Russian missile strikes cripple almost half of the country's energy system, says Ukraine, and authorities in Kiev warn the capital could face a "complete shutdown" of the power grid as fighting enters its 269th day.

The United Nations has said more than 16,000 civilians have been killed since Russia's attacks began on February 24.
The United Nations has said more than 16,000 civilians have been killed since Russia's attacks began on February 24. (AA)

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Ukraine: Several injured in Russian strike in southern Ukraine

Five people have been injured in a Russian strike on a humanitarian station in southern Ukraine, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential administration, said the attack took place in the town of Bilozerka, just west of the city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops retook from Russian forces last week. He said the centre had been handing out bread.

The United Nations has said more than 16,000 civilians have been killed since Russia's attacks began on February 24. Moscow has denied targeting civilians. 

Russia: Poland barring Lavrov from regional security talks provocative

Russia has blasted Warsaw's refusal to allow Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend a meeting next month of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe as "unprecedented and provocative".

"The decision from Poland, which is the acting chairman of the OSCE, to refuse the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in the OSCE's ministerial meeting in Lodz on December 1-2 is unprecedented and provocative," the foreign ministry said.

"Not only did Warsaw discredit itself, it also caused irreparable damage to the credibility of the organisation as a whole," the ministry said.

UK announces new air defence package for Ukraine

The UK has announced a nearly $60 million air defence package for Ukraine, including anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter Iranian-supplied drones.

The package includes 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter Iranian-supplied drones, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability.

READ MORE: UK PM Sunak pledges support for Ukraine in first visit to country

Ukraine probes videos over Russian claims of prisoner executions

The Ukrainian army has said it was checking the authenticity of footage that Moscow says proves Kiev executed several surrendering Russian soldiers.

Videos circulated on Russian social media this week that purport to show the bodies of Russian servicemen killed after surrendering to Ukrainian troops.

The Russian defence ministry said the videos showed the "deliberate and methodical murder of more than 10 restrained Russian soldiers".

Ukraine: No official peace outreach from Russia

Moscow has not officially contacted Kiev about peace negotiations, but Russia would in any case need to completely withdraw its forces for talks to take place, a top Ukrainian official said.

"We have not any official application from the Russian side about... negotiations," Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian presidential chief of staff, said in English remarks made via video link at the Halifax International Security Forum.

Any talks not based on Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity within the limits of its internationally recognised borders are "not acceptable, " he said.

Spain sends generators to Ukraine

Spain has said it sent 14 new electric generators to Ukraine, where Russian attacks on energy infrastructure have left many without power or warm water as winter approaches.

 "We dispatched a new package of 14 generators in view of what is proving to be a very harsh and difficult winter in Ukraine", Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said.

Earlier, Kiev appealed to European allies for support, saying nearly half of Ukraine's energy infrastructure had been disabled and needed repair.

Peace only possible after return to '91 borders - Ukraine

Peace in Ukraine will "only" be possible if the country's 1991 borders are restored, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

"There will be peace when we destroy the Russian army in Ukraine and reach the borders of 1991," Andriy Yermak, head of the presidential administration, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Asian political parties urge Russia, Ukraine to end fighting

With an emphasis on “mutual respect” for territorial integrity and sovereignty, a regional grouping of Asian political parties has urged Russia and Ukraine to “lay down arms” and give diplomacy a chance.

“We are gravely concerned about the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, especially its implementation of enormous humanitarian catastrophe,” read the Istanbul declaration of 11th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), adopted at the end of a three-day gathering in Istanbul.

“We made it clear that we are against violence in all shapes and sizes, and urged all parties in regional and global flashpoints to lay down their weapons immediately and resume diplomatic efforts to resolve their differences peacefully, upholding international laws and Charter of the United Nations,” the ICAPP declaration read.

Russia's Rusal: 2023 sales pick up after LME decision

Russian aluminium producer Rusal has said that its sales for 2023 have picked up after the London Metal Exchange (LME) decided not to ban Russian metal from being traded and stored in its system.

The exchange, the world's oldest and largest market for industrial metals, launched a discussion paper on the subject in October and then said on November 11 it had decided against banning Russian metal, as a significant portion of the market was still planning to buy it.

"The decision to maintain Rusal's aluminium on the exchange, above all, is in the best interests of our global customer base. We have picked up additional contractual sales for 2023 after the LME's decision, exceeding our initial forecasts," Rusal said in an emailed comment.

UK says Iran 'spreading bloodshed' in Ukraine

Britain's foreign minister has hit out at Iran for "spreading bloodshed" and vowed to work with allies to counter Tehran as he addressed leaders at the annual Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of supplying Russia with drones that they say Moscow has used in recent weeks to carry out attacks in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Tehran admitted it had sent drones, but insisted they were supplied before Russia's military campaign in Ukraine began in February.

'Most' APEC members condemn war in Ukraine: leaders' statement

The leaders of the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) said in a "2022 Leaders' Declaration" issued after a two-day summit in Thailand's capital Bangkok that the war in Ukraine has further adversely impacted the global economy. 

"Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy," they said.

There was a discussion on the issue. They reiterated their positions as expressed in other forums, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, deploring in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demanding its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine, according to a statement on the APEC website.

"There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognising that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy," the statement said.

Zelenskyy reports 'fierce fighting' in Donetsk

Ukrainian forces have repelled about 100 attacks in the eastern Donetsk region, with no letup in the fighting, Zelenskyy said.

"Very fierce fighting is continuing in Donetsk region ... there is no letup in the fighting. There has been no lull," Ukraine's president said in his video address.

"In the 24 hours, about 100 Russian attacks have been repelled in Donetsk region."

Ukraine says Kiev, port Odessa area under power shortages

Ukraine's capital Kiev, the area around the Black Sea port of Odessa and more than a dozen other regions are grappling with power shortages following relentless Russian attacks on energy infrastructure, President Zelenskyy has said.

"The situation with power supplies is difficult in 17 regions and in the capital," Zelenskyy said in his video address.

"Things are very difficult in Kiev region and the city of Kiev, Odessa region and also Vynnitsia and Ternopil," he said, referring to two areas in western and southwestern Ukraine.

Ukraine rejects 'short truce' 

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has dismissed the idea of a "short truce" with Russia, saying it would only make things worse.

"Russia is now looking for a short truce, a respite to regain strength. Someone may call this the war's end, but such a respite will only worsen the situation," the Ukrainian leader said in remarks broadcast at the Halifax International Security Forum.

"A truly real, long-lasting and honest peace can only be the result of the complete demolition of Russian aggression," Zelenskyy said.

Ukrainians in Kherson disappeared in 'premeditated' campaign

Hundreds of Ukrainians were detained and forcibly disappeared in Kherson after Russia seized the province, in evidence of a planned campaign, a Yale University group researching war crimes has said.

The Conflict Observatory, a research group under Yale University's School of Public Health, said they documented 226 extrajudicial detentions and forced disappearances in Kherson. Around a quarter of that number were allegedly subjected to torture and four died in custody.

Most of the detentions and disappearances were carried out by the Russian military and FSB security agency, and half of those seized "do not appear to have been released," the Conflict Observatory said in a report.

It said men of military age, including civil servants, civil society leaders, teachers, law enforcement and journalists made up a large part of those detained and disappeared. 

For live updates from Friday (November 18), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies