March 14, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Helen Regan, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt, Ben Church, Ed Upright, Maureen Chowdhury and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022
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12:02 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Treason investigation launched into newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington

Newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol, Galina Danilchenko
Newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol, Galina Danilchenko (Melitopol Mayor's Office)

Ukraine's prosecutor general has opened a treason investigation into Galina Danilchenko, the newly installed mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol.

The investigation comes after a group of Melitopol City Council members issued a written address Sunday, requesting the prosecutor general initiate criminal proceedings against Danilchenko, "for the high crime of treason, for attempting to set up an occupying government in Melitopol."  

In its address, the Council accused Danilchenko, "a city council member from the Opposition Bloc," of dissolving the city government and transferring its powers to a People's Deputies Committee.

The prosecutor general's office announced it had opened an investigation in a statement posted on its website, accusing Danilchenko of, "fulfilling the task set to her by her Russian Federation representatives" when she declared herself Melitopol's acting mayor.

"In announcing the creation of a body not defined by Ukrainian law, this People's Deputies Committee, the suspect called on Ukrainian citizens for their support and citizens of Melitopol to stop resisting the occupying forces," the statement from the prosecutor’s office read.

According to the statement, the investigation and criminal proceedings will be conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine in the Zaporizhzhia region.

On Facebook, Ukraine's prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova lauded the Melitopol City Council address saying, "I heard you and I'm proud of you."  

Some context: Danilchenko was installed as Melitopol's mayor after the elected mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was detained by armed men on Friday. Shortly after he was detained, the prosecutor's office for the Russian-backed separatist region of Luhansk accused Fedorov of terrorism offenses.

On Sunday, Danilchenko said in a televised video that "Russian TV channels" would begin broadcasting in the region. She claimed, "a great deficit of trustworthy information being circulated," as reasoning for the broadcasting decision.

12:24 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Snake Island buildings damaged; Russian naval landing ship seen anchored offshore in new satellite image

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy

(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

The first clear satellite image has emerged of Snake Island, where Ukrainian defenders famously responded to the threat of Russian invasion with the words: "Russian warship, go f*** yourself."

The image, taken on Sunday by Maxar Technologies, shows damage to some buildings from Russian military strikes, as well as a Russian naval vessel anchored in the Black Sea. It backs reports from the beginning of the Russian invasion that the island came under assault after its Ukrainian garrison rejected Russian surrender demands.

The Ukrainian troops were all killed -- and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said they would be "awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously" -- but later the Ukrainian military said they were "alive and well" and taken prisoner.

According to the Ukrainian Navy, the garrison on the island repelled two attacks by Russian forces but in the end was forced to surrender "due to the lack of ammunition."

A Ukrainian statement said that Russian attackers destroyed the island's infrastructure, including lighthouses, towers and antennas -- some of the damage that can now be seen in the new satellite photo.

In the image, some of the red-roofed buildings in the island's center are shown to have been significantly damaged by Russian shelling. Although parts of the island are snow-covered, impact craters can be seen dotting the island.

The ship seen offshore was identified by Maxar as a Ropucha-class landing ship.

Read the full story:

12:25 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Russia has requested military assistance from China in Ukraine, US official says

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 press conference.

12:00 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian presidential adviser says he thinks they will achieve results from talks with Russia in next few days

From CNN's Alex Hardie in London

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said on Sunday that he thinks they will “achieve concrete results” from talks with Russia in the next few days.

In a video posted on Twitter, Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Russia “becomes much more sensitive to the Ukrainian position” and has “started to talk constructively.”

“Our proposals are on the table. They are very tough. Among them, the withdrawal of troops, the ceasefire," Podoliak added. "We shall not give up on any points, out of principle.”

Podoliak confirmed talks will take place with Russia Monday via video link.

9:27 a.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Here’s where Russian troops have advanced so far

From CNN staff

Russian troops continue to slowly move closer to Kyiv, while cities in the southern and western parts of the country sustain ongoing attacks as well.

Here's a look at where Russian forces have advanced so far. Note: This map was generated using data from The Institute for the Study of War with AEI's Critical Threats Project and shows where Russian forces have operated in or launched attacks in Ukraine, but do not have control over areas.