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Ukraine updates: Airstrikes leave millions without power

November 18, 2022

Russia continued strikes on Ukrainian gas and electricity infrastructure. Meanwhile, the president of France told Asian business leaders that the conflict is "your problem" too. DW has the latest.

A street in Kyiv during a lackout
Kyiv and other cities are suffering from blackouts after Russia bombarded electricity infrastructureImage: Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/picture alliance

Millions of Ukrainians were left without power on Friday after Russia bombarded the country's electricity grid a day earlier.

The damage comes as Kyiv and other cities recorded their first snowfall of the winter. It follows a similar barrage on Tuesday.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Friday that half the country's energy system has been disabled by Russian attacks. He also met with European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis to discuss Russian attacks on Ukrainian enegry infrastructure.

Mykola Povoroznyk, the deputy head of the Kyiv city administration, said in televised comments on Friday that they were preparing for different scenarios, "including a complete shutdown."

"Currently, more than 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday.

That constitutes almost a quarter of the pre-war population of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said the regions of Odessa, Vinnytsia, Sumy and Kyiv were the hardest hit. Many towns reported injuries and deaths.

The Ukrainian military said on Friday it downed two cruise missiles, five air-launched missiles and five Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in the past 24 hours.

In addition to crippling the electricity grid, other energy infrastructure was also affected by the airstrikes.

The head of state energy company Naftogaz, Oleksiy Chernishov, said Russia "launched a massive attack on gas production infrastructure" in eastern Ukraine.

Russia's Defense Ministry said on Friday that its airstrikes on Thursday targeted energy infrastructure and what it claimed were "missile manufacturing facilities."

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Friday, November 18:

Kyiv says experts working at Polish blast site

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukrainian experts were on site in Przewodow, the Polish border town where two were killed after en explosion caused by a missile.

Kyiv had maintained that it was a Russian attack, while the US and Poland have said the missile likely originated with Ukraine's air defense.

On Twitter, Kuleba wrote, "Ukraine and Poland will cooperate constructively and openly on the incident caused by Russian missile terror against Ukraine." 

Kyiv's air defense was triggered by a barrage of over 80 missiles Russia fired at critical infrastructure and residential targets in Ukraine. It is believed the air defense missile veered off course after fired at an incoming Russian missile.

Polish President Andrzej Duda warned Poland could expect further fallout from Russia's war on Ukraine.

"Unfortunately we have to be prepared in a sense for accidents to happen again on our border as a consequence of the war," Duda said.

Russia 'fortifying' Crimea

Russia said on Friday it is fortifying its positions on the Crimean peninsula.

"Fortification work is being carried out on the territory of Crimea under my control with the aim of guaranteeing the security of all Crimeans," the Moscow-installed governor of the region, Sergei Aksyonov, posted on social media.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Russian military and naval bases on the peninsular have been subject to drone attacks in recent months.

Most APEC nations condemn Russian invasion

The 21 countries at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, Thailand, have released a joint declaration in which most members condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine "in the strongest possible terms."

"Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy," the joint statement read.

But, it added that "there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions."

The statement uses almost identical phrasing to the G20 declaration that was made two days earlier in Bali, Indonesia.

Sweden finds evidence of Nord Stream sabotage

Investigators in Sweden found traces of explosives at the site of the damaged Nord Stream pipelines, a prosecutor said on Friday.

"It is a case of serious sabotage," the Swedish Security Service said.

It added that "the extensive damage to the gas lines as a result of the detonations have been extensively documented."

Swedish authorities did not blame any country or other entity in their findings.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline was a major source of Russian gas for the European Union. Underwater explosions in September took the pipeline offline and contributed to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Macron tells Asia 'this war is also your problem'

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Asian countries to join the "increasing consensus" condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at the a gathering of business leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok, the French president said "this war is also your problem."

He said France wanted to create a stronger global consensus against the war in order to prevent further destabilization in different regions.

Pope willing to mediate peace

Pope Francis reiterated his offer to mediate peace between Ukraine and Russia in an interview with Italy's La Stampa newspaper on Friday.

He said the Vatican is ready to do anything to stop the war.

"But everyone must commit to demilitarizing hearts, starting with their own, and then defusing, disarming violence," the Pope added.

"We must all be pacifists. Wanting peace, not just a truce that may only serve to rearm. Real peace, which is the fruit of dialogue."

Canada to issue $500 million bond to support Ukraine

The Bank of Canada announced plans to issue a five-year $500 Canadian million (€361 million or $374 million) bond dubbed the "Ukraine Sovereignty Bond" that offers the chance to directly support Ukraine.

The bond will be issued later this month. It will be denominated in Canadian dollars, the Bank of Canada said.

More on the war in Ukraine

Russia supplies just under half of all military equipment in Africa. DW looks at how Russia's military diplomacy is hampering its ability to supply its own military during the invasion of Ukraine.

DW looks at the fate of Russian civil aviation after sanctions halted many international routes out of Russia.

More than 70 German intellectuals have signed an open letter calling for greater support for Ukraine. DW spoke with one of the signatories about how some people are becoming "numb" to the conflict.

ar, zc/fb, rs,jcg (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)