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Russia-Ukraine war live: ‘enemy attempts to storm Avdiivka from all directions’, says


It is Tuesday and this is the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the Russian war against Ukraine. Here are the top developments.

  • Russian forces are intensifying their drive to capture Avdiivka, trying to advance on all sides, according to Vitaliy Barabash, the head of Avdiivka’s military administration. “The Russians have opened up two more sectors from which they have begun making assaults – in the direction of Donetsk … and in the so-called industrial zone. The enemy is attempting to storm the city from all directions.”

  • Hurricane-force winds, snowfall and flooding have lashed Russia’s southern regions of Dagestan, Krasnodar and Rostov, as well as the occupied Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Crimea. In Ukraine, the severe weather killed at least five people and cut power to almost 1,500 towns and villages after storms dumped up to 25cm (10in) of snow in some places. A further four people were reported dead in Moldova. Freezing temperatures were forecast for Tuesday morning. Russia’s energy ministry said power cuts affected 1.9 million people.

  • Weather forecasts show downpours were continuing late on Monday in the Crimean port of Sevastopol and Sochi on Russia’s Black Sea coast, amid hopes the storm’s impact might deliver a setback to the Russian war effort.

  • The UK Ministry of Defence has described as “plausible” Ukrainian estimates of Russian casualties – the number killed or wounded – running at a daily average of almost 1,000 in November. This would, on the face of it, make November 2023 one of the most difficult months for Russian forces, with many of its losses coming from its assault on Avdiivka – although figures on Ukrainian losses were not provided.

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is attending a Nato session in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will include the first foreign minister-level meeting of the Nato-Ukraine Council, a body created to improve cooperation and coordination and help prepare Kyiv for membership. “Allies will continue to support Ukraine’s self-defence until Russia stops its war of aggression,” said Jim O’Brien, the top US diplomat for Europe.

  • Ukraine will become a member of Nato subject to reforms after the war, the military alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said. Nato states still agreed that full membership remained impossible in the midst of war, even while ways to move Ukraine and Nato closer continued, he added.

  • The Chechen ruler, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said another 3,000 of his fighters are ready to go to and fight in Ukraine for Russia. Kadyrov is suspected to be ill, and his soldiers are frequently derided online for appearing to be mostly concerned with posting staged videos of themselves on TikTok. There have also been several Chechen armed formations choosing to fight on the side of Ukraine rather than Russia.

  • Exports to Russia from Turkey of civilian goods used by the military such as microchips and telescopic sights are increasing, causing concern to the US and the EU.

  • Ancient Scythian artefacts from museums in Russian-occupied Crimea have been returned to Ukraine after a legal dispute over ownership rights during which they spent almost a decade in the Netherlands, a Ukrainian museum said.

  • Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, says he plans to travel to Nato member North Macedonia this week to attend a conference of the 57-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which includes Russia. Bulgaria, another Nato member that borders North Macedonia, said it had issued permission for Lavrov to fly through its airspace.

  • Moscow does not have plans to expand its territory any further in Europe, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, insisted in response to remarks by the US defence secretary last week that Putin would not stop at Ukraine if he was victorious.

Marianna Budanova, the wife of Ukraine’s intelligence head, Kyrylo Budanov, has been poisoned, a representative of the military intelligence agency (HUR) has told the Kyiv Independent.


Babel, a Ukrainian media outlet, reported earlier that Budanova had been hospitalised due to heavy metal poisoning, citing undisclosed military intelligence sources.


The HUR representative confirmed Babel’s report in a comment for the Kyiv Independent.


Marianna Budanova, the wife of Ukraine's Military Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov, was poisoned, a representative of the military intelligence agency (HUR), not allowed to go public at this time, told the Kyiv Independent on Nov. 28.https://t.co/nlVA74xERM

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) November 28, 2023


“The course of treatment is now being completed, and then there will be a check-up by the doctors,” Babel’s source said.


“These substances are not used in any way in everyday life and military affairs. Their presence may indicate a purposeful attempt to poison a specific person.”


The Guardian is yet to verify the claims in the report.

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Moscow’s Lefortovo district court has extended the pre-trial detention of the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich for two months until 30 January 2024, the court’s press service has said.


Gershkovich was arrested on 29 March in the Urals city of Ekaterinburg on charges of espionage that carry up to 20 years in prison. The reporter denies the charges.


The WSJ said in an emailed statement:



Evan has now been unjustly imprisoned for nearly 250 days, and every day is a day too long.


The accusations against him are categorically false and his continued imprisonment is a brazen and outrageous attack on a free press, which is critical for a free society.


We continue to stand with Evan and call for his immediate release.



Gershkovich, 32, is the first American journalist to be held in Russia on spying charges since the end of the cold war.

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