April 4, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Travis Caldwell, Helen Regan, Ben Church, Jason Kurtz and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2:01 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022
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2:39 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Ukrainian official: Convoy of evacuation buses held up on route to Mariupol

From CNN's Julia Presniakova in Lviv

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Monday that a convoy of buses headed for the besieged city of Mariupol had been stopped in the Russian-held city of Manhush. 

"A convoy of seven buses to evacuate people from Mariupol, accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross, is still blocked in Manhush," she said.

Earlier in the day, the mayor of Mariupol said that more than 100,000 people required evacuation from the city, which has been battered by weeks of Russian bombardment. 

2:36 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

European Parliament head: Invasion of Ukraine needs to be the "costliest mistake that Kremlin has ever made"

From CNN's James Frater in Brussels 

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola on Monday called for an “immediate adoption of a new package of forceful sanctions” against Russia, so that Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine be “the costliest mistake that the Kremlin has ever made.” 

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Metsola said the hit to Russia’s economy “must be proportionate to the unprecedented atrocities that we are seeing,” adding that any new sanctions need to “target those who bankroll and support Putin and close any existing loopholes.” 

“These coordinated acts of inhumanity cannot remain unanswered, and that we will hold all those responsible to account,” she said. 

Speaking to European lawmakers, Metsola said that the “atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine are horrific. They are disgraceful, and they are shameful.” 

The images of mass graves and murdered civilians “are war crimes, that are perpetrated by war criminals,” the Maltese politician added.   

Mestola, who visited Ukraine last week and gave an address to the Ukrainian Parliament, told European lawmakers that she “was proud to take our message to Kyiv and to show that our parliament stands with them in these dark times.” 

“Ukraine is fighting for our values, in the most impossible conditions, and we have to support them,” she said. 

Following Metsola’s remarks, European lawmakers held a minute’s silence for the victims of Bucha, Irpin and all those who have died in the conflict in Ukraine. 

2:27 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

France to expel "many" Russian diplomatic staff, French foreign ministry says

From CNN's Dalal Mawad in Paris

France will expel "many Russian personnel with diplomatic status,” the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

The decision concerns Russian diplomatic staff “assigned to France whose activities are contrary to our security interests,” the statement added. 

The ministry statement said the decision is part of steps taken at the European level, adding, "Our first responsibility is always to ensure the safety of French people and Europeans."

Earlier on Monday, Germany also decided to expel “a substantial number” of Russian diplomats citing their work “as a threat” to refugees in the country.

2:09 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Ukraine's foreign minister says Russia's "crimes" in Bucha are the "tip of the iceberg"

From CNN’s Alex Hardie

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba gives a press statement with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the British Embassy in Warsaw on Monday.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba gives a press statement with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the British Embassy in Warsaw on Monday. (Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the “horrors that we have seen in Bucha are just the tip of the iceberg of all the crimes that have been committed by the Russian army” in Ukraine so far.

Kuleba's comments came Monday at a press conference in Warsaw, during which he added that the “horrors of Bucha, Mariupol, and other places” demand “serious G7 and EU sanctions.

Speaking alongside his British counterpart Liz Truss, Kuleba called for the “most severe” sanctions to be imposed against Russia, while also demanding Russia’s expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council.

“The West continues to fuel [the] Russian war machine with payments for fossil fuels, with trade that is still taking place between Russia and western countries, with financial transactions conducted through Russian banks that have not been disconnected from SWIFT yet,” he said.

Addressing foreign ministers who will attend NATO, EU, and G7 meetings this week, Kuleba said, “If you have doubts, reluctance, or arguments about the need to keep doing business with Russia, go to Bucha first and then talk to me.” 

 He added that Ukraine has “won the battle for Kyiv” but is now preparing for a “new large-scale offensive by Russia in eastern Ukraine.” 

“I can tell you without exaggeration, with great sorrow, that the situation in Mariupol is much worse compared to what we have seen in Bucha and other cities, towns, and villages nearby Kyiv,” the foreign minister continued.

2:40 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

It's 8:30 p.m. in Kyiv. Catch up with the latest developments in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky examines the town of Bucha, Ukraine, on Monday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky examines the town of Bucha, Ukraine, on Monday. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know about the developments in Ukraine so far today.

Zelensky visits Bucha: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the town near the country's capital after images over the weekend showed civilian bodies found strewn across a street and sparked international outrage.

He addressed the cameras around him briefly, saying that it was "very difficult" for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia following the atrocities carried out by Russian forces in Bucha. He the atrocities carried out in the town typify "the nature of the Russian military" and added that they "treat people worse than animals."

Growing number of leaders and institutions call the Bucha atrocities a "war crime: The European Union on Monday announced it has established a joint investigation team with Ukraine to probe alleged Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity.

US President Joe Biden Monday called the atrocities committed by Russia and President Vladimir Putin in Bucha, Ukraine, a “war crime” but said it was not a genocide, adding that he is looking into more sanctions on Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron said it’s “his wish” to see a total block on Russian exports of coal and oil to the European Union “this week," following the discovery of what he described as “war crimes” in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

European countries consider more sanctions against Russia but face economic concerns: Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Germany supports further sanctions on Russia, but cutting off gas supplies was not possible right now. This comes as one of the country's top banking officials, Christian Sewing, said Germany would face a "substantial recession" if supplies of Russian gas stop.

