April 16, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brad Lendon, Ivana Kottasová, Sana Noor Haq, Joe Ruiz, Adrienne Vogt and Ray Sanchez, CNN

Updated 12:40 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022
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9:35 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Russia orders Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to surrender by Sunday morning

From CNN's Darya Tarasova

Russia has demanded Ukrainian forces still fighting to defend the besieged city of Mariupol lay down their weapons. The apparent ultimatum comes as Russia continues its relentless and devastating attack on the southeastern city.

Russian state media Ria reported that "without exception" all "Ukrainian armed units and foreign mercenaries" must exit from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Moscow time (same as local time) "without any weapons and ammunition," citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

An estimated 100,000 people remain in Mariupol and its immediate surroundings, which are reported to be largely under Russian control, with Ukrainian troops confined to pockets of resistance.

Some context: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zekensky late Saturday called the situation in the besieged city of Mariupol "inhuman," saying the situation remained "as severe as possible."

"Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there in Mariupol," he said in his latest video address.

7:20 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Missile hits World Central Kitchen partner restaurant in Kharkiv, wounding four staffers, WCK CEO says

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan

A restaurant partnered with celebrity chef and global humanitarian José Andrés' organization, World Central Kitchen, was hit by a missile in Kharkiv, Ukraine, wounding four staffers, WCK CEO Nate Mook said Saturday.

He described the scene as one of “horrific brutality.”

In a video posted on Twitter, Mook stood in front of the building that took what he said was a “big hit” from a missile that left “tremendous amounts of damage” and “a dozen cars burnt out.” The kitchen also suffered damage, according to Mook, who said no one was killed at the restaurant but that one person was killed in the strike.

CNN has not independently confirmed the death.

“This is a tremendous amount of carnage left behind for no reason,” Mook said, adding that “coming to work, cooking for people that are hungry is an immense act of bravery."

The WCK CEO said a fire was burning at the site, which he also visited before the attack, on Friday, to pick up meals with the WCK team. He described the area as residential with offices.

Mook said he was heading to a hospital to check on the restaurant staff, whom he was told were “OK.” 

Following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Andrés provided meals along the country's western border through World Central Kitchen. He said WCK started making food in Ukraine hours after the fighting started and that they're serving 250,000 meals each day.

In 2021, Andrés was a recipient of Jeff Bezos’ Courage and Civility Award, an honor which came with $100 million.

Andrés has earmarked some of those funds for Ukraine.

6:52 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Russia's defense ministry claims to down Ukrainian military transport aircraft

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv, Ukraine

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov claimed in a statement Saturday the Russian military had shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane carrying military equipment from Western countries.

The statement said "a Ukrainian military transport aircraft was shot down in the air" in the Odessa region while "delivering a large batch of weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western countries."

CNN could not verify the claim and reached out to the Pentagon for comment.

Russia has claimed to have destroyed more Ukrainian military aircraft than were known to be in Ukraine's inventory, according to open-source information.  

 

7:25 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

US security assistance shipments to Ukraine arrive, White House official says

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright and Arlette Saenz

A M777 towed 155 mm howitzer is placed in its firing position near Mosul, Iraq on February 3, 2017.
A M777 towed 155 mm howitzer is placed in its firing position near Mosul, Iraq on February 3, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Craig Jensen)

Shipments from the Biden administration’s latest security assistance package to Ukraine “have begun arriving,” a White House official told CNN Saturday.

President Biden this week approved an additional package of $800 million worth of weapons, ammunition, and security assistance to Ukraine.

The US has, for the first time, agreed to provide Kyiv with the types of high-power capabilities some Biden administration officials a few short weeks ago viewed as too great of an escalation risk, including 11 Mi-17 helicopters; 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons[ and 300 more Switchblade drones.

 On Friday, a senior defense official told CNN the first flight of weapons and equipment was expected to arrive in the region in the following 24 hours and would be picked up at the border by Ukrainians and taken into the country.

