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Russia-Ukraine war updates for July 4, 2023

BusinessRussia-Ukraine war updates for July 4, 2023

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Putin says Russia will resist Western ‘provocations,’ reiterates domestic unity

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of State Council via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 4, 2023.

Alexander Kazakov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his country will stand up to Western sanctions and “provocations.”

Aiming to reassure Asian allies of Moscow’s strength despite an attempted mutiny in his country 10 days ago, Putin said the Russian people were more united than ever.

“The Russian people are consolidated as never before,” Putin told a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on Tuesday, a group that also includes China and India.

“Russian political circles and the whole of society clearly demonstrated their unity and elevated sense of responsibility for the fate of the fatherland when they responded as a united front against an attempted mutiny,” he added, according to a Reuters translation.

Putin also said that Moscow planned to boost ties with the group, even as potential global conflicts and economic crises are on the rise.

— Karen Gilchrist

Lithuania urges quick path to NATO membership for Ukraine

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda talks to the media as he arrives for a European Council Summit, at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on June 29, 2023.

John Thys | Afp | Getty Images

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has called for NATO allies to push ahead with Ukraine’s ambitions to join the military alliance, arguing that fast-tracked accession would boost Kyiv’s performance in its war with Russia.

Speaking to Reuters ahead of a NATO summit in Vilnius next week, Nauseda dismissed concerns that such a move would provoke Moscow, adding that the country views the group’s current caution as a sign of weakness.

“We should not hesitate to take bolder decisions because otherwise the Putin regime will decide that the Western allies are too weak, [that they should be] pushed to the corner and they will surrender,” Nauseda said on Monday.

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“Our stronger wording on Ukraine’s [membership] perspective would for sure increase the fighting spirit of Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield. And this is very important.”

Ukraine has been urging NATO to use next week’s summit to announce that Kyiv would join the group soon after the end of the war, and to set out a roadmap to membership. However, some members have expressed resistance for fear of further aggravating the Kremlin.

NATO’s military expansion is seen as one of the motivating factors behind Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 22, 2022.

— Karen Gilchrist

Further casualties incurred in Sumy, Kherson: Ukrainian media

Intensified Russian shelling has increased the number of casualties on Ukrainian grounds.

The death toll from a Russian drone attack against northeastern Ukrainian city Sumy has risen to three, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne said on Telegram according to a Google translation, with 21 people injured.

The city has declared July 4 a day of mourning.

The broadcaster separately reported that Russian shelling killed two people in southern city Kherson, damaging residential buildings.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the battlefield.

—Ruxandra Iordache

U.S. ambassador meets detained Wall Street Journal reporter

U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia in March on espionage charges.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy met detained American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich for the second time since his March arrest on Russian charges of espionage, NBC News reported.

Gershkovich is being held at renown former KGB jailing facility Lefortovo and must remain in prison until Aug. 30, a Moscow court has ruled.

“Ambassador Tracy reports that Mr. Gershkovich is in good health and remains strong, despite his circumstances,” a State Department spokesperson said, stressing expectations that Russian authorities will “provide continued consular access.”

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Ruxandra Iordache

Moscow airport flights rerouted after drone attack

Some flights were temporarily redirected from the Vnukovo Airport that serves Russian capital Moscow on Tuesday, following alleged drone attacks that the Kremlin attributes to Ukraine, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

He added that restrictions were lifted as of 8 a.m. local time, after Russian state-owned news agency Tass reported that these measures were in place for roughly three hours and led to 14 flights being rerouted over the period.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Telegram said that Russian forces shot down five drones that had targeted Moscow, incurring no casualties.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Ruxandra Iordache

Pistorius says talk of Ukraine’s NATO accession off the table until conflict ends

The terms of Ukraine’s accession to the NATO military alliance will not be discussed while war wages on within the country’s borders, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told the Polish Rzeczpospolita outlet, according to a Google translation, days ahead of the coalition’s impending summit on July 11-12.

Once the fighting ends, “only then will all of us, and I think there will be 32 allies then, together with Sweden, decide together with Ukraine on the terms of joining the alliance,” he said.

Ukraine has been vying for fast-tracked entry into NATO and the EU bloc since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February last year, citing security and geopolitical concerns.

Ruxandra Iordache

Kremlin casts doubt on renewal of Black Sea grain deal as expiry looms

The Kremlin casted doubt on the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a U.N.-backed deal that established a humanitarian sea corridor for agricultural products amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Under the agricultural deal, more than 32 million metric tons of foodstuffs have left from three Ukrainian ports for 45 global destinations.

The Black Sea grain deal is slated to expire later this month.

“Part of the agreements [with regards to Russia] is still not fulfilled. There is still some time before the deadline, but there are not so many hopes,” Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov told reporters at the Kremlin when asked about a possible extension.

Peskov added that he had nothing further to report on negotiations to renew the deal.

In recent months, Moscow has argued that the Black Sea Grain Initiative only benefits Kyiv and has called on all signatories of the deal to also include the export of Russian fertilizer.

— Amanda Macias

More than 6.3 million Ukrainians have become refugees, UN estimates

Evacuees from Mariupol area get settled at a refugee camp in the settlement of Bezymennoye during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 8, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

More than 6.3 million people from Ukraine have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion in February of last year, according to U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.

The majority of refugees have settled in nearby European countries and about 362,000 have traveled beyond Europe’s borders, according to data collected by the agency.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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