Russian air defence on alert after Crimea hit by alleged drone attack

Issued on: 22/11/2022 – 07:01Modified: 23/11/2022 – 07:14

Ukrainian soldiers ride a captured Russian tank in the front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, November 22, 2022. AP – Libkos

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Russian authorities said Crimea was targeted by a “drone attack” on Tuesday, prompting Russia to put air defence forces on alert. Earlier on Tuesday Russian energy giant Gazprom threatened to cut provisions of natural gas after accusing Ukraine of diverting supplies intended for Moldova. Read our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


10:14pm: Kherson tears down pro-Russia signs

Now that pro-Moscow forces have abandoned the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, workers are tearing down posters expressing love for Russia and the benefits of receiving Russian passports and pensions.

In their place are placards featuring simple slogans like “Kherson – hero city” and “Compatriots, you are free” printed on a yellow background.

“The moment our soldiers entered, these posters were printed and handed over to us,” local Ukrainian government spokesperson Antonina Dobrozhenska said on Tuesday as workers stripped off pro-Russian propaganda from a billboard behind her.

Russian forces covered the city with posters during the near nine-month occupation. Some bore the slogan “The future lies with Russia!”

8:55pm: Russia using the cold as ‘weapon of mass destruction’, Zelensky says

Ukraine President said Tuesday that Russia was trying to use the cold this winter as a “weapon of mass destruction” by striking energy infrastructure.

“The Kremlin wants to transform the cold this winter into a weapon of mass destruction,” Zelensky told a meeting of French mayors in a video message.

“To survive this winter and to prevent Russia transforming the cold into an instrument of terror and submission, we need a lot of things,” he added.

He urged the Association of French Mayors to send generators, support for de-mining operations and equipment for Ukraine’s emergency services and medics.

8:47pm: Ukraine investigating alleged prisoner shooting video

Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday they were investigating the conduct of Russian troops who appeared in a video that Moscow alleged showed them trying to surrender, then being shot.

Moscow alleges that video fragments circulated on Russian social media last week show that Ukrainian forces killed Russian troops who may have been trying to surrender, after one of the men seemingly refused to lay down his weapon and opened fire.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement Tuesday that a probe has been launched on charges of violating the laws or customs of war over what they said was “feigning surrender and opening fire on the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” by the Russian servicemen.

Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said in an interview Tuesday that Kyiv has a full version of the video, which it intends to release at some point.

The full video, the official said, showed two Russian servicemen “come out and start shooting at people, at Ukrainian servicemen.” Podolyak said “there is a bit of a blur on the second character,” but one “is clearly visible.”

6:43pm: Crimea hit by ‘drone attack’, Russian authorities say

The Russian-controlled Crimean peninsula in Ukraine was targeted by a drone attack on Tuesday, with Moscow’s forces there “on alert”, Kremlin-installed authorities said.

“There is an attack with drones,” Moscow-installed governor of the Sevastopol administrative region on , Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram. “Our air defence forces are working right now.”

3:41pm: Blasts kill three in Russian region along Ukraine border

Explosions killed three people on Tuesday in two villages in Russia’s Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine, local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

A woman was killed in what Gladkov said on Telegram was Ukrainian shelling in the village of Shebekino, around seven kilometres from the Ukrainian border in the south of the Belgorod region.

He later said a married couple were killed in the west of the region, in the border village of Staroselye.

Law enforcement officers were investigating the case, Gladkov said, “including to find out how this family ended up in the village”, which introduced a state of emergency on October 27.

2:50pm: Ukraine denies Gazprom accusation it withheld gas meant for Moldova

Ukraine’s gas transmission system operator denied an assertion by Russian gas company Gazprom on Tuesday that Ukraine had withheld 52.52 million cubic meters of gas meant for , and accused Russia of using gas as a political tool. “This is a gross manipulation of facts in order to justify the decision to further limit the volume of gas supplies to European countries,”  it said in a statement.

2:34pm: Gazprom says Ukraine diverting Moldova gas supplies, threatens cuts

Russian energy giant Gazprom said Tuesday that Ukraine was diverting natural gas supplies transiting to Moldova and threatened to curtail deliveries through a key pipeline to Europe in response.

“The volume of gas supplied by Gazprom… for transit to Moldova via Ukraine is more than the physical volume transmitted at the border of Ukraine with Moldova,” Gazprom said in a statement.

The Saint Petersburg-based company said that Ukraine had allegedly obstructed 52.52 million cubic metres from being delivered to Moldova and threatened cuts in response.

“If the transit imbalance through Ukraine for Moldovan consumers persists, on November 28, from 10:00, Gazprom will begin reducing gas supply” through a key transit point for deliveries to Europe, the company said.

2:26pm: Ukrainians facing shortages of winter essentials urged to leave

Authorities are encouraging residents to leave Ukraine this winter as the country faces shortages of essentials exacerbated by lack of infrastructure due to Russian attacks.

“There are particular concerns for hospitals with most now being outfitted with generators,” says FRANCE 24 reporter Luke Shrago, in Kobleve, Ukraine. “There are questions as to fuel, water and other basic supplies, particularly medical supplies.”



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

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 soon after 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 the 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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