Russia-Ukraine war live: power blackouts in western Ukraine as Russian air strikes hit energy facilities | Ukraine

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

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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”.

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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.

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

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

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

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#BREAKING Russian strikes hit energy facilities in western Ukraine: operator pic.twitter.com/Nk5W58PPBa

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 22, 2022

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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.

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The ministry tweeted in its latest intelligence briefing:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 22 October 2022

Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/BWOV2Z76bF

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/q7H2S9ffmw

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) October 22, 2022

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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”.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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Blinken said:

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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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says Putin not interested in stopping war”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Sat 22 Oct 2022 05.08 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Sat 22 Oct 2022 02.14 EDT”},{“id”:”635369e48f08855c22ca4bef”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

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.

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    \n

  • 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.”

  • \n

  • 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”.

  • \n

  • 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.

  • \n

  • 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.”

  • \n

  • 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.

  • \n

  • 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.

  • \n

  • 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.”

  • \n

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Key events

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.

#BREAKING Russian strikes hit energy facilities in western Ukraine: operator pic.twitter.com/Nk5W58PPBa

— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 22, 2022

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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!

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 22 October 2022

Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/BWOV2Z76bF

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/q7H2S9ffmw

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) October 22, 2022

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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.

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

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.

Antony Blinken and Catherine Colonna in front of US and French flags at a news conference in Washington
Antony Blinken, right, with France’s Catherine Colonna in Washington. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

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.”

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