Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

1. Ukraine searches a monastery in Kiev due to alleged connections with Russia

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) searched the main Orthodox monastery in Kiev due to suspected links with Russia.

The SBU announced on Telegram that on Tuesday morning it carried out “counter-espionage measures” in the 1,000-year-old monastery of Kiev Caves.

The operation was aimed “to counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services in Ukraine,” it added.

The searches were conducted jointly with Ukrainian police and the National Guard, the SBU said. Worshipers were allowed to continue visiting the monastery, but were subject to security checks by the SBU.

‚ÄúThese measures are implemented to prevent the use [of the monastery] as the center of the ‘Russian world’,” the SBU announced.

The Kiev Cave Lavra is the oldest monastery in Ukraine and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1990. It is also the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had maintained close ties with Russia until May, after the invasion of Ukraine.

Two similar raids were also carried out on monasteries and properties of Orthodox churches in the northwestern Ukrainian region of Rivne.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the attacks as a “military action against the Russian Orthodox Church.”

2. Ukrainians may have to live with blackouts until March

The head of a large Ukrainian energy supplier warned that citizens will probably have to live with power outages at least until the end of March.

Sergey Kovalenko, head of YASNO, said on Facebook that workers are in a hurry to complete repairs before winter comes.

“Get warm clothes and blankets and think about options to help you wait out the long layoff,” he said.

Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was damaged by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

In his late-night address on Monday, Zelenskyy also appealed to Ukrainians to conserve energy.

Amid frequent power outages, millions of people are left without power and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing. Grid operator Ukrenergo said further planned blackouts were scheduled for Tuesday.

The Ukrainian government began evacuating citizens from the liberated city of Kherson, which was largely without electricity and running water. Residents of Kherson can apply for relocation to areas where heating and security problems are less acute.

“Given the difficult security situation in the city and infrastructure problems, you can evacuate during the winter to safer parts of the country,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.

Moscow says its strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure are the result of Kiev’s unwillingness to negotiate.

Russia has targeted Ukrainian power facilities after a series of battlefield setbacks, including a retreat from Kherson to the east bank of the Dnieper River.

3. ‘Ukraine’s health system is facing the darkest days of the war so far,’ says WHO

The World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe issued a stark warning after visiting Ukraine.

Up to 3 million more people could leave their Ukrainian homes this winter in search of warmth and safety, according to Hans Kluge.

“Ukraine’s healthcare system is facing the darkest days of the war so far,” Kluge said in a statement.

“After suffering more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim of the energy crisis. Access to health care cannot be held hostage,” he added.

The WHO says hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and health facilities lack fuel, water and electricity to meet people’s basic needs.

“We expect another 2-3 million people to leave their homes in search of warmth and safety,” Kluge said.

“They will face unique health challenges, including respiratory infections like Covid-19, pneumonia, influenza and a serious risk of diphtheria and measles in an undervaccinated population.”

The UN health agency has called for the creation of a “humanitarian health corridor” for all areas of Ukraine that have recaptured Kyiv, as well as those occupied by Russian forces.

Fighting continues to rage on the ground in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has mobilized its forces from Kherson.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that it had repelled numerous Russian attacks in several areas in the Donetsk region.

“The enemy does not stop shelling the positions of our forces and settlements near the contact line,” it is claimed. “Attacks continue to damage critical infrastructure and civilian homes.”

Four people have been killed and four wounded in Ukrainian-controlled areas of the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours, regional governor Pavlo Kyryleno said on Telegram.

Russian rockets also reportedly hit a humanitarian aid distribution center in the town of Orihiv in Zaporozhye, killing one person and injuring two.

4. Poland will place German Patriot missiles near the border with Ukraine

Poland’s defense minister says the country will deploy additional Patriot missile launchers from Germany near the Ukrainian border.

Berlin has offered an air defense system to help Warsaw intercept missiles after two people were killed by a missile last week.

“The German Defense Minister has confirmed his readiness to deploy a Patriot launcher on the border with Ukraine,” Polish Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

“We need to determine the version of the system, as well as how quickly they will reach us and how long they will be stationed.”

NATO allies have already said that German Eurofighters will offer help in monitoring Polish airspace.

Last week’s deadly attack on the Polish border village of Przewodow fueled fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over into NATO territory.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the missile It appears to have been accidentally fired by Ukrainian air defenses.

The military alliance has begun strengthening air defenses in Eastern Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.