December 5, 2022
Europe

Russia increasingly isolated on world stage as Putin turns 70

russia-increasingly-isolated-on-world-stage-as-putin-turns-70

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday celebrated turning 70 with a ceremony attended by Russian officials as US President Joe Biden said that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Russian officials have spoken of the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons after suffering major setbacks in Putin’s Ukraine invasion. Read our live blog to see how all the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2). 

This live page is no longer being updated.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

10:02pm: Fighting intensifies amid reported Russian gains in east UkraineRussian forces said Friday they had captured a series of villages near the Ukraine-controlled industrial town of Bakhmut, in Donetsk in east Ukraine, which has been under Russian shelling for weeks.

South of the city, in the direction of the apparently seized villages, occasional columns of black smoke erupted on Friday after shells exploded. Occasional bursts of machine gun fire was also audible.

“Our sources in the Ukrainian army are saying they have been pushed back,” says FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent, reporting from Donetsk. “It’s an extremely dangerous situation with the Russians and Ukrainians just a few hundred metres apart.”

01:11

9:08pm: Liverpool to host 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of UkraineThe northern English city of Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, on behalf of this year’s winners Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict there.

Liverpool edged out the other candidate, Glasgow, as host city in a draw held live on BBC television on Friday.

While decades-long tradition dictates that the winner of the contest gets to host it the following year, the European Broadcasting Union had said safety and security reasons meant runners-up Britain were instead invited to host.

Ukraine will automatically qualify to the grand final of the competition, the EBU said.

9:00pm: Zelensky says Ukraine has liberated 96 settlements in latest offensiveUkrainian forces have liberated a total of 2,434 square km (940 square miles) and 96 settlements in the east of the country in their latest offensive, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address on Friday.

Zelenskiy also said that in the last week alone, Kyiv’s forces had taken 776 sq km (300 square miles) and 29 settlements in the east of the country. On Thursday, he said more than 500 square km (190 square miles) had been recaptured in the south.

8:54pm: Russia labels star rapper Oxxxymiron a ‘foreign agent’Russia on Friday labelled superstar rapper Oxxxymiron, popular among young Russians, a “foreign agent”, according to the interior ministry’s website.

Oxxxymiron, the stage name of 37-year-old Miron Fyodorov, has called the Kremlin’s Ukraine offensive a “catastrophe and a crime”. 

His name was added to a register of “foreign agents” — a term used to crackdown on Kremlin critics — on the ministry’s website.  

The rapper is one of thousands of Russians who left Russia since the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine and has organised concerts in support of Ukrainian refugees from abroad.

Popular Russian science fiction writer Dmitry Glukhovsky — who also denounced the offensive and was put on a wanted list for “discrediting” the Russian army — was also labelled a “foreign agent”.

Feminist politician Alena Popova — who has long campaigned for domestic violence legislation in Russia — and a journalist for Radio Free Europe/Liberty, Irina Storozheva, were also added to the foreign agent list. 

8:43pm: UN body votes to establish Russia human rights investigatorA UN human rights body comfortably passed a motion on Friday to appoint a new independent expert on alleged human rights abuses in Russia, accusing Moscow of creating a “climate of fear” through repression and violence.

Members voted 17 in favour and six against, with 24 abstaining. The move is the first time that the 16-year-old Human Rights Council has set up a Special Rapporteur to examine the rights record of one of its so-called ‘P5’ members, which hold permanent seats on the Security Council.

“We want it to be clear today that we didn’t forget those who struggle for freedom at home while (Russian President Vladimir) Putin represses the Russian people and carries out oppression overseas,” Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Simon Manley, told Reuters right after the vote.

6:27pm: No ‘indications’ of Russian nuclear preparations despite Biden warning, US saysThe United States sees no sign of Russian preparations to use a nuclear weapon in the near future, the White House said Friday after President Joe Biden warned that the world risks “Armageddon”.

“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing imminently to use nuclear weapons,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Asked if Biden’s alarming comment – made late Thursday while criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin – reflected new intelligence, she said “no.”

01:53

5:49pm: Macron announces €100 million fund for Ukraine to buy armsFrance has created a fund, initially worth €100 million ($98 million), for Ukraine to directly buy weapons and other materiel it needs in its war against invading Russia, President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

“We are setting up this special, dedicated fund initially with €100 million to allow the acquisition of equipment that we have already delivered and that we will continue to do so in terms of weapons, meaning defensive ones,” Macron said after an EU summit in Prague.

