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Ukraine war latest: Russia bombards Ukraine’s infrastructure after European Parliament declares it 'state sponsor of terrorism’
Key developments on Nov. 23:
- Interior Ministry reports Russia's bombardment of Ukraine kills ten on Nov. 23.
- Attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure cause power outages in neighboring Moldova.
- Ukraine returns 36 POWs, including Azovstal defenders, from Russian captivity.
Russia launched yet another large-scale missile attack all over Ukraine on Nov. 23, killing civilians, damaging critical energy infrastructure, and causing blackouts in much of the country, including Kyiv, Lviv, as well as parts of neighboring Moldova.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi reported that the massive bombardment of Ukraine killed ten people. Half of them were killed in Vyshhorod, where Russia destroyed an apartment building.
Thirty-six people were injured in Kyiv Oblast alone, Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said. The total number of wounded across the country is yet to be announced.
In the capital, the missile strike killed three people, including a 17-year-old girl, and injured 11, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
He said that Russia attacked Kyiv with 31 missiles, 21 of which were shot down by the air defense.
Strikes hit critical infrastructure in the city, and, as of 10 p.m., nearly 80% of the capital remains without electricity and water supply, the mayor said.
Repairs "could take a few hours or tens of hours," he added.
Earlier on Nov. 23, Klitschko told the German newspaper Bild that parts of Kyiv may be evacuated due to widespread power cuts amid winter, saying, "this is the worst winter since World War II."
He stressed that residents should be prepared for the "worst-case scenario" regarding power outages during the winter period.
In total, on Nov. 23, Russia launched 70 missiles at Ukraine, and 51 of them were downed, Air Force said. Russia had launched Kh-101, Kh-555, and Kalibr cruise missiles, as well as Lancet drones.
President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, to request an urgent UN Security Council meeting regarding Moscow's mass strikes.
"I have instructed our Ambassador to the UN to request an urgent meeting of the UNSC following today's Russian strikes. Murder of civilians and ruining of civilian infrastructure are acts of terror. Ukraine keeps demanding a resolute response of the international community to these crimes," Zelensky said on Twitter.
At the same time, Western ambassadors, including the United States, United Kingdom, and France, made statements condemning the deadly strike.
"More cruel missile strikes across the country as Russia tries to punish Ukraine for daring to be free," Bridget A. Brink, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, said on Twitter.
"I have seen the strength of the people of Ukraine, and I know Russia's attempt to dominate Ukraine by plunging it into the cold and dark will fail," Brink added.
Moldova's President Maia Sandu, whose country also faced power shortages as a result of Russia's attack on Ukraine, accused Moscow of "leaving Moldova in the dark" and stressed that "we can't trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold and that intentionally kills people for the mere desire to keep other people poor and humiliated."
As a result of the strikes, three Ukrainian nuclear power plants – Rivne, South Ukraine, and Khmelnytskyi – were disconnected from Ukraine's energy grid, nuclear energy company Energoatom reported.
After a brief emergency shutdown of all reactors, the nuclear power plants are back on yet are still disconnected from the grid.
The Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant also experienced energy shortages and went dark, Energoatom added.
Respectively, power outages were reported across Ukraine as Russia attacked energy infrastructure.
Governor Kuleba said the entire Kyiv Oblast was left without electricity.
Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov also reported that the entire oblast faced a temporary blackout.
In the west, the city of Lviv was left without electricity, Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said. The electricity was restored at about 9:30 p.m. However, Sadovyi said that scheduled blackouts would remain in effect.
President's Office Deputy Head Kyrylo Tymoshenko reported that as of 11:00 p.m., electricity supply partially or fully resumed in 15 Ukrainian oblasts and Kyiv.
Even before the Nov. 23 attack, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russia caused damage to Ukraine's energy infrastructure worth over Hr 70 billion ($1.9 billion).
After a series of Russian mass missile strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, practically all big thermal and hydroelectric power plants in the country have been damaged, according to Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the head of Ukraine's state grid operator Ukrenergo.
Russia has been targeting Ukraine's critical infrastructure since early October, admitting that the country's energy facilities are its primary goal.
The previous large-scale mass strikes took place on Oct. 10, Oct. 17, Oct. 31, and Nov. 15. They resulted in power outages across Ukraine, including the capital.
European Parliament labels Russia' state sponsor of terrorism'
Hours before Russia began bombarding Ukraine, European Parliament passed a resolution marking Russia as a "state sponsor of terrorism," saying Moscow's deliberate attacks on civilian targets, including energy infrastructure, schools, and shelters, violate international law.
Zelensky welcomed the European lawmakers' decision on Nov. 23, saying Russia "must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe."
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the world in August to make a move to label Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
"No business, no contacts, no cultural projects," he said. "We need a wall between civilization and barbarians striking peaceful cities with missiles."
Following the Nov. 23 strike, Kuleba called on the rest of the world to follow the EU's example and label Russia as a terrorist state.
"Russia celebrates its recognition as a terrorist state with new missile terror against Ukraine's capital, other cities. Should be clear to those who still had doubts: Russia must be recognized as a terrorist state worldwide, and Ukraine must get all necessary air defense systems as soon as possible," he wrote on Twitter.
Thirty-five Ukrainian soldiers and one civilian were released from Russian captivity, Zelensky's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak reported on Nov. 23.
According to the coordination headquarters for POWs, 20 defenders of Mariupol, including nine people from the Azovstal steel plant, were among those released during the prisoner exchange.
"We've managed to bring home those who spent eight months of the war in captivity," Yermak said.
On Nov. 3, Yermak said Ukraine had returned 1,138 prisoners of war from Russian captivity since March.