Ukraine's Zelenskyy calls the attacks, which caused blackouts across the nation and in Moldova amid cold weather, "an obvious crime against humanity", as fighting continues on day 274.

Ukrainian servicemen fire towards Russian positions in the frontline near Kherson, southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian servicemen fire towards Russian positions in the frontline near Kherson, southern Ukraine. (AP)

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Russia takes aim at France over Ukraine strikes

Russia does not carry out strikes at Ukraine's civilian infrastructure, the Kremlin's spokesman has said amid claims of Moscow firing missiles on critical facilities leading to power blackouts in many Ukrainian cities and regions.

There were no strikes on civilian infrastructure, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a press briefing in Moscow. "And as for the targets that are directly or indirectly related to military potential, they are, accordingly, subject for hitting," he added.

Commenting on French and other condemnations of Russian strikes, Peskov said: "We are ready to accept such statements only if similar statements condemn the strikes of Ukrainian artillery on civilian objects and residential premises in Donbass, which have been taking place since 2014. We have not heard a single condemnation of the French leadership," he said.

Ukraine claims Russian bombs killed four in Kherson

Russian bombardment of Kherson, recently re-taken by Ukrainian forces, killed at least four people and wounded 10, the region's governor has said.

"The Russian invaders opened fire on a residential area with multiple rocket launchers. A large building caught fire," Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson military administration, said on Telegram.

More than 15,000 people missing in war in Ukraine, says official

More than 15,000 people have gone missing during the war in Ukraine, an official at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has said.

The Hague-based organisation, created in the wake of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, opened an office in Kiev in July to help Ukraine to document and track down missing people.

The ICMP's programme director for Europe, Matthew Holliday, said it was unclear how many people had been forcibly transferred, were being held in detention in Russia, were alive and separated from their family members, or had died and had been buried in makeshift graves.

The process of investigating the missing in Ukraine will last years even after fighting stops, Holliday told Reuters news agency in an interview. The 15,000 figure is conservative when considering that in the port city of Mariupol alone authorities estimate as many as 25,000 people are either dead or missing.

Ukraine, Russia swap 50 prisoners of war each - officials

Russia and Ukraine have carried out the latest in a series of prisoner-of-war exchanges, with both sides handing over 50 people, officials in Kiev and Moscow said. 

Russia's defence ministry said Ukraine had released 50 Russian soldiers who had been captured.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said on Telegram that Ukraine received 48 soldiers and two officers, among them marines, infantrymen, border guards and members of the territorial defence.

Ukraine battles to restore power after latest Russian barrage

Ukraine struggled to repair its battered power and water services after Russia targeted the electricity grid with dozens of cruise missiles and temperatures plunged.

The Ukrainian energy system is on the brink of collapse and millions have been subjected to emergency blackouts for weeks due to systematic Russian bombardments of the grid.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said more than two-thirds of the capital was still cut off despite municipal workers in Kiev restoring some water service overnight. 

Over 80,000 Russian passports issued in 'annexed' Ukraine: Moscow

Moscow said it had issued more than 80,000 Russian passports to residents of four Ukrainian territories since President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed the regions in September.

"Since the addition ... of the four regions into the Russian Federation, and in accordance with the legislation, more than 80,000 people received passports as citizens of the Russian Federation," Valentina Kazakova, a migration official with the interior ministry, said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

In September, Russia held referendums in four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – and said residents had voted in favour of becoming subjects of Russia. 

Zelenskyy calls into question Russia's OSCE membership

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called into question Russia's continued membership of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) given Moscow's offensive on his country.

He made his comments in a video address to the regional security body's Parliamentary Assembly, currently gathered in the Polish capital Warsaw, nine months into the war in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy spoke a day after the European Parliament recognised Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism" and its MEPs urged the governments of the 27-nation EU to follow suit. 

US President Biden says Russian oil price cap in play

US President Joe Biden said that price caps on Russian oil being proposed under the Group of Seven nations (G7) scheme were in play, adding that he had spoken to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the issue.

"Yes, it's in play," Biden told reporters during a Thanksgiving holiday visit to a fire station on Nantucket Island.

European Union governments were set to resume talks on Thursday evening or Friday after failing to reach a deal on Wednesday on the level to cap prices for Russian sea-born oil. 

Putin warns of 'grave consequences' to oil price caps

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Western plans to introduce oil price caps could have "grave consequences" for energy markets, speaking during a telephone conversation with Iraq's prime minister.

"Vladimir Putin stressed that such actions are contrary to the principles of market relations and are highly likely to lead to grave consequences for global energy markets," the Kremlin said in a readout of the Russian leader's call with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani.

The Kremlin said both sides had also spoken positively of the two countries' work within the framework of OPEC + which helps "stabilise the world oil market." 

Ukraine reconnects nuclear plants to grid after strikes

All three nuclear power plants still under Ukrainian control have been reconnected to the electricity grid, according to Ukraine’s energy ministry.

Russian air strikes a day earlier had forced them to automatically disconnect.

"After yesterday's massive shelling, energy workers were able to unify the power system and reconnect three nuclear power plants to the power grid by morning," the ministry said on social media, adding that they should start supplying electricity by "this evening."

Russians, Ukrainians 'met in UAE' to discuss prisoner swap

Representatives from Russia and Ukraine have met in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war swap that would be linked to a resumption of Russian ammonia exports, which go to Asia and Africa, via a Ukrainian pipeline, three sources with knowledge of the meeting said.

The sources said the talks were being mediated by the Gulf Arab state and did not include the United Nations. 

EU preparing ninth Russia sanctions package

The European Union is pressing ahead with a ninth sanctions package on Russia in response to Moscow's attack on Ukraine, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said during a visit to Finland.

"We are working hard to hit Russia where it hurts to blunt even further its capacity to wage war on Ukraine and I can announce today that we are working full speed on a 9th sanctions package," von der Leyen told a news conference.

"And I'm confident that we will very soon approve a global price cap on Russian oil with the G7 and other major partners.

Over 80,000 Russian passports issued in ‘annexed’ Ukraine 

Moscow has said it issued more than 80,000 Russian passports to residents of four Ukrainian territories since Russia claimed to have annexed the regions last month.

"After these four regions joined the Russian Federation in accordance with the law, over 80,000 people received Russian passports," Valentina Kazakova, Chief of the Main Directorate for Migration of the Russian Interior Ministry, said in remarks reported by the Russian news agency, Tass.

In September, Russia held referendums in four regions of Ukraine - Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson - and said residents had voted in favour of becoming part of Russia.

Hungary to provide $195 million in financial aid to Ukraine 

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has signed a decree to provide $195 million as his country’s contribution to a planned EU support package worth up to 18 billion euros in 2023.

However, the government said that it was willing to pay its share of support for Ukraine but would rather pay it bilaterally than through the EU's joint borrowing.

"The government continues to be committed to take part in financial support to war-gripped Ukraine," the government said in the decree, which also says that Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto should start talks with Ukraine to work out an agreement needed for the financial assistance.

Zelenskyy: Russian strikes on Ukraine grid crime against humanity

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to take action to stop Russian air strikes targeting vital infrastructure that have once again plunged Ukrainian cities into darkness.

"Today is just one day but we have received 70 missiles. That's the Russian formula of terror," Zelenskyy said via video link to the council chamber in New York, adding that hospitals, schools, transport infrastructure and residential areas had all been hit.

Russia's UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya responded by complaining that it was against council rules for Zelenskyy to appear via video, and rejected what he called "reckless threats and ultimatums" by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.

Nebenzya said damage to Ukraine's infrastructure was caused by missiles fired by Ukrainian air defence systems that crashed into civilian areas after being fired at Russia's missiles and called on the West to stop providing Ukraine with air defence missiles.

For live updates from Wednesday (November 23), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies