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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 2

FILE - A farmer collects harvest from his field near the front line in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on July 4, 2022.
FILE - A farmer collects harvest from his field near the front line in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on July 4, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EDT.

11 p.m.: Yevgeny Prigozhin, a tycoon whose vast wealth comes from Kremlin catering contracts and whose notoriety comes from ownership of Russia’s most famous private mercenary company, Vagner — also known as Wagner — as well as its best-known “troll factory” is stepping further into the limelight of Russian politics, especially where conduct of the war in Ukraine is concerned, Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty reported.

Prigozhin has been one of the most strident critics of Russian commanders’ approach to the invasion, which by many accounts is faltering eight months in. Never mind the fact that it’s currently illegal under Russian law to criticize, or “discredit,” the armed forces, or to own or operate private mercenary companies.

9:17 p.m.: The Swiss government agreed Wednesday to provide $100 million in aid to Ukraine to help provide drinking water and rehabilitate the conflict-torn country's damaged energy infrastructure as winter approaches, Agence France-Presse reported.

"In addition to its existing humanitarian undertaking in Ukraine and the region, it is making 100 million Swiss francs ($100 million) available for projects to support the urgent rehabilitation of energy infrastructure and alleviate the precarious humanitarian situation," Switzerland's government, the Federal Council, said in a statement.

Some 18 million people in Ukraine, or around 40% of the population, are already reliant on aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February, it said.

"With the onset of winter, this number may rise to 24 million," the statement said, as around a third of Ukraine's energy infrastructure had been damaged.

8:33 p.m.: Polish soldiers began laying razor wire Wednesday along Poland's border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad after the government ordered the construction of a barrier to prevent what it fears could become another migration crisis, The Associated Press reported.

Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said a recent decision by Russia's aviation authority to launch flights from the Middle East and North Africa to Kaliningrad led him to reinforce Poland's 210-kilometer border with Kaliningrad.

"Due to the disturbing information regarding the launch of flights from the Middle East and North Africa to Kaliningrad, I have decided to take measures that will strengthen the security on the Polish border with the Kaliningrad oblast by sealing this border," Blaszczak said.

Poland's border with Belarus became the site of a major migration crisis last year, with large numbers of people from the Middle East entering illegally. Polish and other EU leaders accused the Belarusian government — an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — of masterminding the migration to create chaos and division within the 27-nation bloc.

Poland erected similar rolls of razor wire before building a permanent high steel wall on the border with Belarus, which was completed in June.

7:47 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on his postwar plans.

6:43 p.m.: The cost of Russia's military mobilization and the impact of Western sanctions are set to blow a hole in the government's budget forecasts and drain Moscow's reserves to their lowest level in years, according to analysts' latest calculations, Reuters reported.

After eight months of what it calls a "special military operation," Moscow has drawn up a 2023 budget that takes no account of the cost of the recent call-up of 300,000 reservists, the declared annexation of four Ukrainian regions and Western efforts to cap Russian energy export prices, analysts say.

While Russia's economy initially held up relatively well to the waves of Western sanctions imposed on it, the impact is beginning to show, in analysts' assessments, if not in those of the government.

5:55 p.m.: Nord Stream AG said Wednesday that a roughly 250-meter section of pipeline was destroyed, after the operator carried out an investigation on the pipeline after explosions at the end of September.

"Craters with a depth of 3 to 5 meters were found on the seabed at a distance of about 248 meters from each other" along a Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the operator said in a statement.

Four leaks emerged on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes reporting that they had recorded two underwater explosions prior to the leaks appearing.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in the Swedish.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

5 p.m.: President Vladimir Putin has been weakened by his decision to invade Ukraine, but a change in power at the top in Russia is unlikely any time soon because of the autocratic nature of its political system, a Western official said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Putin, the longest-serving paramount Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin, has dominated Russia for nearly 23 years.

After changes to the constitution in 2020, some Russia-watchers expected Putin to rule until 2036. But the February 24 invasion of Ukraine has changed perceptions.

"He has been weakened by this really catastrophic error," said the Western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak freely. "We are seeing the Russian military humbled on the battlefield by Ukraine."

The official said the war had strengthened Ukrainian statehood and prompted the further enlargement of the NATO military alliance thus weakening Putin, who turned 70 on October 7.

4:16 p.m.: The White House said Wednesday it was increasingly concerned over Moscow's talk of using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, after a media report said top Russian military officials had discussed how and when to use such a weapon.

"We have grown increasingly concerned about the potential as these months have gone on," said White House national security spokesman John Kirby, Reuters reported.

Kirby did not confirm a New York Times report that said high-level Russian military officials recently discussed when and how they might use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

The report, which cited unnamed US officials, said Russian President Vladimir Putin did not take part in the discussions, and there was no indication that the Russian military had decided to deploy the weapons.

3:27 p.m.: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has agreed to send deminers to help train Ukrainians in clearing land mines planted by Russian forces during their invasion, the Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

Hun Sen made the commitment to send trainers, in collaboration with Japan, during a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement.

Cambodia became one of the world’s most heavily mined countries during almost three decades of war that ended in 1998, causing great risk to civilians, especially in rural areas. Since then, a large number of mines and other unexploded ordnance have been removed and destroyed, greatly reducing the number of casualties. Cambodian deminers have become among the world’s most experienced, and in the past decade several thousand have been sent under United Nations auspices to work in Africa and the Middle East.

2:30 p.m.: The head of Ukraine's railway vowed to keep trains running and to repair the damage done to the network by Russian troops, highlighting how rail is the lifeblood of the country and how the system is vital to restoring towns devastated during the invasion.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, chief executive of Ukrainian Railways, spoke to Reuters as he travelled by train through the Kupiansk railway hub, once used by Russian troops to resupply their frontline before the area was liberated by Ukrainian forces.

Kupiansk was one of an array of settlements Ukrainian troops recaptured during a surprise counteroffensive that caught Russian forces off guard in September.

Kamyshin said the railway infrastructure had suffered huge damage and full recovery would take years and significant funds.

1:45 p.m.:

1:05 p.m.: Elon Musk has given assurances to Ukraine that he will keep funding its access to a crucial satellite network providing Kyiv with battlefield and humanitarian communications in its war with Russia, a senior Ukrainian official said Wednesday.

Elon Musk “told me personally that he will continue to support Ukraine and continue to provide Starlink to Ukraine,” Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, told The Associated Press.

“There are no problems for now with Starlink,” Fedorov said through an interpreter.

Doubts arose last month about whether Musk would continue to offer the SpaceX Starlink system to Ukraine. Its more than 2,200 low-orbiting satellites provide a broadband internet service to more than 150,000 Ukrainian ground stations.

12:35 p.m.: The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said Wednesday that its Ukraine Humanitarian Fund had supported 40 partner agencies to assist millions of civilians since the start of the war.

12:10 p.m.: The United States has information that indicates 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 said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Kirby told a virtual briefing that North Korea was attempting to obscure the shipments by funnelling them through countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Our indications are that the DPRK is covertly supplying and we are going to monitor to see whether the shipments are received," Kirby said, adding that Washington would consult with the United Nations on accountability issues over the shipments.

"We do have a sense on where they are going to transfer these shells," Kirby said, but declined to give any more details as the U.S. weighs its possible options.

Kirby said the amount of shells was not insignificant, but was unlikely to change the momentum or outcome of the war. However, they could still be deadly for Ukrainians, he said.

North Korea said in September it had never supplied weapons or ammunition to Russia and has no plans to do so, while warning the United States to "keep its mouth shut" and stop circulating rumors aimed at "tarnishing" the country's image.

11:55 a.m.:

11:40 a.m.: President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday reserved Russia's right to withdraw again from an international agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, after ending four days of non-cooperation with the deal, Reuters reported.

If Russia did so, however, Putin said it would not impede shipments of grain from Ukraine to Turkey.

Moscow had on Saturday pulled out of the arrangement, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, saying it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea because of a drone attack on its fleet there.

Then in a statement Wednesday, Russia's defense ministry said that, with the help of the United Nations and NATO-member Turkey, it had obtained sufficient written guarantees from Ukraine that it would not use the secure shipping corridor or its designated Ukrainian ports for strikes against Russia.

Putin affirmed the receipt of those commitments and said that if Russia withdrew once more because of Ukrainian breaches, it would substitute the entire volume of grain destined for the "poorest countries" for free from its own stocks.

11:20 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released a statement Wednesday welcoming Russia’s renewed participation in a U.N.-brokered Ukrainian grain export deal that was to resume on Wednesday.

11:10 a.m.: Russia said on Wednesday that avoiding a nuclear clash between the world's nuclear powers was its first priority, but accused the West of "encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction," Reuters reported.

Western capitals have said Moscow is behind a ramping up of nuclear rhetoric since Russia invaded Ukraine in February - most recently by repeatedly accusing Kyiv of planning to use a radioactive "dirty bomb" without offering evidence. Kyiv has denied having any such plan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it feared the five declared nuclear powers were teetering "on the brink of a direct armed conflict" and that the West must stop "encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction, which can lead to catastrophic consequences".

"We are strongly convinced that in the current complicated and turbulent situation, caused by irresponsible and impudent actions aimed at undermining our national security, the most immediate task is to avoid any military clash of nuclear powers," the ministry said in a statement.

11:05 a.m.:

10:55 a.m.: Finland's president Sauli Niinisto said on Wednesday he was counting on Hungary to ratify the Nordic country's NATO application after he had talked on the phone with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Reuters reported.

"Good that Finland can count on Hungary in our NATO ratification. I look forward to further strengthening our Fenno-Ugric connection also as allies," Niinisto said on Twitter, referring to the countries' shared liguistic history.

The Hungarian government did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Finland and Sweden asked to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in May in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but ran into objections from Turkey. Hungary and Turkey are the only members not to have ratified the applications.

10:35 a.m.:

10:20 a.m.: Britain has sanctioned four Russian steel and petrochemical business owners, including the former head of steel producer Evraz (EVRE.L), the government said on Wednesday, its latest measures taken against Moscow over the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Those sanctioned include Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, who Britain described as known associates of oligarch Roman Abramovich, himself sanctioned earlier this year.

"Today we are sanctioning an additional four oligarchs who rely on Putin for their positions of authority and in turn fund his military machine," Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

The sanctions implemented include travel bans, asset freezes and transport sanctions, the foreign office said.

10:05 a.m.:

9:50 a.m.: Russia said on Wednesday it would resume participation in a deal to free up vital grain exports from war-torn Ukraine after suspending its involvement over the weekend in a move that had threatened to exacerbate hunger across the world.

Can Ukraine's grain deal ease the global food crisis?

Reuters published this report explaining some of the issues.

9:15 a.m.: Russia is resuming participation in a deal to free up grain exports from Ukraine because it realized the initiative would still work without Kremlin involvement, Reuters quoted a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a written statement to Reuters that Moscow's decision showed that Russian "blackmail" and "escalation and threats" fail when they meet a resolute response.

"One way or another, Russia, embarrassed, returned to the 'grain initiative' because it suddenly turned out that the grain corridor would work even without the Kremlin's participation," Podolyak said.

"Russia is used to constantly playing on escalation and threats. But if there is a firm position on the part of the other parties, the mediators, the guarantors, then it quickly becomes clear the threats are just formidable international PR."

8:40 a.m.: Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, pointed out on Twitter Wednesday that there had been a significant stabilization in market prices for grain after Russia resumed its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows food and fertilizer to be shipped out of war-torn Ukraine. He also expressed gratitude for the roles played by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in getting the deal back on track.

8:05 a.m.: Russia said on Wednesday it would renew its participation in an agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, just four days after suspending its role in the deal, Reuters reported.

The U-turn followed a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, and after consultations between their defense ministers.

"This is quite an unexpected turnaround," said Andrey Sizov, head of the Russia-focused Sovecon agriculture consultancy.

"We did not bury this deal, but we did not expect Russia's return to it so soon either, as it was not very clear what kind of guarantees Russia could get and how quickly it would happen. But, well, good job Erdogan."

Russian political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya said Wednesday's announcement represented an acknowledgement by Putin that he could not block the shipments.

Even after the call with the Turkish leader, the Kremlin had said Moscow would only consider resuming the agreement after a "detailed investigation" of a drone attack on Saturday against its Black Sea Fleet, which it accused Ukraine of carrying out with support from Britain.

Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack and denies using the grain program’s security corridor for military purposes. Britain has denied involvement and accused Russia of trying to divert attention from its military failures in Ukraine.

7:25 a.m.: The U.N. Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Amir Abdulla, said on Twitter Wednesday that he welcomes Russia’s decision to resume its participation in the agreement.

7:10 a.m.: Russia will summon Britain's ambassador to Moscow over what it said was the involvement of British specialists in a Ukrainian drone strike on the Black Sea fleet, Moscow's foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Russia had 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.

On Wednesday Russia announced it would resume its participation in the deal to free up vital grain exports from war-torn Ukraine, after the Russian defense ministry said it had received written guarantees from Kyiv not to use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.

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 on Wednesday. "In this regard, the British ambassador will shortly be summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry."

Deborah Bronnert is Britain's ambassador to Moscow.

6:55 a.m.:. Russia’s defense ministry said Wednesday that the Kremlin will resume its participation in the Black Sea grain deal, and Reuters provided this translation of the statement:

"The Russian Federation suspended the implementation of the agreement on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports (the "Black Sea Initiative") after Ukraine committed a terrorist act on October 29 this year against ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the "grain corridor."

"Russia's position was brought to the attention of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Security Council.

"With the help of an international organization and Turkey, the necessary written guarantees from Ukraine on not using the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports designated for the export of agricultural products for military operations against the Russian Federation were obtained and submitted to the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) on 1 November 2022.

"In particular, the Ukrainian side officially pledged that 'the Maritime Humanitarian Corridor will be used only in accordance with the provisions of the Black Sea Initiative and the related JCC regulation.'

"The Russian Federation believes that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes implementation of the agreement – the Initiative for the Safe Transportation of Grain and Food from Ukrainian ports (the 'Black Sea Initiative') - which was suspended after the terrorist attack in Sevastopol."

6:40 a.m.:

6:30 a.m.: German exports fell in September as the European Union feels the effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday, quoting an official data.

Germany exported 134.5 billion euros' ($133 billion) worth of goods in September, a 0.5% drop from the previous month, according to seasonally adjusted figures from federal statistics agency Destatis.

In August, exports had jumped to 135.2 billion euros thanks to strong demand from the United States. September exports were up 20.3% compared with the same month last year. Imports fell by 2.3% month-on-month to 130.8 billion euros, resulting in a trade surplus of 3.7 billion euros.

Shipments to and from fellow European Union countries fell as the continent grapples with soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy prices in the wake of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Exports to EU countries were down 1.7% and imports by 1.2%. The United States remained Germany's largest customer in September, hoovering up goods worth 14.5 billion euros.

Exports to China fell by 2%, dampened by Beijing's widespread COVID-19-related restrictions, but China remained Germany's biggest supplier, shipping in goods worth 16.7 billion euros.

6 a.m.: Russian security services have detained a Ukrainian citizen on suspicion of planning to "sabotage" a power line in Crimea, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing Russia's Federal Security Service, or the FSB).

The FSB said a man in his 40s had been found carrying diagrams of power lines, three explosive devices and instructions on how to use them and suspected the man had been recruited by Ukrainian intelligence.

Ukraine's Security Service, or the SBU, was not immediately available to comment.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine over eight months ago, Moscow has repeatedly accused what it calls Ukrainian "saboteurs" of targeting its energy infrastructure, including in August when it blamed Ukraine for damaging an electricity substation in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Ukraine did not claim involvement, but officials have welcomed previous incidents, calling them "payback" for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

5:30 a.m.: Poland's defense minister said he has ordered the construction of a temporary barrier along the border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, The Associated Press reported.

The decision comes as Warsaw suspects that Russia plans to facilitate the illegal border crossing by Asian and African migrants at the border.

The defense minister said Wednesday that the border needs to be secured in order for Poland to feel secure. He said he had authorized the construction of a temporary barrier along the 210-kilometer (130-mile) border.

5 a.m.: Ukraine's grain exports are down year on year in the 2022/23 season so far to almost 13.4 million tons from 19.7 million tons at the same date a season earlier, Reuters reported Wednesday, quoting the agriculture ministry data.

The country's grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded in February, with the closing off of its Black Sea ports driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The shipments are continuing despite Russia's decision to suspend its participation in the agreement.

Ministry data showed that exports so far in the July 2022 to June 2023 season included 5.1 million tons of wheat, 7.1 million tons of corn and 1.1 million tons of barley.

The government has said that Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tons of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tons in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower yields.

4:28 a.m.:

4 a.m.: Russia’s defense ministry said it has launched a Soyuz rocket carrying a military satellite into space, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing Russian news agencies.

The rocket — a Soyuz-2.1b medium-class launch vehicle — was launched at 9:48 a.m. Moscow time (0648 GMT) from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, the ministry was quoted as saying.

