April 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Matias Grez, Amy Woodyatt, Travis Caldwell, Jessie Yeung, Ivana Kottasová, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury and Jason Kurtz, CNN

Updated 8:06 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022
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3:24 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Here's what we know about Russia's new general for Ukraine

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv

Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov (center) is seen in this file photo in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on January 18, 2021.
Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov (center) is seen in this file photo in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on January 18, 2021. (Vasily Deryugin/Kommersant/Sipa USA/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a new general overseeing his war in Ukraine.

Army General Alexander Dvornikov, the commander of Russia's Southern Military District, has been named as theater commander of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, according to a US official and a European official.

Dvornikov, 60, was the first commander of Russia's military operations in Syria, after Putin sent troops there in September 2015 to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

During Dvornikov's command in Syria from September 2015 to June 2016, Russian aircraft backed the Assad regime and its allies as they laid siege to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, bombarding densely populated neighborhoods and causing major civilian casualties. The city fell to Syrian government forces in December 2016.

From 2000 to 2003 Dvornikov served in Russia's lengthy pacification campaign in the north Caucasus, including the Second Chechen War, which left the regional capital of Chechnya, Grozny, in ruins.

Russian forces have used a similarly heavy-handed approach in parts of Ukraine, striking residential buildings in major cities and demolishing much of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

Dvornikov was awarded the title of "Hero the Russian Federation" by the Kremlin in March 2016 for his services.

The appointment of a new overall commander to lead Russia's war in Ukraine appears to be an effort to remedy another problem that has hampered Russian forces: lack of coordination.

Read more about the general here and watch retired Lt. Gen. James Marks, a CNN military analyst, explain the next phase of the war:

4:35 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

EU's top diplomat calls Ukraine war a "big failure" for Russia 

From CNN’s James Frater in Brussels and Jorge Engels in London 

Workers load a destroyed Russian tank onto a platform in the village of Andriyivka, near Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 11.
Workers load a destroyed Russian tank onto a platform in the village of Andriyivka, near Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 11. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The European Union’s top diplomat said Monday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “big failure of the Russian army.”  

“They tried to conquer Kyiv, and they have been rejected. Now they have abandoned Kyiv, they see that it's impossible for them to take the capital,” EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at a news conference in Luxembourg.  

“They are regrouping their troops in the east and Ukrainians are very much convinced that they are going to launch a big offensive in the Donbas nearby their logistic bases,” he said. 

Borrell also characterized the invasion as a “horror.”  

“What the Russian army left behind is civilians killed, cities destroyed, indiscriminate bombing, like the one that we see on the railway station [in Kramatorsk]. We are very much worried by the human consequences of this war," he added.   

Borrell also said “nothing is off the table” when it came to new sanctions against Russia, including oil and gas, but that no decision had been taken Monday. 

“It's easy for some member states that are not using Russian gas to say that they are ready to not use Russian gas, but for others which are heavily dependent is not so easy,” said Borrell. 

He added that EU member states continue discussing how to implement the sanctions and how to avoid “loopholes.” 

Borrell also spoke about the growing issue of global food security and said the Kremlin was “actively shifting the blame.” 

“Russians are making the sanctions responsible for the food scarcity and rising prices when it is not sanctions. It is Russia sowing bombs on Ukraine fields, and Russian warships blockading ... ships full of wheat that cannot go out of the Ukrainian harbors,” said Borrell. 

��They are bombing Ukrainian cities and provoking hunger in the world,” he added. 

 

2:45 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

US planning latest Ukrainian security package tailored to war's new front, defense officials say

From CNN's Barbara Starr

The US and Ukraine are in intensive discussions about a new round of security assistance tailored to combat a stepped-up Russian campaign in eastern and southern Ukraine, where the terrain is different than the war's earlier main front, according to multiple US defense officials. 

The package being put together may center around more drones and Javelin anti-tank weapons — which the US has previously provided to Ukraine. This is in part because Ukraine already has these kinds of weapons in its inventory and can use them quickly, one official said. 

The US is also talking to partners and allies in Europe to see what additional long range air defense systems, tanks, armor, and artillery they might be able to provide Ukraine from their own inventories.

Those discussions are particularly urgent because the terrain in the south and eastern portions of Ukraine is different than the initial phase, which took place to some extent in wooded areas north of Kyiv where Ukraine's forces succeeded with ambush tactics.

Now, along the new eastern and southern fronts, the Ukrainians need is for heavier weapons, such as armor and artillery, the officials said. 

"It is much more open and lends itself to armor mechanized offensive operations on both sides," Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel last week. 

US systems are not in the Ukrainian inventory, so finding partners and allies willing to contribute is a key priority. Part of the negotiations include discussion of the US replacing the partners' provisions with possibly more advanced systems. 

Ukraine still wants to get fighter jets, the officials said, but the US remains opposed to facilitating any such transfer. 

The Defense Department has said that Russia’s refocus to the Donbas region has not affected the ability to get security assistance from the US to Ukraine.

“Eight to 10 flights a day are coming into the region, not just from the United States but from other nations as well,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a briefing Monday.

“In some cases, stuff coming from the United States takes no more than four to six days from the time the president authorizes drawdown authority to it gets into the hands of the Ukrainians," he said.

CNN's Michael Conte contributed reporting to this post.

2:36 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

French president says he will travel to Ukraine only if trip is "useful" 

From CNN's Dalal Mawad and Elias Lemercier in Paris 

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he was ready to travel to Kyiv or any other Ukrainian city only if the visit would be “useful" to find a solution to the current crisis. 

“I will not do it just to visit an embassy,” he said speaking in an exclusive interview to CNN’s French affiliate BFMTV while campaigning in the north of France ahead of the second round of presidential elections, adding that his visit should “trigger something, a new process.”   

“If we manage to resume the dialogue between the Russian president and the Ukrainian president, then perhaps a visit will be useful,” Macron said. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer made separate visits to Zelensky on Saturday in Kyiv.

2:46 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Ukrainian officials visited UK to evaluate weapons systems, British official says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Ukrainian officials visited the UK recently to evaluate weapons systems and military equipment, according to a British official, as the British government prepares to send in armored personnel carriers amid ongoing shipments of anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles.

The official said the UK is planning for the short-term, in which Ukraine needs the ammunition and missiles to stay in the fight, but also for the medium and long-term, where Ukraine will need to modernize its military following an end to the fighting. 

On Friday, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK would provide an unspecified number of Mastiff armored patrol vehicles to Ukraine.

The British official said the UK is also considering the possibility of sending other armored vehicles as well, but it depends on the available inventories and the needs of the Ukrainian forces.

“The envelope of what people are prepared to provide has grown considerably in the last couple of weeks,” the official said. Once Ukrainian forces were able to hold off the Russian invasion for the first few days, it put the options for security assistance “very quickly in a different place.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced on Saturday that the UK would send another 120 armored vehicles to Ukraine. 

A second British official said this package includes 40 tracked combat reconnaissance vehicles and 80 other armored vehicles. These vehicles will be “gifted” to Ukraine within the next 30 to 60 days, the official said.

4:42 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office: 183 children dead and 342 injured since start of war

From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Chernivtsi and Nathan Hodge in Lviv

A police officer examines the corpse of a man killed during the war with Russia, in Bucha, located on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 11.
A police officer examines the corpse of a man killed during the war with Russia, in Bucha, located on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 11. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office said in a statement Monday that 183 children had been killed and 342 had been wounded since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine, citing preliminary figures from juvenile prosecutors.  

"As of April 11, 2022, according to official data from juvenile prosecutors, more than 525 children were casualties in Ukraine as a result of the armed invasion of our country by the Russian Federation," the statement read. "183 children died and more than 342 were injured. These figures are not final, as work is underway in places of active hostilities in the temporarily occupied and liberated territories."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday, "tens of thousands" of people had been killed in the besieged city of Mariupol, a figure that could not be immediately verified. 

