Day 644: Estonia wants to close its border with Russia. Moscow is investing three times as much in the war as Ukraine. All information on news blog.
The most important things at a glance
Estonia wants to close its border with Russia
3:57 am: A day after Finland closed its last open border crossing with Russia, Estonia agreed to close it as well. Estonia is “ready to close its border with Russia and defend itself against any hybrid attack,” Estonian Foreign Minister Markus Sagna said on Wednesday. The situation on the Finnish-Russian border, where the number of recent immigrants has been increasing, is “an obvious hybrid attack by Russia”.
Russia’s move shows that the country represents a danger “not only to Ukraine, but also to other states.” The former Soviet republic of Estonia is a member of the European Union and NATO – and one of Ukraine’s closest allies, which has been attacked by Russia.
Moscow invests almost three times more than Kyiv
9:35 PM: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj signed the country’s state budget for 2024 eager to join the European Union and NATO, spending billions on arms. The defense budget, equivalent to more than 40 billion euros, accounts for half of the total budgetary expenditure.
“The security priority against Russian aggression is obvious,” Zelensky said in his video message broadcast in Kiev on Tuesday evening. At the same time, he emphasized that “the leadership will pay attention to the social needs of our people and the fulfillment of the country’s social obligations.”
By comparison: while Ukraine invests about 40 billion euros in defense against Russian aggression, Moscow wants to invest about 111 billion euros in the fight against it. This means that Russia is increasing its military budget to almost a third of its total budget.
Zelensky visits war and storm-torn areas of southern Ukraine
9:05 pm: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he visited the Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions in the south of the country, which were hit hard by the war and the recent storm. During the meeting, many questions were discussed, especially regarding the country’s security and population, Zelensky said in his daily video message on Wednesday. In Odessa, the objective was to strengthen air defenses and secure a corridor established by Kiev for the export of grain across the Black Sea. The port city has been the target of Russian drone and missile attacks for months.
At the same time, he consulted with representatives of the city and region about solving energy problems exacerbated by the recent storm. Among other things, the blizzard damaged a thermal power plant there.
Man writes “no war” in snow in Russia – ten days in jail
9 pm: In Russia, a man who wrote “No War” on snow in Moscow was sentenced to ten days in prison. According to a court document, the man was found by police writing the forbidden text with his fingers on the snow outside a skating rink in Moscow’s Gorky Park.
Accordingly, the police wanted to take the man to the Home Ministry, but he refused. Officers warned the man he was breaking the law before finally arresting him.
The man pleaded not guilty in court to not resisting arrest, court documents said. However, he admitted to writing the slogan and was sentenced to ten days of “administrative detention”. He was also slapped with an undisclosed fine, according to a media report.
Atomic Energy Agency: “This is of great concern to us.”
7:05 pm: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned of the risk of a nuclear accident at Ukrainian nuclear power plants. IAEA chief Raphael Croci said during a visit to a planned nuclear waste repository in France that “many risks are mounting and will remain until the end of the conflict.” “Military activities” are escalating around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and other Ukrainian nuclear power plants. “It’s very concerning to us.”
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