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Latest Developments in Ukraine: April 22


Alla Prohonenko, 53, touches a photo of her father, Volodymyr Prohonenko, following his funeral at a cemetery in Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, April 21, 2022. Prohonenko was killed when Russian troops were advancing on Kyiv.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.​

Recap of April 22
FIGHTING
* Russia plans to take full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine during the second phase of what it calls its special military operation, the deputy commander of Russia's central military district said.
* Ukraine's Defense Ministry denounced plans announced by Russia on Friday to take full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine as “imperialism.”
* Ukrainians continue to resist in the besieged city of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said, contradicting Russia's claim that it had "liberated" the strategic Sea of Azov port.

HUMANITARIAN
* The mayor of Mariupol called for the "full evacuation" of the city Friday.
* The U.N. human rights chief says that international humanitarian law appears to have been “tossed aside” in Russia’s war with Ukraine.
* The United Nations says there is growing evidence Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.
* Two months into the Russia conflict, Ukrainians with chronic diseases — such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease — are facing massive challenges accessing health care, according to the World Health Organization.

DIPLOMACY
* The United Nations announced that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres would visit Moscow on April 26.
* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was planning to hold phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in the coming days.
* European Council President Charles Michel in a phone call urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to engage directly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and called for a cease-fire in Ukraine.
* India and Britain have urged Russia to declare an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine.

SANCTIONS
* A Dutch court has declared the Russian-owned Amsterdam Trade Bank (ATB) bankrupt after it was caught up in sanctions related to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

MEDIA
* Russia has opened a criminal case against a prominent opposition activist, Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., on suspicion of spreading false information about Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.

NUCLEAR
* The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will lead a mission to Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant next week.

The latest developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

9:36 p.m.: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine next week after a stop in Moscow to confer with President Vladimir Putin about the war, the U.N. said Friday, according to Agence France-Presse. Guterres is to meet with Putin on Tuesday and Zelenskyy and Ukraine's foreign minister on Thursday, AFP reported.

8:20 p.m.: Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that he "absolutely" expected the United States would eventually reopen its embassy in Ukraine, but stopped short of predicting when that would happen, Reuters reported. It will happen, absolutely, but we will wait," Shmyhal told reporters at a conclusion of a visit to Washington.

Britain announced on Friday it would reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv next week, the AP reported. Other European countries also have announced such plans after Russian forces withdrew from the country's north in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance.

6:53 p.m.: The Pentagon said Friday that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would hold a meeting next week in Germany with defense officials and military leaders from more than 20 countries to discuss Ukraine’s defense needs, The Associated Press reported.

6:18 p.m.: Another mass grave has been found outside Mariupol, the city council and an adviser to the mayor said Friday, The Associated Press reported. The city council posted a satellite photo provided by Planet Labs showing what it said was a mass grave 45 meters (147.64 feet) by 25 meters (82.02 feet) that could hold the bodies of at least 1,000 Mariupol residents, according to the AP. It said the new reported mass grave is outside the village of Vynohradne, which is east of Mariupol.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, center right, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from left, attend a meeting at State Department, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Washington, April 22, 2022.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, center right, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from left, attend a meeting at State Department, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Washington, April 22, 2022.

5:15 p.m.: In diplomatic activity Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Washington. The State Department said Blinken "reinforced our determination to help Ukraine successfully defend itself against Russia's brutal and unjustified war of aggression."

4:35 p.m.: A 25-year-old Russian soldier has posted a video blog of his time in Ukraine, showing him and his comrades firing at Ukrainian positions and cavorting in occupied apartments. Later he laments, “we’ve had many losses.” Stuart Greer with Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this story.

4:07 p.m.: Russia's defense ministry on Friday confirmed for the first time that the crew of the missile cruiser Moskva suffered casualties when it blew up and sank last week, a report from RIA news agency indicated. Russia initially said all the ship's crew were evacuated after an ammunition blast triggered by a fire ripped through the Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet. "During the struggle to stabilize the ship, one serviceman died and another 27 crew members went missing. The remaining 396 members of the crew were evacuated," RIA quoted the defense ministry as saying.

3:41 p.m.: A Dutch court has declared the Russian-owned Amsterdam Trade Bank (ATB) bankrupt after it was caught up in sanctions related to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Amsterdam's district court issued the ruling on the bank, which is a subsidiary of Russia's Alfa Bank, in a decision confirmed on Friday by the Dutch central bank. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

3:10 p.m.: New York City will provide more than $2 million in aid to newly arriving Ukrainian refugees and Ukrainians currently living in New York, Mayor Eric Adams' office announced today. The money will help facilitate access to immigration legal assistance, translation services, social services and other resources. “New York City remains home to the largest Ukrainian population in America and we stand in solidarity with everyone affected, both here and abroad,” Adams said in a press release.

2:38 p.m.: "I think we will see the next couple of weeks as being decisive," a senior EU official told reporters on Friday, adding that Russia is likely to intensify its attacks in eastern Ukraine and along the coast. While saying the next few weeks will be potentially decisive for the war, the unnamed official added, "This is not a fairy tale with an imminent happy ending," Reuters reported.

2:16 p.m.: A Russian Olympic gold medalist swimmer is banned from the sport for nine months after appearing at a rally in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Evgeny Rylov took the stage in Moscow last month, along with Olympic medalists from other sports, wearing a jacket with a "Z" on his chest. The letter is a symbol of support for Russian troops. Rylov won two gold medals in Tokyo last year. The ban is mostly symbolic since FINA, world swimming's governing body, has banned competitors from Russia and ally Belarus from all international events for the remainder of 2022.

1:32 p.m.: Several families from eastern Ukraine have taken refuge in a medical school dorm in the city of Dnipro. Located in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine – near war-ravaged Donetsk – the city has become a new target of Russian aggression. Apart from locals, over 135,000 internally displaced Ukrainians now live there.

Ukraine’s Dnipro Home to Thousands Displaced by War
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12:17 p.m.: The United Nations announced Friday that UN Secretary General António Guterres will visit Moscow on April 26. Guterres is scheduled to have a working lunch with Russia's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, before meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The announcement comes after the UN leader asked for meetings in both Moscow and Kyiv to discuss steps to end the fighting in Ukraine.

12:03 p.m.: Talks to end the fighting in Ukraine are at a standstill because Kyiv has not responded to Moscow's latest set of proposals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a Friday press conference. "Another proposal we passed on to Ukrainian negotiators about five days ago, which was drawn up with their comments taken into account, it remains without a response,” Russia's top diplomat said. However, Russia’s lead negotiator at the talks with Ukraine, Putin aide Vladimir Medinsky, confirmed that he engaged in several lengthy conversations with the head of the Ukrainian delegation on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

11:46 a.m.: Two months into the Russia conflict, Ukrainians with chronic diseases — such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease — are facing massive challenges accessing healthcare, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which adds that the war is having a "devastating effect" on the country's health care system. Thirty percent of respondents say they have not accessed health care services recently, citing the security situation and lack of services in their area as key reasons why.

11:01 a.m.: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will lead a mission to Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant next week, according to a statement issued by the IAEA. Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is intensifying efforts to mitigate the danger of a nuclear accident during Ukraine's current conflict with Russia. He leads a team that will deliver critical equipment, while also conducting radiological and other assessments. The site was held by Russian forces for five weeks before they withdrew on March 31.

10:45 a.m.: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says it’s trying to confirm intelligence that a South Korean citizen who had come to Ukraine as a volunteer fighter to defend the country against the Russian attack has been killed, The Associated Press reported. The ministry said Friday it received the information from an unspecified foreign government but didn’t immediately provide details. The ministry said there were at least four South Koreans who went into Ukraine without government authorization.

10:14 a.m.: Onstage, they dance through hoops and perform acrobatics with smiles on their faces. Off it, they hold anguished phone calls with family back in Ukraine. All are graduates of the Bingo Circus Theater, a circus academy in Ukraine. Agence France-Presse has this story.

9:53 a.m.: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday that assessments show Ukrainian troops are still contesting the southern port city of Mariupol despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim of victory in the battle for the city, The Associated Press reported. Putin on Thursday ordered his troops not to storm a giant Mariupol steel mill where an estimated 2,000 Ukrainians remain holed up, but rather, to seal it off. Kirby said on CNN it was “unclear” why Putin did that and Putin’s words need to be viewed with skepticism. He said Mariupol “hasn’t been taken by the Russians” and that “there’s still an active Ukrainian resistance.”

9:46 a.m.: Ukrainian soldiers take cover as explosions rock the near distance, before placing Grad rockets under brush cover and launching a volley toward the Russians. In footage shot this week, the fight for eastern Ukraine is seen moving into higher gear, as ground units employ mobility and terrain knowledge in attempts to outmaneuver the enemy. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

9:32 a.m.: The three Baltic prime ministers want more sanctions against Russia, The Associated Press reported. Latvian Prime Minister Krisianis Karins said Friday this should include sanctions at the European Union level on all Russian banks and all energy resources. His Lithuanian counterpart Ingrida Simonyte stressed the importance of continuing to put pressure on the Kremlin by strengthening sanctions. Kaja Kallas of Estonia agreed. They spoke after a meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers, the Baltic News Service said.

