Day 294 of the Invasion of Ukraine: New Strikes with Iranian Drones Shook Kyiv
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
The US has accused Russians and Americans of trying to steal technology for Russia
US authorities have charged five Russians and two Americans with conspiracy to supply and launder money on behalf of the government in Moscow, Reuters and the Associated Press reported.
The Justice Department in Washington said the suspects tried to obtain military-use, dual-use technology for the Russian defense sector from American companies.
They are also alleged to have conspired to smuggle sniper ammunition in violation of US-imposed sanctions. One of the Russians is also suspected of being an officer of the Federal Security Service (FSB).
So far, there is no comment on the case from the suspects or the Russian government.
Three of the group have been detained, and four of the Russians are still at large, adds the BBC.
The suspected FSB sympathizer is Vadim Konoshchenok, who was arrested in Estonia last week and will face extradition proceedings to the US.
Estonian authorities found ammunition of US origin in a warehouse used by Konoshchenok, according to the US Attorney's Office.
Russia again hit Kyiv with its Iranian Shahed drones
This morning, Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital Kyiv with Iranian kamikaze drones. There were explosions in Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia regions.
Emergency response maps show that air raid sirens went off in the capital and the surrounding region about 20 minutes before the blasts.
The governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, said that the anti-aircraft systems had been activated.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko confirmed that there were explosions in the Ukrainian capital.
According to preliminary information, debris from the drone damaged two administrative buildings in the Shevchenko district.
Klitschko reported that as of 7:25 a.m., a significant number of Iranian kamikaze drones used by the Russians had already been shot down.
"In the Kyiv region and over the capital, air defense forces have already shot down a total of 10 Shahed drones," he said.
Oleksiy Kuleba also confirmed that most of the drones were shot down by air defense forces in the region. He also hinted that the occupiers intended to attack energy infrastructure facilities.
"Russia continues to terrorize the country's energy infrastructure. But we are getting stronger every day," he notes.
As of 7:50 a.m., the alarm in Zhytomyr and Kyiv regions continues. The head of the Zhytomyr Regional Prosecutor's Office Vitaly Bunechko warned that a second wave of drone attacks is possible.
Update from Kyiv. The attack is over. Govt reports that over 13 drones have been shot down. Two admin buildings were hit. No casualties. Thank you air defense! pic.twitter.com/w0NSFO4lLS— Tymofiy Mylovanov (@Mylovanov) December 14, 2022
Debris from a downed drone damaged administrative buildings in Kyiv
Two administrative buildings in the Shevchenko district of Kyiv were damaged by debris from a downed kamikaze drone. This was announced today in Telegram by the civil military administration of the Ukrainian capital, Ukrinform reported.
The agency informed that the air defense of Ukraine shot down 10 drones of the Iranian Shahed model in the region of the capital, which, according to Kyiv and the West, are used by Russian troops. There are currently no casualties reported.
The air alert announced earlier today continues in Kyiv and citizens should remain in shelters, the message said.
Shevchenko district is located in the central part of Kyiv. There are enterprises from the construction industry and 71 highly productive industrial enterprises, TASS notes in information on the subject.
Ukraine's allies have pledged over 1 billion euros in immediate winter aid
Some 70 countries and institutions have pledged more than 1 billion euros in immediate aid to Ukraine to get the country through a harsh winter as Russian forces pound its power grid and other critical civilian infrastructure, Reuters reported.
France hosted the global meeting to discuss what can be proposed between now and March to maintain water, nutrition, energy, health and transport during Ukraine's typically freezing winter.
Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said more than 1 billion euros had been pledged, with about 415 million earmarked for Ukraine's energy sector, which has been hit by Russian airstrikes. According to her, the participation of non-Western countries such as Qatar and Cambodia shows the expansion of support for Ukraine.
The rest of the funds will go to Ukraine's health, food, water and transport sectors, with almost 500 million euros yet to be distributed, she added.
"This is a powerful signal that shows that the civilized world supports Ukraine," Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal told reporters in Paris. "We are grateful to the countries that stand by us as we endure Russia's aggression on our territory and our civilian infrastructure."
The conference was also an opportunity for French President Emmanuel Macron to show solidarity with Ukraine. He has been criticized by some European allies and by Kyiv itself over the level of French military support and his comments about the need to maintain a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Baltic states and other European nations, alarmed by Macron's remarks about possible Russian security guarantees, formally expressed their disapproval and explained their position to France on Monday, diplomats told Reuters.
Macron's mixed messages on Ukraine have caused irritation that has become increasingly apparent in some Eastern European capitals. The French presidency said its comments, particularly on providing security guarantees to Russia, were taken out of context and Paris had never wavered in its support for Kyiv.
"Once Russia's military weaknesses became apparent, it adopted a cynical strategy of destroying civilian infrastructure to subdue Ukraine," the French leader said at the opening of the donor conference.
"These strikes, which Russia openly admits are only intended to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people, are war crimes that will not go unpunished," the president added.
Macron said he would visit Ukraine again to participate in the process of working out the conditions for a just and lasting peace. The "ten-point peace plan" of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is "an excellent base on which to build together," noted the French head of state.
"However, our immediate task is to provide assistance to the Ukrainian people so that they can continue to resist," he pointed out.
Macron said France would provide Ukraine with 63 electric generators in addition to the 100 delivered in November. With an additional 48.5 million euros, French aid will reach 200 million euros this year, Macron said.
Addressing the audience via video link, Zelensky said Kyiv needed at least 800 million euros in emergency aid to deal with Russia's "energy terrorism" and help Ukrainians survive the winter. "It's a lot, but the price is lower than the price of a blackout," Zelensky said.
The international meeting also created an online mechanism so that Ukraine can present its urgent needs and donor countries can respond quickly.
Turkey and Russia are deepening inter-parliamentary ties
The Speaker of the Grand National Assembly (Parliament) of Turkey Mustafa Sentop announced the deepening of inter-parliamentary ties between Russia and Turkey at a press conference after his meeting with the Speaker of the State Duma of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin in Ankara.
The Speaker of the Turkish Parliament stated that during the talks with Volodin, a wide range of issues related to the further development of inter-parliamentary relations were discussed. "Relations between Turkey and Russia are at a very high level both in terms of intergovernmental relations and in the field of economy and trade," Sentop said.
The Speaker of the Turkish Parliament drew attention to the challenges of the time. "Today we live in a multipolar world. In this period, interaction will be beneficial both for the region and for the world as a whole. Of course, it is very important that these relations develop on the basis of mutual trust and sincerity. Thanks to these principles in difficult times, compromise solutions can be reached. The Istanbul grain supply agreement is a concrete example of such cooperation, which is important for the whole world," said Sentop.
In turn, the Chairman of the State Duma of Russia Volodin noted that the talks in Turkey took place in an extremely warm and friendly atmosphere.
According to him, the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on both the health of the population and the economy.
The chairman of the Russian word emphasized the importance of "face-to-face" meetings and drew attention to the expression in Russia "without dialogue, there is no trust, and without trust there is no development"
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