Several Ukrainian regions are without power after Russian airstrikes. Russia’s military tries to motivate recruits with kill bonuses. At the same time, after the withdrawal, Russia is trying to hold the eastern territory of Kherson. All news about the Ukraine war in the ticker.
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. In the afternoon, according to an anti-aircraft app, sirens sounded across Ukraine, 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.
3.20 p.m .: According to official information, two houses were damaged in a Russian rocket attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the surrounding area. “Several missiles were shot down by the anti-aircraft defenses over Kyiv,” Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on Tuesday on the Telegram news channel. A total of four rockets were shot down over the city alone.
Information about victims was initially not available. There were also impacts in the area around Kyiv. Attacks were also reported from the Odessa, Cherkassy, Kirovohrad, Khmelnytskyi, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions. In the meantime, an air alert has been declared across the country. According to Ukrainian media reports, the rockets were fired over the Caspian Sea.
10.30 a.m .: The Russian military is trying to motivate the conscripts with kill bonuses and bounties in the war against Ukraine. The army channel Zvezda published a price list on its Telegram channel on Tuesday. According to this, the shooting down of a Ukrainian aircraft is compensated with the equivalent of 5,000 euros, a helicopter with just over 3,200 euros, and a battle tank with a good 1,600 euros. “In addition, payments to soldiers who have excelled in destroying fighters and performing other tasks are possible – up to 100,000 rubles” (about 1600 euros), it says.
The bonuses for shooting down drones, armored personnel carriers, artillery pieces and anti-aircraft systems are more modest. Here, the Moscow military leadership promises the recruits the equivalent of 800 euros.
The Russian leadership has also promised the soldiers high salaries and financial security in the event of injury or death – in this case for the bereaved. Accordingly, the gross monthly minimum salary is 3100 euros. Injured people receive a severance payment of around 50,000 euros, and in the event of death, Moscow pays the relatives around 80,000 euros. However, numerous complaints have surfaced in social networks and media over the past few weeks and months that promised payments have not been made.
Tuesday, November 15, 1:50 a.m.: After Ukraine recaptured the city of Cherson, the US Department of Defense expects Russian troops to entrench themselves on the opposite east bank of the Dnipro River. Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are on the east side of the river, a senior Pentagon official stressed on Monday. “Our current assessment is that they intend to keep this territory under their control.” There is currently no evidence that Ukrainian units have crossed the river.
More than eight and a half months after the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian army had a great success last week: After successful counter-offensives, the Russians in the southern region of Cherson withdrew from the regional capital of the same name and other places on the west bank of the Dnipro.
On the east bank, the Russians hold most of the Cherson region. Ukraine had announced that it wanted to liberate all areas of the country from Russian occupation with the support of arms and ammunition supplies from the West.
8:08 p.m .: After the withdrawal of the Russian army, the Ukrainian armed forces in the south of the country say they have so far recaptured a total of 179 places. In the Cherson and Mykolaiv areas, an area of around 4,500 square kilometers northwest of the Dnipro River had been liberated in the past few days, the Ukrainian agency Unian reported on Sunday, citing the Task Force South.
5:20 p.m .: When the Russian troops left the Ukrainian city of Cherson, it was completely devastated and mined. The security situation in the city remains tense. Ukrainian authorities have imposed a night curfew from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., restricting traffic in and out of the city. They also banned ships from navigating the Dnipro River between November 13 and 19. This is reported by the British news site “BBC”.
There are fears that Russian troops, who have meanwhile dug in on the opposite bank of the Dnipro, could resume shelling. Thousands of explosive devices have already been defused, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Citizens who have fled have been warned not to return until their homes have been checked for mines and booby traps.
“The enemy has mined all critical infrastructure objects,” said the governor of Kherson Yaroslav Yanushevych. Most homes have no electricity, no water and gas problems, a senior city official said.
Firewood would now be distributed to residents of Kherson and surrounding areas, the governor said. The city government also plans to distribute 6,000 small stoves to residents.
Sunday, November 13, 12:57 p.m.: Russia’s Defense Ministry has reported a minor success in Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine. Russian soldiers had conquered the town of Majorsk near the town of Horliwka, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday. Initially, there was no information from the Ukrainian side. However, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had already spoken of the currently particularly violent Russian attacks in Donetsk in his video address on Saturday evening. “It’s pure hell there,” he said.
Russia’s army has conquered large parts of Donetsk and annexed it in September – as well as the neighboring region of Luhansk and Zaporizhia and Cherson in the south – in violation of international law.
