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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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.”

12:54 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Howitzer ammo has arrived in Europe for Ukraine, senior US defense official says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Howitzer rounds, a type of artillery ammunition, have arrived in Europe to be sent to Ukraine, a senior US defense official told reporters Wednesday. The Howitzer rounds started arriving yesterday, and there will be “more arriving today and in the coming days,” the official said. In the most recent $800 million drawdown package signed last week, the US said it will send 40,000 of them total.

Training of Ukrainians on how to use the Howitzer “has begun,” the official said. The training of about 50 Ukrainians is happening in a country outside of Ukraine, but the official would not say which country it's taking place in. 

“This is to train the trainers, it’s a smallish number of Ukrainians, little bit more than 50, they will get trained on how to use the Howitzers and then they’ll be able to go back into Ukraine and train their colleagues,” the official said.

Shipments of aid for Ukraine from the US continue to arrive in Europe. In the last 24 hours, about four flights of aid shipments arrived in the region, the official said. These shipments are funded by the most recent $800 million presidential drawdown package, the official added.

12:56 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Germany will phase out Russian oil imports "by the end of the year," foreign minister says 

From CNN’s Benjamin Brown in London and Chris Liakos in Paris

Germany will phase out Russian oil imports "by the end of the year," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Wednesday.

“Germany will completely phase out Russian energy imports,” Baerbock said. Oil imports “will be halved by the summer” and phased out entirely and “at 0 by the end of the year,” she added.

Speaking at a news conference in Riga with Baltic Foreign Ministers, Baerbock reiterated that coal imports would be phased out by the end of the summer. Gas imports would be phased out over a longer timeframe, she added.

A spokesperson for Germany’s Economy Ministry told CNN that Germany wants to achieve independence from Russian energy imports division by division and step by step, projecting independence from Russian oil by the end of the year.

Earlier this month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said he believed Germany would be able to end imports this year but added it would take the country longer to wean itself off Russian gas. 

According to a joint economic forecast by five leading German economic research institutes, in the event of an immediate interruption to Russian gas supplies, a total of 220 billion euros ($238 billion) in German economic output would be at risk in both 2022 and 2023. This would be equivalent to more than 6.5% of Germany’s annual economic output.


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

US was notified ahead of Russian missile test and tracked it closely, officials say

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Michael Conte

The United States was aware through international notification agreements that Russia was planning the intercontinental ballistic missile test ahead of Wednesday’s launch, according to two US officials.

The US knew of the launch window and tracked the missile and was not concerned, the officials said.

Both Russia and the US — under an existing international agreement — notify other nations of tests to avoid any incidents.

The US assesses this missile is not yet operational in Russian inventory, the sources said.

“Such testing is routine, and it was not a surprise,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby in off-camera comments to reporters.

Kirby said the US “did not deem the test to be a threat to the United States, or its allies.”

“The department remains focused on Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine,” said Kirby.

Earlier: The Russian defense ministry announced that it had conducted a test launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile, the Sarmat.

The missile was fired from a silo launcher at 3:12 p.m. Moscow time at the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region of northern Russia toward the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's far east.

The defense ministry's statement said that it landed in the “designated area in Kamchatka."

12:24 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

120,000 people remain in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, President Zelensky says

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston and Anastasia Graham-Yooll 

Evacuees board a bus to leave the city of Mariupol on April 20.
Evacuees board a bus to leave the city of Mariupol on April 20. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Some 120,000 people remain trapped in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday. 

“According to our information, they are keeping 120,000 people in besieged Mariupol. Crimes that are happening there are far more scary and large scale than in Borodyanka,” Zelensky said while speaking alongside European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv. 

“I'm confident with combined efforts we can bring all of those responsible to justice, and I promise you we'll find them all,” the Ukrainian president added. 

Michel and Zelensky spoke for two hours, discussing sanctions, weapons, Ukraine’s membership to the European Union and financial support, things that Ukraine “really needs,” Zelensky said. 

Zelensky praised the EU for its five previous packages of sanctions, but said that they are not sufficient to halt Russia’s funding of the invasion. He again called for Russian oil and gas to be included in the EU’s sixth package of sanctions, saying that its effects will be “empty” if the ban against Russian energy is not included, and also called for all Russian banks to be excluded from the international banking system SWIFT. 

Membership to the EU is a “priority” for Ukraine, and the country is “hoping and waiting” for the support from EU member states, Zelensky said. 


1:05 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Ukrainians are not "thinking about comfort, they are thinking about mere survival," Melitopol mayor says

From CNN’s James Frater in Brussels

Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol in Ukraine, attends the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square on April 17, in Vatican City, Vatican.
Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol in Ukraine, attends the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square on April 17, in Vatican City, Vatican. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov spoke to the European Parliament in Brussels Wednesday, saying that Ukrainians today "are not thinking about comfort. They're thinking about mere survival” and urged European lawmakers “to help Ukraine” through all possible means.

In an emotional address, the elected mayor of the occupied city of Melitopol said that the conflict in Ukraine was “a full-scale war — not only against Ukraine, but against the entire civilized world.”

If there isn't an appropriate response to Russia's “significant threat” in a timely fashion, he cautioned that “war will come to European cities and households.”

Remember: Mayor Fedorov was detained by Russian forces for five days in March and was later freed as part of a prisoner exchange. Melitopol fell to Russian control in early March and a new, pro-Russian mayor was installed. The unelected mayor has since instituted a number of pro-Russian moves, including mandating the broadcasting of Russian news outlets.

On Wednesday, he said the city of Melitopol had been “building an island of Europe in our city,” since 2014.

“We started renovating schools, kindergartens, medical establishments, and we started building the best possible roads so that our residents could indeed feel that life is getting better in our city and in our country,” he added, saying the mentality of people in Melitopol had been changing and “they started perceiving themselves, and feeling themselves as free Europeans.”

Now, the “dreams of millions of Ukrainians today have been shattered because they see how cities are being methodically destroyed," he continued. 

CNN's Tim Lister and Paul P. Murphy contributed to this reporting.

3:27 p.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Russian military carries out test launch of Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, defense ministry says

From CNN’s Nathan Hodge and Uliana Pavlova

The Russian defense ministry announced Wednesday that it had conducted a test launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile, the Sarmat.

The missile was fired from a silo launcher at 3:12 p.m. Moscow time at the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region of northern Russia toward the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's far east.

The defense ministry's statement said that it landed in the “designated area in Kamchatka."

The ministry noted that after the completion of a test program, the Sarmat would go into service with Russia's Strategic Missile Forces. The RS-28 Sarmat is designed to replace the Soviet-era Voevoda ICBM, known by the NATO designation SS-18 Satan.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin congratulated the military on their successful missile test, saying it would “give thought to those who are trying to threaten Russia," according to the ministry statement as quoted by the state-run TASS news agency. 

The Sarmat was one of the weapons Putin mentioned in a 2018 speech boasting of new weaponry he said would render NATO defenses "completely useless." US officials played down the threat at the time.

11:41 a.m. ET, April 20, 2022

Mariupol is under "constant" bombardment, Ukrainian Marine commander says

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton and Khrystyna Bondarenko

(Maj. Serhii Volyna)
(Maj. Serhii Volyna) (36th Separate Marine Brigade)

Maj. Serhii Volyna, commander of Ukraine's 36th Separate Marine Brigade, told CNN Wednesday that Russia continued its "constant" bombardment of Mariupol following his appeal for a third country to evacuate Ukrainian forces and civilians encircled in the city.

Strikes by Russian aviation and heavy artillery continued Wednesday, Volyna said, adding that Ukrainian defenders had been suffering serious losses.

"We ask for the extraction procedure for soldiers and citizens," he said. "We need international support. There are still hundreds of civilians here. We do not trust the Russians, we need other countries for guarantees. Mariupol can still be saved."

Volyna spoke with CNN Tuesday and requested that a third country provide evacuation for troops and civilians trapped in the Azovstal steel plant under heavy Russian bombardment. The Russian military offered a ceasefire for Wednesday, but the extent to which it has been implemented is unclear.