Germany opens first floating LNG terminal as it aims to reduce dependency on Russian gas
From CNN's Gabby Gretener
Germany opened its first floating terminal of liquified natural gas (LNG), one month after completing construction in the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven on Saturday.
Built to reduce the country's dependency on Russian gas, the terminal in Lower Saxony was completed in a short period of time. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was on board for the opening, said he hopes the speedy process can be replicated across the country. Three more terminals are planned for Lubmin, Brunsbüttel and Stade.
The FSRU Hoegh Esperanza, an LNG storage ship, will service the terminal, returning the LNG to a gaseous state and delivering it directly into the gas network. Scholz called it "an important contribution to our security."
More context: Germany was heavily reliant on Russian gas before the war in Ukraine, with 55% of all gas consumed in Germany coming from Russia.
The country is no longer receiving Russian gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after Russia halted supplies, leaving Germany scrambling for alternatives.
2:28 p.m. ET, December 17, 2022
40-foot Christmas tree in Kyiv is being decorated with "energy-saving garlands"
From CNN's Gabby Gretner
In Kyiv's Sofia Square, a Christmas tree that is 12 meters (nearly 40 feet) tall will be decorated with "energy-saving garlands" that will be powered by a generator at specific times, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
Roughly 1,000 blue and yellow balls and white doves will decorate the tree, with a trident placed on top, the mayor said. Flags of countries that are supporting Ukraine will be placed at the bottom of the tree.
There will be no Christmas markets, mass entertainment events or rides in Sophia Square this year.
Last month, Klitschko told Ukrainian news outlet RBC-Ukraine the city's Christmas trees will still be installed amid the war “to remind our children of the New Year mood.”
“No one is going to cancel the New Year and Christmas, and there should be an atmosphere of the New Year,” Klitschko told the network. “We cannot let Putin steal our Christmas.”
2:31 p.m. ET, December 17, 2022
Moscow uses propaganda videos to appeal for army recruits to fight in Ukraine
From Uliana Pavlova
Moscow has begun a new campaign to encourage Russians to enlist in the armed forces and fight in Ukraine, despite the Kremlin having previously denied needing more recruits.
In an attempt to attract more volunteers to the front, Russian propaganda videos posted on social networks over the last few days seek to appeal to Russian men through the narratives of patriotism, morality and upward social mobility.
Many clips portray the war as an escape for men from the bleak reality of their daily lives — which consists of drinking vodka, poverty and helplessness, according to the videos.
One of the pieces, posted on Dec. 14, features a young man who is choosing to fight instead of partying with his friends and then surprises everyone by buying himself a car with the money he made from fighting on a military contract.
In a video posted on Dec. 15, the former girlfriend of a soldier is newly impressed with his courage and begs him to get back together. In another video, a middle-aged man leaves the factory job that doesn’t pay him enough to sign a military contract and go to the front.
Another of the videos shows posh-looking Russian men in their 30s loading a car. An elderly woman asks where are they going, to which one of the men says, “To Georgia. Forever.”
When another woman spills a bag of groceries, instead of helping, the posh men just get into the car and leave, while a group of younger Russian men rush to pick up the groceries. “The boys have left, the men stayed,” one of the elderly women says.
During a meeting with mothers of the mobilized in November, Putin insinuated that it is better to be killed fighting for the country than to drink oneself to death on vodka.
More background: In late September, Putin announced a “partial mobilization," which saw over 300,000 people across Russia mobilized as its war in Ukraine failed to make progress. The mobilization ended on Nov. 1, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The exact number of dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine remains unknown.
Thousands of men have fled Russia to avoid enlisting, and fears of a second mobilization in the new year are mounting.
Putin has attempted to reassure the public that there were no plans right now for additional mobilization.
8:45 a.m. ET, December 17, 2022
Ukrainian state energy provider ends “emergency mode” it activated after Russian attacks
From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
Ukraine’s state energy provider Ukrenergo has ended the “emergency mode” it activated on Friday, following the wave of Russian attacks against the country’s infrastructure, the company posted on Facebook Saturday.
The company said in a statement that Ukraine’s power system continues to recover after Friday’s attack on the country, and power deficit is “still significant,” with all regional power companies warned of consumption limits.
“Thermal power plants are gradually resuming their work, hydroelectric power plants continue to operate according to the schedule,” the company said. “Emergency repair works are being carried out at the power facilities damaged by shelling.”
On Friday, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said nine power generation facilities were damaged in Friday’s attacks, without specifying which locations.
8:31 a.m. ET, December 17, 2022
4 killed, 13 injured as body of missing child is recovered from rubble in Kryvyi Rih after attacks
From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
Rescuers pulled the body of a one-and-a-half year-old boy from the rubble of a house in Kryvyi Rih, which was destroyed by a Russian missile Friday, according to a local official.
Valentyn Reznichenko, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, said on Telegram Saturday that four people had been killed, including a 64-year-old woman.
Reznickehnko also said that 13 people, including four children, were wounded.
The city was among the hardest hit in the latest wave of Russian missile attacks, officials said.
2:35 p.m. ET, December 17, 2022
Water supply and metro services restored in Kyiv as many remain without heat and power after missile attacks
From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
Water supply and metro services have been restored in Kyiv, while officials continue to work to bring back heating in the Ukrainian capital, one day after a barrage of Russian missiles targeted the city.
“Water supply has been restored to all residents of the capital. Half of Kyiv residents already have heating and we are working to restore it to all residents of the city,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a post on Telegram on Saturday.
Klitschko also said that electricity had been returned to two-thirds of Kyiv residents.
“But the schedules of emergency power outages are still applied," Klitschko added. "Because the shortage of electricity is significant. Power engineers ask to continue to save electricity."