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Ukrainian Flag Raised in Kherson After Russia's Retreat; Top U.S. General Says ‘Diplomatic Solutions' Possible

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

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

Russia's announcement of its completed withdrawal from Kherson, the only Ukrainian provincial capital it captured since the war began, has been met with celebration by many in Ukraine and the West — even prompting some in the U.S. government to suggest an opening for diplomatic talks. President Joe Biden, however, maintains that the timing of talks must be up to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, analysts warned that the Russian pullout Kherson in southern Ukraine is likely to be fraught with danger for both sides.

Ukraine's government said it was skeptical about Russia's withdrawal, although its forces on the ground appeared to be exploiting the opportunity to target large groups of Russian troops preparing to withdraw.

Famed street artist Banksy shares image of graffiti in Ukraine

Street artist and political activist Banksy shared three photos on Instagram of graffiti painted on a bombed-out building in Ukraine.

The only caption shared with the image says "Borodyanka, Ukraine" a city in the northwest of Kyiv. The image posted by the British artist shows a girl in a bent-knee handstand, typical of a gymnast. Her hands appear as though she is balancing on a pile of rubble from the destroyed building behind her.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian official warns residents to not return to Kherson region due to Russian mines and explosives

Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov speaks after Russia's on February 22, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov speaks after Russia's on February 22, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, warned residents of the Kherson region to not return home just yet because Russian forces left mines and other explosives on the ground when they retreated.

"Unfortunately, we do not advise the population to return there," Danilov said, adding that Ukrainian forces are actively working to clear the area.

"The population should be very careful about this issue until our Armed Forces give the go-ahead to return to those towns and villages," he added, according to an NBC News translation.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy thanks EU for 'constant support of Ukraine'

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends the NATO summit via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 29, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends the NATO summit via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine June 29, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked European allies for "constant support of Ukraine" as his nation continues to fight off a Russian invasion.

"Due to the full-scale war, most of Ukrainian exports and imports halted. But we were able to open a new way of economic lifeline through the territory of the European Union. And along this road of life, we established a supply that is critically important not only for Ukraine but also for the whole of Europe," Zelenskyy said in an evening address on the Telegram messaging app.

"On the eve of the half-year anniversary of the European Union's "Paths of Solidarity" initiative, I thanked entire united Europe for its constant support of Ukraine," Zelenskyy added, according to an NBC News translation.

— Amanda Macias

Russia and Ukraine are firing 24,000 or more artillery rounds a day

A howitzer, belonging to Ukrainian artillery battery attached to the 59th Mechanized Brigade, is seen before shooting-off to target the points controlled by Russian troops in order to support to the Ukrainian army as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Kherson Oblast, Ukraine on November 05, 2022.
Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A howitzer, belonging to Ukrainian artillery battery attached to the 59th Mechanized Brigade, is seen before shooting-off to target the points controlled by Russian troops in order to support to the Ukrainian army as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Kherson Oblast, Ukraine on November 05, 2022.

Russia and Ukraine are burning through artillery shells and other weapons and ammunition at a rate not seen since the Korean War, officials said, and will need to restock during the long winter to come. 

Russia is firing a staggering 20,000 artillery rounds per day, a senior U.S. defense official estimated, while Ukraine is firing from 4,000 to 7,000 rounds daily.

The Ukrainians are quickly burning through their stockpiles of artillery rounds and other ammunition, including for their air defense systems, officials said.

"Ukraine still needs a significant amount of artillery going forward," the official said. "Consumption rates in this war are very high."

Ukraine has not lost a single HIMARS system, said the official. The U.S. has provided 18 of the high-mobility multiple rocket launchers to the Ukrainians. 

Read more on NBC News.

Some U.S. and Western officials think neither side can win and see winter as a shot at diplomacy in Ukraine-Russia war

A local resident Olena Kushnir stands in front of ammunition boxes near her destroyed house, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Nova Husarivka, recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine September 15, 2022.
Gleb Garanich | Reuters
A local resident Olena Kushnir stands in front of ammunition boxes near her destroyed house, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Nova Husarivka, recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine September 15, 2022.

Some U.S. and Western officials increasingly believe that neither side can achieve all of their goals in the Ukraine war and are eyeing the expected winter slowdown in fighting as an opportunity for diplomacy to begin between Russia and Ukraine, officials familiar with the matter say.

