Russia invades Ukraine

By Aditi Sangal, Joe Ruiz, Helen Regan, Ivana Kottasová and Sana Noor Haq, CNN

Updated 12:19 a.m. ET, April 10, 2022
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9:14 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Refugees sheltering in factory get modular homes from former New York governor

From CNN’s Chris Hippensteel

Ukrainians tour the modular homes near the village of Solomonovo in Zakarpattia Oblast.
Ukrainians tour the modular homes near the village of Solomonovo in Zakarpattia Oblast. (Continest)

A former New York governor is working with a Hungarian company to provide modular homes for internally displaced refugees in Ukraine.  

The first shipment of about 20 foldable units arrived on April 3 in Solomonovo in Zakarpattia Oblast, a village just across Ukraine’s border with Hungary and Slovakia.

The houses were set up near a factory that has served as a temporary shelter for more than 100 refugees, many of them women and children, former New York Gov. George Pataki told CNN. 

Pataki’s foundation, the George E. Pataki Leadership and Learning Center, paid Hungary-based company Continest to build, ship and set up the units which are designed to be easy to move and deploy.

“We don't have the resources to provide the quite literally hundreds of thousands that are needed across Ukraine, but we're gonna do everything we can to provide as many as we can,” Pataki said. “We're providing the first step. We just hope that this serves as a model.”  

“In the factory, people are safe – they have heat, they have running water, but they don't have any privacy,” said Vidor Kis-Márton, CEO of Continest. “This is what we can offer them.” He said another ten units from Continest will continue on to the town of Bucha.  

Housing crisis for displaced people

Pataki’s foundation has made repeated trips to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, delivering food and other supplies. He said they quickly realized there was an intense need for housing for displaced Ukrainians. 

The International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 7.1 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced by the conflict. More than 4.2 million people have left Ukraine since the invasion began in late February, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Pataki expressed concern that charitable organizations and nonprofits are undertaking much of the work to house internally displaced people -- and that humanitarian aid from the United States and other countries hasn’t yet played a sizeable role, at least in the regions he’s visited.  

The modular houses will provide temporary homes for refugees.
The modular houses will provide temporary homes for refugees. (Continest)

Kis-Márton hopes the units will remain in place until serious efforts can begin to rebuild homes in Ukraine -- something he doesn’t predict will happen overnight. In the meantime, he hopes the modular houses will offer Ukrainians safety and dignity while the country rebuilds. 

“We are already thinking about rebuilding,” Kis-Márton said. “The war is not over, but the rebirth of Ukraine has actually started.”

8:34 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Ukraine's trains have helped 3.5 million people flee their homes since the invasion

Refugees from Mariupol arrive at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine on March 24.
Refugees from Mariupol arrive at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine on March 24. (Ty O'Neil/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Images of trains overcrowded with passengers fleeing the war, sitting on the floor and sleeping in the aisles, shook people around the world after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The trains have kept running ever since, despite heavy fighting in some parts of the country. Journeys often taken much longer than they normally would, with lights inside dimmed to avoid the trains becoming a target.

Ukrainian Railways said Saturday that 3.5 million people have used trains to flee their homes.

The state-owned company said that most people left from Kyiv, Kharkiv and the Donbas region and headed to Lviv and Uzhorod, two cities close to the border in the country's west.

Nearly half a million people used trains to travel abroad, with the majority going to Przemyśl, Warsaw and Chełm in Poland, the company added. Foreign evacuation routes were also arranged to Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The company said efforts to evacuate more people are continuing, despite the strike on a train station in Kramatorsk on Friday, which left more than 50 dead.

Trains have been scheduled from Pokrovsk and Slovyansk in the Donetsk region and Novozolotarivka in Luhansk.

-- CNN's Nathan Hodge and Julia Presniakova contributed reporting.

6:50 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Quarter of Russian forces "effectively inoperable," says European official

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

About one quarter of Russian forces used in the invasion of Ukraine are “effectively inoperable,” according to a European official, following heavy losses, poor logistics and sustainment.

Russia had arrayed approximately 120 Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs), around Ukraine ahead of the invasion, CNN reported at the time.

Six weeks into the war, approximately 29 of those are now out of commission, the official said.