Similarly, Belgian Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem said Monday that the process of the fifth package of sanctions against Russia should be accelerated. However, he stressed that any proposed sanctions had to have a stronger economic impact on Russia than on the EU, adding that the effect of the war was being felt across Europe.

“We see rising energy prices, we see rising prices at the pump, rising prices in the supermarkets, so we really need to see how we can coordinate that situation,” he said.

Here's a look at Ukraine's claimed counteroffensives around Kyiv:

1:04 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Germany expelling "substantial number" of Russian diplomats, foreign minister says

From Inke Kappeler in Berlin

Germany is expelling “substantial number” of officials at the Russian embassy, declaring them as “persona non grata,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement on Monday.  

The Russian officials “have been working against our freedom and against cohesion of our society here in Germany every day,” Baerbock said.  

“Their work is a threat for those seeking shelter with us. We will not continue to tolerate this. This is what we told the Russian ambassador today,” she added. 

The images from the Ukrainian town of Bucha “testify the incredible brutality of the Russian leadership and those following their propaganda, of a will to destruction that is crossing all borders,” the minister also said.  

“We have to fear similar pictures (will emerge) from many other places occupied by the Russian forces,” she continued. 

12:59 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

The UK is looking to step up sanctions on Russia, foreign secretary says

From CNN's Lauren Kent in London

The United Kingdom has discussed stepping up sanctions against Russia and increasing support for Ukraine, said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Monday, speaking alongside the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Warsaw. 

“It is the responsibility of the UK and our allies, and that’s what Dmytro and I have discussed today, to step up our support for our brave Ukrainian friends," Truss said in a news conference. "That means more weapons and more sanctions. Putin must lose in Ukraine.”

Truss said she will be working with Britain's partners and allies to go further on sanctions, noting that the UK is looking into added measures "in banning Russian ships from our ports, in cracking down on Russian banks, in going after new industries for filling Putin’s war chest like gold, and agreeing a clear timetable to eliminate our imports for Russian oil gas and coal.”

“We need to do more on oil and gas, which are key to funding Russia’s war machine," the foreign secretary said. "We’ve agreed that the United Kingdom will end our imports on oil by the end of this year.”

Truss added that there should be "no talk of removing sanctions while Putin's troops are in Ukraine and the threat of Russian aggression looms over Europe."

“As far as the UK is concerned, nothing is off the table in terms of sanctions,” Truss said. “We simply should not be doing business with this country. We simply should not be doing business with Putin.”

1:21 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

UK foreign secretary says Russia must be suspended from the UN Human Rights Council

From CNN's Lauren Kent

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, right, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba give a press statement at the British Embassy in Warsaw on April 4.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, right, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba give a press statement at the British Embassy in Warsaw on April 4. ( Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that Russia must be suspended from UN Human Rights Council following the "indiscriminate killing of civilians" in Ukraine, adding that "that war crimes have taken place."

Truss's comments came Monday while speaking alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Warsaw. 

“We’re all appalled by the scenes in Bucha," Truss said. "It’s very clear that war crimes have taken place.”

Truss added that the United Kingdom wants to see "justice done at the International Criminal Court" and said Britain will provide additional funding to the ICC. 

“We have seen butchering, evidence of rape and sexual violence, as well as the indiscriminate killing of civilians," Truss added. 

“We will not rest until these criminals have been brought to justice. We are clear that after these appalling crimes, Russia has no place on the Human Rights Council," said Truss.

5:34 p.m. ET, April 4, 2022

CNN team witnesses removal of bodies from a Bucha basement

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen, Byron Blunt and Daria Markina in Bucha, Ukraine

Bodies found in the town of Bucha were gathered to be buried on Monday.
Bodies found in the town of Bucha were gathered to be buried on Monday. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukrainian officials showed international media the removal of five bodies from a basement in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv recently retaken by Ukrainian forces.

A CNN team visited the basement and saw the bodies before removal. They were in advanced stage of decomposition.

Five men had been tortured and executed by Russian soldiers, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko, told CNN on the ground. CNN cannot independently verify Gerashchenko’s claims.

The men were found in an area held by the Russian military until a few days ago. Several foxholes, trenches and positions for armored vehicles were still visible around the site, as were leftover Russian rations. Several "V" letters — informal symbols for the Russian military campaign — were also painted at the entrance to the territory. 

The dead men had their hands tied behind their back and most of them had several gunshot wounds, not just to the head, but also to the lower limbs. There were several cartridge casings on the floor next to the bodies. 

Volunteers removed the bodies and placed them in body bags, which were later taken away.  

A volunteer told CNN they have been recovering bodies in large numbers, saying, “it’s in the hundreds, not dozens.” The volunteer and his unit showed CNN the body bags of at least 30 people who had been recovered on Sunday, plus an additional nine on Monday, including the five found in the basement.  

That unit is one of several operating in the outskirts of Kyiv.