Our live coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has moved here.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed cooperation within the OPEC+ during a phone call on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Kremlin.
"Issues of multifaceted Russian-Saudi cooperation were discussed. Specifically, attention was paid to measures for further strengthening trade and economic ties, and the implementation of prospective joint projects in investment, transport logistics, and energy," statement said.
"The two sides discussed in detail how to ensure stability in the world energy market. The sides expressed great appreciation for the level of cooperation within the framework of 'OPEC Plus,' which allows for taking timely and efficient steps to maintain the balance of supply and demand for oil. They noted the importance of the agreements reached during the recent ministerial meeting in Riyadh," according to the statement.
They also discussed "various aspects of Russia-Saudi cooperation in the framework of other multilateral organizations" and "agreed to continue contacts at various levels," according to the Kremlin.
The last time the two spoke on the phone was on April 21, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
More background: OPEC+ is an alliance between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC oil-producing countries, including Russia, Mexico, and Kazakhstan.
Formed in 2016, OPEC+ coordinates and regulates oil production and stabilizes global oil prices. Its members produce about 40% of the world’s crude oil and have a significant impact on the global economy.
OPEC+’s decision to cut oil production in April could have big implications for Russia.
After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, the United States and United Kingdom immediately stopped purchasing oil from the country. The European Union also stopped importing Russian oil that was sent by sea.
Members of the G7 — an organization of leaders from some of the world’s largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — have also imposed a price cap of $60 per barrel on oil exported by Russia, keeping the country’s revenues artificially low. If oil prices continue to rise, some analysts have speculated that the US and other western nations may have to loosen that price cap.
CNN's Nicole Goodkind contributed to this report.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation in the occupied part of the Kherson region as "catastrophic" as water levels on Wednesday continued to rise after the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydro-electric power plant collapsed early Tuesday.
"Today, we have been focusing all day on the consequences of the Russian terrorist attack on the (Nova) Kakhovka hydro-electric power plant. Dozens of settlements on the territory under our control have been flooded. Thousands of houses have been flooded!" Zelensky said during his nightly address.
"The situation in the occupied part of the Kherson region is absolutely catastrophic. The occupiers simply abandoned people in these terrible conditions. Without rescue, without water, just on the roofs of houses in flooded communities," he added.
Zelensky called for a "clear and swift" humanitarian response from the international community, saying it's difficult to know "how many people in the temporarily occupied territory of Kherson region may die without rescue, without drinking water, without food, without medical care."
He said Ukraine's military and emergency services "are rescuing as many people as possible," despite Russian shelling.
"But more efforts are needed. We need international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to immediately join the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region," Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president expressed his frustration saying, "Unfortunately, the world's attention was not enough."
Here are more of the latest headlines from the war in Ukraine:
- Evacuations are ongoing in Ukrainian-controlled Kherson region: Evacuations in flooded areas are ongoing after the Nova Kakhovka dam's collapse on Tuesday, officials in Ukrainian-controlled Kherson said. The head of the Kherson region military administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, said: “We expect that the water will stay and accumulate for another day and then will gradually decrease for another 5 days.”
- Some civilians in Kherson are determined to stay in flooded homes: Rescuers and aid workers in Kherson have found some people are determined to stay in flooded homes rather than be evacuated after the Nova Kakhovka dam collapse, an international aid worker in the region told CNN Wednesday. CARE Ukraine Area Manager Selena Kozakijevic said there are an “unknown number of people who are determined to stay in their houses even though they are flooded” and that many of these are elderly.
- Top Senate Republican expresses concern over Ukraine aid and defense funding in debt limit law: US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell began his weekly press conference railing on the defense spending levels in the debt limit law, saying Congress must provide more money for national security programs — all the while acknowledging there's no clear path to fixing it, given House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's opposition to spending additional funds beyond the caps set by the new law. McConnell acknowledged the divide between him and McCarthy on providing additional funding for Ukraine and whether Congress will provide it will be difficult.
- Ukrainian PM asks for help to evacuate residents from flood areas: Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal appealed Wednesday to leading international aid organizations to help evacuate residents in the flooded areas of the Russian-occupied Kherson region. He claimed occupying Russian forces have offered “no help” following a devastating dam breach. Shmyhal addressed leaders of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a video message posted on Twitter, urging them to “act immediately.”
- Ukraine launches "ecocide" and war crimes probe into dam incident: Ukraine is investigating the Nova Kakhovka dam incident as a war crime and as possible "ecocide," or criminal environmental destruction, a statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday. “The legal classification is ecocide and violation of the laws and customs of war ... A specially created interagency and interregional group of investigators from the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Police is working on the investigation,” the statement said.
- Russians have done "more damage to themselves" with dam collapse, Ukrainian defense official says: Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said with the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam “the Russians have actually done more damage to themselves and their armed forces.” Mailar said the incident has damaged Russian fortifications and military positions. Speaking on national TV, Mailar said: “Basically, the territory that is now under the control of the aggressor will be more affected.”
- Ukrainian troops witnessed Russian soldiers swept away in floodwaters: Ukrainian troops witnessed Russian soldiers being swept up in floodwaters and fleeing the east bank of the Dnipro River after the collapse of the Nova Khakovka dam, an officer in Ukraine's armed forces said. Many Russian troops were killed or wounded in the chaos, according to the officer. Capt. Andrei Pidlisnyi said when the dam collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday morning “no one on the Russian side was able to get away. All the regiments the Russians had on that side were flooded.”
During an exclusive interview with a German outlet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian forces of shooting at Ukrainian rescuers who are trying to reach flooded areas in the Kherson region that is under Russian control.
"People, animals have died. From the roofs of the flooded houses, people see drowned people floating by. You can see that on the other side. It is very difficult to get people out of the occupied part of Kherson region," Zelensky told prominent German outlet, Bild, in an exclusive interview published Wednesday.
"When our forces try to get them [the residents] out, they are shot at by occupiers from a distance," Zelensky told Bild. "As soon as our helpers try to rescue them, they are shot at. We won't be able to see all the consequences until a few days from now, when the water has trickled down a bit."
On Wednesday, a volunteer taking part in the rescue efforts in Kherson region, which was flooded following the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, told CNN volunteers face Russian shelling on nearly every sortie.
“Of course, it is extremely dangerous," said Roman Skabdrakov from the Kaiman Volunteer Group.
More background: Nova Kakhovka, a major dam and hydroelectric power plant in the Russian-occupied southern Kherson region, suffered a collapse early Tuesday, prompting evacuations for thousands of people.
Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydro-electric power plant.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen and Vasco Cotovio contributed to this report.
Rescuers and aid workers in Kherson have found some people are determined to stay in flooded homes rather than be evacuated after the Nova Kakhovka dam collapse, an international aid worker in the region told CNN, Wednesday.
CARE Ukraine Area Manager Selena Kozakijevic said there are an “unknown number of people who are determined to stay in their houses even though they are flooded” and that many of these are elderly.
Some have experienced more than a year of conflict or have recently returned to their homes and are “less willing to leave because of flooding,” she said.
The city of Kherson was under Russian occupation for eight months and continues to face shelling from Russian forces on the other side of the Dnipro River.
Asked about Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal’s appeal for international aid organizations to help people in flooded parts of Russian-occupied areas of Kherson, Kozakijevic said some of the local partners CARE has been working with have received calls from people in occupied areas saying they are struggling to find assistance and requesting support.
“Unfortunately, the left bank of the river is not accessible from the right side and this is primary reason why from the Ukrainian-controlled areas, the assistance at the moment is not passing to the other side,” she said.
Kozakijevic said what is happening in Kherson now is a “further crisis moment” that can only exacerbate the situation in the region. CARE works with local partners who have been assisting the humanitarian response on the front lines from the start of the war.
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine following the Nova Kakhovka dam collapse was the topic of conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, the Elysée Palace said in a statement.
"The President of the Republic mentioned the fact that the Foreign Ministry's Crisis and Support Center would very shortly be dispatching a first convoy of around ten tons of equipment to meet the immediate needs of the civilian population (health, hygiene, water purification, portable cisterns)," the statement reads.
"He also expressed the hope that humanitarian aid would be provided to Ukrainian populations affected by the floods and living in territories controlled by the Russian army," it continued.
On Wednesday, Macron also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he expressed his "solidarity with the Ukrainian people after the attack on the Kakhovka dam."
"France condemns this atrocious act, which is endangering populations," Macron said on Twitter. "Within the next few hours, we will send aid to meet immediate needs."
US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell began his weekly press conference railing on the defense spending levels in the debt limit law, saying Congress must provide more money for national security programs — all the while acknowledging there's no clear path to fixing it, given House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's opposition to spending additional funds beyond the caps set by the new law.
McConnell said the Pentagon funding is “totally inadequate” to address the defense needs in the country and said that while he supported the bill to ultimately raise the debt ceiling, he is “not happy” with the terms in it.
“Look, I supported the Biden-McCarthy deal, but I was not happy with it. The defense number is totally inadequate to meet the challenges that we have in Asia, not to mention, Ukraine,” he said. “I'm not sure at this point how to fix it, but it's a problem.”
McConnell acknowledged the divide between him and McCarthy on providing additional funding for Ukraine and whether Congress will provide it will be difficult.
“All I can tell you at this particular point is defense is radically underfunded, related to the Chinese threat. And Ukraine probably will need additional assistance. So figuring out how to do this is going to be a challenge,” he said.
President Joe Biden will welcome NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the White House next Monday “to discuss the upcoming NATO summit,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday, confirming a statement from NATO earlier today.
Biden and Stoltenberg “will review preparations for the summit, including the work to further strengthen allied deterrence and defense, build on the 2014 Wales Summit Defense Investment Pledge, and deepen NATO's partnership,” she said. They will also discuss support for Ukraine "in the face of Russia's brutal war of aggression."
Stoltenberg’s visit comes just one week after Biden hosted Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who is widely viewed as a potential contender to replace Stoltenberg, at the White House.
Biden is scheduled to attend the NATO summit in Lithuania in July.