November 17, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Eliza Mackintosh, Jack Guy, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:32 a.m. ET, November 18, 2022
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7:05 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

At least four dead in Zaporizhzhia region after overnight strike, says Ukrainian official

From CNN’s Yulia Kesaieva and Jo Shelley

Aftermath of a Russian missile strike on Vilniansk in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia on November 17.
Aftermath of a Russian missile strike on Vilniansk in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia on November 17. (Ukraine State Emergency Service/Telegram)

A Russian missile strike on Vilniansk in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region killed at least four people overnight, Oleksandr Starukh, head of the regional administration, said on Telegram.

Starukh said three missiles had hit Vilniansk, sharing photos of a residential building which had been destroyed. 

“Currently, four victims have been found under the rubble. Their identities are being established,” he said.

Pictures posted by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service showed dozens of rescuers working at the scene.

Some context: Russian shelling and missile strikes continued to target civilian infrastructure in various parts of Ukraine overnight, including gas and electricity facilities, according to Ukrainian officials.

Air raid sirens sounded across the country, with strikes reported in the city of Dnipro, in central Ukraine; Izium, in the northern Kharkiv region; and the southern Odesa region.

Russia's renewed barrage comes after Moscow's forces fired around 100 missiles on at least a dozen cities and districts Tuesday, according to Ukrainian officials and a CNN analysis of the strikes.

The attacks appeared to be the largest since October 10, when Russia stepped up its campaign to destroy electricity, water and gas infrastructure across Ukraine. 

6:24 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

World leaders welcome extension of Black Sea grain deal

From CNN’s Jo Shelley in London

A crew member prepares a grain analysis for a control made by members of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) onboard the Barbados-flagged ship "Nord Vind" coming from Ukraine loaded with grain and anchored in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 11.
A crew member prepares a grain analysis for a control made by members of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) onboard the Barbados-flagged ship "Nord Vind" coming from Ukraine loaded with grain and anchored in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 11. (Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was among a number of world leaders that welcomed an agreement to extend the Black Sea grain deal on Thursday, after Moscow had threatened to pull out sparking concerns for global food supplies.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine,” Guterres said in a statement on Twitter. “The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions.”

European Council President Charles Michel said the agreement was “good news for a world that badly needs access to grain and fertilisers.”

The grain deal was brokered in July by the United Nations and Turkey to allow Ukraine to resume the export of grain and other agricultural products after Russia began a full-scale assault on the country in February. It was due to expire on November 19.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that the agreement on the extension had been reached after Turkey hosted discussions between the UN, Russia and Ukraine.

Erdogan said that more than 11 million tonnes of grain and other products had been shipped from Ukrainian ports so far under the deal.

The 120-day extension is less than the year-long extension Ukraine says it asked for.

6:21 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

All evidence indicates missile strike was launched by Ukrainian air defenses, says Polish official

From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen

Polish soldiers pass by the police check point, next to site where a missile strike killed two men, in Przewodow, Poland, on November 17.
Polish soldiers pass by the police check point, next to site where a missile strike killed two men, in Przewodow, Poland, on November 17. (Wojtek Radwanski and Damien Simonart/AFP/Getty Images)

All of the evidence collected by NATO, the United States and Poland indicates that a missile which killed two people in Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces, according to a Polish official.

The evidence "indicates that we are dealing with an S-300 missile launched by Ukrainian air defenses," said Jacek Severa, the head of Poland's National Security Bureau, in an interview with Polish RMF FM radio on Thursday.

Two farmers died Tuesday when a missile landed outside the rural eastern Polish village of Przewodow, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) west of the Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted the missile was not Ukrainian, and said that Ukrainian experts must be allowed access to the site of the explosion and review all data available to its allies. 

When asked why Zelensky denies it was a Ukrainian missile, Severa replied: “President Zelensky represents a country that is at war. The war that had the hardest time in terms of attacks and the use of air assault."

"It is normal that under such conditions certain hypotheses that seem obvious from the point of view of the defense of the state also seem obvious to the head of that state," he added.

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

Verdict due in murder trial over Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine

From CNN's Sophie Tanno

A part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, some 80km east of Donetsk, Ukraine, on August 2, 2014
A part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, some 80km east of Donetsk, Ukraine, on August 2, 2014 (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

Three Russians and a Ukrainian accused of mass murder and tried in absentia for their alleged involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 are set to receive their verdict from a Dutch court Thursday. 

The Boeing 777 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, when it was shot out of the sky over territory held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

All 298 people on board were killed in the incident, including 15 crew members and 283 passengers from 17 countries.  

The downing of MH17 happened in the early phase of a conflict between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces.

An international investigation found that the plane was hit by a Russian Buk missile fired from a village in eastern Ukraine that was held at the time by pro-Russian rebels.

Prosecutors say the launcher belonged to Russia’s 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade and was returned to Russian territory the day after the strike. Moscow has repeatedly denied any responsibility for the incident.

The trial marks the first time that independent judgement will be made on the 2014 incident. 

Three Russians, Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov, were named as suspects, along with Ukrainian separatist Leonid Kharchenko.

According to investigators, Girkin is a former colonel of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Dubinskiy was employed by Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU and Pulatov was a former soldier of the Russian special forces, Spetsnaz-GRU.

Ukraine’s Kharchenko had no military background, but is believed to have led a combat unit in Donetsk in July 2014.

While the suspects are not accused of firing the missile at MH17, they are “just as punishable as the person who committed the crime,” according to Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.

The men were tried in absentia at Schiphol Judicial Complex in Badhoevedorp, the Netherlands, and are unlikely to serve time if convicted.

Pulatov was the only suspect to be represented by lawyers and has maintained his innocence throughout. 

Prosecutors have demanded life sentences for the suspects on charges of murder and causing an aircraft to crash. They have presented thousands of pages of evidence to support their case. 

7:19 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Ukraine will likely be granted access to missile blast site in Poland, says Polish policy advisor 

From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen and Eve Brennan

Aerial showing the site where a missile strike killed two men in the eastern Poland village of Przewodow, near the border with Ukraine, November 17.
Aerial showing the site where a missile strike killed two men in the eastern Poland village of Przewodow, near the border with Ukraine, November 17. (Wojtek Radwanski and Damien Simonart/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine is likely to be granted access to the site in Przewodow, Poland, near the Ukrainian border, where a missile killed two people on Tuesday, according to a Polish official.

"A Polish-American investigating team is working at the site of the rocket's impact," Jakub Kumoch, top foreign policy advisor to Polish President Andrzej Duda, told Polish broadcaster TVN 24 in an interview on Thursday. If Poland and the United States agree, then the Ukrainians may soon receive access, he said.

“If both sides, Polish and American, agree, and as far as I know, there will be no objection from the American side,” Kumoch added. 

The leaders of Poland and NATO have said the missile was likely fired by Ukrainian air defense forces attempting to thwart a barrage of Russian strikes, but that Moscow bore "ultimate responsibility" for having started the war. 

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has insisted the missile was not Ukrainian, said that Ukrainian experts must be allowed access to the site of the explosion and review all data available to its allies. 

"The Ukrainian position is very transparent: we want to establish all the details, every fact. That is why we need our experts to join the work of the international investigation and to get access to all the data available to our partners and to the site of the explosion," Zelensky said in his daily video address.

6:22 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Black Sea grain deal extended for 120 days, UN confirms

From CNN's Victoria Butenko in Kyiv, Ukraine

An inspection delegation boards the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn from Ukraine, off the coast of Istanbul on August 3.
An inspection delegation boards the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn from Ukraine, off the coast of Istanbul on August 3. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday confirmed all parties had agreed to extend the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal aimed at easing a global food crisis after Russia had cast doubt on its continued participation in the agreement.

"I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine," Guterres said on Twitter. "The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions."

The deal, signed in July, had been due to expire on Saturday.

In a tweet, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the deal would be "prolonged for 120 days."

Some context: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday cast doubt on the future of the agreement, saying it depended on existing terms being met. Earlier this month, Russia rejoined the deal after saying it was pulling out.

Ukraine and Russia together account for nearly a third of global wheat exports and the grain deal has played a crucial role in lowering the price of wheat and other commodities globally.

3:53 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Analysis: G20's criticism of Russia shows the rise of a new Asian power. And it isn't China

Analysis from CNN's Rhea Mogul

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his outlook on the opening ceremony of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on November 15.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his outlook on the opening ceremony of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on November 15. (Prasetyo Utomo/Antara Photo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

When world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine, a familiar sentence stood out from the 1,186-page document.

