Key events

Number of Russian sorties ‘reduced significantly’ in recent months: UK MoD

In recent months, the number of sudden troop deployments conducted by Russian tactical combat aircraft over Ukraine has “reduced significantly”, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Russian aircraft now probably conducts tens of missions per day, compared to a high of up to 300 per day in March 2022, the latest British intelligent report suggests.

“Russia has now lost over 60 fixed-wing aircraft in the conflict, likely including an additional Su-24M FENCER fighter-bomber and a Su-25 FROGFOOT ground attack aircraft last week,” the ministry adds.

The decrease in sorties is likely a result of continued high threat from Ukrainian air defences, limitations on the flying hours available to Russian aircraft, and worsening weather.

With Russia’s ground attack tactics largely reliant on visual identification and unguided munitions, the Russian air force will likely continue a low rate of ground attack operations through the poor winter weather.”

Russian forces shelled the Kherson region 46 times on Sunday, killing one civilian, according to senior Ukrainian presidential aides.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, made the claim in a Telegram update late on Sunday. “During the day, the occupiers shelled the region 46 times with mortars, tanks, artillery and MLRS. Private and apartment buildings and other buildings were destroyed,” he said citing the Kherson city council.

Anton Gerashchenko, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry, said a 65-year-old woman was killed in the attack. He made the claim in a Telegram post early this morning:

As a woman and her husband were crossing the Dnieper in a boat in the Golopristansky district, the rashists [Russians] opened fire from machine guns. The pensioner died from her wounds.”

US thinktank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has responded to earlier claims made by senior US government officials, saying they were mistaken in identifying the optimal window of opportunity for Ukraine to conduct more counteroffensives as the spring rather than winter.

Its latest report reads:

US Director for National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines assessed on December 3 that the pace of the war in Ukraine will slow over the winter so both sides can refit, resupply, and reconstitute, despite evidence that conditions on the ground favour a renewed offensive and despite the demonstrated tendency of Ukrainian forces to initiate new counteroffensive efforts relatively quickly after the previous effort has culminated.”

A ‘reduced tempo’ in fighting to continue over winter, US predicts

A “reduced tempo” in fighting is expected continue over the winter months as brighter prospects for Ukrainian forces emerge in the coming months, the US has said.

Speaking during a defence forum at the weekend, Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, said:

Most of the fighting right now around Bakhmut and the Donetsk area has slowed down with the withdrawal of Russia from the western Kherson area to the east of the river. And we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months.”

Vladimir Putin is now “better informed” about the difficulties facing his forces in Ukraine, Haines added, indicating the Russian president was no longer as insulated from bad news arising from his invasion of Ukraine.

Alluding to past assessments that Putin’s advisers could be shielding him, Haines said he was “becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces”.

Kyiv resumes power shutdowns

Cities across Ukraine will resume scheduled power outages today.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko promised there would be “as few deviations as possible” in a Telegram post late on Sunday.

Starting tomorrow, Monday, Kyiv will return to stabilisation shutdowns according to the schedule,” he said.

But the situation in the energy system remains difficult. Therefore, as noted by energy experts, there may be some deviations from the schedule for balancing the energy system.

There is a further need to save electricity. And it must be done.”

Price cap on Russian oil comes into force

A price cap on Russian seaborne oil agreed upon by G7 nations comes into force today as the west aims to reduce the Kremlin’s income from fossil fuels as well as curtailing Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine.

The UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and the US, as well as EU member states and Australia came to an agreement to put a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian oil after Poland, which was holding out, gave the green light to the deal. Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter.

The agreement allows Russian oil to be shipped to third-party countries using G7 and EU tankers, insurance companies and credit institutions, only if the cargo is bought at or below the $60 per barrel cap.

The price cap would “immediately cut into Putin’s most important source of revenue” US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, said.

But critics, including Ukraine, say the cap is toothless since it is above the price of existing Russian oil prices of about $52 a barrel.

An oil tanker moored at the Sheskharis complex, part of Chernomortransneft JSC, a subsidiary of Transneft PJSC, in Novorossiysk, Russia.
An oil tanker moored at the Sheskharis complex, part of Chernomortransneft JSC, a subsidiary of Transneft PJSC, in Novorossiysk, Russia. Photograph: AP

“You wouldn’t call it a serious decision to set such a limit for Russian prices, which is quite comfortable for the budget of a terrorist state,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

“It’s only a matter of time before stronger tools will have to be used anyway. It is a pity that this time will be lost.”

Russian authorities rejected the price cap and on Saturday threatened to stop supplying the nations that endorsed it.

Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday it was a gross interference that contradicted the rules of free trade.

“We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilise the market,” said Novak, the Russian government official in charge of its oil, gas, atomic energy and coal.

“We will sell oil and petroleum products only to those countries that will work with us under market conditions, even if we have to reduce production a little,” he said.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Samantha Lock and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments as they unfold over the next few hours.

A price cap on Russian seaborne oil agreed upon by G7 nations comes into force today as the west aims to reduce the Kremlin’s income from fossil fuels as well as curtailing Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine.

For any updates or feedback you wish to share, please feel free to get in touch via email or Twitter.

If you have just joined us, here are all the latest developments:

  • Vladimir Putin is now “better informed” about the difficulties facing his forces in Ukraine, the head of US intelligence has said. Speaking during a defence forum at the weekend, Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, indicated the Russian president was no longer as insulated from bad news arising from his invasion of Ukraine. Alluding to past assessments that Putin’s advisers could be shielding him, Haines said he was “becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces”.

  • The US expects a “reduced tempo” in fighting to continue over the winter months, adding that there could be brighter prospects for Ukrainian forces in the coming months. “Most of the fighting right now around Bakhmut and the Donetsk area has slowed down with the withdrawal of Russia from the western Kherson area to the east of the river. And we expect that’s likely to be what we see in the coming months,” Haines said.

  • Heavy fighting continues around the key Donbas town of Bakhmut, where Russian forces have been struggling for six months to make minimal progress. Reports on social media suggested Ukrainian forces were making progress in operations on the east bank of the Dnipro River, opposite the recently liberated city of Kherson, after a reported amphibious landing on the Kinburn Spit last month. Russian forces have also intensified artillery attacks on the Kherson region since withdrawing from the western bank of the Dnipro.

  • A draft resolution is circulating at the United Nations for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to hold Russia accountable for crimes of aggression in Ukraine. Signs also indicate that US opposition to the proposal may be softening in the face of lobbying by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Beth Van Schaack, the US ambassador for global criminal justice, said this week: “So far, all of the [UN general assembly] resolutions on Ukraine have prevailed. The numbers have been quite strong.” The international criminal court has already started investigating war crimes in Ukraine but cannot prosecute the Kremlin leadership over the broader crime of aggression since Russia is not a signatory to the relevant statute.

  • Iran’s leadership has locked itself into a “vicious cycle” over protests and arming Russia, the US special envoy has said. “The more Iran represses, the more there will be sanctions; the more there are sanctions, the more Iran feels isolated,” Rob Malley, the US special envoy on Iran, told a conference in Rome. “The more isolated they feel, the more they turn to Russia; the more they turn to Russia, the more sanctions there will be, the more the climate deteriorates, the less likely there will be nuclear diplomacy. So it is true right now the vicious cycles are all self-reinforcing.” US intelligence chief Avril Haines said there was worrying evidence that Russia was seeking to deepen military cooperation with Iran.

  • Russia will not sell oil that is subject to a western price-cap even if it has to cut production, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday. The G7 and Australia agreed to the price cap on Friday.

  • Opec+ agreed to stick to its oil output targets at a meeting on Sunday. Opec+, which comprises the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allies including Russia, angered the US and other western nations in October when it agreed to cut output by 2m barrels a day, about 2% of world demand, from November until the end of 2023.

  • More than 500 Ukrainian localities remained without power on Sunday following weeks of Russian airstrikes on the electric grid, an interior ministry official said.

  • Ukraine is imposing sanctions on 10 senior clerics linked to a pro-Moscow church on the grounds they agreed to work with Russian occupation authorities or justified Moscow’s invasion, the security service said.

An elderly woman carrying a trolley bag crosses the river on a destroyed bridge in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on 4 December.
An elderly woman carrying a trolley bag crosses the river on a destroyed bridge in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on 4 December. Photograph: Yevhen Titov/AFP/Getty Images

You May Also Like

Rescue centre’s ‘oldest ever’ dogs with a combined age of 34 find their forever home

A rescue centre’s oldest ever pair of dogs with a combined age…

‘Government Gangsters’ Trying to ‘Cover Up’ Biden Classified Docs

Former White House national security official Kash Patel spoke with Breitbart News…

Shamed ex-minister Nadhim Zahawi refuses to go quietly after being fired over tax affairs

Tax row ex-minister Nadhim Zahawi is threatening to kick-start a damaging protracted…

Amy Klobuchar Cites Two Pistol Attacks to Push ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) posted a video to Twitter on Saturday in…

Jay Leno Breaks Bones in Motorcycle Wreck Months After Garage Fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two months after undergoing surgery for serious burns,…

Dozens of worshippers are killed and 150 injured in suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Pakistan 

Dozens of worshippers have been killed and 150 injured in a suicide…

Finland Features 59-Year-Old Transgender Skater at European Figure Skating Championships

Finland made a special show of virtue signaling to the transgender community…

Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 341 of the invasion | Russia

Russian shelling of residential areas in Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson left…