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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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.”

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.