November 15, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Mike Hayes, Jack Guy and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 7:07 a.m. ET, November 16, 2022
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9:25 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

3 residential buildings hit in Kyiv as air raid sirens sound throughout Ukraine, mayor says

From Julia Kesaieva in Kyiv

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 15.
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 15. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Air raid warnings have sounded across Ukraine amid an expected barrage of Russian missiles. 

In the capital, Kyiv, the city military administration said two explosions had been heard and instructed residents to remain in shelters.

It said four missiles had been shot down.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram, "Attack on the capital. According to preliminary information, two residential buildings were hit in Pecherskyi [residential] district. Several missiles were shot down by air defense over Kyiv city. Medics and rescuers at the site of the hits. More detailed information later."

Klitschko said there had been a third strike. "Another hit in Pechersk district of Kyiv city. A high-rise building," he said.

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 15.
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 15. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said that in Kyiv, "two hits of Russian missiles were detected. Enemy weapons hit residential buildings. Rescuers and doctors are already working on the spot." 

He said several missiles were destroyed by air defense forces.

"The danger has not passed. Stay in the shelters," he said.

Vitalii Kim, head of the regional military administration in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, warned of a third wave of missiles.

In central Ukraine, Dmytro Lunin, head of the Poltava region military administration, said that air defenses were working in Myrhorod community.

"Please stay in shelters," Lunin said on Telegram.

Air defenses are operating in several regions throughout Ukraine.

9:35 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

US Embassy in Kyiv warns of "continued heightened threat of missile attacks across Ukraine"

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The US Embassy in Kyiv issued a security alert Tuesday warning “of a continued heightened threat of missile attacks across Ukraine, including Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast.”

“The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to observe air alarms, shelter appropriately, follow guidance from local authorities, and refer to additional safety information” about how to shelter from a missile attack, the alert advised.

The State Department still urges citizens not to travel to Ukraine and to depart as soon as possible.

9:35 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Explosion heard in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

From CNN's Mick Krever

An explosion has been heard by the CNN team in Kyiv, about 45 minutes after an air raid siren was sounded.

The cause of the explosion is unclear – whether an interception, impact, or something else.

A top Ukrainian official said Tuesday that Russia was responding to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech at the G20 summit with a missile attack on Ukraine.

“Russia responds to Zelensky's powerful speech at #G20 with a new missile attack,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on Twitter.

In a speech via video earlier, Zelensky outlined a 10-point peace plan to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Viacheslav Chaus, the head of Chernihiv regional military administration, which is northeast of Kyiv, said that "air defense forces are working" in the region.

Chaus warned on his Telegram channel: "In no case must you post photos and videos of hits, the work of air defense forces, the deployment and movement of troops!!!" 

"The missile attack continues. Stay in shelters or in a safe place," he added.

8:05 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Kherson official says it's "too early" to talk about the eastern bank of Dnipro River

Amid rumors of Ukrainian ambitions to continue its counteroffensive across the Dnipro River, an official in Ukraine’s Kherson region said that it was “too early” to talk about the liberation of more Russian-controlled villages.

“There has been no official information yet,” Serhii Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, said during a press conference.

“Yesterday I said that a Ukrainian flag was spotted on the Yunist [Youth] cinema in Nova Kakhovka, and that Ukrainian flags started to appear here and there throughout the city, but there was no information of liberation and control of these settlements.”

CNN cannot confirm Khlan’s claims. Ukrainian officials on Monday said that the military was conducting an intense bombardment of Russian positions on the Dnipro River’s eastern bank.

Khlan also said that Ukraine aimed to control the waterway that supplies Russian-controlled Crimea with fresh water. That waterway, the North Crimean Canal, is fed by the Dnipro River, near the town of Russian-controlled town of Tavriisk, on the river’s eastern bank.

The canal was dammed by Ukraine in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed Crimea. Russia resumed the flow of water after captured southern Ukraine after the February 2022 invasion.

“We need to wait for the official message that we control Tavriisk – this is where the main sluices are for the water to flow freely along the North-Crimean canal,” Khlan said. “Once we take control of Tavriisk, then we can talk about closing the sluices and cutting off the water supply to North-Crimean canal.”

‘Humanitarian catastrophe’

The resident of the Kherson region’s liberated areas “are suffering humanitarian catastrophe right now, which was artificially created by the occupiers,” Khlan said.

“We have a lot of challenges on renewing a normal life for the residents: Water, heat, electricity, especially considering the transformers for the electricity were destroyed, this all adds up,” he said. “There are still difficulties with the connection, although we now inform of the locations where people can charge their mobile device and get a connection from a Starlink to call their dearest.”

He said that the power company hoped to restore the city’s electricity supply within a week, but that it could take up to a month. Officials have warned that infrastructure must be de-mined before technicians can repair it.

Police are also busy opening criminal proceedings into the conduct of the former Russian occupiers, Khlan said.

“The police investigators are working and opening the criminal proceedings,” he said. “I think with some time we will see all these proceedings and all these cases with the Russian war crimes recorded.”

7:48 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

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

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has cast doubt on the future of the Black Sea grain deal and attempted to blame the West and its allies for Moscow's war on Ukraine.

Meanwhile, officials attempt to restore power and pension payments in formerly-occupied Kherson.

Here are the latest headlines: 

  • Black Sea grain deal in doubt: The future of the vital Black Sea grain deal depends on existing terms being met, Lavrov said Tuesday. The first term is the export of Ukrainian grain, but the second term is to “remove barriers to the export of Russian grain,” according to Lavrov. The deal is due to expire at the end of this month.
  • Lavrov attempts to justify invasion: The West and its allies have provoked Russia's actions in Ukraine — not vice versa — said Lavrov, using a familiar justification for Moscow's invasion. Lavrov also accused NATO and the European Union of interfering in the war in Ukraine.
  • Russia must be "punished," says Ukrainian official: Russia must “undergo political transformation” and "cannot continue existence in its current form," said Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, on Tuesday. “Russia cannot continue existence in its current form and ruling elites. Russia must lose, be punished for neglecting international law and undergo political transformation. The sooner everyone understands this, the fewer victims there will be.”
  • Zelensky presents peace plan: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented a 10-point peace plan to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine in a video speech to G20 leaders in Bali on Tuesday. The steps include a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a final peace treaty with Moscow, according to a transcript of the speech.
  • Moscow questions peace plan: Russia has seen Zelensky's peace proposal but believes Kyiv doesn't want to negotiate, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. “We state the main thing here — that the position both de facto and de jure of the Ukrainian side indicates that Ukraine cannot and does not want to negotiate,” he said.
  • Xi calls for peace talks: Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated Beijing's stance that peace talks should be held to end the war in Ukraine during the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday, according to state media, though he once again stopped short of condemning Russia's actions. 
  • Power plant in southern Ukraine "practically destroyed": A power station in a formerly-occupied area of the Kherson region was “practically destroyed" prior to the withdrawal of Russian troops, the head of Ukraine’s national power company said on Tuesday. “It no longer exists," said Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, CEO of Ukrenergo.
  • Pension payments restart in Kherson city: Ukraine's post office will resume facilitating the payment of state pensions in the formerly Russian-occupied city of Kherson. In the last week of October CNN spoke to a man still living in the city who said Russia was withdrawing facilities for services like pensions and passports as Moscow prepared to leave Kherson.
  • Large explosion in Melitopol: Russian-occupied Melitopol was rocked by a large explosion on Tuesday morning, according to the exiled mayor of the southern Ukrainian city. “Loud explosion in a residential area in the north of Melitopol, near the 24th lyceum, where another occupiers' nest is concentrated,” Ivan Fedorov said on Telegram. “According to preliminary information, the blast wave in a neighboring house broke the windows up to the 4th floor.”
7:52 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Kremlin calls UNGA resolution on Ukraine reparations a "formalization of this robbery"

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Members of the General Assembly vote on a draft resolution during a special session in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters on November 14, in New York City.
Members of the General Assembly vote on a draft resolution during a special session in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters on November 14, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The United Nations resolution on reparations for Ukraine has been labeled a "formalization" of "robbery" by the Kremlin.

