Russia fires missiles across Ukraine to knock out heat as winter looms
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[November 23, 2022]
By Bogdan Kochubey
KYIV (Reuters) - Russia rained down volleys of missiles across Ukraine
on Wednesday, hitting infrastructure in the capital Kyiv and other
cities as Moscow pursued its campaign to knock out Ukraine's power and
heat ahead of the looming winter.
Air raid sirens blared in a countrywide alert. Explosions could be heard
on the outskirts of Kyiv, where the mayor said infrastructure had been
hit, giving no immediate further details. Blasts were also reported in
other cities. Information about casualties was not immediately
Since October, Russia has repeatedly targeted electric power and heating
infrastructure. Moscow says the aim is to reduce Ukraine's ability to
fight; Kyiv says the intentional strikes on civilian infrastructure
constitute a war crime.
In an overnight video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced
special "invincibility centres" would be set up around Ukraine to
provide electricity, heat, water, internet, mobile phone connections and
a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock.
Russian attacks have knocked out power for long periods for up to 10
million consumers at a time. Ukraine's national power grid operator said
before Wednesday's attacks that more blackouts were necessary across the
"If massive Russian strikes happen again and it's clear power will not
be restored for hours, the 'invincibility centres' will go into action
with all key services," Zelenskiy said.
With the first snow of the winter falling, authorities have warned of
power cuts that could affect millions of people.
Russia's attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities follow a series of
battlefield setbacks that have included a retreat of its forces from the
southern city of Kherson to the east bank of the Dnipro River that
bisects the country.
A week after the city was retaken by Ukrainian forces, residents in
Kherson were tearing down Russian propaganda billboards and replacing
them with pro-Ukrainian signs.
"The moment our soldiers entered, these posters were printed and handed
over to us. We found workers to install the posters, and we clean up the
advertisement off as quickly as possible," said Antonina Dobrozhenska,
who works at the government’s communications department.
Russia has been striking Ukraine with expensive long-range cruise
missiles and with cheap Iranian-made drones. Britain's Defence Ministry
said on Wednesday there had been no public reports of Russia using
Iranian one-way attack drones since around Nov. 17, which it said was a
sign Moscow might be running out of them, and would try to get more.
Russian missiles hit a maternity hospital in the Zaporizhzhia region
killing a baby, the regional governor said on the Telegram messaging
Reuters was not able to independently verify the report. Russia denies
[to top of second column]
People wait in line to get food, water
and aid after Russia's military retreat from Kherson, outside the
Church of Christ the Savior in Kherson, Ukraine November 22, 2022.
Battles raged in the east, where Russia is pressing an offensive
along a stretch of front line west of the city of Donetsk, which has
been held by its proxies since 2014. The Donetsk region was the
scene of fierce attacks and constant shelling over the past 24
hours, Zelenskiy said.
OIL PRICE CAP
European officials were debating the details of a global price cap
on Russian oil, a U.S.-backed proposal taken up by the G7 group of
big economies and set to come into effect on Dec. 5 with the intent
of curbing Moscow's ability to fund the war.
While Western sanctions already mean Russian seaborne crude is now
mostly sold in Asia, the trade still mainly involves European
shippers and insurers who would be barred from transporting cargoes
above the capped price. Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries were
discussing the G7 proposal with the aim of reaching a common
position by the end of the day.
A European diplomat said the price cap being discussed would be in
the $65-70 per barrel range. Russia's Urals crude blend already
trades at around $70 a barrel, a steep discount to other benchmarks,
as a result of sanctions.
The European Parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday declaring
Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, although the move is largely
symbolic as the EU does not have a framework to take practical
action in response.
The World Health Organization warned this week that hundreds of
Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities lacked fuel, water and
"Ukraine's health system is facing its darkest days in the war so
far. Having endured more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim
of the energy crisis," Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for
Europe, said in a statement after visiting Ukraine.
Russia says it is carrying out a "special military operation" to
protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and the West call it
an unprovoked, imperialist land grab.
Western responses have included financial and military aid for Kyiv
- it received 2.5 billion euros ($2.57 billion) from the EU on
Tuesday and is expecting $4.5 billion in U.S. aid in coming weeks -
and waves of sanctions on Russia.
The BBC reported Britain is sending three helicopters to Ukraine,
the first piloted aircraft it has sent since the war began. Ukraine
will deploy them with Ukrainian crews trained in Britain, it said.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Oleksandr Kozhukhar and Maria Starkova
in Kyiv, Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg, Lidia Kelley in Sydney; Writing
by Rosalba O'Brien and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Cynthia Osterman,
Robert Birsel and Nick Macfie)
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