Russian-backed military officials in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region said nine people were killed after Ukraine shelled the city of Alchevsk, the state-run TASS news agency reported, as the fighting in Ukraine enters its 285th day.

(Reuters)

Monday, December 5, 2022

Russia's Lavrov: NATO policy risks 'direct clash' between nuclear powers

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that NATO was a "serious threat" to Russia, and the West's positions risked a "direct clash between nuclear powers with catastrophic consequences."

Lavrov also said he regretted that the US had rejected talks with Moscow over "strategic stability" - a host of issues related to nuclear weapons - and said that without direct talks between the world's two largest nuclear powers, the risk to global security would only grow. 

Moscow blames Ukraine for blasts on Russian airfields

The Russian defence ministry said Ukrainian drone attacks caused explosions at two airfields in the Saratov and Ryazan regions, leaving three dead. 

On Monday morning "the Kiev regime attempted to strike the Dyagilevo airfield in the Ryazan region, and the Engels airfield in the Saratov region, with Soviet-made drones," the ministry said in a statement, adding that three soldiers had been killed. 

The drones aiming to "disrupt Russian long-range aircraft" were intercepted, the ministry said, but debris fell and exploded on the airfields. Four other soldiers were wounded and taken to medical facilities. Two planes were slightly damaged, according to the statement. 

Explosions reported in Poltava, Kiev regions amid air raid alerts across Ukraine

Explosions were reported in multiple regions of Ukraine amid air raid alerts heard all over the country.

Local authorities took to Telegram to urge residents to move to bomb shelters, while officials in the central Poltava and Kiev regions said explosions were being heard.

“In Poltava Oblast, air defense is working. Stay in shelters,” Poltava Governor Dmytro Lunin said on Telegram.

Ukraine PM: Energy facilities hit but system functioning

Energy facilities in three Ukrainian regions were hit by Russian strikes but the nationwide power system remains functioning and intact, Ukraine's prime minister said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on the Telegram messaging app that energy facilities in the Kiev, Vinnytsia and Odesa regions had been hit and that emergency power cuts persisted in some regions as a result. 

40 percent of the Kiev region was without electricity after Russian air strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said.

Two killed in Russian missile strikes in Ukraine - senior official

Russian missiles crashed into buildings in the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, destroying several houses and killing at least two people, a senior Ukrainian official said.

 A city official said buildings had been hit in the suburbs of the city of Zaporizhzhia and some Russian missiles had been shot down.

The governor of the Kiev region said air defences were working in the region, and told residents to remain in shelters. 

Ukrainian president: air defences shot down most Russian missiles

Ukraine's air force says it shot down more than 60 missiles among 70 fired by Russian forces in latest launches.

Russia carried out the latest in a wave of air strikes on Ukraine, destroying homes in the south and knocking out power in the north and killing at least two people, Ukrainian officials said.

UN rights chief moves Kiev meeting underground as sirens sound

The UN rights chief said he had met with activists in an underground shelter in Kiev as missiles rained down, and called for an end to the "senseless" war.

Volker Turk, who took over as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in October, arrived on Sunday for a four-day visit to Ukraine, which has been ravaged by war since Russia's full-scale offensive in February.

He had been scheduled to meet with a number of human rights defenders in the Ukrainian capital on Monday, but then air sirens sounded and they had to move into an underground shelter.

Missile fragments found on Molodovan side of border with Ukraine - local media

Moldovan police found fragments of a missile that came down in a region of northern Moldova near the border with Ukraine, state information portal Prima Sursa quoted the police as saying.

Moldovan authorities did not immediately comment publicly on the incident, which was reported after Russia carried out a new wave of missile strikes on Ukraine. 

Putin drives across Crimea bridge in a Mercedes

President Vladimir Putin drove a Mercedes across the Crimean Bridge linking southern Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula, less than two months since an explosion tore through one of the Kremlin chief's showcase infrastructure projects.

Putin, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnull in, was shown on state television behind the wheel of a Mercedes, asking questions about where the attack took place.

"We are driving on the right hand side," Putin said, as he drove across the bridge. "The left side of the bridge, as I understand it, is in working condition, but nevertheless it needs to be completed. It still suffered a little, we need to bring it to an ideal state."

War crimes Prosecutor: ICC should prosecute aggression, can try heads of state

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the right place to prosecute the crime of "aggression", the act of attacking another country, and it has the power to try heads of state, Prosecutor Karim Khan said.

Khan, whose office is investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, did not directly mention the possibility of prosecuting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual gathering of ICC member states in The Hague, Khan at times sharply contradicted statements made by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last week in which she pushed for the establishment of a new, separate, UN-backed tribunal to try crimes of aggression.

We should avoid fragmentation and instead prefer consolidation of courts.

Karim Khan, Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

Nine killed in shelling of Russian-held town in eastern Ukraine

Russian-backed military officials in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region said that nine people were killed after Ukraine shelled the city of Alchevsk, the state-run TASS news agency has reported.

China says it will maintain 'mutually beneficial' energy relations with Russia – RIA

The Chinese foreign ministry said that Beijing will continue its energy cooperation with Russia on the basis of respect and mutual benefit, following the European Union's agreement to impose a price cap on Russia's oil exports, Russia's RIA news agency reported. 

China has upped its purchases of Russia's Urals oil blends this year, which now trades at a steep discount to Brent, the global benchmark.

UAE, Ukraine to start talks on bilateral trade deal – statement

The United Arab Emirates and Ukraine announced their intention to start negotiations on a bilateral trade deal that is expected to conclude by the middle of next year, the UAE economy ministry said.

The Gulf Arab state has tried to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war despite Western pressure on Gulf oil producers to help isolate Moscow, a fellow OPEC+ member, and has called for diplomacy to resolve the conflict.

The UAE's minister of state for foreign trade, Thani Al Zeyoudi, and Ukraine's economy minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, signed a joint statement on negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the ministry said.

Gazprom to ship 42.4 mcm of gas to Europe via Ukraine

 Russian energy giant Gazprom said it plans to ship 42.4 million cubic metres (mcm) of natural gas to Europe via Ukraine.

Zelenskyy urges residents to be strong as Ukraine race for power

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Ukrainians to be patient and strong in resisting the rigours of winter, as officials pressed ahead with efforts to restore power and other services knocked out by Russian air strikes.

"To get through this winter, we must be even more resilient and even more united than ever," Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Sunday.

"We cannot allow any kind of internal conflicts and strike that can weaken us all, even if someone out there thinks that it will somehow strengthen him personally."

Russia gearing up for 'massive attack' on Ukraine, warns official

Russia is getting ready for a “massive attack” on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, according to a Ukrainian official.

“We understand that a massive attack is being prepared and is possible any day … Remember that neither day nor night matters to the enemy. Their task is terror,” Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokesperson for Ukraine's Southern Defense Forces, told Ukraine’s Channel 24.

She said Ukrainian authorities are taking necessary precautionary measures.

“For almost two weeks, the enemy has not launched massive missile strikes. However, this pause may end at any time,” she said, adding that the Ukrainian military is beefing up protection at power plants and other critical infrastructure.

Ukraine, Baltics rebuke Macron for suggesting 'security guarantees' for Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron's suggestion the West should consider Russia's need for security guarantees if Moscow agrees to talks to end the war in Ukraine unleashed a storm of criticism in Kiev and its Baltic allies over the weekend.

In an interview with French TV station TF1, Macron said that Europe needs to prepare its future security architecture and also think "how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's top aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that it is the world that needs security guarantees from Russia, not the other way around.

US intel chief thinking 'optimistically' for Ukraine forces

The head of US intelligence says fighting in Russia’s war in Ukraine is running at a “reduced tempo” and suggests Ukrainian forces could have brighter prospects in coming months.

Avril Haines alluded to past allegations by some that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisers could be shielding him from bad news — for Russia — about war developments, and said he “is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia.”

Haines, the US director of national intelligence, said her team was "seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict” and looking ahead expects both sides will look to refit, resupply, and reconstitute for a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive in the spring. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies