Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (2023)

2:19 p.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (1)

Russia is "interested" in ending the conflict in Ukraine "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday during a news conference with Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira in Brasilia.

Lavrov also thanked his Brazilian colleagues for the "excellent understanding" of the situation in Ukraine, and said Russia is grateful for Brazil's "desire to contribute" to the search for possible solutions.

The Russian foreign minister is also expected to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva today, according to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry’s schedule published online.

Ukraine has repeatedly said that peace in the conflict will only be achieved if Russia restores the country's borders and Kyiv takes back Crimea.

“Real peace means restoring the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine. Real peace means a safe homeland for the targeted people in the Ukrainian Crimea,” Ukrainain Foreign Minister Dmytro Kulebasaid in an address last week to the Black Sea Security Conference in Bucharest.

“I reiterated Brazil’s stance in contributing to a peaceful solution to the conflict, reminding President Lula’s manifestations in seeking the formation of a group of friendly countries to mediate the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine,” Vieira said in a televised press conference.

Vieira also highlighted Brazil’s stance against unilateral sanctions.

“Such measures, in addition to having the approval of the security council of the United Nations, also have a negative impact on the economy all over the world, and in particular in underdeveloped countries, most of whom haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic,” Vieira said.

1:23 p.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Leaked US documents reveal both Ukraine and Russia hold mix hands for next phase of war

Analysis from CNN's Tim Lister

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (2)

There are several significant takeaways from theleaked US documentsabout the course of the conflict in Ukraine.

Russian ground forces in the country are approaching exhaustion and there are few reinforcements available. Ukrainian air defenses are depleted, making any counteroffensive vulnerable to Russian air superiority.

And the United States does not expect the war to end this year.

The 53 documents reviewed by CNN provide a snapshot of capabilities and vulnerabilities as perceived by the US Defense Department in the first quarter of this year.

Snapshots are inherently risky: Circumstances change, as do resources and intentions. But the documents tend to confirm that Ukrainian forces are preparing for an offensive and that Russia is putting extensive effort into holding what it already has, while looking to aviation to blunt any Ukrainian attacks.

And if the Russians were unaware of the way the Ukrainian military would design its counteroffensive, the documents may have given them some useful indicators.

Russian brigades mauled: Several of the documents, which appear to date largely from February and March, tend to confirm that Russia has committed the vast majority of its army battalions to its war on in Ukraine. Despite the mobilization last autumn, which potentially added 300,000 soldiers to the Russian ranks, a significant minority of these battalions are described as “combat ineffective” — short of men and equipment.

One document says that 527 out of 544 available Russian battalions are committed to the operation, and 474 are already inside Ukraine. A substantial number are deployed in the south of the country — with an estimated 23,000 personnel in Zaporizhzhia and another 15,000 in Kherson. That suggests the Russians expect any Ukrainian offensive to target that region.

(Video) Russia slows down, Ukraine prepares for counteroffensive - DOCUMENTARY

But in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, for example, 19 out of 91 battalions were adjudged as “combat ineffective.”

Russia still has vast inventories of hardware, but the documents suggest that some of the best has already been lost, and older, less reliable armor is being dusted off. One says that Russia continued to fall behind stated goals for replenishing equipment and personnel, and was incorporating “older, less accurate munitions systems.”

Open skies: While Ukraine’s ground forces may be in better shape than the enemy’s, especially once 12 new brigadesmentioned in one leakare fully trained and equipped, its reliance on Soviet-era air defenses points to a growing vulnerability, according to the documents obtained by CNN. This in turn may give the Russian air force freedom of the skies to blunt any Ukrainian ground offensive.

One of the leaked documents detailed how Ukrainian stocks of Soviet-era medium-range air defense missiles were severely depleted. Ominously, it suggested that Ukraine had run out of munitions for the highly capable German-made Iris-T air defense system by February.

Ukrainian officials are constantly asking Western partners for more air defense weaponry and one document talks of a three- to six-month window in which to solicit further Western contributions.

Read more of the analysis.

1:31 p.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Jailed Kremlin critic Kara-Murza’s health is deteriorating, lawyer says

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (3)

A lawyer for jailed Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza has warned of his deteriorating health, in comments outside court following his sentencing on Monday.

“The problem is that we are concerned about his state of health. As you know, Vladimir survived two poisonings in 2015 and 2017, from which he was recovering for a very long and difficult time,” lawyer Maria Eismont said on the steps of the Moscow City Court.

“Now, while he was already in custody, a number of symptoms associated with numbness of limbs and nerve failure have worsened,” she said.

Eismont said Kara-Murza was first diagnosed with polyneuropathy – a condition that develops when nerves in the body's extremities are damaged – when he was taken for an examination to a civilian hospital in Moscow at the end of March.

According to Eismont, the results of the examination showed serious problems with the nerves in both his legs and one arm.

“The diagnosis of polyneuropathy is on the list of diseases that prevent serving a sentence,” she said.

Last month, Kara-Murza could not be taken to the courthouse from the pre-trial detention center due to his deteriorating health, according to a Facebook post from another lawyer in his legal team, Vadim Prokhorov. Prokhorov said that the opposition politician’s health has significantly deteriorated.

Some context: The Moscow City Court on Monday sentenced Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison in the case of treason, discrediting the army and participating in the activities of an undesirable organization.

In addition to the jail time, he was sentenced to restriction of movement for six months after his release, banned from working in journalism for seven years after release and ordered to pay a fine of 400,000 roubles (roughly $5,000).

2:48 p.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Russia’s oil exports rebound to pre-war levels

From CNN's Anna Cooban

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (4)

Russia’soil exportshave bounced back to levels last seen before it invaded Ukraine, despite a barrage ofWestern sanctions.

Moscow’s exports of crude oil and oil products rose in March to their highest level since April 2020, jumping by 600,000 barrels a day, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly oil report Friday. The rise lifted Russia’s estimated revenue from oil exports to $12.7 billion last month.

The revenue is still down 43% from a year ago, the IEA said, as Russia is forced to sell its barrels to a more limited pool of customers who can negotiate greater discounts.

Some background: Western countries have imposed a raft of sanctions on Moscow’s energy exports since President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine in February last year. The most significant is a ban on Russianseaborne crude importsinto the European Union and aban on refined oil productssuch as dieselinto the bloc.

But Russia, the world’s second-largest exporter of crude, has found willing buyers inChina and Indiato replace European customers.

Read more about this here.

(Video) Putin says Russia wants end to war in Ukraine
11:02 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny condemns Kara-Murza’s verdict as "shameless and simply fascist"

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (5)

Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has strongly condemned the 25-year prison sentence handed Monday to fellow Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza, describing it as "shameless” and “simply fascist."

In an audio statement shared by his team, Navalny referred to Kara-Murza's conviction as "illegal, shameless, and simply fascist.”

Navalny said he believed the verdict was politically motivated and expressed support for Kara-Murza and his family.

He also expressed deep concern about Kara-Murza’s health.

“The term that he [Vladimir Kara-Murza] received is revenge for the fact that he did not die at one time, having survived 2 poisonings, which were apparently committed, and this has already been proven, by the FSB of Russia,” he added.

Russian authorities have disputed Russia's involvement in those incidents.

10:42 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

US ambassador to Moscow visits detained Wall Street Journal reporterin prison

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (6)

US Ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, on Monday visited detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the US embassy said on Twitter.

(Video) The final warning from the US has been issued! China and Russia compromise surrender!

“I visited WSJ’s Evan Gershkovich today at Lefortovo Prison - the first time we've been permitted access to him since his wrongful detention more than two weeks ago,” Tracy said in the tweet.

“He is in good health and remains strong. We reiterate our call for his immediate release,” the post said.

The US designated Gershkovich as wrongfully detained earlier this month, which gives further backing to the assertions by the US government and the Wall Street Journal that the espionage charges against the reporter are baseless. It will also empower the Biden administration to explore avenuessuch as a prisoner swap to try to secure Gershkovich’s release.

See the embassy's tweet:

9:46 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Russian Ministry of Defense claims capture of 2 Bakhmut districts in eastern Ukraine

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (7)

The Russian Ministry of Defense has said that "assault detachments" have captured two districts in the center and northwest of the embattled city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

The defense ministry provided no further details on the locations. CNN cannot independently verify the claim.

It comes after the Ukrainian military’s General Staff said that “the enemy launched unsuccessful attacks in the vicinities of Khromove and Ivanivs’ke,” suburbs to the west and southwest of Bakhmut, respectively.

In the update on Monday morning the General Staff also said that "heavy fighting is ongoing in Bakhmut."

9:45 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

US and others join international condemnation of Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza's conviction

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Saskya Vandoorne

Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says (8)

The United States and France have added to the chorus of international condemnation following Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza's 25-year prison sentence on Monday.

"Mr. Kara-Murzais yet another target of the Russian government’s escalating campaign of repression," US State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement.

"Werenew our call for Mr. Kara-Murza'srelease,as well asthe release ofthe more than 400political prisoners in Russia," he said.

And the French Foreign Ministry said France is "dismayed" by Kara-Murza's sentencing at a Moscow court on Monday, calling it "a new illustration of the campaign of repression led by the Russian authorities against voices critical of the power and its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

“It is concerned by the instrumentalization of the Russian justice system, which has become a tool of oppression for the Kremlin," it added in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry also said it was concerned about Kara-Murza’s health due to detention conditions.

(Video) NATO’s Top Military Officer: We Cannot Afford To Let Russia Win In Ukraine

“France calls on Russia to respect international human rights law, to release the political prisoners and to drop the legal proceedings against them," reads the statement.

"We salute the courage of women and men like Vladimir Kara-Murza, Alexei Navalny and so many others who defend freedom of speech and opinion despite the risks involved.”

Last week, jailed opposition figure Navalny's team revealed he had been experiencing severe stomach issues amid fears that he may have been slowly poisoned.

“Last week,Navalnyhas been suffering from stomach pain so acute that prison officials were forced to call an ambulance to treat him,” the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) said Friday on Twitter.

More on Western nations condemning Kara-Murza's conviction: Norway's foreign minister Anniken Huitfeldt condemned in the "strongest terms" the "politically motivated" sentencing of Kara-Murza.

"A deeply alarming and harsh sentence for exercising the right to freedom of expression. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Kara-Murza and all political prisoners in Russia," Huitfeldt said Monday in astatement.

Austria is "deeply alarmed" by the "deteriorating" human rights situation in Russia, Austria's Foreign Ministrytweetedon Monday

"We strongly condemn the politically motivated 25-year sentence of @vkaramurza& call for his immediate & unconditional release. The repression of the Russian civil society must stop," the tweet reads.

CNN's Sharon Braithwaite contributed to this post.

8:14 a.m. ET, April 17, 2023

Ukraine accuses Moscow of threatening grain initiative as Russia says prospects for extension not improving

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Victoria Butenko and Anna Chernova

Ukraine has accused Moscow of threatening the United Nations-brokered Grain Initiative, saying inspections of ships in Turkish territorial waters have been blocked for the second time.

Inspections were blocked Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure said in a statement.

“As a result, for the second time in 9 months of operation of the Grain Initiative, an inspection plan has not been drawn up, and not a single vessel has been inspected. This threatens the functioning of the Grain Initiative.”

The ministry said Russia had been unilaterally registering vessels submitted by Ukraine and had been choosing vessels from the line at their own discretion, a move Kyiv considered to be “unacceptable” and in contradiction of the agreement.

“Since April 2023, Russian representatives of the JCC [Joint Coordination Centre] have been trying to interfere in the activities of Ukrainian ports and exporters by imposing their own criteria for determining specific vessels that will participate in the initiative,” the ministry said.

The JCC facilitates the functioning of the grain initiative and includes representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN.

“Ukraine categorically rejects Russia’s latest demands and opposes its interference in the operation of Ukrainian ports. We hope that the UN partners and Turkey can still ensure that all parties in the JCC comply with the procedures that have worked for 9 months.”

For its part, Russia has maintained its position and says prospects for the extension of the grain deal have not been improving.

“[Prospects] are still not so rosy,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about the likelihood of the current deal being extended.

“Unfortunately, the situation with the improvement of the state of affairs in the second part of these agreements still does not improve,” he added.

(Video) Gravitas Plus | Explained: The Russia-Ukraine crisis


Russia is interested in ending the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Lavrov says? ›

While mentioning the interest to end the war and the conflict, Lavrov reiterated Russia's stance that any diplomatic solution must acknowledge the realities of its unilateral annexation of four Ukrainian provinces. Lavrov said, "We are interested in the Ukrainian conflict ending as soon as possible.

What was the international response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine? ›

Reactions among governments have generally been negative, particularly in Europe, the Americas, and Southeast Asia, with criticism and condemnation made by many leading nations such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain.

What is the conflict going on between Russia and Ukraine? ›

Ans: Russia control Crimea and parts of Donbas which are internationally recognized as the parts of Ukraine. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is since 2014 for these areas. Ques: When did the war between Ukraine and Russia start 2022?


1. Russia not interested in ending war, only issues ultimatums: Ukraine President Zelenskyy
2. Ukraine’s counteroffensive: Can it meet expectations? | To the Point
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3. Ukraine has hit Russia in the heart: Russian supply bridge has been destroyed!
(ANKA Daily News)
4. A Strategic Analysis of the Russo-Ukraine War | Richard Iron CMG OBE
(Australian Institute of International Affairs)
5. Putin's Downfall: Military experts outline how Ukraine conflict will end
(Times Radio)
6. Chris Hayes: Three Possible Ways The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Could End


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