April 3, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Simone McCarthy, Steve George, Sana Noor Haq, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 2:12 PM ET, Mon April 4, 2022
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12:01 a.m. ET, April 4, 2022

Our live coverage of the war in Ukraine has moved here.

10:45 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

Zelensky appears in taped message at the Grammy Awards

From CNN's Lisa Respers France

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky appears on screen during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, Sunday night.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky appears on screen during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, Sunday night. (Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images)

In a taped message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged for viewers and those in attendance at the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion by any means possible, and to "tell our story, tell the truth about war" on social media and television.

Zelensky's message preceded a musical performance dedicated to the people of Ukraine by John Legend and several Ukrainian artists.

"The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children drew swooping rockets, not shooting stars," Zelensky said. "Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we will never see them drawing."

Zelensky has been outspoken in gathering international support for his country since the invasion began in February.

He tied that to the music industry's biggest night by saying, "The war doesn't let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence."

Read the rest of Zelensky's message at the Grammys here.

9:56 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

UK Defense Ministry: Heavy fighting and airstrikes ongoing in Mariupol

From CNN's Aliza Kassim

Local residents walk past a building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol Ukraine on April 3.
Local residents walk past a building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol Ukraine on April 3. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has been the center of intense Russian bombardment during the invasion, is still a hotbed for fighting and airstrikes, the UK's Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence report.

The report highlights ongoing heavy fighting in Mariupol “as Russian forces attempt to take the city,” along with intense indiscriminate air strikes.

Why Mariupol matters: “Mariupol is almost certainly a key objective of the Russian invasion as it will secure a land corridor from Russia to the occupied territory of Crimea," said the report.

Mariupol, which is ringed by Russian checkpoints, has suffered weeks of bombardment. Ukrainian officials have described the situation there for the remaining residents as a major humanitarian emergency, with no access to electricity, heat or water. Evacuation attempts are also ongoing.

9:42 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

Here's what we know about Bucha, the Kyiv suburb ravaged by Russian occupation

A woman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 3.
A woman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 3. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Shocking images of carnage in the town of Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, show civilian bodies littering the street after five weeks of near-constant firefights. 

The photos were captured by Agence France-Presse on Saturday, the same day Ukraine declared the town liberated from Russian troops.

Here's what we know so far:

  • Horrifying images: The images show the mounting civilian toll of Russia's brutal assault: at least 20 civilian men found strewn across a street including a man with his hands tied behind his back with a piece of cloth, another tangled up in a bicycle by a grassy bank.
  • Civilian executions: "Corpses of executed people still line the Yabluska street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white 'civilian' rags, they were shot in the back of their heads. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here," Bucha mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told Reuters on Saturday.
  • Mass grave: A mass grave has been discovered in Bucha, where bodies were first buried in the first days of the war, residents say. A CNN team saw at least a dozen bodies in body bags piled inside the grave. Some were already partially covered. Residents told CNN that around 150 people are buried there. The mayor of Bucha said that there could be up to 300 victims buried on site.
  • Zelensky's comments: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an end of Russian "war crimes" in a video address Sunday, and for Russian leaders to be held accountable for the military's actions. "This is genocide," he said. "I want all the leaders of the Russian Federation to see how their orders are being fulfilled."
  • Russia's response: The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed the extensive footage was "fake," saying "not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions," during Russia's occupation of Bucha. The Russian government has consistently responded to allegations of civilian casualties inflicted by Russian forces with blanket denials.
  • International outrage: Western leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have called for war crimes investigations and increasing sanctions on Russia. EU Council President Charles Michel vowed further sanctions on Russia, while United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said an independent investigation into the civilians killed in Bucha was "essential." NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the images show a "brutality against civilians we haven't seen in Europe for decades."
8:43 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

At a mass grave in a Kyiv suburb, the sense of loss is impossible to measure

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen, Byron Blunt and Daria Markina

Vladimir stands on the edge of a mass grave in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv. He holds his hands to his head, then up to the sky.

"Brother, we've been looking for you for so long," he says, bursting into tears halfway through. His brother, Dmitry, has been missing for roughly a week and neighbors told Vladimir he might be buried here.

"We thought you were alive," Vladimir cries out.

Inside the grave, the bodies are piled on top of one another, mostly inside black bags but some with limbs protruding. Only some are interred. A CNN team saw at least a dozen bodies on the mass grave, but the earth shows signs of recent movement, suggesting many more could lie beneath.

Kyiv Regional Police and local residents say they believe at least 150 people were buried in the mass grave, but the mayor of Bucha says the death toll could be as high as 300. CNN could not independently verify their claims.

Vladimir gathers himself, comforted by his wife, Anna, and a neighbour, Liubov, and leaves. He says he believes his brother is buried there, but the sad reality is he cannot know for sure — and might not for a very long time.

Residents say the grave, on the grounds behind the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints, started being dug early in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, such was the death toll in this leafy suburb of Kyiv.

Read the full story:

7:38 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

Lithuanian documentary filmmaker killed in Mariupol

From CNN’s Gena Somra and Mitchell McCluskey

A local resident crosses a street damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on April 3.
A local resident crosses a street damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on April 3. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius was killed in Mariupol, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s information agency reported Sunday on Twitter.

Mariupol has been the center of intense bombardment from Russian strikes in recent weeks.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda expressed his condolences in a statement.

