Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine



    Kremlin calls Donetsk market strike a ‘monstrous act of terrorism’

    The Kremlin called the alleged Ukrainian shelling of a marketplace in Donetsk Sunday a “monstrous act of terrorism.”

    “The Kyiv regime continues to show its bestial face and strikes at civilians,” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday.

    At least 25 people died in the attack on the market in Donetsk city, while 20 others were injured.

    Ukrainian armed forces operating in the region denied they had carried out the strike, stating that they “did not conduct any combat operations with means of destruction.”

    A screen grab captured from a video shows Russian President Vladimir Putin making a statement amid escalating tensions between the Kremlin and the head of paramilitary group Wagner in Moscow on June 24, 2023.

    Kremlin Press Office| Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

    Russia claims Donetsk in eastern Ukraine as its own territory, having unilaterally annexed the region in late 2022. Ukraine and its allies reject the claim.

    Peskov added on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had received reports on the Donetsk attack and that Russia’s “special military operation” — as it calls its invasion of Ukraine — would continue in order to “protect” people.

    — Holly Ellyatt

    Operations at damaged Russian fuel complex seen resuming within weeks, say analysts

    Russian energy company Novatek is likely to resume large-scale operations at its Ust-Luga processing complex and Baltic Sea terminal within weeks, following a suspected drone attack seen disrupting naphtha flows to Asia, analysts said on Monday.

    The tightening of supply from Russia, following fears of disruption in European naphtha exports to Asia from Yemeni Houthis’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea, are driving up naphtha prices and refining margins in Asia.

    The profit margin for making naphtha in Asia jumped by about $6 to $91.70 per metric ton over Brent crude on Monday after four straight sessions of losses.

    Novatek said on Sunday it had been forced to suspend some operations at the huge Baltic Sea fuel export terminal and “technological process” at the complex due to a fire, started by what Ukrainian media said was a drone attack.

    Kommersant newspaper also said on Monday, citing local authorities, that two storage tanks and a pumping stations were damaged due to the incident.

    “We believe the plant is likely to return to significant capacity within weeks or, at worst, months,” analysts at Moscow-based BCS brokerage said in a note.

    Russia’s Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answers a question during a meeting with journalists in Vladivostok, Russia, in this picture released September 12, 2023.

    Sputnik | Via Reuters

    Novatek declined to comment. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Russia’s military and other government agencies were taking the necessary measures, including when it comes to air defences, after the suspected Ukrainian drone attack on the terminal.

    — Reuters

    Russia declares a day of mourning Monday for victims of market attack

    A day of mourning has been declared Monday for the victims of Sunday’s shelling of a marketplace in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk.

    Moscow accused Kyiv of launching a missile strike on the market in Donetsk, killing at least 25 people and injuring 20 others, and described the incident as a terrorist attack.

    Ukrainian armed forces operating in the region denied they had carried out the strike, stating Sunday that they “did not conduct any combat operations with means of destruction.”

    A view of the damage after the shelling in the market place in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which is currently under Russian control, ongoing Russian and Ukrainian war on January 21, 2024.

    Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

    Both Russia and Ukraine deny the deliberate targeting of civilians, although thousands have died in missile and drone strikes over the last two years of war.

    The Russia-installed head of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, said on Telegram Monday that there would be a day of mourning for the dead.

    “We mourn those who died at the hands of Ukrainian terrorists as a result of yesterday’s shelling,” he said.

    Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed, pro-Russian “Donetsk People’s Republic,” said the strike had been carried out “on Sunday, when it is most crowded there.”

    Russia said the Ukrainian forces’ strike on Donetsk will be discussed at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday. “The Russian Foreign Ministry called on all responsible governments and international structures to condemn this terrorist attack,” news agency Tass reported.

    — Holly Ellyatt

    Russian offensive activity increasing in intensity, UK says

    Russian offensive activity is increasing in intensity, data collected by Ukraine’s armed forces in mid-January confirms, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday.

    Ukraine’s General Staff reported Friday that there was a 27% rise in Russian assaults on the front line over the previous day, with 81 air strikes and 45 multiple rocket attacks.

    It’s a trend that has been emerging since the new year, according to additional data that’s been collected, the U.K. noted in an intelligence update on X.

    “This data points towards a steady increase in the intensity of Russian offensive activity across the front over the past two weeks. A key enabler for this is highly likely the freezing ground conditions, which allows cross-country movement of armoured vehicles,” it noted.

    Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka, Ukraine, on Dec. 7, 2023.

    Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

    Data from the Ukrainian General Staff compared the period of January 14-18 with the previous five-day period. It showed a trend of increased losses for Russia as offensive activity ticked up.

    “Over these five-day periods the number of military vehicle losses by Russia increased by 88% and the number of Russian tank losses increased by 95%. The number of Russian casualties over the same period also increased by 15%,” the ministry noted.

    — Holly Ellyatt

    Russia and Ukraine trade retaliatory strikes over the weekend

    DONETSK, UKRAINE – JANUARY 21: A view of the damage after the shelling in the market place in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which is currently under Russian control, ongoing Russian and Ukrainian war on January 21, 2024. At least 25 people were killed and 20 others injured on Sunday due to shelling in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which is currently under Russian control. (Photo by Leon Klein/Anadolu via Getty Images)

    Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

    Russia and Ukraine traded retaliatory strikes over the weekend after another Russian oil terminal was attacked on Sunday, as were the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk and nine Ukrainian regions.

    Moscow accused Kyiv of launching a missile strike on a market in Donetsk city, killing at least 25 people and wounding 20 others, Russian officials said. Ukrainian armed forces operating in the region denied they had carried out the strike, stating that they “did not conduct any combat operations with means of destruction.”

    Elsewhere, a fire broke out at a terminal of Russia’s largest liquefied natural gas producer Novatek on the Baltic Sea, a regional official said on Sunday, amid reports of drone sightings in the area. Several other Russian oil terminals have been targeted in recent days, in the Bryansk and Leningrad regions.

    Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces shelled nine regions in the country on Sunday.

    “In this single day, the Russian inhumans shelled over a hundred cities, towns, our Ukrainian villages in nine regions: from the Chernihiv region to the Sumy region, Mykolaiv region, Kirovohrad region, our regions. Particularly severe Russian strikes are in the Donetsk region,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

    Describing 60 clashes yesterday, Zelenskyy said the most intense fighting was in the Avdiivka area, as well as in Bakhmut, Maryinka and Kupiansk. “There have been more than 50 Russian shelling incidents just from multiple rocket launcher systems, and also dozens of airstrikes and missile strikes,” he said.

    Both Russia and Ukraine deny targeting civilian infrastructure. CNBC was unable to immediately verify the battlefield reports.

    — Holly Ellyatt

    Fire erupts at Russia’s Novatek Baltic Sea terminal after suspected Ukrainian drone attack

    A fire broke out at a Baltic Sea terminal belonging to Novatek, Russia’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, after a suspected Ukrainian drone attack, forcing the company to suspend some operations there.

    The Ust-Luga complex, located on the Gulf of Finland about 170 km (110 miles) west of St. Petersburg, processes stable gas condensate into light and heavy naphtha, jet fuel, fuel oil and gasoil, according to Novatek’s website. The port is used to ship processed products to international markets.

    The Interfax-Ukraine news agency, citing unnamed sources, said the fire was the result of a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s security services.

    SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – 2022/06/15: Novatek Logo seen on the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2022 (SPIEF 2022). (Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

    Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

    “The Ust-Luga Oil terminal in the Leningrad region is an important facility for the enemy. Fuel is refined there, which, among other things, is also supplied to Russian troops,” it cited one source as saying.

    “A successful attack on such a terminal not only causes economic damage to the enemy, depriving the occupiers of the opportunity to earn money to wage war in Ukraine, but also significantly complicates the logistics of fuel for the Russian military.”

    Reuters could not confirm that the fire resulted from a Ukrainian drone attack.


    Zelenskyy worried by the prospect of Trump presidency

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 16th, 2024.

    Adam Galici | CNBC

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was worried by the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House, branding Trump’s claim that he could stop Ukraine’s war with Russia in 24 hours as “very dangerous.”

    In an interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News that aired Friday, Zelenskyy invited the former president and front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination to visit Kyiv, but only if Trump delivers on his promise.

    “Donald Trump, I invite you to Ukraine, to Kyiv. If you can stop the war during 24 hours, I think it will be enough to come,” Zelenskyy said.

    The Ukrainian leader also shared his concern about the U.S. taking unilateral action that failed to consider Ukraine’s perspective, noting the dearth of details around Trump’s “peace plan.”

    — Associated Press

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