Russia pummels Ukraine with missiles and drones, injuring civilians

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KYIV, Ukraine — Smarting from military failures and its apparent isolation during a week of key world meetings, Russia on Thursday fired a second major missile strike at Ukraine in three days, accusing Kiev of rejecting peace talks and warning of further attacks on critical infrastructure.

Thursday’s attack wounded several civilians and damaged infrastructure in the country’s south and east, including gas facilities, as Ukrainian officials said Russia sought to undermine Ukraine’s economy and reduce its will to fight during the country’s cold winter months. On Thursday, the first snow fell on Kiev.

The bombardment was the latest in a relentless assault on Ukraine’s energy systems earlier last month and reflected Moscow’s narrowing of strategic options after battlefield defeats, including its withdrawal from the southern city of Kherson.

With its ground forces decimated and losing territory, Russia has resorted to long-range bombing while struggling to train and equip thousands of new soldiers, many of whom may not want to fight in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failed war.

After most of the Group of 20 leaders strongly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine at a summit in Indonesia this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday tried to shift the blame to Kiev for power and heat shortages in many parts of Ukraine — the outages of which were one. A direct result of Russia’s military attack.

Peskov said the blackout was caused by “the reluctance of the Ukrainian side to resolve the issue, to negotiate.” Speaking to reporters, he claimed that Russia only attacked targets of military importance and warned that Moscow would achieve its goals through peace talks or continued military action in Ukraine.

A border village in eastern Poland has been hit hard by a neighboring war

“First they negotiate, then they refuse to negotiate, then they pass a law prohibiting any kind of negotiations, then they say they want negotiations but in public,” Peskov said, adding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out any negotiations on Wednesday. Four quarters.

Both sides appear to have little or no willingness to cede land, insisting that Ukrainian territory illegally annexed by Moscow will remain Russian land forever. Ukraine, meanwhile, has demanded Russia’s full withdrawal from all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

Restoring territorial sovereignty was part of a 10-point peace plan presented to G-20 leaders this week. The plan also calls for compensation to Russia.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday accused Kiev of setting preconditions for talks, which he said proved Ukraine was not interested in negotiating.

But Ryabkov said Russia’s commitment to unconditional territorial integrity was unwavering, including in “constituent territories recently acceded to the Russian Federation”. This was not a precondition for talks, he said.

Ukrainian officials said Thursday’s sustained bombardment proved the hollowness of Russia’s claims that it was willing to negotiate.

In a small sign of compromise, Russia on Thursday agreed to a 120-day extension of a Turkey-brokered grain-export deal, allowing Ukraine to ship grain through three ports, after Moscow earlier threatened it would not extend the deal.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it was a “technical extension” of the deal, with no objections from either side.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had secured a commitment to continue the agreement, which is seen as crucial to preventing a global food crisis.

“Over the past four months, nearly 500 ships have delivered more than 11 million tons of grain and food to those in need, clearly demonstrating how important and beneficial this agreement is to the world’s food supply and security. ” Erdogan said in a statement. He thanked Putin and Zelensky, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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During a brutal fusillade on Tuesday, Russia fired more than 90 missiles and 11 Iranian drones at Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials. A missile – now believed to have come from Ukrainian air defenses – landed in eastern Poland, killing two men in the village of Przewodo.

On Wednesday night, at least seven people were killed in a Russian attack on the city of Vilnius in the Zaporizhia region, Ukrainian officials said.

Zelenskiy insisted on Wednesday that his forces did not fire the missile that struck Poland, saying he had “no doubts” about it despite intelligence and initial investigation results released by Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO. On Thursday, Duda visited the scene but indicated that Ukraine was unlikely to participate in the investigation anytime soon.

However, President Biden denied Zelensky’s role early Thursday.

Asked about Zelensky’s claim after disembarking from Marine One shortly after returning to the White House from a summit of 20 leaders in Indonesia, Biden said, “That’s not evidence.”

Just half an hour later, at 8 a.m. local time in Ukraine, air raid sirens sounded across the country.

And about an hour later, local officials reported that Ukraine’s air defenses were shooting down Russian missiles and drones but that some energy and industrial infrastructure targets were hit.

In Dnipro, a regional capital in central Ukraine, dashboard camera footage showed a huge explosion in the middle of a city street as vehicles drove through a main thoroughfare. Zelensky posted the video, which The Washington Post was not immediately able to independently verify.

“Morning. A peaceful city and people’s desire to live a normal life. Go to work, business. Missile attack!” Zelensky wrote in a comment accompanying the video.

The governor of Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentin Reznichenko, posted on his Telegram channel that Russian missiles hit two districts of the Dnipro, causing “massive fires” and damage to residential buildings. He said that 14 people, including a 15-year-old girl, are admitted to the hospital with injuries.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihl told an economic conference in Kiev on Thursday that the Russians, including aerospace manufacturer Pivdenmash, were “bombing our activities in the Dnipro.”

NATO says the missile in Poland was an accident. But the fear of spillover remains.

Oleksiy Chernyshov, head of Ukraine’s state energy company, Naftogaz, said in a statement Thursday that Russia had launched a “major attack” on the company’s gas-production infrastructure. “Currently, many destroyed objects are known. Others have suffered to varying degrees,” Chernyshov said.

Devastation and loss of life were also reported in other parts of the country. On the Black Sea coast, authorities reported that three people were wounded in attacks in the Odesa region. Military officials said the Russians fired cruise missiles from the Black Sea and from two Su-30 bombers. He said six missiles were shot down.

Kharkiv Governor Oleh Sinehubov said four missiles hit critical infrastructure in the Izum region of eastern Ukraine. The regional prosecutor’s office said eight people were injured.

Kiev’s military administration posted on Telegram that air defenses shot down four missiles and five self-exploding drones but there were no attacks on buildings or infrastructure.

However, Kyiv Region Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said the power situation was “difficult” and planned power outages.

But even as missiles flew, Erdogan announced on Thursday that he had secured a commitment to continue an interim agreement to protect Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports – a deal seen as crucial to averting a global food crisis.

“The Black Sea Grain Corridor Agreement was extended for 120 days until November 19, 2022, in accordance with the decision reached between Turkey, the United Nations, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, as a result of the quadrilateral talks organized by Turkey. Erdogan said in a statement.

Dixon reported from Riga, Latvia. Zeynep Karatas and Loveday Morris in Istanbul in Przewodow, Poland contributed to this report.

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