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April 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

See CNN's exclusive interview with President Zelensky

What we're covering

  • The US assessed that two Ukrainian missiles hit the Moskva, one of Russia’s most important warships, causing it to sink in the Black Sea, a senior US defense official said. Russia has denied Ukraine’s claims of striking the ship, saying a fire caused munitions to explode.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces say Russia is striking the south, including the city of Mykolaiv, in retaliation for the ship’s sinking. Russia also struck a “military facility” on the outskirts of Kyiv, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. 
  • Meanwhile, Russian preparations continue in the east for an offensive operation, Ukrainian officials say, with heavy shelling along the front line in the Donetsk region.
  • Moscow has formally protested the US’ ongoing weapons shipments to Ukraine, warning in a diplomatic note of “unpredictable consequences” should the support continue, sources say. 
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Unaccompanied Ukrainian minors began arriving at the US border two weeks ago, source says 

Ukrainian refugees play with frisbees as they wait in front of a gymnasium in Tijuana, Mexico on Tuesday April 5.

In the past two weeks, unaccompanied Ukrainian minors, mostly teenagers, have entered the US through the southern border after leaving their war-torn country, according to a source familiar with the US Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter services.  

Most of the minors have flown into Mexico and then made their way to the US southern border, according to the source.

In some cases, this source says, family members living in the US have met the Ukrainian minors in Mexico, and US immigration authorities have separated the children from their relatives at the border, per government policy.

Under US law, if the relative who is with the minor is not their parent or US legal guardian, the minor is classified as unaccompanied.

How many are in US care? An Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson did not answer CNN’s questions about how many Ukrainian children are in US care and where.

While in US government care, unaccompanied children meet with a case manager at least weekly and connect with family at least twice a week, according to HHS.

This source says that in the past two weeks, between 20 and 30 unaccompanied Ukrainian minors have entered the US via the southern border. According to the source, based on the data available it’s difficult to tell a total tally at any one point in time.

According to the latest data, as of April 14, 2022, nearly 10,000 children are in HHS custody. In fiscal year 2021, most of the unaccompanied migrant children in HHS care were from Central American’s northern triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

US Customs and Border Protection sent CNN an email saying that the agency is unable to provide comment at this time.

Where are they? The same source says that most of the Ukrainian children are being placed in ORR shelters in the states of Washington, California and New York. Several unaccompanied Ukrainian minors have been reunited with their families in the US since the first child arrived about two weeks ago, the source said.

Some of the children have said that they are in the US to wait out the war and hope to return to their home country once it is no longer at war, this source said.

What the sinking of the Moskva could mean for the Russian war effort

The Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva sails back to the port of Sevastopol, Crimea on November 16, 2021.

The Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva rests deep beneath the Black Sea today.

Ukraine claims that it hit Moskva with missiles, causing it to sink. Russia has insisted the reason for the sinking was a fire. On Friday, the United States supported Ukraine’s account, with a senior defense official saying that it believes that two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Russian warship in the Black Sea.

But what does the loss of the Moskva mean for the Russian war effort?

The biggest effect may be on Russian morale. As the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva was one of its most visible assets in the Ukraine war. Though Moscow carefully manages news about the war in Russia, it will be hard to hide the sudden absence of such a large ship.

And its loss will raise doubts about Russia’s warfighting abilities, whether it was due to enemy action or accident.

“Both explanations for the sinking of the Moskva indicate possible Russian deficiencies – either poor air defenses or incredibly lax safety procedures and damage control on the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship,” analysts Mason Clark, Kateryna Stepanenko and George Barros at the Institute for the Study of War wrote in their daily war briefing.

Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain, said the doubts went all the way to the Kremlin.

“It raises questions about naval competence 10 years after (Russian President Vladimir) Putin announced he was going to restore the navy’s capabilities, morale and professionalism,” Schuster said.

“It seems he has not been able to keep any of his promises for any of Russia’s military services,” Schuster said, noting Russia had suffered setbacks on land too.

But analysts are split on what impact the sinking will have on the Russian invasion.