On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in support of a resolution that states Russia should be held accountable for violating international law through its invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting of the UNGA in New York saw 94 countries vote in favor of the resolution, while 14 voted against, 73 abstained and 12 were not present.

UNGA resolutions are nonbinding but carry symbolic weight.

“The organizers of this process are trying to complete the robbery of our reserves, which were illegally blocked. This is a formalization of this robbery using the UN platform,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a regular conference call with journalists on Tuesday. 

The UN decision is not legally binding and Moscow “will treat it accordingly,” Peskov added.

7:16 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

Moscow has seen Zelensky's peace proposal but believes Ukraine doesn't want to negotiate, Kremlin says

From CNN’s Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky addresses the G20 from his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 15.
Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky addresses the G20 from his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 15. (President of Ukraine)

Moscow has seen the peace proposal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but believes Kyiv doesn't want to negotiate, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. 

“[We] have seen [it],” Peskov said when asked by journalists during a regular conference call. 

“We state the main thing here — that the position both de facto and de jure of the Ukrainian side indicates that Ukraine cannot and does not want to negotiate,” he added.

Peskov reiterated that Russia will continue reaching its goals by carrying out what it calls its “special military operation.”

Zelensky’s peace plan, which he presented at the G20 summit on Tuesday, has 10 steps, including a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for Russian war crimes and a final peace treaty with Russia, according to the speech transcript.

Zelensky urged G20 leaders to use all their power to “make Russia abandon nuclear threats” and implement a price cap on energy imported from Moscow.

7:07 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

City of Kherson remains administrative center of Kherson region, the Kremlin implies

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

The city of Kherson is still the administrative center of the Kherson region, despite being recaptured by the Ukrainian army, the Kremlin implied on Tuesday. 

“No other decisions have been made,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked if the city still remains the regional center after the Russian army's retreat.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to Kherson on Monday to offer support to residents of the newly recaptured city.

Despite Kyiv gaining back control of Kherson city last week, Moscow still views the region as part of Russia.

When asked about Zelensky’s visit Monday, Peskov said: “No comment. This is Russian territory.”

7:17 a.m. ET, November 15, 2022

CNN exclusive: US intelligence suggests Russia put off announcing Kherson retreat until after midterm elections

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis, Zachary Cohen and Natasha Bertrand

A man removes a banner from the Russian occupation period "Russians and Ukrainians are one people, one whole" in the newly liberated Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14.
A man removes a banner from the Russian occupation period "Russians and Ukrainians are one people, one whole" in the newly liberated Kherson, Ukraine, on November 14. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

The US has intelligence that Russia may have delayed announcing its withdrawal from the Ukrainian city of Kherson in part to avoid giving the Biden administration a political win ahead of the midterm elections, according to four people familiar with the intelligence.

Senior Russian officials discussed the US midterms as a factor during deliberations about the withdrawal announcement, one person familiar with the intelligence said. Waiting until after the US election was always a “pre-planned condition” of Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson, a second person familiar with the intelligence told CNN.

Still, the election was far from the only consideration in Russia’s retreat, officials said. Military analysts say Russia had few other operational options and had been preparing to pull back for weeks, leading US officials to wonder when the Russians would officially acknowledge the withdrawal.

While the intelligence is not a formal assessment of Russia’s intentions, it is a sign that Russia has a continued interest in influencing the US political landscape — although the sources said Russia probably miscalculated the impact such an announcement would actually have on the elections.

Read more here.