Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Biden to meet Ukrainian refugees, give ‘major address’ on Saturday

Air Force One lands at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport as U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to visit Poland, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, near Rzeszow, Poland, March 25, 2022. 

Kacper Pempel | Reuters

President Joe Biden will travel to Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday to meet with Ukrainian refugees and Americans providing humanitarian aid before delivering a “major address,” the White House said.

Biden’s speech “will speak to the stakes of this moment, the urgency of the challenge that lies ahead, what the conflict in Ukraine means for the world, and why it is so important that the free world sustain unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression,” national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One.

“He’ll also talk about the context and history of this conflict, and where he sees it going from here,” Sullivan said.

The president will give the speech Saturday afternoon before boarding his flight back to the U.S., Sullivan said.

Biden will also meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Ukraine’s western border that has quickly become a magnet for Ukrainians fleeing Russian aggression.

Kevin Breuninger

Putin reportedly says the West is seeking to cancel Russia’s cultural icons

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on March 23, 2022.

Mikhail Klimentyev | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the West is trying to cancel some of the nation’s cultural icons, Reuters reported, citing the works of composers such as Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

His reported comments come after a number of music venues have moved to cancel performances of Russian artists in the wake of the Kremlin’s unprovoked war with Ukraine.

For instance, the Chubu Philharmonic Orchestra of Japan and the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra of Wales both recently dropped performances”1812 Overture,” Tchaikovsky’s popular military-themed piece.

— Sam Meredith

Russian stocks fall on second day of trade; Aeroflot, Gazprom lead losses

A man walks past Moscow’s stock market building in downtown Moscow on February 28, 2022.

Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images

Russian stocks closed lower on their second day of trade, with flag carrier Aeroflot and state-owned energy giant Gazprom leading the losses.

The Moscow Exchange closed down 3.7% in another shortened session. Wild moves on Thursday saw the bourse close 4.4% higher.

Prior to reopening in the previous session, Russian stocks had not traded on the benchmark exchange since Feb. 25, the day after the Kremlin launched its unprovoked assault on Ukraine.

Aeroflot tumbled 18.2% on Friday, adding to losses of 16% in the previous session. Gazprom, meanwhile, closed 12.1% lower.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine’s city of Chernihiv reportedly cut-off by Russian armed forces

An external view shows hotel ‘Ukraine’ destroyed during an air strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in central Chernihiv, Ukraine March 12, 2022.

Oleh Holovatenko | Reuters

Ukraine’s northern city of Chernihiv has effectively been cut-off by Russian troops, Reuters reported, citing the regional governor.

“The city has been conditionally, operationally surrounded by the enemy,” Governor Viacheslav Chaus reportedly said in televised remarks.

He added the city was under attack from artillery fire and warplanes.

— Sam Meredith

More than 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, UN says

Refugees from Ukraine walk on the jetty after arriving by ferry at the Romanian-Ukrainian border point Isaccea-Orlivka on March 24, 2022.

Daniel Mihailescu | Afp | Getty Images

The U.N. refugee agency says over 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its unprovoked assault on Feb. 24, the vast majority of whom are women and children.

To date, over 2.2 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring Poland, while around 570,000 have sought safety in Romania and roughly 370,000 have fled to Moldova.

— Sam Meredith

Around 300 people believed to have been killed in bombing of Mariupol theater, officials say

This image made available by Azov Battalion, shows the drama theater, damaged after shelling, in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday March 17, 2022.

Azov Battalion | AP

Mariupol city council has said, citing eyewitness accounts, that about 300 people are thought to have been killed in the bombing of the besieged city’s theater earlier this month.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify this claim.

More than 1,000 people were estimated to have been sheltering in the Mariupol theater when it was leveled in an attack on March 16.

“The Drama Theater in the heart of Mariupol has always been the hallmark of the city,” Mariupol’s city council said via Telegram, according to a translation.

“Now there is no more Drama Theater. In its place, a new point of pain for Mariupol residents appeared, ruins that became the last refuge for hundreds of innocent people.”

— Sam Meredith

Biden heads to Poland to witness refugee crisis

Ukrainian evacuees board a train to Warsaw at the rail station in Przemysl, near the Polish-Ukrainian border, on March 23, 2022.

