Putin drives Mercedes over Crimea bridge weeks after explosion

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait, December 5, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Strait, December 5, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has driven a Mercedes over the bridge that links Moscow-annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland weeks after the vital link was partially blown up.

In what is the closest the 70-year-old leader has come to the frontline in Ukraine, Mr Putin drove across the Kerch bridge as Russia re-opened it to traffic following an October blast Moscow blamed on Ukraine.

While driving, he discussed the repairs of the bridge with Marat Khusnulin, a deputy prime minister in charge of the project, in an exchange that was broadcast by Russian television.

The 12-mile bridge has been the main conduit for ferrying supplies to Crimea that has served as a key base for Russian military operations in Ukraine.

The October 8 truck bomb attack disrupted travel on one of the two lanes. Russia blamed the attack on Ukrainian military intelligence and responded with several waves of strikes on Ukraine's energy facilities and other key infrastructure, the latest of which was launched this morning.

04:19 PM

Evening summary

It has been another busy day in Ukraine and beyond. As it approaches 6:30pm in Kyiv, here are the most important moments.

  • Ukraine claims to have shot down 60 missiles fired by Russia in the latest barrage.

  • Ukraine officials in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia said that two people had been killed by Russian missiles.

  • Three people were killed and six injured after a fuel tanker exploded at the Dyagilevo airfield near the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow.

  • The price cap on Russian oil agreed by the EU, G7 and Australia came into force today. It aims to restrict Russia's revenue while making sure Moscow keeps supplying the global market.

  • Energy facilities in three Ukrainian regions were hit by Russian strikes on Monday but the nationwide power system remains functioning and intact, Ukraine's prime minister said.

04:03 PM

Ukraine shoots down 60 missiles

Russia has rained long-range missiles on Ukraine, killing two people, destroying homes in the southeast and causing power outages, but Kyiv said its air defences had limited the damage.

Air raid sirens blared across the country and men, women and children huddled in the capital's cavernous metro system to take cover during the latest big wave of missile strike.

Moscow has been targeting Ukraine's power grid in intense waves of attacks since October, and state energy company Ukrenergo, which operates the national power grid, said more infrastructure had been hit today.

A police officer stands next to a part of a Russian cruise missile shot down by the Ukrainian Air Defence Forces - Andrii Nebytov via Telegram/Handout via REUTERS
A police officer stands next to a part of a Russian cruise missile shot down by the Ukrainian Air Defence Forces - Andrii Nebytov via Telegram/Handout via REUTERS

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal later said energy facilities had been hit in the regions of Kyiv, Vinnytsia in west-central Ukraine and Odesa in the south, but that Ukraine's energy system was still functioning.

The air force said that over 60 of the more than 70 missiles fired at Ukraine had been shot down.

"Our guys are awesome," Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff, wrote on Telegram.

03:39 PM

Putin drives across Crimea Bridge

Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to boost Russian morale today by driving across a bridge to Crimea that a truck bomb had damaged in October.

Mr Putin took the wheel to drive across the bridge that links Russia's mainland with the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

While driving, he discussed the repairs of the Crimean Bridge with Marat Khusnulin, a deputy prime minister in charge of the project, an exchange that was broadcast by Russian television.

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03:18 PM

Prosecutor requests 9 years in jail for Kremlin critic Yashin

A Russian prosecutor requested a nine-year prison sentence for Kremlin critic Ilya Yashin for denouncing Vladimir Putin's military intervention in Ukraine.

"The prosecutor requested nine years of imprisonment," said a statement on the Telegram account of Mr Yashin, 39, who is one of the last vocal government critics still in Russia.

In April, Mr Yashin described the alleged murder of civilians in Bucha as "massacre," referring to a town near the capital Kyiv where civilians were found killed after Russian forces pulled back.

He is being tried under new laws that came into force after February, when fighting intensified in Ukraine, to penalise what the authorities deem to be damaging or false information about the Russian military.

03:02 PM

Russia launches 'over 100 missiles' at Ukraine in fresh wave of strikes

Russia unleashed a fresh barrage of missiles on Ukraine on Monday, with explosions reported across the country as people rushed for subways and basements to shelter from the bombs.

Blasts were reported in Kyiv, Odessa, Kramatorsk, Kirovograd and Vinnitsa as some 100 missiles were reportedly fired from Russia.

At least two died as bombs destroyed houses in Zaporizhzhia. Casualty numbers elsewhere were unclear amid reports Ukrainian air defence systems had been deployed successfully.

In Kyiv, The Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Luxmoore posted a photo of a packed metro and said the city’s streets had emptied after authorities warned more than 100 rockets had been fired at targets across the country, with some having already exploded in several cities.

The Guardian's Julian Borger reported of possible strikes from sea-launched Kalibr missiles.

The wave of attacks follow two earlier explosions at Russian airbases - one in Saratova and the other in Ryazan. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for them.

02:29 PM

Reports claim one of the Russian rockets fired at Ukraine fell in Moldova

Sources in Ukraine are reporting a Russian missile aimed at Ukraine fell in the Moldovan town of Briceni. This has yet to be officially confirmed.

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02:15 PM

Ukraine carries out deepest strikes in Russian territory since war began

Three people were killed and six injured after a fuel tanker exploded at the Dyagilevo airfield near the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, writes Roland Oliphant

Ukraine carried out its deepest strikes inside Russian territory to date in an apparent bid to disrupt the Kremlin’s bombing campaign against energy infrastructure.

