November 28, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Jack Guy, Ed Upright and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 3:33 a.m. ET, November 29, 2022
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2:42 p.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Ukraine rejects Russian claims that eastern city of Bakhmut is surrounded, though intense fighting continues

From Julia Kesaieva, Katharina Krebs and Tim Lister

Ukrainian military's Grad multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on November 24.
Ukrainian military's Grad multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on November 24. (LIBKOS/AP)

Intense fighting continues around the city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, according to both Russian and Ukrainian accounts.

The city has become an important target for Russian forces, which have had no success in recent months in winning territory in eastern Ukraine and have been forced to withdraw from many areas. Social media video over recent days has illustrated the immense destruction in Bakhmut, where thousands of people still live, without power and piped water.

Denis Pushilin, the Russian-appointed leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said on Monday that Russian forces were now close to encircling Bakhmut.

“The situation in Bakhmut remains difficult, but our units, in particular the Wagner group unit, are definitely moving forward," Pushilin said on Russian television.

Wagner is a private military contractor whose fighters have played a significant role in the fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk.

"There is also success in the vicinity of Bakhmut. The situation of the operational encirclement is quite close,” Pushilin claimed.

What Ukraine is saying: Ukrainians have acknowledged Russian offensives in the area but deny losing any ground.

The Ukrainian military's General Staff said Monday that "the enemy continues to focus its main efforts on conducting offensive operations," listing about half-a-dozen settlements in the Bakhmut area.

Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the military in the east, said on Ukrainian television Monday that "Bakhmut remains the epicenter of the main battle for Ukraine. The enemy acts most aggressively in this direction. He conducts attacks and fire strikes. On average, the enemy inflicts about 180-200 artillery strikes per day."

12:04 p.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv loses water supply again after Russian strike 

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva in Kyiv

A man carries plastic bottles after refilling them at a tank in Mykolaiv on October 24.
A man carries plastic bottles after refilling them at a tank in Mykolaiv on October 24. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

The city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine suffered another strike to its water supply, according to mayor Oleksandr Sienkievych.

Sienkievych said that a pumping station in neighboring Kherson had been damaged — and the city was now reliant on non-potable water "for an indefinite period of time."

The strike is part of a Russian campaign to attack Ukrainian infrastructure providing water, power and heat as winter sets in.

"We were all waiting for the de-occupation of Kherson and other temporarily occupied territories. After that, the water supply system was repaired promptly, literally in a week," Sienkievych said.

He said repair work continued on networks that were destroyed by salt water.

"As soon as the security situation allows, we will promptly restore the pumping station and return drinking water to Mykolaiv city," the mayor said.

1:56 p.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Kherson civilians continue to leave as Russian shelling strikes residential areas of city 

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

The governor of Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, speaks to a soldier in Kherson's Freedom Square, in Kherson, Ukraine, on November 16.
The governor of Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, speaks to a soldier in Kherson's Freedom Square, in Kherson, Ukraine, on November 16. (Ed Ram/Reuters)

Civilians continue to leave the recently liberated Ukrainian city of Kherson amid persistent shelling of residential areas by Russian forces stationed on the east bank of the Dnipro river.

Much of the city remains without power and water. 

Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson region military administration, said the Kherson district had been hit 30 times Sunday.

He said the town of Beryslav and surrounding settlements further upstream had also been shelled.

One person had been killed, Yanushevych said.

He said trains would take civilians to safer regions.

"Temporary accommodation will be provided in specially equipped schools and kindergartens, sometimes there are places in dormitories and empty houses in the countryside."

The Kherson region military administration also said that power supply had been restored to 17% of household consumers in Kherson.

Equipment from Germany for the Kherson hospital's intensive care unit was delivered, while 62 base and 3 portable mobile communication stations had been restored.

At the same time, the Ukrainian security service (SBU) says it arrested three more alleged collaborators in the region, including the acting head of the local detention center and his deputy.

12:44 p.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Russia postpones nuclear arms control talks with US, State Department says

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow, Russia, on May 9.
Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow, Russia, on May 9. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

The Biden administration blamed Russia for postponing meetings to discuss the nuclear arms agreement between the two countries that were scheduled to begin in Egypt on Tuesday, with a State Department Spokesperson saying the decision was made “unilaterally” by Russia. 

“The United States and the Russian Federation were set to convene a meeting of the New START Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss New START Treaty implementation on Tuesday, November 29. The Russian side informed the United States that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates,” the spokesperson said. 

The US “is ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability,” the spokesperson added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry told Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti that the talks had been postponed, but did not give a reason for the delay. 

"The session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the Russian-American START Treaty, previously scheduled in Cairo (November 29 - December 6), will not take place on the dates indicated. The event has been postponed to a later date," the ministry said.

The date for the rescheduled talks remains unclear.

The New START Treaty puts limits on the number of deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that both the US and Russia can have. Under the treaty, Washington and Moscow conduct inspections of each other’s weapons sites. But due to COVID-19 inspections have been halted since 2020. 

The treaty was last extended in early 2021 for five years. Under the treaty, Washington and Moscow conduct inspections of each other’s weapons sites. However, the inspections had been halted since 2020 due to the pandemic, and complications arose when the US attempted to resume inspections earlier this year

Earlier this month Biden administration officials viewed it as a positive development that the New START talks are happening, particularly as they were set to occur in the wake of Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling toward Ukraine. 

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated when the nuclear talks are set to begin. The talks begin Tuesday.

9:10 a.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Kyiv experiences more emergency power cuts 

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is experiencing yet another spate of emergency power restrictions in addition to already scheduled blackouts.

"Emergency power cuts ongoing in Kyiv. This is a necessary step to balance the power system and avoid equipment failures," power supplier DTEK said on Facebook, adding that it had been ordered to reduce consumption by 60% and that providing electricity to critical infrastructure — hospitals, pumping and heating stations — required 58% of the remaining electricity.

"We do our best to supply electricity to each customer for 2-3 hours twice a day," DTEK said. "As soon as we manage to balance the situation, we will return to scheduled outages."

The sustained power outages come as Ukraine scrambles to find equipment to repair power infrastructure damaged and destroyed by Russian missile attacks.

Sub-zero temperatures and less daylight are compounding the hardship for people.

8:45 a.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Ukraine’s electricity operator says it is running at a 27% deficit

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

A vehicle drives past during a blackout after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 23.
A vehicle drives past during a blackout after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 23. (Andrew Kravchenko/AP)

Ukraine’s electricity operator Ukrenergo is running at a 27% deficit, the company said on Monday.

Ukrenergo said in a statement on Telegram that it had implemented a series of “emergency shutdowns” across the country at “several power plants”. 

Given deteriorating weather conditions, power usage is on the rise, it added, saying that it hoped the power deficit would reduce as “units return to operation.”

Seven waves of Russian missiles contributed to the recent outages, it claimed. CNN is unable to independently verify the number of missile waves.

2:51 p.m. ET, November 28, 2022

US and Russia are still talking about release of Griner and Whelan, top diplomat tells state media 

From CNN's Katharina Krebs

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner is escorted in a court building in Khimki court house, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4.
U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner is escorted in a court building in Khimki court house, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Reuters)

Washington and Moscow continue to discuss the release of US prisoners Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, the US Chargé d'Affaires in Russia told Russian state media Monday.

“As we have already said, the United States has submitted a serious proposal for consideration. We worked on this proposal and offered alternatives. Unfortunately, no serious response has been received from the Russian Federation to this proposal," Elizabeth Rood said in an interview with Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.

"I mean a response that would help us come to an agreement," she added.

US basketball star Griner is imprisoned in Russia after being convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into the country in October. There are concerns she is being used as a political pawn in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Whelan is a US citizen who has been wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly four years.

According to Rood, Griner has not complained about the conditions of her detention in a penal colony and the issue of visiting her is now being worked out.

"As far as we understood from talking to her, she is healthy and doing as well as can be expected in her difficult circumstances," said Rood.

She added that the embassy staff would visit her "as soon as the Russian authorities give us permission."

8:23 a.m. ET, November 28, 2022

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

From CNN staff

Russian forces have hit communities in near Nikopol – which lies across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – with more than 30 shells.

Meanwhile, Russian-backed authorities say Moscow is not planning to withdraw from the Zaporizhzia plant despite Ukrainian claims to the contrary.

Here are the latest headlines:

Shelling near Nikopol: Russian shelling hit Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, a local Ukrainian official said Monday. More than 30 shells landed but there were no casualties despite the fact that three communities near the city of Nikopol were hit with heavy artillery. 

Russian forces not planning to leave nuclear plant: Russian-backed authorities have hit back against Ukrainian claims that Moscow is planning to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The administration of Russian-occupied Enerhodar has accused Ukraine of “actively spreading fakes” about a possible Russian withdrawal from the area.

US and Russia managing nuclear risks: The two nations have ways to manage nuclear risks through talks between intelligence agencies, according to senior US diplomat Elizabeth Rood, Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Moscow. Rood's comments come after CIA director Bill Burns met with his Russian intelligence counterpart, Sergey Naryshkin, in Turkey earlier this month.

Sunak commits to Ukraine support: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to Kyiv amid Russia’s war, saying the country will “stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” in his first major foreign policy speech since taking office. Sunak is also expected to set out a so-called “evolutionary” approach to countries including Russia and China.

8:18 a.m. ET, November 28, 2022

Winter will play a defining factor in the Ukraine war. Here's why

CNN military analyst, retired Colonel Cedric Leighton, explains how the changing seasons could affect military strategy on both sides in Russia's war on Ukraine.

Watch the video below: