Kiev says Russian missile strikes targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure have damaged between 25 and 30 percent of the grid as the conflict enters its 279th day.

"If NATO were to supply the Ukrainian fanatics with Patriot systems ... they would immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces," says ex-president Dmitry Medvedev. (Reuters Archive)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Russia says it will target NATO's missiles in Ukraine  

Ex-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned NATO against providing Ukraine with Patriot missile defence systems, denouncing the alliance as a "criminal entity" for delivering arms to what he called "extremist regimes".

"If, as (NATO Secretary-General Jens) Stoltenberg hinted, NATO were to supply the Ukrainian fanatics with Patriot systems along with NATO personnel, they would immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces," Medvedev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

It was not clear from his message whether he was referring to Patriot systems, Ukrainian forces or NATO personnel becoming a target. "The civilised world does not need this organisation. It must repent to humanity and be dissolved as a criminal entity," he wrote in an earlier post.

Ukraine still has 30% power deficit after Russian attacks

Ukraine still has a 30 percent deficit of electricity, six days after the last big wave of Russian missile strikes on its power grid, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

He reiterated at a government meeting that Ukraine had enough natural gas in storage to get through winter. 

Uneasy calm grips Ukraine as West prepares winter aid

An uneasy calm hung over Kiev as residents of the Ukrainian capital did what they could to prepare for anticipated Russian missile attacks aiming to take out more energy infrastructure as winter sets in.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to announce substantial US aid for Ukraine’s energy grid, US officials said. Targeted Russian strikes have battered Ukraine’s power infrastructure since early October in what Western officials have described as a Russian attempt campaign to weaponise the coming winter cold.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the outset of the Bucharest meeting that Russia “is willing to use extreme brutality and leave Ukraine cold and dark this winter. So we must stay the course and help Ukraine prevail as a sovereign nation.” 

Russia says nuclear treaty still effective despite postponement of talks with US

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the New START treaty on nuclear arms control between Russia and the United States remained effective, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

That was despite a lack of mutual inspections and Russia's last-minute decision to call off talks of a joint commission this week, Ryabkov added. 

Ukraine receives French long-range rocket systems

Ukraine said it had received a multiple rocket launcher system from France adding to the arsenal of long-range artillery credited with changing dynamics on the battlefield against Russia.

"LRU from France have arrived in Ukraine! The Ukrainian army is now even more powerful," Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted.

The French-provided LRU is the fourth variety of sophisticated rocket-launcher system (MLRS) -- after HIMARS, M270 and MARS II -- to be supplied to Ukraine to help Kiev battle Russia's offensive.

Poland to charge Ukrainian refugees for government-provided housing

Poland plans to charge Ukrainian refugees for food and housing after 4 months of staying in state accommodation, the government said.

More than a million Ukrainian refugees made a temporary home in Poland, Ukraine's western neighbour, after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, relying on the kindness of strangers who opened up their homes and government aid. 

But after an initial outpouring of public support for refugees, resources are drying up and refugees are having a harder time finding flats and getting support with Poland facing a cost of living crisis and budget strains. 

Ukraine will never be a place of devastation: Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s president said that Russia continues to attack his country but vowed that “Ukraine will never be a place of devastation.”

“They are capable of nothing but devastation. This is all they leave behind. And what they are doing now against Ukraine is their attempt to take revenge. To take revenge for the fact that Ukrainians have repeatedly defended themselves from them,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The president underlined that Kiev will never accept orders from Moscow and will “do everything to restore every object, every house, every enterprise destroyed by the occupiers.”

NATO: Alliance won't back down on Ukraine aid

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would not pull back in its support for Ukraine, calling on partners to pledge more winter aid for Kiev as it braced itself for more cold and darkness due to Russian attacks on infrastructure.

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest are focusing on ramping up military assistance for Ukraine such as air defence systems and ammunition, even as diplomats acknowledge supply and capacity issues, but also discuss non-lethal aid as well.

Part of this non-lethal aid - goods such as fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers - has been delivered through a NATO assistance package that allies can contribute to and which Stoltenberg aims to increase.

NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down... The main focus is supporting Ukraine and ensuring President (Vladimir Putin) doesn't win.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief

Russia's Gazprom to ship 42.4 mcm of gas to Europe via Ukraine

Russia's Gazprom said it would ship 42.4 million cubic metres of natural gas to Europe via Ukraine, a level similar to recent days. 

Torture allegations mount in aftermath of Kherson occupation

When a dozen Russian soldiers stormed into Dmytro Bilyi's home in August, the 24-year-old police officer said they gave him a chilling choice: Hand in his pistol or his mother and brother would disappear.

Bilyi turned his gun over to the soldiers, who carried machine guns and had their faces concealed. But it didn't matter. They dragged him from his house in Ukraine's southern village of Chornobaivka to a prison in the nearby regional capital of Kherson, where he said he was locked in a cell and tortured for days, his genitals and ears shocked with electricity.

“It was like hell all over my body,” Bilyi recalled. “It burns so bad it's like the blood is boiling ... I just wanted it to stop,” he said.

Ukraine's 'Invincibility' centres offer refuge, resilience

Retired Ukrainian construction worker Borys Markovnikov is on the move again: This time, just a few steps from his home in the town of Bucha, northwest of Kiev, to seek shelter and warmth at a “Point of Invincibility” — a government-built help station that serves food, drinks, warmth and ultimately, resilience, in the face of Russia’s military onslaught.

In recent weeks, Ukraine has rolled out hundreds of such help stations with a name of defiance as places where residents facing outages of power, heating and water can warm up, charge their phones, enjoy snacks and hot drinks, and even be entertained.

“My neighbours told me there was a tent with electricity and a TV, and I came to have a look,” said Markovnikov, 78, ogling Monday’s soccer World Cup match between Ghana and South Korea, adding he had no power at home. “We still believe. Without belief, you can’t survive.”

Ukraine works on display at Madrid museum

Dozens of modern artworks removed from Kiev to protect them from Russian strikes that have already done huge damage to Ukraine's cultural heritage will go on display at a Madrid museum.

The works on show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum of Art as part of the "In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930" exhibition include oil paintings, sketches and collages.

The Madrid exhibition is one of a number of showings of Ukraine's cultural heritage across Europe, as well as an effort to raise awareness of the threat posed to the war-torn country's artistic legacy as fighting grinds on.

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza founded
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza founded "Museums for Ukraine" is seeking to showcase Ukrainian art, using the museum which houses her late father's collection for the exhibition. The exhibition will run at the museum until April 30, and then go on show in Cologne in Germany from September 2023. (AFP)

US mulls financial aid to Ukraine

The United States is expected to announce "substantial" financial aid to Ukraine to help it deal with the damage caused by Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, senior US officials have said.

The aid, which will be detailed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in the Romanian capital Bucharest, "is substantial and it is not the end", one senior official told journalists, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details.

"What the Russians have been doing is targeting these large transformer stations. They are high-voltage transformer stations", not just power plants, the US official said, a move aimed at disrupting the entire energy network from production to distribution.

However, he noted that the Biden administration had budgeted $1.1 billion for energy spending in Ukraine and Moldova. It comes ahead of an international donors' conference on support for the Ukrainian civil resistance to be held on December 13 in France, he pointed out.

For live updates from Monday (November 28), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies