Macron’s scandalous statement, Russian church sanctioned, letter bomb analyzed

5 December 2022, 03:12 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Monday, December 5th, 2022.

Weekend Catch-up Edition:

•   The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom arrested Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman on suspicion of money laundering, but he was later released on bail.

"The NCA has conducted a major operation to arrest a wealthy Russian businessman on suspicion of offences including money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury," the NCA message reads.

Video of day

•   The West should include security guarantees for Russia if Russian dictator Vladimir Putin agrees to negotiate the peace process with Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

"We are in line with (Biden), helping Ukrainians to counter (Russian) strikes on their civilian infrastructure, to put pressure on Russia so it returns to the negotiating table, to eliminate escalation in regard to civil nuclear power and, finally, to consider new security architecture that includes guarantees for Russia," the French leader said.

•   The first vessel under the Ukrainian humanitarian program Grain from Ukraine arrived at the port of Doraleh, Ethiopia, delivering 25,000 tons of wheat.

A second vessel with 30,000 tonnes of wheat, which is being loaded at the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, is to depart for Ethiopia next week. A third ship will be loaded in the port of Odesa. It will deliver 25,000 tons of products to Somalia.

•   President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has imposed personal sanctions against representatives of religious organizations affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

On Dec. 1, Zelenskyy said that the NSDC had instructed the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience to conduct an examination of the statute on the UOC’s management to find out a possible connection with the Moscow Patriarchate and to take appropriate measures if necessary.

•   Meanwhile, the UOC-MP ordained a priest suspected of pedophilia as a bishop in a ceremony in Kyiv.

•   Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he will continue to oppose the European Union’s plan to provide Ukraine with an aid package worth EUR 18 billion in 2023.

Orban acknowledged that Ukraine needs help to pay for the functioning of essential services but emphasized that he would block the EU’s plan of joint borrowing to fund the package. “The question is how to help Ukraine,” Orban said. He said that according to one of the proposals, the EU countries should jointly take out new loans and transfer this money to Ukraine.

•   Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks called for the expulsion of employees of Russian opposition media outlet TV Rain.

Pabriks’ suggestion comes after one of Dozhd’s anchors, Alexei Korostelev, said on air that the channel helps the Russian army fighting in Ukraine with “equipment,” without specifying exactly how that was done. “We hope we have been able to help many (Russian) servicemen with, for example, equipment and basic necessities at the front,” Korostelev said on Dec. 1, as he was hosting Dozhd’s “Here and Now” regular program.

•   The Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, connecting Norwegian gas fields through Denmark with Poland, has reached full gas pumping capacity.

According to the Polish side, Danish operator Energinet completed the process of connecting a compressor station in Zeeland to the Baltic Pipe infrastructure, which allowed the gas pipeline to achieved its designed capacity for pumping to Poland 10 billion cubic meters per year.

•   European Union governments have tentatively agreed on a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian seaborne oil.

An EU document seen by Reuters shows the price cap will be reviewed in mid-January and every two months after that, to assess how the scheme is functioning and respond to possible “turbulence” in the oil market that might occur as a result.

•   Days before the price cap and an embargo on Russian oil takes effect, shipping costs have surged for Moscow’s crude.

•   Ukraine’s budget deficit exceeds $22 billion.

So far, the deficit is much smaller than forecast for the corresponding period, the ministry noted. Over the first 11 months of the year, the deficit was almost UAH 500 billion ($13 billion) less than the UAH 1.3 trillion ($35.5 billion) foreseen for the general fund for this period in the amount of.

•   Deputy presidential chief-of-staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko was spotted driving a Porsche belonging to a wealthy Ukrainian businessman.

The car, a Porsche Taycan, is believed to be owned by businessman Vemir Davitian. According to an investigation by Ukrainska Pravda, the car was purchased on June 8, 2022. On June 25, it was recorded by CCTV cameras outside Kyiv on the way to a town where Ukrainian oligarchs live.

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•   NV has gathered details about a letter bomb and other threatening parcels sent to the Ukrainian embassy in Spain.

As of December 1, six instances of small parcels or envelopes containing explosives have been discovered in Spain. According to Ukrainian Ambassador to Spain Serhiy Pohoreltsev, as quoted in European Pravda, the parcel delivered to the embassy in Madrid was significantly larger than an ordinary letter with documents.

•   The Biden administration is negotiating with Middle Eastern countries on the transfer of their NASAMS air defense systems to Ukraine.

Greg Hayes, the CEO of NASAMS manufacturer Raytheon Technologies, said that they intend to deliver the systems within the next three to six months. "There are NASAMS deployed across the Middle East, and some of our NATO allies, and we (the United States) are actually working with a couple of Middle Eastern countries that currently employ NASAMS and trying to direct those back up to Ukraine," Hayes said.

The day’s long read: What was discussed at NATO’s summit in Bucharest, and what wasn’t — NV report

Following up on a recent NATO ministerial meeting in Romania, NV analyzes about the key conclusions reached at the summit.

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