August 24, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Kathleen Magramo, Josh Berlinger, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:25 a.m. ET, August 25, 2022
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10:27 p.m. ET, August 23, 2022

"Worst scenario" in war with Russia is "behind us," Ukrainian defense minister says

From CNN's Sam Kiley, Bex Wright and Karen Smith

Ukraine's "worst scenario" in its war with Russia has already passed, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Tuesday.

"The worst scenario was behind us, left behind us," Reznikov told CNN’s Sam Kiley in Kyiv.

"We are in a stage of stabilizing all the battlefield or battle lines with the small moving of the units, and we made a lot of good deterrents there."

Reznikov added he believes Ukraine is on the verge of a "new stage" of the war by starting its counteroffensive campaign "in a different direction."  

When asked if he is afraid the international community will begin to get tired of the war, Reznikov said "fatigue syndrome" could hurt Ukraine's fight against Russia.

"I call it fatigue syndrome, and for me it’s one of the main threats," he said. "We need to work with this threat, because we need to speak like with you, to communicate, to ask people, don’t be on this fatigue. Because this is very, very dangerous for us."
2:17 a.m. ET, August 24, 2022

UN reports more than 6.6 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe since Russian invasion began

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Helena, right, and her brother Bodia from Lviv, Ukraine, are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing, in eastern Poland on February 26.
Helena, right, and her brother Bodia from Lviv, Ukraine, are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing, in eastern Poland on February 26. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images)

As of Aug. 17, a total of 6,657,918 refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Millions of people have been uprooted from their homes in Ukraine and are in need of humanitarian assistance, in what has become the largest and fastest displacement crisis since World War II, according to the International Rescue Committee.

The UN estimate of refugees in Europe includes the sum of registrations for temporary protection or a similar national protection scheme and the number of asylum applications lodged by refugees from Ukraine.

Some context: The UNHCR figure is a conservative estimate of the total number of refugees from Ukraine across Europe. This could be because updated official estimates may not be available for every country, or not all countries currently hosting Ukrainian refugees have or take part in official temporary protection programs, according to Christopher Boian, a UNHCR spokesperson.

12:37 a.m. ET, August 24, 2022

Turkey's Erdogan says return of Crimea to Ukraine is a requirement of international law

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce in Istanbul and Hamdi Alkhshali

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday reiterated Turkey’s position that Ankara supports Ukraine's territorial integrity and rejects Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, according to the state-run Anadolu agency.

Erdogan said in a video message to the Second Crimea Platform Summit in Kyiv that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine. 

"The return of Crimea to Ukraine, of which it is an inseparable part, is essentially a requirement of international law," Erdogan said

Erdogan said Ankara will continue to support the Crimean Platform, which was established to resolve the Crimean issue through peaceful means.

"Turkiye does not recognize the annexation of Crimea and has been openly stating since the first day that this step is illegitimate and illegal. This is a principled stance that has not only legal but also moral foundations," he said.

Erdogan added that protecting Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political unity is "critical," not only for regional but also for global security and stability.

"Ensuring the safety and well-being of our Crimean Tatar compatriots is also among Turkiye's priorities," he said.

9:35 p.m. ET, August 23, 2022

US will announce security package of up to $3 billion on Ukrainian Independence Day

From CNN's Oren Liebermann and Ellie Kaufman

The US is set to announce a security assistance package of up to $3 billion for Ukraine on Wednesday, according to a US official, which is the country's Independence Day and marks six months since the beginning of the war. 

This package, first reported by the Associated Press, is far larger than any single previous US package since the start of the war. 

The package falls under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and will include Western air defense capabilities, a large quantity of ammunition, as well as training and maintenance, the official said.  

More background: Because this package is part of the USAI, it will not be drawn from existing US inventories. Instead, it will come from contracts with arms manufacturers. 

The official said the package has not been finalized and details could still change.

Last week, the US announced a $775 million package that included HIMARS and 105mm Howitzer ammo, anti-armor missiles, mine-clearing capabilities, and more. That package came through Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which means it will be pulled directly from US stocks.

12:43 a.m. ET, August 24, 2022

Zelensky vows to restore Ukrainian rule in Crimea

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Alex Hardie

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to restore Ukrainian rule in Crimea during an international online summit on Tuesday. 

Speaking on a panel alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda, Zelensky outlined his country's ambitions to regain power in the peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

"In order to overcome terror, to return predictability and security to our region, Europe and the whole world, we need to win, to win the fight against Russian aggression. And therefore, we need to free Crimea from occupation. It started in Crimea, and it will end in Crimea, and this will be an effective revival of the international legal order," Zelensky told the Crimea Platform summit.

The President stressed that for Ukrainians, Crimea is "not just some territory" or even a "figure in the geopolitical game." 

"For Ukraine, Crimea is a part of our people, our society, a community of people to whom we guarantee freedom," he said. 

Zelensky added that Crimea has become "a military platform for aggression and the spread of grief," referencing the 750 cruise missiles he said the Russians have launched from the peninsula since the invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24.