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The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EDT.
10:45 a.m.: The expulsion of more than 400 suspected Russian spies from across Europe this year has struck the “most significant strategic blow” against Moscow in recent history and taken Vladimir Putin by surprise, Britain’s domestic spy chief said.
Reuters reports that in his annual update on the threat to Britain, Security Service (MI5) Director General Ken McCallum said a massive number of Russian officials had been expelled from across the world including over 600 from Europe of which more than 400 were judged to be spies.
“This has struck the most significant strategic blow against the Russian Intelligence Services in recent European history,” he said in a speech at MI5’s London headquarters on Wednesday. “And together with coordinated waves of sanctions, the scale has taken (Russian President) Putin by surprise.”
10:20 a.m.: Both Poland and the United States would have to agree to Ukraine taking part in the investigation into a missile that landed in a village in southeastern Poland, the Polish president said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
“The proceedings are conducted by Polish and American experts and if anyone was to be allowed to take part in these proceedings it would need at least the agreement of both parties,” Andrzej Duda told a news conference.
10:10 a.m.: Britain will not make a judgement about a missile which exploded in Poland until there are full details, foreign minister James Cleverly said on Wednesday, although he said the incident was ultimately a result of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, according to Reuters.
Poland and NATO have said the missile, which killed two near Poland’s border with Ukraine on Tuesday, was likely a stray fired by Ukraine’s air defenses rather than a Russian strike.
“Poland will lead the investigation to establish exactly what has happened and the UK stands ready to provide any practical or technical assistance,” Cleverly told parliament.
“In the meantime, we are not going to rush to judgement. Our response will always be led by the facts.”
Cleverly said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was right to say that what happened in Poland was not Ukraine’s fault, and Russia bore ultimate responsibility.
9:40 a.m.: Ukraine’s Operational Command South says the Ukrainian army is shelling the left bank of the Dnieper River, where the Russian military recently dug in after retreating from the southern city of Kherson, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
It said on its Facebook page that Ukrainian forces carried out more than 50 strikes around the Kinburn Spit, in Mykolaiv province, which is currently under the control of the Russian army.
The spit is said to be a key site for Russian electronic warfare and of strategic importance for coordinating Russian shelling of the right bank of the Dnieper River and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces also destroyed ammunition depots in Nova Kakhovka and Oleshky on the Dnieper’s left bank, Operational Command South said.
In the eastern Donetsk province, the Russian army shelled seven towns and villages, according to Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Heavy fighting is underway in the region for the city of Bakhmut.
Over the previous 24 hours, four civilians were killed and seven were wounded in the region. “Every day of the war raises the question of survival for those who are forced to live for months in basements without light and heat, fleeing from Russian shelling,” Kyrylenko said on Ukrainian TV.
9:00 a.m.: A resident of the Polish border village where a missile landed says the two victims of the blast were men around 60 years of age, The Associated Press reported.
Kinga Kancir, from the village of Przewodow in eastern Poland near Ukraine, said Wednesday both men worked at the village grain-drying facility.
“One was a guard, who guarded everything there, the other one was the tractor driver” who transported all the grain, Kancir, 24, told The Associated Press.
The men were killed by a missile that landed Tuesday in the village. NATO officials say the blast appears to have been an accident, not an attack on Poland by Russia.
“One of the victims was our neighbor who lived across from our apartment bloc,” Kancir said. “The other one lived in the neighboring village.”
She said there is “fear, anxiety” in the village about what the future might hold.
8:35 a.m.: Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko says homes in the Ukrainian capital are still getting heating, despite Russian attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
That’s because Kyiv’s critical infrastructure facilities are equipped with generators and fuel in case of outages.
Klitschko said on his Telegram channel Wednesday that the previous day’s Russian missile barrage caused mass blackouts.
He said the grid has been “stabilized,” but provided no further details.
8:15 a.m.: Ukraine wants access to the site of an explosion in eastern Poland which Western officials say was probably caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile, a senior Ukrainian defense official said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said Ukraine wanted a joint study of Tuesday’s incident with its partners and to see the information that provided the basis for its allies’ conclusions.
Kyiv is “completely open to a comprehensive study of the situation,” he wrote on the council’s official Facebook page.
8:05 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made opening remarks at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting Wednesday.
7:50 a.m.: The Kremlin is offering rare praise for the United States, applauding President Joe Biden’s “restrained” reaction to reports about a Russian-made missile landing in Poland, according to The Associated Press.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday dismissed much of the reaction to the missile hit as “hysterical, frenzied.”
NATO allies are investigating how and why a missile that Poland said was Russian-made came down in Polish farmland, killing two, on Tuesday, amid a large-scale bombardment of Ukraine targets by Moscow’s forces.
Biden said it was “unlikely” that Russia fired the missile but added: “We’ll see.”
Elsewhere, officials expressed alarm that the war could be escalating and spread to neighboring countries.
Peskov said that “high-ranking officials from different countries made statements without having any idea what happened exactly, what caused it, and so on.”
Asked to comment on Tuesday’s barrage of strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, Peskov said that “objects that directly or indirectly have to do with military infrastructure” were targeted.
7:35 a.m.: After a missile strike killed two people in Poland, the incident raised global alarm this week that Russia’s war in Ukraine could spill into neighboring countries.
Reuters published this explanatory feature about NATO’s Articles 4 and 5, looking at whether the Ukraine war could trigger its defense obligations.
7:15 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak affirmed their strong support for Ukraine on Wednesday as they met for talks that included the blast that took place in Poland and challenges posed by China, the White House said.
The two leaders, who met on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Indonesia, would fully support Poland’s investigation of the Tuesday blast, the White House said in a statement.
Biden said earlier the missile that killed two people in Poland was probably not fired from Russia.
According to U.S. officials, initial findings suggested that the missile that hit Poland was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile, the Associated Press reported.
7:00 a.m.: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says a missile blast in Poland that killed two people near the border with Ukraine was probably not an attack by Russia, The Associated Press reported.
He said Wednesday it was likely a Ukrainian air defense missile that went astray.
“An investigation into this incident is ongoing and we need to await its outcome. But we have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack,” Stoltenberg told reporters after emergency talks between NATO envoys.
Stoltenberg said that NATO has “no indication that Russia is preparing action” against any member of the 30-nation military alliance.
But he said that the incident happened because of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
“This is not Ukraine’s fault, Russia bears ultimate responsibility,” he said.
6:25 a.m.: Establishing a no-fly zone would pose a threat of direct confrontation between Russia and NATO, Reuters reported quoting a German government spokesperson, after a missile blast in Poland near the Ukrainian border killed two people on Tuesday.
The spokesperson rejected this and said, “Together with all our allies we are agreed that we want to avoid a further escalation of this war in Ukraine.”
Berlin will offer support to the Polish air defense, a spokesperson for the defense ministry said at a regular news conference on Wednesday.
The NATO meeting following Tuesday’s blast was not based on article 4 of the alliance’s founding treaty, under which members can bring any issue of concern for discussion, a foreign ministry spokesperson said.
6:10 a.m.: Poland’s President Andrzej Duda says there is no evidence a missile that hit Poland near its border with Ukraine was an “intentional attack,” The Associated Press reported.
Duda said Wednesday that the landing of the Russian-made missile in a rural area, killing two people, was mostly likely an accident.
“It was not an attack on Poland,” Duda said, adding that Tuesday’s incident involved “most probably a Russian-made missile.”
“We have no proof at this point to suggest the missile was fired by the Russian side,” Duda said. He added: “There is high probability that it was a missile used for anti-missile defense, meaning it was used by Ukraine’s defense forces.”
“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,” Duda said.
Even so, he said the ultimate responsibility lies with Russia, which launched a barrage of missile attacks on Ukraine on Tuesday.
6 a.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday G-20 leaders agreed to push Russia towards de-escalation in the Ukraine conflict and expressed hope China could play a bigger mediation role in the coming months in that respect.
5:33 a.m.: Pope Francis condemned on Wednesday the latest wave of missile attacks on Ukraine, calling for a ceasefire to avert the risk of escalation of the conflict and asking God to “hurry up” to end it, Reuters reported.
He spoke at his general audience in St Peter’s Square as NATO allies investigated unconfirmed reports that an explosion in a Polish village near the border with Ukraine was caused by stray Russian missiles. He did not mention the incident.
“I learned with pain and concern of a fresh and even fiercer missile attack on Ukraine, which caused deaths and damage to much civilian infrastructure,” Francis said in Italian.
“Let us pray so that the Lord converts the hearts of those who still bet on war and make the desire for peace prevail in martyred Ukraine in order to avoid escalation and to open the path to a ceasefire and dialog,” he said. A few minutes later, in other comments on Ukraine, he added, “We can pray for Ukraine saying, if you will, ‘Hurry up, Lord.'”
Russia launched 110 missiles and 10 Iranian-made attack drones at Ukraine on Tuesday, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said the main target of the missile flurry was energy infrastructure, as before, though he added that only 10 intended targets in all had been hit.
The attacks had left millions of Ukrainians without energy in 16 of its 24 regions including Kyiv, the U.N. humanitarian office, OCHA said.
Last month, Francis, for the first time, directly begged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the “spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine. He has been mentioning Ukraine in nearly all his public appearances and has several times said the crisis was risking the use of nuclear weapons, with uncontrollable global consequences.
5 a.m.: Sweden will deliver new military aid worth $287 million (3 billion crowns) to Ukraine, its biggest package of defense material to date which included an air defense system, Reuters reported quoting Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
Previous arms contribution by Sweden, which has applied to join NATO along with neighboring Finland, has ranged from simple equipment such as helmets and body armor to rocket-propelled grenades and missiles.
“It’s a bigger military support package than all eight previous packages combined,” Kristersson told a news conference. “It’s the single largest we’ve done, and we follow exactly the Ukrainian priority list of what they themselves think they need just now.”
Defense Minister Pal Jonson said the new package of military equipment included an air defense system and ammunition from the stockpiles of its armed forces, much needed to defend Ukraine against a fierce onslaught of Russian missiles in recent weeks.
Sweden’s previous Social Democrat government, which lost to Kristersson’s right-wing coalition in elections in September, had agreed several tranches of aid to Ukraine, both military and humanitarian, worth well over 1 billion crowns.
The Archer artillery system has been high on the Ukrainian wish list for some time but was not included in the fresh aid package, though Jonson did not rule it out for the future and said more support would be forthcoming.
Kristersson also said the government was closely following developments concerning the explosion in Poland near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday and that more information was needed to gain a clearer picture of what happened.
4:35 a.m.: Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that its strikes on Ukraine on November 15 were no closer than 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Polish border, Reuters reported citing state-owned RIA news agency.
NATO member Poland’s president said earlier that Poland had no concrete evidence showing who fired a missile that struck a Polish grain facility some 6 kilometers (4 miles) inside the border with Ukraine and killed two people.
A NATO source said U.S. President Joe Biden had informed G-7 and NATO partners that the blast in Poland had been caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile.
4:25 a.m.: The Druzhba oil pipeline can likely be restarted within a short time as the pipeline itself had not been damaged, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a video message posted on the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto Facebook page.
Szijjarto also said, after talking with the Polish foreign minister, that Hungary was waiting further information from Poland on the results of their investigation into the blast that occurred in Poland near the Ukrainian border.
4:07 a.m.: The attacks in Ukraine during the G-20 summit in Indonesia this week shows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s contempt towards international rules, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday.
Sanchez also entirely blamed Russia for the crises on the food and energy markets in a news conference following the closure of the summit, Reuters reported.
2:47 a.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that he believed a deal expiring Saturday that allows Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea would remain in place.
“I am of the opinion that it will continue. There’s no problem there,” Erdogan told a press conference at the G-20 summit in Bali, according to Agence France-Presse.
2:13 a.m.: As VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara reported, on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden told reporters that it was unlikely that a deadly explosion in eastern Poland was from a missile fired from Russia.
“We agreed to support Poland’s investigation into the explosion in rural Poland near the Ukrainian border,” Biden told reporters. “And I’m going make sure we figure out exactly what happened.”
1:25 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s targeting of Ukrainian civilians “barbaric” on Wednesday at a G-20 summit in Bali, Agence France-Press reported.
“At a moment when world leaders here in Bali are seeking to make progress on world peace, Putin is striking civilian targets — children, women. I mean, it’s almost — my words, not yours — barbaric,” Biden said at a meeting with Sunak.
The British prime minister, meeting Biden for the first time since taking office, said: “I agree with your words — barbaric.”
12:29 a.m.: France is planning its biggest ever military exercise involving 12,000 troops, including NATO allies, in the first half of next year, a commander at the chiefs of staff said Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.
The scenario calls for a major conflict with an unspecified foreign state to be played out, said Yves Metayer, commander of the troop deployment division at the French chiefs of staff.
The wargames, called Orion, will involve European NATO allies Germany, Britain, Belgium, Italy and Spain as well as the United States.
Between late February and early May, 7,000 troops will play out a sequence involving naval operations in the Mediterranean, and an amphibian and airlift operation in southern France.
12:03 a.m.: Germany on Tuesday completed construction of its first floating terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven as it scrambles to secure more LNG and move away from Russian pipeline gas, Reuters reported.
Federal economy minister Robert Habeck said that Wilhelmshaven would become functional around the turn of the year, as would a second floating terminal at the Brunsbuettel North Sea port.
The new port infrastructure there will be equipped to switch to imports of low-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen in the future, said Lower Saxony environment minister Christian Meyer.
Germany relied on Russia for nearly a third of its gas last year but Berlin, which aims to halt any remaining Russian flows by the summer of 2024, in May started fast-tracking FSRU applications and related ones for more permanent, onshore LNG reception terminals at some sites.
Some information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.