March 13, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Steve George, Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:15 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022
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6:34 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Ukrainians thwart Russian attempt toward Kyiv on pontoon bridge, satellite image shows

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

A photo, published on social media on March 13, shows the pontoon bridge destroyed, in addition to nearby Russian military vehicles.
A photo, published on social media on March 13, shows the pontoon bridge destroyed, in addition to nearby Russian military vehicles. (Telegram)

The Ukrainian military has thwarted an attempt by Russian military vehicles to cross the Irpin River on a pontoon bridge near Hostomel, a new satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows.

The bridge first appeared in satellite imagery from Maxar on Thursday, March 10, and in that photo, it appears to have been destroyed. An additional photo, published on social media on March 13, also shows the pontoon bridge destroyed, in addition to nearby Russian military vehicles.

CNN has geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the photo posted to social media.

Ukrainian forces in Kyiv's suburb of Irpin have so far repelled Russian advances toward the Ukrainian capital city. With the main bridge crossing the Irpin River having been destroyed by Ukrainians to thwart a Russian advance, the Irpin River poses a significant obstacle for the Russian military.

The pontoon bridge was located in an open field roughly five miles (eight kilometers) north of the main bridge across the Irpin River.

It's the second known location where the Russians have built a pontoon bridge to move vehicles. Before the invasion began, Russia constructed a pontoon bridge across the Pripyat River in the greater Chernobyl exclusion zone and later moved dozens of forces across it.

7:38 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Russia has requested military assistance from China in Ukraine

From CNN’s Jim Sciutto and Kylie Atwood

Russia has asked China for military assistance in Ukraine, including drones, a senior US official said Sunday.

CNN has reached out to the Russian embassy in the US for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN's Dana Bash Sunday that China providing Russia with support is a “concern.”

“We also are watching closely to see the extent to which China actually does provide any form of support, material support or economic support, to Russia. It is a concern of ours. And we have communicated to Beijing that we will not stand by and allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses from the economic sanctions,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the US has made it clear to Beijing there will "absolutely be consequences" for "large-scale" efforts to give the Kremlin a workaround to US sanctions.

"We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world," he said.

Sullivan is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Rome Monday.

Chinese embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu told CNN Sunday he had not heard of Russia's request.

"I've never heard of that. China is deeply concerned and grieved on the Ukraine situation. We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return at an early date," Pengyu said. "The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting. Utmost efforts should be made to support Russia and Ukraine in carrying forward negotiations despite the difficult situation to produce a peaceful outcome. We support and encourage all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis. The high priority now is to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control. There is consensus about this among the international community, including the parties concerned.”

“China calls for exercising utmost restraint and preventing a massive humanitarian crisis. China has put forward an initiative for responding to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. China has provided Ukraine with humanitarian assistance, and will continue to do so,” Pengyu said.

The White House said last week China was “abiding by the requirements that have been put in place” over sanctions.

"Our assessment right now is that (China is) abiding by the requirements that have been put in place, but we would continue to encourage any country to think a lot about what role they want to play in history as we all look back," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a Wednesday news conference.

5:42 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Chernobyl staff stops safety repairs and maintenance because of "physical and psychological fatigue,” IAEA says

From CNN's Samantha Beech in Atlanta

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a close view of Chernobyl nuclear facilities, Ukraine, during the Russian invasion, Thursday, March 10.
This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows a close view of Chernobyl nuclear facilities, Ukraine, during the Russian invasion, Thursday, March 10. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Staff at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) are so tired they have stopped carrying out the repair and maintenance of safety-related equipment, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Sunday.

In a statement, the IAEA said the Ukrainian regulator informed the agency that NPP staff were no longer carrying out repairs and maintenance, “in part due to their physical and psychological fatigue after working non-stop for nearly three weeks.” Earlier Sunday, Ukraine’s National Energy Company (NEC) Ukrenergo said it completed repair work and resumed power supply to the Chernobyl NPP.

The IAEA said the staff of 211 technical personnel and guards have still not been able to rotate from the facility since the day before Russian forces entered the site on 24 February, citing the Ukrainian regulatory authority.

“The regulator has no direct communication with the staff but receives information from off-site NPP management,” the IAEA said.

“The increasingly dire situation facing personnel at the facility – coupled with persistent issues related to communication from the site as well as the now resolved power supply problem – added further urgency to an IAEA initiative aimed at ensuring safety and security at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants," said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.

The Director General has proposed a framework that would enable the IAEA to deliver technical and other assistance for the safe and secure operation of all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, the statement said. Grossi discussed this last week with the Ukrainian and Russian Foreign Ministers Dmytro Kuleba and Sergei Lavrov, respectively, the statement said.

“We can’t afford to lose more time," he said. "The IAEA stands ready to act immediately, based on our proposed framework that requires agreement from the parties of the conflict before it can be implemented. We can only provide assistance to Ukraine’s nuclear sites once it has been signed. I’m doing everything I can to make this happen very soon.”

The full IAEA statement can be read here.

6:16 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

It's 11:15 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN's Amir Vera

Sunday is coming to a close in Ukraine as the Russian invasion is nearing its third week.

