November 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

liberated kherson ukraine shelling kiley dnt lead _00023014.png
Residents in liberated Kherson still under heavy shelling as they prepare for winter
02:31 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Russia launched “massive shelling” in towns and villages on the eastern front line in the Donetsk region on Tuesday, according to a Ukrainian official.
  • There is evidence of “systemic war crimes” being committed in every region where Russian forces have been deployed in Ukraine, a US State Department official said.
  • More than 6,500 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the start of the war, according to the UN. Actual figures are believed to be “considerably higher.”
  • With temperatures dropping, Ukraine will begin voluntary evacuations from areas in the southern Kherson region as damage to infrastructure from Russian strikes has made it perilous for residents. Ukrainian energy suppliers have also been forced to impose additional blackouts as demand for electricity outstrips supply.
23 Posts

Ukraine expresses outrage after Hungarian prime minister's scarf shows western Ukraine as part of Hungary

Ukraine is demanding an apology from Hungary after Prime Minister Viktor Orban was seen wearing a scarf that appeared to show parts of western Ukraine in a map of Hungary.

The Hungarian Ambassador to Ukraine, Istvan Igyar, was summoned to the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

The ambassador was told that it was “unacceptable for the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban to appear in public wearing a scarf with the image of Hungary with a part of Ukrainian territory,” according to a statement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The attention of the Hungarian diplomat was drawn to the fact that such actions do not contribute to the development of good neighborly relations between Ukraine and Hungary,” MFA spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko said.

“It was emphasized that Ukraine expects an apology for this incident and hopes that in the future the Hungarian side will refrain from steps that may be regarded as disrespect for the territorial integrity of our state,” he added.

Orban was pictured on his Instagram wearing the scarf at a “friendly” or unofficial football match between Greece and Hungary on Sunday.

The map on Orban’s scarf appeared to represent Greater Hungary as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was defeated in the First World War. It also includes parts of Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. 

A Romanian member of the European Parliament, Alin Mituta, called it an “irresponsible act” by Orban. 

“It’s a revisionist gesture that puts Orban alongside Putin, who also dreams of border changes. He should be sanctioned and isolated by EU leaders in the European Council,” Mituta said on Twitter.

Russia will reduce gas supply to Europe through Ukraine

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it will reduce natural gas supply to Europe as of next Monday by pinching flow to a pipeline that runs through Ukraine.

On its official telegram account, the state-owned company said gas meant for Moldova is being held in Ukraine so it will reduce supply to the Sudzha pipeline to account for the difference. 

“The volume of gas supplied by Gazprom to the GIS Sudzha for transit to Moldova through the territory of Ukraine exceeds the physical volume transmitted at the border of Ukraine with Moldova,” it said.

“While maintaining the transit imbalance through Ukraine for Moldovan consumers, on November 28, from 10:00, Gazprom will begin reducing gas supply to the Sudzha GIS for transit through Ukraine in the amount of the daily under delivery,” the company added.

A wider trend: Europe has raced to replenish its stocks this year ahead of winter as Russia dramatically cut its flows of pipeline gas, including halting all shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in September.

But a bigger challenge could emerge in the spring when Europe tries to refill its stores with a much-reduced supply of Russian pipeline gas. Flows to Europe are just 20% of their pre-war levels, according to research firm Wood Mackenzie.

CNN’s Anna Cooban contributed reporting to this post. 

US gives $4.5 billion in new assistance to Ukraine

The US will give $4.5 billion in additional aid to Ukraine to help it “sustain essential services and core government functions at the national and regional levels” while fending off Russian forces, according to a statement.

The money, provided through the World Bank, will help “pay wages for hospital workers, government and school employees, pensions for the elderly, salaries for public servants, and social programs for the vulnerable,” the World Bank said in a statement.

“Amid the ongoing war and the escalating destruction of infrastructure, our commitment to deliver urgent assistance to the people of Ukraine is strong as ever,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

“This generous additional grant from the United States comes at a critical time as the country faces severe energy supply disruption and colder weather. The World Bank Group will continue to mobilize all available resources to help the Government of Ukraine meet vital needs for its citizens,” Malpass added.

The US Agency for International Development said in a statement Tuesday that “robust safeguards put in place by the World Bank, coupled with USAID-funded, expert third-party monitoring support embedded within the Ukrainian government, ensure accountability and transparency in the use of these funds.” It said Kyiv “will receive the funding in two tranches before the end of 2022.”

