Live: Kremlin sees ‘risk’ of Ukrainian attacks on annexed Crimea

Live: Kremlin sees ‘risk’ of Ukrainian attacks on annexed Crimea

The Kremlin said Thursday that Crimea was vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks after the Russian military downed a drone near the peninsula’s largest city, home to a key Russian naval base. The comments came a day after President Vladimir Putin admitted that Russia’s war in Ukraine would be “a long process”. Follow our live blog for the latest on the war. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

11:50am: Russia says aim of Zaporizhzhia safe zone is to ‘stop shelling of Ukraine’

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the main goal of a proposed safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is to “stop shelling of Ukraine.”

Both Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling the facility, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, and risking a nuclear accident.

The facility has come under repeated fire since Russia seized it shortly after launching its invasion in February, prompting the IAEA’s nuclear watchdog to call for a demilitarized safety zone around the facility.

10:55 am: Kremlin says “risk” of Ukrainian attacks in Crimea

The Kremlin has acknowledged that its forces are vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks on the Crimean peninsula after the Russian military shot down a drone near its largest city.

“There are certainly risks as the Ukrainian side continues its policy of organizing terrorist attacks. But on the other hand, information we receive indicates that effective countermeasures are being taken,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russia previously said it had shot down a drone over the Black Sea near Sevastopol – the largest city in Crimea that hosts a key Russian naval base.

Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and has used the peninsula as one of its battlegrounds for its latest invasion of Ukraine. In return, its forces there have been regularly attacked by drones.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol was target last month by a “massive” drone attack that Moscow blamed on Ukraine.

09:35: Germany’s Scholz wants anti-aircraft shield for the next five years

Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz hopes to develop a missile defense shield in the next five years, he said in an interview with Funke Media Group and French newspaper Ouest-France.

“Right now the government is talking to the manufacturers of the various systems to get ready for concrete decisions,” Scholz said.

The German leader also reiterated his aim to increase defense spending to meet the 2% of GDP target set for NATO allies, including the deployment of air defenses for a so-called Sky Shield with other NATO states.

Germany and more than a dozen NATO partners aim to jointly acquire air defense systems that protect allied territory from missiles.

Among the options being considered are Israel’s Arrow 3 system, US Patriot and German IRIS-T devices.

8:45am: Ukrainians without electricity, clean water as Russia cuts power grid

Successive waves of Russian missile strikes have left Ukrainian cities without electricity or clean water as freezing temperatures hit. FRANCE 24’s foreign director Rob Parsons reports from Mykolaiv in the south of the country.

7:15 a.m.: Russian troops take part in tactical exercises in Belarus

Russia says its troops are taking part in tactical exercises in Belarus, amid fears Moscow is pushing its ally to become more involved in the Ukraine war.

Belarus has said it will not enter the war in Ukraine, but President Alexander Lukashenko has previously ordered troops to deploy with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing threats from Kyiv and the West.

In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry said: “Servicemen of the Western Military District … continue intensive combat training on the fields of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus.”

Video clips posted by the ministry showed Russian soldiers in snow gear training near tanks in a wintry landscape and firing weapons including artillery.

01:30: Scholz says the risk of Russia using nuclear weapons has decreased, for now

The risk to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons as part of its war in Ukraine has declined in response to international pressure, Germany’s chancellor says Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Thursday.

The war continued with “unabated brutality” but for now one thing had changed, Scholz told Funke media in an interview to mark his first year in office.

“Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons. As a reaction to the international community marking a red line.”

Despite deep divisions, it was important that the dialogue with the Kremlin continued, Germany’s leader added.

22:34: Russians may want talks just to get new recruits trained, Stoltenberg says

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that it is not a good idea to get involved in the Russian negotiations and this is in line with what the Ukrainians are saying. Gulliver Cragg, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Kyiv, reports.

21:00: US slams ‘loose talk’ on nuclear weapons after Putin’s comments

The United States on Thursday condemned “loose talk” about nuclear weapons after the Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would only use a nuclear weapon in response to an enemy attack.

State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to respond directly to Putin, telling reporters: “We think any loose talk about nuclear weapons is completely irresponsible.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Live: Kremlin sees 'risk' of Ukrainian attacks on annexed Crimea

Originally published on France24

Live: Kremlin sees 'risk' of Ukrainian attacks on annexed Crimea


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