The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties rising on both sides.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced Russia’s annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions following referendums that Western nations called a “sham.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are mounting a strong counteroffensive against Russian troops, reclaiming territory lost when Moscow launched its invasion. Ukraine has managed to withstand the Russian onslaught with the help of Western military aid, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more. For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.
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Note: Nikkei Asia decided on March 5 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.
Here are the latest developments:
Monday, Nov. 7 (Tokyo time)
7:00 a.m. Russia is suffering heavy losses in continuing “fierce” attacks in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region and is preparing new assaults on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says. “Very fierce Russian attacks on Donetsk region are continuing. The enemy is suffering serious losses there,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. Zelenskyy said he believed Russia was “concentrating forces and means for a possible repetition of mass attacks on our infrastructure, energy in the first instance.”
4:30 a.m. Mayor Vitali Klitschko warns that Kyiv’s 3 million residents should be ready to evacuate the capital city if all electricity is lost, the BBC reports, as Russian bombings target Ukrainian public infrastructure ahead of the freezing winter.
Rolling power cuts are in place, and The New York Times says a Kyiv official warned that the water supply and sewage systems would cease working in a total blackout of the grid.
Sunday, Nov. 6
7:50 a.m. Iran acknowledges for the first time that it has supplied Moscow with drones but says they were sent before the war.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says that a “small number” of drones had been shipped a few months before Russia’s Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accuses Tehran of lying, saying Kyiv’s forces were downing at least 10 of the unmanned aerial vehicles every day.
Saturday, Nov. 5
3:05 a.m. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top Ukrainian officials in Kyiv, the White House says in a statement.
Sullivan traveled to the Ukrainian capital to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson says.
She adds, “He also affirmed the continued provision of economic and humanitarian assistance, as well as ongoing efforts with partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression.”
2:15 a.m. The Group of Seven rich countries is focusing more security support on helping Ukraine defend against Russia’s attacks on its energy grid, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.
“The G7 agreed to create a new coordination group to help prepare, restore and defend Ukraine’s energy grid — the very grid that President Putin has brutalized,” Blinken says after a two-day meeting in Germany.
1:30 a.m. The U.S. Department of Defense announces roughly $400 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, including refurbished tanks and 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones, according to a Pentagon news release.
U.S. commitments of security assistance to Ukraine now total more than $18.9 billion under the Biden administration, the Pentagon says.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomes the additional American aid.
1:00 a.m. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations urge Russia “to immediately stop its war of aggression against Ukraine and withdraw all of its forces and military equipment” in a statement issued after talks in Germany.
They also warn Moscow on its nuclear threats, saying: “Any use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences.”
On aid to Ukraine, they announced a new G-7 coordination mechanism “to help Ukraine repair, restore and defend its critical energy and water infrastructure.”
Friday, Nov. 4
6:00 p.m. Japanese stakeholders in the Sakhalin 1 oil and gas project in eastern Russia have decided to retain their stake in the undertaking by joining a new Russian operator recently established under a decree, as the project remains a vital source of energy for resource-poor Japan. The move comes amid international sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Japan’s government and companies including major trading houses Itochu and Marubeni have invested in the project through Tokyo-based Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co. If the Russian side approves the company plan decided at Friday’s shareholders meeting, Japan will be able to keep its stake in the project.
3:00 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping touted the need for greater cooperation between China and Germany amid “times of change and turmoil” in his first meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with talks expected to touch on Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change and developing economic ties. Scholtz’s visit on Friday is the first by a leader of a G-7 nation to China in three years, and will test the waters of relations between Beijing and the West after years of mounting tensions, analysts say.
8:00 a.m. A Russian-installed official in southern Ukraine said Moscow will likely pull its troops from the west bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson and also urged civilians to leave, perhaps signaling a retreat that would be a blow to Russia’s war. There was silence from senior officials in Moscow. The Kyiv government and Western military analysts remained cautious, suggesting Russia could be setting a trap for advancing Ukrainian troops. “Most likely our units, our soldiers, will leave for the left (eastern) bank,” Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy civilian administrator of the Kherson region, said in an interview on Thursday with Solovyov Live, a pro-Kremlin online media outlet.
