Ukraine war live updates: Putin and Erdogan discuss grain deal; Kyiv replaces defense minister


Putin and Erdogan discuss grain deal, tourism, finance and energy

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed grain, tourism, finance and energy during their meeting Monday, according to Reuters.

Putin reportedly reemphasized that Russia is ready to renew the Black Sea grain deal that allowed the transportation of supplies of agricultural products to be exported from Ukraine, but only once certain conditions are met. The Russian president repeated criticism of the West not adhering to its side of the deal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) during their meeting on September 4, 2023 in Sochi, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The two leaders also discussed how to transport grain to low-income countries, Erdogan said, according to Reuters. It comes as Russia has made efforts to befriend countries not considered direct allies to Ukraine and the West.

Putin and Erdogan met in Sochi, Russia, and Putin described the talks as “constructive and business-like,” according to a Reuters translation.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

German lawmaker claims Scholz is blocking Taurus missiles for Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is blocking the delivery of long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine, according to a prominent German lawmaker.

Ukraine has been requesting the Swedish/German-made cruise missiles that have a range of up to 500 kilometers, or 311 miles, for months. However, no decision has been made in Berlin about whether to authorize their supply to Kyiv.

On Monday, the head of the Bundestag Defense Committee and German Free Democratic Party (a member of the governing coalition) Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann blamed Scholz for the delay.

A Taurus long-range air-to-surface missile.

Afp Contributor | Afp | Getty Images

Writing on X, previously known as Twitter, she said Scholz is blocking this decision within the coalition.

“What is the @Bundeskanzler [German Chancellor] waiting for in God’s name? He alone blocks this decision within the coalition. That’s irresponsible,” she wrote, without presenting evidence for her claim.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak is among the Ukrainian officials urging Kyiv’s allies to provide it with more long-range missiles. He has criticized slow-decision making among allies, telling the Bild newspaper that Berlin needed to make “decisions faster and more decisively.”

Ukraine has sought to reassure its partners that such missiles would not be used to strike Russian territory itself but Russian resources being used against it in the war. Germany was criticized previously for its slow decision-making on giving Ukraine Leopard tanks.

CNBC has requested a comment from the German Chancellery and is awaiting a response.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine limits cargo shipments to Danube port after Russian strikes

Ukrainian railways have partially restricted cargo shipments to Ukraine’s major Danube River port Izmail, which has been the target of Russian drone attacks in recent weeks, the railways said on Monday.

The restrictions began on Sunday, the railways said in a statement. Russia has attacked Ukrainian ports on the Danube River with drones two nights in a row.

The latest attack on the Danube River port of Izmail, in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, hit warehouses and production buildings, and debris from drones that were shot down set ablaze several civilian infrastructure buildings, the regional authorities said.

Ukraine said some Russian drones detonated on the opposite bank in Romanian territory. Romania denied this.

The Danube has become Ukraine’s main route for exporting grain since July, when Russia quit a U.N.- and Turkey-brokered deal that had given safe passage to Kyiv’s exports of grains, oilseeds and vegetables oils via the Black Sea.

— Reuters

Putin and Erdogan meet in Sochi for grain deal talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Sochi, Russia on September 04, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting his Turkish counterpart in Sochi Monday with a potential new grain export deal on the agenda.

Ahead of the talks, Putin said Russia’s relations with Turkey were strong and set to diversify, adding that he hoped there would be progress on creating a gas hub in Turkey.

Putin added that security issues would be high on today’s agenda, such as ongoing unrest in Syria, as well as the grain deal.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the grain deal is the focus of talks, adding that Turkey was optimistic a new grain deal could be reached: “I hope we will be able to send a message to the world and Africa today,” he said, according to comments reported by NBC.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine continues to liberate territory near Bakhmut, official says

Ukraine has liberated around 47 square kilometers, or 18 square miles, of territory near Bakhmut in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, according to the country’s deputy defense minister.

Three square kilometers of territory was liberated in the last week alone, Hanna Maliar said on Telegram Monday.

“In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy conducts defensive actions to restrain the advance of our troops and attempts to regain lost positions in the districts of Klishchiivka, Kurdiumivka, and Ozarianivka of Donetsk region, but without success,” she said.

“We have achieved certain success in Klishchiivka area. In total, 47 square kilometers have been liberated near Bakhmut. Over the past week, the liberated area has increased by three square km.”

Ukrainian soldiers are seen near a BM-21 after loading grad shells to it, as Ukrainian Army conduct operation to target trenches of Russian forces through the Donetsk Oblast amid Russia and Ukraine war, in the direction of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on August 07, 2023.

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

In the Kupiansk part of the northeastern Kharkiv region, Ukrainian defense forces had repelled several Russian attacks in the past day, preventing their forces from advancing, she said, although the number of Russian attacks remains high.

In the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson areas of the front line, Maliar said Russian forces continue to shell Ukrainian positions. She said Ukrainian units continued their offensive operations in the Melitopol direction, however.

Russian forces in the south are “suffering significant losses in personnel, weapons and equipment,” Maliar claimed, and were “moving units and troops, and using reserves.” CNBC was unable to immediately verify the comments.

Ukrainian officials have claimed to have seen successes along a part of the southern front line in recent days, with one general saying his forces had broken through the Russians’ first line of defenses.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says Russian drones hit Romanian soil, Bucharest denies report

Sea secerity motorboat is seen at Izmail river port on Danube river, in Odesa region, Ukraine, July 21, 2022.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukraine said on Monday Russian drones fell and detonated on the territory of NATO member Romania during an overnight attack on Ukrainian port infrastructure on the Danube River, but Bucharest categorically denied the report.

Reuters could not independently verify either account of what could represent a dramatic turn in Russia’s 18-month-old war in Ukraine. Moscow has regularly conducted long-range air strikes on targets in Ukraine, which borders Romania.

“According to Ukraine’s state border guard service, last night, during a massive Russian attack near the port of Izmail, Russian ‘Shakheds’ fell and detonated on the territory of Romania,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

“This is yet another confirmation that Russia’s missile terror poses a huge threat not only to Ukraine’s security, but also to the security of neighbouring countries, including NATO member states,” he said.

The Romanian Defence Ministry issued a statement in which it said it “categorically” denied the Ukrainian assertion.

NATO has a collective defence commitment under which the military alliance considers an attack on one ally to be an attack on all allies.

Nikolenko published a photo showing the flames of an explosion on the opposite bank of the Danube river, the dividing line between Ukraine’s Odesa region and Romanian territory.

A Ukrainian industry source told Reuters that two Russian drones had fallen on the Romanian side.

The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff said the incident showed the need to increase supplies of modern air defence and long-range weapons to deprive Russia of the ability to launch drones and missiles as Ukraine.

— Reuters

Putin set to meet Erdogan with possible new grain deal on the agenda

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on Aug. 5, 2022.

Turkish Presidential Press Office | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, amid hopes that Ankara can persuade Moscow to revive an important grain export deal with Ukraine.

Russia left the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July, saying its own grain and fertilizer exports were facing unfair export restrictions. The deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, enabled millions of tons of vital foodstuffs to leave via three Ukrainian ports.

The Russian and Turkish presidents will meet in the Russian coastal resort of Sochi, where they will discuss possible new terms to a fresh agreement. There have been reports that Russian grain exports could be exported via Turkey with financial assistance from Qatar.

UN policymakers are keen to see a revival of the deal, given that it helped to alleviate global food shortages last year. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, and the war has greatly disrupted the sowing, harvesting and export of crops.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia looking to recruit fighters from neighboring countries, UK says

Russia has been looking to recruit the citizens of neighbouring countries to fight in Ukraine, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence said Sunday.

“Russia likely wishes to avoid further unpopular domestic mobilisation measures in the run up to the 2024 Presidential elections. Exploiting foreign nationals allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties,” the ministry said on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.

A man walks past a recruitment poster for the army, reading: “Our profession is to defend the Fatheland,” June 20, 2023 in Moscow, Russia.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Online adverts have been observed in Armenia and Kazakhstan offering 495,000 roubles ($5,140) in initial payments and salaries from 190,000 roubles (or $1,973), the ministry added.

There have been recruitment efforts in Kazakhstan’s northern Qostanai region, appealing to the ethnic Russian population. Since at least May 2023, Russia “has approached central Asian migrants to fight in Ukraine with promises of fast-track citizenship and salaries of up to $4,160.”

“Uzbek migrant builders in Mariupol have reportedly had their passports confiscated upon arrival and been coerced to join the Russian military. There are at least six million migrants from Central Asia in Russia, which the Kremlin likely sees as potential recruits,” the ministry said.

CNBC has requested a comment from the Russian defense ministry on the U.K.’s defense intelligence analysis and is awaiting a response.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s forces break through the line of Russian defenses, officials say

Ukraine appears to be making headway in its counteroffensive in southern Ukraine with reports emerging that the country’s forces have broken through a first line of Russian defenses in the Zaporizhzhia region.

A commander of southern forces in Ukraine, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, told the British Observer newspaper in an interview published on Saturday that his forces were “now between the first and second defensive lines” of heavy and layered Russian fortifications in the south.

“In the centre of the offensive, we are now completing the destruction of enemy units that provide cover for the retreat of Russian troops behind their second defensive line,” he told the paper.

A Ukrainian serviceman walks near a destroyed Ukrainian tank, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near the village of Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine on Aug. 25, 2023.

Viacheslav Ratynskyi | Reuters

The general said he expected faster Ukrainian gains, as his forces face a weaker second line of defense, and added that Russia is already deploying its reserves to the area.

“The enemy is pulling up reserves, not only from Ukraine but also from Russia. But sooner or later, the Russians will run out of all the best soldiers. This will give us an impetus to attack more and faster,” Tarnavskiy reportedly said.

Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Andriy Yermak said on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that he had on Saturday informed U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “about the situation on the battlefield, the successful advance of defense forces in certain areas of the front.”

Kyiv’s main aim is for its troops to break Russia’s so-called “land bridge” across occupied southern Ukraine to Crimea, and Ukrainian forces are aiming to advance southwards towards the port cities of Melitopol and Berdiansk. Tarnavskiy would not comment on any expected timeline to reach the coast.

CNBC has asked Ukraine’s defense ministry for further comment.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine dismisses Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov

Ukraine’s former Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov.

Sebastian Gollnow | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s defense minister was dismissed over the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Sunday, saying that the defense ministry needs “needs new approaches.”

“I have decided to replace the Minister of Defense of Ukraine. Oleksiy Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war. I believe that the Ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address of Sunday.

Rustem Umerov, who previously led Ukraine’s State Property Fund, was named as the new defense minister.

Ukraine’s new Defense Minister Rustem Umerov.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Zelenskyy said that he expected the Ukrainian parliament to approve the move, adding that “autumn is a time for strengthening.”

Reznikov’s departure is not entirely unexpected and follows rumors that the defense ministry’s leadership could be overhauled from months ago. Reznikov’s deputy resigned after a scandal over the procurement of food for the military, although there is no suggestion that Reznikov was involved in the controversy.

Ukrainian media has reported that Reznikov could now become Ukraine’s new ambassador to the U.K., but this has not been confirmed.

— Holly Ellyatt





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