Ukraine war live updates: Moscow slams U.S. supply of depleted uranium weapons to Kyiv; drones target more Russian cities

Russia shot down several drones over the city of Rostov-on-Don in southwest Russia, and near the border with Ukraine, introducing a state of emergency at the site as residents were evacuated and damage assessed.

Moscow and Bryansk were also targeted in separate attacks.

The governor of the Rostov region, Vasily Golubev, said on Telegram Thursday that air defense systems had been activated in the early hours and that “two drones were shot down.” 

“One fell outside the city, in the western part of Rostov, the second — in the center, near Pushkinskaya Street. As a result, several cars were damaged. One person was injured,” Golubev said, adding later that three buildings were also damaged. 

Wagner mercenary fighters patrolled the center of Rostov-on-Don — a hub for Russia’s Ukraine campaign — after taking over key facilities on June 24, 2023 as part of an armed rebellion.

Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

“Updated information about the consequences in the center of Rostov: the facades of three buildings were damaged and windows were broken, several cars were damaged. Only one person sought medical help, with cut wounds to his legs, he refused hospitalization,” the officials said.

Ukraine has not commented on the incident although there has been a notable increase recently in drone attacks against Russian territory. Rostov-on-Don gained notoriety as Wagner Group mercenary fighters “occupied” the city during their apparent rebellion against the Russian state.

Moscow’s Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said on his Telegram account Thursday that air defense forces had stopped an attempted drone attack on the Ramensky district of Moscow. There were no reports of damage or casualties, he said.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Bryansk Alexander Bogomaz reported three separate drone attacks over the region and near the city of Bryansk, one assault caused minor damage to a railway station, station square and several cars.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian officials slammed the U.S.’ decision to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium weapons, with one describing the move as a “criminal act.”

The Pentagon announced $175 million in additional security assistance for Kyiv on Wednesday that included depleted uranium ammunition for U.S.-made Abrams tanks that are soon to be delivered to Ukraine.

American soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division supporting the 4th Infantry Division, are seen during a high-intensity training session utilizing Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Nowa DÄba training ground in Nowa Deba, Poland on April 12, 2023.

Artur Widak | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Depleted uranium munitions are used by a number of countries, including the U.S. and U.K. — as well as Russia — as it’s known for its high density and ability to penetrate heavy armored vehicles, making it highly effective against tanks. Military experts agree that Russia possesses and uses depleted uranium ammunition.

Its use is not without controversy with critics saying it could be linked to serious health problems among anyone exposed to the material.

“This is not just an escalatory step, but it is a reflection of Washington’s outrageous disregard for the environmental consequences of using this kind of ammunition in a combat zone. This is, in fact, a criminal act, I cannot give any other assessment,” Sergei Ryabkov said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

Ryabkov also said the West was increasing its pressure on Moscow and that carried risks, stating:

“Now this pressure is dangerously balancing on the brink of direct armed conflict between nuclear powers,” he said.

The Russian embassy to the U.S. also slammed Washington’s decision to supply depleted uranium rounds to Ukraine, saying it was a “clear sign of inhumanity.”

It said Washington is “obsessed with the idea of inflicting a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia, is ready to fight not only to the last Ukrainian but to put a cross on the future generations,” the embassy wrote on its Telegram channel.

— Holly Ellyatt

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters as he formally announces his intention to seek the Republican nomination for president on June 07, 2023 in Ankeny, Iowa. 

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” when asked by reporters following a town hall in Henniker, New Hampshire.

“The reality is that the Russian military is engaged in thousands of war crimes against citizens and Vladimir Putin’s decision to send his brutal military across the border is just the latest instance of his effort to attempt to redraw international lines by force,” Pence said.

The Republican presidential hopeful also slammed American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy who dodged the same question about Putin during a campaign earlier in the week.

“I don’t understand what facts Vivek is waiting to learn about Vladimir Putin or about Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion in Ukraine,” Pence added.

Pence was the first Republican presidential candidate to travel to Ukraine after Russia invaded.

The June trip was only 12 hours, but included a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a visit to pay respects at mass grave sites discovered after Russian soldiers retreated from Ukrainian cities.

— Amanda Macias

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduces members of his delegation to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before a meeting at Bankova in Kyiv, Ukraine on September 6, 2023.

Brendan Smialowski | Pool | via Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Kyiv as the U.S. announced a new assistance package for Ukraine worth $1 billion.

The latest package includes $175 million for weapons, $206 million in humanitarian assistance and $203 million to be used for transparency anti-corruption efforts. To date, the Biden administration has provided more than $43.2 billion since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Blinken’s trip, his fourth to the war-weary country since the start of the war, comes as some Republican presidential candidates voice concerns over the massive outpouring of U.S. aid to Ukraine.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2023.

Leah Millis | Reuters

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated warnings that North Korea should not supply Russia with weapons for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

“We have seen them provide rockets and artillery to the Wagner Group but that was months ago,” Kirby told reporters at the State Department, adding that the U.S. has not seen Pyongyang provide weapons directly to Moscow.

“We will see how it goes,” Kirby said, adding that the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic relations with North Korea and therefore will continue to issue warnings publicly.

— Amanda Macias

Photos show the aftermath of an attack on the small town of Kostyantynivka in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.  

