Ukraine war live updates: Ukraine facing ‘extremely fierce’ battles and ‘partial success’ in counteroffensive; Putin says it’s failing

IT a rare growth industry for Ukraine during the war, minister says

Ukraine’s IT industry has been the only sector to have grown during the war, according to the country’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Alex Bornyakov, who spoke at London Tech Week Wednesday.

Bornyakov referred to a 6% year-on-year growth in the industry in the last year, which is small compared to the previous growth rate of between 35% and 40%, but serves as a positive indicator of the sector’s strength given the extremely challenging environment in which it is currently operating.

“We hope this positive growth rate will remain in this year, too,” he added.

A report published by the Ukraine IT Association said that in the first 10 months of 2022, the industry had brought $6 billion to the country’s economy in export revenues, and achieved 10% growth compared to the previous year.

“These results were made possible due to the effective implementation of business continuity plans, timely relocation of teams and diversification of development centers in Ukraine and abroad,” the report said.

Ukrainian war veterans Andrii Gidzun, 30-year-old, and Vitalii Ivashchuk, 24-year-old, demonstrate their high-tech bionic prosthesis from Open Bionics, during a news conference of Superhumans Center, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine March 5, 2023.

Stringer | Reuters

Bornyakov also painted a picture of the daily logistical difficulties of working in a war zone, with meetings often disrupted by air sirens and app alerts warning of incoming dangers.

“It’s sad to say but we kind of get use to it,” Bornyakov said, adding that most Ukrainians now considered it part of a “daily routine.”

“When you hear air sirens you don’t panic anymore,” he said.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Ukraine facing ‘extremely fierce’ battles and ‘partial success’ in counteroffensive

Ukrainian servicemen of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade “Edelweiss” fire a rocket from a BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple rocket launcher towards Russian positions, near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region on June 13, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian forces are facing “extremely fierce” battles as their counteroffensive experiences “partial success,” according to Ukraine’s deputy defense minister.

Commenting on Telegram, Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian fighters had advanced up to 500 meters in the Bakhmut area over the past 24 hours, and up to 350 meters in the Zaporizhzhia area in southern Ukraine.

“Our troops are moving in the face of extremely fierce battles, aviation and artillery superiority of the enemy,” Maliar said Wednesday.

She said fighting was continuing near the village of Makarivka in the direction of the southern port city of Berdiansk, as well as in the areas of Novodanylivka and Novopokrovsk in the Mariupol direction. CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian attack on Donetsk kills 3 people, wounds others

Russian rocket attacks on the region of Donetsk have killed three people and wounded others, Ukrainian officials said Thursday.

“At dawn, the Russians launched a rocket attack on Kramatorsk — 2 people were killed and 2 were wounded,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, said on Telegram.

Five houses were destroyed, and at least 17 were damaged in the attack, he added.

The city of Kostyantynivka was also hit by a rocket, leaving one person dead and another injured, he said. Two houses were destroyed and 55 damaged.

In the wider Donetsk area, 21 houses were damaged as a result of shelling on the Kurakhiv community. Kyrylenko said the towns of Krasnohorivka, Maksimilyanivka and Avdiivka are under fire.

“In just one day, the Russians killed 3 residents of Donetsk region, wounded another 6,” Kyrylenko said.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the report.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s farm output could take 20 years to recover, study says

The grain harvester collects wheat on the field near the village of Zgurivka in the Kyiv region, while Russia continues the war against Ukraine. August 9, 2022.

Maxym Marusenko | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukraine’s agricultural sector could take 20 years or more in parts to recover from the ravages of Russia’s full-scale invasion, according to a Kyiv-based research centre.

Ukraine is a major global grower and exporter of wheat, corn, sunflower and sunflower oil, but its production has fallen sharply since the war start in February 2022.

“According to the modelling results, some of the sectors will not reach the pre-war levels even after seven years of peace,” Kyiv School of Economics said in a report.

It said the sunflower, barley and wheat sectors were expected to recover by 2040, while the maize, rye, oats and rapeseed sectors were expected to recover by 2050.

“This means that it may take as long as 20 years for Ukraine to regain its strength in agriculture after the devastation brought by the Russian military assault,” it said.

Ukraine harvested 106 million tonnes of grain and oilseed in 2021 before the invasion, but output could decrease to around 65 million tonnes in 2023, the agriculture ministry has said.

— Reuters

Germany says it has no information on ‘captured’ Leopard 2 tanks

Two Leopard 2A6 tanks from the German Army’s Tank Battalion 203 drive around a training area.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Germany’s Defense Ministry said it had no information on Leopard 2 tanks that Russia claims to have captured in Ukraine.

Russia’s Dense Ministry released footage this week purportedly showing Leopard 2 tanks and U.S.-made Bradley Fighting Vehicles that it said had been captured by Russian forces in a battle with Ukrainian troops in southern Ukraine. Russia called the equipment “our trophies.”

In response to a request by NBC News for confirmation or comment on the purportedly captured tanks, a spokesperson for the German Defense Ministry said “we have no knowledge of this.” No further comment was given.

— Holly Ellyatt

Senior commander of Chechen forces in Ukraine wounded, media reports

Russian and Chechen politician Adam Delimkhanov (R) smiles during President Vladimir Putin’s annual meeting with the Federal Assembly, on February 21, 2023 in Moscow, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A senior commander of Russia’s Chechen forces fighting in Ukraine has been wounded, Russia’s Defence Ministry television channel Zvezda reported on Wednesday, citing the press service of the State Duma lower house of parliament.

Adam Delimkhanov, who is a member of the State Duma as well as commander of the Chechen division of the Russian national guard, is widely seen as the Caucasian region’s second most senior official, behind Ramzan Kadyrov.

— Reuters

IAEA chief’s visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant reportedly delayed

Initial SkySat comparison images of the changing water levels at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.

Source: Planet Labs PBC

A planned visit by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine has been reportedly delayed by a day.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti cited a source familiar with the situation as saying the visit, due to take place Wednesday, had been delayed without giving a reason why.

IAEA Director-General Grossi traveled to Ukraine on Monday, saying he was due to meet President Zelenskyy and to present a program of assistance in the aftermath of the Nova Kakhovka dam flooding last week.

While in the country, he said he would asses the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has frequently been at the center of fighting during the war, prompting fears in the IAEA that a nuclear disaster could occur.

The IAEA said last Sunday it wanted to access a site near the plant to clarify the reason for “a significant discrepancy between different measurements of the height of the reservoir that is supplying water to cool the facility’s six reactors and spent fuel storage,” it said in a statement.

The level of the Kakhovka reservoir had been dropping rapidly since the downstream dam was severely damaged, the IAEA said, but the ZNPP reported over the weekend that it had been stable for about a day at a measurement point where water is pumped into a channel for use at the nuclear power plant.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian tactical combat air sorties increasing, UK says

Britain’s Ministry of Defense noted an uptick in Russian tactical combat air sorties — especially over southern Ukraine — over the past week as a likely response to Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

The ministry said in an intelligence update on Twitter that the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) was likely attempting to support ground troops with air strikes. 

Red-hot nozzles of a Russian Su-34 fighter flying into the sky.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

“Despite the uptick, VKS’ daily sortie rate remains much lower than the peak of up to 300 daily missions early in the war,” the U.K. noted.

“Since the start of the invasion, the south of Ukraine has often been more permissible for Russian air operations compared to other sectors of the front.”

The ministry added that, over the last year, VKS has increased its use of air-to-surface weapons, such as glide bombs, which allow attack aircraft to remain well away from their targets.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian strike on Odesa leaves 3 dead, 13 injured

The Ukrainian port city of Odesa was the target of a Russian missile strike overnight that left three people dead and at least 13 injured, according to officials.

This photograph shows a damaged warehouse after a strike in Odesa on June 14, 2023. At least three people were killed and 13 wounded in a Russian missile attack on June 14, 2023, authorities said.

Oleksandr Gimanov | Afp | Getty Images

The National Police of Ukraine said on Telegram that Russia had launched four Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea toward Odesa. CNBC wasn’t able to verify the claim.

“Civil infrastructure objects were damaged: a business centre, an educational institution, a residential complex, a restaurant, shops and a warehouse of one of the retail chains. In the latter, after the fire has been extinguished, the debris under which people may [still] be is being sorted out,” the police said, according to an NBC translation.

The latest attack is being investigated, the police said. Russia denies targeting civilian infrastructure despite numerous instances of it doing so.

— Holly Ellyatt

Putin says Ukraine’s counteroffensive is failing

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with war correspondents in Moscow on June 13, 2023.

Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Ukraine’s counteroffensive is failing, saying Kyiv has failed to achieve any success.

“This is a large-scale counteroffensive, using reserves that were trained for this purpose, it has been underway since the 4th of June and is still underway, right now,” Putin said Tuesday at a meeting with war correspondents.

“[Ukrainian troops] have not reached the front line,” Putin said, claiming that “the adversary was not successful in any sectors. They have huge losses.”

Ukraine says it has liberated a number of settlements in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday night that “there is advancement in different areas,” but there are also reports that Russia is contesting several villages that Kyiv claimed to have retaken.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Tuesday that “the enemy will do everything to keep the positions he has occupied” and “actively uses assault and army aviation, leads intense artillery fire.”

“Our troops face solid mine fields during the advance that are combined with anti-tank rifles. All of this comes together with the constant counterattacks of enemy units on armored technology and the mass use of PTURs [anti-tank guided missiles] and kamikaze drones,” she said on Facebook.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War noted Tuesday evening that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in at least three directions and made further limited territorial gains yesterday.

Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andriy Kovalev said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces have liberated over 100 square km of territory in southern and eastern Ukraine since the beginning counteroffensive operations.

— Holly Ellyatt

Nearly 3,000 people evacuated from Kherson region following dam attack

A family rescues important belongings from their home in Kherson. Massive flooding has occurred in villages along the Dnipro River after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, inundating communities along the river in the south, and dangerously dropping water levels in the communities in the north. The dam is in the Russian-controlled area of southern Ukraine.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Telegram that approximately 2,757 people have been evacuated in the Kherson region following the attack on the Kakhovka dam last week, according to an NBC News translation.

