Putin supports the plan to expand the Russian armed forces to 1.5 million

Russian President backed a defense minister’s proposal to strengthen the Russian military by more than 30% on Wednesday, as he said needed to learn from and address the problems it faces in Ukraine. Read our live blog to see how all of today’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

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15:55: Russia’s defense minister proposes to increase the number of soldiers to 1.5 million

“It is necessary to increase the number of armed troops to 1.5 million servicemen, including 695,000 contract soldiers,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin, who “agreed” with the proposals, at a defense meeting.

Shoigu also proposed raising the age range for mandatory Russian military service to 21-30, compared to 18-27 at the moment.

14:07: “We can’t let them in”: On the front line with Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut

Reporters from France 2 TV went to the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, where they documented Ukrainian troops in front-line trenches and townspeople gathering to receive aid. Yinka Oyetade from FRANCE 24 explains.

13:44: Russian Defense Minister: Moscow is fighting “united forces” from the West in Ukraine

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that Moscow’s forces waging a military campaign in Ukraine are facing “joined forces of the West” that have provided with arms and financial support.

“In Ukraine, Russian servicemen are opposed to the united forces of the West,” Shoigu said in a report during a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his country’s top military officers.

13:33: Russia’s Shoigu says Mariupol and Berdyansk ports are working

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol, located on the Sea of ​​Azov in territory occupied by Russian forces, were functioning.

13:27: Russian defense minister says forces are ‘destroying Ukraine’s military capabilities’

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia’s forces are actively destroying Ukraine’s military potential and accused the West of trying to “draw out” the conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking with President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s top military leaders, Shoigu also said that the latest mobilization, which called up 300,000 reservistshad been a serious test for the country and the army, but had increased Russia’s fighting ability.

13:27: Putin says Russian Defense Ministry should listen to critics

President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s Defense Ministry needed to address criticism of its actions during what he called Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine and that a recent mobilization campaign had highlighted some problems. Putin made the comments in a year-end speech to top military leaders.

13:13: Putin says there is no limit to financial support for Russia’s armed forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised on Wednesday to give his armed forces everything they asked for to support the military campaign in Ukraine. Speaking to defense chiefs in Moscow, Putin said there were no financial limits to what the government would give its military.

He also said that Russia needed to take special account of the importance of drones in the 10-month-old conflict and that Russia’s hypersonic Sarmat missilecalled “Satan II”, would be ready for deployment in the near future.

He further added that Russia will continue to develop its military potential and the combat readiness of its nuclear forces against the backdrop of Moscow’s offensive in Western-backed Ukraine.

“The armed forces and the combat capability of our armed forces are increasing constantly and every day. And this process we will, of course, continue to build on,” Putin said at a televised defense meeting, adding that Russia will also “improve the combat readiness of our nuclear triad” .

In addition, he announced that the new Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles will be deployed with the in early January. “Starting in January, the Admiral Gorshkov frigate will be equipped with the new Zircon hypersonic missile, which has no equivalent in the world,” Putin said during a meeting with his country’s top officers amid Ukraine’s military offensive.

1:05 p.m.: Putin hails Russian ‘heroes’, says Moscow will face targets in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia would meet all the goals of its military campaign in Ukraine as he hailed Russian soldiers and defense chiefs as “heroes” in a speech in Moscow.

Putin said at a year-end meeting of Russia’s top defense chiefs NATO military alliance used its full capabilities against Russia, urging the assembled military leaders to use their experience from fighting in and during the 10 months of what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

12:25: Russia’s Gazprom starts production at Kovykta gas field to supply China

Russia’s Gazprom started production at the Kovykta gas field on Wednesday in a ceremony presided over by President Vladimir Putin and Gazprom chief Alexei Miller.

The field, the largest in eastern Russia, will supply gas to China through the gas pipeline.

11:36 AM: Air raid warnings issued across Ukraine

Air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine on Wednesday, local officials said, but there was no immediate word of a new wave of Russian attacks.

Russia has implemented a series of missile and drone strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure since mid-October, knocking out power and causing emergency shutdowns in many areas.

10:33: The Kremlin says there are no plans for the Putin-Grossi meeting in Moscow

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it had no plans to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin International Atomic Energy Agency manager during his trip to Russia on Thursday.

10:32: Kremlin says no chance for Ukraine peace talks as long as Western arms deliveries continue

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it sees no possibility of peace talks with Ukraine as long as the West supplies Kyiv with weapons. Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said continued Western military aid to Ukraine would lead to a “deepening” of the conflict.

The statement came shortly after the White House confirmed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Washington for a visit that is expected to include the announcement of more military aid to the country.

10:31 am: Putin to mark launch of gas fields feeding pipeline to China, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin will participate in a video conference on Wednesday to mark the launch of Kovykta gas field, which feeds into the Power of Siberia pipeline that transports Russian gas to ChinaKremlin said.

10:30 a.m.: Putin will give an important speech to defense chiefs, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver an important speech later today when he meets with his defense chiefs for a year-end meeting to assess the progress of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

10:02: The IAEA’s Grossi will visit Russia on Thursday

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi will visit Russia on Thursday for discussions on the creation of a security zone around nuclear power factory in southern Ukraine, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing Russia’s envoy to the international institutions in Vienna.

The facility, in Russian-occupied territory, has come under repeated shelling attacks that each side has blamed on the other, raising fears of a nuclear disaster

09:40: The EU is not conducting a fair investigation into the Nord Stream explosions, says Lavrov

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that it appears no EU countries are “objectively” investigating the series of explosions that blew up Nord Stream gas pipelines in September.

“After the explosions on the Nord Stream, which it seems no one in the EU will objectively investigate, Russia stopped gas transportation through the northern routes,” Lavrov said.

Russia has blamed Britain for the explosions, a claim rejected by London, while investigators in Sweden and Denmark said the blasts were the result of deliberate sabotage, although they did not name any possible perpetrators.

09:05: ‘They will try to play down the odds’ in Ukraine: FRANCE 24’s Nick Holdsworth on Russia’s planned defense meeting

FRANCE 24’s Nick Holdsworth reports from , at a defense meeting in Moscow he says “will be about optics”.

08:29: Russia’s Medvedev says discussed Ukraine’s war in meeting with China’s Xi

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev posted a video on social media on Wednesday in which he met the Chinese president Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing. Medvedev, who is now vice chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said he and Xi discussed Russia and Chinas “strategic partnership”, cooperation between the two countries and the conflict in Ukraine.

Xi told Medvedev that China hopes all parties to the Ukraine crisis will resolve security issues through political means, Chinese state media Xinhua reported.

7:16: Zelensky confirms he is on his way to Washington for talks on Ukrainian defense

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early Wednesday that he was on his way to the United States for talks with the US president Joe Biden and to address Congress. “En route to the US to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience and defense capabilities,” Zelensky said on his Twitter account.

“In particular, @POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between Ukraine and the US. I will also have a speech at Congress and a number of bilateral meetings”.

07:04: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy is planning a visit to the United States during his first trip abroad since the war began

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with US President Joe Biden and address Congress on Wednesday during a visit to Washington, his first trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February, the White House said.

Zelensky will join Biden at the White House to announce a “significant new package of security assistance,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said. A senior official said the package contained advanced Patriot anti-aircraft missiles.

>> Ukraine’s Zelensky plans to travel to the United States, first trip abroad since the war started

06:49: Belarus restricts access to parts of the region bordering Ukraine, Russia

Belarus issued a decision on Wednesday temporarily restricting access to parts of the southeastern Gomel region bordering Ukraine and Russia. The government said on its website that it would “temporarily restrict entry, temporary stay and movement in the border zone within the Loevsky, Braginsky and Khoiniki districts of the Gomel region”.

Russian forces used Belarus as a launch pad for their failed attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in February, and there has been growing Russian and Belarusian military activity in recent months.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Putin supports the plan to expand the Russian armed forces to 1.5 million

Originally published on France24

Putin supports the plan to expand the Russian armed forces to 1.5 million

Source: sn.dk

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