U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia of using Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield.”
The Russian army has stationed troops at the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, preventing Ukrainian forces from returning fire that could otherwise lead to a disastrous nuclear accident.
"Of course the Ukrainians cannot fire back lest there be a terrible accident involving the nuclear plant," Blinken told reporters at the opening of the 10th annual Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the United Nations.
The war in Ukraine is the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II, killing thousands and displacing millions of Ukrainians and setting off a global food and energy crisis. But it has also raised the specter of nuclear confrontation for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is also attending the conference, where expressed his concerns for a nuclear war, “Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," he said.
Guterres said with Russia's indirect warnings that it could use nuclear weapons has raised the risk of a nuclear war to its highest point since the Cold War.
After Missile Strike On Olenivka Prison, Ukrainian Relatives Furious At Red Cross
Relatives and friends of the defenders of ''Azovstal'' hold placards expressing their opinions at a rally in Lviv
Families of the Ukrainian POWs at the Olenivka prison have been demanding more specific information about the dead and wounded from a missile strike that appears to have kllled dozens last week.
Only the Red Cross office in the occupied territories can provide such information, which has yet to be shared.
Sandra Krotevich, a member of the Azovstal Defenders Association and sister of the Azov Regiment Chief of Staff Bohdan Krotevich, released a statement:
"The Red Cross has still not reported how many people have died, how many are in Donetsk hospitals. We also do not know how they will return the dead. We are waiting for an answer from the Red Cross. We are very indignant. They promised us, they promised the guys that they would return alive, but they have not fulfilled their obligations," she said.
The group of relatives will demand the resignation of the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross: "Such an organization cannot be financed by the whole world... I have not heard from the Red Cross for 72 days whether my brother is alive and where he is," added Krotewicz.
New $550 Million Aid Package From The U.S. To Kyiv
\u201cThe security assistance to Ukraine \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 continues, this time in the form of a $550m package including tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition. We remain committed to providing Ukraine with the capabilities they need to defend their homeland.\u201d— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III) 1659384424
The U.S. has announced a new $550 million aid package to Ukraine which includes ammunition for rocket launchers as well as artillery guns, national security council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
The total cost of military assistance that the U.S. has brought to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, is more than $8.8 billion, according to the Pentagon.
Griner Back In Court, As Russia Makes Counter-Offer On Prisoner Exchange
Brittney Griner in court today
WNBA star Brittney Griner, detained in Russia since February, was back in court today for her seventh hearing as prosecutors accuse her of trying to smuggle cannabis oil in her luggage at the Moscow airport. A defense expert testified that the search of the substance contained in Griner’s cartridges did not comply with Russian law.
Meanwhile, a prisoner exchange proposed by Washington got a counter-offer by Moscow. The U.S. had offered to release Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for Griner and another American citizen, ex U.S. marine Paul Wheelan.
Russian officials have now requested the release of a convicted murderer, formerly a colonel with the Russian spy agency, Vadim Krasikov.
U.S. officials have not accepted the request as a legitimate counteroffer, as it was sent through an informal FSB backchannel and Krasikov’s release would be complicated as he is in German custody.
Medvedev Says After Ukraine Russia Has Same Plans For Georgia, Kazakhstan, Etc
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's former president between Putin's two terms, has been active on social networks since the war began and has become known for that kind of incendiary rhetoric that even Putin does not allow himself.
A new post that has now appeared on his Vkontakte social media page that said that after defeating Ukraine, Russia would take on other countries, such as Georgia and Kazakhstan, citing similar arguments about them not being real countries that should be returned to the Russian empire.
"North and South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and the current territory of Georgia can only be united as part of a single state with Russia," it reads. “After that, under the united hand of Moscow, led by the Slavic people, we will go on the next campaign to restore the borders of our homeland, which, as you know, do not end anywhere."
The post disappeared almost immediately, and Medvedev claimed his page had been hacked. Still, the post reads in substance and style like his other recent publications. Perhaps, Putin has also applied his censor to allies.
Ukrainian Women At War
Women training in Lviv
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has demanded that women sign up with the military registration office by Jan. 1, though there is no need for the forced mobilization of women in the armed forces.
Indeed, there have already been enough women volunteering to go to war, reports Ukrainska Pravda, which spoke to one of them: Valeriya Valeriya is an operator of the anti-tank missile system of the 128th separate Zakarpattia Assault Brigade.
"Any girl has to understand that she, figuratively speaking, will have to dig the shit: to live in the trenches, sleep together with the guys in the dugout on the sleeping mat, covering herself with a sleeping bag. So if a girl is worried about her external appearance, or daily cosmetic procedures, if she will say: "I'm a girl, so I need a separate room! - She doesn't belong here," says Valeriya.
Beautiful Women, Vodka, No Cancel Culture - Promo Video From Russian Embassy
\u201cTime to move to Russia \ud83e\udd0d\ud83d\udc99\u2764\ufe0f\u201d— Rusia en Espa\u00f1a (@Rusia en Espa\u00f1a) 1659072048
The Russian embassy in Spain released a video on their twitter account promoting the country as an attractive place to live. The 53-second video shows footage of scenery, women, natural landscapes, food and is coupled with an aggressive American-accented voice-over.
The video promotes Russia as a country that has it all from “beautiful women” to “cheap gas” and benefits from having “no cancel culture.” It ends by bragging about “an economy that can withhold thousands of sanctions,” the only reference to the invasion of Ukraine.