April 29, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Steve George, Seán Federico O'Murchú, Jessie Yeung, Sana Noor Haq, Ben Morse, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:17 AM ET, Sat April 30, 2022
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8:47 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022

It's 7:30 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Firefighters put out a fire after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 28. Russia mounted attacks across a wide area of Ukraine on Thursday, bombarding Kyiv during a visit by the head of the United Nations.
Firefighters put out a fire after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 28. Russia mounted attacks across a wide area of Ukraine on Thursday, bombarding Kyiv during a visit by the head of the United Nations. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Ukrainian officials have condemned Russia’s missile attack on Kyiv Thursday night, saying it occurred as the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was finishing a visit to the Ukrainian capital. 

Here are the latest updates on the war in Ukraine:

  • UN chief's visit: President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his daily video message, said "Russian missiles flew into the city" immediately after the end of talks with Guterres in Kyiv. He called for a "powerful response." Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, called the missile strikes a "heinous act of barbarism." It came after the UN chief met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday. The UN is urging for evacuation corridors in the besieged city of Mariupol.
  • Russia making "slow and uneven" progress: Russian forces have made some progress in Moscow's renewed assault on eastern Ukraine, according to US and NATO officials, as their military tries to fix the myriad problems that plagued the early weeks of the invasion. The US has seen "some evidence" of improvement in Russia's ability to combine air and ground operations, as well as its capacity for resupplying forces in the field, officials say.
  • Soldiers behind Bucha killings "identified": Zelensky said 10 Russian service members have been identified as suspects in the “crimes committed against our people in Bucha." The investigation into crimes committed by the Russian military is underway, Zelensky said, adding the 10 soldiers are from the "64th motorized rifle brigade of the Russian Ground Forces."
  • American killed fighting in Ukraine: An American citizen, Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed Monday fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, his family told CNN. The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company. "He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn't come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn't have to be involved in it," his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN.
  • Orphaned girl reunited with grandfather: 12-year-old Kira Obedinsky, who was orphaned by war and taken from her hometown of Mariupol to a hospital in a Russian-controlled area of eastern Ukraine in early in March has been reunited with her grandfather. He was initially told she would eventually be sent to an orphanage in Russia. Their reunion, more than a month after they had last seen each other, was orchestrated by negotiators from Ukraine and Russia.
  • Russia trying to eradicate Ukrainian identity: Occupying Russian forces in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson are trying to extend their grip over the area. In recent days the Russians have appointed their own officials to run Kherson, replacing elected Ukrainian officials. On Thursday one of those newly installed officials said Kherson would begin to use the ruble from next week, replacing the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia. Additionally, Russian television channels have taken the place of Ukrainian networks.
  • US seeks more money for Ukraine: The Biden administration is sending a $33 billion supplemental funding request to Congress aimed at supporting Ukraine through a new phase over the next several months. It includes funding for security, economic, and humanitarian aid. "We need this bill to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom," Biden said.

12:40 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022

American killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, his family says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Clarissa Ward

An American citizen, Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed this week while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, members of his family told CNN. 

The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company when he was killed on Monday. The company had sent him to Ukraine, and he was being paid while he was fighting there, Cancel's mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN.

Cancel, a former US Marine, according to his mother, signed up to work for the private military contracting company on top of his full-time job as a corrections officer in Tennessee shortly before the war in Ukraine broke out, Cabrera said. When the war began, the company, according to Cabrera, was searching for contractors to fight in Ukraine and Cancel agreed to go, Cabrera said.

"He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn't come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn't have to be involved in it," Cabrera said. 

Read more here

12:32 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022

Ukrainian military strengthens security at border with Transnistria, military official says

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

Cars wait in line to exit the self-proclaimed "Moldovan Republic of Transnistria" at Varnita border point with Moldova on Thurssday.
Cars wait in line to exit the self-proclaimed "Moldovan Republic of Transnistria" at Varnita border point with Moldova on Thurssday. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

The Ukrainian military is strengthening security at its border with Transnistria, a Russian-backed region in Moldova, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said Thursday.

"Forces of defense continue to carry out the set combat tasks to protect and defend Odesa and the Odesa region. Also, in particular, we have strengthened the protection of the state border with the so-called Transnistria, where Russian provocations continue in order to create certain generators of tension for Odesa and the Odesa region," Serhii Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration, said on Telegram Thursday.

