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Russia-Ukraine war: shelling forces Kherson hospitals to evacuate as UN warns millions plunged into hardship – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-11-25

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6.45pm GMT

Closing summary

It’s nearly 9pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • Much of Ukraine remained without electricity, heat and water two days after a devastating series of Russian missile attacks against civilian infrastructure. The Kyiv mayor, Vitaly Klitschko , said 60% of households in the city of 3 million had no power , and there were rolling blackouts around the country. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said basic utilities were gradually being restored, but there were problems with water supplies in 15 regions.

  • The EU will intensify efforts to provide Ukraine with support to restore and maintain power and heating, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said. In a statement after a phone call with Zelenskiy, she said the EU would provide 200 medium-sized transformers and a large autotransformer from Lithuania, a medium-sized autotransformer from Latvia and 40 heavy generators from the EU reserve in Romania.

  • The UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, said Russian strikes on critical infrastructure had killed at least 77 people since October. 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.

  • Hospital patients are being evacuated from Kherson city because of bombardment by Russian forces, said the governor of the region, Yaroslav Yanushevych. The recently recaptured city in the south of the country faced heavy shelling last night.

  • Russian strikes damaged a hospital in Zaporizhzhia overnight, the region’s governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said. 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.

  • 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. The UN’s nuclear watchdog confirmed that Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants had been reconnected to the national power grid after completely losing off-site power earlier this week.

  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has met a handpicked cadre of mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine in a carefully staged encounter meant to calm public anger over mobilisation. While dozens of ordinary mothers have gone public saying they were snubbed by the Kremlin, Putin sat down with a former government official, the mother of a senior military and police official from Chechnya, and other women active in pro-war NGOs financed by the state.

  • 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”.

  • Armenia has asked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to chair peace talks with Azerbaijan in a fresh challenge to Vladimir Putin’s increasingly loose grip on Russia’s regional allies in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The snub from a traditional ally to Putin comes immediately on the back of his disastrous summit with six former Soviet states.

  • EU diplomats are meeting this evening to resume talks on whether they can finalise a deal on a price level to cap Russian oil exports, according to a report by Bloomberg. European governments have failed so far to reach a deal on the price level for Russian oil. A G7 proposal for a cap of $65-$70 a barrel is seen as far too high by some, and too low by others.

  • Germany’s Bundestag is planning to pass a resolution declaring the starvation of millions of Ukrainians under Joseph Stalin a genocide . The resolution, which will be jointly brought to the vote next week by the three governing parties and conservative opposition leaders, aims to serve as a warning to Moscow as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter .

  • Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, travelled to Kyiv on Thursday to meet the Ukrainian leadership and promise the UK’s support for as long as it takes. In his first visit to Ukraine since his appointment as foreign secretary, Cleverly 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.

  • Two Swedish brothers, one who worked for the country’s security police and armed forces, went on trial in Stockholm today accused of spying for Russian intelligence between 2011 and 2021. Payam Kia, 35, and his brother Peyman Kia, 42, could face life sentences if found guilty.

Updated at 6.53pm GMT

6.38pm GMT

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has met mothers of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

Around a table laid with tea, cakes and bowls of fresh berries, he told them he shared in their suffering and the entire Russian leadership understood the pain of those who had lost their sons.

Advocates of soldiers’ families and rights groups have said Putin snubbed them for the meeting.

Valentina Melnikova, who has been an advocate for soldiers’ families for more than three decades, told the Guardian that “they didn’t invite us and we of course don’t want to go”.

Related: Putin talks to mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine in staged meeting

Updated at 6.55pm GMT

6.31pm GMT

A Swedish court has ordered a man to be remanded in custody on suspicion of illegal intelligence activities against Sweden and a foreign power.

The man, who has Russian roots, was arrested by police on Tuesday morning after a raid on a house in an affluent Stockholm suburb, Reuters reports. The suspected crimes were said to have taken place between July 2014 until the day of the arrest.

Prosecutors said a second person arrested in Tuesday’s raid had been released but remained a suspect. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Updated at 6.55pm GMT

6.01pm GMT

Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants reconnected after losing power, says IAEA

The UN’s nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants have been reconnected to the national power grid after completely losing off-site power earlier this week.

In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had been informed by Ukraine that its Rivne , South Ukraine and Khmelnytskyi plants had been reconnected. Power had also been restored to the Chernobyl site, it said.

