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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Putin says post-Soviet space is being actively weakened

BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN – OCTOBER 13 Russian President Vladimir Putin speeches during his press conference at the Commonwealth of Independent States’s Head of States Meeting at the Ala-Archa State Residence, October 13,2023, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Leaders of 8 ex-Soviet states gathered in Bishkek, formely Pishpek and Frunze, the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia, for the annual Commonwealth of Indendent States (CIS)’s Summit. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that a number of countries are acting in a way that is “directly aimed” at weakening power the post-Soviet space.

Speaking in a video message to the participants of the annual meeting of the secretaries of the security councils of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries in Moscow, which opened on Wednesday, Putin said, in comments reported by RIA Novosti: “The actions of some countries are directly aimed at shaking the legitimate power, social stability and traditional values ​​in the CIS countries, at violating our traditional close trade, cooperation, and cultural ties.”

Russia called on the CIS, a regional intergovernmental organization in Eurasia, to beef up collective security.

Putin said Russia and its neighbors faced common threats of terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration, as well as radicalism and extremism.

The CIS includes Russia and former Soviet republics including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Baltic States, firmly ensconced in the EU now, did not want to participate in the organization and Georgia withdrew its participation after a short-lived war with Russia in 2008. Moldova suspended its involvement after the invasion of Ukraine.

Putin added that the international situation remains extremely tense, commenting that “in a number of regions, old conflicts have escalated and new hotbeds of conflict have emerged. In particular, in the Middle East, where a new round of Palestinian-Israeli confrontation has been provoked, from which civilians are primarily suffering.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine tried to attack three nuclear power plants, top Russian official claims

Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev attends a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a senior Russian figure and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, claimed Wednesday that Ukraine tried to attack three nuclear power plants.

Speaking at a meeting in Moscow with colleagues from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Patrushev claimed that “the lack of success on the battlefield is forcing Kyiv to increasingly resort to terrorist methods, including assassinations and murders of Russian citizens, attacks on civilian objects and critical infrastructure,” he said, according to comments reported by Tass news agency.

“Similar actions were taken by the Ukrainian side in relation to the Leningrad, Kalinin and Kursk nuclear power plants,” he said.

Patrushev, who is perhaps the most influential figure in the Kremlin, said that on Oct. 26, Ukrainian drones hit a nuclear waste warehouse on the territory of the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant, an incident that Moscow condemned at the time, and said two other drones had hit the complex of its administrative buildings. Patrushev did not present evidence for his claims or give further detail. CNBC was unable to verify the comments.

Ukraine has not commented on the incidents and tends not to confirm or deny whether it has carried out military operations on Russian territory. Ukraine has been carrying out a counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied territory since June, and much of the country has seen civilian infrastructure damaged or destroyed since Russia invaded in February 2022.

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy proposes ban on Ukrainian natural gas to continue in 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed extending the current export ban on Ukrainian natural gas for the whole of 2024, according to a presidential decree, translated via Google.

Ukraine initially introduced the export ban soon after the invasion in February 2022, and it was then extended to cover 2023.

The decree included a proposal for the “establishment in 2024 of a zero export quota for gas of natural Ukrainian origin” in a list of measures to be taken within the next six months.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine heavily impacted global gas supply chains, sending gas prices skyrocketing in the initial weeks of the war.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

NATO allies condemn Russia’s withdrawal from CFE treaty, will suspend its operation

US marines look on from aboard the USS Mesa Verde ship during the Northern Coasts 2023 exercise in the Baltic Sea, September 18, 2023.

Janis Laizans | Reuters

NATO allies on Tuesday condemned a decision by Russia to withdraw from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which was a key post-Cold War treaty, adding that, as a consequence, they intended to suspend the operation of the treaty as long as necessary

“Allies condemn Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), and its war of aggression against Ukraine which is contrary to the Treaty’s objectives. Russia’s withdrawal is the latest in a series of actions that systematically undermines Euro-Atlantic security,” said NATO in a statement.

“Therefore, as a consequence, Allied States Parties intend to suspend the operation of the CFE Treaty for as long as necessary, in accordance with their rights under international law. This is a decision fully supported by all NATO Allies.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia had formally withdrawn from this landmark security treaty which limited key categories of conventional armed forces, blaming the United States for undermining post-Cold War security with the enlargement of the NATO military alliance.

— Reuterfs

Large Russian column seen moving from Mariupol to Berdiansk, official says

A large convoy of Russia equipment is moving through the Russian-occupied southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol toward Berdiansk, and is believed to be en route to the strategic Russian-occupied stronghold of Tokmak, according to Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the usurped Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol.

“Military movement Melitopol – Mariupol. Convoys of equipment, helicopters near Berdiansk, dozens of trucks with ammunition [moving] through Mariupol,” he said on Telegram Tuesday, adding that the column was “disappearing” toward the front line.

Local residents, activists and members of administration hold a 100-meter Russian flag during Russia’s National Flag Day celebrations in the central square of Mariupol, southern Ukraine, on August 22, 2023.

Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

Andriushchenko said it’s believed that Russia is looking to send reinforcements to the major rail and road hub Tokmak, an occupied city whose defense is seen as a priority for Russia as it looks to maintain its grip on a swathe of southern Ukrainian territory, including key cities Melitopol and Mariupol.

— Holly Ellyatt

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