Ukraine war: Ukraine vows to fight for 1991 borders, Sarkozy plan condemned

Ukrainian official vows to retake Crimea

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against invading Russian forces will continue “no matter how long it takes” until the whole of the country – including Crimea – is liberated, according to the country’s foreign minister.

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“Our objective is victory, victory in the form of the liberation of our territories within the 1991 borders. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes,” said Dmytro Kuleba in an interview with AFP news agency. 

“As long as the Ukrainian people share this objective, the Ukrainian government will move forward hand in hand with its people”, he added, while admitting that “Ukraine is paying the highest price” for a conflict that has ravaged many regions of this country bordering the European Union.

The 1991 borders are those of independent Ukraine at the fall of the USSR, which include Crimea, a peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

Kuleba’s comments were published after senior NATO official suggested at an event this week that Ukraine could give up territory to Russia in exchange for NATO membership and an end to the war. 

Stian Jenssen, the chief of staff to the NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, has since apologised for his comments. 

Sarkozy intervention condemned

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s plea in the Le Figaro newspaper for a “neutral” Ukraine and a referendum to “ratify” the annexation of Crimea is “a terrible mistake” and “must be regarded as a Russian influence”, said French MP Julien Bayou.

The former head of state’s wide-ranging interview, ahead of the publication of a new volume of his memoirs, stunned Mr Bayou, who said on LCI that “a former president should not say that”.

By “going against the French position on the annexation of Crimea” and “sweeping aside the war crimes of which the Russians and (Vladimir) Putin are accused”, the former president has committed “a terrible mistake”, insisted Mr Bayou.

UK confident of Ukraine’s fuel reserves

The UK’s Ministry of Defence says it is confident Ukraine will have sufficient fuel reserves to get through winter despite Russian attacks on the country’s infrastructure. 

In its latest defence intelligence update, it says Ukraine has managed to mobilise its mining sector to ensure a continuous supply of coal is available, with gas stocks providing a further reserve. 

Man tried to set fire to military centre

A man in his twenties has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Russia for attempting to set fire to a military enlistment centre.

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According to information from non-governmental organisation OVD-info, which reports on politically motivated trials in Russia, Andrei Petrauskas was convicted of throwing two Molotov cocktails at a military police station in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, in October 2022.

A small fire broke out, which was quickly brought under control by police officers.

The man, born in 1998, was on trial for “terrorist acts”, a particularly serious charge.

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, several people have been convicted of attempting to set fire to military recruitment centres or administrative buildings. These attempts have become more frequent since a partial mobilisation of reservists in September 2022.

Dutch journalist loses Russia visa

Russian authorities refused to renew the visa for Dutch journalist Eva Hartog, who has lived and worked in the country for 10 years, and gave her six days to leave Russia.

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Her effective expulsion is one of several in recent years and comes amid a crackdown that the Kremlin has unleashed on independent journalists, critical news outlets, opposition activists and human rights groups. 

The pressure has mounted further since Moscow launched its war on Ukraine almost 18 months ago.

Hartog, a Dutch national, has in recent years been writing for the Dutch news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer and for Politico Europe. She first came to Moscow in 2013, Politico reported on Wednesday, and worked as a web editor and then chief editor for The Moscow Times.

Hartog said in a column in De Groene Amsterdammer published Wednesday that Russia’s Foreign Ministry informed her last Monday her visa would not be renewed and gave her six days to leave.

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