Zelenskyy says Russia using gas to terrorize Europe; About 80 grain vessels ready to leave Ukraine

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine. Click here for the latest.

Russia to cut Europe's natural gas flow
Russia to cut Europe's natural gas flow

European Union states reached a deal to regulate emergency gas cuts ahead of this winter. 

The compromise means that the rationing would be binding in an emergency, but would initially exempt some nations and some industries.

The "gas war" between Russia and Europe — as Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described it — is rattling the continent. A top German official described the situation his country faces as "serious."

Meanwhile, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations are set to appoint officials to oversee an agreed upon corridor for grain shipments out of Ukraine. About 80 vessels carrying roughly 20 million tons of grain are ready to leave Ukrainian ports, White House spokesman John Kirby said.

Zelenskyy says Russia is using gas prices to terrorize Europe

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends the NATO summit via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 29, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is using gas prices to terrorize Europe.

"Among other things the engineered increase in gas prices to above $2000 for 1,000 cubic meters on European markets, is enough of an experience to broaden sanctions against Russia," Zelenskyy said during a nightly address.

"As it is clear to everyone that this is intended Russian price terror against Europeans. Using Gazprom, Moscow is doing all it can to make this coming winter as harsh as possible for the European countries. Terror must be answered, impose sanctions," he added.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin speaks with Ukrainian counterpart about more military aid

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon on July 20, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia.
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart and gave an update on the latest U.S. military aid package.

Austin reassured Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov that the United States is moving as quickly as possible to deliver equipment to Ukraine. Reznikov also updated Austin on the situation on the battlefield.

The latest security package will include additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. The HIMARS, manufactured by defense giant Lockheed Martin, are designed to shoot a variety of missiles from a mobile 5-ton truck.

— Amanda Macias

Deputy U.S. Treasury secretary meets French counterparts to discuss more sanctions against Russia

Wally Adeyemo, deputy U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo met with government counterparts in Paris this week to discuss additional sanctions imposed on Russia for its war in Ukraine.

Adeyemo also spoke with the executive director of the International Energy Agency about a price cap on Russian oil and other ways of restricting revenue to fund Russia's military.

"In addition, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo met with financial services executives as well as economists and scholars to analyze the economic outlook in the United States, France, Europe, and globally, and the impact of Russia's illegal war, particularly on global energy prices and food insecurity," according to a readout from the Department of Treasury.

In the months since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor, Washington and its allies have imposed rounds of coordinated sanctions that vaulted Russia past Iran and North Korea as the world's most-sanctioned country.

— Amanda Macias

Russia has not notified the U.S. of its plans to leave the International Space Station

In this photo provided by NASA, backdropped against clouds over Earth, the International Space Station is seen from Space Shuttle Discovery as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation on March 7, 2011.

The White House said the Russian government has not formally notified the United States of its plans to exit the International Space Station in 2024.

Russia's state-owned space agency announced that it will leave the ISS in two years in order to build its own orbital station.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a call that the U.S. will work to mitigate any potential effect on the international space program ahead of Russia's departure.

— Amanda Macias

About 80 vessels carrying approximately 20 million tons of grain are ready to leave Ukraine's ports

A farm implement harvests grain in the field, as Russian-Ukrainian war continues in Odesa, Ukraine on July 04, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

About 80 vessels are ready to leave Ukraine's ports via a U.N.-brokered sea corridor deal, White House spokesman John Kirby said. The ships are expected to carry about 20 million tons of grain, he added.

Last week, representatives from the U.N., Turkey, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to reopen three Ukrainian ports, an apparent breakthrough as the Kremlin's war on its ex-Soviet neighbor marches into its fifth month.

The deal follows a months-long blockade of dozens of Ukrainian ports sprinkled along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

Less than 24 hours after the deal was signed, Russian missiles rained down on Odesa, Ukraine's largest port.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. senators will receive classified briefing on Ukraine tomorrow

A Ukrainian serviceman passes by destroyed buildings in the Ukrainian town of Siversk, Donetsk region on July 22, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. senators will receive a classified briefing Wednesday as the Kremlin's war in Ukraine marches into its fifth month.

Lawmakers will be briefed by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, Deputy Administrator of USAID Isobel Coleman, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Mission Integration Morgan Muir, and Director of Operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, according to a source familiar with the matter.

— Kevin Breuninger

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and UN to appoint representatives to oversee grain sea corridor

SABIC Agri-Nutrients is one of the largest producers of fertilizers
Bernd Wüstneck | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

A joint coordination center (JCC) for Ukrainian grain exports under a U.N.-brokered deal will be opened in a ceremony in Istanbul on Wednesday, Turkey's defense ministry said. 

Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations signed the accord last week to resume Ukraine's grain exports, which had stalled after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor.

All parties will appoint representatives at the JCC to monitor the implementation of the plan.

— Reuters

Russia plans to hold 'strategic' military exercises in the eastern part of the country next month

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a meeting of President Vladimir Putin with graduates of military academies on the eve of the 81st anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in World War Two in Moscow, Russia June 21, 2022.
Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

Russia's Ministry of Defense will hold what it called a "strategic command and staff exercise" next month.

Russian troops will deploy to the country's eastern region, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, for military training involving long-range aviation.

The announcement from the Russian Ministry of Defense did not include an approximate number of troops.

— Amanda Macias

Brittney Griner treated injuries with medical cannabis, defense argues

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner stands inside a defendants' cage before a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 26, 2022. 
Alexander Zemlianichenko | AFP | Getty Images

The defense team of U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, detained in Russia on drug charges, argued in court that she had used medical cannabis to assuage pain from injuries, like many other elite international athletes.

— Reuters

UK imposes sanctions on people linked to the Kremlin

The St. Basil Cathedral and a Kremlin tower are visible on the Red Square in Moscow.
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

The British government imposed sanctions on several people whom the Kremlin directed to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity:

  • Vitaly Khotsenko and Vladislav Kuznetsov, the Russian-imposed prime minister and first deputy chairman of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics
  • 29 regional governors from across Russia, for transferring funds to the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics
  • Russian Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuychenko and Deputy Minister of Justice Oleg Sviridenko
  • Sarvar and Sanjar Ismailov, nephews of major Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who has close ties to the Kremlin

"We will not keep quiet and watch Kremlin-appointed state actors suppress the people of Ukraine or the freedoms of their own people," British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said in a statement.

"We will continue to impose harsh sanctions on those who are trying to legitimize Putin's illegal invasion until Ukraine prevails," she added.

— Amanda Macias

Putin and Erdogan to meet again in Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Sochi on August 5, Russian state news agency Interfax reported. The Russian and Turkish leaders are slated to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

This follows a recent meeting after which Erdogan brokered an agreement between Moscow and Kyiv to allow grain shipments to leave Ukraine's ports after being blocked for months by Russia's military, sending food prices soaring.

Russia fired missiles at the Ukrainian port city of Odesa shortly after the agreement was made.

— Natasha Turak

Russia will quit the International Space Station after 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with newly-appointed head of the Roscosmos space agency Yuri Borisov in Moscow, Russia July 26, 2022. 
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

Russia will leave the International Space Station in 2024 to focus on building its own orbital station, the head of the country's state-owned space agency announced.

"The decision to leave the station after 2024 has been made," Yuri Borisov, the recently-appointed chief of Roscosmos said.

Russia will carry out its remaining obligations to international partners regarding the ISS before it departs, Borisov reportedly told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone call.

In this photo provided by NASA, backdropped against clouds over Earth, the International Space Station is seen from Space Shuttle Discovery as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation on March 7, 2011.

Earlier this month, Roscosmos and NASA signed an agreement to integrate flights to the ISS, allowing American astronauts to fly on Russian spacecraft and Russians to fly on U.S. spacecraft, despite major political tensions over the war in Ukraine.

Still, in April, Borisov's predecessor Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia would stop cooperation on the ISS due to Western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

— Natasha Turak

Euro sinks as natural gas prices surge on Russian cutbacks

The euro was down 0.85% against the dollar Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET as natural gas prices soared, painting a bleak picture ahead for Europe's energy needs.

Futures contracts for gas delivery for August were up 10% and hit 195 euros ($197.6) per megawatt hour, the highest since March, jolted by Russia's announcement that gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would be slashed to just 20% of capacity from Wednesday. That will halve the already reduced flow of gas coming from Russia.

Russian state-owned energy provider Gazprom says the cut is due to a turbine problem, a claim that Germany disputes. Western officials accuse Moscow of using energy as a weapon to punish the EU for its support of Ukraine.

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The EU has reached a watered-down compromise on emergency gas rationing for what is expected to be a very difficult winter this year.

In 2021, the EU imported roughly 45% of its natural gas from Russia, according to the International Energy Agency.

— Natasha Turak

EU member states agree on watered-down emergency gas cuts for winter

European Union states have reached a deal on regulation for emergency gas cuts ahead of this winter, when the bloc is expected to face a turbulent few months amid likely energy supply cuts from Russia.

"This was not a Mission Impossible! Ministers have reached a political agreement on gas demand reduction ahead of the upcoming winter," the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union wrote on Twitter.

— Natasha Turak

Ukraine's economy has seen a sharp decline due to Russia's war, says top aide

A view of damage after market place hit by Russian attacks as Russia-Ukraine War continues in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on July 25, 2022.
Metin Atkas| Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia's assault on Ukraine has taken a significant toll on the country's economy, according to a top aide to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"Currently, we are expecting that the Ukrainian economy is going to show a decline on the level of around 35% to 40%, which is a huge decline," Oleg Ustenko, economic advisor to Zelenskyy, told CNBC's "Capital Connection."

"But why this decline has happened [is] because I would say 50%, half of our businesses, are not operational now or not able to operate at full capacity." 

"When the economy is declining, then the budget revenues are decreased. Again the reason for that is the Russian invasion," he added.

— Sumathi Bala

Germany fears 'serious' situation as Russian gas flows are set to dwindle again

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said gas supplies for industry will be reduced before private residences or critical infrastructure such as hospitals experience gas shortages.
Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Germany's Economics Minister Robert Habeck has warned that the country faces a serious energy situation as Russia prepared to reduce gas flows to Europe.

"We have a serious situation. It is time for everyone to understand that," Habeck told the ARD broadcaster Monday evening, adding that Germany must reduce its gas consumption. "We're working on that," Habeck said.

Habeck said gas supplies for industry will be reduced before private residences or critical infrastructure such as hospitals experience gas shortages.

"Of course it's a big concern, which I also share, that this can happen. Then certain production chains in Germany or Europe would simply no longer be manufactured. We have to avoid that with all the strength we have." The way is to bring gas consumption down by 15%-20% in Germany, he said. 

"If we can do that, then with all the measures we have taken, we have a very good chance of not having to take this step."

Just days after resuming gas flows via its Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline last Thursday following a 10-day hiatus for routine maintenance, Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Monday that it would again be cutting daily gas deliveries via the pipeline to 33 million cubic meters starting Wednesday.

That means that the flow of gas, already at just 40% of capacity, will fall by another half from tomorrow.

Gazprom said this was in order to make repairs to a turbine, but that claim has been slammed by Western officials. Germany's Habeck said that reasoning was a "farce," while Ukraine's President Zelenskyy said Putin was continuing his "gas war" against Europe, a continent that has traditionally been reliant on Russia for around 45% of its annual gas supplies.

— Holly Ellyatt

'No indication' Russian missiles hit Ukrainian warship, ammunition in Odesa, UK says

Britain's Ministry of Defense has said that, contrary to Russia's claims, there is "no indication" that a missile attack on Odesa's port last weekend actually hit a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles.

"On 24 July 2022, Russian cruise missiles hit the dock-side in Ukraine's Odesa Port. The Russian MoD claimed to have hit a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles. There is no indication that such targets were at the location the missiles hit," the ministry said.

The comments come after Russia claimed that it had used high-precision Kalibr missiles to destroy a ship repair plant in Odesa, destroying a warship in the dock and a depot of U.S.-supplied Harpoon missiles. The strike incapacitated the plant's production capacities for the repair and upgrade of the Ukrainian Navy's ships, a Russian general said. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack an act of "barbarism."

The port of Odesa on July 20, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | Afp | Getty Images

In its latest intelligence update, the U.K. noted that "Russia almost certainly perceives anti-ship missiles as a key threat which is limiting the effectiveness of their Black Sea Fleet."

"This has significantly undermined the overall invasion plan, as Russia cannot realistically attempt an amphibious assault to seize Odesa. Russia will continue to prioritise efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine's anti-ship capability. However, Russia's targeting processes are highly likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations," it added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Kharkiv shelled overnight; Donetsk cities and towns come under continuing fire

Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv has come under fire overnight, with more shelling on the city, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram.

"Again, the night shelling of the city. One of Kharkiv's areas, which is closer to the city center was hit. Traditionally, it was next to a building that had nothing to do with military infrastructure," Terekhov said, adding it was still unknown whether there were any casualties after the strikes.

