July 10, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Jack Guy, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, July 11, 2023
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7:07 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Kremlin says Wagner chief Prigozhin met with Putin after attempted rebellion

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. AP/Getty Images

Wagner private military company chief Yevgeny Prigozhin met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin after his short-lived mutiny at the end of June, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

Putin held a meeting with more than 30 military commanders on June 29, and Prigozhin also attended, said Peskov during his daily call with the media.

Peskov was responding to a report in the French newspaper Liberation, which said Prigozhin had been to the Kremlin since his abortive mutiny.

“Indeed, the President held such a meeting. He invited 35 people, [including] all unit commanders and the leadership of the campaign, including Prigozhin himself.”

“This meeting took place in the Kremlin on June 29 and lasted for almost 3 hours. Its details are not known. The only thing we can say is that the President gave an assessment of the actions of the campaign at the front during the special military operation, as well as of the events of June 24,” Peskov said, referring latterly to the short-lived uprising during which Wagner troops marched towards Moscow.

“Putin listened to the explanations provided by the commanders and offered them further options for deployment and of further combat use," added Peskov.

Last week, Peskov said the Kremlin had neither "the ability nor the desire" to track Prigozhin's movements.

There has been widespread speculation about where the Wagner leader has been since the aborted mutiny on June 23-24.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko brokered an agreement for him to move to Belarus, but said last week Prigozhin was not in the country

6:34 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

German arms maker Rheinmetall will build and repair tanks in Ukraine, says CEO

From CNN's Frederik Pleitgen and Anna Cooban

Armin Papperger, CEO of German defense and automotive group Rheinmetall AG poses in front of the company's logo and headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, on January.
Armin Papperger, CEO of German defense and automotive group Rheinmetall AG poses in front of the company's logo and headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany, on January. Jana Rodenbusch/Reuters

Rheinmetall will open an armored vehicle plant in Ukraine within the next 12 weeks, shrugging off concerns other Western defense companies reportedly have about building a presence in the country while it is at war with Russia.

Germany’s biggest arms maker will also train Ukrainians to maintain the tanks and other armored vehicles made in the factory, which will be located in the western part of the country, CEO Armin Papperger told CNN in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

“[Ukrainians] have to help themselves — if they always have to wait [for] Europeans or Americans [to] help them over the next 10 or 20 years… that is not possible,” he said.

The company told the Rheinische Post newspaper earlier this year that it hoped to open a €200 million ($218 million) battle tank factory on Ukrainian soil, capable of producing about 400 tanks a year.

Read the full story here.

6:09 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Biden touts "rock solid" relationship with the UK during meeting with Sunak

From CNN's Betsy Klein in London

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, right, and US President Joe Biden sit in the garden of 10 Downing Street in London, England, on July 10.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, right, and US President Joe Biden sit in the garden of 10 Downing Street in London, England, on July 10. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden heralded a “rock solid” relationship with the United Kingdom as his meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak got underway in a garden at No. 10 Downing Street.

Biden recounted all of the places he’s met with Sunak – from San Diego to Belfast to Hiroshima to Washington, six times in the six months since the prime minister took office.

“Couldn’t be meeting with a closer friend or greater ally. Got a lot to talk about,” Biden said.

He continued: “Our relationship is rock solid … And I look forward to our discussions.”

Sunak welcomed Biden, saying he is “very privileged and fortunate to have you here.”

He said they would be strengthening cooperation on joint economic security, as well as discussing the NATO alliance.

“We head from here to NATO in Vilnius, where we stand as two of the firmest allies in that alliance and I know we want to do everything we can to strengthen Euro-Atlantic security. Great pleasure to have you here,” Sunak said.

The leaders ignored shouted questions, including one on his call with Turkish President Erdogan, as Biden admired a commemorative No.10 Downing Street mug.

5:49 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Biden arrives at Downing Street for meeting with UK Prime Minister

From CNN's Jack Guy and Arlette Saenz

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, left, greets US President Joe Biden outside 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a meeting during his visit to the UK on July 10.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, left, greets US President Joe Biden outside 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of a meeting during his visit to the UK on July 10. James Manning/PA Images/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden has arrived at 10 Downing Street to meet UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the sixth meeting between the pair in as many months.

Sunak rolled out the red carpet for Biden's first visit to Downing Street during his presidency, with the pair warmly greeting each other with a handshake and Biden giving a quick wave to reporters before the pair disappeared inside.

The president and prime minister are expected to discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine, among other key topics, with the visit aimed at bolstering the US-UK “special relationship” on the eve of a critical summit with NATO leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The meeting comes at a pivotal time as Biden has just approved providing Ukraine with controversial cluster munitions, a type of weaponry that is opposed by over 100 countries, including the UK, which has signed up to a ban that prohibits their use.

The White House has tried to downplay any type of rift with allies over this issue, saying that there are different ways in which allies can provide support and weaponry to Ukraine.

CNN's Nic Robertson recounted how US national security advisor Jake Sullivan had told journalists that the meeting would be a continuation of ongoing discussions.

One of the most pressing things is alignment on Ukraine and keeping NATO unified, and to that end cluster munitions may come up, and then there is the question about how to align over what kind of security guarantees to give to Ukraine going forward, added Robertson.

Biden and Sunak are also expected to discuss climate, technology and China, before the US president travels to Windsor to meet with King Charles III later today in Biden's first engagement with the King since his May coronation.

The pair are expected to discuss public and private sector efforts to combat climate change.

4:33 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Ukraine is looking for a unanimous NATO invitation, senior official says

From CNN's Svitlana Vlasova in Kyiv

Olga Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, gives an interview to the Ukrainian media on June 22, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Olga Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, gives an interview to the Ukrainian media on June 22, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Vitalii Nosach/Global Images Ukraine/Getty Images

Ukraine wants a unanimous invitation from NATO members for Kyiv to join the defense alliance, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna said.

“We want all 31 NATO leaders to confirm that Ukraine is invited to join NATO," Stefanishnya told Ukrainian publication European Pravda in an interview published Sunday. "And the NATO-Ukraine Council, which is being created, will determine the way to this process. First, a political decision will be made, and then we will define the formats."

Russia’s war in Ukraine and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s push for NATO membership will be among the key issues at a NATO summit in Lithuania, which kicks off Tuesday.

However, US President Joe Biden told CNN that Russia's war in Ukraine must end before NATO can consider Kyiv's membership of the alliance.

Stefanishnya said Zelensky’s physical presence in Vilnius this week had not yet been decided. 

“On the table in front of the leaders are the final documents that are proposed to be adopted as a result of the summit. Now we don't know what these documents will contain," she said.

“We will definitely not hear 'no' in Vilnius, that's the first thing. Now the discussion is about what kind of 'yes' will it be."

Ukraine's path to NATO membership: Ukraine’s eventual accession is taking on increasing urgency and is likely to be one of the biggest flash points for the group as the war drags on.

NATO first welcomed Ukraine’s membership aspirations during a 2008 meeting in Bucharest, Romania, but little progress has been made and the timeline remains uncertain. And while the US has said Ukraine will not be joining NATO as a member coming out of this meeting, the Vilnius summit presents a critical opportunity to take tangible steps toward that end in an important show of unity.

Biden will serve as a key player in determining what specific, measurable criteria or timelines, if any, are offered to Ukraine for NATO membership during this summit.

3:40 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Video appears to shows Russia's top general in first public engagement since Wagner uprising

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh and Clare Sebastian 

Russia's Ministry of Defense has published video that appears to show top army general Valery Gerasimov speaking on Sunday — his first public appearance since the failed Wagner insurrection last month.

In a post alongside the Telegram video, the defense ministry said Gerasimov, who rarely makes public appearances, was listening to a report on Ukraine's alleged attempts to strike targets in Crimea.

"Army General Valeriy Gerasimov, commander of the joint group of troops, heard a report by Colonel General Viktor Afzalov, Chief of Staff of the Air and Space Forces, on the destruction of four Ukrainian ballistic targets," the ministry said, an apparent reference to Gerasimov's position as the commander of Russian troops in Ukraine.  

CNN is not able to independently verify when the video was shot. 

For weeks, questions have swirled over the whereabouts of Russia's top generals including Gerasimov, following Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin's short-lived rebellion. 

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Western officials believed Prigozhin planned to capture Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. When asked about the WSJ report, two European security sources told CNN that while it was likely Prigozhin would have expressed a desire to capture Russian military leaders, there was no assessment as to whether he had a credible plan to do so.

3:24 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Leaked details of Putin's secret luxury train expose Russian leader's "paranoia"

From CNN's Matthew Chance and Mick Krever

Images from amateur Russian trainspotting websites appear to show Putin's train. The train is painted to look like an ordinary Russian Railways train.
Images from amateur Russian trainspotting websites appear to show Putin's train. The train is painted to look like an ordinary Russian Railways train. Obtained by CNN

August 5, 2022 was a day like many others in Ukraine. First light revealed the devastation from a night of Russian bombing.

Russian attacks on a residential neighborhood of Mykolaiv that morning brought “significant destruction,” the governor of the region said at the time, injuring at least 10.

