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A Weekly Recap and Preview of the Russian War (December 12): NPR

An apartment burns after a Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on Wednesday.


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An apartment burns after a Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on Wednesday.


As the week begins, here’s a preview and roundup of the main developments from the past week.

What to watch this week

The leaders of the Group of Seven countries are due to meet online on Monday, and the Russian-Ukrainian war will likely be on the agenda.

European Union foreign ministers on Monday discussed new sanctions against Russia and arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities have stepped up raids on churches accused of links to Moscow, and many are watching to see if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy follows through on his threat to ban the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron receives European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store for a working dinner Monday in Paris.

Also in France on Tuesday, the country is expected to co-host a conference with Ukraine to support Ukrainians through the winter, with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

After Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison, fans, friends and family are celebrating the basketball player’s return to the United States. Meanwhile, some Republican politicians have complained about the exchange of prisoners and other US citizens still held by Russia.

Russian-speaking listeners will tune in to a new station, Z-FM, billed as Russia’s “frontline radio” for Russians fighting in Ukraine.

what happened last week

New measures targeting Russian oil revenues entered into force on December 5. They include a price cap and a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports and a price cap on Russian oil.

Russia launched another deluge of strikes targeting Ukraine’s energy grid on December 5, cutting off electricity and water for many residents. Five days later, Russian attacks left more than a million people without power in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa.

Ukraine hit two military bases inside Russia. The New York Times reported that drones launched from Ukrainian territory to attack Russia demonstrated Ukraine’s willingness to fight deep inside Russia and its capabilities to attack from afar.

American basketball star Brittney Griner has been released December 8 after almost 10 months of detention in Russia and after months of negotiations. His release came in exchange for the U.S. surrendering convicted Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout. Griner is back in the United States and reunited with his wife. Bout is back in Russia and is said to have joined an ultranationalist party.

Ukraine hits targets in Russian-occupied town of Melitopol, including a church that would serve as a Russian military base. Officials said Ukrainian forces used long-range artillery to hit targets in the city of Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine.

Russian forces have turned the city of Bakhmut into burnt ruins, said Zelensky. Fighting there has been fierce as Russia tries to advance into the city in the eastern Donbass region.

Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner Yan Rachinsky denounced President Vladimir Putin and war with Ukraine in an acceptance speech Dec. 10.

President Zelensky had a phone call with President Biden on December 11, as well as the leaders of France and Turkey, in an apparent intensification of diplomacy during the Russian invasion which lasted 9 and a half months.

In depth

Ukraine still fears another Chernobyl-sized disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Life in a Ukrainian city: raging Russians, power cuts, a visit from Banksy.

There have been 50,000 alleged war crimes in Ukraine. NPR’s investigative team has been working to solve one.

Turkey is playing a difficult balancing act as it strengthens its ties with Russia.

In his acceptance speech, the Russian co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize condemns the war in Ukraine.

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian prison.

Ukraine calls for a boycott of “The Nutcracker”. The ballet companies are not moving.

Zelenskyy and the spirit of Ukraine are Time Magazine’s 2022 Personality of the Year.

Why Russia Sanctions Are Not Working – Yet.

In an ongoing race, Ukraine is trying to repair bombs faster than Russians.

Special report

Russia’s war in Ukraine is changing the world: see its ripple effects around the globe.

Previous developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more NPR coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR Ukrainian state podcast for updates throughout the day.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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