Russia-Ukraine war latest: Putin will fail in attempts to break civilian spirit, US predicts

Ukraine’s first lady asks UK to become ‘leader’ in fight for justice

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Russia’s strategy of targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure – so far cutting power to millions of civilians – will not work, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said.

Vladimir Putin has focused his “fire and ire” on Ukraine’s civilian population, bombing more than one-third of Ukraine’s water and electricity supply, Mr Blinken said.

“Heat, water, electricity … these are President Putin’s new targets. He’s hitting them hard. This brutalisation of Ukraine’s people is barbaric,” he told a news conference in Bucharest following a two-day Nato summit where he represented Washington.

Mr Blinken accused Mr Putin of trying to divide western allies with his campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure, which has demanded additional support and will further drive up energy prices.

“This strategy has not, and will not, work. We will continue to prove him wrong. That’s what I heard loudly and clearly from every country here in Bucharest,” Mr Blinken added.

Meanwhile, The Independent heard accounts of people being tortured and raped by Russian soldiers, on visits to recently liberated Ukrainian towns.

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UK imposes sanctions on 22 Russians

The UK has announced new sanctions on 22 Russians, including individuals that the UK Foreign Office says enlisted criminals to fight in Ukraine.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Wednesday: “The Russian regime’s decision to partially mobilise Russian citizens was a desperate attempt to overwhelm the valiant Ukrainians defending their territory. It has failed.

“Today we have sanctioned individuals who have enforced this conscription, sending thousands of Russian citizens to fight in Putin’s illegal and abhorrent war.

“The UK will continue to use both sanctions and military aid to support Ukraine in the defence of their independence.”

Lucy Skoulding30 November 2022 19:15


9 people killed in fires in 24 hours

Nine people have been killed in fires in Ukraine in the last 24 hours after breaking safety rules to try to heat their home, according to the country’s state emergency.

It comes after continued Russian attacks on power facilities across Ukraine.

The emergency service said in a statement: “Only in the last day there were 131 fires in Ukraine, 106 of them in the residential sector. Nine people died, eight were injured.

“Generators on balconies, gas cylinders in apartments, lit candles … Due to violations of fire safety rules, the use of uncertified products for heating and cooking, incidents of fires and explosions in high-rise and private buildings have become more frequent.”

Lucy Skoulding30 November 2022 18:46


Germany and Norway call for NATO co-ordination to protect underwater infrastructure

Germany and Norway will jointly ask NATO to set up a coordination office to protect subsea infrastructure in light of the attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipeline network, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said today.

No-one should think that attacks on Europe’s critical infrastructure should go unanswered, Mr Scholz said in a briefing alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.

Sam Rkaina30 November 2022 16:41


Russia should use advanced weapons in Ukraine, says defence minister

Russia’s defence minister said the military should use new advanced weapons systems against Ukraine.

“It is necessary to continue the modernisation and creation of promising systems with their subsequent use during the special military operation,” Sergei Shoigu said at a defence ministry meeting of senior generals, according to Reuters.

Mr Shoigu, one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, did not specify any weapons but said he wanted to discuss with the generals new ways of improving artillery and missile attacks.

In Ukraine, Mr Shoigu said, counter-battery fire was being improved by using long-range rocket systems such as Tornado-S and high-power “Malka” artillery systems.

Liam James30 November 2022 15:53


Jailed Belarus opposition figure ‘in intensive care’

Belarus’s jailed opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova is in a serious but stable condition in intensive care following surgery, her allies say (Matt Mathers writes).

Ms Kolesnikova, 40, was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2021 for her role in protests against the authoritarian regime of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko.

She was taken to hospital earlier this week but doctors did not share her diagnosis or any other details about the surgery.

Liam James30 November 2022 15:01


Putin’s attacks on Ukraine’s power grid won’t work, says Blinken

Russia’s strategy of targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure – so far cutting power to millions of civilians – will not work, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said.

Vladimir Putin has focused his “fire and ire” on Ukraine‘s civilian population, bombing more than a third of Ukraine’s water and electricity supply Mr Blinken said.

“These are President Putin’s new targets. He’s hitting them hard,” Mr Blinken said after a Nato meeting in Bucharest. “His strategy has not, and will not, work.”


Liam James30 November 2022 14:36


One killed in strike on Kherson, says governor

One person was killed and another wounded in Russian shelling of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson on Wednesday, the regional governor said.

Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych wrote on Telegram that several residential buildings and medical facilities had been damaged in the city, which was liberated this month after months of Russian occupation.

A 70-year-old woman was killed at home and a 64-year-old man injured on the street, Mr Yanushevych said.

Russian troops have launched repeated attacks on the city from a distance after fleeing the city over the Dnipro river.

Last night, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was “planning something in the south”, without elaborating.

Yanushevych shared images with his statement that showed damage to a flat block

(Kherson Governor)

Another image showed a shell casing in the road

(Kherson governor)

Liam James30 November 2022 14:00


Russia’s spy chief says he discussed Ukraine with CIA boss

Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin said in an interview published on Wednesday that he discussed nuclear issues and Ukraine in a meeting earlier this month with CIA director William Burns.

The two men met in Turkey on 14 November in the highest-level face-to-face contact between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Russia has not previously commented on what was discussed, saying the subject matter was sensitive. Washington has said Mr Burns delivered a warning about the consequences of any Russian use of nuclear weapons.

Elizabeth Rood, a top diplomat at the US embassy in Moscow, told Russia’s RIA news agency this week that Mr Burns “did not negotiate anything and he did not discuss a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine“.

Mr Naryshkin told RIA: “For my part, I confirm Ms Rood’s statement. Additionally, I can note that the most frequently used words at this meeting were ‘strategic stability’, ‘nuclear security’, ‘Ukraine‘ and ‘Kyiv regime’.”

He also confirmed Ms Rood’s comments that the two countries had a channel to manage risks and that if there was a need for another such conversation, it could happen.

Reuters30 November 2022 13:30


Russian oligarchs’ money could be used to rebuild Ukraine, says EU chief

Russian assets frozen as punishment for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine could be used to rebuild the war-torn country, in a scheme proposed by the European Commission that seeks to answer the long-running question of what western allies should do with the hundreds of billions of pounds trapped by sanctions on the Kremlin and its associates.

Ursula von der Leyen, Commission head, said Ukraine’s allies should seize the more than €300bn (£259bn) of Russian money held up by sanctions and invest it, putting the returns towards Kyiv’s estimated €600bn restoration bill.

In a statement on Russia’s accountability for the devastation wrought by the invasion, Ms von dr Leyen also said the EU was pushing to set up a specialised court “to investigate and prosecute Russia’s crime of aggression”.

The 27 EU member states along with the US, Britain, Canada and others have frozen billions of euros worth of Russian oligarch assets, with around €300bn of the Russian central bank’s foreign reserves locked abroad.

Liam James30 November 2022 12:30


‘Every second felt like eternity’: Inside the torture chambers of Ukraine’s occupied northeast

From Bel Trew on the ground in Ukraine: At night, when the street outside was quiet, Olga would hear the screams of women being gang-raped by Russian soldiers in the interrogation room one floor above her tiny squalid cell.

Together with her fellow female inmates, sleeping stacked side-by-side like cutlery in a drawer, she would try to block out the terrifying sound.

But the sharp barks of the Chechens spurring each other on, punched through the cries.

“I could hear them shouting ‘come on, you have a go next’,” says the 50-year-old call centre operator at her hometown’s fire department.

“They threatened all of us with rape during the day but the torture and violence always took place at night. Because the street outside was quiet and our cell was under the torture room, we heard it all,” she adds her voice shrinking into a pause.

Liam James30 November 2022 11:58

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