April 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Ivana Kottasová, Travis Caldwell, Andrew Raine, Lianne Kolirin, George Ramsay, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:13 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022
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4:50 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

"All other sanctions" on Russia are acceptable for Austria but "not the gas embargo," finance minister says

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty in London

Austria’s finance minister told CNN that his country supports all sanctions on Russia except a gas embargo.

“Once a sanction hits yourself more than the one targeted by the sanction, I think there’s not much use,” Magnus Brunner said, adding that Austria’s industry is so dependent on Russian gas that they have “no choice.”

There was not much sense in a sanction that harmed Austria’s economy more than Russia’s, he stressed.

More context: The European Union imported nearly 100 billion euros ($110 billion) worth of Russian energy last year. Russia supplies about 40% of the bloc's imports of natural gas, and about 27% and 46% of its imported oil and coal respectively.

In March, EU leaders pledged to reduce consumption of Russian gas by 66% before the end of this year, and to break the bloc's dependence on Russian energy by 2027.

Russian oil has already been banned by the United States and United Kingdom.

CNN's Anna Cooban contributed reporting to this post.

5:04 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

EU companies may be able to purchase Russian gas in rubles without violating sanctions, the EU Commission says

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in London

The Russian Central Bank, in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.
The Russian Central Bank, in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

European companies may be able to purchase Russian gas in rubles without violating the European Union's sanctions against Moscow, according to new advice issued by the European Commission on Friday. 

The advice issued states how a process involving the Russian Central Bank would be a breach of sanctions and how continued payment in Euros/Dollars would be possible.

In a document issued to the member states and published online Thursday, the Commission states it "appears possible" that Moscow's decree demanding energy payments be made in Russian currency "does not preclude a payment process which is in line with the EU restrictive measures." 

However, the commission notes the procedure is not yet clear. 

A Russian decree issued in late March demands companies hold accounts in Russia's state-owned Gazprombank, which would convert payments for gas into rubles, in order to fulfill contracts, instead of trading directly with state gas giant Gazprom. The decree only applies to existing contracts.

"EU companies can ask their Russian counterparts to fulfill their contractual obligations in the same manner as before the adoption of the Decree, i.e., by depositing the due amount in Euros or Dollars," the EU's guidance states.

Gazprombank has been sanctioned by the UK and the US, but not the EU.

However, the Russian Central Bank, which is sanctioned by the EU, could be involved in Gazprombank's currency conversion, the commission notes. 

"Agreed contracts must be respected," a spokesperson from the EU Commission told CNN Friday, adding that "97% of the relevant contracts explicitly stipulate payment in euros or dollars. Companies with such contracts should not accede to Russian demands."

"We have carefully analyzed the new decree, and we are in contact with Member State authorities and with energy companies that would be affected. The EU will continue to respond in a united manner to this latest attempt by Russia to circumvent our sanctions," the spokesperson continued.

5:31 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

New drone video shows significant destruction in Moschun, a village north of Kyiv 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Steven Page

This drone footage shows the devastation in Moschun.
This drone footage shows the devastation in Moschun. (Ihor Zakharenko)

A number of homes have been destroyed in Moschun, a small village to the north of Kyiv and near the Hostomel Air Base, new drone video taken on Friday and obtained by CNN shows.

CNN has geolocated the video and verified its authenticity. They were shot by travel company owner Ihor Zakharenko, who told CNN he's since become a war journalist

The village of Moschun was vital to the Ukrainians repelling the Russian advance towards Kyiv. Ukrainian forces there, and nearby in Irpin and Bucha, are largely responsible for stalling the Russians, who were trying to advance towards Kyiv across the Irpin River.

That's why Bucha, Irpin and Moschun were subjected to intense barrages of military strikes, and were the site of an intense, weeks long firefight. As a result, much of the destruction in the Kyiv region are in these three locations.

In addition to the countless military strikes in Moschun, which sits on the eastern bank of the Irpin River, Russian forces also tried to take the village through a ground assault.

CNN has previously reported that Russian forces from the village of Ozera, on the western bank of the Irpin River, utilized one of their pontoon bridges to cross the Irpin and advance towards Moschun.

However, a Maxar Technologies satellite image shows that Ukrainian forces successfully thwarted that ground assault, blowing up the bridge crossing the Irpin River, and the vehicles that had crossed it.

3:51 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

Ukraine's prosecutor's office opens investigation into alleged Russian shelling of Sloviansk with cluster munitions

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

The Ukraine's prosecutor's office has launched an investigation into the alleged shelling of the town of Sloviansk by the Russian army with cluster munitions, it said on Telegram on Friday.

"A pre-trial investigation has established that on 22nd of April 2022, Russian armed forces carried out another shelling of the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk region. As a result of actions of the occupiers, a secondary school building and several residential buildings were damaged," the statement said.

According to the preliminary data, Russian troops used "Tochka-U," a missile system with a cluster warhead, the statement added.

Use of cluster munitions — which scatter submunitions over a wide area — is banned by many countries. Russia and Ukraine are not signatories to an international convention barring their use. 

4:59 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

Fighting in eastern Ukraine continues in Donetsk and Tavriya regions, Ukrainian Armed Forces say 

 From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

A mother hugs her daughter as they wait for a bus to flee from Sloviansk, on Saturday, April 16, 2022.
A mother hugs her daughter as they wait for a bus to flee from Sloviansk, on Saturday, April 16, 2022. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

Fighting continued in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Tavriya, according to a statement from the Armed Forces of Ukraine published on Facebook on Friday.

Here are details provided in the statement about how fighting is unfolding on the ground: 

  • Russian troops carried out assault operations in the direction of the city of Sloviansk
  • Russian troops continue to consolidate its occupied positions, regroup, and prepare for offensive operations in the areas of Zolota Dolyna and Kreminna.
  • Russian forces strengthened their troops by moving individual units of the 41st General Army of the Central Military District from the territory of the Russian Federation. 
  • They also carried out assault operations in the region of Popasna and the direction of the settlement of Novotoshkivske and established a base in the settlement of Stepne.
  • In areas of Avdiivka and Kharkiv, Russian forces tried to carry out assault operations, but were unsuccessful.
  • Russian troops also continued to launch air strikes on Mariupol and ​restrict Ukrainian units in the area of the Azovstal plant.
  • In the region of Zaporizhzhia, Russian forces carried out assault operations in the direction of Zelene Pole settlement.
3:25 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

NYC allocates more than $2 million for currently residing and newly arrived Ukrainians to access services

From CNN's Laura Ly

New York City will allocate more than $2 million in funding to help currently residing and newly arrived Ukrainians to "get access to immigration legal assistance, translation services, social services, and other resources,” according to a news release from Mayor Eric Adams’ office.

“The funds will go towards expanding personnel and increasing access to the robust resources that are available for all currently residing and new arrived Ukrainians. New York city will also offer an expanded suite of resources in the coming weeks,” the release says.

New York City is home to the largest Ukrainian population in the United States, Adams said at a news conference Friday.

3:37 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

Taiwan will send $8 million in aid to Kyiv 

From CNN’s Philip Wang in Atlanta

Taiwanese Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, speaks at the Globsec forum in Bratislava, Slovakia on October 26, 2021.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, speaks at the Globsec forum in Bratislava, Slovakia on October 26, 2021. (Vladimir Simicek/AFP/Getty Images)

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Friday announced a total of $8 million in aid for the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv during a video call with Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

The donation includes $3 million to the Kyiv government and an additional $5 million to six local hospitals, according to the statement. This is the fourth time that Taiwan has sent its donation to the war-torn country.

During the video call, Wu said that Russia's invasion into Ukraine not only caused great harm to the Ukrainian people, but also threatened international orders and the democratic community. He added that Taiwan and Ukraine are partners who share the democratic ideology and are at the forefront of thwarting the expansion of totalitarianism.

Klitschko thanked Wu for the donation from the Taiwanese government and the people, saying that “peace can only begin when the last Russian soldier leaves Ukraine.” He also urged the international community to condemn and sanction Russia to the fullest extent.

3:34 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

"I feel emptiness": Ukrainians who escaped Mariupol describe fear and despair as they arrive in Lviv

From CNN’s Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Matt Rivers, Jo Shelley, David von Blohn and Roman Tymotsko in Lviv

A shelled train in Lviv’s train station on Friday, April 22.
A shelled train in Lviv’s train station on Friday, April 22. (Jo Shelley/CNN)

Volunteers in bright blue vests stand patiently on platform 3 at Lviv’s train station. As they wait on this wet and gloomy Friday, a few family members join them as a train slowly rolls in. It finally comes to a halt, the doors open and all step forward to start helping passengers off, some searching for familiar faces of loved ones. 

