June 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Rob Picheta, Sana Noor Haq, Adrienne Vogt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 1:02 a.m. ET, June 23, 2022
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11:51 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Luxembourg commits 15% of its defense budget to support Ukraine: Zelensky

From CNN’s Mariya Knight

Luxembourg has committed 15% of the nation’s annual defense budget to support Ukraine’s war efforts, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“15% of the defense budget of this state — this was a contribution to the defense of Ukraine. Both the greatness and the nobility of the state are immediately felt,” Zelensky said in his nightly address on Tuesday.

According to NATO figures, Luxembourg spent $462 million on defense in 2021.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel visited Kyiv on Tuesday to show "Luxembourg’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine."

“Mr. Bettel visited the cities of the Kyiv region that had been liberated from the occupiers,” Zelensky said.
“I am grateful to him for his sincere understanding of our people and for Luxembourg's readiness to take part in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.” 

Bettel visited Bucha, Borodyanka and Irpin, all places that have been heavily impacted by the war. 

The Prime Minister called Borodyanka “a symbol of senseless cruelty and violence.”

Nothing can convey the horror of what has happened here,” he tweeted on Tuesday. 
8:56 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Biden says Russia's war in Ukraine a "waiting game" as he prepares to meet with allies in Europe

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden says he isn't afraid of the Western alliance fracturing as Russia's war in Ukraine grinds ahead.

But he did warn of a protracted conflict and said he would discuss the way forward with allies at next week's NATO summit in Madrid

"I’m not afraid," he said, when asked about the potential for fractures among US allies in Europe.
"I do think, at some point, this is going to be a bit of a waiting game. What the Russians can sustain and what Europe is going to be prepared to sustain," he added.
"That’s one of the things we’re going to be speaking in Spain about."

Biden departs Saturday for a G7 summit in Germany followed by the NATO gathering in Spain.

8:53 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

15 dead and 16 injured in Kharkiv region, military administration says

The Military Administration of Kharkiv said 15 people were killed and 16 others injured in Russian attacks across the region.

In a post on Telegram, Oleh Syniehubov said the dead included six in Chuhuiv, five in Kharkiv, three in Zolovhiv and an 8-year-old girl from Derhachi.

Russian forces shelling Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv targeted residential and industrial zones across the city, according to Serhii Bolvinov, head of the Investigative Department of National Police in Kharkiv.

8:49 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

Russia will "absolutely not" return to pre-war status quo, US State Department official says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood

Russia will "absolutely not" go back to the pre-war status quo, a senior State Department official told reporters Tuesday.

This official did not speak explicitly to the future of diplomatic relations with Russia, noting they were already strained prior to the war starting in February. They said US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan speaks less frequently with the Russian Foreign Ministry than before, but there is still contact on the issues of the US Embassy's "staffing woes" and the detained Americans.

"That's a frequent topic multiple times a week, on behalf of various detainees and not just the most high-profile ones, which are obviously Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, but there are other Americans who are detained there who deserve the same level of treatment as any American citizen does, who's detained in a foreign country," the official said.

The official also explained how challenging it is to work with Moscow on the issue of detained Americans, because the Russians put convoluted processes in place that prevent any quick contact with the detainees.

Sullivan has not "engaged on Ukraine policy with the Russian government since mid-February,” the official explained.

The official spoke of the commercial impact the war has had in Russia, noting there were more than 1,000 US companies that did business in Russia last year and "it's a fraction of that now."

8:43 p.m. ET, June 21, 2022

US attorney general announces team to prosecute war crimes in Ukraine

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz

US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova today in Krakovets, at the Ukraine border with Poland.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova today in Krakovets, at the Ukraine border with Poland. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a War Crimes Accountability team during an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Tuesday that will work to identify and prosecute anyone who committed war crimes in the country.  

The team, Garland said, will be led by the department's best-known Nazi Hunter Eli Rosenbaum, and will be made up of experts in investigations involving human rights abuses and war crimes. 

Rosenbaum, a 36-year veteran of the Justice Department who previously served as director of human rights enforcement strategy and policy, helped the department in over 100 cases to strip citizenship from or deport accused Nazis, according to the Justice Department.

The announcement is a strong signal from the Justice Department that it is interested in investigating war crimes in Ukraine and follows a previous effort by the department to lock down the assets of Russian oligarchs.

“There is no hiding place for war criminals. The US Justice Department will pursue every avenue of accountability for those who commit war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” Garland said in Ukraine. “Working alongside our domestic and international partners, the Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable every person complicit in the commission of war crimes, torture, and other grave violations during the unprovoked conflict in Ukraine.”

Garland also said that the Justice Department will send three prosecutors to advise Ukraine, as well as countries in Europe and the Middle East, in fighting Russian efforts to evade global sanctions.