Russia invades Ukraine

By Aditi Sangal, Joe Ruiz, Helen Regan, Ivana Kottasová and Sana Noor Haq, CNN

Updated 12:19 a.m. ET, April 10, 2022
17 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:19 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

"There are no words for the horror I've seen in Bucha," European Commission chief says

From CNN's James Frater and Radina Gigova

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)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described what she saw during her visit to the Ukrainian town of Bucha as "horror" and reiterated her "admiration" for the Ukrainians who are fighting the Russian invasion.

“There are no words for the horror I've seen in Bucha, the ugly face of Putin's army terrorizing people," von der Leyen said during a global 'Stand Up For Ukraine' event in Poland's capital of Warsaw on Saturday. “I have so much admiration for our brave Ukrainian friends fighting against this. They are fighting our war."

“It's our fight that they are in, because it's not only Ukraine fighting for its sovereignty and integrity, but they're also fighting for the question whether humanity will prevail, or whether heinous devastation will be the result," von der Leyen said. 

She traveled to Kyiv on Friday along with EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials. 

Zelensky and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke at the 'Stand Up For Ukraine' event.

Zelensky praised the courage of his compatriots and reiterated his call for additional military and financial assistance.

"Russian leadership failed to account for one fact. The fact that it attacks the other largest country in the world, Ukraine, the largest by its courage. We are not afraid of massive missile strikes, Russian aircrafts and never-ending tank columns," he said said. 

“We're here today to answer President Zelensky's call for the international community to ​mobilize in support for Ukrainian refugees and all Ukrainians," said Trudeau. 

9:42 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

The European Union is resuming its diplomatic presence in Kyiv. Italy will follow

From CNN's Radina Gigova in Atlanta and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 8.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 8. (Adam Schreck/AP)

The European Union is resuming its diplomatic presence in Kyiv after moving it temporarily to Poland following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the bloc announced Friday. 

EU Ambassador to Ukraine Matti Maasikas "is returning to Kyiv to enhance EU presence and ensure support to our Ukrainian partners," the bloc said on its official Twitter account Saturday. Maasikas expressed his own positive thoughts on Twitter.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell traveled to Ukraine on Friday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian officials.

"With this visit, the European Union is returning to Kyiv," Borrell tweeted Friday. "And I mean this literally: our Head of Delegation is back here, so that we can work even more directly and more closely with our Ukrainian partners, ensuring support for Ukrainians."

Italy also intends to reopen its embassy in Kyiv after Easter, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Saturday. 

"Ambassador [Pier Francesco] Zazo and our embassy have never left Ukraine — it is in Lviv, in the west of the country. But now the time has come to give a big signal to the Ukrainians ... and thank them for kicking out the Russian troops from Kyiv," Di Maio said speaking to the press in Volla, near Naples.

The foreign minister said some Italian citizens have remained in Kyiv and "are safer thanks to the Ukrainian resistance."

Slovenia has also reopened its embassy in Kyiv since March 28, according to Slovenia's Foreign Ministry. 

9:14 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Refugees sheltering in factory get modular homes from former New York governor

From CNN’s Chris Hippensteel

Ukrainians tour the modular homes near the village of Solomonovo in Zakarpattia Oblast.
Ukrainians tour the modular homes near the village of Solomonovo in Zakarpattia Oblast. (Continest)

A former New York governor is working with a Hungarian company to provide modular homes for internally displaced refugees in Ukraine.  

The first shipment of about 20 foldable units arrived on April 3 in Solomonovo in Zakarpattia Oblast, a village just across Ukraine’s border with Hungary and Slovakia.

The houses were set up near a factory that has served as a temporary shelter for more than 100 refugees, many of them women and children, former New York Gov. George Pataki told CNN. 

Pataki’s foundation, the George E. Pataki Leadership and Learning Center, paid Hungary-based company Continest to build, ship and set up the units which are designed to be easy to move and deploy.

“We don't have the resources to provide the quite literally hundreds of thousands that are needed across Ukraine, but we're gonna do everything we can to provide as many as we can,” Pataki said. “We're providing the first step. We just hope that this serves as a model.”  

“In the factory, people are safe – they have heat, they have running water, but they don't have any privacy,” said Vidor Kis-Márton, CEO of Continest. “This is what we can offer them.” He said another ten units from Continest will continue on to the town of Bucha.  

Housing crisis for displaced people

Pataki’s foundation has made repeated trips to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, delivering food and other supplies. He said they quickly realized there was an intense need for housing for displaced Ukrainians. 

The International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 7.1 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced by the conflict. More than 4.2 million people have left Ukraine since the invasion began in late February, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Pataki expressed concern that charitable organizations and nonprofits are undertaking much of the work to house internally displaced people -- and that humanitarian aid from the United States and other countries hasn’t yet played a sizeable role, at least in the regions he’s visited.  

The modular houses will provide temporary homes for refugees.
The modular houses will provide temporary homes for refugees. (Continest)

Kis-Márton hopes the units will remain in place until serious efforts can begin to rebuild homes in Ukraine -- something he doesn’t predict will happen overnight. In the meantime, he hopes the modular houses will offer Ukrainians safety and dignity while the country rebuilds. 

“We are already thinking about rebuilding,” Kis-Márton said. “The war is not over, but the rebirth of Ukraine has actually started.”

8:34 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Ukraine's trains have helped 3.5 million people flee their homes since the invasion

Refugees from Mariupol arrive at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine on March 24.
Refugees from Mariupol arrive at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine on March 24. (Ty O'Neil/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Images of trains overcrowded with passengers fleeing the war, sitting on the floor and sleeping in the aisles, shook people around the world after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The trains have kept running ever since, despite heavy fighting in some parts of the country. Journeys often taken much longer than they normally would, with lights inside dimmed to avoid the trains becoming a target.

Ukrainian Railways said Saturday that 3.5 million people have used trains to flee their homes.

The state-owned company said that most people left from Kyiv, Kharkiv and the Donbas region and headed to Lviv and Uzhorod, two cities close to the border in the country's west.

Nearly half a million people used trains to travel abroad, with the majority going to Przemyśl, Warsaw and Chełm in Poland, the company added. Foreign evacuation routes were also arranged to Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The company said efforts to evacuate more people are continuing, despite the strike on a train station in Kramatorsk on Friday, which left more than 50 dead.

Trains have been scheduled from Pokrovsk and Slovyansk in the Donetsk region and Novozolotarivka in Luhansk.

-- CNN's Nathan Hodge and Julia Presniakova contributed reporting.

6:50 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Quarter of Russian forces "effectively inoperable," says European official

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

About one quarter of Russian forces used in the invasion of Ukraine are “effectively inoperable,” according to a European official, following heavy losses, poor logistics and sustainment.

Russia had arrayed approximately 120 Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs), around Ukraine ahead of the invasion, CNN reported at the time.

Six weeks into the war, approximately 29 of those are now out of commission, the official said.

Russian forces have tried to combine some of the remaining parts of the BTGs into coherent fighting units, using the remains of two or three BTGs to attempt to make one, the official added.

Some background: The comments come a day after Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov briefly admitted on Thursday that Russia had suffered “significant” losses of its troops in Ukraine, calling it “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.”

“We have significant losses of troops and it’s a huge tragedy for us,” Peskov admitted, before claiming the reason for Russia’s withdrawal from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions was “an act of goodwill during the negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations.” 

Peskov added that Russia did so to “lift tension from those regions in order to show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions for the continuation of the negotiations.”

CNN has been unable to verify how many Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine. Last month, pro-Putin Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported the toll was 9,861 -- multiple times higher than official figures from the Kremlin. The figure, which was attributed to the ministry and later retracted by the paper -- which claimed it was hacked -- was not confirmed by the Kremlin.

US and NATO officials estimated last month that Russian casualties range from between 3,000 to 10,000. Ukrainian officials have claimed the toll is even higher.

CNN’s Martin Goillandeau contributed reporting to this post.

7:25 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Heavy shelling of Kharkiv continuing, regional military governor says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova and Kostan Nechyporenko

A damaged residential building is seen after shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on April 9.
A damaged residential building is seen after shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on April 9. (Oleksandr Lapshyn/Reuters)

Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said on Saturday that Russian forces have continued shelling of the regional capital of Kharkiv.

"During the past day, the occupiers inflicted about 50 blows from artillery, mortars, tanks and MLRS (multiple rocket launchers)," he said in a statement on Telegram.

"The infrastructure of (the districts of) Saltivka, Kholodna Hora, Oleksiyivka, XTZ (Kharkiv tractor plant district) was affected," he added.

Some background: In recent days Ukrainian officials have warned of a possible major Russian offensive in the country's east, describing an effort by Russian forces to advance from Izium in southern Kharkiv region toward the Donbas region.

Regional officials have also urged the evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine in advance of what they say may be heavy fighting in Donbas. 

On Thursday, Borys Filatov, the mayor of Dnipro -- a regional capital south of Kharkiv region -- called for women, children and the elderly to leave the city. 

10:59 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

It's 12 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

Ukraine is bracing for a new onslaught by Russian forces in the country's east, while still reeling from an attack on a railway station that killed at least 50 people on Friday.

Here's the latest:

Zelensky expects 'a firm, global response' to Kramatorsk: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to hold to account everyone behind the missile strike on a railway station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.

At least 50 people, including five children, were killed at the station which was being used by civilians trying to flee the fighting, Ukrainian officials said Friday.

Russia accused of war crimes: International leaders including the European Parliament President Roberta Metsola say the missile strike in Kramatorsk and other attacks on civilians in Ukraine constitute war crimes.

Speaking to CNN on Friday, Metsola said the attacks were: "International war crimes being committed against sovereign people who are simply fighting for democracy and for their country.”

Ukraine expects huge new onslaught: The military governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine said Russian forces are preparing for a "massive breakthrough" attempt in Donbas.

The UK's Ministry of Defence said some of the Russian troops that have withdrawn from northern Ukraine will be transferred to eastern Ukraine to fight in Donbas but “many of the forces will require significant replenishment before being ready to deploy further east, with any mass redeployment from the north likely to take at least a week minimum.”

Ukrainian officials have urged residents of some cities in Donbas to evacuate in anticipation of what they say may be heavy fighting.

Rerouting evacuation corridors: The Ukrainian military said it was working to "adjust" routes for civilians following the strike in Kramatorsk.

Serhii Haidai, the military governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, said the attack meant changes were being made to the routes, but stressed that efforts to get people out of the region will continue: "We are ready, we will continue to evacuate people."

Odesa under curfew: Authorities in the southern region of Odesa have imposed a curfew for Saturday following the deadly strike in Kramatorsk. Residents have been told to stay home from 9 p.m. local time on Friday (2 p.m. ET) until 6 a.m. on Monday morning (11 p.m. ET Sunday night).

Russians still facing logistical issues: The US believes the Russian military has not solved “their logistics and sustainment problems,” a senior US defense official told CNN.

The official said those problems mean that they will be unlikely to be able to reinforce their forces in the eastern part of Ukraine “with any great speed.”

4:41 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Evacuation routes adjusted after Kramatorsk strike, regional military governor says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova, Sophie Jeong and Matilda Kuklish

Kramatorsk train station seen following the attack on Friday.
Kramatorsk train station seen following the attack on Friday. (Fadel Senna/AFP)

The military governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region said evacuation corridors for civilians were "being adjusted" following a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk train station on Friday.

Speaking on national television, Serhii Haidai said: "Unfortunately, after yesterday's disaster from Kramatorsk, our evacuation routes are being adjusted, but we are ready, we will continue to evacuate people."

Haidai said shelling was continuing across the region.

"All settlements are being shelled," he said. "The most difficult areas are Rubizhne, Popasna and Hirske community. The Hirske community is shelled from morning till night, constantly, the enemy has not stopped at all, they are fired on with all kinds of weapons, and by aircraft as well. Fighting continues in Popasna and Rubizhne."

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, announced on Telegram that 10 evacuation corridors have been agreed.

In the Donetsk region, she said there would be one corridor from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia for private vehicles.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, Vereshchuk said four corridors, from Berdiansk, Tokmak, Enerhodar and Melitopol to Zaporizhzhia would open for private vehicles and buses.

In the Luhansk region, Vereshchuk named five corridors to Bakhmut, coming from Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Rubizhne and the village of Hirske.

Some background: At least 50 people, including five children, were killed and almost 100 injured in a Russian missile strike on a train station used as an evacuation hub in the eastern city of Kramatorsk on Friday. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strike was "another war crime of Russia, for which everyone involved will be held accountable." 

Kramatorsk is a key railway evacuation point for civilians looking to flee heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have also warned that Russia is readying a major offensive in the eastern Donbas region. 

CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Jo Shelley contributed reporting to this post.

2:04 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Russia complains to Turkey about Ukraine's use of Turkish drones

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce, Jomana Karadsheh, and Masha Angelova

Russia has complained to Turkish officials about the Ukrainian military using drones manufactured in Turkey.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, a Turkish official said Ankara had told Moscow that Turkish drone-maker Baykar Technologies is a private company and Ukraine's purchase of the devices had been completed before the war.

According to CNN reporting, Ukrainian officials have been touting Baykar's Bayraktar TB2 drones as one of the most effective weapons in their arsenal.  

Last week, CNN gained rare access to the Baykar production facility in Turkey for an exclusive interview with its chief technology officer, Selcuk Bayraktar.

Bayraktar, who is also the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the drone was "doing what it was designed to do and upgraded to do."