Shelling by Russian forces struck several areas in eastern and southern Ukraine overnight as utility crews continued a scramble to restore power, water and heating following widespread strikes in recent weeks, officials said Sunday. With persistent snowfall blanketing the capital, Kyiv, Sunday, analysts predicted that wintry weather — bringing with it frozen terrain and grueling fighting conditions — could have an increasing impact on the direction of the conflict that has raged since Russian forces invaded Ukraine more than nine months ago. But for the moment, both sides were bogged down by heavy rain and muddy battlefield conditions in some areas, experts said. After a blistering barrage of Russian artillery strikes on at least two occasions over the past two weeks, infrastructure teams in Ukraine were fanning out in around-the-clock deployments to restore key basic services as many Ukrainians dealt with only a few hours of electricity per day — if any. Ukrenergo, the state power grid operator, said Sunday that electricity producers are now supplying about 80% of demand. That’s an improvement from Saturday’s 75%, the company says. The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank that has been closely monitoring developments in Ukraine, said reporting from both sides indicated that heavy rain and mud have had an impact — but wider freezing expected along the front lines in coming days could play a role. Read more: Most Ukrainians left without power after Russian strikes “It is unclear if either side is actively planning or preparing to resume major offensive or counter-offensive operations at that time, but the meteorological factors that have been hindering such operations will begin lifting,” it said in a note published Saturday. ISW said Russian forces were digging in further east of the city of Kherson, from which they were expelled by Ukrainian forces more than two weeks ago, and continued “routine artillery fire” across the Dnipro River. In the eastern Donetsk region, five people were killed in shelling over the past day, according to governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Overnight shelling was reported by regional leaders in the Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk areas to the west. Kharkiv governor Oleh Syniehubov said one person was killed and three wounded in the northeastern region. A day earlier, a long column of cars, vans and trucks caravanned away from the recently liberated city of Kherson after intense shelling in recent days and amid concerns more pummeling from the Russian forces nearby could loom again in coming days. Read more: Civilians escape Kherson after Russian strikes on freed city “The day before yesterday, artillery hit our house. Four flats burned down. Windows shattered,” said city resident Vitaliy Nadochiy, driving out with a terrier on his lap and a Ukrainian flag dangling from a sun visor. “We can’t be there. There is no electricity, no water, heating. So we are leaving to go to my brother.”
NATO is determined to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia for “as long as it takes” and will help the war-wracked country transform its armed forces into a modern army up to Western standards, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowed on Friday. Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Romania next week, Stoltenberg urged countries that want to, either individually or in groups, to keep providing air defense systems and other weapons to Ukraine. NATO as an organization does not supply weapons. “NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down,” the former Norwegian prime minister said. “Allies are providing unprecedented military support, and I expect foreign ministers will also agree to step up non-lethal support.” Stoltenberg said that members of the 30-nation security organization have been delivering fuel, generators, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jamming devices, but that more will be needed as winter closes in, particularly as Russia attacks Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Read more: Poland, NATO say missile strike wasn't a Russian attack “At our meeting in Bucharest, I will call for more,” he said. “Over the longer term we will help Ukraine transition from Soviet era equipment to modern NATO standards, doctrine and training.” Stoltenberg said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba would join the ministers to discuss his country’s most pressing needs but also what kind of long-term support that NATO can provide. NATO’s top civilian official said the support will help Ukraine move toward joining the alliance one day. The Nov 29-30 meeting in Bucharest is being held almost 15 years after NATO promised that Ukraine and Georgia would one day become members of the organization, a pledge that deeply angered Russia. Also attending the meeting will be the foreign ministers of Bosnia, Georgia and Moldova – three partners that NATO says are coming under increasing Russian pressure. Stoltenberg said the meeting would see NATO “take further steps to help them protect their independence, and strengthen their ability to defend themselves.” Read more: Deadly missile strike adds to Ukraine war fears in Poland