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November 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN
Ukraine expresses outrage after Hungarian prime minister's scarf shows western Ukraine as part of Hungary
From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Lindsay Isaac
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
From CNN's Uliana Pavlova
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
From CNN's Lindsay Isaac
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
From CNN's Lindsay Isaac
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
From CNN's Anna Chernova
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
From CNN’s Eve Brennan in London
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
From CNN’s Alex Hardie in London
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
From CNN staff
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.