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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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.

3:42 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Nearly 1,500 Ukrainian civilians evacuated from areas of fighting Saturday, Ukraine's deputy PM says

From CNN's Jonny Hallam

People stand in front of the entrance of a bomb shelter, where they have been hiding from shelling since the beginning of the war, in the Luhansk region of Severodonetsk on Saturday, April 16.
People stand in front of the entrance of a bomb shelter, where they have been hiding from shelling since the beginning of the war, in the Luhansk region of Severodonetsk on Saturday, April 16. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday that 1,449 people have been evacuated so far from areas in southern and eastern Ukraine affected by fighting.

Vereshchuk said that only 170 people managed to escape from Mariupol by their own means of transport to Zaporizhzhia on Saturday. Another 1,211 residents of Polohy, Vasylivka, Berdiansk and Melitopol made safe passage to Zaporizhzhia. 

Despite constant shelling, 68 people were evacuated from the cities of Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Kreminna in the Luhansk region, Vereshchuk said.

Vereshchuk said that due to heavy and mass shelling, the evacuation of people from Lysychansk was completely disrupted. 

3:11 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

UK "will stop at nothing to ensure Ukrainians" have resources to defend themselves, prime minister says

From CNN's Cecelia Armstrong

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday that “the UK will stop at nothing to ensure Ukrainians have the resources they need” to defend their country against Russia’s invasion, according to a statement on social media.

Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Saturday afternoon, according to the tweet.

In his own statement on Twitter, Zelensky said the two spoke about the agreements reached during Johnson’s recent visit to Kyiv earlier this month, adding that they spoke about defense and macro-financial support as well as the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol. 

According to a statement from Downing Street, “the Prime Minister paid tribute to the bravery of Ukrainian forces who continue to valiantly defend their country's freedom.” 

“President Zelenskyy updated the Prime Minister on the situation in Mariupol, and the Prime Minister said he saluted Ukrainian resistance in the city. The pair discussed the need for a long-term security solution for Ukraine, and the Prime Minister said he would continue to work closely with allies and partners to ensure Ukraine could defend its sovereignty in the weeks and months to come,” the Downing Street statement said.
“The Prime Minister updated President Zelenskyy on new sanctions from the UK that came into force last week and said the UK would continue to provide the means for Ukraine to defend itself, including armoured vehicles in the coming days. The Prime Minister said international support for Ukraine only grew stronger and that he remained convinced Ukraine would succeed, and Putin would fail,” according to the statement.
3:13 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Bodies in Bucha mass grave are being exhumed to recover and identify the dead

Hundreds who died in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha are now being exhumed more than two weeks after Russia's occupation of the area.

There is a wide-scale operation to recover and identify the dead in the town's mass grave and those buried in other shallow graves, according to CNN's Phil Black.

The Russian retreat revealed at least 20 bodies lining a single street. The widow of a man who was killed while riding his bicycle said she urged her husband not to go outside, but he insisted on leaving their home. He was killed as soon as he reached the road, she said via translated remarks, and his bike still remains there.

There is a social media database that people can search to find images and information about their dead loved ones, Black reported, which is "harrowing" to go through.

More than 900 bodies of civilians from the Kyiv region have been discovered since the Russian army withdrew from the area, police said Friday.

Watch the report below. (Note: It contains graphic imagery.)

3:00 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Zelensky and Swedish prime minister discuss Russian sanctions, Ukraine's EU membership

From CNN's Cecelia Armstrong

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Saturday, according to statements from both leaders on social media.

“I described the critical situation in Mariupol,” Zelensky’s statement said. “We discussed defense support for Ukraine and toughening of anti-Russian sanctions.”

Zelensky said he thanked Andersson for supporting Ukraine’s membership in the European Union.

“Sweden and EU work relentlessly to support Ukraine, impose further sanctions on Russia, and ensure accountability for war crimes,” Andersson said in a statement.

1:50 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Luhansk official: Extensive damage to civilian infrastructure in multiple areas following Russian strikes

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko in Vasylkiv 

Firefighters work to put out a fire at an oil refinery in Lysychansk after if was hit by a missile in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 16.
Firefighters work to put out a fire at an oil refinery in Lysychansk after if was hit by a missile in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 16. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk region military administration, said there was extensive damage to civilian infrastructure following Russian strikes in the eastern Ukrainian region. 

"In one day, the Russians damaged ten infrastructure facilities -- an oil refinery and a hospital in Lysychansk," he said. "Another 26 buildings were partially or completely destroyed. There were 16 residential buildings [hit] in Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna, and Lysychansk." 

Haidai said a strike on a market in the town of Lysychansk led to a fire that spread to two sludge tanks at a refinery, set fire to three bread vans and damaged a medical building.