According to the British secret service, the Russian armed forces want to encircle Bakhmut. Selenskyj welcomes the German genocide classification. Putin makes a serious accusation against Scholz. All current developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.

4:35 p.m .: The Chechen opposition activist and blogger Tumso Abdurachmanov is said to have been shot in Sweden. The explosive: The Putin supporter and Chechnya leader Kadyrov is said to have ordered the contract killing on European soil. This is reported by British Russia observer Alex Kokcharov and an independent Chechen news channel on Telegram. According to the Chechen news site “1adat”, Abdurakhmanov was shot dead by a group of people.

The 36-year-old Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurachmanow was shot dead on Saturday night. Abdurakhmanov has repeatedly criticized the Kadyrov regime on YouTube, among other things. In 2015, the Kadyrov critics fled to Sweden and found political asylum there. He survived an attempted assassination in 2020. Two Russian citizens from Chechnya who tried to kill him were sentenced to long prison terms in 2021.

4:20 p.m .: In a new wave of Russian missile attacks, Ukraine shot down most of the missiles on Monday, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Accordingly, the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense managed to get more than 30 Russian missiles out of the sky. According to the authorities, at least two infrastructure objects were hit in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa. As a result of power outages, water supply and district heating failed in the port city. The air alert lasted almost three hours throughout Ukraine.

Selenskyj reported in a video that the repair of the damage had already started. At the same time, the President assured: “Our people never give up.” Russia has been waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine since the end of February. Following military setbacks, Moscow has fired rockets at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure eight times since October. Large parts of the country only have electricity by the hour.

11:34 a.m .: At least three people were killed and several injured in explosions at two military airfields in the European part of Russia. “An unidentified drone attacked an airfield in the Saratov region,” Baza said on Monday. Two people had to be taken to the hospital. Around the same time, according to local media reports, a petrol truck detonated on the tarmac in the Ryazan region south of Moscow, killing three people and injuring five.

There was initially no information about the cause of the explosion in Ryazan. An airplane is said to have been damaged there. According to the report, two machines were also damaged at the “Engels-2” airport near Saratov.

The aircraft in Saratov are said to be Tu-95 strategic bombers. As the Ukrainian military reports, 14 more Tu-95 bombers subsequently took off from the airfield. It was initially not clear whether the Russians would use it to counterattack or bring the planes to safety.

The bombers are used in Russian missile attacks on Ukraine. In the past few weeks, the Ukrainian energy infrastructure has been massively damaged by such attacks.

In the past, Kyiv has admitted attacks on several air bases on Russia’s annexed Crimea peninsula. It was initially unclear who was behind the recent explosions.

5:08 a.m .: With a view to the winter that has already set in, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenkyj has appealed to the stamina and resilience of the population. “The enemy very much hopes to use winter against us: to make the winter cold and hardship part of their terror,” he said in his daily video address on Sunday evening. “We must do everything to survive this winter, no matter how tough it is.” To endure this winter means to endure everything.

Russia does have an advantage with missiles and artillery. “But we have something that the occupier doesn’t have and won’t have. We protect our home and that gives us the greatest possible motivation,” Zelenskyj emphasized. The Ukrainian people fight for freedom and defend the truth. “To get through the winter, we need to be more resilient and united than ever,” Zelenskyy said.

1:10 a.m .: The Ukrainian Attorney General Andriy Kostin has denounced a “dramatic increase” in sexual violence by Russian soldiers. As a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, all genders and age groups are affected, children as well as the elderly, Kostin told the Funke media group and the French newspaper Ouest-France. Russian soldiers used sexual violence in a targeted manner – as a “war method to humiliate Ukrainians,” he claimed.

Kostin told the newspapers that four months ago only 40 cases of sexual violence were registered, but now there are more than 110 cases. “Strongly increasing trend.” There is also a high number of unreported cases. “In many cases, people are raped, tortured and then killed by Russian soldiers. Rapes often take place in front of relatives and children,” said Kostin. Occupied areas are particularly affected. According to Kostin, Russian commanders often ordered or at least supported rapes. The information provided by the Attorney General could not initially be independently verified.

The Germany director of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, Wenzel Michalski, also spoke of a system of violence. “Atrocities against civilians are part of the Russian soldiers’ war tactics in Ukraine,” Michalski told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “The violence of the soldiers, including rapes, is not punished by the top Russian politicians and the military. On the contrary: forces that act particularly brutally are still awarded,” he said. The violence is at least accepted by the leadership with approval.

According to Kostin, nearly 8,500 civilians, including 440 children, have been killed in Ukraine since the war began a good nine months ago. More than 11,000 civilians were injured. The Attorney General’s office has so far taken 50,197 cases of war crimes, he told the newspapers.

Monday, December 5, 12:15 a.m.: The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) expects an increase in displacement within Ukraine due to the ongoing Russian war of aggression rather than a large flight movement in the direction of the EU states. “The most likely scenario is further displacement within Ukraine,” said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi in an interview with “Spiegel” published on Sunday. “I hope there won’t be another big movement of refugees.” At the same time he qualified: “But war is unpredictable.”

He worries that those who are still able to flee abroad will most likely need more support. “Those who have stayed in Ukraine so far either had fewer contacts in Europe or were less mobile,” Grandi told Der Spiegel. He was confident that the EU states could also take in additional refugees from Ukraine if necessary. “Europe can withstand the challenge for a while longer,” he said. Looking ahead to the winter, Grandi said: “Unlike spring, this time more publicly operated accommodation will be needed, and funds will be needed for that.” Therefore, countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, which would have to bear a particularly heavy burden, should be given financial support, he demanded.

In view of the winter weather and ongoing Russian attacks on the country’s civilian infrastructure – especially on electricity and heat supply facilities – there have been repeated fears that many more Ukrainians could now flee to the EU. To this end, the German ambassador in London, Miguel Berger, made a statement on Sunday. “We are very concerned about this because these attacks on energy infrastructure mean many people could be forced to leave Ukraine in the freezing temperatures.” The diplomat further told the British TV broadcaster Sky News: “We expect a further wave of refugees in the coming weeks.”

According to the UNHCR, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February has led to the largest displacement of people in decades. It was only at the beginning of November that Grandi said in New York that around 14 million people had been driven from their homes since the beginning of the war. According to the UNHCR, almost eight million have sought protection abroad, one million of them in Germany.

UNHCR chief Grandi expressly praised “the current European policy of sustainable hospitality” towards the Ukrainian refugees. They have direct access to the social systems and are allowed to work. “For years, such approaches were considered bad or unworkable. But in reality they have reduced the pressure on governments and societies because they have created a certain self-regulatory mechanism,” said Grandi.

10:04 p.m .: In the Battle of Bakhmut, Russia loses between 50 and 100 soldiers every day. The spokesman for the Ukrainian military command East, Serhiy Cherevaty, said on Sunday. Just as many would be injured every day, Cherevaty said. According to British military experts, the Russian invading troops in Ukraine have engaged in a disproportionately costly battle for the town of Bakhmut. The benefit of capturing the city in the Donetsk region of about 70,000 people is out of proportion to the price Moscow is paying for it, the Defense Ministry’s daily intelligence update on the Ukraine war said in London on Saturday.

7:26 p.m .: According to US intelligence services, Russian President Vladimir Putin was “surprised” by the disappointing performance of his military in Ukraine. US intelligence coordinator Avril Haines said at a military forum in Simi Valley, California on Saturday. It is unclear to what extent Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is aware of the difficulties. “I think he’s becoming increasingly informed about the challenges facing the military in Russia. But we’re still not sure he fully understands how big they are,” Haines said. Putin has not changed his political goal of controlling Ukraine, but was surprised by the lack of success of the offensive. The US intelligence experts believe it is possible that Putin could at least temporarily scale back his military ambitions “with the idea that he’ll come back to it later.”

3:15 p.m .: The US intelligence services expect the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine to slow down further over the course of the winter. A reduced pace of fighting can already be observed and both parties to the conflict are trying to reposition themselves for further fighting in the spring, US intelligence coordinator Avril Haines said on Saturday at a military forum in Simi Valley (California). However, there is a “certain degree of skepticism” in intelligence circles as to whether the Russian armed forces are even prepared for new fighting in March. In this respect, the view of the Ukrainians is more optimistic, according to Haines.

Russia is currently using more ammunition than it can produce. The “truly extraordinary” rate at which Russian forces are depleting their ammunition is prompting Moscow to turn to countries such as North Korea for help, Haines said in a conversation with NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell at the Reagan National Defense Forum. In addition to the procurement of supplies, Haines also saw challenges on a logistical or moral level for Russia in the offensive that has been going on for more than nine months.

12:20 p.m .: According to US intelligence estimates, Russia is currently using more ammunition than it can replace. The director of the national news service, Avril Haines, revealed this to “NBC News”. She couldn’t provide exact figures on how quickly Russia uses up the ammunition, but says that it is “extraordinarily fast”. This creates a challenge between the relationship between production and consumption.

In early November, the Pentagon said Russia was firing 20,000 artillery shells a day, although the Russian army was suffering some severe setbacks on the front lines.

10:33 a.m .: According to the US space agency Nasa, Russia has probably harvested wheat worth around one billion dollars (around 950 million euros) from Ukrainian fields this year. Around 5.8 million tons of wheat have been harvested from fields in Ukraine that are not under the country’s control, said Nasa Harvest, the US space agency’s food security and agriculture program. For the survey, Nasa Harvest uses satellite data and modeling together with several partner institutions.

The scientists involved in the research project estimate that a total of around 26.6 million tons were harvested in Ukraine this year, which is significantly more than previously predicted. Although that is less than the record harvest of 33 million tons in the previous year, it is close to the average. However, because of the war, Ukraine had no access to 22 percent of the wheat in the eastern part of the country. A total of around 88 percent of the seed was harvested, which apparently was not the case in many fields on the front lines.

Sunday, December 4, 10:07 a.m. According to British experts, the Kremlin will find it increasingly difficult to justify the war in Ukraine to its own people. This emerges from the daily intelligence update from the Ministry of Defense in London on the Ukraine war on Sunday. “Given that Russia is unlikely to achieve any significant battlefield successes in the coming months, it is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin to garner even the tacit approval of the populace,” the statement said.

According to the British, leaked data from Russian authorities shows that only a quarter of the Russian population now supports the aggressive war in Ukraine. At the beginning of the war it was still 80 percent. However, the partial mobilization in September made the war felt for many people.

11 p.m .: French President Emmanuel Macron thinks that the West should also address Russia’s security needs in peace negotiations to end the Ukraine war. Europe must prepare a new security architecture, Macron said in an interview. The conversation, which was broadcast on Saturday, was recorded by TF1 during Macron’s US trip in recent days.

“One of the key issues that we need to address, as President Putin has always said, is the fear of NATO closing in on Russia’s doors and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia,” Macron said. “This issue will be part of the issues for peace. That is why we need to work out what we are prepared to do, how to protect our partners and member states, and how to give guarantees to Russia once it returns to the negotiating table.”

9:53 p.m .: In order to circumvent western sanctions, Russia is said to have bought 100 old oil tankers and built up a “shadow fleet” over the course of the year. This is reported by the “Financial Times”, citing data from the ship broker Braemar and the energy consultancy Rystad. After the start of the oil price cap, oil is to be delivered to China and India, among others. The purchased tankers are between 12 and 15 years old and would have been scrapped in the next few years, it is said. According to the report, some come from related countries such as Iran or Venezuela, which are also being sanctioned by the West.

After much back and forth, the EU and G7 countries as well as Australia decided on an oil price cap of 60 US dollars (57 euros) per barrel on Friday. The goal is to squash Russian oil revenues, making it more difficult to finance the war against Ukraine. On the other hand, Russia should certainly continue to market oil. Otherwise the valuable resource would become even scarcer on the world market and prices would also rise in the West.

