April 30, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Joe Ruiz, Simone McCarthy, Brad Lendon, Eliza Mackintosh, Sana Noor Haq and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 0405 GMT (1205 HKT) May 1, 2022
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9:42 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022

Pentagon spokesperson gets emotional talking about Putin's actions in Ukraine

From CNN's Michael Conte and Barbara Starr

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, April 29.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, April 29. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Asked whether the Defense Department considers Russian President Vladimir Putin a “rational actor,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby got emotional speaking about Putin’s “depravity” in Ukraine.

“It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity," said Kirby at a Pentagon news briefing before pausing for nearly 10 seconds.

Pressed on the characterization by CNN’s Barbara Starr, Kirby called Putin’s justifications for the invasion “BS,” at one point pounding on the podium for emphasis.

“It’s hard to square his ... BS that this is about Nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” said Kirby.

Kirby listed some of what he called “unconscionable” actions by Russian forces, including civilians being “shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs. Women, pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed.” 

Kirby subsequently apologized for what he said was injecting his “personal perspective,” and would not elaborate further on the US assessment of Putin’s mental state.

Here's the moment Pentagon press secretary John Kirby got emotional after a question about Putin's actions in Ukraine:

9:35 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022

White House told G20 host Russia shouldn't be allowed to participate

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House conveyed privately to Indonesia that Russia should not be allowed to participate in this year’s G20 summit, though the country’s president announced Friday that President Vladimir Putin had accepted an invitation to attend.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted the summit was still six months away, and did not provide an update on whether President Biden would also participate. But she said his views were clear that Russia shouldn’t be there.

“The President has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G20,” she said.

The White House’s understanding was that Indonesia invited Putin to attend prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she said.

Still, in a statement confirming Russia’s acceptance of the invite, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said, “Indonesia wants to unite the G20. Don’t let there be a split. Peace and stability are the keys to the recovery and development of the world economy.” 

Indonesia has also extended an invitation to Ukraine to participate as a guest, a step Psaki said the US welcomed, but she said it was too early to say how the summit would look.

“It is six months away. So we don't know how to predict, we can't predict at this point, what that will look like,” she said, adding, “We’ve conveyed our view that we don't think they should be a part of it publicly and privately as well.” 

Psaki said there were no indications Russia was willing to engage in serious diplomacy.

“There's a lot that could happen between now and then, but we certainly haven't seen an indication to date of Russia's plan to participate in diplomatic talks constructively,” she said. “Our hope certainly is that will change because obviously diplomatic talks and conversations is the way to bring an end to this conflict and President Putin could end this tomorrow, could end this right now.”

9:36 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022

US now training Ukrainian forces in Germany, Defense Department says 

From CNN's Michael Conte and Oren Liebermann

The US has begun additional training for Ukrainian armed forces at US military installations in Germany, the Defense Department announced. 

“These efforts build on the initial artillery training that Ukraine’s forces already have received elsewhere, and also includes training on the radar systems and armored vehicles that have been recently announced as part of security assistance packages,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a news briefing with reporters.

Kirby said that Germany is one of “roughly three” sites being used by the US to train Ukrainians outside of Ukraine, but would not disclose the others.

He also said “the bulk of the training” will be conducted by the Florida National Guard who had been training Ukrainians before being repositioned out of Ukraine in February prior to the Russian invasion.

“The recent reunion now of these Florida National Guard members with their Ukrainian colleagues, we are told, was an emotional meeting, given the strong bonds that were formed as they were living and working together before temporarily parting ways in February,” Kirby said.

Meanwhile, a senior US defense official said Friday that "more than a dozen flights” carrying military assistance for Ukraine from the US are expected to arrive in the European region for transport into Ukraine “in the next 24 hours."

Those flights will include shipments of “Howitzers, more 155 rounds, some of those Phoenix Ghost UAVs and even some of the radars that we talked about,” the official said.

This security assistance is all coming from US President Joe Biden’s latest presidential drawdown authority package, the official added, saying that 155 artillery rounds “continue to flow into Ukraine even over the last 24 hours."

In the last 24 hours, “there have been almost 20 deliveries via airlift from seven different nations,” of security assistance, the official said.

CNN's Ellie Kaufman contributed reporting to this post.

9:36 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022

Railway bridge blown up near Sloviansk as Russian forces advance towards the city

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Tim Lister and Ellie Kaufman 

This photograph taken on April 29, 2022 shows a railway bridge, over the Siverskyi Donets river, destroyed by a missile strike according to Ukrainian soldiers, in Raygorodok, eastern Ukraine.
This photograph taken on April 29, 2022 shows a railway bridge, over the Siverskyi Donets river, destroyed by a missile strike according to Ukrainian soldiers, in Raygorodok, eastern Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

A railway bridge across the Siverskyi Donets river was blown up on Friday, new video shows. CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the video. 

The bridge was located along a highway between the Ukrainian cities of Sloviansk and Lyman. A satellite image from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 satellite shows the bridge intact on Thursday. 

Russian air strikes have pummeled infrastructure in Lyman, specifically targeting a railway hub that serves as a vital supply line for Ukrainian troops. On Friday, a senior US defense official told CNN that Russian forces are making “some incremental, uneven, slow advances" towards Sloviansk. 

1:34 p.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Ukrainian commander inside Mariupol plant calls for safe passage of civilians as relentless attacks continue

From CNN's Scott McLean, Roman Tymotsko and Tim Lister in Lviv 

A commander inside the Azovstal steel complex in the besieged city of Mariupol told CNN of the relentless bombardment of the plant, where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been trapped for weeks. 

Sviatoslav Palamar of the Azov Regiment told CNN that there was intensive shelling of the Azovstal plant last night from both ships and aircraft.  

"At the same time they shell us from the ground," he said. There had also been attempts to storm the area controlled by Ukrainian troops, he said, but they had been deflected. 

"On one side, the (Russians) had declared the silence and non-fighting mode, but on the parallel (at the same time) with infantry and equipment they try to storm the territory of the factory," he told CNN.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his defense minister in Moscow that the plant should be sealed off but not stormed and said that those who choose to surrender should be treated in accordance with international conventions.  

Palamar told CNN that there were a lot of wounded fighters and more than 500 soldiers who needed guarantees that their lives would be saved. 

"We also have civilians that will be killed if they storm the factory," he said. 

Palamar said that on Thursday morning, a shelter for the wounded at the plant was shelled.

“It’s very hard to provide medical help to our guys, because our surgical room was destroyed where the remaining medicine and surgical equipment was stored," he told CNN.

Asked if the Ukrainian troops left inside Azovstal were ready to surrender, Palamar said: "We do not think about any scenarios of giving up. We only see it possible through a guarantee of third party politicians, leaders, possibly the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel or Turkey, a guarantee that would allow every soldier to leave in safety." 

"We are ready to leave this territory because it is very hard and complicated to hold here with our personal weapons. We're ready for extraction, possibly extraction to the territory of a third country but with our weapons in our hands," he continued.

On the situation inside the plant: Palamar told CNN that there was not much food and water left for the plant's defenders. He said they had a limited amount of ammunition. "We don't have the possibility to destroy the aircraft and vessels that are shelling us," he said.

Even so, he insisted: "We do not consider giving up or the conditions of giving up. We only consider guarantees of leaving the territory of the plant. If there is no other choice left but giving up, we won't give up." 

Palamar stressed that the soldiers in the plant wanted civilians who were sheltering there to be evacuated. 

"We asked for evacuation of the civilians. We're talking to the whole world since March that international politicians or organization guarantee the safe extraction of civilians to Ukrainian territory. So if being asked whether we are ready for civilians to leave from here, we are not only ready but we ask that the civilians are saved first of all," he told CNN.

Speaking about the Ukrainian government's plan to evacuate civilians stranded in the plant, which was due to go into effect Friday, Palamar said he was aware of such a convoy that would come to Mariupol but could not speak further about it for security reasons. 

"We count on the Red Cross and the organizations that are heading here to take our heavily wounded first of all, because they need to be treated, they need to get help," he said.

Palamar said that the soldiers and civilians were in separate parts of the Azovstal plant. They were in cellars and bunkers but some had been wounded. 

"There are cellars and bunkers that we cannot reach because they are under rubble. We do not know whether the people there are alive or not. There are children aged four months to 16 years. But there are people trapped in places that you can't get to," he told CNN.