Cities across Europe have been urged to send spare generators to Ukraine to help the country through the winter in the face of Russia's attacks on electricity infrastructure, as fighting continues on day 273.

Russian troops participate in a military exhibition as part of the celebrations marking the Day of Missile Forces and Artillery in Saint Petersburg.
Russian troops participate in a military exhibition as part of the celebrations marking the Day of Missile Forces and Artillery in Saint Petersburg. (AFP Archive)

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Kremlin says success of Ukraine operation 'beyond doubt'

The Kremlin said it had faith in the "success" of its offensive in Ukraine, as Russian strikes have left the ex-Soviet country's energy system in tatters.

"The future and the success of the special operation are beyond doubt," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a visit to Armenia, using the official Moscow term to describe Russia's assault.

He spoke to reporters as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was set to address an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council later Wednesday and after the European Parliament recognised Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Telegram earlier on the day: "I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy."

Poland asks Germany to send its missile launchers to Ukraine

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he had asked Germany to send Patriot missile launchers offered to Poland to Ukraine.

"After further Russian missile attacks, I asked Germany to have the Patriot batteries offered to Poland transferred to Ukraine and deployed at its western border," Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

"This will protect Ukraine from further deaths and blackouts and will increase security at our eastern border."

Russia strikes 'critical infrastructure' in Kiev: officials

Russian missile strikes hit the Ukraine capital Kiev, officials said, damaging energy infrastructure, the latest in a series of systematic attacks that have caused nationwide blackouts with temperatures dropping.

"The enemy is launching missile strikes on critical infrastructure in Kiev city. Stay in shelters until the air alert ends," the Kiev city administration said on social media.

Energy operator DTEK said "emergency power shutdowns were imposed in Kiev" following the strikes.

Moldova says 'massive' blackouts result of Russian strikes on Ukraine

Moldova said that it was again suffering from widespread blackouts that were the result of a fresh barrage of Russian strikes on energy infrastructure in neighbouring Ukraine.

"As a result of Russia's bombardment on the Ukrainian energy system, within the last hour, we have massive electricity blackouts in the whole country. Moldelectrica is working to reestablish electricity supplies," Moldovan deputy prime minister Andrei Spinu wrote on Facebook. 

UK to provide 10,000 artillery rounds, helicopters to Ukraine

The UK will provide an additional 10,000 artillery rounds and helicopters to Ukraine, the British government said.

The announcement by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace came during a visit to Norway.

“The rounds will enhance Ukraine’s defensive capability and come as the first delivery of Sea King helicopters arrive in Ukraine to provide key search and rescue capabilities,” a statement said.

The British Royal Navy “provided a six-week programme of Sea King training in the UK for 10 crews of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and associated engineers,” it said.

EBRD approves financing for Ukraine grid operator

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it had approved a financing package worth 372 million euros ($384 million) to support Ukraine's power grid company Ukrenergo.

The bank said in a statement the loan would allow to make "swift emergency repairs of damages caused by heavy bombings of civilian power infrastructure during Russia's war on Ukraine and to keep the country's energy system stable as winter sets in." 

G7 looking at Russian oil price cap of $65-70 per barrel - EU diplomat

The Group of Seven nations (G7) is looking at a price cap on Russian sea-borne oil in the range of $65-70 per barrel, a European Union diplomat said on Wednesday.

Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries are discussing the G7 proposal with the aim of reaching a common position by the end of the day. Views in the EU are split, with some pushing for a much lower price cap and other arguing for a higher one.

The G7, including the United States, as well as the whole of the European Union and Australia, are slated to implement the price cap on sea-borne exports of Russian oil on December.  

Strike kills Ukrainian newborn, Zelenskyy slams Russia

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of bringing "terror and murder" to Ukraine after a strike on a maternity ward killed a newborn baby in the southern Zaporizhzhia region.

"The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve with terror and murder what it wasn't able to achieve for nine months and won't be able to achieve," Zelenskyy said on social media.

"Instead, it will only be held to account for all the evil it has brought to our country," he added.

Ukrainian emergency services said Russian rockets smashed into a building in Vilniansk, in the latest attack to damage medical facilities since war began nine months ago.

IAEA, Russian officials meet in Istanbul to discuss nuclear plant protection

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has met a Russian delegation in Istanbul to discuss safety at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the watchdog said.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has been warning for months of the risk of a potentially catastrophic accident because of the shelling.

