More fires and destruction in latest satellite images from Mariupol
From CNN's Paul P. Murphy
The war is unrelenting in Mariupol, where new satellite images from Maxar Technologies show more fires and destruction across the city besieged by the Russian military.
Despite Russian-backed troops from Ukraine's Luhansk region taking control of Mariupol's "left bank" neighborhood government buildings, smoke from fires was still rising from the area in the satellite images, which were taken Tuesday morning.
These images are some of the only glimpses anyone has into Mariupol as there are reportedly no independent journalists left in the city.
Just south of those plumes of smoke, a large apartment complex — its facades once white — is seen charred. In the neighborhood's easternmost area, half of another apartment building is seen almost completely demolished.
In central Mariupol, smoke is seen rising from more apartment buildings.
Between the "left bank" neighborhood and central Mariupol is the Azovstal Metallurgical factory. The images show large holes in some of the buildings in the sprawling factory complex.
9:22 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Video shows cruise missiles launched off Crimean coast headed toward Ukraine
From CNN's Sharif Paget
Video has emerged showing the launch of cruise missiles from a vessel located off the coast of Crimea, just west of the city of Sevastopol.
The video, which has been geolocated by CNN, shows the missiles heading toward Ukraine.
"It’s clear there’s a ship standing out there in the distance," says a man's voice, speaking in Russian. "It's firing something, but where, you can't see."
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a briefing Monday that the US has "seen increased naval activity in the northern Black Sea."
"We have indications that some of the bombardment around Odesa is coming from the sea from surface combatants. I couldn't tell you exactly what munitions and how many and what they're hitting," he said.
9:08 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Zelensky thanks Pope Francis for his clear and strong position against the war
From CNN's Hande Atay Alam
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to the Pope to visit Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian forces, thanking the Pontiff for his "clear and strong position against the war."
Speaking during an address Tuesday that was posted on the Ukrainian government's Facebook page, Zelensky said, "I thank His Holiness for his clear and strong position against the war and for his prayers for Ukraine. I invited him to visit our country at this most crucial time."
"I believe we can arrange this uppermost visit which surely will suppose each one of us, every Ukrainian," he continued.
8:01 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Russian forces stole buses driving to rescue people from Mariupol, Ukraine says
From CNN's Andrew Carey, Yulia Presniakova and Hande Atay Alam
A convoy of 11 empty buses — driving towards Mariupol to rescue fleeing Ukrainians — has been commandeered by Russian forces, according to the Ukrainian government.
The Russians have driven the buses, along with the original bus drivers and several emergency services workers, to an undisclosed location the government says.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the buses were taken over at a Russian checkpoint outside Mangush, about 15 kilometers (about 9 miles) west of Mariupol.
Mariupol has been under devastating bombardment for several weeks and 100,000 people in the city are without water and access to medicines, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday. A local Ukrainian officer in the city told CNN that bombs have been falling on the city every ten minutes.
Recent days have seen several thousand people make the dangerous journey out of the city in private vehicles, en route to Zaporizhzhia, a city more than 200 kilometers (about 124 miles) away which is still in Ukrainian hands.
However, attempts to get empty buses into besieged Mariupol to collect people and bring them out have so far failed.
7:19 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Ukrainian President Zelensky says "difficult negotiations" continue with Russia
From CNN's From Hande Atay Alam and Olena Mankovska
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky provided an update on talks with Russia during an address that was posted on his government’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
"We continue working on different levels to make sure that Russia is convinced that this atrocious war has to be stopped. We continue our difficult negotiations. This is challenging. Sometimes scandalous," he said.
Zelensky also said, "I am grateful to all of the international intermediators who work with us and bring the true picture to Russia and convince them to see the reality of combat actions. And that the world is not going to stop the truth, our truth."
"We will fight until the end bravely and openly," he added
7:30 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Zelensky asks Italy to strengthen sanctions against Russia
From CNN’s Hande Atay Alam
Ukrainian President Zelensky said he has asked Italy "to strengthen sanctions against Russia and regime" during an address that was posted on the Ukrainian government’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
Zelensky said he has asked "to hit all the Russians that are responsible for this war, the war against us. To hit them on their property, real estate, yacht, and banks accounts ... Their habit to make money on war and then continue to live in Europe where there is peace and safety."
"I am sure there will be new sanctions and I am grateful to Italy for support," Zelensky added.
8:47 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
CNN reports from the Ukraine-Poland border as women and children try to flee
From CNN's Jason Kurtz
As midnight approached in Ukraine, refugees continued to seek safety in neighboring countries.
CNN’s Melissa Bell reported live from Medyka on Ukraine's border with Poland, noting that the refugees — primarily women and children — come carrying very little, aside from hope.
“The couple of suitcases that they can carry, often also a pet. Whatever they've been able to grab as they leave,” said Bell, of the arriving refugees.
Meanwhile, at the border crossing, Poland is doing its best to welcome those seeking safety.
“There's an area for their pets to be fed as they arrive. Tents have been set up all along this walkway where they arrive to try to give them comfort, to try to give the children a bit of candy, a bit of stuffed toy, something to say welcome to Poland. Extraordinary scenes,” described Bell.
Bell reported that more than 2.1 million people have crossed the border where she is stationed, nearly 60% of all total Ukrainian refugees.
“It is on this country that that tremendous strain of welcoming an extraordinarily vulnerable group of people, since, by definition, we're talking about women with their small children that are arriving with absolutely nothing," she said.
6:37 p.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Key things to know about hypersonic missiles fired by Russia at Ukraine
"And if you'll notice, (Russia has) just launched the hypersonic missile, because it's the only thing that they can get through with absolute certainty," Biden said. "It's a consequential weapon ... it's almost impossible to stop it. There's a reason they're using it."
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a news briefing on Tuesday that Russian forces used hypersonic missiles “at least in one instance,” that the US is aware of. Russian forces used the hypersonic missile “against a fixed building,” at a “relatively close range,” Kirby said.
Despite the Biden's comments, British intelligence and even the US President's own defense secretary have downplayed Russia's use of its air-launched Kinzhal missiles.
"I would not see it as a game changer," Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin told CBS' "Face the Nation."
And the UK Defense Ministry said the Kinzhal missile is really just an air-launched version of the Iskander short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), which Russia has used repeatedly in its invasion of Ukraine.
Why the fear and hype about hypersonic missiles? First, it's important to understand the term.
Essentially, all missiles are hypersonic — which means they travel at least five times the speed of sound. Almost any warhead released from a rocket miles in the atmosphere will reach this speed heading to its target. It is not a new technology.
What military powers — including Russia, China, the United States and North Korea -- are working on now is a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). An HGV is a highly maneuverable payload that can theoretically fly at hypersonic speed while adjusting course and altitude to fly under radar detection and around missile defenses.
An HGV is the weapon that's almost impossible to stop. And Russia is thought to have an HGV in its arsenal, the Avangard system, which Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018 called "practically invulnerable" to Western air defenses.
"The MiG-31K can strike from unpredictable directions and could avoid interception attempts altogether. The flying carrier vehicle might also be more survivable than the road-mobile Iskander system," the report said.
The same report also noted that the ground-launched Iskander proved vulnerable to missile defense systems during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, during which Azeri forces intercepted an Armenian Iskander.
"This suggests that claims of the Kinzhal's invulnerability to missile defense systems may also be somewhat exaggerated," the report said.
US aware of Russia using hypersonic missiles "at least in one instance," Pentagon says
From CNN's Ellie Kaufman
Russian forces used hypersonic missiles “at least in one instance,” that the US is aware of, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a news briefing on Tuesday.
Russian forces used the hypersonic missile “against a fixed building,” at a “relatively close range,” Kirby said.
“It’s hard to know what exactly the justification was for that, but it could very well be tied to inventory problems and performance problems that they’re having with respect to precision guided munitions, so we’ll just have to see where that goes,” Kirby said.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Sunday that he does not view “the use of this type of weapon as some sort of game changer here,” Kirby added.
“It is not exactly clear what their intentions were,” Kirby said.
CNN previously reported that Russia had used a hypersonic missile in the conflict in Ukraine.