Russia strikes regions across Ukraine, targeting energy networks; Black Sea grain deal extended

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

More Russian shelling hit Ukraine on Thursday morning as missile attacks were reported in the Kyiv region, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro.

The region surrounding Kyiv was coming under fire, the head of the regional military administration Oleksiy Kuleba warned Thursday, as he noted that "since the very morning, the enemy has been massively attacking Ukraine."

In other news, a rift seems to have appeared between Ukraine and its NATO allies over a missile strike that hit Poland on Tuesday after Kyiv rejected preliminary findings, presented by NATO on Wednesday, that suggested Ukraine's forces were behind a missile hit on a Polish village that killed two people.

NATO chief says Poland blast likely caused by Ukrainian missile, adds it wasn't Ukraine's fault
NATO chief says Poland blast likely caused by Ukrainian missile, adds it wasn't Ukraine's fault

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had "no doubt" that his country was not to blame for a missile strike and again requested that Ukraine be a part of a joint U.S.-Polish investigation into the incident.

In other news, the United Nations said on Thursday that the Black Sea grain deal — which has facilitated the export of millions of tons of agricultural exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports helping to alleviate a global food crisis — has been extended.

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley and Swedish counterpart discuss NATO membership at Pentagon

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chair Army General Mark Milley speaks during a news briefing after participating a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, November 16, 2022.
Tom Brenner | Reuters

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley met with his Swedish counterpart at the Pentagon.

Milley discussed the NATO accessions process and regional security concerns with Swedish Supreme Commander Gen. Micael Bydén, according o a Pentagon readout of the meeting.

In May, Sweden and Finland began the formal process of applying to NATO. All 30 members of the alliance have to ratify the countries' entry into the group. In August, U.S. President Joe Biden signed ratification documents following a 95-1 Senate vote to bring Finland and Sweden into NATO.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy welcomes The Hague's decision to sentence defendants for MH17 downing

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv, Ukraine on August 18, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed The Hague's decision to sentence two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian separatist to life in prison for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

"A very important decision was made today in the Netherlands. This is the first sentence for the murderers who destroyed the Malaysian Boeing in the sky over Donbas in 2014," Zelenskyy said during a nightly address on the Telegram messaging app.

"Without this, it is impossible to protect the world from the wars, such as Russian aggression against our state, from happening again," the Ukrainian leader added.

— Amanda Macias

WNBA star Griner's legal team confirms it met with her at a penal colony in Russia

US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022.
Evgenia Novozhenina | AFP | Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner's legal team said that it has met with the two-time Olympic gold medalist since her relocation to a Russian penal colony outside of Moscow.

"We can confirm that Brittney began serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia. We visited her early this week," her lawyers wrote in a statement.

"Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment. Considering that this is a very challenging period for her, there will be no further comments from us," the statement added.

Last month, a Russian court upheld Griner's nine-year prison sentence, a decision that solidified the U.S. athlete's movement to a penal colony.

— Amanda Macias

Army awards $14.3 million contract to Lockheed Martin for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System

US military personnel stand by a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) during Saudi Arabias first World Defense Show, north of the capital Riyadh, on March 6, 2022.
Fayez Nureldine | Afp | Getty Images

The Army awarded a more than $14 million production contract to Lockheed Martin to increase funding for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

"The delivery will increase production capacity to allow the U.S. government to more rapidly replenish DoD stocks provided in support of Ukrainian armed forces," the Pentagon wrote in a release.

Last month, the defense titan said it was poised to boost HIMARS production to 96 launchers annually, up from its current level of 60 launchers. Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet announced the increase during a third-quarter earnings call. 

So far, the U.S. has transferred more than 20 HIMARS to Ukraine as the system has proven to be effective in countering Russian missile strikes.

— Amanda Macias

Blinken warns Russia will attempt to freeze Ukrainians into submission

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference after meeting with top Japanese Ministers at the U.S. State Department on July 29, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin will attempt to freeze Ukrainians out of frustration with military progress on the ground.

"Having failed to seize Ukraine by force, President Putin seems to believe that plunging Ukrainians into darkness, cutting off their water, freezing them to death will break their will," Blinken said alongside U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in Bali, Indonesia.

"Russia's new strategy, like its old strategy, will fail. Ukrainian spirit is unbreakable, so is our commitment to supporting Ukraine," Blinken added.

In recent weeks, Russian missiles have rained down across Ukrainian cities, damaging an estimated 40% of the country's energy infrastructure.

— Amanda Macias

Russian missile strikes have increased during November, Ukraine says

Firefighters work to put out a fire after two residential buildings were hit in the Pechersk district of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on November 15, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian Gen. Oleksii Gromov said Russia fired about 150 missiles against Ukraine in November.

He said that more than 100 missiles were launched on Tuesday, in what is being described as the largest missile strike of the war thus far, according to an NBC News translation.

He added that on Thursday, Russian forces fired about 16 cruise missiles and carried out about 5 drone strikes over Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Blinken speaks with Ukrainian counterpart and reiterates U.S. commitment

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about US policy towards China during an event hosted by the Asia Society Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2022.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and reiterated "that Russia bears full responsibility and culpability for its war against Ukraine."

"He reaffirmed the United States' firm and unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and pledged continued economic, humanitarian, and security assistance for Ukraine to defend itself and provide for its people," wrote State Department spokesman Ned Price in a readout of the call.

The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact as the investigation into the explosion in Poland unfolds. 

— Amanda Macias

State Department has not been able to speak to WNBA star Griner

US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, stands inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. 
Kirill Kudryavtsev | AFP | Getty Images

The State Department said that it has not been able to speak with WNBA star Brittney Griner since she was relocated to a penal colony.

Department lawyers "are aware of her location and are in frequent contact with Griner's legal team," said deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel.

"Our embassy in our mission in Moscow has continued to press for more information about her transfer and her current location," Patel added.

Last week, Griner was moved from a Russian prison to a penal colony. Last month, a Russian court denied Griner's appeal and upheld its nine-year prison sentence for drug smuggling charges.

— Amanda Macias

Backlog of 69 ships waiting to transport crops from Ukraine

Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian crops said there is a backlog of 69 vessels waiting to be loaded with cargo.

The U.N.-led Joint Coordination Center also said that about 24 loaded vessels are waiting for inspection in Turkish territorial waters.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports. Since the deal was signed, more than 470 ships carrying 11.1 million metric tons of grain and other food products have left for destinations around the world.

Kyiv has previously blamed Moscow for holding up inspections and delaying vessel movements.

— Amanda Macias

Three vessels will depart Ukraine’s ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

An aerial view of Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni, carrying a cargo of 26,527 tons of corn, leaves from Istanbul, Turkiye and passes surroundings of Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge to reach Lebanon after inspections are completed by Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the United Nations (UN) of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) complete inspection on August 03, 2022.
Ali Atmaka | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products said three vessels carrying wheat, flour and soybeans left Ukrainian ports.

The amount of grain and other foodstuffs exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative so far exceeds 11.1 million metric tons.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen.

The deal between the signatories is set to expire in about four months.

— Amanda Macias

2 Russians, 1 Ukrainian convicted of murders in 2014 downing of MH17

A Dutch court on Thursday convicted two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian separatist in absentia of the murders of 298 people who died in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine and sentenced them to life imprisonment. One Russian was acquitted because of a lack of evidence.

Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said that evidence presented by prosecutors at a trial that lasted more than two years proved that the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down by a Buk missile fired by pro-Moscow Ukrainian fighters on July 17, 2014. The crash scattered wreckage and bodies over farmland and fields of sunflowers.

Against the geopolitical upheaval caused by Russia's full-blown invasion of Ukraine, the court also held that Moscow had overall control of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine, from where it said the attack was launched.

None of the defendants appeared for the trial that began in March 2020 and if they are convicted, it's unlikely they will serve any sentence anytime soon. Prosecutors had sought life sentences for all four. Prosecutors and the suspects have two weeks to file an appeal.

— Associated Press

Russian strikes on Ukraine spotlight Moldova’s energy woes

A power station on the outskirts of Chisinau, Moldova, on Oct. 31, 2022.
Aurel Obreja | AP

Massive blackouts that temporarily hit more than a half-dozen cities across Moldova this week highlighted the impact Russia's war in Ukraine is having on Europe's poorest country.

The power outages happened Tuesday as the Russian military pounded infrastructure targets across Ukraine, which borders Moldova. Less than a week earlier, the European Union pledged 250 million euros (nearly $260 million) to help the former Soviet republic tackle a severe energy crisis after Russia halved its natural gas supply.

Moldova became a candidate for EU membership in June, on the same day neighboring Ukraine did.

"Every deadly bomb dropped on Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure has direct consequences for the people of our country," Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said after Russia's latest missile strikes caused the electricity to go out across the border.

— Associated Press

Six missiles shot down over Odesa

The Black Sea Ukrainian city of Odesa on May 19, 2022.
Oleksandr Gimanov | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine's air defense forces shot down six missiles over the southern region of Odesa region during another missile attack on the country Thursday.

"A missile attack was launched on Odesa region. The enemy launched Kalibr [missiles] from the Black Sea and used tactical aircraft, two Su-30 fired six air-based missiles," Odesa City Council said a Telegram post, adding that six missiles had been destroyed by air defense forces over the sea.

One missile struck a logistics facility, the council said, with one civilian injured in the attack. "The blast wave damaged the buildings of the surrounding enterprises," it said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Missiles, drones shot down over Kyiv and bodies pulled from wreckage in Vilniansk

Here's an update on those reports of shelling in several regions including the cities of Kyiv and Dnipro on Thursday:

Kyiv's military administration said four Russian missiles and five Shahed drones had been shot down over the city today. The head of military administration said air defense forces had "shot down several enemy objects targeting our critical infrastructure" but said "there are no hits in the region."  

"However, we have hits in other regions of Ukraine, which also affects our energy system. The situation with electricity in the region remains difficult. According to the decision of Ukrenergo, emergency power outages continue in the Kyiv region.  The duration of shutdowns depends on the security situation and the speed of infrastructure restoration," Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, rescue workers are also clearing debris following rocket attacks this morning that saw a residential building hit in the city of Vilniansk. The bodies of four dead people have been removed from the rubble, the emergency services said, and that there may be others in the building. "Four families — at least 8 people — lived in the house," the emergency services said on Facebook.

In the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine, 14 people, including one child, have been hospitalized after shelling this morning. One Twitter user posted a video showing damaged residential buildings, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

Tymoshenko posted a video of damaged buildings in Dnipro with air raid sirens sounding in the area. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video from Dnipro showing a blast on a busy road in the city. One of his advisors tweeted that Ukraine was experiencing a "missile sky" again.

— Holly Ellyatt

Mixed feelings in Poland about missile incident

Polish people have mixed feelings about Tuesday's missile strike that killed two citizens in a village near the border with Ukraine.

Some citizens have said they are now more concerned about Russia's invasion of Ukraine; while others noted that Tuesday's event was an unfortunate accident that could have happened earlier.

"Yes, I am more concerned now ... we are very close to it," a young female Polish worker told CNBC Thursday morning. "I just hope this [war] ends very soon," she added.

A man working at a hotel next to the Presidential Palace in Warsaw said: "There is a constant fear since February 24 [when Russia started its invasion of Ukraine]. I do not want an escalation."

The same citizen is hoping there will be increased protection across the Polish border. Germany reportedly announced it will send more airspace surveillance to Poland.

A woman offers Polish donuts to U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne at the old town March 07, 2022 in Przemysl, Poland.
Omar Marques | Getty Images

Poland, a NATO member since 1999, has seen one of the biggest military built-ups among the alliance's members. Data released by NATO back in July showed there are 122,500 Polish troops and 11,600 troops from other NATO allies stationed in the country. The United States leads NATO's battlegroup in Poland.

A 39-year-old Polish salesman told CNBC he is not more worried now than he was at the start of the week, arguing "it's war and these things happen."

— Silvia Amaro

Russia launches more missile strikes on Ukraine, energy network under attack

Ukraine has been hit by more Russian shelling Thursday morning with missile attacks being reported in the Kyiv region, as well as Odesa and Dnipro city in the south.

The region surrounding Kyiv was coming under fire, the head of the regional military administryion Oleksiy Kuleba warned Thursday, as he noted that "since the very morning, the enemy has been massively attacking Ukraine."

"Kyiv region - air defense works. The danger has not passed. We have information about the flight of rockets ... over the region," he said.

Burned balconies and broken load-bearing structures of a residential building are seen after a massive Russian attack on Kyiv on November 15, 2022.
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Office of the President, said Russian forces had shelled Dnipro this morning with several hits on two infrastructure facilities reported. One person was injured in the blasts, preliminary information said.

Elsewhere, the head of Odesa RMA Maksym Marchenko, said that Russia had launched a missile attack on an infrastructure facility in the southern port region.  "There is a threat of a massive missile attack on the entire territory of Ukraine.  I ask the residents of the region to stay in shelters," he said.

Russia's almost relentless attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure are seen as a central part of its war strategy, aiming to deprive Ukrainians of water, heat and power as winter weather sets in.

— Holly Ellyatt

UN Secretary General says Black Sea grain deal extended

The Malta-flagged bulk carrier Zante en route to Belgium transits the Bosporus carrying rapeseed from Ukraine after being held at the entrance of the Bosporus because Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain agreement, on Nov. 2, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images

The United Nations Secretary General said on Thursday he welcomed an agreement by all parties to extend the Black Sea grain deal to facilitate Ukraine's agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports.

— Reuters

Kyiv looks to 'crush' Russia as Moscow rains blows on Ukraine

The head of the Ukrainian President's Office, Andriy Yermak, said Thursday that Ukraine is looking to "crush" Russia and is withstanding "extremely difficult blows from the enemy."

"The enemy thinks that he will weaken our defense with strikes on energy and will be able to hit us in the back. This is a naive tactic of cowardly losers that we are ready for," Yermak said in a statement on Telegram.

"Ukraine has already withstood extremely difficult blows from the enemy, which did not have the results that these Russian cowards were counting on. We continue to move forward," Yermak said. "They won't succeed. We will crush them," he added.

Ukraine experienced a massive attack on its energy infrastructure on Tuesday with Kyiv claiming that Russia targeted it with around 100 cruise missiles, damaging energy infrastructure in several regions.

Ukraine's national energy company, and Energy Minister German Galushchenko, called the Russian attack on Ukraine's energy system the most massive attack in the country's history, and since the war started.

The U.K.'s Ministry of Defence said Thursday that Russia's relentless attacks on Ukraine's energy sector, which has left millions without power, are "drawing deeply upon Russia's reserves of conventional cruise missiles" with the degrading of Ukraine's national infrastructure becoming a key element of Russia's strategic approach to the campaign.

It said Tuesday's strikes were "likely the largest number of strikes that Russia has conducted in a single day since the first week of the invasion."

"Ukraine is facing a significant decrease in the power available from its national grid. This will impact upon civilian access to communications, heating and water supplies."

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says its forces were not to blame for Poland missile strike

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he had "no doubt" that Ukraine was not to blame for a missile strike that hit a Polish village on Tuesday evening, killing two people.

Zelenskyy said on Ukrainian TV Wednesday that his top military commanders had assured him that "it was not our missile and not our missile strike" that was the cause of the incident, which provoked an international furor and fears that a wider conflict between NATO and Russia could erupt.

"I have no doubt in [Tuesday's] report to me personally — from the Commander of the Air Force to Commander-in-Chief [Valery] Zaluzhny — that it was not our missile and not our missile strike," Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Kherson, Ukraine, on Nov. 14, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

He reiterated calls from Kyiv to provide it with access the site of the explosion, near the village of Przewodow in southeastern Poland and just 4 miles from the Ukrainian border, and for Ukraine to be part of a joint investigation being led by Poland and the U.S.

"I believe that we have the right to this. Is it possible not to announce the final conclusions until the investigation is completed? I think it is fair. If someone says that this is our rocket, should we be in a joint investigative group? I think we should, it is only fair."

NATO's initial assessment of the incident, which Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg briefed the press on Wednesday, essentially exonerated Ukraine, finding that while it appeared that a Ukrainian air defense missile had caused the blast in Poland, the incident had happened while Ukraine was defending itself against a barrage of Russian cruise missiles.

— Holly Ellyatt

More than 60 tortured bodies exhumed in recently liberated Kherson region, Ukraine says

Workers clean debris off of the street in front of a destroyed storage complex in the recently recaptured village of Archangelske in Kherson, Ukraine on 26 Oct. 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi said that 63 bodies of tortured residents were recovered in the recently liberated Kherson region. 

"The bodies of those who were tortured there are being exhumed. So far, 63 bodies have been discovered in the entire territory of Kherson region, but we must understand that the search has only begun," he said, according to an NBC translation.

Russia has previously said that its forces have not committed war crimes in Ukraine, which would include the torture and killing of civilians.

— Amanda Macias

Putin 'will try to freeze the country into submission,' U.S. Ambassador to U.N. says

New US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations on February 25, 2021 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations blamed Russia for the death of two citizens inside Poland's territory.

"While we still don't know all of the facts