(Bloomberg) — President Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman said any Patriot air-defense missile batteries on Ukrainian soil would be a target for Russia’s military as the US weighs delivery of the system to Kyiv.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded “absolutely” when asked if such weapons would be targeted, declining to comment further. The delivery of Patriot systems to bolster Ukraine’s defenses against Russian missile attacks on its cities and critical infrastructure is pending final approval by President Joe Biden.
Russia launched a drone strike on Kyiv early Wednesday, the first such attack in weeks, hitting some four residential buildings and an administrative complex, the city’s military administration said. Air-defense forces shot down 13 drones. The assault comes as the country continues to suffer from significant power shortages from previous attacks, the nation grid operator said.
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On the Ground
Russian shells damaged the building of the Kherson regional state administration in the southern city center on Wednesday morning, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Telegram. Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 14 settlements in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions in the country’s east over the past day, the country’s General Staff said on Facebook.
(All times CET)
Rain and Blackouts Strand Third of Ukraine’s Corn Crop in Fields (12:12 p.m.)
A third of Ukraine’s corn crop remains unharvested in fields as winter sets in, adding further strain on its vital farming sector.
Growers have been hit by a series of hurdles: Record autumn rainfall muddied fields. The war has depressed how much farmers can fetch for their goods. And strikes on the country’s infrastructure limited electricity needed to dry soggy grain.
Zelenskiy Aide Reports New Prisoner Swap, US Citizen Released (11:50 a.m.)
Another 64 Ukrainian prisoners of war returned home after a swap with Russia, Andriy Yermak, a top presidential aide, said on Telegram. A US citizen who “helped our people” was also released, Yermak wrote. He didn’t comment on the number of Russian POWs released.
Ukraine Still Doesn’t Have Enough Electricity, Ukrenergo Says (10:39 a.m.)
While today’s Russian drone attack failed to inflict any damage on Ukraine’s energy system, there remains a significant power shortage caused by earlier missile strikes, according to the national grid operator.
The most problematic situation is in the country’s east, where constant Russian shelling has damaged the grid and slows repairs, NPC Ukrenergo said on Telegram.
Sweden Sets Europe’s Security as Top Task for Its EU Presidency (10:09 a.m.)
Sweden laid out its priorities for its six-month presidency of the European Union with continued economic and military support for Ukraine, as well as support for the country’s path toward the bloc, at the top of its list.
The Nordic nation said it will also work to build consensus toward “a robust European security and defense policy.”
Oil May Rally as Russian Exports Sink, IEA Says (10:00 a.m.)
Crude prices may rally next year as Russia’s output is poised to plunge 14% by the end of the first quarter and demand beats earlier expectations, according to the International Energy Agency.
The full impact of embargoes on Russian oil and product supplies “remains to be seen,” the Paris-based agency said in a report.
Latvia Calls for Tribunal to Deal With Russia’s War (9:15 a.m.)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine needs to be judged by a special tribunal, even in absentia, to safeguard the global system and seize assets needed for the reconstruction of Ukraine, Latvian President Egils Levits said in a Bloomberg TV interview.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been pushing for an international tribunal to be established to bring Russian political and military leaders to justice. Such a body would resolve legal loopholes as other courts don’t have jurisdiction.
Kyiv Officials Say 13 Drones Shot Down (8:29 a.m.)
Air-defense forces shot down 13 drones in two waves of attacks, Kyiv’s military administration said. One administrative and four residential buildings suffered insignificant damage, it said on Telegram.
Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the president’s office, had earlier said on Telegram that two administrative buildings had been affected in the first strike on the capital in weeks.
UK to Train Ukrainian Judges for War Crimes Trials, Sky Says (7:45 a.m.)
Attorney General Victoria Prentis told Sky News that 90 Ukrainian judges would receive intensive training to help them run courts to try war crimes. The first group attended sessions at a secret location last week, Sky reported.
Explosions Heard in Kyiv Early Wednesday (6:22 a.m.)
Explosions rocked downtown Kyiv on Wednesday morning, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram, adding that emergency services were heading to the site. Air raid sirens were activated in the city and the broader Kyiv region, as well as in the neighboring Zhytomyr area.
Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry, reported on Telegram earlier that blasts in the capital were heard as air defense systems targeted drones sent by Russian troops.
Austin, Sullivan Speak With Ukrainian Military Chiefs (4:15 a.m)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke with their Ukrainian counterparts, according to a readout from the Pentagon late Tuesday. They “discussed Ukraine’s priorities for security assistance,” according to the US statement, which offered few other details.
US Finalizing Arms Upgrade to Ukraine With Patriot Missiles (3:21 a.m.)
The US is poised to send Patriot air and missile defense batteries to Ukraine pending final approval from Biden, two US officials said Tuesday, fulfilling a key demand from Ukrainian leaders.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy has urgently sought the system, produced by Raytheon Technologies Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp., saying Patriots are needed to counter the relentless barrage of Russian missiles that have targeted Ukraine’s military as well as civilian and energy infrastructure.
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