Vladimir Putin says he speaks to soldiers in Ukraine on the phone
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Power has been restored to millions of people in Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky has said, after all of the nation’s four nuclear power plants were taken off-grid in the midst of a sustained Russian assault on energy infrastructure.
The plants have now been reconncted, according to the UN. However, six million Ukrainians remain without power – half the number who were plunged into darkness earlier this week, Mr Zelensky said.
It came as the British Ministry of Defence claimed that Russia is removing nuclear warheads from ageing cruise missiles designed in the 1980s and firing the unarmed munitions at Ukraine.
London belives that the weapons are unlikely to cause much damage and that Moscow is using them as decoys to divert Kyiv’s air defences, alleging that its use of the weapons highlights its depleted stocks.
Vladimir Putin’s forces are bombarding the key city of Kherson – territory they lost to Ukraine two weeks ago – and 15 people are alleged to have been killed there in the past six days.
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Belgium PM makes first visit to Ukraine
Alexander De Croo is visiting Kyiv for the first time as Belgium’s prime minister, as Volodymyr Zelensky hosts a summit on food security.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 13:38
Nine Russians released in prisoner exchange, says Moscow
Nine Russian prisoners of war have been released as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, Moscow’s defence ministry has said.
“As a result of the negotiation process, nine Russian servicemen who were in mortal danger in captivity were returned from the territory controlled by the Kyiv regime,” the ministry said in a statement reported by Russian news agencies.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 13:12
Zelensky hosts food security summit in Kyiv
Volodymyr Zelensky is hosting an international summit in Kyiv today to discuss food security and agricultural exports with the prime ministers of Belgium, Poland and Lithuania and the president of Hungary.
The Ukrainian president opened the summit by speaking at a panel flanked by his chief of staff and prime minister.
French president Emmanuel Macron and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also delivered speeches shown by video.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 12:46
Germany’s Scholz warns ‘hunger must never again be used as a weapon’
German chancellor Olaf Scholz has marked the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor famine – which killed more than three million people during the rule of Soviet leader Josef Stalin – by drawing parallels with the impact of the war on Ukraine on world food markets.
Exports from Ukraine have resumed under a UN-brokered deal but have still been far short of pre-war levels, driving up global prices.
“Today, we stand united in stating that hunger must never again be used as a weapon,” Mr Scholz said in a video message. “That is why we cannot tolerate what we are witnessing: The worst global food crisis in years with abhorrent consequences for millions of people – from Afghanistan to Madagascar, from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa.”
A World Food Programme ship is in the process of delivering Ukrainian grain to Ethiopia, and Germany is adding another €10m to efforts to help expedite shipments from Ukraine, Mr Scholz said.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 12:02
Kyiv hospital came close to evacuating patients after water supply hit, says official
One of Ukraine’s biggest state hospitals came close to evacuating some patients on Wednesday after Russian missiles impacted its water supply, the deputy chief of Kyiv’s military administration has said.
“Unfortunately, when the power goes off in Kyiv, the central water supply also often fails,” Vitaliy Vlasiuk told CNN. “A lack of water supply is critical.”
“Without water, it is difficult to run the hospital. First of all, sterilisation rooms suffer and [dialysis] is impossible to conduct,” he said.
“On Wednesday, the Kyiv Regional Clinical Hospital was on the edge of evacuating patients who require [dialysis] to other facilities, but in the afternoon the water supply was restored and everyone received the procedures vital for them.”
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 11:37
Vladimir Putin has met the mothers of soldiers who had been fighting in Ukraine, insisting that he and the entire Russian leadership shares their suffering.
“Russia is first and foremost about people, their culture, their traditions, their history, which is passed down from generation to generation and absorbed with mother’s milk,” the Russian president said.
“We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son – especially for a mother,” Mr Putin added, breathing heavily and frequently clearing his throat. “We share this pain.”
My colleague Matt Mathers has more in this report:
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 11:18
Angela Merkel says she lacked ‘power’ to influence Putin during final months in office
Germany’s former chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested she “didn’t have the power to get my way” with Vladimir Putin in the year preceding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ms Merkel, who stepped down in December, told Der Spiegel that she had attempted to organise European talks with Mr Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron during her last summer in office, but said: “I didn’t have the power to get my way … Really everyone knew: in autumn she’ll be gone.”
“The feeling was very clear: ‘In terms of power politics you’re finished’,” Ms Merkel said, adding: “For Putin, only power counts”.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 10:51
Ukraine warns of repeat of Holodomor famine
Ukraine’s ministry of defence has invoked the Holodomor famine on its 90th anniversary in claiming that a similar tragedy must be prevented now.
“The world couldn’t stop the Holodomor 90 years ago. The shame belongs to us all if we can’t prevent another one now,” the ministry added.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 10:26
Putin’s weapon stock ‘depleted’ as Russia ‘firing old nuclear missiles with warheads removed’
Vladimir Putin’s weapons arsenal is so “depleted” that Russia appears to be removing the nuclear warheads from ageing cruise missiles and firing the unarmed munitions at Ukraine, the UK has said.
The Kremlin is almost certainly hoping that such missiles “will function as decoys and divert Ukrainian air defences”, London believes.
Whatever Moscow’s intent, “this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia’s stock of long-range missiles”, the ministry said on Saturday.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 10:02
Russia ‘will pay’ for Soviet-era famine which left millions dead, says Kyiv
Russia will answer for a Soviet-era famine that left millions of Ukrainians dead during the winter of 1932-33, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office has said – as Kyiv marks the 90th anniversary of the tragedy.
“The Russians will pay for all of the victims of the Holodomor and answer for today’s crimes,” Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram, using the Ukrainian name for the famine, which translates to “death inflicted by starvation”.
In November 1932, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dispatched police to seize all grain and livestock from newly collectivised farms, including the seed needed to plant the next crop, and millions of Ukrainian peasants subsequently starved to death.
Russia rejects accusations that the deaths were caused by a deliberate genocidal policy, saying Russians and other ethnic groups had also suffered because of the famine.
However, Germany’s parliament is expected to vote overwhelmingly to recognise it as a genocide, following similar moves this week by Romania, Moldova and Ireland.
Andy Gregory26 November 2022 09:37