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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 28

An elderly resident is evacuated from the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine, Nov. 27, 2022.
An elderly resident is evacuated from the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine, Nov. 27, 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.: The United States is expected to announce "substantial" financial aid to Ukraine on Tuesday to help it deal with the damage caused by Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, senior U.S. officials said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The aid, which will be detailed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in the Romanian capital Bucharest, "is substantial and it is not the end," one senior official told journalists Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details.

However, he noted that the Biden administration had budgeted $1.1 billion for energy spending in Ukraine and Moldova.

It comes ahead of an international donors' conference on support for the Ukrainian civil resistance to be held December 13 in France, he pointed out.

10:35 p.m.:

9:35 p.m.: The United States is still talking to Russia about a deal to free jailed Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan but Moscow has not provided a "serious response" to any of its proposals, a senior U.S. diplomat said in comments published on Monday.

Elizabeth Rood, the U.S. chargée d'affaires in Moscow, told Russia's state-owned RIA news agency that talks were continuing through the "designated channel,” Reuters reported.

"The United States, as we have said, has put a significant proposal on the table. We have followed up on that proposal and we have proposed alternatives," she said. "Unfortunately, so far the Russian Federation has not provided a serious response to those proposals."

In Washington, the White House said conversations with Russia were ongoing. "We want them both home as fast as possible, and this administration is going to stay committed to that task," national security spokesman John Kirby said.

8:47 p.m.: Ukraine First Lady Olena Zelenska on Monday demanded a "global response" to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, saying Kyiv prosecutors are investigating more than 100 possible crimes by Russian soldiers, Agence France-Presse reported.

Speaking at the "Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative" conference in London, Zelenska said the investigations were "just a small" fraction of the true number of such crimes being committed during the conflict in Ukraine.

"The opportunities for the occupiers widened to humiliating Ukrainians and unfortunately, sexual violence and sexual crimes are within their arsenal," she said.

"Everyone knows about the huge numbers of rapes," she told delegates on the first day of the U.K. government-hosted event.

"They're (Russian soldiers) very open about this."

7:57 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces had shelled 30 settlements in Ukraine's southern Kherson region 258 times in the past week.

Russian forces retreated from the west bank of the Dnipro River earlier this month, but have been shelling towns and villages, including the city of Kherson, from new vantage points on the opposite bank.

Zelenskyy said Russian forces had damaged a pumping station supplying water to the city of Mykolaiv, northwest of Kherson.

7:05 p.m.: When Russia captured Kherson in March, disrupting supply chains to the city, local Ukrainian volunteers kept it running, The Kyiv Independent reports.

6:20 p.m.: In an unusual move for a Nobel Peace laureate, the head of one of this year's prizewinning organizations on Monday called for weapons to help Ukraine defend itself and stop the atrocities, Agence France-Presse reports.

"When somebody asks me how to stop these long-lasting crimes in occupied territories, I can only answer: 'Provide Ukraine with weapons to liberate these territories'," Ukrainian Oleksandra Matviichuk, a human rights lawyer who heads the Kyiv-based Center for Civil Liberties, told AFP in Stockholm.

"It's a weird situation for me, and a clear sign (that) something (is) wrong with the whole international system when a human rights lawyer asks (for) air defense systems."

But, she said, "we need to prevent new damage to critical civil infrastructure".

5:24 p.m.:

4:37 p.m.: A student newly discharged from Russian proxy forces in Ukraine says he was equipped with a Soviet-era bolt-action rifle and had to share rations and a sleeping bag when first sent to the front, Reuters reported.

"When times were hard, we had a certain number of people and there weren't enough sleeping bags for everyone, you could only cover yourself with a raincoat. We were able to get two or three people into a sleeping bag to keep warm," said Vladimir, a young man who appeared to be in his late teens.

4:03 p.m.: Ukrainian volunteers discovered about 20 bodies of dead Russian soldiers near the village of Dovhenke in the Kharkiv region. The remains were in the forest outside the village. The bodies were examined, and personal belongings like money and documents were registered. After a forensic medical examination, the remains of some Russian soldiers may be offered in exchange for the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report. (WARNING: Viewers may find the content of this video disturbing.)

3:12 p.m.: Russia "unilaterally postponed" talks with the United States aimed at resuming nuclear-weapons inspections that were set to take place in Cairo, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Monday, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The spokesperson said Washington was ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date the meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission under the U.S.-Russia New START Treaty that was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

2:30 p.m.:

2:10 p.m.: European countries should double their defense expenditure because of Russia's war in Ukraine, Estonia's foreign minister said on Monday, adding that his own country planned to raise national defense spending to 3% of GDP.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu made his comments in an interview with Reuters during a trip to Kyiv with six other foreign ministers.

The visit was intended to show support for Kyiv as it struggles with power outages following a wave of drone and missile strikes by Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February.

1:45 p.m.:

1:10 p.m.: Ukraine's military said on Monday Moscow had banned Ukrainian technicians who have refused to sign contracts with Russia's atomic energy firm from entering the vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that Russian forces seized in March, Reuters reported.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, which is in Ukraine's partially-occupied southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, has been operated by Ukrainian technicians throughout the war despite being under Russian control.

"According to available information, starting today, the occupiers have forbidden entry to the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to ... workers who refused to sign contracts with Rosatom," Ukraine's General Staff said in its daily war update.

There was no immediate comment from Russia about the allegation. A spokesperson for Ukraine's Energoatom nuclear firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

12:55 p.m.: The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said Monday that it is working with partners in Ukraine to provide rapid humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by recent fighting in Dnipro.

12:40 p.m.: Ukraine said on Monday it had been forced to impose regular emergency blackouts in areas across the country after a setback in its race to repair energy infrastructure hit by Russian missile strikes, Reuters reported.

Power units at several power stations had to conduct emergency shutdowns and demand for electricity has been rising as snowy winter weather has set in the capital and elsewhere, national grid operator Ukrenergo said in a statement.

DTEK, Ukraine's biggest private electricity producer, said it would reduce electricity supply by 60% for its consumers in Kyiv where temperatures are hovering around zero degrees Celsius (32°F).

Of the remaining supply, only 42% was left over for everyday consumers after critical infrastructure needs were accounted for, it said.

"We are doing everything possible to provide power to every customer for 2-3 hours twice a day," DTEK's Kyiv branch wrote on Facebook.

The national system's power capacity deficit had fallen to 27%, Ukrenergo said.

12:05 p.m.: How do you keep a cafe running when Russian rocket attacks keep cutting your power supply? Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this report.

11:15 a.m.: Russia will likely continue attacking Ukraine’s power grid, its gas infrastructure and basic services for the people, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, Reuters reported.

“Doing that when we enter winter demonstrates that President (Vladimir) Putin is now trying to use ... the winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine,” he told reporters at a news conference in Bucharest ahead of a two-day NATO foreign ministers’ meeting.

10:40 a.m.: Kazakhstan’s President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has told his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin that Moscow remains Kazakhstan's main strategic partner despite public disagreements over the Kremlin's war in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Toqaev, who last week at a summit of the Moscow-led CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) security bloc in Armenia called for "a formula for peace," has allowed tens of thousands of Russians fleeing a military mobilization in Russia into Kazakhstan.

He also declined this summer to recognize the Kremlin's declaration of four partially controlled Ukrainian regions as sovereign states.

9:55 a.m.: Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Monday it had summoned the Norwegian ambassador over what it said was the politically-motivated arrest of Russian citizens for using drones illegally, Reuters reported. Norway said the arrests were legal.

Several Russian citizens have been arrested by Norwegian authorities for flying drones. This comes after the Nordic country boosted security following suspected sabotage on the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Russia and NATO-member Norway share a border in the Arctic. The Nordic country is now the European Union's largest gas supplier, following a drop in Russian gas flows.

Russian flights have been banned from Norwegian airspace since February 28, due to Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine. This includes Russians flying drones as well as Russian companies flying commercial planes and helicopters.

9:10 a.m.: 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.

8:35 a.m.: Daily attacks on Ukraine's southern city of Kherson have tempered the joy residents felt after the recent Russian pullout, Reuters reported Monday.

A little over two weeks after Ukrainian forces drove Russian troops out of Kherson after nearly nine months of occupation, residents of the southern city are back in the firing line.

The Russian troops withdrew only as far as the other side of the River Dnipro after being pushed back by Ukrainian forces, and are now shelling the city from across the river.

At least 32 people in the Kherson region have been killed by Russian attacks since the pullout from the city was completed on Nov. 11, police said.

The Russian attacks have increased problems in Kherson such as power outages and shortages as winter sets in. Some residents have loaded their possessions into vehicles and left. Humanitarian aid is being distributed to those who remain.

8:05 a.m.:

7:55 a.m.: A month after Russia said it had ended a recruitment drive for its war in Ukraine, men who fled to neighboring Georgia to avoid the draft say they are in no rush to return home, Reuters reported.

Russia announced the call-up on Sept. 21 after suffering setbacks on the battlefield - a move that prompted hundreds of thousands of draft-age men to head for the likes of Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan to avoid being sent to the front.

More than 110,000 Russians have fled to Georgia this year, statistics from the Georgian government show - an influx that has fueled both an economic boom and resentment in a country where anti-Russian feelings are rife.

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announcing the end of the call-up a month ago, many say they are unlikely to return home any time soon.

7:40 a.m.:

7:25 a.m.: Ukraine said Russia was "planning new strikes" on the country's power grid, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling on Ukrainians to be prepared to endure more electricity shortages amid plunging temperatures, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The head of the joint coordination press center of the Defense Forces of Southern Ukraine, Natalya Humenyuk, said a Russian warship capable of firing cruise missiles had recently deployed to the Black Sea with Kalibr-type missiles on board.

"This indicates that preparations were under way," Humenyuk said on November 28."It's quite likely that the beginning of the week will be marked by such an attack," she added.

Meanwhile, in Kyiv, where snow fell and temperatures dropped, people continued to struggle with disruptions to the electricity supply and central heating caused by the waves of Russian air strikes.

City authorities said work was almost completed to restore electricity, water, and heat after waves of Russian strikes, but warned that high consumption levels meant some blackouts had been imposed.

Zelenskyy on November 27 criticized Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, saying he had not done enough to help beleaguered residents. Klitschko rejected the criticism, saying it was out of place amid Russia's military campaign.

7:10 a.m.:

6:50 a.m.: The United States is still talking to Russia about a deal to free jailed Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan but Moscow has not provided a "serious response" to any of its proposals, a senior U.S. diplomat said in comments published on Monday, according to Reuters.

Elizabeth Rood, the U.S. chargée d'affaires in Moscow, told Russia's state-owned RIA news agency that talks were continuing through the "designated channel."

"The United States, as we have said, has put a significant proposal on the table. We have followed up on that proposal and we have proposed alternatives," she said. "Unfortunately, so far the Russian Federation has not provided a serious response to those proposals."

6:30 a.m.: Ukraine said on Monday that Russia was preparing for a fresh wave of missiles attacks on its energy grid that have plunged swathes of the country into the cold and dark, Agence France-Presse reported.

A Ukraine military spokesman said a Russian warship capable of firing cruise missiles had recently deployed to the Black Sea with Kalibr-type missiles on board.

"This indicates that preparations were underway," said spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk.

"It's quite likely that the beginning of the week will be marked by such an attack," she added.

6:01 a.m.:

5:30 a.m.: The Kremlin said on Monday that it welcomed a Vatican offer to provide a negotiating platform to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, but that Kyiv's position made this impossible, Reuters reported.

Pope Francis reiterated 10 days ago that the Vatican was ready to do anything possible to mediate and put an end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa.

5:15 a.m.: NATO is returning to the scene of one of its most controversial decisions to repeat a vow that Ukraine will join the military alliance one day, The Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, NATO foreign ministers will gather for two days at the Palace of the Parliament in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. There, in April 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush persuaded his allies to open NATO’s door to Ukraine and Georgia. The move deeply angered Russia.

This time, NATO will make fresh pledges of non-lethal support to Ukraine to help its troops get through the winter. Individual allies will probably donate more military equipment to fend off Russian forces. The ministers will also look to Ukraine's long-term future.

4:45 a.m.: As reported by Reuters, the Kremlin's spokesman on Monday denied reports that Russian forces were planning to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, telling reporters they should not look for signs where there were none.

4 a.m.: Russian state gas producer Gazprom withdrew a threat to reduce gas supplies to Moldova from Monday but said it reserved the right to lower or halt flows in future if Moldova failed to make agreed payments, according to Reuters.

Last week, Gazprom accused Ukraine of withholding gas supplies which pass through the country on the way to Moldova - something Kyiv denied - and said it could start reducing those flows from Monday.

In its latest statement, Gazprom said that Moldovan natural gas company Moldovagaz had paid for gas deliveries in November, adding that it had received payment for what it called gas destined for Moldovan customers but which remained in Ukraine.

However, Gazprom accused Moldova of "regular violations" of payment obligations and added: "Gazprom reserves the right to lower or to fully suspend supplies in case of payment violation."

Vadim Ceban, head of Moldovagaz, said on Monday that the advance November gas bill had doubled to $42 million amid increased gas demand by the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestria, where Russian troops are stationed. He said Moldovagaz had paid this.

In a sign that flows were uninterrupted, Gazprom said separately on Monday that it will ship 42.2 million cubic meters of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Monday, only slightly down from Sunday's level of 42.6 mcm. Both figures include flows to Moldova.

3:32 a.m.:

3 a.m.: The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remains under Russian control, Reuters reported Monday quoting authorities in the Russia-installed administration of the occupied Enerhodar city, after a senior Ukrainian official suggested Russian forces were preparing to leave.

"The media are actively spreading fakes that Russia is allegedly planning to withdraw from Enerhodar and leave the (nuclear plant). This information is not true," the Russian backed administration said on the Telegram messaging app.

The head of Ukraine's state-run nuclear energy firm said on Sunday there were signs that Russian forces might be preparing to vacate the vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which they seized in March soon after their invasion.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said on Monday that Ukrainian forces late last week destroyed six units of Russian military equipment and about 30 Russian servicemen were injured in fighting near Enerhodar.

Reuters was not able to immediately verify the reports.

Many of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant's workers live in the nearby Enerhodar city that has been under Russian occupation since the early days of the invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin moved in September to annex Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and the Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine where his forces claim partial control in a move condemned by Kyiv and its Western allies as illegal.

2:30 a.m.: Russia and the United States have ways to manage nuclear risks at the level of intelligence agencies, charge d'affaires of the U.S. embassy in Moscow Elizabeth Rood told Russia's state news agency, adding that for now there are no meetings scheduled, Reuters reported.

Earlier this month, CIA director William Burns met Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russian foreign intelligence, and warned him about the consequences of any Russian use of nuclear weapons, the White House said. Russia has said the issues discussed were "sensitive" and declined to comment on them.

"The United States has channels for managing risk with the Russian Federation, particularly nuclear risks and that was the purpose of CIA director Burns' meeting with his Russian counterpart," Rood said in a video on RIA's Telegram channel.

"Director Burns did not negotiate anything and he did not discuss a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine."

Rood said if there is need for another conversation in that channel it can happen. "There is not anything scheduled that I know of."

Russia said after Naryshkin's meeting with Burns that Moscow was open to more high-level talks with the United States, but the Kremlin dismissed the idea of a summit between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden as "out of the question" for now.

Officials from the two countries were set to meet in the Egyptian capital of Cairo from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6 to discuss resuming inspections under the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, although Moscow has played down the prospect of a quick breakthrough.

2 a.m.: The Biden administration is seeking $37 billion in aid for Ukraine in the coming weeks before the new Congress begins in January. VOA’s Silicon Valley Bureau chief Michelle Quinn has this report.

White House Seeks More Aid for Ukraine Before Republicans Take Control of House
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1:50 a.m.: The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted onto abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines as the West struggles to meet demand for more arms, Reuters reported.

U.S. and allied military inventories are shrinking, and Ukraine faces an increasing need for more sophisticated weapons as the war drags on. Boeing's proposed system, dubbed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), is one of about a half-dozen plans for getting new munitions into production for Ukraine and America's Eastern European allies, industry sources said.

GLSDB could be delivered as early as spring 2023, according to a document reviewed by Reuters and three people familiar with the plan. It combines the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in U.S. inventories.

Doug Bush, the U.S. Army's chief weapons buyer, told reporters at the Pentagon last week the Army was also looking at accelerating production of 155-millimeter artillery shells — currently only manufactured at government facilities — by allowing defense contractors to build them.

1:30 a.m.:

1:15 a.m.:

12:40 a.m.: According to military monitors, Belarus’ authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, is allowing up to 10,000 newly mobilized Russian troops to train in his country and sending Moscow at least 211 pieces of heavy military equipment, including trucks and tanks. Critics, such as exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, talk to VOA about how Lukashenko is trying to help Russia’s battered military.

VOA’s New York Bureau chief Igor Tsikhanenka has the story.

Newly Mobilized Russian Troops Training in Belarus Before Ukraine Deployment
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12:05 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Sunday the coming week could be as difficult as the past week when Russian missile strikes caused widespread damage to the country’s electrical grid.

Speaking during his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s military and other state entities are preparing, and he thanked the energy workers who have been able to restore power service.

“We understand that the terrorists are planning new strikes. We know this for a fact,” Zelenskyy said. “And as long as they have missiles, they, unfortunately, will not calm down.”

Russian airstrikes have repeatedly struck key infrastructure targets in Ukraine, knocking out important services as the winter season looms. Russian officials have denied targeting civilians with such strikes.

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