Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Blinken calls Putin’s accusation that U.S. sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines ‘absurd’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about US policy towards China during an event hosted by the Asia Society Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2022.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s accusation that the U.S. purposely sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines was an “absurd allegation.”

“That’s an absurd allegation that we and our allies are responsible,” Blinken told reporters at the State Department alongside his Canadian counterpart. “We will get to the bottom of what happened,” he added.

Blinken said that the U.S. was currently investigating the pipeline leaks and that he did not want to get ahead of that ongoing assessment. He did reference previous Russian attempts at weaponizing energy but did not attribute the recent Nord Stream leaks to Moscow.

— Amanda Macias

VIDEO: Putin stages a concert to celebrate Ukraine annexations

Putin speaks at concert to celebrate 'annexation' of Ukrainian regions

Russian President Vladimir Putin told invited guests at a patriotic pop concert on Moscow’s Red Square that Russia would achieve victory in its war on Ukraine.

The concert was held to celebrate the Russian annexation of four partially occupied regions of Ukraine, for which Putin had signed decrees earlier in the day.

“We have become stronger, because we are together,” Putin told the crowd. “Victory will be ours.”

— Reuters

‘Nothing changes for Ukraine,’ Ukrainian foreign minister says on Russian annexation

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba attends a joint media briefing amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine 14 September 2022.

Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “nothing changes for Ukraine,” as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to illegally annex additional swaths of Ukrainian territory.

“We continue liberating our land and our people, restoring our territorial integrity,” Kuleba wrote in a tweet.

 “By attempting to annex Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, Putin tries to grab territories he doesn’t even physically control on the ground,” Kuleba added.

— Amanda Macias

White House pours cold water on Ukraine’s hopes for fast-track entry to NATO

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to the media about the war in Ukraine and other topics at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2022.

Leah Millis | Reuters

The White House signaled clearly that it will not support Ukraine’s request to fast track its application for membership in NATO, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky had signed earlier in the day.

Just hours after Zelenskyy announced what he called Ukraine’s “decisive step” towards joining the alliance, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Ukraine’s application to NATO “should be taken up at a different time.”

“Our view is that the best way for us to support Ukraine is through practical on the ground support in Ukraine” Sullivan told reporters at the White House.

The remarks are not a new position for the Biden administration.

Sullivan’s statement comes as Sweden and Finland at on the verge of being admitted to NATO. Hungary and Turkey have yet to sign-off.

— Emma Kinery

More than 240 vessels carrying agricultural exports have left Ukraine since July

Barbados-flagged general cargo ship Fulmar S is pictured in the Black Sea, north of the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey August 5, 2022.

Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said that so far 241 vessels have left the besieged country since ports reopened in July.

The Joint Coordination Center, an initiative of Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey, said the ships transported a total of 5.4 million metric tons of grain and other food products.

Three of Ukraine’s major ports were reopened to exports under the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative.

— Amanda Macias

European Council president: Annexation is ‘dangerous and irresponsible escalation’

European Council President Charles Michel attends EU Leaders Summit on Russia-Ukraine crisis in Brussels, Belgium on February 24, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

European Council President Charles Michel condemned Russia’s annexation of four regions of Ukraine in a video message saying the European Union will never recognize them.

“It is a dangerous and irresponsible escalation. It’s designed as a step to intensify the nuclear threat against the rest of the world,” Michel said.

“The European Union unequivocally rejects and condemns these illegal annexations,” he added.

— Reuters

Biden’s message for Putin: U.S.will ‘defend every single inch of NATO territory’

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

With a steely demeanor, President Joe Biden responded to Vladimir Putin’s speech, which was laced with threats against NATO and the United States.

NATO allies “are not going to be intimidated by Putin and his reckless words and threats. He’s not going to scare us and he doesn’t intimidate us.”

“Putin’s actions are a sign he’s struggling. “are not going to be intimidated by Putin and his reckless words and threats. He’s not going to scare us and he doesn’t intimidate us.”

“America is fully prepared with our NATO allies to defend every single inch of NATO territory,” Biden said at the White House. “Every single inch. So, Mr. Putin, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Every inch.”

— Christina Wilkie

Russian use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine is ‘unthinkable,’ Canada’s foreign minister says, but allies must be ready

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, September 26, 2022.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said that her country, along with the U.S. and G-7 members have discussed the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin escalating the war in Ukraine through the use of nuclear weapons.

“Obviously this is unthinkable, but we have to be ready,” Joly told reporters at the State Department, where she met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In recent weeks, the Kremlin has claimed Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons in order to defend itself from Ukraine. Western allies have slammed the rhetoric regarding nuclear warfare, and have warned Moscow of swift and devastating consequences if they were to use a nuclear weapon.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy vows to retake parts of Ukraine occupied by Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv, Ukraine on August 18, 2022.

Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeated his pledge to retake all Ukrainian territory held by Russia, regardless of Russia’s decree annexing four partlially occupied regions of Ukraine.

“The entire territory of our country will be liberated from this enemy, the enemy not only of Ukraine but also of life itself, humanity, law and truth,” Zelenskyy said in a video address. “Russia already knows this. It feels our power,” he added.

The Ukrainian leader also said that he is ready for negotiations to end the war but added: “with another president of Russia.”

— Amanda Macias

National security advisor Sullivan speaks to NATO chief as Russia annexes parts of Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stands during a press conference with Ukrainian President in Kiev on July 10, 2017.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

National security advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as Russia attempts to illegally annex Ukrainian territory via sham referenda.

The two reaffirmed their “commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to a White House readout of the call. They also discussed the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea and ways to better protect critical infrastructure.

— Amanda Macias

Putin accuses U.S. and Western allies of attacking Nord Stream pipelines

Pipes at the landfall facilities of the ‘Nord Stream 1’ gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany, March 8, 2022.

Hannibal Hanschke | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States and its allies of blowing up the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines.

“The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage,” Putin claimed in a speech that was filled with false accusations against both Europe and the U.S.

“It is hard to believe, but it is a fact, that they organized the blasts on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines,” the Russian leader alleged, without offering any evidence.

The one thing Putin and the West agree on, however, is that the Sept. 26 explosions and the holes discovered in the two massive energy pipelines were not the result of an accident.

The European Union said it suspected sabotage was behind the damaged pipelines, which are currently leaking large plumes of natural gas into Swedish and Danish waters.

The White House has dismissed Russian allegations that America was behind the attacks.

Russia’s top spy said that Moscow had intelligence indicating that the West was behind what he said was a “terrorist act” against the pipelines.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Christina Wilkie

Biden slams Russian annexation, declares ‘these actions have no legitimacy’

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at an event on health care costs, Medicare and Social Security, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, September 27, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden slammed Moscow’s illegal annexation of four partially occupied regions of Ukraine, and responded to them with a punishing new round of economic and trade sanctions.

“Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy,” Biden said in a statement, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson were now a part of Russia.

“I urge all members of the international community to reject Russia’s illegal attempts at annexation and to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said Biden, vowing that America and its allies would hold the Kremlin accountable.

Biden also said the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine with humanitarian aid, in addition to the billions of dollars in security assistance it has already committed to the fight.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy says Ukraine will seek ‘accelerated accession’ to NATO membership

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends the NATO summit via video link, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 29, 2022. 

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country is submitting an ‘accelerated’ application to join the NATO military alliance. The announcement comes just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin held a ceremony to formalize Russia’s annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

“We have already made our way to NATO … we have already proven compatibility with alliance standards. They are real for Ukraine real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction,” Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app.

“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO,” he added.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. set to announce new sanctions on Russia in response to Ukraine annexation

U.S. President Joe Biden pictured in London on September 18, 2022. Biden said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that U.S forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, his most explicit statement so far on the issue.

Brendan Smialowski | Afp | Getty Images

The Biden administration is expected to impose new sanctions against Russia in response to the Kremlin’s illegal annexation on Friday of four regions of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech in which he railed against America and Europe, before signing a decree formally annexing Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

Putin’s address comes on the heels of referendums in the territories that were widely viewed as rigged and illegitimate.

“There are four new regions of Russia,” Putin said from the Kremlin in Moscow, according to a translation.

