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Biden to visit Poland; Moscow seen moving troops into east Ukraine ahead of expected offensive

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Feb.7, 2023. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukraine is focused on preparing for a much-anticipated, large-scale Russian offensive that's expected to be concentrated on the east of the country.

The Ukrainian governor of the mainly Russian-occupied Luhansk province in the east of the country warned Monday that Russia is moving troops into eastern Ukraine ahead of its anticipated action, saying "we are seeing more and more (Russian) reserves being deployed in our direction, we are seeing more equipment being brought in."

"They bring ammunition that is used differently than before - it is not round-the-clock shelling anymore. They are slowly starting to save, getting ready for a full-scale offensive," Governor Serhiy Haidai told Ukrainian television.

A Ukrainian soldier in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on Feb. 6, 2023.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian officials believe Russia could begin its offensive in the next two weeks, with one official telling the Financial Times the offensive could begin by Feb. 15. Last week, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Kyiv expected it could be launched around the first anniversary of the war, on Feb. 24.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that the country must now spend every day preparing for the Russian offensive that's likely aimed at seizing the entire eastern Donbas region.

UN says more than 7,100 killed in Ukraine since start of war

An elderly man walks among the graves of unidentified people, killed during Russian occupation, who were reburied from a mass grave in the small Ukrainian town of Bucha, near Kyiv, on January 12, 2023.
Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed at least 7,155 deaths and 11,662 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor nearly a year ago.

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.

"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 international organization wrote in a release.

— Amanda Macias

Russian team should not be allowed at 2024 Games in Paris if war continues, city's mayor says

The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Paul Gilham | Getty Images

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says there should be no Russian delegation allowed at the Paris Olympics next year if Moscow continues its war against Ukraine.

Hidalgo previously said Russian competitors could take part under a neutral flag but she backpedaled on Tuesday in an interview with French media France Info.

Acknowledging that a final decision belongs to the International Olympic Committee, Hidalgo said she wishes Russian athletes will be banned "as long as there is this war, this Russian aggression on Ukraine."

"It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation that comes to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine."

Hidalgo's comments came after Ukraine's sports minister last week renewed a threat to boycott the games if Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete and said Kyiv would lobby others to join.

No nation has so far declared it will boycott the 2024 Summer Games. But Ukraine won support from Poland, the Baltic nations and Denmark, who pushed back against an IOC plan to allow delegations from Russia and ally Belarus to compete in Paris as "neutral athletes" without flags or anthems.

— Associated Press

Associate of sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg indicted for sanctions evasion and money laundering

Viktor Vekselberg, Russian billionaire, pauses during a panel session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forumin St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, June 7, 2019.
Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Federal prosecutors charged a Russian citizen living in the United States with attempting to help sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg evade sanctions.

According to court documents unsealed in New York, Vladimir Voronchenko participated in a "scheme to make over $4 million in U.S. dollar payments to maintain four real properties in the United States that were owned by Viktor Vekselberg."

Vekselberg was most recently sanctioned by the United States in the weeks after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. He was previously designated in 2018 for his role in supporting the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea.

Voronchenko, 70, attempted to sell two of those four properties on Vekselberg's behalf; a Park Avenue apartment in New York City and a Southampton estate. Voronchenko also worked to conceal the ownership of Vekselberg's luxury properties.

The case is the latest operation carried out by the Department of Justice task force, dubbed KleptoCapture, aimed at depriving Russian oligarchs of assets and other tools used to evade sanctions.

— Amanda Macias

Russian court upholds shutting top independent newspaper

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, holds up a copy of his paper after the conclusion of bidding during a charity auction at The Times Center on June 20, 2022 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

A court in Moscow upheld an earlier verdict to revoke the license of a top independent newspaper that has been critical of the Kremlin for years, part of the authorities' relentless crackdown on dissent.

The ruling by the Moscow City Court against Novaya Gazeta, which was Russia's most renowned independent newspaper until the authorities ordered it shut last year, comes as Russia's grinding military campaign in Ukraine approaches its one-year mark.

The court rejected Novaya Gazeta's appeal against September's ruling by a district court in Moscow that approved a petition by Russia's media regulator to revoke Novaya Gazeta's license. The regulator accused the newspaper of failing to submit its newsroom charter to authorities on time, the claim that Novaya Gazeta rejected as a cover for what it described as the authorities' effort to muzzle an independent voice.

Dmitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize-winning editor-in-chief of the newspaper, denounced Tuesday's ruling, saying that it "serves a bunch of people who want to leave the nation facing only propaganda."

Days after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Kremlin-controlled parliament approved legislation that outlawed alleged disparaging of the Russian military or the spread of "false information" about the country's military campaign in Ukraine.

Dozens of Russian independent media outlets were banned as a result, while others announced that they were halting any reporting related to Ukraine.

— Associated Press

Zelenskyy sends aid and rescue workers to Turkey following devastating earthquakes

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (R) in Lviv, Ukraine on August 18, 2022.
Turkish Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following devastating twin earthquakes.

Zelenskyy told his Turkish counterpart that he will provide humanitarian aid to Turkey to help with the emergency situation in the country caused by the earthquakes. He also said that a group of Ukrainian rescuers and the necessary equipment will also be sent to help the people of Turkey.

"Ukrainian specialists have relevant experience in overcoming the consequences of natural disasters and will arrive in the affected regions as soon as possible. They will help with the whole range of work on the recovery from the earthquake," Zelenskyy told Erdogan, according to a Ukrainian readout of the call.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine's defense minister thanks German counterpart for Leopard 2 tanks

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Twitter that the first Leopard 2 tank arrived in Kyiv, holding a small acrylic box with a model of the German-made weapon.

"Thank you to Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz my colleague Boris Pistorius and the German people. The tank coalition is marching ... to victory!"

Last month, Scholz decided to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks and "quickly assemble two tank battalions." The country will supply 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks in what it called a "first step."

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine's parliament taps new Minister of Interior following deadly helicopter crash

Newly appointed Ukraine's Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko looks on during a session of Ukrainian parliament, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 7, 2023.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukraine's parliament appointed Ihor Klymenko as the country's new Minister of Interior after a deadly helicopter crash last month killed the previous minister as well as several other Ukrainian officials.

Klymenko was previously serving as the acting interior minister on the heels of the helicopter accident. He previously served as head of Ukraine's national police.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainians lay flowers at the Turkish embassy in Kyiv following twin earthquakes

Flowers and toys laid are seen in front of the Turkish Embassy building in Kyiv, Ukraine after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit Turkiye's Kahramanmaras, on February 07, 2023.  Getty Images)
Danylo Antoniuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainians leave flowers and notes in front of the Turkish Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine after twin earthquakes rocked southeastern Turkey and northern Syria.

Authorities have previously given an estimated death toll of 5,000 people but have added that the loss of life could rise as rescue crews work to find survivors buried in the rubble.

Turkey declared seven days of national mourning.

A woman leaves flowers in front of the Turkish Embassy building in Kyiv, Ukraine after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit Turkiye's Kahramanmaras, on February 07, 2023. 
Danylo Antoniuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A Turkish flag at half-mast in front of the Turkish Embassy building in Kyiv, Ukraine after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit Turkiye's Kahramanmaras, on February 07, 2023. 
Danylo Antoniuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A man crosses himself as lays flowers outside the Turkish embassy in Kyiv on February 7, 2023, to pay tribute to the victims of a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, killing at least 4,800 people and flattening thousands of buildings.
Dimitar Dilkoff | Afp | Getty Images
Women light candles outside the Turkish Embassy in Kyiv on February 7, 2023, to pay tribute to the victims of a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, killing at least 4,800 people and flattening thousands of buildings.
Dimitar Dilkoff | Afp | Getty Images

— Danylo Antoniuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Biden expected to travel to Poland in support of Ukraine, sources tell NBC News

US President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One upon arrival at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware on October 27, 2022.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to travel to Poland this month to mark the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, three people familiar with the planning told NBC NEWS.

The sources added that the trip is still under discussion and the itinerary could change.

Since Russia's invasion, the Biden administration has committed more than $29 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, according to figures provided by the Pentagon.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova will attend the State of the Union as a guest of first lady Jill Biden

U.S. first lady Jill Biden applauds her guest Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova in the first lady's box as President Joe Biden welcomes Markarova during his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, U.S. March 1, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Ukraine's U.S. Ambassador Oksana Markarova will attend the State of the Union as a guest of first lady Jill Biden.

Markarova joined the first lady in her viewing box last year and received a standing ovation after President Joe Biden called for a show of solidarity with Ukraine.

Markarova, who is Ukraine's former Minister of Finance, has served as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's top diplomat in the United States since 2021.

— Amanda Macias

Russian forces trying to break through Ukraine's defenses around Bakhmut

Ukrainian servicemen make a trench near Bakhmut on Feb. 1, 2023, as they prepare for a Russian offensive in the area.
Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images

Russian troops are attempting to push through Ukraine's defenses in the Bakhmut and Lyman area but are suffering large losses, according to an update by Ukraine's Ground Forces on Facebook Tuesday.

"Ukrainian defenders are heroically repelling the attacks of the Russian occupiers along the entire lin