July 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Andrew Raine, Jack Guy and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 2:55 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022
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10:51 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Ukraine claims "precise hit" on Russian military unit in occupied Kherson

From CNN's Tim Lister, Maria Kostenko, Julia Presniakova and Kostan Nechyporenko

Ukraine's campaign to attack Russian supply lines and ammunition storage sites far behind the front lines continued this weekend, with Ukrainian officials reporting another long-range strike against Russian military positions in the southern region of Kherson. 

Serhiy Khlan, a member of Kherson's regional council, said Sunday there had been "a precise hit" at the military unit of the occupiers on Pestelia Street in Kherson city.

The unit was hit twice on Sunday morning, Khlan claimed.

Images and video geolocated to Kherson showed a thick column of grey smoke rising into the air Sunday morning.

"Eyewitnesses report the cries of Russians under the rubble. The occupiers shoot in the air when someone tries to get closer," Khlan said.
He told Ukrainian television: "Thanks to modern Western weapons, Russian air defenses cannot intercept artillery [fire]."

Khlan also spoke about the difficulty for civilians trying to leave the region.

"Regarding evacuation from Kherson region, there is no humanitarian corridor. People leave at their own risk through Vasylivka towards Zaporizhzhia; the queue of cars can last one to two weeks," Khlan said.

He claimed: "The occupiers demand money for departure or even take away personal belongings from our people. In case of leaving towards the Crimea, there are risks of being taken to the filtration camps."

There is anecdotal evidence that hundreds of Kherson residents have crossed into Crimea and then traveled through Russia or Turkey.

What happened? Sunday's attack follows a series of explosions near the airport in Kherson on Saturday, and at what appears to have been an ammunition storage site in the Donetsk region. 

The official Russian news agency TASS has reported four explosions in the sky over Kherson city caused by what it said were Russian air defense systems.

TASS said its correspondent in Kherson reported smoke on Perekopskaya Street in the middle of the city. 

"Leave Kherson": Earlier on Friday, Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine's deputy prime minister, called on residents to evacuate the Kherson region.

"I urge you to evacuate as soon as possible, by all means. Don't wait," Vereshchuk said.
"People must look for an opportunity to leave because our Armed Forces will de-occupy. There will be huge battles," she said.

She warned residents they could be used as human shields by the Russians and staying in the occupied districts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions is dangerous.

Alexander Khinshtein, a deputy in the Russian Federation's Duma (parliament), denied Ukraine's claims of a hit.

"Ukrainian sources happily replicate a fake about a missile attack on the base of the Russian guard in Kherson," he said on Telegram. "The missile hit a 4-storey building, where one of the support units of the Russian Guard used to be. A day before, it was relocated to another location."

Images geolocated by CNN show that the badly damaged building is in the middle of Kherson, but it's unclear whether it was occupied at the time it was struck.

Ukrainian military intelligence claimed Monday to have intercepted a call between Russian soldiers, in which one said that Ukrainian forces had "hit the most important command. They hit f****ng hard." The soldier said 12 had been killed in the strike.

CNN is unable to verify the authenticity of the call.

10:50 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

3 foreign fighters of the International Legion died last week in Ukraine, unit's spokesperson says 

From CNN's Anastasia Graham-Yooll, in London

A Brazilian man and woman and a French man died last week fighting in Ukraine for the International Legion, according to spokesperson Damien Magrou. 

The Brazilians died in a fire caused by Russian shelling, Magrou said.

British soldier Andrew Hill, who was captured early May in Mykolaiv, remains a prisoner of war, Magrou said, admitting that he did not know the whereabouts or his welfare.

Hill will be placed on trial, Magrou said citing Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) officials. “I think everybody understands that the prospects for them to get a fair trial with an impartial court are non-existent.”

10:22 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Russia expands simplified citizenship application to all residents of Ukraine

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Radina Gigova

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday that would simplify the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for all residents of Ukraine. 

Previous versions of the decree applied to residents in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine.

