Ukraine-Russia news – live: Putin warns anyone attacking Moscow will be ‘wiped out’

Ukraine-Russia news – live: Putin warns anyone attacking Moscow will be ‘wiped out’

Vladimir Putin has warned that any country that attacks Russia would be “wiped off the face of the Earth”.

The Russia president issued his latest threat to the West at the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

Mr Putin also said that Moscow could adopt what he described as a “US concept” of using preemptive military strikes, in a blunt statement amid rising Russia-NATO tensions over Ukraine.

It comes as Russian forces placed Grad multiple-launch-rocket systems on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s territory, according to Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator.

The rocket launchers are next to spent nuclear fuel storage units near the plant’s sixth reactor, it said, and are likely to be used to strike cities on the opposite side of the Dnipro River, using the reactor and fuel storage as a “shelter” from return fire, according to Energoatom.

Russia’s move violated conditions for nuclear and radiation safety, the company said in its statement, which was backed by several Ukrainian ministers.

Key Points

  • Putin’s forces install rocket launchers at Zaporizhzhia plant

  • Russia ‘abducts top nuclear site staff’

  • Vladimir Putin appears ‘drunk’ as he charges Ukraine for attacks

  • Russian opposition politician jailed for eight years

  • Demining Ukraine could take years, says Zelensky

  • Entire frontline being shelled in Ukraine’s east - officials

Friday 9 December 2022 03:45 , Arpan Rai

Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Friday, 9 December.

Vladimir Putin appears ‘drunk’ as he charges Ukraine for attacks

Friday 9 December 2022 04:19 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of initiating attacks on civilian infrastructure in the ongoing invasion by Moscow.

“There’s a lot of noise right now about our strikes against the energy infrastructure of the neighbouring country,” Mr Putin said at a state awards ceremony where he appeared with a glass of a sparkling beverage.

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Swaying from one side to another, he said: “Yes, we are doing it, but who started it? Who struck the Crimean bridge?”.

Economist and author Anders Aslund said: “This is the first time that I have seen Putin seeming drunk in any context. He talks nonsense as usual, but he seems to realise that he is a loser. Very interesting & promising. All Russians will see that he is drunk & weak.”

“Putin, clearly drunk at today’s Russian military awards ceremony, gets his Kremlin propaganda lies mixed up - it’s supposed to be Crimea that Ukraine denied water to, not Donetsk,” said Ukrainian editor and journalist Euan MacDonald

Russia still set on ‘liberating’ annexed portions of Ukraine, says Kremlin

Friday 9 December 2022 04:52 , Arpan Rai

The Kremlin said its forces still plan to “liberate” parts of Ukraine that Moscow annexed and claims are its own.

When Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was asked about the goals of Russia’s “military campaign” in Ukraine on Thursday, he said Russia still has to “liberate” parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

This comes after Moscow proclaimed it had annexed those four regions after holding so-called referendums in September. These referendums were rejected as bogus and illegal by Ukraine, the West and a majority of countries at the UN.

Read the full story here:

Russia still set on ‘liberating’ annexed portions of Ukraine, says Kremlin

Demining Ukraine could take years, says Zelensky

Friday 9 December 2022 05:09 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said demining the Ukrainian territory could go on for years to come as he cited casualties among forces in Kherson who stepped in the mined territory by Russia.

“They did everything for the safety of Ukrainians. Already returning after completing one of the tasks, when they removed weapons and ammunition from the cache of the occupiers, many of which were left in the Kherson region, the policemen stumbled upon a mine trap,” he said in his nightly address.

Mr Zelensky added: And this is the form of Russian terror that will have to be countered for years to come. Terrorists deliberately try to leave behind as many death traps as possible. Buried landmines, tripwire mines, mined buildings, cars and infrastructure... This is more than 170 thousand square kilometres of dangerous territory.”

“I am sure: this will be among the charges against Russia for aggression - precisely mine terror. Which is even more cruel and meaner than a missile one, because there is no anti-mine system that could destroy at least part of the threat, as our air defence does,” he added.

Entire frontline being shelled in Ukraine’s east - officials

Friday 9 December 2022 05:36 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian officials have said that Russian forces are shelling the entire frontline in Donetsk region.

The fiercest fighting was near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a TV interview.

