Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 268 of the invasion

Swedish prosecutor declares Nord Stream incident as sabotage; 10 million without power after Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy system, Zelenskiy says, as first winter snow falls on Kyiv

  • The Swedish prosecutor who is leading the investigation into the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines has confirmed Friday that the incident was sabotage, and said that traces of explosives have been found. In a statement, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said: “During the crime scene investigations that were carried out on site in the Baltic Sea, extensive seizures were made, and the area has been carefully documented. Analysis that has now been carried out shows traces of explosives on several of the foreign objects that were found. Advanced analysis work continues in order to be able to draw firmer conclusions about the incident.”

  • A senior UN official on Friday welcomed the extension by four months of a deal aimed at easing global food shortages by helping Ukraine export its agricultural products from Black Sea ports, but said there was still work to be done. “We are really very pleased on the extension of the Black Sea grains initiative. It is very good news for the world, for the food insecurity crisis that we are going through,” Rebeca Grynspan told the media in Geneva. “But we have said very clearly that we are still not where we want to be, there is still work to be done and especially on fertilisers,” she added.

  • Russia’s ministry of defence has issued a strongly worded statement after the emergence of video footage it claims shows Ukrainian military personnel deliberately killing more than 10 captured Russian servicemen. The ministry said “The brutal murder of the Russian servicemen is neither the first, nor the single war crime. This is a common practice in the armed forces of Ukraine that is actively supported by the Kyiv regime and straightforwardly ignored by its western patrons”. Earlier this week a UN human rights monitoring agency in Ukraine said it had evidence of both the Russian Federation and Ukraine mistreating prisoners of war.

  • Oleh Synyehubov, governor of Kharkiv, said that eight people were injured on Thursday dealing with the consequences of a Russian strike on what he described as “gas industry equipment” in Izium.

  • The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said there is no prospect or plans of a summit between Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and the US president, Joe Biden. Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia was not ruling out further high-level meetings with the US on “strategic stability”. “If the Americans show interest and readiness, we will not refuse,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying in Russian state media. Tass also quoted him saying: “There is simply nothing to talk about Ukraine with them [the US].”

  • The Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency has reported that a school was struck by Ukrainian fire in the occupied region of Donetsk, one of the areas of Ukraine that the Russian Federation claims to have annexed. It quoted the Russian-imposed mayor of Donetsk Aleksey Kulemin saying that 10 shells were fired at the central districts of the city, two of which landed in close proximity to the school.

  • Pope Francis reiterated on Friday the Vatican was ready to do anything possible to mediate and put an end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the pontiff said in an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa. Asked whether he believed reconciliation between Moscow and Kyiv was possible, the pontiff called on everyone not to give up.

  • Russia unleashed another wave of rocket, drone and missile strikes across Ukraine on Thursday morning. The latest strikes mark the sixth mass attack since early October, which Ukrainian authorities say are aimed at destroying the country’s energy system.

  • Winter’s first snow fell in Kyiv on Thursday while authorities said they were working to restore power nationwide after Russia earlier this week unleashed what Ukraine said was the heaviest bombardment of civilian infrastructure of the war.

  • The Donetsk region experienced the heaviest fighting of the war so far on Thursday. Russian forces were reinforced by troops pulled from Kherson city in the south which Ukraine recaptured last week. Russian forces fired artillery on the towns of Bakhmut and nearby Soledar, among others, the Ukrainian military said.

  • About 10 million people were without power, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a Thursday evening video address. Authorities in some places had ordered forced emergency blackouts, he said.

  • A deal brokered by the UN and Turkey in July aimed at easing global food shortages was extended for four months on Thursday, though Russia said its own demands were yet to be fully addressed.

  • Strikes on critical infrastructure in Odesa and Dnipro on Thursday were confirmed by the presidential administration and the regional heads. Three people were reportedly injured in Odesa region, while another 14 people were injured in the strike on Dnipro city, according to its mayor, Borys Filatov.

  • Two people were killed in a missile attack overnight on the south-eastern region of Zaporizhzhia, according to local officials. Three were wounded in an attack on the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, they added.

  • Investigators in recaptured territory in the area uncovered 63 bodies bearing signs of torture after Russian forces left, Ukraine’s interior minister was quoted as saying on Thursday. Russia denies its troops target civilians or have committed atrocities. Mass burial sites have been found in other parts previously occupied by Russian troops, including some with civilian bodies showing signs of torture.

  • The UK’s Ministry of Defence said the barrage of missiles that struck Ukraine on Tuesday was probably the largest number of strikes that Russia had conducted in a day since the first week of its invasion.

  • The US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US had “seen nothing so far that contradicts” Poland’s preliminary assessment that Ukrainian air defences were to blame for Tuesday’s missile incident. US president Joe Biden disputed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s comment that the missiles that landed in Poland on Tuesday were not of Ukrainian origin, saying this is not what evidence suggested.

  • The Kremlin said it could not imagine engaging in “public” negotiations with Ukraine. In a call with reporters, spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused Kyiv of changing its position regarding possible Russia-Ukraine peace talks, adding that the war would continue regardless of dropping temperatures.

  • Ukrainian forces control about 1% of territory in the eastern region of Luhansk, according to the Russian-installed head of the area. The Moscow-backed administrator, Leonid Pasechnik, was cited as saying that Ukraine controlled the village of Belogorovka and two other settlements in the region.

  • A member of Russia’s armed forces who took part in the invasion of Ukraine has requested political asylum after landing in Madrid, the Guardian learned.

  • The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said he believed neither Russia nor the US planned to use nuclear weapons. Erdoğan’s comments came after US central intelligence agency (CIA) director William Burns and Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, met this week in Ankara in what was the first known high-level, face-to-face US-Russian contact since the war began in February.

  • A Dutch court has found three men guilty of the murder of 298 people on board flight MH17, which was shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile when it was flying over eastern Ukraine in 2014.


Martin Belam, Guardian staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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