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Biden Approves $625 Million Aid Package for Kyiv; Ukraine Pushes Further Into Territory ‘Annexed' by Moscow

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This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Oct. 4, 2022. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukraine's counteroffensive in the east and south of the country continues to build momentum, with President Zelenskyy announcing last night that there were "new liberated settlements in several regions."

On Monday, Ukrainian forces saw more successes on the battlefield, pushing through Russian defenses in the south of the country, as well as consolidating their hold on territory around Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region, and looking to push further into neighboring Luhansk.

President Putin announced Russia was annexing both regions last Friday, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south, but Moscow's hold on them looks increasingly fragile with none of the regions fully occupied by Russian forces.

In his nightly address, the Ukrainian president said "fierce fighting continues in many areas of the front" but said an increasing number of occupying forces were trying to escape and "more and more losses are being inflicted on the enemy army."

Zelenskyy said Russian men who had been mobilized to fight in Ukraine just a few weeks ago were already dying in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the U.S. committed even more firepower to Ukraine's fight, as the Biden administration announced another $625 million in military aid to Kyiv. In a call with Zelenskyy, President Joe Biden said the U.S. would never recognize the illegal annexation attempts.

Lukashenko is a 'cheap partner' to Putin, says leader of Belarusian Democratic Movement

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko are in a "fake friendship" with both sides just using each other, according to Belarusian Democratic Movement leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

"They use each other because ... Lukashenko is a loyal partner ... very cheap partner, I would say, who gives [Putin] territory to attack Ukraine," she told CNBC's Hadley Gamble on Tuesday.

In February, Lukashenko hosted Russian troops and equipment, and permitted Russia to use Belarus as a staging post for its invasion of Ukraine.

The opposition leader described the relationship of the two leaders as a symbiotic one.

"Without Putin, Lukashenko won't survive the events of 2020. So they need each other, and they use each other."

Lukashenko claimed victory in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which was contested by Tsikhanouskaya at that point in time.

The victory of Ukraine against Russia is "crucial for Belarus," the democratic leader emphasized, "because this victory will give us opportunity, one movement of opportunity to apprise and to get rid of the [Putin's] regime."

"That's why it's so important for [everyone] to support Ukrainians as much as we can."

— Lee Ying Shan

Zelenskyy says it's a matter of time before Ukraine expels Russian troops

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pictured during his regular address to the nation, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.
Ukrinform | Future Publishing | Getty Images
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pictured during his regular address to the nation, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was only a "matter of time" before his war-weary country expels Russian troops.

"Today we have good news from the front lines. First: the Ukrainian army is making pretty fast and powerful movements in the south of our country as part of the current defense operation," Zelenskyy said on a nightly Telegram update.

"Dozens of settlements have already been liberated from the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone. This is in Kherson region, Kharkiv region, Luhansk region and Donetsk region together," he said, adding, "this is far from a complete list."

"Our soldiers are not stopping. And it's only a matter of time before we expel the occupier from all of our land."

— Amanda Macias

World Bank estimates Ukraine’s war-torn economy will sink 35% in 2022

Destruction after an apartment building hit by Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 14, 2022.
Alejandro Martinez | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Destruction after an apartment building hit by Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 14, 2022.

Devastated by Russia's invasion eight months ago, the Ukrainian economy will plunge 35% this year, the World Bank forecast.

The war has destroyed factories and farmland and displaced millions of Ukrainians. The World Bank, a 189-country anti-poverty agency, estimates that rebuilding the country will cost at least $349 billion, 1.5 times the size of Ukraine's prewar economy.

"Ukraine continues to need enormous financial support as the war needlessly rages on as well as for recovery and reconstruction projects," said Anna Bjerde, World Bank vice president for Europe and Central Asia.

Still, the bank's assessment for Ukraine's economy marks an upgrade from the 45.1% freefall it forecast in June. And it expects that the Ukrainian economy will return to growth in 2023, expanding 3.3% — though the outlook is highly uncertain and will depend on the course of the war.

Meanwhile, the Russian economy, hammered by Western sanctions, is expected to shrink both years — by 4.5% in 2022 and 3.6% next year. In June, however, the bank had predicted the Russian economy would fare even worse this year, shrinking by 8.9%. The energy-producing Russian economy has proven surprisingly resilient, helped by a surge in oil and natural gas prices.

— Associated Press

White House calls on Moscow to accept offer for detained Americans in Russia

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2022.

The Biden administration reiterated its calls to bring detained U.S. citizens Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner home from Russia.

"We want Russia to take the offer we put on the table, a substantial offer, seriously, or they can make a serious counter offer but they need to make a serious counter offer," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a daily briefing. She added that President Joe Biden "is committed to making every effort to bring them home."

Jean-Pierre's comments follow a Russian court's decision to hear Griner's appeal after she was convicted on drug charges and sentenced to nine years in prison.

"We are aware of Russia's announcement that Britney Griner will be forced to go through another sham judicial proceeding, she should be released immediately," Jean-Pierre said, referring to the upcoming hearing.

— Amanda Macias

Latest U.S. weapons package for Ukraine brings commitment to $16.8 billion since Russia invaded

Pro-Russian separatist forces are seen in the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine on May 28, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Pro-Russian separatist forces are seen in the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine on May 28, 2022.

The Biden administration announced another $625 million military aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday, bringing the U.S. commitment to more than $16.8 billion since Russia invaded the country in late February.

The latest weapons package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, as well as munitions for those systems, 16 155mm and 105mm Howitzers, 75,000 155mm artillery rounds, 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 1,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine, or RAAM systems, 200 mine-resistant armored vehicles and 200,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

"Recent developments from Russia's sham referenda and attempted annexation to new revelations of brutality against civilians in Ukrainian territory formerly controlled by Russia only strengthens our resolve," Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement announcing the 22nd weapons installment.

"The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine's hand at the negotiating table when the time is right," Blinken added.

— Amanda Macias

Biden speaks with Zelenskyy and announces new $625 million security assistance package

President Biden has warned Putin that the U.S. and its allies are willing to impose swift and severe costs on Russia.
Courtesy: The White House
President Biden has warned Putin that the U.S. and its allies are willing to impose swift and severe costs on Russia.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the war in Ukraine and reiterated that the U.S. "will never recognize Russia's purported annexation of Ukrainian territory."

Biden told Zelenskyy that his administration would support Kyiv "for as long as it takes," according to the White House readout of the call. The U.S. president also said he approved a new $625 million security assistance package for Ukraine's fight against Russia.

"Biden also affirmed the continued readiness of the United States to impose severe costs on any individual, entity, or country that provides support to Russia's purported annexation," the readout added.

— Amanda Macias

More than 260 vessels carrying agricultural products have left Ukrainian ports since exports restarted

Barbados-flagged general cargo ship Fulmar S is pictured in the Black Sea, north of the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey August 5, 2022.
Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters
Barbados-flagged general cargo ship Fulmar S is pictured in the Black Sea, north of the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey August 5, 2022.

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said that more than 260 vessels have left the besieged country since ports reopened.

The Joint Coordination Center, an initiative of Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey, said the ships transported a total of 5.9 million metric tons of grain and other food products.

In July, three of Ukraine's ports were reopened to exports under the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine's elderly and disabled at higher risk of death due to lack of access to evacuation routes and shelter

A local resident, Raisa Kuval, 82, reacts next to a damaged building partially destroyed after a shelling in the city of Chuguiv, east of Kharkiv, on July 16, 2022.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
A local resident, Raisa Kuval, 82, reacts next to a damaged building partially destroyed after a shelling in the city of Chuguiv, east of Kharkiv, on July 16, 2022.

Many of Ukraine's elderly and disabled people are unable to access evacuation routes or shelter, the U.N. warned in a new report.

About 13%of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine have a disability, according to the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA.

"And now, with the escalation of the fighting, air attacks, and Russian troops in the country, older people and persons with disabilities are at high risk of losing their lives, having difficulty accessing safe evacuation and lacking dignified shelter and access to humanitarian assistance," the authors of the new report added.

"Persons with disabilities often cannot reach train stations and shelters, which are frequently inaccessible for persons with limited mobility," the report added.

— Amanda Macias

Lack of training and supplies will continue to plague Russian troops and mobilized recruits

Service members of pro-Russian troops load ammunition into an armoued personnel carrier during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 12, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters
Service members of pro-Russian troops load ammunition into an armoued personnel carrier during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 12, 2022.

