Accessibility links

Breaking News

Latest Developments in Ukraine: July 23

Firefighters work at a site of a Russian missile strike in a sea port of Odesa, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, July 23, 2022.
Firefighters work at a site of a Russian missile strike in a sea port of Odesa, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, July 23, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.

8:33 p.m.:

7:15 p.m.: Killing Kharkiv: Russia Punishes Ukraine's Second-Largest City

Residents of Kharkiv have been subjected to a punishing and unrelenting artillery bombardment that can maim or kill at any time. These images capture the heartbreak and shock that its citizens experienced over the course of 48 hours as they attempted to go about their daily lives. A photo gallery by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

6:18 p.m.: More than five months since Russia invaded Ukraine, a war of attrition has emerged with losses of materiel and men on both sides, not advances on the ground, becoming the key barometer of the conflict, a leading U.S.-based expert on Russia’s military has told RFE/RL’s Georgian Service.

Those casualties and equipment losses will largely determine the “long-term sustainability of the war efforts” by Russian and Ukrainian forces, explained Michael Kofman, who heads the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based think tank CNA.

The conflict is now “defined much more by heavy use of artillery and firepower,” Kofman said, with neither side “able to gain momentum."

5:35 p.m.: The U.S. State Department said that two Americans had died in the Donbas region of Ukraine, without saying whether the pair were in the country for combat purposes, CNN reported.

"We can confirm the recent deaths of two U.S. citizens in the Donbas region of Ukraine," a State Department spokesperson said. "We are in touch with the families and providing all possible consular assistance."

"Out of respect to the families during this difficult time, we have nothing further,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department did not respond to emailed queries from Reuters.

4:16 p.m.:

3 p.m. Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko says people were injured in the Russian missile strike on Odesa but didn’t say how many or how seriously.

Kyiv Independent reports that Marchenko posted on the Telegram messaging app that the missile attack on Odesa sends “a message to the UN and the world that Russia is not going to negotiate or stop."

Agreements with Russia, he added, “are not worth the paper they are written on.”

2:40 p.m.: The International Rescue Committee says it is dismayed at reports that Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa was heavily damaged in a missile attack less than 12 hours after a deal was signed to release over 20 million tons of blockaded exports of wheat and grain.

“For 12 hours we dared to hope for relief of the global hunger crisis from shipments of Ukrainian grain. Now the hopes look like a cruel deception," said IRC CEO and president David Miliband in a statement released to the press.

"We know that 18 million people are suffering from extreme food insecurity in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, and their countries are heavily dependent on Ukrainian grain. The shipments were literally a lifeline.”

Milliband said the attack is emblematic of an “age of impunity,” in which state and non-state actors are not held accountable for atrocities they commit.

“We have said it before; the war in Ukraine is a tragedy for Ukraine but also a global disaster for those in greatest need," he added. “This latest twist is as cruel as it is dangerous.”

2:30 p.m.: Russia launched eight Kalibr cruise missiles and five Kh-22 anti-ship missiles at Kirovohrad Oblast, targeting the Kanarove military airfield and a facility of Ukrzaliznytsia, Ukraine’s state railway operator, Kyiv Independent reports. Three people were killed and 19 injured.

Soldiers of the Azov regiment pay a last tribute to a serviceman killed in a battle against Russian troops in a city crematorium in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 21, 2022.
Soldiers of the Azov regiment pay a last tribute to a serviceman killed in a battle against Russian troops in a city crematorium in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 21, 2022.

11:30 a.m.: Kyiv Independent reports that Russian forces have delivered ammunition to Kherson under the guise of humanitarian aid.

The paper cites Ukraine's Defense Ministry Intelligence Directorate as saying over 20 trucks with ammunition and other heavy weaponry drove to the oblast under the pretext of civilian cargo.

Ammunition warehouses are being set up in cultural and educational institutions, the intelligence said.

11:10 a.m.: Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar said that while Russian missiles hit one of the silos in today’s strike on the port city of Odesa and another fell in an area close to the silo, "there was no problem in the loading capacity and capability of the docks, which is important, and that the activities there can continue," Reuters reports.

"The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack, and that they were examining the issue very closely and in detail,” Akar said. “The fact that such an incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday regarding the grain shipment really worried us."

11 a.m.: A Russian defense ministry statement on Saturday outlining progress in the war did not mention any strike in Odesa. The ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

However, However, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reposted the U.N. condemnation and said: "It is awful that UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres does not 'unequivocally' condemn also the Kyiv regime's killing of children in Donbas."

10:00 a.m.: Ukraine continues to prepare to restart grain exports from its Black Sea ports despite a Russian missile strike that hit the port of Odesa on Saturday, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said.

"We continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports," Kubrakov wrote on Facebook.

9:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia's missile strike on the port of Odesa on Saturday demonstrates that Moscow will find ways not to implement the grain deal struck with the United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine Friday.

"This proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it," Zelenskiy said in a video posted on Telegram.

7:50 a.m.: The U.S. ambassador to Kyiv said that Moscow should be held to account for what she said was an "outrageous" Russian strike on the port city of Odesa on Saturday.

"The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held to account," U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink wrote on Twitter.

7:40 a.m.: Russian missiles struck infrastructure in Ukraine's port of Odesa today, just a day after Russia and Ukraine signed U.N. backed agreements to reopen Black Sea ports to resume grain exports, the Ukrainian military said.

"The enemy attacked the Odesa sea trade port with Kalibr cruise missiles; 2 missiles were shot down by air defense forces; 2 hit the infrastructure of the port," the Operational Command South wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Kyiv refused to sign a direct deal with Moscow, and warned that "provocations" would be met with "an immediate military response".

5:34 a.m.: In its latest intelligence update, the U.K. defense ministry said Ukrainian troops continue to battle Russian forces in Kherson Oblast. "Russia is likely attempting to slow the Ukrainian attack using artillery fire along the natural barrier of the Ingulets River, a tributary of the Dnipro," the update said.

Ukrainian officials say Russia is preparing to make a military pontoon bridge across the Dnipro, the update said. U.K. officials say this would be "a very high-risk operation." U.K. officials have not been able to verify Ukraine's claims that such an operation is in the works.

4:35 a.m.: The foreign minister of Moldova's separatist Transnistria region said Friday that it is committed to achieving independence and possible unification with Russia, and that Moldova's becoming a candidate for European Union membership effectively ends any possibility of cooperation.

Transnistria, a sliver of land lying between Ukraine and the rest of Moldova, has hosted a contingent of Russian peacekeeping forces since the 1992 end of a separatist war.

Vitaly Ignatyev, the unrecognized government's foreign minister, told a news conference in Moscow that Transnistria will pursue the "independent development of Transnistria and the subsequent free entry into the Russian Federation."

Moldova is constitutionally neutral and thus not a potential NATO member but is showing a growing Western orientation.

3:37 a.m.: The United States will send Ukraine more precision rocket systems along with hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery shells, part of a new security assistance package unveiled Friday aimed at giving Kyiv an upper hand in what Western military officials describe as a grinding war of attrition with Russia, Jeff Seldin, VOA’s national security correspondent, reports.

The highlight of the $270 million U.S. pledge, the 16th since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, is the addition of four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, each with a range of about 70 kilometers, which U.S. officials credit for helping to stymie Russia's advance in the Donbas.

Ukraine's military has deployed at least eight HIMARS to the front lines in its fight with Russian forces, while another four are either on the ground or on their way.

The latest U.S. pledge will bring the total number of HIMARS to 16. In addition, Ukraine has deployed six medium- to long-range rocket systems from Germany and Britain.

2:30 a.m.: In its latest assessment of the conflict in Ukraine, U.S. think tank The Institute for the Study of War said Russian forces conducted ground attacks east of Siversk and to the east and south of Bakhmut and tried and failed to advance northwest of Donetsk City.

Russian forces also conducted localized ground attacks near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border, the update said, while Ukrainian forces conducted limited positional battles north of Kharkiv City.

1:19 a.m.: Russian state-owned companies Rosneft and Gazprom will be able to ship oil to third countries under an adjustment of European Union sanctions agreed to by member states this week to limit the risks to global energy security, according to Reuters.

Purchases of Russian seaborne crude oil by EU companies and its export to third countries is allowed, but under tweaks to sanctions on Russia that came into force on Friday payments related to such shipments would not be banned.

12:02 a.m.: The Russian central bank diverged from its Western counterparts by slashing its key interest rate Friday, one month after dropping it to where it was before the country sent troops into Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

The bank lowered its key rate by 1.5 percentage points, to 8%, saying consumer prices are easing partly because consumer demand has been falling. It said inflation expectations have "significantly decreased," reaching spring 2021 levels, while a decline in business activity was slower than expected in June.

The central bank had hiked the rate as high as 20% in the wake of the Feb. 24 military operation in Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions that restrict dealings with Russian banks, individuals and companies.

As sanctions and the exit of Western companies from Russia have led to global economic isolation, the central bank has managed to stabilize the currency and financial system by preventing money from leaving Russia and forcing exporters to exchange most of their foreign earnings into rubles.

The ruble traded at 58.8 to the dollar Friday, making it worth more than the day before the invasion of Ukraine, when it took 78.8 rubles to reach $1.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.