April 28, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Maureen Chowdhury, Ed Upright, Andrew Raine, Seán Federico O'Murchú, Ben Morse and Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

Updated 0632 GMT (1432 HKT) April 29, 2022
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1:36 p.m. ET, April 28, 2022

War in Ukraine can "drag on and last for months and years," NATO chief says

From CNN’s Zahid Mahmood

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference in Brussels on April 28.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference in Brussels on April 28. (Kenzo Triboullard/AFP/Getty Images)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the alliance is ready to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion in a war that can “drag on and last for months and years.”   

“We will continue to put maximum pressure on [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to end the war by imposing sanctions, by providing economic support but also military support to Ukraine, and we need to be prepared for the long-term,” Stoltenberg said during a NATO Youth Summit taking place in Brussels. 

“It's a very unpredictable and fragile situation in Ukraine. But there is absolutely the possibility that this war will drag on and last for months and years," he continued.  

Stoltenberg also said that NATO allies are preparing to help Kyiv advance form an “old Soviet-era equipment to more modern standard-weapons and systems,” but added that it will “require more training.” 

The United States and some European countries including Netherlands and France have recently announced that they will be supplying Ukraine with howitzers, long-range weapons, to help defend itself against Russia.  

Germany has said they will supply anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, as it attempts to deflect criticism that the government has been slow to provide military equipment to the war-torn country.  

On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said they will support the Ukrainian military by providing “training and maintenance.” 

Baerbock added that Germany had chosen not to make public all the weapons it had previously sent to Ukraine. “We have supplied anti-tank weapons, Stingers and many other weapons that we haven’t spoken about in public,” the foreign minister said. 

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss rallied for support for the United Kingdom to send warplanes and other heavy weapons in a keynote speech on Wednesday.    

“Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this,” Truss said.  

“Our sanctions have already seen Russia facing its first external debt default for a century. We need to go further,” she added. 

11:57 a.m. ET, April 28, 2022

Biden: Russian comments about possibility of a nuclear war were "irresponsible"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

US President Joe Biden said that Russian comments about the possibility of a nuclear war were “irresponsible.”

“No one should be making idle comments about the use of nuclear weapons or the possibility of the need to use them,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week that nuclear deterrence is Russia’s “principled position," but he added “the danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated.”

Biden also said it’s “not true” that the US and NATO are in a proxy war with Russia – and that Russian claims of a proxy war are “an excuse for their failure” in Ukraine.

“They’re not true,” Biden said, responding on Thursday to a reporter who asked about Lavrov’s accusation that NATO was using the Ukraine war as a proxy. “They do concern me, because it shows the desperation that Russia is feeling about their abject failure in being able to do what they set out to do in the first instance.”

“I think it's more of a reflection not of the truth, but of their failure,” the President continued, “and so instead of saying that the Ukrainians are equipped with some capability to resist Russian forces, they got to… tell their people the United States and all of NATO is engaged in taking out Russian troops, and tanks, et cetera.”

Asked later about possible Russian aggression against NATO and its allies, he said the US is “prepared for whatever they do.”

1:00 p.m. ET, April 28, 2022

Russian progress "slow and uneven" in Donbas region due to logistics problems, senior US defense official says

From CNN's Michael Conte and Barbara Starr

Municipality workers clean streets in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 27, 2022.
Municipality workers clean streets in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 27, 2022. (Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The US assesses that Russian forces are making “slow and uneven” and “incremental” progress in the Donbas region, in part because of Ukrainian resistance, as well as continued logistics problems, according to a senior US defense official.

“There’s a lot of still back and forth in the Donbas in terms of territory gained and or lost by frankly both sides,” said the official on a background call with reporters.

The official said Russia now has 92 battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, up from 85 last week.

However, the official also said that continued “logistics and sustainment challenges” prevent Russian forces from making more than “several kilometers or so progress on any given day, just because they don’t want to run out too far ahead of their logistics and sustainment lines.”

Russia is making some advances to the east and south of Izium, while still facing pushback from Ukrainian forces, said the official.

In the south, the official said that the US has seen some Russian forces departing the besieged city of Mariupol and heading to the northwest towards Zaporizhzhia, despite the fact that Mariupol still has not fallen to Russia as indicated by continued Russian strikes against the city. 

The official said that Russia has now launched more than 1,900 missiles against Ukraine since the beginning of the February invasion.

