'Drone strike' in Russian border town sparks fire at oil depot

Euromaidan Press tweeted this image 30 Nov 2022 https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1597847557899800576 @EuromaidanPress · 27m Fire of unknown origin rages at oil depot in Russia's Bryansk Oblast Russian newspaper Izvestia claims that a munition dropped from a UAV set fire to a diesel storage tank, then two more tanks caught fire. PH: Russian Telegram channels - EuromaidanPress

A huge fire ripped through an oil depot in Russia's Bryansk region near the border with Ukraine on Wednesday following a suspected drone attack.

"Reservoirs with oil products are on fire in the Surazhsky district. Fire and rescue teams are at the scene," governor Alexander Bogomaz said on social media.

The governor did not say what caused the fire, but the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper reported it was caused by an unidentified munition dropped from a drone.

Mr Bogomaz said the fire engulfed an area of 1,800 square metres and over 80 people were involved in putting it out. He added that there were no reports of casualties.

Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but if it is it would suggest an increased capability in carrying out attacks into Russian territory.

In April, two fires raged at fuel facilities in the Bryansk. There was immediate speculation that they had been caused by Ukrainian missile strikes or sabotage teams.

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10:49 AM

Russia and China carry out joint air force drills

Russian and Chinese air forces took part in joint military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

"The Russian Air Force and the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army of China conducted another joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region," the ministry said.

Russian strategic missile carriers TU-95 and Chinese Xian H-6 flew over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea for eight hours.

A pariah in the West since the Ukraine offensive, Putin has sought to bolster ties with Asia, particularly with China.

10:30 AM

Chechen leader Kadyrov said Pope Francis 'fell victim to propaganda'

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Pope Francis "fell victim to propaganda" after the pontiff singled out the alleged role of Russian ethnic minorities in the Ukraine offensive.

Mr Kadyrov, who rules the Muslim-majority Chechnya in Russia with widespread violation of human rights, has been one of Moscow's most vocal supporters in the campaign.

"The Pope called the Chechens and Buryats the most cruel in the Russian army," Mr Kadyrov wrote on social media, "he just fell victim to propaganda."

Chechen units - including Mr Kadyrov's own militia with a sinister reputation, the "Kadyrovtsi" - are fighting alongside regular Russian forces in Ukraine.

10:08 AM

In pictures: Latest scenes from the war

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine November 29, 2022. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS
Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine November 29, 2022. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS
Natalya Lutsenko, technologist of the Mariupol Wildlife Park, holds a new born lion cup in Mariupol, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Two newborn lion cubs were abandoned by the previous owners. The same situation happened with two tiger cubs four months ago, they now also live in Mariupol Zoo. (AP Photo) - AP
*** BESTPIX *** This photograph taken on November 29, 2022 shows ruins of the Azovstal plant in the Russian-occupied Azov Sea port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images) - STRINGER / AFP
*** BESTPIX *** This photograph taken on November 29, 2022 shows ruins of the Azovstal plant in the Russian-occupied Azov Sea port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images) - STRINGER / AFP
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Federico Quintana/SIPA/Shutterstock (13642543i) Fight like Ukranians - Home made assault vehicle with big caliber machine gun - Vadim The Kherson region was liberated after more than 7 months of occupation from Russian forces but the city remains the target of bombings. Many residents therefore decided to flee. November, 25th, 2022. Kherson after Russian retreat, Ukraine - 27 Nov 2022 - Federico Quintana/SIPA/Shutterstock

09:48 AM

Alex Kudrin becomes highest profile government official to leave a post since invasion

Alex Kudrin has become the highest profile government official to leave a post since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The upper chamber of Russia's parliament approved the resignation of Mr Kudrin as head of the Audit Chamber on Wednesday, paving the way for him to take up a potential role at Russian technology giant Yandex.

Sources expect Mr Kudrin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin throughout his career, to take up a role with Yandex, which last week announced a review of a possible sweeping governance overhaul that would leave its major business units in Russia under new ownership.

09:30 AM

Brussels proposes plan to confiscate frozen Russian assets

The European Commission has proposed confiscating Russian assets that have been frozen to punish Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

Officials in the European Union, the United States and other Western countries have debated for months how to legally seize Russian assets held abroad - both state and private - that are frozen by sanctions.

The problem is that in most EU member states, seizing frozen assets is only legally possible where there is a criminal conviction. Also, many assets of blacklisted Russian citizens are difficult to seize or even freeze because they are registered as belonging to family members or front people

Ursula von der Leyen she said that in the short term the EU and its partners could manage the funds and invest them. The proceeds would go to Ukraine that would ultimately compensate for damages caused to the country.

09:13 AM

Watch: A New Zealand soldier shows off his knife skills in front of Ben Wallace

08:59 AM

Finland's leader says Ukraine's success depends on more weapons

Finland's leader says it must give more weapons and support to Ukraine to ensure it wins its war against Russia.

"We need hard power when it comes to Ukraine," Ms Marin said on a visit to Auckland.

"They need weapons, they need financial support, they need humanitarian support, and we need to also make sure that all the refugees fleeing from Ukraine are welcomed to Europe," Ms Marin said.

Since the war began, both Finland and Sweden have abandoned their longstanding policies of military nonalignment and applied to join Nato. Both countries are still seeking endorsement from Turkey.

08:38 AM

EU seeks to set up Russian war crimes tribunal

The European Union will try to set up a specialised court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

"We are ready to start working with the international community to get the broadest international support possible for this specialised court," the European Commision President Ursula von Der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Russia, which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation", has denied targeting civilians.

08:15 AM

Germany says to send Ukraine more than 350 generators

Germany will provide Ukraine with more than 350 generators after Russian missile strikes severely damaged Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and said Germany would dispatch the generators, as well as provide financial assistance to repair energy infrastructure worth 56 million euros (£47.6 million).

08:04 AM

First Russian fertiliser shipment leaves for Malawi

The first shipment of Russian fertiliser left the Netherlands on Tuesday bound for Malawi after days of wrangling to ensure it was not snagged by Western sanctions.

Dutch and UN customs officials said some 20,000 tonnes of Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium left on board the MV Greenwich from the southern Dutch port of Terneuzen on Tuesday afternoon.

The ship was chartered by the UN's food security agency, the World Food Programme.

07:17 AM

Ukraine urges allies to speed up support for winter of war

Ukraine urged Nato members on Tuesday to speed up weapons deliveries and help restore its power grid which has been shattered by Russian strikes, as Western allies vowed to bolster support to aid Kyiv through winter in the face of Russia's attacks.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for supplies of weapons, especially advanced air defence systems, to come "faster, faster, faster" as he joined a two-day meeting of Nato foreign ministers in the Romanian capital Bucharest.

"When we have transformers and generators, we can restore our system, our energy grid, and provide people with decent living conditions," Kuleba said.