Angelos Tzortzinis | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday is slated to visit the city of Rzeszów in southeast Poland, approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

Biden is expected to meet with U.S. troops stationed in Poland who have recently been deployed to provide further assistance to NATO’s eastern flank. He is also scheduled to meet aid workers assisting refugees in the country.

More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine to Poland since Russia launched its full-scale attack on Feb. 24.

— Sam Meredith

U.S. vows to deliver at least 15 billion cubic meters more of LNG to Europe this year

The U.S. national flag flies as the liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker Oak Spirit, operated by Teekay Corp., sits docked with Poland’s first import of U.S. LNG at the Gazoport terminal, operated by Polskie LNG SA, in Swinoujscie, Poland, on Thursday, July 25, 2019. More “freedom gas” from U.S. shale basins is earmarked for Europe after the company behind a Louisiana export project expanded a deal with Poland.


The U.S. has said it will work with international partners to provide at least 15 billion cubic meters more of liquified natural gas to Europe this year.

U.S. President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a joint task force to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels as the Kremlin’s war with Ukraine continues.

It comes amid heightened concern that energy-importing countries continue to top up President Vladimir Putin’s war chest with oil and gas revenue on a daily basis.

— Sam Meredith

U.K. sees Ukraine pushing Russian forces back, reclaiming ground

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov visits positions of Ukrainian service members, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine March 25, 2022.

Ukrainian Defence Ministry | Reuters

Ukraine has re-occupied control of towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometers east of the capital Kyiv, according to the U.K.’s Defense Ministry, with Russian troops seen falling back on “overextended supply lines.”

The Defense Ministry said via Twitter that Ukrainian forces are likely to continue to attempt to push Russian forces back along the northwestern axis from Kyiv toward Hostomel Airfield.

Meanwhile, in the south of Ukraine, Russian forces are seeking to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to move west toward the port city of Odesa, the ministry said. Their progress is being slowed by logistical issues and Ukrainian resistance, it added.

— Sam Meredith

China has the power to stop the war in Ukraine, professor says

Russia will have to comply if China wants Moscow to end the war in Ukraine, says Phillips Payson O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews.

If Beijing told Moscow that they want the war to end, Russia would have “no choice but to try and end this war relatively soon,” O’Brien told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.

“China has that much influence,” he said.

However, China doesn’t want to look like it is abandoning one of its important partners, and is playing a very “intricate and delicate game.”

“There’s a strategic interest not to abandon Russia and not have Russia be too humiliated. But there’s an enormous economic interest to have good relations with the West,” he said.

China’s economic interest in Russia is “tiny” compared to the interest in NATO or European Union countries, O’Brien added.

— Abigail Ng

U.S. says NATO will ‘respond’ if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden attends a press conference after the special NATO summit at NATO headquarters. The meeting is to discuss the current situation in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Michael Kappeler | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden has insisted NATO “would respond” if Russian President Vladimir Putin uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, without providing further details of what this might mean.

“We would respond if he uses it,” Biden said at a press conference, referring to Putin. “The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.”

His comments came after a flurry of meeting summits with the European Union, G-7 partners and NATO allies.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says EU sanctions against Russia came ‘a little bit too late’

A view of the Extraordinary Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government held in Brussels, Belgium on March 24, 2022.

NATO | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says European sanctions against Russia over its invasion came “a little bit too late” and pushed for the EU to swiftly bring Europe’s second-largest country into the bloc.

“You implemented sanctions — we are thankful,” Zelenskyy said, according to a translation of a video posted on his official Telegram channel. “These are powerful steps, but it was a little bit too late. Because if it happened preventatively, Russia would not have started a war, or at least — nobody knows for sure — there was a chance.”

Zelenskky said Ukraine needed to be in the EU “soon” and called on lawmakers to make sure Kyiv’s accession to the bloc did not happen too late.

“And now we are preparing the membership of Ukraine in the European Union. Finally. And here I am asking you to not be too late. Please.”

— Sam Meredith

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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Biden visits Poland as region struggles with refugees

Fri Mar 25 , 2022
President Joe Biden is traveling to Poland on Friday for a briefing on the humanitarian disaster sparked by the month-aged war in Ukraine and to fulfill with Ukrainian refugees displaced by the conflict. Additional than 2 million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the start out of Russia’s invasion of their […]
Biden visits Poland as region struggles with refugees

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