April 10, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Helen Regan, Aditi Sangal, Jack Guy, Mike Hayes and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 0100 GMT (0900 HKT) April 11, 2023
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8:36 a.m. ET, April 10, 2023

Ukraine had to change military plans because of US Pentagon leak, source says

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Kylie Atwood

Ukraine has had to alter some of its military plans after the leak of highly classified Pentagon documents, a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN, as US officials race to assess the damage.

CNN has reviewed 53 leaked documents, all of which appear to have been produced between mid-February and early March.

One document reveals that the US has been spying on Zelensky. That is unsurprising, said the source close to the President, but Ukrainian officials are deeply frustrated about the leak.

War plans: The US intelligence report, which is sourced to signals intelligence, says that Zelensky in late February “suggested striking Russian deployment locations in Russia’s Rostov Oblast” using unmanned aerial vehicles, since Ukraine does not have long-range weapons capable of reaching that far.

Signals intelligence includes intercepted communications and is broadly defined by the National Security Agency as “intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets, such as communications systems, radars, and weapons systems.”

The intelligence could explain public US comments about not wanting to give Ukraine long-range missile systems over fears that Kyiv will use them to strike inside Russia. But Ukraine has pledged not to use US-provided weapons to do so.

Ukraine's response: Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on his Telegram channel Friday that he believes the documents that have been disseminated are inauthentic, have “nothing to do with Ukraine’s real plans” and are based on “a large amount of fictitious information” disseminated by Russia.

Read the full story here.

1:38 a.m. ET, April 10, 2023

Pentagon leak reveals depths of US intelligence on Russia and Ukraine. Catch up on the latest

The Pentagon building is seen in Arlington, Virginia, on April 6.
The Pentagon building is seen in Arlington, Virginia, on April 6. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

A massive leak of classified Pentagon documents reveal the US' efforts in spying on Russia, with details of intercepted communications of Russia's Defense Ministry and the mercenary organization Wagner Group.

The documents also divulge weaknesses in Ukrainian weaponry — reportedly forcing the country's military to alter some plans as fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, with a deadly attack by Russian forces on Easter Sunday.

Here's the latest headlines out of Russia's war on Ukraine today:

  • The leak: The documents expose the extent of US eavesdropping on key allies, including South Korea, Israel and Ukraine, as well as its foes such as Moscow — raising concerns that the Russians might now change their method of communication to better conceal their planning.
  • Holiday attack: Russian strikes killed a 50-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter in the city of Zaporizhzhia early Sunday, according to Ukraine's State Emergency Service. “This is how the terrorist state spends this Palm Sunday,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, referring to the holiday in the eastern Orthodox tradition, as other Christians celebrate Easter Sunday.
  • Battle for Bakhmut: Russian forces continue their campaign to take the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, with Wagner mercenary fighters, Russian paratroopers and infantry soldiers deployed to the area. But Ukrainian forces are still holding their positions and the supply route is still open, a military spokesperson said Sunday.
  • Abandoned towns: When CNN visited eastern Ukraine recently, it found largely abandoned towns, destroyed homes and hungry stray dogs. Only those too elderly, infirm or impoverished to escape remain. “I’m on the last breath of survival,” one told CNN.
8:37 a.m. ET, April 10, 2023

Leaked Pentagon documents provide rare window into depth of US intelligence on allies and foes

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Kylie Atwood

Highly classified Pentagon documents leaked online in recent weeks have provided a rare window into how the US spies on allies and foes alike, deeply rattling US officials, who fear the revelations could jeopardize sensitive sources and compromise important foreign relationships.

Some of the documents, which US officials say are authentic, expose the extent of US eavesdropping on key allies, including South Korea, Israel and Ukraine.

Others reveal the degree to which the US has penetrated the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group, largely through intercepted communications and human sources, which could now be cut off or put in danger.

Still others divulge key weaknesses in Ukrainian weaponry, air defense, and battalion sizes and readiness at a critical point in the war, as Ukrainian forces gear up to launch a counteroffensive against the Russians – and just as the US and Ukraine have begun to develop a more mutually trusting relationship over intelligence-sharing.

Ukraine has already altered some of its military plans because of the leak, a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN.

The leak has also led the Pentagon to take steps to tighten the flow of such highly sensitive documents, officials said, which are normally available on any given day to hundreds of people across the government.

Read more here.

1:33 a.m. ET, April 10, 2023

Zelensky slams Russia over holiday attack that left father and daughter dead

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Atlanta 

Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 7.
Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 7. (Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed Russia during his nightly speech Sunday for the deadly attack reported by Ukraine's emergency service in Zaporizhzhia overnight.

"This is how the terrorist state spends this Palm Sunday," Zelensky said, referring to today's holiday in the eastern Orthodox tradition, as other Christians celebrate Easter Sunday.

At least two people were killed when Russian strikes hit the southern city overnight, according to Ukraine's State Emergency Service.

A 50-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter were killed after the strikes partially destroyed a residential building, officials said on Telegram. Rescuers pulled a 46-year-old woman out of the rubble, it added. 

