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July 13, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Farmer shows 'deadly crop' left on his farm by Russian military
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What we covered here

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed signs of progress in talks mediated by the UN and Turkey to guarantee safe passage of merchant shipping in and out of Ukrainian ports.
  • Zelensky touted the successes of Western-donated “modern artillery” after his country’s forces struck another Russian ammunition depot. Satellite images show a massive crater following the strike in the occupied Kherson region on Tuesday.
  • Ukraine’s military reports widespread fighting in the country, with Ukrainian forces on the offensive in the south and Russian artillery active in Donetsk and Kharkiv.
  • The death toll has risen following a Russian rocket strike on a residential building in the eastern city of Chasiv Yar, according to Ukrainian officials.
27 Posts

Another attack reported in Russian-occupied Kherson

Witnesses in the town of Nova Kakhovka in Russian-occupied Kherson report another strike Wednesday, the second this week.

Serhiy Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, said the target was a Russian munitions depot in the Sokil district.

HIMARS is the long-range US artillery system recently supplied to Ukraine by the United States and is renowned for its accuracy. It’s not clear that the HIMARS system caused the explosion Wednesday.

On Monday night, a warehouse in Nova Kakhovka was struck, causing multiple detonations. Ukrainian officials said it was an ammunition and weaponry store while the pro-Russian administration in Kherson said a store of fertilizer had blown up.

Zelensky welcomes progress towards agreement on grain exports 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed signs of progress in talks mediated by the United Nations and Turkey to guarantee safe passage of merchant shipping in and out of Ukrainian ports.

In his daily address, Zelensky said, “We are indeed making significant efforts to restore food supply to the world market. And I am grateful to the United Nations and Turkey for their respective efforts.”

“The success of this story is needed not only by our state but also, without exaggeration, by the whole world. If it is possible to remove the Russian threat to shipping in the Black Sea, it will remove the severity of the global food crisis,” he said.

He added that the Ukrainian delegation has informed him “there has been some progress.”

“We will agree on the details with the UN Secretary General in the coming days,” Zelensky said.

Hungary issues "state of danger" over energy crisis

A natural gas storage facility in Zsana, Hungary.

The Hungarian government has issued a “state of danger” on Wednesday due to the ongoing energy crisis in the country, putting a seven-point plan in place to prepare for upcoming government measures in August, according to Zoltan Kovacs, spokesperson for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. 

Quoting Gergely Gulyás, who heads the Hungarian prime minister’s office, Kovacs said government measures would include, domestic natural gas production to be increased to two billion cubic meters, exporting a ban on energy sources, boosting domestic lignite production.

Additional measured include the relaunch of a power plant, extending the operations of a nuclear power plant, soliciting market price from consumers with above-average energy consumption, Kovacs said on Twitter.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is also responsible for securing additional gas supplies, Kovacs added.

Natural gas supplies across Europe have suffered since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causing countries to scramble as they try to preserve supplies in case Russia turns off the taps. 

In 2021, Hungary signed a 15-year natural gas supply deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom to supply gas to the country, in a move criticized by Ukraine. 

So far, Gazprom has cut off at least 20 billion cubic meters of its annual gas supplies to customers in six European countries — Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands — because they failed to make payments in rubles, a demand President Vladimir Putin made back in March.

In an interview with CNN in April, Szijjártó confirmed Hungary will use the payment scheme put in place by Moscow to pay for its oil and gas.

Szijjártó said there are no alternative sources or routes which makes it possible for them to stop importing Russian energy in the next few years. 

Previous reporting from Pamela Boykoff and Anna Cooban.

Talks between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN on grain end

Military delegations from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and UN officials attend a meeting to discuss shipment of Ukrainian grain in Istanbul, Turkey on July 13.

Talks between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations held in Istanbul to discuss grain exports from Ukraine have now ended.

“The four-party meeting between the military delegations of the Ministry of Defense of Turkey, the Russian Federation and Ukraine and the United Nations delegation regarding the safe shipment of grains waiting in Ukrainian ports by sea ended at the Kalender Pavilion,” the Turkish Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Some more context: Ukraine hopes to speed up grain exports through reopened Danube River routes amid Russia’s blockade of key Black Sea ports.

The line of barges currently waiting to sail up the Danube River and load up on grain at one of Ukraine’s river ports will take several weeks to clear, first deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky said in a televised address Wednesday.

About 80% of Ukraine’s grain exports were shipped from the country’s Black Sea ports before Russia’s invasion.

Read more here.

2 Russian missile strikes reported in the region of Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian authorities say

Two Russian missile strikes were conducted in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to the regional military administration.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the office of the Ukrainian President, said Wednesday that one of the missile strikes in Zaporizhzhia injured seven.

“There is a hit in one of the enterprises … Seven people were injured. The head of the enterprise took the employees to the shelter, which probably saved their lives.”

The strikes come as Ukraine steps up its own use of long-range artillery and rocket systems.

“In the last two weeks, the situation has become much more tense as one of the Russian military bases was completely destroyed, a railway bridge was blown up, an armored train derailed,” said Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of occupied Melitopol.

On Tuesday, another military base being used by the Russians was destroyed near the village of Myrne, a few kilometers from Melitopol, he added.

CNN is unable to confirm the attack on the base at Myrne.

Fedorov, who is not in Melitopol, said the Russians were “trying to block the departure of people from the occupied territories.”

He said fewer cars left Melitopol yesterday and tens of thousands of people remain in the city.

“According to our estimates, up to 60,000 - 70,000 residents remain in Melitopol. This is about half of the population before the invasion,” he said.

Ukraine has "nothing to discuss" with Russia on peace talks, foreign minister says

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine on July 12.

“There is nothing to discuss” on the subject of peace talks with Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday in an online briefing with reporters.

“Currently, there are no talks between Russia and Ukraine, because of the position of Russia and its continued aggression against our country. So there is really nothing to discuss,” he told CNN.

Ukraine’s objective in this war is “to liberate our territories and restore our territorial integrity and full sovereignty in the east and in the south of Ukraine. This is the end point of our negotiating position,” he added.

Kuleba also played down suggestions there might be “fatigue” abroad with the conflict.

He said the website created by the Ukrainian government had reached 600 million people around the world, including 91 million in June.

“Despite the narratives about war fatigue, our communications only improve and become stronger,” he said.

Lawyer of convicted Russian soldier asks Kyiv court to reverse verdict

The lawyer of 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin — who was sentenced to life in prison in Ukraine’s first war crime trial since Russia’s invasion — said that his client “had no intention of killing a man.” 

Shishimarin was found guilty of killing a 62-year-old civilian during his deployment with the Russian army in the early days of the war. He was sentenced to life in prison on May 23.

Shishimarin’s legal team asked the judges at the Kyiv Court of Appeals to reverse the verdict, arguing that Shishimarin “did not shoot accurately” and urging the court to consider that he refused to shoot several times and surrendered voluntarily. 

“He had no intention of killing a man,” said his lawyer, Viktor Ovsyannikov.

“The only one who could shoot from the car was Shishimarin. He refused to shoot several times. But he fired. He thought it was a threat to his life. Only one shot went to the head. If it had been aimed shooting, all the bullets would have hit the victim. Only one bullet hit the victim,” Ovsyannikov added.

Ovsyannikov also said that it is “necessary to distinguish the one who tragically accidentally killed a man from those who deliberately shell residential areas with artillery.”

The court has asked Shishimarin’s lawyer to supplement the appeal. The next hearing is scheduled for July 25. 

Talks between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and UN on grain begin in Istanbul

Military delegations from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and UN officials attend a meeting to discuss shipment of Ukrainian grain in Istanbul, Turkey on July 13.

Talks between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations have kicked off in Istanbul, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said in a statement Wednesday.

“The four-party meeting between the military delegations of the defense ministries of Turkey, the Russian Federation and Ukraine and the United Nations delegation regarding the safe shipment of grains waiting in Ukrainian ports by sea started at the Kalender Kosk,” it said.

Some more context: Ukraine hopes to speed up grain exports through reopened Danube River routes amid Russia’s blockade of key Black Sea ports.

The line of barges currently waiting to sail up the Danube River and load up on grain at one of Ukraine’s river ports will take several weeks to clear, first deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky said in a televised address Wednesday.

“A queue of about 90 barges has formed in the area of the Danube River for several months and will continue for several more weeks,” Vysotsky said. “Thanks to the release of Snake Island, the additional throughput is four to five vessels per day.”

“This route is not able to compensate for the volumes that we exported through our Black Sea ports,” he also added.

About 80% of Ukraine’s grain exports were shipped from the country’s Black Sea ports before Russia’s invasion.

Line of barges waiting to sail up Danube and collect grain will take several weeks to clear, Ukraine says

The line of barges currently waiting to sail up the Danube River and load up on grain at one of Ukraine’s river ports will take several weeks to clear, first deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky said in a televised address Wednesday.

“A queue of about 90 barges has formed in the area of the Danube River for several months and will continue for several more weeks,” Vysotsky said. “Thanks to the release of Snake Island, the additional throughput is four to five vessels per day.”

“This route is not able to compensate for the volumes that we exported through our Black Sea ports,” he also added.

Before Russia’s invasion, about 80% of Ukraine’s grain exports were shipped from the country’s Black Sea ports.

Vysotsky said that harvesting had already begun in Ukrainian-controlled territories, with winter barley the first crop to be picked. 

“It is already being harvested even in the northern regions,” he said. “The yield [for winter barley] is a little lower than last year, but last year’s harvest was a record.”

“In general, the yield this year is higher than the five-year average,” he added.

Hearing of convicted Russian soldier in Kyiv court resumes following air raid sirens

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin attends a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 23.

The hearing of 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin at the Kyiv Court of Appeals has resumed after a brief pause following an air raid siren.

Shishimarin was earlier seen taken out of the courtroom by CNN teams on the ground.

Shishimarin is the first person to be convicted of a war crime since Russia’s invasion. He is expected to challenge the court decision handed to him in May. He was found guilty of killing a 62-year-old civilian during his deployment with the Russian army in the early days of the war.

He was sentenced to life in prison on May 23.

Kremlin declines to comment on US accusation it intends to buy Iranian drones

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks in Moscow in 2021.

The Kremlin says an alleged purchase of Iranian drones by Russia will not be discussed when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Iran next week.

On Tuesday, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told journalists the US had information indicating that Iran is preparing to supply Russia with drones – including weapons-capable drones – and begin training Russian forces on how to operate them as early as this month.

When asked about the accusations during a conference call with journalists on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian presidency had “no comments on this matter.”

He later added the topic would not be discussed when Putin travels to Iran on Tuesday. 

The Kremlin also commented on US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, with Peskov saying that he hopes Biden’s “oil diplomacy” will not turn Saudi Arabia against Russia.

“We appreciate the work we are able to do with our partners [within the framework of the OPEC+ agreements], including with leading partners such as Saudi Arabia,” Peskov said. 

“We highly value our interests and our interaction with Riyadh. Of course, we hope that the development of Riyadh’s relations with other world capitals will not be directed against us,” he added.

Biden will meet with the Saudi leadership during his trip to Saudi Arabia this week with an aim to strengthen partnership between the countries, and he will also hold bilateral meetings with a number of other Middle Eastern leaders before closing the trip with the GCC+3 Summit, according to Sullivan.

Catch up on the latest developments in Russia's war in Ukraine

If you’re just joining us, here’s what you need to know about the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic opens embassy in Moscow: The flag of the Russia-backed separatist-held region was on display outside the embassy following the official opening in Moscow on July 12. The opening of the embassy took place without any senior Russian government figures in attendance. “We can’t celebrate here when our countrymen are dying,” DPR Ambassador Olga Makeyeva said.

The death toll in Chasiv Yar’s building strike climbs to 47: The number has been steadily climbing since a Russian rocket struck a residential building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Chasiv Yar on Saturday. The rescue operation is still ongoing, according to authorities.

Hearing of convicted a Russian soldier is underway in Kyiv court: The 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin is expected to challenge the court decision handed to him in May. He was found guilty of killing a 62-year-old civilian during his deployment with the Russian army in the early days of the war, and he was sentenced to life in prison on May 23.

Here’s a look at the Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine:

US-sanctioned Putin ally calls for investigation into Russian journalists

A close ally of President Vladimir Putin, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, has asked Russia’s Investigative Committee to open a criminal case against two journalists of the independent Russian publication Meduza over its investigation into the involvement of Russian mercenaries in the war in Ukraine, Prigozhin-owned company Concord said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch known as Putin’s “chef,” is thought to be the driving force behind the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries and was one of the members of Putin’s elite sanctioned by the US in March after the invasion of Ukraine.

In the statement, Prigozhin says he asked the Investigative Committee to open a case against Meduza’s editorial director Tatiana Yershova, as well as journalist Lilia Yapparova, for disseminating “fake news” about the Russian army and treason, based on the questions they sent to him about the participation of the Wagner Group in the war in Ukraine.

UK and US officials said in March that the private Wagner Group was active in eastern Ukraine.

“The questions asked by the authors contain their initial information that a certain private military company Wagner is directly involved in the special operation carried out by the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine,” Prigozhin said in an appeal to the Russian Investigative Committee.

“From them we can conclude that Lilia Yapparova, as well as employees of Meduza unknown to me, are preparing mass informational provocations against Russia, that is why I ask you to initiate criminal proceedings against the above persons,” he added.

Meduza published a deep dive into the inner workings of the Russian government on Wednesday, suggesting the relationship between Prigozhin and the Kremlin had allegedly soured shortly before the invasion of Ukraine. One of the questions submitted by Meduza to the businessman and released by his company Concord specifically addresses Prigozhin’s relationship with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. 

Meduza also published an investigation into a special military unit allegedly formed in Moscow to recruit mercenaries from Russian regions to participate in Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. According to Meduza, this unit is at least partially financed from the budget of Moscow and is often referred to as the “Sobyanin’s Regiment” – a reference to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.

When asked by CNN on a regular conference call Wednesday about that military unit, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment, saying “We don’t know anything about it.”

Will negotiations in Turkey break the deadlock over Ukrainian grain supplies?

Turkey is hosting talks on Wednesday to try and break the deadlock surrounding the export of grain shipments from Ukraine. 

Military representatives from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine are meeting with a UN delegation to discuss the “safe shipment of grain waiting in Ukrainian ports to international markets by sea,” Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.

Europe’s breadbasket

While the conflict remains confined to within Ukraine’s borders, the impact it is having on food security is truly global. 

The Black Sea basin is one of the world’s most important areas for grain and agricultural production, according to the World Food Programme. As such the consequences of the conflict have increased pressure on resources and access to food for countries all over the world. 

Known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” Ukraine was the fifth largest exporter of wheat onto the global market last year. According to a report published by the World Food Programme (WFP) earlier this month, Ukraine’s export capacity is now around a sixth of what it was before the war.

The WFP said it is “closely coordinating with key actors (EU member states and IFIs) on ways to optimize the export of grain from Ukraine using all options: road, rail, river and sea.”

Last month the WFP warned that the “ripple effects” of the conflict would “push millions of people in countries across the world into poverty and hunger.”

The crisis is having a devastating impact on impoverished countries such as Egypt and Somalia, which get around 80% and 90% respectively of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine and have seen huge price increases since the start of the conflict.

The report published by the WFP and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on June 6 said that “the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already steadily rising food and energy prices worldwide, which are already affecting economic stability across all regions.”

The invasion

Russia’s invasion on February 24 came after the winter crop of wheat was planted, meaning it is now ready to harvest. But the agricultural industry has been crippled by numerous factors. 

Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by the war, which has massive implications for manpower. Meanwhile the farmers that remain face numerous challenges. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Moscow of engaging in scorched earth tactics which have destroyed vast quantities of crops, storage and machinery, while there is also the danger of unexploded missiles and ordnance that scatter the fields. 

Dozens of silos and some of the biggest export terminals have been destroyed by Russian bombardment. One of the largest – in the southern city of Mykolaiv – contained some 250,000 tons of grain before being burned in June.

Additionally, some analysts say there are challenges in obtaining diesel fuel because of the destruction of refineries, meaning some crops cannot be harvested. 

Russia has blockaded Black Sea ports, meaning grain already harvested cannot be exported internationally. The UN has said that the blockade has already raised global food prices and threatens to cause a catastrophic food shortage in parts of the world.   

According to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry, around 80% of Ukraine’s grain was exported from its Black Sea ports before the invasion. Now exports exit the country exclusively through the Danube River, access to which was made possible after Ukrainian forces retook Snake Island from Russian forces in June. Ukraine is hoping to speed up exports via this route.

Ukraine has also accused Russia of removing supplies by stealth and passing them off as Russian grain. Russian operators are transferring grain at sea in an apparent effort to disguise its origin, according to satellite imagery reviewed by CNN, and merchant ships are turning off their transponders. Russia has repeatedly denied stealing grain or blocking ports.

Some of what would have been Ukrainian produce is now in territory held by the Russians and their allies in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). The leader of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, said recently that the wheat harvest there would be much higher than in 2021.

What are the aims of the talks?

Specific details have not yet been released. However Reuters has spoken to unnamed diplomats who have suggested that elements of the plan under discussion include Ukrainian vessels guiding grain ships in and out through mined port waters; Russia agreeing to a truce while shipments move; and Turkey – supported by the United Nations – inspecting ships to allay Russian fears of weapons smuggling.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Tuesday stressed the role of the United Nations in the talks and the need for “a solution that will guarantee the security of the southern regions of our country,” spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko told Reuters.

Reporting from Tim Lister, Petro Zadorozhnyy, Vasco Cotovio and Isil Sariyuce

Opinion: How Putin's stranglehold of wheat ripples across the globe

As farmers across Ukraine attempt to bring in their wheat harvests in the coming weeks, it could be make-or-break for global food supplies.

Last year, Ukraine was the fifth largest exporter of wheat onto the global market. The invasion in February followed the planting of the winter wheat crop, which, despite the incursion of Russian tanks, is now ready for harvest.

But this harvest will be markedly different as the war continues to rage. Those farmers who have stayed are wary of unexploded missiles and ordnance that lie scattered in their fields. Some are musing burning crops rather than risk losing their combine harvesters and tractors – or their lives – bringing them in.

Adding to the crisis, Russia’s deliberate blockade of Odesa’s ports is preventing the grain harvested last year being shipped from Ukraine to import-dependent countries like Egypt, Libya and Somalia – all now in desperate need.

In occupied areas of Ukraine, there are reports of grain being illegally trucked to ports in Crimea, or even to Russia – and shipped out as Russian produce. The Ukrainian government claims over $100 million worth of grain (roughly 500,000 tons) has been stolen.

The conflict has simultaneously highlighted the reliance of developing countries on food imports and sparked a global price escalation, affecting both rich and poor countries alike and exposing what some have long feared: That our interconnected global food systems are far too fragile to cope with such shocks.

Before the war, Ukraine and Russia were together supplying 100% of Somalia’s wheat imports, 80% of Egypt’s and 75% of Sudan’s. If Ukrainian ports remain blocked, grain silos won’t be emptied and the new harvest may simply rot on the fields while millions go hungry.

Read the full article here:

A Ukrainian farmer collects barley after harvest at a grain storage in Odesa region, Ukraine 22 June 2022. 7 million tonnes of wheat, 14 million tonnes of corn grain, 3 million tonnes of sunflower oil, and 3 million tonnes of sunflower meal have not entered the world market due to Russias blockade of Ukrainian seaports, that has led to a record rise in world market prices and will inevitably result in a global food crisis and rising inflation, as media informed. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Opinion: The 'cheap food' era could soon be over. Here's what comes next

Analysis: Two exhausted armies are battling for eastern Ukraine. Can either of them strike a decisive blow?

