Ukraine government adviser tells CNN there's a chance "Putin's power will be limited by his own people"
From CNN's Hala Gorani and Mohammed Tawfeeq in Lviv
Liubov Tsybulska, adviser to Ukraine’s government and military, said there's a chance "Putin's power will be limited by his own people."
Speaking from Warsaw, Poland about whether there’s potential for a Russian exit from Ukraine, Tsybulska told CNN: "I think that the best-case scenario is if something happens in Russia, we know that there's a division between Russian elites ... people within their government understand that this war is going to bring Russia to collapse."
"So, of course, we expect they will do something in Russia. We cannot expect that having the support of the war, people go and protest and, you know, make basically a revolution. But there are some chances that Putin's power will be limited by his own people."
Speaking of Russia's offensive and the resistance forces are facing, Tsybulska said: "They are trying to take cities, but they cannot enter and take control over Ukrainian cities. They did it in Kherson, but people keep protesting, people keep resisting, and basically, Russians don't know what to do with that and the same thing with Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Kyiv."
"They can shell and kill civilians, but they cannot control the cities," Tsybulska said. Tsybulska said Putin's "ultimate goal" is Kyiv, adding "it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to take the city."
"But of course, Russia wants to frighten civilians, and they want to spread panic among civilians and demoralization and basically reduce the support for the Ukrainian army from the Ukrainian population," Tsybulska added.
8:33 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Large explosion heard in Kyiv while city remains under curfew
From CNN staff in Kyiv
Several loud explosions could be heard in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday while the city was under a 35-hour curfew.
One of the blasts was so strong it set off car alarms in the city center, a CNN team witnessed.
Ukrainian interior ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko said Ukrainian air defenses had engaged and destroyed a Russia Tochka-U missile and that remains of the projectile had fallen in the Dniper river.
Shelling and small arms fire could also be heard intermittently over the past couple of hours.
Kyiv is currently under a curfew announced by the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko on Monday. In a statement on Telegram, Klitschko said the curfew would begin Monday at 8:00 p.m and last until 7:00am on Wednesday.
"Shops, pharmacies, gas stations, institutions will not work tomorrow," he said. "Therefore, I ask everyone to stay at home or in shelters - at sound of an alarm. Only those with special permits will be able to move around the city."
8:19 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Ukrainian President Zelensky talked to Pope Francis about the war in Ukraine
From Hada Messia in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite in London
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Pope Francis talked over the phone on Tuesday about the war, Zelensky told Italian lawmakers on Tuesday.
"Today I spoke with his Holiness Pope Francis, and he said very important words: 'I understand that you want peace. I understand that you have to defend yourselves, that soldiers defend civilians, they defend their homeland. Everyone is defending it,'" Zelensky said in an address to Italian Parliament.
"And I answered: 'Our people have become the army, when they saw how much evil the enemy brings, how much devastation it brings, and how much bloodshed it (Russia) wants to see,'" the president said.
Zelensky said that 117 children have died so far during the war, calling it "the price of procrastination" of other countries in stopping the war.
Zelensky told the Pope "about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops," he tweeted.
"The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated," Zelensky added.
In a tweet, Ukraine's Ambassador to the Vatican Andriy Yurash said the pair had "very promising" talks.
Yurash also said that the Pope " is the most expected guest in Ukraine."
8:21 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Some towns in Ukraine don't have more than 3-4 days' worth of food, according to aid agency
From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen
Some towns in Ukraine don’t have more than three or four days’ worth of food, the aid agency Mercy Corps said Tuesday, warning that the humanitarian system in the country “is entirely broken down.”
“One of our biggest concerns right now is the vulnerability of the supply chain. We know that most municipalities in areas seeing the most intense fighting don’t have more than three to four days’ worth of essentials like food,” said Mercy Corps’ Ukraine humanitarian response adviser Steve Gordon, who is in Kharkiv, the site of some of the heaviest fighting since the Russian invasion.
At least 70% of the population of Kharkiv and Sumy is entirely dependent on aid, he estimated.
