© Reuters. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks at a joint news conference (not seen) as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi
(Reuters) – Russia’s ally Belarus announced Wednesday that it was moving troops to counter a terrorist threat. This is a sign Moscow may be pressing Minsk into opening a new front against Ukraine.
* Belarus plans to move military equipment and security forces on Wednesday and Thursday in what it says are checks on its response to possible acts of terrorism, the state BelTA news agency reported.
* President Vladimir Putin said Russia would fight to defend its interests using all available means. While his army could be fighting in Ukraine long-term, he did not see the need to mobilise additional soldiers at this time.
* Russian forces killed at least 441 civilians in the early days of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations human rights office said, documenting attacks it said might be war crimes.
* Twin strikes on air bases deep inside Russian territory have dealt Moscow a major reputational blow and raised questions about why its defences failed, analysts said.
* The United States has made clear to Ukraine its concerns about any escalation of the war with Russia, but it respects Ukrainian sovereignty, including decisions about how Kiev uses weapons supplied by Washington, White House security spokesman John Kirby (NYSE:) said.
* Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko warned of an “apocalypse” scenario for the city this winter if Russian air strikes on infrastructure continue, but said there was no need for residents to evacuate now.
* Russia is still working on how to respond to a price cap imposed by Western powers on sales of Russian oil, the Kremlin said. The Vedomosti daily reported that Russia could decide to ban oil sales to certain countries and set maximum discounts at its crude.
POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY
* The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a ninth package of sanctions on Russia including almost 200 more individuals and entities.
* Time magazine named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy 2022’s “Person of the Year”.
* Klitschko dismissed criticism by Zelenskiy about Kyiv’s preparations for a winter of Russian air strikes, saying he believed it was driven by politics and that it looked “strange”.