A planning error paralyzed German howitzers in Ukraine. Several Ukrainian regions are without power after Russian airstrikes. Russia’s military tries to motivate recruits with kill bonuses. All news about the Ukraine war in the ticker.
Saturday, November 19, 7:59 a.m.: Due to a planning error, German howitzers are currently not operational in Ukraine. This is reported by the “Spiegel”. 14 Panzerhaubitzen 2000 are in service in Ukraine. According to the report, however, Christine Lambrecht’s (SPD) Ministry of Defense failed to provide sufficient repair facilities. A “majority” of the howitzers are now in need of repair and cannot be used.
5:01 p.m .: Russian rocket attacks have apparently damaged the Ukrainian power grid even more than previously known. “Almost half of our energy system has failed,” Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal said on Friday, according to the Unian news agency. Ukraine therefore needs additional support from the European Union in the field of energy and also financially. Schmyhal made the comments at a joint press conference with EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis in Kyiv.
12:08 p.m .: After the withdrawal of Russian troops from parts of the Ukrainian region of Cherson, Moscow is expanding its defenses on the adjacent Crimean peninsula. The fortification work is intended to “guarantee the safety of Crimean residents,” said Moscow’s head of administration for the Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014, Sergei Aksjonov, on Friday. However, the security of Crimea must be ensured “mainly through measures on the territory” of the Kherson region.
Last week, Russian troops withdrew from parts of the Kherson region after failing to stop a Ukrainian counter-offensive. The withdrawal allowed Ukrainian forces to position their missiles closer to Crimea.
Friday, November 18, 12:06 p.m .: In the Donbass coal and steel region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian troops are fighting fiercely, with the front line hardly changing at the moment. The Ukrainian General Staff on Friday reported artillery and tank shelling on villages such as Vodyane, Krasnohorivka and Marjinka near the town of Avdiivka. The Kiev information was not independently verifiable, but in this case it was consistent with reports from Russian military bloggers.
Ukrainian-controlled Avdiivka is a few kilometers north of Donetsk. Because the front between Ukrainian forces and Moscow-controlled separatists has been running there since 2014, Ukraine’s positions are well developed. In the nearly nine months since the Russian invasion on February 24, Russian forces have made little gains in terrain. According to Russian data, the village of Opytne was conquered last.
According to estimates by the US Institute for War Studies (ISW), Russia has transferred troops to this sector of the front that have become free as a result of the withdrawal from the Kherson region.
According to the situation report of the Ukrainian general staff, another focus of the fighting is the region around the city of Bakhmut. There, Ukrainian positions were fired on with tanks, mortars, tube and rocket artillery. Here, too, the course of the front has remained practically unchanged for months.
There was also heavy artillery fire on the Kupyansk front. This important railway junction in the Kharkiv region was recaptured in September’s rapid advance by the Ukrainian army. However, since then, the Ukrainians have made little headway east.
According to local authorities, Russian troops fired at a village in the Zaporizhia region at night with the S-300 system missiles, which were actually intended for anti-aircraft defense. A building was destroyed but no one was injured.
3:59 p.m .: Despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, Russia continues to claim that it only attacks infrastructure objects with a “direct or indirect connection” to Ukraine’s military potential with missiles. The consequences of the shelling, the loss of electricity and heating, are the responsibility of Ukraine itself because it does not want to negotiate, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow on Thursday. The “military special operation” in Ukraine will therefore continue, “and its goals must be achieved,” he said, according to Russian news agencies.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, an armaments factory was destroyed in the central Ukrainian region of Dnipropetrovsk on Thursday “with high-precision rocket attacks”. It allegedly makes fuel and rocket engines for the Ukrainian army. In addition, the research and production company “Iskra” was hit in Zaporizhia, which, among other things, produces electronic components for repairing radar stations.
Kyiv accuses Russia of attacking civilian infrastructure and homes in violation of international humanitarian law and the rules of warfare. According to Ukrainian sources, several cities were again fired at on Thursday with Russian rockets. Accordingly, infrastructure objects were also hit in the city of Dnipro and in the Zaporizhia region. There were injuries and deaths.
According to British intelligence services, the massive Russian rocket attacks have severely hit Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The destruction of infrastructure has become a core part of the Russian war.
11.44 a.m .: According to the authorities, several cities in Ukraine have again been fired at with Russian rockets. Air alert was in effect across the country on Thursday. According to Ukrainian sources, the Russian armed forces are primarily attacking gas production facilities and a missile factory. “Right now rockets are flying over Kyiv,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, according to the Interfax Ukraine news agency. “Now they are bombing our gas production, they are bombing our companies in Dnipro and Yushmash,” says Schmyhal.
11:41 a.m .: Russia has used at least seven different types of internationally banned landmines in Ukraine, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). It was the only country other than Myanmar to resort to such weapons between mid-2021 and October 2022, according to the annual Landmine Monitor report. The mines were discovered and partially cleared in areas recaptured from Ukraine. Moscow accused Kyiv of laying landmines itself. However, this information could not have been independently verified.
Landmines are often only the size of the palm of your hand and can be spread over large areas from the ground or from the air with rockets. They lie in the ground and explode when someone approaches or steps on them. Most of the victims are civilians.
9:23 a.m .: According to the authorities, several cities in Ukraine have again been fired at with Russian rockets. Air alert was in effect across the country on Thursday. The regional administration announced that two infrastructure objects were hit in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro. Explosions from anti-aircraft fire were also heard over Kyiv.
Two Russian cruise missiles and two combat drones were shot down, the city administration said. Shelling was also reported from the Black Sea port city of Odessa. On Tuesday, Russia fired more than 90 rockets and cruise missiles at Ukrainian infrastructure. It was the largest such attack in nearly nine months of war.
Thursday, November 17, 8:36 a.m.: After the end of the Russian occupation in Kherson, the Ukrainian police found evidence of suspected crimes there, as in other liberated areas. Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyj said on Ukrainian television on Wednesday evening that people had been held captive in eleven places. In four of these places there is evidence that prisoners have been tortured. Investigators secured evidence there and questioned witnesses. Bodies would also be exhumed.
“So far, 63 bodies have been found in the Kherson region,” said Monastyrskyj. “But we must be aware that the search has only just begun and many more torture chambers and burial sites are still being discovered.”
Initially, there were no independent confirmations. However, torture chambers and graves of the murdered were also found in the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions when they came back under Ukrainian control.
Wednesday, November 16, 9:41 a.m .: Despite Russian destruction of the Kachowka dam in Ukraine, according to British assessments, there is no risk of a flood catastrophe. Three spans of the bridge on the dam were destroyed, making the crossings impassable, the Ministry of Defense in London said on Wednesday, citing intelligence. However, the weirs below this section are largely intact. “The current level of damage is unlikely to result in major flooding downstream,” it said.
Ukrainian forces had been attacking the bridge with precision strikes since August, successfully disrupting Russian supplies. On November 11, the Russian troops retreated with controlled demolitions, causing further significant damage. “This was presumably done to prevent further Ukrainian advances,” it said in London.
8:50 p.m .: Two Russian rockets hit the Polish village of Przewodów and killed two people in the explosion. The village is just 20 km from the Ukrainian border. The FDP politician and defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann has already commented on the situation and is demanding an explanation from Russia.
You can read more reports on the situation in Poland in the FOCUS online news ticker.
5:28 p.m .: After the probably most massive Russian rocket attacks on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure since the beginning of the war, Kyiv has described the situation as “critical”. “About 100 rockets were fired into the territory of Ukraine,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on television on Tuesday. That’s more than the shelling in early October, shortly after the attack on the bridge to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia. At that time, 84 rockets were fired at the country.
Deputy head of the presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko described the situation after hitting energy infrastructure objects as “critical”. “Most hits were found in the center and north of the country,” the 33-year-old wrote on the Telegram news service. The state energy supplier Ukrenerho had to switch to extraordinary power cuts to balance the grid. Tymoshenko called on the population to save electricity. In Kyiv, according to the authorities, about half of the city is without electricity. At least one person was killed as a result of the airstrikes.
Meanwhile, the state railways warned of train delays of up to an hour. Due to possible power failures, diesel locomotives were made available as a reserve.
4:20 p.m .: According to Ukraine, Russia attacked several Ukrainian cities from the air on Tuesday. According to an anti-aircraft app, sirens sounded across Ukraine in the afternoon, followed by explosions in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv. After the attacks, power went out in several regions of the country, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko in the online service Telegram, two residential buildings in the capital were hit in a rocket attack in Kyiv. Rescue workers are on site. The Ukrainian air defense intercepted several missiles over Kyiv. At least half of the residents are without electricity, explained Klitschko.
Deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said the rockets were fired by Russian forces. He circulated footage showing a fire erupting in a five-storey apartment building in Kyiv. “The danger is not over,” Tymoshenko declared, urging residents to stay in shelters.
Presidential adviser Andriy Yermak said the attack was apparently a reaction to the speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the G20 summit. In the speech, Zelenskyy called on the heads of state and government of the G20 countries to urge Moscow to end its war of aggression.
Other Ukrainian cities were also hit by attacks. “There are explosions in Lviv,” the mayor of the western Ukrainian city said in online media. The mayor of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country spoke of a “rocket attack” on the city. Both mayors reported power outages in their cities.
You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.