Arab world bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering friend

Special Arab world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering ally of the region throughout her 70-year reign. (AFP)
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Arab world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering ally of the region throughout her 70-year reign. (AFP)
Special Arab world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering ally of the region throughout her 70-year reign. (AFP)
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Arab world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering ally of the region throughout her 70-year reign. (AFP)
Special Arab world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering ally of the region throughout her 70-year reign. (Supplied/Royal Family)
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Arab world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering ally of the region throughout her 70-year reign. (Supplied/Royal Family)
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Updated 10 September 2022

Arab world bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering friend

Arab world bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, an unwavering friend
  • For the region, death marks not only the passing of a monarch but also an enduring ally
  • During her 70-year reign, there were no fewer than four state visits to Britain by Saudi monarchs

LONDON: The Arab world is mourning the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, an unwavering friend of the region and its people throughout the seven decades of her reign.

Only three months ago, Her Majesty celebrated her platinum jubilee, marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

In June, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wished her “sincere felicitations and best health and happiness,” as they joined other heads of state from across the region in sending messages of congratulations on the occasion of her jubilee.

Now, they have the sad task of sending their sincerest condolences to the British royal family and the people of the UK.




King Abdullah with the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh durng the visit of the Saudi king. (AFP/File Photo)

For many of the ruling families throughout the Middle East, the death of the Queen marks not only the passing of a fellow monarch but also a friend, and a sad end to a history of friendship that dates back to the earliest days of her reign.

That reign began on Feb. 6, 1952, the day her father, King George VI, died at Sandringham House in Norfolk while the 25-year-old Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were in Kenya during a tour of Africa.

Having left England as a princess, the king’s daughter flew home in mourning as Queen Elizabeth II. Her coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on June 2 the following year, 1953.

Among the guests at the ceremony were members of four royal families from the Gulf: The rulers, or their representatives, of what were then the British protectorates of Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, and Prince Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, representing the 78-year-old King Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s founder and first king, who had only five months left to live.




The Queen meeting with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AFP/File Photos)

The bonds between the British and Saudi monarchies cannot be measured by the frequency of formal occasions alone, although an examination of the history of state visits hosted by Buckingham Palace reveals an illuminating distinction.

During the Queen's reign there were no fewer than four official visits to Britain by Saudi heads of state — a number equaled by only four other countries in the world, including the UK’s near-neighbors, France and Germany.

The first Saudi monarch to travel to London was King Faisal, who was greeted with all the pomp and ceremony of a full British state welcome at the start of his eight-day visit in May 1967.

Met by Her Majesty, other members of the British royal family and leading politicians, including Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the king rode to Buckingham Palace with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in an open, horse-drawn state carriage that trundled through London streets lined with cheering crowds.

During a busy schedule, the king found time to visit and pray at London’s Islamic Cultural Centre. His son, Prince Bandar, who that year graduated from the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, in Lincolnshire, deputized for his father during a visit to inspect English Electric Lightning fighter jets being readied for shipment to Saudi Arabia.

The prince would later fly those Lightning fighter jets as a pilot in the Royal Saudi Air Force.

King Faisal’s successors followed in his footsteps with their own state visits to the UK: King Khalid in 1981, King Fahd in 1987 and King Abdullah in 2007.

Other monarchs from the region also paid formal visits to the Queen over the years. The first was King Faisal II, the last king of Iraq, who visited Britain in July 1956. Two years later, he and his wife and other members of the royal family were assassinated during the coup d’etat that established Iraq as a republic.

In 1966, Her Majesty hosted King Hussein of Jordan and his British-born wife, Toni Avril Gardiner, who upon her marriage changed her name to Princess Muna Al-Hussein.




Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with then-Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and meets with UAE vice president and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. (AFP/File Photos)

Other state visits followed from the heads of state of Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt and Kuwait.

The Queen, meanwhile, visited the Middle East on several occasions. In February 1979, she flew to the region on the supersonic jet Concorde and visited Riyadh and Dhahran during a Gulf tour that also took her to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman.

In Saudi Arabia she was hosted by King Khalid and enjoyed a series of events including a desert picnic and a state dinner at Maathar Palace in Riyadh. In return, the Queen and Prince Philip hosted a dinner for the Saudi royal family on board Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia.

Poignantly, Britannia would return to the Gulf only one more time, in January 1997 during its final tour before the yacht was decommissioned in December that year.

In 2010, the Queen returned to the region to meet Sheikh Khalifa, ruler of the UAE, and Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

However, the relationships between the British royal family and its counterparts in the Gulf have not been limited to great, formal occasions of state. Analysis of the regular Court Circular published by Buckingham Palace reveals that members of the royal family met Gulf monarchs or members of their families more than 200 times between 2011 and 2021 alone. Forty of these informal meetings were with members of the House of Saud.




King Khalid of Saudia Arabia welcomed at Victoria Station by Queen Elizabeth in 1981. (Alamy)

The frequency of these meetings with heads of state from the Middle East, equivalent to almost one a fortnight, serve as evidence of the strong bonds of friendship that existed between Her Majesty and the region.

One such meeting took place in March 2018, when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a private audience and lunch with the queen at Buckingham Palace. Later, he dined with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge at Clarence House, during a visit to the UK that included meetings with the then British Prime Minister Theresa May and her foreign secretary, Boris Johnson.

Serious matters, such as trade and defense agreements, are often the topics of discussion during such meetings. But good-natured fun, rather than rigid formality, has been the hallmark of private gatherings between the royal families, as Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2003 to 2006, would later recall.

In 2003, for example, Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s future king, was a guest of the Queen at Balmoral Castle, her estate in Scotland. It was the prince’s first visit to Balmoral and, happily accepting an invitation for a tour of the large estate, he climbed into the passenger seat of a Land Rover, only to discover that his driver and guide was none other than the Queen herself.




In 2010, the Queen returned to the region and met with Sultan Qaboos of Oman. (AFP)

Her Majesty, who served during the Second World War as an army driver, always drove herself at Balmoral, where the locals were used to seeing her out and about behind the wheel of one of her beloved Land Rovers. She was also known for having great fun, at the expense of her guests, as she hurtled along narrow country lanes and across the estate’s rugged terrain.

According to Sir Sherard’s account, Prince Abdullah took the impromptu roller coaster ride well — although at one point, “through his interpreter,” the crown prince felt obliged to “implore the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.”

Aside from the commonality of their royal status, the Queen and the monarchs of the Gulf bonded over their mutual love of horses, a shared interest that dated back to at least 1937 when Elizabeth was an 11-year-old princess.

To mark the occasion of the coronation of her father that year, King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, presented King George VI with an Arabian mare. A life-size bronze statue of the horse, Turfa, was unveiled in 2020 at the Arabian Horse Museum in Diriyah. At the time, Richard Oppenheim, then the UK’s deputy ambassador to the Kingdom, told how the two royal families have always shared this common interest.




Clockwise from Left: Queen Elizabeth with Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah; meeting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; with the King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan. (AFP/File Photos)

“The Queen has many horses, and King Salman and the Saudi royal family also have a long-held love of horses,” he said.

The Queen also shared this appreciation of horses with Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president of the UAE, who owns the internationally renowned Godolphin horse-racing stables and stud in Newmarket, the home of British horse racing.

The two were often seen together at great events on the horse-racing calendar, such as the annual five-day Royal Ascot meeting, regarded as the jewel in the crown of the British social season. Team Godolphin has had several winners at Royal Ascot, and the Queen’s horses have won more than 70 races there since her coronation.

This year, 10 of the Queen’s horses ran at Ascot. However, suffering increasingly with mobility problems, she did not attend the event. It was the first time she had missed it in her 70-year reign.

No fewer than 16 British prime ministers served under the Queen. When she ascended the throne in 1952, Winston Churchill, the revered wartime leader, was prime minister. His successor, Anthony Eden, appointed by the Queen in 1955, was the first of 15 who would receive her official blessing at Buckingham Palace.




Queen Elizabeth - 1926-2022. (Supplied/Royal Family)

The Queen broke with this tradition only once, and only at the very end of her reign. Increasingly frail, she was advised by her doctors not to travel to London from her Scottish home, Balmoral, and so it was there, on Tuesday this week, that she met Liz Truss, the newly appointed leader of the Conservative party, and asked her to form a government.

It was to be the final formal duty of her long reign.

During the jubilee weekend in June, flags flew from homes and public buildings across the UK and the wider Commonwealth of 150 million people, thousands of street parties were held, beacons were lit across the country and British voices everywhere sang the national anthem.

Today, as the flags fly at half-mast and the royal baton is passed to the Queen’s eldest son, Charles, the British people, after 70 years of singing the words “God Save The Queen,” must now learn to once again sing “God Save The King.”

On her 21st birthday, in a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town while she was still Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen made a solemn pledge.

“I declare before you all,” she said, “that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”

Her life, thankfully, was long. Her devotion to her duty was complete.

 


US, Europe security body seeks ‘end to Ukraine war, rights atrocities’

US, Europe security body seeks ‘end to Ukraine war, rights atrocities’
Updated 29 sec ago

US, Europe security body seeks ‘end to Ukraine war, rights atrocities’

US, Europe security body seeks ‘end to Ukraine war, rights atrocities’
  • Upcoming OSCE meet critical, says American envoy
  • Nuclear escalation a ‘real and imminent danger’

WASHINGTON: The upcoming meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, will be critical to help end the war in Ukraine and the continuing human rights violations resulting from the conflict. 

This is the view of Michael Carpenter, the US’ permanent representative to the OSCE, who spoke to Arab News recently about the group’s annual ministerial council gathering in Lodz, Poland, from Dec. 1-2. 

Carpenter said OSCE officials are expected to discuss the expansion of the organization’s work to tackle issues including human trafficking and election monitoring. 

While strongly criticizing Russia for its role in the conflict, Carpenter said European nations have recently engaged with Moscow and Kyiv for a “de-escalation.” 

Carpenter’s comments come in the wake of US news outlets reporting in the last two weeks of a secret meeting between CIA Director Bill Burns and his Russian intelligence counterpart, Sergey Naryshkin, in Ankara, Turkey. The meeting was part of ongoing US efforts to “communicate with Russia on managing (the) risk” of possible nuclear escalation. 

A CIA spokesperson declined to provide comment to Arab News on the meeting, citing a lack of authorization to speak about the CIA director’s schedule. 

The OSCE has 57 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America and works to promote human rights and democratic governance through election monitoring and combating human trafficking. 

It functions as a forum for dialogue on global issues affecting member states and has 13 field missions in the Western Balkans, Central Asia and Moldova. A new office will soon be set up in Ukraine. 

Carpenter said that a new field mission called the Support Program for Ukraine was inaugurated on Nov. 1, funded by a “generous contribution” from the US and other voluntary support. 

“Through this new field presence, we intend to support projects that will contribute to enhancing the resilience of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, humanitarian demining (and) the mitigation of the environmental impacts of the war,” he said. 

The US delegation would be led by Victoria Nuland, America’s under-secretary of state for political affairs — joining representatives from the 57 OSCE participating states and 11 partner states.  

Carpenter said the most important topic of the upcoming meeting was the war in Ukraine. “The real story of the OSCE is not what has been said but what has been done.” 

He said the OSCE states take decisions based on consensus. It has three autonomous institutions — the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the High Commissioner on National Minorities.

“The OSCE has a number of special representatives who carry out work on extremely important issues like anti-corruption, countering trafficking in human beings, supporting gender equality, and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination,” he said. 

He said that in Tajikistan, for example, the OSCE supports women resource centers that provide the only government-sanctioned outlets for victims of domestic violence. They have access to legal aid, psychological support, and help with finding employment. 

“In the Western Balkans and Central Asia, our field missions support efforts to document and safeguard stockpiles of small arms and light weapons to enhance stability and security in many of these post-conflict societies.” 

Carpenter said that as a result of the war in Ukraine the OSCE put out information on the risks of human trafficking using an innovative public-private partnership that pushes the information to the smartphones of those most at risk. 


Pakistan Taliban claim suicide blast killing 3

Pakistan Taliban claim suicide blast killing 3
Updated 30 November 2022

Pakistan Taliban claim suicide blast killing 3

Pakistan Taliban claim suicide blast killing 3
  • Taliban earlier announced an end to a shaky cease-fire with Islamabad and ordered nationwide attacks

QUETTA, Pakistan: Three people were killed and 23 injured Wednesday when a suicide bomber targeted a police truck in western Pakistan, an official said, an attack claimed by the domestic chapter of the Taliban.
The Pakistan Taliban — known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — are separate from the Taliban in Afghanistan but share a common hard-line Islamist ideology.
On Monday, the group announced an end to a shaky cease-fire with Islamabad declared over the summer and ordered nationwide attacks to resume.
Senior police official Azhar Mehesar told AFP the blast targeted a police team preparing to escort polio vaccinators in the city of Quetta and that those killed “include a policeman, a woman and a child.”
In a statement to AFP, the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack and said it would soon share further details.
The group was founded in 2007 by Pakistani jihadists who fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990s before opposing Islamabad’s support for American intervention there after 9/11.
For a time they held vast tracts of Pakistan’s rugged tribal belt, imposing a radical interpretation of Islamic law and patrolling territory just 140 kilometers (85 miles) from the Pakistan capital.
The Pakistani military came down hard after 2014 when TTP militants raided a school for children of army personnel and killed nearly 150 people, most of them pupils.
Its fighters were largely routed into neighboring Afghanistan, but Islamabad claims the Taliban in Kabul are now giving the TTP a foothold to stage assaults across the border.
In the year since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, Pakistan has seen a 50 percent surge in militant attacks, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).
Most of these attacks have been focused in the western provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, which neighbor Afghanistan.
The 2014 school assault deeply shocked Pakistan, and since then the TTP have vowed only to target state security forces.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only nations in the world where wild polio is still endemic.
Polio vaccination teams are routinely escorted by police in the western regions, and the TTP has made a habit of ambushing officers as they travel into those restive remote areas.
Pakistan officials on Monday launched a week-long immunization campaign aiming to inoculate over 13 million children living in “high-risk districts.”
In April, Pakistan reported its first case of polio in 15 months. Since then 20 cases have been reported, according to the government-funded End Polio Pakistan program.


Australian parliament censures former PM Morrison over secret ministries

Australian parliament censures former PM Morrison over secret ministries
Updated 30 November 2022

Australian parliament censures former PM Morrison over secret ministries

Australian parliament censures former PM Morrison over secret ministries
  • It marks the first time a former prime minister has been censured by parliament, though the motion is symbolic in nature

SYDNEY: Australia’s parliament on Wednesday voted to censure former Liberal prime minister Scott Morrison after an inquiry found his secret appointment to multiple ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic undermined trust in government.
Morrison, who lost power in a general election in May, secretly accumulated five ministerial roles during the pandemic: health, finance, treasury, resources and home affairs.
The historic motion, brought by the ruling Labor party, passed by 86 votes to 50 in the country’s lower house.
It marks the first time a former prime minister has been censured by parliament, though the motion is symbolic in nature.
“The fact is, that our democracy is precious,” Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during the debate, speaking in favor of censuring Morrison.
“There’s no room for complacency.”
Morrison has said his decisions were lawful, and that the decision was necessary in case ministers became incapacitated during the pandemic.
“For those who wish to add their judgment today on my actions in supporting this censure motion, I simply suggest that they stop and consider the following: have you ever had to deal with a crisis where the outlook was completely unknown?,” Morrison said in parliament before the vote on Wednesday.
“In such circumstances, were you able to get all the decisions perfectly right?“
Morrison said he had only used the powers on one occasion, to block BPH Energy’s PEP-11 gas exploration project.
He accepted the recommendations of an inquiry into the appointment, including legislation requiring public notice of ministerial appointments.


Trump ‘unlikely’ to be president after hosting Fuentes, top Republican McConnell suggests

Trump ‘unlikely’ to be president after hosting Fuentes, top Republican McConnell suggests
Updated 30 November 2022

Trump ‘unlikely’ to be president after hosting Fuentes, top Republican McConnell suggests

Trump ‘unlikely’ to be president after hosting Fuentes, top Republican McConnell suggests
  • 'There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy, and anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the US,” McConnell told reporters

WASHINGTON: The top two Republicans in the US Congress broke their silence on Tuesday about former President Donald Trump’s dinner last week with white supremacist Nick Fuentes, saying the Republican Party has no place for antisemitism or white supremacy.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Representative Kevin McCarthy, who may become speaker of the US House of Representatives when Republicans take control in January, had not commented previously on the Nov. 22 meeting.
Trump began his 2024 bid for the White House on Nov. 15, and is Republican voters’ top choice, according to opinion polls.
“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy, and anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States,” McConnell told reporters without mentioning Trump by name.
“That would apply to all of the leaders in the party who will be seeking offices,” McConnell added, when asked if he would support Trump should he become the party’s 2024 presidential nominee.
McCarthy was pressed for his thoughts on the Trump dinner by reporters at the White House, after talks with President Joe Biden.
“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes,” said McCarthy, currently the House minority leader. “His views are nowhere within the Republican Party or within this country itself.”
Trump has said the encounter at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, was inadvertent, but the meeting has drawn rare criticism from fellow Republicans, some of whom accused Trump of empowering extremism.
Tuesday’s comments were the first by McCarthy and McConnell to address the Trump dinner.
Fuentes has been described as a white supremacist by the US Justice Department. The Anti-Defamation League said Fuentes once “’jokingly denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven.’“
While president, Trump was broadly criticized for not explicitly condemning white nationalists whose August 2017 rally on a college campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, was seen as having provoked violence with counter-protesters, one of whom was killed.
“You also had people that were very fine people on both sides,” Trump said at the time.
PENCE CALLS FOR APOLOGY
Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday called for an apology from Trump for the meeting with Fuentes.
“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize,” Pence said in a televised interview with NewsNation.
McCarthy mentioned that Trump said he didn’t know who Fuentes was.
“I condemn his ideology. It has no place in society,” he said of Fuentes.
Fuentes attended the dinner with Ye, the musician formerly known as Kanye West, who has also drawn widespread criticism for antisemitic comments.
“The president will have meetings with who he wants. I don’t think anybody, though, should have a meeting with Nick Fuentes, and his views should come nowhere within the Republican Party or the country itself,” McCarthy said.

 


NATO pledges more aid to Kyiv as air raid sirens blare again across Ukraine

NATO pledges more aid to Kyiv as air raid sirens blare again across Ukraine
Updated 30 November 2022

NATO pledges more aid to Kyiv as air raid sirens blare again across Ukraine

NATO pledges more aid to Kyiv as air raid sirens blare again across Ukraine
  • NATO against providing Ukraine with Patriots and denounced the Atlantic alliance as a “criminal entity” for delivering arms to what he called “Ukrainian fanatics”

KYIV: NATO allies promised on Tuesday more arms for Kyiv and equipment to help restore Ukrainian power and heat knocked out by Russian missile and drone strikes, as air raid sirens blared across Ukraine for the first time this week.
Ukrainians fled the streets for bomb shelters, although the all-clear later sounded across the country. In the eastern Donetsk region Russian forces pounded Ukrainian targets with artillery, mortar and tank fire.
Foreign ministers from the NATO alliance, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, began a two-day meeting in Bucharest, seeking ways both to keep Ukrainians safe and warm and to sustain Kyiv’s military through a coming winter campaign.
“We need air defense, IRIS, Hawks, Patriots, and we need transformers (for our energy needs),” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO meeting, enumerating various Western air defense systems.
“In a nutshell: Patriots and transformers are what Ukraine needs the most.”
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO against providing Ukraine with Patriots and denounced the Atlantic alliance as a “criminal entity” for delivering arms to what he called “Ukrainian fanatics.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “trying to use winter as a weapon of war” as Moscow’s forces lose ground on the battlefield.
In a statement, NATO ministers condemned Russia’s “persistent and unconscionable attacks on Ukrainian civilian and energy infrastructure” and confirmed a 2008 decision that Ukraine will eventually join the alliance. But it announced no concrete steps or timetable that would bring it closer to NATO.
US and European officials said ministers would focus in their talks on non-lethal aid such as fuel, medical supplies and winter equipment, as well as on military assistance. Washington said it would provide $53 million to buy power grid equipment.
The foreign minister of Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis, urged his NATO colleagues to take the political decision to send modern battle tanks to Ukraine to give them a military edge against Russian forces. Western powers have been reluctant to go down that road for fear of stoking direct conflict with Russia.
ACCUMULATING DAMAGE
Russia has been carrying out huge attacks on Ukraine’s electricity transmission and heating infrastructure roughly weekly since October, in what Kyiv and its allies say is a deliberate campaign to harm civilians, a war crime.
Moscow says hurting civilians is not its aim but that their suffering will end only if Kyiv accepts its demands, which it has not spelled out. Although Kyiv says it shoots down most of the incoming missiles, the damage has been accumulating and the impact growing more severe with each strike.
A senior US military official said on Tuesday Russia was firing unarmed cruise missiles that were designed to carry nuclear warheads at targets in Ukraine to try to deplete Kyiv’s stocks of air defenses.
The worst barrage so far was on Nov. 23, leaving millions of Ukrainians in cold and darkness. President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians at the start of this week to expect another soon that would be at least as damaging.
There are no political talks to end the war. Moscow has annexed Ukrainian territory which it says it will never relinquish; Ukraine says it will fight until it recovers all occupied land.
Kyiv said it wants weapons to help it end the war — by winning it.
“No eloquent speech will say more than concrete action. ‘Patriot’, ‘F-16’, or ‘Leopard’ for Ukraine,” tweeted presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, referring to US anti-aircraft missiles and fighter jets, and German tanks.
’RISKS ARE GROWING’
Russia called off nuclear talks with the United States this week at the last minute. Moscow said it had “no choice” but to cancel the talks, aimed at resuming inspections under an arms control treaty, because Washington refused to address its wider concerns about strategic stability.
Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as warning Washington of unspecified risks because of its support for Kyiv against what Russia calls a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor.
“We are sending signals to the Americans that their line of escalation and ever deeper involvement in this conflict is fraught with dire consequences. The risks are growing,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying.
In Kyiv, snow fell and temperatures were hovering around freezing as millions in and around the capital struggled to heat their homes. After a week of trying to restore electricity from the last attacks, national grid operator Ukrenergo said the system was still suffering a 30 percent shortfall of needed power.
Ukraine’s military General Staff said on Tuesday evening Russian forces in the Donetsk region were continuing to focus their efforts on taking the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. A Russian missile strike on Lyman killed one person and injured three others, it said.
Ukrainian aircraft carried out nine strikes targeting Russian servicemen and equipment, notably in the southern central Zaporizhzhia region, the General Staff said.
In the southern Kherson and Kriviy Rih regions, it added, Russian forces are consolidating their defenses and keeping up artillery attacks, including on the city of Kherson which Ukraine recently recaptured.
Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.
Kherson regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said electricity had been restored to 50 percent of Kherson city after heavy Russian bombardment.
Both sides will have to keep troops supplied and healthy in cold, wet trenches for the first long winter of the war, a bigger challenge for the Russians as an invading force with longer and more vulnerable supply lines.