Three people were killed and six injured on Monday after a fuel tanker exploded at the Dyagilevo airfield near the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Unofficial Russian social media channels reported that four aircraft were also damaged.

A separate blast struck the Engels-1 airbase near Saratov, 460 miles southeast of Moscow, at 5am. Two Tu-95 strategic bombers were damaged and two people wounded.

Read the full story

02:00 PM

Ukraine has liberated around over half of Russia seized since invasion

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01:49 PM

Chechen dissident Tumso Abdurakhmanov 'shot dead in Sweden'

Abdurakhmanov, a critic of the warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, was reportedly gunned down by a group of men last week, writes Roland Oliphant.

A prominent Chechen blogger and critic of Ramzan Kadyrov has been murdered in Sweden, activists and colleagues say.

Tumso Abdurakhmanov was gunned down by a group of men late last week according to a Chechen opposition network.

"Very sadly the rumours of his death turned out to be true," the 1ADAT group said on Telegram on Monday morning, citing its own network of informers.

"Tumso was shot at night by a group of people. The details of the murder are currently being investigated."

Read the full story

01:39 PM

Power, water cuts in several Ukrainian cities due to Russian strikes: officials

The new barrage of Russian strikes has left several Ukrainian cities without power, including the eastern city of Sumy and the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to officials.

In Odessa, the water services operator said "there is no water supply anywhere" and officials in the central city of Kryvyi Rig said "parts of the city are cut off from electricity, several boiler and pumping stations are disconnected."

01:27 PM

Two killed in missile attack in south

Ukraine officials in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia said that two people had been killed by Russian missiles.

The head of the Zaporizhzhia region said two people were killed and two more injured in attacks that damaged residential homes, while Kyiv region officials said air defences were repelling Russian attacks and several regional governors called on residents to take shelter.

01:18 PM

People take cover in a subway in Kyiv as Russia launches a wave of missiles into Ukraine

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12:30 PM

Russia has reportedly fired more than 100 rockets at Ukraine

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11:27 AM

Mapped: Latest Russian attacks and troop locations

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11:14 AM

10 killed in Ukrainian attack on Alchevsk, reports Tass

Ten people have been killed after Ukraine shelled the Russian-held city of Alchevsk in Luhansk, the state-run Tass news agency reported.

The attack was carried out in the early hours of Monday morning using six Himars rockets and targeted refugees, according to local authorities.

"There are refugees among those killed. Those are the people who seem to have moved from the republic’s border cities and districts away from the line of fire, but the Kiev-regime’s military hit them with their Himars there," a law enforcement official said.

Luhansk fell under Russian control in early July after Moscow seized Lysychansk. Ukraine has since reclaimed some territory.

10:41 AM

Two injured in Saratov attack, Ukrinform reports

Two people were reportedly injured in the attack on the Engels-2 airfield in Saratov.

Citing various Ukrainian news channels, Ukraine's national news agency Ukrinform says residents heard a loud blast around 06:00 am after an unmanned and unknown "aerial vehicle" crashed into the runway.

"According to preliminary data, on the morning of December 5, an unknown aircraft crashed on the runway of the local airfield. As a result, two aircraft were damaged. Two people were also injured and were taken to the hospital," the news outlet reported.

10:08 AM

'Planes at Engels and Ryazan were preparing to bomb Ukrainian energy infrastructure'

Ukraine's advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs says the planes at Engels and Ryazan air fields that were hit today were reportedly scheduled to bomb Ukrainian energy infrastructure "yet again".

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09:48 AM

We must avoid dividing world into Cold War-style blocs, says Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned against creating a new Cold War by dividing the world into blocs and called for putting all efforts towards building new partnerships in an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs magazine published online on Monday.

The West must stand up for democratic values and protect open societies, "but we must also avoid the temptation to once again divide the world into blocs," wrote Mr Scholz in the piece.

08:34 AM

Russian Deputy Prime Minister hits back at oil price cap

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who is in charge of energy issues, warned in televised comments on Sunday that Russia won't sell its oil to countries that would try to use the cap.

"We will only sell oil and oil products to the countries that will work with us on market terms, even if we have to reduce output to some extent," Mr Novak said in televised remarks hours before the price cap came into effect.

The Ukrainian government demanded over the weekend a lower price cap, to $30 per barrel, insisting that at the $60 level Russia would still reap annual oil revenues of $100 billion – money that can be used to finance its war machine.

08:10 AM

'No diplomatic solution' to Ukraine war', says Nobel winner

There is currently no diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine, a co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Russian rights organisation Memorial said Sunday.

"I am absolutely convinced that there is not a diplomatic solution with Putin's regime, so long as it is still there," said Irina Scherbakova.

"The solution that there will now be is a military one," said Ms Scherbakova, who was presented with an award for her human rights work at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.

There would ultimately be some form of diplomatic resolution to the conflict, she said.

07:51 AM

Nexta TV has posted alleged footage of the blast at Russian airfield

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07:13 AM

Russian oil price cap in force

The price cap on Russian oil agreed by the EU, G7 and Australia came into force on Monday. It aims to restrict Russia's revenue while making sure Moscow keeps supplying the global market.

The cap is due to take effect alongside an EU embargo on maritime deliveries of Russian crude oil, which comes several months after an embargo imposed by the United States and Canada.

Russia is the world's second-largest crude exporter and without the cap it would be easy to find new buyers at market prices.

The measure means only oil sold at a price equal to or less than $60 per barrel can continue to be delivered.