“These are areas like Sumy, with 800,000 people nearly entirely reliant right now on aid shipped in on a day-to-day basis. Cities need at least a month’s worth of food, stored in different warehouses in case they come under fire,”Gordon said.
“The reality is that right now the humanitarian system is entirely broken down. We are not seeing a high-functioning, coordinated international aid effort covering the whole of Ukraine like we often see in other conflict zones,” he said. “While the United Nations is getting aid into some areas, we’ve seen through the failure of humanitarian corridors that many people are only surviving through support from small Ukrainian civil society organization like church groups, which are coordinating essential deliveries such as food and medical supplies. These amazing volunteer networks are working as hard as they can but they are stretched to the max.”
8:14 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Russian Nobel Peace Price winner will auction medal for Ukrainian refugees
From CNN’s Eoin McSweeney in Abu Dhabi and Niamh Kennedy in London
Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta will auction the Nobel Peace Prize medal won by its editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov in aid of Ukrainian refugees.
In a statement published on the newspaper’s website Tuesday, Muratov said the droves of “wounded and sick children” requiring “urgent treatment” compelled him to offer up the prestigious medal.
Muratov, the co-founder of Novaya Gazeta, won the Nobel Peace Prize last October for his tireless defense of freedom of speech in Russia.
The editor-in-chief stressed in the statement the urgent need for a ceasefire, exchange of prisoners and provision of humanitarian corridors.
The proceeds from the sale of the medal will go to The Foundation of Assistance to the Ukrainian Refugees, a nongovernmental organization that strives to "provide moral and material support to refugees from Ukraine."
More than 3.5 million refugees have now fled Ukraine, according to the latest update from the UN Refugee Agency.
Muratov concluded his statement by saying he was applying to auction houses for a “response that will tender this award known to the whole world.”
8:06 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
What we know about Russia’s death toll in Ukraine
From CNN's Lauren Said-Moorhouse in London
It’s been nearly a month since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, deploying tens of thousands of troops into an offensive against its neighbor from three sides.
While Ukraine’s military is much smaller, its forces have mounted a fierce resistance that has managed to hold off Russian advances in some parts of the country. A senior NATO intelligence official said Monday signs were pointing to a stalemate emerging in Russia’s offensive, with Russian ground forces remaining stalled and Russian combat aircraft unable to achieve air superiority.
Precisely how many Russian troops have been killed in their campaign thus far is unclear.
On March 2, a Russian defense ministry spokesman put the number of dead Russian military personnel at 498. But that number has not been updated by officials since then.
Then on Monday a pro-Putin Russian tabloid published -- then later removed -- a report with an updated toll of 9,861 Russian armed forces deaths in the war in Ukraine, citing the Russian defense ministry.
The report from the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda originally read: "According to the Russian Defense Ministry, during the special operation in Ukraine, the Russian Armed Forces lost 9861 people killed and 16153 wounded."
CNN analyzed the website’s HTML code, which indicated that the article was published on Monday at 12:09 a.m. Moscow time.
Seconds after CNN read the original article -- at 9:56 p.m. Moscow time, according to the HTML code -- the story was updated and all references to the death count were removed. That update on the outlet's website came shortly after the article began to get attention from social media posts, which referenced the death count.
The original report from the tabloid is in line with US Department of Defense estimates that there have been up to 10,000 Russian military deaths. Ukraine has put the number even higher.
CNN is not able to independently verify any of these figures.
After the update, Komsomolskaya Pravda, published a statement saying that "access to administrator interface was hacked" and that "a fake insert was made into a publication."
They claimed that "inaccurate information was immediately removed." CNN analysis showed that the update came after 21 hours.
The Kremlin dodged questions on the course of the war in Ukraine, which were put to the Defense Ministry on Tuesday. The ministry said it "does not have the authority" to publicize a count of Russia’s military deaths while the "military operation" is still ongoing.
CNN’s Natasha Bertrand, Paul P. Murphy, Vasco Cotovio and Nathan Hodge contributed reporting to this post.
