December 6, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:01 a.m. ET, December 7, 2022
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9:01 p.m. ET, December 5, 2022

Russia says there will be no withdrawal from Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

From CNN's Tim Lister and Darya Tarasova

The Russian Foreign Ministry appears to have dealt a blow to proposals by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to create a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March.

"There can be no talk of any withdrawal of the Zaporizhzhia NPP from Russian control or transfer of control over it to some 'third party,'" Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said when asked by a Russian news agency about the status of the plant. "The station is located on Russian territory and is fully controlled by Russia. We presume that only we are able to ensure the physical and nuclear safety of ZNPP."

There has been no response from the UN nuclear watchdog to the latest word from Moscow.

Last week, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said he hoped to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine on protecting the plant by the end of the year.

9:23 a.m. ET, December 6, 2022

Heavy fighting in corridor between Lysychansk and Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, officials say

From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian servicemen ride atop a tank in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on December 5.
Ukrainian servicemen ride atop a tank in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on December 5. (Yevhen Titov/Reuters)

Fighting in eastern Ukraine continues to be concentrated in the Bakhmut area of Donetsk, according to Ukrainian officials.

Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said on Ukrainian television that the "Donetsk sector is the most difficult as Russians are trying to capture Bakhmut — and all settlements from Lysychansk to Bakhmut are important for them."

Lysychansk is in the neighboring Luhansk region and was captured by Russian forces in June.

Hayday said the Ukrainian military had destroyed a "huge number of occupiers' personnel and their equipment" in the village of Bilohorivka.

"Now they are trying to break through the defense line, as they plan to make an additional bridgehead to expand the offensive. Attacks are taking place there around the clock, this territory is being constantly shelled. Six people remain in the village; those are elderly people who do not want to leave. It is difficult to take out people who do not want to leave," the official said.

Amid difficult weather conditions, Hayday said the "liberation of Luhansk region is very difficult. However, there is a positive thing. Our troops are not far from Kreminna," a town north of Lysychansk that has been occupied since the spring.

Meanwhile, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said that after Russian missile strikes on parts of Donetsk Monday, "emergency power outages continue. Power engineers are feeding the system with backup sources. In general, the situation is stable. After emergency shutdowns, generators are switched on."

He said the situation around Bakhmut "is extremely tense."

"Claims of the enemy that Bakhmut is taken and they are on the outskirts of the city are not true," he said. "Most of the people have evacuated from Bakhmut. There are now about 12,000 residents in Bakhmut out of 81,000 before the invasion. The enemy is trying to destroy the civilian population."

The Ukrainian military said the center of  Bakhmut was hit — and an administrative building, a dormitory, and a residential building were damaged. 

Kyrylenko said the Russians also shelled the town of Vuhledar, as well as Kurakhove and Hostre — a kindergarten, four high-rise buildings and seven private houses were damaged.

Bakhmut Mayor Oleksiy Reva shared a video of damage done to his city:

8:08 p.m. ET, December 5, 2022

Putin visits key Crimea bridge damaged by huge explosion in October

From CNN's Sebastian Shukla and Jack Guy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a visit to the Kerch Bridge, a key link between the annexed Crimean peninsula and mainland Russia which was partially destroyed by an explosion in October, according to Russian state media.

Photos and videos from the visit have been released, including footage of Putin behind the wheel of a Mercedes vehicle sitting beside Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin. In another video Putin is seen walking along a section of the bridge.

In the driving video, Khusnullin tells Putin that “metal was available for bridge parts, so the metal was brought over to build these structures, and within two weeks all the 1,214 tons were assembled and brought here.” This is an apparent reference to the damage caused to the bridge by the explosion on October 8.

Read more here.

3:00 a.m. ET, December 6, 2022

Russia launches fresh barrage of missiles towards Ukraine

From CNN's Olga Voitovych, Tim Lister, Sana Noor Haq, Tara John and Sebastian Shukla

Investigators work near the bodies of local residents killed by shrapnel during Russia's missile attack on Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on December 5.
Investigators work near the bodies of local residents killed by shrapnel during Russia's missile attack on Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on December 5. (Dmytro Smolienko/Reuters)

Russia launched a fresh barrage of missiles toward Ukraine on Monday as it accused Kyiv of striking military airfields deep inside its territory.

Dozens of missiles were launched by Russian forces towards Ukraine on Monday, cutting off water and electricity supplies in some areas, and killing at least one person in the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, and at least two people in Zaporizhzhia, according to local authorities.

Debris from one missile also crossed the Ukrainian border, hitting a town in Moldova.

The Ukrainian Air Force said that more than 60 Russian missiles were intercepted. Yet some reached their targets and the shelling cut water and electricity access in Kryvyi Rih and in the southern city of Odesa, after recent shortages across the country due to Russian attacks targeting critical infrastructure.

Airfield attacks: The Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukraine used drones to attack two Russian military airfields on Monday morning, adding that its air defenses intercepted the attacks “in the Saratov and Ryazan regions,” according to a statement carried on the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Pro-Russian bloggers have said that the incidents were likely an act of sabotage from Ukraine, which has not confirmed that it attacked either airfield.

Read more here.

9:00 p.m. ET, December 5, 2022

"I am fighting a noble fight": Why some Russians have vowed to resist Putin's invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Sam Kiley, Peter Rudden and Olha Konovalova

A soldier in a Ukrainian uniform morosely contemplates the ruins of an Orthodox monastery in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.

“This is a result of Putin’s war,” he says, angrily, as he paces through the wreck. “As a Christian, this is very offensive to me.”

The soldier, whose name CNN agreed not to reveal to protect his identity, goes by the call-sign “Caesar.” He is one of hundreds, if not thousands, fighting to keep the town of Bakhmut, the current epicenter of the war, in Ukrainian hands.

But there’s one thing that sets him apart from most of those who share the same goal: he’s Russian.

“From the first day of the war, my heart, the heart of a real Russian man, a real Christian, told me that I had to be here to defend the people of Ukraine,” Caesar explains.

“We are now fighting in the Bakhmut direction, this is the hottest part of the front.”

Read more here.