Advertisement

Russia-Ukraine war – live: Baby injured and families trapped under rubble as Putin’s troops hit record losses

Russian missiles have torn through apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, killing at least two people, injuring a baby and burying families under rubble.

The missiles hit three Donetsk cities, Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad, Ukrainian internal affairs minister Ihor Klymenko said.

In Pokrovsk, Emergency crews helped rescue a man with a six-month-old baby, covered in blood, in his hands, officials said. The strikes destroyed a multi-storey building, nine houses, a police office and cars.

Emergency workers pulled the body of a 62-year-old man from the wreckage of a destroyed multi-storey building in Novohrodivka.

Four more people may be under the rubble, including a child, authorities said.

It comes as statistics by a longtime Russo-Ukraine War military data researcher suggested Russian forces have faces record losses this month.

Data published by Ragnar Gudmundsson said more than 25,000 Russian service personnel died or were severely wounded in combat in Ukraine in November.

It added that an average of 994 men were killed a day during the previous week.

Kremlin spokesmen have admitted Russian forces have suffered unexpectedly heavy losses during its invasion of Ukraine but accuse Kyiv of inflated claims.

Key Points

  • Vladimir Putin signs Russia’s largest national budget as he bolsters military spending

  • Putin suffering losses ‘well behind the front line’, says UK

  • Ukraine targets Moscow in major drone assault

  • Explosions heard overnight in Kyiv as Putin launches biggest drone attack yet

Lavrov: we see no readiness for political solution from Ukraine

10:40 , Tom Watling

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow saw no signs that Kyiv was ready to move towards a political resolution and that there was no reason for Russia to change the goals of its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Lavrov was speaking at a news conference in Skopje, North Macedonia.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, front, attends the plenary session of the OSCE in North Macedonia (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, front, attends the plenary session of the OSCE in North Macedonia (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Russia advancing on all fronts in Ukraine, claims Kremlin defence minister

10:04 , Tom Watling

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday that the Russian military was advancing in all directions in Ukraine, the state news agency RIA reported.

Shoigu also said that Russia would hold naval drills, called Ocean-2024, next year.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu chairs a roundtable meeting with military officials in Moscow (Russian Defence Ministry/AFP via)
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu chairs a roundtable meeting with military officials in Moscow (Russian Defence Ministry/AFP via)

Putin urges Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid soaring deaths in his Ukraine war

09:33 , Tom Watling

Vladimir Putin has urged Russian women to have eight or more children and make large families “the norm” amid soaring numbers of casualties in his war against Ukraine.

Russia’s birth rate has been steadily falling since the 90’s and the country has suffered more than 300,000 casualties since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to data maintained by Kyiv.

In a speech via video link at the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Putin said boosting the Russian population will be “our goal for the coming decades”.

Putin asks Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid deaths in his war

Hungary’s Orban says EU should first sign strategic partnership accord with Ukraine

08:45 , Matt Mathers

The European Union should first sign a strategic partnership agreement with Ukraine instead of starting membership talks with the country, Hungary’s Viktor Orban said on Friday.

The 27 national EU leaders are due to decide in mid-December on whether to accept the European Commission’s recommendation to invite Kyiv to begin membership talks as soon as it meets final conditions, even as it fights to repel Russia’s invasion.

Any such decision requires unanimity of the bloc’s 27 members, with Hungary seen as the main potential obstacle. The Hungarian prime minister has repeatedly said Hungary would not support the Commission’s proposal in its present form.

Orban reiterated on Friday that several issues would need to be cleared before membership talks could start with Ukraine, saying the country, making it impossible to assess what consequences Ukraine’s membership would have on the bloc.

"If we don’t know (what consequences it would have) then we should not start talks... So I will represent the view that the EU should first sign a strategic partnership agreement with Ukraine," Orban said in an interview on state radio.

"This (agreement) could last for up to 5-10 years, let’s bring them closer, as the gap is too wide now," he said. "Let’s give time for us to work together, and when we see that we can work together, then let’s bring up the issue of membership."

File photo: Viktor Orban (MTVA - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund)
File photo: Viktor Orban (MTVA - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund)

Ukraine says it is repelling Russian attacks across six fronts as Zelensky orders more fortifications

07:45 , Matt Mathers

Missile attacks and ground clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces surged on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian military, as Russian troops launched offensives but failed to move forward on as many as six fronts.

A total of 73 combat skirmishes took place across the war’s frontline in the past 24 hours, an update from Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces on Thursday read, a day after Russia launched more than 100 attacks to recapture its lost positions in eastern Ukraine’s Robotyne.

Arpan Rai reports:

Ukraine repelling Russian attacks across six fronts as Zelensky seeks fortifications

US senators to be briefed on Ukraine aid on Tuesday

07:25 , Maira Butt

A classified briefing for all U.S. senators on Ukraine, Israel and elements of the national security supplemental funding package requested by President Joe Biden will be conducted on Tuesday 5 December, Senate aides said on Thursday.

The briefers will include Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General CQ Brown and US Agency for International Development Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman.

Biden asked Congress last month to approve $106 billion in national security funding, including aid for Ukraine as it battles a Russian invasion, support for Israel after the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants and money for additional security at the US border with Mexico.

But the funding has not been approved, raising concerns that funds for Ukraine in particular might never pass, particularly after the Republican-led House passed a bill including assistance for Israel, but not Ukraine.

