Poland fears missile strike could happen again, western officials say

Polish politicians think the stray missile strike that killed two people last week is likely to happen again, western officials have said.

In a briefing about the situation in Poland amid the Ukraine war, officials said the Polish government handled the incident in a “calm” manner but flagged that if it was “badly handled, it could escalate in a different way”.

“If it happens again- and Polish politicians think it will- they need to manage it in a way that is not unhelpful.”

However, the officials stressed that the “unfortunate accident” would not have happened at all without Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

It comes as Volodymyr Zelensky hit out against Russia’s “formula of terror” after Ukraine was battered with over 70 missiles in just one day.

The Ukrainian president appealed to the UN to act against Vladimir Putin’s strategy of wiping out vital energy infrustaructure, leaving Ukrainians without power this winter.

“Today is just one day but we have received 70 missiles. That’s the Russian formula of terror,” Zelensky said.

Key Points

  • Poland concerned recent missile strike could happen again, western officials say

  • Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine, says US – Report

  • Putin gravely mistaken about Ukrainians, says US envoy

  • Russia complains about Zelensky’s virtual appearance at UNSC

  • Zelensky urges UN to fight Putin’s ‘terror’ as Russia accused of ‘weaponising winter’

Ukraine leadership can ‘end suffering’ by meeting Russian demands- update

11:44 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Kremlin on Thursday denied that its attacks on Ukraine‘s electricity network were aimed at civilians, but said Kyiv could “end the suffering” of its population by meeting Russia‘s demands to resolve the conflict.

Repeated missile barrages against power infrastructure across Ukraine over the last few weeks have forced millions of people to go without light, water or heating for hours or days at a time, just as outdoor temperatures fall below freezing.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “there have been no strikes on ‘social’ targets and there are none – special attention is paid to this”.

“As for targets that are directly or indirectly related to military potential, they are accordingly subject to strikes,” he said.

Peskov was asked how the suffering of Ukraine‘s civilian population could be reconciled with President Vladimir Putin’s positions. Putin has said Russia does not wish to destroy Ukraine or its people.

“The leadership of Ukraine has every opportunity to bring the situation back to normal, has every opportunity to resolve the situation in such a way as to fulfil the requirements of the Russian side and, accordingly, end all possible suffering among the population.”

Ukraine leadership can ‘end suffering’ by meeting Russian demands

11:24 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that Ukraine‘s leadership could “end suffering” in Ukraine by meeting Russia‘s demands to resolve the conflict.

Peskov was asked whether Russia was worried about the effect on the civilian population of its strikes on energy infrastructure, which have caused repeated mass blackouts.

Peskov said Russia only attacked targets of military relevance, not ‘social’ ones.

Russian attacks create real danger of ‘catastrophe’ – Ukraine nuclear energy boss

11:07 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia caused a “real danger of a nuclear and radioactive catastrophe” by launching attacks in which all Ukraine’s nuclear reactors were disconnected from the power grid for the first time in 40 years, Ukraine’s nuclear energy chief said.

Petro Kotin, head of nuclear power company Energoatom, said in a statement on Thursday the vast nuclear power plant in the Zaporizhzhia region had been reconnected to the national power grid after Russian air strikes on Wednesday, and that the backup diesel generators at the site had been turned off.

Zelensky urges UN to fight Putin’s ‘terror’ as Russia accused of ‘weaponising winter’

10:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Volodymyr Zelensky hit out against Russia’s “formula of terror” after Ukraine was battered with over 70 missiles in just one day.

The Ukrainian president appealed to the United Nations to take action against Vladimir Putin’s strategy of wiping out vital energy infrustaructure, leaving Ukrainians freezing and without power this winter.

“Today is just one day but we have received 70 missiles. That’s the Russian formula of terror,” Zelensky said via video link to the council chamber in New York.

Hospitals, schools, transport infrastructure and residential areas had also all been hit by Russian strikes.

Ukraine is waiting to see “a very firm reaction” to Wednesday’s air strikes from the world, he added, also calling for Russia to be denied a vote on any decision concerning its actions.

Read more here:

Zelensky urges UN to fight Putin’s ‘terror’ as Russia accused of ‘weaponising winter’

Hitting Russia ‘where it hurts’ von der Leyen says as EU prepares more sanctions

10:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The European Union is pressing ahead with a ninth sanctions package on Russia in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Finland on Thursday.

“We are working hard to hit Russia where it hurts to blunt even further its capacity to wage war on Ukraine and I can announce today that we are working full speed on a 9th sanctions package,” von der Leyen told a news conference.

“And I’m confident that we will very soon approve a global price cap on Russian oil with the G7 and other major partners. We will not rest until Ukraine has prevailed over Putin and his unlawful and barbaric war,” she said.

Poland concerned recent missile strike could happen again, western officials say

09:58 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

In a briefing about the situation in Poland amid the war in Ukraine, western officials said Polish politicians think the stray missile strike that killed two people last week is likely to happen again.

The Polish government handled the situation in a “calm” manner but the incident flagged that if it was “badly handled, it could escalate in a different way,” the official said.

“If it happens again- and Polish politicians think it will- they need to manage it in a way that is not unhelpful.”

EU preparing 9th Russia sanctions package, von der Leyen says

09:44 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The European Union is pressing ahead with a ninth sanctions package on Russia in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Finland on Thursday.

 (AP)

(AP)

Ukraine races to restore power knocked out by Russian air strikes

09:23 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Power was gradually being restored to Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv on Thursday, a day after Russian missile strikes caused Kyiv’s biggest outages in nine months of war.

Regional authorities said 25 per cent of homes in Kyiv was still without electricity but the water supply had been restored in some areas and would start working in other areas later on Thursday.

In a big improvement from Wednesday, when authorities said power was lost across the entire Kyiv region, public transport was operating in the capital, with buses replacing trams to save power.

“Let’s persevere, despite everything” the Kyiv regional military administration said in a statement.

Russia says contacts with UN watchdog over Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant are ‘constructive’

09:02 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that contacts with the UN nuclear watchdog over safety at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine were “constructive” and showed some promise.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia seized shortly after the invasion, was again rocked by shelling last weekend, prompting renewed calls from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to create a protection zone around it to prevent a nuclear disaster.

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog met a Russian delegation in Istanbul on Wednesday to discuss safety at the plant, which both Ukraine and Moscow have accused each other of shelling.

EU split on Russian oil price cap level, talks to resume Thursday

08:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

European Union governments failed to reach a deal on Wednesday at what level to cap prices for Russian sea-borne oil under the Group of Seven nations (G7) scheme and will resume talks on Thursday evening or on Friday, EU diplomats said.

Earlier on Thursday representatives of the EU’s 27 governments met in Brussels to discuss a G7 proposal to set the price cap in the range of $65-$70 per barrel, but the level proved too low for some and too high for others.

“There are still differences on the price cap level. We need to proceed bilaterally,” one EU diplomat said. “The next meeting of ambassadors of EU countries will be either tomorrow evening or on Friday,” the diplomat said.

The G7, including the United States, as well as the whole of the European Union and Australia, are slated to implement the price cap on sea-borne exports of Russian oil on Dec. 5.

The move is part of sanctions intended to slash Moscow’s revenue from its oil exports so it has less money to finance its invasion of Ukraine.

But the level of the price cap level is a contentious issue – Poland, Lithuania and Estonia believe the $65-$70 per barrel would leave Russia with too high a profit, since production costs are around $20 per barrel.

Cyprus, Greece and Malta – countries with big shipping industries that stand to lose the most if Russian oil cargos are obstructed – think the cap is too low and demand compensation for the loss of business or more time to adjust.

Ukraine: Putin’s Russia declared ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ by European Parliament

08:22 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly backed a resolution declaring Vladimir Putin’s Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” for its invasion of and actions in Ukraine.

In a 494-58 vote with 48 abstentions, the EU legislature sought to increase pressure on Moscow to bring anyone responsible for war crimes committed from the start of the invasion before an international court.

The 27-nation bloc has condemned in the harshest terms the invasion and repeatedly said that several Russian actions over the past 10 months have amounted to war crimes.

Emily Atkinson has more:

Ukraine: Putin’s Russia declared ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ by European Parliament

Ukraine expects to have nuclear power plants back on line on Thursday

07:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine expects three nuclear power plants that were switched off because of Russian missile strikes on Wednesday will be operating again by Thursday evening, energy minister German Galushchenko said.

“We expect that by evening the nuclear power plants will start working, providing energy to the network, and this will significantly reduce the (energy) deficit,” he said in comments broadcast on national television.

Ukraine’s capital grapples with biggest power outages of war so far

07:31 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

More than two thirds of the Ukrainian capital was still without power on Thursday morning and a swathe of residents had no running water, a day after Russian missile strikes caused Kyiv’s biggest outages in nine months of war.

The capital was one of the main targets of the latest wave of attacks on energy facilities that cut power in many regions and made emergency blackouts necessary in others to conserve energy and enable repairs as winter sets in.

The temperature plunged below zero degrees Celsius overnight in a city that had 2.8 million residents before the war and where it is already snowing and the streets are icy.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said electricians and repair workers were doing everything to get the power back on “as fast as possible” but the recovery would depend largely on the overall energy “balance” of the nationwide grid.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s staff, said power supplies had been restored in the Kirovohrad and Vinnytsia regions.

In the south, Mykolaiv region governor Vitali Kim appealed to Ukrainians to be as frugal as possible in their use of power.

“Consumption has been growing this morning (which is logical), there isn’t enough capacity in the system to switch it on for more consumers!!,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“The energy system is united like we all are! If you’ve turned off a few unneeded lights, that’s really important!!!”

Russia using mobilised reservists in Donbas battle – MoD

06:55 , Arpan Rai

Russia has likely redeployed major elements of airborne forces called VDV units to the Donetsk and Luhansk fronts in the Donbas in the last two weeks, the British defence ministry said today.

“From September to October, most of the severely weakened VDV units were dedicated to the defence of Russian-held territory west of the Dnipro River in Kherson oblast,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

It added that some VDV units have likely been reinforced with mobilised reservists. “Although these poorly trained personnel will dilute VDV’s supposedly elite capability, Russia will likely still allocate these units to sectors deemed especially important,” the ministry said.

“Potential operational tasks for the VDV include supporting the defence of the Kremina-Svatove area in Luhansk Oblast or reinforcing offensive operations against the Donetsk oblast town of Bakhmut,” according to the defence ministry.

Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine, says US – Report

06:21 , Arpan Rai

Officials in the US are concerned that Russia could resort to chemical weapons in Ukraine, reported Politico.

According to the report, Vladimir Putin might use chemical weapons in Russia’s war against Ukraine before using the nuclear force in confrontation with Nato if his troops continue to face losses in the battlefield, the US administration officials said.

The threat of such an attack does not appear imminent, officials said citing the intelligence.

The speculated attack would involve chemicals that are easily concealed, making it more difficult for Western countries to pin on Moscow, one official told Politico.

Naked Vladimir Putin golden toilet sculpture up for auction

05:50 , Arpan Rai

A nude effigy of Russian president Vladimir Putin perched on top of an ornate golden toilet has been put up for auction by a group of Czech activists who plan to use the proceeds from the sale to buy and send a combat drone to Ukraine’s forces.

Parodying a monarch holding an orb and sceptre, the Russian leader grips a glided toilet brush and minature washing machine pouring with what appears to be fake blood.

“Naked Killers”, which also features Mr Putin’s close ally and Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, was initially created to critique the Russian leader’s opulent lifestyle, and has been adorned with several different props to reflect the changing circumstance of his rule since it was unveiled last year.

Read the full story here:

Feeling flush? Naked Vladimir Putin sculpture on golden toilet put up for auction

World cannot afford another nuclear catastrophe – UN official

05:44 , Arpan Rai

UN under-secretary general Rosemary DiCarlo warned the world leaders that avoidance of nuclear disaster at Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility in Ukraine despite heavy shelling was due to “sheer luck”.

“We remain deeply concerned about at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe. The reported shelling at the plant over the weekend is reckless and deplorable,” Ms DiCarlo told the UN security council today at the emergency meet called by Volodymyr Zelensky after relentless shelling by Russia yesterday.

“The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Monday that despite the severity of the shelling, key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns. This is a result of sheer luck,” the top UN official said.

We do not know how long this luck will last, she said, adding that the world cannot afford another nuclear catastrophe.

All military activities at and around the plant must cease immediately, the envoy said.

Russian strikes against civilian infrastructure are war crimes – Macron

05:31 , Arpan Rai

French president Emmanuel Macron has called the attacks on civilian infrastructure as war crimes, stating that they cannot go unpunished, just hours after explosions reverberated across Ukraine yesterday as Russia rained missiles on the country.

“Ukraine suffered massive shelling today, leaving much of the country without water or electricity. Strikes against civilian infrastructures are war crimes and cannot go unpunished,” Mr Macron said today.

He added: “With winter approaching, we will mobilise international support for Ukraine on 13 December to help that country remain resilient and to guarantee its energy access. We will not forget Moldova, which was also affected by water and electricity cuts.”

Ukraine ‘dreams of life without Putin’ – Ukrainian defence ministry

05:09 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian defence ministry has compared the war-hit country’s electricity crisis to the Earth Hour caused by the Russian attacks called by Vladimir Putin.

“In March, Earth Hour is held, when all over the world lights are switched off for an hour. Ukraine alone has been without light and heat for the whole world over. All of Ukraine dreams of an Hour, a Day, a Month, a Year, a Life without Putin,” the defence ministry said today.

Millions of Ukrainians suffer in biting cold after all of the country received snow last week but does not have power connection to access heaters, warm water and lights to survive the harsh weather conditions after incessant Russian attacks and shelling has led to a collapse of power grid.

Russia complains about Zelensky’s virtual appearance at UNSC

04:46 , Arpan Rai

Russian UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya questioned Ukrainian president’s virtual appearance at the UN security council meet called late yesterday and said it was against the council’s rules

The top Russian envoy also rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its a in the allies West.

He also said that the damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure was caused by missiles fired by Ukrainian air defence systems that crashed into civilian areas after being fired at Russia’s missiles, and called on the West to stop providing Kyiv with air defence missiles.

Fierce fight rages on in eastern Ukraine

04:39 , Arpan Rai

Fierce ground battles continue to engulf Ukraine’s eastern frontiers and regions where Russia has concentrated its military might along a stretch of front line west of the city of Donetsk.

Russian forces tried again to make advances on their main targets in the Donetsk region – Bakhmut and Avdiivka, Ukrainian general staff said. Both the regions have been heavily shelled by Russia which used incendiary devices to set Ukrainian positions ablaze but only achieved limited success, the general staff said.

In southern Ukraine, Russian forces are digging in on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, the general staff said. The shelling by Russia has continued on the west bank including the town of Kherson, which was recently reclaimed by Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine forced to shut nuclear power plants as six killed in Russian strikes

04:00 , Arpan Rai

At least six civilians were killed in Ukraine after a barrage of Russian missiles hit the country, forcing nuclear power plants to shut down as power was cut in Kyiv and several other regions.

Volodymyr Zelensky called for a meeting of the United Nations security council to discuss the damage to critical infrastructure caused by the Russian strikes – the latest in a relentless campaign that threatens to leave millions facing a freezing winter with severely limited access to heating and light.

“The murder of civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure are acts of terror,” Mr Zelensky said. “Ukraine will continue to demand a decisive response from the world to these crimes.”

Ukraine forced to shut nuclear power plants as six killed in Russian strikes

Putin gravely mistaken about Ukrainians, says US envoy

03:53 , Arpan Rai

The US envoy to the UN has said Russian president Vladimir Putin is “clearly weaponising winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people.”

“Putin has decided that if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he can freeze the country into submission by destroying its energy infrastructure. But he is, once again, gravely mistaken. The Ukrainian people will not be deterred,” the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

The top US envoy said: “No matter the cold and dark that Putin tries to inflict, Ukraine will continue to defend its freedom, its sovereignty, and its democracy.”

Washington and its allies will continue to stand with Ukraine in its time of need – for as long as it takes, Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

03:26 , Arpan Rai

Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Thursday, 24 November.