Live updates: Moscow holds elections in illegally occupied parts of Ukraine; Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan to meet in Sochi

Two ships leave Ukrainian Black Sea port, deputy prime minister says

Two cargo vessels sailed through a temporary corridor from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to the Bosporus Strait, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said Friday.

The bulk carriers were carrying 56,000 metric tons of pig iron and 172,000 metric tons of iron ore concentrate, Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a post on the social media site X.

If the journeys are successful, they will be only the third and fourth such shipments to leave Odesa’s ports since Moscow exited the Black Sea grain deal in July, Reuters reported.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin and Erdogan to meet in Sochi Monday to discuss grain deal, Kremlin says

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in October 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by Russian state media Tass in a Google-translated report on Telegram.

Turkish officials have signaled discussions on the Black Sea grain deal will top the agenda.

The leaders will meet in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, marking a step forward in discussions around the food security pact that Moscow exited in July, citing constraints on its own exports.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia’s Sarmat international missiles reportedly put on combat duty

Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can carry 10 or more nuclear warheads, have been put on combat duty, the head of the country’s space agency Roscosmos said Friday, according to Russian state media RIA Novosti.

“The Sarmat strategic complex has been put on combat duty,” the head of the state corporation was cited as saying, according to a Google translation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that the Sarmat missiles would “soon” be ready for combat.

— Karen Gilchrist

BAE Systems’ Ukraine entity could become a target for Russia, Kremlin says

The Kremlin said Friday that it viewed “negatively” moves by British defense company BAE Systems to launch a Ukraine entity, Reuters reported.

Spokesperson Dmytri Peskov added that any facilities used for the production of weapons against Russia would likely become targets for Moscow.

BAE Systems said Thursday that it is establishing a local entity in Ukraine and has penned deals with the local government to ramp up supplies of weapons and equipment.

— Karen Gilchrist

Moscow will not cooperate with the West if it compromises Russia’s security, Lavrov says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives a speech during the opening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) National Peoples’ Diplomacy Centre in Moscow on June 30, 2023.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said that Moscow will not cooperate with the West in areas in which its security depends, according to state media RIA Novosti.

Those sectors include economic, technological, military and political security, Lavrov told students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

“Even if suddenly, by some incomprehensible command from above, the West offers us to return to more or less normal contacts, we will already think whether we should do this, and if so, in what areas,” Lavrov said, according to a Google translation.

“We will not agree to interact with the West, on which our security depends in every sense: military-political security, economic, technological,” he added.

Commenting on sanctions, RIA cited Lavrov as saying that there were obvious difficulties that will worsen, but the foreign minister added that Moscow is making changes that are “yielding positive results.”

— Karen Gilchrist

Three injured in Russian missile strike on Vinnytsia, local governor says

At least three people were injured after Russian forces struck a private enterprise with missiles in Vinnytsia, southwest of Kyiv, according to local Governor Serhiy Borzov.

“Unfortunately, there are victims — three civilians, they are being provided with all necessary assistance,” Borzov wrote on Friday on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

CNBC was not able to independently verify the report.

— Karen Gilchrist

‘No sustainable peace’ in Ukraine while Russian-occupied regions remain, Zelenskyy says

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks as he attends a meeting with Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (not pictured) at Horodetskyi House, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 19, 2023.

Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelenskyy said Friday that there can “no sustainable peace” in Ukraine — or Europe — until the country regains control of Crimea and other regions currently occupied by Russia.

“Without Crimea, without the Donbass and the occupied territories, there can be no sustainable peace in Ukraine, and consequently in Europe,” the European House Ambrosetti business forum in Italy quoted Zelenskyy as telling delegates.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia has created an underwater barrier to deter attacks on the Crimean Bridge: UK

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said Friday that Russia has created an underwater barrier of submerged ships to deter attacks on the strategically important Crimean Bridge.

“Russia is employing a range of passive defenses such as smoke generators and underwater barriers, alongside active defense measures such as air defense systems,” the ministry wrote in its latest intelligence report, shared on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The underwater barrier was comprised of submerged ships and containment booms, according to imagery captured on Aug. 29, the ministry added.

The 12-mile Crimean Bridge spans the Kerch Strait and connects Crimea with mainland Russia.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukrainian drones attack Russian town near major nuclear power plant

A Ukrainian drone attacked a town in western Russia close to one of the country’s biggest nuclear power stations.

According to a Google translation, Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit on Telegram said that a Ukrainian drone had on Friday damaged the exterior of a building in the town of Kurchatov, close to the Kursk nuclear power station.

There was no damage reported to the plant, and no casualties were logged.

— Karen Gilchrist

British defense company BAE sets up in Ukraine

British defense company BAE Systems is establishing a local entity in Ukraine and has penned deals with its government to help ramp up its supply of weapons and equipment.

In a Thursday statement on its website, the U.K. arms maker said that it would work alongside Kyiv’s military to better understand its requirements while also exploring plans to eventually produce 105mm light artillery guns in the country.

“Signing the agreements and establishing a legal entity in Ukraine builds on our existing trust and support and paves the way for us to work together to provide more direct support to the Ukrainian armed forces,” BAE chief executive Charles Woodburn said.

The agreement comes days after Ukraine and Sweden signed a statement of intent covering the production, operation, training, and servicing of the CV90 platform, which is currently manufactured by BAE Systems’ Hägglunds business in Sweden.

— Karen Gilchrist

Moscow stages elections in illegally occupied parts of Ukraine

People cast their votes in elections held by Russia in illegally occupied parts of Ukraine, including Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Regional elections began in Russian-occupied began parts of Ukraine as authorities seek to cement Moscow’s control of what it calls its “new territories,” Reuters reported on Thursday.

The votes were taking place in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson — four Ukrainian regions claimed by Russia since the start of its full-scale invasion. Alongside Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014, they account for almost a fifth of Ukraine.

In all four regions, Russia’s handpicked governors are aiming for full terms of office. Voting is set to conclude on Sept. 10.

Ukrainian officials have said the elections are illegal and indicate that it is impossible to hold peace talks with Moscow while its troops remain in Ukraine.

The exiled Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, dubbed the polling a “sham,” according to Reuters, adding that there were no voter or candidate lists.

— Karen Gilchrist

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