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Ukraine updates: Putin lifts nuclear weapons testing ban
Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed into law Russia's withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Meanwhile, the Kremlin denied the conflict had come to a 'stalemate'
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified Moscow's withdrawal from an international treaty banning nuclear weapons testing.
Moscow cited the lack of US ratification of the treaty as the reason for its withdrawal. The measure passed both houses of parliament last month.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied that Ukraine and Russia were at a "stalemate," claiming that Moscow was achieving its objectives in the invasion.
US to provide $425 million in new defense funding to Ukraine
The US is expected to provide $425 million (€400 million) in fresh military aid to Ukraine to boost its fight against Russia, US officials told news agencies.
The funding is expected to be officially announced on Friday.
The infusion includes about $300 million in long-term funding to purchase laser-guided munitions designed to counter drones.
About $125 million worth of weapons and equipment will be pulled from existing US stockpiles, including munitions for High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), as well as artillery rounds, anti-tank missiles, demolition equipment and cold weather gear.
US places more sanctions on Russia
The United States has imposed further measures against Moscow over the war in Ukraine, targeting Russia's future energy capabilities and sanctions evasion.
The latest measures target an entity involved in the development, operation, and ownership of a liquefied natural gas project in Siberia. It's thought that the gas is earmarked to be shipped to global markets.
Washington also targeted a network accused of procuring items in support of their production of the KUB-BLA and Lancet suicide drone, as well as the creator and designer of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Russia jails two more Ukrainian soldiers
Russia says it has sentenced two more Ukrainian soldiers who fought in the city of Mariupol to jail.
The news comes as Russian authorities continue to put dozens of captive soldiers on trial.
Rights groups and Western countries have criticized the trials against captured Ukrainian soldiers.
Thousands of Ukrainian fighters were taken prisoner after Russia took control of Mariupol last May.
Some of the soldiers were sent to Russia, while others were tried by pro-Russian courts in occupied eastern Ukraine.
The two soldiers were found guilty of shooting at a car carrying civilians in Mariupol.
They were both sentenced by a Russian-installed court in Ukraine's Donetsk region to 26 years in prison.
The same court jailed three captured Ukrainian troops on Wednesday for 30 years and sentenced three more to life imprisonment the day before.
Sanctions on Russia 'hit' Western interests — Kremlin
The Kremlin has said it expects the United States and US allies to impose further sanctions on Russia while arguing that such measures hurt Western interests.
"The expectations are that the United States and the European Union will continue to invent new sanctions, although they clearly already have a shortage of ideas," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
"Both in the USA and in the EU, by the way, there is an understanding that the current packages hit the interests of those states themselves that have imposed these sanctions," he said.
Peskov argued that Russia's economy had adapted well to the sanctions.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts Russian growth of 2.2% this year but lowered its forecast for 2024 growth to 1.1%.
Russian forces regrouping around Avdiivka — Ukrainian military
Russian forces are working to regroup around Avdiivka in preparation for the encirclement of the eastern Ukrainian city, according to Ukraine's military.
Avdiivka lies in the eastern Donetsk region, which forms part of Ukraine's Donbas.
"The enemy continues to try to encircle Avdiivka, but now not so actively — the enemy is trying to regroup and recover losses in order to attack further," Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesperson for Ukraine's Tavria military command, said.
Russia renewed its offensive in eastern Ukraine in mid-October, according to Ukrainian authorities.
No 'stalemate' in Ukraine, Kremlin says
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has argued that Russia is achieving its military goals in Ukraine.
He made the comments in response to Ukrainian general Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who suggested that the conflict had come to a "stalemate."
"No, it has not reached a stalemate," Peskov told reporters.
"Russia is steadily carrying out the special military operation. All the goals that were set should be fulfilled," he said.
Moscow officially refers to its war of aggression against Ukraine as a "special military operation."
Zaluzhnyi had told the UK-based publication The Economist that advancements in technology had put Moscow and Kyiv "into a stalemate," comparing the situation to that of World War I.
Kyiv launched a counteroffensive against Russian forces earlier this year but failed to gain much ground.
Ukraine 'optimistic' on opening EU membership negotiations — foreign minister
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv is on track to fulfill its obligations for accession to the European Union.
"We are optimistic. We did a lot of reforms and we passed legislation necessary to meet, to implement the recommendations," Kuleba said.
Kuleba said he believes the EU's ongoing reform process should not slow down Kyiv's accession to the bloc.
"EU reform should not take the enlargement process as a hostage and we have to find the right balance between the process of reforming the European Union and continuing with enlargement," the Ukrainian minister said.
Kyiv applied for EU membership shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and received candidacy status several months later.
In September, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine had made "great strides" towards fulfilling the criteria for EU accession.
Enlargement of the bloc is expected to be high on the agenda at the EU summit on December 14-15 in Brussels. The EU is set to release reports on Ukraine and Moldova's membership bids before the summit starts.
Russia formally withdraws from nuclear test ban treaty
Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally lifted Russia's ban on nuclear weapons testing.
Russia officially launched its process of withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) last month, pointing out that the United States has signed but not ratified the agreement.
Despite not having ratified the treaty, Washington has in practice complied with the test ban since the 1990s.
Putin has said Russia's withdrawal from the treaty would "mirror" the US position.
In addition to the US, the treaty has not been ratified by China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran and Egypt.
The CTBT was adopted in 1996 to limit the further development of nuclear weapons.
Putin has claimed that some experts argue for the necessity of conducting nuclear tests but said that he had not formed an opinion on the issue.
However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last month that it will only test nuclear weapons again if the US does the same.
Published: 03 Nov 2023, 12:40 PM