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Ukraine Latest: Putin Says in No Hurry; Blinken Accuses Russia

·7 min read
Ukraine Latest: Putin Says in No Hurry; Blinken Accuses Russia

(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was “not in a hurry” to end military operations in Ukraine, and threatened to step up attacks on civilian infrastructure. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia had committed war crimes following the latest discovery of a mass burial site in one of Ukraine’s newly-liberated regions.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made an urgent appeal to allies to supply additional air- and missile-defense systems that he said are crucial to repelling Russia’s invasion and preventing further disruption to food and energy supplies. He also welcomed an upcoming visit by United Nations investigators to a town where mass graves have been found.

Russia’s central bank delivered the smallest interest-rate cut since it started easing monetary policy after the invasion of Ukraine.

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

Key Developments

  • Why Increasing Russia-China Ties Worry Democracies: QuickTake

  • Putin Acknowledges Xi’s ‘Concerns’ on Ukraine, Showing Tension

  • Putin Threatens New Military Strikes on Ukraine Infrastructure

  • Zelenskiy Says Russia Responsible for Grave Site Found in Izyum

  • Russia Puts Rate Path in Doubt After Smallest Cut This Year

On the Ground

Over the past day, infrastructure in more than 30 towns and cities has been damaged by air and missile strikes, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook. Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the country’s east, increasingly pressuring Russian positions and logistics lines in Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk, according to the latest report by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. Russian and Ukrainian sources reported Ukrainian ground attacks northwest of Kharkiv, near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River, and south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk border, the Institute said.

(All times CET)

Zelenskiy Welcomes a UN Inquiry Into Izyum Graves (1:28 a.m.)

Zelenskiy welcomed a United Nations decision to send investigators to the Ukrainian town of Izyum after the discovery of mass graves there. In his nightly video address on Friday he said that Ukraine would provide full access now that the town has been recaptured from Russian forces.

Earlier Friday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said some its personnel in Ukraine would be going to Izyum.

“There is already clear evidence of torture, humiliating treatment of people,” Zelenskiy said. “Moreover, there is evidence that Russian soldiers, whose positions were not far from this place, shot at the buried just for fun.”

Blinken Accuses Russia of War Crimes in Ukraine (6:27 p.m.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine and that the world must collect evidence so that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Reports of a mass burial site near the retaken city of Izyum are “part, horrifically, of a continuum, an ongoing story,” Blinken told reporters at a briefing in Washington.

Still, he again pushed back against pressure to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

Putin Sees No Hurry to End Campaign Against Ukraine (6:20 p.m.)

Vladimir Putin said Russia was “not in a hurry” to end its military campaign against Ukraine, hours after telling India’s leader that Moscow would strive to end the conflict as soon as possible. Putin threatened to step up attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, days after damaging a major dam in President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s home town, causing widespread flooding.

Putin made televised remarks after a regional summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. He said Russia remains committed to the “liberation” of Donbas, the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

“The Russian army is occupying newer and newer territories,” Putin said, adding that Moscow is “not fighting with a full army” in Ukraine.

Putin Threatens New Military Strikes on Ukraine Infrastructure

Greece to Send Ukraine Tanks in Swap With Germany (5:10 p.m.)

Greece agreed to send 40 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine in a deal with Germany. The Greek military will receive 40 Marder tanks from Berlin to replace the equipment sent to Kyiv as part of Germany’s swap program.

The deliveries are set to start immediately. Germany has offered to replace older equipment sent to Ukraine with more modern gear; Slovakia and the Czech Republic have done similar deals with Berlin in recent months.

Putin Meets With Modi, Erdogan in Uzbekistan (3:39 p.m.)

Russia is aware of India’s “concerns” about the war in Ukraine, Putin told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the pair met in Samarkand, a day after making similar comments in a meeting with China’s Xi Jinping.

Told by Modi that now “is not a time for war,” Putin said Russia was trying to “end this as soon as possible,” according to footage shown on Indian public broadcaster Doordashan.

Putin also met in Uzbekistan with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.

Read more: Putin Acknowledges Tensions With India on Ukraine

Zelenskiy Says Russia Responsible for Izyum Grave Site (3:10 p.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said authorities had discovered hundreds of graves near Izyum, part of the territory liberated from Russian occupation this month, and demanded the Kremlin be held accountable for war crimes.

The Ukrainian leader raised fresh claims as his military pushes forward with a stunning counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

The Associated Press earlier reported on a grave site in a forested area, and cited a Ukrainian prosecutor saying some bodies showed signs of torture.

Estonia Wants Action on NATO’s Eastern Flank (3 p.m.)

In a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Friday, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur called for rapid implementation of decisions made at the Madrid Summit this summer that would bolster the alliance’s eastern flank.

“For Estonia, the most important priority right now is the designation of an additional brigade by the UK and in connection with that the creation of a combat-ready division structure,” Pevkur said.

Russian Occupation Officials Killed in Multiple Attacks (1:16 p.m.)

Several occupation officials for Russian-held areas of Ukraine were killed in attacks on Friday, the latest wave of reprisals against collaborators.

A blast in the capital of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic killed the Russian-occupied territory’s top prosecutor and his deputy, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee. An explosion at Kherson’s regional administration killed and wounded a number of officials, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Russia’s occupation government there, said on Rossiya 24 television. State-run RIA Novosti reported the deputy mayor of Berdyansk, a city in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia, was shot, along with his wife, an election official.

No-one has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

Pelosi Says Russia Must be Held Accountable (1 p.m.)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Russia must be held accountable for alleged atrocities committed during its invasion of Ukraine, including against children as well as “using rape as a weapon of war and hunger as a tool of war.”

Pelosi said during a visit to Berlin to meet Group of Seven counterparts that helping Ukraine “requires substantial security support, humanitarian assistance, economic assistance and sanctions, sanctions, sanctions to make sure” that Russia “feels the pain.”

Russia Delivers Smallest Rate Cut This Year (12:30 p.m.)

Russia’s central bank delivered the smallest interest-rate cut since it started easing monetary policy after the invasion of Ukraine as renewed risks to inflation prompt more caution while the economy contracts under the drag of sanctions.

Policy makers led by Governor Elvira Nabiullina lowered their benchmark to 7.5% from 8% on Friday. Nabiullina will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. in Moscow.

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