Firefighters conduct search and rescue operations after Russian forces hit a cultural center in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine, on July 25, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

In its latest military update on Tuesday, the general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said Kharkiv and surrounding areas had come under attack from tanks, barrel and rocket artillery while Russian forces continued their assaults on the Donetsk region of Donbas, with Kramatorsk, Sloviansk and Bakhmut and surrounding settlements coming under fire.

A damaged marketplace in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, on July 25, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Nearby, Russia was also "concentrating its main efforts on trying to improve the tactical position and creating conditions for an offensive on the cities of Siversk and Soledar. Enemy units replenish stocks of ammunition and fuel and oil," a spokesperson for Ukraine's general staff said on Facebook.

— Holly Ellyatt

At least 100 nuclear power plant employees kidnapped by Russian troops, president of energy company says

A Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Energodar on May 1, 2022. Europe's largest nuclear power station has become a fighting ground for the conflict, with both sides blaming each other for attacks on and around the complex.
Andrey Borodulin | Afp | Getty Images

The president of a Ukrainian nuclear power plant company said Russian forces kidnapped about 100 of its employees.

"There are about 500 Russian soldiers on the territory of the plant. They are the ones letting employees into their working stations and control everything that is going on on the territory of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant," Petro Kotin of Energoatom said, according to an NBC News translation.

Kotin added that Russian troops took ID badges and entered a secure area within the nuclear power plant. He said "what they did there is not known."

He said they may not have followed proper security controls and "it is quite possible that they got radioactive contamination on their clothes out of the control zone."

— Amanda Macias

Putin is waging a 'gas war' against Europe, Zelenskyy says

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with participants of the Bolshaya Peremena national contest for school students, via video link in Moscow, Russia July 20, 2022. 
Pavel Byrkin | Sputnik | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is waging a "gas war" against Europe.

"Russia is not going to resume gas supplies to European countries, as it is contractually obligated to do. And this is an open gas war, which Russia is waging against a united Europe," Zelenskyy said during a nightly address on the Telegram messaging app.

"They don't care what will happen to the people, how they will suffer from hunger due to the blocking of ports or from winter cold and poverty," Zelenskyy said, adding that Russia is engaging in "different forms of terror."

He also called on global leaders to sever trade ties with Russia "as much as possible" in order to pressure Moscow.

— Amanda Macias

Russia's Gazprom further reduces gas flow of Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing repairs

On Friday, Russian energy supplier Gazprom said it would not resume its supply of natural gas to Germany through the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline, blaming a malfunctioning turbine.
Hannibal Hanschke | Reuters

Russia's Gazprom said it would further reduce natural gas flows through a major pipeline to Europe to 20% of capacity, citing repairs of equipment.

The Russian state-owned company tweeted that it would reduce "the daily throughput" of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to 33 million cubic meters as of Wednesday. The head of Germany's network regulator confirmed the reduction.

The move comes after Gazprom raised questions about the return of a part that has been at the center of tensions over natural gas deliveries through the pipeline, saying that it isn't satisfied with documents it has received.

The company reduced the gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 60% in mid-June, citing alleged technical problems involving the equipment that partner Siemens Energy sent to Canada for overhaul and couldn't be returned because of sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Germany has rejected Gazprom's technical explanation for the gas reduction, saying repeatedly that it was only a pretext for the Kremlin's political decision to sow uncertainty and further push up energy prices.

— Associated Press

Ukraine hopes to start exporting agricultural products Tuesday, official says

Farmers harvest a wheat field near Melitopol in Ukraine. Wheat, soybean, sugar, and corn futures have fallen from their March highs back to prices seen at the start of 2022.
Olga Maltseva | Afp | Getty Images

Despite a Russian missile strike on a Ukrainian port over the weekend, Ukraine will start to export grains and other food products Tuesday, the country's deputy infrastructure minister said.

"Within the next day, we will be ready to work on the restoration of the export of agricultural products through our ports," Yuriy Vaskov told reporters on Monday, according to an NBC News translation.

Vaskov said that Chornomorsk will be the first port to reopen, followed by Odesa and Pivdennyi. Vaskov added that in the next two weeks, all ports will be exporting agricultural products on a consistent basis.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Zelenskyy says Putin is waging a ‘gas war’ against Europe; wheat prices rise after Odesa attack