Red Cross team en route to Mariupol has yet to reach besieged city, spokesperson says
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London
The International Committee for the Red Cross team that departed Zaporizhzhia on Saturday morning as part of renewed attempt to reach Mariupol, have yet to reach the besieged city, an ICRC spokesperson told CNN.
The team is "spending the night en route to Mariupol and are yet to reach the city," the ICRC spokesperson said.
On Friday evening, the ICRC announced in a statement that its team of three vehicles and nine personnel was unable to reach the city "after arrangements and conditions made it impossible to proceed."
2:26 p.m. ET, April 2, 2022
What life is like in Odesa right now, as witnessed by a CNN reporter
Residents of Odesa are trying to find pockets of normalcy as the threat of a Russian attack from the Black Sea looms over the southern Ukrainian city.
"It's home. And we can, like, live a normal life. But that's for now. We don't know what's going to be tomorrow or in a week," law student Taimur Kravchenko told CNN's Ed Lavandera while enjoying coffee with his friends at a market.
But the center of the city is full of anti-tank barricades to fortify itself against an invasion, and displaced Ukrainians from areas that have seen the worst fighting have escaped to the city to find food and shelter.
Olga Petkovich, her husband and their six children fled their village through a forest to escape shelling. Russian soldiers broke into their home and took everything, according to her husband.
"When we came here, the volunteers told us say what we need, but I'm ashamed. I've worked all my life and never asked anyone for anything. Now I have to ask," she said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Her young daughter wiped away her tears and asked "Mother, why are you crying?"
"Because they were shelling us a lot," Petkovich responded.
Russian gas continues to flow into Germany, government spokesperson says
From CNN's Inke Kappeler in Berlin and Niamh Kennedy in London
Russian gas continues to flow into Germany despite Germany's refusal to adhere to a decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin requiring payments for gas contracts to be made in rubles.
"Gas is flowing to Germany. Deliveries are incoming. Supply security is still guaranteed," a German government spokesperson told CNN on Saturday.
The German government is "in close contact" with its European partners and will "monitor the situation closely," the spokesperson added.
German transmission system operator Gascade, which manages the German section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline, told CNN Saturday that it couldn't confirm any cutting off of gas supplies to Germany.
The Russian president delivered an ultimatum Thursday to "unfriendly" nations to pay for their energy in rubles starting Friday or risk being cut off from vital supplies. But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted that German companies will continue to make payments for Russian gas only in euros.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia would not turn off gas supplies to Europe immediately.
12:22 p.m. ET, April 2, 2022
Russian strikes in Dnipropetrovsk region interrupt rail traffic, regional military governor says
Fom CNN's Olga Voitovych in Lviv and Mariya Knight in Atlanta
The head of the regional military administration of Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region said Russian strikes had interrupted rail traffic and caused a fire.
Valentyn Reznichenko said a rocket hit the railway in Pavlohrad district, forcing suspension of train traffic.
"One rocket hit the railway," he said. "Tracks and electric lines are badly damaged. Train wagons exploded. Train traffic is suspended. Rescuers are putting out the fire."
Reznichenko said no one was killed, according to preliminary information, but a second round hit an open area, causing a fire. One person was injured, he said.
The office of Ukraine's Prosecutor General said a criminal investigation has been opened into the attack.
"According to the investigation, on the afternoon of April 2, 2022, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, ignoring the norms of international humanitarian law, carried out a rocket attack on a civilian transport railway hub and an open area of the city of Pavlohrad," according to a statement on Telegram from the office. "As a result of the airstrike of the Russian invaders, guided missiles damaged railway tracks and freight cars."
There were no military facilities on the territory of the railway hub, the statement added.
1:47 p.m. ET, April 2, 2022
Death toll from Russian strike on regional administrative building in Mykolaiv rises to 36, official says
From CNN's Mariya Knight in Atlanta
A total of 36 people were killed in a Russian strike on the office of the regional military governor of Ukraine's southwestern Mykolaiv region on Tuesday, regional military governor Vitalii Kim said Saturday on Telegram.
As the sun sets on Saturday in Ukraine, here's what you need to know.
Evacuation efforts continue: Seven evacuation corridors were scheduled in Ukraine on Saturday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, including the route from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol to the Ukrainian government-held city of Zaporizhzhia. In addition, an International Committee of the Red Cross team left for Mariupol on Saturday.
Turkey has also offered to evacuate people trapped in Mariupol.
More than 6,200 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities on Friday, Vereshchuk said.
Attacks reported in eastern and central Ukraine: Russian forces targeted a major Ukrainian oil refinery in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk in a series of strikes Saturday morning, according to a spokesperson for the country's military.
At least four people were injured by explosions amid protests against Russian occupation in the central Ukrainian town of Enerhodar, the country's state nuclear power company Energoatom said.
Additionally, a Luhansk regional official said Russian forces had shelled people evacuating from towns that have seen heavy fighting. And the head of the regional military administration of Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region said Russian strikes had interrupted rail traffic and caused a fire.
Weapons delivery: Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom Andrei Kelin told Russian state news agency TASS that if Britain delivers long-range artillery weapons and anti-ship systems to Ukraine, they would be "legitimate targets" for Russian forces.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak on Saturday called on the US and its allies to deliver heavier weaponry to Ukraine as the Russian military shifts its campaign to focus on the east and south of Ukraine.
Photojournalist found dead: Ukrainian photojournalist Maksym "Maks" Levin, who worked for a number of major Western news outlets including Reuters and the BBC, was found dead with two gunshot wounds near Kyiv, the office of Ukraine’s attorney general said Saturday.
11:28 a.m. ET, April 2, 2022
Ukrainian presidential adviser warns days ahead "will not be easy"
From CNN's Nathan Hodge, Hande Atay Alam, and Mariya Knight
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said heavy fighting is still expected in the east of Ukraine, near Mariupol, and in the country's south.
He warned that the military effort "will not be easy" in those regions.
"I think we will take back Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, and the south," he said. "But — listen carefully — it will not be easy there."
Arestovych and other senior Ukrainian officials have stepped up calls in recent days for the US and its allies to deliver more heavy weaponry. Speaking during his daily briefing, Arestovych said the main directions of the military over the past day were the Kyiv region, where Ukrainian troops reclaimed more than 30 settlements from Russian control.
"We seize a lot of equipment that is empty, without fuel, and transfer it to the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he said. "That is, the offensive is going well."
Arestovych — who gives regular briefings on Ukrainian television — also urged people to return to normal life, saying, "In those areas that are liberated from the enemy, that do not pose an immediate threat, and even more so in the cities of Central and Western Ukraine or in the East and Center of Ukraine, where there is no immediate threat, economic recovery is critical to restoring normal social and political life, even psychological life."
9:58 a.m. ET, April 2, 2022
Ukrainian photojournalist killed by Russian forces, according to Ukraine attorney general's office
From Mariya Knight in Atlanta, Amy Cassidy in London and Eliza Mackintosh in Lviv
A Ukrainian photojournalist who worked for a number of major Western news outlets including Reuters and the BBC has been killed by Russian forces near Kyiv, the office of Ukraine’s attorney general said Saturday.
The body of Maksym (Maks) Levin – who had been capturing the ongoing conflict – was found with two gunshot wounds in the Vyshgorod district which sits just north of the capital, the attorney general’s office said in a Facebook post, citing preliminary reports.
“According to the preliminary information, the soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces killed the unarmed Maksym Levin with two gunshots,” it claimed. His next of kin have been informed, the office told CNN.
Photographer Markiian Lyseiko told CNN that he was last in touch with his friend, known as Maks, on March 12, the day before he went missing in a district north of Kyiv, where he had been reporting on the fighting and fleeing civilians.
In their final conversations, Lyseiko said that Levin had asked him to come to the Ukrainian capital so they could cover the war together.
Lyseiko, who worked alongside Levin since 2014 documenting the war in Donbas, where they embedded with Ukrainian soldiers for weeks at a time, described his friend in an interview with CNN on March 24 as an energetic and tenacious reporter, who often looked like he “had no fear.”
Since the war broke out eight years ago, Levin wanted to show the world what was happening in Ukraine, especially to Russia, Lyseiko said.
“The best way to understand Maks is to look at his work,” Lyseiko said. “When you watch Maks’ films or see his photos, you will understand him, without words.”
A criminal investigation is being carried out by the Vyshgorod District prosecutor's office into alleged violations of “laws and customs of war,” the attorney general’s office said, adding that “measures are being taken to establish all circumstances of the crime.”
Levin began working as a photojournalist in 2006, according to his bio on LensCulture, a photography resources website. He worked for Ukrainian news outlet LB.ua and was “well-known” in his field, having collaborated with Reuters, BBC, TRT World and Associated Press, according to the attorney general’s office.
In a statement online, LB.ua said Levin is survived by four sons, a civil partner and elderly parents. LB.ua said that in addition to journalism, Levin worked on dozens of photo and video projects for humanitarian organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UN Women.
In his bio, Levin described himself as a “documentary photographer/videographer, father, human being.”
The Reuters news agency on Saturday said it is “deeply saddened” over Levin's death.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Maksym Levin, a long-time contributor to Reuters, in Ukraine,” John Pullman, Reuters' global managing editor for visuals, said in a statement to CNN.
“Maks has provided compelling photos and video from Ukraine to Reuters since 2013. His death is a huge loss to the world of journalism. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” Pullman said.
9:56 a.m. ET, April 2, 2022
Russians shelling evacuation convoys in Luhansk, according to regional official
From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Lviv
The head of the Luhansk region military administration said 2,700 civilians had evacuated from the region on Saturday, but Russian forces had shelled people evacuating from towns that have seen heavy fighting.
"It is impossible to negotiate with the 'Orcs,'" Serhiy Haidai said. "The Russians are deliberately hitting during the evacuations. There were incoming shells near the meeting places. Fortunately, everybody is alive."
A number of Ukrainian officials have been referring to Russian forces as "orcs" — the evil, monstrous army in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."
Haidai added that several tons of humanitarian aid were delivered for those remaining behind, and police officers had already begun transporting it to bomb shelters.
"Let me remind you that evacuation continues," Haidai said. "Buses are waiting for you every morning."