10:35 p.m .: After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson, Ukrainian security forces have started clearing mines in the region. 2,000 explosive devices have already been defused, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday. He reported massive destruction in the region. “Before fleeing Kherson, the occupiers destroyed all critical infrastructure – communications, water supply, heating, electricity.”
According to the President, the Ukrainian troops have now recaptured around 60 towns in the Cherson region. Around 200 police officers were sent to Kherson to set up roadblocks and “document the crimes of the Russian occupiers,” police chief Igor Klymenko said.
Klymenko warned residents about the explosive devices left behind by Russian forces. A police officer was injured during a mine clearance in an administrative building in Kherson. According to police, a woman and two children were also injured in an explosion near their car in the village of Mylove in the Kherson region.
7:36 p.m .: After the troop withdrawal from the right bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson, the Russian occupiers have now also announced the evacuation of the dam city of Nowa Kakhovka on the other side of the river. The administration of Kakhovka is withdrawing to a safe place together with the citizens of the city, local crew chief Pavel Filipchuk said in a speech to the population on Saturday, according to the Russian state news agency TASS. He called on people in a defined zone of 15 kilometers to leave their homes.
It is feared that the dam could be destroyed by shelling and the area could be flooded. For weeks, Russians and Ukrainians have been accusing each other of planning such a provocation. Ukrainian forces have identified the Kakhovka administration as the “number one target for a terrorist attack” in the region, Filipchuk claimed. Ukraine rejects intentions of sabotage.
The lives of the people are in danger from hostilities, said Filipchuk. The people were to be taken to the southern Russian region of Krasnodar and cared for there. Filipchuk promised the fugitives warm accommodation, regular meals and 100,000 rubles (around 1,600 euros) in help. Ukraine accuses the occupiers of kidnapping people.
According to local reports, Ukrainian units had already advanced to the small town of Beryslav near the dam. On Friday, Russia declared the announced withdrawal from the western bank of the Dnipro River to be complete. Accordingly, the Russian soldiers withdrew to the area east of the river.
4:41 p.m .: Shortly after the Ukrainian soldiers hoisted their flag in central Cherson, there were several indications that the military was already planning the next offensive. The New York Times reports that Ukraine is preparing for a new offensive in the Zaporizhia region. The industrial city of Melitopol, more than 70 kilometers from the front, could be the target of the troops. The Ukrainian government has already contradicted the opinion of many analysts that the war could stagnate in the cold winter.
“The logic of war is not to pause and somehow advance further,” said Senior Lieutenant Andriy Mikheichenko, commander of an anti-tank unit defending the embattled city of Bakhmut in eastern Donbass. “I think that there will be counterattacks in other directions, so the enemy will not have time to move reserves and block attacks.
There are reports of rocket attacks on Russian troops near Melitopol and Henichesk. So said Chuck Pfarrer, a former member of the U.S. Navy SEALs that he believes Melitopol is the next target and told a Ukrainian NGO that he was confident Ukraine could retake more territory in the coming months.
Other analysts point out that an offensive in the Zaporizhia region would pause the Ukrainian advance in Kherson, according to the New York Times. Because the Dnipro River is too wide. In addition, numerous bridges are damaged and destroyed, most recently the Antonivka Bridge in the city of Cherson, so they would rather expect the front to remain on the river bank.
4 p.m.: After withdrawing from the southern Ukrainian regional capital of Cherson, the Russian occupiers have relocated their regional administrative center to the part of the region of the same name that they still control. A large part of the Russian administration has already been relocated to the city of Henichesk, Russia’s state news agencies reported on Saturday, citing a spokesman for the Cherson occupation administration.
Henichesk is located in the very southeast of Cherson on the Azov Sea and only a few dozen kilometers from the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed back in 2014.
Saturday, November 12, 3:30 p.m.: After the Russian withdrawal from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, Ukrainian soldiers secure the city, clear mines and explosives, and search for Russian soldiers who may be hiding in houses. It is not yet clear how many soldiers were left behind in the chaotic Russian retreat, according to the New York Times. Ukraine’s military intelligence service said on Saturday that soldiers were still in permanent defensive positions and it was unclear whether they would fight, flee or surrender.
The spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command said some Russian soldiers were actively fighting with Ukrainian troops in and around the city. She added that Ukrainian forces were “a stone’s throw” from the Russians, who were fortifying their positions across the Dnipro River. This makes the Kiev troops vulnerable to artillery fire. The Ukrainian military also reported fighting in towns and villages outside of Kherson, including around a key dam in the town of Nova Kakhovka.
You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.