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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 20


Residents queue to fill containers with drinking water in recently liberated Kherson, southern Ukraine, Nov. 20, 2022.

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

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

10:50 p.m.: More than $2.7 million has been allocated for the restoration of the newly liberated Kherson region, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote in a Facebook post Sunday, according to CNN.

“This is the beginning of the reconstruction of the region. First of all, we are talking about the critical needs of the residents of the region: access to light, water, heat, communication and medicine,” he wrote. “People will receive pensions that were accrued to them during the occupation."

Shmyhal also elaborated on the financial support Ukraine has received.

“Canada issued five-year government bonds that are worth 500 million Canadian dollars (nearly $374 million US)," he wrote. “The Ukrainian government made a decision to attract an additional $4.5 billion in grant funds from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association.”

8:22 p.m.: More than $2.7 million has been allocated for the restoration of the newly liberated Kherson region, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote in a Facebook post Sunday, according to CNN.

“This is the beginning of the reconstruction of the region. First of all, we are talking about the critical needs of the residents of the region: access to light, water, heat, communication and medicine,” he wrote. “People will receive pensions that were accrued to them during the occupation."

Shmyhal also elaborated on the financial support Ukraine has received.

“Canada issued five-year government bonds that are worth 500 million Canadian dollars (nearly $374 million US)," he wrote. “The Ukrainian government made a decision to attract an additional $4.5 billion in grant funds from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association.”

7:03 p.m.: Russia has fired more than 4,700 missiles at Ukraine since the beginning of war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday.

“Today is the 270th day of the full-scale war. Russia used more than 4,700 missiles,” he said in an address to members of the International Organization of La Francophonie, CNN reported.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said nearly 400 shelling incidents were recorded in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, according to the New York Times, as fierce battles there persist despite the onset of wintry weather.

Zelenskyy said that although there had been fewer attacks on Sunday “due to the deterioration of the weather,” the number of shelling incidents was still, “unfortunately, extremely high.”

“There have been almost 400 shelling occasions in the east since the beginning of the day,” he said in his nightly address, without elaborating.

6 p.m.:


5:15 p.m.: Berlin announced that it will make available 10,000 extra beds at the former Tegel airport for Ukrainian refugees.

According to Deutsche Welle, Tegel airport, which closed two years ago, houses a reception center for Ukrainian asylum-seekers and refugees.

"We have 600 beds for asylum-seekers and then an additional 1,600 spots for Ukrainians in Terminal C. But most of these are now occupied," said Detlef Cwojdzinski from the German Red Cross, which, along with other aid organizations, runs the reception center here. He told DW "the situation is difficult because we now have to accommodate people in large tents."

Cwojdzinski said 10,000 additional beds will be added in hangars and tents by the end of the year as an emergency solution.

Berlin is among the cities in Germany that have taken in the most refugees. An estimated 85,000 are currently registered there.

5:10 p.m.: As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 270th day, Al Jazeera crated a Live Tracker of maps and charts showing where battles are taking place and measuring the human cost of war.

4:45 p.m.: The mayor of Mariupol, a southeastern Ukrainian city occupied by Russian forces, is confident that the day will come when Ukrainian troops take back the city from the Russians. According to the BBC, Vadym Boychenko is so confident in Mariupol’s liberation, he has already signed a deal with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to rebuild his shattered city when the Russians depart.

Boychenko is now based in Zaporizhzhia, a city still in Ukrainian hands.

History, says the BBC, will record Mariupol as one of “the most heavily bombed, shelled and rocketed cities since World War Two.”

4:00 p.m.: Russian forces are pounding Ukrainian positions with artillery fire. In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “the fiercest battles are waged in the Donetsk region.” He said the number of Russian shellings in the area remains “extremely high,” despite worsening weather conditions.

In the Luhansk region, Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces are making incremental advances.

"In the Luhansk region, we are slowly moving forward while fighting. As of now, there have been almost 400 artillery attacks in the east since the start of the day," he continued.

Zelenskyy also said troops in the south were "consistently and very calculatedly destroying the potential of the occupiers" but gave no details.

3:25 p.m.: The purchase and maintenance of floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to help Germany secure energy supplies and break away from Russian gas, will cost more than 3 billion euros ($3.10 billion) more than planned, the country's economy ministry said on Sunday.

According to Reuters, overall, the costs are estimated at about 6.56 billion euros, more than double the amount estimated in the country’s 2022 budget.

"Further costs have been determined in extensive consultations with numerous stakeholders and initial forecasts have been specified," said the ministry Sunday, citing operating costs and additional infrastructure on land.

The ministry said the floating terminals were essential for Europe's biggest economy to compensate for a collapse in deliveries of Russian gas since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

3:20 p.m.: Hundreds of Kherson residents flocked on Sunday to buy groceries at the first Ukrainian supermarket to open since the city was liberated by Kyiv's forces earlier this month.

During the almost nine months of occupation, the Russian-installed government had brought in Russian-sourced products and introduced the ruble as currency.

"Out of principle, I didn't carry any rubles and never bought Russian goods," 49-year-old Natalia Tsvihun said while standing in line outside the ATB store. "I want to buy something tasty."

Reuters reports, Kherson remains without electricity, running water or heating, but residents found some relief in being able to purchase Ukrainian pickled gherkins, dumplings, horseradish and other favorites.

Artem Moiseienko, 27, was relieved to see sugar-free Coca Cola back on the shelves, which he said had been unavailable during the occupation.

"This is what I missed the most," he said.

1:50 p.m.: Germany offered Poland the Patriot missile defense system to help it secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed on the Polish village of Przewodow last week, Reuters reported.

"We have offered Poland support in securing airspace - with our Eurofighters and with Patriot air defense systems," German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told the Rheinische Post and General Anzeiger.

The German government had already said it would offer its neighbor further help in air defense with German Eurofighters after the missile fell on Polish soil and killed two people. The incident initially raised fears that the war in Ukraine could spill across the border.

The missile appeared to have been fired by Ukraine's air defenses rather than a Russian strike, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said.

12:45 p.m.: Italy's new right-wing government plans to announce some a 30 billion euros (about $30 billion) spending budget for 2023. It will focus on offsetting the impact of high energy prices.

Reuters reported, the continued energy crisis, triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, means Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her allies will walk back extravagant electoral campaign promises, including tax cuts.

"We won't be able to do everything, all at once. Past attempts to do that have ended in disaster," Industry Minister Adolfo Urso told La Stampa newspaper on Sunday.

Meloni said that roughly two thirds of the additional spending power would be used to help companies and households survive record-high gas and electricity bills. This comes on top of some 75 billion euros (roughly $ 75 billion) in 2022 to fight surging energy prices.

Meloni is also expected to start rolling back a "citizens' wage" poverty relief scheme.

Leftist parties say the measure is vital given the troubled state of the economy, but coalition parties say it is enabling the unemployed to dodge the jobs market.

12:30 p.m.: According to Ukraine’s General Staff Sunday, Russia has lost 84,210 troops in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on Ukraine on February 24.

10:30 a.m.: In the city of Kyiv where the supply of power, heat and water cannot be relied upon, the city’s mayor, former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, told the Associated press that the pressures on his shoulders now are heavier than ever before.

“If I tried to explain to you all the challenges that I have, we (would) need weeks,” Klitschko said.

Describing life without heat and water in the oncoming winter, Kyiv’s mayor said, “They (left) us freezing ...without electricity, without heating, without water.” The still formidable 51 –year old boxing champion said, “it’s terror.”

10:15 a.m.: Kherson Oblast Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said on Nov. 20 that 52 cellular base stations and three cellular communication towers have been restored in liberated parts of Kherson Oblast, The Kyiv Independent reports.

9:50 a.m.: Ukraine says it will investigate video footage circulated on Russian social media which Moscow alleged shows 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, The Associated Press reported.

The video snippets that Russia claimed pointed to an execution could not be independently verified.

