November 7, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

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04:21 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Senior US officials have in recent weeks been urging Ukraine to signal it is still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia, sources told CNN.
  • Russian soldiers have complained about being sent into an “incomprehensible battle” in the Donetsk region. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow had suffered heavy losses in the eastern region.
  • Kyiv is preparing for worst-case scenarios in the event of further Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure which could potentially leave the city without electricity or water, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
  • A US citizen died in eastern Ukraine, according to the International Legion, making him the sixth American believed killed in the conflict since February.
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Russian soldiers in Donetsk complain about being sent into an "incomprehensible battle"

In a letter purportedly sent from the front lines to a regional governor in Russia, the men of the 155th Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet Marines say they were thrown into an “incomprehensible battle” in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

The letter, published by a prominent Russian military blog on Monday, was sent to the Governor of Primorsky Krai.

“Once again we were thrown into an incomprehensible battle by General Muradov and his brother-in-law, his countryman Akhmedov, so that Muradov could earn bonuses to make him look good in the eyes of Gerasimov [Russia’s Chief of the General Staff],” it said.

“As a result of the “carefully” planned offensive by the “great commanders” we lost about 300 men, dead and wounded, with some MIA over the past 4 days,” the letter said. “We lost 50 percent of our equipment. That’s our brigade alone. The district command together with Akhmedov are hiding these facts and skewing the official casualty statistics for fear of being held accountable.”

In the letter, they asked the governor, Oleg Kozhemyako, “For how long will such mediocrities as Muradov and Akhmedov be allowed to continue to plan the military actions just to keep up appearances and gain awards at the cost of so many people’s lives?”

CNN cannot verify how many soldiers signed the letter nor their ranks, but Kozhemyako confirmed he had received a letter from the soldiers of the unit.

Russian forces suffering heavy losses in Donetsk region, Zelensky says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the intense combat in parts of Donetsk region “the epicenter of the biggest madness of the occupiers.”

“They are dying in hundreds every day,” Zelensky said. “The ground in front of the Ukrainian positions is literally littered with the bodies of the occupiers.”

Then speaking in Russian, Zelensky said that some soldiers in the Pavlivka area had complained to the governor of their region, Primorsky Krai, in the Russian Far East, as CNN reported earlier Monday. 

In response, Zelensky added, the governor — Oleg Kozhemyako — had said that the losses were “not that big.”

In a Telegram post Monday, Kozhemyako said, “We contacted our Marine commanders on the front lines. These are guys who have been in combat since the beginning of the operation.”

He said they had told him, “We are attacking hard, yes there are losses, but far from that.”

Kozhemyako said the combat commander had emphasized that the losses of the [Primorsky] troops were considerably exaggerated.

Zelensky says Russia must be forced into genuine peace negotiations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia must be forced into genuine peace negotiations.

Speaking about the opening of COP27, the global climate conference underway in Egypt, Zelensky said:

“Anyone who seriously considers the climate agenda must also seriously consider the need to immediately stop Russian aggression, restore our territorial integrity and force Russia to engage in genuine peace negotiations.”

Zelensky said that Russia had repeatedly shown itself unwilling to engage in such negotiations.

“The kind of negotiations that we have repeatedly suggested and to which we have always received crazy Russian responses with new terrorist attacks, shelling or blackmail,” he said.

People in parts of northern Ukrainian near border urged to relocate as Russian shelling increases

A woman looks at her home, destroyed during battles at the start of Russia's full scale invasion, in Yahidne village on October 30, in Chernihiv, Ukraine.

The senior military official in the northern Ukrainian region of Chernihiv is urging people to move away from border areas amid a spike in attacks by Russian forces using mortars and artillery.

The regional capital city of Chernihiv lies about halfway between Kyiv and the Russian border.

Viacheslav Chaus, the head of Chernihiv regional military administration, said on Facebook that the region had endured 234 hits in the past week alone, compared to 87 in the previous week.

Chaus said he had instructed the heads of district administrations to intensify efforts to work with local governments and residents of border settlements on possible options for relocation from potentially vulnerable areas. 

“We already have the practice of such resettlement in [the border area of] Novhorod-Siversky district,” he said.

Chernihiv is a long way from the main theaters of combat in Donbas and Kherson, but it has seen persistent shelling from Russian mortars and artillery and occasional air strikes.

On Monday, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that the settlement of Hai in Chernihiv came under fire. Several settlements were hit at the weekend.