“We have lost not only in Lithuania, but also in the world, a well-known creator, who until the last moment, despite the danger, worked in Ukraine, which was attacked by the aggressor Russia. I wish strength and strength to M. Kvedaravičius' relatives, friends and all fans of his talent, " Nausėda said.

Lana Estemirova, the daughter of Natalia Estemirova, a human rights investigator from Chechnya who was murdered in 2009, mourned the death of Kvedaravičius on Twitter.

“Mantas was a family friend, a frequent guest in our Grozny flat. A brave and kind soul. I can’t believe this,” Estemirova said.

“RIP dearest Mantas -- a true artist, cinema poet, mysterious and brave soul. A terrible loss for Lithuanian cinema community and all the world. Our hearts are broken,” Lithuanian documentary director Giedre Zickyte said on Facebook.

In 2016, Kvedaravičius‘ documentary “Mariupolis” premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.

His 2011 documentary “Barzakh” focused on Russia’s war in Chechnya and earned him the Amnesty International Film Prize.

6:04 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

Ukrainian president calls for an end to Russian "war crimes" after mass graves found in Bucha

From CNN’s Mitchell McCluskey in Atlanta

(AFP)
(AFP)

In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an end to Russian “war crimes.”

His address came after reports of dozens of bodies found in the streets and mass graves in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

“The world has already seen many war crimes. At different times. On different continents. But it is time to do everything possible to make the war crimes of the Russian military the last manifestation of such evil on earth,” Zelensky said. 

Zelensky called on Russian leaders to be held accountable for the actions of the nation's military.

“I want all the leaders of the Russian Federation to see how their orders are being fulfilled. Such orders. Such a fulfillment. And joint responsibility. For these murders, for these tortures, for these arms torn off by explosions that lie on the streets. For shots in the back of the head of tied people. This is how the Russian state will now be perceived. This is your image,” Zelensky said.

In his address, Zelensky announced a “mechanism of justice” would be established to investigate crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Ukrainian territory. The mechanism would be supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Prosecutor General, the National Police, the Security Service, the Intelligence Service and other government branches, he said.

“This mechanism will help Ukraine and the world bring to concrete justice those who unleashed or in any way participated in this terrible war against the Ukrainian people and in crimes against our people,” he said.

Zelensky said he will provide more information on the state of Ukrainian territory that was occupied by Russian forces.

“All partners of Ukraine will be informed in detail about what happened in the temporarily occupied territory of our state. War crimes in Bucha and other cities during the Russian occupation will also be considered by the UN Security Council on Tuesday,” he said.

He also noted efforts are underway to restore electricity and water to Bucha, as well as reestablishing medical institutions and infrastructure.

 Zelensky once again invoked the need for stronger sanctions against Russia.

“There will definitely be a new package of sanctions against Russia. But I'm sure that's not enough. More conclusions are needed. Not only about Russia, but also about the political behavior that actually allowed this evil to come to our land,” he said.

6:04 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

Ukrainians mourn the death of a soldier who died fighting the Russian army

From CNN's Erica Lee

Family and friends mourn at the casket of Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko, who died fighting the Russian army near the town of Kharkiv.

Here are photos from his funeral at the Church of St. Luke in Rusyn, Ukraine:

Sergey Zhelisko, center, family and friends mourn at the casket of his son, Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko, during his funeral at the Church of St. Luke on April 03 in Rusyn, Ukraine. Zhelisko died fighting the Russian army near the town of Kharkiv.
Sergey Zhelisko, center, family and friends mourn at the casket of his son, Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko, during his funeral at the Church of St. Luke on April 03 in Rusyn, Ukraine. Zhelisko died fighting the Russian army near the town of Kharkiv. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A band leads a funeral procession for Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko to the cemetery on April 03.
A band leads a funeral procession for Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko to the cemetery on April 03. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ukrainian military members carry the casket of fellow soldier Dmitry Zhelisko to his grave site on Sunday in Rusyn.
Ukrainian military members carry the casket of fellow soldier Dmitry Zhelisko to his grave site on Sunday in Rusyn. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sergey Zhelisko is hugged as his son, Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko, is buried in Rusyn.
Sergey Zhelisko is hugged as his son, Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko, is buried in Rusyn. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sergey Zhelisko, center, along with family and friends, watch as his son, Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko is buried on Sunday.
Sergey Zhelisko, center, along with family and friends, watch as his son, Ukrainian soldier Dmitry Zhelisko is buried on Sunday. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

10:14 p.m. ET, April 3, 2022

In victory speech, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls Ukraine's Zelensky an opponent

From CNN’s Susanna Capelouto in Atlanta and Balint Bardi in Budapest

Hungary's Viktor Orban addresses cheering supporters during an election night rally in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday.
Hungary's Viktor Orban addresses cheering supporters during an election night rally in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday. (Petr David Josek/AP)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in his victory speech on Sunday his re-election sends a message not only to the EU, but also to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight against a huge amount of opponents: the local left wing, the international left wing all around, bureaucrats of Brussels, all the money and institutions of the Soros empire, the international mainstream media and the Ukrainian president too. We never had so many opponents at the same time," he told supporters in Budapest.

Oban is known as an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The election campaign was dominated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which put Orban's lengthy association with Putin under scrutiny.

While Hungary ultimately supported most EU sanctions unveiled so far, Orban has been adamant that measures are not extended to imports of Russian oil and gas. Most of Hungary’s oil and natural gas imports come from Russia.

Correction: This post misstated Viktor Orban’s title. He is the Prime Minister of Hungary.