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Kremlin Denies Russians Are About to Withdraw From Nuclear Plant; ‘Ugly' Clash Erupts Between Kyiv Officials

Sergey Bobok | Afp | Getty Images

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Nov.29, 2022. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country must prepare for new missile attacks from Russia, while millions still remain without power as a result of relentless bombardment of Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

"We understand that the terrorists are planning new strikes. We know this for a fact," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Sunday. "And as long as they have missiles, they, unfortunately, will not calm down." He urged defense forces and citizens to work together to withstand expected future attacks.

Ukrainian soldiers in a tank in Bakhmut, where the war against Russia continues, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on Nov. 23, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers in a tank in Bakhmut, where the war against Russia continues, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on Nov. 23, 2022.

Ukraine's power network came under intense attack last week, with Zelenskyy saying Friday evening that blackouts persisted in most regions as well as the capital of Kyiv. In total, more than six million households were affected.

In a rare show of disunity, Zelenskyy chided the office of the Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko for not doing more to set up "points of invincibility" — essentially, places where citizens can go to get warm and access water, use the internet and charge phones.

"I know that, unfortunately, not in all cities the local government has done a good job. In particular, there are many complaints in Kyiv. I expect better quality work from the mayor's office ... it is the responsibility of every local official to ensure that everything that should be there for people actually works," the president said.

U.S. still talking to Russia about Griner and Whelan release, officials say

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, looks on inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia August 2, 2022.
Evgenia Novozhenina | Reuters
U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, looks on inside a defendants' cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia August 2, 2022.

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".

"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.

Basketball star Griner was taken this month to a penal colony in the Russian region of Mordovia to serve a nine-year drug sentence after being arrested in February with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She said at her trial she used them to relieve the pain from sports injuries and had not meant to break the law.

Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, is serving 16 years in the same region on charges of espionage, which he denies.

— Reuters

U.S., Russia have used their military hotline once so far during Ukraine war

Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon.
Jason Reed | Reuters
Aerial view of the United States military headquarters, the Pentagon.

A communications line created between the militaries of the United States and Russia at the start of Moscow's war against Ukraine has been used only once so far, a U.S. official told Reuters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the United States initiated a call through the "deconfliction" line to communicate its concerns about Russian military operations near critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

Reuters is the first to report on the use of the deconfliction line, beyond regular testing.

Few details are known surrounding the specific incident that led to the call on the line, which connects the U.S. military's European Command and Russia's National Defense Management Center.

The official declined to elaborate but said it was not used when an errant missile landed in NATO-member Poland on Nov. 15, killing two people. The blast was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile but Russia was ultimately responsible because it started the war in late February, NATO said.

Although the U.S. official declined to specify which Russian activity raised the U.S. alarm, there have been publicly acknowledged incidents involving Russian fighting around critical Ukrainian infrastructure. These include Russian operations around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's biggest, which is under Russian control.

— Reuters

Russia is using winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine, White House says

Russia is targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine in an effort to erode morale as its invasion stalls, John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, said Monday.

"This is a guy who's used food as a weapon. He's used fear as a weapon. Now he's using the cold weather here to try to bring the Ukrainian people to their knees," Kirby said.

Kirby said nearly all of the recent Russian military hits have been on civilian infrastructure like water and energy.

"It's the kind of resources that people need as they get ready to brace for what will no doubt be a cold winter," he said.

Kirby called the recent attacks despicable and said the U.S. and its allies are working to provide the Ukrainians with the training and tools they need to be successful militarily and to keep essential systems up and running.

"These targets are largely civilian and it's designed to work for one reason and that's to try to bring the Ukrainian people to their knees because he can't bring the Ukrainian armed forces to its knees," Kirby said.

Emma Kinery

Ukraine will never take orders from Moscow, Zelenskyy says

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during an interview with Reuters, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine September 16, 2022. 
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during an interview with Reuters, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine September 16, 2022. 

Russia's attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine are an "attempt to take revenge" for Ukrainians' repeated defense of their territories, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. Nonetheless, he affirmed that Ukraine's stance on territorial sovereignty remains firm.

"Ukraine will never accept orders from these comrades from Moscow," he said.

Russia launched 258 missiles strikes on 30 towns and villages in the last week in the recently liberated Kherson region, according to Zelenskyy. Russia's continued shelling of Ukraine is the "real essence of those random comrades who took over Russia," Zelenskyy said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies.

"They are capable of nothing but destruction. This is all they leave behind," he said of both the attacks on Ukraine and the ruinous state of "a large part" of Russia.

Zelenskyy promised to "do everything to restore every object, every house, every enterprise destroyed by the occupiers."

— Rocio Fabbro

NATO foreign ministerial will focus on Russian attacks on infrastructure

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith speaks during a news briefing on the eve of a meeting of alliance defence ministers, expected to focus on tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, February 15, 2022.
Johanna Geron | Reuters
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith speaks during a news briefing on the eve of a meeting of alliance defence ministers, expected to focus on tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, February 15, 2022.

The NATO foreign ministerial in Romania on Tuesday will focus on Russia's missile attacks in Ukraine and their impacts on Ukrainians this winter, U.S. Ambassador Julianne Smith said.

"We will spend some time, as you might imagine, talking about the attacks and the uptick in attacks that we've seen on critical infrastructure inside Ukraine," Smith said in a briefing prior to the ministerial. "Obviously this is a tactic designed by the Russians to leave the Ukrainian people in the cold and in the dark as winter sets in inside Ukraine."

Allies will discuss ways to continue providing humanitarian, economic and security support to Ukraine, according to Smith.

Included in the talks are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Georgia, Ukrainian neighbors and "NATO partners that are experiencing firsthand the direct impact" of Russia's attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, she said.

"Allies understand fundamentally what's at stake in Ukraine," Smith said. "This is obviously about Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, but it's also about the values that we hold dear. And I think ministers and certainly heads of state represented across this Alliance understand what's at stake and are determined to continue supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes."

— Rocio Fabbro

Putin is using 'winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine,' NATO Secretary-General says

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference on February 15, 2021, ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
NATO
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference on February 15, 2021, ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to use "winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Romania.

With below-freezing temperatures already underway in Ukraine, officials worry about a brutal winter after Russia hit Ukraine's power grid and water system. Officials and experts have said this may have been Putin's plan all along.

"This is horrific and we need to be prepared for more attacks," Stoltenberg said. "That's the reason why NATO allies have stepped up their support to Ukraine."

Stoltenberg also urged the need for allies to step up their provision of air defense and other military support to Ukraine at this time. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis echoed Stoltenberg's calls and reiterated the need to reinforce the eight-country Eastern Flank of NATO, which includes Romania, Hungary and Poland.

However, at the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid earlier this year, the decision to enforce the Eastern flank, according to Iohannis, "was rather generic."

"Everyone agreed that this must be done, but now I want, at least from my side, to get down to business," Iohannis said.

— Rocio Fabbro

U.S. weighs sending 100-mile strike weapon to Ukraine

Boeing is a leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners/military aircraft combined. Additionally, BA designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services.Hamilton says that cyber is a small component of BA’s, but a focus nonetheless, especially with the recent acquisition of
Boeing is a leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners/military aircraft combined. Additionally, BA designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services.Hamilton says that cyber is a small component of BA’s, but a focus nonetheless, especially with the recent acquisition of

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.

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 the ground-launched small diameter bomb, 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.

The Boeing system 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.

The invasion of Ukraine drove up demand for American-made weapons and ammunition, while U.S. allies in Eastern Europe are "putting a lot of orders," in for a range of arms as they supply Ukraine, Bush added.

— Reuters

Ukraine doesn't trade freedom or democracy for electricity, former Ukrainian president says

Ukr
Mykola Lazarenko | Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters
Ukr

The former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, said the nation will not trade its freedom or democracy "for electricity, for oil, for gas, for heating."

"We have now no electricity in Kyiv, you see we have just a small generator for generating the light for our communication," Poroshenko said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "And the temperature is minus, and we have snow on the streets."

Officials estimate that Russian attacks have crippled about half of Ukraine's national energy infrastructure.

Poroshenko called for air defense, ammunition and a fighter jet in order to keep up with the "totally new and different type" of war that Ukraine is fighting.

"This is not for taking Russian territory, this is just to destroy Russian logistics, to destroy Russian ammunition storage, to destroy Russian command input, and throw Russia away from Ukrainian soil, from Ukrainian sovereign and independent country," he said.

Earlier this month, Ukraine received its first shipment of National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS. This weapon air defense system, jointly produced by the United States and Norway, is able to shoot down drones, cruise missiles, helicopters and jets, but not drone missiles like the ones reportedly supplied by Iran.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russia preventing staff from entering Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant unless they sign a contract with Russian nuclear company

Overview of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and fires, in Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, August 24, 2022.
European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-2 Imagery | via Reuters
Overview of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and fires, in Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, August 24, 2022.

Russia is preventing staff from entering the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant unless they sign contracts with Rosatom, Russia's nuclear energy company, claimed Ukraine's General Staff in a Facebook post.

Russia occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in March. However, it continues to be operated by Ukrainian staff.

In early October, Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions, including the Zaporizhzhia region where the plant, Europe's largest, resides. Along with the annexation, Putin transferred control and oversight of the Zaporizhzhia plant to Russia.

The plant remains at the frontlines of fighting between Russia and Ukraine, with damage from shelling causing it to go into blackout mode last week. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned of instability in the plant's leadership and its oversight under Russian military control. It's also sounded alarms over potentially catastrophic consequences that could arise from continued shelling around the plant.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russia 'unilaterally postponed' nuclear arms control talks with the U.S.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin meet for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin meet for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021.

Russia "unilaterally postponed" nuclear arms control talks with the United States that were expected to take place in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson told NBC News.

The goal was to resume the annual inspections mandated under the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, the most recent arms control treaty between the two countries, according to the spokesperson. The inspections were suspended in March 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Russian side informed the United States that Russia has unilaterally postponed the meeting and stated that it would propose new dates," the spokesperson told NBC News. "The United States is ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability."

The New START Treaty came into force in 2011. In 2021, the two nations agreed to extend the deal until 2026. Per the terms of the agreement, both the U.S. and Russia must limit the quantities and types of nuclear-capable weapons. They are also required ensure transparency and verification of their stock and use.

International concerns about Russia's potential use of nuclear weapons have heightened in the nine months since Russia invaded Ukraine.

— Rocio Fabbro

Biden signs memorandum to combat conflict-related sexual violence

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure deal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2021.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure deal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2021.

U.S. President Joe Biden will sign a memorandum designed to combat sexual violence in conflict zones, including Ukraine.

The Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence will strengthen accountability and deterrence measures for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict situations through legal, policy, diplomatic and financial tools.

"For each rape reported in connection with a conflict, the United Nations estimates that 10 to 20 cases go undocumented," the White House said in a statement. "The United States does not accept (sexual violence) as an inevitable cost of armed conflict, and is committed to supporting survivors through all available measures."

The action will build on existing efforts from the U.S., including the use of sanctions and international coalitions to strengthen accountability.

Since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine, cases of sexual violence have skyrocketed. Last month, an independent investigation by the UN Human Rights Commission found "patterns" of alleged sexual violence perpetrated by Russian forces across Ukraine.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russia has launched over 16,000 missile attacks at Ukraine since the start of war, 97% at civilian targets

A militant of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic inspects the remains of a missile that landed on a street in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 26, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters
A militant of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic inspects the remains of a missile that landed on a street in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 26, 2022.

Russia has launched more than 16,000 missiles attacks on Ukraine since the start its invasion of the sovereign nation on Feb. 24, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

The majority of these strikes — 97% of them — were aimed at civilian targets, he said over Twitter.

"We are fighting against a terrorist state," Reznikov said. "Ukraine will prevail and will bring the war criminals to justice."

Last week, the European Parliament declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism for its attacks on civilian sites.

Russia has increasingly turned to missile and drone strikes as its battlefield losses mount. The energy sector became a primary target for Russian strikes, which have left large swaths of the Ukrainian population without power. Fears of a harsh and deadly winter grow as Russia's ongoing attacks continue to debilitate Ukraine's already unstable energy infrastructure.

— Rocio Fabbro

Ukraine destroyed combat units that attacked maternity hospital

Fire and rescue workers attend a building hit by a missile in central Kyiv on November 23, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images
Fire and rescue workers attend a building hit by a missile in central Kyiv on November 23, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed the Russian combat units that fired at a maternity hospital in Zaporizhzhia last week, killing a newborn baby, a top military official in the region said.

"Over the past week, [Ukrainian forces] struck within the borders of the Melitopol community and within the borders of Tokmak, and hit those [Russian] units that were shooting at Vilniansk," Oleksandr Starukh, head of Zaporizhzhia's regional military administration told the press. "There is confirmed information about the destruction of their positions, from which they fired [at Vilniansk] from S-300, including at the maternity hospital."

A wave of Russian missiles battered Ukraine last Wednesday, leaving several dead or injured and many without power across the country. The Zaporizhzhia region, home to Europe's largest nuclear plant, was rocked by shelling. In the city of Vilniansk, missiles struck a maternity ward, killing a 2-day-old infant.

In response to the renewed attacks on civilian infrastructure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia "proved to the whole world" that it is a terrorist state.

— Rocio Fabbro

Zaporizhzhia hit more than 400 times over the past week

Russian forces have shelled the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia more than 400 times over the past week, according to the head of the regional military administration.

"Over the past week, more than 400 strikes were launched [on Zaporizhzhia region], and more than half of them targeted civilian infrastructure," Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration, said during a media briefing, Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported.

Rescuers clear debris of the destroyed two-storey maternity building in the town of Vilnyansk, southern Zaporizhzhia region, on November 23, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Katerina Klochko | AFP | Getty Images
Rescuers clear debris of the destroyed two-storey maternity building in the town of Vilnyansk, southern Zaporizhzhia region, on November 23, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.\

Over the past day alone, Starukh said 88 strikes on 17 communities had been recorded with no casualties reported. Over the past week, however, three people have been killed and six more were injured during attacks on the region.

The official said efforts were being made to evacuate people with up to 800 civilians being moved every day to safer areas in central and western Ukraine. Over the past week, 438 people, including 67 children, have managed to leave.

CNBC was not able to verify the information in the report.

—Holly Ellyatt

Kremlin denies Russian forces are about to withdraw from nuclear power plant

This photo taken on Sept. 11, 2022, shows a security person standing in front of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia, amid the Ukraine war.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images
This photo taken on Sept. 11, 2022, shows a security person standing in front of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia, amid the Ukraine war.

The Kremlin denied a claim made by the head of Ukraine's state nuclear energy company that Russian forces could be preparing to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that they've occupied since March.

The head of Energoatom, Petr Kotin, said Sunday that he saw signs Russia could be preparing to leave the plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility and the center of bitter missile attacks between Russia and Ukraine.

"In recent weeks we are effectively receiving information that signs have appeared that they are possibly preparing to leave the [plant]," Kotin said on national television, Reuters reported.

"Firstly, there are a very large number of reports in Russian media that it would be worth vacating the [plant] and maybe worth handing control [of it] to the [International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA]," he said, referring to the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

"One gets the impression they're packing their bags and stealing everything they can."

The Kremlin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov denied the claim Monday, stating "there is no need to look for some signs where they are not and cannot be," state news agency Tass reported.

—Holly Ellyatt

Kyiv's mayor hits back at Zelenskyy criticism

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko visits a checkpoint of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Kyiv on March 6, 2022.
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko visits a checkpoint of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Kyiv on March 6, 2022.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's criticism of the council in Kyiv for not setting up enough community hubs in which members of the public can seek warmth, charging points and water.

Taking to Telegram, Klitschko said more than 430 heating points have been installed and working in Kyiv and that the city's administration is "preparing to quickly deploy more than 100 points in the event of an emergency." The city provided more than 400 generators to operate these points, he said.

"I do not want, especially in the current situation, to enter into political battles. It's ridiculous. I have something to do," Klitschko said, adding that such a public display of disunity "looks ugly, to say the least. Both for Ukrainians and for our foreign partners."

Zelenskyy singled out Kyiv for criticism in his video address on Sunday night, saying there had been complaints that the local government had not done a good job in setting up so-called "points of invincibility" where citizens can access basic necessities.

"I know that, unfortunately, not in all cities the local government has done a good job. In particular, there are many complaints in Kyiv. I expect better quality work from the mayor's office," Zelenskyy said, adding that "it is the responsibility of every local official to ensure that everything that should be there for people actually works."

— Holly Ellyatt

Gazprom says it won't withhold gas supplies to Moldova, but reserves the right to

Russian state gas giant Gazprom said Monday that it will not reduce gas supplies to Moldova, a former Soviet republic next to (and supplied with gas via) Ukraine, but threatened to cut supplies if Moldova failed to keep up with agreed gas payments.

"Funds for the gas deposited on the territory of Ukraine, intended for consumers in Moldova, have been received from Gazprom," the company said on Telegram. Therefore, it said, "it was decided not to reduce the gas supply to the Sudzha GIS [a gas metering station] for transit to Moldova."

"At the same time, we draw attention to the regular violation by the Moldovan side of contractual obligations in terms of payment for Russian gas supplies. Gazprom reserves the right to reduce or completely stop gas supplies in case of violation of their payment," it added.

Last week, Gazprom accused Ukraine of withholding gas supplies destined for Moldova and threatened to reduce those flows, although Ukraine denied the accusation.
Kirill Kudryavtsev | Afp | Getty Images
Last week, Gazprom accused Ukraine of withholding gas supplies destined for Moldova and threatened to reduce those flows, although Ukraine denied the accusation.

Last week, Gazprom accused Ukraine of withholding gas supplies destined for Moldova and threatened to reduce those flows, although Ukraine denied the accusation. Moldova's energy supplies from Ukraine have been affected during the war as the country's energy infrastructure has come under repeated attack.

Russia has repeatedly been accused of weaponizing energy supplies, although it denies it. Ukraine's Gas Transmission System Operator said last week that, with its threats over the Moldovan supply, Gazprom was again "using gas as an instrument of political pressure."

"It manipulates facts to justify its decision to limit further the volume of gas supplies to European countries. Gazprom deliberately interprets the introduction of European business rules of operation at interstate interconnection points as a violation of contractual obligations, obviously for political rather than commercial purposes," Olga Bielkova, director of government and international affairs at GTSOU, said in a statement.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. reportedly weighs sending 100-mile strike weapon to Ukraine

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.

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.

Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline in Donbass, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on November 22, 2022.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline in Donbass, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on November 22, 2022.

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.

The invasion of Ukraine drove up demand for American-made weapons and ammunition, while U.S. allies in Eastern Europe are "putting a lot of orders," in for a range of arms as they supply Ukraine, Bush added.

— Reuters

Liberated Kherson vulnerable to continuing Russian attacks, UK says

Despite its liberation by Ukrainian forces earlier in November, the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine continues to suffer daily bombardment by Russian artillery and remains vulnerable, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Monday.

On Nov. 24, 10 people were killed in the city from shelling, and on Sunday, 54 shelling incidents were reported in the area, the U.K. said.

Smoke rising from a Russian strike in the Kherson shipyards on Nov. 24, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images
Smoke rising from a Russian strike in the Kherson shipyards on Nov. 24, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.

"The city is vulnerable because it remains in range of most of Russia's artillery systems, now firing from the east bank of the Dnipro River, from the rear of newly consolidated defensive lines," the U.K. said.

Much of the damage is likely being inflicted in Kherson by Russia's use of multiple rocket launchers, principally BM-21 Grad systems.

Russian forces withdrew from the city of Kherson and part of the region on the western bank of the Dnipro river in early November, after struggling to supply their units there. Ukraine has advised citizens in the city to evacuate amid intense Russian shelling.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine expects Russia to bolster forces with troops from Belarus

Allied Resolve 2022 joint military drills held by Belarusian and Russian troops at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground.
Peter Kovalev | TASS | Getty Images
Allied Resolve 2022 joint military drills held by Belarusian and Russian troops at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground.

Ukraine expects Russia to plug personnel losses and strengthen its forces by redeploying units currently stationed in Belarus, the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces said Monday.

"The transfer of personnel and military equipment of the enemy to equip units that have suffered losses continues. It is expected that some units of the enemy will be transferred from the territory of the Republic of Belarus after they acquire combat capabilities," the update on Facebook said.

The General Staff said Russian forces continue to launch attacks in east Ukraine, around Bakhmut and Andriivka in Donetsk, as well as attack southern areas of the country around Zaporizhzhia.

"The threat of missile strikes by the Russian occupiers on critical infrastructure facilities throughout Ukraine remains," the update said.

Russia and Belarus have combined some of their army units to create a regional group of troops from both countries. The deployment, based in Belarus, is ostensibly aimed at strengthening the border. Russia and Belarus claim, without evidence, that Ukraine and NATO pose a threat to them.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia planning new strikes, Ukraine says, as struggle for power continues

People rest in a coffee shop in Lviv as the city faces scheduled power outages on Nov. 24, 2022, after Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
Yuriy Dyachyshyn | Afp | Getty Images
People rest in a coffee shop in Lviv as the city faces scheduled power outages on Nov. 24, 2022, after Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is bound to launch new missile attacks against the country, which is already struggling from power and water shortages in many places as a result of Russian shelling.

"We understand that the terrorists are planning new strikes. We know this for a fact," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Sunday. "And as long as they have missiles, they, unfortunately, will not calm down."

He urged defense forces and citizens to work together to withstand the expected, continued attacks, saying the coming week could well be as difficult as the previous week, when attacks on the power grid left around six million Ukrainians without electricity.

"Our defense forces are getting ready. The entire country is getting ready," he said. "We have worked out all the scenarios, including with our partners."

— Holly Ellyatt

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