August 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Rhea Mogul, Eliza Mackintosh and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 2:19 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022
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9:16 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Ireland reopens embassy in Kyiv after nearly 6 months of closure 

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Ireland has reopened its embassy in Kyiv after nearly six months of closure, according to the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

"The Embassy of Ireland to Ukraine has resumed operations in Kyiv, having operated remotely since the Russian invasion of Ukraine," the Department of Foreign Affairs announced in a news release Monday. 

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney stressed that the embassy team's priority will be "renewing and building their network of contacts with Ukrainian government officials to better inform Ireland’s provision of support and assistance to the government and people of Ukraine.

Coveney took a trip to Kyiv in April, visiting areas "directly impacted by the war" and meeting Ukrainian officials including his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, according to the news release. 

Foreign countries have gradually reopened their embassies in the Ukrainian capital after shutting their doors following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The United States reopened its embassy in the city on May 18. 

9:55 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Russia blames Ukrainian security service for murder of Darya Dugina, state news agency TASS reports

From CNN's Lister and Uliana Pavlova

Darya Dugina.
Darya Dugina. (From Darya Dugina/Telegram)

Russia has blamed an agent with the Ukrainian security service for a car bomb explosion that killed Darya Dugina, a Russian political commentator and daughter of prominent ultranationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

"The murder of journalist Darya Dugina has been solved, it was prepared by the Ukrainian special services, by a citizen of Ukraine," TASS reported, citing the Russian security service, which named a woman as the perpetrator and said she had fled to Estonia after the attack.

It has been established that "the crime was prepared and committed by the Ukrainian special services," per TASS.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said that the assailant had arrived in Russia on July 23, 2022, together with her young daughter, TASS reported. The pair attended the festival near Moscow on Saturday where Dugina was a guest of honor.

The FSB said that after remotely detonating explosives planted in Dugina's Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, the pair drove through the Pskov region to Estonia, a journey of around 12 hours. 

The FSB said that the woman had rented an apartment in Moscow in the same building where Dugina lived. "The criminals used a Mini Cooper car to monitor the journalist," TASS reported.

The FSB said that the woman had used a variety of identity documents, entering with one issued by the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic and leaving on a Ukrainian document, the report added.

CNN cannot independently verify the FSB claims cited by the TASS report.

Earlier, a Russian foreign ministry official implied that Ukrainian state structures were responsible for the explosion, a claim that Ukrainian authorities have denied.

“Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state, which the Russian Federation is, and even more so, we are not a terrorist state,” Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said in a Ukrainian TV interview.

He also tweeted on Monday, providing the first official comment from Kyiv specifically on the accusation from the Russian security service.

"Ru-propaganda lives in a fictional world: 🇺🇦 [Ukrainian] woman and her 12-year-old child were "assigned" responsible for blowing up the car of propagandist Dugina. Surprisingly, they did not find the "Estonian visa" on the spot," he said, a reference to the claim by the FSB that the woman had since escaped to Estonia.
9:28 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN staff

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a press conference on August 18 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a press conference on August 18 in Lviv, Ukraine. (Markiian Lyseiko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

As Ukraine prepares for its Independence Day, President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Moscow might attempt "something particularly ugly" and events to celebrate the occasion in the country's two largest cities have been canceled.

Meanwhile, media personalities in Moscow have called for strikes on Kyiv following the murder of Darya Dugina, a Russian political commentator and the editor of a disinformation website called United World International, on Saturday.

On the ground in Ukraine, Russian forces have made limited gains pushing north from the occupied southern city of Kherson, while the Ukrainian military says it continues to target bridges and weapons concentrations in the region.

Here are the latest headlines:

  • Zelensky warns of "ugly" attacks coinciding with Ukraine's independence day: Events to mark Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday have been banned in the country's capital, Kyiv, and second-largest city, Kharkiv, as Zelensky and other officials warn that Russia may carry out missile attacks.
  • Ukraine hits occupied southern areas: The Ukrainian military says it has continued attacks on Russian-held parts of the southern region of Kherson, including against bridges and weapons concentrations. Social media reports and images Monday indicated there had been a number of strikes around Kherson city and Nova Kakhovka. 
  • Russia sees limited success in offensive: Russian forces have made some progress in pushing north from the occupied southern city of Kherson towards Mykolaiv, according to Ukrainian officials. "In the Mykolaiv direction, the occupiers carried out assaults in the area of the settlement of Blahodatne, with partial success," said the Ukrainian general staff.
  • More details emerge on Dugina killing: The car bomb that killed Darya Dugina was detonated remotely, reports Russian state media, and surveillance cameras at the venue where Dugina attended a festival were not working. Russian media personalities have demanded strikes against "decision-making" centers in Ukraine following her murder.
9:03 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Ukrainian military resumes attacks on Russian targets in Kherson 

From CNN's Tim Lister

The Ukrainian military says it has continued attacks on Russian-held parts of the southern region of Kherson, including against bridges and weapons concentrations.