Russian forces have tried to combine some of the remaining parts of the BTGs into coherent fighting units, using the remains of two or three BTGs to attempt to make one, the official added.

Some background: The comments come a day after Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov briefly admitted on Thursday that Russia had suffered “significant” losses of its troops in Ukraine, calling it “a huge tragedy” for the country in an interview with Sky News.

Asked whether the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv and its region could be seen as “a humiliation” for the Kremlin, Peskov said using those words would be “a wrong understanding of the situation.”

“We have significant losses of troops and it’s a huge tragedy for us,” Peskov admitted, before claiming the reason for Russia’s withdrawal from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions was “an act of goodwill during the negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations.” 

Peskov added that Russia did so to “lift tension from those regions in order to show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions for the continuation of the negotiations.”

CNN has been unable to verify how many Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine. Last month, pro-Putin Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported the toll was 9,861 -- multiple times higher than official figures from the Kremlin. The figure, which was attributed to the ministry and later retracted by the paper -- which claimed it was hacked -- was not confirmed by the Kremlin.

US and NATO officials estimated last month that Russian casualties range from between 3,000 to 10,000. Ukrainian officials have claimed the toll is even higher.

CNN’s Martin Goillandeau contributed reporting to this post.

7:25 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Heavy shelling of Kharkiv continuing, regional military governor says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova and Kostan Nechyporenko

A damaged residential building is seen after shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on April 9.
A damaged residential building is seen after shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on April 9. (Oleksandr Lapshyn/Reuters)

Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said on Saturday that Russian forces have continued shelling of the regional capital of Kharkiv.

"During the past day, the occupiers inflicted about 50 blows from artillery, mortars, tanks and MLRS (multiple rocket launchers)," he said in a statement on Telegram.

"The infrastructure of (the districts of) Saltivka, Kholodna Hora, Oleksiyivka, XTZ (Kharkiv tractor plant district) was affected," he added.

Some background: In recent days Ukrainian officials have warned of a possible major Russian offensive in the country's east, describing an effort by Russian forces to advance from Izium in southern Kharkiv region toward the Donbas region.

Regional officials have also urged the evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine in advance of what they say may be heavy fighting in Donbas. 

On Thursday, Borys Filatov, the mayor of Dnipro -- a regional capital south of Kharkiv region -- called for women, children and the elderly to leave the city. 

10:59 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

It's 12 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

Ukraine is bracing for a new onslaught by Russian forces in the country's east, while still reeling from an attack on a railway station that killed at least 50 people on Friday.

Here's the latest:

Zelensky expects 'a firm, global response' to Kramatorsk: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to hold to account everyone behind the missile strike on a railway station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.

At least 50 people, including five children, were killed at the station which was being used by civilians trying to flee the fighting, Ukrainian officials said Friday.

Russia accused of war crimes: International leaders including the European Parliament President Roberta Metsola say the missile strike in Kramatorsk and other attacks on civilians in Ukraine constitute war crimes.

Speaking to CNN on Friday, Metsola said the attacks were: "International war crimes being committed against sovereign people who are simply fighting for democracy and for their country.”

Ukraine expects huge new onslaught: The military governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine said Russian forces are preparing for a "massive breakthrough" attempt in Donbas.

The UK's Ministry of Defence said some of the Russian troops that have withdrawn from northern Ukraine will be transferred to eastern Ukraine to fight in Donbas but “many of the forces will require significant replenishment before being ready to deploy further east, with any mass redeployment from the north likely to take at least a week minimum.”

Ukrainian officials have urged residents of some cities in Donbas to evacuate in anticipation of what they say may be heavy fighting.

Rerouting evacuation corridors: The Ukrainian military said it was working to "adjust" routes for civilians following the strike in Kramatorsk.

Serhii Haidai, the military governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, said the attack meant changes were being made to the routes, but stressed that efforts to get people out of the region will continue: "We are ready, we will continue to evacuate people."

Odesa under curfew: Authorities in the southern region of Odesa have imposed a curfew for Saturday following the deadly strike in Kramatorsk. Residents have been told to stay home from 9 p.m. local time on Friday (2 p.m. ET) until 6 a.m. on Monday morning (11 p.m. ET Sunday night).

Russians still facing logistical issues: The US believes the Russian military has not solved “their logistics and sustainment problems,” a senior US defense official told CNN.

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.”

4:41 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Evacuation routes adjusted after Kramatorsk strike, regional military governor says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova, Sophie Jeong and Matilda Kuklish

Kramatorsk train station seen following the attack on Friday.
Kramatorsk train station seen following the attack on Friday. (Fadel Senna/AFP)

The military governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region said evacuation corridors for civilians were "being adjusted" following a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk train station on Friday.

Speaking on national television, Serhii Haidai said: "Unfortunately, after yesterday's disaster from Kramatorsk, our evacuation routes are being adjusted, but we are ready, we will continue to evacuate people."

Haidai said shelling was continuing across the region.

"All settlements are being shelled," he said. "The most difficult areas are Rubizhne, Popasna and Hirske community. The Hirske community is shelled from morning till night, constantly, the enemy has not stopped at all, they are fired on with all kinds of weapons, and by aircraft as well. Fighting continues in Popasna and Rubizhne."

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, announced on Telegram that 10 evacuation corridors have been agreed.

In the Donetsk region, she said there would be one corridor from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia for private vehicles.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, Vereshchuk said four corridors, from Berdiansk, Tokmak, Enerhodar and Melitopol to Zaporizhzhia would open for private vehicles and buses.

In the Luhansk region, Vereshchuk named five corridors to Bakhmut, coming from Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Rubizhne and the village of Hirske.

Some background: At least 50 people, including five children, 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 on Friday. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strike was "another war crime of Russia, for which everyone involved will be held accountable." 

Kramatorsk is a key railway evacuation point for civilians looking to flee heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have also warned that Russia is readying a major offensive in the eastern Donbas region. 

CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Jo Shelley contributed reporting to this post.

2:04 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Russia complains to Turkey about Ukraine's use of Turkish drones

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce, Jomana Karadsheh, and Masha Angelova

Russia has complained to Turkish officials about the Ukrainian military using drones manufactured in Turkey.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, a Turkish official said Ankara had told Moscow that Turkish drone-maker Baykar Technologies is a private company and Ukraine's purchase of the devices had been completed before the war.

According to CNN reporting, Ukrainian officials have been touting Baykar's Bayraktar TB2 drones as one of the most effective weapons in their arsenal.  

Last week, CNN gained rare access to the Baykar production facility in Turkey for an exclusive interview with its chief technology officer, Selcuk Bayraktar.

Bayraktar, who is also the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the drone was "doing what it was designed to do and upgraded to do." 

1:32 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Finland and Sweden could soon join NATO, prompted by Russia's war in Ukraine

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Natasha Bertrand

Finland and Sweden could soon join NATO, moves that would likely infuriate Moscow and that officials say would further underscore Russia’s strategic error in invading Ukraine.

NATO officials told CNN that discussions about Sweden and Finland joining the bloc have gotten extremely serious since Russia’s invasion.

US senior State Department officials said the matter came up at this week’s NATO foreign ministerial, which was attended by the foreign ministers from Stockholm and Helsinki.

Officials said the discussions underline the extent to which Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has only served to reinvigorate and unify the NATO alliance — the exact opposite of Putin’s stated goals before the war began.

Some context: The Russian President had demanded that NATO cease expanding east and admitting new members, accusing the bloc of threatening Russian security. Instead, NATO has increased its support to Ukraine and is preparing to welcome new members.

Read the full story:

12:33 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022

Biden signs sanctions bills targeting Russian oil and trade with Russia and Belarus

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Joe Biden on Friday signed two bills levying further sanctions on Russia and Belarus, the White House announced.

The sanctions mark the administration’s latest move to punish the two countries for Russia’s ongoing deadly invasion of Ukraine — and the first time the sanctions in response to the war have come from Capitol Hill.

One bill suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, punishing the countries by paving the way for higher tariffs on imports from them. The other prohibits energy imports from Russia, including oil, coal and natural gas.

The Senate unanimously passed the two measures Thursday morning. While the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the legislation, the bills faced more opposition there.

Read the full story: