Live: Ukrainians in Kherson celebrate freedom from Russian occupation
Issued on: 15/11/2022 – 04:28
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the Russian withdrawal from Kherson as the “beginning of the end of the war” on Monday, as he lauded soldiers in the recently liberated southern city. The retaking of Kherson after a grinding offensive that forced Russia to pull back its forces from the city was one of Ukraine’s biggest success so far of the nearly nine-month invasion. Read FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).
12:56pm: Russian-installed civil servants leave Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine’s Kherson region
Civil servants working for the Russian-installed administration in the Ukrainian city of Nova Kakhovka, next to the huge Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro river in Ukraine’s Kherson region, have left due to intensified shelling, officials said on Tuesday.
“Employees of the Nova Kakhovka city state administration and state and municipal institutions also left the city and were relocated to safe areas in the region,” the city’s Russian-installed administration said.
11:11am: Russia’s Lavrov says Ukraine’s terms for negotiations ‘unrealistic’
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Ukraine’s conditions for restarting talks with Moscow were “unrealistic”, speaking at the G20 summit where pressure was mounting on Russia to end the conflict.
“I said again that all problems are with the Ukrainian side, which is categorically refusing negotiations and putting forward conditions that are obviously unrealistic,” Lavrov told reporters, saying he had put forward that position during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
11:04am: Biden, Erdogan discuss Ukraine grain exports
US President Joe Biden and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday discussed a deadly bombing in Istanbul and international efforts to export Ukrainian grain, the White House said.
The two leaders talked on the margins of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, touching on several of the issues at the heart of the close, but often contentious US-Turkish relationship.
In a readout, the White House said Biden expressed “deep condolences” for the deaths of six people in a bomb attack in a busy street in Istanbul on Sunday, underlining that “we stand with our NATO ally”.
The Turkish government blames the attack on a Kurdish militant group, the PKK, which has denied involvement. On Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu refused to accept condolences issued by the US embassy, saying Washington helps to arm Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
10:54am: Many Ukrainian, Russian prisoners of war subjected to torture, UN says
Prisoners held by both sides in Russia’s war in Ukraine have been subjected to torture, including with beatings, electric shocks, and humiliating treatment while naked, UN investigators said Tuesday.
Under international law, “the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is absolute, even – indeed especially –in times of armed conflict”, Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Rights Monitoring Mission, told reporters.
10:35am: ‘People still celebrating’ in Kherson
“In Kherson itself when we arrived people were still celebrating [the liberation],” FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago reported. “Soldiers who we ran into in the city centre, at Freedom Square, said they couldn’t walk through there without being hugged, without being given flowers. Emotions are still very much high. But there are still problems despite the fact that people just don’t care […]. The Russians destroyed as much public infrastructure as they could before they left, the city is still without electricity, gas, heat and water.”
10:14am: Russia says it is checking details about Zambian student’s death on frontline
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was working to ascertain details about the death of Zambian student on the frontline in Ukraine, the TASS news agency reported.
Zambia on Monday asked Russia to explain how one of its citizens who had been serving a prison sentence in Moscow had ended up on the battlefield in Ukraine.
10:02am: Germany to establish maintenance hub in Slovakia to repair arms sent to Kyiv
Germany will establish a maintenance hub in Slovakia to service and repair weapons it has delivered to Ukraine, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday.
“We have reached agreement, and work can start immediately so that all the equipment which has been supplied (to Kyiv) can be repaired after coming out of battle,” she told reporters as she arrived for a meeting with her EU counterparts in Brussels.
Berlin is planning to train some 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers in Germany as part of an EU training mission by June, she added.
9:42am: Russia’s Lavrov meets UN Secretary General at G20
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a photo of the pair seated at a table in Bali with Russian and UN flags, but the ministry provided no details of what the pair discussed.
It comes just days before the landmark Black Sea grain deal is set to expire. The initiative, struck in July, unlocked agricultural exports from Ukraine’s southern ports and helped push down global food prices. But Moscow has not yet said whether it will extend its participation in the UN-backed deal, which is due to expire on November 19.
7:30am: Macron says France, China cooperation key to overcome impact of war in Ukraine
Close cooperation between France and China is key to overcome the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which go beyond European borders, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter after meeting with China’s president Xi Jinping.
“Ending escalation and facing the consequences of the war in Ukraine, supporting the most vulnerable economies, de-carbonating our economies and acting to protect bio-diversity: France and China are determined,” Macron wrote.
6:53am: Most G20 members strongly condemn war in Ukraine, draft declaration says
A draft of a declaration by leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it was exacerbating fragilities in the global economy.
“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” said the draft declaration, which was confirmed by a European diplomat. The declaration has yet to be adopted.
“Recognising that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy,” it said.
6:07am: Zelensky urges G20 to adopt Ukraine’s peace plan
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday called on the G20 major economies meeting in Indonesia to step up their leadership and stop Russia’s war in his country under a peace plan he has proposed.
“We will not allow Russia to wait out and build up its forces,” he said via videolink to the summit on the Indonesia island of Bali, according to a copy of his speech reviewed by Reuters.
“I am convinced that now is the time when Russia’s war must and can be stopped.”
Ukrainian forces have been making advances in recent weeks against Russian troops in the east and south, recapturing last week the city of Kherson, the only regional capital Russia had captured since the February invasion.
5:48am: Residents of Kherson celebrate their freedom
FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago reports from the city of Kherson, where locals are celebrating the Russian withdrawal.
Many residents do not have heating or running water but they are relieved that the Russian occupation is over.
4:04am: Macron calls for Paris and Beijing to work together on Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron and China’s leader Xi Jinping shook hands as they began discussions on the sidelines of the G20 summit, which is expected to pile pressure on over its invasion of and address the global fallout from the war.
We must “unite forces to respond… to international crises like Russia’s war in Ukraine”, told Xi.
On Monday, the French presidency said Macron would tell the Chinese president it was in “your interest” to pressure Russia to return to the negotiating table over the Ukraine conflict.
Xi meanwhile made no mention of the conflict in his opening remarks, calling more broadly for the two countries to “uphold the spirits of independence, autonomy, openness and cooperation”.
The pair met a day after Xi held marathon talks with US President Joe Biden, with the leaders vowing to prevent their rivalry from spilling over into outright conflict.
3:46am: European leader calls on world, China to pressure Russia
The European Council president urged global powers Tuesday to intensify pressure on Russia over its war against Ukraine, including Moscow’s biggest supporter, China, saying that this week’s meeting of the world’s largest economies was crucial to stopping Moscow’s push “to use food and energy as weapons”.
Charles Michel, speaking to reporters on the first day of the Group of 20 meeting in Bali, said the nine-month war waged by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has disrupted lives across the world, as food and energy prices surge and economies stagnate.
“Russia’s war impacts us all, no matter where we live, from Europe to Africa or the Middle East, and the single best way to end the acute crisis in food and energy is for Russia to end this senseless war and to respect the UN charter,” Michel said. “The Kremlin has decided to weaponise food, driving up hunger, poverty and instability.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)
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