In pictures: the latest in Ukraine

06:25 , Maira Butt

Ukrainian crew members sit in a German Gepard anti-aircraft-gun tank that is used to target Russian launched drones, during the vehicle's demonstration to the media, in the outskirts of Kyiv, on November 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian crew members sit in a German Gepard anti-aircraft-gun tank that is used to target Russian launched drones, during the vehicle's demonstration to the media, in the outskirts of Kyiv, on November 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the drone hunting team gathered to receive a military award for their actions in shooting down drones on November 25, when Ukraine said they had downed 74 out of 75 drones that Russia launched at it, in what it said was the biggest such attack since the start of the invasion. The Ukrainian army said that day Russia had launched a “record number” of Iranian-made Shahed drones, the majority of which targeted Kyiv. (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen of a drone hunting team gather next to German Gepard anti-aircraft-gun tank  that is used to target Russian launched drones, in the outskirts of Kyiv, on November 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen of a drone hunting team gather next to German Gepard anti-aircraft-gun tank that is used to target Russian launched drones, in the outskirts of Kyiv, on November 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian families buried in rubble amid Russian strikes

05:25 , Maira Butt

Hanna Arhirova reports:

Russian missiles tore through apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, local officials said Thursday, killing at least one person and burying families under rubble as the Kremlin’s forces continued to pound the fiercely contested area with long-range weapons.

Russian military units simultaneously launched six S-300 missiles during the night, according to Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko.

The missiles struck three Donetsk cities — Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad, he said. The cities lie 25-40 kilometers (15-25 miles) from the front line.

Emergency workers pulled the body of a 62-year-old man from the wreckage of a destroyed multi-story building in Novohrodivka. Four more people may be under the rubble, including a child, authorities said.

Read the full piece here.

In case you missed it: Putin urges Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid soaring deaths in his Ukraine war

04:36 , Maira Butt

Shweta Sharma reports:

Vladimir Putin has urged Russian women to have eight or more children and make large families “the norm” amid soaring numbers of casualties in his war against Ukraine.

Russia’s birth rate has been steadily falling since the 90’s and the country has suffered more than 300,000 casualties since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to data maintained by Kyiv.

In a speech via video link at the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Putin said boosting the Russian population will be “our goal for the coming decades”.

“Many of our peoples maintain the tradition of the family, where four, five or more children are raised,” said Mr Putin. “Recall that in Russian families our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had both 7 and 8 children. Let us preserve and revive these traditions. Having many children, a large family, should become a norm, a way of life for all the peoples of Russia.”

The conference is led by the head of Russia’s Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill, and was attended by representatives of other traditional religious organisations of Russia. Its theme was “The Present and Future of the Russian World”.

Read the full piece here.

Latest figures on Ukrainian prisoners

03:35 , Maira Butt

In November, the Ukrainian government said it had registered 3,574 Ukrainian military and 763 civilians taken into Russian or Moscow-backed separatists’ captivity since 2014.

The figure included those who have already returned to Ukraine, it said. However, it said the numbers did not show all the current prisoners.

Ukraine has already brought back 2,598 people from Russian captivity during 48 swaps, the Strategic Communications Department of the Armed Forces said on Tuesday.

Reuters could not independently verify the figures.

Ukraine says Russia to blame for months of no prisoner swaps

02:30 , Maira Butt

Ukraine‘s human rights commissioner accused Russia on Thursday of refusing to agree new exchanges of prisoners of war after a stretch of three months in which no swaps have been reported.

Kyiv and Moscow have held many prisoner swaps since the early months of Russia’s invasion in February 2022. But their intensity dropped in 2023 and the last one took place in early August.

“Exchanges don’t happen because Russia doesn’t want them to,” said Dmytro Lubinets, the human rights ombudsman who has regularly had a role in prisoner exchanges in the past.

“All the initiatives, desires and actions of Ukraine regarding the return of our defenders from captivity are met by a Russian unwillingness to return its citizens,” he said on Telegram messenger.

He added that Russian prisoners held in Ukraine had expressed a wish to be exchanged.

“No one from the Russian side wants to take them back,” he said.

The Russian Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In case you missed it: Ex-Marine Paul Whelan attacked in Russia jail, brother says

01:28 , Maira Butt

Michelle del Rey reports:

Paul Whelan, a former US Marine currently being detained in Russia on a 16-year sentence for espionage, was reportedly attacked in a penal colony by another inmate on Tuesday afternoon.

The incident happened while Mr Whelan was working at a sewing table at around 1.30pm, his brother, David Whelan, said in an emailed statement provided to The Independent.

Paul Whelan had asked a new prisoner to move because he was blocking part of the production line he was working on. After several requests, the prisoner did not budge but instead allegedly hit Mr Whelan in the face, breaking his glasses.

The prisoner reportedly then tried to strike the American a second time, but he blocked the attempt.

Other prisoners intervened to stop the attack from continuing, the statement said. Paul Whelan later reported the attack to prison camp’s deputy warden. It is now being investigated by the prosecutor’s office.

Read the full piece here.

Zelensky address to Ukraine: ‘We will reclaim its territory and its people. We will not leave anyone to the occupiers'

00:30 , Maira Butt

The Ukraininan military intelligence service (HUR) orchestrated a hacking of broadcast channels in Crimea to deliver an ardent message by President Zelensky to the people of Ukraine, according to the Kyiv Independent.

“All of you feel that the Russian presence on our land is not permanent. I know this. Ukraine will reclaim its territory and its people. We will not leave anyone to the occupiers.

“Ukraine will soon have fire control capabilities over Russian-occupied Crimea,” Zelensky said.

German Chancellor has phone call with Zelensky

Thursday 30 November 2023 23:17 , Maira Butt

The Federal Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, had a phone call with President Zelensky on Thursday in which they discussed “further defence cooperation”.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Zelensky emphasised the importance of “ensuring unity within the European Union in the issue of endorsement of Ukraine’s accession negotiations and in the allocation of €50 billion in aid for the coming years.”

Zelensky thanks UK for 'continued support’

Thursday 30 November 2023 22:30 , Maira Butt

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Zelensky spoke on Thursday about their continuing political relations amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

President Zelensky thanked Sunak for his “continued support”.

In a statement on X, formelry known as Twitter, he said:

“I spoke with Rishi Sunak to thank him for the UK’s continued defense and political support. Following my visits to the frontlines, I briefed the Prime Minister on Ukraine’s priority defense needs for strengthening our warriors and our sky shield.

“We discussed further macro-financial support for Ukraine and coordinated steps in the run-up to important international events.

“We specifically addressed Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, highlighted the significance of the October Peace Formula talks in Malta, and discussed further steps to put the Formula into action.”

Slovak Prime Minister urges normalisation of relations with Russia

Thursday 30 November 2023 21:30 , Maira Butt

In a statement on their website, the Slovakia government said:

“Today, Thursday, November 30, 2023, the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Robert Fico, received the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Slovak Republic, Gautam Rana, and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Slovak Republic, Igor Bratčikov, at the Slovak Government Office in Bratislava.‘I presented them with my view on the development of Slovak-American and Slovak-Russian relations. The Slovak Republic is a member state of the EU and NATO, which naturally affects our foreign policy priorities. On the other hand, it cannot limit us in sovereign positions, which are not always in line with the policy of one single correct opinion promoted in the European Union. The priority of the foreign policy that I intend to implement is the protection and promotion of Slovak national-state interests, which include the support of peace initiatives and not war in Ukraine,’ said the Prime Minister.The Prime Minister explained Slovak national priorities to both ambassadors, as well as his view of the war in Ukraine, where the EU and US strategy set so far is clearly failing. ‘Slovakia also has an obligation to prepare for the period after the end of the war in Ukraine and for the standardization of Slovak-Russian relations,’ added Robert Fico.”

Robert Fico said it was time to prepare to normalise relations with Russia (AP)
Robert Fico said it was time to prepare to normalise relations with Russia (AP)

Senior Russian general ‘killed by one of Putin’s own landmines’ in Ukraine

Thursday 30 November 2023 20:30 , Maira Butt

Russia may have lost as many as six high-ranking officers in Ukraine in just one week following reports a senior general was killed by a landmine placed by his own side.

Major general Vladimir Zavadsky, 45, the deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps, died in occupied Ukraine on Tuesday, reported pro-Kremlin newspaper Lenta.

The elite military academy where Zavadsky studied, the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School, also announced his death in a social media post, although that has now been deleted.

Russia’s defence ministry has not officially commented on the reports.

Zavadsky was not reported to have been killed in action. According to the Telegram channel VChK-OGPU, which claims to have ties to Russian security services, the general died in a blast on a landmine placed by Vladimir Putin’s own forces to target Ukrainian reconnaissance groups.

Read the full piece here.

In pictures: funerals continue for Ukrainian servicemen

Thursday 30 November 2023 19:23 , Maira Butt

Funerals have continued for Ukrainian soldiers who have been killed fighting Russian forces. Serhiy Pavlichenko

A funeral took place on Wednesday for Serhiy Pavlichenko (Global Images Ukraine via Getty)
A funeral took place on Wednesday for Serhiy Pavlichenko (Global Images Ukraine via Getty)
Officials gave speeches at the soldier and ex-political prisoner’s service (Global Images Ukraine via Getty)
Officials gave speeches at the soldier and ex-political prisoner’s service (Global Images Ukraine via Getty)
Fellow soldiers mourned the loss of their compatriot (Global Images Ukraine via Getty)
Fellow soldiers mourned the loss of their compatriot (Global Images Ukraine via Getty)

Russian missile strikes in eastern Ukraine tear through buildings and bury families in rubble

Thursday 30 November 2023 18:30 , Athena Stavrou

Russian missiles tore through apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, local officials said Thursday, killing at least two person and burying families under rubble as the Kremlin’s forces continued to pound the fiercely contested area with long-range weapons.

You can read The Independent’s full report here:

Russian missile strikes in eastern Ukraine tear through buildings and bury families in rubble

ICYMI: Putin urges Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid soaring deaths in his Ukraine war

Thursday 30 November 2023 17:30 , Athena Stavrou

Vladimir Putin has urged Russian women to have eight or more children and make large families “the norm” amid soaring numbers of casualties in his war against Ukraine.

Russia’s birth rate has been steadily falling since the 90’s and the country has suffered more than 300,000 casualties since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to data maintained by Kyiv.

In a speech via video link at the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Putin said boosting the Russian population will be “our goal for the coming decades”.

Read the full report here:

Putin asks Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid deaths in his war

Russia's Lavrov faces Western critics at security meeting, walks out after speech

Thursday 30 November 2023 16:30 , Athena Stavrou

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov faced western critics while attending international security talks in Northern Macedonia, where he blamed “Nato’s reckless expansion to the East” for war returning to Europe.

Mr Lavrov arrived in Skopje to attend meetings hosted by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe.

The diplomats of several OSCE member nations, including Ukraine, boycotted the event due to Mr Lavrov’s planned attendance amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

He spoke for 15 minutes on Thursday before walking out of the meetings and blamed what he described as western tolerance of the “ruling neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv” for the war.

“The very existence of Russians and their decisive contribution to the history of Ukraine are denied,” Mr Lavrov said. “There are plenty of facts. The OSCE and its relevant institutions are silent.”

Donetsk missile strike death toll rises

Thursday 30 November 2023 15:40 , Athena Stavrou

A second person has been confirmed killed following an overnight missile attack in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier, officials had said one person was killed after six missiles struck the three settlements of Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad. In the afternoon, rescuers had retrieved a second body from the debris, according to Ukrainian police.

Police said on Telegram that a 33-year-old woman, a 38-year-old man and an eight-year-old girl could still be under the rubble of a residential building in Novohrodivka.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said earlier 10 people, including four children, were wounded. Nine private houses, a police station, cars, and garages were damaged, he added.

Russia’s top court bans LGBT+ activism as ‘extremist’ in latest crackdown

Thursday 30 November 2023 15:00 , Athena Stavrou

Russia’s top court has ruled that LGBT+ activists should be designated as “extremists” and issued a ban against such work – the most drastic step in a years-long crackdown on the community in ther country.

The move effectively outlaws LGBT+ activism across the country, in a move that representatives of the gay and transgender communities fear will lead to arrests and prosecutions.

Read the full report here:

Russia’s top court bans LGBT+ activism as ‘extremist’ in new crackdown

Russia deploys ‘poorly trained’ soldiers

Thursday 30 November 2023 14:10 , Athena Stavrou

Russia is assembling a ‘poorly trained’ regiment, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence

In their latest intelligence update, the MoD said Russia’s airborne forces, the VDV, has likely started deploying the newly formed 104th Guards Airborne Division in Ukraine for the first time.

They added: “The division will likely be poorly trained and is unlikely to meet the erstwhile elite standards of the VDV.”

EU's defence strategy needs to include Ukraine, von der Leyen says

Thursday 30 November 2023 13:20 , Athena Stavrou

The European Union should take Ukraine’s military needs into account as it determines the future strategy of Europe’s defence industry, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.

“Our strategy can only be complete if it also takes into account Ukraine’s needs and Ukraine’s industrial capacity,” von der Leyen said in a speech at the annual conference of the European Defence Agency.

Von der Leyen said Ukraine should be integrated into EU defence programmes to help cater to its needs in its war against the Russian invasion.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Russian missiles fired overnight bury families in rubble

Thursday 30 November 2023 11:52 , Athena Stavrou

Russian missiles have torn through apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, killing at least one person and burying families under rubble.

The missiles hit three Donetsk cities, Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad, Ukrainian internal affairs minister Ihor Klymenko said.

Emergency workers pulled the body of a 62-year-old man from the wreckage of a destroyed multi-storey building in Novohrodivka.

Four more people may be under the rubble, including a child, authorities said.

In Pokrovsk, the strikes destroyed a multi-storey building, nine houses, a police office and cars. Emergency crews helped rescue a man with a six-month-old baby, covered in blood, in his hands, officials said.

The head of the city administration, Serhii Dobriak, said it is fourth time Pokrovsk has come under attack in the past month.

“They are striking the city centre, the houses,” he said. “They are just destroying the civilian population.”

All three of the targeted cities are close to Avdiivka, a city where a fierce battle has taken place in recent months.

Ukrainian officials said recently that Russian forces have ramped up attacks in eastern Ukraine in a bid to gain ground near Avdiivka and around Bakhmut, another key frontline city.

The Ukrainian military said earlier on Thursday its air defence shot down 14 out of 20 drones in a Russian overnight strike.

Ukraine's president visits troops on northeastern frontline

Thursday 30 November 2023 11:20 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited troops near the Kupiansk sector of the frontline in the country’s northeast, he announced on social media on Thursday.

“I thank the warriors for their service, for defending our state,” Zelenskyy wrote on X, adding photos which showed him visiting a command post alongside a top Ukrainian general.

Russia calls Bulgaria ‘absurd and stupid’ amid diplomatic row

Thursday 30 November 2023 10:30 , Athena Stavrou

Russia has accused Bulgaria of malice and stupidity on Thursday for refusing to allow Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s plane to fly through its airspace.

The plane was forced to take a longer route over Greece to deliver Lavrov to a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Skopje, North Macedonia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Bulgaria’s position “absurd and stupid”.

Zakharova wrote on the Telegram messenger app: “The malicious stupidity of the Russophobes reached the point that, for the first time in our history, official authorities banned not an airplane, but a person on that airplane.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who is under European Union sanctions, said her presence on board the plane was the reason given by Bulgaria’s foreign ministry for denying access to its airspace.

No comment was immediately available from the Bulgarian ministry.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Update on overnight Donetsk strike

Thursday 30 November 2023 09:45 , Lydia Patrick

The Russian overnight missile strike has claimed one life, says Ukrainian interior minister.

Moscow carried out an overnight attack on the eastern region of Donetsk which has injured 10 and left four trapped under rubble.

Russia fired six missiles at three settlements in the region, most of which is occupied by Russian forces, Klymenko said on Telegram messaging app.

“Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad came under fire. The shelling injured 10 people, including four children. Five more people are being searched for under the rubble,” the minister said.

Later, Donetsk authorities said rescuers found one body while four others, including one child, were still under the rubble.

Russia’s Putin praises Henry Kissinger as wise and pragmatic statesman

Thursday 30 November 2023 09:20 , Lydia Patrick

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday expressed his condolences over the death of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, saying in a telegram to Kissinger’s widow Nancy that he was a “wise and farsighted statesman”.

“The name of Henry Kissinger is inextricably linked with a pragmatic foreign policy line, which at one time made it possible to achieve detente in international tensions and reach the most important Soviet-American agreements that contributed to the strengthening of global security,” Putin said.

“I had the opportunity to personally communicate with this deep, extraordinary man many times, and I will undoubtedly retain the fondest memory of him.”

Kissinger, who died on Wednesday at the age of 100, pursued dialogue between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1970s that led to the first major nuclear arms control treaties between the two Cold War superpowers.

Five decades on, the war in Ukraine has raised tensions between Moscow and Washington to their most acute point since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and the Kremlin has described the current state of relations as “below zero”.

: Former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center's 2019 Forum on Leadership in Dallas (REUTERS)
: Former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center's 2019 Forum on Leadership in Dallas (REUTERS)

‘Let us be a lesson’ - Kazakhstan’s message to leaders about risk of nuclear war

Thursday 30 November 2023 09:00 , Lydia Patrick

As Russia warns of the rising risk of nuclear war, and relations with the United States sink into a deep freeze, communities close to the vast Soviet-era nuclear testing site in northern Kazakhstan have a message for leaders: “Let us be a lesson.”

Hundreds of tests were carried out between 1949 and 1989 on the barren steppe near the city of Semey, formerly known as Semipalatinsk, close to the Kazakh-Russian border. The effect of radiation had a devastating impact on the environment and local people’s health, and continues to affect lives there today.

Many nuclear proliferation experts believe resuming testing by either nuclear superpower more than 30 years after the last test is unlikely soon.

But tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led to increasingly hostile rhetoric, and the arms control architecture built since the Soviet Union’s collapse more than three decades ago has begun to unravel.

In early November, President Vladimir Putin revoked Russia’s ratification of the 1996 global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests. Moscow says it will not lead to a resumption of testing unless the United States does first.

“Let our suffering be a lesson to others,” said Serikbay Ybyrai, local leader in the village of Saryzhal, who saw tests being carried out some 20 km (12 miles) away when he was a boy. “If this (testing) resumes, humanity will disappear.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference following a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon at the Kremlin (via REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference following a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon at the Kremlin (via REUTERS)

Putin urges Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid soaring deaths in his Ukraine war

Thursday 30 November 2023 08:30 , Lydia Patrick

Vladimir Putin has urged Russian women to have eight or more children and make large families “the norm” amid soaring numbers of casualties in his war against Ukraine.

Russia’s birth rate has been steadily falling since the 90’s and the country has suffered more than 300,000 casualties since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to data maintained by Kyiv.

In a speech via video link at the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Putin said boosting the Russian population will be “our goal for the coming decades”.

“Many of our peoples maintain the tradition of the family, where four, five or more children are raised,” said Mr Putin. “Recall that in Russian families our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had both 7 and 8 children. Let us preserve and revive these traditions. Having many children, a large family, should become a norm, a way of life for all the peoples of Russia.”

Putin asks Russian women to have ‘eight or more’ children amid deaths in his war

Senior Russian general ‘killed by one of Putin’s own landmines’ in Ukraine

Thursday 30 November 2023 08:05 , Lydia Patrick

Russia may have lost as many as six high-ranking officers in Ukraine in just one week following reports a senior general was killed by a landmine placed by his own side.

Major general Vladimir Zavadsky, 45, the deputy commander of the 14th Army Corps, died in occupied Ukraine on Tuesday, reported pro-Kremlin newspaper Lenta.

The elite military academy where Zavadsky studied, the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School, also announced his death in a social media post, although that has now been deleted.

Russia’s defence ministry has not officially commented on the reports.

Zavadsky was not reported to have been killed in action. According to the Telegram channel VChK-OGPU, which claims to have ties to Russian security services, the general died in a blast on a landmine placed by Vladimir Putin’s own forces to target Ukrainian reconnaissance groups.

Senior Russian general ‘killed by one of Putin’s own landmines’ in Ukraine

Russian missile strikes wound ten in east Ukraine, Kyiv says

Thursday 30 November 2023 07:45 , Lydia Patrick

Ten people were hurt and five appeared under rubble in overnight Russian missile attacks in Ukraine‘s eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian interior minister Ihor Klymenko said on Thursday.

Russia fired six missiles at three settlements in the region, most of which is occupied by Russian forces, Klymenko said on Telegram messaging app.

“Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad came under fire. The shelling injured 10 people, including 4 children. Five more people are being searched for under the rubble,” the minister said.

He said among the victims were a family with two children and two 13-year-old children. An apartment block, nine private houses, a police station, cars and garages were damaged.

Klymenko said a police paramedic helped a man with an injured baby get out from under the rubble.

Invading Russian forces have occupied much of Donetsk and Russia has said it intends to take over the whole region.

The Ukrainian military said earlier on Thursday its air defence shot down 14 out of 20 drones in a Russian overnight strike.

Ukraine destroys 14 of 20 Russia-launched drones

Thursday 30 November 2023 07:25 , Lydia Patrick

Ukraine air defence shot down 14 out of 20 drones in a Russian overnight strike, the nation’s air force said on Thursday.

The air force said in a statement the Russian forces launched Iranian-made drones from Russian territory in several directions.

his handout photograph taken and released by Ukrainian Emergency Service on November 25, 2023 (UKRAINIAN EMERGENCY SERVICE/AFP)
his handout photograph taken and released by Ukrainian Emergency Service on November 25, 2023 (UKRAINIAN EMERGENCY SERVICE/AFP)

Slovak government extends ban on Ukrainian products

Thursday 30 November 2023 07:12 , Maira Butt

The government of Slovakia is set to add honey, barley, wheat flour, soybeans, and cane or beet sugar to the list of banned agricultural products, according to the Kyiv Independent.

The ban previously applied to four cereals, namely wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds, and will remain in place until the end of 2023.

Ukraine and Slovakia had previously agreed to a licensing system for their grain trade in September which raised homes the ban could have been lifted.

In case you missed it: At least fourteen people dead in Ukraine and Russia snowstorm

Thursday 30 November 2023 06:15 , Maira Butt

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports:

At least 14 people died due to extreme weather conditions as a winter storm lashed parts of Russia and Ukraine, knocking out power from hundreds and thousands of households.

The severe cold struck war-torn Ukraine at a time when thousands of both Russian and Ukrainian troops were engaged in intense fighting in the eastern towns near the Black Sea almost 22 months into Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Kyiv fears Moscow could attack its power grids with air strikes this winter.

In Ukraine, at least 10 people were killed and almost 1,500 towns and villages were left without power after storms dumped up to 10 inches of snow in some places.

“As a result of worsening weather conditions, 10 people died in Odesa, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kyiv regions,” interior minister Ihor Klymenko said on Tuesday.

Read the full piece here.

France aiming to complete security accord with Ukraine by start of 2024

Thursday 30 November 2023 05:08 , Maira Butt

“On the security guarantees and the work we have been doing with our Ukrainians partners - we are working towards a conclusion of this accord with the Ukrainian authorities by the end of the year, start of next year,” Anne-Claire Legendre told reporters at a weekly news briefing.

A diplomatic source said early 2024 was more likely.

The accord would outline the framework for long-term humanitarian aid, support for reconstruction and military assistance, she said.

A second diplomatic source said the accord would not provide detailed financial figures or commitments as such with the French government not wanting to have the text going to parliament for approval.

“I think that the Ukrainians are in a logic where they want to see what the Americans offer them for benchmarking for others,” the source said.

“Our proposal to them doesn’t contain figures. It’s more our objectives. We describe the type of action we are ready to take in terms of military support, economic support, etc.”

G7 unveil international framework for long-term security of Ukraine

Thursday 30 November 2023 04:12 , Maira Butt

G7 countries in June unveiled an international framework for the long-term security of Ukraine to boost its finances and defences against Russia with a view to deterring Moscow from future aggression, officials said.

Unable to join NATO while the war with Russia continues - given that NATO’s Article 5, stipulating that an attack on one member is an attack on all, could push it into war with Russia - Ukraine has lobbied for long-term security commitments from its main backers.

Countries, including France, have been negotiating bilaterally since June, but there has been scant detail on what countries are willing to do and with the war entering its second year there are question marks about how committed Kyiv’s allies may be.

Funeral held for servicemen killed in Ukraine

Thursday 30 November 2023 03:12 , Maira Butt

A funeral for a Ukrainian servicemen killed in the conflict with Russia took place on Wednesday.

Sergiy Pavlichenko was killed fighting Russian troops in the Zaporizhzhia region.

He was buried in Kyiv.

Relatives and friends toss handfuls of soil over the coffin during the funeral service of Ukrainian serviceman Sergiy Pavlichenko, who was killed fighting Russian troops in the Zaporizhzhia region, at a cemetery in Kyiv (AFP via Getty Images)
Relatives and friends toss handfuls of soil over the coffin during the funeral service of Ukrainian serviceman Sergiy Pavlichenko, who was killed fighting Russian troops in the Zaporizhzhia region, at a cemetery in Kyiv (AFP via Getty Images)
A Ukrainian serviceman holds the portrait of Ukrainian serviceman Sergiy Pavlichenko, who was killed fighting Russian troops (AFP via Getty Images)
A Ukrainian serviceman holds the portrait of Ukrainian serviceman Sergiy Pavlichenko, who was killed fighting Russian troops (AFP via Getty Images)

David Cameron meets European Commission and reiterates support for Ukraine

Thursday 30 November 2023 02:12 , Maira Butt

Lord David Cameron met European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who leads on Brexit matters for the bloc, in Brussels on Wednesday.

The former prime minister tweeted: “Good to speak with Maros Sefcovic in Brussels.

“I look forward to working together on the issues that matter to us both, including support for Ukraine, the Withdrawal Agreement and maximising the opportunities of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

In case you missed it: Ukraine spy chief’s wife treated for suspected metal poisoning

Thursday 30 November 2023 01:12 , Maira Butt

Illia Novikov and Alastair Jamieson report:

The wife of Ukraine’s intelligence chief has been diagnosed with heavy metals poisoning and is undergoing treatment in hospital, it emerged on Tuesday. Meanwhile, deadly winter weather has hit the front lines of the conflict with Russia.

Marianna Budanova is the wife of Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency known by its local acronym GUR.

Her condition was confirmed to AP by Andriy Yusov, the agency’s spokesman.

He did not provide more details about the alleged poisoning, nor did he say if it was believed to have been intended for Mr Budanov or whether Russia was thought to be behind it.

Earlier this year, he told Ukrainian media that the military intelligence chief had survived 10 assassination attempts carried out by the Russian state or federal security services.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, center, attends a commemorative event on the occasion of the Russia Ukraine war one year anniversary in Kyiv, Ukraine in February (AP)
Major General Kyrylo Budanov Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, center, attends a commemorative event on the occasion of the Russia Ukraine war one year anniversary in Kyiv, Ukraine in February (AP)

Around 78% of Ukrainians in favour of joining the EU

Thursday 30 November 2023 00:12 , Maira Butt

A new survey has revealed that 78 per cent of Ukrainians are in favour of joining the EU with only 5 per cent opposing accession.

In a statement on their website, the Rating Group who conducted their 25th annual survey said its purpose was to conduct “a study of the dynamics of the attitude of the Ukrainian population to international unions”.

However, the figures represent a drop as in July a poll revealed that 85 per cent of Ukrainians favoured joining the EU. Likewise, a drop in support for joining NATO was observed, however most Ukrainians were still in support.

The new study revealed that 77 per cent favoured joining the EU, a significant majority, although this number was down from 83 per cent in July.

France aiming to complete security accord with Ukraine by start of 2024

Wednesday 29 November 2023 23:16 , Maira Butt

France intends to complete a bilateral security guarantee accord with Ukraine at the start of 2024, its foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Paris has been negotiating with Kyiv for several months with the agreement aimed at agreeing the broad lines of long-term financial, humanitarian and military support, Anne-Claire Legendre told reporters at a weekly press briefing.

Zelensky: 'Today we are working in Odesa region’

Wednesday 29 November 2023 22:02 , Maira Butt

President Zelensky confirmed he was focused in the Odesa region on Wednesday.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he said:

“We started with reports from the military and a meeting on the protection of the region. The situation in the Black Sea, mine countermeasures and ensuring the security of the grain corridor.

“The work of air defense in Odesa region, air cover for Odesa and our ports. I presented state awards to the warriors defending the southern regions and our Black Sea water area.

“I visited the regional center for IDPs in Odesa. I also held a meeting on eliminating the aftermath of severe weather. We must speed up the restoration of electricity supply in the affected towns and villages.”

Ukraine insists it sees no sign of NATO war fatigue even as fighting and weapons supplies stall

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:12 , Maira Butt

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba insisted on Wednesday that NATO allies are showing no sign of war fatigue and remain committed to helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia and take back occupied territory.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Kuleba also said that President Vladimir Putin is miscalculating if he sees any value in keeping his forces in Ukraine at least until presidential elections in the United States in a year’s time, which could usher in a new administration.

“I heard a clear ‘no’ to any reference to fatigue, and I heard (a) clear ‘yes’ to increased support to Ukraine,” Kuleba said after meeting NATO counterparts in Brussels. He said that some allies had made fresh offers of support, but he declined to provide details.

“They understand that in order for them to feel safe, in order for them not to end up in a situation where NATO’s soldiers will have to fight, Ukraine has to win in this war,” Kuleba said.

Zelenskiy: ‘OPCW is a very reputable international body and terrorists have no place in it’

Wednesday 29 November 2023 20:12 , Maira Butt

Russia failed to be elected on to the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Weapons for the first time in history.

Meanwhile Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania were elected for the 2024-2026 period.

The Executive Council is made up of 41 member states. It states its mission is to “achieve a world permanently free of chemical weapons and to contribute to international security and stability, general and complete disarmament, and global economic development.”

President Zelensky welcomed the decision saying that international body had no place for “terrorists” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Latest map of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Wednesday 29 November 2023 19:00 , Athena Stavrou

Here’ is the latest map of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to war monitoring think-thank the Institute for the Study of War.

 (ISW)
(ISW)

In pictures: Latest from Ukraine

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:10 , Athena Stavrou

Ukrainian servicemen of the 22nd Mechanized Brigade take part in a military training exercise in the Donetsk region (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen of the 22nd Mechanized Brigade take part in a military training exercise in the Donetsk region (AFP via Getty Images)
A local resident inspects his flat damaged by recent shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
A local resident inspects his flat damaged by recent shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
A local woman hugs her daughter in front of their apartment building after their flat was damaged by recent shelling (REUTERS)
A local woman hugs her daughter in front of their apartment building after their flat was damaged by recent shelling (REUTERS)

EU transport commissioner says truck blockade at Polish-Ukrainian border 'unacceptable'

Wednesday 29 November 2023 17:20 , Athena Stavrou

Ukraine and the European Union cannot be “taken hostage” by Polish truckers blockading the Polish-Ukrainian border in protest at competition from Ukrainian hauliers, the European Commissioner for Transport said on Wednesday.

The round-the-clock blockade in Medyka and three other border crossings, which started on Monday, extends a protest that has left over a thousand lorries stranded for days in queues that stretch for miles.

Transport commissioner Adina Valean said the situation was “unacceptable”.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Polish truckers complain they are losing out to Ukrainian companies which offer cheaper prices for their services and which are transporting goods within the EU, rather than just between the bloc and Ukraine.

“There is no good faith in finding a solution... and there is nearly a complete lack of involvement from Polish authorities... who are supposed to enforce the law at that border,” Valean said.

“While I support the people’s right to protest, the entire EU, not to mention Ukraine, a country currently at war, cannot be taken hostage by blocking our external borders.”

Four killed in Ukrainian strike on Kherson region police station

Wednesday 29 November 2023 16:30 , Athena Stavrou

Four police officers were killed and another 18 people wounded in a Ukrainian HIMARS strike on a police station in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Kherson region on Tuesday, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Wednesday.

TASS quoted a local police spokesperson as saying that five police officers had been critically wounded in the strike on a facility in the village of Yuvileine.

