March 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

zelensky canada remarks
Zelensky receives standing ovation in Canadian parliament
02:23 - Source: CNN

What we covered

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he does not expect his country to join NATO. Kyiv’s wish to be part of the defense alliance was among the grievances Russian leader Vladimir Putin cited in an attempt to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
  • The prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic reaffirmed their support for Ukraine during a meeting with Zelensky. 
  • New satellite images show the Ukrainian military destroyed at least three Russian military helicopters at Kherson airport in southern Ukraine.
  • Fatalities were reported after shelling hit buildings in residential areas across Kyiv on Tuesday, according to Ukrainian authorities. A 35-hour curfew is in place in the capital as Russia sustains its attacks.  
  • Talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators will resume Wednesday, according to Ukraine’s negotiator.
  • Want to help? Learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine here. 
  • Having connection issues? Bookmark CNN’s lite site for fast connectivity.
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Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša says Ukraine is defending "fundamental European values" 

Ukrainians are not only fighting for their homeland but also defending “fundamental European values,” Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša said Tuesday.

Janša spoke in Kyiv after meeting with Ukraine’s President and Prime Minister, along with the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic and Poland.

Janša said European leaders are aware the most important thing is to help Ukraine with weapons but also stressed the country was part of the European family.

“Ukraine is a European country, every path in Ukraine is European. We will do everything in our power,” he said, adding “these paths” could lead to European Union membership.

Janša said Slovenia strongly supported candidate status for Ukraine at the EU, saying it is “a message to those who invaded Ukraine that you’re part of our family and that our families are prepared to defend Ukraine and to support Ukraine.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss Russian invasion with UAE and Saudi leaders

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will discuss increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia with leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, according to a news release from 10 Downing Street.

Johnson’s one-day visit to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh is part of the United Kingdom’s efforts to ensure coordinated international action on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The leaders are expected to discuss “efforts to improve energy security and reduce volatility in energy and food prices,” the news release said.

Johnson will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the UAE before traveling to Riyadh to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Some context: The UK recently announced it would phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year. And that the government would work with companies to support them in finding alternative supplies. 

The oil market has been stretched incredibly thin, with few producers willing — or able — to replace Russian barrels banned by the United States and shunned by others.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are major oil producing nations. The UAE recently said it wants to increase oil production and will encourage the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel to ramp up supply.

The Downing Street statement said Johnson is “focused on diversifying the UK’s energy supply.”

“The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas,” Johnson will say, according to the release.

Ukraine's Defense Minister will address NATO defense ministers meeting

Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine's Minister of Defense, holds a briefing, Kyiv on February 3.

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov will address the NATO defense ministers meeting Wednesday, according to a senior US defense official.

His remarks have been previously recorded, the official said.

The meeting in Brussels will focus on comparing assessments of the crisis in Ukraine with other NATO allies and partners and how NATO sees “where Russia’s military operations are,” according to the official.

Ministers will also examine what this invasion means not just now, but also “thinking about the implications for the strategic environment and the security environment for the Transatlantic Alliance going forward,” the official added.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is in the Belgian capital and will attend the meeting.

At least 3 Russian military helicopters blown up in Ukrainian strike on Kherson airport

A satellite image shows a plume of smoke rising from the Kherson International Airport on Tuesday, March 15. When zoomed in, the images show a number of helicopters on fire.

The Ukrainian military destroyed a number of Russian military helicopters at the Kherson International Airport Tuesday, new satellite images from Planet Labs show.

A large black plume of smoke is seen rising from the airport in the satellite image, with a number of helicopters on fire.

In a zoomed-in portion of the image, helicopters can be seen burning.

It’s the most destructive known strike the Ukrainian military has conducted against Russian helicopters during the war, with at least three Russian helicopters seen on fire, or destroyed, at the airport.

Military vehicles seen near the airport have also been hit. 

A large plume of smoke rises from the airport.

Another image, taken by a drone hovering above the nearby village of Komyshany, also shows the large plume of smoke rising from the airport. 

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the image.

The military strike at the airport was picked up by NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), which tracks large fires around the world. 

According to the sensory data collected by FIRMS, the military strike occurred around 1:42 p.m. local time.

A satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows a number of Russian military helicopters sitting on the tarmac at the airport on Monday.

On Monday, satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed a number of Russian military helicopters on the tarmac at Kherson’s International Airport. Dozens of military vehicles are also seen in the surrounding area. 

Biden to announce $800 million in new military assistance for Ukraine, US official says

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce an additional $800 million in security assistance for Ukraine, a US official said.

That would bring the total pledged to $1 billion in the past week and $2 billion since the beginning of the Biden administration. 

The new package will include antitank missiles, according to officials familiar with the plans. But it will stop short of the no-fly zone or fighter jets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said are needed to sustain Ukraine’s fight against Russia. 

Explosions and air raid sirens heard overnight in Kyiv

Explosions were heard overnight in Kyiv’s suburbs as air raid sirens once again blared in the Ukrainian capital, according to a CNN team on the ground.

The blasts began after nightfall following Mayor Vitali Klitschko’s imposition of an extended curfew.

The 35-hour curfew runs from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Thursday local time.