August 23, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Rhea Mogul, Jack Guy, Adrienne Vogt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 12:19 a.m. ET, August 24, 2022
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4:27 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

Polish President arrives in Kyiv for talks with Zelensky

From CNN's Sarah Dean

Poland's President Andrzej Duda arrived in Kyiv Tuesday for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his office said in a Twitter post. 

The two leaders and their delegations would discuss the situation in Ukraine including "support in the military, economic and humanitarian dimension, and bilateral cooperation,” the post said.

Poland, which borders Ukraine to the west, has received millions of Ukrainian refugees and donated military equipment to Kyiv since Russia's invasion began in February.

Some context: Poland was among a number of countries named by Zelensky on Monday as part of a new initiative to reinforce ties between Kyiv and Eastern European and Baltic states. The Ukrainian president described the initiative as "a very promising line of our work in the Euro-Atlantic direction."

2:57 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

"All of it is a lie": Russian paratrooper condemns his country's war in Ukraine

From CNN's Matthew Chance and Rob Picheta

Russian paratrooper Pavel Filatyev speaks with CNN.
Russian paratrooper Pavel Filatyev speaks with CNN. (CNN)

The Kremlin's justification for invading Ukraine "is a lie," a Russian paratrooper who previously publicly condemned his country's war in Ukraine has told CNN.

Two weeks ago, Pavel Filatyev spoke out against the conflict in a 141-page-long testimony posted to his VKontakte social media page, then fled Russia. He is the first serving member of the Russian military to publicly criticize the invasion of Ukraine and leave the country.

Now he tells CNN that his fellow troops are tired, hungry and disillusioned — and that the Kremlin's war effort is "destroying peaceful lives."

"We understood that we were dragged into a serious conflict where we are simply destroying towns and not actually liberating anyone," Filatyev told CNN's Matthew Chance. CNN is not disclosing the location of the interview for the security of the interviewee.

"Many understood that we do not see the reason that our government is trying to explain to us. That all of it is a lie," he said. "We are just destroying peaceful lives. This fact immensely influenced our morale. That feeling that we are not doing anything good."

Filatyev, 33, told CNN "corruption" and repression are rife in his home country and said his unit — which was based in Crimea and sent to Ukraine entering Kherson early in the conflict — was ill-equipped and given little explanation for Russia's invasion.

According to Filatyev, the soldiers and their commanders did not know what they were expected to do in Ukraine. He added that they soon became disillusioned with the government's reasoning for its invasion after arriving in Kherson and facing resistance from locals who did not want to be "liberated."

Read the full story here.

2:11 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

Japan reaffirms commitment to sanctions against Russia and aid for Ukraine

From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo and Idris Muktar

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on June 13.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on June 13. (Kyodo News/Sipa USA)

The Japanese government on Tuesday said it will continue to work with the Group of Seven and other related countries to impose sanctions against Russia and provide assistance to Ukraine.

"Russia's aggression against Ukraine is a situation that shakes the very foundations of the international order, and Japan is taking decisive measures, including unprecedented strong measures against Russia, in close cooperation with the G7," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.
"As the aggression has been protracted, we reiterated our recognition of the current situation and discussed the government's response going forward."

His comments followed a meeting held with senior members of the Japanese government, in which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told ministers to work closely with the G7 to ensure stable energy supplies and that Japan's defenses are secure.

1:43 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

Americans urged to leave Ukraine immediately as new Russian attacks feared

From CNN's Brad Lendon

The US Embassy is seen on April 25, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The US Embassy is seen on April 25, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The US government is urging Americans in Ukraine to leave the country immediately, warning that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch attacks on civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.

"The US Embassy urges US citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so," a security alert on the embassy's website said.
"The security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile and conditions may deteriorate without warning."

Some context: The renewed US warning comes as Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine approaches the six-month mark on Wednesday and follows similar warnings, from Ukrainian President President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials, that Moscow may carry out intense attacks, including missile strikes, to coincide with Ukraine's Independence Day on Wednesday.

"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 at the weekend.

In Kyiv, the city military administration issued a ban on all big 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."

Read the full story here.

7:14 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

Russia awards posthumous order of courage to Darya Dugina

From CNN’s Josh Pennington and Mitchell McCluskey

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

Russia has awarded a posthumous order of courage to Darya Dugina, the daughter of influential ultra-nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin, according to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Dugina was awarded the honor “for courage and selflessness shown in the performance of her professional duty,” the decree states.

The decree notes she was awarded for her work as a correspondent for Tsargrad Media.

Russia has blamed the Ukrainian security service for the car bombing that killed Dugina. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the explosion. 

Both Dugin and Dugina have been sanctioned by the United States and the United Kingdom for acting to destabilize Ukraine.

The US Treasury sanctioned Dugina in March as the chief editor for the disinformation website United World International, which it claimed was owned by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin and pushed messages suggesting Ukraine would "perish" if it was admitted to NATO.

1:14 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

Zelensky announces new initiative to strengthen ties with Eastern Europe and Baltic countries

From CNN’s Oleksandra Ochman

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video address on Monday August 22.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video address on Monday August 22. (Office of President of Ukraine)

Ukraine began a new initiative set to reinforce its ties with Eastern European and Baltic countries, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Monday in his nightly address. 

“A new diplomatic and security format, ‘Kyiv Initiative.’ was founded today. Ukraine's European neighbors are already participating in its work. These are Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the Baltic states. We will gradually involve other countries. In the 'Kyiv Initiative' format, the work takes place at the level of foreign policy advisors of heads of state,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president described the initiative as “a very promising line of our work in the Euro-Atlantic direction.”

He also called on European countries to add an eighth sanctions package against Russia, saying “the longer the interval between sanctions packages, the greater Russia's audacity.”

In his address, Zelensky also announced that search operations have ended following a Russian attack against a residential building in Kharkiv last week.

1:30 a.m. ET, August 23, 2022

UN prepares fact-finding team to investigate Ukraine prison attack

From CNN’s Richard Roth

The United Nations has a fact-finding team ready to investigate the Ukraine prison attack in Olenivka — but it's going nowhere for now.

Despite Russia and Ukraine requesting an independent probe, the UN believes the situation around the prison is not safe for access without proper assurances. 

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced other members of the team Monday. 

Joining a veteran retired police lieutenant general from Brazil is a diplomat from Iceland and a police official from Niger. 

The panel would establish facts and report back to the UN secretary-general.

Some background: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at the end of July the attack on the prison in separatist-held eastern Ukraine, which resulted in the deaths of at least 50 prisoners, was "a deliberate war crime by the Russians." Russia, meanwhile, blamed Ukraine for the attack.

Olenivka is in the part of the Donetsk region, which has been held by pro-Russian forces for eight years.

The facility has been used to house many of the Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol several months ago. CNN could not independently verify the allegations of either side.

8:34 p.m. ET, August 22, 2022

Russian security service accuses Ukraine of Darya Dugina's murder

From CNN's Tim Lister, Uliana Pavlova and Lauren Said-Moorhouse

Russia has blamed Ukrainian special services for the murder of Darya Dugina, a Russian political commentator and the 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 Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), which named a woman as the perpetrator and said she had fled to Estonia after the attack.

Ukraine has denied any involvement in Dugina's killing, calling the FSB claims fiction.

"We have nothing to do with the murder of this lady — this is the work of the Russian special services," said Oleksii Danylov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security Council, in an interview on Ukrainian television Monday.

"I emphasize once again that our special services have nothing to do with this," he said.

Dugina, the editor of a Russian disinformation website, died after a bomb planted in a car she was driving went off in the outskirts of Moscow on Saturday evening.

The FSB said the assailant was a Ukrainian woman who arrived in Russia on July 23 with her young daughter, TASS reported. The pair attended a festival on Saturday near Moscow where Dugina was a guest of honor.

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

After remotely detonating explosives planted in Dugina's Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, the FSB said the woman and her daughter drove through the Pskov region to Estonia, roughly a 12-hour journey.

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

Read more here.