November 25, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Amy Woodyatt, Ed Upright and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, November 25, 2022
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6:07 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

NATO "will not back down" on support for Ukraine, says alliance chief

From CNN’s Eve Brennan in London

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on November 25.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on November 25. (Johanna Geron/Reuters)

NATO will not reduce its support for Ukraine, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Friday.

“Most wars end with negotiations,” Stoltenberg said, speaking ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting, which will take place in Bucharest, Romania, at the end of November.
“But what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield. Therefore, the best way to increase the chances for a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine,” he added.

“So NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down,” Stoltenberg stated.

Increase in "non-lethal support": Stoltenberg said foreign ministers are providing “unprecedented military support” and he expects they will agree to step up “non-lethal support,” at the Bucharest meeting. 

NATO has been delivering fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers, according to Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg thanked allies for their contributions and said he will call for further contribution at the Bucharest meeting to help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment to those of modern NATO standards, as well as support military training.

He said decisions over sending US-made Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine are “national decisions" for specific nations, when asked about Warsaw’s request for Germany to send Patriot units to Ukraine rather than Poland. Germany’s offer to Poland came following a deadly missile strike on Polish territory near the Ukrainian border on November 15.

Stoltenberg said that in the past, with the advanced NASAMS air defense system, training was conducted in NATO ally countries by NATO personnel. However, no NATO personnel has conducted work inside Ukraine, as this would mean NATO was a party to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“There are ways for us to ensure that [Ukraine] can operate modern advanced systems without deploying NATO personnel inside the Ukraine. But … the specific decisions on the specific systems are national decisions,” he said.

He added that sometimes end user agreements, and other arrangements, meant that consultation with other allies were required, but ultimately the decision must be taken by national governments.

5:16 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

Efforts to return power to Ukrainian homes slowed by wind, rain and freezing conditions

From CNN’s Jo Shelley

People cross a street in the dark in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 24, after Russian air strikes caused power outages.
People cross a street in the dark in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 24, after Russian air strikes caused power outages. (Kyodo News/Getty Images)

The race to restore power to homes in Ukraine is being slowed by “strong winds, rain and sub-zero temperatures,” national energy supply company Ukrenergo warned Friday.

“The pace of restoration [to household consumers] is slowed down by difficult weather conditions: due to strong winds, rain and sub-zero temperatures at night, ice and gusts of wind in distribution networks add to the damage caused by Russian missiles,” it said, adding that repair teams were “working around the clock to repair the damage.”

“More than 70% of the country's consumption needs” were now covered, the statement read, and the power has been restored to “critical infrastructure facilities in all regions: boiler houses, gas distribution stations, water utilities, sewage treatment plants.”

However, it said that there was still a deficit of electricity in the system, and therefore consumers would lose access to electricity at times under “planned and emergency consumption restriction schedules”.

We ask Ukrainians to remember that if there is no light in the house, it means that repairmen are working at that very moment,” Ukrenergo said.

Infrastructure under attack: Russia's targeting of critical infrastructure on Wednesday resulted in the temporary shutdown of most of Ukraine's power plants and left the majority of people without electricity. The Ukrainian armed forces said 70 Russian missiles were launched on Wednesday afternoon and 51 shot down, along with five attack drones.

Russia has turned its attention to destroying energy infrastructure in Ukraine ahead of the bitter winter season, and successive waves of strikes have left much of the country facing rolling blackouts.

4:36 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

Zelensky says there's no split among Europeans over Russian invasion

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky says there is "no schism" among Europeans when it came to facing Russia’s assault on his country. 

In a virtual address to "The Idea of Europe" conference in Lithuania, Zelensky said Friday: "Russia can still employ different forms of terror. They still have enough missiles, rockets and bombs to kill people every day and provoke new difficulties for Ukraine and all of Europe. But we can say that they will never have something that they have a key stake on.”

“There is no split. There is no schism among Europeans. We have to preserve this so this is our mission number one this year,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian leader gave Europe's diversification from Russian gas as an example of Europe's united stance, saying that Russia “cannot weaponize energy anymore.”

He said he wanted accession talks on Ukraine's bid to become part of the European Union to take place with the “same speed as we gained our candidacy.”

“It's not just in Ukraine that millions of people have no heating, and no power, electric power, because of Russia. We are talking about millions of Europeans who suffered from the Russian terror. It's not just Ukraine that is attacked by Russia... it's Europe and we are all part of the same home,” Zelensky said.

Some 50% of Ukraine's capital Kyiv is without power on Friday morning following Russian strikes on critical infrastructure that led to widespread power cuts, according to Ukrainian authorities.

2:51 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

Half of Kyiv remains without power, Ukrainian officials say

Kyiv experiences a blackout on Wednesday after a Russian missile attack hit energy infrastructure.
Kyiv experiences a blackout on Wednesday after a Russian missile attack hit energy infrastructure. (Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Some 50% of Ukraine's capital Kyiv is without power on Friday morning following Russian strikes on critical infrastructure that led to widespread power cuts, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The Kyiv city military administration said on Telegram that water has been fully restored and emergency crews are working fast to restore heat to the city. 

It added that "as soon as the power system stabilizes, communication will appear in all districts of Kyiv," after power outages impacted mobile networks.

Remember: Russia's targeting of critical infrastructure on Wednesday resulted in the temporary shutdown of most of Ukraine's power plants and left the majority of people without electricity. The Ukrainian armed forces said 70 Russian missiles were launched on Wednesday afternoon and 51 shot down, along with five attack drones.

1:44 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

Russian shelling reported near Ukrainian cities of Zaporizhzhia and Nikopol

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Alex Stambaugh 

Russia struck the outskirts of the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia overnight into Friday, Oleksandr Starukh, head of the local regional military administration, said on Telegram Friday. 

"Details of the incident are being investigated. Take care of yourselves!" he wrote. 

The Dnipropetrovsk region, across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, also reported shelling. 

"Overnight, they shelled Marhanets and Nikopol with 'Grad' rockets and heavy artillery. At least 70 Russian shells landed in towns and villages," Valentyn Reznichenko, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, wrote on Telegram Friday. 

He said there are no casualties, but details of the shelling are still being clarified. 

Some context: The strikes come after a barrage of Russian missiles targeted Ukraine's critical infrastructure on Wednesday, causing a "blackout" in the country's power system, its energy minister told national television earlier. The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said Thursday it was providing onsite support to four more nuclear plants in Ukraine after power cuts disconnected them from the grid.

12:16 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

Hungary to ratify NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, Prime Minister Orban says

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, on October 23.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, on October 23. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters/FILE)

Hungary's Parliament will ratify Sweden and Finland's NATO membership in its first session in 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday, bringing an end to several weeks of speculation that he would further delay the move.

Orban made the announcement in the Slovak city of Kosice after a meeting with leaders of the Visegrad Group of central European nations, known as the V4. The group includes Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

"Hungary is supporting the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden, and that Parliament will also be placing the issue on its agenda at the first session of next year," Orban said. "The Swedes and the Finns have not lost a single minute because of Hungary so far, and they will not do so in future; Hungary will certainly be providing the support required for their accession."

Some context: Sweden and Finland are set formally to end decades of neutrality and join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a historic breakthrough for the alliance that deals a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

While all 30 NATO members formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance after approving their applications back in the summer, Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify the accession protocol. 

Orban, an authoritarian and longtime Russian ally, won a fourth consecutive term in power in April, following a landslide election win that he touted as a rebuke of liberalism, the European Union and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.

1:32 a.m. ET, November 25, 2022

UN watchdog providing support to four more Ukraine nuclear plants following shutdowns

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has started providing onsite support to four more nuclear power plants in Ukraine in response to a request from the country, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a video statement on Thursday.

The four additional plants are Rivne, Khmelnytskyi, South Ukraine, and Chornobyl. Since September, IAEA experts have been providing onsite support to Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russian forces.

Following Russian strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, Ukraine's operational nuclear power plants of Zaporizhzhia, Rivne, South Ukraine, and Khmelnytskyi were disconnected from the grid and "forced to rely on emergency diesel generators for the electricity they needed to ensure their continued safety and security," Grossi said.

"This unprecedented situation would have been unimaginable just months ago. It's deeply worrying," he said.

"We must do everything to prevent a nuclear accident at any of these nuclear facilities, which would only add to the terrible suffering we are already witnessing in Ukraine. The time to act is now."

Some context: Wednesday was the first time that Ukraine’s four operational nuclear power plants were simultaneously shut down in 40 years, the head of state nuclear energy company Energoatom said in a statement. Petro Kotin said it was a precautionary measure and that he expected they would be reconnected by Thursday evening. The three fully functioning plants in Ukrainian hands would help supply electricity to the national grid, he said.

Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy, according to the World Nuclear Association. It has 15 reactors at four plants that, before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, generated about half of its electricity.

Russia has turned its attention to destroying energy infrastructure in Ukraine ahead of the bitter winter season, and successive waves of strikes have left much of the country facing rolling blackouts.

8:12 p.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Russian shelling kills 7 people in Kherson

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Jonny Hallam

At least seven people were killed on Thursday and another 21 injured, after Russian forces shelled the southern Ukrainian port city of Kherson, Ukraine’s top official in the region said on Telegram.

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the head of the Kherson region military administration, offered his condolences to the families of victims and wished for "eternal memory to those killed by Russian invaders." Their deaths marked "another terrible page in the history of our hero city," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier on Thursday said the Russian artillery attacks on Kherson city and the surrounding area "began immediately after the Russian army was forced to flee from the Kherson region" early in November.

Zelensky said Thursday's deadly shelling was an act of revenge for those defeated Russian forces. The Russians do not know how to fight he said, "The only thing they can do is terrorize."

Some context: With temperatures dropping, Ukraine began voluntary evacuations from parts of Kherson this week as damage to infrastructure from Russian strikes has made it perilous for residents to survive winter, according to authorities.

8:27 p.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Ukraine battles to restore power after Russian strikes leave "vast majority" of people without electricity

From CNN's Jo Shelley, Olga Voitovych and Victoria Butenko

Ukraine raced to restore power across the country on Thursday, a day after Russia sent a new barrage of missiles to target critical infrastructure, resulting in the temporary shutdown of most of its power plants and leaving the “vast majority” of people without electricity.

The national energy company Ukrenergo said work was “taking longer than after previous attacks” because Wednesday’s assault targeted power generation facilities and caused a “systemic incident.”

By Thursday afternoon, electricity had been restored to “all regions” but individual households were still “gradually being connected to the grid,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an official in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said on Telegram.

The Ukrainian armed forces said 70 Russian missiles were launched on Wednesday afternoon and 51 shot down, along with five attack drones.

The attack killed at least 10 people, including a teenage girl, and “led to the temporary de-energization of all nuclear power plants, and most thermal and hydroelectric power plants,” the Ministry of Energy said. It left much of the country without power, with knock-on effects on heating, the water supply and internet access in some areas.

Read more here.