2:45 a.m. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors find no signs of undeclared nuclear activities at three locations in Ukraine after a search requested by Kyiv, the IAEA says.
The requests came after Russia made claims about suspected activities at the locations, which include a research institute and a mining and processing plant, the agency says.
Russian officials last month alleged Ukrainian plots to unleash a “dirty bomb” containing radioactive material.
“Over the past few days, the inspectors were able to carry out all activities that the IAEA had planned to conduct and were given unfettered access to the locations,” the IAEA says in a news release.
1:10 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that he has been invited to this month’s Group of 20 nations summit in Indonesia but that his country will not participate if Russian leader Vladimir Putin is there.
Zelenskyy tells reporters he will wait and see what happens for a few more days before making a final decision.
Zelenskyy discussed preparations for the G-20 summit with Indonesia President Joko Widodo on Thursday. A day earlier, according to the Kremlin, Putin had his own phone call with Widodo. The question of Putin’s participation in the summit was discussed, but Moscow has not said whether the Russian leader will attend.
Kyiv has called for Russia to be expelled from the G-20 over its invasion of Ukraine.
12:10 a.m. The war in Ukraine and its global impact will lead the agenda for top diplomats from the Group of Seven nations as they begin their two-day meeting in Germany.
G-7 ministers will discuss providing additional aid to Ukraine and raising international pressure on Moscow to end its invasion. But they will also contend with China. “With regard to China, we will discuss how to prevent repeating past mistakes that we made in our Russia policy,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tells reporters ahead. Read more.
Thursday, Nov. 3
9:00 p.m. Ukraine’s embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has lost external power again after electrical lines were damaged by Russian shelling, operator Energoatom says.
Energoatom requests immediate action from the international community, saying it has only a 15-day supply of diesel generator fuel.
The power plant, which is under the control of invading Russian forces, has frequently lost and restored external power since August. Its nuclear reactors have been shut down since September, but external power is needed to run cooling systems.
12:30 a.m. The U.S. has information that North Korea is covertly supplying Russia with a “significant” number of artillery shells for its war in Ukraine, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby says.
“Our indications are that [North Korea] is covertly supplying, and we are going to monitor to see whether the shipments are received,” Kirby tells a virtual briefing.
12:20 a.m. The growing push in advanced economies to slash aid to Ukraine is a “very bad trend” and “very shortsighted,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tells Nikkei.
“If you don’t invest in development, then the problem comes back with a vengeance, including through refugee flows,” he said ahead of a trip to Japan.
Wednesday, Nov. 2
7:30 p.m. Russia said on Wednesday it would renew participation in an agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, just four days after suspending its role in the deal. Moscow had pulled out on the weekend, saying it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea because of a drone attack on its fleet there. “The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the country’s defense ministry said in a statement.
7:16 p.m. Russia will summon Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, Deborah Bronnert, over what it says is the involvement of British specialists in a Ukrainian drone strike on its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, the foreign ministry says. Russia suspended participation in a U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative on Saturday after what it said was a major drone attack on vessels in the Bay of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Russia’s defense ministry said the attack was carried out under the guidance and leadership of British navy specialists, an assertion Britain has dismissed as false. “These actions were carried out under the guidance of British specialists,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.
6:46 p.m. Poland will build a razor-wire fence on its border with Russia’s Kaliningrad, its defense minister says, amid concerns that the enclave might become a conduit for illegal migration. Construction of the temporary 2.5-meter high and 3-meter deep barrier will start immediately, Mariusz Blaszczak told a news conference.
With tensions rising due to the war in Ukraine, he cited security concerns and referred to a crisis triggered last autumn when thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants tried to cross the Belarus border into Poland, some of whom died.
12:10 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the situation in the Black Sea, where Moscow has halted participation in a United Nations-brokered deal to ship grain to countries in need.
Turkey, one of the parties to the July agreement, is working with all sides to solve problems with the export initiative, Erdogan tells Putin in a phone call.
