The United States will send Ukraine a new aid of 275 million dollars to “boost” its defense against drones in particular, announced this Friday, December 9, a spokesperson for the White House. “New military aid valued at $275 million will soon be sent to give Ukraine new capabilities to boost its anti-aircraft defense and enable it to deal with threats from drones,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council of the United States Executive.
According to him, the Americans will also provide the Ukrainian army with artillery ammunition, intended in particular for the Himars, very powerful precision artillery systems mounted on light armored vehicles. This new tranche brings total US aid to Ukraine to more than $19.3 billion since the Russian invasion in February.
The member countries of the European Union also agreed on Friday to top up the European Peace Facility (EFF), their financing instrument for military assistance provided to Ukraine, with two billion euros, according to diplomatic sources. The agreement still needs to be endorsed at the meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday 12 December in Brussels.
- It will be necessary “in the end to find an agreement” to end the conflict, says Putin
An agreement will be necessary “in the end” to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, while expressing doubts about the “trust” that Moscow can according to him grant to its interlocutors. “In the end we will have to find an agreement. I have already said several times that we are ready for these arrangements, we are open, but this forces us to think about who we are dealing with,” said the Russian president, on the sidelines of a regional summit in Kyrgyzstan.
Vladimir Putin was reacting to recent remarks by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said the 2014 Minsk agreement between Moscow and Kiev, signed under the aegis of the OSCE, had given Ukraine time to strengthen itself in the event of an armed conflict with Russia. “The Minsk agreement of 2014 was an attempt to give Ukraine time. It took advantage of it, as we see today. The Ukraine of 2014/2015 is not the Ukraine of today (…) As we saw in early 2015, Putin could easily have crushed him at the time,” she told the newspaper. Die Zeit.
- Price cap: Putin threatens the West to “cut production” of Russian oil
Vladimir Putin threatened on Friday the West to “cut production” of Russian oil “if necessary”, a few days after the introduction by the EU, the G7 and Australia of a cap on the price of gold 60 dollar russian black.
“We will think about a possible reduction in production if necessary,” Vladimir Putin declared during a press conference in Bishkek, on the sidelines of a regional summit. The mechanism put in place by the West is “a stupid decision” that “does not affect Russia”, he added.
Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to continue strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure, a response according to him to attacks by kyiv, particularly in Crimea, an annexed peninsula whose vulnerability Moscow has admitted. Presenting medals to soldiers and other figures in the Kremlin, he brushed aside Western criticism of Russian strikes that in recent weeks have left millions of Ukrainians without power, even without water and without heating, in the midst of winter temperatures.
- Crimea, Russia’s Achilles heel
Earlier Thursday, the Kremlin admitted to being vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks in Crimea, a peninsula annexed in 2014, after several attacks attributed to Ukraine far from the front. On Thursday, a drone was shot down by the Russian fleet in Sevastopol in Crimea, local authorities said, a sign of the risks that continue to hang over the annexed peninsula that Kiev has vowed to retake. These attacks, combined with a series of Russian reverses in Ukraine, seem to testify to the fact that, nine months after the start of the offensive, Russia is struggling not only to consolidate its positions but also to protect its rear bases.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in the port of Sevastopol, was hit in late October by what authorities called a “massive” drone attack, which damaged at least one vessel. And in early October, the bridge connecting the peninsula to Russia was partially destroyed by an explosion that Moscow attributed to Ukrainian forces.
With front lines in danger of freezing with winter, Ukrainians are increasingly turning to drones to strike Russian bases in the rear, away from the front, as Russians bomb Ukraine’s energy infrastructure , even if it means plunging civilians into the cold. Sign of tensions in the area, the Russian security services (FSB) also announced Thursday the arrest of two residents of Sevastopol suspected of having transmitted to Ukraine information on military targets.
- Ukraine accuses Russia of detaining two employees of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
Ukraine accused Russia on Friday of detaining two employees of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant (south), militarily occupied by Moscow, after having “violently beaten” them. On Thursday, “the Russian army broke into the premises where the Department of Social Programs of the plant is located and, in the presence of other employees, violently beat the head of the department, Oleksiy Trubenkov, and his deputy, Yuriy Androsov “, lamented the nuclear operator Energoatom in a press release.
“After this violent beating”, the Russians “took them out and took them in an unknown direction”, denounced Energoatom. The plant’s nuclear safety officer, Konstantin Beiner, was also “thrown in the basement”, according to Energoatom, but is not being held by Russian forces. The Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom accused the Moscow soldiers, who have occupied the site since the beginning of March, of “running wild and turning into real policemen and jailers”, “intensifying the repression” of the employees.
- TotalEnergies moves away from Russian gas giant
The French group TotalEnergies announced on Friday that it would distance itself from its historic Russian partner Novatek and no longer recognize in its results the 19.4% it holds in the gas giant, consequently providing for an asset depreciation of 3.7 billion. dollars in the fourth quarter. Unlike other Western majors, TotalEnergies has maintained most of its investments in Russia since the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February, notably in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
This operation will lead the group to record in its accounts for the fourth quarter of 2022 “a depreciation of around 3.7 billion dollars”, specified the group, which also announces that it will record 1.7 billion fewer barrels in its reserves, excluding now those of Novatek. Total nevertheless explains this Friday, December 9 not “to be able to sell” its shares in the company Novatek, “since it is prohibited from selling assets to one of the main shareholders of Novatek because of the European sanctions targeting Russia. .
Source : BBN NEWS