April 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Travis Caldwell, Helen Regan, Sana Noor Haq, Jack Bantock, Laura Smith-Spark, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0408 GMT (1208 HKT) April 16, 2022
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4:38 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

Zelensky asked Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism in recent phone conversation, source says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak 

 US President Joe Biden is seen April 14 and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen April 9.
US President Joe Biden is seen April 14 and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen April 9. Biden (Allison Joyce/Getty Images) Zelensky (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a request to US President Joe Biden in one of their recent phone conversations to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Zelensky's ask didn't come with the same level of urgency with which he's requested Western leaders provide additional arms and financial assistance, the person said, but he did make it as part of an effort to scale up international condemnation of Russia.

Biden did not offer a firm commitment to Zelensky's request, which was first reported by the Washington Post.

US officials have previously declined to rule out adding Russia to the list of state sponsors of terror, which right now includes North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Iran.

“I don’t have any assessment of that at this point in time. Obviously, we’re continuing to look at the actions on the ground and the actions of leaders,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House last month.

Adding Russia would be a dramatic move that would escalate economic sanctions and have secondary effects on countries still doing business with Moscow.

3:09 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

Cluster bombs kill 5 civilians in Mykolaiv, city governor says

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in London

Five residents were killed and 15 wounded Friday by cluster munitions scattered on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, the city’s governor, Vitaliy Kim, alleged on Telegram.

One of those killed had picked up an unexploded shell, he said. 

“Repeating one more time [...] Do not touch strange objects. It can be fatal," he warned. 

CNN cannot independently verify the governor’s claims, however the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has previously said it had received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas in Ukraine.

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also confirmed Russia's use of cluster munitions throughout the conflict.

“Cluster munitions pose an immediate threat to civilians during conflict by randomly scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. They continue to pose a threat post-conflict by leaving remnants, including submunitions that fail to explode upon impact becoming de facto landmines," according to HRW.

Remember: In 2008, over 100 countries in the United Nations signed on to ban cluster munitions, according to the UN website. Ukraine and Russia did not sign the agreement.

2:51 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

More than 900 bodies of Ukrainian civilians discovered in Kyiv region since Russian withdrawal, police say

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam 

Workers exhume two bodies from graves in the village of Vablia, Kyiv region on April 14.
Workers exhume two bodies from graves in the village of Vablia, Kyiv region on April 14. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 900 bodies of civilians have been discovered since the Russian army withdrew from the area, the head of the Kyiv regional police said during a briefing on Friday. 

Andrii Niebytov said the bodies were examined and transferred to forensic medical institutions for detailed examination. 

Niebytov also said that the bodies of some people in the village of Shevchenko ​had been identified, adding that "they were ordinary locals, unfortunately also tortured, and we see that they were shot." 

Niebytov said some of the people that were shot had white armbands on them to try to protect themselves from Russian forces.

"During the occupation of our cities, the occupiers forced citizens to wear white armbands as if this person had already been checked and was therefore not treated so meticulously. Therefore, in order to save their lives, our citizens wore these bandages themselves to protect themselves from gunshots," he said.  

He said that wearing white armbands did not always work, "even if they hung white rags on the fences of their apartments," adding that there were also children who were living in those apartments.

2:07 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

It's nighttime in Kyiv. Catch up here.

As Friday winds down in Ukraine, these are the latest developments in Russia's invasion:

Sunken warship: A senior US defense official said two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Moskva — Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea — earlier this week.

Ukraine claimed it had hit the Russian guided-missile cruiser with anti-ship missiles, while the Russian military acknowledged only that the ship had sunk after a fire on board and the detonation of ammunition.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in southern Ukraine suggested that Russian missile attacks in the south since Thursday night were in retaliation for the sinking of the Moskva.

Zelensky speaks to CNN: In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that "all of the countries of the world" should be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons in his war on Ukraine.

Military aid on its way: The first flight of the $800 million in new aid for Ukraine from the United States is expected to arrive in the region in the next 24 hours, according to a senior defense official. Officials previously said the most urgent requirements such as howitzers and related ammunition as well as radars will be among the first items to be shipped.

Russia warns US: Meanwhile, Russia this week formally protested the United States’ ongoing shipment of weapons to Ukraine, sending a diplomatic note to the State Department warning of “unpredictable consequences” should the support continue, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the document.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “nothing will dissuade” President Joe Biden's administration from continuing to support Ukraine.

1:44 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

US assesses two Ukrainian missiles struck Russian warship

From CNN's Barbara Starr 

The Russian warship Moskva is seen docked in Sevastopol, Crimea in this satellite image from April 7.
The Russian warship Moskva is seen docked in Sevastopol, Crimea in this satellite image from April 7. (Maxar Technologies)

Two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Moskva — Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea — earlier this week, a senior defense official said Friday.

A more detailed assessment from an American official said that the strike and subsequent sinking of the ship was the result of a Ukrainian missile.

CNN reported yesterday the US believed with “medium confidence” that Ukraine’s version of events regarding a missile strike on the warship — which Moscow has disputed — was accurate, according to a source familiar with the intelligence.

1:04 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

Crew of Moskva ship delivered to port of Sevastopol, according to Russian state media

From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Uliana Pavlova

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva patrols in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria, on December 17, 2015.
The Russian missile cruiser Moskva patrols in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria, on December 17, 2015. (Max Delany/AFP/Getty Images)

The crew of the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, which sank Thursday in the Black Sea, was delivered to the port of Sevastopol, Russian state news agency TASS reported, citing an unnamed source. 

TASS provided no additional details about the number of crew members rescued from the ship. 

The Moskva was the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet. Ukraine claimed it had hit the Russian guided-missile cruiser with anti-ship missiles, while the Russian military acknowledged only that the ship had sunk after a fire on board and the detonation of ammunition.

The Russian government has provided no details on casualties.

12:02 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

EU condemns Russia's decision to expel 18 EU diplomats 

From CNN's James Frater in Brussels

The European Union condemned Russia's "baseless decision" to expel 18 EU diplomats from the country, EU spokesperson Peter Stano said in a statement Friday. 

"The European Union deplores the unjustified, baseless decision of the Russian Federation to expel 18 members of the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation," Stano said. "The EU diplomats in question exercise their functions in the framework of and in full respect for the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

Stano called Russia's decision "a pure retaliatory step" that "will further deepen its international isolation."

"The European Union continues to strongly call on Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine and to return to respect of international rules and to a cooperative approach in its international relations," he said. 

12:34 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

US State Department: "Nothing will dissuade" Biden administration from supporting Ukraine

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One at Des Moines International Airport, in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One at Des Moines International Airport, in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

When asked about the impact of the diplomatic cable from Russia warning the United States not to continue arming Ukraine, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “nothing will dissuade” President Joe Biden's administration from continuing to support Ukraine.

“The Russians have said some things privately, they have said some things publicly; nothing will dissuade us from the strategy that we've embarked on,” Price told CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Price said he is “not in a position to confirm any private diplomatic correspondence.”

But he added: “If the allegation from the Kremlin is that the US and our partners around the world are providing billions of dollars worth of security assistance to our Ukrainian partners, precisely what our Ukrainian partners have requested, and that our Ukrainian partners are using that very security assistance to extraordinary effects to repel this Russian aggression, well, then we're guilty as charged.”

CNN reported earlier Friday that the first flight from the US of the $800 million in new aid for Ukraine – which Biden announced this week — is expected to arrive in the region in the next 24 hours, according to a senior defense official. 

The Kremlin “shouldn’t be surprised” by US support for Ukraine, given the commitments the Biden administration made to supporting Ukraine even before Russia’s invasion began, Price added.

12:13 p.m. ET, April 15, 2022

Finland is "highly likely" to join NATO but more discussions are needed, minister says

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London

Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s minister of European affairs and ownership steering, talks to the media before a meeting at the EU Council headquarters in March.
Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s minister of European affairs and ownership steering, talks to the media before a meeting at the EU Council headquarters in March. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Finland is "highly likely" to join NATO following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland's Minister of European Affairs and Corporate Governance Tytti Tuppurainen told Sky News in a video interview Friday. 

Tuppurainen said "there is a huge majority" in support of a NATO membership, but "we need to discuss this issue thoroughly in our parliament." 

"So at this point, I can say that it's highly likely but the decision is not yet made," she said. "But of course, the Russian action, the brutal war in Ukraine, that is a wakeup call to us all," she added. 

On Wednesday, speaking at a joint news conference with her Swedish counterpart in Stockholm, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said her country's decision on whether to apply for membership would be made within "weeks, not within months."

"We need to have a view on the future and we are using this time to analyze and also build common views on the future when it comes to security," Marin said. "I won't give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast — within weeks, not within months."