Wednesday, 16 November 2022 06:21

What to know after Day 266 of Russia-Ukraine war

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WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Two people died in an explosion in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine, firefighters said, with NATO allies investigating the cause.

* There were unconfirmed reports that Russian missiles landed on Polish territory.

* The Russian defence ministry denied the reports, describing them as "a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation".

* In Washington, the Pentagon said it could not confirm Russian missiles had landed in Poland.

FIGHTING

* Missiles hit cities including the capital Kyiv, Lviv and Rivne in the west, Kharkiv in the northeast, Kryvyi Rih and Poltava in the centre, Odesa and Mikolaiv in the south and Zhytomyr in the north, in what Kyiv said was the heaviest wave of missile strikes in nearly nine months of war.

* Civil servants working for the Russian-installed administration in Nova Kakhovka, the second-largest city in Ukraine's southern Kherson region, have left along with thousands of residents due to fighting, officials said.

Russia is now engaged in a defensive operation in Ukraine following its withdrawal from Kherson city, a Western official said, after President Zelenskiy vowed to reclaim all of Ukraine's occupied territory.

* The governor of the Belgorod region of southern Russia said that two people had been killed and three wounded by shelling in a town near the border with Ukraine.

* The U.N. human rights office (OHCHR) said that both Russia and Ukraine have tortured prisoners of war during the nearly nine-month conflict, citing examples including the use of electric shocks and forced nudity.

DIPLOMACY

* A Western-led push to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine dominated the Group of 20 (G20) summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, where leaders of major economies grappled with a dizzying array of issues from hunger to nuclear threats.

* European Union countries should work together in replenishing their military inventories and avoid competing with each other amid ongoing arms deliveries to Ukraine, the EU's top diplomat said.

* United Nations Secretary-General Guterres had a "very frank and open discussion" on the Black Sea grain deal with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at the G20, the United Nations said.

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russia has not carried out any strikes against targets near the Polish-Ukrainian border, the defense ministry in Moscow said on Tuesday, following reports of a missile striking the village of Przewodow and killing two civilians.

Some Western media outlets and politicians have claimed that Russia is responsible for the incident. However, no evidence has been provided to support such assertions.

Missile fragments, photos of which were published by Polish media outlets on the scene, “have nothing to do with Russian weapons,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Statements by the Polish media and officials about the alleged ‘Russian’ missiles falling in the area of the village of Przewodow are “a deliberate provocation in order to escalate the situation,” the Russian military added.

Poland convened an emergency meeting of its national security council on Tuesday evening, after reports that at least two civilians were killed when one or more missiles struck the village in the Lublin region, just across the border with Ukraine. 

While the AP reported that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland, citing an unnamed “senior US intelligence official,” the Pentagon declined to corroborate the claim.

“I can tell you that we don't have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further,” Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters, when asked about the Przewodow incident.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller called on the media and the public“not to publish unconfirmed information.”

Officials from the Baltic states blamed Russia and claimed that Poland should invoke NATO’s Article 5 in retaliation. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky accused Russia of “terrorism” and said NATO needed to “act” against this “attack on collective security.”

**The basis of Russia’s national identity is respect for the past and loyalty to long-standing traditions, President Vladimir Putin has suggested, accusing a number of states of aggressively attempting to rewrite world history.

Speaking at a government meeting on Tuesday, the Russian leader said that “the basis of our national identity has been and remains the continuity of generations, loyalty to traditions, and high spiritual and moral guidelines.”

Putin added that these guidelines were “reflected, supported, and developed” in Russia’s culture, creative spaces and all other aspects of everyday life and have even been defined on the governmental level.

Last week, Putin signed a decree on traditional values, which outlined the goal of state policy as the protection of Russia from socio-cultural threats. The document also defines traditional values as “moral guidelines that are passed down from generation to generation and outline Russia’s national identity.” They include: dignity, human rights and freedoms, patriotism, high moral ideals, strong family values, prioritizing the spiritual over the material, mercy, justice, mutual assistance and respect, shared historical memory, and national unity.

The decree also lists current threats to these values, such as the actions of the United States and other “unfriendly” countries, as well as a number of foreign NGOs. The document says these countries and organizations are engaged in the dissemination of a “destructive ideology, which leads to the formation of a society that neglects spiritual values and distorts historical truth.”

During his speech on Tuesday, Putin noted that attempts by a number of foreign countries to “rewrite and reshape world history” had grown more “aggressive”and sought to “shake” Russia’s sovereignty by dividing its people and depriving them of guidance.

According to the president, the “shaking” of the sovereignty of countries begins with historical “myths” as well as the distortion of history and erosion of values. “We’ve seen this scenario play out in a number of countries already, including in Ukraine,” he noted.

Putin added that this scenario was attempted in Russia as well, but the country managed to put up a strong enough barrier in time to defend its interests.

**Russia will achieve its goals in Ukraine by means of continuing the special military operation, as Kiev does not want to negotiate, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

"The main thing is the position which has been repeatedly stated by President [Vladimir] Zelensky, indicating that Ukraine, both de facto and de jure, cannot and does not want to conduct negotiations," Peskov told the media on Tuesday.

"Accordingly, Russia’s goals will be achieved by means of continuing the special military operation," Peskov stressed.

The Kremlin spokesman also commented on French President Emmanuel Macron's request to Chinese President Xi Jinping to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to return to the negotiating table for talks on a settlement in Ukraine.

"It goes without saying," Peskov replied to a question whether Kiev should be persuaded to return to negotiations first.

"For now, we do not see a negotiating table," Peskov said.

He added that the Kremlin had seen Zelensky's statements about a ten-point plan for achieving peace, made at the G20 summit.

Earlier, the Ukrainian leader addressed participants at the G20 summit by video link. He said that the time had come to stop the fighting, but added that Kiev would not sign the Minsk-3 deal. The Minsk agreements, reached in 2015, were conceived as the basis for a settlement in Donbass. Kiev procrastinated and refused to implement them for years. Then at a certain point it declared the political part of this package as unacceptable. Also, it refused to conduct a direct dialogue with the Donbass republics.

 

Reuters/RT/TASS