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Russia threatens to reduce gas supplies to Moldova; Ukrainians warned blackouts could last months

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

Ukraine's power shortages, resulting from Russia's repeated strikes on the country's energy infrastructure, are becoming more acute as colder weather sets in.

Warning that "cold weather can kill," the World Health Organization said while 10 million Ukrainians remain without power, many face life-threatening conditions as temperatures fall — to as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country. It is believed that another two to three million people could leave their homes to find warmth and safety over winter.

Residents talk with train station staff while waiting to be evacuated from Kherson on Nov. 21, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine. The recently de-occupied city of Kherson is feeling power and water shortages acutely.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The recently de-occupied city of Kherson is feeling power and water shortages acutely, with Ukrainian officials telling residents, and particularly women, children and the elderly and vulnerable, to leave the city and de-occupied parts of the wider Kherson region over winter.

The government is offering free evacuation to Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv and Odesa, with possible further movement to Kirovohrad, Khmelnytskyi or western regions of Ukraine, Ukraine's deputy prime minister said Monday.

Treasury issues new guidance on maritime transport of Russian oil ahead of G7 price cap

The Treasury Department issued new guidance regarding the maritime transport of Russian oil ahead of a planned price cap in early December.

The guidance complements the U.K.'s newly-released policies in outlining how domestic service providers can continue carrying seaborne oil while complying with the strategic price cap on Russian oil devised by G7 countries, the E.U. and Australia.

"We're taking these steps to make it as easy as possible for market participants to implement the price cap policy as of Dec. 5 consistent with the coalition's goals of allowing Russians to keep foreign oil (in) flow while lowering the Kremlin's revenues," a senior Treasury official said.

The price cap is intended to deprive Russia of a funding source to continue its war against Ukraine. It goes into effect on Dec. 5.

—Chelsey Cox

European Union announces another $2.5 billion in assistance to Ukraine

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers the State of the European Union address to the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, on Sept. 14, 2022.
Yves Herman | Reuters

The European Union has sent another $2.5 billion to help Ukraine, according to the country's prime minister, Denys Shmyhal.

Shmyhal said in a tweet on Tuesday that the EU "disbursed €2.5 billion [around $2.57 billion] in macro-financial assistance."

Tweet:

The massive infusion of cash is the latest effort by the EU to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently announced that the EU will provide up to $18 billion in financial aid in 2023 as the country takes on Russia.

- Brian Schwartz

Iran may be 'guilty of crimes against humanity' after sending weapons to Russia, British ambassador says

Karen Pierce, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, briefs reporters after the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Syria) at the UN Headquarters in New York, December 20, 2019.
Europanewswire/gado | Archive Photos | Getty Images

Iran may be guilty of crimes against humanity as a result of producing weapons for Russia that reportedly will be used in Ukraine, said British Ambassador to the U.S. Karen Pierce in an interview.

"Even at this late stage, I do think the Iranians need to contemplate how they may be guilty of crimes against humanity by supplying these weapons to the Russians," Pierce told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.

The Washington Post reported that Iran has agreed to start to manufacture hundreds of unmanned drones on Russian soil.

It is expected that those weapons to be used in the conflict with Ukraine.

- Brian Schwartz

U.S. Senators urge Biden administration to reconsider sending drones to Ukraine

A Ukrainian serviceman launches a drone in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, on October 30, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

A bipartisan group of 16 senators asked the Biden administration to reverse its decision against sending advanced drones to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia's invasion. 

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the senators argued that the U.S. should provide Ukraine with MQ-1C Grey Eagles, armed drones that can fly for more than 24 hours at a time.

The senators wrote that they believe these drones will help stabilize Ukrainian defenses, increase their unmanned capabilities and drive the war in Ukraine's favor.

Ukraine's request for drones was declined by the Pentagon earlier this month.

"This system's operational attributes – availability, lethality, survivability, and exportability – complement existing weapon systems used by the Ukrainians and will increase the lethality of the Ukrainian military," the lawmakers wrote. 

They requested an official response from the Biden administration by Nov. 30.

— Ashley Capoot

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen lauds additional $4.5 billion in U.S. grant aid to Ukraine

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen listens to a reporter's question at a news conference during the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, U.S., October 14, 2022. 
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised an additional disbursement of $4.5 billion from the U.S. government to aid Ukraine in its ongoing defense against Russia.

The disbursement brings total U.S. direct budget support to $13 billion in grants, Yellen said in a statement.

She said that the aid, in combination with historic sanctions and other targeted measures, will help "weaken [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's war machine."

