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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Dec. 4

Volodymyr, the commander of a self-propelled artillery vehicle with the 24th Mechanized Brigade of King Danylo of the Ukrainian Army keeps warm by a fire to stave off the bitter cold, near Bakhmut, Dec. 3, 2022.
Volodymyr, the commander of a self-propelled artillery vehicle with the 24th Mechanized Brigade of King Danylo of the Ukrainian Army keeps warm by a fire to stave off the bitter cold, near Bakhmut, Dec. 3, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.

10:30 p.m.: The postwar reconstruction of Ukraine will cost about $525 billion-$630 billion, World Bank Vice President Anna Bjerde said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse.

"Previously, we published the figure, which was calculated jointly with the European Commission and the Ukrainian government. How much money is needed to rebuild Ukraine and bring it up to European standards, for example in terms of energy efficiency? At of the beginning of June, it was about 350 billion euros," Bjerde said, in an item reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

But since then, she said the figure had risen significantly to the new estimate.

9:28 p.m.: Ukrainian families waited in bitter cold on Sunday for their loved ones to cross from the Russian-held bank of the Dnipro River to Kherson, a city that since Ukraine recaptured it from Russian forces last month has been under heavy shelling, Reuters reported.

Military officials in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson on Saturday warned fighting in the area could intensify and said they would temporarily lift a ban on crossings to help the evacuation of citizens on the Russian-occupied territory on the east bank.

Under the three-day amnesty which began on Saturday, Ukrainians living in villages across the river can traverse the Dnipro during daylight hours and to a designated point.

Civilians who want to make use of the amnesty, which ends at nightfall on Monday, are required to show proof of Ukrainian citizenship and use their own boats.

8:30 p.m.:

7:17 p.m.: More than 500 Ukrainian localities remained without power Sunday following weeks of Russian airstrikes on the electric grid, an interior ministry official said, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The enemy continues to attack the country's essential infrastructure. Currently, 507 localities in eight regions of our country are cut off from electricity supplies," deputy interior minister Yevgueny Yenin told Ukrainian television.

"The Kharkiv region is the worst hit with 112 isolated villages," Yenin added.

Another 90 villages were cut off in the Donetsk and Kherson regions, he said, with others in the regions of Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Lugansk.

6:28 p.m.: There is no prospect of a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, according to Irina Scherbakova, one of the co-founders of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Russian rights organization Memorial, Agence France-Presse reported.

"I am absolutely convinced that there is not a diplomatic solution with Putin's regime, so long as it is still there," Scherbakova said Sunday in Hamburg, Germany.

Her comments came as she was presented with another award for her years of work cataloguing Stalinist-era crimes and campaigning on rights issues in her home country.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz handed over the Marion Doenhoff Prize to Scherbakova, praising her as an ally in the fight for a "peaceful, free and democratic future for Europe."

5:59 p.m.:

5:10 p.m.: Russian forces are losing more than 50 men daily near the strategic city of Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk region, Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesman of Ukraine's Operational Command “East,” said on national TV, as quoted by RBC Ukraine.

“In the Bakhmut sector, they (Russian troops) may be losing from 50 to 100 people daily. That's only killed in action, plus there are as many wounded,” Cherevatyi said, according to The Kyiv Independent.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said Saturday, that Russia likely plans to surround Bakhmut with “tactical advances to the north and the south,” using a significant portion of its military effort to capture the town.

The situation in the Bakhmut sector remains "tense but controlled," Cherevatyi said Sunday.

He said that the Russian troops will not be able to surround the Ukrainian forces in the besieged city of Bakhmut.

However, Cherevatyi said, the Russian troops are trying to change tactics in that sector particularly by having Wagner Group mercenaries infiltrate Ukrainian positions in small groups.

4:15 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered a message of unity. He said, everyday Ukraine gets one step closer to victory. But in order to get through the winter he said Ukrainians “have to be even more resilient and even more united than ever. There can be no internal conflicts and strife, which can weaken us all, even if someone out there thinks that somehow it will strengthen him personally. We need more interaction than ever. All of Ukraine has to become one big Point of Invincibility and work every day, work every night. The state, business, people - all of us, Ukrainians, all together.”

Zelenskyy said, “this is our key task - both for the state and the people - to do everything to support our defense forces, to strengthen our defense forces, to find everything necessary for our defense forces in the world.”

Acknowledging the struggle faced by those defending the Donetsk region city of Bakhmut, where fighting with Russian forces is the most intense, Zelenskyy said “Guys, hold on! I am with you. The people are with you.”

3:15 p.m.: Russia is using up ammunition faster that it can replace it said U.S. National Intelligence Director Avril Haines in an interview with NBC News, during the Reagan Defense Forum in Simi, California. Haines said Sunday Russia is expending its ammunition “quite quickly,” prompting Moscow to look to other countries for help, including North Korea.

The Biden administration previously said Russia has turned to North Korea to secure more supplies of artillery ammunition. Haines said that the extent of North Korea’s assistance appeared limited but that it was something the intelligence community would continue to monitor closely.

2:55: p.m.: Unprecedented sanctions against Russia have taken a toll on its economy and subsequently its ability to replace the weapons it’s using against Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“We see across their economy devastating effects from the sanctions that only grow. And in particular, if you’re looking at Russia’s efforts to modernize its economy, whether it – whether it’s energy technology, whether it’s its basic telecommunications infrastructure, whether it’s its defense and aerospace industry, every single day that goes by with these sanctions in place, the burden on Russia gets heavier and heavier, its ability to pursue these kinds of wars gets weaker and weaker,” he said.

Blinken added that there is a “very strong and resolute solidarity” among NATO members and G-7 partners.

“We’re constantly looking at different measures that we can take to, as necessary, increase the pressure. We’re working with Congress right now on legislation that would help us get around some of the challenges of using the State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.”

Blinken reiterated U.S. support for Ukraine.

“Making sure that they’re getting the missile defenses they need, working on getting them the different pieces for their energy infrastructure that they need as Putin tries to destroy it,” he said.

1:10: p.m.: Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak criticized Twitter owner Elon Musk on Sunday for the billionaire's "magical simple solutions," referring to ideas presented by Musk regarding Twitter’s content moderation on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In a tweet, Podolyak listed "exchang(ing) foreign territories for an illusory peace" and "open(ing) all private accounts because freedom of speech has to be total," as examples of Musk’s suggestions.

"(Elon Musk) prefers so-called magical 'simple solutions'," Podolyak wrote, an apparent reference to self-described free speech advocate Musk's plans to reform Twitter, which he took over on Oct. 27, as well as a tweet in which he called for Ukraine to give up the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula in exchange for peace.

Twitter representatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment, Reuters reported.

12:35 p.m.: A list of the most expensive cities in which to live, compiled semiannually by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit as part of a Worldwide Cost of Living survey, saw drastic changes this year in what appears to be a result of ripple effects of the war in Ukraine.

Moscow and St. Petersburg, the most populous cities in Russia, saw the most drastic jumps in rank of any city included. Moscow went from the 72nd position last year to the 37th in 2022.

Many cities in Western Europe, on the other hand, became less expensive, as currencies and economies weakened, even as gas and electricity prices spiked as a result of the war. Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was not on this year’s list.

On average, prices across the 172 cities covered by the EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) index rose by 8.1% in local-currency terms, the highest rate in the 20 years for which we have digital cost-of-living data. This year’s survey was conducted between August 16th and September 16th 2022.

12:15 p.m.: Russian forces shelled the city of Kherson five times Sunday, damaging a residential building and a gas pipeline Kherson Oblast Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych and the Kherson City Council said.

No casualties were reported said Yanushevych.

The Kyiv Independent reported, since Kherson's liberation on Nov. 11, Russian troops have been regularly shelling the city. Only in the past two weeks, 19 civilians have been killed by Russian fire, according to local officials.

