November 24, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sophie Tanno and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:06 AM ET, Fri November 25, 2022
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5:25 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Russia's strikes caused unprecedented "blackout" in Ukrainian power system on Wednesday

From CNN’s Olga Voitovych and Jo Shelley

Lviv city centre without electricity after Ukrainian critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks on November 23.
Lviv city centre without electricity after Ukrainian critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks on November 23. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/Reuters)

The barrage of Russian air strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure Wednesday caused a “blackout” in the country's power system, its energy minister told national television. It was the first time that all four of Ukraine’s nuclear plants were shut down at the same time, he said. 

”We must understand the key thing: yesterday, as a result of shelling, there was a blackout in our power system,” Herman Halushchenko said Thursday.

“The situation is very difficult but, at 4 a.m., we managed to unite the power system. It is now working as a single unit and critical infrastructure facilities throughout the country have been powered.” 

The authorities are now racing to restore electricity across the country. 

“We will increase the volume of power being generated during the day,” Halushchenko said. “We expect that by the evening nuclear power plants will start working and supplying electricity to the grid. This will significantly reduce the deficit.” 

Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy, according to the World Nuclear Association. It has 15 reactors at four plants that, before Russia’s invasion in February, generated about half of its electricity. 

Yesterday was “the first time that all four nuclear power plants were simultaneously shut down,” Halushchenko said. 

Now all nuclear facilities – apart from the besieged plant in Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Ukraine – have been reconnected to the Ukrainian grid and will start to supply it with electricity today. 

“If there is no new shelling, by the end of the day we will be able to significantly reduce the deficit in the power system due to nuclear generation and, accordingly, this will make it possible to proceed to scheduled outages,” the minister added.

4:24 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

A quarter of Kyiv's houses have no power

From CNN's Olga Voitovych and Jo Shelley

An apartment building without electricity after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 23.
An apartment building without electricity after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 23. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

One in four houses in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are without power following Russian shelling in the region, city authorities said on Telegram.

Twenty-five per cent of the city's housing stock remains without power supply, and in emergency mode,” the post read. 

Water supply has been restored on the east bank of the Dnipro river that runs through the city and the administration expects to restore it on the west bank this morning.

4:05 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Ukrainian miners rescued after Russian strikes

From CNN's Josh Pennington

Nearly 3,000 miners have been rescued in Ukraine after power outages caused by Russian strikes on the country's energy infrastructure left them trapped underground overnight.

Rescue efforts at mines in the central Dnipropetrovsk region concluded in the early hours of this morning, Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih city military administration, said in a Telegram post.

Regional head Valentyn Reznichenko said "rescue teams were able to extract nearly 3,000 miners to the surface." It was a "tense" night in Dnipropetrovsk, he added.

Reznichenko said half of the region's households have had power restored but "blackouts will continue to minimize the load on the power grid."

Some context: A series of Russian airstrikes against Ukraine on Wednesday destroyed critical facilities, including energy infrastructure, housing, and a hospital maternity ward, where a newborn baby was killed. The large-scale assault also led to widespread blackouts in Ukraine and neighboring Moldova.

2:58 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Stories of Ukrainian resistance revealed after Kherson pullout

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Sam Kiley, Peter Rudden and Olha Konovalova

Two Russian soldiers walked down a street in Kherson on a spring evening in early March, just days after Moscow captured the city. The temperature that night was still below freezing and the power was out, leaving the city in complete darkness as the soldiers made their way back to camp after a few drinks.

As one stumbled on, the other stopped to relieve himself on the side of the pavement. Suddenly, a knife was thrust deep into the right side of his neck.

He fell to the grass. Moments later, the second Russian soldier, inebriated and unaware, met the same fate.

“I finished the first one immediately and then I caught up with the other and killed him on the spot,” says Archie, a Ukrainian resistance fighter who described the scene above to CNN.

He says he moved on pure instinct.

“I saw the orcs in uniform and I thought, why not?,” Archie adds, using a derogative term for Russians, as he walks through that same street. “There were no people or light and I seized the moment.”

The 20-year-old is a trained mixed martial arts fighter, with nimble feet and sharp reflexes, who had previously always carried a knife for self-defense, but never killed anyone. CNN is referring to him by his call sign to protect his identity.

“Adrenaline played its role. I didn’t have any fear or time to think,” he says. “For the first few days I felt very bad, but then I realized that they were my enemies. They came to my home to take it from me.”

Read more here.

2:35 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Macron denounces Russian airstrikes as "war crimes" against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure

From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at a reception for the mayors of France in Paris on Wednesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at a reception for the mayors of France in Paris on Wednesday. (Michel Euler/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and said the acts "cannot go unpunished." 

“Ukraine suffered massive shelling today, leaving much of the country without water or electricity. Strikes against civilian infrastructures are war crimes and cannot go unpunished,” Macron posted on Twitter.

A series of Russian airstrikes against Ukraine on Wednesday destroyed critical facilities, including energy infrastructure, housing, and a hospital maternity ward, where a newborn baby was killed. The large-scale assault also led to widespread blackouts in Ukraine and neighboring Moldova.

France plans to hold a donor conference in Paris next month in support of Ukraine and its southwestern neighbor, Macron said.

“With winter approaching, we will mobilize international support for Ukraine on December 13 to help that country remain resilient and to guarantee its energy access. We will not forget Moldova, which was also affected by water and electricity cuts,” Macron tweeted.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier on Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to support the proposed Ukrainian peace formula following the airstrikes, which he dubbed "the Russian formula of terror."

2:15 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Water supply restored to Kyiv's left bank, mayor says

From CNN's Josh Pennington

Water supplies have been restored to the left bank of Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Thursday, adding that engineers had worked through the night to “restore the capital’s life support.” 

The water supply in the Ukrainian capital was suspended Wednesday after Russian shelling of critical infrastructure in the region that killed at least seven people.

Across the Dnipro River, the water supply remains suspended Thursday in Kyiv's right bank, but plans are in place to restore it in the morning, Klitschko said. 

Power cuts: Meanwhile, 70% of the capital remains without electricity, Klitschko added. 

“Electricians are doing all they can to restore power as soon as possible. However, they noted that this will depend on restoring balance to Ukraine's energy system, given that Kyiv represents only a part of the whole national energy system,” Klitschko said. 

Emergency power cuts were introduced in Kyiv following Russian strikes on infrastructure facilities, the country’s biggest energy supplier, Yasno, said in a statement Wednesday.

11:57 p.m. ET, November 23, 2022

Ukrainian President Zelensky urges UNSC to support "peace formula" following missile strikes

From CNN's Heather Law and Richard Roth

UN Security Council members at the United Nations headquarters in New York on October 27.
UN Security Council members at the United Nations headquarters in New York on October 27. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters/FILE)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday urged the United Nations Security Council to support the Ukrainian peace formula following a wave of missile strikes against the country that he dubbed "the Russian formula of terror."

"I emphasize yet again: it is high time to support the Ukrainian formula of peace. There should be no room for terror in the world," Zelensky said. 

Zelensky emphasized the need for "modern and effective air and missile defense systems" after detailing the series of Russian airstrikes that destroyed critical facilities, including energy infrastructure, housing, and a hospital maternity ward, where a newborn baby was killed. 

The large-scale assault on energy infrastructure also led to widespread blackouts in Ukraine and neighboring Moldova, an act Zelensky said was "analogous to using weapons of mass destruction."

"When the temperature outside drops below zero and tens of millions of people are left without electricity, heat and water as a result of Russian missiles hitting energy facilities, that is an obvious crime against humanity," Zelensky said. 

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was one of several representatives to reiterate their support for Ukraine, with emphasis on condemning Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure. 

"Putin's motive could not be more clear and more cold-blooded. He is clearly — clearly —weaponizing winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people. He has decided that if he can't seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission," Greenfield said.

12:15 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

We can't continue "counting on good luck" to avoid nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia, IAEA director says

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, seen from the town of Nikopol on November 7.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, seen from the town of Nikopol on November 7. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters/FILE)

Negotiations with Kyiv and Moscow on the establishment of a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant continue — but in the meantime the director of the UN nuclear watchdog is warning about potential consequences.

"We cannot continue counting on good luck to avoid a nuclear accident," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi told CNN on Wednesday.

Grossi said negotiations are "moving forward" but "this is an active combat zone, therefore getting to agreed parameters for this is not such an easy thing to do."

The IAEA director said he met with a Russian delegation in Turkey earlier Wednesday and spoke with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday.

"I am having consultations with both. I would not agree with the assessment that we are not making any progress, I think we are," Grossi said. "Of course, we are talking about something which is very difficult. This is war. This is real war and the protection zone that I am proposing is precisely on the front line, on the line where both adversaries are in contact."

"But we are moving forward I believe, and I hope that episodes as traumatic as the ones this past weekend may paradoxically help us move forward, in the sense that people need to realize that we cannot continue counting on good luck to avoid a nuclear accident," he said. 

When asked who is "playing with fire," referencing Grossi's own remarks from Sunday following powerful explosions that rocked the nuclear power plant Saturday and Sunday, Grossi said "it is very difficult for us to identify from inside the plant who is doing that," adding "by the way, our main goal is to get this to stop, not to get into a game of attribution." 

Later on Wednesday, the plant "once again lost access to external electricity" and was instead relying on its emergency diesel generators for the power it needs for reactor cooling and other essential functions, IAEA said in a statement. 

5:40 a.m. ET, November 24, 2022

Russia threatens to cut supply of gas through Ukraine

From CNN's Anna Cooban and Uliana Pavlova

PREVIEW
PREVIEW (Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)

Europe is bracing itself for further cuts to its supply of Russian natural gas as Moscow threatens to slash flows to Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbor.

Russian state gas giant Gazprom said Tuesday it would reduce shipments to the country starting Monday over disputed claims that Ukraine is withholding some of the gas as it is piped though its territory.

On its official Telegram account, the company said it would cut gas flows through the Sudzha transit point equal to the amount it claims Ukraine is preventing from reaching Moldova.

“The volume of gas supplied by Gazprom to the GIS Sudzha for transit to Moldova through the territory of Ukraine exceeds the physical volume transmitted at the border of Ukraine with Moldova,” it said.

Ukraine has denied that it is withholding gas deliveries to its neighbor. Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz said in a Tuesday tweet that “Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas. Once again. In short: this is not true.”

The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU) said in a statement that all Russian gas received at the Sudzha entry point for onward transit to Moldova was being transferred to exit points along their shared border.

The operator said that Moldova had initiated a “virtual reverse” of some of its Russian gas imports back to Ukraine, though it did not give a reason.

Such a reverse is a common commercial agreement whereby some of the gas destined for a particular location is diverted into storage or sold to a different buyer, analysts said.

Read more here.