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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 22)

People walk near a destroyed tank and damaged buildings in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday.
Alexander Ermochenko
People walk near a destroyed tank and damaged buildings in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on Friday.

As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

A top Russian military commander said Russia wants to take "full control" of southern Ukraine, in addition to the Donbas region in the east, to "secure a land corridor to Crimea." The statement by Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekayev, reported by Russian state-run media, marked the most explicit expression yet of long-term aims, though it was unclear if Minnekayev was spelling out official policy. His remarks also indicated goals of accessing neighboring Moldova through a disputed, separatist region and blocking Ukraine from access to the sea.

Another possible mass grave with as many as 9,000 bodies was found near Mariupol. Satellite imagery revealed the site, which may be 20 times larger than the mass grave in Bucha, according to a Telegram post by the Mariupol City Council. Maxar Technologies, a provider of satellite imagery, said in a statement that the size of the grave has gradually expanded over the past month, as Russian forces continue to transport Ukrainian bodies out of Mariupol.

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has confirmed more than 5,000 civilian casualties — 2,345 killed and 2,919 injured. "Our work to date has detailed a horror story of violations perpetrated against civilians," said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. This includes the "unlawful killing, including by summary execution, of some 50 civilians" in Bucha, outside Kyiv. "We know the actual numbers are going to be much higher as the horrors inflicted in areas of intense fighting, such as Mariupol, come to light," Bachelet said.U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans to visit Moscow next Tuesday, April 26.

In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, European Council President Charles Michel "strongly urged" Russia to grant "humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities" ahead of Orthodox Easter this weekend. Zelenskyy said Thursday night that Russia had rejected a proposal for an Easter truce. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that overall peace talks between his country and Ukraine have "stalled."

Russian authorities lodged criminal charges against prominent opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza for spreading "deliberately false information" about Russian troops operating in Ukraine. Kara-Murza is serving a 15-day prison sentence for allegedly evading police outside his home in Moscow. At the time, Kara-Murza had been giving interviews to U.S. media, criticizing Russia's invasion.

The British Embassy will reopen next week in Kyiv, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced. Spain, Italy and France have also declared intentions to reopen their embassies in Kyiv in the coming days. The U.S. has not yet decided if or when to reopen its Kyiv embassy.


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Earlier developments

You can read more daily recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find NPR's full coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

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