April 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Amy Woodyatt, Ben Church, Melissa Macaya, Jason Kurtz and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
55 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:53 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

There are "international war crimes being committed" in Ukraine, European Parliament president tells CNN

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola speaks with CNN on Friday April 8.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola speaks with CNN on Friday April 8. (CNN)

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola told CNN that the missile strike on a train station in Kramatorsk and other attacks on civilians in Ukraine are “international war crimes being committed against sovereign people who are simply fighting for democracy and for their country.”

Speaking to CNN’s Julia Chatterley on Friday, Metsola said Europe is not delivering equipment, financial assistance, or logistical assistance fast enough, “and it is up to us today, in these hours, to stand up to be counted and to not turn our backs.”

She also said that Europe is funding this war “whether directly, or indirectly” and must take responsibility for not acting earlier to stop the war.

“Why have we sheltered Putin, his family, the oligarchs, and all the people who support him in our Europe by selling them our passports, our citizenship? By allowing them to hide their money in our countries. And we need to make sure this does not happen again,” she said. 

When asked about Ukraine's candidacy to join the European Union, Metsola said “for the parliament, it’s clear. The place for Ukraine is in Europe.”

3:45 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Moscow forces closure of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch offices in Russia

From CNN's Abby Baggini

The Russian Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation announced Friday that it has revoked the registration of 15 representative offices of international organizations and foreign NGOs, including that of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The groups "were expelled after they were found to be in breach of the current legislation of the Russian Federation," a ministry statement said.

In response to the expulsion, Amnesty International said that Moscow is "effectively closing it down." Russia’s media regulator previously blocked access to Amnesty International’s Russian-language website on March 11.

“Amnesty’s closing down in Russia is only the latest in a long list of organizations that have been punished for defending human rights and speaking the truth to the Russian authorities," said Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.

"In a country where scores of activists and dissidents have been imprisoned, killed, or exiled, where independent media has been smeared, blocked, or forced to self-censor, and where civil society organizations have been outlawed or liquidated, you must be doing something right if the Kremlin tries to shut you up," she continued.

The Russian ministry's announcement, which did not specify the details of the violations, comes as several NGOs accuse Russia of committing crimes under international law.

The independent rights group Human Rights Watch said over the weekend that it has documented a number of allegations of war crimes by Russian forces in occupied regions of Ukraine, which “include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022."

“The authorities are deeply mistaken if they believe that by closing down our office in Moscow, they will stop our work documenting and exposing human rights violations," said Callamard. "We continue undeterred to work to ensure that people in Russia are able to enjoy their human rights without discrimination. We will redouble our efforts to expose Russia’s egregious human rights violations both at home and abroad."

7:36 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

US Pentagon says missile strike on Ukraine train station just a "piece of Russian brutality"

From CNN's Jamie Crawford

Ukrainian police inspect the remains of a large rocket next to the main building of a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on April 8.
Ukrainian police inspect the remains of a large rocket next to the main building of a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on April 8. (Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

The Pentagon finds “unconvincing” claims from Russia that its forces were not involved in the strike on a train station in Ukraine earlier today that resulted in multiple civilian deaths and injuries, spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing with reporters. 

“Our assessment is that this was a Russian strike and that they used a short range ballistic missile to conduct it,” Kirby said.” It is again of a piece of Russian brutality in the prosecution of this war and their carelessness for trying to avoid civilian harm.”

At least 50 people were killed and almost 100 injured in a Russian missile strike on a train station used as an evacuation hub in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, Ukrainian officials say.

4:08 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

UK prime minister is open to giving Ukraine any form of "defensive weaponry"

From CNN's Amy Cassidy

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a joint press conference with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz following a bilateral meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, on April 8.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a joint press conference with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz following a bilateral meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, on April 8. (Ben Stansall/POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that “in principle,” he is open to sending any form of “defensive weaponry” to Ukraine, but stopped short of committing to the delivery of combat tanks.

Speaking at a news conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Johnson was asked why the UK is not fulfilling Kyiv’s wish of being given Marder tanks — a primarily offensive weapon.

“I’m in principle willing to consider anything by way of defensive weaponry to help the Ukrainians protect themselves and their people," Johnson said. “I think it’s important that we should be giving equipment that is genuinely useful and that is operable by the Ukrainians — that’s our consideration.”

The US and Germany will facilitate the delivery of Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine.

The Czech Republic is also reported to have supplied tanks and combat vehicles.

3:41 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Zelensky tells EU chiefs latest sanctions against Russia are "not enough"

From Amy Cassidy in London 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday, April 8.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday, April 8. (Adam Schreck/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday told European Union chiefs that the bloc’s latest package of sanctions against Russia is still “not enough."

“I would like to thank all the world, the EU, Ursula von der Leyen personally, for the 5th sanctions package, but I think it is not enough," he said, speaking in Kyiv alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative of Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrell.

“Because they [Russia] have taken a lot away from us, the territories, the people,” he said.

While Ukraine can “bring the territories back," they cannot “bring those people back to life," he said.

