Day 268 of the Invasion of Ukraine: 10 Million Ukrainians without Electricity due to Russian strikes

World » UKRAINE | November 18, 2022, Friday // 11:48
Bulgaria: Day 268 of the Invasion of Ukraine: 10 Million Ukrainians without Electricity due to Russian strikes Kyiv

Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

ISW: Putin won't stop until he conquers Kyiv

The talks cannot end Russia's war against Ukraine, but only temporarily stop it, a report by the Institute for the Study of War states.

In its daily assessment of the conflict, the Washington-based think tank argued that the resumption of the Russian invasion in February after an eight-year "ceasefire" marked by deadly attacks was an indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not rest until he conquers Kyiv. On the other hand, the Ukrainian resistance to the invasion showed that the Ukrainians would not surrender easily, said the summary published on the website of the Institute for the Study of War, cited by BTA.

The conflict is intractable as long as "Putinism" rules in the Kremlin, commented ISW. According to them, the negotiations will not end the war, but can only create the conditions under which the Russian president or his "Putinist" successor will plan a renewed attack on Ukraine's independence.

The institute advises Western powers, before possibly pressuring Ukraine to seek talks with Russia, to study the terms it might offer, the dangers of offering those terms and, more importantly, the likelihood that Putin will accept them.

Yesterday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the authorities in Kyiv of not wanting to negotiate with Moscow. On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on G20 leaders via video conference to support his country's peace proposal.

Meanwhile, Britain's military intelligence announced at its morning briefing that the priority of the Russian military in the occupied parts of Ukraine remains the preparation of defense lines - and not only in the Kherson region, as the Institute for the Study of War writes.

After withdrawing from the right bank of the Dnieper River, the Russian military continues to prioritize rearmament, reorganization and defense preparation in most areas of Ukraine, the report said.

The Russians have installed new trench systems near the border with Crimea, as well as the North Donets River between Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Some of these locations are located up to 60 km from the current front line, suggesting that the Russian military is preparing for further major breakthroughs by Ukrainian forces, the report said, cited by the BBC.

At the same time, British intelligence does not exclude the possibility that Russia will try to move part of the forces withdrawn from Kherson to expand its offensive operations near the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

According to ISW analysts, the Ukrainian army is likely to find it difficult to develop an offensive in the eastern part of the Kherson region on the left bank of the Dnieper River, where the Russian military withdrew in November. However, experts believe that the Ukrainian army can prevent the Russians from strengthening their defense lines in the occupied part of the Kherson region.

Several major land lines of communication with other Russian-controlled territories in southern Ukraine pass through the eastern part of the region - Nova Kakhovka-Armyansk, Nova Kakhovka-Genichesk, and the M14 highway, which leads east to Melitopol, Berdyansk, and Mariupol. Satellite images show Russian troops taking up defensive positions along some of these lines.

The limited number of roads and railways in the area connecting Crimea to the mainland creates potential bottlenecks that could be vulnerable to a possible Ukrainian military advance. The question is whether Russia will be able to continue supplying its group in the eastern part of the Kherson region and other regions.

Earlier, ISW reported attacks on similar bottlenecks on the right bank of the Dnieper River, from which the Russian military was forced to withdraw.

"Ukrainian forces will likely struggle to achieve such dramatic results in eastern Kherson Oblast, but may succeed in thwarting Russia's efforts to strengthen and hold its new defensive lines," the report's authors said.

10 million Ukrainians without electricity due to Russian strikes

10 million Ukrainians are without power due to Russia's ongoing massive airstrikes against Ukraine's energy infrastructure. This provoked the International Atomic Energy Agency to ask Russia to stop all its actions on the territory of the Ukrainian nuclear sites.

More than 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity, announced President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. The situation in Kyiv is particularly difficult, he stressed.

The national energy operator "Ukrenergo" has announced an extension of the power outages due to the worsening of the situation.

Russia continued yesterday to shell energy facilities in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odesa, and the Ukrainian army managed to shoot down six missiles and five drones, Zelensky emphasized.

The Kremlin justified the continued missile strikes with Kyiv's reluctance to start peace talks with Moscow.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the idea of ​​public peace talks and added that if the United States was willing, it could influence Kyiv to become more compliant.

Ukrainian President Zelensky also commented on the verdicts for the downing of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine in 2014, when nearly 300 people died. Two Russians and a Ukrainian were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in the case.

"This is not a solution to just three murderers. Russia has lied a lot about this catastrophe, but nevertheless the basic facts have been established. Now the executives have been convicted and the basis has been laid for the conviction of the guilty and at a higher level. Those who carry the full personal responsibility for the crime of aggression against Ukraine - the initial crime that gave rise to all the others committed by the Russians since 2014. This is the thing without which it is impossible to prevent the world from repeating wars like the Russian aggression against our country."

