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Russia’s FSB kills alleged Ukrainian military intelligence agent, state media reports

Russia’s Federal Security Service, also known as the FSB, killed an alleged Ukrainian military intelligence agent, Russian state media reported on Friday.

Security officials said the alleged agent was planning a series of “terrorist attacks” in Russia, according to a Google-translation of coverage from Russian news agency Tass, which cited the FSB. Targets included facilities of Russia’s ministry of defence near Moscow, according to the report.

The alleged agent was identified while seizing weapons that he was planning to use in an attack on a fuel terminal, the agency reported, adding that he was then killed during his arrest.

Russian security services said they seized weapons, an explosive device and communications between the agent and the intelligence division of Ukraine’s ministry of defence from the agent. The FSB claimed that the Ukrainian defence ministry was aiding the agent with plans to leave Russia after committing crimes.

Ukraine’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Russian activist sentenced to 15 years for slew of anti-war acts

A Russian military court sentenced an anti-war activist in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk to 15 years in prison on Friday for crimes including setting fire to a military commissariat and desecrating the graves of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine.

In a statement, the court identified Angel Nikolayev as “an opponent of mobilisation” and provided a long list of his offences stretching back nearly two years.

On two separate occasions, Nikolayev spray-painted “symbols visually similar to Nazi symbols” on Russian flags draped over the graves of soldiers killed in Ukraine, the court said.

Zona Solidarnosti (Solidarity Zone), a Telegram channel that provides information about Russian anti-war activists, said Nikolayev had painted a crossed-out “Z” – the symbol of Moscow’s war in Ukraine – on the flags.

His protest actions continued. Last spring, Nikolayev cut out the “Z” symbol on an advert poster at a local bus stop – an act of vandalism, the court said. He also tore off “Z” symbols pasted onto cars.

Later, last autumn, the court said Nikolayev set fire to a military recruitment centre in Khabarovsk using “two incendiary bottles with a flammable mixture” – a terrorist act. No one was harmed in the incident but the building sustained serious damage, according to the court.

— Reuters

German foreign minister says there will be consequences for Russian cyberattack

Annalena Baerbock (Alliance 90/The Greens), Foreign Minister, looks at a screen displaying a cyber exercise in the Australian Center for Cyber Cooperation.

Sina Schuldt | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday that Russia would face consequences for a cyberattack which was allegedly carried out by a group linked to Russian military intelligence services.

Several German websites were taken offline by Russian hackers in early 2023 following Germany’s decision to provide tanks to Ukraine, the country said.

“We can now clearly attribute last year’s attack to the Russian group APT28, which is controlled by the Russian military intelligence service GRU,” Baerbock said at a press conference in Australia, Reuters reported.

This meant Russian state hackers had attacked Germany in cyberspace, which is “completely unacceptable and will not remain without consequences,” Baerbock added.

This is not the only time Germany has faced an alleged cyberattack from Russia. Google’s cyber unit Mandiant said earlier this year that it had detected a phishing campaign by Russian hackers aimed at German political parties.

Several other countries and companies have also alleged that Russian hackers have targeted them since the war began.

Late last year, the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre said British politicians, civil servants and journalists were targeted in a hack by a group likely linked to Moscow’s FSB spy agency that aimed to undermine British democracy. And Microsoft said in March that is was facing months-long attempts by Russian hackers to gain access to its internal systems and source code repositories.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Russia destroys six Ukrainian drones overnight, its defence ministry says

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that it had destroyed six drones from Ukraine overnight, according to a Google-translated post by the ministry on Telegram.

Five unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed over the Belgorod region, near the Russian-Ukrainian border, and one over the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea, which is currently occupied by Russia.

CNBC could not independently verify the developments on the ground.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says promised UK weapons are needed as soon as possible

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday he met with U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron to discuss the situation on the front line and British support for Ukraine.

“It is important that the weapons included in the UK support package announced last week arrive as soon as possible. First of all, armored vehicles, ammunition, and missiles of various types,” Zelenskyy said in a post on social media platform X.

Cameron visited Ukraine on Thursday, the British Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that the visit came after the British government committed to giving £3 billion ($3.7 billion) to support Ukraine’s military each year.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron walks past a display of destroyed Russian military vehicles in Saint Michael’s Square, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine on May 2, 2024 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Thomas Peter-Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The U.K. would provide “precision-guided bombs, and air defence missiles and equipment for 100 mobile air defence teams,” the ministry said.

Cameron told Reuters late on Thursday that this support would last “for as long as is necessary,” the news agency reported. Ukraine had the right to use the weapons donated by the U.K. to attack targets on Russian ground, he added.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Top U.S. spy says war ‘unlikely to end anytime soon’

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill May 02, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The war in Ukraine is “unlikely to end anytime soon” as Russia ramps up its efforts to debilitate Kyiv’s defensive capabilities, the U.S.’s top intelligence official said Thursday, according to Reuters.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that Moscow was increasingly attacking Ukraine’s infrastructure to limit its ability to move arms and troops, while also hampering its defense production.

“Putin’s increasingly aggressive tactics against Ukraine, such as strikes on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure, are intended to impress Ukraine that continuing to fight will only increase the damage to Ukraine and offer no plausible path to victory,” Haines reportedly said.

“These aggressive tactics are likely to continue and the war is unlikely to end anytime soon,” she added.

— Karen Gilchrist

Thousands of bombs, drones, missiles hit Ukraine in April, Zelenskyy says

Russian forces attacked Ukraine with thousands of guided aerial bombs and hundreds of missiles and drones in April, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday.

“Just this April alone, Russian terrorists used more than 300 missiles of various types, nearly 300 “Shahed” drones, and more than 3,200 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said on social media platform X. 

“Our cities and communities from Sumy region to Odesa region, Dnipropetrovsk region, Kharkiv region, Donetsk region, Mykolaiv, and Kherson are suffering from this deliberate and vile terror every day and night,” he said. 

Firefighters conduct operations in the rubble of heavily damaged building, part of which collapsed, following the Russian missile attack on Chernihiv, Ukraine on April 17, 2024.

Viacheslav Ratynskyi | Anadolu | Getty Images

“Unfortunately, many lives have been taken by these attacks. And it is only through strength that [we can] stop this terror. The strength of our people, the strength of the world’s unity, the strength of pressure on Russia, the strength of air defense systems provided to Ukraine, the strength of our soldiers who are holding the front line,” he said.

CNBC was unable to verify the data used in Zelenskyy’s post. Ukraine routinely describes Russia as a terrorist state and accuses it of war crimes. Russia levels the same criticism at Ukraine and says it does not deliberately target civilians or civilian infrastructure.

— Holly Ellyatt

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