August 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Sana Noor Haq and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:35 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022
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4:57 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Humanity is "one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," says UN Secretary-General

From CNN’s Richard Roth and Samantha Beech in New York

UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks to the media prior to the 2022 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York City on August 1.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks to the media prior to the 2022 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations in New York City on August 1. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Humanity is just "one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," the United Nations Secretary-General has warned.

Geopolitical threats including the climate crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and armed conflicts are putting the globe at risk of a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War, according to Antonio Guterres.

"Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," Guterres said at the opening of a United Nations nuclear treaty conference at its headquarters in New York.

On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken were among those gathered for the 10th annual review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

"The climate crisis, stark inequalities, conflicts and human rights violations, and the personal and economic devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, have put our world under greater stress than it has faced in our lifetimes," Guterres said.

"Humanity is in danger of forgetting the lessons forged in the terrifying fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Guterres added that "geopolitical tensions are reaching new highs," and "distrust has replaced dialogue."

"States are seeking false security in stockpiling and spending hundreds of billions of dollars on doomsday weapons that have no place on our planet."

Nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are now being held in arsenals around the world, Guterres added, citing Russia's invasion of Ukraine and crises in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula as areas where nuclear undertones "are festering."

He listed five "areas of action" that are central to the treaty. This includes a steadfast commitment to reinforce and reaffirm the 77-year-old norm against the use of nuclear weapons, working toward the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, addressing simmering tensions in the Middle East and Asia, promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technology for medical and other uses and fulfilling all outstanding commitments in the treaty itself.

"We need the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as much as ever. That’s why this review conference is so important. It’s an opportunity to hammer-out the measures that will help avoid certain disaster."

3:52 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Bad weather delays first grain shipment from Ukraine since early days of war

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

The Razoni departs from the port of Odesa in Odesa, Ukraine, on August 1.
The Razoni departs from the port of Odesa in Odesa, Ukraine, on August 1. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The first ship loaded with grain to leave Ukraine since Russia began its invasion has been delayed because of bad weather, according to the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul.

The JCC said the MV Razoni had been moving slower than expected and is now due to reach Istanbul on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.

No further grain ship departures from Ukraine are scheduled yet, the JCC added.

Food crisis: The Razoni departed from the Black Sea port of Odesa on Monday under a UN-brokered export deal, raising hopes that a global food supply crisis caused by Russia's invasion can be eased.

Since the war began, Ukraine's southern ports had been blocked by Russia, preventing Ukrainian grain from reaching the many countries that rely on it.

Some 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn have been trapped at Odesa port, US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Samantha Power said last week.

Ukraine and Russia are both significant suppliers of food to the world. In normal times, Ukraine would export around three-quarters of the grain it produces. According to data from the European Commission, about 90% of these exports were shipped from Black Sea ports.

3:42 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

WNBA star Brittney Griner back in Russian court for trial

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to court prior to a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on August 2.
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to court prior to a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on August 2. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

WNBA star Brittney Griner has arrived at Khimki court, in the Moscow region, for her seventh hearing as her trial continues on Tuesday. 

The previous hearing on July 27 ended without a verdict. Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges early last month in an attempt to mitigate her sentence.

The hearing on Tuesday, which has just begun, will see the defense presenting witnesses to testify in the case. No verdict is expected Tuesday.

Some context to the case: The 31-year-old Olympic medalist has been held in Russia since February on allegations of attempted drug smuggling, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in Russia. 

During the trial, Griner has testified that she has a doctor's prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia. Following her detention in February, she was tested for drugs and was clean, her lawyers previously said.

Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy Elizabeth Rood is also attending Tuesday’s hearing.

The prisoner swap: Amid growing pressure and after months of internal debate, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with Russia, offering to release a convicted Russian arms trafficker in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, people briefed on the matter told CNN.

Russian officials countered the US offer, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, requesting that in addition to arms dealer Viktor Bout, the US also include a convicted murderer who was formerly a colonel with the Russian spy agency, Vadim Krasikov.

3:25 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Mykolaiv university dorm hit in shelling overnight

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

Russian forces shelled the southern city of Mykolaiv overnight, hitting a university dormitory, according to Ukrainian officials.

“On August 2, after 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. two districts of the city of Mykolaiv were shelled again,” said the head of the Mykolaiv regional administration, Vitalii Kim, in a post on Telegram. “A dormitory of one of the universities was damaged.”
“At the moment of shelling, a security guard of the building was injured. According to preliminary information, there are no victims,” he added.

A shop also caught fire due to the fall of ammunition. 

“According to preliminary information, one of the districts was hit by MLRS Smerch, the other one by S-300 missiles,” Kim said. The S-300 is a surface-to-air missile usually used to target aircraft or incoming missiles. 

Some context: Russian shelling of the strategically important port of Mykolaiv has intensified since Friday, with attacks over the weekend described by the city's mayor as the "strongest" since the start of the war.

2:55 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Ukraine says Russia maintaining offensive in Donetsk with shelling across eastern front line

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Olga Voitovych

Firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out after shelling in Opytne, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on August 1.
Firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out after shelling in Opytne, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on August 1. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian forces have been continuing their offensive toward the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, according to the Ukrainian military.

“Fighting continues in the areas of Bakhmut and Zaitseve settlements,” the military’s General Staff said in its morning update on Tuesday. “Ukrainian soldiers repelled assaults in the areas of Yakovlivka, Vershyna, Kodema, and Travneve.”

Russia "led assaults in the Avdiivka area, was unsuccessful, withdrew,” the General Staff added. “Fighting continues near Pisky.”

The Ukrainian military also reported intense shelling across the entire eastern front line, accusing Russia of targeting both military and civilian infrastructure. 

Elsewhere, both in the northern and southern flanks, Ukrainian forces say Russian troops have focused mainly on maintaining their positions, using artillery to prevent Kyiv’s advance and carrying out some reconnaissance missions. 

2:27 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

As US attempts to negotiate prisoner swap, Brittney Griner is set to appear in court for ongoing trial

From CNN's Elizabeth Wolfe

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 27.
US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow, Russia, on July 27. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner will continue Tuesday as US officials attempt to negotiate a prisoner swap for her release.

The scheduled appearance in a courtroom near Moscow will mark Griner's seventh hearing as Russian prosecutors accuse her of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage while traveling through a Moscow airport in February.

During the trial, Griner has testified that she has a doctor's prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia. Following her detention in February, she was tested for drugs and was clean, her lawyers previously said.

Griner pleaded guilty last month, a decision her lawyers hope the court will take into account and potentially result in a less severe sentence. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

The proposed prisoner swap: Amid this pressure and after months of internal debate, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with Russia, offering to release a convicted Russian arms trafficker in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, people briefed on the matter told CNN.

Russian officials countered the US offer, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, requesting that in addition to arms dealer Viktor Bout, the US also include a convicted murderer who was formerly a colonel with the Russian spy agency, Vadim Krasikov.

US officials did not accept the request as a legitimate counteroffer, the sources told CNN, in part because the proposal was sent through an informal FSB backchannel. Krasikov's release would also be complicated because he is currently in German custody.

Read the full story here.

2:28 a.m. ET, August 2, 2022

Zelensky welcomes first grain shipment but says Russia cannot be trusted

From CNN's Tim Lister and Oleksandra Ochman 

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni with more than 26,000 tons of Ukrainian grain on board leaves the port in Odesa region on Monday.
The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni with more than 26,000 tons of Ukrainian grain on board leaves the port in Odesa region on Monday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the first shipment of grain from the port of Odesa since the Russian invasion began in February.

"The port started working, the export traffic started, and this can be called the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the development of the food crisis in the world," Zelensky said in his daily video address.

At the same time, he warned, "We cannot be under any illusion that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports. Russia consistently provoked famine in the countries of Africa and Asia, which traditionally imported significant amounts of Ukrainian food. And now — in conditions of extreme heat, as this year in Europe, the threat of a price crisis and a certain food shortage is also present for some European countries."

Zelensky said that 16 ships are waiting their turn for shipment, and "we are ready to make a proper contribution to the stabilization of the world food market."

He also said that more than a million jobs in Ukraine rely on traffic resuming.

Zelensky said he'd spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron about agricultural exports and defense issues and also about financial support for Ukraine.

He said he'd asked Macron "to help us to unblock macro-finance, which has stalled in Europe. I want to remind all the leaders that it is 9 billion euros. These are not trifles for us, but important social things — these are our pensions, these are our salaries, support for immigrants."

8:38 p.m. ET, August 1, 2022

Ukrainian military claims it has repelled multiple attempts by Russian troops to advance in Donetsk

From CNN's Tim Lister

Every attempt by Russian forces to advance in the eastern Donetsk region in the past 24 hours has been repelled, according to the Ukrainian military.

In its latest update on the battlefield situation, the Ukrainian General Staff said Russian reconnaissance units had suffered losses and retreated in several areas.

Once again the focus of Russian efforts was around the city of Bakhmut.

"The enemy tried to improve the tactical position in the areas of Soledar, Vershyna and Bakhmut with assault actions, but was unsuccessful and retreated," the General Staff said.

Another Russian effort to advance near Avdiivka, north of the city of Donetsk, had also been repelled and hostilities in the area continued, it added.

North of the city of Sloviansk, the Russians continued to shell several settlements — most of them empty except for military positions. But "the Defense Forces exposed and neutralized an enemy reconnaissance group," the General Staff said.

Across much of the front line, the Russians resorted to heavy artillery and tank fire but appear to have made little headway. The General Staff claimed that the lack of Russian success on the ground was due to "significant losses of manpower, military equipment and the low level of morale" of enemy troops.

On the southern front, the military said there was widespread shelling across the River Inhulets, where the Russians are trying to stall Ukrainian advances.

8:18 p.m. ET, August 1, 2022

Grain ship departs key Ukrainian port for first time since early days of war

From CNN's Rob Picheta and Vasco Cotovio

The first ship carrying grain under a UN-brokered export deal left the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Monday, raising hopes that a global food supply crisis caused by Russia's invasion can be eased.

The M/V Razoni became the first commercial vessel to leave the crucial Black Sea port since Feb. 26, two days after Russia launched its assault on Ukraine.

It is bound for the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, and is carrying a cargo of around 26,500 metric tons (more than 29,000 US tons) of corn, the United Nations said.

The journey comes after a breakthrough agreement, brokered by the UN and Turkey and signed by representatives from Russia and Ukraine in July, which facilitates the resumption of vital grain exports. Some 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn have been trapped at the port of Odesa, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Samantha Power said last week.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described Monday as a "day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa."

Under the terms of the deal, the ship will anchor off the coast of Istanbul at around 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, where it will be inspected before proceeding to its final destination.

Read the full story here.