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
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12:16 p.m. ET, March 28, 2022

Ukrainian finance minister says government will not accept any territorial losses

From CNN's Chris Liakos

Ukraine’s Finance Minister Serhii Marchenko says the government will not accept any loss of territory to Russia and that despite the war, salaries and pensions are being paid. 

“I want to tell you that despite all the war we see right now, our government is still functioning,” Marchenko told CNN’s Julia Chatterley. He said the government is paying salaries and pensions, and $200 to every person who lost their job because of the war.

“It is more than 3 million people now which are refugees and live in European countries temporarily. It is also great damage for our economy,” he said.

Asked about comments made by Ukrainian Military Intel Chief Kyrylo Budanov suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be looking to carve Ukraine in two – like North and South Korea, Marchenko said that Ukraine will not accept any territorial losses.

“We will not accept any losses of our country. We will fight against any possible scenario which moves us toward this,” Marchenko said.

“It is not possible even to mention that we can live without some part of our territory because it is about our economy. It is about our people. It is about our logistics now. Our harbor in Odesa region is blocked. So we need to find another way how to transfer commodities towards Europe and other countries,” added the Finance Minister. 

Marchenko added that not enough has been done in terms of sanctions.

“For us, it is important that every Russian citizen suffers and this is why sanctions are very important on this particular matter and our government and our president tried to do everything that’s possible that every Russian citizen understands that the way they support their power is the wrong way,” he added.

 

12:49 p.m. ET, March 28, 2022

UN deputy will explore possible arrangements for humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine

From CNN's Laura Ly

Martin Griffiths, United Nations under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in Geneva on March 3.
Martin Griffiths, United Nations under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in Geneva on March 3. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN has assigned an official to "immediately" explore with Ukrainian and Russian authorities "possible agreements and arrangements for a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced Monday.

The task falls on Martin Griffiths, United Nations under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

“A cessation of hostilities will allow essential humanitarian aid to be delivered, and enable civilians to move around safely. It will save lives, prevent suffering, and protect civilians,” Guterres said. “I hope a ceasefire will also help to address the global consequences of this war, which risk compounding the deep hunger crisis in many developing countries that already lack fiscal space to invest in their recovery from the pandemic, and now face soaring food and energy costs.”

Guterres said he hopes Griffiths will be able to travel to both Moscow and Kyiv as soon as possible to start conversations with the parties involved. 

The secretary-general also said there are now more than 1,000 UN personnel working in Ukraine, working in eight humanitarian hubs in Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Lviv, Uzhorod, Chernivitzi, Mukachevo, Luhansk and Donetsk.

“The solution to this humanitarian tragedy is not humanitarian. It is political,” Guterres said, telling reporters later that he believes biological, chemical warfare will and must be avoided.

11:58 a.m. ET, March 28, 2022

Russian foreign minister: Putin-Zelensky meeting not necessary until key issues clarified

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is required after there is “clarity on all vital issues for Moscow,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday.   

The West has ignored these issues, despite having been raised by Moscow for years, he added. 

“Now, the main thing is to stop pandering to the Ukrainians who only seek to generate an image of negotiations and settlements. They succeeded in this when they sabotaged the Minsk agreements shortly after they inked them in February 2015, and as a result declared that they would not implement them," Lavrov continued.

"That’s why their ability to mimic the process is well known to us. This time they won’t get away with it. We need a results-based outcome of the negotiations, which will be enshrined by the presidents," he said.

Some more context: Russia-Ukraine talks are set to resume in-person in Istanbul this week, Lavrov said earlier on Monday during a news conference.

"These negotiations are ongoing. They will be resumed today-tomorrow in Istanbul in-person after a series of video conferences," Lavrov said. "And we are interested that these negotiations would bring a result and that this result would achieve our fundamental goals," he said.

"The fact that it was decided to continue negotiations in person is important," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday during a call with journalists.

Peskov said the talks between the two sides are likely to resume Tuesday.

12:59 p.m. ET, March 28, 2022

Sweden says a repeat of Europe's 2015 migrant and refugee crisis must be avoided in Ukraine war

From CNN’s Inke Kappeler in Berlin and Benjamin Brown in London

People sleep outside the entrance of the Swedish Migration Agency's arrival center for asylum seekers, in Malmo, Sweden in 2015. 
People sleep outside the entrance of the Swedish Migration Agency's arrival center for asylum seekers, in Malmo, Sweden in 2015.  (Stig-Ake Jonsson/TT News Agency/Reuters)

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Monday that a repeat of a refugee crisis such as that of 2015 must be avoided.

“We cannot repeat the situation of 2015, we took in 12% of the refugees, but we cannot do this again now,” Andersson said, speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

“We have to push for an end of this war,” Andersson added. The prime minister also acknowledged Poland’s help in taking in Ukrainian refugees.

In 2015, 156,400 people sought asylum in Sweden, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Sweden was the third-highest recipient of asylum requests after Germany (441,900) and the United States (172,700), per UNHCR data.

11:39 a.m. ET, March 28, 2022

US President Biden's new budget proposal includes billions to counter Russia's aggression in Ukraine

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

US President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget proposal includes increased funding for security – both domestically and internationally – and reduces the deficit, the White House said Monday morning, but officials admit inflation could continue to cause problems for the overall economy.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the proposed budget includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and “countering Russian aggression to support Ukraine.”

Biden is set to speak about his budget proposal later on Monday.

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said during what “will be a decisive decade for the world,” the proposal makes “one of the largest investments in national security in US history, strengthening our military and leveraging our renewed strength at home to meet pressing global challenges.”

In order to make investments and reduce the deficit, the budget calls for a new “minimum tax on billionaires” – which includes more than just billionaires, and applies to anyone worth more than $100 million – that would ensure the wealthiest 0.01% of households pay at least “20 percent of their total income in federal income taxes.” It also increases the rate corporations pay on profits and contains “contains additional measures to ensure that multinationals operating in the United States cannot use tax havens to undercut the global minimum tax,” the White House said. 

Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters that Biden policies would decrease the expected deficit in the current fiscal year of 2022 to “$1.3 trillion smaller than it was in fiscal year ‘21, and we believe the policies in this budget will further reduce the deficit by another trillion over the next decade.” But much of that deficit reduction comes from temporary programs in the American Rescue Plan expiring.

“Stepping back, what this budget shows is that we can grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out and invest in the American people, and that we can do it in a smart fiscally responsible way,” Young, the OMB director, told reporters in a call on Monday morning.

Officials say the estimates on inflation reflected in the budget were set in November – before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has strained the economy and increased prices across the board.

“The invasion will likely put upward pressure on energy and food prices that in turn could reinforce inflation that was already an issue prior to the invasion due to the pandemic supply chain constraints and as far demand for goods,” said Rouse, Biden's top economist. “The economics forecast ... if we were updating today, we would look at it somewhat differently.”

In a statement, Biden said the budget “includes historic deficit reduction, historic investments in our security at home and abroad, and an unprecedented commitment to building an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed.” He also touted the deficit reduction as a “the direct result of my Administration’s strategy to get the pandemic under control and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”

Read more about the budget here.

11:57 a.m. ET, March 28, 2022

It's Monday evening in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN Staff

Russian airstrikes continue across Ukraine a day before representatives from Russia and Ukraine are set to meet in Turkey for another round of talks. In an interview with Russian independent journalists Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country is “ready” to discuss adopting a neutral status, despite the Kremlin providing little hope for an agreement that would end five weeks of fighting.

Any agreement would have to be put to the Ukrainian people in a referendum, Ukraine's president said. But Zelensky once again stressed his desire to reach a concrete peace agreement. Zelensky reacted to Russia's attempt to censor his interview with Russian journalists, saying Moscow was "frightened" from journalists "who can tell the truth."  

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military intelligence head said Russian President Vladimir Putin could be looking to carve Ukraine in two – like North and South Korea. Russia’s operations around Kyiv have failed and it was now impossible for the Russian army to overthrow the Ukrainian government, he said. Putin’s war has now focused on the south and the east of the country, the official added. 

Here are more of the latest developments from the Russia-Ukraine conflict:

  • Russia's military attempting to establish a "corridor" around Kyiv: Ukraine's deputy defense minister said Monday that Russian forces were attempting to establish a "corridor" around the Ukrainian capital to block supply routes, amid continued fighting around Kyiv's suburbs. "The enemy is trying to make a corridor around Kyiv and block transport routes," Hanna Maliar, Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister, in televised remarks. "The defense of Kyiv continues. Ground forces, Air Assault Forces, special operations forces, territorial defense are involved." The Kyiv regional military administration said in a statement Monday that areas around the western suburbs of Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel and Makariv as well as the route from and to the city of Zhytomyr to the west and areas north of Vyshhorod remained very dangerous and prone to shelling by Russian forces.
  • Heavy fighting continues in Mariupol: Most of Russia’s military gains near the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol are in the southern areas, according to the UK’s latest intelligence update. "Russia has gained most ground in the South in the vicinity of Mariupol where heavy fighting continues as Russia attempts to capture the port," the UK Ministry of Defence said on Twitter Monday. The mayor of the besieged port of Mariupol said Ukrainian forces were still defending the city and accused the Russian military of committing “genocide.” Zelensky on Sunday called the Russian siege of the port city of Mariupol a "humanitarian catastrophe," claiming that Russian forces had taken over 2,000 children out of the city as part of what Ukrainian officials have described as a wave of civilian deportations to Russia.
  • Mariupol mayor calls for "complete evacuation" of the city: The mayor of Mariupol also provided an update Monday, saying his city was "in the hands of the occupiers" after a weeks-long siege by Russian forces that flattened the city, left an unknown number of civilians dead and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. "Not everything is in our power," said Vadym Boichenko, the pro-government mayor of Mariupol, in a live television interview. "Unfortunately, we are in the hands of hands of the occupiers today." Boichenko called for a "complete evacuation" of the remaining population of Mariupol.
  • Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta suspends publication after second warning: The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta says it is suspending publication until the end of the war in Ukraine. It comes after Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor issued a second warning Monday to the newspaper following its interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Sunday. “We received another warning from Roskomnadzor. After that, we are suspending the publication of the newspaper on the website, in digital and in print, until the end of the ‘special operation on the territory of Ukraine'," the Novaya Gazeta editorial board said in a statement.
  • Russia says talks likely to continue in Turkey on Tuesday: Russia-Ukraine talks are set to resume in-person in Istanbul, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday during a news conference. "These negotiations are ongoing. They will be resumed today-tomorrow in Istanbul in-person after a series of video conferences," Lavrov said. "And we are interested that these negotiations would bring a result and that this result would achieve our fundamental goals," he said. "The fact that it was decided to continue negotiations in person is important," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday during a call with journalists. Peskov said the negotiations between the two sides are likely to resume Tuesday.
  • Heineken to pull out of Russia: Dutch brewer Heineken said Monday it will exit the Russian market amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "Following the previously announced strategic review of our operations, we have concluded that HEINEKEN’s ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment. As a result, we have decided to leave Russia," the company said in a press release. Heineken had already halted new investments and exports to Russia and had stopped the sale, production and advertising of its Heineken brand beer in the country.

10:38 a.m. ET, March 28, 2022

Mayor tells CNN that Ukraine has reclaimed Kyiv suburb Irpin from Russian forces

From CNN's Daria Markina and Vasco Cotovio in Kyiv

The mayor of Irpin, a suburb of the capital of Kyiv, said they have reclaimed the area from Russian forces.

“Irpin was freed last night. Now we need to clear the town totally. There are wounded Russian soldiers. They are offering to surrender or they will be destroyed. Irpin is a staging area for an attack. We will [next] liberate Bucha, Vorzel and Hostomel," Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn told CNN on Tuesday.

CNN cannot independently verify the claim.

10:47 a.m. ET, March 28, 2022

Analysis: The state of Russian forces and tactics as their offensive in Ukraine gets derailed

Analysis by CNN's Tim Lister, Paul P. Murphy and Celine Alkhaldi

Ukrainian soldiers stand in front of a destroyed Russian armored personal carrier (APC) on the frontline in the northern part of Kyiv region on March 28.
Ukrainian soldiers stand in front of a destroyed Russian armored personal carrier (APC) on the frontline in the northern part of Kyiv region on March 28. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Just over a month after the first ballistic missiles slammed into Kyiv's international airport, the Russian campaign has been disrupted and derailed by Ukrainian resistance — and in the last few days by agile Ukrainian counterattacks on several fronts.

Russian forces retain considerable — but not overwhelming — numerical superiority. Their armored groups have struggled against Western-supplied anti-tank weapons and Turkish-made drones. Ukrainian air defenses have punched above their weight and are now being reinforced by thousands of US-made Stinger missiles.

Poor logistical support, questionable tactics and growing evidence of poor morale among Russian battalion tactical groups have allowed the Ukrainian military to hold off Russian advances in several regions — and begin to take the fight to the enemy.

CNN analysis of satellite imagery, social media content and official statements from both sides suggests the conflict may now be moving into a new phase: a war of attrition in which the Russians may lose more ground than they gain and suffer even greater resupply issues as the Ukrainians cut into their extended lines.

There are indications that the Russian military is trying to compensate for this by greater use of missile forces and indirect fire from artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. To the north and west of Kyiv, for example, the Russians appear to be digging in rather than seeking to advance, shelling areas like Irpin and Makariv, where Ukrainian troops have established a tenuous hold.

In the last two weeks, there's been an uptick in Russian missile strikes, from Lviv in the west to Zhytomyr in central Ukraine and Mykolaiv in the south, with prime targets being fuel dumps, military depots and airfields.

Read more about Russia's position in key Ukrainian cities and the Kremlin's shifting tactics.

11:35 a.m. ET, March 28, 2022

Mariupol mayor calls for "complete evacuation" of the city

From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Julia Presniakova in Lviv 

Local resident Valentina Demura, 70, next to her apartment building in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 27.
Local resident Valentina Demura, 70, next to her apartment building in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 27. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol said Monday his city was "in the hands of the occupiers" after a weekslong siege by Russian forces that flattened the city, left an unknown number of civilians dead and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. 

"Not everything is in our power," said Vadym Boichenko, the pro-government mayor of Mariupol, in a live television interview. "Unfortunately, we are in the hands of hands of the occupiers today."

Boichenko called for a "complete evacuation" of the remaining population of Mariupol, which had a population of over 400,000 before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. 

"According to our estimates, about 160,000 people are in the besieged city of Mariupol today, where it is impossible to live because there is no water, no electricity, no heat, no connection," he said. "And it's really scary."

It was unclear if there was still active fighting inside the city.

Ukrainian officials have alleged that Russian forces have prevented humanitarian convoys from safely approaching or exiting the city. A pro-Russian separatist leader on Sunday said about 1,700 Mariupol residents were being "evacuated" daily from the city and its surroundings, but Ukrainian officials say the Russians have in fact been carrying out what they describe as the forcible deportation of thousands to Russia.

“We need a complete evacuation from Mariupol," Boichenko said. "Our most important mission today is to save every life... And there are hopes that we will succeed. For example, there are 26 buses that have to go to Mariupol to evacuate, but unfortunately, they haven't received permission to move. And this game is played every day. A cynical game like, 'Yes, we are ready. You can drive there,' but in fact it does not work. Our heroic drivers under the fire are trying to reach the places where Mariupol residents can be picked up, and they are waiting with the hope that they will have such an opportunity. But the Russian Federation has been playing with us since day one."

Statistics released by Ukrainian officials on Sunday paint a grim picture of the result of weeks of shelling and urban combat in Mariupol. 

According to those figures, 90% of residential buildings in the city were damaged, of which 60% were hit directly and 40% were destroyed.

Destruction on the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 23.
Destruction on the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 23. (Maximilian Clarke/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Seven of the city's hospitals — 90% of the city's hospital capacity — were damaged, of which three were destroyed. Also damaged were three maternity hospitals (with one destroyed), seven institutes of higher education (with three destroyed), and 57 schools and 70 kindergartens, with 23 and 28 destroyed, respectively. 

A number of factories were damaged and the city's port sustained damage. 

According to those official statistics, up to 140,000 people left the city before it was surrounded, and around 150,000 managed to leave during the blockade. During the height of the siege, around 170,000 people remained in the city, and Ukrainian officials claim 30,000 people from Mariupol were deported to Russia.