— Amanda Macias

Nord Stream gas leaks sees methane spewing into the atmosphere

Climate scientists described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Climate scientists described the shocking images of gas spewing to the surface of the Baltic Sea this week as a “reckless release” of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, “amounts to an environmental crime.”

Researchers acknowledge that it is difficult to accurately quantify the size of the emissions and say the leaks are a “wee bubble in the ocean” compared to the massive amounts of methane emitted around the world every day.

Nonetheless, environmental campaigners argue that the incident shows the risk of sabotage or an accident makes fossil infrastructure a “ticking time bomb.”

Here’s the story.

— Sam Meredith

Putin says Russia is not aiming for the return of the Soviet Union

Russia is not seeking the return of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin said during his speech to Russian lawmakers announcing the annexation of four of Ukraine’s territories.

“People born after the tragedy of the end of the Soviet Union, they wanted unity in 1991,” Putin said. “There was a decision by representatives of the leading party to dissolve the USSR. And this has destroyed the connections between different parts of our country.”

Putin has long held that the dissolution of the USSR was a mistake and the most catastrophic event in history.

“The Soviet Union is no longer there, and cannot return to the past,” he said.

“For Russia we don’t need this anymore, we are not aiming for that. But there is nothing stronger than the will of mission of people who decided they want to be part of Russia. For generations they lived in a single country and there is nothing stronger than the will of these people to return to their historic roots.”

— Natasha Turak

Putin declares four new regions of the Russian Federation

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on agriculture issues via video link in Sochi, Russia September 27, 2022. Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Gavriil Grigorov | Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four regions of Ukraine under its occupation during a speech in front of lawmakers in Moscow.

“People have made a definitive choice, today we are signing a decree on Luhansk People’s Republic, Donetsk People’s Republic, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson,” Putin said. “I am sure the Federal Assembly will support the laws of creating four new subjects of the Russian Federation because this is the will of millions of people.” 

“It is the self determination of people, the right that is based on the historical unity which was defended by generations of our people, people who for generations protected Russia,” he said.

The speech follows a widely-criticized sham referendum held by Russia in the occupied territories, which make up roughly 18% of Ukraine’s land, that resulted in what Moscow said were overwhelming votes to join the Russian Federation.

— Natasha Turak

Kremlin says attacks on any part of Ukraine that Russia is set to annex is an attack on Russia itself

Attacks on any part of Ukraine that Russia is about to annex will be considered an attack on Russia itself, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is slated to officially declare the annexations of four Ukrainian regions during a ceremony today, for which celebrations at Red Square are planned.

The classification raises the stakes for the conflict as Putin has threatened the use of nuclear weapons in the event of any attacks on Russian territory. And just as the annexations are to be announced, Ukrainian forces have surrounded thousands of Russian troops in the strategic town of Lyman in northern Donetsk, one of the territories set for annexation.

The situation raises the question of exactly what parts of these territories Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Russia can actually annex and control. Altogether, they constitute roughly 18% of Ukraine’s land.

Peskov said that all of Donetsk would be under Ukrainian control, but did not specify whether all of Kherson of Zaporizhzhia would be.

“We will clarify everything today,” he said.

— Natasha Turak

Russian forces face potential imminent defeat in Ukraine’s Lyman

Ukrainian soldiers rest at their position near Lyman, eastern Ukraine, on April 28, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian forces have almost fully surrounded Russian troops occupying Lyman, a town in the north of Ukraine’s Donetsk province, raising the possibility of another Russian loss just as President Vladimir Putin is set to announce the province’s annexation.

“Ukrainian troops have likely nearly completed the encirclement of the Russian grouping in Lyman and cut critical ground lines of communication (GLOCS) that support Russian troops in the Drobysheve-Lyman area,” a tweet from the Institute for the Study of War read. Roughly 5,500 Russian troops are reported to be in the town, which has been occupied since May.

The town is home to a strategic railway junction. Ukrainian forces have made rapid advances in the area in recent days and are now positioned to fire on the only route out of Lyman.

This is part of the enormous swathe of eastern and southern Ukrainian territory, encompassing four regions, that Putin is set to annex after holding a sham referendum entirely controlled by Russia that concluded in majority votes to join the Russian Federation.

Putin has warned that any threats to the territory of Russia would justify its use of nuclear weapons.

— Natasha Turak

Russian strikes hit civilian convoy multiple times outside Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine says

Ukrainian servicemen walk by a crater left by a missile strike near Zaporizhzhia on September 30, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian strikes hit a civilian convoy multiple times outside the city of Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian officials said.

The strikes, which hit a convoy of people who were heading to Russian-occupied territory to pick up their relatives, killed at least 23 people and wounded at least 28, Zaporizhzhia Regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh said in a post on Telegram.

“There are dead and wounded. Rescuers, medics, and all relevant services are currently working at the site,” Starukh wrote.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Ukrainian policemen check cars damaged by a missile strike on a road near Zaporizhzhia on September 30, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine’s Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram, “Near Zaporizhzhia, the Russians fired rockets at a convoy heading to the occupied territory. It should be noted that the departure of 34 vehicles with residents of Luhansk region was planned. More detailed information about the victims is being clarified.”

Members of the red cross checks bodies of people killed by a missile strike near Zaporizhzhia on September 30, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

CNBC has not been able to independently verify the details. Images posted by Starukh and others on social media show disturbing scenes of burnt cars and bodies on the road.

A Russian-appointed leader of occupied Zaporizhzhia, Volodymyr Rogov, was quoted by Russian state news agency RIA as blaming Ukrainian forces for the attack, saying “Ukrainian militants hit a convoy with dozens of civilian cars queuing.”

A couple hug each other near cars damaged by a missile strike on a road near Zaporizhzhia on September 30, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

Putin to officially announce Ukraine annexations during ceremony

A view shows banners and constructions ahead of an expected event, dedicated to the results of referendums on the joining of four Ukrainian self-proclaimed regions to Russia, near the Kremlin Wall and the State Historical Museum in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia September 28, 2022. Banners read: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson. Together forever!” 

Evgenia Novozhenina | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold a ceremony today officially declaring the annexation of four regions of Ukraine, where sham referendums were held by Russian-appointed authorities over the last week.

The referendum’s results, which have been rejected by much of the international community, showed large majorities of each territory — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — voting to join the Russian Federation. The regions, making up the country’s eastern and southern flanks, form roughly 18% of Ukraine’s territory.

A municipal worker casts her ballot during a referendum on the secession of Zaporizhzhia region from Ukraine and its joining Russia, in the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine September 26, 2022. 

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Numerous reports have surfaced of votes being forced at gunpoint, and of votes being staged.

Government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Putin will sign accession documents at the Kremlin and then deliver a speech. A music concert is also set to take place at Moscow’s Red Square.

Analysts and world leaders worry that Putin’s annexation will make him feel justified in using nuclear weapons to defend the territories from anyone attempting to take them back, as he hinted as much in his speech last week if the “territory of Russia” came under threat.

— Natasha Turak

‘The U.S. does not, and will never, recognize’ Russia’s sham referenda, Blinken says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks after viewing the “Burma’s Path To Genocide” exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, March 21, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed Russia’s “attempt at a land grab in Ukraine” and said that the U.S. will never recognize the results of the Kremlin’s “sham referenda.”

“The results were orchestrated in Moscow and do not reflect the will of the people of Ukraine. The United States does not, and will never, recognize the legitimacy or outcome of these sham referenda or Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory,” Blinken wrote in a statement.

“This spectacle conducted by Russia’s proxies is illegitimate and violates international law,” he added.

Biden’s top diplomat said that the U.S. will continue to “support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

The Kremlin has previously said that the results of the referendums held in four regions of Ukraine are legitimate.

— Amanda Macias

‘It can still be stopped,’ Zelenskyy says of Russian attempts to annex parts of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv, Ukraine on August 18, 2022.

Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy slammed Russia’s attempt to annex additional swaths of his country.

“Russia will not get new territory in Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in Russian in a nightly address on the Telegram messaging app. “It can still be stopped,” he added.

“The price of one person in Russia wanting to continue this war will be that the entire Russian society will be left without a normal economy, without a decent life, and without respect for any human values,” Zelenskyy said, according to an NBC News translation.

“In order to stop this, you have to stop the one in Russia who wants war more than life. Your life, citizens of Russia,” Zelenskyy said without naming Russian President Vladimir Putin.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:





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