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Russia fines Apple for not deleting ‘inaccurate' war content; Kyiv hit by eighth consecutive nightly drone attack

Ukrinform | Nurphoto | Getty Images

This has been CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

Kyiv endured its eighth consecutive night of drone attacks from Russia, with Iranian-made Shahed drones once again deployed over the city, local authorities said.

Ukraine's air defense forces said they intercepted more than a dozen projectiles, and the city's mayor reported damage to a non-residential building but no casualties.

The EU sharply criticized Russia for its recent bombardments of Ukrainian ports and grain storage infrastructure, accusing it of using food as a weapon and threatening global food security. Several ports in Ukraine's southern Odesa region came under heavy Russian strikes Wednesday, which damaged at least 40,000 tons of grain set for export and sent global grain prices higher.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's allies continue to monitor its counteroffensive, which Ukrainian officials say has been slowed by a number of factors, including extensive minefields laid by Russian forces. The officials insist, however, that Ukraine's military is operating on its own timeline for its own strategic reasons.

Blinken to preside over UN Security Council meeting on famine and food insecurity

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss the conflict in Ukraine on September 22, 2022 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the United Nations Security Council meeting at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss the conflict in Ukraine on September 22, 2022 in New York City.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will chair a U.N. Security Council meeting at 10 a.m. ET on famine and global food insecurity exacerbated by war and conflicts.

Earlier in the week, the United States took the helm of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August, a scheduled presidency that comes as the international body looks to mitigate the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on Tuesday that the Biden administration will prioritize the world's mounting food crisis triggered in part, by the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine investigating Russian attacks on grain infrastructure as potential war crimes, prosecutor says

Ukraine's prosecutor general is investigating Russian attacks on its agriculture infrastructure since July as potential war crimes, the office told Reuters on Thursday.

— Reuters

Jailed opposition leader Navalny expects a 'Stalinist' prison sentence

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears on a screen set up at a courtroom of the Moscow City Court via a video link from his prison colony during a hearing of an appeal against his nine-year prison sentence he was handed in March after being found guilty of embezzlement and contempt of court, in Moscow on May 24, 2022.
Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears on a screen set up at a courtroom of the Moscow City Court via a video link from his prison colony during a hearing of an appeal against his nine-year prison sentence he was handed in March after being found guilty of embezzlement and contempt of court, in Moscow on May 24, 2022.

Jailed Russian political opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he expects to be handed a huge prison term, one he described as "Stalinist," for his challenges to and criticism of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.

"It's going to be a huge term. This is what's called a 'Stalinist' term. They asked for 20 years so they will give 18 or something around it," Navanly wrote in a tweet.

"When the figure is announced, please show solidarity with me and other political prisoners by thinking for a minute why such an exemplary huge term is necessary," he added. "Its main purpose is to intimidate."

Already serving a nine-year prison sentence on charges of embezzlement and fraud which he and his supporters say are false and politically motivated, Navalny faces a new sentence of as many as 20 years on charges of inciting and financing "extremist activity" and "rehabilitating Nazi ideology." His supporters reject the charges, saying they are punishment for his political activism.

In a court statement Wednesday, Navalny lashed out against the Kremlin's war in Ukraine, calling it "the most stupid and senseless war of the 21st century."

— Natasha Turak

Russia endorses expansion of BRICS group

(From left) Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands as they pose during a BRICS summit meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019.
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP via Getty Images
(From left) Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands as they pose during a BRICS summit meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019.

Russia appeared to endorse the idea of the expansion of the BRICS group, with its top spokesperson Dmitry Peskov saying that adding new members would be a good thing for it.

"Of course we believe that in one form or another, the expansion of BRICS will contribute to the further development and strengthening of this organization," Peskov told media.

Peskov was responding to comments by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who said that it was "extremely important" that countries like Saudi Arabia, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates join the organization.

The BRICS group, which is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, often posit themselves or are seen as a counterweight to Western and developed market influence in the world.

— Natasha Turak

India to take part in Saudi-hosted peace summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders' summit in Samarkand on Sept. 16, 2022.
Alexandr Demyanchuk | Afp | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders' summit in Samarkand on Sept. 16, 2022.

India will take part in a peace summit hosted by Saudi Arabia that will take place in Jeddah on Aug. 5 and 6, the Indian foreign ministry said.

India is among a number of major emerging market economies that has refrained from condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chose not to partake in Western-led sanctions against Russia, continuing to trade with it as the two countries are longtime trade partners and India relies heavily on Russia for its fertilizers, energy commodities and military equipment, among other things.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, helping negotiate prisoner swaps and now reportedly attempting to bridge gaps between Ukraine and the Global North and South. Ukraine's allies do not expect any breakthroughs from the summit, but generally praise the facilitation of dialogue.

— Natasha Turak

All eyes are on China to salvage Black Sea Grain Initiative as global food insecurity mounts

The United States and its Western allies are looking to China to help resolve the fallout triggered by Russia's exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Beijing, one of Moscow's most strategic allies, was the indisputable top recipient of Ukrainian agricultural products under the deal. After nearly a year in place, Russia ditched the agreement last month over frustrations that it only benefited Ukraine.

Since the inception of the July 2022 deal, which was brokered nearly six months into Russia's full-scale war, Chinese ports have welcomed 8 million metric tons of Ukrainian agricultural products, the lion's share according to data provided by the United Nations.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Russia fines Apple for not deleting 'inaccurate' content on Ukraine conflict

An Apple logo seen displayed on a smartphone with stock market values in the background.
SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
An Apple logo seen displayed on a smartphone with stock market values in the background.

A Moscow court fined Apple 400,000 rubles ($4,274) on Thursday for not deleting "inaccurate" content about what Russia calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.

The TASS news agency said it was the first time Apple had been fined for that offense.

Apple did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. The company paused all product sales in Russia shortly after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, and limited its Apple Pay service in Russia.

— Reuters

Ukrainian officials say Russia has made no headway on front lines, but is beefing up defenses

Ukrainian soldiers transport shells into a camouflaged tank on the Bakhmut front line as the Ukrainian army conducts an operation to target trenches of Russian forces through the Donetsk region on July 24, 2023.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers transport shells into a camouflaged tank on the Bakhmut front line as the Ukrainian army conducts an operation to target trenches of Russian forces through the Donetsk region on July 24, 2023.

Ukrainian officials say Russia has made no progress in terms of gaining additional territory on the front lines, but admit that Russian forces have heavily fortified their defenses with things like extensive minefields and the reinforcing of reserves and equipment.

Russian troops have "tried quite persistently to halt our advance in the Bakhmut sector without success," Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote in a Telegram post.

She and other officials noted that the heavily mined areas under Russia's control are making it difficult for Ukrainian forces to move south and east.

Meanwhile, Russian military authorities are cited by Reuters as saying that their forces repelled 12 Ukrainian attacks in the Donetsk region. Some Ukrainian officials have previously admitted that their country's long-awaited counter-offensive has progressed much more slowly than planned.

— Natasha Turak

Russia says it's downed seven drones over western city of Kaluga

A view of a damaged business centre on Likhacheva Street after a reported drone attack in Moscow on July 24, 2023.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images
A view of a damaged business centre on Likhacheva Street after a reported drone attack in Moscow on July 24, 2023.

Russian authorities say the country's air defenses shot down seven drones in the western Kaluga region, about 125 miles southwest of Moscow. Six of the interceptions took place overnight, and there were no casualties, Kaluga regional governor Vladislav Shapsha wrote on his Telegram account.

"This night, six drones trying to cross the Kaluga region, were shot down with anti-air defense systems," Shapsha said. In a separate post after a reported seventh drone was downed during the day, Shapsha wrote: "There are no consequences for people and infrastructure."

Russia's defense ministry said it had prevented "a terrorist attack with drones" in Kaluga, the AFP reported. CNBC has not been able to verify the information on the ground.

Cities and towns in Russia have been subject to increasing attacks by drones, which the Kremlin calls terrorist attacks by Ukraine but for which Kyiv has refrained from claiming responsibility.

— Natasha Turak

Wagner forces attempting to destabilize NATO, Polish prime minister warns

Polish border guard patrols by the metal wall between the Polish Belarusian border on July 09, 2023 in Jurowlany, Poland.
Omar Marques | Getty Images
Polish border guard patrols by the metal wall between the Polish Belarusian border on July 09, 2023 in Jurowlany, Poland.

