Ukraine war live updates: Ukraine's allies promise more aid; Kyiv presses for fighter jets

Russian forces have relocated at least 6,000 Ukrainian children to camps since start of war, new report says

Russian forces have moved at least 6,000 Ukrainian children to camps and facilities across Russia for forced adoptions and military training, according to a new report.

The allegations detailed in the 35-page report, entitled “Russia’s systematic program for the re-education and adoption of Ukraine’s children,” such as the abduction or detention of children, may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The report, which took more than a year to produce, outlines the Kremlin’s systematic efforts to abduct children, prevent their return to Ukraine and “re-educate” them to become pro-Russia.

Researchers identified a network of at least 43 camps and facilities where Russian authorities hold Ukrainian children. The youngest child at the adoption camp is four-months-old.

Read the full story here.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy thanks Canada’s top diplomat for Leopard 2 tanks

Boris Pistorius, Germany’s defense minister, rides in an Leopard 2 A6 battle tank during a presentation by the German Army Panzer Battalion 203 in Augustdorf, Germany, on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.

Alex Kraus | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly for Ottawa’s decision to provide Kyiv with Leopard 2 tanks.

“You help us not only on the battlefield but also financially, in the energy sector. I also want to note the political support of Ukraine, in particular at the United Nations,” Zelenskyy told Joly, according to a readout provided by Kyiv.

“Your support for the Ukrainian army is invaluable in these turbulent times for us,” Zelenksyy said.

He also thanked Joly for visiting his war-weary country.

— Amanda Macias

International community will support Ukraine until Putin ends his war, Milley says

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley arrives for a two-day meeting of the alliance’s Defence Ministers at the NATO Headquarter in Brussels on October 12, 2022.

Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley said allies will back Ukraine for as long as it takes to repel Russia’s invasion.

“Until Putin ends his war of choice, the international community will continue to support Ukraine,” Milley said following a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an alliance of nations that has bolstered Kyiv.

Milley told reporters at NATO’s headquarters that more than 50 countries are contributing to Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

“Russia has lost,” Milley said. He added that the Kremlin has failed “strategically” and that Russian forces are “paying an enormous price on the battlefield.”

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainians celebrate Valentine’s Day as Russia pounds eastern Ukraine

Ukrainians celebrate Valentine’s Day as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its one-year anniversary.

A couple talks as they stand close to a sign that reads, ‘I love Ukraine’ located at Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv , on Valentine’s day, February 14, 2023. 

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

A Ukrainian serviceman walks with the flowers and a balloon he bought for Valentines Day in Kramatorsk on February 14, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

A couple kisses on Valentines Day in Kyiv on February 14, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

Ukrainian serviceman Maksym kisses his wife Anna as he welcomes her with flowers upon her arrival from Kyiv at the train station in Kramatorsk on Valentines Day on February 14, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images

A man buys flowers at a flower market on Valentine’s Day during the Russo-Ukrainian war in Lviv, Ukraine on February 14, 2023.

Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A woman walks with heart-shaped balloons on a city street on Valentine’s Day during the Russian-Ukrainian war in Lviv, Ukraine on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Pavlo Palamarchuk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Getty Images

Kyiv clamors for fighter jets as war nears ‘critical’ phase

Ukraines Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov shows a handkerchief with a F-35 fighter jet when meeting with United States Secretary of Defence on the sidelines of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on February 14, 2023.

Olivier Matthys | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine renewed its appeal to Western countries for fighter jets to help frustrate Moscow’s invasion, as senior defense officials from the United States and its NATO allies said the war with Russia is approaching a critical stage.

With the war set to enter its second year at the end of next week, the Ukraine contact group met at NATO headquarters in Brussels and Ukraine made its requirements clear.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, when asked what military aid his country is seeking now, showed reporters an image of a fighter jet.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed hard for combat planes last week when he visited London, Paris and Brussels on just his second foreign trip since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 2022. His plea came days after Western allies pledged to provide Kyiv with tanks.

Moscow’s forces have been pressing in the east of Ukraine while bolstering their defensive lines in the south. The war has been largely static during the winter months, though both sides are expected to launch offensives when the weather improves.

— Associated Press

Russia’s Prigozhin admits links to what U.S. says was election-meddling troll farm

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, said on Tuesday that he founded and financed and the Internet Research Agency, a company Washington says is a “troll farm” which meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, spent years operating on behalf of the Kremlin in the shadows, but has emerged in recent months as one of the most high profile figures connected with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He has previously admitted interfering in U.S. elections, but his statement on Tuesday appears to go further than before in outlining his specific links to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA).

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and close ally of Vladimir Putin, is the head Russia’s Wagner mercenary group and a series of other companies.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images

“I was never just the financier of the Internet Research Agency. I thought it up, I created it, I managed it for a long time,” Prigozhin said in a post shared on social media by the press service of his Concord catering group.

“It was created to protect the Russian information space from the West’s boorish and aggressive anti-Russian propaganda,” Prigozhin said.

Prigozhin was first sanctioned by the United States over his links to the Internet Research Agency in 2018 and charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election said that Internet Research Agency sought to sow discord in the United States through “information warfare.” It sought to sway the 2016 election in favour of Trump, Mueller’s report said.

— Reuters

Moldova reopens airspace after temporary closure

Moldova, a small eastern European nation which shares a border with Ukraine, has become the subject of Russian interference, according to its President.

Carsten Koall | Getty Images

Moldova has reopened its airspace hours after closing it due to security concerns, its aviation authority said Tuesday.

Air Moldova, the country’s national airline, announced the closure of the country’s airspace in a Facebook post earlier in the day.

“Dear passengers, at this moment, the airspace of the Republic of Moldova is closed. We are waiting for the resumption of flights,” the carrier wrote, according to a Google translation.

A source at Chisinau International Airport told Reuters the closure was due to security concerns. The Moldovan government did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

The small eastern European nation, which shares a border with Ukraine, has faced increasing disruption over recent days.

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu on Monday accused Russia of trying to bring down the country’s government and prevent it from joining the European Union.

The claims, which the Kremlin rejected, come just days after Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita disbanded her government Friday. Hours prior, the country’s defense ministry said a Russian missile had violated its airspace during a renewed attack on Ukraine.

— Karen Gilchrist

Norway to send 8 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

A Leopard tank is seen at the Munster military base, in Munster, Germany, February 7, 2022. 

Fabian Bimmer | Reuters

Norway will send eight German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks and other equipment to Ukraine to aid in the war with Russia, the NATO country’s government said on Tuesday.

“It is more crucial than ever to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement.

Norway said it will also send four special purpose tanks from its armored engineering and bridge layer category, with the exact selection depending on what Ukraine needs the most.

Norway, which shares a border with Russia in the Arctic, has 36 Leopard 2 tanks in total.

— Reuters

Stoltenberg: More important Sweden, Finland join NATO soon than together

Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO Defense Ministers meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, October 21, 2021. 

Pascal Rossignol | Reuters

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that it is more important that Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the military alliance are ratified expediently than at the same time.

“The main question is not whether Finland and Sweden are ratified together. The main question is that they are both ratified as full members as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers.

The neighboring countries applied in tandem to join NATO last year in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and their bids have been ratified by all members apart from Hungary and Turkey.

Western officials have said they would prefer both countries to join together for ease of integration. But Turkey has proven a major sticking point in negotiations, with President Tayyip Erdogan pushing back against Sweden’s bid.

Stoltenberg said he was “confident” both countries would become full members, in a process that he is aiming to conclude “as soon as possible.”

— Karen Gilchrist

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin: Ukraine has urgent requirements

US Defence Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III (L) and Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov (R) attend the Ukraine defence contact group meeting at NATO headquarters during the first of two days of defence ministers’ meetings on February 14, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine has urgent requirements in terms of more military aid, said United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Tuesday, as he also reaffirmed that the United States and NATO allies in general were there to support Ukraine over the long haul.

“That shared resolve will sustain Ukraine’s momentum in the weeks ahead,” said Austin at a NATO meeting in Brussels. “The Kremlin is still betting that it can wait us out.”

— Reuters

Kremlin says NATO is becoming more involved in Ukraine

The Kremlin said Tuesday that NATO is becoming increasingly involved in the conflict in Ukraine and demonstrating hostility to Russia on a daily basis.

“NATO is an organization which is hostile to us and which proves this hostility every day,” Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to Reuters reporters based in Russia.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov at a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin after a meeting of the State Council on youth policy in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 22, 2022.

Valeriy Sharifulin | Sputnik | Reuters

“It is trying its best to make its involvement in the conflict around Ukraine as clear as possible,” Peskov added.

NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels Tuesday to discuss extending their military supplies to Ukraine, including potential fighter jets.

Moscow has said NATO’s provision of weapons to Ukraine is extending the conflict and raising the possibility of further escalation.

— Karen Gilchrist

Germany signs contracts with Rheinmetall to restart ammunition production

German Rheinmetall MAN tactical military transport vehicles are parked in the Edvard Peperko military barracks. Slovenian military received 40 of Rheinmetall trucks as part of a so-called chain-swap deal with Germany used to supply arms to Ukraine, in which Slovenia sent 28 M55s tanks to Ukraine and 38 Oshkosh vehicles after purchasing them from the USA.

Luka Dakskobler | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Germany has signed contracts with arms manufacturer Rheinmetall to restart the production of ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft guns it has delivered to Kyiv, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Tuesday.

“We will quickly start our own production of Gepard ammunition at Rheinmetall. I am very happy we have been able to guarantee the delivery of this important part of air defense,” Reuters reported Pistorius as saying ahead of a meeting with NATO ministers in Brussels.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian rouble dips near 10-month low vs dollar

The Russian rouble struck its weakest mark since late April on Tuesday, hurt by lower foreign currency revenue inflows from hydrocarbon exports and a continued recovery in imports as companies build new supply chains.

At 0726 GMT, the rouble was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 73.88, having hit 73.9850 during the session, its lowest point since April 25.

The Russian currency lost 0.3% to trade at 79.26 versus the euro and shed 0.3% against the yuan to 10.83.

The rouble’s weakening from around the 68 mark to the dollar in mid-January to current levels can be explained mainly by foreign exchange market dynamics and imports, Alfa Capital analysts said.

— Reuters

Ukraine is fighting for the rights of ‘every nation,’ says IMF chief

Ukrainians believe they're fighting not just for themselves but for all nations' right to exist: IMF

The International Monetary Fund’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday that Ukraine is fighting not just in defense of its national sovereignty but to protect the international rule of law.

“In Ukraine, people strongly believe they’re fighting not just for themselves, they’re fighting for the right of every nation to exist and run its own affairs,” the director of the United Nations financial institution said at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Georgieva said that a problem which is Ukraine’s problem today can tomorrow “be a problem for many other countries,” adding that it is in “everybody’s interest” to defend a rules-based global system.

“If we blow up rule of law internationally, how are we going to keep it domestically?” she said. “It is for everyone, everybody’s interest to defend it.”

— Karen Gilchrist

NATO’s Stoltenberg says new Russian offensive now underway

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said ministers would discuss increasing the military alliance’s ammunition stockpile targets Tuesday, as well consider Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s calls for fighter jets.

Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images

NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday backed reports that Russia has launched a fresh offensive in Ukraine, days before the first anniversary of its invasion.

“I think the reality (is) that we’re seeing the start already,” Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

“What Russia lacks in quality, they try to compensate (for) in quantity, meaning that the leadership, the logistics, the equipment, the training, don’t have the same level as the Ukrainian forces, but they have more forces,” he added.

Stoltenberg said ministers would discuss increasing the military alliance’s ammunition stockpile targets Tuesday, as well consider Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s calls for fighter jets.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russia’s Wagner Group making small gains around Bakhmut, UK says

A Ukrainian serviceman of the State Border Guard Service in Bakhmut on Feb. 9, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images

Wagner Group forces have “almost certainly made further small gains around the northern outskirts of the contested Donbas town of Bakhmut, including into the village of Krasna Hora,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in a tweet Tuesday.

However, organized Ukrainian defense in the area means the tactical Russian advance to the south of the town “has likely made little progress,” it added.

In the north, in the Kremina-Svatove sector of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, Russian forces are making “continuous offensive efforts,” though each local attack “remains on too small a scale to achieve a significant breakthrough,” the British intelligence service said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Kremlin rejects claims it is plotting to destabilize Moldova

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pose for a picture during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 27, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

The Kremlin on Tuesday pushed back against accusations that it is attempting to destabilize Moldova’s government.

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu said Monday that Russia was intending to use foreign saboteurs to undermine her government and prevent it from joining the European Union.

That comes just days after Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita resigned Friday.

“Such claims are completely unfounded and unsubstantiated,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The foreign minister added that Ukraine was stirring tensions and trying to draw Moldova “into a tough confrontation with Russia.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last week that his intelligence authorities had uncovered a Russian plan “for the destruction of Moldova.”

— Karen Gilchrist

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