“Today’s era must not be of war,” it said, echoing what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian leader Vladimir Putin during a face-to-face meeting in September.

Media and officials in the country of 1.3 billion were quick to claim the inclusion as a sign that the world’s largest democracy had played a vital role in bridging differences between an increasingly isolated Russia, and the United States and its allies.

“How India united G20 on PM Modi’s idea of peace,” ran a headline in the Times of India, the country’s largest English-language paper.

“The Prime Minister’s message that this is not the era of war… resonated very deeply across all the delegations and helped bridge the gap across different parties,” India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters Wednesday.

The declaration came as Indonesian President Joko Widodo handed over the G20 presidency to Modi, who will host the next leaders’ summit in the Indian capital New Delhi in September 2023 — about six months before he is expected to head to the polls in a general election and contest the country’s top seat for a third time.

As New Delhi deftly balances its ties to Russia and the West, Modi, analysts say, is emerging as a leader who has been courted by all sides, winning him support at home, while cementing India as a international power broker.

“The domestic narrative is that the G20 summit is being used as a big banner in Modi’s election campaign to show he’s a great global statesmen,” said Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at New Delhi-based think tank Center for Policy Research. “And the current Indian leadership now sees themselves as a powerful country seated at the high table.”

Read the full analysis here.

5:07 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure continue overnight, Ukrainian officials say

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Josh Pennington

Russian shelling and missile strikes continued to target civilian infrastructure overnight, including gas and electricity facilities, according to Ukrainian officials.

Five people were wounded after Russia shelled the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Thursday morning, Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, said on Telegram, citing preliminary information.

“Among them, there is a 15-year-old girl. Everyone is in the hospital in moderate condition,” Reznichenko said, adding that two residential districts had been hit, and an “industrial enterprise” was now on fire.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the Kyiv International Economic Forum on Thursday that “missiles are flying over Ukraine.”

“They are trying to hit our gas production facilities, Pivdenmash [a machine-building plant in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro] and some other facilities,” said Shmyhal.

And Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head of the Office of the Ukrainian President said there had been "several hits to two infrastructure objects” in Dnipro in a post on Telegram.

Another three men were hospitalized after being wounded in missile strikes that hit "critical infrastructure” in Izium, in the Kharkiv region, on Thursday morning, said Oleh Syniehubov, governor of the region, on Telegram.

The southern region of Odesa was also hit by Russian strikes on Thursday, according to Maksym Marchenko, the head of Odesa’s regional administration, who said that there had been “a missile attack on a regional infrastructure facility" in a Telegram post.

Some context: Russia's renewed targeting of civilian infrastructure comes after Moscow's forces fired around 100 missiles on at least a dozen cities and districts Tuesday, according to Ukrainian officials and a CNN analysis of the strikes. The attacks appeared to be the largest since Oct. 10, when Russia stepped up its campaign to destroy electricity, water and gas infrastructure across Ukraine. 

1:20 a.m. ET, November 17, 2022

"That's not the evidence": Biden casts doubt on Zelensky's Poland missile claim

From CNN's DJ Judd

President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.
President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

US President Joe Biden on Thursday responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's claim that a Ukrainian missile was not responsible for a deadly explosion in Poland on Tuesday.

“That’s not the evidence,” Biden told reporters at the White House after returning from the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Two farmers died Tuesday when a missile landed outside the rural eastern Polish village of Przewodow, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) west from the Ukrainian border.

Polish officials have indicated that it is likely a Ukrainian missile, deployed by its air defenses amid waves of Russian missile attacks Tuesday, fell inside Polish territory.

Zelensky's comments: Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Zelensky said he did not believe the missile was Ukrainian.

"I have no doubt that it was not our missile," he said.

Later, in his daily video address, Zelensky said "clarification of all the circumstances of how Russian aggression crossed the Polish border" was now an issue before the UN Security Council. He said he had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda and expressed his condolences but insisted it was "Russian aggression" that had claimed the lives of two Polish citizens.

"The Ukrainian position is very transparent: we want to establish all the details, every fact. That is why we need our experts to join the work of the international investigation and to get access to all the data available to our partners and to the site of the explosion," Zelensky said.