she would not clarify if there was new intelligence leading them to believe Putin would see the move as escalatory.

“This is a recent assessment that was done by the intelligence community. I’m very happy to provide that to you,” Haines said. “I know you know this, but obviously they’re looking at a body of intelligence, and then they are also providing their own knowledge and experience, and I do not know whether there is…”

Haines was cut off by Cotton, who said he believes there is no new intelligence on the matter.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday the move would be seen as an escalatory step by Putin, according to the intelligence community.

12:23 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

CIA director: Chinese president "unsettled" by Russian invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing on February 4.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing on February 4. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is “unsettled” by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in part because “his own intelligence doesn’t appear to have told him what was going to happen,” CIA Director Bill Burns told the US Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Chinese leadership is also concerned because of “the reputational damage that China suffers by association with the ugliness of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine” and “the economic consequences at a time when growth rates in China are lower than they’ve been in 30 years,” according to Burns.

Finally, he said, “President Xi is probably a little bit unsettled as he watches the way in which President Putin has driven Americans and Europeans more closely together and strengthen the Transatlantic alliance in ways that would have been a little bit hard to imagine before the invasion began.” 

More background: US officials have closely watched China’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as fears have grown that the two autocratic nations are moving closer together on the world stage. Just weeks before the beginning of the invasion, Putin and Xi met at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing and the two nations issued a joint statement affirming a partnership “without limits.

A Western intelligence report indicated that Chinese officials around the same time requested that senior Russian officials wait until after the Beijing Olympics had finished before beginning military action in Ukraine, CNN has previously reported — but the particulars of the report were open to interpretation, according to a source familiar with the intelligence, and it is not clear whether Putin addressed the matter with Xi directly.

12:01 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

EU foreign policy chief says Putin "failed" in his belief that "he was going to conquer Ukraine" 

From CNN's Joseph Ataman and Xiaofei Xu in Paris

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “believed he was going to conquer Ukraine” but “he failed.” 

“He believed he was going to divide us; he failed. He believed that he was going to weaken the transatlantic relationship and he failed. Now he has to stop,” he added while speaking to reporters while entering a summit of EU leaders in France’s Versailles.  

Borrell said after European countries reduce dependency on Russian energy exports, “we will be much safer. Have to spend less gas, use less gas, the climate requires that. For once, geopolitics and climate go together.”  

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told reporters that this was “a defining moment for Europe and it is a moment when we see that Putin’s war is a question of the resilience of democracies.” 

At the summit in Versailles, “we will rethink European defense with strong capabilities. We will rethink energy. We have to get rid of the dependence of Russian fossil fuels and for that we need massive investment in renewables,” she added.  

1:04 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

US considering more sanctions against Russia, Treasury secretary says

From CNN's Matt Egan 

(from Washington Post Live)
(from Washington Post Live)

The United States and its allies are considering additional sanctions to punish Russia for “atrocities” committed in Ukraine even as existing sanctions deal a powerful blow to the Russian economy, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday.

“The Russian economy will be devastated as a consequence of what we’ve already done, but we…continue to consider further steps we can take,” Yellen said during a Washington Post Live event.

Yellen did not detail specifics on what additional sanctions could be imposed, though she did note that Russia has not halted its invasion of Ukraine.

“We continue to work very closely with our allies to consider sanctions,” Yellen said. “At this point, we are not seeing Russia back off the horrific war they started, an unprovoked invasion of the Ukrainian homeland. In fact, the atrocities they are committing against civilians seem to be intensifying. So, it’s certainly appropriate for us to be working with our allies to consider further sanctions.”

The Treasury secretary spelled out the economic and financial damage caused by Western sanctions imposed in recent weeks.

“We have isolated Russia financially. The ruble has been in a free fall. The Russian stock market is closed. Russia has been effectively shut out of the international financial system,” Yellen said, adding that the Russian central bank’s access to its reserves has been largely cut off. 

Yellen conceded there is “certain” to be an economic effect on the United States and Europe from the sanctions, though she said officials have worked to minimize this. 

“It’s already pushed up global oil prices. We’re seeing that ourselves in prices at the pump,” Yellen said.

Asked if European allies will move to ban Russian oil and gas, Yellen reiterated that US officials recognize “not all countries are in the same position” to cut off shipments of Russian energy. 

“We have very little dependence on Russian oil,” Yellen said.

11:49 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Governor of Ukrainian region offers Russian troops a "chance to stay alive" with a deserter's hotline

From CNN's Anastasia Graham-Yooll in London

The governor of Ukraine's Mykolaiv region, Vitaliy Kim, announced his plans to provide a hotline for what he called Russian soldiers “stranded” on the frontline in Ukraine’s south. 

