December 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Amy Woodyatt, Hannah Strange and Heather Chen, CNN

Updated 9:00 p.m. ET, December 2, 2022
15 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:13 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

Putin tells Germany's Scholz Western states' position on Ukraine is "destructive"

From CNN's Radina Gigova and Anna Chernova

Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call on Friday that the position of Western states on Ukraine is "destructive" and that Germany should reconsider its approach, according to a statement by the Kremlin.

"Attention has been drawn to the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, pumping up the Kyiv regime with weapons, training the Ukrainian military. All this, as well as comprehensive political and financial support for Ukraine, leads to the fact that Kyiv completely rejects the idea of any negotiations," reads the statement.

"In addition, this stimulates radical Ukrainian nationalists to commit more and more bloody crimes against the civilian population," the Kremlin claimed.

Putin "called on the German side to reconsider its approaches in the context of the Ukrainian events," according to the Kremlin.

During the call, the Kremlin said that the Russian military "had long refrained from targeted missile strikes against certain targets on the territory of Ukraine, but now such measures have become a forced and inevitable response to Kyiv's provocative attacks against Russian civilian infrastructure."

This "Russian civilian infrastructure" includes, according to the Kremlin, the Crimean bridge, energy facilities, as well a "terrorist act" against the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, which requires "a transparent investigation with the participation of Russian specialized structures."

Swedish and Danish authorities have been investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. Both pipelines have been flashpoints in an escalating energy war between European capitals and Moscow since the February invasion of Ukraine.

Western nations have previously said that the leaks, which were first discovered on September 26, were likely the result of sabotage. Denmark last month said a preliminary investigation had shown they were caused by powerful explosions.

7:47 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

More than 80,000 generators delivered to Ukraine 

From CNN's Victoria Butenko

Ukraine has received more than 80,000 generators in recent weeks, Ukrainian member of parliament Yaroslav Zheleznyak said on Telegram on Friday.

"82,124 power generators and 3,075 power transformers were imported into Ukraine from November 9 to November 30," he said. "Also, 266,596 power banks and accumulators were imported over the same period."

Zheleznyak is the assistant head of the parliamentary committee on finance, taxes and import policy. 

His notes comes as a number of countries said they would donate power generators to Ukraine to help the country have heating for the winter following Russian strikes against energy infrastructure. 

This week the United States government pledged more than $50 million dollars in equipment to support Ukraine’s electrical system. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the equipment -- generators, transformers and spare parts -- would be arriving in Ukraine “not in a matter of months, but in a matter of days, or weeks.”

7:39 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

Ukrainian embassies abroad targeted by letter bombs and threats

From CNN's Eve Brennan and Lindsay Isaac

Spanish policemen stand next to an Ukrainian flag while securing the area after a letter bomb explosion at the Ukraine's embassy in Madrid, Spain, on November 30.
Spanish policemen stand next to an Ukrainian flag while securing the area after a letter bomb explosion at the Ukraine's embassy in Madrid, Spain, on November 30. (Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine has put all embassies and consulates abroad under enhanced security measures after a series of incidents involving threatening packages, letter bombs and vandalism at its diplomatic missions. This week Ukrainian embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Austria, the consulates general in Naples and Krakow, and the consulate in Brno have received bloody packages, containing animal eyes, Oleh Nikolenko, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said Friday on Facebook.

"The packages were “soaked in a liquid of a characteristic colour and had a corresponding smell. We are examining the meaning of this message,” he wrote.

On Wednesday, a package sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, addressed to the country’s ambassador to Spain, Serhiy Pohoreltsev, exploded upon opening.

“We have reason to believe that there is a well-planned campaign of terror and intimidation of Ukrainian embassies and consulates. Unable to stop Ukraine on the diplomatic front, they are trying to intimidate us,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

He called on foreign governments to guarantee maximum protection of Ukrainian diplomatic institutions in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

In addition to the suspicious packages, Nikolenko reported other incidents including vandalism of the entrance to the Ukrainian ambassador's residence in the Vatican.

Czech police evacuate consulate: Czech police tweeted Friday that the Ukrainian Consulate in Brno, a city in the southeast of Czech Republic consulate and its immediate surroundings, including a kindergarten were evacuated. After investigating the package, the police said it did not contain any explosives, adding that they had no information to indicate people at the consulate or within its vicinity were at any danger.

“Initial analysis suggest the package contained animal tissue. A detailed analysis of will be conducted in laboratories now,” the police tweeted.

7:52 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

The Kremlin warns Washington's refusal to accept annexed regions as part of Russia complicates possible Putin-Biden talks

From Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, with Ukrainian separatist regional leaders Vladimir Saldo, left, Yevgeniy Balitsky, second left, Leonid Pasechnik, right, and Denis Pushilin, second right, seen during the annexation ceremony of four Ukrainian regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace, September 30, in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, with Ukrainian separatist regional leaders Vladimir Saldo, left, Yevgeniy Balitsky, second left, Leonid Pasechnik, right, and Denis Pushilin, second right, seen during the annexation ceremony of four Ukrainian regions at the Grand Kremlin Palace, September 30, in Moscow, Russia. (Getty Images)

The fact that Washington doesn't recognize annexed Ukrainian regions as part of Russia would complicate possible talks between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

“The United States still does not recognize new territories as part of the Russian Federation, and this complicates the search for common ground for negotiations,” Peskov said during a regular call with journalists, when asked whether Moscow sees any prospects for negotiations with Washington.

In September, Moscow illegally declared four Ukrainian regions to be Russian territory: Luhansk and Donetsk -- home to two Russian-backed breakaway republics where fighting has been ongoing since 2014 -- as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, two areas in southern Ukraine that had been occupied by Russian forces since shortly after the invasion began.

The illegal annexations followed sham referendums in these southern and eastern regions. Russian troops have since withdrawn from a swathe of the Kherson region, including the regional capital Kherson city.

Here's some background: On Thursday, Biden told reporters during a joint White House news conference with French President Emmanual Macron that he “has no immediate plans” to contact Putin, but added that he’s prepared to speak with the Russian leader if he’s looking for a way to end the war in Ukraine. Biden also clarified that Putin has not done so yet.

“He’s just miscalculated across the board,” Biden said of Putin following his bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with the French president. “And so the question is … how does he get himself out of the circumstances in? I’m prepared, if he’s willing to talk, to find out what he’s willing to do, but I’ll only do it in consultation with my NATO allies. I’m not going to do it on my own.”

Peskov said Moscow has always been open to negotiations to ensure its interests but Putin's initiative to discuss security guarantees with the US, NATO and the OSCE “was not reciprocated.”

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed those remarks, saying that Moscow "never avoids contacts" but there haven't been "substantial ideas" when it comes to a possible meeting between Biden and Putin.

6:17 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

People with reduced mobility to be evacuated from Kakhovka, says Russian-installed administration

From CNN’s Sarah Dean

Some people with reduced mobility will be evacuated from the Russian-occupied town of Kakhovka on the east bank of the Dnipro river, Russian-installed authorities said on Friday.

“On Saturday, December 3, the evacuation of bedridden and disabled citizens from Kakhovka to one of the boarding houses of the Henichesk district begins,” the Russian-installed administration said via its Telegram channel.

Earlier this week, Serhii Khlan, a member of Kherson regional council, told a news conference that pro-Russian administrators had left the east bank towns and set up an administration in the city of Henichesk, closer to Crimea.

"They defined it as the center of the occupation region, and now all supporters and collaborators are there," he said.

Khlan said that Russian forces are shelling "all settlements" along the west bank of the Dnipro river in recently liberated areas of Kherson.

He added that the bulk of Russian forces were positioned some 15 to 20 kilometers (9.3 to 12.4 miles) from the east bank of the river, but that personnel of the Russian security service (FSB) occupied observation posts close to the river, in towns like Kakhovka and Nova Kakhovka. They were exerting pressure on the remaining civilian population to leave, he said.

Khlan said that he expected people already in temporary accommodation would be forced to leave for Russia.

5:46 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

New law would ban religious groups in Ukraine associated with Russia

From CNN's Radina Gigova

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) servicemen check documents of visitors to Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kyiv on November 22.
Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) servicemen check documents of visitors to Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kyiv on November 22. (Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine's parliament will vote on a new law that would ban the operation of religious organizations “affiliated with centers of influence” in Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday, in an effort to prevent an "opportunity to manipulate" Ukrainians.

"Unfortunately, even Russian terror and full-scale war did not convince some figures that it is worth overcoming the temptation of evil. Well, we have to create conditions where no actors dependent on the aggressor state will have an opportunity to manipulate Ukrainians and weaken Ukraine from within," the Ukrainian president said in a statement.

"The National Security and Defense Council instructed the Government to submit to the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine's parliament] a draft law on making it impossible for religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine," he said.

Here's some background: The proposed law comes after the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) raided a historic Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, on November 22 as part of an effort to counter suspected “subversive activities" by Russia's special services.

The raid was aimed at preventing the “use of Ukrainian Orthodox Church premises for hiding sabotage and reconnaissance groups, foreign citizens, storing weapons," SBU said.

"All bodies responsible for ensuring national security must intensify measures to identify and counter the subversive activities of Russian special services in the religious environment of Ukraine. And apply personal sanctions -- the surnames will be made public soon," Zelensky said on Thursday.

In his statement, Zelensky also said "a religious examination" of the Management Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be conducted "for the presence of a church-canonical connection with the Moscow Patriarchate and, if necessary, to take measures provided for by law."

These and other decisions are aimed at guaranteeing "Ukraine's spiritual independence," Zelensky said.

In May, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially broke allegiance with the Russian Orthodox Church and its leader Patriarch Kirill over the war, saying it considers the invasion "a violation of God’s commandment 'Thou shalt not kill'."

Kirill is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has supported the war in Ukraine.

5:38 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

Between 10,000 and 13,000 Ukrainian troops killed, says Zelensky adviser -- a number far lower than US estimates

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

Soldiers attend the farewell ceremony for senior sergeant Yuriy Chernenko in Lviv, Ukraine on November 24.
Soldiers attend the farewell ceremony for senior sergeant Yuriy Chernenko in Lviv, Ukraine on November 24. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Between 10,000 and 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the war in Ukraine, according to Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This figure is much lower than estimates suggested by the United States.

"We have official figures from the General Staff, official figures from the high command, and according to them we have between 10,000 and 12,500 to 13,000 killed," Podolyak said speaking on national TV on Thursday.

On November 10, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Russia has suffered more than 100,000 killed and wounded soldiers as a result of the war in Ukraine and that Kyiv is probably looking at similar numbers.

There is no confirmed number of troop casualties on either side for the war in Ukraine.

CNN has contacted the Ukrainian military for comment. However, Bohdan Senyk, head of the public relations department of the Armed Forces of Ukraine previously declined to confirm Ukrainian army losses.

3:21 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

Russian military starts census in parts of Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian mayor says

From CNN's Sarah Dean

Russia's military has begun conducting a census in parts of occupied territory in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, according to the Ukrainian mayor-in-exile of the city of Melitopol.

"Over the past few days, the Russians have been in a fuss," Ivan Fedorov said in a televised broadcast Friday. "First, they were taking the wounded out of the hospital. Then they started a census in the towns of Mykhailivka and Burchak to allegedly prepare for evacuation."

Melitopol has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion and analysts have suggested the next offensive front for Ukrainian forces was likely to be a thrust southward toward the city.

Fedorov added that hospitals in the cities of Tokmak and Mykhailivka were also "turned into military hospitals for Russian forces."

"[Russians] are massively treating thousands of their wounded there," Fedrov said. "Only one hospital in Melitopol city, an ambulance hospital, provides assistance to civilians."

New Russian military bases had also been set up, he claimed, noting there were now "tens of thousands of Russian manpower in the territory of Melitopol."

Last month, Fedorov highlighted difficulties civilians faced to leave the city.

It comes after the Ukrainian military claimed some Russian troops are withdrawing from their positions in the Zaporizhzhia region. CNN is unable to confirm the claims made by the General Staff.

3:39 a.m. ET, December 2, 2022

Russia told US about Brittney Griner's transfer to penal colony weeks after she was moved

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Penal colony IK-2in the town of Yavas in Mordovia, central Russia, where Brittney Griner is being held, on November 19.
Penal colony IK-2in the town of Yavas in Mordovia, central Russia, where Brittney Griner is being held, on November 19. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian government formally told the US Embassy last week about Brittney Griner’s transfer to a remote penal colony, weeks after the wrongfully detained WNBA star had been moved, according to the Biden administration.

“The U.S. Embassy in Moscow was formally notified by the Russian government of Ms. Griner’s transfer on November 23, more than two weeks after she was moved from a prison in Moscow to IK-2 in Mordovia,” a State Department spokesperson told CNN Thursday.
“We are in frequent contact with Ms. Griner’s legal team and aware that they were able to visit her this week,” the spokesperson said.

Read more here.