Live: EU grapples with how to support industries as energy prices soar

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European Union leaders will debate on Thursday over how to prop up their countries' industries, which have been whacked by soaring energy prices since the outbreak of war in Ukraine and now face the threat of subsidy-fuelled US competition. Follow our live blog for the latest news and analysis. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

9:10am: Russia says all Western weapons in Ukraine are legitimate targets

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that all weapons supplied to Ukraine by the West are legitimate targets for Russia, and that they would be either destroyed or seized.

9:09am: Poland holds up EU deal on minimum corporate tax, aid for Ukraine

Poland was on Thursday holding up the European Union's formal adoption of a minimum corporate tax for large companies and, by extension, blocking an entire package of other deals, including financing for Ukraine in 2023, diplomats said.

The minimum tax, along with €18 billion for Ukraine next year, the approval of Hungary's recovery plan and the suspension of some EU budget funds for Budapest were all part of a complex deal reached by EU governments on Monday night.

The pact was to be signed off in what is called a "written procedure" by Wednesday, but Poland has twice demanded an extension of the deadline for this, the latest of which is now 12pm (1100 GMT) on Thursday.

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8:00am: Ukrainian forces shell Russian-controlled Donetsk, officials there say

Ukrainian forces shelled the Russian-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk overnight in some of the biggest attacks for years, Russian-installed officials in the annexed areas said on Thursday.

"At exactly 7.00 o'clock this morning they subjected the centre of Donetsk to the most massive attack since 2014," Alexei Kulemzin, the Russian-backed mayor of the city, said on Telegram.

"Forty rockets from BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers were fired at civilians in our city," Kulemzin said. He cast the attack as a war crime.

7:38am: Attacks damage buildings in Kyiv, US to send air defence aid to Ukraine

Residents of Kyiv on Wednesday woke up to air raid sirens after another barrage of Russian attacks. Buildings took the blow this time around, but no casualties were reported.

As inhabitants stay on high alert amid sub-zero temperatures, the US is finalising plans to send a Patriot missile defence system to Kyiv to help defend its skies.

FRANCE 24 journalist Camille Knight brings us this report on yesterday's strike:

6:00am: EU leaders head for tussle over rescue plans for industries

European Union leaders will tussle on Thursday over how to prop up their countries' industries, which have been hit by soaring energy prices since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and now face the threat of subsidy-fuelled US competition.

Poorer EU countries want a coordinated response to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – $430 billion worth of tax breaks for green energy – because they lack the deep pockets of richer member states like Germany to underpin their industries.

The tug-of-war among 27 leaders in Brussels will be inconclusive, diplomats said.

12:27am: Russians tortured Kherson youngsters in 'children's cell', says Ukraine human rights official

Ukrainian investigators in an area recaptured from Russian troops have uncovered a cell where children were detained and mistreated, a senior Ukrainian human rights advocate said on Wednesday.

Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian parliament's commissioner for human rights, said the cell was in one of four torture centres operated by Russian troops in Kherson – a city in southern Ukraine abandoned by pro-Moscow forces last month.

Russia denies targeting civilians in the war and rejects allegations it has mistreated civilians.

12:16am: US planning to send smart-bomb kits to Ukraine, says Washington Post

The United States is planning to send electronic equipment that converts unguided aerial munitions into smart bombs, allowing a high degree of accurate targeting, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing US officials familiar with the matter.

7:12pm, December 14: Ukraine finds 'propaganda' at Russia-linked Orthodox sites

Ukraine's SBU security service on Wednesday found "propaganda literature" in counter-intelligence searches in churches and monasteries across the country, in its most recent descent on religious sites of the Russia-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

"The Security Service of Ukraine found Russian passports, propaganda literature and laissez-passer" issued by Russian occupation authorities during searches on Wednesday, the agency said in a statement.

The SBU earlier announced "counter-intelligence measures" in more than a dozen religious sites in several Ukrainian regions, including the western Lviv region, Kherson region in the south and Zhytomyr region in the northwest.

"In the publications, representatives of the Russian Federation deny the existence of the Ukrainian people, their language and culture, and question Ukrainian statehood," the SBU said.

6:23pm, December 14: Ukraine to increase bonuses for staff at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant who remain loyal

Ukrainian atomic energy agency Energoatom said on Wednesday it would offer higher bonuses to staff at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station who remain loyal to Kyiv. The plant in southern Ukraine, Europe's largest, has been occupied since shortly after Russia's February 24 invasion but is still operated by its Ukrainian staff.

Energoatom said Russian forces were telling Ukrainian workers at the plant that they would not be paid after January 1 if they did not sign contracts with Russia's nuclear energy company, Rosatom.

"Energoatom continues to guarantee the payment of wages and all compensations provided for in the collective agreement to ZNPP (Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant) employees. In addition, from January 1, Energoatom is also increasing from 20% to 50% the bonus for ZNPP personnel who stay loyal to Ukraine."

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree in October transferring the Zaporizhzhia plant from Energoatom to subsidiary of Rosatom in what Kyiv said amounted to theft.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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