April 26, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Jessie Yeung, Andrew Raine, Ben Morse and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 8:21 a.m. ET, April 27, 2022
43 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:38 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

Russia will suspend gas supplies to Poland starting Wednesday, Polish state-run gas firm says

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel, Anna Odzeniak, Uliana Pavlova and David Goldman

A view of giant tubes part of one of the physical exit points at the compressor gas station of the Yamal–Europe gas pipeline on February 19, in Wloclawek, Poland.
A view of giant tubes part of one of the physical exit points at the compressor gas station of the Yamal–Europe gas pipeline on February 19, in Wloclawek, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty Images/FILE)

In a dramatic escalation of tensions with the West, Russian energy giant Gazprom informed Poland’s state-run gas firm PGNiG that it will “entirely suspend” gas supplies along the Yamal pipeline starting Wednesday morning, PGNiG said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“On April 26, Gazprom informed PGNiG of its intention to entirely suspend deliveries under the Yamal contract at the beginning of the contract day on April 27,” the statement read.    

The news sent US natural gas futures up about 3% Tuesday. 

Gazprom did not confirm that the supply of Russian gas to Poland had been stopped, Russian state news agency TASS reported Tuesday, citing the company’s spokesperson Sergey Kupriyanov. 

Kupriyanov however emphasized that Poland must pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles, a demand Warsaw has refused. 

Russia delivered an ultimatum last month to "unfriendly" nations to pay for their energy in rubles starting April 1 or risk being cut off from vital supplies. But the flow of gas has continued. The Kremlin said payments for gas being delivered at the time of its announcement would fall toward the end of April or the beginning of May, which is why Russia didn’t immediately shut off the flow of gas to Europe. 

Putin's high-stakes threat has sent shockwaves through Europe, which cannot keep its economy running for long without Russian energy. Moscow sent a clear signal that it could at some point reduce natural gas flows — perhaps to deter or respond to even tougher Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine. 

PGNiG said it’s prepared to obtain gas from various directions, including through gas connections on the western and southern borders and the liquefied natural gas terminal (LNG) in the northwest Polish port city of Swinoujscie. 

It also said its underground gas storage is almost 80% full. 

“The balance sheet is supplemented by domestic gas production and fuel reserves accumulated in underground gas storage facilities. Currently, the warehouse filling level is around 80% and is significantly higher than in the corresponding period in previous years,” it added.  

The Polish gas firm said that all deliveries to customers are currently being carried out in accordance with their needs, adding that the company is monitoring the situation and are prepared for various scenarios. 

Poland's Climate Minister Anna Moskwa affirmed on Tuesday that there will be no shortage of gas in Poland despite Russia's halt of exports.  

“Poland has the necessary gas reserves and sources of supply that protect our security - we have been effectively independent of Russia for years,” she said in a tweet.  

“There will be no shortage of gas in Polish homes,” the minister wrote. 


4:10 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

UN secretary-general's meeting with Putin lasted about 1 hour, spokesperson says 

From CNN's Laura Ly

Vladimir Astapkovich/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images
Vladimir Astapkovich/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

The meeting between United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday lasted about an hour, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the secretary-general, said during a news briefing. 

While part of the meeting included aides, part of the meeting was also one-on-one between Guterres and Putin, Haq said.

Haq also said that work to establish a humanitarian contact group and a specific effort with the Red Cross to assist people in Mariupol, Ukraine, will start “on the ground as soon as we can.”

“It is important to get this moving as quickly as we can, so that is what we’ll proceed to do,” Haq said.

CNN’s Liam Reilly contributed reporting to this post.

3:24 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

US State Department confirms temporary return of some diplomats to Lviv Tuesday

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Christian Sierra

The deputy chief of Mission for the US Embassy in Ukraine and members of the embassy team traveled to Lviv Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Speaking at a State Department briefing, Price said the embassy team “met with interlocutors from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” 

“Today's travel was a first step ahead of more regular travel in the immediate future,” he said, noting it was temporary for now. 

“We're accelerating preparations to resume embassy Kyiv operations just as soon as possible," Price continued.

He said the State Department is “constantly assessing and evaluating and reassessing the security situation with a view towards resuming those embassy operations as soon as possible again to facilitate our support to the government and people of Ukraine as they bravely defend their country.”

