Ukraine war live updates: Russia launches new missile strikes; Moldova’s government collapses

This is CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine. See below for the latest updates. 

Moldova's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said Friday that her government was resigning following a volatile 18 months in power and an ongoing war at its border.

Gavrilita did not say whether the decision was in direct response to the war between neighboring Ukraine and Russia.

The announcement came shortly after the country's defense ministry said a Russian missile violated its airspace and summoned its Russian envoy amid a fresh Russian assault on Ukraine.

Luhansk's governor has warned that Russia is readying to launch a major offensive in eastern Ukraine and is trying to break defenses in Kreminna.
Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

Explosions were heard across the Ukrainian capital Kyiv Friday, with missiles targeting several high-voltage facilities across the country and disrupting power supply.

Moscow is launching another major offensive focused primarily on eastern Ukraine, with Russian military attempting to break through defenses close to the town of Kreminna, the governor for the Luhansk region said.

The southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia was hit with at least 17 missiles in an hour, according to local officials, while Kharkiv also reported about 10 explosions and said power had been cut in some areas.

Elsewhere, the Central Bank of Russia on Friday left its key interest rate unchanged at 7.5% per annum, citing stronger-than-expected economic activity trends.

That follows an announcement by Moscow that it would cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day in March after the West slapped price caps on Russian oil and oil products.

Four ships leave Ukrainian ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

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

Four vessels carrying more than 178,000 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from the country said.

The ships are destined for Spain and Kenya and are carrying wheat and corn.

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.

So far, more than 690 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

Russian oil price cap continues to meet objectives, G7 official says

Bloomberg | Getty Images

The price cap on Russian oil continues to meet objectives and any Russian production cuts will disproportionately hurt developing countries, a G7 price cap coalition official said.

The official also said public reporting shows a significant amount of Russian seaborne oil has been shipped via price cap-compliant tankers and that it was important not to take Russian comments on oil production cut at face value.

Earlier on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russia said it will cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day, or around 5% of output in March. The move comes after the West imposed price caps on Russian oil and oil products.

— Reuters

Biden will head to Poland ahead of one year anniversary in Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden boards Air Force One for return travel to Washington, at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, U.S., January 23, 2023. 
Ken Cedeno | Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Poland later this month and deliver remarks ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The White House said Biden, who will travel on Feb. 20, will also meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss ways to continue supporting Kyiv.

National security council spokesman John Kirby declined to say if Biden will stop in Ukraine while visiting Poland.

— Amanda Macias

Emergency blackouts are in effect across most regions, Ukrainian energy minister says

Utility man on the platform of a cherry picker truck repairs electricity on January 15, 2023 in Dnipro, Ukraine.
Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine's Minister of Energy German Galushchenko said that Russia's recent massive missile and drone attack has caused damage to energy facilities in six different regions of Ukraine.

Galushchenko added on Facebook that emergency blackouts are now in effect across most regions of Ukraine.

Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian forces launched 70 missiles across Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Russia has lost half of its main battle tanks in Ukraine, U.S. official says

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian troops on the side of a road in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022.
Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said Russia's military is believed to have lost half of its main battle tanks in Ukraine.

"Russia's conventional, especially ground capabilities have been significantly degraded," Wallander told an audience at the Center for a New American Security, or CNAS, a Washington-based think-tank.

Wallander said the U.S. estimates Russian forces have suffered tens of thousands" of casualties. She previously served as former President Barack Obama's Russia expert on his National Security Council and currently holds one of the most far-reaching Pentagon policy roles under President Joe Biden.

"That said, Russia retains a defense industrial base ... Russia has also drawn upon partnerships that it has to fill in some of the gaps, most notably Iran," Wallander said in a discussion with CNAS senior fellow Becca Wasser.

"I think that we need to be mindful of the fact that as Russia continues to suffer losses in Ukraine, it is also learning how to adapt. It is learning both technically and operationally and somewhat strategically," Wallander added.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy reiterates calls to ban Russian athletes from participating in Olympic Games

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

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated calls to ban Russian athletes from competing in the Olympic Games.

"228 Ukrainian athletes and coaches died during the year of Russian aggression against Ukraine," Zelenskyy said in an address to the nation.

Zelenskyy juxtaposed the terror in his country with the upcoming games by saying, "if the Olympic sports were killings and missile strikes, then you know which national team would occupy the first place."

The Ukrainian president said that Russian forces fired at least 70 missiles at civilian infrastructure in the early morning hours on Friday.

— Amanda Macias

More than 8 million Ukrainians have become refugees from Russia's war

Families hold bags as they wait to board a train at Kramatorsk central station as they flee the eastern city of Kramatorsk, in the Donbass region on April 5, 2022.
Fadel Senna | AFP | Getty Images

More than 8 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.

Nearly 4.8 million of those people have applied for temporary resident status in neighboring Western European countries, according to data collected by the agency.

"The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," the U.N. Refugee Agency wrote.

— Amanda Macias

WHO records more than 760 attacks on vital health services in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion

Members of the Ukrainian military receive treatment for concussions and light injuries from Ukrainian military medics at a frontline field hospital on May 10, 2022 in Popasna, Ukraine.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, there have been at least 764 attacks on vital health services in the country, the World Health Organization's Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care estimates.

The organization reports that healthcare facilities were damaged 678 times, ambulances were targeted in 98 cases and at least 191 attacks affected crucial medical supplies. The group also estimated that attacks on health services led to at least 100 deaths and 131 injuries.

The Kremlin has previously denied that it targets civilian infrastructure like hospitals, schools and apartment buildings.

— Amanda Macias

Treasury holds meeting with international partners on strengthening Russian sanctions

Wally Adeyemo, deputy U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo hosted a group of experts from more than 30 countries to discuss international sanctions and export controls on Russia for its war in Ukraine.

"Adeyemo shared that in the weeks and months ahead, Treasury will increase its focus on countering sanctions evasion, including by targeting facilitators and third-country providers that may wittingly or unwittingly help Russia replenish the supplies and material it desperately needs to support its military," the Treasury wrote in a readout of the meeting.

In the weeks after Russia's invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbor, Washington and its allies have imposed rounds of coordinated sanctions vaulting Russia past Iran and North Korea as the world's most-sanctioned country.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy calls Russian missiles over Moldova, Romania a challenge to NATO

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian missiles which crossed Moldovan airspace and narrowly skirted NATO member Romania Friday were a challenge to the military alliance.

"The enemy launched at least 70 rockets in another massive attack [on Ukraine] this morning," Zelenskyy said in a video posted on the Telegram messaging app.

"Several Russian missiles passed through the airspace of Moldova and Romania. These missiles are a challenge to NATO and collective security. This is terror that can and must be stopped," he added.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian missiles target Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia in eastern assault

Russia launched a fresh string of attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure in the cities of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia on Friday as the country's officials warned that a long-awaited Russian offensive was underway.

The southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia was hit with at least 17 missiles in an hour, acting mayor Anatolii Kurtiev said.

Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov also reported about 10 explosions and said power had been cut in some areas.

Ukrainian citizens take shelter inside a metro station during a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 10, 2023.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

It comes amid a wider assault on the country's energy infrastructure Friday, with high-voltage facilities hit and electricity supplies shut down across various parts of the country.

Air raid sirens blared across the country during the morning rush hour and local officials urged civilians to take shelter.

Air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat told Ukrainian television that Ukrainian air defenses had shot down five of seven drones and five out of six Kaliber missiles.

Still, the air force said Russia had launched 35 S-300 missiles at the Kharkiv and Zaporizhizhia regions, which they were unable to shoot down.

— Karen Gilchrist

Zelenskyy tells of Russian efforts to undermine Moldova's government

Zelenskyy warned Moldova of Russia's attempts to undermine its government, he told EU leaders Thursday.

The Ukrainian president's statement in Brussels came a day before Moldova's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said Friday that her government was resigning.

