April 12, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Travis Caldwell, Jessie Yeung, Matias Grez and Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

Updated 4:58 p.m. ET, April 21, 2022
36 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
2:17 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Ukrainian presidential adviser says talks with Russia "ongoing" following Putin remarks

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Lviv

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak gestures as he speaks to the press after Russia and Ukraine face-to-face talks at Dolmabahce palace in Istanbul, Turkey on March 29, 2022.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak gestures as he speaks to the press after Russia and Ukraine face-to-face talks at Dolmabahce palace in Istanbul, Turkey on March 29, 2022. (Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images)

A Ukrainian presidential adviser said Tuesday that negotiations with Russia were "ongoing," after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that talks with Ukraine had hit "a dead end."

"Negotiations are extremely difficult. Online in working subgroups. But they are ongoing," Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine and a lead negotiator, said in a statement released by the Ukrainian presidential office.

Podolyak's statement on negotiations comes as Ukrainians respond with outrage to the uncovering of widespread killing of civilians by Russian troops and an expected Russian offensive. 

"It is clear that the emotional background in negotiation process today is heavy," Podolyak said. "It is clear that the Ukrainian delegation works exclusively within a framework that is pro-Ukrainian and transparent. It is also clear that the Russian side adheres to its traditional tactics of public pressure on the negotiation process, including through certain public statements," he said.

1:47 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Nearly 3,000 Ukrainian civilians evacuated from areas of fighting on Tuesday, deputy prime minister says

From Kostan Nechyporenko in Vasylkiv and Tim Lister

A woman cries as the bus leaves the Slovyansk central station, in the Donbas region on April 12.
A woman cries as the bus leaves the Slovyansk central station, in the Donbas region on April 12. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced that nearly 3,000 people have been evacuated Tuesday from areas in southern and eastern Ukraine affected by fighting.

Vereshchuk said that only 208 people had been able to leave Mariupol, which has been devastated by weeks of fighting. A total of 2,135 people had been able to leave the Russian-occupied cities of Berdiansk and Melitopol, as well as two other towns in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Meanehile, Vereshchuk added that buses that had left Zaporizhzhia to evacuate people from several cities continued to be blocked by Russian forces in Vasylivka.

And in areas of Luhansk, the region most impacted by Russian bombardment, Vereshchuk said 328 people were evacuated.

12:10 p.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Morgues are full in multiple cities in the Luhansk region, official says

From CNN's Tim Lister and Kostan Nechyporenko in Vasylkiv

Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said morgues in several cities are now full amid power blackouts and — in some places — the complete loss of electricity.

Haidai said on his Telegram account that bodies are also in basements in the region. In the lulls in shelling, they were being collected by volunteers and buried in "new designated places" as access to cemeteries was impossible.

The area around Severodonetsk, which has seen persistent shelling for weeks, is the worst-affected. 

"In Severodonetsk, the regional military administration organized a new burial place in a relatively safe place. Pits are dug with a tractor and graves are systematized in the register. Every dead or deceased person is buried naturally in a separate grave, during the 48 days of the war — about 400 burials," he said.

"A new burial place has also been organized in Lysychansk," Haidi added. "The dead and killed are buried in common graves."

"The situation is difficult in Popasna and Rubizhne. Due to the partial occupation of cities by the Russians, the removal of bodies is impossible, burials are carried out by residents themselves in the yards of residential areas," he added.

"Due to the shelling, in certain areas, the bodies remain lying on the streets," Haidi said.

Haidai said more than 300 people had been evacuated from the Luhansk region on Tuesday but "about 90,000 people are still staying in bomb shelters in the region's communities. Every day we urge them to leave."

He said the attack on the Kramatorsk railway station last week had deterred people from evacuating.

Haidai said authorities had managed to bring in several tons of humanitarian aid.

11:49 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022

US willing to send Ukraine more weapons systems that require training, defense official says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

The United States is willing to consider sending more weapons systems that require additional training to Ukraine, according to a senior defense official, based on ongoing conversations between the two militaries.

“If we determine in concert with the Ukrainians that there (are) additional systems that they need that we can provide but that might require some training, then we’re certainly willing to talk to them about that,” the official said at a briefing with reporters Tuesday.

The official said the fact that the systems may require more training is “not prohibitive.”

The official used the example of Switchblade drones. Ukrainian forces were not trained on the suicide drones, but the US determined that the system might help the Ukrainian military and found a way to train a small number of Ukrainian forces on it in 24 to 48 hours.

“Other systems we’ll just have to see, but it’s not prohibitive in our mind that, just because something might need some additional training, that we shouldn’t provide it,” the official said.

11:59 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Putin says talks with Ukraine are at a "dead end" 

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova  

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on April 12.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on April 12. (Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that peace talks with Ukraine had hit "a dead end." 

"Now, security requirements are one thing, and the issues of regulating relations over Crimea, Sevastopol and Donbas are taken out of the scope of these agreements. That is, we have again returned to a dead-end situation for ourselves and for all of us," he added, speaking alongside his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at a news conference.  

Putin vowed that he "will not stop military operations" in Ukraine until Moscow succeeds. 

The Russian leader also dismissed the reports of atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as “fake” and compared them to “fake” reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime.   

"There were provocations in Syria, when the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government was planted. Then it turned out that it was fake, the same fake is in Bucha,” he said.   

CNN saw firsthand a mass grave while on the ground in the Kyiv suburb, and at least 20 bodies were seen on just one street.

11:06 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Preliminary estimates suggest up to 22,000 have died in Mariupol, Donetsk military governor says

From CNN's Margaret Given and Nathan Hodge in Lviv 

The situation in the besieged city of Mariupol was "difficult," the military governor of the Donetsk region said Tuesday, citing preliminary estimates that as many as 22,000 people had died in the city. 

"The Mariupol situation makes it difficult to comment on the number of casualties, the city is under siege and blockaded," Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, told CNN. "We are currently discussing 20,000 to 22,000 people dead in Mariupol."

Independent estimates of casualties from the relentless Russian bombardment of the city are not available. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said "tens of thousands" have died in Mariupol.

Kyrylenko also addressed reports of a possible chemical attack in Mariupol, details of which have yet to be fully confirmed.  

"We know that last night around midnight, a drone dropped some so-far-unknown explosive device, people who were in the area in and around the Mariupol metallurgical plant, three people began to feel unwell," he said. "What we have heard was that there were three people who were affected, taken to hospital, given medical assistance, at the moment their lives were not in danger."

The regional military governor said the reports from the scene were preliminary, so he could not "100% confirm or comment on them," but said he could confirm that the incident happened. 

11:05 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022

President of Belarus, a Putin ally, defends Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 

From CNN's Mia Alberti 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko deliver's a speech in the capital, Minsk, on April 7.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko deliver's a speech in the capital, Minsk, on April 7. (Mykhaylo Palinchak / SOPA Images/Sipa USA/AP)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday strongly defended Russian actions in Ukraine, claiming that if Russia was "just a little late with its military operation, the Russian territory would have suffered a crushing attack at its borders.” 

"If somebody wishes to scream that we went somewhere we shouldn't have, started something we shouldn't have, just imagine what you would have had happened had you been at least two weeks or one month late,” Lukashenko told reporters during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin following a meeting between the two leaders in Russia’s far east Amur Region. 

Some context: There is no evidence that Ukraine was going to attack Russia. Since last year, Russia was tightening its military grip around Ukraine, amassing tens of thousands of soldiers, as well as equipment and artillery, on the country's doorstep. Russian forces held joint drills with their Belarusian allies before the invasion.

The Belarusian leader went on to blame "Washington, Brussels and London" for causing the crisis in Ukraine, and he said the economic sanctions against Russia were "psychological operations" organized by the United Kingdom. He also accused the US of instigating Poland and Baltic countries against Moscow. 

"Our recent history has not seen such a dangerous moment in our relationship with the West as today. ... Some of you said the Cold War is over and we shall live in a new civilized era based on mutual understanding and supremacy of international law. We thought so, but the West didn't; they didn't destroy us then, so they decided to start now,” he said. 

Lukashenko also referenced Putin's unfounded claims of "denazification" as part of his justification to invade Ukraine.

"There used to be a public figure in the West in the 30s, 40s of the last century who also tried to install a new order and we know well how that ended. So, I think Washington must return to the recent past. Our fathers and forefathers endured then and were victorious and so shall we be victorious as we have been in our common 1,000-year history," he said.    

Putin said Belarus was being "punched no less than Russia right now."

"We never had any doubts that if somebody is to offer their shoulder to us it would be Belarus,” he said. 

Regarding the effect of sanctions in destabilizing Russian-Belarusian ties, Putin said they are "completely futile.”

"This trick is definitely not going to work on us. We will only become stronger,” he said, adding that “the (damage) that our enemies were counting on has not happened." 

The measures agreed by the two leaders include projects for a common electrical power market, favorable prices for oil and gas for Belarusian domestic consumption — with payments in rubles, the joint construction of a nuclear power plant that should be commissioned by the end of 2021 and an increase in security on western borders, including joint military exercises.

10:50 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022

Russia has just over 80% of preassembled combat power available, senior US defense official says

From CNN's Michael Conte

Russia has “just above 80%” of the combat power that it amassed before its invasion of Ukraine still available, according to a senior US defense official.

The official also said that Russia has now launched more than 1,540 missiles against Ukraine. 

“We would assess that Russian assessed available combat power — and again I want to remind you guys that that’s of the combat power that they’ve preassembled before their invasion — we estimate that they’re just above 80% in terms of what’s left of them,” the official said Tuesday during an off-camera briefing with reporters. 

10:44 a.m. ET, April 12, 2022

6 people were found shot dead in basement outside Kyiv, Ukrainian prosecutors say

From CNN' Daria Markina in Kyiv and Sarah Diab in London

Six people have been found shot dead in the basement of a building outside Kyiv, according to a statement Tuesday from the Ukrainian prosecutor general.

"The bodies of six civilians with gunshot wounds were found in a basement during an inspection of a private residence," said the prosecutor general, adding that the killings took place in Brovary, outside the capital Kyiv.

The statement does not identify the suspects in this case -- but does mention the killing of civilians by Russian service members during the occupation.