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Russia pressed its assault against eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the U.K.’s Defense Ministry said Saturday, while Ukraine’s general staff said it was holding off Russian attacks in the region aimed at encircling Kyiv’s positions there. Bakhmut has been a priority for Russia since the end of the summer, when Russian forces suffered a setback in the country’s south and the Russian paramilitary group Wagner began a push there.
Bloody parcels containing the eyes of animals and explosives have been sent to several Ukrainian embassies and consuls across Europe, officials said late Friday. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said in a statement on Facebook that embassies in Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy had received packages containing the disembodied eyes of animals. Consulates in Naples, Italy, Krakow, Poland, and the Czech city of Brno had also been targeted, he said. Letter bombs were mailed to six addresses in Spain earlier this week, including the Ukrainian Embassy and the U.S. Embassy, as well as to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, causing security to be tightened. Farther south, the Ukrainian consul in Naples, Maksym Kovalenko, told the AP that his office received two letters containing fish eyes at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Shipping companies have snapped up dozens of secondhand oil tankers this year, paying record prices for ice-class ships that can navigate frozen seas around Russia’s Baltic ports in winter. A driving force behind the purchases, say people familiar with the deals: To get Russian oil to market after the harshest sanctions to date strike Russia’s energy industry next week.
Nearly two months after President Joe Biden vowed "there will be consequences" for Saudi Arabia’s actions to cut oil production, the U.S. is not actively considering any significant retaliatory actions against the kingdom, according to two U.S. officials. U.S. and Saudi relations hit a low point after Saudi Arabia pushed OPEC members to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day at their Oct. 6 meeting. Officials, however, also anticipate calls for imposing a cost on Saudi Arabia to ramp back up if OPEC again cuts oil production. The Biden administration's about-face on the oil issue is not the first time it has failed to follow through on a threat to Saudi Arabia. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Biden vowed to treat Saudi Arabia as a "pariah" state in response to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
A group of thieves were thwarted after they attempted to steal a mural by the renowned street artist Banksy on the outskirts of Kyiv, a Ukrainian official said Friday. He said the thieves “were detained at the scene,” and the image was “undamaged” and under the protection of law enforcement officers. A vocal anti-war activist, Banksy has also painted murals in Gaza and the West Bank. His work, normally sprayed on the sides of buildings, has been threatened by thieves before. In June, eight were convicted in Paris over the 2019 theft of a Banksy mural at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris which commemorated the victims of a 2015 terror attack at the venue.
The controversy involving Twitter and Hunter Biden dates to October 2020, weeks before the presidential election between Joe Biden and then-President Donald Trump. Taibbi wrote that he has seen no evidence that there was government involvement in Twitter’s move to block the New York Post story. Shortly after the New York Post published the article, Twitter pointed to concerns about hacked materials as the reason for blocking the story. Zuckerberg cited warnings from the FBI about election-related threats, though none about Hunter Biden in particular. Hunter Biden has said that federal prosecutors in Delaware are investigating his taxes.
The widow, alongside other soldiers, told Insider about mismanagement and dysfunction in the legion. A Foreign Legion fighter looks on at wreckage in Ukraine following a Russian attack. "When we were told to go out again, in my mind I knew someone was going to die," AJ told Insider. "How everything was handled, especially after his death, was scandalous," Lipka told Insider. Mavericks told Insider he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and still mourns the deaths of his comrades.
Russian airline Aeroflot has been forced to remove in-flight entertainment on some services. The airline suggested passengers read, meditate, or take a nap while it works on a "domestic solution." Aeroflot has managed to keep flying despite western sanctions increasingly hobbling operations. Aeroflot didn't say why it couldn't offer entertainment, and it doesn't appear to have affected the airline's larger aircraft. After halting flights to several international destinations because of flight path restrictions, Aeroflot resumed flights to Thailand, India, and the Maldives in October.
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday it would continue to find buyers for its oil, despite what it said was a "dangerous" attempt by Western governments to introduce a price cap on its oil exports. A coalition of Western countries led by the G7 group of nations agreed on Friday to cap the price of Russian seaborne oil at $60 a barrel, as they aim to limit Moscow's revenues and curb its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin and high-ranking Kremlin officials have repeatedly said that they will not supply oil to countries that implement the price cap. "Regardless of the current flirtations with the dangerous and illegitimate instrument, we are confident that Russian oil will continue to be in demand." The G7 price cap will allow non-EU countries to continue importing seaborne Russian crude oil, but it will prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price cap.