US officials urge Ukraine to signal it is still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia

Senior US officials have in recent weeks been urging Ukraine to signal it is still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia, amid concerns that public support for the country’s war effort could wane with no end to the conflict in sight and neither side willing to begin peace talks, sources familiar with the discussions tell CNN.

The discussions are not aimed at encouraging the Ukrainians to negotiate now – rather, the US wants Kyiv to convey more clearly that it wants to find a resolution to the conflict and that Ukraine has the moral high ground, sources said.  

 Officials including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan began more urgently pressing the Ukrainians to shift their rhetoric after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree in early October ruling out any negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That decree came in response to Russia’s self-declared annexation of territories in eastern Ukraine following sham referendums there.

“We are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelensky said last month. 

Sullivan discussed the issue directly with Zelensky during a trip to Kyiv last week, the sources said. He expressed the US’ view that categorically ruling out any talks with Putin plays into the Russian leader’s hand by fueling the Kremlin narrative that the Ukrainians are refusing to talk. 

On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia is “open to” negotiation with Ukraine but “at the moment we do not see such an opportunity, because Kyiv turned into a law [their decision] not to continue any negotiations.”

The Washington Post first reported that the US is urging Ukraine to appear open to talks. 

 The advice to the Ukrainians is also coming ahead on the eve of what could be a tough winter for Europe, which has already been experiencing soaring energy costs tied to Russia’s invasion and warnings has warned of potential blackouts and gas rationing stemming from the energy crunch. 

To read more, click here.

CNN’s Alex Marquardt contributed to this report

Ukrainian agency names US citizen killed in the war

Ukraine’s International Legion has named the US citizen killed during combat in eastern Ukraine.

In a statement sent to CNN, the Legion said: “Our brother in arms, Timothy Griffin, has taken part in the counteroffensive on the eastern front with his unit and was killed in action. While conducting operations, the unit came under attack.”

Griffin is believed to be the sixth American who has died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February. 

In war-ravaged Irpin, the long process of rebuilding has begun

Construction is seen on a bridge that was destroyed to block the Russian advance toward the city of Irpin on October 28.

The signs of devastation are all around when you arrive in Irpin, near Kyiv.

The city saw some of the heaviest fighting when Russia tried to close in on the Ukrainian capital at the beginning of the war.  

But it soon becomes clear that residents are busy putting the pieces back together. A CNN team bumped into resident Olexander, who showed pictures of what his apartment building looked like eight months ago, with nearly every single window blown out.  “Everything is operating now,” he said, including heating.

In this suburb, it’s a race against winter as temperatures start to drop and rolling blackouts continue. 

Resident Tetyana said she spent 10 days hiding in her basement during the occupation. Somehow, her phone connection was working when her friend called to say Russian tanks were just minutes away from her building. It was time to evacuate.  

“It was a miracle that Mykhailyna managed to reach us,” she said, referring to the call. “I took my parents. We had a car. And that was the only chance to leave.”

Tetyana’s apartment was badly damaged, but she, too, is proud that it has since been repaired, allowing her to move back in. 

At the UNICEF site, a different kind of rebuilding is taking place. Aid workers are focused on helping kids and parents navigate unspeakable trauma.

Psychologist Ksenia Lebedev said the lingering trauma manifests in all kinds of ways, from speech impairment to self-harm.  

Healing comes through play, arts and crafts and therapy.

Kateryna Chyzh, the volunteer animator, said she notices children gradually come out of their shells and connecting again.

And even the aid workers themselves find it healing. “It usually inspires me, too,” Kateryna said, “I experienced the occupation in Bucha, so now in this environment, I am more relaxed and I like it very much.”

Ukrainian power company says Kyiv and Kharkiv regions are the most vulnerable to power outages

A woman stands outside a cafe on a dark street in Kyiv on Monday.

Ukraine’s state energy company Ukrenergo says that power supplies are most vulnerable in the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions after a campaign of Russian missile attacks against power infrastructure.

Ukrenergo’s CEO, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, said on Ukrainian television Monday that the situation was tough after five massive missile strikes and a number of smaller attacks.

“Repair teams are working 24/7 in order to fix the damage caused in the past weeks. The most difficult situation is in the Kyiv region and Kharkiv region,” Kudrytskyi said. “So this is where the scheduled outages, hourly outages as we call them, are in place and additional emergency outages take place on top of them from time to time in order to balance the energy system in these regions.”

