(Reuters) – The United States was finalising plans to send its sophisticated Patriot air-defence system to Ukraine, U.S. officials said, while allies pledged just over 1 billion euros ($1.05 billion) to help Ukrainians survive the freezing winter.
* An announcement on U.S. plans to provide the Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine could be made as soon as this week, three U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
* In Paris, about 70 countries and institutions pledged just over 1 billion euros ($1.05 billion) to help maintain Ukraine’s water, food, energy, health and transportation in face of Russia’s attacks, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said.
* They also promised energy-efficient LED bulbs to ease power shortfalls and help Ukraine get through freezing winter months as Russia pounds the country’s infrastructure.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said environmental harm from Russia’s war would affect millions of people for years.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will hold talks to discuss the events of 2022 in late December, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reported.
* Arms supplies from Italy to Ukraine would stop as soon as peace talks on ending the Russian invasion began, the Italian defence minister told parliament, as lawmakers endorsed a government decision to extend military aid throughout 2023.
* Russia dismissed a peace proposal from Zelenskiy that would involve a pullout of Russian troops, saying Kyiv needed to accept new territorial “realities”.
* Eight ships loaded with grain had left ports in Ukraine’s Odesa region after a pause caused by power cuts following Russian missile strikes, Kyiv’s infrastructure ministry said.
* Russia and Ukraine pounded each other’s forces in heavy fighting around the small eastern city of Bakhmut.
* Ukrainians leaving Bakhmut this week described almost constant Russian shelling that had forced residents to shelter in basements and sleep in the bitter cold.
* Reuters could not independently verify reports of attacks or deaths by either side.
* Russia’s close ally Belarus announced a snap military inspection including increased combat readiness in the south of the country, the latest in a burst of exercises that have prompted concern from neighbouring Ukraine.