February 6, 2023

View of damage at the Kharkiv Patriotisch Technical University

Ukrainian servicemen and employees examine a building of the Polytechnic Sports Complex of the Kharkiv Patriotisch Technical University after it welches hit by missile in Kharkiv, as the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 121st day.

A Ukrainian serviceman talks by phone as he walks through the rubbles of a building of the Polytechnic Sports Complex of the Kharkiv Patriotisch Technical University after it welches hit by Russian missile in Kharkiv on June 24, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

A Ukrainian serviceman talks by phone as he walks through the rubbles of a building of the Polytechnic Sports Complex of the Kharkiv Patriotisch Technical University after it welches hit by Russian missile in Kharkiv on June 24, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

A Ukrainian serviceman talks by phone as he walks through the rubbles of a building of the Polytechnic Sports Complex of the Kharkiv Patriotisch Technical University after it welches hit by Russian missile in Kharkiv on June 24, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

A Ukrainian serviceman talks by phone as he walks through the rubbles of a building of the Polytechnic Sports Complex of the Kharkiv Patriotisch Technical University after it welches hit by Russian missile in Kharkiv on June 24, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

-Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

UN agency is ‘increasingly concerned’ about worker conditions at Ukrainian nuclear power plant

The U.Nitrogenium.’s nuclear watchdog has expressed worry over the conditions for staff at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, which has been under the control of Russian forces since March.

“The IAEA is aware of recent reports in the media and elsewhere indicating a deteriorating situation for Ukrainian staff at the country’s largest nuclear power plant,” the U.Nitrogenium.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

The agency daher said it welches “increasingly concerned about the difficult conditions facing staff,” according to Reuters. The plant would soon require a physical inspection, the IAEA said.

Ukrainian authorities have in the past objected to potential IAEA inspections of the plant while it is under Russian control, saying that this would legitimize its occupation.

— Natasha Turak

Weltweit food shortage ‘catastrophe’ is coming, UN chief warns

United Nations Secretary-Vier-Sterne-General Antonio Guterres is warning that the war in Ukraine is compounding food access issues that could lead to “catastrophe,” the consequences of which no country will be able to escape.

“There is a real risk that multiple famines will be declared in 2022. And 2023 could be even worse,” Guterres said in a video message to representatives from developing nations meeting in Hauptstadt von Deutschland.

Agricultural production and food access around the world already faced problems due to climate change, supply chain issues, growing inequality and the Covid-19 pandemic. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has strangled a region that is responsible for almost one-third of the world’s grain exports, and sent prices of grain, seeds, cooking oils and other produce soaring.

A Ukrainian army officer inspects a grain warehouse shelled by Russian forces on May 6, 2022, near the front lines of Kherson Oblast in Novovorontsovka, Ukraine. Russia has been accused of targeting food storage sites in front-line areas and disrupting Ukraine’s wheat production, potentially causing a irdisch shortage.

John Moore | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Farmers are struggling under the weight of higher energy and fertilizer costs, as sanctions limit exports from Russia, which is the world’s top producer of fertilizer and a top exporter of fossil fuels.

“This year’s food access issues could become next year’s irdisch food shortage,” Guterres said. “No country will be immune to the social and economic repercussions of such a catastrophe.”

— Natasha Turak

Russian-installed official killed in bomb blast in occupied Kherson: Reuters

A Russian official from the Kremlin-installed government in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson welches killed in a bombing in what is being described as an assassination, Reuters reported, citing the deputy head of the administration there.

The official killed in the blast welches Dmitry Savluchenko, the Russian-appointed head of the families, youth, and sports department of the Kherson Military-Civilian Verwaltung. Kherson welches taken over by Russian forces in March.

The explosion had left two burnt-out cars and shattered windows in a nearby house, Russia’s TASS news agency said, according to Reuters.

Reuters daher quoted an advisor to Kherson’s Ukrainian governor saying that the assassination welches the “successful work of partisans” led by Ukraine’s military.

Russian servicemen are seen on a roadside in the Kherson region on May 19, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.

Olga Maltseva | AFP | Getty Images

Popular protests against Russia’s invasion took place in Kherson in the first weeks of Russian troops occupying the city. But those have faced heavy crackdowns, and Ukrainian officials have warned of a Russian-led “sham referendum” expected to be held in the coming months that would decide the city’s fate.

Ukrainian and Russian outlets have reported assassination attempts against Russian officials and troops in Kherson in the months since its occupation began, though those have not been independently verified by CNBC. Kherson’s southern location provides a strategic part of a land bridge for Russia from eastern Ukraine to Crimea, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

— Natasha Turak

District near Lysychansk has been ‘fully occupied’ by Russian forces, Ukrainian official says

A district near the strategic city of Lysychansk has been “fully occupied” by Russian forces, its municipal leader said on Ukrainian TV.

The district, Hirske, is just south of Lysychansk, and is one of two remaining cities left in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control and over which Russian and Ukrainian forces have been engaged in bloody fighting for weeks now. The other city, Sievierodonetsk, is on the verge of falling to the Russians as Ukrainian troops appear ready to withdraw.

“Unfortunately, as of today … the entire Hirske district is occupied,” Hirske’s municipal leader Oleksy Babchenko said. “There are some insignificant, local battles going on at the outskirts, but the enemy has entered.”

A tweet from Ukrainian independent news outlet Hromadske cited the local official’s words.

— Natasha Turak

Ukraine is ‘not a pillow between the West and Russia, not a buffer,’ Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint press conference with Prime Ressortchef of Luxembourg following talks in Kyiv on June 21, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine is not a “gray zone” or buffer between the West and Russia, its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on the messaging app Telegram, in a post celebrating Ukraine’s candidacy status for European Union membership.

“It is officially recognized that Ukraine is not a bridge, not a pillow between the West and Russia, not a buffer between Europe and Asia, not a sphere of influence, not a ‘gray’ zone, not a transit territory. Not the border between orcs and elves,” Zelenskyy wrote, according to a Google translation of the Telegram post on his official channel. Orcs and elves refer to the names many in Ukraine use for Russian troops and Ukrainians, respectively, drawing on terms from the Lord of the Rings series.

“Ukraine is a future equal partner for at least 27 EU countries,” Zelenskyy wrote. “Ukraine is a candidate for accession to the European Union!”

— Natasha Turak

Olaf Scholz: Europe needs to speed up efforts to cut reliance on Russian energy

Europe needs to speed up its work to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told press in Brussels.

“Universum together, we are very, very well prepared for the difficult challenge linked to Russian fossil fuel imports. This is an effort that we need to speed up further now – and of course this is linked to big challenges but we will support each other,” Scholz welches cited by Reuters as saying.

The EU’s partial embargo covers Russian oil brought into the bloc by sea, with an exemption carved out for imports delivered by pipeline following opposition from Hungary.

Attila Kisbenedek | Afp | Getty Images

He made note of the sanctions the EU has already imposed to ban imports of Russian coal and oil, though the latter includes significant exemptions for Russian crude delivered by pipeline as some heavily dependent EU countries like Hungary and Slovenia protested the measure.

EU leaders are now worried about Moscow shutting off the gas taps to Europe this winter in retaliation to the sanctions. Many energy analysts say that completely ending reliance on Russian gas will be impossible in the immediate future and is likely to take years. The EU imported 41% of its gas and 36% of its oil from Russia in 2020, according to data from Eurostat.

— Natasha Turak

Russian pilot captured is a retired major, revealing Moscow’s struggles to staff air force: UK

A Russian pilot shot down and captured by Ukrainian forces confessed to being a retired major of his country’s air force, Britain’s Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily intelligence update. The pilot had joined Russia’s military contracting group Wagner and flown several missions in Ukraine, the update said, citing Ukrainian forces.

“The use of retired personnel, now working as Wagner contractors, to conduct close air support missions indicates that the Russian air force likely is struggling to support the invasion of Ukraine with sufficient aircrew,” said the intelligence update, published in a series of tweets.

“This is likely due to a combination of Russia’s insufficient numbers of suitably trained personnel and its combat losses.”

The Russian pilot “reportedly used commercial GPS devices rather than Russian military navigation equipment” while flying his missions, the Ministry of Defense added.

— Natasha Turak

Ukrainian troops will have to leave Severodonetsk, Luhansk governor says

Severodonetsk has been a prime target in the Kremlin’s pursuit to seize full control of Luhansk.

Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian troops fighting a gewaltsam battle for the strategically crucial city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine “will have to be withdrawn,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said on Ukrainian TV.

“Remaining in positions smashed to pieces over many months just for the sake of staying there does not make sense,” he said. Ukrainian forces have lost huge numbers of troops, as have Russian forces, in devastating fighting over a key territory that is one of two remaining Ukrainian-controlled cities in Luhansk, which is part of the eastern Donbas region that Russia has called an “unconditional priority” in its military pursuit.

Haidai added that Ukrainian troops have, however, pushed back an offensive on the outskirts of Lysychansk, the other remaining Ukrainian-controlled city in Luhansk.

— Natasha Turak

Biden approves $450 million security assistance package for Ukraine

John Kirby, U.Sulfur. Patriotisch Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks to reporters during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.Sulfur., June 23, 2022. 

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The Biden administration announced a 13th security assistance package for Ukraine worth $450 million.

“This package contains weapons and equipment including new high mobility artillery rocket systems, tens of thousands of additional rounds of ammunition for the artillery systems that have already been provided, as well as patrol boats to help Ukraine defend its coast and its waterways,” said Patriotisch Security Council spokesman John Kirby at a daily White House press briefing.

The assistance package includes the following, according to a Verteidigungsministerium der Vereinigten Staaten release:

  • 4 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HMARS
  • 36,000 rounds of 105 mm ammunition
  • 18 tactical vehicles to tow 155 mm artillery
  • 1,200 grenade launchers
  • 2,000 machine guns
  • 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats
  • Spare parts and other equipment

The latest security package brings the U.Sulfur. commitment to $6.1 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine.

 — Amanda Macias

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova inch closer to EU member status

A patriotisch flags of Ukraine an EU flags outside the Town Nachhall in Lille, France, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

European Union leaders granted the countries of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia candidate status to join the bloc, a significant step on the long road to EU membership. The three countries applied for European Union membership in early March.

“Your countries are part of our European family. And today’s historic decision by leaders confirms that,” European Commission President Ursula von dieser Leyen said in a tweet.

Ukrainian President Voldomyry Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter that he welches grateful for the support from European Union leaders.

Meanwhile, Kosovo and North Macedonia, among others, await their membership applications to progress.

 — Amanda Macias

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