April 1, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Simone McCarthy, Travis Caldwell, Helen Regan, Sana Noor Haq, Sara Spary and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, April 2, 2022
21 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:01 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

Chernihiv mayor says Russian shelling destroyed oncology ward of hospital

The mayor of Chernihiv Vladyslav Atroshenko talks to CNN on April 1.
The mayor of Chernihiv Vladyslav Atroshenko talks to CNN on April 1. (CNN)

The mayor of Chernihiv said that Russian shelling destroyed the oncology ward of a hospital in the northern Ukrainian city, just days after Russia said it would "drastically reduce" its military assault on Kyiv and Chernihiv.

"Some shells hit the regional hospital direct, and one of the buildings of the hospital, in fact the oncological unit, was completely destroyed. Three people sustained heavy injuries," Mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko told CNN's John Berman via a translator.

He also said there is no water or electricity, and the city could run out of food and medicine within a week. The only supplies coming in are being provided by the military and volunteers.

"At the moment, we are going through full humanitarian catastrophe," he said.

He himself caught an acute case of pneumonia, he said, but added that he'll "be fine."

7:37 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

A purported Ukrainian strike on fuel depot could have negative impact on negotiations, says Kremlin

From Uliana Pavlova 

A still image taken from video footage shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia, on April 1.
A still image taken from video footage shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia, on April 1. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Reuters)

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday that a purported strike by Ukrainian helicopters on a fuel depot in the southern Russian city of Belgorod could have a potential negative impact on negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.

A fire broke out at a fuel depot in Belgorod, a Russian city near the Ukrainian border, the regional governor said on his Telegram channel Friday morning.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Belgorod region, accused Ukraine of being behind the blaze without providing further evidence. CNN has not been able to verify this claim.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense told CNN it had no information about the incident. 

Belgorod is close to the northeastern Ukraine-Russia border, beyond which lies the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The Belgorod area was used as a staging ground for Russian before the invasion.

Asked if the incident was regarded by the Kremlin as an escalation of the conflict, Dmitry Peskov added: "Of course, this is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for continuing negotiations." 
7:31 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

Nearly 7,000 children from Ukraine have enrolled in French schools, France's education ministry says

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris

French President's wife Brigitte Macron, center, meets three Ukrainian refugee children in a school in Epinay-sur-Seine, north of Paris, France, on March 15.
French President's wife Brigitte Macron, center, meets three Ukrainian refugee children in a school in Epinay-sur-Seine, north of Paris, France, on March 15. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

French schools have enrolled 6,783 children from Ukraine since Russia began its invasion on Feb. 24, according to figures released by the French education ministry on Friday.

The children are attending schools spread across every region of mainland France and Corsica, according to the ministry data.

About 61% of the children are age 11 or under, with one in five between ages three and six.

More than 30,000 refugees arrived in France from Ukraine between Feb. 24 and March 25, according to the latest French interior ministry figures. 97% of those refugees were Ukrainian citizens.

Some background: The news comes a day after UNICEF said that two million children have now been forced to flee Ukraine.

More than 1.1 million have arrived in Poland alone, with hundreds of thousands in nearby countries of Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

UNICEF warned of a heightened risk of exploitation and trafficking for children fleeing violence. In an effort to quell those risks, the UN agency is scaling up “Blue Dots,” which are one-stop safe spaces for traveling families. 

More than 100 children have been killed in the conflict, UNICEF added, with more than 130 injured. 

And over 2.5 million children have been internally displaced within Ukraine, according to UNICEF.

CNN's Richard Roth contributed reporting to this post.

8:30 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

Red Cross on way to Mariupol with aid but it's "not yet clear" if new evacuations will happen

From CNN's Duarte Mendonca in London

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday it is sending humanitarian aid from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol in the form of “three cars and nine staff members.”

Speaking at a virtual United Nations briefing on Ukraine, ICRC spokesperson Ewan Watson said the teams traveling from Zaporizhzhia are hoping to “assist with the safe passage operation” but added that “this effort has been and remained extremely complex,” with a full plan not “yet in place to ensure that this happens in a safe manner.”

“Today, we remain hopeful we are an action moving towards Mariupol. That is obviously a good thing, but it's not yet clear that this will happen today,” Watson said.

“If and when it does happen, the ICRC his role as a neutral intermediary will be to lead the convoy out from many of Mariupol to another city in Ukraine. We're unable to confirm which city at the moment as this is something the parties must agree to. The latest information we have is that there will be potentially 54 buses, and we can expect many other civilian vehicles,” Watson added.

Watson reiterated that the evacuation from Mariupol -- expected to include thousands of people -- can only take place if specific criteria are fulfilled.

“The details that we insist on cemented in place include the exact safe passage route, its exact start time, and its duration. We have to be certain that the ceasefire holds of course we have to be certain that this humanitarian convoy can safely move through military checkpoints,” Watson said.

Local residents walk past a destroyed apartment building in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 31.
Local residents walk past a destroyed apartment building in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 31. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Watson went on to address the horrors seen in this conflict in Ukraine, particularly in Mariupol, while stressing the importance that “people be allowed to leave and aid supplied allowed in." 

We are running out of adjectives to describe the horrors that residents in Mariupol have suffered. The situation is horrendous and deteriorating and it's now a humanitarian imperative that people be allowed to leave and aid supplies be allowed in."

"The people of Mariupol have suffered weeks of heavy fighting with dwindling water, food and medical supplies," Watson added.

Some background: Residents in the southern port city face a worsening humanitarian situation amid Russian airstrikes, weeks of shelling by Russian forces, and stifled evacuation efforts.

Statistics released by Ukrainian officials on Sunday paint a grim picture of what has come from weeks of destruction in Mariupol.

Some 90% of residential buildings in the city were damaged, the data shows. Of those, 60% were hit directly and 40% were destroyed.

Seven of the city's hospitals -- 90% of its hospital capacity -- were damaged, of which three were destroyed. Also damaged were three maternity hospitals (one destroyed), seven institutes of higher education (three destroyed), and 57 schools and 70 kindergartens, with 23 and 28 destroyed, respectively.

A number of factories were damaged and the city's port sustained damage.

According to those official statistics, up to 140,000 people left the city before it was surrounded, and around 150,000 managed to leave during the blockade. Ukrainian officials claim 30,000 people from Mariupol were deported to Russia.

CNN's Nathan Hodge and Julia Presniakova contributed reporting to this post.

6:39 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

Fire breaks out at a Russian fuel depot near Ukrainian border

From CNN's Masha Angelova, Jake Kwon, Olga Voitovych, Uliana Pavlova and Nathan Hodge

A screen grab captured from a video shows firefighters responding to a fire at a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on April 1.
A screen grab captured from a video shows firefighters responding to a fire at a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on April 1. (Russian Ministry of Emergency Situation/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A fire broke out at a fuel depot in Belgorod, a Russian city near the Ukrainian border, the regional governor said on his Telegram channel Friday morning.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Belgorod region, accused Ukraine of being behind the blaze without providing further evidence.

“The fire at the oil depot occurred as a result of an air strike coming from two helicopters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces which entered the territory of the Russian Federation flying at a low altitude. There are no victims,” said Gladkov.

CNN is unable to verify this claim. 

The fire “engulfed fuel reservoirs,” Russian state media TASS reported, citing the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

A still image taken from video footage shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia, on April 1.
A still image taken from video footage shows a fuel depot on fire in the city of Belgorod, Russia, on April 1. (Russian Emergencies Ministry/Reuters)

Two employees of the depot were injured in the fire but their lives are not in danger, Gladkov said. Residents in the vicinity of the depot are being evacuated, he added.

The emergency services are at the scene fighting the fire, and there is no threat to the population of the city, Gladkov said.

Some 16,000 cubic meters (3.52 million gallons) of fuel are on fire at the depot, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported on Friday, citing the emergency services. 

Eight tanks with 2,000 cubic meters of fuel each are on fire and there is a threat of the blaze spreading to another eight tanks, the emergency services said, according to RIA Novosti.

CNN has sought comment from Ukraine regarding reports of a purported strike by Ukrainian helicopters on the fuel storage facility in Belgorod.

Bohdan Senyk, the head of the public affairs department of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said there was "no information" about the incident. 

Putin informed: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed about the fire.

“The president was informed about Belgorod," Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. "You know that the Ministry of Emergency Situations was sent there. Steps are being taken to re-organize fuel supply points so that what happened in no case affects the level of supply of all necessary types of fuel.”

The Russian military has claimed air superiority over Ukraine. 

“Air superiority during an operation is an absolute fact," Peskov said. "And as for what happened, it probably should not be us giving out assessments, but our law enforcement agencies.”

On Wednesday, Gladkov said separate explosions at an ammunition dump in Belgorod region late Tuesday night may have occurred because of a fire, citing preliminary information.

Some context: Belgorod is close to the northeastern Ukraine-Russia border, beyond which lies the major Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The Belgorod area was used as a staging ground for Russian forces shortly before the invasion, and Kharkiv has since been relentlessly shelled and hit with missiles.

Video shows large fire at Russian fuel depot:

8:30 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

2,000 people fleeing Mariupol are now on buses to Ukrainian-held city, council says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Lviv and Maria Kostenko in Chernivtsi 

Around 2,000 civilians are on evacuation buses heading from the coastal city of Berdyansk to the Ukrainian government-held city of Zaporizhzhia, carrying civilians evacuating from the besieged city of Mariupol. 

"The evacuation convoy left Berdyansk for Zaporizhzhia," Mariupol city council said in a statement on Telegram. "Many private vehicles have joined the 42 buses escorted by Red Cross and SES (State Emergency Service) vehicles. Today we expect the arrival of a record number of Mariupol residents." 

Some background: Russia's ministry of defense said in a statement on Thursday that the Russian military would reopen the evacuation corridor from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia on Friday at the request of French and German leaders.

The ministry's announcement came as Ukrainian officials said that humanitarian convoys ran into several issues on Thursday, including Russian troops confiscating aid and blocking buses.

Russian forces had confiscated 14 tons of humanitarian aid from buses bound for Melitopol in southern Ukraine, according to Ukranian minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

Vereshchuk said the food and medication was loaded on 12 buses. She added that Russian forces also blocked 45 buses going to Berdyansk on Thursday en route to Mariupol, where about 100,000 civilians remained trapped.

CNN's Nathan Hodge and Hira Humayun contributed reporting to this post.

5:57 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

"Russia must not hope to win" in Ukraine, says French foreign minister

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman in Paris

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for intensified military, financial and humanitarian support for Ukraine, while talking to reporters in Tallinn, Estonia.

“Russia must not hope to win,” Le Drian said. “The stakes for us are strategic.”

“We have a very clear objective, to not give up anything and to intensify our efforts until a total ceasefire across the whole of Ukraine’s territory and real negotiations."

Le Drian said that France wants to show to partners “on every continent” that “because the Russian war in Ukraine is the negation of the principles and commitments that protect us all, it is everyone’s business.”

He also warned against trusting promises of a reduction in fighting, saying, "We can only judge acts and for the moment we are not there."

He also reiterated calls for Europe to divest from Russian hydrocarbons.

“While we don’t all have the same dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, we will have the same interest in exiting them (in Europe).”

Le Drian has been on a tour of Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania since Wednesday. 

Some background: The minister's comments come two days after he told CNN there has been little progress in Russia-Ukraine talks.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Le Drian said there was “nothing new” and “no breakthrough” in what has been discussed at negotiations in Istanbul.

He added that “the issues are still the same” and that Russian President Putin “still wishes to impose his diktat on Ukraine.”

Le Drian said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “wants some security guarantees to be given to his country and at the moment there is nothing like that in the discussion.” 

5:36 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

More than 150 children have been killed since the Russian invasion began, say Ukrainian officials

From Uliana Pavlova

A girl injured in the conflict receives treatment at a regional children's hospital in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on March 22.
A girl injured in the conflict receives treatment at a regional children's hospital in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on March 22. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

At least 153 children have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion five weeks ago, and more than 245 children have been injured, the country’s general prosecutor's office said in news release Friday. 

Bombing and shelling have also damaged 859 educational institutions, including 83 that have been "completely destroyed," according to the news release. 

The Ukrainian general prosecutor's office said it is still working to establish the total number of child casualties in Mariupol as well as in some areas of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Luhansk regions.

4:47 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022

Russia's foreign minister thanks India for taking the Ukraine situation "in its entirety of facts"

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov are seen before their meeting in New Delhi, India, on April 1.
India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov are seen before their meeting in New Delhi, India, on April 1. (DrSJaishankar/Twitter/Reuters)

Speaking on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov thanked India for "taking this situation in its entirety of facts" during a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar.

“We appreciate that India is taking this situation in its entirety of facts, not just in a one-sided way,” Lavrov said at the conference in New Delhi on Friday.

“Our Western colleagues would like to reduce any meaningful international issue to the crisis in Ukraine, you know our position, we do not hide anything,” Lavrov added.

"Friendship is the keyword to describe the history of our relations and our relations were very sustainable during many difficult times in the past … We are certainly interested in having the world order balanced,” Lavrov said.

S. Jaishankar said the meeting was taking place “in a difficult international environment,” adding that India “has always been in favor of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy.”

Lavrov said economic matters and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would also be on the agenda.

Some background: Lavrov's meeting with S. Jaishankar came hot on the heels of his summit with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday.

Both India and China have been under pressure to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine as the death toll from the unprovoked conflict rises. They have refused to condemn Russia's brutal invasion outright, and both abstained from voting on United Nations resolutions demanding Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine.

However, by the end of Lavrov's first day in China, Beijing had made its stance clear. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said there is "no ceiling for China-Russia cooperation," according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

Meanwhile, there has also been a flurry of diplomatic activity involving India recently. Earlier this month, leaders from Japan and Australia held summits with their Indian counterparts. Also this week, diplomats from Germany and the European Union are visiting Delhi.

And Lavrov's trip coincides with the visits of Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and the United States' Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, Daleep Singh.

CNN's Jessie Yeung contributed reporting to this post.