Thu, 07 Dec 2023

The Russian-installed head of Sevastopol in Russian-annexed Crimea on Monday said air defence forces were fending off an aerial attack over the peninsula. Russian air defences also saw action in the region of Belgorod bordering Ukraine, over which seven Ukrainian drones were destroyed, the Russian defence ministry wrote on Telegram. Read our blog to see how the day's events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

This live blog is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

9:47pm: Air alert lifted over Sevastopol, traffic restored on Crimea bridge

An air raid alert issued for Sevastopol in Crimea was lifted late on Monday, Reuters news agency reported, adding also that traffic on the Crimea bridge had been restored after it had been suspended earlier on in the evening.

9:16: Russia says it has downed seven Ukrainian drones over Belgorod region

Russian air defence has shot down seven Ukrainian drones over the Belgorod region, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.

According to Gladkov, there are no casualties.

9:01pm: Russian air defence repelling missile attack over Crimea, governor says

The Russian-installed head of Sevastopol in Russian-annexed Crimea on Monday said air defence forces were fending off an aerial attack over the peninsula.

"Our military is repelling a missile attack. According to preliminary data, air defence shot down one missile near the Belbek airfield. Work continues," Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, wrote on Telegram.

Also on Monday evening, the operator of the Crimea bridge said traffic had been temporarily suspended on the bridge.

7:40pm: Hungary's Orban says ratifying Sweden's NATO bid not 'urgent'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told parliament on Monday that ratifying Sweden's NATO bid was not "urgent", accusing the Nordic country of having challenged the country's "democratic nature".

Hungary has still not voted to approve the Nordic country's entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, having aligned itself with Turkey which had long blocked Sweden's membership before lifting its veto in July.

In the past, Orban has repeatedly stated that Hungary supports Sweden's bid, stressing that it was merely a "technicality".

"I wonder if there is something urgent that would force us to ratify Sweden's NATO bid. I cannot see any such circumstance," Orban told lawmakers, adding there was "no threat to Sweden's security".

Budapest has often denounced what it called Stockholm's "open hostile attitude", accusing Swedish representatives of being "repeatedly keen to bash Hungary" on rule-of-law issues.

4:09pm: Ukraine says Russian Admiral Sokolov killed in Crimea attack

Ukraine's Special Forces said on Monday that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was killed in last week's attack targeting a meeting of the Russian Navy's leadership in the city of Sevastopol.

"After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the special forces said on the Telegram messaging app.

The Russian Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to requests asking it to confirm or deny that Sokolov had been killed in the attack.

3:23pm: Russia tortured some Ukrainian victims to death, UN inquiry says

Russian occupiers tortured Ukrainians so brutally that some of their victims died, a UN-mandated investigative body said on Monday, in their latest findings from the field.

Erik Møse, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva his team had "collected further evidence indicating that the use of torture by Russian armed forces in areas under their control has been widespread and systematic".

"In some cases, torture was inflicted with such brutality that it caused the death of the victim," he said. "Russian soldiers raped and committed sexual violence against women of ages ranging from 19 to 83 years" in occupied parts of Kherson province, he said.

Frequently, family were kept next door and forced to hear the violations, he added.

Russia denies committing atrocities or targeting civilians in Ukraine.

2:56pm: Missile debris found in Moldova's Transdniestria

Missile debris was discovered in Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region on Monday after overnight Russian missile strikes on the neighbouring Odesa region in Ukraine, an official said.

Oleg Beliakov, co-head of a special commission overseeing security arrangements in the breakaway region, said police, sappers and military observers were on the site in the village of Chitcani, about 35 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

Beliakov said an explosion had been heard and part of an S-300 missile came down in a garden near a private house but did not explode and caused no damage.

"The warhead of the S-300 missile is lying in the garden. There are some elements with markings still on it, from which it was possible to establish that this was an S-300 missile of the 1968 model," Belyakov told reporters.

It was not immediately clear who had fired the missile.

1:58pm: Hungary wants Ukraine to restore 'former rights of Hungarian minority'

Hungary will not support Ukraine in any issue in international affairs until "Ukraine does not restore the former rights for ethnic Hungarians on its territory," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has told parliament.

Hungary has clashed with Ukraine over what it says are curbs on the rights of roughly 150,000 ethnic Hungarians to use their native tongue, especially in education, after Ukraine passed a law in 2017 restricting the use of minority languages in schools.

1:40pm: Zelensky says US Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his army has taken delivery of US Abrams battle tanks, boosting Kyiv's forces in their slow-moving counteroffensive against Russian troops.

"Good news from Minister (of Defence) Umerov. Abrams are already in Ukraine and are being prepared to reinforce our brigades," he said on Telegram messaging app.

US President Joe Biden had announced during Zelensky's recent trip to Washington that the first American Abrams tanks would be delivered to Ukraine this week.

1:20pm: Ukraine claims Russian Black Sea fleet commander killed in attack

Ukraine says it killed the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet in an unprecedented missile strike on the naval headquarters in the annexed Crimean peninsula last week.

"Thirty-four officers were killed, including the commander of the Black Sea fleet. Another 105 occupants were wounded. The headquarters are beyond repair," Ukraine's special forces said in a statement on social media.

