Russia-Ukraine war updates for Dec.18, 2023

34 Mins Ago

EU adopts 12th package of sanctions against Russia

The EU Council has passed its 12th package of sanctions against Russia, it announced Monday, which it said will target additional imports and exports as well as closing loopholes that enabled countries to sidestep previously-issued sanctions.

“These measures target high-value sectors of the Russian economy and make it more difficult to circumvent EU sanctions,” the Council wrote on its website.

The package includes “prohibition on the direct or indirect import, purchase or transfer of diamonds” from Russia, strengthening cooperation with third countries to prevent sanctions circumvention, tighter export restrictions on dual-use technologies, and enforcement of the EU-imposed price cap on Russian oil.

It imposes more restrictions on the import of commodities that provide significant revenue for Russia including iron, copper and aluminum wires, and foil tubes and pipes, and prohibits the import of liquefied propane from Russia.

The package also contains something called a “no Russia clause,” which the EU Council defines as “a new clause which applies to EU exporters and bans the re-exportation to Russia and re-exportation for use in Russia of certain goods.”

— Natasha Turak

3 Hours Ago

West’s promises to help developing countries are ‘pure lies’: Russian foreign minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov deliveries his speech at the annual meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states, known as the ‘Caspian Five’ in Moscow, Russia December 5, 2023. 

Yuri Kochetkov | Reuters

Western countries’ pledges to help developing countries economically are “nonsense and pure lies,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian television broadcaster Channel One, saying that whatever amount the West promised was a fraction of what it provided to Ukraine.

“There is a tenfold difference between what the West has promised, say, to African countries … and what the West has pledged to the developing world to cover the costs of overcoming climate change” versus Ukraine funding, Lavrov argued, according to state news agency Tass.

The minister also argued that Western countries are running out of funds to support Ukraine. “Everybody’s saying that openly, as far as I understand, there is no secret here,” he said.

— Natasha Turak

4 Hours Ago

Germany signs ‘historic’ deal stationing brigade in Lithuania, country’s defense minister says

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius gives a joint press conference with the NATO Secretary General at the Federal Ministry of Defense in Berlin on November 10, 2023.

Odd Andersen | Afp | Getty Images

Germany on Monday signed an agreement to station a brigade of around 4,800 soldiers in Lithuania as part of a pledge to bolster NATO’s eastern flank on the border with Russia.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius dubbed the move “historic” and said that the troops would be combat-ready in 2027.

It marks the first permanent foreign deployment of German troops since WWII and comes as NATO has sought to reinforce its defenses in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“The eastern flank has now moved to the east, and it’s the duty of Germany to protect it,” Pistorius said, in comments reported by Reuters. “The speed of the project clearly shows that Germany understood the new security reality.”

“We should expect not only good scenarios, but also the very worst scenarios. So we must be ready … Russia remains the main threat to us and NATO”, Lithuania’s Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas added, according to Reuters.

— Karen Gilchrist

5 Hours Ago

Kremlin welcomes Serbia’s election result

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s president, during celebrations at the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) headquarters following the general election in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023.

Oliver Bunic | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Kremlin on Monday welcomed the result of a snap election in Serbia, which saw incumbent President Aleksandar Vučić declare victory.

“We welcome this achievement from Vučić,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Reuters.

Peskov, who referred to Serbia as a “brotherly” country, added that Moscow hoped the result would lead to the “further strengthening of friendship” between the countries.

— Karen Gilchrist

6 Hours Ago

U.S. Treasury report finds Putin’s war putting ‘considerable strain’ on Russia’s economy: FT

President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is “putting Russia’s economy under considerable economic strain,” according to a draft report from the U.S. Treasury department seen by the Financial Times.

The combination of war, Western sanctions and Moscow’s policy response — which has seen a third of the country’s budget spent on the military — has hampered Russia’s growth by 5%, the report, due to be published Thursday, found.

It marks one of the most comprehensive analyses of the economic consequences that the conflict has had on the Russian economy.

— Karen Gilchrist

7 Hours Ago

Serbia’s President declares victory in snap elections

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade on September 24, 2023.

Oliver Bunic | Afp | Getty Images

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić declared victory for his ruling SNS party in Sunday’s snap parliamentary election.

Early results put the SNS at about 46%, while opposition center-left Serbia Against Violence coalition was set to come second with around 23% in a vote that was marred by reports of irregularities.

Serbia has resisted implementing sanctions against Moscow but has previously said Crimea and Donbas are Ukrainian sovereign territories.

— Karen Gilchrist

7 Hours Ago

Kherson bombarded by shelling, killing one, authorities say

Ukraine’s Kherson region has been hit by 374 shells over the last day, Gyunduz Mamedov, a former deputy prosecutor general of the country, said Monday.

“A civilian was killed, residential buildings and infrastructure were damaged. At least 8-9 regions of Ukraine are shelled every day,” he wrote in a post on social media.

CNBC could not independently verify the claims.

— Karen Gilchrist

9 Hours Ago

Russia’s prime minister to meet with Xi in China

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin meets with China’s President Xi Jinping in Moscow on March 21, 2023.

Dmitry Astakhov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to China on Tuesday, Moscow said Monday.

Mishustin will also hold talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, the government said.

— Karen Gilchrist

9 Hours Ago

EU to pass 12th sanctions package against Russia

The European Union is on Monday due to adopt a long-delayed 12th package of sanctions against Russia after Austria removed its objections.

The package will include a ban on Russian diamonds and aluminum, as well as a tightening of the price cap on Russian oil.

— Karen Gilchrist

9 Hours Ago

Putin says Russia has ‘no interest’ in fighting NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his combine call-in-show and annual press conference on December 14, 2023 in Moscow, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that Moscow had no interest in fighting NATO, noting instead that he was interested in “developing relations” with the military alliance.

In an interview with state TV network Rossiya 24, Putin dismissed comments by U.S. President Joe Biden, who said earlier this month that Russia would attack a NATO country if it won the war in Ukraine, according to Tass news agency.

“It is complete nonsense – and I think President Biden understands that,” Putin said in comments cited by Reuters.

“Russia has no reason, no interest – no geopolitical interest, neither economic, political nor military – to fight with NATO countries,” he added.

NATO’s eastward expansion has long been seen as a chief driver of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Biden’s claim formed part of his appeal to Republicans not to block further military aid to Ukraine.

— Karen Gilchrist

Fri, Dec 15 2023 10:13 AM EST

Putin would prefer ‘constructive’ U.S. president: Kremlin spokesperson

A U.S. president who is “more constructive” on Russia and realizes the “importance of dialogue” would be President Vladimir Putin’s preference, a Kremlin spokesperson told NBC.

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state agency Sputnik shows Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attending a meeting with President of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on December 6, 2023. 

Sergei Savostyanov | Afp | Getty Images

Putin would work with “anyone who will understand that from now on, you have to be more careful with Russia and you have to take into account its concerns,” Dmitry Peskov said when asked if the Kremlin would be content working with Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Peskov also suggested that the financial support given to Ukraine by the U.S. was ineffective, likening it to throwing money “into the wind” and that the U.S. and the West were prolonging the conflict.

Sophie Kiderlin

Fri, Dec 15 2023 7:06 AM EST

Hungary’s Orban says he could still block Ukraine’s EU membership talks

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives for a meeting of European Union EU leaders in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 14, 2023.

Zhao Dingzhe | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he could still block Ukraine’s European Union membership talks, hours after the bloc voted to open discussions.

Orban, who abstained from the vote Thursday by leaving the room, said the move to admit the war-torn country to the EU was “a bad decision.”

“We can halt this process later on, and if needed we will pull the brakes, and the ultimate decision will be made by Hungarian parliament,” he said, without adding detail on how he might do that.

Orban — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the bloc — has proved a thorn in the EU’s side in its efforts to get the membership talks over the line.

The nationalist leader also blocked plans to extend a new financial package to Ukraine, with discussions set to resume in January.

— Karen Gilchrist

10 Hours Ago

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