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Russia-Ukraine war live: Russia claims Ukraine shelling Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and says there is ‘no prospect for peace talks’

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-12-06

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6.16pm GMT

The European Commission is reportedly considering a ban on new investments in Russia’s mining sector as part of a fresh package of sanctions against Moscow, aimed at further eroding the Kremlin’s ability to fund its war against Ukraine.

Sources have told the Financial Times that the mining investment ban is part of a ninth EU sanctions package, which officials aim to discuss with member states and have agreed by the end of next week.

If approved, the ban, which the paper writes will exempt some specific products, would mark the first time Brussels has directly targeted Russia’s metals sector.

The FT said the new sanctions package could also include export controls on civilian technologies that Brussels believes Russia is using to support its arms factories, a ban on transactions with three more Russian banks, and targeted sanctions against another 180 individuals.

5.53pm GMT

Ukrainian hospitals to temporarily suspend planned surgeries due to blackouts

Ukraine’s health ministry has asked regional authorities to consider suspending non-essential surgeries and hospitalisations due to power blackouts as a result of Russian missile strikes targeting the country’s critical infrastructure.

In a statement, the ministry said hospitals were continuing to provide emergency care but that planned surgeries should be temporarily suspended to ease the load on the medical system amid potential future blackouts.

Updated at 6.01pm GMT

5.27pm GMT

Here are some of the latest images we have received from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv , where people have been marking the country’s Army Day today.

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An elderly woman grieves next to the grave of a Ukrainian soldier. Photograph: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images
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Servicemen of the Honour Guard stand next to the graves of Ukrainian soldiers at Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. Photograph: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images
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The inscription "Dad I love you" is seen on a child's drawing at the grave of a fallen Ukrainian soldier. Photograph: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images

5.12pm GMT

Latvia shuts down exiled Russian TV station over Ukraine war coverage

Earlier we reported that the chair of Latvia’s broadcasting regulator, Ivars Abolins , said it had cancelled the licence of the exiled Russian independent television station, TV Rain , “in connection with the threat to the national security and public order”.

TV Rain, or Dozhd in Russian, moved to broadcasting from Latvia in July, when it was forced to shut its Moscow studio after accusations by Russia’s communications watchdog that it was spreading “deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel” in Ukraine.

The station was earlier this month fined €10,000 by the Latvian regulator for displaying a map of Russia which included the occupied Crimea peninsula.

It was also forced to apologise to viewers and fired a presenter, Alexei Korostelyov , on Friday for comments he made on air, after he said he hoped that the station’s efforts would help provide Russian soldiers with basic equipment and amenities.

The network, which was founded in 2010 as the main opposition channel in Russia, has also been accused of failing to ensure Latvian language translation, local media reported.

Abolins told reporters today that Latvia’s counterintelligence and internal security service had informed his office that the station represented a threat to the country’s security.

TV Rain dismissed the accusations as “unfair and absurd” and said its programmes could still be seen on YouTube, which is where most of its audience watches its content.

Its founder, Natal ya Sindeeva , posted a video this afternoon describing Korostelyov’s firing as “the worst thing we could have done in that situation”.

The move comes as Latvia faces a growing rift between the country’s Latvian majority and its Russian-speaking minority. A quarter of the population of two million in Latvia are Russian speakers.

The charity Reporters without Borders called the move a “serious blow to freedom of information”.

Several other Russian newsrooms have also found refuge in the Latvian capital, including Novaya Gazeta Europe and Deutsche Welle ’s Moscow branch. The city has also hosted independent news website Meduza since 2014.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said the move showed foreign states were no freer than Russia. He told reporters today:

Some always think that elsewhere is better than home. And some always think that freedom is elsewhere and there is no freedom at home. This is one of the clearest examples that demonstrate the fallacy of such illusions.

Updated at 5.33pm GMT

4.31pm GMT

Moldova’s prime minister, Natalia Gavrilița , has pledged to boost cooperation between her country and Ukraine during a visit to the towns of Bucha and Irpin.

In a series of tweets, Gavrilița said justice would be carried out for “the innocent victims that died, were tortured and hurt during this cruel and unjust war unleashed by Russia”.

She added:

Ukraine is fighting for us all – for the freedom of the entire European continent.

Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal , tweeted about his meeting with his Moldovan counterpart, saying that the pair had agreed to cooperate in air defence, energy and customer control.

Updated at 4.38pm GMT

4.01pm GMT

Summary of the day so far

It’s 6pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • A drone attack has set an oil storage tank on fire at an airfield in Kursk, the Russian region’s governor, Roman Starovoyt, has said. Video footage posted on social media showed a large explosion lighting up the night sky followed by a substantial fire at the airfield 175 miles (280km) from the Ukrainian border.

  • The drone attack came a day after Ukraine appeared to launch audacious attacks on two military airfields deep inside Russian territory. For Kyiv the strike represented an unprecedented operation to disrupt the Kremlin strategy of trying to cripple the Ukrainian electrical grid to provoke a humanitarian catastrophe in a country on the verge of winter.

  • Shelling by Ukrainian forces killed at least six civilians in the Russian-controlled city on Tuesday, according to the Russian-installed head of the separatist-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, Alexe y Kulemzin. The head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said Ukrainian shelling had killed a deputy in the self-proclaimed republic’s People’s Council, Maria Pirogova.

  • Russian and Ukrainian authorities confirmed the exchange of 120 people in a prisoner swap. According to the Russian defence ministry, 60 servicemen were returned from “Kyiv-controlled territory”. Ukraine received 60 prisoners in return, said Andrii Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, said .

  • The power deficit caused by the latest wave of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine will be significantly reduced by Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian energy minister, German Galushchenko, said in televised comments. Missile strikes across Ukraine on Monday destroyed homes and knocked out power in some areas.

  • Russia has launched strikes overnight on Zaporizhzhia region, according to Oleksandr Starukh, the head of Zaporizhzhia’s regional military administration, who posted photographs on Telegram in the early hours of Tuesday. The strikes damaged critical infrastructure and residential buildings, he said. At this stage there were no injuries or fatalities.

  • Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said that Ukraine was continuing to shell the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, deliberately creating the threat of a possible nuclear catastrophe. Shoigu said Russian forces were taking “all measures” to ensure the safety of the power plant, Europe’s largest, in the face of what he called “nuclear terrorism” from Kyiv.

  • Russia’s defence ministry has said it has deployed mobile coastal defence missile systems on a northern Kuril island, part of a strategically located chain of islands that stretch between Japan and the Russian Kamchatka peninsula. Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a territorial row that dates to the end of the second world war, when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

  • The Kremlins spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said he agreed with comments by the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken , about the need for lasting peace in Ukraine, but that Moscow does not see the prospect of talks “at the moment”. He added that in order for talks to happen with potential partners, Russia would need to fulfil the goals of its “special military operation”.

  • A Ukrainian presidential adviser has said that Iran has so far not delivered ballistic missiles to Russia and may not do so, as a result of diplomatic pressure and Iran’s own internal political turmoil. Mikhailo Podolyak told the Guardian that Russian forces currently had enough of its own cruise missiles in its stockpile for “two or three” more mass strikes against Ukrainian civilian infrastructure like the salvo fired on Monday.

  • A US national who was arrested by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in the summer has been released and is residing without documents in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk. Suedi Murekezi, 35, told the Guardian he had been unable to leave Donetsk after spending more than four months in different prisons and basements in Russian-occupied Ukraine because he did not have any identity papers.

  • Senior EU officials have vowed to ensure Ukraine gets €18bn in financial aid, after Hungary vetoed the release of the funds. Earlier Viktor Orbán ’s government was accused of “holding hostage” funds for Ukrainian hospitals and “cynical obstructionism” after Hungary confirmed on Tuesday that it would block €18bn of aid for Ukraine. The move by the Orbán government is widely seen as an attempt to gain leverage in separate disputes over Hungary’s access to €13bn EU funds.

  • Ukrainian embassies have received more “bloody packages”, according to its foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in what Kyiv has described as a “campaign of terror and intimidation”. Over the past week, Ukraine said its diplomatic missions in countries across Europe had been targeted with packages soaked in liquid with a distinctive smell and containing animals’ eyes.

  • The Russian state-owned bank VTB said it was hit by an “unprecedented cyber-attack from abroad”, which it said was the largest cyber-attack in its history. In a statement, it said it was repelling the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and that an analysis indicated it was a “planned and large-scale” attack.

  • The number of Russian-affiliated oil tankers “going dark” to avoid being tracked in the south Pacific has doubled in recent months in a sign of clandestine means being deployed to avoid sanctions. By switching off their tracker systems on the high seas, the ships can quietly transfer oil on to tankers without links to Russia so as to avoid their oil exports being flagged.

  • The Latvian broadcasting regulator cancelled the licence of Russian independent television station TV Rain on Tuesday, the regulator’s chairman said. “In connection with the threat to the national security and public order, [the regulator] has made a decision this morning to annul the broadcast licence of TV Rain”, Ivars Abolins said on Twitter, adding the broadcasts will cease on Thursday.

Updated at 4.39pm GMT

3.38pm GMT

American man ‘trapped’ in Donetsk despite release from prison

A US national who was arrested by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in the summer has been released and is residing without documents in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk.

Suedi Murekezi , 35, was detained on 10 June by Russian occupying forces in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, where he had been living for more than three years.

After spending more than four months in different prisons and basements in Russian-occupied Ukraine , he told the Guardian on Monday that he had been released by the Moscow-backed Donetsk separatists on 28 October.

Murekezi said he had been unable to leave Donetsk because he did not have any identity papers.

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Suedi Murekezi was arrested a few months into the Russian occupation of Kherson when he tried to change the oil in his car. Photograph: Youtube

In a phone interview from the city of Donetsk, the capital of the Russian-annexed Donetsk region, Murekezi said:

I am very happy to be free. But I don’t know what to do next. The Russians never gave me back my passport, and I feel trapped here.

Murekezi spent most of his time in two different jails with a group of international foreign fighters , including the British nationals Aiden Aslin, John Harding, Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy , who returned to the UK after a prisoner swap in September.

But unlike the foreign fighters, Murekezi and his close friends and relatives said he did not participate in any fighting in Ukraine, to where he moved about four years ago, eventually settling in Kherson.

“It became clear early on to the Russian authorities that I had nothing to do with the fighting, but they just kept me in jail anyway,” he said.

Read the full story here:

Related: American man ‘trapped’ in Donetsk despite release from prison

Updated at 3.45pm GMT

3.26pm GMT

The Russian-installed head of the separatist-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, Alexe y Kulemzin, said shelling by Kyiv’s forces had killed at least six civilians in the Russian-controlled city today.

Kulemzin wrote on social media:

Preliminary data shows that today six civilians were killed as a result of shelling in Donetsk, the number of wounded is being specified.

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A firefighter works to extinguish fire at market stalls hit by shelling in Donetsk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
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A firefighter works to extinguish fire at market stalls hit by shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Separately, the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said Ukrainian shelling had killed a deputy in the self-proclaimed republic’s People’s Council.

Maria Pirogova , who Pushilin said had been involved in the separatist movement since 2014, was “the epitome of kindness” whose life was ended “in its prime”, according to a tribute he wrote on his Telegram account.

Updated at 3.43pm GMT

3.17pm GMT

The number of Russian-affiliated oil tankers “going dark” to avoid being tracked in the south Pacific has doubled in recent months in a sign of clandestine means being deployed to avoid sanctions.

By switching off their tracker systems on the high seas, the ships can quietly transfer oil on to tankers without links to Russia so as to avoid their oil exports being flagged.

A $60 (£50) a barrel ceiling on purchases of Russian oil came into force on Monday. Companies in the EU, the UK, US, Canada and Japan as well as Australia are banned from providing services enabling maritime transport, such as insurance, in cases where the price cap has been breached.

The G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US – provide insurance services for 90% of the world’s cargo while Greece, an EU member state, is a major player in the shipping industry.

The cap is aimed at maintaining the flow of oil to countries such as China, India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which have not banned Russian oil imports, while maintaining economic pressure on the Kremlin.

A traffic jam of oil tankers built up in Turkish waters on Monday as Turkey’s government demanded proof of insurance cover.

Read the full story here:

Related: ‘Dark activities’ of Russian-linked oil tankers has doubled, analysis shows

3.08pm GMT

EU officials vow support despite Hungary's veto of Ukrainian aid

Senior EU officials have vowed to ensure Ukraine gets €18bn in financial aid, after Hungary vetoed the release of the funds.

The European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters that the EU must keep its promises to Ukraine.

He said:

Ukraine is a country at war. It desperately needs our support and we just cannot allow one member state to derail or delay this financial support.

Earlier Viktor Orbán ’s government was accused of “holding hostage” funds for Ukrainian hospitals and “cynical obstructionism” after Hungary confirmed on Tuesday that it would block €18bn of aid for Ukraine.

The EU has promised to underwrite €18bn in cheap loans to Kyiv to keep Ukraine’s government afloat in 2023. The EU’s 26 other member states will now study how to move ahead without Hungary, although hope Budapest can be persuaded to change its mind.

The move by the Orbán government is widely seen as an attempt to gain leverage in separate disputes over Hungary’s access to €13bn EU funds.

Hungary, which has angered other member states with its sharp criticism of EU sanctions against Russia, may now find it harder to unlock EU funds.

The Czech finance minister, Zbyněk Stanjura , who chaired the meeting, said Budapest’s decision on €18bn for Ukraine would be considered alongside EU member state approval of Hungary’s coronavirus recovery plan.

He added:

The money will go to Ukraine: either it will be 27 or 26 member states that take part. We have to be able to send the money to Ukraine.

The Green MEP Daniel Freund , a persistent critic of Hungary’s government, accused Orbán of abusing the veto like no one ever before. He said:

He even takes funds for Ukrainian hospitals hostage for this … The EU will find ways to support Ukraine even without Hungary. But that means: more time, more effort, more costs. Viktor Orbán could not have given Putin a nicer present today.

The centre-right Romanian MEP Siegfried Mureşan said the Hungarian veto was disappointing, adding:

It is hard to regard this as anything other than cynical obstructionism.

Updated at 3.18pm GMT

2.58pm GMT

An American national who was arrested by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in July has been released and is residing without documents in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk.

Suedi Murekezi, 35, was detained on 10 June by Russian occupying forces in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, where he had been living for more than three years.

After spending more than four months in different prisons and basements in Russian-occupied Ukraine , he told the Guardian on Monday that he had been released by the Moscow-backed Donetsk separatists on 28 October.

Murekezi said he had been unable to leave Donetsk because he does not have any identity papers.

Related: American man ‘trapped’ in Donetsk despite release from prison

2.46pm GMT

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Men clean their yard after rocket hit a residential building in Donetsk, Ukraine. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Updated at 2.57pm GMT

2.16pm GMT

A Ukrainian presidential adviser has said that Iran has so far not delivered ballistic missiles to Russia and may not do so, as a result of diplomatic pressure and Iran’s own internal political turmoil.

Mikhailo Podolyak told the Guardian that Russian forces currently had enough of its own cruise missiles in its stockpile for “two or three” more mass strikes against Ukrainian civilian infrastructure like the salvo fired on Monday.

Russia has sought to replenish its arsenal with an offer to buy Iranian missiles. The secretary of the security council, Nikolai Patrushev, visited Tehran in November and was reported to have had missiles on his shopping list. But Podolyak said the deal had not gone through yet.

“Iran has come under huge diplomatic pressure and the protests have also raised pressure on the government,” he told the Guardian in his Kyiv office. “The government is starting to lose its grip on Iranian society and their inner domestic problems are growing. That’s why they just don’t have time for dealing with Russia. It’s not their priority.”

Podolyak said he believed talks were still under way between Moscow and Tehran on missiles, and that as part of its bargaining position the Russian government had offered its own “cut-throats”, referring to experts in crushing dissent, to suppress the nationwide anti-government protests.

“So the negotiations are ongoing, but as of today, no missiles have been transferred to Russia,” he said.

Podolyak said Ukrainian forces had become adept at defending against Russian missile attacks, claiming to have shot down an estimated 60 of 70 missiles fired on Monday.

He said the country, with foreign help, was also working towards making its power grid more resilient, redesigning it to make it easier for one region with access to power to help another that had been cut off.

Podolyak, a close aide to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was also fiercely critical of remarks from Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, in which the French president suggested the west should offer Vladimir Putin security guarantees if he agreed to peace negotiations.

“It’s quite weird when you’re not trying to help the victim – and it’s very clear who’s the victim here – but you’re thinking of how to satisfy the murderer,” he said.

Updated at 2.56pm GMT

1.57pm GMT

Russia ran out of Iranian-made drones between two and three weeks ago and is now “anticipating a resupply”, according to western officials.

My colleague Dan Sabbagh quotes officials as saying that there are still no signs that Iran has been supplying missiles to Russia.

Iran has acknowledged that it had given Russia drones, but said they were sent before the war in Ukraine broke out.

The Guardian has seen evidence that at least some of the Iranian-made drones used by Russia in its war were probably supplied after Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February.

1.51pm GMT

Hungary vetoes EU aid package for Ukraine

Hungary has vetoed an €18 bn aid package for Ukraine, forcing the European Commission and EU countries to seek an alternative way to ensure aid can keep flowing to Kyiv in the new year.

The move by the Hungarian government has widely been seen as a way for its prime minister, Viktor Orbán, to use his approval for Ukraine aid as leverage to secure his country’s share of EU recovery funds. The EU has sought to hold back some funds destined for Budapest because of rule-of-law breaches.

The commission will now look at how to “provide the necessary solution to Ukraine already as of January”, the EU’s budget commissioner, Johannes Hahn , said during a public session of the bloc’s finance ministers.

Today’s Hungarian veto means decisions on other files on the finance ministers’ agenda – including a minimum corporate tax rate (which Budapest is also blocking), the Hungarian recovery plan and connected €5.8bn in grants, and the decision to freeze €7.5bn of EU funds for Hungary over corruption issues – were also postponed.

The Czech finance minister, Zbyněk Stanjura , said:

We were not able to adopt the package as a whole but we will not be discouraged. Our ambition remains that we will start disbursements to Ukraine in January.

He asked the council to work on “a solution supported by 26 member states”, which would get around Hungary’s veto.

The EU’s 27 nations have until 19 December to make a decision.

Updated at 2.16pm GMT

1.24pm GMT

Ukrainian embassies have received more “bloody packages”, according to its foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba , in what Kyiv has described as a “campaign of terror and intimidation”.

Over the past week, Ukraine said its diplomatic missions in countries across Europe had been targeted with packages soaked in liquid with a distinctive smell and containing animals’ eyes. Kuleba said Ukraine’s embassies in Romania and Denmark received such packages today.

As of Friday, Ukraine said 17 embassies had been targeted, indicating that another was delivered on Saturday. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the packages had been delivered to its embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy , to general consulates in Naples and Kraków, and the consulate in Brno in the Czech Republic.

On Monday, Spanish police said they had intercepted three more envelopes containing animal eyes addressed to Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid and its consulates in Barcelona and M álaga.

A Ukrainian embassy employee in Madrid was injured on Wednesday by a letter bomb, which was addressed to Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain. A further four letter bombs were sent on Wednesday to addresses in Spain, including to a Spanish arms manufacturer that has produced rockets donated to Ukraine, as well as Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the US embassy in Madrid.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Kuleba described what followed the Madrid attack as “more weird” and “even sick”.

Asked who he thought was behind the packages, Kuleba said he “feels tempted to name Russia” as it benefits from sowing fear among Ukrainian diplomats. But he added that it could also be someone who sympathises with Russia, so he would await the findings of ongoing investigations.

Updated at 1.32pm GMT

1.05pm GMT

A drone attack set an oil storage tank on fire at an airfield in Kursk, western Russia, 175 miles from the Ukrainian border.

The governor of the region, Roman Starovoyt , said there had been no casualties and that the fire was “localised”.

On Monday, Ukraine appeared to launch drone attacks on two military airfields deep inside Russian territory.

Kyiv has not directly taken responsibility for the attacks, but a senior Ukrainian official told the New York Times the drones involved on Monday were launched from Ukrainian territory.

12.40pm GMT

Russia and Ukraine exchange 60 PoWs each

Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, has confirmed that Moscow and Kyiv exchanged 60 prisoners of war in the latest series of swaps.

Among those who were returned to Ukraine included dozens who had defended the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol , he said.

Updated at 12.55pm GMT

12.29pm GMT

The Russian state-owned bank VTB said it was hit by an “unprecedented cyber-attack from abroad”, which it said was the largest cyber-attack in its history.

In a statement, it said it was repelling the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and warned of temporary difficulties in accessing its mobile app and website.

The statement reads:

The bank’s technological infrastructure is under an unprecedented cyber attack from abroad. The largest not only this year, but in the whole time the bank has operated.

It added:

An analysis of the DDoS attack indicates that it was planned and large-scale, and its purpose has been to interfere with the operations of banking services, VTB indicates. The majority of requests for bank services during the attack have generated from foreign segments of the internet, though there has also been malicious traffic from Russian IP addresses.

12.18pm GMT

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been visiting troops close to the frontline in the eastern Donbas region.

Zelenskiy was pictured meeting soldiers and handing out awards to mark Ukraine’s armed forces day.

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy awards a service member at a position near a frontline on the Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Photograph: Ukrainian presidential press service/Reuters

In a Telegram post, the president thanked troops for their “resilience and strength”, describing them as “an outpost of Ukraine’s independence”.

He added:

I believe that next time we will meet in our Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk.

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Ukrainian service members stand in line at their position near a frontline during a visit from Zelenskiy. Photograph: Ukrainian presidential press service/Reuters
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Zelenskiy visits service members at their position near a frontline in Donetsk region. Photograph: Ukrainian presidential press service/Reuters

Updated at 12.30pm GMT

12.05pm GMT

Russia and Ukraine are set to exchange 60 soldiers each in a prisoner swap today, according to Russian officials.

Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), wrote on Telegram:

Another 60-60 exchange with Kyiv is taking place today.

Shamsail Saraliev, deputy of the Russian state duma, wrote on his Telegram account:

The Russian Ministry of Defence is conducting another exchange of prisoners of war today. Sixty Russian servicemen are returning home.

The Russian defence ministry said it had returned 60 soldiers “who were in mortal danger”.

11.55am GMT

My colleague Isobel Koshiw shares a video originally posted by the mayor of Bakhmut, Oleksii Reva , showing the extent of destruction in the key eastern Ukraine town.

11.50am GMT

Russian opposition politicians are appealing to President Vladimir Putin to issue a decree to end the “partial mobilisation” that has seen hundreds of thousands of men called up to fight in Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry announced in October the end to the military mobilisation order that Putin declared the previous month, but legal activists and media noted that only the Russian leader had the authority to end the mobilisation.

The Kremlin said Putin would not sign any order, in effect allowing for future waves of mobilisation.

The absence of a formal decree to cancel the mobilisation meant those already drafted could not leave the armed forces, according to Emilia Slabunova, an opposition councillor in Karelia in northern Russia.

Military lawyers told Reuters that there were at least two cases where commanders refused to discharge servicemen. Slabunova said appeals against these refusals led nowhere, with courts siding with the commanders.

She said:

We, as councillors, represent our constituents and these appeals from us are the result of numerous appeals from citizens.

Similar appeals were seen from opposition deputies in the Moscow, St Petersburg, Pskov and Veliky Novgorod regions, Reuters reports. All are members of the liberal opposition Yabloko party.

The appeals said the lack of a decree “creates legal uncertainty” and “allows military commanders to deny citizens their discharge from service”.

Updated at 12.21pm GMT

11.30am GMT

Kremlin: ‘No prospects for peace talks at the moment’

Speaking to reporters during his regular briefing, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said he agreed with comments by the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, about the need for lasting peace in Ukraine, but that Moscow does not see the prospect of talks “at the moment”.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Blinken said President Vladimir Putin “started this war; he could end it tomorrow” and that there was “always an off-ramp” to end the war in Ukraine.

He said:

President Zelenskiy has said, we’ve said, others have said, that at some point this will end and it will end almost certainly with diplomacy, with a negotiation.

But what I think we have to see is a just and durable peace, not a phony peace. And by that, I mean this: if Russia doesn’t succeed in its current gambit of trying to, in effect, get the Ukrainian people to throw up their hands – and again, they won’t succeed.

In response to Blinken’s comments, Peskov said:

That the outcome should be a just and durable peace – one can agree with this. But as for the prospects for some sort of negotiations, we do not see any at the moment.

He added that in order for talks to happen with potential partners, Russia would need to fulfil the goals of its “special military operation”.

Peskov was also asked about reports that Russia is set to launch a new wave of mobilisation of men to fight in Ukraine.

As the BBC’s Will Vernon notes, the Kremlin spokesperson did not deny the reports.

Hello everyone. It’s Léonie Chao-Fong here, taking over the live blog from Tom Ambrose to bring you all the latest from Ukraine. Feel free to drop me a message if you have anything to flag, you can reach me on Twitter or via email.

Updated at 11.48am GMT

10.56am GMT

Summary

The time in Kyiv is just coming up to 1pm. Here is a round-up of the day’s news so far:

  • A drone attack has set an oil storage tank on fire at an airfield in Kursk, the Russian region’s governor has said, a day after Ukraine appeared to launch audacious drone attacks on two military airfields deep inside Russian territory. Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app there were no casualties from the attack and the fire was “localised”.

  • The power deficit caused by the latest wave of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine will be significantly reduced by Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian energy minister, German Galushchenko, said in televised comments. Missile strikes across Ukraine on Monday destroyed homes and knocked out power in some areas.

  • Russia has launched strikes overnight on Zaporizhzhia region, according to Oleksandr Starukh, the head of Zaporizhzhia’s regional military administration, who posted photographs on Telegram in the early hours of Tuesday. The strikes damaged critical infrastructure and residential buildings, he said. At this stage there were no injuries or fatalities.

  • Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said that Ukraine was continuing to shell the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, deliberately creating the threat of a possible nuclear catastrophe. Shoigu said Russian forces were taking “all measures” to ensure the safety of the power plant, Europe’s largest, in the face of what he called “nuclear terrorism” from Kyiv, Reuters reported.

  • The Latvian broadcasting regulator cancelled the licence of Russian independent television station TV Rain on Tuesday, the regulator’s chairman said. “In connection with the threat to the national security and public order, [the regulator] has made a decision this morning to annul the broadcast licence of TV Rain”, Ivars Abolins said on Twitter, adding the broadcasts will cease on Thursday.

  • Russia’s defence ministry has said it has deployed mobile coastal defence missile systems on a northern Kuril island, part of a strategically located chain of islands that stretch between Japan and the Russian Kamchatka peninsula. Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a territorial row that dates to the end of the second world war, when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

  • The oil price rebounded on Tuesday after plunging by more than 3% in the previous session, as the implementation of sanctions on Russian seaborne crude oil eased concerns about oversupply, Reuters reports. The Group of Seven set a top price of $60 a barrel on Russian crude, aiming to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine , but Russia has said it will not abide by the measure even if it has to cut production.

  • At least four people were killed on Monday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, amid Russian strikes during which 60 of 70 missiles were shot down . The strikes targeted Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, the air force said. Energy workers had already begun work on restoring power, said Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president. Officials said airstrikes destroyed homes in the south, knocked out power in the north and killed at least two people.

  • Russia’s defence ministry said Ukrainian drones attacked two airbases at Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia, killing three servicemen and wounding four, with two aircraft damaged. Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for what would represent the deepest strikes inside the Russian heartland since Moscow invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

  • Spanish police intercepted three more envelopes containing animal eyes addressed to Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid and its consulates in Barcelona and Málaga , police sources close to the investigation said. Last week, Ukraine said a series of “bloody packages” were sent to its missions across Europe, soon after a letter bomb detonated at Ukraine’s embassy in Spain and police defused others sent to, among others, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.

  • Canadian-made parts were found in “kamikaze” Iranian drones used by Russia to attack Ukraine, according to an investigative project from the NGO Statewatch. It said components from 30 European and American companies, including antenna parts from Tallysman Wireless, a Canadian manufacturer, were used in Shahed 136 drones.

That’s it from me, Tom Ambrose, for the time being. My colleague Léonie Chao-Fong will be along shortly to continue bringing you the latest from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

10.25am GMT

Russia accuses Ukraine of 'nuclear terrorism' over Zaporizhzhia

The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said that Ukraine was continuing to shell the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, deliberately creating the threat of a possible nuclear catastrophe.

Shoigu said Russian forces were taking “all measures” to ensure the safety of the power plant, Europe’s largest, in the face of what he called “nuclear terrorism” from Kyiv, Reuters reported.

Ukraine denies shelling the facility, which has been under the control of Russian forces since the first days of the war, and has accused Russia of firing on it.

“Our units are taking all measures to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” Shoigu told his military chiefs in a conference call, an abridged transcript of which was published by the defence ministry.

“In turn, the Kyiv regime seeks to create the appearance of a threat of a nuclear catastrophe by continuing to deliberately shell the site,” he added.

Shoigu said Ukraine had fired 33 large-caliber shells at the plant in the last two weeks. Most had been intercepted by Russian air defences, he said, though “some still hit objects that affect the safe operation of the nuclear power plant”.

“We classify these attacks by Ukrainian troops as nuclear terrorism,” he added.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the claims. Both Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for attacks on the facility. Kyiv has also accused Moscow of using the plant as a de facto weapons depot.

Updated at 10.31am GMT

10.16am GMT

A drone attack has set an oil storage tank on fire at an airfield in Kursk, the Russian region’s governor has said, a day after Ukraine appeared to launch audacious drone attacks on two military airfields deep inside Russian territory.

Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app there were no casualties from the attack and the fire was “localised”.

Video footage posted on social media showed a large explosion lighting up the night sky followed by a substantial fire at the airfield 175 miles (280km) from the Ukrainian border. At daybreak a large column of black smoke was still visible above the site.

Related: Drone attack hits oil storage tank at airfield in Russia’s Kursk region

9.36am GMT

The power deficit caused by the latest wave of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine will be significantly reduced by Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian energy minister, German Galushchenko, said in televised comments.

Missile strikes across Ukraine on Monday destroyed homes and knocked out power in some areas.

Updated at 10.04am GMT

9.03am GMT

Ever since Russia launched its brutal war in Ukraine the Kremlin has banked on American conservative political and media allies to weaken US support for Ukraine and deployed disinformation operations to falsify the horrors of the war for both US and Russian audiences, say disinformation experts.

Some of the Kremlin’s most blatant falsehoods about the war aimed at undercutting US aid for Ukraine have been promoted by major figures on the American right, from Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes to ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Fox News star Tucker Carlson, whose audience of millions is deemed especially helpful to Russian objectives.

On a more political track, House Republican Freedom Caucus members such as Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Scott Perry – who in May voted with 54 other Republican members against a $40bn aid package for Ukraine, and have raised other concerns about the war – have proved useful, though perhaps unwitting, Kremlin allies at times.

Pro-Moscow video materials from the network RT (formerly Russia Today), which early this year shuttered its US operations, have been featured on Rumble, a video sharing platform popular with conservatives that last year received major financing from a venture capital firm co-founded by recently elected Republican Ohio senator JD Vance and backed by billionaire Peter Thiel.

Related: Top US conservatives pushing Russia’s spin on Ukraine war, experts say

8.34am GMT

The Latvian broadcasting regulator cancelled the licence of Russian independent television station TV Rain on Tuesday, the regulator’s chairman said.

“In connection with the threat to the national security and public order, [the regulator] has made a decision this morning to annul the broadcast licence of TV Rain”, Ivars Abolins said on Twitter, adding the broadcasts will cease on Thursday.

8.18am GMT

Israeli satellite imaging company ImageSat International shared images it said showed burn marks and objects near a Tu-22M aircraft at the Dyagilevo airbase in Russia.

Updated at 8.40am GMT

7.49am GMT

Russia’s defence ministry has said it has deployed mobile coastal defence missile systems on a northern Kuril island, part of a strategically located chain of islands that stretch between Japan and the Russian Kamchatka peninsula.

Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a territorial row that dates to the end of the second world war, when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.

The Russian Bastion systems, which have missiles with a flight range of up to 310 miles, were deployed on the island of Paramushir, the Russian defence ministry said on Monday.

“Coastal servicemen of the Pacific fleet will keep a round-the-clock watch to control the adjacent water area and strait zones,” it said.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, told a Tuesday news conference that the government will closely monitor the Russian military activity, adding it has been intensifying in the far east regions in tandem with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia calls the invasion a “special operation”.

Updated at 7.53am GMT

7.17am GMT

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=49MAAf_0jYhYFz800
A damaged house after an attack in Donetsk, Ukraine, on 5 December. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Updated at 7.32am GMT

6.25am GMT

Ukraine is working to restore power after Russia’s latest wave of missile strikes on Monday caused power disruptions across the country, as winter frost builds and temperatures plunge, AFP reports.

Out of the 70 missiles launched by Moscow, most were shot down, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, but the barrage still hit Ukraine’s already battered infrastructure.

Fresh power cuts were announced in all regions “due to the consequences of shelling”, national electricity provider Ukrenergo said on Telegram.

The head of Ukrenergo said he had “no doubt that Russian military consulted with Russian power engineers during this attack”, judging by where the missiles landed.

“The time that Russians chose for this attack was connected with their desire to inflict as much damage as possible,” Volodymyr Kudrytskyi told a Ukrainian news programme, explaining the attacks were launched as the country enters a “peak frost” period.

“Our repairmen will be working on the energy system restoration.”

Updated at 6.59am GMT

6.09am GMT

The oil price rebounded on Tuesday after plunging by more than 3% in the previous session, as the implementation of sanctions on Russian seaborne crude oil eased concerns about oversupply, Reuters reports.

The Group of Seven set a top price of $60 a barrel on Russian crude, aiming to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine, but Russia has said it will not abide by the measure even if it has to cut production.

The price cap, to be enforced by the G7 nations, the European Union and Australia, comes on top of the EU’s embargo on imports of Russian crude by sea and similar pledges by the United States, Canada, Japan and Britain.

While the market weighs the impact of sanctions on Russian supply, it was also watching a traffic jam of oil tankers off the coast of Turkey on Monday, with Ankara insisting on new proof of insurance for all vessels.

Updated at 6.17am GMT

5.41am GMT

A researcher at the investigative news outlet Bellingcat has posted video showing smoke rising from Kursk, Russia, where Ukraine launched strikes damaging an oil storage tank, according to the local governor on Telegram.

The Guardian could not independently verify the footage or report of an attack.

5.33am GMT

Further strikes in Zaporizhzhia region

Russia has launched strikes overnight on Zaporizhzhia region, according to Oleksandr Starukh, the head of Zaporizhzhia’s regional military administration, who posted photographs on Telegram in the early hours of Tuesday, 6 December.

The strikes damaged critical infrastructure and residential buildings, he said. At this stage there were no injuries or fatalities.

Below are the photographs originally posted by Starukh:

5.23am GMT

Drone attack hits Kursk airfield in Russia, says governor

Starovoyt did not specify where the drone originated.

On Monday, Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine “attempted to strike” the Dyagilevo airfield in the Ryazan region and the Engels airfield in the Saratov region with “Soviet-made drones”.

The drones were intercepted but debris fell and exploded on the airfields, the ministry added.

It said that three soldiers had been killed and four others injured. The Guardian has not independently verified the report.

Updated at 6.07am GMT

5.17am GMT

Summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest news as it happens for the next few hours.

A drone attack on an airfield in Russia’s Kursk region set fire to an oil storage tank, a local governor said on Tuesday. “There were no casualties. The fire is localized. All emergency services working at the site,” Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the region, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Yesterday, Russia’s defence ministry said Ukrainian drones attacked two airbases at Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia, killing three servicemen and wounding four, with two aircraft damaged. Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for what would represent the deepest strikes inside the Russian heartland since Moscow invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

Meanwhile Russia launched strikes on Zaporizhzhia region overnight, according to Oleksandr Starukh, the head of the local military administration.

The Guardian has not independently verified the reports.

  • At least four people were killed on Monday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, amid Russian strikes during which 60 of 70 missiles were shot down . The strikes targeted Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, the air force said. Energy workers had already begun work on restoring power, said Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president. Officials said airstrikes destroyed homes in the south, knocked out power in the north and killed at least two people.

  • Russia’s defence ministry said Ukrainian drones attacked two airbases at Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia, killing three servicemen and wounding four, with two aircraft damaged. Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for what would represent the deepest strikes inside the Russian heartland since Moscow invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

  • Spanish police intercepted three more envelopes containing animal eyes addressed to Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid and its consulates in Barcelona and Málaga , police sources close to the investigation said. Last week, Ukraine said a series of “bloody packages” were sent to its missions across Europe, soon after a letter bomb detonated at Ukraine’s embassy in Spain and police defused others sent to, among others, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.

  • Canadian-made parts were found in “kamikaze” Iranian drones used by Russia to attack Ukraine, according to an investigative project from the NGO Statewatch. It said components from 30 European and American companies, including antenna parts from Tallysman Wireless, a Canadian manufacturer, were used in Shahed 136 drones.

  • The White House has said the latest Russian strikes against Ukraine are a reminder of Vladimir Putin’s brutality. John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, also told reporters that an oil price cap would not have any long-term impact on global oil prices, Reuters reported.

  • Moldovan police on Monday found fragments of a missile in a northern region near the border with Ukraine, state information portal Prima Sursa quoted the police as saying after Russia carried out missile strikes.

  • Russia’s recent mobilisation increased its military threat in Ukraine, with better-trained soldiers arriving at the frontline, the commander of Ukrainian ground forces said. But Russia was using a lot of old equipment because it had no other way of replenishing supplies, and the Russians had made only slow progress around Bakhmut, one of the main battle zones in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported.

  • Vladimir Putin has driven across the Kerch Bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula that was damaged by a truck bomb in October. The Russian president spoke to workers and a senior government official, Reuters reported.

  • India gave a list of its products to Moscow for access to Russian markets, foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said, as his country seeks to narrow a growing trade deficit with Russia at a time when Moscow faces acute shortages of some crucial materials after western sanctions.

  • The Kremlin has warned the new western price cap on Russian oil will destabilise global energy markets, but claimed it would not affect its invasion of Ukraine. Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was preparing its response to the move by the G7 and allies.

  • The Chinese foreign ministry has said it will continue energy cooperation with Russia after the G7, EU and Australia imposed the price cap. China, which said it would continue on the basis of respect and mutual benefit, has increased its purchases of Russia’s Urals oil blends this year.

  • Olaf Scholz has warned the west to avoid creating a new cold war by dividing the world into blocs. Writing in an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs magazine, the German chancellor called for every effort to be made to build new partnerships.

Comments / 100

Concerned American
12-07

Does he really think we should believe Ukraine would bomb their own nuclear plant and contaminate the surrounding area for 10,000 years????? C'mon mannnn!!!!!!

Reply(2)
9
triciawamsganz.60
12-06

The Russians could bomb the sight itself & blame Ukraine. Putin is desperate.

Reply(1)
19
shea West
12-06

May Ukraine do to Russia what Russia did to Germany!!

Reply(1)
18

Comments / 0