July 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Hafsa Khalil and Sana Noor Haq, CNN

Updated 1:29 a.m. ET, July 6, 2022
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7:13 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

International conference adopts principles for long-term Ukraine recovery 

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, center left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, center right, attend the round of national statements, during the Ukraine Recovery Conference URC, in Lugano, Switzerland, on July 5.
Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, center left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, center right, attend the round of national statements, during the Ukraine Recovery Conference URC, in Lugano, Switzerland, on July 5. (Alessandro Della Valle/AFP/Getty Images)

An international conference in Lugano, Switzerland adopted a series of principles that would support Ukraine long-term as it tries to rebuild and recover from the war with Russia. 

It came as the two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference, which was attended by leaders from more than 40 countries and international organizations, drew to a close.

The declaration commits to long-term economic and technological assistance "that will prepare Ukraine for the time after the war while the war is still raging," said Ignazio Cassis, president of the Swiss Confederation and head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

"Here in Lugano we have launched the process of Ukraine's recovery at international level and set out the principles underpinning the recovery," Cassis said. The principles would "link recovery to reform" and focus on transparency, partnership and equality. 

"This should give the people of Ukraine hope and certainty that they are not alone, because Ukraine's sustainable recovery requires revival, resilience and renewed institutions fit for the future," he said. 

On Monday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at the conference that Ukraine’s recovery plan will cost an estimated $750 billion and that confiscated Russian assets should be a key source of funding.

6:22 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

Brittney Griner pens handwritten letter to Biden, says she's "terrified" she'll be detained in Russia "forever"

From CNN's Rosa Flores, Jacqueline Rose and Alexa Miranda

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, on July 1.
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, on July 1. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

WNBA star Brittney Griner, in a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden, said she fears she will be detained in Russia indefinitely and pleaded with the President not to forget about her and other American detainees.

"(As) I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I'm terrified I might be here forever," she wrote, according to a statement released by the communications company representing the Griner family.

Griner, 31, who has played in Russia during the WNBA's offseason, was arrested February 17 at a Moscow airport, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian authorities claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She went on trial at a court near Moscow on Friday on drug smuggling charges.

Griner's supporters and US officials say she has been wrongfully detained and have called for her release as fears mount that she is being used as a political pawn amid rising tensions between Russia and the US.

Read the full story:

8:58 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

Ukraine clings to areas of Luhansk as Russian offensive continues in Donbas

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, Olga Voitovych and Julia Presnikova

Pro-Russian troops ride an infantry fighting vehicle in the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, on July 4.
Pro-Russian troops ride an infantry fighting vehicle in the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, on July 4. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian forces have repelled a Russian assault on the village of Bilohorivka, one of the few pockets inside the Luhansk region still controlled by Kyiv, the head of Luhansk region military administration said on Tuesday.

"The main efforts of the [Russians] are focused on establishing control over the territory of the Luhansk region within its administrative borders," Serhiy Hayday said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to have announced an operational pause for the Russian forces that had taken over most of Luhansk, with him congratulating them on Monday. But Ukrainian reports from the frontline suggest otherwise. According to an update from the General Staff of the Ukraine military, fighting on the administrative borders of the region continues. 

In the neighboring region of Donetsk, also in the Donbas, several cities were shelled, including Avdiivka, Marinka and Bakhmut, with residential buildings and civil infrastructure damaged, the Ukrainian military said.

A house burns during shelling in Verkhniokamianske, Ukraine, on July 4th.
A house burns during shelling in Verkhniokamianske, Ukraine, on July 4th. (Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

According to the military, at least two people were killed and six were wounded in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the situation in the Donetsk region "remains difficult," the head of Donetsk regional military administration Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a televised address Tuesday.

"There is not a single safe city in Donetsk region where there is no shelling," Kyrylenko added.

Kyrylenko said that "in cities that are relatively far from the front line, cruise missiles are used" while "all types of artillery, tanks, missiles, aerial bombs" target the front line.

In the areas already under Russian control, Ukrainian officials say Moscow’s focus is on establishing a control structure. 

"In Severodonetsk, a commandant's office was created, which, according to their plan, should replace the local government, and they are looking for housing and communal services specialists," the Ukrainian military said.

7:30 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

NATO formally begins process of ratifying membership of Sweden and Finland

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, and Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Anne Linde, right, give a press conference after the signing of the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on July 5.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, and Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Anne Linde, right, give a press conference after the signing of the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on July 5. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)

NATO has formally begun the process of Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, its secretary general has said.

NATO members signed the protocols of accession on Tuesday, in what Jens Stoltenberg labeled an "historic moment."

It comes after the NATO summit in Madrid last week where allied leaders agreed to invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.

"This is truly an historic moment. For Finland, for Sweden, for NATO and for our shared security," Stoltenberg said.

"This is a good day for Finland and Sweden, and a good day for NATO. With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger and our people will be even safer, as we face the biggest security crisis in decades," he added. 

He said that NATO's door remains open to democracies in European that are "ready and willing to contribute to our shared security."

Some background: Finland and Sweden ended their decades of neutrality when they applied to join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which was met by some opposition from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused them of housing Kurdish "terrorist organizations."

Last week, Turkey dropped its opposition after a joint memorandum was signed between the three countries, underscoring their commitment to fully support each other against threats to their security.

4:25 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

Up to 60 million tons of grain could be stuck in Ukraine by the fall, Zelensky warns

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Olga Voitovych

A truck driver unloads barley grains after harvest at a grain storage facility in the Odesa region, Ukraine, on 22 June.
A truck driver unloads barley grains after harvest at a grain storage facility in the Odesa region, Ukraine, on 22 June. (NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Up to 60 million tons of grain could be stuck in Ukraine by the fall if the country continues to face blocked exports, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters in Kyiv Monday.

“You know, 22 million tons are blocked now,” Zelensky said. “We also expect about 60 million tons in the fall. Then we will be in a really difficult, very difficult situation.”

The President also said he was working with the United Nations to try to open a safe corridor that would allow Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports. 

“We are interested in this as exporters. We are interested in this, so that our farmers continue to work for the next year, for the next harvest. To do this, we need to export all this grain — barley, wheat, corn, etc,” Zelensky said.

“From our side, the Ukrainian state is not wasting time and we are working on various ways of railway and river ports for the export of our grain, and we are increasing this export every day.”

2:47 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

Russian missile attacks on Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukrainian officials say

From CNN’s Mayumi Maruyama and Josh Pennington 

Ukrainian officials reported Russian missile attacks on the east-central Dnipropetrovsk region on Tuesday.

The Russian military launched seven missiles on Dnipropetrovsk Tuesday, the Dnipropetrovsk State Administration said in a Telegram post.

Ukrainian forces shot down six of them, while one hit the city of Pokrov, damaging several houses. No casualties were reported.

10:55 p.m. ET, July 4, 2022

At least 3 dead, 27 wounded after Ukrainian artillery shells Donetsk, Russian-backed separatists say

From CNN's Jonny Hallam and Masha Angelova

Three people were killed and another 27 injured on Monday in a Ukrainian artillery attack on Donetsk's railway station in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, according to the pro-Russian Defense Forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

Telegram posts from the Defense Forces of DPR on Monday told residents of the city, "Don't leave the house unnecessarily,” and “During the shelling do not leave the shelter.”

The pro-Russian forces in Donetsk said Ukraine fired "about 740 rounds of ammunition on the territory of the DPR," on Monday, "including from multiple rocket launchers," according to the separatist-run Donetsk News Agency (DNA).

"As a result of the shelling, there are dead and wounded among the civilian population, a lot of destruction of houses and infrastructure," DNA said.

Several unverified videos posted on social media Monday appeared to show dozens of buildings damaged by the shelling, with fires burning in and around the wreckage of a deserted market, near to the station.

DNA said "At least 32 private housing buildings, 9 apartment buildings, 4 kindergartens, 2 schools, 2 shops, 10 shopping pavilions, and a recreation center," were destroyed Monday.

To the north of Donetsk in Yasynuvata, "A large fire broke out in the surrounding area of railway station yard" according to DNA.

"17 passenger train carriages and a building caught fire," DNA said, adding "there were no casualties."

Also on Monday, the separatists reported that 47,500 Donetsk citizens were left without electricity and 251 transformer substations were disconnected.

CNN cannot independently verify casualty figures and damage reports from Ukraine's Donbas.

2:17 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

Zelensky says reconstruction of Ukraine goes beyond "the restoration of the walls that we had"

From CNN's Chris Liakos and Kostan Nechyporenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers his nightly televised address to the nation from his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 4.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers his nightly televised address to the nation from his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 4. (President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his nightly televised address to the nation hailed Monday as a “very important day” as a conference devoted to the recovery of his country commenced in Lugano, Switzerland.

But he said the reconstruction of Ukraine should go beyond “the restoration of the walls that we had and that were destroyed by shelling.”

“Ukraine must become the freest, most modern and safest country in Europe — in every sense of the word, in particular, in terms of our environment. I'm sure we will,” he said.

Zelensky warned that efforts on the recovery should not only focus on the next years but also on the present. 

“Ukrainian forces liberated more than a thousand settlements from the occupiers, and new ones are added every week. Now, for example, in the south of our country. All of them suffered large-scale destruction. And this also means the need for colossal funds for the restoration of infrastructure, for the return of medicine and social services, for the restoration of normal economic life. There are tens of thousands of destroyed houses alone in the liberated areas,” he said, adding that "a significant part of the economy has been destroyed."

“That is why the recovery of Ukraine is not only about what needs to be done later, after our victory, but also about what needs to be done at this time. And we have to do it together with our partners, with the entire democratic world. Do now,” he said.

Zelensky concluded his address by congratulating US President Joe Biden and the American people on Independence Day saying that responding to the daily Russian offensive requires "superhuman efforts."

“But we have no alternative — this is about our independence, about our future, about the fate of the entire Ukrainian people,” he said.

2:15 a.m. ET, July 5, 2022

Captured British fighter appeals against death sentence by DPR court, Russian state media reports

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Chris Liakos

British citizen Aiden Aslin stands behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on June 9.
British citizen Aiden Aslin stands behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on June 9. (AP)

The defense team of British citizen Aiden Aslin, who was sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) last month, has filed an appeal, asking to exclude several articles from the DPR criminal code, Russian state news agency TASS reported Monday, citing lawyer Pavel Kosovan.

Aslin's defense has asked for the case to be dismissed “due to the absence of corpus delicti in the actions of the defendant,” TASS quoted his lawyer Pavel Kosovan as saying.

On June 9, Aslin and fellow Briton Shaun Pinner, along with Moroccan national Brahim Saadoune, were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of being “mercenaries” for Ukraine by a court in DPR, Russian state media reported at the time.

According to state news agency RIA, the three men were captured in Mariupol in mid-April, while “training in order to carry out terrorist activities.”

Last week, appeals were also lodged on behalf of Pinner and Saadoune, according to Russian state media.