March 28, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Travis Caldwell, Helen Regan, Amy Woodyatt, Maureen Chowdhury, Jason Kurtz and Kathryn Snowdon, CNN

Updated 0403 GMT (1203 HKT) March 29, 2022
4 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:39 p.m. ET, March 27, 2022

Biden tells reporters he was not calling for Russian regime change

From CNN’s Sam Fossum

President Joe Biden addresses media representatives in Brussels on March 24.
President Joe Biden addresses media representatives in Brussels on March 24. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden told reporters Sunday he was not calling for regime change in Russia in his off-the-cuff remarks a day earlier.

"No," Biden said, in response to a shouted question from a reporter in the press pool asking if he was calling for regime change.

The question stemmed from Biden's comment Saturday at the conclusion of an address delivered outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.

"For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power," Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Other Biden administration officials have sought to walk back and clarify Biden’s comment.

"The president's point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region," a White House official said. "He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change."

11:39 p.m. ET, March 27, 2022

Next round of Russia-Ukraine talks will be held in Istanbul on Tuesday, Turkish presidency says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy, Becky Anderson, and Isil Sariyuce

The next round of talks between Russia and Ukraine will be held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Tuesday, according to the Turkish presidency.

A statement from the Turkish Presidency's Communications Directorate said during a phone call on Sunday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin "agreed that the next meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian delegations will be held in Istanbul."

Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told CNN International Anchor Becky Anderson on Sunday that the talks will take place Tuesday. 

However, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said earlier that the meeting would take place Monday. Previous negotiations have yielded little result.

Erdogan and Putin discussed the "latest situation in the Russia-Ukraine war" and the negotiation efforts between Russia and Ukraine, according to the Turkish Presidency readout of the call.

"During the meeting, President Erdogan underlined the necessity of establishing a ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine as soon as possible and improving the humanitarian situation in the region and stated that Turkey will continue to contribute in every possible way during this process," the statement continued. 

11:39 p.m. ET, March 27, 2022

Ukraine promises "immediate investigation" after video surfaces of soldiers shooting Russian prisoners

From CNN's Tim Lister, Celine Alkhaldi, Katerina Krebs and Josh Pennington

Video has surfaced showing what appear to be Ukrainian soldiers shooting men who are apparently Russian prisoners in the knees during an operation in the Kharkiv region.

On the almost six-minute-long video, the Ukrainian soldiers are heard saying they have captured a Russian reconnaissance group operating from Olkhovka, a settlement in Kharkiv roughly 20 miles from the Russian border.

Asked about the video, a senior presidential advisor, Oleksiy Arestovych, said in an interview posted on YouTube Sunday: "The government is taking this very seriously, and there will be an immediate investigation. We are a European army, and we do not mock our prisoners. If this turns out to be real, this is absolutely unacceptable behavior."

In a separate briefing, Arestovych said, "We treat prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Convention, whatever your personal emotional motives."

CNN has reached out to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry for comment. In response, the ministry sent CNN a statement from the Armed Forces chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The statement did not refer directly to the incident, but said, "In order to discredit Ukraine's defense forces, the enemy films and distributes staged videos showing inhuman treatment by alleged 'Ukrainian soldiers' of 'Russian prisoners.' 

"I emphasize that servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other legitimate military formations strictly adhere to the norms of international humanitarian law," Zaluzhnyi said. "I urge you to take into account the realities of informational and psychological warfare and trust only official sources."

It's unclear which Ukrainian unit may have been involved. The soldiers speak in a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian with Ukrainian accents.

The video comes as Ukrainian forces make gains east and south of Kharkiv. CNN geolocated and verified a long video uploaded on a Telegram Saturday showing a successful assault by Ukrainian troops of the Azov Battalion, in which they took a number of Russian prisoners in a rapid assault on Olkhovka, also known as Vilkhivka.

Some of the prisoners were stripped and blindfolded.

That video was posted by Konstantin Nemichev, a Kharkiv regional official who took part in the attack on Olkhovka. He told CNN he was not associated with the footage that emerged showing Ukrainian troops kneecapping Russian prisoners.

“This is not our location … I have not seen such a location,” he told CNN on Sunday.

He suggested the video was shot “maybe somewhere in the [Kharkiv] region.”

In the first response from Russian authorities, the chairman of the investigative committee of the Russian Federation, A.I. Bastrykin, said an investigation would be launched "to establish all the circumstances of the ill-treatment of captured soldiers by Ukrainian nationalists."

In a statement, Bastrykin said: "Footage appeared on the Internet in which prisoners were treated with extreme cruelty by Ukrainian nationalists. The video circulating online shows captured soldiers, being shot in both legs and not given medical assistance. According to some reports, illegal actions took place at one of the bases of the Ukrainian nationalists in Kharkiv region." 

CNN is not showing the video.

11:53 p.m. ET, March 27, 2022

Putin eyeing "Korean scenario" for Ukraine, says Ukrainian military intel chief

From CNN's Andrew Carey and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv

Ukraine’s military intelligence head says Russian President Vladimir Putin could be looking to carve Ukraine in two – like North and South Korea. 

Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine's Defense Intelligence Agency, said Russia’s operations around Kyiv had failed and it was now impossible for the Russian army to overthrow the Ukrainian government. Putin’s war was now focused on the south and the east of the country, he said. 

“There is reason to believe that he is considering a 'Korean' scenario for Ukraine. That is, [Russian forces] will try to impose a dividing line between the unoccupied and occupied regions of our country. In fact, it is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine.” 

Budanov said Russia remained intent on establishing a land corridor from the Russian border to Crimea, and said he expected to see an attempt to unite Russian-occupied territories into a single entity. 

“We are already seeing attempts to create "parallel" authorities in the occupied territories and to force people to give up [the Ukrainian] currency,” Budanov said, adding that he expected Ukrainians to resist Russia’s political efforts.