The official referred CNN to the US Department of Defense for more details.

The $800 million shipment brings the total amount of military assistance the US has provided to Ukraine to more than $3 billion.

 

6:41 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Ukrainian president calls situation in Mariupol "inhuman," promises to rebuild nation

From CNN's Tim Lister

A local resident sits next to a fire in a courtyard outside a building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 14.
A local resident sits next to a fire in a courtyard outside a building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 14. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

In his latest Saturday video address to the people of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol and promised a better future once hostilities are over.

Zelensky said "the situation in Mariupol remains as severe as possible. Just inhuman."

"Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there in Mariupol," he said.

An estimated 100,000 people remain in Mariupol and its immediate surroundings, which are largely under Russian control, with Ukrainian troops confined to pockets of resistance.

"There are only two ways to influence this," Zelensky said. "Either our partners will give Ukraine all the necessary heavy weapons, planes, and, without exaggeration, immediately... Or a negotiating path, in which the role of partners should also be decisive."

Zelesnky said his government has tried every day to end the siege of Mariupol: "Military or diplomatic – anything to save people. But finding this solution is extremely difficult."

"Although we have heard many intentions from those who wanted to help and who are really in positions of international influence, none of them have been realized yet." he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron proposed on March 25 a mass evacuation by sea, but the plan went nowhere.

Zelensky said every day either he or the armed forces chief or the head of Ukraine's negotiating team had been "in touch with our defenders of Mariupol. Every day."

Zelensky also said his government had begun to plan for a post-war future. 

"Today I held a meeting dedicated to the reconstruction of our cities," he said. "Of course, this is a huge amount of work. But still less than defending the state in war."

The president added, "Now it is a historic moment; the moment when we can solve many old problems of the whole environment of our life once and for all."

Zelensky addressed the housing situation and what he called the "real modernization of our cities."

"Millions of people know how difficult it is to get a home, earn money for their own apartment, build a house... Today, I set a task to provide temporary housing to all our IDPs [internally displaced.]...Those whose house was destroyed by war. Temporary housing until we rebuild their homes."

A priority, he said, would be homes for veterans to "provide housing for all those who have defended or are defending the state, who have worked or are working in the interests of society, and do not have their own housing. It can no longer be the case that a person devotes his whole life to military service, but retires without having his own apartment."

Zelensky also said memorials were being planned, one of which "will tell the story of the destroyed bridge in Kyiv region, which connected Irpin and Bucha with Kyiv. The story of people who escaped from Russian invaders to Kyiv using this bridge and this road."

The bridge was the escape route for thousands of civilians escaping Russian bombardment in March.

6:04 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Russia's defense ministry releases video of Navy commander meeting crew of Moskva: TASS

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv, Ukraine, and Masha Angelova in Tel Aviv

The Russian navy's commander-in-chief, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, met with the crew of the guided-missile cruiser Moskva in Sevastopol, according to Russian state news agency TASS, citing the defense ministry.

TASS released ministry of defense video Saturday showing what was described as officers and sailors of the sunken warship standing in formation two rows deep.

The number of sailors in formation was not clear. The Russian military has released no information about casualties aboard the Moskva, which sank Thursday in the Black Sea. It was unclear how many crew members were aboard, or how many survived.

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

Evmenov said conscript sailors from the Moskva would be released from service in accordance with the law from May to July, TASS reported.

 

5:55 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Russian General Vladimir Frolov killed in Ukraine, St. Petersburg's mayor says

From CNN’s Masha Angelova

Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg announced the death of a Russian general in Ukraine in a statement of condolence Saturday. 

The city expressed condolences for the deputy commander of Russia's 8th Army, Major General Vladimir Frolov, who died in Ukraine this week, the mayor’s press office said in a statement.

St. Petersburg Mayor Alexander Beglov attended the funeral, held at the historic Serafimovskoe Cemetery on Saturday, the statement said.