The ISW analysts see it as a relatively minor blow, saying the ship was mostly used for cruise missile strikes on Ukrainian logistic centers and airfields. Russia has land-based systems and strike aircraft that can do the same thing, they said.

However, they added that if it was indeed a Ukrainian missile that led to the sinking, the Russian navy would have to rethink its operations, possibly moving ships farther from Ukrainian territory and adjusting their air defenses.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Moskva’s main mission was air defense for the Russian forces in the Black Sea.

Read more about the ship’s sinking here.

Death toll in Kharkiv shelling rises to 10, prosecutor says

A woman reacts to the death of a 15-year-old boy killed during a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Friday April 15.

The prosecutor’s office in the northeastern region of Kharkiv says at least 10 people have been killed, including a 7-month-old baby, as a result of shelling by Russian forces.

The office of the gGeneral prosecutor said on Telegram that at about 4:30 p.m. local time Friday, Russian forces used multiple rocket launchers against the industrial district of Kharkiv. 

Earlier, Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration, had reported shelling of residential areas of Kharkiv. He said 34 people were injured, including three children, and seven people were killed.

There has been an increase in attacks on Kharkiv and Ukrainian towns in Donbas to the south in recent weeks as the Russians’ focus shifts to the east of Ukraine. Civilian casualties have been rising amid missile, artillery and rocket attacks on several cities and on people trying to leave the region. 

Strikes continue across Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions, Ukrainian officials say

Residents shelter in the basement of a residential building to protect themselves from shelling in Lysychansk, Ukraine on April 13.

Ukrainian officials on Friday reported Russian strikes across the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions in eastern Ukraine, amid warnings of a major Russian offensive in the coming days.

The situation in the region was “getting more tense,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said in a statement on television. “The shelling, airstrikes have increased. Since yesterday in the north of the Donetsk region on the border with Kharkiv region, there have been attempts of breakthrough.”

But the attacks were repelled, he added.

CNN was not immediately able to verify the battlefield situation in that region.

Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv region military administration, reported shelling of residential areas of Kharkiv. He said at least 34 people were injured, including three children, and seven people were killed, including a 7-month-old baby. 

Shelling in the city of Severodonetsk damaged the water supply system and destroyed two food warehouses on Friday, said Serhii Haidai, head of Luhansk regional military administration.

“The Russians are cynically hitting infrastructure,” Haidai said, adding that Russian fire hit the towns of Rubizhne and Kreminna as well as Severodonetsk.

In a separate statement, Haidai said volunteers bringing humanitarian aid the local population came under fire in the town of Lysychansk, killing one man and injuring his wife. 

Zelensky asked Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism in recent phone conversation, source says

 US President Joe Biden is seen April 14 and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen April 9.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a request to US President Joe Biden in one of their recent phone conversations to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Zelensky’s ask didn’t come with the same level of urgency with which he’s requested Western leaders provide additional arms and financial assistance, the person said, but he did make it as part of an effort to scale up international condemnation of Russia.

Biden did not offer a firm commitment to Zelensky’s request, which was first reported by the Washington Post.

US officials have previously declined to rule out adding Russia to the list of state sponsors of terror, which right now includes North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Iran.

“I don’t have any assessment of that at this point in time. Obviously, we’re continuing to look at the actions on the ground and the actions of leaders,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House last month.

Adding Russia would be a dramatic move that would escalate economic sanctions and have secondary effects on countries still doing business with Moscow.

Cluster bombs kill 5 civilians in Mykolaiv, city governor says

Five residents were killed and 15 wounded Friday by cluster munitions scattered on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, the city’s governor, Vitaliy Kim, alleged on Telegram.

One of those killed had picked up an unexploded shell, he said. 

“Repeating one more time […] Do not touch strange objects. It can be fatal,” he warned. 

CNN cannot independently verify the governor’s claims, however the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has previously said it had received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas in Ukraine.

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also confirmed Russia’s use of cluster munitions throughout the conflict.

“Cluster munitions pose an immediate threat to civilians during conflict by randomly scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. They continue to pose a threat post-conflict by leaving remnants, including submunitions that fail to explode upon impact becoming de facto landmines,” according to HRW.

Remember: 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.

More than 900 bodies of Ukrainian civilians discovered in Kyiv region since Russian withdrawal, police say

Workers exhume two bodies from graves in the village of Vablia, Kyiv region on April 14.

More than 900 bodies of civilians have been discovered since the Russian army withdrew from the area, the head of the Kyiv regional police said during a briefing on Friday. 

Andrii Niebytov said the bodies were examined and transferred to forensic medical institutions for detailed examination. 

Niebytov also said that the bodies of some people in the village of Shevchenko ​had been identified, adding that “they were ordinary locals, unfortunately also tortured, and we see that they were shot.” 

Niebytov said some of the people that were shot had white armbands on them to try to protect themselves from Russian forces.

“During the occupation of our cities, the occupiers forced citizens to wear white armbands as if this person had already been checked and was therefore not treated so meticulously. Therefore, in order to save their lives, our citizens wore these bandages themselves to protect themselves from gunshots,” he said.  

He said that wearing white armbands did not always work, “even if they hung white rags on the fences of their apartments,” adding that there were also children who were living in those apartments.

It's nighttime in Kyiv. Catch up here.

As Friday winds down in Ukraine, these are the latest developments in Russia’s invasion:

Sunken warship: A senior US defense official said two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Moskva — Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea — earlier this week.

Ukraine claimed it had hit the Russian guided-missile cruiser with anti-ship missiles, while the Russian military acknowledged only that the ship had sunk after a fire on board and the detonation of ammunition.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in southern Ukraine suggested that Russian missile attacks in the south since Thursday night were in retaliation for the sinking of the Moskva.

Zelensky speaks to CNN: In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that “all of the countries of the world” should be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons in his war on Ukraine.

Military aid on its way: The first flight of the $800 million in new aid for Ukraine from the United States is expected to arrive in the region in the next 24 hours, according to a senior defense official. Officials previously said the most urgent requirements such as howitzers and related ammunition as well as radars will be among the first items to be shipped.

Russia warns US: Meanwhile, Russia this week formally protested the United States’ ongoing shipment of weapons to Ukraine, sending a diplomatic note to the State Department warning of “unpredictable consequences” should the support continue, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the document.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “nothing will dissuade” President Joe Biden’s administration from continuing to support Ukraine.

US assesses two Ukrainian missiles struck Russian warship

The Russian warship Moskva is seen docked in Sevastopol, Crimea in this satellite image from April 7.

Two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Moskva — Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea — earlier this week, a senior defense official said Friday.

A more detailed assessment from an American official said that the strike and subsequent sinking of the ship was the result of a Ukrainian missile.

CNN reported yesterday the US believed with “medium confidence” that Ukraine’s version of events regarding a missile strike on the warship — which Moscow has disputed — was accurate, according to a source familiar with the intelligence.

Crew of Moskva ship delivered to port of Sevastopol, according to Russian state media

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva patrols in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria, on December 17, 2015.

The crew of the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, which sank Thursday in the Black Sea, was delivered to the port of Sevastopol, Russian state news agency TASS reported, citing an unnamed source. 

TASS provided no additional details about the number of crew members rescued from the ship. 

The Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Ukraine claimed it had hit the Russian guided-missile cruiser with anti-ship missiles, while the Russian military acknowledged only that the ship had sunk after a fire on board and the detonation of ammunition.

The Russian government has provided no details on casualties.

EU condemns Russia's decision to expel 18 EU diplomats 

The European Union condemned Russia’s “baseless decision” to expel 18 EU diplomats from the country, EU spokesperson Peter Stano said in a statement Friday. 

“The European Union deplores the unjustified, baseless decision of the Russian Federation to expel 18 members of the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation,” Stano said. “The EU diplomats in question exercise their functions in the framework of and in full respect for the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

Stano called Russia’s decision “a pure retaliatory step” that “will further deepen its international isolation.”

“The European Union continues to strongly call on Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine and to return to respect of international rules and to a cooperative approach in its international relations,” he said. 

US State Department: "Nothing will dissuade" Biden administration from supporting Ukraine

President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One at Des Moines International Airport, in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

When asked about the impact of the diplomatic cable from Russia warning the United States not to continue arming Ukraine, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “nothing will dissuade” President Joe Biden’s administration from continuing to support Ukraine.

“The Russians have said some things privately, they have said some things publicly; nothing will dissuade us from the strategy that we’ve embarked on,” Price told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Price said he is “not in a position to confirm any private diplomatic correspondence.”

But he added: “If the allegation from the Kremlin is that the US and our partners around the world are providing billions of dollars worth of security assistance to our Ukrainian partners, precisely what our Ukrainian partners have requested, and that our Ukrainian partners are using that very security assistance to extraordinary effects to repel this Russian aggression, well, then we’re guilty as charged.”

CNN reported earlier Friday that the first flight from the US of the $800 million in new aid for Ukraine – which Biden announced this week — is expected to arrive in the region in the next 24 hours, according to a senior defense official. 

The Kremlin “shouldn’t be surprised” by US support for Ukraine, given the commitments the Biden administration made to supporting Ukraine even before Russia’s invasion began, Price added.

Finland is "highly likely" to join NATO but more discussions are needed, minister says

Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s minister of European affairs and ownership steering, talks to the media before a meeting at the EU Council headquarters in March.

Finland is “highly likely” to join NATO following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland’s Minister of European Affairs and Corporate Governance Tytti Tuppurainen told Sky News in a video interview Friday. 

Tuppurainen said “there is a huge majority” in support of a NATO membership, but “we need to discuss this issue thoroughly in our parliament.” 

“So at this point, I can say that it’s highly likely but the decision is not yet made,” she said. “But of course, the Russian action, the brutal war in Ukraine, that is a wakeup call to us all,” she added. 

On Wednesday, speaking at a joint news conference with her Swedish counterpart in Stockholm, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said her country’s decision on whether to apply for membership would be made within “weeks, not within months.”

“We need to have a view on the future and we are using this time to analyze and also build common views on the future when it comes to security,” Marin said. “I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast — within weeks, not within months.”

Zelensky tells CNN world should be prepared for possibility Putin could use nuclear weapons

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN Friday that “all of the countries of the world” should be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons in his war on Ukraine.

Zelensky told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview from the office of the president in Kyiv on Friday that Putin could turn to either nuclear or chemical weapons because he does not value the lives of the people of Ukraine.

“Chemical weapons, they should do it, they could do it, for them the life of the people, nothing. That’s why,” Zelensky said. “We should think not be afraid, not be afraid but be ready. But that is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine but for all the world, I think.”

Zelensky has remained in Ukraine throughout the course of the 50-day war with Russia, as Ukraine’s forces have resisted the Kremlin’s attempts to seize Kyiv and forced Russia to refocus its war efforts on the eastern and southern regions of the country, where Ukraine is anticipating a significant escalation in fighting in the days to come.

One of Russia’s most important naval warships sunk in the Black Sea this week, which Ukraine said was the result of a missile strike, while Russia claimed it was due to a fire from the detonation of ammunition.

At the same time, Russia is firing cruise missiles into the outskirts of Kyiv and still maintains the ability to target Ukraine’s capital with long-range weaponry.

US officials have warned about the possibility that Putin, if backed into a corner, could turn to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. CIA Director Bill Burns said Thursday that the CIA watches “very intently” over the possibility, while emphasizing that the US has not yet seen any signs that Russia is preparing to take such a step.

“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low yield nuclear weapons,” he said in public remarks at Georgia Tech.

Watch a clip of the interview here.

You can see more of the interview on “The Lead” at 4 p.m. ET and the full interview will run on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on “State of the Union.”

US doesn't believe Russian cruiser was carrying nuclear weapons when it sunk, officials say 

The United States does not believe the Russian cruiser Moskva was carrying nuclear weapons at the time of its sinking, according to the latest US intelligence assessment, two senior US officials with knowledge of the intelligence tell CNN.

The US has been monitoring Russian military forces for any unusual movement of nuclear weapons and has not yet detected such movements to date. 

Given the Moskva was an air defense cruiser, one senior US official added, such a deployment of nuclear weapons on board would be especially unusual.

More context: Russian state news agency TASS reported Thursday evening that the guided-missile cruiser Moskva had sunk, citing a statement from the Russian defense ministry.

Conflicting accounts have emerged about the incident.

Ukraine’s Operational Command South claimed earlier on Thursday that the Moskva had begun to sink after it was hit with Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles.

Russia said a fire broke out on the cruiser, causing munitions aboard to explode, inflicting serious damage to the vessel and forcing the crew of the warship to be evacuated.

CNN has not been able to independently verify what caused the damage to the ship.

CNN’s Brad Lendon contributed reporting to this post. 

First flight of new US military aid for Ukraine expected to arrive in next 24 hours, defense official says

The first flight of the $800 million in new aid for Ukraine from the United States is expected to arrive in the region in the next 24 hours, according to a senior defense official.

The official said the material will be picked up at the border by Ukrainians and taken into the country.

The manifest is not being disclosed, but officials have previously said the most urgent requirements such as howitzers and related ammunition as well as radars will be among the first items to be shipped.

US President Joe Biden’s administration announced the new package on Wednesday, which included 11 Mi-17 helicopters that had initially been earmarked for Afghanistan, 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons and 300 more Switchblade drones, in addition to 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.

Putin's ex-economic adviser explains why he believes a full oil embargo would stop the war "within a month" 

Russian economist Andrei Illarionov speaks during a debate on Russian television in this file photo from Oct. 9, 2012

Andrei Illarionov, a former chief economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, explained on CNN why he thinks a full embargo of Russian oil would quickly end the war.

He recently told BBC that if Western countries implemented a “real embargo” on oil and gas exports from Russia, Russian operations in Ukraine would probably be stopped “within a month or two.”

“I think it is a very important nonmilitary instrument to influence decision-making process in Kremlin,” Illarionov told CNN’s Brianna Keilar. “The reason is very simple. Right now, the direct revenues from export of oil and gas from Russia [is] considered around 40% of all budget revenues in Russia. It will take into account direct and indirect revenues. Altogether it will be probably close to 60% of all revenue for the federal budget.”

Illarionov went on to explain the conditions needed to create enough economic pressure to halt Russia’s operations in Ukraine.

“Assuming that these revenues would be reduced substantially as a result of implementation of full embargo for energy export from Russia, we understand it cannot be absolutely full because we have China, maybe some other smaller consumers; nevertheless, it would affect the main bulk of importers of energy from Russia,” he said.

“And assuming that Russia at this moment does not have access to [the] credit market because of sanctions, and assuming that foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Russia are frozen, the Russian government, Putin’s government, does not have resources to finance spending,” he continued.

Illarionov noted that all these spendings would be forced to be “reduced by 40% to 50%,” a figure that was not even seen back in the 1990s. 

“That is why the regime will be in the position that it would need to stop operations, to look for some armistice and to see some negotiations with Ukraine,” he continued.

Watch the full interview here:

Andrei Illarionov Putin split

Putin's ex-adviser says one move could end his war in a month

On the ground: 86-year-old Ukrainian tells CNN she "never imagined that my end would be like this"

In the frontline town of Avdiivka, Ukraine, 86-year-old Lidia spends her nights in pitch darkness while praying for an end to shelling.

“When there’s no electricity and it is so dark and there’s shelling, she says, you can’t imagine how scary it is,” CNN’s Clarissa Ward reported.

A volunteer who visits her and other elderly and disabled people said while wiping away tears that he promised her he would get her out, but he has yet to find an organization able to evacuate her.

“’I never imagined that my end would be like this,’ she says. ‘You can’t even die here because there’s no one to provide a burial ceremony,’” Ward said as she translated the woman’s words.

A volunteer who visits her and other elderly and disabled people said — while wiping away tears — that he promised her he would get her out, but he has yet to find an organization able to evacuate her.

Lidia, who uses a wheelchair, was reluctant to say goodbye to Ward and held Ward’s hand up to her cheek.

“‘It’s so nice to see real people,’ she says. ‘Probably it’s going to get worse,’” Ward reported.

While residents are used to hearing shelling between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops in the town on the front line in the Donetsk region for eight years now, they say they’ve never experienced anything like this.