Denys Shmyhal, prime minister of Ukraine, also announced the aid money on his Twitter account Tuesday. He said the funds will help Ukraine “meet urgent needs during the winter.”

Correction: This post has been updated to correct the amount of aid being supplied, and to clarify that the money is being provided by the US through the World Bank.

CNN’s Jennifer Hanlser contributed reporting to this post.

Russian strikes caused "colossal" damage to Ukraine's power generating facilities, head of grid operator says

An attack last week by Russian forces on Ukraine’s power grid caused “colossal” damage, leaving no thermal or hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine intact, according to the head of the government-owned electricity transmission system operator. 

“This was the biggest attack, the biggest in history. Over 100 heavy missiles were launched. Their targets were Ukrainian energy system facilities, mainly, Ukrenergo substations and Ukrainian thermal power stations producing energy for Ukrainian consumers,” Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, CEO of Ukrenergo, said Tuesday.

“To understand the scale of these attacks, what we’re dealing with, almost all thermal and power generation from large power plants suffered damage from missile strikes. There are almost no Ukrenergo hub substations that are intact. Practically every key substation has been hit at least once, and some three, five or eight times,” he added.  

Ukraine’s grid is currently “stabilized” with scheduled blackouts due to the war’s massive damage to power stations, leaving them unable to provide enough electricity for the country. Kherson, located in southern Ukraine, remains the most “problematic” region for power, though local workers are concentrated on demining the grid in the wake of retreating Russian troops.  

In the absence of new massive attacks the situation should be stable with four-hour outages a day planned, he said.

“As we see it, it is the role of the energy sector is to make the energy system work in a way that enables Ukrainians to remain in their country and spend the winter here. It is our everyday battle is to make the energy system meet the electricity needs of Ukrainians,” he added.

Kherson authorities have urged residents to evacuate to areas of the country with more stable power supplies as the region is still without electricity.

Ukraine launches investigation into video of alleged execution of Russian prisoners

The Ukrainian prosecutor has launched an investigation after a video emerged on social media that Moscow said shows Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces last weekend. 

Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets has claimed the Russians staged a surrender and opened fire first, adding that “returning fire is not a war crime.”

The video – which has been geolocated by CNN – was filmed on the outskirts of the village of Makiivka, which is in the eastern Luhansk region, about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) northeast of Lyman, but the precise details of what happened remained unclear.  

In a statement Tuesday, the Prosecutor’s General Office of Ukraine said the Luhansk Regional Prosecutor’s Office will investigate “perfidy” — actions aimed at gaining the enemy’s confidence in order to gain military advantage — committed by Russian forces during their surrender, which is prohibited under international human law.

“According to the results of media monitoring, it became known that in the village of Makiivka, Luhansk region, Russian servicemen, imitating the surrender to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, opened fire on Ukrainian defenders. Such actions are prohibited by international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

During the pre-trial investigation, measures will be taken to establish all the circumstances of this event, as well as to provide a legal assessment of all its participants, it added.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists that Russia will do “everything possible” to search for those responsible, adding that they must be “punished.”

The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, commented on the incident on Sunday, claiming the Russians staged a surrender and opened fire first, adding that “returning fire is not a war crime.”

What the video appears to show: The edited video purports to show captured Russian soldiers in an act of surrender, with several men lying on the ground on their fronts with their hands over their heads. More soldiers are seen emerging one by one from a building and lying down next to them in the yard.

A voice apparently directing the surrender can be heard shouting: “Come on out, one by one. Which of you is the officer? Has everyone come out? Come out!”

After about 10 men are down on the ground, another soldier emerges from the same building and appears to open fire in the direction of the Ukrainian soldiers conducting the surrender. 

A short burst of gunfire is heard before the video clip ends abruptly.

A second clip filmed later from a drone above the same location shows the bodies of what appear to be the same Russian soldiers in the yard, most just a few meters from where they had been lying in the first clip.

CNN has been unable to verify exactly what happened in the first video clip, and it is unclear exactly what happened in the period that elapsed between the first clip and the filming of the drone footage.

CNN’s Olga Voitovych and Radina Gigova contributed reporting to this post.

EU announces $2.5 billion in funding for Ukraine  

The European Union will provide another 2.5 billion euros (around $2.57 billion) in financial aid for Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday. 

The EU Commission is planning to aid Ukraine with a support package of 18 billion euros (around $18.5 billion) in 2023, with funding disbursed regularly, for urgent repairs and recovery, she said in a tweet

“We will keep on supporting [Ukraine] for as long as it takes,” she wrote.  

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal thanked the EU for the assistance, describing the move as “another step of solidarity.” 

"Significant increase" in number of Ukrainians on UK humanitarian programs in work, survey finds

There has been a “significant increase” in the number of Ukrainians who entered the UK under Ukraine Humanitarian Schemes in work compared to the number in June this year, a survey by the UK’s Office for National Statistics has found.

The UK Humanitarian Response Insight Survey collected responses from 9,601 individuals in June 2022, the majority of whom entered the United Kingdom under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, and followed up with 3,148 of those individuals between Oct. 17 and Nov. 7. 

In the followup survey, 56% of adults reported working in the UK, up from 19% in June’s survey.

There was also an increase in the number of respondents who said they could speak English “fluently or a fair amount” – from 44% in June’s survey to 57% in the followup.

The percentage of those surveyed who said they had “enough money to support themselves and their dependents for the next three months” also increased from 37% to 60%.

However, the results showed that half of the surveyed individuals reported “difficulties taking up work” in the UK, while 45% had “experienced barriers to accessing private rented accommodation.”

The majority of working respondents said they did not work in the same sector as they had in Ukraine.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics cautioned that the statistics are “experimental,” which means that they are “official statistics that are in the testing phase and not yet fully developed.”

The limitations of the survey include that it was conducted online, although responding by telephone was an option, and that it is “highly likely” that not all visa holders received an email invite to complete the survey, the ONS said.

In March 2022, the UK government launched two visa programs for Ukrainians fleeing war, the ONS release said.

The Ukraine Family Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals to join family members already living in the UK, while the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme permits Ukrainian nationals and their families to enter the UK if they have a “named sponsor” who can provide accommodation. 

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

There is “mounting evidence” of “systemic war crimes” being committed in “every region where Russia’s forces have been deployed” in Ukraine, including attacks against the civilian population, a top US State Department official has said.

And more than 6,500 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the start of the war in February, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Here are the latest developments:

  • Proof of “systemic war crimes”: US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice Beth Van Schaack told reporters such crimes include, “deliberate, indiscriminate, and disproportionate attacks against the civilian population and elements of the civilian infrastructure,” abuses of civilians and prisoners of war and “efforts to cover up these crimes,” reports of executions, torture, and sexual violence.
  • Civilian death toll surpasses 6,500: At least 6,595 Ukrainian civilians have been killed including at least 415 children since Russia launched its invasion in February, according to recent data from the OHCHR. Actual figures, which can be difficult to calculate in some areas, are believed to be “considerably higher.” 
  • Fighting intensifies in the east: Fighting raged on in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Tuesday, as Russia launched “massive shelling” in towns and villages on the eastern front line, according to a local official. The town of Avdiivka “suffered the most” as it was hit by a wave of artillery fire. Avdiivka has been within a few miles of the front lines of the war for several months, but remains in Ukrainian hands.
  • Russia strikes the south: Shelling from Moscow killed a social worker at an aid distribution point in the town of Orikhiv in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region on Tuesday, according to local authorities. Further west in Nikopol, Russia fired almost 60 shells overnight into Tuesday in a dayslong onslaught of the southern Ukrainian district.
  • Kherson residents urged to evacuate: Civilians in the southern Ukrainian city will be evacuated to other regions of the country with working electricity and more intact infrastructure for the winter. It comes after Ukrainian energy suppliers had to impose additional blackouts after a barrage of Russian strikes hit power facilities nationwide.

Iranian and Ukrainian experts met to discuss attack drones allegedly sent to Russia, Kyiv says

Experts from Iran and Ukraine have met to discuss allegations about the use of Iranian-made attack drones in Russia’s war on Ukraine, a spokesperson from the foreign ministry in Kyiv told CNN on Tuesday. 

“Such an expert meeting did take place. I cannot disclose the details, but I can assure you that the Ukrainian side continues to take the most drastic measures to prevent the use of Iranian weapons by Russia for the war against Ukraine,” said Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

“Ukraine has informed Iran that the consequences of complicity in the Russian aggression will be incommensurable with the potential benefits of cooperation with Russia,” Nikolenko added. 

US officials have said that Russia has received hundreds of drones from Tehran, which have been used to deadly effect. 

A spokesperson for the Iranian Mission to the UN had previously told CNN that it had requested a “joint expert meeting” to consider the allegations.

“Following the alleged claims of using Iranian drones in the Ukraine conflict, Iran has requested a joint expert meeting with Ukraine authorities to consider such allegations. Significant steps have been taken so far in the collaborative dialogue between Iranian and Ukrainian defense experts, and it will continue to clear up any misunderstanding on this matter,” the spokesperson said.

CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed reporting to this post.

Putin will meet with mothers of reservist soldiers, amid complaints over mobilization

Russian President Vladimir Putin will this week meet with the mothers of reservist soldiers summoned to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin has said, amid ongoing complaints of mobilization issues.

“Indeed, such a meeting is planned, we can confirm,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

“The president often holds such meetings, they are not all public. In any case, the president receives first-hand information about the real state of affairs.”

Peskov did not specify the precise date that Putin would be meeting the reservists mothers.

Some background: Putin provided an update to his increased military conscription order on November 7 and said that 50,000 of the recently drafted soldiers are now in Ukraine.

However, a long list of complaints has since emerged from the front lines, including a lack of leadership from mid-ranking officers, tactics that lead to heavy causalities, non-existent training and promised payments not received. Soldiers, their families and Russian military bloggers also reported logistical difficulties such as insufficient uniforms, poor food and a lack of medical supplies.

Some 300 mobilized Russians are being held in a basement in Zaitsevo in the Luhansk region for refusing to return to the front line, the Astra Telegram channel – a project of independent Russian journalists – reported, quoting their relatives.

One woman said her husband had told her: “New people are constantly brought in. They are in a large basement in the House of Culture in Zaitsevo. They feed them once a day: One dry ration to share between five to six people. They constantly threaten them.”

Russian strike hits aid distribution center in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, local official says

A social worker has been killed after Russian forces shelled an aid distribution point in the town of Orikhiv in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region on Tuesday, governor Oleksandr Starukh said on Telegram.

“As a result of a direct hit to the humanitarian aid distribution centre in a school, one social worker was killed and two more women were wounded,” Starukh, head of Zaporizhzhia regional military administration, said.

Ukrainian authorities raid Orthodox Christian monastery to probe "subversive activities"

The Ukrainian security service said it raided a historic Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv on Tuesday as part of an effort to counter suspected “subversive activities of [the] Russian special services” in the country.

The raid on the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was aimed at “preventing the use of the Lavra as a cell of the ‘Russian world’” and the “use of Ukrainian Orthodox Church premises for hiding sabotage and reconnaissance groups, foreign citizens, storing weapons, etc,” the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said in a statement.

The Lavra is home to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) – a branch of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine that has been traditionally loyal to Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian church. Kirill is a close ally of Vladimir Putin and a supporter of his war on Ukraine. In May, the UOC cut ties with Moscow and declared “full independence.”

The Kremlin condemned the raid and said it was another example of Ukraine’s hostility to Russian Orthodoxy.

“The Ukrainian side has long been at war with the Russian Orthodox Church,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

“I would say this can be seen as another link in the chain of hostilities against Russian Orthodoxy.”

The Russian Orthodox Church also responded to the raid, describing it as an “act of intimidation.”

“The Russian Orthodox Church, serving in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, has already been in the role of a target chosen by the godless authorities for destruction,” Vladimir Legoyda, a spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Church, said on Telegram.

“We pray for fellow believers in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, who become victims of lawlessness, and we call on all caring people to do everything possible so that the persecution stops, and the ancient shrine remains a place of prayer for peace.” 

The Lavra was founded in the 11th century. As well as being a place of pilgrimage, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It it also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kyiv.

Fighting escalates in eastern Ukraine, with "massive shelling" of Avdiivka

Fighting raged on in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Tuesday, as Russia launched “massive shelling” in towns and villages on the eastern front line, according to a local official.

The town of Avdiivka was hit by a wave of artillery fire, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk region military administration.

“Avdiivka suffered the most in the Donetsk direction: There were incoming hits overnight, and in the morning, there was massive shelling of the city center,” Kyrylenko said on Telegram. “According to preliminary information, there are no casualties.”

Avdiivka has been within a few miles of the front lines of the war for several months, but remains in Ukrainian hands.

There was also “massive shelling” in two areas near the strategic city of Lyman in the Donetsk region, Kyrylenko said. Four civilians in the region were killed on Monday, he added in a separate post.

The Ukrainian military said it was under sustained attack in the Donetsk region.

“The enemy does not stop shelling the positions of our troops and settlements near the contact line,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Tuesday.

“They continue firing at the critical infrastructure and civilian housing … In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions the enemy is focusing its efforts on conducting offensive actions.”

Russia is pursuing offensive combat operations in Donetsk and Luhansk, which together form the Donbas, the eastern part of Ukraine where the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists started in 2014.

More than 6,500 civilians have died since the war in Ukraine started

At least 6,595 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 10,189 injured since Russia invaded the country in February, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Among those killed were at least 415 children, 2,575 men, 1,767 women and 1,838 other adults whose gender is yet to be identified, according to data released Monday’s figures.

Many of the civilian casualties have occurred in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Donbas – an eastern region at the heart of the war that has seen the most intense fighting in recent months.

The OHCHR report said 3,939 civilians were killed and 5,338 others injured in Donetsk and Luhansk, including 449 in Russian-controlled territory. 

The commission said actual figures are “considerably higher” due to a lack of or delayed information in areas where the conflict has intensified, including in cities such as Mariupol, Izium, Lysychansk, Popasna and Severodonetsk.

Most of the casualties recorded were a result of explosive weapons with wide area effects such as shelling from heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes, the report added.

Russian forces shell Nikopol district in southern Ukraine

Russian forces fired almost 60 shells at Nikopol overnight into Tuesday as they maintained a dayslong onslaught of the southern Ukrainian district, according to a Ukrainian military official.

“They shelled several villages of the Marhanets community with Grad and heavy artillery,” the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko, wrote on Telegram Tuesday morning.

He said no one was injured in the shelling overnight. Emergency workers are inspecting the affected areas, he added. 

Some context: Nikopol, located in the Dnipropetrovsk region across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, has been under heavy Russian fire since last Friday, according to Ukrainian officials. Russian and Ukrainian officials have blamed each other for recent shelling at the nuclear plant, with the IAEA chief warning that whoever was responsible was “playing with fire.”

NATO supplying weapons to Ukraine and calls for peace are "opposite" actions, says senior Russian senator

A senior Russian senator on Tuesday said that supplying weapons to Kyiv and the desire for peace are “opposite” actions, following renewed calls by NATO’s chief for greater support to Ukraine. 

“It is time for obsessed politicians in the West to understand that the desire for peace and an end to the bloodshed and the desire to even further weaponize Ukraine are opposite and mutually exclusive actions,” Sen. Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Telegram.

NATO calls: Speaking Monday at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid, the defense alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on NATO allies to agree to step up support for Ukraine and strengthen deterrence and defense when they meet for their next summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July 2023.

“We must be prepared to support Ukraine for the long haul,” Stoltenberg said. “Yes, I know that this support comes with a price. In our countries, many people face a cost-of-living crisis, energy and food bills are rising. These are tough times for many. But the price we pay as NATO allies is measured in money while the Ukrainians, they pay a price which is measured in blood.”

The NATO chief said allies may decide to spend more on defense than the current target of 2% of GDP, adding that “should be considered a floor, not a ceiling for our defense investments.”

Peace plan: Russia launched its biggest wave of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities in more than a month last Tuesday, hours after Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky proposed a peace plan in front of world leaders at the G20 summit in Indonesia. The 10-point plan includes a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a final peace treaty with Moscow.

Ukraine imposes additional power outages due to plummeting temperatures

Ukrainian energy suppliers were forced to impose additional blackouts on Monday in addition to scheduled ones as temperatures across the country plummeted. 

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the blackouts are due to a higher level of demand for electricity than the country’s war-damaged infrastructure can provide. During a daily address to the nation, Zelensky appealed to regional and local authorities to double down on the message to residents to consume electricity.  

Temperatures in Kyiv are expected to hover around zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least the next 10 days.

Yasno, Ukraine’s biggest energy supplier, said emergency outages affected almost a million households and businesses. 

Serhiy Kovalenko, CEO of Yasno, said engineers are working to restore power before even further cold weather sets in — but warned that Ukrainians will likely have to live with outages until at least the end of March. 

The best-case scenario, barring new attacks on the grid, was that power shortages could be evenly distributed throughout the country, he said in a post on the company’s Facebook page.

In the event of severe damage to the grid by Russian attacks, he warned people can expect “not only hourly stabilization power outages but also emergency ones, when there may be no light for a very long time.” 

Kovalenko urged citizens to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and to stock up on warm clothes, blankets and supplies in case of long blackouts.

Ukrainian officials urge Kherson residents to evacuate for winter

Residents of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson are to be evacuated to other regions of the country with working electricity and more intact infrastructure for the winter — specifically women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable people, according to officials.

The Black Sea port city, which was recently liberated from Russian troops, is without electricity and authorities say the city’s infrastructure has been too damaged for citizens to survive winter. 

Iryna Vereshchuk, the vice prime minister for the Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, said Ukraine will offer free evacuation to citizens of Kherson to “Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv and Odesa cities, with possible further relocation to Kirovohrad region, Khmelnytskyi region or western regions of Ukraine.” 

Ukrainian authorities will offer free accommodation, food and medical attention to those who leave, she said. 

Inside the battle for Kherson

Mangled metal, charred debris and shattered glass cover the floor as a Ukrainian reconnaissance unit storms a Russian command center on the outskirts of the recently liberated city of Kherson.

“Come on over here,” one of the Ukrainian troops suddenly shouts. “Get the stretcher and first aid kit over here.”

Moments later, a Russian soldier emerges from a bunker, wounded in the back of his legs. He is attended to by Ukrainian soldiers who place him face down on the floor and apply first aid.

“We got pinned down over here and everybody ran,” he tells the Ukrainian soldiers. “I fell down and lay there till evening. They came and took my captain and that was it. They said they’d come back for me but nobody came.”

The exchange was recorded by the reconnaissance team and shared with CNN. It offers a valuable insight into the grueling battle for the key southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, which culminated in a Russian withdrawal from a swathe of land on the west bank of the Dnipro river earlier this month, a major setback for the Kremlin’s war.

The Ukrainian unit says the Russian soldier was taken away to safety and his wounds tended to. But many of those sent here by the Kremlin have faced a very different outcome.

“They had the big losses here,” the head of the reconnaissance unit Andrii Pidlisnyi tells CNN, reviewing this with some of the other footage he and his unit have collected over the past few months.

Read the full story here.

UN nuclear watchdog: No "immediate" safety concerns at Zaporizhzhia plant after latest shelling 

A team of independent inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog on Monday reported “no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns” at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after shelling over the weekend, according to an official statement.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi in a statement said the team assessed the damage to the site Monday and concluded that “despite the severity of the shelling — key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns.”

All six reactors at Europe’s largest nuclear power station are “stable” and the team confirmed the integrity of fuel and radioactive waste in their storage facilities, the statement continues.

However, “widespread damage” was still observed at the site, it said, which maintenance staff have already begun to repair. Grossi described the damage as “a major cause of concern as it clearly demonstrates the sheer intensity of the attacks.”

Non-radioactive leaks were caused by damage to condensate storage tanks and the team observed “several impacts on the main road along the plant’s reactors as well as on a site railway that is now out of service,” the IAEA statement said.

The team also observed a “pressurised air pipeline hit by shrapnel, two impacts on the roof of a special auxiliary building, minor visible damage to a sprinkler charging pipeline, as well as two impacts in a guardhouse area.” 

No further attacks had taken place in the plant’s vicinity overnight or throughout Monday so far, “though there had been shelling in the area of the nearby city of Enerhodar and the industrial area,” according to the IAEA team.

Russia to build attack drones for Ukraine war with the help of Iran, intelligence assessment says

Iran and Russia have reached an agreement to begin the production of attack drones in Russia, according to a new intelligence assessment from a country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program.

Iran is beginning to transfer blueprints and components for the drones to Russia after the initial agreement was struck earlier this month, said a source familiar with the assessment.

US officials have said that Russia has received hundreds of drones from Tehran which have had a deadly effect in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the Iranian government acknowledged for the first time that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of its invasion of Ukraine.

“Some Western countries have accused Iran of helping the war in Ukraine by providing drones … we did provide a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of the war in Ukraine,” Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Tehran.

Read more here.

US official: There's "mounting evidence" of "systemic war crimes" by Russian troops in Ukraine

There is “mounting evidence” of “systemic war crimes” being committed in “every region where Russia’s forces have been deployed” in Ukraine, a top US State Department official said Monday.

“This includes deliberate, indiscriminate, and disproportionate attacks against the civilian population and elements of the civilian infrastructure,” abuses of civilians and prisoners of war and “efforts to cover up these crimes,” reports of executions, torture, and sexual violence, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack told reporters on a call. 

Russia has been accused of deliberately targeting Ukraine’s civilian power grid in an effort to leave the civilian population without electricity and heat — an act that would amount to a war crime.

Van Schaack said it is difficult to determin