Russia pummels Ukraine with missiles and drone strikes, injuring civilians

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KYIV, Ukraine – Smarting from military setbacks and apparent isolation during a week of key world meetings, Russia on Thursday launched its second major missile strike against Ukraine in three days, accusing Kiev of rejecting peace talks and warning of further attacks on critical infrastructure.

Thursday’s attack injured scores of civilians and damaged infrastructure in the country’s south and east, including natural gas facilities, as Ukrainian officials said Russia was trying to undermine Ukraine’s economy and weaken the country’s will to fight a cold winter. The first snow fell in Kyiv on Thursday.

The bombing was the latest in a series of attacks on Ukraine’s energy system that began earlier last month and reflected a narrowing of Moscow’s strategy after a string of defeats, including a retreat from the southern city of Kherson.

As its ground forces are battered and losing territory, Russia is grappling with long-range bombing and struggling to train and equip tens of thousands of new recruits, many of whom may be reluctant to join Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failed war. .

After most G20 leaders strongly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine at a summit in Indonesia this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tried to shift the blame for power and heat shortages in many parts of Ukraine to Kiev on Thursday. A direct result of the Russian military strike.

Peskov said that the blackout was caused by “the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to resolve the issue and negotiate.” In an interview with reporters, he said that Russia had struck only military targets and warned that Moscow would achieve its goals in Ukraine through peace talks or continued military operations.

A border village in eastern Poland has been torn apart by war

Peskov dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for any talks on Wednesday, saying: “First they negotiate, then they refuse to negotiate, then they pass a law prohibiting any kind of negotiations, then they say they want to negotiate.” is to the public.

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As Moscow insists that the illegally annexed Ukrainian territory will remain Russian territory forever, there is little or no willingness on either side to give ground. Ukraine, on the other hand, is demanding Russia’s complete withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

Restoring territorial sovereignty was part of a 10-point peace plan Zelensky presented to G-20 leaders this week. The plan also stipulates that Russia will pay compensation.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that Kiev’s accusations of setting preconditions for talks proved Ukraine was not interested in negotiations.

Ryabkov, however, said Russia was committed to maintaining its territorial integrity, including the territory recently recognized as part of the Russian Federation. This is not the same as setting preconditions for dialogue, he said.

Ukrainian authorities said Thursday’s continued bombardment proved the hollowness of Russia’s claims that it was ready for talks.

On Thursday, Russia agreed to a 120-day extension of a grain export deal brokered by Turkey, with Ukraine agreeing to ship grain from three ports, in a small sign of a deal after Moscow earlier threatened not to extend the deal.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it was a “technical extension” of the deal, which the parties had not objected to.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he has made a commitment to continue the negotiations, which are important to prevent a global food crisis.

“Over the past four months, nearly 500 ships have delivered more than 11 million tons of grain and food products to those in need, which clearly shows the importance and benefits of this agreement for global food supply and security. Erdogan said in a statement, thanking Putin, Zelensky and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Russians who fled the war in Ukraine in the UAE are looking for success in “Dubaisk”.

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Ukrainian officials said Russia launched more than 90 missiles and 11 Iranian drones against Ukraine in Tuesday’s brutal operation. One missile, believed to have come from a Ukrainian air defense system, landed in eastern Poland, killing two people in the village of Przewodow.

Zelensky said on Wednesday that his military did not fire the missile that hit Poland, saying he had “no doubt” about it, despite the initial findings of the intelligence and investigation announced by Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO. On Thursday, Duda went to the scene, but Ukraine said it would not be able to participate in the investigation soon.

However, President Biden rejected Zelensky’s position early Thursday.

Asked about Zelensky’s statement after getting off Navy One shortly after returning to the White House from the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, Biden said, “That’s not evidence.”

Half an hour later, at 8 a.m. local time in Ukraine, air raid sirens rang out across the country.

An hour later, local authorities reported that Ukraine’s air defense forces were intercepting Russian missiles and drones, but also hit some energy and industrial infrastructure.

In the regional capital of central Ukraine, Dnipro, a huge explosion hit the center of a city street as cars drove down a main road, a dashboard camera showed. Zelensky posted the video, which the Washington Post could not immediately independently verify.

“Morning. Peaceful city, people’s desire to live normally. Go to work and business. Missile strike!” Zelensky wrote in the caption accompanying the video.

Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Region, Valentin Reznichenko, posted on his Telegram channel that Russian missiles hit two districts of Dnipro, causing “big fires” and destroying residential buildings. He said that 14 people were injured and taken to the hospital, including a 15-year-old girl.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told an economic conference in Kyiv on Thursday that the Russians are “bombing our enterprises in the Dnipro,” along with aerospace manufacturer Pivdenmash.

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NATO says a missile has crashed in Poland. But the fear of spreading remains.

Oleksii Chernyshov, head of Ukraine’s state energy company Naftogaz, said in a statement Thursday that Russia had launched a “massive attack” on the company’s natural gas production infrastructure. “Several destroyed objects are known so far. “Others suffered varying degrees of damage,” said Chernyshov.

Other parts of the country also reported destruction and loss of life. Three people were injured in the attack in the Black Sea region of Odessa, authorities said. Russians fired cruise missiles from the Black Sea and two Su-30 bombers, military officials said. Six rockets were fired, they said.

Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of Kharkiv, said that four missiles hit critical infrastructure in the Izyum region in eastern Ukraine. Eight people were injured, the regional prosecutor’s office said.

Air defense forces destroyed four missiles and five self-exploding aircraft, but did not hit buildings or infrastructure, the military administration of Kyiv reported on Telegram.

However, Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said the electricity situation was “difficult” and that he planned to cut the power on schedule.

But despite the rocket fire, Erdogan announced on Thursday that he had pledged to continue an interim agreement to protect Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports, a deal crucial to averting a global food crisis.

“According to the decision made between Turkey, the United Nations, the Russian Federation and Ukraine as a result of the four-way negotiations organized by Turkey, the agreement on the establishment of the Black Sea Grain Corridor has been extended by 120 days from November 19, 2022. Erdogan said in a statement.

Dixon reports from Riga, Latvia. Zeynep Karatas and Loveday Morris in Istanbul in Przewodow, Poland, contributed to this report.

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