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Polish PM: Russia is failing on the battlefield, so it resorts to "death, starvation and hypothermia"

Aliena Ace 8 November 26, 2022

4 hr 21 min ago

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin in London

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, speaks alongside Hungarian President Katalin Novak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 26.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, speaks alongside Hungarian President Katalin Novak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 26. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia is cutting off vital infrastructure in its efforts to break Ukraine, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on a visit to Kyiv Saturday. 

In comments made at the International Summit of Food Security held in Ukraine’s capital, Morawiecki said Russia had “overestimated its own military potential and already knows that victory on the battlefield may not be achievable.” 

“Therefore, Moscow is reaching for other methods to break Ukraine. Instead of fighting soldiers, Russia is bringing death, starvation and hypothermia to civilians,” he continued.  

“These methods of total warfare have long been in the Russian arsenal,” Morawiecki said, on what is the 90th annual memorial day for victims of the Holodomor, a Soviet-era famine that killed millions of people during the winter of 1932-33. 

“Russia is fighting to rebuild an empire and knows that an empire is built on bones and corpses of innocent people. Exactly like 90 years ago during the Holodomor times,” he added. 

Morawiecki’s comments come not only as the world faces a global food crisis escalated by Russia’s war, but as many Ukrainians are deprived of heating, water and electricity amid Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure.

5 hr 10 min ago

From CNN's Andrew Carey, Maria Kostenko and Yulia Kesaieva

Interior of Invincibility Point in Kyiv, Ukraine. 
Interior of Invincibility Point in Kyiv, Ukraine.  (Maria Kostenko/CNN)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to local authorities, including in the capital of Kyiv, to do more to build out his government’s much-heralded "Invincibility Points" – which are popup stations offering shelter and services, such as power-charging facilities, internet connections and hot water.

The government announced plans to provide emergency support for civilians struggling without electricity and heating last week, just a couple of days before the latest round of Russian air strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure led to further significant disruptions.

But in his Friday night address, Zelensky criticized the program’s rollout, especially in the capital, where he said only those points deployed at the railway station and at State Emergency Services facilities were working properly.

“Other points still need to be improved, to put it mildly,” he added. “Kyiv residents need more protection.” 

Visiting the "Invincibility Points": CNN teams visited three of the government-advertised resource centers in the Ukrainian capital. Two of them, both SES-run facilities, were functioning, while a third located at a school was not.

At one location, in the Obolonskyi district in the north of the city, CNN spoke with Tetiana, who said her apartment had been without power and heat for more than 50 hours. During that time, she had also been without mobile phone service. 

“We saw this ('Invincibility) Point' on the map and decided to try it,” she said. 

Tetiana, left, and Larysa inside an Invincibility Point in Kyiv, Ukraine. 
Tetiana, left, and Larysa inside an Invincibility Point in Kyiv, Ukraine.  (Maria Kostenko/CNN)

Seated at a simple desk along one side of the roughly 30-square-meter (about 323 square feet) tent, its sides padded for warmth, she told us she was happy she could get online again. Her employer makes souvenirs, and the approaching holiday season is always a busy time, she said. “The internet is great here; I can do my work,” she said.  

Another resident, Larysa, was also impressed with the Wi-Fi available at the same site because it meant she could reconnect with social media.

“The internet is fast; I'm finally on TikTok,” she laughed, adding, “I am looking for a job because I am from Lviv. I have recently moved to Kyiv.”

A resident named Oleksiy told CNN he had also been without power at home for more than two days and was also using the internet provided to look for work.

“I have a wife and two children, aged 5 months old and 9 years old, at home. I will not bring my children here because it's a long walk, but I will definitely be coming here again,” he said.

Those interviewed for this post declined to provide their last names to CNN.

4 hr 37 min ago

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin in London

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks in Cottbus, Germany, on Saturday, November 26.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks in Cottbus, Germany, on Saturday, November 26. (Annette Riedl/picture alliance/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joined global leaders in marking the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor famine in Ukraine.

“Hunger must never again be used as a weapon,” Scholz said Saturday, speaking on the memorial day for victims of the Soviet-era famine that killed millions of people during the winter of 1932-33.

In a speech in Berlin, Scholz drew comparisons between the Holodomor, or Terror Famine — which was engineered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin by removing food stocks from Ukrainian peasants — and Russia’s current actions in Ukraine.

“The gruesome tactics applied back then entailed isolation and the confiscation of grain and food supplies, the forced deportation of Ukrainians. Today, we stand united in stating that hunger must never again be used as a weapon. That is why we cannot tolerate what we are witnessing,” the chancellor said.

“We know that by targeting agricultural infrastructure in Ukraine and blocking Black Sea ports for months, Russia has exacerbated this situation,” Scholz added. 

Scholz said that Germany would provide another $15.62 million for grain shipments from Ukraine in coordination with the World Food Programme. 

“You can count on our support. Each ship that sails under this initiative doesn't just carry grain. It carries hope for the world's hungry. And it carries an important message. The message that we are united, that we will overcome this war. And that our joint humanity will prevail,” Scholz added.

