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
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8:57 p.m. ET, July 14, 2022

More than 40 settlements in Kherson region back in Ukrainian control, official says

From CNN's Tim Lister

Dmytro Butriy, the acting head of the Kherson region military administration, said 44 settlements in the largely occupied area have been liberated.

Butriy gave no timescale. A Ukrainian offensive in Kherson began in May and has since recovered a number of villages, but no towns of any size.

Butriy said at a news briefing that the settlements were still suffering as they were under constant Russian bombardment.

"We urge people to evacuate to protect themselves and their families. Russian occupiers are not human," he said.

Butriy alleged the Russians had shot civilian cars in convoys as they tried to leave the region. CNN has previously reported on the shelling of convoys of civilian vehicles as they have tried to leave Russian-occupied areas.

Butriy also claimed "there were times when civilians were discovered dead with traces of torture."

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said "people can leave the occupied territories of Kherson region through the occupied Crimea or through [the] Vasylivka [checkpoint] towards Zaporizhzhia. It is necessary to leave, despite the fact that it is difficult. It is much more dangerous to stay in the occupied territory than to dare to go through all the checkpoints and leave."

Other Ukrainian officials have said it's increasingly difficult for people to leave through the Russian checkpoint at Vasylivka, with people spending several days waiting to get through. 

12:32 a.m. ET, July 15, 2022

Ukraine's new US rockets are causing fresh problems for Russia

From CNN's Tim Lister and Oren Liebermann, CNN

(EyePress /News/Shutterstock)
(EyePress /News/Shutterstock)

There's a new and potentially very significant factor in the Ukrainian conflict: the Ukrainians' ability to use recently supplied Western systems to hit Russian command posts, logistical hubs and ammunition dumps a long way beyond the front lines.

In the past week, there have been enormous explosions in several occupied areas in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. The available evidence, from satellite imagery and Western analysts, is that the targeting has been highly effective.

For months the Ukrainian military pleaded for long-range precision artillery and rocket systems from Western partners. Now they have them and are deploying them to considerable effect in both the south and east of the country.

The Ukrainian military is not giving away many specifics but Vadim Denysenko, a senior official at the Interior Ministry, said Wednesday that in the past two weeks, "above all things thanks to the weapons that Ukraine received, we were able to destroy approximately two dozen warehouses with weapons and stocks of fuel and lubricants. This will certainly affect the intensity of fire" the Russians can muster, he said.

Best-in-class is the US-supplied HIMARS multiple launch rocket system, but the Ukrainians have also received M777 howitzers from both the US and Canada, and Caesar long-range howitzers from France.

In addition, the UK has committed to providing M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), which are more powerful than HIMARS, but it's unclear when Ukraine will complete training on the system and deploy it.

The HIMARS' versatility is in its name: the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. Its mobility makes it harder to target and it can be crewed by just eight soldiers. The rockets supplied to Ukraine have a range of 70 to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles). And their GPS guidance systems make them extremely accurate.

Read more here.

8:54 p.m. ET, July 14, 2022

Putin signs law introducing special economic measures to support the military 

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova and Radina Gigova

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Thursday allowing the government to introduce special economic measures to support the Russian armed forces during "counter-terrorism and other operations" outside the country.

As the special measures get adopted, companies will not be able to refuse government contracts and employees will have to work at night and on holidays. 

The government also received the right to temporarily reactivate mobilization capacities and facilities and the right to unbook the material assets of the state reserve.

Although the Russian government continues to reject framing the conflict in Ukraine as a war, the new measures effectively mean the country is reshaping its industry in support of the ongoing invasion. 

On Thursday, Putin also signed additional laws that include tougher measures for individuals or entities considered foreign agents by Russia, and expanding criminal liability for defection to high treason.