April 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Melissa Macaya, Jason Kurtz, Maureen Chowdhury, Aditi Sangal, Helen Regan, Travis Caldwell, Ben Church, Lianne Kolirin and Seán Federico O'Murchú, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 6, 2022
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12:17 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

UN says images from Bucha show "all the signs" that civilians were "directly targeted and killed" 

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London  

The United Nations on Tuesday said that the images of the atrocities carried out in the Ukrainian town of Bucha show “all the signs” that civilians were “directly targeted and directly killed.”  

Addressing a virtual press briefing, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Liz Throssell reiterated the UN’s “horror” at images that emerged showing civilian bodies strewn across the streets of the town located northwest of Kyiv.  

“What we have seen emerging from Bucha and from other areas clearly points to very disturbing developments. That the brutality, the targeting of the civilians really underscores that this is so concerning. You know, really looking at the video and the footage coming out of there is all the signs that the victims were directly targeted and directly killed,” Throssell said.  

She made particular reference to “disturbing” images of people with their hands tied behind their back and of partially naked women whose bodies have been burnt, saying they “strongly suggest” the direct targeting of individuals. 

“We have been talking about war crimes in the context of shelling, bombardment, and artillery attacks. Now they need to be investigated. But you could argue there was a military context, for example, to a building being hit. It's hard to see what was the military context of an individual lying in the street with a bullet to the head or having their bodies burned,” Throssell continued. 

As the OHCHR is trying to currently gain access to Bucha, she didn’t have “exact information” to share regarding the situation on the ground. 

“Given the way that our office works, we are not saying that a specific incident is a war crime. We can't establish that yet. That is why there needs to be detailed forensic examinations, for example,” she added.  

Throssell paid tribute to the “crucial role” that journalists are playing in documenting these scenes, mentioning the “multiple teams” involved in “reporting, analyzing, and sending video footage.” 

12:35 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

It's 7 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's the latest on the fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Technicians try to fix the internet in Bucha, located on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 5.
Technicians try to fix the internet in Bucha, located on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 5. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the United Nations Security Council, asking the world's leading powers to hold Russia accountable and provide guarantees to Ukraine.

If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know.

Zelensky at the Security Council: The president said he wants full and transparent investigations along with "maximum access for journalists, maximum cooperation with international institutions, involvement of the International Criminal Court — complete and full accountability."

He added, "I'm sure that every member state of the UN should be interested in this. For what? In order to punish once and for all those who consider themselves privileged and believe that they can get away with anything. So, show all the other potential war criminals in the world how they will be punished if the biggest one is punished."

US pushes UN to expel Russia from the Human Rights Council: Following up on her announcement that she will call for Russia's expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council, the United States ambassador to the UN made the case in her speech Tuesday.

“Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose very purpose is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is it the height of hypocrisy, it is dangerous,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said addressing the Security Council Tuesday.

“Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights,” she added. “Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the Council’s credibility. It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong.”

The number of countries expelling Russian diplomats continues to increase: Just on Tuesday, countries such as Italy, Spain, Sweden and others announced they were expelling a number of Russian diplomats.

UN estimates close to 1,500 Ukrainians killed and more than 2,100 injured so far: At least 1,480 civilians have been killed and at least 2,195 have been injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, said Rosemary DiCarlo, the United Nations' under secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights believes the actual figures of civilian casualties to be “considerably higher," she added.

2:46 p.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Ukraine's Borodianka town, site of intense firefights and airstrikes, is completely destroyed 

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy 

Residents look for belongings in the ruins of an apartment building destroyed during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Borodianka, Ukraine, on April 5.
Residents look for belongings in the ruins of an apartment building destroyed during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Borodianka, Ukraine, on April 5. (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

The Ukrainian town of Borodianka has been completely destroyed by fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, new videos show. 

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the videos that were first published on Tuesday. 

On March 1, a Russian airstrike destroyed at least two apartment complexes in Borodianka; it was the first report of damage in the village roughly 30 miles — 50 kilometers — northwest of Kyiv.  

Since then, the town has been the site of intense firefights and military strikes. Drone footage from March 4 shows the middle of another apartment complex collapsed into a heap of rubble from a military. Video posted to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's Telegram channel showed his fighters walking the streets of the village around that time.  

CNN previously reported that Russian forces took temporary control of a psychiatric hospital — it held nearly 700 patients — in Borodianka on March 5.  

At the time, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said that the village had no water or electricity. 

"There is no Borodianka — it is almost completely destroyed," Kuleba said. "The city center is just awful. Borodianka is under the influence of Russian troops, they control this settlement." 

Now that Russian forces have retreated, the full scope of destruction is coming into view.  

"There is already information that the number of victims of the occupiers may be even higher in Borodianka and some other liberated cities," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Monday. In many villages of the liberated districts of the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, the occupiers did things that the locals had not seen even during the Nazi occupation 80 years ago." 

The complete and total destruction seen in the videos from Borodianka is only comparable to the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol. 

Both videos start near the two apartment complexes that CNN reported were hit on March 1. Every single building along Lenina Street — the main thoroughfare through the town — has been hit. 

Entire village blocks have been reduced to rubble. The burnt metal frames of military vehicles are also seen on the side of the debris-littered road. 

A crude sign — it's just spray-painted sheet metal — reads, "Civilian traffic is prohibited."  

11:46 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022

UN deputy met with Russian officials regarding a "humanitarian ceasefire"

From CNN's Laura Ly

UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said Tuesday that he met with Russian senior officials in Moscow on Monday “in the pursuit of a humanitarian ceasefire” and that he hopes to meet with Ukrainian officials for the same reason on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, in Moscow, I had long and frank exchanges with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov and his Deputy, Sergey Vershinin, and separately with the Deputy Minister of Defense,” Griffiths said. “In my meetings with these senior officials, I also discussed humanitarian convoys, including the four which have already been able to move. I outlined possibilities for building on this cooperation, sharing specific suggestions for mutually agreed upon military freezes to allow for evacuations of civilians and for the safe passage of life-saving aid.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had previously charged Griffiths on March 28 with meeting with the parties involved to seek arrangements for a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine.

Griffiths said he came away from these meetings “believing that we have a long road ahead of us.”

“But it must be traveled, and Madame President, we will travel it,” Griffiths said, addressing the UN Security Council and its current president, UK Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward.

Griffiths added that he hopes to travel to Ukraine on Wednesday to have discussions with senior Ukrainian government officials on the same issues.

The United Nations and its partner organizations continue to make “every effort to dramatically increase [their] support to affected civilians,” Griffiths said.

Here's a summary of the humanitarian aid that has been provided to Ukraine so far, according to the UN:

  • There are about 6,000 volunteers working with the Ukrainian Red Cross and local NGOs.
  • The World Food Programme has reached more than 1.3 million people with cash and food assistance and plans to reach around 2.5 million people this month.
  • UN Health partners report more than 180 tons of medical supplies delivered in Ukraine, with another 470 tons on the way. This will address the health needs of around six million people in the months ahead.
  • Another humanitarian convoy was dispatched from a coordination hub in Dnipro to the far east of Ukraine on Monday.
  • Four humanitarian convoys in total have provided “critical support to people in some of the cities with ongoing fighting. Several more are planned.”
  • On Tuesday, food, winter clothing, non-food items, medicine and hygiene kits were offloaded to the Ukraine Red Cross and will reach the hands of those in most need.
11:35 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Top military cyber official outlines scope of US support for Ukraine

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, on April 5 during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, on April 5 during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

US Cyber Command has “stepped up” its efforts to help defend Ukraine from hacking threats since Russia’s invasion in late February, the command’s leader told lawmakers Tuesday in some of the most detailed comments yet on US military cyber assistance to Ukraine. 

The command at the end of last year sent “hunt forward teams” — or cyber specialists trained to analyze malicious cyber activity — to Ukraine for over two months to help Kyiv prepare for potential Russian cyberattacks, Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Cyber Command’s support for Ukraine has also included “remote analytic support” and helping defend critical computer networks from outside the country, Nakasone said in prepared testimony.

“There’s a persistence that the Russians have towards this type of [cyber] activity,” Nakasone told senators. “And they have been in Ukraine for a long time.”

While there have been an array of Russia-linked hacking incidents against Ukrainian organizations since the war began, there haven’t been the level of destructive hacks against critical infrastructure that some analysts feared. 

One exception was a cyberattack at the onset of the war that knocked out internet service for tens of thousands of satellite modems in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe. US officials are investigating that incident as a potential state-sponsored Russian hack, CNN previously reported.

11:31 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022

US to push for Russia to be suspended from Human Rights Council, calls for the world to "show some backbone"

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield addressing the UN Security Council on April 5.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield addressing the UN Security Council on April 5. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations made a case for seeking the suspension of Russia from the Human Rights Council — something she and other UN Member states are calling for, which would require a vote in the General Assembly. 

“Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose very purpose is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is it the height of hypocrisy, it is dangerous,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said addressing the Security Council Tuesday.

Departing from her prepared remarks, she said she believes, like the Ukrainian president who spoke moments before her, that “this moment requires responsible world powers and global leaders to show some backbone and stand up to Russia’s dangerous and unprovoked threat against Ukraine and the world.”

She has just returned from Moldova and Romania, telling the Security Council “I saw with my own eyes the refugee crisis caused by Russia’s unconscionable war.” 

“We’ve all seen the gruesome photos. Lifeless bodies lying in the streets, apparently summarily executed, their hands tied behind their backs,” she added.

While authorities work to independently confirm the events in the images, she reiterated that the US “has assessed that members of Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.”

“And even before seeing the images from Bucha, President Zelensky, along with others in the region, were reporting that children were being abducted –and we heard him say that today. Also abducted are mayors, doctors, religious leaders, journalists, and all who dare defy Russia’s aggression,” she said.

She cited what she called credible reports including by Mariupol’s city council that Russia is funneling individuals through so-called “filtration camps” to relocate individuals to Russia. 

