December 28, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Amy Woodyatt, Laura Smith-Spark, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes, Leinz Vales and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 1:36 a.m. ET, December 29, 2022
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9:41 a.m. ET, December 28, 2022

Kherson city attacked 23 times in past 24 hours, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

A worker cleans up debris after Russian shelling of the hospital maternity unit in Kherson, Ukraine, on December 28.
A worker cleans up debris after Russian shelling of the hospital maternity unit in Kherson, Ukraine, on December 28. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian attacks on Ukraine’s southern Kherson region continued over the past 24 hours, injuring three civilians, according to the head of the regional military administration.

“Russian occupiers shelled the territory of Kherson region 50 times. Peaceful settlements of the region suffered from attacks from artillery, MLRS, mortars and tanks,” Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the Kherson regional military administration, said in a Telegram post.

The city of Kherson was hit 23 times in the past 24 hours, Yanushevych said, adding that three people had sustained injuries of "varying severity."

In November, Russia’s military retreated from Kherson city, the only regional capital Moscow had captured since the invasion began, in a major setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since then, Russian forces have stationed themselves across the river from Kherson and regularly shell the city from there.

On Tuesday, a hospital maternity ward in the city of Kherson was hit by Russian shelling, according to Ukrainian officials.

10:10 a.m. ET, December 28, 2022

Meet the Russian dissidents living the "nightmare from which it is impossible to wake up"

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

For Andrei Soldatov and his friends, Feb. 24 marked the end of Russia as they knew it.

In the early hours of that day, President Vladimir Putin announced that he had ordered Russian troops into Ukraine. “And all of a sudden, everything we still believed in got completely compromised,” Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist who lives in self-imposed exile in London, told CNN.

Life in Russia had for many years been getting more difficult for dissidents, independent journalists and anyone speaking up against Putin’s regime, but Soldatov said people like him still had some hope to hold on to. The war changed that, he said.

Read the dissidents' stories here.

2:28 a.m. ET, December 28, 2022

Australian dies in Ukraine fighting against Russia

From CNN's Pauline Lockwood and Alex Stambaugh 

An Australian man has died fighting to defend Ukraine from Russia's invasion, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed to CNN on Wednesday. 

Sage O'Donnell "died in action defending the freedom of the Ukrainian people," his mother said in a statement released by DFAT.

"Sage was much loved by his friends and family. Sage’s humour, kind heart, values and laughter will be dearly missed. We are devastated by our recent loss of Sage," the statement said. 

DFAT is providing consular assistance to the family, a spokesperson said.

2:21 a.m. ET, December 28, 2022

Nearly 7,000 Ukrainian civilians killed since Russia's invasion began, UN agency says

From CNN's Irene Nasser

At least 6,884 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since Russia’s invasion of the country began in February, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.

The figures, compiled up to Dec. 26, include 429 children, according to OHCHR, which added it believed the actual numbers were higher.

Nearly 11,000 people have been injured, it said.

CNN cannot independently verify the OCHR figures.

9:10 p.m. ET, December 27, 2022

At least 1 killed in Russian shelling of southern Ukrainian town, official says

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Yulia Kesaleva

At least one man was killed and five other people were injured following Russian shelling in the southern Ukrainian town of Oleshky, on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, across from Kherson, Oleshky Mayor Yevhen Ryshchuk said via Facebook.

“As a result of the shelling of the town of Oleshky by the (Russian) occupiers the windows in the high-rise apartment building were shuttered. Unfortunately, five people were wounded and one person was killed,” Ryshchuk said.

The mayor also said that aside from a high-rise building, kiosks on the town’s market were damaged by the shelling. 

9:09 p.m. ET, December 27, 2022

Kherson hospital hit by Russian shelling, Ukrainian official says

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Yulia Kesaleva

A hospital maternity ward in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was hit by Russian shelling, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the office of the president of Ukraine said Tuesday. 

“They shelled the place where two children were born today. Before the attack, doctors managed to complete a cesarean section. There are five women in the institution after childbirth. Miraculously, no one was injured,” Timoshenko said via the Telegram messaging platform.

