Here is the situation as it stands on Sunday, December 4:
- The West should consider how to address Russia’s need for security guarantees if President Vladimir Putin agrees to negotiations about ending the war in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said.
- Macron said Europe needed to address Putin’s fear that “NATO comes right up to its doors” and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia, as Europe prepares its future security architecture.
- US intelligence expects the “reduced tempo” in fighting in Ukraine to continue in the next several months and sees no evidence of a reduced Ukrainian will to resist, despite attacks on its power grid and other critical winter infrastructure.
- Putin is not sincere about peace talks with Ukraine while he is taking the war to a new level of “barbarism” by trying to turn off the lights of civilians, a top US diplomat said.
- Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded: “Only the United States and NATO combined destroyed more energy networks than the United States destroyed by itself.”
- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the US for billions of dollars contributed to its war effort. “Ukraine’s victory, which we are sure of, will be our joint victory,” he said.
- Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks with his Belarusian counterpart. Belarus has said it will not enter the war in Ukraine, but President Alexander Lukashenko has in the past ordered troops to deploy with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing threats to Belarus from Kyiv and the West.
- A ship with Ukrainian wheat destined for Ethiopia arrived in port [the port name is needed probably], the first vessel to sail as part of a push to send food to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought, Zelenskyy said.
Oil price cap
- Russia is analysing how to respond to a price cap on its oil after a deal reached by Western powers that aims to limit a key source of funding for its war in Ukraine.
- The $60 price cap on seaborne Russian oil agreed by the Group of Seven nations and Australia is not serious and will do little to deter Russia from waging its war, Zelenskyy said.
- Moscow “will not accept this cap”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
- Russia said it would continue to find buyers for its oil, despite what it said was a “dangerous” attempt by Western governments to introduce a price cap on its oil exports.
- A group sliced a Banksy mural off a battle-scarred wall in Ukraine, but the people were spotted and the image of a woman in a gas mask and dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher was under police protection.