Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Key events

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday criticized Ukraine as “godless”, “savage” and “immoral” over the raid on an ancient Orthodox monastery in Kiev.

Ukraine’s SBU security service and police raided the 1,000-year-old Kiev Pechersk Lavra complex – or Kiev Monastery of the Caves – early Tuesday as part of operations to counter alleged “subversive activities of Russian special services”, the SBU said.

The site is a Ukrainian cultural treasure and the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that falls under the Moscow Patriarchate, Reuters reported.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there was no justification for the raid and compared the “Kiev regime” to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine whose name in Russia is often associated with immoral disorder, chaos and revelry.

“This is just some kind of total godless bacchanalia. There is no justification or explanation for that. And it can’t be,” Zaharova said on Sputnik radio.

“This is another part of the absolutely immoral and wild actions of the Kiev regime.”

The Russian Orthodox Church said on Tuesday that the search was an “act of intimidation”.

Russia has likely launched a number of Iranian produced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Ukraine since September, the British Ministry of Defense announced.

It is also likely that Russia has nearly exhausted its current stockpile of Iranian-made weapons and will seek resupply, the ministry said in its daily intelligence update posted on Twitter.

The Russian attacks were a combination of drones and traditional reusable weapon systems, it added.

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, for today. My colleague Tom Ambrose will take you through the rest of the day’s news.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has come under pressure to apologize after posting a video of himself at a soccer match wearing a scarf depicting historic Hungary, including parts of Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said Tuesday that Kyiv would summon the Hungarian ambassador “who will be informed about the unacceptability of Viktor Orban’s act.”

“The promotion of revisionist ideas in Hungary does not contribute to the development of Ukrainian-Hungarian relations and is not in line with the principles of European politics,” wrote Nikolenko on Facebook. “We are waiting for an official apology from the Hungarian side and a denial of the encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian media showed pictures of Orbán meeting a Hungarian soccer player wearing a scarf that Ukrainska Pravda reported showed a map of “Greater Hungary” including the territory now part of the neighboring states of Ukraine, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia and Serbia.

Romania’s foreign ministry also responded angrily, saying it had expressed its “strong disagreement with the gesture” to the Hungarian ambassador in Bucharest:

Special “invincibility centers” will be set up across Ukraine to provide electricity, heating, water, internet, mobile connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and 24 hours a day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an overnight video address on Tuesday.

The Russian attacks cut off electricity for a long time for up to 10 million consumers at once. Ukraine’s national electricity grid operator said on Tuesday that the damage was colossal.

“If massive Russian attacks are repeated and it is clear that power will not be restored for hours, the ‘invincibility centers’ will go into action with all key services,” Zelenskiy said.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal, said this week that 8,500 electric generators are being imported into Ukraine every day.

The first winter snow fell in most of the country during the past week.

Authorities have warned of blackouts that could affect millions of people by the end of March – the latest fallout from Russia’s nine-month invasion that has already killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and devastated the global economy.

Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities follow a series of battlefield setbacks that have included the withdrawal of its forces from the southern city of Kherson to the east bank of the Dnieper river that cuts through the country.

Britain sends helicopters to Ukraine

The Ministry of Defense announced that it will send helicopters to Ukraine for the first time since the beginning of the war.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said it would be the first time manned aircraft have been sent to the war-torn country since the Russian invasion.

As the BBC reports, three former Sea King helicopters will be provided. The first of which has already arrived in Ukraine.

Wallace, who made the announcement from Oslo where he is meeting allies to discuss continued military support for Kiev, added that the UK would also send an additional 10,000 artillery shells.

It came after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used a visit to the Ukrainian capital to unveil a new £50m defense aid package that includes 125 anti-aircraft guns and anti-drone equipment supplied by Iran.

Moldova will pay for gas denied in Ukraine, Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said on Wednesday.

Accusing Ukraine of withholding gas volumes that were intended for Moldova, Gazprom said it may begin reducing gas supplies to Moldova via Ukraine from November 28.

“Gazprom accuses Ukraine and Moldova of something that is not happening. All gas delivered to Moldova’s right bank will be paid for by Moldova,” Spinu said on the Telegram messaging app.”

These are photos of the aftermath of the attack, released by Zaporizhzhia Governor Oleksandr Staruk, via the Kyiv Independent:

⚡️Russia attacked a maternity hospital in Zaporizhia, a newborn was killed.

A Russian missile hit the maternity ward of the Vilnianska hospital near Zaporizhia early in the morning on November 23, Governor Starukh wrote on Telegram. A newborn baby was killed in the attack.

📸 Starukh/Telegram pic.twitter.com/O0b41fvAdh

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) November 23, 2022

The governor of the Zaporizhzhia region said a newborn was killed in a Russian attack on a maternity hospital

Zaporizhzhia Governor Oleksandr Starukh said on Telegram early Wednesday morning that a Russian missile attack on a maternity hospital in the city of Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, killed a newborn.

“Sadness fills our hearts,” he said.

Abstract

Hello, this is the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I will be bringing you the latest news.

Zaporizhzhia Governor Oleksandr Starukh said on Telegram early Wednesday morning that a Russian missile attack on a maternity hospital in the city of Vilniansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, killed a newborn.

“Sadness fills our hearts,” he said.

The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the claim, but if true, it would not be the first strike by Russian forces on maternity hospitals in Ukraine.

In March, Russian bombs destroyed a children’s hospital and maternity hospital in Mariupol, killing three people and injuring 17. A pregnant woman who was at the hospital when it was attacked died later, after being transferred to another hospital, as did her child.

We will have more information on the strike in Zaporizhzhia as it becomes available. In the meantime, here are other key recent developments:

  • The Group of Seven countries will soon announce a price cap on Russian oil exports and the coalition is likely to adjust the level several times a year rather than monthly, a senior US Treasury official said on Tuesday. The G7, including the United States, along with the EU and Australia, are due to impose price caps on Russian oil exports by sea on December 5 as part of sanctions intended to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

  • Ukrainians who need basic services if Russia destroys power plants and other facilities this winter can turn to special “invincibility centers,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday. Thousands of centers across the country will offer electricity, heating, water, internet services, mobile phone connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and 24 hours a day.

  • Ukrainians will probably live with a power outage at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy supplier said, as the government began free evacuations of people in Kherson to other regions.

  • Kyiv to summon Hungarian ambassador to protest that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán went to a football match with a scarf depicting some Ukrainian territory as part of Hungary, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday. Ukrainian media showed images of Orbán meeting with a Hungarian soccer player wearing a scarf that Ukrainska Pravda said showed a map of “Greater Hungary” including the territory now part of the neighboring countries of Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Ukraine.

  • Russia’s Gazprom has threatened to cut off the flow of gas to Europe via Ukraine as early as next week. In a statement, the state-owned Russian energy giant said some gas flows held up in Ukraine were actually destined for Moldova and accused Kyiv of obstructing the delivery of 52.52 million cubic meters from transit to Moldova.

  • Russian air defenses were activated in Crimea on Tuesday and two drone attacks were repelled, including one that targeted a power plant near Sevastopol, the regional governor said. Sevastopol is the home port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev, appointed by Russia, called for peace and said no damage had been done.

  • Poland’s president spoke to a fake caller pretending to be France’s Emmanuel Macron on the night a missile hit a village near the Ukrainian border, his office has admitted. “Emmanuel, believe me, I am very careful,” Duda tells the caller in a recording of the call posted online. “I don’t want to go to war with Russia and believe me, I’m very careful, I’m especially careful.”