Ukraine war live updates: Tucker Carlson teases interview with Vladimir Putin; Russia launches missiles strikes on major cities

Russia launched several waves of missile strikes on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities during Wednesday morning rush hours, Ukrainian officials said, with falling debris from the downed weapons cutting off electricity to parts of the capital.

Several waves of blasts rocked Kyiv during the attack, the first in February, with air defence systems engaged in destroying the missiles, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app.

At least two people were injured in Dniprovskyi district that lies along the Dnipro River, he added.

A firefighter is seen near a high-rise building destroyed by a rocket attack in the center of Kyiv. 

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All of Ukraine was under air raid alert from around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT), with Ukraine’s Air Force warning on Telegram of a risk of Russian missile attacks across the country. The first blasts were heard just before 7 a.m. in Kyiv.

“I was scared when air alerts announced and we rushed here,” Tetyana, 49, told Reuters in a bomb shelter in central Kyiv, wile hugging her two-year-old granddaughter and a small dog.

“I hope they will shoot down all of them. I pray for our air defence.”

The scale of the attack, which lasted several hours, was not immediately known. There was no immediate response from Russia’s defence ministry to Reuters’ request to comment.

Ukraine’s largest private energy company, DTEK, said Dniprovskyi district was left partially without electricity. Klitschko said falling debris from a downed Russian missile damaged some power lines.

Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine’s northeast, said Russian missiles struck non-residential infrastructure in Kharkiv city, the administrative centre of the region.

— Reuters

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in a post on X that he will interview Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That would make him the first member of the Western media to interview the Russian leader since the country’s invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.

“Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his goals are now…Americans have a right to know all they can about a war they’re implicated in and we have the right to tell them about it,” Carlson said in a Tuesday video posted from Moscow.

Carlson has criticized the U.S.’ backing of Ukraine in the war, and has previously expressed support for Putin.

Read more here.

— Ryan Anastasio

Ukraine said on Tuesday a group of its special forces blew up a drilling platform in the Black Sea that Russia was using to enhance the range of its drones.

In a statement on the Telegram messaging platform, special forces said equipment on the platform was used for drones involved in attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and to control the northwestern part of the sea.

The operation, dubbed Citadel, was conducted at night and resulted in the capture of “important enemy equipment” and the platform being blown up, the statement said.

“A successful special operation ensured safer movement of ships and limited the enemy’s capabilities in the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” it added.

A showy video published alongside the statement featured troops landing on the platform in the dawn hours, operating inside and moving away from it while a bright explosion is seen in the background.

Reuters could not independently verify the information. Moscow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Reuters

A two-month old baby has died in a Russian missile strike on Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, a regional official said Tuesday.

Oleh Synehubov, the head of the Kharkiv military administration, said Russian forces had attacked the village of Zolochiv in the Kharkiv region, hitting a three-story hotel.

“Rescuers removed the body of a two-month-old boy, who was born on December 4, 2023, from under the rubble,” Synehubov said on Telegram.

Three women, aged 21, 28 and 39, were hospitalized with blast injuries and shrapnel wounds, including the mother of the dead child, he added.

Synehubov said Russian forces had hit the hotel during the night using two S-300 missiles. CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information in the post.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian armed forces are occupying more advantageous positions in the Donetsk direction, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.

“In the Donetsk direction, units of the Southern Group of Forces occupied more advantageous lines and positions,” the ministry said on Telegram, according to a Google translation.

It added that its units had “also repelled seven enemy attacks and defeated the manpower and equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the areas of the settlements of Kleshcheevka , Andreevka, Kurdyumovka, Novgorodskoe, Georgievka and Katerynivka of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” referring to the self-proclaimed “republic” declared by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has since pronounced that the alleged “republic” and three other partially-occupied Ukrainian regions are a part of Russia. Russian authorities use Soviet-era spellings of Ukrainian place names in their statements.

Donetsk has been a hotspot for fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists since 2014, and Russian forces have attempted to further consolidate their territorial hold on the area since the 2022 invasion. They currently occupy around 57% of the region, Reuters says.

Ukrainian tank crews T64 battle tank fires on the Russian troops position on January 9, 2024 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. 

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Ukraine’s armed forces said on Tuesday that they had repelled 10 attacks in the Bakhmut area of Donetsk, including around the settlements of Bogdanivka, Ivanivka and Klishchievka. In an update on Facebook, the military said that Russian forces continued their attempts to surround war hotspot Avdiivka, but that their soldiers were holding the defense line.

Ukrainian Governor of Donetsk Vadym Filashkin told Reuters on Friday that Russia is firing between 1,500 and 2,500 shells and rockets at the region every day, targeting critical infrastructure in order to make it harder for people to take shelter there during winter.

CNBC was unable to verify the claims of both reports.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that a military and political shake-up that is expected soon will have no impact on Kyiv’s relations with its Western allies.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is considering a “reset” to replace several senior officials that will go beyond the military sphere. There is intense speculation that Ukraine’s army chief will be fired.

I do not think that any changes in the government can influence our relations with our partners,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a joint news briefing in Kyiv alongside his Portuguese counterpart.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes the hand of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhny during the official celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day in August, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

Alexey Furman | Getty Images News | Getty Images

He said it was the constitutional right of Zelenskyy to be able to dismiss the head of the army if he saw fit. Any shake-up would not be a sign of divisions in Ukraine’s war effort, he added.

“We can have discussions about tactics inside of the team but we are all united around our strategic goal which is the defeat of Russia in Ukraine and restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. And there are no discussions whatsoever on this strategic goal,” he said.

Speculation has gripped Ukraine for weeks over suggestions that the president was about to dismiss the highly popular army commander, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. The two have been at odds over the conduct of the nearly two-year Russian invasion of Ukraine.

— Reuters

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