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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 25

A Ukrainian rocket launcher fires at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Nov. 24, 2022.
A Ukrainian rocket launcher fires at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Nov. 24, 2022.

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

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

10:17 p.m.: Ski resort managers in the French Alps are scrambling to find ways to conserve energy as part of a national effort to reduce consumption, with about half the resorts also bracing for electric bills to be three to six times higher than in prior years, Reuters reported.

In Chamonix, close to Switzerland, if there is no crowd, the lift will go 10% slower. And if the resort gets an alert that power supplies cannot meet demand, Chamonix will slow the lifts by 30%.

A number of ski resorts including Chamonix and Val Thorens have also pledged to limit artificial snow production and reduce heating within buildings, officials said.

Those measures "will be invisible and painless for our customers. The objective is to make sure our customers don't feel the impact of the energy cuts," said Benjamin Blanc, a director at Les 3 Vallees, which includes Val Thorens.

9:10 p.m.:

8:05 p.m.: Moscow said Friday that a resolution approved by the European Parliament to recognize Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism" over its military action in Ukraine has "nothing to do" with the fight against terror, Agence France-Presse reported.

This "has nothing to do with the real situation in the fight against international terrorism," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, calling the resolution an " unfriendly step" and part of a "campaign carried out by the West against our country."

7:22 p.m.: A meeting of European Union government representatives, scheduled for Friday evening to discuss a Group of Seven (G7) proposal to cap Russian seaborne oil prices, was canceled, EU diplomats said, according to Reuters.

"There was not enough of a convergence of views," one diplomat said.

"There won't be a meeting tonight nor this weekend," a second diplomat said.

On Thursday, European Union governments were split on the level at which to cap Russian oil prices to curb Moscow's ability to pay for its war in Ukraine without causing a global oil supply shock. The cap is to enter into force on Dec. 5.

6:33 p.m.:

5:44 p.m.: Poland's President Andrzej Duda said Friday that an anti-missile system which Germany offered to send to Poland would best protect his country and Ukraine if it was placed in Ukrainian territory with proximity to the Polish border, The Associated Press reported.

Duda's comment came during a news conference in Kaunas after a forum which included presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Romania.

He added that the final decision need to be agreed with Germany and other NATO allies.

Duda reiterated that the investigation into the missile strike in Polish farmland that killed two people remains ongoing.

4:57 p.m.: A Day at a Ukrainian Field Hospital: Near the front line, Ukrainian doctors fight in a daily battle between life and death. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty spent a day at a field hospital near Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, which Russian forces are attempting to capture.

4 p.m.: The U.S. is providing thousands of blankets for Ukraine to help protect people from the cold during power outages caused by Russian missiles, The Associated Press reported.

Ukrainian railway Ukrzaliznytsia received 22,500 blankets, which will be distributed to stations across the country.

The blankets were provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID BHA) under a project implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Large-scale disruptions in utility services by the ongoing attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure have left more and more displaced and war-affected families dependent on solid fuels to heat their homes.

"The situation is a challenge because of winter, which is already in Ukraine. It's already freezing temperatures," said U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink.

3:15 p.m.:

2:27 p.m.: Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had aimed to convene European talks with Vladimir Putin the year before his invasion of Ukraine but in the end did not see any possibility of influencing the Russian president at the end of her term, Reuters reported.

Merkel told the Spiegel news magazine in an interview published on Thursday that she and French President Emmanuel Macron had planned to hold an independent talk format with Putin within the European Council in 2021, her last summer in office.

"But I no longer had the strength to push through because, after all, everyone knew: she's leaving in autumn," she said.

Merkel, who retired from politics after 16 years in power following Germany's September 2021 election, officially handed over the reins to Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats in December that year.

1:55 p.m.: The ArcelorMittal Kryvyi steel works in Ukraine said on Friday it hoped "as soon as possible" to resume production that has been suspended because of a lack of electricity following Russian missile strikes, Reuters reported.

The plant, which is owned by Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, said on Thursday it had stopped smelting steel and producing rolled products because of the poor electricity supply after attacks on energy facilities across Ukraine on Wednesday.

Asked on Friday when operations would resume, spokesperson Anna Gatilova said: "Unfortunately it’s very difficult to predict."

The energy situation in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih was so poor that trolleybuses and trams were being switched off there after an order from state grid operator Ukrenergo, the city's mayor said on Friday.

1:04 p.m.: Germany said on Friday it was discussing with allies Poland's request that German Patriot air defense units be sent to Ukraine, after NATO's chief suggested the military alliance might not oppose such a move, Reuters reported.

"We are talking with our allies about how to handle Poland's ... suggestion," a German government spokesperson told reporters in Berlin.

Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak later asked Germany to send the fire units to Ukraine instead.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said such deployments should be decisions for individual nations, taking into account rules around final users.

"The specific decisions on specific systems are national decisions," he told reporters in Brussels.

12:39 p.m.:

12:13 p.m.: As Winter Comes, Residents Remain on the Front Line in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Region: Over 2,000 people still live in the frontline city of Hulyaipole in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya region despite constant Russian shelling and a lack of electricity, gas and water. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Yevhenia Nazarova traveled with the Ukrainian Army's Mariupol Chaplain Battalion as they delivered essential supplies to the city.

11:43 a.m.: NATO is determined to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia for "as long as it takes" and will help the war-wracked country transform its armed forces into a modern army up to Western standards, the alliance's Secretary-General vowed on Friday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Romania next week, Jens Stoltenberg urged allied countries, either bilaterally or in groups, to keep providing air defense systems and other weapons to Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

NATO as an organization does not supply weapons.

"NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down," the former Norwegian prime minister said.

Stoltenberg said that members of the 30-nation security organization have been delivering fuel, generators, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jamming devices, but that more will be needed as winter closes in, particularly as Russia attacks Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

11:22 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday told a group of mothers whose sons are fighting in Ukraine that he "shares" the pain of those who have lost family members to the conflict, Agence France-Presse reported.

"I want you to know: I personally and the entire leadership of the country share this pain," Putin told the women at his residence near Moscow. "We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, a child."

He added that some news about the conflict could not be trusted, adding: "there is a lot of fake news, deceit and lies."

On Feb. 24, Putin ordered a "special military operation" aimed at the "demilitarization and denazification" of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic but an independent nation since 1991. The United States and Western allies have condemned the invasion and provided substantial military and other aid to Kyiv.

10:49 a.m.:

10:10 a.m.: The U.K.'s top diplomat arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit, less than a week after the country's prime minister travelled to the Ukrainian capital, The Associated Press reported.

Britain's Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, on Friday morning met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the country's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

During his visit, Cleverly promised a further $3.6 million in funds to help with the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed since the start of the war, and support survivors of sexual assault.

Numerous reports, including by U.N. representatives and global rights NGOs, have alleged widespread sexual violence by Russian troops against Ukrainian civilians since Moscow launched its invasion in February.

Cleverly also said the U.K. will send 24 ambulances to Ukraine, as well as 11 emergency vehicles, some of them armored.

9:31 a.m.: The governor of Ukraine's southern Kherson region said Friday that hospital patients in the region's recently recaptured main city of Kherson were being evacuated due to constant attacks from Moscow's forces, Agence France-Presse reported.

"Due to constant Russian shelling, we are evacuating hospital patients from Kherson," Yaroslav Yanushevich said on social media, noting that children at one regional hospital were being transported to the neighbouring Mykolaiv region.

9:14 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke via video-link with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Romania to discuss defense issues and the strengthening of NATO's eastern flank, The Associated Press reported.

The leaders spoke during an international symposium titled "The Idea of Europe" held in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Von der Leyen said the European Union would continue to stand by Ukraine "because Ukrainians are fighting for hope in a better future, a European future."

The EU leader added, "Russia is trying to take us back in time, but those who have struggled to be free will not accept the bondages of an uglier past."

Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said Ukraine was "a front line defending Europe."

He told the gathering that while Russia still had enough military power to cause difficulties for his country it wouldn't manage to dent European unity.

8:40 a.m.: NATO plans to increase shipments of power generators, clothing and other non-lethal items to Ukraine to help it withstand Russia’s onslaught on its power and water networks, the alliance’s chief said, according to the Financial Times.

Jens Stoltenberg said he would use a meeting of its members’ foreign ministers in Bucharest next week to secure additional pledges. The demand for more support to patch up Ukraine’s power, heating and water supplies comes as Russian missile strikes this week left a majority of the country in darkness.

“I expect foreign ministers will also agree to step up non-lethal support,” Stoltenberg said on Friday. “Nato has been delivering fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment . . . and at our meeting in Bucharest, I will call for more.”

The Bucharest meeting comes ahead of a donor conference hosted by French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris on December 13 focused on humanitarian help, and efforts by the EU to transport power grid equipment to the war-torn country.

8:18 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address, nine months to the day into Russia's full-scale invasion, that the enemy has failed to find a way to "break us, and will not find one," adding the Ukrainian military was holding "key lines" in all directions, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

He added that Ukrainian advances were planned in some unnamed areas.

The grim nine-month milestone came with much of Ukraine still plunged in darkness and without reliable water supplies as a result of a furious series of Russian missile attacks on civilian infrastructure that cut off power all over the country on November 23.

7:30 a.m.:

5:16 a.m.: Committing war crimes have become an integral part of how Moscow wages war and Kyiv shouldn't wait to bring alleged Russian perpetrators to justice, argues Oleksandra Matviychuk, head of the organization that jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

"For decades, Russia has used war as a method of achieving its geopolitical interests and war crimes as a way to win these wars," Matviychuk, who heads the Center for Civil Liberties, told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in an expansive interview. "They learned that they can do whatever they want because they weren't punished for war crimes in Chechnya, Moldova, Georgia, Mali, or in Syria. Therefore, until we can bring justice, there will be no sustainable peace in our region."

4:13 a.m.: In an interview with the BBC, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska said that even amid cold and blackouts, Ukraine will keep fighting, saying that "without victory there can be no peace. It would be a false peace and wouldn't last long."

3:23 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said recently mobilized Russian reservists continue to have problems.

Their deployment is often characterised by confusion over eligibility for service, inadequate training and personal equipment, and commitment to highly attritional combat missions, the update said. Additionally, they've likely had particularly heavy casualties after being committed to dig ambitious trench systems while under artillery fire around the Luhansk Oblast town of Svatove.

2:20 a.m.: Europe should be able to cope with the natural gas supply crunch in the coming months thanks to considerable reserves although the continent could face a bigger energy crisis next winter, the head of the International Energy Agency said Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

Fatih Birol said that, barring unforeseen events, “Europe will go through this winter with some economic and social headaches, bruises here and there” as a result of efforts to wean itself off Russian gas and the wider increase in energy costs resulting from the war in Ukraine.

“Next winter will be more difficult than this winter" he said.

Birol cited the fact that Russian gas supplies to Europe may end completely next year, while China's demand for liquefied natural gas looks set to rebound as its economy recovers from the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the IEA projects new gas capacity coming online in 2023 to be the lowest in two decades, he said.

12:02 a.m.: British foreign minister James Cleverly will pledge millions of pounds in further support for Kyiv during a visit to Ukraine, his office said, according to Reuters.

A statement from his office issued early on Friday said Cleverly had traveled to Ukraine.

Cleverly, who is set to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the trip, also condemned Russia for its "brutal attacks" on civilians, hospitals and energy infrastructure.

"The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine," said Cleverly, as he set out 3 million pounds to help rebuild vital infrastructure and committed another 5 million for a Ukraine-led initiative to ship grain to countries at risk of famine.

Cleverly's trip to the European country comes just days after new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made his first visit to Kyiv during which he vowed to continue the firm support for Ukraine that Britain provided under his predecessors.

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

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