8:02 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
Woman who escaped Mariupol with her elderly parents says dead were left in the road or buried in yards
Natalia Hayetska said it was “incredibly difficult” for her and her elderly parents to escape from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
She said her family and their four cats were able to escape to Lviv thanks to “good people” who helped them on a four-day journey.
“No infrastructure, no potable water — no water at all — no electricity. And there was constant bombing. And not only artillery, they were also using UAVs and some aircrafts. They are dropping bombs all over the city," Hayetska told CNN's John Berman.
"People were carrying those who were killed closer to the road and covering them with blankets. They were waiting for someone to collect the bodies. Some people buried the bodies in the yard because they knew no one would come to them. This is all true," she said.
Her mother, Halyna Zhelezniak, expressed gratitude to her daughter for making sure everyone evacuated together.
"I'm 84, and this was the first time in my life when I felt horror. I couldn't believe it happened. It was just a shock. I couldn't believe it. But this is the reality my family and I had to face. I'm grateful to my daughter Natalia for saving us. She simply saved us. She didn't leave us behind," she said.
Her father, Ihor Zhelezniak, said that he doesn't expect to see his city rebuilt again in his lifetime.
"The Mariupol I left will maybe be back in the year 3000, but I'm not going to live that long. Because there are only ruins," he said.
8:00 a.m. ET, March 22, 2022
It's 12 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know
After days of fighting, Ukrainian forces have regained control of Makariv, a town 30 miles west of Kyiv, the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a post on Facebook on Tuesday. The "state flag of Ukraine was raised over the city of Makariv" as the Russians retreated, the post said. CNN could not confirm the claim by the Ukraine forces.
Meanwhile, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was found guilty of fraud on Tuesday by a Moscow court, according to state-owned news agency Tass. While not directly connected to the invasion of Ukraine, the verdict coincides with Putin's broad crackdown on opposition voices and independent media over the past four weeks.
Here's the latest on Russia's invasion of Ukraine:
Hypersonic missiles: Russia has used hypersonic missiles in its invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden confirmed Monday. "It's a consequential weapon ... it's almost impossible to stop it. There's a reason they're using it," Biden said. Essentially, all missiles are hypersonic, which means they travel at least five times the speed of sound. What military powers -- including Russia, China, the United States and North Korea -- are working on now is a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), a weapon that in 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin called "practically invulnerable" to Western air defenses.
Japan's PM protests Russia's suspension of peace talks: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday protested Russia's decision to suspend peace treaty talks to formally end World War II hostilities between Moscow and Tokyo. "This entire situation has been created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and Russia's response to pass this onto Japan-Russia relations is extremely unjustified and absolutely unacceptable. Japan would like to protest this move," said Kishida during a parliamentary session. "We will unite with the international community and take resolution action so Japan can continue following the foundation of the international order."
Ukrainian mayor urges residents to leave: The mayor of a city to the east of the capital of Kyiv is calling on residents to leave. "There is no urgent need to be in the city at the moment. Fighting is already raging around the region. I appeal to the population, be smart and leave the city if you can," Boryspil mayor Volodymyr Borysenko said in a video statement posted to Facebook. Borysenko said authorities would help with the evacuation of those who did not have their own vehicles, adding there were almost daily transfers to the west of Ukraine, where Russian attacks have been much lower in numbers.
Refugees continue to flee Ukraine: More than 3.5 million refugees have now fled Ukraine, according to the latest update from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). According to the update, 3,532,756 refugees have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24. In a separate update, the agency said it has ramped up supplies of thermal blankets, hot meals, and tents along the Ukrainian border, with a particular focus along the Polish side as temperatures plummet.
Ukraine accuses Russia of forcibly deporting children: Russian forces forcibly deported 2,389 children from Donetsk and Luhansk, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday, calling the move "a gross violation of international law." The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that 16,434 people, including 2,389 children were evacuated a day earlier, and people left of their own volition. UNICEF commented on these latest reports on Tuesday and raised concerns, though noted they have not been able to independently verify them.