A crying man approached Ward and her team as a missile was heard overhead. Ward advised him to return home, but he said there was more shelling where he lived.

Watch Ward’s report:

Russia warned US of "unpredictable consequences" if weapons shipments to Ukraine continue, sources say 

Ukrainian servicemen load a truck with American FGM-148 Javelins as they arrive at the Boryspil airport in Kyiv, on February 11.

Russia this week formally protested the US’ ongoing shipment of weapons to Ukraine, sending a diplomatic note to the State Department warning of “unpredictable consequences” should the support continue, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the document.

The note, known as a démarche, was sent earlier this week as the administration was preparing to announce that it would be sending a new military aid package worth $800 million to the Ukrainians. The Washington Post first reported on the document. 

The US has for the first time agreed to provide Kyiv with the types of high-power capabilities some officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration viewed as too much of an escalation risk a few short weeks ago, including 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons and 300 more Switchblade drones.

A source familiar with the Russian diplomatic note said it was expected that Moscow would protest the shipments, and it was still unclear whether it means Russia will change their behavior in any way. But this person acknowledged that it could signal a more aggressive Russian posture against the US and NATO as the war drags on. 

CNN previously reported that the United States believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s risk tolerance has increased, and that he may be willing to take more aggressive action against the US in response to its support for Ukraine. 

Asked for comment, a US official said “we won’t confirm any private diplomatic correspondence. What we can confirm is that, along with Allies and partners, we are providing Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of security assistance, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked aggression and horrific acts of violence.”

Referring to the formal protest from Moscow, one administration official told CNN the Russian notice indicates how effective the US weapons shipments to Ukraine have been. The official suggested the Russians were also concerned by the latest announcement, which includes more sophisticated and heavier-duty weaponry. 

Some Biden administration officials believe that the diplomatic note shows the Russians are hurting, a second administration official said. The official explained that they believe the Russians would not have sent that message if they felt they were in a strong place on the battlefield. 

Russian long-range bombers struck Mariupol, Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says 

Col. Oleksandr Motuzianyk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, said Friday that Russian long-range bombers struck the besieged city of Mariupol.

“On April 14, two Russian strategic heavy bombers Tu-95/-160 have launched cruise missiles hitting the territory of Ukraine from Krasnodar Krai of Russian Federation airspace,” he said. “Also for the first time from the start of the armed aggression bombs were dropped by a long-range bombers Tu-22M3. This airstrike took place, hitting Mariupol.”

Separately, Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Kharkiv region military administration, said Friday Ukrainian forces had downed a Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter, killing the Russian crew. 

Ukrainian Armed Forces say Russia is striking the south in retaliation of Moskva warship sinking

A man checks the damage to a building from Russian missile attacks, in Mykolaiv, on Apr. 15

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in southern Ukraine suggested that Russian missile attacks in the south since Thursday night were in retaliation for the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva.

Natalia Humeniuk said the attack had “affected not only [Russia’s] ships, but also the enemy’s imperial ambitions.”

She told a media briefing Friday that after the attack on the Moskva, “we all realize that we will not be forgiven.”

Ukraine said two of its anti-ship missiles hit the Moskva, while the Kremlin has said only that a fire on board led to the eventual capsizing of the flagship of its Black Sea fleet.  

Humeniuk said that “when the ammunition detonated, that showed they had been loaded enough to keep destroying Ukraine. …The impact led to the detonation of ammunition, they started struggling for survival.” 

“We saw other ships try to help the cruiser, but even the nature was on Ukraine’s side, because the storm did not allow to carry out either a rescue operation or evacuate personnel,” she continued.

Humeniuk referenced Russian missile attacks in the south since Thursday night after the Moskva attack.

A CNN team in Mykolaiv Friday heard multiple rounds of explosions in the morning between 10:20 a.m. and 12 p.m. local time. At least two people were killed in front of an Orthodox church in the city.

Humeniuk said that the situation in Mykolaiv and Kherson regions “is characterized by the fact that the enemy uses its brutal manners in the placing of equipment and units in-between the local civilians and the civilian infrastructure like schools, kindergartens, hospitals, and the yards of local residents.”

“Then at night they disappear from these positions, leave the villages and shell them, while accusing the Ukrainian Armed Forces of shelling civilians,” she said.

“Such actions are conducted in order to justify their status of liberators in the occupied territories,” she added.

“We realize that attacks on us will increase, that the enemy will try to take revenge,” Humeniuk said. “We are ready, we are resisting.”

In Kramatorsk, CNN reporter describes the aftermath of the deadly train station missile attack

Note: This post contains graphic imagery.

At 10:30 a.m. local time last Friday, as many as 4,000 people in and around the train station in Kramatorsk were waiting to be evacuated when a missile exploded overhead, raining down chunks of metal. Shrapnel ripped through the crowd, which was largely composed of women, children and the elderly. The latest death toll is more than 50, with more than 100 injured.

When we visited the station 48 hours after the blast, we found the concourse still stained with blood, littered with the scattered possessions of the dead and wounded.

On one platform, we found a large pool of congealed blood in a shrapnel impact point with several false teeth nearby. Someone, probably an elderly person, must have been hit and killed there.

City officials believe Kramatorsk could be surrounded, besieged and pulverized by Russian forces if and when the much-anticipated offensive in the east gathers pace.

The mayor had been urging residents to leave, and prior to last Friday’s strike around 8,000 people a day were boarding westbound trains. The evacuation effort had been publicly announced, with people from surrounding towns and villages urged to gather at the railway station in Kramatorsk, which was the major regional hub. There was nothing secret about it.

Russia has denied targeting the station, claiming the missile — a Tochka-U — is no longer used by Russian forces, and alleging that it was a Ukrainian missile that hit the station. Military analysts dismiss the claim.

Part of the missile crashed into a small park in front of the station. Someone, somewhere wrote on it in Russian “for the children.”

While tagging and writing slogans on missiles, bombs and shells is a very old tradition, it is not for certain what the intended message was.

Read more about what CNN journalists have witnessed in Ukraine here:

BUCHA, UKRAINE - APRIL 06: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts death.) A man works to catalogue some of 58 bodies of civilians killed in and around Bucha before they are transported to the morgue at a cemetery on April 6, 2022 in Bucha, Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has accused Russian forces of committing a "deliberate massacre" as they occupied and eventually retreated from Bucha, 25km northwest of Kyiv. Hundreds of bodies have been found in the days since Ukrainian forces regained control of the town. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Atrocities are piling up across Ukraine. CNN witnessed some of the horrors.

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

People stand beside damaged buildings at the Vizar company military facility on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine on April 15.

Russia has struck what it described as a “military facility” on the outskirts of Kyiv, amid fears that Russia could retaliate following the sinking of its Moskva warship in the Black Sea.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the bravery of all Ukrainians who had defended the country in his latest video address, published on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Western officials have said there is no short-term end in sight to the war in Ukraine, adding that it could last through to the end of 2022.  

Here are the latest developments:

  • Russian strikes in Kyiv: Russia has struck what it described as a “military facility” on the outskirts of Kyiv, the Russian military said Friday, two days after threatening it would hit targets in the capital in response to purported Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil. “Tonight a military facility on the outskirts of Kyiv was hit by Kalibr high-precision long-range sea-launched missiles,” said Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov. “As a result of the strike on the Zhuliany Vizar machine-building plant workshops for the production and repair of long-range and medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems were destroyed, as well as anti-ship missiles.”
  • Russia claims advances in Mariupol: The Russian military also claimed Friday to have made advances in the besieged port city of Mariupol, just two days after Ukrainian units blockaded in the city said they had consolidated their defenses. “The grouping of Russian troops and units of the Donetsk people’s militia have completely liberated Ilyich Steelworks from Ukrainian nationalists as a result of the offensive in Mariupol city,” Konashenkov said in a statement. CNN cannot independently verify Konashenkov’s claim, but the commanders of two Ukrainian units defending Mariupol issued a video statement on Wednesday saying they had been able to consolidate forces inside the city.
  • No short-term end in sight: Secretary of State Antony Blinken told European allies that the United States believes the Russian war in Ukraine could last through the end of 2022, two European officials told CNN, as US and Eu