Ukraine War: Kyiv Monastery Raid; Evacuation of Kherson and Poland to deploy missile launchers

1. Ukraine searches a Kyiv monastery for suspicious links with Russia

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has raided the main Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv on suspicion of having links with Russia.

The SBU said on Telegram that it had carried out “counterintelligence measures” at the 1,000-year-old Kyiv Caves Monastery on Tuesday morning.

It added that the operation aims to “counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services in Ukraine.”

The SBU said the searches were conducted with the Ukrainian police and the National Guard. The worshipers were allowed to continue intruding into the monastery but were subject to security checks by the State Security Department.

These measures are implemented to prevent use [of the monastery] as the center of the “Russian world”.

Kyiv Caves Lavra is the oldest monastery in Ukraine and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1990. It is also the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

It was the Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church It maintained close relations with Russia until May, after the invasion of Ukraine.

Two similar raids were also carried out on monasteries and Orthodox Church property in the Rivne region in northwestern Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the raids, describing them as “a military action against the Russian Orthodox Church”.

2. Ukrainians may have to live with power outages until March

The head of Ukraine’s main energy provider has warned that citizens will likely have to live with power outages at least until the end of March.

Sergei Kovalenko, head of YASNO, said on Facebook that workers are rushing to complete repairs before winter sets in.

“Stock up on warm clothes and blankets and think about options that will help you hold out for a long period of power outage,” he said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was damaged by the Russian attacks.

In his Monday night address, Zelensky also appealed to Ukrainians to conserve energy.

Amid frequent power outages, millions of people are left without electricity and water as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing. Network operator Ukrenergo said more planned shutdowns are scheduled for Tuesday.

The Ukrainian government has begun evacuating citizens from the liberated city of Kherson, which is still mostly without electricity and running water. Kherson residents can apply to be moved to areas where problems with heating and security are less acute.

“Given the difficult security situation in the city and the infrastructure problems, you can evacuate for the winter to safer regions of the country,” Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk said on Telegram.

Moscow says its strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure are the consequences of Kyiv’s unwillingness to negotiate.

Russia is targeting Ukrainian energy facilities after a series of battlefield setbacks, including its withdrawal from Kherson to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

3. “Ukraine’s health system is facing the darkest days of the war yet,” says WHO.

The WHO’s regional director for Europe issued a stark warning after visiting Ukraine.

Up to 3 million more people could leave their homes in Ukraine this winter in search of warmth and safety, according to Hans Kluge.

“Ukraine’s health system is facing the darkest days of the war yet,” Kluge said in a statement.

He added, “After suffering more than 700 attacks, it is now a victim of the energy crisis. Access to health care cannot be held hostage.”

The World Health Organization says hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities lack fuel, water and electricity to meet people’s basic needs.

“We expect two to three million people to leave their homes in search of warmth and safety,” Kluge said.

“They will face unique health challenges, including respiratory infections such as Covid-19, pneumonia, influenza, and the risk of diphtheria and measles among unvaccinated populations.”

The UN health agency has called for the creation of a “humanitarian health corridor” for all regions of Ukraine recaptured by Kyiv, as well as those occupied by Russian forces.

Fighting continues on the ground in eastern Ukraine, with Russia massing forces from Kherson.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Tuesday that it had repulsed several Russian attacks in several areas of the Donetsk region.

And it claimed that “the enemy does not stop bombing the positions of our forces and our settlements near the line of contact.” Attacks continue to destroy critical infrastructure and civilian homes.

The region’s governor, Pavlo Kirilino, said via Telegram that four people were killed and four others injured in Ukrainian-controlled areas of the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours.

Russian missiles also reportedly hit a humanitarian aid distribution center in the town of Zaporizhia in Oryhiv, killing one person and wounding two others.

4. Poland places German Patriot missiles near the border with Ukraine

Poland’s defense minister said that his country will deploy additional Patriot missile launchers from Germany near the Ukrainian border.

Berlin offered its air defense system to help Warsaw intercept missiles after two people were killed by a missile last week.

“The German Minister of Defense confirmed her readiness to deploy the Patriot bomber on the border with Ukraine,” Polish Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

“The version of the system remains to be determined, as well as how quickly they can get to us and how long they will be stationed.”

NATO allies had already said that German Eurofighters would offer to help the Polish airspace police.

And last week’s deadly strike on the Polish border village of Przyodo has raised fears that the Ukraine war could spill over into NATO territory.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the missile It appears that the Ukrainian air defenses opened fire by mistake.

The military coalition has moved to bolster air defenses in Eastern Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

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