Sunday, April 21, 2024

Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 250: Mayor says Kyiv partially without electricity and water after Russia attacks

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Kremlin says grain deal is “risky” and “dangerous” if Russia cannot guarantee navigation safety

Without Russia guaranteeing navigation safety, continuing the Black Sea grain deal “is hardly feasible,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated Monday on a regular call with reporters, calling such a scenario “much more risky” and “dangerous.”

At the moment, Russia continues grain contacts with the Turkish side, as well as with the UN, through diplomatic channels, Peskov added.

Russia announced it will suspend its participation in the United Nations-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine “for an indefinite period of time” after Moscow blamed Kyiv for the drone attacks on the Crimean city of Sevastopol. CNN cannot independently verify Russia’s report.

A top Ukrainian official on Saturday accused Russia of inventing “fictitious terrorist attacks” on its own facilities in Crimea and also blamed Moscow of “blackmail.”

The deal is set to expire next month, and Moscow officials have cast doubt on whether they will extend their participation.

Asked about Russia’s conditions for resuming the deal, Kremlin spokesperson Peskov declined to comment on Monday.

Meanwhile, 12 vessels left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Monday despite Russia’s withdrawal.

Norway raises military readiness in response to Ukraine war

Norway, a NATO member that shares a border with Russia in the Arctic, has announced it will raise its military readiness in response to the war in Ukraine.

“The military will as of tomorrow raise its preparedness in Norway”, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told a news conference.

“This is the most severe security situation in several decades,” he added.

“We currently have no reason to believe that Russia wants to involve Norway or any other country directly in the war, but the war in Ukraine means it is necessary for all NATO countries to be increasingly on their guard,” he continued.

Electricity substations, hydropower and heat generation facilities hit on Monday: Ukraine

Russia’s fresh barrage of missile strikes in Ukraine on Monday hit key infrastructure facilities in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

“Electric substations, hydropower and heat generation facilities were hit by rocket fire” on Monday morning, said Ukrainian energy minister Herman Halushchenko on Facebook, describing it as a “barbaric attack.”

There was a partial blackout in many regions, he said, adding that emergency power outage schedules were introduced for consumers in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv and Poltava regions.

Russian forces launched “more than 50 cruise missiles against Ukraine” and 44 of them were intercepted, Ukraine’s air force announced.

Russian attacks struck 10 regions and damaged 18 facilities: Ukrainian PM

Moscow’s fresh wave of strikes on Ukraine Monday hit 10 regions and damaged 18 facilities, “most of them energy-related,” according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

“Their target was not military facilities, but civilian critical infrastructure,” Shmyhal said on Telegram.

“Hundreds of settlements in seven regions” had lost power and engineers were “working at full capacity” to repair the damage, he added.

Emergency power outages were ongoing in the regions of Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv, Shmyhal stated.

The recent shelling has damaged critical infrastructure in major cities across the country, disrupting power and water to Ukrainian residents as the country gears up for the winter season.

Russia says hit Ukraine energy infrastructure with ‘high-precision’ strikes

Russia’s army announced Monday it had struck military and energy infrastructure targets in Ukraine after Kyiv announced a wave of cruise missile attacks across the country.

“The Russian armed forces continued strikes with high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons against the military command and energy systems of Ukraine,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

“The strike targets were achieved. All assigned objects have been hit,” it added.

Erdogan says Turkey is determined to keep Black Sea grain deal alive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara is determined to try and keep the Black Sea grain initiative alive, despite Moscow’s withdrawal from the agreement.

“One third of the world’s wheat is produced by Russia and Ukraine. You are the closest witnesses of our efforts to deliver this wheat to the countries facing the threat of famine,” Erdogan told an audience at the 8th Turkish Medicine Congress in Istanbul on Monday.

“We provided 9.3 million tons of Ukrainian wheat to the world and helped to relatively ease food crisis by founding the Joint Coordination Center. Although Russia is hesitant in this regard, because they are not provided with the same facilitation, we will continue our efforts with determination for the service of humanity,” he added.

The Turkish leader’s statement came after Russia announced on Saturday it will suspend its participation in the United Nations-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine, after alleging drone attacks on the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

Twelve vessels left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Monday despite Russia’s departure from the deal, Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Minister of Infrastructure, tweeted.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has been linked to a worsening global food crisis.

The World Food Programme estimated that tens of millions of people moved into a stage of acute hunger as a consequence of the Ukraine war, while Western officials have accused Russia of using food as a weapon during its invasion.

UN labour agency: Ukraine war, other crises take toll on jobs

The United Nations labour agency has warned that job vacancies and employment growth are expected to decline worldwide in the fourth quarter as the war in Ukraine and “multiple and overlapping crises” have led to shrinking wages, higher debt and yawning inequality.

Gilbert Houngbo, the new director-general of the International Labour Organization, called on governments to intervene to help set prices for goods, redirect “windfall profits” and boost income support and social protections as the agency released the 10th edition of its monitoring report on the world of work on Monday.

“Tackling this deeply worrying global employment situation, and preventing a significant labor market downturn, will require comprehensive, integrated and balanced policies both nationally and globally,” he said in a statement.

Missile hits Kryvyi Rih amid fresh wave of Russian strikes

A Russian missile struck an industrial enterprise in Kryvyi Rih, in the Dnipropetrovsk region of central Ukraine, on Monday, according to the city’s mayor.

“During the morning missile attack, two missiles were shot down (thanks to the Air Defense Forces), and one cruise missile hit an industrial enterprise,” Oleksandr Vilkul said on Telegram.

There were no casualties reported.

The Kremlin launched renewed strikes targeting key infrastructure in major Ukrainian cities on Monday, disrupting power supplies across the country.

Kyiv residents urged to stock up on water after missile attack

The mayor of Kyiv has called on residents to stow away water from stores and pumping stations, after a Russian attack on a nearby power facility left a large percentage of the capital’s population without water on Monday.

Currently, due to damage to the energy facility near Kyiv, 80% of the capital’s consumers remain without water supply,” Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

“Just in case, we ask you to stock up on water from the nearest pumps and points of sale. Specialists are doing everything possible to return water to the apartments of Kyiv residents,” he added.

A water supply company based in the capital has published a map showing the locations of pumps that are still operational.

Moscow targeted a fresh wave of missile strikes at critical infrastructure in major Ukrainian cities on Monday, also disrupting power supplies across the country.

Ships leave Ukraine with more than 350,000 tons of grain, despite Moscow’s exit from deal

The dozen vessels that left Ukrainian ports carrying food on Monday contained 354,500 tons of grain and other agricultural products, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure.

“12 ships with 354.5 thousand tons of agricultural products left the Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi sea ports today for the needs of Africa, Asia, and Europe,” the ministry said on Facebook, noting that one vessel – the Ikaria Angel – was chartered by the UN’s World Food Programme and destined for Ethiopia.

The post added that UN and Turkish representatives were continuing to negotiate with Moscow “for the full implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” after Russia withdrew from the UN-brokered deal on Saturday.

Strikes on Kharkiv disrupt water supply and subway

Russian attacks on Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv have disrupted residents’ water supply and halted most subway train services, according to its mayor, amid a fresh round of missile strikes targeting key Ukrainian infrastructure Monday.

“The blow fell on a critical infrastructure facility, resulting in the subway and ground electric transport being de-energized,” Mayor Ihor Terekhov, said on Telegram.

“At the moment, we have managed to launch the Kholodnohirsko-Zavodska (subway) line, and we have replaced trolleybuses and trams with buses,” he continued.

Engineers are working to resume water supply to the homes of local residents, Terekhov added.

At least 80 per cent of Kyiv residents without water

Eighty per cent of Kyiv residents are without water and 350,000 homes are without electricity after “massive” Russian strikes hit the capital on Monday.

“Currently, due to the emergency situation in Kyiv, 80 per cent of consumers remain without water supply,” the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

“Engineers are also working to restore power to 350,000 homes in Kyiv that were left without electricity,” he added.

Kyiv has a population of about 3 million.

Attack on Kyiv hit energy facility powering 350,000 apartments

An attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv this morning hit an energy facility that powered 350,000 apartments in the capital, mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

“Energy workers are working on restoring power supply after a facility powering 350,000 apartments has been damaged,” he added.

Emergency services as well as specialists from DTEK, the country’s largest private energy company, and Ukrainian energy operator Ukrenergo were “doing their best to stabilize the situation as soon as possible,” Klitschko continued.

Explosions were heard in Kyiv early on Monday. Parts of the city are without electricity and water, following power outages caused by Russian attacks over the weekend which officials say would take weeks to repair.

Power outages in Kyiv after Russian strikes

Parts of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv are without electricity and water after critical infrastructure facilities were hit, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram Monday.

Explosions were heard in Kyiv early on Monday.

Power outages caused by Russian attacks continued in Kyiv over the weekend. Klitschko said earlier it will take weeks to repair electrical systems.

Russia attacks key infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia: Ukrainian officials

Russian rocket attacks hit critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region on Monday, Ukrainian officials said.

“Today, at approximately 8:00 a.m., the enemy launched rocket attacks on Zaporizhzhia,” said head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration Oleksandr Starukh on Telegram.

No casualties have been reported and emergency services are at the scene of the attacks, he added.

Starukh stated the rockets were believed to have been launched from aircraft and power outages and more strikes were possible.

US and China chat about Ukraine war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a phone call and discussed Russia’s war against Ukraine and the threats it poses to global security and economic stability, the US Department of State announced.

Blinken also discussed with his Chinese counterpart the need to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage US-China relations.

Explosions heard in Kyiv

Explosions were heard in Kyiv early on Monday morning.

Air raid sirens also sounded across the city, the Kyiv Regional State Administration said on Telegram. Air defense systems were working and people have been asked to stay indoors in shelters and other safe places, the administration added.

It comes after a week of power outages in the capital and other parts of Ukraine caused by Russian attacks on the country’s power infrastructure.

Russia attacks key infrastructure in Kharkiv and Cherkasy: Ukrainian officials

Russian missiles struck key infrastructure facilities in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and the central region of Cherkasy, Ukrainian officials stated Monday.

Kharkiv’s Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram that two missiles hit a critical infrastructure facility in the city.

Parts of the Cherkasy region have lost power after a critical infrastructure facility was hit, regional military administration head Ihor Taburets noted.

Ukrainian officials believe Russia’s countrywide drone and cruise missile attacks are being carefully orchestrated to target important infrastructure as Ukraine heads into winter. By hitting thermal power stations, electricity sub-stations, transformers and pipelines, Russian forces have been directly impacting Ukrainians’ ability to access power, water and the internet.

NATO calls on Russia to urgently renew the UN-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine

NATO has called on Russia to urgently renew the United Nations-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine, spokesperson Oana Lungescu told CNN Sunday.

This comes a day after Russia decided to suspend its participation from the deal with Ukraine after drone attacks on the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Saturday, which it blamed on Kyiv.

“All NATO Allies welcomed the UN deal brokered by Türkiye that made the resumption of Ukrainian agricultural exports via the Black Sea possible. These exports have helped reduce food prices over the world, including in Africa,” Lungescu said.

“We call on Russia to reconsider its decision and renew the deal urgently, enabling food to reach those who need it most. President Putin must stop weaponizing food and end his illegal war on Ukraine,” Lungescu added.

UN chief delays his next trip to focus on Russia’s suspension of the Black Sea grain deal

The United Nations Secretary-General is delaying his departure for the Arab League Summit in Algiers after Russia suspended its participation in an UN-brokered grain deal viewed as key to addressing the global food shortage.

The UN chief’s departure for Algiers has been delayed by a day to focus on the issue, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ spokesperson said in a statement.

The Secretary-General, “is deeply concerned about the ongoing situation regarding the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” the spokesperson noted.

Moscow announced it was leaving the deal after what it said was a Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea Saturday. Kyiv accused Russia of inventing “fictitious terrorist attacks” and using the deal as “blackmail.”

“The Secretary-General continues to engage in intense contacts aiming at the end of the Russian suspension of its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” the UN chief’s office stated.

“The same engagement also aims at the renewal and full implementation of the initiative to facilitate exports of food and fertilizer from Ukraine, as well as removing the remaining obstacles to the exports of Russian food and fertilizer,” the statement added.

Over 200 ships blocked by Russia’s decision to back out of grain deal: Ukraine

The movement of more than 200 ships participating in United Nations-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine is blocked, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure said Sunday in its latest update.

It comes a day after Russia announced it had decided to suspend its participation from the deal with Ukraine, following its claims that Kyiv ordered drone attacks on the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

“Due to the fact that as of October 30, the Ukrainian side does not have permission from the Joint Coordination Centre to pass through the safe corridor and conduct inspections, 218 vessels are actually blocked in their current positions,” the ministry noted on its verified Facebook page.

Of these 218 ships blocked in their current positions, there are “95 loaded vessels that have already left Ukrainian ports and are waiting inspection for shipment to the final consumer,” the ministry stated.

An additional 101 vessels are waiting for inspection at the entrance to Ukrainian ports and 22 loaded vessels are waiting to leave Ukrainian ports, it added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the decision of Russia to suspend its participation from the grain export deal with Ukraine “deliberate” and “a rather predictable statement” in his nightly address on Saturday.

World leaders have criticized Russia’s move, with the United States accusing the country of “weaponizing food.”

Putin is using “food as a weapon of war”: USAID head

The head of the United States Agency for International Development urged Russia to continue its participation in the United Nations-brokered Black Sea grain deal, writing that “the world cannot afford for Vladimir Putin to continue to use food as a weapon of war.”

“Russia’s comments about suspending its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative are regrettable. This life-saving agreement between Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey, brokered in July by the United Nations, has allowed the export of more than nine million metric tons of grain and other food products to populations around the world in the midst of a devastating global food crisis,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power wrote in a statement Sunday.

She touted the “tremendous success” of the deal so far, crediting it with lowering global food prices and providing relief to those “most vulnerable to severe hunger.”

“The United States and our allies and partners remain clear: the Black Sea Grain Initiative must continue and be extended. Any attempt to undermine the agreement is an attack on hungry families around the world whose lives and livelihoods are dependent on this initiative,” Power wrote.

Moscow announced it was leaving the grain deal after blaming Ukraine for a drone attack on Crimea Saturday. Kyiv has accused Russia of inventing “fictitious terrorist attacks” and using the deal as “blackmail.”

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