Ukraine-Russia news – live: Kyiv evacuates Kherson as winter approaches amid blackouts

Ukrainian authorities have started evacuating civilians from recently-liberated areas of the Kherson region and the neighbouring province of Mykolaiv, fearing that damage to the infrastructure is too severe for people to endure the upcoming winter.

Residents of the two battered southern regions have been advised to move to safer areas in the central and western parts of the country, said Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk. She said the government will provide “transportation, accommodation, medical care”.

The evacuations were launched amid growing concern for the safety of millions of Ukrainians who officials say have been left without full access to power as sub-zero temperatures approach due to a relentless Russian assault on the country’s energy infrastructure.

Ukrainian state-owned grid operator Ukrenergo reported that 40 per cent of Ukrainians were experiencing difficulties with power, due to damage to at least 15 major energy hubs across the country.

Warning that electricity outages could last anywhere from several hours to several days, the network said that “resilience and courage are what we need this winter”.

Key Points

  • Putin’s troops ‘likely struggling to maintain credible defence’ on Luhansk flank

  • Attacks on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant must stop immediately – IAEA

  • Ukraine holding battle frontlines in south, fierce fighting in east

  • Russia’s ‘General Armageddon’ under pressure to deliver after Russia’s retreat in Kherson

Ukraine could face blackouts until late March, says energy official

20:55 , Aisha Rimi

Ukraine could face rolling blackouts throughout winter and until at least late March, said the CEO of Yasno, a Ukrainian energy supply company.

“Today we again have various outages: we started with a stabilisation schedule, but in the afternoon we received new restrictions from Ukrenergo and we are also shutting power down urgently,” Serhiy Kovalenko wrote on Facebook.

“Despite the bad weather, energy companies are now trying their best to complete the restoration before the even greater cold. And although there have been fewer power outages now, I’d like everyone to understand: most likely, Ukrainians will have to live in the mode of power outages at least until the end of March.”

According to the CEO, if there are no new attacks on the power grid, under the current conditions of power generation, the deficit can be evenly distributed throughout the country, which means that blackouts will be everywhere, but less long.

Ukrainian people’s health cannot be held hostage, says WHO

20:25 , Aisha Rimi

The World Health Organisation has called for the creation of a “humanitarian health corridor” in Ukraine.

Speaking at a WHO press briefing in Kyiv, the regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, reported on the continuing health and energy impacts brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He called for the corridor to allow Ukrainians access to healthcare and humanitarian aid, adding that “access to health care cannot be held hostage”.

Dr Kluge expressed particular concern for the 17,000 HIV patients in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region who could soon run out of critical antiretroviral drugs.

He said: “This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine.

“The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukrainian health system and the Ukrainian people, but also for the world and its commitment to support Ukraine.

“The country is facing a therma-crisis on top of a perma-crisis brought on by the war and the pandemic.

“Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is either damaged or destroyed. This is already having knock-on effects on the health system and on people’s health.”


Cold and dark: Kyiv readies for 'worst winter of our lives'

20:08 , Aisha Rimi

When the power is out, as it so often is, the high-rise apartment overlooking Ukraine’s war-torn capital feels like a deathtrap. No lights, no water, no way to cook food. And no elevator by which to escape from the 21st floor should a Russian missile strike. Even when electricity comes back, it’s never on for long.

“Russian strikes are plunging Ukraine into the Stone Age,” says Anastasia Pyrozhenko. In a recent 24-hour spell, her 26-story high-rise only had power for half an hour. She says the “military living conditions” have driven her and husband from their apartment.

“Our building is the highest in the area and is a great target for Russian missiles, so we left our apartment for our parents’ place and are preparing for the worst winter of our lives,” said the 25-year-old.

Read the full story:

Cold and dark: Kyiv readies for 'worst winter of our lives'

No nuclear safety concerns at Zaporizhzhia after shelling, IAEA confirms

19:34 , Aisha Rimi

There are no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine despite shelling at the weekend that caused widespread damage, the UN atomic watchdog said after its experts toured the site.

“They were able to confirm that “despite the severity of the shelling” key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement issued on Monday evening.

Ukraine’s alleged war crimes under observation, says US

19:11 , Liam James

The United States is monitoring allegations that Ukraine executed Russian prisoners of war, Washington’s war crime envoy said after videos circulating on social media that Moscow claimed as evidence that Ukrainian troops had shot a group of Russians who had surrendered.

“We are obviously tracking that quite closely,” Beth Van Schaack, the US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, told reporters during a telephone briefing after the UN said it was investigating the footage.

“It’s really important to emphasise that the laws of war apply to all parties equally: both the aggressor state and the defender state and this is in equal measure,” she said, adding that “all parties to the conflict must abide by international law or face the consequences.”

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has reportedly said Ukraine will investigate the incident. The country’s commissioner for human rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said the videos appeared to show “a staged capture” where Russian forces were not truly surrendering.

Ms Van Schaack said the scale of criminality exhibited by Russian forces was “enormous” compared to the allegations against Ukrainian troops, and noted that the two sides responded differently when allegations of atrocities surface.

“Russia inevitably responds with propaganda, denial, mis- and dis-information, whereas Ukrainian authorities have generally acknowledged abuses and have denounced them and have pledged to investigate them,” she said.

Russia will refuse oil shipments to price cap countries, says deputy PM

18:41 , Liam James

Russia will not ship oil or oil products to countries imposing a price cap on its oil exports and may also cut crude production, deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on Monday.

He reiterated that Russia remained a reliable oil supplier and that the introduction of a price cap on Russian oil would trigger lower supply.

The G7 and Australia have agreed to ban imports of Russian oil. However, the group will allow domestic companies to facilitate shipments of Russian oil to other countries if sold under a certain price, in a measure set to take effect on 5 December.

France condemns shelling of Ukraine nuclear plants

18:15 , Aisha Rimi

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine and said other nuclear plants at Rovno and Khmelnitski, as well as the Nova Kakhovka dam had also been targeted.

Mr Macron, in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, also said Mr Zelensky had thanked France for its continuous support for the Ukrainian army via the delivery of supplies, a €200 million purchasing fund for Ukraine and the French contribution to European peace efforts.

Russia has destroyed 800 cultural objects, says Ukraine’s culture minister

17:45 , Aisha Rimi

Russian forces have completely destroyed or partially destroyed about 800 cultural objects, said the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.

Speaking on Ukrainian TV he said: “We are currently working actively, in particular with UNESCO, to strengthen these facilities ahead of winter, to obtain, in particular, generators.

“It is important for us now to get through the winter so that the museums are warm and have electricity. And that, as a result, cultural life in the country continues.”

He added that Russia’s war is also a war for the very right to be Ukrainian and the existence of Ukrainian culture.

“This war is against our very identity, against our people. We see not only Bucha, but also in many other liberated areas of Kharkiv and Kherson regions, Ukrainians were killed just for the right to be Ukrainians,” he said.

One person killed after Russian shelling in Kherson

17:07 , Aisha Rimi

Four people have been injured as a result of Russian shelling in Kherson.

They were taken to a regional hospital where one person died, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, wrote on Telegram.

He added that Russian shelling of the village of Antonivka injured a woman who was also taken to the Kherson regional hospital.

Luxembourg to send armoured vehicles to Ukraine

16:43 , Aisha Rimi

Luxembourg has said it will send additional high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) to Ukraine.

The Minister of Defense of Luxembourg François Bausch wrote this on Twitter:“The Army of Luxembourg and the Defense Forces of Luxembourg support the Armed Forces of Ukraine by sending additional High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). These will strengthen Ukraine’s in exercising its right to self-defence.

“Luxembourg will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

France announces €100m aid package for Moldova

16:16 , Aisha Rimi

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an additional international aid package worth more than €100m for Moldova.

The eastern European country has suffered from massive blackouts, heavy refugee flows, and security threats as a result of the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at a donor conference for Moldova in Paris, he said much of that aid would have to be focused on helping Moldova deal with an energy crisis that is the consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Several countries seek aid for Moldova as it feels impact of the war in Ukraine

15:33 , Aisha Rimi

Diplomats are raising money and other support for Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, as it braces the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Moldova has suffered from massive blackouts, heavy refugee flows and security threats from the war.

Monday’s international aid conference in Paris is aimed at “concrete and immediate assistance” for the land-locked former Soviet republic, according to the French foreign ministry.

Two previous conferences for Moldova this year raised hundreds of millions of euros, but as the war drags on, its needs are growing.

The ministry said: “This international support is all the more important as Moldova is currently facing an unprecedented energy crisis which, with the approach of winter, poses a risk of a humanitarian crisis for the Moldovan population.”

Broad blackouts temporarily hit more than half a dozen Moldovan cities last week as the Russian military pounded infrastructure targets across Ukraine.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, second right, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, second left, Moldova’s Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, left, and Romania’s Foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu attend a conference on Monday (AP)
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, second right, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, second left, Moldova’s Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, left, and Romania’s Foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu attend a conference on Monday (AP)

Moldova’s Soviet-era energy systems remain interconnected with Ukraine, which is why the Russian missile barrage triggered the automatic shutdown of a supply line.

Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s foreign minister and minister for European integration, said at the Paris conference on Monday that “the objective of today is to continue moving forward with ensuring peace, stability in our part of Europe”.

“Ukraine is facing this brutal Russian aggression but this aggression is posing a problem for everyone in Europe and that of course applies (to) Moldova,” he added.

“Moldova is severely affected by this war economically, when it comes to the security of energy supplies.”

Earlier this month, the European Union pledged 250 million euro (around £217 million) to help Moldova after Russia halved its natural gas supply.

Moldova relied heavily on Russian energy before the war, and has increasingly been looking to forge closer ties with the West.

President Zelensky and wife attend ‘Heavenly Hundred’ commemoration ceremony in Kyiv

15:09 , Aisha Rimi

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena attended a commemoration ceremony in Kyiv earlier today.

They laid candles at a monument to the so-called “Heavenly Hundred” for the people killed during the Ukrainian pro-EU mass demonstrations in 2014, marking the ninth anniversary of the start of the uprising.

 (via REUTERS)
 (via REUTERS)

Four ‘torture sites' discovered in Kherson city

14:46 , Aisha Rimi

Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office has said its officers have found torture chambers in four buildings in the city of Kherson.

In a post on Facebook, the Prosecutor General’s Office said they had “Inspected four premises” where Russian troops “unlawfully detained people” and “brutally tortured them”.

The investigation found that Russian forces had set up “pseudo-law enforcement agencies” in pre-trial detention centres and a police station while they occupied the city.

The statement continued: “Parts of rubber batons, a wooden bat, a device used by the Russians to torture civilians with electric shocks, an incandescent lamp, and bullets from the walls were recovered.

“People in cells and basements were subjected to various methods of torture, physical and psychological violence.”

All the torture victims are being identified and a pre-trial investigation is ongoing as part of the criminal proceedings over the violation of the laws and customs of war, the Prosecutor General’s Office the statement added.

Nuclear plants need protection from Russian sabotage, says Zelensky

13:51 , Aisha Rimi

President Zelensky has urged NATO members to guarantee the protection of Ukraine’s nuclear plants from Russian sabotage, a day after the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant was rocked by heavy shelling.

“All our nations are interested in not having any dangerous incidents at our nuclear facilities,” President Zelensky said in a video address to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid.

“We all need guaranteed protection from Russian sabotage at nuclear facilities,” he added.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was shelled on Saturday and Sunday, raising concern about the potential for a serious accident just 500 km (300 miles) from Chornobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

President Zelensky also called for new EU sanctions against Moscow over what he said was its “policy of genocide” as Russian forces bomb crucial civil infrastructure. Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians in Ukraine but acknowledges a campaign of strikes against electric power and other infrastructure.

Russia’s ‘General Armageddon’ under pressure to deliver after Russia’s retreat in Kherson

13:18 , Aisha Rimi

A Russian commander who argued in favour of Moscow’s forces to retreat from the Ukrainian city of Kherson this month is now under growing pressure to prove it was worth it.

Sergei Surovikin, nicknamed “General Armageddon” by the Russian media for his reputed ruthlessness, on 9 November recommended Moscow’s troops leave Kherson and the west bank of the River Dnipro where they were dangerously exposed.

He argued the withdrawal, completed two days later, would allow Moscow to save equipment and redeploy forces there – estimated by the United States at 30,000 strong – to offensives elsewhere.

Some of those troops have since been moved from southern to eastern Ukraine, where fierce fighting is raging, and the Hero of Russia recipient is under pressure on the cusp of winter to show his bet was the right one.

Vladimir Solovyov, one of Russia’s most famous ultra-nationalist political TV talk show hosts, said last week: “I appeal to the Hero of Russia Army General Surovikin: Comrade Army General, I ask you to complete the total destruction of energy infrastructure of the Nazi Ukrainian junta.”

The appointment of Surovikin on 8 October was the first time Russia had publicly named an overall commander for its forces in Ukraine.

In some Russian circles, his appointment was seen as setting up a potential fall guy while insulating Putin and, to a lesser extent, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, from direct criticism.


Russian shelling on civilian infrastructure in Kherson leaves people injured

12:47 , Aisha Rimi

“Kherson city is shelled again, civilian infrastructure is struck again,” posted Yuriy Sobolevskyi, the first deputy chairman of the Kherson Regional Council on Facebook.

He added the civilians are receiving medical help.

Top Russian official warns of possible nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia

12:25 , Aisha Rimi

The head of Russia’s state-run atomic energy agency, Rosatom, has warned there was a risk of a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, following renewed shelling over the weekend.

Moscow and Kyiv have traded accusations of shelling the facility for months since Russian forces took control of it in March, shortly after invading Ukraine. Renewed shelling on Sunday triggered fresh fears of a possible disaster at the site.

“The plant is at risk of a nuclear accident. We were in negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all night,” Interfax quoted Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev as saying.

Rosatom has controlled the facility through a subsidiary since October when President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia to formally seize the plant and transfer Ukrainian staff to a Russian entity. Kyiv says the transfer of assets amounts to theft.

The IAEA has called for the creation of a security zone around the plant, something Mr Likhachev said would only be possible if it was approved by the United States.

“I think the large distance between Washington and Zaporizhzhia should not be an argument for the United States to delay the decision on a security zone,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

The Rosatom head also said it appeared Kyiv was willing to “accept” a “small nuclear accident” at the nuclear power station.

“This will be a precedent that will forever change the course of history. Therefore everything must be done so that no one has in their minds to violate the security of the nuclear power plant,” TASS quoted him as saying.

Zelensky vows Ukraine ‘will endure’ in speech marking annual Maidan celebration

12:07 , Andy Gregory

Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed that Ukraine “will endure” in a speech marking the nation’s annual Day of Dignity and Freedom, which celebrates the Maidan and Orange Revolution protests.

The president hailed the contributions made by Ukrainians - from soldiers, firefighters and medics to teachers giving online lessons, villagers cooking for the military, tailors sewing uniforms and farmers ploughing their fields despite the risk.

He hailed their defiance despite frequent missile strikes, widescale destruction, shortages and rolling blackouts as winter sets in, almost exactly nine months since Russia’s invasion.

“We can be left without money. Without gasoline. Without hot water. Without light. But not without freedom,” Mr Zelensky said, from the presidential palace in Kyiv.

“A lot” has changed since the previous year, he said, remarking: “Craters appeared on our land. There are roadblocks and anti-tank hedgehogs in our cities and villages. It may be dark on our streets. It may be cold in our homes.

