Russia's war in Ukraine

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

Updated 6:55 p.m. ET, July 15, 2022
22 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:03 p.m. ET, July 15, 2022

US intelligence that Iran is sending drones to Russia is "baseless," Iranian foreign minister says

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Atlanta 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaks during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, on June 27.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaks during a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, on June 27. (AFP/Getty Images/File)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian slammed US national security adviser Jake Sullivan for accusing Iran of preparing to send hundreds of weapons-capable drones to Russia, calling the claims "baseless allegations against Iran," Iran's state-run IRNA reported on Friday.

"Information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred (unmanned aerial vehicles), including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House press briefing on Monday.

"Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs, with initial training session slated in as soon as early July. It's unclear whether Iran has delivered any of these UAVs to Russia already," he added.

According to IRNA, Amirabdollahian said, "Iran's principled and clear position against war and supporting the cessation of war is not like that of the West, which are based on the dual approach." 
"Iran is to continue its efforts to end the war in Ukraine and to solve the issue politically," Amirabdollahian added, according to IRNA. 

Some more context: A spokesperson at the White House National Security Council told CNN that the information Sullivan described to reporters was based on recently declassified intelligence.

Russia looking to Iran to supply drones “speaks volumes” about the isolation of both nations from the international community and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “problems in terms of replenishing his own defense needs,” National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby told CNN on Thursday.

3:25 p.m. ET, July 15, 2022

Ukraine defense spokesperson says an estimated 70% of Russian attacks are on non-military targets

From CNN's Karen Smith

Rescuers inspect a heavily damaged building on July 15 in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.
Rescuers inspect a heavily damaged building on July 15 in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s defense ministry spokesperson says up to 70% of Russian missile strikes are on peaceful cities and non-military targets.

Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said on Friday only 30% of Russian missile strikes are on military targets.

“The remaining 70% of strikes are Russians deliberately attacking peaceful cities. Russia should be recognized as a terrorist country,” he said.

He went on to say, “The only way to stop this missile terror is to destroy the missiles that Russia launches over Ukraine.”

According to Motuzyanyk, the anti-aircraft systems worked “as well as it could” when Vinnytsia was attacked on Thursday.

“Two missiles out of five were shot down. If we had more powerful modern anti-aircraft weapons, we could destroy more of those Russian missiles. Today we need modern air defense,” Motuzyanyk said.

He added HIMARS are working well on the front lines and more than 30 of Russia’s military logistics facilities have been destroyed.

2:33 p.m. ET, July 15, 2022

UK summons Russian ambassador over reports of British national's death in Ukraine

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Russia's ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin is seen in London on February 24.
Russia's ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin is seen in London on February 24. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Images/Getty Images/File)

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has summoned Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin "to express the UK’s deep concern at reports of the death of British National Paul Urey in captivity in the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine," FCDO said in a statement Friday. 

"I am shocked to hear reports of the death of British aid worker Paul Urey while in the custody of a Russian proxy in Ukraine. Russia must bear the full responsibility for this," UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. 

Truss said Urey "was captured while undertaking humanitarian work" and that he was in Ukraine "to try and help the Ukrainian people in the face of the unprovoked Russian invasion."

"The Russian government and its proxies are continuing to commit atrocities. Those responsible will be held to account," Truss said. "My thoughts are with Mr Urey’s family and friends at this horrendous time."

A statement on the website of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ombudsman Daria Morozova claimed that a British citizen whose name she gave as "Paul Johnson Anthony Dominic Urey" had been detained in April and “charged with mercenarism." Urey had been “diagnosed with a number of chronic diseases,” the statement added.

Truss has instructed Sir Tim Barrow, second permanent FCDO under-secretary, to summon Kelin "to urge Russia to clarify the status of Mr Urey," FCDO said. 

"Sir Tim will demand that that the Russian Federation meet all its obligations under International Humanitarian Law, including by respecting and protecting all civilians," FCDO said. 

"He will make clear that the UK holds the Russian Federation responsible for the safety and welfare of civilians in the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine, including those within the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’, which the United Kingdom does not recognise as independent states," it added.

Urey had the “biggest heart,” his friend Lex Roberts told CNN on Friday.

Few details are known surrounding Urey's death, Roberts said. He said he had spoken with Urey’s mother, who is “devastated.” 

