September 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Andrew Raine, Hannah Strange, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 9:45 PM ET, Wed September 7, 2022
9 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:22 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

Putin accuses European nations of acting "like colonial powers" in grain export deal, citing misleading figures

From CNN's Teele Rebane, Clare Sebastian, Hannah Ritchie, and Mick Krever

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, on September 7.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, on September 7. (Sergei Bobylev/TASS/AP)

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused European nations of acting “like colonial powers," and used misleading figures to claim that low and middle-income countries are receiving a fraction of the Ukrainian grain exports they were expecting under the landmark UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. 

In remarks Wednesday during his opening speech at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Putin cited figures that do not accurately reflect current UN data on grain shipments.

"Only 3% of the grain being exported from Ukraine is going to developing countries, the majority is going to Europe… over the past decades European countries have acted like colonial powers, they are continuing to act like that today,” Putin claimed erroneously. 

“Once again, they have deceived developing countries," he added. 

Fact check: In a statement to CNN, the United Nations said that under the Black Seas Initiative, roughly 30% of “grains and other foodstuffs” have made it to low- and lower-middle-income countries, or roughly 700,000 metric tons.

Among countries classified by the World Bank as low- or lower-middle-income, the UN says that 10% of the initiative’s exports have been sent to Egypt, 5% to Iran, 4% to India, 3% to Sudan, 2% to Yemen, 2% to Kenya, 1% to Somalia, 1% to Djibouti and less than 1% to Lebanon.

Putin’s remarks were consistent with Kremlin talking points around the looming global food shortages that have been caused in large part by Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports. Russian diplomats in recent months have worked energetically to deflect criticism of Moscow by suggesting that Western sanctions, rather than Russia’s actions, are to blame for the crisis.

“It is clear that with this approach, the scale of the world’s food problems will only grow -- which is capable of leading to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” Putin claimed, adding that he would discuss the issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who aided the deal.  

The Black Sea Grain Initiative -- which was brokered by the UN and Turkey -- was signed by representatives from Russia and Ukraine in July. 

Its purpose is to facilitate the resumption of vital exports out of Ukraine to alleviate global food shortages and rising grain commodity prices. 

Prior to the deal some 20 million metric tons of Ukrainian wheat and corn had remained trapped in the port of Odesa due to a Russian blockade. 

6:20 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia reach "agreement in principle" to restrict movement of Russian citizens

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston in London

Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, left, and Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis attend the Nordic-Baltic cooperation (NB8) foreign ministers meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania, on September 7.
Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, left, and Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis attend the Nordic-Baltic cooperation (NB8) foreign ministers meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania, on September 7. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have reached an “agreement in principle” to restrict the movement of Russian citizens through their borders with Russia and Belarus, according to Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

The last “nuances” of the restrictions are currently being agreed between Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, Rinkevics announced on Wednesday following a meeting of Nordic-Baltic foreign ministers in Kaunas, Lithuania.

What does this mean? Once implemented, the ban will prevent Russian citizens holding Schengen visas from crossing into Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia, from Russia or Belarus, Rinkevics said. There will be exceptions on humanitarian grounds, for lorry drivers, for family reasons and for diplomats, Rinkevics added.

There will be “sufficient warning time” before the restrictions are implemented, Rinkevics added, with further decisions being made within the next 10 days.

The number of border crossings from Russian citizens holding Schengen visas has “dramatically increased,” in recent weeks, Rinkevics said, adding that the crossings are becoming a public security concern as well as a moral and political issue.

Some background: Estonia implemented a ban on Russian citizens who already held Estonian-issued Schengen visas in August. Meanwhile, the European Union has agreed to reduce the number of new visas available to Russian citizens but stopped short of an outright ban on travel to the bloc.

7:34 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

Ukrainian forces seen in previously Russian-occupied town east of Kharkiv

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Olga Voitovych

Ukrainian forces are advancing to the east of Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv, with recent social media footage geo-located by CNN showing soldiers in the town of Volokhiv-Yar, which was occupied by Russian forces until recently.

Important: If Ukrainian forces are able to consolidate their presence in Volokhiv-Yar, they could encircle Russian troops in the neighboring town of Balakliya.

CNN has geolocated videos showing Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Balakliya. There are indications fighting is ongoing in the area.

Reports from both sides suggest Balakliya is being defended by militiamen from the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and soldiers from the Russian National Guard, who may now be facing a precarious situation.

CNN cannot independently verify their reports and neither Moscow nor Kyiv have commented on the Ukrainian offensive in the region.

On Tuesday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Ukrainian forces were closing in on Balakliya, likely driving Russian forces to the left bank of the Severskyi Donets and Serednya Balakliika rivers.

Videos showed Ukrainian soldiers in Verbivka, next to Balakliya.

“Multiple Russian sources acknowledged Ukrainian gains in Verbivka and reported that Russian forces demolished unspecified bridges in Balakliya‘s eastern environs to prevent further Ukrainian advances,” the ISW said in its daily report on the war in Ukraine.
“The September 6 Ukrainian counterattack in Kharkiv was likely an opportunistic effort enabled by the redeployment of Russian forces away from the area to reinforce Russian positions against the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast,” the ISW added.
8:26 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

 Putin says Russia has "lost nothing" during its "special military operation" in Ukraine 

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, on September 7.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, on September 7. (Sergei Bobylev/TASS/AP)

Russia has “lost nothing” in its “special military operation” in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin claimed in his speech to open the Plenary Session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Wednesday.

“We have lost nothing and are not going to lose anything. Our main gain is the strengthening of our sovereignty. We didn't start anything, in terms of military action, but are only trying to finish it,” Putin told the audience.

Based on downgraded intelligence, the US believes that Russia is facing "severe" shortages of military personnel in Ukraine and is seeking new ways to reinforce its troop levels, two US officials told CNN last week. 

In a statement Monday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that it is now estimated that “over 25,000 Russian soldiers have lost their lives” since the start of the war. 

In late August, President Putin ordered Russia’s military to increase the number of troops in Ukraine by 137,000, though it remains unclear how the Defense Ministry intends to reach that target.

2:58 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

Xi and Putin to meet face-to-face next week, Russian envoy says

From CNN's Simone McCarthy

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan next week, Russia's envoy to Beijing Andrey Denisov told reporters on Wednesday, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

The expected meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit would be the first face-to-face between the two leaders, who have established a close relationship, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

It would also be the first overseas trip for Xi since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The SCO summit will be held on September 15 to 16 in Samarkand.

2:56 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

Myanmar is purchasing Russian oil products and will pay in rubles: Russian state media

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Hannah Ritchie

Myanmar has started purchasing Russian oil products and will pay for them in rubles, the nation’s military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing confirmed in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported.

The first shipments of diesel fuel from Russia to Myanmar will arrive in the next few days, according to RIA.

In terms of the payment – whatever currency the Russian side accepts, that's the currency we will pay in. This greatly simplifies our task, because there are many restrictions on receiving and transferring in other currencies,” Min Aung Hlaing told RIA when asked about paying for oil in rubles.

Myanmar state media is yet to report any of the details of the oil purchases.

CNN has reached out to the junta for comment but has yet to hear back.

For months, the Kremlin has been pressuring countries to pay for Russian oil and gas in rubles to reduce its reliance on the US dollar, euro and other currencies impacted by western sanctions.

2:55 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

China's number three leader to meet Putin in most senior face-to-face since invasion

From CNN's Simone McCarthy

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Center in the Moscow region on August 15, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Center in the Moscow region on August 15, 2022.

China's number three leader is expected to meet in person with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, in what will be the most senior-level, face-to-face meeting between the two countries since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Li Zhanshu, a member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee and the country's top legislator, will meet Putin during the Eastern Economic Forum, Russian state news agency Tass reported.

Li is expected to attend the forum as part of a 10-day overseas tour with stops in Russia, South Korea, Mongolia and Nepal starting Wednesday, Chinese state media reported this week. That trip also makes Li the most senior Chinese official to leave the country since the start of the pandemic, which has seen China close borders and limit in-person diplomacy.

The expected meeting underlines the importance of the Russian relationship for China, even in the face of international blow back against Moscow after its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

It also comes weeks before a critical five-yearly political meeting in Beijing, where Xi Jinping is expected to break with tradition and assume a third term in power, cementing his role as China's most powerful leader in decades.

Moscow and Beijing have emerged as closer partners in recent years as both face tensions with the West, with Xi and Putin declaring the two countries had a "no limit" partnership weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has since refused to condemn the aggression, instead repeatedly laying blame for the conflict on NATO and the United States. 