On that same day, in Moscow, bureaucrats in President Vladimir Putin’s office were preoccupied by an issue far removed from the brutal war in Ukraine.

“The Transportation Administration has received an appeal,” a Kremlin official wrote, “about the need to install gym equipment Hoist HD-3800 and Hoist HD-3200 instead of Abductor-Standard and Abductor-Technogym in the sports-health wagon No 021-78630.”

Recently leaked documents suggest that the “sports-health wagon” is used by none other than Putin himself.

Among the parts of the train detailed is car number 021-78630, with a gym and spa for Putin, according to the Dossier Center.
Among the parts of the train detailed is car number 021-78630, with a gym and spa for Putin, according to the Dossier Center. The Dossier Center

Remarkably little is known about Putin’s private life. His public image is carefully manicured, as has been evident in the days since Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny. But a trove of paperwork and photographs obtained exclusively by the London-based Russian investigations group the Dossier Center, and shared with CNN, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and German public broadcaster NDR and WDR, reveals details the Kremlin shrouds from public view, and the extent to which Putin’s paranoia has created a cloistered existence.

The Dossier Center is backed by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled former Russian oil tycoon turned Kremlin critic.

The fact that Putin uses a train is well known. The Kremlin itself has released images of meetings held on board, in an ornately decorated boardroom. The contents of the train’s other 20-odd cars, however, have been a closely guarded state secret.

The Dossier Center says the leaked documents came from an insider at Zircon Service, a Russian company tasked by Russian Railways, the state-owned rail operator, with outfitting the cars intended for the office of the Russian president.

Among the parts of the train detailed is car number 021-78630. A glossy brochure made by Zircon itself shows a luxurious gym and spa on wheels designed for Putin, the Dossier Center says.

Read the full story here.

7:19 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Ukrainian police say deadly Russian bombing of Zaporizhzhia school is a "war crime"

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Alex Stambaugh 

Russia's deadly bombing Sunday of a school where civilians were receiving humanitarian aid is a "war crime," according to police in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region.

At least four people were killed and 11 others injured in the attack in the city of Orikhiv, said Yurii Malashko, head of the Zaporizhzhia region military administration. 

A "guided aerial bomb" was used in the attack, Malashko claimed.

Those killed range in age from 43 to 47, and the injured have been hospitalized with varying degrees of severity, he said.

In a Facebook post Monday, regional police said at least 15 people were trapped under the rubble.

"Residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure located near the epicenter of the explosion were also damaged," they said.

As of 8:30 a.m. local time Monday, rescue workers were still searching for any victims trapped under the rubble.

Police also said they were collecting "evidence of the cynical war crime."

2:03 a.m. ET, July 10, 2023

Analysis: Why Ukraine's plea for NATO membership is such a profound dilemma for the West

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Joe Biden waves as he walks down the steps of Air Force One at Stansted Airport in Stansted, England, on Sunday, July 9.
President Joe Biden waves as he walks down the steps of Air Force One at Stansted Airport in Stansted, England, on Sunday, July 9. Susan Walsh/AP

President Joe Biden said before a critical trip to Europe that Ukraine is not yet ready to enter NATO. More to the point, the alliance is not yet ready for Ukraine to join in a historic step that could deter Moscow but that might also increase the risk of a US-Russia war.

Biden has staked his foreign policy legacy on arming Ukraine to repel the Russian invasion — most recently with a contentious decision to send cluster bombs. But he nevertheless sent a strong message to Kyiv in an exclusive CNN interview that its increasingly sharp campaign is unlikely to result in a certain date for NATO entry emerging from the alliance’s summit in Lithuania this week. 

A fateful decision: Deciding whether Ukraine joins NATO is one of the most fateful European security questions since waves of expansion took the alliance right up to Russia’s borders in a process advocates say guaranteed post-Cold War peace by deterring Kremlin aggression. Critics of enlargement into formerly Soviet Eastern Europe, however, argue the process humiliated Moscow, turned it back into an avowed foe of the West and helped lead to the invasion of Ukraine.

A decision to admit Ukraine would extend the sacred NATO pledge that an attack on one member is an attack on all to a nation Russia regards, at a minimum, as part of its sphere of influence — even if such a claim has no basis in international law. It would commit future Western leaders to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia and potentially risk a third World War if the Kremlin attacked its neighbor again.

Supporters of Ukraine’s membership in NATO, however, argue that decades of security and territorial integrity provided to ex-Warsaw Pact nations like Poland, Hungary and Romania are in itself proof that once under NATO’s mutual defense umbrella, Ukraine would at last be safe from future incursions by Moscow.

Read the full analysis here.