Roberts grew up with Urey in Manchester, UK. According to Roberts, Urey had a number of health conditions including diabetes.  

CNN's Karen Smith contributed reporting to this post.

12:41 p.m. ET, July 15, 2022

European Commission proposes import ban on Russian gold in new sanctions package

From CNN's Chris Liakos and Valentina DiDonato 

An employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Russia, on October 17, 2014.
An employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Russia, on October 17, 2014. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/File)

The European Commission has proposed an import ban on Russian gold as part of its latest package of sanctions against Russia.

“The European Commission has today adopted a joint (High Representative-Commission) proposal for a new package of measures to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of the EU's six wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of sanctions against Russia,” the commission said in a press release.

The proposed package aims to also prevent EU sanctions from targeting “in any way the trade in agricultural products between third countries and Russia.” It also suggests the extension of the current EU sanctions for six months, until the next review at the end of January 2023.

“Today's 'maintenance and alignment' package clarifies a number of provisions to strengthen legal certainty for operators and enforcement by Member States. It also further aligns the EU's sanctions with those of our allies and partners, in particular in the G7. Importantly, the package reiterates the Commission's determined stance to protect food security around the globe,” according to the press release.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “Russia's brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated. Therefore, we are proposing today to tighten our hard-hitting EU sanctions against the Kremlin, enforce them more effectively and extend them until January 2023. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression.”

The package will still need to be discussed and adopted by the EU member states.

12:00 p.m. ET, July 15, 2022

Germany to provide Moldova 40 million euros as the country continues to host refugees and battles inflation

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany plans to give Moldova 40 million euros ($40.2 million) in direct budgetary support to help protect the poorest people in one of Europe's poorest countries from breakneck inflation as it continues to host Ukrainian refugees, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Friday.

''Moldova was in a very critical situation,'' Baerbock said at a donor conference in Bucharest. "This small democratic republic has done everything possible to help refugees from Ukraine."

Baerbock said that Moldova — a country of 2.5 million people sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine — is still hosting more than 70,000 Ukrainian refugees as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  

Moldova is ''feeling the economic shockwaves of the war,'' Baerbock said, adding that the war has contributed to the country's 29% inflation rate, which is ''something many of us can hardly imagine.'' 

Germany's Foreign Office and Development Ministry will provide the 40 million euros to help the country develop renewable energy sources, Baerbock said, adding that the support must still be approved by the German parliamentary budget committee.

10:16 a.m. ET, July 15, 2022

Locals in Moldova village welcomed Ukrainian couple and 4 adopted children with open arms

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová and Ana Sarbu in Popeasca, Moldova

Tatiana Gavriliuc pictured in Popeasca with her daughter Alerina.
Tatiana Gavriliuc pictured in Popeasca with her daughter Alerina. (Ivana Kottasova/CNN)

When Tatiana and Iuri Gavriliuc, along with their four adopted children, crossed the Ukrainian border into Moldova, they had no plan. They just knew they had to leave.

Their home in Chornomorsk, a town near Odesa in southern Ukraine, was shelled regularly after Russian forces intensified their assault on the region in mid April. And Iuri lost his job when the local port shut down because of the war.

When the family crossed the border in their car, Tatiana said she asked her husband where they were going.

“And he says, ‘just straight ahead and we’ll see,'” Tatiana said with a laugh. 

Near the village of Popeasca, they saw a big sign that said, “We stand with Ukraine” in the Ukrainian language. Locals there pointed the exhausted family to a nearby refugee shelter where they have stayed ever since.  

“I miss home, but everyone is nice here. I feel like I am on holiday for the first time in my life,” Tatiana told CNN, praising the locals for helping with her children and providing anything the family needs. 
“But I can’t wait to go home and cook for [my family]. I really want to cook borsht. It’s very, very good here, but I want to be able to do something, because I have too much time here and I worry," she said.

The center, which is inside an old school building with a dormitory, has toys and computers and a big playground outside where their 5-year-old daughter Alerina loves to run around and play.

Tatiana and Iuri have six children — two biological and four adopted — and four grandchildren. The couple's older kids, a 29-year-old daughter and a 31-year-old son, are still in Ukraine along with their own families. 

“Our son is fighting for the Ukrainian army. He is stationed near Odesa,” Tatiana said. “He is tall, beautiful, young. He is defending Ukraine."

9:59 a.m. ET, July 15, 2022

4 injured in Mykolaiv strikes as rescue operations continue

From CNN staff

A general view of a building damaged by a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this screen grab taken from a handout video released on July 15.
A general view of a building damaged by a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this screen grab taken from a handout video released on July 15. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Reuters)

Rescue operations continue in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv after four people were injured in missile strikes on Friday morning, according to Hanna Zamazeieva, the head of the Mykolaiv regional council.

At least 10 missiles were aimed at two universities and civil infrastructure facilities, Zamazeieva said on Telegram. Residential buildings were damaged.

All of the injured haven been taken to medical facilities for assistance.

The strikes happened around 7:50 a.m. local time, when there were "many people on the streets," Mayor Oleksandr Syenkevych said earlier on Telegram.

Photos on the Facebook page of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine show damaged buildings and firefighters extinguishing fires amid the rubble.

Firefighters work at the site of a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released on July 15.
Firefighters work at the site of a Russian military strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released on July 15. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Reuters)

In a separate Telegram post, Vitalii Kim, head of Mykolaiv region military administration, named the two universities hit as the Mykolaiv Pedagogical Institute and the Mykolaiv Shipbuilding Institute.

According to Syenkevych, Mykolaiv was hit by 10 strikes overnight, causing "powerful explosions."

8:16 a.m. ET, July 15, 2022

In Vinnytsia, relatives of the missing submit DNA samples to help identify the dead

From CNN's Petro Zadorozhnyy in Lviv and Jo Shelley in London

Rescuers work next to a damaged building the day after a Russian missile strike in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on 15 July.
Rescuers work next to a damaged building the day after a Russian missile strike in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on 15 July. (Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The relatives of people missing after Thursday’s missile strikes on the central Ukrainian town of Vinnytsia have submitted DNA samples to help officials identify the dead, according to a Ukrainian police chief.

"Fourteen relatives of missing persons have submitted their biological samples," Ihor Klymenko, chief of Ukraine’s National Police, said in a statement on Facebook.

"Our specialists have already conducted more than 200 comparisons of selected DNA profiles. Twelve of the 19 identified persons were recognized with the help of this rapid DNA identification technology," Klymenko added.

Eight people are still missing, Klymenko’s statement said.

Klymenko also gave details of the three children who died in the attacks — a 4-year-old girl, whose mother is in hospital, and two boys, aged 7 and 8.

"One of the boys was being examined at the medical center at the time of the attack. He died together with his mother. Another was waiting for his uncle in a parked car and got into a fire trap. A relative of this boy was thrown away by the blast wave, now he is hospitalized," Klymenko said.

Some background: The Russian Ministry of Defense said Friday that the missile attack in Vinnytsia in central Ukraine targeted a military facility at a time when a meeting of the Ukrainian Air Force command was taking place.

At least 23 people were killed in the attack according to Ukraine's State Emergency Service, including three children. On Thursday, the Vinnytsia head of police, Igor Klymenko, said that “three Russian missiles were aimed at a building with office premises."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the missile attack as “terrorism” and a “deliberate murder of civilians to spread fear.”

In the wake of the attack, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the international community to officially recognize Russia as a terrorist state, saying "Russia has shown its attitude to international law, to Europe, and to the entire civilized world."

CNN's Anna Chernova and Chris Liakos contributed reporting to this post.

8:12 a.m. ET, July 15, 2022

British man dies in Russian-backed separatist region of Ukraine, official says

From CNN's Jo Shelley

A British man has died in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), according to a local official.  

A statement on the website of the DNR’s ombudsman Daria Morozova claimed that a British citizen whose name she gave as "Paul Johnson Anthony Dominic Urey" had been detained in April and “charged with mercenarism."

Urey had been “diagnosed with a number of chronic diseases,” the statement added.

“On our part, despite the severity of the alleged crime, Paul Urey was provided with appropriate medical assistance,” the statement said. “However, given the diagnoses and stress, he passed away on July 10." 

“We are urgently seeking clarification from the Russian government on media reports that a British aid worker has died in Ukraine," a spokesperson from UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said.

The DNR is a pro-Russian separatist-held region in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.