Resolving the grain crisis could encourage steps toward other negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reports Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan’s call is the latest international attempt to keep the grain initiative alive. Russia said over the weekend that it would stop participating, after accusing Ukraine of attacking its Black Sea fleet.
Tuesday, Nov. 1
9:55 p.m. Concrete steps need to be taken on the obstacles facing Russian grain and fertilizer exports, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says, adding that the problems must be solved to sustain grain shipments under a Black Sea export deal.
Cavusoglu said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would speak with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine in the coming days.
Russia said that it was suspending its participation in the deal brokered in July by the United Nations and Turkey.
5:30 p.m. Russia fired four missiles into the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv overnight, demolishing half an apartment building and killing one resident, a day after it unleashed a barrage of missiles on several cities, including the capital, Kyiv. Rescue workers recovered the body of an elderly woman from the rubble of the apartment block early on Tuesday, Reuters witnesses said.
3:10 p.m. A fragile recovery in Russia’s manufacturing sector slowed in October as sanctions combined with a mass call-up of workers to fight in Ukraine weighed on the country’s producers, a business survey shows. The S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in October fell to 50.7 from 52 in September, slipping closer to the 50-50 line that separates expansion from contraction. Employment levels in the manufacturing sector fell at their fastest rate in six months, the survey found. Over the past five weeks some 300,000 reservists, mostly young, working men, have been drafted for duty in Ukraine.
3:02 p.m. Russian-installed officials in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region said on Monday evening they were extending an evacuation zone further from the Dnieper River, saying Ukraine could be preparing to attack the Kakhovka dam and flood the region. In a post on Telegram, Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-backed head of the region, which is partially occupied by Russian forces, said he was extending the area covered by an order for civilians to evacuate by an additional 15 kilometers to include another seven settlements.
8:00 a.m. President Vladimir Putin says Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and a decision to freeze participation in a Black Sea grain export program were responses to a drone attack on Moscow’s fleet in Crimea that he blamed on Ukraine. Putin told a news conference on Monday that Ukrainian drones had used the same marine corridors that grain ships transited under the U.N.-brokered deal. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack and denies using the grain program’s security corridor for military purposes. The United Nations said no grain ships were using the Black Sea route on Saturday when Russia said its vessels in Crimea were attacked.
3:00 a.m. Pakistan approves a plan to buy 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia, the Finance Ministry in Islamabad says. The wheat is priced at $372 per tonne and will be shipped between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15.
2:30 a.m. Turkey urges Russia to reevaluate its decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea grain export deal.
“Russia’s decision to suspend the grain shipment initiative, which is a purely humanitarian activity that should be separated from conflict conditions, should be reconsidered,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has told Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, according to a National Defense Ministry statement.
2:00 a.m. Ukraine’s foreign minister has extended his condolences to India after a weekend bridge collapse that killed more than 130 people in the Indian state of Gujarat. Earlier, Dmytro Kuleba expressed his sympathy for Koreans after the deadly crush during Halloween festivities in Seoul.
12:00 a.m. The Japanese government has decided to remain involved in the formerly Exxon-led Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in Russia as it seeks a stable supply of energy despite international sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
ExxonMobil, which held a 30% stake in Sakhalin-1, announced in March that it would withdraw from the project.
Russia has set up a new company to take over the project under a presidential decree that has in effect forced investors to choose sides. Read more.
Monday, Oct. 31
9:06 p.m. Russia says it would be risky for Ukraine to continue exporting grain via the Black Sea now that Moscow has suspended participation in a U.N.-brokered deal to facilitate shipments.
“In conditions when Russia is talking about the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of shipping in these areas, such a deal is hardly feasible, and it takes on a different character — much more risky, dangerous and unguaranteed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters.
Twelve vessels set off from Ukrainian ports on Monday carrying the highest volume of agricultural products under the deal, Kyiv says.
