July 1, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Simone McCarthy, Rob Picheta, Laura Smith-Spark, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 6:35 p.m. ET, July 1, 2022
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5:54 p.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Russian hackers allegedly target Ukraine's biggest private energy firm

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

Russian hackers carried out a "cyberattack" on Ukraine's biggest private energy conglomerate in retaliation for its owner's opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine, the firm said Friday.

DTEK Group, which owns coal and thermal power plants in various parts of Ukraine, said the goal of the hack was to "destabilize the technological processes" of its distribution and generation firms, spread propaganda about the company's operations, and "to leave Ukrainian consumers without electricity."

The actual impact of the hack, and what computer systems were breached, is unclear. There have been no reports of outages caused by the incident. DTEK did not respond to requests for comment.

The hacking incident was disclosed days after Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man and DTEK's owner, sued Russia at the European Court of Human Rights for allegedly costing Akhmetov billions of dollars in property rights damages.

A Russian-speaking hacking group known as XakNet claimed to have breached DTEK's networks this week and posted screenshots on the Telegram app of purported DTEK data as proof. The hacking group surfaced in March, according to a US and allied government advisory, and has claimed to target Ukrainian officials in support of Russia's war.

XakNet has had access to data belonging to an organization that was likely hacked by a Russian cyber espionage group, suggesting a possible link between XakNet and the Russian government, said Alden Wahlstrom a senior analyst at US cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which has investigated some of XakNet's activity.

On its Telegram channel, XakNet has mocked and denied the suggestion that it works with the Russian government.

CNN has requested comment from the Russian Embassy in Washington.

The hacking incident coincided with Russian shelling this week of a DTEK-owned thermal power plant in Kryvyi Rih, in central Ukraine, according to DTEK, whose websites says it employs 56,000 people.

Microsoft in an April report made the case that Russian hacking has sometimes been used in tandem with kinetic military strikes. A cyberattack hit a Ukrainian broadcast company on March 1, the same day as a Russian missile strike against a TV tower in Kyiv, the report said.

Read more here.

3:05 p.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Ukraine's foreign minister calls for modern missile defense systems after Odesa region attack

From CNN's Jonny Hallam and Julia Presniakova

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 28.
Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 28. (Ruslan Kaniuka/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned Russia for the deadly missile strikes on a residential area of the Odesa region in southern Ukraine that left at least 20 dead and 38 injured early on Friday morning.

In a short statement on Twitter, he called for modern missile defense systems to be sent to Ukraine.

"Terrorist state Russia continues its war against civilians with overnight missile strikes on Odesa region killing dozens, including children. I urge partners to provide Ukraine with modern missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives and put an end to this war," Kuleba said.

2:33 p.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Norway pledges 1 billion euros to support "brave people of Ukraine," according to Norwegian PM

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London 

Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre attends a meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine on July 1.
Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre attends a meeting with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine on July 1. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout/Reuters)

Norway has pledged one billion euros in funding to support the "brave people" of Ukraine, the country's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced during a trip to Kyiv on Friday. 

Addressing journalists during a joint news conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Gahr Støre said he had "to come to Ukraine to express Norway's solidarity with the people of Ukraine." 

"I have come to Kyiv today to say after five months of terrible war that Norway will pledge its solidarity with the people of Ukraine. And we will pledge one billion euros in support to your country and your people for the remaining part of 2022 and for 2023," the prime minister said. 

The funding will be used to provide humanitarian aid and support Ukraine's defense and reconstruction efforts, according to Gahr Støre. 

Zelensky thanked his Norwegian counterpart for the support package, saying Ukraine appreciates that it has "real friends" nearby. 

Zelensky called Norway a "diligent and rational member of the international community," referencing the country's decision to support European Union sanctions against Russia despite not being a member of the bloc. 

The Ukrainian leader also responded to the Russian missile strike on the port city of Odesa carried out during the early hours of Friday, calling it another example of an "act of terror against our cities." 

"This brutality from Russia yet again confirms how correct the decision of our partners was to support Ukraine with defensive weapons. No country should be left alone against this evil and I'm grateful to Norway," Zelensky continued, highlighting how the country supported Ukraine "straight away." 

11:52 a.m. ET, July 1, 2022

At least 1 dead and 5 injured after children's medical rehabilitation center near Odesa hit in Russian attack

From CNN's Jonny Hallam and Cristiana Moisescu

In the aftermath of Russia's early morning missile strikes on a residential area near Odesa in southern Ukraine, Moldova's Minister of Health Ala Nemerenco has said one of the buildings struck in the attack was a rehabilitation center for treating Moldovan children with health problems.

In a statement on Facebook, Nemerenco said that although the building itself was not badly damaged, with only windows smashed in part of the building, one employee was killed and five were injured following the strike. 

The Moldovan-owned rehabilitation center gave "children with health problems in the Republic of Moldova the opportunity to benefit from medical rehabilitation services on the Black Sea coast," Nemerenco said.

Nemerenco paid tribute to the facilities' medical staff who were injured and killed in the Russian bombardment.

"These peaceful people made the days of Moldova's children more beautiful; they took care of their rehabilitation with a lot of love and dedication, and we wish them from the bottom of our hearts a total recovery. To the family of the deceased colleague, we express our deepest condolences and sorrow," she said.

The center had been closed to patients since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, said Nemerenco. No children are thought to have been at the center at the time of the attack.

11:36 a.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Finnish foreign minister tells CNN that Europe's "security architecture has been broken" as a result of war

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks during a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, on July 1.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks during a press conference in Helsinki, Finland, on July 1. (Emmi Korhonen/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images)

After Finland was formally invited to join the NATO this week, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto spoke to CNN about the new world order where Finland could not maintain neutrality as its neighbor Russia becomes a security threat.

"I think it's a new reality. I really think that the European security architects has been broken. It's a new situation, there's a new kind of iron wall between Russia and the other countries. And of course, it's based on Russia's aggression against its neighbor Ukraine," Pekka said in an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine "has changed the security atmosphere," he added.

Pekka also said there are concerns about "the loose talks about the nuclear weapons, the chemical weapons," leading the world back to the Cuba missile crisis during the Cold War.

"Yes we have a strong traditional military. We have our F-35s coming and so forth. But what if we're threatened by unconventional weapons?" Pekka said about Finland's security concerns.

11:35 a.m. ET, July 1, 2022

War in Europe beyond Ukraine is "of course" a possibility, Finnish foreign minister tells CNN

Finland Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told CNN that "of course" war in Europe beyond Ukraine is a possibility.

"Of course it's a possibility. And that's why it's so important to support Ukraine at the moment," Haavisto told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Following decades of neutrality, Finland — along with Sweden — was formally invited to join NATO this week during the alliance's summit in Madrid, marking a historic expansion of the defense bloc that directly undercuts Russian President Vladimir Putin's aims as his war in Ukraine grinds ahead.

The group collectively decided to approve countries' applications to join after Turkey dropped its objections Tuesday, paving the way for NATO's most consequential enlargement in decades. The decision will now go to the 30 member states' parliaments and legislatures for final ratification. NATO's leaders said they expected the process to move quickly, allowing for an unprecedentedly swift accession and a show of unity against Putin.

When asked if Ukraine can win the war, Haavisto said, "They can maintain the situation and in that sense, they can win this battle. I think they are of course morally on the high ground. They are very united."

"They need our support," he added.

CNN's Jamie Crawford contributed reporting to this post.

12:20 p.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Here's what happened in the first trial hearing of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia

From CNN's Fred Pleitgen, Anna Chernova, Radina Gigova and Chris Liakos

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner, center, arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 1.
US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner, center, arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 1. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The prosecutor in the trial of WNBA player Brittney Griner announced the charges against her during a hearing Friday in a court near Moscow, Russian state news agency TASS reported. 

At the Khimki City Court, Griner was accused by a prosecutor of smuggling less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. The prosecution believes that then Griner had the intention to import the drugs into Russia's territory and put the prohibited substances into a backpack and a suitcase, according to TASS.

The Phoenix Mercury star plays in Russia during the WNBA’s off-season and was arrested at a Moscow airport a week before Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.

When Griner arrived on a flight from New York to Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Feb. 17, "two cartridges of hashish oil were found in her hand luggage during an inspection," according to TASS.

Cannabis oil is subject to control on the territory of the Russian Federation and is classified as narcotic drugs, according to TASS. 

The offense of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance is punishable by up to 10 years in prison in Russia. 

US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood said she was able to speak with Griner inside the courtroom and that the US government is working "very hard" to bring Griner and other "wrongfully detained citizens" safely home. 

"She is doing as well as can be expected in these difficult circumstances and she asked me to convey that she is in good spirits and is keeping up the faith," Rood added.

Griner’s lawyers, Alexander Boykov and Maria Blagovolina, said they were unaware of any plans to exchange Griner for a Russian prisoner held in the US in an impromptu presser at the end of the first day of her trial. 

The court will continue to hear the case next week on July 7 at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Later on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that officials from the US embassy in Russia "attended Brittney Griner’s trial today in Moscow."

"We – and I personally – have no higher priority than bringing her and other wrongfully detained Americans, including Paul Whelan, home," he said in a tweet Friday, referencing another unlawfully detained American there.

"We won’t stop working until they are reunited with their loved ones," Blinken said.

What Griner's wife says: Cherelle Griner, the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, told CNN on Thursday she wants US officials to do whatever they have to do to bring the basketball legend home – and she needs to see them do more.

“It’s really, really difficult. This is not a situation where the rhetoric is matching the action,” she said. “I do have to unfortunately push people to make sure that the things they’re telling me is also matching their actions, and so it’s been the hardest thing to balance because I can’t let up. It’s over 130 days and BG’s still not back.”

She also said she would “absolutely” like to meet with US President Joe Biden and humanize Brittney to him so he can “see BG as we see BG.”

“While everyone wants to tell me they care, I’d love for him to tell me he cares,” she added.

Read more from her interview here.

CNN's Abby Phillip, Steve Almasy and Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

4:38 p.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Russian strikes on buildings in Odesa region killed 20 people overnight, authorities say

Rescuers evacuate the body of a person from a destroyed building in the Ukrainian town of Sergiivka in the Odesa region on July 1.
Rescuers evacuate the body of a person from a destroyed building in the Ukrainian town of Sergiivka in the Odesa region on July 1. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)

The death toll from Russia's overnight strikes in the Odesa region has risen to 20, Ukraine's emergency services have said.

At least 16 people were killed in a residential building, and four more – including one child –were killed in another strike on a recreation center.

A third strike landed in a field, authorities said. A rescue operation is ongoing and 38 people were injured in the strikes.

Previous updates from Ukrainian authorities suggested two children had been killed.

“We don't expect to find anyone alive, but there is a chance,” first deputy interior minister Yevhenii Yenin said earlier on Friday, speaking from the scene of the attacks.

10:09 a.m. ET, July 1, 2022

Ukraine hopes shelling around Odesa will decrease after Russian withdrawal from Snake Island

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman

A war crimes prosecutor, center, looks at a destroyed building in the Ukrainian town of Sergiivka, near Odesa, Ukraine, on July 1.
A war crimes prosecutor, center, looks at a destroyed building in the Ukrainian town of Sergiivka, near Odesa, Ukraine, on July 1. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Following Russia's withdrawal from Snake Island in the Black Sea, Ukraine hopes that strikes on the territory around Odesa will decrease, a spokesman for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Andrii Demchenko, said Friday.

“It’s now known why the enemy took the island. They filled the territory with the means of destruction and fired from them,” Demchenko said at a briefing. “We hope now shelling of the territory of Ukraine will decrease.”

Demchenko went on to say he hoped the Ukrainian border service would be able to return to the island soon.

“The situation with Snake Island remains tense as the enemy could have mined the ways to the island. Now the situation is being monitored and investigated,” he explained. “I hope the Ukrainian border guards will return to this piece of Ukrainian land as soon as possible.”