Civilians flee Kherson as liberated city comes under Russian fire

Halyna Chistyakova (C), a former teacher, reacts while hugging Serhii Shlynka, a former Ukrainian soldier, as they meet for the first time after the Ukrainian army recaptured Kherson and its surrounding areas - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA
Halyna Chistyakova (C), a former teacher, reacts while hugging Serhii Shlynka, a former Ukrainian soldier, as they meet for the first time after the Ukrainian army recaptured Kherson and its surrounding areas - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA

Civilians have been streaming out of the southern Ukrainian city whose recapture they had celebrated just weeks earlier but which has come under days of Russian artillery attack.

The exodus from Kherson came as Ukraine solemnly remembered a Stalin-era famine and sought to ensure that Russia's war in Ukraine doesn't deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports.

A line of trucks, vans and cars, some towing trailers or ferrying out pets and other belongings, stretched nearly a mile on the outskirts of the city on Saturday.

Days of intensive shelling by Russian forces prompted a bittersweet exodus: many civilians were happy that their city had been won back, but lamented that they couldn't stay.

At least 32 people in the Kherson region had been killed by Russian shelling since pro-Moscow forces pulled out two weeks ago, the head of Ukraine's police said on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hosted a summit in Kyiv with allied nations to launch a plan to export $US150 million worth of grain to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought. Mr Zelensky said Kyiv had raised the money from more than 20 countries and the European Union to export grain to countries including Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

03:44 PM

Zelensky: Six million homes affected by power outages

In a video statement, President Zelensky says six million homes are affected by power cuts following three days of Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure.

"Most of the problems are currently in the capital," he adds.

03:43 PM

Russia 'might be planning to leave' Zaporizhzhia nuclear 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.

Petro Kotin, head of Energoatom, said:

In recent weeks we are effectively receiving information that signs have appeared that they are possibly preparing to leave the (plant).

Firstly, there are a very large number of reports in Russian media that it would be worth vacating the (plant) and maybe worth handing control (of it) to the (International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA)," he said, referring to the United Nations nuclear watchdog. "One gets the impression they're packing their bags and stealing everything they can.

02:53 PM

Children stave off boredom with bomb shelter chess

A view of children play chess in a bomb shelter in Odessa, Ukraine - Gian Marco Benedetto/Anadolu/ Gian Marco Benedetto/Anadolu
A view of children play chess in a bomb shelter in Odessa, Ukraine - Gian Marco Benedetto/Anadolu/ Gian Marco Benedetto/Anadolu

02:12 PM

In pictures: Kherson endures freezing conditions, shelling

Local people receive humanitarian aid from volunteers at a frontline village in the Beryslav district, in Kherson region - Roman Pilipey/EPA
Local people receive humanitarian aid from volunteers at a frontline village in the Beryslav district, in Kherson region - Roman Pilipey/EPA
 Local people wait for the delivery of humanitarian aid at a frontline village in the Beryslav district, outside Kherson - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA
Local people wait for the delivery of humanitarian aid at a frontline village in the Beryslav district, outside Kherson - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA
Local people receive humanitarian aid from volunteers at a frontline village in the Beryslav district, in Kherson region - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA
Local people receive humanitarian aid from volunteers at a frontline village in the Beryslav district, in Kherson region - ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA

01:00 PM

Russia denies its regional security alliance is falling apart

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has insisted that the Russian-led CSTO security alliance remains in high demand following criticism this week from Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had 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. Mr 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.

"There have always been attempts to (bring about) the CSTO's disintegration," news agencies quoted Mr Peskov as saying in an interview broadcast on state television.

12:13 PM

Ministry of Defence announces delivery of Brimstone 2 missiles to Ukraine

11:39 AM

German crematorium installs solar panels to ease energy crisis

A crematorium in Germany is trying to beat the energy crisis triggered by Russia by installing solar panels to help keep its ovens burning.

The move comes after it was reported that crematoriums may have to close down over winter because of fears that gas could run out due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Now Schoenebeck crematorium has installed 169 solar modules on its roof to generate 70 kilowatts of power.

They are expected to generate 50 percent of the electricity needed to run the facility.

11:23 AM

How Ukraine’s drone navy is outsmarting Russia's superior Black Sea forces

New technologies are changing the balance of power and penetrating what should have been impregnable counter measures, Roland Oliphant reports in this magisterial piece on Ukraine's fearsome drone navy.

Read the full article here.

10:48 AM

Shivering Russian troops told to take inspiration from explorer who cut out his own appendix

Margarita Simonyan, the chief propagandist at Russia Today and cheerleader of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has issued some unusual advice for Russian troops shivering in trenches.

In a rebuke of soldiers complaining about low morale, she called on the army to get "stricter" and then recounted an anecdote about a "real man" - a Russian explorer who cut out his own appendix in the Antarctic:

This is war...some things must be endured. Let's get used to the fact that we need to treat ourselves stricter, stricter.  A real Russian man was a surgeon of an Antarctic expedition who cut out his own appendix because he was the only doctor there. He operated for two hours in terrible pain. He cut out his own appendix, stitched himself up and removed the stitches from himself a few days later.

She appears to have been referring to Leonid Rogozov.

10:22 AM

Kyiv set for heavy snowfall as winter war continues

Heavy snowfall is expected in Kyiv today, with temperatures dropping below freezing day and night, while millions of people who still live in and around the Ukrainian capital remain 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.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there are restrictions on the use of electricity in 14 out of Ukraine's 27 regions and in Kyiv, for "more than 100,000" customers in each of the regions:

If consumption increases in the evening, the number of outages may increase.

10:13 AM

Ukraine 'better equipped for winter fighting than Russia'

Ukrainian troops are likely to have the edge over Russia in defending the eastern territories because they have much better discipline when it comes to enduring winter weather, a military analyst has said.

Jack Watling, an analyst at the RUSI security think tank, pointed to the significant difference in upkeep of kit and living conditions as a sign that Ukraine is in a stronger position.

"The Ukrainians spent years defending the JFO through winter. Lots of the mobilised soldiers have experienced living in these conditions for months. The Ukrainian military also has reasonable junior leadership and people look out for one another," he wrote in a thread on Twitter.

"If you look at Ukrainian fighting positions they tend to be well kept. People tend to have warm clothing and defensive lines often have areas that are kept clean, dry, and warm. Company commanders build these close to fighting positions."

In contrast, he said of the Russian side: "Russian junior leadership has been heavily attrited. The newly mobilised personnel do not have the experience or skills to operate for extended periods in the field. They have not been issued with winter clothing for the most part. Their fighting positions are often a mess."

10:03 AM

Russia launches rocket and artillery barrage on Dnipropetrovsk region

The Dnipropetrovsk region, in central Ukraine, was hit by five Russian attacks from multiple rocket launchers and heavy artillery, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on Sunday.

Several houses and other buildings were destroyed, but there were no reports of any casualties.

10:00 AM

32 killed by Russian shelling in Kherson

At least 32 people in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson have been killed by Russian shelling since Moscow's forces fled the area, the head of Ukraine's police has said.

Since its chaotic retreat from Kherson, which took place in early November, Russian troops have been bombarding the city with artillery strikes.