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

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

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 and force them to abandon Ukraine by driving up global energy costs.

“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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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

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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.”

(Reuters)

Liam James30 November 2022 14:36

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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

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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

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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

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‘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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Ukraine probes church over suspected Russian links

Ukraine’s SBU security service conducted another search of a monastery in the west of the country today in what it said was an operation to counter suspected “subversive activities by Russian special services.”

The search, in the Mukachevo diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Transcarpathia, was the latest in a series of raids conducted in the past week as Russia‘s war in Ukraine entered its tenth month.

The historically Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church announced a formal severing of ties with Moscow in May, but is still mistrusted by many Ukrainians and frequently accused of secret co-operation with Russia.

In the latest search, the SBU said it had inspected the territory and premises of the monastery in the Mukachevo diocese to identify prohibited items and carried out checks on people “regarding their involvement in illegal activities to the detriment of the state sovereignty of Ukraine.”

It did not say what was uncovered or whether anyone had been detained.

Reuters30 November 2022 11:34

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Frozen Russian assets could be used to rebuild Ukraine, says EU chief

Watch Ursula von der Leyen’s statement earlier in which she proposed seizing frozen Russian assets, investing the money and using the proceeds to fund the rebuilding of Ukraine:

Frozen Russian assets could be used to rebuild Ukraine, says EU chief

Liam James30 November 2022 10:57

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Russia to focus on nuclear arms infrastructure next year – report

Russia’s defence minister said on Wednesday that Moscow will pay special attention to construction of infrastructure related to its nuclear forces in 2023, state media reported.

“When preparing the list of major construction facilities for 2023, special attention will be paid to construction in the interests of the strategic nuclear forces,” defence minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.

RIA quoted him as saying that facilities were being built to accommodate new missile systems at five military complexes.

Liam James30 November 2022 10:23

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Russian and Chinese warplanes rattle South Korea

South Korea said it mobilised military aircraft after two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its airspace in a joint patrol today.

Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency said, citing the Kremlin’s defence ministry, that a group of Russian Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers and Chinese Hun-6K strategic bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea.

The report said the patrol jets were at times accompanied by foreign aircraft, though the defence ministry stressed the patrol respected foreign airspace boundaries and acted in accordance with international law at all times.

According to Reuters, Moscow and Beijing do not recognise South Korea’s air defence zone, with China saying it is not territorial airspace and all countries should enjoy freedom of movement there.

Russian planes landed in China and the Chinese planes landed in Russia, according to RIA, in what the agency said was a first for the joint patrols.

In May, Japan raised alarm over the frequency of Russia and China’s flight patrols which began as an annual event in 2019 but have taken place every six months since last November.

File photo: Russian TU-95MS missile carriers fly over Red Square in Moscow’s victory parade in 2019

(Getty)

Liam James30 November 2022 09:41



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