March 30, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Maureen Chowdhury, Travis Caldwell, Seán Federico O'Murchú, Lianne Kolirin and Sana Noor Haq, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, March 31, 2022
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1:02 p.m. ET, March 30, 2022

First on CNN: Mariupol Red Cross warehouse hit by military strikes, satellite imagery confirms

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Nathan Hodge and Sandi Sidhu

(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)
(Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

The Red Cross warehouse in central Mariupol was hit by at least two military strikes, new satellite images from Maxar Technologies confirm.

On Wednesday, the Azov Battalion — a unit that began as an ultra-nationalist militia but has since integrated into the Ukrainian Armed Forces — claimed on their Telegram channel that the warehouse had been hit by Russian military strikes, posting an image of the larger complex as evidence. 

CNN has obtained a satellite image from Maxar Technologies that confirms the allegation. 

Citing additional imagery it captured, Maxar said the northern end of the warehouse was hit sometime between March 19-22. A second military strike, on the southern end of the building, occurred sometime between March 23-26.

Sensory satellite data from NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System also confirmed that a number of explosions were detected in the vicinity on March 20 and every day between March 22-25.

International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Jason Straziuso told CNN that it is a Red Cross warehouse.

“We do not have a team on the ground, so we have no other information, including on potential casualties or the extent of the damage," Straziuso said. "We can say that we had already distributed all aid supplies in the warehouse.”

No Red Cross staff have been at the warehouse since March 15, according to Straziuso, and that the organization does not know how the building may have been used since.

"Under international humanitarian law, objects used for humanitarian relief operations must be respected and protected at all times," Straziuso said. "But what we are most concerned by is the overall humanitarian situation in Mariupol and the relentless suffering inflicted on civilians living there. People are trapped with no safe way out of the city, and they are running out of the very basics needed for their survival."

Straziuso said that intense fighting has prevented the Red Cross from bringing any humanitarian aid to the city.

Liudmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian Parliament commissioner for human rights, called for the “world community to condemn” the shelling of the building. “This is another war crime of the Russian army in accordance with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and a gross violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions,” she said.  

There was no information on victims, Denisova added.

CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defence for comment. 


12:29 p.m. ET, March 30, 2022

Top US senators express frustration over delay of bill punishing Russia as discussions continue 

From CNN's Manu Raju 


Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, expressed concern about the delay of the bill to revoke the normal trade status of Russia and Belarus.

"First of all, it doesn't have to be this way. If people just focus on the bottom line is that this is the key addition that our country needs to add economic firepower to the fight against Putin," he told CNN.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mike Crapo, the ranking Republican on the panel, said to CNN: "I wish we had been able to move last week. But as you know, in the Senate, we have to get unanimous consent or spend a week or more on a filibuster battle. We've been working really hard to get it put together and we've been making some progress. And my hope is that we'll be able to move soon."

More on the bill: The legislation would allow higher tariff rates on some imports from Russia and Belarus, where Russia launched some of its troops.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden called for suspending normal trade relations with Russia and said the US would ban imports of seafood, vodka and diamonds from the nation as part of an effort to ramp up economic pressure on Russia for invading Ukraine. The move requires approval from Congress. The House passed the bill on March 17 — one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional appeal in a virtual address to Congress. Now the legislation must go to the Senate.

To schedule a vote in the United States Senate, it requires consent of all 100 senators. If one objects, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can take time consuming procedural steps to overcome the objection assuming he gets 60 votes.

But Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, has objected to a quick vote as he's demanded changes to the bill's sanctions language, worried that it's too broad and could be abused by the US government. And Schumer has refused to eat up floor time to overcome the objection.

So talks continue to try to reach a deal and a quick vote.

CNN's Clare Foran and Kristin Wilson contributed reporting to this post. 

1:27 p.m. ET, March 30, 2022

Putin is attacking "core of transatlantic security," US secretary of defense says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion involves not just attacking Ukraine, but also “attacking principles at the core of transatlantic security.” 

Austin called the war in Ukraine “Putin’s war of choice” during opening remarks at the Pentagon on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with German Minister of Defence Christine Lambrecht.

