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The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution on Wednesday telling Russia its annexation of four Ukrainian zones is illegal and not valid.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the result "historic" in a tweet. According to the final tally, 143 countries supported the resolution with five nations, including Russia, opposed and 35 member states abstaining.
Meanwhile, NATO defense ministers reaffirmed their commitment to support Ukraine with military aid following Russia's recent wave of attacks.
Here are the latest headlines:
- Ukraine says Russian forces continue assault: Russian forces in occupied Ukraine continue to launch offensive operations amid a much higher tempo of missile attacks, according to the Ukrainian military. In an update late Wednesday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said enemy forces were "trying to conduct offensive actions at the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions," both in the eastern Donetsk region. Those attacks and others in Donetsk had been repelled, it said.
- Attacks on civilians "reveal the malice of Putin’s war of choice," US defense secretary says: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Russia's recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine "reveal the malice of Putin’s war of choice." Austin, who hosted a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels on Wednesday, said the “resolve” of allies and partners to help Ukraine has only solidified since the recent barrage of Russian attacks on civilians.
- "No guarantee" that Europe will survive this winter, warns chief of Russian energy giant: The head of the Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom has warned European countries of the consequences of weaning off energy from Russia. There was “no guarantee” that Europe would survive this winter season, based on its current gas reserves, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.
- Ukraine says it has liberated more settlements in the Kherson region: Ukrainian forces liberated five more villages in Kherson, according to Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the regional administration. The villages – Novovasylivka, Novohryhorivka, Nova Kamynka, Tryfonivka and Chervone – are relatively close together in a largely rural part of the region.
- External power to Zaporizhzhia power plant restored after morning outage, nuclear watchdog says: External power to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been restored after it was lost on Wednesday morning following the shelling of a substation, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a tweet.
Western allies voiced their support Wednesday for Ukraine following the UN General Assembly's condemnation of Russia's attempted annexations of four regions in the war-torn country.
According to the final tally, 143 countries supported the motion that the annexations -- announced last month by President Vladimir Putin – were illegal. Russia was one of the five countries in opposition while 35 member states abstained.
The German Foreign Office tweeted:
The Italian Mission to the UN in New York tweeted:
Belgium's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted:
The Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom Wopke Hoekstra tweeted:
Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted:
Latvia's mission to the UN tweeted:
Ireland's mission to the UN tweeted:
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly approved a resolution on Wednesday telling Russia its annexation of four Ukrainian zones is illegal and not valid.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the resolution "historic" in a tweet and thanked the states that voted in favor.
During the assembly's emergency special session on Ukraine, US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the vote "is important not just to the future of Ukraine and the future of Europe, but to the very foundations of this institution."
"After all, the UN was built on an idea: that never again would one country be allowed to take another's territory by force," Thomas-Greenfield added.
The US diplomat said the resolution calls for peace and de-escalation, and "makes clear that we reject Russia's attempted annexations. That we reject this affront to territorial integrity, to national sovereignty, to peace and security."
She noted that "today it is Russia invading Ukraine. But tomorrow it could be another nation whose territory is violated. You could be next. What would you expect from this chamber?"
"So let us send a clear message today: these United Nations will not tolerate attempts at illegal annexation. We will never recognize it. These United Nations will not tolerate seizing a neighbor's land by force. We will stand up to it. These United Nations will not tolerate the destruction of the UN Charter. We will defend it," she told the assembly.
"Our message Today is loud and clear: It does not matter if you, as a nation, are big or small, rich or poor, old or new. If you are a UN Member State, your borders are your own and are protected by international law. They cannot be redrawn by anyone else by force." Thomas-Greenfield added.
Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand reaffirmed the country's commitment to support Ukraine, saying on Wednesday that Canada would continue to do “whatever it takes” to stand in solidarity with Kyiv.
“We will continue to do whatever it takes to make sure we are standing in solidarity with Ukraine against this illegal and unjust Russian invasion,” she told CNN’s Isa Soares in an interview.
Anand’s comments came after Canada earlier on Wednesday announced an additional $47 million in new military aid to assist Ukraine.
Outlining what was in the aid package, Anand told Soares that there were three categories of aid: Military aid and equipment including winter clothes, training Ukrainian armed forces, and transporting aid from allies.
“What I saw on the ground today in the meeting itself was incredible unity, collaboration, and cooperation," she said speaking from Brussels, where NATO defence ministers met on Wednesday.
She went on to say that “each country is leveraging its own respective capacities.”
Anand condemned Russia’s recent strikes across Ukraine attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure, calling them “war crimes.”
On threats from Russia to the Arctic, she said Canada took this extremely seriously, and had already stepped up protection there to “ensure continental defense."
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Wednesday that he is convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin's attempt to destabilize Europe's economic order will fail.
“Putin will fail in his attempt to destabilize the basic economic order, the same way he will fail on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Habeck said, speaking at a news conference in Berlin.
The minister also addressed Germany’s economic health, stating that the country “will have a decline in economic growth this year.”
Comparing growth forecasts from April 2022, autumn 2022 and 2023, he said that Germany was forecast to have “negative growth, a recession.”
“This autumn, we are forecasting 1.4% growth. In April this year, that figure was 2.2%. Next year, growth will stand at minus 0.4%, in other words negative growth, a recession,” he said.
He estimated that inflation in Germany will stand at 8% this year and at 7% next year.
France will send air defense systems, radars, missiles and weapons to Ukraine in the coming weeks to defend against missile and drone attacks, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with broadcaster France 2 on Wednesday.
Macron, whose comments come after Ukraine experienced a wave of Russian missile attacks, said the French supplies would specifically help defeat these kinds of threats.
He added that France would deliver the hardware and the necessary training to Ukraine. Ukraine has specifically requested the weapons as a priority.
The French president said that this decision followed “an unprecedented phase of bombings” that struck Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.
Without going into detail, Macron said France was providing military intelligence to Ukraine.
Pressed on the success of international sanctions, Macron said that they were working.
“Russia is profoundly destabilized: in its capacity to regenerate its arms, its production and industry,” he said.
Macron also declared, “We are in a hybrid war."
“We are not just using weapons on the ground but using weapons of information,” he said, adding that Russia was using a wide variety of approaches to wage the conflict, including: propaganda channels, paying for influence including on social media, weaponizing migration, blackmail and hunger.
Questioned on nuclear risks in Ukraine, the French president confirmed that France’s nuclear doctrine would not automatically commit to a retaliatory strike, if Russia used nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
The president also refused to brand Russia a “terrorist state” saying that such labels “have little consequences”.
“There’s one state that’s declared war and that’s more than enough,” he said.
The head of the Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom has warned European countries of the consequences of weaning off energy from Russia.
There was “no guarantee” that Europe would survive this winter season, based on its current gas reserves, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Russia Energy Week conference in Moscow, Miller claimed that gas in Germany's underground storage will be enough only for between two and two and a half months.
The European gas storage levels is at around “90% full and we are top of the class in that respect," Czech Minister for Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela said Wednesday, after a meeting of European Union energy ministers in Prague.
Some background: Europe’s energy crisis is deepening as Russia further limits exports of natural gas, forcing governments to spend billions to protect businesses and consumers from soaring bills as the region slides towards recession.
Russian forces in occupied Ukraine continue to launch offensive operations amid the much higher tempo of missile attacks, according to the Ukrainian military.
In an update late Wednesday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said enemy forces were "trying to conduct offensive actions at the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions," both in the eastern Donetsk region. Those attacks and others in Donetsk had been repelled, it said.
It said that parts of Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions also came under attack, especially the town of Orikhiv.
Svitlana Mandrych, deputy head of Orikhiv, said a total of 324 shells had landed in the town on Wednesday
"Nine wounded residents...The infrastructure of the city is being destroyed. The population is being eliminated," she said, appealing to the townspeople to remain in shelters.
"We still have a night to survive ahead. Now we hear explosions again," Mandrych said.
The General Staff said Russian forces continued to use cruise missiles as well as drones and multiple launch rocket systems. Another 10 Iranian-made drones had been shot down Wednesday, it said.
It said the Ukrainian air force was again active — carrying out 27 strikes.