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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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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Third letter bomb found in Spanish air base

Spanish security forces found a third suspected explosive device hidden in an envelope mailed to the Air Force base located in Torrejon de Ardoz outside Madrid, the defense ministry said this morning.

At the time of the ministry’s statement, police were still analyzing the parcel, which followed after two letter bombs on Wednesday, one of which was addressed to the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid.

The second was addressed to a weapons manufacturer in Zaragoza, northern Spain.

Liam James1 December 2022 09:15

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Russia condemns Germany for declaring Stalinist famine a genocide

Russia accused Germany of trying to whitewash its Nazi past after the German parliament voted to recognize the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine as a genocide imposed by the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin.

In what came to be known as the Holodomor, millions of Ukrainians starved to death after Stalin ordered the seizure of grain and livestock from farms recently brought under state control.

The Kremlin this morning rejected the claim that this was a genocide and said millions of people across other parts of the Soviet Union also suffered.

“There is another attempt to justify and push forward a campaign – being planted in Ukraine and sponsored by the west – to demonize Russia and to pit ethnic Ukrainians against Russians,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The Germans are trying to rewrite their history … downplay their own guilt and muddy the memory of the unprecedented nature of the countless crimes committed by Nazi Germany during World War Two,” it added.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Germany for its recognition and, writing on Twitter in German, said: “The truth always wins”.

Liam James1 December 2022 08:55

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US approves $1.2bn missile launcher contract for Ukraine

The US Army awarded a $1.2bn (£1bn) contract to Raytheon Technologies Co for advanced missile systems to be sent to Ukraine, the Pentagon said.

Raytheon will provide six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (Nasams), which help defend against missile and drone attacks, on top of two already received by Ukraine.

“Nasams are just the latest in the diverse set of air-defense capabilities we are delivering to Ukraine,” said Bill LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

These six Nasams systems were part of the fifth Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) package which was announced on August 24 and had a total value of $2.98bn, according to an Army Statement.

Ukraine is due to have eight Nasams (pictured) from the US

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Ukraine is due to have eight Nasams (pictured) from the US

(Ovelse Seapie)

Liam James1 December 2022 08:33

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US moves to seize oligarch cash, after EU calls for money to be spent in Ukraine

Prosecutors on Wednesday moved to confiscate $5.4m (£4.4m) from a US bank account belonging to Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, after he was accused of financing separatists in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Reuters reports.

Federal prosecutors in New York said in court papers seen by the news agency that they were entitled to the money because Mr. Malofeyev sought to transfer it to a business partner, in violation of US sanctions.

The civil forfeiture complaint marks the latest push in Washington to seize control of wealthy Russians’ assets, a strategy being worked on across governments of allied countries.

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen yesterday said allies could seize frozen assets – citing figures of €300bn in Russian foreign reserves and €19bn of oligarch assets – and use them to fund the rebuilding of war-battered Ukraine.

Liam James1 December 2022 08:06

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Putin pays tribute to dead Chinese leader

Vladimir Putin paid tribute to Jiang Zemin, the recently deceased 97-year-old former leader of China.

The Russian leader praised the former Chinese Communist Party chair as “an authoritative politician and wonderful person” as he offered the “most sincere sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased, as well as to the friendly people of China.”

Mr. Jiang was in power from 1989 to 2000 and co-signed a still-outstanding treaty of friendship between China and Russia with Mr. Putin, then in his first term as president.

The Chinese leader oversaw a decade of rapid growth, while Russia was itself embracing markets after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“A crucial period in China’s modern history and its great achievements in economic and social development, as well as the strengthening of international positions, are inseparably linked with the name of this outstanding statesman,” Mr Putin said.

Zemin welcomes Putin to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 18 July 2001

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Zemin welcomes Putin to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, July 18, 2001

(AP)

Liam James1 December 2022 07:44

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Russian attacks on power grid part of military doctrine – MoD

Russia’s repeated attacks on Ukraine’s electricity distribution grid, primarily with cruise missiles, are likely the first example of the Kremlin attempting to implement the concept of a Strategic Operation for the Destruction of Critically Important Targets (SODCIT), the British defense ministry said today.

The move is a key component of the military doctrine Moscow has adopted in recent years, the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

“Russia envisioned SODCIT as using long-range missiles to strike an enemy state’s critical national infrastructure, rather than its military forces, to demoralize the population and ultimately force the state’s leaders to capitulate,” it added.

The ministry pointed out that these strikes continue to cause power shortages resulting in indiscriminate, widespread humanitarian suffering across Ukraine.

“However, its effectiveness as a strategy has likely been blunted because Russia has already expended a large proportion of its suitable missiles against tactical targets,” the ministry said.

And as for Ukraine, which has successfully mobilized for nine months, “material and psychological effect of the SODCIT is likely less than if it was deployed in the initial period of a war”, the defense ministry claimed.

Arpan Rai1 December 2022 07:22

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Kherson power grid’s voltage collapses amid Russian shelling – official

The voltage in the Kherson power grid has collapsed today due to Russian shelling, regional officials said.

Kherson oblast governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said today that the voltage of the reclaimed city has disappeared after coming under constant shelling.

Kherson is among the areas witnessing heavy fighting in the war from Russian troops.

Arpan Rai1 December 2022 07:07

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