The funds will begin being disbursed "in the coming weeks and help the Government of Ukraine defend against Russia's illegal war by bolstering economic stability and supporting core government services, including wages for hospital workers, government employees, and teachers as well as social assistance for the elderly and vulnerable," she said in her statement.

"Combined with our security assistance and the immense bravery of the Ukrainian people, these funds are a critical tool in Ukraine's resistance to Putin's unprovoked invasion," Yellen said.

—Chelsey Cox

AP fires reporter over retracted story about Russian missiles killing Polish civilians

The Associated Press fired national security reporter James LaPorta over a retracted article that incorrectly had said Russian missiles were responsible for the deaths of two people in neighboring Poland, The Daily Beast reported.

The Nov. 15 story had circulated widely among media outlets before the AP issued a correction Wednesday, which reported that the deaths in the Polish town of Przewodow near the Ukraine border in reality involved Russian-made missiles which were fired by Ukraine in defense against Russia.

A Russian attack on Poland, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, could have prompted intervention from NATO in the Russian-Ukraine conflict.

The initial missile claim by LaPorta had been attributed to "a senior U.S. intelligence official."

The AP says it requires more than one source when sourcing is anonymous unless "material comes from an authoritative figure who provides information so detailed that there is no question of its accuracy."

Internal communications showed some confusion over who approved LaPorta's source, The Washington Post reported.

LaPorta did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC. Lauren Easton, vice president of corporate communications for the AP, did not answer directly when asked if LaPorta had been terminated.

Easton said in a statement that the news service outlet abided by "rigorous editorial standards and practices" critical to its mission.

"When our standards are violated, we must take the steps necessary to protect the integrity of the news report. We do not make these decisions lightly, nor are they based on isolated incidents," she said.

—Chelsey Cox

Ukraine power grid CEO calls damage from Russian strikes 'colossal'

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, CEO of Ukrenergo Ukraine grid operator attends a news conference, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 10, 2022. 
Gleb Garanich | Reuters

The head of Ukraine's national power grid said that the damage left by Russia's missile attacks has devasted the nation's power generation capacity.

"The scale of destruction is colossal. In Ukraine, there is a power generation deficit. We cannot generate as much energy as consumers can use," said Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, CEO of Ukrenergo National Energy Company,

Kudrytskyi said that a recent massive missile attack by Russia on the nation's power grids was the "biggest one in Ukrainian history."

"More than 100 heavy missiles were launched at the Ukrainian power grid infrastructure," he said.

The Russian attacks on Ukraine's power grid have left many regions of the country struggling and turning to power generators for assistance.

- Brian Schwartz

Gazprom threatens to reduce gas supplies to Moldova

Russian state gas giant Gazprom threatened to reduce gas supplies to Moldova via Ukraine, accusing Kyiv of holding onto supplies destined for its neighbor.

In a statement on Telegram, Gazprom said the volume of gas it was supplying to the Sudzha gas measuring station "for transit to Moldova, through the territory of Ukraine, exceeds the physical volume transmitted at the border of Ukraine with Moldova."

Flow regulator valves at a natural gas measuring station in Moldova.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gazprom said its Moldovan customer, Moldovagaz, had paid for part of its supply for November on Monday but it said Ukraine had withheld 52.52 million cubic meters of gas meant for the country.

If the transit imbalance continued, Gazprom said, it will begin reducing gas supply to the Sudzha [gas measuring station] for transit through Ukraine from Nov. 28, saying it would reduce supplies equivalent to those that were allegedly being "underdelivered."

Ukraine and Moldova have not yet responded to the claims. CNBC has contacted Ukraine's energy ministry for comment, and Moldovagaz, and is awaiting a response.

— Holly Ellyatt

Keeping infrastructure operating is a key priority for Ukraine, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy visits Kherson City for first time after the withdrawal of Russian troops in Ukraine, November 13th, 2022.
Narciso Contreras | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine's president held a meeting Tuesday with the head of the Ukrainian armed forces and other senior military commanders and government officials to discuss three key issues facing Ukraine's forces on the frontline.

Firstly, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Telegram, the priority "is to provide our army with equipment and weapons." 

"The second is the protection of energy infrastructure facilities," he said, while the third key issue was to "ensure the high-quality operation of infrastructure facilities throughout the winter." 

Ukraine faces an uphill struggle to keep the lights on with a significant proportion of its energy infrastructure damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks. Zelenskyy said maintaining operational infrastructure would "not be an easy walk" but that Ukraine would persevere.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine says Russia hit aid distribution center, one killed

Russian shelling hit a humanitarian aid distribution center in the town of Orihiv in southeastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing a volunteer and wounding two women, the regional governor said.

Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, gave no further details of the attack on Orihiv, about 110 km (70 miles) east of the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station which has been shelled in the past few days.

A Russian serviceman guards an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, in southeastern Ukraine, on May 1, 2022.
AP

Russia and Ukraine accused each other of firing the shells that fell near reactors and damaged a radioactive waste storage building at the plant.

"Russian terrorists are shelling humanitarian delivery points, continuing nuclear blackmail - a pitiful tactic of military losers," Andriy Yermak, chief of the presidential staff, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

"Well, for every such action there is a Ukrainian counteraction," he added.

— Reuters

Russian Orthodox Church calls Ukraine monastery raid 'act of intimidation'

A view of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra complex in the capital Kyiv,
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The Russian Orthodox Church said on Tuesday that searches conducted by Ukrainian security services at an Orthodox monastery in the capital Kyiv were an "act of intimidation."

"Like many other cases of persecution of believers in Ukraine since 2014, this act of intimidation of believers is almost certain to go unnoticed by those who call themselves the international human rights community," Vladimir Legoida, a spokesperson for the church said, Reuters reported.

Ukraine said it carried out the searches at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra complex as part of counter-intelligence measures, and that they were conducted within the law. Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia's church, has given his support for what Moscow calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

—  Reuters

58 houses, apartments detroyed by Russian attacks on Zaporizhzhia

Search and rescue operation takes place at the site of a Russian missile strike on a two-story apartment building, Vilnyansk, Zaporizhzhia Region, southeastern Urkaine.
Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukrainian officials in the southern province of Zaporizhzhia say the region continues to experience Russian shelling with 58 houses and apartments destroyed over the past day.

The Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said on Telegram that Russian forces had shelled multiple settlements in the region, with Zaporizhzhia's police force receiving multiple reports on the destruction of houses and apartments and unspecified "infrastructure objects" as a result of shelling by Russian military personnel.

Officials said 78 people had been evacuated from the region during the past day, including 11 children. CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

58 houses, apartments detroyed by Russian attacks on Zaporizhzhia

Search and rescue operation takes place at the site of a Russian missile strike on a two-story apartment building, Vilnyansk, Zaporizhzhia Region, southeastern Urkaine.
Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukrainian officials in the southern province of Zaporizhzhia say the region continues to experience Russian shelling with 58 houses and apartments destroyed over the past day.

The Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said on Telegram that Russian forces had shelled multiple settlements in the region, with Zaporizhzhia's police force receiving multiple reports on the destruction of houses and apartments and unspecified "infrastructure objects" as a result of shelling by Russian military personnel.

Officials said 78 people had been evacuated from the region during the past day, including 11 children. CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Kherson residents told to evacuate for winter

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called on the residents of the recently de-occupied part of Kherson to evacuate for the winter.

"The government offers free evacuation to Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv and Odesa, with possible further movement to Kirovohrad, Khmelnytskyi or western regions of Ukraine," she wrote on her Telegram account.

She directed her call to women with children, the elderly, the sick and those with reduced mobility in particular, saying that "given the difficult security situation in the city and infrastructure problems, you can evacuate for the winter to safer regions of the country."

Residents talk to train station staff while waiting to be evacuated from Kherson on Nov. 21, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Displaced people will be provided with free accommodation in shelters, humanitarian aid, food and medical support, she said.

Vereshchuk is not the first to call on people to evacuate the region, a significant part of which was liberated after a Russian withdrawal earlier in November from the western bank of the Dnipro river to the opposite bank. Russian forces gathered there have been shelling Kherson since, however.

Other Ukrainian officials in Kherson have also warned civilians there that it's safer to evacuate the region now because of the dangers posed by Russian shelling. The region has received humanitarian aid in the form of blankets, warm clothes, food, hygiene products and medicine.

— Holly Ellyatt

WHO warns winter could be 'life-threatening' for millions in Ukraine

The World Health Organization has expressed concerns over deteriorating living conditions in Ukraine, warning that "cold weather can kill" and that it expects millions more could flee their homes in search of warmth and safety.

Hans Kluge, WHO's regional director for Europe, warned Monday that "this winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine" amid continuing attacks on health and energy infrastructure.

"The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukraine health system and the Ukrainian people, but also for the world and its commitment to support Ukraine." 

Independence Square in Kyiv during a rolling blackout of parts of districts of the Ukrainian capital following rocket attacks to critical infrastructure, on Oct. 24, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Repeated Russian attacks on energy facilities across Ukraine mean hundreds of hospitals and health-care facilities are no longer fully operational and are lacking fuel, water and electricity to meet basic needs, the WHO warned.

Kluge said there's a high risk that alternative and potentially toxic fuels will be used as desperate families try to stay warm this winter.

"Many will be forced to turn to alternative heating methods like burning charcoal or wood or using generators fueled by diesel or electric heaters. These bring health risks, including exposure to toxic substances that are harmful for children, older people and those with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, as well as accidental burns and injuries," he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

'No immediate safety concerns' at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, shelling caused widespread damage

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine August 4, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

There are "no immediate safety or security concerns" at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following heavy shelling throughout the weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

However, while key equipment remained intact, the assessment team found widespread damage across the site.

"This is a major cause of concern as it clearly demonstrates the sheer intensity of the attacks on one of the world's largest nuclear power plants," IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement after the agency conducted an investigation of the site.

Areas of the plant damaged by the strikes included a pressurized air pipeline, the main road to reactors and condensate storage tanks, resulting in non-radioactive leakage. Operating and maintenance staff are already repairing some of the damage and plant personnel are cleaning up the site, the IAEA said.

Grossi has repeatedly warned against fighting near the site, most recently saying that whoever was responsible for the attacks was "playing with fire."

The renewed attacks on and around the nuclear site have intensified Grossi's calls for a protection zone, which would prevent shelling near the plant.

— Rocio Fabbro

One dead, four injured by Russian shelling in Kherson, top Ukrainian official says

A fisherman sails his boat on the Dnipro River as black smoke rises after an attack on an oil reserve in Kherson, on November 20, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

One person was killed and four others injured from Russian shelling in the Kherson region, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

Despite Russia's withdrawal from Kherson earlier this month, shelling has continued in the southern Ukrainian region. same t

Over the past several months, Russia has consistently attacked civilian infrastructure, including energy systems and residential buildings.

Ukrainian officials began evacuating civilians from Kherson and a neighboring province as infrastructure damage was deemed too critical for inhabitants to safely remain during the winter.

— Rocio Fabbro

Ukraine's Zelenskyy: Nuclear plants need protection from Russian sabotage

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Kherson, Ukraine November 14, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged NATO members to guarantee the protection of Ukraine's nuclear plants from Russian sabotage, a day after the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant was rocked by heavy shelling.

"All our nations are interested in not having any dangerous incidents at our nuclear facilities," Zelenskyy said in a video address to NATO's Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid.

"We all need guaranteed protection from Russian sabotage at nuclear facilities," he added.

The Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine was shelled on Saturday and Sunday, raising concern about the potential for a serious accident just 500 km (300 miles) from Chornobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

— Reuters

NATO Parliamentary Assembly calls for creation of special tribunal on Russian aggression in Ukraine, recognizes Russia as a terrorist state

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the plenary session of the third day of the 68th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly in the Auditorium Ground Floor Room at the Hotel Melia Castilla, Nov. 21, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.
Alberta Ortego | Europa Press | Getty Images

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid called for the creation of a special international tribunal on Russia's aggression in Ukraine and recognized Russia as a terrorist state, according to a statement from the head of Ukraine's permanent delegation to the NATO assembly.

"All 30 NATO countries supported the proposals of our delegation," Yehor Chernev said in the statement.

"Such a tribunal will make it possible to convict not only the direct perpetrators of war crimes, but also the senior leadership of the Russian Federation."

The resolution, which also includes proposals to increase arms supplies to Ukraine, develop further steps for Ukraine's accession to NATO, and create a reparation collection mechanism, will be sent to all NATO member countries, Chernev said.

"The adoption of this resolution is an important political step that reflects the mood in Western parliamentary circles, and therefore influences the leadership of countries in decision-making," he said.

At the assembly, NATO Allies and the European Union also reinforced their commitment to long-term, sustained financial and military support for Ukraine.

— Rocio Fabbro

Poland to put German Patriot missiles near border with Ukraine

A woman holds a flare as protestors gather outside the Russian embassy in Warsaw after missile strikes in Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland, October 10, 2022.
Kacper Pempel | Reuters

NATO allies Poland and Germany have agreed to deploy additional Patriot missile launchers near the Polish border with Ukraine following an offer from Berlin, Poland's defense minister said on Monday.

"The German Defence Minister confirmed her willingness to deploy the Patriot launcher at the border with Ukraine," Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

"The version of the system remains to be determined, as does how quickly they will reach us and how long they will be stationed."

Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defense system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed in Poland last week, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told a newspaper on Sunday.

The German government had already said it would offer its eastern neighbor further help in air policing with German Eurofighters after the incident, which initially raised fears that the war in Ukraine could spill across the border.

— Reuters

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