April 25, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Rhea Mogul, Andrew Raine, Jack Guy, Ben Morse and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 12:11 a.m. ET, April 26, 2022
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12:11 a.m. ET, April 26, 2022

Our live coverage of the war in Ukraine has moved here.

9:53 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Nighttime curfew declared in Kyiv to protect population from Russia's "provocative actions"

From CNN's Sharif Paget and Mariya Knight

Kyiv residents walk around the city on Monday.
Kyiv residents walk around the city on Monday. (Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A nighttime curfew has gone into effect in Kyiv from Monday to Friday this week because of Russia's "provocative actions," Oleksandr Pavliuk, the head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, said in a Telegram post Monday. 

The curfew will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time.

"We remind you that during the curfew it is forbidden to be on the street and in other public places, to move by transport or on foot," Pavliuk said. 

Those involved in the work of critical infrastructure who have a special permit and ID are exempt, he said.

"During martial law, it is important to adhere to the requirements and decisions that are implemented on the ground. Such measures help protect the population from the provocative actions of the enemy," Pavliuk added.
9:09 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Lavrov says danger of nuclear war is "real," but insists Russia is trying to lower the risks

From CNN's Andrew Carey and Josh Pennington

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint news conference following talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Moscow, on April 8.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint news conference following talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Moscow, on April 8. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia’s foreign minister has insisted his country is striving to lower the risk of nuclear war, but said it was a real and serious danger. 

“It is real, and it cannot be underestimated,” Sergey Lavrov said in an interview aired on Russian television on Monday night.

Referencing a famous joint declaration by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, when the then-leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union agreed that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," Lavrov said the “inadmissibility of nuclear war” remained Russia’s “principled position.”

Collapsed agreement: Lavrov also suggested that current fears could be blamed on the West and its refusal to trust Russia. He highlighted the failure to find a successor to a 1980s' treaty between the US and the Soviet Union that banned medium range nuclear weapons.

That pact collapsed in 2019, but the US had failed to act on Vladimir Putin’s offer of a continued suspension of the deployment of such weapons, Lavrov said.

“Our offer of a mutual moratorium has been rejected, even though we included in our proposal methods of verification. And the West’s main objections to this is that they just didn’t trust us,” he said.

According to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, Lavrov told the Russian interviewer that Western countries were encouraging Ukraine to keep fighting – illustrated by Ukraine’s changing demands, he said. 

But he said he still believed the war would end with what RIA Novosti described as the “signing of a diplomatic document.”

8:18 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

See the moment a CNN team got caught in Russian shelling

While shadowing paramedics in Kharkiv, Ukraine, CNN's Clarissa Ward and her team were forced to run for safety after getting caught in Russian shelling.

Watch the moment:

8:00 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Weeks after occupying city, Russian troops take control of Kherson City Council, officials say

From CNN's  Paul P. Murphy, Josh Pennington and Natalie Gallon

Weeks after first occupying the major Ukrainian city of Kherson, Russian troops have taken control of the Kherson City Council, according to two members of the city government.

Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaev said on his Facebook that on Monday night, "armed men entered the building of the Kherson City Council, took the keys and replaced our guards with their own." 

Addressing rumors that the Ukrainian flag that flew over city council had also been taken down, Kolykhaev noted that the flag was still flying over the building when he left.

Yuri Sobolevsky, Kherson regional deputy, described the incident on his Facebook page as a "seizure," saying it was "unfortunately, quite expected."  

"Kherson's city hall was 'allowed' to function in a reduced format for a while, but that time seems to be over, too," Sobolevsky continued

7:13 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Zelensky scoffs at Russia's planned "sham referendum" in occupied Kherson

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Kostan Nechyporenko and Victoria Butenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his nightly address, on Monday, April 25.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his nightly address, on Monday, April 25. (Zelensky/Youtube)

Two days ahead of Russia’s plans to stage a referendum in the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed his people’s refusal to give their backing to Russia’s occupying forces.

“People [in occupied towns] have showed with their protest their attitude towards the occupiers; [they have] showed that Ukraine will definitely win,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Monday.

“Russia wants to stage a sham 'referendum' somewhere on our land? Even if they try, it will be as shameful as everything else that was "created" in Moscow to support the occupation of Ukraine,” he added.

Russia has announced it will hold a vote in the southern region of Kherson — which It has occupied since the opening weeks of the war — on Wednesday, in which people will be asked to approve the "independence" of a new entity called “the Kherson People’s Republic.”

Meanwhile, as the war enters its third month, Zelensky said Russia had fired more than 1,100 missiles at Ukrainian targets, in addition to “countless bombs and artillery.”

The Ukrainian president said 931 settlements in Ukraine had been liberated by Ukrainian forces after temporary occupation by Russian forces. 

In addition, since the start of hostilities some 9,781 Ukrainians had been presented with state awards for their defense of their country, and 142 people had been given a ‘Hero of Ukraine’ award.

“The lessons of history are well known. If you are going to build a millennial Reich, you lose. If you are going to destroy the neighbours — you lose. If you want to restore the old empire, you lose. And if you go against the Ukrainians — you lose,” Zelensky said.

And he struck an upbeat note about Ukraine’s advance towards possible membership of the European Union, which has become a key goal for the Ukrainian leadership.

“We are accelerating our movement to the European Union as much as possible. We have already passed a historic moment, an important stage - with the receipt and answering a special questionnaire, which was provided to each country before they acquired the status of a candidate for EU membership.”

4:34 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Drone video shows village of Novotoshkivka in Luhansk region completely destroyed by fighting

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy

Drone footage shows the destruction in Novotoshkivka, on Monday, April 25.
Drone footage shows the destruction in Novotoshkivka, on Monday, April 25. (Luhansk People’s Republic)

There is not much left of Novotoshkivka, a small village about 16 miles — or 26 kilometers — southeast of Severodonetsk, new drone video published on Monday by the Russian-backed separatist government Luhansk People's Republic shows.

CNN has geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the video.

Novotoshkivka was a very dense but small village in the Luhansk oblast, in eastern Ukraine; it only stretches about half a mile long, and a third of a mile wide. 

Now, fighting in the new war between Russian and Ukrainian forces have left it completely destroyed. Russian backed separatists claim the Ukrainians blew it up when they retreated from their positions in the village.

Serhiy Hayday, the Luhansk regional administrator, confirmed Ukrainian forces there had retreated but claimed on his Facebook page that the Russians had decimated the village through repeated airstrikes.

In remarks made on Ukrainian television Monday, Hayday said that the Russians "keep razing everything to the ground."

"Unfortunately, there are almost no houses left in Novotoshkivka. Our [troops] retreated a little, but not much, because there was no longer anything to hold on to, there was nowhere to keep the defense," he said.

Novotoshkivka had been the site of intense fighting over the last week. At the time, the Ukrainian government and Luhansk regional administration said Russian forces there had been repelled after repeatedly trying to take over the village.

4:35 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Defense Secretary Austin's remark on weakening Russia was about stalling Putin's intentions, White House says 

From.CNN's Kevin Liptak

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speak with reporters after returning from their trip to Kyiv, where they spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Monday, April 25, in Poland near the Ukraine border.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speak with reporters after returning from their trip to Kyiv, where they spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Monday, April 25, in Poland near the Ukraine border. (Alex Brandon/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's declaration the US wants to "see Russia weakened" is in line with the administration's long-held goal to prevent Moscow from consuming Ukraine.

"I think what Secretary Austin, in his press conference, was referring to was if you go back about two months ago, remember President Putin gave a speech where he talked about the aspirations — his aspirations, the aspirations he had for the Russian military — which were to degrade Ukraine, subsume Ukraine, to take over their sovereignty, their territorial integrity," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday during a news briefing.

"What Secretary Austin was talking about is our objective to prevent that from happening," she went on. "Obviously right now the war is in Ukraine. We’re proud of the Ukrainians’ success, their efforts to fight back, to push back on the Russian military, thanks to their bravery and also to our support."

"We are also looking to prevent them from expanding their efforts and President Putin’s objectives beyond that too," she continued.

More on Austin's comments: Speaking after visiting Kyiv on Sunday, Austin outlined some of the United States' goals as the country continues to support Ukraine's efforts in the war.

"We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine," Austin said at a news conference at an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border following the trip to Kyiv. 

Psaki said the comment was in line with the administration's views of the conflict.

"I would say it’s consistent with our view, and the President’s view, and Secretary Austin’s view that we are going to do everything we can to push back on President Putin’s aspirations to subsume Ukraine, to take over their territorial integrity and their sovereignty, and aspirations he had as of two months ago to go beyond that," she said.

3:53 p.m. ET, April 25, 2022

US secretary of state tweets photos of train travel to Kyiv

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin took the train from Poland to meet with Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, in Kyiv on Sunday.

“We saw people on the streets and clear evidence that the battle for Kyiv has been won. But we know that’s in stark contrast to other parts of Ukraine, where the Russian military continues to commit atrocities,” he said in a tweet Monday along with two photos of his travel.

View the tweet here: