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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11:53 p.m. ET, April 27, 2022

US has credible information that Russian military executed Ukrainians who attempted to surrender, official says

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack (UNTV)
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack (UNTV)

The United States has credible information that a Russian military unit executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender near Donetsk, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack said at the United Nations Wednesday.

“We now have credible information that a Russian military unit operating in the vicinity of Donetsk executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody,” Van Schaak said. “If true, this would be a violation of a core principle of the laws of war: the prohibition against the summary execution of civilians and combatants who are hors de combat by virtue of surrender, injury, or other forms of incapacitation.”

Van Schaak also said the US has “credible reports of individuals killed execution-style with their hands bound; bodies showing signs of torture; horrific accounts of sexual violence against women and girls.” 

“These images and reports suggest that atrocities are not the result of rogue units or individuals; they, rather, reveal a deeply disturbing pattern of systematic abuse across all areas where Russia’s forces are engaged,” Van Schaak added.

“Let us be clear: those who unleashed, perpetrated, and ordered these crimes must be held to account and the evidence of this criminality is mounting daily,” Van Schaak said. “Our simple message to Russia’s military and political leadership, and file is this: the world is watching, and you will be held accountable.”

The United States welcomes the ICC investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine, Van Shaak said, referencing the common goal of stakeholders to achieve justice.

“The United States is supporting a range of international investigations into atrocities in Ukraine. This includes those conducted by the International Criminal Court, the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe," she said.

11:53 p.m. ET, April 27, 2022

Hungarian foreign minister confirms to CNN that his country will use Russia’s energy payment scheme

From CNN's Pamela Boykoff

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó

The Hungarian Foreign Minister confirmed to CNN that his country will use the payment scheme put in place by Moscow to pay for its oil and gas. 

Defending this decision, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said: 

“85% of our gas supply comes from Russia, and 65% of our oil supply comes from Russia. Why? Because this is being determined by infrastructure. This is not for fun, we have not chosen the situation,” he told CNN’s Richard Quest.

Szijjártó said there are no alternative sources or routes which makes it possible for them to stop importing Russian energy in the next few years. 

Under the Russian payment scheme, energy importers have had to open two bank accounts with Gazprombank — a foreign currency account and a rubles account. The proceeds of sales are paid in foreign currency (dollars or euros) which is then converted by Gazprombank into the ruble account. 

Several other countries are reportedly using the scheme. A European Commission document release last week advised that it “appears possible” to comply with the new Russian rules without getting into conflict with EU law. 

Sanctions experts say the Russian payment system allows Moscow access to energy proceeds regardless of the sanctions in place on foreign currencies.

CNN’s Richard Quest notes two things — the entire process is extremely legally murky and the scheme also gives Putin the political advantage — that he is forcing the companies into his scheme to pay in rubles.

11:53 p.m. ET, April 27, 2022

Ukraine concerned about provocations in pro-Russian region of Moldova

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Presniakova

Ukrainian officials have been talking about the risk of another front in the conflict with Russia opening up — along the border with Moldova in the southwest.

Part of the Moldovan border region is controlled by a pro-Russian administration in what's called Transnistria. Unexplained explosions there earlier this week prompted Ukrainian officials to allege that Russia's security services were planning provocations in Transnistria as a pretext to open up a new front in the war. 

Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, told Ukrainian television Wednesday: "We have always considered Transnistria as a springboard from which there may be some risks for us, for [the] Odesa and Vinnytsia regions."

There is a certain [military] contingent of Russians, it is somewhere between 1,500-2,000 people, of which only 500-600 are Russians," Podoliak said.

But he said that most people in Transnistria were integrated into Moldova and Europe.

"Therefore, for Transnistria, active involvement in the conflict in Ukraine will practically mean total isolation and destruction of the enclave," Podoliak noted.

Podoliak suggested that through the incidents this week in Transnistria, Russia was trying to provoke Ukraine.

Roman Kostenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from Odesa, said Transnistria did not pose a strategic threat to Ukraine.

"It could be a tactical threat, in some direction, in order to bind our troops," the official said.

Kostenko said the Russians were counting on Transnistria as "another front that could directly support them when they attack, for example, Mykolayiv, Odesa from the sea, because Mykolayiv blocks the land corridor."

Ukrainian defenses around the city of Mykolaiv have prevented Russian forces from reaching Odesa overland. 

The far southwest corner of Ukraine is now cut off from the rest of the country after a road and rail bridge over the estuary of the river Dniester was struck by a second cruise missile Wednesday after first being hit Tuesday. Russia has not said it carried out the missile strike.

Ukraine's Southern Military Command claimed that Russian submarines continued to threaten missile strikes from the Black Sea. "Enemy forces are also preparing provocations with missile strikes on Transnistria to accuse Ukraine of attacking the unrecognized republic," it said.

11:53 p.m. ET, April 27, 2022

Russian military strike causes "significant" damage at hospital in Ukraine’s Severodonetsk, video shows 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington

Damage is seen inside a hospital in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, in this screengrab from a video released by the Luhansk regional administration.
Damage is seen inside a hospital in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, in this screengrab from a video released by the Luhansk regional administration.

A Russian military strike caused "significant" damage to a regional hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, video released by the Luhansk regional administration shows. 

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the video. 

The video begins with scenes of blown out windows in a hospital stairwell. As the individual taking the video climbs the stairs, more debris and damage are seen, including a door blown off its hinges.   

Once out of the stairwell a tangle of metal, drywall and debris is seen outside of a hospital room. In one room the windows have been blown out; the room next to it is missing an entire wall — there is a large hole in the building. 

Down a hallway, more debris strewn around hospitals beds is seen. 

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said that a woman was killed in the military strike. CNN could not independently verify the fatality. 

Damage is seen inside a hospital in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, in this screengrab from a video released by the Luhansk regional administration.
Damage is seen inside a hospital in Severodonetsk, Ukraine, in this screengrab from a video released by the Luhansk regional administration.

"The Russians knew that the hospital was not vacant, and that there were patients with different conditions being treated by doctors," Hayday said. "Even that didn't stop them. In fact, the Orcs wanted to kill off the wounded and those trying to help these locals survive, their doctors." 

Ukrainians frequently refer to Russian soldiers with the pejorative, "orcs," likening them to the antagonist army of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy "Lord of the Rings."

Hayday said that there are only two functioning hospitals left in the Luhansk oblast: this one in Severodonetsk and another in the nearby city of Lysychansk. 

He added that the regional hospital in Severodonetsk is continuing to operate, despite there being "significant" damage and several floors being damaged. 

11:53 p.m. ET, April 27, 2022

Putin vows "lightning-fast" response to any foreign interference in Ukraine 

From CNN’s Anna Chernova and Anastasia Graham-Yooll 

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 26.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 26.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that any country interfering in Ukraine would be met with a “lightning-fast” response from Moscow.

“If someone intends to intervene into the ongoing events (in Ukraine) from the outside and creates unacceptable strategic threats for us, then they should know that our response to those strikes will be swift, lightning fast,” Putin said during an address to lawmakers in St Petersburg. 

“We have all the tools for this — ones that no one can brag about. And we won't brag. We will use them if needed. And I want everyone to know this,” he added.

He did not provide further details on the "tools" he was referring to.  

“All the decisions have been made in this regard,” Putin told lawmakers, vowing to achieve “all the goals” of the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine.