November 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Mike Hayes, Jack Guy and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 7:07 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
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3:18 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Zelensky proposes total prisoner swap with Russia in G20 address

From CNN's Hannah Ritchie

World leaders attend a working session on food and energy security during the G20 Summit on November 15, in Nusa Dua, Indonesia.
World leaders attend a working session on food and energy security during the G20 Summit on November 15, in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed an “all for all” prisoner swap with Russia during his virtual address to the G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday, according to a transcript of his remarks shared by the Embassy of Ukraine in Indonesia.

“Thousands of our people — military and civilians — are in Russian captivity. They are subjected to brutal torture — this is mass abuse… we know by name 11,000 children who were forcibly deported to Russia,” Zelensky said. 
“Add to that hundreds of thousands of deported adults, and you will see what a humanitarian catastrophe the Russian war has caused. Add political prisoners — Ukrainian citizens who are held in Russia and in the temporarily occupied territory, in particular in Crimea. We must release all these people … we must unite for the sake of the only realistic model of the release of prisoners — "all for all."

Ukraine's peace plan: The prisoner swap proposal is one of 10 areas outlined by Zelensky during his speech Tuesday on a path to end the war. They are:

  1. Radiation and nuclear safety
  2. Food security
  3. Energy security
  4. Release of prisoners and deportees
  5. Implementation of the UN Charter
  6. Withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities
  7. Justice
  8. Ecocide and the protection of the environment
  9. Prevention of escalation
  10. Confirmation of the end of the war
12:42 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

President Zelensky outlines Ukraine's peace plan in G20 speech

From CNN’s Masrur Jamaluddin in Bali, Indonesia and Xiaofei Xu

President Volodymyr Zelensky during his video speech to G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky during his video speech to G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday. (Ukrainian President's Office)

President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a 10-point peace plan to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine in a video speech to G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday, according to a transcript shared by the Embassy of Ukraine in Indonesia.

The steps includes a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a final peace treaty with Moscow, according to a transcript of the speech.

He also urged G20 leaders to use all their power to “make Russia abandon nuclear threats” and implement a price cap on energy imported from Moscow.

Foundation for victory: In the address, Zelensky compared the recent liberation of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson to the battles leading to the Allied defeat of Germany in World War II.

“It is like, for example, D-Day — the landing of the Allies in Normandy. It was not yet a final point in the fight against evil, but it already determined the entire further course of events,” Zelensky said in the address.
“If the victory will be ours in any case, and we are sure of it, then shouldn't we try to implement our formula for peace to save thousands of lives and protect the world from further destabilization?”

Zelensky also called on Russia to stop bombing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as winter approaches. “Let Russia prove by its rejection of terror that it is really interested in the restoration of peace,” he said.

Moscow has been isolated at this year’s G20 summit as multiple Western leaders vowed not to have any contact with its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is in attendance on behalf of the Kremlin. 

12:09 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Chinese leader Xi reiterates call for Ukraine peace talks, avoids condemning Russia

From CNN's Mengchen Zhang, Hannah Ritchie and Nectar Gan 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated Beijing's stance that peace talks should be held to end the war in Ukraine during the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday, according to state media, though he once again stopped short of condemning Russia's actions.

“Xi stressed that China's position on the Ukraine crisis is clear and consistent, advocating a ceasefire, a stop to war and peace talks,” said a readout of a bilateral meeting between the Chinese leader and French President Emmanuel Macron published by state broadcaster CCTV. 

Some context: Although China has consistently called for an end to hostilities in Ukraine, it has refused to condemn Russia's invasion. Instead, Beijing has called for the "legitimate security concerns of all parties" to be recognized, while blaming the US and NATO for the conflict.

Beijing and Moscow have become close partners in recent years as both face tensions with the West, with Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring the two countries had a "no-limits" partnership weeks before Russia's invasion began

So far, Beijing has not provided direct military or financial aid to Moscow that could spark sanctions from Washington. Meanwhile, Chinese state media has previously reported on Xi’s support for international peace talks as a mechanism for ending the war. 

In September, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin called on the “relevant parties” in Ukraine to “achieve a ceasefire through dialogue and negotiation.”

12:09 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Biden steps into G20 aiming to unite leaders in opposition to Russia’s war on Ukraine

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez, Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein in Bali, Indonesia

President Joe Biden arrives at the formal welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday.
President Joe Biden arrives at the formal welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is confronting competing issues at home and abroad while he’s at the Group of 20 Summit in Bali this week, using the moment on the world’s stage to lean into international support for condemning Russia’s aggression while also facing the prospect of hearing Donald Trump announce his next run for the presidency.

Administration officials previewing Biden’s G20 summit activities have their sights set on the coalition’s efforts to voice its opposition against the war in Ukraine, which could send a powerful signal amongst a group that’s so far had fragmented approaches to the Kremlin’s aggression.

This marks the first time the group has gathered in-person since the start of the invasion, and most G20 members are expected to sign onto a statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine “and the human suffering it has caused both for Ukrainians and for families in the developing world that are facing food and fuel insecurity as a result,” a senior administration official said.

Such an expression of condemnation has been the work of months of diplomacy between G20 leaders. However, it’s not clear yet exactly which countries will sign onto the declaration.

Although the G20 is comprised of world powers who have long backed Ukraine during the war, it also includes other nations that have been tepid in their response to Russia’s aggression — including India, China, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, the host of this year’s summit. The coalition, which is broadly focused on the global economy, also includes Russia itself. But Russian President Vladimir Putin is not making an appearance at the summit this year.

Since the spring, US officials have anticipated a showdown at this year’s G20 over the war. Biden has stated Russia should no longer be a member of the bloc, though expelling Moscow would require support from all of the G20’s members.

As of now, no official “family photo” is listed on a schedule, a sign of the deep acrimony within the G20 spurred by the war in Ukraine.

Read more here.

7:56 p.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Zelensky: All critical infrastructure in Kherson was destroyed under Russian occupation

From CNN's Dennis Lapin

All critical infrastructure in Kherson was destroyed while under Russian occupation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday after visiting the southern city

“This is what the Russian flag means — complete devastation. There is no electricity, no communication, no internet, no television. The occupiers destroyed everything themselves — on purpose. This is their special operation. Before the winter, the Russian occupiers destroyed absolutely all critical infrastructure. Absolutely all important facilities in the city and the region are mined,” Zelensky said. 

The Ukrainian president added that efforts are being made to return life to normal in Kherson.

Earlier on Monday, officials said they were working to repair damaged bridges and restore Kherson’s electricity supply. 

12:12 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

US studying how to modify powerful armed drone as Ukrainian demand grows

From CNN's Alex Marquardt

The US Army's Gray Eagle is exhibited on September 21, in South Korea.
The US Army's Gray Eagle is exhibited on September 21, in South Korea. (Chris Jung/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

As Russian forces have retreated in Ukraine’s south, the Biden administration has announced a slew of new military aid packages for Ukraine, but all were missing a piece of weaponry that Ukraine’s military has long sought: the multi-use Gray Eagle drone, armed with Hellfire missiles.

According to two officials, the US has been looking into modifications that can be made to the deadly drone. Changes that would make the potential of losing any — with their sensitive onboard technology — less of a danger and possibly increase the likelihood of Ukraine receiving them.

“There are specific and very technical tweaks and neutering that can be done to these that may make it possible in the nearer term,” a congressional official said. “But those things take time and are fairly complex.”

A US official confirmed that the Army is leading the efforts to study what changes are possible to the drone, which is made by General Atomics and referred to in the Army as the MQ-1C.

“When you’re talking drones, this is about as good as you can get,” says Seth Jones, the director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “These are really sophisticated drones.”

Without any changes however, the Gray Eagle, which can carry four Hellfire missiles and fly at 25,000 feet for almost 30 hours, would likely not be on upcoming lists of military aid allocated to Ukraine.

Read more here.

8:00 p.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Ukrainian commander tells US counterpart Russia must leave all occupied areas as condition for negotiations

From CNN's Denis Lapin in Kyiv, Ukraine

The Commander of Ukrainian forces, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, says he has reiterated to his US counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, that Ukraine's "goal is to liberate the entire Ukrainian land from Russian occupation."

Zaluzhnyi said he had told Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the "Ukrainian military will not accept any negotiations, agreements or compromise decisions. There is only one condition for negotiations — Russia must leave all the occupied territories."

Zaluzhnyi said he had told Milley the situation at the front is stable and controlled.

"We closely monitor the actions of the enemy on the border with the Republic of Belarus and build a reliable shield to protect Ukraine from the north," he said on his Telegram channel.

"Defense forces, despite the fierce resistance of the occupation troops, continue offensive actions in the Kharkiv sector."

Zaluzhnyi said Russian forces were actively attacking along several fronts in the Donetsk region, but were unsuccessful.

12:23 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Banksy confirms 7 new murals in Ukraine

From CNN's Sophie Tanno and Jacqui Palumbo

Graffiti at the wall of a destroyed residential building in Hostomel on Sunday.
Graffiti at the wall of a destroyed residential building in Hostomel on Sunday. (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Three days after Banksy debuted his latest mural on Instagram, spray painted on the wall of a bombed building in the city of Borodianka, Ukraine, the anonymous street artist confirmed that he completed seven new works in Ukraine in total.

Banksy confirmed the news to The Art Newspaper after a series of murals suspected to be his appeared in the liberated Ukrainian city, which is located about 35 miles northwest of Kyiv. Other works are located in ​​the capital and other cities in the region.

The first artwork to be identified, which went viral over the weekend, shows a female gymnast balancing on a pile of rubble on the side of a building damaged by Russian strikes.

The graffiti artist posted three images of the piece Friday on social media, with a simple caption reading "Borodyanka, Ukraine" — an alternative spelling for the town's name.

Read more here.

7:30 p.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Wagner Group boss and Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin applauds murder of former fighter

From CNN's Katharina Krebs, Tim Lister and Josh Pennington

Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner Group is heavily involved in the fighting in Ukraine, has applauded a video in which a former member of the group is brutally murdered.

The video surfaced over the weekend on the Grey Zone Telegram channel, which frequently showcases the activities of mercenary fighters of the Wagner Group, which is accused of war crimes in Africa, Syria and Ukraine.

It showed a member of the group who had deserted and gone over to the Ukrainian side being murdered with a sledgehammer. The man is named (and names himself in the video) as Yevgeny Nuzhin.

Prigozhin was asked on his Telegram channel about the killing. Without directly acknowledging that Wagner fighters had carried out the murder, he said: “Nuzhin betrayed his people, betrayed his comrades, betrayed them consciously. He was not taken prisoner, nor did he surrender. Rather, he planned his escape. Nuzhin is a traitor.”

“Russian people can smell betrayal — it’s genetic. Hence the comments on social networks,” said Prigozhin, referring to some positive responses to the killing.

In a separate Telegram post Prigozhin called the video “an excellent director’s work.”

Read more here.