Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Biden set to authorize 15th security assistance package for Ukraine worth $400 million

US military personnel stand by a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) during Saudi Arabias first World Defense Show, north of the capital Riyadh, on March 6, 2022.

Fayez Nureldine | Afp | Getty Images

The Biden administration is set to announce a security assistance package worth $400 million for Ukraine.

A senior Defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share new details of the aid package, said the latest security assistance will be a mixture of systems already deployed to the fight and new capabilities.

The official said that the latest tranche of weapons will include additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, more ammunition for HIMARS, 1,000 rounds of ammunition for howitzers and three tactical vehicles to tow equipment.

The HIMARS, manufactured by defense giant Lockheed Martin, is designed to shoot a variety of missiles from a mobile 5-ton truck. The official said that U.S. troops will continue to train Ukrainian forces on how to use the platform at a location outside the country.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian official warns of ‘catastrophe’ in captured city

A Ukrainian regional official warned of deteriorating living conditions in a city captured by Russian forces two weeks ago, saying Sievierodonetsk is without water, power or a working sewage system while the bodies of the dead decompose in hot apartment buildings.

Gov. Serhiy Haidai said the Russians were unleashing indiscriminate artillery barrages as they try to secure their gains in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province. Moscow this week claimed full control of Luhansk, but the governor and other Ukrainian officials said their troops retained a small part of the province.

“Luhansk hasn’t been fully captured even though the Russians have engaged all their arsenal to achieve that goal,” Haidai told The Associated Press. “Fierce battles are going on in several villages on the region’s border. The Russians are relying on tanks and artillery to advance, leaving scorched earth.”

Russia’s forces “strike every building that they think could be a fortified position,” he said. “They aren’t stopped by the fact that civilians are left there, and they die in their homes and courtyards. They keep firing.”

Occupied Sievierodonetsk, meanwhile, “is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe,” the governor wrote on social media. “The Russians have completely destroyed all the critical infrastructure, and they are unable to repair anything.”

— Associated Press

WHO calls for humanitarian corridors for sick and injured Ukrainians

Nina, 90, a patient on a medical evacuation train is seen on its way to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on April 10, 2022.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

The World Health Organization issued an urgent appeal for access to sick and injured people caught up in the war in Ukraine.

The UN health agency said hundreds of landmine victims, premature babies, pregnant women, elderly people and patients with terminal illnesses have been left behind.

“The people who have not been able to receive early diagnosis and treatment for cancer now have much more advanced tumors and more critical illness,” Dr. Dorit Nitzan, WHO Ukraine crisis incident manager, told reporters at the United Nations.

“People who have not been able to receive medications for hypertension and now have failing hearts or have suffered strokes. People with diabetes who could not get treatment and whose disease is now severe,” she added.

Senior UN officials have long called for humanitarian corridors to be established in order to enable the safe delivery of assistance to vulnerable populations in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

New pipeline from Greece to Bulgaria offsets Russian gas cut

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (L) and his Bulgarian counterpart Kiril Petkov take part in the inauguration ceremony of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) gas pipeline, in Komotini, northern Greece, on July 8, 2022.

– | Afp | Getty Images

The leaders of Greece and Bulgaria inaugurated a new pipeline that will supply natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria, whose vital supply of Russian gas was cut off in April amid the fallout over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed the importance of the new link as an alternative supply line for Bulgaria, as neighboring Greece jockeys to become a regional energy transport hub.

“This isn’t just a gas pipeline, but a crucial south-north energy bridge,” Mitsotakis said during a ceremony in northeastern Greece.

He added that Europe needs to coordinate its response to “Moscow’s conscious choice to turn natural resources into a lever of political pressure, into a raw blackmail.”

“It is something our Bulgarian neighbors already know very well,” Mitsotakis said.

— Associated Press

Ukrainian official says Russia burned grain fields

An aerial picture taken on July 8, 2022 in the countryside of Siversk, in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine, shows wheat plantations burnt following air strike attacks of the Russian army in the region.

Miguel Medina | AFP | Getty Images

A Ukrainian official said that Russian forces set fire to grain fields in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region of the country.

“Remember this picture every time Russians say they care about global food security,” wrote Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Millions of people across the world will face hunger – because Russia launched a brutal war against Ukraine,” he added.

The Kremlin has previously denied that Russian troops are weaponizing food supply in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen to advocate for price cap on Russian oil during Asia trip

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies during the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing titled “The Financial Stability Oversight Council Annual Report to Congress,” in Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2022.

Tom Williams | Pool | Reuters

Janet Yellen plans to advocate for a price cap on Russian oil during her first trip to the Indo-Pacific as U.S. Treasury secretary, in what amounts to an attempt to curb revenues flowing to the Kremlin as it wages war on Ukraine.

The Treasury Department said Yellen’s trip to Japan, Indonesia and South Korea will focus on “opportunities to further strengthen the historic sanctions” imposed on Russia. It added that the goal of a potential price cap on Russian oil would be to “limit revenue for Russia’s military while at the same time dampening the impact of the war on gas and energy prices in America and globally.”

Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters of petroleum products, and its war on its neighbor has constrained supply due to disrupted trade routes and sanctions imposed by the U.S. and NATO allies. President Joe Biden and other world leaders are trying to balance support for Ukraine with domestic anger and budget angst caused by food and energy inflation.

Some 67% of Americans said gas prices were causing them financial hardship, according to a Gallup poll conducted in June, when U.S. gas prices hit all-time highs. The last time two-thirds of Americans indicated that gas prices were causing financial hardship was 2011.

The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline fell to $4.721 on Friday, down from a record $5.016 notched on June 14.

Thomas Franck

Celebrity chef and humanitarian Jose Andres shares video of volunteers packing food donations in Ukraine

Spanish celebrity chef and restaurateur Jose Andres shared a video on Twitter of volunteers in Ukraine preparing meals for the war-weary country.

“More than 40,000 bags are made each day! 20 meals per bag=800k meals plus hundreds of thousands of hot meals,” wrote Andres, who founded the World Central Kitchen, a humanitarian organization dedicated to feeding vulnerable communities.

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

— Amanda Macias

Russian ambassador reportedly says troops unlikely to leave southern Ukraine

Russian ambassador to London, Andrei Kelin, says the Kremlin’s forces will defeat Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region and Moscow is unlikely to withdraw from a large swathe of land across Ukraine’s southern coast, according to Reuters.

“We are going to liberate all of the Donbas,” Kelin told Reuters in an interview.

“Of course it is difficult to predict the withdrawal of our forces from the southern part of Ukraine because we have already experience that after withdrawal, provocations start and all the people are being shot and all that.”

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy says retaking of Snake Island shows Ukraine ‘cannot be broken’

Moscow said Russian troops withdrew from Snake Island (pictured here in an image released by the military governor of Odesa) last week as a “goodwill gesture.” Ukraine, however, said Russian forces hastily evacuated after successful military action.

Odessa Military Governor | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the retaking of Snake Island, a strategically important Black Sea island, sends a powerful message to Russian forces.

“And now let every Russian captain — whether of a ship or an aircraft — see the Ukrainian flag on Zmiinyi [Snake Island] and know that our state cannot be broken,” Zelenskky said.

Moscow said Russian troops withdrew from Snake Island last week as a “goodwill gesture.” Ukraine, however, said Russian forces hastily evacuated after successful military action.

— Sam Meredith

Russia’s Lavrov accuses the West of ‘rabid Russophobia’ at G-20 meeting

Russia’s Lavrov meets Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at the G-20 ministers’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia on July 8, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western officials at the G-20 ministers’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia, of criticizing Moscow rather than focusing on how to tackle global economic issues.

G-20 host Indonesia had pushed for ministers to find a way to help bring an end to Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine.

Speaking as he arrived at the conference, Lavrov said: “Despite all this and the useful discussions that should allow us to ask our Western colleagues some very blunt questions, they have no answers to these questions.”

He added, “There is only rabid Russophobia, which they turn to instead of finding much-needed common ground on key issues on the global economy and finances, for which the G-20 was created.”

— Sam Meredith

Russian forces seen preparing for new offensives in Donetsk, UK says

Russian troops are preparing for new offensives in eastern Ukraine, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry.

Russian forces “are likely pausing to replenish before undertaking new offensive operations in Donetsk Oblast,” the ministry said via Twitter. It added that Ukrainian forces continued to make “gradual advances” in the southwestern Kherson area.

“There is a realistic possibility that Russia’s immediate tactical objective will be Siversk, as its forces attempt to advance towards its most likely operational goal of the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk urban area.”

U.S. asks for fighters detained in Ukraine to be recognized as ‘combatants,’ media reports

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has reportedly said that the U.S. asked for American fighters detained in Ukraine to be considered “combatants,” according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

The U.S. Embassy in London was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC Friday.

Putin tells Ukraine that Russia has barely started its military action

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends Caspian Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan June 29, 2022. 

Grigory Sysoyev | Sputnik | Reuters

With Russia’s military action in Ukraine in its fifth month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kyiv that it should quickly accept Moscow’s terms or brace for the worst, adding ominously that Russia has barely started its action.

Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Kremlin-controlled parliament, Putin accused Western allies of fueling the hostilities, charging that “the West wants to fight us until the last Ukrainian.”

“It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction,” he added.

“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t even yet started anything in earnest,” Putin said in a menacing note.

He declared that Russia remains ready to sit down for talks to end the fighting, adding that “those who refuse to do so should know that the longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”

— Associated Press

War could leave Ukraine’s environment with a ‘toxic legacy for generations to come,’ UN warns

A Ukrainian woman walks past flames and smoke rising from a fire following an artillery fire on the 30th day of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on March 25, 2022.

Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

United Nations investigators said the war in Ukraine “could leave the country and region with a toxic legacy for generations to come,” according to preliminary monitoring reports from the region.

The United Nations Environment Program, or UNEP, found thousands of possible incidents of air, water and land pollution and the degradation of ecosystems, including risks to neighboring countries.

“The mapping and initial screening of environmental hazards only serves to confirm that war is quite literally toxic,” wrote UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen in the report.

“The first priority is for this senseless destruction to end now. The environment is about people: it’s about livelihoods, public health, clean air and water, and basic food systems. It’s about a safe future for Ukrainians and their neighbors, and further damage must not be done,” she added.

Andersen said that Ukraine will also require international support to remediate the damage across the country and mitigate risks to the wider region.

— Amanda Macias

Finland to boost security at Russia border with amended law

Finland’s army soldiers attend the multinational NATO exercise Saber Strike in Adazi, Latvia, June 11, 2015.

Finland’s army soldiers attend the multinational NATO exercise Saber Strike in Adazi, Latvia, June 11, 2015.

Finland’s Parliament passed amended legislation on border security that allows for the closure of crossing points with Russia amid fears that Moscow could choose to send large numbers of migrants to the frontier.

The move by lawmakers came just two days after NATO’s 30 members signed formal accession protocols for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance — an outcome that has angered Russia. The two Nordic nations’ membership bids were approved at a NATO summit at the end of June in Madrid.

The amendments approved by Finnish lawmakers will give the center-left government led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin wider powers to restrict border traffic in exceptional situations particularly on the 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia, the longest of any European Union member.

The changes would also allow Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, to build barriers and fences along the border with Russia if needed. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is due to sign the amendments into law on Friday.

— Associated Press

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