November 9, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sophie Tanno, Ed Upright and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, November 10, 2022
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2:26 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Brittney Griner begins transfer to Russian penal colony, attorneys say

From CNN’s Abby Phillip

US women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, on Aug. 4.
US women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, on Aug. 4. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

US women’s basketball star Brittney Griner is in the process of being moved to a Russian penal colony where she is due to serve the remainder of a nine-year drug smuggling sentence that was upheld in late October.

Griner “is now on her way to a penal colony,” her attorneys said in a statement to CNN Wednesday.

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” said attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov.
“In accordance with the standard Russian procedure, the attorneys, as well as the US Embassy, should be notified upon her arrival at her destination. Notification is given via official mail and normally takes up to two weeks to be received.”

Read more here.

1:23 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Ukrainian forces say they destroyed two Russian ammunition depots in the south

From CNN’s Josh Pennington and Teele Rebane 

Kyiv's forces destroyed two Russian ammunition depots in southern Ukraine on Tuesday, according to the Ukrainian military.

Ukraine's Operational Command South said on Facebook Wednesday that the depots were in Snihurivka, Mykolaiv region, and Kostromka, in neighboring Kherson.

The command also listed losses for Russia across southern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, including four tanks, a "Tor-M2" anti-aircraft missile system, an "Acacia" self-propelled howitzer, two mortars and nine armored vehicle units.

Some 55 Russian troops were also killed, it added.

The statement said Russian forces were seeking out Ukrainian resistance activists and attempting to disrupt channels of information by dismantling mobile communication towers.

"The occupiers are creating unbearable living conditions for the local population," the statement said.

CNN cannot independently verify the Ukrainian military’s claims. 

Some context: Russia has probably lost half its main battle tanks and used up the majority of its precision-guided weapons in a war that has become a “massive strategic failure” for the Kremlin, Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, said Tuesday. 

12:42 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov accuses Ukraine of telling "tall tales" about losses for his troops

From CNN's Jonny Hallam, Sahar Akbarzai, and Josh Pennington

Pro-Kremlin Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov attends a ceremony in Grozny, Russia on October 5, 2021.
Pro-Kremlin Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov attends a ceremony in Grozny, Russia on October 5, 2021. (Chingis Kondarov/Reuters)

Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Kremlin leader of Russia's Chechnya region, has dismissed as "enemy propaganda" reports that his loyalist troops suffered heavy losses in recent fighting in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.   

In a video posted to his Telegram account late Tuesday, Kadyrov responded to Ukrainian claims that many Chechen troops from the Akhmat battalion had been killed in the city of Lysychansk. Ukraine's General Staff said earlier that at least 30 Chechen fighters had been killed when their unit was destroyed and up to 15 others wounded.

“The enemy propaganda channels are making up tall tales. Now they are writing about hundreds of Chechen fighters killed near Lysychansk ... it is not true," Kadyrov said.
"Let me set the record straight: it is not true. Not a single one of our fighters was killed in the above-mentioned district."  

He claimed Chechen squads were "doing very well" in Ukraine, adding his troops were preparing "more surprises" for Ukrainian forces. "These are not empty words,” he warned.

Chechen fighters: Kadyrov has been accused by international and independent observers of gross human rights violations in his home territory and beyond. He leads sizeable paramilitary forces that —  while formally a part of Russian security structures —  have personal loyalty to him. 

10:16 p.m. ET, November 8, 2022

US official says Russia has probably lost half its tanks, used majority of precision-guided weapons in Ukraine

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Destroyed Russian tanks and armored vehicles are seen in the liberated town of Lyman, Ukraine on October 5.
Destroyed Russian tanks and armored vehicles are seen in the liberated town of Lyman, Ukraine on October 5. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

Russia has probably lost half its main battle tanks and used up the majority of its precision-guided weapons in a war that has become a “massive strategic failure” for the Kremlin, Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, said Tuesday. 

“Putin has failed,” Kahl told a group of reporters as part of George Washington University’s Project for Media and National Security on Tuesday. “Russia will emerge from this war weaker than it went in.”

Kahl said Russia has suffered “tens of thousands of casualties” since the war began in February, which is “orders of magnitude” more than the Soviet Union suffered in Afghanistan. 

“They’ve probably lost half of their main battle tanks in the entire Russian military,” Kahl said. “They’ve bogged down more than 80% of their land force in Ukraine. They’ve spent down a majority of their precision guided munitions in Ukraine, and the sanctions and export controls will make it very difficult for them to rebuild their military to what it looked like before the war.
“Putin went into this war trying to extinguish Ukraine as an independent, sovereign democratic country. He’s failed, and that’s not going to change. A sovereign, independent, democratic Ukraine is going to endure.”

Kahl noted that there is considerable bipartisan support for Ukraine moving forward, but what that support looks like and what Ukraine’s military needs going forward may change.

9:22 p.m. ET, November 8, 2022

Zelensky says "fierce battles" rage in eastern Ukraine, with Russian forces suffering large-scale losses

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva in Kyiv, Ukraine

Ukrainian forces fire a howitzer round toward Russian positions in the Donetsk Oblast on Tuesday.
Ukrainian forces fire a howitzer round toward Russian positions in the Donetsk Oblast on Tuesday. (Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters)

Amid fierce fighting in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the "situation is complicated along the entire front line."

In his daily video address, Zelensky said "fierce positional battles continue in some areas, and the situation is especially difficult in Donetsk region. The occupiers' activity there remains at an extremely high level — dozens of attacks every day."

He said Russian forces "suffer extremely large-scale losses, but their order has not changed — to reach the administrative borders of Donetsk region. We do not surrender a single centimeter of our land there. And I thank all our heroes who hold positions in Donbas."

In the southern Kherson region, Zelensky said Ukrainian units were acting "carefully, thoroughly and in the interests of liberating our entire territory. We are strengthening our positions, breaking Russian logistics, consistently destroying the potential of the occupiers to keep the south of our country in occupation."

Zelensky said work continued to restore normal life in the liberated areas. In two districts of Kharkiv region, he said, "more than a thousand households have their gas and electricity supply restored." 

Across the country, repair work continued on energy facilities, he said.

"As of this evening, about 4 million Ukrainians in 14 regions and the city of Kyiv are cut off from electricity supply. But the majority of them are under stabilization power cut off schedules, not emergency ones." The schedules implement 12 hours of power cuts a day.

To address the energy crisis, Zelensky said imports of goods necessary during the heating season will be exempt from VAT and import duties. "This should simplify and reduce the cost of supplying generators, batteries, transformers and other similar equipment for energy and heat supply to Ukraine," he said.
10:16 p.m. ET, November 8, 2022

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

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

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, speaks with CNN on Tuesday, November 8.
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, speaks with CNN on Tuesday, November 8. (CNN)

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," she said. "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.”

7:16 p.m. ET, November 8, 2022

US and Russia agree to hold talks on nuclear treaty for first time since Ukraine war began

From CNN's Kylie Atwood and Michael Conte

The US and Russia have agreed to hold talks on the single existing nuclear treaty between the two countries in the near future, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday.

The New START treaty limits all deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons by Russia and the US.

The treaty — the only one left regulating the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world — was extended by five years in February 2021 during the first weeks of Joe Biden’s presidency.

It requires both countries to allow on-site inspections of its nuclear weapons-related facilities by the other. Those inspections were paused in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A resumption of the inspections is expected to be a topic of discussion at the upcoming meetings, US officials said.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and the US are in the doldrums following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine with no end to the war in sight but US officials have viewed it as a positive development that Moscow has continued to express interest in the treaty, despite Putin’s alarming nuclear threats as the conflict rages on.

Russia has expressed a willingness to discuss extending the treaty and the US has said that negotiations would only happen once the on-site inspections resume.

Read more here.