In a statement cited by Russian news agencies, Rosatom said the meeting focused on "ensuring the safety of the plant".

Gazprom warns of possible halt in natural gas via Ukraine

A backlog has accumulated for Russian gas shipments via Ukraine destined for Moldova, and if it persists, shipments will be reduced beginning November 28, according to Russian energy company Gazprom.

Gazprom said the quantity of gas delivered to the Sudzha transit point in Russia for Moldova "is higher than the amount of gas shipped from Ukraine to Moldova."

UK to send helicopters to Ukraine for 'first' time

Britain is to send helicopters to Ukraine for the first time since Russia's attack, the defence ministry in London said.

Ten crews of Ukrainian service personnel and engineers underwent a six-week training programme in the UK, as part of the "first helicopter capability the UK has donated to Ukraine", the ministry said.

In addition to the three former British military Sea King helicopters, the first of which has already arrived, the UK will also supply an additional 10,000 artillery rounds.

Our support for Ukraine is unwavering. These additional artillery rounds will help Ukraine to secure the land it has reclaimed from Russia in recent weeks.

Ben Wallace, UK's Defence Secretary

Moldova denies Russian gas supplies diverted in Ukraine

Moldova has dismissed allegations from Gazprom that Ukraine was diverting supplies intended for Moldova, after the Russian energy giant accused Kiev of withholding deliveries and threatened to cut supplies.

Gazprom this week accused Ukraine of preventing around 52.52 million cubic metres from being delivered to Moldova and threatened to reduce volumes starting next week if the "imbalance" was not corrected.

"To be clear, all the gas delivered to Moldova ends up in our country," Moldova's Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said.

Putin promises further efforts to unblock more Russian fertiliser exports

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russian officials would work to unblock Russian fertilisers stuck in European ports and to resume ammonia exports via a pipeline through Ukraine.

"The main problem was probably the fact that quite a lot of fertiliser was frozen in European ports," Mazepin said.

There are 262,000 tonnes of Uralchem's fertiliser frozen in ports of Estonia, Latvia, Belgium and the Netherlands, he said. 

Other producers, Acron and Eurochem, have 52,000 tonnes and almost 100,000 tonnes of their fertiliser stuck in Europe, respectively.

UK: Russia has nearly exhausted current stock of Iran-made weapons

Russia has likely launched a number of Iranian manufactured unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Ukraine since September, Britain's Ministry of Defence has said.

It's also likely that Russia has nearly exhausted its current stock of Iran-made weapons and will seek resupply, the ministry said in its daily intelligence update posted on Twitter.

The Russian attacks have been a combination of UAVs and traditional reusable armed systems, it added. 

Russia slams Kiev's 'godless' raid on Orthodox monastery

The Russian foreign ministry has criticised Ukraine as "godless", "wild" and "immoral" for raiding an old Orthodox Christian Monastery in Kiev.

Ukraine's SBU security service and police raided the 1,000-year-old Kiev Pechersk Lavra complex - or Kiev Monastery of the Caves - early on Tuesday as part of operations to counter suspected "subversive activities by Russian special services," the SBU said.

The site is a Ukrainian cultural treasure and the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that falls under the Moscow Patriarchate.

This is just some kind of total godless Bacchanalia. There is no justification or explanation for this. And there cannot be... This is another part of the absolutely immoral and wild actions of the Kiev regime.

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokes person

Zelenskyy: Russia transforming cold into an instrument of terror

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russia was trying to use the cold this winter as a "weapon of mass destruction" by striking energy infrastructure.

"The Kremlin wants to transform the cold this winter into a weapon of mass destruction," Zelenskyy told a meeting of French mayors in a video message.

"To survive this winter and to prevent Russia transforming the cold into an instrument of terror and submission, we need a lot of things," he added.

"This winter will be about survival," WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, told reporters on Monday, adding it would be "life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine".

US, allies to set Russia oil price cap in 'next few days'

Washington and its allies are planning to finalise a price cap for Russian oil in "the next few days," as they seek to cut off a critical source of funding for Moscow, the US Treasury Department has said.

The price cap would be the basis for a ban set to take effect on December 5 that will prohibit firms to transport or provide insurance for Russian oil shipments sold above the fixed price.

A senior US Treasury official told reporters that the European Union is consulting with its members on the price level, and the broader coalition will take steps to implement the cap once the EU's process is complete.

For live updates from Tuesday (November 22), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies