March 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Eric Levenson, Meg Wagner, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Ben Church, Jeevan Ravindran, Maureen Chowdhury, Melissa Macaya and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 11:12 a.m. ET, March 16, 2022
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8:51 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Russian TV anti-war protester's lawyer still does not know where she is

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy and Richard Greene

This screen grab shows Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova protesting on air on March 14.
This screen grab shows Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova protesting on air on March 14. (Russia Channel 1)

A lawyer for the Russian TV editor who held up an anti-war sign during a live broadcast on Monday still does not know where she is, he told CNN on Tuesday.

Dmitry Zakhvatov has been trying to locate Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova since her protest on Monday, he told CNN.

Zakhvatov confirmed to CNN that Ovsyannikova is the woman seen on air holding the sign and that she is an editor for the channel. 

"Stop the war. Do not believe propaganda they tell you lies here," the sign read, concluding in English: "Russians against war."

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the protest as “hooliganism.”

“As far as this lady is concerned, this is hooliganism,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call Tuesday, adding that authorities are already handling her case.

“The channel and those who are in charge are dealing with it,” he added. “It's not an issue on [the Kremlin] agenda.”

Hooliganism is a criminal offense in Russia.

Asked about possible criminal charges against Ovsyannikova, Peskov shied away from the question, referring to the “responsibility” that state TV channels bear.

“There are certain departments that deal with this,” Peskov said. “The live broadcast of any TV channel and especially those who work there hold a special responsibility.”

The Investigative Committee — a top Russian law enforcement agency — launched a pre-investigation check against Ovsyannikova on “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Russian Armed Forces,” Russian state news agency TASS reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed source.

7:52 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Ukraine's Zelensky tells UK Joint Expeditionary Force to "help yourself by helping us"

From CNN's Sarah Dean in London

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses by video link a meeting of the leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) at Lancaster House on March 15 in London, England.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses by video link a meeting of the leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) at Lancaster House on March 15 in London, England. (Justin Tallis/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed leaders of the UK Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) via video on Tuesday, warning: "We all are the targets of Russia and therefore everything will go against Europe if Ukraine won't stand, so I'd like you to help yourself by helping us."

On the 20th day of the war in Ukraine, Zelensky said "we are doing our best to get the jet fighters and the missile defense systems" the country needs.

"We want to have reliable guarantees for us and therefore for you," he told the meeting in London, hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The leaders of Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway also attended.

"We can still stop the killing of people and that is something we can do together — stop the destruction of democracy and do it now on our land or else they will also come to you," he warned.

In his appeal for assistance, he added that Russian propagandists "keep saying the Ukraine war is only the beginning ... they are fear-mongering and other European countries will come, they are saying this now, and they are mentioning many of you who are listening to me right now."

7:22 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

China says G20 not a "proper place" to discuss political and security issues "such as Ukraine"

From CNN’s Beijing Bureau and Hannah Ritchie

The Group of Twenty (G20) forum is "not a proper place to discuss political and security issues such as Ukraine," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters Tuesday.

"The G20 is the main forum for international economic cooperation, and it is not a proper place to discuss political and security issues such as Ukraine," Zhao said, responding to a question about the Indonesian government's alleged plans to leave the Ukraine crisis off the G20 summit’s agenda.

What is the G20? It's an intergovernmental forum comprised of the world’s largest economies -- including Russia, China, and the US. It's due to hold its next leaders' summit in October on the Indonesian island of Bali.

In addition to the leaders' summit, special events are organized throughout the year, including working groups, Sherpa meetings and ministerial meetings.

In February, Russia’s imminent invasion of Ukraine dominated talks among G20 finance ministers in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, with leaders warning of the economic fallout which would stem from any conflict.

7:17 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Here's the latest map of Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine

The map below shows the areas that Russian forces have occupied in Ukraine, as of March 14, since the invasion began on Feb. 24.

"Almost all” of the Russian advances in Ukraine “remain stalled,” a senior US defense official said Monday during a background briefing with reporters, but missile attacks have continued across the country.

Russian forces moving on Kyiv, including the 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.

It comes as a fourth round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are on "pause" until Tuesday, according to Ukraine's negotiator.

7:49 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

UK government announces fresh sanctions on Russia, including export ban and tariffs

From CNN's Robert North

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hosts a press conference in the Downing Street briefing room on February 3 in London, England.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hosts a press conference in the Downing Street briefing room on February 3 in London, England. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

The UK government has announced a fresh round of sanctions on Russia, including banning the export of luxury goods to Russia and tariffs on Russian goods worth more than $1 billion.

The UK will also deny Russia and Belarus access to its most favored nation trading tariff for hundreds of their exports, effectively depriving both countries from key benefits of their World Trade Organization membership.

The additional 35% tariff on Russian goods will be applied to imports including vodka, steel, works of art and fur.

"Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade, ensuring it does not benefit from the rules-based international system it does not respect," UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"These tariffs build on the UK’s existing work to starve Russia’s access to international finance, sanction Putin’s cronies and exert maximum economic pressure on his regime. These new measures will further tighten the growing economic pressure on Russia and ensure the UK acts in line with sanctions imposed by our allies."

The government says it will release details of the export ban at a later date, but said previous bans had included items like high end fashion, art and luxury vehicles.

The full list of Russian goods facing import tariffs is: Iron, steel, fertilizers, wood, tires, railway containers, cement, copper, aluminum, silver, lead, iron ore, residue/food waste products, beverages, spirits and vinegar (this includes vodka), glass and glassware, cereals, oil seeds, paper and paperboard, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish.

7:01 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

At least 19 people killed in strike in northwestern Ukraine on Monday, authorities say

From Taras Zadorozhnyy and Ivana Kottasová in Lviv 

A strike against a TV tower near the city of Rivne in northwestern Ukraine on Monday killed at least 19 people and injured nine others, the head of Rivne regional administration Vitalii Koval said Tuesday. 

"The rescue mission is still underway and as of 8:30 a.m. [Tuesday] we have 19 dead and nine injured. We continue to clear the debris. This is not a final number, we need several more hours to clear the entire area," he said. 

The tower was hit at 5:20 a.m. local time on Monday and authorities had initially reported no casualties from the strike. 

Despite the hit, Koval said radio and television broadcasting has continued in the region. "We now have free access to satellite broadcasting in the whole Rivne region. We have restored the broadcasting signal to the cable network," he said.

Multiple TV towers across Ukraine have been targeted by Russian forces in recent weeks, including in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Vynarivka in the Kyiv region.

6:49 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Kyiv extends curfew to whole day on Wednesday

From CNN’s Ivana Kottasová and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv

Kyiv's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko (C) and his brother Vladimir Klitschko (L) visit a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 14 March.
Kyiv's Mayor Vitaly Klitschko (C) and his brother Vladimir Klitschko (L) visit a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 14 March. (Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

A 35-hour curfew will be imposed in Kyiv on Tuesday evening, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on his official Telegram channel.

The curfew will come into effect at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and will last until 7 a.m. on Thursday. Curfew is currently in place in Kyiv, but only during night time, between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Residents will be prohibited from leaving their homes without special permits during the curfew, Klitschko said, adding that people will still be able to leave to go into bomb shelters.

"I ask all [residents of Kyiv] to prepare for the fact that they will have to stay at home or, in case of an emergency, in a shelter, for two days," Klitschko said.

Two people were killed in shelling of a residential area in western Kyiv early Tuesday morning, according to Ukraine Emergency Services. 

At least four residential buildings across the Ukrainian capital were hit by strikes early Tuesday, according to the emergency services.

7:20 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic en route to meet Zelensky in Kyiv

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

The prime minsters of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have departed on a train bound for Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

The train with the leaders on board departed before 9 a.m. local time, the head of the chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, Michal Dworczyk, said Tuesday. The train took off from Poland, a press officer for the Czech government told CNN. 

Traveling to the Ukrainian capital is Poland's Mateusz Morawiecki and his deputy Jarosław Kaczyński, Slovenia's Janez Janša and the Czech Republic's Petr Fiala.

The purpose of the visit is "to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and to present a broad package of support for the Ukrainian state and society," a government spokesperson said.

They said the trip had been organized in agreement with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and added that the international community would be informed about the delegation visit through international organizations, including the United Nations.

"At such breakthrough times for the world, it is our duty to be where history is forged; because it is not about us, but about the future of our children who deserve to live in a world free from tyranny," Morawiecki said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Morawiecki said he and the other leaders were going to Kyiv to "show Ukrainians our solidarity" and denounced "Putin's criminal aggression against Ukraine."

6:12 a.m. ET, March 15, 2022

Dnipro airport hit in Russian missile strike, says regional head

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Andrew Carey in Lviv

Two Russian missiles hit Dnipro airport in the east of Ukraine overnight, putting the runway out of use and damaging the terminal building, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration.

"The destruction is on a large scale and will take a long time to re-build," the statement on Reznichenko’s Facebook page said.

The statement made no reference to any casualties.