Four suspected Russian torture chambers have been discovered in Cherson. The residents are to be evacuated because of the power outages. Meanwhile, Green politician Anton Hofreiter warns: Russia still wants to take the capital Kyiv. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found here in the ticker.
More on the course of the war in Ukraine.
5:10 a.m .: Residents of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson are to be evacuated to regions with better infrastructure and electricity supply for the winter. In particular, women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable people are being urged to voluntarily evacuate, Ukrainian officials said.
The Black Sea port city was recently liberated by Russian troops but is without electricity, and authorities say the city’s infrastructure is too broken for citizens to survive the winter.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine will offer citizens of Kherson free evacuation to the cities, which also includes free accommodation, food and medical care.
4:50 a.m .: According to Anton Hofreiter, member of the Greens in the Bundestag, Ukraine is preparing for another Russian attempt to conquer the capital Kyiv after the winter. “The message from the Ukrainians was: We have information that Russia has not given up any of its war aims,” the chairman of the European Committee in the Bundestag told the editorial network Germany (RND) after talks in Kyiv. This also applies to the conquest of the capital. “The Ukrainians are preparing for another attack on Kyiv in the spring.” There are fears that Russian troops will be massively reinforced.
“Ukraine’s main concern is that Russia could send 280,000 freshly trained soldiers to the front in the spring,” Hofreiter said. “The Ukrainian military say they have the upper hand at the moment. However, they openly admit that they are concerned that Russia could regain the upper hand in the spring. If Russia goes on the offensive again, there are fears that the war could be very prolonged.” Against this background, the Green politician emphasized: “Ukraine needs ammunition for anti-aircraft defense and armored vehicles by spring at the latest.”
4.30 a.m .: Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) is committed to a protection zone around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. “I share the acute concern and warning of the International Atomic Energy Agency about the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant,” Lemke told the editorial network Germany (RND/Tuesday). Military attacks on a nuclear power plant are absolutely unacceptable, emphasized the Federal Minister responsible for nuclear safety.
“I support IAEA Director General Grossi’s call for a protection zone around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant,” said Lemke. “In addition, it is essential for nuclear safety that the Ukrainian nuclear power plants are under Ukrainian control.”
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia is currently under fire again. Russia and Ukraine blame each other.
Tuesday, November 22, 4 a.m.: Ukraine’s power grid, which was damaged by Russian attacks, is still unstable, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The country had to contend not only with planned shutdowns but also with unplanned power outages on Monday, he said in his evening video address. Consumption exceeds electricity production.
“Tonight the situation in Kyiv and its environs, as well as in Vinnytsia, Sumy, Ternopil, Cherkasy, Odessa and some other cities and regions is particularly difficult,” Zelenskyi said. He called on regional and municipal administrations to continue to encourage citizens to save electricity.
“The system damage caused to our energy sector by the Russian terrorist attacks is so great that all our citizens and businesses should be very economical and spread consumption over the hours of the day,” he said.
8:38 p.m .: Despite the intense shelling over the weekend, the Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhia is largely intact according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There are no immediate concerns about nuclear safety, said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi on Monday evening after a team of experts visited the site. The four IAEA experts took a close look at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The status of the six reactor units is stable and the integrity of the spent fuel, fresh fuel and low, intermediate and high level radioactive waste in their respective storage facilities has been confirmed.
Nevertheless, the IAEA experts had found widespread damage on the site. “This is of great concern as it highlights the sheer intensity of the attack on one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants,” Grossi said.
8:30 p.m .: French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his concern about the situation in the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in a telephone call with his Ukrainian colleague Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Efforts must continue to be made to set up a security zone around the facility in which attacks and fights are avoided. Both agreed on this, it said on Monday in a statement from the Élysée Palace. In view of the conference on support for Ukraine in Paris in December, Macron and Zelenskyj discussed how to get Ukraine through the winter well. Priority is therefore given to access to energy and various ways of saving energy.
4:21 p.m .: After the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson was recaptured, Ukrainian investigators say they discovered four torture sites used by the Russian occupiers. They identified a total of four buildings in which the “Russian occupiers illegally detained and brutally tortured people,” said the Attorney General’s Office in Kyiv on Monday.
During their eight-month occupation of Cherson, Russian forces set up “pseudo-law enforcement agencies” in previous detention centers and police stations. There, “parts of rubber truncheons, a wooden bat, a device for generating electric shocks as well as a light bulb and bullets were seized”. The Russian authorities also left behind documents on the administration of these prison camps.
Investigations into other torture sites and unlawful detentions are ongoing, it said. The aim is also to “identify all victims”.
Since the liberation of Kherson by Ukrainian forces on November 11, Kyiv has repeatedly denounced Russian “war crimes” and “atrocities” in the region. A Kherson resident told AFP last week that he had been detained for weeks during which he was beaten and electrocuted by Russian and pro-Russian forces. Moscow has so far not responded to the allegations.
5:05 a.m .: Since the beginning of the war in February, Russia has reportedly fired almost 4,700 rockets at Ukraine, leaving large parts of the country in ruins. “Hundreds of our cities have practically burned down, thousands of people have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been deported to Russia,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday. Both the head of state and the general staff in Kyiv also reported that heavy fighting continued, especially in the Donbass region in the east of the country.
Last Tuesday alone, Russia fired almost 100 rockets at Ukraine. “Hundreds of different rockets against our cities, against residential buildings, against companies, against power plants,” said Zelenskyj in a video message to the international organization of Francophonie – an association of French-speaking countries whose representatives met in Djerba, Tunisia. As a result of these attacks, more than 20 million people were temporarily without power.
“Millions of people have left Ukraine to seek protection from the war in other countries,” said Zelenskyy. He asked the member states of Francophonie for help. “Ukraine really wants peace. But to restore peace, we need support.” A return to peace is possible “if everyone in the world understands that nobody in the world deserves a single day of terror”.
Monday, November 21, 2:04 a.m .: According to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, the Bundeswehr uses exceptions in European procurement law to get material faster. “We have to be faster in procurement. Order more of what is available on the market and has proven itself with our partners, and don’t spend years developing your own gold-edged solutions,” said the SPD politician to the “Rheinische Post” and the Bonn “General-Anzeiger” (Monday). “That’s why we’re using now There are also exceptions to European public procurement law,” she said. “In addition, orders under a value of 5,000 euros can now be awarded privately, i.e. without a time-consuming tender.” This affects 20 percent of all orders from the Bundeswehr Procurement Office in Koblenz.
“The 100 billion euros alone will not do the trick,” said the minister. As a reaction to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Bundestag and Bundesrat decided on a special program worth 100 billion euros to equip an operational Bundeswehr. The money is to be used to purchase new aircraft, helicopters, ships, tanks and ammunition in the coming years.
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