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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9:38 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Zelensky: "I don't believe the world, after we have seen what's going on in Ukraine"

From CNN's Jake Tapper / Written by CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with CNN’s Jake Tapper. (CNN)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he has difficulty believing in the reliability of "some countries or some leaders" after the escalation of the war in his country.

CNN's Jake Tapper asked Zelensky during an exclusive interview about whether he finds statements when world leaders use the term "never again," a slogan that is associated with Holocaust and often uttered after crimes against humanity, "hollow" now.

"You lost ancestors in the Holocaust. Every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, politicians put out statements that say, never again, never again. Those statements must seem really hollow right now to you. When the world says never again, do they ever mean it?" Tapper asked.

Zelensky responded, "I don't believe the world. After we have seen what's going on in Ukraine, we've — I mean that I don't believe to this feeling that we should believe to the — to the — some countries or some leaders. We don't believe the words. After the escalation of Russia, we don't believe our neighbors. We don't believe all of this."

The Ukrainian president went on to say that he doesn't even believe in documented security assurances and international law as the war in Ukraine rages, and with Russia accused of alleged war crimes.

"Even I don't believe documents, because we also have a Budapest Memorandum — I think you know all of the details of this. For me, that is just a piece of paper and costs nothing," Zelensky said

Zelensky told CNN that his faith and his belief lies with practical, tangible efforts and the Ukrainian people.

"We just believe contracted, pragmatic things. If you are our friends or partners, give us weapons, give us hand, give us support us, give us money and stop Russia, kick Russia. You can do it if you're a friend. If you think about this democracy and everything just of this moment because we have the same thoughts, if we are speaking about freedom, not because we want to have dialogue about freedom," he said.

Zelensky continued, "The only belief there is belief in ourselves, in our people, belief in our Armed Forces, and the belief that countries are going to support us not just with their words but with their actions. And that’s it. Never again … Really, everybody is talking about this and yet, as you can see, not everyone has got the guts."

9:16 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

41 bodies recovered so far in Borodianka apartment complexes destroyed by Russian shelling

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

Rescue workers carry a body found among the rubble of a destroyed apartment building on April 9 in Borodianka, Ukraine.
Rescue workers carry a body found among the rubble of a destroyed apartment building on April 9 in Borodianka, Ukraine. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

Ukrainian rescuers on Saturday found a body of a civilian in Borodianka, Kyiv, region, while dismantling the rubble of two high-rise apartment buildings destroyed by Russian shelling, raising the number of civilian casualties from the strikes to 41 dead, the country’s State Emergency Service reported on its verified Telegram page on Sunday. 

On Saturday, rescuers finished dismantling the debris of two additional buildings destroyed by strikes, completing the search in five out of seven destroyed residential towers in the city since the efforts began on April 6.

A destroyed apartment building is seen in Borodianka, Ukraine on April 9.
A destroyed apartment building is seen in Borodianka, Ukraine on April 9. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

9:01 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Ukraine's president won't give up territory in the east to end the war with Russia

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with CNN’s Jake Tapper. (CNN)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN that Ukraine is not willing to give up territory in the eastern part of the country to end the war with Russia, and Ukraine's military is prepared to fight Moscow's military in the Donbas region in a battle he says could influence the course of the entire war.

Zelensky said in an exclusive interview Friday with CNN's Jake Tapper from the office of the president in Kyiv that his country has no guarantee that Russia wouldn't try again to seize Kyiv if it is able to capture Donbas.

"This is why it is very important for us to not allow them, to stand our ground, because this battle ... it can influence the course of the whole war," Zelensky said.

"Because I don't trust the Russian military and Russian leadership," he continued. "That is why we understand that the fact that we fought them off and they left, and they were running away from Kyiv -- from the north, from Chernihiv and from that direction -- it doesn't mean if they are able to capture Donbas, they won't come further towards Kyiv."

Some more context: It is more than seven weeks into Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine. Ukraine's military has seen successes resisting Russia's offensive that have come as a surprise to US intelligence -- and a Kremlin that had planned for a quick and decisive victory.

Read more here.

8:58 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

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

A resident looks at a building damaged during heavy fighting in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 16. 
A resident looks at a building damaged during heavy fighting in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 16.  (Alexei Alexandrov/AP)

Ukrainian soldiers surrounded in the devastated southeastern city Mariupol have refused Russia's demand to surrender "in order to save their lives" and continued fighting, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Mariupol under siege: Russian officials said that Ukrainian soldiers holding out in a giant steel plant in the southeastern city of Mariupol ignored their "offer" to "voluntarily lay down arms and surrender in order to save their lives." An estimated 100,000 people remain in Mariupol and its immediate surroundings, which are reported to be largely under Russian control, with Ukrainian troops confined to pockets of resistance.
  • 'Inhuman situation': On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the situation in Mariupol "inhuman," saying he and his administration had been trying every day to end the weeks-long siege through both military and diplomatic channels.
  • No way out: Attempts to agree on safe evacuation routes for civilians trapped in fighting in southern and eastern Ukraine on Sunday have failed, but local officials urged people to leave the area nevertheless.
  • Zelensky open to talks: In an article posted on the presidential website, Zelensky said he was open to talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin -- but said negotiations would become impossible if any further Russian war crimes surface.
  • The sunken warship: Russian state news agency TASS released video Saturday purportedly showing the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, meeting with the crew of the sunk guided-missile cruiser Moskva in the city of Sevastopol. Russia has released no information about casualties aboard the Moskva. It was unclear how many crew members were aboard, or how many survived.
  • US aid arrives: Supplies from the US have begun arriving in Ukraine, a White House official said on Saturday. The Biden administration's latest aid package includes heavy-duty weaponry for the first time, including helicopters, cannons and drones.

7:55 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Ukrainian tennis players live "parallel lives" at the Billie Jean King Cup

From CNN's Kikue Higuchi

Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine serves during the first round of the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier on April 15 in Asheville, North Carolina.
Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine serves during the first round of the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier on April 15 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Wearing a shirt decorated with the Ukrainian flag in the shape of a heart, Lyudmyla Kichenok practiced her serve with teammate Dayana Yastremska in an empty arena under the watchful eyes of their captain Olga Savchuk on Thursday.

In Asheville, North Carolina, the Ukrainian women's tennis team is in the midst of their match against Team USA for the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers.

Meanwhile, bombs rain down on their hometowns as war rages on in Ukraine.

"I feel like we have two different realities right now. The tennis court, an amazing atmosphere, amazing arena here. And then on the other side, we have people dying every day," Katarina Zavatska told CNN Sport.

7:51 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Pope Francis calls for peace amid "Easter of war"

By CNN's Livia Borghese and Manveena Suri

Pope Francis delivers his Easter blessing from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square on April 17 in Vatican City.
Pope Francis delivers his Easter blessing from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square on April 17 in Vatican City. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope Francis on Sunday said the world is marking an “Easter of war,” and called for peace in Ukraine, which he said has been dragged into a “cruel and senseless war.” 

“We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish,” the Pope said while delivering his annual "Urbi et Orbi" Easter blessing, adding “our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war.” 

"May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged. In this terrible night of suffering and death, may a new dawn of hope soon appear! Let there be a decision for peace. May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering,” Pope Francis said from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica after Easter Mass. 

Around 100,000 people attended the Pope’s Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square and nearby areas, according to the Vatican's press office. 

Among them were several Ukrainian politicians, including Ivan Fedorov, the elected mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol who was detained by Russian forces last month and accused of terrorism offenses. 

“I hold in my heart all the many Ukrainian victims, the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, the divided families, the elderly left to themselves, the lives broken and the cities razed to the ground. I see the faces of the orphaned children fleeing from the war,” Pope Francis continued.  

The Pope also highlighted acts of charity amid the “pain of war," such as “the open doors of all those families and communities that are welcoming migrants and refugees throughout Europe.” 

7:00 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Emergency service workers and civilians killed in Kharkiv region, regional head says 

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

Three sappers -- or military engineers -- from Ukraine’s State Emergency Service were killed and four others seriously injured while removing cluster munitions in the northeastern Kharkiv region on Sunday, according to the head of the regional administration.  

Separately, three civilians were killed and dozens were wounded in shelling by Russian troops in the last 24 hours in the region, the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on a verified Telegram page on Sunday. 

"They are currently receiving treatment in the hospital. 31 people were injured in Russian shelling, including four children,” Sinegubov said.  

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, has been subjected to intense bombardments throughout the past weeks of conflict.

According to Sinegubov, Russian forces have fired 23 artillery, mortar and cluster shells in the areas of Northern Saltivka, Pyatihatki, Oleksiyivka, the city center, Kharkiv Tractor Plant and Dergachi. There was also one missile strike in the area. 

"The enemy cannot approach Kharkiv as our armed forces are holding strong positions and are even advancing in some directions. Therefore, Russians resort to shameful shelling of residential neighborhoods," he said.  

He appealed to people not to go out unnecessarily and to comply with limits on the number of people allowed to stay in one place.  

2:28 p.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Injured, alone and destined for a Russian orphanage, a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl is recruited for Moscow’s information war

By CNN's Phil Black

Kira was injured by a landmine explosion whilst trying to flee a besieged Mariupol on foot.
Kira was injured by a landmine explosion whilst trying to flee a besieged Mariupol on foot. (Courtesy Oleksander Obedinsky)

Before Russia’s war on Ukraine began, Kira Obedinsky was a joyful, loved 12-year-old girl. Now orphaned, injured and alone in a Russian-controlled hospital in eastern Ukraine, she has become an unwitting pawn in Moscow’s information war.

Obedinsky’s mother died when she was a baby. Her father Yevhen Obedinsky, a former captain of Ukraine’s national water polo team, was shot and killed as Russian forces fought their way into the southeastern city of Mariupol on March 17.

Days later, Kira and her father’s girlfriend tried to flee the city on foot alongside neighbors. But after she was injured in the blast from a landmine, Kira was taken to a hospital in the Donetsk region, which is controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. 

Oleksander Obedinsky with granddaughter Kira, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He fears he will never see her again.
Oleksander Obedinsky with granddaughter Kira, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He fears he will never see her again. (Courtesy Oleksander Obedinsky)

Now Kira’s grandfather, Oleksander, fears he will never see her again. He said an official from the breakaway government in Donetsk phoned and invited him to travel there to claim her, which is impossible because of the war.

He says he spoke to the hospital and was told Kira will eventually be sent to an orphanage in Russia. They took away her documents, he said, and was told Kira will be provided with new ones in Russia.

The Russian government has said it has helped move at least 60,000 Ukrainian people to safety across the Russian border. The Ukrainian government has said around 40,000 have been relocated against their will describing it as abduction and forced deportation.

Russian media, which has repeatedly downplayed the brutality of the conflict in Ukraine, has shown video of Kira talking happily about how she's sometimes allowed to call her grandfather. 

This is “proof” that she wasn’t abducted, according to one Russian TV presenter, who dubbed the claim another “Ukrainian fake.”

Meanwhile, Oleksander has received an audio message from Kira telling him not to cry. But the young girl who has lost her family, her freedom and her home in Russia’s war, cannot stop her own tears.

“I haven't seen you for so long”, she says. “I want to cry.”

Kira in Mariupol, before the war.
Kira in Mariupol, before the war. (Courtesy Oleksander Obedinsky)

6:25 a.m. ET, April 17, 2022

Russia threatens 'elimination' of resistance after Mariupol ultimatum rejected

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

Russia's Ministry of Defense on Sunday threatened the "elimination" of resistance soldiers still fighting in the besieged southwestern Ukraine city of Mariupol as it confirmed that an ultimatum demanding their surrender had been ignored.

In a statement, it said that Ukrainian soldiers surrounded in a gigantic steelworks in the city had been urged "to voluntarily lay down arms and surrender in order to save their lives."

"However, the Kiev nationalist regime, according to the radio intercept, forbade negotiations about surrendering," the ministry claimed.

The ministry also asserted that according to Ukrainian soldiers who had previously surrendered "there are up to 400 foreign mercenaries who joined the Ukrainian forces" trapped at the steel plant, including, it said, Europeans and Canadians.

"In case of further resistance, all of them will be eliminated," it said.

The Defense Ministry claimed that dozens of military facilities in eastern Ukraine had been destroyed in the latest Russian attacks. These included fuel and ammunition depots, the ministry said, around Severodonetsk, Kremmina and other towns in Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

It also claimed that Russian air defense system had shot down 10 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the Donbas region.

Read the full story here: