Ukraine Latest: Russian Barrage Follows Blasts at 2 of Its Bases

Volodymyr Zelenskiy repeated calls for Ukrainians to brace themselves for a tough winter, telling the nation in his nightly address that Russia is weaponizing the cold.

Snow fall in Kyiv on Dec 3.  Photographer: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Snow fall in Kyiv on Dec 3. Photographer: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Moscow fired missiles that hit Ukrainian energy infrastructure, triggering emergency blackouts, while blasts at two air bases in Russia killed three people and injured seven, Russian news services reported. 

Kyiv said its forces had shot down most of the missiles, while Moldova said it found a fallen rocket near its border with Ukraine and warned of new blackouts. A price cap and a European Union ban on seaborne imports of Russian crude oil into the bloc also came into force.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there’s no sign Russian President Vladimir Putin is interested in “meaningful” talks. And the EU is looking to impose restrictions on Russia’s drone sector as part of a new sanctions package it aims to approve next week. 

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Blasts Hit Russia Air Bases as Kremlin Renews Ukraine Strikes
  • Ukraine Is Putin’s ‘Tool’ to Put Europe on its Knees, Rama Says
  • Russia’s European Crude Sales Collapse Ahead of Sanctions
  • EU Eyes Russia’s Drone Sector in Ninth Sanctions Package
  • Oil Climbs as China Loosens Curbs and OPEC+ Keeps Output Steady

On the Ground

Russian missiles hit Ukrainian energy infrastructure, according to the nation’s energy grid. “Powerful explosions” also hit the city of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine overnight, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said on Telegram. Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 13 settlements in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions over the past day, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook. According to its statement, Russia shelled more than 20 settlements along the right bank of the Dnipro River on the Kherson axis.

(All times CET)

Ukraine Downed Most Russian Missiles, Zelenskiy Says (4:25 p.m.)

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down most Russian missiles launched at Ukraine today, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says in a video statement.

Utility workers are already restoring power to areas that suffered blackouts, he said.

Putin Drives On Damaged Crimea Bridge (4:02 p.m.)

Putin drove a Mercedes across the Kremlin’s flagship bridge to the occupied Crimea peninsula, which is still being repaired after a suspected truck bomb seriously damaged the span in October.

“We’re driving across the right side,” the Russian president said in footage broadcast on state TV. “The left side, as far as I understand, is in working condition but it needs to be fully restored. It was slightly damaged, it needs to be returned to ideal condition,” he told Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who was in the passenger seat.

Russia blamed Ukraine for the Oct. 8 explosion that hit a fuel train and caused the partial collapse of the road link running from the Russian mainland to Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Ukrainian officials didn’t claim responsibility but the country’s postal service quickly announced a new stamp commemorating the blast.

Blackouts in Some Ukrainian Regions After Salvo (3:36 p.m.)

Power supply and other critical services that operate on electricity have been cut off in some Ukrainian regions, including preventively, the nation’s grid operator and local officials said.

The attacks triggered emergency blackouts in the northern Sumy region and Mykolayiv region in the south. The city of Odesa lost power and water, the water utility said on Telegram. Russian missiles hit energy infrastructure sites in Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said on Telegram warning of possible large scale power cuts. The city Zhytomyr also suffered blackout on Monday.

Moldova Finds Fallen Missile, Prepares for New Blackouts (3:05 p.m.)

Moldova discovered a fallen missile in a village close to the Ukrainian border after Russia launched a new barrage of missiles against Ukrainian infrastructure, the government said in a statement on Telegram. 

The area in the town of Briceni was secured by police, and the government has raised the level of alert, it said. Moldovan energy company Moldoelectrica also warned of new interruption of power supply due to the attacks against its neighbor.

“This once again proves that Russian missile terror poses a huge threat not only to Ukraine, but also to the security of neighboring countries,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said on Facebook. “Ukraine should get modern anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense systems as soon as possible, which save people’s lives, protect critical infrastructure and prevent further missile attacks from the Russian Federation.”

Russian Missiles Hit Energy Facilities in Ukraine, Grid Operator Says (2:44 p.m.)

Missiles hit Ukrainian energy infrastructure sites in Russia’s eighth massive missile barrage since the start of its invasion, national power grid operator Ukrenergo said on Facebook, without naming the locations of damaged facilities.

The hits triggered emergency power cuts.

Putin Using Ukraine to Put Europe on Its Knees, Albanian PM Says (1:53 p.m.)

A key motivation for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was to sow turmoil more broadly in Europe, and he’s now seeking to make the entire continent suffer, according to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Rama described Ukraine as “the tool to fulfill the ambition of Vladimir Putin to put Europe on his knees.” 

“It’s not about Ukraine, it’s about Europe,” Rama said in an interview. “And the bet is very, very clear to me, to make Europe suffer economically and financially to the point that something under the rug starts to fire up and create instability and chaos within the European countries.”

Russia Launches New Missile Barrage, Kyiv Says (1:49 p.m.)

Russia launched a new barrage of missiles against Ukraine, and citizens should seek shelter and heed air-raid warnings, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko called for aid points to gear up for an influx of people seeking shelter by gathering water and turning on the heat, as social media feeds showed videos of Ukrainians crowding into metro stations. 

“Russia continues to do what it began doing Oct. 10, above all targeting objects of critical infrastructure,” air defense spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on television.

Explosions Reported at Two Russian Military Airfields (12:55 p.m.)

A fuel tanker exploded at an airfield near Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, the Tass state news service reported, citing emergency officials. Three people were killed at five others wounded, it said. Russian independent telegram channel Astra reported that a drone crashed onto an airfield in the western Saratov region, damaging two Tu-95 bombers and wounding two servicemen. 

The region’s governor, Roman Bursagin, said on Telegram that incidents on military facilities are being investigated, while reports on the incidents were sent to Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

“If something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podoylak said on Twitter. 

Kyiv Official Slams Macron’s Russia Stance (9:30 a.m.)

After a state visit to Washington, President Emmanuel Macron told French TV that Russia would need security guarantees as part of future negotiations to end the war, stoking fresh criticism in the Ukrainian capital.

In the coming weeks, allies need to help Ukraine resist, avoid nuclear escalation and prepare dialog, Macron said in the interview. “One of the essential points we must address — as President Putin has always said — is the fear that Nato comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia,” he said. “That topic will be part of the topics for peace.”

Macron is constantly fighting the perception that he is soft on Putin -- especially in eastern Europe -- as he has sought to maintain dialog with the Russian president while supporting Ukraine. 

EU Aims to Strengthen Measures Against Russia (9:00 a.m.)

In addition to sanctions on Russia’s drone sector, the EU is considering restrictions on other technologies and components used by Moscow for military purposes, as well as measures further targeting services, investments and Russia’s media and financial sectors.

The new package would also add about 180 individuals and entities to the bloc’s sanctions list, and the bloc aims to approve it before its leaders meet in Brussels next week. 

Moscow has been using drones to attack Ukraine’s energy and civilian infrastructure in recent weeks.

EU Eyes Russia’s Drone Sector in Ninth Sanctions Package

Zelenskiy Urges Ukrainians to Stay Strong (8:10 a.m.) 

“Russia still has missiles and an advantage in artillery. But we have something that the occupier does not have and will not have. We defend our home, and that gives us the strongest motivation possible,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly address. “We fight for freedom, and that always multiplies any force.”

No Sign Putin Wants Meaningful Talks, Blinken Says (6:30 p.m.) 

Putin would have to be “interested in meaningful diplomacy” for talks on a Ukraine war settlement to make sense, said Blinken. “What we’ve seen at least recently is exactly the contrary,” he added. 

Russia has mobilized more forces, illegally annexed large areas of Ukrainian territory, and is now “weaponizing winter” by attacking civilian infrastructure, Blinken said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

“Unless and until Putin demonstrates that he’s actually interested in meaningful diplomacy, it’s unlikely to go anywhere,” he said.

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