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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6:12 a.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Russian submarine launching cruise missiles at Ukraine from Black Sea

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv and Eliza Mackintosh in London

Russia's defense ministry has confirmed what the Ukrainian military has been saying for nearly a week: it's using submarines in the Black Sea to carry out cruise missile attacks on Ukrainian targets.

Footage released by the ministry on Friday purported to show the launch of Kalibr cruise missiles from a diesel submarine somewhere in the sea. 

The crew of a diesel-electric submarine of the Black Sea Fleet has launched a salvo of Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea against the military infrastructure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces," the ministry said on its Telegram channel.

A week ago, the Ukrainian armed forces reported that two dozen units from the Russian fleet were still operating in the Black Sea, including "submarines with missile weapons." On Monday, they added that Russian troops were "launching missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure, including from strategic bombers, ships and submarines."

Amid acts of sabotage this week in the breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova, Ukraine's military said that Russian submarines "continue to maintain tensions over the likelihood of missile strikes on Ukraine. Enemy forces are also preparing provocations with missile strikes on Transnistria to accuse Ukraine of attacking the unrecognized republic."

Some background: Throughout the war, Russia's defense ministry has boasted that its frigates have targeted Ukraine with missiles. On April 22, the ministry published a video on Telegram described as showing a warship launching four Kalibrs from the Black Sea, taking aim at Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities. But information about submarine launches have been largely shrouded in secrecy, due to the strategic importance of the vessels and their activities. In mid-April, photographs emerged of Russian submarines in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea being loaded with Kalibr missiles.

5:57 a.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Zelensky thanks UK ambassador for returning to Kyiv 

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Kostan Nechyporenko and Max Foster 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked the UK for returning its ambassador to Kyiv. 

While there has been no official announcement from London that Melinda Simmons is back at work in the Ukrainian capital, she tweeted on Friday, “It was a long drive but worth going the distance. So good to be in Kyiv again.” 

Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Ukraine Melinda Simmons.
Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Ukraine Melinda Simmons. (Yuliia Ovsyannikova/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

The tweet was accompanied by a picture of the British flag against the sky. 

The UK government announced on April 22 that it would soon be reopening its diplomatic mission in Kyiv. The embassy was closed in February due to the Russian invasion, although some operations and support staff were moved to the western city of Lviv.

In his Friday evening video address, Zelensky said the return of Britain’s ambassador meant that diplomatic missions from 27 countries were now operating again in Kyiv. 

“This is an extremely important gesture of support for Ukraine, and we are grateful to all of them," Zelensky said. "With strong defense and political and financial support from the free world, such gestures mean that the need to end the war is becoming increasingly clear for Russia.”

The US is among those still absent from the list of diplomatic missions up and running in Kyiv. 

On Tuesday, US diplomats made a day trip from Poland to Lviv, the first such visit since the Russian invasion began on February 24, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. 

Without confirming that visit, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the same day that US officials “will begin to assess how we can most effectively and securely reopen the embassy in Kyiv.”  

The top US diplomat said the US was “moving forward on that,” but did not provide a timeline.   

5:04 a.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Russian border region claims oil terminal hit in shelling attack from Ukraine

From CNN'S Teele Rebane in Hong Kong

Shelling has hit a village in the Russian region of Bryansk, which borders Ukraine, causing damage but no casualties, according to a local official. 

Governor Alexander Bogomaz said in a statement that the village of Zhecha came under fire as air defense systems intercepted a Ukrainian aircraft entering Russian territory.

The blast wave from the incident damaged the casing of “technological buildings of the oil terminal” and the surrounding area, Bogomaz said, adding that no one was hurt.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have not commented on the incident.

The governor's announcement comes a day after he said the border department of the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported another incident of shelling in the nearby village of Belaya Berezka, allegedly carried out from Ukrainian territory.

“On April 29, a branch of the border department of the FSB of Russia in the Bryansk region in the village of Belaya Berezka, Trubchevsky district, was subjected to mortar fire from the territory of Ukraine,” Bogomaz said Friday in a post on his official channel on messaging app Telegram. He said there were no casualties.

Water and electricity networks were damaged as a result of the shelling in the Bryansk region, Bogomaz added.

4:37 a.m. ET, April 30, 2022

They fled Ukraine to protect their children. Now these mothers are returning home

From CNN's Eliza Mackintosh in Lviv

At the train station in Lviv, on the westernmost edge of Ukraine, women are at a physical and psychological crossroads.

After arriving in the city, now a waypoint for displaced people, humanitarian aid and weapons, they've had to ask themselves a set of daunting questions. Where should we go next? Will my children be safe there? How long will we stay?

In the back of their minds is a gnawing fear: Will we even have a home to return to?

If there's one thing to know about the dilemma they face, it's that many are having to make snap decisions about their family's future alone.