One civilian has been killed and a dozen buildings have been damaged due to artillery strikes into the town of Toretsk southwest of Bakhmut, Mr Kyrylenko said.

“The entire front line is being shelled”, he said added that the Russian troops were also trying to advance near Lyman, which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November, one of a number of setbacks suffered by Russia since invading its neighbour in February.

Why is US Marine Paul Whelan detained in Russia?

Friday 9 December 2022 05:53 , Arpan Rai

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release from a Russian jail as part of a prisoner swap deal is being hailed as a momentous diplomatic breakthrough, providing hope for other Americans considered “wrongfully detained” by Vladimir Putin’s administration.

Joe Biden has said his administration would “never give up” trying to free other Americans who have been wrongfully detained by Russia, including former US Marine Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody since he was arrested just after Christmas in 2018 on what American officials have described as bogus spying charges.

Mr Whelan, 52, was initially included in swap proposals by the US but was not part of the agreement reached this week, forcing Mr Biden to deny prioritising Ms Griner’s return over his, telling reporters that there “was not a choice of which American to bring home”.

Read the full story here:

Why is US Marine Paul Whelan detained in Russia?

US planning more sanctions on Russia, China - officials

Friday 9 December 2022 06:23 , Arpan Rai

The United States is planning to impose new sanctions against Russia and China today in a direct rebuke to Moscow for using Iranian drones in its war against Ukraine, two US officials said.

The sanctions are expected to target a number of Russian defense industry entities involved in the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia, the officials said.

These sanctions will also be aimed at around 170 entities for illegal fishing in the Pacific as Washington is flagging China’s over-fishing in the region and using its fishing fleet to expand Beijing’s influence in the Pacific waters.

240 Russian soldiers wounded

Friday 9 December 2022 07:08 , Arpan Rai

The Ukrainian general staff said its forces had attacked Russian positions and troop assembly points in at least half a dozen towns in the south of Ukraine, in a war update this morning.

Russian losses amounted to about 240 wounded, with three ammunition depots and about various military equipment destroyed, it added.

Russia recommencing attacks with newly delivered Iranian drones - MoD

Friday 9 December 2022 07:38 , Arpan Rai

Russia has revived its use of Iranian drones in the Ukraine war, with the fresh use seen in the besieged country’s east this week, the British defence ministry said today.

“For the first time in three weeks, there have been reports of attacks by Iranian-provided one-way attack (OWA) uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs),” the ministry said.

It is likely that the Kremlin has exhausted its previous stock of several hundred Shahed-131s and 136s and has now received a resupply.

The British defence ministry said that the Ukrainian General Staff reported shooting down 17 UAVs, including 14 Shahed-136s on Tuesday, followed by the use of Iranian-provided OWA UAVs targeting Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro oblasts on Wednesday this week.

“The last previously reported shooting down of Iranian Shahed-136s in Ukraine was on 17 November 2022. If verified, it is likely that Russia has recommenced attacks with newly delivered OWA UAV systems,” the MoD said.

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Five killed in Donetsk oblast

Friday 9 December 2022 08:11 , Lucy Skoulding

Five civilians were killed and a further two injured in Russian attacks on the Donetsk oblast yesterday.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk oblast, confirmed the casualties in an update this morning.

Three people were also killed in Bakhmut, one person in Netailovo and one in Toretsk following Russian attacks.

An apartment burning in Bakhmut, Ukraine (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
An apartment burning in Bakhmut, Ukraine (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Putin says West’s desire for global dominance is ‘increasing risk of conflict’

Friday 9 December 2022 08:33 , Lucy Skoulding

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that the West’s desire to maintain its dominance on the world stage was increasing the risks of conflict.

“The potential for conflict in the world is growing and this is a direct consequence of the attempts by Western elites to preserve their political, financial, military and ideological dominance by any means,” Putin said.

The Russian leader was speaking in a video message to a summit of defence ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and a group of ex-Soviet countries that was published by the Kremlin.

“They deliberately multiply chaos and aggravate the international situation,” Putin said.

He also accused the West of “exploiting” Ukraine and using its people as “cannon fodder” in a conflict against Russia.

Putin has repeatedly cast the war in Ukraine - which Moscow calls a “special military operation” - as a conflict between Russia and the West, criticising those who have provided military and financial backing to Ukraine.

Kyiv, European countries and Washington say Moscow used the pretext of security concerns to launch a cynical war of aggression against its pro-European neighbour in an attempt to seize swathes of territory and topple President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Reporting by Reuters.

Zelenksy pays tribute to policemen killed by landmines

Friday 9 December 2022 09:33 , Lucy Skoulding

Speaking late on Thursday night in a video address, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenksy has paid tribute to policemen who were killed by landmines in Kherson.

Four policemen lost their lives.

Zelenksy said: “This is perhaps even fiercer and more devious than missile terror.“For there is no system against mines that could destroy at least part of the threat as our anti-aircraft systems do.”

The Ukrainian president accused Russian forces of leaving explosives including tripwire mines, mined buildings and cars and landmines in places they then abandoned due to pressure from Ukrainian forces.

A soldier patrols at the Antonivsky Bridge in Kherson (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A soldier patrols at the Antonivsky Bridge in Kherson (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Ukraine’s finance minister says financial aid is ‘not charity’ but ‘self preservation'

Friday 9 December 2022 10:15 , Lucy Skoulding

Ukraine‘s finance minister says crucial Western financial support is “not charity” but “self-preservation” in the fight to defend democracy as his country deals with growing costs to repair electrical and heating infrastructure wrecked by Russian attacks.

Serhiy Marchenko also told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday from Kyiv that he believes European Union officials will sort out a dispute with Hungary that has blocked a key 18 billion-euro ($18.97 billion) aid package and would cover much of Ukraine’s looming budget gap.

Marchenko said financial support for Ukraine is tiny compared to what developed countries spent to combat emergencies like the global financial crisis of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

And that the money bolsters freedom and security far beyond his country’s struggle, he added.

“It’s not charity to support Ukraine,” Marchenko said. “We are trying to protect freedom and democracy of all (the) civilized world.”

Read the full story here.

MOD shares reports of attacks from Russia using Iranian-made drones

Friday 9 December 2022 10:45 , Lucy Skoulding

Russia appears to have launched new strikes using Iranian-made drones after supplies were likely restocked, UK intelligence has said.

In an update on Friday morning, the Ministry of Defence said there had been reports of attacks by Iranian-made drones for the first time in three weeks.

Damage in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine (Zaporizhzhia region military administration)
Damage in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine (Zaporizhzhia region military administration)

It said: “These events remain to be verified, but it is likely that Russia exhausted its previous stock of several hundred Shahed-131s and 136s and has now received a resupply.”

On Tuesday, Ukrainian general staff reported shooting down 17 uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), 14 of which were Shahed-136s. The next day, Kyiv officials said Iranian-made OWA UAVs targeted the Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro oblasts.

Read the full story here.

Russia puts multiple-launch-rocket systems at nuclear power plant

Friday 9 December 2022 12:23 , Jane Dalton

Ukrainian officials say Russia has installed “Grad” multiple-launch-rocket systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is Europe’s largest.

The statement raises fears that the plant could be used to further attack Ukrainian territory, and it also heightens radiation dangers.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear energy company, said several of the war machines had been positioned near one of the power plant’s six nuclear reactors, in a move it said violated “all conditions for nuclear and radiation safety”.

It said the systems are at new “protective structures” the Russians secretly built.

Although the risk of a nuclear meltdown is greatly reduced because all six reactors have been shut down, experts have said a dangerous release of radiation is still possible, the Associated Press reports.

Russian opposition politician jailed for eight years

Friday 9 December 2022 12:28 , Jane Dalton

A Russian opposition politician has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison on charges of spreading “fake information” about the army.

Ilya Yashin was tried and found guilty over a YouTube video in April in which he discussed evidence uncovered by Western journalists of Russian atrocities in Bucha, near Kyiv, and cast doubt on the official Moscow version that such reports had been fabricated as a “provocation” against Russia.

In a statement to the court, Mr Yashin appealed directly to Vladimir Putin, describing him as “the person responsible for this slaughter” and asking him to “stop this madness”.

“Looking at the consequences of this monstrous war, you yourself probably realise what a grave error you committed on February 24. Our army isn’t being greeted with flowers. They call us punishers and occupiers. The words ‘death’ and ‘destruction’ are now firmly associated with your name,” he said.

“You have brought terrible misfortune to the Ukrainian people, who will probably never forgive us.”