"Two strikes were made by our aircraft on a stronghold, a concentration of manpower, weapons and equipment in the areas of Oleksandrivka and Burkhanivka," which are on the border of Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, Operational Command South said Monday.

The bridge at Nova Kakhovka was also hit, the command said.

"The occupiers are trying to repair the bridge; they have brought additional slabs. However, our armed forces are adjusting these efforts," said Serhii Khlan, an advisor to the head of the Kherson Civil Military Administration.

Social media reports and images Monday indicated there had been a number of strikes around Kherson city and Nova Kakhovka. One geolocated photograph showed a plume of smoke rising from the area of the Antonivskiy bridge over the river Dnipro. The bridge has been repeatedly hit and is seriously damaged. Russian forces have been trying to arrange pontoon bridges across the river.

"The Antonivskiy railway bridge is not functioning. The occupiers are trying to repair the Antonivskiy road bridge. There is a moving pontoon crossing. The Russians do not have a full supply of needs. Currently, they are installing some kind of engineering structure near the Antonivskiy bridge; fastening the barges to the piers of the bridge," Khlan added.

For the last six weeks, Ukrainian forces have been using long range weapons to hit Russian concentrations of munitions, transport links and command posts in the south. 

9:00 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Russian media personalities call for strikes on Kyiv after murder of Darya Dugina

From CNN's Tim Lister and Uliana Pavlova

People gather in Khreschatyk Street in Kyiv, Ukraine on August 21.
People gather in Khreschatyk Street in Kyiv, Ukraine on August 21. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian state media personalities have demanded strikes against "decision-making" centers in Ukraine following the murder of Darya Dugina, a Russian political commentator and the daughter of influential ultranationalist Alexander Dugin.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) blamed an agent with the Ukrainian security service for the car bomb explosion that killed Dugina on Saturday, Russian state news agency TASS reported, triggering the calls for attacks in the capital Kyiv and elsewhere.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-backed TV network RT, said on her Telegram channel that the targets in Ukraine should be "Decision Centers! Decision Centers!! Decision Centers!!!"

In response to Simonyan's post on Telegram, a pro-Russian official in an occupied part of Ukraine, Volodymyr Rogov, shared the addresses of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Presidential Administration and the Main Intelligence Directorate.

Another television personality in Moscow, Tigran Keosayan, said on his Telegram channel that he was "tired of all the talking. I don't understand why not arrest all the creatures that mock Dasha's death."

"I don't understand why our "sleepers" in Kyiv have not yet woken up. I do not understand why in the cities of my country it is possible to openly collect money for the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he added. "I don't understand why there are still buildings on Bankova Street in Kyiv."

CNN cannot independently verify the FSB claims cited by the TASS report. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the death of Dugina.

8:07 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Ukrainian cities ban independence day events as Zelensky warns of "particularly ugly" attacks

From CNN's Tim Lister

People look at destroyed Russian military equipment at an open-air military museum in Kyiv, Ukraine on August 21, ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day.
People look at destroyed Russian military equipment at an open-air military museum in Kyiv, Ukraine on August 21, ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Events to mark Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday have been banned in the country's capital, Kyiv, and second-largest city, Kharkiv, as officials warn that Russia may carry out missile attacks. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Saturday that Russia might be planning something "ugly" to coincide with the day, which will mark 31 years since Ukraine broke its ties with the Soviet Union. 

"We must all be aware that this week Russia could try to do something particularly ugly, something particularly vicious," Zelensky said in a video message.

In Kyiv, the city military administration issued a ban on all gatherings between Monday and Thursday, saying "it is forbidden to hold mass events, peaceful meetings, rallies and other events related to a large gathering of people."

General Mykola Zhyrnov, head of Kyiv's military administration, said that the order was imposed so that security forces could respond in a "timely manner to threats of missile and bomb attacks by the troops of the Russian Federation on decision-making centers, military facilities, defense industry facilities, critical infrastructure and nearby residential areas."

Zhynov said he had ordered city authorities to use the minimum necessary number of officials, civil servants and workers to ensure transport and other services.

In Kharkiv, where relentless, indiscriminate Russian attacks killed and injured hundreds of civilians in the first months of the war, authorities announced a curfew from 7 p.m. local time on the eve of Independence Day to 7 a.m. on the day after.

"We ask that you understand such measures and prepare to stay at home and in shelters -- this is our safety," authorities said.

Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine's southern military command, said Sunday that "the date of our independence and the anniversary of the invasion, half a year, coincide -- it is the 24th. And there’s Ukrainian flag day, on the 23rd. We are ready for the fact that there will be an increase in some kind of aggression, there will be an increase in missile attacks."

In the last week, Ukrainian officials have said that more Russian missiles have been deployed at an airbase in Belarus.

5:42 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Bomb that killed Darya Dugina was detonated remotely, Russian state media reports

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

The car bomb that killed Darya Dugina, daughter of ultra-nationalist Russian idealogue Alexander Dugin, was detonated remotely, a law enforcement official told Russian state news agency TASS on Monday.

"It has now been established that the bomb in Dugina's car was detonated remotely. Presumably, the car was monitored and its movement was controlled," the law enforcement official, who was not named, told TASS.

Dugina, a Russian political commentator and the editor of a disinformation website called United World International, died after a bomb planted in a car she was driving went off in the outskirts of Moscow on Saturday evening. 

Details of the explosion are currently being investigated by the Russian Investigative Committee.

Earlier, Russian officials said 400 grams of TNT was used the explosion and that the "explosive device was attached under the Jeep on the driver's side,” TASS reported Sunday. 

5:12 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Russian forces make limited gains in offensive from Kherson, Ukrainian military says

From CNN's Tim Lister

A local business owner and her workers clean a sewing workshop damaged by a Russian missile strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine on August 22.
A local business owner and her workers clean a sewing workshop damaged by a Russian missile strike in Mykolaiv, Ukraine on August 22. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

Russian forces have made some progress in pushing north from the occupied southern city of Kherson towards Mykolaiv, according to Ukrainian officials.

The Ukrainian military's General Staff said Monday that "in the Mykolaiv direction, the occupiers carried out assaults in the area of the settlement of Blahodatne, with partial success."

On Sunday, the General Staff acknowledged that Russian forces had "occupied the southern outskirts of the settlement of Blahodatne, and hostilities continue."

The area has seen almost constant combat for three months, but there has been little change in the position of the front lines. In early June, Ukraine said it had liberated the town from Russian occupation. 

The border of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions also saw heavy fighting, according to Ukrainian officials. "Five massive enemy attacks were repelled; battles continue in six other directions," regional authorities said. 

There were rocket attacks on several settlements in Donetsk, which killed two people. The General Staff said that Russian forces had again tried to push southwards towards the city of Sloviansk, but "did not succeed and withdrew." A similar offensive in the Bakhmut area further south had been repelled, it added.

Overall, there appears to have been little change in the frontlines running through Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, but CNN is unable to verify claims from either side on territory won and lost.

In the Dnipropetrovsk region, the town of Nikopol, across the Dnipro River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, continued to come under fire. Authorities said the area was hit with more than 40 shells and four people were injured.

There was also shelling in the city of Dnipro, according to the regional administration, with as many as 50 properties damaged.

3:35 a.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Analysis: A grim winter will test Europe's support for Ukraine like never before

Analysis from CNN's Luke McGee

A street lamp lights a resident outside partially lit block of apartments at dusk in Berlin on Tuesday, August 16.
A street lamp lights a resident outside partially lit block of apartments at dusk in Berlin on Tuesday, August 16. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, the West's response to the crisis has remained strong and largely united — to the surprise of many.

Despite years of fractured relations during the era of former US president Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic, the trans-Atlantic alliance has managed to pull together and reach agreements on financial support and the donation of weapons to Kyiv, agreements to stop using Russian energy as well as sanctions designed to hit President Vladimir Putin and his cronies.

However, as the crisis reaches its half-year anniversary, officials across Europe are worried that the consensus could fall apart as the continent enters a bleak winter of rising food prices, limited energy to heat homes and the real possibility of recession.

For the purposes of this article, CNN spoke with multiple Western officials and diplomats who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In a possible taste of more draconian measures to come, German capital Berlin turned off the lights illuminating monuments in order to save electricity, while French shops have been told to keep their doors shut while the air conditioning is on, or else face a fine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has captured the West's imagination and put heat on countries to support his war effort, might find it harder to get the attention of his fellow European leaders as the conflict drags on.

"The challenge for Ukraine is the same as it was on day one: keeping the West on side as the costs of supporting Kyiv hit home — not just Putin's gas and grain blackmail but also the cost of economic and humanitarian support," says Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at think tank Chatham House.
"That may well be why Zelensky said he wanted the war over before Christmas, because the real issues will be getting the West to stick to its promises in the long run."

Read the full analysis here.