Many on this designated evacuation train from Zaporizhzhia look around wearily as they lug their belongings onto the platform. It’s been a long and dangerous journey. They departed the southeastern city on Thursday, traveling overnight before arriving in Lviv on Friday afternoon.

Among the travelers are a handful of refugees who in recent weeks have managed to escape from their homes in the besieged port city of Mariupol. They are the lucky ones. 

Located in the country’s southeast, Mariupol has been the target of a relentless assault from Russian forces for weeks, with Ukrainian officials estimating as many as 20,000 people have died as a result of the constant bombardment. 

Attempts to evacuate civilians have been beset by delays and failed attempts in recent days — just 79 people were successfully pulled out on Thursday, according to the region’s governor. It’s a drop in the bucket given officials are estimating the number of residents still trapped in the city is around 100,000. 

Polina Kazantseva and her daughter, Iryna Chelakhova, in Lviv’s train station, on Friday.
Polina Kazantseva and her daughter, Iryna Chelakhova, in Lviv’s train station, on Friday. (David von Blohn/CNN)

Polina Kazantseva and her daughter Iryna Chelakhova were two of the handful arriving in Lviv on Friday.

“I feel emptiness. It will be difficult to rebuild the city. They continue bombing it,” Kazantseva told CNN. “Ninety buses were meant to evacuate people from Mariupol. On the first day, only seven were allowed to leave. On the second day, shelling continued; how to evacuate people? It’s very frightening.”

She began to cry as she thinks of home, continuing: “I want to believe that I will return there. But I think we’ll need many years to restore the city after what they’ve done. I am not going to live that long.”

Iryna interjects, saying: “They (Russians) will burn in hell — everyone who was involved” before her mother asks, “what have we done wrong to them?”

“They are not human beings,” she added. 

Katya Yatsun and her child in Lviv's train station, on Friday.
Katya Yatsun and her child in Lviv's train station, on Friday. (Jo Shelley/CNN)

Nearby, Katya Yatsun carefully cradles her sleeping child in her arms while her partner retrieves their luggage. Her young family had lived in Mariupol for two years before they fled. 

“It’s a pity this happened to the city. My kid was born there. We were forced to leave; it’s impossible to live there,” she said. “My mother stayed there. Their house survived ... They can’t leave because men are not allowed to. And mom doesn’t want to leave without her husband. They are there now.”

She continued, “We were thinking about our survival. I don’t know how to tell my kid about such terrifying events.”

A short time later, a second train arrives from Zaporizhzhia – this one a regular passenger train – filled with significantly more people, but none seem to be from Mariupol. 

As it glides into the station, some of its windows are broken, jagged shards of glass protruding out after it was damaged in shelling as it departed the city yesterday, according to Ukrainian officials.  

Train Captain, Serhii Antokhov, in Lviv's train station, on Friday.
Train Captain, Serhii Antokhov, in Lviv's train station, on Friday. (Jo Shelley/CNN)

The train captain, Serhii Antokhov, told CNN that operations are becoming increasingly difficult and denounced the needlessly violent tactics being deployed by Russia’s military. 

“They are wicked fascists; what can I say? They are afraid of us, so they act like that,” he said. 

CNN’s Jonny Hallam contributed reporting to this post.

2:47 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

Turkey hopes to bring Russian and Ukrainian presidents to Istanbul for direct talks

From CNN's Yusuf Gezer and Mohammed Tawfeeq

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press after performing a Friday prayer at Hz. Ali Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 22, 2022.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the press after performing a Friday prayer at Hz. Ali Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 22, 2022. (Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is expecting to hold phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in the next 48 hours with the hope of meeting them both in Istanbul to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"The result is positive; it's not exactly as we wanted, but it will be better. We're not without hope," Erdogan said from Istanbul on Friday following a question about the ongoing Ukraine-Russia peace talks. "I hope that they accept our invitation, and we can bring them together in Istanbul."

Turkey has a unique profile and position. Besides being a NATO member, the country also has maritime borders with both Ukraine and Russia. Plus, Turkey is Russia's largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The country has competed and cooperated with Russia through conflict zones in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh in recent years.