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Ukraine has recaptured over 2,300 square miles of territory; risks to Putin's regime rise after defeats

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Sept. 13 2022. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukrainian forces press retreating Russian troops
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Ukrainian forces press retreating Russian troops

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.

Ukraine's forces have been able to recapture dozens of towns and villages in the northeast of the country over the last few days, including the strategically important towns of Izyum and Kupiansk.

Ukraine's counterattacks in the northeast came after Russia redeployed troops away from the region to defend areas they occupied in the south after Ukraine heavily signaled it would launch a counteroffensive around Kherson.

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.

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 interrogated 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

Getty Images

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