Day 289 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Tipsy Putin Acknowledged Striking Ukraine’s Infrastructure because “They started it First”

World » UKRAINE | December 9, 2022, Friday // 10:30
Bulgaria: Day 289 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Tipsy Putin Acknowledged Striking Ukraine’s Infrastructure because “They started it First” @Twitter

Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

The Ukrainian Armed Forces struck a military logistics base of the Russians in occupied Berdyansk

The Ukrainian army has struck a logistics base of the Russians near Berdyansk, people living near the site of the attack reported on social networks on the Internet. Information about explosions was also confirmed by representatives of the pro-Russian administration and local self-government structures loyal to Kyiv.

The explosions in the area of Berdyansk, occupied by Russian forces, have not stopped for two hours, the Melitopol site ria-m.tv also reported. According to the portal, the explosions were the result of the actions of the artillery and rockets of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and came from one of the villages near Berdyansk, where the Russians had deployed military equipment and ammunition, including S-300 launchers. Details of the goal and the achieved results are expected from the General Staff of the VSU.

The hit point was a logistics point of the Russian army, where armaments were based, from where Moscow's units in the area were supplied. Every night from there they went out to the positions of the Russian army and carried out attacks against civilian objects in Zaporizhzhia and the surrounding villages.

The facility, as well as the movement of the installations and missiles for them, were monitored for a week by a Ukrainian intelligence unit called "Banderlogi", and on Thursday the VSU carried out attacks on the base of the Russian army.

"There were three powerful explosions at the airbase in occupied Berdyansk, followed by 15 more with lesser force. The explosions caused a large-scale fire. All the vehicles of the ‘Emergency’ department and the fire department, which are available in the city, have gone to the scene of the accident," commented the head of the city military administration of Berdyansk, Viktoria Galitsina.

According to comments on social networks and information on news sites, two hours after the impact, the explosions continued. From the operational headquarters of the loyal to Kyiv Berdyansky executive committee announced that it is waiting for official information from the general staff of the Ukrainian army.

A few hours after the explosions in Berdyansk, WarMonitor reported on Twitter about explosions at Melitopol airport as well. Ivan Fyodorov, the mayor of the city before the Russian occupation, also confirmed the explosions there.

Russian attacks left thousands of households without power in Kyiv, Odesa and Dnipro

Thousands of households remain without electricity in Ukraine after Russian attacks. President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of missile and mine terror.

I am convinced that terrorizing with mines will be one of the future accusations against Russia for its aggression in Ukraine”, said Volodymyr Zelensky in his latest video address. “Mines have been buried, buildings, cars and infrastructure have been mined. This is more than 170 thousand square kilometers dangerous territory,” Zelensky pointed out and highlighted the role of Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Slovakia, as well as a number of other countries that help demining the conquered Ukrainian territories.

Zelensky also said that concrete steps are expected between Ukraine and the partner countries against the schemes used to circumvent the anti-war sanctions against Russia.

The Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine continues, with fierce fighting taking place in the Lysychansk region.

After Russian attacks, thousands of households remain without power in Kyiv and its surroundings, as well as in Odesa and Dnipro.

The Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced that Russian troops are participating in tactical night and day exercises in Belarus. President Vladimir Putin arrived in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, for a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Meanwhile, arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was exchanged for American basketball player Brittney Griner, returned to Moscow.

American President Joe Biden thanked Abu Dhabi for the mediation, but the White House later clarified that "the only countries that participated in the negotiations were the United States and Russia."

Ukrainian forces have attacked Russian military facilities in the Zaporizhzhia region

Ukrainian forces attacked Russian facilities in the Zaporizhzhia region. According to information from the General Staff, 3 warehouses with ammunition and over 20 pieces of equipment were destroyed in the past 24 hours.

According to military experts, Moscow's ambitions in the war and in seizing Ukrainian territories are gradually decreasing. In Belarus, Russian and local military units continue their joint tactical night and day exercises.

Putin: Yes, we are striking Ukraine, but who started it?

Moscow has announced that it is up to the president of Ukraine to end the military conflict in the country. The Kremlin reiterates that Kyiv continues to reject Russian conditions to recognize Crimea and the occupied territories.

At a ceremony in Moscow, Vladimir Putin promised to continue fighting despite Western criticism. And he confirmed that Russia was carrying out targeted strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure that were provoked.

"At the moment there is a lot of noise about our attacks on the energy infrastructure of the neighboring country. Yes, we do. But who started it? Who hit the Crimean bridge? Who blew up the power lines from the Kursk NPP? Who does not supply water to Donetsk? Denying water to a city of more than a million people is an act of genocide. Nobody ever said a word about it. Complete silence. But as soon as we move and do something in response - they shout to the whole universe. This will not interfere with our combat missions," Putin said.

After the Griner-Bout trade: No negotiation mediation

There were no mediators in the negotiations between the US and Russia to exchange American basketball player Brittney Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. This was stated by the White House after the information appeared that Saudi Arabia was also involved in the process.

After several months of negotiations, it was revealed yesterday that Griner is returning to the United States after being detained in Russia in February with cannabis oil, and Viktor Bout, also known as the "merchant of death", to Russia.

Bout was arrested in 2008 in the Thai capital, Bangkok. The Russian, whose arrival in Moscow was covered by the media, said he knew nothing about the swap and thanked everyone involved in the negotiations. Brittney Griner is also now in her homeland.

"The only countries that agreed to the exchange are the United States and Russia, without mediation. We are grateful to the United Arab Emirates - as the president mentioned, I say - for facilitating the use of their territory to carry out the exchange. We are also grateful to other countries, including Saudi Arabia, for raising the issue of wrongfully detained Americans with the Russian government," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The Kremlin has admitted that Crimea is under threat

The Kremlin acknowledged on Thursday that there was a risk of Ukrainian attacks on its positions in Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014 and the target of several drone strikes in recent weeks, international agencies said.

"There are risks because the Ukrainian side continues to follow its line of organizing terrorist attacks," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

On Thursday, Russian authorities said they had shot down a drone near Sevastopol, the main port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

This summer, a military airport in Crimea was partially destroyed by a Ukrainian attack. And in the fall, the bridge connecting the peninsula to Russia was damaged by an explosion that Moscow attributed to Ukrainian forces.

In this context, Russian authorities on the peninsula announced in mid-November that they were building fortifications and digging trenches after Ukrainian forces retook part of the Russian-occupied Kherson region, which borders Crimea.

Asked about these works and whether they are sufficient, Peskov answered evasively:

"I cannot judge whether they are sufficient or insufficient, you would have to ask the military," he said, while assuring journalists that he had information that "effective measures" were being taken.

Outside of the looming threat over Crimea, this week several Russian airbases, some hundreds of kilometers from the front, were hit by Ukrainian drones. These attacks, linked to a series of Russian retreats in Ukraine, seem to indicate that nine months after the start of the war, Russia is struggling not only to strengthen its position, but to protect its bases far from the front.

Kyiv called on allies for a temporary boycott of Tchaikovsky

Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko called on Kyiv's allies to "boycott" composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky and works by other Russian classics until the conflict in the country ends.

"As the Minister of Culture of Ukraine, I am asking you to boycott Tchaikovsky until the end of the war... Along with the sanctions, let's stop the demonstration of the Kremlin's favorite works," the minister wrote in an article for the British newspaper "Guardian". According to Tkachenko, Russian culture is being used by Moscow to justify a special operation in Ukraine.

At the same time, he clarified that it is not a question of "cancellation" of Tchaikovsky at all, but of a temporary suspension of the demonstration of works based on his works.

In 2022, France has bought from Russia 153 tons of enriched uranium for its nuclear power plants

In 2022, the French energy corporation EDF purchased from Russian subcontractors 153 tons of enriched uranium worth a total of 345 million euros, Le Point magazine reported.

With an annual consumption of just over 1,000 tons, the volume is significant: "This year, Putin provided us with a third of the fuel needed for our entire nuclear fleet," the media concludes. It's enough to revive the row over France's alleged nuclear "dependency" on Russia at a time when debate is raging over the need - or not - to launch a new nuclear program.

Since the beginning of the year, EDF has purchased a total of 7,000 tonnes of uranium ore for its nuclear power plants. The publication specifies that the ore in question is mined not only in Russia - direct mining for France is also carried out in Kazakhstan, Canada, Niger and Uzbekistan. However, according to the long-term contracts signed with Rosatom, the French send part of the uranium ore for enrichment to Russia. The enriched uranium is returned to France or other countries, where it is already processed into fuel for nuclear power plants: EDF subsidiary Framatome has a fuel cell plant in Germany, as well as in the French commune of Roman-sur-Isère.

According to the publication, the French energy corporation purchased 153 tons of uranium enriched in Russia, as it did in 2021. According to its source, Russia accounts for 15% of uranium enrichment activities for EDF.

Earlier, Le Monde newspaper reported that France is not dependent on Russian fuel supplies for its nuclear power plants, but that Russia has the only plant in the world that can process nuclear waste from French power plants. French nuclear technology corporation Orano assured that the last batch was sent to Russia in October this year and that no new contracts are planned.

Reasons for the silence

Industry sources assured "Le Point" that there is no dependence on Russia and that if the government decides, "EDF can do without Russian resources". According to the magazine, France has already accumulated enough fuel to keep its reactors running for ten years. However, since the nuclear industry is not affected by the sanctions, the French corporation cannot terminate already signed contracts with Russian contractors without serious sanctions.

In this context, the magazine wonders why EDF is so cautious about these contracts, despite criticism from opponents of nuclear energy who accuse the corporation of dependence on Russia. And it concludes that a blanket refusal to work with Russian suppliers and calls for sanctions would threaten the nuclear industries of Paris' other Western allies, including the US.

The journal explains that to create the fuel, uranium must be purified and then converted into uranium fluoride (VI), which can turn to a gaseous state when heated to 56 °C. After this step, it is enriched directly. According to data from Euratom, "Orano" in France accounts for 24% of the world's capacity. Russia and Canada each account for another 20%, and China - 24% of the capacity, but these are reserved for local production, and in the USA - only 11%.

If Europe manages to increase its production to avoid purchases from Russia, the US, which has 93 reactors, will be much more difficult, the magazine said. It is a question of uranium conversion, since 46% of the enrichment falls to Russia; another 30% is held by the British-German-Dutch consortium "Urenco", which also has production facilities in the USA, and 12% by "Orano". Recalling that Korea and Japan do not have significant production capacities of this kind, the material concludes that France and Russia "are the only countries that can be independent in this context."

It is true that in France too, not everything is going smoothly with the increase in production. Officially, "Orano" is ready to increase by 30% the capacity of its "Georges Besse II" uranium enrichment plant in France, for this purpose it will spend between 1.3 and 1.7 billion euros, the work will be completed by 2028 In reality, however, the company is unwilling to start the process without guaranteed orders, and those from EDF have not yet been received.

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