Ukraine live briefing: Leaders at COP27 say war has compounded climate crisis; millions without power in Kyiv
World leaders and top officials in Egypt for COP27, the annual U.N. climate conference, made the shadow cast by the war in Ukraine on the world’s energy systems — underscoring the crisis wrought by dependence on fossil fuels — a theme in their remarks.
“Climate and energy security go hand in hand,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at the conference, in an initial appearance on the world stage as leader of his country.
Millions of Ukrainians remained without power Monday as the state-owned Ukrenergo energy operator warned that blackouts introduced to relieve the strain on Ukraine’s energy grid, caused by repeated Russian attacks, would continue through the end of the day.
In the occupied Kherson region, Ukrainian forces claimed responsibility for an attack on a Russian base as they continued to target logistics there. But Ukraine’s capital was quiet, much to the relief of residents who had braced for renewed Russian strikes like the barrages that had hit Kyiv nearly every Monday since early October.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects around the world.
- Blackouts are planned for the Kyiv region and at least six other parts of Ukraine between 6 a.m. local time and the end of the day, Ukrenergo said. In addition to managed blackouts, the operator warned of possible emergency power shutdowns in some areas as city officials said the energy deficit could be 32 percent greater than planned on Monday. Work is ongoing to repair damage to the grid, which has been struck by a barrage of Russian missiles and drones in recent weeks.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia is preparing for further strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. He said in his nightly address on Sunday that Russia needs Iranian-made missiles to continue its mass infrastructure attacks on Ukraine, adding: “We are preparing to respond.” Tehran has repeatedly denied sending Moscow any weapons for use in Ukraine, though its foreign minister acknowledged for the first time last week that it sent Russia “a small number” of drones. He said they were shipped “months” before the invasion.
- Ukraine said it struck a Russian base in the occupied Kherson region where 200 soldiers were located. Ukraine’s Operational Command South said early Monday that the strike in Kakhovka, northeast of the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, caused significant losses. Russian-backed authorities there said they were working to restore power in the city of Kherson, after they claimed earlier that a Ukrainian attack cut off electricity and water supplies in the city.
- Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin and head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which is fighting in Ukraine, boasted on Monday that he was interfering in the U.S. midterm elections and planned to continue doing so, The Washington Post reports.
- “At a time of turbulence in the global energy markets, the wealthy nations of the world should not confuse the short term with the long term and should not be fooled by the absolute need to backfill the shortage of fossil energy caused by the cruel and evil war launched by Russia in Ukraine as an excuse for locking in long-term commitments to even more dependence and addiction on fossil fuels,” former vice president Al Gore said in remarks at COP27.
- The “entire world is suffering because of the war between Russia and Ukraine,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi said at the summit. “And so I would like to appeal to you, please allow me to say this in all respect: This war must stop.”
- French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address that the war should not turn the world aside from its climate commitments.
- Ukraine has received air defense systems from the United States and other allies, according to Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister. Reznikov said the weapons — which include NASAMS, powerful midrange surface-to-air missile systems sent by the Pentagon — “will significantly strengthen” Ukrainian forces. He thanked Washington, Spain and Norway. The announcement marked the first delivery of NASAMS, which U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said to expect.
- In a rare move, the Russian Defense Ministry denied allegations that its 155th marine brigade had suffered significant losses and was in need of equipment, Reuters reported, in response to an open letter allegedly from members of the unit, shared on the military blog Grey Zone’s Telegram channel. Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of the Primorsky Krai region of Russia, whom the letter was addressed to, spoke about the letter saying the brigade’s losses were not as extensive, according to Grey Zone. In his nightly address on Monday, Zelensky said Kozhemyako “predictably lied” in his comments about the losses. The video and letter have not been independently verified by The Post.
- The Russian-occupied city of Donetsk was hit by strikes early Monday, sparking a fire at a building housing the offices of the railway administration, Russian state media reported, citing local authorities. No one was reported killed or injured in the strikes, which Russia blamed on Ukraine. The Post could not independently verify the claim.
- The Ukrainian military accused Russian forces of destroying private boats in the Kherson area. A spokesperson for the Ukrainian General Staff said in a statement that Moscow confiscated engines from the destroyed vessels and that fuel had leaked into the Dnieper River’s delta.
- The United States and the European Union pledged to keep supporting Ukraine and its neighbors in the face of Russian attacks against energy infrastructure. In a readout of their Nov. 3 meeting, published Monday, the U.S.-E.U. Task Force on Energy Security said that “Russia’s actions to employ energy as a weapon” have left Ukraine and countries such as Moldova in need of emergency help. It said that Russia’s move to halt gas deliveries was “leading to sharp increases in prices and threatening food security, with disproportionate consequences for the developing world and the most vulnerable populations.”
- The fight for control of Kherson will probably be “decisive,” Russian state media quoted Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic as saying. According to Tass, Vucic, who has sought to balance his country’s historic ties to Russia with its goal of joining the European Union, told a Serbian television station that “next winter will be even more difficult than this one, because we are facing … the decisive battle in the war in Ukraine, the battle for Kherson, in which both sides use thousands of tanks, aircraft, artillery.”
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is set to propose that the bloc give Ukraine nearly $1.5 billion per month, “which would contribute significantly to cover Ukraine’s financing needs for 2023.” The proposal would include up to 18 billion euros ($17.9 billion) to help Ukraine, “particularly over the winter,” she said in a statement.
5. Analysis from The Washington Post
A Republican winter may be coming for Ukraine: If the Republican Party makes significant gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections, it could revamp the United States’ approach to supporting Ukraine, Ishaan Tharoor writes in the latest Today’s WorldView newsletter.
“Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said last week.
There is no consensus within the Republican caucus on how best to support Ukraine’s resistance. However, various GOP lawmakers and candidates have indicated that the fire hose of funding must be turned off.
Pietsch reported from Seoul and Timsit from London. Allyson Chiu, Karoun Demirjian, Paulina Firozi, Alex Horton, Dan Lamothe, Siobhán O’Grady and Matt Viser contributed to this report.