Is this what Vladimir Putin's winter plans look like?
For the second straight day, Russia has launched a massive nationwide air attack against the infrastructure targets of major Ukrainian cities. Reports of explosions, buildings on fire and energy cuts were reported in Kyiv, Donbas, Dnipro and other cities around Ukraine.
Russians fired at least 16 cruise missiles and launched five drones in the overnight hours and early morning, with Ukrainian defense forces managing to shoot down four cruise missiles and five Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones over Kyiv.
Emergency power cuts were reported across much of the capital, which also was blanketed by the first snow of the season. Indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose troops have recently lost ground on the front line in the south and east, appears intent on trying to hold Ukrainian cities under siege through the coming winter.
Officials in the capital emphasizes that during the blackout, electric sirens do not work, the messages about air alarms and blackouts are published in the Kyiv Digital application and Telegram channel and transmitted on the radio.
Rockets also hit two infrastructure facilities in Dnipro, with at least 14 people injured, while a missile attack on an infrastructure facility was carried out in the Odessa region.
Ukraine’s military confirmed Thursday that since November 11, Russia has launched 148 missile strikes, including 111 missile strikes on critical Ukrainian infrastructure facilities.
The first snow began Wednesday evening in Kyiv and elsewhere, and is forecast to continue through Thursday. Due to an air raid alert, many residents in the capital were in shelters when the snow started to fall.
Grain Deal Prolonged For Another 120 Days
Ukrainian grain cargo ship arriving in Istanbul thanks to the Black Sea Grain deal
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres confirmed on Thursday that all parties had agreed to extend the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain deal for another 120 days, after Russia had cast doubt regarding its participation in the agreement.
The deal, which was signed in July and had been due to expire on Saturday, has helped to avert a deepening of a global food crisis, as Ukraine and Russia together make up a third of global wheat exports.
Guterres said the deal “demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions."
Ukraine Not Ready To Take Blame For Poland Strike
Poland and NATO officials both confirmed said the missile that killed two people near the Polish border with Ukraine was likely fired by Ukrainian forces trying to shoot down Russian missiles.
Though his allies made a point of saying the accident was simply Kyiv forces trying to defend their country, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky refused to accept any blame.
“It was not our missile and not our missile strike,” Zelensky said on Ukrainian television Wednesday, citing reports from his top military commanders.
Kyiv has demanded access to the site of the explosion, near the village of Przewodow in southeastern Poland just across the border. “I believe that we have the right to this. Is it possible not to announce the final conclusions until the investigation is completed? I think it is fair. If someone says that this is our rocket, should we be in a joint investigative group? I think we should, it is only fair.”
Documentary Series Features Forced Adoption Of Ukrainian Children
Evacuation from Slovyansk, Ukraine
According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian military bloggers have been circulating a documentary series the past week touting efforts to bring Ukrainian children from Donbas to be adopted into Russian families.
The apparent propaganda video is the latest sign of what Ukrainian officials say is a mass forced deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia. The video boasts that Russian officials have evacuated more than 150,000 children from Donbas in 2022.
Kyiv says Russia’s forced adoption programs and the deportation of children, which are made to appear as either vacations or rehabilitation schemes, are the backbone of a massive Russian depopulation campaign. If so proven, the campaign would violate the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Orwellian In The Kremlin
Perhaps there’s no better illustration of where the Kremlin has arrived than the following observation by Kirill Martynov, editor of Novaya Gazeta.Europe, the exiled independent Russian media. Martynov points out a curious collision that has occurred within the Russian legal code in the wake of the liberation of the southern city of Kherson:
"For supporting the surrender of Kherson, they will put you in jail under Article 280.1 (four years in prison for separatism) and for condemning the surrender of Kherson, you will be convicted under Article 280.3, for discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. That is, if you condemn the surrender of Kherson, you will be jailed under one point of this law, and if you support the surrender of Kherson, you will be jailed under another point."George Orwell would be proud. Read the full piece: Swan Lake In Kherson? Why Russia’s Future Is Looking So Dark
Train To Victory: Ukrainian Rail Company Starts Selling Symbolic Tickets To Mariupol, Crimea
The Ukrainian railway company has launched a fundraising project called Tickets to Victory, which sells tickets to the still-occupied cities in Donbas and Crimea: Mariupol, Simferopol, Donetsk, Lugansk, and the recently liberated Kherson appeared on the company's website.
“The Tickets to Victory project symbolizes the hope of Ukrainians for the speedy de-occupation of Ukrainian cities, their faith in the Armed Forces and that all of Ukraine will be liberated,” the website says. “The ticket can be purchased today, kept as a symbol and used immediately after the deoccupation of the cities.”
Funds from ticket sales will be used to buy cars for connecting with those regions of the country where rail service is not yet possible, in order to deliver food and medicine.
Australian Billionaire Andrew Forrest Starts $25 Billion Fund To Help Ukraine Rebuild
Destroyed apartment building in Kyiv
Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has launched an investment fund that is hoped to reach at least $25 billion in order to help Ukraine rebuild after the war. Forrest and his wife have already committed $500 million of their own fortune to the fund, which its organizers say could even grow to $100 billion.
The Ukraine Green Growth Initiative plans to invest in primary infrastructure such as energy and telecoms networks. Ukrainian President Zelensky supports the plan: “We will take advantage of the fact that what the Russians have destroyed can readily be replaced with the latest, most modern green and digital infrastructure.”
Forrest, who made his fortune from Australia's mining boom, is the founder and executive chairman of iron ore giant, Fortescue Metals. He has recently turned his focus to sustainable technology, with initiatives to decarbonize his mining operations and become a major producer of green hydrogen.