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Russia's war on Ukraine latest news: almost half Ukraine's energy system reported badly damaged

Nov 18 (Reuters) - Russian missile strikes have crippled almost half of Ukraine's energy system, the government said, and authorities in the capital Kyiv warned that the city could face a "complete shutdown" of the power grid as winter sets in.

CONFLICT

* Hundreds of people were detained or went missing in Ukraine's Kherson region while it was under Russian control, and dozens may have been tortured, Yale University researchers have concluded in a report backed by the U.S. State Department. Russia has denied its forces have committed abuses.

* Russia's defence ministry said Ukraine had executed more than 10 Russian prisoners of war. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, which has vowed to investigate any alleged abuses by its forces.

* Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said two civilians were killed and six wounded in Ukrainian shelling on Nova Kakhovka on Thursday which continued on Friday. The town is near a huge dam which both sides have accused each other of planning to destroy.

* Ukraine's military said Russian forces had fired artillery on the towns of Bakhmut, and nearby Soledar and Bilohorivka in the east. Russian fire had also hit areas near Avdiivka and in Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.

* Russia's defence ministry said its strikes in Ukraine on Thursday were aimed at military and energy infrastructure, Russian news agencies reported.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

DIPLOMACY

* Russia said it hoped to clinch a prisoner swap with the United States to return convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death", in an exchange that would likely include U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner.

* Russia is open to more high-level talks with the United States, a top diplomat said on Friday, but the Kremlin dismissed the idea of a summit between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden as "out of the question" for now.

ECONOMY

* A senior U.N. official welcomed the extension by four months of a deal aimed at easing global food shortages by helping Ukraine export its agricultural products from Black Sea ports, but said there was still work to be done.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the idea of creating a Turkish "gas hub" with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a phone call, the Kremlin said on Friday.

* Russia's energy exports to China have increased in value by 64% this year, and by 10% in volume as Moscow redirects shipments towards "friendly" nations, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.

QUOTE

"Poland and the Baltics have been warning for some time that there is a real risk of something happening that draws the West into a wider conflict," a European diplomat said after two people were killed in Poland by what NATO said was likely a stray Ukrainian missile. "What happened on Tuesday makes it clear that this war is not managed, it is not controlled." (Compiled by Philippa Fletcher)

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