Biden urges world to continue support for Ukraine at UN summit; Putin and Xi to meet next month

Holly Ellyatt
Jenni Reid

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

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Sept. 19, 2023.

U.S. President Joe Biden used a Tuesday speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to call on world leaders to continue to support Ukraine against Russia's "illegal war of conquest."

"Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence," Biden said.

"If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure? I'd respectfully suggest the answer is no. We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow," he said, to applause.

"Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. Russia's price for peace is Ukraine's capitulation, Ukraine's territory and Ukraine's children."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also set to speak and the event, where he could come face to face with top Russian officials.

Despite some calls for its removal, Russia is a permanent member of the UN and one of five permanent members of the U.N.'s Security Council.

Tue, Sep 19 2023 12:01 PM EDT

U.S. urges Ukraine allies to 'dig deep' on ground-based air defense

U.S. United States Secretary of Defense LLoyd Austin (L) and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley speak to the media following the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base on September 19, 2023 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin has urged members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an alliance of around 50 countries, to "continue to dig deep on ground-based air defense for Ukraine."

Austin said the group had "stepped up" with donations of Patriot, IRIS-T, HAWK, NASAMS, SAMP/T, and other air-defense systems, and that this was saving lives.

"We must continue to push hard to provide Ukraine with the air-defense systems and interceptors that it needs. And right now, in the heat of battle, we must also keep pushing to get Ukraine the ammunition that it needs to keep up the fight, including 155-millimeter ammunition," he said.

However, no announcements were made at the meeting regarding increased supply of long-range missiles, which Ukraine has repeatedly called for.

This includes Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, which have a reach of up to 190 miles (306 km). U.S. supply of ATACMS reportedly remains under discussion.

— Jenni Reid

Tue, Sep 19 2023 10:45 AM EDT

Moscow judge suspends appeal of reporter Evan Gershkovich

US journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands inside a defendants' cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his extended pre-trial detention at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on September 19, 2023.

A Moscow judge suspended journalist Evan Gershkovich's latest appeal against his pre-trial detention on spying charges, according to NBC News.

The judge said there were "procedural violations" that need to be resolved and sent the appeal back to be heard in a lower court. 

Gershkovich, his employer the Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government have strongly denied allegations of spying, and say he was doing his job as a reporter when he was detained in March.

Previous appeals by Gershkovich failed in April and June. His pre-trial detention was extended to Nov. 30 in August, and no date has been set for his trial.

— Jenni Reid

Tue, Sep 19 2023 9:08 AM EDT

Azerbaijan launches military action in Karabakh 'to disarm Armenians'

Demonstrators rally to demand the reopening of a blockaded road linking the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia and to decry crisis conditions in the region, in Stepanakert, or or Khankendi as Azerbaijan calls the city, on July 25, 2023. Karabakh, has been at the centre of a decades-long dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have fought two wars over the mountainous territory.

Azerbaijan launched military action in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a step that could presage a new war in the volatile area but which Baku said was necessary to restore constitutional order and drive out Armenian military formations.

Karabakh is internationally recognised as Azerbaijani territory but part of it is run by breakaway ethnic Armenian authorities who say the area is their ancestral homeland. It has been at the centre of two wars the latest in 2020 — since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Loud and repeated shelling was audible from social media footage filmed in Stepanakert, the capital of Karabakh, called Khankendi by Azerbaijan, on Tuesday. The Karabakh separatist human rights ombudsman, Gegham Stepanyan, said the civilian population had sustained "multiple casualties" as a result of strikes by Azerbaijan's military. Reuters could not immediately verify his assertion.

In a statement announcing its operation, Azerbaijan's defence ministry spoke of its intention to "disarm and secure the withdrawal of formations of Armenia's armed forces from our territories, (and) neutralise their military infrastructure".

It said it was only targeting legitimate military targets using "high-precision weapons" and not civilians as part of what it called a drive to "restore the constitutional order of the Republic of Azerbaijan". Civilians were free to leave by humanitarian corridors, it added, including one to Armenia.

Ethnic Armenian forces in Karabakh said Azerbaijani forces were trying to break through their defences after heavy shelling, but that they were holding the line for now. Armenia, which had been holding peace talks with Azerbaijan, including on questions about Karabakh's future, condemned what it called Baku's "full-scale aggression" against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and accused Azerbaijan of shelling towns and villages.

"Driven by a sense of impunity, Azerbaijan has openly claimed responsibility for the aggression," Armenia's foreign ministry said in a statement. Reuters could not immediately verify battlefield assertions from either side.

— Reuters

Tue, Sep 19 2023 8:19 AM EDT

Norway and Denmark donate more tanks, cargo carriers to Ukraine

Norway will donate about 50 tracked cargo carriers to Ukraine, while nearby Denmark will send 45 tanks to the country.

"These are important to get supplies to areas where there are no roads," Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said in a statement.

The vehicle, known as the M548 internationally, is tracked and is able to maneuver in terrain inaccessible for wheeled vehicles so they're an important addition to transport goods ranging from ammunition, food and water to Ukrainian troops in the field.

Ukrainian soldiers unload the shells of spent tank ammunition from a Leopard 1 A5 main battle tank at the Klietz training area in Germany.

The vehicles have been in storage but are now being maintained and the carriers will be replaced through already planned projects, the defense ministry said.

Meanwhile, Denmark is reportedly set to donate another 45 tanks to Ukraine, Danish news outlets said Tuesday, citing the country's Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen. Denmark will send 30 Leopard 1 tanks and 15 T-72 tanks to Ukraine, public broadcaster DR said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Tue, Sep 19 2023 7:45 AM EDT

Putin and Xi to meet in Beijing in October

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing in October, a close ally of Putin said Tuesday.

"In October, we are counting on detailed bilateral negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing," Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, said at a meeting with Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 21, 2023.

He said the talks would take place as the international "One Belt, One Road" forum is held in Beijing. Putin will attend the gathering after Xi extended an invitation to him during a high-profile visit to Moscow in March.

The visit to Beijing will be the first that Putin has made since an international arrest warrant was issued for Putin alleging responsibility for the unlawful deportation and transfer of children during the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin denies the allegations.

— Holly Ellyatt

Tue, Sep 19 2023 6:54 AM EDT

Evidence suggests Ukrainian missile caused market strike, media reports

Eyewitness accounts and an analysis of video and weapon fragments suggest a Ukrainian missile that failed to hit its intended target was the cause of a deadly strike on a Ukrainian market in September, The New York Times reported Monday.

The missile strike on a market in Kostiantynivka killed at least 16 civilians and injured more than 30 others and was initially blamed on Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was a "deliberate terrorist attack," following numerous other incidents of Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure. Russia denies targeting civilians.

However, evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times — including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts — "strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system," the newspaper said in a report published Monday.

Firefighters extinguish fire at a market on Sept. 6, 2023, in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine.

"The attack appears to have been a tragic mishap. Air defense experts say missiles like the one that hit the market can go off course for a variety of reasons, including an electronic malfunction or a guidance fin that is damaged or sheared off at the time of launch," the paper said.

The likely missile failure happened amid the back-and-forth battles common in the surrounding area, the paper added, with Russian forces having shelled Kostiantynivka the night before.

A spokesperson for Ukraine's armed forces told the NYT the country's security service is investigating the incident, and under national law can't comment further.

— Holly Ellyatt

Tue, Sep 19 2023 5:13 AM EDT

Russian attacks on Ukraine kill two, Lviv warehouses set ablaze, officials say

Russia struck three industrial warehouses in a drone strike on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv early on Tuesday, causing a huge fire and killing at least one person, local officials said.

Russian forces also shelled the southern city of Kherson, killing a policeman and wounding two civilians on a trolleybus, the head of the city's military administration said.

"In the morning, a 49-year-old police sergeant was killed by Russian artillery fire in Kherson," Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said.

Black smoke billows over the city after drone strikes in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on September 19, 2023.

In Lviv, fire fighters tackled a blaze after three industrial warehouses were hit in an attack at around 5 a.m. (0200 GMT), emergency services said.

Photos released by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine showed huge flames lighting up the sky above the burning warehouses.

Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi said the body of a man who worked at one of the warehouses had been found under the rubble. Sadovyi said the warehouses stored windows, household chemicals, and humanitarian aid.

"I want to emphasise that these are ordinary industrial warehouses. Nothing military was stored there," regional govenor Maxim Kozitsky said on the Telegram messaging app.

He said Russian forces had launched 18 drones in the attack and that 15 had been shot down, including seven that were directly over the Lviv region.

Ukraine's air force said Russia had launched a total of 30 drones and one Iskander ballistic missile in attacks on Ukraine overnight, and that 27 of the drones had been shot down. Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

— Reuters

Tue, Sep 19 2023 8:26 AM EDT

Zelenskyy visits wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island hospital

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in New York City on Monday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks while visiting with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023. 
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023. 
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023. 
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023. 

-Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Tue, Sep 19 2023 5:04 AM EDT

Russia disputes Ukraine's claim to have liberated villages

Russia disputed Tuesday Ukraine's claims to have liberated the villages of Andriivka and Klishchiivka, both of which are just south of the fighting hot spot of Bakhmut in Donetsk.