Fighters from Russian paramilitary group Wagner are being positioned to destabilize the NATO military coalition, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Thursday after meeting Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

Formerly allied with the Kremlin, Wagner forces have been exiled to Belarus since a late-June coup attempt against Moscow. They have begun training with the Belarusian national army, prompting Warsaw to move more than 1,000 of its soldiers close to the border.

"We need to be aware that the number of provocations will rise," he warned, Reuters reported. "The Wagner group is extremely dangerous and they are being moved to the eastern flank to destabilize it."

Nauseda floated the possibility of closing the border with Belarus in the event of more escalations.

Belarus allowed Russian forces use of its territory ahead of Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia adds Norway to list of countries 'unfriendly' to its diplomats

The national flag of Norway is seen above the embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Moscow. Russia has made a decision to expel ten diplomats from Norway's Moscow embassy, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. The decision followed the announcement on April 13 2023 that the Norwegian authorities had expelled 15 Russian embassy officials. (Photo by Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Vlad Karkov | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images
The national flag of Norway is seen above the embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Moscow. Russia has made a decision to expel ten diplomats from Norway's Moscow embassy, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. The decision followed the announcement on April 13 2023 that the Norwegian authorities had expelled 15 Russian embassy officials. (Photo by Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Russia added Norway to its list of countries deemed to be "unfriendly" to its diplomats, Russian state news agency Tass reported.

The designation is defined as "foreign countries committing unfriendly actions against Russian diplomatic and consular missions abroad," Tass wrote. This limits the number of consular and embassy staff, both local and foreign, that the country can hire within Russia. Norway's staff limit number has been set at 27.

Countries added to the Russian list in previous years include the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, a number of European countries and others that support sanctions against Russia.

"The list approved by the government is not definitive and may be expanded, taking into account the ongoing hostile actions by foreign countries against Russian missions abroad," Tass cited a government ministry as saying.

— Natasha Turak

Instead of saying ‘good night’ to each other we say ‘stay safe’: Ukrainian MP

A woman holds her child inside a subway wagon in an underground metro station used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv.
Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images
A woman holds her child inside a subway wagon in an underground metro station used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv.

A Ukrainian parliament member described the reality of living under constant Russian drone and missile strikes, saying that in Kyiv, people tell each other to stay safe rather than saying goodnight.

"Spending nights in bomb shelters has become a harsh reality for us. Instead of saying 'good night' to each other we say 'stay safe'," MP Kira Rudik wrote in a social media post. "This night was not the exception: russia launched a massive drone attack on Kyiv."

— Natasha Turak

Undergrowth on Ukrainian battlefields may be slowing combat progress, UK MoD says

Ukrainian soldiers from Tank battalion of the 24th separate mechanized brigade named after king Danylo are seen with T-72 tank on positions near Konstantinivka in Donbas, Ukraine on June 26, 2023. 
Wojciech Grzedzinski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers from Tank battalion of the 24th separate mechanized brigade named after king Danylo are seen with T-72 tank on positions near Konstantinivka in Donbas, Ukraine on June 26, 2023. 

The natural environment of Ukraine's land after nearly 18 months of not being cultivated may be slowing the progress of Ukrainian forces' counteroffensive as undergrowth helps provide camouflage for Russian troops and equipment, Britain's Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily intelligence update on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

"The predominately arable land in the combat zone has now been left fallow for 18 months, with the return of weeds and shrubs accelerating under the warm, damp summer conditions," the ministry wrote.

"The extra cover helps camouflage Russian defensive positions and makes defensive mine fields harder to clear."

"Although undergrowth can also provide cover for small stealthy infantry assaults, the net effect has been to make it harder for either side to make advances," it added.

— Natasha Turak

Number of mines planted by Russia on Ukrainian land is 'utterly mad,' official says

The Ukrainian army's 35th Marine Brigade conducts mine clearance work at a field in Donetsk, Ukraine, on July 11, 2023.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The Ukrainian army's 35th Marine Brigade conducts mine clearance work at a field in Donetsk, Ukraine, on July 11, 2023.

The volume of landmines that Russian forces have planted on Ukrainian territory is "utterly mad," said Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's security council. The many months Russian troops have been holding on to occupied territory have given them a substantial amount of time to lay their defenses.

