Latest Developments in Ukraine: Dec. 5

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.

10:15 p.m.: Oil tankers formed a traffic jam off the coast of Turkey on day one of the West's price cap on Russian crude, with Ankara insisting on new proof of insurance for all vessels, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Around 19 crude oil tankers were waiting to cross Turkish waters on Monday, the report said, citing ship brokers, oil traders and satellite tracking services, according to Reuters.

A $60 per barrel price cap imposed by the Group of Seven nations, Australia and the 27 European Union states on Russian seaborne crude oil took effect this week, the latest Western measure to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The agreement allows Russian oil to be shipped to third-party countries using tankers from G-7 and European Union member states, insurance companies and credit institutions only if the cargo is bought at or below the cap.

Russia said on Monday that a Western price cap on its oil would destabilize global energy markets but would not affect its ability to sustain what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

According to the Financial Times' report, four oil industry executives said Turkey had demanded new proof of full insurance coverage for any vessels navigating its straits in light of the measures.

Turkey’s ministry of transport and infrastructure did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

8:05 p.m.: The first shipment of grain as part of Ukraine's own initiative to supply countries in need arrived in Djibouti Monday for delivery to neighboring Ethiopia amid the region’s worst drought in decades, The Associated Press reported.

Ukraine’s embassy in Ethiopia confirmed that the “Grain from Ukraine" shipment of 25,000 tons is separate from a United Nations World Food Program effort that has funded humanitarian grain shipments from Ukraine.

A second ship with 30,000 tons of wheat will be heading to Ethiopia next week, while a third vessel is currently being loaded with 25,000 tons of wheat bound for Somalia, an embassy statement said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month announced the initiative aimed at helping “countries the most struck by the food crisis.” Ukraine has said it plans to send more than 60 ships to Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Kenya, Yemen and other countries.

Millions of people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya are going hungry due to drought following the fifth straight failed rainy season, while conflicts in Ethiopia and Somalia have worsened the crisis.

7:05 p.m.: The Biden administration is convening a virtual meeting on Thursday with oil and gas executives to discuss how the United States can support Ukrainian energy infrastructure, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The meeting comes as Russia seeks to cut off Ukraine’s energy supplies and destroy infrastructure as winter approaches with missile attacks, Reuters reported.

"As you know Ukrainian energy assets are being aggressively targeted in an effort to take advantage of the winter's coldest temperatures and harshest weather conditions. Together, we can help to boost Ukrainian resilience," wrote David Turk, U.S. deputy secretary of energy, in a letter to oil and gas executives, Reuters reported.

The meeting is being convened by the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response. It involves members of the Oil and Natural Gas Sector Coordinating Council, which includes 26 trade associations.

The Department of Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

5:18 p.m.: The Biden administration is convening a virtual meeting on Thursday with oil and gas executives to discuss how the United States can support Ukrainian energy infrastructure, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The meeting comes as Russia seeks to cut off Ukraine’s energy supplies and infrastructure as winter approaches with missile attacks.

"As you know Ukrainian energy assets are being aggressively targeted in an effort to take advantage of the winter's coldest temperatures and harshest weather conditions. Together, we can help to boost Ukrainian resilience," wrote David Turk, U.S. deputy secretary of energy, in a letter to oil and gas executives. 4:02 p.m.: Two-way traffic has been restored on a Russian-built bridge that connects Russia to the Crimean Peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Monday.

An explosion believed to be from a truck bomb caused heavy damage to road and railway sections of the bridge in October.

The attack infuriated the Kremlin. Ukrainian officials have not said who carried it out.

Russian state television channel Rossia-24 showed video of President Vladimir Putin driving a vehicle across the bridge.

3:18 p.m.: It is "immoral" for Hungary to hold up a European Union deal on 2023 financing for Ukraine to extract approval for Budapest's recovery plan and billions from the EU budget, Lithuanian Finance Minister Gintare Skaiste told Reuters on Monday.

Hungary has been blocking an EU plan to provide 18 billion euros next year in financial help to war-torn Ukraine through the EU budget, which would make disbursements regular and predictable, allowing the Kyiv administration to plan ahead.

2:05 p.m.: Russia said on Monday that three of its military personnel were killed in what it said were Ukrainian drone attacks on two Russian air bases hundreds of miles from the front lines in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility. If it did carry out the attacks, they were the deepest military strikes it has conducted inside the Russian heartland since Moscow invaded on February 24.

One of the targets, the Engels air base near the city of Saratov, houses bomber planes that are part of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

1:05 p.m.: Energy facilities in three Ukrainian regions were hit by Russian strikes on Monday but the nationwide power system remains functioning and intact, Ukraine's prime minister said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on the Telegram messaging app that energy facilities in the Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Odesa regions had been hit and that emergency power cuts persisted in some regions as a result.

12:45 p.m.: Russia rained long-range missiles on Ukraine on Monday, killing two people, destroying homes in the southeast and causing power outages, but Kyiv said its air defenses had limited the damage, Reuters reported.

Air raid sirens blared across the country and men, women and children huddled in the capital's cavernous metro system to take cover during the latest big wave of missile strikes since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The air force said that over 60 of the more than 70 missiles fired at Ukraine had been shot down. "Our guys are awesome," Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff, wrote on Telegram.

After an hours-long air raid alert ended, Zelenskyy told Ukrainians that air defenses had "shot down most of the missiles." Kyiv officials said that nine out of 10 missiles fired at the capital had been shot down.

12:20 p.m.: Reuters photographers witnessed 2022’s most important events, from the horrors of war in Ukraine and other armed conflicts to unprecedented natural disasters and from the flight of refugees and migrants to protests around the globe.

Here is a selection of some exceptional Reuters pictures taken in 2022 along with the stories behind the shots, directly from the photographers who took them.

11:50 a.m.: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday denounced a European Union proposal to create an U.N.-backed special tribunal to prosecute crimes in Ukraine, saying his court was capable of effectively dealing with war crimes committed there, The Associated Press reported.

Karim Khan pushed back against the plan European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last week to establish a special court to prosecute Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The EU has misstated the law,” Khan told reporters, defending his institution’s ability to prosecute high-ranking political figures.

The Hague-based ICC has launched an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine but cannot prosecute the crime of aggression — the act of invading another country — because the Russian Federation is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the court.

In her announcement, von der Leyen said it was essential to get approval from the United Nations to avoid issues of immunity. Heads of state, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, are generally considered immune from prosecution while they are in office.

11:25 a.m.: A Russian commander stabbed an elderly Ukrainian woman to death during the chaotic retreat from Izyum in September, according to a soldier in his unit. Evidence of the alleged war crime first emerged from a phone intercept by Ukrainian intelligence in which the soldier described how he heard that two commanders killed civilians. In a later phone call, arranged by Schemes, the investigative project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service, the soldier expressed the opinion that his commander could have chosen not to kill the woman.

11:05 a.m.: Global arms sales increased by nearly 2% in 2021, the seventh consecutive year of increases, The Associated Press reported Monday, quoting an international arms sales watchdog.

It said that the war in Ukraine had increased demand for weapons this year, but the conflict may also lead to a supply challenge, not least because Russia is a major supplier of raw materials used in arms production.

That could hamper efforts in the United States and Europe to strengthen their armed forces and replenish their stockpiles after sending billions of dollars’ worth of ammunition and other equipment to Ukraine, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said.

“Increasing output takes time” said Diego Lopes da Silva, a senior researcher with SIPRI, adding that if the supply chain disruptions continue, “it may take several years for some of the main arms producers to meet the new demand created by the Ukraine war.”

10:40 a.m.: President Vladimir Putin on Monday drove a Mercedes across the Crimean Bridge linking southern Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula, Reuters reported, less than two months since an explosion tore through one of the Kremlin chief's showcase infrastructure projects.

The 12-mile (19 kilometers) road and rail bridge, which was personally opened by Putin in 2018, was bombed on October 8 in an attack Russia said was carried out by Ukraine.

Putin, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, was shown on state television behind the wheel of a Mercedes, asking questions about where the attack took place.

"We are driving on the right hand side," Putin said, as he drove across the bridge. "The left side of the bridge, as I understand it, is in working condition, but nevertheless it needs to be completed. It still suffered a little, we need to bring it to an ideal state."

Putin also walked along parts of the bridge, Europe's largest, to inspect sections that are still visibly scorched.

Ukraine never claimed responsibility for the bombing of the bridge on the morning of October 8, a day after Putin's 70th birthday. Russia's Federal Security Service said the attack was organized by Ukrainian military intelligence.

10:10 a.m.: The adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies as much to global trade as to a trip to the market, Reuters said Monday.