3:40 p.m. A series of blasts were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Monday morning, according to Reuters witnesses in the city, while regional authorities in northern, eastern and central Ukraine also reported missile strikes. Russia has stepped up missile attacks on Ukraine in recent weeks after blaming Kyiv for the explosion that damaged the Crimea bridge. Smoke could be seen rising above Kyiv after more than 10 explosions, witnesses said, and electric power as well as mobile phone networks went down in parts of the city.
11:50 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a call on Sunday and discussed Russia’s war against Ukraine and the threats it poses to global security and economic stability, the U.S. Department of State says in a statement. Blinken also talked with his Chinese counterpart about the need to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage U.S.-China relations, the statement says.
5:51 a.m. The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine agreed Sunday on a plan for the movement of 16 vessels in Turkish waters on Monday. The agreement came a day after Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed food exports from Ukrainian ports.
The three delegations also agreed for inspections to be provided on Monday to 40 outbound vessels, says the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, where Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. personnel are working. JCC says the Russian delegation was informed of both plans.
Sunday, Oct. 30
11:31 p.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delays his travel to Algiers for the Arab League Summit by a day, hoping to reverse Russia’s suspension of participation in the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal. NATO also urges Moscow to renew the U.N.-brokered deal amid a global food crisis.
“[Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin must stop weaponizing food and end his illegal war on Ukraine,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu says. Russia halted participation after what it said was a major Ukrainian drone attack on its fleet in Crimea.
12:15 a.m. Russia suspends participation in a U.N.-brokered deal to export agricultural produce from Ukrainian ports following attacks on ships in Crimea, Tass quotes the Defense Ministry as saying.
Moscow says Ukrainian forces, with the help of drones, attacked ships from the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in the early hours of Saturday.
“Taking into account … the terrorist act by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the ‘grain corridor,’ the Russian side suspends participation in the implementation of agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports,” the ministry says in a statement.
The United Nations says it was in contact with Russian officials over the announcement.
“It is vital that all parties refrain from any action that would imperil the Black Sea Grain Initiative which is a critical humanitarian effort that is clearly having a positive impact on access to food for millions of people around the world,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric says.
12:05 a.m. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter raises skepticism among Ukraine’s leadership, with presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak pointing to the Tesla boss’s “unusual moderation” of the site in a tweet.
Musk tweeted on Friday that Twitter would form a content moderation council “with widely diverse viewpoints.” Musk, a self-declared “free speech absolutist,” has expressed desire to shake up Twitter’s content moderation, and tweeted that “the bird is freed” after completing the purchase.
On Saturday, Podolyak also tweets, “Did the bird really get its freedom, or has it just moved to a new cage?”
Musk’s relations with Kyiv have been precarious since the billionaire suggested in early October Ukraine should give up occupied land for peace.
Saturday, Oct. 29
11:30 p.m. Russia is prepared to supply up to 500,000 tonnes of grain to poor countries in the next four months, with assistance from Turkey, Tass news agency reports, citing Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev.
10:55 p.m. Russia claims British navy personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, an assertion London says is false and designed to distract from Russian military failures in the war.
Russia did not give evidence for its claim that a leading NATO member had sabotaged critical Russian infrastructure. “According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on Sept. 26 this year — blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” the Russian Defense Ministry says.
Britain rejects the claim.
“To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale,” the British Defense Ministry responds.
3:15 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expresses skepticism that Russia’s partial mobilization has truly finished.
“We feel completely different on the front line,” he says in a video address. “Although Russia is trying to increase the pressure on our positions by using mobilized people, they are so poorly prepared and equipped, so ruthlessly used by the command, that it allows us to suggest that Russia may soon need a new wave of sending people to war.”
2:47 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweets his thanks to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for announcing special savings bonds and other aid. “Canada is the first country in the world outside of Ukraine to offer a bond for purchase in support of Ukraine,” Trudeau’s office says.
The new measures also include sanctions on 35 senior officials of energy entities, including Gazprom and subsidiaries.
1:30 a.m. A partial mobilization of Russians for military service has been completed, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu tells President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting.
Shoigu says 82,000 reservists have been trained and sent to the area of the “special military operation.” Another 218,000 are in training, he says.
“The target you set — 300,000 people — has been achieved,” Shoigu says in a Kremlin transcript. “No additional objectives are planned.”
The partial mobilization began in September. It sparked fear among Russians over possible conscription, sending some fleeing to Kazakhstan and other countries.
12:10 a.m. Any use of nuclear weapons by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine must not be tolerated, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tells Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in a phone call.
The call comes ahead of next month’s Group of 20 summit, which Indonesia will host.
Friday, Oct. 28 (Tokyo time)
11:45 p.m. Democracies should use their advantage in technology to tighten the screws on Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Lithuania’s prime minister says.
“What our countries need to do is to look at whether there are any loopholes or still gaps where Russia is able to receive technologies for production for refilling their stock of weapons,” Ingrida Simonyte tells Nikkei in an interview in which she also discusses her country’s relations with Taiwan. Read more.
11:00 p.m. Finland and Sweden are committed to joining the NATO military alliance simultaneously, the countries’ prime ministers say.
The Nordic countries launched bids to join NATO in May in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but ran into objections from Turkey, which accuses the two of harboring what it says are militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party and other groups.
All NATO members except Turkey and Hungary have ratified the applications.
6:00 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended Moscow’s attempted annexation of four Ukrainian regions and said the eastern Donbas area would “not have survived” on its own had Russia not intervened militarily in Ukraine. Putin last month announced that Russia was formally incorporating four regions of eastern and southern Ukraine after staging what he called “referendums” in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Kyiv and the West have said they will not recognize the attempted annexation, which they have cast as part of an illegal Russian land grab.
11:00 p.m. The U.N. nuclear chief says he is sending inspectors to two locations in Ukraine where Russia alleged that activities related to the possible production of “dirty bombs” were taking place and expects them to reach a conclusion “in days — very fast.” Rafael Grossi said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would be traveling this week to the two sites, which are under IAEA safeguards, following a written request from the Ukrainian government.
10:10 a.m. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday that Seoul has not provided any lethal weapons to Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said such a decision would destroy their bilateral relations. Putin made the remark at a conference in Moscow on Thursday, accusing the West of inciting the war in Ukraine. “We have been in solidarity with the international community for peaceful, humanitarian aid to Ukraine and have not provided any lethal weapons, but that’s in any regard a matter of our sovereignty,” Yoon told reporters when asked about Putin’s remark.
4:00 a.m. In his latest indictment of the Western-led international order and its values, Russian President Vladimir Putin blames the West for the conflict over Ukraine.
“Power over the world is what the so-called West has put on the line in its game — but the game is dangerous, bloody and, I would say, dirty,” Putin said in a speech to the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow.
“I have always believed and believe in common sense, so I am convinced that sooner or later the new centers of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about the future we share — and the earlier the better,” Putin also said. Read more.
2:20 a.m. The Biden administration’s first Nuclear Posture Review warns Moscow could use its nuclear forces to “try to win a war on its periphery or avoid defeat if it was in danger of losing a conventional war.”
Pointing to Russian aggression against its neighbors, the report says that “as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.” Read more.
1:30 a.m. China’s yuan has jumped to fifth place in currency transactions, new data shows, as the country’s economic expansion increases trade and sanctions-hit Russia turns to the Chinese market.
China’s growing transactions with Russia are believed to be behind the shift. Russia accounted for 3.58% of offshore yuan payments in September — the fourth-highest figure — according to SWIFT, the global payments messaging system. Read more.
1:00 a.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has spoken with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi by phone, congratulating him on his promotion to the Politburo of China’s Communist Party, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in a readout on their call.
Lavrov thanked the Chinese side for supporting Russia’s position in favor of a fair settlement of the situation around Ukraine, according to the ministry.
A readout from the Chinese side says the two ministers exchanged views on Ukraine and international and regional issues of common concern, without elaborating.
China will firmly support Russia, under the leadership of President Putin, to unite and lead the Russian people to overcome difficulties, eliminate disturbances, realize the strategic goals of development and further establish Russia’s status as a major power on the international stage, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in the readout.
Thursday, Oct. 27
6:10 p.m. Ukraine has boosted its forces in the northern region near Belarus to counter any possible renewed Russian attack across the border, Ukraine’s General Staff says. “At the current time the creation of a strike force (in Belarus) is not observable. (But) there are and will be threats. We are reacting, we have already increased our troops in the northern direction,” Oleksii Hromov, deputy head of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate, told a regular briefing.
4:10 p.m. A senior Russian foreign ministry official says commercial satellites from the United States and its allies could become legitimate targets for Russia if they are involved in the war in Ukraine. “Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the foreign ministry’s department for nonproliferation and arms control, was quoted as saying by Tass. “We are talking about the involvement of components of civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, by the United States and its allies in armed conflicts.”
11:00 a.m. The U.S. and its Western allies on the United Nations Security Council insisted that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has the right to investigate if Russia has used Iranian drones to attack civilians and power plants in Ukraine. They dismissed Moscow’s argument that the U.N. chief would be violating the U.N. Charter. Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, who called the council meeting, argued that only the Security Council can mandate an investigation. He cited Article 100 of the charter, which says the secretary-general “shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organization.” U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood called Russia’s contention “simply dumbfounding” and an attempt “to deflect attention from its own egregious wrongdoing in Ukraine.”
3:33 a.m. The U.S. imposes sanctions on individuals and entities involved in what it described as Russia’s malign influence operations in Moldova as well as systemic corruption in the small Eastern European country.
The individuals sanctioned, a mix of Russian and Moldovan officials, include oligarchs “widely recognized for capturing and corrupting Moldova’s political and economic institutions and those acting as instruments of Russia’s global influence campaign,” the U.S. Treasury Department says in a statement.
12:55 a.m. Ford Motor says it will exit Russia, having finalized a deal to sell its 49% stake in the Russia-based Sollers Ford joint venture for a “nominal” undisclosed price.
Mercedes-Benz also says it will withdraw from the Russian market and sell shares in its industrial and financial services subsidiaries to a local investor.
Wednesday, Oct. 26
9:00 p.m. Russia has tested ballistic and cruise missiles during exercises involving its nuclear forces, the Kremlin says.
A training session was held for ground, sea and air strategic deterrence forces under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the country’s military commander in chief, according to a Kremlin news release.
One of the ballistic missiles was launched from Kamchatka in the Russian Far East. All of the tasks were completed, and the missiles reached their targets, the Kremlin says.
U.S. officials had said that Washington was notified of the Russian nuclear drills and that the White House had not assessed that Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.
7:00 p.m. Germany will seek a complete halt to energy imports from Russia as soon as possible, the country’s finance minister, Christian Lindner, tells Nikkei.
Linder vows to phase out Russian gas and to “become completely independent of Russia as quickly as possible.” Listing energy procurement alternatives such as using floating terminals to stockpile liquefied natural gas (LNG) and using more renewable energy, he says, adding, “That is a clear indication to Russia that we’re not going to be pressured.” Read more.
5:08 a.m. Russia has given the U.S. notice of planned exercises of nuclear forces — drills expected to include test launching ballistic missiles.
“The U.S. was notified, and, as we’ve highlighted before, this is a routine annual exercise by Russia,” said Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder, an Air Force brigadier general, in a news briefing. “And so in this regard, Russia is complying with its arms control obligations and its transparency commitments … to make those notifications.”
4:57 a.m. Zara owner Inditex has announced an initial agreement to sell its Russian business to the United Arab Emirates-based Daher group, which has interests in retailing and real estate.
The Spanish apparel group had paused Russian sales in March. It explicitly leaves the door open for returning in the future under a franchise agreement with Daher.
1:00 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has congratulated new U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on taking office.
“I wish you to successfully overcome all the challenges facing British society and the whole world today,” Zelenskyy says in a Twitter post.
Zelenskyy had a cordial relationship with former U.K. leader Boris Johnson, who put Ukraine at the top of his foreign-policy agenda and visited the country multiple times after Russia’s invasion. Johnson’s successor Liz Truss pledged continued support for Kyiv but resigned after just six weeks in office.
For earlier updates, click here.