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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

What to expect from this NATO summit, and what’s already happened

NATO leaders are gathering Madrid to outline their vision for the West’s security agenda.

Nurphoto | Getty Images

The NATO summit taking place in Madrid will be a historic one, its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, with a deal on the table to admit new members and a proposal of a new “strategic concept” which would be a blueprint to, he said, “take NATO into the future in a more competitive and dangerous world.”

With the alliance set to shift its defenses, Stoltenberg said the summit would be a “historic and transformative” for the alliance.

NATO has already reached a deal to allow Sweden and Finland to join the alliance after Turkey dropped its opposition to the bid. It has also already announced that it will massively increase its rapid response force to 300,000, up from a current level of around 40,000 troops.

As he spoke to the press after arriving at the summit Wednesday, CNBC’s Hadley Gamble asked Stoltenberg about the timeline and structure of those additional troops.

“I expect them to be available and ready next year, that’s the plan. Those forces will be paid for and organized by the different allied NATO countries,” he noted, and would then be pre-assigned to specific NATO territories, most in the eastern part of the alliance, where they would train and become experienced with that terrain.

Pre-positioned heavy equipment and pre-assigned forces in certain countries would allow NATO to strengthen its deterrents and defenses, Stoltenberg said.

Holly Ellyatt

‘Russian terror’ responsible for the deaths of many innocent Ukrainian civilians, Zelenskyy says

Rescue workers at the site of the shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on June 27, 2022. Ukraine’s interior minister said yesterday that there were no survivors under the rubble because of the fire that spread through the building after the missile strike.

Anna Voitenko | Reuters

Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia is responsible for “state terrorism” in Ukraine, with over 2,800 Russian missiles having hit its cities so far during the war.

In his latest address overnight, Zelenskyy said he had taken part in a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council, convened at the request of Ukraine on Tuesday, in order to “take advantage of all international levers to bring Russia to justice for state terrorism.”

“For everything done by the Russian army against Ukrainians in Kremenchuk, in Ochakiv, in Lysychansk, in Kharkiv, in Dnipro, in many, many other cities of Ukraine. As of this evening, the total number of Russian missiles that have hit our cities is already 2,811. And there are many more air bombs, many artillery shells,” he said.

The president noted that the U.N. Security Council today stood in silence to commemorate all Ukrainians killed by the Russian army so far during the conflict, noting that “the members of the Russian delegation looked at everyone present in the Security Council and also decided to stand up … but everyone knows that it is Russian terror, it is the Russian state that is killing innocent people in this war waged against the Ukrainian people.”

Charred goods in a grocery store of the destroyed Amstor mall in Kremenchuk, on June 28, 2022, one day after it was hit by a Russian missile strike, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

Russia has again been accused of war crimes after a Russian missile hit a shopping mall in Kremenchuk in central Ukraine. The strike killed at least 20 civilians shopping in the building and injured at least 59 people, with others still missing. Ukraine’s interior minister said yesterday that there were no survivors under the rubble because of the fire that spread through the building after the missile strike.

Russia has repeatedly denied that it has targeted civilians or civilian infrastructure despite multiple instances refuting those claims. It has also spread falsehoods and disinformation about such attacks; on Tuesday, Russia said it was targeting a depot of weapons donated by the U.S. and Europe near the mall, a claim dismissed by Ukraine.

Holly Ellyatt

‘We are in a hybrid war,’ German foreign minister says

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has described the situation the country faces as a “hybrid war,” with the conflict in Ukraine having deep implications for the energy landscape in Europe, and Germany having to put plans in place in case its gas supplies — which are supplied via Nord Stream 1 from Russia to Germany — are cut by Moscow.

“We are faced now in Germany with the question now that if there’s no gas coming through Nord Stream 1 … we have to decide which institution may be cut off the grid,” Baerbock told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Tuesday.

“We are in a time of war, in Ukraine people are dying, but we are in a hybrid war where the war is also being done [fought] by energy,” Baerbock said.

Germany is particularly reliant on Russian gas supplies via its Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Before the war, there were plans for this supply to be doubled with a second pipeline, Nord Stream 2, despite misgivings about the pipeline from the United States, Ukraine and other countries in eastern Europe, particularly Poland.

The giant energy infrastructure project, while fully built and ready to function, has been put on ice — perhaps permanently — because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

NATO strikes a deal with Turkey to allow Sweden and Finland to join

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson give a news conference after their meeting, in Harpsund, Sweden, June 13, 2022.

Henrik Montgomery | Tt News Agency | Via Reuters

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the world’s most powerful military alliance reached a deal to admit Sweden and Finland after resolving the concerns of holdout Turkey.

The push to add Sweden and Finland to the world’s most powerful military alliance comes as Russia’s assault on Ukraine amplifies fears of other countries in the region. Moscow, long wary of NATO expansion, has opposed the two nations’ plans to join the alliance.

Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements to be NATO members. Some of the requirements include having a functioning democratic political system, a willingness to provide economic transparency and the ability to make military contributions to NATO missions.

However, all 30 NATO members must approve a country’s bid for it to be accepted into the alliance.

— Amanda Macias

Satellite image shows destruction of shopping mall in Ukraine

A satellite image taken by Planet Labs Inc. on June 28, showing destruction of the shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

Planet Labs Inc.

A satellite image by Planet Labs shows the destruction of a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging platform that more than 1,000 people were inside at the time of the Russian rocket attack, according to an NBC News report.

“This is not an off-target missile strike, this is a calculated Russian strike — exactly at this shopping mall,” Zelenskyy said in his evening address.

Rescuers work at a site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kremenchuk, in Poltava region, Ukraine June 28, 2022.

Anna Voitenko | Reuters

G-7 leaders condemned the Russian missile strike and pledged to hold “Russian President Putin and those responsible” to account.

The Kremlin has previously denied that it targets civilians.

— Amanda Macias

Europe needs ‘contingency plans’ in case Russia cuts gas supplies altogether

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau on June 26, 2022 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the EU’s stocks of gas are increasing as the bloc looks to other suppliers aside from Russia, but added that the region must have contingency plans in case Russia cuts its supplies.

“There will have to be — particularly if Russia decides to cut supply altogether — contingency plans but [gas] stocks are increasing nicely. We’ve reached a good level of stocks … and if we complete the stocks we are able to manage this transition to the time when we will be completely independent from Russian gas,” he told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at a press conference.

Draghi said Europe had implemented measures to tackle the economic fallout of the conflict including diversifying its suppliers and investing in renewable forms of energy.

“We went all over [for other suppliers], and we’ve replaced a good deal of the Russia gas,” he said, noting that 40% of the EU’s gas supplies came from Russia last year, whereas now it was down to 25%.

A recession in Europe on account of the war in Ukraine is not an immediate forecast, Draghi also noted, saying: “For the time being, the economy of the euro area is slowing down but we don’t foresee a recession now. The Italian economy is actually going better than we expected a couple of months ago.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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