Western defense officials question Ukraine's ability to remove Russian troops completely from occupied areas, and if military operations on the ground stabilize over the winter that could underline that neither side is likely to achieve its goal of controlling the whole country, the officials said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on matters of diplomacy.

"In the winter, everything slows down," said a Western official with direct knowledge of military operations. "The potential for talks, we would like to see that happening."

Read more on NBC News.

State Department still has not heard about WNBA star Griner's whereabouts

US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. 
Evgenia Novozhenina | AFP | Getty Images
US' Women's National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. 

The State Department said U.S. diplomats "have not heard anything substantive from the Russians" following multiple requests for additional information about WNBA star Brittney Griner's whereabouts.

Earlier this week, Griner was moved from a Russian prison to a penal colony. Last month a Russian court denied Griner's appeal and upheld its nine-year prison sentence for drug smuggling charges.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. put a "formal request seeking additional information on her whereabouts" that also made clear "our expectations that her conditions of confinement as improved as they as they can be."

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine war developments will catch markets off-guard in coming months, Opimas CEO says

Octavio Marenzi, CEO of management consultancy Opimas said people had "basically started to ignore" the war in Ukraine, although it is "likely to heat up" in the coming months.

"I think that's going to catch markets off-guard quite substantially," Marenzi told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."

Marenzi said people were focusing on earnings, inflation and Bitcoin rather than the conflict.

Marenzi also said there had been an "irrational exuberance" after U.S. inflation figures were released.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Russia says its forces have completed their retreat from Kherson

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, October 28, 2022. 
Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, October 28, 2022. 

Russian forces have completed their rapid retreat from Ukraine's southern region of Kherson, Russia's defense ministry said. Western and Ukrainian leaders and analysts expected the withdrawal, which involved tens of thousands of men, to take significantly longer.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the pullout Wednesday as Ukrainian forces continued their steady advance into the territory, which is the only provincial capital captured by Moscow since the start of the war. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Kherson as annexed in late September, a move illegal under international law, and the Kremlin says it is "still part of Russia."

All Russia's forces and equipment were moved to the eastern bank of the Dnieper river and the withdrawal was completed by 5:00 a.m. Moscow time, its defense ministry said.

"The transfer of Russian troop units to the left bank of the Dnipro river has been completed. Not a single unit of military equipment or weapons have been left on the right (western) bank. All Russian servicemen crossed to the left bank," the defense ministry said in a statement. It added that Russia lost no men or equipment during the pullout.

Ukrainian officials and some analysts are still skeptical of the Russian retreat, warning that there could be some sort of trap or dangers, like mines, left behind. Kherson regional authorities have instructed residents to stay indoors while they conduct searches for any potential remaining Russian soldiers.

— Natasha Turak

Kherson city is almost under control of Ukrainian forces, council member says

Kherson city in Ukraine's south is almost fully under control of Ukrainian forces, a member of Kherson's regional council was quoted as saying by Sky News, which published a photo of the Ukrainian flag being raised in the city center by what appeared to be civilians.

Local Ukrainian authorities told Kherson residents to stay at home while Ukrainian forces carry out searches for any remaining Russian soldiers in the area.

Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, quoted local journalist Kostiantyn Ryzhenko, who said: "Resistance movement sends its regards. Slava Ukraini. The picture is current."

— Natasha Turak

Kyiv remains skeptical of Russia's intentions surrounding its Kherson withdrawal

Ukrainian Armed Forces continuing their move toward the Kherson front in Ukraine on Nov. 9, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian Armed Forces continuing their move toward the Kherson front in Ukraine on Nov. 9, 2022.

While some in Ukraine and the West are cheering Russia's recently announced withdrawal from Ukraine's Kherson, the only provincial capital they captured, officials in Kyiv are still skeptical, with some fearing it may be a trap.

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said on Wednesday that it was still too early to speak about a Russian troop pullout from the area, and on Thursday warned that Russia was planning to turn Kherson into a "city of death" for the incoming Ukrainian forces.

Military analysts have noted the possibility of Russian forces laying mines in the area as they retreat and putting Ukrainian troops in a position where they can attempt to target them with artillery from across the Dnieper River.

— Natasha Turak

Gen. Mark Milley sees Russia's Kherson retreat as an opportunity for potential negotiations

The United States' top general sees potential for diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine as Russian forces retreat from the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, which Moscow illegally annexed just six weeks prior.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNBC in an interview Thursday that "we don't know what the future holds, but we think there are some possibilities here for some diplomatic solutions."

He also said separately, while speaking in New York, that Russia's withdrawal, which is suspected to be in preparation for a spring offensive, and next week's G-20 summit present "a window of opportunity for negotiation."

Still, the view hasn't been explicitly endorsed by the White House; President Joe Biden said on Wednesday: "It remains to be seen whether or not there'll be a judgment made as to whether or not Ukraine is prepared to compromise with Russia."

And Biden's national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, said Thursday that it is "ultimately up to the Ukrainians" to decide on the right timing for any talks.

— Natasha Turak

Russia's withdrawal from Kherson will be dangerous for both sides

Destroyed buildings pictured on Nov. 9 in Arkhanhelske, a recently liberated village in Kherson province, Ukraine.
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Destroyed buildings pictured on Nov. 9 in Arkhanhelske, a recently liberated village in Kherson province, Ukraine.

Russia's withdrawal from a large chunk of Kherson in southern Ukraine is likely to be fraught with danger for both sides in the war, according to analysts.

The withdrawal is likely to throw up major challenges for both the Russians — as they pull back from the region — as well as for Ukrainian troops as they try to reoccupy Kherson city and the surrounding area.

"The battle of Kherson is not over, but Russian forces have entered a new phase — prioritizing withdrawing their forces across the river in good order and delaying Ukrainian forces, rather than seeking to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensive entirely," analysts at the Institute for the Study of War noted Wednesday evening.

Read more here.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. ambassador to the UN sends Russia a strong warning against nuclear escalation

New US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations on February 25, 2021 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
New US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations on February 25, 2021 in New York City.

America would unleash the full force of its response if Russia carried out its "horrific" threats of a nuclear strike against its enemies, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned.

Speaking to NBC News at a center for displaced people in Irpin, a town west of Kyiv, Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats to use tactical nuclear weapons "irresponsible."

"They deny that they would do such a thing but we know that Russia is capable of lies. We take their threats seriously," she said. "And we have messaged to them both privately and directly that should they take such a step, they will be held accountable."

Thomas-Greenfield said it was "out of the possibility" to think Russia would use such weapons, but added that "should they make that mistake, they can be assured that the entire world would turn on them."

"They are still making threats. And as I said, we take those threats seriously," she said.

Read more on NBC News.

No plans to meet with Russians at G-20 summit, White House says

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan answers questions during the daily briefing at the White Houe on May 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Win Mcnamee | Getty Images
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan answers questions during the daily briefing at the White Houe on May 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.

The White House said President Joe Biden has no plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.

Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation since Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the international forum in Bali, Indonesia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has not left his country since Russia's late February invasion, will address the G-20 summit by video teleconference.

— Amanda Macias

Photos show damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack in central Ukraine

Photos show damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack in central Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Employees work on damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
Employees work on damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
A picture shows damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
A picture shows damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
A picture shows damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
A picture shows damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
A worker walks past damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
A worker walks past damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A picture shows damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
A picture shows damaged equipment at a high-voltage substation of the operator Ukrenergo after a missile attack, in central Ukraine, on November 10, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

— Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

Biden to raise concerns about Xi's relationship with Putin ahead of G-20 summit

The U.S. government has introduced some of its most sweeping export controls yet aiming to cut China off from advanced semiconductors. Analysts said the move could hobble China's domestic chip industry.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
The U.S. government has introduced some of its most sweeping export controls yet aiming to cut China off from advanced semiconductors. Analysts said the move could hobble China's domestic chip industry.

President Joe Biden is expected to discuss Russia's war in Ukraine with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week in a face-to-face meeting.

The meeting between the two leaders, the first since Biden ascended to the U.S. presidency, will take place ahead of the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

"I think the president will be honest and direct with President Xi about how we see the situation in Ukraine with Russia's war of aggression," a senior Biden administration official told reporters on a call.

"This is a topic that the president and President Xi have spoken about several times before. They spoke about it extensively in March in their video call and then they spoke about it again in July, so it's part of an ongoing conversation between the two of them," added the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

— Amanda Macias

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Ukraine attacks Russian units in Kherson, saying Moscow didn’t request a ‘green corridor’ for withdrawal

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