Russia risked causing a “nuclear and radioactive catastrophe” by launching attacks in which all Ukraine’s nuclear power plants were disconnected from the power grid for the first time in 40 years, Ukraine’s nuclear energy chief said. Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that three nuclear power plants on territory held by Ukrainian forces had been switched off after the latest wave of Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities.
Ukraine expected the three nuclear power plants would be operating again by Thursday evening, energy minister German Galushchenko said.
More than 15,000 people have gone missing during the war in Ukraine, an official in the Kyiv office of The Hague-based International Commission on Missing Persons said. The ICMP’s programme director for Europe, Matthew Holliday, said it was unclear how many people had been forcibly transferred, were being held in detention in Russia, were alive and separated from family members, or had died and been buried in makeshift graves.
European Union governments remained split over what level to cap Russian oil prices at to curb Moscow’s ability to pay for its war in Ukraine without causing a global oil supply shock, with further talks expected on Friday. Six of the EU’s 27 countries are said to be opposed to the price cap level proposed by the G7, which will come into force on 5 December.
Foreign ministers from the G7 will discuss how to further support Ukraine in ensuring its energy supply during a meeting in Bucharest next week, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said.
The European Union is pressing ahead with a ninth sanctions package on Russia in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, the European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, said during a visit to Finland. She said the EU would “hit Russia where it hurts to blunt even further its capacity to wage war on Ukraine”.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Russia’s new strategy to destroy Ukraine’s infrastructure would not weaken the country’s resolve to liberate all occupied land, describing the conflict, in an interview with the Financial Times, as a “war of strength and resilience” and pushing back against western fears of escalation.
In his address late on Thursday, Zelenskiy said: “Together we endured nine months of full-scale war and Russia has not found a way to break us, and will not find one.” Zelenskiy also accused Russia of incessantly shelling Kherson, the southern Ukrainian city that it abandoned earlier this month. Seven people were killed and 21 wounded in a Russian attack on Thursday, local authorities said.
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, said that his country’s parliament would ratify Nato membership for Finland and Sweden early next year. Hungary and Turkey are the only members of the alliance who have not yet cleared the accession.
Hungary will provide €187m ($195m) in financial aid to Ukraine as its contribution to a planned EU support package worth up to €18bn in 2023, according to a government decree.
British foreign minister James Cleverly said the UK would pledge millions of pounds in further support for Kyiv to ensure the country has the practical help it needed through the winter. Cleverly is visiting Ukraine and is set to meet Zelenskiy and foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on the trip.
Russia and Ukraine have carried out the latest in a series of prisoner of war exchanges, with both sides handing over 50 people, officials in Kyiv and Moscow confirmed.
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko provoked ire in Ukraine by suggesting that the end of the war is Ukraine’s responsibility, and that if it does not “stop”, it will end in the “complete destruction” of the country. He said that similar to relations with Germany after the second world war, once the Ukraine war has concluded “we will make it all up”.
Ground battles continue to rage in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is pressing an offensive along a stretch of frontline west of the city of Donetsk, which has been held by its proxies since 2014.