December 19, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Eliza Mackintosh, Aditi Sangal and Leinz Vales, CNN

Updated 1:36 a.m. ET, December 20, 2022
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6:32 a.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Russians shell Nikopol district, cutting off water supply to several villages, regional official says

From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

Russian forces bombarded Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region overnight using drones, Grad multiple rocket launcher systems and other heavy artillery, according to local authorities.

Nikopol was struck by more than 60 Russian shells, Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the region's military administration, said Monday in a statement on the messaging platform Telegram. The district, which is controlled by Ukrainians, lies on the west bank of the Dnipro River, across from the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Towns and villages in the district, including Chervonohryhorivka, Myrove and Marhanets, were targeted, according to Reznichenko. There were no casualties, but civilian infrastructure and power systems were hit, leaving a path of destruction. Shelling in Chervonohryhorivka alone damaged 11 houses, six outbuildings, cars, a gas pipeline and power line, Reznichenko said. Due to the attack, a water pumping station had been “disconnected,” he added, leaving several villages cut off from any water supply.

Reznichenko added that Ukraine's air defense had intercepted two Russian drones flying in the region.

5:31 a.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Ukrainian Air Force says it intercepted 30 of 35 drones launched by Russia

From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

An investigator shows the remains of a Russian suicide drone found at a site of a damaged residential house in the village of Stari Bezradychi, in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, on December 19.
An investigator shows the remains of a Russian suicide drone found at a site of a damaged residential house in the village of Stari Bezradychi, in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, on December 19. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

The Ukrainian Air Force claimed to have shot down 30 out of 35 drones launched by Russia from Sunday night into Monday, but those that dodged air defenses damaged power systems and civilian targets.

The Iranian-made, self-detonating Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 drones were launched from the “eastern coast of the Sea of Azov," the Air Force said in a statement on Facebook.

Many of the drones targeted Kyiv, according to the city's military administration, which said 18 out of 23 spotted in the sky over the capital were intercepted. There were no casualties, but authorities said that one critical infrastructure facility was hit. Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv city military administration, said that emergency services were working to limit the consequences of the attack.

The drone attacks come after several cities in Ukraine, including the capital, were hit by Russian missile strikes on Friday that dealt a major blow to the country's civilian infrastructure, leaving many people without light, power or heat.

5:32 a.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Kyiv critical infrastructure facility damaged in Russian drone attack

From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

Critical power infrastructure burns after a drone attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on December 19.
Critical power infrastructure burns after a drone attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on December 19. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

A critical infrastructure facility was damaged in a Russian drone attack in Kyiv on Monday according to a Ukrainian military commander.

Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv's military administration, said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces shot down 18 of the 23 Iranian-made Shahed attack drones launched by Russia at the capital on Monday.

Authorities earlier said Ukrainian air defenses had shot down nine Russian drones in Kyiv.

Popko added that two districts of the capital bore the brunt of the damage. A road in Solomyanskyi district was damaged and fragments of a drone landed on a high-rise residential building in Shevchenkivskyi district.

Two people were injured in the attacks, which come after several cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv, were hit by Russian missile strikes on Friday that dealt a major blow to the country's civilian infrastructure, leaving many people without light, power or heat.

8:52 a.m. ET, December 19, 2022

2 injured in Russian drone attacks in Kyiv

From CNN's Josh Pennington

Residents gather as a critical power infrastructure facility burns after a Russian drone attack in Kyiv on Monday.
Residents gather as a critical power infrastructure facility burns after a Russian drone attack in Kyiv on Monday. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Two people were injured and homes were damaged after Russian drones attacked Kyiv early Monday, according to the Ukrainian capital's military administration.

Critical infrastructure facilities were also damaged, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said Monday on Telegram, adding that technicians are working to stabilize power and heat supply.

Earlier Monday, Ukrainian air defenses shot down nine Russian drones in Kyiv, according to authorities.

It comes after several cities in Ukraine, including the capital, were hit by Russian missile strikes on Friday that dealt a major blow to the country's civilian infrastructure, leaving many people without light, power or heat.

12:54 a.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Russian drones attack Kyiv early Monday

From CNN's Victoria Butenko and Josh Pennington

Ukrainian air defenses shot down nine Russian drones early Monday as Moscow's forces resumed attacks on Ukraine's capital.

The Kyiv City military administration gave the all-clear after the capital came under fire from what it said was "a barrage of ammunition."

Several explosions were heard in Kyiv early Monday, according to a CNN team on the ground.

The new attacks come as several cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv, reel from a series of Russian missile strikes on Friday that dealt a major blow to the country's civilian infrastructure, leaving many Ukrainians without light, power or heat.

8:44 p.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Zelensky: Electricity restored to 9 million Ukrainians

From CNN's Mariya Knight in Atlanta

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his nightly address on Sunday said electricity had been restored to a total of 9 million Ukrainians, as the country recovers from a barrage of Russian attacks that hit on Friday.

“Another 3 million Ukrainians have had their energy supply restored,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky had already said that 6 million people had power restored on Saturday following another Russian missile attack on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Zelensky said the return of power was "already a result for 9 million of our people.” 

In most of Ukraine's cities transport operations have returned to normal, he added.

2:05 a.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Freed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout visits occupied Ukraine

From CNN's Mariya Knight

Viktor Bout attends a convention of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) in Moscow, Russia on December 12.
Viktor Bout attends a convention of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) in Moscow, Russia on December 12. (LDPR/Handout/Reuters)

Freed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was recently exchanged in a prisoner swap with WNBA star Brittney Griner, visited the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine on Saturday, according to Russian state media.  

Bout attended an opening event for the Luhansk branch of the pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR).

Bout said he was glad to visit Luhansk for the first time and expressed confidence that the occupied region "would soon be peaceful, and people would live without fear for their future," Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported Sunday. 

Leader of the ultra-nationalist LDPR Leonid Slutsky said they had to change their route to Luhansk twice due to the fact that "high-precision weapons were working nearby.” 

“But this could not cancel our visit to Luhansk, because this is a point of no return. Donbas and Russia are together forever. We will come here under any conditions," Slutsky said according to the state media report.

Last week, Bout told Russia's RT that he “wholeheartedly” supports Moscow’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine and that if he had the opportunity and necessary skills, he would certainly go as a volunteer fighter.

More background: Luhansk is part of the broader Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, and is one of four territories annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in defiance of international law.

Moscow-backed separatists control the territory under the self-proclaimed title of the Luhansk People's Republic, which is not recognized by Ukraine or any other nation outside of Russia and its ally Syria.

8:41 p.m. ET, December 18, 2022

Crews have fully restored heat supply in Kyiv after missile attacks

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Heating has been fully restored in Kyiv Sunday, two days after a barrage of Russian missiles targeted the city.

“All heat supply sources are operating normally,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a post on Telegram, adding that public utilities will work throughout Sunday on “individual buildings, where there may be minor heating problems.” 

The broader Kyiv region, however, continues to grapple with electricity supply issues. More than 600,000 people, which is 50% of the region’s residents, are currently without power, the head of Kyiv's regional military administration said on Ukrainian TV. 

Crews restored power supply to the areas most affected by the shelling over the course of the past two days, said the official, Oleksiy Kuleba.

But “there are still several difficult areas where there is no electricity,” Kuleba continued, adding that the district of Bucha in particular is facing supply issues. 

Across the region, 410 service centers, known as "invincibility points," are now operating, where the region’s residents can charge their phones and receive hot drinks, Kuleba said.

8:40 p.m. ET, December 18, 2022

One dead in strikes on Russian region near Ukraine, Belgorod governor says

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova

One person was reported dead and eight people were injured in the Russian region of Belgorod on Sunday following shelling by Ukrainian forces, according to the regional governor.

“One person died. It is known that the man came to us from Tambov and worked as a contractor on the construction of a poultry farm,” Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram. “I express my condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.
“Eight people were injured, seven are now in the hospital, one of them is in intensive care. All necessary medical assistance is provided. Another victim refused hospitalization and was sent for outpatient treatment.”

Gladkov said medical assistance was provided at the scene of the strikes and there was also damage to 14 residential buildings and several cars in the area.

Belgorod, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Ukrainian border, has been struck previously. On Nov. 15, the governor said two people had been killed by Ukrainian shelling.

On Dec. 8, Gladkov said the region was once again shelled by Ukrainian armed forces. Gladkov said on Telegram that the city had sustained damage to a power line caused by “shell fragment.”