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Latest news from Russia and the war in Ukraine

Winter will bring unique challenges to both sides in the war, UK says

As temperatures plummet in Ukraine and winter approaches, both Ukraine and Russia are likely to face a new set of challenges as the war continues.

Winter will bring a change in conflict conditions for both Russian and Ukrainian forces, according to the latest military assessment by Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

“Changes to daylight hours, temperature and weather will present unique challenges for fighting soldiers,” the U.K. said on Twitter Monday. “Any decisions that the Russian General Staff make will be in part informed by the onset of winter.”

Daylight will be reduced to fewer than nine hours a day, compared with 15 to 16 hours at the height of summer, the ministry noted, meaning that will result in “fewer offensives and more static defensive frontlines.”

“The average high temperature will drop from 13 degrees Celsius through September to November, to zero through December to February. Forces lacking in winter weather clothing and accommodation are highly likely to suffer from non-freezing cold injuries,” the ministry said.

“Additionally, the ‘golden hour’ window in which to save a critically wounded soldier is reduced by approximately half, making the risk of contact with the enemy much greater.”

Local residents harvest the last potatoes in a field at the eastern Ukrainian village of Zarichne, near the front line in the Donbas region, on Nov. 10, 2022. In Zarichne village, which was taken back from Russian forces a few weeks ago, people live without electricity, water and basic needs.

Bulent Kilic | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine’s spring and fall are characterized by melting snows and heavy rain, respectively, with both causing muddy conditions throughout the country in what is known as the “rasputitsa,” or “muddy road season.”

The U.K. said the likely increase in rainfall, wind speed and snowfall in the next few weeks and months will provide additional challenges to the already low morale of Russian forces, but also present problems for kit maintenance.

“Basic drills such as weapon cleaning must be adjusted to the conditions and the risk of weapon malfunctions increase.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Kherson region ‘still very dangerous,’ Zelenskyy warns, as de-mining teams get to work

As Ukraine’s jubilation at last week’s liberation of the city of Kherson continued over the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded civilians on Sunday night that the situation in the region remains dangerous.

“Please do not forget that the situation in the Kherson region is still very dangerous. First of all, there are mines. Unfortunately, one of our sappers died, and four others were injured while clearing mines,” he said in his nightly address, urging Kherson’s residents “to be very careful and immediately inform the rescuers about all dangerous objects.”

“Detention of Russian soldiers and mercenaries who were left behind in this territory and neutralization of saboteurs are also ongoing,” he said, noting that investigators had already documented more than 400 alleged war crimes by Russian forces.

“The bodies of both civilians and military personnel are being found,” he said, adding that in the Kherson region, “the Russian army left behind the same atrocities as in other regions of our country, where it was able to enter.”

A Ukrainian serviceman belonging to the de-mining battalion disabling Russian mines in a ditch on a field near Snihurivka City in Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine, on Nov. 12, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

With so much attention on Kherson last week, it’s been easy to forget that fierce fighting is continuing in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Zelenskyy said Sunday that “the fighting in the Donetsk region is as intense as in previous days. The level of Russian attacks is not decreasing.”

“As of now, the territory of five of our regions was hit by missile, air and artillery strikes of the occupiers during the day. These are Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Zaporizhzhia region, Luhansk region, and Donetsk region. We do everything to make the enemy feel our retaliation. To the maximum.”

Zelenskyy is preparing for another busy week on the diplomatic circuit as the Group of Twenty meeting takes place in Bali on Tuesday. Zelenskyy will attend the meeting virtually. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is not attending the summit, but Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be there.

— Holly Ellyatt

De-mining teams get to work in Kherson city center today

Residents of the newly liberated city of Kherson have been told to stay away from the city center, and to evacuate to safer regions altogether if possible, as Ukrainian forces get to work to rid the city and surrounding area of land mines planted by retreating Russian troops.

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the governor of the Kherson region, said on Telegram that while residents continue to celebrate last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops from the city, it’s not safe for residents to gather in public places. De-mining works are taking place in Kherson city center on Monday.

“Dear friends, it is already the second day of celebration of Kherson region celebration.  People take streets and squares with Ukrainian flags, rejoice, and express their gratitude to AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine]. But I want to warn everyone. De-mining works are being carried out. The enemy mined almost everything. I am begging you: do not gather in crowded places ,” he said Sunday.

A destroyed tank with graffiti that reads “Mines” near Myroliubivka village. Many of the vehicles or weapons abandoned by the Russian army have been mined with explosives.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Various images have emerged of abandoned military vehicles and buildings with warnings — that they contain landmines — scrawled on them.

The inscription “Mined” scrawled on the door to a damaged local household goods store left by Russian soldiers on Oct. 24, 2022, in Velyka Oleksandrivka, Ukraine. Velyka Oleksandrivka in the Kherson region was under Russian occupation for almost seven months. There is no electricity, water or gas in the village.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian forces building defensive lines across the river from Kherson city, official says

Having retreated from the city of Kherson and the west bank of the Dnipro river, Russian forces are continuing to build defensive lines on the eastern bank in the Kherson region, a Ukrainian army official said on Sunday.

Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for the general staff of the Ukrainian army, said Russia is “continuing to equip defensive lines” on the left bank of the river and is “concentrating its efforts on restraining the actions” of the Ukrainian forces “in certain directions.”

He added that Russia is conducting “offensive operations” in the Bakhmut, Avdiiv, and Novopavliv areas.

Ukrainian forces recaptured the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine last week after Russian forces announced they were withdrawing from the regional capital. The retreat marked the latest blow to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but Russian troops have not gone far, having regrouped on the opposite bank of the Dnipro river. It’s expected they will continue to shell Kherson city from there.

Ukrainians surround Ukrainian soldiers as they celebrate the liberation of Kherson, on Nov. 13, 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

– | Afp | Getty Images

On Sunday, the governor of the Kherson region Yaroslav Yanushevych called on residents of the west bank of the river to evacuate the area, saying “a high probability of enemy shelling remains on the right-bank of Kherson region. The Russian army, when it flees, begins to fight with civilians out of hopelessness. We have repeatedly seen this in many liberated settlements.”

He said Russian forces had also seriously damage power and water supply infrastructure and recommended that civilians evacuate to safer regions.

— Holly Ellyatt



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