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Russia-Ukraine war live: Russia launches 36 rockets in ‘massive attack’; power outages in central and western Ukraine after shelling – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-10-22

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8.12pm BST

Summary

It’s slightly past 10pm in Kyiv. Here’s where things stand:

  • Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said that Russia has plunged Ukraine into a humanitarian catastrophe by attacking its energy infrastructure. In a statement to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, Shmyhal said that Russia wanted to condemn Ukraine to “a cold winter when many people could literally freeze to death”.

  • The general staff of the Ukraine armed forces said on Saturday that the country pushed Russians out of Charivne and Chkalove settlements in Kherson oblast.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that Russia launched 36 rockets in a “massive attack” on Ukraine. In a post on Telegram he said that most of the missiles fired overnight were shot down by the country’s air defence systems.

  • Russian military forces carried out another missile attack targeting energy facilities in western Ukraine, the country’s power grid operator said today. In a message on Telegram, Ukrenergo said that the “scale of damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attack on October 10-12”. It said that repair crews are starting to repair the facilities after the rocket attack, but that restrictions are in place as they try to restore the electricity supply.

  • Hundreds of thousands of people in central and western Ukraine woke up today to power outages and periodic bursts of gunfire, as Ukrainian air defence tried to shoot down drones and incoming missiles. Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, says 1.5 million people are without electricity after Russian strikes against power stations on Saturday.

  • Iran’s foreign ministry has strongly condemned a call by France, Germany and Britain for the UN to probe accusations that Russia has used drones from Iran to attack Ukraine. Ukraine says that Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones. If true, the allegations would mark a breach of UN security council resolution 2231.

  • Ukrainian forces have bombarded Russian positions in the occupied Kherson region, targeting resupply routes across a major river while inching closer on Friday to a full assault on the key city. Associated Press reported that Russian-installed officials were said to be desperately trying to turn Kherson city – a prime objective for both sides because of its key industries and major river and seaport – into a “fortress” while attempting to evacuate tens of thousands of residents.

  • The Pentagon confirmed a phone call between the US defen ce secretary , Lloyd Austin, and the Russian defence minister , Sergei Shoigu. It said Austin “emphasised the importance of maintaining lines of communication” with Shoigu. Russia’s defence ministry said of the call: “Topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine , were discussed.”

Updated at 8.40pm BST

7.17pm BST

Ukrain e’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said that Russia has plunged Ukraine into a humanitarian catastrophe by attacking its energy infrastructure.

In a statement to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, Shmyhal said that Russia wanted to condemn Ukraine to “a cold winter when many people could literally freeze to death”.

Updated at 7.18pm BST

6.42pm BST

The general staff of the Ukraine armed forces said on Saturday that Ukraine pushed Russians out of Charivne and Chkalove settlements in Kherson oblast.

Updated at 7.06pm BST

6.00pm BST

Summary

It is 8pm in Kyiv. Here is what you might have missed:

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that Russia launched 36 rockets in a “massive attack” on Ukraine. In a post on Telegram he said that most of the missiles fired overnight were shot down by the country’s air defence systems.

  • Russian military forces carried out another missile attack targeting energy facilities in western Ukraine, the country’s power grid operator said today. In a message on Telegram, Ukrenergo said that the “scale of damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attack on October 10-12”. It said that repair crews are starting to repair the facilities after the rocket attack, but that restrictions are in place as they try to restore the electricity supply.

  • Hundreds of thousands of people in central and western Ukraine woke up today to power outages and periodic bursts of gunfire, as Ukrainian air defence tried to shoot down drones and incoming missiles. Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, says 1.5 million people are without electricity after Russian strikes against power stations on Saturday.

  • Iran’s foreign ministry has strongly condemned a call by France, Germany and Britain for the UN to probe accusations that Russia has used drones from Iran to attack Ukraine. Ukraine says that Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones. If true, the allegations would mark a breach of UN security council resolution 2231.

  • Ukrainian forces have bombarded Russian positions in the occupied Kherson region, targeting resupply routes across a major river while inching closer on Friday to a full assault on the key city. Associated Press reported that Russian-installed officials were said to be desperately trying to turn Kherson city – a prime objective for both sides because of its key industries and major river and sea port – into a “fortress” while attempting to evacuate tens of thousands of residents.

  • The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, warned today that Russia using nuclear weapons would be seen as an “act of hostility against humanity”. Kishida, who leads the only country ever hit with a nuclear bomb, described President Vladimir Putin’s sabre rattling as “deeply disturbing”.

  • Spain on Saturday said it would send 14 fighter jets to Bulgaria and Romania to bolster NATO’s eastern flank as the defence alliance strengthens its deterrence capacity after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russian forces are continuing to reinforce crossing points over the Dnieper River and have finished building a barge bridge alongside the damaged Antonovskiy Bridge in Kherson in Ukraine’s south, the UK Ministry of Defence says. The ministry said using civilian barges probably provided Russia “additional material and logistics benefits” after losing significant amounts of military bridging equipment and engineering personnel during the war with Ukraine.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged the west to warn Russia not to blow up a hydroelectric dam that would flood a large part of southern Ukraine , as Ukraine’s forces prepared to push Moscow’s troops from the occupied city of Kherson. In a television address, Zelenskiy said Russian forces had planted explosives inside the huge Nova Kakhovka dam, which holds back an enormous reservoir, and were planning to blow it up. “Now everyone in the world must act powerfully and quickly to prevent a new Russian terrorist attack. Destroying the dam would mean a large-scale disaster.”

  • A Russian-appointed official in Kherson has denied Kyiv’s allegations that Moscow’s forces have started mining the dam. Citing state-owned news agency RIA, Reuters reported that Kirill Stremousov said Zelenskiy’s claims it had started mining the dam were “false”.

  • The office of Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed it will “not succumb to peace by coercion” , threatening to hit back harder if Russia destroys the hydroelectric dam in Kherson.

  • A team from the International Monetary Fund held productive discussions with Ukrainian authorities this week and will work in coming weeks on their request for enhanced programme monitoring in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the IMF mission’s head says. Gavin Gray said IMF staff met with Ukrainian authorities for four days in Vienna and discussed their findings with the finance minister, Serhiy Marchenko, and the governor of Ukraine’s national bank, Andriy Pyshnyi.

  • The Pentagon confirmed a phone call between the US defense secretary , Lloyd Austin, and the Russian defence minister , Sergei Shoigu. It said Austin “emphasised the importance of maintaining lines of communication” with Shoigu. Russia’s defence ministry said of the call: “Topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine , were discussed.”

  • The Pentagon also published a readout of Austin’s call with the Ukrainian defence minister , Oleksii Reznikov. The US defence secretary pledged “unwavering US commitment” to supporting Ukraine against Russia.

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the US would consider every means to advance diplomacy with Russia if it saw an opening , but at the moment Moscow showed no sign of willingness to engage in meaningful talks. Reuters reported Blinken as saying: “Every indication is that far from being willing to engage in meaningful diplomacy, President Putin continues to push in the opposite direction.”

Updated at 6.26pm BST

5.51pm BST

Spain to bolster NATO’s eastern flank with 14 jets, AFP reports.

Spain on Saturday said it would send 14 fighter jets to Bulgaria and Romania to bolster NATO’s eastern flank as the defence alliance strengthens its deterrence capacity following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Madrid will send six Eurofighter jets and 130 soldiers to Bulgaria between mid-November and early December to train local forces, the Spanish defence ministry said in a statement.

It added that a further deployment will see eight F18M fighter jets and 130 air force personnel sent to Romania between December and March next year as part of NATO’s “reaction and deterrence” strategy.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin thanked Spain for its “very, very rapid response” to Ukraine’s latest request for more air defences.

5.15pm BST

Russian soldiers appear to say they have been “thrown out like dogs” in the fields of Ukraine with no information, no orders and no equipment in video footage circulating on social media.

The soldiers say they were transported back and forth, before being dropped off “somewhere in the fields of Ukraine” where they live in holes dug out of the ground with their bare hands, because they do not have shovels. Current temperatures drop to zero at night time.

The Guardian has not been able to verify these claims.

4.37pm BST

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba took to Twitter to describe a “barrage of Russian missiles” targeting civilian spaces.

He said: “Saturday in Ukraine starts with a barrage of Russian missiles aimed at critical civilian infrastructure. We have intercepted part of them, others hit targets.

“Air defense saves lives. There should not be a minute of delay in capitals deciding on air defense systems for Ukraine.”

Updated at 4.45pm BST

4.16pm BST

Iran condemns call for UN drone probe

Iran on Saturday strongly condemned a call by France, Germany and Britain for the United Nations to probe accusations that Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, its foreign ministry said.

Ukraine says that Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones. If found to be true, the allegations would be in breach of UN security council resolution 2231.

A letter, seen by Reuters, was circulated to UN security council members by the three countries, known as the E3.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Friday’s call by the E3 group of countries was “false and baseless” and that it was “strongly rejected and condemned”.

Both Tehran and Moscow deny the accusations.

Updated at 4.23pm BST

3.54pm BST

Civilians continue to be moved from Kherson in north-east Ukraine, as Ukrainians advance to recapture the city.

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Civilians moved from Kherson arrive by ferry in Oleshky. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
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Civilians moved from the Russian-controlled city of Kherson arrive in the town of Oleshky. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
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Civilians leave a ferry in Oleshky. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

3.35pm BST

As she was driven by her son out of Dudchany, a small village in the north-east of the Kherson region a few days ago, Rosaliya Kovalchuk, 72, glimpsed something from the backseat that will haunt her forever.

“Hanging from the branches of a tree were guts from a man’s belly,” Kovalchuk said, pausing as she sought to collect her emotions. “A military car had been blown up. I think he was Russian from the boots and the uniform.”

Dudchany, one of the stepping stones down the Dnipro river to Kherson city, the regional capital 77 miles to the south-west, is at the centre of fierce fighting that the west says could be pivotal in the outcome of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Kovalchuk and her friend and neighbour Anna Koval, 72, who lives two doors down on the village’s Pushkina Street, recounted their sorrow from the gym of a school in the city of Kryvyi Rih, north of Kherson, where 70 beds have been laid out for refugees. They arrived on 11 October. “We sit and we pray,” said Koval, weeping as she gripped an icon of the virgin Mary.

Related: ‘My heart is bleeding’: villagers flee as the battle for Kherson rages on

Updated at 4.53pm BST

2.30pm BST

Russia launches 36 rockets overnight in 'massive attack' on Ukraine, says Zelenskiy

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that Russia launched 36 rockets in a “massive attack” on Ukraine.

In a post on Telegram he said that most of the missiles fired overnight were shot down by the country’s air defence systems.

Russia has been targeting critical infrastructure such as power stations and water supply systems in Ukraine in recent weeks.

Zelensky added:

To all energy workers and services that are currently working at the sites of impact and restoring our infrastructure. You are our heroes!

Updated at 2.40pm BST

2.08pm BST

Russian occupation authorities in the Ukrainian city of Kherson told civilians they should leave immediately because of the tense military situation.

Thousands of civilians have been leaving for days across the Dnipro River after warnings of a looming Ukrainian offensive to recapture the city, Reuters reports.

A statement posted on Telegram said:

All civilians of Kherson must immediately leave the city. Civilians of Kherson and all departments and ministries of civil administration must cross today to the left (east) bank of the Dnipro.

Ukraine’s military have been steadily taking back territory in the region, which is a key target in its counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Read more about the battle in Kherson here: ‘We have a window’: Ukraine’s forces press their momentum on Kherson’s frontline

Updated at 4.54pm BST

1.49pm BST

Mykhailo Podolyak , a political adviser to the Ukrainian president, has accused Moscow of trying to “provoke new refugees” to flee to Europe by targeting “critical infrastructure” in the country.

Updated at 2.09pm BST

1.22pm BST

These are some of the latest images the newswires have published from Ukraine.

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A Ukrainian solider takes position in a trench in the northern occupied territories of Kharkiv region. Photograph: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images
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An elderly woman collects bits of cardboard and paper to burn for heating in Lyman, Donetsk region, after the recapture of the area from the Russian forces Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images
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Civilians evacuated from the Russian-controlled city of Kherson arrive by ferry in the town of Oleshky, Kherson region. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Updated at 1.30pm BST

12.39pm BST

Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, says 1.5 million people are without electricity after Russian strikes against power stations on Saturday:

The Guardian’s Ukraine correspondent, Isobel Koshiw, notes that winter temperatures can reach -20C:

Updated at 12.53pm BST

12.20pm BST

Dan Sabbagh reports from Kyiv:

For some it was a rude awakening. Those arriving at Kyiv’s busy central station on Monday morning suddenly found themselves in the middle of an unexpected and unwanted drone war, hammered by the sounds of panicked last-ditch gunfire from the ground that failed to stop five terrifying explosions in two hours.

It was the second Monday in a row the centre of Kyiv had been targeted, and the first time the capital had been hit by Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.

The Russians had been aiming for a power plant a block from the station, but instead hit buildings and people elsewhere. Five died, including a pregnant woman, when a civilian apartment building was hit.

Read more: In Kyiv, the home front is back and winter is looming

Related: In Kyiv, the home front is back and winter is looming

Updated at 12.26pm BST

11.48am BST

Russian shelling causes major power outages in central and western Ukraine

Hundreds of thousands of people in central and western Ukraine woke up on Saturday to power outages and periodic bursts of gunfire, as Ukrainian air defence tried to shoot down drones and incoming missiles.

Russia has intensified its strikes on power stations, water supply systems and other key infrastructure across the country, Associated Press reports.

Ukraine‘s air force said in a statement today that Russia had launched “a massive missile attack” targeting “critical infrastructure,” hours after air raid sirens blared across the country. It said that it had downed 18 out of 33 cruise missiles launched from air and sea.

The governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba , said the country was being “massively attacked” by Russian forces.

Posting on Telegram, Kubela said that the Kyiv area was on its third air alert of the day due to Russian shelling.

He said:

Since the very morning, the enemy has been massively attacking Ukraine.

The Kyiv region continues to defend the capital. Air defense forces shot down several enemy objects.

The danger has not passed. The air alert continues. I ask everyone to stay in shelters and keep calm!

Updated at 12.05pm BST

11.22am BST

Russian use of nuclear weapons would be 'act of hostility against humanity', says Japanese PM

The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, warned today that Russia using nuclear weapons would be seen as an “act of hostility against humanity”.

Kishida, who leads the only country ever hit with a nuclear bomb, described President Vladimir Putin’s sabre rattling as “deeply disturbing”.

In comments reported by AFP, he said:

Russia’s act of threatening the use of nuclear weapons is a serious threat to the peace and security of the international community and absolutely unacceptable.

Kishida will host leaders from the G7 countries in May next year in Hiroshima where a nuclear bomb was dropped by the US military in August 1945. The city of Nagasaki was hit three days later.

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Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 11.30am BST

11.04am BST

Summary

It is just past 1pm in Kyiv. Here is what you might have missed:

  • Russian military forces carried out another missile attack targeting energy facilities in western Ukraine , the country’s power grid operator said today. In a message on Telegram, Ukrenergo said that the “scale of damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attack on October 10-12”. It said that repair crews are starting to repair the facilities after the rocket attack, but that restrictions are in place as they try to restore the electricity supply.

  • Ukrainian forces have bombarded Russian positions in the occupied Kherson region, targeting resupply routes across a major river while inching closer on Friday to a full assault on the key city. Associated Press reported that Russian-installed officials were said to be desperately trying to turn Kherson city – a prime objective for both sides because of its key industries and major river and sea port – into a “fortress” while attempting to evacuate tens of thousands of residents.

  • Russian forces are continuing to reinforce crossing points over the Dnieper River and have finished building a barge bridge alongside the damaged Antonovskiy Bridge in Kherson in Ukraine’s south, the UK Ministry of Defence says. The ministry said using civilian barges probably provided Russia “additional material and logistics benefits” after losing significant amounts of military bridging equipment and engineering personnel during the war with Ukraine.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged the west to warn Russia not to blow up a hydroelectric dam that would flood a large part of southern Ukraine , as the Ukrainian president’s forces prepared to push Moscow’s troops from the occupied city of Kherson. In a television address, Zelenskiy said Russian forces had planted explosives inside the huge Nova Kakhovka dam, which holds back an enormous reservoir, and were planning to blow it up. “Now everyone in the world must act powerfully and quickly to prevent a new Russian terrorist attack. Destroying the dam would mean a large-scale disaster.”

  • A Russian-appointed official in Kherson has denied Kyiv’s allegations that Moscow’s forces have started mining the dam. Citing state-owned news agency RIA, Reuters reported that Kirill Stremousov said Zelenskiy’s claims it had started mining the dam were “false”.

  • The office of Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed it will “not succumb to peace by coercion” , threatening to hit back harder if Russia destroys the hydroelectric dam in Kherson.

  • A team from the International Monetary Fund held productive discussions with Ukrainian authorities this week and will work in coming weeks on their request for enhanced program monitoring in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the IMF mission’s chief says. Gavin Gray said IMF staff met with Ukrainian authorities for four days in Vienna and discussed their findings with the finance minister, Serhiy Marchenko, and the governor of Ukraine’s national bank, Andriy Pyshnyi.

  • The Pentagon confirmed a phone call between the US defen se secretary, Lloyd Austin, and the Russian defence minister , Sergei Shoigu. It said Austin “emphasised the importance of maintaining lines of communication” with Shoigu. Russia’s defence ministry said of the call: “Topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine , were discussed.”

  • The Pentagon also published a readout of Austin’s call with the Ukrainian defence minister , Oleksii Reznikov. The US defence secretary pledged “unwavering US commitment” to supporting Ukraine against Russia.

  • The UK, France and Germany have called for a UN investigation into accusations that Russia is using Iranian drones in Ukraine . If found to be true, the allegations would be in breach of UN security council resolution 2231. A letter , seen by Reuters, was circulated to UN security council members by the three countries, known as the E3.

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the US would consider every means to advance diplomacy with Russia if it saw an opening , but at the moment Moscow showed no sign of willingness to engage in meaningful talks. Reuters reported Blinken as saying: “Every indication is that far from being willing to engage in meaningful diplomacy, President Putin continues to push in the opposite direction.”

Updated at 11.13am BST

10.52am BST

Pjotr Sauer reports:

Piet Ploeg felt a glimmer of hope that justice would, at last, be served when he read the news that the prominent Russian nationalist Igor Girkin may be returning to the battlefield in Ukraine.

Ploeg’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew were killed alongside 295 other passengers and crew when the plane they boarded in Amsterdam on 17 July 2014 was shot down over Ukraine’s separatist-held territory of Donetsk by what international investigators believe was a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

Dutch prosecutors say Girkin, who was a commander of the Kremlin-backed separatist forces during Vladimir Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, helped supply the missile system used to shoot down the plane.

“We have to be realistic. The chances aren’t huge that Holland will get him. Ukraine first needs to capture him alive and then hand him over to us,” said Ploeg, who chairs the MH17 Disaster Foundation, a Dutch organisation that helps relatives of those killed in the downing of the flight.

Read more: ‘Get Igor Girkin’: hopes MH17 suspect could be captured fighting in Ukraine

Related: ‘Get Igor Girkin’: hopes MH17 suspect could be captured fighting in Ukraine

10.29am BST

Iran has strongly condemned a call by France, Germany and Britain for the United Nations to probe accusations that Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, its foreign ministry said.

Reuters reports that ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Friday’s call by the so-called E-3 group of countries was “false and baseless” and that it was “strongly rejected and condemned”.

Ukraine says Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones that cruise towards their target and explode on impact.

Tehran denies supplying the drones to Moscow and Russia has denied its forces used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

The Iranian foreign ministry website quoted Kanaani as saying:

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in its pursuit to protect its national interest and to secure the rights of the noble Iranian people, reserves the right to respond to any irresponsible action.

It will not hesitate to defend the interests of the Iranian people,” he said, without elaborating.

In a letter signed by their UN envoys and seen by Reuters, the three European countries backed Ukraine‘s call on Monday for a UN probe, arguing the drone use breached UN security council resolution (UNSCR) 2231 endorsing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Updated at 10.36am BST

10.01am BST

Russian air strikes hit energy facilities in western Ukraine

Russian military forces carried out another missile attack targeting energy facilities in western Ukraine, the country’s power grid operator said today.

In a message on Telegram, Ukrenergo said that the “scale of damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attack on October 10-12”.

It said that repair crews are starting to repair the facilities after the rocket attack, but that restrictions are in place as they try to restore the electricity supply.

Currently, restrictions on energy supply have been forcibly applied in Kyiv, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kirovohrad regions.

With winter fast approaching, Russia forces have been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure for more than a week.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that 30% of the country’s power stations had been destroyed in the Russian bombardments.

Updated at 10.08am BST

9.39am BST

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that a number of missiles have been shot down by the country’s air defence systems over the capital city.

He said on Telegram:

Several rockets flying towards Kyiv were shot down by air defense forces in the region. Thanks to our defenders!

The air alert continues. Stay in shelters, take care of your safety.
Save electricity and understand the limitations of its supply. Let’s stand together!

9.15am BST

Russia’s defence minister held rare telephone talks with his US counterpart on Friday, after pro-Kremlin officials said they were turning Ukraine’s southern city of Kherson into a “fortress” as Kyiv’s forces advance.

Few details emerged of the conversation between Russia’s Sergei Shoigu and the US defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, but both sides confirmed they had discussed Ukraine.

“Topical issues of international security – including the situation in Ukraine – were discussed,” Russia’s defence ministry said.

The Pentagon declined to offer specifics beyond saying that Austin, who initiated the conversation, emphasised a need for lines of communication amid the war in Ukraine.

Read more here: Russian and US defence ministers discuss Ukraine war in rare talks

Related: Russian and US defence ministers discuss Ukraine war in rare talks

Updated at 9.20am BST

8.52am BST

Moldova’s pro-Western government has complained that Russia’s Gazprom is not behaving like a serious partner, given its refusal to tell Chisinau how much natural gas it will provide in November.

Reuters reports that Moldova – one of Europe’s poorest countries – is reliant on Russian gas and has been hit hard by a surge in prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moldova’s contract with Gazprom fluctuates from month to month based on the spot market price of gas and oil.

The Moldovan deputy prime minister, Andrei Spinu , said on Friday that he had asked Gazprom Export’s head, Elena Burmistrova , how much gas Moldova would receive in November and she had replied: “We’ll see.”

Gazprom has already cut October supplies by 30% and says it could shut off gas completely unless Moldova pays all its debts to the company.

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A gas panel in Chisinau, Moldova. Photograph: Dumitru Doru/EPA

8.24am BST

A team from the International Monetary Fund held productive discussions with Ukrainian authorities this week and will work in coming weeks on their request for enhanced program monitoring in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the IMF mission’s chief says.

Gavin Gray said IMF staff met with Ukrainian authorities for four days in Vienna and discussed their findings with the finance minister, Serhiy Marchenko , and the governor of Ukraine’s national bank, Andriy Pyshnyi .

Reuters also reported that Gray said Ukrainian leaders deserved “considerable credit” for maintaining an “important degree of macroeconomic stability” after the invasion, which has caused a severe contraction in gross domestic product and a sharp rise in inflation, while sending the country’s fiscal deficit to unprecedented levels.

He said IMF officials were encouraging Ukraine to refrain from measures that eroded tax revenues as they worked to align expenditures with available financing, but gave no details.

Gray said:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that started over seven months ago has caused tremendous human suffering and had a severe economic impact.

7.58am BST

Russians bolstering crossing points over Dnieper river, says UK MoD

Russian forces are continuing to reinforce crossing points over the Dnieper river and have finished building a barge bridge alongside the damaged Antonovskiy bridge in Kherson in Ukraine’s south, the UK Ministry of Defence says.

The ministry tweeted in its latest intelligence briefing:

Although the use of heavy barge bridges was almost certainly included in Soviet-era planning for operations in Europe, it is likely this is the first time the Russian military have needed to utilise this type of bridge for decades.

The ministry said using civilian barges probably provided Russia “additional material and logistics benefits” after losing significant amounts of military bridging equipment and engineering personnel during the war with Ukraine.

If the barge bridge sustains damage, it is almost certain Russia will seek to repair or replaced damaged sections quickly, as their forces and crossing points over the [Dnieper] river come under increasing pressure in Kherson.

Updated at 8.00am BST

7.41am BST

Ukrainian forces have bombarded Russian positions in the occupied Kherson region, targeting resupply routes across a major river while inching closer on Friday to a full assault on the key city.

Associated Press reported that Russian-installed officials were said to be desperately trying to turn Kherson city – a prime objective for both sides because of its key industries and major river and sea port – into a “fortress” while attempting to evacuate tens of thousands of residents.

The Kremlin sent up to 2,000 draftees into the Kherson region – one of four Moscow has illegally annexed and put under martial law – to replenish losses and strengthen frontline units, according to the Ukrainian army’s general staff.

Kremlin-installed officials in Kherson said Ukrainian shelling of a Dnieper river ferry crossing killed two journalists working for a local TV station they had set up under occupation. At least two other people were reported killed and 10 members of the broadcast crew and their relatives were wounded, Russia’s Tass news agency reported.

Natalia Humeniuk , a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern operational command, confirmed the Ukrainian military struck the Antonivskyi bridge near the crossing but only during an overnight curfew Russian-installed officials put in place to avoid civilian casualties.

“We do not attack civilians and settlements,” Humeniuk told Ukrainian television.

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Civilians evacuated from the Russian-controlled Kherson region arrive at a railway station in Crimea. Photograph: Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters

Updated at 7.50am BST

7.20am BST

Blinken says Putin not interested in stopping war

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken , says the US will keep up contacts with Russia but that any broader diplomacy depends on President Vladimir Putin showing an interest “in stopping the aggression”.

Agence France-Presse reported that Blinken told a joint news conference with the French foreign minister, Catherine Colonna , in Washington on Friday:

We have seen no evidence of that in this moment. On the contrary, we see Russia doubling and tripling down on its aggression.

Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu , held rare telephone talks with the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin , on Friday. Few details of the conversation emerged but both sides confirmed they had discussed Ukraine.

The Pentagon declined to offer specifics beyond saying that Austin, who initiated the conversation, emphasised a need for lines of communication amid the war in Ukraine.

Blinken pointed to Russia’s recent attacks on power stations and other civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and the mobilisation of troops who he called “horrifically, cannon fodder that Putin is trying to throw into the war”.

Blinken said:

The fundamental difference is that Ukrainians are fighting for their country, their land, their future. Russia is not and the sooner President Putin understands that and comes to that conclusion, the sooner we will be able to end this war.

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Antony Blinken, right, with France’s Catherine Colonna in Washington. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 8.12am BST

7.14am BST

Summary

Welcome back to the Guardian’s ongoing live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. I’m Adam Fulton and here’s a rundown on the latest news and overnight developments as it approaches 9.15am in Kyiv.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged the west to warn Russia not to blow up a hydroelectric dam that would flood a large part of southern Ukraine , as the Ukrainian president’s forces prepared to push Moscow’s troops from the occupied city of Kherson. In a television address, Zelenskiy said Russian forces had planted explosives inside the huge Nova Kakhovka dam, which holds back an enormous reservoir, and were planning to blow it up. “Now everyone in the world must act powerfully and quickly to prevent a new Russian terrorist attack. Destroying the dam would mean a large-scale disaster.”

  • A Russian-appointed official in Kherson has denied Kyiv’s allegations that Moscow’s forces have started mining the dam. Citing state-owned news agency RIA, Reuters reported that Kirill Stremousov said Zelenskiy’s claims it had started mining the dam were “false”.

  • The office of Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed it will “not succumb to peace by coercion” , threatening to hit back harder if Russia destroys the hydroelectric dam in Kherson.

  • The Pentagon confirmed a phone call between the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, and the Russian defence minister , Sergei Shoigu. It said Austin “emphasised the importance of maintaining lines of communication” with Shoigu. Russia’s defence ministry said of the call: “Topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine , were discussed.”

  • The Pentagon also published a readout of Austin’s call with the Ukrainian defence minister , Oleksii Reznikov. The US defence secretary pledged “unwavering US commitment” to supporting Ukraine against Russia.

  • The UK, France and Germany have called for a UN investigation into accusations that Russia is using Iranian drones in Ukraine . If found to be true, the allegations would be in breach of UN security council resolution 2231. A letter , seen by Reuters, was circulated to UN security council members by the three countries, known as the E3.

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the US would consider every means to advance diplomacy with Russia if it saw an opening , but at the moment Moscow showed no sign of willingness to engage in meaningful talks. Reuters reported Blinken as saying: “Every indication is that far from being willing to engage in meaningful diplomacy, President Putin continues to push in the opposite direction.”

Updated at 7.52am BST

Comments / 171

Gry Cloud
10-23

to everybody living in Ukraine to all the families and friends and everybody who suffering you're in my prayers don't give up and to everyone who lost in this world in Ukraine I pray for them

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Rob Grimm
10-22

this war is so odd. I do not understand the pause between rocket hits. you just keep firing to put them into submission, not this "Tuesdays, Fridays and every other Monday thing." otherwise just drop it

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david martin
10-22

It's time to provide longer range missiles to Ukraine...stop fooling around...at least match the opposition

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