“I do not need to spell out what these so-called “filtration camps” are reminiscent of. It’s chilling and we cannot look away,” she said. 

“Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights,” she said. 

Ultimately, she argued, “Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the Council’s credibility. It undermines the entire UN. And it is just plain wrong.”
11:35 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022

Belgium blocks more than $200 billion in transactions and freezes $3 billion in assets of sanctioned Russians

From CNN's James Frater in Brussels

Since the start of the economic sanctions against Russia, Belgium has blocked 196.4 billion euros (or about $215 billion) worth of transactions and 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) in Russian assets in the latest figures announced by the Belgian Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem.

In a statement, the Belgian Finance Ministry said the frozen assets belong to 877 people and 62 entities that appear on the European sanctions list, and the blocked transactions are the result of the other restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russia.

Additionally, Belgian customs officials have also searched 23,191 containers in Belgian ports since the sanctions began.

From those searches, “an infringement was observed on 3 containers containing luxury products,” the Ministry said.

Furthermore, “1,000 luxury vehicles” are being held at the Port of Zebrugge waiting for inspection.

“These are shipments from outside the EU and sold to Russian customers. The shipments were already on their way when the sanctions were published,” the statement read.

In a statement, Van Peteghem said: “The financial sanctions against Russia are already having a major impact today,” but cautioned, “it is clearly not enough for the Russian regime to stop the brutal invasion and inhumane war scenes.”

“That is why we should not hesitate and push through with a fifth package of sanctions,” he added. 

He also called on, “all Member States to follow the measures very strictly, just like Belgium."

11:21 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022

At least 1,480 civilians killed and at least 2,195 injured in Ukraine, UN official says

From CNN staff

At least 1,480 civilians have been killed and at least 2,195 have been injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, said Rosemary DiCarlo, the United Nations' under secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs.

Citing updated numbers from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, DiCarlo said OHCHR believes the actual figures of civilian casualties to be “considerably higher.”

She noted that the number of Ukrainian civilians in the conflict has “more than doubled” since she last briefed the Security Council on March 17. 

“Ukrainian cities continue to be mercilessly pounded, often indiscriminately, by heavy artillery and aerial bombardments. And hundreds of thousands of people, including children, the elderly and the disabled, remain trapped in encircled areas under nightmarish conditions,” DiCarlo said Monday at a UN Security Council meeting. “The horror deepened this past weekend as shocking images emerged of dead civilians — some with hands bound — lying in the streets of Bucha, the town near Kyiv formerly held by Russian forces. Many bodies were also found in a mass grave in the same locality.”

DiCarlo also noted that medical care and basic services are also being disrupted in Ukraine, with at least 85 attacks on health care facilities recorded as of April 4, according to the World Health Organization. These attacks have resulted in at least 72 deaths and 43 injuries, DiCarlo said.

The UN is also “seriously concerned” about the “arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of persons who have been vocal against the Russian invasion,” DiCarlo said.

“OHCHR has documented the arbitrary detention and possible enforced disappearance of 22 journalists and civil society members” in Ukraine, as well as 24 local officials who have been detained in regions under Russian control, 13 of whom have been released, DiCarlo said. She added that as of March 30, OHCHR has also recorded seven journalists and media workers killed.

There have been allegations “of conflict-related sexual violence” by both Russian and Ukrainian forces and civil defense militias, DiCarlo continued. “The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine continues to seek to verify all these allegations."

11:09 a.m. ET, April 5, 2022

NATO gathering evidence to hold Putin accountable of "war crimes" in Ukraine, US ambassador to alliance says

From CNN's James Frater in Brussels  

US Permanent Representative to NATO Julianne Smith said Tuesday that the alliance is gathering evidence to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and his team accountable for “war crimes” in Ukraine.  

“What we have to do is collect the information we need to hold Putin and his team in Moscow accountable, and you can do that through multiple paths there of course is the ICC path. There's a United Nations option. There are multiple ways to do that,” she said at a news conference in Brussels.   

Answering a question about how United States will help with the investigation to the alleged war crimes committed by the Russian forces in Ukraine, Smith said, “First and foremost, what we want to do is ensure that we expose the truth and in order to expose the truth and fully understand what is happening on the ground we need to collect as much information as possible.”  

“We are now relying on first-hand accounts from Ukrainian citizens. We are seeing some international organizations, NGOs are starting to collect information as well. Putting together a narrative, trying to put together some sense of what has gone on, as we've looked again at these horrific images coming out of Bucha, but, but possibly in other locations as well,” she added.   

Smith cautioned that it is “too soon to say definitively what happened” in Bucha and other cities where alleged war crimes have been committed by Russia, but added that “we're quite confident that […] we will be able to put together the evidence we need to hold Putin accountable.”  

She said that one of NATO’s strategies to take preventive actions in Ukraine has been to try to get out ahead of Putin’s “strategic choices." 

“If you call them out on what we believe they might be planning maybe that alters, his calculus, a little bit," the ambassador added.