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Russians ‘Destroying Everything They See' in the Donbas; Many Dead and Wounded After Missiles Hit Ukrainian City

Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

Eastern Ukraine continues to see intense assaults from Russian forces, according to the Ukrainian military, but the British Defense Ministry has questioned whether Russia has made any significant advances in the last 72 hours.

Russian forces have attacked the west-central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, with at least 23 dead and 110 wounded, according to latest report from the emergency services on the scene.

In other news, talks aimed at freeing up grain exports from Ukraine are set to continue next week following discussions on Wednesday in Istanbul. Russia and Ukraine are slated to meet again in Turkey next week in the hope that a deal can be finalized.

President Volodymyr Zelenskky said Ukraine is doing its best to resume food supplies to the global market. For months, Russian warships have blocked Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, preventing vital exports from leaving the country and contributing to a global food price crisis.

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin thanks Italian counterpart for Ukraine support

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on July 14, 2022.
Saul Loeb | Afp | Getty Images
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on July 14, 2022.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin thanked his Italian counterpart at the Pentagon for bolstering NATO's eastern flank along with the country's "expansive contributions to international security."

Italy's Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini and Austin agreed to maintain close cooperation "particularly during these challenging times that have proven the importance of the transatlantic relationship," according to a Pentagon readout of the meeting.

The two also discussed "how the United States and Italy could increase defense cooperation activities in Africa."

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy says death toll continues to rise in Vinnytsia following Russian cruise missile attack

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a working session of G7 leaders via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 27, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a working session of G7 leaders via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 27, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for a special tribunal on Russia's war in Ukraine as "soon as possible" in a nightly address on Telegram.

"No state in the world poses such a terrorist threat as Russia. No other state in the world allows itself to destroy peaceful cities and ordinary human life with cruise missiles and jet artillery every day," Zelenskyy said, adding that "Russia has thus shown its attitude to international law, to Europe and to the entire civilized world."

Zelenskyy said that the death toll continues to rise in Vinnytsia following a Russian cruise missile attack.

"Dismantling of debris is ongoing. Dozens of people are listed as missing. Among those hospitalized are seriously injured," Zelenskyy said.

— Amanda Macias

Celebrity chef and humanitarian Jose Andres says 2 million food kits have been delivered to Ukrainians

Spanish celebrity chef and restaurateur Jose Andres said in a tweet that more than 2 million food kits have been delivered to those affected by the Kremlin's war in Ukraine.

"Thanks to your help the @WCKitchen team in Ukraine has delivered over 2,000,000 food kits, with ingredients for 40,000,000+ meals," wrote Andres, referencing the World Central Kitchen, his humanitarian organization dedicated to feeding vulnerable communities.

"This is in addition to tens of millions of hot meals we have delivered," he added.

The two-star Michelin chef brought the World Central Kitchen to Ukraine in order to address the mounting food crisis triggered by Russia's war.

— Amanda Macias

Macron tells France to prepare for Russia to cut off natural gas

France's President Emmanuel Macron attends a news conference with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 9, 2022.
Lisi Niesner | Reuters
France's President Emmanuel Macron attends a news conference with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 9, 2022.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned his country's people to prepare for a total cutoff of Russian natural gas by supporting alternatives, having public lights switched off at night and engaging in a period of nationwide energy "sobriety."

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions have aggravated other factors driving up prices for energy and others goods. With no end in sight for the Ukraine war, Macron said, the French should brace themselves for costs to remain high.

"This war will continue," he said in a televised interview marking France's national holiday, Bastille Day. "The summer, early autumn will be very hard."

"Russia is using energy, like it is using food, as a weapon of war," Macron said. "We should prepare ourselves for the scenario where we have to go without all Russian gas."

He said the government would prepare a "sobriety plan" to conserve energy, which would start with turning off public lights at night when they aren't useful.

— Associated Press

Death toll rises to 21 in Vinnytsia attack

Firefighters extinguish fire following a Russian airstrike in the city of Vinnytsia, west-central Ukraine on July 14, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images
Firefighters extinguish fire following a Russian airstrike in the city of Vinnytsia, west-central Ukraine on July 14, 2022.

The death toll from an attack in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia rose to 21 people, including three children, according to Ukraine's emergency service.

The service added that 91 people need medical attention, and 34 of those people are in serious condition. Search and rescue teams are still looking for at least 42 people in the rubble.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the cruise missile attack on the community facilities and medical center as an "act of Russian terror."

Russia has previously said it does not target civilians, despite multiple instances of missile strikes on civilian infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals and residential buildings. Last weekend, a strike on an apartment building in Donetsk killed at least 48 people.

— Amanda Macias

'With each day, war crimes mount,' Blinken says

A view of the destroyed shopping mall due to shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on June 08, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A view of the destroyed shopping mall due to shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on June 08, 2022.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed Russian atrocities in Ukraine and pledged U.S. support for international investigations into war crimes.

"With each day, the war crimes mount. Rape. Torture. Extrajudicial executions. Disappearances. Forced deportations. Attacks on schools, hospitals, playgrounds, apartment buildings, grain silos, water and gas facilities," Blinken said in a statement before the Ukraine Accountability Conference at The Hague.

The nation's top diplomat said the atrocities were "not the acts of rogue units."

"They fit a clear pattern, across every part of Ukraine touched by Russian forces. And they fit a clear pattern with Russia's previous actions in conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine starting in 2014," he added.

On Wednesday, Blinken called on Russia to immediately release civilians who were forcibly deported from Ukraine, an accusation that would classify as a war crime.

Blinken added that the U.S. suspects that between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, have been detained and deported from their homes to Russia.

— Amanda Macias

Dutch Defense Minister pledges more weapons to Ukraine, says Putin determined to continue the war

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomes Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren to the Pentagon on July 13, 2022, in Washington, DC.
Oliver Contreras | AFP | Getty Images
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomes Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren to the Pentagon on July 13, 2022, in Washington, DC.

The Netherlands Minister of Defense Kajsa Ollongren told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that her country will continue to supply Ukraine with weapons because Russian President Vladimir Putin "seems pretty determined to just continue this war."

"I know they can outnumber the Ukrainians, they can outgun the Ukrainians, but at the same time, I don't think we are seeing the same resilience on the Russian side," Ollongren said, adding that Russian forces are making slow progress in the Donbas and Luhansk.

"If you can't outgun them you have to outsmart them and I think that by training them already for a long time and now providing them with very high-tech equipment, that is the strategy we need to keep Ukraine and Ukrainian forces in place," she added.

Ollongren on Wednesday visited the Pentagon and met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to discuss increased defense spending and additional weapons packages for Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

WNBA’s Griner heads back to Russian court after guilty plea

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained in March at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, is escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia, July, 14, 2022.
Evgenia Novozhenina | Reuters
U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained in March at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, is escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia, July, 14, 2022.

American basketball star Brittney Griner was due back in a Russian court for trial after she pleaded guilty last week to drug possession charges.

In Russia, a guilty plea doesn't automatically end a trial. Griner's defense may put forward arguments during the next hearing to mitigate the punishment, or a verdict could be announced. But it wasn't immediately clear what would happen Thursday.

With the U.S. government under pressure at home to do more to secure her freedom, the guilty plea could be an effort to expedite the court proceedings so any negotiations could move forward. A senior Russian diplomat has said no action could be taken by Moscow until the trial was over.

The Phoenix Mercury center and WNBA all-star was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in February while returning to play basketball in Russia. Police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. In custody ever since, Griner, 31, faces charges that could bring her a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

— Associated Press

UK provides $2.9 million for war crimes investigations in Ukraine

A war crimes prosecutor (C) and a rescuer (R) and a civil, look at a destroyed building after being hit by a missile strike in the Ukrainian town of Serhiivka, near Odessa, killing at least 18 people and injuring 30, on July 1, 2022.
Oleksandr Gimanov | AFP | Getty Images
A war crimes prosecutor (C) and a rescuer (R) and a civil, look at a destroyed building after being hit by a missile strike in the Ukrainian town of Serhiivka, near Odessa, killing at least 18 people and injuring 30, on July 1, 2022.

The U.K. government announced $2.9 million in support to help the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine investigate war crimes committed in the country.

"In Ukraine, there is mounting evidence of atrocities, including of sexual violence, committed by Russian forces. We are working directly with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General to ensure all potential war crimes are fully investigated, and those responsible are held to account," the U.K.'s Lord Tariq Ahmad said at The Hague.

The British government will also provide forensic support to Ukrainian investigators and training for up to 90 judges in war crimes prosecution.

The Kremlin has denied accusations that its forces purposely target civilians.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy deplores 'act of Russian terror' after deadly Vinnytsia attack

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy deplored Russian missile attacks on the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia on Thursday in which at least 20 people were killed, including three children.

"Today in the morning, Russian missiles hit the city of Vinnytsia, and ordinary peaceful city," Zelenskyy said as he addressed an international ministerial conference in The Hague regarding the investigation and prosecution of war crimes committed in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP
Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.

"Cruise missiles hit two community facilities, houses and a medical center were destroyed, the cars and trams were on fire. This is the act of Russian terror. These are not people — these are bastards who have done it," he said.

Russian forces attacked the west-central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia earlier on Thursday, causing the deaths of 20 people and wounding at least 52 others.

One Ukrainian official said the center of Vinnytsia had been hit by Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea. Vinnytsia, given its position in central-west Ukraine, had been relatively peaceful compared to eastern parts of the country where the fiercest fighting is taking place.

Graphic images released by Ukraine's emergency services on Thursday showed the death and destruction caused by the strike in Vinnytsia, including a harrowing image of an overturned stroller on a sidewalk with the body of an infant beside it.

"I would like you to commemorate these people with a minute of silence," Zelenskyy told international officials today. "All those people who were killed since 2014 until today, all those who were murdered by Russia on Ukrainian soil and in Ukrainian sky," he said.

Russia has said it does not target civilians despite multiple instances of missile strikes on civilian infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, and residential buildings. Last weekend, a strike on an apartment building in Donetsk killed 48 people.

Firefighters and members of a rescue team clear the scene after a building was partially destroyed following shelling, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022.
Miguel Medina | Afp | Getty Images
Firefighters and members of a rescue team clear the scene after a building was partially destroyed following shelling, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022.

— Holly Ellyatt

Central Ukrainian city hit by missiles, killing at least 20 people including three children

AP: Vinnytsia: Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP
AP: Vinnytsia: Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.

Russian forces have attacked the west-central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, with at least 20 dead and 52 wounded, according to latest report from the emergency services on the scene.

"Currently, 20 people are known to have died as a result of a rocket attack on the city, including three children. 90 people sought help from medical institutions," the deputy chief of the Ukrainian president's office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Telegram.

Tymoshenko said Russians had "hit the center of Vinnytsia with Kalibr cruise missiles, launching them from a submarine in the Black Sea" and that the rescue operation was ongoing.

Earlier, national police chief Ihor Klymenko said on Facebook that three missiles had hit an office block and adjacent parking lot, destroying at least 25 cars and damaging nearby residential buildings.

Hundreds of rescuers and police officers are at the scene, Klymenko said in a later update on Facebook, with teams of investigators and security services documenting what he called "another crime of the Russian army against the Ukrainian people. A cynical, cruel and insidious crime that has no excuse."

Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP
Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.

"There are dead and wounded," Serhiy Borzov, governor of the Vinnytsia region, wrote on the Telegram messaging app Thursday when reports of the attack first emerged.

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy said earlier that rocket strikes had hit the city center and deplored the deaths of more Ukrainian civilians.

Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP
Ukrainian Emergency Service, a view of vehicles damaged by shelling in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Thursday, July 14, 2022.

"Every day, Russia destroys the civilian population, kills Ukrainian children, directs rockets at civilian objects. Where there is nothing military. What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?" Zelenskyy said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russians 'destroying everything they see in front of them' as they try to advance, Ukraine official says

Russian forces are reportedly attempting to break through to Siversk — a town that lies between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine — in order to open a way to nearby Bakhmut in Donetsk, a Ukrainian official said.

An aerial view of damaged sites from eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk located in which Russian forces now in control, in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine on July 09, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
An aerial view of damaged sites from eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk located in which Russian forces now in control, in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine on July 09, 2022.

Luhansk Regional Military Administration Head Serhiy Haidai said on Telegram Thursday that "Russians are attempting to break through to Siversk and open the way to Bakhmut" via small settlements and that in order to advance, "they are destroying everything they see in front of them."

"Now they are conducting the offensive in the direction of Verkhniokamianske [near Siversk]. Battles are underway," Haidai noted.

LUHANSK, UKRAINE - JULY 09: A view of damaged sites from eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk located in which Russian forces now in control, in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine on July 09, 2022. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
LUHANSK, UKRAINE - JULY 09: A view of damaged sites from eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk located in which Russian forces now in control, in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine on July 09, 2022. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Haidai said Russian troops had launched 12 missile and air strikes on settlements situated at the border of the neighboring Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the epicenter of the war right now and the location of fierce fighting for months.

"They continue massive artillery and mortar shelling, and use multiple launch rocket systems," Haidai, who gives regular updates on the military situation in his region, said.

A view of damaged sites from eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk located in which Russian forces now in control, in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine on July 09, 2022.
Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A view of damaged sites from eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk located in which Russian forces now in control, in Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine on July 09, 2022.

Capturing Bakhmut is a strategic aim for Russia as its forces seek to advance into Donetsk having captured Luhansk several weeks ago, while Ukrainian forces are trying to stall and thwart their opponents' advances as much as possible.

Holly Ellyatt

Russian forces continue to assault Donetsk but could risk losing momentum

A photo shows a rocket, launched by Russian forces, in a street in Sloviansk city in the Kramatorsk district, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on July 12, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A photo shows a rocket, launched by Russian forces, in a street in Sloviansk city in the Kramatorsk district, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on July 12, 2022.

Russian forces continue to assault areas around the cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Bakhmut in Donetsk in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's armed forces said Thursday morning.

The cities are believed to be key targets for Russia as its forces look to advance into the Donetsk region, having already seized the whole of neighboring Luhansk in recent weeks.

The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said on Facebook Thursday morning that Russian forces were shelling various settlements around Sloviansk, nearby Kramatorsk and Bakhmut, with tanks and tube and rocket artillery.

Ukrainian forces had repulsed some of the attacks to the south of Bakhmut, the general staff's spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said. CNBC was unable to verify the information in the report.

Ukrainian servicemen ride on a tank from the battlefield near Siversk in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on July 8, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian servicemen ride on a tank from the battlefield near Siversk in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on July 8, 2022.

Britain's Ministry of Defense, in its latest intelligence update Thursday, said that Russian forces "continue to conduct artillery strikes across a broad front [in the Donbas], followed by, in some areas, probing assaults by small company and platoon-sized units."

However, they have achieved no significant territorial advances over the last 72 hours and are in danger of losing any momentum built up following the capture of Lysychansk, the last city Russian forces seized in Luhansk before they tried to advance into Donetsk.

"The ageing vehicles, weapons, and Soviet-era tactics used by Russian forces do not lend themselves to quickly regaining or building momentum unless used in overwhelming mass – which Russia is currently unable to bring to bear."

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine is making big efforts to unblock global food supplies, Zelenskky says

Ukraine's president said his country is making significant efforts to resume food supplies to the world market after preliminary talks in Istanbul on Wednesday, which were aimed at unblocking agricultural exports.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this in his evening video address that "the success of this story is needed not only by our state, but also, without exaggeration, by the whole world."

"If we manage to remove the Russian threat to navigation in the Black Sea, it will remove the severity of the world food crisis," he added.

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and United Nations officials met in Istanbul on Wednesday to try to reach a deal that would allow exports of vital produce, such as grain and sunflower oil, to resume from Ukraine.
Miguel Medina | AFP | Getty Images
Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and United Nations officials met in Istanbul on Wednesday to try to reach a deal that would allow exports of vital produce, such as grain and sunflower oil, to resume from Ukraine.

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and United Nations officials met in Istanbul on Wednesday to try to reach a deal that would allow exports of vital produce, such as grain and sunflower oil, to resume from Ukraine.

The latter three said there had been progress at the talks, with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar saying an agreement would be signed next week, but U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said more work is needed before a deal is finalized.

The deal would see a joint coordination center set up to oversee the safe export of produce, with Ankara saying that it would inspect cargoes and ensure the safety of ships in transit. A deal would relieve a global food crisis caused not in small part by the blockade on exports from Ukraine, one of the world's largest exporters of wheat and sunflower oil.

Zelenskyy noted that the Ukrainian delegation had informed him that there was some progress at talks yesterday. "We will agree on the details with the UN Secretary General in the coming days," he added.

Holly Ellyatt

Chasiv Yar death toll rises again

The death toll from a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine has risen, with 48 civilians now declared to have died in the attack, including one child.

Ukraine's emergency services said on Telegram that the number of people rescued from the rubble remained at nine.

Firefighters and rescue workers clear the scene after a building was partially destroyed by shelling, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022.
Miguel Medina | Afp | Getty Images
Firefighters and rescue workers clear the scene after a building was partially destroyed by shelling, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022.

Russian forces hit the five-storey apartment building in Chasiv Yar last Saturday. Ukraine said Russian Uragan rockets caused severe destruction to the building. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilian targets despite a large number of instances in which civilian infrastructure was targeted, causing death and more displacement for ordinary Ukrainians.

President Zelenskyy remarked on the tragedy on Wednesday night, saying debris clearance would continue until all the rubble is cleared.

"It was one of the most brutal Russian strikes during the entire war - so many victims... My condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims," he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

More than 5.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine, UN says

A displaced Ukrainian and child make their way to board a bus for onward travel at a temporary refugee center, setup at a disused Tesco building, in Przemysl, Poland, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
Angel Garcia | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A displaced Ukrainian and child make their way to board a bus for onward travel at a temporary refugee center, setup at a disused Tesco building, in Przemysl, Poland, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

More than 5.8 million people have fled across Ukraine's borders to other locations in Europe since Russia invaded in February, according to the latest data compiled by the United Nations.

Of that total, more than 3.6 million people have registered for temporary refugee protection or similar safeguards in Europe.

"The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," UN researchers wrote in a report.

"Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighboring countries and many more have been forced to move inside the country," the report added.

Here's a look at where Ukrainian refugees have fled:

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine, U.N., Russia and Turkey to discuss sea corridors for grain exports next week following talks

Wheat grain pours from a machine into a storage silo on Monday, July 8, 2013. Temporary silos will be built along the border with Ukraine to help export more grain to address a growing global food crisis, U.S. President Joe Biden said, according to Reuters.
Vincent Mundy | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Wheat grain pours from a machine into a storage silo on Monday, July 8, 2013. Temporary silos will be built along the border with Ukraine to help export more grain to address a growing global food crisis, U.S. President Joe Biden said, according to Reuters.

Russia and Ukraine are slated to meet again in Turkey next week following talks that aim to free up grain exports, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.

Delegations from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations met in Istanbul earlier.

"We will try to reach a conclusion by carrying out this in coordination with the UN. In this sense, it was agreed that the Ukrainian and Russian delegations should meet again in Turkey next week," Akar said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a press conference that the meeting was a "critical step forward" in the safe and secure export of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea.

For months, Russian warships have blocked Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. welcomes EU decision to impose sanctions on Russian shipments to Kaliningrad

A disused border crossing point to Russia is seen on April 15, 2022 in Nida, Lithuania. Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, is sandwiched between NATO members Lithuania and Poland and is the Baltic coasts most strategic transport and trade port.
Paulius Peleckis | Getty Images News | Getty Images
A disused border crossing point to Russia is seen on April 15, 2022 in Nida, Lithuania. Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, is sandwiched between NATO members Lithuania and Poland and is the Baltic coasts most strategic transport and trade port.

The Biden administration welcomed the European Union's decision to implement economic sanctions on Russia and its shipments to and from Kaliningrad.

Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, depends on Lithuania and Belarus to conduct transit traffic between the enclave and mainland Russia.

"We applaud European Union member states, including Lithuania, for enforcing sanctions measures fully in accordance with EU guidance," wrote State Department spokesman Ned Price in a statement.

"It is important to note that there is not now and there never has been a so-called blockade of Kaliningrad. Using a variety of routes, passengers continue to transit between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad, as do all humanitarian shipments and most other goods," Price added.

In June, Lithuania announced it would halt entry by rail of all EU-sanctioned goods coming from Russia into Kaliningrad.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Lithuania's actions in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad will trigger retaliatory measures.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC's previous live blog here:

Hopes rise that grain exports can resume from Ukraine; a 'very difficult road' lies ahead, Zelenskyy says

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