‘We will beat Russia,’ says Zelensky
Vladimir Putin has referred to Russia’s 10-month-long invasion of Ukraine as “war” for the first time in public, as one of his ambassadors warned of the “high” risk of a clash with the US, with diplomatic relations in an “ice age”.
Having previously only called the invasion a “special military operation,” the president said he wants to end the war in Ukraine “the sooner the better” through an inevitable “diplomatic solution”.
“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Mr Putin said. “We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course.”
The Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov was quoted by state media as saying it was hard to say when talks on strategic dialogue between Washington and Moscow could resume, given the support President Joe Biden has offered Ukraine, including a surprise visit by president Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian president has now returned Kyiv.
Ukraine to receive up to $2.65 billion in aid from Netherlands in 2023
The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with up to 2.5 billion euros (approx £2.2 billion) in aid in 2023, the Dutch government said on Friday.
The money is earmarked for military assistance, work to recover critical infrastructure and to help investigations into possible war crimes, the government said.
“As long as Russia continues its war against Ukraine, the Netherlands will provide assistance to Ukraine. Military, humanitarian and diplomatic,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a tweet.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 16:25
Ukraine eyeing bigger diplomatic footprint in Africa
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Kyiv would boost its footprint in Africa next year by opening 10 new embassies and strengthening trade ties with the continent.
Ukraine has been trying to rally African countries to its cause as it fights off Russia‘s full-scale invasion, in part by promoting a humanitarian grain initiative to help alleviate hunger in highly vulnerable countries.
Russia‘s blockade of Ukrainian agricultural exports through the Black Sea had sparked global grain and fertiliser shortages earlier this year, endangering millions, before a U.N.-brokered deal partially eased it in July.
“We are overhauling relations with dozens of African countries,” Zelensky told a gathering of diplomats in Kyiv. “Next year we need to strengthen this.”
Besides opening the new embassies, Zelensky said, Ukraine would also aim to set up trade representative offices in several key hubs on the continent – which he described as a region “where our interests are so far represented less than we need”.
He did not specify in which countries those new embassies or trade offices would be located, but added that he would like Ukraine to eventually be represented in 30 countries on the continent.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 16:04
North Korea fires missile amid tension over Russia arms aid.
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea off its east coast on Friday, the South Korean military said, the latest in an unprecedented number of missile tests this year.
Coming only days after two other missiles were launched and a day after allegations were made the country is shipping munitions to Russian forces in Ukraine, North Korea continued actions its neighbours say are destabilising the region.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles flew 350 km (217.5 miles) and 250 km, respectively, after being fired at around 16:30 p.m. (0730 GMT) from the Sunan area of the North Korean capital Pyongyang. Japan’s coast guard also reported a suspected ballistic missile launch.
Such launches are a “serious provocation that harms peace and stability” on the Korean peninsula and beyond and a clear violation of U.N. resolutions, South Korea’s military said, urging an immediate halt.
“We will track and monitor developments together with the United States in preparation for additional provocations by North Korea, while maintaining a firm readiness posture based on our ability to overwhelmingly respond to any provocations by North Korea,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Japan’s State Minister of Defence Toshiro Ino said Tokyo has lodged a strong protest to North Korea through diplomatic channels in Beijing.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno condemned the latest launch as “absolutely unacceptable.”
“North Korea’s rapid escalation of provocations in a series of actions threatens the peace and security of Japan’s region and the international community,” Matsuno told reporters.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 15:37
‘High risk of clash’ between Russia and US, says ambassador – with diplomatic relations in ‘ice age’
There is a “high” risk of a clash between the US and Russia, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington has said, with relations between the two countries in an “ice age”.
Russian state-owned news agency TASS cited Anatoly Antonov as saying that it was hard to say when talks on strategic dialogue between the two sides could resume, although it is unclear if the ambassador meant a clash militarily or politically.
US-Russia ties have fallen to their lowest point in decades, thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which has led Western nations to impose sanctions.
