Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, Ukrainian energy infrastructure has come to the brink of collapse, the Washington Post reported, as Russia continued its pummeling with airstrikes around the country. Russia has pushed Ukraine towards a humanitarian crisis this winter, with millions of people potentially facing life-threatening circumstances without electricity, heat, or running water after six weeks of intensive bombing of the country’s energy infrastructure, the Washington Post added.

Also this week:

  • After a setback the day before to efforts led by the US and Ukraine’s other allies to reduce the flow of money fueling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European Union diplomats were due to try again on Thursday to agree on the final details of a strategy to help limit Russia’s oil revenues, the New York Times reported. Meanwhile, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism for its invasion and operations in Ukraine, the Associated Press added.
  • Russia has discreetly signed an agreement with Iran to begin producing hundreds of armed, unmanned aircraft on Russian soil, after weeks of savaging Ukrainian cities with Iranian-made drones, according to new evidence reviewed by the US and other Western security services, the Washington Post reported.
  • The Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner denied this week that Ukrainian forces had slain Russian prisoners of war, claiming that Ukrainian soldiers were defending themselves against Russians who pretended to surrender, Agence France-Presse noted. The denial comes after videos circulating on Russian social media purportedly showed the bodies of Russian servicemen murdered after surrendering to Ukrainian troops. The allegations prompted Washington’s envoy for war crimes to announce that the US is monitoring accusations of Ukrainian forces summarily executing Russian troops, and that all parties should face consequences if they commit violations during the conflict.
  • Finnish border guard officials said the construction of a lengthy barbed-wire fence along Finland’s border with Russia will begin early next year, according to Euronews. The announcement comes amid worries in the Nordic nation about the shifting security landscape in Europe. The first 1.8 miles of the barrier will be built by the summer of 2023 at a crossing site in the eastern town of Imatra. It will eventually stretch for more than 120 miles.
  • The Russian parliament approved a bill Thursday that broadens the restriction on “LGBT propaganda” and limits the “demonstration” of LGBT behavior, making any display of an LGBT lifestyle nearly impossible, Reuters noted. Under the new rule, any action or information considered an attempt to promote homosexuality – whether in public, online, or in films, books, or advertising – could result in a hefty punishment.
  • Banksy, the famous British street artist, displayed his latest artwork in Ukraine, ending weeks of debate about whether he had visited the nation, according to the New York Post.

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