August 3, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2:22 a.m. ET, August 4, 2022
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5:11 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Zelensky calls on China to "join the united world" and oppose Russia

From CNN's Gabby Gretener

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to China “to join the united world” and oppose Russia amid the war in Ukraine.

The President discussed China when answering questions from students during a virtual address to the Australian National University on Wednesday.

Zelensky admitted Beijing’s “neutrality is better” than if China would join Russia, believing “the nation, the people of China will do the prudent choice.” He went on to say it is “important that China wouldn’t help Russia.” 

Speaking about the condition of Russia-Ukraine relations in the future, Zelensky said it “depends only on Russia” and that “the question belongs only to them.”

5:39 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Russian foreign minister says Pelosi's Taiwan visit reflects US desire to display its "lawlessness"

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a meeting with Myanmar's Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on August 3.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a meeting with Myanmar's Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on August 3. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Reuters)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan reflects Washington's desire to prove their "impunity and display their lawlessness."

"I cannot tell what was their (the Americans’) motivation but there are no doubts that it reflects the very same policy we are talking about with regards to the Ukrainian situation," Lavrov said Wednesday at a news conference with Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

"This is a desire to prove to absolutely everyone (their) impunity and display their lawlessness."

Lavrov added he did not see any other "reason to create such an irritant literally out of nowhere, fully aware what it means for the People’s Republic of China."

Some background: Pelosi's trip to Taiwan has inflamed tensions between the US and China and prompted criticism from the Kremlin.

China's anger at Pelosi's visit to the democratic self-governing island was underscored when Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng on Tuesday accused her of "deliberately provoking and playing with fire against people's will," saying her visit is "extremely egregious" and the consequences will be "extremely serious."

That same day, Moscow said that Russia considered Pelosi's visit "a clear provocation in the spirit of the United States' aggressive policy of an all-out effort to contain the PRC (People's Republic of China)."

The Russian foreign ministry also called on Washington "to refrain from actions that undermine regional stability and international security and to recognize the new geopolitical reality in which there is no longer any place for American hegemony."

5:16 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Zelensky opens door to same-sex civil partnerships in Ukraine

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Olga Voitovych

People take part in the annual Pride parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Sept. 19, 2021.
People take part in the annual Pride parade in Kyiv, Ukraine on Sept. 19, 2021. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has paved the way to legalizing same-sex civil partnerships in the country, in response to a petition calling for same-sex marriage to be made legal there.

Zelensky explained that while the country remained at war, it would be impossible to legalize same-sex marriage because it would violate the constitution.

“The Family Code of Ukraine defines that the family is the primary and main unit of society. A family consists of persons who live together, are connected by common life, have mutual rights and obligations. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, marriage is based on the free consent of a woman and a man (Article 51),” he said on the presidency website.

“The Constitution of Ukraine cannot be changed during a martial law or a state of emergency (Article 157 of the Constitution of Ukraine).”

Despite the obstacles, Zelensky said he would work with his ministers to “ensure the rights and freedoms” of all Ukrainians.

“At the same time, the Government worked out solutions regarding the legalization of registered civil partnership in Ukraine as part of the work on establishing and ensuring human rights and freedoms,” he said.

“In the modern world, the level of democratic society is measured, among other things, through state policy aimed at ensuring equal rights for all citizens. Every citizen is an inseparable part of civil society, he is entitled to all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine,” Zelensky also said.

All people are free and equal in their dignity and rights," he continued.

Zelensky also thanked the more than 28,000 people that signed the petition for their “active civic position.”

Under Ukrainian law, the president must review petitions that get more than 25,000 signatures.

3:35 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Ukraine says Russia remains unsuccessful in its offensive toward Donetsk city of Bakhmut

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

Russian forces pushing toward the Donetsk city of Bakhmut have yet to make significant gains, according to the Ukrainian military.

In its daily update, the military’s General Staff said Russian troops had made an advance from the northwest toward Bakhmut but were pushed back.

“The enemy launched an offensive in the area of ​​the western outskirts of Berestove, was unsuccessful, and retreated,” it said, referring to a village about 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from Bakhmut.

It added that the situation was the same in the directions northward between Volodymyrivka and Yakovlivka, and eastwards from Semyhiria to Kodema.

Fighting also continues northward along Volodymyrivka to Soledar and eastwards from Pokrovske to Bakhmut.

According to the General Staff, Ukrainian forces were able to target Russian forces moving in from the east. 

“Ukrainian soldiers inflicted powerful fire damage on the directions of Vidrodzhennia-Kodema and Dolomytne-Semyhiria and forced the occupiers to withdraw,” it said. 

Elsewhere in Donetsk, Ukraine says Russia also tried to make a push toward Avdiivka. 

“The enemy shelled the Avdiivka area. It tried to improve the tactical position, unsuccessfully, retreated with losses,” the General Staff said. 
2:31 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Russian airstrikes rock Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, mayor says

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Sophie Jeong

The southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv was hit by “powerful explosions” early on Wednesday morning, according to Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych.

“Powerful explosions rocked Mykolaiv at around 5 a.m. More airstrikes. A fire broke out in one of the city's districts, and a supermarket was destroyed in another,” Senkevych wrote on his official Telegram account.

Rescue operations are underway, the mayor said.

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

2:32 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Ukraine celebrates first grain shipment arrival in Turkey and says more is to come

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman and Mia Alberti

The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn arrives at the Black Sea entrance of the Bosporus Strait, in Istanbul on August 3. 
The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn arrives at the Black Sea entrance of the Bosporus Strait, in Istanbul on August 3.  (Lokman Akkaya/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukrainian authorities have welcomed the arrival in Turkey of the first grain shipment to leave the Black Sea port of Odesa since Russia began its invasion. 

"The first cargo ship RAZONI with corn arrived in Istanbul. Our allies are helping us to fight #RussianAggression, and Ukraine is helping the [world] to prevent hunger crisis," Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this shipment must be the first of many to ensure food security internally and across the world.

"Our goal now is to have regularity: that when one ship leaves the port, there should be other ships... Exports this year are needed so that our farmers and agricultural companies have sufficient resources for next year's sowing," Zelensky said in his Tuesday video address. "This is a matter of food security for our country as well -- we are now ensuring next year."

Zelensky accused Russia of provoking the food crisis to use "the supply of wheat, corn, oil as a weapon."

"Russia creates a deficit, plays to raise prices, and when this provokes social unrest, it demands political concessions. It should not work with food," he said. "But when the world is united, when partners fulfill their commitments, the necessary result can be achieved. Let's see how the grain initiative will work in the coming days."
2:33 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

US sanctions Putin's reputed girlfriend Alina Kabaeva

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Alina Kabayeva sits in the lower parliament chamber in Moscow on Jan. 13, 2012. 
Alina Kabayeva sits in the lower parliament chamber in Moscow on Jan. 13, 2012.  (Mikhail Metzel/AP)

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin's reputed girlfriend as part of a series of measures targeting Russian elites in the Biden administration's latest attempt to punish the Kremlin for its ongoing war in Ukraine.

Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, who has been romantically linked to the Russian leader, was sanctioned "for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the Government of the Russian Federation," a Treasury Department statement said.

That statement describes the 39-year-old Kabaeva as having "a close relationship to Putin." She is a former member of the State Duma "and is the current head of the National Media Group, a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio, and print organizations."

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that sanctioning Kabaeva was under consideration by the US, but there was concern that such a move would inflame tensions given her close proximity to Putin.

Kabaeva was previously sanctioned by the European Union and the United Kingdom.

In addition to Kabaeva, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against a number of other oligarchs, a major steel production company and two of its subsidiaries as well as a financial institution accused of running a sanctions evasion operation and its general director.

Read the full story here.

12:11 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

G7 considers "prohibition" on transportation of Russian oil globally unless purchased at or below set price

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty in London

The G7 is considering further options to stop Russia “profiting from its war of aggression and to curtail Russia's ability to wage war,” according to a statement from the forum's foreign ministers on Tuesday.

Such options could include “a comprehensive prohibition of all services that enable transportation of Russian seaborne crude oil and petroleum products globally” unless the oil was purchased at or below a set price, the statement said. 

The foreign ministers said Russia is using energy as “a tool of geopolitical coercion” and that they would work together to reduce G7 countries demand on Russian energy, while protecting the most vulnerable groups from the impacts of supply disruptions and rising prices. 

2:43 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Mandatory evacuation of Donetsk region has begun, according to Ukrainian officials

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

A young girl holds her dog while waving goodbye to her grandparents from an evacuation train departing Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
A young girl holds her dog while waving goodbye to her grandparents from an evacuation train departing Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, Aug. 2. (David Goldman/AP)

Ukrainian officials said the mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk region has begun, with the first train leaving Pokrovsk and arriving further west in the city of Kropyvnytskyi. 

“The first train arrived in Kropyvnytskyi this morning. Women, children, the elderly, many people with limited mobility. Everyone was met and accommodated, everyone was helped,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in her Telegram channel on Tuesday. “Thanks to local services, international organizations and volunteers.”

The head of the Donetsk regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, also announced the beginning of the evacuation, adding that trains will depart every two days. 

“Every paired-numbered day, an evacuation train will depart from Pokrovsk to Kropyvnytskyi with a stop in Oleksandria. Departure time is 16:30,” Kyrylenko posted in his official Telegram. “Do not delay - evacuate! Evacuation saves lives!”

According to Ukrainian Railways, Ukrzaliznytsia, 136 passengers — including 44 with limited mobility — were on the first evacuation train. Volunteers from World Central Kitchen provided people with food, while the Ukrainian Postal Service, Ukrposhta, supported payments at the station.