Since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion 10 months ago, NATO has bolstered the defenses of allies neighboring Ukraine and Russia but has carefully sought to avoid being dragged into a wider war with a major nuclear power. But Stoltenberg put no pressure on Ukraine to enter peace talks with Russia, and indeed NATO and European diplomats have said that Putin does not appear willing to come to the table. “Most wars end with negotiations,” he said. “But what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield. Therefore, the best way to increase the chances for a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian sniper adjusted his scope and fired a.50-caliber bullet at a Russian soldier across the Dnieper River. Earlier, another Ukrainian used a drone to scan for Russian troops. Two weeks after retreating from the southern city of Kherson, Russia is pounding the town with artillery as it digs in across the Dnieper River. Ukraine is striking back at Russian troops with its own long-distance weapons, and Ukrainian officers say they want to capitalize on their momentum. The Russian withdrawal from the only provincial capital it gained in nine months of war was one of Moscow's most significant battlefield losses. Now that its troops hold a new front line, the army is planning its next move, the Ukrainian military said through a spokesman. Ukrainian forces can now strike deeper into the Russian-controlled territories and possibly push their counteroffensive closer to Crimea, which Russia illegally captured in 2014. Russian troops continue to establish fortifications, including trench systems near the Crimean border and some areas between the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east. In some locations, new fortifications are up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) behind the current front lines, suggesting that Russia is preparing for more Ukrainian breakthroughs, according to the British Ministry of Defense. “The armed forces of Ukraine seized the initiative in this war some time ago," said Mick Ryan, military strategist and retired Australian army major general. "They have momentum. There is no way that they will want to waste that.” Crossing the river and pushing the Russians further back would require complicated logistical planning. Both sides have blown up bridges across the Dnieper. “This is what cut Russians’ supply lines and this is also what will make any further Ukrainian advance beyond the left bank of the river more difficult,” said Mario Bikarski, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit. In a key battlefield development this week, Kyiv’s forces attacked Russian positions on the Kinburn Spit, a gateway to the Black Sea basin, as well as parts of the southern Kherson region still under Russian control. Recapturing the area could help Ukrainian forces push into Russian-held territory in the Kherson region “under significantly less Russian artillery fire” than if they directly crossed the Dnieper River, said the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank. Control of the area would help Kyiv alleviate Russian strikes on Ukraine’s southern seaports and allow it to increase its naval activity in the Black Sea, the think tank added. Read more: After Russian retreat, the Ukrainian flag raised in retaken city Some military experts say there’s a possibility the weather might disproportionately harm poorly-equipped Russian forces and allow Ukraine to take advantage of frozen terrain and move more easily than during the muddy autumn months, ISW said. Russia’s main task, meanwhile, is to prevent any further retreats from the broader Kherson region and to strengthen its defense systems over Crimea, said Bikarski, the analyst. Ryan, the military strategist, said Russia will use the winter to plan its 2023 offensives, stockpile ammunition and continue its campaign targeting critical infrastructure including power and water plants. Russia's daily attacks are already intensifying. Last week a fuel depot was struck in Kherson, the first time since Russia withdrew. This week at least one person was killed and three wounded by Russian shelling, according to the Ukrainian president’s office. Russian airstrikes damaged key infrastructure before Russia left, creating a dire humanitarian crisis. Coupled with the threat of attack, that is adding a layer of stress, say many who weathered Russia’s occupation and are leaving, or considering it. Ukrainian authorities this week began evacuating civilians from recently liberated parts of Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, fearing lack of heat, power and water due to Russian shelling will make winter unlivable. Boarding a train on Monday, Tetyana Stadnik has decided to go after waiting for the liberation of Kherson. “We are leaving now because it’s scary to sleep at night. Shells are flying over our heads and exploding. It’s too much," she said. "We will wait until the situation gets better. And then we will come back home.” Others in the Kherson region have decided to stay despite living in fear. Read more: Russia says Kherson city withdrawal complete “I’m scared,” said Ludmilla Bonder a resident of the small village of Kyselivka. “I still sleep fully clothed in the basement."
Russia has targeted Ukraine’s battered power infrastructure with another barrage of strikes, forcing the country’s last three fully functioning nuclear power plants to disconnect from the grid and leaving “the vast majority of electricity consumers” without power, the Energy Ministry says. In a Facebook post Wednesday, the ministry said that power workers are working to restore supplies, “but given the extent of the damage, we will need time.” THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A punishing new barrage of Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure on Wednesday caused power outages across large parts of the country as well as neighboring Moldova, adding to damage to Ukraine’s power network and misery for civilians as winter begins. Multiple regions reported attacks in quick succession. In several regions, authorities reported strikes on critical infrastructure. Officials in Kyiv said that three people were dead and nine wounded in the capital after a Russian strike hit a two-story building. Russia has been pounding the power grid and other facilities with missiles and exploding drones for weeks. The new strikes piled further intense stress on an energy system that is being damaged faster than it can be repaired. Before the latest barrage, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had said that Russian strikes had already damaged around half of Ukraine’s infrastructure. Rolling power outages have become the horrid new normal for millions and the latest barrage affected water supplies, too. Ukrainian officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping that the misery of unheated and unlit homes in the cold and dark of winter will turn public opinion against a continuation of the war but say it’s having the opposite effect, strengthening Ukrainian resolve. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Wednesday that “one of the capital’s infrastructure facilities has been hit” and there were “several more explosions in different districts” of the city. He said water supplies were knocked out in all of Kyiv. There were power outages in parts of Kyiv, while power was out in the wider Kyiv region, in the northern city of Kharkiv, the western city of Lviv, the northern Chernihiv region and in the southern Odesa region. In Moldova, Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu said that “we have massive power outages across the country,” whose Soviet-era energy systems remain interconnected with Ukraine. There was a similar outage in Moldova on Nov. 15. The country’s pro-Western president, Maia Sandu, said in a statement that “Russia left Moldova in the dark.” She said that the future of Moldova, a country of about 2.6 million people, “must remain toward the free world.” Read more: Strike on Ukrainian maternity hospital kills 2-day-old baby Power also was out in most parts of the western Khmelnytskyi region, governor Serhii Hamalii said on Telegram. He added that a nuclear power plant in the region was disconnected from the Ukrainian electricity grid. The latest onslaught came hours after Ukrainian authorities said an overnight rocket attack destroyed a hospital maternity ward in southern Ukraine, killing a 2-day-old baby. Following the overnight strike in Vilniansk, close to the city of Zaporizhzhia, the baby’s mother and a doctor were pulled alive from the rubble. The region’s governor said the rockets were Russian. The strike adds to the gruesome toll suffered by hospitals and other medical facilities — and their patients and staff — in the Russian invasion that will enter its tenth month this week. They have been in the firing line from the outset, including a March 9 airstrike that destroyed a maternity hospital in the now-occupied port city of Mariupol. First lady Olena Zelenska wrote on Twitter that a 2-day-old boy died in the strike and expressed her condolences. “Horrible pain. We will never forget and never forgive,” she said. Photos posted by the governor showed thick smoke rising above mounds of rubble, being combed by emergency workers against the backdrop of a dark night sky. The State Emergency Service said the two-story building was destroyed. Medical workers’ efforts have been complicated by the succession of Russian attacks in recent weeks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. The situation is even worse in the southern city of Kherson, from which Russia retreated nearly two weeks ago after months of occupation — cutting power and water lines. Many doctors in the city are working in the dark, unable to use elevators to transport patients to surgery and operating with headlamps, cell phones and flashlights. In some hospitals, key equipment no longer works. “Breathing machines don’t work, X-ray machines don’t work ... There is only one portable ultrasound machine and we carry it constantly,” said Volodymyr Malishchuk, the head of surgery at a children’s hospital in the city. On Tuesday, after strikes on Kherson seriously wounded 13-year-old Artur Voblikov, a team of health staff carefully maneuvered the sedated boy up six flights of a narrow staircase to an operating room to amputate his left arm. Read more: Deadly missile strike adds to Ukraine war fears in Poland Malischchuk said that three children wounded by Russian strikes have come to the hospital this week, half as many as had previously been admitted in all of the nine months since the invasion began. Picking up a piece of shrapnel that was found in a 14-year-old boy’s stomach, he said children are arriving with severe head injuries and ruptured internal organs. Artur’s mother, Natalia Voblikova, sat in the dark hospital with her daughter, waiting for his surgery to end. “You can’t even call (Russians) animals, because animals take care of their own,” said Voblikova wiping tears from her eyes. “But the children ... Why kill children?” The European Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed a resolution labeling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism for its invasion of and actions in Ukraine. The nonbinding but symbolically significant resolution passed in a 494-58 vote with 48 abstentions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the vote. “Russia must be isolated at all levels and be held accountable in order to end its longstanding policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe,” he wrote on Twitter. After Wednesday’s strikes, senior Zelenskyy aide Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram: “The terrorists immediately confirm that they are terrorists — they launch rockets. Naive losers.”
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday (November 20, 2022) said the increased activities of Russia due to the situation in Ukraine might be the reason behind the revised decision taken by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, regarding his planned visit to Bangladesh. "I can understand it. They are very busy. Their activities due to the war have increased to a large extent. Maybe for that reason he is unable to come," Momen told reporters after attending a programme in a Dhaka hotel. The foreign minister said the Russian side in a diplomatic communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveyed that the Russian foreign minister is unable to come. "He (Lavrov) wants to speak with me over the phone. And I agreed," Momen said, adding that the telephone conversation will be done at a mutually convenient time. Read more: Russian Ambassador instead of FM to represent the country in IORA meeting Earlier today, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam told UNB that the two foreign ministers are likely to have a telephone conversation tomorrow or the day after. Responding to a question, Momen said Bangladesh's position on Russia-Ukraine war is "very exposed" (very clear) and Bangladesh has been maintaining an independent and balanced decision. "It is a consistent approach. We have maintained a balanced and consistent foreign policy," he said. Russian Ambassador in Dhaka Alexander Mantytskiy instead of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will represent his country at the IORA meeting, scheduled for November 24. Read more: Russia denies FM Lavrov was hospitalised, calling it “highest level of fakes” The Russian Foreign Minister was scheduled to visit Bangladesh on November 23, mainly to attend the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers meeting, to be held in Dhaka on November 24. Russia is a dialogue partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) while Bangladesh is the current chair of IORA. Momen met his Russian counterpart last month in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the CICA Summit. Bangladesh to Host IORA Council Meeting The IORA Council of Ministers meeting, to be hosted by Bangladesh, will be preceded by the 24th meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials, to be held on November 22-23. Read more: Russian FM Lavrov’s Visit: Dhaka to focus on energy cooperation, Rohingya issue The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 member states and 10 dialogue partners. IORA member states are Australia, Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The 23 member states of IORA and 10 dialogue partners are expected to join the ministerial and senior official meetings. Bangladesh assumed the position of the IORA Chair at the 21st IORA COM meeting in Dhaka held on November 17, 2021 and adopted the theme of “Harnessing the opportunities of the Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development.” Read More: Russia-Ukraine grain deal extended in win for food prices
A wartime agreement that unblocked grain shipments from Ukraine and helped temper rising global food prices will be extended by four months, the United Nations and other parties to the deal said Thursday, preventing a price shock to some of the world’s most vulnerable countries where many are struggling with hunger. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the 120-day extension a “key decision in the global fight against the food crisis.” Struck during Russia’s war in Ukraine, the initiative established a safe shipping corridor in the Black Sea and inspection procedures to address concerns that cargo vessels might carry weapons or launch attacks. The deal that Ukraine and Russia signed in separate agreements with the U.N. and Turkey on July 22 was due to expire Saturday. Russia confirmed the extension but said it expected progress on removing obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers. Ukraine and Russia are key global suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food to countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia where millions of impoverished people lack enough to eat. Russia was also the world's top exporter of fertilizer before the war. A loss of those supplies following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine had pushed up global food prices and fueled concerns of a hunger crisis in poorer countries. While the extension prevents a price shock in developing nations that spend far more on food and energy than richer countries, threats persist from droughts in places like Somalia and the weakening of currencies around the world, which makes buying imported grain more expensive. “I was deeply moved to know that in Istanbul, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the U.N. had come to an agreement for the rollover of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, allowing for the free exports of Ukrainian grains,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. The Turkish Defense Ministry said the decision to extend the deal came after two days of talks in Istanbul between delegations from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. that were held in a “positive and constructive” atmosphere. Russia had voiced dissatisfaction with the deal facilitating exports of Russian grain and fertilizer, hinting that it might not approve an extension and even briefly suspending its part of the deal late last month. It cited risks to its ships following what it alleged was a Ukrainian drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Although Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine did not target food exports, many shipping and insurance companies were reluctant to deal with Moscow, either refusing to do so or greatly increasing the price. Guterres said the U.N. was “fully committed” to removing hurdles to shipping food and fertilizer from Russia. The United Nations has been working to overcome issues related to insurance, access to ports, financial transactions and shipping for Russian vessels, according to a U.N. official who was not authorize to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said the insurance issue has mainly been resolved in recent days. Russia has offered to donate 260,000 metric tons of fertilizer stored in European ports to farmers in the developing world who have been priced out of the fertilizer market because of shortages, and the official said the first ship is slated to leave the Netherlands on Monday for Mozambique, where the fertilizer will go by land to Malawi. Further shipments are expected from Belgium and Estonia, the official said. Read more: Russia to suspend UN-brokered grain deal with Ukraine The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow had allowed the extension to take effect “without any changes in terms and scope.” It said Russia noted the “intensification” of U.N. efforts to hasten Russian exports. “All these issues must be resolved within 120 days for which the ‘package deal’ is extended,” the ministry said. During talks on the extension, the sides discussed possible additional measures to “deliver more grain to those in real need,” the ministry added, apparently to address Russian complaints that most of the grain has ended up in richer nations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Thursday that wheat from Russia could be turned into flour in Turkey and shipped to African nations in need. U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said last month that 23% of the exports from Ukraine under the grain deal have gone to lower- or lower-middle-income countries and 49% of all wheat shipments have gone to such nations. Markets were pleasantly surprised by the extension, said Ian Mitchell, co-director of the Europe program at the Center for Global Development who specializes in agriculture and food security. Following the announcement, wheat futures prices dropped 2.6% in Chicago. “Ukraine and Russia are such important grain exporters that the rest of the market can’t fully substitute for the complete absence of Ukrainian grain,” he said. “So that deal is going to matter to food prices significantly, even if the volumes are not what they were before the invasion.” He said, however, that uncertainty is “unhelpful in this deal.” Toward the end of the four-month extension, markets will “price in the risk that it wasn’t extended, and prices will rise a little bit again.” Arnaud Petit, executive director of the International Grains Council, said the Black Sea region produces some of the world's cheapest wheat and securing those supplies prevents a price shock to developing nations. There have been good harvests in the region, contributing to an expected 10 million more tons of wheat worldwide compared with last year, he said. The extension means that Ukrainian farmers can plan to plant. Petit called the extension a building block in “an unstable region where things can change on a daily basis.” Read more: Russia rejoins key deal on wartime Ukrainian grain exports However, when it comes to food prices, trade movement isn’t as important as currencies around the world weakening against a strong U.S. dollar, which commodities like wheat and other grain are priced in, Petit said. The council calculated that for Ghana, which mainly imports its wheat from Canada, the price of wheat in dollars from Canada has been largely stable for two years. But changing into local currency translated to a 70% price hike. Global food prices declined about 15% from their March peak after the grain initiative was adopted in July. “With the delivery of more than 11 million tons of grains and foodstuffs to those in need via approximately 500 ships over the past four months, the significance and benefits of this agreement for the food supply and security of the world have become evident,” Turkey's Erdogan said.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has said Bangladesh would seek a duty cut on its exports to the Russian market during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s upcoming visit in addition to seeking Russia’s support to resolve the Rohingya crisis and strengthen energy cooperation. “Russia is gradually becoming a big market (for Bangladesh). Duty is the biggest impediment to enhancing trade. So Far I know there is still a 35 percent duty for shipments to Russia,” he said. The State Minister, while talking to a small group of reporters at his office on Thursday, also talked about Bangladesh’s trade-related discussion with the Eurasian countries – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. “We hope Russia will help us as a big player.” He said the Russian Foreign Minister will be here on a brief visit but they are working really hard to maximize his stay in Dhaka. The Russian Foreign Minister is coming to Bangladesh on November 23 mainly to attend the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting to be held in Dhaka on November 24. Russia is a dialogue partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) while Bangladesh is the current chair of IORA. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen recently hinted that considering the current situation, Bangladesh will explore the possibility of cooperation in the energy sector with Russia during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s planned official visit here. Bangladesh will also discuss food grains supply and quick implementation of the projects that are in the pipeline including the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The Russian Foreign Minister will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina apart from his bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen. The visit will give us an opportunity to highlight our challenges and priority issues with Russia, Foreign Secretary Masud told reporters on Sunday. Read more: Bangladesh abstains in UNGA vote calling on Russia to pay reparations Masud also said Bangladesh wants Russia closer to Bangladesh to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis. The Foreign Secretary, however, said there are still many days and reminded that Russia remains in an intensive situation. "The invitation to take part in the IORA meeting for Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has been received and the work is on as regards the possibility of this visit," an official at the Russian Embassy in Dhaka told UNB. Earlier, Foreign Minister Momen invited his Russian counterpart to attend the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting to be held in Dhaka on November 24. Momen met his Russian counterpart last month in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the CICA Summit and apprised him of the current situation of the Rohingya. He stressed the need for stronger international support for resolving the Rohingya crisis. In August, Sergey Lavrov met with his counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin and other top Myanmar officials in Naypyitaw. Read more:Despite differences, the G-20 summit ends with a condemnation of Russia
Members of the Group of 20 leading economies ended their summit Wednesday with a declaration of firm condemnation of the war in Ukraine and a warning that the conflict is making an already delicate world economy worse. The summit’s closing statement was noteworthy because world leaders managed to highlight a denunciation of the war despite the divisions among the group, which includes not only Russia but also countries such as China and India that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have stopped short of outright criticism of the war. “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” the statement said. The use of the words “most members” was a telling sign of the divisions, as was an acknowledgement that “there were other views and different assessments” and that the G-20 is “not the forum to resolve security issues.” Also read: Putin won’t be at G20 summit, avoiding possible confrontation with US Even so, the statement’s use of language from a March U.N. resolution that deplored “in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine” and demanded “its complete and unconditional withdrawal” from Ukrainian territory was a “big breakthrough,” according to John Kirton, director of the G20 Research Group. “Here the G-20 left no doubt about who it knew had started the war and how it should end,” he said in an interview. He noted an “active shift” by China and India, which joined the “democratic side of the great immediate geopolitical divide.” The conflict in Ukraine loomed large over the two-day summit held on the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia. News early Wednesday of an explosion that rocked eastern Poland prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to hastily arrange an emergency meeting with G-7 and NATO members at the summit. Biden said it was “unlikely” Russia fired the missile but added: “I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened.” Poland and NATO’s head said later Wednesday the missile strike appeared to be unintentional and was probably launched by air defenses in Ukraine as Russia was bombarding the country in an attack that savaged its power grid. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, disputed the preliminary findings and asked for further investigation. Russia denied involvement. Biden was joined at the G-20 by leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend. Also read: G20 Presidency: India to invite Bangladesh as guest country On Tuesday, Russia pounded Ukrainian cities with dozens of missile strikes in its biggest barrage yet on the country’s energy facilities, which have been repeatedly struck as winter approaches. Sunak, speaking to reporters at the close of the meeting, called the attacks “the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin’s war.” “While other world leaders were working together to tackle the greatest challenges our people face, Putin was launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Ukraine,” Sunak said. The war, he added, will “continue to devastate the global economy.” The careful wording of the final G-20 statement reflected tensions at the gathering and the challenge faced by the United States and its allies as they try to isolate Putin’s government. Several G-20 members, including host Indonesia, are wary of becoming entangled in disputes between bigger powers. Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters that the portion of the declaration dealing with the war was the most contentious part of the negotiations and that discussions were “very, very tough.” The final product was seen by some as a strong rebuke of a war that has killed thousands, heightened global security tensions and disrupted the world economy. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the G-20 summit’s “surprisingly clear words” on Ukraine “wouldn’t have been possible if important countries hadn’t helped us to come together this way — that includes India and it also includes, for example, South Africa.” “This is something which shows that there are many in the world who don’t think this war is right, who condemn it, even if they abstained in the votes at the United Nations for various reasons,” Scholz said. “And I am sure that this is one of the results of this summit: the Russian president stands almost alone in the world with his policy.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who led the Russian delegation in place of Putin, denounced the Biden administration push to condemn Moscow. China’s support for a public statement critical of Russia surprised some. Beijing likely did so because Chinese President Xi Jinping “doesn’t want to back a loser” after Russia’s defeat in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, said Kirton, the analyst. “He knows he needs G-20 cooperation to address the many growing vulnerabilities that China now confronts,” from climate change to the pandemic to the nation’s “financial fragility of its over-leveraged housing and property markets.” The G-20 was founded in 1999 originally as a forum to address economic challenges. It includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Spain holds a permanent guest seat. The 16-page statement also expressed deep concern on a range of issues, including food and energy crises made worse by the war in Ukraine. The leaders said that amid food shortages and rising prices they’d take “urgent actions to save lives, prevent hunger and malnutrition, particularly to address the vulnerabilities of developing countries.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope that a vital deal brokered by Turkey and the U.N. to export Ukrainian grain would be extended before it expires Sunday. The July deal allowed major grain producer Ukraine to resume exports from ports that had been largely blocked because of the war. “As of now, I am of the opinion that the (grain agreement) will continue,” Erdogan said. “As soon as we return, we will continue our talks, especially with Mr. Putin. Because the way to peace is through dialogue.” The emergency meeting Wednesday included the leaders of the G-7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union, along with the president of the European Council and the prime ministers of NATO allies Spain and the Netherlands. Biden held a separate meeting later with Sunak, in their first extended conversation since the British leader took office last month. “We’re going to continue to support Ukraine as long as Russia continues their aggression,” Biden said alongside Sunak, adding that he was “glad we’re on the same page” in backing Ukraine. Biden said the leaders condemned the latest Russian attacks, which have caused widespread blackouts. “The moment when the world came together at the G-20 to urge de-escalation, Russia continues to escalate in Ukraine, while we’re meeting,” Biden said.
NATO member Poland and the head of the military alliance both said Wednesday there is “no indication” that a missile that came down in Polish farmland, killing two people, was an intentional attack, and that air defenses in neighboring Ukraine likely launched the Soviet-era projectile to fend off a Russian assault that savaged its power grid. “Ukraine’s defense was launching their missiles in various directions and it is highly probable that one of these missiles unfortunately fell on Polish territory," said Polish President Andrzej Duda. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at a meeting of the 30-nation military alliance in Brussels, echoed the preliminary Polish findings, saying: “We have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack.” Read more: Russian missiles cross into Poland during strike on Ukraine, killing 2 The initial assessments of Tuesday's deadly missile landing appeared to dial back the likelihood that the incident would trigger another major escalation in the nearly 9-month Russian invasion of Ukraine. If Russia had deliberately targeted Poland, it could have risked drawing NATO into the conflict. Still, Stoltenberg and others laid overall but not specific blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war. “This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility,” Stoltenberg said. Before the Polish and NATO assessments, U.S. President Joe Biden had said it was “unlikely” that Russia fired the missile but added: “I’m going to make sure we find out exactly what happened.” Three U.S. officials said preliminary assessments suggested it was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly. That assessment and Biden’s comments at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia contradicted information earlier Tuesday from a senior U.S. intelligence official who told The Associated Press that Russian missiles crossed into Poland. Former Soviet-bloc country Ukraine maintains stocks of Soviet- and Russian-made weaponry, including air-defense missiles, and has also seized many more Russian weapons while beating back the Kremlin’s invasion forces. Ukrainian air defenses worked furiously against the Russian assault Tuesday on power generation and transmission facilities, including in Ukraine’s western region that borders Poland. Ukraine’s military said 77 of the more than 90 missiles fired were brought down, along with 11 drones. The Kremlin on Wednesday denounced Poland’s and other countries’ initial response to the missile landing and, in rare praise for a U.S. leader, hailed Biden's "restrained, much more professional reaction.” “We have witnessed another hysterical, frenzied, Russophobic reaction that was not based on any real data,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He added that “immediately, all experts realized that it could not have been a missile linked to the Russian armed forces." Still, Ukraine was under countrywide Russian bombardment Tuesday by barrages of cruise missiles and exploding drones, which clouded the initial picture of what exactly happened in Poland and why. In Europe, NATO members Germany and the U.K. laced their calls for a through investigation of the missile landing with criticism of Moscow. “This wouldn’t have happened without the Russian war against Ukraine, without the missiles that are now being fired at Ukrainian infrastructure intensively and on a large scale,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This is the cruel and unrelenting reality of Putin’s war.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it “a very significant escalation." On the other end of the spectrum, China was among those calling for calm and restraint. Read more: Biden calls ‘emergency’ meeting after missile hits Poland Damage from the aerial assault in Ukraine was extensive and swaths of the country were plunged into darkness. Zelenskyy said about 10 million people lost power but tweeted overnight that 8 million were subsequently reconnected, with repair crews laboring through the night. Previous Russian strikes had already destroyed an estimated 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure. The missile landed in the Polish farming village of Przewodow near the border with Ukraine. The Russian bombardment also affected neighboring Moldova. It reported massive power outages after the strikes in Ukraine disconnected a power line to the small nation. Tuesday's assaults killed one person in a residential building in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. It followed days of euphoria in Ukraine sparked by one of its biggest military successes — the retaking last week of the southern city of Kherson. With its battlefield losses mounting, Russia has increasingly resorted to targeting Ukraine’s power grid, seemingly hoping to turn the approach of winter into a weapon by leaving people in the cold and dark.
US President Joe Biden said it was “unlikely” that missile was fired from Russia, and pledged support for Poland’s investigation. “There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden told reporters when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.” Biden was joined at the G-20 by leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend. Read more: Biden calls ‘emergency’ meeting after missile hits Poland The careful wording of the final statement reflected tensions at the gathering and the challenge for the US and its allies to isolate Putin’s government. Several G-20 members, including host Indonesia, are wary of becoming entangled in disputes between bigger powers. Members of the Group of 20 leading economies ended their meeting Wednesday by declaring that most of them strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and warning that the conflict is intensifying fragilities in the world’s economy. The declaration was a strong rebuke of the war that has killed thousands, heightened global security tensions and disrupted the world economy. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who led the Russian delegation to Indonesia in place of Putin, denounced the Biden administration push to condemn Moscow in his remarks Tuesday (November 15, 2022). The summit’s closing declaration was noteworthy in highlighting the war given the divisions among the group, which includes not only Russia itself but also countries such as China and India that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have stopped short of outright criticism of the war. Still, it acknowledged “there were other views and different assessments” and stated that the G-20 is “not the forum to resolve security issues.” Read more: Russian missiles cross into Poland during strike on Ukraine, killing 2 The conflict loomed large over the two-day summit held on the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia. News early in the day of an explosion that rocked eastern Poland prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to hastily arrange an emergency meeting with G-7 and NATO members gathered at the summit. Poland said the blast near the Ukrainian border was caused by a Russian-made missile and that it was investigating what happened. The NATO member stopped short of blaming Russia for the incident, which killed two people. Russia denied involvement.