April 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Melissa Macaya, Jason Kurtz, Maureen Chowdhury, Aditi Sangal, Helen Regan, Travis Caldwell, Ben Church, Lianne Kolirin and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 6, 2022
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9:35 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Poland signs $4.75 billion deal for 250 US tanks

From CNN's Brad Lendon

Poland is buying 250 Abrams tanks from the United States in a $4.75 billion deal signed Tuesday in Warsaw.

Deliveries are slated to start later this year as Poland, a NATO member that borders Ukraine in the east, ramps up its defenses following Russia's invasion of its neighbor.

The top-of-the-line US tanks will go to the Polish Army’s 18th Mechanized Division, which is based near the border with Ukraine.

“The task of these tanks, and the consequence of the fact that the Polish authorities are developing the Polish Army, is to deter a potential aggressor. We all are aware of what is happening beyond our eastern border,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said in a statement.

The deal includes maintenance vehicles, portable bridges, training and logistics as well as ammunition, Błaszczak said.

“This is a very important reinforcement of the Polish Armed Forces,” he said.

The Defense Ministry said the deal, first agreed last July, is one of the largest in Polish history.

As part of the modernization of its military, Poland is also buying US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets in a deal signed in 2020. Those 32 warplanes are scheduled to begin arriving in Poland in 2026.

11:12 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Female soldiers released from Russian captivity "subjected to torture," Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Abby Baggini and Kostan Nechyporenko in Vasylkiv, Ukraine

More than a dozen female Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian forces were "subjected to torture and ill-treatment in captivity," according to a Ukrainian human rights official.

The 15 women were among 86 soldiers released from Russian captivity on Friday.

Following their capture by Russian forces, the women were taken to Belarus and then to a pre-trial detention center in Bryansk, Russia, where they "were tortured and threatened," Lyudmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, said on her official Telegram page.

Stripped naked: According to Denisova, female prisoners were stripped naked in the presence of men, forced to squat, cut their hair, and interrogated in an effort to break their morale. Some of the women were also forced to take part in the filming of Russian propaganda videos.

Article 13: Denisova said Russia's actions amount to a violation of Article 13 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Article 13 states that "prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated." 

"I call on the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine and the expert mission set up by OSCE participating states under the Moscow Mechanism to consider these violations of the rights of Ukrainian prisoners of war," said Denisova.

Denisova previously said on Monday that Ukrainian prisoners of war had been subject to beatings, starvation, frostbite, and intimidation while in Russian captivity.

Following negotiations last week, Ukraine and Russia's exchange of 86 prisoners from each side marked the conflict's largest prisoner swap to date.

8:04 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

European leaders plan to phase out Russian coal imports as part of new sanctions package 

From CNN's Anna Cooban

European leaders have planned to phase out Russian coal imports in response to harrowing scenes in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv.

On Tuesday, the European Commission proposed a phased ban of 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) worth of Russian coal imports per year as part of a fifth package of sanctions designed to further diminish Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war chest. Other proposals target Russian technology and manufacturing imports, worth another 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion).

Europe has imposed punishing sanctions on Russia’s economy since Putin’s tanks rolled into Ukraine in late February, but stopped short of targeting Russia’s energy sector — until now. Images of unarmed civilians, bound and shot, lying along Bucha’s roads — which were until recently under Russian occupation — have convinced leaders to change tack.

More details on the new round of sanctions, including the timeline for the ban on coal, are expected Wednesday when EU ambassadors meet for talks. The measures still need the approval of all 27 member states.

Sanctioning coal will bite some European countries, but it’s among the easiest energy sources to wean off — much of the world is already doing just that. The trickier question is: What happens next?

Read the rest of this story here.

7:12 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

The US is expected to announce new sanctions against Russia Wednesday. Here's what we know so far. 

From CNN's Phil Mattingly, Kaitlan Collins, Sam Fossum and Sean Lyngaas

The US will announce new sanctions on Russia Wednesday in coordination with Group of 7 nations and the European Union, according to an administration official.

The official said the sweeping package "will impose significant costs on Russia and send it further down the road of economic, financial, and technological isolation."

The new sanctions package will:

  • Ban all new investment in Russia
  • Increase sanctions on financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in Russia
  • Sanction Russian government officials and their family members

The new sanctions package will mark the latest escalation in efforts by the US and its allies to impose costs on Russia for its invasion and, over time, cut off critical economic sectors the country utilizes to wage the ongoing war.

They also follow new revelations of further atrocities committed by Russian forces in northern Ukraine, with the images of the atrocities committed in Bucha serving as an accelerator to ongoing discussions between the US and its European allies to ramp up the economic costs, officials said.

"These measures will degrade key instruments of Russian state power, impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia, and hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports Putin's war," the official said. "These measures will be taken in lockstep with our allies and partners, demonstrating our resolve and unity in imposing unprecedented costs on Russia for its war against Ukraine."

The official added, "We had already concluded that Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine, and the information from Bucha appears to show further evidence of war crimes. And as the President said, we will work with the world to ensure there is full accountability for these crimes. One of those tools is sanctions — and we have been working intensively with our European allies on further sanctions."

More context: The expected sanctions come after the US Treasury announced it will no longer allow Russia to pay down its debt using dollars stockpiled at American banks. While Washington had imposed sanctions on the Russian Central Bank freezing their foreign currency at US banks, the Treasury Department had previously allowed Russia to use those reserves to repay its debt.

It's a move that officials say will substantially raise the risk of default and undercut urgent efforts by the central bank to stanch the economic bleeding that immediately arrested the Russian economy in the wake of the Western response to the invasion.

Read more about the sanctions here and watch CNN's reporting below:

6:40 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Zelensky: "There is no security in the world for anyone" despite UN Security Council

From CNN staff

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky questioned the effectiveness of the UN Security Council in a taped address on Tuesday, repeating his comments from his virtual speech at the UN earlier on Tuesday. 

“The UN Security Council exists and yet there is no security in the world for anyone,” Zelensky said, “The only guilty party is one country, Russia, which discredits all of the institutions and blocks the global architecture for the sake of spreading lies and justifying the evil it commits.” 

“I’m sure the world will see this and make conclusions,” he said. 

Zelensky also repeated his call for Russia to be removed from the UN Security Council. 

“I suggest to the UN Security Council, and all other countries who honor international law, some specific actions that can change the situation. In particular, we are talking about a general conference in Kyiv to see how we can reform the global architecture in light of the Russian Federation still holding permanent seat in the United Nations,” he said.  

Zelensky addressed his conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron in which they spoke about the humanitarian situation in the temporary occupied regions of Ukraine.  

“We also agreed that France will provide necessary technical support and aid to investigate crimes of Russian occupiers in Ukraine,” he said.  

Zelensky also pushed for new sanctions after the massacre of civilians in Bucha

“This is not just about how our people are going to assess those sanctions but in fact how western societies are going to evaluate these sanctions after what the world has seen in Bucha,” he said, “Sanctions have to really respond to the severity of the crimes committed in Ukraine.”

He noted that the “hardest battles” are still being fought in Donbas and Kharkiv. 

Zelensky also said that he is preparing to meet with the president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

“Together will be working in Kyiv, this will be appreciated by many people in the world because now Kyiv is the capital of the global democracy and fight for freedom for everyone on the European continent,” Zelensky said.

6:40 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

US secretary of state arrives in Brussels ahead of high-stakes NATO foreign ministers' meeting

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Brussels Tuesday ahead of this week’s high-stakes NATO foreign ministerial as US officials warn that Russia's war in Ukraine could be entering a protracted new phase.

Speaking to reporters en route to the Belgian capital, the top US diplomat said it was "an important moment" to coordinate with allies and partners "on a number of fronts."

"We obviously have some changing battlefield dynamics with the Russian pullback from parts of Ukraine, especially Kyiv and areas more to the west," Blinken said. 

"We of course have the horrific atrocities that have been revealed for all the world to see in Bucha. I suspect, alas, we will see more of that where Russian forces pull out," he said. "As I said, it's like a receding tide and we're seeing in very stark terms the death and destruction that's being left in its wake. So, there's obviously a lot of focus on that." 

Blinken said the ministerial, which comes just weeks after NATO leaders gathered in Brussels, will also focus on "the work we've been doing together to support the Ukrainians and we'll be looking at ways to sustain that and build on that, the work we are doing to put pressure on Russia and Putin, and we'll be looking on ways to not only sustain that but build on that."

"And of course work to strengthen and shore up the NATO alliance," Blinken added.

US Ambassador to NATO Julie Smith told reporters earlier Tuesday that there would be a separate session at the NATO ministerial with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, saying "it’s important for us to hear directly from the Ukrainians firsthand what their assessment is of these fast-moving developments on the ground, and what more we can all do to help the Ukrainians in this moment."

While in Brussels, Blinken will meet not only with his NATO counterparts at the ministerial, but also with the "Quint" — Italy, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom — and the "Quad" — France, Germany and the UK. He will also meet with his Australian and Japanese counterparts.

7:09 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

The Ukrainian town of Borodianka reveals the horrors of Russian occupation

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen, Byron Blunt, and Daria Markina

Residential buildings destroyed in the town of Borodianka are seen on Tuesday, April 5.
Residential buildings destroyed in the town of Borodianka are seen on Tuesday, April 5. (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Oksana Kostychenko walks down a narrow pathway, leading to her back garden in Borodianka. The flower beds on one side are surprisingly well arranged, contrasting with the wanton destruction all around.

Near her garden shed is the body of a man laying face-down with a bag over his head and hands tied behind his back. His trousers are pulled down. There are large bruises on his left leg and a large wound on his head.

Next to his body is a single bullet casing.

“He was executed, gunshot to the head,” an officer with the Ukrainian National Police told CNN's team on the ground. There are no documents on the man, but authorities on site say all indications show he was another civilian casualty of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.

The body is one of many recently found in cities to the east of Kyiv that were occupied by Russian forces.

Borodianka was home to 13,000 people before the war, but most fled after Russia’s invasion. What was left of the town, after intense shelling and devastating airstrikes, was then occupied by Russian forces, which moved in on Feb. 28.

Read the rest of this story here.

6:15 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Ukrainian official: 3,846 people evacuated through corridors on Tuesday

From CNN's Abby Baggini and Nathan Hodge

A woman and children sit for a meal after their arrival at a hub for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on April 5.
A woman and children sit for a meal after their arrival at a hub for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on April 5. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

A total of 3,846 people were evacuated through Ukrainian evacuation corridors on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on Telegram by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. 

Vereshchuk previously stated that a total of seven evacuation corridors had been planned for Tuesday. 

According to the official, 2,216 people went to Zaporizhzhia through evacuation corridors from Mariupol and Berdiansk in their own vehicles. This included 1,496 people from Mariupol and 720 people from Polohy, Vasylivka, Berdiansk and Melitopol.

Seventeen minibuses, which were sent to Berdiansk early Tuesday, also came back to Zaporizhzhia. They evacuated 150 people from the cities of Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Kreminna. Another 1,080 people were evacuated from the Luhansk region.

The International Committee of the Red Cross accompanied a convoy of seven buses and more than 40 private cars sent to evacuate civilians from Mariupol. The convoy was forced to return after a blockade in Manhush, a Russian-held town about 20 km (about 12 miles) from Mariupol. 

According to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces continue to block the passage of humanitarian goods to the besieged city.

5:48 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Scenes from the Mexican border city of Tijuana as Ukrainian refugees wait to seek US asylum

Ukrainians fleeing Russia's invasion of their country have arrived at the Mexican border city of Tijuana to seek US asylum and more are expected to come, a Tijuana city official and a volunteer told CNN on Saturday.

Tijuana city officials said Monday that they had opened a sports complex to house the overflow of Ukrainian migrants, according to Enrique Lucero Vazquez, the director of Tijuana’s immigration services.

Vazquez said that about 2,000 Ukrainians are currently in Tijuana, both near the border crossing with the United States and at the sports complex called “Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez.”

Last month, a senior administration official announced that the United States will welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia's aggression.

More than 4 million refugees have now fled Ukraine, according to data from the UN refugee agency, with the vast majority of those refugees having fled to Ukraine's western neighbors across Europe.

Here's a look at some images from the ground in Tijuana:

Ukrainian refugees wait near the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the US-Mexico border on Monday, April 4, in Tijuana, Mexico. 
Ukrainian refugees wait near the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the US-Mexico border on Monday, April 4, in Tijuana, Mexico.  (Ariana Drehsler/UPI/Shutterstock)

An aerial view of a Ukrainian refugee camp near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday, April 2.
An aerial view of a Ukrainian refugee camp near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday, April 2. (Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian refugees wait to enter the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the US-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday.
Ukrainian refugees wait to enter the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the US-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday. (Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images)

A volunteer calls out numbers at a makeshift camp where Ukrainians are staying to hold their place in line near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday.
A volunteer calls out numbers at a makeshift camp where Ukrainians are staying to hold their place in line near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday. (Ariana Drehsler/UPI/Shutterstock)

A Ukrainian family arrives at a shelter at the Christian church, Calvary San Diego, in Chula Vista, California, after crossing into the US from Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday, April 1.
A Ukrainian family arrives at a shelter at the Christian church, Calvary San Diego, in Chula Vista, California, after crossing into the US from Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday, April 1. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Volunteer Silas Breen, below left, from the Calvary Bible Institute, prays with David, from Ukraine, at Calvary San Diego's shelter for Ukrainians arriving from Tijuana, Mexico, last Friday, in Chula Vista, California.
Volunteer Silas Breen, below left, from the Calvary Bible Institute, prays with David, from Ukraine, at Calvary San Diego's shelter for Ukrainians arriving from Tijuana, Mexico, last Friday, in Chula Vista, California. (Gregory Bull/AP)

CNN's Rosalina Nieves, Rosa Flores, Sharif Paget and Karol Suarez contributed reporting to this post.