China’s zero-COVID policies, and the backlash against them, provide a case in point. Apple may lose the production of 10 million iPhones because of disruption at a vast factory complex in Zhengzhou. Europe’s dependence on Russian gas is another cautionary tale. After President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian gas supplies to the European Union have virtually ceased, causing economic damage which will last for years.

These examples explain the enthusiasm for “friendshoring”, an idea U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is pushing. Her aim, which the EU also backs, is to build up suppliers of goods such as solar panels in friendly countries, so that Western buyers are less vulnerable to geopolitical blackmail or other disruptions.

The risk of restricting trade to countries deemed friendly is that it could escalate into a full-blown Cold War – splitting the world into two trading blocs. That would damage prosperity at a time when the global economy is suffering.

9:35 a.m.: The postwar reconstruction of Ukraine will cost about 500-600 billion euros ($525 billion-$630 billion), World Bank Vice President Anna Bjerde said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse over the weekend according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

"Previously, we published the figure, which was calculated jointly with the European Commission and the Ukrainian government. How much money is needed to rebuild Ukraine and bring it up to European standards, for example in terms of energy efficiency? At of the beginning of June, it was about 350 billion euros," Bjerde said.

But since then, she said the figure had risen significantly to the new estimate.

9:05 a.m.: Several Ukrainian regions have reported additional power outages following renewed Russian missile strikes Monday, the Kyiv Independent reported.

“Blackouts have been recorded in Odesa, Mykolaiv, Zhytomyr, and Sumy oblasts as well as in Kryvyy Rih in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, according to local officials and utility services,” the media organization said.

“State grid operator Ukrenergo confirmed that Russia had hit energy infrastructure facilities on December 5, leading to emergency power outages in Ukraine,” it said.

The Russian missile strikes have also interrupted power supplies in neighboring Moldova, the Kyiv Independent reported, quoting Moldova’s national energy company Moldelectrica.

8:45 a.m.: Ukraine officials in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia said Monday that two people had been killed by Russian missiles as authorities in several regions urged residents to shelter from a fresh Russian missile barrage, Agence France-Presse reported.

Nearly half of Ukraine's energy grid has been destroyed by recent Russian missile strikes and Kyiv last week had warned of a fresh wave of attacks.

8:15 a.m.: A price cap of $60 per barrel imposed on seaborne Russian oil by the Group of Seven (G-7) leading economies, the European Union, and several importing countries came into effect on Monday, as Russia remained defiant and said it would not recognize the restrictions. The EU also introduced an embargo of seaborne Russian oil that took effect on Monday, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The price cap, which has been joined by the United States, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom, was intended to punish Moscow for its unprovoked aggression against neighboring Ukraine.

It stipulates that Russian oil can only be shipped to third countries using G-7 or EU tankers, insurance companies, or credit institutions if the cargo is purchased at or below the price cap.

A similar price cap on Russian petroleum products is scheduled to take effect on February 5. 7:50 a.m.: The war in Ukraine has put the European Union’s expansion at the top of the agenda as officials from the Western Balkans and EU leaders prepare to gather Tuesday for a summit intended to reinvigorate the whole enlargement process, The Associated Press reported.

The EU’s executive commission has repeatedly promised Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia that they have futures within the bloc. But the progress of the six nations toward getting there stalled in recent years.

As the war in nearby Ukraine rages, Albanian Prime Minister and summit host Edi Rama called for renewed vigor. “You need the Balkans - Western Balkans - as much as the Western Balkans need the EU,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We have to face the future more and more together.”

The EU last admitted a new member — Croatia, which is also part of the Balkans — in 2013. Before that, Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom in 2021, the EU now has 27 member nations.

“Enlargement policy is among the top three priorities of EU leaders,” EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said during a visit to Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, last week. “The only real long-term solution for peace, stability and prosperity is EU membership.”

7:20 a.m.: Russia unleashed a new barrage of missiles on Ukraine on Monday, causing people to head to shelters across the country as air defenses went into action, Reuters reported.

Air raid sirens blared in the capital Kyiv and across the whole country in what Ukrainian officials described as the latest wave of Russian missile strikes since its February 24 invasion.

"Missiles have already been launched," air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said.

There was no immediate word of any damage or casualties but officials were quoted by Ukrainian media as saying that explosions could be heard overhead in some areas as aid defense systems went into action.

"Don't ignore the alarm," said Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff. 6:55 a.m.: Russia's recent mobilization has increased its military threat in Ukraine, Reuters reports, with better trained soldiers now arriving at the front line according to the commander of Ukrainian ground forces.

But he said Russia was now using a lot of old equipment because it had no other way of replenishing supplies, and that Russian forces had made only slow progress around Bakhmut, one of the main battle zones in eastern Ukraine.

"On the eastern front, the situation is very tense, the enemy attacks our units every day," General Oleksander Syrskyi told national television.

Asked about the mobilization ordered by Moscow in September, he said: "Such a number of personnel increased the threat for us and these are not just words -- these are new brigades, new battalions that have been trained, this is the replenishment that the army was waiting for because it was exhausted."

6:25 a.m.: The United Arab Emirates and Ukraine on Monday announced their intention to start negotiations on a bilateral trade deal, expected to conclude by the middle of next year, Reuters quoted the UAE economy ministry as saying.

The UAE state has tried to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war despite Western pressure on Gulf oil producers to help isolate Moscow, a fellow OPEC+ member.

The UAE's minister of state for foreign trade, Thani Al Zeyoudi, and Ukraine's economy minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, signed a joint statement on negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the ministry said.

It would be the UAE's first such deal with a European country, following more than $3 billion in trade and investment pledges made during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to the Gulf state in February 2021.

"For us, Ukraine is a key trade partner. The growth and investment potential was high before the whole geopolitical situation; we think it's time to push things forward," Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister of state for foreign trade, told Reuters.

5:55 a.m.: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that the $60-per-barrel price cap the EU, G-7 and Australia have placed on Russian oil exports will not affect Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Peskov said that Russia "will not recognize" the price cap, which was "a step towards destabilizing the global energy markets," according to Agence France-Presse.

5:20 a.m.: Concerning Sweden’s application to NATO, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Monday that he considered an extradition to Turkey last week a "good start."

As Reuters reported, Sweden extradited a Kurdish man, Mahmut Tat, to Turkey last week. In 2015 he sought asylum in Sweden after being sentenced to six years and 10 months in jail for alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Bozdag said that it showed Sweden's "sincerity and goodwill" but indicated that Turkey expected further actions before it would ratify Sweden’s NATO application.

4:58 a.m.: Finland announced on Monday that it has asked parliament to formally adopt NATO's founding treaty, which will prepare the country for membership, according to Reuters.

"Our NATO membership moving forward is important for us Finns but also for NATO members," Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in a news conference.

In May, 188 members of the 200-member Finnish parliament supported the application. A simple majority will be needed to approve the NATO treaty.

Finland and Sweden applied for membership in May. 28 of the 30 members of NATO have said yes.

3:26 a.m.: Western countries on Monday began the $60-per-barrel price cap and ban on several types of Russian oil. As The Associated Press reported, the EU, Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, and the United States agreed on the price cap Friday to put pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. It also imposed an embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea.

The Ukrainian government wanted a price cap of $30-per-barrel instead and said that the high price cap would still allow Russia to use its oil revenue to invest in the war.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday that Russia would not sell oil to countries who would follow the price cap.

2:45 a.m.: Reuters reported that Gazprom is planning on shipping 42.4 million cubic meters of natural gas to Europe via Ukraine on Monday.

2:25 a.m.: In an interview with a French television station, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Europe must consider "how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table."

Reuters reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's top aide, Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that the "Civilized world needs 'security guarantees' from barbaric intentions of post-Putin Russia," instead.

The Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, tweeted that "Someone wants to provide security guarantees to a terrorist and killer state?" He added that, "Instead of Nuremberg - to sign an agreement with Russia and shake hands?"

1:26 a.m.: A new study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute showed that the war in Ukraine has increased demand for arms around the world but has made supply chain difficulties significantly worse, Agence France-Presse reported.

12:45 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War has published their assessment of the war in Eastern Ukraine:

12:02 a.m.: The EU has proposed a "specialized court" backed by the U.N. to prosecute Russia’s "crime of aggression," but experts have said that it isn’t that simple, Agence France-Presse reported.

The proposed court would sidestep the issues faced by the International Criminal Court, but “On both legal and practical levels there are considerable obstacles,” said Cecily Rose, assistant professor of public international law at Leiden University.

VOA's Henry Ridgwell reported on the "crime of aggression" and what this tribunal could look like:

Source: Voice of America

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