4 hr 43 min ago

From CNN's Zahra Ullah and Katharina Krebs

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei attends a press conference in 2019.
Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei attends a press conference in 2019. (Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Saturday that it was “deeply shocked” by news of the death of Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei.

Makei died at the age of 64, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said Saturday. On its official Facebook account, the ministry said he "suddenly passed away today” without providing more details about the circumstances surrounding his death.

“As head of the Foreign Ministry, he made a great contribution to the further strengthening of Russian-Belarusian relations,” the Russian ministry said.

“He firmly and effectively defended the interests of the Republic of Belarus on international platforms,” the ministry said, adding that “this is a heavy, irreparable loss.”

Makei was scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, according to Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.

Some context: Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who expressed his condolences to Makei's family and friends on Saturday, is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In October, Belarus announced it would form a joint regional force with Russia and carry out exercises, setting off alarm bells in Kyiv. Makei had accused Ukraine of "impending provocations" against Belarus at that time, which Ukrainian officials vehemently denied.

At the start of the war in late February, Belarusian and Russian forces held joint exercises, with many of those Russian forces going on to cross the Ukrainian border in their ill-fated drive toward the capital.

CNN's Tim Lister contributed reporting to this post.

7 hr 40 min ago

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Katharina Krebs

Twelve Ukrainians have been freed in a prisoner exchange with Russia, according to a Ukrainian official.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said on Telegram Saturday that the Ukrainians included nine military personnel and three civilians, one of whom had been considered missing.

“The soldiers who defended, in particular, Mariupol, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and Snake Island are going home,” Yermak said.

“We are working on the release of all our people. We don't stop,” he added.

On the Russian side, the country's defense ministry said Saturday that nine Russian soldiers had been freed.

"As a result of the negotiation process, nine Russian servicemen who were in mortal danger were returned from the territory controlled by the Kyiv regime," the ministry said in a statement.

7 hr 54 min ago

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko, Manveena Suri and Chris Liakos

Rescuers work the site of an attack in Dnipro, Ukraine, on November 26.
Rescuers work the site of an attack in Dnipro, Ukraine, on November 26. (Mykola Synelnykov/Reuters)

An attack left at least 13 people wounded in Dnipro on Saturday, according to a local official.

Valentyn Reznichenko, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, described the assault as a “rocket attack" on Telegram.

Four of the injured remain at the hospital, including a 17-year-old boy and a woman who was pulled out from under the rubble and is in serious condition, he said.

He added that seven homes were partially destroyed and that search and rescue operations are underway.

9 hr 37 min ago

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko and Chris Liakos

Crews are restoring electricity to the recently liberated city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, where concerns about power supply and ongoing Russian shelling have forced some residents to evacuate.

An official in the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram Saturday that repair work was going "around the clock" to restore electricity.

“First of all, we supply power to the city's critical infrastructure and then immediately to household consumers,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko said, thanking crews for their efforts.

Ukraine's deputy minister for energy, Farid Safarov, added Saturday that more than 30 settlements in the Kherson region “have finally received light.”

Six million consumers across the country were without power as of Friday evening, but that the number “is decreasing thanks to the quick work of our energy workers,” Safarov said.

Earlier today, national power supply company Ukrenergo said that 75% of electricity demand is being met across Ukraine.

Millions of Ukrainians have been suffering power cuts across the country in recent weeks amid intensified Russian shelling. Last week saw some of the most devastating attacks yet on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, leaving millions in the dark.

9 hr 39 min ago

From CNN's Manveena Suri

Russia "will pay" for a Soviet-era famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s, as well as for its current war in Ukraine, a top Kyiv official said on Saturday.

"The Russians will pay for all of the victims of the Holodomor and will be held responsible for today's crimes," Andriy Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, wrote on Telegram

Saturday marks the 90th anniversary of the 1932-1933 Holodomor, or Terror Famine. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin engineered the famine by removing food stocks from Ukrainian peasants, leading to the deaths of millions of people.

Other leaders around the world — including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni — have marked the anniversary.

Meloni's office released a statement on Saturday, saying: “On the day of the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the starvation of millions of Ukrainians by Stalin's Soviet regime, our thoughts turn to the millions of Ukrainians, mostly elderly and children, deprived of electricity, water and heating in the middle of winter from the Russian bombings that are deliberately attacking civilian infrastructures.”

United States Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget A. Brink said in a video on Twitter that "Russia continues to weaponize food as it seeks to subjugate the descendants of Ukrainians who survived the forced famine."

10 hr 23 min ago

From Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv

National power supply company Ukrenergo said 75% of electricity demand is being met across Ukraine on Saturday.

However, “another 25% of electricity is still in short supply, so today, there is a consumption restriction regime across Ukraine,” the company said in a statement on Telegram.

Millions of Ukrainians have been experiencing power cuts across the country in recent weeks amid intensified Russian shelling. Last week saw some of the most devastating attacks yet on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, leaving millions in the dark.