US sending aid to Ukraine to help it shore up its utilities….
The Middle East maybev ending up replacing Russian oil for Europe…..
Finland and Sweden begin working with NATO before their formal joining the Organiztion….
The conflict IS affecting Europe’s economy….
Russia is mad at the Pope….
Here’s what we know:
As winter approaches, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced an emergency aid package of $53 million to shore up Ukraine’s energy infrastructure after an onslaught of Russian attacks.
U.S. officials hope the new aid for Ukraine’s energy grid will spur donations from other nations.
Russia postpones a meeting on a nuclear arms control treaty.
A communal grave with six bodies is unearthed in Kherson.
Why the Ukrainian flag is flying everywhere in Maine….
Foreign ministers representing each NATO member, in addition to applicant members Finland and Sweden, will meet to discuss the resilience of critical infrastructure across the alliance as well as how to continue supporting Ukraine.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Ukraine’s energy grid operator says it can provide only 70 percent of the electricity required, almost a week after Russian strikes damaged power facilities across the country. The State Department official told reporters that 25 to 30 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian missiles and drone attacks.
- “We are all paying a price for Russia’s war against Ukraine,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg saidTuesday, acknowledging that Europeans face “a painful cost of living crisis” as a result of the conflict. However, the alliance will “not back down,” he said. “The price we pay is in money, while the price Ukrainians pay is in blood,” he added. “And if we let Putin win, all of us will pay a much higher price, for many years to come.”
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the meeting’s Romanian hosts for welcoming Ukrainian refugees, for exceeding NATO requirements on defense spending and for helping the alliance safeguard the Black Sea — parts of which he said Russia has turned into a war zone. “We stand united in the face of President Putin’s brutal war against Ukraine,” Blinken said.
- “We cannot allow Putin to steal our Christmas,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. He told local news agency RBC-Ukraine that while traditional New Year’s concerts have been canceled, Christmas trees would still be put up — although Kyiv’s energy supplier said separately that they will not be illuminated as in the past, to preserve electricity. The capital continues to deal with disruption to its power, water and heat supplies as Russian attacks on its critical infrastructure continue into winter, the mayor said.
- Group of Seven justice ministers are meeting for a second day in Berlin to coordinate the investigation of war crimes committed in Ukraine. Karim Ahmad Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, was also invited by Germany, this year’s G-7 president. A separate meeting of the group’s foreign ministers has also been planned in Bucharest, alongside the NATO meeting, where Germany’s foreign minister said ministers will coordinate on supporting Ukraine’s energy needs.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned the country to brace for more Russian strikes and said Ukraine is trying to use charitable donations to buy generators and other energy equipment. “The main issue is getting through this winter,” Zelensky said Monday in his nightly address. “We will do everything so that Ukraine receives the maximum possible help from the world.”
- Russian forces are probably preparing a new wave of missile strikes across Ukraine to sustain the current pace, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War reported Monday.
- Russians fired 258 times on 30 settlements in Kherson in one week, Zelensky said in his nightly address Monday. He also noted that Russian forces damaged a pumping station that supplied water to Mykolaiv.
- Moscow has likely shifted away from one of its favored battlefield organizational strategies in the past three months, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. For the past 10 years, Russia has used the battalion tactical groups (BTG) system to integrate battalions with their armor, reconnaissance and artillery sub-units, British intelligence officials said. They believe the system has fallen out of favor because it is unsuitable for high-intensity, large-scale combat.
- Moscow has lodged a protest with the Roman Catholic Church following comments by Pope Francis about Russian ethnic minorities, Tass reported. In an interview with America Magazine on Monday, Francis described Russia’s Chechen and Buryati minorities as “the cruelest … perhaps” among the Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, before clarifying that “the one who invades is the Russian state.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the minority groups, who have been deployed to fight in significant numbers, as part of one multireligious Russian family.
- Qatar has signed a 15-year energy deal with Germany to supply it with liquefied natural gas starting in 2026, the Associated Press reported, adding that officials have not revealed the value of the agreement. Germany plans to receive the gas through a specialized terminal at Brunsbüttel near the North Sea, one of five reported by the AP to be under construction. Before this year, Berlin depended on Moscow for more than half its natural gas, but since the invasion of Ukraine, it has vowed to phase out Russian gas completely….