“There are many changes, but they have not changed the most important thing. Because the most important thing is not outside, but inside. And it remains unchanged. And that’s why we will hold out. We will endure.”

He said that in the future Ukrainians would gather on Kyiv’s Independence Square, which was central to the events of 2013/14 and 2004, “where we will celebrate the Victory Day of Ukraine ... in a peaceful Kyiv, in a peaceful Ukraine.”

Polish minister to propose stationing German Patriots near Ukrainian border

11:25 , Andy Gregory

Warsaw could deploy additional Patriot missile launchers near its border with Ukraine, following an offer from Germany in response to the stray missile which killed two people in Poland last week.

“During today’s conversation with the German side, I will propose that the system be stationed at the border with Ukraine,” defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.

Ground-based air defence systems such as Raytheon’s Patriot are built to intercept incoming missiles.

West must not let China ‘exploit’ departure from Russian fossil fuels, says Nato chief

10:53 , Andy Gregory

Western countries must be careful not to create new dependencies on China as they are weaning off from Russian energy supplies in response to Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has warned.

“We see growing Chinese efforts to control our critical infrastructure, supply chains and key industrial sectors,” he said on a visit to Spain. “We cannot give authoritarian regimes any chance to exploit our vulnerabilities and undermine us.”

Kremlin again blames Kyiv for Zaporizhzhia shelling

10:35 , Andy Gregory

Russia has doubled down on its accusations that Ukraine is responsible for the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant this weekend, calling on global powers to ensure that Kyiv ceased its attacks.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency – whose officials are due to inspect the Russian-held facility today – warned of a “close call”, after missiles were fired at Europe’s largest plant in attacks on two consecutive days.

“This cannot but cause our concern,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “We call on all countries of the world to use their influence so that the Ukrainian armed forces stop doing this.”

Yesterday, Ukraine’s nuclear energy firm Energoatom accused Russia of “nuclear blackmail”, saying: “The nature of the damaged equipment at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows that the attackers aimed at, and disabled, precisely the infrastructure that was necessary for the start-up of reactors 5 and 6.”

‘No discussions’ about second round of mobilisation, Kremlin says

10:16 , Andy Gregory

There are no discussions in the Kremlin about a second round of Russian mobilisation, spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has insisted.

Risking widespread anger in Russia, Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” in September which saw more than 300,000 people drafted, sparking the largest protests since the invasion of Ukraine and an exodus of fighting-age Russians to neighbouring countries.

Mr Putin said he had ended the mobilisation drive at the end of October, but has not revoked an official decree which provides the legal basis for the draft – a decision which has caused concern among some who say the Kremlin is keeping its options open for a future round of call-ups.

Asked by reporters if Russia was planning a new round of mobilisation, Mr Peskov said: “I can’t speak for the defence ministry, but there are no discussions in the Kremlin about this.”

Ukrainian troops to start training in new Spanish facility next week, says Spain’s PM

09:58 , Andy Gregory

A new training centre for Ukrainian troops will start operating in the Spanish city of Toledo at the end of November, Spain’s premier Pedro Sanchez has said.

Spanish police will also be deployed in Ukraine over the coming weeks to help investigate alleged Russian war crimes, Mr Sanchez told the Nato Parliamentary Assembly today.

Kyiv grain exports down nearly a third

09:42 , Andy Gregory

Ukraine has exported almost 16.2 million tonnes of grain so far in the 2022/23 season, down nearly a third from the 23.8 million tonnes exported by the same stage of the previous season.

After an almost six-month blockade caused by the Russian invasion, three Ukrainian Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, which was extended for a further 120 days last week.

Despite the deal, agriculture ministry data showed that 3 million tonnes of various grains were exported in the first 20 days of November – just under 30 per cent less than in the same period last year.

The government has said Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tonnes of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021 because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower yields.

Ukraine ‘fighting for European values’, say Finland and Poland’s PMs

09:30 , Andy Gregory

The prime ministers of Poland and Finland have said that Ukraine is “fighting for European values” in a video address reaffirming their support for Kyiv in the face of Russia’s invasion.

During his meeting with Sanna Marin in Helsinki on Sunday, Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki suggested that Finland should use frozen Russian assets in the country to aid Ukraine.

“I hope the EU Commission finds a judicial solution for carryting this out,” added Ms Marin in response.

Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of attacking nuclear plant

09:14 , Andy Gregory

Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for shelling at the Zaporizhzhia power plant this weekend.

Russia’s defence ministry claimed that Kyiv’s armed forces fired 11 large calibre shells at the plant on Saturday and 12 large caliber shells from on Sunday, and then two more at power lines, alleging that the shelling was conducted from Marhanets in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

“The regime in Kyiv does not cease provocations aimed at creating a threat of a disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” the Russian defence ministry said.

Ukraine’s nuclear energy firm Energoatom, however, said the Russian military shelled the plant, alleging: “The nature of the damaged equipment at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant shows that the attackers aimed at, and disabled, precisely the infrastructure that was necessary for the start-up of reactors 5 and 6.”

It accused Moscow of “once again engaged in nuclear blackmail and thus endanger the whole world with their actions”.

‘We are talking metres, not kilometres’: UN warns of ‘close call’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

09:01 , Andy Gregory

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant came under the most intense shelling of recent months this weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned.

The attacks came on Saturday, shortly after 6pm, and on Sunday at 9:15am, with more than a dozen blasts within in the space of less than 40 minutes, according to the IAEA, whose director general Rafael Grossi said it was a “close call”.

“We were fortunate that a potentially serious nuclear incident did not happen,” Mr Grossi said. “Next time, we may not be so lucky. We must do everything in our power to make sure there is no next time.”

“Even though there was no direct impact on key nuclear safety and security systems at the plant, the shelling came dangerously close to them. We are talking metres, not kilometres,” he said, adding: “Whoever is shelling at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, is taking huge risks and gambling with many people’s lives.”

Blackouts scheduled in every Ukrainain region

08:42 , Andy Gregory

There will be scheduled blackouts in every region of Ukraine today, the grid operator has said, as engineers work “around the clock” to repair Russian damage to energy infrastructure.

With some 40 per cent of Ukrainians experiencing difficulties, grid operator Ukrenergo said that “thousands of kilometers of key high-voltage lines are not working”.

It published a picture of a transformer station that was destroyed by a Russian missile, leaving around 400,000 people without power. According to the report, “there are dozens of such transformers in the power system now” and “this equipment cannot be replaced quickly.”

After last week’s strikes, Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 10 million Ukrainians were left without electricity, but the Ukrainian president said on Sunday that some areas had seen improvements.

“The restoration of networks and technical supply capabilities, the de-mining of power transmission lines, repairs – everything goes on round the clock,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address, adding that blackouts were scheduled on Sunday night in 15 regions and in Kyiv.

A dog with a lit up collar walks in a street during a blackout in Kyiv on Wednesday (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)
A dog with a lit up collar walks in a street during a blackout in Kyiv on Wednesday (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko)

Russia ‘using cold and darkness as a weapon’ against Ukraine’s population

08:25 , Andy Gregory

Russia is seeking to “use cold and darkness as a weapon against” Ukraine’s civilians with its attacks on energy infrastructure – which have no direct impact on the situation on the battlefield, a Ukrainian analyst has said.

“The Russians cannot win on the battlefield, and therefore they use cold and darkness as a weapon against the civilian population, trying to sow panic, depression and demoralize Ukrainians,” Volodymyr Fesenko, of the Penta Centre think-tank in Kyiv, told the Associated Press.

Vladimir Putin “is suffering military defeats and is in dire need of a military pause, which is why he is forcing Volodymyr Zelensky into negotiations in such a wild way,” Mr Fesenko said.

