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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Drone shot down over Moscow, mayor says

Russian National Guard (Rosgvardiya) officers at the site where a Ukrainian drone targeting the Russian capital was downed, in western Moscow on Aug. 11, 2023.

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

Russia downed a drone in Moscow near the Karamyshevskaya embankment of the Moskva River, city mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Friday, according to a Google translation of a Telegram post.

Sobyanin said there were no reported injuries or damages.

Moscow’s Vnukovo and Kaluga airports temporarily closed Friday morning, Russian state news agency RIA reported, though a link with the drone was not officially confirmed.

— Jenni Reid

UK says ‘realistic possibility’ Wagner group training soldiers in Belarus

Britain’s Defense Ministry said there’s a “realistic possibility” Belarusian soldiers conducting military exercises near the Polish and Lithuanian borders would be trained by a small number of advisors from Russia’s mercenary Wagner group.

The exercise involves Belarus’ 6th Separate Guards Mechanized brigade in the Grodno area of northwestern Belarus and was announced on Monday.

In its daily intelligence update, the defense ministry said: “These specific exercises are highly likely part of the Belarussian military’s routing training cycle. 6 SGMB’s home garrison is in Grondo, and it is unlikely that the formation is currently deployed with the enablers it would need to make it combat-ready.”

“However, Russia is almost certainly keen to promote Belarussian forces as posturing against NATO.”

On Thursday, Poland announced it would send up to 10,000 additional troops to the Belarus border.

Tensions are simmering over geopolitical relations; the presence of Wagner figures in Belarus since the group’s failed Russian rebellion in June; and a growing number of attempted migrant crossings.

— Jenni Reid

Zaporizhzhia hotel used by UN staff struck in shelling

Russian shelling on Thursday hit a hotel in the region of Zaporizhzhia.

In an initial a Google-translated post on Telegram, Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the president of Ukraine, said that the attack left one dead and nine injured.

In a later Google-translated update on Telegram, the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said one woman was killed and 19 people were injured in the Zaporizhzhia center attack, including four children.

CNBC could not independently verify the developments.

The hotel was a main base for U.N. and other humanitarian staff locally. U.N. humanitarian coordinator Denise Brown described the attack as “utterly inadmissible” in a statement.

“I have stayed in this hotel every single time I visited Zaporizhzhia. My team uses it as their base for their frequent travels to the city. It was the UN base for the operation to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, in May last year,” she said.

“The number of indiscriminate attacks hitting civilian infrastructure, killing and injuring civilians, have reached unimaginable levels – these attacks violate international humanitarian law.”

Zaporizhzhia and three other Ukrainian regions — Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk — were illegally annexed by Russia late last year. Zaporizhzhia, the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has been under frequent attack.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia shoots down two Ukrainian drones approaching city of Kursk, official says

Russia shot down two Ukrainian military drones approaching the Russian city of Kursk, regional governor Roman Starovoit said on Telegram on Friday, according to a Google translation. CNBC has not verified the information on the ground.

The city is around 112 km from the Russia-Ukraine northeastern border.

That follows Russian reports of four drones being shot down while heading toward Moscow earlier in the week. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the drones, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said Russia should expect the war to enter its own territory.

— Jenni Reid

Children’s hospital in Kyiv struck by debris in the wake of attack

A children’s hospital in Kyiv was struck by debris following an airstrike, local mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said on Friday on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

No injuries or damage were immediately reported, and emergency service forces are attending the scene. Serhiy Popko, head of the Kivy military administration, said the hospital is in the Obolon district, according to a Google-translated post on Telegram. He said the status of victims and local damage was still being clarified.

Earlier, the Kyiv city military administration declared an air alert, with Klitschko warning of explosions in the city.

CNBC could not independently verify the events on ground.

— Ruxandra Iordache

Russian shelling injured three in Kherson, Ukraine official says

Russian shelling struck a high-rise building in the Kherson region, injuring a man and a woman, Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the presidency of Ukraine, said Friday.

In Google-translated comments on Telegram, Yermak also noted that another man was harmed in a separate episode of drone shelling that took place in the city of Beryslav in Kherson.

Kherson — along with Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia — was illegally annexed by Russia in September last year.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

Ukraine navy announces temporary Black Sea corridor but warns of ongoing Russia threat

The Ukrainian navy on Thursday announced corridors for commercial vessels traversing to and from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, but warned of ongoing Russian military risks.

“According to the order of the navigation order of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine No. 6 of 08.08.2023, new temporary traffic routes of civilian vessels to/from the Black Sea seaports of Ukraine were announced,” the Ukrainian navy said on Facebook, according to a Google translation. “At the same time, it is reported that there is a military threat and mine danger from the Russian Federation along all routes.”

Previously, the U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative negotiated between Moscow, Kyiv and Ankara had created a humanitarian corridor allowing the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods from the assailed country’s Black Sea ports to avoid a global crisis. Russia allowed the deal to lapse in July, citing Western restrictions on its own exports.

The two sides have since escalated their rhetoric, saying they could consider vessels bound for each other’s ports as potential carriers of military cargo.

— Ruxandra Iordache

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