August 13, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Amarachi Orie, Thom Poole, Amir Vera and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, August 14, 2023
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5:49 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

Ukraine accuses Russia of "piracy" in latest flare-up on the Black Sea

From CNN's Victoria Butenko in Kyiv

Ukraine called Russia's boarding of a cargo vessel in the Black Sea on Sunday "a deliberate attack" and "an act of piracy," marking the latest flare-up over the sea's shipping lanes since a key grain deal collapsed last month. 

Moscow has said it stopped the vessel, a Palau-flagged dry cargo ship called the Sukra Okan, to ensure it was not carrying "prohibited goods" to Ukraine.

Ukraine called for the international community to recognize Russia's actions as a crime.

"Today's deliberate attack and forced inspection by Russia of Sukru Okan international civilian bulk carrier, which was en route to the Ukrainian port of Izmail, is a clear violation of international law of the sea, an act of piracy and a crime against civilian vessels of a third country in the waters of other states," Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Podolyak called on all those involved in the incident to be identified and for the international community to recognize the "fact of the crime."

"Ukraine will draw all the necessary conclusions and choose the best possible response," he said.

Some context: In the weeks since Moscow pulled out of a deal that allowed for the safe passage of Ukrainian grain exports in the Black Sea, both Russia and Ukraine have launched attacks on shipping and port targets.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian sea drones attacked a major naval base in Russia. Hours later, Kyiv followed up with a strike on one of Russia's biggest oil tankers.

For its part, Moscow has pummeled key port infrastructure with strikes in southern Ukraine, further limiting its ability to make exports.

Russia's defense ministry has warned that ships sailing to Ukraine's Black Sea ports will be viewed as military targets, while Ukraine has said any attacks of Russian targets on the sea will be justified because they occur in Kyiv's territorial waters.

5:13 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

Russia claims Ukraine made several drone attacks on its territory Sunday 

From CNN's Mariya Knight

Russia's defense ministry reported another drone attack Sunday on its western Belgorod region, as well as shelling on the northern Kursk region, both of which border Ukraine.

The latest drone attack occurred around 10 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), when a Ukrainian craft tried to strike a target on Russian soil but was "foiled," Moscow said.

The defense ministry said the drone "was detected and destroyed by Russian air defense means over the territory of Belgorod region," adding that there were no casualties or damage following the attack.   

This comes after local officials reported three other drones being intercepted over the same region earlier in the day. 

Shelling on Russian territory: Separately, Russia says that shells fired by Ukraine hit a residential building in the village of Volfino in the northern Kursk region, wounding three people, according to Roman Starovoyt, the regional governor.

“10 incoming strikes were recorded,” Starovoyt said. 

“Unfortunately, three civilians suffered shrapnel wounds of moderate severity, they are taken to the central district hospital,” he added.

The Russian village of Volfino is located just across the border from Ukraine’s Sumy region, which is subjected to regular Russian attacks.

Reported shelling and drone attacks by Ukrainian forces have occurred with increasing frequency in recent months. Kyiv rarely takes direct credit for such attacks, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the war is "gradually returning" to Russian soil.

3:29 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

Death toll from attack on Pokrovsk rises to 10 after rescue worker dies in hospital

From CNN’s Mariya Knight

Rescuers work at a site of a building destroyed during a Russian missile strike in Pokrovsk on August 8.
Rescuers work at a site of a building destroyed during a Russian missile strike in Pokrovsk on August 8. Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters

A rescue worker died on Sunday from injuries sustained in a Russian missile attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk on August 7, raising the death toll to 10, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service. 

The heart of Vitaly Kints, a colonel of the Civil Protection Service, has "stopped forever," the State Emergency Service said in a Facebook post on Sunday. 

Kints was “seriously wounded during the repeated shelling” of Pokrovsk and died in hospital in the early hours of Sunday. 

The State Emergency Service described Kints as “an outgoing person, a brave and humane leader, a true professional in his field, who devoted a significant part of his life to the service and put his soul into it.” 

Some background: Russia struck Pokrovsk with two missiles on August 7, and claimed to have targeted a military command post of the “united group of Ukrainian troops Khortitsa.” 

The next day, Serhii Cherevatyi, a deputy commander in Ukraine's military, told the publication Ukrainska Pravda that Russia's claim was “false propaganda.”

Cherevatyi said that it was the "third or fourth time” already that Russia claimed to destroy that particular military command post. 

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, at least 78 rescuers have been killed and 280 wounded in Ukraine while responding to missile strikes. 

3:08 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

Another drone shot down over Russian border city, mayor says

From CNN’s Mariya Knight

An apartment building that was damaged, according to local authorities, in a suspected drone attack in Belgorod, Russia, on August 13.
An apartment building that was damaged, according to local authorities, in a suspected drone attack in Belgorod, Russia, on August 13. Governor of Russia's Belgorod Region Vyacheslav Gladkov/Telegram/Handout/Reuters

Russian defenses intercepted a Ukrainian drone over the western city of Belgorod on Sunday, Mayor Valentin Demidov said in a statement.

No one was wounded or killed, the mayor said in a post on Telegram, but fragments from the drone damaged the windows and facade of an apartment building on the city's Yesenin Street. It also damaged 15 cars parked nearby, according to the mayor.

Crews will begin repairing the building Monday, he said.

Some background: The Russian mayor did not comment on where the unmanned aerial vehicle came from, but the reported attack comes a day after Russia's defense ministry said it intercepted a Ukrainian drone elsewhere in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.

Ukrainian drone strikes inside Russia have become an increasingly common feature of the war, with Kyiv warning that more will come.

A string of drone strikes has peppered Russian cities, including the capital of Moscow, throughout the summer. Belgorod and other cities along the border are also frequent targets.

CNN's Rob Picheta contributed to this report.

1:06 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

36 children have been evacuated over the last 24 hours from Kupiansk area, local official says

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

Thirty-six children have been evacuated from settlements around the northeastern city of Kupiansk over the last 24 hours, according to a local official.

“One hundred eleven people have been evacuated from Kupiansk district over the past 24 hours, including 36 children and four people with disabilities,” said Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Kharkiv region military administration.

Local authorities issued evacuation orders on August 9. Since then, 204 people have been relocated, including 71 children, Syniehubov said.

“All evacuees are receiving the necessary assistance: free accommodation, humanitarian aid, medical support, assistance in obtaining IDP certificates and relevant financial aid from the government and international organizations,” he said.

Some background: Russian shelling in the Kharkiv region, particularly near Kupiansk, has intensified over the last week as Moscow's forces step up their efforts to capture the city for a second time.

Authorities said last week that an estimated 12,000 people need to leave the city, including more than 600 children, in one of Ukraine's largest scale evacuations of the war.

12:51 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

Newborn among those killed in attacks on Kherson region, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's From Kostan Nechyporenko

A 23-day-old baby girl named Sofia was among the seven killed in Russian shelling on Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson on Sunday, a regional leader said.

“Today, the Kherson region has been shaken by terrible news.. Little Sofia was only 23 days old, her brother Artem was 12 years old. Today, they were killed by Russia along with their father and mother,” said Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson region military administration on Telegram. 

In the village of Stanislav, strikes killed two, including a Christian pastor. 

“The pastor of the Christian church Mykola Tachyshvili and his fellow villager were killed by an enemy strike. The believers remember him as a kind and bright man,” Prokudin said.

12:46 p.m. ET, August 13, 2023

A symbolic move on Snake Island and more shelling from both sides. Here are the latest headlines

From CNN Staff

"Historical justice" has been restored on the strategic Snake Island — which was destroyed during Russian occupation — now that Ukrainian border guards have replaced the border marker, Kyiv said Sunday.

The island is one of the most potent symbols of Ukrainian resistance. The small but strategic territory was the scene of one of the opening salvos of the war in Ukraine, with demands from a Russian warship calling for the Ukrainian defenders to surrender. They boldly replied with, “Russian warship, go f**k yourself.” The Russian navy captured the island at the start of the full-scale invasion, but Ukraine was able take back the island in June 2022.

Here are the latest headlines in Russia's war on Ukraine:

  • More action on the Black Sea: A Russian warship fired warning shots and boarded a cargo ship it claims was headed to Ukraine in the Black Sea on Sunday, according to Russia’s defense ministry. Russia said the warship fired warning shots when the captain of the Palau-flagged dry cargo ship failed to respond to “the request to stop for inspection for the carriage of prohibited goods.” The incident took place in the southwestern Black Sea, the ministry said. Both Kyiv and Moscow have stepped up attacks on the sea's shipping routes and ports since a key grain deal collapsed last month.
  • Seven killed in Russian attack on Kherson: Seven people were killed in Ukraine's southern Kherson region as a result of Russian attacks on Sunday. Four people were killed, including a child under the age of 2 and a 23-day-old baby, in the village of Shyroka Balka, according to Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s Office of the President. A 12-year-old child with critical injuries died in a hospital, according to Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. Additionally, two people were killed and one person was wounded in the village of Stanislav, which was hit 12 times, Klymenko said. 
  • Ammunition depots destroyed in Russian-occupied town: Two ammunition depots were destroyed in the Russian-occupied town of Oleshky in the southern Kherson region shortly after midnight, according to Vladislav Nazarov, a Ukrainian military spokesperson. The attack comes as Ukraine has been escalating its targeting of Russian infrastructure and territory.
  • Civilian killed and others wounded in occupied Donetsk: One civilian was killed and six were wounded as a result of Ukrainian shelling on occupied areas of the eastern Donetsk region Saturday, according to Denis Pushilin, a Russian-installed leader.  
  • Ukraine reports "partial success" near southern frontline village: Ukraine claimed "partial success" near the village of Robotyne along the southern Zaporizhzhia front after weeks of fighting in the area. Ukraine’s drive to push down to the Sea of Azov and through to the Melitopol and Berdiansk areas continues, with fierce fighting along the front lines in that southern direction, military officials say.
11:15 a.m. ET, August 13, 2023

Russia fires warning shots and boards cargo ship in Black Sea, Russian defense ministry says

From CNN's Darya Tarasova

The Sukra Okan cargo ship sails in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 13.
The Sukra Okan cargo ship sails in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 13. Yoruk Isik/Reuters

A Russian warship fired warning shots and boarded a cargo ship it claims was headed to Ukraine in the Black Sea on Sunday, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defence. 

Russia said the warship fired warning shots when the captain of the Palau-flagged dry cargo ship failed to respond to “the request to stop for inspection for the carriage of prohibited goods.” The incident took place in southwestern Black Sea, the ministry said. 

“The Russian warship opened warning fire from automatic small arms fire to forcefully stop the vessel,” the statement said. 

The ministry claimed the ship named Sukra Okan was headed to the Ukrainian port of Izmail. Marine traffic websites currently shows the cargo vessel’s destination as the Romanian port of Sulina, which is close to Izmail. 

Kyiv did not immediately comment on whether or not the ship was headed to a Ukrainian port. 

“In order to inspect the bulk cargo ship, a Ka-29 helicopter with a group of Russian servicemen was hoisted from the patrol ship Vasily Bykov,” the ministry said. “Following radio conversations, the ship stopped its course and the boarding team landed on the bulk cargo ship,” the statement said. 

Some context: Russia pulled out of a UN and Turkish brokered deal in July that allowed Ukraine to move its grain via the Black Sea and warned that any ships headed to Ukraine would be treated as potentially carrying weapons. 

On Thursday, the Ukrainian navy issued an order declaring "temporary corridors" for merchant ships sailing to and from Ukrainian ports. Although, it admitted that the military threat and mine danger from Russia remained along all routes.