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U.S., Europe restrict Russian trade as Putin’s forces advance on Kyiv – CNBC

Ukrainians evacuate from Russian-occupied area

Locals from the village Chervone, occupied by Russian troops, evacuate to an area controlled by Ukrainian forces near Vyshgorod on Thursday.

Locals from village Chervone, occupied by Russian troops, evacuate to an area controlled by Ukrainian forces, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, near Vyshgorod, Ukraine March 10, 2022.

Maksim Levin | Reuters

New sanctions target Russian elites, bankers and those aiding North Korea

VTB Bank signs at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, in St Petersburg, Russia.

Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Treasury Department on Friday announced the addition of more than 20 Russians to its list of sanctioned nationals, the latest step in an ongoing campaign to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by targeting Russian elites and military contractors.

The newly sanctioned individuals and entities include:

  • The wife and two children of Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov.
  • Two Russian nationals who helped North Korea obtain material for ballistic missiles and WMDs.
  • 12 members of Russia’s parliament who led the effort to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics. This vote was a key step in establishing Russia’s false pretext for invading Ukraine.
  • All 10 members of the management board of VTB Bank, the second-largest bank in Russia.
  • Two planes and a yacht owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

— Christina Wilkie

Blinken and Ukraine diplomat discussed Russian efforts to ‘deceive the world’

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba looks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, February 22, 2022.

Carolyn Kaster | Pool | Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke over the phone following Kuleba’s trilateral meeting with his Russian and Turkish counterparts, the State Department said.

Blinken updated Kuleba on efforts by the Biden administration, the European Union and the Group of Seven powers to “raise the costs on Russia” by revoking its “most favored nation” trade status, State spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Blinken reaffirmed the U.S.’ commitment to “continue surging security, economic, and humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine as they face increasingly brutal bombardment by Russian forces,” the statement said.

The two diplomats also “shared their concerns that Russia is escalating its disinformation campaigns to deceive the world, including at the United Nations,” Price said.

Kevin Breuninger

Stocks slide to end another losing week as Russia-Ukraine war drags on

The major U.S. stock averages fell Friday to end another week of losses as Russia’s war in Ukraine continued.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down more than 200 points, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 slid 1.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.2%.

For the week, the Dow fell 2% — notching its fifth straight week of losses. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted back-to-back weekly losses, dipping 2.9% and 3.5%, respectively.

Ten of the 11 S&P 500 sectors ended the week lower. Energy as the only advancer. Energy stocks have gotten a recent boost as oil prices rallied amid the conflict.

Fred Imbert

‘Golden passports’ face new restrictions in hunt for oligarchs

Chuyn | Istock | Getty Images

European leaders say so-called golden passport programs have become a backdoor for dirty money, creating an easy route for many Russian oligarchs to live and conduct business in Europe.

Russian billionaires have been among the world’s largest buyers of multiple citizenships, using alternate passports to help protect their assets and allow freer travel.

The EU Parliament voted this week to phase out citizenship-by-investment programs run by some EU countries. The three EU countries offering golden passports — Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta — are all phasing out or considering ending their programs. The 12 EU countries offering golden visas, or residency permits for investments, including Greece, Spain and Hungary, are also now considering new limits or phasing them out.

The U.K. is planning to abolish its golden visa program, which gives foreign nationals a path to residency if they invest at least $2.7 million.

— Robert Frank

Ukrainian refugee reunites with his family

Orest Hromnadzkiy, a Ukrainian refugee, greeted his sister Yuliia and mother Alla after he crossed into Medyka, Poland this week.

Ukrainian refugee Orest Hromnadzkiy gets a hug from his sister Yuliia and mother Alla after he crossed the border in Medyka, Poland, March 9, 2022.

Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

— Scott Mlyn

Russian ambassador to UN denies Kremlin started war in Ukraine

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia speaks as he attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Threats to International Peace and Security, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2022.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations told the international forum that Moscow did not start the current war in Ukraine.

“We did not start this war. We want to end it and it is true that the war was not begun by us. It started eight years ago by Kyiv,” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said referencing the ongoing conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Russia has been condemned by global leaders for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

“We are dismayed by the dirty campaign to blame us for intentionally shelling civilian infrastructure,” he said, adding that the West is dismissing legitimate claims as Russian propaganda.

– Amanda Macias

Biden cautions sending offensive weapons to Ukraine would trigger ‘World War III’

U.S. President Joe Biden reacts at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 11, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden emphatically rejected the idea of sending American troops or offensive weaponry into Ukraine, telling House Democrats on Friday that such a move would trigger a third World War.

“We will not fight the Third World War in Ukraine,” Biden said at a House Democratic retreat in Philadelphia.

“Putin’s war in Ukraine must never be a victory,” he said. “We are showing strength and we’ll never falter. But, look. The idea, the idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews? Don’t kid yourself.”

“That’s called World War III. Okay? Let’s get it straight here guys,” Biden said.

The United States has provided the Ukrainian military with munitions, defensive weaponry and intelligence support. But Biden has so far resisted appeals from Ukrainian leaders for NATO to institute and defend a no-fly zone in the air over Ukraine.

Biden is also under pressure from a faction of congressional Republicans to deliver fighter planes from Poland to Ukraine. But senior Defense Department officials caution that this would be “very risky.”

— Christina Wilkie

U.S. ambassador to the UN accuses China of spreading Russian disinformation

Russia Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia waits for a UN Security Council emergency meeting, in New York on March 11, 2022.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on China to halt the spread of Russian disinformation amid the Kremlin’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Russia is attempting to use the Security Council to legitimize disinformation and deceive people to justify resident Putin’s war of choice against the Ukrainian people. And China too has been spreading disinformation in support of Russia’s outrageous claims,” she said, referencing recent claims by the Kremlin that the U.S. is working with Ukraine on biological weapons programs.

China’s Ambassador to the U.N. Zhang Jun speaks with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in New York City, U.S. March 11, 2022.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The representative for China rejected Thomas-Greenfield’s comments and instead called on the international forum to investigate Russia’s claims that the U.S. is supporting biological weapons work in Ukraine.

“The concerns raised by Russia should be properly addressed,” said the Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun.

– Amanda Macias

YouTube expands Russian-state media ban globally

YouTube said it will block all channels associated with Russian-funded state media globally.

The Google-owned company had previously blocked Russian state media channels in Europe and Ukraine. YouTube said the latest action follows its guidelines, which “prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events.”

“We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy,” the company said in a statement on Twitter. “This change is effective immediately, and we expect our systems to take time to ramp up.”

The move comes more than two weeks into the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It also comes as other companies, including Twitter, crack down on content that denies events of the war.

U.S. envoy to the UN slams Russian claims that U.S. operates biological weapons program in Ukraine

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in New York City, U.S., March 4, 2022.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed Russian claims that the United States operates a secret biological weapons program in Ukraine.

“I will say this once,” Thomas-Greenfield said before the UN National Security forum. “Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program. There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories supported by the United States, not near Russia’s border or anywhere.”

She added that the Biden administration believes “Russia is attempting to use the Security Council to legitimize disinformation and deceive people to justify President Putin’s war of choice.”

“We have serious concerns that Russia may be planning to use chemical or biological agents against the Ukrainian people,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield’s comments echo those of White House press secretary Jen Psaki, State Department spokesman Ned Price and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

– Amanda Macias

Russian invasion has killed 564 civilians in Ukraine, United Nations estimates

Two men carry a body in a body bag to lay it next to others in a snow covered yard of a morgue in Mykolaiv, a city on the shores of the Black Sea that has been under Russian attack for days on March 11, 2022.

Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

United Nations Under Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo said 564 civilians have been killed and 982 more have been injured in Russia’s attack on Ukraine, citing new data from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The total casualties and injuries are likely higher due to delays in real-time reporting, DiCarlo said during a UN Security Council forum.

“Most of the recorded civilian casualties, which include children have been caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including heavy artillery, and multi-launch rocket systems and missile and airstrikes,” she said.

– Amanda Macias

Russian forces are about 10 miles outside of Kyiv’s city center, U.S. official says

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in front of the Independence Monument during Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 03, 2022.

Aytac Unal/ | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian forces are approximately 10 miles outside of Kyiv’s city center, according to the Pentagon’s latest assessment of the war in Ukraine.

Russian troops have moved some of their rear elements, including troops and military equipment, up but the frontline has not advanced on Kyiv, a senior U.S. Defense official told reporters.

The official added that the Pentagon still assesses that Russian forces plan to encircle Kyiv. When pressed, the official declined to provide a potential timeline of such an advance.

