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November 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
By Amy Woodyatt, Kathleen Magramo, Andrew Raine, Adrienne Vogt and Matt Meyer, CNN
Ukrainian forces moving forward in some parts of Luhansk region, local official says
From CNN's Julia Kesaieva
Fierce fighting continues in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, where there are high numbers of newly mobilized Russian troops, according to a Ukrainian official.
Roman Vlasenko, head of Severodonetsk district military administration, told Ukrainian television that there were three major frontlines running north-south in Luhansk.
Vlasenko said that Ukrainian forces were making some progress around the town of Svatove, and further north.
He said that "active hostilities" are ongoing along the entire frontline in the Luhansk region.
Ukrainian forces were advancing west and south of Svatove and Russian ammunition depots were being destroyed, he said.
There was a high concentration of new Russian troops in the towns of Kreminna, Rubizhne, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, Vlasenko said.
All four towns and cities are south of Svatove and were captured by the Russians in the spring and summer after intense conflict and widespread destruction.
Ukrainian forces are now within a few miles of all four places, he said.
Biden administration divided over path ahead for Ukraine as top US general pushes for diplomacy
From CNN's Kylie Atwood and Oren Liebermann
During internal conversations about the war in Ukraine, America's top general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, has in recent weeks led a strong push to seek a diplomatic solution as fighting heads toward a winter lull.
But Milley's position is not widely backed by President Biden's national security team, including Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, neither of whom believe it's time to make a serious push for talks over Ukraine, according to two administration officials familiar with the discussion.
The result is a growing debate inside the administration over whether Ukraine's recent gains on the battlefield should spark a renewed effort to seek some sort of negotiated end to the fighting, according to officials.
Milley's push for peace has spilled into the public in recent days, just as Ukraine takes back the city of Kherson. In comments at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, Milley praised the Ukrainian army for fighting Russia to a stalemate, but said that an outright military victory is out of reach.
"When there's an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it. Seize the moment," Milley said.
The comments left administration officials unsurprised — given Milley's advocacy for the position internally — but also raised concern among some about the administration appearing divided in the eyes of the Kremlin.
While some Biden officials are more open to exploring what diplomacy may look like, sources tell CNN most of the top diplomatic and national security officials are wary of giving Russian President Vladimir Putin any sort of leverage at the negotiating table and believe Ukrainians must determine when to hold talks, not the US.
"That's up to the Ukrainians. Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine," President Biden said at a Wednesday press conference when asked about the potential for talks.
In internal deliberations, officials say Milley has sought to make it clear that he is not urging a Ukrainian capitulation, but rather that he believes now is an optimal time to drive toward an end to the war before it drags into spring or beyond, leading to more death and destruction without changing the front lines, officials say.
Milley's position comes as the US military has dug deep into US weapons stockpiles to support the Ukrainians and is currently scouring the globe for materials to support Ukraine heading into winter — such as heaters and generators — which has raised concerns about how long this war can be sustained, officials said.
Ukraine prepares to bring services to liberated southern cities
From CNN's Julia Kesaieva in Kyiv
Ukrainian authorities are beginning the hard work of rebuilding in territories recently liberated in their southern counteroffensive.
The head of the regional military administration of Mykolaiv, which neighbors Kherson, visited the small city of Snihurivka Friday to discuss "the restoration of life in the liberated territories of the region."
"We are already working on providing the liberated communities with electricity and communication and restoring the TV signal. Tomorrow we expect to replenish warehouses with humanitarian aid for the population," the leader, Vitalii Kim, said.
He commended hospital staff in the city for working through the Russian occupation.
He also urged locals to beware of any explosives left behind by the Russians.
"Despite the fact that the relevant services have already started (removing mines in) the liberated territories, I warn local residents to be careful," Kim added.
At least 7 Kherson bridges destroyed in last 24 hours, satellite images and photos show
From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Tim Lister and Gianluca Mezzofiore
At least seven bridges — four of them crossing the Dnipro River — have been destroyed in the last 24 hours, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies and other photos.
Two bridges, a vehicle and a railroad bridge that sit atop a dam at Nova Kakhovka were among those destroyed.
In recent months, Ukrainian strikes on and near the bridge had badly damaged the Antonivskyi vehicle bridge, located just southeast of the city of Kherson, but the latest damage completely destroyed a number of roadway sections. Additionally, the Antonivskyi railroad bridge, located just east of the vehicle bridge, was also ruined.
Another bridge, which crosses the Inhulets River at Darivka, was also destroyed.
Finally, two bridges — a highway and a pedestrian bridge — were wrecked in the village of Tyahinka. That village is located just 14 miles east of the dam at Nova Kakhovka.
It's unclear who is responsible for the destruction of the bridges, but they come as Russian military forces retreated from the west bank of the Dnipro in the Kherson region.
Zelensky: Ukrainian special units are in Kherson city, with more military and government services on the way
From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Friday has been "a historic day" for Ukraine after Russia announced its withdrawal from the west bank of the Kherson region.
"We are returning the south of our country, we are returning Kherson," Zelensky said.
"As of now, our defenders are on the outskirts of the city. Just a little more to go and we will enter. But special units are already in the city," he added.
The president talked about the appearance of Ukrainian flags in the city even before the military arrived, saying, "I am happy to see how people, despite all the threats, despite the repressions, abuse of the occupiers, kept Ukrainian flags, believed in Ukraine."
Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the military units involved in the operation — "absolutely everyone, from privates to generals, the Armed Forces, intelligence, the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Guard — all those who brought this day closer for Kherson region."
He said stabilization measures would follow due to the threat of mines. "The occupiers left a lot of mines and explosives, in particular at vital facilities. We will be clearing them," he said.
"Our defenders are followed by police, sappers, rescuers, power engineers ... Medicine, communications, social services are returning. ... Life is returning," he said.
Zelensky repeated what Ukraine's Intelligence Directorate said earlier Friday, appealing to any Russian soldiers still on the west bank to surrender.
"We guarantee that you will be treated in accordance with the law and international standards. And to those Russian military who disguised themselves in civilian clothes and are hiding somewhere, I want to say that you cannot hide. We will find you anyway. Do not delay."
Ukrainian officials urge people not to return to homes in liberated areas of Kherson
From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva
As Ukrainian forces consolidate their hold on the western part of the Kherson region, officials have warned residents not to try to return home too soon.
"More and more settlements are returning under the Ukrainian flag," the head of Kherson's regional military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevych, said in a video.
"I understand that everyone is homesick and are eager to return home as soon as possible," he continued, saying, "I am asking you to wait a little. It’s too dangerous here now. There is a high probability that the enemy will shell the newly de-occupied settlements. Beyond that, the area should be examined by explosive experts. Unfortunately, there are already many civilian casualties caused by explosive devices."
Ukrainian officials have also been posting video of Russian armor left behind, despite the insistence of the Russian Defense Ministry that all equipment had been taken to the east bank.
Ukrainian Infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said plans were underway to restore transportation connections with the liberated territories of Kherson.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that "in the course of successful offensive actions, advanced units of our troops in some places have already reached the right bank of the Dnipro river. Measures to detect and eliminate the enemy in a number of settlements continue."
In its operational note late Friday, the General Staff said that Russian forces were "improving the fortification equipment of defensive borders on the left [east] bank of the Dnipro" and in Crimea.
Elsewhere on the front lines The military said that , Russian forces continued offensive actions in parts of Donetsk, including in Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka.
It claimed that Ukrainian fire had inflicted heavy casualties on a Russian control point near the city of Enerhodar, which is next to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. "More than 50 occupiers were killed and more than 40 were wounded," it said.
New damage caused to critical dam in Kherson, satellite images show
From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Gianluca Mezzofiore, Julia Kesaieva and Tim Lister
New damage has been inflicted on a critical dam that spans the Dnipro River at Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region in the last 24 hours, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies obtained by CNN.
Water is flowing out of three sluice gates at the dam, where a major hydro-electric project is situated.
It's unclear how the latest damage, which is close to the west bank, was caused. Local Telegram channels reported Thursday night the sound of explosions around the dam.
The sluice gates under the destroyed sections of the bridge are the only ones releasing water, but it's unclear from the satellite images whether they were damaged in the explosion and whether the release of water is controlled or impeded by the collapsed sections of bridge.
A photo, which appeared on social media on Friday afternoon, showed water flowing from the corners of the sluice gates and the missing bridge sections. CNN geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the photo, which was taken from the southern bank of the Dnipro River.
Although Ukrainian armed forces have liberated large swathes of territory in Kherson, they do not appear they have taken control of the dam at Nova Kakhovka.
Ukrhydroenergo, which operates the hydro-electric plant, said it had not heard of fresh damage to the dam and was unable to offer further comment.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant upstream uses the water in the dam's reservoir to cool its nuclear reactors. The reservoir holds about 18 million cubic meters of water.
On Oct. 21, Ukrainian Defense Intelligence claimed that Russian forces had begun mining the sluice gates and supports at the dam. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also made similar claims in a national speech on Oct. 20.
At the time, Russian-appointed officials in Kherson dismissed the claims as "nonsense."
Ukraine acknowledges for first time that it carried out attack on Russian ships in Sevastopol
From Victoria Butenko
Ukraine has acknowledged that its forces carried out attacks on the Russian fleet and harbor at Sevastopol in Crimea at the end of last month.
A government crowdfunding platform said that "on October 29, 2022, naval drones hit Russian ships, [in an operation] carried out exclusively by unmanned devices."
The platform said that "small and fast" drones had damaged three Russian vessels, including the Admiral Makarov, a frigate warship that is also the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Russian authorities acknowledged damage to a minesweeper but not to any other naval vessel. There has been no independent confirmation that the Makarov was seriously damaged.
The crowdfunding site said its goal was "to assemble a fleet of 100 such vessels. They will defend the waters of our seas, stop Russian ships carrying missiles from leaving the bay, protect merchant ships, and perform secret missions."
It estimated the cost of each naval drone at $250,000.