November 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, CNN

Updated 12:55 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022
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12:16 p.m. ET, November 8, 2022

At UN climate summit, Zelensky says world needs peace for effective climate policy

From CNN’s Xiaofei Xu in Paris 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on a screen as he delivered a speech today at the COP27 climate conference at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on a screen as he delivered a speech today at the COP27 climate conference at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky stressed on Tuesday that the international community needs peace to have joint and effective actions to respond to the climate crisis, in a virtual address to the UN climate summit COP27 in Egypt. 

“We must stop those who, with their insane and illegal war, are destroying the world’s ability to work united for a common goal,” Zelensky said in a pre-recorded video message. 

“There can be no effective climate policy without peace on earth because in fact nations are thinking only about how to protect themselves here and now from the threats created in particular by the Russian aggression,” he added. 

He pointed at the potential danger of a nuclear accident at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, where shelling continues in the area. The power plant has lost external electricity power several times since the war first broke out, forcing it to temporarily switch to diesel generators. 

“Who will care, for example, about the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere if part of Europe or the Middle East and possibly Northern Africa, God forbid, are covered by a radiation cloud after an accident in Zaporizhzhia?” Zelensky said. 

“We must ensure that suffering doesn’t multiply because the world doesn’t have time to respond to climate challenges. But to do this we need joint [and] effective actions and for that we need peace,” he added. 

12:12 p.m. ET, November 8, 2022

Kyiv residents express skepticism toward any negotiation with Russia

From Svitlana Vlasova in Kyiv

People walk on a dark street in the old town of Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 6.
People walk on a dark street in the old town of Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 6. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

Many residents of Ukraine's capital city said the idea of a negotiated end to Russia’s invasion can only be possible once Russia withdraws from Ukrainian territory.

Senior US officials have in recent weeks been urging Ukraine to signal that they are still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia, amid concerns that public support for the country's war effort could wane with no end to the conflict in sight and neither side willing to begin peace talks, sources familiar with the discussions tell CNN.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out talks with Russia so long as President Vladimir Putin is in charge. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Russia is “open to” negotiation with Ukraine, but that the moment was not right for talks.

CNN took to the streets of Kyiv Tuesday to get a sense of residents’ openness to negotiation with Russia.

Daryna Chupat is a 20-year-old student who said the mood in Ukraine is "victory or death."

“We have to push back to our borders, or at least to try to do so,” he told CNN. “There is an opinion that Ukraine will 100% win only when Russia falls. It seems like a great idea to me because any agreement with Russia is nothing but empty words. Any of their guarantees are not actually guarantees at all. “

Zoya Popova, 70-year-old retiree, said she agreed with Zelensky that the only acceptable outcome was a total withdrawal of Russian troops.

“We can’t talk to them, because Ukraine’s losses are enormous,” she said. “We can’t even count these losses yet, and we won’t be able to do this until all the territory of Ukraine is liberated.” 

“After all the cessations, a trial in The Hague must take place. After that, we can discuss any kind of peace,” she said.  

Valentyna Polischuk is a 53-year-old saleswoman, said "all the ways to achieve a peace are good, including negotiations, but they should take into account our demands.”

She said that while Crimea was a “complicated issue,” the Russia-claimed regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson “are ours.” 

“If our conditions are accepted – even though it’s difficult for the Russians, they can find a way, and do so – if they leave, the war will be over,” she said.

Ukraine should talk to Russia, she said, but if negotiations aren’t successful, “we have to ask assistance from our allies, defend ourselves, and push them out of here.” 

Vlad, a 31-year-old who provided only his first name because he’s serving in the military. said the "only way" for negotiations to start is “when we get regain all our borders."

Negotiations, he said, are impossible, “because their attitude to us is not human.”

“How can we negotiate with them if in few years they can go to war against us again? What we should discuss with them is not the war, but the fact that we’ll not give our territories under any conditions,” he added.

“These talks can be launched only after we get back our borders as they were in 1991,” including Crimea and all of Donetsk and Luhansk, he said. “Other kinds of negotiations with them make no sense, because the only thing Russia wants is to restore the Soviet Union.”

CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Kylie Atwood and Oren Liebermann contributed reporting to this post.

