There could be “no winners” in a nuclear war, Russia’s foreign minister says
From CNN’s Talia Kayali in Atlanta
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a nuclear war must never be launched as there could be “no winners,” and he urged countries to adhere to this in an interview with the Dubai-headquartered news outlet Al Arabiya Friday.
Lavrov added that Russia had “been champions of making pledges by all countries never to start a nuclear war.”
When asked if the Russian army wants full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine to provide a land corridor to Crimea, Lavrov said, “the military means to achieve (Russia’s) goals is not for me to discuss” and said he deferred from discussion on “speculation.”
Lavrov also did not confirm, when asked, whether operations in the Donbas would end by May 9, Russia’s annual Victory Day, which some analysts and US officials have suggested could be a target date for Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare a victory, instead saying: “They will be completed when the goals I just described to you have been implemented, have been achieved.”
Lavrov also downplayed the pressure of sanctions from Western governments on Russia.
“They don’t know history. Russia always had sanctions. This latest outrage and the wave of sanctions have shown the real face of the West … to believe this it will make Russia cry uncle and to beg for being pardoned … they don’t know anything about foreign policy of Russia or how to deal with Russia,” he said.
8:20 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Ukrainian evacuated 200 people out of Mariupol in damaged van
Mykhailo Puryshev spoke to CNN about how he organized convoys to help evacuate 200 people from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
He turned his night club into a bomb shelter and used his own van to move people outside of the city and bring food back inside.
Despite Puryshev’s van being badly damaged by shelling and gunfire, it didn’t stop him from continuing to conduct his rescue missions. He described witnessing people in desperation fighting to get the food and water they were passing out as the humanitarian aid was not enough for all those waiting.
“And they’re all there just fighting. During one of those trips actually they nearly turned my van over, and it was just a survival. I would watch and understand this is just survival happening near our vans which came with all the humanitarian aid and it was an absolutely horrible picture,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett via a translator.
“Frankly, a couple of times, I actually caught myself thinking that I do not want to come back. I do not want to see this again. And yet, I still kept coming back because I understood there wouldn’t be anyone else to do this,” he continued.
Puryshev said that as the bombs were coming and he was close to death, he feared not seeing his children again, but also kept thinking about the people that still needed his help and more trips that he needed to make.
“It is painful that this is the 21st century, that this is happening in our country. This is happening in my city. This is pain. This is pain of our country,” he told CNN.
Mother of American killed in Ukraine: He had a “high moral value… he wanted to do the right thing”
From CNN’s Ellie Kaufman and Oren Liebermann
Rebecca Cabrera, the mother of an American citizen who was killed fighting alongside Ukrainians earlier this week, said her son had a “high moral value” and “wanted to do the right thing,” which is why he chose to join the Ukrainians in their fight against the Russian invasion.
“He has made all of us proud doing what he felt in his heart was right, and ya know, everybody that he’s come in contact with in his life said that they were proud to serve next to him, to be a part of his life, and just everybody remember who he was, he was a hero, and he was doing the right thing,” Cabrera told CNN.
Cabrera last spoke with her son, Willy Joseph Cancel, last Thursday before he was killed on Monday.
“We got to FaceTime a little bit on Thursday, and I got to talk to some of the people in his unit,” Cabrera said. “The correspondence obviously was not a lot because the towers were being blown up and things like that, so we never knew when we would be able to talk to him but he tried communicating to us as much as he could.”
Biden expressed dismay Friday at the news of the American’s death, saying “it is very sad. He left a little baby behind.”
More background: The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company when he was killed. The company sent him to Ukraine, and he was being paid while he was fighting there, Cancel’s mother had told CNN.
Cancel, a former US Marine, according to his mother, signed up to work for the private military contracting company on top of his full-time job as a corrections officer in Tennessee shortly before the war in Ukraine broke out at the end of February. When the war broke out, the company was searching for contractors to fight in Ukraine and Cancel agreed to go, Cabrera said.
The White House press secretary today cautioned against Americans traveling to Ukraine to take up arms, saying the administration encourages Americans to find other ways to help.
CNN’s Sam Fossum and Maegan Vazquez contributed reporting to this post. 7:44 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Woman recounts surviving Kyiv strike that shredded her apartment building: “I was so scared, it was horror”
It had been weeks of relative quiet in Kyiv when a couple of bangs and a plume of black smoke quickly changed that, CNN correspondent Matt Rivers reported.
Ukraine and Russia both confirmed cruise missiles were fired into a central district of Kyiv on Thursday evening, miles away from where the UN secretary general had wrapped up a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Rescuers worked through the night, Rivers reported, and in the morning, a clearer picture emerged of what happened. An apartment complex was shredded by shrapnel, leaving those in the neighborhood shaken.
“This wall saved my life,” a resident of the destroyed apartment building, Larysa Poberezhna, said as Rivers translated her remarks. “Or otherwise, it would’ve been the end. There was a lot of fire. I could see everything was burning. I was so scared, it was horror.”
The woman told CNN she didn’t die because she wasn’t sitting near the window. Her son Alexi injured his hand, telling Rivers that there was “a clap and a blast, then panic. That’s it. I didn’t see it until later, I saw my hand was covered blood.”
Some of the residents in the neighborhood, however, did not survive. A 54-year-old Ukrainian journalist was killed in the strike.
Rivers reported that Russia’s Ministry of Defense said they were aiming for a factory near the apartment complex which is one of Ukraine’s top producers of air-to-air guided missiles as well as aircraft parts.
“The factory was damaged in the strike, but so is that apartment complex just behind me. Yet another example of Russia targeting places that have supposed military relevance, but killing ordinary civilians in the process,” Rivers reported from the site in Kyiv.
The White House is trying to figure out how to approach G20 summit after news Putin will attend
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
US President Joe Biden and his advisers are still in conversations about how to approach November’s Group of 20 summit, whose hosts received confirmation Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend.
Biden has said Russia should be ejected from the G20. Senior members of his administration have walked out of G20 events where Russian delegates are present. And there were discussions with Indonesia, which is hosting the summit, about stepping up its condemnation of Russia.
But no decision on boycotting the leaders’ summit, still six months away, has been made. Officials said there wouldn’t likely be a decision in the near-term as they weigh the downsides of skipping the event and ceding the table to Russia and China.
“The President has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G20,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.
She said it was too early to say how the summit would look.
“It is six months away. So we don’t know how to predict, we can’t predict at this point, what that will look like,” she said, adding: “We’ve conveyed our view that we don’t think they should be a part of it publicly and privately as well.”
The White House is realistic the G20 will not collectively remove Russia from its ranks, since the decision would likely require consensus and China has been clear it doesn’t support such a move. That makes this a different scenario than when Russia was expelled from the G8 after its annexation of Crimea.
Psaki said the White House’s understanding was that Indonesia invited Putin to attend prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet in a statement, the country’s President stressed unity among the member countries.
“Indonesia wants to unite the G20. Don’t let there be a split. Peace and stability are the keys to the recovery and development of the world economy,” President Joko Widodo said in a statement from Indonesia’s Cabinet on Friday, confirming Putin had accepted his invitation to attend.
It’s midnight in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know
From CNN staff
If you’re just joining us, here are the latest developments in Russia’s war in Ukraine:
- Mariupol continues to suffer assault: The mayor of Mariupol said that more than 600 people were injured in a Russian bombing that struck the makeshift hospital facility within the besieged Azovstal steel complex. A commander inside the plant told CNN that there was not much food and water left for the plant’s defenders and that they had a limited amount of ammunition. “We don’t have the possibility to destroy the aircraft and vessels that are shelling us,” Sviatoslav Palamar of the Azov Regiment said. Even so, he insisted: “We do not consider giving up or the conditions of giving up. We only consider guarantees of leaving the territory of the plant. If there is no other choice left but giving up, we won’t give up.” Palamar stressed that the soldiers in the plant wanted civilians who were sheltering there to be evacuated. An operation to evacuate civilians from plant in Mariupol was planned for Friday, according to the president’s office.
