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Ukraine war live updates: Ukraine reports advances near eastern city of Bakhmut; Germany opposes sending cluster bombs to Kyiv

‘We will not rest until he’s free,’ WSJ says of reporter detained in Moscow

US journalist Evan Gershkovich (REAR) arrested on espionage charges looks on as he stands inside a defendants’ cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his extended detention at The Moscow City Court in Moscow on June 22, 2023.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal and its publisher Dow Jones said they are continuing to work with the U.S. government for the release of journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia for 100 days.

“Today is a poignant milestone in our ongoing fight to free Evan Gershkovich. It is also a painful reminder of the urgency we all feel to ensure he’s released as soon as possible,” wrote Emma Tucker, editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal and Almar Latour, CEO of Dow Jones.

Gershkovich, a Moscow-based journalist for the newspaper, was detained in March by Russian authorities on espionage allegations.

“Journalism is not a crime, and we continue to call on the Russian government to release him immediately. We will not rest until he’s free,” the two added.

The Biden administration and The Wall Street Journal have denied allegations that Gershkovich has been operating as a spy on behalf of the U.S. government while reporting from Russia.

— Amanda Macias

Majority of deaths and injuries in Ukraine due to explosive weapons, U.N. says

Firefighters conduct work after the Russian drone attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. At least 4 separate explosions were heard in Kyiv, while authorities reported that the attacks were carried out with kamikaze drones.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the majority of deaths and injuries in Ukraine were caused by explosive weapons with wide impact areas.

The OHCHR said that an estimated 7,653 people have died due to explosive weapons and another 15,131 have been injured.

About 300 people have died due to mines and other explosive remnants from the war and about 600 have been injured from this type of weapon.

Since the start of the war, the U.N. agency estimates that more than 9,000 civilians have died and nearly 16,000 have been injured.

— Amanda Macias

At least 9,000 civilians killed since the start of Russia’s war, U.N. says

A fresh grave is seen in a Military cemetery outside of the city of Dnipro, Ukraine on May 25, 2023. 

Seth Herald | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The United Nations said that at least 9,177 civilians have been killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, or OHCHR, also said that at least 15,993 people have been injured due to the ongoing conflict. The U.N. agency wrote in a release that the number of civilian deaths and injuries is likely higher.

“Actual numbers of civilian casualties are considerably higher, as many reports of individual civilian casualties in certain locations are still pending corroboration. Such locations include Mariupol and Lysychansk, Popasna and Sievierodonetsk,” the OHCHR wrote in a release.

— Amanda Macias

Belarus shows off a military camp that could host Russia’s Wagner mercenaries

Leonid Kasinsky, an adviser to the Belarus Defence Minister, speaks to the media near a tent camp site that, according to Belarusian Defence Ministry officials, could be offered as one of the spots to house Wagner fighters, in the military settlement of Tsel in the Asipovichy District of the Mogilev Region in Belarus on July 7, 2023.

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

Maj. Gen. Leonid Kosinsky, an assistant to Belarus’ defense minister, showed off a field camp that Russia’s Wagner military contractor could use if it relocates to Belarus, the Associated Press reported.

The former Belarusian army camp near Tsel, about 90 kilometers (about 55 miles) southeast of Minsk could accommodate up to 5,000 troops.

Wagner representatives haven’t yet inspected the camp to see whether it meets their needs, AP reported.

Yevgeny Prigozhin was exiled to Belarus after leading his private mercenary group in a failed mutiny against the Russian military.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that Prigozhin had arrived in Belarus and said other Wagner mercenaries had been offered accommodation at an abandoned naval base, according to a report by CNBC’s Elliot Smith.  

A view of a tent camp site that, according to Belarusian Defence Ministry officials, could be offered as one of the spots to house Wagner fighters, in the military settlement of Tsel in the Asipovichy District of the Mogilev Region in Belarus on July 7, 2023. 

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

A view of a tent camp site that, according to Belarusian Defence Ministry officials, could be offered as one of the spots to house Wagner fighters, in the military settlement of Tsel in the Asipovichy District of the Mogilev Region in Belarus on July 7, 2023. 

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

A Belarusian soldier walks through a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in Asipovichy District, Belarus.

Adam Berry | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Belarusian national flag flies above tents at a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in Asipovichy District, Belarus.

Adam Berry | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Zelenskyy meets Slovakia’s president in tour to drum up NATO support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reached Slovakia Friday in the latest leg of a multi-city tour of Europe aimed at amassing support for Kyiv’s bid to join the NATO military alliance.

“Slovakia is next,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter, noting that he was to meet with Slovak President Zuzana Caputova, Prime Minister Ludovit Odor and the head of parliament Boris Kollar.

Zelenskyy met with leaders in Czechia and Bulgaria over the past two days, and will travel on to Vilnius, Lithuania, next week to join NATO’s annual summit. Zelenskyy has said he hopes the meeting will include an invitation to Kyiv to begin the process of joining the military alliance.

— Karen Gilchrist

Gaps to bridge with Turkey before granting Sweden NATO accession, Stoltenberg says

NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg is talking to media prior the start of the first day of an EU Summit, in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter on June 29, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

Thierry Monasse | Getty Images

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday said that there remain “gaps” to bridge before Turkey will agree to grant Sweden accession to the military alliance, according to Reuters.

Speaking at a press conference, Stoltenberg — whose term was extended by a further year earlier this week — said he would meet with leaders of the two countries on Monday, ahead of a planned NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, next week.

— Karen Gilchrist

Czech PM says EU in talks over how to use Russian assets to help Ukraine

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky address a joint press conference in Prague, Czech Republic, on July 7, 2023.

Milan Kammermayer | AFP | Getty Images

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said Friday that European Union members were discussing ways to use frozen Russian assets to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

“This is not a simple topic, either from a legal or other points of view, but intensive negotiations are also taking place here precisely so that we can also use these frozen assets to help Ukraine,” Fiala said, according to Reuters.

His comments came shortly after a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

CNBC has previously reported on how the 27-nation bloc may look to use frozen Russian assets to reconstruct Ukraine. Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

Germany opposes sending cluster munitions to Ukraine

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Friday that Berlin opposes the U.S. potentially sending cluster bombs to Ukraine.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

German ministers on Friday said Berlin opposed sending cluster bombs to Ukraine, shortly after U.S. officials suggested Washington was considering sending such weapons to Kyiv.

“I have followed the media reports. For us, as a state party, the Oslo agreement applies,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said when asked for comment at a climate conference in Vienna, Reuters reported.

Baerbock was referring to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a disarmament treaty of more than 100 countries that prohibits the use, transfer and stockpiling of these weapons.

Berlin is a signatory of the CCM, so such a munitions delivery “is not an option for us,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said, in comments reported by Reuters.

He added, “As for those countries that have not signed the convention — China, Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. — it is not up to me to comment on their actions.”

Washington has yet to confirm or deny it will be sending these munitions, but a Pentagon official has acknowledged the move is under consideration.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine reports new advances near eastern city of Bakhmut

Ukrainian servicemen ride on armoured personnel carriers (APC) on a road toward Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on July 1, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian troops have advanced by more than a kilometre in the last day against Russian forces near the eastern city of Bakhmut, a military spokesperson said on Friday.

His comments were the latest by Kyiv signalling that the counteroffensive it launched in early June is gradually making progress although Russian accounts of fighting in the Bakhmut sector differ from Ukraine’s.

“The defence forces continue to hold the initiative there, putting pressure on the enemy, conducting assault operations, advancing along the northern and southern flanks,” military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi told Ukrainian television.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 60th Battalion of Territorial Defense, are shooting rounds into Russian positions with an S60 anti-aircraft canon placed on a truck, outside Bakhmut, Ukraine on June 19, 2023. 

Wojciech Grzedzinski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

“In particular, over the past day, they have advanced more than one kilometre (0.62 mile).”

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces general staff said Ukrainian forces had had “partial success” near the village of Klishchiivka, just southwest of Bakhmut.

— Reuters

Human rights group urges U.S. not to send cluster bombs to Kyiv

The Human Rights Watch said the U.S. should not transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine, following reports that Washington has decided to do so.

“The U.S. government should not be providing cluster munitions to any country due to the foreseeable and lasting harm to civilians from these weapons,” said Mary Wareham, acting arms director at Human Rights Watch.

“Transferring cluster munitions disregards the substantial danger they pose to civilians and undermines the global effort to ban them.”

