April 14, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Amy Woodyatt, Hannah Strange, Kathleen Magramo, Brad Lendon, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 10:17 p.m. ET, April 14, 2023
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3:00 p.m. ET, April 14, 2023

8 killed in Russian missile strikes in eastern city of Sloviansk, Ukrainian official says

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Yulia Kesaieva

A residential building is partially destroyed after a shelling in Sloviansk on April 14.
A residential building is partially destroyed after a shelling in Sloviansk on April 14. (Ihor Tkachov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian authorities have updated the death toll for Russian missile strikes in the eastern city of Sloviansk, with the head of the Donetsk region military administration saying eight people were killed and 21 injured.

At least seven locations were hit by S-300 surface-to-air missiles, which Russia has often used to hit ground targets, Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian national television.  

"It is confirmed that seven S-300 missiles were launched on the multi-apartment buildings," he said.

"A little boy was pulled out of rubble in front of my eyes, while he was still alive," Kyrylenko said. "Unfortunately, he died in the ambulance."  

"Today's attack on Sloviansk was one of the most massive since the beginning of this year," the head of the Sloviansk city military administration, Vadym Liakh, said. "There were several strikes on different districts of the city."

The missiles hit residential areas and "ordinary civilian buildings,” according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"People are under the rubble. Everything is done to save them, everything is done to save the wounded," Zelensky said in his nightly address.

The president said on his official Telegram that the attack is just another example of Russia's brutality during its invasion.

"The evil state once again demonstrates its essence. Just killing people in broad daylight. Ruining, destroying all life," Zelensky wrote. "There will be fair accountability for every manifestation of terrorism. We will not leave a single trace of Russia on our land. And we will not leave any enemy unpunished either."

Rescue operations in the areas hit are still ongoing. 

Kyrylenko said these incidents were not uncommon, calling on civilians to evacuate to parts of the country further away from the front line. 

"The evacuation is provided; the place for temporary location is provided," he added.

According to Kyrylenko, Kramatorsk was also hit by an S-300 missile, and Kostianynivka was struck by multiple launch rocket system artillery.

12:33 p.m. ET, April 14, 2023

Ukrainians finish training on Danish-donated artillery, with equipment expected to arrive in Ukraine soon

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

This file image shows the Danish Army "Forsvaret" presenting their new CAESAR howitzer weapon system in Oksbol, Denmark, in 2021.
This file image shows the Danish Army "Forsvaret" presenting their new CAESAR howitzer weapon system in Oksbol, Denmark, in 2021. (Ritzau Scanpix/Reuters/FILE)

Ukrainian soldiers have finished their training on the Danish-donated CAESAR artillery system, and the equipment is expected to arrive in Ukraine "in the coming weeks," Denmark’s defense ministry said in a statement on Friday. 

“Education and training [on the CAESAR system] has now been completed and the Ukrainians are ready to put the system into use,” according to the ministry statement.

Denmark had announced it would donate all of its 19 French-produced CAESAR artillery systems to Ukraine earlier in the year. 

“This is a newly developed artillery system which was still being implemented in the Danish defence,” the statement read. “The artillery system is expected to be delivered to Ukraine in the coming weeks.”

1:06 p.m. ET, April 14, 2023

The US has formally charged the man suspected of leaking classified documents. Here's what we know

From CNN staff

This courtroom sketch shows Jack Teixeira during his arraignment in Boston on Friday, April 14.
This courtroom sketch shows Jack Teixeira during his arraignment in Boston on Friday, April 14. (Dale Stephanos)

The suspect in the leak of classified US intelligence documents posted on social media was formally charged Friday during his first appearance in federal court in Boston.

The FBI arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Thursday in North Dighton, Massachusetts.

He faces two charges:

  • Unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information
  • Unauthorized removal of classified information and defense materials

An affidavit revealed new details about Teixeira's case, including that investigators suspect him of leaking information as early as December 2022. A member of his online chat group told the FBI Teixeira was scared to copy documents at work so he took them home to photograph, according to the court documents.

The affidavit also revealed a US government agency's claim that Teixeira used his government computer to search for the word "leak" in classified intelligence reporting, and that he used his real home address to register for the social media platform where he allegedly shared the classified documents.

Why it matters for the war in Ukraine: The documents included a wide range of highly classified information, including eavesdropping on key allies and adversaries and blunt assessments on the state of the Ukraine war.

Follow live updates on the story here.

10:08 a.m. ET, April 14, 2023

Sister of Paul Whelan expresses frustration in plea for White House to bring him home from Russia

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Elizabeth Whelan speaks in a video posted on Facebook about her brother, Paul Whelan.
Elizabeth Whelan speaks in a video posted on Facebook about her brother, Paul Whelan. (From Free Paul Whelan/Facebook)

The sister of Paul Whelan, who is wrongfully detained in Russia, on Thursday called on the White House to bring her brother home.

“Paul Whelan deserves better than he is getting for results. He has the White House attention to his case and now he needs the White House to get the job done,” Elizabeth Whelan said in a video posted to Facebook.

Paul Whelan has been detained in Russia for more than four years on espionage charges, for which he was sentenced to 16 years in prison in June 2020.

The US government was unable to secure his release last year when it brought home Trevor Reed in April and Brittney Griner in December.

Paul Whelan stands inside a defendants' cage during a hearing at a court in Moscow in 2019.
Paul Whelan stands inside a defendants' cage during a hearing at a court in Moscow in 2019. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

Paul Whelan is now one of two Americans who have been designated as wrongfully detained by Russia following the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. David Whelan said earlier this week that his brother expressed concern to their parents about being left behind again.

In her video, Elizabeth Whelan echoed those concerns, noting that her family has "repeatedly seen the US government talk about lines beyond which they will not go to bring Paul Whelan back to Michigan."

"First it was trades. Then it was trades for certain people," Elizabeth Whelan said, adding that lines had been "erased" to bring Reed and Griner home. 

US officials have said that Russia refused to negotiate a trade for Paul Whelan when they brought home Brittney Griner. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the US has put forward a "serious proposal" to secure Paul Whelan’s release. 

Elizabeth Whelan expressed frustration that it seemed "the US government will not act with speed until there is sufficient public pressure, at which time they give the Russians whatever they want, always accepting the Russian position that Paul Whelan can’t be part of the trade for some made-up Russian reason."

"We need the White House to take charge and get the upper hand with the likes of the Kremlin," Elizabeth Whelan said.

"As far as I can tell, there is no creative strategy to get Paul Whelan home," she added. 

9:34 a.m. ET, April 14, 2023

Expelled Russian diplomats were working for Russian intelligence agencies, Norwegian Security Police say

From CNN’s James Frater and Xiaofei Xu

Over a dozen Russian diplomats expelled by Norway on Thursday were working for Russian intelligence agencies — the Chief Intelligence Office (GRU), Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) or Federal Security Service (FSB) — the Norwegian Police Security Service said Friday.

"We are certain these individuals are what we call intelligence officers under diplomatic cover," Inger Haugland, counterintelligence chief of the Norwegian Police Security Service, said at a news conference in Oslo.

Risk posed by Russian intelligence in Norway has been reduced following this decision, yet it’s unlikely that Russia will cease its espionage operations in the country, Haugland said.

"It is important to say that Russian intelligence services will continue to operate in Norway. Norway is important to Russia, and the intelligence services will continue to have assignments in Norway," she said.

The move comes in response to an increasing intelligence threat from Moscow and a "deteriorating security situation" in Europe, according to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It said it had been monitoring the 15 embassy workers and have found them to be "engaging in activities that are not compatible with their diplomatic status." They've been declared to be personae non gratae, stripped of diplomatic immunity, and must leave the country "shortly," the ministry said in a statement.  

9:04 a.m. ET, April 14, 2023

Ukraine will "test and use" any non-banned weapons to retake Crimea, security council chief says

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said in a tweet on Friday that Kyiv will "test and use" any non-banned weapons to retake Crimea.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly said since Russia's full-scale invasion that Ukraine plans to retake Crimea.

Crimea was declared annexed by Russia in 2014. After the revolt that forced pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych from office, Russian troops poured into the Crimean peninsula.

9:08 a.m. ET, April 14, 2023

Washington Post: Russian special forces gutted by war in Ukraine, according to leaked classified documents

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

Ukrainian soldiers of the 80th brigade firing artillery in the direction of Bakhmut, Ukraine, on April 13.
Ukrainian soldiers of the 80th brigade firing artillery in the direction of Bakhmut, Ukraine, on April 13. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russia's Spetsnaz special forces have been gutted by President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine, the The Washington Post reported Friday, citing more classified US intelligence documents leaked online.

CNN has not reviewed the documents and cannot verify the content.  

The Washington Post reports that the documents – obtained through the Discord social media platform — reference intelligence intercepts, which assess that the 346th Spetsnaz Brigade has lost almost its entire unit with "only 125 personnel active out of 900 deployed."

US officials believe that the large numbers of casualties that Russia has sustained will have a dramatic effect in Ukraine and anywhere else its forces are operating. And US officials believe the highly trained forces will need up to a decade to be replenished, the Post reports. 

It also published satellite imagery from the leaked documents that — although not conclusive — suggest a depletion of vehicles among the 22nd Separate Spetsnaz Brigade’s motor pool in southwestern Russia. The images show a contrast in the size of its motor pool between November 2021 and November 2022; the later date, the Post reports, shows the force following its return from Ukraine last summer. 

CNN has contacted the Pentagon for comment. CNN has also contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russian special forces are currently deployed in the eastern city of Bakhmut, where the fiercest and heaviest fighting is currently being waged.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Thursday that "despite the fact that the enemy has concentrated its most professional units in Bakhmut, including Wagner fighters, airborne assault units, and special forces, the Russians cannot achieve their goals there." 

Some key background: Russian special forces were poorly deployed early in the invasion, especially around Kyiv, and took heavy losses. In the early days of the war, CNN's Matthew Chance reported live as Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) engaged in a firefight with Ukrainian forces at Antonov Airport in Hostomel, a suburb of Kyiv, before they were heavily defeated and retreated by the beginning of April. 

CNN has previously reported how the Russian invasion has also been marked by an inordinate number of casualties among high-ranking Russian officers.

In the first months of this year, CNN also reported how Russian forces were badly hit in the hotly contested town of Vuhledar in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, where the 155th Marine Brigade were prominently involved. At least two dozen Russian tanks and infantry vehicles were disabled or destroyed in a matter of days, according to videos, which were released by the Ukrainian military and analyzed by CNN and military experts.  

9:10 a.m. ET, April 14, 2023

Perpetrators of Ukrainian soldier beheading must face consequences, says UK prime minister

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

The perpetrators of the beheading of a Ukrainian soldier seen in a video released on social media earlier this week must be held accountable, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky Friday.

“Discussing the abhorrent beheading of a Ukrainian soldier shown on social media in recent days, the Prime Minister said the video was appalling and those responsible had to be held to account,” Downing Street said in a statement.

Sunak also stressed the importance of continued Western support for Ukraine, including information exchange between NATO and Kyiv. The two leaders agreed to stay in touch.

Zelensky tweeted following the phone call, saying that the leaders spoke about the execution as well as the situation at the front line and defense support.

9:05 a.m. ET, April 14, 2023

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's the latest on Russia's invasion of Ukraine

From CNN staff

The family of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has spoken out for the first time since his detention in Moscow on spying charges, saying the journalist was passionate about showing people other sides of Russia and felt it was his duty to report there.

Here are other headlines you may have missed:

  • Leaked Pentagon documents: Russia is analyzing leaked US classified documents and say the veracity of the information is questionable, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. The detention of a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Jack Teixeira, in connection with the leaked documents, is the “prerogative of the US special services,” he said.
  • Leak suspect will appear in court: Teixeira, who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday in connection with the leaking of classified documents that have been posted online, will first appear in court on Friday in Boston, according to the US attorney’s office there.
  • Media restrictions and fines: The Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has signaled a possible reduction in the number of American journalists working in Russia, amid tensions with Washington over the arrest of Gershkovich, classified by the US as wrongly detained. Meanwhile, a Moscow court has fined the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Russian-language Wikipedia, 2 million rubles ($24,500) for failure to remove an article about the "Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhia region," according Russian state media.
  • Russian naval drills: Russia has placed its Pacific naval fleet on high alert as part of spot drills aimed at assessing and improving its state of readiness, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced Friday. This comes after Russia’s Pacific Fleet press service said on Thursday morning warships from the fleet conducted anti-submarine exercises in waters off the country’s far eastern coast.
  • Finnish embassy receives letters containing white powder: Finland’s embassy in Moscow has alerted Russia’s Foreign Ministry after it received a delivery of three letters on Thursday, one discovered upon opening to contain white powder, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported Friday. The letters have been handed over to Russian representatives.