Russian forces are still facing “morale and cohesion problems,” according to a senior US defense official, particularly as they are using conscripts to reinforce their battalion tactical groups that they are sending back into the Donbas region.

“We have some early indications that while the conscripts start out with high morale because they’ve been feasting on Russian propaganda, it doesn’t take very long before that morale is sapped once they get put into combat and face Ukrainian resistance,” said the official on a background call with reporters.

12:13 p.m. ET, April 28, 2022

US claims Russian invasion includes "forced capitulation of Ukraine’s democratically elected government"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

 US Ambassador to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter speaks with CNN on Wednesday April 27.
 US Ambassador to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter speaks with CNN on Wednesday April 27. (CNN)

The United States has “information that Russia’s planning for its further invasion of Ukraine includes a forced capitulation of Ukraine’s democratically elected government, including dissolving all local municipal governments in Ukraine,” US Ambassador to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter said Thursday.

“Plans for a new government and new constitution are being developed by Russian officials and so-called ‘separatists,'" according to a transcript of Carpenter's remarks. “This planning includes a moratorium disallowing legitimate Ukrainian leaders and those supporting Ukraine’s legitimate government from any leadership positions."

Calling this move “straight out of Russia’s playbook," he also cited the Kremlin's plans to "stage a sham referenda" in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine "in a futile attempt to legitimize its illegal invasion and assert control over these areas."

Speaking at the OSCE Permanent Council, Carpenter said the US is seeing credible reports that Russia is transferring and detaining locals in camps, and interrogating them brutally to investigate links to Ukrainian government or independent media.

The world should expect this to intensify, he added.

“There are alarming reports that those suspected of having such connections are being beaten or tortured before being transferred to the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,’ where they are reportedly disappeared or murdered,” Carpenter said. “Reporting indicates that many civilians in these filtration camps who ‘pass’ the interrogation are transferred to Russia or Russia-controlled Donbas, including via Belarus.”
11:43 a.m. ET, April 28, 2022

Here's what is in Biden's $33 billion supplemental funding request for Ukraine 

From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden announced Thursday he has signed a $33 billion request for supplemental funding for Ukraine from Congress as Russia’s invasion takes on a new, critical phase. 

The funding request is expected to support Ukraine through this fiscal year, or about five months, and includes $20.4 billion in military assistance.

Biden framed the massive request as critical for global stability.

He called on Congress to approve the funding “as quickly as possible.”

He reiterated that he would not send US troops to Ukraine and said that the US is “not attacking Russia,” but is instead, “helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression,” casting blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“Russia is the aggressor, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Russia is the aggressor, and the world must and will hold Russia accountable,” he said.

Biden ticked through some of the provisions in the $33 billion request, including:

  • $20.4 billion requested for military and security assistance
  • $8.5 billion in economic assistance for the Ukrainian government and people
  • $3 billion will be allocated for additional humanitarian assistance and food security funding, and targeted funding to address economic disruptions

He also detailed new proposed legislation to hold Russian oligarchs to account.

While members have agreed that more money for Ukraine is necessary, it’s still not clear how the supplemental would move swiftly through Congress nor is it clear how quickly this proposal on oligarchs could move. A likely path would be to tie the two pieces of legislation together, but Republican and Democratic leaders are in the early stages of talks on how to pass the broader funding for Ukraine. 

The President also reacted to news earlier this week that Russia halted gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after both countries refused to pay in rubles, injecting more uncertainty into the already-unstable global oil markets rocked by the war.

“Let me be clear, we will not let Russia intimidate or blackmail their way out of these sanctions. We will not allow them to use their oil and gas to avoid consequences. We are working with other nations like Korea, Japan, Qatar and others to support our effort to help European allies threatened by Russia with gas blackmail, and their energy needs in other ways,” he said.

Read more about the proposal here.

1:52 p.m. ET, April 28, 2022

Biden says Ukrainians shouldn't enter the US through southern border

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden said Ukrainians fleeing violence don’t need to try and enter the United States through the Southern border because they now have access to a special visa system.

“We have made a direct means by which they can get from Europe, from Ukraine directly to the United States without going to the Southern border,” Biden said at the White House after a speech unveiling new aid to Ukraine.

Biden announced last week a new system allowing Ukrainian refugees to enter the United States on humanitarian grounds. They require a sponsor inside the US to be eligible.

Biden noted that system when discussing Ukrainians attempting to enter the US through the southern border.

“In the meantime, at the Southern border, we’re trying to work through and make sure there's an orderly process and they're able to get in,” he said. “But just so you know, we have said there's no need to go to the southern border. Fly directly to the United States, we set up a mechanism whereby they can come directly with a visa.”

11:52 a.m. ET, April 28, 2022

The aid to Ukraine "is not cheap, but caving to aggression" will be more costly, Biden says

US President Joe Biden speaks about the war in Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Thursday, April 28.
US President Joe Biden speaks about the war in Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Thursday, April 28. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

As US President Joe Biden addressed Americans on why he requested Congress to approve a $33 billion aid package to Ukraine, he said the fight in Ukraine is the fight for freedom, and it not be cheap but it will be more costly if the world caves into Russian aggression.

"We need this bill to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom," he said. "The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen."

The choice is between backing Ukrainians as they defend their country or standing by as Russians "continue their atrocities," he added.

"Our NATO allies, our EU partners, they're going to pay their fair share of the cost as well, but we have to do our part as well in leading the alliance," he said, adding that the aid will go towards contributing arms, funding, ammunition and other economic support.

The aid "will make their courage and sacrifice have purpose, so they can continue this fight," Biden said, urging Congress to approve the funding "as quickly as possible."

The President, however, emphasized that the US is not attacking Russia.

"We're not attacking Russia. We're helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression, and just as Putin chose to launch this brutal invasion, he could make the choice to end this brutal invasion. Russia is the aggressor, no ifs, ands, or buts about it," he said.

11:28 a.m. ET, April 28, 2022

Biden: It's "critical" additional $33 billion funding in Ukraine aid be approved "as quickly as possible"

From CNN's Arlette Saenz and Kate Sullivan

US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Thursday April 28.
US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Thursday April 28. (CNN/Pool)

US President Joe Biden is delivering remarks now at the White House on a $33 billion supplemental funding bill aimed at helping Ukraine as Russia's brutal and unrelenting war enters a new phase over the next several months.

"It's critical this funding gets approved and approved as quickly as possible," Biden said.

"We're not attacking Russia. We're helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression, and just as Putin chose to launch this brutal invasion, he could make the choice to end this brutal invasion," he added.

The $33 billion request includes $20.4 billion requested for military and security assistance, including $5 billion in additional drawdown authorities, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and $4 billion for the State Department's Foreign Military Financing Program, a senior administration official told reporters.

The official said a portion of the $20 billion in military assistance could be used to backfill contributions of munitions and equipment from other countries, allowing those countries to "be able to defend themselves fully." The official characterized the initiative in the context of Biden's effort to rally the world behind support for Ukraine.

More on the aid request: It also includes targeted funding "to address economic disruptions at home and around the world due to Putin's aggression," which will help increase US production of food crops like soybeans, as well as funding to allow the use of the Defense Production Act to expand US production of critical reserves of minerals and other materials disrupted by the war.

Biden will also send a proposal to Congress Thursday outlining a legislative package to further pressure Russian oligarchs over Russia's war in Ukraine, including using money from their seized assets to fund Ukraine's defense, the White House said.

The package — developed through an interagency process including the Treasury Department, Justice Department, State Department and Commerce Department — will "establish new authorities for the forfeiture of property linked to Russian kleptocracy, allow the government to use the proceeds to support Ukraine and further strengthen related law enforcement tools," the White House said in a fact sheet.

Read more about the proposal here.

10:44 a.m. ET, April 28, 2022

Biden administration requests $33 billion in Ukraine aid from Congress

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Kevin Liptak

The Biden administration is sending a $33 billion supplemental funding request to Congress aimed at supporting Ukraine through a new phase over the next several months as Russia continues its brutal and unrelenting war. It includes funding for security, economic, and humanitarian aid.

US President Joe Biden is set to further outline the request when he gives remarks on US support for Ukraine at 10:45 a.m. ET.

The $33 billion request includes $20.4 billion requested for military and security assistance. That $20 billion includes $5 billion in additional drawdown authorities, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing Program, a senior administration official told reporters. 

While members have agreed that more money for Ukraine is necessary, it’s still not clear how the supplemental would move swiftly through Congress nor is it clear how quickly this proposal on Oligarchs could move. A likely path would be to tie the two pieces of legislation together, but Republican and Democratic leaders are in the early stages of talks on how to pass the broader funding for Ukraine.

Read the full report here: