Russia-Ukraine War Latest: What we Know on day 231 of the Invasion
By Helen Sullivan, Martin Belam and Léonie Chao-Fong
Eight people detained in Russia over Crimea bridge attack; Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station loses off-site power again.
- At least seven people were killed and eight injured in a Russian strike on a crowded market in the town of Avdiivka, the governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region reported. “There is no military logic in such shelling – only an unbridled desire to kill as many of our people as possible and intimidate others,” Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
- Vladimir Putin has said Russia is ready to resume gas supplies via one link of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that remains operational. The ball was now in the EU’s court on whether it wanted gas supplied via it, the Russian president said in his address to the Russian Energy Week international forum.
- Eight people have been detained over the weekend’s attack on the Crimea bridge, and Russia’s security forces have named a senior figure from Ukraine as being behind them. A statement from the Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed “the organiser of the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, its head Kyrylo Budanov, employees and agents. Currently, five citizens of Russia, three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia, who participated in the preparation of the crime, have been detained within the framework of the criminal case.”
- A senior Ukrainian official dismissed the investigation as “nonsense”. “The whole activity of the FSB and Investigative Committee is nonsense,” Ukraine’s public broadcaster Suspilne cited interior minister spokesman Andriy Yusov as saying. He described the FSB and Investigative Committee as “fake structures that serve the Putin regime, so we will definitely not comment on their next statements”.
- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has described developments at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), which has lost off-site power again for a period of time, as “deeply worrying”. Energoatom, the Ukrainian state-owned company that manages the ZNPP accused Russian forces occupying it of refusing a convoy of company vehicles carrying diesel to refuel the plant’s generators after shelling of a substation in the Dnipropetrovsk region caused the plant to lose power.
- Ukraine’s ministry of reintegration has confirmed that 37 Ukrainian children who were illegally deported to Russia have now returned home. The children had been deported from the Russian-occupied territory of Kharkiv region in August, it said in a statement on Facebook.
- The European Commission wants at least €18bn (£15.8bn) in emergency aid to help Ukraine’s government stay afloat next year, as an economic crisis looms in the country. Officials in Brussels think the EU should provide at least half the €3bn-€3.5bn monthly running costs it estimates the Ukrainian state needs to function in 2023, the Guardian has learned.
- The Netherlands will deliver €15m worth of air defence missiles to Ukraine in reaction to Russian air raids on Ukraine earlier this week.
- Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned Russia’s “relentless bombings” of Ukrainian cities and appealed to “those who have the fate of the war in their hands” to stop. He was quoted as saying “My heart is always turned to the people of Ukraine, especially those living in places hit by the bombing”. The pontiff prayed for an intercession that “may change the hearts of those who have the fate of the war in their hands, so that they may cease this wave of violence and rebuild peaceful coexistence”.
- Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is a “rational actor who has miscalculated significantly,” US president Joe Biden said in a clip of a CNN interview broadcast late on Tuesday.
- The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said rhetoric from western leaders on the potential use of nuclear weapons was “provocative”. Peskov added that there had been no attempt from either Washington or Moscow to discuss a potential meeting between Biden and President Vladimir Putin.
- A crowdfunding appeal that was launched after Russian attacks on cities across the country on Monday has raised $9.6m (£8.7m) in 24 hours for the purchase of kamikaze drones for the Ukrainian armed forces. An initial 50 Ram II drones, unmanned aerial vehicles with a 3kg explosive payload, designed and built by Ukrainian companies, will be bought with the money, along with three control stations.
- Russia continued to attack key infrastructure in Ukraine with missile strikes on Tuesday. Amid warnings from the UN and some Nato countries that Moscow may be committing a war crime with its continuing deadly blitz on civilian targets, Russia’s defence ministry confirmed its troops continued to launch long-range airstrikes on Ukraine’s energy and military infrastructure.
- The leaders of the G7 condemned Russia’s most recent missile attacks on cities across Ukraine “in the strongest possible terms” and vowed to stand “firmly” with Kyiv “for as long as it takes”.
- Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asked G7 leaders to supply more air defence systems and for an international monitoring mission on the Belarusian border.
- Roughly 30% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been hit by Russia since Monday, officials said. As millions in Ukraine are facing blackouts due to the attacks, the government has urged civilians to cut their electricity use and not use domestic appliances such as ovens and washing machines.
- Russian strikes have damaged hundreds of cultural sites, Zelenskiy said as he urged the UN cultural agency to expel Russia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Unesco World Heritage Committee.