Ukraine latest: Zelenskyy tells U.S. aid is ‘not charity,’ but security investment
- EU Investment
- December 22, 2022
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties rising on both sides.
Ukrainian forces are mounting a strong counteroffensive against Russian troops, reclaiming territory lost when Moscow launched its invasion.
Ukraine has managed to withstand the Russian onslaught with the help of Western military aid, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more. For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.
Read our in-depth coverage:
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Note: Nikkei Asia decided on March 5 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.
Here are the latest developments:
Thursday, Dec. 22 (Tokyo time)
10:20 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells the U.S. Congress that the tens of billions of dollars of aid it had approved to help fight a Russian invasion was not charity, but an investment in global security. Zelenskyy told lawmakers in the House of Representatives that he hoped they would continue to support Ukraine on a bipartisan basis — a major point as Republicans will comprise the majority of the House on Jan. 3. “Your money is not charity,” he said, clad in the khaki fatigues that have been his public uniform throughout the 300 days of conflict. “It is an investment in global security and democracy.”
6:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden stands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House during Zelenskyy’s first wartime visit to urge Americans and the world to keep backing Kyiv in 2023, when congressional approval for aid will be harder. “As we head into the new year, it’s important for the American people and for the world to hear directly from you, Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to continue to stand together through 2023,” Biden said at a news conference. Zelenskyy, wearing his trademark olive green pants and sweater, said, “The United States will stand up for our shared values, the values of freedom.”
4:15 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived at the White House.
2:30 a.m. Myanmar’s military leaders are moving forward with a plan to adopt Russian-built small modular nuclear reactors as the country grapples with an energy cliff caused by dwindling output from natural gas reserves.
The Ministry of Electric Power and Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company, have outlined a joint feasibility study on SMRs.
Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s commander in chief, visited Russia for a week in July and September, attending the signing of memorandums with Rosatom on both occasions. Read more.
2:15 a.m. Ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, the Biden administration mobilizes $1.85 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine. The package includes the first transfer of the U.S.-made Patriot air defense system to Ukraine.
“Over the past three hundred days, the Kremlin has tried and failed to wipe Ukraine off the map,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a news release. “Now, Russia is trying to weaponize winter by freezing and starving Ukrainian civilians and forcing families from their homes.”
The additional assistance is meant “to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s ongoing brutal and unprovoked assault,” Blinken says.
Moscow has said the Patriot system — which is equipped with advanced radar and can shoot down cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and aircraft at high altitudes — would be a legitimate target for Russian forces if deployed to Ukraine.
Wednesday, Dec. 21
11:19 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping hosts former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, in Beijing, telling him that relevant parties in the Ukraine crisis should exercise restraint, engage in comprehensive dialogue and address common security concerns through political means, state-run media report.
Since Russia invaded its neighbor in February, Beijing has refrained from condemning Moscow and has opposed sanctions levied against it by Western nations. But Xi has expressed concerns about the war and objections to using or threatening to use nuclear weapons in the eastern European country.
Medvedev handed Xi a personal letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin, which noted “the unprecedented level of Russian-Chinese political dialogue and practical cooperation,” Russia’s Tass news agency reports.
11:00 p.m. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposes raising the age range for mandatory military service to 21 to 30 years, up from 18-27 under the current law.
Men in Russia are required to do a year of military service between those ages. Moscow says these conscripts are not sent to the battle in Ukraine.
Shoigu’s remarks came during a meeting of senior officials at the Defense Ministry. Russian newspaper Kommersant reports that Shoigu said the number of Russian military personnel needs to be increased to 1.5 million.
Russia called up more than 300,000 reservists in a mobilization decree issued at the end of September. This week, President Vladimir Putin said that half of the 300,000 had deployed to the war while the rest were in training.
3:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is on his way to the U.S. for talks on Ukraine’s defense capabilities. The White House also announced his visit to Washington. Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden will meet on Wednesday. Biden is expected to announce nearly $2 billion in new security assistance, including the Patriot missile defense system that Kyiv requested.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement: “The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through the provision of economic, humanitarian and military assistance.”
9:57 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to travel to Washington for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and a visit to Congress on Wednesday, U.S. media reported. This would be Zelenskyy’s first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in late February. Biden is expected to meet Zelenskyy at the White House. The visit by the Ukrainian leader would coincide with Biden’s intent to send the Kyiv government Patriot missiles to protect it from heavy Russian bombardment, CNN reported.
7:00 a.m. The World Bank said it had approved an additional financing package totaling $610 million to address urgent relief and recovery needs in Ukraine as the war with Russia continues. The aid comes on top of some $18 billion already mobilized for Ukraine by the bank, of which some $15 billion has been disbursed. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have devastating economic and humanitarian consequences, impacting the health sector, critical energy infrastructure, and transport networks,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement.
6:30 a.m. Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tweets that Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated him on his recent election win and talked of stronger relations between their countries.
“Brazil is back, seeking dialogue with everyone and committed to the search for a world without hunger and with peace,” Lula writes.
The Kremlin says both sides of the phone call “expressed confidence” that the “strategic partnership will continue to develop successfully in all areas, along with cooperation in the international arena, including within BRICS” — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Putin said this year that he had “good relations” with both Lula and President Jair Bolsonaro, who made an official trip to Moscow days before the war began. Brazil has not joined U.S.-led international sanctions on Russia since the invasion.
Lula, who plans to visit the U.S. and China early in his term, defeated Bolsonaro in October’s election. Lula also governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, when Putin was serving in his first stint as president and then as prime minister.
3:00 a.m. An explosion along a Russian natural gas pipeline east of Moscow has killed at least three people, various media report, citing local authorities.
The blast on the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhhorod pipeline in the Chuvashia region occurred during planned maintenance, the reports say. State-owned gas producer Gazprom is quoted as saying that the explosion had not affected export-bound gas.
The pipeline is one of Russia’s most important conduits for gas exports, carrying the fuel from Siberia to near Ukraine for deliver to Western Europe.
Tuesday, Dec. 20
10:59 p.m. Russia intends to give Iran advanced military components in exchange for more than 300 suicide drones, “undermining both Middle East and international security,” British defense minister Ben Wallace tells Parliament as part of a statement on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Earlier on Tuesday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Iran’s foreign minister that Tehran should immediately halt military support for Russia. Iran acknowledges supplying Moscow with drones but says they were sent before the war in Ukraine, where Russia has used them to target power stations and civilian infrastructure.
10:03 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the eastern city of Bakhmut, home to some of the fiercest fighting in recent weeks as Russia has tried to capture the area. Zelenskyy’s office released video showing him there, dressed in khaki and handing out medals to soldiers to loud applause.
“Ukraine is proud of you. I am proud of you! Thank you for the courage, resilience and strength shown in repelling the enemy attacks,” Zelenskyy said in comments posted on the Telegram messaging app under photographs of him in Bakhmut.
10:30 a.m. President Vladimir Putin says the situation in four areas of Ukraine that Moscow has declared part of Russia is “extremely difficult.”
Late on Monday — Security Services Day, which is widely celebrated in Russia — he told Russian security agencies operating in Ukraine, in comments translated by Reuters: “Yes, it is difficult for you now. The situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions is extremely difficult.” In September, a defiant Putin moved to annex some 15% of Ukraine. Kyiv, meanwhile, renewed calls for more weapons after Russian drones hit energy targets.
1:30 a.m. Canada will seize and pursue the forfeiture of $26 million from a holding company owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, a target of Western sanctions over his support for President Vladimir Putin’s government.
This marks the first time that Canada has used its authority to take assets belonging to people under sanctions, the Foreign Ministry says in a news release.
“If forfeited, the proceeds that are generated will be able to be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine and compensation to victims of the Putin regime’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion,” it says, adding that Canada is the first Group of Seven country to take such measures.
Monday, Dec. 19
7:00 p.m. Russia and China will hold joint naval drills in the East China Sea starting this week, Russia’s Defense Ministry says.
The tests will run from Wednesday to Dec. 27 and involve missile and artillery firings, according to the ministry.
This marks China’s latest participation in Russian-led military drills. Chinese forces joined the annual Vostok exercise this September, which involved coordinated naval drills in the Sea of Japan.
3:00 p.m. Russia’s latest attacks hit “critical infrastructure” and private houses in the region surrounding Kyiv on Monday, Ukrainian authorities say, and air defense systems destroyed about 15 drones directed at the capital. Kyiv’s military administration said on the Telegram messaging app that more than 20 drones targeted the capital. Earlier, it said the capital was attacked by Iranian-made Shahed drones. Oleskiy Kuleba, governor of the Kyiv region, which surrounds but does not include the capital, said infrastructure and homes were damaged by the night drone attacks.
2:00 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin flies to Belarus on Monday amid fear in Kyiv that he intends to pressure the former Soviet ally to join a new ground offensive against Ukraine and reopen a new front. Putin, whose invading troops have been buffeted and forced into retreats in Ukraine’s north, northeast and south, is taking a more public role in the war and visited his operation’s headquarters to sound out military commanders on Friday about their next steps. His visit for talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will be his first to Minsk since 2019 — before the pandemic and a wave of Belarusian protests in 2020 that Lukashenko crushed with strong support from the Kremlin.
10:30 a.m. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says protecting Ukraine’s borders is a “constant priority” and his country is ready for all possible scenarios with Russia and its ally Belarus, which Kyiv has warned could be drawn into the 10-month conflict. Whatever Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko might be persuaded to do for Russia, “this will not help them, just like all the other sick ideas in this war against Ukraine and Ukrainians,” Zelenskyy said. He also issued a fresh appeal to Western nations to provide Kyiv with better air defenses as “one of the most powerful” steps to halt the Russian invasion.
6:12 a.m. Power has been restored to 3 million more Ukrainians after the latest Russian attacks on infrastructure, bringing the total to 9 million after two days, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.
Russia fired scores of missiles on Ukraine’s power grid Friday, killing at least three people and damaging nine energy facilities.
Sunday, Dec. 18
2:00 a.m. Germany has begun testing the first piece of new infrastructure meant to reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas by receiving shipborne liquefied natural gas. The Hoegh Esperanza terminal is in the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven and will be able to supply enough gas for 50,000 households for a year.
Further floating liquid natural gas terminals are expected to follow.
“This is a milestone for Germany becoming energy independent,” Erik Nyheim, chief executive of Hoegh LNG, which owns the Esperanza, told the Financial Times.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, “The speed with which we built this should be a model for future infrastructure build-outs. Not just for this plant but for many others.”
Global demand for LNG is increasing with Russian output down. China Petroleum & Chemical signed a major contract in November to procure 4 million tons per year of LNG from state-owned Qatar Energy for 27 years.
Saturday, Dec. 17
3:59 a.m. TikTok says it is cutting its staff in Russia, having suspended livestreaming and new content there months ago over strict new media censorship following the invasion of Ukraine. The Chinese-owned social media platform explicitly leaves the door open for fully resuming services in the future, “with safety as our top priority.”
2:00 a.m. As Russian airstrikes against Ukraine continue, the European Union’s latest package of sanctions against Moscow prohibits exports of aircraft engines and engine parts, with the addition of drones.
“From now on there will be a ban on the direct exports of drone engines to Russia and any third country that could supply drones to Russia,” the Council of the EU says in a statement.
The EU’s ninth package of sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine was approved Friday, when Russia launched one of the “biggest attacks since the beginning of the full-scale war,” says Mykhailo Shymanov, a spokesperson for Kyiv’s military-civilian administration.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reiterates Kyiv’s call for more weapons.
“For each Russian missile or drone aimed at Ukraine and Ukrainians there must be a howitzer delivered to Ukraine, a tank for Ukraine, an armored vehicle for Ukraine,” Kuleba tweets. “This would effectively end Russian terror against Ukraine and restore peace and security in Europe and beyond.”
Friday, Dec. 16
9:30 p.m. Russia’s war on Ukraine and the risk of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan highlight the need for Japan to build an independent system of defense that is not solely reliant on the U.S. military, according to three policy documents approved by Tokyo.
The papers, including the National Security Strategy, lay out policies such as increasing Japan’s defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product and acquiring counterstrike capability to hit enemy missile launch sites.
Japan’s defense policy review took on greater urgency after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The documents warn that “the possibility that a similar serious incident could happen in the Indo-Pacific and East Asia region will not be excluded.” They go on to say that China is challenging the international order by strengthening ties with Russia. Read more.
3:55 p.m. Air raid sirens wailed across Ukraine, including in the capital Kyiv on Friday, signaling another Russian missile attack, Ukrainian officials say. “Do not ignore air raid alerts, remain in shelters,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office said on the Telegram messaging app. As many as 60 Russian missiles have been spotted heading to Ukrainian air space, said Vitaly Kim, who is the governor of the Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine.
8:30 a.m. The European Union says it has approved a new package of sanctions aimed at ramping up pressure on Russia for its war in Ukraine. The package, whose details had not been revealed, was approved after days of deliberations during a meeting of the 27-nation bloc’s ambassadors in Brussels while EU leaders held a summit nearby. The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, said the package would be confirmed by written procedure on Friday.
4:50 a.m. The U.S. military will expand its training of Ukrainian military personnel in Germany, including training in combined arms, reports Reuters, citing the U.S. Department of Defense.
A Pentagon spokesman said the new training will involve approximately 500 Ukrainians per month and will not require an increase in U.S. troop deployments to Europe, according to the report.
4:00 a.m. The Biden administration’s latest round of sanctions against Russia spans a range of business and government leaders, including one of the country’s richest oligarchs.
Vladimir Potanin, head of Norilsk Nickel, tops the list of targets, along with his wife, children and superyacht Nirvana, according to a U.S. State Department news release.
His holding company Interros, also sanctioned, has “business across nearly all sectors of Russia’s economy,” the State Department says.
Also sanctioned are directors of Russian Railways, as well as a slew of Russian regional governors.
Thursday, Dec. 15
4:50 p.m. Ukrainian forces shelled the Russian-controlled eastern city of Donetsk overnight in some of the biggest attacks for years, officials appointed by Russia in the annexed areas say. “At exactly 7 o’clock this morning they subjected the center of Donetsk to the most massive attack since 2014,” Alexei Kulemzin, the Russia-backed mayor of the city, said on Telegram. “Forty rockets from BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers were fired at civilians in our city,” Kulemzin said. He called the attack a war crime.
9:30 a.m. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak met on Wednesday with Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami in Caracas, where they discussed oil market volatility and the status of Venezuela’s outstanding debts to Russia. “We underline the importance of keep working together to stabilize the international energy market within the framework of OPEC+ and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum,” said Novak, who is also in charge of Moscow’s OPEC ties.
8:30 a.m. Ukrainian investigators in an area recaptured from Russian troops have uncovered a cell where children were detained and mistreated, a senior Ukrainian human rights advocate says. Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian parliament’s commissioner for human rights, said the cell was in one of four torture centers operated by Russian troops in Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine abandoned by pro-Moscow forces last month. Russia denies targeting civilians in the war and rejects allegations it has mistreated civilians.
7:30 a.m. Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov says any Patriot missiles the U.S. sends to Ukraine would become legitimate targets for attack by Russian forces.
CNN and Reuters, citing officials, have reported Washington is finalizing plans to supply the advanced missile defense system to Ukraine and a decision could be made as early as this week. Peskov calls the reports unconfirmed.
Equipped with sophisticated radar, the Patriot system is able to shoot down planes and ballistic missiles. It has been sold to U.S. allies including Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Such a transfer would be “another provocative step” by the Biden administration that may lead to “unpredictable consequences,” Tass reports the Russian Embassy in Washington as saying in a statement.
Wednesday, Dec. 14
7:30 p.m. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov rules out an early resumption of cease-fire talks with Russia, saying “we will be ready to sit down at the negotiating table after Russian troops completely withdraw from Ukrainian territory.”
During an online interview with Nikkei, Reznikov makes clear his position that Ukraine would not agree to talks until Russia withdrew from all of Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula and eastern regions of Ukraine, which Moscow has occupied since 2014. On when he expected that to occur, he said, “This will happen when the Russians realize that their resources are running out.”
Asked about drone attacks on air bases in Russian territory, he hints at Kyiv’s involvement, saying that “Ukraine has the right to self-defense.” Read more.
9:00 a.m. Developing Asia’s economic expansion next year is expected to be slower than previously projected as a global slowdown and the prolonged war in Ukraine weigh on the region, the Asian Development Bank said in a new report. Read more.
4:36 a.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces a further $3 million New Zealand dollars ($1.94 million) in humanitarian support for Ukraine as the conflict enters the winter months. Ardern was speaking after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy became just the second foreign leader to ever address the New Zealand parliament. Ardern said in her speech to Zelenskyy that the Ukraine war “must not become a gateway to a more polarized and dangerous world for generations to come.” She added that Ukraine’s war is “not a forgotten war.”
1:54 a.m. Ukraine’s economy could shrink by 50% this year if Russia keeps attacking the national power grid and other critical infrastructure, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal was quoted as saying on Tuesday. Russia has launched a series of missile and drone strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities since October, causing power outages across the country. “The contraction of the Ukrainian economy is projected at the level of 35% to 40%,” Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted Shmyhal as saying. “If Russia’s terrorist activities against our infrastructure continue, we may lose another 10% to these figures — that is, up to 50% of our GDP.” Shmyhal also said the government estimated that damage from the war could reach $700 billion by the end of the year. All sectors of the economy were suffering, he said.
2:28 a.m. The U.S. is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine that could be announced as soon as this week, reports CNN, citing U.S. officials.
Tuesday, Dec. 13
11:00 a.m. The United States has shipped the first part of its power equipment aid to Ukraine, U.S. officials say, as Washington works to support the country’s energy infrastructure against intensifying attacks from Russia. The first tranche was equipment worth about $13 million, one official said. Another source familiar with the matter said two planeloads of equipment would leave from the United States later this week.
4:20 a.m. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations have vowed to hold Russia responsible for wrecking Ukraine with its invasion.
“We are determined that Russia will ultimately need to pay for the restoration of critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed through its brutal war,” G-7 leaders say in a statement.
“There can be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities,” they say. “We will hold President [Vladimir] Putin and those responsible to account in accordance with international law.”
On military aid, G-7 leaders say their immediate focus will be on “providing Ukraine with air defense systems and capabilities.”
3:21 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges Group of Seven nations to help his government obtain an additional 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas and to supply it with modern tanks, rocket artillery and long-range missiles.
Speaking remotely at the G-7 videoconference hosted by Germany, Zelenskyy calls on Russia to take a real step toward a diplomatic resolution and suggests that Moscow should pull its troops out by Christmas.
2:46 a.m. The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council says he expects another wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine in Europe over the winter because of “unlivable” conditions.
“So I fear that the crisis in Europe will deepen and that will overshadow equally crises in other places of the world,” Jan Egeland tells Reuters after returning from a trip to Ukraine this month.
More than 7.8 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe, according to the U.N. refugee agency. A spokesperson says that data has “not yet pointed to any significant increase in border crossings” in recent weeks but that some neighboring countries, such as Romania and Poland, have reported small rises.
2:00 a.m. U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace says he would be “open-minded” to supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles to defend itself against continued Russian attacks on civilians.
The Russian military is taking advantage of the short ranges of Ukraine’s missiles by using Iranian self-detonating drones to attack, Wallace says in the House of Commons in response to a question from former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson says longer-range missiles, such as the U.S.-made MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System, would allow Ukraine to strike Russia’s drone launch sites.
1:00 a.m. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has done lasting damage to Moscow’s ties with the West, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says.
“Even if the fighting ends, we will not return to some kind of normal, friendly, relationship with Russia,” Stoltenberg tells CNBC in Brussels. “Trust has been destroyed.”
“I think the war has had long-lasting consequences for the relationship with Russia,” he adds.
