Dhe political leadership in Kyiv has taken on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church internally and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán abroad because of their close ties to Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised his people that the upcoming annual outlook before parliament would be a dialogue in order to jointly formulate the tasks for the future. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin banned the sale of oil to countries that have decided to put a price cap on the commodity.
Selenskyj wants to shape the speech as a dialogue with the Ukrainian people
Zelenskyi announced his annual state of the nation address to Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada. “I want this message not to be a report, but our dialogue with you about the coming year,” the 44-year-old said in his daily video address on Tuesday. It is about formulating the tasks for the future. The speech is expected by the end of the week, but Selenskyj did not give an exact date.
The Ukrainian President also reported on his meeting with the General Staff. The situation in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass and especially around the small towns of Kreminna and Bakhmut was discussed. The industrial town of Bakhmut in the north of the Donetsk region has been the subject of fighting for months. The situation has recently deteriorated near Kreminna, a small town north of it in the Luhansk region.
Putin bans oil sales to countries with price caps
A document published on Tuesday said of the oil export ban: “Supplies of Russian oil and oil products to foreign companies and individuals are prohibited if the mechanism for fixing a price cap is directly or indirectly built into these contracts.” The ban on oil transportation takes effect on February 1st. For oil products such as gasoline and diesel, the Russian government should set the exact date, although it cannot be earlier than February 1, the decree says. Initially, the decree is valid until July 1, 2023.
The price cap for Russian oil was decided by the EU at the beginning of December and is currently 60 US dollars (57 euros) per barrel (159 litres). The G7 countries, Australia and Norway have joined the measure. The price cap is one of the sanctions with which the West is responding to Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
Kyiv faces sudden power outages throughout the winter
According to the city administration, the residents of Kiev must expect sudden emergency shutdowns again and again until the end of winter. “We will have to live under these conditions all winter,” said the deputy chief of the city administration, Petro Pantelyev, on Ukrainian television on Tuesday. As in other Ukrainian cities, the power supply in Kyiv has been severely affected by the Russian rocket attacks.
Since October, Russia has repeatedly launched rocket attacks on Ukraine’s energy supply infrastructure. The danger of further attacks remains acute, the Ukrainian general staff warned in its situation report on Tuesday. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal earlier said Ukraine could spend New Year’s Eve without emergency shutdowns if there was no further shelling. However, he admitted that there was a high risk that the Russian military would once again target objects that supply electricity in Ukraine.
Kyiv accuses Orban of disrespect and political short-sightedness
The Ukrainian leadership has criticized Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban for his stance on the Ukraine war. “The remarks made by Hungary’s prime minister demonstrate a pathological disdain for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people who oppose Russian aggression, and political short-sightedness,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on its website on Tuesday. The trigger was a statement by Orban that the war could be ended if the US stopped providing arms to Kyiv.
Dispute over the relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow
In the dispute over whether the Orthodox Church should remain in the world-famous Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the Ukrainian leadership urged the Church to distance itself from Moscow. “If you have no relations with Russia, then officially renounce, say that (Vladimir) Putin is Satan,” National Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov demanded on Tuesday’s television. Moscow Patriarch Kirill is also a devil, added Danilov. Until May, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate.
The head of the world-famous Cave Monastery in Kyiv, Pawel Lebed, had previously accused Zelensky of putting pressure on Orthodox Christians. “It’s enough for us that the enemy is beating our people, we’re fed up with misery and sadness when people starve in the cold and without light,” Lebed said in a video message addressed to Zelenskyy. He appealed to him not to take away the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s two places of worship in the UNESCO World Heritage site at the end of the month.