April 4, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Travis Caldwell, Helen Regan, Ben Church, Jason Kurtz and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2:01 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022
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4:49 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

CNN team near Mykolaiv just meters away from incoming artillery rounds 

From CNN's Ben Wedeman, Kareem Khadder and John Torigoe near Mykolaiv

A CNN team at a crossroads just south of Mykolaiv, near the town of Oleksandrivka, was just meters away from incoming artillery rounds on Monday, leaving their vehicle destroyed.

The team managed to leave moments later, experiencing what regular Ukrainians are living daily during this war.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman, producer Kareem Khadder, photojournalist John Torigoe, translator Valeriia Dubrovska and their team had stopped at the crossroads to speak with a few Ukrainian soldiers who were behind a berm. As Wedeman was filming a standup wearing full body armor, they witnessed a "very large incoming round impact uncomfortably nearby and took cover." The impact was about 150 meters away from their location. 

The team hit the ground as another round came in.  

"We hugged the ground and then ran for the cars. We jumped in our Mitsubishi Pajero, but it was destroyed. The car wouldn’t start. At least two of the tires were flat. All the windows shattered. The tank was punctured and leaking diesel and other fluids," Wedeman reported. 

The team ran to their other vehicle, which also had damage due to shrapnel, got in and drove off.  

None of the CNN team was injured.

Russia's bombardment of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine near the Black Sea continued on Monday as it has for weeks, with strikes through the morning and afternoon there.  

Last Tuesday, more than 31 were killed following a Russian strike on the office of the regional military governor of Mykolaiv.

Watch the moment:

4:21 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Pentagon: Shipments from $800 million security package arrived for Ukraine over the weekend

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Shipments from the $800 million security assistance package for Ukraine from the US arrived “over the course of the weekend,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing on Monday. One package is arriving “in the next 24 hours,” Kirby added.

“We’re prioritizing the kinds of capabilities in those shipments that we know Ukrainians need the most: Javelins, stingers, UAVs, so all of that is being prioritized,” Kirby said.

The Department of Defense announced another $300 million package of “additional assistance activities under authority provided by the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI),” on Friday, according to a DoD release.

Kirby said the $300 million package, which will have to be bought from contractors and is not coming from US stockpiles, is just “another tool in the toolbox” to help Ukraine.

“That we’re applying USAI is just another tool in the toolbox, it does not connote some sort of shortage that effects US readiness at this stage,” Kirby said.

4:53 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Tijuana officials open a sports complex to house the overflow of Ukrainians seeking asylum in the US

From Rosalina Nieves and Rosa Flores

City officials in Tijuana, Mexico, have opened a sports complex to house the overflow of Ukrainian migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border in search of asylum in the United States.

Enrique Lucero Vazquez, the director of Tijuana’s immigration services, says that about 2,000 Ukrainians are currently in Tijuana — both near the border crossing with the United States, and at the “Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez” sports complex.

In recent years, the facility has been used to house the Central American caravans arriving in Tijuana.

Vazquez says in January and February, an estimated 10,000 Ukrainians and 25,000 Russians arrived in Mexico, mostly by plane and with tourist visas.

After Russia attacked Ukraine, some Ukrainians started making their way to Tijuana to seek US asylum, said Vazquez.

The sports complex that was opened to house Ukrainians has a capacity of about 500 people and features showers, bathrooms, and internet access. Food, meanwhile, is being provided by non-profit US organizations.

Vazquez says that at present, between 300 and 400 Ukrainians are being processed by US immigration authorities each day.

According to Vazquez, about 3,000 migrants from other nationalities are in Tijuana’s 25 shelters waiting for Title 42 to lift. About 1,500 of those are from Central America and Haiti, and the other half are mostly Mexican nationals, Vazquez says.

4:05 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Lawmakers urge Biden administration to expand weapons being sent to Ukraine

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

A bipartisan group of more than three dozen lawmakers is pushing the Biden administration to expand the weapons being provided to Ukraine’s military amid continued demands from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help his country with more weapons to defend itself against Russia, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

Democratic Reps. Andy Kim of New Jersey and Jason Crow of Colorado and GOP Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan spearheaded the letter sent to President Joe Biden on Monday urging the US to provide more weapons, including long-range surface-to-air missiles, fighter aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The lawmakers say their request is based off a wish list Ukrainian officials provided Capitol Hill last week obtained by CNN laying out 17 areas where Ukraine is seeking additional assistance.

The lawmakers’ request also includes increasing the supply of Stinger anti-air and Javelin-anti-tank missiles that Ukraine is running low on, as well as drones that have a greater range so Ukraine can “better disrupt Russian supply lines and counter Russian siege tactics, especially in Eastern Ukraine.” 

“We recognize that the United States and its allies and partners have already provided substantial military aid, in response to the Russian invasion, including a portion of the $13.6 billion in emergency funds through the fiscal 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, Ukrainians are clear that more needs to be done for Ukraine to win this war.”

The Biden administration has said the US and NATO allies are providing Ukraine with weapons at a historic pace, sending hundreds of millions worth of equipment since Russia’s invasion began in February. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that there would soon be 10 anti-tank weapons systems in Ukraine for every Russian tank in Ukrainian territory.

US officials have emphasized they are providing Ukrainians with weapons they can use while suggesting that some of the requests – like fighter jets – aren’t as practical as other needs.

The lawmakers, however, argued that Ukraine is running low on its fighter aircraft. “Ukraine has more than enough pilots trained to fly additional aircraft if supplied,” the letter said. “Additional aircraft would also allow Ukrainian forces to provide a more adequate defense of urban areas like Kharkiv and Mariupol, where numerous civilian casualties have occurred following Russian attacks.”

3:39 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

US will issue additional sanctions against Russia this week, White House says

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

The US will announce new sanctions against Russia this week, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.

“You can expect further sanctions announcements this week. And we are coordinating with our allies and partners on what the exact parameters of that will be, but yes, this week we will have additional economic pressure elements to announce,” Sullivan told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins during the White House press briefing.

Responding to recent violent images of atrocities allegedly committed by Russian forces in Bucha, Ukraine, US President Joe Biden told reporters earlier Monday that he was “seeking more sanctions” against Russia and would be announcing them shortly.

He did not label the killings a "genocide” but said they were a “war crime,” calling for a trial to take place against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

3:47 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

US national security adviser says images from Bucha show "now is not the time for complacency" 

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

White house national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that horrific images from Bucha, Ukraine, of the latest atrocities committed by Russia against Ukrainian civilians underscore that “now is not the time for complacency,” stressing the importance of ongoing US support for Ukraine. 

“The images from Bucha so powerfully reinforce now is not the time for complacency. The Ukrainians are defending their homeland courageously, and the United States will continue to back them with military assistance, humanitarian aid and economic support,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House.

The Biden administration, he added, is “working around the clock” to fulfill security assistance requests from Ukraine, detailing US and allied response so far and hinting at forthcoming “additional military assistance in the coming days.” 

“We expect additional new capabilities to be delivered in the near future. We can't always advertise what is being delivered out of deference to our allies and partners or for operational sensitivities, but we are moving with speed and efficiency to deliver,” he said.

The US has committed $1.65 billion in weapons and ammunition to Ukraine since Russia invaded and a total of $2.3 billion since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, according to Sullivan. He cited US-produced air defense systems and anti-tank systems, as well as laser-guided rocket systems, Puma unmanned aerial systems, and armored multipurpose vehicles among the supplies provided to Ukraine from the US and other allies.

As he concluded his remarks, Sullivan emphasized three constants over course of the war: “First, Russia will continue to use its military to try to conquer and occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory. Second, the Ukrainian military and people will continue to effectively and bravely defend their homeland. And third, the United States will stand by them for as long as it takes.”

3:30 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Here's what you need to know about Russia's culture of military brutality

From CNN's Nathan Hodge

Ukrainian soldiers examine destroyed Russian military vehicles in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha on Monday, April 4.
Ukrainian soldiers examine destroyed Russian military vehicles in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha on Monday, April 4. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The grotesque pictures emerging from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha are some of the strongest evidence yet of apparent war crimes by Russian forces in Ukraine: Dead civilians on the street, some with hands bound and shot execution-style, others apparently mowed down at random.

For anyone who has followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s way of war, it’s a depressingly familiar pattern. Russia’s military has a culture of brutality and scorn for the laws of armed conflict that has been extensively documented in the past.

“The history of Russia’s military interventions – be it in Ukraine or Syria, or its military campaign at home in Chechnya – is tainted with blatant disregard for international humanitarian law,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The Russian military repeatedly flouted the laws of war by failing to protect civilians and even attacking them directly. Russian forces have launched indiscriminate attacks, used banned weapons and sometimes apparently deliberately targeted civilians and civilian objects – a war crime.”

That statement, made less than a month before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has proven sadly prophetic.

Read more about this here.

3:28 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

How Biden reacted to the possibility of the Pope visiting Kyiv

From CNN's DJ Judd

On Monday US President Joe Biden responded to reports that Pope Francis may travel to Kyiv, Ukraine, telling reporters gathered on the White House South Lawn, “for his safety, whatever he can do — he’s a fine, fine man.”

On Sunday the Pope said a trip to Ukraine "is on the table," while speaking to journalists.

Biden met with the Pope while in Rome for the G20 summit in October, at the time calling the pontiff, “everything I learned about Catholicism.”

3:40 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

US is supporting multinational team collecting and analyzing evidence of Ukraine atrocities, official says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference on March 10 in Washington, DC.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference on March 10 in Washington, DC. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Pool/AFP/Getty images)

The United States is supporting a multinational team to collect and analyze evidence of atrocities in Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.

“Right now, at the request of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the United States is supporting a multinational team of international prosecutors to the region to directly support the efforts of the Prosecutor General's War Crimes Unit to collect, preserve and analyze evidence of atrocities with a view towards pursuing criminal accountability,” Price said at a State Department briefing.

“Those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable, as must those who ordered them. They cannot and will not act with impunity,” Price added.

Price also said that based on the reports the US has seen, the atrocities “are not the act of a rogue soldier,” but rather “part of a broader, troubling campaign.”

He noted that “as Russia's forces have retreated over the past few days, the world has been shocked by the horrifying images of the Kremlin's brutality in Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. Civilians, many with their hands tied apparently executed in the streets, others in mass graves.”

“We are seeing credible reports of torture, rape, and civilians executed alongside their families,” he said. “There are reports and images of a nightmare litany of atrocities including reports of landmines and booby traps left behind by Putin’s forces to injure even more civilians and slow the stabilization and recovery of devastated communities after they failed in their objective and withdrew.”

“In keeping with its long track record of accusing others of its own heinous acts, the Kremlin issued a baseless and shameless denial of what we can all clearly see in Bucha and throughout the liberated towns of Kyiv oblast,” he said.

More background: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on March 23 that the US government had determined that members of the Russian armed forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine.

At the time, Beth Van Schaack, ambassador-at-Large for global criminal justice, said the US government would “continue to track reports coming out of Ukraine of war crimes, and we will share this information with our friends and allies and with international and multilateral institutions, as appropriate.”

“This is going to be an ongoing process throughout this conflict,” she said.

Blinken reiterated this in his interview with CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, saying, “Since the aggression, we’ve come out and said that we believe that Russian forces have committed war crimes and we’ve been working to document that, to provide the information that we have to the relevant institutions and organizations that will put all of this together, and there needs to be accountability for it.”