“We are working on improving the situation within the grid in Kyiv city and Kyiv region as well as in the north region, consisting of Kharkiv region, Sumy region and Poltava region,” he added.

Kudrytskyi said that if there was no more shelling, there should be improvements in a few more days.

He said power engineers would do everything possible to avoid a total blackout.

US citizen recently died in Ukraine, State Department says

A US citizen recently died in Ukraine, a State Department spokesperson confirmed Monday.

“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine,” the State Department spokesperson said.

“We are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance,” the spokesperson said. “Out of respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add.”

The spokesperson did not provide details on the identity of the person who died or the circumstances of their death.

This is the sixth American who has died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February. 

Ukrainian official says Iranian ballistic missiles bought by Russia may need to be destroyed at their launch sites

Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat holds a briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 14.

Ukraine’s air force says that newly arrived western air defense systems will help deal with the new threat of Iranian ballistic missiles reportedly being purchased by Russia.

Yuriy Ihnat, Air Force spokesperson, told a briefing in Kyiv that Ukraine might target the Iranian missiles at their launch sites, which would probably be well inside Russia. 

“They must somehow be destroyed, probably from where they are launched. Because we have no effective means of fighting ballistic [missiles], except for their physical destruction at the launch stage.”

Ihnat said the Iranian missiles have “a range of 300 and 700 kilometers, which in principle will not create anything new for Ukraine, because [Russian-made] Iskanders were used from the first day of the war.”

“I think both the top military leadership and our partners are working on this issue, looking for effective ways to counter these new threats,” Ihnat said. 

He said that the Russians were unable to make progress on the battlefield and had resorted to attacking infrastructure supplying energy and water. “They want to hit energy facilities in the autumn-winter period first of all, because people’s lives largely depend on them. This air terrorism will continue by all available means.”

“It is clear that the missiles that will be received from Iran, if it is done, will be used at the energy infrastructure facilities, and [the Russians] will continue to strike with cruise missiles as well.”

CNN reported on Nov. 1 that Iran is preparing to send about 1,000 additional weapons, including short range ballistic missiles and more attack drones, to Russia, citing officials from a western country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program.

Kremlin says Russia is open to negotiations — but not at this moment

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Russia is “open to” negotiation with Ukraine but that the moment is not right for talks.

“We have repeatedly said that the Russian side remains open to achieving its goals through negotiations,” Peskov told reporters. “We also repeatedly drew the attention of everyone that at the moment we do not see such an opportunity, because Kyiv turned into a law [their decision] not to continue any negotiations.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree in early October formally ruling out the possibility of negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to Russia’s illegal claim to annex portions of four Ukrainian regions. 

“Russians are not ready to admit they have occupied our country,” Zelensky said in September, a month before the decree. “This means there will be no substantial dialogue.”

“We want to end the war, but the space and opportunities have changed,” Zelensky said. “There is no reassurance that [the Russians] will do what they say they will do. I think they won’t. No one believes them.”

The Washington Post on Saturday reported that U.S. officials have privately encouraged the Ukrainian government to signal an openness to talks with Russia – not to reach a near-term settlement, but as a political move in order to maintain Western support for the war effort. CNN has not confirmed the Post’s reporting.

“We don’t know if this is true or not,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson told reporters on a regular conference call adding, “We are unable to comment on this without being sure that it is true.”

CNN’s Jo Shelley, Mariya Knight, and Olga Voitovych contributed reporting to this post.

New advanced air defenses systems have arrived in Ukraine

New air defense systems provided by Ukraine’s western allies have arrived in the country, Ukraine’s defense minister said on Monday.

“These weapons will significantly strengthen #UAarmy and will make our skies safer,” Oleksii Reznikov said on Twitter. “We will continue to shoot down the enemy targets attacking us. Thank you to our partners: Norway, Spain and the US.”

The United States this summer committed to sending eight NASAMS – National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems – to Ukraine. The White House in October said it would expedite the delivery of two systems.

NASAMS provide short-to-medium range defenses, and would be capable of engaging Russian cruise missiles. It’s the same system used to protect airspace in Washington, DC.

Egypt's president called for an end to the war in Ukraine at a major climate conference

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks during the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit (SCIS) of the UNFCCC COP27 climate conference on November 7.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine at a speech during the opening of the World Leaders Summit at the COP27 UN climate conference.

