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Vladimir Putin admits Russia can't supply clothing to front line troops

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 09/12/2022 Verity Bowman
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Vladimir Putin has admitted that there have been problems procuring equipment and clothing for the hundreds of thousands of men called-up to fight in Ukraine.

Some 300,000 men were called up in the autumn as part of the Russian president’s “partial mobilisation” - but the draft has been plagued by accusations of sub-standard equipment and shortages.

Mr Putin asserted that some of the issues related to supplying these men were now easing as he spoke at the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) summit in Kyrgyzstan.

The Russian president also denied that more troops would be needed to achieve Russia’s aims. Despite this, the Kremlin has yet to put out an official decree ending the call-up.

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03:00 PM

Today's liveblog is closing

Today’s liveblog is closing. Here is a roundup of the day’s main events:

  • Russian forces have shelled the entire front line in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said, as part of what appeared to be the Kremlin's scaled-back ambition to secure only the bulk of lands it has claimed.
  • The US is sending an additional $275 million in military aid to Ukraine, including large amounts of ammunition and high-tech systems that can be used to detect and counter drones in its ongoing war with Russia.
  • James Cleverly, British foreign secretary, has announced that he will place new sanctions on individuals in Russia.
  • Iranian drone attacks have restarted in Ukraine in a sign that Russia has received a fresh shipment of weapons from Tehran, according to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • At least 310 Russian soldiers were killed yesterday, Ukraine has claimed, bringing the death toll to 93,390.
  • Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has demanded the return of his artwork and documents produced during his time in a high-security US prison.
  • Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced on Friday to eight years and six months in jail for his criticism of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine.
  • Brittney Griner is in "good spirits" after returning to the US following ten months in Russian captivity.

02:32 PM

Putin threatens production cuts over oil price cap

Vladimir Putin warned Friday that Russia could reduce oil production in response to a $60 price cap on its oil exports agreed by Western nations over Moscow's Ukraine offensive.

The price ceiling agreed by the EU, G7 and Australia came into force on Monday and seeks to restrict Russia's revenue while making sure Moscow keeps supplying the global market.

"We will consider a possible reduction in production if necessary," Putin told reporters in Kyrgyzstan.

He said the price cap was a "stupid decision" that is "harmful to global energy markets" but "isn't affecting" Russia.

He added that Moscow will announce retaliatory steps "in the next few days". He did not elaborate.

The market price of a barrel of Russian Urals crude is currently around $65 dollars, just slightly higher than the $60 cap agreed upon, suggesting the measure may have only a limited impact in the short term.

02:08 PM

There were some problems supplying newly mobilised troops, says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Friday that there had been some problems procuring equipment and clothes for the hundreds of thousands of troops Moscow has conscripted to fight in Ukraine in recent months.

At a news conference in Bishkek, he said some of the issues related to supplying the 300,000 men who were called up in a mobilisation drive in September and October were now easing.

02:07 PM

Putin says Russia has no need for new round of mobilisation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was no need to call up additional troops to fight in Ukraine, as there were 150,000 recently conscripted fighters who had not yet been sent to the frontlines.

Moscow called up more than 300,000 reservists in a mobilisation drive in September and October, and Putin said on Wednesday that around half had been deployed to Ukraine.

Although Putin has repeatedly said mobilisation is over, the Kremlin has refused to rescind an official decree ordering the call-ups, stoking fears that a second wave could be announced.

02:06 PM

Russia ready for deals on Ukraine, but partners cheated in the past, says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been speaking at a news conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

He said that Russia would likely have to reach agreements regarding Ukraine in the future, but felt betrayed by the breakdown of the Minsk agreements.

Putin said Germany and France - which brokered ceasefire agreements in the Belarusian capital Minsk between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and 2015 - had betrayed Russia and were now pumping Ukraine with weapons.

01:58 PM

Brittney Griner in 'good spirits'

Brittney Griner is in "good spirits" after returning to the US following ten months in Russian captivity. 

"They say she's in very good spirits, appears to be in good health," White House spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC in an interview citing US officials on the ground in San Antonio, Texas, where she arrived just before dawn.

US Special Presidential Envoy Roger Carstens, the chief U.S. hostage coordinator, also expressed relief, saying: "So happy to have Brittney back on US soil. Welcome home BG!"

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, in a CNN interview, credited US negotiators, adding: "Brittney really deserves to be home. She was wrongfully detained and we're happy that she's reuniting with her family today."

01:33 PM

Navalny denounces 'shameless' verdict against Kremlin critic Yashin

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Friday denounced Russia sentencing fellow government critic Ilya Yashin to more than eight years behind bars over comments on Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.

"Another shameless and lawless verdict from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will not silence Ilya and it should not intimidate Russia's honest people. This is another reason why we must fight and I have no doubt that we will win in the end," Navalny wrote on social media accounts that are managed by his team.

01:07 PM

The latest pictures

Here is a roundup of the latest pictures coming out of Ukraine:

A hospital trauma centre bombed by Russian forces eralier in the war - Chris Strickland for The Telegraph

A hospital trauma centre bombed by Russian forces eralier in the war - Chris Strickland for The Telegraph
© Chris Strickland for The Telegraph

12:46 PM

Kremlin critic Yashin handed eight and a half years in jail for Ukraine criticism

Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced on Friday to eight years and six months in jail for his criticism of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine.

Judge Oksana Goryunova of the Moscow district court said Yashin will serve the sentence in a penal colony and has 10 days to appeal the verdict, an AFP journalist reported from the court.

12:33 PM

Footage shows Griner's prison life

New footage released by Russian state TV gave an inside look into Brittney Griner's life at a penal colony described as “a friendly concentration camp”.

The video offers a glimpse of her daily routine of making her bed, working and chatting with other inmates before her release on Thursday.

Brittney Griner makes her bed © Provided by The Telegraph Brittney Griner makes her bed Brittney Griner in prison © Provided by The Telegraph Brittney Griner in prison

In the footage, Griner could also be seen with short hair in a white headwrap doing work in what appears to be a factory, as well as the moment she signed her papers to be released.

The bed she slept in was very short and narrow and fitted closely next to those of other prisoners. A label including a photograph of Ms Griner and her name was taped to the end.

11:57 AM

Russia shells ‘entire frontline’ in Donetsk as fighting intensifies

Russian forces have shelled the entire front line in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said, as part of what appeared to be the Kremlin's scaled-back ambition to secure only the bulk of lands it has claimed.

The fiercest fighting was near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, the region's governor Pavlo Kyurylenko said in a television interview. Five civilians had been killed and two wounded in Ukrainian-controlled parts of Donetsk over the previous day, he said early on Friday.

A destroyed Orthodox church is seen, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Bohorodychne in Donetsk region - REUTERS/Yevhen Titov © REUTERS/Yevhen Titov A destroyed Orthodox church is seen, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Bohorodychne in Donetsk region - REUTERS/Yevhen Titov

"The entire front line is being shelled," he said, adding that Russian troops were also trying to advance near Lyman, which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November, one of a number of setbacks suffered by Russia since invading its neighbour in February.

In Bakhmut and other parts of the Donetsk region that neighbours Luhansk province, Ukrainian forces countered with barrages from rocket launchers.

11:35 AM

Watch: Basketball star Brittney Griner swapped for Russian arms dealer

Joe Biden celebrated basketball star Brittney Griner’s release on Thursday, but was criticised for handing a notorious arms dealer to Russia in return and failing to free another imprisoned American. 

Ms Griner, 32, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and LGBTQ icon, was arrested in Moscow on drug charges just days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Customs officials at a Moscow airport said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. 

The WNBA star said she had permission from a US doctor to use medicinal cannabis for her injuries, but she was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony in what the US called a “show trial”.

Replay Video

11:12 AM

Bout demands return of artwork

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has demanded the return of his artwork and documents produced during his time in a high-security US prison.

A cat bound in chains, a portrait of himself behind bars and a pair of kissing monkeys are included in the series of paintings and drawings. 

"I hope that all his documents and drawings will be handed over to the Russian Embassy soon," his wife, Alla Bout, said.

10:52 AM

The frontline in pictures

Here is a roundup of the latest pictures from the frontline:

Servicemen of the Carpathian Sich Battalion get on an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) on a frontline - REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

Servicemen of the Carpathian Sich Battalion get on an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) on a frontline - REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi
© REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

10:29 AM

Russia says ties with US still in 'crisis' despite prisoner swap

Russia said Friday that its ties with the United States were still in "crisis" despite a prisoner swap involving US basketball star Brittney Griner and Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington have soared in recent months over a range of issues, peaking after President Vladimir Putin sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine.

"It is probably wrong to draw any hypothetical conclusions that this could be a step towards overcoming the crisis that we currently have in bilateral relations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Izvestia newspaper.

Ties "continue to remain in a sad state," he said, adding that talks with US authorities allowed "a Russian citizen, who was basically held captive by the Americans for 14 years... to return to his country".

Dubbed the "Merchant of Death", Bout was released Thursday in a prisoner swap in Abu Dhabi involving WNBA star Griner, 32, who was jailed in Russia for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil.

Bout, 55, was accused of arming rebels in some of the world's bloodiest conflicts.

He was arrested in an American sting operation in Thailand in 2008, extradited to the United States and sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in prison.

10:10 AM

Russian death toll increases by 310, claims Ukraine

At least 310 Russian soldiers were killed yesterday, Ukraine has claimed, bringing the death toll to 93,390. 

The Ukrainian army also took out one artillery tank and three military vehicles. 

The claims have not been independently verified and Russia estimates their death toll is far lower.

09:47 AM

Turkey's Erdogan says he is set to speak to Putin

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he will speak to Russia's Vladimir Putin on Sunday, and he will also speak to Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky in order to strengthen the UN-backed Black Sea grain deal.

Mr Erdogan was making a speech at a conference in Istanbul, to which Mr Zelensky also spoke by video link.

09:22 AM

Putin says West's desire for global dominance increases conflict risks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the West's desire to maintain its dominance on the world stage was increasing the risks of conflict.

"The potential for conflict in the world is growing and this is a direct consequence of the attempts by Western elites to preserve their political, financial, military and ideological dominance by any means," Putin said.

The Russian leader was speaking in a video message to a summit of defence ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and a group of ex-Soviet countries that was published by the Kremlin.

"They deliberately multiply chaos and aggravate the international situation," Putin said.

He also accused the West of "exploiting" Ukraine and using its people as "cannon fodder" in a conflict against Russia.

09:00 AM

Russia's Bout feels terrible and wants drawings back from the US

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout feels terrible after his long prisoner swap journey and his family expects that the United States will hand over his documents and drawings to the Russian embassy, TASS news agency reported, citing his wife.

She said Bout was "exhausted" and hadn't slept for three days.

Viktor Bout sits in a Russian plane after a swap - RU-24 Russian Television via AP © RU-24 Russian Television via AP Viktor Bout sits in a Russian plane after a swap - RU-24 Russian Television via AP

His family said it expected the United States would hand over his documents and drawings to the Russian embassy as soon as possible.

"Viktor Anatolyevich feels terrible, he is really exhausted," Tass quoted his wife, Alla Bout, as saying.

"I hope that all his documents and drawings will be handed over to the Russian Embassy soon," she said.

08:39 AM

Iranian drone attacks restart in Ukraine

Iranian drone attacks have restarted in Ukraine in a sign that Russia has received a fresh shipment of weapons from Tehran, according to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD said that Russia had likely received a resupply of Iranian Shahed-131 and 136 loitering munitions. 

At least 14 Shahed-136s were shot down on Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian general staff. Meanwhile, Iranian-provided aerial vehicles were used to attack the Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro oblasts, Ukrainian officials said.

08:21 AM

UK to impose new sanctions on Russian individuals

James Cleverly, British foreign secretary, has announced that he will place new sanctions on individuals in Russia.

He wrote in the Guardian:

After Vladimir Putin launched his latest onslaught against Ukraine in February, the UK put together the biggest package of sanctions ever enacted against a major economy.

So far we have targeted over 1,200 Russian individuals, including at least 100 oligarchs and their families, with a net worth exceeding £140bn.

We’ve hit whole sectors of the Russian economy, immobilising Russian central bank reserves, preventing Russian companies from raising funds in the City of London, and placing UK financial services beyond the Kremlin’s reach. Together with allies, our sanctions have undermined Russia’s ability to wage war.

Today, I will announce new sanctions on individuals in 11 countries, including Iran, Russia, Mali and Nicaragua, targeting those responsible for acts of torture, sexual violence and the repression of protests.

07:54 AM

US sending $275 million in military aid to Ukraine

The US is sending an additional $275 million in military aid to Ukraine, including large amounts of ammunition and high-tech systems that can be used to detect and counter drones in its ongoing war with Russia, according to US officials.

The total aid amount is smaller than most of the recent packages the US has delivered, and it comes as many military officials and experts predict a reduction in attacks during the winter. 

 A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) of Ukrainian army fires - HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock © HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) of Ukrainian army fires - HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia appears to be slowing its military activities to regroup and launch a new offensive when the weather warms.

The officials said the latest package of aid includes 80,000 rounds of ammunition for howitzers and an undisclosed amount of ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS. 

It also includes systems to counter drones and air defences, along with more HUMVEES, generators and other combat equipment. 

07:35 AM

US plans sanctions on Russia and China

The United States plans to impose new sanctions against Russia and China on Friday that include punishing Moscow for its use of Iranian drones in its war against Ukraine, two US officials said on Thursday.

The sanctions will also target about 170 Chinese entities for what Washington considers illegal fishing in the Pacific, the officials said, amid concerns that China is over-fishing and using its fishing fleet to expand Beijing's maritime influence.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the sanctions. 

Many of the sanctions are to be levied under the Global Magnitsky Act, the 2016 law that authorises the US government to sanction foreign government officials worldwide who are deemed to be human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the United States.

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