UK government designates Wagner Group as a terrorist organization
A fighter from Russian Wagner mercenary group conducts training for Belarusian soldiers on a range near the town of Osipovichi, Belarus July 14, 2023 in this still image taken from handout video.
Voen TV/Belarusian Defence Ministry | Via Reuters
The U.K. government officially labeled the Russian private mercenary company Wagner Group as a terrorist organization.
“The Russian mercenary organisation, Wagner Group, has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation today (15th September) after an order was laid in Parliament on Wednesday (6th September),” a statement on the U.K. government’s website read.
“This order comes into force with immediate effect and will make belonging to the Wagner Group or actively supporting the group in the UK a criminal offence, with a potential jail sentence of 14 years which can be handed down alongside or in place of a fine.”
Wagner has grown in size to meet Moscow’s demand for combatants to fight in Ukraine, and is believed to include potentially tens of thousands of convicts. The group spearheaded some of Russia’s most violent fighting in Ukraine and is also active in several African countries. Its former leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, launched an aborted coup in late June, and was killed in a plane crash two months later on Aug. 23.
— Natasha Turak
Putin says he is open to negotiations to end Ukraine war, but Kyiv doesn’t want them
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his press conference at the Konstantin Palace on July 29, 2023 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Contributor | Getty Images
Russian leader Vladimir Putin told press Friday that he is not opposed to negotiations with Ukraine on ending the war, but that it’s the Ukrainian side that does not want to talk.
“I have already said about this: we have never refused negotiations. Therefore, please, if the other side wants, let them say so directly. So I’m talking, but from the other side we don’t hear anything,” Putin was quoted by Russian state news outlet TASS as saying.
Kyiv says peace is only possible once Russian forces withdraw from all Ukrainian territory including the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014. Moscow so far has refused to view that as an option.
Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and has since illegally annexed some 20% of its territory. It says it does not target civilians, yet regularly hits Ukrainian civilian centers and critical infrastructure with missiles and drones.
— Natasha Turak
Russia and North Korea did not sign any military agreements, Kremlin says
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region on Sept. 13, 2023.
Vladimir Smirnov | Afp | Getty Images
Russia and North Korea did not sign any joint agreements on military cooperation, Reuters reported the Kremlin as saying on Friday.
The two countries did not sign agreements on any other topics either, the Kremlin said, and did not plan to do so during the high-profile visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Russia this week.
During the visit, Kim vowed to establish “a new era of 100-year friendship” between his country and Russia.
“I will always be standing with Russia,” Kim said in footage released by the Kremlin and translated by CNN, saying he was “certain that the Russian people and its military will emerge victorious in the fight to punish the evil forces that ambitiously pursue hegemony and expansion.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there were many areas in which the two countries could cooperate.
— Natasha Turak
Ukraine’s military says it seized eastern village in Donetsk
Ukraine’s military reported that it has recaptured the eastern village of Andriivka in Donetsk, which is partially occupied by Russia. Andriivka is located south of Bakhmut, which the Russians took control of in May after months of some of the war’s bloodiest fighting.
A Facebook post by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine read: “In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy does not abandon the attempt to break through the defense of the armed forces of Ukraine in the Bohdanivka area.”
“In their turn, the defense forces of Ukraine during the offensive actions had partial success in the area of Klishchiivka,” it said, adding, “During the assault operations they had success and mastered Andriivka, causing the enemy significant losses in manpower and equipment.”
CNBC is not able to verify details on the ground.
— Natasha Turak
Zelenskyy to visit Washington and New York
U.S. President Joe Biden and President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy shake hands during G7 Declaration of Joint Support for Ukraine at LITEXPO Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Center in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 12, 2023.
Beata Zawrzel | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to visit Congress and the White House next week, in addition to the United Nations, as he heads to the U.S. for the U.N. General Assembly.
His visit will come as Congress deliberates the latest military and humanitarian aid package President Joe Biden is requesting for Ukraine, which could be worth as much as $24 billion.
The visit also comes amid heightened debate in some American circles over the success of Ukraine’s slow-moving counteroffensive and whether the U.S. should continue supporting Ukraine to such a high degree. More isolationist factions of both the Democratic and Republican parties have criticized Biden’s aid packages to Ukraine, saying the U.S. should end its involvement in the war.
— Natasha Turak
Russian lawmakers propose banning WhatsApp after Channels launch
Some members of Russia’s State Duma and Federal Council proposed banning the popular messaging app WhatsApp if it starts featuring Russian language channels, the Institute for the Study of War think tank reported.
Meta, WhatsApp’s owner, announced on Wednesday the launch of WhatsApp Channels in more than 150 countries, which would be similar to Telegram’s channels where users can follow celebrities and organizations.
The ISW wrote: “Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Head Viktor Bondarev, State Duma Committee on Information Policy Head Alexander Khinshtein, and State Duma Deputy Anton Gorelkin said that Russia should consider blocking WhatsApp in Russia if WhatsApp launches Russian language channels.”
It added that “Russian state media censor Roskomnadzor reported that Russia could block WhatsApp if it disseminates prohibited information.”
“Russian authorities are likely attempting to funnel the Russian information space onto a limited number of closely monitored or controlled social media platforms,” the report said.
— Natasha Turak
More than 500 children killed during war so far, Ukrainian officials say
More than 500 children have died since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian office of the prosecutor general, as posted on Telegram.
“According to the official information of juvenile prosecutors, 504 children were killed and more than 1,123 were injured of various degrees of severity,” the office reported. The figures date from Feb. 24, 2022, to Sept. 14, 2023.
Soft toys, candles and flowers are left near the monument to Ukrainian children who died in the war on August 20, 2023 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Most of the children affected were in the regions of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kyiv, according to the office.
The platform “Children of War” is attempting to keep track of child fatalities following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but highlights it is “impossible to establish the exact number of injured children due to active hostilities and the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine.”
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
Russia expels two U.S. embassy staff for ‘illegal activities’
Russia’s foreign ministry has declared two U.S. embassy staff “persona non grata” for carrying out “illegal activities.”
The foreign ministry’s statement, translated by NBC, said that J. Sillin and D. Bernstein had maintained contact with Russian citizen R. Shonov, who is “accused of ‘confidential cooperation’ with a foreign state, who in return for financial compensation was given tasks aimed at harming the national security of the Russian Federation.”
CNBC is unable to independently verify the information provided by the Russian ministry.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
South Korea warns Russia and North Korea over deeper military ties
South Korea’s National Security Council warned Russia and North Korea that there will be consequences to any violations of UN Security Council resolutions.
“[The] South Korean government will make sure that North Korea and Russia will pay the price for any actions that threaten the national security of South Korea at the cost of violating the UN Security council’s resolutions,” the presidential office said in a statement translated by NBC News.
South Korea’s National Security Council said that “it is a very serious situation that Russia and North Korea have discussed various kinds of military cooperation.”
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on March 27, South Korea’s military said in the latest in its flurry of weapons tests in recent weeks.
Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images
It urged North Korea and Russia “to abide by the obligations that prohibit military cooporation and arms deals laid out by the UN Security Council’s resolutions and various sanctions.”
Russia and North Korea deny that they have held arms negotiations, despite Western concern that Moscow is looking to Pyongyang to supply it with weaponry for use against Ukraine.
Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, said it would look to deepen military cooperation with Pyongyang, although Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged there were “limitations” to doing so.
— Holly Ellyatt
Read CNBC’s live coverage here:
- UK government designates Wagner Group as a terrorist organization
- Putin says he is open to negotiations to end Ukraine war, but Kyiv doesn’t want them
- Russia and North Korea did not sign any military agreements, Kremlin says
- Ukraine’s military says it seized eastern village in Donetsk
- Zelenskyy to visit Washington and New York
- Russian lawmakers propose banning WhatsApp after Channels launch
- More than 500 children killed during war so far, Ukrainian officials say
- Russia expels two U.S. embassy staff for ‘illegal activities’
- South Korea warns Russia and North Korea over deeper military ties
- Read CNBC’s live coverage here: