June 3, 2023
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G7 members still export around $4.7 billion a month to Russia, new report says

G7 members export approximately $4.7 billion a month to Russia, which is about 43% of what they did prior to the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to a new report from the Atlantic Council. 

“After 15 months of conflict, the G7 have implemented nearly all the economic measures against Russia that garnered consensus within the group,” writes Niels Graham, an assistant director for the Atlantic Council GeoEconomics Center.

“The options they have left will be increasingly contentious and will impose higher costs on the G7 countries’ domestic economies,” he added.

Here’s a look at the G7’s remaining exports to Russia and the full report.

A look at G7 exports to Russia by category.

Atlantic Council | GeoEconomics Center

State Department announces potential weapons sale worth $8.5 billion to Germany

Boeing CH-47F Chinook tandem rotor helicopters transport military vehicles during a demonstration as part of the rotation of US troops of the US Army 101st Airborne division at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, near Constanta, Romania, March 31, 2023.

Daniel Mihailescu | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale to Germany for 60 CH-47F Chinook helicopters, as allies look to bolster their arsenals amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Boeing’s helicopter facility in Pennsylvania will be the primary contractor for the weapons system, which is expected to cost an estimated $8.5 billion.

The proposed sale will improve Germany’s heavy-lift capability and its armed forces will not have difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces, according to a State Department release announcing the sale.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally which is an important force for political and economic stability in Europe,” the State Department added.

— Amanda Macias

UN calls for immediate medical treatment for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via video link from the IK-2 corrective penal colony in Pokrov before a court hearing to consider an appeal against his prison sentence, in Moscow, Russia May 17, 2022. 

Evgenia Novozhenina | Reuters

The United Nations expert that investigates torture called for adequate care and treatment at a civil hospital for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“I am distressed by the deteriorating state of Mr. Navalny’s health and the apparent lack of satisfactory diagnosis and medical treatment,” said Alice Edwards, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

She said Navalny’s alleged placement in isolation on 11 separate occasions, amounting to 114 days in solitary confinement over a seven-month period would amount to torture if confirmed.

“Mr. Navalny is reportedly suffering from serious ill-health, including chronic spinal disease and problems related to neurological damage,” Edwards said. “He must immediately and continuously be provided with adequate care, including comprehensive medical check-ups, treatment and monitoring of his health situation in a civil hospital.”

— Amanda Macias

More than a dozen ships loaded with agricultural goods wait to leave Ukrainian waters

Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images

The organization that oversees the movement of vessels to and from Ukrainian ports said there are currently 14 vessels loaded with grain and foodstuffs waiting to depart for global destinations.

The Joint Coordination Center said the vessels are carrying a combined total of approximately 600,000 metric tonnes of agricultural goods.

Before Moscow’s full-scale invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbor last year, Ukraine and Russia accounted for almost a quarter of global grain exports, until those shipments came to a severe halt for nearly six months.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and reopened three key Ukrainian ports. The deal also provides for the exports of fertilizer, including ammonia, though there have been no such exports thus far.  

Russia has said that it is not pleased with the Black Sea Grain Initiative and is not in favor of extending the current deal this month.

— Amanda Macias

Four ships leave Ukrainian ports under UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative

The Black Sea grain deal, which has enabled millions of tons of Ukrainian agri-food products to leave the country via several ports, expires on May 18. Russia has said there are no guarantees it will agree to extend the deal.

Diego Cuppolo | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Four ships carrying 77,700 metric tons of corn and wheat left Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The vessels are destined for Egypt and Spain.

The U.N.-backed humanitarian sea corridor, which was brokered in July, has allowed more than 900 ships carrying more than 29 million metric tons of agricultural products to depart Ukrainian war-weary ports.

Russia has previously said that it would not recognize an extension of the deal, which could expire in mid-May.

Ukraine’s navy has previously said that Russia is intentionally slowing down the movement of ships from Ukrainian ports in an effort to weaponize food.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. holds ‘candid’ talks with China amid Russia’s war in Ukraine

Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, speaks during an interview at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. and Chinese officials met for two days in Vienna to discuss a range of topics, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, amid tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

“The two sides had candid, substantive, and constructive discussions on key issues in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, global and regional security issues, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and cross-Strait issues, among other topics,” the White House said Thursday in a readout of the meeting between Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi.

The White House National Security Council and the State Department did not respond to CNBC’s requests for more details on the meeting.

Sullivan has previously reiterated deep U.S. concerns about China’s alignment with Russia and the possibility that the world’s second-largest economy might attempt to help Moscow blunt sanctions.

In the months following Russia’s invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbor, Washington and its allies have imposed rounds of coordinated sanctions vaulting Russia past Iran and North Korea as the world’s most-sanctioned country.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

AFP colleagues pay tribute to slain video journalist Arman Soldin

A video in tribute to slain AFP video journalist Arman Soldin is displayed on screens during a minute’s silence held for him, at AFP headquarters in central Paris, on May 11, 2023. 

Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

Members of the Agence France-Presse news agency paid tribute to slain AFP video journalist Arman Soldin at the company’s Paris headquarters and Middle East and North Africa bureau in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Thursday.

Messages of grief poured in after Soldin died in Ukraine earlier this week, and many people paid tribute to his bravery in covering Europe’s worst conflict since World War II. Soldin was the French news agency’s Ukraine video coordinator.

“His death is a terrible reminder of the risks and dangers faced by journalists every day covering the conflict in Ukraine,” AFP chairman Fabrice Fries said when his death was announced.

Soldin was killed when an AFP team came under fire by Grad rockets while they were with a group of Ukrainian soldiers near Bakhmut, the epicenter of the war for months. 

Members of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) observe a minute of silence to pay tribute to slain AFP video journalist Arman Soldin at AFP Middle East and North Africa headquarters in Nicosia on May 11, 2023. 

Hasan Mroue | AFP | Getty Images

Global News Director of Agence France-Presse (AFP) Phil Chetwynd looks at a video in tribute to slain AFP video journalist Arman Soldin during a minute’s silence, at AFP headquarters in central Paris, on May 11, 2023.

Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

A video in tribute to slain AFP video journalist Arman Soldin is displayed on screens during a minute’s silence held for him, at AFP headquarters in central Paris, on May 11, 2023.

Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

A tribute to AFP video journalist Arman Soldin is pictured at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London on May 10, 2023.

Justin Tallis | AFP | Getty Images

— Michele Luhn, Adam Jeffery and AFP | Getty Images

Yellen calls on G-7 members to target Russian attempts to evade sanctions

Janet Yellen, US Treasury secretary, during a news conference at the Group of Seven (G-7) finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Niigata, Japan, on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on members of the world’s largest economies to coordinate their financial actions in regard to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“When the G-7 finance ministers gathered together last spring, Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine was less than three months old. Now, the war is approaching its 450th day,” Yellen said during remarks in Japan.

Yellen said coordinated global sanctions have “degraded Russia’s military-industrial complex and helped reduce the revenues that Russia can use to fund its war.”

“This year, a central piece of our strategy is to take further actions to disrupt Russia’s attempts to evade our sanctions,” she said, adding that allies should continue to apply pressure on companies facilitating sanctions evasion and shut down “specific channel used by Russia to equip and fund its military.”

— Amanda Macias

‘Emotions are boiling over’: Relations between the Wagner Group and Moscow are worsening

A billboard promoting the Wagner PMC (Private Military Company), a Russian paramilitary organzation, seen on the street on April 10, 2023 in Moscow’s suburb of Krasnogorsk, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images

The war in Ukraine looks to have created deep and lasting tensions between Russia’s leadership in Moscow and its mercenary fighters on the ground.

The acrimony between the two sides descended into openly hostile criticism this week, with mutual accusations of treachery this week.

The head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group could barely contain his rage on Tuesday when he said promised supplies of ammunition to his fighters in Bakhmut had not arrived.

The Kremlin appeared to comment on tensions Wednesday, saying “emotions are boiling over” in Bakhmut.

Read more on the story here: The Ukraine war is driving a wedge between Moscow and its mercenaries — and the Kremlin knows it

Former Russian schoolteacher gets 5.5 years in prison for anti-war posts

A police car goes past the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

A former Russian schoolteacher has been sentenced to five and a half years in a penal colony for remarks he made online about President Vladimir Putin and Russian “fascism” in Ukraine, his fiancee said on Thursday.

Nikita Tushkanov, 29, made the posts last October after the bombing of the Kerch bridge linking Russia to annexed Crimea, a major attack that Moscow blamed on Ukraine.

Tushkanov called the bombing “a birthday present for Putler” – a pejorative term linking the Russian president to Adolf Hitler. When Russia responded with rocket strikes against Ukrainian cities, he called it “the revenge of Putin’s fascism for the Kerch bridge.”

His fiancee Alexandra Kochanova told Reuters his court case had lasted “not more than 10 minutes” in front of military judges, and that he would appeal. Russia introduced new censorship laws after launching its war on Ukraine last year, prescribing long prison sentences for “discrediting” the armed forces or spreading false information about them.

Asked why Tushkanov had written the posts, Kochanova said he believed “it was necessary to write, speak, and show that he didn’t agree. He understood the risks, but he still decided that this was more important, that these were his principles”.

Officers of Russia’s FSB security service arrested Tushkanov at his home in the city of Syktyvkar on Dec. 7, independent news outlet Mediazona reported. He was subsequently added to a federal database of “terrorists and extremists.”

According to Mediazona, Tushkanov was fired in 2021 from his job as a history teacher in a small town in the northern Urals for staging a one-man picket in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

He had twice been fined for anti-war posts since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, according to court documents, although one of the fines was dropped. According to human rights network OVD-Info, 19,673 people have been detained for protesting against Russia’s war in Ukraine since it invaded on Feb. 24 last year, and criminal cases have been launched against more than 550.

— Reuters

Ukrainian counteroffensive has started around Bakhmut flanks, Wagner Group chief says

Artillerymen of the Ukrainian 80th separate airborne assault brigade fire from a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher toward Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, on April 18, 2023.

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

The head of Russia’s Wagner Group, a private military company fighting in Ukraine and involved in particularly intense battles for the town of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, said Thursday that Ukrainian forces had begun their counterattack and were approaching Bakhmut from the flanks.

In response to a Russian media question about Ukraine’s anticipated counteroffensive, Yevgeny Prigozhin said that Ukrainian operations had already been “unfortunately, partially successful,” in comments reported and translated by Reuters.

Earlier today, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Western media that the country needed more time, and more foreign military aid to arrive before the counteroffensive could properly begin, but Prigozhin said Zelenskyy was “being deceptive.”

On Wednesday, however, the head of Ukraine’s ground forces said Russian fighters had been pushed back from parts of the frontline in Bakhmut, by 2km (1.2 miles) in places.

Earlier this week, Prigozhin claimed that Russia’s 72nd Separate Motor-rifle Brigade had abandoned positions on the southwestern outskirts of Bakhmut although Moscow has not commented on the report. Prigozhin has repeatedly criticized the Russian defense ministry’s tactics in Ukraine and a lack of ammunition for his mercenary forces, making up the bulk of fighters in Bakhmut.

– Holly Ellyatt

Russia vows ‘adequate response’ after report on UK arms to Ukraine

The Russian flag flies on the dome of the Kremlin Senate building behind Spasskaya Tower, while the roof shows what appears to be marks from the recent drone incident, in central Moscow, Russia, May 4, 2023. 

Stringer | Reuters

The Kremlin said on Thursday that a report that Britain had supplied cruise missiles to Ukraine would require “an adequate response from our military.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to a question about a CNN report that Britain had supplied Ukraine with multiple “Storm Shadow” long-range cruise missiles.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence has declined to comment on the report.

– Reuters

Britain has supplied Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles, official says

A member of the military walks past a MBDA Storm Shadow/Scalp missile at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 17, 2018.

Ben Stansall | Afp | Getty Images

Britain has supplied Ukraine with ‘Storm Shadow’ long-range cruise missiles, a Western official said on Thursday.

CNN first reported the decision, citing multiple senior Western officials. It said Britain had received assurances from the Ukrainian government that these missiles would be used only within Ukrainian sovereign territory and not inside Russia.

Britain’s defence minister Ben Wallace and the foreign minister James Cleverly have been in the United States for talks on supporting Ukraine in recent weeks.

The Ministry of Defence in London declined to comment.

Britain and other Western countries have scaled up their military aid for Ukraine this year, with Britain saying in January it would send 14 of its main Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a pledge that was followed by other nations including the United States and Germany.

Last week, a British-led group of European countries asked companies for expressions of interest to supply Ukraine with missiles with a range of up to 300 km (190 miles), but Britain said on Tuesday that no final decision had been taken on supplying the weapons.

Storm Shadow, manufactured by European missile maker MBDA, is an air-launched long range missile, designed for attacks against high value targets such as hardened bunkers and key infrastructure, according to the company’s website.

They have a range of more than 250 kilometers (155.34 miles), according to the manufacturer.


Russia ramping up prisoner recruitment

A Russian soldier walks in the rubble in Mariupol’s eastern side, where fierce fighting takes place between Russian and pro-Russia forces and Ukraine on March 15, 2022.

Maximilian Clarke | SOPA Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Russia’s Defense Ministry has been ramping up a plan to recruit Russian prisoners to fight in Ukraine since the start of 2023, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

It’s likely that up to 10,000 convicts signed up in April alone, the ministry noted in its latest intelligence update on Twitter Wednesday.

Russian prisoners have been a key pool of recruits for the Wagner Group private military company’s operations in Ukraine since last summer, but the group lost access to recruiting from Russia’s penal system, likely when its public feud with the defense ministry was escalating, the U.K. said.

Russia’s latest prisoner recruitment campaign is part of a broader, intense effort by the Russian military to bolster its numbers, the U.K. said, “while attempting to avoid implementing new mandatory mobilisation, which would be very unpopular with the Russian public.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Kremlin acknowledges ’emotions are boiling over’ in Bakhmut

Ukrainian soldiers of the 80th brigade firing artillery in the direction of Bakhmut as the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on April 13, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Kremlin’s spokesperson acknowledged that the “special military operation” in Ukraine is complex, particularly in Bakhmut, but said he had no doubt that the besieged Donetsk town “will be captured and will be kept under control.”

“The special military operation continues. It is a very, very difficult operation and of course certain goals have been achieved in a year,” Dmitry Peskov told a Bosnian Serb television channel ATV on Wednesday in comments translated by Google.

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces claimed Wednesday that Russian forces had been pushed back as much as 1.2 miles on certain parts of the front line around Bakhmut. Military analysts agree that Ukraine has “conducted successful limited counterattacks around Bakhmut” in recent days.

Even Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner Group, a private military company whose mercenary fighters are engaged in intense fighting in Bakhmut, said earlier this week that Russia’s 72nd Separate Motor-rifle Brigade had abandoned positions on the southwestern outskirts of the town as he continued to plead for more ammunition for his troops.

Prigozhin has repeatedly complained his fighters weren’t receiving adequate support from Russia’s defense ministry, with whom he has a strained relationship, and has threatened to pull his troops out of the area. Prigozhin has made numerous statements criticizing the ministry and even appeared to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin the other day, a rare instance of a high-profile Russian doing so.

Commenting on the situation in Bakhmut, Peskov said “there are very heavy offensive operations going on there and it is a very, very powerfully fortified area.”

“Emotions are boiling over there. I will not mention anyone’s last name, but I will say that, regardless of what they say and what statements they make, this is about the armed forces of the Russian Federation. These are all Russian forces. They are all the same forces, which always follow the same goal. We have no doubt that Artyomovsk [Russia’s name for Bakhmut] will be brought under control, that it will be determined later,” he said.

– Holly Ellyatt

Russian forces are being pushed back in parts of Bakhmut, commander says

Russian troops have retreated to a distance of up to two kilometers (1.2 miles) on parts of the front in Bakhmut as a result of counteroffensives, the head of Ukraine’s ground forces said Wednesday.

The embattled town in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine has been at the center of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, many of whom are mercenary fighters in the Wagner Group, for many months.

“Thanks to the well-thought-out defense in Bakhmut direction, we are getting the results of the efficient actions of our units,” Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, posted on Telegram.

“Among other things, we carry out effective counterattacks. In some areas of the front, the enemy could not withstand the onslaught of the Ukrainian defenders and retreated to a distance of up to two kilometers,” he added.

Syrskyi said the competence of Ukrainian fighters “exhausted” mercenary fighters of the Wagner Group and “forced them to be replaced in certain directions by less well-prepared units of the Russian regular troops, who were defeated and left.”

The fight to capture (and defend) Bakhmut has been taking place for nine months, with the town reduced to ruins. Military analysts have been impressed by the fact that Ukraine has held on to the town despite semi-encirclement by Russian forces and the logistical challenges of getting supplies to its fighters.

“Despite the significant concentration of troops and the loud statements by Russian war criminals about their intention to capture Bakhmut by May 9, the enemy has been still unable to capture the Ukrainian city,” Syrskyi said.

“Our defense forces reliably hold the front and prevent the enemy from advancing. The battle for Bakhmut continues,” he added. Syrskyi praised “the work of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade which dealt a powerful blow to the enemy in battle and showed the strength of the Ukrainian army.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine shows off new ‘Viy’ exploding drones

Ukraine unveiled a recent delivery of 100 exploding “Viy” drones to be used in its campaign against Russia.

These exploding drones have a 7-kilometer combat zone and are also resistant to enemy electronic warfare. They can carry both armor-piercing and high-explosive fragmentation shells.

The design and manufacture of the ‘Viy” drone are almost entirely Ukrainian.

A man demonstrates the Ukrainian Viy drone in Lviv, Ukraine on May 10, 2023. 

Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A man demonstrates the Ukrainian Viy drone in Lviv, Ukraine on May 10, 2023. 

Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A man demonstrates the Ukrainian Viy drone in Lviv, Ukraine on May 10, 2023. 

Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A man demonstrates the Ukrainian Viy drone in Lviv, Ukraine on May 10, 2023. 

Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

— Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian infantry unit on outskirts of Bakhmut was driven out, Ukraine says

Ukrainian servicemen of the Adam tactical group ride a T-64 tank towards a front line near the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on May 7, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergey Shestak | Afp | Getty Images

The Russian 72nd Separate Motor-rifle Brigade stationed on the frontlines of fighting near Bakhmut sustained heavy damage and fled the area, a Ukrainian military unit said, according to Reuters.

“The 6th and 7th squadrons of this brigade were almost entirely destroyed, brigade intelligence was destroyed, a large number of fighting vehicles were destroyed a considerable number of prisoners were taken,” Andriy Biletsky, a leader in Ukraine’s Third Separate Assault Brigade, said, according to Reuters.

Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said Tuesday that the Russian 72nd Brigade “pissed away three square km,” and that his forces lost 500 men, the news wire reported.

Russia did not comment on the movement of its 72nd Brigade, Reuters said. A Ukrainian military leader said Russia was still trying to capture Bakhmut and the situation “remains difficult.” 

— Reuters

Russia reportedly plans to evacuate more Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant workers

Members of a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency visit the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on March 29, 2023.

Andrey Borodulin | Afp | Getty Images

Russian forces plan to “evacuate” more than 3,000 workers from the town of Enerhodar that serves the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s state nuclear power company said Wednesday.

The move proved Russia’s “inability to ensure the operation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as there is now a catastrophic lack of skilled personnel,” Energoatom said.

The company said Russia planned to evacuate just over 3,000 people, including 2,700 who had signed contracts with the Russian-installed company in de facto control of the plant, Rosatom.

Energoatom said that information from Ukraine’s armed forces suggested “some families of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power professionals have already been taken from Enerhodar to the Rostov region of the Russian Federation.”

Energoatom said that it was “taking all possible measures to form the necessary number of professionals capable of ensuring the safe operation of the plant.”

Such a team will be formed on a rotating basis from ZNPP employees who are currently in the territory controlled by Ukraine, as well as specialists from other nuclear plants, it said.

Concerns over ZNPP’s fate have been rife since Russian forces started evacuating areas near the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station. The plant has often found itself at the center of fighting, with both Ukrainian and Russian forces accusing each other of shelling near it, creating the potential for a nuclear disaster.

Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week that following reports of Russian evacuations, “the general situation in the area near the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous.”

“I’m extremely concerned about the very real nuclear safety and security risks facing the plant. We must act now to prevent the threat of a severe nuclear accident and its associated consequences for the population and the environment. This major nuclear facility must be protected.”

Energoatom has repeatedly called for the de-occupation of the ZNPP. It did so again today, and urged “the expulsion of the Russians from Enerhodar and the transfer of control over the power plant to its legitimate Ukrainian operator, Energoatom,” saying this was “the only way to end the Russian mess at the ZNPP and guarantee its future safety.”

— Holly Ellyatt

EU countries to discuss new Russia sanctions

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, right, and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, depart a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Andrew Kravchenko | Bloomberg | Getty Images

European Union states started discussions on new sanctions that would crack down on the circumvention of Russian trade curbs, but a quick deal was not expected, according to several diplomats that spoke to Reuters.

The proposed sanctions would target Chinese and Iranian firms and allow export curbs on other countries for breaking existing trade restrictions, Reuters reported.

The new sanctions would highlight that oil tankers are not allowed to offload in the high seas or arrive in ports with their GPS trackers off, an attempt to push back against Group of Seven nations’ Russian oil reading restrictions, according to Reuters’ sources.

The EU also would stop transit via Russia of more of its exports, including advanced tech products and aircraft parts, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in the Reuters report.

“If we see that goods are going from the European Union to third countries and then end up in Russia, we could propose to the member states to sanction those goods’ export. This tool will be a last resort and it will be used cautiously,” she said.

— Melodie Warner

Two Ukrainian drones attempted to strike military facility, governor claims

Two Ukrainian drones attempted to attack a military facility in the Voronezh region in southwestern Russia, its Governor Alexander Gusev said Wednesday.

“Today, early in the morning, at a Voronezh military facility, an attempted attack by two enemy UAVs was intercepted. As a result of response actions, one of them deviated from its course and fell while another one was eliminated by fire,” Gusev said on Telegram, in comments translated by Russian news agency Tass.

Guzev said additional security measures would be implemented in the Voronezh region.

“Interaction with law enforcement and the military command continues … I am personally monitoring the situation,” Gusev added. CNBC was unable to verify the claims in the post and Ukraine has not commented on the claims.

Russia has recently experienced a series of alleged attacks on home soil. It accused Ukraine and the U.S. of trying to strike the Kremlin with drones last week (both vehemently denied the accusations) and has experienced several apparent drone attacks on an oil refinery in the Krasnodar region, near the Kerch Strait and bridge to Russian-occupied Crimea.

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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