Even Vladimir Putin now admits that the war against Ukraine can be “a long process”. According to Zelenskyj, around 2,000 towns have now been freed from Russian occupation. 16 people died in an accident in eastern Ukraine. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found here in the ticker.

4:35 a.m .: According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian army has liberated around 2,000 Russian-occupied towns in the country. “We have already succeeded in liberating 1,888 towns from the occupiers,” said the head of state on Wednesday in his evening video speech. “Almost as many Ukrainian towns and villages are still occupied,” he added.

According to Zelenskyj, Russia attacked the city of Kurakhove near Donetsk in the east of the country on Wednesday. The “very brutal attack” killed ten people and injured “many more”. The Russian troops “targeted normal people,” said the Ukrainian president.

Fighting between the two sides is currently concentrated in the region. “It’s a tough confrontation, every meter counts,” said Zelenskyj.

Thursday, December 8, 2:27 a.m.: According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the danger of a nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war has decreased. “Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons. In response to the international community marking a red line,” Scholz told Funke Mediengruppe newspapers and French newspaper Ouest-France.

“During my visit to Beijing, Chinese President Xi and I jointly expressed that nuclear weapons should not be used. Shortly thereafter, the G20 countries reaffirmed this stance.” When asked whether the danger of a nuclear escalation has been averted, the SPD politician said: “For the moment we have taken a peg against it.”

Scholz called on Russia to end the war immediately and withdraw troops from Ukraine. “It is correct that the question then becomes how we can achieve security for Europe,” he said, referring to statements by French President Emmanuel Macron on possible security guarantees for Russia. “Of course we are ready to talk to Russia about arms control in Europe. We already offered that before the war and nothing has changed in this position.”

Scholz once again defended the extent of German support for Ukraine. “After the United States, Germany is one of the countries that supports Ukraine the most, including with weapons,” said the Chancellor. “By the way, no one has delivered Western-style main battle tanks,” added Scholz.

In order to save the peace order in Europe, Germany also accepts economic disadvantages and spends more money on its defense capabilities. “Because there is no guarantee that Russia will not attack other countries,” said Scholz. At the same time he emphasized: “We are doing everything to prevent a direct war between Russia and NATO. Such a conflict would only have losers – all over the world.”

11:32 p.m.: The son of a former top Russian official with ties to President Vladimir Putin has been acquitted in a drone case in Norway. This was reported by the NTB news agency on Wednesday evening. While the defender of the accused businessman Andrei Yakunin expressed his satisfaction with the verdict, the responsible public prosecutor announced an appeal to the radio station NRK and the newspaper “Verdens Gang”.

Yakunin, a 47-year-old British-Russian national, had denied the allegations before a court in Tromso, northern Norway. There he was accused of flying a drone illegally on a sailing trip in Spitsbergen in the summer, thereby violating sanctions for Russian citizens. He was arrested for this in mid-October.

Recently, drones have been repeatedly sighted over sensitive infrastructure in Norway, including oil platforms in the North Sea or airports. Several Russians were arrested in the course of this and some were sentenced to several months in prison – Yakunin’s acquittal could now have an impact on these sentences.

Yakunin’s father is Vladimir Yakunin, a former head of the Russian railways and one of the founders of the dacha cooperative “Osero”, of which Putin was also a member. All of the founding members went on to have careers either as businessmen or high-ranking officials after Putin’s election as president. Yakunin himself was sorted out from Putin’s closest circle a few years ago.

11:14 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has reported ongoing heavy fighting in the east of his country. Ten people were killed in the recent Russian attacks on the city of Kurakhove in the Donetsk region, said Zelenskyj in his video speech on Thursday night. Regarding the situation around the small town of Bakhmut, which the Russians have been trying to take for months, he said: “There is a very tough confrontation there. Every meter counts.” He also thanked all Ukrainian soldiers who opposed the attackers.

Russia invaded Ukraine more than nine months ago on February 24th. Since then, according to Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian army has liberated almost 1,900 towns. Just as many places are still occupied, he explained.

4:47 p.m .: Roughly nine and a half months after the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not rule out a long war against the neighboring country. “Of course, it can be a long process,” Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting with representatives of a human rights council he had appointed himself.

Independent Russian media, citing circles close to the Kremlin, reported that the members of the Human Rights Council had to pledge before the meeting not to raise certain issues with Putin, such as the army’s poor equipment. The members of the committee are hand-picked by Putin, and he recently had critical representatives replaced.

2:35 p.m .: The war in Ukraine reminds Pope Francis of the crimes of the Holocaust. At the general audience on Wednesday in the Vatican, the pontiff greeted pilgrims from Poland and mentioned an initiative by the Catholic University of Lublin for “Operation Reinhardt”. This was the National Socialists’ code name for the systematic murder of Jews and Roma in Poland during World War II – almost two million people were killed by the Nazis.

“May the memory of this terrible event inspire us all to resolve and act for peace,” Francis said, before adding, “And history repeats itself, it repeats itself. Now let’s see what’s happening in Ukraine.” Russia has been waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine since the end of February.

09:22: Fatal accident in the Russian-controlled part of the Donetsk region. A military truck crashed into a minibus carrying civilians on a road between Shakhtyorsk and Torez. According to the first media reports, 16 people died. Three others were injured and taken to a hospital.

A video shows how the truck is at an angle on the road. The front is dented and is apparently hanging in the completely destroyed minibus.

9:06 a.m .: According to British secret services, Russia is increasingly building defensive positions on the border with Ukraine. Sophisticated systems to defend against attacks have been set up in the border region of Belgorod, according to a report by the Ministry of Defense in London on Wednesday. Trenches were also dug there. London interpreted this as concerns about a Ukrainian invasion. It is also conceivable that the Kremlin wants to strengthen patriotism in its own country.

Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, the British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a disinformation campaign.

5:38 a.m .: The United States has apparently manipulated the Himars rocket launchers delivered to Ukraine in such a way that they cannot be used to attack Russian territory. The Wall Street Journal claims to have learned this from a US official.

The rocket launchers had been modified in such a way that they could only launch rockets supplied by the US. The missiles delivered in this way would have a shorter range than those that are also Himars-compatible – which would have allowed Ukraine to attack targets on Russian soil.

5:17 a.m .: Two weeks ago, Defense Minister Lambrecht proposed moving the Patriots to Poland. Her Polish colleague Blaszczak initially accepted the offer. A day later, however, he surprisingly suggested that German anti-aircraft defenses should be stationed on Ukrainian territory instead of in Poland. This caused resentment in Berlin.

“After a discussion with the German Defense Ministry, I was disappointed with the decision to refuse support for Ukraine. Deploying Patriots in western Ukraine would increase the security of Poles and Ukrainians,” Blaszczak wrote on Twitter. They are therefore working on stationing the Patriots in Poland.

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