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November 13, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Matt Meyer and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN
Investigators have uncovered more than 400 cases of alleged Russian war crimes in the Kherson region since the exit of Moscow's forces from the area, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday.
“Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes, the bodies of both civilians and military personnel are being found," Zelensky said in his nightly address.
“In the Kherson region, the Russian army left behind the same atrocities as in other regions of our country where it was able to enter,” he said.
The president added that “detention of Russian soldiers and mercenaries who were left behind, and neutralization of saboteurs, are also ongoing.”
Zelensky warned “the situation in the Kherson region is still very dangerous.”
“First of all, there are mines. Unfortunately, one of our sappers was killed, and four others were injured while clearing mines,” he said.
Zelensky was echoing warnings voiced by a local Ukrainian official earlier Sunday, who told Kherson region residents to beware of encounters with Russian soldiers and to look out for mines or missile strikes from Moscow's military.
The Ukrainian military says it has liberated 179 settlements on the west bank of the Dnipro River in the past week.
Meanwhile, military spokesman Vladyslav Nazarov says the Russians “continue defensive operations and the construction of fortifications on the left (east) bank" of the river.
According to Nazarov, Russians have “14 ships on combat duty and one missile carrier equipped with eight cruise missiles ready for use” stationed in the Black Sea.
“In the Sea of Azov, the enemy continues to control sea communications by keeping one ship on combat duty, and in the Mediterranean Sea, there are 10 enemy ships on combat duty, 5 of them carrying Kalibr cruise missiles, with a total salvo of 76 missiles,” the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook Sunday.
Russian soldiers stole 100,000 tons of sunflower and corn seeds from an agricultural base in the Kherson region, Oleksiy Goncharenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament, wrote in a Facebook post Sunday.
The base was located in the village of Novoraisk, and the damage there was extensive, according to the lawmaker.
“The base itself is destroyed,” Goncharenko wrote. “The occupiers stole almost everything that was on the territory of the base: fuel and sowing equipment, plant protection products worth 60 million dollars, about 100 thousand tons of sunflower and corn seeds.”
Goncharenko also said Russian soldiers stole harvesters, tractors and unmanned aerial vehicles for land cultivation. According to the politician, damages are estimated to be worth $250 to 270 million.
“The occupiers damaged the largest poultry factory in Europe, ‘Chornobaivska,’” he added, “More than 4 million adult chickens and about 700,000 young chickens died without an opportunity of being utilized.”
Goncharenko also posted a video from inside the base obtained from a Ukrainian soldier. The video shows piles of rubble, looted agricultural equipment and vehicles.
The head of the regional military administration in the Kherson region shared an update on the state of liberated villages Sunday, including rules imposed under martial law and the restoration of key services.
Despite the return of Ukrainian control, residents should stay out of recently liberated areas for risk of Russian attacks, the official, Yaroslav Yanushevich, wrote in a Telegram post Sunday.
“There remains a high probability of enemy shelling on the right (west) bank of Dnipro River in Kherson region. The Russian army, when fleeing, starts fighting with civilians out of hopelessness. We have repeatedly seen this in many liberated settlements,” he warned.
But Ukrainian leaders say they have successfully reintroduced some essential services in the region.
"It has already been possible to restore the supply of natural gas to more than 300 residents of the liberated settlements of the Kherson region,” Yanushevich wrote.
He also said that mobile connection has been restored in the city of Kherson.
“LTE from Kyivstar (the Ukrainian mobile operator) is already working in the city center on the square near the Regional State Administration,” he said.
A CNN team saw one communication tower in Kherson city Sunday.
Yanushevich reported that during the Russian occupation of the city of Kherson, most pharmacies stopped working. He assured that “the pharmacies will resume work after demining of the territories."
The region remains under martial law, the official said. Ukrainian authorities have banned water transportation in the region through Nov. 19, saying it's for the protection of residents.
Russian troops are focusing their efforts in the Kherson region on fortifying their defenses along the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, according to a Ukrainian military assessment.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine General Staff shared that report in an operational update Sunday night.
The AFU also said Russia is conducting assaults in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlikvka areas, which are all in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
Other eastern areas like Kupyansk and Lyman are also getting hit by artillery, the military said.
Within the last day, Russian troops carried out one missile attack and six air strikes, and conducted over 14 attacks from multiple rocket launchers, according to the AFU report.
University students of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic — in Russian-occupied Eastern Ukraine — will no longer be called to Russian military service, a Kremlin official told Russian state media Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given instructions to "demobilize" the students and organize for their return home, spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti.
The announcement refers to those students who were mobilized before the self-proclaimed republics were illegally annexed by Russia, according to RIA.
Peskov added that the students now will be sent home and continue their education.
It brought to an end a controversial draft that sparked protests and an exodus of men from the country.
Officials said the draft’s target of recruiting 300,000 personnel had been met as of late October.
Russia continued shelling Ukrainian cities Sunday, with Toretsk in the eastern Donetsk region coming under some of the heaviest fire, the head of the regional military administration said.
The official, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said on Telegram that a hospital complex with a maternity building and a sanatarium had been shelled, but there were no casualties.
Toretsk lies roughly between Donetsk city and Kramatorsk, east of the Dnipro River in one of the four regions illegally annexed by Russia. It's an area with some of the most brutal fighting in the war.
A CNN team on the ground earlier this week saw heavy shelling of Toretsk and heard the hospital had been hit the previous week, as well.
Ukrainian troops told CNN that casualty figures had been high in the area.
CNN has not independently verified Ukraine's latest report on shelling.
US National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday would not comment on the possibility of any European nations declining to participate in the G20 summit in order to send a message to Russia, saying that was not a move that he had heard about directly from his European counterparts.
“I will look forward to the opportunity to hear their thinking before I comment on it,” Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One en route to Indonesia.
Sullivan added that Russian President Vladimir Putin virtually participating in the G20 was a “hypothetical” at this point, so he couldn’t comment on what, if any reaction, Biden would have if that were to come to fruition.
At the ASEAN summit that President Biden just participated in in Cambodia, Sullivan said that US officials did not have any substantive conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.