The British Ministry of Defense said Russia likely will have difficulty training and equipping the hundreds of thousands of troops recently mobilized to fight in Ukraine.

Since the early days of the war, Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine have been beset with a slew of logistical problems on the battlefield, including reports of fuel and food shortages.

"The challenges of accommodating, training, equipping and deploying mobilized and conscripted personnel are significant," the Ministry of Defense wrote in an intelligence update.

"Deficiencies within the Russian administrative and logistical systems will continue to undermine these efforts," the update added.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine unlikely to be able to join NATO while war ongoing, former commander says

Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) from 2013-2016, Philip Mark Breedlove attends a session at the Warsaw Security Forum in 2016.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) from 2013-2016, Philip Mark Breedlove attends a session at the Warsaw Security Forum in 2016.

Ukraine applied for a fast-track entry to the NATO military alliance last week after Russia annexed more of its territories following a set of sham referendums, but a top former military commander has said Ukraine is very unlikely to be able to join the bloc while the war is ongoing.

"The demonstrated history of NATO is that they're not going to bring a nation in that is in the middle of a border dispute or has occupied land," Philip Breedlove, former commander of U.S. European Command, 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, told CNBC Tuesday.

"They're not going to bring them in because then the whole alliance is committed to go straight to Article 5 [the principle that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all members] and so until this issue with Russia occupying Ukrainian land is over I don't think there's going to be a fast-track" to NATO membership, he said.

"I support it, I applaud Mr. Zelenskyy but I'm just being a realist," he told CNBC's Hadley Gamble on the sidelines of the Warsaw Security Forum.

Breedlove said Ukraine's successes on the battlefield in recent weeks represent a "fundamental shift" in the war, but that the nuclear threat posed by Russia is greater than ever.

Breedlove said Russian President Vladimir Putin was now facing an existential fight "as he starts to lose ground" and that the nuclear threat posed by Russia had grown as the war was not going Russia's way.

"Two months ago I would've told you that [the threat] was credible but highly unlikely. Now I would tell you that it's credible and the possibility is more than it was two months ago," he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

The nuclear threat is ‘absolutely credible,’ says retired Lt. General Ben Hodges

Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commanding general for the U.S. Army in Europe, says the nuclear threat is "absolutely credible," but there's no battlefield advantage for President Putin to use it.

200,000 have joined army after mobilization, Russian defense minister says

Russia's Ministry of Defense has seen 200,000 people respond to the mobilization announced by President Putin on Sept. 21, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed Tuesday.

"Today, more than 200,000 people have arrived in the armed forces," he said according to comments reported by Ria Novosti, adding that the training of personnel is being carried out at 80 training grounds and in six training centers.

Much attention has been focused on Russia's mobilization with analysts saying that Russian reservists being called up are likely to be poorly-trained, inexperienced and ill-equipped fighters.

Reservists drafted during the partial mobilisation attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on September 27, 2022.
Stringer | AFP | Getty Images
Reservists drafted during the partial mobilisation attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on September 27, 2022.

The call-up also prompted tens of thousands of eligible fighting men to try to flee the country with queues forming at the border with neighboring countries like Finland and Georgia.

Shoigu reportedly stressed on Tuesday that those called up will be sent to the areas of the special military operation "only after combat coordination, together with the units already involved."

He demanded that the commanders of the military districts and the Northern Fleet "in order to quickly adapt the recruits to the combat situation, conduct additional training with them under the guidance of officers with combat experience."

— Holly Ellyatt

Kremlin responds to Musk debacle, saying Twitter intervention on Ukraine was 'positive'

SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk gestures during a joint news conference with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (not pictured) at the SpaceX Starbase, in Brownsville, Texas, August 25, 2022.
Adrees Latif | Reuters
SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk gestures during a joint news conference with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (not pictured) at the SpaceX Starbase, in Brownsville, Texas, August 25, 2022.

The Kremlin waded into a dispute between Ukraine and U.S. tech billionaire Elon Musk, saying it was a "positive" step that Musk was outlining a possible peace deal between the warring countries.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was "very positive that a person like Elon Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of the situation," Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Musk caused anger among Ukraine's top officials on Monday after the Tesla CEO posted a Twitter poll asking the public to agree or disagree with what he claimed is the most likely outcome of Russia's invasion.

