Russia-Ukraine war live: Russia has attacked Ukrainian energy system 60 times ahead of winter, says Kyiv | Ukraine

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Russia has attacked Ukrainian energy system 60 times ahead of winter, says ministry

Ukraine’s energy ministry said on Wednesday that Russia had attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure with different weapons 60 times in recent weeks.

In a statement, the ministry said:

After each new attack, the need for energy equipment grows, and therefore the help of partners for the Ukrainian energy sector is very important.

Key events

Russian attacks killed three people in an eastern Ukrainian village on Wednesday, Kyiv has said.

Ukrainian emergency service said that two men and a woman had been killed in the village of Bagatyr, in the eastern Donetsk region, AFP reports.

The village, in an industrial region that the Kremlin claimed to have annexed last year, lies about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the town of Avdiivka, a recent hotspot in the fighting.

“The attack destroyed a private house in the village of Bagatyr,” Ukraine’s emergency service said on social media. It said the three bodies had been recovered from under the rubble. These claims have not yet been independently verified.

G7 says its support for Kyiv will ‘never waver’

Leaders of the G7 group of countries have insisted that their support for Ukraine will “never waver”.

BBC News reports:

At a G7 meeting in Japan, the bloc’s foreign ministers said they recognised that Russia is prepared for a long war.

They reiterated that they would continue to support Kyiv economically and militarily.

The group of rich countries has been at the forefront of sanctions on Moscow since last year’s invasion.

In Tokyo, the governments of the G7 countries – Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the US – as well as EU representatives, said that the Israel-Gaza war should not distract from support for Ukraine.

A statement from the Japanese foreign ministry said leaders agreed on the need to impose severe sanctions on Russia and continue to support Ukraine, “even in today’s international situation” – a reference to the situation in the Middle East.

New UK sanctions have been imposed on Russian oligarchs and businesses, as well as international networks propping up the country’s oil and gold industries.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said 29 individuals and entities had been targeted in an effort to prevent them from helping Moscow evade existing international sanctions.

Russia’s gold and oil sectors have close links to Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin and help fund its invasion of Ukraine, according to the FCDO.

Those sanctioned include two of Russia’s largest gold producers, Nordgold and Highland Gold Mining, alongside mining magnate Vladislav Sviblov and fellow Russian tycoon Konstantin Strukov.

A United Arab Emirates-based network responsible for funnelling more than $300m in gold revenues to Russia has also been designated, PA Media reports.

As part of this, a handler of gold shipped to the UAE, Paloma Precious DMCC, and the key person behind the outfit, Howard Jon Baker, have been targeted, the FCDO said.

🚨 SANCTIONED: gold and oil networks propping up Russia’s war economy.

🛑 We are closing down avenues for sanctions circumvention.

🗜️️Our sanctions continue to box Putin in, helping to ensure his faltering war effort in Ukraine ends in failure.

— Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK) November 8, 2023

Finland has informed Russia about its investigation into the damage on 7 October to the subsea Balticconnector gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland, the Finnish foreign minister has said.

Elina Valtonen told a news conference Russia had not asked for Finland’s help in investigating the damage to a Russian telecommunications cable that had happened on the same night, Reuters reports.

Russian state company Rostelecom said on Tuesday that a fibre optic cable linking St Petersburg and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave had been damaged at the same time that a Chinese ship had passed over it, and that repairs were ongoing.

Two other telecommunication cables in the area were also damaged at about the same time.

Finnish police have said they are investigating whether a Hong Kong registered container vessel, the NewNew Polar Bear, damaged the pipeline by dragging its anchor over the seabed, but have not decided whether this was an accident or not.

The anchor was later found near the pipeline and was retrieved by Finnish investigators.

The incidents have highlighted the vulnerability of marine cables and pipelines at a time when security fears are running high because of the war in Ukraine.

Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister with responsibility for European integration, praised a report by the EU’s executive recommending an initiation of accession talks for Kyiv and said that Ukraine would continue reforming on its path to membership.

“It is the result of a huge amount of work done by the country in war,” she wrote on X.

‼️EU Commission recommends opening membership talks with Ukraine.

It’s the result of a huge amount of work done by the country in war.

More comments and reflections, including on the next steps, soon.

— Olga Stefanishyna (@StefanishynaO) November 8, 2023

Germany will examine the EU Commission’s recommendation to start membership talks with Ukraine thoroughly before making a decision, a government spokesperson said.

The membership talks were dependent on the success of reforms, the spokesperson added.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has welcomed the EU executive’s recommendation to open membership talks with Kyiv, describing it as the “right step in history”.

“Ukrainians deserve this both for their protection of European values, and for the fact that even at times of a full-scale war, we keep our word by developing state institutions,” he posted to Telegram.

Military cooperation between Russia and China becoming increasingly important, says Putin

Military cooperation between Russia and China is becoming increasingly important, but the two countries do not intend to build a cold-war-style military alliance, Vladimir Putin said as he hosted a top Chinese general.

Putin also told Gen Zhang Youxia, vice-chair of China’s central military commission, that modern weaponry would help to ensure the security of both their countries.

The Russian president also accused Nato of stoking tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, Reuters reports.

You can follow the latest developments around the EU accession negotiations in our Europe live blog here:

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, has welcomed the opening of EU accession negotiations with Moldova.

Moldova has undertaken significant reforms, despite constant destabilisation efforts against its democracy.

The Commission recommends that the Council opens accession negotiations.

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 8, 2023

Moldova, a country of about 2.5 million people situated between Romania and Ukraine, has been put on the radar of the EU’s enlargement efforts partly due to its vulnerability to possible Russian meddling.

Like Ukraine, Moldova believes its future security lies with the EU, with the country’s president, Maia Sandu, having alleged that the Wagner group had planned a coup on the country.

Sweden joining the Nato alliance is a pressing objective for Finland and Sweden, Finland’s foreign minister, Elina Valtonen, has told reporters.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, submitted a bill approving Sweden’s Nato membership bid to parliament for ratification last month.

Turkey had initially raised objections due to what it said was Sweden’s harbouring of groups it deems terrorist.

The bill must be approved by parliament’s foreign affairs committee before a vote by the full general assembly. Erdoğan would then sign it into law.

Sweden and Finland – which share a 1,340km (830-mile) border with Russia – submitted simultaneous membership applications last May, abandoning decades of military nonalignment to seek security as Nato members after the Russian invasion.

Finland formally became the 31st member of the transatlantic defensive alliance in April.

Tobias Billström gestures as he speaks standing at a podium, while Elina Valtonen, standing next to him at another podium, watches him and listens
Finland’s foreign minister, Elina Valtonen, right, and Sweden’s foreign minister, Tobias Billström, at a press conference after their joint meeting with the Finnish and Swedish defence ministers in Helsinki. Photograph: Mauri Ratilainen/EPA

In a post to X, formerly Twitter, the European Commission said it has adopted its package recommending opening negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, to grant candidate status to Georgia, and to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, once the necessary conditions have been met.

It wrote:

Despite the ongoing war, Ukraine demonstrated resolve in making substantial progress in creating a powerful reform dynamic. We recommend that the EU Council opens accession negotiations with Ukraine.

Another historic step for the citizens of 🇺🇦🇲🇩🇬🇪🇧🇦 regarding their 🇪🇺 aspirations.

We’ve adopted our 2023 Enlargement Package recommending to open negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, to grant candidate status to Georgia, and to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and…

— European Commission (@EU_Commission) November 8, 2023

EU executive proposes to start membership talks with Ukraine once conditions met

The EU’s executive have recommended that the bloc starts membership negotiations with Ukraine once it fulfils outstanding conditions, Reuters reports.

“The Commission recommends that the [EU] council opens accession negotiations with Ukraine,” said the Brussels-based European Commission.

It added the talks should formally be launched once Kyiv satisfied remaining conditions related to stepping up the fight against corruption, adopting a law on lobbying in line with EU standards and strengthening national minority safeguards.

Late on Tuesday, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said his country was “preparing our next steps” to join the bloc, including by strengthening its institutions, although he acknowledged that this would require work by Kyiv to “adapt to EU standards”.

We reported earlier how officials claimed that Russia had attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure 60 times in the last several weeks (see post at 09.28).

Ukraine fears Russia may have already begun a concerted campaign of attacks on the power grid for a second winter at war.

Last winter, thousands of Russian drones and missiles reportedly targeted Ukraine’s power sector, causing sweeping blackouts.

Ukraine’s energy minister, German Galushchenko, who is visiting the US, said the government was discussing with partners how to get through the critical cold months.

The west has stepped up supplies of air defences to neutralise the threat.

In a statement, the energy ministry said:

In recent weeks energy infrastructure facilities were attacked 60 times with different types of weapons.

After each new attack, the need for energy equipment grows, and therefore the help of partners for the Ukrainian energy sector is very important.

The EU will move ahead with a ban on Russian diamonds after securing sufficient backing from the G nations, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell told the FT that a two-day meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Japan that ended on Wednesday gave support to the move.

The EU said on Monday it was waiting for the G7 countries to come up with “some sort of proposal” in order to impose sanctions on Russian diamonds, Reuters reports.

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