Kyiv tries to rally troops, urging them to resist burnout as Russian attacks intensify

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on November 1, 2023. Here are the latest updates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leaves a meeting with House members in the U.S. Capitol en route to a meeting with senators on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tried to rally his troops and support for Ukraine Tuesday, saying there will be no easy victories in the counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied territory.

"The modern world is designed in such a way that it gets used to success too quickly," he said in his nightly address, adding that "when the full-scale aggression began, many in the world expected that Ukraine would not survive."

"Now the colossal things that our people, all our warriors are doing, are taken for granted," he added.

Zelenskyy's comments came as Russia appeared to intensify its assaults on Ukraine, with one minister saying the country had experienced the most attacks in one day, on Tuesday, since the start of the year.

There are also concerns over the slow progress Ukraine has made in its counteroffensive launched in June, with growing impatience and reluctance, in some Western quarters, to continue giving large amounts of military aid to Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers of the 63rd brigade rest as they train military tactics at an undetermined location in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on October 30, 2023.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Italian PM discussed international "fatigue" over Ukraine war with pranksters, Reuters reports

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said there was international "fatigue" regarding the war in Ukraine in a phone call with Russian pranksters in September, Reuters reported.

"I see that there is a lot of fatigue, I have to say the truth, from all the sides. We (are) near the moment in which everybody understands that we need a way out," she reportedly said.

"The problem is to find a way out which can be acceptable for both without destroying the international law," she added.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Antonio Masiello | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Meloni also commented that Italy was not receiving enough help from other nations to deal with the large number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Two Russians leaked the 13-minute audio from the call online Wednesday after several similar pranks in which they try to get Western politicians and celebrities to make unguarded remarks.

"They do all agree that only Italy has to solve this problem alone. It's a very stupid way of thinking," she allegedly said.

Meloni's office said the imposters had posed as the head of the African Union Commission.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Any F-16s given to Ukraine will only last 'around 20 days,' Russia claims

Russia's defense minister claimed Wednesday that any F-16 fighter jets that the West supplies to Ukraine will be only last around 20 days if Russian air defense systems are operating effectively.

The United States has said that it will begin flight training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

In a conference call with military officials, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that Russian air defense systems had shot down 37 aircraft in the past month and that this was almost twice the number of F-16 aircraft that was expected to be given to Ukraine by its Western allies.

"That is, with such work, our air defense systems [would have] approximately 20 days of work," he said in comments posted on the Telegram account of Russia's Ministry of Defense. CNBC was unable to verify Shoigu's claims.

Several of Ukraine's allies in Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, have promised to supply kyiv with F-16 jets although the timeframe for training and supply, as well as the number of aircraft that will be donated, differs between the nations and is not yet fully confirmed.

Denmark is expected to supply Kyiv with 19 jets but the deliveries will be made in tranches with the first six to be delivered in March or April 2024.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says Russian warplanes drop explosives on Black Sea shipping lanes

Ukraine said on Wednesday Russian warplanes had dropped "explosive objects" into the likely paths of civilian vessels in the Black Sea three times in the last 24 hours, but that its fledgling shipping corridor was still operating.

Ukraine is trying to build up a new shipping lane without Russian approval to revive its vital seaborne exports. Russia said it would consider any vessel a potential military target after it quit a U.N.-brokered deal in July that allowed some food exports to flow despite the war.

The first cargo ship using new Black Sea shipping lanes is seen leaving the southern port of Odesa on August 16, 2023. Ukraine said the first cargo ship to use the shipping lanes had exited a southern port despite threats from Russia that its navy could target vessels leaving the country. "The first vessel is moving along the temporary corridors established for civilian vessels to and from Black Sea ports," Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a statement. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

"The occupiers are continuing to terrorise the paths of civilian shipping in the Black Sea with tactical aviation, dropping explosive objects into the likely paths of civilian vessel traffic," the southern military command said.

"There were three such drops registered in the last 24 hours. However, the navigation corridor continues to function under the watch of the defense forces," it said.