8:27 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

Ukraine ambassador to UN says IAEA report backs claim that Russia is using nuclear plant as a shield

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia and Richard Roth

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya attends a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine at the United Nations Headquarters on September 6.
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya attends a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine at the United Nations Headquarters on September 6. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations said his country's claims that the Russians are using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as a shield for its personnel and military hardware have “been verified by the IAEA.”

“Against a background of increased security threats following the occupation of (the power plant) Ukraine has clearly demonstrated its readiness to explore every option to neutralize a nuclear risk,” Sergiy Kyslytsya said.

The preparation of the visit and ensuing developments have revealed that the occupying power is willing to further engage in nuclear terrorism and spare no effort to misuse the IAEA for manipulative purposes.”

His comments follow an IAEA report on Tuesday that said the nuclear watchdog was "gravely concerned" by the situation at the plant.

Kyslytsya said “armed provocations (by Russia) continue.”

He refuted Russian claims that Ukraine is responsible for shelling in the area. “We confirm, that under no circumstances has Ukraine ever resorted to forceful military actions in relation to the (power plant) which would endanger not only our own state but also millions of lives in he neighboring countries.”

“The only way to ultimately remove the nuclear threats stemming from the illegal Russian presence at the plant, is the withdrawal of the Russian weaponry and troops and the return of the station to the legitimate full control of Ukraine.”

He said the country shares the recommendations of the report, and is ready to consult with the IAEA on its continued presence at the facility. 

8:26 a.m. ET, September 7, 2022

It's mid-morning in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, is calling for a safety zone around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine to prevent a nuclear disaster, stating in a report released Tuesday that it remained "gravely concerned" about the situation following its mission to the site last week. 

Here are the latest developments:

Putin and Xi to meet: Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet on the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan next week, in what will be the first face-to-face between the two leaders since the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. It would also be the first overseas trip for Xi since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, China's number three leader is expected to meet Putin on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday.

IAEA report says safety principles were violated at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and calls for safety zone: The agency emphasized the urgent need for interim measures "to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means." To achieve this, the IAEA called for the establishment of "a nuclear safety and security protection zone.” The report added, “The IAEA is ready to start immediately the consultations leading to the urgent establishment of such a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the (power plant).” The agency says its team saw first-hand the damage shelling has caused to the facility and “noted with concern that the shelling could have impacted safety related structures, systems and components, and could have caused safety significant impacts, loss of lives and personnel injuries.”

UN nuclear watchdog saw military vehicles and equipment inside Zaporizhzhia plant, according to report: The International Atomic Energy Agency saw Russian military equipment and personnel inside the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during its visit of the facility, Director General Rafael Grossi said in a report published on Tuesday. “The team observed the presence of Russian military personnel, vehicles and equipment at various places at the ZNPP, including several military trucks on the ground floor of the Unit 1 and Unit 2 turbine halls and military vehicles stationed under the overpass connecting the reactor units,” according to the report. The IAEA said the presence of military personnel and equipment creates “very challenging circumstances” for staff trying to maintain normal operations at the plant.

IAEA warns of potential interference after team saw unit of Russian nuclear agency at Zaporizhzhia plant: The IAEA said the team it sent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine saw a unit of Russia's nuclear agency at the facility. The IAEA inspectors “observe[d] the presence of an expert group from Rosenergoatom,” which is a unit of Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, according to a report published on Tuesday. “It was explained to the team by the Ukrainian plant staff and managers that the role of this expert group was to provide advice on nuclear safety, security, and operations to the management of the (power plant),” the IAEA said. But “the presence of Rosatom senior technical staff could lead to interference with the normal lines of operational command or authority and create potential frictions when it comes to decision-making,” according to the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.

Zelensky called for the demilitarization of the nuclear plant: The Ukrainian President said in his nightly address Tuesday, “The [IAEA] mission, which had visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, has presented a documentary summary of its work."

“The report notes the presence of Russian military equipment on the territory of the NPP, emphasizes pressure on our nuclear workers, and makes clear references to the Russian military occupation. That's good,” he said. Zelensky added, “As for IAEA Director General Grossi's proposal to create a protection zone at the plant, we need to we need to look into the specific sense of such tool: what exactly can be considered protection? If the sense of this proposal is to demilitarize the territory of the nuclear power plant – and this is logical, because it was the Russian military presence that put the Zaporizhzhia station on the brink of a radiation disaster – then we can support such a demilitarized protection zone."