US has committed more than 12,000 anti-armor systems and "hundreds" of suicide drones to Ukraine
From CNN's Oren Liebermann
The US has committed more than 12,000 anti-armor systems, 1,400 anti-aircraft systems and “hundreds” of suicide drones to Ukraine, the Biden administration announced in a statement Thursday evening.
The update comes after the US approved on Tuesday another $100 million in weaponry for Ukraine drawn from US inventories, bringing the total US assistance to Ukraine to approximately $1.7 billion since the beginning of Russia’s invasion.
That includes $300 million approved last Friday under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in which new weapons will be purchased from defense contractors to send to Ukraine.
The list of weapons committed to Ukraine includes the following:
More than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
More than 5,000 Javelin anti-armor systems
More than 7,000 other anti-armor systems
Hundreds of Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
Over 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition
45,000 sets of body armor and helmets
Laser-guided rocket systems
Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems
Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, and optics
Commercial satellite imagery services
This does not mean all of the weapons have already arrived in Ukraine; instead, they are an update on what the US has sent in the past and has pledged to send in the future.
For example, on Wednesday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US has sent in about 100 of the Switchblade suicide drones and is working on sending in more.
9:35 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
CNN visits Ukrainian hospital coping with deluge of wounded civilians
From CNN's Jason Kurtz
The fighting and violence in Ukraine is so prolific, hospitals are facing a deluge of civilians, often times arriving with wounds that are foreign to younger doctors. And much like in other conflicts, including in Syria, the Russians are targeting these medical facilities, so far damaging 279, and completely decimating another 19, according to the Ukrainian health minister.
CNN’s Jake Tapper visited one hospital in the western part of the country, where patients from the east and south have had to travel hundreds of miles to safely seek treatment.
Olga Zhuchenko survived seven bombs that hit her neighborhood in the Luhansk region, but now lies in a hospital bed and may never walk again.
“I have lost everything. I have lost my flat, my property, my health,” she told CNN via a translator. “We didn't expect to see it. We always have counted Russians as brotherly people. We never hoped they will exterminate us like that.”
Nearly two months into the conflict, it’s become clear that attacks on civilian neighborhoods — like the one endured by Zhuchenk — are no accident, CNN reported.
“The facts lead to only one conclusion. The Russians are purposely slaughtering Ukrainians. Moms and dads, children, grandparents,” Tapper continued.
Meanwhile, American doctors have traveled to Ukraine, hoping to offer assistance and experience earned during their time in the Middle East.
“We wanted to share information from our experiences in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Dr. John Holcomb, the professor of surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told Tapper in the hospital.
So brutal are the injuries being sustained by Ukrainian civilians that local doctors are confronted with cases unlike any they’ve ever seen.
“The injury that we have now is unbelievable,” revealed Dr. Hnat Herych, the chief of surgery at a Ukrainian hospital. He’s seen an influx of thousands of patients and has a message to share.
“I want the world to know that they need to know that the Russian forces, they don't fight with the Ukrainian army, they fight with the Ukrainian people,” he told Tapper. “They killing civilians, they killing children, they destroying our country.”
And the war is hurting Ukrainians in many ways, outside of just with bullets and bombs.
Olha Akynshyn was forced to celebrate her 45th birthday from a hospital bed, having suffered a major car accident while fleeing the Kharkiv region with her husband and son.
“We had a happy life. Everything was perfect and then everything changed very abruptly,” she told Tapper via a translator.
After hiding in a basement for a month, amid relentless shelling, Akynshyn and her family made the decision to get in their car and flee when the building next door was flattened. She had not slept for two days and was in a horrific car accident.
“We were so afraid, especially our kid was so afraid that we couldn't stay anymore,” she said.
Now Akynshyn isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to return to her old town or her old life.
“The school where my child learned has been destroyed, but I hope if our house stayed safe that we will return, rebuild. Our neighbor will rebuild our village, our town. I love my Ukraine so much, I would only want to live here in Ukraine,” she said.
6:34 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
Situation in Borodianka is "much scarier" than Bucha, Zelensky says
From CNN's Mariya Knight and Hira Humayun
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said work is underway to clear rubble in the town of Borodianka and the situation there is "much scarier" than that in Bucha.