This year’s UN climate summit is being held in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, where thousands of climate negotiators and advocates will gather to raise their ambitions on the climate crisis. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries will, over the next two weeks, debate future clean energy proposals to prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

Sisi called on world leaders to urgently take “more measures and actions” to clarify how they will reduce emissions, which will encourage stakeholders to release “adequate funding” to face the challenge of climate change.

“There is no time to sit back, there is no space for hesitation for the sake of future generations,” Sisi said. 

Read more about what to expect at COP27 here:

Al-Sahaba mosque

As countries convene at climate summit in Egypt, reports show the world is wildly off track. Here's what to watch at COP27

This map shows the latest state of control in Ukraine

Russian forces step up raids on civilians in occupied Kherson

Russian forces have stepped up their scrutiny of civilians in occupied areas of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, detaining locals to root out partisan resistance, according to the Ukrainian military.

In the occupied city of Kherson, Russian troops are now largely wearing civilian clothing and living in civilian housing as they “strengthen positions inside for conducting street battles,” according to the Ukrainian military and a resident of the city with whom CNN exchanged messages.

“Amid the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the occupiers have significantly intensified filtration measures,” the National Resistance Center, a creation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said on Monday. “Raids among the local population have intensified in the temporarily occupied part of Kherson region. The occupiers are actively looking for the underground movement.”

The National Resistance Center said that it was aware of dozens of detentions in recent days. It called on civilians to leave the occupied territories “if possible” while the Ukrainian military pushed its counter-offensive.

Fewer checkpoints, more aggressive behavior: A resident of the occupied city of Kherson told CNN through a third party on Sunday that Russian soldiers in occupied villages are behaving more aggressively towards civilians.

“On the west bank, near Snihurivka, there are cases of occupiers moving into locals’ houses when people move to the city,” the resident said. “Many soldiers came to the villages, they settle in empty houses. But there are cases when they kick people out of their homes.”

CNN is not identifying the Kherson resident for their safety. The city of Kherson itself has been “relatively quiet,” she said. 

“From time to time you can hear automatic gunfire at night,” the resident said. “There is a curfew in the city, and no one goes out at night. The occupiers have created some kind of territorial defense in the city, which deals with security issues.”

Checkpoints within the city itself have been removed, she said.

“There are only checkpoints at the entrance to the city. At the checkpoint they check documents and look what is in the car. If it is public transport, then the soldier enters the minibus. It may vary, it all depends on the mood of the occupiers. They can start checking phones and force men to undress to check for tattoos.”

More young soldiers appearing: The resident said that most soldiers appear to be over the age of 30, but that they had begun to see more young men, around ages 18 to 20.

Russian authorities continued Monday to try to restore electricity after an outage on Sunday.

“I think electricity and communication will be restored in the near future,” Kirill Stremousov, the Russia-appointed deputy head of Kherson region military administration, said Monday morning in a video on Telegram. “There is no food problem in the city, there are foodstuffs. It’s true that some pharmacies are shut, but it is not impossible to get social benefits. We keep working on this too.”

Stremousov said that authorities continued to offer “evacuation” to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, including now to bed-ridden civilians or those with reduced mobility.

Evacuation offers like this have sparked concerns that Ukrainian citizens may be forced to go to Russian territory against their will. Reports emerged early in the war of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians being forcibly sent to so-called “filtration centers” before being moved to Russia. Moscow denounced the claims as lies, alleging that Ukraine has hindered its efforts to “evacuate” people to Russia.

The Kherson city resident who spoke to CNN viewed the idea of getting on an “evacuation bus” to Crimea as a “one-way ticket.”

It's 12:30 p.m. in Kyiv. This is what you need to know

One of the major issues Ukraine faces as it fends off Russian attacks is how to keep its population from freezing. With winter slowly approaching, Moscow has continually attacked energy and infrastructure targets in recent weeks. Here’s the latest on the energy situation across Ukraine:

