Moldova’s secret service fears that Russia could also attack the neighboring country after Ukraine in 2023. London reports that Putin is now sending circus people to Ukraine to boost troops’ morale. All reports on the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.

7:27 p.m .: Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has judged his talks with the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko as “very fruitful”. His host in Minsk, on the other hand, spoke of “constructive and productive” talks, as the Russian state agency TASS reported on Monday after the talks in Minsk concluded. Among other things, the two heads of state had agreed to continue military cooperation, as well as even closer economic cooperation. There were price agreements in the energy sector, which Putin did not want to explain in more detail.

Specifically, the two long-term presidents agreed in the military field to stick to joint maneuvers of their armed forces. In addition, Russia will train Belarusian aircraft crews for possible missions with nuclear weapons, said Putin.

7 p.m.: The secret service of the Republic of Moldova, which borders Ukraine, fears a Russian invasion in the coming year. “The question is not whether the Russian Federation will launch a new offensive against the territory of Moldova, but when,” intelligence chief Alexandru Musteata said on state television on Monday. A period between January and April is possible. With the “new” offensive, Musteata was referring to the stationing of Russian soldiers in Transnistria, which has been a breakaway since the early 1990s, and who act there as so-called peacekeeping troops.

According to information from his secret service, Russia intends to connect Transnistria and Moldova. “Yes, we can clearly say that they intend to come here,” he said. The Russian plans in relation to the capital Chisinau are not yet apparent. “But that’s a real and very high risk.”

6:16 p.m .: Russia sends musicians and artists to the front in Ukraine to boost the morale of the troops. This was announced by the Russian Defense Ministry. So far, two “creative brigades” have been formed. These groups are made up of mobilized recruits and volunteers who have artistic experience and talent.

The artists gave their first concert in Russian-occupied Mariupol on November 19 with “microphones instead of guns”. Since then, they’ve been touring along the front lines, giving concerts and “collecting army folklore,” according to the ministry. At the concerts, the brigade sings patriotic songs, some of them from the World War II era.

4:48 p.m .: It is Putin’s first visit to Belarus in three years: Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko received Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin at Minsk airport on a red carpet with bread and salt. This is shown by images from the pro-government Belarusian Telegram channel Pool Pervogo on Monday. The two former Soviet republics are close allies, with Lukashenko’s government totally dependent on Moscow politically, economically and militarily after sanctions imposed by the West.

At the meeting of the two heads of state, Putin said that the economy is a priority in the relations between the two countries. The Kremlin chief also pointed out that bilateral trade had risen to $40 billion. Lukashenko, in turn, said Minsk and Moscow remain open to dialogue with other European states. “I hope that they will soon hear reason there and we will move on to a constructive discussion on the issues of common security and the future world order,” he said.

1:44 p.m .: According to British secret services, the Russian mercenary group Wagner uses recruits as cannon fodder in Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense in London said on Monday that some recruited soldiers were given a smartphone or tablet that used satellite images to show them their intended attack route and their target. For this advance they received fire cover, but rarely armored vehicles.

“Wagner members who deviate from their attack routes without permission are likely to face summary execution.” The commanders would be informed from protected positions via drone images. “These brutal tactics aim to preserve Wagner’s scarce reserves of experienced commanders and armored vehicles at the expense of more readily available convict recruits, which the organization deems expendable,” the British ministry said. Wagner also recruits new fighters in prisons. The mercenary group continues to play a central role in the fighting for the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, it said.

11:19 a.m .: The Ukrainian leadership assumes that the Russian stocks of missiles are only sufficient for a few massive attacks. “If you count large-scale attacks, they have two or three at most, maybe they can scrape together [missiles for] four,” National Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview published by the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda on Monday. But then Russia would have no more reserves.

Almost a month ago, Danilov assumed Russian capacities for a maximum of three to four massive rocket attacks on Ukraine. Since then, Moscow has already carried out three large-scale attacks, each with at least 70 missiles. According to Ukrainian estimates, Moscow can produce around 70 rockets and cruise missiles a month, despite Western sanctions.

5:39 a.m .: According to the military administration of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv was attacked by Russia with drones on Monday night. “The enemy is attacking the capital,” the military administration said on Telegram. Nine enemy unmanned aerial vehicles have been shot down in Kyiv airspace. She called on the population to pay attention to air alerts.

At 1:56 a.m., the capital’s civil administration issued an initial air alert, which lasted a little over three hours. A second alarm at 5:24 a.m. was canceled after half an hour. According to the Ukrainian military administration, the Russian armed forces used Iranian-made Shahed drones.

5:20 a.m .: The Ukrainian military leadership fears new Russian rocket attacks at the turn of the year. As army spokesman Yuri Ignat explained on Sunday, it cannot be ruled out that the enemy will “congratulate” in this way at the end of the year. “They have a clear plan in which they have laid down priority goals.” The aim is to damage Ukraine as much as possible.

“And depending on where it hurts us the most, that’s where they’ll aim, as mean, as bold and as painful as possible,” Ignat was quoted as saying by the Unian state agency. In addition, the date of the next attacks will be set “to please the dictator (Vladimir Putin)”. But the attacks at the turn of the year were also intended to appeal to the “internal audience”, i.e. the Russian population.

The Russian military has been using a new tactic for several weeks now and is targeting Ukraine’s energy supply network with rockets and cruise missiles. As a result, the supply of electricity, water and district heating repeatedly collapsed in Ukraine. This is primarily intended to put pressure on the civilian population this winter. Most recently, on Friday, Russia launched a major attack with over 70 projectiles, which caused severe damage in Kyiv, among other things.

5:15 a.m .: The war in Ukraine triggered an unprecedented amount of donations for a single crisis at the Catholic aid organization Caritas International. So far, around 71 million euros have been collected for emergency aid in the country, the aid organization of the German Caritas Association in Freiburg reported to the German Press Agency. That’s more than was donated to help after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia.

Russia has been waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine since the end of February. Among other things, Caritas takes care of the distribution of food and drinking water.

“Of course, our donors are also feeling the effects of the economic crisis and the consequences of the war in Ukraine,” said the head of Caritas International, Oliver Müller. However, donors in Germany are aware that millions of people around the world are more severely affected by crises. “Our donors show great solidarity because they know how badly necessary it is in these times.” The aid organization expects more donations in the year that is coming to an end.

Last year private donors, monasteries and media foundations collected almost 90 million euros. Including government and church grants, Caritas International even took in around 147 million euros.

The organization is concerned about the multitude of conflicts and disasters worldwide. Since the purchasing power of the euro against the US dollar has decreased, fewer aid supplies could be bought in some regions, spokesman Achim Reinke said.

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