Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine
Russian forces likely looking to cement new front line in the south, UK says
A view of the grad rocket firing as counterattacks against Russian forces continue in the Kherson region, on October 07, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Having retreated around 20 kilometers (around 12 miles) in the north of the Kherson region earlier in October, Russian forces are likely now attempting to consolidate a new front line, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.
This new front line was likely to the west of the village of Mylove, which lies to the east of the city of Kherson, a Russian-occupied city in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces are continuing a counteroffensive to reclaim lost territory.
“Heavy fighting continues along this line, especially at the western end where Ukrainian advances mean Russia’s flank is no longer protected by the Inhulets River. Most of the Russia troops on this front line remain understrength VDV (airborne) units,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update on Twitter.
The U.K. believes that, in recent days, the Russian occupation authorities have likely ordered preparation for the evacuation of some civilians from Kherson. “It is likely that they anticipate combat extending to the city of Kherson itself,” the ministry said.
— Holly Ellyatt
Putin and Erdogan could discuss peace talk options
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday. It’s expected that Turkey could formally offer to host peace talks between Russia and the West in a bid to end the war in Ukraine.
There have been various reports suggesting Ankara — which has positioned itself as something of a broker between Russia and Ukraine during the conflict, helping to negotiate the restarting of grain shipments from Ukraine — could suggest that it host talks between Western governments and Russia about how to bring an end to the war in Ukraine.
Crucially, however, no mention of Ukraine attending the talks has been made. Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has repeatedly said lately that he will not negotiate with his Russian counterpart and that Ukraine is only ready to talk when Russian troops retreat from its territory.
Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Putin, told the Russian state-owned Interfax news agency that the Russian leader and Erdogan could be expected to discuss the matter when they meet in Astana Thursday, however. The leaders enjoy cordial relations despite Turkey’s NATO membership.
“Many say that the Turks are ready to come up with other initiatives in the context of the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, there are various reports in the press that the Turkish side puts forward specific considerations on this matter. I do not exclude that Erdogan will actively touch upon this topic in during this Astana contact, so a very interesting and, I hope, useful discussion awaits us,” Ushakov said, Interfax reported Thursday.
Ushakov noted that several possible formats for talks were being reported on in the Turkish media, “including ‘Russia and the United States, the leading countries of Western Europe’, etc.”
Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that Moscow had not received any specific proposals to hold talks with Washington, London, Paris and Berlin in Turkey.
Peskov said that “there is a need to figure out what the goal of such a meeting will be, what the result of the meeting could be and whom it could involve,” before speculating about the possibility of talks.
— Holly Ellyatt
Mykolaiv ‘massively shelled’ overnight, mayor says
Air raid warnings sounded out over the southern port city of Mykolaiv overnight with the city’s Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich saying it had been “massively shelled.”
“Mykolaiv was massively shelled. A five-story residential building was hit. The two upper floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working on the spot,” the Ukrainian official posted on Telegram.
A 12-year-old boy was found under the rubble of a residential building and was handed over to medics.
“According to preliminary information, there may be seven more people under the rubble, with whom there is no contact. Search and rescue work continues,” he added.
Ukraine says critical infrastructure facilities in Kyiv hit by drones
Critical infrastructure facilities in the Kyiv region have been hit by drone strikes, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Ukraine’s presidential office.
“Another attack by kamikaze drones on critical infrastructure facilities,” the office’s deputy head Kyrylo Tymoshenko was quoted as saying on Telegram, the messaging app.
Air defense systems crucial for Ukraine as Russian strikes continue, Zelenskyy says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spent much of the week calling on Ukraine’s international allies to provide it with more air defense assistance as Russian strikes on various regions continue.
In his nightly address Wednesday, he said “the more audacious and cruel Russian terror becomes, the more obvious it is to the world that helping Ukraine to protect the sky is one of the most important humanitarian tasks for Europe.”
NATO ministers gathering in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday have already pledged more comprehensive air defense assistance for Kyiv to protect against Russian strikes. The U.S., U.K., France and Germany all pledged, or have sent, such systems to Ukraine.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov (center) talks to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar (left) before the start of the Ukrainian defense contact group meeting at NATO headquarters, on Oct. 12, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.
Omar Havana | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The need for such systems has become pressing given Russia’s targeting of cities and critical infrastructure across the country this week. Power and water supplies are still damaged in a number of regions after Russia targeted energy facilities on Monday and Tuesday and, to a lesser extent, yesterday.
Zelenskyy said last night that the power supply had been fully restored to most parts of the country while work was ongoing to repair the electricity supply in four regions.
“Recovery continued across the country today [Wednesday] after a two-day Russian missile attack. At that time, energy facilities were damaged in 12 regions and in the capital. As of now, the technical capability of electricity supply has been fully restored in most regions. In four regions, work is ongoing, repairs should be completed in the near future.”
— Holly Ellyatt
U.N. General Assembly votes to condemn Russia’s annexation of Ukraine
A view of the 74th United Nations General Assembly on September 28, 2019 in New York City.
Kena Betancur | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Russia for its attempt to annex more areas of Ukraine.
The final vote was marked as 143 in favor of the resolution, five nations against it and 35 abstentions.
Ahead of the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on the General Assembly to pass the resolution, saying, “Let us send a clear message today colleagues, the United Nations will not tolerate attempts at illegal annexation. We will never recognize it.”