“Please keep helping us with the sanctions," he added.

The EU’s fifth round of sanctions was adopted this week and includes a ban on Russian coal imports and blocks Russian access to EU ports.

Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, vowed an EU delegation will return to Kyiv and acknowledged Ukraine needs more arms.

He said he hoped to be able to pledge a further 500 million euros ($543 million) in military assistance “within the next couple of days," on top of the 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) already allocated. 

2:58 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

EU gives Ukraine an "important step" to full membership of the bloc

From Amy Cassidy in London

The European Union on Friday gave Ukraine an “important step” towards membership of the bloc, with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ceremoniously handing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a questionnaire to complete as part of the long-winded membership process.

“Ukraine belongs to the European family. We’ve heard your requests loud and clear. And today, we’re here to give you a first positive answer,” von der Leyen said speaking to reporters in Kyiv alongside Zelensky and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell.

“In this envelope, dear Volodymyr, there is an important step towards EU membership. The questionnaire that is in here is the basis for our discussion in the coming weeks. It is where your path towards Europe and the European Union begins.”

Von der Leyen said she hopes to be able to work closely with Zelesnky to complete the questionnaire within weeks.

Thanking her as he received the document, Zelesnky joked: “We’ll be ready with answers, Ursula, in one week”. 

The questionnaire is one of the many steps Ukraine would need to complete to reach full EU membership.

2:55 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

US State Department: Railway strike another example of Russia's war "sowing senseless death and destruction"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Riuki Gakio

The Kramatorsk train station is seen from the broken window of a train car on April 8.
The Kramatorsk train station is seen from the broken window of a train car on April 8. (Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

The US State Department condemned the Russian strike on a railway station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk.

“I want to express our deep condolences to the families of those killed or injured and to the people of Ukraine who continue to suffer terribly from the Russian government's unprovoked unjustified and brutal war,” State Department principal deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said Friday.

“We are horrified by this latest atrocity but we can no longer be surprised by the Kremlin's repugnant disregard for human lives,” she said.

“This is just yet another example of the Russian government's unjustified brutal war sowing senseless death and destruction in Ukraine and unravelling the fabric of normal life on schools, on homes, on hospitals and on workplaces. Civilians are killed when they stay in their homes and they are killed when they try to leave," she said.

Porter said such actions “demonstrate why Russia does not belong on the UN Human Rights Council and they also reinforce the US's assessment that members of Russian forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine.”

 

2:35 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

US seeing indications Russia is looking to recruit "upwards of 60,000 troops," defense official says

From CNN's Michael Conte, Barbara Starr and Jamie Crawford

The US has seen indications that Russia is looking to recruit “upwards of 60,000 troops” between new conscripts and mobilizing reservists to reinforce their invasion forces, according to a senior US defense official.

The official cautioned that “it remains to be seen” how successful Russia would be in meeting that target, how much training those forces would get, or where they would be sent. 

The official also said the US has not seen that there are “fresh reinforcements, fully trained, fully armed” ready to reinforce depleted Russian battalion tactical groups.

With regards to their current ability, Russia is now “below 85% of their assessed available combat power” that Moscow had amassed prior to the invasion of Ukraine in February, a senior US defense official said Friday during a briefing with reporters.

“Of the assessed available combat power that they had available to them before the invasion that they had arrayed against Ukraine for this purpose, of the total assessed combat power that they had we estimate that they are between 80 and 85% of what they had,” the official said which takes into account a variety of factors from the number of tanks, fighter aircraft, missile inventory, as well as troops.

The official would not put a specific number on the total number of Russian troops that have been killed to date in the Ukraine operation.

“The aggregate tells us they are under 85% of their assessed available combat power when they started this invasion,” the official said.

The US also believes the Russian military has not solved “their logistics and sustainment problems,” include those problems that existed outside Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official.

The official said those problems mean that they will be unlikely to be able to reinforce their forces in the eastern part of Ukraine “with any great speed.”

“We don’t believe that in general this is going to be a speedy process for them, given the kinds of casualties they’ve taken and the kind of damage that they’ve sustained to their units’ readiness,” said the official. 

3:21 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Ukraine officials: Russian troops have completed withdrawal from Sumy region

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva

A resident walks next to buildings damaged by shelling in the town of Trostianets, in Sumy region, Ukraine on March 28.
A resident walks next to buildings damaged by shelling in the town of Trostianets, in Sumy region, Ukraine on March 28. (Oleg Pereverzev/Reuters)

On Friday, the General Staff of Ukraine said stated that Russian forces have completed their withdrawal from Ukraine's northern Sumy region, while continuing a buildup of forces in the country's east.

"The Russian occupiers completely withdrew their troops from the Sumy region to the Russian Federation," a General Staff statement on Facebook read.

Russia's military announced previously it was withdrawing from northern Ukraine and around Kyiv to concentrate efforts in the eastern Donbas region.

The General Staff statement also noted that Russian troops continued a buildup in the southern Zaporizhzhia and eastern Donetsk regions, and continued an offensive in the direction of Popasna and Severodonetsk, in the eastern Luhansk region.