Surrounded city nuclear weapons and agreement with France

Surrounded city, nuclear weapons and agreement with France

Did you miss the latest events on the war in Ukraine? Every evening at 7:30 p.m. 20 Minutes takes stock for you. Between the strong statements, the progress on the front and the results of the fighting, here are the most important points of the day.

The fact of the day

A bombing attributed to Ukraine rocked a shopping center in the Russian city of Belgorod on Thursday, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Ukrainian border. That attack killed at least six people and injured 20, including five children, said the governor of this region bordering Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the situation is particularly deteriorating in Avdiivka, a battle-ravaged town in Donbass, where the situation of Ukrainian defenders is becoming increasingly precarious in the face of Russian forces, which launched an offensive in October to complete the encirclement of the town. “The third assault brigade confirms that it has been urgently deployed to this area for reinforcement,” that unit said on Telegram on Thursday in a message titled “The Hell of Avdiivka.”

This brigade claimed to be conducting counterattacks on quarters captured by the Russians and estimated the enemy forces in its area at “approximately seven brigades”, or several thousand men, with reinforcements continuing to arrive.

Today's statement

“Information relating to a serious threat to national security”

This is the sybilline content of the press release that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner signed on Wednesday to his colleagues in the US Congress. This invocation, worrying to say the least, spread like wildfire and fueled speculation across the United States. A White House official is traveling to Congress this Thursday to brief elected officials on this mysterious matter. It must be said that it is very rare for the intelligence agencies to communicate publicly about their current files unless there is a direct threat to the general public.

When contacted by AFP, a source familiar with the matter said the threat in question was “serious” but not “urgent.” Citing unidentified sources, several American media outlets speak of “extremely worrying” Russian military capabilities. ABC News first reported that Russia plans to deploy a nuclear weapon in space to target satellites. Nuclear, the word is out.

Moscow, in turn, describes this information as “malicious” and “unfounded” and sees it as a maneuver by the American executive branch to impose an envelope on Ukraine that has been blocked in Congress for months.

The number of the day

486. This is, in billions of dollars, the minimum amount Ukraine will need to rebuild after two years of war, according to an estimate released Thursday by the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Union and the Ukrainian government. The previous estimate, published in March 2023, was $411 billion.

The greatest damage is concentrated in the regions of Donetsk (east), Kharkiv (northeast), Lugansk (east), Zaporizhzhia (south), Kherson (south), all close to the current front line, and Kiev (north).

The tendency

Emmanuel Macron will sign a bilateral security agreement with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, a sign of “French determination to defeat Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine” that will soon enter its third year, the Elysée said on Thursday.

Our file on the war in Ukraine

The signing of the agreement will take place at around 6.45 p.m. in the Elysée Palace, after a stopover by the Ukrainian president in Berlin to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Germany is also negotiating a security agreement with Kiev, the conclusion of which is imminent. “Our determination (to support Ukraine) is there, is not weakening and will not weaken,” emphasized an adviser to the French head of state. “We are also determined to thwart this bet by Russia,” which “bets on the long term and on our fatigue,” he stressed.