“A U.N. member state, one with a permanent seat on the Security Council has attempted to annex territory from its neighbor by force. This U.N. member state has not only put its neighbor in its crosshairs but also put a bull’s eye in this institution’s core principle. One country cannot take the territory of another by force,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that “there are four new regions of Russia.” He referred to the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
Putin cited sham referendum votes held in Russian-occupied areas, saying voters wanted to become part of Russia. Western officials widely view those votes as rigged and illegitimate.
— Amanda Macias
A Russian nuclear strike would almost certainly draw ‘physical response,’ NATO official says
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the plenary session of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia September 7, 2022.
Sergey Bobylev | Tass Host Photo Agency | via Reuters
A Russian nuclear strike would change the course of the conflict and almost certainly trigger a “physical response” from Ukraine’s allies and potentially from NATO, a senior NATO official said on Wednesday.
Any use of nuclear weapons by Moscow would have “unprecedented consequences” for Russia, the official warned. It would “almost certainly be drawing a physical response from many allies, and potentially from NATO itself,” he said.
The official added that Moscow was using its nuclear threats mainly to deter NATO and other countries from directly entering its war on Ukraine.
Putin suggests U.S. stood to benefit from Nord Stream pipeline leaks
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Saint Petersburg, Russia, October 10, 2022.
Gavriil Grigorov | Sputnik | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the U.S. had the most to gain from recent damage done to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines which caused major gas leaks into the Baltic Sea.
“Who is behind the subversion of the Nord Streams? Obviously, it’s the one who seeks to finally cut off the ties between Russia and the EU, seeks to finish off and undermine the political subjectness of Europe, weaken its industrial potential and control the market,” Putin said at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow on Wednesday, without naming the U.S.
It’s just over two weeks ago that a series of blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Germany provoked an international outcry and widespread suspicions in the West that the blasts were a deliberate act of sabotage. Suspicions fell on Moscow, which denied any involvement in the incidents and in turn insinuated that NATO could have carried out the damage, an accusation firmly rebuffed by the West.
Putin said Wednesday that gas exporters like the U.S. stood to gain from the damaged pipelines.
“Certain market participants who are guided exclusively by their own geopolitical ambitions … simply eliminate the infrastructure of their competitors. In this particular case, I’m talking obviously about the subversion of the Nord Stream pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2. There’s no doubt it was an act of terrorism aiming to undermine the energy security of a whole continent,” he said.
“Russia built these [pipelines] with its own money but the U.S. can now supply energy sources at high prices,” he said, adding that he believed U.S. LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports were “unstable.”
— Holly Ellyatt
Ukraine won’t comment on Russia’s Crimea bridge arrests
Ukraine’s intelligence services said it will not respond to Russia’s arrests of eight individuals it alleges are connected to last Saturday’s Crimea bridge blast.
“All the activities of the FSB and the Investigative Committee are nonsense. These are fake structures that serve the Putin regime, so we will definitely not comment on their regular statements,” Andrey Yusov, a spokesperson for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, said in a statement provided to CNBC on Wednesday.
Russia’s Federal Security Service said Wednesday that it arrested five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia that it alleged were connected to the attack, which partially damaged the bridge that Russia uses to access the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and to resupply its troops in southern Ukraine.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack and Yusov insinuated the arrests (and potentially, the attack) were staged.
“It is surprising that no business card has yet been found in the area of the Crimean bridge,” he said.
That was a reference to an attack on a checkpoint near Sloviansk in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine in 2014 that Russia claimed was led by Ukrainian nationalist Dmytro Yarosh.
Ukraine claimed pro-Russian separatists (or Russian special forces) had initiated what it described as a “staged” attack and had planted Yarosh’s business card at the scene in order to blame it on Ukraine. The purported discovery of Yarosh’s business card was widely ridiculed by Ukrainians at the time.
— Holly Ellyatt
Russia makes arrests in alleged connection to Crimea bridge attack
Russia’s security services said it has arrested eight people it alleges are connected to the explosion that damaged the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Russia and Crimea last Saturday.
Russia’s Federal Security Service said Wednesday that it has arrested five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia that it alleged were connected to the attack, which partially damaged the bridge that Russia uses to access the peninsula, that it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and to resupply its troops in southern Ukraine.
The FSB issued a statement alleging that the explosion was organized by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and its director, Kyrylo Budanov.
“At the moment, five citizens of Russia, three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia, who participated in the preparation of the crime, have been detained as part of a criminal case,” the FSB said.
“The investigation into the attack continues. All its organizers and accomplices, including foreign citizens, will be held accountable in accordance with Russian law,” it added.
Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to Russia, after a truck exploded, near Kerch, on October 8, 2022.
– | Afp | Getty Images
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack and is yet to respond to the allegations. CNBC has approached the Ministry of Defense for comment.
The FSB detailed how it alleges the plot to blow up the bridge took place, claiming that “the explosive device was camouflaged in rolls with a construction polyethylene film on 22 pallets with a total weight of 22,770 kg.” The FSB claimed the device was shipped from Odesa to Bulgaria and then on to Georgia and Armenia before crossing over the border to Russia and then on its final journey to Crimea.
— Holly Ellyatt