Russia-Ukraine war live: US senate blocks bill for further Ukraine aid | Ukraine #RussiaUkraine #war #live #senate #blocks #bill #Ukraine #aid #Ukraine

Key events

2024 Russian presidential election confirmed for 17 March

Russia’s Federation council has confirmed the date of the 2024 presidential election in the country for 17 March, moving Vladimir Putin closer to a fifth term in office and handing him the opportunity to remain in power until at least 2030.

Putin, who is 71, hasn’t yet announced his intention to run again, but Associated Press reports he is widely expected to do so in the coming days now that the date has been set.

With a tight control of the election mechanism in Russia, Putin is almost certainly assured of victory. His most prominent opponents are either in jail or abroad, and most independent media inside Russia has been banned.

Under constitutional reforms he orchestrated, he is eligible to seek two more six-year terms after his current one expires.

Tass reports the decision was made unanimously by the upper house of Russia’s parliament, with 162 senators voting for it.

Russia’s ambassador to the US has described Joe Biden’s words about the potential for Nato and Russian forces to clash directly as “unacceptable”.

In a post on Telegram, Anatoly Antonov said:

In an attempt to add fuel to the fire of the Ukrainian war by proxy, they have completely lost touch with reality, easily talking about the likelihood of a direct clash between the armed forces of our countries. This kind of provocative rhetoric is unacceptable for a responsible nuclear power.

The US president had said that if Vladimir Putin was victorious in Ukraine, the Russian president would not stop there, and Biden predicted he would go on to attack a Nato ally of the US.

Accusing Biden of fabricating horror stories to justify the cost of US foreign policy towards Russia, Antonov added:

Let me emphasise: Washington and its insatiable military-industrial complex are the direct beneficiaries of the bloodshed in Ukraine. This is confirmed by the latest package of weapons allocated today for the needs of the crazed neo-Nazis in Kyiv. Isn’t it time for the local authorities to come to their senses and stop wreaking havoc around the world just to save themselves from the decline of American hegemony?

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region in Russia, has reported multiple overnight instances of cross-border fire into Russia from Ukraine at villages and settlements near the border. In a post on his Telegram channel, he said there had been no damage or casualties as a result of the attacks.

Russian drone attack on Odesa region damages grain infrastructure, kills one

A driver was killed and grain infrastructure damaged by a Russian drone attack on Ukrainian grain infrastructure near the Danube River, the governor of Odesa region said on Thursday.

The onslaught lasted for more than two hours overnight, the governor added, and although most of the drones were shot down, some got through and damaged a storage building, a lift and trucks.

Reuters reports that Moscow hit Danube port infrastructure with waves of drone attacks in August and September – but the latest attack came after a lull in such strikes.

Ukraine’s air force said 18 Shaheds were launched at the southern Odesa and Khmelnytskyi regions in western Ukraine. Fifteen were shot down.

Opening summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here is a summary of the latest developments:

  • 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 United Arab Emirates 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 the UAE president, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Putin offered to discuss the “Ukrainian crisis”, among other subjects.

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