Russia Takes Majority Control of Key Ukrainian City; Moscow Calls U.S. Weapons Package ‘Direct Confrontation’ – NBC New York
This is CNBC’s live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine. See below for the latest updates.
Russian forces now control most of the eastern city of Sieverodonetsk, an important strategic target and the last Ukrainian holdout in the Luhansk region of the Donbas.
Moscow has roundly criticized the Biden Administration’s new $700 million military aid package for Ukraine, which includes longer-range weapons.
Meanwhile, oil prices have dipped on reports that Saudi Arabia may be willing to increase its crude production if Russia’s supply is hit by EU sanctions.
Russian forces in control of most of Sieverodonetsk: U.K.
Russia has made significant gains in a strategic city in Ukraine’s Donbas, the eastern-most city that was still under Ukrainian control and a last Ukrainian holdout in the Luhansk region.
“Russia has taken control of most of Sieverodonetsk. The main road into the Sieverodonetsk pocket likely remains under Ukrainian control but Russia continues to make steady local gains, enabled by a heavy concentration of artillery,” the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence wrote as part of its daily intelligence update on Twitter.
“This has not been without cost, and Russian forces have sustained losses in the process.”
Russian troops now will likely have to cross the Siverskyy Donets River, which stands in the way of its advance, a mission that is “vital for Russian forces as they secure Luhansk Oblast and prepare to switch focus to Donetsk Oblast,” the ministry wrote.
“It is likely Russia will need at least a short tactical pause to re-set for opposed river crossings and subsequent attacks further into Donetsk Oblast, where Ukrainian armed forces have prepared defensive positions,” it said, noting that this could “risk losing some of the momentum they have built over the last week.”
— Natasha Turak
Moscow calls U.S. weapons package a ‘direct provocation’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov joined other Russian officials in condemning the United States’ decision to send longer-range rockets to Ukraine as part of a new $700 million military aid package.
“It is a direct provocation (by Ukraine), aimed at involving the West in military action,” Lavrov told a news conference while in Saudi Arabia.
Previously, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “We believe that the United States is purposefully and diligently adding fuel to the fire.”
Biden administration officials are reportedly divided over what level of weapons support for Ukraine will constitute too much involvement and risk sparking a dangerous confrontation with Russia.
— Natasha Turak
Zelenskyy says Russia has forcibly deported more than 200,000 Ukrainian children
Russia has forcibly deported more than 200,000 Ukrainian children, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.
“These are orphans from orphanages. Children with parents. Children separated from their families,” Zelenskyy said.
Nearly 700 children have been injured or killed as a result of Russia’s attacks, with a further 139 children missing, the president said.
Yesterday, UNICEF reported that on average, more than 2 children are killed and more than 4 are injured every day in Ukraine due mostly to attacks using explosive weapons in populated areas, according to reports verified by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
— Chelsea Ong
Oil prices dip on report Saudi Arabia could step up if Russia production gets hit by EU sanctions
Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asia trading hours after the Financial Times reported Saudi Arabia is prepared to increase production if Russia’s output markedly drops following European Union sanctions.
Saudi Arabia is aware of the risks of a supply shortage and that it is “not in their interests to lose control of oil prices,” the Financial Times reported, citing sources.
The FT report comes ahead of a monthly meeting of the OPEC+ alliance on Thursday, which Russia is a part of.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, has not yet seen a true shortage in oil markets, according to the report. But that could change as economies globally reopen amid the pandemic recovery, driving demand for crude.
— Weizhen Tan
Ukraine welcomes new U.S. military aid package
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed $700 million in new military aid outlined by the United States.
“Thanks allies,” Zelenskyy advisor Andriy Yermak tweeted after listing what the package would include, along with emoji showing a handshake between the Ukrainian and U.S. flags.
The U.S. will send four rocket systems known as HIMARS, Javelin anti-tank missiles, anti-armor weapons, artillery rounds and helicopters, among other equipment.
— Jacob Pramuk