In a report published Thursday, the international NGO said cluster munitions used by Russia and Ukraine were currently harming civilians and leaving bomblets behind “that will continue to do so for many years.”

The group called on Russian and Ukrainian forces to immediately stop using cluster munitions and not seek out more.

— Sam Meredith

U.S. considers sending cluster bombs to Ukraine

The remains of a cluster bomb on the international airport on January 6, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Pierre Crom | Getty Images News | Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s administration is poised to announce on Friday that it will send thousands of cluster bombs to Ukraine, as part of a new military aid package worth $800 million, the Associated Press reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the decision.

Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said Thursday he had no announcement to make on the report, but disclosed that cluster munitions known as Dual-Purpose Conventional Improved Munitions were under consideration.

Cluster munitions are a type of explosive weapon that open in mid-air and disperse dozens or even hundreds of smaller so-called bomblets over an area the size of a city block. More than 100 countries have banned the use, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, due to concerns that these weapons can cause civilian casualties.

The U.S., Russia and Ukraine are not signatories of the international treaty.

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy pushes for a ‘clear signal’ on NATO membership

Czech President Petr Pavel (2nd L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) review a military honor guard in front of the Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, on July 6, 2023.

Milan Kammermayer | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on NATO to clearly indicate the country is on track to join the alliance, saying Kyiv needed more assurances than a general statement that the door to NATO remains open.

His comments come ahead of a two-day NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, next week. Zelenskyy seeks a straightforward indication from the alliance that Ukraine can join the 30-member group when the war ends.

“We are talking about a clear signal, some concrete things in the direction of an invitation,” Zelenskiy said at a news conference in Prague alongside Czech President Petr Pavel, Reuters reported. “We need this motivation. We need honesty in our relations.”

— Sam Meredith

EU agrees to boost production of ammunition and missiles

The European Union reached a provisional agreement to speed up the region’s production of ammunition and missiles, in a move it says will benefit Ukraine and the 27-nation bloc.

The EU presidency, currently held by Spain, said early Friday that member states and EU Parliament representatives agreed to “urgently mobilize” 500 million euros ($545 million) from its budget for an Act in Support of Ammunition Production.

The deal must now be endorsed by the European Council and Parliament, with entry into force expected before the end of the month. It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more weapons from allies to help reduce the scale of Russia’s war.

“This is yet another proof of the EU’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine, strengthening the EU’s defence technological and industrial base, and ultimately ensuring the long term security and defence of EU citizens,” Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said in a statement.

— Sam Meredith

10 people killed in Russian missile strike in western Ukraine

Cars lie wrecked or heavily damaged next to a four-storey residential building that was struck by a missile attack on July 6, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine.

Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Lviv in western Ukraine has killed 10 people, according to city Mayor Andriy Sadovyi.

The official on Friday said on Telegram that emergency employees were now freeing the deceased from the rubble. “This will complete the search and rescue operation,” he added, in remarks translated by NBC.

— Sam Meredith

Zelenskyy calls for more weapons as counteroffensive stalls

Ukrainian serviceman holds a Next Generation Light Anti-armour Weapon (NLAW) on the position not far from the front line in the south of Kharkiv region, on July 11, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed calls for additional weapons as Kyiv’s weekslong counteroffensive slows.

“It is important for Ukraine to receive the necessary weapons and ammunition in time for a successful counteroffensive and further de-occupation of its territories, and it is in the interests of other states to help the Ukrainian army stop Russian aggression before it moves further into Europe,” Zelenskyy said, according to a readout provided by the Ukrainian government.

“If Russia goes further, your weapons will not be enough,” the Ukrainian leader added, referring to gains made by Russian forces.

— Amanda Macias

Detained WSJ reporter enters 100th day in Russian prison

US journalist Evan Gershkovich (REAR) arrested on espionage charges looks on as he stands inside a defendants’ cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his extended detention at The Moscow City Court in Moscow on June 22, 2023.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

Friday will mark the 100th day since Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested on espionage charges in Russia. Gershkovich has been held at the Lefortovo prison in Moscow.

The Wall Street Journal and the Biden administration have denied Russian allegations that Gershkovich was operating as a spy on behalf of the U.S. government.

Earlier this week, the U.S. was granted consular access to Gershkovich for the second time since he was detained in March.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:



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