Home Top Stories Ukraine war live updates: Controversial U.S.-made cluster bombs arrive in Ukraine; Russia warns U.S. is risking ‘direct clash’

Ukraine war live updates: Controversial U.S.-made cluster bombs arrive in Ukraine; Russia warns U.S. is risking ‘direct clash’

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Ukraine war live updates: Controversial U.S.-made cluster bombs arrive in Ukraine; Russia warns U.S. is risking ‘direct clash’

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Russian foreign minister warns U.S. and NATO are risking ‘direct armed clash’ with Russia

The Black Sea grain deal will no longer be operational if its current state of implementation continues, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the U.S. and NATO members of raising the risk of direct conflict with Russia, warning of serious consequences while meeting other international leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“The US and its NATO satellites are creating risks of a direct armed clash with Russia, and this is fraught with catastrophic consequences,” a tweet from the Russian Embassy in London quoted Lavrov as saying.

NATO earlier this week reiterated its support and fresh weapons packages for Ukraine at its summit in Vilnius, and G7 nations committed to security guarantees for Ukraine, drawing warnings and rebukes from Moscow.

— Natasha Turak

Poland says it will respond in kind if Russia shuts down its diplomatic missions

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki delivers remarks with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris before their meeting in her ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington, D.C., April 11, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Poland will reciprocate if Russia closes down its diplomatic missions on Russian territory, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a press conference, in response to news that the Kremlin is planning to shutter the Polish consulate in Smolensk.

Smolensk is a city in Western Russia near the Belarussian border. Poland has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

“We regularly receive information about aggressive diplomatic actions from Russia,” Morawiecki said. “If in the end it comes to it that Russia starts to liquidate our offices, we will respond in kind.”

— Natasha Turak

Three injured in car explosion in Russia’s Belgorod

A car explosion in the western Russian city of Belgorod injured three people, the region’s governor said, describing the injuries in a Telegram post.

“Unfortunately, there are three victims: a man who was in the car at the time of the explosion, and two bystanders — a mother with a child,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote, according to a Google translation. “All the victims were taken to the city hospitals with shrapnel wounds to the lower extremities. Doctors assess their condition as moderate.”

Located about 25 miles from the Ukrainian border, Belgorod has been the site of multiple incursions by groups who call themselves pro-Ukrainian Russian militants.

— Natasha Turak

Finnish foreign minister on Ukraine: ‘This is not charity’

Finland’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen spoke about Ukraine’s fight against Russia and stressed that Western aid for the country has nothing to do with charity, but with broader self-defense and support for what Ukraine is fighting for.

“We in the west need to understand that obviously, this is not charity because Ukraine is fighting for us. They are fighting for our liberty and the European security architecture,” Valtonen told the Financial Times in an interview.

“I wouldn’t say there’s any fatigue and I hope there never will be,” she added, saying that the West is committed to helping Ukraine.

— Natasha Turak

Ukraine receives the bodies of 62 soldiers

Ukraine received the bodies of 62 of its soldiers from Russian forces occupying parts of the country, state broadcaster Suspilne reported. Exchanges of soldiers’ bodies typically require challenging negotiations.

U.S.-provided cluster munitions arrive in Ukraine

The remains of a rocket that carried cluster munitions found in a field in the countryside of Kherson region.

Alice Martins | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Cluster munitions provided by the U.S. have now arrived in Ukraine, the Pentagon confirmed.

Kyiv lobbied hard for the weapons, viewing them as an important tool for fighting back against Russian forces. But the issue faced significant opposition and debate in Congress due to the controversial nature of the bombs, which open in the air and release numerous smaller bomblets.

Cluster munitions have one of the highest failure rates of all classes of weapons, as their bomblets are meant to explode on impact but often do not, instead exploding years later and causing devastating harm to civilians. They also often miss their intended targets and affect areas far beyond their target range.

Russia has been using cluster bombs in its attacks on Ukraine.

More than 120 countries have bans on them under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including many NATO member states. There was significant opposition to Biden’s move in Washington and even among other NATO allies. Biden administration officials say the U.S. is sending a version of the weapon that has a lower rate of its bomblets fail to explode, and that it is providing Ukraine thousands of the rounds.

— Natasha Turak

Ukraine air force says it shot down 16 Russian drones

Ukraine’s air force on Friday said it shot down 16 out of 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russian troops since Thursday evening, according to Google-translated comments on Telegram.

The drones came from the southeastern direction, the air force added.

Russia’s military has increased its attacks against Ukraine in recent days, including targeting the capital Kyiv. The offensive coincided with the NATO military alliance’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which heavily focused on aid to Ukraine.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

Wagner no longer fighting in Ukraine ‘in any significant capacity’: Pentagon

Members of the Wagner Group prepare to depart from the Southern Military District’s headquarters and return to their base on June 24, 2023, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Pentagon doesn’t see Russian private mercenary force Wagner Group currently taking part in Ukraine combat in any significant way, one of its representatives said.

“At this stage, we do not see Wagner forces participating in any significant capacity in support of combat operations in Ukraine,” Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder said in a briefing. He said that by the Defense Department’s assessment, “the majority” of Wagner fighters are in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

The comments come roughly three weeks after the group’s short-lived mutiny attempt led by its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.

— Natasha Turak

Putin says additional Western weapons promised to Ukraine will only escalate conflict

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin issues a statement in Moscow on June 24, 2023 as Wagner fighters stage rebellion in the biggest threat to Putin’s quarter-century grip on power.

Pavel Bednyakov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a television address that the new international commitments to supply Ukraine with additional arms and security assistance packages following the NATO summit will only escalate the ongoing conflict.

Putin said that in particular, Russian forces will make tanks given to Ukraine for use on the battlefield “a priority target,” according to a Reuters report. Putin’s comments follow a NATO leaders summit in Lithuania’s capital.

The Russian leader reiterated the Kremlin’s position that Kyiv’s ascension to the NATO alliance, which has been ongoing since 2002, will also pose a risk to Russia’s security.

— Amanda Macias

Russia says IOC is discriminating against Russian athletes ahead of 2024 Olympic Games

A supporter waves a Russian flag in front of the logo of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at their headquarters on December 5, 2017 in Pully near Lausanne, Switzerland.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said on Telegram that the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, is discriminating against Russian athletes, according to an NBC News translation.

Earlier on Thursday, the IOC said Russia and Belarus would not receive an official invitation to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris like other countries later this month.

“We are still confronted with two irreconcilable positions. The Russian side wants the IOC to ignore the war. The Ukrainian side wants the IOC to totally isolate anyone with a Russian and Belarusian passport,” the IOC wrote in a statement, adding that it was still deciding on whether to extend invitations.

Matytsin described the IOC’s “regulations for the admission of Russian athletes” as “discriminatory.”

“Of course, for athletes for whom participation in the Olympic Games is a dream, this is difficult, this is a serious violation, from my point of view, of both the Olympic Charter and the principles of a unified approach to all states,” Matytsin added.

— Amanda Macias

Putin says Moscow considering withdrawing from Black Sea grain deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during The Strong Ideas For The New Times Forum on June 29, 2023 in Moscow, Russia. President Putin visited an annual forum, hosted by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI). 

Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow could withdraw from the Black Sea grain deal saying the agricultural agreement has only benefitted Ukraine so far.

Moscow maintains that the current agreement does not support Russian fertilizer exports while Ukrainian agricultural products travel through the humanitarian sea corridor freely.

Putin, speaking on state television, also said that he had not received a letter from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on possible ways to salvage and renew the deal, according to a Reuters report.

— Amanda Macias

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