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 voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.

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 population in Russia 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.

Sunday, December 4, 2:33 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.

11 p.m .: French President Emmanuel Macron thinks that the West is also addressing 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 at 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” because 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.”

Zelenskyy criticized that a price cap of $60 per barrel of oil would still enable Russia to generate around $100 billion a year. “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 trenched 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 major urban centers such as 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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