(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $45 billion aid package for Ukraine, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned his citizens that Russia could launch attacks over Christmas and urged them to heed air raid alarms.
* Russia may cut oil output by 5% to 7% in early 2023 as it responds to price caps on its crude and oil products by halting sales to the countries that support them, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told state television.
* Russia’s ambassador to the United States said bilateral relations were in an «ice age» and the risk of a clash between the two countries was «high», Russian news agency TASS reported.
* Putin told Russia’s defence industry chiefs to up their game to ensure that the army quickly got all the weapons, equipment and military hardware it needed to fight in Ukraine.
* Ukraine will intensify diplomatic efforts in Africa, Latin America and Asia to take advantage of «colossal economic potential» and other international benefits, Zelenskiy said.
* Three Japanese insurance companies will stop insuring ships for damage in all Russian waters due to the war in Ukraine, potentially affecting Japan’s energy imports such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), the Nikkei newspaper said.
* Amid the carnage of war, Ukrainian anti-graft agencies have revived an investigation into embezzlement schemes affecting power and oil, and new actions into graft allegation against a former state bank boss.
* North Korea denied supplying munitions to Russia for use in Ukraine after Washington said Pyongyang had delivered arms to the Wagner Group. The owner of the private Russian military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, rejected the assertion as «gossip and speculation».
* Russia has made significant progress towards «demilitarising» Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said – one of the goals President Vladimir Putin declared when he launched the war 10 months ago.
* The exiled mayor of Russian-occupied Melitopol in the south said more Russian troops had been brought into the city and were strengthening fortifications.
* Russian authorities in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol have begun demolishing most of the city’s drama theatre, where Ukrainian authorities say hundreds died in an air bombardment in March.
* Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield reports.
(Compiled by John Stonestreet and William Mallard)