Russian drone strike shuts down power supply in Kiev; The ruble falls

EU member states compromise on gas price cap

French President Emmanuel Macron (CL), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (back 2nd R), Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon (back), Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis (L), German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (2nd R) L), and European Council President Charles Michel (3rd L) attend the second day of the European Union (EU) Leaders’ Summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on October 21, 2022.

Dursun Aydemir Anadolu Agency | Good pictures

EU ministers have finalized a deal to implement a long-awaited natural gas price ceiling, which they hope will help households and businesses cope with higher price spikes.

EU member states have failed to resolve their differences in previous emergency meetings, but several EU leaders said last week that setting a maximum ceiling for gas was likely to be reached this time.

After talks in Brussels on Monday, the Czech president of the Council of Europe, which represents member states, said an agreement had been reached. Details of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

Unable to find consensus on the divisive topic, the Czech president opted for a “qualified majority” as the voting rule to secure political agreement. According to EU rules, a qualified majority requires 55% of member states, or 17 out of 27, to vote in favor of a proposal. Such a referendum would require those countries to represent at least 65% of the population.

– Associated Press

Putin arrives in Belarus to hold talks with Lukashenko

MINSK, BELARUS – DECEMBER 19: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (R) are seen during a welcome ceremony at the Independence Palace in Minsk, Belarus on December 19, 2022.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Good pictures

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Minsk for talks with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian state media reported Monday afternoon.

Putin’s first visit to the Belarusian capital since 2019 comes amid fears that Moscow could push its ally to increase its military involvement in the war.

Speaking to Russian news agencies earlier on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Belarus Russia’s “number one ally” but said Moscow wanted to pressure Minsk to join the conflict as “stupid and baseless myths”.

– Karen Gilchrist

UK’s Rishi Sunak is in Latvia to meet with allies to discuss Ukraine

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is in the Latvian capital of Riga to meet other members of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) to share tactical knowledge and conduct joint exercises.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) attends a bilateral meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Kriszjanis Karins (R) at the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Leaders of Nations meeting in Riga, Latvia on December 19, 2022.

Henry Nichols | AFP | Good pictures

He is set to announce a new artillery package for Ukraine and urge other member states to continue their support for Ukraine. He later meets British troops in neighboring Estonia.

Ahead of the visit, Sunak said in a statement: “From the Arctic Circle to the Isle of Wight, the UK and our European allies are in lockstep in our response to the invasion. UkraineWe are once again committed to our ambition for peace in Europe … I know that this Joint Expeditionary Force summit will only underline our close friendship and unwavering support for Ukraine.”

The JEF includes the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

– Natasha Durak

The Kremlin rejects reports that Belarus is about to join the conflict

The Kremlin on Monday rejected suggestions that President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belarus signaled an increase in Minsk’s involvement in the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Okaryovo State House outside Moscow, Russia on December 14, 2022.

Sputnik | Reuters

Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported that hours before Putin arrived in the Belarusian capital, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the reports “baseless” and “stupid”.

Putin’s visit on Monday afternoon marked his first visit to the former Soviet ally in more than three years, and Belarus’ defense ministry said it had finalized a series of reviews of the military readiness of its armed forces.

– Karen Gilchrist

Zelenskyy asks the West for weapons systems

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Western leaders in Latvia on Monday and called for the provision of a wide range of weapons systems in Kyiv’s ongoing war with Russia, Reuters reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown on a screen as he speaks via video link during a plenary session of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) in Riga, Latvia, on December 19, 2022.

Henry Nichols | Afp | Good pictures

“I ask you to increase the possibility of providing air defense systems to our country and to help speed up the relevant decisions taken by our partners,” Zelensky asked during his speech via video link to a meeting of leaders in Riga.

Western allies including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden meet in the Baltic country on Monday for a British-led group.

– Karen Gilchrist

Belarus says military tests have been completed ahead of Putin’s visit

Belarus’ Defense Ministry said on Monday it had finalized a series of reviews of its armed forces’ military readiness, signaling a possible shift to a more active role in the conflict, Reuters reported.

Belarus, Russia’s ally, positioned itself to launch an invasion of Moscow. Ukraine February has been carrying out a string of military maneuvers in recent weeks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Minsk on Monday, raising fears he could pressure his former Soviet ally to join a new offensive on Ukraine.

– Karen Gilchrist

The Russian ruble fell to a six-month low

The Russian ruble The dollar fell to a six-month low on Monday as low oil prices and mounting sanctions threatened to hit the country’s export earnings.

The ruble was 2.4% weaker against the dollar, trading at 66.22 by around 9:00 GMT on Monday. Marking the lowest level for the ruble since May 30.

– Karen Gilchrist

‘Extremely Serious’ Damage Caused by Russian Drone Strikes

This photo shows an item of critical power infrastructure burning after a drone strike on Kiev amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergey Shubinsky | AFP | Good pictures

Governor Oleksiy Kubela said a Russian drone strike caused “very serious” damage in the Kyiv region on Monday, according to Reuters.

After Russia unleashed 35 “kamikaze” drones over Ukraine early Monday morning, three areas in the region were left without power, the governor said.

The attack, which hit critical infrastructure, marked Moscow’s third airstrike in Ukraine’s capital in six days, Reuters reported.

– Karen Gilchrist

Read CNBC’s earlier live coverage here:

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