The ministry said that about 263 children and another 77 people with limited mobility were evacuated from the rising flood waters.

According to the data collected by the agency, more than 3,000 houses were flooded in the Kherson region.

— Amanda Macias

Biden and NATO chief discuss additional support for Ukraine and Sweden’s rise to alliance membership

US President Joe Biden meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 13, 2023. 

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House ahead of the NATO summit in Lithuania next month.

The two discussed additional security assistance for Ukraine, Sweden’s ascension into the NATO alliance, and financial burden sharing minimum of 2% GDP of NATO member states for the alliance’s common defense, according to a readout provided by the White House.

It was not immediately clear if the two discussed whether Stoltenberg will extend his post at NATO, which is set to conclude at the end of September. Stoltenberg has led NATO for nearly a decade, following three extensions.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine Air Force spokesman says Russia is restarting some missile production

Remains of Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile at an exhibition showing remains of missiles and drones that Russia used to attack Kyiv in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 12, 2023.

Oleksii Samsonov | Getty Images

Yuriy Ihnat, spokesman for Ukraine’s Air Force said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda 23 that Russia has restarted its production of missiles, according to an NBC News translation.

Ihnat said that the Russians are ramping up production of the Iskanders and Kinzhals missiles, citing the Kremlin’s ability to circumvent Western sanctions on some of the components needed to produce the weapons system.

“Therefore, I hope that Russia will be squeezed by sanctions. If the sanctions work comprehensively and are controlled, then Russia can be put in its place,” Ihnat added, according to an NBC News translation.

— Amanda Macias

Biden administration approves new weapons package for Ukraine worth $325 million

A Ukrainian serviceman checks a machine gun of a tank after loading ammunition during a military training near a front line, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, March 29, 2023.

Stringer | Reuters

The Biden administration announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth $325 million, the 40th such tranche since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

“This security assistance package includes critical air defense capabilities, additional munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, artillery rounds, anti-tank weapons, armored vehicles, and other equipment essential to strengthening Ukraine’s forces on the battlefield,” wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement announcing the new weapons package.

In a separate release, the Pentagon detailed the new support:

  • Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS
  • Stinger anti-aircraft systems
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS
  • 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds
  • 15 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles
  • 10 Stryker armored personnel carriers
  • Javelin anti-armor systems
  • Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided, or TOW, missiles
  • AT-4 anti-armor systems
  • More than 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades
  • Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing
  • Tactical secure communications support equipment

— Amanda Macias

Day of mourning announced in Kryvyi Rih as death toll mounts

Editor’s note: This post contains graphic images depicting death from Russian missile strikes in Kryvyi Rih.

In this photo released by Dnipro Regional Administration, emergency workers extinguish a fire after missiles hit a multistory apartment building in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, June 13, 2023.

Andriy Dubchak | AP

A day of mourning will take place in Kryvyi Rih on Wednesday following what was described as a “massive missile attack” this morning.

Ten people are now known to have died in the attack, in which a five-story residential building and warehouse were hit.

Emergency workers inspect a multistory apartment building damaged by a Russian rocket attack in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, June 13, 2023.

Dnipro Emegency Services | AP

Police inspect a dead body outside a multistory apartment building damaged in a Russian rocket attack in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, June 13, 2023.

Dnipro Regional Administration via AP

As of 1 p.m. local time, 10 people have died and 28 are injured with 12 of the casualties in hospitals and some in a very serious condition, according to Oleksandr Vilkul, head of Kryvyi Rih city military administration.

Kryvyi Rih is President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown.

Police stand by dead bodies at the scene of a damaged multistory apartment building after a Russian rocket attack in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, June 13, 2023.

Andriy Dubchak | AP

Russia releases video of captured German tanks, U.S. fighting vehicles in Ukraine

A U.S. Army soldier accompanies an M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle during a training exercise in Fort Irwin, California, Jan. 19, 2013.

Sgt. Eric M. Garland II | US Army

Russia’s Defense Ministry released video footage on Tuesday of what it said were German-made Leopard tanks and U.S.-made Bradley fighting vehicles captured by Russian forces in a battle with Ukrainian troops.

Reuters could not immediately verify the location and timing of the footage, which the Defense Ministry said was filmed on the Zaporizhzhia front in southern Ukraine, one of the areas where Ukrainian forces have been trying to counterattack.

What appeared to be two German-made Leopard tanks were shown in the footage, which was released on the ministry’s official channel on the Telegram messaging application, along with two damaged U.S.-made Bradley fighting vehicles.

In a short statement accompanying the footage, the ministry called the captured military hardware “our trophies” and said the video showed soldiers from its Vostok (East) military grouping inspecting the equipment.

It noted that the engines of some of the vehicles were still running, evidence it said of how quickly their Ukrainian crews had fled.

Reuters cannot verify such battlefield accounts.

Ukraine said Monday its troops had recaptured a string of villages from Russian forces along an approximately 100 km (60 mile) front in the southeast since starting its long-anticipated counteroffensive last week.

— Reuters

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