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
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1:35 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

World leaders condemn Kramatorsk railway strike

From CNN's Radina Gigova and Benjamin Brown 

Ukrainian soldiers move bodies after a rocket attack at a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on April 8.
Ukrainian soldiers move bodies after a rocket attack at a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on April 8. (Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, has strongly condemned a rocket strike on a railway station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, which killed around 30 people and wounded about 100 on Friday, according to officials.

"I strongly condemn this morning’s indiscriminate attack against a train station in #Kramatorsk by Russia, which killed dozens of people and left many more wounded," Borrell said on his official Twitter account Friday. 
"This is yet another attempt to close escape routes for those fleeing this unjustified war and cause human suffering."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Friday she is "appalled" by the "despicable" missile attack on the railway station.

Borrell and von der Leyen will be meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the strike “abominable” in a tweet posted Friday.

“Ukrainian civilians were fleeing to escape the worst. Their weapons? Strollers, stuffed toys, luggage. This morning, at the Kramatorsk train station, the families who were about to leave experienced horror,” Macron said. “Dozens dead, hundreds injured. Abominable."

The French president expressed his condolences to the victims of the strike in Kramatorsk and to victims from past attacks, namely Bucha, Mariupol and Kharkiv. He also called for investigations. 

Macron reiterated that the European Union will continue to provide humanitarian, military and financial supports to Ukraine. 

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has responded to the deadly attack on the Kramatorsk railway station in Ukraine, calling the strike on civilians “completely unacceptable”. At least 50 people were killed in the missile strike on a train station, according to Ukrainian authorities. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the strike "completely unacceptable" in a statement Friday.

"They are gross violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, for which the perpetrators must be held accountable," he said, reminding "all parties of their obligations under international law to protect civilians and of the urgency to agree on humanitarian ceasefires in order to enable the safe evacuation of and humanitarian access to populations trapped in conflict.” 

The statement added that the secretary general reiterates his appeal to all concerned “to bring an immediate end to this brutal war.”

European Council President Charles Michel also condemned the strike.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Friday she is "appalled" by the rocket strike.

"The targeting of civilians is a war crime. We will hold Russia and Putin to account," Truss said on her official Twitter account.

CNN’s Xiaofei Xu and Camille Knight in Paris contributed to this reporting.

1:58 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Germany should be able to end Russian oil imports "this year," chancellor says

From CNN's Benjamin Brown

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a press conference on April 8 in London, England.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a press conference on April 8 in London, England. (Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he thinks thinks Germany will be able to stop importing Russian oil "this year," he said Friday.

Speaking at a press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to London, Scholz said Germany was "actively working" on becoming independent from Russian oil imports. The German chancellor said he believed Germany would be able to end imports this year but added it would take Germany longer to wean itself off Russian gas.

Ending Russian energy imports required investment and infrastructure, Scholz said, adding that Germany had prepared steps to become independent from Russian energy imports "before the war began because we knew that this problem would come up."

1:29 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

164 bodies have been found in Bucha, Ukrainian prosecutor general says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen looks at bodies pulled from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen looks at bodies pulled from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktovae revealed on Friday that 164 bodies have been found in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where a massacre of civilians was uncovered following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

"As of yesterday (April 7), 164 dead have been found in Bucha," she said in televised remarks. "Plus today 21 that we exhumated from the mass grave before heavy rain started."

Venedyktova said 26 bodies had been retrieved yesterday from under the rubble of a collapsed building in another Kyiv suburb, Borodianka, and that two more bodies had been recovered Friday. She warned that more bodies were likely to be found in destroyed buildings in the town.

1:56 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Odesa is under curfew due to threat of Russian missile strikes

From Nathan Hodge in Lviv

People walk in downtown Odesa, Ukraine on April 5.
People walk in downtown Odesa, Ukraine on April 5. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian authorities in the southern region of Odesa have imposed a curfew for the next day and a half following deadly Russian missile strikes on a train station in the east on Friday.

Due to the threat of Russian forces launching missile strikes in the province, residents have been told to stay home from 9 p.m. local time Friday until 6 a.m. local time Sunday morning.

During the curfew it will be prohibited to be out on the streets or in public places without special permissions, the Odesa Regional State Administration said in a statement.

“I appeal to Odessa residents and residents of the region to understand the restrictions imposed and not to violate them. Such measures are necessary, first of all, for your safety, which will save your life, because the consequences can be fatal," the Head of Odessa Regional Military Administration Maxim Marchenko said.

1:50 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

EU Commission chief warns Hungary: If you pay in rubles, you violate EU sanctions

From CNN’s Emmet Lyons and Arnaud Siad

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, speaks with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Friday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, speaks with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Friday. (CNN)

Hungary will be breaking EU sanctions if they make good on their promise to pay for Russian energy in rubles, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has told CNN.

“We did an analysis of the decree of Putin, and the legal case is very clear. What Putin is suggesting – this transforming euros into rubles and then paying the gas bill — it would be a breach of sanctions. If you do that, pay in rubles, you breach the sanctions, you circumvent the sanctions we put on Russia,” EU Commission President von der Leyen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Friday. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had indicated that his country would be willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree demanding that ‘unfriendly countries’ will be required to pay for gas in the currency. 

The EU were in discussions with Budapest, Von der Leyen told CNN.

“So far Hungary has stuck to the sanctions, so until we don’t see the opposite, it’s fine. Never before have we seen the European Union so united, so determined, so fast. And I think for each of our member states, also a question, do I want to be the first one to break that unity? I think no,” she said. 

12:00 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Russia expels 45 Polish diplomats, Russian Foreign Ministry announces

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova in Dubai

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it will expel 45 Polish diplomats from Russia on Friday in response to Poland expelling 45 Russian diplomats. 

“As a response to Poland's unfriendly actions to expel Russian diplomats, based on the principle of reciprocity, 45 employees of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and the consulates general of the Republic of Poland in Irkutsk, Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg were declared 'persona non grata'," the Russians Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Telegram.

“They must leave the territory of the Russian Federation before the end of the day on April 13. The corresponding note was handed over to the Ambassador of Poland in Russia,” the statement said.

The Polish Ambassador to Moscow, Krzysztof Kraevsky, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday to express “strong protest” over Poland’s decision to expel 45 Russian diplomats as persona non grata, according to the statement. 

Persona non grata literally means "an unwelcome person."

“The ambassador was told that we regard this step as confirmation of Warsaw's conscious desire to finally destroy bilateral relations. The responsibility for this lies entirely with the Polish side,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

1:45 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky is meeting with European leaders now in Kyiv

From CNN's Radina Gigova

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Michael Fischer/picture alliance/Getty Images)

A meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has started in Kyiv, Zelensky's office said in a statement Friday.

"Negotiations will take place in a narrow circle, after which the Head of State and EU representatives will make statements to Ukrainian and foreign media and answer their questions," the statement says without providing additional details. 

Borrell and von der Leyen arrived in Ukraine earlier on Friday.

During a visit to Bucha, von der Leyen said those responsible for the atrocities committed there "will be brought to justice."

"It was important to start my visit in Bucha. Because in Bucha our humanity was shattered. My message to Ukrainian people: Those responsible for the atrocities will be brought to justice," von der Leyen said on her official Twitter account Friday. 

"Your fight is our fight. I’m in Kyiv today to tell you that Europe is on your side," she added.

2:12 p.m. ET, April 8, 2022

US assesses a Russian short range ballistic missile struck the Kramatorsk train station 

From CNN's Barbara Starr, Jonny Hallam and Abby Baggini

Ukrainian servicemen stand next to fragments of a missile outside the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
Ukrainian servicemen stand next to fragments of a missile outside the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Andriy Andriyenko/AP)

The initial US assessment is the missile that hit the Kramatorsk train station was a short range ballistic missile fired from a Russian position inside Ukraine, a senior US defense official said Friday.

It is the “full expectation” of the US that the attack on the Kramatorsk train station in Ukraine was a Russian strike with an SS-21 short range ballistic missile, according to another senior US defense official.

The official said that while the US does not have “perfect visibility into the Russian targeting process,” the train station is a major rail hub located “right on the edge of the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the Donbas area.”

Earlier Friday, Ukraine accused Russian forces of using indiscriminate cluster munitions in Friday's attack that left at least 50 people dead.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of Donetsk region military administration, said that a Russian Tochka-U missile packed with small bomblets hit civilians evacuating the area. 

Russian forces have been accused of regularly using cluster munitions against civilian targets in Ukraine. Last week, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times.

Such attacks “may amount to war crimes,” UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

The nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also confirmed Russia's use of cluster munitions, including at least three instances in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on March 7, 11, and 13, 2022. 

Cluster munitions pose a distinct threat to civilians by randomly scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. Bomblets that fail to explode upon impact often become de facto landmines, extending the damage post-conflict. 

In 2008, over 100 countries in the United Nations signed on to ban cluster munitions, according to the UN website. Ukraine and Russia did not sign the agreement.

11:58 a.m. ET, April 8, 2022

UK will send more air defense and anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, prime minister says

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference on April 8 in London, England.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference on April 8 in London, England. (Ben Stansall/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The UK will send more air defense and anti-tank missiles to Ukraine as part of a new package of high-grade military equipment worth 100 million pounds ($130 million), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in London, he also said Britain and Germany will be collaborating on energy security and renewables, as Europe aims to phase out its dependency on Russian fossil fuels.

“We cannot transform our respective energy systems overnight. But we also know that Putin's war will not end overnight," Johnson said.

“Today, I can announce that the UK will send a further £100 million worth of high-grade equipment to Ukraine's Armed Forces, including more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, which fire at three times the speed of sound, another 800 anti-tank missiles and precision munitions capable of lingering in the sky directly to their target,” he said.

“We will also send more helmets, night vision and body armor on top of the 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment the UK has already dispatched,” Johnson said. 

The British and German governments will hold a joint cabinet meeting within the next year, and defense ministers will meet before the next NATO summit in June, Johnson further announced.