Putin’s regime under pressure after defeats; Ukraine slams Germany over weapons response

German Chancellor Scholz tells Putin to end the war in Ukraine during phone call

Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor speaks at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes about the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Given the seriousness of the military situation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the Chancellor urged the Russian President to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops, and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” wrote German federal government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

Scholz warned that any further Russian annexations “would not go unanswered and would not be recognized under any circumstances.”

The two leaders agreed to remain in contact. Scholz spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week.

— Amanda Macias

80% of NATO allies have approved Sweden and Finland’s entry into the alliance

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks speaks during a joint press with Sweden and Finland’s Foreign ministers after their meeting at the Nato headquarters in Brussels on January 24, 2022.

John Thys | AFP | Getty Images

Six NATO member countries have yet to sign ratification protocols for Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance.

Out of NATO’s 30 member countries, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey are the last holdouts to grant Sweden and Finland membership.

In May, both nations began the formal process of applying to NATO as Russia’s war in Ukraine raged. All 30 members of the alliance have to ratify the countries’ entry into the group.

Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden signed ratification documents following a 95-1 Senate vote to bring Finland and Sweden into NATO.

— Amanda Macias

Pentagon closely monitoring reports of Iranian drones used by Russians in Ukraine

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon September 6, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Brig. Gen. Ryder held a news briefing to answer questions from members of the press.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

The Pentagon said that it was not able to determine the impact of Russia’s use of Iranian drones on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the U.S. was closely monitoring the situation but declined to confirm press reports that Russia had begun using the drones in Ukraine.

Last month, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed that Russia had received the drones but said it was “too soon to tell” how the new weapons would shape the combat.

“It remains to be seen what the overall impact is going to be on those drones, but it’s not going to change the kinds of capabilities we continue to provide,” Kirby told reporters on a conference call.

“We know of some difficulties that the Russians have been having with some of those drones,” Kirby added, but declined to elaborate.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian officials said they found a Russian-made torture chamber for civilians in Kharkiv region

Rescuers stand next to burnt cars after a Russian rocket strike in one of the districts of the second largest Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on July 21, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergey Bobok | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian officials said they discovered a prison equipped with a makeshift torture chamber made by Russian forces in a city in the Kharkiv region.

Serhii Bolvinov, chief of Kharkiv’s region police force, wrote on Facebook that Russian troops were looking for civilians that helped Ukrainian forces.

He said that Russian forces took Ukrainian civilians living in Balaklia to a converted local police department and integrated those individuals.

“In the basement of the police department, the Russian soldiers made a prison and a torture chamber for local residents,” according to an NBC News translation of Bolvinov’s statement.

The Kremlin has previously said that it does not target civilians, which mounts to war crimes under international law.

— Amanda Macias

More than 300 villages in Kharkiv region liberated from Russian occupation, Ukraine says

Ukrainian flags placed on statues in a square in Balakliya, Kharkiv region, on Sept. 10 , 2022.

Juan Barreto | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar said that the counter-offensive carried out by Ukrainian troops in Kharkiv over several days resulted in the liberation of more than 300 villages from Russian occupation.

“The operation will continue until the area is wholly liberated,” Malyar said during a national telethon update, according to an NBC News translation.

She said that approximately 150,000 people living in a region spanning about 3,800 square kilometers are back under Ukrainian leadership.

— Amanda Macias

White House hints at new security package amid recent gains in Ukraine

John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks during a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2022.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

The White House said another U.S. security assistance package for Ukraine installment would be announced in the coming days, but declined to elaborate on the details.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the next package would be tailored “in lockstep” with Kyiv’s requests and hailed recent Ukrainian advances to seize back territory from Russian forces.

“At least in the Donbas, there is a sense of momentum,” Kirby told reporters at the White House.

“Certainly in the north, we have seen Russians retreat from the Kharkiv oblast. They’ve left fighting positions, they’ve left supplies and they’re calling it a repositioning,” Kirby said, adding that Russian forces are still facing a slew of logistical challenges.

“It’s still a very large and very powerful military and Mr. Putin still has an awful lot of military capacity left at his disposal, not just to be used in Ukraine but potentially elsewhere,” Kirby added.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainians prepare for winter in Ukraine

Ukrainians begin to prepare for winter as the Russian invasion drags on.

A Ukrainian man prepares for the cold winter and stocking up on firewood in Lviv, Ukraine, September 11, 2022.

Olena Znak | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainians are preparing for the cold winter and stocking up on firewood in Lviv, Ukraine on September 11, 2022.

Olena Znak | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A Ukrainian man prepares for the cold winter and stocking up on firewood in Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 13, 2022.

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A Ukrainian woman prepares for the cold winter and stocking up on firewood in Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 13, 2022. 

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainians are prepare for the cold winter and stocking up on firewood in Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 13, 2022.

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

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Blinken says U.S. will continue to send weapons to Kyiv, hails advances made by Ukrainian forces

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the State Department in Washington, March 17, 2022.

Saul Loeb | Pool | Reuter

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed Ukraine’s lightning advances made over the weekend but cautioned that Russian forces still maintain “very significant forces in Ukraine.”

“As we’ve seen, the brutalization of the country continues by the Russian aggressor and there’s, I think, unfortunately, the prospect of this continues to go on, but I think it’s encouraging to see the progress that Ukraine has made,” Blinken told reporters alongside Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Mexico City.

Blinken said the U.S. would continue to provide Kyiv with additional military aid packages.

“We will continue to do, what is necessary to support Ukraine to maintain pressure on Russia so that it ends its aggression,” Blinken added.

— Amanda Macias

Celebrity chef and humanitarian Jose Andres shares a video of food deliveries to Zaporizhzhia

Spanish celebrity chef and restaurateur Jose Andres shared a video on Twitter of his team delivering food to Ukrainian villages in the Zaporizhzhia region.

“Only one road where people can officially evacuate from the occupied region. Its called the “road of life,” wrote Andres.

The two-star Michelin chef brought the World Central Kitchen to Ukraine to address the mounting food crisis triggered by Russia’s war. He has previously said that more than 2 million food kits have been delivered to those affected by the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

U.N. says at least 5,827 killed in Ukraine since start of war

This photograph taken on July 15, 2022, shows recently made graves at a cemetery in the Vinogradnoe district, Donetsk region, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine.

– | Afp | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 5,827 civilian deaths and 8,421 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human 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

Ukraine has exported 2.7 million metric tons of grains and other crops since ports reopened

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, is seen in the Black Sea off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022.

Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said that a total of 2.7 million metric tons of crops 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 that 122 vessels have so far left three Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy will speak with IMF chief on financing requests

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

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will speak with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, two sources familiar with the plan told Reuters, as Ukraine continues to press the global lender for a full-fledged financing program.

Ukrainian officials have said they are seeking an IMF program worth as much as $15 billion to $20 billion, although such a large amount is seen as unlikely to win IMF approval.

The IMF Executive Board, at an informal session on Monday, discussed a plan that could offer Ukraine $1.4 billion in emergency aid through the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument.

— Reuters

Ukraine’s foreign minister slams Berlin over ‘disappointing’ weapons response

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba slammed Germany, accusing the country of not doing enough to help Ukraine with weapons.

“Disappointing signals from Germany while Ukraine needs Leopards and Marders now — to liberate people and save them from genocide,” Kuleba tweeted Tuesday, saying there was “not a single rational argument on why these weapons cannot be supplied, only abstract fears and excuses. What is Berlin afraid of that Kyiv is not?”

Leopards are German tanks and Marders are infantry fighting vehicles; Ukraine has been seeking such weapons from Berlin for some time. The government, under Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has been accused of dragging its feel over weaponry for Ukraine. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends the summer party of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), in Berlin, Germany, July 6, 2022. 

Michele Tantussi | Reuters

CNBC contacted the German defense ministry for a response to Kuleba’s comments. On Monday, Germany’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said sending more heavy weaponry to Ukraine was “not so simple.”

“It’s not so simple just to say: I’ll just risk that we won’t be able to act, the defense of the country, by giving everything away. No, I won’t do that,” she said. “But we have other possibilities, from industry, with our partners,” Deutsche Welle reported.

Ukraine has launched a series of counterattacks against Russian forces in the northeast and south of the country over recent days, prompting Russian units to retreat from the region of Kharkiv in the northeast.

However, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again called on Ukraine’s Western allies to provide more weapons to help Kyiv maintain its momentum against increasingly demoralized Russian forces.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia looks to punish Ukraine as shelling leaves Kharkiv region without power

The entire region of Kharkiv, including the region’s capital, has been left without electricity again after intense shelling by Russia.

Kharkiv has been hit by multiple strikes after Ukraine’s forces inflicted a humiliating defeat on Russia after it launched a counterattack in the region last week, and has since claimed dozens of towns and villages in the northeast.

“Just received information that the city of Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region have been left without electricity. The back-up power transmission line, providing the supply of electricity for settlements, went out of service. Now all efforts are focused to eliminate the problem. I will report the results later,” Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenkosaid on Telegram on Tuesday.

“These are the consequences of insidious shelling by the Russians the day before,” the official added.

Firefighters of the State Emergency Service work to put out the fire that erupted after a Russian missile attack at an energy facility in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine. On Sunday evening, Russian invaders launched 11 cruise missiles at critical civilian infrastructures in Ukraine, strikes which were seen as “revenge” for its reclaiming of occupied land.

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Russian shelling knocked out water and power supplies in Kharkiv on Monday after key energy infrastructure facilities were targeted.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian airstrike hits Kharkiv after troops make humiliating retreat

Russian airstrike hits Kharkiv as Russian troops are pushed out of region

A Russian airstrike hit a public building in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Monday, Sept. 12. After the airstrike, flames broke out in the building, and firefighters tackled the fire.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive that has driven Russian troops from the region, but sporadic Russian airstrikes have continued this week in Kharkiv and other Ukrainian cities.

Source: Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Risks to Putin’s regime rise after defeats on the battlefield in Ukraine

There have been various reports of pro-Putin commentators appearing on state-run TV channels on which they have questioned the wisdom of continuing the conflict in Ukraine.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is looking more fragile this week after Ukrainian victories on the battlefield have prompted even pro-Kremlin voices in Russia to question the war in Ukraine.

There have been various reports of pro-Putin commentators appearing on state-run TV channels on which they have questioned the wisdom of continuing the conflict in Ukraine, given the latest advances and recapturing of Russian-occupied land.

Russia has been tight-lipped about the retreat of Russian troops from the entire Kharkiv region above Donbas, although Putin’s press secretary said on Monday that what Russia calls the “special military operation” would continue.

“Military losses and the humiliation of Russian troops also pose risks to President Vladimir Putin’s regime, as domestic criticism of the conduct of the so-called special military operation is mounting from various sides,” Teneo consulting firm said in a note Monday evening.

“As a result, Putin faces growing pressure to respond to increasingly unfavorable dynamics on the frontline, which might include either escalatory moves or calls to start ceasefire talks.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine has recaptured more than 2,300 square miles of territory, Zelenskyy says

Ukraine has recaptured more than 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 sq miles) of Russian-occupied territory, President Zelenskyy said Monday night.

“From the beginning of September until today, our soldiers have already liberated more than 6,000 square kilometers of the territory of Ukraine – in the east and in the south. The movement of our troops continues,” President Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

Ukrainian flags placed on statues in a square in Balakliya, Kharkiv region, on Sept. 10 , 2022.

Juan Barreto | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s armed forces have made great strides over the past week in reclaiming dozens of towns and villages in both northeast Ukraine, in the Kharkiv region, as well as around Kherson in the south.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry likened the size of the area recaptured to the U.S. state of Delaware.

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy urges world leaders to recognize Russia as a terrorist state

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

Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on world leaders to recognize Russia as a terrorist state.

“Yesterday and today, the Russian army struck the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians found themselves in the dark without electricity. Houses, hospitals, schools, communal infrastructure, Russian missiles hit precisely those objects that have absolutely nothing to do with the infrastructure of the Armed Forces of our country,” Zelenskyy said in an evening address on the Telegram messaging app, according to an NBC News translation.

“To protect against this, we must further strengthen our cooperation. Together we can overcome Russian terror. Russia must be recognized as a terrorist state,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy also called for an additional round of European Union sanctions and an increase in security assistance packages.

— Amanda Macias

White House says it will continue to send weapons to Kyiv, hails advances made by Ukrainian forces

A Ukrainian armored vehicle advances toward the front in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on September 8, 2022.

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The White House welcomed Ukraine’s lightning advances made over the weekend and said the U.S. would continue to provide Kyiv with additional military aid packages.

“As we have said many times we’re not going to speak for Ukrainians we’ll leave it to Ukraine to describe their operations. But it’s clear, they are fighting hard to defend their country and take back territory,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One.

“We’re going to continue to support their need to succeed on the battlefield that has been our goal as you all know,” she said, adding that the U.S. has so far committed $14.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s war in late February.

— Amanda Macias

‘We do not currently see any negotiation prospects,’ Kremlin says on ending war in Ukraine

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin reviewing naval troops as he attends the main naval parade marking the Russian Navy Day, in St. Petersburg on July 31, 2022.

Olga Maltseva | AFP | Getty Images

The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia does not see an opportunity for Ukraine and Russia to negotiate an end to the war.

“We do not currently see any negotiation prospects and continue to state the absence of any prerequisites for such negotiations,” Peskov said during a press briefing, according to an NBC News translation.

“The special military operation continues and will continue until all the goals that were originally set are achieved,” he added, without elaborating further.

Peskov’s remarks come as Ukrainian forces recaptured almost all of the Kharkiv region in the past week.

— Amanda Macias

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