This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]
Ukraine's President Zelenskyy is in London meeting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, marking his first visit to the U.K. since the war began.
The visit comes at a difficult time for Ukraine as it prepares for an expected large-scale offensive by Russian forces, and as its military looks to retain control of Bakhmut in Donetsk, east Ukraine.
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Russian and Ukrainian forces have been battling for control over the city for months but Russia recently claimed that it has almost encircled the city, and on Wednesday one military commander said Russian troops now occupy several streets in the city.
Zelenskyy arrives in Paris after surprise trip to U.K.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived at Paris Orly Airport in France and was greeted by the Minister of the French Army Sebastien Lecornu.
Zelenskyy is slated to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron as well as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Elysee Palace.
Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to the United Kingdom and met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III.
Ahead of this trip, Zelenskyy had previously only left his war-weary country once before since Russia's invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago.
— Amanda Macias
Japan contributes $10 million to UNESCO in Ukraine
Japan announced a contribution of almost $10 million to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, to finance emergency measures in Ukraine.
"I thank Japan for its commitment to UNESCO, which touches on all areas of our mandate and benefits many parts of the world. Japan's support has reached a record level this year: I see this as a strong testimony to the confidence in our organization," said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, in a release.
UNESCO has previously verified that more than 230 cultural sites in Ukraine have been damaged since Russia's invasion last February.
— Amanda Macias
Russia's 2022 economic fall seen in lower incomes, slumping consumer demand
This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.
MOSCOW — Russian consumer demand contracted at its fastest pace in seven years in 2022 and real disposable incomes fell, new data shows, as the country's population felt the effects of its dimming economic prospects.
Russia's export-dependent economy has withstood the impact of sanctions better than first expected, but still suffered a GDP contraction of around 2.5%, as the West imposed restrictions in an effort to punish Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.
Although its economic outlook this year is not so gloomy, Russia faces a labor market shortage, lower oil and gas revenues as price caps and embargoes kick in, as well as a sharply widening budget deficit, 2023 looks set to present new challenges for the government.
Real disposable incomes fell 1% in 2022, preliminary data from the Rosstat federal statistics service showed. Real wages, which are adjusted for inflation, rose 0.3% year-over-year in November, just the second positive reading since March.
Retail sales, a key gauge of consumer demand, slumped by 6.7% in 2022, the poorest showing since 2015, while in December they were down 10.5% year-over-year, the worst monthly performance since May 2020 and the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
'We see no sign that Russia is preparing for peace,' NATO chief says
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia is preparing for a new military offensive and called on allies to provide Ukraine with more weapons.
"We see no sign that Russia is preparing for peace," Stoltenberg said alongside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington. "We must continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons that it needs to prevail as sovereign and independent," he added.
— Amanda Macias
Ukraine calls for the next sanctions package to be 'as powerful and ambitious as possible'
Ukraine called for the next package of sanctions being prepared by allies ahead of the anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion to be "as powerful and ambitious as possible."
Vladyslav Vlasiuk, an advisor to the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky's office, emphasized during a briefing with G7 ambassadors the importance of imposing sanctions restrictions on Russia's nuclear industry, according to a press release from Ukraine.
Vlasiuk also said that allies and partners should increase sanctions pressure on Russian propagandists and cultural figures who actively support the illegal war against Ukraine.
— Amanda Macias
Austin and Milley to host ninth Ukraine Defense Contact Group next week with allies
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley will travel to Brussels, Belgium next week to host the ninth session of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
The Ukraine Defense Contact group, a coalition of nearly 50 countries supporting Ukraine's military needs, has met several times since it was formed in April.
Among the topics to be discussed will be Ukraine's desire for main battle tanks and modern fighter jets for its fight against Russia.
Austin will also participate in the NATO defense ministerial while in Brussels.
— Amanda Macias
NATO chief to meet with Blinken and Austin
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is in Washington and will hold separate meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken as well as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The NATO leader's meeting comes a little over two weeks ahead of Russia's one-year anniversary of its war in Ukraine.
Stoltenberg is also expected to discuss China's global surveillance balloon program with Blinken, two senior administration officials confirmed to NBC News. Stoltenberg is expected to hold a news briefing about the matter later today.
— Amanda Macias
Russian-installed Crimea authorities nationalize properties of Ukrainian politicians and businessmen
Around 500 properties in the Crimean peninsula, including some belonging to senior Ukrainian politicians and business figures, have been nationalized by local Russian-installed authorities.
- Alexey Pavlishak | Reuters
Ukrainian rescuers head to Turkey to help find earthquake survivors
Rescuers of the State Emergency of Ukraine board a plane, on their way to help find survivors of the deadly earthquake in Turkey, at an unknown location in Ukraine.
— Press service of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine
Zelenskyy, touring Europe, wins UK pledge to train pilots on NATO jets
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy embarked on a European tour to drum up aid, winning a British pledge to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets, a big step up in Western military support.
On just his second trip abroad since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last year, he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and addressed parliament in London.
He was later due in Paris for dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, before a European Union leaders' summit in Brussels.
In his speech to British lawmakers, Zelenskyy repeatedly hammered home his plea for combat aircraft, which he referred to as "wings for freedom." Western countries have so far stopped short of providing warplanes or weapons that can strike deep inside Russia.
Ukraine "will do everything possible and impossible to make the world provide us with modern planes to empower and protect pilots who will be protecting us," Zelenskyy said. He gave a pilot's helmet to parliamentary speaker Lindsay Hoyle carrying the message: "We have freedom, give us wings to protect it."
Zelenskyy tells UK 'freedom will win,' pushes for warplanes
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed for fighter jets to ensure his country's victory over Russia in a dramatic speech before the U.K. Parliament, where he also thanked the British people for their support since "Day One" of Moscow's invasion.
The embattled leader's surprise visit to Britain in a bid for more advanced weapons comes as Ukraine braces for an expected Russian offensive and hatches its own plans to retake land held by Moscow's forces.
Support from Western allies has been key to Ukraine surprisingly stiff defense, and the two sides are engaged in grinding battles. It was only Zelenskyy's second foreign trip since Russia invaded on Feb, 24, 2022, and he visited the U.S.
— Associated Press
Zelensky presents the helmet UK's Speaker of the House of Commons
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a helmet from one of the nation's most successful pilots to the United Kingdom's Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, during Zelenskyy's address to Britain's members of Parliament in Westminster Hall.
The helmet's inscribed with the words "We have freedom, give us wings to protect it." Zelenskyy is speaking at the Palace of Westminster, home to Britain's House of Commons and House of Lords in central London.
Zelenskyy hailed Britain as "one of the first" countries to support Ukraine after Russia invaded, on his first visit to London since the war broke out nearly a year ago.
— Stefan Rousseau | AFP | Getty Images
Zelenskyy: 'Victory will change the world'
President Zelenskyy, in his address to British Parliament, insisted that Russia will lose the war, adding that Ukraine's victory will "change the world."
"We know freedom will win. We know Russia will lose," he said to a packed hall.
"We know the victory will change the world, and this will be a change that the world has long needed."
Zelenskyy also said that he knew the U.K. stood side-by-side with Ukraine in its determination to win the war.
"The United Kingdom is marching with us, I think, towards the most important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of the war," he said.
"Any aggressor, big or small, will know what awaits him if he attacks international order."
— Karen Gilchrist
UK expands sanctions on Russia
The U.K. has expanded its sanctions against Russia, putting more pressure on "Russian military and Kremlin elites," it said.
The latest sanction package hits six entities providing military equipment such as drones for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as well as eight individuals and one entity "connected to nefarious financial networks that help maintain wealth and power amongst Kremlin elites," the U.K.'s Foreign Office said in a statement.
Among the organizations targeted by these latest sanctions are CST, a manufacturer of Russian drones which have been used to destroy Ukrainian combat vehicles, and RT-Komplekt which produces parts for helicopters used by Russia in their assault on Ukraine.
Among the individuals sanctioned are Nikolay Egorov, who was until recently the deputy chairman of the largest privately owned oil refinery in Russia, and Sergey Rudnov, the owner of pro-Kremlin news outlet Regum.
The sanctions were unveiled on Wednesday as Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made his first visit to the U.K. since the Russian invasion. He met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and addressed the British Parliament, and is due to meet King Charles.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said "these new sanctions accelerate the economic pressure on Putin – undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail."
"I am determined, consistent with our laws, that Russia will have no access to the assets we have frozen until it ends, once and for all, its threats to Ukraine's territorial sovereignty and integrity."
— Holly Ellyatt
Zelenskyy addresses UK Parliament
President Zelenskyy addressed the U.K. Parliament Wednesday, thanking Britain for its support since start of Russia's invasion.
"I have come here and stand before you on behalf of the brave, on behalf of our warriors," he said during a visit to London.
"You didn't compromise your ideals, you didn't compromise the strength of this great island," he said.
Zelenskyy also thanked former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for helping to coordinate a united international response to the war.
"Boris, you got others united when it seemed absolutely, absolutely impossible. Thank you," he said.
— Karen Gilchrist
Putin approved supply of missiles that shot down MH17 in 2014, investigators say
The international team investigating the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) by a missile has convincing evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally signed off on a decision to allow the Russian missile system into Ukraine, Dutch prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The BUK-TELAR missile system was used to shot down MH17 on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, investigators said.
However, they said the evidence was not enough to lead to prosecution.
Zelenskyy arrives in Downing Street, London
President Zelenskyy arrived at 10 Downing Street, the British prime minister's official residence, marking his first visit to the U.K. since the war began.
Zelenskyy arrived at Stansted airport, where he was greeted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, before they traveled to London.
"The United Kingdom was one of the first to come to Ukraine's aid. And today I'm in London to personally thank the British people for their support and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his leadership," Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram earlier.
Sunak posted an image on Twitter welcoming the president to the country.
— Holly Ellyatt
Zelenskyy reportedly due to meet King Charles during UK visit
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will meet King Charles during his U.K. visit on Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said, according to the PA news agency.
Zelenskyy is making his first visit to the U.K. since the war began and will meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The leaders will discuss a two-pronged approach to U.K. support for Ukraine, "starting with an immediate surge of military equipment to the country to help counter Russia's spring offensive, and reinforced by long-term support," the government said in a statement.
The U.K., one of Ukraine's biggest supporters, said it was planning to step up its "delivery of lethal aid into the country" and was prepared to "to train fighter jet pilots and marines" for Kyiv.
— Holly Ellyatt
One dead after attacks on Kharkiv region
One person died and another was hospitalized following missile attacks on the northeastern region of Kharkiv on Tuesday, according to the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration.
Oleg Synehubov posted on Telegram that Russian forces had "massively shelled" a number of settlements in the region Tuesday, with a 16 year-old girl injured in one attack on Vovchansk, and an elderly woman dying as a result of shelling.
"As a result of the shelling, the city hospital of Vovchansk was repeatedly damaged, and a fire broke out," he said in comments translated by Google.
He also posted that four Russian missiles, believed to be from a Russian S-300 air defense missile system, hit a "civil industry facility" in Kharkiv city last night.
"Buildings were destroyed, there was a large-scale fire ... Fortunately, no one was hurt," he said. CNBC was unable to verify the information in the report.
A Ukrainian official said Tuesday that Russia's anticipated offensive, set to begin within weeks, could see its forces target the Kharkiv region as well as Zaporizhzhia in the south.
— Holly Ellyatt
Zelenskyy to make surprise visit to UK today
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is due to arrive in the U.K. for a surprise visit — and his first to the country since the Russian invasion began last year.
Zelenskyy is due to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and visit Ukrainian troops who are on training missions in the country, and will address the British Parliament.
The government said in a statement that the visit comes as it is stepping up its "delivery of lethal aid into the country, and prepares to train fighter jet pilots and marines."
The leaders will discuss a two-pronged approach to U.K. support for Ukraine, "starting with an immediate surge of military equipment to the country to help counter Russia's spring offensive, and reinforced by long-term support."
Ukraine has asked its NATO allies for fighter jets, particularly F-16s, in order to bolster its defense capabilities against Russia. So far, NATO members have not agreed to jets but there are murmurings that Ukraine could be offered some kind of fighter aircraft.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to offer to bolster the U.K.'s training for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to fighter jet pilots "to ensure Ukraine can defend its skies well into the future."
"The training will ensure pilots are able to fly sophisticated NATO-standard fighter jets in the future. As part of that long-term capability investment, the U.K. will work with Ukraine and international allies to coordinate collective support to meet Ukraine's defensive needs."
Zelenskyy's visit to London comes ahead of a possible trip to Brussels Thursday. The working trips abroad come at a delicate time in the war with Ukraine preparing for Russia to launch a large-scale offensive in the coming weeks, and to launch its own spring counter-offensive.
— Holly Ellyatt
Battle for Bakhmut intense as Russia claims further advances
Russian and Ukrainian forces have been battling for control over the eastern Donetsk city of Bakhmut for months, but Russia recently claimed that it has almost encircled the city, and on Wednesday one military commander said Russian troops now occupy several streets in the city.
Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that military operations were progressing "successfully" around Vuhledar and Bakhmut (or "Artemovsk," as Russia calls the city) and on Wednesday, Russian media reported comments from a Russian special forces commander who claimed Russian units were advancing into Bakhmut.
"Combat operations to block Artemovsk [Bakhmut] are being carried out successfully. Significant progress has been made on the right side of the city. Several large streets are occupied," Apty Alaudinov, Akhmat special forces commander, said on Telegram in comments translated by Google and reported by news agency Tass.
Alaudinov said "the question of the final capture of the city is connected only with the task of preserving the personnel of our units as much as possible," adding that Ukraine had suffered large losses, a claim that Ukraine also says of Russia. On Tuesday, Ukraine said over 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in the previous 24 hours. CNBC could not verify the information.
Ukraine has repeatedly said that fighting around Bakhmut is intense but has denied its troops are in danger of being surrounded imminently.
On Wednesday, its General Staff of the armed forces said in an update that Russian forces were "trying to take full control of Donetsk and Luhansk" and continued to focus on its offensives on Bakhmut and the surrounding area. Ukraine said Russia "suffers significant losses, especially in manpower."
— Holly Ellyatt
Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands pledge at least 100 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine
Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands issued a joint statement tuesday promising to give Ukraine at least 100 Leopard 1 A5 battle tanks, as well as the logistical support, training, spare parts and ammunition required to use them.
The tanks are to be provided from industrial stocks, Germany's Federal Ministry of Defence said in a statement, with the first tanks due to be delivered in a few months. Germany said the tanks initiative is open to other partners, and Belgium is interested in participating in the joint effort.
The Leopard 1 A5 "is a robust and assertive Western-designed main battle tank," the statement said, but the tank is older (it first entered service in 1965) than the several hundred Leopard 2s that various allies, including Germany, have promised Ukraine.
"This initiative will contribute to substantially and sustainably strengthening the Ukrainian armed forces and complement the efforts already underway to support Ukraine with LEOPARD 2 main battle tanks," the ministry said.
The main issue now is supplying Ukraine with battle tanks fast enough, particularly as it looks to counter a spring offensive by Russia.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russian offensive could include Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions, security chief says
Ukraine's national security chief said Russia could also target the southern Zaporizhzhia region or northeast region of Kharkiv when it launches an expected large-scale offensive in the coming weeks.
Oleksiy Danilov, head of the National Security and Defence Council, told Reuters Tuesday that "attempts at an offensive in either the Kharkiv or Zaporizhzhia direction will of course be made," he said.
"How successful they'll be will depend on us," he told the news agency.
Kyiv "doesn't exclude" a new offensive to capture Kharkiv, an area of the country that Ukraine's forces had managed to push Russian forces out of last September, but Danilov said the capturing of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine remains Russia's key aim.
Danilov said it's likely that Moscow wants some tangible military success to present to the Russian public around the one-year anniversary of its invasion on Feb. 24.
"They need to have something to show before their people, and have a major desire to do something big, as they see it, by this date." Danilov was skeptical that Russian forces would attack the country from Belarusian territory because "there are clearly not enough forces there," Reuters reported.
— Holly Ellyatt
Ukraine's parliament taps new Minister of Interior following deadly helicopter crash
Ukraine's parliament appointed Ihor Klymenko as the country's new Minister of Interior after a deadly helicopter crash last month killed the previous minister as well as several other Ukrainian officials.
Klymenko was previously serving as the acting interior minister on the heels of the helicopter accident. He previously served as head of Ukraine's national police.
— Amanda Macias
Russian team should not be allowed at 2024 Games in Paris if war continues, city's mayor says
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says there should be no Russian delegation allowed at the Paris Olympics next year if Moscow continues its war against Ukraine.
Hidalgo previously said Russian competitors could take part under a neutral flag but she backpedaled on Tuesday in an interview with French media France Info.
Acknowledging that a final decision belongs to the International Olympic Committee, Hidalgo said she wishes Russian athletes will be banned "as long as there is this war, this Russian aggression on Ukraine."
"It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation that comes to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine."
Hidalgo's comments came after Ukraine's sports minister last week renewed a threat to boycott the games if Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete and said Kyiv would lobby others to join.
No nation has so far declared it will boycott the 2024 Summer Games. But Ukraine won support from Poland, the Baltic nations and Denmark, who pushed back against an IOC plan to allow delegations from Russia and ally Belarus to compete in Paris as "neutral athletes" without flags or anthems.
— Associated Press
Russian forces trying to break through Ukraine's defenses around Bakhmut
Russian troops are attempting to push through Ukraine's defenses in the Bakhmut and Lyman area but are suffering large losses, according to an update by Ukraine's Ground Forces on Facebook Tuesday.
"Ukrainian defenders are heroically repelling the attacks of the Russian occupiers along the entire line of the eastern front," Ukraine's Ground Forces said in a statement.
"In the eastern direction of the front, the Russian occupiers do not stop their offensive attempts in the Lyman and Bakhmut directions," the statement, translated by Google, noted. It added that Russian forces continue "to make attempts to break through our defenses" but suffer "heavy losses."
"On the approaches to Bakhmut, our military showed great endurance and professionalism, which hindered the enemy's actions and caused enormous losses in manpower for the Russian occupiers," the statement continued, saying that as a result, Russian forces had not been able to break through the defenses of the "Bakhmut fortress."
CNBC was unable to verify the information in the update.
Russian forces and mercenaries belonging to the private military company known as the Wagner Group have been attempting to capture Bakhmut for months. Capturing the city in Donetsk is seen as a strategic goal for Russia as it tries to seize the region and wider Donbas area of eastern Ukraine.
Russia is expected to launch a large-scale offensive action to try to seize Donbas in the coming weeks.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russia moves troops into eastern Ukraine ahead of offensive, says governor
Russia is moving troops into eastern Ukraine ahead of its anticipated offensive, a Ukrainian governor warned Monday.
"We are seeing more and more (Russian) reserves being deployed in our direction, we are seeing more equipment being brought in," Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine's governor of the mainly Russian-occupied Luhansk province, said Monday, according to Reuters.
"They bring ammunition that is used differently than before - it is not round-the-clock shelling anymore. They are slowly starting to save, getting ready for a full-scale offensive," Haidai told Ukrainian television.
"It will most likely take them 10 days to gather reserves. After Feb. 15 we can expect (this offensive) at any time."
Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that Russia is planning to launch a large-scale offensive in mid-February — and perhaps times to coincide with the first anniversary of the invasion — in order to try to capture the entire eastern Donbas region. Fighting has been relentlessly intense in Donetsk and Luhansk, which make up the Donbas, for months.
Ukraine is in a tricky position as it prepares to defend its positions in eastern Ukraine but awaits battle tanks and longer-range weaponry from its international allies. The delivery of tanks could take several months at least, Western officials say.
— Holly Ellyatt
Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:
Biden to visit Poland; Moscow seen moving troops into east Ukraine ahead of expected offensive