Washington to Kyiv: Be more careful with comments about the missile incident in Poland

The assistant to the US president for national security, Jake Sullivan, has recommended that the Ukrainian leadership be more careful in its comments about the incident with the missile that fell on the territory of Poland, CNN reported, citing its sources.

After the incident became known, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement that the missile that fell in Poland was Russian and called it an escalation. "Sullivan called Zelensky's office immediately after that speech and warned officials to be more careful when commenting on the incident," CNN reported.

According to the media, the Ukrainian leader requested a conversation with his American counterpart Joe Biden on Tuesday evening, but the conversation did not take place. According to CNN, the intelligence that the missile in Poland was Ukrainian was received in the White House with "palpable relief". According to the TV company's source, the Washington administration was most afraid of a possible deliberate attack by Russia against Poland.

MEPs: Russia, Putin's regime and parties are terrorists

Russia, the regime of Vladimir Putin and the political parties represented in the Duma are terrorists, says a draft resolution of the European Parliament, which is to be voted on November 23 in Strasbourg.

Among the many cited reasons is the involvement of Russian intelligence officials in an explosion in a military warehouse in Bulgaria (apparently referring to the warehouses of the arms dealer Emiliyan Gebrev,) This is indicated in the project of the group of European Conservators and Reformists (ECR)

Other actions mentioned by all political groups are - first of all, the aggression in Ukraine, the actions of Russian troops in Syria and Moscow's support for the regime in Damascus, the invasion of Georgia, etc.

Three Bulgarian MEPs are among the sponsors of the various projects. From the European People's Party (EPP) these are Andrey Kovachev and Alexander Yordanov (GERB), and from ECR - Angel Jambazki (VMRO).

"The EP declares the Russian Federation a terrorist state and recognizes the above-mentioned actions of the president, government, parliament and other bodies of the Russian Federation as acts of terrorism.

All official bodies of the Russian Federation, especially the president, the Ministry of Defense and the Russian army should be treated as a terrorist organization with all the consequences that follow.

The Parliament calls on the Council (the EU member states) to declare the Russian army and its protégés such as the Wagner group as an organization involved in terrorist activities," says the sharpest of all texts - that of the ECR.

Euroconservatives are demanding that member states and the international community prosecute those involved in state-sponsored terrorism, including its instigators in the highest circles of the Russian elite.

The Parliament encourages the European Council and the EU countries to recognize Russia as a terrorist state and to implement effective measures for its complete international isolation. This should be done by completely ending cooperation with it, freezing contacts with its representatives and expelling its ambassadors, including from international organizations and forums, insists the ECR group.

The EPP, the first force in the European Parliament, insists that the parties represented in the Duma, headed by President Vladimir Putin's United Russia, be included in the EU list of terrorist organizations. The same should be done with the separatist authorities in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as with the Wagner military group and Chechnya-based 141st specialized motorized regiment Akhmat Kadyrov, also known as the Kadyrovites.

Bulgaria is mentioned only in the ECR draft resolution. Conservatives are talking about an explosion in an ammunition depot in our country in 2021. Apparently, a mistake was made. There have been such explosions in our country, but they were in 2011, 2015 (twice) and 2020. In April 2021, the Bulgarian prosecutor's office announced that they were connected to each other and that they were the work of Russian citizens.

So far, 5 of the seven groups in the European Parliament have their draft resolution. All of them are demanding that Russia be declared a terrorist state.

Only the far-left group and far-right group "Identity and Democracy" (ID) do not yet have their own texts.

Pope Francis: The Vatican is ready to mediate for peace between Russia and Ukraine

Pope Francis said the Vatican is ready to do everything possible to mediate an end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The head of the Roman Catholic Church emphasized this in an interview with the Italian press.

Asked if he believed reconciliation between Moscow and Kyiv was possible, Francis urged no one to give up on the idea.

"But everyone must set about demilitarizing their hearts and souls, beginning with their own heart and soul, and then dispelling and disarming violence. We must all be pacifists. We must want peace, not just a truce, which can only serve to rearm. We must want real peace that is the fruit of dialogue," he pointed out to the publication.

The IAEA has called on Russia to withdraw from Ukrainian nuclear power plants

The UN nuclear watchdog has adopted its third resolution since the start of the war in Ukraine calling on Russia to withdraw from Ukrainian nuclear facilities.

The document submitted by Canada and Finland for a vote in the 35-member governing body of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) specifically mentions the Zaporizhzhia NPP, as was done in the previous resolution from September.

Twenty-four countries supported the resolution, with Russia and China voting against it, and Vietnam, India, Kenya, Namibia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Republic of South Africa abstaining, BTA reported, citing the Russian state news agency TASS.

The resolution affirms the conclusion of the inspection by IAEA experts in Ukraine that no signs of "undeclared nuclear activity or materials related to the development of radiation dispersal devices (dirty bombs) were found at three locations in Ukraine."

Russia has accused Ukraine of preparing a provocation with a radioactive bomb to shift the blame for the escalation of hostilities. At the beginning of the month, the IAEA published the results of its inspection of three Ukrainian regions, which found no signs of the development of a "dirty bomb" in Ukraine.

Moscow took control of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, at the start of the war, initially retaining its Ukrainian personnel. After the annexation of the Zaporizhzhia region, the Ukrainian authorities reported attempts to connect the plant to the electricity network that supplies another annexed region - Crimea.

Life imprisonment for pro-Russian separatists who shot down flight MH17 over Ukraine with a Buk missile

The court in The Hague has sentenced two pro-Russian separatists and one Ukrainian to life in prison for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, the BBC reported. The plane was shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile that was fired from a field in eastern Ukraine near Pervomaisk, the specialized court in the Netherlands announced. Out of a total of four defendants, one was acquitted, and the convicted will have to pay at least 16 million euros to the relatives of those who died. In the tragedy that happened eight years ago, 298 people died - passengers and crew from 10 nationalities.

The ongoing case is for mass manslaughter, and according to the prosecutor's office, the convicts organized the transportation of the anti-aircraft missile to Ukraine, which was then used to shoot down the flight to Kuala Lumpur. The reason the convictions were not for premeditated murder was the telephone conversations between the perpetrators, who thought a Ukrainian fighter jet was going to be shot down, not a passenger plane.

The accused are directly connected to the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Igor Girkin - Russian, is a former colonel of the Federal Security Service of Russia, and in 2014 he was the Minister of Defense of the DPR. He left his post two months after the tragedy with the Malaysian flight. Oleg Pulatov - also a Russian, is the deputy commander of the military intelligence of the DPR. According to investigators of the case, he was also part of the intelligence of Russia. Sergei Dubinsky, also a Russian citizen, served as the DPR's intelligence chief and, according to investigators, was previously an officer in Russian intelligence. The fourth is the police officer Leonid Kharchenko – a Ukrainian who was subordinate to Dubinsky at the time of the events. Of the four, only Pulatov was acquitted. The court never found sufficient evidence that he was involved in placing the anti-aircraft missile near Pervomaisk, or that he could have somehow prevented its launch.

None of the accused were present at the case, assuming they are in Russia, which does not extradite its citizens. Moscow has also for years circulated other versions of what happened and refused to cooperate in solving the case unless its conditions were met.

According to the chairman of the panel in the court in May 2014, Russia had full control over the DPR, and Putin seized Crimea with a military intervention in February-March, illegally annexing it and thus igniting the conflict in Donbas in the spring. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that they will study the opinion of the Dutch court, and at a briefing in Moscow, its spokesman said that in all matters every nuance is important. He also stressed that the legal document will be reviewed and only then will there be a comment.

The investigation into the tragedy was led by the Netherlands because flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and most of the passengers on board were Dutch citizens.

The tragedy with the downing of the Malaysian flight occurred on July 17, 2014. Then the plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and at 16:20 local time it was hit by a Buk missile in the airspace of Eastern Ukraine. It was launched from the territory of Donbas, which is occupied by pro-Russian separatists. A Dutch investigative team found that the anti-aircraft a missile was delivered by Russia, but Moscow has denied the allegations, with no one claiming responsibility for the 298 dead on board.

In March 2020, the trial of the case began in the Netherlands. Many countries were pushing for the convening of an international tribunal, but Russia has blocked the Security Council's request. Therefore, the case was taken over by The Hague. Meanwhile, families of victims of the tragedy filed complaints against Ukraine at the European Court of Human Rights. According to them, the authorities there did not take the necessary actions - for example, closing the airspace in the conflict zone. The court in Strasbourg did not order an investigation into the complaint, and Kyiv rejected taking responsibility for the downing of the plane.

A breakthrough in the investigation is made by the young Russian journalist Iggy Ostanin. In just a few days, only with the help of the Internet and social networks, he reached the information that the Buk was delivered by the 53rd Airborne Brigade in Kursk, Russia. Ostanin gave his revelations to the investigative journalism platform Bellingcat, which published them in September 2014.

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