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U.S. slams Russia's ‘sham elections' in occupied areas; India seeks G20 consensus on the war

Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine.

The West has sharply criticized elections taking place in occupied areas of Ukraine over the weekend, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken describing them as "nothing more than a propaganda exercise."

Russian-installed authorities are holding elections in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The Kremlin is thought to be seeking to tighten its grip on the partly controlled territories it illegally annexed a year ago.

The Russian embassy in the U.S. has reportedly defended the regional elections in occupied areas of Ukraine and accused Washington of meddling in its internal affairs.

A Ukrainian official, meanwhile, slammed Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for ordering his Starlink satellite communications network to be turned off near Crimea last year to thwart a Ukrainian attack on Russian warships.

Elsewhere, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Friday that it was not his place to tell India what stance to take on Russia's war in Ukraine, as leaders met in New Delhi for a G20 summit set to be dominated by the conflict.

Council of the EU sanctions six in relation to human rights abuses

The Council of the EU on Friday announced sanctions on an additional six people it said had committed serious human rights violations towards ethnic groups in Crimea.

In a statement, it said the individuals listed include prosecutors and judges active in courts established by Russia's occupying force in Crimea, as well as two members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).

— Karen GIlchrist

UK's PM Sunak says he will not advise India on Ukraine stance

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Friday that it was not his place to tell India what stance it should take on Russia's war in Ukraine, according to an interview with India's ANI news agency.

"It's not for me to tell India what positions to take on international issues, but I know India rightly cares about the international rule of law, the UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity," Sunak said when asked about India's stance on the conflict.

Sunak arrived in New Delhi Friday for the two-day G20 leaders summit, which begins Saturday.

The comments follow a report published Thursday in the Financial Times, which said that Sunak was set to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "call out" Russia on the war.

— Karen Gilchrist

First Leopard 1 tanks arrive in Ukraine, Denmark's armed forces say

Ukrainian soldiers unload the shells of spent tank ammunition from a Leopard 1 A5 main battle tank at the Klietz training area in Germany.
Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers unload the shells of spent tank ammunition from a Leopard 1 A5 main battle tank at the Klietz training area in Germany.

The first batch of Leopard 1 tanks donated by Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany have arrived in Ukraine, Danish armed forces said Friday, according to the AFP.

"The first 10 tanks have been sent to Ukraine. And more are on the way," the Danish armed forces said in a statement. It added that a further 10 tanks had been delivered from the factory where they are produced.

In February, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany announced that they would donate 100 of the German-made tanks within the "coming months."

— Karen Gilchrist

People forced to vote in elections in Russian-occupied Ukraine, regional authorities say

A member of a local electoral commission checks the passport of a voter at a mobile polling station during early voting for local elections organised by the Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on September 6, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict between the two countries.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images
A member of a local electoral commission checks the passport of a voter at a mobile polling station during early voting for local elections organised by the Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on September 6, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

People are effectively being forced to vote in elections held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, an official of Melitopol told the Associated Press on Friday.

Melitopol is a Russian-held city in the Zaporizhzhia region, which was seized by Russian forces during Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, alongside Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson. Elections in the regions began on Friday and will run until Sunday.

"When there's an armed person standing in front of you, it's hard to say no," Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said about participating in the vote.

There are four different parties on the ballot, the mayor added, noting that billboards only advertise United Russia.

"It looks like the Russian authorities know the result (of the election) already," Fedorov said.

— Karen Gilchrist

Russian airstrike kills three in Kherson village, minister says

A Russian airstrike killed three civilians and injured four others in a village in Kherson on Friday, Ukraine's interior minister said.

"The enemy shelled the Kherson region," Ihor Klymenko, according to a Google translation of a post on the Telegram messaging app. He added that two women and one man had been killed.

CNBC was unable to independently verify the reports.

— Karen Gilchrist

Ukraine shot down 16 drones overnight

Ukraine's air force shot down 16 drones launched by Russia overnight in the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions.

Governor of Odesa Oleh Kiper said that 14 Iranian-make Shahed drones had been destroyed in the region, according to a Google-translated post on the Telegram messaging app. He added that this marked the fifth such attack in the area in a week.

Kiper reported no casualties, but said that debris from the downed drones had destroyed a residential building.

Two further drones were shot down over the Mykolvaiv region, Reuters reports.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Karen Gilchrist

China's vice premier to visit Russia

China's Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing attends a press conference by China's Premier Li Qiang after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023.
Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images
China's Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing attends a press conference by China's Premier Li Qiang after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing will visit Vladivostok, Russia, over Sept. 10-12 to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, China's foreign ministry said on Friday.

Beijing and Moscow have maintained close economic ties throughout Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

— Karen Gilchrist

One dead, 25 injured after missile strike in Ukrainian city

One person has died and at least 25 people have been injured from a missile strike in the city of Kryvyi Rih, according to Ukrainian officials.

Serhii Lysak, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, said via Telegram that a missile hit an administrative building, killing one person and injuring several others.

"Garages caught fire. The fire covered 200 square meters. The information is being clarified," Lysak said, according to an NBC translation.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said that as of 10 a.m. local time, the number of people injured from the missile strike had risen to 25.

CNBC could not independently verify the developments.

— Sam Meredith

Blinken denounces Russia's 'sham elections' in occupied areas of Ukraine

A man receives his ballot papers at a mobile polling station during early voting for local elections organised by the Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on September 6, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict between the two countries.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images
A man receives his ballot papers at a mobile polling station during early voting for local elections organised by the Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on September 6, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sharply criticized what he described as Russia's "sham elections" in occupied areas of Ukraine, saying the Kremlin's efforts to tighten its grip on partly controlled territories it illegally annexed a year ago "is nothing more than a propaganda exercise."

Russian-installed authorities are holding local elections in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Voting opened Friday and is scheduled to finish Sunday.

The Russian embassy in the U.S. on Friday accused Washington of meddling in its internal affairs by calling the local elections in occupied areas of Ukraine "a sham," Reuters reported, citing the RIA news agency.

The Council of Europe, the continent's foremost human rights body, also condemned the elections earlier this week, saying they represent "a flagrant violation of international law which Russia continues to disregard."

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine hits out at Elon Musk for disrupting sneak attack on Russian fleet with Starlink cutoff

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, and owner of X. formerly known as Twitter.
Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, and owner of X. formerly known as Twitter.

A Ukrainian official slammed Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for ordering engineers to shut off Starlink's satellite network over Crimea last year in order to thwart a Ukrainian attack on Russian warships.

"By not allowing Ukrainian drones to destroy part of the Russian military fleet via Starlink interference, Elon Musk allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities," Mykhailo Podolyak, a top aide to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, wrote Thursday on social media. It comes after CNN reported some details from a new biography of Musk by author Walter Isaacson.

In the early days of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, as Western governments worked to supply Kyiv with artillery and air defense systems, the first of Musk's Starlink terminals arrived in the country. Musk eventually soured on the arrangement.

According to the book, Musk said: "Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes."

He told Isaacson that he was worried the Ukrainian attack on Russian vessels would provoke the Kremlin into launching a nuclear war. The book, titled "Elon Musk," will be released Tuesday.

Here's the full story.

— Amanda Macias, Katrina Bishop

Ukrainian counteroffensive making 'tangible progress', Blinken tells NBC News

Ukrainian military forces are making "very tangible progress" in the counteroffensive against Russian forces, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC News Thursday.

"I think we are seeing real forward movement," Blinken said, "but again, this is going to go on. This is tough, this is hard."

Blinken made the comments on the second day of his surprise visit to Ukraine, after announcing a $1 billion aid package for the country Wednesday.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

British American Tobacco to end Russia business within the next month

British American Tobacco said in a press release it plans to have sold its Russian and Belarusian businesses "within the next month."

BAT had announced in March 2022 that the ownership of its businesses in Russia were "no longer sustainable in the current environment," and said it would be transferring its business.

The tobacco giant will "no longer have a presence in Russia or Belarus" or make any financial gains from ongoing sales in those markets.

BAT said it was confident it would deliver according to its full-year guidance.

The news comes after droves of companies announced they would leave Russia following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but many still have a presence in the country.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Moscow slams U.S. supply of depleted uranium weapons to Kyiv; drones target more Russian cities

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