Sat, 04 Feb 2023

Snow fell in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv Sunday, while the electricity supply is still disrupted due to recent air strikes carried out by Russia, guaranteeing a difficult winter for the city's inhabitants. Meanwhile, Ukraine's Zelensky warned of fresh strikes from Moscow. Follow our blog to see how the day's events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

This live blog is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

10:33pm: Russia planning new strikes, says Ukraine's Zelensky

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Russia would surely launch new missile attacks on his country, and warned defence forces and citizens should be prepared to work together to withstand the consequences.

"We understand that the terrorists are planing new strikes. We know this for a fact," Zelensky said in his nightly video address. "And as long as they have missiles, they, unfortunately, will not calm down."

Zelensky said the week to come could well be as difficult as the previous week, when attacks on electricity infrastructure subjected Ukrainians to the most acute power cuts since Russian troops invaded in February.

"Our defence forces are getting ready. The entire country is getting ready," he said. "We have worked out all the scenarios, including with our partners."

9:30pm: 25 Ukrainian soldiers hospitalised after bus crash in Latvia

Twenty-five Ukrainian soldiers and an Estonian soldier were hospitalised after their bus collided with a truck in Latvia, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported on Sunday.

The coach travelling from Tallinn to Riga was chartered by the Estonian army, and its driver was killed in the Saturday evening crash, ERR said. It did not say why the Ukrainian soldiers were in Latvia.

The crash was one of several that occurred along the road on Saturday as ice and snow made driving hazardous, Latvia's public broadcaster said.

8:06pm: Kyiv mayor hits back at Zelensky

The mayor of Kyiv, former professional boxer Vitali Klitschko, hit back on Sunday at criticism by Ukraine's president over measures to help residents withstand power cuts, describing disputes as "senseless" amid Russia's military campaign.

Klitschko said 430 "warming centres" were helping residents cope with the effects of Russian attacks on power stations and more than 100 more were planned in case of extreme conditions. President Volodymyr Zelensky noted last week there were a lot of complaints about measures adopted in the capital.

"I do not want to become involved in political battles, particularly in the current situation," Klitschko said in a video posted on Telegram.

6:18pm: Russia may switch from European to Asian football federation

The Russian Football Union (RFU) may consider switching its football federation membership to Asia from Europe, Russian news agencies quoted RFU head Alexander Dyukov as saying on Sunday.

"A few months ago I said that Asia was premature," the RIA news agency quoted Dyukov as saying. "But now it is an opportunity that we should consider."

Global and European football's governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, decided in February that all Russian teams, whether national or club sides, would be suspended from participation in FIFA and UEFA competitions after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine.

4:11pm: Ukraine nuclear boss says he sees signs Russia may leave occupied plant

The head of Ukraine's state-run nuclear energy firm said on Sunday there were signs that Russian forces might be preparing to leave the vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which they seized in March soon after their invasion.

Such a move would be a major battlefield change in the partially-occupied southeastern Zaporizhzhia region where the front line has hardly shifted for months. Repeated shelling around the plant has spurred fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

"In recent weeks we are effectively receiving information that signs have appeared that they are possibly preparing to leave the (plant)," Petro Kotin, head of Energoatom, said on national television.

2:43pm: Power still in short supply in Ukrainian capital Kyiv

Temperatures have dropped below freezing day and night in Kyiv, while millions of people who still live in and around the Ukrainian capital are living with little electricity and heat.

Grid operator Ukrenergo said on Saturday that electricity producers were able to cover only three-quarters of consumption needs, necessitating restrictions and blackouts across the country. Sergey Kovalenko, chief operating officer of YASNO, which provides energy to Kyiv, said the situation in the city has improved but still remained "quite difficult". He indicated that residents should have at least four hours of power per day. "If you haven't had at least four hours of electricity in the past day, write to DTEK Kyiv Electric Networks, colleagues will help you figure out what the problem is," Kovalenko wrote on his Facebook page.

1:41pm: Kremlin defends Russian-led security alliance after Armenia criticism

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday said attempts to break up a Russian-led security alliance had always existed and would continue to do so, but insisted that the alliance remained in high demand following criticism this week from Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called into question the effectiveness of the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) at a summit this week.

Armenia requested assistance from the organisation in September, but received only a promise to send observers. Pashinyan contrasted that with the alliance's rapid decision in January to send troops to CSTO member Kazakhstan to help President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev survive a wave of unrest.

12:45pm: Snowy Kyiv grapples with power outages

Snow fell in Kyiv and temperatures hovered around freezing on Sunday as millions in and around the Ukrainian capital struggled with disruptions to electricity supply and central heating caused by waves of Russian air strikes.

The cold weather is gradually pushing up the energy needs of consumers even as repair workers race to fix wrecked power facilities, grid operator Ukrenergo said.

Electricity producers are still unable to resume full power supply after Russia's missile attacks on Wednesday and have no choice but conserve energy by imposing blackouts, it said.

7:30am: military operations slowed by bad weather, ISW says

Poor weather conditions on the front are slowing the pace of military operations in recent days, according to the latest report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington. The ISW says that the armed forces, which have to deal with heavy rain and muddy ground, are slowing down their progress.

But this situation is not expected to last: the pace of operations could indeed accelerate again in the coming weeks as temperatures drop and the ground freezes. However, the ISW says that "it is difficult to know whether either side is preparing a major offensive or counter-offensive" in Ukraine.

7:00am: Ukraine launches grain export programme to African countries

On the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the great famine orchestrated by the Stalinist regime in the 1930s, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has launched the "Grain from Ukraine" programme, a plan to export grain to the poorest countries in Africa.

"We plan to send at least 60 ships from Ukrainian ports to the countries most threatened by famine and drought," said the Ukrainian president.

Zelensky announced that he had raised $150 million from more than 20 countries and the European Union to export to Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

In a video message broadcast during the summit, Emmanuel Macron promised €6 million in additional aid for Ukrainian grain exports, which are vital for supplying many African and Asian countries. The French president also recalled the "immense tragedy" of the famine of the 1930s.

"From yesterday to today, the Ukrainian nation shows its determination and forces our admiration," the French president said. "Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine (...) threatens the world with a food crisis."

6:30am: Russian bombing has killed at least 32 people in Kherson since its liberation

At least 32 people have been killed in Russian shelling on Ukraine's southern Kherson region since the withdrawal of pro-Moscow forces a fortnight ago, the local police chief said Saturday.

"Daily Russian bombing is destroying the city and killing peaceful residents. In total, Russia has killed 32 civilians in the Kherson region since the de-occupation," national police chief Ihor Klymenko said in a Facebook post.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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