"F-- off is my very diplomatic reply to you," Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, wrote in response to Musk's tweet while President Volodymr Zelenskyy responded with a Twitter poll of his own. "Which Elon Musk do you like more," Zelenskyy asked. "The one who supports Ukraine" or "The one who supports Russia."

What Musk called a "highly likely" outcome presumed that Russia would accomplish several of its major goals, including permanently annexing Crimea and prohibiting Ukraine from joining NATO.

Ukraine has repeatedly stated that it will not cede any of its territory to Russia and will reclaim all its lost land. It has also applied to join NATO.

— Holly Ellyatt, Christina Wilkie

Putin 'likely' to sign laws formally annexing Ukrainian territories today

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on the military-industrial complex at the Kremlin, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.
Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on the military-industrial complex at the Kremlin, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is "likely" to sign laws incorporating four annexed Ukrainian territories into the Russia Federation on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier, according to Russian state news agency Ria Novosti.

Earlier today, Russia's upper house of parliament approved laws incorporating the regions into the Russian Federation.

The move to annex Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk — following sham referendums in late September in the occupied regions on whether to join Russia — has been internationally condemned, with Ukraine and its allies calling the votes illegal and illegitimate.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia's upper house greenlights annexation, Putin's signature will seal it

Russian President Vladimir Putin on a screen at Red Square as he addresses a rally and a concert marking the annexation of four regions of Ukraine — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — in central Moscow on Sept. 30, 2022.
Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin on a screen at Red Square as he addresses a rally and a concert marking the annexation of four regions of Ukraine — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — in central Moscow on Sept. 30, 2022.

Russia's upper house of parliament has approved laws incorporating four regions of Ukraine that Russia announced it was annexing last week, into the Russian Federation.

The move to annex Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk — following sham referendums in the occupied regions on whether to join Russia — was internationally condemned, with Ukraine and its allies calling the votes illegal and illegitimate.

Despite the prospect of further sanctions in response to the annexation, Russian lawmakers have plowed ahead with the legal process to annex the territories. The State Duma, or lower house of parliament, yesterday approved the annexation and the upper house, the Federation Council, today unanimously approved legislation ratifying the annexation.

It now remains for Russian President Vladimir Putin to put his signature to the documents to complete the formal annexation process.

(From left) The Moscow-appointed heads of Kherson region Vladimir Saldo and Zaporizhzhia region Yevgeny Balitsky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin and Luhansk separatist leader Leonid Pasechnik listen to the Russian national anthem after signing treaties formally annexing four regions of Ukraine Russian troops occupy, at the Kremlin in Moscow on Sept. 30, 2022.
Mikhail Metzel | AFP | Getty Images
(From left) The Moscow-appointed heads of Kherson region Vladimir Saldo and Zaporizhzhia region Yevgeny Balitsky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin and Luhansk separatist leader Leonid Pasechnik listen to the Russian national anthem after signing treaties formally annexing four regions of Ukraine Russian troops occupy, at the Kremlin in Moscow on Sept. 30, 2022.

It's still unclear where the boundaries of Russia's new so-called "territory" are, with none of the regions fully occupied by Russian forces and with Ukrainian troops making advances into Donetsk in the east and Kherson in the south.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that the DPR and LPR (so-called "people's republics in eastern Ukraine) will become a part of the Russian Federation according to their current boundaries but that Russia will consult with the residents of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia over where the borders of those regions are set.

When asked whether the parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that are now under control of the Ukrainian army are Russian or Ukrainian territory, Peskov said "I have nothing more to add to what I said right now."

— Holly Ellyatt

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistated which upper house approved the annexation.

Russia's routine conscription cycle delayed

Russia's routine conscription cycle, which takes place in the fall and which aims to train 120,000 conscripts, has been delayed this year, according to Britain's Ministry of Defense.

Last week, Putin signed an order for the routine fall conscription cycle to begin on Nov. 1, a month later than usual.

"The late start to the cycle is an indication of growing pressures on Russia's ability to train and equip a large number of new conscripted personnel," the ministry said on Twitter Tuesday.

"The challenges of accommodating, training, equipping and deploying mobilised and conscripted personnel are significant. Deficiencies within the Russian administrative and logistical systems will continue to undermine these efforts," the ministry added.

Reservists drafted during the partial mobilization at a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images
Reservists drafted during the partial mobilization at a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022.

Russia's forthcoming conscription cycle comes soon after Putin announced a partial mobilization of around 300,000 reservists to be sent to fight in Ukraine. There are now increasing reports of hastily called up, poorly trained and ill-equipped troops being sent to the front in Ukraine.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia's inexperienced conscripts are dying in the war just a week or so after arriving in the country to fight. Thousands of men have tried to escape conscription by fleeing to countries neighboring Russia.

— Holly Ellyatt

What's happening in the war? Here's the latest assessment by defense analysts

Ukraine's counteroffensive continues in the south in the Kherson region and in the northeast, with Ukrainian forces looking to push further into the Donetsk region and toward Luhansk. Here's how defense analysts at the Institute for the Study of War assessed Ukraine's progress late on Monday:

  • Ukrainian forces have made substantial gains around Lyman and in northern Kherson Oblast [a province or region] over the last 24 hours. The Russian units defeated on these fronts were previously considered to be among Russia's premier conventional fighting forces.
  • Ukrainian forces made advances on the Oskil River-Kreminna line toward the Luhansk Oblast border.
  • Ukrainian forces advanced in northern Kherson Oblast.
Ukraine recaptures Lyman, a key logistics hub for Russian forces.
Institute for the Study of War
Ukraine recaptures Lyman, a key logistics hub for Russian forces.

Summing up Ukraine's progress following the recapturing of Lyman (a key logistics hub for Russian forces in the area) on Saturday, analysts at the ISW wrote that the country's forces "continued to make substantial gains around Lyman and in Kherson Oblast in the last 48 hours." 

"Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Ukrainian troops made significant breakthroughs in northern Kherson Oblast between October 2 and 3. Geolocated footage corroborates Russian claims that Ukrainian troops are continuing to push east of Lyman and may have broken through the Luhansk Oblast border in the direction of Kreminna."

The ISW noted again that Russian groupings in northern Kherson Oblast and on the Lyman front were largely comprised of units that had been regarded as among Russia's premier conventional fighting forces before the war but said "their apparent failures to hold territory against major Ukrainian counter-offensive actions is consistent with ISW's previous assessment that even the most elite Russian military forces are becoming increasingly degraded as the war continues."

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy says there are newly liberated settlements in several regions

Ukraine's counteroffensive in the northeast and south of the country continues to build momentum, with President Zelenskyy announcing last night that there were "new liberated settlements in several regions."

On Monday, Ukrainian forces saw more successes on the battlefield, pushing through Russian defenses in the south of the country, as well as consolidating their hold on territory around Lyman in the northeast Donetsk region, and looking to push further eastward into Luhansk.

President Putin announced Russia was annexing both regions last Friday but Moscow's hold on them looks increasingly fragile.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy didn't name the newly liberated towns but said "fierce fighting continues in many areas of the front" but said an increasing number of occupying forces were trying to escape and "more and more losses are being inflicted on the enemy army."

Zelenskyy said Russian men who had been mobilized to fight in Ukraine just a few weeks ago were already dying in Ukraine.

"Among the dead occupiers we can already see those who were taken [brought to fight in Ukraine] just a week or two ago. People were not trained for combat, they have no experience to fight in such a war. But the Russian command just needs some people - any kind - to replace the dead. And when these new ones die, more people will be sent. This is how Russia fights. That's how it will lose as well," he said.

"No sham referenda, announcements about annexations, conversations about the borders they invented and drew somewhere, will help them," he added, referring to a set of fake referendums in Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine that led to Moscow announcing their annexation last week, a move branded as illegitimate and illegal by Ukraine and its allies.

— Holly Ellyatt

Elon Musk is publicly rebuked by Zelenskyy over his Twitter poll

SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk takes part in a joint news conference with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (not pictured) at the SpaceX Starbase, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., August 25, 2022.
Adrees Latif | Reuters
SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk takes part in a joint news conference with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert (not pictured) at the SpaceX Starbase, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., August 25, 2022.

American tech billionaire Elon Musk drew public ire from Ukraine's top officials after the Tesla CEO posted a Twitter poll asking the public to agree or disagree with what he claimed is the most likely outcome of Russia's invasion.

"F-- off is my very diplomatic reply to you," Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, wrote in response to Musk's tweet.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy responded with a Twitter poll of his own. "Which Elon Musk do you like more," Zelenskyy asked. "The one who supports Ukraine" or "The one who supports Russia."

What Musk calls a "highly likely" outcome presumes that Russia accomplishes several of its major goals, including permanently annexing Crimea, using referendums to determine the fates of 4 other attempted annexations, and prohibiting Ukraine from joining NATO.

For Ukrainians, these outcomes would never, ever be acceptable.

Christina Wilkie

Photos show destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind in Izium, Kharkiv

Ukrainian forces transport Russian vehicles and missile launch pads left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian forces transport Russian vehicles and missile launch pads left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.

Over the weekend Ukrainian forces seized the strategic city of Lyman and continued a stunning counteroffensive in the northeast of the country.

The following photos show destroyed Russian armored vehicles and tanks left behind as Ukrainian forces battle for Izium, Kharkiv and continue to push east through Russian lines.

Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022. 
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022. 
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022.
A destroyed Russian armored vehicle left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A destroyed Russian armored vehicle left behind by the Russian forces in Izium, Kharkiv, Ukraine on October 02, 2022. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

— Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian forces release Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant official, IAEA chief says

A Russian serviceman stands guard the territory outside the second reactor of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Energodar on May 1, 2022.
Andrey Borodulin | AFP | Getty Images
A Russian serviceman stands guard the territory outside the second reactor of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Energodar on May 1, 2022.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Russian forces released an employee from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said Ihor Murashov, the director general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, was released and returned to his family.

Last week, Murashov was allegedly detained by Russian troops upon leaving the power plant facility in the town of Energodar.

— Amanda Macias

Russia's Parliament approves annexations, but boundaries remain unclear

People attend an event marking the declared Russia's annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, after holding what Russian authorities called referendums in the occupied areas of Ukraine that were condemned by Kyiv and governments worldwide, in Luhansk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, September 30, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters
People attend an event marking the declared Russia's annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, after holding what Russian authorities called referendums in the occupied areas of Ukraine that were condemned by Kyiv and governments worldwide, in Luhansk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, September 30, 2022.

Russia's Duma, or lower house of Parliament, unanimously approved the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson although the borders of what Russia now claims is its territory remain unclear.

A statement from the Duma on Telegram said "the entry of the Donetsk, Luhansk people's republics [self-proclaimed separatist regions], Zaporozhzhia and Kherson regions into the Russian Federation is the only way to save millions of people's lives from the criminal Kyiv regime," the Duma said, repeating baseless accusations against the government in Kyiv.

Russia's annexation of four regions of Ukraine has been almost internationally condemned with Ukraine and its allies calling the move, after sham referendums in those occupied regions, illegitimate and illegal.

It's also unclear where the boundaries are of Russia's new so-called "territory" with none of the regions fully occupied by Russian forces.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters today that the DPR and LPR (so-called "people's republics in eastern Ukraine) will accede to the Russian Federation as they are but that Russia will consult with the residents of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia over where the borders of those regions are set.

Asked whether the parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that are now under control of the Ukrainian army are Russian or Ukrainian territory, Peskov said "I have nothing more to add to what I said right now."

Ukraine has vowed to retake all of its lost territory, with around 18% of the country currently occupied by Russian forces.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukrainian forces gaining a foothold in southern Kherson region

Ukrainian soldiers scavenge an abandoned Russian T-90A tank in Kyrylivka, in the recently retaken area near Kharkiv, on September 30, 2022.
Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers scavenge an abandoned Russian T-90A tank in Kyrylivka, in the recently retaken area near Kharkiv, on September 30, 2022.

Ukraine's forces are gaining a foothold within liberated areas of the southern Kherson region, according to a spokeswoman for the southern military command.

Southern command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk told reporters Monday that Ukraine's forces in the south are "conducting battles and gaining a foothold within the areas which have already been liberated and those that are still keeping the defense."

"Also, we continue working with local residents along the contact line, along the front line, in those settlements that are under enemy fire. About 45 settlements have been shelled over the past day," Humeniuk told reporters, according to comments reported by news agency Ukrinform, with efforts underway to evacuate civilians.

Humeniuk also said that Russian troops are inspecting households in occupied areas of the region for men aged between 18 and 35 in order to call them up and replenish their military units.

CNBC was unable to verify Humeniuk's comments.

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Ukraine's forces gain ground in the south as counteroffensive builds; Russia acknowledges advances

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