November 19, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Adrienne Vogt

Updated 4:09 PM ET, Sat November 19, 2022
9 Posts
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3:18 p.m. ET, November 19, 2022

Russia claims video shows soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces as details remain unclear

From CNN staff

Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes after video emerged on social media that Moscow said shows Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces. 

The video, which has been geolocated by CNN, was filmed on the outskirts of the village of Makiivka, which is in the eastern Luhansk region, about 25 miles (roughly 40 kilometers) northeast of the city of Lyman.

It is unclear when the video was filmed, but it is most likely to have been either on Nov. 12 — the date the video first appeared online — or in the days immediately preceding it. The village was only declared liberated from Russian control in an announcement by the Luhansk region military administration on Nov. 13. 

The edited video purports to show captured Russian soldiers in an act of surrender, with several men lying on the ground on their fronts with their hands over their heads. More soldiers are seen emerging one by one from a building and lying down next to them in the yard.

A voice apparently directing the surrender can be heard shouting: “Come on out, one by one. Which of you is the officer? Has everyone come out? Come out!"

After about 10 men are down on the ground, another soldier emerges from the same building and appears to open fire in the direction of the Ukrainian soldiers conducting the surrender. 

A short exchange of gunfire is heard before the video clip ends abruptly.

A second clip filmed later from a drone above the same location shows the bodies of what appear to be the same Russian soldiers in the yard, most just a few meters from where they had been lying in the first clip. What appear to be pools of blood are clearly visible in several places. 

CNN has been unable to verify exactly what happened in the first video clip, and it is unclear exactly what happened in the period that elapsed between the first clip and the filming of the drone footage.

Marta Hurtado, a spokesperson for the United Nations Human Rights Office, said, according to Reuters: "We are aware of the videos and we are looking into them. Allegations of summary executions of people hors de combat should be promptly, fully and effectively investigated, and any perpetrators held to account."

A statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry denounced what it said was “the deliberate and methodical killing of more than ten immobilized Russian servicemen … by direct shots to the head,” alleging it was the latest war crime committed by Ukraine in the war.

CNN has reached out to the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff for comment on the video clips twice in a 24-hour period but has yet to receive a reply.

A spokesman with Ukraine’s 80th airborne brigade told CNN that the drone footage had been shot by the brigade’s air reconnaissance unit. Asked to verify whether the Ukrainian soldiers in the clip were also members of his brigade, the spokesman would only say he did not recognize any of the men in the clip.

Executing prisoners of war is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as is the act of feigning surrender. 

Earlier in the week, in a briefing with journalists before the Makiivka videos had come into wide circulation, the head of the UN’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, said that the UN had received credible reports of the torture and mistreatment of prisoners of war by both Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported.

When asked to compare the level of abuses committed, Bogner said the mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners by Russians was "fairly systematic," whereas she said it was "not systematic" for Ukraine to mistreat Russian soldiers, according to Reuters.

More context: A UN panel of experts said in September that their investigation has found evidence that war crimes have been committed during Russia's war in Ukraine, including cases of rape and torture of children.

3:24 p.m. ET, November 19, 2022

Putin's isolation on world stage made clear after 3 leader summits

From CNN's Simone McCarthy

The three major summits of world leaders that took place across Asia in the past week have made one thing clear: Vladimir Putin is now sidelined on the world stage.

The Russian president, whose attack on Ukraine over the past nine months has devastated the European country and roiled the global economy, declined to attend any of the diplomatic gatherings – and instead found himself subject to significant censure as international opposition to his war appeared to harden.

A meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders in Bangkok closed on Saturday with a declaration that references nations’ stances expressed in other forums, including in a United Nations resolution deploring “in the strongest terms” Russian aggression against Ukraine, while noting differing views.

It echoes verbatim a declaration from the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in Bali earlier this week.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” the document said, adding that there were differing “assessments” on the situation within the group.

Discussions within the summits aside, the week has also shown Putin – who it is believed launched his invasion in a bid to restore Russia’s supposed former glory – as increasingly isolated, with the Russian leader hunkered down in Moscow and unwilling even to face counterparts at major global meetings.

A fear of potential political maneuvers against him should he leave the capital, an obsession with personal security and a desire to avoid scenes of confrontation at the summits – especially as Russia faces heavy losses in the battlefield – were all likely calculations that went into Putin’s decision, according to Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Meanwhile, he may not want to turn unwanted attention on the handful of nations that have remained friendly to Russia, for example India and China, whose leaders Putin saw in a regional summit in Uzbekistan in September.

“He doesn’t want to be this toxic guy,” Gabuev said.

And even among countries who have not taken a hardline against Russia, there are signs of lost patience, if not with Russia itself, than against the knock-on effects of its aggression. Strained energy, issues of food security and spiraling global inflation are now squeezing economies the world over.

Keep reading here.

1:48 p.m. ET, November 19, 2022

US secretary of defense warns about possible nuclear proliferation: "Putin’s fellow autocrats are watching"

From CNN's Sarah Fortinksy 

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC, on November 16.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC, on November 16. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to Ukraine and warned about the potential for nuclear proliferation.

“Russia’s invasion offers a preview of a possible world of tyranny and turmoil that none of us want to live in, and it’s an invitation to an increasingly insecure haunted by the shadow of nuclear proliferation. Because Putin’s fellow autocrats are watching. And they could well conclude that getting nuclear weapons would give them a hunting license of their own. And that could drive a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation,” he said during remarks in Halifax, Canada.

When speaking about Russia’s “deliberate cruelty” in attacking civilian infrastructure, Austin said, “There are still rules in war. And if a big power can flaunt those rules, it encourages others to defy international law and international norms.”

“Russia isn’t just waging a war of aggression. It’s also deliberately attacking civilian targets and civilian infrastructure with no military purpose whatsoever. Now, these aren’t just lapses. These aren’t exceptions to the rules. These are atrocities,” he said.

“The tragic and troubling explosion in Poland this week reminded the whole world of the recklessness of Putin’s war of choice," he added, referring to a missile that fell in Poland near the Ukraine border, killing two people.

Some background: While NATO, the US and Poland said the missile was most likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a barrage of Russian strikes, officials have said Russia bears ultimate responsibility due to Moscow's continued attacks on Ukraine.

12:41 p.m. ET, November 19, 2022

UK PM announces $60 million air defense package for Ukraine during visit to Kyiv 

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, November 19.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, November 19. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a $60 million air defense package for Ukraine during his first visit to Kyiv on Saturday, according to Downing Street. 

During his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sunak "confirmed that the UK will provide a major new package of air defense to help protect Ukrainian civilians and critical national infrastructure from an intense barrage of Russian strikes," according to a Downing Street press release. 

"The £50 million package of defense aid comprises 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter deadly Iranian-supplied drones, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability," the statement continued. 

During his surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital, Sunak laid flowers at a memorial for Ukraine's war dead and lit a candle at a memorial for victims of the 1930s Holodomor famine, according to the statement. 

The prime minister also met with Ukrainian first responders who recounted their "harrowing work" rescuing survivors from the rubble and fighting fires caused by Russian airstrikes and mortar attacks.  

"It is deeply humbling to be in Kyiv today and to have the opportunity to meet those who are doing so much, and paying so high a price, to defend the principles of sovereignty and democracy,” Sunak said, according to the statement. 

He expressed his pride that the UK has "stood with Ukraine from the very beginning," saying his visit signified the UK's commitment to "continue to stand with Ukraine, as it fights to end this barbarous war and deliver a just peace."

In addition to the air defense package, Sunak also committed $14 million (12 million pounds) in funding for the World Food Programme's Ukraine response as well as $5 million (4 million pounds) for the International Organization for Migration's Ukraine response. 

Correction: This post has been updated to correct the amount of the air defense package. It is worth $60 million.

12:42 p.m. ET, November 19, 2022

UK prime minister visits Kyiv to show support for Ukraine

From Kareem Khadder in Kyiv and Niamh Kennedy in London

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, November 19.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, November 19. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a show of support for the country in his first visit since becoming UK leader.

“The Prime Minister is in Ukraine today for his first visit to Kyiv to meet President Zelenskyy and confirm continued UK support,” a Downing Street spokesperson said. 

A CNN crew in Kyiv earlier spotted Sunak and Zelensky on Saturday during the visit, while they were touring an outdoor square. 

Zelensky posted a video on his official Telegram channel of him receiving Sunak in a snowy Kyiv. 

"Since the first days of the war, Ukraine and the UK have been the strongest of allies. During today's meeting, we discussed the most important issues both for our countries and for global security," Zelensky said in the post. 

"Together we are stronger, and we will achieve the desired results," the Ukrainian president added. 

In a tweet, Sunak said, "we are with you all the way."

10:04 a.m. ET, November 19, 2022

Poland barring Russia from security organization talks is "unprecedented and provocative," Moscow says

From CNN's Gabby Gretener in London

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a council meeting in Moscow, Russia, on November 18.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a council meeting in Moscow, Russia, on November 18. (Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Poland has barred Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from attending the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Council of Foreign Ministers. The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 in Lodz, Poland.

On Saturday, Russia's Foreign Ministry responded to Warsaw's refusal in a statement, saying Poland's decision as OSCE Chairman-in-Office is "unprecedented and provocative." In the statement, the foreign ministry called for the OSCE to have a "rules-based order."

Poland has also barred a Russian delegation from participating in the autumn session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which will be held in Warsaw from November 24 to 26. The Russian ministry said this was a "culmination of Poland's anti-chairmanship in the organisation."

Admission of the Russian delegation to the OSCE session "would violate the principle of solidarity with Ukraine," the head of Poland’s delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Barbara Bartus, said in response to the request for visas, according to Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chair of the Russian Federation Council Committee on International Affairs. Dzhabarov made the statement on Wednesday.

8:03 a.m. ET, November 19, 2022

Nikopol district in southern Ukraine hit by Russian shells overnight, official says

From Kostan Nechyporenko from Kyiv

Russian shelling hit the southern Ukrainian Nikopol district overnight Friday into Saturday, according to the head of the Nikopol district military administration. 

“About sixty shells and rocket munitions fell on peaceful settlements,” Yevhen Yevtushenko said in a Telegram post on Saturday.

Although residential buildings and cars were damaged, no one was reported injured in the shelling, Yevtushenko added. 

Experts are currently surveying the sites of attacks in the Marhanets and Myrove communities and the city of Nikopol, the official said.  

The Nikopol district is located in the Dnipropetrovsk region and sits across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. 

8:05 a.m. ET, November 19, 2022

Zelensky says energy supply issues persist after Russian strikes

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

A historic district in Kyiv experiences a blackout after a Russian missile attack on Ukrainian power infrastructure on November 11.
A historic district in Kyiv experiences a blackout after a Russian missile attack on Ukrainian power infrastructure on November 11. (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says energy supply issues persist in the capital and 17 other regions Friday, even after utility officials indicated that power access had been restored across the country.

Speaking in his nightly address, Zelensky said it's still difficult to get enough electricity to "Kyiv region and Kyiv. It’s very difficult in the Odesa region, and also the Vinnytsia region and Ternopil region." 

The director of Ukraine's Energy Industry Research Center said earlier Friday that power had been restored nearly everywhere in the country, after 10 million customers lost service due to missile attacks Thursday.

Even when utilities repair infrastructure in Ukraine and customers regain access, operators have had to widely impose emergency cuts to deal with the country's diminished supply. That means regions only receive a limited amount of energy and are sometimes subject to intentional blackouts aimed at stabilizing and maintaining the fragile grid.

Fighting in the east: In his update, Zelensky also reported "fierce fighting" in the eastern Donetsk region. He claimed that about 100 Russian attacks were repelled in the region on Thursday alone.

Donetsk, which is one of four Ukrainian regions Moscow claims to have annexed, has been subject to some of the conflict's fiercest fighting.

8:06 a.m. ET, November 19, 2022

First train leaves Kyiv for liberated Kherson after 8 months of occupation

From CNN's Dennis Lapin in Kyiv

A passenger train to Kherson departs from Kyiv train station on Thursday.
A passenger train to Kherson departs from Kyiv train station on Thursday. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The first train from Kyiv to the recently liberated city of Kherson left Friday.

"This is our train of victory!" Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on Telegram.

There were about 200 passengers on board.

"Like this train, we will return to Kherson everything for normal life!" Tymoshenko wrote.

Some context: Kherson residents lived under Russian occupation for eight months, but last week, Ukrainian forces swept into the city as Moscow's troops retreated east.

The return of the city, which was the only regional capital held by the Kremlin's forces, brought scenes of jubilation in the streets, where locals sang, waved flags and embraced Ukrainian soldiers.

Much work remains to restore basic services to the city and the region surrounding it, however, and Ukrainian officials are now investigating the brutality and torture suffered by detainees in the city.