April 17, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Joe Ruiz, Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Ivana Kottasová, Amy Cassidy and Barry Neild, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, April 18, 2022
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3:20 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Russia's defense ministry claims to down Ukrainian military transport aircraft

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv, Ukraine

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov claimed in a statement Saturday the Russian military had shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane carrying military equipment from Western countries.

The statement said "a Ukrainian military transport aircraft was shot down in the air" in the Odesa region while "delivering a large batch of weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western countries."

No further evidence was provided. CNN could not verify the claim and reached out to the Pentagon for comment.

Russia has claimed to have destroyed more Ukrainian military aircraft than were known to be in Ukraine's inventory, according to open-source information.  

3:18 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

US security assistance shipments to Ukraine arrive, White House official says

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright and Arlette Saenz

A M777 towed 155 mm howitzer is placed in its firing position near Mosul, Iraq on February 3, 2017.
A M777 towed 155 mm howitzer is placed in its firing position near Mosul, Iraq on February 3, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Craig Jensen)

Shipments from the Biden administration’s latest security assistance package to Ukraine “have begun arriving,” a White House official told CNN Saturday.

President Biden this week approved an additional package of $800 million worth of weapons, ammunition, and security assistance to Ukraine.

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

On Friday, a senior defense official told CNN the first flight of weapons and equipment was expected to arrive in the region in the following 24 hours and would be picked up at the border by Ukrainians and taken into the country.

The official referred CNN to the US Department of Defense for more details.

The $800 million shipment brings the total amount of military assistance the US has provided to Ukraine to more than $3 billion.

1:12 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Ukrainian President calls situation in Mariupol "inhuman," promises to rebuild nation

From CNN's Tim Lister

A local resident sits next to a fire in a courtyard outside a building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 14.
A local resident sits next to a fire in a courtyard outside a building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 14. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

In his latest Saturday video address to the people of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol and promised a better future once hostilities are over.

"The situation in Mariupol remains as severe as possible. Just inhuman," Zelensky said. "Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone who is there in Mariupol."

An estimated 100,000 people remain in Mariupol and its immediate surroundings, which are largely under Russian control, with Ukrainian troops confined to pockets of resistance.

"There are only two ways to influence this," Zelensky said. "Either our partners will give Ukraine all the necessary heavy weapons, planes, and, without exaggeration, immediately... Or a negotiating path, in which the role of partners should also be decisive."

Zelesnky said his government has tried every day to end the siege of Mariupol: "Military or diplomatic -- anything to save people. But finding this solution is extremely difficult."

"Although we have heard many intentions from those who wanted to help and who are really in positions of international influence, none of them have been realized yet." he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron proposed on March 25 a mass evacuation by sea, but the plan went nowhere. Zelensky said every day either he or the armed forces chief or the head of Ukraine's negotiating team had been "in touch with our defenders of Mariupol. Every day."

Rebuilding the nation: Zelensky also said his government had begun to plan for a post-war future. 

"Today I held a meeting dedicated to the reconstruction of our cities," he said. "Of course, this is a huge amount of work. But still less than defending the state in war."

The President added, "Now it is a historic moment; the moment when we can solve many old problems of the whole environment of our life once and for all."

Zelensky addressed the housing situation and what he called the "real modernization of our cities."

"Millions of people know how difficult it is to get a home, earn money for their own apartment, build a house... Today, I set a task to provide temporary housing to all our IDPs [internally displaced.]...Those whose house was destroyed by war. Temporary housing until we rebuild their homes."

A priority, he said, would be homes for veterans to "provide housing for all those who have defended or are defending the state, who have worked or are working in the interests of society, and do not have their own housing. It can no longer be the case that a person devotes his whole life to military service, but retires without having his own apartment."

Zelensky also said memorials were being planned, one of which "will tell the story of the destroyed bridge in Kyiv region, which connected Irpin and Bucha with Kyiv. The story of people who escaped from Russian invaders to Kyiv using this bridge and this road."

The bridge was the escape route for thousands of civilians escaping Russian bombardment in March.

11:59 p.m. ET, April 16, 2022

Russia's defense ministry releases video claiming to show Navy commander meeting crew of sunken Moskva

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Lviv, Ukraine, and Masha Angelova in Tel Aviv

Russian state news agency TASS has released video purportedly showing the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, meeting with the the crew of the sunken guided-missile cruiser Moskva in the city of Sevastopol.

TASS released the Ministry of Defense video Saturday showing what was described as officers and sailors of the sunken warship standing in formation two rows deep.

The number of sailors in formation was not clear. The Russian military has released no information about casualties aboard the Moskva, which sank Thursday in the Black Sea. It was unclear how many crew members were aboard, or how many survived.

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

Evmenov said conscript sailors from the Moskva would be released from service in accordance with the law from May to July, TASS reported.