3:25 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

Russia remains focused on attempts to encircle Ukrainian forces in the east, adviser to Zelensky says

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Julia Presniakova and Kostan Nechyporenko

Russia remains focused on attempts to surround Ukrainian forces in the east of the country, a Ukrainian presidential advisor said Tuesday.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Russia’s main efforts in the east were around the towns of Popasna, Severodonetsk and Rubizhne, with further fighting around Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

“Although the enemy resorted to powerful artillery and airstrikes, our troops successfully maneuver and repel attacks,” Arestovych said.

Regional officials also announced what they said was the first successful evacuation from the village of Bilohorivka, which has seen frequent shelling in the last week.

Oleksiy Smyrnov, from the Donetsk regional administration, said 49 people, among them eight children, had been moved out of the village under Russian fire and taken by train to safety in western Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in nearby Kreminna, which was captured by Russian forces last week, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Hayday hinted at significant Russian casualties when two buildings in the city exploded on Monday.

The blasts — at the city council buildings and another building used by Russian forces – were both caused by gas explosions, Hayday said.  

“There are huge losses. The so-called people's mayor died in the city hall building. We are still finding out what happened, there were a lot of people [inside the buildings],” he said.

3:13 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

US State Department aware of explosions in Transnistria 

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Christian Sierra

The US State Department is aware of explosions that occurred Monday in Transnistria — the Russian-backed breakaway region inside Moldova — and “closely monitoring the situation,” spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday.

“We reiterate the Moldovan government's call for calm in response to these incidents and we fully support as you have heard us say before, Moldova's territorial integrity and sovereignty, we respect its constitutionally guaranteed neutrality,” Price said at a State Department briefing.

“We don't know all of the details beyond regarding what transpired yesterday, but we do remain concerned about any potential attempts to escalate tensions,” he said.

“Moldova is a strong partner, we are working to make sure that they have what they need to respond to the regional consequences of Russia's aggression against Ukraine,” Price said.

6:36 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

Ukrainian officials claim attacks in and around Moldova suggest Russia is planning a new front of war

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv

Ukrainian officials are claiming that a spate of unexplained attacks in and around neighboring Moldova suggest Russia may be trying to open a new front in the two-month war.

On Monday, a rocket attack damaged a government security building in the Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria inside Moldova. Around 1,500 Russian troops are deployed in Transnistria, ostensibly as a peacekeeping force.

On Tuesday, a communications tower in Transnistria was damaged by unexplained explosions, leading the Moldovan president to call an emergency meeting of the country's security council.

Those two incidents led Ukraine to accuse Russia of planned provocations in Transnistria. 

Ukraine also blamed Russia for firing cruise missiles Tuesday at a bridge across the estuary of the river Dniester. The road and rail bridge links Odesa with the far southwest corner of Ukraine bordering Moldova, and the damage essentially cuts the region off.

Maksym Marchenko, head of the Odesa region military administration, said Russia had used three missiles, one of which had struck the bridge.

"By his actions, the enemy is trying to cut off part of the Odesa region and create tension amid the events" in Transnistria, Marchenko said. 

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, alleged that "the Russian authorities at the level of the highest representatives of the state are declaring that it is necessary to occupy Moldova."

"Today's cruise missile strikes on our southern region may indicate Russia's intentions to add the region of Ukrainian Bessarabia (the far south-west) to all areas of its offensive," he added.

The Ukrainian military's Operational Command "South" said that in the Odesa region, "collaborators and agitators of the 'Russian world'" had been identified amid provocations and allegations that Ukraine was planning to attack Transnistria.

Read more about Transnistria and why is it important to Russia here.

2:26 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

UN says Putin agreed "in principle" to UN and Red Cross involvement in evacuating civilians from Mariupol

From CNN's Laura Ly

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, on April 26.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, on April 26. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed “in principle” to United Nations and International Committee for the Red Cross involvement in the evacuation of citizens from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, according to a readout of the UN secretary-general’s Tuesday meeting with Putin in Moscow. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also “reiterated the United Nations’ position on Ukraine, and they [Guterres an Putin] discussed the proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones,” the readout from the UN secretary-general's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.  

Further conversations between UN United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Russian Defense Ministry will be had at a later date, the UN said.

1:56 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

US says Russia has tarnished the UN and welcomes veto resolution

From CNN's Laura Ly

The United States called out Russia’s multiple vetoes in the UN Security Council on Tuesday, saying they were “extraordinarily troubled by Russia’s pattern of abusing its veto right over the past decade.” Richard Mills, Jr., deputy US Ambassador to the UN, called Russia’s history of vetoes a “long and shameful list.”

The United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (also referred to as the "P5") and all five countries have veto power. 

“The veto was not intended as a carte-blanche for impunity for the P5. It was not meant to confer automatic protection from accountability in perpetuity,” Mills said Tuesday. “Russia has diminished the role and reputation of the UN Security Council … and has tarnished the UN as a whole.” 

According to Mills, Russia has vetoed: 

  • Resolutions seeking accountability in Syria, including resolutions that would have continued the mandate of the joint-investigative mechanism on chemical weapons
  • A resolution referring the Syria situation to the International Criminal Court 
  • A resolution that would have established a criminal tribunal on the downing of flight MH 17 over Ukraine
  • A resolution when Russia attempted to illegally annex Crimea
  • A Security Council resolution deploring its aggression against Ukraine, deciding that the use of force should end, and deciding on the withdrawal of all Russian forces from the internationally-recognized borders of Ukraine

Gennady Kuzmin, Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, spoke earlier during the UN General Assembly session on Tuesday, stating that they “categorically reject” the approach that the newly-adopted veto resolution takes.  

“The right of the veto for the permanent members of the Security Council is a cornerstone of the United Nations architecture. Without it, the Security Council would become a rubber-stamping body, rubber-stamping questionable decisions imposed by the nominal majority, Kuzmin said. “The decision which was made today, whilst it does have a very pretty packaging is without any doubt an attempt to create an instrument of exerting pressure on the permanent members of the Security Council. And this is an approach that we categorically reject.” 

Serhii Dvornyk, counsellor to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN, said Tuesday that P5 members have extraordinary power granted to them and that Russia has abused that power. 

“Let me remind that almost every draft resolution in the Security Council on the Russian aggression against Ukraine was blocked. It happened due to the abuse of veto by the country which occupies the Soviet seat in the Security Council, the Russian Federation,” Dvornyk said. “Every veto with respect to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide is a manifestation of utmost disregard for those who have been killed and injured, as well as those who could be killed – killed in particular, because Russia considers their veto as a greenlight for such crimes," he continued.

1:51 p.m. ET, April 26, 2022

Putin: Talks with Ukraine achieved "serious breakthrough" but Bucha allegations changed that "drastically"

From Uliana Pavlova and Sugam Pokharel

Relatives of Mykola Moroz, 47, gather during a funeral service at his home at the Ozera village, near Bucha, Ukraine, on April 26.
Relatives of Mykola Moroz, 47, gather during a funeral service at his home at the Ozera village, near Bucha, Ukraine, on April 26. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia and Ukraine had managed to achieve a “serious breakthrough” during talks in Istanbul, Turkey, but the situation changed “dramatically” following the allegations against Russia for crimes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

“In Istanbul, we managed to achieve a serious breakthrough, because our Ukrainian colleagues did not associate the requirements of security, international security of Ukraine, with such a concept as internationally accepted borders of Ukraine … But, unfortunately, after reaching agreements and after our clearly demonstrated intentions to create conditions for favorable conditions for the continuation of negotiations, we encountered a provocation in the village of Bucha, to which the Russian army has nothing to do,” Putin said, speaking alongside United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Moscow. 

“And the position of our negotiators from Ukraine on a further settlement, it changed dramatically after that. They departed from their previous intentions to put aside the issues of security guarantees and the territories of Crimea, Sevastopol and the republics of Donbass. They just gave up on it,” he continued.

Guterres said he proposed to create a three-party humanitarian group between the UN, Russia, and Ukraine to coordinate cooperation on evacuation corridors in Ukraine.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that possible future talks in Turkey depend on Putin as he reiterated his willingness to participate in talks. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Zelenesky, said Thursday that the war in Ukraine "can end in direct talks" between Zelensky and Putin, but he cautioned that he was waiting to assess how Russia's military offensive in the east of the country progresses in the coming days.

Remember: Bucha became a byword for war crimes, after images and accounts of summary executions, brutality and indiscriminate shelling emerged in the wake of Russia's hasty retreat, as the Kremlin shifted its focus away from the Ukrainian capital to the country's east.

Moscow claimed — without evidence — that the atrocities in Bucha were staged, calling it "fake," and part of a "planned media campaign." But witnesses who spoke to CNN said the carnage in the town began weeks ago. There have also been reports of looting, disappearances, and evidence of the indiscriminate killings of civilians since the war began.

Read the full report from Bucha here.