  • Outages coming: Ukraine’s state-energy company said Monday that the country would be subjected to further power cuts, both scheduled and unscheduled, due to damage from recent Russian attacks on infrastructure. The scheduled outages will take place throughout the day in Kyiv city and the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava.
  • Prepare for the worst: Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Ukrainian capital must ready itself for further attacks on its already imperiled energy infrastructure. Klitschko said the Kremlin’s strategy was not war, but rather “terrorism” and even “genocide.” “Our enemies are doing everything to keep the city without heat, electricity, and water supply, and in general, they want us all to die,” he said.
  • Problems extend to Russian-held regions: Electricity and water have also been temporarily cut off in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian local officials and Russian-appointed local authorities. Russian-backed forces and Ukraine each blamed the other for attacks causing the outage. CNN cannot independently confirm or verify details of the claimed attack or who was behind it.
  • Iran’s role in all of this: In his nightly address Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia intends to use Iranian missiles for possible attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, especially the country’s energy sector. Kyiv has accused Russia of using so-called “kamikaze drones” made by Tehran in its attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure in recent weeks. The Iranian government acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine schedules further power outages Monday

People shop at a supermarket during a power outage in Kyiv on October 27.

Ukraine’s state-energy company, Ukrenergo, warned Monday morning that the country would face further scheduled and unscheduled power cuts. 

“From 6:00 a.m. and until the end of the day, there will be scheduled power outages in Kyiv city, and Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava regions,” Ukrenergo said on its Facebook and Telegram channels. 

“There will also be emergency outages in certain regions. They will be introduced by regional power distribution companies in case the deficit is bigger than planned. In case of emergency blackouts, electricity may be cut off earlier than planned and consumption restrictions may last longer.” 

Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure has been under severe strain since Russia began attacking power plants on October 10.

“The country’s power grid is still unable to resume full operation after the terrorist attacks of Russia,” Ukrenergo said. “We have to introduce power outages in some regions to avoid overloading of high-voltage infrastructure.”

Fires spread in Russian-held Donetsk after shelling

Smoke rises near a local railway administration headquarters n Donetsk, Ukraine, on November 7.

Several buildings were ablaze in Donetsk city early on Monday morning following Ukrainian artillery strikes on the area, currently under Russian occupation, according to authorities and social media.

According to the Russian-backed Joint Center for Control and Coordination, six rockets hit Donetsk’s Voroshilovsky District at 3:13 a.m. local time.

Witnesses on social media reported a shortage of water as the large fire continued burning after the shelling.

Social media videos geolocated by CNN showed the Donetsk Railway Administration building among those on fire in the central part of the city.

No casualties have been reported yet.

Kyiv mayor says it must be prepared for worst case scenario if city is left without water and electricity

A woman looks at generator that powers a cafe in Kyiv on November 05.

The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is preparing for worst-case scenarios in the event of further Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure which could potentially leave the city without electricity or water, according to its mayor Vitali Klitschko. 

“Our enemies are doing everything to keep the city without heat, electricity, and water supply, and in general, they want us all to die. This is their task. And how well we’ll hold out depends on how well we’re prepared for different scenarios … that’s why we need to be prepared,” said Klitschko on Sunday.  

“This is not a war, this is terrorism, this is genocide,” the mayor said regarding Russian attacks on energy infrastructure.

The city’s mayor encouraged some residents to think about staying with family and friends outside of Kyiv if the city is left without electricity or water.

“If you have extended family — this is for if we consider the worst case, if we were left without electricity and water supply — or friends outside Kyiv, where there is autonomous water supply, an oven, heating, please keep in mind the possibility of staying there for a certain amount of time,” the mayor said.  

Some background: Russian forces have pounded Ukraine’s critical infrastructure in recent weeks, severely damaging its electrical grid and forcing many towns and cities across the country to impose scheduled hours-long blackouts. 

Preparing for emergency: The city’s Director for the Department of Municipal Security, Roman Tkachuk, relayed fears later in the afternoon on Sunday that all possible action plans are being considered in the case of an emergency but there were no plans to evacuate the city, according to a statement from the Kyiv City Council. 

Tkachuk said each district within the city will have about 100 heating centers to operate in case of emergencies in the winter. These heating centers will be equipped with heat, lighting, toilets, canteens, places to rest, warm clothes, blankets and an ambulance crew will be on duty near such centers, the statement said.  

“The civil protection system must be ready for various scenarios, but this does not mean that we are now preparing for evacuation. To respond efficiently, we must have a plan for all possible scenarios,” Tkachuk said.  

Electricity and water temporarily cut off in Russian-occupied Kherson

Electricity and water have been temporarily cut off in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian local officials and Russian-appointed local authorities.

The Russian-backed Kherson region administration announced the outages on Telegram Sunday.

It added that “three reinforced concrete columns of high-voltage power lines were damaged” after what it claimed was “a terrorist attack organized by the Ukrainian side.”

The Russian-backed Kherson region administration said that “power and water supply will be restored throughout the Kherson region in the very near future,” asking citizens to remain calm.

CNN cannot independently confirm or verify details of the claimed attack or who was behind it. Russia and Ukraine are accusing each other regarding the incident.

What Ukrainian officials are saying: Yuriy Sobolevskyi, a local Ukrainian leader, confirmed roughly 10 settlements of the Kherson region were left without electricity and water, including the whole city.

“A high-voltage power line was damaged. The occupiers have already ‘reported’ about the attack. However, they did not specify that the attack was carried out by them. Eyewitness testimonies confirm this,” Sobolevskyi said in a Telegram post.

More context: The fighting in the Kherson region has escalated in recent weeks. Russian-backed authorities have started evacuating residents, evacuations the Ukrainian side calls “forced.”

Last month, a resident described the situation in the city as tense, with people “emotionally exhausted,” the streets empty from mid-afternoon onwards and Russian soldiers often seen in civilian clothes.

Zelensky claims Russia will use Iranian missiles for possible attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia intends to use Iranian missiles for possible attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, especially the country’s energy sector.

Already, more than 4.5 million residents are without power across Kyiv and six other regions because of Russian strikes, Zelensky said in his nightly address Sunday.

“We also understand that the terrorist state is concentrating forces and means for a possible repetition of mass attacks on our infrastructure. First of all, energy,” Zelensky said. “In particular, for this, Russia needs Iranian missiles,” the Ukrainian president said, adding Ukraine is “preparing to respond.” 

He also said that on Sunday, Russians “used Iranian attack drones again,” but he stopped short of providing any further details.

“The whole world will know that the Iranian regime helps Russia prolong this war,” Zelensky said.

“If it was not for the Iranian supply of weapons to the aggressor, we would be closer to peace now,” he continued. “And this means closer to a complete solution to the food crisis.” 

Some background: Iran is preparing to send approximately 1,000 additional weapons, including missiles and more attack drones, to Russia, officials from a Western country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program told CNN.

The shipment is being closely monitored because it would be the first instance of Iran sending advanced precision guided missiles to Russia, which could give the Kremlin a substantial boost on the battlefield.

Iranian drones have played a significant role in the conflict since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February

Iran acknowledges providing drones to Russia before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine

The Iranian government acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of its invasion of Ukraine.

The statement by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian comes after previous denials by Tehran that it had supplied Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine, saying it “has not and will not” do so. Amirabdollahian did not say if the drones that were supplied to Moscow were the type that carry explosives.

“Some western countries have accused Iran of helping the war in Ukraine by providing drones and missiles to Russia. The part regarding missiles is completely wrong. The part about drones is correct, we did provide a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of the war in Ukraine,” Amirabdollahian told reporters in Tehran.

Self-detonating drones, also known as “suicide drones,” have played a significant role in the conflict since Russia launched its invasion in late February. They are capable of circling for some time in an area identified as a potential target and striking only once an enemy asset is identified.

Some context: Russia has launched a series of drone attacks across Ukraine in recent weeks, striking vital civilian infrastructure and sowing terror in Ukrainian cities far from the frontlines of the war. Ukrainian officials said last week that they had shot down more than 300 Iranian drones.

Officials from a Western country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program also told CNN that Iran is preparing to send more attack drones, along with surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles, to Russia to use in its war against Ukraine.

The last shipment of weapons from Iran to Russia included about 450 drones, officials said, which the Russians have already used to deadly effect in Ukraine.

Read CNN’s full story here.

Drones are seen at an underground site at an undisclosed location in Iran

Iran acknowledges providing drones to Russia before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine

Go Deeper

Russian missile strikes overshadow cyberattacks as Ukraine reels from blackouts
Iran acknowledges providing drones to Russia before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
Zelensky accuses Moscow of energy ‘terrorism’ as Russian strikes knock out power for millions
Ukraine suffered a comms outage when 1,300 SpaceX satellite units went offline over funding issues

Go Deeper

Russian missile strikes overshadow cyberattacks as Ukraine reels from blackouts
Iran acknowledges providing drones to Russia before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
Zelensky accuses Moscow of energy ‘terrorism’ as Russian strikes knock out power for millions
Ukraine suffered a comms outage when 1,300 SpaceX satellite units went offline over funding issues