Russian court extends Wall Street Journal reporter's detention by 3 months, state media says
From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova
The Lefortovsky District Court of Moscow on Tuesday extended the pre-trial detention of American journalist Evan Gershkovich for three months to August 30, Russian state agency RIA Novosti reported citing the court.
"The court granted the investigator's request to extend the measure of restraint in the form of detention until August 30," the court said, according to the state media.
Gershkovich, who has been designated as wrongfully detained by the US State Department, appeared in court in April to ask that his pre-trial detention be under house arrest rather than in jail. That appeal was denied, and he is being held at Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison.
The Wall Street Journal said it was "deeply disappointed" with the court's decision.
"While we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed. The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release," it said in a statement Tuesday.
CNN's Sharon Braithwaite contributed reporting to this post.
NATO says training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s does not make it party to conflict
From CNN’s Alex Hardie
Supporting Ukraine by training pilots on F-16 fighter jets “does not make NATO and NATO allies party to the conflict,” the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels ahead of an EU defense ministers meeting, the alliance chief welcomed the decision by several NATO allies to start training Ukrainian pilots on F16 fighter jets.
“This is an important step that partly will enable us to then deliver fighter jets at some stage but also sending a very clear signal that we are there for the long term and that Russia cannot wait us out,” he said.
Stoltenberg continued to say that “the right of self-defense is enshrined in the UN charter. We help Ukraine to uphold that right. That is our right to help them protect UN law, international law, against the war of aggression. That doesn’t make NATO and NATO allies party to the conflict, but we are supporting Ukraine to defend themselves against a war of aggression, a brutal invasion by President Putin.”
Some background: PresidentJoe Biden informed G7 leaders Friday that the US supports a joint effort with allies and partners to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth generation aircraft, including F-16s, a senior administration official told CNN.
Following Biden's backing of Ukrainian pilots training to fly F-16s, Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned Western countries of “enormous risks” if Ukraine is provided withF-16 fighter jets, Russian state media TASS reported Saturday.
"In any case, this will be taken into account in all our plans, and we have all the necessary means to achieve the set goals," Alexander Grushko said.
CNN's Darya Tarasova and Natasha Bertrand contributed to this post.
Part of Bakhmut still under Ukrainian control, top national security official says
From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen, William Bonnett and Svitlana Vlasova
Part of the beleaguered city ofBakhmutremains under Ukrainian control, the country’s national security adviserOleksiyDanilov told CNN on Tuesday.
“If they [Russians] believe they have takenBakhmut, I can say that this is not true. As of today, part ofBakhmut is under our control,” Danilov told CNN Senior International Correspondent FrederikPleitgenin an exclusive interview on Tuesday. “I can't say that all of it, but part ofBakhmutis still under our fire.”
Danilov went on to defend Kyiv’s decision to hold on tothe cityfor as long as possible.
“When it came toBakhmut, these were decisions made at the strategic level. Thedefenseoperation was constantly under control at the meetings of the Commander-in-Chief's staff. We understood why we were doing it,” he explained. “In theBakhmutdirection, a large number of Russian soldiers were killed, not only the Wagner troops, but also special forces, airborne troops and representatives of other branches of the Russian army. A huge amount of equipment was destroyed, and they spent a huge amount of ammunition there.”
“It was our strategicdefenseoperation, which was successful for us, given that we held the territory for 10 months, where we were destroying them every day,” he added. “They could not takeBakhmutfor 10 months. What can they boast about?”
Some background: Wagner group chief YevgenyPrigozhin claimed this weekend that his troops had captured “all the territories they promised to capture, to the last square centimeter.” But Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian forces still occupy “a small part of the city,” but that fighting had “decreased” on Tuesday.
On the timing of Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive, Danilov said President Volodymyr Zelensky will have the final say.
“We are working according to our plan, we have it. We are clearly aware of when, where, how and what should start,” he said. “The final decision is up to the President, meeting of (the Commander-in-Chief's) staff.”
“When the decision is made, Russia will definitely feel it,” he concluded.
Some Russians want to deal with country's dark side, Ukrainian official says after Belgorod incident
From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen, William Bonnett and Svitlana Vlasova
Ukraine’s top national security official told CNN that those responsible for the cross border-raid in Belgorod are Russians who want to get rid of the darkness in their country, denying any involvement from Kyiv.
“They are Russians, it is their country and they have the right to be there,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, told CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. “There are some Russians who are on the side of the light and who went to deal with the darkness that exists in Russia now.”
Danilov rejected accusations of Ukrainian involvement levied by Moscow against Kyiv and said the incident in Belgorod was solely a Russian matter.
“There are events happening there that are related to a sector that, in our opinion, should be commented on either by the supreme commander-in-chief, i.e. Putin, or by the Defense minister or someone else,” he said. “They are citizens of the Russian Federation.”
“If it was Russian guys who crossed the border, this is a question for the FSB, they have to protect this border, the military has to protect it,” he added. “I emphasize once again, this is a question for the Russians who are there today in the Belgorod region."
Remember: On Monday, Ukraine confirmed that the group behind the incursion was made up of Russian nationals. The attack was carried out by a group that was "part of the defense and security forces" in Ukraine but acting as “independent entities” in Russia, according toAndriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency.
Belgorod governor says there have been no new cross-border incursions today
From CNN’s Anna Chernova
There have been no new incursions by fighters crossing the Ukrainian border into the Borisovsky district in Russia's Belgorod region Tuesday, according to the Belgorod governor.
“Reports are coming from the Borisovsky district: the village of Bogun-Gorodok, the farm Lozovaya Rudka and the village of Tsapovka. According to our information, there was shelling from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, there were [strikes],” regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.
“Some telegram channels are starting to interpret this information as the sabotage and reconnaissance group entry and trying to make people panic. There was no entry. The FSB, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Defense do not confirm this information. The military is working,” he said.
Some background: On Monday, a group of anti-Putin Russian nationals – who are aligned with the Ukrainian army – claimed responsibility for an attack in Russian’s southwestern region of Belgorod, as Moscow said it was fighting a group of saboteurs there.
In a Telegram post, groups calling themselves the “Freedom for Russia Legion” and “Russian Volunteer Corps” said they had “liberated” a settlement in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.
This footage shows why Russian nationals are fighting against their motherland
From CNN's Sam Kiley
On Monday, the Freedom for Russia Legion made its most decisive move since the war began, launching a cross-border attack on the Russian region of Belgorod.
But it has been defending Ukraine from Moscow’s invading troops for months. CNN’s Sam Kiley met members of the Legion fighting in Bakhmut in December to understand more about what has led Russian nationals to fight for Ukraine in the war.
One soldier, who goes by the call-sign Caesar, told CNN that defending Bakhmut against his Russian motherland is an almost religious imperative.
“From the first day of the war, my heart -- the heart of a real Russian man, a real Christian -- told me that I had to be here to defend the people of Ukraine,” Caesar said.
When he sees invading Russian troops in his gunsights, he feels no ties to his countrymen.
“I believe that these people have broken the law of man and the law of god. I have no pity for them. I take them prisoner if I can. But most often, I just have to kill them.”
And when the war is over, members of the Legion have more ambitious targets in sight.
When Ukraine is free, I will carry my sword to Russia to free it from tyranny,” Caesar said.
His claims echoed those made by members of the legion in a video posted Monday.
“We are Russians, just like you. We want our children to grow up in peace and be free, so they can travel, study and be happy. But this is not possible in Putin’s Russia.”
Around 100 civilians evacuated from Belgorod region during cross-border incursion, local officials say
From CNN’s Anna Chernova
Around 100 civilians have been evacuated from the Russian border settlements of Glotovo and Kozinka in the Belgorod region, local authorities say.
The regional governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on his Telegram channel:
“Since yesterday evening, our task force, headed by the head of the regional security department, Yevgeny Vorobyov, has been evacuating civilians from Glotovo and Kozinka. In total, about 100 people have been taken out at the moment, among them there are bedridden and children.”
On Monday, a group of anti-Putin nationalistsclaimed to have “liberated”the settlement of Kozinka, home to a crossing station close to Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gladkov said that both Kozinka and Glotovo had come under mortar and artillery fire the previous day.
This exclusive footage shows the devastating impact of Ukraine's "secret weapons"
From CNN's Nic Robertson
In an exclusive report, CNN joined a group of British explosives and counter-insurgency specialists as they passed on decades of bomb making know-how to frontline Ukrainian troops. But it’s not just their subversive skills and techniques that these British-Irish experts are bringing – it’s the bomb components too.
Much of the focus in recent months has been on Ukraine’s demand for heavy military hardware: tanks, jets, rocket launchers and missiles.
But sometimes the biggest help can come in the smallest packages: sophisticated switches, specialized microchips, night vision goggles, covert monitoring devices, even 3D printers.
An officer in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, known as “Skif,” told CNN this equipment is used “to produce explosive devices we can use on the ground, on the battlefield, or in the air as munition for drones.”
Watch Nic Robertson's report here:
It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know
From CNN staff
Belgorod’s governor says the Russian region bordering Ukraine was hit by drone attacks overnight, following the cross-border attack launched by anti-Putin Russian nationals on Monday. Meanwhile, Ukraine says it’s still holding on to part of Bakhmut – despite Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s claims to the contrary.
Here are the latest developments:
- Who attacked Belgorod?: The Freedom for Russian Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps – two anti-Putin groups of Russian nationals aligned with the Ukrainian army – claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack on Belgorod. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskovclaimed they are “Ukrainian militants, from Ukraine” – but Andriy Yusov, a Ukrainian official, told CNN these “Russian citizens” acted independently of Kyiv. CNN met members of the Legion in December to learn more about their motives.
- Belgorod incursion: Belgorod in southwestern Russia was hit by drone attacks overnight, its governor said. Two homes were struck by drones in the town of Grayvoron – the site of an earlier attack claimed by the insurgents. Administrative buildings in the village of Borisovka were also struck, but no casualties were reported in any of the drone attacks, according to the governor. The Russian Ministry of Defense said Tuesday the fighters who crossed into Belgorod on Monday have been pushed back into Ukrainian territory.
- Battle for Bakhmut: Russia and Ukraine continued to make conflicting claims about the status of the eastern city of Bakhmut. Prigozhin claimed this weekend that his Wagner troops had captured “all the territories they promised to capture, to the last square centimeter.” But Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian forces still occupy “a small part of the city,” but that fighting had “decreased” on Tuesday.
- F-16 jet coalition: Ukrainian pilots have started to undergo training on F-16 fighter jets in several European Union countries, according to the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. However, United States Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has warned it will take “several months at best” to get the jets to Ukraine.
- Zelensky visits troops: After his whirlwind tour of Europe and Asia – which saw him visit Paris, Berlin, Rome, London, Jeddah and Hiroshima within two weeks – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is now back on home soil. He visited troops on Ukraine’s eastern frontline to mark the Day of Marines – an annual national holiday to celebrate the Ukrainian Navy.
- Ukraine’s missing bodies: Ukrainian search teams found 50 bodies of missing people in the past month alone in areas formerly occupied by Russian forces, a Ukrainian official said. Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs said about 23,000 people have been officially deemed missing since the start of Russia's invasion.
- Ukraine's "secret weapons": In an exclusive report, CNN joined a group of British explosives and counter-insurgency specialists as they passed on decades of bomb making know-how to frontline Ukrainian troops. But it’s not just their subversive skills and techniques that these British-Irish experts are bringing – it’s the bomb components too. This equipment is used “to produce explosive devices we can use on the ground, on the battlefield, or in the air as munition for drones," an officer in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, known as “Skif,” said.