07/12/2022

Ukrainians warned energy blackouts could last for months; Kherson residents told to evacuate over winter

Kherson residents told to evacuate for winter

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called on the residents of the recently de-occupied part of Kherson to evacuate for the winter.

“The government offers free evacuation to Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv and Odesa, with possible further movement to Kirovohrad, Khmelnytskyi or western regions of Ukraine,” she wrote on her Telegram account.

She directed her call to women with children, the elderly, the sick and those with reduced mobility in particular, saying that “given the difficult security situation in the city and infrastructure problems, you can evacuate for the winter to safer regions of the country.”

Residents talk to train station staff while waiting to be evacuated from Kherson on Nov. 21, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine.

Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Displaced people will be provided with free accommodation in shelters, humanitarian aid, food and medical support, she said.

Vereshchuk is not the first to call on people to evacuate the region, a significant part of which was liberated after a Russian withdrawal earlier in November from the western bank of the Dnipro river to the opposite bank. Russian forces gathered there have been shelling Kherson since, however.

Other Ukrainian officials in Kherson have also warned civilians there that it’s safer to evacuate the region now because of the dangers posed by Russian shelling. The region has received humanitarian aid in the form of blankets, warm clothes, food, hygiene products and medicine.

— Holly Ellyatt

WHO warns winter could be ‘life-threatening’ for millions in Ukraine

The World Health Organization has expressed concerns over deteriorating living conditions in Ukraine, warning that “cold weather can kill” and that it expects millions more could flee their homes in search of warmth and safety.

Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, warned Monday that “this winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine” amid continuing attacks on health and energy infrastructure.

“The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukraine health system and the Ukrainian people, but also for the world and its commitment to support Ukraine.” 

Independence Square in Kyiv during a rolling blackout of parts of districts of the Ukrainian capital following rocket attacks to critical infrastructure, on Oct. 24, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Repeated Russian attacks on energy facilities across Ukraine mean hundreds of hospitals and health-care facilities are no longer fully operational and are lacking fuel, water and electricity to meet basic needs, the WHO warned.

Kluge said there’s a high risk that alternative and potentially toxic fuels will be used as desperate families try to stay warm this winter.

“Many will be forced to turn to alternative heating methods like burning charcoal or wood or using generators fueled by diesel or electric heaters. These bring health risks, including exposure to toxic substances that are harmful for children, older people and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, as well as accidental burns and injuries,” he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

‘No immediate safety concerns’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, shelling caused widespread damage

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine August 4, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

There are “no immediate safety or security concerns” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following heavy shelling throughout the weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

However, while key equipment remained intact, the assessment team found widespread damage across the site.

“This is a major cause of concern as it clearly demonstrates the sheer intensity of the attacks on one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement after the agency conducted an investigation of the site.

Areas of the plant damaged by the strikes included a pressurized air pipeline, the main road to reactors and condensate storage tanks, resulting in non-radioactive leakage. Operating and maintenance staff are already repairing some of the damage and plant personnel are cleaning up the site, the IAEA said.

Grossi has repeatedly warned against fighting near the site, most recently saying that whoever was responsible for the attacks was “playing with fire.”

The renewed attacks on and around the nuclear site have intensified Grossi’s calls for a protection zone, which would prevent shelling near the plant.

— Rocio Fabbro

One dead, four injured by Russian shelling in Kherson, top Ukrainian official says

A fisherman sails his boat on the Dnipro River as black smoke rises after an attack on an oil reserve in Kherson, on November 20, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

One person was killed and four others injured from Russian shelling in the Kherson region, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

Despite Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson earlier this month, shelling has continued in the southern Ukrainian region. same t

Over the past several months, Russia has consistently attacked civilian infrastructure, including energy systems and residential buildings.

Ukrainian officials began evacuating civilians from Kherson and a neighboring province as infrastructure damage was deemed too critical for inhabitants to safely remain during the winter.

— Rocio Fabbro

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy: Nuclear plants need protection from Russian sabotage

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Kherson, Ukraine November 14, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged NATO members to guarantee the protection of Ukraine’s nuclear plants from Russian sabotage, a day after the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant was rocked by heavy shelling.

“All our nations are interested in not having any dangerous incidents at our nuclear facilities,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid.

“We all need guaranteed protection from Russian sabotage at nuclear facilities,” he added.

The Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was shelled on Saturday and Sunday, raising concern about the potential for a serious accident just 500 km (300 miles) from Chornobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

— Reuters

NATO Parliamentary Assembly calls for creation of special tribunal on Russian aggression in Ukraine, recognizes Russia as a terrorist state

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the plenary session of the third day of the 68th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly in the Auditorium Ground Floor Room at the Hotel Melia Castilla, Nov. 21, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.

Alberta Ortego | Europa Press | Getty Images

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid called for the creation of a special international tribunal on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and recognized Russia as a terrorist state, according to a statement from the head of Ukraine’s permanent delegation to the NATO assembly.

“All 30 NATO countries supported the proposals of our delegation,” Yehor Chernev said in the statement.

“Such a tribunal will make it possible to convict not only the direct perpetrators of war crimes, but also the senior leadership of the Russian Federation.”

The resolution, which also includes proposals to increase arms supplies to Ukraine, develop further steps for Ukraine’s accession to NATO, and create a reparation collection mechanism, will be sent to all NATO member countries, Chernev said.

“The adoption of this resolution is an important political step that reflects the mood in Western parliamentary circles, and therefore influences the leadership of countries in decision-making,” he said.

At the assembly, NATO Allies and the European Union also reinforced their commitment to long-term, sustained financial and military support for Ukraine.

— Rocio Fabbro

Poland to put German Patriot missiles near border with Ukraine

A woman holds a flare as protestors gather outside the Russian embassy in Warsaw after missile strikes in Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland, October 10, 2022.

Kacper Pempel | Reuters

NATO allies Poland and Germany have agreed to deploy additional Patriot missile launchers near the Polish border with Ukraine following an offer from Berlin, Poland’s defense minister said on Monday.

“The German Defence Minister confirmed her willingness to deploy the Patriot launcher at the border with Ukraine,” Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

“The version of the system remains to be determined, as does how quickly they will reach us and how long they will be stationed.”

Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defense system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed in Poland last week, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told a newspaper on Sunday.

The German government had already said it would offer its eastern neighbor further help in air policing with German Eurofighters after the incident, which initially raised fears that the war in Ukraine could spill across the border.

— Reuters

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