"The enemy has prepared very thoroughly for these events," Danilov told Ukrainian national television.

"The number of mines on the territory that our troops have retaken is utterly mad. On average, there are three, four, five mines per square meter."

He stressed that Ukrainian forces' advances are moving more slowly than expected for a reason. Many observers have expressed worry that Ukraine's planned counteroffensive is making far less progress than hoped.

"No one can set deadlines for us, except ourselves," Danilov said. "There is no fixed schedule."

— Natasha Turak

Kyiv under drone attack for eighth consecutive night

An explosion of a drone is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 2, 2023. 
Gleb Garanich | Reuters
An explosion of a drone is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 2, 2023. 

Kyiv was struck by Russian drone attacks for the eighth consecutive night, its city military administration said on Telegram on Thursday, according to a Google translation.

The force said that it detected and destroyed over a dozen projectiles, with no casualties reported. Russian troops once more deployed Iranian-made Shahed drones in the hostilities, the Kyiv city military administration added.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko separately said that the attack resulted in damage to a non-residential building, in Google-translated comments on Telegram.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

EU says Russia's attacks are endangering global food security

A deliveryman carries trays of fresh traditional Egyptian bread on his arms and head from a bakery along an alley in the Darb el-Ahmar district of Cairo on July 27, 2023. 
Khaled Desouki | AFP | Getty Images
A deliveryman carries trays of fresh traditional Egyptian bread on his arms and head from a bakery along an alley in the Darb el-Ahmar district of Cairo on July 27, 2023. 

The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell Fontelles on Wednesday condemned Russia's latest attacks against Ukraine's capital city Kyiv, Odesa, and sites on the Danube.

"These targeted attacks on Ukrainian grain infrastructure aggravate global food insecurity, putting millions of the most vulnerable at risk," he said on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter.

The European bloc previously criticized Russia's late-July decision to exit the Black Sea Grain Initiative and interrupt a humanitarian corridor that had permitted the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods into the global markets.

"As the world deals with disrupted supplies and higher prices, Russia is now approaching vulnerable countries, notably in Africa, with bilateral offers of limited grain shipments, pretending to solve a problem it created itself. This is a cynical policy of deliberately using food as a weapon," an EU statement said Wednesday.

— Ruxandra Iordache

Russian strikes on ports damaged nearly 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain, official says

Remnants of Russian missiles lie in the foreground of wreckage as Ukrainians salvage barley and peas three days after five Russian missiles struck a grain storage facility in the village of Pavlivka, Odesa region, Ukraine, on July 24, 2023. 
Scott Peterson | Getty Images
Remnants of Russian missiles lie in the foreground of wreckage as Ukrainians salvage barley and peas three days after five Russian missiles struck a grain storage facility in the village of Pavlivka, Odesa region, Ukraine, on July 24, 2023. 

Russian drone strikes on ports in southern Ukraine early Wednesday morning destroyed or damaged nearly 40,000 tons of grain that was set for export to several African countries as well as China and Israel, Ukraine's minister of infrastructure said.

"The Russians attacked warehouses and grain elevators — almost 40,000 tons of grain were damaged, which was expected by the countries of Africa, China, and Israel," Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Telegram post.

"The world must resist. Attacks on Ukrainian ports are a threat to the world," he added, calling on the international community for more support as well as more provisions of air defense technology.

— Natasha Turak

State Department approves $395 million weapons sale to Finland

Ukrainian troops fire with surface-to-surface rockets MLRS towards Russian positions at a front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 7, 2022.
Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images
Ukrainian troops fire with surface-to-surface rockets MLRS towards Russian positions at a front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 7, 2022.

The U.S. State Department approved a potential foreign military sale worth $395 million to Finland for an upgrade package for M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS.

The State Department said the principal contractors are Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, Texas; Chelton Inc., in Marlow, United Kingdom; Leonardo DRS in Arlington, Virginia; and Loc Performance Products, Inc., in Plymouth, Michigan.

"The proposed sale will improve Finland's capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and other allied forces," the State Department wrote in a release.

"Finland will have no difficulty absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces," the release added.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Russia attacks more Ukrainian ports and grain supplies; imprisoned activist Navalny calls war ‘stupid’ and ‘senseless'

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