Ukraine and Russia struck by drones; West-led peace talks in the pipeline

MSF partner hospital in Kherson shelled

Médecins Sans Frontières confirmed it has a partnership with a hospital in the port city of Kherson that was shelled on Tuesday.

According to regional officials, the strike killed a doctor and injured five medical workers. CNBC has not independently verified the report.

“Our teams have been working in the hospital supplying medical equipment and providing mental health consultations to people displaced by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam,” the medical charity said in a statement.

The strategically important dam was blown up in June, causing widespread flooding.

“Our logistical teams were also supporting the hospital by refurbishing the emergency bunker for the patients and medical staff — a sad reminder that even hospitals aren’t spared by the ongoing strikes,” MSF said.

“The shells were reportedly fired by Russian forces. This hospital caters largely to stroke victims, patients with cardiac issues, and the provision of general surgical care. Our teams continue to support the hospital … We unequivocally condemn this disgraceful attack on a medical facility and extend our condolences to the family of the doctor who died.”

— Jenni Reid

Ukrainian official says Russia to face ‘more unidentified drones’ and ‘more war’

Security forces inspect at the scene after a skyscraper attacked by a drone for the second time in two days in Moscow, Russia on August 01, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia is “rapidly getting used to a full-fledged war.”

“Everything that will happen in #Russia is an objective historical process. More unidentified drones, more collapse, more civil conflicts, more #war,” Podolyak wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

There have now been several drone strikes on buildings in Moscow, which Russia has blamed on Ukraine. Kyiv has not taken official responsibility for the strikes. None are reported to have caused casualties or major damage.

On Tuesday, a drone reportedly hit a skyscraper in Moscow’s business district which houses three government ministries for a second time, damaging the facade. Russia’s defense ministry called it an “attempted terrorist attack” and said it had downed two other drones.

— Jenni Reid

US to address global food insecurity triggered by Russia’s war during UN Security Council presidency

U.S. Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during a UN Security Council meeting on North Korea at the United Nations headquarters on April 17, 2023 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

The United States will take the helm of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August, a scheduled presidency that is expected to grapple with the fallout of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The landmark U.N.-brokered agricultural initiative between Ukraine and Russia collapsed last month triggering global food insecurity concerns.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed Moscow’s exit from the deal calling it “another blow to the world’s most vulnerable.”

The diplomatic choreography of assuming the role — largely seen as procedural — gives the U.S. the opportunity to set the agenda for debates over the next month.

Thomas-Greenfield will detail U.S. objectives for the next month during a briefing at 2 p.m. ET, though she is expected to focus on the defense of human rights and ways to mitigate food insecurity.

She is also expected to announce a signature high-level debate on Thursday that will be chaired by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine summons Polish ambassador over ‘unacceptable’ comments

Ukraine’s foreign ministry summoned Poland’s ambassador to Kyiv, Marcin Przydacz, on Tuesday over “unacceptable” comments about Kyiv’s ingratitude to its ally during the fight against Russia.

Przydacz’s comments “do not reflect reality and as such are unacceptable,” the ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

Polish Undersecretary of State for Security, the Americas, Asia and Eastern Policy Marcin Przydacz is pictured as he arrives for an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on the conflict in Ukraine on May 14, 2022 in Berlin.

John Macdougall | Afp | Getty Images

Przydacz’s exact comments were not listed.

The post added that politics “should not question the mutual understanding and strength of relations between our peoples” and that no statements could prevent the two countries “jointly fighting for peace and building a common European future.”

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Air alert declared across Ukraine

MIG-31k fighter jet, with Kinzhal missile system, performs during Russia’s Victory Day in Red Square in Moscow, on June 24, 2020.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

An air alert has been declared across the entirety of Ukraine, the country’s air defense said on Telegram on Tuesday, according to a Google translation.

The force observed the take-off of a Russian MiG-31K interceptor aircraft — a potential carrier of the very long-range Kinzhal ballistic missiles, which have a reported range up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles) and flies at 10 times the speed of sound.

The Ukrainian army has previously struggled with a lack of equipment to intercept Kinzhal missiles. Kyiv claimed it took down a first such projectile in May, with the help of a U.S. Patriot missile. It received such assets in April.

Ruxandra Iordache

Expanding BRICS economic group is ‘high on the agenda,’ Kremlin says

Expanding the BRICS economic group, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is “high on the agenda,” Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday morning, according to a Google-translated Telegram post by state news agency Tass.

The comments come as Russia looks to build alliances, having met with African leaders in St. Petersburg Friday.

Ministers of foreign affairs of the five BRICS countries.

Gallo Images | Gallo Images | Getty Images

Delegations from the five member states will meet at the 15th BRICS summit on Aug. 22.

In his briefing, Peskov said “measures are being taken” in response to the “obvious” threat that drones pose to Moscow.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Kyiv said it stopped saboteur force attempting to enter Ukraine

Kyiv’s interior ministry said it has prevented the attempted overnight incursion of a Russian sabotage and intelligence group to cross the border into Ukraine.

