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
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11:39 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

US sanctions Russian state-owned companies involved with war in Ukraine

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The United States on Thursday imposed blocking sanctions on two Russian state-owned companies it said are involved in the war in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The sanctions also include subsidiaries and board members of one of those companies, Blinken said.

The action targets what the US said is Russia’s largest shipbuilding company, United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), 28 USC subsidiaries and eight members of the USC board of directors — as well as Russia’s diamond mining company, Alrosa.

"USC is one of Russia’s largest state-owned enterprises, and it developed and constructed the warships that have bombarded Ukraine’s cities," Blinken said in a statement.
"Alrosa is a diamond-mining company, controlled by the Russian government, the proceeds of which help to finance the Russian government’s war and atrocities against Ukraine."

The latest tranche of sanctions was announced following a meeting of the NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels on Thursday. 

11:17 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Italy's Mario Draghi accuses Russia of committing massacres in Ukraine

From CNN's Stefano Pozzebon

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi listens to a question during a press conference in Rome on Thursday.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi listens to a question during a press conference in Rome on Thursday. (Gregorio Borgia/Pool/AP)

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi accused Russia of conducting massacres in Ukraine, during a speech in Rome on Thursday.

His comments came after Russia hit out at Italy over sanctions.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused Italy of “indecency” over imposing sanctions against Moscow, Italian state news agency ANSA reported.

“The only indecency is the massacres we are seeing every day," Draghi said when asked about Zakharova’s comments.

Draghi was speaking at a joint news conference following his meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Rome. 

Rome has backed new EU sanctions against Moscow including on Russian gas, which accounts for 40% of Italy's total gas supplies, according to ANSA. 

10:44 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Japan to reduce Russian coal imports over Ukraine

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo 

Japan will gradually reduce imports of Russian coal in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said Friday.

Minister Koichi Hagiuda said Japan is aiming to break its dependence on Russian products through a range of measures, according to METI spokesperson Hiroshi Tsuchiya.

A timeline of when Russian coal imports would be reduced and additional details were not provided.

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

Fox News correspondent who survived deadly Ukraine attack is recovering from severe injuries

Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall, who was injured while reporting near Kyiv last month in an attack that claimed the lives of two other journalists, shared more about his condition on Twitter late Thursday night.

"To sum it up, I've lost half a leg on one side and a foot on the other. One hand is being put together, one eye is no longer working, and my hearing is pretty blown… but all in all I feel pretty damn lucky to be here - and it is the people who got me here who are amazing!" he wrote in the tweet.

Deadly attack: Hall had been with longtime Fox News photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian consultant Oleksandra Kuvshynova when their vehicle was struck by incoming fire on March 14, Fox News chief executive Suzanne Scott said in a memo to employees afterward.

Hall, 39, was injured and rushed to a hospital. Zakrzewski and Kuvshynova were initially thought to be missing until officials in Ukraine confirmed they were dead. The officials blamed artillery shelling by Russian forces.

"The truth is the target," Ukraine's Ministry of Defense said afterward.

9:59 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Australia is sending 20 armored vehicles to Ukraine

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

An armored vehicle being loaded for delivery to Ukraine at the RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, Australia.
An armored vehicle being loaded for delivery to Ukraine at the RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, Australia. (Australian Department of Defense)

Australia will send 20 of its home-built Bushmaster armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday.

The vehicles, produced by the Australian subsidiary of French company Thales, have been painted olive green with a Ukrainian flag on the side, and the words "United With Ukraine" stenciled on the vehicles.

The first three of the Australian Government’s gift of 20 armored vehicles, being loaded for delivery to Ukraine at the RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, Australia.
The first three of the Australian Government’s gift of 20 armored vehicles, being loaded for delivery to Ukraine at the RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, Australia. (Australian Department of Defense)

Two of the Bushmasters are "ambulance variants" that carry the Red Cross emblem.

The vehicles were specifically requested by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in an address to Australia’s parliament on March 31.

"The Bushmaster was built in Australia to provide protected mobility transport, safely moving soldiers to a battle area prior to dismounting for close combat," a statement from Morrison's office said Friday.
"The Bushmaster is well suited to provide protection to the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers and Ukrainian civilians against mines and improvised explosive devices, shrapnel from artillery and small arms fire."
9:10 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

EU pledges another 500 million euros in military support for Ukraine

From CNN's James Frater and Aliza Kassim

The European Union will commit a further 500 million euros ($543 million) in military support to Ukraine, European Commission President Charles Michel announced Thursday. 

The pledge takes the EU's military aid to Ukraine to a total of 1.5 billion euros ($1.63 billion) since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, he said in a tweet.

The European Peace Facility, created in 2021, is an emergency fund of 5.69 billion euros that allows the EU to quickly finance military operations and “preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security,” according to the EU.

9:23 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Microsoft says it disrupted Russian hacking infrastructure aimed at Ukraine

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

Microsoft used a US court order to disable seven internet domains that a hacking group linked with Russian intelligence was using to try to infiltrate Ukrainian media organizations, in a likely effort to support Russia’s war, Microsoft said Thursday. 

The hacking group, best known in the US for breaching the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 election, was likely trying to use cyber intrusions to “provide tactical support for the physical invasion and exfiltrate sensitive information,” according to Microsoft.  

The hackers were “also targeting government institutions and think tanks in the United States and the European Union involved in foreign policy,” Tom Burt, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. 

It was not immediately clear how successful the hacking attempts were. Microsoft declined to comment beyond the blog post.

It’s the second time this week that a powerful US corporation or government agency has disclosed the use of a court order to target hackers accused of working for Russia’s military intelligence directorate, GRU.

The moves reflect US officials’ ongoing concerns about potential Russian retaliatory cyberattacks against US targets, and a more aggressive strategy to try to thwart state-backed hacking operations.

The Justice Department revealed Wednesday that it had used a court order to disrupt a network of thousands of hacked computers controlled by another GRU-linked hacking group that could have been used in a cyberattack. 

That network of infected computers, known as a botnet, “was a threat to US businesses, particularly the ones who were compromised, and it required action given the current threat environment,” the Justice Department official told reporters.

Russian cyber offense: While some analysts have argued that the full scope of Russian cyber capabilities hasn’t reared its head in Ukraine during the war, Burt said Microsoft has seen “nearly all of Russia’s nation-state actors engaged in the ongoing full-scale offensive” against critical infrastructure and government organizations in Ukraine. 

10:09 p.m. ET, April 7, 2022

Pink Floyd to release first new music in 28 years in support of Ukraine  

From CNN’s Max Foster and Mia Alberti  

Pink Floyd perform "Hey Hey Rise Up" in this screengrab taken from the music video for the song.
Pink Floyd perform "Hey Hey Rise Up" in this screengrab taken from the music video for the song. (From Pink Floyd/YouTube)

Legendary rock band Pink Floyd is releasing a new single "Hey Hey Rise Up" on Friday in support of the people of Ukraine, the band said in a statement on Thursday.

It's the first new music from the band since 1994, and all proceeds will go to Ukrainian humanitarian relief, the statement added. 

The song is performed by guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, with bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboard, according to the statement.  

The song features vocals by Andriy Khlyvnyuk from the Ukrainian band Boombox. The band used audio of Khlyvnyuk singing in central Kyiv, where he performed "a rousing Ukrainian protest song written during the first world war which has been taken up across the world over the past month in protest" against the Russian invasion.

Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, said in the statement that he felt moved by Khlyvnyuk's performance "in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and ... in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war." 

"It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music," he said. 

Pink Floyd says the Ukrainian singer, who left his band to join the army, is in the hospital after being hit by shrapnel.  

“We, like so many, have been feeling the fury and the frustration of this vile act of an independent, peaceful democratic country being invaded and having its people murdered by one of the world's major powers,” Gimour said. 
"We want to express our support for Ukraine and in that way, show that most of the world thinks that it is totally wrong for a superpower to invade the independent democratic country that Ukraine has become.”

The artwork for the single features a painting of a sunflower, Ukraine's national flower, a "direct reference" to the elderly woman who was seen giving sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers, the band said.