Russia-Ukraine war live: Ukraine’s power grid destroyed on a ‘colossal’ scale after Russian strikes, says energy chief
0 18 min 1 week
13.50 GMT

Germany ‘must be ready for an escalation in Ukraine’, warns Scholz

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has warned his country must be prepared for the situation in Ukraine to escalate.

Speaking at a conference in Berlin hosted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Scholz said:

In view of the development of the war and Russia’s visible and growing failures … we must be ready for an escalation.

This could include the destruction of infrastructure, he added.

Scholz visited China earlier this month to meet its president, Xi Jinping, a trip he said was worth it alone for spelling out the two countries’ joint stance against using nuclear weapons.

In the first visit by a G7 leader to China since the Covid pandemic, Scholz pressed Xi to prevail on Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine.

In a readout of the meeting by Chinese state media, Xi agreed that both leaders “jointly oppose the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” over Ukraine, though he refrained from criticising Russia or calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops.

12.33 GMT

Ukraine’s power grid destroyed on ‘colossal’ scale after Russian strikes

The head of Ukraine’s national power grid operator, Ukrenergo, has described the damage dealt to Ukrainian power-generating facilities by Russian missile attacks as “colossal”.

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the chief executive officer of Ukrenergo, told a briefing that practically no thermal or hydroelectric stations had been left unscathed by the Russian attacks.

Kudrytskyi said:

The scale of destruction is colossal. In Ukraine there is a power generation deficit. We cannot generate as much energy as consumers can use.

He said Ukrainians could face long power outages but that his company wanted to help provide the conditions for people to stay in the country through winter.

Ukraine had enough fuel reserves after building them up before Russia’s invasion, he said, and was working hard to repair damaged infrastructure but was hoping to secure some spare parts abroad.

He dismissed the need to evacuate civilians, after Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced on Monday the evacuation of residents from recently liberated areas of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.

People from the two southern regions, which were shelled regularly by Russian forces in the past months, have been advised to move to safer areas in the central and western parts of the country, amid fears that the damage to infrastructure caused by the war is too severe for people to endure the winter.

Asked about the proposals to evacuate some cities worst hit by energy shortages, Kudrytskyi said such calls were “inappropriate”.

11.39 GMT

Ukraine receives €2.5bn in assistance from EU

The EU will give a further €2.5bn (£2.2bn) to Ukraine for the reconstruction of the country, according to the head of the bloc’s executive, Ursula von der Leyen.

11.00 GMT

Summary

The time in Kyiv is 1pm. Here is a round-up of the day’s main stories so far:

  • Ukraine’s SBU security service and police raided a 1,000-year-old Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv early on Tuesday as part of operations to counter suspected “subversive activities by Russian special services”, the SBU said. The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra complex that was raided is a Ukrainian cultural treasure and the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox church known as the Moscow Patriarchate, Reuters reported.
  • Ukrainians are likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said on Monday, as the government started free evacuations for people in Kherson to other regions. Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure had been damaged by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, leaving millions of people without electricity and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing.
  • Russian shelling hit a humanitarian aid distribution centre in the town of Orihiv in south-eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing a volunteer and wounding two women, the regional governor said. Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, gave no further details of the attack on Orihiv, about 70 miles east of the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station which has been shelled in the past few days.
  • Russians have murdered, tortured and kidnapped Ukrainians in a systematic pattern that could implicate top officials in war crimes, the US state department’s ambassador for global criminal justice said Monday. There is mounting evidence that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has been accompanied by systemic war crimes committed in every region where Russian forces have been deployed”, said the US ambassador at large, Beth Van Schaack.
  • The Ukrainian government has been offering people in the recently liberated city of Kherson, which remains mostly without electricity and running water, free evacuations to regions with better infrastructure, as well as free accommodation. “Given the difficult security situation in the city and infrastructure problems, you can evacuate for the winter to safer regions of the country,” the deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app.
  • Russia has reiterated that it is not seeking a change of government in Ukraine. The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said his country “does not intend the ‘special operation’ to change the government in Ukraine”, Sky News reports.
  • The Kremlin said that no substantive progress had been made towards creating a security zone around the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which Russia seized shortly after its invasion, was rocked by shelling on Sunday, drawing condemnation from the UN nuclear watchdog which said such attacks risked a major disaster.
  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, will in coming days meet the mothers of soldiers amid fierce fighting in Ukraine, the Vedomosti newspaper reported, citing three unidentified sources in the presidential administration. Russia celebrates Mother’s Day on 27 November. The Kremlin has not officially announced any Putin meetings with soldiers’ mothers.
  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will soon be able to add New Zealand to the list of parliaments he has addressed, after Wellington agreed to a request to do so. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said the government had agreed to the request from the Canberra-based Ukrainian embassy, which serves both countries.
  • Ukraine is to evacuate civilians from recently liberated areas of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions. Residents of the two southern regions have been advised to move to safer areas in the central and western parts of the country, amid fears that the damage to infrastructure caused by the war is too severe for people to endure the winter.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Ukraine’s health system is “facing its darkest days in the war so far”. The WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, called for a “humanitarian health corridor” to be created to all areas of Ukraine newly recaptured by Kyiv, as well as those occupied by Russian forces.
  • Russian troops have been accused of burning bodies at a landfill on the edge of Kherson during their occupation. Residents and workers at the site told goodnewsetc they saw Russian open trucks arriving to the site carrying black bags that were then set on fire, filling the air with a large cloud of smoke and a stench of burning flesh.

That’s it from me, Tom Ambrose, for the time being. I’ll be back at 2pm UK time but my colleague Léonie Chao-Fong will be along shortly to bring you all the latest news from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

09.19 GMT

Russia reiterates that it does not want to topple Ukraine government

Russia has reiterated that it is not seeking a change of government in Ukraine.

The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said his country “does not intend the ‘special operation’ to change the government in Ukraine”, Sky News reports.

A reporter asked Peskov if one of the goals of the “special military operation” was regime change in Ukraine.

“No [it is not], the president has already spoken about this,” Peskov replied.

This is in contrast to the beginning of the invasion in February, when Moscow had appeared to be aiming to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a Russia-friendly regime.

09.02 GMT

1,000-year-old Kyiv monastery raided amid Russian spy fears

Ukraine’s SBU security service and police raided a 1,000-year-old Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv early on Tuesday as part of operations to counter suspected “subversive activities by Russian special services”, the SBU said.

The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra complex that was raided is a Ukrainian cultural treasure and the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox church known as the Moscow Patriarchate, Reuters reported.

“These measures are being taken … as part of the systemic work of the SBU to counter the destructive activities of Russian special services in Ukraine,” the Security Service of Ukraine said in a statement.

It said the search was aimed at preventing the use of the cave monastery as “the centre of the Russian world” and carried out to look into suspicions “about the use of the premises … for sheltering sabotage and reconnaissance groups, foreign citizens, weapons storage”.

The SBU did not say what the result of the raid was. The Moscow Patriarchate did not immediately comment.

In May, the Ukrainian Orthodox church of the Moscow Patriarchate ended its ties with the Russian church over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and condemned the support of Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s church, for what Moscow calls its “special military operation”.

06.24 GMT

US state department seeing ‘mounting evidence of systemic war crimes’

Russians have murdered, tortured and kidnapped Ukrainians in a systematic pattern that could implicate top officials in war crimes, the US state department’s ambassador for global criminal justice said Monday.

There is mounting evidence that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has been accompanied by systemic war crimes committed in every region where Russian forces have been deployed”, said ambassador at large Beth Van Schaack.

Evidence from liberated areas indicates “deliberate, indiscriminate and disproportionate” attacks against civilian populations, custodial abuses of civilians and POWs, forceful removal, or filtration, of Ukrainian citizens – including children – to Russia, and execution-like murders and sexual violence, she told reporters.

“When we’re seeing such systemic acts, including the creation of a vast filtration network, it’s very hard to imagine how these crimes could be committed without responsibility going all the way up the chain of command,” she said.

Van Schaack represents the US to global bodies investigating war crimes and other atrocities, and called the current situation a “new Nuremberg moment”, a reference to the war crimes trials held in the German city at the end of the second world war.

She said in a briefing for reporters that Russia’s nine-month-old assault on Ukraine has sparked an “unprecedented array of accountability initiatives”, involving numerous bodies, along with the international criminal court in The Hague.

The bodies are coordinating to develop priorities and approaches “under all available jurisdictional bases”, she said.

Van Schaack declined to say specifically if the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, could be prosecuted for war crimes in Ukraine.

But she said prosecutors will “follow the evidence where it leads”.

Under international law, the doctrine of superior responsibility allows for prosecutions “to go all the way up the chain of command”, she said.

She also said that rights officials are looking closely at a video that emerged over the weekend that suggests Ukrainian troops may have killed Russian prisoners of war.

05.58 GMT

Blackouts likely to last until March 2023

Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said on Monday, as the government started free evacuations for people in Kherson to other regions.

Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, leaving millions of people without electricity and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of the YASNO major private energy provider for Kyiv, said that workers are rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold arrives.

“I would like everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko said in a post on his Facebook page. He added:

The basic scenario is that if there are no new attacks on the power grid, then under current conditions of electricity generation, the power deficit could be evenly distributed across the country. This means the outages will be everywhere but less lasting.

There are also different forecasts of the development of this situation, and they completely depend on attacks Russia.”

05.41 GMT

Summary

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next while.

Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said late on Monday.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of the YASNO major private energy provider for Kyiv, said that workers are rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold arrives.

“I would like everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko said in a post on his Facebook page.

More on this soon. In the meantime, here are the key recent developments:

  • Ukraine is to evacuate civilians from recently liberated areas of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions. Residents of the two southern regions have been advised to move to safer areas in the central and western parts of the country, amid fears that the damage to infrastructure caused by the war is too severe for people to endure the winter.
  • The Kremlin said it was concerned by what it claimed to be Ukrainian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control. Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister, countered that the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia plant was a Russian tactic aiming to disrupt power supplies and “freeze Ukrainians to death”. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, appealed to Nato members to guarantee the protection of his country’s nuclear power plants from “Russian sabotage”.
  • The UN nuclear watchdog was to conduct an assessment of the Zaporizhzhia plant on Monday. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the forces behind its shelling were “playing with fire” and such attacks risked a major disaster.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Ukraine’s health system is “facing its darkest days in the war so far”. WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, called for a “humanitarian health corridor” to be created to all areas of Ukraine newly recaptured by Kyiv, as well as those occupied by Russian forces.
  • Ukraine’s prosecutor general office has said its officials have identified four locations where Russian forces tortured detainees in Kherson city. It said Russian forces “set up pseudo-law enforcement agencies” in pre-trial detention centres and a police station before troops withdrew from the southern Ukrainian city.
  • Russian troops have been accused of burning bodies at a landfill on the edge of Kherson during their occupation. Residents and workers at the site told goodnewsetc they saw Russian open trucks arriving to the site carrying black bags that were then set on fire, filling the air with a large cloud of smoke and a stench of burning flesh.

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