Speaking at his nightly address on Thursday night, Zelensky said, “So far, the Russian state and the Russian military are the greatest threat on the planet to freedom, to human security, to the concept of human rights as such. After Bucha, this is already obvious,” he said, adding that work to clear rubble in Borodianka has begun.
“It's much scarier there. More victims of Russian invaders," Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president said similar atrocities were seen in Mariupol as well.
“What will happen when the world learns the whole truth about what the Russian military did in Mariupol? There, on almost every street, is what the world saw in Bucha and other towns in the Kyiv region after the withdrawal of Russian troops. The same cruelty. The same terrible crimes," he said.
Zelensky suggested that the atrocities committed by Russian forces would be used as propaganda. CNN cannot independently verify these claims.
“More and more information is coming in that Russian propagandists are preparing, so to speak, a ‘mirror response’ to the shock of all normal people from what they saw in Bucha. They are going to show the victims in Mariupol as if they were not killed by the Russian military, but by Ukrainian defenders of the city,” Zelensky said, “to do this, the occupiers collect corpses on the streets, take them out. And can be used elsewhere in accordance with the developed propaganda scenarios.”
Zelensky said every murder in Ukraine will be investigated and every looter, rapist and murderer will be found and that after what the world saw happening in Bucha, it is clear Russia “does not obey” human rights.”
“Perhaps Russia will change its attitude to human rights, but at this point in time it’s not happening,” Zelensky said.
6:25 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
Ukrainian official: 26 bodies found under rubble of two houses in Borodianka
From CNN's Hira Humayun
In the town of Borodianka, 26 bodies were found under the rubble of two houses according to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova in a televised address on Thursday.
She said the town was hit by Russian airstrikes leading to a number of civilian casualties.
“Two big houses have been dismantled. Found 26 bodies. And these are only two houses. Atrocities are in fact a legal term that combines three crimes: war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. I think we need to get used to this term. This is a legal term in international criminal law. So Borodianka is an illustrative example,” she said.
7:46 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
US calls Russia's suspension from the Human Rights Council "an important and historic moment"
From CNN’s Richard Roth and Samantha Beech in New York
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has called Russia’s suspension from the Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly “an important and historic moment.”
As the final speaker in the UNGA afternoon session following the vote Thursday, Thomas-Greenfield said, “Countries from around the globe have voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council for its gross and systematic violations of human rights. We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored.”
Thomas-Greenfield added, “Despite Russia’s attempt to spread disinformation we all saw the gruesome images from Bucha, Dymerka, Irpin and other recently liberated Ukrainian cities. Lifeless bodies lying in the streets, some apparently summarily executed, their hands tied behind their backs. Mass graves. Burnt bodies. Executions. We’ve seen credible reports of landmines and booby traps left behind by Putin’s forces to injure even more civilians after Russia failed in its objectives and withdrew."
"I shudder to think what we will find in other towns across Ukraine, as President Zelensky ominously warned us in the Security Council, in the weeks ahead," she added.
Thomas-Greenfield cited a photo taken by an AP photojournalist in Kyiv, which she said struck her in particular. “It’s of a six-year-old boy, standing in a garden next to his mother’s grave. It struck me because, one day, Ukraine’s infrastructure will be rebuilt and the rubble will be cleared. But there will be no way to rebuild the lives that Russia has destroyed. We cannot bring back those who have perished — Ukrainian mothers, fathers, sons, daughters,” she said.
The US Ambassador said she visited with women and children who shared heartbreaking stories of Russia’s violence, when she was in Moldova and Romania earlier this week.
“They spoke about losing relatives and loved ones, fleeing the only home they had ever known. Despite everything that they had been through, they were determined to carry on and to return home to a peaceful Ukraine. We must continue to show similar determination to stop their suffering, to hold Russia accountable. To end this war. After all, this is not only about accountability for Russia, its about standing with the people of Ukraine. And it’s about the credibility of the UN," she said.
Thomas-Greenfield said, “Right now, the world is looking to us. They are asking if the United Nations is prepared to meet this moment. They are wondering if we are a platform for propaganda and a safe haven for human rights abusers — or if we are prepared to live up to our highest ideals, enshrined in the UN Charter. Today, the international community took one collective step in the right direction. We ensured a persistent and egregious human rights violator will not be allowed to occupy a position of leadership on human rights at the UN.”
“Let us continue to hold Russia accountable for this unprovoked, unjust, unconscionable war and to do everything in our power to stand with the people of Ukraine,” she said.
