November 24, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sophie Tanno and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 0506 GMT (1306 HKT) November 25, 2022
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12:15 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

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

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, seen from the town of Nikopol on November 7.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, seen from the town of Nikopol on November 7. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters/FILE)

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 where 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 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. 

5:40 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Russia threatens to cut supply of gas through Ukraine

From CNN's Anna Cooban and Uliana Pavlova

PREVIEW (Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)

Europe is bracing itself for further cuts to its supply of Russian natural gas as Moscow threatens to slash flows to Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor.

Russian state gas giant Gazprom said Tuesday it would reduce shipments to the country starting Monday over disputed claims that Ukraine is withholding some of the gas as it is piped though its territory.

On its official Telegram account, the company said it would cut gas flows through the Sudzha transit point equal to the amount it claims Ukraine is preventing from reaching Moldova.

“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.

Ukraine has denied that it is withholding gas deliveries to its neighbor. Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz said in a Tuesday tweet that “Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas. Once again. In short: this is not true.”

The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU) said in a statement that all Russian gas received at the Sudzha entry point for onward transit to Moldova was being transferred to exit points along their shared border.

The operator said that Moldova had initiated a “virtual reverse” of some of its Russian gas imports back to Ukraine, though it did not give a reason.

Such a reverse is a common commercial agreement whereby some of the gas destined for a particular location is diverted into storage or sold to a different buyer, analysts said.

Read more here.

7:46 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 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. 

Power has been restored to almost 90% of the Ukrainian city of Lviv, officials said, following the Russian airstrikes that knocked out power to much of the country.

7:31 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

Russian missile strike on Zaporizhzhia maternity hospital kills newborn baby

From CNN's Sana Noor Haq, Olga Voitovych, Andrew Carey, Victoria Butenko, Chris Liakos and Eve Brennan

A 2-day-old baby died in a Russian strike on a maternity hospital in Vilnyansk in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, as Moscow ramped up attacks on civilian infrastructure nationwide.

The newborn child’s mother and a doctor were pulled from the rubble of the destroyed medical facility in Zaporizhzhia, as nearby private houses were also damaged in the devastating S-300 missile assault.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the shelling and accused the Kremlin of trying “to achieve terror and murder,” while first lady Olena Zelenska called the attack “insane.”

“The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve with terror and murder what he wasn’t able to achieve for nine months and won’t be able to achieve,” Zelensky said, referring to Russia.

The scenes from the attack on Wednesday mirrored those of a catastrophic strike on a maternity and children’s hospital in the southern city of Mariupol in March, as part of Russia’s wider campaign targeting health care facilities across Ukraine.

Ukrainian medical facilities have been hit by a wave of missiles in recent months, with the World Health Organization having identified some 703 attacks on medical complexes across the country since February.

Read more here.