Live: Zelensky calls liberation of Kherson ‘beginning of the end’

Issued on: 14/11/2022 – 07:00

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gives a speech to the media in Kherson, November 14, 2022. © Bernat Armangue, AP

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Russian withdrawal from Kherson “the beginning of the end of the war” on Monday as he met soldiers there, days after Russian forces were forced to retreat from the southern city after months of occupation. Read FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1). 


3:42pm: Biden applauds Kherson recapture as a ‘significant victory’

US President Joe Biden has hailed Ukraine’s recapture of Kherson as a “significant, significant victory”, but said fighting would now slow going into winter and the war’s outcome “remains to be seen”.

“I can do nothing but applaud the courage, determination and capacity of the Ukrainian people,” Biden told a press conference in Indonesia where he is attending the G20 summit. 

“I think you are going to see things slow down a bit because of the winter months,” he said, adding that it was up to Ukraine to determine the outcome of the conflict.    

3:04pm: Zambian student jailed in Russia killed in fighting in Ukraine

Zambia’s foreign minister has said a Zambian student who had been jailed in Russia was killed in fighting in Ukraine, and has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin.

Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, 23, who had been serving a prison sentence in Moscow, “passed away on 22nd September 2022, in Ukraine,” said Zambian Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo in a statement, adding he died “at the battlefront.”

The statement said Nyirenda, who had been studying nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, had been sentenced in April 2020 to nine years in jail.

He was incarcerated at Tyer medium security prison on the outskirts of the city, it said. The statement did not specify the alleged offence.

Ukrainian officials say the Wagner mercenary group has been sending thousands of soldiers recruited in Russian prisons to the front line, with the promise of a salary and an amnesty.

2:54pm: CIA chief arrives in Turkey to meet with Russian counterpart

CIA chief William Burns has arrived in Ankara to speak with his Russian intelligence counterpart, a White House official has told Reuters, confirming reports of a meeting between Burns and Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence agency.

Burns is to convey a message on consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, said the White House official.

“He is not conducting negotiations of any kind. He is not discussing settlement of the war in Ukraine,” the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, adding that Burns will also raise the cases of detained Americans in Russia.

The meeting comes as world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, are meeting in Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 summit. Russia is being represented at the G20 by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

1:23pm: Coming months ‘will be difficult’ for Ukraine, NATO chief says

Ukraine faces difficult months ahead and Russia’s military capability should not be underestimated, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

Stoltenberg praised the “incredible courage” of Ukrainian forces following Russia’s withdrawal from the strategic southern city of Kherson, and urged continued international support for Kyiv.  

“The coming months will be difficult. Putin’s aim is to leave Ukraine cold and dark this winter,” he told a press conference in The Hague after meeting the Dutch foreign and defence ministers.

We should not make the mistake of underestimating Russia,” Stoltenberg said, stressing that Moscow’s forces “retain significant capabilities, as well as a large number of troops”.

1:14pm: Macron to call Putin after G20

French President Emmanuel Macron will call counterpart Vladimir Putin after a Group of 20 summit in Bali where the Russian leader is expected to face strong pressure, an official said Monday.

Macron “will call him after the G20,” the official said, lamenting Putin’s “isolation” over the invasion of Ukraine.

12:35pm: Up to Ukraine what terms for talks with Russia are acceptable, NATO chief says

It is up to Ukraine to decide what terms are acceptable for negotiations to bring an end to the war Russia is waging against the country, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, adding NATO’s role was to support Kyiv.

“It is for Ukraine to decide what kind of terms are acceptable. It is for us to support them,” he said during a press conference with members of the Dutch government in The Hague.

“We should not make the mistake of underestimating Russia (…) They still control large parts of Ukraine (…) What we should do is strengthen Ukraine’s hand,” Stoltenberg added.

12:07pm: Zelensky calls liberation of Kherson ‘beginning of the end’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the Russian withdrawal from Kherson “the beginning of the end of the war” on Monday as he met with soldiers in the southern city.

The liberation of Kherson after a grinding offensive that forced Russian to pull back its forces from the city was one of Ukraine’s biggest success so far of the nearly nine-month invasion and a stinging blow for the Kremlin.

Zelensky said that the country’s “strong army” was persistently reclaiming the territories taken by Russia since its invasion while also acknowledging the difficulties and the heavy human toll.

The Ukrainian army has now reclaimed three major areas of the country in its counteroffensives – the area north of Kyiv, the northeastern region of Kharkiv and now Kherson and many neighbouring settlements.

11:05am: Kremlin ‘neither confirms nor denies’ talks with US in Turkey

The Kremlin said on Monday that it could neither confirm nor deny a report that Russian and US officials were holding talks in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that delegations from the two countries were meeting on Monday in the Turkish capital, citing a source.

Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence agency, was reportedly part of the Russian delegation, Kommersant said.

10:24am: Russia’s Lavrov dismisses AP report that he was taken to hospital at G20

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday dismissed an Associated Press report that he had been taken to hospital with a heart condition, scolding Western journalists for what he cast as false reporting.

Associated Press, citing Indonesian officials, said that Lavrov had been taken to hospital after arriving on the island of Bali for a Group of 20 summit. AP said Lavrov, 72, had been treated for a heart condition.

“This, of course, is the height of fakery,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Zakharova posted a video of Lavrov, President Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister since 2004, sitting outdoors on a patio, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and reading documents.

Asked about the report, Lavrov said Western journalists had been writing falsely for a decade that Putin, 70, was ill.

10:19am: Zelensky addresses troops in Kherson, thanks allies for support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson and addressed troops there on Monday, days after Russian forces were forced to retreat from the southern city after months of occupation.

“We are moving forward,” he told troops standing in formation in front of the administration building in the city’s main square. “We are ready for peace, peace for all our country.”

Zelensky thanked NATO and other allies for their support in the war against Russia and said the delivery of high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) from the United States had made a big difference for Kyiv.

8:34am: Decision on negotiations with Russia is up to Ukraine, EU top diplomat says

It is up to Ukraine to decide when to enter negotiations with Russia, the European Union’s top diplomat said on Monday, commenting on speculations the West might push Kyiv to start talks with Moscow.

“Ukraine will decide what to do. Our duty is to support them”, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said as he arrived for a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels.

5:53am: Ukraine war, tensions with China loom over G20

A showdown between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin isn’t happening, but fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions between China and the West will be at the fore when leaders of the world’s biggest economies gather in tropical Bali this week.

The Group of 20 members begin talks on the Indonesian resort island Tuesday under the hopeful theme of “recover together, recover stronger”. While Putin is staying away, Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and get to know new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni.

The summit’s official priorities of health, sustainable energy and digital transformation are likely to be overshadowed by fears of a sputtering global economy and geopolitical tensions centered on the war in Ukraine.

The nearly 9-month-old conflict has disrupted trade in oil, natural gas and grain, and shifted much of the summit’s focus to food and energy security.

5:03am: New Zealand to train more Ukrainian troops, extends intelligence support

New Zealand said on Monday it would send a further 66 defence force personnel to the United Kingdom to help train Ukrainian soldiers as the Russian invasion grinds on for a ninth month.

New Zealand currently has a team of 120 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel training Ukrainians in the United Kingdom but this deployment was due to end. The new deployment will run from November 30 through until July 2023, a government statement said.

“I am pleased the NZDF infantry can offer the skills and experience for further training. This deployment also provides an opportunity for NZDF personnel to gain valuable experience,” said defence minister Peeni Henare.

4:17am: Russian atrocities in Kherson region same as other regions, Zelensky says

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that Ukrainian forces that retook the city of Kherson found evidence of new war crimes by Russian occupiers.

“The Russian army left behind the same atrocities as in other regions of our country,” he said in a nightly address.

“Investigators have already documented more than 400 war crimes,” the Ukrainian leader said, without clearly specifying the area in which they were found.

“The bodies of the killed are being found, both civilians and military,” he said. “We will find and bring to justice every murderer.”

Ukrainians in the liberated city have expressed a deep sense of relief over the end of months of occupation after Russian forces pulled out on Friday.

But, like Zelensky, they said the Russians had left a trail of destruction, laying mines and going on a looting spree – even stealing animals from a zoo – before their withdrawal.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)


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