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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 Liberian-flagged oil tanker Ice Energy (L) transfers crude oil from the Russian-flagged oil tanker Lana (R) (former Pegas), off the shore of Karystos, on the Island of Evia, on May 29, 2022. - Greece will send Iranian oil from a seized Russian-flagged tanker to the United States at the request of the US judiciary, Greek port police said Wednesday, a decision that angered Tehran. Last month the Greek authorities seized the Pegas, which was said to have been heading to the Marmara terminal in Turkey. The authorities seized the ship in accordance with EU sanctions introduced after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. (Photo by Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP) (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Angelos Tzortzinis | Afp | Getty Images

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 the city of Kherson for the first time after the withdrawal of Russian troops in Ukraine, on Nov. 13, 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