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Russia-Ukraine war live: blackouts likely across Ukraine until March, energy provider says

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Blackouts likely to last until March 2023

Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said on Monday, as the government started free evacuations for people in Kherson to other regions.

Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, leaving millions of people without electricity and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of the YASNO major private energy provider for Kyiv, said that workers are rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold arrives.

“I would like everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko said in a post on his Facebook page. He added:

The basic scenario is that if there are no new attacks on the power grid, then under current conditions of electricity generation, the power deficit could be evenly distributed across the country. This means the outages will be everywhere but less lasting.

There are also different forecasts of the development of this situation, and they completely depend on attacks Russia.”

Key events

The Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will soon be able to add New Zealand to the list of parliaments he has addressed, after Wellington agreed to a request to do so.

The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said the government had agreed to the request from the Canberra-based Ukrainian embassy which serves both countries.

“The ask has been made. Happy to accommodate that,” she said, adding that it would be over to a parliamentary committee to find the time. The address is likely to be in the final week of the sitting year, which begins on 13 December.

Zelenskiy has given Ardern an invitation to visit Kyiv, which she is yet to take-up. But the defence minister, Peeni Henare, made a 10-hour trip to the Ukrainian capital last weekend.

New Zealand has given tens of millions of dollars of aid in support of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, as well as donating military equipment and levying sanctions targeting Russian elites and trade.

US state department seeing ‘mounting evidence of systemic war crimes’

Russians have murdered, tortured and kidnapped Ukrainians in a systematic pattern that could implicate top officials in war crimes, the US state department’s ambassador for global criminal justice said Monday.

There is mounting evidence that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has been accompanied by systemic war crimes committed in every region where Russian forces have been deployed”, said ambassador at large Beth Van Schaack.

Evidence from liberated areas indicates “deliberate, indiscriminate and disproportionate” attacks against civilian populations, custodial abuses of civilians and POWs, forceful removal, or filtration, of Ukrainian citizens – including children – to Russia, and execution-like murders and sexual violence, she told reporters.

“When we’re seeing such systemic acts, including the creation of a vast filtration network, it’s very hard to imagine how these crimes could be committed without responsibility going all the way up the chain of command,” she said.

Van Schaack represents the US to global bodies investigating war crimes and other atrocities, and called the current situation a “new Nuremberg moment”, a reference to the war crimes trials held in the German city at the end of the second world war.

She said in a briefing for reporters that Russia’s nine-month-old assault on Ukraine has sparked an “unprecedented array of accountability initiatives”, involving numerous bodies, along with the international criminal court in The Hague.

The bodies are coordinating to develop priorities and approaches “under all available jurisdictional bases”, she said.

Van Schaack declined to say specifically if the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, could be prosecuted for war crimes in Ukraine.

But she said prosecutors will “follow the evidence where it leads”.

Under international law, the doctrine of superior responsibility allows for prosecutions “to go all the way up the chain of command”, she said.

She also said that rights officials are looking closely at a video that emerged over the weekend that suggests Ukrainian troops may have killed Russian prisoners of war.

Blackouts likely to last until March 2023

Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said on Monday, as the government started free evacuations for people in Kherson to other regions.

Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, leaving millions of people without electricity and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of the YASNO major private energy provider for Kyiv, said that workers are rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold arrives.

“I would like everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko said in a post on his Facebook page. He added:

The basic scenario is that if there are no new attacks on the power grid, then under current conditions of electricity generation, the power deficit could be evenly distributed across the country. This means the outages will be everywhere but less lasting.

There are also different forecasts of the development of this situation, and they completely depend on attacks Russia.”

Summary

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the lates for the next while.

Ukrainians are most likely to live with blackouts at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy provider said late on Monday.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of the YASNO major private energy provider for Kyiv, said that workers are rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold arrives.

“I would like everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko said in a post on his Facebook page.

More on this soon. In the meantime, here are the key recent developments:

  • Ukraine is to evacuate civilians from recently liberated areas of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions. Residents of the two southern regions have been advised to move to safer areas in the central and western parts of the country, amid fears that the damage to infrastructure caused by the war is too severe for people to endure the winter.

  • The Kremlin said it was concerned by what it claimed to be Ukrainian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control. Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister, countered that the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia plant was a Russian tactic aiming to disrupt power supplies and “freeze Ukrainians to death”. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, appealed to Nato members to guarantee the protection of his country’s nuclear power plants from “Russian sabotage”.

  • The UN nuclear watchdog was to conduct an assessment of the Zaporizhzhia plant on Monday. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the forces behind its shelling were “playing with fire” and such attacks risked a major disaster.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Ukraine’s health system is “facing its darkest days in the war so far”. WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, called for a “humanitarian health corridor” to be created to all areas of Ukraine newly recaptured by Kyiv, as well as those occupied by Russian forces.

  • Ukraine’s prosecutor general office has said its officials have identified four locations where Russian forces tortured detainees in Kherson city. It said Russian forces “set up pseudo-law enforcement agencies” in pre-trial detention centres and a police station before troops withdrew from the southern Ukrainian city.

  • Russian troops have been accused of burning bodies at a landfill on the edge of Kherson during their occupation. Residents and workers at the site told the Guardian they saw Russian open trucks arriving to the site carrying black bags that were then set on fire, filling the air with a large cloud of smoke and a stench of burning flesh.

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