Ukraine latest news: Letter bomb blast injures worker at Ukraine embassy

A Spanish policeman near the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid - OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images
A Spanish policeman near the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid - OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

A worker was injured after a letter bomb sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid exploded in his hands.

The letter was reportedly addressed to Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhiy Pohorelzew, and contained a small homemade explosive. The EFE news agency said the device had not been through a security scanner when it was opened.

"National Police were informed around 1:00 pm of an explosion at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid. It happened when one of the embassy employees was handling a letter," a police source said.

"This employee was injured, apparently lightly, and he went himself to a hospital," the source added.

Police are investigating the incident and have deployed sniffer dogs to check for any other explosive material.

Ukraine said following the incident that it will strengthen security at all the country's embassies.

"Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba instructed to strengthen the security of all Ukrainian embassies," Ukraine's foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said.

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03:15 PM

Today's top stories

Here's a rundown of the day's events.

  • Russia is to pay 'special attention' to the construction of new bases and infrastructure for nuclear weapons, said Russia's Defence Minister

  • A huge fire ripped through an oil depot in Russia's Bryansk region near the border with Ukraine on Wednesday following a suspected drone attack

  • Desperate Russian soldiers are ringing up a Ukrainian "I want to live" hotline to ask for advice on how to surrender

  • The European Commission has proposed confiscating Russian assets that have been frozen to punish Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine

  • The European Union will try to set up a specialised court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine

  • Germany will provide Ukraine with more than 350 generators after Russian missile strikes severely damaged Ukrainian energy infrastructure

02:56 PM

German gas giant takes Gazprom to court over supply halts

German energy giant Uniper said it was taking Gazprom to an international tribunal over the Russian company's failure to deliver gas, saying it has so far cost them 11.6 billion euros (£10 billion).

After Moscow invaded Ukraine, Gazprom steadily dwindled pipeline supplies to Germany in apparent retaliation for Western sanctions on Russia, sending energy prices soaring.

Germany's biggest gas importer, Uniper was left facing bankruptcy, prompting the government to announce it would nationalise the firm over fears its failure could send shockwaves through Europe's top economy.

The German company said it had begun legal action against Gazprom at a tribunal in Stockholm, claiming damages over gas that had not been delivered since June.

02:55 PM

Mapped: Latest troop positions according to the MoD

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02:20 PM

A letter bomb was sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Spain, injuring one worker

Police stands outside of Ukrainian embassy after, Spanish police said, blast at embassy building injured one employee while handling a letter, in Madrid, Spain November 30, 2022. REUTERS/Juan Medina - REUTERS/Juan Medina
Police stands outside of Ukrainian embassy after, Spanish police said, blast at embassy building injured one employee while handling a letter, in Madrid, Spain November 30, 2022. REUTERS/Juan Medina - REUTERS/Juan Medina

01:40 PM

Latest from Ministry of Defence: Foreigners at greater risk of harassment under new law

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01:21 PM

Russia plans 'major construction' of nuclear missile bases

Russia is to pay 'special attention' to the construction of new bases and infrastructure for nuclear weapons, said Russia's Defence Minister.

"When preparing the list of major construction facilities for 2023, special attention will be paid to construction in the interests of the strategic nuclear forces," Mr Shoigu was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.

Mr Shoigu added that Russia would also work to improve the combat capabilities of its missile forces and that facilities were being built to accommodate new missile systems.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with close to 6,000 warheads.

01:04 PM

The desperate Russian soldiers calling Ukraine's 'I want to live' hotline

Fighters seek advice on how to surrender - with one asking if he should 'drop to his knees' on the battlefield, writes Verity Bowman 

Desperate Russian soldiers are ringing up a Ukrainian "I want to live" hotline to ask for advice on how to surrender.

Up to 100 people a day are reaching out through the 24-hour scheme, a total that has increased since the city of Kherson was liberated.

One soldier asked if he should “drop to his knees” when facing Ukrainian forces, according to the BBC, and said he did not “understand exactly” how to surrender.

Most callers are usually male, but family members have also gotten in contact.

Read the full story

12:56 PM

Turkey says Sweden's steps for Nato bid positive but not enough

Turkey said Sweden's new government was more determined to address Ankara's security concerns in return for Nato membership but called for "concrete steps".

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts on the sidelines of a Nato gathering in Bucharest on Tuesday.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations - especially Stockholm - of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems "terrorists" and held back on ratifying their Nato bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and scrambled to become Nato members in May, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

12:49 PM

Russian soldier purportedly being told how to tie his shoe laces

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12:37 PM

Putin has focused 'fire and ire' on civilians, says Blinken

President Vladimir Putin has focused his "fire and ire" on Ukraine's civilian population, bombing more than a third of Ukraine's energy system - water and electricity supply - in a strategy that will not work, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

"These are President Putin's new targets. He's hitting them hard," Mr Blinken said after a Nato meeting in Bucharest. "His strategy has not, and will not, work."

