Republicans in the US Senate have blocked a supplemental funding bill that included financial aid for Ukraine. The vote increases the likelihood that Congress will fail to approve more funding for Ukraine before the end of the year, as the White House has warned that Kyiv is desperately in need of more aid.
Before the vote, President Joe Biden pleaded with Republicans, warning that a victory for Russia over Ukraine would leave Moscow in position to attack Nato allies and could draw US troops into a war. “If [Russian President] Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” Biden said. Putin would attack a Nato ally, he predicted, and then “we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops,” Biden said. “We can’t let Putin win,” he said.
A former Ukrainian MP regarded by Kyiv as a traitor has been shot dead in a park in suburban Moscow, in an attack attributed to Ukraine’s SBU security service. Illia Kyva was a pro-Russian member of Ukraine’s parliament before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but fled to Russia a month before the start of the war and frequently criticised Ukrainian authorities online and on Russian state TV talkshows.
European leaders are scrambling to rescue a plan to begin European Union accession negotiations for Ukraine, as Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, vows to block the decision at a summit of EU leaders next week. Orbán, widely seen as the EU’s most pro-Russian leader, has said repeatedly that he will not support Ukraine’s path to accession at this point. On Monday, he sent a letter to Michel demanding to take the issue off the agenda at the leaders’ meeting next Thursday and Friday.
A Russian-backed politician who served as a proxy lawmaker in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region was killed in a car bombing attack Wednesday, investigators said. Oleg Popov, who served as a deputy in the pro-Moscow Luhansk regional parliament, was killed after the “detonation of an unidentified device in a car”, Russia’s Investigative Committee said, without providing detail.
The US has charged four Russian soldiers with war crimes after they allegedly abducted and tortured an American citizen last year who was living in southern Ukraine, according to court documents unsealed on Wednesday. The US justice department said the accused Russians kidnapped the American in April 2022 from his home in the village of Mylove, in Kherson province, where he lived with his Ukrainian wife.
FBI agents tasked with investigating sanctions-busting have been sent to Cyprus as the global crackdown against Russian oligarchs, and the web of enablers who have helped hide their wealth, intensifies. American investigators will question how local lawyers and accountants helped shield Kremlin-linked business people from punitive EU measures following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, after last month’s publication of Cyprus Confidential, an investigation by the Guardian and international reporting partners, raised concerns about potential breaches.
G7 leaders agreed to restrict imports of Russian diamonds from next year in a tightening of sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “We will introduce import restrictions on non-industrial diamonds, mined, processed, or produced in Russia, by 1 January 2024,” the leaders said in a statement after a virtual summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Zelenskiy told the G7 leaders that Russia had ramped up pressure on the frontlines and warned Moscow was counting on western unity to “collapse” next year. “Russia hopes only for one thing – that next year the free world’s consolidation will collapse,” Zelenskiy said.
Putin visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a lightning tour intended to raise Moscow’s profile as a Middle East power broker. It was his first trip to the region since he launched his invasion of Ukraine. Speaking at the start of his talks with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Putin offered to discuss the “Ukrainian crisis”, among other subjects.