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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8:42 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Power and water outages throughout Luhansk region, regional military governor says

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv

Internally displaced people wait for food distribution in a bunker at a factory in Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, on April 22.
Internally displaced people wait for food distribution in a bunker at a factory in Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, on April 22. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

The Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine has seen extensive cuts to water and power supply due to heavy Russian shelling, said Serhiy Hayday, head of the regional military administration.

There had been "7,500 more power outages, almost the entire Luhansk region is without water supply," Hayday said in a statement on Telegram on Monday. "In the last 10 days, 10 settlements have seen power cut off due to Russian shelling, nine of which have been completely cut off. That makes 30,000 families without electricity. In the past day alone, 7,500 apartments and private houses were cut off."

Hayday said Russian forces had shifted to destroying infrastructure because of a lack of progress on the battlefield. 

"In total, 39 settlements have had power cuts, 26 completely and 13 partially," he said, adding that "121,746 consumers are without electricity."

Due to power cuts, pumping stations that supply water to Severodonetsk and Popasna district have been shut down, and water supply infrastructure in Rubizhne, Popasna, and nearby villages is also damaged, Hayday said.

8:42 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Russia strikes 5 railway stations in central and western Ukraine, head of Ukraine state railways says

From CNN's Nathan Hodge, Petro Zadorozhnyy and Sofiya Harbuziuk in Lviv

Oleksandr Kamyshin, chairman of Ukrzaliznytsia -- Ukraine's state railway company -- said Monday that Russian forces had struck five railway stations in central and western Ukraine.

"Russian troops continue to systematically destroy railway infrastructure," he said in a statement. "This morning, within one hour, five railway stations in central and western Ukraine were struck."

Kamyshin said at least 16 passenger trains would be held. He added that there were casualties, without providing specifics. 

In a separate statement, Ukrzaliznytsia said there was no power on the Shepetivka - Koziatyn, Zhmerynka - Koziatyn, and Koziatyn - Fastiv lines, forcing delays. 

Maksym Kozytskyy, the head of the Lviv regional military administration, gave details earlier Monday of a Russian strike that damaged a railway station in western Ukraine.

"Today, on April 25 at about 08:30 am, as the result of a missile attack, an explosion occurred at a substation of the Krasne railway station," he said. "Units of the State Emergency Service are working on the site and extinguishing the fire."

 Kozytskyy said there was no information on casualties at this stage. 

According to Kozytskyy, one of the incoming weapons was downed by anti-aircraft missile troops of the Air Command West of Ukraine's air force. He said the missiles were launched into Ukraine from the southeast, saying Russian forces likely launched them from strategic bombers.

Some context: The Ukrainian rail system -- one of the world's largest -- has become a vital cog in the country's war effort, ferrying essential supplies in, and desperate civilians out of harm's way.

Earlier this month, at least 50 people, including five children, were killed after Russian forces carried out a missile strike on a railway station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, which was being used by civilians trying to flee the fighting.

By mid-March, barely three weeks into the war, the network said it had moved more than 2.1 million passengers domestically, plus roughly quarter of a million more who'd gone to Poland. Many more have followed since. Some train cars have been refitted to carry medical supplies to the front lines and the wounded to hospitals.

Not only is the railway having to coordinate military and passenger trains, as well as aid shipments, but freight routes are also being ramped up. The Russians have cut off Ukrainian access to many Black Sea ports, which is how nearly 95% of agricultural output is normally shipped to markets abroad.

Now, Ukrainian Railways is attempting to compensate by sending more trains to Europe loaded with grain and produce. That's no small feat, considering Ukrainian tracks have a different gauge size than most European countries, so cargo has to be reloaded at the border.

4:50 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Putin congratulates Macron on French election win 

From CNN's Radina Gigova

French President Emmanuel Macron celebrates with thousands of his supporters in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, as he wins the French presidential election on April 24.
French President Emmanuel Macron celebrates with thousands of his supporters in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, as he wins the French presidential election on April 24. (Siavosh Hosseini/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his re-election as President of France in a statement Monday. 

“I sincerely wish you success in your state activities, as well as good health and well-being,” reads the message, published by the Kremlin.

Macron won the French presidential election with 58.55% of the votes, according to results posted by the French Ministry of Interior Sunday night.

His right-wing rival Marine Le Pen took 41.45% of the vote.

8:23 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

US defense secretary: Ukraine can win the war "if they have right equipment, support"

From CNN's Hannah Ritchie in Hong Kong

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks with reporters on April 25, in Poland, after returning from a weekend trip to Kyiv, Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks with reporters on April 25, in Poland, after returning from a weekend trip to Kyiv, Ukraine. (Alex Brandon/Reuters)

The US believes Ukraine can win the war against Russia with “the right equipment and the right support,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters Monday, from an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border. 

“In terms of their ability to win — the first step in winning is believing that you can win. And so, they believe that we can win. We believe that we — they — can win, if they have the right equipment, the right support, and we're going to do everything we can and continue to do everything we can,” Austin told reporters. 

Some context: Austin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Kyiv on Sunday where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, making them the highest-level US officials to have traveled to the country since Russia's invasion began. 

3:12 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Zelensky thanks US for "unprecedented assistance" to Ukraine

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attend a meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 24.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attend a meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 24. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday he appreciated "the unprecedented assistance of the United States to Ukraine."

Zelensky's office issued a statement following a meeting in Kyiv between the Ukrainian leader, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

"I would like to thank President (Joe) Biden personally and on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people for his leadership in supporting Ukraine, for his personal clear position. To thank all the American people, as well as the Congress for their bicameral and bipartisan support. We see it. We feel it."

Zelensky also discussed strengthening US sanctions on Russia, the statement said. 

"We understand what the next steps on this track should be. And we count on the support of our partners," Zelensky said, according to the statement.
3:05 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Air defenses activated in Lviv region: Regional military governor

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv

Maksym Kozytskyy, the head of the Lviv regional military administration in western Ukraine, said anti-aircraft defences had been engaged as he urged residents to shelter.

"Residents of Lviv region, stay in shelters," Kozytskyy said on Telegram. "Air defenses are working." 

In a separate statement, Kozytskyy said fires had broken out in two settlements in Zolochiv district. 

The situation is under control. Details later. Stay in the shelters," he said.
2:59 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Blinken's meeting with Zelensky lasted 3 hours

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, shakeds hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 24.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, shakeds hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 24. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spent about three hours with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his senior team in the capital Kyiv.

"That was the entire focus of our visit. We wanted to focus on the work that needed to be done in looking at the game plan that we have, how we're moving forward across all of these different lines of effort," Blinken told reporters from an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border.

Asked by a reporter what they had seen on their way to the capital, Blinken said they had taken a train from southwestern Poland to Kyiv.

"So we didn't see a lot except looking out the train window. In Kyiv itself, we went right to the presidential palace."

The US top diplomat said, "there wasn't much of an opportunity to talk to average Ukrainians."

We certainly saw people on the streets in Kyiv — evidence of the fact that the battle for Kyiv was won," he said.

On the surface, there were signs of "normal life" in parts of the city, he said.

"But that's in stark contrast to what's going on in other parts of Ukraine, in the south and the east, where the Russian brutality is doing horrific things to people every single day," Blinken said.

Some context: While in Kyiv, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky for an extended bilateral meeting, a senior State Department official said.

8:24 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

Blinken: US diplomats back in Ukraine "starting next week"

American diplomats will be back in Ukraine "starting next week," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday.

"They'll then start the process of looking at how we actually reopen the embassy itself in Kyiv, I think that will take place over a couple of weeks," Blinken said. 
"We're doing it deliberately. We're doing it carefully with the security of our personnel foremost in mind."

Blinken said that US President Joe Biden will nominate Bridget Brink as the US Ambassador to Ukraine. He described Brink as "deeply experienced in the region." The post has been without a confirmed ambassador since Marie Yovanovitch was recalled in May 2019. Brink is the current US ambassador to Slovakia.

Read more here:

8:24 a.m. ET, April 25, 2022

US secretary of state: Ukraine will be "around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin"

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with reporters on April 25, in Poland, after returning from a weekend trip to Kyiv, Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with reporters on April 25, in Poland, after returning from a weekend trip to Kyiv, Ukraine. (Alex Brandon/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that a "sovereign independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene".

"The bottom line is this. We don't know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene," Blinken said. "And our support for Ukraine going forward will continue. It will continue until we see final success. 

Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for three hours on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference at an undisclosed location near the Polish-Ukrainian border, Austin said it was "a very productive meeting" and an "engaging session."

"We were very happy to have that opportunity," he said. "During the meeting, we expressed our deepest condolences to the president for the loss of so many civilians, and of course, the loss of those courageous troops that have done a magnificent job of pushing back Russian forces. 
"We also expressed our admiration for their professionalism and for their commitment to defend their democracy."