Wagner leader says his forces will leave Bakhmut; Bill Clinton says he foreshadowed Russian invasion

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

Russia's Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin made the dramatic announcement that his forces would abandon their positions in the embattled city of Bakhmut, the site of the Ukraine war's longest and bloodiest battle, on May 10 due to a lack of ammunition.

Prigozhin lambasted Russian defense officials in a video where he stood surrounded by the dead bodies of Russian troops, blaming the officials for the deaths of the men. It is yet to be seen whether Wagner will stick to its stated plan.

Sergey Lavrov once again pinned Wednesday's attempted drone attack on the Kremlin on the United States and Kyiv, saying that any self-respecting country should stop communicating with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at this point.

Ukraine says the drone attack was staged by Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian officials have warned that high water levels at a dam near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could threaten the plant, which is Europe's largest of its kind. A rupture of the dam would create "functional problems for the operation of the plant and risks for nuclear safety," a Russian nuclear energy advisor said.

Yellen expected to galvanize G7 members next week as Russia's war drags on

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen arrives to deliver remarks at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) on April 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to call on members of the world's largest economies to coordinate financial actions in regard to Russia's war in Ukraine.

Yellen, who will attend the G7 Finance Ministers and central bank governors meeting in Japan, will ask her counterparts to continue their commitment to Ukraine while holding Russia to account, according to a release from the Treasury Department.

Yellen is also expected to give an update on the G7 coalition price cap on Russian energy.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy meets with investment company BlackRock to discuss efforts to restore Ukraine's economy

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a session of Ukrainian parliament, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 7, 2023. 
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with the management of the U.S.-investment company BlackRock.

"The parties discussed the details of the creation of an investment fund to restore the economy of Ukraine with the involvement of public and private capital," according to a readout of the meeting provided by Kyiv.

BlackRock agreed to support services related to Ukraine's Development Fund, an initiative aimed at galvanizing private and public capital for large-scale business projects in Ukraine.

"It is a historic moment if not the greatest opportunity to unite the private and public sectors at a time when technological innovation can become a catalyst for further development," said Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman of BlackRock, according to Kyiv.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy meets with bipartisan lawmakers in Ukraine

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky pictured during a meeting with De Croo and Rutte (both not pictured) a meeting regarding the situation in Ukraine and the European support to the country, in The Hague, the Netherlands, Thursday 04 May 2023.
Dirk Waem | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers including, Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.,) Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) along with the permanent representative of the United States to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, Michael Carpenter.

Zelenskyy said that such visits to Ukraine "are a powerful signal of support from the United States" and thanked the U.S. lawmakers for their bipartisan support and continued security assistance.

Zelenskyy gave the lawmakers a battlefield update, discussed additional security packages and shared Kyiv's perspective on extending the grain corridor and the threats facing Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

— Amanda Macias

Milley speaks with Ukrainian counterpart following string of Russia airstrikes

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley looks on during a press conference after a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group during a two-day meeting of the alliance's Defence Ministers at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels on February 14, 2023.
Kenzo Tribouillard | Afp | Getty Images

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley spoke with Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

"They discussed the unprovoked and ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and exchanged perspectives and assessments," according to a Pentagon readout of the call.

Milley also took the opportunity to tell Zaluzhnyi that the U.S. will continue to exercise its unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

— Amanda Macias

Defense secretary meets with Polish counterpart at Pentagon on ways to support Ukraine

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) and Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Marius Blaszczak listen to national anthems during a welcome ceremony on the steps of the Pentagon in Washington, DC on May 5, 2023.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with his Polish counterpart at the Pentagon to discuss additional ways to support Ukraine.

Austin last met with Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland's Minister of Defense, two weeks ago in Germany during the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

Austin thanked Blaszczak for hosting U.S. troops in Poland to train Ukrainian servicemembers.

Blaszczak told Austin he expects Warsaw to continue its support for Kyiv until the war ends. He also said he expected Poland to continue buying weapons and equipment made by the U.S.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian and Russian delegates clash ahead of Black Sea Grain Initiative meeting

Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Marikovski landed several blows to the head of a Russian official after his flag was ripped from his hands.
Source: Servant of the People Party Press Service via Reuters

Russian and Ukrainian officials were separated during a physical altercation ahead of a meeting on the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal that established a humanitarian sea corridor amid Russia's naval blockade of Ukrainian ports.

Moscow has previously said the deal is one-sided and has threatened to withhold extending the program. The agreement, according to Russian officials, is set to expire in mid-May.

A scuffle ensued Thursday when Valery Stavitsky grabbed a Ukrainian flag from his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksandr Marikovski, according to SkyNews.

Marikovski, a Ukrainian member of parliament, grabbed the flag back, and shoved the Russian delegate and landed several blows, the Associated Press reported.

