July 14, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Jack Guy, Hafsa Khalil, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 3:14 a.m. ET, July 15, 2022
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9:30 p.m. ET, July 13, 2022

North Korea officially recognizes independence of Luhansk and Donetsk enclaves in Ukraine 

From CNN's Larry Register, Aliza Kassim and Mohammed Tawfeeq 

North Korea has officially recognized the independence of the two breakaway enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday. 

The North Korean government "decided to recognize the independence" of the so-called People's Republic of Donetsk and the People's Republic of Luhansk, KCNA reported, citing a letter from the country's foreign minister.

The letter also "expressed the will to develop the state-to-state relations with those countries in the idea of independence, peace, and friendship." KCNA said in its report.

North Korea joins Russia and Syria as the only countries to recognize the two breakaway enclaves.

Some background: For almost eight years, the two breakaway enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine have been the site of a low-intensity war between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, which has left more than 14,000 people dead.

War broke out in 2014 after Russian-backed rebels seized government buildings in towns and cities across eastern Ukraine. Intense fighting left portions of Luhansk and Donetsk, in the Donbas region, in the hands of Russian-backed separatists. Russia also annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that sparked global condemnation.

9:19 p.m. ET, July 13, 2022

Another attack reported in Russian-occupied Kherson

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Tim Lister

Witnesses in the town of Nova Kakhovka in Russian-occupied Kherson reported another strike Wednesday, the second this week.

Serhiy Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, said the target was a Russian munitions depot in the Sokil district.

"Thank you to HIMARS and our boys and girls in the Armed Forces of Ukraine!" Khlan said.

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is the long-range US artillery system recently supplied to Ukraine by the United States and is renowned for its accuracy. It's not clear that the HIMARS system caused the explosion Wednesday.

On Monday night, a warehouse in Nova Kakhovka was struck, causing multiple detonations. Ukrainian officials said it was an ammunition and weaponry store while the pro-Russian administration in Kherson said a store of fertilizer had blown up.

1:42 a.m. ET, July 14, 2022

Zelensky welcomes progress toward agreement on grain exports 

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video address on July 13.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video address on July 13. (Office of President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed signs of progress in talks mediated by the United Nations and Turkey to guarantee safe passage of merchant shipping in and out of Ukrainian ports.

In his nightly address, Zelensky said, "We are indeed making significant efforts to restore food supply to the world market. And I am grateful to the United Nations and Turkey for their respective efforts.
"The success of this story is needed not only by our state but also, without exaggeration, by the whole world. If it is possible to remove the Russian threat to shipping in the Black Sea, it will remove the severity of the global food crisis."

He added that the Ukrainian delegation has informed him "there has been some progress."

"We will agree on the details with the UN Secretary General in the coming days," Zelensky said.

Ukrainian officials say more than 20 million tons of grain remain stuck in Ukraine due to Moscow's blockade of Black Sea ports.