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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Kremlin says Putin will ‘win confidently’ if he decides to run for another term in office

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of Security Council, Russian government and law enforcement agencies in Moscow on Oct. 30, 2023.

Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin will “win confidently” if he decides to run for another term in next year’s election, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told CNBC.

“There has been no formal announcement yet. But I have no doubt that if he puts forward his candidacy, he will win confidently,” Peskov said in emailed comments to CNBC. “Society is consolidated around the president.”

Neither Putin nor the Kremlin has confirmed whether the longtime president will run for another six-year term in office.

Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy thanks front-line Ukrainian troops for their ‘strength’ and ‘resilience’

A Ukrainian infantryman observes the enemy at an observation post on Nov. 9, 2023 in an area the military calls the “Horlivka front,” an urban-type settlement in Toretsk urban hromada, Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine.

Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Ukrainian forces for their “strength” and “resilience” on the front lines, saying in his latest nightly address that the “hottest areas” of the fighting over the past day were in Avdiivka, Maryinka, Kupyansk and Bakhmut.

“I am grateful to all our brigades, to each unit for their resilience, for their strength, for the destruction of the occupiers,” Zelenskyy said Thursday.

“Southern directions – guys, I thank you for your strength. Our artillery, our missile forces and everyone who helps in the special services – I thank you for your accuracy. There are encouraging results. There will be more,” he added, without providing further details.

— Sam Meredith

Putin visits military headquarters in southern Russia to discuss Ukraine war

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Russian Army chief of staff, Valery Gerasimov, during a visit to military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don.

Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with top military brass in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, state news agency Tass reported Friday, citing Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Putin was accompanied by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, chief of the General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov and other military leaders to discuss the progress of what Russia describes as its “special military operation” in Ukraine and to get acquainted with new models of military equipment, Tass reported.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine says Russian combat losses climb to nearly 310,000

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said via social media on Friday that Russian combat losses had climbed to 309,520 since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion in February last year.

CNBC was not able to independently verify the report, and Russia has not yet commented on the figures.

The post from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, which was shared via X, formerly known as Twitter, comes as fighting rages in eastern Ukraine.

Russian troops are intensifying attacks on the eastern town of Avdiivka, Reuters reported Friday, citing a senior Ukraine officer. The industrial hub of Avdiivka is regarded as the gateway to Donetsk, the capital of the eastern Donbas region.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine, Poland discuss trucker border protests

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and his Polish counterpart have discussed Polish trucker protests at the Ukrainian border, his ministry in Kyiv said on Thursday, adding that it would not compromise on licenses for Ukrainian drivers.

Polish truckers blocked roads to three crossings with Ukraine on Monday, authorities said, to protest what they see as government inaction over a loss of business to foreign competitors since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. One of their main demands is for Ukrainian truckers to receive a limited number of licenses.

More than 20,000 vehicles were blocked on both sides, according to the Ukrainian ministry.

“Ukraine respects the right to protest and is ready for a constructive dialogue to resolve the situation … At the same time, we note that the border-blocking by Polish protesters violates logistics routes, that already affects both the economy of Ukraine and the European Union,” the ministry said in a statement.

Ukrainian authorities said on Wednesday that protests had caused disruptions at three border crossing points, but that the other five were running normally.

The protests occurred amid an economic slowdown in Europe and after the European Union’s 2022 relaxation of regulations for Ukrainian transport companies to ease the transport of goods into and out of the Eastern European country.

Ukraine is a major global food producer, but its main Black Sea export routes have been blocked due to Russia’s invasion, and traders are trying to send as many goods as possible via rail and the road borders with Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.


Putin won’t give up Russia’s ‘backyard’ without a fight

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state agency Sputnik shows Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (L) and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin (C) inspecting a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony in Astana on November 9, 2023, as part of Putin’s official visit to Kazakhstan. (Photo by Pavel BEDNYAKOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAVEL BEDNYAKOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pavel Bednyakov | Afp | Getty Images

Russia signaled this week that it will not take Western efforts to build ties with Central Asia lying down, with Moscow conducting its own diplomatic push in the region traditionally seen as its own “backyard.”

Keen to maintain Russia’s dwindling sphere of influence in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Kazakhstan Thursday, making his presence felt a week after French president Emmanuel Macron visited the oil- and mineral-rich country, and its neighbor Uzbekistan.

Russia wants to maintain its foothold in Central Asia — a region comprised of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — amid growing economic competition from China, and rising geopolitical interest from the West, much to Russia’s growing disdain and disapproval.

Read more here: As the West courts Russia’s neighbors, Putin shows he won’t give up its backyard without a fight

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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