Russian progress 'significantly blunted' amid failure to control Ukraine airspace; China says it's on the right side of history
This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]
It's been more than three weeks since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin's operational progress has been "significantly blunted" due to its failure to control Ukrainian airspace, the UK Defense Ministry said.
After the meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and China, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that Beijing will "never accept any external coercion or pressure," and that it opposes "any groundless accusations or suspicions targeted against China."
Overnight, Russian artillery attacks continued to bombard residential areas in Kyiv, killing hundreds. Kyiv's military administration said 229 people, including four children, have been killed since the start of the war. Russia has killed 847 Ukrainian civilians, including 64 children, since Russia attacked Ukraine, the United Nations said.
Meanwhile, Russian forces are deporting thousands of Ukrainian citizens against their will to Russia, Mariupol's City Council claimed in a Telegram post. The information has not yet been verified by U.S. officials or CNBC.
Time will prove China is on the right side of history, China's foreign minister says
China is on the right side of history with regard to the Ukraine crisis — and time will prove it, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, according to Chinese state media.
"We have always stood for maintaining peace and opposing war," Wang said, according to CGTN News.
His comments came after the Friday meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S President Joe Biden, during which Biden warned of "consequences" if China were to provide material support to the Kremlin in its war against Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters a day after the U.S.-China meeting, Wang said Beijing will make its own assessment of the situation in an objective and fair manner.
"We will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and we will also oppose any groundless accusations or suspicions targeted against China," he added.
Beijing has so far refrained from condemning Russia, and has refused to call the violence in Ukraine an "invasion."
About 30% of Ukraine's economy has been shut down, finance ministry says
Nearly one-third of Ukraine's economy has been shut down as a result of the Russian invasion, said Ukraine's Finance Ministry, according to NBC News.
Preliminary calculations show that "about 30% of the economy is now either not working or temporarily not working," said the head of the finance ministry, Serhiy Marchenko.
He said Ukraine will now have to borrow to meet its financial needs.
"Now the situation is such that our tax revenues do not cover our needs, the main channel is borrowing, internal and external," he said "We finance the needs for the army and other important thing from the budget."
— Joanna Tan
Moscow has failed to gain control of Ukrainian airspace, says UK Defense Ministry
Russia has failed to gain control of the air in its war against Ukraine — and failure to do so has "significantly blunted their operational progress," the UK's Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence report.
"The Ukrainian Air Force and Air Defence Forces are continuing to effectively defend Ukrainian air space," the ministry said.
As a result, the Kremlin is now relying heavily on stand-off weapons launched from Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine, according to the update.
— Joanna Tan
Ukrainians queue for ID cards in Warsaw, Poland
Thousands of Ukrainian refugees have been standing in line to obtain ID cards in the Polish capital of Warsaw, the Associated Press reported.
Ukrainians who obtain the PESEL identity cards will be allowed to get a job, go to school, and gain access to health care and social benefits at least for the next 18 months.
Polish authorities told the AP that over 123,000 refugees have been given the ID numbers since the program's launch on Wednesday.
In three weeks, Poland has received more than two million refugees forced to flee from Ukraine, the UN Refugee Agency said.
"This has been a tremendous effort from the people, local communities, municipalities and government of Poland in receiving and hosting new arrivals," said Christine Goyer, UNHCR's Representative in Poland.
— Joanna Tan
Athletes show support for Ukraine while competing at the World Athletics Indoor Championships
Athletes wear Ukrainian colors in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion in Ukraine while competing at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
Convoy of donated emergency vehicles prepare to travel to Polish-Ukraine border
A convoy of donated emergency service equipment, organized by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), leaves Kent, U.K. for the Polish border with Ukraine.
About 3.2 million people have fled Ukraine, according to Reuters, many to countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary, Solvakia and Moldova, creating a refugee crisis across Europe.
— Adam Jeffery
U.S. lawmakers visit Poland refugee reception centers, urge support
A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers led by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., visited reception centers for refugees from Ukraine in eastern Poland.
"The most urgent action that we can take is to make sure that the Ukrainian fighters — those valiant patriots who are fighting for their freedom — have every bit of equipment, every bit of supply, every bit of support that we can possibly deliver to them," Lynch said.
Other members of the delegation included Reps. Lori Trahan, D-Mass, Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, Jake LaTurner, R-KS, Pat Fallon, R-TX, and Nancy Mace, R-SC.
— Associated Press
Satellite images show before and after views of the Mariupol Drama Theater bombed by Russia
Before and after satellite views of shows the Mariupol Drama Theater aftermath of an airstrike, in Mariupol, Ukraine. This building had been used as a shelter for hundreds of Ukrainian civilians. Notably, the word children is written in large white letters (in Russian) in front of and behind the theater.
Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova said Friday that 1,300 people were still stuck in the basement and 130 people had been rescued. Russia denied responsibility for the bombing.
Before: March 14
After: March 19
— Maxar Technologies
Ukraine says 489 educational institutions damaged, 69 destroyed
Shelling and bombing damaged 489 educational institutions in Ukraine, with 69 of those being completely destroyed, according to Ukraine's Committee on Education, Science, and Innovation.
"We will definitely rebuild everything after our victory, but we will never forget or forgive! Fascist Russia will be fully responsible for this genocide of education!" Serhiy Babak, head of the Verkhovna Rada committee, said in a Telegram post translated by NBC News.
Babak said 25 educational institutions were damaged, and five of those were destroyed, in the last 24 hours.
Russian artillery attacks continue to pound residential areas in Kyiv
EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos contain graphic content
Russian artillery attacks continue to target residential areas in Kyiv.
The city has experienced shelling since the start of Russia's invasion into Ukraine but attacks have increased in recent days. Kyiv's military administration said 229 people, including four children, have been killed since the start of the invasion.
Mariupol claims Russian forces are deporting thousands to Russia
Russian forces are deporting thousands of Ukrainian citizens against their will to Russia, Mariupol's City Council claimed in a Telegram post. The information has not yet been verified by U.S. officials or CNBC.
"What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people. It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century people will be forcibly deported to another country," Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said in the post translated by NBC.
Officials said the occupiers removed people from the Left Bank district and shelters "in the building of a sports club," where mostly women and children were taking cover. The Mariupol residents were taken to "filtration camps," where their cell phones and documents were checked, it added. After the inspection, some were taken to Russia, the post said.
Chinese official calls sanctions on Russia increasingly 'outrageous'
A senior Chinese government official said sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia over Ukraine are increasingly "outrageous".
Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also acknowledged Moscow's point of view on NATO, saying the alliance should not further expand eastwards, forcing a nuclear power like Russia "into a corner".
"The sanctions against Russia are getting more and more outrageous," Le said at security forum in Beijing, adding that Russian citizens were being deprived of overseas assets "for no reason".
"History has proven time and again that sanctions cannot solve problems. Sanctions will only harm ordinary people, impact the economic and financial system... and worsen the global economy."
Ukraine will receive additional Stinger and Javelin missiles within days, official says
In the next few days, Ukraine will receive U.S. weapons including Javelin and Stinger missiles, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Facing pressure from Congress to do more to help Ukraine, the White House recently released an exhaustive list of defensive weapons that President Joe Biden has committed to sending to Ukraine, with a price tag totaling $800 million. The list included 800 Stinger systems, used to shoot down aircraft, and 2,600 Javelin systems, primarily used to shoot tanks and armor.
Russia stepped up threats against incoming weapons shipments this week, with a foreign minister saying that cargo in Ukraine with weapons is "fair game."
— Kif Leswing
At least 228 people, including four children, have been killed in Kyiv, city's military admin says
At least 228 people, including four children, have been killed in Kyiv since Russian forces began a full-scale invasion, according to a Telegram post from Kyiv's military administration.
At least 912 people, including 16, children have been injured in the Ukrainian capital, according to the post.
Russian forces have sought out Kyiv as a key target. The city has experienced shelling since the start of the invasion, but attacks have mounted in recent days, including airstrikes on residential buildings.
UK Prime Minister says invasion is a turning point for world
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "turning point for the world," arguing that victory for President Vladimir Putin's forces would herald "a new age of intimidation."
Speaking to a Conservative Party conference, Johnson claimed Putin was "terrified" that the example of a free Ukraine would spark a pro-democracy revolution in Russia.
He said "a victorious Putin will not stop in Ukraine, and the end of freedom in Ukraine will mean the extinction of any hope of freedom in Georgia and then Moldova, it will mean the beginning of a new age of intimidation across eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea."
— Associated Press
At least 847 Ukrainians killed, including 64 children, since Feb. 24, UN says
Russia has killed 847 Ukrainian civilians, including 64 children, since Russia began its armed attack against Ukraine on Feb. 24, the United Nations said.
At least an additional 1,399 people, including 78 children, have been injured from Feb. 24 through March 18.
The majority of casualties recorded have been caused by the use of explosive weapons with a "wide impact area," the agency said. That includes shelling from heavy artillery and air strikes.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said it believes the actual number of casualties are "considerably higher," since information from areas with intense fighting is delayed and some reports are being corroborated.
Ukraine says it has killed fifth Russian general since start of war
Ukrainian officials said Russian Lieutenant-General Andrei Mordvichev was killed in battle. Russian officials have not confirmed his death.
Mordvichev is the fifth Russian general killed in Ukraine since the start of war on Feb. 20, which is an unprecedented rate of leadership losses in modern warfare.
About 20 Russian generals are in Ukraine as part of the war, the New York Times reported last week, citing Western officials.
— Kif Leswing
700 people evacuate from Luhansk Oblast via humanitarian corridor
About 700 residents were evacuated from Luhansk Oblast in Eastern Ukraine through a humanitarian corridor, the Stet Emergency Service of Ukraine said in a Telegram post.
The regional governor previously announced a temporary ceasefire, or "regime of silence," to allow for evacuations on Saturday.
SES Ukraine also said that the Russians had violated the agreement and prevented some evacuations by continuing to fire shells in Popasna, a city in the region.
— Kif Leswing
Ukraine claims 14,400 Russian forces killed
Editor's note: Graphic content. This post contains a photo of casualties in Ukraine.
Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed Saturday about 14,400 Russian armed forces have been killed since the start of the invasion.
Intelligence has varied widely on the number of Russian deaths. American intelligence estimates more than 7,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, The New York Times said Wednesday. Russia, meanwhile, has claimed fewer than 500 deaths, the paper reported.
The mounting deaths come as nearly all of the troops Russia amassed on the border are now fighting inside the country. President Joe Biden previously said Moscow had 190,000 troops prepared. Still, Russia has struggled with logistics, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier in the day, with forces not advancing as quickly as they thought they would.
The Ukrainian government also detailed a list of weapons Russians have lost. It says Russian losses include 466 tanks, 213 artillery pieces, 3 vessels and 44 anti-aircraft warfare systems.
Zelenskyy calls on Swiss government to freeze oligarchs' bank accounts
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the Swiss government to freeze the bank accounts of all Russian oligarchs.
Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported that Zelenskyy, who spoke via livestream to thousands of antiwar protesters in the Swiss city of Bern, said "in your banks are the funds of the people who unleashed this war. Help to fight this. So that their funds are frozen. (...) It would be good to take away those privileges from them."
SRF also reported that the Ukrainian president criticized the Swiss multinational food conglomerate Nestle, which has decided not to withdraw from Russia for the time being, as opposed to many other international companies.
— Associated Press
U.S. DOD Secretary says Russian military has struggled
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia hasn't progressed as quickly as they would have liked to.
"They've struggled with logistics," Austin said in an interview with CNN. "We've seen a number of missteps along the way."
Austin said the Pentagon hasn't seen any evidence that the Kremlin is making good use of intelligence reports or integrating air combat with its ground assaults.
"So there are a number of things that we would expect to have seen that we just haven't seen ... Many of their assumptions have not proven to be true as they entered this fight," he said.
He added that Russia has not yet been able to achieve their goal of seizing Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.
— Annie Nova
Ukraine says the country has 562 Russian prisoners of war
There are 562 Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine as of Saturday, according to Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk and the General Staff of Ukraine's Army.
President Joe Biden had previously said Moscow had 190,000 troops prepared for war. Earlier in the day, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia's troops have struggled with logistics.
— Annie Nova
Russian cosmonauts wear yellow and blue flight suits
Russian cosmonauts arrive wearing yellow and blue flight suits, colors that match Ukraine's flag, at the International Space Station after docking their Soyuz capsule on Friday.
The men were the first new arrivals on the space station since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine last month.
It was unclear what, if any, message the yellow uniforms they changed into were intended to send.
Oleg Artemyev was asked about the yellow flight suits when the newly arrived cosmonauts were able to talk to family back on Earth. He said every crew chooses its own flight suits, so that they are not all the same.
"It became our turn to pick a color. But in fact, we had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it. So that's why we had to wear yellow," he said.
— Associated Press
Bulgaria's prime minister says Putin's war puts 'all of Europe at risk'
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said at a press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Putin has put all of Europe at risk with its invasion of Ukraine.
"Unfortunately, there is now not a single country that can live with the illusion that they're safe and secure," Petkov said.
A senior U.S. defense official on Friday said the Russians have launched more than 1,080 missiles since the start of the war and that they retain about 90% of the combat power they had arrayed around Ukraine at the beginning of the invasion
— Annie Nova
1.5 million children have fled Ukraine
More than 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24, according to UNICEF.
The agency warned that many of Ukraine's displaced women and children could be at increased risk of human trafficking and exploitation.
"The war in Ukraine is leading to massive displacement and refugee flows – conditions that could lead to a significant spike in human trafficking and an acute child protection crisis," said Afshan Khan, UNICEF's regional director for Europe and Central Asia.
— Annie Nova
Russian airstrike kills at least 40 Ukrainian Soldiers in Mykolaiv
Ukrainian media reported that Russian forces carried out a large-scale air strike on Mykolaiv, killing at least 40 Ukrainian soldiers at their brigade headquarters.
Ukrainian authorities said they have not seen any significant shifts over the past 24 hours in front line areas, noting cities of Mariupol, Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south, and Izyum in the east continued to see the heaviest fighting.
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content. The following photos contain images of casualties at Mykolaiv.
— Getty Images
Russia launches hypersonic missiles to strike a Ukraine arms depot
Russia said it has used hypersonic Kinzhal, or Dagger, missiles to destroy a weapons depot in Ukraine's western Ivano-Frankivsk region, Reuters reports.
It was the first time Russia had deployed its hypersonic Kinzhal system since the start of the war, Russia's Interfax news agency said.
Defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that the underground depot hit by the Kinzhal system on Friday housed Ukrainian missiles and aircraft ammunition. Reuters said it was not able to independently verify Konashenkov's comments.
— Terri Cullen
No major changes in fighting over last 24 hours, Ukrainian authorities say
Ukrainian authorities have not observed any comprehensive shifts in front-line areas over the past 24 hours, according to an advisor to Ukraine's presidential office.
Reuters reports that Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address that fighting was ongoing. They cited the cities of Mariupol, Mykolaiv and Kherson as among the hotspots where Russian troops were on the offensive.
— Sam Meredith
Ukraine military orders 38-hour curfew in southern city of Zaporizhzhya
Ukraine's military has ordered a 38-hour curfew in the southern city of Zaporizhzhya, starting at 2 p.m. London time and ending early on Monday.
"Do not go outside at this time!" Deputy mayor Anatoliy Kurtiev said, according to Reuters.
— Sam Meredith
Ukraine hopes to open 10 humanitarian corridors
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said the country hopes to evacuate citizens via 10 humanitarian corridors from cities and towns on the front line of Russia's invasion.
A corridor had been agreed for the besieged city of Mariupol, Vereshchuk said, according to Reuters. Previous attempts to secure safe passage for civilians under a temporary ceasefire have mostly failed, with Russia and Ukraine blaming one another.
It has been reported roughly 350,000 people are sheltering in the southeastern city of Mariupol, with no access to food or water.
— Sam Meredith
UN reports 2,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion
The United Nations has reported 2,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion over three weeks ago, with 816 killed and 1,333 injured.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights believes the actual figures are likely considerably higher, particularly given intense hostilities in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions in recent days.
Most of the civilian casualties recorded so far were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, the U.N. said, including shelling and missile and air strikes.
— Sam Meredith
Four American soldiers die in plane crash during NATO training exercise, Norway PM says
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said four American soldiers have died in a plane crash while participating in a NATO military exercise called Cold Response.
"It is with great sadness we have [received] the message that four American soldiers died in a plane crash last night," Store said via Twitter on Saturday morning.
"The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers' families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit."
Local police were said to be investigating the cause of the crash, Reuters reported, although bad weather had stalled their work.
— Sam Meredith
Russia could resort to 'indiscriminate use of firepower,' UK's Defense Ministry warns
The U.K. Defense Ministry has warned Russia will likely resort to the "indiscriminate use of firepower" after failing to achieve its original objectives so far.
"Russia has been forced to change its operational approach and is now pursuing a strategy of attrition," the U.K. Defense Ministry said in a Twitter post.
As a result of the change in tactics, Ukraine's humanitarian crisis could worsen as civilian casualties climb and more infrastructure is destroyed, it warned.
The Defense Ministry reiterated that Moscow "has been surprised by the scale and ferocity of Ukrainian Resistance."
— Joanna Tan
Zelenskyy calls for talks with Russia, says it's time to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Russia to come to the table for talks.
"Meaningful peace and security talks for Ukraine are the only chance for Russia to reduce the damage from its own mistakes," he said a video address on Saturday.
"It's time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine," Zelenskyy said. "Otherwise, Russia's losses will be such that you will not have several generations to rise."
— Joanna Tan
Biden warns Xi of global backlash
Biden held a nearly two-hour phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Both Biden and Xi agreed on the need to promote peace and assist with the humanitarian disaster created by the invasion. But they disagreed deeply on who is responsible for the suffering in Ukraine, with the Chinese leader refusing to hold Russia singularly accountable for the unprovoked invasion.
Instead, official readouts from Beijing made it clear that Xi's position was that the U.S. and Europe had provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin into attacking Ukraine by expanding NATO into Eastern Europe.
During the call, Biden "described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia," the White House said.
— Christina Wilkie