Friday, 02 December 2022 04:56

What to know after Day 282 of Russia-Ukraine war

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RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Peace talks ‘lies’ People are lying when they claim that Russia is offering to negotiate with Ukraine in bad faith and is only interested in buying time for its military to regroup, the foreign minister stated.
“We never asked for any negotiations. But we always stated that if somebody has an interest in a negotiated settlement, we are ready to listen,” he said, pointing to talks in Istanbul in late March as an example.
He accused the US of pushing Kiev towards continued military confrontation and derailing the peace process. Washington is seeking to weaken Russia and profit from arms sales, he claimed.

Strike targets in Ukraine and US, NATO role in the conflict Western nations should not claim that they’re not participants in the Ukraine war, considering everything they’ve done for Kiev, Lavrov said, as he explained the Russian military’s choice of strike targets in the country. 
“We are taking out infrastructure objects, which allow you to pump lethal weapons into Ukraine so that they can kill Russians. So don’t say that the US and NATO are not part of this war. You are participating in it directly,” he insisted.
In addition to sending arms, NATO members are training Ukrainian troops both on their soil and on the ground, the minister added. There is
 “a large number of mercenaries” involved, open intelligence sharing while “an overwhelming number of targets” attacked by Kiev “are picked by Western masters of this [sic] regime,” he stated.

** Western European states are creating a dangerous situation by trying to exclude Russian and Belarus from the continent’s security order, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned on Thursday.

The veteran diplomat accused EU leaders of allowing the US to dictate policy, and surrendering their own interests to Washington.

The West “is already trying to build a security architecture [in Europe] without Russia and Belarus. We don’t need such security,” Lavrov said during a video conference.

“The whole security [architecture] in Europe now comes down to it being completely subservient to the US,” he claimed.

There were discussions in France and Germany about the creation of the EU’s own military force a couple of years ago, Lavrov noted.

But those ideas have now been set aside, with both Paris and Berlin saying they would stick with the US-led NATO bloc, he said.

Instead of working towards collective security in Europe, the West is “digging dividing lines,” Lavrov said. “When the EU and NATO understands the futility of their current line and the great risks that it involves, we [Russia] will look at what they’ll be ready to offer us when they come asking to discuss some other possibilities.”

Moscow and Minsk, which already have a joint military grouping on the territory of Belarus, will continue to boost their security cooperation, the Russian foreign minister said.

Both countries realize the importance of such work, “considering the continued provocations, including those by Ukraine,” he added. “All the necessary measures aimed at maintaining readiness to deal with any possible developments have been implemented,” Lavrov said.

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Russian shelling cut off power in much of the recently liberated Ukrainian city of Kherson on Thursday, just days after it was restored amid Moscow’s ongoing drive to destroy key civilian infrastructure as freezing weather sets in.

In Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned the capital’s millions of residents that they should stock up on water and preserved food to see them through a winter that could prove miserable if more energy infrastructure is damaged.

He also urged people to consider leaving the city to stay with friends or family elsewhere, if possible.

“Trying months lie ahead. The enemy still possesses substantial resources,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said. He added, however, that “signs are accumulating that (Russia) needs a pause at all costs.”

Ukraine has faced a blistering onslaught of Russian artillery fire and drone attacks since early October. The shelling has been especially intense in Kherson since Russian forces withdrew and Ukraine’s army reclaimed the southern city almost three weeks ago.

Ukraine’s presidential office said Thursday that at least two civilians were killed and six others wounded nationwide by the latest Russian shelling. In Kherson, a 70-year-old woman was killed in her apartment and a 64-year-old man was wounded on the street. A 15-year-old boy died when a hospital in the northeastern Sumy region town of Bilopillia was hit, the presidential office said.

Local authorities said about two-thirds of Kherson had electricity as of Thursday night. Some residents congregated at the train station or at government-supported tents that provided heating, food, drinks and electricity to charge cellphones.

Walking gingerly toward an evacuation train, 79-year-old Liudmyla Biloshysta said she decided to leave and join her children in Kyiv because she feared conditions in Kherson would worsen.

“The strike was so massive our house even began to shake,” Biloshysta said of the latest barrage. “These bombardments make me so scared.”

Alluding to her birth during World War II, she said “I was a child of war and now I’m a granny in wartime.”

In the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, Russian forces fired “from evening till morning” at Ukrainian-held towns facing the Russian occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant across the Dnieper River, the regional governor said Thursday.

“Eight shelling attacks per night. The Russians from evening till morning struck the Nikopol area with (multiple rocket launchers) and heavy artillery. Two districts -- Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka -- came under enemy fire,” governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.

Elsewhere in eastern Ukraine, Russian forces continued their attempts to encircle the Donetsk region city of Bakhmut, focusing on several villages around it and trying to cut a key highway.

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said Russia released 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war and Ukraine turned over the same number Thursday as the fighting continued.

In Berlin, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg praised the “heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people” against Russia’s attacks, saying that with the help of allies “Ukraine has made significant gains” on the battlefield.

“But we should not underestimate Russia,” Stoltenberg warned in a speech at the Berlin Security Conference. “Russian missiles and drones continue to rain down on Ukrainian cities, civilians and critical infrastructure, causing enormous human suffering as winter sets in.”

The NATO chief said Russian President Vladimir Putin had made “two big strategic mistakes” when he invaded Ukraine in February: underestimating Ukraine and underestimating the support NATO and its allies were willing to provide so the country could defend itself.

In a related development, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday strongly condemned a European Union proposal, issued the previous day, to set up a U.N.-backed court to investigate possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

“As for attempts to establish some kind of tribunals, they will not have any legitimacy and will not be accepted by us. They will be condemned by us,” Peskov said during a media briefing.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message Wednesday that the EU would work with international partners to get “the broadest international support possible” for the proposed war crimes court while continuing to support the International Criminal Court.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine are among the ICC’s 123 member states.

 

RT/AP