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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

China’s envoy to Russia says Moscow appreciates its efforts toward peace

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui (L) at the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow, Russia on May 26, 2023.

Russian Foreign Ministry | Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia appreciates China’s “sincere desire and earnest efforts” to find a solution to the war in Ukraine, China’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs said during a press briefing.

“The risk of escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war is still high … All sides must ensure the safety of nuclear facilities and take concrete measures to cool down the temperature,” envoy Li Hui, said, according to Reuters. During the briefing, he discussed his diplomatic 12-day tour of Kyiv, Moscow, Warsaw, Paris, Brussels and Berlin aimed at seeking solutions to the conflict.  

Li said that he believes neither Ukraine nor Russia has “firmly” shut the door on peace negotiations, and added that, “as long as it’s conducive to easing the situation, China is willing to do anything.”

China has previously presented a multi-point plan for peace between Ukraine and Russia, which has drawn much criticism from Kyiv and its Western allies for being too accommodating to Russia. While Beijing has called for an end to the war, it has refrained from condemning or blaming Russia and much of its state-run press is highly favorable toward Moscow.

— Natasha Turak

Villages in Russia’s western border region shelled, governor says

Villages in Russia’s western Bryansk region were shelled, regional governor Alexander Bogomaz wrote on his Telegram channel, saying that the attackers were Ukrainian. He identified the two hit villages as Lomakovka and Novaya Pogoshch, saying that one house was set on fire, but that there were no deaths, according to Reuters reporting.

CNBC could not independently verify the claims.

Reported offensives on Russian soil have jumped in recent weeks, with drone attacks taking place in Moscow and shelling and incursions into Russia’s western region that borders Ukraine. The Kremlin blames Ukraine’s government for directing the hostilities, while Kyiv denies involvement.

Most of the recent attacks and attempted incursions into Russian territory have been claimed by the Freedom of Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps, which describe themselves as pro-Ukraine ethnic Russians fighting to combat Russia’s government.

— Natasha Turak

Zelenskyy presses hard for NATO membership at Moldova conference

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed NATO to allow Ukraine’s membership of the alliance — a topic of contention that has divided the group of 31 countries.

“This year is for decisions,” Zelenskyy said at the European Political Community summit in Moldova on Thursday. “In summer in Vilnius at the NATO summit, a clear invitation from members of Ukraine is needed, and security guarantees on the way to NATO membership are needed.”

Ukraine and those who support its bid say that NATO membership is needed to deter Russia from attacking the country again, while others warn that the move could further provoke Moscow, which sees Kyiv joining the Western alliance as a major red line.

Zelenskyy also made a push for EU membership, with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressing strong support. Ukraine would still need to meet a set of standards, including weeding out its well-documented corruption, in order to join the economic bloc.

— Natasha Turak

Russian forces target food lines and water infrastructure to starve Ukrainians, international lawyers say in a new report

People receive food from AFAT – Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency on November 28, 2022 in Chernihiv, Ukraine.

Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images

Russian occupying forces in Ukraine employ starvation tactics on civilians by targeting food lines, agricultural harvests and water infrastructure, according to a team of international lawyers helping Kyiv investigate alleged war crimes. 

The investigators focused their efforts on Chernihiv, which was under siege for a little over two months before Russian troops were expelled from the northern Ukrainian city.

Catriona Murdoch, a lawyer and expert in starvation-related crimes, described Chernihiv as the “tip of the iceberg in Putin’s calculated plan to terrorize, subjugate and kill Ukrainian people.”

The Kremlin has previously denied that its forces commit war crimes or deliberately target civilians and related critical infrastructure.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

More than 500 Ukrainian children have died since start of Russia’s war, U.S. says

A woman walks past damaged residential buildings as she carries a child in Uman, around 215km southern Kyiv, on April 28, 2023, after Russian missile strikes targeted several Ukrainian cities overnight.

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink wrote on Twitter that more than 500 Ukrainian children have died as a result of Russia’s ongoing war.

“Heartbreaking: More than 500 Ukrainian children have been killed as a result of Russia’s unprovoked, full-scale war in Ukraine,” adding that “Two more children were tragically killed during another round of Russia’s cowardly nighttime attacks.”  

“The Kremlin’s widespread and systematic attacks against Ukraine’s civilian population & its unlawful transfer and deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children are horrific examples of Russia’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. Justice must be served,” Brink added in a second tweet.

The Kremlin has previously denied that its troops in Ukraine engage in war crimes.

In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.

Putin and Lvova-Belova are “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation” of children from Ukraine to Russia, the court wrote in a statement.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:



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