Categories
Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Russia hits Ukrainian energy, defence targets; heavy fighting in east

Advertisements | Advertising at The News And Times - advertising-newsandtimes.com - WE CONNECT!
Listen to this article
2022-11-18T11:53:30Z

Russian forces kept up a barrage of shell and missile attacks on various regions of Ukraine, many hitting power infrastructure, while heavy fighting persisted in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east of the country.

With the capital Kyiv seeing its first snow flurries of the winter, authorities said they were working to restore power nationwide after Russia earlier this week unleashed what Ukraine said was the heaviest bombardment of civilian infrastructure of the nine-month-old war.

About 10 million people are without power, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a Thursday evening video address, in a country with a pre-war population of about 44 million. He said authorities in some areas ordered forced emergency blackouts.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday its forces had used long-range weapons on Thursday to strike defence and industrial facilities, including “missile manufacturing facilities”.

Ukrainian forces in the past 24 hours downed two Russian cruise missiles, five air-launched missiles and five Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones, Ukraine’s military said.

Reuters was unable to verify battlefield reports.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine this winter due to power and water shortages. One of the European Commission’s three vice presidents, Valdis Dombrovskis, arrived in Kyiv on Friday to discuss emergency EU financial support for Ukraine in the coming months.

Pope Francis reiterated that the Vatican was ready to do anything possible to help end the conflict.

“We must all be pacifists,” he told Italian daily La Stampa. “Wanting peace, not just a truce that may only serve to rearm. Real peace, which is the fruit of dialogue.”

Investigators in areas of the Kherson region recaptured by Ukraine in a counter-offensive last week have uncovered 63 bodies bearing signs of torture after Russian forces left, Ukraine’s interior minister was quoted as saying.

The Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, released a video of what he said was a torture chamber used by Russian forces in the Kherson region, including a small room in which he said up to 25 people were kept at a time.

Reuters was unable to verify the claims – which included the use of electric shocks to secure confessions – made by Lubinets and others in the video. Russia denies its troops deliberately attack civilians or have committed atrocities.

Mass burial sites have been found in other parts previously occupied by Russian troops, including some with civilian bodies showing signs of torture.

A Reuters witness heard explosions in the centre of Kherson city on Friday morning and saw black smoke rising from behind buildings. Police blocked off access but the commotion did not seem to faze hundreds of people on the central square as they queued for humanitarian aid.

The square had been a frenetic melee of humanitarian aid queues and displays of patriotism on Thursday as residents celebrated their liberation from months of Russian occupation but the mood was also one of deep uncertainty.

“We’re fine, but we don’t know what to expect. Nothing is over yet. On that (east) bank of the river, the (Russian) forces are gathering. On this side, they are gathering. We are in the middle,” said Ihor, 48, an unemployed builder.

The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration said Russian forces had “plundered” the Kherson region before they withdrew last week.

“After a trip to the… Kherson region, one thing became clear – our people there need a lot of help. The Russians not only killed and mined but also robbed all the cities and villages. There is practically nothing there,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has moved some troops from Kherson to reinforce its positions in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine’s military said Russian forces had fired artillery on the towns of Bakhmut and nearby Soledar in the Donetsk region, among others.

Russian fire also hit Balakliya in northeastern Kharkiv region, which Ukraine recaptured in September, and Nikopol, a city on the opposite bank of the Kakhovka reservoir from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, the statement said.

The Ukraine conflict has plunged Russia’s relations with the United States and other Western allies into deep crisis.

In the first known high-level, face-to-face U.S.-Russian contact since the invasion of Ukraine, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns delivered a cautionary message this week during talks in the Turkish capital Ankara about the consequences for Moscow of any use of nuclear weapons.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Friday that the Ankara talks had helped to prevent “uncontrolled” escalation in the field. Erdogan again called for diplomatic efforts to end the war.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow did not rule out further high-level meetings with the United States on “strategic stability”, a term used to mean reducing the risk of nuclear war.

But Ryabkov also said there was nothing to talk about with Washington on the subject of Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said any summit between Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden was “out of the question at the moment”.

Separately, Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying on Friday that Russia hopes it can make a prisoner swap with the United States that would include convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death”.

Amid the deadliest war in Europe since World War Two, Russia and the United States are exploring a prisoner swap that would see imprisoned Americans including basketball star Brittney Griner return to the United States in exchange for Bout.

Related Galleries:

A Ukrainian serviceman fires a mortar on a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

Ritual workers load to a grave a coffin with the body of local resident Artem, who died during a Russian occupation, at the city’s cemetery after Russia’s retreat Kherson, Ukraine November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

People wait for food aid after Russia’s retreat from Kherson, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A Ukrainian serviceman fires a mortar on a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

A woman sits as people wait in line for food distribution after Russia’s retreat from Kherson, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A local resident walks past an apartment building heavily damaged in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict, in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

A woman wears a scarf with “Crimea is Ukraine” slogan printed on it, as people wait in line for food distribution after Russia’s retreat from Kherson, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People receive food aid after Russia’s retreat from Kherson, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People stand at the entrance of the regional council building after Russia’s retreat from Kherson, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. Graffiti on the wall reads “Glory to Ukraine”. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Pylons with high-voltage power lines are seen after Russia’s retreat Kherson, Ukraine November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Graves of people who died during a Russian occupation are seen at the city’s cemetery after Russia’s retreat Kherson, Ukraine November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building destroyed by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

Police officers carry fragments of the body found under debris of a residential house destroyed by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building destroyed by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

Pylons with high-voltage power lines are seen after Russia’s retreat Kherson, Ukraine November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

A view shows damages after an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, in this image obtained from social media by Reuters released on November 15, 2022. /via REUTERS

A view shows damages after an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, in this image obtained from social media by Reuters released on November 15, 2022. /via REUTERS

Police officers stand at a blockade after an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Police officers work at the site after explosions in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Police officers stand at a blockade after an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the media after an alleged Russian missile blast in Poland, in Bali, Indonesia, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller and Head of the Office of International Policy of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland Jacek Siewiera walk outside of National Security Bureau after a meeting of the security committee in connection with the missile attack on the territory of Poland, in Warsaw, Poland November 15, 2022. Maciek Jazwiecki/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

Police block a road, amid reports of two explosions, in Przewodow, Poland, November 15, 2022. Jakub Orzechowski/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

Police block a road, amid reports of two explosions, in Przewodow, Poland, November 15, 2022. Jakub Orzechowski/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. POLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN POLAND.

A Ukrainian national flag flies over the parliament building (Verkhovna Rada), in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Gusev

Smoke rises in the distance, amid reports of two explosions, seen from Nowosiolki, Poland, near the border with Ukraine November 15, 2022 in this image obtained from social media. Stowarzyszenie Moje Nowosiolki via REUTERS

A smoke rises over the city after Russian missile strikes, amid their attack on Ukraine in Lviv November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

Local residents gather near their residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Gusev

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

People speak with their smartphones on a bank of the Dnipro river after Russia’s retreat from Kherson, in Kherson, Ukraine November 14, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Advertisements | Advertising at The News And Times - advertising-newsandtimes.com - WE CONNECT!