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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 22

A Ukrainian soldier looks out of a captured Russian tank on the front line in Ukraine's Donetsk region, Nov. 22, 2022.
A Ukrainian soldier looks out of a captured Russian tank on the front line in Ukraine's Donetsk region, Nov. 22, 2022.

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

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

11:06 p.m.:

10:16 p.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called on the European Union not to delay the development and implementation of a ninth sanctions package against Russia over its war in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"I call on my colleagues in the EU -- both in the European Commission and among the EU member states -- to put aside any doubts, or, as it is fashionable to say, 'fatigue,' and start to quickly complete the ninth sanctions package," Kuleba said in an online briefing on Tuesday.

9:27 p.m.:

8:14 p.m.: The grim, concrete bunker-like building gives off a communist-era vibe and hardly seems like a place of sanctuary, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

But for children and parents, mostly mothers, who fled Ukraine, where Russia's unprovoked invasion has sparked Europe's most bloody and destructive conflict since World War II, the university dormitory in an upscale district of the Czech capital of Prague, is just that: a sanctuary.

For months now, dozens of Ukrainian refugees have lived here in Brevnov, occupying small, spartan rooms, each floor sharing a bathroom and communal kitchen. But few complain, grateful for the free accommodation. On the ground floor, there is a recreation center for children, run by an international NGO. Their parents say it's a godsend.

Children have perhaps been hardest hit by Russia's unprovoked invasion with many losing parents or becoming victims themselves. Since hostilities began on February 24, 408 children have been killed and 750 wounded, according to the latest data provided to RFE/RL from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The U.N.'s children agency, UNICEF, reported in August that more than five children were killed or injured in Ukraine daily, cautioning that the actual figures were probably much higher.

6:57 p.m.: A court in St Petersburg is being asked to brand the Vesna Youth Democratic Movement as extremist and to ban its activities, The Associated Press reported.

Vesna organized protests across the country after Russia launched what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

On 30 September, the St. Petersburg prosecutor's office asked the court to recognize the activist group as extremist and ban its activities in Russia.

The second hearing on the case took place Tuesday.

Lawyer Andrey Chertkov said that the argument of the prosecutor that the Vesna movement is aiming for "an unconstitutional change of power in the Russian Federation" has no evidence.

"What we are doing now is we are trying to refute it conclusively," he said.

The next hearing is scheduled for November 30.

5:37 p.m.: Reuters reported that a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. senators pressed the Biden administration to carefully reconsider Ukraine's request for lethal Gray Eagle drones to fight Russia and asked the Pentagon to explain why it has not moved ahead, citing a copy of the letter.

The Biden administration has so far rejected requests for the armable MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, which has an operational ceiling of 29,000 feet and would represent a great technological leap forward for Ukraine.

The rejection had been based on concerns the drones could be shot down, were not essential to Ukraine's war effort and could escalate the conflict, but the Pentagon has not gone on record to confirm its stance.

Ukraine has made numerous appeals for the United States to supply it with the powerful drones, most recently with anti-drone missiles, hoping Washington will reverse its prior opposition, as Russia increasingly turns to kamikaze drones and attacks civilian infrastructure.

The senators, including Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Joe Manchin, both of whom serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern over U.S. opposition to the request, saying that provision of the armable drone "demands careful reconsideration."

A Pentagon spokesman said, "As a matter of policy, we do not comment on our communication with elected officials."

4:27 p.m.:

3:18 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke Tuesday with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the November 29-30 NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bucharest, Romania, according to a statement released by Spokesperson Ned Price.

“Secretary Blinken and Secretary General Stoltenberg discussed priorities for the meeting, including continued support to Ukraine, strengthening the Alliance’s deterrence and defense, and enhancing resilience. They also expressed continued support for Finland and Sweden’s NATO Accession process,” the statement said.

2:30 p.m.: Disbursement of $4.5 billion in economic aid for Ukraine will begin in the coming weeks, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The funds, which were approved in September as part of the stop-gap government funding bill, were aimed at "bolstering economic stability and supporting core government services," Yellen said in a statement, adding that other donors should increase and accelerate their assistance to Ukraine as it defends against Russia's invasion.

1:45 p.m.:

1:10 p.m.: Russian air defenses were activated on Tuesday in the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and two drones were shot down, the regional governor said in a statement, urging people to keep calm, according to Reuters.

Sevastopol is the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet.

Russia blamed Ukraine for an attack on the port using air and marine drones at the end of October, in response to which it briefly suspended its participation in a deal to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.

12:35 p.m.: Desperate families of Russian conscripts have taken to social media to complain about the poor conditions facing their loved ones. They say that the soldiers have not received proper training, lack basic military gear, and have to find their own food and water. The family members are demanding that Moscow withdraw recently mobilized troops from the front line. Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this report.

12:05 p.m.: Russia plans to spend nearly a third of next year’s budget on defense and domestic security while slashing funding for schools, hospitals and roads as it diverts cash to support its military campaign in Ukraine.

A Reuters budget analysis shows Moscow will spend a combined 9.4 trillion roubles ($155 billion) on defense and security, squeezing out other priorities in a critical year leading up to a likely re-election bid by President Vladimir Putin in 2024.

Security spending alone - including the work of the state Investigative Committee, the prosecutor’s office, the prison service and the National Guard, which has been deployed in Ukraine - will rise 50% compared with 2022.

11:20 a.m.:

11 a.m.: Russian-installed occupation officials on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea have rejected social-media reports claiming that civilians were being evacuated from the city of Armyansk, near where the peninsula connects to the mainland, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"The situation in the city is stable," wrote Armyansk occupation chief Vasyl Telizhenko, adding that the evacuation reports were "all fake information."

Earlier, it was reported that Russian troops had begun digging emplacements in northern Crimea in apparent anticipation of a Ukrainian attack. Russia has occupied Crimea since 2014, when Moscow claimed to have annexed the region.

10:35 a.m.:

10 a.m.: Ukraine's national power grid operator said on Tuesday the damage dealt to Ukrainian power generating facilities by Russian missile attacks was "colossal" but dismissed the need to evacuate civilians, Reuters reported.

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, chief executive officer of Ukrenergo, told a briefing that Ukrainians could face long power outages but that the grid operator wanted to help provide the conditions for people to remain in the country through winter.

Practically no thermal or hydroelectric stations had been left unscathed by the Russian attacks, he said. "The scale of destruction is colossal," Kudrytskyi said. "In Ukraine there is a power generation deficit. We cannot generate as much energy as consumers can use."

He said a short cold snap was expected from Wednesday but that temperatures would rise again after that, providing an opportunity to stabilize the power generating system.

Ukraine had enough fuel reserves after building them up before Russia's February 24 invasion, he said, and was working hard to repair damaged infrastructure but was hoping to secure some spare parts abroad.

9:40 a.m.:

9:15 a.m.: A military court in Moscow has sent a colonel from the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces to pretrial detention for two months on a charge of demanding a washing machine as a bribe from the chief of a local enlistment center responsible for the recruitment of soldiers for the ongoing war in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Colonel Ivan Mertvishchev was detained as he received the household appliance from the officer, who had alerted the Federal Security Service (FSB) about the deal. Mertvishchev, who had threatened a bad review of the officer, faces up to 12 years in prison and a hefty fine.

8:55 a.m.: Ukraine received a new 2.5 billion euro ($2.57 billion) tranche of macro-financial assistance from the European Union on Tuesday, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said.

"The total amount (of macro-financial assistance) provided to Ukraine from February 24 (by the EU) reaches €6.7 bln," Marchenko wrote on Twitter.

8:40 a.m.: Russia will not be invited to send an official delegation to the 2023 Munich Security Conference, a leading international forum for the discussion of global military and security issues, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

“Russian officials are not invited to #MSC2023,” wrote German diplomat Christoph Heusgen, who is the chairman of the conference, in a November 21 post on Twitter. “We will not give them a platform for their propaganda. We want to discuss Russia's future with Russian opposition leaders and exiled people - THEIR voices need to be heard and amplified."

The conference will be held in Munich on February 17-19, 2023.

8:25 a.m.:

8:10 a.m.: Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany must be ready for the situation in Ukraine to escalate, speaking at a conference in Berlin hosted by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, according to Reuters.

He said the 100 billion euro ($102.76 billion) defense fund announced in the wake of Russia's invasion had been the result of a lesson learned to build up the German military's defense stocks.

7:45 a.m.:

7:05 a.m.: The Kremlin said on Tuesday that no substantive progress had been made towards creating a security zone around Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, once again accusing Kyiv of shelling at the plant and risking a nuclear incident, Reuters reported.

Ukraine denies those charges and has levelled the same accusations at Russia.

"Speaking about the security zone, one should only speak about those who are shelling this station. Who is a threat? The threat is those who are bombarding it," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov said Russia would keep talking to the IAEA.

6:35 a.m.: U.S. Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack, commenting on Russian allegations that Ukrainian soldiers may have shot surrendering Russian soldiers, said there has been a marked difference between the ways Moscow and Kyiv have responded to such charges, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Tuesday.

“We’re obviously tracking that quite closely,” Van Schaack said during a telephone meeting with journalists on November 21. “It’s really important to emphasize that the laws of war apply to all parties equally, both the aggressor state and the defender state, and this in equal measure.

“Likewise, we’re seeing a really vast difference when it comes to the reaction to such allegations,” she added. “Russia inevitably responds with propaganda, denial, mis- and disinformation, whereas the Ukrainian authorities have generally acknowledged abuses and have denounced them and pledged to investigate them.”

She called on Ukraine to continue to comply with its international obligations, adding, however, that the scale and number of war crimes accusations against Russian forces in Ukraine was “enormous compared to the allegations against Ukrainian forces.”

6:10 a.m.:

5:45 a.m.: Ukraine's security service on Tuesday said it carried out a raid on a historic Orthodox monastery in the capital Kyiv over suspected "activities" of Russian agents, Agence France Presse reports.

Located south of Kyiv's city center, 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 Ukrainian 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 Lavra as a center of the 'Russian world'" and make sure that the premises were not used to hide "sabotage and intelligence groups" and to store weapons.

5:10 a.m.:

5:01 a.m.: Reuters reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin meet with mothers of soldiers amid fierce fighting in Ukraine, according to a report in the Russian newspaper Vedomosti.

Russia celebrates Mother's Day on Nov. 27. The Kremlin has not officially announced any Putin meeting with soldiers' mothers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to deny or confirm the meeting, Vedomosti said.

3:19 a.m.:

2:05 a.m.: In his nightly video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that half of the country's power capacity had been knocked out by Russian rockets.

He urged people to conserve energy, particularly in hard-hit areas such as Kyiv, Vinnytsia in the southwest, Sumy in the north and Odesa on the Black Sea.

"The systematic damage to our energy system from strikes by the Russian terrorists is so considerable that all our people and businesses should be mindful and redistribute their consumption throughout the day," he said.

"...Try to limit your personal consumption of electricity," he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the blackouts and Russia's strikes on energy infrastructure are the consequences of Kyiv being unwilling to negotiate, the state TASS news agency reported late last week.

1:20 a.m.: Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said on Monday, Reuters reported.

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

Blackouts have been a daily occurrence in all of Ukraine's regions, with the grid operator Ukrenergo saying more planned shutdowns are scheduled for Tuesday.

Kovalenko added that new restrictions on electricity distribution were imposed by the grid operator on Monday, resulting in more than 950,000 customers being disconnected.

"Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about options that will help you wait a long outage," Kovalenko said. "It's better to do it now than to be miserable."

12 a.m.:

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

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