Ukraine war updates: Macron says Kyiv should be allowed to use Western weapons on Russian military sites; Blinken travels to Moldova

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Sweden announces $1.25 billion in military aid for Ukraine

Sweden on Wednesday announced a fresh 13.3 billion kronor ($1.25 billion) military aid package for Ukraine — Stockholm’s 16th and largest support measure since the start of the war.

The package includes Airborne Surveillance and Control aircraft (ASC 890), artillery ammunition and Stockholm’s entire stock of armoured tracked personnel carriers (PBV 302), the government said in a statement.

“Ukraine’s needs remain immense and Russia is currently putting pressure on several fronts, intensifying its air strikes against both military and civilian objects. The Government will therefore provide Ukraine with another record military support package. Sweden’s support will contribute to strengthening Ukraine’s joint military capability,” it added.

Sweden says it has provided 43.5 billion kronor ($4.1 billion) worth of support to Ukraine since the onset of the war.

— Karen Gilchrist

Police search European Parliament over possible Russian interference

Police in Brussels carried out searches at the home and office of a European Parliament employee over suspected Russian interference, Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement Wednesday.

A search was also carried out at the suspect’s office in Strasbourg, where the EU Parliament’s French headquarters are located, a statement said.

“These searches are part of a case of interference, passive corruption and membership in a criminal organization, and concern indications of Russian interference, according to which members of the European Parliament were allegedly approached and paid to promoting Russian propaganda via the Voice of Europe ‘news website’,” it said.

“There is evidence that the European Parliament employee in question played an important role in this affair,” it added.

— Karen Gilchrist

Blinken travels to Eastern Europe

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference, at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 4, 2024. 

Johanna Geron | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday headed to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, the first stop of a short European tour intended to bolster support for Ukraine.

Blinken will meet with Moldova’s pro-European President Maia Sandu as U.S. officials say her country, which shares a long border with Ukraine, faces Russian “influence operations.”

The top U.S. diplomat will later travel to Prague to join a gathering of NATO foreign ministers, ahead of the alliance’s leaders’ summit in July.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia says it destroyed 2 Ukrainian sea drones in the Black Sea

Russia’s naval forces destroyed two Ukrainian sea drones in the northwest of the Black Sea, as they headed for the Crimean Peninsula, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a Google-translated Telegram post.

Russia uses the Sevastopol naval base in the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, for its Black Sea fleet.

Ukrainian military has previously reported instances of its sea drones striking and sinking Black Sea Fleet ships off the Crimean Peninsula.

CNBC could not independently confirm the developments.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia reportedly says proposed EU ban on LNG imports would hurt implementers more

Russia could handle a European Union ban on imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), the RIA news agency cited a foreign ministry official as saying Wednesday.

Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the economic cooperation department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said the proposed ban would hurt its implementers more, resulting in higher prices for European consumers and EU companies.

“The ban on imports and transit is currently being discussed within the framework of the EU structures, will lead to another round of rising prices for raw materials, including for European consumers, financial costs for European companies, will create new risks to international energy security, and will negatively affect the functioning of transport and logistics corridors,” he said.

“Once again, the imposed restrictions will hit directly to their initiators,” he continued, adding that Russia had already redirected supplies to new markets such as China and India.

The EU is contemplating a ban on Russian LNG transshipments as part of a 14th sanctions package.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine says it shot down 13 drones overnight

The Ukrainian air force said it shot down 13 out of 14 drones launched overnight by Russia, according to a Google-translated Wednesday update on the Telegram messaging app.

The attack took place over the Mykolaiv, Kirovohrad and Rivne regions and involved Iranian-make Shahed drones, the Ukrainian air force added.

Falling debris in the Rivne area led to a blackout enveloping some settlements as a result of the attack, regional Governor Oleksandr Koval said in a separate Google-translated Telegram post.

He added that no injuries took place and local power supply has been restored.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

France’s Macron says Kyiv should be allowed to use allies’ weapons against Russian military sites

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron address the media during a press conference at Schloss Meseberg on May 28, 2024 in Gransee, Germany. 

Michele Tantussi | Getty Images News | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said late Tuesday that Kyiv should be allowed to use Western arms against Russian military sites used to target Ukraine.

“How can we explain to Ukraine that they need to protect their cities . . . but that they don’t have the right to attack where the missiles are coming from? It’s as if we were telling them we’re giving you arms but you cannot use them to defend yourself,” Macron said late Tuesday during a press conference in Meseberg, Germany.

Macron was joined by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who agreed that Ukraine should be allowed to defend its territory as long as it respected the conditions of the weapons suppliers. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of serious consequences if Russia is struck with Western weapons.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin says West provoked Russia’s offensive on Kharkiv and that Ukraine has refused peace talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the West provoked the country’s offensive on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

Putin said the West ignored warnings from Russia to stop Ukraine from striking the border region of Belgorod, according to Reuters. Such strikes that use weapons provided by Western countries require support from Western specialists, he added, saying that this could have serious consequences.

Putin said that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that had brought previous peace negotiations to an end without a solution being reached, Reuters reported. Russia was ready to return to talks, while Ukraine has withdrawn from them, he said.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC.

A peace summit is set to take place in June in Switzerland, which will be attended by Ukraine and a series of its allies. Russia has repeatedly said that it would not attend such a meeting.

Putin was speaking in Uzbekistan at the end of a multi-day state visit. Putin has met with Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to discuss relations between the two countries. Russian state media agency Ria Novosti reported earlier that Putin and Mirziyoyev also talked about the war in Ukraine.

— Sophie Kiderlin

U.S. may implement further sanctions, export controls on Russia, White House says

The U.S. and its allies may use further sanctions and export controls to halt trade between Russia and China as the war in Ukraine continues, a White House official said Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Countries may take measures to increase the costs of Russia using a so-called “shadow fleet” to circumvent the G7 oil price cap, said Daleep Singh, White House deputy national security adviser for international economics.

The “shadow fleet” is made up of oil tankers that often have opaque ownership structures, frequently change their national flag registration and have very limited insurance. They aim to transport Russian oil in a way that circumvents restrictions, like the oil price cap, imposed on Russian oil by other countries.

Singh said sanctions language around financial retaliation could be expanded as Russia is moving toward putting its economy on a war footing.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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