April 14, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Helen Regan, Travis Caldwell and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 15, 2022
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2:19 a.m. ET, April 14, 2022

Russian warship evacuated in Black Sea was involved in Snake Island exchange

From CNN's George Kazarian, Masha Angelova and Brad Lendon

A Russian warship that was evacuated in the Black Sea on Wednesday was one of the vessels involved in the famous exchange at Snake Island in February, according to a Ukrainian presidential adviser.

The island was hit by Russian missile strikes after Ukrainian defenders responded to the threat of Russian invasion with the words: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

Some context: Conflicting reports have emerged from the Russians and Ukrainians about the incident onboard the Moskva on Wednesday. Russia said in state media the cruiser was evacuated after a fire onboard detonated ammunition. The Odesa state regional administrator claimed it was hit by Ukrainian missiles. CNN is unable to independently verify what took place. 

However, comments from Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy, suggest there is confusion over what occurred.

"There's a big fire ... The sea is stormy so it’s unknown whether it’ll be possible to get them help. There are 510 crew members there. We can’t figure out what happened, either two sailors were smoking in the wrong place, or once again certain safety measures were violated," Arestovych said.

The ship is currently in the Black Sea basin, he added.

Regarding the February Snake Island incident, Arestovych confirmed the Moskva was involved. "Yes specifically this one, it was firing at the defenders. It’s the flagship of the (Russian) navy," he said.

9:46 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Why the Biden administration is giving new, heavier weapons to Ukraine

From CNN's Oren Liebermann, Jeremy Herb and Kaitlan Collins

For the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US is providing Kyiv with the types of high-power capabilities some Biden administration officials viewed as too much of an escalation risk a few short weeks ago.

The $800 million list is driven not only by direct requests from Ukraine, but also in preparation for a new type of fight on the open plains of southeast Ukraine right next to Russia, terrain that plays into Russia’s natural military advantages.

The new weapons package represents the starkest sign to date that the war in Ukraine is shifting — and with it the weapons Ukraine will need if it hopes to continue to stymie a Russian military that has regrouped and resupplied after its initial failures in the opening weeks of the war.

What the package includes:

  • The Biden administration said the package included 11 Mi-17 helicopters that had initially been earmarked for Afghanistan
  • 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons
  • 300 more Switchblade drones
  • And radar systems capable of tracking incoming fire and pinpointing its origin

This package stands out from previous security assistance in part because this tranche includes more sophisticated and heavier-duty weaponry than previous shipments.

Read the full story:

10:53 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Ukraine claims it hit a Russian warship with a missile strike. Russia says otherwise

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Frederick Pleitgen, Vasco Cotovio and Josh Pennington

A satellite image shows Russian warship the Moskva in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea on April 7.
A satellite image shows Russian warship the Moskva in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea on April 7. (Satellite Image © 2022 Maxar Technologies)

Conflicting reports have emerged from the Russians and Ukrainians about an incident involving a Russian warship in the Black Sea. 

No evidence has emerged to support either claim and CNN is unable to independently verify what took place. 

What the Russians say: The Russian Defense Ministry claimed Wednesday that the warship Moskva was evacuated after a fire onboard detonated ammunition, seriously damaging the vessel, according to Russian state media.

What the Ukrainians say: Hours earlier, Odesa state regional administrator Maxim Marchenko claimed in a post on Telegram that Ukrainian forces hit the ship with "Neptune" missiles causing serious damage to it.

Poor weather: Due to large storms over the Black Sea obscuring satellite imagery and sensory satellite data, CNN has not been able to visually confirm the ship has been hit. The Russian Defense Ministry has also not posted any official statement to its Telegram channel acknowledging the evacuation, or fire onboard.

Russian state media outlets TASS and RIA reported the ship's crew was evacuated and that the cause of the fire was still being established. According to the Defense Ministry, the Moskva is a missile cruiser that was built and commissioned in 1982.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed the ship just northwest of Sevastopol, Crimea on April 10.

9:57 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

EU gives another 500 million euros to Ukraine for military aid

From CNN's Sahar Akbarzai

The European Union approved an additional 500 million euros ($544 million) for military equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Wednesday, according to a news release from the European Council.

“The next weeks will be decisive. As Russia prepares for an offensive on the east of Ukraine, it is crucial that we continue and step up our military support to Ukraine to defend its territory and population and prevent further suffering,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.   

The additional military aid brings the total financial assistance from the EU for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to 1.5 billion euros, the release said. The financial assistance was approved through the European Peace Facility, “an off-budget instrument that enhances the EU’s ability to act as a global security provider,” according to the website of the European Commission.

The 500 million euros will finance personal protective equipment, military equipment, fuel, and first aid kits, the release said.  

“The European Council demands that Russia immediately stop its military aggression in the territory of Ukraine,” the release added. 

9:50 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

More bodies found, some tortured, after Russians retreated from northeast Ukraine, officials say

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Lviv and Tim Lister

In the days since Russian forces left the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine, authorities say a growing number of bodies have been discovered.

"There are more than 100 dead among the civilians in the Sumy region. Unfortunately, this number is growing every day," Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, head of Sumy regional military administration, said in a briefing Wednesday.

"A lot of people found dead with their hands tied with the signs of tortures, shot in the head," he added.

Zhyvytskyi alleged "there are people who are held captive and there are daily negotiations for them to be exchanged or set free. A lot of people whose fate remains unknown as of today."

Sumy saw widespread damage in the early days of the Russian invasion, with several confrontations between civilians and Russian soldiers in the region. 

This week, the Ukrainian cabinet allotted about $8 million to the Sumy region to begin the task of repairing housing, roads and utilities.

10:00 p.m. ET, April 13, 2022

Russia announces retaliatory sanctions on 398 members of US Congress

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Zahra Ullah

Russia said Wednesday it had imposed sanctions on 398 members of the US Congress in retaliation against Washington blacklisting hundreds of Russian lawmakers last month. 

Moscow’s “mirror sanctions” include “the leadership and committee chairmen of the lower house of the U.S. Congress,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. 

The US Treasury Department on March 24 announced sanctions against 328 members of the 450-seat Russian State Duma — the lower level of the two-tiered Russian Parliament. 

“Further announcements of Russian countermeasures are planned in the near future,” including adding more Americans to the sanctioned list, Moscow said in Wednesday’s statement.