US and Russian spy chiefs meet in Turkey; Zelensky visits Kherson after liberation

US and Russian spy chiefs meet in Turkey; Zelensky visits Kherson after liberation
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the liberated city of Kherson, Ukraine, on 14 November 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Oleg Petrasyuk)

CIA Director William Burns travelled to Turkey to meet his Russian counterpart, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an unannounced visit to the southern city of Kherson.

During his first trip to the regional capital of Kherson after its recapture by Ukrainian troops last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces would continue to liberate occupied territory. The regional governor told the president during a meeting that work was under way to restore critical infrastructure in the city.

As Germany seeks to contain the financial shock from Moscow’s squeeze on energy, the government said it’s taking over the former European trading and supply unit of Gazprom. Neighbouring Poland also introduced compulsory administration over the Russian gas giant’s stake in a company that owns the local part of the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

Key developments

On the ground

Zelensky said fierce fighting continued to take place in the country’s east. Russian troops continued their attempts to advance near the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in the Donetsk region, but their attacks had been repelled, he said. A power facility was also hit in a village in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to the local governor.

Ukraine’s offensive in the south of the country was continuing, said Nataliya Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for the military command in the area. Russian forces shelled an air base near Kherson early on Monday in an attempt to destroy equipment they couldn’t take away, she said.

Ukrenergo working to restore power to Kherson

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the Kherson regional governor, said at a meeting with Zelensky that state power operator Ukrenergo was working round the clock to restore supplies to the city, where between 70,000 and 80,000 people now live.

“We hope electricity supply will resume in the near future,” he said, according to a statement posted on the presidential website.

EU, US and UK issue joint statement on food security

The foreign policy chiefs of the European Union, US and UK urged all countries to show support for the Black Sea grain deal. In a joint statement, they called for the plan to be extended and upscaled, saying that sanctions targeted Russia’s war machine and not the food or fertiliser sectors.



Russian grain exports boom while deal risk hobbles Ukraine  

Russia’s grain export pace is accelerating, while flows from Ukraine are slowing due to uncertainty about whether the Black Sea safe-corridor deal will be extended beyond 19 November. Russia exported 6.53 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs by sea since 1 October, compared with 4.59 million tonnes in the same period last year, according to ship lineups from Logistic OS.

CIA’s Burns travels to Turkey to meet Russian intelligence chief  

The CIA chief’s meeting in Ankara isn’t a negotiation over the war in Ukraine, and Burns didn’t plan to discuss a settlement, a White House spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.

Burns, a former ambassador to Moscow, also planned to raise the cases of US citizens detained in Russia, the spokesperson said. President Joe Biden said last week that he hoped Russia would be more willing to engage in talks about a prisoner swap to free basketball star Brittney Griner after the US midterm elections.

Germany to nationalise former Gazprom unit 

The German government will take a 100% stake in Securing Energy for Europe GmbH — formerly known as Gazprom Germania — and increase its loan to the company to €13.8-billion, the Economy Ministry said.

The move is part of a €200-billion rescue package the government put together to help German companies and households cope with rising energy prices.

Zelensky vows to liberate more regions 

Ukraine is ready for peace, as long as it means peace for all of its territory, Zelensky said during a visit to the liberated city of Kherson, according to his press service. The president said Ukraine was not interested in foreign lands, while he vowed to continue expelling Russian forces from his country even amid heavy losses.

Kherson was the first major city occupied by Russia after it launched its invasion almost nine months ago. Russia’s troops were forced to leave the west bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region and to relocate to the east bank following a Ukrainian counteroffensive that started in August.

Romania, Estonia back further Iran sanctions

Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said his country would “absolutely” support further sanctions on Iran over its military support for Russia, while Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu called for automatic sanctions imposed on Tehran as soon as there’s evidence of missiles being sent to Russia.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting of EU foreign ministers, Aurescu said there were “indications” about Iran delivering missiles to Russia but that “we need to see concrete evidence”. Reinsalu said the EU should take Ukraine’s warnings on the issue seriously, adding “we should give a clear signal that if it appears to be the case, there are going to be far more damaging sanctions” compared to “symbolic sanctions” imposed over the drone deliveries.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, told reporters earlier there was “no evidence about missiles, but a clear evidence about drones”. The issue of Iran’s military support for Russia was due to be discussed by ministers on Monday.

Borrell outlines EU’s approach to Russia

Borrell was due to outline the bloc’s long-term approach to Russia following a meeting of EU foreign ministers, where he was expected to underscore there can be no return to normal relations as long as Moscow violates the UN Charter and international law.

According to a draft of the five proposed points seen by Bloomberg, Borrell will spell out that the EU’s approach consists of isolating Russia internationally and imposing measures to impede it from waging war, as well as holding Russia accountable for the violations of international law.




Russia denies Lavrov taken to hospital in Bali 

Russia denied an Associated Press report that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was taken to a hospital in Bali, Indonesia, after suffering a health problem while attending the G20 summit.

Lavrov was being treated for a heart condition, the report said, citing two unidentified Indonesian government officials. They said he was taken to Sanglah Hospital in the provincial capital of Denpasar, AP said.

Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, called the report “of course the highest level of fakes” in a Telegram post.

Russia committed war crimes in Kherson, says Ukraine 

Investigators documented more than 400 war crimes committed by Russian troops in the southern Kherson region, which includes the central city that was recently liberated, according to Zelensky.

“In the Kherson region, the Russian army left behind the same atrocities as in other regions of our country,” he said in his regular night address on Sunday. “We will find and bring to justice every murderer.”

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia’s troops of committing war crimes in the areas seized during Moscow’s invasion, but later retaken by Ukraine. Multiple examples of Russian crimes were found by domestic and foreign investigators as well as foreign media in such cities as Bucha in the Kyiv region and Izyum in the Kharkiv region. Russia denies its involvement in war crimes.

Kherson’s liberation shows need for more weapons, says Lithuania 

“The main message that could be said is that it’s clear that the more weapons we could provide, the sooner this war will be over,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a reference to Ukrainian forces taking the city of Kherson.

“Peace in Ukraine can only come under Ukrainian terms,” Landsbergis told reporters before a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels. “It’s important that Europe sends a very clear message that we will support Ukraine to the peace that will be settled by them.”

Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, when asked if there was any room for negotiations after Kherson, said the “possibility for negotiations comes when Russia withdraws from those areas Russia has occupied”. DM


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