Air raid warnings issued across Ukraine, with a "lot of missiles" in the air
From CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
Air raid warnings have been issued across Ukraine.
"There are a lot of missiles. From the south and from the east," Vitalii Kim, head of the Mykolaiv region military administration, said on Telegram. "The air defense is working."
The conflict has escalated in southern and eastern regions of Ukraine in recent days, with local officials citing "massive shelling" in towns and villages on the eastern front line of the Donetsk region.
Further south, Russian shelling on a maternity ward in Zaporizhzhia killed a newborn baby in a devastating attack Wednesday.
CNN's Jo Shelley contributed reporting to this post.
7:48 a.m. ET, November 23, 2022
It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know.
From CNN staff
A two-day-old baby was killed in a Russian missile strike on a maternity ward in southeastern Ukraine, amid ongoing assaults from Moscow on critical civilian infrastructure.
The mayor of Kyiv said the city was braced for the "worst winter" since World War II, following repeated Russian strikes on energy systems which have left millions nationwide without power.
Here are the latest developments:
Strikes devastate Zaporizhzhia hospital: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Moscow's strike Wednesday on a maternity ward in Vilnyansk that killed a newborn baby, while the child's mother and doctor were rescued. "The terrorist state continues to fight against civilians and civilian objects," Zelensky said, referring to Russia. Further north, two people died in Russian shelling overnight in Kharkiv.
Ukrainian power grid takes a hit: Vitali Klitschko said Kyiv is preparing "for the worst scenario" this winter as widespread power cuts and falling temperatures affect residents nationwide. Ukraine's state energy operator has said that a Russian attack last week on the country's power grid caused “colossal” damage."
Russia declared "state sponsor of terrorism": In a symbolic move Wednesday, the European Parliament recognized Russia “as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism" in a non-binding resolution, calling on the European Union “to further isolate Russia internationally.”
Gazprom to stem Europe gas supply: Russian energy giant Gazprom said it will reduce natural gas supply to Europe as of next Monday by pinching flow to a pipeline that runs through Ukraine. Europe has raced to replenish its stocks this year ahead of winter as Russia dramatically cut its flows of pipeline gas.
UK to send helicopters to Ukraine: Britain has completed its first delivery of helicopters to Ukraine and has promised an additional 10,000 artillery rounds, the country's defense ministry announced Wednesday. The Sea King helicopters will “provide key search and rescue capabilities," according to the ministry's statement.
7:31 a.m. ET, November 23, 2022
European Parliament declares Russia to be “state sponsor of terrorism”
From CNN's Chris Liakos and Eve Brennan
In a symbolic move Wednesday, lawmakers in the European Parliament recognised Russia “as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism,” calling on the European Union “to further isolate Russia internationally.”
The EU Parliament made the decision in light of “the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law,” which “amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes," according to a press release.
“As the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, Parliament calls on the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list,” the press release said.
The non-binding resolution was adopted with 494 votes in favour, 58 against with 44 abstentions, the press release added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision.
“Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe,” he tweeted.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also on Twitter thanked the European Parliament “for the clear stance.”
CNN has reached out to the Russian authorities for comment.
7:29 a.m. ET, November 23, 2022
Kyiv mayor says city faces “worst winter” since World War II
From CNN’s Stephanie Halasz
The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is braced for the “worst winter since the Second World War,” according to the mayor of the city.
Vitali Klitschko told Germany’s Bild newspaper that his administration was working to avoid widespread power cuts, which could result in some areas having to be evacuated.
We must also prepare for the worst scenario," Klitschko said in an interview published Tuesday.
"That would be if there were widespread power cuts and the temperatures were even colder.
“Then parts of the city would have to be evacuated, but we don't want it to come to that!"
Ukrainian energy suppliers were forced to impose additional blackouts earlier this week after a recent onslaught of Russian strikes targeting critical infrastructure wiped out much of the country's power supply.
More than 10 million Ukrainians had no power following the attacks from Moscow's forces.
Russia has been accused of deliberately targeting Ukraine’s civilian power grid in an effort to leave the civilian population without electricity and heat — an act that would amount to a war crime. A senior US State Department official said Monday that a consistent pattern of Russian attacks on civilian elements in Ukraine was "deeply troubling."
8:57 a.m. ET, November 23, 2022
UK defense ministry to send helicopters to Ukraine for the first time
From CNN’s Alex Hardie in London
Britain is sending its first delivery of helicopters and additional artillery to Ukraine, the country's defense ministry announced Wednesday.
Sea King helicopters will be delivered for the first time “to provide key search and rescue capabilities,” while 10,000 artillery rounds will also be dispatched, according to the ministry's statement.
The support was announced by UK defense secretary Ben Wallace on a visit to Norway, where he will host a meeting of the Northern Group of defense ministers, the statement said.
The UK has held six weeks of training in the UK for 10 crews of Ukrainian military personnel on the Sea King helicopters, the defense ministry added.
“Our support for Ukraine is unwavering. These additional artillery rounds will help Ukraine to secure the land it has reclaimed from Russia in recent weeks,” Wallace said.
The news came after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made his first visit to Kyiv over the weekend, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and announced a $60 million air defense package for the country.
Correction: An earlier version of this post included the wrong amount of the UK's air defense package announced this weekend.
6:19 a.m. ET, November 23, 2022
Newborn killed in missile strike on Ukrainian maternity hospital was two days old
From CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
The newborn baby who died in a missile strike on a maternity hospital in Vilnyansk in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region was two days old, said first lady Olena Zelenska.
“RF [Russian Federation] crimes are insane. This night, maternity hospital in Zaporizhzhia region became target. 2 days old boy died…” Zelenska tweeted in English.
Horrible pain. We will never forget and never forgive.“
President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier condemned the attack. "The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve with terror and murder what he wasn’t able to achieve for nine months and won’t be able to achieve," he said, referring to Russia.
The hospital was hit by an S-300 missile, according to the Ukrainian prosecutor's office.
“A baby was killed, a woman in labor and a doctor were wounded. Private houses also suffered from the enemy shelling," the prosecutor's office said.
It has started a pre-trial investigation in criminal proceedings over violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder, according to a statement on Telegram.
Some context: The World Health Organization (WHO) has verified some 703 attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine since February, according to its latest data, amid ongoing assaults from Moscow targeting critical civilian infrastructure.
Relentless attacks on the health infrastructure in Ukraine has impacted multiple services, Dr. Jarno Habicht, the World Health Organization's representative in Ukraine, said on Monday. These include a devastating strike on a maternity and children's hospital in the southern city of Mariupol in March.
About one in five people in Ukraine has difficulty accessing medicine, according to Habicht. The problem is worse in Ukrainian regions occupied by Russia, with one in three people there not able to get the medicine they need, Habicht added.
It is a problem that will be exacerbated by heavy snowfall during Ukraine's harsh winter season, which poses a "formidable challenge" to the health system, the WHO official warned.