July 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Sana Noor Haq and Hannah Strange, CNN

Updated 2:51 a.m. ET, July 25, 2022
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5:10 p.m. ET, July 22, 2022

US seeing "indications" that Russian forces are "trying to adjust" for impacts of HIMARS, official says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr

The commander of an Ukranian unit shows the rockets on HIMARS vehicle in Eastern Ukraine on July 1.
The commander of an Ukranian unit shows the rockets on HIMARS vehicle in Eastern Ukraine on July 1. (Anastasia Vlasova for The Washington Post/Getty Images)

The US is seeing “indications” that Russian forces fighting in Ukraine are “trying to adjust for the effects the HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket systems) are having on them” on the battlefield, a senior US military official told reporters on Friday.

“The Ukrainians have concentrated a great deal of effort on the Russian command and control, their logistic supply areas, to include all sorts of classes of supply, in particular ammunition, so as a result the Russians are attempting to mitigate the effects through a number of means, camouflage, movement, changing locations,” the official said.

The official could not say how effective Russian forces’ efforts to mitigate the impact from the HIMARS has been.

“I can’t tell you what level of effect they’re having, but it doesn’t seem to be that good,” the official said. 

The official also noted reports that Russian forces have destroyed four HIMARS are false.

“As of this morning, in our conversations with Ukrainians, that is not true, so all of the HIMARS continue to really be a thorn in the Russians’ side,” the official added.

2:29 p.m. ET, July 22, 2022

The White House announced another package of US security assistance to Ukraine. Here's what is in it 

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House announced additional security assistance to Ukraine on Friday, the latest in a steady flow of billions of dollars worth of US munitions to help sustain the country's fight against Russia.

John Kirby, the communications coordinator for the US National Security Council, said the new $270 million package would include medium range rocket systems and tactical drones.

The latest package brings the total US assistance to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration to $8.2 billion, Kirby said, and comes as the Russian war in Ukraine nears its fifth month.

Kirby said Biden would approve additional aid packages in the weeks and months to come.

The new package includes:

  • Four high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and additional ammunition for HIMARS
  • Four command post vehicles
  • 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition
  • 3,000 anti-armor weapons
  • Spare parts and other equipment
  • Up to 580 "Phoenix Ghost" tactical unmanned aerial systems


2:00 p.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Global pressure may have led Russia to sign grain deal with Ukraine, top State Department official says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs with the U.S. Department of State, speaks during a hearing in Washington, on March 8, 2022. 
Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs with the U.S. Department of State, speaks during a hearing in Washington, on March 8, 2022.  (Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

A top State Department official said that pressure from the global community and Russia's need for money from its own agricultural exports may have led Moscow to sign an agreement to allow Ukrainian grain to transit through the Black Sea. 

“This came together because, I think, Russia ultimately felt the hot breath of global opprobrium,” said Victoria Nuland, undersecretary of state for political affairs.

It is “now incumbent on Russia to actually implement this deal,” she told CNN hours after the deal was signed in Istanbul.

The agreement, which took weeks of negotiations, “is very well structured in terms of monitoring and in terms of, you know, channels that the grain ought to be able to get out of," she said at the Aspen Security Forum Friday.

Nuland noted that “it should have been easy, you know, we could have done this on the back of an envelope in the middle of an afternoon with will.” But Russia’s blockade “made this not only a European crisis, but obviously a global crisis in terms of food security," she added.

“Russia also was out there complaining to the world that its own fertilizer and grain couldn't get out,” Nuland also said, noting that US sanctions did not block the export of those products, but their agreement to Friday’s deal “may also have had to do with the fact that it was hard for them to get shippers and insurers and others to move their grain so they also need the money, given what else we're doing to them.”

12:20 p.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Ukrainian farmers praise the signed grain export deal but express concerns about implementation

From CNN's Petro Zadorozhnyy

A farmer from Zaporizhzhia told CNN he felt positively about the deal signed between Russia and Ukraine to unblock Black Sea ports for exporting grains, but he said he was weary of its implementation.

"We will watch and observe what will happen. It's good that they signed. But there are no results yet," Pavlo Serhienko said on Friday. “The price will be higher in the ports, but you still have to get there. We need to hire a car, logistics, etc. What will be the queues? How to go? Thousands of checkpoints.”

“I'm generally an optimist, but the reality is that there's not much in what you can believe now. But of course, we will hope that it is all for the better,” he added.

Serhienko went on to say that in his area, being able to export grain was only one of "a million problems."

"[Friday] there were two strikes again, and the wheat field burned again, and the fertilizer warehouse was destroyed. All the fertilizer was spilled on the ground, and it dissolves very quickly. After the rain, about 5-6 tons melted. Something must be done," he said. "Here, we mow under fire, sometimes in one field, then in another, because we are afraid that it will hit the people and the harvester."

A farmer from Mykolaiv told CNN that the deal signed is important but he does not want it come at the expense of any military concessions to Moscow from Kyiv.

"For us, it is absolutely necessary. Our warehouses and elevators are full of grain. The grain of the last harvest, the grain of this harvest," Mykhailo Trokhymovych said. "But we should sign this treaty only if we do not make any military concessions to Russia."

11:40 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022

EU announces additional 500 million euros in military aid to Ukraine

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan

The European Union announced Friday it has approved an additional 500 million euros ($510 million) in military aid to Ukraine.

These “two assistance measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) [are] aimed to step up the EU's support for the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and protect the civilian population against the ongoing Russian military aggression,” the European Council said in a statement.

The additional 500 million euros bring EU’s total military aid package to Ukraine to 2.5 billion euros ($2.55 billion), according to the Council.

“The EU remains focused and steadfast in its support for Ukraine in its fight for freedom and independence. Ukraine needs more arms; we will provide them. In this context, EU member states agreed to mobilize a fifth tranche of military assistance of 500 million euros, making this a total of 2.5 billion euros of military equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” according to Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

11:22 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Here are the details we know about the grain deal signed between Russia and Ukraine

From CNN's Tim Lister, Radina Gigova, Nada Bashir and Jomana Karadsheh 

A deal signed Friday in Istanbul between Ukraine and Russia, and mediated by Turkey and the United Nations, would allow 5 million tonnes of grain exports per month from three Ukrainian ports, a senior UN official said Friday.

Here's what we know about the details of the deal:

As part of the deal, grain ships will be able to navigate through a safe corridor in the Black Sea then pass through the Bosphorus in order to reach global markets, the official said. 

The vessels will be monitored by a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), which will be established immediately in Istanbul and include representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN.

Vessels would be inspected before they arrive in Ukraine by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials to ensure they are not carrying weapons, according to the official. 

Ukraine and Russia have agreed not to attack any ship identified as part of this initiative that is passing through the established channels. In case of an incident, JCC will intervene to resolve any possible issues, the official said.  

Representatives from the International Maritime Organization have been coordinating shipments with shipping networks, the official said. 

It may take several weeks before vessels start moving so that all logistical details of the deal can properly be implemented and inspection teams can be established, the official said. 

Nonetheless, the process has to start quickly so that Ukraine's silos can be emptied for the new harvest, the official said. 

The deal is valid for 120 days from the date of signing and can be extended for the same period unless one of the parties has announced their intention to terminate it, said Ukrainian minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, who signed the deal, in a Facebook post.

Some 20 million tonnes of grain are held up in Ukraine, where the summer harvest is now well underway.

11:21 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Ukrainian minister describes Black Sea deal as "great support for economy"

From CNN's Victoria Butenko and Tim Lister

Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov described the grain deal that he signed in Istanbul as "a great support for the Ukrainian economy."

In a Facebook post published minutes after signing the agreement, Kubrakov confirmed details of the agreement previously outlined by a senior UN official.

A Joint Coordination Center would be established and "Turkey will establish Inspection Groups of representatives from all parties to ensure inspection of cargo and personnel heading to or leaving Ukrainian ports. The inspection will be held exceptionally in harbors," he said.

"Control over Ukrainian ports completely remains with the Ukrainian side," he added, saying the agreement applied only to ships involved in the export of grain and related foodstuffs.
"The document is valid for 120 days from the date of signing and can be extended for the same period unless one of the parties has announced their intention to terminate it," Kubrakov noted.

He said the agreement would also encourage Ukrainian farmers to sow for next year. 

"Operating the seaports of Ukraine is our contribution to global food security and the world economy," Kubrakov said, which would "slow the flywheel of inflation that has become a problem for the world."

"This deal gives us opportunities, but we don't stop working on developing alternative logistics routes and are ready for any scenario," he said.

11:21 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Turkish President Erdoğan says grain deal signed will "relieve dangers of hunger" for billions

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem in London and Yusuf Gezer in Istanbul 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the agreement signed on facilitating grain export will relieve dangers of hunger for billions of people. 

“Millions of people will be relieved of this danger of hunger,” Erdoğan said. “In the coming days, we will see the start of ship traffic and many countries will have a breath of fresh air."

“This will contribute to the entire process from the export to the arrival to destination and on all points we have reached an agreement,” Erdoğan added.

The implementation of the agreement will be through the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, he noted. "We carried out an intense and difficult process with Ukraine, Russia and UN officials for grain export. We were in constant contact. We held extensive consultations, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense put forth a great deal of effort."

11:21 a.m. ET, July 22, 2022

Russia-Ukraine deal to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports is "the way out," Ukrainian grain traders say

From Julia Presniakova and Tim Lister

A combine harvester collects grain crops in a field in the Odesa Region, southern Ukraine, on June 22, 2022. 
A combine harvester collects grain crops in a field in the Odesa Region, southern Ukraine, on June 22, 2022.  (Nina Lyashonok/Ukrinform/Abaca/Sipa USA/AP)

The Russia-Ukraine deal to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports is "the way out" of the current export crisis, said Serhii Ivashchenko, director of the Ukrainian grain traders' union.

"Because now, when we transport grain through European ports, the cost of logistics is so high that it eats up not only the profits of farmers, but also the cost of production," he explained Friday. The cost of transporting grain through Constanta in Romania was two-thirds of the selling price, he said.

"Now Ukrainian farmers were forced to sell grain at a loss. And unblocking the ports will reduce the cost of logistics quite significantly," he said. The cost of transporting grain through the Black Sea ports would be about one-tenth of the delivery of grain to European ports.

The union is looking at the agreement signed in Istanbul "with optimism," Ivashchenko told CNN. "We are waiting for the published document to analyze it."

"Ukraine concluded an agreement with the UN and with Turkey, and not with Russia, this is also a positive sign," he added.

"To unblock the harbors of Ukrainian ports, where ships were specially flooded in order to complicate Russian landings from the sea, we have quite optimistic forecasts now," he said. "It may take only a few weeks and it would be great if so."

"Now a new harvest has started and we expect that the wheat harvest will be about 21 million tonnes. With such a harvest, we could export 13-15 million tonnes of wheat. Plus the harvest that we still had left (from 2021-22)," he added.