April 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Travis Caldwell, Jessie Yeung, Sana Noor Haq and Ben Church, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, April 8, 2022
43 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:30 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

UNGA suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

From CNN’s Richard Roth and Samantha Beech

Ukraine's Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
Ukraine's Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. (John Minchillo/AP)

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.”

The General Assembly needed to vote in favor by two-thirds to remove Russia from the council.

The Deputy Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Gennady Kuzmin said Russia considers the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the suspension of its membership in the Human Rights Council “an illegitimate and politically motivated step." Kuzmin also claimed it is Russia that decided to end or suspend its membership in the council before the end of its term on the Thursday.

Before the vote, China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun said the country would vote against the move.

“Dealing with the membership of the Human Rights Council in such a way will set new dangerous precedent” and “produce serious consequences," Zhang said speaking at the UNGA on Thursday.

“China calls on all parties to work together in the same direction so as to create opportunities for peace and prospects for negotiation. China will continue to hold an objection and impartial position and play a responsible and constructive role in this regard," Zhang added.

11:31 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Estonia is prepared to stop importing Russian gas "within this year," foreign minister says

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty & Chris Liakos in London

Estonia wants to end its reliance on Russian gas “within this year,” Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets told CNN Thursday.

The images of civilian killings from Bucha had “changed public opinion in our societies and because of that, we go quickly forward with these decisions to end financial flows to Russia," Liimets said.

The Foreign Minister said it was “unfortunate” to see the European Union had paid €35 billion for Russian energy since the start of the war, calling it “unproportionally big” compared to the financial support given to Ukraine.

The government said Thursday that it made a decision in principle that Estonia would stop importing Russian gas this year.

Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications announced earlier today that Estonia and Finland had agreed to a joint leasing of a floating LNG terminal, guaranteeing a supply for both countries without relying on Russia.

“The supply of natural gas to both Estonia and Finland is highly reliant on Russia, and given the uncertain times we are facing, that means we have to cover our backs and make preparations to do without Russian gas altogether,” Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said in a statement.

Highlighting the need for such an agreement, the statement said “almost half a year’s consumption would not be covered if the supply lines were cut.”

The floating terminal is planned to be in place by the fall.

11:31 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Russia calls on UN members to reject resolution suspending country from Human Rights Council

From CNN staff

The Deputy Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Gennady Kuzmin called upon all United Nations member states to reject the resolution suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, calling the draft resolution “a dangerous precedent."

Kuzmin was the second speaker at the UN General Assembly Thursday morning, following the representative from Ukraine. 

“Today is not the time nor the place for theatrics," he said. "The draft resolution we are considering today has no relationship to the actual human rights situation on the ground.” 

The vote on suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council “is an attempt by the United States to maintain its dominate position and total control to continue its attempt at human rights colonialism in international relations," the Russian representative said. “The possible exclusion of the Russian Federation from the Human Rights Council could be a dangerous precedent."

Russia “has consistently defended the principle of cooperation based on mutual respect and equal status as one of the main foundations of the human rights architecture," he claimed.

The Russian representative said his country “reject the untruthful allegations against us based on staged events and widely circulated fakes.”

11:09 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Ukraine continues to negotiate with Russia "to prevent more Buchas," foreign minister says 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler in Brussels

Ukraine continues to negotiate with Russia “to prevent more Buchas,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, and again called on the international community to increase pressure on the Kremlin, suggesting that as long as the war continues, sanctions cannot be seen as fully efficient.

The positions of each side in the diplomatic negotiations “will be defined by the successes of relevant armies and the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia," Kuleba said.

“These are the two main criteria which make either our or their position stronger,” he said at a news conference in Brussels following a meeting of the NATO foreign ministers. “Of course, we are focused on making sure that we will be stronger and we will eventually prevail.”

Kuleba reiterated his plea to the international community to stop buying Russian gas and oil. 

“As long as the West … continues buying Russian gas and oil, it is supporting Ukraine with one hand while supporting Russia war machine with another,” he said.

“The damage that is being inflicted on Russia by sanctions now has … long term implications for Russia," the foreign minister acknowledged. “But people are dying today. Their offensive is unfolding today. And we need steps which will stop Russia’s war machine today. As long as this hasn’t been done, we cannot speak about efficiency, full efficiency of sanctions."

1:31 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Top US general warns Ukraine war will be "long slog"

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Niah Humphrey

Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, April 7 in Washington, DC.
Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, April 7 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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. 

Ukraine has successfully defeated Russia’s initial onslaught on Kyiv, Milley said, but he noted there’s a battle ahead in the southeastern part of the country as Russia has refocused its war efforts there.

“They've managed to defeat the Russian onslaught on to Kyiv, but there is a significant battle yet ahead down in the southeast, down around the Donbas-Donetsk region where the Russians intend to get mass forces and continue their assault,” Milley said. “So I think it's an open question right now, how this ends. Ideally, Putin decides to ceasefire, stop his aggression, and as some sort of diplomatic intervention. But right now that doesn't look like it's on the horizon, the immediate horizon.”

11:05 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Ukraine calls on UN members to support resolution suspending Russia from Human Rights Council

From CNN's Laura Ly

Ukraine's Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks during a UN General Assembly vote on a draft resolution seeking to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council in New York on Thursday, April 7.
Ukraine's Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks during a UN General Assembly vote on a draft resolution seeking to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council in New York on Thursday, April 7. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya called upon all United Nations member states to support the resolution suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council. 

Kyslytsya was the first speaker at the UN General Assembly Thursday morning and likened the Human Rights Council to a sinking Titanic. 

“Now the world has come to a crucial juncture. We witness that our liner is going through treacherous fog towards deadly icebergs. It might seem that we should have named it the Titanic instead of the Human Rights Council," Kyslytsya said. "We need to take an action today to save the council from sinking.”

The Ukrainian ambassador said Russia’s actions in Ukraine “would be equated to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

While he noted that a vote to suspend a country from the Human Rights Council is “a rare and extraordinary action,” he said “Russia’s actions are beyond the pale.” 

“I call upon all responsible member states to support the draft,” Kyslytsya said. “In a couple of minutes, you will have the chance to prove that you are not an indifferent bystander. All you need to do is to press the ‘yes’ button and to save the Human Rights Council and many lives around the world, and in Ukraine. On the other hand, pressing no means pulling a trigger, and it means a red dot on the screen, red as the blood of the innocent lives lost. And this image of the red bloody dots on this screen will stay with you and all of us, as long as memory does not fail us.”

The draft resolution is co-sponsored by more than 50 UN member states, Kyslytsya said.

10:57 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

US Defense secretary says arms arriving in Ukraine "within days of authorization"

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis and Jeremy Herb

US security assistance is flowing into Ukraine “faster than most people would have ever believed conceivable,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday, adding that at times, it is arriving in Ukraine within days of receiving authorization.

“From the time authorization is provided, four or five days later, we see real capability begin to show up,” Austin said during a hearing on the Defense Department budget request before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Austin’s comments came in response to questioning from lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee. GOP Sen. Roger Wicker pressed Austin on why all of $3 billion in congressional authorization for US arms to Ukraine has yet to be provided.  

“We've only used $900 million of this — less than a third of the amount authorized. Why hasn't the administration provided the full $3 billion?” 

Austin told Wicker that the US has provided Ukraine with “those capabilities that are relevant and effective in this fight.”  

“You’ve seen us provide a tremendous amount of anti-armor, anti-aircraft capability and also communications capabilities, as well as UAVs. And we're also looking to help them in a number of other ways,” he said.

10:31 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

UNGA set to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council during General Assembly on Thursday

From CNN’s Richard Roth at the United Nations in New York 

The United Nations General Assembly is expected to vote Thursday on whether to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

In a draft of the resolution on whether to suspend Russia from the Geneva based Human Rights Council seen by CNN, the UNGA said the General Assembly may “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.”

The Council has “grave concern” regarding reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” and “violations of international humanitarian law” committed by the Russian Federation during its aggression against Ukraine, the draft resolution adds.

The General Assembly would need to vote in favor by two-thirds majority to remove Russia from the HRC.

If the vote is passed, it will decide to suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation.

A number of countries are expected to speak at the UNGA ahead of the vote, including representatives from Russia and Ukraine.

10:29 a.m. ET, April 7, 2022

US Commerce Department bars American exports to 3 Russian airlines

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - 2021/09/16: Aeroflot Russian Airlines Airbus A320 civil jet aircrafts at Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, on September 19, 2021.
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - 2021/09/16: Aeroflot Russian Airlines Airbus A320 civil jet aircrafts at Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, on September 19, 2021. (Leonid Faerberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The US Commerce Department on Thursday moved to block three Russian airlines from receiving exported parts from the US in the department’s first move to punish alleged violations of export controls since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The move — which applies to Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot, along with airlines Azur Air and Utair — is an effort to cut off the airlines from the global economy.

It follows US sanctions announced Wednesday against two of Russia’s biggest banks and the adult children of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as US President Joe Biden accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine.

The Commerce Department’s so-called Temporary Denial Orders, which are valid for six months and can be renewed, effectively bar the use of US parts to service the planes, as well as maintenance contracts for planes that are subject to US export regulations. 

As result of the orders, the Russian airlines would over time “largely be unable to continue flying either internationally or domestically,” said Matthew Axelrod, assistant secretary of Commerce for export enforcement.

“[I]t’s obviously difficult to keep flying if you can’t service your planes,” Axelrod said Thursday at a press briefing, adding that the three Russian airlines would commit “imminent” violations of export controls by flying “US origin aircraft” into Russia without authorization for continuing to fly those aircraft within Russia without authorization.

CNN has requested comment from the three Russian airlines.