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Russia threatens direct strikes on British military targets; Kharkiv hit with 'extremely brutal' attack


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree outlining U.S. property that might be used to compensate for the seizure of frozen Russian assets.

“The President signed the Decree ‘on a special procedure for compensation of damage caused to the Russian Federation and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation in connection with the unfriendly actions of the United States of America,'” a Google-translated statement on the Kremlin’s website said.

The U.S. assets that could be subject to the decree include real estate in Russia and shares in Russian companies, according to an NBC translation.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Thursday that Russia’s maritime borders in the Baltic Sea should be determined in accordance with international law.

There was confusion and concern Wednesday among nations surrounding the Baltic Sea after Russia’s Ministry of Defense suggested a proposal earlier this week to amend Russia’s maritime border in the eastern part of that body of water. The proposal was posted but then removed from an official online portal, however.

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

Asked about the proposal, Zakharova told reporters Thursday that the plan had been misrepresented in the media and that it was of a “technical nature” and aimed to determine the border using more modern methods.

“To carry out this task, which is of a technical nature, updated sea maps of large scale will be used, which allows to determine the area coordinates with the greatest accuracy,” she said, according to comments translated by NBC News.

“The key words are ‘technical nature’. And of course, maritime borders in the Baltic Sea should be in accordance with the international laws,” she added.

— Holly Ellyatt

A rescuer cries at the Vivat printing house hit by Russian shelling on May 23, 2024 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Seven people were killed and 16 were injured in Kharkiv following a Russian missile attack which damaged local residential, commercial and transport infrastructure, Ukrainian authorities said.

Russian troops targeted a civilian building in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, around 10:30a.m. local time, and a fire broke out in a print shop, the regional police force said in a Google-translated Telegram post.

“In the Osnovyansk district of Kharkiv, enemy rockets hit the territory of the printing house. There was a large-scale fire. Seven people died, another 16 were injured. All the victims are employees of the enterprise. Debris analysis is ongoing,” the prosecutor’s office of Kharkiv said in a separate Google-translated Telegram update.

Rescuers extinguish a fire at the Vivat printing house hit by Russian shelling on May 23, 2024 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

The institution added that Russian forces struck the Lyubotyn and Kharkiv cities with 15 S-300 and S-400 missiles launched from the Russian region of Belgorod, as part of the attack, the latest in a long series of strikes targeting Kharkiv.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Firefighters rest after extinguishing a fire in a private house destroyed by a Russian drone attack in the suburbs of Kharkiv, on May 21, 2024, amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine. 

Sergey Bobok | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy characterized the incident as an “extremely brutal” offensive on the X social media platform and said that emergency services have arrived at the scene.

“Russian terrorists are taking advantage of Ukraine’s lack of sufficient air defense protection and reliable capability to destroy terrorist launchers at their exact locations, which are close to our borders,” he said.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia’s Foreign Ministry repeated a warning to the U.K. Thursday suggesting that Moscow could strike U.K. targets if British weapons are used by Ukraine to attack Russian territory.

The U.K.’s Foreign Minister David Cameron caused uproar in Moscow at the start of May when he said Ukraine was free to use British long-range missiles on targets inside Russia. Ukraine has used British Storm Shadow missiles to successfully target Russian military sites in Crimea.

“The actions of the Ukrainian regime will not go unpunished,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, according to comments published by state news agency Tass.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova repeated Thursday that Moscow is prepared to retaliate, telling reporters that “we may strike any British military objects and weaponry in Ukraine and beyond.”

“As we know, during his visit to Kyiv, [David] Cameron said in an interview with Reuters that, and I quote: ‘Ukraine has every right to strike Russian territory using the British weapons’. Was it an unsuccessful attempt at self-PR? Or did he backtrack on the official London stance?,” she told reporters in comments translated by Reuters.

“We did draw conclusions from this case though. We registered this case … we directly said that in response to strikes using British weapons against the territory of our country we may strike any British military objects and weaponry in Ukraine and beyond.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday that its southern forces have captured the village of Andriivka in Donetsk.

The artillery of the 56th Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fires in the Bakhmut direction on October 24, 2023 in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian forces have also “improved the situation along the front line,” the ministry said on Telegram, claiming that its forces had “defeated the manpower and equipment” of Ukraine’s 57th mechanized brigade, 105th and 118th military defense brigades near the settlements of Kostyantynivka, Rozdolivka and Chasiv Yar.

CNBC was unable to verify the defense ministry’s claim and Ukraine has not commented.

On Wednesday, the ministry claimed its forces had seized the village of Klishchiivka, just north of Andriivka. Both villages lie to the south of Bakhmut, a now largely-ruined city that Russian forces captured in May 2023.

— Holly Ellyatt

Full Moon rises over Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow, Russia on July 3, 2023. 

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

Russia has suggested it will retaliate against Norway’s decision to tighten visa rules for Russian tourists.

Without giving details, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it will respond to the decision by Norway’s justice ministry to further restrict access for Russians arriving for tourism purposes from May 29. The decision was made due to the war in Ukraine, Norway said in a statement.

The country first imposed restrictions on Russian tourist visas in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine. Exceptions will be made for Russians who come to Norway to visit close relatives, as well as for work or study.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov called Norway’s restrictions on Russian tourists a discriminatory decision.

“Of course, such decisions they cannot remain unanswered this is the first thing. Second of course, the decision is exclusively discriminatory,” Peskov told reporters, RIA Novosti reported.

— Holly Ellyatt

British defense minister Grant Shapps accused China on Wednesday of providing or preparing to provide Russia with lethal aid for use in its war against Ukraine.

Western nations have provided Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons and aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022. Britain for the first time is accusing China of working to supply Russia with lethal aid for use in Ukraine.

Shapps told a conference in London that U.S. and British defense intelligence had evidence that “lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine, I think it is a significant development”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend the gala event celebrating 75th anniversary of China-Russia relations in Beijing, China May 16, 2024. 

Alexander Ryumin | Via Reuters

Shapps did not provide evidence to support his assertion. But he said there had been a 64% increase in trade between the countries since the start of the Ukraine war and “they are covering each other’s back”.

“We should be concerned about that because in the earlier days of this war China would like to present itself as a moderating influence on” Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London said Shapps’ comments were “totally groundless” and accused Britain of spreading “baseless accusations.”

— Reuters

A view of the destructions as a result of the Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine on May 23, 2024. The Russians fired three S-300 missiles at the printing company ‘Faktor Druk’, as a result of which seven people were killed. 

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

A Russian attack on the northeastern city of Kharkiv has injured at least five people, the regional governor said Thursday.

Governor Oleh Syniehubov said Russian forces struck Kharkiv around 10 times and that preliminary data suggested five civilians were injured and damage was done to civilian infrastructure.

Four people were also injured in attacks on Zolochiv and Lubotyn, he said on Telegram. CNBC was unable to immediately verify the claim. Russia says it does not deliberately target civilians.

— Holly Ellyatt

Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin, deputy head of the army’s general staff, is seen in this image on October 6, 2023.

Russian Defence Ministry | Via Reuters

Russia has detained the deputy head of the army’s general staff Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin, on suspicion of large-scale bribe-taking, Russian media reported on Thursday, the latest in a series of arrests of top military officials.

The Kommersant newspaper reported that Shamarin had been detained in connection with alleged fraud, and that his home had been searched.

It is the fourth arrest of a high-ranking defense figure since April, when Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was placed in pre-trial detention for suspected bribe-taking.

In this pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (C), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov (L) visit the military Patriot Park in Kubinka, outside Moscow, on September 19, 2018. Russian law enforcement have detained Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on April 23, 2024. 

Alexey Nikolskiy | Afp | Getty Images

Since then, Lieutenant General Yuri Kuznetsov, head of personnel at the defense ministry, and Major General Ivan Popov, former commander of Russia’s 58th army, have aso been arrested.

The series of arrests comes amid major changes in Russia’s defence establishment, after President Vladimir Putin this month removed long-serving Sergei Shoigu as minister, replacing him with former deputy prime minister Andrei Belousov.

— Reuters

Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin, deputy head of the army’s general staff, is seen in this image on October 6, 2023.

Russian Defence Ministry | Via Reuters

Russia has detained the deputy head of the army’s general staff Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin, on suspicion of large-scale bribe-taking, Russian media reported on Thursday, the latest in a series of arrests of top military officials.

The Kommersant newspaper reported that Shamarin had been detained in connection with alleged fraud, and that his home had been searched.

It is the fourth arrest of a high-ranking defense figure since April, when Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was placed in pre-trial detention for suspected bribe-taking.

In this pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (C), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov (L) visit the military Patriot Park in Kubinka, outside Moscow, on September 19, 2018. Russian law enforcement have detained Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on April 23, 2024. 

Alexey Nikolskiy | Afp | Getty Images

Since then, Lieutenant General Yuri Kuznetsov, head of personnel at the defense ministry, and Major General Ivan Popov, former commander of Russia’s 58th army, have aso been arrested.

The series of arrests comes amid major changes in Russia’s defence establishment, after President Vladimir Putin this month removed long-serving Sergei Shoigu as minister, replacing him with former deputy prime minister Andrei Belousov.

— Reuters

Russia said its air defense systems shot down 35 rockets and three drones over the border Belgorod region overnight.

“During the past night, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack using the ‘Vilkha’ multiple launch rocket system, the ‘Vampire’ multiple launch rocket system and an aircraft-type UAV [drone]on targets on the territory of the Russian Federation was stopped” the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Telegram Thursday.

A woman walks past the giant Z letter, a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine, in the Russian city of Belgorod, some 25 miles from the border with Ukraine, on May 27, 2023. 

Olga Maltseva | Afp | Getty Images

CNBC was unable to verify the claims but Belgorod, adjacent to Ukraine’s northeast Kharkiv region where Russian forces are waging an intense offensive, has found itself under daily attack by Ukrainian forces.

The offensive is aimed at capturing the entire Kharkiv region and to create a “buffer zone” to protect Russian border regions, like Belgorod, from attack, Russia says.

— Holly Ellyatt

Norway will further restrict access for Russian tourist travellers due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, blocking almost all entry, the Nordic country’s justice ministry said on Thursday.

NATO member Norway, which shares a border with Russia in the Arctic measuring almost 200 kilometres (124 miles), first imposed restrictions on Russian tourist visas in 2022.

“The decision to tighten the entry rules is in line with the Norwegian approach of standing by allies and partners in reaction to Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine,” Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said in a statement.

Norwegian soldier Vegard Aalbretsen looks out toward the Russian border in Kirkenes, northern Norway, on Feb. 24, 2022, after Russia launched a military assault on Ukraine.

Annika Byrde | Afp | Getty Images

Russian citizens whose purpose is tourism and other non-essential travel will be rejected upon entry across the external border. Exceptions may be granted in cases such as visits to close family residing in Norway, the ministry said.

The new policy takes effect on May 29.

“The change implies that the police can refuse the entry of Russian citizens who are covered by the instruction,” the ministry said.

— Reuters

A Russian defence ministry proposal for a draft government decree to change the Russian border in the Baltic Sea was deleted from an official Russia document portal on Wednesday.

“The draft is deleted,” the site said on the address where the document had earlier been visible.

— Reuters

The German, Finnish and Lithuanian governments say they are awaiting more clarity from Russia following a proposal by the country’s defense ministry suggesting a change to how its Baltic Sea maritime border is determined.

“Of course we are observing the situation closely,” a German government spokesperson told a regular press conference on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said that Helsinki will monitor Russia’s proposal, but tried to downplay concerns by reportedly saying that any review by Moscow is likely to be routine and not something to worry about, Reuters noted.

A naval exercise led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and executed by the NATO Naval Striking and Support Forces, in the Baltic Sea on June 6, 2022. Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine is almost certain to eclipse other security concerns at NATO’s Madrid summit this week.

Jonathan Nackstrand | Afp | Getty Images

Lithuania’s foreign minister said that any plan to amend the borders of the country’s territorial waters in the Baltic Sea is an escalation against NATO and the EU.

“Another Russian hybrid operation is underway, this time attempting to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about their intentions in the Baltic Sea,” Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on social media platform X.

Russia has sent mixed messages over a reported proposal by the Russian defense ministry to change how Russia’s maritime border is measured. An unnamed “military-diplomatic” source was quoted by Russian state new agencies denying the report, but the Kremlin neither confirmed nor denied the move. when asked if the proposal was politically motivated.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak arrives for Russia – China talks in an expanded format at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 21, 2023.

Sergei Karpukhin | Sputnik | Reuters

Russian energy facilities are being rapidly restored following drone attacks, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Russia-1, according to Google-translated comments carried by state news outlet Tass.

“Of course, it is impossible to exclude [attacks] 100%. Sometimes the situations that happened happen,” he noted. “Nevertheless, restoration is proceeding at a rapid pace in order to ensure the operation of enterprises in full.”

Moscow is also improving the protection of its energy infrastructure, he noted, adding that this work is currently ongoing.

On Sunday, Moscow reported that Ukraine launched an extensive 62-drone attack on Russian regions, Reuters reported. The Interfax news agency said that the oil refinery in Slavyansk halted work following the offensive.

Russia is a key global oil and gas producer, with threats against its hydrocarbon infrastructure adding to supply-side pressures in the energy market.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russian forces have seized the village of Klishchiivka in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, the country’s defense ministry said on Telegram Wednesday.

An aerial view of a destroyed Ukrainian village in the Bakhmut District on September 27, 2023 in Klishchiivka, Ukraine. 

Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The village is close to the city of Bakhmut, a hotspot of intense fighting before its capture in May 2023. CNBC was unable to verify the claim and Ukraine has not commented.

— Holly Ellyatt



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