Russia's defence ministry reported last week that one military serviceman was missing as a result of the assault.

1:15pm: Russia puts ICC president on wanted list

Russia says it has placed Piotr Hofmanski, the president of the International Criminal Court, which is seeking the arrest of President Vladimir Putin, on its wanted list.

"Hofmanski Piotr Jozef, Polish. Wanted under an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation," said a notice in the Russian interior ministry database, without providing details of the allegations against Hofmanski.

In March the Hague-based court announced an arrest warrant for Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

The ICC also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's presidential commissioner for children's rights, on similar charges.

Read moreMother Russia: Maria Lvova-Belova, the Putin ally deporting Ukrainian children

12:47am: Russian media rhetoric could be 'incitement to genocide', UN inquiry says

A United Nations investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine since Russia's invasion has warned that some rhetoric transmitted by Russian media could amount to incitement to genocide.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, head of the investigation team Erik Mose voiced concern "about allegations of genocide in Ukraine", warning that "some of the rhetoric transmitted in Russian state and other media may constitute incitement to genocide."

The team, he said, was "continuing its investigations on such issues".

11:10am: Odesa strike caused 'significant damage' to port infrastructure

Russia's overnight air strike on the southern Odesa region of Ukraine caused "significant damage" to port infrastructure and destroyed some grain storage facilities, Ukrainian officials have said.

"Another massive attack on Odesa! ... The attack resulted in the destruction of grain storage facilities and significant damage to the seaport," Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on X, posting photos of the damage.

Oleh Kiper, the Odesa region governor, said the facilities that were hit had almost 1,000 tons of grain in storage.

No deaths were reported in the attack on Odesa, but at least one person was killed in a separate Russian air strike on the town of Beryslav in Kherson region, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said.

9:55am: IMF begins second review of Ukraine programme

An International Monetary Fund monitoring mission has started work on the second review of a $15.6 billion multi-year loan programme designed to prop up Ukraine's wartime economy.

Vahram Stepanyan, IMF's resident representative, said in a statement that the discussions with the Ukrainian government would be held on recent economic developments and fiscal, financial and structural policies.

Kyiv says Ukrainian businesses have adjusted to the new wartime reality and that the economy has been recovering more quickly than expected this year.

Official statistics showed that GDP grew by 19.5% in the second quarter of the year compared with the same period a year earlier.

7:40am: Ukraine says it destroyed 19 drones, 11 cruise missiles overnight

Ukraine's air defence systems shot down 11 out of 12 cruise missiles and 19 out of 19 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia overnight, the country's Air Force has said.

Russia also attacked Ukraine with two anti-ship missiles, it added.

7:15am: Russia says Ukrainian drones shot down over Black Sea, Crimea

Russia says its air defence systems have destroyed four Ukraine-launched drones over the northwestern part of the Black Sea and over the Crimean Peninsula.

It was not immediately known whether there was any damage or injuries as a result of the reported attacks. There was no comment from Ukraine.

Separately, the defence ministry in Moscow said four other drones were destroyed overnight over Russia's Kursk and Belgorod regions. There were no reports of casualties.

6:05am: EU commissioner says China's position on Ukraine war 'affecting country's image'

China's stance on the Russian war in Ukraine is affecting the country's image, the European Union trade commissioner has warned, saying Beijing's refusal to condemn the invasion poses a "reputational risk".

China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, while offering Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline as its international isolation deepens. The two countries frequently tout their "no limits" partnership and economic and military cooperation.

"Territorial integrity has always been a key principle for China in international diplomacy. Russia's war is a blatant breach of this principle," Valdis Dombrovskis said in a speech in the Chinese capital.

"So it's very difficult for us to understand China's stance on Russia's war against Ukraine, as it breaches China's own fundamental principles," he added.

5:30am: Kyiv says missile attack on Odesa injures one, damages infrastructure

One woman was injured and port infrastructure was damaged in a Russian overnight missile and drone attack, Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, has said.

A fire broke out in a non-residential high-rise in the city of Odesa, the administrative centre of the Odesa region, as a result of the attack, but was promptly extinguished, Kiper wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

The scale of the attack and the full extent of the damage were not immediately known.

12:25am: Russia says Tula region targeted in drone attack

Russia's air defence systems were engaged in repelling a drone attack over the Tula region that borders Moscow's region to its north, Russia's RIA news agency reported early on Monday.

Citing the ministry of regional security, the agency reported that according to preliminary information, there was no damage or injuries as a result of the attack.

Two of Moscow's major airports, however, the Vnukovo and Domedovo, limited air traffic, directing flights to other airports, the TASS state news agency reported.

Key developments from Sunday, September 24:

A second shipment of Ukrainian wheat reached Turkey via the Black Sea on Sunday, according to maritime traffic monitoring sites, despite Russian threats to attack boats heading to or from its neighbour and enemy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday he met leading American entrepreneurs and financiers during a visit this week to the United States, where investment opportunities in Ukraine were discussed.

Read yesterday's liveblog to see how the day's events unfolded.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, and Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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