Home Business Ukraine Latest: Russia’s UN Seat Challenged; Air Base Attacked

Ukraine Latest: Russia’s UN Seat Challenged; Air Base Attacked

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Ukraine has asked members of the United Nations to review Russia’s place in the international organization and strip it of its veto-wielding permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

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(Bloomberg) — Ukraine has asked members of the United Nations to review Russia’s place in the international organization and strip it of its veto-wielding permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Ukraine is challenging whether Russia had the right to take the Soviet Union’s place in the UN after its collapse 31 years ago, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday. The government in Kyiv has called for Russia’s removal from the UN throughout the war. 

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In Russia, three servicemen died in the second Ukrainian drone attack this month on a military air base that houses strategic bombers in the southern Saratov region, the state-run Tass news service reported, citing the Defense Ministry. They were killed by falling wreckage when the drone was shot down as it approached the Engels air field, Tass said. Ukraine has avoided claiming credit for strikes carried out on Russian territory.

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

Key Developments

  • Three Die in New Drone Attack on Russian Strategic Bomber Base
  • Congress Clears $1.7 Trillion Funding Bill With Ukraine Aid
  • Russia Says It May Cut Daily Oil Output by 700,000 Barrels 
  • A 35-Year-Old Tycoon Targets the Country Where He’s Sanctioned 

On the Ground

Russia’s military shelled areas including the Sumy and Kharkiv regions in the country’s northeast, and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to the south. A strike in the Sumy region on Monday damaged a hospital and killed a child, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Twitter. Following an attack that killed more than 10 people over the weekend in Kherson, the government advised civilians to leave the city and the region because of the constant bombardment. Ukrainian forces repelled assaults near 16 settlements in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, according to the General Staff. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the towns of Bakhmut and Kreminna remain the most difficult and “painful” areas of the front as Russian pushes hard to make advances there.

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(All times Central European Time) 

Millions of Ukrainians Contend With Power Cuts (10:05 p.m.)

While Ukrainian energy workers move to repair damage to the electricity system caused by recent Russian missile and drone attacks, almost nine million Ukrainians are still contending with power cuts, President Zelenskiy said in his nightly address. 

Earlier Monday, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said Russia has not given up its plans to launch further attacks on the nation’s energy facilities, with another round possible over the New Year holidays.

Almost 100 Ukrainian Grain Ships Held Up in Bosphorus (6:10 p.m.)

According to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry, 99 ships are held up by Russian inspection teams in Bosphorus. This includes 73 ships heading to Ukrainian ports to be loaded with grain and 22 loaded ships making their way to Africa, Asia and Europe. Nine ships left Ukrainian ports in past two days.

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Putin Adds Ex-President to Military-Industrial Commission (4 p.m.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Dmitry Medvedev as his first deputy head of the state commission charged with coordinating industrial production for the military, Tass reported.

Medvedev, who held the presidency for four years allowing Putin to return to the Kremlin in 2012, is also deputy head of the country’s Security Council. 

The commission includes Russia’s defense minister, industry minister, and the army and security service chiefs.

Ukraine Seeks Russia’s Removal From UNSC (2:30 p.m.)

Ukraine is challenging Russia’s right to take the Soviet Union’s place in the United Nations after its collapse 31 years ago, Kuleba said Monday. 

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Ukraine has asked members of the UN to review Russia’s membership in the international organization and remove it from the UN Security Council, according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website. Russia has one of the five veto-wielding permanent seats on the UNSC.

“The Russian Federation took over the seat of a permanent member of the UN Security Council bypassing the procedures defined by the UN Charter,” the ministry in Kyiv said. “We believe that, guided by the principle of equality of UN members, the Russian Federation should follow the same international legal path for admission to membership in the Organization as other countries did.” 

Ukraine Plans Access to Banking Network During Blackouts (11:30 a.m.)

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The National Bank of Ukraine is creating a “power banking” network to ensure systemically important lenders can provide services even when electricity and internet connections cut out, central bank chief Andriy Pyshnyi said on Facebook. 

The network will unite at least 1,000 bank branches, and each will have generators, backup communication channels, and satellite internet systems, if necessary, as well as sufficient personnel and cash, Pyshnyi said. “This will be a unique example of market consolidation for joint resistance to the challenges of war,” he said.

Russia to Boost Oil Exports 7.5% in 2022, Tass Reports (11:15 a.m.)

Russia is set to export 242 million tons of crude oil this year, up 7.5% from a year earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview to Tass. That is equivalent to 4.86 million barrels a day, based on a ratio of 7.33 barrels per ton. 

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Exports may rise next year if the European Union’s ban on Russian fuel imports leads to a drop in refining, Novak said in the interview. Discounts on Russian oil prices may start to narrow within four months as producers and buyers develop new supply routes, he said.

Novak also said he doesn’t see natural gas prices in Europe dropping to levels seen in early 2021 any time soon.  

Ukraine Faces More Emergency Power Cuts Amid Excess Use (11:15 a.m.)

Ukraine’s national power grid operator, Ukrenergo, warned five regions and the capital, Kyiv, that they face more emergency power cuts on Monday after exceeding assigned limits on consumption.

The entire country faces a shortage of electricity and all regions must stick to the limits, Ukrenergo said in a Facebook post. 

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Repairs are continuing, but it will take a “significant” amount of time to restore key parts of transmission and generation capacity damaged by Russian missile barrages, Ukrenergo said on Facebook.

Ukraine Sees Russia at “Dead End” on Battlefield (11 a.m.)

Ukraine expects no significant changes along the front line in the near future even after Russia’s recent mobilization, Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview with the Liga.net news service. 

“Russia is now at a dead end,” Budanov said. Russia’s attempts to advance are concentrated near Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, and areas toward the city of Zaporizhzhia in the south, and have met with no success, he said.

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Budanov reiterated that Ukraine aims to restore control over all its territory including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Crimea will be returned using “both force and diplomacy,” he said, according to Liga.

Russia Says Airbase Attacked by Drone (7:30 a.m.)

Russian forces shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching the Engels military base at 1:35 a.m. Moscow time, Tass reported. Three Russian soldiers were killed by the falling debris, while planes at the air field in the Saratov region weren’t damaged, the news service reported, citing the Defense Ministry. It was the second attack this month on the base, which houses strategic bombers.

“If Russians thought that war won’t touch them far behind the front lines, they were deeply wrong,” Ukraine’s air defense force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on television, without commenting on whether his country was involved in the attack. Ukraine hasn’t publicly claimed responsibility for strikes on Russian territory. 

Ukraine has destroyed about 70 Iranian single-use drones from a second shipment to Russia of about 250 of the weapons, Ihnat said. The initial shipment to Russia amounted to almost 400 such drones, he said.

—With assistance from Kateryna Choursina.

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