"I recently spoke with the President of Moldova, Mrs. Sandu. I informed her about what our intelligence has managed to intercept. A detailed Russian plan to undermine the political situation in Moldova," Zelenskyy said.

"A Russian document that shows who, when and through what actions was going to break Moldova. To break the democratic order of this country and establish their control over it," he continued.

"I did not hesitate for a single minute when I received this document and heard about its origin. I immediately warned about all these threats. I warned Moldova to protect it. And each of you would have done the same, each of you."

Zelenskyy added that it was not clear whether Moscow gave an order to act according to this plan against Moldova. However, he said that his intelligence agencies recognized the plans as "exactly what they had already tried to do against Ukraine and against other states."

— Karen Gilchrist

Moldova prime minister announces resignation

Moldova's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita has said her government is resigning after a volatile 18 months in power.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Moldova's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said Friday that her government was resigning following a volatile 18 months in power and an ongoing war at its border.

"I believe in the Moldovan people. I believe in Moldova. I believe that we will be able to make it through all the difficulties and challenges," Gavrilita, who assumed the post in August 2021, told a news briefing.

She did not say whether the decision was in direct response to the war between neighboring Ukraine and Russia. It comes hours after Moldova's defense ministry said a Russian missile had violated its airspace.

Moldova has faced economic upheaval and an influx of refugees since Moscow's invasion last year. It has also suffered a string of power cuts amid Russian air strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Still, the country's acceptance last year as an EU membership candidate was seen as a triumph for President Maia Sandu.

— Karen Gilchrist

Germany warns of lessons from Russia amid Chinese trade deficit

Germany's finance minister warned Friday that Germany should learn from its experience with Russia amid a growing trade deficit with China.

Christian Lindner described the more-than doubling of Germany's trade deficit with China in 2022 as a "dangerous development," adding that the country should be cautious about allowing excessive dependences to build up.

— Karen Gilchrist

Romania says Russian missile narrowly avoided its border

Romania's defense ministry said a Russian missile narrowly avoided its border after entering Moldovan airspace amid a new assault on Ukraine.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A Russian missile launched off a ship near Crimea on Friday crossed into Moldovan airspace before hitting Ukraine, skirting the northeast border of NATO state Romania by 35 kilometers, Romania's defense ministry said.

"The Romanian Air Force's surveillance system detected on Friday an air target, most likely a cruise missile launched from a Russian ship in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula," the ministry said in a statement.

"The closest the target trajectory got to Romania's airspace was recorded by the radar at roughly 35 kms northeast of the border," it added.

Ukraine's top general said Friday morning that two Kaliber missiles launched from the Black Sea had entered Moldovan airspace and flown into Romanian airspace before entering Ukraine.

Moldova later confirmed its airspace had been violated. Russia has yet to respond to the comments.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian central bank holds rates, citing persistent inflation risks

The headquarters of Russia's central bank in Moscow on Feb. 28, 2022. The Bank of Russia cut rates six times in 2022, taking its key rate from 20% to 7.5%.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Central Bank of Russia on Friday left its key interest rate unchanged at 7.5% per annum, citing lingering inflationary risks and stronger-than-expected economic activity trends.

The bank cut rates six times in 2022, taking the key rate from 20% following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February to 7.5% in September, holding it steady since.

The Bank said current price growth rates were increasing, but "remaining moderate in terms of sustainable components," and that "inflation expectations of households and businesses edged down but remain elevated."

"Economic activity trends evolve better than the Bank of Russia's October forecast. Although households' consumer behavior is still cautious, there appear signs of recovery in consumer activity," the CBR said.

"Accelerating fiscal spending, deteriorating terms of foreign trade and situation in the labor market intensify pro-inflation risks."

The Russian economy is undergoing a structural transformation as the Kremlin looks to minimize the impact of economic sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine.

Given the uncertainties surrounding the economic outlook, the CBR's baseline scenario forecasts GDP growth of between -1% and 1% in 2023 and 0.5% to 2.5% in 2024. These projections are notably higher than consensus among global economists.

— Elliot Smith

Moldova says Russian missile entered airspace

Moldova has said a Russian missile violated its airspace amid a fresh assault on Ukraine.
Ucg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Moldova said a Russian missile entered its airspace on Friday morning, condemning the action and urgently summoning the Russian ambassador.

"The Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the responsible structures of the country, closely monitors the situation in the region and strongly condemns the violation of the airspace of Moldova," the defense ministry said.

"We resolutely reject the latest unfriendly actions and statements against Moldova, which is absolutely unacceptable for our people. We call on the Russian Federation to stop military aggression against a neighboring country, leading to numerous human casualties and material damage," it added.

Russia has not yet commented on the claims.

— Karen Gilchrist

Zelenskyy to discuss Russia's involvement in Paris Olympics

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Zelenskyy will address a summit on Friday to discuss Russia's participation in next year's Paris Olympics amid warnings that his country may boycott the Games.

The Ukrainian president will make a video address to more than 30 countries currently considering how to respond to the prospect of Russian and Belarusian athletes competing at the sporting event.

The International Olympic Committee has said there are no plans for a delegation from either country to be present at Paris 2024. However, it added that it will "explore as pathway" for athletes from the two nations to compete under strict conditions as neutrals.

Ukraine's Sports Minister Vadym Guttsait, who is also president of its Olympic Committee, said the country could boycott the Games if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin to deliver anniversary parliamentary address on Feb. 21

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to deliver his annual address to the federal assembly on Feb. 21.
Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to deliver his annual address to the federal assembly on Feb. 21, the Kremlin said Friday.

The date marks exactly one year since Russia recognized the two breakaway Ukrainian states of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states — a key precursor to Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The federal assembly is a joint meeting of Russia's two houses of parliament.

— Karen Gilchrist

Kyiv says two Russian missiles crossed into Moldova and Romania

Ukraine said two Russian missiles crossed over into Moldova and Romania Friday during a fresh assault by Moscow.

The commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said Kaliber missiles launched from the Black Sea entered Moldovan airspace and flew into Romanian airspace before entering Ukraine.

The Ukrainska Pravda media outlet also quoted Zaluzhnyi as saying separately that Ukraine did not shoot down the missiles so as not to endanger civilians in foreign countries, according to Reuters.

The reports could not be immediately verified, nor did Russia immediately comment.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine renews calls for fighter jets and missiles following fresh attacks

Russian missile strikes across Ukraine prompted fresh calls for fighter jets and long-range weapons Friday.

Ukraine's presidential advisor said Friday there had been "enough talk" and it was now time for Western allies to respond to Kyiv's requests.

"Russia has been striking at Ukrainian cities all night & morning," Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. "Enough talk (and) political hesitation. Only fast key decisions: long-range missiles, fighter jets, operational supplies logistics for Ukraine."

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia to cut oil output by 500,000 barrels per day

Russia announced that it would cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day in March after the West slapped price caps on Russian oil and oil products.
Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Russia said Friday it will cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day — around 5% of output — in March following Western leaders' move to implement price caps.

"As of today, we are fully selling the entire volume of oil produced, however, as stated earlier, we will not sell oil to those who directly or indirectly adhere to the principles of the 'price cap'," Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said.

"In this regard, Russia will voluntarily reduce production by 500,000 barrels per day in March. This will contribute to the restoration of market relations," Novak added.

The Group of Seven, European Union and Australia agreed to price caps on Russian oil and oil products from December.

— Karen Gilchrist

Explosions in Kyiv as Russian missiles hit Ukraine's power grid

Explosions were heard in Kyiv Friday morning as high-voltage facilities across the country were hit by Russian missile attacks, according to reports from officials.

Ukraine's power operator Ukrenergo said several facilities in eastern, southern and western Ukraine had been hit, disrupting power supply.

In Kharkiv, the largest city in eastern Ukraine, an infrastructure facility was hit, with power outages likely, the city's major said.

The energy operator said Ukraine's grid had been attacked with drones and missiles, targeting power stations and transmission facilities.

— Karen Gilchrist

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