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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11:46 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

European countries pledge over $2.7 million for war crimes investigation in Ukraine

From CNN’s James Frater in Brussels

The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany have pledged $2.7 million to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to support its investigation of possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.

EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg met via videoconference with ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan at a meeting convened by Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Monday.

Following the meeting, Hoekstra said, “The deployment of the Criminal Court is one of the most important tracks towards justice for Ukrainians.” The Netherlands wants “justice to follow for the victims of the Russian invasion.”

Hoekstra pledged over $1 million on behalf of the Netherlands to the ICC to support its investigation. 

Germany said in a news release the country was also pledged an additional $1 million to the court.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde announced in a statement that Sweden would also provide an extra half a million euros, saying, “the ICC needs the full support of the international community.”

Last week, the European Union set aside a dedicated $8 million to support and train Ukrainian prosecutors in investigating possible war crimes.

The ICC formally opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine on March 2. 

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

Russia moving to resupply and reinforce forces in Donbas, senior US defense official says

From CNN's Michael Conte

Russia is attempting to resupply and reinforce its forces in the Donbas, according to a senior US defense official, as evidenced by a convoy of vehicles approaching the Ukrainian city of Izyum from the north.

The vehicle line includes a “command and control element, a support battalion, basically enablers, perhaps rotary wing aviation support and other infantry support,” according to the official.

The official also said there is evidence that Russia is attempting to reinforce its position southwest of the city of Donetsk primarily with artillery units.

The US does not assess that this is “a new offensive” in the Donbas, according to the official, rather that the Russian forces are “working to reinforce their capabilities and to add to it.”

Meanwhile, the US Defense Department is considering options for training more Ukrainians on the Switchblade drone system, according to the senior US defense official.

But the official said no decisions have been made about “what that would look like, how long would it take, where would it be, who would train.”

There were previously a small number of Ukrainians in the US going through military education who the US trained on the system before they returned to Ukraine.

11:47 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Austrian chancellor says meeting with Putin was "not a friendly visit"

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin 

A face-to-face meeting between Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow was ''not a friendly visit," Nehammer said in a statement issued by an Austrian official after the meeting.

"This is not a friendly visit. I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression,” he said in the statement.   

Nehammer — the first European Union leader to have met with Putin since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24 — said the conversation with the Russian leader was "very direct, open and tough.” 

The Austrian chancellor added that his most important message to Putin was that the war in Ukraine must end because "in a war there are only losers on both sides,” reiterating that he had hoped to help bring an end to the war or improve conditions for civilians. 

''I addressed the serious war crimes in Bucha and other places and emphasized that all those responsible for them must be held accountable. I also told President Putin in no uncertain terms that sanctions against Russia will remain in place and will continue to be tightened as long as people are dying in Ukraine,'' Nehammer said.

''I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression. The trip to Moscow and the talks with President Putin are a duty for me. A duty out of a sense of responsibility to leave no stone unturned to bring about a cessation of hostilities or at least humanitarian progress for the suffering civilian population in Ukraine. For me, there is no alternative to seeking direct talks with Russia as well, despite all the very great differences," Nehammer said in the statement. 

''The EU is more united than ever on this issue. I also made it clear to the Russian President that there is an urgent need for humanitarian corridors to bring drinking water and food to the besieged cities and to bring out women, children and the wounded. I will now return to inform our European partners about my conversation with the Russian President and discuss further steps," he concluded.

11:17 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Here's how Pink Floyd's first song in nearly 30 years to support Ukraine came together

Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour joined CNN on Monday to talk about why the band decided to record its first music in nearly 30 years — a song in support of Ukraine featuring vocals by a Ukrainian soldier.

The legendary rock band released the new single “Hey Hey Rise Up” last week in support of the people of Ukraine, the band said in a statement. 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 Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, with bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboard. The song features vocals by Andriy Khlyvnyuk from the Ukrainian band Boombox. The band used audio of Khlyvnyuk singing in central Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, 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.”

On Monday, Gilmour talked about how his family members sent him the clip of Khlyvnyuk singing that song in the square. 

"It's just a very, very striking performance and of course, due to the fact it's a cappella and there's no other instruments backing it. So you can easily take it to a studio and do something with it," he said.

Gilmour said at the time he was "already very frustrated by my own inability to do anything much" for Ukraine. He called Russia's attack on Ukraine "appalling."

Gilmour said it is an "awful thing that's going on in Ukraine" and this song "seemed like a great thing to arrive at my feet that I could then turn it into something which was actively, I hope, do some positive good." 

Asked if he could imagine the band doing a live performance with Khlyvnyuk in the future, Gilmour said, "I certainly wouldn't rule it out." 

"It would be great if we can make something like that work. And he's very keen on the idea. I have spoken to him several times in the last three weeks," he added.

Gilmour said that one of those conversations he had with the singer, who is fighting in the war, happened while "he was in a hospital bed having been struck by a piece of mortar shrapnel." 

"He was there with a big black eye, a bandage all over his face. The reality of what he's living, other people are living through there is just beyond what most of us can really understand or believe can happen in the world."

1:31 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Temporary bridge opened in Kyiv suburb of Irpin, senior Ukrainian official says

From CNN Staff

(Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine)
(Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine)

A temporary bridge in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin has been completed, opening a route for humanitarian aid and reconstruction, a senior Ukrainian official said Monday.

Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov said the temporary crossing on the R-30 road had been completed and could bear the load of two trucks moving in both directions.

"This is important, given that its main purpose is to create a sustainable logistics connection for Irpin and surrounding cities, which need both humanitarian aid and building materials to rebuild infrastructure," he said. 

The main Irpin bridge was destroyed in the opening days of the war by Ukrainian forces to slow the advance of Russian troops. A CNN team observed that traffic has been returning to the town as some residents go back.

11:25 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Austrian Chancellor Nehammer's meeting with Putin concludes

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

A meeting between

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 11.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 11. (Dragan Tatic)

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow has concluded, Nehammer's spokesperson, Etienne Berchtold, told CNN.

The meeting lasted 75 minutes, the spokesperson added.

11:08 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Spain grants temporary protection to nearly 52,000 Ukrainians, government says

From CNN’s Al Goodman

Ukrainian refugees at a refugee center in Barcelona, Spain on April 8.
Ukrainian refugees at a refugee center in Barcelona, Spain on April 8. (David Zorrakino/Europa Press/Getty Images)

Nearly 52,000 Ukrainian refugees in Spain have been granted “temporary protection,” the Spanish government said Monday, adding that 39% of them are minors. 

The temporary protection status was approved for every application submitted by Ukrainian refugees, Spain’s Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.  

The number of Ukrainian refugee children attending Spanish schools has nearly doubled in the past week to a current total of more than 13,000 students, the statement said. 

Spanish government reception centers to aid Ukrainian refugees, who have fled their country since Russia’s invasion, are now operating in the capital of Madrid and in the Mediterranean port cities of Barcelona, Malaga and Alicante, the statement said. 

Many Ukrainian refugees have gone to these reception centers for initial aid, although some others found help directly from the approximately 114,000 Ukrainians already living in Spain before the war began, officials have said in recent weeks. 

10:30 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Meeting between Putin and Austria's chancellor is underway

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

A meeting between Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Russian President Vladimir Putin is underway in Moscow, Nehammer’s spokesperson, Etienne Berchtold, told CNN.

It is the first visit by an EU leader since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in late February.

A top Austrian official said Nehammer intends to tell Putin “the truth” about the war during their face to face meeting.

Some background: Nehammer's trip to Moscow is significant given his country's neutral status, which is enshrined in its constitution.

Austria is not part of NATO and does not supply weapons to Ukraine. It has, however, provided Ukraine with humanitarian aid and helmets and protection vests for civilian use, according to a statement from the Austrian Chancellery.

Nehammer said Saturday that while his country is militarily neutral, "we understand we have to help where injustice and war crimes take place."

9:26 a.m. ET, April 11, 2022

Here's what you need to know about how war crimes prosecutions work

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

Shocking atrocities in Ukraine, allegedly at the hands of Russian forces, have amplified calls to pursue war crimes charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Images of at least 20 bodies strewn across the street in Bucha, Ukraine, emerged in early April following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to call for an end to Russian “war crimes.” And at least 50 deaths from a Russian missile strike on a railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk – where civilians were waiting for evacuation trains to safer regions of the country – led Zelensky to say, “We expect a firm, global response to this war crime.”

Already, there was a loud and growing chorus of calls for the International Criminal Court to pursue Putin for the unprovoked invasion, and the US government in March formally declared that members of the Russian armed forces have committed war crimes.

Here’s a very broad look at war crimes and the international justice movement:

What is a war crime?

  • The International Criminal Court has specific definitions for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Read about them in this guide published by the ICC.

What is the International Criminal Court?

  • Located in The Hague, Netherlands, and created by a treaty called the Rome Statute first brought before the United Nations, the International Criminal Court operates independently.

Who can be tried by the court?

  • Anyone accused of a crime in the jurisdiction of the court, which includes countries that are members of the ICC, can be tried. The court tries people, not countries, and focuses on those who hold the most responsibility: leaders and officials. While Ukraine is not a member of the court, it has previously accepted its jurisdiction. Putin could, therefore, theoretically be indicted by the court for previously ordering war crimes in Crimea. However, the ICC does not conduct trials in absentia, so he would either have to be handed over by Russia or arrested outside of Russia. That seems unlikely.

What crimes does the court handle?

  • The ICC is meant to be a court of “last resort” and is not meant to replace a country’s justice system. The court, which has 18 judges serving nine-year terms, tries four types of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes.

How does the ICC bring proceedings?

  • Court proceedings can be brought in one of two ways: Either a national government or the UN Security Council can refer cases for investigation.

What will the ICC investigate in relation to Ukraine?

  • In its new investigation into Russia’s possible war crimes, the ICC has said it will look at all actions in Ukraine from 2013 to the present.

How long do these investigations take?

  • If justice in general moves slowly, international justice barely moves at all. Investigations at the ICC take many years. Only a handful of convictions have ever been won.

Read more about how war crimes prosecutions work here.