Ukraine’s nuclear energy firm, Energoatom, said on Wednesday that a number of units were shut down at the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant in southern Ukraine because of a loss of power during Russian airstrikes.

Units were also not operating at the Khmelnytskyi plant in western Ukraine, according to a local official.

Updated at 6.03pm GMT

5.24pm GMT

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has also tweeted about his call with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and said the pair discussed cooperation on ensuring energy stability for his country.

Updated at 5.28pm GMT

5.13pm GMT

EU's Von der Leyen condemns Putin's 'deliberate and barbaric' bombing of Ukraine's civilian infrastructure

The EU will intensify efforts to provide Ukraine with support to restore and maintain power and heating, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said after a phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In a statement, she said the EU was preparing the delivery to Ukraine “as quickly as possible” of large donations from the bloc’s member states and from the commission’s reserves.

She said the EU would provide 200 medium-sized transformers and a large autotransformer from Lithuania, a medium-sized autotransformer from Latvia and 40 heavy generators from the EU reserve in Romania.

Each of these generators “can provide uninterrupted power to a small to medium-sized hospital”, she said.

She added that she expressed the EU’s “full solidarity” with the Ukrainian people at the hands of Vladimir Putin ’s “deliberate and barbaric bombing” of the country’s civilian infrastructure during her call with Zelenskiy.

Updated at 5.21pm GMT

5.02pm GMT

Two Swedish brothers, one who worked for the country’s security police and armed forces, went on trial in Stockholm today accused of spying for Russian intelligence between 2011 and 2021.

Payam Kia, 35, and his brother Peyman Kia, 42, were detained last year on suspicion of providing the Russian intelligence agency, GRU, with classified information over a period of a decade.

Prosecutors say the older brother is also charged with gross unauthorised handling of secret information. According to Swedish media, he previously worked for the Office for Special Information Gathering (KSI), the most secret section of the military secret service.

Both men have previously denied all allegations.

In his opening statement, the prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist told the court:

This case is unique in many ways … We haven’t had a trial like this in more than 20 years.

He said the information obtained, transmitted and divulged was “extremely sensitive material”, while his co-prosecutor Per Lindqvist said the sharing of it could be “detrimental to Sweden’s national security”.

The trial is expected to run until at least 12 December and will mostly take place behind closed doors because of national security concerns. The brothers could face life sentences if found guilty.

In a separate case, Swedish police this week arrested two people on suspicion of espionage.

Updated at 5.08pm GMT

4.41pm GMT

EU to resume talks on price for Russian oil cap - report

EU diplomats are meeting this evening to resume talks on whether they can finalise a deal on a price level to cap Russian oil exports, sources have told Bloomberg.

European governments have failed so far to reach a deal on the price level for Russian oil. A G7 proposal for a cap of $65-$70 a barrel is seen as far too high by some, and too low by others.

Six of the EU’s 27 member countries opposed the price cap level proposed by the G7, Reuters cited diplomats as saying on Thursday.

Updated at 5.41pm GMT

4.18pm GMT

Vladimir Putin has met a handpicked cadre of mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine for a carefully staged meeting meant to calm public anger over mobilisation.

While dozens of ordinary mothers have gone public saying they were snubbed by the Kremlin, Putin sat down with a former government official, the mother of a senior military and police official from Chechnya, and other women active in pro-war NGOs financed by the state.

The Guardian has managed to confirm the identifies of at least three of the women who met with Putin on Friday in a highly publicised meeting at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo on the outskirts of Moscow.

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Vladimir Putin addresses mothers of Russian soldiers at a meeting on Friday. Photograph: Alexander Shcherbak/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

None of the women are critical of the war against Ukraine and several have publicly sought to quell fears about the poor treatment, inadequate training and dangers faced by Russian troops being mustered to be sent to the front.

Yet the very fact of the meeting showed that the Kremlin is worried about the perception of its mobilisation at home.

“It is clear that life is more complicated and diverse than what is shown on TV screens or even on the internet – you can’t trust anything there at all, there are a lot of all sorts of fakes, deception, lies,” Putin told the women, who were seated around a large, oval table.

This is why we have gathered with you, that’s why I proposed this meeting, because I wanted to listen to you first-hand.

One of the women sitting next to Putin was Olesya Shigina, an ultra-conservative Russian poet, film-maker and activist who recently travelled to the Donbas region to direct a pro-war film featuring Russian troops.

Read the full story by my colleagues Andrew Roth and Pjotr Sauer here:

Related: Putin talks to mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine in staged meeting

Updated at 4.25pm GMT

4.06pm GMT

Summary of the day so far

It’s just past 6pm in Kyiv. Here’s where things stand:

  • Much of Ukraine remained without electricity, heat and water two days after a devastating series of Russian missile attacks against the country’s civilian infrastructure. The Kyiv mayor, Vitaly Klitschko , said 60% of households in the city of 3 million had no power, and there were rolling blackouts around the country. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said basic utilities were gradually being restored, but there were problems with water supplies in 15 regions.

  • The UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, said Russian strikes on critical infrastructure had killed at least 77 people since October. 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.

  • Hospital patients are being evacuated from Kherson city because of bombardment by Russian forces, the governor of the region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, said. The recently recaptured city in the south of the country faced heavy shelling last night.

  • Russian strikes have damaged a hospital in Zaporizhzhia overnight, the region’s governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said. 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.

  • 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, encouraged Ukrainians to save energy where possible.

  • Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has met with a handpicked cadre of mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine for a carefully staged meeting meant to calm public anger over mobilisation. While dozens of ordinary mothers have gone public saying they were snubbed by the Kremlin, Putin sat down with a former government official, the mother of a senior military and police official from Chechnya, and other women active in pro-war NGOs financed by the state.

  • 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”.

  • Armenia has asked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to chair peace talks with Azerbaijan in a fresh challenge to Vladimir Putin’s increasingly loose grip on Russia’s regional allies in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The snub from a traditional ally to Putin comes immediately on the back of his disastrous summit with six former Soviet states.

  • Germany’s Bundestag is planning to pass a resolution declaring the starvation of millions of Ukrainians under Joseph Stalin a genocide . The resolution, which will be jointly brought to the vote next week by the three governing parties and conservative opposition leaders, aims to serve as a “warning” to Moscow as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter .

  • Britain’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, travelled to Kyiv on Thursday to meet the Ukrainian leadership and promise the UK’s support for as long as it takes. In his first visit to Ukraine since his appointment as foreign secretary, Cleverly 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.

Good afternoon from London, it’s Léonie Chao-Fong still with you on the Russia-Ukraine war blog. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.

Updated at 4.24pm GMT

3.49pm GMT

Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said Russian attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure are a sign of President Vladimir Putin’s “desperation”.

Putin is targeting Ukraine’s power grid and other civilian infrastructure to “mask” his military failures, Wallace told reporters during a visit to a shipyard in Glasgow.

He urged Ukrainians to “press the momentum to keep pushing Russia back”, adding:

On the civil front, they’ve got to protect that national infrastructure that Putin is deliberately targeting in the hope that he wrecks their economy and it means they struggle very greatly during the winter.

Targeting civilian infrastructure is illegal under international law, he said, adding that the UK is “not going to let that type of bullying and brutality be successful”.

Despite recent signs of Moscow’s failures, such as the withdrawal from Kherson and the firing of a slew of Russian commanders, Wallace warned against underestimating the Russian leader.

He said:

Russia is a country that at the moment does not care about its own people and which young men it sends to their deaths, and it will just keep on pushing those people in.

Updated at 5.42pm GMT

3.40pm GMT

Mediazone, an independent Russian website founded by two of the people who started the protest group Pussy Riot, has published an account written by a soldier in the 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade in the Russian army.

They claim that the brigade has had 900 casualties in fighting near Pavlivka , south-west of Donetsk. An open letter from the brigade has previously accused military leaders of the loss of 300 men.

Now the new testimony, which the Guardian has not been able to verify, includes claims by an anonymous member of the brigade that 450-500 men were killed in three months of fighting.

“Everyone is demoralised. Nobody is celebrating, because so many of our guys are dead. Personally, I lost four friends in just two days,” it says.

The soldier says that despite the losses, generals won’t change tactics and have given medals out in an attempt to appease members of the brigade.

The soldier adds:

People are thinking of deserting, and I understand it, I am now contemplating the same idea. I have always served the motherland faithfully and used to condemn this kind of thinking, but now it is probably the only way we can stay alive.

Updated at 3.41pm GMT

3.30pm GMT

The US has donated 22,500 blankets for warming centres run by Ukraine’s railway company, Ukrzaliznytsia, as temperatures plummet and millions are still without reliable access to power, the US ambassador to Kyiv, Bridget Brink, said.

The thermal blankets will be used at heating points at almost 100 railway stations across Ukraine, as part of a project implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

3.12pm GMT

Armenia has asked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to chair peace talks with Azerbaijan in a fresh challenge to Vladimir Putin ’s increasingly loose grip on Russia’s regional allies in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The snub from a traditional ally to Putin, who had hosted an inconsequential meeting of the warring countries ’ leaders last month, comes immediately on the back of his disastrous summit with six former Soviet states.

During a “family” photograph of leaders of countries in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in Yerevan on Wednesday, Armenia’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, stepped away from Putin, who had been standing to his left.

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Vladimir Putin appears to comment on the gap between himself and Nikol Pashinyan during the ‘family’ photograph at the CSTO summit on Wednesday. Photograph: Getty Images

Pashinyan then refused to sign a summit declaration, as he railed against the recent failures of the CSTO, which ties Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan into a mutual defence agreement.

Read the full story here:

Related: Putin’s grip on regional allies loosens again after Armenia snub

2.56pm GMT

Much of Ukraine still without power, heat and water

As attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure continues, here’s our world affairs editor Julian Borger’s dispatch from Kyiv.

Much of Ukraine remained without electricity, heat and water two days after a devastating series of Russian missile attacks against the country’s civilian infrastructure.

The Kyiv mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, said 60% of households in the city of 3 million had no power, and there were rolling blackouts around the country, as engineers struggled to repair transformers and transmission lines damaged or destroyed by cruise missiles on Wednesday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said basic utilities were gradually being restored, but there were problems with water supplies in 15 regions.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk , said Russian strikes on critical infrastructure had killed at least 77 people since October.

Read more:

Related: Much of Ukraine still without power, heat and water after missile attacks

Updated at 5.42pm GMT

2.40pm GMT

Hospital patients being evacuated from Kherson, says governor

More on the shelling in Kherson ( see 12:21pm ), where the governor of the region said that patients are being evacuated from the city’s hospitals because of bombardment by Russian forces.

It comes on the same day that a hospital in Zaporizhzhia was damaged overnight. There were no injuries but dozens of windows have been broken

Now Yaroslav Yanushevych has posted on his Telegram site: “Due to constant Russian shelling, we are evacuating hospital patients from Kherson.”

Children at the Kherson regional clinical hospital will be transported to Mykoliav, and 100 patients at a Kherson regional psychiatric centre will now be treated in Odesa.

Updated at 3.36pm GMT

1.58pm GMT

The US space agency Nasa has released satellite images showing the extent of the energy crisis facing Ukraine following a barrage of Russian strikes on the country’s civilian infrastructure.

Night-time satellite images taken from space on Wednesday show the majority of Ukraine in darkness, compared with neighbouring countries in Europe.

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A greyscale satellite image indicating the night radiance of Europe from space on 23 November. Photograph: NASA/Reuters

Updated at 2.07pm GMT

1.49pm GMT

My colleague Andrew Roth has more on President Vladimir Putin ’s meeting with mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine earlier today.

He notes that one of the mothers in the behind-closed-doors meeting has two sons in active service, including a local police chief who threatened men who were dodging mobilisation that they wouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets if he returned.

1.41pm GMT

Germany’ s Bundestag is planning to pass a resolution declaring the starvation of millions of Ukrainians under Joseph Stalin a genocide, a move that parliamentarians hope will serve as a “warning” to Moscow as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter .

The resolution, which will be jointly brought to the vote next week by the three governing parties and the conservative opposition leaders, will describe the 1932-1933 Holodomor as part of “a list of inhuman crimes by totalitarian systems that extinguished millions of human lives in Europe in the first half of the 20th century”.

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Ukrainians remember the victims of Holomodor in Kyiv in November 2021. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

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

The victims of the Holodomor – Ukrainian for “death by starvation” – are traditionally commemorated in Ukraine on the last Saturday of November.

Kyiv regards the historical event as part of a deliberate campaign by Stalin’s regime to collectivise agriculture and root out Ukraine’s fledging nationalist movement. Historians estimate between 4 and 7.5 million people were killed in the human-made disaster.

Moscow has rejected Kyiv’s version of history, placing the deaths in the broader context of famines that devastated regions of Central Asia and Russia .

Read the full story here:

Related: Germany set to declare starvation of Ukrainians under Stalin a genocide

1.18pm GMT

Ukraine’s national energy grid operator, Ukrenergo, has said the battle to restore power to homes is being slowed by “strong winds, rain and sub-zero temperatures at night”.

