November 23, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 2:16 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022
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8:03 p.m. ET, November 22, 2022

Russian strikes caused "colossal" damage to Ukraine's power facilities, official says

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

An attack last week by Russian forces on Ukraine’s power grid caused “colossal” damage, leaving no thermal or hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine intact, according to the head of the government-owned electricity transmission system operator. 

“This was the biggest attack, the biggest in history. Over 100 heavy missiles were launched. Their targets were Ukrainian energy system facilities, mainly, Ukrenergo substations and Ukrainian thermal power stations producing energy for Ukrainian consumers,” Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, CEO of Ukrenergo, said Tuesday.
“To understand the scale of these attacks, what we're dealing with, almost all thermal and power generation from large power plants suffered damage from missile strikes. There are almost no Ukrenergo hub substations that are intact. Practically every key substation has been hit at least once, and some three, five or eight times.”

Ukraine’s grid is currently “stabilized” with scheduled blackouts due to the war's massive damage to power stations, leaving them unable to provide enough electricity for the country. Kherson, located in southern Ukraine, remains the most “problematic” region for power, though local workers are concentrated on demining the grid in the wake of retreating Russian troops, he said. 

In the absence of new massive attacks the situation should be stable with four-hour outages a day planned, he added.

“As we see it, the role of the energy sector is to make the energy system work in a way that enables Ukrainians to remain in their country and spend the winter here. It is our everyday battle to make the energy system meet the electricity needs of Ukrainians,” he said.

Kherson authorities have urged residents to evacuate to areas of the country with more stable power supplies as the region is still without electricity.

8:02 p.m. ET, November 22, 2022

Fighting escalates in eastern Ukraine, with "massive shelling" of Avdiivka

From CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Kyiv and Jo Shelley

Fighting raged on in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Tuesday, as Russia launched “massive shelling” in towns and villages on the eastern front line, according to a local official.

The town of Avdiivka was hit by a wave of artillery fire, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk region military administration.

“Avdiivka suffered the most in the Donetsk direction: There were incoming hits overnight, and in the morning, there was massive shelling of the city center,” Kyrylenko said on Telegram. “According to preliminary information, there are no casualties.”

Avdiivka has been within a few miles of the front lines of the war for several months, but remains in Ukrainian hands.

There was also “massive shelling” in two areas near the strategic city of Lyman in the Donetsk region, Kyrylenko said. Four civilians in the region were killed on Monday, he added in a separate post.

The Ukrainian military said it was under sustained attack in the Donetsk region.

“The enemy does not stop shelling the positions of our troops and settlements near the contact line,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Tuesday. “They continue firing at the critical infrastructure and civilian housing ... In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions the enemy is focusing its efforts on conducting offensive actions.”

Russia is pursuing offensive combat operations in Donetsk and Luhansk, which together form the Donbas, the eastern part of Ukraine where the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists started in 2014.

7:59 p.m. ET, November 22, 2022

Boris Johnson claims France was "in denial" before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

From CNN's Rob Picheta

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed France was “in denial” about the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and accused the German government of initially favoring a quick Ukrainian military defeat over a long conflict.

Johnson told CNN’s partner network CNN Portugal on Monday that the attitudes of Western nations varied widely before Moscow launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, singling out three leading EU countries in comments that are unlikely to be welcomed in European capitals.

While Johnson stressed that EU nations later rallied behind Ukraine and are now providing steadfast support, that was not universally the case in the period before the Russian invasion.

“This thing was a huge shock … we could see the Russian battalion tactical groups amassing, but different countries had very different perspectives,” Johnson told CNN’s Richard Quest in Portugal. “The German view was at one stage that if it were going to happen, which would be a disaster, then it would be better for the whole thing to be over quickly, and for Ukraine to fold,” Johnson claimed, citing “all sorts of sound economic reasons” for that approach.

“I couldn’t support that, I thought that was a disastrous way of looking at it. But I can understand why they thought and felt as they did,” Johnson went on. Germany has rapidly sought to reduce its reliance on Russian energy since Moscow’s invasion.

“Be in no doubt that the French were in denial right up until the last moment,” Johnson also said.

Read more here.