Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

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Ukraine repels Russian cyber attacks on state payment systems, senior lawmaker says

The topic of cyberwar has gotten renewed attention amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

Andrew Brookes | Image Source | Getty Images

Ukraine has been repelling massive Russian cyber attacks on state payment systems for the second week in a row, senior lawmaker Danylo Hetmantsev said on Tuesday.

Hetmantsev, who is heading the parliamentary committee for finances, taxes and customs, said on the Telegram messaging app that Russian hackers tried to destroy systems vital for the Ukrainian budget payments, adding that the attacks were successfully repelled.

He also said that some minor access restrictions for users from abroad were possible.

— Reuters

Ukraine has a deficit of anti-aircraft guided missiles, air force says

Ukraine has a deficit of anti-aircraft guided missiles, Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said on Tuesday.

“Ukraine has spent a considerable reserve on those three attacks that took place,” Ihnat told Ukrainian TV, Reuters reported. “It is clear that there is a deficit of anti-aircraft guided missiles,” he added.

Ukraine has been hit with a series of large-scale Russian attacks around the new year period, with Russia retaliating for several attacks on the border city of Belgorod. One attack on Dec. 30 killed 25 people, including five children. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin vowed revenge for the attacks.

Russia has unleashed a wave of missile and drone strikes across a number of regions in Ukraine over the last week, with at least four civilians killed and 38 injured in attacks on Monday.

The site of a missile strike on a residential apartment building on Jan. 2, 2024, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Ihnat commented on Monday that Russia was using ballistic missiles that Ukraine’s air defense systems were not always able to intercept.

“A large number of ballistic missiles were launched by the enemy. These are both Kinzhals and missiles that hit the target on a ballistic trajectory – Kh-22, six ballistic Iskanders, S-300/S-400. All of these fly on a ballistic trajectory. It is necessary to understand that such targets can be shot down only by means that can do it, in particular, Patriot systems,” Ihnat said, news agency Ukra News reported.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukrainian shelling injures three in Russia’s Belgorod, governor says

Ukrainian shelling of the Russian border city of Belgorod overnight left three people injured, Russian officials said Tuesday.

“Yesterday evening the city of Belgorod was shelled again, people were injured. Currently there are three people in intensive care, all of them have undergone operations,” Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, said on Telegram early Tuesday. The casualties were in a serious but stable condition, he said.

“In the morning we will conduct door-to-door inspections in those neighborhoods that were damaged by flying shrapnel. We will try to document the damage as quickly as possible and begin restoring it,” he added. 

Ukraine has not publicly commented on the incident.

Vehicles destroyed after the Ukrainian Army was shelled in Belgorod, Russia, on Jan. 5, 2024.

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

Belgorod has been attacked by Ukrainian forces a number of times over the new year. A missile and drone attack at the end of December killed 25 civilians, including five children, and led Russia to retaliate with missile attacks on Ukraine’s major cities in the new year.

Gladkov posted last night that air defense systems over the Belgorod region had shot down 10 air targets on their approach to the city. Gladkov said the attack blew out windows in apartment buildings and that shrapnel and fires usually caused by falling missile debris damaged a number of vehicles.

Russia’s Defense Ministry commented on Telegram Monday night that “attempts by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack on targets on the territory of the Russian Federation were stopped. Unmanned aerial vehicles and enemy missiles were destroyed over the territory of the Bryansk and Belgorod regions.”

CNBC was unable to verify the claims.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian operatives wearing ‘SMERSH’ uniform patches in new image, Britain says

Patches of the Soviet-era counter intelligence organisation “SMERSH” were seen on the uniforms of some operatives in an open-source image, the British Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

Russian lawmakers said late in 2023 that the organization was being re-launched, according to the ministry. SMERSH is an abbreviation of the words “death to spies” in Russian and was active from 1941-1946, it added.

“It is unclear whether the new name indicates any substantive new capabilities or role for Russia’s CI-function, or whether it is merely a re-badging. However, it provides another example of how the Russian authorities consciously couch the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the spirit of the Second World War, and their strong focus on the supposed infiltration of external threats into the country,” the update said.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Pictures show the aftermath of recent strikes on Ukraine

EDITORS NOTE: This post contains graphic content and graphic images of death and destruction from a Russian missile strike.

Pictures show destruction in Ukrainian towns after being struck by Russian missile on Sunday and Monday.

Local residents clean up rubble at residential district after Russian missile attack on January 8, 2024 in Zmiiv, Ukraine.

Larisa Govina | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Houses damaged after Russian missile attack on January 7, 2024 in Rivne, Ukraine.

Olexandr Buriak | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Houses damaged after Russian missile attack on January 7, 2024 in Rivne, Ukraine.

Olexandr Buriak | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Rescuers and a policeman carry the body of a victim after Russian strikes in Zmiiv, Kharkiv region, on January 8, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

4 dead, 38 injured in Monday’s strikes

Four people are dead and a further 38 injured in today’s strikes on Ukraine, the country’s National Police force said Monday.

“This morning, the enemy attacked the Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Khmelnytsky regions. As of 12:00 [local time], it is known about four dead. Residential buildings, infrastructure facilities, vehicles were damaged. Police officers work at the sites of hits, provide assistance to people, and document Russia’s war crimes,” the police said on Telegram.

“In the Dnipropetrovsk region, as a result of rocket attacks on the cities of Kryvyi Rih, Novomoskovsk and the village of Nadiya of Kryvyi Rih district, one person died and 28 were injured, including four children. Private houses and civil infrastructure were damaged.”

Rescuers operate on a building following Russian strikes, in Zmiiv, Kharkiv region, on January 8, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At least three people have been killed and dozens injured in a fresh wave of Russian strikes across Ukraine, regional officials said on January 8, 2024. In the eastern region of Kharkiv, an elderly woman who was pulled from the rubble of her house in the city of Zmiiv died, regional governor Oleg Synegubov said. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

Sergey Bobok | Afp | Getty Images

The Russian army also hit the city of Zaporizhzhia with missiles, leaving five people injured. “In addition, two apartment buildings, a car and civil infrastructure were damaged,” the police noted.

“As a result of the Russian attack on the cities of Kharkiv and Zmiiv, one person died, five civilians were injured, two private houses and a regional vocational education center were damaged.”

Two people were killed and an apartment building was damaged in the city of Khmelnytskyi due to Russian rocket fire, the police added.

— Holly Ellyatt

More than 1.3 million signatures collected in favor of Putin’s election self-nomination, official says

Russian President and Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at his election headquarters in Moscow, Russia March 18, 2018.

Sergei Chirkov | POOL | Reuters

More than 1.3 million signatures have currently been collected in support of the self-nomination of presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, a Russian election official told Russian media Monday.

Russian law states that self-nominated (or independent) candidates, as Putin is, need to collect 300,000 signatures from at least 40 Russian regions in order to register as a candidate for elections, with no more than 7,500 signatures to be collected in any one region. Putin passed the signature threshold in late December.

Putin, who has been prime minister or president of Russia since late 1999, announced last month that he would stand for another five-year term in office. He is expected to win the March 15-17 presidential election given the lack of non-systemic opposition parties or politicians in Russia.

“To date, in support of our candidate for the post of President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, we have collected more than 1.3 million signatures,” the co-chair of the presidential election headquarters, Maryana Lysenko, told Russian media Monday, news agency TASS reported.

“You know that the start of collecting signatures [in support of Putin] started on December 23, according to the law it will be carried out until the end of January and it continues now,” Lysenko said.

— Holly Ellyatt

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