Ukraine war live updates: Tucker Carlson reportedly leaves Russia; Zelenskyy says changes

21 Mins Ago

Zelenskyy says changes in the military are needed

Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to X Thursday to say he had asked his Army Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi to stay as part of his leadership team.

He added that both had agreed that changes in the military were needed.

See the full post below translated by NBC News:

I met with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

I thanked him for the two years of defending Ukraine.

We discussed the renewal that the Armed Forces of Ukraine require.

We also discussed who could be part of the renewed leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The time for such a renewal is now.

I proposed to General Zaluzhnyi to remain part of the team.

We will definitely win!

Glory to Ukraine!

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 16th, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

An Hour Ago

US Senate to vote on $95 billion Ukraine, Israel aid bill after failed border deal

The U.S. Senate was due to vote on Thursday on a $95.34 billion bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, after Republicans blocked compromise legislation that also included a long-sought overhaul of immigration policy.

Democrats and Republicans spent hours discussing next steps on Wednesday after the broader effort failed, until Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent lawmakers home with plans to consider on Thursday a revised package that strips out the immigration provisions but leaves the foreign aid intact.

“We will be coming back tomorrow at noon and, hopefully, that will give the Republicans the time they need,” Schumer said on Wednesday. “We will have this vote.”

The security aid bill includes $61 billion for Ukraine as it battles a Russian invasion, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, and deter
aggression by China.

Supporters of Ukraine have been struggling for much of the year to find a way to send more money to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government. While lawmakers have approved more than $110 billion for Ukraine since the invasion began in February 2022, Congress has not passed any major aid
for Kyiv since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January 2023.

It’s unclear whether the new bill would win the support of House Republicans.

— Reuters

3 Hours Ago

Putin and Xi reject U.S. ‘interference’, praise their own ties and trade, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone on Thursday and both rejected what they called U.S. interference in the affairs of other countries, the Kremlin said.

Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov gave details of the call in a briefing to journalists, saying the two leaders had spoken of creating a “multipolar, fairer world order” in the face of U.S.-led efforts to contain both of Washington’s biggest adversaries.

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping posing during a meeting in Beijing on October 18, 2023.

Sergei Guneyev | AFP | Getty Images

Putin and Xi would continue to have “close personal interaction” but there were no plans for reciprocal visits right now, Ushakov said.

China and Russia have grown closer and expanded trade ties in recent years as the United States and its allies imposed sanctions against both countries, particularly Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Putin and Xi met twice last year as China-Russia trade hit $218.2 billion during January-November, according to Chinese customs data, achieving a goal set by the two countries in 2019 a year ahead of schedule.

Russia meanwhile leapfrogged Saudi Arabia to become China’s top crude oil supplier in 2023, Chinese data showed last month.

The two countries would press on with joint energy projects in 2024, Ushakov said. Putin and Xi also discussed the situation in Ukraine and conflict resolution in the Middle East and see eye to eye on those conflicts, he said, without elaborating. Russia supported China’s policy on Taiwan, he said.


3 Hours Ago

‘Overdrive’: Kremlin comments on Tucker Carlson media frenzy

The Kremlin said the media frenzy around U.S. journalist Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week had gone into “overdrive.”

“The very personality of Carlson and his arrival in Russia and interview with Putin is an event that caused a particular reaction not only in America, but also in our country,” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday.

“To be fair, the reaction sometimes … went into an overdrive,” he said, according to an NBC News translation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to his Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov (L) during his meeting with African leaders at the Konstantin Palacein Strelna on June 17, 2023 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. 

Contributor | Getty Images

Peskov acknowledged that Tucker Carlson’s interview with Putin, due to be released Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, was “highly anticipated.” Carlson’s interview is the first to be conducted between a Western journalist and the president since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022. Russian state media tracked Carlson’s movements around Moscow this week amid heightened speculation over his presence.

“Obviously, this is an interview that will be read and analyzed for days to come,” Peskov said, adding that “any interview with the head of state is a very important event, especially an interview with a foreign representative. I don’t think Carlson needs any of our protection. I think that he can stand up for himself,” Peskov noted, appearing to refer to criticism of Carlson among Western media outlets.

Announcing the interview, Carlson claimed that “not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president” — a claim that even the Kremlin rejected, saying it had many requests for interviews — and that Western governments would try to censor his interview. 

Peskov said Russia’s leadership had granted the interview in a bid to get Russia’s perspective on global affairs to a mass audience.

“In addition to the not entirely sane voices in the United States, there are also sane voices there, so we’ll see. It is important for us that as many people as possible across the world become familiar with the worldview and point of view of the head of the Russian state.”

— Holly Ellyatt

4 Hours Ago

Four candidates to run in Russian presidential election

Four candidates are set to stand in Russia’s presidential election next month after the country’s Central Election Commission barred several hopefuls from the vote.

Leonid Slutsky, the leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) will stand in the March 15-17 ballot, as well as Communist Party candidate Nikolai Kharitonov, and New People party candidate and Russian lawmaker Vladislav Davankov. They will be up against incumbent Vladimir Putin who is standing as an independent. Putin has been in power as prime minister or president since late 1999.

He’s widely expected to win another six-year term in power given Russia’s pro-Putin media coverage and the absence of non-systemic political opponents.

Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, addressing a rally at the Manezhnaya Square just outside the Kremlin in Moscow, on March 4, 2012.

Dmitry Astakhov | AFP | Getty Images

The Central Election Commission refused to register war critic Boris Nadezhdin (standing for the Civic Initiative party) and Communists of Russia Party Chairman Sergey Malinkovich while beauty blogger Rada Russkikh and environmental blogger Anatoly Batashev, both campaigning as independents, failed to collect the 300,000 signatures to support their respective bids.

