Russian President Vladimir Putin has upheld the evacuation of civilians from the conflict-hit region of southern Kherson, a region he claims to have annexed. This is his first acknowledgment of a worsening situation in Kherson, one of the most contested areas in Ukraine.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in the region, owing to what the Russian-installed deputy governor of the Kherson region said was a likely Ukrainian offensive against the city, news agency Reuters reported. Ushering an intensified clash in the coming weeks, Ukrainian soldiers are bracing to fight their Russian foes around Kherson for control of the key city on the west bank of the Dnipro River, a gateway to the peninsula of Crimea annexed by Russia in 2014.
Ukrainian forces using captured weapons also fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister Saturday acknowledged for the first time that his country has supplied Russia with drones, insisting the transfer came before Moscow’s war on Ukraine that has seen the Iranian-made drones divebombing Kyiv.
The comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian come after months of confusing messaging from Iran about the weapons shipment, as Russia sends the drones slamming into Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets.
Continued global support for Ukraine
The United States Friday said it would extend an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including refurbishing 45 T-72 tanks and missiles for HAWK air defence systems for Kyiv, news agency Reuters reported.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposed Russia’s threats to use atomic weapons in Ukraine. Scholz even warned that Moscow risked “crossing a line” in the international community by resorting to nuclear force. As the Group of Seven economic powers or G7 reiterated its stand against Moscow’s war in Ukraine, the foreign ministers of the group said any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences.
As Kyiv prepares to intensify its offense against Moscow, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine has sufficient gas supplies for this winter given the planned imports are taken into account.
Russian economy suffers
Only a month away from the G7’s meet to cap the price of Russian oil, officials in Moscow are racing to finalise details, leaving traders, shippers, and insurers with questions about the price level and how it will work.
In recent weeks, US officials and G7 countries have been in intense talks over the unprecedented plan to put a price cap on sea-borne oil shipments and to ensure EU and US sanctions aimed at limiting Moscow’s ability to fund its invasion of Ukraine do not throttle the global oil market.
Georgian economy booms
Amid the Russia-Ukraine turmoil, Georgia is enjoying an unexpected economic boom. The country is on course to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year following a dramatic influx of more than 100,000 Russians since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation drive to drum up war recruits.
Even as the world teeters towards recession, Georgia is expected to record a vigorous 10 per cent growth in economic output for 2022 amid a consumption-led boom, according to international institutions. That would see the modest $19 billion economy outpace supercharged emerging markets such as Vietnam and oil exporters such as Kuwait buoyed by high crude prices.
(With inputs from Reuters)