Three men found guilty of downing flight MH17; Black Sea grain deal to be extended for 120 days

Three men found guilty of downing flight MH17; Black Sea grain deal to be extended for 120 days
Armed rebel soldiers pass a large piece of debris at the main crash site of the Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was brought down near Grabovo, about 100km east of Donetsk, Ukraine, 20 July 2014. A court in The Hague, Netherlands, has found two Russians and a Ukrainian guilty of carrying out the missile attack. (Photo: EPA / Robert Ghement)

Two Russians and a Ukrainian were found guilty by a Dutch court of carrying out an attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 that led to the deaths of all 298 people on board.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said officials would travel to the site of a missile blast in eastern Poland that put his country’s air defences under the spotlight as Kyiv’s allies face growing pressure to deliver more air defence weapons.

Wheat, maize and soybean oil extended losses after Zelensky’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said a Black Sea grain-export deal would be prolonged by 120 days. He called the move “another important step in the global fight against the food crisis”.

Key developments

On the ground

The city of Odesa was attacked with Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea by Russian ships, which are currently on combat duty there, southern command spokeswoman Nataliya Humeniuk said on television. The Russian air force was also used. “Su-30 planes directed six missiles at Odesa in the morning, all of them were downed by Ukrainian air defence over the Black Sea,” she said. Russia has launched a total of 148 missiles and 26 drones against Ukraine since 11 November, General Staff spokesman Oleksii Hromov said at a briefing.

Ukraine’s 2023 crop yields ‘likely to fall by up to 25%’

Yields of crops being planted for harvest in 2023 are likely to fall 20%-25% year on year as farmers face difficulties buying enough fertiliser, according to the chief operating officer of one of Ukraine’s largest farming companies. Many farmers are now avoiding purchases of Russian fertiliser because of the war, UkrLandFarming chief operating officer Galyna Kovtok said in an interview.



Trio found guilty of downing flight MH17 over Ukraine 

Judges in The Hague ruled that Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Ukraine national Leonid Kharchenko caused the 17 July 2014 attack, while a fourth defendant was acquitted. Though the three convicted men were sentenced to life in prison, none is likely to face jail any time soon.

The Dutch government has held Russia liable for the incident after a five-country investigation team concluded that a BUK missile that downed the plane belonged to Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk.

Russia will study the verdict before commenting, because “every nuance matters”, Ivan Nachaev, a deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters at a regular briefing in Moscow.

Turkish tanker move may restrict Russian oil flows

Turkey warned the world’s oil shippers they would need to prove they’re insured to cross the country’s vital straits. The new rule starts on 1 December, a few days before the European Union and the UK impose additional curbs on Russian trade that will make it much harder for tankers with the nation’s oil to get insurance.

Read more: Turkish tanker move adds teeth to EU sanctions on Russia oil

Kremlin adds loyalist war reporter to human rights body

The Kremlin appointed Alexander Kots, a loyalist war reporter, to its human rights council, removing a number of civil rights activists. Yelena Shishkina, a legislator in Russia-controlled occupied Ukrainian territory, was also added to the list.

“In new circumstances, different people are better suited to represent civil society,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Ukraine faces days without electricity

Ukraine may face days without power following Russian attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure, Dmytro Sakharuk, a top manager of private producer DTEK Energy, said on national television. Electricity may eventually be available to consumers for only two or three hours a day, he said.

Australian billionaire Forrest pledges $500m to Ukraine recovery fund

Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest pledged to invest $500-million into the emerging $25-billion Ukraine recovery fund, Zelensky said in a video interview at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. He also thanked BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, for helping to structure the recovery fund.

Finland sends its largest military package to Ukraine

Finland’s government decided to donate €55.6-million worth of defence materials to Ukraine, its 10th package to date, bringing the Nordic country’s total donations to €160.4-million, according to an emailed statement.

Gas extraction facility damaged by Russian attack

Massive shelling hit the gas-producing infrastructure of UkrGasVydobuvannya on Thursday, Naftogaz Ukrainy CEO Oleksiy Chernyshov said, according to the company’s website. Several parts of the infrastructure were destroyed, while others were damaged to varying degrees. UkrGasVydobuvannya is part of the state-run energy company Naftogaz.

Zelensky softens stance on rocket origin

Ukraine’s president appeared to soften his insistence that it was a Russian missile that caused the blast in Poland this week and said a team would investigate after President Joe Biden disputed the claim. Zelensky said his military officials had told him that images of the crater at the blast site suggested it couldn’t have been caused solely by the remnants of a Ukrainian anti-air rocket.

He said he “was sure that it was a Russian missile”, but also that he was certain Ukraine had launched weapons to defend against a Russian barrage. “I don’t know 100% — I think the world also doesn’t 100% know what happened,” Zelensky said in a video link interview at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. “We can’t say specifically that this was the air defence of Ukraine.”

Russia must leave Ukrainian territory to end war, says Zelensky

Zelensky said Russian forces must leave Ukrainian territory — including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, and the eastern Donbas region — to bring an end to the nine-month war.

“This is not just a state within a state, it’s part of our country and part of our sovereignty,” Zelensky told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. He reinforced his message that he wouldn’t negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.




Russian missiles hit infrastructure targets in several regions 

Russia hit infrastructure targets in several regions on Thursday morning. Strikes on Dnipro damaged an industrial company and several residences, injuring eight people, local authorities said. Strikes on the Zaporizhzhia region destroyed several residences and killed at least four, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Zelensky’s office.

An infrastructure facility in the Odesa region was also hit, Maksym Marchenko, head of the Odesa military administration, said on Telegram. Three people were injured in the Izium district of the Kharkiv region where other infrastructure was targeted, local Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

Poland may allow Ukrainian observers in missile blast probe

Polish President Andrzej Duda saw “no obstacles” to Ukrainian observers taking part in an investigation into the causes of the missile blast that killed two people near the border with Ukraine on Tuesday, the head of the National Security Office, Jacek Siewiera, said.

The decision will ultimately depend on agreement with other Nato members, Siewiera told RMF FM radio. Polish prosecutors will carry out the probe, he said.

Black Sea grain deal to be extended for 120 days, says Ukraine  

The Ukraine grain export deal will be prolonged by 120 days, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Kubrakov said in a post on Twitter. He called the move “another important step in the global fight against the food crisis”. He said separately on Facebook the decision had just been made in Istanbul. DM


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