Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Blinken announces 33rd security package worth $400 million for Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi on March 2, 2023.

Olivier Douliery | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth $400 million.

The aid, the 33rd such installment, includes more ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS and howitzers, as well as ammunition for Bradley fighting vehicles and demolitions munitions and equipment.

“Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does so, for as long as it takes, we will stand united with Ukraine and strengthen its military on the battlefield so that Ukraine will be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” Blinken wrote in a statement.

— Amanda Macias

Two U.S. citizens arrested for illegally exporting technology to Russia

A view of Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed at night in Moscow, Russia on October 27, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. agents arrested two Americans on Thursday for allegedly running a scheme to illegally export aviation technology to Russia.

Prosecutors said Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, 59, and Douglas Robertson, 55, both of Kansas, owned and operated KanRus Trading Co. They circumvented U.S. export laws by supplying electronics and other aviation equipment used in Russian aircraft, prosecutors said.

“Since 2020, the defendants conspired to evade U.S. export laws by concealing and misstating the true end users, value and end destinations of their exports and by transshipping items through third-party countries,” the Department of Justice wrote in a release.

“As further alleged, on Feb. 28, 2022, the defendants attempted to export avionics to Russia,” the statement added.

— Amanda Macias

Germany’s Scholz arrives in Washington for meeting with Biden

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden and was welcomed by German Ambassador to the U.S. Emily Haber.

During the two-day visit, Biden and Scholz will discuss Western support for Kyiv and measures against Russia. There will not be a state dinner nor a bilateral press conference.

— Amanda Macias

Russia to take preventive measures after alleged Bryansk attack

Russia will take steps to prevent further offensives in the border area of Bryansk, a day after accusing Ukraine-backed saboteurs of a “terrorist attack” in the region.

The incursion will be investigated and “measures will be taken to prevent this in the future,” Kremlin spokersperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to a Google translation of comments carried by Russian state news agency Tass on Telegram.

Ukraine has distanced itself from the alleged incident, with Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, calling it a “classic deliberate provocation,” while Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Directorate spokesperson Andriy Yusov said Russian opponents of the Moscow administration had authored the attack.

Ruxandra Iordache

Wagner leader claims Russian forces have ‘practically surrounded’ Bakhmut

Russian forces have practically surrounded the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russian paramilitary group Wagner.

“The divisions of the Wagner PMC practically surrounded Bakhmut, there was only one road left,” Prigozhin said in a Telegram video, according to a Google translation of a report from Russian state news agency Tass. Reuters geolocated Prigozhin’s footage to the village of Paraskoviika, 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) north of the center of Bakhmut.

Wagner forces have led Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine for months. Russia, which regards Bakhmut as a strategic key point to cut Ukrainian supply lines in Donetsk, has previously claimed that it had nearly encircled the city.

Ukrainian member of parliament Serhiy Rakhmanin said Wednesday that: “I believe that sooner or later, we will probably have to leave Bakhmut. There is no sense in holding it at any cost.”

Ruxandra Iordache

There’s a ‘big divide’ on Ukraine at the G-20, EU’s Borrell says

There was a “big divide” in opinions about the Ukraine war at the G-20 foreign affairs meeting, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said Friday.

He also stressed that the West needs to be “vigilant” on China’s support for Russia.

“There is a big divide, and Russia will continue the war,” he told CNBC’s Tanvir Gill in India.

“China has always told us that they are not providing arms to Russia, and they do not plan to do it, very much explicitly,” he added. “But, certainly we have to remain vigilant.”

— Katrina Bishop and Silvia Amaro

Quad members call Putin’s nuclear threats unacceptable

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting of the Federal Security Service collegium in Moscow on Feb. 28, 2023.

Gavriil Grigorov | Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats are not acceptable, foreign ministers of the “Quad” group the U.S., Japan, Australia and India said in a joint statement on Friday during the Group of 20 meeting of ministers in India.

“We continued to discuss our responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the immense human suffering it is causing, and concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the statement said.

The statement was a rare point of consensus between the U.S. and India on the Ukraine war. India’s government has so far refused to outright condemn Russia for the war. Moscow is a longtime ally and important trade partner to India.

— Natasha Turak

Russia cannot be allowed impunity for the war, Blinken says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi on March 2, 2023.

Olivier Douliery | Afp | Getty Images

Russia has to be punished for its war in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after a meeting in New Delhi with foreign ministers of the “Quad” group, whose members are the United States, India, Japan and Australia.

“If we allow with impunity Russia to do what it’s doing in Ukraine, then that’s a message to would-be aggressors everywhere that they may be able to get away with it too,” Blinken said, speaking to a forum.

The meeting with Quad members came during the Group of 20 meeting in India of the world’s top 20 economies, where the war in Ukraine dominated discussions. Western officials urged other countries present to keep pressuring Russia, but a joint communique from the meeting condemning Russia’s war could not be agreed because of opposition from Moscow and Beijing. The Kremlin still calls the war its “special military operation.”

— Natasha Turak

Russian envoy says nuclear powers may clash over Ukraine

A senior Russian diplomat warned that increasing Western support for Ukraine could trigger an open conflict between nuclear powers.

Speaking at the U.N. conference on disarmament, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov denounced the U.S. and its allies for openly declaring the goal of defeating Russia in a “hybrid” war, arguing that it violates their obligations under international agreements and is fraught with the war in Ukraine spilling out of control.

Ryabkov warned that “the U.S. and NATO policy of fueling the conflict in Ukraine” and their “increasing involvement in the military confrontation is fraught with a direct military clash of nuclear powers with catastrophic consequences.”

He emphasized that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to suspend the 2010 New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms pact with the U.S. came in response to the U.S. and NATO action on Ukraine.

— Associated Press

China has not yet provided Russia with weapons for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, White House says

John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, answers questions during the daily press briefing at the White House on March 2, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The White House said it has not yet seen China supply Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine.

“We haven’t seen the Chinese make a decision to move in that direction,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said when asked about any potential weapons transfers.

“Ultimately it’s their choice to make,” Kirby added, declining to elaborate on potential U.S. retaliatory actions.

— Amanda Macias

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