11:37 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

Ukrainians say forces make progress in Luhansk despite substantial Russian defenses

From Olga Voitovych

Ukrainian servicemen load a rocket into a BM21 Grad multiple launch rocket system on the border of the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, Ukraine, on November 3.
Ukrainian servicemen load a rocket into a BM21 Grad multiple launch rocket system on the border of the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, Ukraine, on November 3. (Vitalii Hnidyi/Reuters)

The senior Ukrainian official for the easternLuhansk region says troops continue to advance despite a "huge number" of Russian reserves arriving in the area.

Serhiy Hayday, head of Luhansk region military administration, said on Ukrainian television that the armed forces were advancing, but "it should be taken into account that there are certain specifics of the Luhansk region: the Russian occupation troops managed to bring a huge number of reserves there, managed to build defensive structures, mined a very large area, so the advance is quite cautious."

Ukrainian troops began to probe into the Luhansk region in September after a rapid advance across Kharkiv region. 

Hayday added: "They [the Russians] are trying to make some incomprehensible counter-offensive actions. There are a very large number of freshly mobilized. "

He predicted the Russians would take heavy casualties as the fighting in the area around Svatove and Kreminna continued.

Hayday said that civilians remained in recently liberated settlements despite official efforts to persuade them to move, amid constant shelling from the Russian side.

"People stay in some liberated settlements, no matter how we are trying to persuade them. They sometimes agree to leave when they see that their neighbor’s house was hit. Fear prevails over stubbornness," he said.

10:04 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

US diplomat to Ukraine: America's support will not wane

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

Ukraine Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov, left, welcomes US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield before their meeting in Kyiv as part of her visit to Ukraine on November 8.
Ukraine Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov, left, welcomes US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield before their meeting in Kyiv as part of her visit to Ukraine on November 8. (Sergei Supinsky/Reuters)

US Ambassador to the United Nation Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s message to Ukrainians on Election Day in the US is that America’s support will not wane, despite growing questions about lawmakers willingness to sustain massive US support to the country as it continues facing Russian bombardments. 

“There is clear bipartisan support for support the United States is providing to Ukraine and we will be there as long as it takes,” a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday morning. “The message coming out of the left the elections will be the same message that we've had going in, there is strong bipartisan support to support the people of Ukraine in their time of need, and that support will continue as long as necessary.”

Thomas-Greenfield will meet with Ukrainian farmers, crime scene experts who are collecting evidence of atrocities in the country, and Ukrainian President Zelensky.

“I know she's looking forward to personally conveying our ironclad commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, core concepts of the UN Charter,” the official said of her meeting with Zelensky. 

The US diplomat is visiting the country after senior US officials have been urging Ukraine in recent weeks to signal that they are still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia, amid concerns that public support for the country's war effort could wane with no end to the conflict in sight and neither side willing to begin peace talks, sources familiar with the discussions tell CNN. 

The official would not wade into details about any conversations Thomas-Greenfield could have with Ukrainian officials about appearing open to diplomatic discussions to bring an end to the war. 

“The important thing here to understand is that any decisions with regard to conducting negotiations with regards to ending this war, those decisions are going to be determined in Kyiv and not anywhere else,” the official said. 

The official explained that Thomas-Greenfield’s visit to the Ukrainian capital will focus on three priorities: holding Russia accountable for the atrocities its forces have committed, addressing the unprecedented global food security crisis and ensuring Ukraine can prepare for winter ahead in the face of continued attacks by Russian forces on its critical infrastructure.

9:42 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

German investigators search bank in connection with alleged money laundering by Russian oligarch

From CNN's Inke Kapeller in Berlin and Stephanie Halasz in London

Swiss bank UBS office in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 8.
Swiss bank UBS office in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 8. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

German investigators are searching branches of a Swiss bank in Germany in connection with money laundering allegations surrounding a Russian oligarch.

Officers from the German Criminal Police Office began searching branches in Frankfurt and Munich earlier today, a spokesperson for the General Public Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt told CNN. 

German media is naming the bank branches in question as those of UBS, the Swiss bank. The prosecutor’s office did not name the bank. 

That spokesperson said the bank itself is not the target, but says authorities hope to secure evidence relating to money laundering allegations against the Russian national. While the BKA will not name him, the prosecutor’s office spokesman confirmed it was the same individual whose properties were previously searched for similar allegations. German investigators have previously targeted an Uzbek-born Russian national, Alisher Usmanov, in these searches. 

German law enforcement does not as a rule name people under investigation. German media is naming Usmanov as the target of Tuesday’s searches. 

A UBS spokesperson tells CNN: “We confirm that the offices of UBS Europe SE in Frankfurt and Munich are currently being searched by the public prosecutor. We are cooperating fully with the authorities ”

CNN has reached out to Usmanov’s representative and the German Criminal Police Office for comment. 

A spokesperson for Usmanov denied the allegations to Reuters, describing them as unfounded, false and defamatory. Usmanov has not been charged with any wrongdoing in Germany so far.

Previous allegations by the BKA targeting the Russian have included transfer of funds for tax evasion purposes. The BKA has said in a previous press release that “multi-digit millions” of Euros were transferred, allegedly to avoid paying tax.

“The citizen of the Russian Federation is suspected of having arranged several transactions of funds in the years 2017 to 2022 in order to conceal their origin according to a Criminal Police (BKA) press release published on September 27. It is suspected that the transferred sums of money originate from criminal acts, in particular from tax evasion offenses. According to the current state of the investigation, the transaction volume of the transferred sums of money is said to be in the multi-digit millions,“ BKA states in its press release.

A yacht linked to Usmanov, sitting in Bremen harbor during the ongoing investigation, as well as one property connected to him in the upmarket area of Lake Tegernsee, were previously searched by the BKA in September. In September, a spokesperson for Usmanov denied any wrongdoing by the Russian businessman, saying he is a “lawful and diligent taxpayer and has always paid his taxes currently and on time.”

8:16 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

"They are desperate": Ukrainian farmers under pressure as grain deal set to expire, US envoy says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler in Washington

(CNN)
(CNN)

Ukrainian farmers are growing increasingly "desperate" as the UN-brokered grain deal draws closer to expiring, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Tuesday.

“They certainly are under pressure, but also they are desperate. They need the confidence of the market to plant,” Thomas-Greenfield said in remarks following a visit to a grain facility in Kyiv.

“So there's a sense of desperation as well that I heard from them and I will take that message back to my colleagues in the Security Council, to the Secretary General, and I know that he knows it.”

The agreement, brokered by the UN, put in place a procedure that guaranteed the safety of ships carrying Ukrainian grain, fertilizer and other foodstuffs through a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea.

Under the deal, all vessels coming to and from Ukraine’s ports are inspected and monitored by international teams made up of officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN.

However the deal is due to expire this month and there are fears that Russia, which already suspended its participation in the deal once, will not agree to its renewal.

Thomas-Greenfield described her visit to the facility, which was not named due to security reasons, as short but “extraordinarily enlightening.”

“We have heard that Ukraine is the breadbasket of the world. And I'm here seeing Ukraine as the breadbasket of the world, seeing wheat being delivered, being processed, being produced into flour, hearing directly from farmers that they need this grain deal that the Secretary General has been so committed to negotiating,” she said. “This just shows how important this grain is, but it also is showing the impact that this unjust war started by Russia is having on the world's markets."

Thomas-Greenfield was joined on the tour by US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink.

8:08 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.

Signs continue to emerge that both Russia and Ukraine are preparing for a showdown in the southern city of Kherson, while a US diplomat has underlined Washington's "unwavering" support for Kyiv after Ukrainian officials hit out at reports that their US counterparts have been urging them to signal they are still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia.

Here are the latest headlines:

  • Russian spy agency claims it has arrested Ukrainian saboteurs: Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claims to have disrupted a Ukrainian "sabotage and reconnaissance group" in the occupied southern Kherson region, and detained nine Ukrainian citizens. The FSB said the group's "tasks included committing terrorist acts against high-ranking members of the military and civil administration of Kherson region."
  • Evacuations from Kherson now over: Monday was the last day of Russia's “organized evacuation” offer for civilians from the west bank of the Dnipro River in the occupied portion of Ukraine’s Kherson region, according to a Russian-backed official. “Most residents who decided to stay in Kherson are only now beginning to realize the gravity of the situation and my warnings,” said Kirill Stremousov, the Russia-appointed deputy head of the Kherson region military administration.
  • Ukrainian officials respond to reports on settlement with Russia: Responding to various media reports about a push for negotiation with Russia, Ukrainian officials on Tuesday said that an essential condition for any settlement of the war is the return of occupied territory. They spoke out following reports that senior US officials have in recent weeks been urging Ukraine to signal that they are still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia. 
  • US diplomat underlines support for Kyiv: The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told CNN that US support for Ukraine is “unwavering” and will continue until the nation "wins this war.” Asked about reported US pressure on Ukraine in an interview in Kyiv, Thomas-Greenfield demurred. “No negotiations in which Ukraine is not in the driver’s seat," she said. "No negotiations about Ukraine without Ukraine.”
  • More electricity restrictions amid cold snap in Ukraine: A drop in temperatures this week has prompted the national electric utility, Ukrenergo, to introduce further energy restrictions. Emergency power cuts that have been a daily occurrence for weeks continued Tuesday, with outages planned for the regions of Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava and Kyiv, including the capital.
  • Polish president highlights impact of war on climate efforts: Russia's invasion of Ukraine is putting the climate at risk, said Poland’s President Andrzej Duda in an address at the COP27 UN climate summit on Tuesday. "The consequence[s] of Russia's aggression are crisis and huge costs which put at risk timely implementation of climate transition as well as timely attainment of the intended goals,” said Duda.
  • North Korea denies selling arms to Russia: Pyongyang has denied dealing arms to Moscow following US accusations that it is secretly supplying weapons for use in the Ukraine war. The US was attempting "to tarnish the image" of North Korea "in the international arena," according to a statement from a defense ministry spokesperson. 
6:59 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

Russian forces step up raids on civilians in occupied Kherson as potential battle for city looms

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Mick Krever

Russian forces have stepped up their scrutiny of civilians in occupied areas of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, detaining locals to root out partisan resistance, according to the Ukrainian military.

In the city of Kherson, Russian troops are now largely wearing civilian clothing and living in residential housing as they “strengthen positions inside for conducting street battles,” according to the Ukrainian military and a resident of the city with whom CNN exchanged messages.

Ukrainian forces have taken back a significant swathe of territory in Kherson that Russian troops had seized shortly after the invasion began in late February. Kyiv strung together a series of surprising victories in early October in the region, but progress has slowed as Ukrainian forces edge closer to the regional capital, Kherson. It appears as though an intense battle for the city may be looming.

“Amid the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the occupiers have significantly intensified filtration measures,” the National Resistance Center, a creation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said on Monday. “Raids among the local population have intensified in the temporarily occupied part of Kherson region. The occupiers are actively looking for the underground movement.”

Read the full story here.

6:22 a.m. ET, November 8, 2022

US support will continue "until Ukraine wins this war" and Russia withdraws its troops, UN ambassador tells CNN

From CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Madalena Araujo, and Mick Krever in Kyiv

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on June 8, in Washington, DC.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on June 8, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said that American support for Ukraine is “unwavering” and will continue until the nation "wins this war.”

“We have been unified from day one, and we have not seen any cracks in that unity,” Thomas-Greenfield told CNN during an unannounced trip to the capital, Kyiv. “Europe is unified. NATO is unified. We’ve had bipartisan support in the United States for support for Ukraine.”

“Our support is unwavering, and we will continue to be unified until Ukraine wins this war and Russia takes their troops out of Ukraine.”

When asked about reports that US officials have urged Ukraine to signal that they are still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia, amid concerns that public support for the country's war effort could wane, Thomas-Greenfield demurred.

“We’ve been clear,” she said. “No negotiations in which Ukraine is not in the driver’s seat. No negotiations about Ukraine without Ukraine.”

The international community, she said, “wants justice for the people of Ukraine.”

“Any negotiations that take place have to take place with Ukraine in the driver’s seat. They have to determine that, when they are ready for those negotiations, with the backing and support of the international community, following the charter that Russia has violated.”