Monday, Dec. 12
4:10 p.m. Russia will be invited to attend meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) hosted by the United States next year, a U.S. official says. As “good stewards of APEC,” the United States will invite Russia, which is a member of the 21-country bloc, Matt Murray, a senior U.S. official for APEC, told a media briefing in Singapore. At an APEC meeting hosted by Thailand in May, representatives from the United States and some other countries walked out of a meeting in protest of Russia’s actions in Ukraine when Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov was delivering remarks.
10:40 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden highlighted to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a call on Sunday how the United States is prioritizing efforts to boost Ukraine’s air defenses through the assistance it is offering, the White House said. Biden also welcomed Zelenskyy’s “stated openness to a just peace based on fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.”
10:00 a.m. Ukraine’s top security officials have ordered punitive measures against seven senior clerics, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday, part of a crackdown on a branch of the Orthodox Church with long-standing ties to Moscow. The clerics are among Orthodox leaders known to have been sympathetic to Russia’s portrayal of its 10-month-old invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin says it is protecting Russian-speakers and has annexed four regions it says are historically Russian lands. “We are doing everything to ensure that no strings are available to be pulled by the aggressor state that could make Ukrainian society suffer,” Zelenskyy said.
5:29 a.m. A senior official in eastern Ukraine said that Ukrainian forces had attacked a hotel where members of Russia’s private Wagner military group were based, killing many of them.
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Russian-occupied Luhansk region, interviewed by Ukrainian television, said forces launched a strike on Saturday on a hotel in the town of Kadiivka, west of the region’s main center of Luhansk. Photos posted on Telegram channels showed a building largely reduced to rubble.
“They had a little pop there, just where Wagner headquarters was located. A huge number of those who were there died,” he said.
Sunday, Dec. 11
10:30 p.m. Presidents Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia discussed grain supplies and a potential regional gas hub in Turkey, both countries said. “President Erdogan expressed his sincere wish for the termination of the Russia-Ukraine war as soon as possible,” the Turkish presidency said. In the call, Erdogan said Ankara and Moscow could start work on exporting other food products and commodities through the Black Sea grain corridor, Erdogan’s office said.
3:52 p.m. Russia’s Gazprom said it plans to ship 42.6 million cubic meters of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Sunday, a volume largely in line with recent days.
5:04 a.m. More than 1.5 million people in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region are without power after Russian drone strikes on the electricity generating system, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address.
Saturday, Dec. 10
9:30 a.m. The Biden administration accuses Russia of moving to provide advanced military assistance to Iran, including air defense systems, helicopters and fighter jets, part of deepening cooperation between the two nations as Tehran provides drones to support Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Friday cited U.S. intelligence assessments for the allegations, saying Russia was offering Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”
7:15 a.m. Russia is trying to obtain “hundreds of ballistic missiles” and more from Iran and offering “an unprecedented level of military and technical support” in return, says Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the United Nations.
The U.K. is also “almost certain that Russia is seeking to source weaponry from North Korea, other heavily sanctioned states, as their own stocks palpably dwindle,” she tells reporters.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, dismisses the accusations, telling the Security Council that his country’s military-industrial complex in Russia does not need outside help, unlike Ukraine’s being propped up by the West.
Iran acknowledged in November that it had supplied Russia with drones but said they were sent before the war. Russia has denied that its forces used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.
4:15 a.m. The U.S. claims Russia is giving Iran “an unprecedented level” of technical and military support. “Russia is seeking to collaborate with Iran on areas like weapons development and training,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says, citing U.S. intelligence. “We are concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with advanced military components.”
3:00 a.m. President Vladimir Putin shrugs off the impact of an oil price cap on Russia’s energy industry, warning it will backfire on those who impose it.
The $60-a-barrel ceiling agreed upon by Group of Seven nations for seaborne Russian oil is close to where his country’s output is trading, Putin says, adding that Russia also provides discounts for buyers.
“Therefore, we will not have losses under any circumstances,” he tells a news conference on a visit to Kyrgyzstan. He says Russia will consider cuts to oil production but has not made any decision.
Putin says the “stupid” cap threatens all oil producers by undermining market principles in an industry that already suffers from underinvestment.
“All this will lead at some stage to a catastrophic surge in prices and to the collapse of world energy,” he says.
12:40 a.m. France’s TotalEnergies has decided to withdraw its two directors from the board of Russian gas company Novatek, in which it holds at 19.4% stake.
The two directors have had to abstain from board decisions since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, TotalEnergies says in its news release. “They are therefore no longer in a position to fully carry out their duties on the board, which might become an issue for the governance of this company,” the French energy group says. Its decision takes immediate effect.
TotalEnergies is unable to sell its stake in Novatek because of “prevailing shareholders’ agreements.” The French company says it will no longer book earnings from its investment in the Russian gas producer.
Friday, Dec. 9
6:10 p.m. Canada has imposed fresh sanctions on Russia, Iran and Myanmar, citing alleged human rights violations by the countries’ governments. The measures include sanctions against 33 current or former senior Russian officials and six entities involved in alleged “systematic human rights violations” against Russian citizens who protested against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Sanctions were also imposed on 22 individuals in Iran and 12 individuals and three entities in Myanmar, Canada said.
10:00 a.m. The U.S. is sending an additional $275 million in military aid to Ukraine, including large amounts of ammunition and high-tech systems that can be used to detect and counter drones in its ongoing war with Russia, according to U.S. officials. The latest package of aid includes 80,000 rounds of ammunition for howitzers and an undisclosed amount of ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS. It also includes systems to counter drones and air defenses, along with more Humvees, generators and other combat equipment.
6:00 a.m. The CEO of Chevron has raised questions about how the price cap on seaborne Russian oil imported to Europe will work in practice and whether it will simply encourage profiteering.
“It’s very difficult to tame a complex global market with an administrative mechanism that comes from a few countries,” Mike Wirth says in an interview as part of the Financial Times Global Boardroom conference. “It’s not exactly clear how the enforcement will work.”
“The reality is in these markets, historically, sanctions regimes have created opportunities for those that work around the edges of the system to actually benefit greatly — and oftentimes, the desired geopolitical objectives aren’t necessarily achieved,” Wirth says.
Thursday, Dec. 8
10:45 p.m. U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian prison in exchange for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, Washington and Moscow say. Read more.
Griner had been serving a prison sentence on drugs charges.
2:30 p.m. China is paying the deepest discounts in months for Russian ESPO crude oil amid weak demand and poor refining margins, even though the effective prices refiners pay could exceed a price cap imposed this week by Western countries. The $60 per-barrel cap — set by G-7 nations, the European Union and Australia — took effect on Monday to limit Moscow’s power to finance its war in Ukraine, though Russia has vowed to defy it. China, Russia’s top oil buyer, has not agreed to the price cap. Traders said they were doing business as usual. At least one December-arrival ESPO shipment was sold last week to an independent refiner at a discount of $6 per barrel against the February ICE Brent price on a delivery-ex-ship basis, according to four traders with knowledge of the deal.
5:00 a.m. The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a ninth package of sanctions on Russia, including adding almost 200 additional individuals and entities to the list. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement that the EU also proposes sanctions against three additional Russian banks and wants to impose new export controls and restrictions, particularly for dual-use goods including key chemicals, nerve agents, electronics and IT components.
3:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the risk of nuclear war is rising but his country’s arsenal is a means of defense.
Russia has the world’s most advanced nuclear weapons, but “we haven’t gone mad,” Putin tells a televised meeting of his presidential human rights council.
Putin says fighting in Ukraine — which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” not a war — could be a long process.
The Russian leader sees no reason now for a second mobilization of troops after the call-up of 300,000 reservists in September and October.
Wednesday, Dec. 7
11:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
Zelenskyy, a former comedian, refused to leave the capital at the beginning of the war and has traveled across the nation, including to combat zones.
“Zelenskyy’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious. It spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion, as everyone realized the president had stuck around,” Time writes in acknowledging the 44-year-old leader.
7:00 a.m. The U.S. has “neither encouraged nor enabled Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says at a news conference.
“The important thing is to understand what Ukrainians are living through every day with the ongoing Russian aggression against their country, and our determination to make sure they have in their hands, along with many other partners around the world, the equipment that they need to defend themselves and their territory,” Blinken tells reporters.
The remarks come at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles.
For earlier updates, click here.