Tuesday, 29 November 2022 06:00

What to know after Day 279 of Russia-Ukraine war

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WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

The United States will announce new aid on Tuesday to help Ukraine restore electricity as its people face another week of brutal cold and darkness after Russian strikes on its power grid caused rolling blackouts.

DIPLOMACY

* A communications line created between the militaries of the United States and Russia at the beginning of Russia's war against Ukraine has been used only once, a U.S. official told Reuters. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the United States initiated a call through the "deconfliction" line to communicate its concerns about Russian military operations near critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

* Nuclear disarmament talks between Russia and the United States set to take place this week have been postponed, Russia's foreign ministry and the U.S. Embassy said.

POWER SUPPLY

* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned Ukrainians to expect another brutal weekof cold and darkness, predicting that Russia's attacks on infrastructure would not stop until it runs out of missiles.

* Kyiv plans to put up Christmas trees, without lights, throughout the battered city in a defiant display of holiday spirit as the area's millions of residents suffer through blackouts, officials said.

* Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz has asked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help with additional natural gas volumes for the heating season, Oleksiy Chernyshov, the company's chief executive said.

BATTLEFIELD

* Russian forces shelled 30 settlements in Ukraine's southern Kherson region 258 times in the past week, Zelenskiy said.

* In an evening update on Monday, Ukraine's military said Russia kept up heavy shelling of key targets Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Donetsk province, and to the north bombarded Kupiansk and Lyman, both recaptured recently by Kyiv.

* The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is still under Russian control and will remain so, the Kremlin said, after a Ukrainian official suggested Russian forces were preparing to leave.

* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

* The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted onto abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines as the West struggles to meet demand for more arms.

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

 

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko has warned there may be a partial evacuation of the Ukrainian capital, as the authorities expect more blackouts well into next year. Over the past several weeks, Russian missile strikes have significantly battered the country’s power grid.

In an interview with media outlet RBK-Ukraine published on Monday, Klitschko said that following the latest Russian missile strikes on Wednesday, the Kiev authorities managed to restore water supplies and ensure that all residential buildings were being heated by Saturday morning. The power for most homes was also largely restored within a few days, the official said.

However, despite the authorities’ efforts to prevent a massive, city-wide power outage, the city is “preparing for various scenarios.

When asked by journalists to comment on reports in the German media about evacuation contingency plans, Klitschko replied: “I don’t rule out the worst scenario. There won’t be a complete evacuation – maybe a partial one, but you can’t really call it an evacuation.” He explained that this would be a “temporary relocation of certain categories of people to the outskirts where there might be services.

The mayor, however, renewed calls for people to move to their summer houses “where there is water, a fireplace.

Klitschko also acknowledged that while the authorities in Kiev hope to restore damaged energy infrastructure in a matter of weeks with the help of Western equipment, “we should be prepared for the fact that outages could continue until the spring.

Last Wednesday, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, claimed that “damage to residential buildings and civilian casualties are really happening because of the Ukrainian air defenses, which are deployed not in cities’ suburbs, but rather in [city] centers.

He went on to cite as an example a missile strike on a residential building in the city of Vyshgorod earlier that same day, which claimed the lives of seven civilians, leaving dozens more injured.

Nebenzia claimed that the building had been hit with “American air defense missiles supplied to Kiev.

Russian officials have made similar claims before, suggesting that it was mostly faulty Ukrainian air defense missiles that caused civilian casualties.

Following the latest round of aerial bombardment in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry insisted that it had not struck any targets in Kiev.

The Kremlin stated that Russian forces only hit targets that are connected with Ukraine’s military capabilities.

 

Reuters/RT