Russia's defense ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The spokeswoman for Ukraine's southern command said on Tuesday that Russia was regularly dropping guided aerial bombs, sea mines or other as-yet unknown explosive devices near the corridor, the Suspilne public broadcaster reported.

— Reuters

Two Russian tanks explode on their own mines, Ukraine claims

View of a captured Russian T-72 tank hidden in a forest near Kivsharivka, Ukraine.
Michael Brochstein | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Ukraine claimed two Russian tanks exploded on their own mines as they retreated following an attempt to storm Ukrainian positions.

"In the Kupyansk direction, two enemy T-72 tanks, after another unsuccessful assault on our positions, were returning to the original line and exploded on their own mines," the Steel Frontier 15th Mobile Border Detachment said on Facebook Wednesday.

"One of them immediately exploded, and the other only 'took off', damaging the track," the post said, with an accompanying video showing an explosion.

The detachment said wryly that it had sent two drones to the damaged tank to carry out "explosive maintenance" and that "now both tanks are beyond repair." CNBC was unable to verify the information in the post.

The Kupiansk area in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine is one of the combat hotspots in the war with a significant increase in fighting in the area in recent days, defense analysts say. Ukraine says Russian forces are trying to re-occupy the city of Kupiansk as it's an important logistics hub.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine is being defeated despite NATO help, Russia's defense minister claims

Russia's defense minister claimed Wednesday that Ukraine is facing defeat, despite massive amounts of military support from Western military alliance NATO.

"Despite the supply of new types of NATO weapons, the Kyiv regime is suffering defeat. The group of Russian troops continues to conduct an active defense, inflicting effective fire damage on the enemy," Sergei Shoigu said in a conference call Wednesday, reported by news agency RIA Novosti.

Shoigu then claimed that Ukraine's forces were "desperately and unsuccessfully" trying to attack in the Zaporozhzhia, Donetsk and Kherson directions, but that this was leading to large losses.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) talks to Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu (R) during the annual Navy Day Parade on July 30, 2023, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Contributor | Getty Images

"The forces of Ukraine are being depleted, and the demoralization of personnel is growing," Shoigu claimed, without presenting evidence. In the meantime, he said, Russian units were advancing.

Russia has ramped up the intensity of its attacks on Ukraine, with the country's interior minister noting Wednesday that the country had experienced the most attacks in one day, on Tuesday, since the start of the year.

Defense experts tend to agree that Ukraine's counteroffensive that was launched in June has not been as successful as hoped, with the front line having shifted little and fighting remaining highly attritional.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in the western Zaporizhia region while "Russian forces "continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast [region] and advanced near Avdiivka."

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine sees most attacks in a day since the start of the year

A Ukrainian soldier drives a car near the frontline as the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 27, 2023.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia has ramped up the intensity of its attacks on Ukraine, with a minister saying the country on Tuesday experienced the most attacks in one day since the start of the year.

Russian troops fired on 118 settlements in 10 regions of Ukraine over the past day, causing deaths and casualties, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram Wednesday

"This is the largest number of towns and villages hit since the beginning of the year," he said, adding, "At night, the occupiers launched massive shelling on the territory of Ukraine, there are dead and wounded."

Klymenko said a number of regions were targeted, including Poltava, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv.

— Holly Ellyatt

Air raid alerts over Crimea's port of Sevastopol

Six years on from the day Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty of accession to absorb Crimea in the Russian Federation on March 18, 2020 in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Pierre Crom | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Air raid alerts were activated in the port of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea, an official said early on Wednesday.

The Russia-installed Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev said on Telegram that there had been two air raid alerts this morning, and later said a smoke camouflage screen was being tested in Sevastopol bay.