"We have seen victorious reports from the Ukrainian regime regarding Kleshcheevka, regarding Andreevka [Russian spellings for the Ukrainian villages]. But I will tell you: these settlements are in the gray zone," Denis Pushilin, the acting head of the breakaway, pro-Russian "Donetsk People's Republic," said Tuesday in comments reported by RIA Novosti.

Pushilin told the Rossiya 24 TV channel that Andriivka has been practically destroyed.

Pushilin told the Rossiya 24 TV channel that Andriivka has been practically destroyed and that the Ukrainian military is trying to enter the territory of the former village. He claimed that Russian artillery, supported by aviation units, was hindering their advance.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Monday that Kyiv's forces had liberated Andriivka and Klishchiivka over the weekend but added that Russian was "trying with all his might to regain lost positions." 

On Tuesday, Ukraine's armed forces said in an update on Facebook that Russian forces "tried to recover the lost position in the area of Andriivka Donetsk region, had no success."

The General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces said its defense forces "continue assault operations in the area of southern Bakhmut of Donetsk region, inflicting significant losses in manpower and equipment, consolidating on the reached borders."

— Holly Ellyatt

Tue, Sep 19 2023 2:34 AM EDT

G-7 ministers call on China to press Russia to stop aggression in Ukraine

The Group of Seven (G-7) on Tuesday called on China to press Russia to stop its aggression in Ukraine after foreign ministers of the bloc met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and released a joint statement.

The statement, released by the foreign ministry of G-7 chair Japan, said the members hoped China would push for the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, pose for a photo after laying a wreath in front of the Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, after Zelenskiy was invited to the Group of Seven nations' summit in Hiroshima, Japan, May 21, 2023. The Atomic Bomb Dome is seen in the background. 

The statement comes as China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, visits Russia for a four-day trip during which both nations are expected to pledge deeper political ties, with a possible visit by President Vladimir Putin to Beijing on the horizon.

The G-7 members also welcomed China's participation in the Ukraine-led meeting in Jeddah and "further encouraged China to support a just and lasting peace, including through its direct dialogue with Ukraine," the statement said.

Putin met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week in Moscow for talks that included closer military ties, alarming the United States and other western-aligned countries.

Pyongyang and Moscow have denied that North Korea could supply arms to Russia, which has expended vast stocks in more than 18 months of war.

The G-7 joint statement did not name any countries, but said its members "reiterated their call on third parties to cease any and all assistance to Russia's war of aggression or face severe costs."

— Reuters

Tue, Sep 19 2023 2:54 AM EDT

Zelenskyy due to address UN, could come face to face with top Russian officials

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy could be coming face to face with top Russian officials this week as he prepares to address global leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Zelenskyy is also due to speak at a U.N. Security Council meeting about Ukraine on Wednesday, an event that could see him in the same room as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is also expected to address the Council.

When asked on Monday whether he would stay to listen to Lavrov's remarks, Zelenskyy said "I don't know how it will be, really," AP reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and like its other permanent members (the United States, Britain, China and France), it has the power of veto U.N. resolutions; Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution last year condemning the attempted annexation of four Ukrainian regions, for example.

Ukraine has repeatedly questioned how and why Russia continues to occupy a top position in the U.N. when it has itself invaded its neighbor and fostered war and instability.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said "territorial integrity of the state is a key principle of all basic international documents, including the UN Charter. And it is necessary to return to it the full force destroyed by the Russian invasion, and to increase the capabilities of the UN to stop aggressions and prevent them. Ukraine will make a clear proposal in this regard to UN members."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits with wounded Ukrainian soldiers at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Staten Island borough of New York City on September 18, 2023. 

Zelenskyy arrived in New York on Monday, where he visited Northwell Health's Staten Island University Hospital to recognize efforts to support medical providers in Ukraine. He also met wounded Ukrainian soldiers who had received advanced prosthetics and critical rehabilitation after being severely injured in the Russian invasion.   

— Holly Ellyatt

Mon, Sep 18 2023 11:54 AM EDT

Ukraine plans lawsuit against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over agricultural import restrictions

Ukraine intends to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over their restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural imports, officials said.

Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka told Politico in an interview it was "important to prove that these actions are legally wrong," and that an appeal would be made through the World Trade Organization.

A senior Ukrainian official said an appeal could be sent "in the near future," Reuters reported Monday.

Poland, Hungary and Slovakia on Friday announced import curbs after European Commission-led restrictions on Ukrainian imports into the countries — as well as Romania and Bulgaria — expired. All five are EU members which are close to or border Ukraine.

The EU deal allowed products to transit via the countries but required them to be sold elsewhere. The three new national restrictions cover domestic imports and will still allow transit, Reuters reported.

Land exports from Ukraine have increased since the suspension of the Black Sea grain initiative by Russia in July, creating tensions with local farmers as goods prices fell.

Ukraine has agreed to introduce measures intended to prevent a "surge" in EU imports, however the details have not been specified.

Hungarian President Viktor Orban on Saturday wrote on social media website X that Ukrainian agricultural products destined for Africa were "flooding Central European markets."

A Polish government spokesperson said it was introducing the ban in the "interest of Polish farmers and consumers;" while Slovakia's Prime Minister Ľudovít Ódor said it would "prevent excessive pressure on the Slovak market in order to remain fair to our farmers as well."

— Jenni Reid

Mon, Sep 18 2023 8:34 AM EDT

Explosions reported at Russian administration building in occupied Donetsk

Explosions have been reported around the headquarters of the Russian authorities in Donetsk, news agency RIA Novosti said Monday.

The report said there was at least one hit on the building housing the authorities of the pro-Russian, so-called Donetsk People's Republic, or DPR. CNBC was unable to confirm the information reported by the Russian news agency.

Shortly after, RIA Novosti published an update in which a DPR representative claimed that Ukrainian forces had fired three missiles at the center of Donetsk. Ukraine has not commented on the incident which represents the latest effort to strike at the heart of Russian occupying forces in Ukraine.

Military vehicles of the DPR army are seen in Yasynuvata, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 28, 2022. 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine was preceded by Moscow's recognition of the breakaway regions of the DPR, and the neighboring Luhansk People's Republic, as independent states. Russia has supported and fomented pro-Russian separatism in both regions for years.

Russia has since tried to justify its invasion of Ukraine by saying it did so to protect the regions, which it has since incorporated into the Russian Federation following disputed referendums held last year on whether to join Russia. Russia said a majority of residents voted to join Russia but the votes were largely seen as coercive and bogus.

— Holly Ellyatt

Mon, Sep 18 2023 6:52 AM EDT

Counteroffensive is 'not very fast' but is making progress, Zelenskyy says

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged that the counteroffensive is not proceeding quickly but insisted Ukrainian forces are advancing and liberating Russian-occupied areas every day.

“It’s a difficult situation, I will be completely honest with you," Zelenskyy said in an interview with CBS News published on Sunday.

"We have the initiative. This is a plus. We stopped the Russian offensive and we moved onto a counter-offensive. And despite that, it’s not very fast. It is important that we are moving forward every day and liberating territory,” Zelenskyy added.

He noted that Ukraine needs to liberate its territory as much as possible. Time is of the essence in the south and east of Ukraine, where fighting is intense along a 900-mile long front line; Ukraine's infamous muddy season will return around October, making movement and progress more difficult.

“We need to liberate our territory as much as possible and move forward, even if it’s less than [half a mile or] a hundred [yards] we must do it. We mustn’t give Putin a break,” Zelenskyy noted.

— Holly Ellyatt

Mon, Sep 18 2023 2:54 AM EDT

Ukraine liberates two villages in the east as grueling counteroffensive continues

Ukraine recaptured two villages in the area around Bakhmut in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, in recent days as its grueling counteroffensive continues in the south and east of the country.

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Monday that Kyiv's forces had liberated Andriivka and Klishchiivka over the weekend but said Russian was "trying with all his might to regain lost positions." 

"Our fighters hold back the enemy's attacks there and are entrenched at the achieved frontiers," she said in a post on Telegram. Two square kilometers, or 0.77 miles, of territory had been regained in the past week around Bakhmut, an epicenter of fighting for months.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulated his forces in the region in his nightly address Sunday, saying "I would like to especially recognize the warriors who are gradually regaining Ukraine's territory in the area of Bakhmut."

A Ukrainian serviceman walks near a destroyed Ukrainian tank, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, near the village of Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, on Aug. 25, 2023.

Ukrainian forces are also trying to push southward to regain towns and cities toward, and on, the Sea of Azov.

Maliar said Ukraine is continuing its "offensive operation in the Melitopol direction" and that there was success in the area south and east of Robotyne, a town in the southern Zaporizhia region that Ukraine said it had recaptured in late August.

In the past week, defense forces in the south have liberated 5.2 square km of territory. Since the start of the counteroffensive, 261.7 square km has been retaken in the region.

— Holly Ellyatt

Tue, Sep 19 2023 1:42 AM EDT

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