Fears of European discord over energy prices, as Ukraine is facing what the UN calls "appalling conditions of life" amid Russia's onslaught timed with the arrival of winter.
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky declared Friday that Europe remains unified in its support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. In a virtual address to “The Idea of Europe” conference in Lithuania, Zelensky said “There is no split. There is no schism among Europeans. We have to preserve this so this is our mission number one this year.”
Zelensky made the case that both Europe and Ukraine are suffering from Russia’s military aggression and manipulation of energy markets.
“It's not just in Ukraine that millions of people have no heating, and no power. We are talking about millions of Europeans who suffered from the Russian terror. It's not just Ukraine that is attacked by Russia... it's Europe and we are all part of the same home,” Zelensky said.
European Union governments remained split on Friday over proposed caps on Russian oil prices. Western leaders must find a deal that undercuts Moscow’s ability to use oil revenue to pay for its war without sparking a global oil supply shock. Reuters reports that six of the EU’s 27 countries are said to be opposed to the current price cap level proposed by the G7.
As negotiations continue, it is Ukraine alone left trying to restore cut-off power after Russian attacks over the past month have deliberately targeted critical infrastructure — just in time for winter.
“The pace of restoration [to household consumers] is slowed down by difficult weather conditions,” national energy supplier Ukrenergo said.
UN Human Rights Chief Volker Turk said Friday estimated that millions of Ukrainians have “plunged into extreme hardship and appalling conditions of life.”
In the capital of Kyiv, only 30% of residents have power and the city is operating on reduced power of 2-3 hours a day. Ukraine’s largest private energy company DTEK said it will report back to scheduled outages when the system is stabilized.
NATO Will Not “Back Down” From Supporting Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Friday, that the military alliance will not reduce its support for Ukraine.
“Most wars end with negotiations. But what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield. Therefore, the best way to increase the chances for a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, speaking ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting, which will take place next week in Bucharest, Romania. “So NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down.”
Stoltenberg also said foreign ministers are providing “unprecedented military support” and he expects they will agree to increase “non-lethal support,” at the Bucharest meeting. NATO has been delivering fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers, according to the secretary general.
Multiple Billions In Additional Aid For Ukraine From UK And World Bank
President Volodymyr Zelensky. While in the capital, Cleverly announced the UK would send 24 ambulances to Ukraine, along with 11 other emergency vehicles, including six armored vehicles, which will all be part of the emergency package the UK is providing.
The aid package will also include $3.6 million in funding to aid the rebuilding of Ukraine's damaged infrastructure, such as schools and shelters, that have been destroyed since the start of the war. The funds will also be used to support survivors of sexual assault.
On Thursday, World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine) Arup Banerji signed an agreement to provide Ukraine with an additional $4.5 billion.
Boris Johnson Awarded Honorary Citizen Of Kyiv
Boris Johnson on a surprise visit to Kyiv back in August
The Kyiv City Council has awarded former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the title of Honorary Citizen of Kyiv, Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko wrote on Telegram. “Boris has visited the Ukrainian capital several times — both during peace and the most dramatic period of our struggle against the Russian aggressor,” Klitschko said, adding that Johnson is a “great friend of Ukraine."
He said that he is confident Johnson will continue to do "everything possible" to ensure continued support for Ukraine from the UK and other world leaders.
Johnson’s successors, led by fellow Conservatives, have maintained strong UK support for Kyiv.
Ukraine-Russia 100 Prisoners Exchanged Include Mariupol And Chernobyl Veterans
Russia and Ukraine carried out a prisoner exchange on Thursday with 100 soldiers in total returning to their respective home countries, 50 from each side.
Among the released Ukrainian prisoners of war were 19 from the battle of Mariupol, including 12 who participated in the siege of the Azovstal steel facility, 15 people who’d been taken prisoner at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, and seven from Zmiinyi Island, reports Andriy Yermak, a top official at the Ukrainian presidency.
Since March, more than 1,000 Ukrainian civilians and military personnel captured by Russia have been brought back home. ‘We’ll bring everyone back,’ Yermak wrote.
Russian “Revenge” Killing Of Civilians In Kherson, Three Weeks After Withdrawal
Evacuation in Kherson due to heavy shelling
Russian forces launched a series of 17 attacks on the liberated city of Kherson, using artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Kherson Oblast Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych reported that 20 civilians had been killed and 54 wounded following Russia's attacks on the city.
"Today is another terrible page in the history of our hero city," Yanushevych wrote on Telegram.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that the Russian attacks on Kherson and the surrounding area "began immediately after the Russian army was forced to flee from the Kherson region" early in November.
Zelensky said Thursday's deadly shelling was an act of revenge for those defeated Russian forces. The Russians do not know how to fight he said: "The only thing they can do is terrorize."
Kherson Tears On Belgian Daily Front Page
Antwerp-based daily De Morgen reports from Kherson, where “after the liberation and the euphoria,” more and more residents are choosing to leave the warn-torn city.
Swedish Spy Case Shines Light On Rise in Russian Espionage Of Nordic Neighbors
This week marks the opening of what's been described as the biggest Swedish espionage case since the end of the Cold War, as tensions rise in the face of the Russian war in Ukraine.
Over the last decade, due to rising geopolitical tensions, the threat from spies has increased all over Europe. According to a study published by the Swedish Total Defence Research Institute in May, the most active spies are in Northern Europe and the Baltics, and work in their vast majority on Russia’s behalf. No doubt the beginning of the war in Ukraine has raised the stakes, and activity, for those working undercover on both sides. Read more here.
Russia Has Spent $82 Billion On The War, How Do You Calculate Total?
Russian rocket launcher
During the nine months since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has spent around $82 billion on the war, totaling a quarter of its annual budget,Forbes reports.
As part of its financial calculation, the U.S. magazine estimated that Russia was using 10,000 to 50,000 shells per day, and that the average price of a Soviet-caliber shell was around $1,000.
Taking artillery supplies alone, Russia has spent more than $5.5 billion. Russia has also fired over 4,000 missiles into Ukraine, the average cost of which is $3 million each.
Russia has also lost 278 combat aircraft, each with an average cost of $18 million, and 261 helicopters, with an average cost of $10.4 million. The total losses of Russian aviation amount to roughly $8 billion.
“Only Power Counts” Merkel Says Putin Refused 2021 Talks Because Her Term Was Ending
In a candid interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, former Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had tried to organize talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in the summer of 2021, but that plans had failed to materialize due to her nearing the end of her chancellorship. “For Putin, only power counts," Merkel lamented.As Deutsche Welle reports, Merkel wanted to create “an independent European discussion format with Putin”, as she felt the 2014 Minsk Agreement (designed to resolve the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv) was no longer effective.
More Than 15,000 People Reported Missing Since Beginning Of War
More than 15,000 people have been reported missing as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) reports.
Matthew Holliday, the ICMP’s program director for Europe, said Thursday that it was difficult to state precisely how many people had been forcibly transferred, held in Russian detention, separated from family or had been killed and were buried in makeshift graves.
In this respect, the 15,000 figure is a conservative one, he told Reuters, as in the southern city of Mariupol now occupied Russia, where authorities estimate a possible 25,000 people are either dead or missing.
Why Is The Russian Military Interested In Foreign Home Appliances?
A recent increase in European exports of washing machines, refrigerators and even electric breast-pumps to Russia’s neighbors is raising security concerns. Why? There are special chips in these appliances that the Russian army needs in order to repair their military equipment.
“The Russian military is taking chips from dishwashers and refrigerators to fix their military hardware, because they ran out of semiconductors,” warned European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.