- Kyiv tells citizens to minimize vehicle fuel usage: Authorities in Ukraine’s capital have urged people not to use their cars to save fuel for the military. Mykola Povoroznyk, deputy head of Kyiv City State Administration, said authorities are keeping the needs of the Ukrainian military and defenders in mind. The authorities in the capital have urged citizens not to return yet because of the continuing danger of missile attacks. At one point about one-third of Kyiv’s population was thought to have left.
- Russian troops advance: Russian forces “appear to be advancing” toward Sloviansk and Baranivka, a senior US defense official said Friday, adding that they are making “some incremental, uneven, slow advances to the southeast and southwest of Izium” in Ukraine. Meanwhile, a railway bridge across the Siverskyi Donets river was blown up on Friday, new video shows. CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the video. The bridge was located along a highway between the Ukrainian cities of Sloviansk and Lyman. A satellite image from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite shows the bridge intact on Thursday.
- Another journalist killed: Ukrainian journalist Vira Hyrych is the 23rd member of the media to be killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Friday. Hyrych died as a result of a missile attack on Kyiv’s Artem plant, according to a Kyiv police spokesperson. 54-year-old Vira Hyrych was identified in a rescue operation early Friday, after the Kyiv mayor initially reported no casualties. Six people have been hospitalized with injuries and carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the explosion and subsequent fire. The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the attack on Friday.
- Biden mourns American killed in Ukraine: US President Joe Biden expressed dismay Friday at the news that an American, Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. “It is very sad. He left a little baby behind,” Biden told reporters at the White House where he was hosting a meeting of federal inspectors general. Cancel was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, members of Cancel’s family confirmed to CNN. The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company when he was killed on April 25. The company sent him to Ukraine, and he was being paid while he was fighting there, Cancel’s mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN. White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated that the administration’s advice “has been that Americans should not travel to Ukraine for any reason.”
4:46 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Belarusian opposition leader calls on US to enact sanctions on Lukasenko that mirror those on Moscow
From CNN’s Jennifer Hansler
The leader of the Belarusian opposition called on the United States to enact sanctions on the government of Belarus that mirror those imposed on Moscow.
In meetings with the US State Department and members of Congress this week, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said she discussed both strengthening future sanctions and closing loopholes on existing ones.
She also said she presented the US government with evidence of Belarusian strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko’s involvement in the Russian war in Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Tsikhanouskaya said sanctions “must be the same on strength” as those imposed on Russia “but different in structure,” and should target state banks and state enterprises.
The opposition leader said she spoke with officials in Washington, DC, about ways of “making sanctions more effective, closing remaining loopholes, freezing Lukashenka’s assets and blocking the money given to him by the (International Monetary Fund).”
Tsikhanouskaya said suggested the use of secondary sanctions to close such loopholes.
“We see how Russia uses Belarus to circumvent their own sanctions,” she said, citing the example of steel.
She said sanctions are hitting the Lukashenko regime, however, citing what she described as letters from the Minister of Foreign Affairs seeking rapprochement sent in recent weeks.
“I hope that Lukashenka will not manage to fool democratic countries again, as he did many times before,” she said.
Tsikhanouskaya met with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman – a meeting that was attended in part by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – as well as Jim O’Brien, head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the US State Department.
Tsikhanouskaya told reporters she gave O’Brien “documents with the evidence of Lukashenka’s involvement in the war against Ukraine, as well as the list of companies and countries that helped to circumvent the sanctions.”
She said that includes “massive evidence of launching missiles from our territory, movement of Russian equipment in the territory of Belarus.”
“It’s inside information about some internal orders about deployment of different Russian military equipment in our territory,” she continued. “So people have been collecting this information for the full period of the war. They are well documented and we passed this evidence to the government.”
Tsikhanouskaya said she does not believe that the Belarusian army participated in launching these missiles, and instead Lukashenko gave the land to Russian President Vladimir Putin to use as he wanted.
“It’s already World War. We are so afraid of World War the third but it’s already going on,” she said. “It’s war between democracy and autocracy.”5:18 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Biden on American killed in Ukraine: “It is very sad. He left a little baby behind”
From CNN’s San Fossum and Maegan Vazquez
US President Joe Biden expressed dismay Friday at the news that an American, Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.
“It is very sad. He left a little baby behind,” Biden told reporters at the White House while he was hosting a meeting.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki earlier on Friday offered condolences to Cancel’s family and said the US government had not officially confirmed his death, cautioning Americans against traveling to Ukraine for any reason.
Cancel was killed Monday fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, members of Cancel’s family confirmed to CNN. The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company when he was killed on April 25. The company sent him to Ukraine, and he was being paid while he was fighting there, Cancel’s mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN.
Cancel, a former US Marine, according to his mother, signed up to work for the private military contracting company on top of his full-time job as a corrections officer in Tennessee shortly before the war in Ukraine broke out at the end of February. When the war broke out, the company was searching for contractors to fight in Ukraine and Cancel agreed to go, Cabrera said.3:46 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
White House warns Americans not to travel to Ukraine after US citizen dies fighting alongside Ukrainian forces
From CNN’s Maegan Vazquez
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday offered condolences to the family of an American who was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, saying the US government had not officially confirmed his death. She cautioned Americans against traveling to Ukraine for any reason.
Willy Joseph Cancel, a 22-year-old veteran, was killed on Monday fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in Ukraine, members of Cancel’s family confirmed to CNN. Cancel working with a private military contracting company when he was killed. The company had sent him to Ukraine, and he was being paid while he was fighting there, Cancel’s mother, Rebecca Cabrera, said.
“Well, first of all, our hearts go out to his family and loved ones. … We don’t have official confirmation, even though we’ve seen the reports, but we have not had that official process through the government, so I can’t speak to other specifics about him beyond that,” Psaki said during the White House press briefing when asked by CNN’s MJ Lee about Cancel’s death.
She then cautioned against Americans traveling to Ukraine to take up arms.
“We know Americans are looking for ways to help and the reports about this individual were that he’s a veteran,” she said. “He had a child, I believe, and certainly sounded like a very passionate, young man. We know people want to help, but we do you encourage Americans to find other ways to do so … rather than traveling to Ukraine to fight.”
“It’s an active war zone. And we know Americans face significant risks, but certainly we know a family is mourning. A wife is mourning and our hearts are with them,” she continued.
Psaki also reiterated that the administration’s advice “has been that Americans should not travel to Ukraine for any reason.”
The US State Department said Friday it was aware of reports of a US citizen killed while fighting in Ukraine but has no further information to add
Principal deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said the State Department stands “ready to provide all consular assistance to the family,” but out of respect for the family at this difficult time had nothing further to announce.
She also reiterated that the State Department continues to urge US citizens not to travel to Ukraine. Porter said she does not have an estimate of how many Americans have gone there to fight with the Ukrainian forces – the State Department does not require US citizens to register their whereabouts when going abroad.
CNN’s Christian Sierra and Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.3:52 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Pentagon spokesperson gets emotional talking about Putin’s actions in Ukraine
From CNN’s Michael Conte and Barbara Starr
Asked whether the Defense Department considers Russian President Vladimir Putin a “rational actor,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby got emotional speaking about Putin’s “depravity” in Ukraine.
“It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity,” said Kirby at a Pentagon news briefing before pausing for nearly 10 seconds.
Pressed on the characterization by CNN’s Barbara Starr, Kirby called Putin’s justifications for the invasion “BS,” at one point pounding on the podium for emphasis.
“It’s hard to square his … BS that this is about Nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” said Kirby.
Kirby listed some of what he called “unconscionable” actions by Russian forces, including civilians being “shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs. Women, pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed.”
Kirby subsequently apologized for what he said was injecting his “personal perspective,” and would not elaborate further on the US assessment of Putin’s mental state.
Here’s the moment Pentagon press secretary John Kirby got emotional after a question about Putin’s actions in Ukraine:
White House told G20 host Russia shouldn’t be allowed to participate
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
The White House conveyed privately to Indonesia that Russia should not be allowed to participate in this year’s G20 summit, though the country’s president announced Friday that President Vladimir Putin had accepted an invitation to attend.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted the summit was still six months away, and did not provide an update on whether President Biden would also participate. But she said his views were clear that Russia shouldn’t be there.
“The President has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G20,” she said.
The White House’s understanding was that Indonesia invited Putin to attend prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she said.
Still, in a statement confirming Russia’s acceptance of the invite, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said, “Indonesia wants to unite the G20. Don’t let there be a split. Peace and stability are the keys to the recovery and development of the world economy.”
Indonesia has also extended an invitation to Ukraine to participate as a guest, a step Psaki said the US welcomed, but she said it was too early to say how the summit would look.
“It is six months away. So we don’t know how to predict, we can’t predict at this point, what that will look like,” she said, adding, “We’ve conveyed our view that we don’t think they should be a part of it publicly and privately as well.”
Psaki said there were no indications Russia was willing to engage in serious diplomacy.
“There’s a lot that could happen between now and then, but we certainly haven’t seen an indication to date of Russia’s plan to participate in diplomatic talks constructively,” she said. “Our hope certainly is that will change because obviously diplomatic talks and conversations is the way to bring an end to this conflict and President Putin could end this tomorrow, could end this right now.”
US now training Ukrainian forces in Germany, Defense Department says
From CNN’s Michael Conte and Oren Liebermann
The US has begun additional training for Ukrainian armed forces at US military installations in Germany, the Defense Department announced.
“These efforts build on the initial artillery training that Ukraine’s forces already have received elsewhere, and also includes training on the radar systems and armored vehicles that have been recently announced as part of security assistance packages,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a news briefing with reporters.
Kirby said that Germany is one of “roughly three” sites being used by the US to train Ukrainians outside of Ukraine, but would not disclose the others.
He also said “the bulk of the training” will be conducted by the Florida National Guard who had been training Ukrainians before being repositioned out of Ukraine in February prior to the Russian invasion.
“The recent reunion now of these Florida National Guard members with their Ukrainian colleagues, we are told, was an emotional meeting, given the strong bonds that were formed as they were living and working together before temporarily parting ways in February,” Kirby said.
Meanwhile, a senior US defense official said Friday that “more than a dozen flights” carrying military assistance for Ukraine from the US are expected to arrive in the European region for transport into Ukraine “in the next 24 hours.”
Those flights will include shipments of “Howitzers, more 155 rounds, some of those Phoenix Ghost UAVs and even some of the radars that we talked about,” the official said.
This security assistance is all coming from US President Joe Biden’s latest presidential drawdown authority package, the official added, saying that 155 artillery rounds “continue to flow into Ukraine even over the last 24 hours.”
In the last 24 hours, “there have been almost 20 deliveries via airlift from seven different nations,” of security assistance, the official said.
CNN’s Ellie Kaufman contributed reporting to this post.3:28 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Railway bridge blown up near Sloviansk as Russian forces advance towards the city
From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy, Tim Lister and Ellie Kaufman
A railway bridge across the Siverskyi Donets river was blown up on Friday, new video shows. CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the video.
The bridge was located along a highway between the Ukrainian cities of Sloviansk and Lyman. A satellite image from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite shows the bridge intact on Thursday.
Russian air strikes have pummeled infrastructure in Lyman, specifically targeting a railway hub that serves as a vital supply line for Ukrainian troops. On Friday, a senior US defense official told CNN that Russian forces are making “some incremental, uneven, slow advances” towards Sloviansk. 1:39 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Ukrainian commander inside Mariupol plant calls for safe passage of civilians as relentless attacks continue
From CNN’s Scott McLean, Roman Tymotsko and Tim Lister in Lviv
A commander inside the Azovstal steel complex in the besieged city of Mariupol told CNN of the relentless bombardment of the plant, where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have been trapped for weeks.
Sviatoslav Palamar of the Azov Regiment told CNN that there was intensive shelling of the Azovstal plant last night from both ships and aircraft.
“At the same time they shell us from the ground,” he said. There had also been attempts to storm the area controlled by Ukrainian troops, he said, but they had been deflected.
“On one side, the (Russians) had declared the silence and non-fighting mode, but on the parallel (at the same time) with infantry and equipment they try to storm the territory of the factory,” he told CNN.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his defense minister in Moscow that the plant should be sealed off but not stormed and said that those who choose to surrender should be treated in accordance with international conventions.
Palamar told CNN that there were a lot of wounded fighters and more than 500 soldiers who needed guarantees that their lives would be saved.
