Today – 1.12.23
Latest Ukraine Updates
Kremlin Claims It Has No Information on UK Nationals Reportedly Missing in Eastern Ukraine
The Kremlin said Thursday it “does not have information” on the two UK nationals reportedly missing in Donbas in eastern Ukraine. “We know from media reports that we are talking abou British citizens who were militants, took part in hostilities with weapoins in their hads. It appeasr that documents were found on the battlefield,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a routine conference call with reporters.
Hostiles or Humanitarians? The families of both men, Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry, say that the two had gone to Ukraine to work as humanitarian volunteers – not to fight, or in any way take part in “hostilities with weapons in their hands,” as the Kremlin put it.
Polish Tanks Should Arrive ‘Very, Very Fast,’ Ukrainian Official Believes
“I am more than sure the tanks that will be provided to us, it will be very, very fast,”Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said on Ukrainian television. He added that the military would “master” the use of said tanks “in a matter of weeks.” Polish President Andrzej Duda announced the plan to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv on Wednesday. Duda cautioned during a press conference that “a whole range of formal requirements, approvals and so on must also be met.” But if those hurldes can be cleared, this delivery will be the first time a Western-made tank has been sent to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began.
Kyiv Claims Russian Forces Are ‘Suffering Heavy Losses’ in Soledar
Kyiv claims that Russian forces are suffering heavy losses in Soledar, the eastern Ukrainian city that has seen such intense fighting over the last several days. “The approaches to the city today are actually strewn with the bodies of killed Putin’s troops,” Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Mailar said. Russia tells a different story, of course. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russian private military company Wagner, claimed Tuesday that his forces had taken control of the “entire territory of Soledar,” and Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov congratulated the “enormous” effort done in Soledar.
Leading Up To Today
Eastern Ukrainian Town of Soledar in Critical Condition
A Ukrainian soldier fighting in the eastern town of Soledar told CNN that the situation there is critical and that the death toll is now so high they don’t bother counting the dead. CNN’s source is from the 46th air mobile brigade, which is leading Ukraine’s fight to hold onto Soledar in the face of a massive assault from Russian troops and Wagner mercenaries.
Dynamic and Fast Moving: The soldier said it was unclear as of Tuesday night how much of the city was held by the Russians. He explained that buildings changed hands daily and units can’t keep track of the escalating death toll. “No one will tell you how many dead and wounded there are. Because no one knows for sure. Not a single person,” he explained. “Not at the headquarters. Not anywhere. Positions are being taken and re-taken constantly. What was our house today, becomes Wagner’s the next day.” The ranks are replenished constantly, and soldiers don’t even have time to memorize each other’s call signs as new people move in.
Official in Ukraine Orthodox Church Indicted for Pro-Kremlin Propaganda
Ukraine’s security service says an official in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has been indicted after an investigation after they found he was “publicly justifying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.” According to the service, a search of the home and church premises of the metropolitan of one of the church’s dioceses in the central Vinnytsia region turned up “pro-Kremlin propaganda leaflets and literature.”
More Context: The UOC was previously subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). In May of last year, leaders announced the Ukrainians were breaking ties with Moscow after Patriarch Kirill gave his support of the war.
High Winds and Low Temperatures Affecting Ukrainian Energy Supply and Repairs
Challenging weather conditions are exacerbating the stress on Ukrainian power systems, the country’s state energy agency said. “Electricity consumption in Ukraine has increased due to low temperatures exacerbated by strong winds in most regions,” Ukrenergo said Tuesday. Supply limits in many regions are already exceeded, so emergency outages are now in place. High wind gusts caused damage to distribution systems, and repairs are underway.
Injury Upon Injury: Russia has repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving many residents without access to heat and power. While repairs have been underway, the weather complications make an already dangerous situation far worse both by threatening those without power and slowing the work of those trying to restore it.
Russian Artillery Fire Down Nearly 75%, According to US Officials
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its 11th month, US and Ukrainian officials report that Russia’s artillery fire is down dramatically from its wartime high. In some places, it’s down by as much as 75%. Neither nation’s officials have a clear or singular explanation, but it could be that Russia is rationing rounds due to low supplies. It could, however, also be part of a broader reassessment of tactics in the face of Ukraine’s success in defending against the invasion.
The decrease also comes as Ukraine is enjoying increased military support from Western allies, with the US and Germany announcing last week that they will be providing Ukrainian forces for the first time with armored fighting vehicles, as well as another Patriot Defense missile battery that will help protect its skies.
Trouble at Home: Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is apparently struggling to shore up domestic political support for a war he initially described as a limited “special military operation,” according to US intelligence officials.
Russian Foreign Minister Calls for ‘Maximum Restraint’ From the West to Avoid Nuclear War
“We continue to call on the West to exercise maximum restraint in this extremely sensitive area,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS on Tuesday. “In order to minimize nuclear risks, it is important in practice to remain committed to the postulate of the inadmissibility of nuclear war, confirmed by the countries of the nuclear ‘five’ in a joint statement dated January 3, 2022.” In the same interview, he said that significant ideas from Washington regarding diplomatic contacts between the US and Russia haven’t been received.
The Mercurial Mr. Putin: despite hinting that Russia might initiate nuclear war as recently as a month ago, Putin now wants to be seen as the one committed to avoiding it.
Russia Bringing in ‘Huge Amounts of Reserves’ to Fight in Kreminna, Ukraine Says
The Ukrainian city of Kreminna continues to see heavy fighting as the Russian military keeps renewing its forces there, according to the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Serhiy Haidai. “The Russian occupation troops managed to build a very powerful defense in a month, even a little more. They are bringing there a huge amount of reserves and equipment. They are constantly renewing their forces.”
Key City: The town, which has been occupied since the spring, lies on a key north-south road from Svatove, which Russian troops had been using to resupply and which became even more important after Ukrainian troops took over Kupyansk, a Russian resupply hub to the northwest of Kreminna and Svatove.
AP cites officials who say more than 60 missiles were launched at Ukraine by Russian forces on Friday. At least four cities in the war-torn country were hit, including the capital, Kyiv. “At least two people were killed by a strike on a residential building in central Ukraine, where a hunt was on for survivors,” the news service says. “Electricity and water services were interrupted in the capital and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. Thousands of people sought shelter in subway stations deep underground during the bombardment.”
Ukrainian military commanders are claiming that a territorial defense unit in Kyiv used a machine gun to shoot down an incoming cruise missile. “Almost impossible to hit a missile with a machine gun,” said one officer, “but it was done.”
Kyiv Receives four Excavators and 130 Generators From the US
The US has given Ukraine machinery and generators to help strengthen the city of Kyiv’s power infrastructure, amid sweeping energy deficits across the country. The Energy Security Project, run by USAID, delivered four excavators and 130 generators, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram. The excavators “have already been delivered and will soon be put to work,” he added. So far, 11 kilometers (about 6.8 miles) of heating networks damaged by rocket attacks have been replaced this year.
Ukraine Launches ‘Most Massive Strike’ on Donetsk Since 2014, Russian-Installed Mayor Claims
“At exactly 7 a.m. the [Ukrainians] subjected the center of Donetsk to the most massive strike since 2014,” Moscow-appointed Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin posted on Telegram. “Forty rockets from BM-21 ‘Grad’ MLRS were fired at civilians in our city.” Kulemzin shared photographs of damaged residential and commercial buildings, as well as a cathedral. Russian state media claims no “immediate reports” of casualties, though.
No End in Sight: The war in Ukraine has intensified in the southern and eastern regions, as Russia unleashed fresh assaults on Kherson overnight. The city was hit 86 times in the past 24 hours, and three people were killed in shelling on Wednesday, according to the regional head of the Kherson military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevych. On Thursday, the Kremlin seemed to reject Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace solution, which involved asking Russia to start withdrawing troops from Ukraine this Christmas.
Ukrainian Security Services Arrest Alleged Kherson Collaborator
The Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) said the owner of a fleet of buses in Kherson has been arrested for providing transportation to Russian troops while the region was occupied. The SBU claimed more than 50 buses were used to transport occupying troops. The owner allegedly tried to leave Ukraine for Moldova afterward but was detained when he tried to cross the border.
Ukrainian ‘Saboteurs’ Knocked Out Power Substation in Occupied Territory, Officials Claim
The Russian-appointed head of occupied Berdyansk, a city on the Sea of Azov in the Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine, said more than 10,000 customers are without electricity after Ukrainian saboteurs blew up a substation. The explosion – which Alexander Saulenko, the acting head of the administration of Berdyansk, called an attack by saboteurs – occurred Tuesday night. On Monday night, a key bridge for the resupply of Russian armed forces in Melitopol, which is also in the Zaporizhzhia region, was targeted, according to both Russian and Ukrainian sources.
Russian Shelling Hits Regional Administration Building in Kherson
Russian strikes hit the regional administration building in Kherson Wednesday morning. The attack took place at 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. Eastern) and was part of a wave of fatal shelling on the southern region of Ukraine. “The shells hit the building of Kherson Regional Military Administration – two floors were damaged,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office, said on Telegram. There were reportedly no casualties.
Zelensky Prepares to Speak with G7
Over the weekend, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with leaders of the United States, France, and Turkey before a broader meeting of G7 nations later this week. “We are constantly working with partners,” Zelensky said and stressed that he expects “important results” to come out of the scheduled meetings. These “results” will likely be further sanctions against Russia backed by the European Union.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: US Not Preventing Ukrainian Development of Long-Range Strike Capabilities
The US is not working to prevent Ukraine from developing its own long-range strike capabilities that could target inside Russian territory, according to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. His comments followed a top US State Department official suggesting on Tuesday that Ukrainians were behind the recent drone strike on two Russian bases, and directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing war crimes by targeting civilian populations and infrastructure.
Ukraine Reaches Out to Former Soviet States for Energy Equipment
Ukraine says it’s working with international partners to help restore its energy sector after several waves of Russian missile attacks against critical infrastructure over the last several weeks. A large delivery of equipment from France will soon be delivered, Herman Haluschchenko, the Ukrainian minster of energy, said in a statement on Friday. The manufacture of new power equipment takes time, and the Ukrainian side “accepts assistance in the form of used equipment that is in working condition,” the minister said. Most notably, Ukraine is in talks with fellow former Soviet republics, like Azerbaijan.
Russian Military Airbases Hit by Missiles
Two military airbases in Russia have been targeted by apparent missile attacks, killing three people, injuring five others, and damaging at least two planes, according to Russian media reports. One of the airbases is located only about 150 miles from Moscow. The Guardian reports, “Video from Russian social media showed a blast at the Engels-2 airbase in Russia’s Saratov region. Another happened at the Dyagilevo military airbase near Ryazan… ”
“The exact cause of the explosion was uncertain. But it appears Ukraine has found a way to target Russia’s long range Tu-95 and Tu-22M aircraft, which are stationed at the airstrips.” The newspaper also says that Ukraine may have developed [or obtained] a drone with a range of 1,000 km (621 miles), which puts a large part of European Russia within striking distance.
Hundreds of Kyiv Buildings That Have Had Constant Power Now Restricted to ‘Ensure Fairness’
About 750 residential buildings in Kyiv that haven’t lost power through the outages caused by Russia’s attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid will now have their supply cut to “ensure fair and equal conditions,” according to a local energy provider. “Around 1,500 buildings in total are connected to the same supply lines ‘as critical infrastructure facilities’ including pumping stations, boiler stations and hospitals,” Ukraine’s largest private energy provider, DTEK, Thursday.
DTEK said that 750 of those buildings would have their supplies cut in the interest of fairness. The remaining 747 buildings will stay connected to the same lines because the company “cannot change the current electricity supply scheme due to the technical characteristics of the network.”
Europe Urged to Donate More to Repair Ukraine’s Power Grid
“This month, seven energy equipment shipments coordinated by the Secretariat in cooperation with the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC) have reached Ukraine,” Artur Lorkowski, director of the Energy Community Secretariat, told reporters. “This includes much needed tools, fuses, welding electrodes, elcometers, generators and other electricity and gas equipment donated by companies from Estonia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia and Lithuania.”
But still the repeated Russian strikes have left millions of Ukrainians without power, and so Energy Community urges Europe to give more. The request for more equipment came after NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that foreign ministers are going to step up non-lethal support to the beleaguered nation, including fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment, and drone jammers. So far, Energy Community has coordinated 37 shipments from 20 countries since the war began, with 47 more planned.
1 Injured in Explosion at Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid
An explosion has occurred at the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, according to a Spanish Ministry of Interior statement. One person is slightly injured after handling a letter and is being treated at a hospital, the statement says. The National Police is investigating.
US Focusing on Air Defense Systems for Ukraine, US Secretary of State Says
“We’re now very focused on air defense systems and not just us, many other countries,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “And we’re working to make sure that the Ukrainians get those systems as quickly as possible but also as effectively as possible, making sure that they are trained on them, making sure they have the ability to maintain them, and all of that has to come together and it is.”
Blinken spoke from Bucharest, Romania, where he is attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. While Blinken wouldn’t elaborate as to whether the US would provide Ukraine the Patriot missile defense system, he did tell CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the US had been working on making sure that “at any given time, [the Ukrainians] have the most effective systems possible to deal with the threat they are facing.”
2,500 Kherson Residents Evacuated and Given Cash for Humanitarian Support
The Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories said that 2,500 civilians have left Kherson for safer regions of Ukraine, like Lviv and Khmelnytskyi. The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, explained that the refugees would also receive cash payments when they arrive at the train station: 2,000 UAH ($53) per adult and 3,000 UAH ($80) per child or person with disabilities.
France Sends 100 Generators to Ukraine
France sent 100 generators to Romania to be forwarded to Ukraine, according to the French embassy in Romania. The 100 units will be handed over to Ukraine “very soon,” the embassy tweeted. The European Union has sent a total of 500 generators to Ukraine so far from 17 countries, according to the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid’s Twitter post. These range from smaller generators suitable for running small households to much more powerful units with higher capacities.
Ukraine’s Dark Winter: Millions of Ukrainians have been left in the dark and cold this winter following a recent barrage of Russian missile strikes against critical energy infrastructure.
51 Secretly Moved Ukrainian Paintings Displayed in Madrid
Some 51 Ukrainian paintings that secretly left Kyiv earlier this month – just hours before a massive Russian missile strike on the capital – began an exhibition at a leading museum in Spain on Tuesday. “The exhibition ‘In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s,’ presents ground-breaking art produced in Ukraine in the first decades of the 20th century,” the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid said in a statement. The works, on loan from the National Art Museum of Ukraine and other museums in the country, were packed up secretly onto trucks and transported out of Kyiv on November 15.
Infrastructure Facility in Kyiv Hit, Residents Told to Stay in Shelters
An infrastructure facility in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv was hit Wednesday afternoon (local time), according to the mayor of the city, Vitalii Klitschko. Ukrainian air defense systems were “working in the region,” according to Oleksii Kuleba, governor of the Kyiv region, and people were advised to stay in their air raid shelters. The strike in the capital city comes amid ongoing attacks from Russia targeting critical energy infrastructure across the county, leaving millions without electricity or heat.
EU Declares Russia State Sponsor of Terrorism
In a symbolic move Wednesday, lawmakers in the European Parliament recognized Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism,” calling the European Union to “further isolate Russia internationally.” The EU Parliament cited “the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law.” These “amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes,” according to a press release.
A Symbolic Action: The EU can’t officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, but the vote is a symbolic move to inspire “the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list,” the press release said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision.
EU Announces 2.5 Billion Euros in Funding for Ukraine
The European Union will provide another 2.5 billion euros, which comes out to around 2.57 billion in US dollars, in financial aid for Ukraine, according to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The commission plans to continue supporting Ukraine by sending 18 billion euros in 2023, with the funding regularly disbursed. “We will keep on supporting [Ukraine] for as long as it takes,” the EU president wrote.
Iranian and Ukrainian Experts Discuss Attack Drones Sent to Russia
Experts from Iran and Ukraine have met to discuss allegations of the use of Iranian-made attack drones in Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to a spokesperson from the foreign ministry in Kyiv. US officials have said that Russia has received hundreds of drones from Tehran, which have been used in the invasion. “Following the alleged claims of using Iranian drones in the Ukraine conflict, Iran has requested a joint expert meeting with Ukraine authorities to consider such allegations,” a spokesperson for the Iranian Mission to the UN said. “Significant steps have been taken so far in the collaborative dialogue between Iranian and Ukrainian defense experts, and it will continue to clear up any misunderstandings on this matter.”
The Ukrainian spokesperson did confirm the meeting took place, but was unable to provide any details.
Russian Missiles Take Out Half of Ukraine’s Energy System
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says that about half of his country’s energy system has been crippled by successive Russian missile attacks. “With temperatures falling and the capital Kyiv seeing its first winter snow, authorities were working to restore power nationwide after some of the heaviest bombardment of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in nine months of war,” Reuters reports.
As heavy fighting rages to the east and south of the hotly contested Kherson region, President Volodymyr Zelensky says that about 10 million Ukrainians are without power and emergency blackouts have been ordered in some areas. Ukraine’s pre-war population was around 44 million.
Gas Production Facilities in Eastern Ukraine Destroyed by ‘Massive Shelling’
Several gas production facilities in eastern Ukraine were destroyed and others damaged after “massive shelling” on Thursday, according to Ukraine’s state-owned energy firm, Naftogaz. “We are currently aware of several destroyed facilities, other ones have suffered damage of varying degrees,” said Naftogaz Chairman Oleksii Chernyshov in a statement.
A Relentless Bombardment: Russian shelling and missile strikes continued to target civilian infrastructure in various parts of Ukraine overnight, including gas and electricity facilities, according to Ukrainian officials. Air raid sirens sounded across the country, and strikes were reported in the central Ukraine city of Dnipro, the northern Kharkiv region, Vilniansk in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, and the southern Odesa region.
At Least Four Dead in Overnight Strike on Zaporizhzhia
A Russian missile strike on Vilniansk in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region killed at least four people overnight, according to Oleksandr Starukh, head of the regional administration. “Currently, four victims have been found under the rubble,” he said via Telegram post. “Their identities are being established.” Starukh said that three missiles had hit the city.
World Leaders Welcome Extension of Black Sea Grain Deal
UN Secretary General António Guterres and a number of other world leaders welcomed an agreement Thursday to extend the Black Sea grain deal after Moscow had sparked concerns about global food supplies by threatening to pull out.
“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine,” Guterres said in a statement on Twitter. “The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions.”
Considerable Progress, If Less Than Desired: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the extension after Turkey hosted discussions between Russia, Ukraine, and the UN. He said that more than 11 million tonnes of grain and other products had been shipped from Ukrainian ports so far under the deal. The new agreement adds another 120 days to the deal – considerably short of the year Ukraine requested.
US to ‘Work Closely’ With Poland and Others to Gather More Information on Tuesday’s Strike
The US will “continue to work closely” with Poland and other allies to “gather more information” about the deadly explosion that occurred in Poland yesterday, killing two, according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The Ukraine Defense Contact Group, designed to coordinate support for Ukraine from foreign allies around the world, is meeting for the seventh time on Wednesday. Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are hosting the meeting virtually from the Pentagon.
Austin highlighted Russia’s strike across Ukraine on Tuesday before reports of a strike in Poland emerged. Russia is putting “civilians and civilian infrastructure in its gun sights,” he said, reaffirming that Russia’s targeting of civilians and the continued missile strikes “only deepen the resolve of the contact group,” and “only intensify Ukraine’s determination.”
MI5 Chief Says Russian Spying in Europe Has Been Dealt a ‘Significant Strategic Blow’
Russia’s ability to spy in Europe has been dealt the “most significant strategic blow” in recent history after coordinated expulsions of Kremlin diplomats since the invasion of Ukraine, according to the head of the UK’s security services, MI5. Ken McCallum, MI5’s director general, said in an annual speech outlining threats to the United Kingdom that this year 600 Russian officials have been expelled from Europe, 400 of whom his agency believes were spies.
“We’ve continued to work intensively to make the UK the hardest possible operating environment for Russian covert action,” he said. “In the UK’s case, since our removal for 23 Russian spies posing as diplomats, we have refused on national security grounds over 100 diplomatic visa applications … the serious point is that the UK must be ready for Russian aggression in years to come.”
Air Defense Improvements for Ukraine the New Top NATO Priority After Russia’s Missile Barrage
NATO Secretary General Jans Stoltenberg confirmed one of the alliance’s top priorities is to provide more air defense systems to Kyiv, after Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month on Tuesday. He then added that he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Joe Biden after a missile landed in eastern Poland Tuesday, killing two people near the Ukrainian border. The NATO chief said in the same news conference that preliminary analysis suggest the Poland missile incident was “likely” caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, adding, “This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”
The explosion marked the first time a NATO country has been directly hit during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with global leaders working to allay fears of potential escalation in the conflict as a result of the strike. “We agreed that we need to stay vigilant, calm and closely coordinated. We will continue to consult and monitor the situation very closely,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO stands united, and we will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all allies.”
Explosion Heard in Kyiv – Cause Unknown
An explosion has been heard in Kyiv, about 45 minutes after an air raid siren sounded. The cause of the explosion is as yet unclear. It could be an interception, an impact, or perhaps even something else. A top Ukrainian official said Tuesday that Russia was responding to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech at the G20 summit with a missile attack on Ukraine.
In a speech via video earlier, Zelensky outlined a ten-point peace plan to end Russia’s invasion. Viacheslav Chaus, the head of Chernihiv regional military administration, said that air defenses are working in the region, which is just north of the capital city. He warned on Telegram: In no case must you post photos and videos of hits, the work of air defense forces, the deployment and movement of troops!!” He then added a warning that missile attacks continue, and implored people to remain in shelters or safe places.
Kremlin Calls UNGA Resolution on Ukraine Reparations a ‘Formalization of This Robbery’
The United Nations resolution on reparations for Ukraine has been labeled a “formalization” of “robbery” by the Kremlin. On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted to support a resolution stating that Russia should be held accountable for violating international law through its invasion. The meeting of the UNGA in New York saw 94 countries vote in favor of the resolution, while just 14 voted against. Another 73 abstained, and the remaining 12 weren’t present. Such resolutions are nonbinding but carry symbolic weight.
“The organizers of this process are trying to complete the robbery of our reserves, which were illegally blocked. This is a formalization of this robbery using the UN platform,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said during a regular conference call with journalists on Tuesday. The UN decision is not legally binding, and Moscow will “treat it accordingly,” Peskov added.
Volodymyr Zelensky Visits Newly-Liberated Kherson
The city of Kherson has been badly ravaged by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Currently, it has no power or water but Russian forces have abandoned it in the face of a broad Ukrainian counteroffensive. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson on Nov. 14 and said, “The moment is very important. That was the biggest city that was occupied since Feb. 24. So that was the biggest city and now it’s free.”
Zelensky also said the recapture of the Kherson region was “the beginning of the end” of the war and vowed that his forces would reclaim all regions of Ukraine that had been overrun by Russia’s invasion force.
Ukrainian Official Says Russia Aims to Turn Kherson Into ‘City of Death’
In response to Russia’s stated intention to withdraw from Kherson west of the Dnipro River, a senior Ukrainian official warns it must be a trap. Russia “wants to turn Kherson into a ‘city of death,’” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser in the Office of the Ukrainian President, said on Twitter. “Ru-military mines everything they can: apartments, sewers. Artillery on the left [eastern] bank plans to turn the city into ruins. This is what ‘Russian world’ looks like: came, robbed, celebrated, killed ‘witnesses,’ left ruins and left.” Were Russia to withdraw from the city of Kherson, the settlement would still be well within artillery range for Russian troops on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
Ukraine Recaptures Snihurivka in Push for Kherson
The Ukrainian military has recaptured Snihurivka, a town in the southern Mykolaiv region that lies on the main road to the Russian-occupied city of Kherson in the neighboring Kherson region. “Today, November 10, Snihurivka settlement was liberated by the 131st separate scout battalion,” a Ukrainian soldier was recorded saying in the town’s main square. “Glory to Ukraine!” The recapture is a significant victory for the Ukrainian military in its push toward Kherson city, and it comes just a day after Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered a withdrawal of Russian forces from the west bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region.
Moscow Defiant as Russian Troops Withdraw from Kherson
“The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday that it finished pulling out its troops from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, including the only provincial capital that Moscow had captured since invading the neighboring country,” the Associated Press reports. Moscow is claiming that it still considers the Kherson region part of Russia.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has warned that retreating Russian soldiers have mined the city and will likely begin shelling it once their withdrawal is complete.
Military Training Course to Be Added to Russian School Curricula in 2023
A basic military training course will be added to the Russian school curricula from the next academic year, Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov said Wednesday. “It will be introduced in schools starting from the next academic year. Now it is being drafted and after January 1, it will begin to be tested,” Kravtsov told journalists for Russian state news agency TASS.
A Soviet Throwback: Soviet students learned to maintain and fire the AK-47, AKM, AK-74, and RPG-7, amongst other Russian weapons platforms, in school prior to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Secondary school graduation at one time required 15-year-olds to dissemble an AK in 19 seconds, reassemble it in 32 seconds, and hit three pop-up targets with nine rounds in 30 seconds at a range of 90-150 meters. Ironically, this very militarized school training contributed to Ukraine’s initial defense during the early days of the Russian invasion this year. Almost everyone in their mid-40s or older had been trained by the Russian military as a child.
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