9.40 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has criticized the price cap of the G7 countries, the EU and Australia for Russian oil. “It is not a serious decision to set such an upper limit for Russian prices,” as it is “comfortable” for Moscow, Zelenskyj said on Saturday. The market price for Russian Urals oil is currently around 65 dollars per barrel (almost 62 euros), the price cap provides for an upper limit of 60 dollars.

“Russia has already inflicted enormous losses on all countries of the world by deliberately destabilizing the energy market,” Zelenskyy said in his evening video address. The decision for a price cap is therefore “a weak position”. It was “only a matter of time before heavier instruments had to be used anyway,” added Selenskyj. “It’s a shame that time is wasted.”

A price cap of $60 per barrel of oil would still enable Russia to generate around $100 billion a year, Zelensky said. “This money will also be used to further destabilize the very countries that are now trying to avoid far-reaching decisions.”

5:22 p.m .: Russia is said to have spent at least 82 billion US dollars on the war in Ukraine. As recently as last year, Russian President Putin acknowledged that poverty was the country’s most pressing problem. But because the “special military operation” now has the highest priority, his compatriots complain that he is increasingly ignoring problems in the country. Particularly urgent: the rising heating costs, a lack of water and power lines and numerous deaths in regions where it is currently down to -27 degrees Celsius. This is reported by the US medium “The Daily Beast”. A Russian blogger from Siberia tells the portal: People live there on tiny salaries, unable to afford food due to high food prices and the bad economic situation, while the government is spending billions on the war.

Many young men were also mobilized from these regions of all places. “They take away young men – the only breadwinners – and send them back in coffins. The boys freeze to death at the front, get sick, die while their families live in poverty,” an activist from the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee told the news portal seems that the authorities are no longer interested in human life at this point,” she says.

The hot water pipe recently burst in the center of Abakan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Khakassia in Siberia. For at least 70,000 people on site, no hot water means no heating at -8 degrees Celsius. That Russian winters can be deadly is nothing new. According to a study by Moscow Medical University, 5,557 people froze to death in Russia last year. The annual mortality rate in Russia was increasing even before the war, rising 15 percent in 2021 while the population shrank by nearly 700,000 people. This year, according to official statistics, the death toll will be even higher.

3:58 p.m .: The Kremlin will not accept the price cap of the G7 countries, the European Union and Australia for Russian oil. “We will not accept this price cap,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday, according to Russian news agencies. He added that Moscow had prepared in advance for such a cap, but gave no further details.

The EU, the G7 and Australia had agreed the day before on a cap of 60 dollars (57 euros) per barrel for Russian oil transported by ship. The price cap could limit Moscow’s ability to fund its offensive in Ukraine.

3:15 p.m.: The commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, Lieutenant General Serhiy Nayev, warns that Russian-Belarusian troops are gathering in Belarus. “So far, the situation in the northern operation zone is under control. But Russian-Belarusian troops continue to accumulate on Belarusian territory,” Nayev said in a video shared by the Joint Forces Command on Facebook.

Monitor the situation and prepare the armed forces for an appropriate response. However, there is currently no threat from Belarus. In the event that the military threat increases, support with additional forces and resources is planned, said Najew.

12.45 p.m .: The Russian army is currently planning to encircle the embattled city of Bakhmut. This is reported by the British secret service on Twitter. Accordingly, the armed forces want to encircle the city in the north and south with trenches to make defense more difficult.

According to British military experts, the Russian invading troops in Ukraine have engaged in a disproportionately costly battle for the town of Bakhmut. The advantage of capturing the city in the Donetsk region with about 70,000 inhabitants is not in proportion to the price Moscow is paying for it, according to the Defense Ministry’s daily intelligence update on the Ukraine war in London on Saturday.

Much of Russia’s effort and firepower has been focused on a roughly 15-kilometer sector of a trench-fortified front since August, the statement said. The plan is probably to encircle the city. There has been little progress in the south.

Although taking Bakhmut would give Russia an opportunity to threaten larger urban centers like the cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, it would only be of “limited operational value,” the British added. It is therefore a realistic possibility that the capture of the city has become primarily a symbolic, political goal for the Kremlin.

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