Dhe President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has condemned the Russian air strikes on his country’s power grid at an emergency session of the UN Security Council as a “crime against humanity”. “When we have sub-zero temperatures and millions of people without electricity, without heating and without water, it is a blatant crime against humanity,” Zelenskyy said in his video address on Wednesday.
Selenskyj had himself instructed the Ukrainian UN ambassador to request an emergency meeting on the heavy Russian rocket fire on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. “The murder of civilians, the destruction of civilian infrastructure are acts of terrorism,” he said on Twitter before the meeting. The international community must give a “resolute answer”.
As one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia has the right of veto. Moscow can thus prevent any resolution by the most powerful body in the United Nations on the Ukraine war. Selenskyj called on the Security Council “not to be taken hostage by an international terrorist (state)”.
After the Russian shelling, the water and electricity supply in Kyiv failed on Wednesday. According to the Ukrainian authorities, there were also blackouts in other parts of the country, and even the neighboring Republic of Moldova was affected. The ongoing Russian missile attacks are hitting Ukraine hard. Many people are without water, without electricity and without heating.
All developments in the live ticker:
4:50 a.m. – After a power failure: No large influx of refugees yet
The most recent Russian attacks on electricity plants and other infrastructure facilities in Ukraine have not yet resulted in significantly more people from the country seeking refuge in Germany. Since the high point in March, the number of war refugees from Ukraine identified by the Federal Police entering Germany or in the country has fallen, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said on request. In the past few weeks, “small increases in the number of arrivals have been recorded”. However, no trend can be derived from this development.
However, the spokesman pointed out that there is no reliable information on the exact number of people who entered the country as a result of the war. This has to do with the fact that the majority of them can enter without a visa. In addition, there are no stationary border controls, for example on the border with Poland.
According to an evaluation by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf), a total of 1,026,599 people were recorded in the central register of foreigners on November 21 who had entered Germany since February 24, 2022 in connection with the Ukraine war. However, it can be assumed that the data of some Ukrainians who have already left Germany are also stored there.
01:18 am – Amnesty has complained about reprisals against the media during protests in Russia
The human rights organization Amnesty International has complained that the media and human rights activists reporting on anti-war protests in Russia are being massively obstructed. “We can see that the Russian authorities are not only doing everything they can to stop and severely punish any protest, no matter how peaceful. They also try to prevent such protests from even becoming public knowledge,” said Natalia Prilutskaya, Russia researcher at Amnesty International, according to a press release by the organization on Thursday.
Amnesty has seen the rights of the media and activists increasingly restricted since the Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin took office in 2000. But since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in February of this year, the reprisals have “increased considerably”. In addition to increasing violence against journalists and independent observers during protests by the police, the NGO complained above all about legal restrictions.
For example, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a much-criticized law came into force in Russia, on the basis of which media and individuals are threatened with high penalties for spreading “discrediting of the Russian army”. Practically all news that does not reflect the official Kremlin portrayal with regard to the war in Ukraine, which in Moscow can officially only be described as a “military special operation”, can fall under this formulation.
00:02 – Macron: War crimes in Ukraine must not go unpunished
French President Emmanuel Macron has described the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s electricity and water supplies as war crimes, which must have consequences. “Today there were massive bombing raids on Ukraine, leaving large parts of the country without water and electricity,” Macron said on Wednesday evening. “Any strike against civilian infrastructure constitutes a war crime and must not go unpunished.”
“With winter approaching, we will gather Ukraine’s international supporters in Paris on December 13 to help the country resist and ensure its access to energy,” Macron said. “We also don’t forget Moldova, which is also affected by water and power cuts.”
Despite his condemnation of Russia, Macron announced on Wednesday that he wanted to contact Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin again in the next few days. “I intend to establish direct contact with him on civilian nuclear issues and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in the next few days after we exchanged views on these issues with the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Macron said, as reported by BFMTV.
11:04 p.m. – Ukraine reports initial successes in network repairs
According to official information, technicians are making progress in restoring the power supply after the heavy Russian rocket attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. In 15 administrative areas there is partial electricity again, said the deputy head of the Presidential Office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, on Wednesday evening in Kyiv. In the capital itself, critical infrastructure such as hospitals will be supplied again, after which it will be the turn of private consumers. By the evening, 2,750 emergency contact points had been put into operation nationwide, with heating, light, water, internet and telephone for citizens.
The Russian army fired around 70 rockets at Ukraine on Wednesday and again caused serious damage to the infrastructure. According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, 80 percent of households in Kyiv were without electricity and water. According to the Interior Ministry, ten people were killed by the shelling.
10:40 p.m. – Zelenskyj calls for further condemnation of Russia at the UN
After Russian attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for a further condemnation of Moscow before the UN Security Council. Russia must be clearly described as a terrorist state, Zelenskyj demanded via video from the committee in New York on Wednesday. The council meeting had previously been put on the agenda at short notice after a request from Zelenskyj.
The attacks on critical infrastructure, which led to widespread power outages, are “crimes against humanity,” Zelensky said. He called for more air defense support and for United Nations teams of experts to investigate the damage.