Bystanders separated the men and said, "Please, no fighting." Marikovski replied, "It's our flag. We're going to fight for this flag," according to an Associated Press translation of the brief altercation.

Under the U.N.-backed grain deal, more than 900 ships carrying nearly 30 million metric tons of agricultural products have departed from Ukraine's war-weary ports.

— Amanda Macias

One ship leaves Ukraine's port of Odesa under UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative

Grain corridor traffic seen from Istanbul on April 18, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey. 
Cemal Yurttas | Getty Images

One ship carrying 32,300 metric tons of corn left Ukraine's port of Odesa for Tunisia under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The U.N.-backed humanitarian sea corridor has allowed more than 900 ships carrying more than 29 million metric tons of agricultural products to depart Ukrainian war-weary ports.

The deal was brokered in July by representatives from Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations. Russia has previously said that it would not recognize an extension of the deal, which could expire in mid-May.

Ukraine's navy has previously said Russia suspends vessels from moving to and from Ukraine's ports in an effort to weaponize food.

— Amanda Macias

UN 'appalled and saddened' by string of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine

A member of the mobile air defense group, called "drone hunters," checks a machine gun placed on top of a pickup truck at the Hostomel airfield near Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 1, 2023.
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine issued a statement saying he was "appalled and saddened" by the intensified string of Russian airstrikes in the past week.

"We are extremely concerned for the plight of civilians after almost a week of nightly airstrikes and attacks which have killed and injured dozens of people," the U.N.'s Matthew Hollingworth said in a statement.

He added that critical infrastructure has been destroyed, compounding the dire humanitarian situation.

— Amanda Macias

Air raid alerts go off across Ukraine

Many regions of Ukraine, including its capital, Kyiv, announced air raid alerts on Friday, according to Ukrainian officials.

Such alerts warning of Russian attacks have been increasing in recent days in Kyiv, which has been relatively stable compared with the eastern part of the country and typically sees fewer warnings than other areas.

— Michele Luhn

Putin discussed Victory Day preparations with Security Council

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via video link in Moscow, Russia May 5, 2023. 
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday discussed preparations for the May 9 Victory Day parade in a meeting with his Security Council, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing the Kremlin.

Moscow has said the parade will go ahead as planned despite its assertion that Ukraine tried to kill Putin in a drone attack against the Kremlin in the early hours of Wednesday. Kyiv has denied any involvement in the incident.

— Reuters

High water at Ukrainian dam could threaten major nuclear power plant, Russian official says

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe's largest nuclear power station.
Carl Court | Getty Images

Record high water levels at the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine could threaten the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest of its kind in Europe, a Russian official warned.

A rupture to the dam would flood the power cable for the Zaporizhzhia plant's pumping stations, Renat Karchaa, an advisor at Russian nuclear energy company Rosenergoatom, told Russian media outlet Tass.

"This [would create] functional problems for the operation of the plant and risks for nuclear safety," he said.

Russian forces took over the Zaporizhzhia plant in the early weeks of the country's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for constant shelling around the plant that they and other world leaders, as well as the United Nations, say presents severe risk of a nuclear crisis.

— Natasha Turak

Wagner forces will leave embattled Bakhmut on May 10, leader says

A wreath decorated with a sign reading "PMC Wagner. Blood. Honour. Motherland. Courage" is seen placed on a grave at a cemetery in the town of Yefremov in the Tula region on March 23, 2023.
Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images

Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces would leave the destroyed city of Bakhmut on May 10, announcing the withdrawal in a sudden statement that followed a dramatic video slamming Russia's top defense officials.

"I declare on behalf of the Wagner fighters, on behalf of the Wagner command, that on 10 May 2023, we are obliged to transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the defence ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner to logistics camps to lick our wounds," Prigozhin said in the statement translated by Reuters.

"I'm pulling Wagner units out of Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they're doomed to perish senselessly."

Wagner has largely led the fighting in Bakhmut, the site of the war's longest and most violent battle, but has complained of lack of support and ammunition from Moscow. In early April, Prigozhin claimed his forces controlled more than 80% of the eastern city.

Ukraine has refused to relinquish the entirely ruined city, which is often referred to as a "meat grinder," because its officials say that Russian control over it would allow Russian forces much easier access to the rest of eastern Ukraine.

— Natasha Turak

Bill Clinton says he believed in 2011 that Putin invading Ukraine was 'just a matter of time'

Former US President Bill Clinton during an interview for an episode of "The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations" at the 92nd Street Y in New York, US, on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said he foreshadowed Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine back in 2011, saying that he believed it was "just a matter of time," according to a feature published by the Financial Times.

