Ukraine live briefing: Russia strikes Kyiv; U.N. Security Council holds meeting on Ukraine

A rescue worker recovers a hospital bed from the rubble of a destroyed maternity hospital hit in the early morning by a Russian rocket in Vilnyansk in the Zaporizhzhia region on Wednesday. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
A rescue worker recovers a hospital bed from the rubble of a destroyed maternity hospital hit in the early morning by a Russian rocket in Vilnyansk in the Zaporizhzhia region on Wednesday. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)

A wave of Russian strikes on Wednesday caused several deaths and injuries in Kyiv and further damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The attacks, after weeks of Russian bombardment, knocked out power in several Ukrainian regions and a large swath of neighboring Moldova. A strike on a hospital in the Zaporizhzhia region killed an infant, Ukrainian authorities said.

The United Nations Security Council met the same day to discuss strikes on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, following a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who appeared virtually at the meeting to condemn Moscow’s “formula of terror."

The Ukrainian government is planning to set up shelters across the country to provide basic services as winter sets in, including electricity, internet, heat, water and first aid. The U.S. Defense Department announced a $400 million military aid package Wednesday, which includes 200 generators.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

1. Key developments

  • Kyiv’s regional governor urged residents to heed air raid sirens on Wednesday and stay in shelters, as officials reported strikes in the capital. Three people were killed in a strike, which hit a two-story building, according to the city’s military administration. Among those killed was a 17-year-old girl, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, and 11 people were injured. Wednesday’s strikes hit 16 targets across Ukraine and caused power outages in the cities of Kharkiv and Lviv, and in several other regions.
  • Speaking virtually to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Zelensky said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, in your midst you have representatives of a state that does not offer anything to the world but terror, destabilization and disinformation.” He said Russia used 70 rockets on Ukraine over the course of the day.
  • Having struggled on the battlefield, Putin is “weaponizing winter” as a strategy to harm Ukrainians, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the U.N. meeting. “He has decided that if he cannot seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission,” she said, saying Putin’s motive “could not be more clear and more coldblooded.” If the Russian gets his way, she said, millions of Ukrainians will be without power, water and heat during the cold winter — forcing families to flee, filling up hospitals and killing vulnerable people.
  • The White House condemned Russia’s latest assault targeting Ukrainian civilians and the country’s energy grid. In a statement, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the United States had provided more than $250 million for “winterization efforts” in Ukraine — funds intended for heating fuel, generators, warm blankets and shelter repairs. The strikes “do not appear aimed at any military purpose and instead further the goal of the Putin regime to increase the suffering and death of Ukrainian men, women and children.” The Kremlin had underestimated Ukrainians’ resolve, Watson added, predicting efforts “to demoralize them will fail yet again.”
  • Neighboring Moldova experienced “massive blackouts” Wednesday, including in the capital, Chisinau, after Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu wrote on Twitter. More than half of the country lost power, Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu wrote. The Moldovan government summoned Russia’s ambassador in reaction. “Russia has left Moldova in the dark,” Moldovan President Maia Sandu wrote in a Facebook post. “We can’t trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold, that purposely kills people for the mere desire to keep other peoples poor and humble.”
  • Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would reduce natural gas supplies to Europe through a pipeline that runs through Ukraine. Gazprom accused Kyiv of withholding gas meant for Moldova; the Ukrainian gas transmission system operator denied the allegation. Gazprom said it would begin reducing gas supplies “if the transit imbalance through Ukraine for Moldovan consumers persists, on Nov. 28, from 10:00.”
  • The European Parliament voted Wednesday to label Russia “a state sponsor of terrorism,” citing “the deliberate attacks and atrocities” in Ukraine. Kyiv has urged the United States to do the same, although the White House has indicated it will refrain from such a move. In a tweet, Zelensky welcomed the decision. Here’s what the designation means.

2. Battleground updates

  • Millions of Ukrainians could face life-threatening conditions without power, heat or running water this winter, after attacks on energy infrastructure have battered Ukraine to the brink of a humanitarian disaster, The Washington Post reports. Sergey Kovalenko, the head of a power company supplying Kyiv, has warned that Ukrainians could face blackouts until the end of March. The head of power grid operator Ukrenergo on Tuesday described the damage as “colossal.”
  • A Russian strike on a hospital killed a newborn in the Zaporizhzhia region, its governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said Wednesday on Telegram. Zelensky also said a missile attack on the maternity ward of Vilnyansk hospital killed an infant. The Post could not immediately verify the claim. Russian missiles have hit medical facilities during the war: Several people, including a child, were killed when an airstrike hit a maternity hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol in March.
  • Ukraine’s Air Force reported it shot down 51 out of 70 cruise missiles that Russia had launched toward Ukraine Wednesday from planes and ships in the Black Sea. It also destroyed five Lancet-type attack unmanned aerial vehicles, the Air Force said in a Telegram post.

3. Global impact

  • The Defense Department announced a $400 million military aid package for Ukraine Wednesday. It includes machine guns meant to target drones, more munitions for advanced surface-to-air missile systems and more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition. Notable also as winter approaches: The U.S. is set to send more than 200 generators to Ukraine.
  • The Group of Seven, the European Union and Australia are expected to announce a price cap on Russian oil Wednesday, pushing forward a complex plan meant to deprive the Kremlin of billions of dollars in oil revenue — if they can get it to work.
  • The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency met a Russian delegation in Istanbul on Wednesday for consultations “on urgently establishing a nuclear safety and security protection zone” at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the agency said. The U.N. nuclear watchdog says shelling has caused widespread damage at the Zaporizhzhia facility, which is controlled by Russian forces in Ukraine, although its key equipment remains intact. “We cannot continue counting on good luck to avoid a nuclear accident,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told CNN.
  • President Biden and Pope Francis on Wednesday made comments marking the November anniversary of the Holodomor, the famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine under Soviet policies. “During his regime, Joseph Stalin imposed harsh and repressive policies on Ukraine, including creating a deliberate famine in 1932-33 that caused millions of innocent Ukrainian women, men, and children to perish,” Biden said in a statement. “We commemorate all the lives lost in this senseless tragedy, and we pay tribute to the resilience of the Ukrainian people who endured devastation and tyranny to ultimately create a free and democratic society.”

4. From our correspondents

Russian bombs batter Kherson neighborhood in shadow of destroyed bridge: Soon after Ukrainians celebrated the Russian withdrawal from Kherson, the city’s residents had to take shelter from fresh attacks from the other side of the Dnieper River, Samantha Schmidt and Serhii Korolchuk report from Ukraine.

“After what was initially a quiet retreat from Kherson, Russian troops appear to have regrouped on the east bank of the Dnieper in recent days, sending artillery, rockets and mortars roaring toward residential parts of Kherson,” they write.

Emily Rauhala and Amar Nadhir contributed to this report.

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