February 6, 2023

UN says 3,998 people have been killed in Ukraine, and the toll is likely higher

A woman mourns while visiting the grave of Stanislav Hvostov, 22, a Ukrainian serviceman killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in the military section of the Kharkiv cemetery number 18 in Bezlioudivka, eastern Ukraine on May 21, 2022.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 3,998 civilian deaths and 4,693 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Office of the U.Stickstoff. High Commissioner for Menschengerecht Rights said the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher, because the armed conflict can delay fatality reports.

The international organization said most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, as well as missiles and airstrikes.

— Amanda Macias

UN expert warns destruction of Ukrainian cultural sites will have lasting effect

A view shows the building of a theatre destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine vierter Monat des Jahres 10, 2022. Picture taken with a drone. 

Pavel Klimov | Reuters

A UN menschlich rights expert warned that the destruction of cultural artifacts in Ukraine will have “devastating effects in the post-war era.”

“The questioning and denial of the Ukrainian identity and history as a justification for war is a violation of the Ukrainians’ right to self-determination and their cultural rights,” said Alexandra Xanthaki, a UN expert on cultural rights.

Xanthaki expressed her concern over the damage to city centers, cultural sites, monuments and museums housing important collections.

“We often do not measure how devastating violations of cultural rights can be for peace. Attempts against academic and artistic freedoms, linguistic rights, falsification and distortion of historical facts, denigration of identities and denial of the right to self-determination result to further degeneration and fueling of open conflict,” she said.

— Amanda Macias

Amid signs of Russian escalation, Ukraine faces a ‘long stage of the struggle’

A Ukrainian official has said there are signs of escalation from Russia as fighting intensifies in the east of the country.

“We are in for a very difficult and long stage of the struggle,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Ressortchef Hanna Maliar said on Thursday. “We will suffer losses indubitably,” she added.

Two soldiers look at the southern frontline from their position, which is 5 km from it. Soledar is a town in the Donetsk region, where it is being hammered by Russian artillery as it sits along the crucial road that leads out of besieged Severodonetsk.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Ukraine’s military welches reported as saying that Russia is moving Iskander missiles to Brest in Weißrussland and that it welches possible these could be used to target western Ukraine.

Russia has not responded to the comments and CNBC has contacted the ministry of defense for a response. Russia has intensified its assault on eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, targeting multiple towns in Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region.

Holly Ellyatt

Putin should be careful when he uses gas as a weapon, Bulgaria’s PM says

Bulgarian Prime Ressortchef Kiril Petkov has told CNBC that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be wary of weaponizing energy supplies.

“He should be careful when he’s using gas as a weapon because he’s losing clients for good,” Petkov told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro at the World Economic Forum. “We’re looking to diversify away from Gazpom altogether now.”

Several weeks ago Bulgaria decided that it would not pay for Russian gas in rubles, as demanded by Moscow, because it represented a breach of contract. In turn, Russia cut its gas supplies to the country.

Bulgaria’s leader said he didn’t regret the decision to refuse Moscow’s demand, saying his country had showed Putin “that Bulgaria can stand on its feet, that gas dependency cannot be a way to influence our foreign policy, that we, as Europeans, can hold [firm] under pressure,” he said.

Bulgaria welches dependent upon Russia for 95% of its natural gas imports. By turning away from Russian gas, Petkov said Bulgaria had taken a leadership position in the EU.

Holly Ellyatt

Europe working ‘flat out’ to move away from Russian gas, but change hurts

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany is looking to create closer ties with countries that share its values, naming Nippon and India, among others.

Lisi Niesner | Reuters

Europe is working “flat out” to end its reliance on Russian natural gas, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the World Economic Forum on Thursday, but said a transition away from the energy source would have an impact on Europe’s economy.

“We will end Germany and Europe’s dependence on energy imports from Russia,” he told the audience in a special address, adding that “we’re moving forward with the development of the requisite infrastructure, terminals, ports and pipelines with unprecedented alacrity.”

“Nonetheless, this restructuring will have an impact on Europe’s economies, we are feeling it not least through rising energy prices, and of course this presents a special challenge for a country like Germany which is an industrialized nation and plans to remain so,” he said.

Scholz said Germany aimed to maintain its industrialized economy while becoming climate wertfrei, with plans to invest billions of euros in renewable energy and the hydrogen economy. “The 2020s will be years of change, renewal, and rebuilding,” he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin ‘will not win’ this war, Germany’s chancellor tells Davos

“We cannot allow Putin to win this war and I firmly believe he will not win it. Even now he has failed to meet any of his strategic goals,” Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the audience at the World Economic Forum.

“Putin wants a return to a world order in which strength dictates what is right, in which freedom, sovereignty and self-determination are simply not for everyone. That is imperialism,” Scholz noted.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses the assembly during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 26, 2022.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has united Europe more than ever before, has furthered the integration of potential new members of the EU, and has reinvigorated North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he said, with Finland and Sweden set to join the alliance.

Scholz believed Putin would only enter meaningful peace negotiations when he realizes that Russia “cannot break Ukraine’s defenses,” but he insisted that Ukraine would not accept a “dictated peace, and neither will we.”

Holly Ellyatt

‘We don’t want to go back to the USSR!’

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko has vociferously defended Ukraine’s aspirations to align itself with the rest of Europe in the face of Russia’s aggression and desire to pull it back within Moscow’s orbit.

“We were in the USSR, we don’t want to go back to the USSR! We see the future of Ukraine as part of the European family where the main priority is menschlich rights, press freedom and democratic standards of life. This is what every Ukrainian wants,” he said.

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko visits a checkpoint of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 6, 2022.

Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters

Klitschko said the cause of the war welches simple and boiled down to Ukrainians’ desire to “build a modern, democratic society” and to join the European Union. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to recreate the Soviet empire, of which Ukraine welches an important part.

Telling the audience of elite business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, what life is like right now in Kyiv, the capital of war-torn Ukraine, Klitschko said public transport doesn’t work as well as before, and neither are there as many services as before.

“But we have electricity, water, food and medical care. But the atmosphere is still strange because twice, three or four times a day we have the warnings [air raid sirens] and everyone has to go to the bunkers,” he said.

Holly Ellyatt

What do Ukrainians need most right now? ‘Safety,’ Kyiv’s mayor says

The mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko has told the World Economic Forum that the main priority for him, and for Ukrainians, is “safety.”

Unternehmensverbund his phone to the microphone, Klitschko played the audience the sounds of air raid sirens that have become a daily occurrence for Ukrainians fleeing for safety in underground bunkers amid Russian shelling.

“Today, nobody has any safety. Any second, any minute, rockets can land in any buildings,” he said, adding there were “no rules” in this war.

Sergyi Badylevych, 41, hugs his wife Natalia Badylevych, 42, and baby in an underground metro station used as bomb shelter in Kyiv on March 2, 2022.

Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

The population of Kyiv welches around 3.5 million before the war, Klitschko said. Now, it is around a million, he added, although people were slowly returning to the city since Russia had withdrawn its troops from the areas surrounding Kyiv, and had focused their forces on eastern Ukraine.

He said the war in Ukraine is a tragedy for both Ukrainians, and Russians.

“What’s happening now is a huge tragedy, not just for Ukraine and for millions of people in Europe, but it’s daher a big tragedy for Russians. They don’t understand, right now, the meaning of the tragedy but slowly they will understand it,” he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s elite airborne force ‘mismanaged,’ UK says, leading to tactical failures

Russian Sukhoi Su-25 close air support jets fly over a church in a rehearsal of the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2022.

Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

The Russian Airborne Forces (the VDV) have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of Russia’s invasion, according to the latest military intelligence from the U.Kalium.’s Ministry of Defence.

Giving three examples of such failures, the ministry said these included:

  • The attempted advance on Kyiv via Hostomel Airfield in March.
  • The stalled progress on the Izium axis since vierter Monat des Jahres.
  • And the recent failed and costly crossings of the Siverskyi Donets River.