Ukraine urges tougher Western squeeze on Russian oil prices
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.cnbc.com   time to read: +1 min
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Saturday for a lower price cap on Russian oil than the one agreed to by Ukraine's Western supporters, while Russian authorities called the $60-per-barrel cap harmful to free, stable markets. The cap is set to take effect Monday, along with an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea. "It would be necessary to lower it to $30 in order to destroy the enemy's economy faster," Yermak wrote on Telegram, staking out a position also favored by Poland — a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. The Russian Embassy in Washington insisted that Russian oil "will continue to be in demand" and criticized the price limit as "reshaping the basic principles of the functioning of free markets." A post on the embassy's Telegram channel predicted the per-barrel cap would lead to "a widespread increase in uncertainty and higher costs for consumers of raw materials."
PARIS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The West should consider how to address Russia's need for security guarantees if President Vladimir Putin agrees to negotiations about ending the war in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said in remarks broadcast on Saturday. In an interview with French TV station TF1 recorded during his state visit to the United States last week, Macron said Europe needs to prepare its future security architecture. "This means that one of the essential points we must address - as President Putin has always said - is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia," Macron said. Ukraine says negotiations are possible only if Russia stops attacking and pulls out its troops. The United States said at the time that the Russian demands were "non-starters".
KYIV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu announced an energy deal on Saturday he said would reduce the risk of "massive electricity outages" in the former Soviet republic. Moldova has suffered from widespread power outages amid Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure in neighbouring Ukraine and a reduced flow of natural gas from Russian state energy giant Gazprom. Reporting by Alexander Tanas; Writing by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Toby ChopraOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
KYIV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Officials in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson announced on Saturday they would help citizens evacuate from parts of Russian-occupied territory on the east bank of the Dnipro River amid fears of intensified fighting. Yaroslav Yanushevych, the regional governor, said officials were temporarily lifting a ban on crossings to allow Ukrainians living in villages across the river to traverse the Dnipro during daylight hours and to a designated point. "Evacuation is necessary due to the possible intensification of hostilities in this area," he wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have continued shelling Kherson and surrounding areas from there, killing civilians. Yanushevych said the ban on river crossings would be lifted through Monday.
On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil in a move to deprive President Vladimir Putin of revenue while keeping Russian oil flowing to global markets. OPEC virtually met on Saturday without allies such as Russia and discussed mostly administrative matters, sources said. The ministers did not discuss the Russian price cap. Five OPEC+ delegates said on Saturday the OPEC+ meeting on Sunday would likely approve a policy rollover. On Friday, two separate OPEC+ sources said a further output cut was not completely off the table given concern about economic growth and demand.
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin, the state-run Belta news agency said on Saturday. The two sides discussed bilateral military cooperation and amended an agreement on the "joint provision of regional security", it said, without providing further detail. Russia and Belarus are formally part of a "union state" and are closely allied economically and militarily, with Moscow using Belarus as a staging post for its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Belarus has said it will not enter the war in Ukraine, but President Alexander Lukashenko has in the past ordered troops to deploy with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing threats to Belarus from Kyiv and the West. Reporting by ReutersOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Kremlin-linked Wagner Group recruited mercenaries from the Central African Republic to fight in Ukraine. It is active in the Central African Republic, where it works with the country's military and helps to combat rebel groups. Hundreds of rebels from the UPC surrendered last December after the CAR government and Wagner group promised incentives and further military work if they switched sides, The Daily Beast said. Those who returned to the Central African Republic have also had trouble working with the Wagner Group. The former rebels speaking to The Daily Beast also said that dozens of their colleagues have mysteriously disappeared in the Central African Republic.
Putin not sincere about peace talks now, says top U.S. diplomat
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
KYIV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is not sincere about peace talks with Ukraine at this time, a top U.S. diplomat said on Saturday after meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior Ukrainian officials in Kyiv. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday he was prepared to speak to Putin if the Russian leader was interested in ending the war. This reaction from Russia, Nuland said, showed "how not serious they are". Nuland also met Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelenskiy's office, who expressed thanks for the billions of dollars worth of aid Washington has committed to Ukraine. "Ukraine's victory, which we are sure of, will be our joint victory," Zelenskiy's office quoted him as telling Nuland.
The Russian air force's performance in Ukraine has fallen well short of expectations before the war. Neither the Russia air force nor Ukrainian forces can control the skies over Ukraine, however. But Russian aircraft have never able to achieve air superiority over Ukraine. Right now, neither military can control the airspace over Ukraine, but pilots from both sides are still finding ways to operate. In Ukraine, Russian and Ukrainian aircraft often have to fire blindly or with only cursory attempts to aim at enemy targets before ducking down or veering off to avoid incoming fire.
Ukraine slaps sanctions on senior clerics in pro-Moscow church
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Ukraine is slapping sanctions on 10 senior clerics linked to a pro-Moscow church on the grounds they agreed to work with Russian occupation authorities or justified Moscow's invasion, the security service said on Saturday. The announcement is the latest in a series of steps against a Ukrainian branch of the Orthodox Church linked historically to Moscow. The Orthodox Church in Russia itself backs the war. The Ukrainian branch formally severed ties with the Russian Orthodox Church last May, but is still mistrusted by many Ukrainians and accused of secret co-operation with Russia. Since the collapse of Soviet rule, competition has been fierce between the Moscow-linked church and an independent Ukrainian church proclaimed soon after independence.
UK crime agency arrests 'wealthy Russian' over money laundering
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Britain's National Crime Agency said on Saturday it had arrested a "wealthy Russian businessman" on suspicion of money laundering and other offences as part of a crackdown on corrupt oligarchs. The unidentified 58-year-old was among three men arrested by officers from the Combatting Kleptocracy Cell (CKC) on Thursday at a "multi-million pound residence" in London, the NCA said. He was detained on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office (interior ministry) and conspiracy to commit perjury, the NCA said. These included a number of asset freezing orders on accounts held by people linked to sanctioned Russians. Britain has so far sanctioned more than 1,200 individuals and over 120 entities following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday accused Russia of "deliberate cruelty" in its war in Ukraine, saying Moscow was intentionally targeting civilians. "With deliberate cruelty, Russia is putting civilians and civilian targets in its gunsights," Austin told the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California. "Russian attacks have left children dead, schools shattered, and hospitals smashed," he said. Reporting by Phil Stewart and Eric BeechOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The letter, seen by Reuters, is signed by the head of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Treasury, and mentions a loan provided by some Italian banks and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). The Italian government adopted on Thursday a scheme allowing ISAB to be placed under trusteeship, while Lukoil continues talks on selling the asset. A similar move was taken by Germany when in September it took control of a refinery owned by Rosneft (ROSN.MM). The government could call on "an oil company that operates in the sector, and it is obvious to everyone that this (company) could be Eni, and this will ensure continuity of production," he said. Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Alvise Armellini, Editing by Christina Fincher and Louise HeavensOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
KYIV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil agreed to by the Group of Seven nations and Australia on Friday should be lowered to $30 per barrel to hit Russia's economy harder, a senior Ukrainian presidential aide said on Saturday. "This was everything that was proposed by the McFaul-Yermak group, but it would be necessary to lower it to $30 to destroy the enemy's economy quicker," Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine's presidential administration, wrote on Telegram referencing an international working group on sanctions. The G7 and Australia have agreed a $60 per barrel price cap. Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Kirsten DonovanOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The UK military has signed a £15.4 million ($18.7 million) contract to buy a crewless submarine. The First Sea Lord Admiral says it allows the Royal Navy to further their mission to "dominate the underwater battlespace." First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key has said: "This Extra Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is a capability step-change in our mission to dominate the underwater battlespace." Celebrating the news of the new Navy vessel, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: "To meet the growing threats to our underwater infrastructure, the Royal Navy needs to be ahead of the competition with cutting-edge capabilities. We have the right equipment to protect the security of the UK and our Allies."
Macron says "no panic" about possible French power cuts
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
PARIS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said there was no reason to panic about possible power cuts this winter, but he called on citizens to use less energy and on state utility EDF to restart nuclear reactors to prevent outages in case of cold weather. In an interview with French TV station TF1 recorded during his state visit to the United States this week, Macron denied that the risk of rolling blackouts was due to inadequate management of EDF's (EDF.PA) nuclear reactor restart programme. It is legitimate for the government to prepare for the extreme cases which would mean cutting off electricity for a few hours per day if we did not have enough power," Macron said. The head of French power grid operator RTE said on Thursday that France may face "some days" of power cuts this winter and the government has started briefing local authorities on how to handle any outages. Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Frank Jack DanielOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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