Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Putin warns against ‘serious consequences’ of ground incursion in Gaza

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of the severe impact of a ground incursion in the Gaza Strip, amid mounting fears that Israel is preparing such an offensive following evacuation orders.

“A ground operation in the Gaza Strip and the use of heavy equipment in residential areas are fraught with serious consequences for all parties,” Putin said Friday, in Google-translated comments carried by Russian state news agency Tass.

“Civilian losses in the event of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip will be unacceptable,” he added.

Reuters reports that the Russian leader urged a peaceful resolution to the conflict sparked by terrorist attacks from Palestinian militant group Hamas over the weekend.

Russia’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict has been muted, as Moscow seeks to maintain both its interests in Israel and its allegiance to Hamas-supporting ally Iran.

Putin was speaking from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where he is attending a meeting of the council of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an Eurasian international organization. This is Putin’s first trip abroad since the issuance of an International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest on the grounds of unlawfully deporting children from occupied Ukrainian territories into Russia.

Read more:

Russia can gain from Middle East turmoil — but it could backfire if the war spirals out of control

Poland’s election could be crucial to future relations with Ukraine

The result of Poland’s election on Sunday has the potential to further entrench current tensions with Ukraine or begin to thaw them, observers say.

Ukraine last month filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Polish restrictions on its agricultural imports, leading to heated diplomatic exchanges. Poland eventually declared it would no longer supply Kyiv with weapons, a blow from one of its strongest regional allies.

A victory for Poland’s incumbent Law and Justice (PiS) party, particularly if achieved through backing from the far-right Confederation party, could further fracture European Union solidarity on financial and military backing for Ukraine. It comes amid the recent election of a Russia-sympathetic leader in Slovakia, and as Hungarian officials — who have repeatedly criticized EU policy on Ukraine — ramp up broader critiques of the bloc.

However, PiS faces a challenge from a center-right coalition led by the party of former European Commissioner Donald Tusk, who would likely bring seek to bring Poland firmly back into the EU fold.

Read more here.

— Jenni Reid

Oil prices rise nearly 4% after U.S. tightens sanctions on Russian crude sales

Oil prices on Friday rose almost 4% after the U.S. tightened sanctions against Russian crude exports, exacerbating supply concerns in an already tightly balanced energy market.

International benchmark Brent crude futures with December expiry traded 3.8% higher at $89.24 per barrel at around 11:05 a.m. London time, while front-month November U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 3.9% to trade at $86.16 per barrel.

The move back toward $90 a barrel comes after the U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on two shipping companies that it said violated the G7′s oil price cap, a mechanism designed to retain Russian flows in the market while curbing the Kremlin’s war chest.

Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

Police raid the homes of lawyers for jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny, allies say

Allies of Alexei Navalny say three of his lawyers have had their home searched by police in what they believe to be an attempt to leave the jailed critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin without any legal defense and representation.

CNBC could not independently verify the reports. Russia’s foreign ministry was not immediately available to comment.

“Three of Navalny’s lawyers were searched this morning, one was detained. The reason is “participation in an extremist community”. It is clear why this is being done: it is another step towards isolating Alexey @navalny and essentially banning him from receiving legal assistance,” Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, said Friday in post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Navalny aide Maria Pevchikh shared a similar message on X, saying it was not possible to get hold of two of the detained lawyers. “Navalny is now left without any legal defence and representation,” she added.

Russia’s most prominent opposition leader has been in prison since being arrested in 2021 on his return from Germany. His detention came after spending nearly half a year in Germany recovering from a nerve agent poisoning in August 2020.

Navalny lost an appeal against a 19-year prison term last month, which was added to an existing 11-and-a-half-year sentence. Navalny says the charges against him are politically motivated.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine says forces ‘holding positions’ against Russian offensive in Avdiivka

The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff said Friday that Ukrainian forces are holding ground in the strategically important city of Avdiivka as Russian forces launch a major military offensive.

Referring specifically to Avdiivka, Ukraine’s Andriy Yermak said: “Our land. The Russians threw a lot of forces in this direction. They are betting on quantity.”

“Our army is holding positions in heavy fighting. The war lingers on,” Yermak said in a post via X, formerly known as Twitter. “Our strength is in quality and unity.”

Fighting has intensified through the week as Russia seeks to capture the key industrial hub, regarded as a gateway to Donetsk.

— Sam Meredith

Russia may gain from Middle East crisis, analysts say, but it could backfire if war spirals out of control

Russia may find itself in a position to benefit from the escalating crisis in the Middle East, analysts told CNBC.

They cited how the Israel-Hamas war may help to distract from the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, boost Russia’s oil-exporting status and provide Moscow with an opportunity to mediate between disparate regional parties.

However, one geopolitical analyst warned it is also a “very, very nervous moment for Moscow,” particularly if the Israel-Hamas conflict spills over and Russia sees its influence, interests and assets damaged in the Middle East.

Read the full story from CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt.

— Sam Meredith

1 person killed and 12 injured in Russian attack on Ukraine’s Pokrovsk, emergency services say

Ukraine’s state emergency services said Friday morning that one person was killed and 12 others were injured in a Russian attack on Ukraine’s eastern city of Pokrovsk.

The emergency services said via Telegram that two administrative buildings were partially destroyed and three people had been rescued from the rubble.

The update was based on preliminary information as of 10 a.m. local time (8 a.m. London time).

— Sam Meredith

Putin to meet with world leaders at Commonwealth of Independent States summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday is scheduled to meet with world leaders at a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an international grouping of former Soviet republics.

The one-day event is held in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek. It comes as part of Putin’s first foreign visit this year, Russian news agencies said, and his first trip abroad since he was issued with an arrest warrant in March by the International Criminal Court.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said earlier this week that he would not take part in the CIS summit.

Pashinyan’s absence is thought to underscore a growing rift between Yerevan and Moscow in the wake of Azerbaijan’s lightning military operation to take full control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

— Sam Meredith

Fighting rages around the strategically important city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian military officials described scenes of devastation after Russia launched a major offensive effort in and around the strategically important city of Avdiivka.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that he was “grateful to every warrior and every unit for their resilience” as battles raged near Avdiivka. The Ukrainian city is regarded as a gateway to Donetsk, the capital of the eastern Donbas region.

Russia forces launched an ongoing major offensive on Avdiivka earlier this week but have not yet secured any major breakthroughs and are unlikely to cut off Ukrainian forces in the city, according to analysis published Thursday by the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank.

A video posted on Telegram on Thursday by Ukrainian military commander Maksym Zhorin showed black smoke billowing out of abandoned and obliterated apartment buildings.

“If the city is in a war zone, there is a high probability that nothing remains of it. That’s how [Russian forces] destroyed Bakhmut, that’s how they are now destroying Avdiivka,” Zhorin said.

— Sam Meredith

Russian Air Force likely preserving long range missile stocks for the winter, UK says

Russian Air Force Long Range Aviation (LRA) aircraft are likely preserving stocks of AS-23 missiles for the winter, Britain’s Defense Ministry said, noting that the LRA has not conducted a strike against Ukraine since Sept. 21 — a period of 21 days.

“While such breaks have not been unusual, the last similar break in strikes occurred between 9 March and 28 April 2023, a period of 51 days,” the ministry said in an intelligence update posted via X, formerly known as Twitter.

“In that instance it was likely that LRA had almost depleted its stocks of capable AS-23 missile munitions following its winter campaign against Ukrainian critical national infrastructure,” the ministry added.

“This time, it is likely that Russian LRA are preserving existing stocks of AS-23 missiles as well as using this pause to increase useable stocks in anticipation of further heavy strikes against Ukraine over the winter.”

— Sam Meredith

International Olympic Committee suspends Russian Olympic Committee until further notice

The International Olympic Committee, or IOC, suspended the Russian Olympic Committee for breaching the Olympic Charter by violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“The Russian Olympic Committee is suspended with immediate effect until further notice,” the group wrote in a statement.

Additionally, the IOC wrote that it “reserves the right to decide about the participation of individual neutral athletes with a Russian passport” who are looking to compete in the Olympic Summer Games in Paris next year and the Olympic Winter Games in Milan in 2026.

— Amanda Macias

Almost 60 people killed in Hroza attack, Ukrainian officials say

Police have finished identifying bodies, finding that 59 people were killed last week in a series of attacks in Hroza in the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian officials said.

In a Google-translated Telegram post, Home Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko wrote that all the victims were local residents and included the elderly, doctors, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs.

Forensics teams spent six days piecing together the profiles of each person, using the DNA of surviving relatives and personal items from the homes of those who died.

A village cafe was hit by a rocket on Oct. 5.

“It was important for us to establish the name of each dead person, preserve their memory and record all the victims of the Russian attack,” Klymenko wrote.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

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