On Dec. 3, Russian forces attacked the Respublykanets village with tank fire, killing a local man and wounding his wife. The woman had to be taken to the intensive care unit in Kryvyi Rih in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Yanushevych said.

11:30 a.m.: Ukrainian families waited in bitter cold on Sunday for their loved ones to cross from the Russian-held bank of the Dnipro River to Kherson, a city that since Ukraine recaptured it from Russian forces last month has been under heavy shelling.

Reuters reported, military officials in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson on Saturday, warned fighting in the area could intensify. They said they would temporarily lift a ban on crossings to help the evacuation of citizens on the Russian-occupied territory on the east bank.

Under the three-day amnesty which began on Saturday, Ukrainians living in villages across the river can traverse the Dnipro during daylight hours and to a designated point.

But as the amnesty's second day neared its end, there had not been a single crossing. Around 20 people waited gloomily with a group of soldiers and an ambulance at Kherson's river port, to the constant sound of shelling nearby.

Olena, 40, who would not give her last name to protect the identity of her family, said she was waiting for her 10-year-old daughter.

Olena had traveled to Germany for work just days before Russia invaded Ukraine in February and had been unable to see her daughter since.

"I haven't seen my daughter in nine months," said Olena anxiously.

11:05 a.m.: The fighting in Ukraine has been slowing down and this will likely continue in the coming winter months, U.S. intelligence agencies believe, the BBC reported.

However, there has been no evidence of fading resistance on the part of Ukrainian forces, U.S. director of intelligence Avril Haines said at Reagan National Defense Forum in California, Saturday.

She said both sides would try to "refit, resupply and reconstitute" for any counter-offensive in the spring.

The war in Ukraine is now in its ninth month but Russia has lost more than half the land it seized.

Haines said most of the fighting is currently around the Bakhmut and Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, while fighting had slowed down after Russian troops withdrew from from the west of the Kherson region last month.

"We're seeing a kind of a reduced tempo already of the conflict... and we expect that's likely to be what we see in the coming months," she said.

"But we actually have a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not the Russians will be, in fact, prepared to do that," she added.

"I think more optimistically for the Ukrainians in that time frame," she said.

10:20 a.m.: Dozens of 20th century Ukrainian avant-garde artworks are exhibited at Spain's Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, The Associated Press reported.

"In The Eye Of the Hurricane. Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930s," constitutes the first time that such a large body of modern art has left Ukraine.

The circumstances under which it has been organized make it a feat of cultural defiance.

"This is super important for us as a way to protect our heritage, that we managed to take the works out of the war zone," says Katia Denysova, one of the exhibition's curators.

The show is the brainchild of Swiss-born art collector and activist Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, founder of the Museums for Ukraine support network, and her friend, Ukrainian art historian and curator Konstantin Akinsha.

Thyssen-Bornemisza is a daughter of the late Dutch-born industrialist and baron whose collection formed the basis of the Madrid gallery when it opened in 1992.

She and Akinsha came up with the idea following Russia's invasion on Ukraine last February.

The central idea was to counter Russia's narrative that Ukraine doesn't rightfully exist and that its art is Russian.

"We wanted to act as a protector of these works that are extremely unique and rare, but also to do it by celebrating the value of Ukraine's immense legacy that has been completely forgotten and appropriated by Russia over the last decades," says Thyssen-Bornemisza.

9:05 a.m.: For years, Mitzi Perdue looked down at her hand and saw history.

The translucent emerald stone on her ring finger with a history of nearly four centuries. It went all the way back to the sinking of a Spanish galleon near the Florida Keys in 1622 and a decades-long effort of a colorful undersea treasure hunter named Mel Fisher to retrieve its payload of gold and silver coins, gold nuggets and jewelry.

Mitzy Perdue’s late husband, the chicken magnate Frank Perdue, received a share of the bounty in return for his investment in Mr. Fisher’s search. He donated most of it but kept the emerald and presented it to his wife when he proposed to her in 1988. She wore it until his death in 2005. Then, she put it away for safekeeping.

