Day 274 of the Invasion of Ukraine: 80% of Households in Kyiv are without Water and Electricity
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Before the UN Security Council: Zelensky accused Russia of crimes against humanity
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of "crimes against humanity" in a speech to the UN Security Council. The reason is the shelling, which led to the disconnection of a large part of the important facilities from the country's energy system, which caused a power outage in almost all of Ukraine and in parts of Moldova.
Via video link, Volodymyr Zelensky told the UN Security Council that Russia's "formula of terror" had forced "millions of people to be left without energy supplies, without heating, without water" in sub-zero temperatures.
"In conditions where the temperature outside is below zero and tens of millions of people remain without electricity, heating and water, this is clearly a crime against humanity. The Council must give a clear assessment of the actions of the terrorist state in accordance with the UN Charter. Ukraine proposes to pass a resolution condemning any form of energy terrorism. We will see if anyone in the world, along with Russia, will say that terrorism against civilians is a good thing."
Zelensky also indicated that efforts to restore power will continue tonight where possible. He asked the UN to send a mission of experts to critical infrastructure sites to assess the damage.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin was "using winter as a weapon" to cause massive suffering.
"Following the hardships on the battlefield, Moscow is now adopting a cowardly and inhumane strategy that punishes Ukrainian men, women and children," she added.
According to the data of the Ukrainian army, nearly 70 rockets were fired on the territory of the country yesterday, 30 of them at the capital city of Kyiv. At least 10 people died and 30 were injured.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not comment on the attacks during his visit to Armenia, but said the "future and success of the special operation," as Moscow calls the war in Ukraine, "is beyond doubt." Moscow believes an attack on Ukraine's energy grid could weaken Kyiv's ability to fight back and force Ukrainian leaders to the negotiating table.
Olaf Scholz: Russia has no chance of winning on the battlefield in Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned Russia's targeted bombing of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and said Russia's chances of victory on the battlefield had melted away, DPA and Reuters reported.
"This bomb terror against the civilian population must stop and immediately," said the German leader after a meeting yesterday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Berlin.
Scholz added that Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again shown how ruthlessly he continues to fight this war: "A war that he can no longer win at all on the battlefield, that seems clear," he said, and called on Putin to stop hostilities and to create an opportunity for peace negotiations.
Scholz also expressed confidence that the EU will soon reach an agreement on an upper limit for Russian oil prices. Negotiations are currently underway in Brussels.
The G7 is considering the possibility of capping the price of Russian crude oil transported by sea in the range of -70 per barrel, a diplomat said yesterday. The representatives of the 27 EU countries discussed the issue with the G7 with the aim of reaching a common position by the end of the day. Opinion in the EU is divided, with some calling for much lower prices and others for higher prices.
The G7, including the United States, as well as the entire EU and Australia, is expected to introduce a price cap on Russian oil exported by sea, which will take effect on December 5. The move is part of sanctions aimed at reducing Moscow's revenue from oil exports so that it has fewer funds to finance its invasion of Ukraine.
The ICRC is ready to mediate the exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is ready to act as a neutral mediator in the exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine, if both sides desire such support. This was announced by the General Director of the ICRC, Robert Mardini, in an interview published today for the Russian newspaper "Izvestia", TASS reported.
"We did not play any role in this (in the exchange of prisoners of war, note TASS). But of course we are ready to act as a neutral mediator if the parties wish for such support," said Mardini.
The director general of the organization emphasized that he will continue to insist that the ICRC get access to all prisoners of war regardless of where they are held. He noted that it is important that the national reference bureaus of Russia and Ukraine provide data on the whereabouts of the prisoners of war to the Central Tracing Agency of the ICRC "so that their relatives are promptly informed."
About 80% of households in Kyiv are without water and electricity
About 80% of households in Kyiv are without water and electricity after Russian missile fire on Wednesday. All municipal services are on their feet to restore the supply as soon as possible, announced the mayor of the city of 3 million, Vitaliy Klitschko. Broadcast television is also affected.
Seven people were killed in the latest Russian shelling, and the three nuclear plants still under Ukrainian control were shut down.
The Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest in Europe, was forced to switch back to diesel generators to power the cooling systems.
Before the UN Security Council, Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of "crimes against humanity".
"I think more than 85% of Kyiv residents are without electricity and water. The temperatures are maybe around minus 3 degrees Celsius at the moment", explained Petko Petkov, a Bulgarian programmer, volunteering in Ukraine.
"Some were lucky and got a generator. It is currently circulating, but it does not manage to warm the building very well", explained Petkov.
"For 2 days, there are points that everyone can go and get water and food. The authorities informed us that they should turn on the water within today. However, they are trying to launch the critical infrastructure first - first in the hospitals", explained Petkov.
Ukraine expects the shut-down nuclear power plants to start working again today
Ukraine expects the three nuclear power plants shut down yesterday due to Russian missile strikes to be operational again by tonight, Energy Minister German Galushchenko said, quoted by Reuters.
"We expect the nuclear power plants to start operating by tonight, which will reduce the energy deficit," he said on national television.
European cities donate generators to Ukraine
Europe's biggest cities will donate generators and transformers to help Ukrainians survive the harsh winter, as part of a campaign that began yesterday, Reuters reported, cited by BTA.
Since last month, Russia has been attacking Ukrainian electricity and heating systems with long-range missiles and drones.
Moscow claims the aim is to reduce Kyiv's combat capability in order to force it to negotiate.
"Ten million Ukrainians are currently without electricity as a result of Russian attacks on critical civilian infrastructure," European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said at a press conference on the "Generators of Hope" campaign.
"The European Parliament and the EU have shown remarkable solidarity with Ukraine in terms of humanitarian, military and financial issues. Now (Ukrainians) need practical support to survive the winter," Metsola said.
The EU Parliament launched the campaign with Eurocities - a network of over 200 cities in 38 countries. Cities will be called upon to provide generators to power essential facilities in war-torn Ukraine, including hospitals, schools, water facilities, relief centers, shelters and cell towers.
"We must act immediately," said Dario Nardella, president of Eurocities and mayor of Florence. "Winter is upon us, there is no electricity and gas, there is no time to lose," he stressed.
Asked to estimate the number of generators that will be donated, he said the number could potentially reach several hundred, including industrial-sized generators.
Hungary will provide 187 million euros in financial aid to Ukraine
Hungary will provide 187 million euros in financial aid to Ukraine as its contribution to a planned 18 billion-euro European Union support package in 2023, according to a government decree published late on Wednesday and cited by Reuters.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's government has previously said it is ready to pay its share of support for Ukraine, but prefers to do so on a bilateral basis rather than as part of an amount the EU will jointly borrow from the capital markets to provide later in the form of a loan to Kyiv.
"The government remains committed to participating in financial support for war-torn Ukraine," is said in the government decree. "So it calls on the finance minister to guarantee the provision of €187 million, which will be Hungary's share of the €18 billion EU loan that will be granted to Ukraine."
The decree signed by Orbán also states that Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó should begin talks with Ukraine to work out an agreement needed for the financial aid.
To finance the loans, which Ukraine will have to repay within 35 years, the European Commission will borrow money from the capital markets.
However, the package proposals will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the 27 EU member states, and Hungary has said it will not participate in joint borrowing.
At a meeting of Russia's military alliance, Putin suffered blows from two loyal members
A meeting of the Russian-dominated defense alliance turned into a test for it after two prominent members of the organization that unites part of the post-Soviet space and sought help from the CSTO in the past two months expressed positions unfavorable to it at the meeting in Yerevan.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's refusal to sign the Collective Security Treaty Organization's (CSTO) final declaration and Kazakhstan's President Kassym Jomart Tokayev's call for a joint search for a formula to end the war in Ukraine were also noted in Russian and Russian-language media.
This comes at a time when the nine months of war in Ukraine are testing Russia's remaining alliances in the post-Soviet space. The CSTO, established in the nineties and dominated by Russia, includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan emerged from it. The reason for its creation was to avoid border conflicts between countries and to help protect them from external aggression.
It was Armenia, which has sought help from the CSTO in various situations, that defined the union's work on the most sensitive issue for it - the conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh - as a "fiasco". This was also the reason why Pashinyan did not sign the final declaration.
In his words, the union did not accept a "clear political assessment" of Azerbaijan's "aggression", and this undermines the prestige of the CSTO "both in our country and abroad". Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that this is Pashinyan's point of view and the Armenian side "has the right" to view the situation this way.
"Every war ends with negotiations"
Russia helped Kazakhstan contain protests in the country in late December and early January. Nevertheless, Tokayev, who was re-elected a few days ago, without much competition, called on Moscow and Kyiv to use every chance to resolve the conflict diplomatically, including through the CSTO.
"As for Ukraine, I think the time has come for a joint collective search for a formula for peace. Every war ends with peace negotiations," Tokayev said, according to the website of the Kazakh presidency.
"Every chance to achieve at least a truce should be used. The Istanbul round of negotiations gave hope, but the agreement was 'undermined' for various reasons. The brotherly Russian and Ukrainian peoples should not be allowed to drift apart for tens or hundreds of years with insults that do not heal", said Tokayev.
Some Russian media quoted Tokayev, but omitted the sentence about the war, which Russia calls a "special military operation." Kazakhstan's relations with Russia have become more complicated since the war in Ukraine began. Tokayev signaled before the election that he was not giving up on ties with Russia, but at the same time, he distanced himself from it for months and accelerated the search for new partnerships and the strengthening of old ones.
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