On Tuesday Russia accused the US of toxic anti-Russian behaviour that had prompted it to pull out of nuclear arms talks with US officials in Cairo this week. The move signified how low relations between the two have sunk over the past 60 years.

11:27 AM

'Drone strike' in Russian border town sparks fire at oil depot

A huge fire ripped through an oil depot in Russia's Bryansk region near the border with Ukraine on Wednesday following a suspected drone attack.

"Reservoirs with oil products are on fire in the Surazhsky district. Fire and rescue teams are at the scene," governor Alexander Bogomaz said on social media.

The governor did not say what caused the fire, but the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper reported it was caused by an unidentified munition dropped from a drone.

Mr Bogomaz said the fire engulfed an area of 1,800 square metres and over 80 people were involved in putting it out. He added that there were no reports of casualties.

Kyiv has been accused of carrying out numerous attacks in Russian territory, with the fire in Bryansk suggesting it has increased its cross border strike capability.

Euromaidan Press tweeted this image 30 Nov 2022 https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1597847557899800576 @EuromaidanPress · 27m Fire of unknown origin rages at oil depot in Russia's Bryansk Oblast Russian newspaper Izvestia claims that a munition dropped from a UAV set fire to a diesel storage tank, then two more tanks caught fire. PH: Russian Telegram channels - EuromaidanPress
Euromaidan Press tweeted this image 30 Nov 2022 https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1597847557899800576 @EuromaidanPress · 27m Fire of unknown origin rages at oil depot in Russia's Bryansk Oblast Russian newspaper Izvestia claims that a munition dropped from a UAV set fire to a diesel storage tank, then two more tanks caught fire. PH: Russian Telegram channels - EuromaidanPress

11:23 AM

More photos from Ukraine

KYIV, UKRAINE - NOVEMBER 29: Katerina Boichuk on violin and Olena Zhukova on piano perform during Light classics by candlelight at the Architect's House organised by Svitlo Concert on November 29, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Recently the Russian army has retreated from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, allowing Ukraine to reclaim swaths of nearby territory occupied since shortly after the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
KYIV, UKRAINE - NOVEMBER 29: Katerina Boichuk on violin and Olena Zhukova on piano perform during Light classics by candlelight at the Architect's House organised by Svitlo Concert on November 29, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Recently the Russian army has retreated from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, allowing Ukraine to reclaim swaths of nearby territory occupied since shortly after the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
*** BESTPIX *** TOPSHOT - A Ukrainian soldier watches a self-propelled 220 mm multiple rocket launcher "Bureviy" firing towards Russian positions on the front line, eastern Ukraine on November 29, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP) (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images) - ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images
*** BESTPIX *** TOPSHOT - A Ukrainian soldier watches a self-propelled 220 mm multiple rocket launcher "Bureviy" firing towards Russian positions on the front line, eastern Ukraine on November 29, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP) (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images) - ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

11:09 AM

German parliament set to label 1930s Ukraine famine genocide

Germany's parliament is expected to approve a resolution on Wednesday labelling as genocide Ukraine's 1930s "Holodomor" – a famine believed to have killed more than 3 million Ukrainians under the repressive rule of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

The resolution is being brought to the lower house, or Bundestag, by the three parties in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's governing coalition and the main opposition bloc. It comes days after Ukrainians marked the 90th anniversary of the start of the famine.

The resolution states that "the mass deaths from hunger were not a result of failed harvests; the political leadership of the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin was responsible for them."

10:49 AM

Russia and China carry out joint air force drills

Russian and Chinese air forces took part in joint military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

"The Russian Air Force and the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army of China conducted another joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region," the ministry said.

Russian strategic missile carriers TU-95 and Chinese Xian H-6 flew over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea for eight hours.

A pariah in the West since the Ukraine offensive, Putin has sought to bolster ties with Asia, particularly with China.

10:30 AM

Chechen leader Kadyrov said Pope Francis 'fell victim to propaganda'

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Pope Francis "fell victim to propaganda" after the pontiff singled out the alleged role of Russian ethnic minorities in the Ukraine offensive.

Mr Kadyrov, who rules the Muslim-majority Chechnya in Russia with widespread violation of human rights, has been one of Moscow's most vocal supporters in the campaign.

"The Pope called the Chechens and Buryats the most cruel in the Russian army," Mr Kadyrov wrote on social media, "he just fell victim to propaganda."

Chechen units - including Mr Kadyrov's own militia with a sinister reputation, the "Kadyrovtsi" - are fighting alongside regular Russian forces in Ukraine.