Now, 400 years after the Nuestra Señora de Atocha sank in a hurricane, Ms. Perdue, 81, is putting the emerald up for auction on Wednesday at Sotheby’s in New York City, the New York Times reported. All proceeds from the sale of the ring, which Sotheby’s says has an estimated value of $50,000 to $70,000, will be donated to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, prompted by Ms. Perdue’s visit there this year after the Russian invasion.

8:35 a.m.: Russia is working on the possibility of banning oil supplies after an imposed price cap, by the West, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday.

"We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilize the market," Novak said.

Russia will not operate under a price cap, even if Moscow has to cut production, Novak said.

5:17 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said according to a recent poll, Russian public support for the war in Ukraine is falling significantly.

Recent data says 55% of Russians want peace talks with Ukraine and 25% approve of continuing the war.

"With Russia unlikely to achieve major battlefield successes in the next several months," the update noted, "maintaining even tacit approval of the war amongst the population is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin."

4:25 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Ukrainian forces reportedly reached the east bank of the Dnipro River across from Kherson City. Ukrainian forces likely continue to advance northwest of Kreminna, while Russian forces continued ground attacks around Bakhmut, in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area, and in western Donetsk and eastern Zaporizhia oblasts.

3:29 a.m.: Ukraine is placing sanctions on 10 senior clerics linked to a pro-Moscow church on the grounds they agreed to work with Russian occupation authorities or justified Moscow's invasion, the security service said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

The announcement is the latest in a series of steps against a Ukrainian branch of the Orthodox Church linked historically to Moscow. The Orthodox Church in Russia itself backs the war.

In a statement, the security services said the 10 clerics had variously agreed to cooperate with occupation authorities, promoted pro-Russian narratives and justified Russian military aggression in Ukraine.

Most of the clerics, all either members of the church or closely linked to it, live in territories controlled by Russia or are abroad, the service said.

The sanctions, which last for five years, will freeze the assets of those on the list, block them from exporting capital from Ukraine and prevent them from owning land.

2:37 a.m.: Several Ukrainian officials have warned that the country faces a tough winter but can prevail in the face of Russian missile attacks on its infrastructure, CNN reported.

Maksym Tymchenko, chief executive officer of DTEK, a major power company, said he is confident there is no chance "for the Russians to plunge Ukraine into darkness."

Yet, there was a power generation deficit and issues with electricity transmission, he told the Kyiv Security Forum on Friday.

In the capital, he said, the company was trying to introduce "rolling controlled blackouts: three-four hours of electricity supply, followed by four hours break. This situation will continue, we hope, until next week only, if there are no further attacks. But we are prepared for further attacks."

He said all six of DTEK's power stations had been attacked, some of them several times. As of Friday, he said, the company has managed to bring them all back to the grid.

"We managed to accumulate enough coal stock for the country, not just for our company. We have enough gas storage to use gas for power generation. So we have enough capacity for the whole country."

The problem, though, was with connections and transmission, Tymchenko said.

"Transformers, sub-stations, high-voltage transformers: these are what we've been in deficit of, and what we appeal to our international partners for. Some of the equipment is already on the way to Ukraine," he said.

1:08 a.m.:

12:02 a.m.: A ship with Ukrainian wheat destined for Ethiopia arrived in port on Saturday, the first vessel to sail as part of a push to send food to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, according to Reuters.

Last Saturday, Ukraine and allied nations launched an initiative to export $150 million worth of grain to Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Kenya, and Yemen.

"We ship food. We ship hope," Zelenskyy said in a tweet accompanying a short clip of a vessel carrying 25,000 metric tons of wheat for Ethiopia that he said had arrived in the port of Doraleh, in neighboring Djibouti.

Zelenskyy said on Friday that by early next year, a total of around 60 ships would have delivered cargoes.

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press and Reuters.

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