At least 12 missiles over the past 24 hours were fired at or near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine.
The surrounding territory and the plant itself, also known as ZNPP, are currently controlled by Russian forces, but the plant is a crucial source of energy for much of Ukraine. The Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energoatom, reports Monday that the latest barrage of attacks has damaged parts of the plant’s infrastructure, including water storage tanks and two stationary diesel generators.
Ukraine Defense Ministry official Yuriy Sak placed the blame squarely on Moscow in what he called a “genocidal campaign to freeze Ukrainians to death, to deprive Ukrainians of electricity.”
ZNPP is the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, and a serious accident there risks exceeding the consequences from Chernobyl or Fukushima. The IAEA mission continues to monitor the operation of the plant, as Ukraine and Russia trade accusations of who is to blame for the rising risk of a nuclear accident.
“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing. Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately,” Director General Grossi said. “As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!”
Ukraine says Russia is firing at the plant as part of broader strategy to cut off energy supplies ahead of the winter; while Russia says Ukraine is behind the launching of the missiles on the plant to try to retake control.
"We are informing the world community that the plant is at risk of a nuclear accident, and it is obvious that Kyiv considers a small nuclear incident acceptable,” Alexey Likhachev, head of Russia's nuclear energy outfit Rosatom, said Monday, according to the state-run TASS news outlet.
Energoatom is asking international partners to help demilitarize the plant as soon as possible, withdraw all Russian military personnel from the plant's territory and the city of Energodar and return ZNPP to complete Ukrainian control for security reasons.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 400 shellings hit eastern Ukraine on Sunday alone.
Kherson: Reports Of Renewed Shelling As Voluntary Evacuations Begin
Residents stand in lines for humanitarian aid in Kherson after its liberation
The recently liberated southern city of Kherson was reportedly shelled again Monday by Russian troops, just after the Ukrainian army began conducting a voluntary evacuation of the population. The state has said it will provide everyone who wishes to leave the city for the winter with accommodation in safe regions of the country. Kherson was left without electricity and many houses were destroyed, and winter has arrived in Ukraine with temperatures in Kherson dropping to -1 °C during the night.
However, not everyone plans to leave the city, even in such conditions, especially since it is now under the control of the Ukrainian army. On Nov. 19, the first train from Kyiv arrived in Kherson; earlier the first supermarket, a post office, and mobile and Internet connections were restored in the city.
Kherson Hopes On Belgian Front Page
“Life started again when our boys entered Kherson,” titles De Standaard as the Belgian daily speaks with locals, days after Ukrainian soldiers pushed Russian forces out of the strategic city in southern Ukraine.
“Crimea By Christmas, Victory By Spring,” Predicts Top Ukrainian Military Official
In an interview with Sky News, Ukraine’s Deputy defense minister Volodymyr Havrylov said he believed Ukrainian troops could arrive in Russian-occupied Crimea by Christmas, and considered victory over Moscow possible by spring.
“We have no right to stop, [...] we have to advance,” the retired army general said, warning that Russia may be looking for a pause to replenish its forces.
Ukraine Denies Execution Of Russian Prisoners Of War
Ukraine has denied that its forces executed Russian prisoners, saying that its soldiers were defending themselves against Russian troops refusing to surrender. This comes after a video circulated on Russian social media, showing what appear to be the bodies of Russian servicemen killed after surrendering to Ukrainian troops. Ukrainian parliament’s commissioner for human rights, Dmytro Lubinets, commented on Sunday saying Russian servicemen "are those who are fighting and committing treachery" and that "returning fire is not a war crime."
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said it will “bring justice” to those responsible for the alleged execution. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian officials would do everything possible to draw attention to what they called a war crime. Over the weekend, Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said, “Of course Ukrainian authorities will investigate this video.”
Germany Offers Poland Anti-Missile Systems
Germany has offered to help Poland in providing anti-missile systems in order to strengthen its air defense capacity. This comes after a deadly missile incident on Polish territory near the Ukrainian border last week.
“We have offered to support Poland in securing its airspace — with our Eurofighters and Patriot air defense systems,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said.
Last week, the leaders of Poland and NATO said the missile was an accident, likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against Russian strikes.
Exclusive Testimony From Inmate Wagner Group Tried To Recruit
Wagner is run by Russian businessman and Putin associate Yevgeny Prigozhin
An inmate of the penal colony in the town of Kopeysk has revealed to independent Russian media Vazhnyye Istorii the different ways convicts are recruited in the Russian mercenary Wagner Group. The anonymous witness said Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Putin ally who founded Wagner, personally sought the most violent criminals with vows to pay big sums and expunge their sentences.
"He told us the official Russian army is no good, drinking and taking drugs and not wanting to fight. When they retreat or are defeated, they call 'troop regrouping'. And they [Wagner] are instead making good progress. He said he was only recruiting assault squads now. He needs people who are in prison for murder, robbery, and looting. The weak-willed do not survive." Read more here
France To Send New Military Aid To Ukraine
French Defense Minister Sebastian Lecornu said France will send additional air defense and rocket systems to Ukraine.
In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, Lecornu announced Paris would provide Kyiv with two new Crotale air defense systems, as well as two extra Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).
The Defense Minister said France had already sent 18 Caesar howitzers to Ukraine, together with a total of 550 million euros worth of equipment, placing it “within the top 5 countries” in terms of military aid.
“Yellow Ribbon” Resistance Gathering Momentum On Social Media
Ukrainian social media has been flooded with photos of people sporting and drawing yellow ribbons, as part of a campaign meant to support people remaining in the territories still occupied by Russian forces.
The “Yellow Ribbon” civil resistance movement began last spring, when pro-Ukrainian activists in Kherson started drawing yellow ribbon signs on buildings, in a way to signify to the Russian occupation forces that people were living in the city, willing to resist.
The act of civil disobedience quickly spread to other occupied territories — from Berdiansk to Enerhodar, Luhansk to Nova Kakhovka, and Crimea to the Donetsk region.