Chris Stevenson has more:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 15:10
Russian actress and poet Vera Polozkova brands Putin the ‘main maniac of 21st century’
Russian president Vladimir Putin has been branded the “main maniac of the 21st century” by a leading Russian actress as his war on Ukraine enters its tenth month.
Vera Polozkova, 36, expressed her feeling of “crazy pain and shame” over Russia’s self-styled special military operation in Ukraine, and urged her fellow citizens to prepare to acknowledge, repent and atone for Moscow’s “crimes”.
Ms Polozkova made her remarks during an interview with popular Russian journalist and YouTuber Yury Dud, known for his interviews with a series of critics of Mr Putin’s brutal attacks on Ukraine.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 14:55
Canada condemns N.Korean arms sale to Russia’s Wagner Group
Canada on Friday condemned what it said were North Korean arms deliveries to Russia, saying Pyongyang’s transaction with the private military company the Wagner Group “clearly violates international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
“We will continue to work with international partners to address these developments and respond to further arms deliveries should they take place,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister MÃƒÂ©lanie Joly said in a statement.
North Korea’s foreign ministry, in a statement, has denied that it has supplied munitions to Russia but did not make any mention of Wagner.
The United States on Thursday said North Korea had completed an initial arms delivery to the Wagner Group to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine, confirming news first reported by Reuters.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 14:29
What is Russia’s ‘Satan II’ hypersonic intercontinental nuclear missile?
In an end-of-year speech to military chiefs on Wednesday, Mr Putin hinted at the future involvement of Satan II in the conflict as he heralded Russian soldiers and defence chiefs as “heroes” and pledged further support for the armed forces.
The prospect of the ICBM being launched was last raised in June when Mr Putin addressed military academy graduates at the Kremlin and said, ominously: “We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 14:15
North Korea denies media report it supplied munitions to Russia- Part two
South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Thursday they have been monitoring North Korea’s activities amid concerns over possible arms transactions with Russia.
In a separate statement, the North Korean foreign ministry also slammed the United States’ attempt to issue a U.N. Security Council presidential statement on its latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
“The DPRK has already and clearly warned that such foolish attempt of the U.S. may entail a very undesirable consequence,” the spokesperson said in the statement, calling the U.S. move a “very dangerous act” that the North “has to counter with action.”
North Korea has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to reach the U.S. mainland, in defiance of international sanctions.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 14:00
North Korea denies media report it supplied munitions to Russia- Part one
North Korea’s foreign ministry denied a media report it supplied munitions to Russia, calling it “groundless,” and denounced the United States for providing lethal weapons to Ukraine, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported on Friday.
Japan’s Tokyo Shimbun reported earlier that North Korea had shipped munitions, including artillery shells, to Russia via train through their border last month and that additional shipments were expected in the coming weeks.
“The Japanese media’s false report that the DPRK offered munitions to Russia is the most absurd red herring, which is not worth any comment or interpretation,” a ministry spokesperson said in a statement carried by the KCNA.
The White House said on Thursday the North has completed an initial arms delivery to a private Russian military company, the Wagner Group, to help bolster Russian forces in Ukraine.
The North Korean foreign ministry statement did not make any mention of Wagner.
According to the White House, Wagner took delivery of infantry rockets and missiles from North Korea, though Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin denied the assertion as “gossip and speculation”.
“The DPRK remains unchanged in its principled stand on the issue of ‘arms transaction’ between the DPRK and Russia which has never happened,” the North Korean spokesperson said, adding it is the United States that’s “bringing bloodshed and destruction to Ukraine by providing it with various kinds of lethal weapons.”
DPRK are the initials of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 13:45
Zelensky thanks Biden and ‘ordinary people’ of America for support at White House meeting
Mr Zelensky, dressed in cargo pants and his signature miltary-style jacket, was greeted by the president and first lady Jill Biden, who quickly escorted him through the executive mansion’s diplomatic entrance.
Andrew Feinberg and John Bowden report:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 December 2022 13:30
Read More:Putin makes stark admission as Russia warns of US clash – live