Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Moscow reports concert terror attack link to Kyiv; Zelenskyy says Ukraine stabilized battle positions

Ukrainian forces acknowledged fighting with Russian military but denied their entry into the suburbs of Chasiv Yar in the Bakhmur, Donetsk region.

“The situation there is very difficult, the fighting continues, but they (Russian troops) are not there,” Andriy Zadubinnyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern command, told the Reuters news agency. “Don’t believe the Russian reports.”

Russia’s state news outlet Ria Novosti had separately said that the Russian contingent had breached the premise, citing an adviser to what Moscow refers to as the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin. Donetsk

“From our positions to the city itself, to Chasov Yar, there is about half a kilometer left. Sometimes this distance is longer, but, in principle, this is approximately the case. <…> Let’s just say, we are already in the suburbs,” Pushilin said, according to a Google translation.

CNBC could not verify activity on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a press conference with French President at the presidential Elysee palace in Paris on February 16, 2024, after signing a bilateral security agreement. 

Thibault Camus | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine has managed to “stabilize” its positions on the home battlefield, in “all those areas of the front where the Russian army expected to succeed at the moment,” Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

“Given the shortage of shells and a significant slowdown in supplies, these results are really good,” the head of state assessed, noting he has tasked the missile program to provide Ukrainian defense forces with a “robust and increasing missile support.”

Zelenskyy separately acknowledged four people were killed in Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Thursday, following a Russian strike with an Iranian-make “Shahed” drone on a residential area. The toll included three rescuers from Ukraine’s state emergency service.

The Kyiv leader added he has spoken with the military to bolster air defense for Kharkiv, Sumy and the country’s southern regions.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russian forces carried out an overnight attack with anti-aircraft guided missiles and ballistic projectiles from the Belgorod region north of the border with Ukraine, the Ukrainian air force reported in a Google-translated post on Telegram.

The unit also said it shot down 13 Iranian-make “Shahed” drones launched by Russian forces from Cape Chauda in occupied Crimea. All of the drones were shot down over the Zaporizhzhia, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions, the Ukrainian air force said.

CNBC could not independently verify developments on the ground.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia’s investigative committee sees a connection between the March 22 terror attack that killed dozens of concertgoers at the Crocus City Hall and the so-called “special military operation” — Moscow’s name for its full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.

The finding was reported in a Google-translated update of the committee’s Telegram account. The unit studied the mobile phones of the perpetrators and said it found “photographs of people in camouflage uniforms with a Ukrainian flag against the backdrop of destroyed houses” along with a Ukrainian postage stamp on the device of one of the attackers.

Islamic group IS has previously claimed responsibility for the terror incident, with Ukraine denying involvement. Moscow authorities have repeatedly sought to cement a link between Kyiv and the attack, with analysts pointing to the possibility that this could serve the Kremlin’s efforts to further mobilize the Russian population in the war against Kyiv.

Ruxandra Iordache

A view shows the burnt-out Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 26, 2024.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

Russia has detained three more people suspected of being involved in last month’s deadly attack at a concert hall near Moscow, the FSB security service was quoted as saying on Thursday.

A Russian citizen and two foreign nationals, all originally from the Central Asian region, were detained in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Omsk, news agency RIA Novosti reported via Telegram, citing the FSB.

At least 144 people were killed in a mass shooting and fire at the Crocus City Hall concert venue in late March, an attack that was claimed by the Islamic State militant group .

— Sam Meredith

Russian-installed officials said a total of six civilians were killed on Thursday in Ukrainian attacks on Russian-controlled parts of southern and eastern Ukraine.

A Russian official in Kherson region, Andrey Alekseenko, said two people died in a village where one drone struck a car and a second drone was fired at a passenger who had managed to crawl away from the vehicle.

He said a separate attack killed two members of a repair crew that was working to restore mobile communications. Another person was in hospital in critical condition.

Russian-installed officials in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, said two people had been killed there on Thursday by Ukrainian shelling and nine others were wounded.

Russia and Ukraine deny targeting civilians in the war that is now in its third year. The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission said in February that more than 10,000 civilians had been killed in Ukraine and nearly 20,000 wounded.

— Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron (C), president of the Paris 2024 Olympics Organising Committee Tony Estanguet (3rd R), Ile-de-France’s Regional Council President Valerie Pecresse (L), and officials look at a model during a visit to the Olympic aquatics centre (CAO), a multifunctional venue for the Paris 2024 Olympics, on the day of its inauguration in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, on April 4, 2024.

Gonzalo Fuentes | Afp | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he had “no doubt” Russia would seek to disrupt the running of the Paris Olympics this summer.

“I have no doubt, including in informational terms,” Macron said when asked whether he was concerned Russia would specifically target the Olympics. His comments came on the sidelines of an event held in Saint-Denis outside Paris for the inauguration of an Olympic aquatics center.

The summer Olympic Games will take place in the French capital from July 26 through to Aug. 11, with the Paralympic Games scheduled for Aug. 28 through to Sept. 8.

“We are preparing these Olympic and Paralympic Games collectively, there is a colossal amount of work being done by the elected officials around me, by their services, by the sporting world, by state services,” Marcon said, according to a translation.

The Russian Embassy in London and Russia’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

— Sam Meredith

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