In a statement on Facebook, the company said “more than 70% of the country’s consumption needs” were covered with priority given to critical infrastructure facilities.

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A woman walks in Kyiv city centre on Thursday which lost electrical power following a Russian rocket attack. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

The statement continued:

Reconnection of household consumers is ongoing. Difficult weather conditions are slowing the pace of reconnection: due to strong wind, rain and sub-zero temperatures at night, icing and broken wires in distribution (oblenergo) networks are added to the damage caused by russian missiles.

Repair crews are working “around the clock to eliminate damage” following Russian targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, it added.

Updated at 1.20pm GMT

12.58pm GMT

Putin tells mothers of soldiers fighting in Ukraine that he has no regrets

Vladimir Putin has met with mothers of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, telling them that he had no regrets about launching his “special military operation” and said he shared in their suffering.

In a pre-recorded meeting broadcast on state media, the president told the soldiers’ mothers not to believe everything they see on television or read on the internet, claiming there were many “fakes” circulating about the conflict.

Sitting with the group of mothers around a table with tea, cakes and bowls of fresh berries, Putin said he and the entire Russian leadership understood and shared the pain of those who had lost their sons fighting in Ukraine.

Putin said:

I would like you to know that, that I personally, and the whole leadership of the country – we share your pain.

He added:

We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son – especially for a mother. We share this pain.

He said he had no regrets about launching what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine, casting the war as a watershed moment when Moscow finally stood up to western hegemony.

The mothers’ comments to the president were not immediately shown in the recorded television clip.

Updated at 1.15pm GMT

12.43pm GMT

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.

Updated at 1.17pm GMT

12.21pm GMT

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.

12.13pm GMT

Videos appearing to show Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian POWs 'likely to be authentic', says UN human rights chief

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.

Updated at 1.06pm GMT

11.59am GMT

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.

11.53am GMT

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.

11.20am GMT

11.12am GMT

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 ).

Updated at 11.15am GMT

10.56am GMT

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 would hit 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”.

Updated at 12.12pm GMT

10.24am GMT

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.

Updated at 10.42am GMT

9.53am GMT

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.

Updated at 10.43am GMT

9.30am GMT

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.

Updated at 9.33am GMT

9.28am GMT

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.”

Updated at 12.28pm GMT

9.17am GMT

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has been speaking at a press conference this morning, ahead of a foreign ministers’ meeting in Romania next week.

Stoltenberg said it would continue its support for Ukraine and increase “non-lethal” aid, Reuters reports.

“Nato will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down,” he told reporters in Brussels. “Many wars end in negotiations, but what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield.”

He added that there was “no lasting peace” if Russia won, and also said Finland and Sweden should be welcomed as “fully fledged” members of the alliance.

Updated at 9.22am GMT

8.51am GMT

The UK’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, has tweeted this photograph of him meeting Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday morning.

Updated at 9.23am GMT

8.30am GMT

The BBC has interviewed Ukrainian president Voldymyr Zelenskiy’s wife, Olena Zelenska , where she refers to the long road ahead for Ukrainians amid the Russian invasion.

She compared the situation to a foot race, saying: “You know, it is easy to run a marathon when you know how many kilometres there are,” but adding that unlike a marathon, the Ukrainian war effort is indeterminable.

“Sometimes it can be very difficult. But there are some new emotions that help us to hold on.”

Zelenska also talked of the difficulty she faced because of the separation from her husband. The Russian forces had designated Zelenskiy and his family as targets. “I live separately with my children and my husband lives at work,” she said. “Most of all, we miss simple things – to sit, not looking at the time, as long as we want.”

Speaking to the BBC’s chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, for the broadcaster’s 100 Women season, Zelenska said the Ukrainians are determined to fight on.

“We all understand that without victory, there will be no peace. It would be a false peace and wouldn’t last long.”

Updated at 9.24am GMT

8.13am GMT

The UK’s foreign secretary is visiting Ukraine today. Our diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour has this.

The UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly , travelled to Kyiv on Thursday to meet the Ukrainian leadership and promise 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 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.

With Kyiv under regular bombardment, his visit, which follows a trip to the Ukrainian capital by Rishi Sunak on Saturday, was conducted with a high level of security.

The new Conservative leadership is eager to reassure the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, that Boris Johnson’s departure from No 10 will not lead to waning levels of British moral, military and financial support.

Cleverly said: “As winter sets in, Russia is continuing to try and break Ukrainian resolve through its brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals and energy infrastructure. Russia will fail.”

Related: UK foreign secretary visits Kyiv to reaffirm support for Ukraine

Updated at 8.17am GMT

7.44am GMT

It’s just gone 9.30am in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, where some of its residents have woken up without electricity.

Last night, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, spoke out against “energy terror” by Russia, as it repeatedly seeks to take out the country’s power infrastructure.

Kyiv’s major, Vitali Klitschko, told citizens that energy companies would try to get electricity back on for customers on a three-hour rotating basis. He said that half of the city is still without power.

Updated at 7.54am GMT

7.16am GMT

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.

Updated at 7.44am GMT

6.38am GMT

Forbes Ukraine estimates that Russia has spent $82bn – or a quarter of its annual budget – on its war in Ukraine, which has lasted nine months so far.

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.

In 2021, all budget revenues of Russia amounted to $340bn. That is, the Russian Federation has already spent a quarter of last year’s revenues on military operations.

If in the spring such costs could look quite acceptable, considering that the Russian Federation received about $1bn a day for oil and gas. Now the situation is different.

The revenues of the federal budget of the Russian Federation from the export of oil and gas are decreasing – Russia has already lost most of the European gas market after the Nord Stream supply was cut off. Sanctions on Russian oil will begin in December.

Updated at 11.08am GMT

6.16am GMT

Oil prices rose in Asia on Friday after a week marked by worries about Chinese demand and haggling over a western price cap on Russian oil, Reuters reports.

Brent crude futures rose by 28 cents, or 0.33%, to trade at $85.62 a barrel at 0410 GMT.

G7 and European Union diplomats have been discussing levels for a Russian price cap of between $65 and $70 a barrel, with the aim of limiting revenue to fund Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine without disrupting global oil markets.

“The market considers (the price caps) too high which reduces the risk of Moscow retaliating,” ANZ Research analysts said in a note to clients.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has said Moscow will not supply oil and gas to any countries that join in imposing the price cap, which the Kremlin reiterated on Thursday.

Trading is expected to remain cautious ahead of an agreement on the price cap, due to come into effect on 5 December when an EU ban on Russian crude kicks off, and ahead of the next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, on 4 December.

Updated at 6.56am GMT

6.08am GMT

Russian strikes damage hospital in Zaporizhzhia

Russian strikes have damaged a hospital in Zaporizhzhia overnight, the region’s governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said on Telegram.

He wrote:

The enemy again attacked the suburbs of Zaporizhzhia. This time the rockets hit near the hospital. Fortunately, people were not injured, the same cannot be said about the building. Dozens of broken windows.

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.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the Financial Times that this week’s strikes had created a situation not seen for 80 or 90 years: “A country on the European continent where there was totally no light.”

By early Thursday evening, officials said a reactor at one nuclear plant, Khmelnytskyi, had been reconnected to the grid.

The vast Zaporizhzhia plant in Russian-held territory was reconnected on Thursday, Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom said.

Updated at 7.33am GMT

5.52am GMT

Summary

This is the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest as it happens for the next while.

Russian strikes have damaged a hospital in Zaporizhzhia overnight, the region’s governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said on Telegram.

On Thursday night, more than 24 hours after Russian strikes had devastated Kyiv’s infrastructure, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said 60% of homes were still suffering emergency outages. Water services had been fully restored however, said city officials.

Here are the other key recent developments:

  • 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.

  • Ukraine expected the three nuclear power plants would be operating again by Thursday evening, energy minister German Galushchenko said.

  • 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.

  • 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 would hit Russia where it hurts to blunt even further its capacity to wage war on Ukraine”.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr 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. Seven people were killed and 21 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.

  • 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”.

  • Ground battles continue to rage in eastern Ukraine , where Russia is pressing an offensive along a stretch of frontline west of the city of Donetsk, which has been held by its proxies since 2014.

Comments / 86

Be your best
11-25

They already should have run out of soldiers…. Same as back in April, it was been said Russia was runing out of shells- ships- airplanes and they would have no way to fight.. Our new media is all propaganda!! Russia is fighting NATO and Ukraine at the same time and our government wants the war to go on and on so arms are sold!

Reply(9)
14
seadogpirate
11-25

vladolf putuler is getting just as desperate as the other guy was when he was sending v1 and v2 rockets towards the british

Reply
7
Frank F. Stoneham
11-25

Time to give Ukraine longer range missiles and let them knock out Russian infrastructures.

Reply(23)
16

Comments / 0