Russia warns if US delivers sophisticated missiles to Ukraine it would be "another provocative move" that could prompt a swift response from Moscow, as fighting enters its 295th day.

Russian forces launched at least 76 missiles across Ukraine, Ukrainian officials say.
Russian forces launched at least 76 missiles across Ukraine, Ukrainian officials say. (Evgeniy Maloletka / AP)

Friday, December 16, 2022

Ukraine shoots down 60 of 76 missiles fired by Russia - army chief

Ukraine shot down 60 out of the latest 76 missiles fired at it by Russia, according to the commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces.

"According to preliminary data, this morning from the regions of the Caspian and Black seas, the enemy launched 76 missiles, including 72 cruise missiles (X-101, 'Kalibr', X-22) and 4 guided air missiles (X-59) at Ukrainian critical infrastructure," General Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram.

Next security package for Ukraine is coming: US

The next US security assistance package for Ukraine is coming and will likely include more air defence capabilities, the White House said.

“We are going to remain undeterred in helping Ukraine defend itself against these air assaults,” John Kirby, White House National Security Council spokesperson, told reporters.

The first tranche of $53 million worth of energy-related equipment and technical support for Ukraine has also arrived, he said, and includes “the kinds of equipment that they need to make emergency repairs.” He added that there would be more "coming in weeks". 

Russia, UN nuclear watchdog may hold talks on Zaporizhzhia plant

Russian authorities said a new round of talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant may take place in Moscow soon.

"Contacts to prevent its shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now continuing. Soon, there we will follow such talks, including in Moscow. We have trust in the competence and potential of the IAEA. We keep in touch with them," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel.

Croatia rejects joining in EU's Ukraine training mission

Croatian lawmakers narrowly rejected a proposal for its forces to join an EU mission in support of the Ukrainian military after hours of heated debate reflecting deep divisions between the premier and the country's president.

A majority of two-thirds was needed to agree on the proposal that would have included allowing up to 100 Ukrainian troops to be trained in Croatia over the next two years. 

President Zoran Milanovic, who is the supreme commander of the Croatian armed forces, opposes the plan.

Of the 107 who voted in the 151-seat parliament, 97 supported it. Ten voted against. Opposition deputies said they did not want to become hostages to the top leaders' political disagreement and said the constitution does not envisage parliamentary votes on matters normally approved by the president in agreement with the government.

Ukraine needs more generators to get through winter: PM

Ukrainian small and medium-sized businesses have imported about half a million power generators, but the country needs thousands more that are bigger and stronger to get through winter, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

"To get through the winter, we will need about 17,000 big and industrial generating units," Shmyhal told a government meeting. "We hope to cover part of these needs with the help of our partners," he said.

Ukraine's grid operator Ukrenergo said after the latest Russian air strikes that repair times would be longer than after previous attacks and that it would take longer to restore power.

Switzerland formally adopts EU oil price cap for Russia

The Swiss government adopted further sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine, in line with the European Union's latest measures on Russian crude oil and petroleum products, the cabinet said.

The additional sanctions ban the transportation of Russian oil and petroleum sold above the price cap introduced earlier this month to trade and brokering services.

EU foreign policy chief has no 'logical thinking,' Russia says over Türkiye comments

Russia lashed out at the EU's foreign policy chief over remarks lacking "any logical thinking" as they targeted Türkiye for its ties with Moscow and urged it to join the bloc's sanctions imposed in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.

In response to a question by Anadolu Agency about Josep Borrell's comments, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova criticised the top diplomat for demeaning his position and spreading "lies and stupid things." "He is reading notes provided to him, he does not have any logical thinking, and this thinking has deeper roots, like colonialism and fascism," said Zakharova.

She asserted that Borrell and other Western officials "ignore the national interests" of Türkiye and other countries.

A rescuer walks amid rubbles of a destroyed building following Russian strikes in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine on Friday.
A rescuer walks amid rubbles of a destroyed building following Russian strikes in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine on Friday. (AFP)

Eight killed in Ukrainian shelling in Luhansk: Moscow-backed governor

Ukrainian shelling in the eastern Luhansk region has left eight people dead and nearly two dozen wounded, the Moscow-backed head of the region said.