“The grounds for refusal of registration are an insufficient number of reliable signatures and/or the identification of 5% or more of unreliable and invalid signatures of voters collected in support of the candidate’s nomination,” the CEC said on Telegram.

Commenting on the CEC’s decisions, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the commission had “clearly followed the rules established for candidates,” news agency TASS reported.

— Holly Ellyatt

6 Hours Ago

Capturing war-torn Avdiivka the ‘primary focus’ of Russian operations, UK notes

 A snowy field with traces of artillery and recently destroyed Russian heavy equipment on the outskirts of the city on January 25, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine. Both Ukraine and Russia have recently claimed gains in the Avdiivka, where Russia is continuing a long-running campaign to capture the city, located in the Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Region. 

Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The war-ravaged town of Avdiivka in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, remains a primary focus of Russian operations, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an in intelligence update Thursday.

“Russia continues attacks in the south-eastern city limits, with urban street-to-street combat taking place. Over the past two weeks, Russian forces have likely rotated in additional forces to the Avdiivka sector, increasing the pressure on Ukrainian positions around the city,” the ministry said on X.

Ukraine continues to conduct counterattacks to ensure the main supply route remains in use, the U.K. noted.

“Over the past four weeks, approximately 600 guided munitions have been launched against Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka from tactical aircraft,” the U.K. noted.

“Russian sorties increased guided aerial munitions strikes from 30 to 50 per day on 5 February 2024, an increase of 66% over the last two weeks.”

The ministry noted that Russian fighters are being forced to launch munitions at range, degrading their accuracy due to the continued threat of Ukrainian air defense.

“Russia is almost certain to continue offensive pressure in this area over the next several weeks, heavily leveraging tactical air power to support its effort.”

— Holly Ellyatt

6 Hours Ago

War critic Nadezhdin barred from running in election

Russia’s electoral authorities have barred war critic Boris Nadezhdin from running in the presidential election next month, claiming that he had submitted too many “defective” signatures in support of his election bid.

Boris Nadezhdin, Civic Initiative party’s candidate for Russia’s 2024 presidential election, bringing 105,000 signatures to the polling station in Moscow, Russia on January 31, 2024. 

Boris Nadezhdin Press Service/Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images

Politicians who wish to run in Russian elections must submit at least 100,000 signatures (or more, in the case of independent candidates) in support of their candidacy.

Nadezhdin, a former Russian lawmaker and well-known political pundit in Russia, submitted 105,000 signatures last week to the Central Election Commission (CEC), which oversees elections in Russia.

The CEC said Thursday that Nadezhdin was not eligible to run because of the high percentage of defects in the voter signatures he collected in his support, Russian news agency Tass said. The CEC said more than 15% of the signatures were defective.

Nadezhdin’s campaign group had said earlier this week that they would appeal the decision but CEC Chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said “the decision has been made,” Russian state news agency Tass reported.

The decision will come as no surprise to close watchers of Russian politics and Kremlin critics. Political analysts said it was extremely unlikely that an anti-war candidate, who has garnered a following among a metropolitan section of Russian voters, would be allowed to run in the election, with the Kremlin likely fearing a potential swell of support for Nadezhdin that it would have to suppress, as it has done with other political opponents.

Read more on the story here

— Holly Ellyatt

6 Hours Ago

Ukraine says it downed 11 out of 17 Russia-launched drones

Ukrainian air defense and mobile drone hunter groups shot down 11 out of 17 Russia-launched drones over four regions of the country, the air force said on Thursday.

Emergency services stand near the site of a missile attack in a residential area of the city in Kyiv. Russia launched a missile strike on Kyiv, Ukraine, according to the statement from local authorities, more than 20 rockets were shot down. 

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

It said in a statement the Iranian-made Shahed drones were downed over the Odesa and Mykolayiv regions in the south, the Dnipropetrovsk region in the southeast, and the central Vinnytsia region.

Regional officials said the drone attack damaged more than 20 residential houses and commercial buildings in the city of Mykolayiv and hit civilian infrastructure facilities in Odesa on the Black Sea in the south. There were no casualties reported.

Details of damage in other regions were not immediately clear.

— Reuters

8 Hours Ago

Ukraine conspicuously silent on Tucker Carlson interview request

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 16th, 2024.

Adam Galici | CNBC

Ukraine’s leadership has remained conspicuously silent on U.S. journalist Tucker Carlson’s interview request following the journalist’s repeated criticism of Kyiv.

Carlson interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week. The former Fox News host has expressed pro-Kremlin views while disparaging U.S. support for Ukraine, criticizing Western media interviews with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the president himself, calling him “sweaty and rat-like” and a “persecutor of Christians.”

Carlson said he’d also requested an interview with Ukraine’s president, although there has been no public response from Kyiv. Zelenskyy has not commented on the Putin interview either.

Deputy Prime Minister Hanna Maliar noted on Telegram that “the only interview that is safe in this situation is an interrogation in The Hague,” alluding to the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Putin, accusing him of the war crime of the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. Russia said the ICC’s actions were “outrageous” and that it did not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar during a media briefing of the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine in Kyiv on April 13, 2023.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Russian state media tracked Tucker Carlson’s every move while he was in Moscow, and Maliar noted that “the Russian information environment is happy that a famous American journalist will interview Putin.”

“There are such democratic practices that can lead to the destruction of the bearers of democratic values,” Maliar said.

“As soon as they start a discussion about why Putin is doing this; where something human is hidden in him, which will smile and make a witty joke; that freedom of speech must be absolute; that two sides must be listened to the countdown to their…

This article was originally published by a . Read the Original article here. .