9:27 a.m.: Russia has opened a criminal case against a prominent opposition activist on suspicion of spreading false information about Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine, his lawyer said on Friday according to Reuters. Vladimir Kara-Murza was detained outside his home in Moscow on April 11, hours after CNN aired an interview in which he criticized Russia's actions in Ukraine. He was later sentenced to 15 days in jail for disobeying police orders upon being detained, Kara-Murza's lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, said at the time. Kara-Murza has not been formally charged and Prokhorov denies his client broke the law.

9:24 a.m.: The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday said Moscow was ready at any moment to introduce a “regime of silence” to allow both the troops and civilians holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol a chance to get out. But Ukrainian troops must raise white flags in determined areas around the plant before evacuations can begin, the ministry said. Earlier Friday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said no humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuations would be open in Ukraine Friday because it was unsafe. In an online post, Vereshchuk asked people awaiting evacuation from war zones to “be patient” and “hang in there,” The Associated Press reported.

9:12 a.m.: European Council President Charles Michel in a phone call on Friday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to engage directly with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and called for a ceasefire in Ukraine, an EU official said. In his call with Putin, Michel stressed in "no uncertain terms" the unacceptability of Russia's war and detailed the sanction costs the European Union is imposing on Russia, the EU official said. Michel also called for a ceasefire on the occasion of the upcoming Orthodox Easter and for safe passage for civilians seeking to leave besieged cities such as Mariupol. The phone call followed Michel's visit to Ukraine on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

9:09 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the U.K. is looking at sending tanks to Poland to replace the Soviet-era T-72 tanks the Poles are shipping to Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Johnson made the comments Friday during a news conference in New Delhi, where he held talks with India’s Prime Minister. “I think perhaps what I haven’t said publicly before is we’re also looking more at what we can do to backfill in countries such as Poland who may want to send heavier weaponry to help defend Ukrainians,” Johnson said.

9:04 a.m.: Ukraine’s national postal service Ukrposhta said it had been hit by a cyberattack on Friday after sales of a postage stamp depicting a Ukrainian soldier making a crude gesture to a Russian warship went online. Queues formed to buy the stamp when it went on sale at the postal headquarters in Kyiv last week following the sinking of the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Ihor Smilianskyi, Ukrposhta’s director general, issued an apology to customers for what he said was a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack but did not say who might be behind it, Reuters reported.

8:51 a.m.:
A senior Russian military official says Moscow plans to take full control of the eastern Donbas region and the southern part of Ukraine during their new offensive in the country as the fate of the besieged southern port of Mariupol hangs in the balance. Rustam Minnekayev, acting commander of the Central Military District, was quoted by official Russian state media outlets on Friday as saying that full control of southern Ukraine was a strategic goal to allow access to Moldova's pro-Russian breakaway region of Transdniester, which borders Ukraine. The comments by Minnekayev were the most detailed description yet of Russia's goals in the second phase of its invasion of Ukraine. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.

8:45 a.m.: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he was planning to hold phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in the coming days, adding that he hoped the calls could lead to a leaders’ meeting in Turkey to end the Russia-Ukraine war, Reuters reported. “We are not without hope,” Erdogan told reporters when asked about the peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow. “Our friends will get in touch with them today, we plan to hold a call again with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy today or tomorrow,” he said.

8:30 a.m.: The governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said Friday that Russian forces have shelled a hospital in the city of Lyman, setting it on fire. He said information on casualties was not immediately available, the Kyiv Independent reported.

8:21 a.m.: The United Nations says there is growing evidence Russian has committed war crimes in Ukraine, Reuters reports. The U.N. human rights office points to signs of indiscriminate shelling and summary executions. "Russian armed forces have indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, killing civilians and wrecking hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure, actions that may amount to war crimes," the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet said.

7:55 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. will reopen its embassy in Kyiv next week according to The Associated Press. Johnson made the announcement while visiting India on Friday. Diplomats from other European nations started returning to Ukraine’s capital after Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region to focus on eastern Ukraine.

7:30 a.m.: Russia is prepared to stop firing to allow fighters at the Azovstal steel works in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol to leave the plant, along with any civilians that are still there, RIA cited the defense ministry as saying on Friday. The ministry said claims by Ukraine and some western countries that Russia was preventing civilians from leaving the city were "groundless", the TASS news agency reported, according to Reuters.

7:21 a.m.: India and Britain have urged Russia to declare an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced steps to help move New Delhi away from its dependence on Russia by expanding economic and defense ties. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters their meeting Friday focused on the situation in Ukraine, underscoring the importance of diplomacy and dialogue. While India has condemned the killings of civilians in Ukraine, it has so far not criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Associated Press reported.

7:13 a.m.: Ukraine's Defense Ministry denounced plans announced by Russia on Friday to take full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine as “imperialism,” Reuters reported "They stopped hiding it," the ministry said on Twitter. It said Russia had "acknowledged that the goal of the 'second phase' of the war is not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine. Imperialism as it is."

6:29 a.m.: Russia plans to take full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine during the second phase of what it calls its special military operation, the deputy commander of Russia's central military district said on Friday, Russian news agencies reported. The statement from Rustam Minnekayev, the deputy commander, is one of the most detailed about Moscow's latest ambitions in Ukraine and suggests Russia does not plan to wind down its offensive there anytime soon, Reuters reported.

6:21 a.m.:
Ukrainians continue to resist in the besieged city of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said, contradicting Russia's claim that it had "liberated" the strategic Sea of Azov port after almost two months of intense shelling. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday claimed that Russian forces had "liberated" Mariupol and stopped short of ordering the storming of the Azovstal steel plant complex, where a few thousand Ukrainian soldiers are holed up together with thousands more civilians. But Zelenskyy said on Friday that the fighting continued. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

6:13 a.m.:
Plans for Pope Francis to meet in June with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who has backed Russia's war in Ukraine, have been suspended, the pope has told an Argentine newspaper according to Reuters. Francis told La Nacion in an interview that he regretted that the plan had to be "suspended" because Vatican diplomats advised that such a meeting "could lend itself to much confusion at this moment".

6:09 a.m.: The Russian embassy in the Czech capital has a new address after Prague authorities renamed a section of the street where it is located, The Associated Press reported. Friday’s official ceremony comes after the decision to change the name to “Ukrainian Heroes” was approved by the City Hall at the request of the Prague 6 district where the embassy is located. Prague mayor Zdenek Hrib unveiled the new street sign in the presence of Ukraine’s ambassador. Hrib previously said the move honors the “unbelievable bravery of Ukrainian fighters.”

6:02 a.m.: As Russian forces launch an all-out assault in eastern Ukraine, the West is scrambling to supply Kyiv with more advanced and heavier weapons. Ukraine has defied the odds on the battlefield and Russian forces have retreated from northern Ukraine. But experts say the extent of Western military assistance is likely to define the next, and potentially defining, phase of the war. To find out more, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty spoke with Garvan Walshe, a former security adviser to Britain’s Conservative Party and the CEO of the consultancy group Article7.

5:48 a.m.: NATO must avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia that could lead to a third world war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Der Spiegel when asked about Germany's failure to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine. Scholz is facing growing criticism at home and abroad for his government's apparent reluctance to deliver heavy battlefield weapons, such as tanks and howitzers, to Ukraine to help it fend off Russian attacks, even as other Western allies step up shipments, Reuters reported.

5:45 a.m.: The BBC reports that the mayor of Mariupol called for the "full evacuation" of the city Friday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed victory in the city; the mayor says about 100,000 people remain.

5:28 a.m.: Swimming's world governing body has suspended Russian champion Evgeny Rylov for nine months after he attended a rally in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Al Jazeera reports.

Rylov won Olympic gold in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke in Tokyo last year.

5:02 a.m.: The New York Times reports that artillery fire has intensified around Kharkiv, Ukraine, into Friday morning.

4:06 a.m.: Ukraine will not attempt any humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians on Friday because the roads are too dangerous, the BBC reports, citing Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

3:03 a.m.: A Ukrainian lawmaker said Russia is committing genocide during its invasion of Ukraine, CNN reports. Kira Rudik, a member of Ukraine's parliament, told CNN that the behavior of Russian troops shows the country can't be trusted to uphold future peace.

“This is why we are explaining to the world that what's happening in Ukraine is called genocide. This is why we're explaining to the world that you cannot get into any peaceful agreement with Russia, because in comparison it is like going into a peaceful agreement with Hitler and saying, ‘Oh, we will talk to him and probably he will spare some lives of the Jews,'" she said.

2:13 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K.'s defense ministry says that heavy shelling and fighting continue in eastern Donbas. It also says that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to blockade the Azovstal steel plant rather than launching a siege is likely intended to free up Russian forces for other sites in eastern Ukraine.

1:08 a.m.: CNN reports that Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev says Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players is "illogical" and "complete discrimination."

“At the end of the day we want to compete,” Rublev said. “We are not here to talk about politics, because I have no idea, anything about this. At the end of the day I am Russian, and I was born in Russia and I’ve lived all my life in Russia, and I just want to show that we are good people.”

12:01 a.m.: Ukraine's president says Russia is planning a sham independence vote in occupied regions, Agence France-Presse reports.

Speaking in a Thursday video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged residents of occupied areas not to provide any personal information to the Russians, saying the information would be used to falsify a vote.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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