April 6, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Jason Kurtz, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Travis Caldwell, Helen Regan, Seán Federico O'Murchú, Amy Woodyatt, Jack Bantock, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022
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6:33 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Mariupol mayor says 40% of city’s destroyed infrastructure is no longer recoverable

From CNN's Mariya Knight and Hira Humayun

An aerial view shows destroyed residential buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 3.
An aerial view shows destroyed residential buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 3. (Pavel Klimov/Reuters)

In a roundtable on Wednesday, Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko called for stronger sanctions against Russia and said Russia’s war crimes be recorded by international institutions.

He said more than 90% of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed by Russia and that at least 40% of that is “no longer recoverable.”

The Mariupol city council shared a transcript of Boychenko’s remarks at the roundtable, in which the mayor said the city council has set up a commission to “record the instances of destruction of communal and private property” and that the council has so far recorded 300 such instances.

Boychenko said, "According to preliminary estimates alone, 5,000 people died in Mariupol during the month of the blockade, of which about 210 were children.”

He added, “Russian terrorist forces dropped several heavy bombs on a children's hospital and destroyed one of the buildings of the city hospital No.1. Almost 50 people were burned alive.”

“The Drama Theater was bombed, where more than 900 people were hiding from the shelling at the time. These are just a few examples of the deliberate destruction of the civilian population of Mariupol, " Boychenko added

5:29 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

USAID helps deliver 5,000 of SpaceX's satellite internet service terminals to Ukraine

From CNN's Kristin Fisher

A SpaceX Starlink internet terminal is seen in Odesa on March 15.
A SpaceX Starlink internet terminal is seen in Odesa on March 15. (Nina Lyashonok/Ukrinform/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

The US government is helping Elon Musk's SpaceX fund and ship thousands of satellite internet terminals to the Ukrainian government, a potential safeguard in the event Russia disrupts the country's communication infrastructure.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced Tuesday it has delivered 5,000 Starlink terminals to the government of Ukraine.

Starlink is SpaceX's satellite internet service which allows users in remote or war-torn regions of the world to access the internet at broadband speeds with terminals or antennas that look similar to a small TV dish. 

"The Starlink satellite terminals will enable unlimited, unthrottled data connectivity from anywhere in Ukraine," according to a statement from the USAID. "The terminals will allow public officials and critical citizen service providers to continue to communicate within Ukraine and with the outside world, even if Putin’s brutal aggression severs Ukraine’s fiber optic or cellular communication infrastructure connections."

When Russia invaded in February, Elon Musk activated Starlink service for the first time over Ukraine and announced on Twitter that "more terminals en route." 

At the time, Musk was responding to a plea from Ukraine's vice prime minister amid fears the country internet access would go dark as Russia continued its invasion. It's unclear how many Starlink terminals SpaceX delivered to Ukraine before the USAID got involved. 

SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites since May 2019, with plans to launch around 42,000 more over the next several years.

4:13 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

White House press secretary says "we should be under no illusion" that Russia's objective has changed

From CNN's Sam Fossum

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki predicted Wednesday that there will be more scenes of carnage like Bucha and noted that no one should be under the illusion that the Kremlin's goals have changed, despite the retreat of Russian forces from Northern Ukraine.  

"Their goal remains weakening Ukraine as much as possible. And we should be under no illusion that that objective hasn't changed even as their tactics have changed," Psaki told CNN's MJ Lee at the White House on Wednesday. 

Psaki also said that the US sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin's two recognized adult children, Maria Putina and Katerina Tikhonova, because the government has seen attempts to stash money with them. 

"We've seen attempts and efforts to stash assets in the accounts and resources of his children," Psaki said. 

Psaki also addressed the impacts of US sanctions.

"What we do know is that because of the impact of the economic sanctions, including the ones we have taken today, and steps we've taken over the course of time, we have seen an unquestionable, significant impact. on Russia's economy," Psaki said. 

She added: "Russia is set to lose its status as a major economy. And our objective is to implement those consequences to make it much more difficult for President Putin to fund the war. And we're seeing the direct impacts of that already."

4:03 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

It's just past 11 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN’s Chris Liakos, Matt Egan, Kaitlan Collins, Katharina Krebs, Amy Cassidy, Kevin Liptak and Olga Voitovych

European ambassadors met in Brussels today to debate the European Commission’s proposal on new sanctions against Russia as Russian forces ramped up attacks in Ukraine.

According to an EU source, there is an agreement to adopt this package very quickly, but there are a lot of technical questions, which “is normal as it is a very dense package,” according to the source.

Meanwhile, the US also announced a new round of sanctions, including targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin's adult daughters and major Russian financial institutions.

On the ground in Ukraine, civilian casualty numbers continue to rise.

If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know today:

Civilian casualties: At least 1,563 civilians have been killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UN agency has recorded 3,776 civilian casualties in Ukraine so far: 1,563 killed and 2,213 injured, it said in its latest update posted Wednesday. 

In Kyiv, at least 89 people have been killed, including four children, and 167 homes damaged since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Kyiv City State Administration wrote in a statement on a verified Telegram page on Wednesday. Another 398 people, including 20 children, were injured in the war.  

Since Feb. 24, Russian troops have damaged 44 Kyiv schools, 11 administrative buildings, 26 kindergartens and an orphanage.

The administration urged its residents not to lose vigilance and to take shelter at the first signs of air alarms.  

On the ground: The town of Severodonetsk has been heavily shelled, the head of the Luhansk region's military administration said Wednesday, adding that 10 high-rise buildings in the town were on fire. 

"The Russians fired on Severodonetsk — 10 high-rise buildings are on fire," regional governor Serhii Haidai said on Telegram. "Information about casualties is being clarified."

While the shelling did not hit any strategic or military facilities, it did hit a factory workshop in Lysychansk and a house in Rubizhne, Haidai said.

Russian forces had hit towns and villages of Luhansk region a total of 81 times over the previous night, Haidai added.

The US assesses that Russian forces have completely withdrawn from areas near Kyiv and Chernihiv to “reconsolidate and refit in Belarus and in Russia,” according to a senior US defense official.

The official also said Russia has still not “secured” Mariupol despite isolating the city.

Russia has now launched more than 1,450 missiles against Ukraine since the invasion, the official said.

NATO head predicts Ukraine conflict could continue "for a long time": Although Russia is now concentrating its assault on eastern Ukraine, NATO has seen “no indication” that Putin's aim of controlling the whole country has changed, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters before a meeting in Brussels of foreign ministers of NATO allies, Stoltenberg also warned the war in Ukraine could last for years.

“We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and also to rewrite the international order, so we need to be prepared for the long haul,” he said. “We have to be realistic and realize that this may last for a long time, for many months or even years.”

The foreign ministers of NATO countries are meeting Wednesday and Thursday to discuss ramping up support for Ukraine.

Sanctions: The US is taking additional actions to increase economic pressure on Russia and Putin following horrific images from the Ukrainian city of Bucha, announcing new sanctions Wednesday on Russian financial institutions, as well as some people, including Putin’s adult daughters and the wife and daughter of his foreign minister. 

“Today we’re dramatically escalating the financial shock by imposing full blocking sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institution, Sberbank, and its largest private bank, Alfa Bank,” a senior administration official briefing reporters said. 

Sberbank holds nearly one-third of Russia’s total banking sector assets, the official noted, adding that the US has now fully blocked “more than two-thirds of the Russian banking sector.”  

Second, the senior official announced, “In alignment with the G7 and the EU, we’re announcing a ban on new investment in Russia.” That will be implemented with an executive order signed by US President Joe Biden. 

The United States won't participate in G20 meetings that Russia is participating in, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday.

Speaking at the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen said she'd made that position clear to other finance ministers in the group.

4:08 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Here are Wednesday's figures on evacuations, according to Ukraine's deputy prime minister

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Hira Humayun

A young girl with her dog arrives at a center for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday.
A young girl with her dog arrives at a center for internally displaced people in Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 4,892 people were evacuated through evacuation corridors Wednesday.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday night, she said 3,686 people arrived in Zaporizhzhia from Mariupol and Berdiansk. This included 1,171 people from Mariupol and 2,515 people from the towns of Polohy, Vasylivka, Berdiansk, Melitopol and Huliaipole.

She said 11 buses left Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday, headed for the city of Vasylivka, carrying residents from the towns of Melitopol and Tokmak. The buses will continue onward on Thursday. 

Also on Thursday, buses carrying residents from Berdiansk will depart Zaporizhzhia, she said.

Vereshchuk added that 1,206 people were evacuated from the towns of Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna and the village Hirske — all in the Luhansk region.

 

3:42 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Pentagon: "impossible" to know how long the war will go on, but Ukraine can win

From CNN's Mike Conte

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard on a street beside a damaged building in the town of Borodianka on Wednesday, April 6.
A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard on a street beside a damaged building in the town of Borodianka on Wednesday, April 6. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Defense Department says it’s “impossible” to know how long the war in Ukraine will go on if not ended through diplomacy, but that Ukraine “of course” can win the war.

“The fact that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is going to concentrate in a smaller geographic area certainly present the possibility that the violence will continue,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. “It could even intensify in that part of Ukraine.”

Kirby reiterated that Ukraine can “absolutely” win the war as demonstrated by Putin’s inability to achieve his strategic objectives.

“Mariupol is still not taken. He’s moved his forces out of Kyiv. He’s moved his forces out of Chernihiv. They haven’t taken Kharkiv. They haven’t taken Mykolaiv in the south,” Kirby said. “So I think the proof is literally in the outcomes that you’re seeing every day.

3:07 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

The US has now sent 100 switchblade drones to Ukrainian military, Defense Department official says

From CNN'a Michael Conte

The US has sent the 100 switchblade drones that they said would be provided to the Ukrainian military, and “they’ll be getting into Ukraine quickly if they aren’t already there,” said a Defense Department official.

“We’re in discussions with the Ukrainians about future usages of switchblade drones, and of course we’ll keep that option open going forward,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.

The small, portable, so-called kamikaze drones carry warheads and detonate on impact. The smallest model can hit a target up to six miles away, according to a company that produces the drones.

Kirby also said that the US has trained “a very small number of Ukrainian soldiers who were already in the United States and had been since the fall” on the drones before they returned to Ukraine to train others. 

“An individual could be suitably trained on how to use the switchblade drone in about two days or so,” said Kirby.

He also said that the US would “look at other suitable opportunities if needed to provide more training on the switchblades if it’s necessary.”

2:17 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

US believes it can "identify the Russian units" that carried out Bucha atrocities, official says

From CNN's Barbara Starr

The US now believes “it will be able to identify the Russian units” that carried out the atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine, according to a US official familiar with the latest information. 

Identification of those involved “is an extremely high priority now” for the US intelligence community, the official said.

Collecting and analyzing streams of intelligence using all available tools and assets has been underway since the atrocities came to light, and the US is at the point of “narrowing down” responsibility the official said. 

It’s not certain the US would announce its findings publicly and a decision could be made to leave it to Ukraine, the official said. The US is also analyzing possible indicators that more than one Russian unit or group of fighters was in Bucha during the time the atrocities occurred. The US is trying to determine if some of this happened as one Russian unit was withdrawing and another came in, the official added.

3:04 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

International leaders condemn Russia for the atrocities in Bucha

From CNN's Mia Alberti, Simon Bouvier, Elias Lemercier, Amy Cassidy, Manveena Suri and Rhea Mogul

Police work on the identification process following the killing of civilians in Bucha, before sending the bodies to the morgue, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 6.
Police work on the identification process following the killing of civilians in Bucha, before sending the bodies to the morgue, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 6. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Leaders from around the world are strongly condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian forces following horrifying images of civilian casualties from Bucha, Ukraine.

Some leaders are labeling Putin a "war criminal" and consider the violence that occurred in the town of Bucha "genocide."

While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly accused Russian forces of committing genocide in his country, other leaders have stopped short. The claim carries a complex legal weight and investigations are underway into war crimes alleged to have been committed by Russian forces.

Evidence of civilian deaths in Bucha at the hands of Russian forces have nonetheless sparked global condemnation and triggered fresh responses from the West. 

Here are how some leaders are reacting to the civilian casualty reports coming out of Bucha:

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday called Putin a war criminal, saying no world leader should speak to him again after the many "massacres" carried out by the Russian forces in Ukraine, including the violence in Bucha which he said, "fulfill the feature of a genocide.” 

"We hear about the de-Nazification of Ukraine, it is nonsense, rubbish, blatant Russian propaganda looking for a false pretext in order to carry out a massacre and kill people, and the fact that civilians are being killed shows best what the goal of Russian invasion is: To extinguish the Ukrainian nation,” Duda told CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview in Warsaw.  

The Polish leader said the scenes from Ukraine are unseen since World War II and they echo the "same model of Soviet crimes,” adding that war crimes were committed by Moscow not only in Bucha "but all over Ukraine.” 

"I hope that nobody in the international community, after what we have seeing in Ukraine, will never again talk to Vladimir Putin. I hope nobody will consider him a decent and fair leader or politician simply,” he said. 

France has called the deaths of civilians in Bucha “a new step in horror” and has vowed to ensure such an act “does not remain unpunished.”

France is also in favor of a tougher sanctions regime against Russia, French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said during a news conference on Wednesday.

“After these massacres, we must go further,” he said. “President [Macron] has told President Zelensky that we have no taboos in terms of sanctions, and he repeated that we are ready for drastic measures on imports of Russian coal and oil.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested Russia’s atrocities in Bucha and elsewhere are close to resembling “genocide” and vowed more sanctions are on the way. 

“I’m afraid that when you look at what's happening in Bucha, the revelations that we’re seeing from what Putin has done in Ukraine, which you know, doesn’t look far short of genocide to me, it is no wonder that people are responding in the way that they are,” Johnson told reporters today. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described the killings in Bucha as "war crimes."

"Once again, a large and powerful country has invaded a smaller neighbor without any justification," he tweeted. "Once again, the ground is soaked with the blood of innocent civilians. The images and testimony from Ukraine are horrific. Russian forces committed war crimes against a defenseless civilian population. I strongly condemn these war crimes."

As has been the case since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Lapid’s comments — first made while speaking alongside his Greek and Cypriot counterparts — were in marked contrast to those of Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. While Bennett also condemned the killings in Bucha, he did not blame Russia. 

"We are shocked by the horrific pictures coming out of Bucha, terrible scenes, and we strongly condemn them," Bennett said after addressing Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. "The images are very harsh. The suffering that the Ukrainian people are facing is huge and we are doing all that we can to help."

India’s ambassador to the United Nations condemned the killings of civilians in Bucha, marking a noticeable shift in Indian officials’ public approach to the invasion of Ukraine by its long-time partner Russia. 

T.S. Tirumurti, India's permanent representative to the UN, called reports of the killings “deeply disturbing” during a UN Security Council meeting Tuesday. 

“We unequivocally condemn these killings and support the call for an open investigation,” Tirumurti said, without naming Russia. 
“The situation in Ukraine has not shown any significant improvement since the Council last discussed the issue. The situation has only deteriorated, as well as its humanitarian consequences,” he said.