Liudmyla Sobchenko, 28, searches for the information about trains bound for Korosten and fighting in the region.
Liudmyla Sobchenko, 28, searches for the information about trains bound for Korosten and fighting in the region. (Yurko Dyachyshyn/CNN)

Military conscription rules in Ukraine mean that men between the ages of 18 and 60 are blocked from leaving the country. And, in any case, many have chosen to sign up and join the fight.

So while millions of Ukrainians have fled Russia's invasion since it was launched by President Vladimir Putin more than two months ago, almost all of those who have crossed the border are women and children. They make up a staggering 90% of Ukraine's refugees.

Mothers have largely borne the brunt of the migration crisis, picking up the pieces after their families were torn apart, caring for children and elderly parents. CNN spoke with several who had uprooted their lives in the wake of the war and were weighing whether it was time to take their families back to Ukraine.

One woman, Liudmyla Sobchenko, a 28-year-old from the Zhytomyr region northwest of Kyiv, spent three weeks in Poland with her young son and mother before deciding it was time to come home.

Liudmyla Sobchenko, 28, and her son Nazar, 3, returned to Ukraine after three weeks in Poland.
Liudmyla Sobchenko, 28, and her son Nazar, 3, returned to Ukraine after three weeks in Poland. (Yurko Dyachyshyn/CNN)

I won't say it's bad there in Poland ... But it's not our land," she said.

Since late March, when CNN visited the station in Lviv, the flow of Ukrainians back to the country has continued to increase and is now about 30,000 a day, according to Andrii Demchenko, a press officer for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. "We have no right to ask the purpose of the trip, but many women shared that they no longer want to stay abroad," he told CNN on Tuesday.

Some of the most heart-wrenching, early images of the war were from railway stations across Ukraine. Crowds clambered into carriages, babies held aloft. Couples embraced in passionate, desperate goodbyes. Little hands and faces pressed against foggy windows as fathers stood alone, sobbing on platforms.

Many passed through Lviv station before traveling on to neighboring Poland, or further afield. Hour after hour, a wave of women and children would disembark. The names of the cities and towns they left — Sumy, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson — created a constellation of suffering that criss-crossed Ukraine, reflecting in real time where fighting had flared.

Weeks after the initial exodus, the grand Art Nouveau building, two miles from the city's old town, was still busy with families on the move. But not all were heading west. Some, like Sobchenko, were beginning to return.

Read the full report here:

3:17 a.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Ukraine says its forces holding off Russian attacks on several fronts

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv and Kostan Nachyporenko in Kyiv

Ukraine says its forces continue to resist Russian attacks on several fronts despite evidence that fresh Russian units are coming across the border, while also claiming that Russian artillery has targeted villages close to the border in the northeast corner of the country, an area that has seen little activity for several weeks.

The assessment, which came from the latest bulletin of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that the Russians continued to strengthen their presence in the Izium area in eastern Ukraine by bringing in units normally based in Russia's Far East.

It said Russian forces' latest effort to break through in the Izium area had been resisted, but they continued to press an offensive towards the town of Lyman -- an important railway hub, which was hit by Russian artillery Friday.

The General Staff said there was also heavy fighting around Rubizhne and Popasna, two towns the Russians have been trying to take for several weeks. 

It claimed one Russian aircraft had been brought down.

The General Staff also said that Russian units had targeted Ukrainian positions in four villages in Sumy region in the northeast corner of Ukraine, an area that has seen little activity in recent weeks.

Altogether, 14 enemy attacks were repulsed in Donetsk and Luhansk regions over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military said.

Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said two schools and 20 houses were destroyed Friday as the Russians continued their assault on Rubizhne and Popasna. He said the Russians had launched 16 massive artillery attacks over the past day, with Hirske and Orikhovo among the targets. Both are towns close to the front lines that have sustained heavy damage this month. 

Hayday said 31 people had been evacuated from Popasna, but two evacuation buses had been shot at and there had been no contact since with the people in the vehicles.

Mykola Khanatov, head of the Popasna City Military-Civil Administration, said the drivers were volunteers.

"I am very afraid that we will lose these people," he said. 

On the southern front, Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional council, said the Russians had opened fire on the outskirts of a contested village near Kryvyi Rih. There were no casualties, he said.

3:00 a.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Poland sent over 200 tanks to Ukraine in the past few weeks, its public-service radio says

From CNN's Irene Nasser and Teele Rebane in Hong Kong

Poland has sent over 200 T-72 tanks to Ukraine over the past few weeks, Polskie Radio, Poland's national public-service radio said Friday, citing IAR news agency.  

So far, Poland has provided Ukraine with military equipment worth $1.6 billion, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week.  
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. (Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)

In addition to the tanks, Polskie Radio said, equipment also included dozens of infantry fighting vehicles and the 2S1 Carnation self-propelled howitzers, drones, Grad multiple rocket launchers and Piorun (Thunderbolt) man-portable air defense systems. 

Some context: NATO members have provided military aid to help Ukraine's defense against the Russian invasion. Last week, a senior US Department of Defense official told reporters the US has established a control center to coordinate shipments and “streamline the delivery” of military assistance to Ukraine with both US and allied forces in Stuttgart, Germany, within the US European Command area of responsibility.

1:33 p.m. ET, April 30, 2022

It's 7:00 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Fighting continues in the country's east, with a senior US defence official on Friday saying Russian advances had been "slow and uneven" in several areas over the past 24 hours, as Ukrainians continue to mount "stiff" resistance.

Here's what you need to know:

Eastern assault: Heavy shelling by Russian forces continued along "the entire line of contact" in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Friday, according to the Ukrainian military, and Russian troops struck an important railway hub and supply line for troops in the country's east, according to video footage published on Thursday and Friday. Russian forces “appear to be advancing” toward Sloviansk and Baranivka in the east, a senior US defense official said Friday, adding that they are making “some incremental, uneven, slow advances to the southeast and southwest of Izium” in Ukraine. 

Bombing in Kyiv: Survivors of a bombing in Kyiv, which shattered the relative peace in the capital city, are picking up the pieces after Russian cruise missiles were fired into a central district of Kyiv on Thursday evening, miles away from where the UN secretary general had wrapped up a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A Ukrainian journalist was killed in the strike, and several people were injured.

G20 Dilemma: US President Joe Biden and his advisers are still in conversations about how to approach November's Group of 20 summit, after host country Indonesia on Friday said it received confirmation that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend. Biden has called for Russia to be ejected from the group. US officials said there wouldn't likely be a decision in the near-term about a potential boycott of the summit, as they weigh the downsides of skipping the event and ceding the table to Russia and China.

Crisis in Mariupol: The mayor of Mariupol said that more than 600 people were injured in a Russian bombing that struck the makeshift hospital facility within the besieged Azovstal steel complex. The plant was heavily bombed on Wednesday night, according to multiple accounts. A commander inside the plant told CNN that there was not much food and water left for the plant's defenders and that they had a limited amount of ammunition. An operation to evacuate civilians from plant in Mariupol was planned for Friday, according to the president's office.

Biden mourns American killed in Ukraine: US President Joe Biden expressed dismay Friday at the news that an American, Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. "It is very sad. He left a little baby behind," Biden told reporters at the White House. Cancel was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, members of Cancel's family confirmed to CNN. The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company.

10:38 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022

There could be "no winners" in a nuclear war, Russia's foreign minister says

From CNN's Talia Kayali in Atlanta

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a nuclear war must never be launched as there could be "no winners," and he urged countries to adhere to this in an interview with the Dubai-headquartered news outlet Al Arabiya Friday.

Lavrov added that Russia had "been champions of making pledges by all countries never to start a nuclear war."

When asked if the Russian army wants full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine to provide a land corridor to Crimea, Lavrov said, "the military means to achieve (Russia's) goals is not for me to discuss" and said he deferred from discussion on "speculation."

Lavrov also did not confirm, when asked, whether operations in the Donbas would end by May 9, Russia's annual Victory Day, which some analysts and US officials have suggested could be a target date for Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare a victory, instead saying: "They will be completed when the goals I just described to you have been implemented, have been achieved."

Lavrov also downplayed the pressure of sanctions from Western governments on Russia.

"They don’t know history. Russia always had sanctions. This latest outrage and the wave of sanctions have shown the real face of the West … to believe this it will make Russia cry uncle and to beg for being pardoned … they don’t know anything about foreign policy of Russia or how to deal with Russia," he said.

1:33 p.m. ET, April 30, 2022

Ukrainian evacuated 200 people out of Mariupol in damaged van

Mykhailo Puryshev used his van to evacuate people from Mariupol.
Mykhailo Puryshev used his van to evacuate people from Mariupol. (Courtesy Mykhailo Puryshev)

Mykhailo Puryshev spoke to CNN about how he organized convoys to help evacuate 200 people from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

He turned his night club into a bomb shelter and used his own van to move people outside of the city and bring food back inside.

Despite Puryshev's van being badly damaged by shelling and gunfire, it didn't stop him from continuing to conduct his rescue missions. He described witnessing people in desperation fighting to get the food and water they were passing out as the humanitarian aid was not enough for all those waiting.

"And they're all there just fighting. During one of those trips actually they nearly turned my van over, and it was just a survival. I would watch and understand this is just survival happening near our vans which came with all the humanitarian aid and it was an absolutely horrible picture," he told CNN's Erin Burnett via a translator.

"Frankly, a couple of times, I actually caught myself thinking that I do not want to come back. I do not want to see this again. And yet, I still kept coming back because I understood there wouldn't be anyone else to do this," he continued.

Puryshev said that as the bombs were coming and he was close to death, he feared not seeing his children again, but also kept thinking about the people that still needed his help and more trips that he needed to make.

"It is painful that this is the 21st century, that this is happening in our country. This is happening in my city. This is pain. This is pain of our country," he told CNN.

Watch the interview: