April 20, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Andrew Raine, Travis Caldwell, George Ramsay, Jack Bantock, Laura Smith-Spark, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 21, 2022
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5:54 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Woman who escaped Mariupol recounts being trapped in city for 45 days: "It was like living in a nightmare" 

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Tatyana Burak survived 45 days in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol before escaping to safety in Lviv with her husband.

Both Burak, who is an English teacher, and her husband were injured. She said her home was bombed and destroyed.

Burak described her experience in Mariupol to CNN's Ana Cabrera, saying "it was like living in a nightmare."

"It was a horrible dream which thousands of people were dreaming at the same time and it had no end. So, we spent a lot of time in the hospital because we were wounded right at the beginning of this Russian onslaught and we were taken by our military doctors to the hospital and so we felt every single bomb, every single shell which was going to our city," Burak said.

Burak noted that early on in the war, she knew Mariupol was "doomed' and that Russian troops invaded the city with the notion that they were there to "liberate" Ukrainians.

"We understood there is nothing to be expected, that our city was doomed because these people came, as they said, to 'liberate us.' They didn't know what they were going to liberate us from, but they said that we were suffering and they came to liberate us. They liberated us from our homes, from our jobs, from the possessions of all our lives, from our family history. They liberated many thousands of people from their lives. They just — I don't know. They seem to be just crazy and insane," she said.

Burak said that soldiers asked her if she was "glad" they came, and that they were "surprised" that people were not expressing "signs of ultimate joy that they came."

She said that when they tried to tell them "our homes were destroyed by your shells, by your tanks, by your bombs, they just look at us and said, 'Okay. That's okay. We'll restore everything in two months. And your city will be even much better.'"

"So they just didn't understand what they were doing, or they were deliberately doing it just because they wanted to kill everybody," Burak continued.

Watch the interview:

3:00 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Mariupol evacuation corridor "did not work as planned," Ukrainian deputy prime minister says

From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Julia Presniakova in Lviv

Evacuees walk toward buses to leave Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 20.
Evacuees walk toward buses to leave Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 20. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said an evacuation corridor from the besieged city of Mariupol "did not work as planned" Wednesday, providing few details but promising to resume efforts Thursday. 

"Due to the lack of control over their own military on the ground, the occupiers were unable to ensure a proper ceasefire. Also, due to the inherent disorganization and negligence, the occupiers were unable to provide timely transportation of people to the point where dozens of our buses and ambulances were waiting," she said.

The mayor of Mariupol had called on residents of the city to evacuate along a corridor announced earlier in the day by Vereshchuk, including three assembly points.

Vereshchuk gave no specifics about how many people assembled, but said, "tomorrow morning we will resume our efforts in the Mariupol direction. I appeal to our people in Mariupol: we will fight for each of you!"

Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk region military administration, said in remarks on television Wednesday that fewer people than expected boarded buses along the corridor. 

"People gathered at those collection points, but few got on the buses," he said. "Now some of these buses are going on the route determined by the Russian Federation. As soon as they are in touch, we will immediately inform you which of the residents of Mariupol has reached the territory controlled by Ukraine. And we will understand how we will work according to the specified sequence in the next days."

2:40 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Russia has added 17 battalion groups in Ukraine in the last week, senior US defense official says 

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Russian forces have added 17 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in Ukraine over the past week, with four more BTGs in just the last 24 hours, a senior US defense official said Wednesday. 

Altogether, the US assesses that there are now 82 BTGs inside of Ukraine.

Out of the four BTGs added in the last 24 hours, three of them have “gone into the east” into the Donbas area, the official added. 

These BTGs are not all necessarily just infantry soldiers. They are “functionally arranged,” the official said.

“It’s also important to remember that some of these battalion tactical groups, we tend to think of them, and I think we all get used to talking about them as if they’re all infantry or something. They’re not, they're functionally arranged. Some are infantry, some are artillery, some are armor, mechanized, and so, I don’t know what the mix is here,” the official added.

2:42 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Zelensky says Ukrainian forces don't have enough "serious and heavy" weapons to defeat Russia in Mariupol

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston and Anastasia Graham-Yooll

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at a news conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at a news conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that the country's forces don’t have enough "serious and heavy" weapons to defeat the Russian army in the southeastern port city of Mariupol.  

He outlined two potential ways to end the standoff in the city: “First, it involves serious and heavy weapons […] at the moment we don't have enough of these weapons to free Mariupol. The second path is diplomatic. So far Russia hasn't agreed to this.” 

“We don’t know when we can unblock Mariupol. And I say this openly, that all the boys in Mariupol want our victory, they want a free city, none of them are going to surrender to the enemy. This is their internal feeling, this is what they are,” he added, speaking alongside European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv.

Zelensky also said that the “few thousand” Ukrainian civilians who fled the besieged city of Mariupol through evacuation corridors to Russian occupied territories is not currently known. 

Thousands of civilians have successfully left Mariupol through corridors agreed upon with Russia, but “unfortunately a few thousand civilians went to Russian occupied territories, and we don’t know the fate of these thousands of people,” he added.  

Ukraine is “ready for any format of swaps of our people for the Russian troops that they left behind, the bodies and the wounded that they abandoned here," he said. 

2:11 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

US unveils new round of sanctions targeting Russia for war in Ukraine 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The United States on Wednesday unveiled its latest round of sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine, this time targeting a key commercial bank and “a global network of more than 40 individuals and entities led by U.S.-designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev.”

In a news release, the US Treasury Department said it was also targeting “companies operating in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry, reportedly the third largest in the world,” noting it was the first time they have “designated a virtual currency mining company.”

In addition, the State Department is imposing visa restrictions on 635 Russian nationals who are "involved in suppressing dissent in Russia and abroad, who have been involved in activities that threaten the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and who have been involved in human rights abuses in prison facilities and places of unofficial detention in Russia-controlled areas of the Donbas region of Ukraine,” according to the US Treasury. 

Three Russian officials will also face visa restrictions “for involvement in gross violations of human rights, and on 17 individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Belarus,” the US Treasury continued.

1:53 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

UN secretary-general requests meetings with Putin and Zelensky separately

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif and Kristina Sgueglia

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference at the United Nations in New York in February.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference at the United Nations in New York in February. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is requesting audiences with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine to discuss the urgent need to bring about peace, according to a UN spokesperson.

Guterres would like “to discuss urgent steps to bring about peace in Ukraine and the future of multilateralism based on the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” according to a statement from UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

Separate letters were handed over to the Russia and Ukrainian missions Tuesday, Dujarric said. The spokesperson noted that Guterres is awaiting responses from the Russian and Ukrainian governments on a request for a meeting, taking it “one step at a time.”

Dujarric said he would be accompanying the secretary-general if he were to travel but couldn’t elaborate on who else would go.

“We will share with you information on the delegation when we reach that step," he said.

He also wouldn’t elaborate on whether Guterres would travel to one country and not the other if only a single country accepted the request.

“We're going to wait to see responses and then we'll make decisions ... based on the responses we receive," he said.

Asked whether the secretary-general regretted not requesting meetings sooner, he said Guterres “has been doing what he thinks is the most practical and the best way forward for him to deploy his good offices and the work of the UN.”

"We are moving on a path that the secretary-general has established. The regret is that this conflict keeps going and that the people keep suffering,” he later said.

He noted that Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin crossed paths briefly in Beijing for the Winter Olympics, but Putin had left before they could meet. 

“We have been in verbal contact with the permanent mission of Russia a number of times, to try to get at least contact, direct contact, between the secretary-general and the president," he said.

1:33 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

European Council president after visiting Ukraine: There are "no words" to explain what I feel 

From CNN's Jorge Engels and Livvy Doherty in London

European Council President Charles Michel, center, looks at destroyed vehicles as he is given a tour of devastation in Borodianka, Ukraine, on April 20, in this image provided by the European Council. 2022.
European Council President Charles Michel, center, looks at destroyed vehicles as he is given a tour of devastation in Borodianka, Ukraine, on April 20, in this image provided by the European Council. 2022. (Dario Pignatelli/European Council via AP)

European Council President Charles Michel said that there were "no words" to explain what he feels after visiting Ukraine on Wednesday, adding that Russia "must be punished" for the events unfolding in the country.

"There are no words in order to explain what I feel, not as the President of the European Council, but as father, as a human being. These are atrocities. These are war crimes. It must be punished. It will be punished. They must pay for what they have done, there and in many other cities and other locations in Ukraine," Michel said in a news conference in Kyiv. 

Speaking alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Michel said that earlier in the day he had visited the town of Borodianka, where mass graves full of hundreds of murdered civilians were discovered following the withdrawal of Russian forces from Kyiv region. 

Michel said the European Union is rooting for a Ukrainian victory against Russia and will do everything it can to support Ukraine.

“Right now, like you, I think to the people, to the civilians in the Donbas, in Mariupol, in other cities, who are fighting for their lives. Who are fighting for the sovereignty of Ukraine,” said Michel. “This is why we will use all the possible tools in our hands.”   

He added that the European Union is working closely with international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to ensure Ukraine can get the funds it needs to pay for short, medium and long-term social expenditures. 

“But also, this is very important, in order to start as soon as possible the rebuilding program for the country,” he said. 

Ukraine’s finance ministry has estimated it will need $5 billion a month in financial assistance to keep the country’s economy functioning, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday. 


2:13 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

US Treasury Secretary Yellen and other finance ministers walked out of G20 meeting with Russia

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Sam Fossum

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to the Atlantic Council on April 13.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to the Atlantic Council on April 13. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Finance ministers from multiple nations walked out of a closed-door G20 session in Washington, DC, on Wednesday when the Russian delegate began his prepared remarks, a person familiar with the session said. 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen participated in the walkout, as did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with other European and Western officials who were participating in the meeting, the source said.

Ahead of the meeting, US officials had said Yellen would not participate in certain sessions of the gathering that included Russia.

Ukrainian officials also spoke at the session as invited guests, and also walked out during Russia’s presentation. Yellen and other officials attended the session during those remarks, but departed when Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov began speaking virtually.

A separate official said finance ministers had discussed plans to boycott Russia’s participation ahead of time. 

Yellen said earlier this month she had informed Indonesia — this year’s G20 host — that she wouldn’t participate in sessions that included Russia. The G20 finance ministers are gathered in Washington this week to coincide with the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF. 

Ahead of Wednesday’s walkout, Treasury officials made clear it would not be business as usual when it came to Yellen’s interactions with Russian officials during this week's big gathering of global economic leaders.

While Yellen will attend some sessions of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governor meeting with Russian officials present, including the opening session, she will not be participating in all of them if the Russians are there, according to a senior US Treasury Official.  

"President Biden’s made clear and I certainly agree with him that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in any of the financial institutions," Yellen had earlier told the House Financial Services Committee. "He’s asked that Russia be removed from the G20 and I’ve made clear to my colleagues in Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there."

“This week’s meetings in Washington are about supporting the world economy – and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy, raising the price of food and fuel and hitting the most vulnerable among us the hardest. Russia should not be included in these meetings. The world’s democracies will not stand idly by in the face of continued Russian aggression and war crimes," said Adrienne Vaupshas, the press secretary to Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

While US President Joe Biden has said Russia should no longer be in the G20, ejecting Moscow would require the support of all members. That is considered unlikely, as China has said it would not back kicking Russia out.

12:59 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Ukraine estimates it needs $5 billion per month to keep economy functioning, IMF managing director says

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty in London

Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance has estimated it will take $5 billion a month to keep the economy functioning, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday.

“We have been engaged very closely with the Ministry of Finance on the estimates they have provided or what would be necessary to retain the functioning of the economy over the next three months and they came up with the number of $5 billion a month,” she said.

Speaking as part of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in DC, Georgieva said there was some “uncertainty” around this number, but it was unlikely to be outside the financial needs of the country, and that the IMF was working with its partners to mobilize “that kind of support.”

The IMF managing director added that they were already discussing a followup package of support with Ukraine and stressed that “high uncertainty” should not prevent them starting work on this new package. 

Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass are expected to meet with the Ukrainian prime minister and finance minister on Thursday to discuss further aid. 

Asked if $5 billion a month was a firm commitment from the fund, Georgieva said they were going to discuss this with the partners but added it was important to look at filling the financial gap with grant financing. When it came to fund support, Georgieva said it wasn’t “wise” to bring the new package in “while the hostilities are still ongoing because it is unfair to expect from Ukrainian authorities to develop and implement a far ranging package of reforms at this time.”