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Ukraine-Russia war – live: Toddler’s body pulled from rubble as air strikes death toll rises

Search continues for survivors of wave of missile attacks on Friday, as Putin targets energy infrastructure

Vishwam Sankaran,Matt Mathers
Saturday 17 December 2022 21:43 GMT
Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine war would not continue if Vladimir Putin died

A toddler’s body has been removed from rubble following a wave of deadly airstrikes in Ukraine on Friday.

Emergency crews are continuing to search for survivors after Russian missiles tore through an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.

The missile was one of what Ukrainian authorities said were 16 that got through air defenses in the latest Russian attack targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

The mayor of Kyiv announced today his city’s metro system is operational once again and residents have regained access to water.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said while heat has been restored to half the city and electricity has been restored to two-thirds, emergency outages are still being implemented due to the significant deficit of electricity.

Four people were killed in Russia’s attacks in which over 70 missiles were launched targeting key energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that Vladimir Putin had the means to order several similar waves of attacks to drain the country’s energy system.


Ukraine says it needs thousands more generators to get through winter

Ukrainian small and medium-sized businesses have imported about half a million power generators but the country needs thousands more that are bigger and stronger to get through winter, prime minister Denys Shmyhal said.

Ukraine has increasingly suffered power cuts and blackouts because of Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure since October.

Today’s strikes have again focused on energy production, and operator Ukrenergo has warned it would take longer to restore power than after prior attacks.

“Small and medium-sized Ukrainian entrepreneurs have already imported 500,000 low power generators. But to get through the winter we will need about 17,000 big and industrial generating units,” Mr Shmyhal told a government meeting.

“We hope to cover part of these needs with the help of our partners,” he said.

A power generator outside a shop in the centre of Odesa
A power generator outside a shop in the centre of Odesa (AFP/Getty)
A woman crosses the street during snowfall, as power outages continue in Kyiv
A woman crosses the street during snowfall, as power outages continue in Kyiv (AP)
Liam James16 December 2022 17:45

Ukraine is preparing for Russia to try again to invade from the north, a top commander has said.

Major General Andrii Kovalchuk, one of Ukraine’s most senior military officers, told Sky News that Vladimir Putin may even take the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, 24 February 2023, to order troops acroos the border from Belarus.

Ukraine repelled attacks on this front successfully in the early months of the war, leading the Kremlin to pull back and focus on the east and south of Ukraine.

“We are considering a possible offensive from Belarus at the end of February, maybe later,” Major General Kovalchuk said, speaking at an undisclosed location in southern Ukraine.

“We are preparing for it. We are investigating. We look at where they accumulate strength and means. We are preparing.”

Kovalchuk during the interview
Kovalchuk during the interview (Sky News)
Liam James16 December 2022 18:25

Putin has enough missiles for more massive strikes, Zelensky warns

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia still had enough missiles to launch several more massive strikes like the one it launched earlier in the day against Ukraine’s energy system.

Kyiv officials said three people were killed today after Russia launched 76 missiles on cities including Kyiv and Kharkiv.

“Whatever the rocket worshipers from Moscow are counting on, it still won’t change the balance of power in this war,” he said in a video address.

“They still have enough missiles for several such massive strikes. We, on the other hand, have enough determination and self-belief to return our own after these blows,” he said.

Liam James16 December 2022 18:39

TikTok to cut all Russian staff

Social media company TikTok on Friday said it would cut its Russian staff numbers after the company stopped key services for Russian users earlier this year.

Chinese-owned video app TikTok suspended livestreaming and new uploads in Russia after Moscow introduced strict new media censorship following its invasion of Ukraine in February.

“We have had to make a number of decisions this year about our service in Russia, which now unfortunately includes reducing our Russia-based workforce,” the company said in a statement.

“We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority,” it said.

Liam James16 December 2022 19:07

Canadian back bonds to fund Ukraine loan

Canada will loan Ukraine half a billion dollars raised through what Ottawa said was a world first scheme whereby bonds were issued specifically to raise money for the government’s support programme.

The loan, which makes up more than one-fifth of the total credited to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion in February, was funded by the sale of bonds costing C$100 (£60) or more to Canadians, investors, institutions and other buyers, the government said in a statement.

Individual Canadians bought C$50m (£30m) worth of the bonds since they were issued on 29 November it added.

Backing Ukraine, “means ensuring the Ukrainian government has the resources it needs to keep providing essential services to Ukrainians this winter,” Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said, adding that she hopes other countries will be inspired to offer such bonds.

Canada has also sent more than C$1bn in aid.

Liam James16 December 2022 19:38

MoD says Russia set to plan WW2-style entrenchment

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said earlier that Russia seems to be moving toward Second World War-style entrenchment.

The MoD analysis focused on Moscow’s recent efforts to construct “major defensive lines” which it says is “further illustration of Russia’s reversion to positional warfare that has been largely abandoned by most modern Western militaries in recent decades”.

It added that Russia had “traditional military plans for entrenchment, largely unchanged since the Second World War”.

A recent analysis of satellite imagery in Ukraine by The New York Timesfound Russian trenches near the frontlines in Ukraine, included some built to defend captured towns.

Ukraine and allies are sensing changes in Russia’s wargame. Earlier, a leading Ukrainian general said Kyiv was preparing for Moscow to order a new assault from the north in the early months of 2023.

Liam James16 December 2022 20:05

Russia accuses Ukraine of killing two civilians in Luhansk strikes

Russian-installed officials claimed Ukrainian shelling had killed civilians in two parts of occupied territory.

Eleven people were killed, 20 wounded and another 20 were missing in the village of Lantrativka near the border with Russia in the Russian-held Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, Russian state-owned TASS news agency said, citing emergency services.

The Russian-installed governor of the region, Leonid Pasechnik, called the attack “barbaric”.

The head of a Russian proxy “people’s militia” in Luhansk said a civilian had been killed by Ukrainian shelling in the town of Svatove, some 40 miles further south.

The Independent was unable to immediately verify the latest battlefield accounts, but recorded three explosions in the snow-covered capital Kyiv and smoke rising over the city.

Ukrainian officials accused Russia of killing at least three people in strikes on several cities today.

Liam James16 December 2022 20:40

Brittney Griner says she will help free other Americans from Russia

US basketball star Brittney Griner, who on Friday left an Army medical center where she had been recuperating following her release from a Russian penal colony as part of a prisoner swap, said she would work to help bring other detained Americans home and planned to resume her WNBA career.

Ms Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-times Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) All-Star, left the Brooke Army Medical Center a week after she arrived at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, CNN reported.

“The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going,” she said in her first public statement since returning to the United States.

“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” she said, referring to the former US Marine still being held in Russia. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you.”

Ms Griner arrived at the medical center last Friday after US officials secured her freedom from Russia in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Ms Griner, 32, was arrested on 17 February at an airport outside Moscow for carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

AP16 December 2022 21:10

Moldova bans TV channels over Ukraine war ‘misinformation'

Moldova will temporarily ban six television channels for airing “incorrect information” about the country and Russia‘s war in Ukraine, authorities said.

The channels – some of which broadcast in Moldovan and some in Russian – are closely tied to politician and businessman Ilan Shor, who fled in 2019 after the election of pro-Western president Maia Sandu.

Mr Shor, in exile in Israel, has backed protests in Chisinau demanding that Ms Sandu’s government resign.

The six channels include some of the most popular in Moldova. Mr Shor owns three of them; another two belong to his close associates while the sixth sympathises with him.

“Moldova must be protected from propaganda and lies,” deputy prime minister Andrei Spinu wrote on his Telegram channel.

The small ex-soviet state has suffered widespread blackouts as a result of Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, due to integration with the power grid of its embattled eastern neighbour.

Liam James16 December 2022 22:00

Kyiv residents left without water after Ukraine attacks

Kyiv residents were left without water after Russian attacks on local energy infrastructure, officials said.

Vitali Klitschko, mayor of the Ukrainian capital, said works were ongoing to restore water to homes around the city.

“The system should fill up in a few hours. After that, water will appear in all the homes of Kyiv residents ... Work on restoration of heat supply is also ongoing,” he said on Telegram.

Residents of Kyiv, like those in cities across Ukraine, have been dealing with rolling blackouts since Russia began a relentless series of strikes on power stations and other energy supply points in October.

Residents cross a dark street as electricity is cut in Kyiv
Residents cross a dark street as electricity is cut in Kyiv (EPA)
Liam James16 December 2022 23:00

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