Ukraine war live updates: Russia raises conscription age limit; Zelenskyy gives fresh corruption warning

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

Soldiers march at the Victory Day military parade to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory in the Great Patriotic War, at Moscow's Red Square, on May 9, 2023.
Vcg | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Russia on Tuesday expanded its military conscription base after a vote to raise the upper age limit from 27 to 30 passed in the lower house.

The bill, once signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, is expected to add 2.4 million men to Russia's forces and will prohibit conscripts from leaving the country once they are called up for duty.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that he would not tolerate corruption or treachery in affairs of state as the country continues to wage its war against Russia.

Zelenskyy's appeal, shared in his nightly address, came after the arrests of a military recruitment official accused of mass embezzlement and of a parliamentarian suspected of collaborating with Russia.

On the front lines, Kyiv said Tuesday that its military had made small advances against Russian forces in parts of southern Ukraine, moving forward toward the southeastern village of Staromayorske in the Donetsk region.

Meantime, Russia's Ministry of Defense said it had destroyed two unmanned Ukrainian boats engaged in an attack on one of its Black Sea fleet patrol ships.

Ukraine-NATO council holds urgent meeting to discuss Black Sea security

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference during a NATO leaders summit in Vilnius, Lithuania July 12, 2023.
Kacper Pempel | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the NATO-Ukraine Council met to discuss the security of the Black Sea following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

"At the level of the alliance, the Russian attacks against our country and our ports have been clearly condemned," Zelenskyy said during a nightly address.

"We discussed what specific actions can bring calm and predictability to the Black Sea region. Thank you all for the substantive work of today's NATO-Ukraine Council," Zelenskyy added.

— Amanda Macias

'Staggering' and 'truly shameful,' U.S. slams Russia for attacks on Ukrainian heritage sites

A roof view of the Transfiguration Catherdal, which is the main Cathedral in Odesa, is damaged after a missile strike in Odesa, Ukraine on July 23, 2023. 
Andre Alves | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Russian attacks on Ukrainian cultural heritage sites "staggering" and "truly shameful."

Earlier in the week, Odesa's historic Transfiguration Cathedral was destroyed in a Russian missile strike.

Dust covers a large gilt box used for Orthodox religious services, as Ukrainians clear away debris after a Russian missile struck the historic Holy Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) Cathedral in central Odesa, Ukraine, on July 23, 2023. 
Scott Peterson | Getty Images

Thomas-Greenfield said that according to the latest figures collected by UNESCO, about 270 cultural sites have been damaged since the start of the war last year.

"The loss of Ukrainian cultural heritage is staggering and it is truly shameful," she said, calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "silence your guns, withdraw your troops and end your brutal aggression."

— Amanda Macias

U.S. military hospital in Germany declines to say if Trevor Reed is receiving care for injuries in Ukraine

The U.S. military's landmark hospital in Germany declined to say if former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed was receiving care there after sustaining injuries from combat in Ukraine.

Reed was arrested by Russian authorities in 2019 and detained for nearly three years before he was released in a prisoner exchange.

"To protect patient privacy, no information is released on any individual receiving care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) without consent," the hospital's Public Affairs Office wrote in a statement to NBC News.

"LRMC remains postured and ready to support U.S. Armed Forces, NATO member countries and partners as directed. Information on private U.S. citizens should be directed to the Department of State," the statement added.

— Amanda Macias

Volunteers care for pets rescued from the eastern battlefront of Ukraine

Two dogs with one of their front legs amputated because of shrapnel hit brought from Bakhmut are seen at the shelter of 'Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation' in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 26, 2023. 
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Volunteers from the Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation in Kramatorsk care for pets rescued from the eastern battlefront of Ukraine. The shelter in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, is currently housing 30 dogs and 15 cats, Anadolu Agency reported.

Kittens are seen at the shelter of 'Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation' in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 26, 2023. 
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Volunteers work at the shelter of 'Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation' in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 26, 2023. 
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Dogs brought from the eastern battle front of Ukraine are seen in front of kennels at the shelter of 'Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation' in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 25, 2023. 
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Newborn puppies sleep in a shelter funded by Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 24, 2023. 
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
KRAMATORSK, UKRAINE - JULY 25: A dog brought from Bakhmut sits in his cage at the shelter of 'Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation' in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 26, 2023. In the shelter there are currently 30 dogs and 15 cats all of them rescued from the eastern battle front of Ukraine like Bakhmut, New York, Kostyantynivka, and Chasiv Yar. The organization have been working in Kramatorsk since 2010. The organization relies heavily on donations for food, accommodation and veterinary expenses. (Photo by Jose Colon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Volunteers work at the shelter of 'Society for the Protection of Animals Charitable Foundation' in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on July 26, 2023. 
Jose Colon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

— Melodie Warner

National Press Club hosts read-a-thon to raise awareness for detained WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich

The National Press Club hosted a read-a-thon to raise awareness for detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Gershkovich, who is based in Russia for the newspaper, was arrested on allegations of espionage in late March.

His father, sister and colleagues at the Wall Street Journal and various news outlets read his published work for a 24-hour period.

You can read his work for The Wall Street Journal here.

— Amanda Macias

EU expands sanctions on Belarus for involvement in Russia's war in Ukraine

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Region, Russia April 12, 2022. 
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

The European Union wrote on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to impose additional sanctions on Belarus for the country's involvement with Russia's war in Ukraine.

The European Union agreed on a draft resolution to ban exports of aviation equipment to Russia's closest ally, Belarus.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine launches criminal case into official's wartime Maldives vacation

Ukrainian prosecutors launched a criminal case into a lawmaker suspected of breaching a wartime ban on private travel, the general prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

An investigation found that the lawmaker, who has not been publicly identified, was on a business trip to Poland when he took sick leave and traveled onto the Maldives for a family holiday, according to a Google translation of the statement.

Ukrainian officials have been barred from private trips abroad since January, while most men aged 18-60 are prohibited from leaving the country under martial law.

During his nightly address on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called out corruption and officials who fail their responsibilities to the state.

— Karen Gilchrist

North Korea and Russia to strengthen cooperation, Defense Minister Shoigu says

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) meets with North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam (R) in Pyongyang, North Korea on July 26, 2023.
Russian Defense Ministry | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia and North Korea on Wednesday announced plans to strengthen their defense cooperation, Reuters reported Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

"I am convinced that today's talks will contribute to strengthening cooperation between our defense departments," Shoigu said after a meeting in Pyongyang with his North Korean counterpart.

— Karen Gilchrist

Moldova to cut number of Russian embassy staff, Tass reports

Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu answers journalists' questions ahead of a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on Feb. 20, 2023.
Kenzo Tribouillard | Afp | Getty Images

Moldova's foreign minister said Wednesday that it had cut the number of staff at its Russian embassy.

"The decision follows numerous unfriendly actions towards the Republic of Moldova, which are unrelated to the diplomatic mandate, as well as attempts to destabilize the internal situation of our country," the ministry said, according to a CNBC translation.

In line with principles of equal diplomatic representation, this will reduce Russia and Moldova's foreign mission in each other's countries to 10 diplomatic posts and 15 administrative and technical positions each.

Russian Ambassador to Moldova Oleg Vasnetsov said that Chisinau's move "undermines the opportunity for dialogue between the two countries."

"All this so-called spying scandal is a pretext for the decision made ages ago to reduce the number of diplomatic staff," Vasnetsov told a press briefing.

— Karen Gilchrist

Belarus likely leveraging the presence of the Wagner Group, ISW says

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at the Grand Kremlin Palace on May 25, 2023 in Moscow.
Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko may be using the presence of Russia's exiled militia group Wagner on his country's territory as a bargaining chip with Moscow, the Institute of War signaled in its latest update.

Lukashenko travelled to Moscow at the end of last week to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has acknowledged that the two allied leaders discussed the Wagner Group in recent days without disclosing conclusions or details.

Belarus has extended shelter to some Wagner troops as part of an amnesty deal negotiated with Putin after the group's failed insurrection in late June.

"Lukashenko was likely trying to leverage Putin's concern over the Wagner Group throughout the entire visit to Russia to gain favorable conditions in Belarusian-Russian relations while deflecting Putin's demands for closer integration into the Union State and support for Russia's war in Ukraine," the ISW said.

"Russian leadership is attempting to mitigate the security vacuum left by the Wagner Group's departure by creating formalized but decentralized military "enterprises" on the basis of federal subjects," it added.

Ruxandra Iordache

Danone writes downs $221 million on seized Russian assets

An employee wearing a Danone SA branded gilet stacks bottles of yoghurt inside a Magnit PJSC hypermarket store at the Hanoi-Moscow trade centre in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

French food business Danone said Wednesday that it would "deconsolidate" its Russia business in July after authorities in the country seized control of its subsidiary earlier this month.

The company said the decision would result in a cash impairment of around 200 million euros ($221 million) and a non-cash foreign exchange translation difference of about 500 million euros, Reuters reported.

— Karen Gilchrist

Zelenskyy issues warning against corruption

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to the misuse of public funds and acceptance of bribery as a "betrayal of state principles, a betrayal of the interests of society" and reiterated the need to prioritize bringing Kyiv's legislation in line with EU standards.
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned against corruption and treachery in his country's internal affairs, as Kyiv keeps its sights firmly set on national defense and European integration.

"I want to warn all MPs, officials, and everyone else in public office," he said on Tuesday during a presidential address. "When everyday you search for weapons for the state, when all the attention is on providing artillery, missiles, drones, when you constantly see and feel the moral strength gained for Ukraine by our warriors, our people, who are doing everything possible and impossible for the victory and preservation of freedom, any internal betrayal, any 'beach' or any personal enrichment instead of Ukraine's interests triggers fury at the very least."

He referred to the misuse of public funds and acceptance of bribery as a "betrayal of state principles, a betrayal of the interests of society" and reiterated the need to prioritize bringing Kyiv's legislation in line with EU standards.

"Every law that is necessary for Ukraine to start negotiations with the EU on accession must be adopted. And I don't want to hear any more excuses. And no one else does. Ukraine does not give you any more time. If you are working for Ukraine, you are needed by Ukraine, if not, you are not," he said.

The EU has repeatedly urged Kyiv to make further progress in judicial reforms and its fight against corruption when evaluating Ukraine's application to the bloc.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia raises maximum age limit for conscription

Men walk in front of the Russian State Duma (lower house of Russia's Parliament) in central Moscow on July 25, 2023. Russian lawmakers on July 25 backed a law increasing the maximum age limit for compulsory military service in Russia. "From January 1, 2024, citizens aged 18 to 30 will be called up for military service," the Duma said after the bill was passed in both a second and third reading. Previously, one year of military service was mandatory in Russia for men aged 18 to 27.
Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

Russia's lower parliament, the Duma, has raised the maximum age at which young men can be conscripted from 27 to 30, retaining the lower limit at 18, Russian state-owned news agency Tass said Tuesday, according to a Google translation.

The measure takes effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and was put forward by State Duma Defense Committee chairman Andrey Kartapolov in March.

The conscripted will be drafted into one-year contracts of compulsory military service applicable during periods of mobilization, under martial law and in wartime, as well as when Moscow's armed forces are mobilized outside of Russian borders.

Ruxandra Iordache

U.S. approves security package worth $400 million for Ukraine

Ukrainian serviceman holds a Next Generation Light Anti-armour Weapon (NLAW) on the position not far from the front line in the south of Kharkiv region, on July 11, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth $400 million.

"The people of Ukraine continue to bravely defend their country against Russia's aggression while Russia continues its relentless and vicious attacks that are killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying civil infrastructure," Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a release announcing the arms package.

The weapons included in the latest package are:

  • Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS
  • Stinger anti-aircraft systems
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds
  • 120mm and 60mm mortar rounds
  • 32 Stryker armored personnel carriers
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided or TOW missiles
  • Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets
  • Hornet unmanned aerial systems
  • Hydra-70 aircraft rockets
  • Tactical air navigation systems
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing
  • Over 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades
  • Night vision devices and thermal imagery systems
  • Spare parts, training munitions and other field equipment

— Amanda Macias

Putin expected to visit China in October, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023.
Alexey Maishev | Afp | Getty Images

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited and plans to attend the Belt and Road forum in China in October, Reuters reports.

The Biden administration has reiterated that Beijing should not assist Moscow as Washington and its Western allies coordinate rounds of sanctions for the Kremlin's ongoing war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

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