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In The News

Three Dead In Ukraine's First-Ever Attack On Russian Air Bases

Reports of Ukraine's possible use of kamikaze drones deep inside Russian territory.

Three Dead In Ukraine's First-Ever Attack On Russian Air Bases

Engels-2 airbase in Russia

Alex Hurst, Anna Akage, and Emma Albright

Updated 11:45 p.m.

Separate explosions Monday morning at two different Russian air bases, which have killed at least three and injured eight, have demonstrated that Ukraine has the capacity to use drones to attack targets deep inside Russia.

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Russian state media reports that a fuel tanker exploded early Monday in an airfield near the city of Ryanza, southeast of Moscow, killing three and injuring six people. Another two people are reported to have been injured in another morning explosion at the Engles-2 airbase in the Saratov region, farther to the southeast.

Later Monday, both Russian and Ukrainian government sources confirmed that the attack was carried out by Ukraine, a major escalation in Kyiv's war effort.

The blasts come after satellite images were released last week appearing to show increased military aircraft activity at the Engels airbase. The causes of the blasts are still unknown, with both areas being hundreds of kilometers away from the Ukrainian border.

Baza, a Russian media outlet with sources in the security services, first reported that the Russian airfield at Engels was attacked by a so-called kamikaze drone that targeted the airbase’s runway. Astra, another independent Russian media outlet, claimed that two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers were damaged in the explosion.

According to TheGuardian, Ukrainian monitoring reports in the last week suggested that Russia was delivering cruise missiles to the Engels airbase and transferring aircraft to the Ryazan airbase in preparation for another attack against Ukraine.

Until now, Ukraine is not known to have any weapons that would allow it to attack hundreds of kilometers beyond the border, though both the April destruction of the warship Moskva and the October explosion on the Kerch bridge connecting Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine have shown that Kyiv may have the means to inflict damage on Russia far behind enemy lines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the latest two incidents, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, who refused any further comment.

Russia Defiant As Western Oil Price Cap Takes Effect

Russia says it will defy G7 oil price cap that kicks in Monday. Moscow says it will only do business with countries that will “work under market conditions,” as a new $60/barrel price cap on oil transported by sea was imposed by G7 countries and Australia.

Traders and politicians will gauge how and if the price cap will function in practice, as the West tries to limit Moscow's ability to finance its war in Ukraine, even if the world economy risks grinding to a halt without Russian energy supplies.

Why Does The West Still Buy Russian Gas And Oil?

One of the major paradoxes about the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been that, despite imposing sanctions on Russia and arming Ukraine, the West has continued to purchase Russian natural gas and oil. The revenue from those purchases is crucial to help Russia finance its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

With Russia being the world’s second largest exporter of oil, an outright ban is considered impossible: it would cause drastic spikes in global oil prices and alienate countries like India that the West hopes will keep pressure on Moscow.

So, eight months into the war the EU and G7 are instead seeking to cap the revenus that Vladimir Putin can gain from his vast natural resources.

How Does The Oil Price Cap Work?

The vast majority of companies that own the ships that transport oil around the world, and the companies that provide insurance for them, are based in G7 or EU countries. In reality, it is these companies who must abide by the “price cap,” which the G7 and the EU hope will not only directly affect the price that third parties pay for Russian oil, but also give them leverage to negotiate cheaper prices with Moscow for oil shipped on non-G7/EU transport vessels.

Potentially, Russia could turn to a “shadow fleet” of tankers, either acquired or owned by or flagged under countries like Iran and Venezuela, to transport its crude. However, many importing countries are unlikely to accept oil shipped on these “dark tankers” under Russian (or perhaps, Chinese) insurance because of the additional risks it would represent.

Prosecutor General’s Office Announces 443 Children Have Died 

In a Telegram post, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office announced that 443 children had been killed since the beginning of Moscow’ invasion on February 24.

"According to the official information from juvenile prosecutors, 443 children were killed and more than 852 children were injured," read the post.

This data is not final as work is ongoing to establish casualties in occupied as well as liberated territories of Ukraine.

Critic Of Chechen Leader Kadyrov Killed In Sweden

Tumso Abdurakhmanov, a Chechen opposition blogger and critic of Ramzan Kadyrov, was killed in Sweden. For two years, Abdurakhmanov had been hunted by Chechen hitmen for criticizing Kadyrov and his family members.

The opposition TV channel 1Adat, which covers events in Chechnya, confirmed that Abdurakhmanov had been shot dead at night by a group of men, and the details of the killing are currently under investigation.

"For several days, we've been conducting our internal investigation into Tumso's murder. At first, we couldn't believe what had happened, but at this stage, as Allah Almighty willed, we have enough information to confirm his death and that his brother, Muhammad, had been hidden by the security services," the 1Adat report reads. The victim's brother is reportedly still missing.

Irpin’s Snow-Covered Ruins On NYT Front Page

It’s “the peace that follows fighting,” titles The New York Times as it features an aerial shot of Irpin, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, with a blanket of snow covering buildings that were badly damaged by Russian strikes early in the conflict.

Ukrainian Police Arrest Group Trying To Steal Banksy Mural

The mural by Bansky before it was stolen

Oleksandra Butova/Ukrinform/Zuma

Authorities in Ukraine have detained a group of people who allegedly tried to steal a mural by street artist Bansky. The mural in question, located in the town of Hostomel northwest of Kyiv, shows a woman wearing a gas mask and carrying a fire extinguisher. According to the head of the Kyiv Police Department, Andrey Nebitov, the mural was "ruthlessly cut out by attackers.”

The head of the Kyiv region military administration, Oleksii Kuleba, said the suspects were "detained on the spot" and that the mural is undamaged.

In mid November, the street artist confirmed to The Art Newspaper that he had completed seven new works in Ukraine in total, located in the capital and other cities around the country.

Russian Nobel Peace Prize Voices Pessimism About Negotiated End To War

Russian rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Irina Scherbakova said she does not believe in a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, and those insisting on a peace deal were “childish.”

Scherbakova, who was speaking in German at a ceremony in Hamburg where she was presented with an award for her human rights work was frank about the current prospects of peace. “I am absolutely convinced that there is not a diplomatic solution with Putin’s regime,” she said. “The solution that there will now be is a military one.”

The Financial Times Names Zelensky Person Of The Year

The Financial Times has named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky its person of the year 2022. “Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is the FT’s person of the year 2022. The 44-year-old has earnt a place in history for his extraordinary display of leadership and fortitude,” the FT tweeted.

In an interview with the Financial Times Zelensky said, “I am more responsible than I am brave. I just hate to let people down.” The article featuring the interview also focuses on Zelensky’s decision to remain in Kyiv at the start of the war, rather than accepting an evacuation offer, a defining moment in the war.

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How Gen Z Is Breaking Europe's Eternal Alcohol Habit

Young people across Europe are drinking less, which is driving a boom in non-alcoholic alternatives, and the emergence of new, more complex markets.

photo of a beer half full on a bar

German beer, half-full?

Katarzyna Skiba

Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

PARIS — From Irish whisky to French wine to German beer, Europe has long been known for alcohol consumption. Of the top 10 countries for drinking, nine are in the European Union, according to the World Health Organization.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

But that may be starting to change, especially among Gen Z Europeans, who are increasingly drinking less or opting out entirely, out of concern for their health or problematic alcohol use. A recent French study found the proportion of 17-year-olds who have never consumed alcohol has multiplied, from less than 5% to nearly 20% over the past two decades.

The alcohol-free trend is propping up new markets for low- or zero-alcoholic beverages, including in one of Europe’s beer capitals: Germany.

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