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Live blog: Odessa without power after Russian drone attacks

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Ukraine’s Odessa without power after Russian drone attack

All non-critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa has been without power after Russia used Iranian-made drones to hit two energy facilities, with much of the surrounding region also affected.

“Due to the scale of the damage, all users in Odessa except critical infrastructure have been disconnected from electricity,” Odessa mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov wrote on Facebook.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office said two power facilities in Odessa region were hit by Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook that 15 of those drones, which carry an explosive payload and fly into their target, had been launched on targets in the southern regions of Odessa and Mykolaiv, and that 10 had been shot down.

Maksym Marchenko, the regional governor, had earlier said that Russia attacked the city with “kamikaze drones” overnight.

Turkish president to hold phone call with Russian, Ukrainian counterparts

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to have separate phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday, the president said.

At the event, Erdogan also highlighted Türkiye’s efforts in reaching the landmark Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Türkiye has been at the forefront of mediation efforts and continues to urge Kiev and Moscow to end the war through dialogue. The country has been internationally praised for its mediation between Ukraine and Russia.

Arms dealer Bout praises Putin, backs Ukraine assault

Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and backed Moscow’s assault on Ukraine, saying “Why did we not do it earlier?”

Bout, 55, said he “fully” supported Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine and would have volunteered to go to the front if he had the “opportunity and necessary skills.”

He made the remarks in an interview for Kremlin-backed RT channel released just two days after the former Soviet air force pilot was exchanged for American basketball star Brittney Griner after serving 25 years in a US prison.

Russian-held Kherson to withdraw hryvnia from circulation

The Russian-backed administration of Ukraine’s Kherson region has announced that it has begun changing locally circulated Ukrainian hryvnia currency into Russian roubles, with hryvnia circulation in Moscow-controlled areas of the region to end on January 1.

In a video published on Telegram by the region’s Moscow-backed administration, Andrei Peretonkin, head of the Russian central bank’s local branch, said: “For the sake of the convenience of residents and to allow for a smoother integration of the region into the Russian economic space, this week banks in Kherson region began currency exchange operations.”

Previously, the administration had said that both the rouble and hryvnia would be accepted in Kherson region.

Russia grinds on in eastern Ukraine, Bakhmut ‘destroyed’: Zelenskyy

Russian forces have “destroyed” the eastern city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donbass, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, while Ukraine’s military reported missile attacks, about 20 airstrikes and more than 60 rocket attacks across Ukraine.
“The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another Donbass city that the Russian army turned into burnt ruins,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address without specifying what he meant by “destroyed” — and some buildings remain standing and residents still mill about in the city streets.

Spokesperson for the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Oleksandr Shtupun, said the most active fighting was in the Bakhmut district, where more than 20 populated places came under fire.

62% of Russian missile strikes were on Ukrainian civilian targets – Zelenskyy

Some 62 percent of Russian missile strikes on Ukraine have been on civilian targets, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said at a conference in the capital Kiev, emphasising that Moscow “specifically targeted” civilians.

He said torture chambers and mass graves have been found in Ukrainian areas recaptured from Russian forces, adding that Ukraine expects its international partners to support its efforts to ensure that Russia is tried for its crimes.

“The crimes committed by the Russian state on Ukrainian soil, particularly against Ukrainians, are unprecedented since World War II,” Zelenskyy added.

Belarus to allow Ukraine grain transit with no preconditions – UN

Belarus has told the United Nations that it would allow, without preconditions, the transit of grain from Ukraine through its territory for export from Lithuanian ports, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

In June, Belarus has said it would let Ukrainian grain go via the country to Baltic Sea ports, if Belarus was allowed to ship its goods from the ports as well. Ukraine did not agree to the proposal.

In a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York on Friday, Belarus Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Ambrazevich “reiterated the requests from his government to be able export its own fertilizer products, which are currently subject to sanctions,” Dujarric said in a statement after the meeting.

Putin says Russia could adopt preemptive strike concept

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia could amend its military doctrine by introducing the possibility of a preemptive strike to disarm an enemy, in an apparent reference to a nuclear attack.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, just days after warning that the risk of nuclear war was rising but Russia would not strike first, Putin said Moscow was considering whether to adopt what he called Washington’s concept of a pre-emptive strike.

Putin said Moscow might need to think about adopting the idea “for ensuring their own security” while adding that they were “just thinking about it”.

Australia warns Russia, Iran of consequences 

Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong has said the government would place targeted sanctions
on Russia and Iran in response to what it said were “egregious”
human rights violations and Tehran’s drone transfer to Moscow. 

Seven Russians involved in what Wong said
was the attempted assassination on former opposition leader
Alexey Navalny would also have human rights sanctions imposed on
them, she said, along with Magnitsky-style sanctions on 13 individuals and two entities in Iran over their crackdown on protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

In addition to human rights sanctions, Wong said Australia
was placing further targeted financial sanctions on three
Iranians and one Iranian business for supplying drones to Russia
for alleged use against Ukraine.

“The supply of drones to Russia is evidence of the role Iran
plays in destabilising global security. This listing highlights
that those who provide material support to Russia will face
consequences,” Wong said in the statement jointly issued with
Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Tim Watts.

For live updates from Friday (December 9), click here

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