Ukraine war live updates: Zelenskyy meets U.S. lawmakers in Washington; Kyiv dealt a serious blow by Poland


Zelenskyy meets with U.S. lawmakers in Washington

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is escorted by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as he departs after a meeting with all members of the Senate on a visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 21, 2023. 

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.S. lawmakers at the Capitol building during a visit to Washington, where he stressed his country’s need for more military support, in particular air defense.

“Today there are important negotiations in Washington. Air defense for Ukraine is among the top issues,” he wrote in a Telegram post, according to a Google translation. “More air defense, more support for Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines.”

Zelenskyy met with leaders of the House of Representatives and House national security committees, and addressed the full U.S. Senate in a private session.

The Ukrainian leader is also set to visit the Pentagon, meet with President Joe Biden, and give an address at the National Archives museum.

— Natasha Turak

Russia says ‘military industry facilities’ hit in multiple Ukraine strikes

A Policeman stands in front of burnt cars at an industrial area after missile attack on September 21, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Oleksii Chumachenko | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia’s defense ministry said it targeted “military industry facilities” in its overnight attacks across Ukraine last night.

“The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out a multiple strike with high-precision long-range air-launched weapons and attack unmanned aerial vehicles on military industry facilities, as well as radio intelligence and training centers of sabotage groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the ministry said on Telegram. It did not provide evidence for its claims.

“The goals of the strike were achieved. All objects were hit,” the ministry said.

Russia launched attacks on Kyiv and a number of Ukrainian cities on Wednesday night with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying “infrastructure” had been targeted. At least three people reportedly died in the attacks and others were injured, including children.

— Holly Ellyatt

Air defense for Ukraine top of my agenda, Zelenskyy says ahead of Biden meeting

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens to U.S. President Joe Biden address the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, September 19, 2023.

Caitlin Ochs | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said air defense for Ukraine is at the top of his agenda when he meets President Joe Biden in Washington Thursday.

“Today, we will have important negotiations in Washington. Air defense for Ukraine is among the top issues,” he said on Telegram. Cities across Ukraine were the target of a massive missile attack on Wednesday night in which at least three people were killed and a number of civilians injured.

“Most of the missiles were shot down. But only the majority. Not all,” Zelenskyy, who has been in New York this week attending the U.N.’s General Assembly, said.

“Thanks also to every country that has already provided Ukraine with anti-missile systems. We are working to completely rid Russia of its terrorist potential. We have to come to this result. More air defense. More sanctions. More support for Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines,” he said, adding that “Russian terror must lose.”

Russia denies that it targets civilian infrastructure despite numerous instances of civilian buildings being attacked during the war. Ukraine has accused Russia of numerous war crimes.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine targeted Russian military airfield in Crimea

Ukraine’s military confirmed that it targeted Russia’s Saky military air base in occupied Crimea on Wednesday night.

The Strategic Communications Directorate of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Telegram Thursday that “on the night of September 21, the defense forces of Ukraine struck the military airfield of the occupiers near the city of Saky in temporarily occupied Crimea.”

Earlier Thursday, a source at Ukraine’s security service gave NBC more detail about the attack, saying the Security Service of Ukraine and navy launched a strike at the Saky military airfield in Crimea, inflicting “serious damage.”

The source, who asked for anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly about operations, said there were 12 combat aircraft (Su-24 and Su-30 fighter aircraft) at the airfield, a Pantsir missile system and a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) operator training base.

Russia’s Saki military airbase in Crimea in 2021. In 2022, the airbase was attacked, damaging a number of planes.

Maxar | Maxar | Getty Images

“Strikes hit the targets and caused serious damage to the occupiers’ equipment. Drones were used to defeat the enemy, which overloaded the Russian air defense system, and then they [Ukraine] launched Neptune missiles,” the source said.

“The occupiers cannot feel safe on the occupied peninsula,” the source said, implying more attacks would come in future.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday that Kyiv had attempted to attack “objects” on Russian territory with drones but said it had thwarted the attack. It did not mention the Saky (or Saki, as Russia spells it) airbase by name.

“On the night of September 20-21, an attempt by the Kiev regime to carry out a terrorist attack with aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles on objects on the territory of the Russian Federation was stopped. Air defense systems over the Black Sea and the territory of the Republic of Crimea destroyed 19 Ukrainian UAVs.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Pressure mounts on conscripts a year since Putin’s ‘partial mobilization’

Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization being dispatched to combat coordination areas after a military call-up for the Russia-Ukraine war in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 10, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A year ago today, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of around 300,000 Russian reservists in Ukraine. The move sent shock waves through the country as Putin established Russian society on a firm war footing, and thousands of men tried to flee the country to escape the draft.

In the last week, the chair of the Russian State Duma Defence Committee reiterated that mobilized personnel were obliged to serve for the duration of what Russia still calls a “special military operation.”

Britain’s Defense Ministry noted Thursday that former general Andrei Kartapolov also made a made a new admission that shed light on “the stark situation at the front” when he said that it was not possible for personnel to be rotated out of the operational zone during their service.

“The absence of regular unit rotations out of combat duty is highly likely one of the most important factors contributing to low Russian morale, and the Russian Army’s failure to conduct higher-level training since the invasion,” the ministry said in an intelligence update on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The lack of such training is highly likely contributing to Russia’s difficulties in conducting successful complex offensive operations.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia says it thwarted Ukrainian ‘terrorist attack’

Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed Thursday that its forces repelled a drone attack by Ukraine against Russian-occupied Crimea, and several regions in Russia itself.

“On the night of September 20-21, an attempt by the Kiev regime to carry out a terrorist attack using aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles on targets on the territory of the Russian Federation was thwarted,” the ministry said on Telegram in a post translated by NBC.

“Air defense systems destroyed 19 Ukrainian UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] over the Black Sea and the territory of the Republic of Crimea, one each over the territories of the Kursk, Belgorod and Oryol regions,” No further details were provided and CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

Belgorod, Oryol and Kursk are among a number of northwestern, central and southwestern Russian regions that have been targeted increasingly in recent months.

A building damaged by strikes in the town of Shebekino in Belgorod province, near the Ukrainian border, on July 2, 2023.

– | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine remains typically tight-lipped about attacks against Russian territory and NATO members have asked Ukraine not to use NATO-supplied weaponry against Russia itself, fearing this would be seen as a direct attack by NATO against Russia. It is therefore believed that Kyiv uses mainly Ukrainian-made drones in any attacks against Russia. It announced in summer it is ramping up the production of domestic-made UAVs.

Russia unleashed a wave of missile attacks across Ukraine overnight, with Kyiv and five other cities among the targets. The strikes damaged buildings and killed and wounded a number of civilians.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says it destroyed 36 cruise missiles following nighttime attack

Rescuers in the Darnytskyi district of Kyiv on Sept. 21, 2023.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine’s Air Force said it destroyed 36 air-based cruise missiles after a large-scale Russian attack last night.

“Around 3:40 a.m., the Russian invaders attacked Ukraine with Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 air-launched cruise missiles,” the air force said on Telegram, noting that 43 cruise missiles were launched from 10 TU-95MS Russian strategic bomber aircraft.

“Missiles were launched in several waves. They entered the airspace of Ukraine from different directions, constantly changing their course along the route,” the force said in comments translated by NBC.

The air force said it and Ukraine’s defense forces destroyed 36 cruise missiles, adding that “anti-aircraft missile forces, fighter aircraft, the Air Force, units of mobile fire groups of the Defence Forces of Ukraine and other means were used to repel the strike.”

It noted that Kharkiv was attacked with S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia unleashes wave of attacks across Ukraine

A Policeman stands in front of burnt cars at an industrial area after missile attack on September 21, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Oleksii Chumachenko | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia unleashed a wave of missile attacks across Ukraine overnight, with Kyiv and five other cities among the targets. The strikes set buildings ablaze and killed and wounded civilians.

Air alerts sounded across the country as Russia launched a barrage of missile attacks on the capital, where seven people including a nine year-old girl were injured, as well as Kherson, where three civilians were killed and others injured.

A view of a destroyed car after a Russian missile attack, as the Russia-Ukraine war continues in the in Kyiv, Ukraine on September 21, 2023. At least 7 people were injured, including 1 child. 

Oleksii Chumachenko | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko posted on Telegram that “Kyiv survived another night attack by Russian barbarians,” saying that buildings had been damaged and that there were power outages in some parts of the city.

Kharkiv, Lviv, Rivne and Cherkasy in central Ukraine were also among the cities targeted, regional Ukrainian officials reported on Telegram, posting images of emergency services trying to rescue people from the rubble of damaged or destroyed buildings in some cities.

Rescuers in the Darnytskyi district of Kyiv on Sept. 21, 2023.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The attack came hours after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a speech to the U.N.’s Security Council on Wednesday, calling for Russia to lose its veto power within the council. He also presented a Ukrainian peace plan at the summit. He’s due to travel to Washington on Thursday to hold private meetings with President Joe Biden.

— Holly Ellyatt

Poland deals Ukraine a blow, saying it will no longer supply weapons

This picture taken on September 20, 2023 shows trains with Ukrainian grain stored in wagons covered with white tarpaulin on the second and third tracks in Dorohusk station at the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Damien Simonart | AFP | Getty Images

Poland said Wednesday that it will no longer supply its neighbor Ukraine with weapons, amid an ongoing and deepening rift over agricultural exports.

“We no longer transfer weapons to [Ukraine], because we are now arming Poland,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Wednesday on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter, according to a Google translation.

“Ukraine is defending itself against the brutal Russian attack and I understand this situation, but as I said, we will protect our country,” he added.

Warsaw has been one of Kyiv’s staunchest allies since mutual foe Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 but the latest comments followed a dramatic deterioration of relations between Kyiv and Warsaw this week.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 15, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

A recent dispute over Ukraine’s agricultural exports — which have had to be transferred via eastern European countries while Russia has effectively blockaded grain ships leaving the country’s ports — has threatened to break the alliance.

Ukraine this week threatened to sue Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia over their refusal to lift a ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insinuated that some European countries had feigned support for Ukraine, prompting anger in Warsaw.

Read more on the story here: One of Ukraine’s strongest allies says it will no longer supply Kyiv with weapons

Zelenskyy calls for Russia to lose its UN veto power

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 19, 2023. 

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy on Wednesday called for Russia to lose its veto power within the U.N. Security Council.

In an address in New York, Zelenskyy said the move was a necessary step in bringing an end to the fighting in his country.

“It is impossible to stop the war because all efforts are vetoed by the aggressor,” he said, adding that reforms of the council were long overdue.

“I know that the U.N. is capable of more. I’m confident that the U.N. Charter can actually work for the sake of peace and security globally. However, for this to happen, the years-long discussions and projects on U.N. reform must be translated into a viable process of UN reform,” he said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Poland summons Ukraine ambassador over grain import dispute

Poland summoned the Ukrainian ambassador in the country Wednesday, as it hit back at President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s comments regarding its restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural imports.

“[Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski] conveyed the Polish side’s strong protest against the statements made by President V. Zelenskiy at the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, alleging that some EU countries feigned solidarity while indirectly supporting Russia,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said Ukraine had offered a “constructive path to resolve the grain issue.”

Ukraine has heavily criticized Poland, Hungary and Slovakia for last week introducing bans on the domestic import of various Ukrainian agricultural products following the expiration of EU-led limitations on imports covering the three countries, as well as Romania and Bulgaria.

Products may transit the countries but not be sold there.

Land export routes have become crucial for Ukraine following the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, but farmers argue imports will overwhelm supply and cause a depression in prices if not restricted.

The EU had urged countries not to introduce divergent policies on the matter, as Ukraine agreed to introduce measures to prevent a supply glut, but national leaders argued this was insufficient.

Ukraine has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the issue, thought to target Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

Polish and Ukrainian officials have in turn suggested they may introduce further retaliatory trade curbs as the dispute has escalated.

Romania on Wednesday announced it would work with Ukraine on a plan to control exports.

US plans big Ukraine aid announcement to coincide with Zelenskyy visit – official

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to announce a significant military aid package for Ukraine on Thursday to coincide with a visit to Washington by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a U.S. official said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

— Reuters

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:





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