More background: Earlier this week a series of unexplained explosions occurred in parts of Transnistria which Ukraine described as a planned provocation by Russian security services. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed “sensational” claims about Russia preparing an offensive using its troops stationed in the region, as well as conscripts from Transnistria.

12:32 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022

US officials say Russian forces are making progress in Ukraine — but it's "slow and uneven"

From CNN's Zachary Cohen, Oren Liebermann, Jim Sciutto and Katie Bo Lillis

Russian forces have made some progress in Moscow's renewed assault on eastern Ukraine, according to US and NATO officials, as their military tries to fix the myriad problems that plagued the early weeks of the invasion. 

The US has seen "some evidence" of improvement in Russia's ability to combine air and ground operations, as well as its capacity for resupplying forces in the field, officials say.

The progress is "slow and uneven," a senior US defense official said, allowing Russian forces to advance only "several kilometers or so" each day.  

But the US assesses that Russia is trying to learn from the mistakes it made early on, where columns of tanks and armor ran out of food and fuel, leaving them easy prey to Ukrainian hit-and-run tactics. 

Russia has placed command and control elements near its border with eastern Ukraine, according to a senior NATO official, a sign they are attempting to fix the communications and coordination failures observed in the attack on Kyiv. 

Before the invasion began on Feb. 24th, Russia amassed 125 to 130 battalion tactical groups, known as BTGs, around Ukraine and near Kyiv in particular, but when the fighting began, Russia's military leaders showed little ability to have them fight as one.  

There are 92 BTGS in country now, with another 20 just across border in Russia, according to the senior defense official.

"The attacks are somewhat better coordinated but with small formations. Company size units with helicopter support," a European defense official said. "The lowest level of mutual support. In NATO this would be basic stuff."

Still, western officials familiar with the latest intelligence say even if Russia has learned key lessons from its systemic failures in the first stage of the conflict, it's not clear that Moscow will be able to implement the necessary changes to dominate in the Donbas region.

Its military has suffered heavy losses in both manpower and equipment and officials believe that other equipment relocated from different parts of Ukraine likely isn't fully repaired yet. Many of the fighting units have cobbled together soldiers who have never fought or trained together.  

"I don't know how many lessons they can actually operationalize. It's not a simple thing," said the senior NATO official. "You don't just move tanks and personnel and say, 'Now go back into the fight!'" 

You can read more here.

Alex Marquardt and Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting to this post.

12:32 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022

Ukrainian President says missiles struck Kyiv while UN chief was visiting

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv

Smoke rises after missiles landed at sunset on April 28, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Smoke rises after missiles landed at sunset on April 28, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Ukrainian officials have condemned Russia’s missile attack on Kyiv Thursday night, which occurred as the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was finishing a visit to the Ukrainian capital. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his daily video message, said that "Today, immediately after the end of our talks [with Guterres] in Kyiv, Russian missiles flew into the city. 5 missiles. This says a lot about Russia's true attitude to global institutions, about the Russian leadership's efforts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents. And therefore requires an appropriate, powerful response."

"Russian missile strikes on Ukraine — on Kyiv, Fastiv, Odesa, Khmelnytskyi and other cities — prove once again that one cannot relax yet, one cannot think that the war is over. We still need to fight, we need to drive the occupiers out," Zelensky said

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in a tweet: “During the meeting with @antonioguterres in Kyiv, we heard explosions. Russia launched a missile strike on the capital. I am sure that such defiant behavior of the occupier will be assessed properly by the UN Secretary-General. War in #Ukraine is an attack on world security!” 

A statement from the State Emergency Service in Kyiv stated:

"On April 28, at 8:13 p.m., the State Emergency Service in Kyiv received a report of a fire in the Shevchenkivskyi district of the capital. As a result of enemy shelling, a fire broke out in a 25-storey residential building with partial destruction of the 1st and 2nd floors. 
At 9:25 p.m., the fire was extinguished on a total area of ​​100 square meters ... Search and rescue operations are underway. According to preliminary data, 5 people were rescued and 10 were injured. The information is being clarified."