5:07 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
Zelensky calls on diplomatic missions to come back to Kyiv: "We need your support"
From CNN's Hira Humayun
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more diplomatic missions and embassies to return to Kyiv, and thanked Turkey and Lithuania for returning.
“Embassies are coming back to Kyiv,” he said, before thanking the ones that have already returned.
“We need your support, even at the level of symbols and diplomatic gestures,” he said, “Please come back, everybody who is brave, please come back to our capital and continue working,” the Ukrainian president said.
He told diplomatic foreign missions in Kyiv that this is a “signal to Russia that Kyiv is ours.”
“This is the capital — this is not a provincial town from Russia, but this is our city,” Zelensky said.
He added that Russian troops are becoming more active in Donbas and that Ukrainian will fight bravely.
4:45 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
Ukrainian official: 4,676 people evacuated through corridors on Thursday
From CNN's Hira Humayun
On Thursday, 4,676 people were evacuated via evacuation corridors, according to a Facebook post from Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
She said 3,256 people came from Mariupol and Berdiansk. Of those, 1,205 are from Mariupol and 2,050 are from the towns of Polohy, Vasylivka, Berdiansk and Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region
A column of nine buses is heading to Melitopol to help with evacuation and deliver humanitarian assistance, and will take people on the way back to Zaporizhzhia.
Two buses arrived at Tomak city on Thursday and will head to Zaporizhzhia on Friday. Also on Friday, buses will be sent from Zaporizhzhia to evacuate people from Berdiansk, Vereshchuk said.
The deputy prime minister added that 1,420 people were evacuated from the cities of Lisichansk, Severodonetsk, Rubížne and Kreminna in Luhansk region on Thursday.
4:21 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
European Union approves fifth round of sanctions against Russia
From CNN's CNN's James Frater in Brussels and Chris Liakos in London
The European Union on Thursday approved a fifth round of sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, according to the French Presidency of the Council of Europe.
The new measures include ban on imports of Russian coal as well as embargo on arms exports to Russia.
It also include the closing of EU ports to Russian vessels and a ban on exports of high-tech products to Moscow.
The legal text including the names of the “oligarchs, Russian propaganda actors, members of the security and military apparatus and entities in the industrial and technological sector” will be formally published Friday.
3:54 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022
It's almost 11 p.m. in Kyiv. Here are the latest developments on the war in Ukraine.
If you're just catching up now, here are some of the latest developments from the war in Ukraine:
Luhansk hospitals destroyed: All medical institutions and hospitals in the Luhansk region, in eastern Ukraine, have been destroyed by the Russian forces, the head of the Luhansk state administration said on Thursday. "Since the beginning of the full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine, every medical institution in our region has been shelled," Sergey Gaidai wrote on Facebook.
Germany intercepts key radio communications: Germany's foreign intelligence service told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that it has intercepted radio communications where Russian soldiers talked about shooting soldiers and civilians in Ukraine, a source with knowledge of the meeting said.
Russia targets Facebook accounts: Facebook parent company Meta detailed Thursday an array of shady cyber tactics that it says groups linked to Russia and Belarus are using to target Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. The tactics the groups are using include posing as journalists and independent news outlets online to push Russian talking points, attempting to hack dozens of Ukrainian soldiers' Facebook accounts, and running coordinated campaigns to try to get posts by critics of Russia removed from social media, according to Meta.
Russia admits to "significant" troop losses: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov briefly admitted Thursday that Russia had suffered “significant” losses of its troops in Ukraine, calling the losses “a huge tragedy” for the country in an interview with Sky News. Asked whether the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv and its region could be seen as “a humiliation” for the Kremlin, Peskov said using those words would be “a wrong understanding of the situation.”
US official says this will be a "long slog": Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley said he expects Russia’s war with Ukraine to “be a long slog” as Ukraine fights to maintain its territorial integrity with no signs on the horizon that the Kremlin will stop its aggression. “I would say that 'what does winning look like?' I think winning is Ukraine remains a free and independent nation that it’s been since 1991 with their territorial integrity intact. That’s going to be very difficult. That’s going to be a long slog,” Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
UN member states vote to suspend Russia from HRC: The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council during a meeting Thursday. The voting result: in favor 93; against 24; abstention 58. In a draft of the resolution, the UNGA said the General Assembly would “suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”