We've wrapped up our live coverage for the day. You can read more on Russia's war in Ukraine here, or scroll through the updates below.
April 15, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news
By Amarachi Orie, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer and Tori B. Powell, CNN
This map shows the latest state of control in Ukraine
The fight grinds on this week for the eastern city of Bakhmut, which has seen some of the most brutal fighting in Russia's war in Ukraine.
Russian and Wagner mercenary forces are trying to inch closer to the city center. Both sides claim the other has suffered huge losses.
Elsewhere in eastern Ukraine, at least 11 people were killed and 22 wounded in Russian strikes that pounded the city of Sloviansk on Friday, Ukrainian officials said.
While each military has made only incremental gains in most frontline territories over the past few weeks, Ukraine appears to be readying a spring counteroffensive.
This map shows where things currently stand in the conflict:
Zelensky discusses Macron’s recent visit to China in call with French president
From CNN's Mariya Knight
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron held an hour-and-a-half phone conversation Saturday, according to a post on Zelensky's Telegram account.
Zelensky said "the results of President Macron's recent visit to China were discussed," and that he "praised France's intention to further strengthen important support for Ukraine on the battlefield."
Macron has said he told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping earlier in the month that he was counting on him to "reason" with Russia and help end the war in Ukraine.
Key context: China has claimed neutrality in the conflict and attempted to frame itself as an agent of peace. But it has refused to condemn the Russian invasion and continued to tighten its economic and diplomatic ties with the Kremlin over the past year – including a state visit from Xi to Moscow last month.
War leaves Ukrainians with mined cemeteries and closed churches for Orthodox Easter
From CNN's Radina Gigova and Yulia Kesaieva
Authorities will bolster security measures across the country as Ukrainians prepare to celebrate another Orthodox Easter while fighting Russia's war.
Residents are discouraged from attending church services late at night this weekend, and many cemeteries will remain closed due to the danger of unexploded mines and Russian shelling.
Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter one week after many Christians in the US and other Western countries observe the holiday.
Ukrainian officials have warned in the past that Russian attacks may increase around specific dates, holidays or events. Oleksiy Biloshytskyi, a national law enforcement official, said police will use special monitoring centers to look out for any signs of attacks.
"We must remember that the enemy is insidious and can take any action even during this (Easter) night," he said.
In the capital Kyiv, residents will be able to attend late evening church services despite a curfew, but they must arrive at church before the curfew takes effect, the head of the Kyiv city military administration, Serhii Popko, said Thursday in a Telegram post.
Popko said churchgoers and clergy should research the nearest shelter to their congregation and be prepared to flee to safety if an air raid alarm sounds.
The curfew hours in Kyiv last from midnight to 5 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET), as is the case for most of the country.
In the broader Kyiv region, residents will only be able to attend church services when the curfew is not in effect, and only a limited number of people will be allowed on the grounds of churches and cemeteries due to security reasons, the Kyiv region's military administration said Monday.
Many churches will broadcast services online, it added.
In northeastern Kharkiv, which is Ukraine's second-largest city, officials will close a number of cemeteries.
Authorities warned that one of the cemeteries, the Slobozhanskyi memorial complex, has not been fully cleared of explosive mines.
Other city cemeteries will be closed on Easter "to avoid provocations by the enemy and to protect citizens from unpredictable missile attacks," the city council said.
In the southern city of Kherson, residents won't be able to visit cemeteries or attend church services during curfew hours, the city council said Tuesday.
It said the ban on cemeteries was due to mine danger.
"The enemy daily launches hostile attacks on the civilian population of the Kherson community. Unfortunately, the possibility of shelling during the holidays cannot be ruled out," the city council said.
Rescue workers toil to save Sloviansk survivors
From CNN's Ben Wedeman in Sloviansk
Tatiana’s eyes were fixed on rescue workers digging through the jumble of rubble on what was once the top floor of an apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk.
Friday afternoon, several Russian S-300 missiles slammed into her community, with an eighth hitting the nearby town of Kramatorsk. Eleven people were killed, including a toddler, and more than 20 people were wounded, local authorities said.
“The child who was killed was only 2 years old,” Tatiana told CNN, tears falling down her cheeks. “His father is still here,” she said, pointing to the building. “If they — the rescue workers — could just lift the slabs of cement they could save him.”
“It’s cold, and he’s been there for almost 24 hours,” interjected a man standing next to her.
The father and son were part of a family that had fled Sloviansk early in the war. Like many others, they recently returned after Russian forces were driven back in last autumn’s Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The missile made a direct hit on the building, throwing debris all over the surrounding area.
“I knew all the ones who were killed,” said Lilya, who had lived in the adjacent apartment block since 1977. “It’s horrible."
Sloviansk mayor Vadym Liakh announced Saturday that a free train service would begin Tuesday, offering citizens the chance to move to safer areas in the Donetsk region, as well as accommodation, meals and social benefits. In a statement posted on his Facebook page, the mayor noted the town’s current population is 50,000 — up from 20,000 last summer.
Elsewhere, in another part of Sloviansk, a deep crater marked a missile impact point in the middle of a children’s playground. The hit had thrown dark, rich soil into the seats of a swing.
Friday had been rainy and cold, and the playground was empty when the missile struck.
At least 11 people were killed and 22 wounded in Russian strikes on Sloviansk, Ukrainian officials say
From CNN’s Mariya Knight and Maria Kostenko
At least 11 people have died and 22 more are wounded after Friday's strikes on residential buildings in the eastern city of Sloviansk, according to an update from the State Emergency Services.
The Ukrainian agency said four more people may still be trapped under the rubble Saturday.
“A total of 75 tonnes of rubble have been dismantled at the site,” the service's report said.
At least eight explosions rocked the city Friday afternoon local time, as Russian forces targeted it with S-300 rockets, according to Sloviansk Mayor Vadym Liakh. The strikes hit apartment buildings, houses, administrative buildings and a schoolyard.
A 2-year-old boy was among those killed in the assault.
View footage from a CNN team on the ground in Sloviansk:
A 2-year-old boy was among those killed in Russian strikes on Sloviansk, mayor says
From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv and Sophie Jeong
A 2-year-old boy was killed in Russian strikes on residential buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, according to Vadym Liakh, the city's mayor.
“A 2-year-old boy was killed, and his father is currently under the rubble,” Liakh said on national television Saturday morning. “The mother is under medical supervision at the moment.”
At least eight other people were killed in the strikes, officials said in an earlier update. Liakh said 33 multi-story buildings, 33 private houses and several other administrative buildings had been damaged, as well as a schoolyard.
“This is the first such massive attack (on Sloviansk) this year. The last such strike was last summer,” Liakh said. “There was less than a minute between the explosions.”
Liakh said there were eight explosions in the city around 4 p.m. local time Friday (9 a.m. Friday ET), which were hit by S-300 rockets in almost all districts of the city.
Rescue operations continue Saturday, according to the mayor.
US secretary of state says intelligence leak has "not affected" cooperation with allies and partners
From CNN's Sandi Sidhu
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said recent US intelligence leaks, which included sensitive information about the war in Ukraine, have not affected cooperation with allies and security partnerships.
Blinken commented on the leaks Saturday during a trip to Vietnam.
"We have engaged with our allies and partners since these leaks came out, and we have done so at high levels, and we have made clear our commitment to safeguarding intelligence and our commitment to our security partnerships," Blinken said, speaking at the US Embassy in Hanoi.
"What I have heard so far, at least, is an appreciation for steps we are taking, and it has not affected our cooperation," Blinken told reporters.
Some context: On Thursday, the FBI arrested 21-year-old Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira in connection with the damaging leak of US classified documents.
He was charged on Friday with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information, as well as unauthorized removal of classified information and defense materials.
CNN has reviewed some of the documents, which reveal sensitive information about key weaknesses in Ukraine's defenses, the extent to which the US has penetrated the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group, and the extent to which the US has been spying on foes and allies, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
A source close to Zelensky told CNN that some of Ukraine's military plans have already been altered due the leak.
US secretary of state says Russia must provide consular access "now" for detained WSJ reporter
From CNN’s Sophie Jeong
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that consular access has not yet been granted to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich who was detained in late March, when asked by a reporter to comment during a presser in Vietnam.
“On Gershkovich, I don't have anything new to share. We continue to seek consular access that has not yet been granted. It needs to be. This is a Russian obligation,” Blinken said.
We continue to call for his immediate release, and certainly, we need to see consular access now,” Blinken added.
On Monday, Blinken determined that Gershkovich was "wrongfully detained," and the reporter's case is now being handled by the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.
This decision empowers the Biden administration to explore avenues such as a prisoner swap to try to secure the journalist's release.