August 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Rhea Mogul, Heather Chen, Amy Woodyatt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 2:31 a.m. ET, August 9, 2022
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4:43 a.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Ukrainians claim to have repelled further Russian ground assaults in Donetsk

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

Despite widespread bombardment of civilian and military infrastructure, Russian forces have failed to make any progress in Donetsk, according to the Ukrainian military.

The military's General Staff said that the Russians had waged offensive battles in several areas but had suffered losses.

The Ukrainians are still defending villages within a few kilometers of the Donetsk-Luhansk border, and said they'd beaten back a Russian attack near Verkhnokamyanske.

The military's General Staff said heavy shelling continued north of Sloviansk, a front that has been largely static for two months, as well as in settlements around Bakhmut, where the Russians had also used strike aircraft.

"The enemy continues to conduct reconnaissance, sparing no personnel. Enemy reconnaissance groups were detected and neutralized in the areas of Bakhmutske, Bakhmut and Yakovlivka settlements," the General Staff said. "The enemy tried to conduct assaults to the south of Bakhmut, "but was unsuccessful and retreated."

Russian forces had also tried to gain ground west of the airport in Donetsk city but had retreated.

Further south, the General Staff said, many settlements in Zaporizhzhia had come under fire from both artillery and air strikes.

In the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the military administration, said Russian rockets had hit the districts of Nikopol and Kryvyi Rih.

4:24 a.m. ET, August 8, 2022

UN Secretary General describes shelling around Ukrainian nuclear plant as "suicidal"

From CNN's Tim Lister

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has described the recent artillery and rocket fire around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in central Ukraine as "suicidal."

"Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing," Guterres told reporters in Tokyo.
"I hope that these attacks will end," he said, calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be given access to the plant.

The Zaporizhzhia plant is Europe's largest and occupies an extensive site on the river Dnipro. It has continued operating at reduced capacity since Russian forces captured it early in March, with Ukrainian technicians remaining at work. 

Fears about the security of the plant have been growing since Russian forces seized the site but reached an inflection point last week when shelling damaged a high-voltage power line and forced one of the plant's reactors to stop operating despite no radioactive leak being detected.

Ukraine's state energy company, Energoatom, said over the weekend that one worker was injured by Russian shelling around the plant, adding that radiation monitoring sensors were also damaged. 

Meanwhile, Russia is blaming Ukraine for the shelling around the plant. 

Russian-backed authorities in the nearest city, Energodar, claimed that a Ukrainian missile landed within 400 meters of one of the plant's reactors. Energodar was seized by Russian forces at the same time as the power plant. 

"Tonight, the armed formations of Ukraine struck with a Uragan 220 mm rocket missile cluster rocket," the local authority said, according to the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
"Administrative buildings and the adjoining territory of the dry cask storage facility were damaged by the projectiles."

CNN cannot verify claims made by either side.

The Russians have been shelling the Ukrainian-held town of Nikopol from positions around the plant.

On Saturday, the IAEA director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said he was extremely concerned by the shelling "which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond."

5:03 a.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Two more ships loaded with Ukrainian grain are headed to international markets 

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

The Sacura is seen in the sea port of Pivdennyi, on Monday.
The Sacura is seen in the sea port of Pivdennyi, on Monday. (Ministry of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority/Handout/Reuters)

The export of grain from Ukraine through Black Sea ports continued Monday, with the first ship to leave the southern port of Yuzhnyi under a UN-brokered deal to help ease the global food crisis sparked by war.

The Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry said the bulk carrier Sacura had become the first vessel to leave the port since the early days of the war in February.

The Sacura and the Arizona, which left the southwestern city of Chornomorsk Monday, are carrying 60,000 metric tons of agricultural products to international markets. 

The Infrastructure Ministry said its goal is to increase trans-shipment to three to five vessels per day within the next two weeks.

3:18 a.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Zelensky adviser warns Russia could be preparing to bring more forces to front line

From CNN's Mariya Knight

Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 19, 2022. 
Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 19, 2022.  Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called on Germany to help increase its weapons supply Sunday in an interview with German newspaper Tagesspiegel, according to the president's office.

The office posted a readout from the interview to its official website Sunday.

Podolyak said in the interview that Ukraine needs "the supply of as many modern weapons as possible" and asked for the participation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. "The more and faster we get heavy weapons, the sooner we will be able to stop this war," he said.

Podolyak warned he believes Russia wants to "freeze the conflict for six months in order to bring new troops and weapons to the front line," though there has not been official indication of this from the Russian side.

"If the West gets tired of the war, Russia will strike again with all its might," Podolyak said.

According to the adviser, Ukraine needs the supply of long-range artillery, MLRS and unmanned aerial vehicles. 

"Germany must now take a different path, understand what Russia really is. It is a fact that we need more weapons," Podolyak added. 

8:52 p.m. ET, August 7, 2022

Zelensky rules out future negotiations if Russia holds referendums in Ukraine

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman and Mariya Knight

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would not hold future negotiations if Russia conducts referendums in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

"Every week there are more and more reports that the occupiers are preparing for pseudo-referendums in the occupied areas of the south of our country," Zelensky said in his nightly address Sunday. "I want to say a very simple thing, everyone who helps the occupiers in any way realize their intention will be held accountable. They will bear responsibility to Ukraine."

Officials in Russian-held territories of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region have previously said they would hold referendums on joining Russia.

"The position of our state remains the same: we will not give up anything of ours," Zelensky reiterated, warning that if Russian occupiers pursue the referendums, "they will close for themselves any possibility of negotiations with Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will definitely need in a certain moment."
8:55 p.m. ET, August 7, 2022

Ukraine says "several missiles" hit military facilities in Vinnytsia region, victims reported

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman

Several Russian missiles struck military facilities in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia on Sunday, according to the Ukrainian military.

"There are victims. The type of missiles is being clarified by the relevant services," the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a post on its official Facebook page. "The reasons for the failure of the missile warning system are being investigated."

The Air Force Command did not specify the number of victims or severity of injuries.

8:29 p.m. ET, August 7, 2022

Jessica Chastain's visit to Kyiv "extremely valuable," Zelensky says

From CNN's Mariya Knight

American actress Jessica Chastain met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sunday.

"For us, such visits of famous people are extremely valuable," Zelensky said on his Telegram account. "Thanks to this, the world will hear, know and understand the truth about what is happening in our country even more. Thanks for the support!"

In his nightly address Sunday, Zelensky said Chastain visited a children's hospital in Kyiv and the suburb of Irpin, where she “saw with her own eyes the consequences of the Russian occupation.” 

“Her story about our war will definitely be heard,” Zelensky said. 

Irpin was the site of some of the heaviest fighting in Russia’s failed bid to capture the Ukrainian capital earlier this year. Substantial evidence has also emerged of the massacre of civilians there and nearby Bucha. 

8:17 p.m. ET, August 7, 2022

Ukrainians say multiple Russian assaults resisted in Donetsk

From CNN's Mariya Knight

The Ukrainian Military said Sunday it had inflicted losses on Russian forces in several parts of Donetsk and repelled their efforts to advance in other places.

In a briefing, the General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said the Russian forces tried to conduct several assaults in Donetsk against multiple settlements near Sloviansk, but the Ukrainian forces pushed them back. 

“With offensive actions, the enemy tried to improve its tactical position near Verkhnokamianske, a village in Donetsk region, but was unsuccessful and retreated,” the General Staff said. 

The Russians also “conducted offensive and assault actions in the districts of Bakhmut, Zaitseve, Yakovlivka and Vershina but were unsuccessful and retreated,” the General Staff added, saying that fighting continues near Kodema, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Pisky and Mariinka. 

The General Staff also reported that Russia is “concentrating its main efforts on preventing the advance of our troops” in the south and shelling “the entire line of contact.” 

7:01 a.m. ET, August 8, 2022

New rocket strike on Ukraine nuclear plant, as UN watchdog warns of "disaster"

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva, Olga Voitovych and Sana Noor Haq

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Sunday of launching rockets at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, further ratcheting fears of an accident a day after the United Nations' watchdog warned that fighting at the occupied complex risked a "nuclear disaster."

It was the second time in as many days that the plant, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, was hit. Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for both attacks.

The rockets launched on Saturday night struck near a dry storage facility, where 174 casks with spent nuclear fuel are kept, according to Energoatom, Ukraine's state-run nuclear power company. Explosions blew out windows in parts of the plant and one worker was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds.

"Apparently, they aimed specifically at the containers with processed fuel, which are stored outside next to the site of shelling," the company said in a statement on Telegram.

Three radiation monitoring detectors were also damaged on Saturday, making "timely detection and response in case of aggravation of the radiation situation or leakage of radiation from spent nuclear fuel casks are currently impossible," Energoatom said.

"This time a nuclear catastrophe was miraculously avoided, but miracles cannot last forever," it added.

Kyiv has accused Russian forces of storing heavy weaponry in and launching attacks from the plant, which they took over in early March and still occupy. Moscow, meanwhile, has claimed Ukrainian troops are targeting the complex.

Read the full story here.