Tue, 29 Nov 2022

Seven Russian rockets slammed into residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia before dawn Thursday, killing two people and trapping at least five in the city close to Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, the governor of the mostly Russian-occupied region said. Follow FRANCE 24's live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

10:30am: 'Manoeuvring going on' in Putin's inner circle

"I'm hearing that there is already manoeuvring going on around [Vladimir Putin's] inner circle; we saw the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slap down the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov last week, when he suggested the use of tactic weapons and Peskov said 'let's not get too emotional"," said FRANCE 24 Russia correspondent Nick Holdsworth, speaking from London.

"There are reports also that Yevgeny Prigozhin, who's head of the Wagner mercenary group, is manoeuvring for more power - and there are some within the power circles who are not very happy about that," Holdsworth went on. "Just yesterday we saw this chairman of [the defence committee of] the Duma [...] saying 'we need to stop lying; the reports of the defence ministry don't change; people know; people aren't stupid; this can lead to a loss of credibility'. So you're getting these voices beginning to get louder and louder.

"And then we have Putin admitting to a group of teachers in a televised call that the situation will be stabilised, which begs the question of: 'If it needs to be stabilised, then what's going on there Mr Putin?' So it's not looking good for Putin - although other observers are saying that he's pretty well entrenched still [...] but certainly a further major defeat on the battlefield will be very very bad news for Vladimir Putin."

10:28am: Ukrainians 'continue to advance'

"Ukrainian forces have been continuing to advance; continuing the pattern we've seen over the past few days of rapidly advancing through territory in the east and northeast of the country, so in the regions of Kharkiv [...], Luhansk and Donetsk, and also retaking territory in the south on the Kherson front," FRANCE 24's Catherine Norris-Trent reported from Dnipro.

"So a lot of changes on the military map and a lot of buoyancy among the Ukrainians and Ukrainian forces, because they're managing to continue to gain ground as the Russians become encircled and then pulling rapidly in some places, leaving all their materiel behind; their tanks, their weapons, their clothes," Norris-Trent continued. "It just shows the speed with which they've been forced to retreat in some areas."

9:43am: Russian rockets slam into Zaporizhzhia near nuclear plant

Seven Russian rockets slammed into residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia before dawn Thursday, killing two people and trapping at least five in the city close to Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, the governor of the mostly Russian-occupied region said.

The strikes came just hours after Ukraine's president announced that the country's military had retaken three more villages in one of the regions illegally annexed by Russia.

Governor Oleksandr Starukh wrote on his Telegram channel that many people were rescued from the multi-story buildings, including a 3-year-old girl who was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed in violation of international laws on Wednesday, and is home to a nuclear plant that is under Russian occupation. The city of the same name remains under Ukrainian control.

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog is expected to visit Kyiv this week to discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia facility after Putin signed a decree Wednesday declaring that Russia was taking over the six-reactor plant. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry called it a criminal act and said it considered Putin's decree "null and void." The state nuclear operator, Energoatom, said it would continue to operate the plant.

9:15am: US believes Ukrainians behind killing of Daria Dugina, New York Times reports

US intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government approved a car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified officials.

The United States took no part in the attack on Dugina and was not aware of it ahead of time, the Times reported. American officials admonished Ukrainian officials over the assassination, the Times said.

After the attack, Ukraine denied involvement in the killing while Russia's Federal Security Service accused Ukraine's secret services of being behind it.

The New York Times quoted a Ukrainian presidential advisor, Mykhailo Podolyak, as repeating the denial that Kyiv was behind the attack.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

Originally published on France24

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