Russia-Ukraine war latest: Putin’s power grid strikes target west

Frozen Russian assets could be used to rebuild Ukraine, says EU chief

The Kremlin’s air strikes on civilian infrastructure are aimed at stemming western weapon supplies to Ukraine, according to Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat made the unusual claim hours after Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said around six million Ukrainians were facing winter without power after two months of strikes on energy infrastructure across the country.

Kyiv and western allies have accused Russia of resorting to attacks on the everyday lives of ordinary Ukrainians in an attempt to break the invaded country’s spirit.

Mr. Lavrov today countered these accusations, claiming: “We attack energy facilities that make it possible for the west to pump weapons into Ukraine.”

The west has been feeding Ukraine weapons throughout the war, lately turning towards the supply of air defense systems to counter the Russian strikes which have rained on cities all over the country, far from the front lines of the war in the south and east.

Last night, the governor of Kherson said the region’s recently liberated capital city had lost power after heavy shelling from Russian forces.

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Jailed Belarusian protester ‘out of intensive care’

Jailed Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova has been moved from intensive care to a different ward and her condition is improving, her political allies said on Thursday.

The diagnosis of the outspoken critic of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has still not been disclosed by the hospital where she underwent surgery on Monday, opposition politician Viktor Babariko’s Telegram account said.

Her father was told at the hospital that she had been able to eat, the Telegram account said. Her allies have said she may have a perforated ulcer according to unconfirmed information.

Reuters was unable to verify the condition of Kolesnikova.

She is one of the leaders of mass street protests against Lukashenko in 2020, who is now serving an 11-year sentence for what she said were trumped-up allegations of involvement in mass unrest.

Reuters1 December 2022 14:49

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‘If you want to understand what Russia has done, come to Ukraine,’ Zelensky tells Musk

Volodymyr Zelensky rebuked Elon Musk’s proposed peace plan and invited the billionaire to visit Ukraine to see the damage done to the war-torn country by Russian forces.

The Ukrainian president mocked Mr. Musk’s peace deal at an event organized by The New York Times and asked him to visit the European country instead.

“I think that either someone has influence over him, or he somehow draws conclusions on his own,” Mr. Zelensky said by video link at the summit.

He added: “If you want to understand what Russia has done here, come to Ukraine and you will see this with your own eyes.”

“After that, you will tell us how to end this war, who started it and when we can end it.”

Liam James1 December 2022 14:32

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European security meeting overshadowed by Russian foreign minister

A meeting of Europe’s largest security organization opened with strong denunciations of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been a rare international forum – along with the United Nations – where Russia and western powers have been able to meet to discuss security matters, and the meeting in Lodz, Poland, is the first high -level meeting of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Notably absent was Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who wanted to join the meeting but was banned by Poland, the current chair of the OSCE, from entering the country.

Mr Lavrov denounced the ban today, as he gave a rambling press conference that stole headlines as the OSCE met, with accusations of western plots against Russia.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign minister, said representatives at the OSCE would seek to devise a way for the nearly 50-year-old institution to “pave the way for a new security order in Europe, after Russia has completely broken the one we had “.

Borrell, left, with Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau at the OSCE in Lodz today

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Borrell, left, with Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau at the OSCE in Lodz today

(EPA)

Liam James1 December 2022 14:08

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White House and Kremlin discussing prisoner swaps, says Lavrov

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that the White House and the Kremlin were discussing potential prisoner swaps.

Elizabeth Rood, the US charge d’affaires in Moscow, told Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency that talks were continuing through the “designated channel” about a deal to free jailed Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

But she said Moscow has not provided a “serious response” to any of Washington’s proposals.

Basketball star Griner was last month taken to a penal colony in the Russian region of Mordovia to serve a nine-year drug sentence after being arrested in February with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

Whelan, a former US Marine, is serving 16 years in the same region on charges of espionage, which he denies.

Mr. Lavrov’s deputy Sergei Ryabkov said on November 18 he was hopeful of agreeing to a prisoner swap that could see the release of Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker who is in prison in the US.

Liam James1 December 2022 13:37

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Letter bomb sent to Spanish prime minister after Ukraine embassy targeted

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez received a letter bomb which the interior ministry said was similar to those sent to the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid earlier this week, and other sites with links to Kyiv.

The explosive device addressed to Mr Sanchez’s office was one of five to be revealed by Spanish security services in less than 24 hours, although ministers said it was delivered last week on 24 November.

Officials ordered increased security in diplomatic and public buildings shortly before the ministry’s statement, while Wednesday’s embassy package led Kyiv to put all of its consulates around the globe on high alert.

Other letter bombs were delivered to the Ministry of Defense and an air force base in Torrejon de Ardoz outside Madrid on Thursday and Spanish weapons manufacturer Instalaza in Zaragoza on Wednesday.

Liam James1 December 2022 13:10

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Air raid sirens ring across Ukraine

Air raid alerts have been issued across all of Ukraine following warnings by Ukrainian officials that Russia was preparing a new wave of missile and drone strikes.

“An overall air raid alert is in place in Ukraine. Go to shelters,” the country’s border service wrote on Telegram.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky last night said Russia was thinking to be “planning something in the south”, while Ukraine’s military said Moscow was moving troops from towns on the Dnipro river opposite the southern city of Kherson.

Liam James1 December 2022 12:45

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Russian troops leaving towns across the river from Kherson, says Ukraine

Ukraine’s military said Russia had pulled some troops from towns on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River from Kherson city, the first official Ukrainian report of a Russian withdrawal on what is now the main front line in the south.

The statement gave only limited details and made no mention of any Ukrainian forces having crossed the Dnipro. Ukrainian officials also stressed that Russia had intensified shelling across the river, knocking out power again in Kherson where electricity had only begun to be restored nearly three weeks after Russian troops vacated the city and fled across the river.

Since Russia abandoned Kherson last month, nine months into its invasion of Ukraine, the river now forms the entire southern stretch of the front.

Russia has already told civilians to leave towns within 15 km of the river and withdrew its civilian administration from the city of Nova Kakhovska on the river bank. Ukrainian officials have previously said Russia pulled back some artillery near the river to safer positions further away, but until now had stopped short of saying Russian forces were leaving towns.

Serhiy Siryi stands by his destroyed house in the village of Posad Pokrovske on the outskirts of Kherson, after the departure of Russian troops

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Serhiy Siryi stands by his destroyed house in the village of Posad Pokrovske on the outskirts of Kherson, after the departure of Russian troops

(Getty)

Reuters1 December 2022 12:20

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Russia’s Lavrov says Nato directly involved in Ukraine war

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov delivered a news conference earlier in which he made several wild statements regarding the war in Ukraine [see 10.02 post].

One of the more striking was his claim that Nato, in particular the US, was directly participating in the war because of its support for Ukraine.

In defending Russia’s debilitating attacks on energy infrastructure, Mr Lavrov said: “We disable energy facilities that allow you [the west] to pump lethal weapons into Ukraine to kill Russians.

“So don’t say that the US and Nato are not participants in this war – you are directly participating. Including not only the supply of weapons, but also the training of personnel – you train the [Ukrainian] military on your territory.”

Liam James1 December 2022 11:40

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Kremlin denounces EU plans for war crimes probe

The Kremlin said it would not recognize the legitimacy of any war crimes tribunal staged by the European Union over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said yesterday the EU would try to set up a specialized court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

“As for attempts to establish some kind of tribunal: they will have no legitimacy, will not be accepted by us and we will condemn them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters this morning.

Ukraine and western allies have accused Russia of numerous war crimes over ten months of war, including in the briefly-occupied town of Bucha, which was found strewn with civilian corpses after a rout of Russian forces.

The International Criminal Court is investigating the situation in Ukraine since the war, while several NGOs have been gathering alleged evidence of war crimes by Russian troops.

Liam James1 December 2022 11:04

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Russia claims power grid strikes aimed at stopping western support

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that the Kremlin’s relentless bombing of civilian infrastructure was in order to hold up western munitions.

The strange claim from Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat came after Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said around six million Ukrainians were facing winter without power after two months of strikes on energy infrastructure across the country.

Kyiv and western allies have accused Russia of resorting to attacks on the everyday lives of ordinary Ukrainians in an attempt to break the invaded country’s spirit.

Mr. Lavrov today countered these accusations, claiming: “We attack energy facilities that make it possible for the west to pump weapons into Ukraine.”

The west has been feeding Ukraine weapons throughout the war, lately turning towards the supply of air defense systems to counter the Russian strikes which have rained on cities all over the country, far from the front lines of the war in the south and east.

Sergei Lavrov at a press conference in April

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Sergei Lavrov at the press conference in April

(Reuters)

Liam James1 December 2022 10:02

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