Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday after Russian strikes targeted energy infrastructure in Kyiv and other regions of western Ukraine, leaving millions without electricity and causing power cuts in neighbouring Moldova. Earlier in the day, the European Parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism”, accusing its forces of carrying out atrocities. Read our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).
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11:30pm: Zelensky appeals to UN Security Council over Russian strikes on infrastructureUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to take action to stop Russian air strikes targeting vital infrastructure that have once again plunged Ukrainian cities into darkness and cold as winter sets in.
Russia unleashed a missile barrage across Ukraine earlier in the day, forcing shutdowns of nuclear power plants and killing civilians in Kyiv.
“Today is just one day but we have received 70 missiles. That’s the Russian formula of terror,” Zelensky said via video link to the council chamber in New York, adding that hospitals, schools, transport infrastructure and residential areas had all been hit.
Ukraine is waiting to see “a very firm reaction” to Wednesday’s air strikes from the world, he added.
The council is unlikely to take any action in response to the appeal since Russia is a member with veto power.
Zelensky called for Russia to be denied a vote on any decision concerning its actions.
“We cannot be hostage to one international terrorist,” he said. “Russia is doing everything to make an energy generator a more powerful tool than the UN Charter.”
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Putin was “clearly weaponising winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people.”
The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she added.
9:55pm: Poland asks Germany to send Patriot missile launchers to UkrainePolish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has asked Germany to send Patriot missile launchers it offered to Poland instead 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,” Blaszczak added.
8:45pm: Millions of Ukrainians left without power after Russian strikesRussia’s latest barrage of missile strikes has forced shutdowns at Ukrainian nuclear power plants, pursuing a campaign to pitch Ukrainian cities into darkness and cold as winter sets in.
All of the Kyiv capital region, where over three million people live, has lost electricity and running water, Kyiv’s governor said. In many other regions, emergency blackouts were necessary to help conserve energy and carry out repairs.
FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago reports from the southern city of Odesa.
7:10pm: Ukraine’s Zelensky seeks urgent UN Security Council meetingUkraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will address an urgent UN Security Council meeting later today on the Russian attacks that caused blackouts in Ukraine and in neighbouring Moldova, diplomats say.
Zelensky will address the emergency debate – due to start at 4pm in New York (21:00 GMT) – via video-link.
The Ukrainian leader said in a tweet that he had instructed his country’s ambassador to the world body, Sergiy Kyslytsya, to ask for the meeting.
I have instructed our Ambassador to the UN to request an urgent meeting of UNSC following today’s Russian strikes. Murder of civilians, ruining of civilian infrastructure are acts of terror. Ukraine keeps demanding a resolute response of international community to these crimes.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 23, 2022 “Murder of civilians, ruining of civilian infrastructure are acts of terror. Ukraine keeps demanding a resolute response of international community to these crimes,” Zelensky said.
5:20pm: US approves additional $400 million in military aid to UkraineThe United States has authorised an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine that will include weapons, munitions and air defense equipment, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
“The artillery ammunition, precision fires, air defense missiles, and tactical vehicles that we are providing will best serve Ukraine on the battlefield,” Blinken said in a statement.
The White House said the new package of aid will be provided through presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to take weapons from its own stock and quickly ship them to Ukraine.
The Biden administration has provided $19.7 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24 and tens of billions more in aid.
4:40pm: Kherson residents take stock of Russian occupationTwo weeks after Russia’s occupying forces pulled out of Ukraine’s Kherson, the local population is still coming to terms with eight and a half months of often brutal occupation – and assessing the damage Russian forces left in their wake. Our team on the ground sent this report.
3:55pm: Ukraine says power units switched off at three nuclear plantsPower units at three Ukrainian nuclear power plants have been switched off after the latest Russian missile strikes, says the country’s state-run nuclear energy firm Energoatom.
Energoatom said in a statement that, “due to a decrease in frequency in the energy system of Ukraine”, emergency protection was activated at the Rivne, Pivdennoukrainsk and Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plants.
“Currently, they (power units) work in project mode, without generation into the domestic energy system,” Energoatom said.
2:48pm: Half of Moldova without power after Russian strikes on UkraineThe Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have caused blackouts across half of neighbouring Moldova, says the country’s deputy prime minister.
“Massive blackout in Moldova after today’s Russian attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure,” Andrei Spinu, who also serves as infrastructure minister, said on Twitter.
“Moldelectrica, TSO (transmission system operator), is working to reconnect more than 50% of the country to electricity.”
Power outages were also reported in the unrecognised, Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria, the local interior ministry said in a statement.
Massive blackout in 🇲🇩 after today’s Russian attack on 🇺🇦 energy infrastructure. Moldelectrica, 🇲🇩 TSO, is working to reconnect more than 50% of the country to electricity.
— Andrei Spînu 🇲🇩🇪🇺 (@AndreiSpinu) November 23, 2022 2:11pm: Russia launches new missile strikes in western UkraineRussia has launched new missile strikes on western Ukraine, hitting at least one critical infrastructure target in Kyiv as explosions echoed across the capital. Three people were killed and six injured in Kyiv, according to city officials.
The western city of Lviv was left completely without power, according to its mayor. “The whole city is without power. We are waiting for additional information from energy experts,” said Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi on social media, warning that there may also be interruptions to the city’s water supply.
1:36pm: Russia strikes ‘critical infrastructure’ in Kyiv, says mayorAir sirens were heard across Kyiv as Russian strikes hit the Ukraine capital, damaging energy infrastructure, in the latest in a series of systematic attacks that has caused nationwide blackouts as winter sets in.
“The enemy is launching missile strikes on critical infrastructure in Kyiv city. Stay in shelters until the air alert ends,” Kyiv city administration said on social media, with mayor Vitali Klitschko saying infrastructure had been hit.
1:19pm: EU parliament declares Russia ‘state sponsor of terrorism’The European Parliament has recognised Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, accusing its forces of carrying out atrocities during its war on Ukraine.
The move by the European legislators is a symbolic political step with no legal consequences, but MEPs urged the governments of the 27-nation EU to follow their lead.
“The deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror,” a resolution approved by EU lawmakers said.
12:23am: Ukraine says seized ‘pro-Russian literature’ from monasteriesUkraine’s security service said it seized “pro-Russian literature” and cash and interrogated dozens during raids of several Orthodox monasteries that spurred a backlash from the Kremlin.
The Ukrainian security service on Tuesday conducted raids at several locations including the 11th century Pechersk Lavra monastery in the capital Kyiv, a UNESCO Heritage site, over suspected links to Russian agents.
After searches in more than 350 church-linked facilities, the SBU said Wednesday it had turned up “pro-Russian literature, which was being used in seminary and parish schools, including for ‘Russian world’ propaganda”.
10:46am: Moldova accuses Russia of energy blackmail, ‘ready for any scenario’Moldova said on Wednesday Russia had sent no signals that it would stop supplying it with gas next month but that it was ready for any scenario because Moscow was using energy resources as “a tool of blackmail”.
State-run Russian gas company Gazprom accused Ukraine on Tuesday of keeping gas supplies destined for Moldova, and that it could from November 28 start reducing gas supplies to Moldova that pass through Ukraine.
Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia, has denied withholding Russian gas meant for Moldova. Chisinau, which is dependent on Russia for its gas, said on Wednesday it would pay for any gas deliveries.
10:37am: UK to send helicopters to Ukraine for ‘first’ timeBritain is to send helicopters to Ukraine for the first time since Russia’s invasion, said the British defence ministry.
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.
10:10am: Pope says Ukrainians suffering ‘martyrdom of aggression’; recalls 1930s faminePope Francis said on Wednesday that Ukrainians today were suffering from the “martyrdom of aggression” and compared the war to the “terrible genocide” of the 1930s, when Soviet leader Josef Stalin inflicted famine on the people there.
He was speaking at the end of his general audience before thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
10:05am: IAEA, Rosatom heads meet in Istanbul to discuss Zaporizhzhia nuclear stationThe heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Russia’s state-run nuclear energy agency Rosatom met in Istanbul to discuss the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power in southern Ukraine, Rosatom and the IAEA said in statements.
The two sides agreed to continue cooperation and dialogue over the facility, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Rosatom as saying. Renewed shelling last weekend – which Moscow and Kyiv blamed on each other – raised fresh fears of a possible nuclear disaster at the site.
9:14am: Britain says Russia has nearly exhausted current stock of Iran-made weaponsRussia has likely launched a number of Iranian-manufactured un-crewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Ukraine since September, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.
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.
9:02am: Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘terror and murder’ after maternity strikePresident Volodymyr Zelensky 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,” Zelensky said on social media.
“Instead, it will only be held to account for all the evil it has brought to our country,” he added.
8:37am: Newborn killed in Russian strike on maternity ward in Zaporizhzhia regionA newborn baby was killed following a Russian strike that hit a maternity ward in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region, which Moscow claims to have annexed, according to Ukrainian emergency services.
Overnight on Tuesday to Wednesday, “in the city of Vilniansk in Zaporizhzhia region, as a result of a rocket attack on the territory of the local hospital, the two-storey building of the maternity ward was destroyed,” rescuers said on social media.
The emergency services distributed a video of rescuers working to free a man trapped waist-deep in the rubble of what appears to be the destroyed maternity ward.
8:10am: Russian foreign ministry slams Kyiv’s ‘godless’ raid on Orthodox monasteryThe Russian foreign ministry criticised Ukraine as “godless”, “wild” and “immoral” on Wednesday for raiding an old Orthodox Christian Monastery in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s SBU security service and police raided the 1,000-year-old Kyiv Pechersk Lavra complex – or Kyiv 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.
Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Tuesday the search was an “act of intimidation”.
4:20am: ‘Dangerous rhetoric’ stoking nuclear tensions: UN chiefUN chief Antonio Guterres has warned against “dangerous rhetoric” stoking tensions among nuclear-armed rivals.
“Growing divisions are threatening global peace and security, provoking new confrontations and making it all the more difficult to resolve old conflicts,” Guterres told a meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations in Morocco.
“Dangerous rhetoric is raising nuclear tensions,” he warned as Russia’s war in Ukraine neared its tenth month with no end in sight, fanning nuclear fears.
1:16am: ‘Invincibility centres’ to help provide heat and water, says ZelenskyUkrainians needing basic services if Russia knocks out power stations and other facilities this winter can turn to special “invincibility centres,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Thousands of centres spread across the country will offer electricity, heat, water, internet service, mobile phone connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock.
“If massive Russian strikes happen again and it’s clear power will not be restored for hours, the ‘invincibility centres’ will go into action with all key services,” Zelensky said in a nightly video address.
Russian attacks have knocked out power for long periods to up to 10 million consumers at a time. Ukraine’s national power grid operator said on Tuesday the damage was colossal.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
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