July 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Andrew Raine, Jack Guy and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 2:55 a.m. ET, July 12, 2022
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7:51 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Putin and Lukashenko discuss joint response to Lithuania’s ban on goods shipments to Kaliningrad

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have discussed possible joint measures in response to Lithuania’s ban on goods shipments to Kaliningrad, according to a Kremlin readout published Monday.

"Emphasis was placed on the situation in connection with the illegal restrictions imposed by Lithuania on the transit of goods to the Kaliningrad region," the readout said. "In this context, some possible joint steps were discussed."

In June, Lithuanian officials banned the passage of goods subject to EU sanctions across its territory into Kaliningrad, Russia’s exclave in Europe.

Moscow denounced the decision and warned that retaliatory steps might follow.

7:38 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Death toll from Chasiv Yar residential building strike rises to 20

From Anastasia Graham-Yooll and Julia Kesaieva

Rescuers work amid the ruins of a residential building damaged in the town of Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on July 10.
Rescuers work amid the ruins of a residential building damaged in the town of Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on July 10. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Twenty bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of a residential building in Chasiv Yar which was struck by Russian rockets on Saturday.

Recovery efforts continue, the Donetsk region military administration head Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian media on Monday afternoon. 

“As of now around 72% of the rubble has been cleared,” Kyrylenko said.

Elsewhere, three people were killed and 28 others injured in attacks on residential areas in Kharkiv on Monday, according to Oleh Synehubov, head of the regional military administration.

And nine people were injured in shelling on the outskirts of Mykolaiv, Hanna Zamazieieva, head of the Mykolaiv regional council, said on Telegram on Monday.

7:29 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Latvia announces conscription for men aged 18 to 27, over next five years

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Conscription is to be introduced for all male citizens of Latvia aged 18 to 27, the country's Ministry of Defense announced Monday.

Over the next five years, all male citizens in this age range "will have to choose one of the four types of military service: State Defense Service, National Guard, Section Commander University Course or alternative services at Ministry of Interior, Health or Welfare," the ministry said in a press release. 

Female citizens in this age group will be offered "the same opportunities on voluntary basis," the ministry said. 

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said the "Latvian population must realize that in order to survive we simply must increase the share of population that has received military training and is ready to engage in combat. This should reduce the risk of Russia attacking Latvia at will." 

Pabriks added that "2014 made us focus more on rearming and better combat readiness of our armed force units. These goals have been successfully achieved."

In 2014 Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

"However, the security implications of Russia-Ukraine war have led to numerous new challenges," Pabriks said. "To overcome them, we need to boost our combat capabilities and develop army reserve."

The Defense Minister said: "It has become apparent that we have exhausted the voluntary service potential of National Guard and professional service, while further increase of the number of military personnel is associated with excessive risks." 

"That is why we need to focus on increasing the number of Latvian residents capable of joining defense forces in case of military conflict," he added. 

As part of the first phase of the project, Latvia's Ministry of Defense will offer voluntary military training to Latvian citizens aged 18 to 27, starting in January 2023.

Enlistment will be carried out in two stages, in January and July.  

The ministry estimates that during the first year, the State Defense Service will attract around 1,000 new soldiers (500 in each recruitment stage).

They will be required to serve for one year, including one month of leave.

New recruits will undergo a three-month basic training and a three-month specialty course, while the remaining months "will be devoted to integration into units and collective training," the ministry said. 

"All recruits will be socially protected. According to plans, each new soldier will receive a monthly salary of up to 400 euros, free food and accommodation in army barracks," the ministry said. 

Over the next five years the ministry plans to increase the share of the combat-ready population in the National Armed Forces to 50,000 troops.

"Of these, 14,000 troops would form active service units, while 16,000 would join National Guard and 20,000 would form the reserve force," the ministry said. 

6:57 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Russian shelling in Mykolaiv injures nine, says Ukrainian official

From CNN's Julia Presniakova

Russian forces continue to shell the city of Mykolaiv as Ukrainian forces apply greater pressure on the occupied region of Kherson.

Hanna Zamazieieva, head of the Mykolaiv regional council, said on Telegram on Monday that nine people had been injured by shelling on the outskirts of Mykolaiv, following strikes against nearby districts on Sunday.

"As a result of the shelling, the ignition of grain fields continues," she said. 

Zamazieieva added: "There are 317 citizens in Mykolaiv hospitals who were injured by the occupiers' attacks on the Mykolaiv region."

8:09 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Russia trying to export wheat from occupied region, says Ukraine, but farmers unhappy with price

From CNN's Julia Presnikova in Kyiv

This aerial picture shows a Russian-flagged cargo ship 'Zhibek Zholy' anchored on July 5, on the Black Sea Coast off Turkey
This aerial picture shows a Russian-flagged cargo ship 'Zhibek Zholy' anchored on July 5, on the Black Sea Coast off Turkey (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Moscow is trying to export grain from occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia region, according to the Ukrainian Intelligence Services.

Russia is continuing to “steal Ukrainian grain," said the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on Telegram on Monday.

A company called "GUK" has been created to facilitate the process, it said, headed up by former Ukrainian opposition politician Yevhen Balytskyi, who is now head of the Regional Occupation Administration of Zaporizhzhia.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, “GUK” is setting the following grain prices: coarse wheat is 6,000RUB/ton ($98), food wheat is 9,000RUB/ton ($147) and barley is 7,000/ton ($114).

However farmers are unsatisfied with the price and are storing grain in warehouses, converted buildings and even out in the open, according to the Telegram post.

On Sunday a ship arrived to export grain, said Ukrainian intelligence, with another expected to arrive on July 17.

One of the ships in question is the “Zhibek Zholy," which has already been used to export wheat from the port of Berdiansk.

Zaporizhzia region remains partly under Russian control and partly under Ukrainian control.

6:25 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Fast-spreading fires are putting Ukraine's harvest in even further peril

From CNN's Tim Lister and Petro Zadorozhnyy

 This aerial photograph taken on July 7, near Kramatosk, Ukraine, shows a farmer harvesting wheat near a crater suspected to be caused by an air strike.
 This aerial photograph taken on July 7, near Kramatosk, Ukraine, shows a farmer harvesting wheat near a crater suspected to be caused by an air strike. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Across Ukraine, in the shimmering heat, one sight is becoming familiar this summer: Combine harvesters sweeping across fields of grain in a race against fast-spreading fires.

The conflict's front lines straddle some of Ukraine's richest farmland. Whether caused by accident or intention, the fires darkening the summer sky are eating into a harvest that was always going to be tough to collect and even tougher to export.

Pavlo Serhienko is in the crosshairs of this battle. The 24-year-old is the third generation of his family to run a farm in the Vasylivka district of Zaporizhzhia. Since his father died from coronavirus, Serhienko is managing the 3,000-hectare farm on his own.

But nearly half the land is now too dangerous to cultivate, he told CNN on Saturday.

We can't even get there. It is either mined or near the occupied territories, literally the front line. We had occupiers on part of the fields."

Serhienko has literally seen his family's business go up in smoke.

"For the last four days, all our knees are covered in blood, we are extinguishing [fires in] the fields. They [the Russians] especially hit the fields -- fields with wheat and barley -- every day."

Read the full story here.

6:22 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Three civilians dead and 28 more injured in Russian strikes on Kharkiv

From CNN's Anastasia Graham-Yooll and Yulia Kesaieva

Ukrainian rescuers work outside a building partially destroyed after a missile strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on July 11.
Ukrainian rescuers work outside a building partially destroyed after a missile strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on July 11. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)

Three people have been killed and 28 others injured in attacks on residential areas in Kharkiv on Monday, according to Oleh Synehubov, head of the regional military administration.

“According to the latest information from the regional centre for emergency medical assistance, 28 people, including a 16-year-old child, were injured as a result of the daytime shelling in Kharkiv. Three people died,” Synehubov posted on Telegram. 

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, also confirmed the death toll from the attack in Ukraine's second-largest city, which lies in the northeast of the country.

Russian forces used Smerch multiple rocket launchers to carry out the attack, Tymoshenko said in his Telegram post.

Russian attacks on the outskirts of Kharkiv and surrounding areas have intensified in July. 

Elsewhere, at least 18 people were killed after a Russian strike hit an apartment block in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on Saturday evening, Ukrainian authorities said Sunday.

The residential building in the town of Chasiv Yar was hit as Russia once again ramped up its assault on cities and towns in eastern Ukraine, in an attempt to take control over the entire Donbas area.

5:17 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Ukrainian officials say Russia is stepping up "terror" in occupied south

From CNN's Tim Lister and Oleksandra Ochman

As the conflict in southern Ukraine gathers momentum, Ukrainian officials claim that the humanitarian situation in occupied areas is deteriorating and Russian "terror" against civilians is intensifying.

On Monday Yurii Sobolevsky, first deputy head of the Kherson Regional Administration, said that "teachers, doctors, public utilities workers, heads of residential communities." were all being targeted.

"Today it is very difficult to calculate the system of who is primarily at risk, because the categories of detainees are constantly expanding. Cases of detaining people on a tip from collaborators have become more frequent," he said.

"The scale of the humanitarian catastrophe will only grow further ... In Kherson itself, the situation is much easier than in villages and small towns, but in general, living conditions are already unbearable."

As the occupied areas are virtually sealed off from the outside world, the claim is difficult to assess, as is the ability of civilians to leave those areas.

Sobolevsky acknowledged the difficulty faced by people in occupied areas under pressure to collaborate. 

"The line between actions taken under conditions of extreme necessity and cooperation with the enemy is rather blurred," he said. "People sincerely do not want to cross it, but absolutely rightly many do not understand exactly where it is located."

Sobolevsky told the people of Kherson that the "armed forces are close."

Ukraine's military has stepped up attacks on Russian rear positions in Kherson recently and has made modest progress with an offensive from the north.

One senior Ukrainian official claimed Monday that several senior Russian officers had been killed in two heavy strikes in the Kherson region over the weekend.

"Despite the fact that our guys will work with surgical precision, there remain risks of collateral damage to civilian infrastructure, and most importantly, a risk to the life and health of civilians," he said.

"To leave or stay is the decision and responsibility of each person," Sobolevsky said.

"Some decide in principle to wait for the Armed Forces in their native walls, and this is also a form of protest and courage."

Ivan Fedorov, the Mayor of Melitopol, which is also occupied, said the situation in the city is getting more difficult.

"The occupiers do not allow people to leave or enter the city," he said.

Fedorov, who is no longer in Melitopol, claimed that after a relatively quiet period, Russian forces "are getting angry" and some were deserting.

"The collaborators have not been out [in public] since the military base was destroyed," he said. "The main gaulеiters [collaborating officials] have not shown themselves in public for a week."

Fedorov said organized evacuations are impossible as the Russians did not approve humanitarian convoys, but added that people using their own vehicles continued to make it to Zaporizhzhia. 

"As of today around 150-200 people are evacuated from our temporarily occupied city daily."

4:44 a.m. ET, July 11, 2022

Ukraine is preparing a huge offensive in the south of the country, says defense minister

From CNN's Seb Shukla in London

Ukraine’s defense minister has said that the country's military is massing a "million strong" fighting force to retake lands in southern Ukraine that have been under Russian occupation. 

Oleksii Reznikov, speaking to British newspaper The Times, said that the offensive would be bolstered by the use of Western weapons. 

“The president has given the order to the supreme military chief to draw up plans. After that the general staff are doing their homework and say to achieve this goal we need XYZ. This is my job. I’m writing letters to counterparts in partner countries, the generals talk about why we need this kind of weaponry and then we get the political decisions,” Reznikov said.

The minister added that President Volodymyr Zelensky gave the orders to retake the coastal areas in the south which are crucial to Ukraine’s economy.

Reznikov said that Ukraine had a force of a million made up of 700,000 servicemen with the other 300,000 would be made up from the national guard, police, border force.

Weapon delivery: Reznikov said he was pleased that Ukraine’s partners, particularly British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, was able to help Ukraine overhaul its depleted ammunition stockpiles.

However, Reznikov added that he would like to NATO and and partners to increase the pace of weapons deliveries.

“It was a long process, a month and a half, but we got a result. Ukraine had a Soviet-era armed forces with thirty-year-old weapons. We changed this in three months. However, we need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Each day we’re waiting for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers," he said.