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Ukraine war latest: Kherson under Russian fire after liberation

by Thaisa Semenova November 21, 2022 11:44 PM 6 min read
A fire burning at an oil refinery after it was hit overnight by Russian forces on Nov. 20, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine. (via Getty Images).
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Key developments on Nov. 21:

  • Russia has lost over 8,000 units of military equipment since Feb. 24.
  • Polish prosecutors won’t allow Ukraine to join the investigation of the Przewodow blast, Polish media outlet Rzeczpospolita reports.
  • Russian forces strike civilian infrastructure in liberated Kherson on Nov. 21, one person killed.
  • Norway to allocate nearly $ 200 million to Ukraine to help purchase gas.

1 civilian killed, 4 injured as Russia attacks liberated Kherson

Russian forces shelled the liberated southern city of Kherson, killing one and injuring four civilians, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, said on Nov. 21.

According to the deputy head of the Kherson Oblast Council Yurii Sobolevskyi, Russian strikes targeted civilian infrastructure in Kherson.

The village of Antonivka just north of Kherson also came under a Russian attack on Nov. 21. One woman was hospitalized there.

Ukraine liberated Kherson on Nov. 11 after forcing Russian forces to withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River, where the city sits.

After their retreat to the east bank, Russian troops continued attacks on Ukrainian positions and settlements in Kherson Oblast.

Kherson, a city with a pre-war population of nearly 300,000 people, was the only regional capital seized by Russia during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Also, Kherson Oblast was among the four Ukrainian regions that Russia claimed to have annexed in September. Neither Ukraine nor Western allies or the UN have recognized Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian territories.

On Aug. 29, Ukraine began a southern counteroffensive tasked with retaking Kherson. As Ukrainian troops approached the city and destroyed Russian supply lines, Moscow was forced to retreat.

Following the liberation of Kherson, Yaroslav Yanushevych, the oblast governor, said Russians mined "nearly everything" in the city.

After Russia’s retreat from the city, Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia continues to consider Kherson its territory, despite the withdrawal of its troops, according to Russian state-controlled news agency TASS.

Read our latest on-ground report from liberated Kherson here.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly recognizes Russia as ‘terrorist state’

Thirty NATO members unanimously supported the propositions of the Ukrainian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Nov. 21, and adopted a resolution recognizing Russia as a “terrorist state,” according to lawmaker Yehor Cherniev, head of Ukraine’s permanent delegation to the assembly. The assembly is a consultative interparliamentary organization for the North Atlantic Alliance.

The resolution also appeals to set up a special international tribunal regarding Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

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

“The resolution names Russia the most direct threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” said Tomas Valasek, head of the Slovak delegation to the NATO parliamentary assembly. “It states clearly that the state of Russia, under its current regime, is a terrorist one.”

Valasek added that Russia violated its agreements with the alliance, thus, the provision of limiting the forward deployment of troops is “null and void.”

The document includes Ukrainian requests to increase military assistance, develop specific steps regarding Ukraine’s accession to NATO, and create a mechanism for collecting reparations from Russia for damages caused by its aggression, according to the Ukrainian diplomat.

The resolution will be sent to the governments and parliaments of all NATO member countries.

Polish missile investigation

The Polish Prosecutor’s Office won’t agree to include the Ukrainian side in the investigation of the missile hit in the town of Przewodow, Polish media outlet Rzeczpospolita reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.

“There is no such legal possibility, and it would be against the procedures, not to mention the interest of the investigation, in which all possible versions are examined, including that it could have been a Ukrainian air defense missile,” one of the sources said, according to the report.

On Nov. 18, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukrainian experts were already working on the explosion site and added that he was grateful to Poland for giving them access.

However, according to Rzeczpospolita sources, Ukrainian investigators didn’t perform any procedural activities on the site because it’s against the law — they were just able to see the place.

Ukraine’s full participation would be possible through the international investigative commission, which has not been set up, Rzeczpospolita wrote.

On Nov. 15, during a massive nationwide Russian attack against Ukraine, an explosion killed two people in the Polish village of Przewodow, about six kilometers west of the Ukrainian border.

According to Jakub Kumoch, head of the Polish president’s International Policy Bureau, the Polish-American investigation team found evidence it had been a Ukrainian air defense missile, which was used to shoot down a Russian rocket but missed the target and fell in Przewodow.

Ukraine denied the allegations and requested access to the investigation.

National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine is “ready to hand over evidence of the Russian trace” in the accident.

At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the investigation into the blast is ongoing, but there was “no indication that Russia is preparing offensive military actions against NATO.”

On the battlefield

Fierce fighting continues in eastern Donetsk Oblast – however, there are now fewer attacks due to bad weather, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address. According to him, on Nov. 20, Russian troops shelled various sites in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts 400 times. At the same time, Ukrainian troops are slowly advancing in Luhansk Oblast, he added.

In Donetsk Oblast, the Ukrainian forces are fighting back the attacks.

“The price we’re paying for Russian forces not moving forward (in Donetsk Oblast) is very high,” said deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar.

Meanwhile, the Oryx analytical project reported on Nov. 21 that the Russian military has lost at least 8,044 units of equipment since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

Out of those, according to the report, at least 4,927 units have been destroyed, 198 damaged, and 300 abandoned. Another 2,619 units were captured by Ukrainian forces. The information is collected using photos, videos and other publicly available data.

The analysts believe that the actual figures for Russian lost equipment may even be considerably higher, as the report limited its findings to equipment which could be clearly verified.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that Russia has lost 390 troops over the past day, bringing the total number of troops lost in Ukraine since Feb. 24 to 84,600 military personnel.

To replenish combat losses, Moscow continues to conduct covert mobilization in occupied Crimea, the General Staff said. In occupied Simferopol, the Russian-imposed administration continues to conscript people to meet quantitative mobilization indicators determined by the Kremlin, the report reads.

In the south of Ukraine, a military operation is underway on the left bank of the Dnipro River.

According to Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, the operation is ongoing on the Kinburn Spit in Mykolaiv Oblast, and a storm in the sea is helping the Ukrainian forces.

The Kinburn Spit is a narrow strip of land south of Kherson, at the mouth of the Dnipro River.

Ukrainian troops’ attempts to venture into the Kinburn Spit on the left bank of the Dnipro River followed the liberation of Kherson and other areas on the river’s right bank on Nov. 11.

Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, said that the operation on the Kinburn Spit is in a “quiet mode” — an apparent reference to its secret nature.

“Russian forces are being brought there from the occupied territory. So they can afford to replenish reserves even after we inflict damage,” Humeniuk said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military reported it believes that Russia will start producing Iranian drones for its war in Ukraine.

Yurii Ihnat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, said on air on Nov. 20 that Iran is transferring the blueprints for its drones to Russia in an effort to avoid sanctions for selling the drones directly, although it may take some time before Russia is able to start production.

Russia has been using Iranian-made kamikaze drones to try to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defense and attack the country’s critical infrastructure. Zelensky said last month that Russia ordered over 2,400 of these drones.

Attacks and casualties

In the late hours of Nov. 20, Russian troops shelled Kharkiv Oblast, hitting a residential building in the town of Shevchenkove, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a deputy chief of staff for President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov later said that the building was hit with S-300 missiles, and at least one person was killed and two wounded due to the attack.

Russian forces also struck three districts of the Kharkiv Oblast with mortars and artillery, damaging warehouses and industrial facilities in Kupiansk, according to Syniehubov.

In Donetsk Oblast, Russian attacks injured two civilians in Bakhmut and one in Kostiantynivka, said Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Russia hit two villages in Zaporizhzhia Oblast with S-300 missiles overnight, damaging private houses, said Governor Oleksandr Starukh.

The Ochakiv community in Mykolaiv Oblast was also under attack with multiple launch rocket systems, the oblast governor Vitaliy Kim reported. There were no casualties, he said.

Overnight on Nov. 21, Russia once again shelled Nikopol in the south of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, this time injuring a 78-year-old man, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on Telegram. Several houses, cars, and a boat were hit, according to the governor.

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