It is day 300 of the war in Ukraine. Follow the latest news about the war and all its consequences in this live blog.
Putin strengthens borders and increases control of mass gatherings
23:15 | Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding more efforts from Russian security forces in all areas. Among other things, he ordered the strengthening of Russian borders and increased control of mass gatherings.
Security forces are also supposed to “protect” the population of Ukrainian territories annexed by Moscow. Putin called the inhabitants of the occupied territories “all Russian citizens”.
In addition, he ordered the security forces to act more vigorously and decisively against the activities of foreign intelligence agencies. Traitors, saboteurs and spies must be caught, Putin said.
Monday, December 19
Putin: good talks Lukashenko
18:00 | Vladimir Putin has described talks between Russia and Belarus in Minsk as “very productive” after his one-on-one meeting with Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusian state media reported.
At a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart, Putin stressed that Russia has no interest in “absorbing” anyone and that unnamed “enemies” want to block Russia’s integration with Belarus.
The future of the Belarusian and Russian people “is now being decided,” Belarusian state news agency Belta quoted President Lukashenko as saying. He added:
“Today we can say unequivocally: Together we not only managed to survive, but also found opportunities for the development of our economies.”
He said the two leaders’ talks with major government delegations in Minsk had been productive, saying they had discussed “the whole range of issues concerning Belarusian-Russian relations,” Belta said.
UN chief believes war in Ukraine ‘continues’
17:30 | UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he believes Russia’s war in Ukraine “will continue” and sees no prospect of “serious” peace talks in the near future.
Speaking at his annual year-end conference in New York, Guterres told reporters that he “will not waver in the pursuit of peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law and the UN Charter,” referring to the core principle of the UN Charter. respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said he was “not optimistic” about any peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in the near future, adding:
“I think the military confrontation will continue.” Still, he said he “strongly hopes” that peace can be reached by 2023, citing the “consequences” for the Ukrainian people, Russian society and the global economy if no deal is reached.
“These are all reasons why we are doing everything possible to reach a peace settlement by the end of 2023.” Finally, he said he would focus on improving the effectiveness of a UN-brokered deal that resumes Ukrainian shipments of food and fertilizer via the Black Sea, that he would continue to try to limit Russian ammonia exports via Ukraine, and that he would try to speed up the exchange of prisoners of war.
Moldovan intelligence warns of ‘very high’ risk of Russian offensive into rebel region
16:00 | The head of Moldova’s security service, Alexandru Musteata, has warned of a ‘very high’ risk of a new Russian offensive against the east of his country, echoing recent reports by several Ukrainian military leaders that Moscow is preparing for another major offensive at the beginning of next year. .
Russia is still pursuing a land corridor through Ukraine to the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria, Musteata told TVR-Moldova television channel, as reported by Reuters. “The question is not if the Russian Federation will make a new advance on the territory of Moldova, but when.”
He said his agency believes Moscow is exploring different scenarios to reach Moldova and that an offensive could be launched in January-February or later in March-April. Transnistria, controlled by pro-Russian separatists and permanently home to 1,500 Russian soldiers and a large weapons cache, borders western Ukraine.
Musteata said Russia wants to link its troops with those in Transnistria.