Russian military column seen heading towards Donbas
From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Chernivtsi and Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv
CNN geolocated a video shared to social media on Monday showing a large column of Russian military vehicles near Matveev Kurgan, a settlement in Russia’s Rostov region.
The vehicles are seen facing north-west, in the direction of the Donbas region.
A senior Ukrainian official on Monday also said a Russian offensive in Ukraine's Donbas region "has already started," warning that Russia continued to amass forces in the region.
In remarks on national television, Vadym Denysenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, said:
"From my point of view, this big offensive [in the East] has already started. We have to understand it's not going to be the repetition of Feb 24th, when the first airstrikes and explosions started and we said: 'The war has begun.' The big offensive de-facto has already started."
Ukrainian and Western officials have said in recent days they have observed a redeployment of Russian troops to Donbas following major setbacks for Moscow in a push to take Kyiv.
"Yes, there are still no major battles that are being discussed so much in the past few days. But in general we could say the offensive has already started," Denysenko said.
2:00 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022
Appeal hearing in Russia for detained US citizen Trevor Reed will be held Tuesday, state media says
From CNN’s Catherine Carter
Trevor Reed, an American citizen detained in Russia for nearly three years, has an appeal hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
Reed had started a second hunger strike in protest of his treatment by Russian authorities, according to his parents, who met with President Joe Biden last month after holding a protest outside the White House to bring awareness to their son's case.
Regarding the upcoming court appeal, parents Joey and Paula Reed said in a statement they "have little hope for a successful judicial outcome," but believe their son's appeal rights should be pursued "vigorously."
"Over the weekend, we were able to re-establish indirect contact with Trevor who remains in hospital as far as we know. We have not been able to confirm that directly, nor are we able to confirm Trevor is receiving any meaningful medical care," Reed's parents said in the statement. "As we have said, Trevor has been to this ‘prison hospital’ numerous times and has received no medical care. Over the past 970 days, Russian authorities have lied repeatedly about Trevor’s health and continue to believe he likely has TB and is out of time. We urge the Administration to act urgently to bring our son home before it’s too late.”
Some context: Reed, a former US Marine, was detained in Moscow in 2019 for purportedly endangering Russian police officers during an altercation. In 2020, he was sentenced to nine years in prison.
His father told CNN last month that an attorney was able to pass along a handwritten note from Reed in which he said "he's OK," but is coughing up blood and was only receiving aspirin for treatment.
"Trevor had some sort of injury where he thinks he might have a broken rib. Plus, he has all the symptoms of active tuberculosis. He went to a prison hospital for about 10 days. And then they didn't treat him. They took an X-ray that didn't work," Joey Reed said. "And when they brought him back to his prison he said, 'I need to go back. I'm still hurt and sick.' And they put him to solitary confinement again, where he had been for most of the last seven months. So he is protesting that. That's against all Russian regulations and European human rights."
Joey Reed had previously said he’s concerned the Russian invasion of Ukraine will worsen his son’s fate.
1:25 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022
Analysis: Why Russian TV propaganda is crucial to understanding the war in Ukraine
Analysis from CNN's Brian Stelter
"Russians who get their truth from the state media are living in an alternate reality," Madeline Roache says.
Every day Roache watches the morning "news" on Channel One, a top Russian state TV channel. She tracks the narratives that Russian viewers are hearing. And she writes a report for NewsGuard — a startup that rates the reliability of news sources — about the "alternative reality."
Overall, Roache told CNN, on state-run TV, "the Russian army is portrayed as triumphant — as not sustaining any losses, any casualties, and is certainly not committing any atrocities. Meanwhile, according to the state media, it's the Ukrainian army committing atrocities, killing civilians, sustaining heavy losses and losing territory to the Russian forces."
This comment of Roache’s stood out to me the most: “Russians would have every reason to feel proud based on what they’re seeing on the state TV.”
Japan imposes more sanctions on Russia, including families of Putin and Lavrov
From CNN's Junko Ogura and Akanksha Sharma
Japan imposed additional sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, freezing the assets of 398 Russian citizens including President Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters, Katerina Tikhonova and Mariya Vorontsova, according to a news release from Japan's Foreign Ministry.
The new measures also target the family members of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, namely his wife Mariya Lavrova and daughter Yekaterina Vinokurova, according to the release.
Some context: Japan has consistently expanded its sanctions against Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began, including banning Russian imports such as coal and vodka, reducing new investments in Russia and freezing assets held by major banks.
Other nations including the US and the UK have also introduced sanctions against the families of Putin and Lavrov.
12:11 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022
It's 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know
Ukraine's prosecutor general told CNN Monday that her office is building more than 5,800 cases of war crimes from Russia’s invasion, and every day they are starting "more and more such proceedings." More bodies are also being exhumed from a mass grave discovered in the town of Bucha, she said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops retreating from the north of the country had deliberately left thousands of mines in their wake, in what he considered a war crime.
Here's the latest from the war in Ukraine:
More devastation near Kyiv: After Russian troops withdrew from areas surrounding the capital to focus their theater of war on eastern and southern Ukraine, residents returning or emerging from hiding are confronted by the invasion’s devastating aftermath. CNN’s Clarissa Ward toured a pair of villages that were occupied by Russians for more than a month and reported they found "endless accounts of horror, executions, arbitrary detentions and more."
Mariupol defense: Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said Monday that the "defense of Mariupol continues" amid heavy fighting inside the besieged city. The head of the Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic said Monday the city's port had fallen to Russian and Russian-backed forces, Russian state news agencies reported, which could not be immediately verified. Ukrainian officials have said about 100,000 civilians remain in the city.
Unconfirmed reports of chemical attacks: After reports emerged Monday of a possible strike involving chemical substances of some kind in Mariupol, Zelensky warned the possibility should be taken seriously, though a Mariupol official said any such attack remained unconfirmed. Other nations such as the UK said they are working to verify details. CNN cannot independently verify that there has been any kind of chemical strike in Mariupol.
More than 4,000 evacuated Monday: A total of 4,354 people were evacuated from areas where fighting continues, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, including more than 500 from Mariupol. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly decried Russian forces for often not allowing safe passage of citizens away from combat zones.
Austrian leader visits Moscow: 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. "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.
Russia to resupply forces in Donbas: Russia is attempting to resupply and reinforce its forces in eastern Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official, as evidenced by a convoy of vehicles approaching the 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.
Here's a look at the situation on the ground:
10:18 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022
Zelensky: Withdrawing Russian forces left mines scattered "everywhere"
From CNN’s Mariya Knight and Jen Deaton
In a nightly address to the nation on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian troops retreating from parts of northern Ukraine had deliberately left thousands of mines in their wake, in what he considered a “war crime."
In those areas, “tens if not hundreds of thousands” of unexploded ordnance had been left behind, he said, adding that teams are working to clear these “dangerous items.”
The “invaders left mines everywhere," including in homes, on streets and in fields, he added.
“They deliberately did everything to ensure that the return to these areas after de-occupation was as dangerous as possible. Due to the actions of the Russian army, our territory today is one of the most contaminated by mines in the world," Zelensky said.
He called these actions “war crimes” intended to “kill or maim as many of our people as possible," adding that troops would not have done so without explicit orders from Russia’s leadership.
10:05 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022
US has not confirmed use of chemical weapons, but had previously warned Ukrainians of the possibility
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
The United States has not confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Mariupol, but had previously warned the Ukrainians that Russia could use chemical agents in the southeastern Ukrainian city, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told CNN Monday.
“Before today, there was credible information available to us that the Russians may have been preparing to use agents, chemical agents, potentially tear gas mixed with other agents, as part of an effort to weaken, to incapacitate the Ukrainian military and civilian elements that are entrenched in Mariupol, using these agents as part of an effort to weaken those defenses,” Price said.
“We shared that information with our Ukrainian partners. We are going to be in direct conversations with them to try and determine what exactly has transpired here, and as soon as we gain additional fidelity, we’ll be in a better position to say what this was or what this may have been,” he said.
Some context: After reports emerged Monday of a possible strike involving chemical substances of some kind in Mariupol, the Ukrainian President warned the possibility should be taken seriously, though a Mariupol official said any such attack remained unconfirmed.
The UK has said it is also working with partners to investigate the reports.
CNN cannot independently verify that there has been any kind of chemical strike in Mariupol. CNN teams on the ground have so far not seen evidence of such an attack, or any imagery from Mariupol sources to verify this.
8:30 p.m. ET, April 11, 2022
Ukraine's prosecutor general says office is investigating 5,800 cases of Russian war crimes
From CNN's Paul LeBlanc
The prosecutor general of Ukraine said Monday that her office is investigating 5,800 cases of Russian war crimes, with “more and more” proceedings every day.
Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead,” Iryna Venediktova said Ukraine has identified more than 500 suspects in the sprawling probe, including Russian politicians, military personnel and propaganda agents “who wanted this war, who started this war and who continued this war.”
“We want to prosecute these war criminals in our Ukrainian courts, named by Ukraine,” Venediktova said, while acknowledging the role of the International Criminal Court.
Her comments come as shocking atrocities in Ukraine, allegedly at the hands of Russian forces, have amplified calls to pursue war crimes charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin. After images of at least 20 bodies strewn across the street in Bucha, Ukraine, emerged earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an end to Russian “war crimes.”
Russia has denied any involvement in the incident, claiming — without evidence — that the atrocities in Bucha were staged, and part of a “planned media campaign.” But witnesses who have spoken to CNN said the carnage in the town began weeks ago, when it was occupied by Russian forces, and a video depicts Russian forces appearing to indiscriminately fire at a civilian.
Ukrainian officials claim strike on Russian weapons depot in Luhansk region
From CNN's Celine Alkhaldi
Ukrainian officials claim to have destroyed a Russian weapons depot in Novoaidar, Luhansk region.
CNN has geolocated a video and images shared to social media that appear to show the aftermath of that attack.
On Monday, Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, said in a Facebook post that Ukrainian forces had destroyed a Russian "ammunition warehouse" near a Russian settlement in Luhansk.
In a video shared by Russian state media RIA Novosti, Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) People’s Militia officer Roman Ivanov said the Ukrainian strikes on Novoaidar destroyed “more than 20 homes, along with a warehouse filled with chemical fertilizers.”
Haidai denied Russian claims that Ukrainians targeted residential buildings.
Burned out shells and rockets are seen scattered all over the ground in the video and images, and an agricultural equipment store is spotted in the distance.