Austria's chancellor calls for war crimes investigation, more sanctions following Zelensky meeting
From CNN's Radina Gigova in Atlanta
Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Saturday his country is military neutral, "but we understand we have to help where injustice and war crimes take place."
Austria supports European Union sanctions against Russia and the bloc is ready to implement more sanctions, Nehammar said at a joint news conference Saturday in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Nehammer will visit the town of Bucha on Saturday, which he called "a place of war crimes."
"We have to make those war crimes known to the UN and international justice must begin investigating and fight these crimes," he said.
Zelensky thanked him for the support Ukraine has received so far and reiterated his call for more sanctions on Russia.
11:24 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
At least 176 children have died, more than 324 injured due to Russian aggression, Ukrainian Parliament says
From CNN's Lindsay Isaac in London
At least 176 children have died and more than 324 have been injured as a result of Russian aggression, the Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, said in a tweet on Saturday.
"These figures are not final, as work is underway to establish them in places of active attacks, in the temporarily occupied and liberated territories," the Parliament said.
CNN cannot independently verify these figures.
11:21 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
YouTube terminates Russia’s lower house of parliament channel
From CNN’s Alex Hardie, Radina Gigova and Nina Avramova in London
YouTube has terminated Russia’s State Duma [lower house of parliament] YouTube channel due to recent US government sanctions, Google confirmed to CNN on Saturday.
“Google is committed to compliance with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws," a Google spokesperson said. “If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes."
Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded that Google lift the restrictions and explain the reason behind them, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Saturday.
The watchdog demanded that Google "immediately restore access to the Russian State Duma’s ‘Duma TV’ YouTube channel”, adding that blocking it “impedes the free flow of information," according to TASS.
In response to previous YouTube restrictions, Russia’s telecom watchdog banned Google advertising and access to Google services including Google Search and Gmail in Russia on Thursday, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported Saturday.
10:54 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
British PM Boris Johnson meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv
From CNN’s Alex Hardie and Max Foster in London
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday.
“The Prime Minister has travelled to Ukraine to meet President Zelenskyy in person, in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. They will discuss the UK’s long term support to Ukraine and the PM will set out a new package of financial and military aid,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
The Embassy of Ukraine to the UK tweeted a picture of Johnson sitting opposite Zelensky at a table.
10:19 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
"There are no words for the horror I've seen in Bucha," European Commission chief says
From CNN's James Frater and Radina Gigova
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described what she saw during her visit to the Ukrainian town of Bucha as "horror" and reiterated her "admiration" for the Ukrainians who are fighting the Russian invasion.
“There are no words for the horror I've seen in Bucha, the ugly face of Putin's army terrorizing people," von der Leyen said during a global 'Stand Up For Ukraine' event in Poland's capital of Warsaw on Saturday. “I have so much admiration for our brave Ukrainian friends fighting against this. They are fighting our war."
“It's our fight that they are in, because it's not only Ukraine fighting for its sovereignty and integrity, but they're also fighting for the question whether humanity will prevail, or whether heinous devastation will be the result," von der Leyen said.
She traveled to Kyiv on Friday along with EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials.
Zelensky andCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke at the 'Stand Up For Ukraine' event.
Zelensky praised the courage of his compatriots and reiterated his call for additional military and financial assistance.
"Russian leadership failed to account for one fact. The fact that it attacks the other largest country in the world, Ukraine, the largest by its courage. We are not afraid of massive missile strikes, Russian aircrafts and never-ending tank columns," he said said.
“We're here today to answer President Zelensky's call for the international community to mobilize in support for Ukrainian refugees and all Ukrainians," said Trudeau.
9:42 a.m. ET, April 9, 2022
The European Union is resuming its diplomatic presence in Kyiv. Italy will follow
From CNN's Radina Gigova in Atlanta and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome
The European Union is resuming its diplomatic presence in Kyiv after moving it temporarily to Poland following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the bloc announced Friday.
EU Ambassador to Ukraine Matti Maasikas "is returning to Kyiv to enhance EU presence and ensure support to our Ukrainian partners," the bloc said on its official Twitter account Saturday. Maasikas expressed his own positive thoughts on Twitter.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell traveled to Ukraine on Friday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian officials.
"With this visit, the European Union is returning to Kyiv," Borrell tweeted Friday. "And I mean this literally: our Head of Delegation is back here, so that we can work even more directly and more closely with our Ukrainian partners, ensuring support for Ukrainians."
Italy also intends to reopen its embassy in Kyiv after Easter, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Saturday.
"Ambassador [Pier Francesco] Zazo and our embassy have never left Ukraine — it is in Lviv, in the west of the country. But now the time has come to give a big signal to the Ukrainians ... and thank them for kicking out the Russian troops from Kyiv," Di Maio said speaking to the press in Volla, near Naples.
The foreign minister said some Italian citizens have remained in Kyiv and "are safer thanks to the Ukrainian resistance."
Slovenia has also reopened its embassy in Kyiv since March 28, according to Slovenia's Foreign Ministry.
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
A former New York governor is working with a Hungarian company to provide modular homes for internally displaced refugees in Ukraine.
The first shipment ofabout 20foldable 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.
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
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.