Ukraine warned Tuesday of an emerging “critical” risk to its electricity grid after multiple Russian air strikes targeted energy facilities across the country, with President Volodymyr Zelensky stating that Moscow’s repeated bombardments had destroyed one-third of the country’s power facilities as winter approaches. Read our blog to see how all the day’s events unfolded.
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8:40pm: US to take ‘practical, aggressive’ steps to hinder sale of Iranian drones, missiles
The United States will persist in taking “practical, aggressive” steps to make it harder for Iran to sell drones and missiles to Russia, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Tuesday, adding that Washington had a number of tools to hold both Moscow and Tehran accountable.
Speaking at a daily press briefing, Patel did not provide further details on the steps but pointed out that Washington has already used sanctions and export controls as a response. He also added that a deepening alliance between Russia and Iran is a phenomenon that the world should view as a “profound threat.”
8:10pm: Russian army preparing to evacuate Kherson’s population
Russia’s army is preparing to evacuate civilians from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, occupied by Moscow, the military commander for Ukraine operations has said.
“The Russian army will above all ensure the safe evacuation of the population” of Kherson, General Sergey Surovikin, who has been in charge of operations in Ukraine for the past 10 days, told state television Rossiya 24.
Surovikin described the military situation in Ukraine as “tense”, especially around the city of Kherson.
“The enemy continually attempts to attack the positions of Russian troops,” he said. “First of all, this concerns the Kupiansk, Lyman and Mykolayiv-Kriviy Rih sectors.”
7:45pm: Russia says strategic bombers flew over Pacific
Two of Russia’s Tu-95MS strategic bombers have conducted a flight of more than 12 hours over the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, the defence ministry in Moscow has said.
The flight by the nuclear-capable planes came at a moment of high tension in Russia’s war with Ukraine and its confrontation with the West, after NATO and the United States said they expected Russia to test its nuclear forces imminently.
The aircraft were escorted by MiG-31 fighter planes, and refuelled while in the air, the ministry said. It described the mission as “a scheduled flight over neutral waters”, in line with international airspace rules.
NATO is conducting nuclear preparedness exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to hold its own nuclear drills imminently. The Kremlin said earlier on Tuesday it had no information on that.
6:55pm: Russia destroys power infrastructure across Ukraine
Ukraine’s national emergency services says that after 10 days of strikes on energy facilities, some 1,162 towns and villages in nine regions had been left without power, stoking fears of a heating crisis as winter approaches.
Many towns and cities in the Zhytomyr region, west of Kyiv, and parts of the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine are without electricity, while power has been restored to the southern city of Mykolaiv after strikes overnight.
“Now the city is cut off from electricity and water supplies. Hospitals are working on backup power,” the mayor of Zhytomyr, Sergiy Sukhomlyn, said in a statement online.
FRANCE 24’s senior correspondent Catherine Norris Trent spoke to the mayor of the Russian-occupied town of Melitopol, who urged his fellow residents to flee to Ukrainian-controlled land or move to neighbouring villages where they could heat homes using coal or wood.
6:15pm: NATO to supply Ukraine with anti-drone systems in ‘coming days’
NATO will deliver air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming days to help the country defend itself against drone attacks that Russia is using to target critical infrastructure, the alliance’s secretary-general has said.
Ukraine says attacks by swarms of drones sold by Tehran to Moscow have destroyed almost a third of its power stations over the past week as Russia steps up its attacks on infrastructure far from the front line.
Addressing a security conference in Berlin, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the answer to the attacks was for the allies to step up their deliveries of air defence systems.
“The most important thing we can do is deliver on what allies have promised, to step up and deliver even more air defence systems,” he said. “NATO will in the coming days deliver counter-drone systems to counter the specific threat of drones, including those from Iran.”
5:55pm: Iran agrees to ship missiles, more drones to Russia, Reuters reports
Iran has promised to provide Russia with surface to surface missiles, in addition to more drones, two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats have told Reuters, a move that is likely to infuriate the United States and other Western powers.
A deal was agreed on October 6 when Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, two senior officials from Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards and an official from the Supreme National Security Council visited Moscow for talks with Russia about the delivery of the weapons.
“The Russians had asked for more drones and those Iranian ballistic missiles with improved accuracy, particularly the Fateh and Zolfaghar missiles family,” said one of the Iranian diplomats, who was briefed about the trip.
One of the drones Iran agreed to supply is the Shahed-136, a delta-winged weapon used as a “kamikaze” air-to-surface attack aircraft. It carries a small warhead that explodes on impact.
4:30pm: ‘Real target of Russian strikes is Ukraine’s electricity supply’
Air strikes have cut power and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, part of what the country’s president called an expanding Russian campaign to drive the nation into the cold.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said nearly one-third of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed in the past week, “causing massive blackouts across the country.”
Depriving people of water, electricity and heat as winter begins to bite and the broadening use of so-called suicide drones that nosedive into targets have opened a new phase in Vladimir Putin’s war.
The bombardments appear aimed at wearing down the resilience Ukrainians have shown in the nearly eight months since Moscow invaded.
FRANCE 24’s correspondent Gulliver Cragg has more on Russia’s new strategy.
3:25pm: German cybersecurity chief sacked over possible Russia ties
Arne Schoenbohm, the head of Germany‘s national cybersecurity agency, the BSI, has been dismissed following reports of possible ties to Russian intelligence, the Interior Ministry has said.
Schoenbohm co-founded a cybersecurity group a decade ago that brings together experts from public institutions and the private sector. German media have reported that one of its members is a company founded by a former Russian intelligence agent.
The German government said over a week ago that it was investigating the reports comprehensively.
There is growing concern in Germany that the country’s critical infrastructure might be targeted by Russia because of Berlin’s support for Ukraine.
2:55pm: Estonian MPs declare Russa a ‘terrorist regime’
Estonian lawmakers have condemned Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory and declared Russia a “terrorist regime” in a statement adopted by 88 votes in favour in the country’s 101-seat legislature.
The parliament “declares Russia a terrorist regime and the Russian Federation a country that supports terrorism”, the statement said. “Putin’s regime, with its threats of nuclear attack, has turned Russia into the biggest danger to peace both in Europe and in the whole world.”
The parliament in Estonia’s neighbour, Latvia, declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” in August, accusing Moscow of “targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people”.
But US President Joe Biden’s administration last month said it would not use the terminology, calling this “not the most effective or strongest path forward”.
1:29pm: Zelensky set for Frankfurt book fair as Ukraine stars
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will address this week’s Frankfurt book fair, with organisers offering emphatic support to the country’s literary scene in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
Ukrainian authors led by “punk poet” Sergiy Zhadan will feature prominently at the world’s biggest publishing event.
Zelensky will make his speech Thursday via video link at the five-day annual fair, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors from around the world and hundreds of exhibitors.
His wife, Olena Zelenska, is also due to speak at a side event.
1:17pm: Sviatohirsk remains divided between those with Ukrainian and Russian loyalties
Sviatohirsk was once so picturesque it was nicknamed ‘the Switzerland’ of the Donbas but today it lies in ruins. The city was destroyed by artillery battles and then occupied until Ukraine’s forces pushed out Russian troops. The remaining inhabitant’s loyalties are divided between the Russian and Ukrainian sides. FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent reports.
1:03pm: Russian army claims first gains in Kharkiv region since Ukraine counter-offensive
The Russian military on Tuesday said it had recaptured territory in the eastern Kharkiv region of Ukraine, the first gains in that place since Moscow’s forces were pushed back in a sweeping counter-offensive.
“Units of the Russian army during offensive operations captured the village of Gorobiivka in the Kharkiv region,” the defence ministry said, claiming to have inflicted a “significant defeat” on Ukrainian troops in the village.
12:31pm: Kremlin says Putin not ending mobilisation ‘yet’
President Vladimir Putin does not plan to end a military mobilisation in Russia “yet” but some of the country’s regions completed the process, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
“For the moment, there is no presidential decree (on ending mobilisation),” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
He spoke a day after Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced an end to the mobilisation in the capital, closing the city’s draft offices.
Putin announced a nationwide military call-up to prop up Moscow’s forces in Ukraine on September 21, in a move that has led to an exodus of men and some discontent.
Last week the Russian leader said he aimed to end the drive “within about two weeks”.
12:14pm: Ukraine says situation ‘critical’ after strikes on energy facilities
The situation in Ukraine is “critical” following waves of Russian strikes targeting the country’s energy infrastructure ahead of winter, Ukraine’s presidency said Tuesday.
“The situation is critical now across the country because our regions are dependent on one another… it’s necessary for the whole country to prepare for electricity, water and heating outages,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, told Ukrainian television.
12:07pm: Russian strikes on Kyiv energy facility kill two, say prosecutors
Russian strikes that targeted an energy facility in Kyiv left at least two people dead, officials said Tuesday, in a wave of bombardments that knocked out electricity in several cities across the country.
“On October 18, 2022, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, using means of warfare prohibited by international law, launched a missile attack on an energy supply facility on the left bank of the capital. Preliminarily, two people were killed and one was injured,” the regional prosecutor’s office said.
11:53am: Kremlin says it has no knowledge of its army using Iranian drones in Ukraine
The Kremlin said Tuesday it had “no information” of its forces using Iranian drones in Ukraine after Kyiv and the West said Moscow used Tehran’s weapons in its deadly strikes.
“No, we have no information on this. Russian tech is used,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked whether Russia was using Iranian drones during a briefing, referring any further questions on the issue to the defence ministry.
11:48am: Russia says ‘technical malfunction’ likely behind Yeysk jet crash
Russia on Tuesday said a “technical malfunction” probably caused a military jet to crash into a block of flats in Yeysk, near Ukraine, killing at least 13 people including three children.
Investigators said they were questioning the pilots of the Sukhoi Su-34, who managed to parachute out of the plane before it crashed on Monday evening into the nine-storey building, engulfing it in flames.
Nineteen people were injured, four of them critically.
The crash was probably caused by “a technical malfunction”, Russia’s investigative committee, which probes serious crimes, said.
It said it had launched a criminal inquiry into possible violations of flight rules, and had “seized fuel samples at the departure aerodrome” and “flight recorders at the site of the crash”.
11:03am: Fifty metres of Nord Stream pipe destroyed: video
At least 50 metres of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been destroyed or buried under the seafloor, following an explosion assumed to be from sabotage, underwater images published Tuesday showed.
Danish police meanwhile said their inspections of the pipelines 1 and 2 in the Danish economic zone of the Baltic Sea confirmed the damage was “caused by powerful explosions”.
In videos published by Swedish newspaper Expressen, a massive tear and twisted metal can be seen on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline 80 metres down in the Baltic Sea.
Expressen said the videos, filmed on Monday, show how over 50 metres (165 feet) of the pipeline is either missing or buried under the seabed, and long tears can be observed on the seabed leading up to the burst pipe.
“It is only an extreme force that can bend metal that thick in the way we are seeing,” Trond Larsen, drone operator with the Norwegian company Blueye Robotics, told Expressen.
Larsen, who piloted the submersible drone which captured the video, also said you could also see “a very large impact on the seabed around the pipe.”
10:45am: Power cuts in Kyiv and Ukraine regions after strikes on energy facilities
Several regions of Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, were experiencing power cuts after multiple strikes targeted energy facilities, local officials and agencies said Tuesday.
Many settlements in Zhytomyr region, west of Kyiv, and parts of Dnipro city in central Ukraine were without electricity, while power was restored to the southern city of Mykolaiv after strikes overnight.
Russian air strikes have destroyed 30% of Ukraine’s power stations since October 10, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.
He wrote on Twitter that the attacks had caused massive blackouts across Ukraine and that there was “no space left for negotiations” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
8:35am: Ukraine says three strikes hit ‘power facility’ in Kyiv
Ukraine said Tuesday three strikes had hit a “power facility” in Kyiv, a day after deadly Russian drone strikes on the Ukrainian capital.
“Preliminarily, three hits on a power supply facility on the left bank of Kyiv,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, on social media.
Reporting from the city of Zaporizhzhia, FRANCE 24 correspondent Catherine Norris Trent says that strikes there are a nightly occurrence and notes “how important the energy infrastructure is” in the Zaporizhzhia region, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power station and a huge hydroelectric dam.
8:15am: Ukraine says Russia ‘kidnapped’ two nuclear plant workers
In a statement on social media, Energoatom said Russian forces on Monday “kidnapped” the head of information technology Oleg Kostyukov and the plant’s assistant general director Oleg Osheka and “took them to an unknown destination”.
6:50am: Russian military jet crash leaves 13 dead as search ends
At least 13 people, including three children, were killed after a Russian military plane crashed into a residential area of Yeysk, a town in southwest Russia near the border with Ukraine, Moscow authorities said Tuesday as search operations ended.
The ministry of emergency situations said in a statement that rescuers had completed the search of the rubble, and discovered “10 more bodies”, after earlier announcing three deaths.
“In total, 13 people died, including three children, while 19 people were injured,” according to the ministry, as quoted by Russian news agencies.
6:40am: Deadly drone strikes hit Kyiv as Russian warplane crashes
Moscow on Monday stepped up attacks across Ukraine, cutting electricity and killing eight people, including in kamikaze drone strikes on the capital, as a Russian warplane crashed near the border.
Moscow is thought to be trying to counter battlefield losses in its eight-month war in Ukraine by waging a punitive policy of striking energy facilities before winter in a move President Vladimir Putin hopes will weaken resistance.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said Russia launched five strikes in Kyiv and against energy facilities in Sumy and the central Dnipropetrovsk regions, knocking out electricity to hundreds of towns and villages.
Ukraine said four people were killed in Kyiv, including a married couple expecting a baby, and another four in the northeast region of Sumy.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)