Reuters could not independently verify the report but fighting in the Kherson region has heated up in recent months, with Ukrainian forces making a number of incursions on the Russian-held eastern bank of the Dnipro river, which divides the province.

Jailed US ex-marine attacked in Russian prison

Wednesday 29 November 2023 15:40 , Athena Stavrou

Former U.S. marine Paul Whelan has been attacked by another inmate in a Russian prison while serving a 16-year sentence on espionage charges, Russia‘s prison service said on Wednesday.

Whelan, who denies spying on Russia, was punched in the face and forced to defend himself at a sewing workshop in a high security penal colony southeast of Moscow, his brother Dave Whelan said in a statement.

“A new prisoner blocked part of the production line and Paul asked him to move out of the way. After repeated requests, the prisoner hit Paul in the face, breaking Paul’s glasses in the process, and attempted to hit him a second time,” Dave Whelan said.

 (Moscow News Agency)
(Moscow News Agency)

“Paul stood up to block the second hit and other prisoners intervened to prevent the prisoner continuing the attack on Paul.”

Arrested in 2018 in Russia, Paul Whelan was convicted of espionage in 2020 and handed a 16-year sentence.

Dave Whelan said the incident took place on Tuesday afternoon. He thought his brother was a target because he was an American and anti-American sentiment was “not uncommon among the other prisoners”.

Six months after Volkswagen exit, idle Russian car plant offers workers redundancy

Wednesday 29 November 2023 15:00 , Athena Stavrou

Furloughed workers at Volkswagen’s former plant in Russia are being offered redundancy, according to the union representing them.

The plant, in Russia’s Kaluga region south of Moscow, has annual production capacity of 225,000 cars, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought work to a standstill. The plant will remain idle until at least March 2024, the trade union added.

Under the furlough scheme being offered by the new owners, who took over the plant in May, the staff are currently paid two thirds of their salary.

They are now being offered three months’ pay if they quit, with bonuses for those who have been employed there for a long time.

Only a few of the remaining staff of around 3,600 people have taken up the new owners on their offer so far, Elena Kryukova, head of the MPRA trade union’s plant committee, told Reuters.

 (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Russian man who traced ‘No to War’ in snow jailed

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:12 , Athena Stavrou

A Russian court has ordered a man to be jailed for 10 days after he used his finger to write “No to War” on a snow-covered turnstile.

According to court papers, the incident happened on November 23 at the entrance to an ice-skating rink at Moscow’s Gorky Park.

The man, named as Dmitry Fyodorov, was sentenced the following day after being detained by the police.

Police decided his actions could amount to a civil offence under a law which targets anyone deemed to have acted publicly to discredit Russia’s armed forces, a crime which in his case was punishable by a fine.

New laws cracking down on dissent were brought in soon after President Vladimir Putin sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 in what he called a “special military operation.”

For those opposed to Russia’s war in Ukraine, speaking out in public has since become a risky thing to do and critics say nearly 20,000 people have been detained and over 800 criminal cases opened.

Ukraine estimates Russian casualties as 327,580

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:10 , Athena Stavrou

The Ukrainian military has claimed the number of Russian casualties since the beginning of the ward has reached 327,580.

In its latest update, they added that 5,538 Russian tanks and 10,312 Russian armored combat vehicles had been destroyed.

Putin won’t consider stopping Ukraine war until after US election, says Biden official

Wednesday 29 November 2023 13:40 , Athena Stavrou

Vladimir Putin will not consider ending his invasion of Ukraine until he knows the result of the 2024 US presidential election, a senior official from the Joe Biden administration has said.

Read the full article here:

Putin won’t consider stopping Ukraine war until after US election – official

Russia warns US against entering new arms race

Wednesday 29 November 2023 13:10 , Athena Stavrou

A senior Russian diplomat said the US would be mistaken to expect to win the next armed race.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister in charge of ties with the U.S., non-proliferation and arms control, also told the Izvestia daily that a military conflict between NATO and Moscow could not be ruled out.

“If the United States expects to win the next arms race, repeating to some extent the experience of the presidency of Ronald Reagan ... then the Americans are mistaken,” Izvestia cited Ryabkov as saying.

“We will not succumb to provocations .... but we can guarantee that we will ensure our security.”

He also told the newspaper that Russia was not threatening a conflict with the Western military alliance and that “the onus is entirely on NATO’s side”.

'No sense of fatigue' when it comes to support for Ukraine, Blinken says

Wednesday 29 November 2023 12:40 , Athena Stavrou

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that there was “no sense of fatigue” among NATO allies when it came to helping Ukraine.

“We must and we will continue to support Ukraine,” he said after a NATO-Ukraine meeting in Brussels, adding that NATO allies were unanimous on this position and that he was also hearing continued support for Ukraine in both chambers of the US Congress.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP)

Kyiv has been concerned that the Israel-Hamas war could divert international attention away from its efforts to defeat Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“It is important that our solidarity with Ukraine is not only demonstrated in words but also in deeds,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, urging allies to do more. “These are concrete actions, we need more of them and we need sustained and stepped up support.”

Russia claims control over Ukrainian village

Wednesday 29 November 2023 11:58 , Athena Stavrou

Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that its forces had taken control of a village in eastern Ukraine.

Khromove, which Russia calls Artyomovskoe, is on the western outskirts of Bakhmut, a city which Russia captured last summer after a months-long battle. The village had a pre-war population of 1,000 people.

Reuters could not independently verify the defence ministry’s assertion and there was no immediate comment from Ukraine.