November 23, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:16 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022
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6:53 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky urges UNSC to support "peace formula" following missile strikes

From CNN's Heather Law and Richard Roth  


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, urging the group to support the Ukrainian peace formula following a wave of Russian missile strikes that the president dubbed "the Russian formula of terror."

"I emphasize yet again: it is high time to support the Ukrainian formula of peace. There should be no room for terror in the world," Zelensky said. 

Zelensky emphasized the need for "modern and effective air and missile defense systems" after detailing the series of Russian air strikes that destroyed critical facilities, including energy infrastructure, residential housing, and a hospital, where a newborn baby in the hospital's maternity ward was killed. 

This large-scale assault on energy infrastructure also led to widespread energy blackouts in Ukraine and neighboring Moldova, an act Zelensky said was "analogous to using weapons of mass destruction."

"When the temperature outside drops below zero and tens of millions of people are left without electricity, heat and water as a result of Russian missiles hitting energy facilities, that is an obvious crime against humanity," Zelensky stated. 

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was one of several representatives to reiterate their support for Ukraine, with emphasis on condemning Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure. 

"Putin's motive could not be more clear and more cold-blooded. He is clearly — clearly —weaponizing winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people. He has decided that if he can't seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission," Greenfield noted.

6:12 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

We can't continue "counting on good luck" to avoid nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia, IAEA director says

From CNN's Radina Gigova

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi speaks to journalists in Vienna, Austria on November 16.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi speaks to journalists in Vienna, Austria on November 16. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Negotiations with Kyiv and Moscow on the establishment of a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant continue — but in the meantime the director of the UN nuclear watchdog is warning about potential consequences.

"We cannot continue counting on good luck to avoid a nuclear accident," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi told CNN on Wednesday.

Grossi said negotiations are "moving forward" but "this is an active combat zone, therefore getting to agreed parameters for this is not such an easy thing to do."

The IAEA director said he met with a Russian delegation in Turkey earlier Wednesday and spoke with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday.

"I am having consultations with both. I would not agree with the assessment that we are not making any progress, I think we are," Grossi said. "Of course, we are talking about something which is very difficult. This is war. This is real war and the protection zone that I am proposing is precisely on the front line, on the line were both adversaries are in contact."

"But we are moving forward I believe, and I hope that episodes as traumatic as the ones this past weekend may paradoxically help us move forward, in the sense that people need to realize that we cannot continue counting on good luck to avoid a nuclear accident," he said. 

When asked who is "playing with fire," referencing Grossi's own remarks from Sunday following powerful explosions that rocked the nuclear power plant Saturday and Sunday, Grossi said "it is very difficult for us to identify from inside the plant who is doing that," adding "by the way, our main goal is to get this to stop, not to get into a game of attribution." 

Later on Wednesday, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant "once again lost access to external electricity" and was instead relying on its emergency diesel generators for the power it needs for reactor cooling and other essential functions, IAEA said in a statement. 

3:53 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

Biden administration condemns Russian strikes on Ukraine's power infrastructure

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The Biden administration on Wednesday condemned Russian strikes on power generating infrastructure across Ukraine. 

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement that Russia “is increasingly turning to horrific attacks against the Ukrainian people with punishing strikes damaging energy grid infrastructure, and deliberately doing so as winter approaches.”

Watson said that the strikes “do not appear aimed at any military purpose,” but “instead further the goal of the Putin regime to increase the suffering and death” of Ukrainians. 

The US also warned that the actions show “Russia is willing to increase the risk of a nuclear safety incident that could not only further harm Ukraine, but affect the entire region as well.” 

Watson’s statement touted an additional $400 million security assistance package for Ukraine announced earlier Wednesday. 

CNN’s Yulia Keseiva reported moments ago that power has been restored to almost 90% of the Ukrainian city of Lviv, officials said, following the Russian air strikes that knocked out power to much of the country.

6:16 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

Almost all power restored to Ukrainian city of Lviv and other regions hit by Russian strikes

From CNN’s Yulia Keseiva in Kyiv

A view of a blackout street in Lviv after a Russian missile attack on critical infrastructure in Lviv, Ukraine, on November 23.
A view of a blackout street in Lviv after a Russian missile attack on critical infrastructure in Lviv, Ukraine, on November 23. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Power has been restored to almost 90% of the Ukrainian city of Lviv, officials said Wednesday, following another barrage of Russian strikes which knocked out electricity throughout much of the country. 

In a telegram statement, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said that scheduled blackouts, which have become regular during the invasion, will continue due to country’s war damaged energy infrastructure, “so some houses may be without electricity.” Water and heating have also been restored and all city services are working, he added.

The situation in Odesa is similar with water and heat restored, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

“Power supply — the region is supplied, consumers are being connected,” he said. Electricity in the Zaporizhzhia region has also been restored.

According to the Ternopil region military administration, the power system there is “being stabilized” with customers “gradually being connected to the grid.”

About one third of the region has electricity with critical infrastructure facilities being connected to the power supply first.

6:21 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

UN nuclear watchdog: "Increasingly precarious" nuclear safety situation at Zaporizhzhia power plant

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe's largest nuclear power station, is seen on October 29, in Prydniprovske, Ukraine.
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe's largest nuclear power station, is seen on October 29, in Prydniprovske, Ukraine. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant lost access to external electricity again on Wednesday and is relying on emergency diesel generators, the International Atomic Energy Agency said, warning of the "increasingly precarious and challenging nuclear safety and security situation" at the plant. 

The team of IAEA experts present at the power plant said it lost off-site power at 3:30 p.m. local time Wednesday when it was fully disconnected from the grid, "following reports of widespread military action targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure," IAEA said in a statement.

"Initially all the site’s 20 diesel generators started operating automatically, and now eight of them are supplying the site with back-up electricity needed for all safety related equipment. The other 12 diesel generators are in stand-by mode," IAEA said. 

"The IAEA team also reported that the plant’s operating personnel were performing all activities according to procedures for a loss of off-site power event and that the six reactors were in a safe and stable state," IAEA said. "The two reactors that have been in a hot shutdown mode to provide the plant and the nearby town of Enerhodar with steam and heating will be prepared for cooling down. The four others remain in cold shutdown," it added.

Some context: The Zaporizhzhia plant has been disconnected from the national grid several times during the fighting in Ukraine, "most recently in early November when it took two days to restore external power supplies," the agency said.

IAEA also said it has received information from Ukraine’s national operator Energoatom that “due to a decrease in the frequency in the power system of Ukraine" all power units at two other plants — the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant and the Khmelnytskyy Nuclear Power Plants — were automatically disconnected as part of emergency protection.

"The need for secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites is one of the seven indispensable pillars for ensuring nuclear safety and security during an armed conflict," IAEA said. 

1:21 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

At least 7 dead from Russian strikes across Kyiv region, officials say

From CNN’s Yulia Keseiva in Kyiv

At least seven people were killed and 36 were wounded following a fresh wave of Russian strikes across Ukraine, according to officials. 

Four died in the region of Kyiv, the head of Kyiv region military administration, Oleksii Kuleba, said in a Telegram statement. In the city of Kyiv, three people were killed Wednesday, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a post on Telegram

6:25 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

German chancellor says country's energy security for this winter is “guaranteed”

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel in London 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gives a press conference on November 23, in Berlin.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gives a press conference on November 23, in Berlin. (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that Germany’s energy security for this winter season is “guaranteed” amid Europe’s energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

“It is guaranteed because the German government took a courageous turn in direction and because households and companies across the country save energy,” Scholz told German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin. 

“Doing nothing would come at a very high price. That’s why we are doing away with the failings of an energy and trade policy that has led us into one-sided dependence on Russia and China in particular,” he added. 

Scholz also said that he shares the goal with French President Emmanuel Macron of a geopolitical Europe that is “significantly more capable of acting.”

12:50 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

UN Security Council to meet about Ukraine following Zelensky request

From CNN's Richard Roth

The UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting Wednesday on Russia's latest strikes across Ukraine on the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.