Ukraine latest: EU boosts winter aid for Ukraine as Russia strikes infrastructure

In Europe

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties rising on both sides.

Ukrainian forces are mounting a strong counteroffensive against Russian troops, reclaiming territory lost when Moscow launched its invasion.

Ukraine has managed to withstand the Russian onslaught with the help of Western military aid, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more. For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

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Note: Nikkei Asia decided on March 5 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Here are the latest developments:

Friday, Nov. 18 (Tokyo time)

5:45 a.m. As Russian military strikes continue to hit Ukraine’s infrastructure, the European Commission says new emergency aid is on the way to help the nation prepare for winter.

More than 1,800 tonnes of supplies will be delivered through the European Civil Protection Mechanism. The new package — contributed by Belgium, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Sweden — includes energy supplies, shelter items and firefighting equipment.

“The destruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is reaching a critical point,” says Janez Lenarcic, the European commissioner for crisis management, in a news release. “On the eve of winter, people are being cut off electricity and heating. The key priority of our humanitarian operations today is to scale up winterization assistance.”

The latest round of Russian missile attacks on Ukraine hit civilian infrastructure in the east and south, including Naftogaz gas production facilities, Ukrainian military officials and the company say.

2:00 a.m. A court in the Netherlands has convicted two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader of murder for their role in shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014. Read more.

The three men have been sentenced to life in prison. The air disaster killed all 298 passengers and crew on the commercial flight bound for Kuala Lumpur.

Russia’s foreign ministry says in a statement that the Dutch court was under pressure to “impose a politically motivated outcome.” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the “masterminds” behind the downing of MH17 must also be held to account.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Nov. 17 welcomed a deal to extend the Black Sea grain deal that allows Ukraine to ship foodstuffs and fertilizer from three Ukrainian ports.

  © Reuters

Thursday, Nov. 17

6:10 p.m. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says he welcomes an agreement by all parties to extend the Black Sea grain deal to facilitate Ukraine’s agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports. The agreement, initially reached in July, created a protected sea transit corridor and was designed to alleviate global food shortages by allowing exports to resume from three ports in Ukraine, a major producer of grains and oilseeds. “I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea grain initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine,” Guterres said.

Ukrainian police forensic experts search for evidence at a park where fighting took place between Ukrainian territorial forces and Russian forces at the beginning of the war, in Kherson, Ukraine, on Nov. 16, 2022.

  © Reuters

2:30 p.m. Investigators in Ukraine’s recently liberated southern Kherson region have uncovered 63 bodies with signs of torture, Ukraine’s interior minister was quoted as saying early on Thursday. “We must understand that the search has only just started so many more dungeons and burial places will be uncovered,” Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted Denys Monastyrsky as telling national television. Monastyrsky said law enforcement had uncovered 436 instances of war crimes during Russia’s occupation. Eleven places of detention had been discovered, including four where torture had been practiced.

7:00 a.m. A missile that crashed inside Poland was probably a stray fired by Ukraine’s air defenses and not a Russian strike, Poland and military alliance NATO say, easing international fears that the war could spill across the border. Nevertheless, NATO’s chief said Russia, not Ukraine, was still to blame for starting the war in the first place with its February invasion and launching scores of missiles on Tuesday that triggered Ukrainian defenses. “This is not Ukraine’s fault,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels. “Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.”

5:32 a.m. The top U.S. military officer downplays the chances of a swift victory by Ukraine, despite major gains made by its forces in areas like Kherson.

“The probability of a Ukrainian military victory — defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they claim as Crimea — the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily,” U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells reporters at the Pentagon.

The U.S. will help Ukraine defend itself for as long as it takes, he says.

A Ukrainian soldier sits on captured Russian mortar shells after retaking a village in the Kherson region on Nov. 11.

  © Reuters

Wednesday, Nov. 16

8:05 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden told G-7 and NATO leaders earlier that the explosion in Poland that killed two people was caused by a Ukrainian air-defense missile, a NATO source confirmed to Nikkei Asia. Read more.

An emergency meeting was convened in Bali on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, after Poland and Ukraine had said it was likely a Russian-made missile. Russia quickly denied its missiles struck Poland.

6:52 p.m. Pope Francis has condemned the latest wave of missile attacks on Ukraine and called for a ceasefire to avert the risk of an escalation of the conflict. He was speaking at his weekly General Audience as NATO allies were investigating unconfirmed reports that an explosion in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine was caused by stray Russian missiles. He did not mention the incident.

“I learned with pain and concern of a fresh and even fiercer missile attack on Ukraine, which caused deaths and damage to much civilian infrastructure,” Francis said in Italian. “Let us pray so that the Lord converts the hearts of those who still bet on war and make the desire for peace prevail in martyred Ukraine in order to avoid escalation and to open the path to a ceasefire and dialogue,” he said.

Pope Francis has condemned the latest wave of missile attacks on Ukraine and called for a ceasefire to avert the risk of an escalation of the conflict.

  © Reuters

6:11 p.m. A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blames Russia for any “incidents with missiles.” Mykhailo Podolyak made his comments in a written statement after U.S. President Joe Biden said a missile that killed two people in Poland was probably not fired from Russia.

“In my opinion, it is necessary to adhere to only one logic. The war was started and is being waged by Russia. Russia massively attacks Ukraine with cruise missiles. Russia has turned the eastern part of the European continent into an unpredictable battlefield,” Podolyak said. “Intent, means of execution, risks, escalation — all this is only Russia. And there can be no other explanation for any incidents with missiles.”

3:09 p.m. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says he believes the U.N.-brokered grain export deal between Russia and Ukraine will be extended beyond its Nov. 19 deadline, adding that Ankara is making efforts to prolong it by a year. Speaking at a news conference at the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Erdogan said talks about extending the deal were ongoing, adding that the deal was important for the world.

10:02 a.m. Global leaders who were gathering for the G-20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, went into an emergency meeting on Wednesday after two people in Poland were killed in explosions that Ukraine and Polish authorities said were caused by Russian-made missiles. The meeting was convened by U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House said, after two people were killed in an explosion in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine. Leaders from the United States, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Italy, France and the U.K. were taking part in the meeting.

9:21 a.m. NATO member Poland said that a Russian-made rocket killed two people in eastern Poland near Ukraine, and it summoned Russia’s ambassador to Warsaw for an explanation after Moscow denied it was responsible.

5:40 a.m. Poland’s government has convened an emergency security after two people were reportedly killed by a missile strike near the border with Ukraine. Local media reports say a Russian missile is suspected in the deaths near the village of Przewodow. Read more.

2:30 a.m. A defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Ukrainians are working to restore electricity to areas struck by a wave of Russian attacks.

“We will restore everything, we will survive,” he says in a video posted on Telegram.

The U.S. has condemned the attacks, with President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan saying in a statement: “It is not lost on us that, as world leaders meet at the G-20 in Bali to discuss the issues of significant importance to the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, Russia again threatens those lives and destroys Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.”

Russia’s TASS cites Ukrainian media reports of explosions in Kyiv and the Kyiv region but does not describe them as Russian attacks. At the Group of 20 leaders summit in Bali, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says: “If anyone is refusing to negotiate, it is Ukraine.”

2:05 a.m. Protesters shouting “you are criminals, war criminals” interrupt an event hosted by the Russian delegation at the COP27 United Nations climate change conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and China’s Wang Yi meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Bali on Nov. 15. (Handout photo from the Russian Foreign Ministry)

  © Reuters

12:30 a.m. China praises Russia for reiterating its position that a nuclear war cannot be fought, crediting Moscow for a “rational and responsible” attitude, Chinese news agency Xinhua reports.

The comment comes at a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia. China says the two sides discussed the Asia-Pacific, the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue. Beijing says it will continue to play a constructive role in promoting peace talks in Ukraine.

Tuesday, Nov. 15

11:57 p.m. Russian missiles strike energy facilities and cities across Ukraine including Kyiv, Lviv in the west, Kharkiv in the northeast and Odesa in the south. Kyiv’s mayor says about half of the capital lacks electricity and that two residential buildings were hit in a central area of the city.

The wave of missile strikes comes as Western leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia seek agreement on a statement condemning Russia’s invasion following a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

6:35 p.m. Leaders from the Group of 20 major economies plan to urge peaceful resolution of conflicts and condemn the use of nuclear weapons, in a reflection of global anxiety over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the leaders will say, according to a draft final summit declaration seen by Nikkei Asia. “The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.” The communique is set to be formally adopted by G-20 leaders on Wednesday. The text could change before then as a result of further talks on its content.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-20 summit opening session in Bali. Modi has called for diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine.

  © Reuters

5:20 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges a return to diplomacy to end the Russia-Ukraine war, reiterating the South Asian nation’s call for peace in the ongoing conflict.

“I have repeatedly said that we have to find a way to return to the path of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine,” Modi said in his opening remarks at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. India has not condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that “today’s era is not an era of war.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sings the national anthem during his visit to Kherson, Ukraine on Nov. 14.

  © Reuters

2:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations that now is the time to stop Russia’s war in his country under a peace plan he has proposed. He spoke via video to leaders of the G-20 nations who have gathered for a summit on the Indonesian island of Bali. Zelenskyy said the war should be ended “justly and on the basis of the U.N. Charter and international law.” He called for restoring “radiation safety” with regard to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and introducing price restrictions on Russian energy resources.

9:30 a.m. Kyiv welcomes reported Chinese comments criticizing threats to use nuclear weapons as world leaders gathered in Indonesia to take part in Tuesday’s G-20 meeting, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the spotlight. U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping “underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” the White House said in a readout of a meeting in Indonesia between the two leaders. A readout of the Biden-Xi meeting on China’s foreign ministry website made no use of the word “nuclear” but said: “Conflicts and wars produce no winner … confrontation between major countries must be avoided.”

7:52 a.m. The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution recognizing that Russia must be responsible for making reparations to Ukraine.

The nonbinding resolution, supported by 94 of the assembly’s 193 members, says Russia “must bear the legal consequences of all of its internationally wrongful acts, including making reparation for the injury, including any damage, caused by such acts.” Fourteen countries voted against the resolution, including Russia, China and Iran, while 73 abstained, including Brazil, India and South Africa. Not all member states voted.

Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., Vassily Nebenzia, told the General Assembly before the vote that the provisions of the resolution are “legally null and void” as he urged countries to vote against it. “The West is trying to draw out and worsen the conflict and plans to use Russian money for it,” Nebenzia said.

A still image from video released by the Russian Defence Ministry shows what it said to be a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launched during exercises in Russia.

  © Reuters

1:35 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping “reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” according to a White House readout of their meeting in Bali.

But the Xinhua report on the meeting does not mention any discussion of nuclear weapons at the talks. Read more about the Biden-Xi summit here.

12:45 a.m. Russia approves the participation of Japan’s Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co. (SODECO) and India’s ONGC Videsh in the new Russian operator of the Sakhalin-1 project, Interfax reports, citing instructions issued by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is a stakeholder in Tokyo-based SODECO, along with other investors including Itochu, Japan Petroleum Exploration and Marubeni. The Japanese government had sought to remain involved in the Russian oil and gas project following operator ExxonMobil’s departure.

Exxon announced its withdrawal from Sakhalin-1 after Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree on Oct. 7, transferring the project to a new company. Foreign investors were told to decide within one month whether they would continue to participate in the business.

Monday, Nov. 14

6:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the newly recaptured southern city of Kherson, the biggest prize yet won by Ukrainian forces, where he has accused Russian forces of committing war crimes before they fled last week. “We are moving forward,” he said in an address to Ukrainian troops, thanking NATO and other allies for their continuing support in the war against Russia. “We are ready for peace, peace for all our country.”

11:30 a.m. The U.S. will impose new sanctions on a transnational network of individuals and companies working to procure military technologies for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tells reporters in Bali. She added that the sanctions would target 14 individuals and 28 entities, including financial facilitators but declined to provide further details. “This is part of our larger effort to disrupt Russia’s war effort and deny equipment it needs through sanctions and export controls,” Yellen said.

5:00 a.m. “Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes. Bodies of dead civilians and servicemen have been found,” in areas of Kherson freed from Russian occupation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says in his nightly video address.

2:30 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, emphasizing their deepening political, trade and economic cooperation, the Kremlin says without elaborating on when the phone call took place. Neither were Iranian arms supplies to Moscow mentioned. “A number of topical issues on their bilateral agenda were discussed, with the emphasis on further enhancing cooperation in the political, trade and economic fields, including the transport and logistics sector,” the Kremlin said.

For earlier updates, click here.

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