The border control post of Chernihiv Oblast in northeastern Ukraine caught sight of four intruders attempting to move from Russian territory into Ukraine, Kyiv’s interior ministry said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

Ukrainian forces deterred them by opening fire.

CNBC could not independently confirm the events.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia says it repelled attack against two of its Black Sea fleet vessels

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it repelled an overnight Ukrainian attack against its Black Sea fleet vessels Sergey Kotov and Vasily Bykov, carried out by three unmanned boats.

The incident took place 340 kilometers southwest of Crimean naval base Sevastopol, the Russian defense ministry said on Telegram, according to a Google translation. Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula belonging to Ukraine in 2014.

The three unmanned ships were destroyed, while the two Russian ships remained in operation and could continue performing their tasks.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

Overnight attacks: Moscow and Kharkiv struck with drones

Moscow and Kharkiv were attacked overnight, according to Russian and Ukrainian authorities.

An office block damaged after a reported drone attack in Moscow on Aug. 1, 2023.

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

An airstrike took place over Moscow, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense, but the three drones were destroyed mid-air, according to a post on Telegram, according to a Google translation. One of the drones reportedly lost control and crashed into a non-residential building.

This photograph taken on July 31, 2023, shows Russian missiles launched from Russia’s Belgorod region flying toward Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.

Vadym Bielikov | Afp | Getty Images

Drones also targeted Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. The drones hit populated areas of the city and one destroyed two floors of a college dormitory, a report by Reuters said. One person was injured in the attack, the report said.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Ukraine and Croatia agree on port usage for grain exports

Farming vehicles harvest wheat during the harvesting season in Kharkiv region, Ukraine on July 26, 2023. 

Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Croatia has offered its Adriatic and Danube ports for Ukrainian grain exports, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, wrote on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.

The talks come after the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17. Russia suspended the U.N.-brokered humanitarian corridor first established in July 2022, which was designed to allow Ukraine, one of the world’s top grain exporters, to continue to supply international markets.

Hvar, Croatia.

Dominik Bindl | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The meeting with Croatia’s foreign minister, Gordan Grlić-Radman, focused on food security, the Peace Formula, mine clearance, military assistance, and Ukraine’s EU and NATO accession, Kuleba said.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russia wants information about talks in Saudi Arabia; Ukraine says Moscow isn’t welcome

Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov speaks by phone during the Second Summit Economic And Humanitarian Forum Russia Africa on July 27, 2023 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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Russia said it needs to learn more about the talks set to happen in Saudi Arabia, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal and not scheduled to include a Kremlin delegation. Ukraine has highlighted that Moscow is not welcome.

The discussions are designed to lead to international backing of a peace agreement, favoring Ukraine’s position, the WSJ reported.

When asked about the talks, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov allegedly told reporters that Russia would follow the meeting, as the country needs to understand what goals are set and what will be discussed.

“Any attempt to promote a peaceful settlement deserves a positive evaluation,” Peskov said, according to a Reuters report.

Peskov did, however, highlight that the Kremlin currently sees no grounds for peace negotiations with Ukraine.

“The Kyiv regime does not want and cannot want peace, as long as it is used exclusively as a tool in the war of the collective West with Russia,” he said, as reported by Reuters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Telegram that Ukraine would be glad to see representatives from “all countries that respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” at the meeting.

“We will be infinitely happy if the West, East, South and North work together in this format to restore the world security system,” he wrote.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

U.S. and Ukraine to discuss security guarantees as early as next week, Zelenskyy’s office says

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and US President Joe Biden take part in a bilateral meeting during the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima on May 21, 2023. 

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. and Ukraine will start negotiations on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees as early as next week, according to President Zelenskyy’s Chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak.

The guarantees would be in place until Ukraine becomes a member of NATO, Yermak wrote in a post on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

Ukraine “must secure reliable guarantees for the transition period” before it joins the alliance of countries from Europe and North America, Yermak wrote.

The guarantees would cover defense and financial support, as well as sanctions on Russia.

Ukraine applied for fast-track NATO membership in September 2022 after Moscow said it had annexed four regions of the country.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russia to continue Ukraine peace talks with China, Brazil and African countries, state media reports

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it would continue to discuss the possibility of a peaceful resolution in Ukraine with China, Brazil, and countries in Africa, Russian state media outlet Ria reported, according to Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Comoros President Azali Assoumani at the Second Summit Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum on July 28, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The statement came after a Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg last week, at which African leaders encouraged President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine.

Comoros President Azali Assoumani, head of the African Union, on Thursday called for a “peaceful co-existence” between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russia expects GDP growth of at least 2%, finance minister says

Russian GDP should expand by at least 2% in 2023, according to the country’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, who was interviewed by state news agency TASS.

“We see that a number of figures look more optimistic than was originally budgeted,” Siluanov said, according to a Google translation.

The federal budget deficit will become clear in the third quarter of the year, Siluanov added, but it is expected to sit between 2% and 2.5% of GDP.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

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