July 27, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:40 a.m. ET, July 28, 2022
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7:28 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

Preparations are underway to allow grain exports from Black Sea ports, according to Ukrainian Navy

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Work is underway at Black Sea ports to prepare for grain exports in accordance with the agreement signed by Ukraine and Russia in Istanbul last week, according to the Ukrainian Navy.

"Work has been resumed in the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny," the Navy said. "The departure and arrival of ships to seaports will be carried out by forming a caravan that will be accompanied by the lead ship."

Navigation and hydrographic experts are working to ensure that channels from the three ports are safe, it added.

"Military and civilian specialists carefully search for underwater objects, install special means of navigation equipment that will help the safety of navigation," the Navy added. "Hydrographic survey work is also ongoing — determination of depth, approach channels, and recommended routes."

Ukrainian officials have said they hope the first shipments will leave by the end of this week. Merchant ships will have an escort to the edge of Ukrainian territorial waters.

7:36 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

At Prague train station, Russians and Ukrainians volunteer together to help refugees

From CNN's Ivana Kottasova in Prague

At Prague train station, Russians and Ukrainians volunteer together to help refugees on July 20.
At Prague train station, Russians and Ukrainians volunteer together to help refugees on July 20. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

The shift was long over, but she wasn’t ready to leave. Not until the Ukrainian refugee family she had been helping was safely on a train.

Donning a pink vest and switching seamlessly between Ukrainian, Russian and Czech languages, she is one of the Iniciativa Hlavák (Main Station Initiative) volunteers assisting refugees at the main rail station in Prague.

She gives people directions, helps with train tickets and passes on crucial information about where to get help. Volunteering is her way of “doing something,” she told CNN.

“I am not Ukrainian,” she said quietly. “I am Russian.”

“We need to do something about this," she added. "Nobody [in Russia] is listening when we speak up, but at least here I can do something.”

The volunteer asked for her last name not to be published because of concerns over her safety.

“I don’t know what kind of law is coming next in Russia. I could be called a foreign agent for helping Ukrainians, and if I want to go back to Russia to visit my parents’ grave, it may be a problem,” she said.

A fellow volunteer Maksym Bobrov has similar motivations for helping at the train station.

The 23-year-old is originally from Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine, but has been living and studying in Prague for the past six years.

“I need to do something. I read the news every day, and every day I hope my hometown will not be struck,” he said, recounting a recent journey by a family member through the site of a deadly attack in Vinnytsia.

“They left the square where it happened just minutes before the hit,” he said.

During one three-hour-long shift last week, Bobrov helped countless people.

When a humanitarian train heading to the Polish town of Przemysl pulled in, he was on hand to help dozens of people — mostly women with children — with bags, standing next to the train and lifting a suitcase after suitcase.

He is not going home anytime soon, having been recently reunited with his mom, who joined him in Prague.

“When she hears a plane, she gets up and starts panicking. I have to assure her it’s just a normal plane, not a fighter jet,” he said.

7:24 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

Putin and Erdogan to discuss grain deal and military cooperation in Sochi next week, Kremlin says

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss military and technical cooperation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Sochi in southern Russia next Friday, according to the Kremlin.

“Yes, the topic of military-technical cooperation will certainly be discussed in Sochi,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday.

According to Peskov, military-technical cooperation between Russia and Turkey is constantly on the agenda, and “the very fact that interaction is developing in such a sensitive area indicates that, in general, the whole complex of relations is at a very high level.”

When asked if the issue of grain exports will also be raised during the meeting, Peskov said the two presidents will be able to assess how the Istanbul agreements on grain shipments are being implemented.

“The deal should now begin to be implemented, the process will start. This will be a good opportunity to exchange views in Sochi on how this is in line with the agreements that were reached,” Peskov said.

Putin and Erdoğan met in Tehran last week. On Friday, Ukraine and Russia agreed on a deal that would allow the resumption of vital grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. The agreement was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul.

9:33 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

Russia again cuts gas supplies to Europe, with Nord Stream 1 pipeline operating at 20% of maximum capacity

From CNN’s Chris Stern and Chris Liakos

Pipe systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, on July 20.
Pipe systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline in Lubmin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, on July 20. (Stefan Sauer/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Russian energy giant Gazprom has imposed a further cut on gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of maximum capacity, German network operator Gascade said in a statement Wednesday.

The Russian state-owned energy company said on Monday that gas flows would be reduced as it shuts down a turbine for repairs.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck reacted strongly on Monday, saying that “there is no technical reason for a reduction in deliveries."

Gas had been flowing at 40% capacity after Russia slashed exports in response to Western sanctions.

To avoid a gas shortage in winter, Germany is currently trying to fill its gas storage facilities as quickly as possible. The facilities are currently filled to about 66% capacity, according to the German gas and electricity regulator.

On Tuesday, EU energy ministers agreed to a voluntary target to reduce gas usage by 15% between August and March 2023 in order to prepare for the winter.

Gas prices have spiked more than 20% since the start of the week.

9:01 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

1 killed, another trapped as town of Bakhmut in Donetsk comes under heavy fire

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Firefighters try to put out a fire after the Russian shelling of a house in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on July 27.
Firefighters try to put out a fire after the Russian shelling of a house in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on July 27. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

One person was killed in the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region on Wednesday after a two-story hotel was partially destroyed by shelling, and another person was trapped in the wreckage, the State Emergency Service in Donetsk said.

Video and photographs from the area show extensive damage and fires as Russian forces move closer to the town.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said that three missiles had struck the nearby town of Toretsk, but there were no reports of casualties.

Several other communities near Bakhmut were under intense fire, added Kyrylenko, as were locations elsewhere on the front lines near the city of Donetsk.

Russian forces have been trying to advance westwards through the Donetsk region for several weeks, but have so far made only incremental progress.  

4:55 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

US approves treatment of wounded Ukrainian soldiers at US military hospital in Germany

From CNN's Oren Liebermann, Zachary Cohen and Barbara Starr

The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein Air Base in Landstuhl, Germany, on October 3, 2018.
The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein Air Base in Landstuhl, Germany, on October 3, 2018. (Ralph Orlowski/Reuters)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved the treatment of wounded Ukrainian soldiers at a US military hospital in Germany, according to a memo obtained by CNN and confirmed by two US defense officials.

The plan would allow Ukrainian troops to be treated at a US military hospital for the first time since Russia invaded the country in February. It allows for the treatment of up to 18 wounded soldiers at a time at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the massive hospital in Germany where the military has for years treated US service members who suffered injuries in combat.

Austin offered verbal guidance in late May to begin offering treatment to wounded Ukraine soldiers, according to the memo. On June 29, Austin formalized the verbal guidance in a memo entitled "Guidance for Medical Treatment of Wounded Ukrainian Service Members."

Despite the plan receiving final approval nearly one month ago, Landstuhl has not yet received Ukrainian service members for medical care.

The official said the purpose of the memo was to remove any red tape that would slow down the process of offering treatment if the need arose. The plan would permit treatment if there was no facility available in Ukraine or in a closer country. Landstuhl is approximately 700 miles from the Ukrainian border.

If Landstuhl were to receive wounded Ukrainian troops, the service members would have to leave Ukraine by train or car before the US, which has no troops in Ukraine, could evacuate them by air to Ramstein Air Base.

Read the full story here.

4:29 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

Poland to buy hundreds of South Korean tanks, howitzers after sending arms to Ukraine

From CNN's Brad Lendon, Yoonjung Seo and Joseph Ataman

South Korean soldiers sitting on a K-2 tank during a media day presentation at the Second Fleet Command of Navy in Pyeongtaek on September 25, 2017.
South Korean soldiers sitting on a K-2 tank during a media day presentation at the Second Fleet Command of Navy in Pyeongtaek on September 25, 2017. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

Poland is buying almost 1,000 tanks, more than 600 pieces of artillery and dozens of fighter jets from South Korea, in part to replace equipment donated to Ukraine to help Kyiv fight the Russian invasion, the Polish Ministry of Defense told CNN on Tuesday.

The agreement, expected to be officially announced in Poland on Wednesday, will see Warsaw purchase 980 tanks based on the South Korean K2 model, 648 self-propelled K9 armored howitzers, and 48 FA-50 fighter jets, the ministry said. It would not confirm the value of the deal.

The first 180 K2 tanks, made by Hyundai Rotem and equipped with auto-loading 120mm guns, are expected to arrive this year, with the production of 800 upgraded tanks starting in 2026 in Poland, according to the ministry.

The first 48 K9 howitzers, made by Hanwha Defense, are also expected to arrive this year, with delivery of a second batch of 600 due to start in 2024. From 2025 these will be produced in Poland, the ministry said.

The ministry said these armored vehicles would, in part, replace the Soviet-era tanks that Poland has donated to Ukraine to use in its fight against Russia.

Read the full story here.

2:45 p.m. ET, July 27, 2022

Brittney Griner will testify in Russian court as trial continues

From CNN's Dakin Andone and Anna Chernova

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 26.
US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 26. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

US basketball star Brittney Griner is expected to testify in a Russian courtroom Wednesday as part of her ongoing trial on drug charges, for which she faces up to 10 years in prison.

Griner's attorney, Alexander Boykov, confirmed to CNN the two-time Olympic gold medalist would testify, adding prosecutors will also have the opportunity to question her.

Griner has been detained in Russia since February, when authorities said they found cannabis oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport and accused the WNBA player — who plays in Russia during the league's offseason — of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance.

Read the full story here.

3:13 a.m. ET, July 27, 2022

Ukraine says battles ongoing near Donetsk city of Bakhmut 

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian officials say battles continue around the eastern city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, as Russian forces make incremental gains in the area.

Social media video published in the past 24 hours shows Russian forces in control of a power plant near the settlement of Novoluhanske, which has been a battleground for several weeks.

The military's General Staff said fighting continues in the area, but the Russians had failed in an effort to close in on the nearby town of Soledar, according to its operational update Wednesday.

Hostilities continued in two areas immediately to the west of the power plant but Russian forces had suffered casualties and pulled back, it added.

Sloviansk: The General Staff reported heavy fire from Russian tanks and artillery against settlements in a wide arc north of Sloviansk — an important target for the Russian operation. Essentially the front lines in this region have not changed in several weeks, with the Ukrainians repeatedly claiming to have repelled Russian assaults. 

Ukrainian forces continue to defend the pocket of territory they still hold on the border of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The General Staff said another assault by Russian forces in the area of Verkhniokamianske had failed.