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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

BusinessLatest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Wagner forces attempting to destabilize NATO, Polish prime minister warns

Fighters from Russian paramilitary group Wagner are being positioned to destabilize the NATO military coalition, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Thursday after meeting Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

Formerly allied with the Kremlin, Wagner forces have been exiled to Belarus since a late-June coup attempt against Moscow. They have begun training with the Belarusian national army, prompting Warsaw to move more than 1,000 of its soldiers close to the border.

“We need to be aware that the number of provocations will rise,” he warned, Reuters reported. “The Wagner group is extremely dangerous and they are being moved to the eastern flank to destabilize it.”

Nauseda floated the possibility of closing the border with Belarus in the event of more escalations.

Belarus allowed Russian forces use of its territory ahead of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia adds Norway to list of countries ‘unfriendly’ to its diplomats

Russia added Norway to its list of countries deemed to be “unfriendly” to its diplomats, Russian state news agency Tass reported.

The designation is defined as “foreign countries committing unfriendly actions against Russian diplomatic and consular missions abroad,” Tass wrote. This limits the number of consular and embassy staff, both local and foreign, that the country can hire within Russia. Norway’s staff limit number has been set at 27.

Countries added to the Russian list in previous years include the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, a number of European countries and others that support sanctions against Russia.

“The list approved by the government is not definitive and may be expanded, taking into account the ongoing hostile actions by foreign countries against Russian missions abroad,” Tass cited a government ministry as saying.

— Natasha Turak

Instead of saying ‘good night’ to each other we say ‘stay safe’: Ukrainian MP

A woman holds her child inside a subway wagon in an underground metro station used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

A Ukrainian parliament member described the reality of living under constant Russian drone and missile strikes, saying that in Kyiv, people tell each other to stay safe rather than saying goodnight.

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“Spending nights in bomb shelters has become a harsh reality for us. Instead of saying ‘good night’ to each other we say ‘stay safe’,” MP Kira Rudik wrote in a social media post. “This night was not the exception: russia launched a massive drone attack on Kyiv.”

— Natasha Turak

Undergrowth on Ukrainian battlefields may be slowing combat progress, UK MoD says

Ukrainian soldiers from Tank battalion of the 24th separate mechanized brigade named after king Danylo are seen with T-72 tank on positions near Konstantinivka in Donbas, Ukraine on June 26, 2023. 

Wojciech Grzedzinski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The natural environment of Ukraine’s land after nearly 18 months of not being cultivated may be slowing the progress of Ukrainian forces’ counteroffensive as undergrowth helps provide camouflage for Russian troops and equipment, Britain’s Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily intelligence update on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The predominately arable land in the combat zone has now been left fallow for 18 months, with the return of weeds and shrubs accelerating under the warm, damp summer conditions,” the ministry wrote.

“The extra cover helps camouflage Russian defensive positions and makes defensive mine fields harder to clear.”

“Although undergrowth can also provide cover for small stealthy infantry assaults, the net effect has been to make it harder for either side to make advances,” it added.

— Natasha Turak

Number of mines planted by Russia on Ukrainian land is ‘utterly mad,’ official says

The Ukrainian army’s 35th Marine Brigade conducts mine clearance work at a field in Donetsk, Ukraine, on July 11, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The volume of landmines that Russian forces have planted on Ukrainian territory is “utterly mad,” said Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s security council. The many months Russian troops have been holding on to occupied territory have given them a substantial amount of time to lay their defenses.

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“The enemy has prepared very thoroughly for these events,” Danilov told Ukrainian national television.

“The number of mines on the territory that our troops have retaken is utterly mad. On average, there are three, four, five mines per square meter.”

He stressed that Ukrainian forces’ advances are moving more slowly than expected for a reason. Many observers have expressed worry that Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive is making far less progress than hoped.

“No one can set deadlines for us, except ourselves,” Danilov said. “There is no fixed schedule.”

— Natasha Turak

Kyiv under drone attack for eighth consecutive night

An explosion of a drone is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 2, 2023. 

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

Kyiv was struck by Russian drone attacks for the eighth consecutive night, its city military administration said on Telegram on Thursday, according to a Google translation.

The force said that it detected and destroyed over a dozen projectiles, with no casualties reported. Russian troops once more deployed Iranian-made Shahed drones in the hostilities, the Kyiv city military administration added.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko separately said that the attack resulted in damage to a non-residential building, in Google-translated comments on Telegram.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

EU says Russia’s attacks are endangering global food security

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell Fontelles on Wednesday condemned Russia’s latest attacks against Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, Odesa, and sites on the Danube.

“These targeted attacks on Ukrainian grain infrastructure aggravate global food insecurity, putting millions of the most vulnerable at risk,” he said on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter.

The European bloc previously criticized Russia’s late-July decision to exit the Black Sea Grain Initiative and interrupt a humanitarian corridor that had permitted the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods into the global markets.

“As the world deals with disrupted supplies and higher prices, Russia is now approaching vulnerable countries, notably in Africa, with bilateral offers of limited grain shipments, pretending to solve a problem it created itself. This is a cynical policy of deliberately using food as a weapon,” an EU statement said Wednesday.

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— Ruxandra Iordache

Russian strikes on ports damaged nearly 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain, official says

Remnants of Russian missiles lie in the foreground of wreckage as Ukrainians salvage barley and peas three days after five Russian missiles struck a grain storage facility in the village of Pavlivka, Odesa region, Ukraine, on July 24, 2023. 

Scott Peterson | Getty Images

Russian drone strikes on ports in southern Ukraine early Wednesday morning destroyed or damaged nearly 40,000 tons of grain that was set for export to several African countries as well as China and Israel, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure said.

“The Russians attacked warehouses and grain elevators — almost 40,000 tons of grain were damaged, which was expected by the countries of Africa, China, and Israel,” Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Telegram post.

“The world must resist. Attacks on Ukrainian ports are a threat to the world,” he added, calling on the international community for more support as well as more provisions of air defense technology.

— Natasha Turak

State Department approves $395 million weapons sale to Finland

Ukrainian troops fire with surface-to-surface rockets MLRS towards Russian positions at a front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 7, 2022.

Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images

The U.S. State Department approved a potential foreign military sale worth $395 million to Finland for an upgrade package for M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS.

The State Department said the principal contractors are Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, Texas; Chelton Inc., in Marlow, United Kingdom; Leonardo DRS in Arlington, Virginia; and Loc Performance Products, Inc., in Plymouth, Michigan.

“The proposed sale will improve Finland’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and other allied forces,” the State Department wrote in a release.

“Finland will have no difficulty absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces,” the release added.

— Amanda Macias

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