"Early this morning, the town of Stakhanov and the village of Lantratovka again came under artillery fire from the nationalists... Eight people died, another 23 of our compatriots were wounded," the Russian-backed leader of Luhansk Leonid Pasechnik said on social media.

Kremlin says Russia will draw up response to latest EU sanctions

The Kremlin has said it would study the latest package of European Union sanctions against Russia and then formulate its response.

EU leaders agreed on Thursday to provide $19 billion (18 billion euros) in financing to Ukraine next year and hit Moscow with a ninth package of sanctions. The measures designate nearly 200 more people and bar investment in Russia's mining industry, among other steps.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would study the list before responding. 

Ukraine declares emergency power shutdowns nationwide

A senior Ukrainian presidential official has said that emergency power shutdowns were being brought in across the country after Russian missiles hit energy facilities in several regions.

Russia launched dozens of missiles at Ukraine, the latest in a wave of attacks on critical infrastructure.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, did not say which facilities had been hit. 

Russia launches another major missile attack on Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities have reported explosions in at least three cities, saying Russia has launched a major missile attack” on energy facilities and infrastructure.

Local authorities on social media reported explosions in the capital, Kiev, southern Kryvyi Rih and northeastern Kharkiv as authorities sounded air raid alarms across the country warning of a new devastating barrage of the Russian strikes that have occurred intermittently since mid-October.

A Ukrainian air force spokesman has said that Russia has fired more than 60 missiles into Ukraine in the latest round of strikes. 

Putin to visit Belarus Monday for talks with Lukashenko

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Belarus on Monday for talks with his counterpart and ally Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarus leader's office has said.

The Belarus presidency said Friday the pair will hold discussions at the Independence Palace, Lukashenko's office, in Minsk during Putin's "working visit".

The visit comes 10 months into Russia's offensive in Ukraine, which was launched from several directions, including Belarusian territory.

World Bank launches $2B Ukraine private sector aid package

The World Bank has announced a $2 billion package to support Ukraine's private sector, in a bid to help pave the way for reconstruction amid the devastation resulting from Russia's war.

The latest package by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the bank's development arm focused on private-sector development in emerging markets, adds to its ongoing support of Ukraine.

The group has been working to help Ukraine maintain trade flows, while retaining access to essential resources like food and fuel, it said.

Israel provides Ukraine intelligence on Iran through NATO

 Israel provides intelligence to Ukraine through NATO on Iranian drones targeting Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure, Israeli media reports have said.

“Israel has stepped up its intelligence assistance to Ukraine in recent weeks via NATO,” sources from the alliance in Brussels were quoted by the Haaretz daily as saying.

The newspaper evaluated the recent move as “Israel's latest show of flexibility toward Kiev,” with political and military authorities slightly easing “the fence-sitting policy” they have employed since Russia’s war on Ukraine began.

Zelenskyy reports new Russian strikes in Donbass, Kharkiv 

Russian forces have bombarded the Ukrainian city of Kherson with more than 16 strikes, Zelenskyy said.

"Since the beginning of this day alone, Russia has bombed Kherson more than 16 times, only in one day!" the Ukrainian president said in his daily address on social media, adding there had also been "brutal Russian attacks" in the Donbass and the Kharkiv regions of the war-torn country.

While winter temperatures plunge below freezing, the heavy shelling has left Kherson "completely without power", according to regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych. 

EU agrees fresh sanctions on Russia — diplomats

The EU has agreed a fresh round of sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, after complaints from hawkish eastern European leaders that some countries were trying to water them down.

Diplomats said a compromise deal — thought to include targeting some 200 individuals — was reached on the sidelines of a leaders summit in Brussels and that the sanctions would be formally confirmed.

US military to expand training of Ukrainian forces in Germany

The US military has announced it will expand wartime training in Germany of Ukrainian military personnel fighting Russia with a focus on joint maneuver and combined arms operations.

Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the training of about 500 Ukrainians a month will start in January, building on more than 15,000 Ukrainian forces trained by the United States and its allies since April.

The new training push will be on top of efforts to teach Ukrainians to operate billions of dollars worth of specialised Western military equipment that the United States and its NATO allies have provided since Russia's offensive began on February 24.

"Combined arms maneuver training is a logical next step in our ongoing training efforts," Ryder said, referring to training on how to attack an enemy with multiple capabilities at once.

For live updates from Thursday (December 15), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies