March 24, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Seán Federico O'Murchú, George Ramsay, Sana Noor Haq, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya, Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 12:19 p.m. ET, March 25, 2022
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9:55 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

US provides $1 billion in humanitarian assistance for people impacted by Russian invasion of Ukraine 

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The United States said Thursday it would provide more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance for people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The funds will help provide food, shelter, clean water, medical supplies and other assistance, the White House said.

The money comes as US President Joe Biden meets with European leaders and works to determine the next phase of the response to Russia’s war.

In addition, the White House said it would stand up a $320 million fund meant to bolster democracy in countries bordering the European Union, including funding for human rights, independent media and anti-corruption initiatives.

10:25 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

G7 leaders take family photo ahead of emergency summit

Left to right: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a G7 leaders' family photograph during a NATO summit at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 24.
Left to right: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a G7 leaders' family photograph during a NATO summit at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 24. (Photo by Henry Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images)

The G7 leaders just took a family photo in Brussels ahead of an emergency summit to discuss Russia's invasion in Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden is expected to speak soon to the group.

9:46 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Ukrainian teen escaped from Chernihiv and survived a blast that killed his mother

Andriy, a 15-year-old Ukrainian teen from Chernihiv, escaped his city after being forced from his home and then drove over what he thinks was a land mine, he told CNN.

"I see a yellow explosion. Sound in ears. And I just remember like I woke up in road. I see the broken car. And I see like my mother with fire," he told CNN's John Berman while recovering in a children's hospital in Lviv.
"I feel blood in my left ear. Then I hear shooting ... from rockets or something."

He said he was screaming and couldn't walk. Villagers who heard the explosion brought him to safety.

His mother burned to death.

Andriy started crying when asked about his mother, saying it is "very difficult" for his family.

"I want you to know my mother was a very beautiful woman," he said via a translator.

The northern city of Chernihiv has seen some of the most intense shelling since Russia invaded Ukraine a month ago. Badly damaged buildings line rubble-strewn streets, while still-burning fires fill the air with heavy smoke, as seen in a new video from Mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko.

"It's very hard to look what going on with my city," he added, saying that he'll go back once the war ends. 

Andriy said he wants to "distance myself from this war," then played a song on his guitar for Berman.

Watch the interview:

9:38 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

US still opposes providing fighter jets to Ukraine, official says

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

The United States is still opposed to providing fighter jets to Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made another appeal to NATO leaders on Thursday. 

A senior US official tells CNN the US position has not changed on the matter. 

During a video address on Thursday, Zelensky asked NATO for "one percent of all your planes," later adding, "you have thousands of fighter jets, but we have not been given one yet."

Previously, US officials said they opposed providing fighter jets to Ukraine because it could be viewed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as an escalatory step. 

9:29 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

US will welcome 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing Russian aggression, Biden administration official says

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

A Ukrainian family wait with their luggage before being allowed to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry into the United States to seek asylum on March 22, in Tijuana, Mexico.
A Ukrainian family wait with their luggage before being allowed to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry into the United States to seek asylum on March 22, in Tijuana, Mexico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The United States will welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression, a senior administration official announced Thursday.

“To meet this commitment, we are considering the full range of legal pathways to the United States,” the official said, which includes US refugee admissions program, parole and immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.

The official said the White House will not have to ask Congress to expand the current cap on annual refugees — which is currently set at 125,000 for fiscal year 2022 — because it is more a “long-term commitment” and there will be other avenues to enter the United States for many of those Ukrainians.

“We still have a significant capacity within the 125,000 so we don’t currently envision the need to go beyond that,” the official said.

The official said that the administration is working to expand and develop new programs with “a focus on welcoming Ukrainians who have family members in the United States.”

There will be an emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable among the refugee populations, including members of the LGBTQI+ community, those with medical needs, journalists and third country nationals.

“By opening our country to these individuals, we will help relieve some of the pressure on the European host countries that are currently shouldering so much of the responsibility,” the official added.

9:25 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

US will announce sanctions on over 300 members of the Russian Duma, Biden administration official says

From CNN's Allie Malloy

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation building, in Moscow, Russia, on September 10, 2013.
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation building, in Moscow, Russia, on September 10, 2013. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The United States on Thursday will announce new sanctions against over 300 members of the Russian Duma and more than 40 Russian defense companies, a senior administration official told reporters. 

The official added that the EU and G7 will also announce a new sanctions evasion initiative that’s “designed to prevent circumvention or backfilling” of sanctions.

Asked by CNN’s Phil Mattingly for examples of the sanctions evasion initiative, a senior administration official said, in part, it will blunt the Central Bank of Russia’s ability to deploy international reserves by making clear that any transaction involving gold is prohibited — which prevents the ruble from being propped up.

“The overall message here is we have taken historic steps in imposing costs on Russia, now let’s make sure we are fully aligned and getting the maximum impact from the measures we have implemented,” the official said.

Asked about the expected joint energy strategy that is expected to be announced Friday, administration officials wouldn’t go into detail but said “it’s something we’ve been working on for some time and I think it’s going to be a meaningful step forward in terms of accelerating Europe’s diversification away from Russian gas.”

9:09 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Economic fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine is spilling over to the rest of the world

From CNN’s David Goldman 

As Russian soldiers bear down on Ukraine, increasingly desperate Ukrainians are running out of food and medicine. The economic fallout from the invasion is beginning to spill over to the rest of the world, too.

Forecasts for global growth are being slashed and the chance of a US recession in 2023 has risen to 35%, according to Goldman Sachs.

But war in Europe is no longer a theoretical, off-in-the-future concern for economists to discuss in research papers and notes to investors. It's tangible. It's here. And it's causing pain for millions.

Sanctions and other supply-chain disruptions have sent consumer prices surging across the world as oil and other commodity prices have spiked. Soaring gas and diesel prices are also adding to the cost of food, heightening fears that the world is on the brink of a hunger crisis.

France's government is considering food vouchers to help residents afford to eat. A commodities trading company said diesel is in such short supply it may soon have to be rationed.

Continue reading the full story here:

9:35 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Ukraine's president to NATO: Give us just 1% of what you have

From CNN's Andrew Carey and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses via video link a meeting of the Extraordinary Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government held in Brussels, Belgium, on March 24.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses via video link a meeting of the Extraordinary Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government held in Brussels, Belgium, on March 24. (NATO Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told the NATO leaders meeting in Brussels that Ukraine needs just a fraction of the alliance’s combined firepower. 

“You can give us 1% of all your planes. One percent of all your tanks. One percent!” he said in an address on Facebook. 

“You have thousands of fighter jets, but we have not been given one yet …  we turned [to you] for tanks so that we can unblock our cities … you have at least 20,000 tanks … but we do not have a clear answer yet,” Zelensky said. 

He appealed to leaders to make the necessary decisions to make it happen. 

“We can't just buy [these items]. Such a supply depends directly on NATO's decisions, on political decisions,” Zelensky said. 

He also said NATO leaders should acknowledge what Ukraine’s armed forces have demonstrated in the war against Russia. 

“Please, never tell us again that our army does not meet NATO standards. We have shown what standards we can reach. And we have shown how much we can give to the common security of Europe and the world," Zelensky said.

9:05 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Emergency summits are underway in Brussels. Here's what to expect — and what not to

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, and U.S. President Joe Biden, center, listen as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a North Atlantic Council meeting during an extraordinary summit at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 24.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, and U.S. President Joe Biden, center, listen as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a North Atlantic Council meeting during an extraordinary summit at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 24. (Evelyn Hockstin/AFP/Getty Images)

Historic, emergency summits are underway in Brussels as US President Joe Biden works to rally the West behind a strategy to confront Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. 

What's happening this morning:

  • World leaders, including Biden, arrived at NATO headquarters on Thursday morning, posing for a brief family photo before entering a lengthy closed-door session.
  • Biden did not stop to speak on his way in; other leaders made brief remarks and took questions. We have not heard from Biden yet today.
  • The NATO session currently underway was expected to focus partly on what to do if Russia deploys a chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapon. US officials have quietly been mapping out potential ways the US could respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin took such an extreme step.
  • Other topics — including new sanctions on Russia, NATO’s force posture, and military assistance to Ukraine — are all expected as part of the last-minute diplomatic burst.

 What to expect later today:

  • While Biden's at NATO headquarters, he will meet with the leaders of the G7, where new sanctions are expected to be announced. Biden is expected to take a G7 family photo at 9:10 a.m. ET (2:10 p.m. local time) before the meeting, which takes place at 9:15 a.m. ET (2:15 p.m. local time).
  • Biden will then head to the European Council, where the issue of European dependence on Russian energy is expected to dominate. He arrives at 11:20 a.m. ET (4:20 p.m. local time) and will hold a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel. The European Council Summit begins at 12 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local time).
  • Biden then heads back to NATO headquarters for a 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local time) news conference.

What leaders won't do:

  • As the snap NATO summit got underway, leaders heard a call for more help from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the gathering virtually. He stopped short of issuing his usual request for a no-fly zone. But he did say Ukraine needs fighter jets, tanks and better air defenses.
  • Western leaders would not implement a no-fly zone even if Zelensky reiterated calls for it. US and NATO officials have repeatedly said that it would risk provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin and sparking a wider war with Russia. Western allies have also found it difficult to take more aggressive steps, such as providing Russian-made fighter jets to Ukraine or deciding to cut themselves off from Russian energy supplies, which could potentially cripple Russia's economy.
  • European leaders have also outlined their own limitations in punishing Russia. While the US has imposed a ban on imports of Russian energy products, Europe remains far more dependent and has stopped short of cutting itself off completely.

 Read more: