July 25, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Tara Subramaniam, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 3:42 a.m. ET, July 26, 2022
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4:20 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Russia waging "overt gas war" against Europe, Zelensky says

From CNN's Petro Zadorozhnyy

Sunrise over the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is seen in Lubmin, Germany on July 21.
Sunrise over the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is seen in Lubmin, Germany on July 21. (Stefan Sauer/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia is waging an “overt gas war” against Europe. 

“Even despite the concession regarding the Nord Stream turbine, Russia is not going to resume gas supplies to European countries, as it is contractually obligated to do. All this is done by Russia deliberately to make it as difficult as possible for Europeans to prepare for winter,” Zelensky said in his nightly address. “This is an overt gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe — this is exactly how it should be perceived.”

Zelensky went on to say the latest move by Moscow was part of a wider scope of actions he said were “forms of terror.”

“They don't care what will happen to the people, how they will suffer — from hunger due to the blocking of ports or from winter cold and poverty... Or from occupation,” Zelensky said. “These are just different forms of terror.”

7:00 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

US State Department expects Russian agreement on Ukrainian food exports "will be implemented"

From CNN's Kylie Atwood and Michael Conte

The US State Department said that despite the Russian attack on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, they “continue to expect” that the agreement to allow Ukraine to export grain and fertilizer “will be implemented.”

“Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “We are clear-eyed going forward, but we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

Price said that the attack on Odesa “undermines the credibility of Russia’s commitments to the other parties to this deal,” and that the US “will be working with our partners around the world to see to it that Moscow is held accountable for the agreement it reached.”

2:54 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Zelensky thanks Guatemalan president's support during visit to Ukraine

From CNN's Karol Suarez and Ana Cucalon

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and President of Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei hold a joint press conference on July 25 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and President of Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei hold a joint press conference on July 25 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei for his support during his visit to Ukraine on Monday.  

"I am grateful to Guatemala for its clear and consistent support to our state, for the protection of our sovereignty, for its firm position on protecting human rights and the fundamental right of every nation to freedom and independence," Zelensky said. 

During a news conference on Monday, Zelensky said the cost of living in dozens of states and Latin America is unfairly increasing "just because one state, the Russian Federation, decided to undermine existing political and economic relations in the world." 

The leaders also announced an agreement to remove visa requirements between the two countries that, according to Zelensky, will contribute to developing commercial and social ties between both nations.

"Guatemala confirmed its interest in buying Ukrainian agricultural products and establishing industrial relations," Zelensky said. 

Guatemala's president said his country feels "disturbed by the pain and devastation that Ukraine is currently suffering, which I have witnessed when visiting the places where they have felt the horrors of this confrontation."

"In one of the darkest moments of this century. We wanted to come here to reiterate our absolute support for President Zelensky, who, with his leadership, courage, and great dignity, keeps this nation united," he added.

Giammattei called on the world's nations to join and put aside their differences, "Nations of the world, what if we join? What if we put our differences behind us and stop dividing ourselves? If instead of facing each other, we face the causes that are putting humanity at risk?"

Giammattei’s visit is the first of Guatemala's head of state to Ukraine in the history of their bilateral relations, according to Zelensky, and it's "generally the first visit of a Latin American leader since Feb. 24 and in the last 12 years."

8:10 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Turkey's defense minister tells Ukraine it's important grain shipments begin as soon as possible

From CNN's Yusuf Gezer in Istanbul

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has told the Ukrainian Infrastructure minister that it is important grain shipments begin as soon as possible. 

“[Minister Akar] expressed his satisfaction with the announcement that the grain shipment will start this week, it is important that the first ship starts sailing as soon as possible,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a readout of the call. 

Akar also vowed Turkey would continue to do live up to its part of the deal, and assured Kyiv “the work of the Joint Coordination Center continues intensively.”

2:41 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Ukrainian General Staff admits small Russian advances in the Donetsk region

From CNN's Petro Zadorozhnyy

Russian air strikes continue increasingly in the Donetsk region, and the school seen in the photo is hit by attack on July 25.
Russian air strikes continue increasingly in the Donetsk region, and the school seen in the photo is hit by attack on July 25. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Ukrainian General Staff has conceded that Russian forces have been able to make small advances in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

“The enemy carried out airstrikes near Soledar, Pokrovske, New York, and on the territory of the Vuhlehirska TPP. It led assault operations in the directions of Klynove — Pokrovske, and Volodymyrivka — Pokrovske, suffered losses and withdrew,” the General Staff update read. “In the area of ​​the Vuhlehirska TPP, individual units of the enemy have partial success.”

According to the General Staff, intense shelling was reporting along the frontline in the entire Donetsk region, especially near Siversk, Sloviansk, Bakhmut and Kramatorsk. Ukraine says Russia also made a push towards Spirne and Ivano-Dariivka.

“[Russian forces] received a tough fight back and withdrew,” the General Staff said. 

The Ukrainian military also said Russian forces are demoralized and “the Russian command in some directions is throwing manpower into the attack without being covered by armored vehicles.”

CNN could not independently verify the claims made by the Ukrainian military.

2:47 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

EU's bank approves $1.62 billion in financial assistance for Ukraine 

From CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite

Flags are seen behind the sign of the��European Investment Bank in Luxembourg in 2017.
Flags are seen behind the sign of the��European Investment Bank in Luxembourg in 2017. (Eric Vidal/Reuters)

European Investment Bank (EIB), also known as the European Union's bank, is providing an additional 1.59 billion euros ($1.62 billion) of financial assistance for Ukraine amid the devastating impact from the Russian invasion, the European Commission said Monday in a statement. 

Of the new amount pledged, 1.05 billion euros ($1.07 billion) will be made available immediately, it said.

This is the second financial package provided by the bloc since the invasion began and will help Ukraine "repair the most essential damaged infrastructure and resume critically important projects addressing the urgent needs of Ukrainian people," the commission said.

The European Union continues to stand by Ukraine and its people in the face of Russia's brutal aggression," Valdis Dombrovskis, EU executive vice president for an economy that works for people, said in the statement.

He added that the commission "will keep working with EU Member States and our international partners to support Ukraine on every level — for as long as it takes.”

Serhii Marchenko, Ukraine's minister of finance, expressed his gratitude to the EIB and the European Union for their support.

"With this financial support, we will keep working on restoring damaged infrastructure, resuming the provision of municipal services, including transport services, and preparing for the coming heating season," Marchenko said.

11:58 a.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Ukrainian government calls Russian foreign minister's trip to Africa "the quintessence of sadism"

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

The Ukrainian government has criticized Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s trip to Africa, with a senior official calling it “the quintessence of sadism.”

“You arrange an artificial hunger and then come to cheer people up,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian President’s chief of staff, tweeted on Monday. “With one hand you sign the Istanbul initiative, with the other attack Odessa sea port." 

“Whether Moscow wants or not, grain will get to the world,” Podolyak promised. “We know well what an artificial famine prescribed by scriptwriters in the Kremlin is, so we responsibly fulfil agreements. All needed is for to stop lying and start fulfilling the commitments made in Istanbul.”

1:21 p.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Russia's Gazprom announces reduction of gas flow through Nord Stream 1 pipeline again

From CNN's Frederik Pleitgen, Darya Tarasova, Inke Kappeler and Anna Chernova 

Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom says it will have to further reduce gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Wednesday as it halts another turbine for repairs.

This comes days after Gazprom resumed gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a vital artery linking Russia's vast gas reserves to Europe via Germany. The pipeline had been shut 10 days for scheduled maintenance, and many had feared Russia would not resume deliveries once the work was done.

“Due to the expiration of prescribed time before overhaul (in line with the Rostekhnadzor notification and taking into account the technical condition of the relevant machine), Gazprom is shutting down one more gas turbine produced by Siemens at the Portovaya [compressor station],” the company said in a statement on Monday. 

“The daily throughput of the Portovaya CS from 7:00 am (Moscow time) July 27 will be up to 33 million cubic meters,” the statement added.

The head of Germany’s gas regulator, Klaus Muller, confirmed the move in a tweet on Monday. 

“According to our information, there is no technical reason for a reduction in gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1,“ the German Ministry of Economy insisted in a tweet on Monday. 

“If Russian gas deliveries via Nord Stream 1 continue at this low level, a storage level of 95% by November is hardly achievable without additional measures,“ Germany's regulatory office for gas and electricity said in a statement Monday.  

The country’s Economics Minister Robert Habeck had previously called on Germans to reduce gas consumption in order to get the gas storage facilities as full as possible for the winter. 

Germany’s current total gas inventories are at 65.9%, according to the daily figures provided by the government. 

The reduction in the gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will also affect the transfer of gas to other European countries such as France, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Wholesale prices have risen noticeably as a result of the reduction in gas supplies and have recently settled at a higher level, Germany’s regulatory office said, warning that “businesses and private consumers must prepare for significantly high gas prices.”

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline delivers 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, or nearly 40% of the bloc's total pipeline imports from Russia.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Pesko said on Monday that a repaired gas turbine for Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will be installed after all the technical procedures are fulfilled, after which the gas flow to Europe will resume “to the extent that is technologically possible.” 

Peskov insisted that the issues with gas supply have nothing to do with politics.

“There is no politics here. These are the consequences of the restrictions that the Europeans themselves have introduced, and the Europeans themselves suffer from these restrictions,” he said, adding that Russia does not want Europe to give up Russian gas.

Moscow will continue to be a “reliable gas supplier," he said.

Read more here on why it matters.

11:30 a.m. ET, July 25, 2022

Ukraine says it hopes to resume grain exports from Odesa despite Russian strike

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Sharon Braithwaite

The Ukrainian government is hoping to resume exports of grain from the Black Sea port of Odesa despite a Russian missile strike on Sunday, said Markiyan Dmytrasevych, the deputy minister for agrarian policy and food.

“We expect that, as announced, despite the incident that happened on Saturday, [export of grain] will start in the coming days. Hopefully we'll see some early results this week,” Dmytrasevych told journalists on Monday.

On Friday, Ukraine and Russia agreed to a deal that would allow the resumption of vital grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Ministers from both countries signed an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul. Just 24 hours after the deal, Russian missile strikes hit the southern Ukrainian port of Odesa.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday pointed to the role of UN and Turkey to ensure security given their involvement in mediating the deal.

"We trust UN and Turkey, who with we signed the corresponding documents with," Zelensky said at a press conference. "This is a very important moment to control the security of the corridors for the grain exports. And further down, there'll be questions to Turkey and United Nations: how they can control Russian Federation who showed it could strike with rockets ... That shows their attitude to their agreements and Turkey."

Zelensky said Ukraine will start exports "in order to prove to the world that it's not Ukraine who is blocking the exports," but said Turkey and the UN "should look after the security."

Separately, Deputy Minister Dmytrasevych said the Russian strike had reduced the “enthusiasm” that local farmers had over the deal signed with the UN and Turkey in Istanbul last week. 

“Scepticism towards this agreement was also felt by farmers and security experts even before the signing of the agreement. It is clear that no one trusts the Russians, no one believes them,” Dmytrasevych said. “Let's see how this initiative will work in practice, and for how long. Because we understand that this work can be interrupted.”