Firefighters extinguish out the fire in the market on September 6, 2023 in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine. At least 16 people have been killed and 31 more injured, after a rocket hit a market in Kostyantynivka, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. (Photo by Andriy Reznikov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC”/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Andriy Reznikov | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

So far 16 civilians have been reported dead, while at least 20 were injured, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko posted on Telegram, as translated by NBC News.

Firefighters extinguish out the fire in the market on September 6, 2023 in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine. At least 16 people have been killed and 31 more injured, after a rocket hit a market in Kostyantynivka, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. (Photo by Andriy Reznikov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC”/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Andriy Reznikov | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack hit a market, shop and pharmacy on his official Telegram channel, as translated by NBC’s Artem Grudinin.

Firefighters extinguish out the fire in the market on September 6, 2023 in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine. At least 16 people have been killed and 31 more injured, after a rocket hit a market in Kostyantynivka, in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. (Photo by Andriy Reznikov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC”/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Andriy Reznikov | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

“The audacity of evil. The brazenness of wickedness. Utter inhumanity,” Zelenskyy wrote.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

At least 16 people have been killed and a further 28 injured in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko posted on Telegram, as translated by NBC News.

“Police paramedics and doctors provide medical assistance to the injured. Emergency personnel quickly extinguished the fire with an area of ​​300 square meters. About 30 trade pavilions were damaged,” Klymenko wrote in the post.

Material damage inside the building and caused by the impact of the S-300 missile launched by Russian troops and which affected several buildings in the area, there were no civilian or military casualties in Kostyantynivka, Ukraine, on July 22, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the attack struck innocent people, hitting a market, shops and a pharmacy.

“Heinous evil. Brazen wickedness. Utter inhumanity,” he wrote.

The small town of Kostyantynivka is next to a battlefield and has already come under Russian fire multiple times since the outbreak of the war.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russian forces are looking to take “revenge” for territory that Ukraine has regained in the east and hope to recapture the operational initiative on the front, the commander of Ukraine’s ground military said on Wednesday.

Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a briefing that the operational situation in eastern Ukraine remained “challenging,” with Russian forces pushing ahead with “their plans to reach the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” in the east.

“They are stubbornly preparing to take revenge and recapture the operational initiative,” Syrskyi said, in comments published by Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 60th Battalion of Territorial Defense, are shooting rounds into Russian positions with an S60 anti-aircraft canon placed on a truck, outside Bakhmut, Ukraine on June 19, 2023. 

Wojciech Grzedzinski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar said on Telegram on Monday that 47 square kilometers (18 miles) of Russian-occupied land has been liberated in the Bakhmut area of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. During the past week, she said, three square kilometers of territory had been freed in the area.

Fighting remains intense in Donetsk, with Syrskyi stating that “fierce battles are underway” in the Bakhmut region, and that “Russian invaders are making attempts to hold the captured positions, but Ukrainian warriors are gradually pushing them away.”

Syrskyi said his priority is to prevent captured frontiers and positions in the Kupiansk and Lyman areas from being lost, and to successfully advance in the Bakhmut sector.

CNBC was unable to independently verify developments on the ground.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken works while traveling by train to Kyiv on September 6, 2023. Blinken arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit and is due to announce more than a billion dollars in fresh aid to Ukraine.

Brendan Smialowski | Afp | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday for meetings with key Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. 

Blinken’s trip to the Ukrainian capital had not been disclosed ahead of his arrival and comes as Ukraine prosecutes its counteroffensive in the south and east of the country.

The U.S.’ top diplomat is expected to announce more than $1 billion in new funding for Ukraine, a senior State Department official said during a briefing for reporters on the trip.

He will also participate in laying a wreath with Foreign Minister Kuleba in memory of soldiers who have died during the 19 month-long conflict.

The trip comes after Kyiv was targeted by Russian missiles overnight, which were intercepted, the city’s military administration said earlier. 

 — Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine was attacked with a barrage of drones and missiles overnight, officials said, with the capital Kyiv and the southern port of Odesa among the targets.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s air force said on Telegram that its air defenses destroyed 23 out of 33 air and ground-launched missiles and attack drones that were used against the country, according to a Google translation.

“A total of 33 enemy air targets were recorded: seven air-based Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 missiles launched from nine Tu-95ms strategic bombers from the Engels area, one Iskander-M ballistic missile, 25 Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] launched from the south-eastern and southern directions.”

Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv city military administration, said the capital Kyiv was attacked by cruise missiles and, potentially, by ballistic missiles.

“The attack is not simple, but combined,” Popko said on Telegram, according to a Google translation. “Preliminary, from the Saratov region, the Russian Tu-95MS strategic aviation aircraft fired cruise missiles of the Kh-101/555/55 type. At the same time, missiles of a different type, probably ballistic, were launched over Kyiv.”

The sun rises behind the houses of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on February 24, 2023, the first anniversary of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

He said the missiles had been destroyed, and no injuries or damage to infrastructure were recorded as yet.

Oleg Kiper, the head of the Odesa Regional Military Administration said that the southern port was attacked by Russian drones for almost three hours. One person was wounded and died during the attacks, he said on Telegram.

“Destruction and fires were recorded in several settlements. Portside and agricultural infrastructure facilities were damaged: elevators, administrative buildings, agricultural enterprises,” Kiper said in Google-translated comments. Air alerts continued in the city this morning.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information in the posts.

— Holly Ellyatt

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