Ukraine denies it was under Western pressure to negotiate with Russia, doubling down on its insistence that talks could be held only if Russia relinquishes all of the territories it has occupied, as fighting continues on day 259.

A Ukrainian soldier walks along a trench at the Kherson border region village, outside of Mykolaiv on October 31, 2022.
A Ukrainian soldier walks along a trench at the Kherson border region village, outside of Mykolaiv on October 31, 2022. (AFP)

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Russia orders pullout from west bank of Dnipro at Kherson

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered his troops to withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River in the face of Ukrainian attacks near the southern city of Kherson.

The announcement marked one of Russia's most significant retreats and a potential turning point in the war, now nearing the end of its ninth month.

In televised comments, General Sergei Surovikin, in overall command of the war, said it was no longer possible to supply Kherson city. He said he proposed to take up defensive lines on the eastern bank of the river.

Zelenskyy hails 18-bn-euro aid from EU as 'true solidarity'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hailed the 18-billion-euro ($18-billion) economic aid announced by the European Commission to get his war-torn country through 2023.

"Grateful to the European Commission and President Ursula von der Leyen for announcing 18-billion-euro financial aid package for 2023," Zelenskyy said on social media. "This shows true solidarity of the EU."

Moscow-backed official in Ukraine's Kherson dies in car crash

The Moscow-supported deputy head of Ukraine's southern Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, has died in a car crash, officials said.

Stremousov, 45, was one of the highest-profile officials in Ukraine supporting Moscow's offensive. Stremousov's aide, speaking to AFP, confirmed his death.

"I confirm the death of Kirill Sergeyevich," the aide said, referring to Stremousov by his first name and patronymic.

Iran calls for Ukraine dialogue as it hosts Russia security chief

Iran's top security official Ali Shamkhani has called for dialogue to end the war in Ukraine during a meeting in Tehran with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev.

"Iran supports any initiative leading to a ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine based on dialogue," Shamkhani was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

Tehran was "ready to play a role in ending the war", the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council added.

Ukraine extends martial law, mobilisation for 90 days

With efforts to hold back Russian forces continuing, Ukraine’s parliament has extended martial law and military mobilization in the country for 90 days, until February 19 of next year.

The passage of legislation presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy goes into effect as of November 21, when the previous law on the extension of martial law expires.

The previous extension of martial law and mobilization in light of the war was passed this August 15, again for 90 days.

Ties with US will remain 'bad' after midterm elections: Kremlin

The Kremlin said that Moscow's ties with Washington were likely to remain at rock bottom regardless of the results of US midterm elections, with relations at a historic low over the conflict in Ukraine.

"These elections won't have any significant impact," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies, adding: "Our existing ties are bad and they will remain bad."

East Europeans prepare for possible new Ukrainian refugee wave

Eastern European countries are preparing to reopen reception centres and are restocking food supplies in anticipation of a possible fresh surge in Ukrainian refugees as winter looms and Russia targets Ukraine's power grid and heating plants.

There has been no big uptick in numbers so far this autumn but charities say there are now signs of increased movement across the borders and are stepping up preparations.

Some 6.9 million people are believed displaced internally within Ukraine, often living in very tough conditions, and the Slovak government's contingency plan envisages the possible inflow of hundreds of thousands of them in the coming months.

An increase in numbers is being felt, and is expected. It is currently up 15 percent.

Roman Dohovic, Aid Coordinator in Slovak city of Kosice

Putin ally Patrushev travels to Iran for talks - TASS

Russia's powerful Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev was in Tehran for consultations with Iranian officials on security matters, the TASS news agency reported.

"In Tehran, Patrushev will hold scheduled Russian-Iranian security consultations with the participation of Security Council experts and representatives from both countries' ministries and agencies," TASS cited the Russian Security Council's press service as saying.

The visit comes as allegations that Iran has supplied "kamikaze" drones to Russia to support Moscow's attack against Ukraine remain in focus. 

Swiss group wants referendum to solidify country's neutrality

A Swiss nationalist grouping launched an initiative that aims to protect Switzerland's neutrality and prohibit it from participating in future sanctions and defence alliances.

The campaign for a referendum was launched by Pro Schweiz, a recently formed association with ties to politicians from the country's right-wing party, in light of Switzerland's decision to forgo its tradition of neutrality and adopt punitive sanctions against Russia.

"You can't go along with sanctions, but in the next breath somehow still want to mediate internationally," said Christoph Blocher, a former government minister for the anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party.

Zelenskyy: Russia facing 'extraordinarily high losses'

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russia wanted to press its advance in eastern Ukraine beyond the Donetsk region, but Ukrainian forces would not yield "a single centimetre."

"The activity of the occupiers remains at an extremely high level — dozens of attacks every day," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

"They are suffering extraordinarily high losses. But the order remains the same — to advance on the administrative boundary of the Donetsk region. We will not yield a single centimetre of our land."

About 4 million without power in 14 Ukraine regions

President Zelenskyy has said around four million people were without power in 14 regions plus the city of Kiev, but on a stabilisation rather than an emergency basis.

"As of this evening, close to 4 million Ukrainians in 14 regions and in the city of Kiev are disconnected from the power grid," he said in his nightly address. "But the majority of them are so under prearranged schedules," he added.

Zelenskyy said last week that 4.5 million Ukrainians, or more than 10 percent of the pre-war population, were temporarily without power due to Russian attacks.

For live updates from Tuesday (November 8), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies