Live: As winter sets in, Ukraine urges evacuations from war-ravaged Kherson

Issued on: 22/11/2022 – 07:01

A fisherman on the Dnipro River as smoke rises from an oil reserve in Kherson after an attack on November 20, 2022. © Bulent Kilic, AFP

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Ukraine urged the elderly and vulnerable residents of Kherson and Mykolaiv to evacuate the recently liberated regions as a harsh winter sets in with a lack of power, heating and water due to Russian strikes on the country’s infrastructure. Follow FRANCE 24’s live coverage for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


11:39am: Ukraine raids famed monastery over suspected Russia links

Ukraine’s security service carried out a raid on a historic Orthodox monastery in the capital Kyiv over suspected “activities” of Russian agents, according to an official statement.

Located south of Kyiv’s city centre, the 11th century Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and seat of a branch of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church that was formerly under Moscow’s jurisdiction.

It cut ties with Russia soon after President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. 

The SBU security service said in a statement that “counter-intelligence measures” were carried out as part of work to “counter the subversive activities of the Russian security services in Ukraine”. 

The statement said Kyiv aimed to prevent the use of the site as a “centre of the ‘Russian world'” and make sure that the premises were not used to hide “sabotage and intelligence groups” and to store weapons.

11:31am: Russia hits aid distribution centre, one killed, says Ukraine

Russian shelling hit a humanitarian aid distribution centre in the town of Orihiv in southeastern Ukraine, killing a volunteer and wounding two women, according to the regional governor.

Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, gave no further details of the attack on Orihiv, about 110 km (70 miles) east of the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station which has been shelled in the past few days.

9:11am: Kyiv to investigate purported Russian prisoners of war video

The Kremlin has accused Ukrainian soldiers of executing more than 10 Russian prisoners of war after a video circulated on social media sites. The footage appears to show a group of Russian soldiers surrendering with their hands above their heads. One of the men appears to fire at the Ukrainian soldiers before gunfire is heard and the bodies of around 12 men can then be seen.

The location and identities of the people in the clip have not been verified.

Reporting from Kobleve in southern Ukraine, FRANCE 24’s Luke Shrago says Kyiv has already promised an investigation into the incident.

“There may be more to the video than it seems. The Ukrainian human rights commissioner said that this was in fact a staged surrender, where a gunman appears towards end of the video and opens fire. If that turns out to be Russian fire, that would be a war crime, the crime of perfidy,” said Shrago.

“You have to note the differences in the way that Kyiv looks into allegations like this and Moscow does. Kyiv promises investigations and says it will get to the bottom of things. With Moscow, you see outright denials and even turning the situation around to blame Ukraine,” added Shrago.



7:52am: Russian Black Sea Fleet in Novorssiysk vulnerable: UK

The vulnerability of Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorssiysk comes under scrutiny in the latest UK military intelligence briefing.

On November 18, multiple Russian and Ukrainian media outlets reported that an attack took place at an oil terminal in Novorssiysk port, a major base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF). 

The BSF relocated many of its submarine operations to Novorssiysk after its Sevastopol base in occupied Crimea was struck by Ukraine over the summer, notes the UK briefing. “Russian commanders will likely be concerned about threats to the Novorssiysk-based amphibious landing ship flotilla,” said UK military intelligence in a Twitter post.

“Any demonstration of a Ukrainian capability to threaten Novorssiysk would highly likely represent a further strategic challenge for the BSF,” added the briefing.

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Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 22 November 2022

Find out more about the UK government’s response:

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— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ)

6:58am: Blackouts likely to continue until end-March, says Ukrainian energy provider

Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, according to the head of a major energy provider. 

Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, leaving millions of people without electricity and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of the YASNO private energy provider for Kyiv, said workers are rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold arrives.

“I would like everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko said in a post on his Facebook page

6:41am: Residents urged to evacuate Kherson, Mykolaiv

Ukrainian authorities have urged residents of the southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv, which Russian forces have been shelling for months, to move to safer areas in the central and and western parts of the country.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said the government will provide transportation, accommodations and medical care for them. 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters) 

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