Russia-Ukraine war live: Russian strikes continue but poorly equipped troops facing heavy casualties, UK says | Ukraine

Russian reservists poorly trained and equipped says UK Ministry of Defence

The Russian war effort in Ukraine is characterised by confusion among reservists over eligibility for service and inadequate training and equipment, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

In its daily update, the MoD said some reservists were having to serve with “serious chronic health conditions” since they were called up during Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a “partial mobilisation”.

The soldiers are likely to have had heavy casualties while digging “ambitious” trench systems near the town of Svatove in the Luhansk oblast while they were under heavy artillery fire.

It added that Russian reservists have been killed in large numbers in frontal assaults into well-defended Ukrainian areas near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Both areas are in eastern Ukraine, towards the border with Russia.

The UK believes that the Kremlin is likely to be worried about reservists’ families who will risk arrest by protesting about the conditions their relatives face.

Key events

German MPs are set to approve a motion to recognise the Holodomor, the death by starvation of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33, as a genocide, German media is reporting.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the resolution on Wednesday as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter due to Moscow’s invasion.

The Holodomor should “join the list of inhumane crimes committed by totalitarian systems, in the course of which millions of human lives were wiped out in Europe, especially in the first half of the 20th century”, reads the draft text of the motion, seen by the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The draft text continues:

People across Ukraine, not just in grain-producing regions, were impacted by hunger and repression. This meets the historical-political definition from today’s perspective for genocide.

Ukraine has labelled the Stalin-era famine as a genocide, an assertion rejected by the Kremlin, and interpretations of the famine’s causes have caused friction between the two countries.

Robin Wagener of Germany’s Green party, one of the resolution’s initiators, said Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, operated in the cruel and criminal tradition of Stalin”. He told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Once more, the basis for life in Ukraine is meant to be taken away through violence and terror, and the entire country brought to heel.

Calling the Holodomor a genocide was intended as a “message of warning” to Moscow, he added.

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, welcomed “very much that there is a lot of support in the German parliament” for the motion, a spokesperson told reporters.

Just days after families reunited in liberated Kherson, residents of the southern Ukrainian city are being forced to flee due to Russian shelling from across the river.

Kristina Berdynskykh, a Ukrainian journalist, says her relatives in Kherson urgently left following “heavy shelling” last night and this morning.

Moscow has begun to “take revenge” on Kherson and its people “for not accepting the occupation”, she writes.

Росія почала помсту Херсону і мешканцям міста за те,що вони не прийняли окупацію.Я вже в Києві, але знаю,що вчора ввечері і сьогодні зранку у Херсоні дуже сильні обстріли.Мої родичі,у яких я зупинялася кілька днів тому на ніч, терміново виїжджають #RussiaTerroristState #Ukraine

— Kristina Berdynskykh (@berdynskykh_k) November 25, 2022

Here’s more from the UN’s human rights chief, Volker Türk, who spoke about the videos circulating on social media appearing to show Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian prisoners of war.

Preliminary analysis of the videos indicate they were “highly likely to be authentic”, Türk said in a statement.

He called on both Russia and Ukraine to issue clear instructions to their forces about the treatment of prisoners of war, adding that all allegations of summary executions should be investigated fully.

Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, has travelled to Kyiv to meet the Ukrainian leadership and promise the UK’s support for as long as it takes to defeat Russia’s brutal efforts to break the country’s resolve.

In his first visit to Ukraine since his appointment as foreign secretary, Cleverly met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

He presented a package of support including money for the reconstruction of schools, ambulances, the victims of sexual violence, and grain sales to the world’s poorest markets, such as Sudan and Yemen.

James Cleverly visits Kyiv to reaffirm UK support for Ukraine – video

Russian strikes ‘plunge millions into extreme hardship’, says UN

Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine have killed at least 77 civilians since October and have plunged millions of people into extreme hardship, the UN’s human rights chief, Volker Türk, has said.

Since early October, Russian forces have launched missiles roughly once a week with the aim of destroying the Ukrainian energy grid, crippling the country’s power and heat supply.

In a statement, Türk said:

Millions are being plunged into extreme hardship and appalling conditions of life by these strikes. Taken as a whole, this raises serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for each object attacked.

Hello everyone. It’s Léonie Chao-Fong here again, taking over the live blog from Harry Taylor. Feel free to drop me a message if you have anything to flag, you can reach me on Twitter or via email.

Footage shows aftermath of Russian shelling in Kherson – video

Germany said on Friday it was discussing with its allies Poland’s demand to send German Patriot air defence units to Ukraine, Reuters reports.

“We are talking with our allies about how to handle Poland’s … suggestion,” a German government spokesperson told reporters in Berlin.

Nato’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told journalists on Friday that it was up to individual governments as to whether they supplied Ukraine with the Patriot systems (see 9.53am).

Summary of the day so far

As the time approaches 1pm in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, here is a roundup of today’s updates so far.

  • Russian strikes have damaged a hospital in Zaporizhzhia overnight. The region’s governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said there has been no injuries, but dozens of windows have been broken. The attacks come as Russia’s latest barrage shut down all of Ukraine’s nuclear plants – one of which is located in Zaporizhzhia – for the first time in 40 years.

  • Russia risked causing a “nuclear and radioactive catastrophe” by launching attacks in which all Ukraine’s nuclear power plants were disconnected from the power grid for the first time in 40 years, Ukraine’s nuclear energy chief said. Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that three nuclear power plants on territory held by Ukrainian forces had been switched off after the latest wave of Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities.

  • All nuclear power stations in the government controlled part of Ukraine are up and running again and connected to the main electricity grid, the country’s energy provider Ukrenergo has said. Its chief executive Volodymyr Kudrytskyi said that if things continue, power cuts will be pre-announced rather than in an emergency.

  • Forbes Ukraine estimates that Russia has spent $82bn – or a quarter of its annual budget – on its war in Ukraine. Forbes reports: “This estimate includes the direct costs that are necessary to support military operations. But it does not include stable defence spending, or losses related to the economy.”

  • The Russian war effort in Ukraine is characterised by confusion among reservists over eligibility for service and inadequate training and equipment, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence. In its daily update, the MoD said some reservists were having to serve with “serious chronic health conditions” since they were called up during Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a “partial mobilisation”.

  • The MoD said Russian soldiers are likely to have suffered heavy casualties while digging “ambitious” trench systems near the town of Svatove in the Luhansk oblast while under heavy artillery fire. It added that Russian reservists have been killed in large numbers in frontal assaults into well-defended Ukrainian areas near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Both areas are in eastern Ukraine, towards the border with Russia.

  • The UK believes that the Kremlin is likely to be worried about reservists’ families who will risk arrest by protesting about the conditions their relatives face.

  • Half of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is still without power. Energy companies are working to get electricity restored, which will give people power for three hours on an alternating basis. On Wednesday night, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, spoke out against “energy terror” by Russia, as it repeatedly seeks to destroy the country’s power infrastructure.

  • Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said there will be “no lasting peace” if Russia wins in Ukraine. He said Nato will continue its support for Ukraine and increase “non-lethal” aid, Reuters reports.

  • More than 15,000 people have gone missing during the war in Ukraine, an official in the Kyiv office of The Hague-based International Commission on Missing Persons said. The ICMP’s programme director for Europe, Matthew Holliday, said it was unclear how many people had been forcibly transferred, were being held in detention in Russia, were alive and separated from family members, or had died and been buried in makeshift graves.

  • European Union governments remained split over what level to cap Russian oil prices at to curb Moscow’s ability to pay for its war in Ukraine without causing a global oil supply shock, with further talks expected on Friday. Six of the EU’s 27 countries are said to be opposed to the price cap level proposed by the G7, which will come into force on 5 December.

  • Zelenskiy, has called on Europeans to remain united against Russia’s war and to severely limit the price for Russian oil, amid discussions about the pricing EU countries will pay per barrel.

  • Foreign ministers from the G7 will discuss how to further support Ukraine in ensuring its energy supply during a meeting in Bucharest next week, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said.

  • The European Union is pressing ahead with a ninth sanctions package on Russia in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, the European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, said during a visit to Finland. She said the EU wouldhit Russia where it hurts to blunt even further its capacity to wage war on Ukraine”.

  • Zelenskiy, said Russia’s new strategy to destroy Ukraine’s infrastructure would not weaken the country’s resolve to liberate all occupied land, describing the conflict, in an interview with the Financial Times, as a “war of strength and resilience” and pushing back against western fears of escalation.

  • In his address late on Thursday, Zelenskiy said: “Together we endured nine months of full-scale war and Russia has not found a way to break us, and will not find one.” Zelenskiy also accused Russia of incessantly shelling Kherson, the southern Ukrainian city that it abandoned earlier this month. Ten people were killed and 54 wounded in a Russian attack on Thursday, local authorities said.

  • Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said that his country’s parliament would ratify Nato membership for Finland and Sweden early next year. Hungary and Turkey are the only members of the alliance who have not yet cleared the accession. Stoltenberg backed their membership in a press conference on Friday.

  • Hungary will provide €187m ($195m) in financial aid to Ukraine as its contribution to a planned EU support package worth up to €18bn in 2023, according to a government decree.

  • British foreign minister James Cleverly said the UK would pledge millions of pounds in further support for Kyiv to ensure the country has the practical help it needed through the winter. Cleverly is visiting Ukraine and is set to meet Zelenskiy and foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on the trip.

  • Russia and Ukraine have carried out the latest in a series of prisoner of war exchanges, with both sides handing over 50 people, officials in Kyiv and Moscow confirmed.

  • Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko provoked ire in Ukraine by suggesting that the end of the war is Ukraine’s responsibility, and that if it does not “stop”, it will end in the “complete destruction” of the country. He said that similar to relations with Germany after the second world war, once the Ukraine war has concluded “we will make it all up”.

All nuclear power stations in the government-controlled part of Ukraine are up and running again and connected to the main electricity grid, the country’s energy provider, Ukrenergo, has said.

Its chief executive, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, said that if the situation continues, power cuts will be pre-announced rather than in an emergency.

“Now the energy system is fully integrated, all regions are connected. It is again connected to the energy system of the European Union … All three nuclear power plants located in the unoccupied territory are working … In one to two days, they will reach their normal planned capacity, and we expect that it will be possible to return to scheduled power outages instead of emergency ones,” Kudrytskyi said during a nationwide telethon on Thursday evening, Ukrinform reports.

A missile attack on 23 November meant that Ukraine lost power from nuclear, thermal, and hydroelectric generators.

Kudrytskyi encouraged Ukrainians to save energy where possible.

Further to our updates from Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg’s press conference earlier (see 9.17am), he also told reporters that the decision over whether to send more air defence units to Ukraine was up to member states.

Poland has asked Germany to send the US Patriot systems to Ukraine. He said they were “national decisions”, Reuters reports, adding that some agreements meant that consultation with allies was needed.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has called on Europeans to remain united against Russia’s war and to severely limit the price for Russian oil, amid discussions about the pricing EU countries will pay per barrel.

“There is no split, there is no schism among Europeans and we have to preserve this. This is our mission number one this year,” Zelenskiy said in an address via a live video link to a conference in Lithuania.

“Europe is helping itself. It’s not helping Ukraine to stand against Russia, this is helping Europe to stand against Russian aggression”, he added, according to Reuters.

European Union governments remained split on Thursday over what level to cap Russian oil prices at to curb Moscow’s ability to pay for the war, and Zelenskiy called on the EU leaders to settle on the lowest proposal of $30.

“The price cuts are very important. We hear about (proposals to set the cap per barrel at) $60 or $70. Such words sound more like a concession (to Russia)“, Zelenskiy said.

“But I’m very grateful to our Baltic and Polish colleagues for their proposals, quite reasonable ones, to set this camp at $30 a barrel. It’s a much better idea”, he added.

More Ukrainians flee Kherson after ‘heavy’ Russian shelling

Our correspondent in Ukraine, Isobel Koshiw has visited Kherson, the recently recaptured city in the south of the country, which faced heavy shelling last night.

She has tweeted: “Kherson was shelled very heavily last night by Russian troops stationed on the eastern bank. According to Kherson’s head, Yanushevych, 10 people died and 54 were badly injured as a result.

“The initial euphoria was (inevitably) going to fade. But the amount of incoming increased every day and there were more people leaving the city. There was a sharp drop in atmosphere.

“The city is/was relatively intact. But if Russia wants to turn it into Kharkiv 2, where every 3rd-4th building is damaged, they could. Their frontline is just across the river.

“Though in the case of Kherson, there are even lower prospects that shelling the city will result in any kind of victory or advance for Russia.”




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