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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8:24 a.m. ET, March 25, 2022

Russian ship destroyed in the occupied port of Berdyansk, Ukrainian Navy says

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv

A fire at Berdyansk port is seen in this image from social media on March 24.
A fire at Berdyansk port is seen in this image from social media on March 24. (Ukrainian Navy of the Armed Forces/Facebook)

A large Russian ship has been destroyed in the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk, in southeastern Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Navy on Thursday.

CNN could not confirm the Navy's claim although social media videos appeared to show a very large fire with secondary explosions in the port.

Some context: Berdyansk sits on the Azov Sea and is roughly 45 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Mariupol. The city has a small naval base and a population of about 100,000. Russian military troops first occupied Berdyansk government buildings on Feb. 27. 

2:49 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

White House calls Russia stock market reopening a "charade"

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 24.
Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 24. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House said Russia's planned partial reopening of its stock exchange amounts to a "Potemkin market opening" that will obscure the dire effects of Western economic sanctions.

(The original term "Potemkin Village" derives from a story dating back to 18th-century Russia, suggesting that an artificial place can be built to disguise or conceal the true -- and often less desirable -- identity of the original.)

"What we’re seeing is a charade," deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh wrote in a statement.
"After keeping its markets closed for nearly a month, Russia announced it will only allow 15% of listed shares to trade, foreigners are prohibited from selling their shares, and short selling in general has been banned. Meanwhile, Russia has made clear they are going to pour government resources into artificially propping up the shares of companies that are trading."

Singh said it was "not a real market and not a sustainable model — which only underscores Russia’s isolation from the global financial system."

What is reopening:

  • The Moscow Stock Exchange will partially re-open for trading in Russian stocks on Thursday, Russia’s Central Bank announced.
  • The Bank of Russia said trading in 33 stocks will resume between 9.50 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time. 
  • The Russian equities allowed to resume trading include big companies such as Gazprom, Lukoil, VTB Bank, Sberbank, Rusal and Rosneft.
  • The central bank said there will be a ban applied on short shelling for these shares.

2:24 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Ukraine sees fastest displacement crisis since WWII, aid group says 

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Lviv 

Ukrainian evacuees board a train to Warsaw at the rail station in Przemysl, Poland, on March 23.
Ukrainian evacuees board a train to Warsaw at the rail station in Przemysl, Poland, on March 23. (Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 2 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Poland since Russian forces invaded Ukraine a month ago.

It's “the fastest displacement crisis we've seen since the Second World War," the International Rescue Committee said in a statement Thursday.  

The IRC said Poland has "acted quickly" to legalize the stay of Ukrainians and to provide access to social services like healthcare, education, and financial assistance.

"However, to receive most benefits, registration for a Polish ID number is required. Even with the swift registration process established by the Polish government, it will be a long process to register the over one million people who are expected to stay on in Poland," said Heather Macey, IRC Team Lead in Poland.

IRC, a major US humanitarian group, has urged authorities in countries neighboring Ukraine to "make full use of the help offered by the EU Asylum Agency, EU funding, and other EU countries to make sure that refugees are supported in an equitable and sustainable way across the continent." 

1:09 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Western leaders set for critical day of summits as they ready the next phase of responses to war

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

slew of emergency summits Thursday could help determine the next phase of the Western response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, which US officials warn is entering an uncertain but bloody stretch.

Announcements on new sanctions, NATO force posture and military assistance are all expected as part of the diplomatic burst, according to US and European officials.

Representatives from the White House and European governments spent days leading up to the summit in intensive conversations finalizing steps for leaders to unveil following their talks.

What they won’t do is what embattled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked: Enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

US and NATO officials have repeatedly said that such a move would risk provoking 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.

Read the full story:

12:50 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Foreign investors are fleeing Taiwan following Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here's why

From CNN Business' Michelle Toh

War in Europe has triggered a massive flight of capital from an Asian island nearly 5,000 miles away.

Over the last month, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened concerns about the risk that China could increase its military force against Taiwan, triggering what some analysts have described as an unprecedented exodus by overseas investors.

In the three weeks following the invasion, foreign investors dumped shares worth about 480 billion Taiwanese dollars ($16.9 billion), according to Alex Huang, director at Mega International Investment Services, a Taipei-based firm.

That outflow is the biggest on record, he said, exceeding the value of Taiwanese shares sold by foreign investors in the whole of 2021, which Bank of America analysts have estimated at $15.6 billion.

Goldman Sachs analysts project that Taiwan has seen an outflow of $15.6 billion over the past month, topping last year’s tally of $15.3 billion.

Read the full story:

12:35 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Analysis: The post-Cold War era is over. Biden's Europe trip will shape what comes next

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo greets President Joe Biden as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base in Belgium on Wednesday.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo greets President Joe Biden as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base in Belgium on Wednesday. (Benoit Doppangne/Pool/Belga/Sipa USA/AP)

US President Joe Biden is in Europe to inaugurate the post-, post-Cold War era.

For the first time in at least 30 years, a US president has arrived with the continent rattled by Russian aggression and jarred by a return of nuclear brinkmanship. The West is also mourning its shattered illusion that it had entered an era of perpetual peace.

Biden’s visit to address NATO and European Union leaders in Brussels and his travel to Poland, an alliance frontline state, will underscore how the world changed — probably irrevocably — as soon as the first Russian tank rolled over Ukraine’s border four weeks ago.

Depending on your view, the West and Russia are now fighting the last struggle of the Cold War or the first in a new age of confrontation as autocracies like Moscow and Beijing form a broad hostile front against Western-style democracy.

Read the full analysis:

12:31 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

5 key questions for Biden's emergency summits on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Joe Biden is set to gather with world leaders in Brussels, Belgium, for emergency summits to respond to the war in Ukraine, a consequential visit that comes as the West continues to grapple with how to disrupt Russia’s invasion.

Here are five key questions for Biden’s day with world leaders:

  1. What does the West do next for Ukraine? The US and NATO allies are expected to unveil several new efforts Thursday that are intended to punish Russia for its war on Ukraine. They include the deployments of four additional battle groups in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
  2. How will Biden lead? Thursday’s summits could serve as a moment for Biden to reassert America’s leadership in the hamstrung NATO alliance. In Brussels, Biden is expected to unveil new sanctions on Russian political figures and oligarchs. The US is also weighing changes to its own military posture in Eastern Europe.
  3. Does Zelensky make an appearance? Though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, leaders in the alliance have discussed whether and how President Volodymyr Zelensky could possibly participate in the summit.
  4. How will Putin react to the West's united front? The Kremlin has issued several warnings this week against NATO, suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin is angry with people in Ukraine who want to be part of the alliance. Russia, however, maintains that it wants to be part of conversations with global alliances.
  5. Will NATO's actions be effective? Biden and NATO leaders have maintained that the war in Ukraine has unified NATO member countries more than ever but Thursday’s meetings may be a test of strength for the alliance's capabilities.

Read the full story:

2:02 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

Car speeds away from gunfire in new video from desolate and destroyed Mariupol

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Sharif Paget and Josh Pennington

View of Mariupol from a video obtained by CNN.
View of Mariupol from a video obtained by CNN. (From Telegram)

New videos from Mariupol show the desolation of the besieged Ukrainian city, with deserted, debris-filled streets, blown-out cars and destroyed buildings.

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of two videos, filmed from a car that came under gunfire, uploaded on social media Tuesday.

The first video, which was filmed from a moving car, begins with a blown-up Mariupol police vehicle coming into view as the drivers pull south on Builders Avenue in Mariupol's western area. 

The street is littered with dirt, debris and splintered wood except for a small strip in the center of the road. Sporadic gunfire is heard in the video. 

In front of the car, the road appears blocked by burnt-out cars, and the camera pans suddenly downward. As it does, a body is seen on the ground to the right of a car. The car then sharply turns down a side road, and a man is seen running with a bag.

View of Mariupol from a video obtained by CNN.
View of Mariupol from a video obtained by CNN. (From Telegram)

A second video begins as the same car is driving north in a parking lot.

More gunfire is heard in the video as the car pulls back onto Builders Avenue and heads north, back from where it came from.

As it does, the body on the side of the road is seen again. The driver floors it amid the pops of gunfire. The vehicle passes back by the busted police car, and other bombed-out cars sitting on the road.

The driver continues accelerating as destroyed buildings and downed wires whiz by.

More gunfire is heard, this time so close that the impact of the bullets can be heard. It's unclear if the bullets hit the car or the ground nearby.

The car then speeds off away from the gunfire.

Watch: Sporadic gunfire heard in new video from Mariupol

12:00 a.m. ET, March 24, 2022

It's 6 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

One month since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Moscow's forces have been pushed back around Kyiv and are taking defensive positions northwest of the capital, a US official said. On Wednesday evening, CNN teams on the ground saw a barrage of outgoing fire from the area.

Meanwhile, video has emerged from the eastern city of Izyum, showing widespread destruction and bodies in the street.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Western powers meet: World leaders are in Brussels for an extraordinary NATO summit as they seek to align their responses to Russia's brutal invasion. A European Council and G7 meeting will also take place Thursday. Multiple sources have told CNN a significant amount of time will be spent discussing how the alliance should respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin uses chemical or biological weapons against Ukrainian citizens. President Joe Biden will unveil new sanctions on Russian political figures and oligarchs, while the UK is set to announce a "major new military support package" for Ukraine.
  • Journalist killed: Oksana Baulina, who worked for independent news site The Insider, was killed in shelling in Kyiv, the outlet said. The Russian reporter is the fifth journalist killed in Ukraine this month, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists and press freedom activists.
  • Call for worldwide demonstrations: President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling for global protests in support of Ukraine. Zelensky urged the world to unite against Russia’s invasion, saying, “the war of Russia is not only the war against Ukraine, its meaning is much wider.” 
  • Ukraine's gains: A senior US defense official said Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian invaders back on the front lines east of Kyiv. Russian forces are about 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Kyiv’s city center to the east, an increase of between 25 and 35 kilometers (15 to 22 miles) compared to the same location a day earlier, the official said. To the northwest, the Russians are “digging in, and they are establishing defensive positions,” the official said.
  • Bodies on the street: Videos have emerged from the eastern city of Izyum, which has been cut off from nearly all communications since intense battles broke out there last week. They show widespread destruction, charred and bombed-out buildings, and bodies left lying in the streets. Separately, video from the northern city of Chernihiv shows "complete carnage," with bombed-out buildings, houses on fire, and cemeteries so full they cannot handle all the dead, the city's mayor said.
  • War crimes: The US government formally declared that members of the Russian armed forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited “credible reports” of the deliberate targeting of civilians and indiscriminate attacks, including the destruction of apartment buildings, schools and hospitals. A top Russian diplomat denied that Russia was committing war crimes in Ukraine.