Ukraine war: Biden prepares to meet Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he is ready to meet with US President Joe Biden “if he decides to look for a way out”.
According to Macron, Mr. Putin has not yet done so when speaking to reporters alongside him.
Russia’s war will continue to be opposed by the two men.
The Kremlin responded by saying that Putin remains open to “ensuring our interests”.
Moscow’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, says it will not accept US conditions: “He stated that negotiations will follow Putin’s departure from Ukraine.”
In September, Russia illegally claimed territory in Ukraine in a move that complicated efforts to find a mutually beneficial basis for talks, according to him.
It was clear from Macron’s remarks that he and Mr. Biden had agreed not to insist upon a compromise with the Ukrainians that they didn’t want.
Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Friday that Ukraine must become independent, not surrender, to find a just peace. Instead of bombing the population, the Kremlin should send concrete signals, he told La Repubblica.
In the meantime, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said in Ukraine that peace would not come until Russia stopped lying.
“There can be no progress based on lies,” he said after visiting Bucha, where Russian troops are accused of killing hundreds of civilians.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, about 10,000 to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died, according to a senior Ukrainian official.
The Ukrainian military has yet to confirm the remarks made by presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak about casualties. Neither Ukraine nor Russia usually releases information on casualties.
Since the beginning of the conflict, 1,000 Russian soldiers have been killed and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers wounded, according to the most senior US general, Mark Milley.
Mr. Podolyak told Ukrainian television outlet Channel 24 that Kyiv was “openly discussing the number of dead”. Civilians may have been killed in significant numbers, he said. Approximately 100,000 soldiers may also have been killed since the invasion, according to him.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU Commission, said on Wednesday that 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed. According to an EU spokesperson, this figure referred to both the dead and those wounded. There were also 20,000 civilian deaths in Ukraine, according to Ms von der Leyen.
Following their White House talks, the French and US presidents issued a joint statement promising “continued support for Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity”. They also promised to accelerate the delivery of air defense systems and plan to hold an international Ukraine conference on 13 December in Paris.
He said “we will never urge the Ukrainians to make a compromise that is unacceptable to them”, while his French counterpart vowed to talk to the Russian leader.
In his speech, President Macron said that European countries have not offered any concrete mediation proposals so far. In the last two weeks, Macron has repeatedly said he would speak with the Russian president while adding that Moscow hadn’t received any signals via diplomatic channels.
The former US Secretary of State John Kerry was identified by Mr. Lavrov as someone capable of solving problems and engaging in genuine dialogue in the past.
Among other developments:
- Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin stated during a visit to Australia that Europe needs to improve its defense capabilities: “Our defense is not strong enough at the moment. Without the US, we would be in trouble.”.
- In addition to using dummy nuclear-capable missiles, the Ukrainian military has accused Russia of exhausting Ukraine’s air defenses with dummy missiles. Ukraine’s military experts suggested that it may have been because of the country’s massive attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure that it was using nuclear missiles without explosive warheads.
- BP was accused of receiving hundreds of millions of pounds in “blood money” from its investments in Russia by another Zelensky adviser, Oleg Ustenko. Rosneft no longer pays profits to BP
- Several videos hosted by TikTok glorify violence committed by the Wagner group of mercenaries. More than a billion people have viewed the videos, according to US-based NewsGuard. Any content that violates Tiktok’s policies will be removed.
A Ukrainian war could result in BP receiving blood money
An adviser to Ukraine’s president has warned BP is at risk of receiving “blood money” from its investments in Russia.
As a result of its stake in Russian energy giant Rosneft, BP will receive hundreds of millions of pounds, according to Ustenko.
Rosneft has stopped paying BP any profits.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it announced it would sell its shareholding in Rosneft.
This year, despite sanctions against Russia, Russian energy firms have made bumper profits due to the Ukraine invasion and sanctions that followed, which pushed up the price of oil and gas globally.
A major energy producer in the country is Rosneft. Russian President Vladimir Putin is particularly close and influential to its chairman, billionaire industrialist Igor Sechin.
In a letter to BP’s chief executive, Bernard Looney, Ustenko, the president’s adviser on economic matters, urges him not to profit from the war through his business.
This is pure blood money, made by killing Ukrainian civilians, he wrote in his letter.
Rosneft owned 19.75% of BP before Russia invaded Ukraine.
When the conflict began, BP announced it was selling its stake in Rosneft, giving up its two seats on that board, and writing off the value of the investment.
The company remains BP’s shareholder. Political conditions have complicated the divestment process, according to insiders.
Investors were given a dividend of 216 billion roubles (£2.9 billion) by Rosneft last month.
Global Witness claims BP should be given £580 million, which equals more than a third of all UK financial assistance given to Ukraine to date.
Mr. Ustenko pointed out to the BP chief executive that BP is owed the money because it is still a Rosneft shareholder.
As a result of the historic mistake your company made, BP will receive this money into a restricted Russian account, but the dividend will nevertheless be paid out,” he wrote.
When the war is over, BP will return to business as usual, Ustenko said.
A fund dedicated to Ukrainian war victims should be established by BP if it receives those profits.
“Business as usual” is not an option for BP, it said in a statement.
Rosneft’s income was no longer included in its earnings, reducing its earnings by some $2 billion per year because of investment write-offs worth more than $24 billion (£20 billion).
The Rosneft shares have not yielded any dividends to BP since our decision,” BP stated.
As far as we understand, any money paid to a company in an ‘unfriendly state’, like the UK, goes into a highly restricted Russian bank account from which it cannot be transferred to another bank without special permission from the government of the country.