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Russia continues to pummel Avdiivka; four killed in southern shelling

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine.

An aerial view shows Ukraine's Motherland monument, with its new Ukrainian coat of arms shield, after fresh snowfall on Nov. 22, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Kostya Liberov | Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian forces continued to bombard the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka on Thursday night while shelling killed four in the southern region of Kherson, according to local officials.

Since mid-October, Russia has been trying to encircle and capture the town of Avdiivka, home to a massive coking plant and close to the Russian-held regional hub of Donetsk.

The head of Avdiivka's military administration, Vitaliy Barabash, told Ukraine's Channel 24 on Thursday that Russian forces had launched their "fiercest" attacks yet on the embattled down. According to Reuters, Barabash said Russia was unleashing up to 18 air attacks per day, sometimes more.

In the southern region of Kherson, prosecutors said Russian shelling had killed three men and a woman, according to Reuters, as Ukrainian forces continue to mount a counteroffensive in the east and south of the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments on Wednesday — in which he blamed Ukraine for the lack of peace talks and claimed Russia was ready for discussions to resume — were designed to pile pressure on the West to push Ukraine back to the negotiating table, analysts said.

They noted that Putin and other Russian officials have routinely claimed the Kremlin is ready to negotiate to end the war while signaling that the Kremlin maintains its key objectives, including territorial claims and regime change in Ukraine.

Ukraine fuel stations face LPG shortages as Polish supplies blocked

The ongoing blockade of Ukrainian border crossings by Polish drivers has led to a sharp drop in deliveries of motor vehicle gas (LPG) to Ukrainian petrol stations, many of which are experiencing fuel shortages, analysts said on Friday.

Around a million Ukrainian cars use LPG as a cheaper alternative to petrol.

Farmers and households use the fuel for drying grain and heating homes and Ukraine consumed about 1.1 million metric tons of LPG in 2022.

Polish truckers earlier this month blocked roads to three border crossings to Ukraine to protest against what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

LPG shortages and rising prices were among the most visible consequences of the protests at the Polish border.

-Reuters

Armenia says Russia has not delivered weapons it has paid for

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Friday said that Russia has yet to deliver weapons that the former Soviet republic has paid for, according to a Reuters report citing Russian state news agency Tass, which said talks to find a solution were ongoing.

Moscow is supplying Armenia in its conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, relations between the traditional allies have frayed in recent months, as Pashinyan has accused the Kremlin of failing to adequately support his country.

- Elliot Smith

Norway says no irregularities at Russian border

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia on Friday that no irregularities had been observed at Norway's border with Russia, after Finland closed all but one of its entry points following an influx of migrant crossings in recent weeks.

- Elliot Smith

Finland closes all but one of its Russian border crossings; EU to send guards

The Nuijamaa border check point in Lappeenranta, Finland, on Nov. 15, 2023.
Vesa Moilanen | AFP | Getty Images

Finland has now closed all but one of its border crossings with Russia as it looks to stem a recent influx of migrants entering the country.

The Finnish Border Guard confirmed on Friday that it temporarily closed the Kuusamo, Salla and Vartius crossings from midnight until Dec. 23. That leaves the northernmost Raja-Jooseppi entry point as the only open passenger crossing from Russia.

The Nordic country had already closed several entry points last week as it accused Moscow of funneling migrants toward its eastern border, an allegation strongly denied by the Kremlin. More than 700 migrants from nations including Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, Kenya and Somalia crossed into Finland from Russia in recent weeks, Helsinki has claimed.

Finnish authorities are ramping up security along the 833-mile border with Russia and will receive additional resources from EU border agency Frontex, which announced Thursday that it would deploy 50 guard officers and other staff to Finland.

Elliot Smith

Russian air attacks pummel Avdiivka

Russian forces continued to bombard the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka on Thursday night, with more than 100 residents evacuated over the past week, according to local officials.

Since mid-October, Russia has been trying to encircle and capture the town, which is home to a massive coking plant and close to the Russian-held regional hub of Donetsk.

The head of Avdiivka's military administration, Vitaliy Barabash, told Ukraine's Channel 24 on Thursday that Russian forces had launched their "fiercest" attacks yet on the embattled down. According to Reuters, Barabash said Russia was unleashing up to 18 air attacks per day, sometimes more.

Elliot Smith

Zelenskyy wishes the U.S. a happy Thanksgiving

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (L) departs for the US Senate after a meeting with members of the House of Representatives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, in September 21, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wished Americans a happy Thanksgiving holiday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"We thank you, the people of America," Zelenskyy wrote. "We know how many of you sincerely sympathize with our struggle and wish Ukraine victory. We saw how many of you took to heart the illegal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine and felt that it was also an attack on your values."

"Freedom must not, and will not, fall. We guarantee it together," he added.

— Fred Imbert

Russia and neighbors working to combat terrorism, Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the alliance of post-Soviet states known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was working together to combat terrorism.

Addressing the latest CSTO summit in Minsk, Belarus, Putin said that the counter-terrorism operation known as "Operation Mercenary," aimed at preventing citizens of the CSTO members states from travelling broad and joining "terrorist organizations," which he did not name, was working.

General Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Stanislav Zas, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon pose for a picture during the CSTO summit at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 16, 2022. Sputnik/Anton Novoderezhkin/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Anton Novoderezhkin | Sputnik | Reuters

The CSTO is an intergovernmental military alliance consisting of Russia and a number of post-Soviet states including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan are former members of the organization.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan did not attend the CSTO given poor relations between Moscow and Yerevan of late, following Azerbaijan's seizing of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in September, a move that went unopposed by Russian peacekeepers in the region.

Russia labeled Armenia's decision to stay away from the CSTO summit as an anti-Russian move orchestrated by the West.

Belarus' President Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the absence of Armenia's prime minister on Thursday, saying problems should be discussed at the negotiation table and that personal walk-outs should be avoided.

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here