Russian troops ride on top of an armored personnel carrier in the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, on July 4.

When Vladimir Putin refocused his war in Ukraine on the country’s east three months ago, he did so bruised by the failures of his initial lunge towards Kyiv and desperate for a face-saving success.

After a slow and bloody march through Luhansk was finalized with the capture of the city of Lysychansk, the Russian President might consider himself halfway there.

But the war has arrived at another crossroads and fighters on both sides are steeling themselves for a third act of fighting that could tip the balance of the conflict.

“It’s a very attritional struggle,” said Justin Bronk, a senior research fellow for Airpower and Technology at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), describing the tone of the war after three months of fighting in Donbas.
“It’s a struggle between two armies, both of whom have taken huge losses and are very close to exhaustion.”

Ukrainian servicemen ride on a military vehicle as they tow an M777 155 mm howitzer near the front line in the Donbas region, Ukraine, on July 12.

Putin’s next move is anticipated to be a drive into Donetsk, which if captured would fulfill the Kremlin’s primary objective: overrunning the entire Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has housed Russian-backed separatist factions since 2014.

But when and how that takes place is unclear. While Russia has continued intense airstrikes on various fronts in Ukraine, the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Sunday that Russian ground troops were in the middle of an operational pause to “rest, refit, and reconstitute.”

That could give Ukraine’s army time to prepare to defend the parts of Donetsk it still holds; chiefly the industrial belt running south from the city of Sloviansk. And the threat of Ukrainian counter-offensives elsewhere in the country, including the key southern city of Kherson, remains.

The next phase of full-scale fighting, when it does break out, may not be the last. But it may determine the future of Ukraine’s heartland region — and analysts say it will go some considerable way to determining the war’s results.

Read the full analysis here.

Chasiv Yar death toll climbs to 47

Firefighters remove a body from a building amid search and rescue operations in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk, Ukraine, on July 11.

The death toll has risen to 47 following a Russian rocket strike on a residential building in Chasiv Yar over the weekend, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the office of the President of Ukraine.

The rescue operation in the eastern city is ongoing, he said on Wednesday.

The building was hit on Saturday evening as Russia once again ramped up its assault on cities and towns in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to take control over the entire Donbas area.

Ukraine claims intense Russian shelling, airstrikes in Donetsk region

Russian forces targeted Bakhmut and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region overnight, carrying out airstrikes and an intense shelling campaign, the Ukrainian military said on Wednesday. 

“In the Kramatorsk direction, the enemy did not conduct active operations, but carried out shelling from barrel artillery and mortars in the areas of the settlements of Tetianivka, Mykolaivka, Kryva Luka, Siversk, Serebrianka, and Spirne,” the Ukrainian General staff said, adding that an airstrike was carried out near Verkhniokamianske.

According to the Donetsk region military administration, residential buildings and public infrastructure were hit. Early reports suggest there were no fatalities but authorities are still assessing the situation. 

Several districts were also shelled in the Bakhmut area, the General Staff said. Air and missile strikes were also carried out. 

“The enemy carried out missile and air strikes on Toretsk and Rayske and airstrikes near Berestove,” it said. 

Self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic opens embassy in Moscow 

The flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) on display outside the embassy following the official opening in Moscow on July 12.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Tuesday opened an embassy in Russia.

Ambassador Olga Makeyeva and Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova told journalists that diplomats representing the Russia-backed DPR have already received “a huge number” of petitions from citizens, with the intention to address their problems, according to a report in Russian daily Kommersant. 

Donetsk lies in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has seen a heavy Russian offensive in recent months. In a move denounced by the West and Ukraine, Russia recognized the self-proclaimed independence of the DPR and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) — another breakaway entity in the Donbas — on Feb. 21, three days before Russia launched its invasion.

The opening of the embassy in Moscow on Tuesday took place without any senior Russian government figures in attendance. “We can’t celebrate here when our countrymen are dying,” Makeyeva said.

Ambassador of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) to Russia, Olga Makeeva, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Natalia Nikonorova, right, outside the DPR embassy in Moscow on July 12.

The diplomats also plan to “provide truthful information about the events in the DPR” and increase the number of countries that recognize its independence, Kommersant reported.

Syria is the only country other than Russia that officially recognizes the DPR. According to Nikonorova, recognition talks are underway with North Korea.

Makeeva said in addition to working with citizens, her approximately 20 staff members will also address political issues.

“We have to work with diplomatic missions represented in Moscow. But we will also have to convey truthful information about what is happening in the Republic and, of course, implement the foreign policy of the DNR in Russia,” Makeeva said. 

It's 10 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky touted the successes of Western-donated “modern artillery” after his country’s forces struck another Russian ammunition depot. Satellite images show a massive crater following the strike in the Russian-occupied southern Kherson region on Tuesday.

Here are the latest headlines:

  • Zelensky on Western weapons: In his nightly address Tuesday, the Ukrainian leader said Russian “occupiers have already felt very well what modern artillery is, and they will not have a safe rear anywhere on our land.” His remarks come after explosions rocked the town of Nova Kakhovka in Kherson on Monday night. A Planet Labs satellite image taken Tuesday shows a huge crater following the Ukrainian missile strike on what Kyiv says was a Russian ammunition depot.
  • Grain talks: Turkey will host talks on Wednesday with Russia, Ukraine and the UN on the export of grain shipments sitting in Ukrainian ports, Turkey’s Defense Minister said Tuesday. It comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held separate calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on grain exports Monday. Ukrainian officials say more than 20 million tons of grain remain stuck in Ukraine due to Moscow’s blockade of Black Sea ports.
  • Danube River routes: Meanwhile, Ukraine hopes to speed up grain exports through the recently reopened Bystre canal of the Danube River. Access to the Danube and its small inland river ports was made possible after Ukrainian forces retook Snake Island from Russian forces in June.
  • Donetsk strike: The death toll has risen to 45 following a Russian rocket strike on a residential building in the eastern city of Chasiv Yar on Saturday, the head of the Donetsk region military administration said in a Telegram post Tuesday. At least nine others were injured, he added.
  • Dire conditions: A Ukrainian official reported growing unsanitary conditions, a lack of food and water, and issues with gas and electricity supplies in the eastern city of Severodonetsk. The city fell to Russian forces in June following months of grueling and bloody fighting, leaving the Luhansk region almost fully under Russian control.
  • Heavy fighting: Ukraine’s military reports widespread fighting in the country, with Ukrainian forces on the offensive in the south and Russian artillery active in Donetsk and Kharkiv.

Death toll rises to 45 following Russian rocket attack on Donetsk residential building

Emergency personnel clear debris from the destroyed apartment building in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine on Tuesday.

The death toll has risen to 45 following a Russian rocket strike on a residential building in Chasiv Yar over the weekend, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk region military administration, said in a Telegram post Tuesday.

At least nine others were injured, he added.

The building was hit on Saturday evening as Russia once again ramped up its assault on cities and towns in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to take control over the entire Donbas area.

Some 80% of the rubble has been removed and about 420 metric tons of destroyed structures have been cleared, Kyrylenko said. The rescue operation is ongoing.

Some context: Chasiv Yar and other towns in Donetsk have been under heavy fire in recent days as Russian forces try to grind down Ukrainian resistance in the area and move further west toward Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

Ukraine aims to speed up grain exports through reopened Danube River routes

Ukraine hopes to speed up grain exports through the recently reopened Bystre canal of the Danube River amid Russia’s blockade of its key Black Sea ports.

“In the past four days, 16 ships have already passed through the mouth of Bystre. We plan to maintain this pace,” Yurii Vaskov, Ukraine’s deputy infrastructure minister said in a statement on Tuesday.

Access to the Danube and its small inland river ports was made possible after Ukrainian forces retook Snake Island from Russian forces in June.

Vaskov added that Kyiv was negotiating with Romania and the European Commission to increase the number of ships crossing through the canal and expected congestion on the route to “be eliminated,” within a week — clearing the way for Ukraine to increase its monthly grain exports by 500,000 metric tons.

More than 90 ships are waiting to enter Ukrainian ports through the Danube’s Sulina channel, according to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry.

Prior to Russia’s invasion in February, about 80% of Ukraine’s grain was exported from its Black Sea ports, the ministry said. Now, exports leave the country exclusively through the Danube ports, railway and road checkpoints.

The capacity of the new routes is “currently insufficient to replace seaports fully,” the ministry said. In June, Ukraine exported about 2.5 million metric tons of goods, far short of the 8 million metric tons it had hoped to export, the ministry added.

Turkey meeting: Turkey will host talks on Wednesday with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations on the export of grain shipments sitting in Ukrainian ports, according to the Turkish defense minister. Ukrainian officials say more than 20 million tons of grain remain stuck in Ukraine due to Moscow’s blockade of Black Sea ports.

Ukraine's Zelensky touts "modern artillery" after forces hit another Russian ammo depot

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has touted the successes of Western-donated “modern artillery” after his country’s forces struck another Russian ammunition depot on Tuesday. 

“The occupiers have already felt very well what modern artillery is, and they will not have a safe rear anywhere on our land, which they occupied,” Zelensky said in his nightly address.
“They felt that the operations of our scouts to protect their Motherland are orders of magnitude stronger than any of their ‘special operations.’
“Russian soldiers — and we know this from interceptions of their conversations — are frankly afraid of our Armed Forces.”

Zelensky’s remarks come after explosions rocked the town of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region of Ukraine on Monday night. Video posted on social media showed loud explosions and a huge ball of fire lighting up the night sky.

Serhiy Khlan, a Ukrainian official who is a member of Kherson regional council, said on Facebook, “In Nova Kakhovka minus one Russian ammo depot. They brought, brought, stockpiled, stockpiled and now have fireworks at night.”

Ukraine has been using US-donated HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems and other Western-made weaponry to target Russian ammunition depots, deep inside Moscow-controlled territory, over the past few weeks. 

Satellite image shows massive crater after Ukrainian strike on Russian ammunition depot in Kherson region

A massive crater is seen in Russian-occupied Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region of Ukraine on Tuesday.

A massive crater is the only thing left after a Ukrainian missile hit a building — which Ukrainian officials say was being used as an ammunition depot by Russia — in Russian-occupied Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region of Ukraine, according to a new satellite image from Planet Labs.  

The satellite image was taken on July 12, according to Planet Labs. Comparing it to a satellite image taken by Planet Labs on July 11, a number of the surrounding buildings have also been destroyed, or significantly damaged.  

Turkey to host Russia-Ukraine talks on grain shipments

Turkey will host talks on Wednesday with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations on the export of grain shipments sitting in Ukrainian ports, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Tuesday.

“Tomorrow, in Istanbul the military delegations of the Turkish, Russian Federation and Ukraine ministries of defense and the United Nations delegation will hold talks for the safe shipment of grain waiting in Ukrainian ports to international markets by sea,” he said.

It comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held separate calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on grain exports Monday. Ukrainian officials say more than 20 million tons of grain remain stuck in Ukraine due to Moscow’s blockade of Black Sea ports.

"Unsanitary conditions are growing" in Severodonetsk, Ukrainian official says

“Unsanitary conditions are growing” in Severodonetsk and “there is not enough water and not enough food” in the city, said Roman Vlasenko, head of the eastern city’s regional administration.

There are also issues with gas and electricity supplies, Vlasenko added.

Severodonetsk fell to Russian forces in June following months of grueling and bloody fighting, leaving the Luhansk region almost fully under Russian control.

He described the living situation as “very sad” for those that have remained even though “there are not many people left there.”

A sign in the city was repainted from Ukrainian to Russian colors on Monday.

Vlasenko said “pressure continues on pro-Ukrainian activists” and they continue to face serious challenges.

Go Deeper

A crucial Russian gas pipeline has been shut for repairs. Will it ever reopen?

Go Deeper

A crucial Russian gas pipeline has been shut for repairs. Will it ever reopen?