Biden to host Zelenskyy at the White House; Ukraine may need to ‘cede’ territory, U.S. senator says

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

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden walking to the Oval Office of the White House on Sept. 21, 2023.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to host his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House Tuesday.

The pair will discuss Washington's continued commitment to Kyiv as funding becomes an increasing point of contention among U.S. lawmakers.

Republican U.S. Senator J.D. Vance said Sunday that Ukraine may need to cede some land to Russia in order to end the war taking place in its territory.

Allies of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that he has been removed from the IK-6 penal colony in the Vladimir region, east of Moscow, and that his whereabouts were unknown. CNBC was unable to independently verify the claims.

U.S. expects more security assistance to Ukraine to be announced this month

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby responds to a question during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2023. 
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

U.S. National Security Spokesman John Kirby said Monday he expects the White House to announce additional security assistance for Ukraine, ahead of what it has described as a critical year-end deadline.

"We don't have too many more weeks left in this year to be able to provide security assistance, so I would fully expect that you're going to see us anounce additional security assistance before the end of the month," Kirby said.

His comments come ahead of talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Washington on Tuesday.

Intense negotiations are ongoing on Capitol Hill as the White House pushes to pass Biden's $110 billion package of wartime funding for Ukraine, Israel, and domestic border security.

Biden "will make it clear to President Zelenskyy that we're standing firm on this supplemental request, we absolutely need to get additional funding to support Ukraine going forward," and provide him with an update on the situation, Kirby said.

"He'll keep urging the negotiations forward, urging compromise, with the goal of getting all these national security issues fully funded as we need. They're all urgent, they're all important," Kirby told reporters on board Air Force One.

Kirby added that the talks come at a crucial time due to the situation in Ukraine.

"As winter approaches, we're seeing increased missile and drone attacks by the Russian armed forces against civilian infrastructure. We expect that that will continue, particularly against energy infrastructure, and as the Russian forces continue to try to take offensive action against hte Ukrainians all along that front, but particularly in the east," he said.

— Jenni Reid

Zelenskyy to meet IMF managing director while in Washington

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, speaks during the Singapore FinTech Festival in Singapore, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is due to meet with International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva in Washington on Monday, an IMF spokesperson told CNBC.

They said no further details could be provided at this point.

The IMF in March approved a four-year $15.6 billion loan program for Ukraine. Following the immediate release of $2.7 billion, the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) stipulated requirements for the country to enact reforms including raising tax revenues and strengthening anti-corruption measures.

The EFF includes a second phase requiring "more ambitious structural reforms to entrench macroeconomic stability, support the recovery and early post-war reconstruction, and enhance resilience and higher long-term growth, including in the context of Ukraine's EU accession goals," according to the IMF.

Zelenskyy is in Washington to hold talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and other top officials as he seeks to avoid a cessation or dramatic reduction in aid from the superpower before the end of the year.

— Jenni Reid

Russia's opposition leader Navalny reportedly removed from prison, whereabouts unclear

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accused of flouting the terms of a suspended sentence for embezzlement, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia February 2, 2021.
Moscow City Court | Reuters

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been removed from the IK-6 penal colony in the Vladimir region, east of Moscow, according to posts from allies shared on his social media account.

The posts said his current whereabouts were unknown.

CNBC was unable to independently verify the reports.

Navalny's allies have been readying for his possible transfer to a tougher colony after he received a sentence to serve an additional 19 years in prison in August.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine may need to cede some land to Russia, senator Vance says

Ukraine may need to cede some land to Russia in order to end the war taking place in its territory, Republican U.S. Senator J.D. Vance said Sunday, as backlash against the ongoing conflict rises among some Republican factions.

"What's in America's best interest is to accept Ukraine is going to have to cede some territory to the Russians, and we need to bring this war to a close," Vance, of Ohio, said on CNN's State of the Union.

The comments come as support for Ukraine wanes among some Republican lawmakers, who argue that the government's attention would be better directed toward its own national security issues.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin unveils two new nuclear-powered submarines

Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Sergei Savostyanov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday unveiled two new nuclear-powered submarines that he said would soon start patrolling the Pacific, according to a Google-translated report from Russian state-owned TV network Zvezda.

In a televised event in the northern city of Severodvinsk, Putin inaugurated the vessels, which are named the Krasnoyarsk and Emperor Alexander the Third.

— Karen Gilchrist

UK delivers two mine-hunting ships to Ukraine

Ukraine's Vice Admiral Oleksii Neizhpapa attends a joint press conference with Britain's Defence Secretary and Norway's Defence Minister at Admiralty House in central London on December 11, 2023. Britain will send two Royal Navy mine-hunting ships to Ukraine to aid detection of Russian mines in the Black Sea and help Kyiv restore maritime exports, the UK government said Monday.
Ben Stansall | AFP | Getty Images

The U.K.'s defense ministry on Monday said that it had delivered two mine-hunting ships to Ukraine to help bolster a critical route for merchant vessels travelling across the Black Sea.

It comes as British Defense Minister Grant Shapps prepares to host his Norwegian counterpart in London for a summit aimed at building a "maritime capability coalition" for Ukraine, which will include greater naval support for the country.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia launches new attacks in eastern Ukraine, says Ukrainian military

Panorama of the city from a bird's-eye view, shot on a drone, covered with snow on December 7, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine.
Libkos | Getty Images

Russian forces have unleashed a new large-scale offensive on the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, Ukraine's military said Monday.

Avdiivka is a Ukrainian strongpoint just northwest of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk and a strategic position in Russia's campaign to secure control of the eastern Donbas region.

Damaged Russian armored vehicles at the entrance to the city on December 7, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine.
Libkos | Getty Images

"The enemy launched yesterday massive assault actions with the support of armored vehicles in Avdiivka and Mariinka directions," Reuters cited military spokesperson Oleksandr Stupun as telling Ukrainian TV.

He added that there were 610 artillery shellings reported near Avdiivka in the last 24 hours.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense added in an update that, in some cases, the town accounted for around 40% of daily combat engagements within the country.

Russia did not immediately comment on the claims.

— Karen Gilchrist

No green light for Ukraine's EU membership talks would be 'devastating,' Kuleba says

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba attends a joint briefing with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Hanke Bruins Slot.
Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday that it would be "devastating" for both Ukraine and the European Union if EU leaders do not give his country the green light for membership talks at a summit later this week.

"I cannot imagine, I don't even want to talk about the devastating consequences that will occur shall the (European) Council fail to make this decision," Kuleba told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Brussels, according to Reuters.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia's FSB says it thwarted 18 attacks in annexed Crimea

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said Monday that it thwarted 18 so-called terrorist attacks this year in Crimea — the Ukrainian territory it annexed in 2014.

According to Reuters, the FSB said the prevented attacks included assassination attempts on the Moscow-appointed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, and a former pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian parliament, Oleh Tsaryov.

The FSB detained 18 agents working for the Ukrainian security services and their accomplices on charges of preparing sabotage, the FSB said.

CNBC could not independently verify the claims.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine condemns Russia's plans for elections in occupied territories

Ukraine on Saturday condemned Russia's plans to hold presidential elections on occupied territory next spring, dubbing the voting "null and void," and adding that it would prosecute any observers sent to monitor them, according to a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Russia's upper house last week set the country's presidential election for next March and said residents in four occupied Ukrainian territories — Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson — would be able to vote for the first time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also said he would run for another presidential term.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian ballistic missile strike on Kyiv injures four

Communal workers walk next to a crater and destroyed houses following a Russian shelling in Kyiv, on December 11, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Roman Pilipey | AFP | Getty Images

An overnight Russian ballistic missile strike on Kyiv injured four and scattered debris across the capital, Ukrainian officials said Monday.

Ukraine's air defense systems destroyed eight Russia-launched ballistic missiles at about 4 a.m. local time over Kyiv, the Ukrainian air force said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia did not immediately claim responsibility for the attacks. CNBC could not independently verify the claims.

— Karen Gilchrist

Biden to host Zelenskyy at the White House

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Sept. 21, 2023.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden invited his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to a meeting at the White House Tuesday, during which the pair are set to discuss Washington's "unshakeable commitment" to Kyiv and the potential for further financial support.

"As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine's urgent needs and the vital importance of the United States' continued support at this critical moment," the White House said in a statement announcing the meeting Sunday.

The meeting comes as the Biden looks to strike an agreement with Congress that would provide military aid for Ukraine and Israel.

U.S. lawmakers have grown increasingly divided over continued funding for Kyiv, with some insisting spending should instead focus on border security issues closer to home.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin confirms he will run in March election, local media reports

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 7: Russian president Vladimir Putin participates in the annual investment forum "Russia calling!" at the World Trade Center on December 7, 2023 in Moscow, Russia. The Russian bank VTB Capital initiated its annual forum with the opening day event. (Photo by Vladimir Pesnya/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said he would run for another presidential term in 2024, state-owned news agency Tass reported.

Putin confirmed his intention to run during a conversation with attendees of a ceremony in the Kremlin to award medals for Russia's Heroes of the Fatherland day, according to Tass.

Elections are scheduled for March 17.

There was little doubt that 71-year-old Putin would seek a fifth term in power in an election in which his success is near-guaranteed due to oppression of political opponents, his continued domestic popularity and his deeply-entrenched grip on power. That is despite sporadic protests against Russia's war in Ukraine, particularly the ever-rising human, economic and geopolitical costs.

Putin has led Russia since 1999, variously as prime minister and president, during which time laws have been altered to prolong and extend his leadership. Another term would see his presidency extended until at least 2030.

— Jenni Reid

Ukraine's parliament approves minorities bill, seen as key for EU talks

The Ukrainian parliament on Friday approved three bills necessary to start European Union accession talks, including one on national minorities' rights, a critical demand from Hungary which opposes Ukraine's EU bid, officials said.

Lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak said on Telegram messenger that members of parliament voted in the final reading for the bill regarding minorities' rights, taking into consideration the expert assessment of the European Council.

Budapest has clashed with Kyiv over what it says are curbs on the rights of ethnic Hungarians in west Ukraine, in particular regarding education.

The other two bills adopted concern staff increases in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and additional power for the National Agency on Corruption Prevention on assets checks.

"Just now Ukrainian parliament passed three out of four laws by constitutional majority identified by the European Commission as leftovers in the EU Enlargement report," Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said on X.

She added that a fourth requirement - a law on lobbying - was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

The 27 national EU leaders are due to decide next week on whether to accept the European Commission's recommendation to invite Kyiv to begin membership talks.

Any such decision however requires the unanimous support. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly said Hungary would not support the Commission's proposal in its present form.

— Reuters

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