Russia-Ukraine war: Putin hints at ‘long’ conflict and says risk of nuclear war is on the rise – as it happened

  • President Vladimir Putin has admitted that Russia’s war in Ukraine could turn into a “long-term process”. Speaking to members of his personal human rights council on Wednesday, Putin sought to defend an invasion in which Russian troops have been forced to retreat and even airbases deep inside Russia have come under attack.
  • Putin also claimed that Russia would not use nuclear weapons first in any conflict, denied that Russian troops were deserting in mass from the field of battle, and claimed that the Russian military would not need to mobilise more troops, a process that has caused considerable upheaval in Russia.
  • Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said Russia is attempting to “freeze” the fighting in Ukraine over the winter to prepare its forces for a renewed assault early next year. Stoltenberg urged Nato allies to continue sending weapons to Kyiv over the winter, adding that the conditions for a peaceful settlement to the war are “not there now”.
  • Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said 31 “suspicious packages” had been sent to Ukrainian missions in 15 countries. In the past week, Ukraine says its embassies and consultants across Europe have received “bloody” packages, some containing animal eyes, in what Kyiv has described as a “campaign of terror and intimidation”.
  • Eight people were killed by Russian shelling in the town of Kurakhove in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, according to a Ukrainian official. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said five people were also wounded in the attack, in which a market, bus station, petrol stations and residential buildings came under fire in the town in the Donetsk region.
  • A road accident in the temporarily occupied eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk has left 16 people dead and several injured, according to a Russian-backed official and state media. The accident involved a minibus and a truck, whose passengers included soldiers, and took place between Torez and Shakhtarsk, emergency services told the Russian state-owned news agency Tass.
  • Ukraine’s culture minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, has called on the country’s western allies to boycott Russian culture. Writing in the Guardian, Tkachenko argues that a halt to performances of the music of Tchaikovsky and other Russian composers until the end of the war would be “pausing the performance of his works until Russia ceases its bloody invasion”.
  • The European Commission has proposed a ninth package of sanctions on Russia, including adding almost 200 additional individuals and entities on the sanctions list. In a statement, the head of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accused Russia of “deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure” and of continuing to “bring deaths and devastation to Ukraine”.
  • The US has made clear to Ukraine its “concerns” about any escalation of the war with Russia, the White House’s national security spokesperson, John Kirby, said. Kirby said the principle behind the war in Ukraine was one of sovereignty, and “unlike the Russians, we respect Ukrainian sovereignty”. Kirby’s comments came after Kyiv appeared to launch a pre-emptive strike on bombers on two Russian airbases far from the frontlines earlier this week.
  • The Kremlin has said a US military aid spending bill providing $800m to Ukraine approved by lawmakers on Tuesday was “provocation towards our country”. The Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorises the additional spending for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, an increase of $500m over President Joe Biden’s request earlier this year.
  • Britain has ordered “several thousand” NLAW anti-tank weapons to replace the 7,000 donated to Ukraine in the past year. Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, said the NLAWs played “a decisive role” in pushing back the Russian invasion, but Labour has complained that the deal took nearly 10 months to sign and the replacements will take three years to make.
  • BP should donate its “wartime profits” in Russia to the reconstruction of Ukraine or ministers should impose a special windfall tax on the oil company to force it to do so, British MPs have told parliament. The British oil supermajor has a 19.75% stake in Rosneft, one of the Kremlin’s most important oil assets and signalled its intent to exit Russia nine months ago, after Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • Belarus plans to move military equipment and security forces on Wednesday and Thursday in what it says are checks on its response to possible acts of terrorism, the state Belta news agency reported. “During this period, it is planned to move military equipment and personnel of the national security forces,” the news agency cited the country’s security council as saying.
  • At least 441 civilians were killed by Russian forces during the first weeks of the war in Ukraine, according to a report by the UN’s human rights office. Many of the bodies documented in the report bore signs that the victims may have been intentionally killed, the report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.
  • An Orthodox priest accused of leaking information on Ukrainian defence positions to Russia has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, according to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office. The priest from Lysychansk, in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, had been informing the Russians about the positions of Ukrainian troops since April, it said in a statement on Telegram.
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