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Ukraine war latest: Kremlin responds to neighbour barricading border crossings; why new aircraft could be a risk for Russia

15 Russian ships destroyed in Black Sea, Ukrainian military claims

Ukraine’s military claimed it had destroyed a total of 15 Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea since the start of the war.

Another 12 had been damaged, the military said.

Pletenchuk, a navy spokesperson, described Ukraine as the “driver of a new type of naval warfare” having forced Russia to move its naval forces into more difficult positions, as a result of attacks by Kyiv. 

The military’s operations carried out in the
Black Sea so far have included strikes on the Russian Black Sea
Navy headquarters in Sevastopol, and the shipyard in Kerch, which
damaged a vessel that had not officially joined the fleet.

Attacks have also targeted warships near annexed Crimea, including a large landing vessel and a submarine.

Ukraine’s EU membership talks ‘at risk’ after ‘reality check’ over war support

A European Union decision to launch membership talks with Ukraine are “at risk”, a senior official said. 

Amid regular assurances that the EU would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” in the face of Russian aggression, the official said the latest discussions in
the bloc over further support to Kyiv were a “reality check”.

“Leaders… were realising it’s quite expensive,” they said.

The unnamed official is involved in preparing a summit in
Brussels of the EU 27 member states’ national leaders from 14-15th December. 

“How do
we pay for this?” the official added.

In a potential further blow, the official said there is no agreement to grant Kyiv a further €50bn (£43m). 

This comes after a proposal by the bloc’s executive European Commission to
revise the bloc’s long-term budget to assign another €50bn for Ukraine through to 2027 was criticised from several

“We cannot allow Ukraine to go bankrupt, it’s not an option
for us. But it’s not easy,” the official said.

Finland provides Ukraine with new military aid package

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the president of Finland for providing Ukraine with a new military package. 

The latest defence package is worth €100m (£87m).

This brings the total of military aid provided by Finland up to €1.5bn (£1.3bn).

“This support strengthens not just Ukraine but also the security of Finland and the rest of our Europe,” Mr Zelenskyy said in a statement on social media.

Thousands of citizens without electricity across Ukraine

Thousands of citizens across Ukraine are without electricity because of shelling and problems at power plants, the Ukrainian government has said today. 

Some customers have also been left without gas due to the conflict.

Here is a breakdown of the situation in the different regions across the country:

More than 28,000 customers were cut off from electricity supply due to shelling in Kherson, the Ukrainian government said.

The government added more than 700 customers remain without power due to flooding caused by the explosion at the Kakhovka Dam back in June.

Around 122 settlements remain without power in this eastern region, the government said.

More than 17,600 customers remain without power in the region. 

Power companies have restored electricity to 950 customers overnight. 

Residents of one of the villages bordering Russia were also left without gas after a medium-pressure gas distribution pipeline was damaged. 

Around 150 customers are without gas supply due to damage to gas equipment by a car. 

Another 85 customers are without natural gas for technical reasons.

More than 13,000 customers were left without electricity in the region. 

In addition, 1,000 customers remain disconnected. Power companies were able to restore electricity to 14,600 customers over the course of today.

Territorial map released by UK’s Ministry of Defence

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has today released an up-to-date territorial map of the situation in Ukraine. 

It labels the locations where Russian forces have grouped, where Ukrainian troops are likely to attack and the territory taken by Russia since last year.

Ukrainian power plants need missile defence systems to operate safely – energy company boss

Ukraine’s largest private energy company has said its power plants need more missile defence systems to operate safely, according to its CEO. 

“We cannot protect
ourselves against ballistic missiles if we don’t have air
defence systems,” Maxim Timchenko, CEO of DTEK, said today.

Hundreds of transformers, miles of cables and thousands of diesel generators have been supplied to Ukraine from Europe and members of the Soviet Union and the ex-Communist bloc since the start of the war.

This has provided critical light and heat to the country throughout winter, when temperatures regularly fall below freezing.

“I know that our president and our government have been
doing everything that they can to bring the message that we need
this equipment to protect our energy system,” Mr Timchenko said.

Every one of DTEK’s 13 power stations supplies energy to more than seven million Ukrainian families.

Each has come under fire from Russia, which has targeted the country’s power grid. 

As a result 50% of the company’s capacity has been damaged, destroyed or occupied, causing blackouts, Mr Timchenko said.

Power units in eight out of the 13 stations have been restored and two are under repair.

In pictures: Russian delegation leaves North Korea

Earlier this week, we reported that Alexander Kozlov, Russia’s natural resources minister, was in North Korea. 

During his visit, he held talks with Tok Hun, North Korea’s prime minister.

It comes as Moscow and Pyongyang have been stepping up cooperation following their leaders’ summit in September.

Having arrived in North Korea on Tuesday, Mr Kozlov and other Russian senior officials were pictured leaving the country last night. 

The two countries have denied accusations from the US that they have agreed an arms deal for use in the war in Ukraine.

‘Big mistake’: Kremlin responds to Finland barricading crossings

Following on from our post below, the Kremlin has accused Finland of choosing a path of confrontation with Russia. 

In reaction to Finland planning to put barricades at four crossings on its shared border, Dmitry
Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, said the country was making a “big mistake”. 

Helsinki claims Moscow is to blame for an influx of migrants as tensions between the two countries deteriorated after Finland joined NATO.

“(One can) only express deep regret that the Finnish
authorities have taken the path of destroying bilateral
relations,” Russian state news agency TASS quoted Mr Peskov as saying. 

He said the two countries always had mutually beneficial
and respectful relations. 

“Russia has never in modern history threatened Finland, we
had no reason for any confrontation. Now they have chosen this
path. From our point of view, this is a big mistake,” he said.

Finland to block border crossings to stop migrants ‘sent by Russia’

Finland has said it will place barriers at four crossings on its border with Russia from midnight.

It comes after the country accused Russian authorities of funnelling migrants to the crossing in retaliation for its decision to
increase defence cooperation with the US.

The Kremlin firmly denies the accusation. 

The Finnish Border Guard said barriers will go up at four of the nine crossings, to “prevent entry”. 

Some 300 asylum seekers, mostly from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia
and Syria, have arrived in Finland this week, according to the
Border Guard. 

Nearly 100 of those had entered from Russia by midday today alone, according to officials.

From Saturday asylum seekers arriving via Russia will only
be allowed to hand in their applications at two northern border
crossings, at Salla and Vartius, Matti Pitkaniitty, Border Guard’s head of international affairs, said. 

Yesterday, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, thanked the Finnish authorities for protecting the
bloc’s external border. 

“Russia’s instrumentalisation of
migrants is shameful,” she said.

The border crossings set to be blocked at midnight include:

  • Vaalimaa
  • Nuijamaa
  • Imatra
  • Niirala

Zelenskyy praises ‘strength’ of Ukrainian troops on river bank

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has released images of Ukrainian troops on the banks of the Dnipro river. 

In a post on X, formely Twitter, the Ukrainian president thanked them for “their strength and for moving forward”. 

Earlier today, the Ukrainian Marines said they had a series of successes in the territory, had established several bridgeheads and carried out more operations on the eastern side of the river. 

Andriy Kovalyov, general staff spokesperson, said troops managed to “knock out” Russians from their positions on the left bank of the river and consolidate there. 

“One of the main goals of this combat work is to push the enemy as far as possible from the right bank to protect the Ukrainian civilian population, in particular Kherson, from constant Russian shelling,” he said.

Russia has made no immediate statements in reaction to the Ukrainian reports today.

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