Russia's war in Ukraine

By Jessie Yeung, Brad Lendon, Amy Woodyatt, Sana Noor Haq, Emma Tucker, Angela Dewan, Adrienne Vogt and Joe Ruiz, CNN

Updated 12:36 a.m. ET, April 24, 2022
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5:21 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

Russia shelling civilian infrastructure in northeastern city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova in Lviv

Flames come out of an apartement in a residential building of the northern outskirts of Kharkiv following shelling on April 22.
Flames come out of an apartement in a residential building of the northern outskirts of Kharkiv following shelling on April 22. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian forces have continued shelling the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the region, a Ukrainian military governor said on Saturday.

"The Russian occupiers continue to fire on the civilian infrastructure of Kharkiv and the region," said Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration. "During the day, the occupiers inflicted 56 strikes, as a result -- 19 wounded, two people died."

Civilians in Kharkiv have endured heavy shelling for days.

Russian forces continued to hold defensive lines around Izium, and claimed Ukrainian forces had carried out a successful counterattack to retake the settlements of Bezruky, Slatino and Prudianka and in the vicinity of Derhachi, Syniehubov added. CNN could not independently verify those claims. 

The military governor announced that a curfew in the region would be in effect from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time.

On April 17, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that in the four days before, 18 people had been killed and 106 wounded by Russian bombardments in Kharkiv.

5:15 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

Russia captures dozens of towns in the east, but UK officials say no major gains in last 24 hours

From CNN's Katharina Krebs, Anna Chernova and Nathan Hodge

Russia has captured dozens of small towns in its assault on the Donbas region, as Ukrainian officials describe continued heavy fighting throughout Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia had, in recent weeks, refocused its war efforts from the north and center to the east after a failure to circle in on the capital, Kyiv.

On Friday, Russia revealed for the first time that its goal was to take "full control" over southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbas region.

Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekaev, the acting commander of Russia's Central Military District, said Russian forces were fighting to establish a land corridor through Ukrainian territory connecting Russia to Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014, said according to TASS, a Russian state news agency.

"Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation, which began literally two days ago, one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over Donbas and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor to Crimea," Minnekaev told TASS.

Olena Symonenko, an adviser to the Deputy Head of the Office of the President, said in televised remarks late Thursday that over the last 24 hour period, 42 more settlements had come under Russian control in the Donetsk region.

The UK Ministry of Defense, however, said Saturday that Russian forces had made no major gains in the past 24 hours, in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks.  

Ukrainian air and sea defense have also been able to stop the progress of Russian air and maritime forces, the ministry added in a post on social media.  

Southern Ukraine: Russian forces at present have only partial control of southern Ukraine, with the Ukrainian government still in control of the key cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa and some Ukrainian forces holding out in a steel plant in the encircled port of Mariupol.

“Despite their stated conquest of Mariupol, heavy fighting continues to take place frustrating Russian attempts to capture the city thus further slowing their desired progress in the Donbas,”  the UK ministry said.

4:37 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

Why India can buy Russian oil and still be friends with the US

Analysis from CNN's Rhea Mogul and Simone McCarthy

What a difference a few weeks make. Just last month, India was taking flak from the West for its relationship with Russia.

Not only was the South Asian country refusing to condemn Moscow's brutal assault on Ukraine, but its purchases of discounted Russian oil -- said critics -- were flying in the face of sanctions aimed at crippling the Kremlin's finances.

And the White House was making its displeasure clear, calling New Delhi "somewhat shaky" and speaking of its "disappointment."

Then all of a sudden, the West's tune changed. When Biden met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, it was all diplomatic backslapping and soundbites about "a deep connection between our people" and "shared values." Then on Friday, UK leader Boris Johnson flew into Delhi to talk up trade ties and pose for costumed photo ops, all while glossing over "differences" regarding Russia.

Yet India's stance on Ukraine remains largely the same. It is still buying cheap Russian oil, and it remains quiet on Moscow's invasion. As recently as April 7, it abstained from a UN vote suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council.

India, analysts say, just taught the West a masterclass in international diplomacy.

Read the full story:

12:12 p.m. ET, April 23, 2022

Evacuation attempt from Mariupol planned for Saturday, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Olga Voitovych in Lviv

People fleeing fighting in the southern city of Mariupol meet with relatives and friends as they arrive in a small convoy after the opening of a humanitarian corridor, at a registration center for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on April 21.
People fleeing fighting in the southern city of Mariupol meet with relatives and friends as they arrive in a small convoy after the opening of a humanitarian corridor, at a registration center for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on April 21. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

An evacuation column from the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol is planned for Saturday, according to Petro Andriushchenko, adviser to the Mariupol mayor.

"Today at 11:00 am (local), the evacuation of Mariupol residents to Zaporizhzhia will begin from the 'Port City' shopping mall," he said on Telegram. "Departure of the column is scheduled at 12:00 on the route: Mariupol-Manhush-Berdiansk-Tokmak-Orikhiv-Zaporizhzhia."

Andriushchenko said private vehicles can join the route, but only women, children and the elderly will be able to board buses.

Officials have said 100,000 civilians still require evacuation from the city, which has been battered by weeks of Russian bombardment. Ukrainian leaders have appealed for the Russian side to guarantee safe passage for civilians, but several previous evacuation attempts have failed due to shelling and danger on the routes.

2:52 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

UK Defense Ministry: Russian forces make no major gains in the past 24 hours

From CNN's Irene Nasser in Hong Kong 

Russian forces have made no major gains in the past 24 hours as they face Ukrainian counterattacks, the United Kingdom's Defense Ministry said in an intelligence briefing on Saturday. 

Ukrainian air and sea defense have also been able to stop the progress of Russian air and maritime forces, the ministry added. 