Other impacted areas: Russian shelling also damaged the civilian infrastructure of the Antonivka settlement in the Kherson region and Kherson city, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said via Facebook, adding that there are casualties among civilians.

Meanwhile, the threat of air and missile strikes on critical infrastructure facilities remains on the whole territory of Ukraine, as Russia's offensive took place in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, trying to improve the tactical situation in the direction of Lyman, Ukraine’s Armed Forces said.

3:29 a.m. ET, December 28, 2022

Ukraine's power outages decreasing as parts of electric grid are restored, prime minister says

From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Yulia Kesaleva

People walk down a dark street in Kyiv, Ukraine, during an energy black out on December 26.
People walk down a dark street in Kyiv, Ukraine, during an energy black out on December 26. (Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The number of outages across Ukraine is decreasing as more parts of the electric grid are restored and consumption is reduced due to favorable weather conditions, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Tuesday.

In the event of no Russian shelling, the New Year holiday will pass without emergency shutdowns, Shmyhal said during a cabinet meeting in Kyiv, according to a government statement. 

“The number of emergency outages is decreasing. This became possible thanks to the heroic work of our power engineers to restore damaged equipment, reduce consumption on weekends and the absence of frosty weather. Today, on December 27, after emergency restoration works, two units of thermal power plants were reconnected to the grid,” Shmyhal said.

More consumers are seeing power restored at least partially as the infrastructure is being restored, the prime minister said. 

Ukraine also believes Russia is preparing to continue attacks on the country’s energy system, according to Shmyhal, who emphasized that his country is "in a daily state of readiness for new massive shelling."

9:07 p.m. ET, December 27, 2022

Putin bans Russian oil exports to countries that imposed price caps, Kremlin says

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Tuesday banning oil supplies to countries that have introduced price caps on Russian oil and petroleum products, according to the decree published on the Kremlin’s website — a move that may prove to be largely symbolic.

Earlier this month, Western countries implemented a price cap on Russian crude oil at $60 a barrel, a policy aimed at Moscow’s remaining oil customers. It’s enforced by the companies that provide shipping, insurance and other services for Russian oil. Europe also banned the import of Russian crude by sea.

The United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia all agreed to the price cap. The United States and Canada banned the import of Russia’s oil and the European Union this month banned imports by sea.

Given those countries’ widespread bans, the Kremlin’s new policy may not pack much punch. The oil market was largely unfazed by Russia’s decree, with the benchmark Brent oil price rising less than 2% Tuesday. US oil topped $80 a barrel while Brent traded at around $86.

Read more here.

9:06 p.m. ET, December 27, 2022

Russia's foreign minister calls on West for maximum restraint "to minimize nuclear risks"

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that the West must show restraint in nuclear questions, in an interview with state news agency TASS on Tuesday. 

"We continue to call on the West to exercise maximum restraint in this extremely sensitive area. In order to minimize nuclear risks, it is important in practice to remain committed to the postulate of the inadmissibility of nuclear war, confirmed by the countries of the nuclear ‘five’ in a joint statement dated January 3, 2022,” he said. 
“In accordance with the logic set out in the document any military confrontation between the nuclear powers must be prevented, as it is fraught with catastrophe.
"In particular, it emphasizes that Russia stands for the formation of a renewed, more stable architecture of international security based on ensuring predictability and global strategic stability, as well as observing the principles of equality, indivisible security and mutual consideration of the interests of the parties."

In the same interview, Lavrov said significant ideas from Washington regarding full-fledged diplomatic contacts between Russia and the United States have not been received. 

"Now it is difficult to say something about the implementation of full-fledged bilateral contacts through the foreign ministries," he told TASS. 

"There were no significant ideas from the Americans on this issue.

“We, at various levels, including the highest, have repeatedly stressed that we are not shying away from a constructive dialogue.”

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin floated the possibility that Russia may formally change its military doctrine of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, days after he warned of the “increasing” threat of nuclear war.