April 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Amy Woodyatt, Ben Church, Melissa Macaya, Jason Kurtz and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
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1:29 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

164 bodies have been found in Bucha, Ukrainian prosecutor general says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen looks at bodies pulled from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen looks at bodies pulled from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktovae revealed on Friday that 164 bodies have been found in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where a massacre of civilians was uncovered following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

"As of yesterday (April 7), 164 dead have been found in Bucha," she said in televised remarks. "Plus today 21 that we exhumated from the mass grave before heavy rain started."

Venedyktova said 26 bodies had been retrieved yesterday from under the rubble of a collapsed building in another Kyiv suburb, Borodianka, and that two more bodies had been recovered Friday. She warned that more bodies were likely to be found in destroyed buildings in the town.

1:56 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Odesa is under curfew due to threat of Russian missile strikes

From Nathan Hodge in Lviv

People walk in downtown Odesa, Ukraine on April 5.
People walk in downtown Odesa, Ukraine on April 5. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian authorities in the southern region of Odesa have imposed a curfew for the next day and a half following deadly Russian missile strikes on a train station in the east on Friday.

Due to the threat of Russian forces launching missile strikes in the province, residents have been told to stay home from 9 p.m. local time Friday until 6 a.m. local time Sunday morning.

During the curfew it will be prohibited to be out on the streets or in public places without special permissions, the Odesa Regional State Administration said in a statement.

“I appeal to Odessa residents and residents of the region to understand the restrictions imposed and not to violate them. Such measures are necessary, first of all, for your safety, which will save your life, because the consequences can be fatal," the Head of Odessa Regional Military Administration Maxim Marchenko said.

1:50 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

EU Commission chief warns Hungary: If you pay in rubles, you violate EU sanctions

From CNN’s Emmet Lyons and Arnaud Siad

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, speaks with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Friday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, speaks with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Friday. (CNN)

Hungary will be breaking EU sanctions if they make good on their promise to pay for Russian energy in rubles, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told CNN.

“We did an analysis of the decree of Putin, and the legal case is very clear. What Putin is suggesting – this transforming euros into rubles and then paying the gas bill — it would be a breach of sanctions. If you do that, pay in rubles, you breach the sanctions, you circumvent the sanctions we put on Russia,” EU Commission President von der Leyen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Friday. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had indicated that his country would be willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree demanding that ‘unfriendly countries’ will be required to pay for gas in the currency. 

The EU were in discussions with Budapest, Von der Leyen told CNN.

“So far Hungary has stuck to the sanctions, so until we don’t see the opposite, it’s fine. Never before have we seen the European Union so united, so determined, so fast. And I think for each of our member states, also a question, do I want to be the first one to break that unity? I think no,” she said. 

12:00 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Russia expels 45 Polish diplomats, Russian Foreign Ministry announces

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova in Dubai

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it will expel 45 Polish diplomats from Russia on Friday in response to Poland expelling 45 Russian diplomats. 

“As a response to Poland's unfriendly actions to expel Russian diplomats, based on the principle of reciprocity, 45 employees of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and the consulates general of the Republic of Poland in Irkutsk, Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg were declared 'persona non grata'," the Russians Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Telegram.

“They must leave the territory of the Russian Federation before the end of the day on April 13. The corresponding note was handed over to the Ambassador of Poland in Russia,” the statement said.

The Polish Ambassador to Moscow, Krzysztof Kraevsky, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday to express “strong protest” over Poland’s decision to expel 45 Russian diplomats as persona non grata, according to the statement. 

Persona non grata literally means "an unwelcome person."

“The ambassador was told that we regard this step as confirmation of Warsaw's conscious desire to finally destroy bilateral relations. The responsibility for this lies entirely with the Polish side,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

1:45 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky is meeting with European leaders now in Kyiv

From CNN's Radina Gigova

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Michael Fischer/picture alliance/Getty Images)

A meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has started in Kyiv, Zelensky's office said in a statement Friday.

"Negotiations will take place in a narrow circle, after which the Head of State and EU representatives will make statements to Ukrainian and foreign media and answer their questions," the statement says without providing additional details. 

Borrell and von der Leyen arrived in Ukraine earlier on Friday.

During a visit to Bucha, von der Leyen said those responsible for the atrocities committed there "will be brought to justice."

"It was important to start my visit in Bucha. Because in Bucha our humanity was shattered. My message to Ukrainian people: Those responsible for the atrocities will be brought to justice," von der Leyen said on her official Twitter account Friday. 

"Your fight is our fight. I’m in Kyiv today to tell you that Europe is on your side," she added.

2:12 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

US assesses a Russian short range ballistic missile struck the Kramatorsk train station 

From CNN's Barbara Starr, Jonny Hallam and Abby Baggini

Ukrainian servicemen stand next to fragments of a missile outside the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
Ukrainian servicemen stand next to fragments of a missile outside the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Andriy Andriyenko/AP)

The initial US assessment is the missile that hit the Kramatorsk train station was a short range ballistic missile fired from a Russian position inside Ukraine, a senior US defense official said Friday.

It is the “full expectation” of the US that the attack on the Kramatorsk train station in Ukraine was a Russian strike with an SS-21 short range ballistic missile, according to another senior US defense official.

The official said that while the US does not have “perfect visibility into the Russian targeting process,” the train station is a major rail hub located “right on the edge of the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the Donbas area.”

Earlier Friday, Ukraine accused Russian forces of using indiscriminate cluster munitions in Friday's attack that left at least 50 people dead.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of Donetsk region military administration, said that a Russian Tochka-U missile packed with small bomblets hit civilians evacuating the area. 

Russian forces have been accused of regularly using cluster munitions against civilian targets in Ukraine. Last week, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times.

Such attacks “may amount to war crimes,” UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

The nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also confirmed Russia's use of cluster munitions, including at least three instances in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on March 7, 11, and 13, 2022. 

Cluster munitions pose a distinct threat to civilians by randomly scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. Bomblets that fail to explode upon impact often become de facto landmines, extending the damage post-conflict. 

In 2008, over 100 countries in the United Nations signed on to ban cluster munitions, according to the UN website. Ukraine and Russia did not sign the agreement.

11:58 a.m. ET, April 8, 2022

UK will send more air defense and anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, prime minister says

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference on April 8 in London, England.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference on April 8 in London, England. (Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The UK will send more air defense and anti-tank missiles to Ukraine as part of a new package of high-grade military equipment worth 100 million pounds ($130 million), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in London, he also said Britain and Germany will be collaborating on energy security and renewables, as Europe aims to phase out its dependency on Russian fossil fuels.

“We cannot transform our respective energy systems overnight. But we also know that Putin's war will not end overnight," Johnson said.

“Today, I can announce that the UK will send a further £100 million worth of high-grade equipment to Ukraine's Armed Forces, including more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, which fire at three times the speed of sound, another 800 anti-tank missiles and precision munitions capable of lingering in the sky directly to their target,” he said.

“We will also send more helmets, night vision and body armor on top of the 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment the UK has already dispatched,” Johnson said. 

The British and German governments will hold a joint cabinet meeting within the next year, and defense ministers will meet before the next NATO summit in June, Johnson further announced. 

11:37 a.m. ET, April 8, 2022

France is ready "to go further" and ban Russian oil, French finance minister tells CNN

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty and Chris Liakos

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks with CNN on Friday, April 8.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks with CNN on Friday, April 8. (CNN)

France is ready “to go further” and ban Russian oil, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told CNN on Friday.

Le Maire called the attack on a railway station in Kramatorsk, which left at least 50 people dead, “a massacre” and said those responsible must be “identified, prosecuted and possibly convicted for these crimes.”

France did not want to wait and a ban on oil would be a “game changer,�� Le Maire said, but added that European unity was needed to implement stricter sanctions on energy. 

“As France is concerned we stand ready to go further and to decide a ban on oil and I’m deeply convinced that the next steps and the next discussions will focus on this question of the ban on Russian oil,” he said. 

Le Maire did stress that the current sanctions agreed by the EU were very effective and “the most heavy since the creation of the European union.”

11:44 a.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Death toll in Kramatorsk train station missile strike rises to 50, according to regional military governor

From CNN's Julia Presniakova in Lviv

Calcinated cars are pictured outside a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, after it was hit by a rocket attack on April 8.
Calcinated cars are pictured outside a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, after it was hit by a rocket attack on April 8. (Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

The death toll from a missile strike on a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, has risen to 50, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of Donetsk region military administration.

In an update on Telegram, Kyrylenko said 50 people had died, five of whom were children, adding that 12 of the victims died after being taken to the hospital. 

"We have such a large number of victims at this hour as a result of the attack of the Russian occupation forces Tochka-U [ballistic missile] on the Kramatorsk railway station," he said. "At that moment, 98 people have been taken to hospitals. We expect that other victims will seek medical help within one or two days, so the number of victims will be constantly changing."

Of the 98 wounded who were taken to medical facilities, 16 were children, 46 were women and 36 were men, Kyrylenko said.

In an earlier statement on Telegram, Kyrylenko had said the station was struck by an Iskander missile. This latest statement updates that a Tochka-U missile was used.