He added that discussions were being held, particularly with Denmark, to deliver more highly accurate CAESAR truck-mounted cannons to Ukraine, on top of the 18 it has already given.

5:01pm: ‘Mixed reaction’ among Ukrainians to Nobel Peace Prize win for Ukraine NGONews that Ukrainian NGO The Center for Civil Liberties was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with human rights watchdogs in Russia and Belarus has been greeted with a “mixed reaction” in Ukraine, says FRANCE 24 correspondent Gulliver Cragg.

“Although they say these organisations are doing good work… any idea from the West that puts Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians in the same bucket is wrongheaded and misunderstanding the situation, according to [some] Ukrainian intellectuals,” says Cragg, reporting from Kyiv.

01:44

3:25pm: Zelensky calls for more EU pressure on Russian energy sectorUkraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday called on Brussels to ramp up pressure on Russia’s energy sector, a day after the EU imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

“We must continue moving in this direction — the direction of pressure on the Russian energy sector, on this main source of income of the aggressor state,” Zelensky said in a video address to an EU summit in Prague.

1:58pm: Nobel-winning Ukraine NGO says Putin should face tribunalRussian President Vladimir Putin should face an “international tribunal”, the head of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties said Friday after the group was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. 

To “give the hundreds of thousands of victims of war crimes a chance to see justice… it is necessary to create an international tribunal and bring Putin, (Belarus President Alexander) Lukashenko and other war criminals to justice,” Oleksandra Matviychuk said on Facebook.

She also called for Russia to be excluded from the UN Security Council “for systematic violations of the UN charter”. 

1:33pm: Kyiv praises Ukrainian people as ‘architects of peace’ after NobelThe Ukrainian presidency said Friday that the people of Ukraine, under Russian attack since February, were “architects of peace”, after a Ukrainian NGO became the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The Ukrainian people are the main architects of peace, in which we must be able to exist without aggression,” presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on social media. 

A senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced irritation however that the prize was shared with organisations from countries allied against Ukraine: Russia and Belarus.

The “Nobel Committee has an interesting understanding of word ‘peace’ if representatives of two countries that attacked a third one receive the Nobel Prize together”, presidential advisor Mykhaylo Podolyak said on Twitter. 

“Neither Russian nor Belarusian organizations were able to organize resistance to the war,” Podolyak said. 

Nobel Committee has an interesting understanding of word “peace” if representatives of two countries that attacked a third one receive @NobelPrize together. Neither Russian nor Belarusian organizations were able to organize resistance to the war. This year’s Nobel is “awesome”.

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) October 7, 2022 Russian rights group Memorial and Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski were victims of repression in their own countries.

12:49pm: Missiles, drones hit Zaporizhzhia again as death toll from Thursday’s attack risesThe death toll from Thursday’s missile attack on apartment buildings in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia rose to 11, Ukraine’s emergency services said, as more Russian missiles and — for the first time — explosive packed drones targeted the Ukrainian-held city.

The regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones damaged two infrastructure facilities in the city, the first time they were used there. He said that fresh missile strikes injured one person. 

The emergency services said another 21 people were rescued from the rubble of the apartments that were hit in Thursday’s strikes. 

“This was not a random hit, but a series of missiles aimed at multi-storey buildings,” Starukh wrote on his Telegram channel.

FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports from Zaporizhzhia.

01:24

11:00am: Nobel Peace Prize goes to activists from Belarus, Russia and UkraineThis year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to jailed Belarus rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Ukrainian organisation the Center for Civil Liberties.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the panel wanted to honour “three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine”.

“Through their consistent efforts in favour of human values and anti-militarism and principles of law, this year’s laureates have revitalized and honoured Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and fraternity between nations, a vision most needed in the world today,” she told reporters in Oslo.

10:31am: Russian-backed forces claim gains near Bakhmut in east UkraineRussian-backed separatist forces in east Ukraine said Friday they had regained territory near the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, even as Ukraine’s forces claw back swathes of territory in the east.

“On the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a grouping of troops of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, with fire support from Russian forces, liberated Otradovka, Veselaya Dolina and Zaitsevo,” a separatist military detachment said in a statement on the Telegram social media platform.

The statement referred to the Moscow-backed, self-declared “republics” in Ukraine’s east.

10:17am: ‘God put you in power’, Russian Orthodox leader tells Putin on his 70th birthdayThe head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said Friday that Vladimir Putin’s reign over Russia had been mandated by God, congratulating the Kremlin chief on his 70th birthday.

“God put you in power so that you could perform a service of special importance and of great responsibility for the fate of the country and the people entrusted to your care,” the patriarch said, joining a chorus of Russian officials congratulating Putin on his birthday.

10:02am: Kremlin proxy official says five killed by Ukraine shelling in KhersonA Russian-installed official in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson said Friday that five civilians were killed in shelling by Kyiv’s forces, as Ukrainian forces push a  counteroffensive to reclaim the area.

“Militants from the Ukrainian military fired at a bus carrying civilians on the Daryevsky bridge. Civilians were on their way to work. As a result of the shelling, unfortunately, five people died and five were injured,” the official, Kirill Stremousov, said in statement on Telegram.

9:04am: Ukraine calls on Russia’s troops to lay down armsUkraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Friday called on Moscow’s troops to lay down arms in a video address in Russian.

“You can still save Russia from tragedy and the Russian army from humiliation,” Reznikov said in the video addressed to Russian troops. “We guarantee life, safety and justice for all who refuse to fight immediately. And we will ensure a tribunal for those who gave criminal orders.”

“You have been deceived and betrayed” by the Kremlin, Reznikov said.

“It’s easier for them to tell you that you died heroically in battle against imaginary NATO hordes. It is true that NATO countries are supplying us with weapons. But it is Ukrainian soldiers who are beating you with these weapons,” Reznikov said.

8:48am: Ukraine’s military continues advance in the northeast Over the past two weeks, Ukraine’s military has retaken 93 settlements, towns and villages as it pushed around 55 kilometres into Russian-occupied territory, Ukraine’s General Staff said. The battles are continuing: Ukrainian forces continue to push north and east and are aiming for vital Russian supply lines in the Luhansk region. FRANCE 24’s senior correspondent Catherine Norris Trent reports from Druzkhivka, Ukraine. 

03:18

7:52am: US flies Russian cosmonaut to ISS as Ukraine conflict ragesA SpaceX capsule carrying a Russian crew member docked Thursday with the International Space Station on a NASA mission that carries significant symbolism amid the war in Ukraine.

The Crew Dragon spaceship “Endurance” blasted off Wednesday from Florida and rendezvoused with the orbiting research outpost some 30 hours later, docking at 11:01pm GMT. 

“Crew-5 is happy to have finally arrived at the International Space Station,” said commander Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman in space. “We are looking forward to getting to work.”

Also aboard were Koichi Wakata of Japan, Josh Cassada of the United States and Anna Kikina of Russia, the only female cosmonaut currently in service.

Around two hours after docking, hatches were to open allowing the crew to join seven others already on the station: two Russians, four Americans and an Italian.

Two weeks ago, a US astronaut took off on a Russian Soyuz rocket for the orbital platform.

The long-planned astronaut exchange program has been maintained despite soaring tensions between the United States and Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

4:56am: Belarus leader bans price increases to tackle inflationBelarus President  Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday banned price increases with immediate effect to curb galoping inflation in the ex-Soviet country. 

He has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994 and is known for folksy eccentricities and radical suggestions, such as drinking a shot of vodka daily to ward off the coronavirus. 

“From October 6, all price increases are forbidden. Forbidden! From today. Not from tomorrow, from today. So that prices aren’t driven up in the next 24 hours,” Lukashenko told a meeting with officials. 

He said consumer prices were “outrageous” and have increased by 18 percent year-on-year.

“Meat, dairy products, poultry… are getting more expensive. In Minsk there has been a shortage of eggs in recent days,” Lukashenko, 68, said.  

“The task is to return to an inflation rate of 7-8 percent by next year,” he added. 

2:30am: Biden warns risk of nuclear ‘Armageddon’ at highest level since 1962 Cuban Missile CrisisSpeaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons”.

Biden added, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Biden also challenged Russian nuclear doctrine, warning that the use of a lower-yield tactical weapon could quickly spiral out of control into global destruction.

“I don’t think there is any such thing as the ability to easily use a tactical weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” Biden said.

US officials for months have warned of the prospect that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine as Moscow has faced a series of strategic setbacks on the battlefield. As recently as this week, though, they have said they have seen no change to Russia’s nuclear forces that would require a change in the alert posture of US nuclear forces.

10:05pm, October 6: Ukraine has retaken more than 500 sq km of land since October 1: ZelenskyUkrainian forces have recaptured more than 500 square kilometres (195 square miles) of territory and dozens of settlements in the southern Kherson region alone since October 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

In a video address, he also said there had been more military successes in the east.

Earlier Thursday, Ukraine’s southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said the recaptured territory in Kherson was home to nearly 30 towns and villages that had been occupied by Russian forces for months.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio (FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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