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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7:35 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

"The age of engagement with Russia is over,” UK Foreign Secretary tells NATO

From CNN’s Mia Alberti

The "age of engagement with Russia is over,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at a dinner with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, according to a statement from UK Foreign Office released ahead of the dinner.

In her remarks, Truss told her NATO counterparts that the "NATO-Russia Founding Act is dead and it is time to cast off an outdated approach to handling Russia,” the foreign office said.

The Act, signed in 1997, rules that "NATO and Russia do not consider one another adversaries", according to the original document.

“The age of engagement with Russia is over. We need a new approach to security in Europe based on resilience, defense, and deterrence", Truss said.

Truss’s remarks come as NATO foreign ministers convene in Brussels to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the statement sent to CNN, Truss underlined that NATO cannot allow "security vacuums" at the alliance's Eastern borders and should "rethink" support for countries "caught in the web of Russian influence" such as Georgia, Moldova, Sweden and Finland. 

The foreign secretary also urged her partners to toughen sanctions and arm Ukraine "quickly and decisively ... to ensure Putin fails."

Truss also said she is working with her G7 counterparts to impose more sanctions on further Russian banks, according to an op-ed published in The Telegraph on Wednesday. In the article, Truss defended increasing NATO spending and presence in Eastern Europe.

"For NATO to remain at the vanguard of global security, it must be bold. As President Eisenhower, the alliance’s first supreme commander, said: “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid,” the Foreign Secretary wrote.

7:16 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

“We must do everything” to restore Ukraine’s economy, Zelensky says

From CNN's Hira Humayun

(from Zelensky/YouTube)
(from Zelensky/YouTube)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed the need to revive Ukraine’s economy following the Russian invasion, in his nightly address posted to social media on Wednesday night.

He said he had a meeting with the members of the Cabinet of Ministers in Kyiv, adding, “We must do everything possible to restore the work of domestic enterprises, trade activities, and revive small and medium-sized enterprises throughout our territory where it is safe and possible to work.”

Zelensky said the economy is also a “frontline” on which Ukrainians fight for their freedom.

“Now we need to be as creative and bold as possible in solving economic issues,” he said, “It depends not only on government officials and the central government in general. In general, it also depends on all leaders at the local level, on the political and business communities.”

He went on to say, “If we need to relocate businesses from certain areas, we have to do it. If we need to update legislation and give businesses more room for development, MPs must do so quickly. If we need to create special conditions for the return of people, and the security situation in a particular area allows, every leader at any level must make every effort and do everything possible to return people to such safe areas.”

The Ukrainian president called on community areas where there is no direct threat of confrontation with Russian forces to do everything possible for residents to return, for people to go back to work and to restore normal life as much as the security situation allows.

He renewed his call on western nations to ramp up sanctions, saying if there is no “really painful” package of sanctions, and if there are not much-needed weapons supplied to Ukraine, “it will be considered by Russia as a permission. A permission to go further. A permission to attack. A permission to start a new bloody wave in Donbas.”

“We are preparing for a further reduction of Russia's military potential. Manpower and equipment. We will fight and we will not retreat. We will look for all possible options to defend ourselves until Russia begins to seriously seek peace,” he said.

Zelensky also said some politicians are still “unable to decide how to limit the flow of dollars and euros to Russia from the oil trade so as not to jeopardize their own economies.”

“The embargo on Russian oil supplies will be applied anyway,” Zelensky said, “The format will be found. The only question is how many more Ukrainian men and women the Russian military will have time to kill, so that you, some politicians - and we know you, can borrow a little determination somewhere.”

7:14 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Zelensky says hundreds of children in Russian-speaking regions have died in Russian attacks

From CNN's Josh Pennington, Mariya Knight and Hira Humayun

(from HaberTurk)
(from HaberTurk)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said hundreds of children in Russian speaking regions have died in Russian air strikes, in an interview with Turkish outlet HaberTurk, posted to the President’s Facebook on Wednesday.

“They say that they are protecting Russian-speaking people. But what is happening in Mariupol, in Melitopol, what happened in Berdiansk and Kharkiv, there are a lot of Russian speakers [in these cities],” Zelensky said, “And they told these people that they were coming to defend them.”
"Hundreds of children in these Russian-speaking regions have been killed by their airstrikes," he said.

Referring to the mass graves found in Bucha, Zelensky said Russian attempts to discredit Ukrainian information will not work and that the “hundreds of corpses speak otherwise.”

He said there are mass graves with Ukrainians on Ukrainian territory and that Russia came into Ukraine to “wage war” adding that this “cannot be justified in any way.” 

“The mass grave in Bucha, is one of these, among which were children. Children cannot be considered militants. This is impossible to hide.

We saw that some of them were missing body parts, there were people with their hands bound. There were rapes, with witnesses. And we intercepted a large amount of audio. All of this is a testament to their unabashed Nazism. And they know that they are the Nazis.”

Zelensky called for the Russian army and political leadership that planned and ordered the invasion to be punished for their “war crimes.”

“It's impossible to blame just one person for all these war crimes. But the international community should know. The Russian Federation should know that these mass atrocities were caused by the order of many people and many structures, and by many political decisions, and there is no way that those responsible will escape punishment,” he said.

7:12 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Zelensky to continue to call for a complete blockade of Russian banks from the international finance system

From CNN’s Hira Humayun

(from Zelensky/YouTube)
(from Zelensky/YouTube)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would call for the complete blockade of Russian banks from the international banking system.

In his nightly address posted to social media, on Wednesday night, Zelensky said the new sanctions package introduced by western countries on Russia is not commensurate with the atrocities Russia committed in Bucha and which continue in Mariupol and Kharkiv.

“This package looks effective but it is not enough,” he said.

Zelensky said it looks like the attitude toward the modern Russian state is changing after what the world saw in Bucha, and said, the “attitude to Russia is simple: either you support a search for peace or you’re supporting mass murders.”

He said the Russian leadership is afraid of what the world has seen in Bucha and that the Russian forces will not succeed in hiding the evidence of what they did in Bucha and would be held accountable. 

“There are new attempts from Russia to start a new bloody attack in Donbas,” he said.

“We will continue to insist on some format of embargo on Russian oil exports. It is one of the foundations of the Russian aggression,” the Ukrainian president said.

 

7:10 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Ukrainian cemetery forced to expand to accommodate for the influx of those killed in the Russian invasion

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

(CNN)
(CNN)

So abundant and frequent are the deaths in Ukraine, the cemeteries simply can’t fit all the incoming bodies.

In Lviv, CNN’s Jake Tapper attended a military funeral, as friends and families of the deceased said goodbye to men who only recently enlisted. Meanwhile, gravediggers at the cemetery broke ground on a fresh field, so as to make room for the new war dead.

Among those paying respects to the fallen soldiers was the presiding officer of the Ukrainian parliament, Russian Stefanchuk.

He shared with Tapper why he attended, saying, “I come here to all my honor and all may heart … The Russians guilty of everything, crime for everything, genocide which they do in my land. I want the whole world knows that we never forget for nobody.”

Putin’s army has inflicted so much damage since the start of the Russian invasion that the traditional Ukrainian funeral has been altered during this war time.

“The ceremony of burial has been simplified and made shorter in order not to decrease the morale and the spirit of our other military. Every day we have two, three burials here in Lviv. And that is the price for our victory,” Yevhen Boiko, a representative for the Lviv Mayor’s office, told Tapper.

“We say heroes never die. We bury the body but the glory of these people will live forever in our hearts and our history,” Boiko added.

No one has shared an exact figure of how many locals have been killed since the conflict began. All that can be confirmed is that the cemetery in Lviv has had to expand to accommodate for the influx of those lost to the ongoing war.

8:41 p.m. ET, April 6, 2022

Video shows Russian forces dug trenches in highly radioactive off-limits area near Chernobyl

From CNN's Jonny Hallam in Atlanta

A still from the video shows abandoned Russian military positions in a highly radioactive area near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
A still from the video shows abandoned Russian military positions in a highly radioactive area near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. (Ukraine Army/Energoatom)

Abandoned Russian military positions in a highly radioactive area of the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant can be seen in drone video released Wednesday by Ukrainian authorities.

The video — filmed by the Ukrainian military and released on Telegram by Energoatom, the state-owned operator of Ukraine's nuclear power plants — shows vacant pits and trenches of abandoned military fortifications in an area known as the Red Forest.  

According to Reuters, the Red Forest got its name when dozens of square kilometers of pine trees turned red after absorbing radiation from the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl — the world's worst nuclear disaster.

Tank tracks and heavily disturbed ground can also be seen in the forest — considered the most polluted area in the entire Chernobyl exclusion zone — and off limits to anyone who does not work there or have special permission.

Radiation dangers: Last Friday, Energoatom said it was unclear what Russian troops were doing in the Red Forest and it is possible they could have received significant radiation exposure when digging or entrenching there. 

Thick radioactive dust kicked up by heavy Russian vehicles could have been inhaled by the troops, who were not wearing anti-radiation protective equipment, plant workers said.

Chernobyl fell into the hands of Russian troops in the first week of the war in Ukraine. On Thursday, Russian troops announced their intention to leave and handed over control to Ukrainian personnel. The plant is now back under the control of Ukrainian authorities.

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."