“Putin’s war of choice has taken a terrible toll on civilian casualties and forced millions of innocent Ukrainians to flee their country,” he said. 

Austin thanked Germany for working with the US to deploy forces “to and through Germany in recent months,” as part of the US’s increased security presence in Europe. He also said he applauds Germany’s decision to spend 2% of their “economic output on defense.”

“Together, we send a clear message, and that message is any challenge to our security will meet a firm and united response. And our commitment to NATO’s collective defense is ironclad,” Austin said.

Lambrecht said the relationship between the US and Germany is “good” and “permanent” in her opening remarks.

“We met in very troubling times, and what is important for me is that the transatlantic relationship, especially the relationship between Germany and the United States, is meant to last and is sustainable, so we were able to show that we were able to unite NATO, that we were able to unite Europe against President Putin in the form of the sanctions that we decided on together, and especially through the support that we have shown our allies in the alliance,” Lambrecht said via a translator.

10:03 a.m. ET, March 30, 2022

US official: "We believe that Putin is being misinformed" about Russian military performance

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

The US believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being "misinformed" by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing in Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on Russia's economy, a US official tells CNN.

"We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth," a US official said.

The official said the assessment is based on declassified US intelligence findings.

The official added that the US has information indicating that Putin has become aware of the misinformation, leading to a rift between Putin and his top defense officials.

“We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military. There is now persistent tension between Putin and the (Ministry of Defence), stemming from Putin’s mistrust in MOD leadership," the US official said.

The official said Putin did not know his military was "using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president."

10:34 a.m. ET, March 30, 2022

UNICEF says 2 million children have fled Ukraine, with more than 100 killed

From CNN's Richard Roth

A train with refugees fleeing Ukraine crosses the border in Medyka, Poland, on March 7.
A train with refugees fleeing Ukraine crosses the border in Medyka, Poland, on March 7. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Roughly two million children have now been forced to flee Ukraine — making up half of all refugees from the war — the United Nations Children's Fund said Wednesday.

More than 1.1 million have arrived in Poland alone, with hundreds of thousands in nearby countries of Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

UNICEF warned of a heightened risk of exploitation and trafficking for children fleeing violence. In an effort to quell those risks, the UN agency is scaling up “Blue Dots,” which are one-stop safe spaces for traveling families. 

More than 100 children have been killed in the conflict, UNICEF added, with more than 130 injured. 

More than 2.5 million children have been internally displaced within Ukraine, according to UNICEF.

9:53 a.m. ET, March 30, 2022

Zelensky asks for more weapons and urges port closures in address to Norwegian parliament

From CNN's Anastasia Graham-Yooll in London

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on large screens as he addresses members of Norway's Parliament, The Storting, in Oslo, Norway, on March 30.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on large screens as he addresses members of Norway's Parliament, The Storting, in Oslo, Norway, on March 30. (Torstein Bøe/NTB/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more weapons and for Europe to close its sea ports to Russia in an address to the Norwegian parliament on Wednesday.  

Zelensky asked for anti-ship missiles, Harpoon rockets, anti-air missile systems and anti-tank guns.

“All weapons you can help us with will be used only to protect our freedom, your freedom,” he said. 

Zelensky said Russia is blocking Ukraine’s sea ports, amounting to piracy. 

“Russia should not be able to use the world ports freely. This is a matter of global maritime security,” he said.

He warned the future of the “entire continent, from north to south, from east to west, is being decided right now” in Ukraine.  

9:36 a.m. ET, March 30, 2022

Russia has used banned anti-personnel landmines in Ukraine, according to Human Rights Watch

From CNN's Chris Liakos

A landmine set up by Russian army is seen on a street in the Lukâyanivka frontline, eastern of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 28.
A landmine set up by Russian army is seen on a street in the Lukâyanivka frontline, eastern of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 28. (Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian forces fighting in Ukraine have used banned anti-personnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region of the country, according to Human Rights Watch.

The international organization said that the anti-personnel mines were located by Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal technicians on March 28.

“Russia is known to possess these newly deployed landmines, which can indiscriminately kill and maim people within an apparent 16-meter (52 feet) range,” HRW said, adding that Ukraine does not possess this type of landmine or its delivery system.

“Countries around the world should forcefully condemn Russia’s use of banned antipersonnel landmines in Ukraine,” said Steve Goose, the arms director of Human Rights Watch. “These weapons do not differentiate between combatants and civilians and leave a deadly legacy for years to come.”

The 1997 international Mine Ban Treaty comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines. Russia is not among the 164 countries that have joined the treaty, said HRW.

“Russia’s use of antipersonnel mines in Ukraine deliberately flouts the international norm against use of these horrid weapons,” Goose added.

CNN cannot independently verify this information. CNN has asked the Russian Ministry of Defence for a response to the report.

8:39 a.m. ET, March 30, 2022

China's foreign ministry: "China-Russia withstood test of changing international landscape"

From CNN's Beijing bureau and Irene Nasser in Hong Kong

Following a meeting between the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers, China said the two countries' relations have withstood the new test of changing international landscape.”

“China is ready to work with Russia to take China-Russia relations to a higher level in the new era," China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Anhui Province.

In a statement, Wang Yi also voiced support for Russia and Ukraine “in overcoming difficulties and continuing peace talks” as well as for “efforts made by Russia and other parties to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis."

“In the long run, we should draw lessons from the Ukraine crisis, respond to the legitimate security concerns of all parties based on the principle of mutual respect and indivisibility of security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture through dialogue and negotiation,” Wang Yi added.

More background: China is walking a tightrope as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. While officials have said the Chinese president was alarmed at what has taken place since Russia invaded, there is little to indicate China is prepared to cut off its support entirely. The Chinese Communist Party leadership is not all in agreement regarding how to respond to Russia's request for assistance, said a source. Two US officials said that China's desire to avoid economic consequences may limit its appetite to help Russia.

"There is real concern by some that their involvement could hurt economic relationships with the West, on which China relies," said one of the sources.

Officials are also monitoring whether China provides some economic and diplomatic relief for Russia in other forms, like abstention votes at the United Nations.

8:19 a.m. ET, March 30, 2022

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron says Putin is "effectively a war criminal"

From CNN’s Cece Armstrong in London

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to CNN on March 30
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to CNN on March 30 (CNN)

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “effectively a war criminal,” and stressed that the UK “must do our bit economically, just as the Ukrainian armed forces are doing their bit militarily.”

Cameron urged the US, Britain, European countries and others not to attend the upcoming G20 summit in November in Bali, Indonesia, if Putin is invited and able to attend.

It is unthinkable for, you know, an American President to have to sit next to someone who is effectively a war criminal. Who is indiscriminately bombing and shelling civilians in their homes and schools and hospitals. It should be unthinkable,” he told CNN’s John Berman,

Cameron said the UK must do “everything else we can” to help Ukraine aside from military action, including increasing pressure on Russia with sanction.

“We’ve also got to recognize that while we can’t put our own troops in, and while we can’t operate a no-fly zone for fear of making this conflict go wider, we must do everything else we can,” Cameron said.

Cameron also detailed two occasions during his time in office when he believed President Putin “flat-out lied.” He said that the international community should “judge [Russia] by their deeds. Do not believe their words.”

“I remember one was him lying about the presence of Russian troops in the Donbas in 2014,” Cameron said. “Another occasion was about the fate of the Malaysian Airliner MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine.”

Some background: Cameron's remarks come nearly two weeks after US President Joe Biden also called Putin a "war criminal."

It was the harshest condemnation of Putin's actions from any US official since the war in Ukraine began on February 24. Previously, Biden had stopped short of labeling atrocities being documented on the ground in Ukraine as "war crimes," citing ongoing international and US investigations.

But on March 16, speaking with reporters at an unrelated event, Biden affixed the designation on the Russian leader, saying, "I think he is a war criminal."

However, other Western leaders have been more reticent in their condemnation of Putin.

At the beginning of March, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia's actions in Ukraine qualify "as a war crime," but he didn't refer to Putin as a war criminal himself.

CNN's Sam Fossum, Kevin Liptak, Gabby Gretener and Sarah Diab contributed reporting to this post.