“Today we say goodbye to a true hero," Beglov said, according to the statement. "Vladimir Petrovich Frolov died a heroic death in battle with Ukrainian nationalists. He sacrificed his life so that children, women and old people in the Donbas would no longer hear the explosions of bombs. So that they stop waiting for death and, leaving home, say goodbye as if it were for the last time."

CNN could not confirm the circumstances of Frolov's death. Several top Russian officers have been killed in Ukraine.

5:14 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

“World is united” with Ukraine, Prince Harry says

From CNN's Cece Armstrong

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at The Hague, Netherlands, on Saturday, April 16.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at The Hague, Netherlands, on Saturday, April 16. (Peter Dejong/AP)

During a speech at Saturday's opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at The Hague, Prince Harry said “the world is united” with Ukraine.

Speaking of the Ukrainian servicemen and women who traveled to the Netherlands to compete, he said: “You told me yesterday why you decided to join us, despite all odds. You said you came to be on this global stage, not simply to show your strength, but to tell your truth, the truth of what is happening in your country.”

Prince Harry was joined by his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. The Invictus Games, which will run until next Friday, had been postponed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also paid tribute to the Ukrainian team.

“Unity and solidarity will always win out over confrontation and conflict,” he said in a statement on social media. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian Invictus community. Some of them can’t be here because they are fighting on the frontlines. Others have lost their lives in the war. They are in our thoughts.

“The stories of the athletes competing in the Invictus Games are stories of resilience,” Rutte's statement said. “They show us that, whatever challenges we face, our souls remain unconquered.”

Prince Harry founded the games in 2014 as a way to use sport to help the recovery and rehabilitation of injured service members. The Prince served in the British Army for 10 years and completed two tours in Afghanistan.

Before arriving in The Hague from their home in California, Harry and Meghan stopped by the UK to visit Queen Elizabeth. 

4:16 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

It's 11 p.m. in Kyiv. Catch up on the latest developments here

A car passes an oil refinery in Lysychansk after if was hit by a missile in the Luhansk region in Ukraine on Saturday.
A car passes an oil refinery in Lysychansk after if was hit by a missile in the Luhansk region in Ukraine on Saturday. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

As Sunday approaches in Ukraine, Russian forces appear to be focusing on areas in eastern Ukraine ahead of a planned ground offensive while carrying out strikes in other regions.

Attacks across Ukraine on Saturday:

  • East: Russia has intensified attacks in several locations in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian military and regional officials. The Luhansk region military administration said there was extensive damage to civilian infrastructure following Russian strikes in the region. 
  • South: The Mykolaiv and Kherson regions in southern Ukraine have been under heavy shelling on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said in a statement. The statement alleged that Russian forces were "enraged by the losses in the Black Sea" — an apparent reference to the sinking of the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva. 
  • Kyiv: At least one person was killed and several others injured in the capital of Kyiv after the Ukrainian capital "came under fire" on Saturday morning, the city's mayor said.
  • Northeast: The Kharkiv Prosecutor's Office said Saturday that two civilians were killed and 18 injured in a cruise-missile strike in the northeastern Ukrainian city.
  • West: The head of the Lviv regional military administration in western Ukraine said Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems downed Russian cruise missiles that were fired on Saturday morning toward the Lviv region.

Worries over ammunition: There is growing concern about the need to get more ammunition — and in particular artillery ammunition — to Ukrainian forces more rapidly as heavy ground combat against Russian units is expected to unfold in the coming days, according to a US official. Even the amount of security assistance from the US could be expended within several days, raising the prospect of Ukraine forces running out of ammunition, the official said.

Meanwhile, Russian leaders — angry over the loss of its Black Sea Fleet flagship — have warned of "unpredictable consequences" if the US continues supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Evacuations: Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said on Saturday that nearly 1,500 people have been evacuated so far from areas in southern and eastern Ukraine affected by fighting.

It took six hours for one elderly woman who spoke with CNN to be evacuated from a frontline town to the relative safety of a care home further west due to shelling threats, she said.