“Despite their stated conquest of Mariupol, heavy fighting continues to take place frustrating Russian attempts to capture the city thus further slowing their desired progress in the Donbas,” the ministry said. 
4:21 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

As war rages on at home, these young disabled Ukrainian swimmers are stranded in Turkey

From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and Sana Noor Haq

On February 17, a team of young disabled Ukrainian swimmers traveled to Turkey to nurture their ambitions of becoming elite professionals.

The camp of seven budding athletes arrived with their three coaches in the town of Silivri, just outside of Istanbul, to take part in a two-week training program.

A week later their lives were upended when Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Ukrainian swim team sits down to eat a meal together at Kasımpaşa SK football club.
The Ukrainian swim team sits down to eat a meal together at Kasımpaşa SK football club. (CNN)

Since the invasion began on February 24, there have been deadly airstrikes, and horrific scenes of mass graves and murdered civilians across Ukraine -- while global leaders have accused Russian forces of carrying out war crimes.

While one young swimmer has traveled to Poland with his mother, they have been in Turkey for two months now, and many of their family members are still marooned in Ukraine.

Team member Victoria Kharchenko, who has cerebral palsy, says her parents find comfort in the fact that she is safe.

"They're happy ... we don't need to stay in the air raid shelters, and do not hide," the 16-year-old athlete said.

Read the full story:

12:12 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

It's 7:15 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

A Ukrainian person walks through the ruins of damaged buildings in Borodianka, on April 22, 2022.
A Ukrainian person walks through the ruins of damaged buildings in Borodianka, on April 22, 2022. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Heavy fighting is continuing in eastern Ukraine, with Russia now apparently eyeing the country's southern regions in the second phase of its invasion. Meanwhile, international partners including the UN chief and Turkey are meeting with leaders from both countries in the coming days in hopes of de-escalating the conflict.

Here are the latest developments:

  • UN chief to meet Zelensky and Putin: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, after meeting the Russian foreign minister. Then on Thursday, Guterres is expected to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian foreign minister.
  • Toll of Moskva sinking: Russia's Defense Ministry acknowledged casualties from the sinking of its warship the Moskva for the first time, saying Friday that at least one person was killed and another 27 are missing, according to Russian state media TASS. The Moskva, a guided-missile cruiser, sank on April 14, though the cause remains disputed.
  • Fighting in the east: Ukrainian officials describe heavy fighting throughout the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, with "intensified" shelling in the southern Mykolaiv region. The Ukrainian military described Russian forces preparing for a renewed offensive by moving troops to consolidate occupied positions. Meanwhile, new drone footage taken Friday shows a number of homes destroyed in Moschun, a small village north of Kyiv that played a significant role in pushing back the Russian advance toward the capital.
  • Russia's campaign for "full control": On Friday, Russia revealed its goal to establish "full control" over southern Ukraine as well as the eastern Donbas region in the second phase of its invasion, according to Russian state news agencies. It also aims to establish a land corridor connecting Russia to Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014.
  • Prosecutor's probe: 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. 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.
  • Stalled talks: Turkey's President is expecting to hold phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts over the weekend with the hope of meeting them both in Istanbul to end the war. Turkey has the unique position of having maritime borders with both countries, as well as being a NATO member and one of Russia's major trade partners.
  • Daily life resuming: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that normal life is returning to areas that have been freed from Russian control. Many settlements have been de-mined, and are now receiving humanitarian operations as well as medical and educational services, he said.
11:51 p.m. ET, April 22, 2022

Ukraine defense minister presents awards to soldiers in Moschun who helped drive back Russian advance

 From CNN's Hira Humayun

Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov met with and presented awards to soldiers in Moschun, a village north of Kyiv that experienced heavy destruction and played a significant role in driving back Russian forces. 

In a Facebook post early Friday, Reznikov said, “I met with the soldiers in Kyiv Region in the completely destroyed Moschun. Here the occupiers used all possible weapons, including missiles and aircrafts.”

He said the village was on a list of settlements that Russian forces had to take to reach Kyiv.

“Thanks to our soldiers, thanks to the courageous residents of the village, they were defeated,�� Reznikov said, “Assassins and looters could not hold Moschun, could not move forward. Having suffered heavy losses, the occupiers were forced to flee to Belarus.”

Some context: 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 weeks of military strikes and firefights. As a result, much of the destruction in the Kyiv region is in these three locations.

In addition to the countless strikes in Moschun, Russian forces also tried to take the village through a ground assault.

Drone video taken on Friday and obtained by CNN shows a number of homes destroyed in Moschun.

12:09 a.m. ET, April 23, 2022

Ukraine prime minister: Mariupol is the "biggest humanitarian catastrophe" of the century

(CNN)
(CNN)

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called the situation in Mariupol the "biggest humanitarian catastrophe" since Russia's invasion -- and perhaps the worst catastrophe of the century, as the southeastern port city faces constant bombardment from Russian forces.

Speaking at a press conference in Washington on Friday, Shmyhal said thousands of people had died in Mariupol, adding: "We will see the terrible atrocities when it will be liberated from Russians."

He said Russian troops are "absolutely destroying everything," including shelters where civilians are staying.

An estimated 100,000 people remain trapped in Mariupol since it was surrounded by Russian forces on March 1, according to Ukrainian officials. Ukrainian officials claim that more than 20,000 people in the city have died during the assault.

CNN cannot independently identify these figures, as a firm death toll following weeks of heavy bombardment is not available.

The last holdout of resistance: On Friday, Shmyhal said civilians including women and children are hiding at the Azovstal steel plant, the final bastion of Ukrainian defenders inside the city. He said the Russian army is still surrounding the area, and Ukraine is speaking with partners to negotiate an evacuation corridor.

He also called on ambassadors from all countries, including the United States, to return to their embassies in Kyiv.