2:13 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza detained outside his Moscow home, according to reports

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Vladimir Kara-Murza during the Oslo Freedom Forum 2019 on May 28, 2019 in Oslo, Norway.
Vladimir Kara-Murza during the Oslo Freedom Forum 2019 on May 28, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. (Julia Reinhart/Getty Images)

Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Kremlin critic who has survived two suspected poisonings, has been detained outside of his apartment building in Moscow on Monday, according to Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin and media reports.

“Vladimir Kara-Murza was detained by the police in Moscow near his home," Yashin said on Twitter. "It is not yet clear what for."

Yashin told CNN he learned about the detention from Kara-Murza’s lawyer. 

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti also reported Kara-Murza’s detention citing his lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov.  

“I just found out about his detention, so far I can't say the details," Prokhorov told RIA Novosti.

An interview with Kara-Murza aired on "Big Picture with Sara Sidner" on CNN+ earlier Monday. The opposition figure has condemned what he calls Russian President Vladimir Putin's "aggression" in Ukraine. 

He told Sidner that he believes the war in Ukraine will ultimately end Putin's regime.

"I have absolutely no doubt that the Putin regime will end over this war in Ukraine, doesn't mean it's gonna happen tomorrow. The two main questions are time and price and by price, I do not mean monetary — I mean the price of human blood and and human lives and it has already been horrendous, but the Putin regime will end over this and there will be a democratic Russia after Putin," Kara-Murza told Sidner.

2:04 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

White House: New Russian general overseeing Ukraine war will not erase the fact "this is a strategic failure"

From CNN's DJ Judd

The White House said Vladimir Putin's decision to appoint Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov as theater commander of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine “is not going to erase the fact that this is a strategic failure.”

Dvornikov, 60, was the first commander of Russia’s military operations in Syria, after Putin sent troops there in September 2015 to back the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

During Dvornikov’s command in Syria from September 2015 to June 2016, Russian aircraft backed the Assad regime and its allies as they laid siege to rebel-held eastern Aleppo, bombarding densely populated neighborhoods and causing major civilian casualties.

“What we should all be aware of, and we are certainly aware of, is this is a general who was already responsible for overseeing atrocities in Syria, and that we would expect that it would be a continuation of the type of atrocities we've already seen take place in Ukraine,” Psaki told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Monday, “But again, they have not — it has not gone as President Putin has planned, and we don't expect a change in personnel we'll change that.”

Looking forward, Psaki said the Biden administration anticipates Russian forces “will seek to surround and overwhelm Ukrainian forces,” in Eastern Ukraine, where they’ve coalesced forces after unsuccessful efforts to capture Kyiv and the surround areas, while continuing “to launch air and missile strikes across the rest of the country to cause military and economic damage.”

“And we expect this stage of the conflict could last a long time, and we should have no illusions that Russia is going to adjust their tactics and make them less brutal, and certainly changes in leadership reflect a continuation of the type of atrocities we've seen, or the type of approach that we've seen, and we've also predicted from the beginning,” she added.

1:44 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

White House not planning for Biden to visit Ukraine right now

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House is not planning for US President Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine right now after a high-profile visit to Kyiv by his British counterpart.

"We’re not currently planning a trip by the President of the United States to Ukraine," press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv and toured the capital's streets with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The EU chief Ursula von der Leyen also visited Kyiv and Bucha, the site of atrocities, last week.

During a last-minute visit to Europe last month, Biden told aid workers he would have liked to visit Ukraine to see the situation at close range.

“They will not let me, understandably, I guess, cross the border and take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine,” Biden said. The White House had said before the trip they had not explored any visit to Ukraine. 

Since then, Russian forces have withdrawn from the area around Kyiv.

Psaki said more important than a presidential visit was a continued supply of weapons and support.

"What is most important to the Ukrainian leadership is that we are expediting weapons and getting them the assistance and security systems they need and that is what our focus is on," she said.

Psaki declined to say who at the White House makes the call on whether Biden can visit the war-torn country, "I’m not going to get into private conversations," she said.