November 9, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sophie Tanno, Ed Upright and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, November 10, 2022
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11:16 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Russian defense minister orders withdrawal of Russian forces from west bank in Kherson

From CNN's Tim Lister

A Ukrainian howitzer fires in the Kherson Oblast, Ukraine, on November 5.
A Ukrainian howitzer fires in the Kherson Oblast, Ukraine, on November 5. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has ordered a withdrawal of Russian forces from the west bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson region, according to Russian state media.

His order comes as Ukrainian forces make advances toward the city of Kherson from two directions. 

The Russian withdrawal would be the most significant military development since Ukrainian forces swept through the northern Kharkiv region in September. 

Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city and the only regional capital that Russia has captured since the February invasion.

9:34 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Senior Russian-appointed official in Kherson killed in a road accident, according to regional Russian leader

From CNN's Tim Lister, Uliana Pavlova, Darya Tarasova and Anna Chernova

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson administration, is pictured in his office in the city of Kherson, Ukraine, on July 20.
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson administration, is pictured in his office in the city of Kherson, Ukraine, on July 20. (AFP/Getty Images)

One of the most senior Russian-appointed officials in occupied Ukrainian territory has been killed, according to the Russian-installed leader of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, and reported in Russian state news agencies.

“It is very hard for me to say that Kirill Stremousov died today. He died on the territory of the Kherson region, moving in a car that got into an accident," Saldo said in a statement on Telegram.

Saldo called Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of the region, "one of the brightest, able to speak and present to people the truth about what is happening in the Kherson region."

Stremousov died in a road accident, the press secretary of the head of the region said, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Russian state media company Vesti (VGTRK) said that, according to the Minister of Health of the Kherson Region Vadim Ilmiev, Stremousov was killed in an accident on the highway between Kherson and Armyansk in Crimea.

Valeria Petrusevich, head of the nonprofit organization Good Peace-Crimean Volunteers, also wrote on her Telegram channel that "Kirill Stremousov, deputy governor of the Kherson region, died. The information is accurate, I know personally. It was an accident. Details later."

Stremousov, a Ukrainian who was quick to side with the Russian occupation when Kherson fell early in the invasion, had become one of the most vocal and outspoken of Russian appointees.

As deputy head of the Kherson region military administration, Stremousov was prominent in organizing and supporting the referendum on Kherson's declared annexation by Russia and more recently had been the driving force in the evacuation of civilians from the west bank in Kherson, as Ukrainian forces pushed toward the Dnipro River.

On Tuesday, Stremousov said: “Most residents who decided to stay in Kherson are only now beginning to realize the gravity of the situation and my warnings."

Stremousov frequently wrote on Telegram to describe Ukrainian officials and forces as "Nazis" and "fascists." But he was also critical of missteps by the Russian military. He had blamed the military setbacks in Kherson on “incompetent commanders” who had not been held accountable for their mistakes.

Sevastopol Gov. Mikhail Razvozhaev said that Stremousov "was a true patriot of Russia, brave and courageous, in any situation he remained in touch and considered it his duty to inform the residents of the Kherson region about what was happening. This was the case this morning as well. This is an irreparable loss." 

Earlier Wednesday, Stremousov had published a video on the situation on the front lines, particularly on the fighting around Snihurivska north of Kherson city, where there are reports that Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian defenses.

Stremousov was 45 years old, according to Vesti.

8:46 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Russia destroys bridges in occupied Kherson region and appears to withdraw from some villages

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Mick Krever in Kyiv

 Russian forces have destroyed bridges across occupied parts of Ukraine’s Kherson region west of the Dnipro River, a local Ukrainian official and Russian military analysts on Telegram reported on Wednesday.

Serhii Khlan, a member of the Ukrainian Kherson Regional Council, said that Russian forces appear to be staging a tactical retreat from some frontline villages to “slow down the onslaught of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” CNN cannot independently confirm his claims.

“The occupiers blew up not only Dariivskyi and Tiahynskyi bridges, they also blew up the bridge at the exit from Snihurivka towards Kherson across the canal,” Khlan said during a press conference. “They blew up the bridge in Novokairy, blew up the bridge in Mylove.”

“The occupiers are now blowing up absolutely all bridges” in the occupied Kherson region west of the Dnipro River.

Images and reports from Russian propagandists and military analysts on Telegram appear to corroborate those claims. 

A popular Russian military analysis channel said Wednesday that “the destruction of bridges across the Kherson Front began to slow down the advance of the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine].”

Khlan said that Russian forces were withdrawing “en masse” from frontline villages along the western bank of the Dnipro River. He said that though it was not yet possible to officially say that Russia had abandoned the settlements, Russian forces were no longer present in Kachkarivka, Mylove, Novokairy, Berezynske, Sukhanove, Chervonyi Yar, Piatykhatky and Sadok.

“We must admit that the occupiers are running away, the occupiers are retreating,” Khlan said. “The most important task for them with the reinforced checkpoints that they are now doing in Niddniprianske, on the approaches to Kherson, and in Kozatske, on the approaches to Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam, is to ensure the withdrawal of their troops.”

There appears to have been fierce fighting around the Russian-occupied town of Snihurivka in the Mykolaiv region, just north of the Kherson region.

“As I understand, the occupiers are reinforcing [fortifications] in order to ensure the withdrawal of their units from the front line. We can say that under the onslaught of our Armed Forces, the occupiers are preparing and doing everything possible to make it look like a planned retreat from the front line, rather than an absolute failure of the front,” he said.

8:14 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

US: Griner's transfer to Russian penal colony is "another injustice"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Brittney Griner is seen on the bottom part of a TV screen as she waits to appear in a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service prior to a hearing at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, on October 25.
Brittney Griner is seen on the bottom part of a TV screen as she waits to appear in a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service prior to a hearing at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, on October 25. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Brittney Griner’s ongoing transfer to a remote penal colony in Russia “another injustice layered on her ongoing unjust and wrongful detention.”

“As we work to secure Brittney Griner’s release, we expect Russian authorities to provide our Embassy officials with regular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia, including Brittney, as is their obligation,” Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. “Ensuring the health and welfare of U.S. citizen detainees in Russia is a priority, and we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for them all.”

“Our hearts are with Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, as well as their family, friends, and supporters, who all continue to suffer from Russia’s decision to wrongfully detain U.S. citizens,” the top US diplomat said.

“We continue to work relentlessly to bring them home. I am focused on doing so, as are so many others in the Department,” Blinken said. “We will not relent until they are reunited with their loved ones.”

8:23 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

US basketball star Brittney Griner's location is currently unknown as she is moved to a Russian penal colony. Meanwhile, on the ground in Ukraine, a CNN team has reported heavy artillery exchanges in the Donetsk region.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Brittney Griner transfer: Representatives for the basketball star have confirmed they do not know her current location or condition after her attorneys said she was being transferred to a Russian penal colony on Wednesday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the move is "another injustice" in her case.
  • Heavy gunfire in Donetsk: A CNN team visiting the town of Toretsk, near the frontline in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, has reported hearing heavy exchanges of artillery. It comes after Zelensky said "fierce positional battles" are taking place in the region.
  • Hope for world's largest plane: Plans have been confirmed to rebuild the world's largest commercial plane, after it was destroyed at the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The massive aircraft was attacked at its base in Hostomel, near Kyiv, in February.
  • NATO summit location confirmed: The next NATO leaders summit will take place in Vilnius on July 11-12, the military alliance confirmed Wednesday. “It is expected that Finland and Sweden will participate in the summit as full-fledged members of the Alliance for the first time in Vilnius,” NATO said.
7:48 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Military training course to be added to Russian school curricula in 2023

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Young men walk in front of a billboard promoting contract army service in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 29.
Young men walk in front of a billboard promoting contract army service in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 29. (Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images)

A basic military training course will be added to the Russian school curricula from the next academic year, Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov said Wednesday, according to state news agency TASS. 

"It will be introduced in schools starting from the next academic year. Now it is being drafted and after January 1, it will begin to be tested," Kravtsov told journalists, according to TASS.

The ministry had said earlier that a course for basic military training in schools and colleges was being developed, according to the news agency. 

The course would be part of the instruction time reserved for lessons on the basics of civil defense, which is 35 hours over five days, TASS said. 

7:34 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

US midterm elections "important" but won’t change "bad" relations, says Kremlin

From CNN's Anna Chernova

The US midterm elections are "important" but the outcome won't have a significant impact on the Russia-US relations, which will likely "remain bad," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. 

“Of course, these elections are important, but I will probably not be mistaken if I say that there is no need to seriously exaggerate the significance of these elections in the short and medium term for the future of [Russia-US] bilateral relations,” Peskov said, according to state news agency RIA Novosti. 

“These elections cannot change anything essential. Relationships still exist and will remain bad," Peskov added.

7:31 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Destroyed in Russia's invasion, the world's largest plane will be rebuilt, according to confirmed plans

From CNN's Julia Buckley

The destroyed remains of an Antonov An-225 cargo plane in February.
The destroyed remains of an Antonov An-225 cargo plane in February. (Christophe Gateau/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

Plans have been confirmed to rebuild the world's largest commercial plane, after the Antonov AN-225 was destroyed at the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The massive aircraft, nicknamed "Mriya" -- Ukrainian for "dream" -- was attacked at its base in Hostomel, near Kyiv in February.

"Russia may have destroyed our 'Mriya'. But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state. We shall prevail!" Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter at the time.

Now its manufacturers have announced that plans to rebuilt the aircraft are already underway.

The Antonov Company said in a tweet Monday that the rebuild project had begun, with "design work" in the offing.

An Antonov An-225 flies above Warsaw, Poland, in April 2020.
An Antonov An-225 flies above Warsaw, Poland, in April 2020. (Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

The company predicted a bill of over €500 million ($502 million) to get it back in the air, promising more information "after the victory."

Already the company has around 30% of the components needed to build a new one, it announced.

Read the full story here.

6:27 a.m. ET, November 9, 2022

Mine kills two road workers in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Mick Krever

Two workers in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region were killed by a mine Tuesday while working to repair the road surface, the head of the region’s military administration said. 

Russian occupiers have mined absolutely everything,” Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, two road service workers aged 21 and 51 were killed during the day. Two more men aged 55 and 34 were injured. Special equipment triggered a mine while working in Chuhuiv district.”

Mines in formerly occupied parts of the Kharkiv region will “remain one of the biggest problems for a long time,” the official said.