"This is how Russia puts itself in even greater isolation from the world, from humanity," Zelensky said.

1:43 a.m. ET, April 10, 2023

Life as a wartime ambassador: Oksana Markarova is Ukraine's advocate on Capitol Hill

From CNN's Dana Bash, Abbie Sharpe and Ann Parangot

Oksana Markarova speaks during a rally in Washington, on March 27.
Oksana Markarova speaks during a rally in Washington, on March 27. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Seven-year-old Karolina plays the piano at the Ukraine House cultural center in the United States capital, poking at keys, swinging her sneakers underneath. She could be any child playing the piano — except the legs swinging below the bench are prosthetic.

Karolina lost her legs last fall in a Russian attack on the Ukrainian city of Nikopol and came to the United States to receive treatment.

Sitting with Karolina is Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, who helped arrange the young girl’s care.

Visits like these are now typical for the wartime ambassador.

“It’s running a marathon and just doing every day whatever you can do, in order to move our country a little bit closer to the victory,” Markarova told CNN at the Ukrainian Embassy late last month. “It’s definitely a very difficult, very demanding experience.”

This month marks two years since Markarova became ambassador. She was less than a year into her post when Russian leader Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

“We were preparing for it,” she recalled. “We knew that the intent to attack us was there, but you never completely believe until, unfortunately, something horrific like war happens.”

Markarova said that for the first couple of months of the war she would wake up and wonder if it was a bad dream.

“Everyone in Ukraine, of course, it’s more difficult for them,” she acknowledged. “As I say always, the bombs are not falling on us here – but we work literally 24/7 since February 24, and we will continue working like that until we win.”

All around Washington: These days, much of Markarova’s time is spent outside the embassy, shuttling between various government agencies around Washington.

On a recent car ride from the Capitol to the Commerce Department for one of those meetings, Markarova noted the cars she uses have become “a second office.”

“This is where I prepare between the meetings, drive around everywhere,” she told CNN from the back seat.

The former private equity associate said she is not only working on securing military aid from Congress but also seeking support from American companies and entities as Ukraine begins rebuilding.

While House Republicans are divided over helping Ukraine, Markarova said she doesn’t see a difference with the chamber’s new GOP majority. She conceded, however, that there are members she has to “talk to more.”

Markarova hopes the burgeoning political debate will not weaken support overall.

Read CNN's full profile on Markarova here.

1:47 a.m. ET, April 10, 2023

"It's hell in Bakhmut" but Kyiv's forces are still holding positions, Ukrainian fighter says

From CNN's Radina Gigova and Maria Kostenko 

Ukrainian servicemen fire a military vehicle with anti-aircraft cannon near the front line city of Bakhmut, Ukraine on April 7.
Ukrainian servicemen fire a military vehicle with anti-aircraft cannon near the front line city of Bakhmut, Ukraine on April 7. (Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters)

The battles inside the eastern town of Bakhmut, Ukraine, are "the most difficult ones since you are very close to the enemy," Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Sunday.

"But the supply route is still open and Ukrainian forces are holding their positions," he said.

Wagner mercenary fighters have been "the most aggressive in the Bakhmut direction" but Russian paratroopers and infantry soldiers are also fighting in Bakhmut and in the area, he said. "Russians still hold a significant advantage in artillery in the areas of their main attack," he said. 

"We are supplying Bakhmut with ammunition, food and supplies, as well as taking our wounded out," Cherevaty, said.

Moscow's recent push: Russian forces continue their push to take "full control" of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military said in its latest operational update Sunday morning.

Unofficial reports suggest Russian forces are maintaining their slow advance through the center of Bakhmut and into the western parts of the city, with the railway station as a potential next key target.

Yuriy Syrotyuk, a grenade launcher in Ukraine's military, said in an interview on national television Sunday that the situation in Bakhmut is "really hard" for Kyiv's forces, as they are outnumbered by Russian troops and Wagner fighters. 

"Bakhmut stands; there is a supply" but "Russians outnumber us and hold more ammunition," Syrotyuk said. 

"It's hell in Bakhmut. We are currently holding the right flank of the city's defense. The enemy artillery is shooting non-stop, as well as (multiple rocket launcher fire) and aviation," he said. 

"It is really hard now because Russian artillery and tanks have pulled up very close, they are trying to shoot everything. (Enemy) paratroopers with weapons have arrived. Unfortunately, the enemy is fine with weapons. In Bakhmut they have no shortage of personnel or ammunition," he added. 

The Russian offensive on the southern flank of the city has weakened, "which is why they are trying to attack head-on through the city," Syrotyuk said. Russia has moved its artillery and rocket launchers within the city's boundaries.

"The enemy is destroying everything and proceeding through the ruins," but the supply road to Bakhmut is open, Syrotyuk said. 
"I was on the southern outskirts of Bakhmut this morning. We left OK. Yes, the enemy is shelling the road, yes it is dangerous. However, there are supplies, the defense is properly organized and there is even a rotation. Look, we were able to leave, to wash up, and will come back," he added, noting he had taken a brief break from the fighting to rest and participate in the interview.