Sunday saw Russia expanding its offensive to western Ukraine, firing missiles near the city of Lviv and hitting a large military base close to the Polish border, reportedly killing dozens of people as the war draws closer to NATO's front line.

If you're just reading in, here are the latest headlines from the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • Tributes pour in for American journalist killed in Ukraine: Outlets like TIME Magazine, The New York Times as well as journalism schools and journalists themselves are honoring American journalist Brent Renaud, who was killed in Ukraine Sunday.
  • Ukraine resumes power supply at Chernobyl: Ukraine’s National Energy Company (NEC) Ukrenergo completed repair work and resumed power supply to the Chernobyl NPP, the company announced Sunday.
  • Situation in Mariupol grows dire: Mariupol's city administration confirmed Sunday night a large convoy of humanitarian aid destined for the besieged city had not arrived, and was still stuck in Berdyansk, some 50 miles to the west. Berdyansk is being held by Russia. A resident of Mariupol painted a grim picture of the situation in the city in a video diary posted on Twitter, saying "the world doesn't know what's happening here ... This is horror."
  • Ukraine and Russia talks to continue Monday: Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted Sunday talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials will take place Monday through video.
  • Protests continue across Ukraine and Russia: The mayor of Russian-occupied Kherson said mass protests show that “Kherson is Ukraine” and insisted he retains administrative control of the city. Meanwhile in Russia, more than 850 people were detained in anti-war protests across 37 Russian cities on Sunday, according to OVD-Info, an independent human rights protest-monitoring group.
  • School destroyed in Zelenogai: A school in the village of Zelenogai, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Mykolaiv, has been demolished by a Russian military strike, said Mykolaiv regional administrator Vitali Kim. Videos and photos of the destruction were posted online.
5:06 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Ukraine confirms next round of talks with Russia to be held on Monday

From CNN's Samantha Beech

Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak on Sunday confirmed talks will take place with Russia Monday via video link.

A tweet from Podoliak’s verified Twitter page said, “Again. Negotiations go non-stop in the format of video conferences. Working groups are constantly functioning. A large number of issues require constant attention. On Monday, March 14, a negotiating session will be held to sum up the preliminary results…”

5:04 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Ukrainian government says more than 5,000 people used humanitarian corridors Sunday

From CNN's Tim Lister and Sasha Ochman

Ukrainian soldiers help civilians cross a makeshift walkway over a destroyed bridge to evacuate out of Irpin, Ukraine, on March 13.
Ukrainian soldiers help civilians cross a makeshift walkway over a destroyed bridge to evacuate out of Irpin, Ukraine, on March 13. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said nine of the 14 humanitarian corridors it declared on Sunday had allowed civilians to escape fighting.

Vereshchuk said 3,950 people were rescued in the Kyiv region and 1,600 were able to escape from the Luhansk region in the east of the country.

"The city of Mariupol was subjected to shelling and aerial bombardment all day long," Vereshchuk said. "The humanitarian cargo remained blocked in the city of Berdyansk halfway to the occupied city."
5:03 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

More than 850 detained in anti-war protests across Russia on Sunday

From CNN staff

Police officers detain a man during a protest against Russian military action in Ukraine, in Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow on March 13.
Police officers detain a man during a protest against Russian military action in Ukraine, in Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow on March 13. (AFP/Getty Images)

More than 850 people were detained in anti-war protests across 37 Russian cities on Sunday, according to OVD-Info, an independent human rights protest-monitoring group.

Russian security forces are no longer detaining just protesters, but are also trying to identify "unreliable" people among passers-by in places where anti-war protests were announced, the group says.

According to the group, the total number of people detained for disagreeing with Russian aggression since its invasion of Ukraine is approaching 15,000.

5:36 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

TIME releases statement on death of American journalist killed in Ukraine

From CNN's Bex Wright

Brent Renaud
Brent Renaud (Courtesy Nieman Foundation)

TIME released a statement Sunday on the death of American journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine.

“We are devastated by the loss of Brent Renaud. As an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world often alongside his brother Craig Renaud," said TIME Editor in Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal and President and COO of TIME and TIME Studios Ian Orefice in a joint statement.

The statement added, “In recent weeks, Brent was in the region working on a TIME Studios project focused on the global refugee crisis. Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”

Read the full TIME statement here.

Renaud, an award-winning American journalist, was killed by Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, police in Kyiv said in social media posts on Sunday. Another American journalist was reported wounded.

6:16 p.m. ET, March 13, 2022

Village school outside Mykolaiv demolished in Russian military strike

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Natalie Gallon and Mariya Knight

A school in the village of Zelenogai, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Mykolaiv, has been demolished by a Russian military strike, Mykolaiv regional administrator Vitali Kim said.

Video and photos from the scene, which have been geolocated and their authenticity verified, show much of the school has been reduced to rubble. Kim confirmed that a school in the Mykolaiv region was hit and posted the video and photos online.

"Some people got under the rubble and we are evacuating them," Kim said. 

Firefighters and rescue services are seen in the video. 

Later on Saturday evening, Kim said that the military strike left several people either dead or in critical condition.