"Bill Clinton said he realised in 2011 it was 'just a matter of time' before Vladimir Putin would move on Ukraine after a chilling discussion with Russia's president in Davos, Switzerland," the FT piece read.

"During that encounter, Clinton said, Putin rejected a US-brokered deal agreed by his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, to respect Ukraine's territory in exchange for Kyiv relinquishing its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal."

"'Vladimir Putin told me in 2011 — three years before he took Crimea — that he did not agree with the agreement I made with Boris Yeltsin,' the former US president recalled. 'He said . . . 'I don't agree with it. And I do not support it. And I am not bound by it.' And I knew from that day forward it was just a matter of time.'"

— Natasha Turak

Wagner leader slams Russian defense chiefs over lack of ammunition

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, claimed in May that his mercenary fighters captured Bakhmut after nine months of intense fighting there.
Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images

The leader of Russian mercenary firm Wagner Group issued a scathing criticism of Russia's armed forces in a gruesome video where he was filmed surrounded by the bodies of dead Russian soldiers.

"We have a 70% shortage of ammunition. Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where is the [expletive] ammunition?"

Yevgeny Prigozhin screamed in the video, whose expletives were bleeped out by Russian media, according to a Reuters translation.

The names in reference are Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

The video encapsulated a many months-long feud between Wagner and Russia's top military brass.

Prigozhin said that those responsible would go to hell, and that Wagner's losses would be a fraction of what they are had the forces been properly supplied.

"These are Wagner lads who died today. The blood is still fresh," Prigozhin said, according to Reuters.

"They came here as volunteers and they're dying so you can get fat in your offices."

— Natasha Turak

Russian foreign minister says nations should stop talking to Zelenskyy after Kremlin drone attack

The Black Sea grain deal will no longer be operational if its current state of implementation continues, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "any self-respecting country" would stop talking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after an attempted drone strike over the Kremlin that Moscow says was carried out by Ukraine.

"As for the terrorist attack over the Kremlin and over the residence of the state leader, we have made our attitude clear. I think we shouldn't wait for any more incidents and provocations," he said while on a visit to India.

"Zelenskyy and his team are doing everything in the media space, and in their practical steps, to ensure that any self-respecting country would refrain from talking to them or communicating with them. This is a fact," Lavrov said.

Ukraine has claimed that the drone attack Wednesday was staged by Moscow, while the U.S. rejected Russian claims that Washington was behind it.

— Natasha Turak

Russia and China would use debt default to portray U.S. as chaotic, intel chief warns

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee to examine worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2023.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

The director of America's top spy agency warned lawmakers Thursday that Russia and China will take advantage of the U.S. potentially defaulting on its debt.

"It would be almost a certainty that they would look to take advantage of the opportunity," U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said before the Senate Intelligence Committee when asked about the national security consequences of the U.S. teetering on the edge of a fiscal cliff.

Haines, who leads America's 18 intelligence agencies, said that Russia and China would attempt to highlight "the chaos within the United States, that we're not capable of functioning as a democracy."

In February, former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel warned that the federal government defaulting on its bills, a historic first, will weaken America's national security.

"The consequence of debt-ceiling brinksmanship is a dangerous self-inflected wound that tells both our friends and our enemies that we cannot be trusted. Such brinksmanship weakens our national security," the former Pentagon chiefs wrote in a letter.

The former secretaries added that Russian President Vladimir Putin "will be watching to measure the credibility of U.S. economic power" while Washington leads efforts to provide Kyiv with security assistance and coordinate global sanctions on Moscow.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

U.S denies any involvement with alleged drone attack on Kremlin

Russian police officers guard the Red Square in front of the Kremlin on May 3, 2023, in Moscow, Russia.
Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Biden administration issued another round of denials that it directed or helped support Wednesday's alleged drone attack on the Kremlin.

National security council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House that the Kremlin's allegations of U.S. involvement are "just lies."

"We're still trying to gather information about what happened, and we just don't have conclusive evidence one way or the other. I know there are lots of questions, but we just don't have conclusive evidence. One thing I can tell you for certain is that the United States was not involved in this incident in any way contrary to Mr. Peskov's lies. That's what they are, just lies," Kirby said, referring to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Meanwhile, State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel declined to say whether U.S. officials have spoken to Russian counterparts about the attack.

"The United States was not involved nor had a role in this at all," Patel said, adding that the U.S. is "still unable to confirm the authenticity of these reports."

— Amanda Macias

U.S. intel agencies do not know who was behind Kremlin attack

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia April 19, 2023.
Gavriil Grigorov | Kremlin | Sputnik | via Reuters

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not spend the night at the Kremlin, following a drone attack on Wednesday.

Russia has claimed that Ukraine and the U.S. were behind the alleged drone attack.

Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee that intel agencies do not currently have enough information to determine who was behind the attack.

— Amanda Macias

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