November 30, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Heather Chen, Sophie Tanno, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 2:56 a.m. ET, December 1, 2022
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3:17 a.m. ET, November 30, 2022

5 killed by Russian strikes in Donetsk

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

Firefighters extinguish a fire after Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on November 29.
Firefighters extinguish a fire after Russian shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on November 29. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

At least five civilians were killed in Russian strikes in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, according to a Ukrainian military official.

In a statement Wednesday, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said two people died in Bakhmut city, two others in Drobysheve and one in neighboring Lyman.

A total of 15 others were injured, he added.

Some of the fiercest fighting in eastern Ukraine is taking place around Bakhmut, which has been besieged for months by Russian forces.

2:08 a.m. ET, November 30, 2022

Ukraine's prime minister says winter season will be challenging, but 70% of power needs have been met

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva

The second winter season of the war "will be very challenging," Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

He told a government meeting that Russia "will further shell the energy infrastructure; their goal is to freeze Ukraine and commit another genocide of the Ukrainian people."

Shmyhal said that "all regions of Ukraine, except Kherson region, are supplied with power. Currently, electricity production in the country covers 70% of consumption needs."

He said the onus was now on regional power companies not to exceed the limits provided by state electricity provider NPC Ukrenergo and to minimize uneven disconnection of consumers.

There is sufficient energy, he said, to evenly distribute the load of forced outages so that people can turn on lights for at least five to six hours a day, Shmyhal said.

Shmyhal said the situation required a strong air defense and quick repairs of damaged power equipment.

"Regarding air defense, over the past month, there has been significant progress, first of all, thanks to the supply of modern Western systems," he said.

Obtaining additional power equipment was also a priority, he said.

"Lithuania alone has given us 114 transformers. Other countries allocate funds and equipment to help Ukraine survive the winter. Not only Europe, but also the USA, Canada and Japan provide us with substantial support," he said.

Shmyhal said Ukraine's energy resources are adequate for the winter months: "We are entering the winter with 14 billion cubic meters of gas in our storage facilities and 1.3 million tonnes of coal in storages. This resource will be quite enough to get us through the winter stably."

He also said that the Economy Ministry foresaw no shortages of fuel and diesel, which would be required for the hundreds of generators being imported.

3:14 a.m. ET, November 30, 2022

NATO foreign ministers reiterate solidarity with Ukraine and pledge to assist with infrastructure repairs

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London  

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, speaks during the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting held at Parliament Palace in Bucharest, Romania, on November 29.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, speaks during the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting held at Parliament Palace in Bucharest, Romania, on November 29. (Murat Gok/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

NATO foreign ministers said Tuesday in a joint statement they remain steadfast in the "commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity" and pledged allies will assist Ukraine as it repairs its energy infrastructure amid Russian attacks.

"Russia’s unacceptable actions, including hybrid activities, energy blackmail, and reckless nuclear rhetoric, undermine the rules-based international order," according to the statement. 

"We condemn Russia’s cruelty against Ukraine’s civilian populations and violations and abuses of human rights, such as forcible deportations, torture, and barbaric treatment of women, children, and persons in vulnerable situations," it said. 

"We also remain resolute in supporting Ukraine’s long-term efforts on its path of post-war reconstruction and reforms, so that Ukraine can secure its free and democratic future, modernize its defense sector, strengthen long-term interoperability and deter future aggression," according to the statement. 

Ukraine has been experiencing blackouts as Russia continues to bombard energy infrastructure.

"We will continue to strengthen our partnership with Ukraine as it advances its Euro-Atlantic aspirations," the ministers said.

8:08 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

Russians are shelling settlements in liberated areas of Kherson along Dnipro River, official says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

Russian forces are shelling "all settlements" along the west bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region, including recently liberated territory, according to Ukrainian officials.

Serhii Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, told a news conference that "the occupiers continue shelling both the city of Kherson and the west-bank part of Kherson region."

"They are shelling absolutely all settlements located along the Dnipro River coast," he said.

He said there had been no casualties Tuesday, but Russian forces continue to strike at vital infrastructure.

"Power company crews are working to fully restore power supply to Kherson city. Critical infrastructure is supplied, but not all of it. Hospitals have received electricity supply," he said.

"Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to fully supply water," Khlan said. "The internet began to appear — not throughout the city — but in some areas. Now we can talk about 20% of connected consumers in Kherson."

Khlan said that only a quarter of Kherson city's pre-war population of 320,000 remains — and more were leaving every day because of the shelling and lack of utilities. Additional carriages were being added to a daily evacuation train, and evacuation by bus routes continued, he added.

7:52 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

Pope Francis calls Chechens and Buryats "the cruelest" Russian troops fighting in Ukraine

From CNN's Seb Shukla and Jack Guy

Pope Francis has described two of Russia’s ethnic minority groups, the Chechens and Buryats, as some of the “cruelest” troops fighting in Ukraine.

The pontiff was speaking in an interview with a Jesuit magazine, America, which was published on Monday but took place on November 22, according to the outlet.

“The cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on,” he said. “I speak of a people who are martyred. If you have a martyred people, you have someone who martyrs them.”

Chechens are an ethnic group originating from Chechnya in southern Russia. Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Kremlin leader of the region, has largely been supportive of the war in Ukraine, and has even reportedly sent his own sons to fight there.

The Buryats are an ethnic group from eastern Siberia, in an area which borders Mongolia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, defended Russia’s ethnic makeup on her official Telegram channel.

“We are one family with Buryats, Chechens and other representatives of our multinational and multi-confessional country,” she said. “And together we will definitely pray for the Holy See, each in his own way.”

Read more here.

7:48 p.m. ET, November 29, 2022

Kyiv says it "won’t let Putin steal Christmas" as Russian attacks threaten bleak winter in Ukraine

From CNN's  Rob Picheta and Olga Voitovych

The mayor of Kyiv has said the city “cannot let Putin steal our Christmas” as Ukrainians prepare to tentatively celebrate the festive season with darkened trees while Russian airstrikes knock out power and wreak havoc on critical infrastructure.

Christmas trees will be erected across the Ukrainian capital to mark Christmas and the New Year, Kyiv’s mayor Vitaly Klitschko told Ukrainian news outlet RBC-Ukraine, but energy company YASNO said they will not be illuminated.

Mass events will remain prohibited under martial law, but “no one is going to cancel the New Year and Christmas, and there should be an atmosphere of the New Year,” Klitschko told the network.

“We cannot let Putin steal our Christmas.”

His call comes after weeks of sustained aerial attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid, which have left families across the country without electricity, light or water intermittently.

Officials are racing to restore resources quicker than Russia can knock them out. Ukraine’s electricity operator Ukrenergo said Tuesday that it was running at a 30% deficit, 3% higher than the day before, after it had implemented a series of “emergency shutdowns” across the country at “several power plants.”

Read more here.