“Of course, Ukrainian authorities will investigate this video," Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine's deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine said on the sidelines of a security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed the footage shows an “execution" and said Russia wants an international investigation.

Stefanishyna, however, said Ukrainian forces are “absolutely not interested in the execution of anybody" and are under direct orders to take “as many prisoners of war as we can” so they can be swapped in prisoner exchanges with Russia.

The U.N.’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it will investigate the matter.

“HRMMU is aware of the video and is looking into it,” it said in a statement to The Associated Press. "We reiterate our call that all such allegations should be properly and promptly investigated by respective authorities.”

8:30 a.m.: Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was shelled Saturday evening and again Sunday morning, abruptly ending a period of relative calm at the facility.

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Sunday, renewed shelling at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plan, underscores the urgent need for measures to help stave off a nuclear accident there.

IAEA experts at the ZNPP reported to Agency headquarters that more than a dozen blasts were heard within a short period of time in Sunday local time. The IAEA team could also see some of the explosions from their windows.

There were no reports of casualties but, based on information provided by plant management, the IAEA team said some buildings, systems and equipment at the ZNPP site have been damaged but none of them, so far, are critical to nuclear safety and security. The IAEA experts said are in close contact with site management and will continue to assess and report on the situation.

“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing. Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!” Director General Grossi said.”

According to Reuters, Moscow and Kyiv both blamed the other for the shelling of the facility

5:29 a.m.: For many of the Chechen opposition members and separatists abroad who have come from across Europe to join a volunteer battalion in Ukraine, battling Russia has become a way of life. Decades -- even centuries -- of Moscow's often-armed interference in Chechnya have made the Ukraine conflict all too personal.

The volunteers warn that if Ukraine is not defended, the "Russian bear" will not stop there.

The volunteer unit, which calls itself the Separate Special-Purpose Battalion of the Ministry of Defense of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria -- or OBON for short -- serves as part of the Foreign Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine and most of its members fought against Russia in the first and second Chechen wars (1994-96 and 1999-2009, respectively).

OBON was part of the Ukrainian forces' successful counteroffensive in the south of the country, including the liberation of the key city of Kherson earlier this month.

RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service met up with OBON volunteers on the front line to discuss the war.

5:09 a.m.: The Washington Post reported that Iran has agreed to build drones for Russia to use in Ukraine. Production could begin within months, the Post said.

4:04 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said Russia’s recent withdrawal from west of Kherson was conducted in relatively good order compared to previous major Russian retreats during the war. During the retreat, the update said, vehicle losses were likely in the tens rather than hundreds, while much equipment that was left behind was successfully destroyed by Russian forces to deny it to Ukraine.

2:31 a.m.: Al Jazeera, citing Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, reported that Ukraine will begin evacuating Kherson, starting with the elderly and those affected by Russian shelling.

1:16 a.m.: Ukrainian electricity supplies are under control despite a series of Russian attacks on power-generating infrastructure and there is no need to panic, the energy ministry said Saturday.

Separately, the head of DTEK, the country's largest private energy company, said there was no need for people to leave Ukraine.

Russian missile strikes have crippled almost half of Ukraine's energy system and Kyiv authorities said on Friday that a complete shutdown of the capital's power grid was possible.

"Denying the panicky statements spread by social networks and online media, we assure you that the situation with the energy supply is difficult, but under control," the energy ministry said in a statement.

Authorities across the country have scheduled blackouts to help the repair effort, it said, urging families to cut their energy consumption by at least 25%.

DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko said the armed forces, the energy industry and individual Ukrainians were working miracles to maintain supplies.

"That is why there is no need to leave Ukraine today," a company statement cited him as saying.

12:02 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on the Svatove-Kreminna line.

Russian forces, meanwhile, maintained their offensive operations around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and west of Donetsk City despite reports of high losses around Bakhmut.

Russian forces also continued efforts to fortify areas around ground lines of communication in southern Ukraine while struggling with the partial loss of the use of the Kerch Strait Bridge.

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

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