– Amanda Macias

Mercedes-Benz warns that its Russian assets, worth billions, could be seized

German luxury-car maker Mercedes-Benz AG warned that its assets in Russia, worth about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), could be at risk if Moscow follows through on its proposal to expropriate assets of foreign companies that leave the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

Mercedes listed the possibility of expropriation as one of several risks to the company raised by the Russian invasion in its annual report, released on Friday. Russia on Thursday proposed measures to take control of businesses left behind by departing companies. If adopted, Russian courts would be able to freeze the companies’ assets and force the businesses to choose between restoring their operations or selling the assets, likely at very steep losses.

Mercedes’ assets in Russia include a factory near Moscow that can produce about 20,000 vehicles a year, as well as raw materials, inventories of finished vehicles and related properties.

In addition to the assets at risk, Mercedes’ Russian subsidiaries owe banks about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion). Mercedes said on Friday that it has issued guarantees for those debts.

— John Rosevear

Large Russian convoy heading for Kyiv is stalled, Pentagon says

Maxar closeup satellite imagery of resupply trucks and probable multiple rocket launch deployment Berestyanka, northwest of Kyiv, on March 10, 2022.

Satellite image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

A large Russian military convoy, widely tracked by satellite imagery, appears to be stalled on its route to Kyiv.

“The convoy is not really going anywhere,” a senior U.S. Defense official said on a call with reporters when asked about the latest satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies.

“We still do not believe that the convoy has made any progress towards linking up with other elements or being able to resupply or contribute in any meaningful way,” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added.

“The only thing that we have seen is that in some places, some of their vehicles have moved off of roads that they were on into tree lines,” the official said, adding that it was unclear how many vehicles are in the convoy.

– Amanda Macias

Biden targets Russian vodka and seafood as economic penalties mount

An employee places a bottle of vodka on a counter during the agro-industrial exhibition “Agrorus” in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 4, 2014.

Alexander Demianchuk | Reuters

President Joe Biden signed an executive order blocking U.S. imports of key Russian products, including vodka, and banning exports of high-end goods to Russia.

The executive action bans imports from key sectors of Russia’s economy, such as seafood, alcohol and non-industrial diamonds, according to the text of the order. That move will block more than $1 billion in Russian revenues, the White House said in a fact sheet.

The order will also stop the U.S. from exporting what the administration called “luxury items” to anyone in Russia. Those items include high-end watches and clothes, jewelry, top-shelf liquor and luxury vehicles — all of which feature prominently in the lifestyles of mega-rich Russian oligarchs.

The new export restrictions are valued at nearly $550 million per year, the White House said.

Kevin Breuninger

After 16 days of war, Russia still has 90% of combat power, Pentagon says

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Victory Day military parade marking the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

After 16 days of war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has approximately 90% of its devoted combat power still available for the fight, according to the Pentagon’s latest assessment of the fighting.

Of Russia’s deployed combat power, including armored vehicles and munitions, almost all of it has survived the armed conflict, a senior Defense official said.

“Obviously the Russians have the advantage in sheer numbers across all different combined arms capabilities,” the official said, referencing the Kremlin’s total arsenal.

The official declined to comment on Ukraine’s combat power.

– Amanda Macias

Russian forces have launched 810 missiles into Ukraine since start of invasion

Firefighters are seen at the site after airstrikes hit civil settlements as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 11, 2022.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Pentagon has observed Russian forces launch more than 810 missiles since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

A senior Defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share new details from the U.S. assessment of the war, said the majority of the missiles are being fired from mobile platforms inside of Ukraine.

The official said that the missiles are a variety of short-range, medium-range, ballistic as well as cruise missiles.

– Amanda Macias

‘We stand more united than ever,’ NATO chief says

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to media ahead of NATO Leaders Summit in Brussels, Belgium on June 14, 2021.

Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that the NATO alliance has strengthened amid Russia’s invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine.

“Whatever Moscow seeks to achieve through violence and aggression. It will fail. It is failing already,” Stoltenberg said before the Polish National Assembly marking Poland’s anniversary of joining NATO.

“President Putin wants less NATO on Russia’s borders, but he is getting more NATO. He wants to divide Europe and North America. But we stand more united than ever.”

– Amanda Macias

Biden, Zelenskyy speak as U.S. ratchets up economic pressure on Russia

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday shortly before he announced broad new measures designed to hamper Russia’s economy.

In a tweeted statement, Ukraine’s leader said he gave Biden “the assessment of the situation on the battlefield” and informed him about “the crimes of Russia against the civilian population.”

“We agreed on further steps to support the defense of Ukraine and increase sanctions against Russia,” he added.

In a separate readout of the call, the White House said Biden “highlighted how the United States is continuing to surge security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine” and briefed Zelenskyy on the steps he took Friday to undermine the Russian economy.

— Jacob Pramuk

Biden says the U.S. aims to ‘squeeze Putin’ with new trade penalties

US President Joe Biden speaks about trade with Russia, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 11, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden called for the U.S. to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” status, which would downgrade Russia as a trading partner and open the door to damaging new tariffs on Moscow.

The European Union and the Group of Seven nations are expected to take the same step. Canada already removed Russia’s most favored nation status last week.

The aim, Biden said, is “to squeeze Putin and hold him even more accountable for his aggression in Ukraine.”

Biden will need action from Congress to cancel permanent normal trade relations with Russia, but he is expected to have cooperation. Both Republicans and Democrats have strongly supported non-military efforts to punish Russia, and some have already proposed legislation to revoke Russia’s WTO membership.

Kevin Breuninger

No EU consensus on completely shutting Europe off from Russian oil and gas, Greek prime minister says

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks from Versailles Palace in France, discussing his proposals for EU intervention in the natural gas market and European sanctions on Russian energy.

—Matt Clinch

A democratic Russia will emerge after the Ukraine war, Latvian PM says

Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš said Friday that Europe has become “extremely united” and that NATO has been “reinvigorated” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to CNBC’s Silvia Amaro at Versailles Palace in France, he added that he’s confident that a democracy in Russia will emerge when the war is over.

—Matt Clinch

Mother gives birth after she survived maternity hospital bombing

Mariana Vishegirskaya survived the Russian airstrike on a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol on Wednesday. She gave birth to her daughter, Veronika, in Mariupol on Friday.

An injured pregnant woman walks downstairs in a maternity hospital damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

Evgeniy Maloletka | AP

A car burns after the destruction of Mariupol children’s hospital as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022 in this still image from a handout video obtained by Reuters.

Ukraine Military | via Reuters

Mariana Vishegirskaya lies in a hospital bed after giving birth to her daughter Veronika, held by her husband Yuri, in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022. Vishegirskaya survived the Russian airstrike on a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol last Wednesday.

Evgeniy Maloletka | AP

Mariana Vishegirskaya lies in a hospital bed after giving birth to her daughter Veronika, in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022.

Evgeniy Maloletka | AP

— Adam Jeffery

Russian forces pummel Dnipro

Firefighters responded Friday after Russian airstrikes hit civilian settlements in Dnipro, a city in central Ukraine.

Firefighters are seen at the site after airstrikes hit civil settlements as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 11, 2022.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Firefighters are seen at the site after airstrikes hit civil settlements as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 11, 2022.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Firefighters spray water on a destroyed shoe factory following an airstrike in Dnipro on March 11, 2022.

Emre Caylak | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine army public affairs officer Valentin Yermolenko walks in front of a destroyed shoe factory following an airstrike in Dnipro on March 11, 2022.

Emre Caylak | AFP | Getty Images

— Adam Jeffery

Biden to revoke normal trade relations with Russia

A logo is pictured outside the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, September 28, 2021.

Denis Balibouse | Reuters

President Joe Biden will announce that the U.S. is moving to revoke Russia’s status as a “most-favored nation,” a senior administration official told reporters at CNBC and NBC News.

“Most-favored nation” status is a classification within the World Trade Organization that exempts a country from tariffs.

Changing Russia’s trade status will allow Congress to slap tariffs on any or all goods imported from Russia to the U.S., with caviar, vodka, plywood and various other goods among those likely to be affected.

It is unclear whether Biden himself is revoking Russia’s trade status or whether he will call on Congress to do so.

Last year, Russian exports to the U.S. amounted to $29 billion, 60% of which was comprised of oil and gas products, which were banned from being imported to the U.S. altogether earlier this week.  

Since Moscow launched its attack on Ukraine, there have been bipartisan calls in Congress for Russia’s trade status in the U.S. to be changed.

— Chloe Taylor

UK sanctions 386 Russian lawmakers

Russian lawmakers attend a session of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to consider approving friendship treaties with two self-proclaimed people’s republics in eastern Ukraine, in Moscow, Russia February 22, 2022.

Russian State Duma | via Reuters

The U.K. has announced fresh sanctions on Russia, targeting 386 Russian lawmakers who voted to recognize the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine shortly before the country was invaded.

British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said on Friday that the new sanctions would prohibit those on the list from traveling to the U.K., accessing assets held in the U.K. and doing business in the U.K.

“We’re targeting those complicit in Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and those who support this barbaric war,” she said in a statement. “We will not let up the pressure and will continue to tighten the screw on the Russian economy through sanctions.”

It comes a day after the U.K. added seven Russian oligarchs, including billionaire Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, to its sanctions list.

— Chloe Taylor

Zelenskyy says Ukraine has reached ‘strategic turning point’ in its war with Russia

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pictured during his regular address to the nation, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. The head of state said that we had already reached a strategic turning point and were moving towards our victory.

Office of the President of Ukraine | Future Publishing | Getty Images

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reportedly said Ukrainian has reached a “strategic turning point” in its war with Russia, calling for time and patience until victory is achieved.

“It is impossible to say how many days we still have to free Ukrainian land. But we can say we will do it. For we have already reached a strategic turning point,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address, according to Reuters.

Zelenskyy also reiterated his push for stronger moves from the European Union to punish the Kremlin, adding that further economic measures would be required if the war continues.

His comments come as Russia widens its attack on Ukrainian cities, and as satellite images show a large military convoy regrouping northwest of Ukraine’s capital.

— Sam Meredith

Russia’s Putin claims there are ‘some positive shifts’ in Ukraine talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his Belarus’ counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 11, 2022.

Mikhail Klimentyev | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin says some progress has been made in talks between the Kremlin and Ukraine, without providing any further details.

“There are some positive shifts there, as I have been told by our delegation,” Putin said, according to a translation by NBC News.

His comments came as he met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow. Putin said talks between Russia and Ukraine were “taking place almost daily.”

European markets jumped on the news. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was last seen trading 2% higher, having traded up around 1% in late morning deals.

U.S. stock futures also jumped, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures up more than 300 points and the Nasdaq 100 jumping some 1.4%.

— Sam Meredith

U.N. says it has received credible reports of Russian forces using cluster bombs in Ukraine

The U.N. human rights office says it has received credible reports of multiple cases of Russian military forces using cluster bombs in populated areas of Ukraine, according to Reuters.

The use of such weapons could amount to war crimes, the U.N. added.

“Due to their wide area effects, the use of cluster munitions in populated areas is incompatible with the international humanitarian law principles governing the conduct of hostilities,” U.N. spokesperson Liz Throssell told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, Reuters reported.

“We remind the Russian authorities that directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as so-called area bombardment in towns and villages and other forms of indiscriminate attacks, are prohibited under international law and may amount to war crimes.”

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine state energy firm says nuclear power plants ‘continue to operate stably’

The New Safe Confinement seals off the Object Shelter, also known as the Sarcophagus, a temporary structure built in 1986 over the debris of the 4th reactor of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Kyiv Region, northern Ukraine.

Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukrainian state-run energy company Energoatom says nuclear power plants in the country “continue to operate stably.”

The update comes amid heightened concern about Ukraine’s nuclear safety as Russia steps up its onslaught.

Ukraine on Thursday informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it had lost all communications with the Russia-controlled Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency said this development came shortly after the defunct nuclear power plant lost all external power supplies.

The Chornobyl plant’s disconnection from the grid “will not have a critical impact on essential safety functions at the site,” the IAEA has said.

— Sam Meredith

More than 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russian invasion, UN says

A Ukrainian woman holds her 3-month-old baby at the Western Railway Station as they flee Ukraine on March 9, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.

Janos Kummer | Getty Images

The United Nations says more than 2.5 million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

A further 2 million people have been displaced inside the country, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said via Twitter.

— Sam Meredith

Ukrainian officials give details on strikes in western Ukraine

Airstrikes hit the western cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk at around 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. local time respectively on Friday, Ukraine’s Parliament said in a statement.

Explosions were heard in both cities, the statement said, adding that air raid sirens did not sound before either city was hit with airstrikes.

In a video message posted to Telegram on Friday morning, Yurii Pohuliaiko, head of the Lutsk regional council, said four rockets had been dropped on the city’s military airport, killing two soldiers and injuring six.

The airstrikes on Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk are further west than recent Russian attacks on Ukraine.

— Chloe Taylor

Russia resetting forces for renewed offensive, UK says

A service member of pro-Russian troops in a uniform without insignia stands on a street of the separatist-controlled village of Anadol during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 10, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

U.K. officials said Friday that although it seems unlikely Russia has successfully achieved its invasion objectives, it was likely that Moscow is seeking “to reset and re-posture its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days.”

“This will probably include operations against the capital, Kyiv,” the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update Friday.

“Russian ground forces continue to make limited progress,” the ministry’s update added. “Logistical issues that have hampered the Russian advance persist, as does strong Ukrainian resistance.”

The U.K. update came after satellite images appeared to show a large Russian convoy that has been approaching Kyiv for over a week has been redeployed to towns and forests outside the city, potentially signaling a renewed push to bear down on the capital.

— Chloe Taylor

Russia has killed more Ukrainian civilians than soldiers, Ukraine defense minister says

Firefighters spray water on a destroyed shoe factory following an airstrike in Dnipro on March 11, 2022.

Emre Caylak | AFP | Getty Images

Russian forces have killed more civilians than soldiers in Ukraine, the country’s defense minister said Friday.

“As of 10 March, the number of Ukrainian civilians killed by Russian interventionists is bigger than the number of our military personnel from all defense corps killed in action,” Oleksii Reznikov said in a Facebook post.

“The Kremlin is bombing schools and hospitals, including maternity hospitals. Moscow does not protect anyone. It destroys,” he added. “They are not able to fight with our army, the national guard and territorial defense forces — so they attack the most vulnerable.”

— Chloe Taylor

Biden to announce more actions ‘to hold Russia accountable’

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a virtual meeting with business leaders and state governors to discuss supply chain problems, particularly addressing semiconductor chips, on the White House campus in Washington, March 9, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden will announce new actions on Friday that will see the U.S. “continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine,” the White House said yesterday.

The president will announce the measures from the White House at 10:15 a.m. ET before traveling to Philadelphia, where he will deliver an address at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference.

— Chloe Taylor

Satellite images appear to show Russian convoy redeployed around Kyiv

Russia’s large military convoy, last seen northwest of Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv near Antonov Airport, has “largely dispersed and redeployed,” satellite images taken on Thursday by U.S. firm Maxar Technologies appear to show.

The photos appear to show that armored units have fanned out through the towns close to the airport, with artillery howitzers thought to be situated in firing positions nearby.

Maxar closeup satellite imagery of resupply trucks and probable multiple rocket launch deployment Berestyanka, northwest of Kyiv, on March 10, 2022.

Satellite image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

Maxar satellite imagery of troops and equipment deployed in the town of Ozera, Ukraine, northeast of Antonov Airport on the outskirts of Kyiv, on March 10, 2022.

Satellite image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

Maxar satellite imagery closeup of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on March 10, 2022.

Satellite image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

Maxar satellite imagery closeup of fires in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on March 10, 2022.

Satellite image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

Maxar satellite imagery of trucks and equipment in a Russian convoy southeast of Ivankiv, on the outskirts of Kyiv, on March 10, 2022.

Satellite image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

Maxar said damage to commercial and residential property could be seen in and around Kyiv and in Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine.

The latest batch of satellite images come as Russia’s onslaught of Ukraine enters its 16th day, with invading Russian troops seeking to maintain pressure on Kyiv and the besieged port city of Mariupol.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine’s cities are being hit by ‘devastating blows,’ official says

A building burns after Russian troops shelled the area in the second largest Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, in the east on March 6, 2022.

Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s President, said Friday that Ukrainian cities are being hit by “devastating blows.”

 — Chloe Taylor

Russian attacks move west, authorities say, targeting new cities

Firefighters are seen at the site after airstrikes hit civil settlements as Russian attacks continue on Ukraine in Dnipro, Ukraine on March 11, 2022.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ruslan Martsinkiv, mayor of Ivano-Frankiivsk, said Friday morning that the city in western Ukraine was under attack and there had been explosions on the ground. He urged residents in a series of Facebook statements not to leave their homes, adding that the military and emergency services were on the scene.

Meanwhile Ihor Polishchuk, mayor of Lutsk — another city in Ukraine’s west — also said on Facebook that there had been explosions there this morning. He said the airstrike had taken place near the airport.

CNBC has not yet been able to independently verify the reported attacks on either city.

Elsewhere, the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine came under attack early on Friday morning, being hit by three airstrikes. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said the strikes had hit a kindergarten, an apartment building and a shoe factory. One person died in the attacks, while 20 were injured, authorities said.

— Chloe Taylor

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