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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3:16 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

China has expressed some openness to providing military and financial aid to Russia, US cable suggests  

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, Kevin Liptak, Kylie Atwood and Jennifer Hansler 

The US has information suggesting China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with requested military and financial assistance, a Western official and a US diplomat told CNN. But it is not yet clear whether China intends to provide Russia with military or financial assistance as part of its war on Ukraine, US officials familiar with the intelligence tell CNN.

The consideration was detailed in a diplomatic cable relayed to allies in Europe and Asia, according to the sources.

The cable did not state definitively that assistance had been provided. One official also said the US warned in the cable that China would likely deny it was willing to provide assistance.

The Chinese Community Party leadership is not all in agreement regarding how to respond to Russia’s request for assistance, said one of the sources. Two officials said that China's desire to avoid economic consequences may limit its appetite to help Russia.

“There is real concern by some that their involvement could hurt economic relationships with the West, on which China relies," said one of the sources. 

Officials are also monitoring whether China provides some economic and diplomatic relief for Russia in other forms, like the abstention vote at the UN. 

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,” and because of how Putin “has driven Americans and Europeans more closely together,” CIA Director Bill Burns told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. 

Officials separately told CNN that Xi has been unnerved by how the war in Ukraine has reinvigorated the NATO alliance.

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.

The US is “watching very closely the extent to which" China or any other country "provides any form of support, whether that's material support, whether that's economic support, whether that's financial support to Russia,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “Any such support from anywhere in the world would be of great concern to us."

He declined to comment specifically on reports of a diplomatic cable that the US had sent to NATO allies about China’s willingness to support Russia’s war in Ukraine.

China and Russia have denied allegations that Moscow requested military assistance from Beijing.

3:11 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

It's 9 p.m. in Kyiv. Catch up on the latest developments. 

A Ukrainian soldier stands among debris from a damaged apartment block in Kyiv on March 14.
A Ukrainian soldier stands among debris from a damaged apartment block in Kyiv on March 14. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

There have been heavy explosions in Kyiv on Monday and an apartment block in one of the city's suburbs was hit with a deadly strike. Russia has now launched more than 900 missiles against Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion, an increase of around 200 missiles since Wednesday, according to a senior US defense official.

Meanwhile, a fourth round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are on "pause" until Tuesday, according to Ukraine's negotiator who noted that "negotiations continue."

Here's a catch up of other major developments in Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

  • Russia continues its assault on Kyiv: One person has died and six more were injured when an apartment building in the city's Obolon district was hit earlier today. People living in the area were visibly in shock. Many were crying, seeking refuge with relatives and friends. A man and a woman who live on the ninth floor of the building told CNN they were woken up by the sudden sound of a massive explosion.
  • Russian advances "remain stalled" in Ukraine: “Almost all” of the Russian advances in Ukraine “remain stalled,” a senior US defense official said Monday during a background briefing with reporters. Russian forces moving on Kyiv, including the infamous convoy to the north, have not appreciably progressed over the weekend, said the official, though the US does see Russia trying to “flow in forces behind the advance elements” moving to the north of Kyiv.
  • Ukrainian forces have "effectively struck" Russian logistics and sustainment capabilities: Ukrainian forces have “effectively struck Russian logistics and sustainment capabilities,” in the ongoing war in Ukraine, a senior US defense official told reporters on Monday. The US has seen examples of Ukrainians targeting Russian sustainment and logistics capabilities in their strikes on the large Russian military convoy that is outside of Kyiv, the official said. 
  • People beginning to escape from Mariupol through evacuation corridor, mayor's office says: An adviser to the mayor's office in the besieged city of Mariupol says that civilians are at last able to get out of the city through an evacuation corridor — and head towards the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is under Ukrainian control.
  • UN: At least 636 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russian invasion began: As of Sunday, at least 636 civilians have died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, the UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) said Monday in a statement sent to CNN. This is an increase of 40 deaths compared to the previous daily update. Among the dead are six girls, 10 boys and 30 more children whose gender is not known, the OHCHR says. According to the agency, at least 1,125 civilians have been injured so far. The agency says it believes that "the actual figures are considerably higher, especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration."
  • White House having early discussions about Biden traveling to Europe, sources say: White House officials are having early discussions about having US President Joe Biden travel to Europe soon amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning. The trip would come on the heels of visits of several top aides, including US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. No trip has been finalized or announced. 
  • Biden administration also weighing expediting some Ukrainian refugee cases: The Biden administration is considering expediting the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees with US ties, including family already living here, according to a US official, amid growing calls from advocates to do more for the millions of people fleeing war-torn Ukraine. Nearly 3 million people have already fled Ukraine into neighboring countries, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
  • Ukrainian prime minister calls for Russia's expulsion from Council of Europe: Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal pleaded “Ukraine is on fire” as he asked for Russia to be ousted from the Council of Europe on Monday, in a speech to the chamber.  Shmyhal was standing in for President Volodymyr Zelensky who was scheduled to give the address earlier on Monday. "For the past 18 days the world finally opened its eyes," Shmyhal said, referring to Russian actions in Ukraine.

2:43 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian flag taken down in Melitopol's Victory Square

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy

The large Ukrainian flag in Russian-occupied Melitopol's Victory Square, the site of many protests in recent days, has been taken down.

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the photos posted to social media.

Local news outlet RIA-Melitopol posted one of the photos, saying the flag was taken down by public works employees.

Russian troops gained control of Melitopol on Feb. 26. On Friday, armed men detained the elected mayor Ivan Fedorov and later that day the prosecutor's office for the Russian-backed separatist Luhansk region accused him of terrorism.

Since then, newly installed mayor Galina Danilchenko has ordered the broadcasting of Russian television channels and attempted to dissolve the city council in favor of creating a People's Committee.

Ukraine's prosecutor general opened a treason investigation into Danilchenko on Sunday.

3:00 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

More than 2.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine. Here's where they are going.

From CNN's Benjamin Brown in London

Ukrainian refugees wait to be transferred to a train station after crossing into Poland on March 7.
Ukrainian refugees wait to be transferred to a train station after crossing into Poland on March 7. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

With more than 2.8 million people having fled Ukraine for neighboring countries since the start of the Russian invasion in late February, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), CNN data tracks where refugees are headed with the most recent available numbers. 

More than 1.7 million people had fled Ukraine for neighboring Poland as of Sunday, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The number of Ukrainians or Ukrainian residents seeking temporary refuge in Poland is considerably lower, with many of those fleeing the conflict continuing their journey to other European countries.  

The number of refugees registered as crossing into Poland includes most of the nearly 150,000 people who have arrived in Germany, according to the German Ministry of the Interior. However, due to the absence of border checks between Poland and Germany, the actual number of incoming refugees could be significantly higher, an interior spokesperson told CNN.

Hungary has had 255,291 refugees arrive from Ukraine according to the UNHCR on Sunday, with 2,212 formally seeking asylum, according to the Hungarian National Directorate-General of Immigration.

Neighboring Romania by Monday had registered 80,000 Ukrainians who remain in the country, according to State Secretary at the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs Raed Arafat.

The number of Ukrainian refugees entering Romania has declined significantly, with daily arrivals down by more than 50% compared to last week, according to Romanian Border Police. The number of new arrivals dropped from on average around 30,000 per day last week to 14,000 on Sunday.

Nearly 205,000 refugees have entered Slovakia according to the UNHCR on Sunday. It remains unclear how many remain in the country.

More than 101,000 Ukrainian refugees are currently in Moldova, Foreign Affairs Minister Nicu Popescu said Sunday.

Lithuania's Ministry of the Interior has said that by Sunday, 12,039 people had entered the country from Ukraine.

More than 6,000 Ukrainians have been registered in Belgium, the Federal Agency For The Reception of Asylum Seekers said Monday.

About 5,500 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country's Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said Sunday.

In Denmark, 1,575 Ukrainians had applied for refugee status as of Sunday, according to the Danish Immigration Service.

On Thursday, the French Citizenship Minister Marlene Schiappa said that 7,251 Ukrainian refugees had arrived in France, with authorities preparing accommodations for 10,000 people.

Italy by last Wednesday had seen the arrival of over 24,000 Ukrainians, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Austria's Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday said that 56,000 people have arrived in the country from Ukraine, with 70% of refugees immediately continuing to another country.

As of last Tuesday, Estonia, according to its Police and Border Guard Board, had registered 10,478 Ukrainian refugees.

By Wednesday, 3,849 Ukrainian refugees had come to Croatia, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

Cyprus has taken in 2,935 Ukrainian refugees, the Ministry of the Interior said Thursday.

By Wednesday, Portugal had seen 4,039 arrivals, according to the Immigration and Border Service.

In Sweden, 3,520 Ukrainian refugees have applied for asylum status, the Swedish Migration Agency said Wednesday.

The Netherlands by Thursday had taken in more than 2,600 refugees, according to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service.

In Spain, 1,000 Ukrainian refugees have requested government assistance, Spain's Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration told CNN Friday.

2:39 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Russia’s ruling party proposes to introduce criminal penalties for companies that comply with Western sanctions

From CNN's Josh Pennington

The United Russia Party is proposing to hold companies that abide by the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries criminally liable, Russian state run news agency Tass reports, citing Andrey Turchak, secretary of the general council of the party.

Turchak said the ruling party will prepare relevant amendments for the Russian Parliament in the near future.

"We have just adopted amendments that established administrative and criminal liability for [companies] that support sanctions against Russian individuals. Moreover, such indirect support for foreign sanctions inside [our] country qualifies as nothing other than treason," Turchak said.

The party proposes "to establish harsh, including criminal liability for such [business] entities and their managers for abiding by and implementing Western sanctions," according to Turchak.

Turchak went on to say that against the background of "western sanctions hysteria, there are recorded cases when Russian companies, including companies with state participation, refuse to work with sanctioned banks and enterprises under the pretext that they themselves risk being targeted with sanctions. Dishonest competitors also take advantage of the situation, actively spreading calls to end cooperation with companies hit by sanctions."

2:17 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

UK residents offered $457 a month to host Ukrainian refugees

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London

A new British government scheme will offer UK residents $467 (£350) per month to host Ukrainian refugees, according to Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Leveling Up.

All Ukrainian nationals and residents will be eligible for the “Homes for Ukraine,” Gove said, stressing that “there will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can benefit from this scheme.”  

Ukrainians arriving in the UK “will have full and unrestricted access and benefits, health care, employment,” Gove said. 

Under the scheme, sponsors will have to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months and will have to undergo “necessary vetting checks,” according to Gove.

The UK has “a long and proud history of supporting the most vulnerable during their darkest hours,” Gove told lawmakers in the UK parliament on Monday. 

The scheme will initially “facilitate sponsorship between people with known connections” with the government hoping to “rapidly expand” the scheme to encompass charities, churches and community groups.

2:36 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

"You can't believe how it's possible that anyone survived," says Clarissa Ward of residential building attack

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Police officers stand in front of an apartment block in Kyiv, Ukraine, that was hit by shelling on March 14.
Police officers stand in front of an apartment block in Kyiv, Ukraine, that was hit by shelling on March 14. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

As evening sets in Kyiv, CNN’s Clarissa Ward describes another day complete with violence and destruction.

“It's been a lot of noise and a lot of fighting today in Kyiv. Honestly, it's really been going on throughout the day in a way that we haven't heard on other days ... I can still hear some booms in the distance,” she reported from the Ukrainian capital.

Ward went on to detail one incident in particular.

“We did start the day with a large attack. A shell hit a residential building in the suburb of Obolon, which I should say is just five subway stops or five underground metro stops from here in the center,” detailed Ward.

“You look at the images ... and you can't believe how it's possible that anyone survived. One person was killed and several were injured. But you can imagine how much worse that could have been,” she added.

As Russian forces continue an assault on the Ukrainian capital, Ward shared specifics of another violent encounter.

“We did also hear some loud explosions in the late morning. We believe that was Ukrainian air defense systems intercepting some kind of a missile," she explained.

"There was some damage from that interception. Shrapnel fell onto a Kyiv city bus. Again, at least one person was killed in that attack. But remarkably, not more people dead in that attack,“ Ward continued, adding, “at the moment on the ground here in Kyiv and in many cities across this country, it feels very grim indeed.”

4:28 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

US defense official: Russians haven't achieved "air superiority over all of Ukraine" 

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Jeremy Herb

The airspace over Ukraine “remains contested,” a senior US defense official told reporters Monday. 

“We still maintain the airspace is contested, that the Russians have not achieved air superiority over all of Ukraine,” the official said.

Because the airspace is “dynamic” there are “times and places” where Russia or Ukraine “has more dominance,” the official added.

“The Russians certainly have, although they have not achieved air superiority, they certainly have more assets available to them and they are flying many more times per day than the Ukrainians are,” the official added.

The Ukrainian air plan changes every day, the official said.

“I can’t speak to the Ukrainians air plan, it changes every day, they’re being, we think appropriately careful with their air assets and how they’re using them and what they’re using them for,” the official said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “100% of his assembled forces inside Ukraine,” the official said.

“He’s moved everything in,” the official added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as Russia continues strikes across the country. The US and NATO have opposed creating a no-fly zone in Ukraine, warning that such a move could lead to a "full-fledged war in Europe."

1:25 p.m. ET, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian refugee says her country will survive Russia's invasion: "We deserve to be a part of Europe"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

(CNN)
(CNN)

As the fighting in Ukraine continues, CNN's Ed Lavandera spoke live with a woman who had spent two days traveling from Kyiv to Poland in search of safety and health care.

"It is a nightmare. It is unreal for me," said Alexandra Voitenko, who left her husband behind in Ukraine while she seeks breast cancer treatment for her mother.

"We feel so proud of our people, of our Ukraine. We will be more happy every time, every second after all this. This horror," Voitenko told Lavandera.

Despite the bombings, and the violence, Voitenko says she still plans to return to Ukraine once her mother's care is arranged.

"I need to be in Ukraine, after all this war in Kyiv," she said.

With the conflict entering a third week, Voitenko feels stronger than ever that her country will survive, and emerge unified.

"Absolutely, yes. Absolutely, yes. We deserve to win," she said. "We deserve to be a part of Europe. We are absolutely a perfect people and nation."