Thu, 02 Feb 2023

Air raid alerts were issued across all of Ukraine on Thursday as officials warned that Russia was preparing a new wave of missile and drone strikes. Earlier Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the West could have avoided war in Ukraine if it had accepted Russian proposals to halt the expansion of NATO. Follow our blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

1:57pm: Kherson loses power supply after Russian shelling

The recently liberated Ukrainian city of Kherson has lost its power supply after heavy shelling by Russian forces, the regional governor said on Thursday.

Kherson, which had endured weeks without basic utilities such as running water and electricity, partially regained its power supply last week after Ukrainian forces recaptured the southern city from Russian forces earlier in November.

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the governor of the Kherson region, blamed Russian shelling for the new power cut and said in a statement on the Telegram messaging platform that energy workers were working to fix the problem.

1:28pm: Air raid warning issued over all Ukraine, officials say

Air raid alerts were issued across all of Ukraine on Thursday following warnings by Ukrainian officials that Russia was preparing a new wave of missile and drone strikes.

"An overall air raid alert is in place in Ukraine. Go to shelters," the country's border service wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

1:14pm: Ukraine urges EU to sanction Russia's missile industry

Ukraine on Thursday urged the European Union to include in its new sanctions package measures that would target Russia's missile industry, after Moscow's systematic strikes on the country's energy grid.

Following military defeats on the ground, Russia began targeting Ukrainian energy facilities, causing severe damage and power shortages ahead of winter.

"I thanked the EU for its continued defence assistance and stressed that next EU sanctions should include those hitting Russia's missile production industry: it must be put to a halt," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on social media.

After meeting EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell at regional security talks in Poland, Kuleba wrote on Twitter that they agreed that "total war against Ukraine means total support for Ukraine".

11:29am: Kremlin says Ukraine tribunals will not have 'legitimacy'

The Kremlin said Thursday that any tribunal established to prosecute alleged Russian crimes in Ukraine would lack legimitimacy and not be recognised by Moscow, after the EU said it was eyeing such a court.

"As for attempts to establish some kind of tribunals, they will not have any legitimacy, will not be accepted by us and will be condemned by us," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

10:51am: Ukraine sacks engineer at occupied nuclear plant, accuses him of collaboration

Ukraine dismissed the deputy chief engineer of its Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Thursday, accusing him of collaborating with Moscow's forces and treason, the Energoatom state nuclear energy company said.

The statement was published a day after Russia said it had promoted the engineer, Yuriy Chernichuk, to serve as the director of the vast nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine.

9:32am: Russia's Lavrov says West missed a chance to avoid Ukraine conflict

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that the West had a real chance to avoid conflict in Ukraine, but had chosen to spurn Russian proposals to halt the expansion of NATO and agree a special security status for Kyiv.

Lavrov made the comments during a news conference in Moscow.

The West says Russia's proposals made in the run-up to the Ukraine war were unrealistic and insincere.

8:34am: Intense fighting in Bakhmut is 'hell', Ukrainian soldiers say

Intense fighting which started five months ago is ongoing in the east Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the third largest Ukrainian-controlled city in Donestk.

"Whenever I speak to soldiers who have been fighting around Bakhmut they all use the same expression: it's hell," says FRANCE 24's Gulliver Cragg, reporting from Kyiv.

Yet experts are unsure as to why Russia is investing so much into capturing the city, which seems to have little strategic interest. Despite a "huge and bloody effort", Cragg says, "even if [Russia] ultimately succeed, it doesn't mean that it will change the course of the war".

6:03am: UN launches record humanitarian funding appeal for Ukraine, climate

The UN appealed for record funds for aid next year, as the Ukraine war and other conflicts, climate emergencies and the still-simmering pandemic push more people into crisis, and some towards famine.

The United Nations' annual Global Humanitarian Overview estimated that 339 million people worldwide will need some form of emergency assistance next year - a staggering 65 million more people than the estimate a year ago.

The annual appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations said that providing aid to the 230 million most vulnerable people across 68 countries would require a record $51.5 billion.

Climate events, food insecurity, forced displacement and conflict have taken a dire toll on a range of countries, not least on Ukraine, where Russia's full-scale invasion in February has left millions in dire need.

"Next year is going to be the biggest humanitarian programme" the world has ever seen, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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