It did not provide details about the purpose of the satellite.

3:32 a.m.:

3:04 a.m.: The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on a resolution surrounding Russia’s unfounded claims about Ukrainian bioweapons, The Associated Press reports.

Russia has provided a 310-page document to council members detailing biological weapons activities Ukraine is allegedly carrying out with the help of the U.S. Defense Department. This claim has been disputed by the U.S., Ukraine, and independent scientists.

The Security Council will vote on a resolution that would establish a commission to investigate these claims.

Ahead of the vote, diplomats have said the draft resolution is highly unlikely to pass. The resolution would require at least nine "yes" votes to be passed and can by vetoed by any one of the five permanent members — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China.

Russia called a Security Council meeting on these claims last Thursday, which U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called "a colossal waste of time" and "pure fabrications brought forth without a shred of evidence."

She added that these claims were part of a Moscow "disinformation campaign" that is attempting "to distract from the atrocities Russian forces are carrying out in Ukraine and a desperate tactic to justify an unjustifiable war."

1:55 a.m.: One of the world's biggest tech conferences will get going in Lisbon on Wednesday, after Ukraine's first lady formally opened the event by urging participants to use their skills to save lives rather than end them.

Olena Zelenska told an audience of several thousand at the Web Summit's opening ceremony late on Tuesday not to put "technology at the service of terror" — unlike some in Russia, Agence France-Presse reported. "Some IT specialists in Russia have made their choice to be aggressors and murderers," she said, urging attendees to make the opposite choice.

"I believe that technology should be used to create, save and help people, not destroy them."

The Web Summit brings together start-ups, investors, business leaders and agenda-broadening speakers — linguist Noam Chomsky and heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk are among this year's line-up.

Organizers said all 70,000 tickets had been sold for the first full-scale edition since coronavirus restrictions halted in-person gatherings in 2020.

1 a.m.: Authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are preparing more than 1,000 heating points throughout the city in case its district heating system is disabled by continued Russian attacks, Reuters reported Wednesday, quoting Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Missile and drone attacks have damaged 40% of Ukraine's energy infrastructure and have already briefly left large parts of Kyiv without power and water, prompting power rationing.

On Wednesday, Klitschko wrote on messaging app Telegram that city authorities were considering different scenarios due to missile attacks.

"The worst one is where there will be no electric power, water or district heating at all," he said. "For that case, we are preparing over 1,000 heating points in our city."

The locations will be equipped by generators and have a stock of necessities such as water, he said.

While urging Ukrainians who have already left the country to stay abroad for the winter, the government has accused Russia of provoking a new humanitarian crisis by forcing even more people to flee, scared by the prospects of having to survive with no power or heating during the cold season.

12:30 a.m.: The European Union is exploring ways to increase help for Ukraine's energy sector following "cruel and inhumane" Russian attacks that have caused widespread power cuts, Reuters reported, citing EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

During a visit to Kyiv, Simson said foreign companies should be urged to prioritize the transfer of energy equipment to Ukraine.

"Russia's bombing of (Ukraine's) infrastructure is clearly a tactic to increase human suffering," Simson told a news conference Tuesday in the Ukrainian capital alongside Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko.

She said Ukraine needed specific equipment and tools to repair damage to its energy infrastructure, and that she had told Zelenskyy the EU was "reaching out to partners to help with the dedicated support needed."

12:05 a.m.: A group of Ukrainian volunteers has been making "trench candles" from tin cans for troops serving on the frontline as an energy crisis triggered by the war takes its toll on both the armed forces and civilians, Reuters reported.

Russian forces have increasingly targeted Ukraine's infrastructure including power stations and the electricity grid, causing regular blackouts and disrupting heating and water supplies.

The trench candles consist of empty enamel paint cans and pet-food tins stuffed with corrugated cardboard and paraffin wax — and crucially they provide warmth as well as light. The candles have been used by troops in previous conflicts, including World War II.

"(The candles) can be used to dry out a trench, cook food, which is very important, boil water, and warm people up," said Nino Nazarova, 28, an organizer of the initiative.

When Nazarova secured 10,000 cans from a factory in northern Ukraine a few weeks ago, she thought it would take months to turn them all into trench candles, but volunteers completed the task during an event on Sunday at a Kyiv cultural center, singing Ukrainian folk songs as they worked.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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