10:08 AM

In pictures: Latest scenes from the war

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine November 29, 2022. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS
Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine November 29, 2022. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS
Natalya Lutsenko, technologist of the Mariupol Wildlife Park, holds a new born lion cup in Mariupol, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Two newborn lion cubs were abandoned by the previous owners. The same situation happened with two tiger cubs four months ago, they now also live in Mariupol Zoo. (AP Photo) - AP
Natalya Lutsenko, technologist of the Mariupol Wildlife Park, holds a new born lion cup in Mariupol, in Russian-controlled Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Two newborn lion cubs were abandoned by the previous owners. The same situation happened with two tiger cubs four months ago, they now also live in Mariupol Zoo. (AP Photo) - AP
*** BESTPIX *** This photograph taken on November 29, 2022 shows ruins of the Azovstal plant in the Russian-occupied Azov Sea port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images) - STRINGER / AFP
*** BESTPIX *** This photograph taken on November 29, 2022 shows ruins of the Azovstal plant in the Russian-occupied Azov Sea port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images) - STRINGER / AFP
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Federico Quintana/SIPA/Shutterstock (13642543i) Fight like Ukranians - Home made assault vehicle with big caliber machine gun - Vadim The Kherson region was liberated after more than 7 months of occupation from Russian forces but the city remains the target of bombings. Many residents therefore decided to flee. November, 25th, 2022. Kherson after Russian retreat, Ukraine - 27 Nov 2022 - Federico Quintana/SIPA/Shutterstock
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Federico Quintana/SIPA/Shutterstock (13642543i) Fight like Ukranians - Home made assault vehicle with big caliber machine gun - Vadim The Kherson region was liberated after more than 7 months of occupation from Russian forces but the city remains the target of bombings. Many residents therefore decided to flee. November, 25th, 2022. Kherson after Russian retreat, Ukraine - 27 Nov 2022 - Federico Quintana/SIPA/Shutterstock

09:48 AM

Alex Kudrin becomes highest profile government official to leave a post since invasion

Alex Kudrin has become the highest profile government official to leave a post since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The upper chamber of Russia's parliament approved the resignation of Mr Kudrin as head of the Audit Chamber on Wednesday, paving the way for him to take up a potential role at Russian technology giant Yandex.

Sources expect Mr Kudrin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin throughout his career, to take up a role with Yandex, which last week announced a review of a possible sweeping governance overhaul that would leave its major business units in Russia under new ownership.

09:30 AM

Brussels proposes plan to confiscate frozen Russian assets

The European Commission has proposed confiscating Russian assets that have been frozen to punish Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

Officials in the European Union, the United States and other Western countries have debated for months how to legally seize Russian assets held abroad - both state and private - that are frozen by sanctions.

The problem is that in most EU member states, seizing frozen assets is only legally possible where there is a criminal conviction. Also, many assets of blacklisted Russian citizens are difficult to seize or even freeze because they are registered as belonging to family members or front people

Ursula von der Leyen she said that in the short term the EU and its partners could manage the funds and invest them. The proceeds would go to Ukraine that would ultimately compensate for damages caused to the country.

09:13 AM

Watch: A New Zealand soldier shows off his knife skills in front of Ben Wallace

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08:59 AM

Finland's leader says Ukraine's success depends on more weapons

Finland's leader says it must give more weapons and support to Ukraine to ensure it wins its war against Russia.

"We need hard power when it comes to Ukraine," Ms Marin said on a visit to Auckland.

"They need weapons, they need financial support, they need humanitarian support, and we need to also make sure that all the refugees fleeing from Ukraine are welcomed to Europe," Ms Marin said.

Since the war began, both Finland and Sweden have abandoned their longstanding policies of military nonalignment and applied to join Nato. Both countries are still seeking endorsement from Turkey.

08:38 AM

EU seeks to set up Russian war crimes tribunal

The European Union will try to set up a specialised court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

"We are ready to start working with the international community to get the broadest international support possible for this specialised court," the European Commision President Ursula von Der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Russia, which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation", has denied targeting civilians.

08:15 AM

Germany says to send Ukraine more than 350 generators

Germany will provide Ukraine with more than 350 generators after Russian missile strikes severely damaged Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and said Germany would dispatch the generators, as well as provide financial assistance to repair energy infrastructure worth 56 million euros (£47.6 million).

08:04 AM

First Russian fertiliser shipment leaves for Malawi

The first shipment of Russian fertiliser left the Netherlands on Tuesday bound for Malawi after days of wrangling to ensure it was not snagged by Western sanctions.

Dutch and UN customs officials said some 20,000 tonnes of Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium left on board the MV Greenwich from the southern Dutch port of Terneuzen on Tuesday afternoon.

The ship was chartered by the UN's food security agency, the World Food Programme.

07:17 AM

Ukraine urges allies to speed up support for winter of war

Ukraine urged Nato members on Tuesday to speed up weapons deliveries and help restore its power grid which has been shattered by Russian strikes, as Western allies vowed to bolster support to aid Kyiv through winter in the face of Russia's attacks.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for supplies of weapons, especially advanced air defence systems, to come "faster, faster, faster" as he joined a two-day meeting of Nato foreign ministers in the Romanian capital Bucharest.

"When we have transformers and generators, we can restore our system, our energy grid, and provide people with decent living conditions," Kuleba said.