Since the start of the conflict, Russia has moved to quash almost all forms of dissent, with most of its prominent opposition figures either in jail or exile.

And the Kremlin passed new legislation this year allowing jail terms of up to 15 years for disseminating false information about the military.

Mr Yashin, 39, urged his supporters to stay cheerful.

“Please don’t fall into despair and don’t forget that this is our country,” he said in his final statement. “It is worth fighting for. Be bold, don’t give way to evil, and resist.”

Russia 'abducts top nuclear plant staff’

Friday 9 December 2022 13:37 , Jane Dalton

Ukraine’s atomic power agency has accused Russian forces of abducting two senior staff at its Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station and detaining a third.

Energoatom said the pair were beaten before being driven off in an “unknown direction” on Thursday.

It said the third worker, who was detained, was responsible for safety at the plant.

The Zaporizhzhia site in southeastern Ukraine was captured by Russian troops soon after their 24 February invasion of the country, but is still operated by Ukrainian staff.

Russia did not immediately comment on the allegations. Reuters was unable to verify them independently.

Kyiv has accused Russia of putting pressure on Ukrainian employees at the plant to sign contracts with Russia’s nuclear energy company.

“Through such actions, the occupiers are trying to gain loyalty from the courageous pro-Ukrainian staff... Nevertheless, the invaders fail to do so because the personnel resist,” it said in a statement.

Putin: Anyone who attacks us with nuclear weapons will be wiped out

Friday 9 December 2022 13:50 , Jane Dalton

Vladimir Putin has vowed that any country that dared attack Russia with nuclear weapons would be wiped from the face of the Earth.

The Russian president said his country had no mandate to launch a preventative first nuclear strike, unlike the United States, but that Russia’s advanced hypersonic weapons would ensure it could respond forcefully if it ever came under attack.

Russia may have to do deal in future, Putin says

Friday 9 December 2022 14:19 , Jane Dalton

Vladimir Putin has said Russia would probably have to reach agreements over Ukraine in the future, but felt betrayed by the breakdown of the Minsk agreements.

The Russian leader said Germany and France - which brokered ceasefire agreements in the Belarusian capital Minsk between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and 2015 - had betrayed Russia and were now pumping Ukraine with weapons.

In an interview published in Germany’s Zeit magazine on Wednesday, former German chancellor Angela Merkel said the Minsk agreements had been an attempt to “give Ukraine time” to build up its defences.

At a news conference in Kyrgyzstan, Mr Putin said he was disappointed by Ms Merkel’s comments.

Mr Putin also said it was wrong to question the imprisonment of opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who had been sentenced hours earlier to eight-and-a-half years in prison for disseminating “fake information” about Russia’s armed forces.

“Who is Yashin?” Putin asked at first, when a reporter asked him to comment on the court ruling, before saying it was wrong to doubt a court’s decision.

Reminder: Russia still set on ‘liberating’ annexed regions, says Kremlin

Friday 9 December 2022 14:48 , Jane Dalton

In case you missed it earlier: The Kremlin is showing no signs of backing down, saying its forces still plan to “liberate” parts of Ukraine that Moscow annexed and claims are its own:

Russia still set on ‘liberating’ annexed portions of Ukraine, says Kremlin

Germany boosts Kyiv’s air defence systems

Friday 9 December 2022 15:18 , Jane Dalton

Germany is to send two additional air defence systems to Ukraine of the type Skynex by Rheinmetall, the Handelsblatt daily reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources in Berlin.

The systems are to be delivered in early 2024, the report said.

And Bulgaria will send its first military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion after parliament on Friday approved a list of arms drawn up by the interim government.

It had been one of the few EU countries not to send aid after the Russia-friendly Socialist party, a coalition partner in the previous government, blocked a previous proposal in May.

The list of arms is classified, but government officials have said Sofia would mainly send light weaponry and ammunition.

Watch: Pope Francis cries for Ukraine war victims

Friday 9 December 2022 15:48 , Jane Dalton

Pope Francis cries for Ukraine war victims during address in Rome

This could snowball into Russia-Nato war, warns bloc chief

Friday 9 December 2022 16:18 , Jane Dalton

The head of Nato has expressed worry that the fighting in Ukraine could spin out of control and become a war between Russia and and the military alliance.

“If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong,” secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

“It is a terrible war in Ukraine. It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between Nato and Russia,” he said.

“We are working on that every day to avoid that.”Mr Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, said “there is no doubt that a full-fledged war is a possibility”, adding that it was important to avoid a conflict “that involves more countries in Europe and becomes a full-fledged war in Europe”.

The Kremlin has repeatedly accused Nato allies of effectively becoming a party to the conflict by providing Ukraine with weapons, training its troops and feeding military intelligence to attack Russian forces.

President Vladimir Putin has again accused the West of using Ukraine as a tool against his country.

“For many years, the West shamelessly exploited and pumped out its resources, encouraged genocide and terror in the Donbas and effectively turned the country into a colony,” he said.

“Now it’s cynically using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder, as a ram against Russia by continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, sending mercenaries and pushing it to a suicidal track.”

Putin expanding nuclear arsenal, says US defence secretary

Friday 9 December 2022 16:42 , Jane Dalton

Russia is expanding and modernising its nuclear arsenal, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin says, at a time when Vladimir Putin has repeatedly suggested he could use nuclear weapons.

“Russia is also modernising and expanding its nuclear arsenal,” Mr Austin said at a ceremony for the incoming commander of US Strategic Command, which oversees the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

“And as the Kremlin continues its cruel and unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine, the whole world has seen Putin engage in deeply irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling.”

Putin issues dire warning on any potential attack on Russia

Friday 9 December 2022 18:53 , Sam Rkaina

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow could adopt what he described as a U.S. concept of using preemptive military strikes, noting it has the weapons to do the job, in a blunt statement amid rising Russia-NATO tensions over Ukraine.

“We are just thinking about it. They weren’t shy to openly talk about it during the past years,” Putin said, referring to the U.S. policy, as he attended a summit in Kyrgyzstan of a Moscow-dominated economic alliance of ex-Soviet nations.

For years, the Kremlin has expressed concern about U.S. efforts to develop the so-called Conventional Prompt Global Strike capability that envisions hitting an adversary’s strategic targets with precision-guided conventional weapons anywhere in the world within one hour.

“Speaking about a disarming strike, maybe it’s worth thinking about adopting the ideas developed by our U.S. counterparts, their ideas of ensuring their security,” Putin said with a thin smile, noting that such a preemptive strike was intended to knock out command facilities.

He claimed that Russia already has commissioned hypersonic weapons capable of carrying out such a strike, while the U.S. hasn’t yet deployed them. He also claimed that Russia now has cruise missiles that surpass their U.S. equivalents.

While Putin appeared to refer to conventional precision-guided weapons when he talked about possibly mimicking the U.S. strategy, he specifically noted that the U.S. hasn’t ruled out the first use of nuclear weapons.

“If the potential adversary believes that it can use the theory of a preemptive strike and we don’t, it makes us think about the threats posed by such ideas in other countries’ defensive posture,” he said.

United States announces new military aid for Ukraine

Friday 9 December 2022 19:46 , Laura Parnaby

The United States has announced new military aid for Ukraine, after a British envoy said Russia had sought hundreds of ballistic missles from Iran in return for military support.

Tehran and Moscow have denied Western accusations that Russia is using Iranian drones to attack targets in Ukraine, which is projected to suffer a power deficit throughout the winter after repeated Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters Washington was very concerned about the “deepening and burgeoning defense partnership” between Iran and Russia, and would work to disrupt that relationship, including on drones.

Washington was sending a $275 million package of aid to Ukraine to strengthen air defences and defeat drones, he said.

Two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters in October that Iran had promised to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles as well as more drones.

Putin says more prisoner swaps with US ‘possible’

Friday 9 December 2022 20:30 , Laura Parnaby

Vladimir Putin has said more US-Russian prisoner exchanges are possible.

The Russian president was speaking a day after Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was swapped for basketball star and two-time US Olympian Brittney Griner.

Asked whether other prisoners could be swapped, Mr Putin replied that “everything is possible”, noting that “compromises” were found to clear Thursday’s exchange.

“We aren’t refusing to continue this work in the future,” he added.

Click here for the full story.

Banksy to raise funds for Ukraine by selling 50 prints

Friday 9 December 2022 21:00 , Laura Parnaby

Banksy had revealed they will be raising funds for a charity supporting the people of Ukraine through the sale of 50 prints.

The anonymous graffiti artist announced the project with the Legacy of War Foundation on Instagram, who will be using the £5,000 from each sale to purchase vehicles to evacuate citizens from the war-torn country and provide heating to communities facing a difficult winter.

Each print is signed and numbered and depicts a white mouse scratching out the word “fragile” which is branded across a piece of a cardboard box.

The charity noted that each print is “unique” as during the production process, Banksy attacks each one with a sharpened pizza cutter to create the scratching effect.

Ukrainian Nobel Prize winner says Putin must face tribunal

Friday 9 December 2022 21:30 , Laura Parnaby

A representative of one of the organisations sharing this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has said Russian President Vladimir Putin should face an international tribunal for the fighting in Ukraine.

Oleksandra Matviychuk of Ukraine’s Centre for Civil Liberties told a news conference in Oslo, Norway, that such a tribunal should be established to hold Mr Putin, as well as Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko “and other war criminals”, accountable.

In October, the Ukrainian group was named a co-winner of the 2022 peace price along with Russian human rights group Memorial and Ales Bialiatski, head of the Belarusian rights group Viasna.

Mr Bialiatski is in jail in Belarus and was unable to travel to receive the prize, which is due to be formally presented on Saturday.

Belarus will allow grains from Ukraine to pass through its territory for export from Lithuania - UN

Friday 9 December 2022 22:00 , Laura Parnaby

Belarus told the United Nations on Friday that it would accept, without preconditions, the transit of Ukrainian grains through its territory for export from Lithuanian ports, a U.N. spokesman said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Belarus Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Ambrazevich in New York on Friday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement after the meeting.

Ambrazevich also “reiterated the requests from his government to be able export its own fertilizer products, which are currently subject to sanctions,” Dujarric said.

Antonio Guterres (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Antonio Guterres (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

James Cleverly criticises “sordid deals” between Russia and Iran

Friday 9 December 2022 22:30 , Laura Parnaby

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly hit out at what he called “sordid deals” between Russia and Iran, which the UK sees as a threat to global security.

He said: “Iran is now one of Russia’s top military backers.

“Their sordid deals have seen the Iranian regime send hundreds of drones to Moscow, which have been used to attack Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and kill civilians.

“In return, Russia is offering military and technical support to the Iranian regime, which will increase the risk it poses to our partners in the Middle East and to international security.

“The UK will continue to expose this desperate alliance and hold both countries to account.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the phone about the latest Russian attacks

Friday 9 December 2022 23:00 , Laura Parnaby

Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the latest Russian attacks on the country’s infrastructure in a phone call on Friday.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The leaders discussed the fresh wave of Russian attacks on critical national infrastructure in Ukraine and President Zelensky thanked the UK for its crucial support to help restore power through the supply of generators.

“The Prime Minister paid tribute to the success of Ukraine’s Armed Forces in intercepting dozens of potentially devastating missiles this week and said the UK was thinking of the Ukrainian people as they continued to defend their country through the winter.

“Updating on the latest lethal aid deliveries from the UK, the Prime Minister said that more anti-air guns and further short-range air defence missiles would arrive in the coming weeks.

“Both leaders agreed on the importance of pre-empting Russia’s insincere calls for a ceasefire and the Prime Minister added that the Kremlin needed to withdraw its forces before any agreement could be considered.

“The leaders agreed to speak again in the coming weeks.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes could be allowed to compete in some 2024 Olympic Games qualifying events

Friday 9 December 2022 23:30 , Laura Parnaby

Russian and Belarusian athletes could soon be given the green light to compete in some 2024 Olympic Games qualifying events to be held in Asia.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board recommended in February that athletes from those two countries be barred from international sports competition following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been supported by Belarus.

IOC president Thomas Bach has always insisted that recommendation was a “protective measure” for Russian and Belarusian athletes in the face of what his organisation described on Friday as “unacceptable interference” by national governments in trying to block athletes from sports events within their territories from competing.

The reintegration of Russian athletes was the subject of “intense debate” at the Olympic Summit on Friday, the IOC said, and the Olympic Council of Asia gave its blessing to Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in events under its jurisdiction in the run-up to Paris.

00:26 , Sam Rkaina

We’re ending our live coverage of the Ukraine war for the day, but keep checking for the latest updates.