The political scientist believes the Kremlin is also trying to put pressure on Western support for Ukraine, as the EU and the US will be forced to expand aid packages to a freezing Kyiv amid growing domestic troubles.

Nations meet in Paris to discuss aid for Moldova

08:11 , Andy Gregory

Nearly 50 countries and institutions are meeting in Paris today to pledge millions of euros in aid for Moldova.

The money will be used to support Moldova’s budget and electricity supplies as well as the costs for hosting thousands of Ukrainian refugees, with donor conferences in Berlin and Bucharest earlier this year seeing pledges total some €1.3bn.

Moldova, which lies between Ukraine and Romania, has felt the effects of rising food and energy prices and thousands of refugees arriving in the country of about 2.5 million people, which has taken more refugees per head than any other country.

Largely dependent on Russia energy supplies, Moldova is facing more difficulties with winter arriving and Moscow cutting natural gas supplies by about 40 per cent, hurting its ability to supply enough electricity to its population.

“Moldova is directly impacted because its dependent on Russian energy supplies and is a country which has a part of its territory controlled by Russian soldiers so it’s especially vulnerable,” a French diplomat told reporters in a briefing, according to Reuters.

Rome hopes to extend Ukrainian arms decree for another year, says minister

07:41 , Andy Gregory

Italy’s government will ask parliament to pass a new law on military and civilian supplies to Ukraine throughout 2023, the country’s defence minister has said.

Rome can currently send aid to Ukraine without seeking parliamentary authorisation every time on the basis of a decree which is due to expire at the end of this year.

“The defence [ministry] will shortly propose to renew that same measure, extending it to all of 2023,” Guido Crosetto told the Il Foglio newspaper, adding that Italy will continue supplying arms, as it has done in the past, “in the times and ways that we will agree with our Atlantic allies and with Kyiv”.

He belongs to Brothers of Italy, the right-wing party of Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni, who is a staunch supporter of Ukraine. The two other key members of the ruling coalition, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, are more ambivalent, both having historical ties to Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine says will look into alleged prisoner shooting video

07:16 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian officials have said they will investigate video footage circulated on Russian social media which Moscow alleged shows that Ukrainian forces killed Russian troops who may have been trying to surrender, after one of the men seemingly refused to lay down his weapon and opened fire.

“Of course Ukrainian authorities will investigate this video,” Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister overseeing the country’s push to join the European Union, said on the sidelines of a security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ms Stefanishyna, speaking late Saturday, said “it is very unlikely” that the short, edited snippets show what Moscow claims.

Read the full story here:

Ukraine says will look into alleged prisoner shooting video

Putin’s troops hampered by severe shortages of munitions, skilled force - MoD

06:42 , Arpan Rai

The Russian defensive and offensive capability continues to be plagued by “severe shortages of munitions and skilled personnel”, the British defence ministry said today.

This comes at a time intense artillery exchanges have continued around the Svatove sector in Luhansk Oblast in north-eastern Ukraine over the last seven days, the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

“As on other parts of the front, Russian forces continue to prioritise constructing defensive positions, almost certainly partially manned by poorly trained mobilised reservists,” it added.

“With Russia’s south-western front line now more readily defendable along the east bank of the Dnipro River, the Svatove sector is likely now a more vulnerable operational flank of the Russian force,” the ministry said.

Russian leaders will highly likely see retaining control of Svatove as a political priority, the ministry said, adding that it is a significant population centre within Luhansk Oblast.

“However, commanders are likely struggling with the military realities of maintaining a credible defence, while also attempting to resource offensive operations further south in Donetsk,” the MoD noted.

Russian soldiers refuse to go to war against Ukraine, arrested

06:22 , Arpan Rai

A fresh video has emerged showing two Russian soldiers who refused to participate in the country’s war against Ukraine being detained in front of other soldiers during the formation, according to a report by Ukrainian publication Ukrainska Pravda.

The video shows the two soldiers being pulled up on the parade ground and being informed that a criminal case of disobeying an order has been slapped on them on 16 November, the report added, citing Russian media outlet Meduza and Russian Telegram-channels.

The incident’s video was shot in Russia’s Belgorod oblast and shows mobilised soldiers, according to the Telegram channels.

These two soldiers are then searched, handcuffed and sent inside a police vehicle.

The soldiers were detained upon their refusal to participate in Russia’s war against Ukraine, which Vladimir Putin regime calls a “special military operation”.

This is likely the first such criminal case against two soldiers who have backed out from Russia’s mobilisation operation against Ukraine.

How Ukrainian children’s lives are being torn apart by Russian rockets

05:47 , Arpan Rai

The war in Ukraine is having a drastic effect on children and their families, with the ongoing use of explosive weapons in populated areas causing high levels of death, suffering and upheaval.

These are just some of the countless stories from children in Ukraine who have had their worlds turned upside down by the war with Russia and shows the struggle they are in to put their lives back together.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 408 children have been killed and 750 injured since 24 February – because these are just the verified figures, the true toll is thought to be far higher. Most civilian casualties recorded were caused using explosive weapons with wide-area effects, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes.

Read the full story here:

How Ukrainian children’s lives are being torn apart by Russian rockets

One of oldest Roman Catholic churches destroyed by Russia, says Ukraine

05:37 , Arpan Rai

The Ukrainian forces have accused Russia of destroying one of the oldest Roman catholic churches from 19th century in southern Ukraine.

“Retreating from the Mykolaiv region, russians destroyed one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in southern Ukraine. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the village of Kyselivka was built in 1852,” the Ukrainian defence ministry said.

Around 100 Ukrainian servicemen killed, says Russia

05:29 , Arpan Rai

Up to 50 Ukrainian servicemen were killed on Saturday along the southern Donetsk frontline and 50 elsewhere, the Russian defence ministry said yesterday.

It comes a day after Ukraine said about 60 Russian soldiers had been killed in a long-range artillery attack in the south, in a continuous loss to Moscow’s troops over the week.

Why did Russia invade Ukraine and what could happen next?

04:31 , Arpan Rai

Russia’s “special military operation” has now been raging for nine months, the conflict continuing to record devastating casualties and force the mass displacement of millions of Ukrainians.

Vladimir Putin began the war by claiming Ukraine needed to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified”, an entirely baseless pretext on which to launch a landgrab against a sovereign neighbour state that happens to have a Jewish president.

Ukraine has fought back courageously ever since and continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

Read the full story here:

Why did Russia invade Ukraine and what could happen next?

Ukraine holding battle frontlines in south, fierce fighting in east

04:25 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky announced that his troops have dominated the battle’s frontlines in the southern part of the besieged country and have an edge over the Russian soldiers.

“South - we are holding the line, consistently and very calculatedly destroying the potential of the occupiers,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly address.

He added that the fiercest battles, as before, are in the Donetsk region. “Although there are fewer attacks today due to the deterioration of the weather, the number of Russian shelling occasions remains, unfortunately, extremely high,” he said.

“Luhansk region - little by little we are moving forward with battles. As of now, there have been almost 400 shelling occasions in the east since the beginning of the day. Thank you to each and everyone who holds positions and helps our defense forces,” Mr Zelensky said in the latest war update.

Attacks on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant must stop immediately - IAEA

04:01 , Arpan Rai

The UN’s nuclear body chief has said attacks on Ukraine’s major nuclear power plant must cease immediately to prevent a major disaster from occurring after heavy shelling bombarded Zaporizhzhia nuclear power site since yesterday.

"Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!" Mr Grossi said.

Over a dozen blasts rocked Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant over the weekend.

Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for the continuous attacks on the critical facility which has witnessed massive nuclear disaster threats since the start of invasion in February. It is being controlled by Russia.

The IAEA team on the ground said there had been damage to some buildings, systems and equipment, but none of them critical for nuclear safety and security so far.

03:32 , Arpan Rai

Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Monday, 21 November.