Latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russia summons British ambassador over drone attack on Crimea

Russia summoned the British ambassador on Thursday over Moscow’s claims that British naval personnel were involved in a Ukrainian drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

Shortly after 1030 local time (0730 GMT), Ambassador Deborah Brownnet arrived at the Foreign Office, where a small group of people chanted anti-British slogans and held banners that read “Britain is a terrorist state”. placard.

A Reuters reporter who was at the scene said Brownnet had been inside the ministry for about 30 minutes. Neither Russia or Britain immediately issued a statement on the details of the discussions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Jane Brownart, left, at the Moscow Kremlin on February 5, 2020.

Alexei Nikolsky | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday the ambassador would be summoned over Saturday’s drone attack on Crimea, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Britain says these claims are false. Russia has temporarily suspended its participation in a UN-brokered Black Sea grain trade after the drone attack.

Russia has portrayed Britain as a particularly perfidious Western power that President Vladimir Putin says is plotting to destroy Russia and carve up its rich natural resources.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain joined the US and EU in imposing some of the toughest sanctions in history and providing weapons to help Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said British naval personnel had blown up the Nord Stream gas pipeline, a claim London said was false and aimed at diverting attention from Russia’s military failures in Ukraine.

— Reuters

Zaporozhye nuclear power plant operating again with diesel generators

This photo taken on September 11, 2022 shows a security officer standing in front of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ennehodar, Zaporozhye province, during the war in Ukraine.

Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

The Russian-occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was again running on diesel generators after it was disconnected from the Ukrainian grid following a Russian shelling, Ukraine’s nuclear energy company said on Thursday.

In a Telegram post, Energoatom said Wednesday’s shelling by Russian troops damaged the last two high-voltage lines connecting the plant to the Ukrainian grid, which Russia wants to connect.

“11:04 PM [Wednesday], the power plant goes into complete blackout mode. All 20 diesel generators are running,” Energoatom said. Although the plant’s six reactors have been shut down, electricity is still needed for cooling and safe operation.

Energoatom said it has 15 days of fuel to run diesel generators when the plant is in blackout mode.

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“The countdown has started. Due to the occupation of the factory and the interference of Rosatom [Russia’s state nuclear energy company] In its operations, the Ukrainian side has very limited opportunities to maintain the ZNPP in a safe mode,” it said.

The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which was seized by Russian forces earlier this year, has been a pawn in the war, with both sides accusing the other of shelling and endangering Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. International atomic energy experts have warned that the potential for disaster is high given the intensity of hostilities around and near nuclear power plants.

— Holly Aryat

Ukraine’s first lady urges West to supply more weapons before winter

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska at the opening night of the Web Summit 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal on November 1, 2022.

Rita Franca | Digital Photo | Getty Images

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska on Wednesday called for more military support from Western leaders as the country continues to defend itself from a Russian onslaught.

Zelenska urged the international community not to become weary of the war, saying the allies must stand together against the aggressors.

“I know these are beyond the responsibilities of the first lady, but because of the war, we’ve gone beyond the normal protocol. According to a translator, Zelenska told CNBC’s Karen Cho.

Watch CNBC's full interview with Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska

“Ukraine needs more weapons, more military assistance,” she said, calling specifically for the use of anti-aircraft missiles.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia’s economic downturn deepens in September

Wholesale food market in Moscow.

Image Alliance | Image Alliance | Getty Images

According to the Russian state news agency Interfax, the latest data from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development showed that the Russian economy continued to slump in September, with gross domestic product falling by 5% year-on-year.

Economic output fell in September, down 4% year-on-year in August and 4.3% in July.

According to the ministry, Russia’s GDP fell by an annualized 4.4% in the third quarter of 2022, following a 4.1% decline in the second quarter and a 3.5% increase in the first quarter.

Russia has struggled under the weight of international sanctions on key sectors, businesses and individuals in the months following its invasion of Ukraine, even though it was hit with other economic sanctions before the war for other reasons, including alleged US election interference, Cyber ​​attacks and its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Russian consumers face a considerable cost of living due to stubbornly high inflation, which was 12.9% in October, although it has been gradually declining after the central bank raised interest rates in response to higher prices (August inflation rate of 14.3%).

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Russia insists its economy can overcome the challenges posed by sanctions and, as a major exporter of oil and gas, can maintain a revenue stream from exports of these goods to Asian economic partners, particularly India and China.

Still, Western institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank expect Russia’s economic downturn to be steep this year. Between them, they forecast Russia’s GDP to fall by at least 5.5% in the best-case scenario and nearly 9% in the worst-case scenario.

Russia’s foreign ministry forecasts that Russian economic output will fall by 2.9 percent in 2022, 0.8 percent in 2023, and then grow by 2.6 percent in 2024 and 2025, according to Interfax.

— Holly Aryat

Russian military leaders reportedly considering using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Russian military leaders reportedly considering using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine

CNBC’s Shep Smith reviewed reports that Russian military leaders recently discussed the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Putin confirms resumption of Black Sea Grains initiative, but says Russia could pull out again

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference after the summit of the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Astana, Kazakhstan, on October 14, 2022.

Ramir Sidikov | Sputnik | via Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that despite Russia’s return to the Black Sea Grains initiative, it “reserves the right to withdraw from the agreement” if it does not meet Ukraine’s assurances.

Russia suspended its involvement in the grain trade over the weekend after it claimed that Ukrainian drones had attacked its Black Sea fleet in Crimea. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack, which some Ukrainian officials blamed on Russian soldiers’ mishandling of their own weapons.

“We ask the Ukrainian side to guarantee that nothing like this will happen in the future,” Putin said during a meeting with the permanent members of the Russian Security Council.

“I have instructed the Defense Department to resume our full participation in this work,” he added. “At the same time, Russia reserves the right to withdraw from these agreements if Ukraine violates these assurances.”

Early in the war, Russia relied on its Black Sea Fleet to fire missiles deep into Ukraine, but after a series of embarrassing attacks by Ukrainian forces this spring, the fleet fell back into defensive positions.

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Before last weekend’s drone attack, analysts noted that Russia appeared to be laying the rhetorical grounds for withdrawing from the pact, before changing course this week.

Grains are vital to feeding populations in some of the world’s poorest countries, and if full lockdowns resume, they could bring starvation to millions in Asia and the Middle East.

Putin also promised to deliver “all” food from Ukraine “free” to the poorest countries if Russia withdraws from the agreement in the future.

— Rossio Fabro

Ukrainian agricultural shipments continue as food trade resumes

Ukrainian agricultural shipments continue as food trade resumes

Video credit: Burak Kara | Getty Images

The bulk carrier Asl Tia, carrying 39,000 metric tons of sunflower meal from Ukraine, sailed through Turkey’s Bosphorus on Wednesday. The ship is on its way to China.

Russia rejoined a deal on Tuesday that provides safe passage for food shipments from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Russia has severely disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production and blocked outbound ships ahead of the deal. The deal was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.

The Kremlin said it would withdraw from the deal over the weekend after Ukraine attacked warships in its Black Sea Fleet. But the loaded cargo ship sailed anyway, and Moscow rejoined the agreement on Wednesday.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, and countries in Asia, Africa and beyond rely on its food shipments.

— Ted Camp

Turkey’s Erdogan asks Zelensky to step up diplomatic efforts to end war

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks to members of the ruling AK Party (AKP) during a parliamentary session in Ankara, Turkey, May 18, 2022. Handout by Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Reuters This image was provided by a third party. No resale. No file.mandatory credit

Murat Chetin Mukhdar | Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a phone call to step up diplomatic efforts to end the war.

“President Erdogan said diplomatic efforts should be stepped up to end the war with a just solution, based on an understanding that will lead to the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” read a post on the Turkish president’s official Twitter account. road. .

Erdogan also stressed the importance of grain exports from Ukraine and Russia, as well as the Black Sea Grains Initiative. During the same call, Zelensky thanked Erdogan in a Telegram post for “actively participating in maintaining the ‘food trade'”.

Turkey played a key role in brokering the UN-backed deal in July and ending Russia’s suspension of the deal this week.

— Rossio Fabro

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