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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2:01 p.m. ET, August 3, 2022

UN to establish fact-finding mission into Ukraine prison attack, secretary-general says

From CNN's Richard Roth

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday. (Xie E/Xinhua/Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a Wednesday news conference that the UN is seeking to establish a fact-finding team to study the attack on a Ukrainian detention facility that resulted in at least 50 deaths and dozens of injuries of Ukrainian prisoners of war. 

Russia and Ukraine both requested an investigation into the attack, Guterres told reporters in New York. He added that the terms of reference for the panel would need to be accepted by Russia and Ukraine before the fact-finding mission would begin. 

Guterres also said the fact-finding team would not be a criminal investigation, adding that the UN is looking for "independent team members."

Russia previously invited experts from the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross to conduct an "objective investigation" into the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners held at the Olenivka jail in the Donetsk region, according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday. 

However, the International Committee of the Red Cross told CNN Saturday that its “demands for access” to the site have not been granted. 

More context: The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Defence Intelligence department claimed Wednesday that the detonation of the building was carried out by Wagner, the private military contractor whose fighters have been involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as other conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. 

CNN is unable to verify the claim by the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence department, which provided no evidence to support its allegation. 

Ukraine has consistently accused Russian forces of carrying out the attack last Thursday night, in response to Russian claims that Ukraine had used US high mobility artillery rocket systems to attack the center in order to prevent Ukrainian prisoners from admitting war crimes.

CNN’s Jo Shelly and Tim Lister contributed reporting to this post.

12:54 p.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Gazprom claims delivery of Nord Stream 1 turbine from Germany to Russia is “impossible”

From CNN’s Livvy Doherty and Benjamin Brown in London

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands in front of a turbine of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline during a visit to the Siemens Energy plant in Muelheim, Germany, on August 3.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands in front of a turbine of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline during a visit to the Siemens Energy plant in Muelheim, Germany, on August 3. (Sascha Schuermann/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian energy giant Gazprom said the delivery of a pipeline turbine from Germany to Russia is “impossible," despite German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying earlier on Wednesday that it was ready to go. 

In a statement on Telegram the state-owned energy company said “the sanctions regimes of Canada, the EU, the UK and the inconsistency of the current situation with the current contractual obligations on the part of Siemens make the delivery of the 073 engine to the Portovaya CS impossible.”

Gazprom has consistently blamed reduced gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe on technical issues relating to the turbine. It was recently under repairs in Canada and then shipped to a Siemens Energy plant in Germany. 

In a visit to inspect the turbine in the German city of Mülheim, the chancellor said, “It is clear and simple: the turbine is there. It can be delivered. All someone has to do is say, 'I want it.' Then it will be there very quickly.”

Scholz said that there were no legal or technical reasons or sanctions preventing the export of the turbine to Russia.

12:45 p.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Ukraine raises grains harvest forecast to 65 million tonnes

From CNN's Tim Lister

Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, speaks at a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 25.
Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, speaks at a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 25. (Christophe Gateau/picture allianceGetty Images)

The Ukrainian government has raised its forecast for this year's harvests of grain and oilseeds crops.

A meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal was told this year's harvest is expected to be larger than was initially predicted — 65 to 67 million tonnes instead of the 60 million tonnes previously forecast.

Shymal said that "despite all the troubles, the harvest continues. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, during the harvest period, crop harvesting was carried out on an area of 3.5 million hectares, in fact, 12 million tons of grain of the new crop were collected," said Shmyhal.

"In June we exported 3.2 million tonnes out of the 5 million that were needed. Exports are gradually increasing by rail, road, and through the Danube ports. Seaports will significantly expand these capacities and farmers will get new opportunities to sell their products," he said.

Shmyal's remarks came as the first ship to leave a Black Sea port laden with grain passed through the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.

Shmyhal said the government was working to improve participation in state credits for farmers, many of whom have had their equipment and storage destroyed or are unable to get their produce to market economically.

Denys Marchuk, deputy head of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council, told a news conference Wednesday that 16 more ships are waiting for their turn to leave Ukraine's Black Sea ports after being stranded there since February.

He said the first task was to begin shifting the 20 million tonnes stored by agricultural producers from the last harvest.

He also said that government ministries were discussing with the Coordination Council in Istanbul the possibility of including ports in the Mykolaiv region in the deal to export Ukrainian crops 

12:12 p.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Ukraine blames Russian military contractor Wagner for attack that killed 50 POWs

From CNN's Tim Lister

Debris in a pre-trial detention center after an attack, in the separatist-controlled region of Olenivka, in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine on July 29, 2022.
Debris in a pre-trial detention center after an attack, in the separatist-controlled region of Olenivka, in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine on July 29, 2022. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian agencies — along with the help of outside experts — continue to investigate the cause of the explosion that killed 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war last week and injured many more at a detention center in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Defence Intelligence department claimed Wednesday that the detonation of the building where Ukrainian soldiers were held "was carried out by the fighters of the 'Wagner' military command center using a highly flammable substance, which led to the rapid spread of the fire in the premises."

Wagner is a private military contractor whose fighters have been involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as other conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. 

CNN is unable to verify the claim by the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence department, which provided no evidence to support its allegation. 

Images from the scene at the detention center in Olenivka — which was used to house many Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol — show that many of the victims were badly burned.

The Defence Intelligence department also said that interrogations at the Olenivka pre-trial center involved the security services of the DPR and Russia as well as Wagner personnel.

It claimed that "physical torture and beatings were actively used during interrogations. Such measures, first of all, were aimed not at obtaining certain confidential information, but at bullying, physical humiliation, psychological demoralization."

In part, the intent was to have prisoners admit on camera to "crimes committed by them, atrocities against the local population, the fighters' renunciation of their views, as well as condemnation of the actions of the leadership of Ukraine," the department alleged.

It went on to claim that "the Russian side had no intention of exchanging prisoners of war and in order to hide the improper conditions and forms of interrogation of Ukrainian servicemen (which could serve as evidence at The Hague Tribunal), deliberately destroyed the prisoners."

Ukraine has consistently accused Russian forces of carrying out the attack last Thursday night, in response to Russian claims that Ukraine had used US high mobility artillery rocket systems to attack the center in order to prevent Ukrainian prisoners from admitting war crimes.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed Wednesday it had been able to visit the Olenivka facility once in May this year to deliver water tanks. 

"But we did not have access to POWs held there on an individual basis – as per ICRC's modalities of work in detention facilities – and that continues to be the case," the Red Cross said.

The ICRC added: "Under the Third Geneva Convention, during international armed conflicts, the ICRC must be granted access to all PoWs, wherever they are held. We also have full liberty to choose the places we wish to visit. Since February 2022, our teams have been able to have access to some PoWs, but not all."

The ICRC said it has requested access to the detention center again since the attack last week, but it has not received permission from the Russians.

10:59 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

OPEC agrees to small increase in oil output

From CNN's Anna Cooban

Crude oil storage tanks at the Juaymah Tank Farm in Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, on October 1, 2018.
Crude oil storage tanks at the Juaymah Tank Farm in Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, on October 1, 2018. (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The world's oil-exporting countries have agreed to a tiny increase in output next month amid fears that a global recession will crimp demand.

The Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries and its allies — which includes Russia — also known as OPEC+, said on Wednesday that it would produce an additional 100,000 million barrels a day in September.

This was the first OPEC meeting since US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia last month. Biden urged the country — which is the group's biggest oil producer — to start pumping more.

For months, prices have climbed as Western embargoes on Russian oil over its invasion of Ukraine have limited global supply. Those prices have helped the world's biggest oil companies reap record profits, even as millions face surging fuel bills.

A gallon of regular gasoline in the United States surpassed $5 for the first time in June, though prices have fallen back significantly since then.

Read more here.

8:22 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

Putin discussed gas supply issues with former German chancellor during Moscow visit, Kremlin says

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Gerhard Schroeder former German Chancellor, in the Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, on July 1, 2020.
Gerhard Schroeder former German Chancellor, in the Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, on July 1, 2020. (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder during his visit to Moscow and discussed gas supply issues, the president’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists Wednesday.

“Yes, Schroeder was in Moscow recently, and, indeed, he had a face-to-face meeting with President Putin,” Peskov said on a regular conference call with reporters.

“Of course, former Chancellor [Schroeder] … is very concerned about the real state of affairs and about the energy crisis that is flaring up in Europe and far from prospects in this area. Of course, he asked Putin to explain the situation and explain the vision of the Russian side,” Peskov added.

According to Peskov, Russia continues to pay Ukraine for gas transit despite the hostilities in the region.

“We continue to pay Ukrainians for transit through the only working branch. Aggressor or not, but the money is being accepted and the payment is going through,” Peskov said.

Peskov said Putin told Schroeder that Nord Stream 2 is ready for operation and said that gas supplies to Europe decreased due to sanctions.

“The situation with the turbines is, one [turbine] was removed and sent to Canada for repair works. It is now in Germany but some documents are missing. President [Putin] explained [to Schroeder] what papers those are,” Peskov said, adding that the German side requested confirmation from Gazprom that the turbine is not under sanctions. “So far, these documents are not there, as far as we know.”

Another turbine is awaiting repair work from a British subsidiary of the repair company, he said.

“Putin explained that this extremely tense and absurd situation was generated by the very restrictions and sanctions imposed by the Europeans and the British,” Peskov said.

According to Peskov, it was Schroeder who raised the question of using Nord Stream 2 should the situation require it.

“Former Chancellor [Schroeder] asked if, hypothetically speaking, Nord Stream 2 could be used in a crisis situation. … Putin was not the initiator, he did not offer this,” Peskov said. Putin said that it is “technologically possible” as the project is ready for immediate use, Peskov added.

9:47 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

First Ukrainian grain shipment passes inspection in Istanbul

From Yusuf Gezer and Nada Bashir in Istanbul, Olga Voitovych in Kyiv and Chris Liakos

Joint Coordination Centre officials are seen onboard the Razoni during an agreed inspection, on the Black Sea near Istanbul, Turkey, on August 3.
Joint Coordination Centre officials are seen onboard the Razoni during an agreed inspection, on the Black Sea near Istanbul, Turkey, on August 3. (Turkish Defence Ministry/Reuters)

The first shipment of grain to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa since Russia began its invasion passed the inspection of the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul on Wednesday, according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that an inspection of the M/V Razoni would be carried out by a delegation consisting of representatives of Turkey, Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United Nations.

“The ship RAZONI has passed the inspection of the Joint Coordination Centre and is ready to proceed to its destination,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a tweet that the inspection of the shipment has been completed and that the ship will head next to Lebanon.

The three-hour inspection involved assessing the ship's crew and cargo, and recording "valuable information on the vessel's journey" along the corridor in the Black Sea agreed by the JCC, according to a statement from the center.

"The JCC will use this voyage in its ongoing work on fine tuning procedures and processes to enable the continuation of safe passage of commercial vessels across the Black Sea under the Initiative," the statement said.

Three ports in Ukraine are scheduled to renew the export of millions of tonnes of wheat, corn and other crops, the statement added.

The M/V Razoni departed from the port of Odesa on Monday, carrying more than 26,000 tonnes of corn. After being delayed due to bad weather, it arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday evening. The ship is next heading to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon.

The inspection team board the vessel, carrying a cargo of more than 26,000 tonnes of corn, on the Black Sea on Wednesday.
The inspection team board the vessel, carrying a cargo of more than 26,000 tonnes of corn, on the Black Sea on Wednesday. (Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

“This is the first ship that goes along the 'grain corridor' agreed with the UN and Turkey. Thanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and port services, RAZONI safely made its way to the Bosphorus, where it was inspected by representatives of the JCC," Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov posted on Facebook.

"Using RAZONI as an example, all the necessary control and coordination measures between Ukraine and the signatory partners -- the UN and Turkey -- are being finalized and worked out,” Kubrakov said.

He added that 17 vessels are loaded and awaiting permission to leave Ukraine and that applications are being accepted for the entry of new ships to Ukrainian ports for loading agricultural products.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the departure of the first grain ship from the Black Sea "significant," but noted it is "only a first step, and continued implementation of the July 21 UN-facilitated deal is essential to bolster food security around the world."

"Russia must meet its commitments, including by facilitating unimpeded exports of agricultural products from Black Sea ports," Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. 

"Russia must also end its attacks that are rendering farmland in Ukraine unusable and destroying agricultural infrastructure," he continued. "As long as Russia continues its aggression, the Ukrainian people and the world’s most vulnerable will continue to suffer its effects."

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

7:17 a.m. ET, August 3, 2022

German chancellor expects Russian gas deliveries "will no longer be honored"

From CNN’s Benjamin Brown

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, stands next to Christian Bruch, President and CEO of Siemens Energy in front of a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline at the plant of Siemens Energy in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany, on August 3.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, stands next to Christian Bruch, President and CEO of Siemens Energy in front of a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline at the plant of Siemens Energy in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany, on August 3. (Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned that Germany must “expect that supply contracts will no longer be honored” by Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom, even if gas flows resume through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Gazprom had blamed significantly decreased gas deliveries in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on technical issues relating to the turbine.

“It is clear and simple: the turbine is there. It can be delivered. All someone has to do is say: I want it. Then it will be there very quickly,” Scholz said during a visit to the Ruhr city of Mülheim on Wednesday.

The chancellor, who was there to inspect a pipeline turbine that had recently been serviced in Canada, said that there were no legal or technical reasons or sanctions preventing the export of the turbine to Russia.  

“It must always be clear that there can always be some kind of pretextual reasons that lead to something not working. Technical reasons have allegedly stood in the way of gas exports to other European countries. There, too, they were just as incomprehensible,” Scholz said.

��For us, however, this means that we have to be prepared for the fact that even if the transport works now, if the gas transport through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline works well again, it will still be the case that issues can come up again at any time," he added.

Speaking alongside Scholz, Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch said that the servicing of the turbine should have been “a routine measure” and reiterated that there were no technical reasons for reduced gas flows. Siemens Energy and the German government had prepared all paperwork on their side but were still missing documentation from Gazprom, Bruch added.

Last week, the Russian state-owned energy company said that it would further reduce gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, halting a turbine for repairs. Gas flows to Germany through the pipeline have since run at 20%, according to German authorities.

Gas through Nord Stream 1 had previously been flowing at 40% capacity after Russia slashed exports in response to Western sanctions over the country's invasion of Ukraine.