The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is said to have monitored drills of the country’s strategic nuclear forces involving multiple launches of ballistic and cruise missiles. The defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, reported to Putin that the exercise was intended to simulate a “massive nuclear strike” by Russia in retaliation for a nuclear attack. The drills were seen as a continuation of Moscow’s unfounded dirty bomb claims.
The prospect of bitter urban fighting for Kherson came closer as Russian-installed authorities told residents to move to the east bank of the Dnieper river. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said there was no sign Russian forces were preparing to abandon the city.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive against Russian forces in Kherson was proving more difficult than it was in the north-east because of wet weather and the terrain, Ukraine’s defence minister said.
About 70,000 civilians had left their homes in Kherson province in the space of a week, a Moscow-installed official, Vladimir Saldo, told a regional TV channel.
Ukraine is advising refugees living abroad not to return until the spring amid mounting fears over whether the country’s damaged energy infrastructure can handle winter. With a third of the country’s energy sector compromised, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, warned: “The networks will not cope … You see what Russia is doing. We need to survive the winter.”
About 1,000 bodies – including civilians and children – have been exhumed in the recently liberated Kharkiv region, media reports say. This includes the 447 bodies found at the mass burial site in Izium.
Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said he did not believe Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, would use nuclear weapons. Putin has said repeatedly that Russia has the right to defend itself using any weapons in its arsenal, which includes the world’s largest nuclear stockpile.
Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, held a phone call with his Indian and Chinese counterparts and raised Russia’s purported concerns about the possible use of a “dirty bomb” by Ukraine, Shoigu’s ministry said. It followed calls between Shoigu and Nato defence ministers on the topic. There is no evidence to support Russia’s “dirty bomb” claim.
The UN culture agency, Unesco, has said it is using before-and-after satellite imagery to monitor the cultural destruction inflicted by Russia’s war in Ukraine, and would make its tracking platform public soon. Unesco said it had verified damage to 207 cultural sites including religious sites, museums, buildings of historical and/or artistic interest, monuments and libraries.
The United Nations’ aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said he was “relatively optimistic” that a UN-brokered deal allowing Black Sea grain exports from Ukraine would be extended beyond mid-November. Griffiths travelled to Moscow with senior UN trade official Rebeca Grynspan this month for discussions with Russian officials on the deal, which also aims to facilitate exports of Russian grain and fertiliser to global markets.
The remains of a US citizen killed in fighting in Ukraine were released to Ukrainian authorities and would soon be returned to the person’s family, a US state department spokesperson said.
The European Union could introduce a gas price cap this winter to limit price spikes if countries give Brussels a mandate to propose the measure.
EU regulators are considering extending easier state-aid rules that allow governments to support businesses affected by the war in Ukraine to the end of 2023, and with bigger amounts permitted, the competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, has said. The more flexible rules were introduced in March and revised in July.