US Bradley Fighting Vehicles in Lithuania in 2019 (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1805 GMT:
An investigation has established that Russian oligarchs transferred hundreds of millions in assets to Cyprus, avoiding sanctions over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The transfers are documented in Cyprus Confidential, a cache of 3.6m files leaked by an anonymous source to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and Germany’s Paper Trail Media.
Accountants PwC Cyprus and other advisors managed the transactions, using opaque offshore structures.
Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov tried to transfer £1 billion ($1.25 billion) in Europe’s largest tour operator Tui on the day he was sanctioned by the European Union. The transfer is now subject to criminal investigation in Cyprus.
Influential German journalist Hubert Seipel received €600,000 ($652,000) from Mordashov’s companies for the publication of two books about Vladimir Putin.
Tens of millions of pounds in offshore payments were made by sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich, during his ownership of London’s Chelsea Football Club, to agents, scouts, and club officials.
The Cypriot Government said in response that it will pursue a “zero-tolerance approach” to sanctions violations. A spokesperson said Cyprus is receiving technical support from the UK Government to create a sanctions implementation unit next year. The island has also joined an EU cross-border project on effective sanctions.
UPDATE 1444 GMT:
Ukraine and Poland have failed to reach an agreement to resolve a week-long protest by Polish truckers at the Ukrainian border.
The truckers are halting traffic at three crossings. They say they are losing business to foreign competitors during Russia’s 20 1/2-month invasion, and are demanding limits on the number of licenses for Ukrainian drivers.
“Negotiations have not yet led to anything, and Polish carriers continue to block three main directions,” Ukraine Border Guard spokesperson Andriy Demchenko said.
About 1,300 trucks are held up from the Polish side at the Yahodyn checkpoint, and 500 trucks at both Krakovets and Rava-Ruska. Congestion of about 1,100 trucks has built up at the Shehyni checkpoint because of drivers changing their routes.
UPDATE 1418 GMT:
Former detective Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, one of five people convicted over the 2006 killing of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, has been pardoned after fighting in Ukraine.
Khadzhikurbanov’s lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik said, “As a special forces fighter, he was invited to sign a contract to participate in the special military operation….When the contract expired, he was pardoned by presidential decree.”
Politkovskaya, who worked for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, was shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment. She was prominent in her investigation and critique of Kremlin activities.
UPDATE 1411 GMT:
Attacking Nikopol in south-central Ukraine with three “kamikaze” drones, Russian forces have killed a 26-year-old man and moderately injured a 72-year-old man.
Dnipropetrovsk Governor Serhiy Lysak said Russia struck the Nikopol area 11 times with drones and artillery. A 9-story building, four private houses, two cars, and a power line were damaged.
UPDATE 0926 GMT:
Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Dubinskiy has been charged with treason and detained for 60 days.
In 2019, Dubinskiy helped Donald Trump in his attempt to spread disinformation about Democratic rival Joe Biden. He conferrred with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as Trump blackmailed the Zelenskiy Government by cutting off military aid.
Ukraine’s State security service SBU claims Dubinskiy, former lawmaker Andriy Derkach, and ex-prosecutor Kostyantyn Kulyk — also associates of Giuliani — joined an organization formed by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.
The SBU said:
The main task of this organization was to take advantage of the tense political situation in Ukraine and discredit our state in the international arena. For this, the group was getting money from Russian military intelligence. Financing amounted to more than $10 million.
The SBU asserted that Dubinsky, guided by the GRU, spread fake news about Ukraine’s military and political leadership, including claims that high-ranking Ukrainian officials were interfering in US presidential elections. The group was allegedly run by GRU deputy head Vladimir Alekseyev and his deputy Oleksiy Savin.
If found guilty, Dubinsky faces up to 15 years in prison and forfeiture of his assets. Both Derkach and Kulyk are in hiding.
Dubinsky denied any wrongdoing and declared the investigation a political persecution.
UPDATE 0818 GMT:
The trial of artist Alexandra Skochilenko — threatened with prison after she replaced supermarket price labels with anti-war messages — was suspended on Monday after the audience “clapped too hard” in response to a speech by her lawyer.
Skochilenko’s attorney Yana Nepovinnova said the case “would have seemed barbaric just a few years ago”:
You can’t punish a person for dissent, for feeling differently. You can’t punish someone for objective criticism of the authorities and their decisions. They can’t punish someone for a mistake….
I’ll conclude my speech with a quote from my defendant Skochilenko: “This is a test of your humanity. You’ve been given a chance to pass it.”
Judge Oksana Demyasheva shouted at the audience to be quiet. She ordered bailiffs to remove the people who had “clapped too loud”, and then exited the room. Later she returned to the court and said the trial will continue on Tuesday behind closed doors.
Prosecutors have requested that Skochilenko, arrested in April 2022, be sentenced to eight years in prison.
UPDATE 0805 GMT:
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has acknowledged that the European Union is unlikely to fulfil its pledge to provide Kyiv with one million shells by March.
Asked in a telethon about a report over the difficulties with the promise, Kuleba responded, “Unfortunately, Bloomberg is telling the truth. There are questions, and we, let’s say, ring the bells a lot and loudly.”
The Minister said there is political will in the EU, but it is hampered by the “deplorable state of the defense industry” and “a lot of unsynchronized things, a lot of bureaucracy”.
We here really appreciate the support of the European Union, but we will push them on. Because, again, there is a Ukrainian infantryman standing before our eyes, and he needs shells.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said at the end of October that the EU had transferred 300,000 shells to Kyiv.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed, ahead of a EU Defense Council in Brussels on Tuesday, “It is safe to assume that the one million rounds will not be reached.”
However, Thierry Breton, the EU’s industry commissioner, insisted, “This target will be met.”
I’m responsible for ammunition production capacity. So I can confirm that the target of producing more than a million rounds of ammunition a year, which we set ourselves and which [EU countries] hope to achieve from spring onwards, will be met. Now it’s up to the member states to place the orders.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: With hard-right Republicans and Trumpists in the House of Representatives blocking billions in dollars of aid to Ukraine, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has warned that time is running out for necessary economic, financial, and military assistance.
Sullivan said in a press briefing on Monday:
Each week that passes, our ability to fully fund what we feel is necessary to give Ukraine the tools and capacities it needs to both defend its territory and continue to make advances, that gets harder and harder.
So, for us, the window is closing.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said last Wednesday that the Biden Administration has allocated 96% of the funds that it has available to support Ukraine.
Last month, the Administration included $61.4 billion in additional authorization in a $100 billion request — which also had assistance for Israel and Taiwan and replenishment of defense stocks — to the House last month. It was blocked by the hard-right Republicans and Trumpists, as they ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy’s replacement, Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, has separated Israel from Ukraine and omitted aid for both in his proposal for Government funding beyond November 17.
Senate Republicans are supportive of the assistance needed to back Kyiv against Russia’s 20 1/2-month invasion. However, all appropriations bills must begin in the House.
If a continuing resolution is not adopted by midnight Friday, the Federal Government faces a shutdown.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met the head of the Ukraine Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, to discuss air defense equipment and winter preparations.
Yermak thanked the Biden Administration, both houses of Congress and the American people for security guarantees: “They are critical to guaranteeing stability in our state and bringing victory closer.”
Met with Ukrainian Presidential Office Head @andriyyermak in Washington.
Our commitment to Ukraine is steadfast. We will stand with Ukraine in its current fight and for the future. pic.twitter.com/YPflnI6yUb
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 14, 2023
And the Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, conferred by phone with the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Brown, about the “complicated but controllable” situation at the front.
The generals discusses plans for the winter period and the needs of the Ukrainian army for shells, air defense systems, and drones.