In a video released on Kim’s Telegram channel on Thursday, the governor addressed the Russian troops, offering “a chance” for those who don’t want to fight. 

“What is the Russians' problem? They don't want to attack. They think they've been misled, they've been told these are military exercises, almost every one of them says that. But they can't go back either, because they say those in Kherson will shoot at them when they retreat. So they are stranded in those villages, nor here nor there,” Kim said.

There have been no independently verifiable reports of desertion by Russian troops.

Based on the conversations between the locals and Russian troops “at the border between Mykolaiv and Kherson regions,” Kim announced his plan to create an option for Russian soldiers to avoid confrontation. 

“I'd like to arrange some kind of ‘green corridor’ for the Russians, those who haven't fired at the civilians or committed any crimes yet. For those who'd like to live, I'll organize a hotline to call in, to come and stay alive, and avoid jail when you get back to Russia. I'm arranging this, and I'm hopeful this will work,” he added.

Kim was unclear about what options or safety guarantees might be provided for those who call the hotline. He added the "green corridor" option won’t apply to artillery fighters and or rocket launching personnel, saying "after Mariupol, those guys have no chance: either run or lie in soil.”

11:39 a.m. ET, March 10, 2022

US lawmakers blast Biden administration for decision on not transferring aircraft

From CNN's Lauren Fox

US Senate Republicans and Democrats blasted the administration for not acting immediately to help in the transfer of aircraft to Ukraine, a sign of daylight emerging between Congress and the White House on Ukraine after weeks of unity on Capitol Hill. 

Members on both sides of the aisle during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing this morning challenged the administration about why the US isn’t helping facilitate planes to Ukraine that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said are desperately needed. They warned that Congress may take further action on banning Russian energy imports that go beyond what was passed by the House of Representatives and is backed by President Joe Biden's administration. 

“It’s not clear why we are standing in the way,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, told CNN about the US’s position that it would not be appropriate to send Poland planes so that Poland could transfer their planes to Ukraine. 

Over the last several days, members have come to believe that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken share differing views on how to handle a potential transfer of aircraft to Poland that would facilitate Poland to transfer planes directly to Ukraine, a difference that has enraged some members on Capitol Hill who have come to see the administration itself as fracturing.

Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN it was an “embarrassing” division. 

“The first branch of government is almost unanimous on this. I don’t know who is against this up here, but it’s embarrassing for the second branch of government to be divided. This is a job for the President of the United States. He needs to step up. Knock heads together and get everybody in the same place,” Risch said. “We really need to do that. This is a matter of life and death.” 

Risch said the Pentagon’s explanation that a plane transfer could be perceived as escalatory by the Russians is “nonsense.”

“We’re taking their yachts, we’re taking their vacation properties, we are giving the Ukrainians all the arms we can give them. It is foolish to say this is somehow going to aggravate them more. That’s nonsense,” he said. 

GOP Sen. Rob Portman, who has been outspoken on this issue, told CNN that he believed that it was not the Biden administration’s place to be making decisions for Ukraine on what their military strategy should be and if they wanted planes, and the US needed to do everything in its power to help them. 

“The administration just told us they think Ukraine needs other things more and would be more effective in the battlefield. In theory, that means that you have the United States government deciding what the military strategy should be for Ukraine,” Portman said. “Ukraine wants planes. They have made a decision.”

Some Democrats, however, argue that Congress should give the administration more room to make the decisions for how they want to approach this conflict without “micromanaging.”

“I generally trust the administration’s decision making,” Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, told CNN. “I think this is a time when we should get behind the administration rather than constantly second-guessing.”

1:04 p.m. ET, March 10, 2022

Humanitarian situation in Mariupol is "increasingly dire," International Committee of the Red Cross says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

The humanitarian situation in Mariupol is becoming "increasingly dire and desperate," the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday.

The ICRC warned that "hundreds of thousands of people have no food, water, heat, electricity, or medical care," and said that "people urgently need respite from violence and humanitarian aid."

"All the shops and pharmacies were looted four to five days ago. Some people still have food but I’m not sure for how long it will last," said Sasha Volkov, the ICRC's deputy head of sub-delegation, in an interview recorded Wednesday and published on the ICRC website. 

"Many people in Mariupol have reported having no food for children," Volkov said.

"People started to attack each other for food. People started to ruin someone’s car to take the gasoline out," Volkov continued. 

Medicine is also starting to run out, “especially for diabetes and cancer patients,” Volkov said, adding that there is no way to find it in the city. Hospitals are partially functioning because the city council delivers fuel, Volkov added.