Car traffic on the Crimean Bridge had has also been suspended twice Wednesday morning. No reason was given for the air raids or suspension of traffic and CNBC was unable to verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia's 'Lancet' drones highly effective against Ukraine, UK says

Russian "Lancet" drones — small, one-way-attack unmanned aerial systems, or "OWA UAVs" have highly likely "been one of the most effective new capabilities that Russia has fielded in Ukraine" over the last 12 months, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.

Lancet drones are designed to be piloted over enemy territory, loitering until a target is identified, before diving toward it and detonating.

"Russia deploys Lancets to attack priority targets and they have become increasingly prominent in the key counter-battery fight, striking enemy artillery," the British Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Traditionally, Russia has used small UAVs mainly for reconnaissance. With its attack capability, Lancet has been a step change in how Russia uses this category of weapons," it noted.

BAKHMUT, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 29: A Ukrainian military man corrects a missile hit through a drone, as the Military special unit "Kurt & Company group" armed with homemade mini-MLRS fires at Russian positions on the frontline of the Russian Ukrainian war, on October 29, 2023 in Bakhmut District, Ukraine. Ukrainian forces continue to fight to retake Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May, following a yearlong war battle. Over the summer, Ukraine regained territory north and south of Bakhmut but Russia has held the city itself. (Kostya Liberov /Libkos via Getty Images)
Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The use of attack drones has been one of the main characteristics of the Russia-Ukraine war, with the UAVs being used to devastating effect on civilian infrastructure, from residential buildings to energy networks. Russia says it does not target civilians in the war.

Lancets are manufactured by the ZALA Aero Group. "ZALA also make the small, unarmed Orlan 10 UAV which Russia often deploys alongside Lancet to spot targets," the U.K. noted, adding that "Ukraine has also experienced success with small OWA UAVs."

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine defends counteroffensive, says modern world is too used to quick victories

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visit the Transfiguration Cathedral damaged during summer by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine October 13, 2023.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there will be no easy victories in the counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied territory, amid concerns over the relatively slow progress it has made to recapture land.

"The modern world is designed in such a way that it gets used to success too quickly," he said in his nightly address, adding that "when the full-scale aggression began, many in the world expected that Ukraine would not survive."

"Now the colossal things that our people, all our warriors are doing, are taken for granted," he added.

Zelenskyy thanked "those who do not retreat, who are not burned out, who believe in Ukraine as much as on February 24 [when Russia invaded in 2022], and who are fighting for Ukraine."

Ukraine is under pressure to deliver tangible results in its counteroffensive, which it launched in June, but its the front line spanning from southern to eastern Ukraine has not changed substantially. Ukraine has only has a few weeks left in which to make gains before the weather changes, bringing rain and mud, making movement difficult until the ground freezes over in winter.

There are also concerns that military aid for Kyiv could decline, particularly given rising disaffection and war fatigue among Western publics and some politicians, and as the Israel-Hamas war continues.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukrainian oil refinery attacked with drones, official says

Russian forces hit an oil refinery in the Poltava region of central Ukraine with drones overnight, a Ukrainian official said.

"Last night, the enemy repeatedly attacked the Poltava region. The air alert lasted more than four hours ... Unfortunately, the oil refinery in Kremenchuk was hit," Poltava regional governor Philip Pronin said on Telegram. He added that Ukrainian forces shot down part of the Russian drones used to attack the region.

The attack caused a fire at refinery which has since been extinguished, and the extent of the damage is being ascertained. CNBC was not able to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian foreign minister discusses Israel-Hamas conflict with Syrian counterpart

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the Israel-Hamas conflict with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Miqdad Tuesday, the ministry of foreign affairs said, according to a Google translation of the ministry's statement.

"The government officials paid special attention to the dramatic development of the situation in the Israel-Hamas conflict zone," a press statement said, following a telephone conversation between the pair.

Lavrov and Miqdad agreed that "an immediate end to the bloodshed in Gaza, a solution to all humanitarian problems arising as a result of the fighting, and a transition to discussing a long-term settlement through political and diplomatic methods" was needed.

The impacts of the Israel-Hamas war on neighboring countries, such as Syria, is being closely watched as the violence continues in the Gaza Strip.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Antisemitic incident at Dagestan airport to be analyzed to avoid recurrences, Kremlin says

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a meeting of Russian President and Armenian Prime Minister at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 25, 2023. 
Ilya Pitalev | AFP | Getty Images

An antisemitic mob incident at an airport in Russia's republic of Dagestan will be analyzed to deter similar incidents in the future, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

"The relevant authorities will take investigative actions. And after that, of course, the situation will be analyzed," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in Google-translated comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass. "What is necessary to minimize or completely eliminate such illegal manifestations in the future."

Kremlin officials held a special closed meeting following the unrest in Dagestan, where an anti-Israel group stormed an airport on Sunday, reportedly looking for passengers that had come on a flight from Tel Aviv. Russian President Vladimir Putin levelled accusations at the U.S., claiming it had orchestrated the incident in Dagestan — which Washington denies.

Demonstrations either against Israel or supporting Palestinian people have been on the rise since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict and Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip enclosure.

Ruxandra Iordache

Putin and top officials discussed measures to counter 'external interference'

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin and top government and security officials discussed bolstering measures to counter external "interference" after a riot at an airport in Dagestan on Sunday.

Putin met senior officials on Monday evening to discuss the incident, which involved several hundred protesters storming the Makhachkala airport, targeting passengers who arrived on a flight from Israel.

During the televised meeting, Putin blamed the West and Ukraine for inciting unrest and division in Russia and for stirring up tensions that led to conflict in the Middle East.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Feb. 8, 2023.
Grigory Sysoev | Sputnik | via Reuters

Ukraine and the U.S. both rejected the allegations, with the White House calling them "absurd."

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that top Russian officials had discussed "strengthening measures to counteract that same outside interference, including external information manipulations that can provoke the situation in our country, exploiting the theme of the same events in the Middle East," according to comments reported by RIA Novosti.

— Holly Ellyatt

Moscow under pressure to confront rising ethnic tensions

Moscow is coming under increasing pressure to protect the country's Jewish community after the latest episode of antisemitism highlighted growing interethnic tensions in Russia.

An angry anti-Israel mob stormed an airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan on Sunday, reportedly looking for passengers that arrived on a flight from Tel Aviv. Russian media reported that at least several hundred pro-Palestinian "protesters" stormed the airport terminal and runway in the Muslim-majority republic because of their opposition to the war between Israel and Hamas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 30, 2020.
Maxim Shemetov | Afp | Getty Images

Some of the group shouted antisemitic slogans, reports and social media footage suggested, while others waved Palestinian flags and shouted "Allahu Akbar," ("God is the greatest" in Arabic). A plane from Tel Aviv was surrounded, with passengers forced to hand over their passports for their nationality to be checked.

The incident has put divisions in Russia's ethnically and religiously diverse population in the spotlight, with tensions rising between Russia's rapidly declining Jewish community (both in terms of practicing and ethnically Jewish people) and its Muslim populace, with Islam being the second-largest religion in Russia, after Orthodox Christianity.

Read more on the story here: Rampage by antisemitic mob puts pressure on Moscow to confront rising ethnic tensions in Russia

U.S. rejects Putin claims on airport mob as 'absurd'

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The U.S. rejected accusations by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the West and Ukraine had orchestrated an anti-Israel riot in an airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan over the weekend, calling the allegations "absurd."

In a televised meeting, Putin said the West and Ukraine had organized the "deadly chaos," saying it is "the current ruling elites of the U.S. and their satellites who are the main beneficiaries of world instability."

John Kirby, spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, told reporters at a White House briefing on Monday that the claims were "classic Russian rhetoric."

"When something goes bad in your country, you blame somebody else, blame it on outside influences" he said, adding that "the West had nothing to do with this. This is just hate, bigotry and intimidation, pure and simple."

Kirby said a good leader "would call it out for what it is."

— Holly Ellyatt

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