Russians are angry over deadly Ukrainian strike; Zelenskyy says Moscow aims to 'exhaust' Ukraine with attacks

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on January 3, 2023. See here for the latest updates. 

Russian anger is rising over a deadly Ukrainian strike that killed dozens and perhaps hundreds of Moscow's soldiers, and some lawmakers are demanding punishment for commanders they say put troops in danger.

The Russia-Ukraine war is unlikely to end in the foreseeable future, analyst says
The Russia-Ukraine war is unlikely to end in the foreseeable future: Analyst

Ukrainians on Tuesday woke to news of more Russian attacks that took place overnight. It was the third consecutive night of strikes since New Year's Eve, in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Moscow's attempt to "exhaust" his country with prolonged offensives.

Ukraine's armed forces say that they shot the majority of Russia's Iranian-made Shahed drones out of the sky in the opening days of 2023. Some NATO members look to turn current military spending targets for the group into minimum requirements.

Moscow’s invasion is likely to inflict long-term economic decline on Russia

Ukraine war: Moscow's invasion likely to inflict long-term economic decline on Russia
Ukraine war: Moscow's invasion likely to inflict economic decline on Russia

Moscow thought it would emerge from the Ukraine invasion with a bigger role on the global stage. But it's growing more isolated and looks likely to face a long-term economic decline. CNBC's Ted Kemp reports.

Zelenskyy thanks Pelosi for her leadership on Ukraine war

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky receives from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) a US national flag during his address to the US Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on December 21, 2022.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she gave up the gavel running the Democratic caucus to a new generation of leaders.

The 118th Congress was sworn in earlier in the day and with that a new party leader for Democrats in the House. Republicans won control of the chamber in November, and Democrats chose Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York to run the caucus. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was vying to replace Pelosi, but lawmakers have yet to choose a new leader as the chamber weighed in on a third round of votes.

"Thank you Nancy Pelosi for being a strong supporter of the Ukrainian people, and for your leadership in making historic decisions of the U.S. Congress on helping Ukraine's fight for freedom and independence!" Zelenskyy said over his official Telegram social media account.

Pelosi led a secret congressional delegation to Ukraine in April, where she pledged Zelenskyy her support "until the fight is done."

— Dawn Kopecki

Russians angry at commanders over Ukrainian strike that killed scores

Soldiers of the 59th brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fire grad missiles on Russian positions in Russia-occupied Donbas region on December 30, 2022 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Russia has tried to expand its control there since it invaded Ukraine.
Pierre Crom | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian nationalists and some lawmakers have demanded punishment for commanders they accused of ignoring dangers as anger grew over the killing of dozens of Russian soldiers in one of the deadliest strikes of the Ukraine conflict.

In a rare disclosure, Russia's defense ministry said 63 soldiers were killed in the Ukrainian strike on New Year's Eve that destroyed a temporary barracks in a vocational college in Makiivka, twin city of the Russian-occupied regional capital of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Russian critics said the soldiers were being housed alongside an ammunition dump at the site, which the Russian defense ministry said was hit by four rockets fired from U.S.-made HIMARS launchers.

TV footage showed a huge building reduced to rubble as cranes and bulldozers picked through concrete debris lying several feet deep.

Ukraine and some Russian nationalist bloggers put the Makiivka death toll in the hundreds, though pro-Russian officials say those estimates are exaggerated.

Rallies to commemorate the dead were held in several Russian cities, including Samara, where some came from, RIA Novosti news agency reported. Mourners laid flowers in the center of Samara.

"I haven't slept for three days, Samara hasn't slept. We are constantly in touch with the wives of our guys. It's very hard and scary. But we can't be broken. Grief unites ... We will not forgive, and, definitely, victory will be ours," RIA quoted Yekaterina Kolotovkina, a representative of a women's council at an army unit, as telling one of the rallies.

— Reuters

Russia oil price cap causes Italy's household gas prices to soar

Several European countries including Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and France have announced new LNG projects or the expansion to existing ones in response to shutdown of Russian gas pipelines.
Michael Sohn | Afp | Getty Images

The price paid by an average Italian household for its gas supply rose by 64.8% in 2022 versus the previous year, national energy authority ARERA said, underlining the impact of the war in Ukraine on family finances.

ARERA, which sets regulated gas prices for Italian consumers, also said the price for December rose 23.3% from the previous month, reflecting high prices in early December before a dip later in the month.

An average family would have spent around 1,866 euros ($1,968.63) on gas last year, it estimated.

ARERA late last year started setting regulated gas prices on a monthly rather than quarterly basis due to market uncertainty related to gas supplies on the back of the war in Ukraine.

European Union countries agreed in December to cap gas prices to try to limit further rises on the market, which hit record levels in Europe after Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to the disruption of supplies.

— Reuters

Russia, shaken by Ukrainian strike, could step up drone use

Russian emergency workers remove the rubble of vocational school 19 destroyed by shelling in Makeevka, Donetsk People's Republic, Russia. The armed forces of Ukraine attacked the vocational school building in Makeyevka of the Donetsk People's Republic from the HIMARS MLRS on December 31 to January 1.
Sputnik via AP

Emergency crews sifted through the rubble of a building struck by Ukrainian rockets, killing at least 63 Russian soldiers barracked there, in the latest blow to the Kremlin's war strategy as Ukraine says Moscow's tactics could be shifting.

An Associated Press video of the scene in Makiivka, a town in the partially Russian-occupied eastern Donetsk region, showed five cranes and emergency workers removing big chunks of concrete under a clear blue sky.

In the attack, which apparently happened last weekend, Ukrainian forces fired rockets from a U.S.-provided HIMARS multiple launch system, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.

It was one of the deadliest attacks on the Kremlin's forces since the war began more than 10 months ago and an embarrassment that stirred renewed criticism inside Russia of the way the war is being conducted.

The Russian statement Monday about the attack provided few other details. Other, unconfirmed reports put the death toll much higher.

The Strategic Communications Directorate of Ukraine's armed forces claimed Sunday that around 400 mobilized Russian soldiers were killed in a vocational school building in Makiivka and about 300 more were wounded. That claim couldn't be independently verified. The Russian statement said the strike occurred "in the area of Makiivka" and didn't mention the vocational school.

— Reuters

Russia unlikely to achieve a military breakthrough in Bakhmut in the coming weeks: UK MoD

A vehicle is seen destroyed at an electricity repair depot on December 17, 2022 in Bakhmut, Ukraine.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russia is unlikely to achieve a breakthrough in terms of gaining territory in Ukraine's eastern city of Bakhmut, the UK's Ministry of Defence believes. The beleaguered city, ravaged by shelling, is in Ukraine's Donetsk oblast, much of which is occupied by Russia.

"In mid-December, Russian military and Wagner proxy forces likely increased the frequency of their infantry assaults around the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut," the ministry wrote in its daily intelligence update on Twitter. "However, many of these operations were poorly supported."

"Over the last ten days, Ukraine has committed significant reinforcements to defend the sector and the frequency of Russian assaults have likely reduced from the peak in mid-December," it continued, adding that both sides have suffered tremendous casualties.

"Russian offensive operations in the area are now likely being conducted at only platoon or section level," the ministry wrote. "It is unlikely Russia will achieve a significant breakthrough near Bakhmut in the coming weeks."

— Natasha Turak

Zelenskyy holds phone call with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke by phone with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak, during which time the two spoke about "concrete decisions" on defense cooperation, Zelenskyy wrote in a Twitter post.

"Together with prime minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak, we discussed further defense cooperation. We agreed to intensify our efforts to bring victory closer this year already. We already have concrete decisions for this," he wrote.

— Natasha Turak

Ukrainian officials describe Russian military equipment destroyed in Donetsk strike

Up to 10 units of Russian military equipment were damaged or destroyed during a strike on Russian-occupied Makiivka in Donetsk, the general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said in a statement. While Ukraine does not generally claim official responsibility for attacks on Russian-controlled territory, the general staff of the armed forces wrote on its Facebook page: "Up to 10 units of enemy military equipment of various types were destroyed and damaged in the area of concentration in the settlement of Makiivka, Donetsk oblast."

CNBC could not independently verify the information. Moscow says the attack led to 63 soldier deaths and comprised four rockets fired from U.S.-made HIMARS, which hit an ammunition dump that was in the same building as its troops housing. Ukraine claims the death toll is in the hundreds.

— Natasha Turak

Joint Ukraine-EU summit planned for next month in Kyiv

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attend a joint statement, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 11, 2022. 
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters

The EU and Ukraine will hold a summit in Kyiv on Feb. 3 focused on military and financial assistance, nearly one year since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of the country.

"The parties discussed expected results of the next Ukraine-EU summit to be held on 3 February in Kyiv and agreed to intensify preparatory work," said a statement from the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It was read after he spoke with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

Zelenskyy said the first EU tranche of macro-financial aid for Ukraine — a package of 18 billion euros ($19 billion) — will arrive in January. He thanked Von der Leyen, saying the EU's financial support "is extremely important right now, when Russia is trying to gather new forces for aggression."

— Natasha Turak

NATO to discuss increasing military spending requirements: Stoltenberg

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the plenary session of the third day of the 68th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly in the Auditorium Ground Floor Room at the Hotel Melia Castilla, Nov. 21, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.
Alberta Ortego | Europa Press | Getty Images

NATO members plan to discuss military spending requirements in the coming months as some countries call for the current 2% target for each country to become the minimum contribution level, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was quoted as saying by German media.

"Some allies are strongly in favour of turning the current 2% target into a minimum," German outlet DPA reported Stoltenberg as saying in an interview.

"We will meet, we will have ministerial meetings, we will have talks in capitals," Stoltenberg said, adding that he would lead the negotiations.

The next NATO general meeting will take place on July 11-12 in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, by which time Stoltenberg said he aims to reach an agreement.

— Natasha Turak

Russia aims to 'exhaust' Ukraine with continued attacks, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy slammed a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a temporary cease-fire during Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.
Ukrinform | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Russia aims to "exhaust" Ukraine with a prolonged stream of attacks across the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

"We must ensure - and we will do everything for this - that this goal of terrorists fails like all the others," he said. "Now is the time when everyone involved in the protection of the sky should be especially attentive."

Russian strikes on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure have ramped up of late, marking three consecutive nights of bombardment in the latest stream of attacks that began on New Year's Eve. The strikes target Ukraine's energy facilities in particular, leaving millions of people without heating and power amid the bitter winter cold.

Russian forces are increasingly leaning on deadly Iranian-made Shahed drones, which have wrought havoc on Ukraine's cities. Zelenskyy said that Ukrainian air defenses shot down more than 80 of such drones in the first days of January.

— Natasha Turak

Russian anger at its commanders over troop deaths from Ukraine attack

Russia made a rare public acknowledgment of human loss after dozens of soldiers were killed in a Ukrainian strike on a temporary barracks in Russian-occupied Donetsk on New Year's Eve.

Russian emergency workers remove the rubble of vocational school 19 destroyed by shelling in Makeevka, Donetsk People's Republic, Russia. The armed forces of Ukraine attacked the vocational school building in Makeyevka of the Donetsk People's Republic from the HIMARS MLRS on December 31 to January 1.
Sputnik via AP

Its admission that 63 soldiers were killed — a figure that CNBC has not been able to independently confirm, but that Kyiv officials claim is much higher — signifies one of the most brazen Ukrainian moves in the war to date. It has stoked public anger in Russia, with calls that commanders who allegedly put their troops in danger be punished.

Russian military bloggers said the barracks, situated in the city of Makiivka, were in the same building as a large ammunition storage dump, and that commanders knew it was in the range of Ukraine's rockets, Reuters reported. The amount of stored ammunition is believed to have caused the high level of destruction.

Russia's defense ministry said the attack was carried out with four rockets fired by HIMARS launchers, which are made and provided to Ukraine by the U.S. Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack, as is typical when the attack is on Russian-controlled land.

Ukraine's Armed Forces described the Makiivka attack as "a strike on Russian manpower and military equipment."

— Natasha Turak