Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday defended Ankara’s booming trade ties with Moscow during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan. The meeting between the two leaders, the fourth in three months, came as the US and EU apply renewed pressure on Turkey to comply with sanctions against Russia. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
1:46pm: Russian-installed Kherson governor urges residents to evacuate
The Russian-installed governor of Ukraine’s Kherson region has appealed to residents to evacuate amid fighting between Russian and advancing Ukrainian forces.
In a video statement on the Telegram app, Vladimir Saldo, head of the Russian-installed local administration, also publicly asked for Moscow’s help in transporting civilians into Russia.
Kherson is one of four Ukrainian regions that Russia formally incorporated into its territory this month, a move the UN General Assembly has described as an “attempted illegal annexation”.
1:31pm: Turkey-Russia ties make ‘less developed countries happy’: Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended Ankara’s booming trade ties with Moscow during his meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Even as the US and the EU apply pressure on NATO-member Turkey to comply with sanctions, Erdogan mentioned Russia’s construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which Ankara hopes to open next year.
The Turkish president also raised the idea of Russia building a second nuclear power plant in northern Turkey.
“While Turkey and Russia’s steps will disturb certain circles, they will make less developed countries happy,” Erdogan said, referring to a grain deal he helped broker, which paved the way for Ukrainian grain deliveries across the Black Sea.
1:12pm: IMF’s $1.3 billion emergency funding arrives in Ukraine: PM
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said the IMF’s latest $1.3 billion emergency funding has arrived and will be used to finance the war-torn country’s “priority needs”.
1:04pm: Ukraine shells residence block near border in Russia’s Belgorod: governor
A residential building in the southern Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine was hit Thursday in shelling by Kyiv’s forces, the governor of the city said.
“The Ukrainian armed forces shelled Belgorod. There is damage at a residential apartment building on Gubkin street. Information about the victims is being specified,” the Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement on Telegram.
12:37pm: Power largely restored in Ukraine after Russian attacks: grid operator
Power has largely been restored across Ukraine following this week’s attacks by Russia on Ukrainian energy facilities, according to the head of Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenergo.
Volodymyr Kudrytskyi told national television that some repair work was continuing on damaged infrastructure but supplies had been restored. Despite this, Ukrainians should continue to conserve energy because further Russian attacks were possible on energy facilities, he said.
11:46am: Russia summons German, Danish, Swedish envoys over Nord Stream probe
Russia’s foreign ministry said it had summoned diplomats from Germany, Denmark and Sweden to complain that representatives from Moscow and Gazprom had not been invited to join an investigation into ruptures of the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
“Russia will obviously not recognise the pseudo-results of such an investigation unless Russian experts are involved,” the foreign ministry said.
The cause of the ruptures in the Nord Stream pipelines, which run under the Baltic Sea, remains unclear, but EU countries have pointed to sabotage.
>> Swedish security service opens inquiry into Nord Stream pipeline ‘sabotage’
10:43am: Ukraine says it has only 10% of what it needs for air defences
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said Ukraine has only about 10% of what it needs for its air defences and ruled out diplomatic contacts with Russia.
He said in a question-and-answer session with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Europe’s leading human rights watchdog, that diplomacy was not possible with leaders who do not respect international law.
10:30am: Zelensky demands demilitarisation of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Moscow must be made to comply with demands by the UN nuclear watchdog to allow the demilitarisation of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
He made his comments in a video address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Europe’s leading human rights watchdog.
10:14am: Putin to meet Erdogan in Kazakhstan as Turkey eyes peace broker role
Ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country aims to keep up its effort to help reach peace between Russia and Ukraine.
In his address to the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Thursday, Erdogan said Turkey‘s “goal is to continue the momentum that has been achieved and bring an end to the bloodshed as soon as possible”.
He was referring to agreements that Turkey helped broker, which allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports via the Black Sea and led to a prisoner swap between Moscow and Kyiv.
Reporting from Ankara, FRANCE 24’s Turkey correspondent Jasper Mortimer explains the grain deal is set to expire in November and Turkey is keen to be seen as a peace broker in the Ukraine conflict.
9:37am: US committed to defending ‘every inch’ of NATO territory as nuclear planning group meets
The US reaffirmed its commitment to defend “every inch” of NATO territory ahead of talks among defence ministers from the alliance on Thursday that will include closed-door discussions by its nuclear planning group.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin made the remarks affirming America’s commitment to NATO’s collective defence following repeated nuclear threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid battlefield setbacks in his nearly eight-month-long invasion of Ukraine.
“We are committed to defending every inch of NATO’s territory — if and when it comes to that,” Austin said.
Austin spoke shortly before attending a meeting by NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group, which is NATO’s senior body on nuclear matters and handles policy issues associated with its nuclear forces.
9:33am: Pro-Russian forces say captured villages near Bakhmut in Donetsk region
Russian-backed separatist forces in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine said Thursday they had captured two villages near the industrial city of Bakhmut, posting small gains against Kyiv’s counter-offensive.
“A group of troops of the DNR and LNR — with fire support from the Russian Armed Forces — liberated Opytine and Ivangrad,” a statement released by separatist authorities said on Telegram, using acronyms for the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics.
The villages are located just south of Bakhmut, a wine-making and salt-mining city that used to be populated by some 70,000 people and which Russian forces have been pummelling for weeks to capture.
The reported gains come after weeks in which Ukrainian troops have been clawing back large swathes of territory in the south and east of Ukraine — including Donetsk — controlled by Russian forces for months.
The Ukrainian military said in an update Thursday morning that it had repelled Russian attacks near the villages of Bakhmutske, Ozaryanivka, Ivangrad, Bakhmut and Maryinka.
9:02am: Ukraine nuclear chief denounces Russian claim that plant needs Russian fuel
The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company on Thursday decried as “fake news” Russian assertions that the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is in need of Russian fuel.
Energoatom chief Petro Kotin, speaking in a Reuters interview, said there are fresh fuel supplies in storage at the six-reactor plant, the largest in Europe.
“Just to prepare for this transfer from one supplier to another you need about three years. So they (Russia) call tell this fake news,” Kotin said.
8:21am: Russia consolidating new front line in Kherson’s Mylove village: UK
Russian troops are likely attempting to consolidate along a new front line west of the village of Mylove in Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson, according to the daily British military intelligence briefing.
“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,” the ministry said in its intelligence update on Twitter.
7:11am: Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to switch to Russian fuel: Rosenergoatom
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant will switch to Russian nuclear fuel after it has used up its current reserves, Russia’s TASS state news agency reported, citing an official with Russia’s nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom.
“The fuel that is in operation will be used up … ours will be used in the future,” Russian news agency TASS cited Renat Karchaa, a senior Rosenergoatom official, as saying.
6:57am: Russian missiles pound Mykolaiv
Russian missiles pounded the southern city of Mykolaiv, hitting a residential building, according to the mayor.
“A five-storey residential building was hit, the two upper floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working on the site,” Mykolaiv’s Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said in a social media post, adding that the city was “massively shelled”.
6:42am: Drone strikes hit infrastructure facilities in Kyiv region: Zelensky’s office
Critical infrastructure facilities were hit by drone strikes early Thursday, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential office.
“Another attack by kamikaze drones on critical infrastructure facilities,” Tymoshenko said on the Telegram messaging app.
Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.
4:55am: Shelling hits Kyiv region on Thursday, says local administration
A settlement in the region of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was hit by shelling early on Thursday, the region’s administration said on the Telegram messaging app.
“Rescuers are already working at the site,” the administration said, without providing further details on where the shelling took place.
3:55am: Russian missiles target Ukraine’s Mykolaiv
Russia unleashed a barrage of missiles on the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Thursday, officials said, after the United Nations General Assembly condemned Moscow’s attempted annexation of four Ukrainian areas and Kyiv’s allies committed more military aid.
“A five-storey residential building was hit, the two upper floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working on the site,” Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said in a social media post, adding the southern city was “massively shelled”.
A shipbuilding centre and a port on the Southern Bug river off the Black Sea, Mykolaiv has suffered heavy Russian bombardments throughout the war.
1:30am: Britain to donate air defence missiles to Ukraine
Britain said it would donate air defence missiles capable of shooting down cruise missiles to Ukraine in the wake of Russian strikes on Kyiv and other cities in recent days.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the new support ahead of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
Ukraine’s allies had pledged new air defences and more aid on the sidelines of the meeting on Wednesday.
Britain said the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, which will be provided in the coming weeks, could be used with the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS air defence systems pledged by the United States.
Hundreds of additional air defence missiles of other types would also be donated, along with more aerial drones and a further 18 howitzer artillery guns, it said.
10:25pm: UN General Assembly strongly condemns Russian annexations
The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four occupied regions in Ukraine and called on all countries not to recognise the move, reinforcing a diplomatic international isolation of Moscow since it invaded its neighbour.
Three-quarters of the 193-member General Assembly – 143 countries – voted in favor of a resolution that also reaffirmed the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Only 4 countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution – Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. Another 35 countries abstained from the vote, including Russia’s strategic partner China, while the rest did not vote.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)
Originally published on France24