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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Dec. 11

A woman loads firewood in the formerly Russian occupied city of Lyman, Donetsk region of Ukraine, Dec. 11, 2022.
A woman loads firewood in the formerly Russian occupied city of Lyman, Donetsk region of Ukraine, Dec. 11, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.

11 p.m.:

10:45 p.m.: Russia's ex-president, Dmitry Medvedev, said on Sunday the country was ramping up production of new-generation weapons to protect itself from enemies in Europe, the United States and Australia, Agence France-Presse reported.

"We are increasing production of the most powerful means of destruction. Including those based on new principles," Medvedev said on messaging app Telegram.

"Our enemy dug in not only in the Kyiv province of our native Malorossiya," Medvedev said, using the term to describe territories of modern-day Ukraine that were part of the Russian Empire under the tsars.

10:10 p.m.: Two people were killed and another five wounded after Russian troops shelled the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, the governor said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The city of Kherson was in November recaptured by Ukrainian forces during a Kyiv counter-offensive.

"The enemy again attacked the residential quarters of Kherson," the governor, Yaroslav Yanushevich, said on messaging app Telegram, adding the Russian forces hit a maternity ward, a cafe and apartment buildings on Saturday.

"Last night, two people were killed due to Russian shelling," Yanushevich said, adding that five others had been wounded.

He said the region was attacked with artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, tanks and mortars.

8:26 p.m.:

8:06 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden highlighted to Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a call on Sunday how the United States is prioritizing efforts to boost Ukraine's air defense through the assistance it is offering, including the Friday announcement of $275 million in additional ammunition and equipment that included systems to counter the Russian use of unmanned aerial vehicles, the White House said in a readout.

Biden also welcomed Zelenskyy's "stated openness to a just peace based on fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter."

Biden also highlighted the November 29 announcement of $53 million to support energy infrastructure to strengthen the stability of Ukraine’s energy grid in the wake of Russia’s targeted attacks, the statement said.

7:15 p.m.:

6:18 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had a phone call on Sunday with U.S. President Joe Biden and thanked him for the "unprecedented" help Washington has provided to Ukraine since Russian forces invaded in February, Reuters reported.

"I thanked for the unprecedented defense and financial assistance that the USA provides to Ukraine," Zelenskyy said, according to his official Telegram messaging app. "This not only contributes to success on the battlefield, but also supports the stability of the Ukrainian economy. "We also appreciate the help that the USA is providing to restore Ukraine's energy system."

Ukraine's power grid has been battered since October by successive Russian missile and drone strikes, at times cutting off electricity for millions of civilians in winter.

5:35 p.m.:

5:05 p.m.: A senior official in eastern Ukraine said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had attacked a hotel where members of Russia's private Wagner military group were based, killing many of them.

Ukrainian television interviewed of Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Russian-occupied Luhansk region. His comments could not be verified by Reuters.

Haidai, said Ukrainian forces launched a strike on Saturday on a hotel in the town of Kadiivka, west of the region's main center of Luhansk. Photos posted on Telegram channels showed a building largely reduced to rubble.

"They had a little pop there, just where Wagner headquarters was located. "A huge number of those who were there died," he said.

Russia's defense ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Haidai did not give casualty figures, but he said those surviving faced inadequate medical services to treat them.

"I am sure that at least 50% of those who managed to survive will die before they get medical care," he said. "This is because even in our Luhansk region, they have stolen equipment."

Some Ukrainian media quoted local officials as saying the hotel had been closed for some time.

The Wagner group is a private military contractor with close ties to the Kremlin. Its forces are known to be fighting in parts of Ukraine and have also been deployed in a number of African countries.

4:30 p.m.: According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, over 82,000 Ukrainians and their immediate family members have been paroled into the U.S. under the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) process, The Kyiv Independent reports.

Under the program, Ukrainians are permitted to stay in the U.S. for up to two years.

The agency also confirmed the financial suitability of over 177,000 supporters for the U4U process.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine February 24, among the countries that accepted the most refugees from Ukraine were Poland (around 1.5 million people), Germany (1 million), and the Czech Republic (460,000).

According to the U.N., almost 8 million Ukrainians, or 20% of the population, have been forced to leave the country because of the war, The Kyiv Independent reports.

4:20 p.m.: In his nightly video address Sunday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave an update on the efforts to restore power in Odesa. He said crews are doing everything they can to provide the maximum possible power after the Russian attacks.

He did note that the Odesa region is still among the areas with the biggest number of shutdowns.

“Kyiv and the region, Lviv region, Vinnytsia region, Ternopil and the region, Chernivtsi and the region, Zakarpattia, Sumy region, Dnipropetrovsk region - the situation remains very difficult. We are constantly working with partners to mitigate the situation and give our people more opportunities, more electricity,” he said.

Zelenskyy also said he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on the implementation of Ukraine's Peace Formula, and with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the possibilities of expanding the Black Sea export corridor for the “Grain from Ukraine” humanitarian initiative.

He added that he would be talking later with U.S. President Joe Biden.

4 p.m.: The body of a 23-year-old Zambian student who died while fighting for the Russian army in the war in Ukraine has been returned home, The Associated Press reported.

The body of Lemekani Nyirenda who was studying nuclear engineering in Russia before joining the military arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka on Sunday. Although he had been a student on scholarship, Nyirenda was convicted of drug trafficking in April, 2020 and sentenced to 9 years in prison. He was later pardoned through a special amnesty on condition that he fight in the war against Ukraine.

Zambia’s Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo said his government has requested that Russian authorities provide details of Nyirenda’s demise, AP reported.

3:30 p.m.: The top U..S hostage affairs official, Roger Carstens, described to CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” Sunday conducting the prisoner swap that secured Brittney Griner’s release. Carstens called Griner “an intelligent, passionate, compassionate, humble, interesting person, a patriotic person, but above all, authentic.” He said she seemed healthy and full of energy during the trip. During her 18-hour long flight, he said, the NBA star spoke of her ordeal and thanked each and every one from the crew flying her to the United States.

Talking about his job, Carstens said “It is humbling. I’m very grateful that President (Joe) Biden allows me the chance to do this job. It’s also a painful job. So when you get the chance to shake someone’s hand, it’s one of the rare moments that you get to celebrate a victory,” he told Bash.

“But know this, even as we are welcoming someone home, we still have work to do. So, as I am shaking Brittney’s hands and we are going to the aircraft and having this great conversation, my brain is already thinking about Paul Whelan. What can we do to get him back? What’s the next move? What is the strategy? How can we adapt?”

2:45 p.m.: Historian Dominic Lieven, a visiting professor at the Department of International History at the London School of Economics, spoke to RFE/RL's Georgian Service about the war in Ukraine, Russia's grievances, and how the current conflict is likely to end. As for the latter point, Lieven, who was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship in 2014, offered some suggestions as to how resolve the disputes surrounding the Donbas and the future of Crimea. However, will they be acceptable for Kyiv?

2 p.m.: Any peace talks in Ukraine cannot be used as a cover-up for Russian rearmament, in an interview with Sky News. British foreign minister James Cleverly said on Sunday, adding that he had not seen any signs that Moscow would enter into negotiations in good faith.

"I'm not really seeing anything coming from the Russian side that gives me confidence that Vladimir Putin is entering these talks in good faith. The wider rhetoric is still very confrontational."

1:30 p.m.: The State Emergency Service of Ukraine said that Russian troops opened artillery fire at rescuers delivering water in embattled Bakhmut on Sunday.

Bakhmut, a city in eastern Donetsk Oblast, has been the epicenter of the heaviest hostilities of Russia's war in the past months.

No casualties were reported following the shelling.

According to Eastern Military Command spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty, Russia is losing from 50 to 100 soldiers each day in the battle of Bakhmut, and about as many Russian soldiers get wounded in action near the city daily, The Kyiv Independent reported.

Cherevaty made these comments on national TV, as quoted by RBC Ukraine.

“In the Bakhmut sector, they (Russian troops) may be losing from 50 to 100 people daily. That's only killed in action, plus there are as many wounded,” Cherevatyi said.

1:05 p.m.: Russia’s combat losses from February 24 to December 11, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.

12:35 p.m.: One month after Kherson’s liberation from the Russians, Ukrainians are hunting down collaborators with Russia during Kherson’s occupation, Agence France-Presse reported.

Throughout Kherson, officers inspect identification papers, question residents and search cars hoping to smoke out collaborators -- some of whom they fear are still providing information to their old masters.

"Some people lived here for more than eight months, working for the Russian regime. But now we have information and documents about each of them," regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych tells AFP.

"Our police know all about them. Each and every one of them will be punished," he adds.

"We get most of our information from informal conversations with locals... We also analyze social media and monitor the internet," Andriy Kovanyi, the head of public relations for Kherson regional police, tells AFP.

To date, more than 130 people have been arrested in the region of Kherson for collaborating with the Russian occupiers, Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin says.

Many locals, who spoke to AFP, support the initiative.

12 p.m.: An international team of legal advisers has begun gathering evidence of alleged sexual crimes by Russian forces during the nearly 10 months Russia invasion on Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The team from Global Rights Compliance, an international legal practice headquartered in The Hague visited local prosecutors in Ukraine's recaptured city of Kherson in recent days.

According to an exclusive report by Reuters, these efforts are part of a broader international plan to support overwhelmed Ukrainian authorities as they seek to hold Russians accountable for crimes they allegedly committed during Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine.

The Russian defense ministry did not immediately respond to questions for this article.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on December 9 that a U.N. Human Rights report about Russian attacks on civilians was based on "rumors and gossip," and Moscow has accused Ukrainian forces of brutal reprisals against civilians who cooperated with Russian forces.

The scale of the Ukrainian prosecution's task is daunting, with the number of alleged international crimes running into tens of thousands and as war in the east and south of the country makes already complex work more difficult and dangerous.

11:30 a.m.: As Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, some Ukrainians are facing uncertainty in the UK as a six-month commitment for hosts of refugees ends and the struggle to find affordable housing begins, AFP reported.

11 a.m.: Ukrainian graphic artist Mykola Kovalensko fights Russia with posters. “My pen is my Kalashnikov” he said.

10:30 a.m.: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke on the phone with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, according to Zelenskyy's office. The two discussed Zelenskyy’s 10-point “peace formula” to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.

According to the Kyiv Independent, Zelenskyy presented the formula in a virtual speech to G-20 leaders on Nov. 15. The plan envisages preventing ecocide in Ukraine, punishing those responsible for war crimes, withdrawing all Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, and the release of all prisoners of war and deportees. The proposals also call for ensuring energy security, food security, and nuclear safety.

On December 3, Macron said that if Russian President Vladimir Putin agrees to negotiations to end Russia’s war, the West should consider providing Russia with guarantees in the future security architecture.

Macron's statement outraged Ukrainian officials, including Ukraine's chief negotiator with Russia, lawmaker David Arakhamia. The official said that Kyiv is ready to provide Russia with security guarantees after it withdraws its troops from Ukraine, pays reparations, brings all war criminals to justice, and voluntarily surrenders nuclear weapons.

When Russia does that, “we are ready to sit at the negotiating table and talk about security guarantees,” Arakhamia said.

Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated that Russia would continue its war against Ukraine because of Ukraine’s "unwillingness to negotiate."

10 a.m.: Sunday marks one month since Russia’s troops withdrew from Kherson and its vicinity after an eight-month occupation. But life in the southern city is still very far from normal.

The departing Russians left behind all sorts of deadly booby traps, and their artillery continues to batter the city from new, dug-in positions across the Dnipro River. Residents’ access to electricity comes and goes — although water is largely connected.

Painstaking efforts to establish a better sense of normalcy, like clearing the mess and mines left behind by the Russians, in tough wintertime weather are on-going but life in the southern city is still very far from normal.

The regional administration said Saturday that shelling over the past month has killed 41 people, including a child, in Kherson, and 96 were hospitalized.

The people of Kherson are bracing for new attacks, The Associated Press reported.

9:30 a.m.: Some Russian fighters are critical of top military brass and even President Vladimir Putin for a disorganized and unfocused military campaign against Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Igor Girkin, a former Federal Security Service officer and military chief who led the annexation of Crimea in 2014, criticized Russia's military strategy in Ukraine, in a scathing 90-minute video on Telegram, after visiting Russian soldiers in the conflict zone. said soldiers were fighting a war with poor strategic planning by the Kremlin. He continued that the lack of a clear purpose and the elusive conditions for victory or simply ending the war is causing "apathy" amongst the soldiers.

Girkin said the "fish's head is completely rotten" and that the Russian military needed reform and an intake of competent people who could lead a successful military campaign.

According to Reuters Russia's defense ministry did not comment on the remarks from Girkin who has repeatedly criticized Shoigu, a close Putin ally, for the battlefield defeats Russia has suffered in the war.

Both Ukraine and Russia say the other side has sustained devastatingly high casualties though neither give clear data on their own losses.

The United States' top general estimated on November 9 that Russia and Ukraine had each seen more than 100,000 of their soldiers killed or wounded. The civilian death toll is unknown.

9 a.m.: The Ukrainian port of Odesa was not operating on Sunday after the latest Russian attack on the region's energy system, Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said, but added that grains traders were not expected to suspend exports, Reuters reported.

Two other ports - Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi - authorized to export grains from Ukraine under a deal between Russia and Ukraine were partially operating, he said.

"Chornomorsk port is now operating at about 80% of capacity," Solsky told Reuters in a phone call.

More than 1.5 million people in the southern Odesa region were without power after Russian drone strikes hit two energy facilities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Saturday.

8:30 a.m.: Ukraine attacked occupied Melitopol in the country's southeast on Saturday evening, the Russian-installed and exiled Ukrainian authorities of the strategically located city said.

The pro-Moscow authorities said a missile attack killed two people and wounded 10, while the exiled mayor said scores of "invaders" were killed.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports of the attacks or deaths.

"Air defense systems destroyed two missiles, four reached their targets," Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region, said on the Telegram messaging app.

He said a "recreation center" where people were dining was destroyed in the Ukrainian attack with HIMARS missiles.

8 a.m.: Europe is simply switching from dependency on Russian gas to dependency on liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States, the RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Sunday.

European Union countries held emergency negotiations on Saturday as they attempt to line up a deal to cap prices at a Dec. 13 meeting of their energy ministers, but states remain split over the plan.

Peskov called the European desire to shake off dependency on Russian gas "absurd" and "frenzied," Reuters reported.

"They have changed dependency on Russia to dependency on American liquefied natural gas," RIA quoted Peskov as saying on state television, noting that the dependence was the same, just with "much less reciprocity."

"And now, when the Europeans are losing billions of euros every day, Washington is already earning these billions of dollars," Peskov said.

7:30 a.m.: Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia discussed grain supplies and a potential regional gas hub in Turkey on Sunday, both countries said.

Relations with NATO member Turkey are vital to Russia. Ankara has refrained from enforcing the economic sanctions the West has implemented against Russia.

Turkey has, however, rejected Russia's move to annex four Ukrainian regions as a "grave violation" of international law. Ankara has acted as a mediator with the United Nations on an agreement that guarantees grain exports from both Ukraine and Russia, two of the world's biggest producers, Reuters reported.

"President Erdogan expressed his sincere wish for the termination of the Russia-Ukraine war as soon as possible," the Turkish presidency said on Sunday.

5:12 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Russian authorities are increasingly importing Chechen officials and forces to man administrative regimes of occupied areas.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations toward Svatove, the update said, and Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks near Kreminna.

Meanwhile, Russian forces continued attempts to advance toward Bakhmut and in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area and to defend their positions in western Donetsk Oblast.

4:14 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said that Russia's new federal budget includes $143 billion for defense, security and law enforcement. That's more than 30% of Russia's entire budget. Budget projections are likely overly optimistic, the update said, meaning that other parts of Russia's budget will probably feel the pinch as Russia continues with its war in Ukraine.

3:13 a.m.:

2:09 a.m.: The German embassy in Ukraine announced Saturday that the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) will provide Ukraine with 470 electric generators “of different power classes” worth 19.5 million euros, The Kyiv Independent reported.

The 150 generators are reportedly in Ukraine, and the remainder will be provided to Ukraine's state grid operator Ukrenergo, as well as Odesa, Kherson, and Mykolaiv oblasts.

12:02 a.m.: Over the last few weeks, the question of Israeli support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia has returned to the spotlight, The Kyiv Independent reports.

Some information came from Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press and Reuters.

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