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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Putin expected to avoid focus on war in expected 2024 election campaign

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to avoid making the Ukraine war the main theme of his widely expected presidential campaign ahead of elections in March 2024.

Neither Putin nor the Kremlin has confirmed that the president will run in the election, although it’s widely expected that, after 23 years in power as either prime minister or president, he will run for yet another term in office, taking his tenure up to at least 2030.

Analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it’s unlikely that Putin will focus on the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a concert marking the City Day on Sept. 9, 2023 in Moscow, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“Russian President Vladimir Putin will reportedly avoid centering his 2024 presidential campaign on the war in Ukraine and will rather focus on Russia’s alleged stability and criticisms of the West,” the ISW said.

“Russian opposition media outlet Meduza reported on November 8 that two sources close to the Russian Presidential Administration stated that the presidential campaign aims to paint Putin as a leader who made Russia an ‘island of calm.'”

The ISW also noted that Meduza’s sources claimed that Putin’s rise in ratings after speeches in which he criticized the West and Russian state propaganda will encourage this — by increasingly publishing stories about “difficulties” in Western countries and the U.S.’ alleged inability to support Ukraine and Israel simultaneously.

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy thanks Japan and G7 for ‘strong statement’ reiterating support for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Japan and other G7 nations for their “unwavering support for Ukraine even amid other global developments” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Zelenskyy made special reference to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who he spoke to in order to “thank Japan for taking the lead in supporting Ukraine during its G7 presidency.”

The leaders reportedly discussed further financial support for Ukraine and work toward Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Zelenskyy praises ‘historic step’ toward Ukraine having EU membership

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the latest stage in the country’s attempt to join the European Union.

“This is a strong and historic step that paves the way to a stronger EU with Ukraine as its member. I thank the EU and personally [Ursula von der Leyen] for supporting Ukraine on our road to the EU,” Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, right, and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, depart a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Andrew Kravchenko | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, published a report Wednesday that included a recommendation Kyiv be invited to begin membership talks as soon as its meets some final conditions, regardless of the continuation of the war with Russia.

“The Commission recommends that the Council opens accession negotiations with Ukraine and will monitor on the progress and compliance in all areas related to the opening of negotiations and report to the Council by March 2024,” the report said.

European leaders formally accepted Ukraine as a candidate to join the EU in June 2022.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russia and China are not building military alliances, Putin says

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping posing during a meeting in Beijing on October 18, 2023.

Sergei Guneyev | AFP | Getty Images

Moscow and Beijing are not forming any military alliances “following the example of Cold War associations,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Putin met Zhang Youxia, the deputy chairman of China’s Central Military Council on Wednesday, as a wider delegation of Chinese defense officials visited Moscow.

“Russia and China are not building any military alliances following the example of the Cold War,” Putin said, alluding to coalitions like NATO — a Western military alliance formed after World War II that Russia heavily criticizes and repeatedly blames for stoking conflict.

“Our interaction with you is constructive and is a serious factor in stabilizing the international situation,” Putin said, as he addressed the Chinese delegation, according to Google-translated comments published by Russian state news agency Tass.

“Trade and economic ties are developing at a good pace. We are achieving the goals we have set for ourselves ahead of time, we are working on international platforms, in international organizations, primarily in the UN,” he listed.

According to the Russian president, Moscow and Beijing pay sufficient attention to regional platforms, which are “more and more acquiring a global character,” he said, referencing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — a Eurasian politicaleconomicinternational security and defence alliance established by China and Russia in 2001 — and the so-called “BRICS” group of emerging markets, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

— Holly Ellyatt

Washington is bankrupting Europe while still relying on Russia, official says

The U.S. is bankrupting its European “vassals” but continues to buy uranium and critical materials from Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

“Washington is essentially ruining its European vassals and allowing its military-industrial complex to earn money,” the minister said at an embassy roundtable, according to comments published by Tass new agency.

“It imposed and continues to impose expensive American liquefied natural gas on the European Union, and with its selfish laws forces European companies to transfer enterprises overseas to where base costs are lower, and while forcing the EU to abandon everything Russian, Washington continues to buy uranium and other critical materials from Russia,” Lavrov said.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a U.N. Security Council meeting during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 20, 2023 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Washington has reluctantly admitted that it continues to source a large amount of uranium, the most-used fuel by nuclear power plants for nuclear fission, from Russia.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that in 2022, 12% of its uranium imports were from Russia. Canada, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also provided a share of its uranium imports. The U.S. has looked to reduce or ban uranium imports.

— Holly Ellyatt

‘A special operation’ killed a Moscow-backed lawmaker in Luhansk, Ukraine says

“A special operation” killed a Moscow-backed lawmaker in occupied Luhansk, Ukraine’s defense ministry wrote on Telegram.

“On November 8, 2023, at 08:40 a.m., as a result of a car explosion, the so-called deputy of the so-called “Supreme Council of the People’s Republic of Lugansk” from the Russian Party of the Liberal Democratic Party – Filipponenko Mikhail Yuryevich was eliminated,” the Telegram post said.

“He was involved in the organisation of torture camps in the occupied territories of Luhansk region, where prisoners of war and civilian hostages were subjected to inhumane torture. Filiponenko himself personally brutally tortured people,” the defense ministry added.

The lawmaker reportedly “died on the spot” as a result of the morning explosion.

CNBC was unable to independently verify the report.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

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