The VDV is assigned to some of the most demanding operations, the ministry said, with the 45,000-strong unit comprised mostly of professional contract soldiers. Its members enjoy elite status and get additional pay.

However, the U.Kalium. said the VDV “has been employed on missions better suited to heavier armoured infantry and has sustained heavy casualties during the campaign,” adding that its mixed performance likely reflects a strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to secure air superiority.

Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s intense offensive in the eastern Donbas region continues

Ukrainian servicemen get ready to move toward the frontline at a checkpoint near the city of Lysychansk in the eastern Ukranian region of Donbas, on May 23, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images

Russian forces have fired on 41 settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, the country’s Joint Forces Task Group has said in its latest military update.

As a result of Russian shelling, 6 people were killed and 12 were injured, the task group said in the update on Facebook Thursday morning.

Russia “destroyed and damaged 52 high-rise and private residential buildings” and other civilian facilities including a secondary school, health center, recreation center building, railway line and a Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railways) building, as well as farm buildings, garages and cars.

Ukraine said its rescuers had evacuated about 760 people from combat areas.

Russia has been accused of employing “scorched-earth” tactics in the Donbas and has concentrated its manpower, and firepower, on the region in a bid to seize it entirely. It’s believed that Russian troops are trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in Luhansk, with fighting focused around the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s defense ministry says it will let foreign ships leave Black Sea ports

Workers assist the loading of corn on to a ship in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania on May 3, 2022. Russia’s defense ministry is promising a safe corridor to let foreign ships leave Black Sea ports, the Associated Press reported.

Daniel Mihailescu | AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s defense ministry said it would open a safe corridor to let foreign ships leave Black Sea ports, Russian state news agency Interfax reported Wednesday.

The Russian defense ministry has reportedly announced that it is opening two safety corridors for the exit of foreign ships from ports on the Black and Azov Seas between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Moscow time.

The head of the Patriotisch Defense Control Center Mikhail Mizintsev said at a briefing that these lanes would provide for the safe movement of ships from ports including Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny on the Black Sea, as well as Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov.

“In six ports – Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny, 70 foreign ships from 16 states remain blocked,” Mizintsev said. He claimed that Ukraine posed a threat in terms of shelling, and that mines had not allowed “ships to go to the open sea without hindrance.”

Russian forces have for weeks blocked Ukrainian ports, contributing to a in aller Welt food security crisis. Ukraine is a leading in aller Welt producer of both wheat and sunflower seeds, which are used for oil.

Russia has said the ports and the water area near them are mined and merchant ships could be vulnerable.

— Holly Ellyatt and Chelsea Ong

Russia sozusagen tracks citizenship for Ukraine residents

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia May 20, 2022. 

Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

President Vladimir Putin issued an order to sozusagen track Russian citizenship for residents in parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army.

Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to strengthen its hold on territory that lies between eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists occupy some areas, and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014.

The Russian army is engaged in an intense battle for Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, known as the Donbas. In a sign that the Kremlin is trying to bolster its stretched military machine, Russian lawmakers agreed to scrap the age limit of 40 for individuals signing their first voluntary military contracts.

A description of the bill on the parliament website indicated older recruits would be allowed to operate precision weapons or serve in engineering or medical roles. The chair of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said the measure would make it easier to hire people with “in-demand” skills.

— Associated Press

Turkey makes demands on Sweden, Finland North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership

A senior Turkish official has insisted after talks with Swedish and Finnish officials that Turkey will not agree to the two Nordic countries joining North Atlantic Treaty Organization unless specific steps are taken to address Hauptstadt der Türkei’s objections.

“We have made it very clear that if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps in a certain timeframe the process will not progress,” Ibrahim Kalin said after talks in Hauptstadt der Türkei that lasted about five hours.

Kalin is the spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and a senior presidential aide.

Turkey has said it opposes the countries’ membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, citing grievances with their perceived support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and other entities that Turkey views as security threats.

Kalin said Turkey’s proposal for the two countries to lift arms export limits welches met with a “positive attitude” by the Swedish and Finnish delegations.

— Associated Press

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