Mysterious explosions took place at two Russian airbases far from the frontlines on Monday, raising the possibility that Kyiv has found a way to target Russian long-range bombers used in attacks against Ukraine’s infrastructure. Three people have reportedly been killed and six injured.
The Kremlin has warned the new western price cap on Russian oil will destabilise global energy markets, but claimed it would not impact its invasion of Ukraine. Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was preparing its response to the move by the G7 and allies.
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, published today, the German chancellor called for every effort to be made to build new partnerships. He singled out China and Russia as two countries that pose a threat to a multipolar world.
Nine people have been killed in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk, Russian-backed military officials have said. It came after Ukraine shelled the city of Alchevsk, Reuters reports, citing state-run TASS news agency.
The Chinese foreign ministry has said it will continue energy cooperation with Russia after the G7, EU and Australia imposed a price cap on Russian oil exports. China, which said it would continue on the basis if respect and mutual benefit, has increased its purchases of Russia’s Urals oil blends this year.
In recent months, the number of sudden troop deployments conducted by Russian tactical combat aircraft over Ukraine has “reduced significantly”, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. Russian aircraft now probably conducts tens of missions per day, compared with a high of up to 300 a day in March 2022, the latest British intelligent report suggests.
Vladimir Putin is now “better informed” about the difficulties facing his forces in Ukraine, the head of US intelligence has said. Speaking during a defence forum at the weekend, Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, indicated the Russian president was no longer as insulated from bad news arising from his invasion of Ukraine.
The US expects a “reduced tempo” in fighting to continue over the winter months, adding that there could be brighter prospects for Ukrainian forces in the coming months.
Heavy fighting continues around the key Donbas town of Bakhmut, where Russian forces have been struggling for six months to make minimal progress. Reports on social media suggested Ukrainian forces were making progress in operations on the east bank of the Dnipro River, opposite the recently liberated city of Kherson, after a reported amphibious landing on the Kinburn Spit last month. Russian forces have also intensified artillery attacks on the Kherson region since withdrawing from the western bank of the Dnipro.
A draft resolution is circulating at the United Nations for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to hold Russia accountable for crimes of aggression in Ukraine. Signs also indicate that US opposition to the proposal may be softening in the face of lobbying by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Beth Van Schaack, the US ambassador for global criminal justice, said this week: “So far, all of the [UN general assembly] resolutions on Ukraine have prevailed. The numbers have been quite strong.” The international criminal court has already started investigating war crimes in Ukraine but cannot prosecute the Kremlin leadership over the broader crime of aggression since Russia is not a signatory to the relevant statute.
Iran’s leadership has locked itself into a “vicious cycle” over protests and arming Russia, the US special envoy has said. “The more Iran represses, the more there will be sanctions; the more there are sanctions, the more Iran feels isolated,” Rob Malley, the US special envoy on Iran, told a conference in Rome. “The more isolated they feel, the more they turn to Russia; the more they turn to Russia, the more sanctions there will be, the more the climate deteriorates, the less likely there will be nuclear diplomacy. So it is true right now the vicious cycles are all self-reinforcing.” US intelligence chief Avril Haines said there was worrying evidence that Russia was seeking to deepen military cooperation with Iran.