The decree establishes that "citizens of Ukraine, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) or Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and people without citizenship permanently living in DPR, LPR or Ukraine […] are entitled to appeal for admission to citizenship of the Russian Federation via simplified procedure in accordance with the […] law ‘On citizenship of the Russian Federation'," the decree says.

What the simplified process allows: Individuals can apply for Russian citizenship without fulfilling several requirements, including living in Russia for five years, having a source of income and undergoing a Russian language examination.

The decree also says that "military service, service in national security or law enforcement agencies of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic cannot be considered a reason for denying Russian citizenship."

Simplified Russian citizenship applications were initially introduced by decree in 2019 for DPR and LPR residents. In May of this year, the decree was expanded to the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. And on Monday, the decree was expanded to all residents of Ukraine who wish to obtain Russian citizenship. 

9:59 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

6 dead and 31 injured in Kharkiv bombardment, Ukraine's prosecutor general says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova

Rescuers remove rubble from an apartment building in Kharkiv damaged by a Russian missile strike Monday,
Rescuers remove rubble from an apartment building in Kharkiv damaged by a Russian missile strike Monday, (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images))

At least six people have died due to rocket attacks against Kharkiv, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office.

"As a result of mass shelling by the occupiers of Kharkiv, 6 people died and 31 were injured," the office said on its Telegram channel. 

A shopping center was damaged, as well as houses and vehicles, said Serhii Bolvinov, head of the Investigation Department of the National Police in Kharkiv.

Fragments of a rocket from a Uragan multi-launch rocket system have been found at the scene of the damage, he added.

Two of the dead were a father and his 17-year-old son whose car took a direct hit, he said. They were on their way to pick up a certificate for the teenager's university entrance.

5:53 p.m. ET, July 11, 2022

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

Russian strikes have killed civilians in both Kharkiv and the town of Chasiv Yar, and fighting has been reported north of Sloviansk in the eastern Donetsk region. Ukraine is stepping up counter-attacks in occupied Kherson, and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov says its armed forces are preparing a massive offensive in the region.

Here are the latest headlines: 

Fighting north of Sloviansk: Both sides in the conflict in Ukraine have reported fighting north of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region, where Russian forces have been trying to break through for weeks. The Ukrainian military's General Staff said there had been heavy Russian fire against several settlements north of Sloviansk, while Russian state news agency TASS claims that a key village in the area has been captured.

Ukraine preparing offensive: Defense minister Oleksii Reznikov told British newspaper The Times that the country's military is massing a "million strong" fighting force to retake lands in southern Ukraine that have been under Russian occupation. The offensive would be bolstered by the use of Western weapons, he added. 

Russian forces accused of "terror" against civilians: Ukrainian officials claim that the humanitarian situation in occupied areas in the south is deteriorating and Russian "terror" against civilians is intensifying. "The scale of the humanitarian catastrophe will only grow further ... In Kherson itself, the situation is much easier than in villages and small towns, but in general, living conditions are already unbearable," said Yurii Sobolevsky, first deputy head of the Kherson Regional Administration.

Civilians killed in Kharkiv strikes: At least three people have been killed and 28 others injured in attacks on residential areas in Kharkiv on Monday, according to Oleh Synehubov, head of the regional military administration.

Chasiv Yar death toll rises: Rescuers have found 29 bodies in rubble after a Russian rocket strike on an apartment building in the town of Chasiv Yar in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk.

Russia trying to export grain: Moscow is trying to export grain from occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia region, according to the Ukrainian Intelligence Services, but farmers are reportedly unhappy with the prices being offered.

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

8:24 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

29 people killed in Chasiv Yar residential building strike, 9 people found alive 

From CNN's Julia Presnikova in Kyiv

Ukrainian emergency workers carry the lifeless body of a victim found under rubble in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on July 11.
Ukrainian emergency workers carry the lifeless body of a victim found under rubble in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on July 11. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Ukraine's Emergency Services say 24 bodies have now been recovered from the wreckage in Chasiv Yar after Russian rockets hit a residential building over the weekend.

Five other bodies have been found but not yet retrieved, taking the total number of dead in the attack to 29.

The Emergency Services said on Telegram that nine survivors had been rescued from the rubble and that work to try and find more people was ongoing.

Chasiv Yar is one of several towns in Donetsk that have seen an uptick in rocket and missile attacks in recent days as Russian forces try to grind down Ukrainian resistance in the region.

7:51 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Putin and Lukashenko discuss joint response to Lithuania’s ban on goods shipments to Kaliningrad

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have discussed possible joint measures in response to Lithuania’s ban on goods shipments to Kaliningrad, according to a Kremlin readout published Monday.

"Emphasis was placed on the situation in connection with the illegal restrictions imposed by Lithuania on the transit of goods to the Kaliningrad region," the readout said. "In this context, some possible joint steps were discussed."

In June, Lithuanian officials banned the passage of goods subject to EU sanctions across its territory into Kaliningrad, Russia’s exclave in Europe.

Moscow denounced the decision and warned that retaliatory steps might follow.

7:38 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Death toll from Chasiv Yar residential building strike rises to 20

From Anastasia Graham-Yooll and Julia Kesaieva

Rescuers work amid the ruins of a residential building damaged in the town of Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on July 10.
Rescuers work amid the ruins of a residential building damaged in the town of Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on July 10. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Twenty bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of a residential building in Chasiv Yar which was struck by Russian rockets on Saturday.

Recovery efforts continue, the Donetsk region military administration head Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian media on Monday afternoon. 

“As of now around 72% of the rubble has been cleared,” Kyrylenko said.

Elsewhere, three people were killed and 28 others injured in attacks on residential areas in Kharkiv on Monday, according to Oleh Synehubov, head of the regional military administration.

And nine people were injured in shelling on the outskirts of Mykolaiv, Hanna Zamazieieva, head of the Mykolaiv regional council, said on Telegram on Monday.

7:29 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Latvia announces conscription for men aged 18 to 27, over next five years

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Conscription is to be introduced for all male citizens of Latvia aged 18 to 27, the country's Ministry of Defense announced Monday.

Over the next five years, all male citizens in this age range "will have to choose one of the four types of military service: State Defense Service, National Guard, Section Commander University Course or alternative services at Ministry of Interior, Health or Welfare," the ministry said in a press release. 

Female citizens in this age group will be offered "the same opportunities on voluntary basis," the ministry said. 

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said the "Latvian population must realize that in order to survive we simply must increase the share of population that has received military training and is ready to engage in combat. This should reduce the risk of Russia attacking Latvia at will." 

Pabriks added that "2014 made us focus more on rearming and better combat readiness of our armed force units. These goals have been successfully achieved."

In 2014 Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

"However, the security implications of Russia-Ukraine war have led to numerous new challenges," Pabriks said. "To overcome them, we need to boost our combat capabilities and develop army reserve."

The Defense Minister said: "It has become apparent that we have exhausted the voluntary service potential of National Guard and professional service, while further increase of the number of military personnel is associated with excessive risks." 

"That is why we need to focus on increasing the number of Latvian residents capable of joining defense forces in case of military conflict," he added. 

As part of the first phase of the project, Latvia's Ministry of Defense will offer voluntary military training to Latvian citizens aged 18 to 27, starting in January 2023.

Enlistment will be carried out in two stages, in January and July.  

The ministry estimates that during the first year, the State Defense Service will attract around 1,000 new soldiers (500 in each recruitment stage).

They will be required to serve for one year, including one month of leave.

New recruits will undergo a three-month basic training and a three-month specialty course, while the remaining months "will be devoted to integration into units and collective training," the ministry said. 

"All recruits will be socially protected. According to plans, each new soldier will receive a monthly salary of up to 400 euros, free food and accommodation in army barracks," the ministry said. 

Over the next five years the ministry plans to increase the share of the combat-ready population in the National Armed Forces to 50,000 troops.

"Of these, 14,000 troops would form active service units, while 16,000 would join National Guard and 20,000 would form the reserve force," the ministry said.