“We also have civilians that will be killed if they storm the factory,” he said.
Palamar said that on Thursday morning, a shelter for the wounded at the plant was shelled.
“It’s very hard to provide medical help to our guys, because our surgical room was destroyed where the remaining medicine and surgical equipment was stored,” he told CNN.
Asked if the Ukrainian troops left inside Azovstal were ready to surrender, Palamar said: “We do not think about any scenarios of giving up. We only see it possible through a guarantee of third party politicians, leaders, possibly the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel or Turkey, a guarantee that would allow every soldier to leave in safety.”
“We are ready to leave this territory because it is very hard and complicated to hold here with our personal weapons. We’re ready for extraction, possibly extraction to the territory of a third country but with our weapons in our hands,” he continued.
On the situation inside the plant: Palamar told CNN that there was not much food and water left for the plant’s defenders. He said they had a limited amount of ammunition. “We don’t have the possibility to destroy the aircraft and vessels that are shelling us,” he said.
Even so, he insisted: “We do not consider giving up or the conditions of giving up. We only consider guarantees of leaving the territory of the plant. If there is no other choice left but giving up, we won’t give up.”
Palamar stressed that the soldiers in the plant wanted civilians who were sheltering there to be evacuated.
“We asked for evacuation of the civilians. We’re talking to the whole world since March that international politicians or organization guarantee the safe extraction of civilians to Ukrainian territory. So if being asked whether we are ready for civilians to leave from here, we are not only ready but we ask that the civilians are saved first of all,” he told CNN.
Speaking about the Ukrainian government’s plan to evacuate civilians stranded in the plant, which was due to go into effect Friday, Palamar said he was aware of such a convoy that would come to Mariupol but could not speak further about it for security reasons.
“We count on the Red Cross and the organizations that are heading here to take our heavily wounded first of all, because they need to be treated, they need to get help,” he said.
Palamar said that the soldiers and civilians were in separate parts of the Azovstal plant. They were in cellars and bunkers but some had been wounded.
“There are cellars and bunkers that we cannot reach because they are under rubble. We do not know whether the people there are alive or not. There are children aged four months to 16 years. But there are people trapped in places that you can’t get to,” he told CNN.1:02 p.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Russian forces “appear to be advancing” toward Ukraine’s Sloviansk and Baranivka, US official says
From CNN’s Ellie Kaufman
Russian forces “appear to be advancing” toward Sloviansk and Baranivka, a senior US defense official said Friday, adding that they are making “some incremental, uneven, slow advances to the southeast and southwest of Izium,” in Ukraine.
Russian forces “continue to use… long-range fires,” the official noted.
“What we see them doing is using artillery and some airstrikes in advance of their ground movements, and so their ground movements are fairly plotting, because a, the artillery and airstrikes that they are launching against Ukrainian positions are not having the effect that they want them to have — the Ukrainians are still able to resist. And b, they are still a little wary of getting out ahead of their supply lines,” the official added.11:18 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Kyiv tells citizens to cut vehicle use to save fuel for the military
From Tim Lister and Kostan Nechyporenko
Authorities in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have urged people not to use their cars to save fuel for the military.
“Kyivites, if you have returned to the capital, please use public transport if possible. Those in safe places [outside Kyiv], please wait before coming back,” said Mykola Povoroznyk, deputy head of Kyiv City State Administration, adding that authorities are keeping the needs of the Ukrainian military and defenders in mind.
Povoroznyk said there are no problems with public transport network in the city, which was constantly expanding to provide transportation for residents returning to the capital.
The authorities in the capital have urged citizens not to return yet because of the continuing danger of missile attacks. At one point about one-third of Kyiv’s population was thought to have left.11:23 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Russian are trying to disrupt Ukrainian reinforcements, senior US defense official says
From Michael Conte and Barbara Starr
The US believes Russia is attempting to disrupt the Ukrainian military’s ability to “replenish their own stores and to reinforce themselves,” according to a senior US defense official.
The official gave the example of attempted Russian attacks on electrical power facilities, which could hinder Ukrainian trains.
The US also believes that while recent strikes reportedly hit residential areas, they were intended for military production facilities, the official added.
Russian strikes in Odesa are possibly meant to pin down Ukrainian forces there and prevent them from reinforcing defenders in the Donbas region, according to the official.
The official also said that now 1,950 missiles have been launched by Russia against Ukraine since the invasion began in February, and that most of the ordnance being dropped against Mariupol is “dumb” ordnance that is not precision-guided, which suggests Russian forces are still having difficulty replenishing their precision-guided munitions.
Meanwhile, the US has also trained two groups of Ukrainian trainers so far on US artillery outside of Ukraine, according to the official, with the first group being “a little it more than 50” and the second group being “around 50.”
The US has also trained a group of about 15 Ukrainians on the US radar systems that are being provided to Ukraine, with more groups of a yet to be determined number to be trained in the future, the official said.
US training for Ukrainians will “go on for as long as it needs to go on,” the official added.
The US is helping transport some Ukrainians already outside of Ukraine for training and returning them to locations outside of Ukraine so they can reenter Ukraine, according to the official, who stressed that all US transportation of Ukrainian trainers “starts and ends outside of Ukraine.”PAID CONTENT
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UN will redouble its efforts to save lives in Ukraine, chief says after visit
From CNN’s Hande Atay Alam
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres wrote in a tweet Friday that the UN will not give up and would redouble its efforts to save lives and reduce human suffering in Ukraine.
His tweet came after his visit to Ukraine and meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday. He also visited to Moscow on Tuesday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1520044807569215489&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2Feurope%2Flive-news%2Frussia-ukraine-war-news-04-29-22%2Findex.html&sessionId=aaba8423566e35b5e6f476edfb7e97afebf65e27&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px
During a news conference in Kyiv with Zelensky, Guterres urged for evacuation corridors to be open in Mariupol, saying, “Today the people of Mariupol are in desperate need of such an approach. Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis,” and added “Thousands of civilians need life-saving assistance. Many are elderly need medical care or have limited mobility, they need an escape route out of the apocalypse.”11:07 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
US believes Russian intelligence behind attack on Nobel winner
From Katie Bo Lillis and Anna Chernova
US intelligence has assessed that Russian intelligence was behind a recent attack in Moscow on a Nobel Prize winner and independent Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov who has spoken publicly in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
The editor of the independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, was attacked while traveling on a train from Moscow to Samara on April 7 by an unknown assailant who doused the train compartment with red oil paint mixed with acetone.
“Eyes burn terribly,” Muratov said in a statement posted to the paper’s website. The assailant shouted, “Muratov, here’s to you for our boys,” in an apparent reference to Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, he wrote.
“The United States can confirm that Russian intelligence orchestrated the 7 April attack on Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief Dmitriy Muratov, in which he was splashed with red paint containing acetone,” a US official said in a statement.
The US official did not provide details on how the US reached its assessment, nor did this person provide details on which arm of Russian intelligence had arranged the attack.
A spokesperson for Novaya Gazeta appeared to cast doubt on the US assessment in a statement to CNN.
“We have established the attackers, so it is now [sic] clear what prevents the Ministry of Internal Affairs from opening it,” said the paper’s spokesperson Nadezhda Prusenkova. “We don’t know if there is a ‘stinking unit’ in intelligence that is involved in such attacks. But we have experience of such attacks on the editorial office, and it was still not intelligence back then.”
Prusenkova noted that “the attack has yet to be prosecuted” and called for a criminal case to be opened.
Days prior to the attack, Novaya Gazeta had suspended its operations until the end of the war in Ukraine, amid mounting pressure from Russian authorities and a wartime censorship law that threatened up to 15 years in prison for publishing what Russia terms “fake” news about the conflict.
CNN has reached out to the Russian embassy for comment.
The Washington Post first reported the US assessment. 10:26 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
White House weighing number of considerations on G20 after Putin’s attendance confirmed
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
US President Joe Biden and his advisers are still in conversations about how to approach November’s G20 summit, whose hosts received confirmation Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend.
Biden has said Russia should be ejected from the G20. Senior members of his administration have walked out of G20 events where Russian delegates are present. And there were discussions with Indonesia, who is hosting the summit, about stepping up its condemnation of Russia and how to approach the sticky situation.
But no decision on boycotting the leaders’ summit, still six months away, has been made. And officials are weighing the downsides of skipping the event and ceding the table to Russia and China.
“The President has been clear about his view: This shouldn’t be business as usual, and that Russia should not be a part of this,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday. “But, again, it’s six months away.”
White House aides are realistic the G20 will not collectively remove Russia from its ranks, since the decision requires consensus and China has been clear they don’t support such a move. That makes this a different scenario than when Russia was expelled from the G8 after its annexation of Crimea.
That sets up a potentially complicated summit on the Indonesian island Bali, which is scheduled to begin in the beginning of November. White House officials have mulled a number of different scenarios, including potentially sending a lower-level delegation or participating remotely. But Biden attending in person is still considered the likeliest outcome, even if Putin is also there.10:11 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
NATO scrambled fighter jets multiple times this week to intercept Russian aircraft near alliance airspace
From CNN’s Barbara Starr
NATO fighter jets stationed in both the Baltic and Black Sea regions scrambled “multiple times over the past four days” to track and intercept Russian aircraft near alliance airspace, according to a statement posted by NATO’s Allied Air Command.
NATO radars tracked a number of unidentified aircraft over the Baltic and Black Sea since Tuesday. NATO noted that Russian aircraft often “do not transmit a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, do not file a flight plan, or do not communicate.”
In the Baltic region, fighter jets from Poland, Denmark, France and Spain were used at various times to intercept and identify approaching aircraft. In the Black Sea region, aircraft from Romania and the UK were used to investigate tracks of unknown aircraft approaching allied airspace, the statement said. There is no indication that US aircraft participated in the interceptions.
NATO said that the Russian aircraft never entered the alliance’s airspace, and the “interceptions were conducted in a safe and routine manner.”9:49 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
Norway closes borders and ports to Russian freight vehicles and ships
From CNN’s James Frater
Norway has said it is following the European Union’s fifth sanctions package on Russia and will introduce a ban on Russian road transport and Russian vessels being allowed to dock.
In a statement Friday, Anniken Huitfeldt, the Norwegian minister of foreign affairs, said, “We know that sanctions work best when several countries agree on them,” and “with this, we are implementing the EU’s fifth and final sanctions package.”
“The sanctions are our most important means of pressure against the Russian regime” and it is “crucial that we stand with the EU and other countries to continue to weaken Russia’s ability to finance the war in Ukraine,” she said.
A news release from the Norwegian government announced that starting on May 7, “there will be a ban on port calls for Russian-flagged vessels,” including commercial ships, yachts, some pleasure craft and recreational vessels.
Due to the special agreement between Norway and Russia on the management and conservation of fish stocks in the Barents Sea, the ban will not include fishing vessels, search and rescue vessels or research vessels, according to the news release.
“The ban on freight transport by road will apply to transport companies established in Russia and apply immediately,” the news release added.
The European Union adopted a fifth round of sanctions against Russia on April 8.
Norway is part of the European Economic Area which gives the country access to the European Union’s internal market, but the country does not have to adopt EU foreign policy or rules on justice and home affairs.8:56 a.m. ET, April 29, 2022
2 Russian regions claim their borders with Ukraine have been shelled
From CNN’s Anna Chernova
Two regions of Russia that border Ukraine — Kursk and Bryansk — said that their territory has been shelled.
“The morning in the border [town] of Rylsk was restless. At about 8:00am, mortars fired at the checkpoint in the village of Krupets,” the Kursk region Gov. Roman Starovoit said in Telegram post Friday morning local time.
According to Starovoit, “the firing points were suppressed by the return fire of [Russian] border guards and the military.” There were no casualties or destruction, he added.
The head of the Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomaz, said the border department of the Federal Security Service (FSB) had reported shelling in the village of Belaya Berezka, allegedly carried out from Ukrainian territory.
“On April 29, a branch of the border department of the FSB of Russia in the Bryansk region in the village of Belaya Berezka, Trubchevsky district, was subjected to mortar fire from the territory of Ukraine,” Bogomaz said in a Telegram post on his official channel Friday. He said there were no casualties.
Water and electricity networks were damaged as a result of the shelling in the Bryansk region, Bogomaz added.