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U.S. approves $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine; UN chief calls Russian attack on nuclear plant 'suicidal'

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine. Click here for the latest updates.

A Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Energodar on May 1, 2022. Europe's largest nuclear power station has become a fighting ground for the conflict, with both sides blaming each other for attacks on and around the complex.
Andrey Borodulin | Afp | Getty Images

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres dubbed shelling over the weekend of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant as "suicidal" and called for international inspectors to be given access to the site after Russia and Ukraine shifted blame for the attacks.

It comes as the Russian-appointed administration of Zaporizhzhia region moved ahead with steps to hold a referendum on joining Russia. Evgeny Balitsky signed a decree Monday to kick-start the process, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Meantime, the Kremlin said there is currently no basis for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia's former president and one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, Dmitry Medvedev, also said Monday that Moscow would achieve its aims in the conflict in Ukraine on its own terms.

Elsewhere, two more ships carrying corn and soybeans left from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, taking the total number of shipments to 10 since a new deal aimed at alleviating a worsening global food crisis was launched last week.

Celebrity chef Jose Andres warns that Ukraine will need more humanitarian aid as winter approaches

Spanish celebrity chef and restaurateur Jose Andres told MSNBC that Ukraine will need more humanitarian aid in the coming months as winter approaches.

The two-star Michelin chef brought the World Central Kitchen, his humanitarian organization that prepares and delivers meals in crisis zones, to Ukraine to address the food crisis triggered by Russia's war.

"The big message I want to send to the world is this; winter is coming," Andres told MSNBC.

Andres said that his organization has so far served more than 127 million meals to Ukrainians.

— Amanda Macias

No indications of increased or abnormal radiation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, U.S. official says

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 4, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

The U.S. has seen no indications of increased or abnormal radiation from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following Russian missile strikes near the facility, a White House National Security Council official told NBC News.

The U.S. Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration are monitoring radiation sensors at the Zaporizhzhia facility, the official added.

"Fighting near a nuclear plant is dangerous, and we continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations at or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities and return full control to Ukraine," the national security official said.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. seizes $90 million aircraft belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch

Member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Andrei Skoch at the lower house plenary meeting.
Vladimir Fedorenko | Sputnik | AP

The U.S. announced the seizure of an aircraft owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch.

The Airbus A319-100, bearing tail number P4-MGU and serial number 5445, is believed to be worth more than $90 million.

The Department of Justice said that Skoch is the beneficial owner of the aircraft "through a series of shell companies and trusts tied to his romantic partner."

The identification of the aircraft ownership was coordinated with the Justice Department's KleptoCapture task force.

The task force, comprised of interagency law enforcement officers from the FBI, Marshals Service, IRS, Postal Inspection, Homeland Security Investigations and Secret Service, aims to target "the crimes of Russian officials, government-aligned elites, and those who aid or conceal their unlawful conduct."

Read more: Biden administration launches new ‘KleptoCapture’ task force to go after Russian oligarchs

— Amanda Macias

U.S. sends $4.5 billion in budgetary support to Ukraine

Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, assist with unloading humanitarian goods in support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in preparation of potential evacuees from Ukraine at the G2A Arena in Jasionka, Poland, on Feb. 25, 2022.
Robert Whitlow | U.S. Army via AP

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, will provide $4.5 billion in direct budgetary support to the government of Ukraine.

The funds are expected to alleviate Ukraine's acute budget deficits caused by the Kremlin's war.

"These funds provided by the United States, through the World Bank, allow the government of Ukraine to maintain essential functions to its people, including social and financial assistance to Ukrainians further pushed into poverty since the start of the war, children with disabilities and internally displaced persons," wrote the U.S. Agency for International Development in a statement.

The agency wrote that Ukraine would begin receiving the money this month.

— Amanda Macias

Russian forces used a hypersonic weapon to strike military facilities, Ukraine's Air Force says

A MiG-31K fighter jet with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile flies over Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in 2018.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine's Air Force said that Russian forces used a Kh-47M "Kinzhal" hypersonic air-based missiles against military facilities in the Vinnytsia region, according to an NBC News translation.

"The tactical and technical characteristics of this missile do not allow the air defense means existing in the Armed Forces of Ukraine to effectively detect and destroy it," Ukraine's Air Force command wrote in a statement on Facebook.

Read more: Russia says it fired hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. What are they and why would Moscow use them?

The Pentagon has previously said U.S. intelligence indicated that Russian forces had used hypersonic weapons in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Biden approves largest military aid package for Ukraine, bringing U.S. commitment to $9.8 billion

Ukraine was already stocking up on U.S.-made Javelins before Russia invaded. Here a group of Ukrainian servicemen take a shipment of Javelins in early February, as Russia positioned troops on Ukraine's border.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration announced a $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine, the largest installment yet since Russia's full-scale invasion began in late February.

The upcoming weapons and equipment package, the 18th such tranche, brings U.S. commitment to about $9.8 billion and includes munitions for long-range weapons and armored medical transport vehicles.

The package includes, according to the Pentagon:

  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, which can shoot a variety of missiles from a 5-ton truck
  •  75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition
  •  20 120mm mortar systems and 20,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition
  • Munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, an air-defense system
  • 1,000 Javelin anti-tank weapons and hundreds of AT4 anti-armor systems
  • 50 armored medical treatment vehicles
  • Claymore anti-personnel mines
  • C-4 explosives, demolition munitions, and demolition equipment
  • Medical supplies, which include first aid kits, bandages, monitors, and other equipment

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy slated to sign new measure banning some Russian citizens from entering Ukraine for 50 years

General view of fans before the Semi Final match - Scotland v Ukraine at Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, June 1, 2022.
Lee Smith | Action Images via Reuters

A petition to ban Russian citizens from entering Ukraine for the next 50 years has received the required 25,000 signatures and will be sent to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's desk.

The petition states that Kyiv will not issue residence permits to Russians except for those who fought on the side of Ukrainian forces.

— Amanda Macias

UN says at least 5,401 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 5,401 civilian deaths and 7,466 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes," the UN office wrote in a report.

The human rights office added that the majority of casualties and injuries, approximately 93%, were due to explosive weapons with wide area effects.

— Amanda Macias

Allowing Russia to bully Ukraine would mean 'open season' worldwide, says Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media after meeting visiting the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria, South Africa, on August 8, 2022.
Andrew Harnik | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that if Russia were allowed to take territory in Ukraine without being opposed then it would be "open season" around the world.

"If we allow a big country to bully a smaller one, to simply invade it and take its territory, then it's going to be open season, not just in Europe but around the world," the U.S.'s top diplomat said Monday during a visit to Africa.

He added that it is important for the U.S. to stand up to Russia because its aggression against Ukraine threatened the foundations of the international system.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine's ambassador to the IAEA accuses Russia of aiming to cause power blackouts

Ukraine's ambassador to the IAEA nuclear watchdog said Russian forces want to cause power blackouts in southern Ukraine by shelling its Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex.

Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk called for an international mission to the plant this month, saying it was needed "urgently."

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Region, is seen through barbed wire on the embankment in Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Region, central Ukraine.
Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

"We will use all possible channels of diplomacy to bring the IAEA and UN closer to conducting this mission," Tsymbaliuk told reporters in Vienna.

Russia set it is ready to facilitate such a visit, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russia's permanent representative to the IAEA as saying.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia set for referendum on joining Russia

A flag flies in a square in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 3, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

The Russian-appointed administration of southern Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region moved ahead with steps to hold a referendum on joining Russia. 

Evgeny Balitsky, head of the occupation administration in Zaporizhzhia, signed a decree to kick-start the process, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council imposed by pro-Russian secessionists, said the administration was "preparing 100% for the vote," according to RIA Novosti.

"Everything is working out. We will have a voting format that is quite understandable to people. We will not conduct any experiments," he said.

It comes as Ukraine and Russia shift blame for shelling over the weekend of the region's nuclear plant, an attack U.N. chief Antonio Guterres dubbed "suicidal."

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine warns of Chernobyl attack, calls for demilitarized zone around nuclear plant

Giant protective dome built over the sarcophagus covering the destroyed fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Kyiv warned of the risk of a Chernobyl-style disaster and called for the area around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to be made a demilitarized zone following weekend artillery attacks.

The head of Ukraine's state nuclear power company, Petro Kotin, called for a team of peacekeepers to be deployed at the nuclear complex, which is still run by Ukrainian technicians.

"The decision that we demand from the world community and all our partners ... is to withdraw the invaders from the territory of the station and create a demilitarized zone on the territory of the station," Kotin said on television.

"The presence of peacekeepers in this zone and the transfer of control of it to them, and then also control of the station to the Ukrainian side would resolve this problem," he added.

The calls comes hours after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres dubbed he latest shelling as "suicidal" and called for international inspectors to be given access to the site

The world's worst civil nuclear disaster occurred in 1986 when a reactor at the Chernobyl complex in northwest Ukraine exploded.

— Karen Gilchrist

Finland registers record number of asylum seekers

Civilians board the evacuation train in Pokorvsk, amid the intensified fighting in the Eastern part of Ukraine.
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Finland registered a record number of asylum seekers following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the AFP reported, surpassing the previous high set during the 2015 migrant crisis.

More than 37,000 people are currently registered in the reception system, "which is more than ever before," the Finnish immigration service said in a statement. One third of those fleeing are children, it added.

Over 6.3 million refugees have fled Ukraine for Europe, according to the latest figures from UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia strengthens position and numbers on Ukraine's southern front

Russian forces are enhancing their positions and numbers on Ukraine's southern front in apparent preparation for a Ukrainian counteroffensive, British and Ukrainian military authorities said.

"Russian troops are almost certainly amassing in the south, either waiting for a Ukrainian counteroffensive or preparing to attack," Britain's Defense Ministry said.

It added that long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks and artillery continue to move from the Donbas to the southwest of the country.

— Karen Gilchrist

No basis for meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy, says Kremlin

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov waits to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022.
Kirill Kudryavtsev | Afp | Getty Images

The Kremlin said there is currently no basis for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In response to a question about Turkish proposals to broker peace talks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that the pair would only meet once negotiators from both sides had "done their homework."

Talks between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress.

— Karen Gilchrist

UN chief calls attack on Ukraine nuclear plant ‘suicidal’

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of shelling Europe's largest atomic complex over the weekend.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in the Russian-controlled area of Enerhodar, seen from Nikopol in April 27, 2022.
Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

"Any attack [on] a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing," Guterres told a news conference in Japan, where he was attending the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on Saturday in commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing.

Despite the shelling, the nuclear reactor complex was operating on "normal mode," Interfax news agency quoted Yevgeniy Balitsky, the Russian-installed head of the local administration, as saying.

Russian forces captured the plant in Ukraine's southeast in early March, shortly after Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor, but it is still run by Ukrainian technicians.

— Karen Gilchrist

Former Russian President Medvedev says Moscow will achieve its aims in Ukraine

Deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexandrovsky Garden near the Kremlin wall in Moscow on June 22, 2022.
Yekaterina Shtukina | Afp | Getty Images

Former Russian President and one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, Dmitry Medvedev, said Moscow would achieve its aims in the conflict in Ukraine on its own terms.

"Russia is conducting a special military operation in Ukraine and is attaining peace on our terms," Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia's security council, told Russian state news agency Tass in an interview.

He also warned that the West has a long-term plan to destroy Russia, citing the enlargement of the NATO military alliance: "The goal is the same: to destroy Russia," he said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Two grain ships depart from Ukraine as third port opens

The Turkish-flagged ship "Polarnet" carrying grain from Ukraine arrives at Derince Port, Kocaeli, Turkey, on August 8, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Two more ships carrying corn and soybeans left from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, Ukrainian and Turkish authorities said.

The vessels — one carrying 11,000 tons of soybeans and the other 48,458 tons of corn — were bound for Italy and Turkey, respectively. Meanwhile, a third port, Pivdennyi, opened Monday, increasing the country's strained export capacity.

Ten shipments have now departed Ukrainian shores since last week under a new deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in an effort to alleviate a worsening global food crisis.

So far, around 243,000 tons of corn have been exported from Ukraine on seven ships since the first departure on Aug. 1, according to a Reuters tally of data from Turkey's Defense Ministry. The other ships carried 11,000 tons of soybeans, 6,000 tons of sunflower oil and 45,000 tons of sunflower meal.

— Karen Gilchrist

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