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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 4

A destroyed school yard is seen after Russian shelling, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2022.
A destroyed school yard is seen after Russian shelling, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Nov. 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.

10:13 p.m.: Norway announced Friday that it will sell 32 used F-16 fighter jets to fellow NATO member Romania for $385 million.

The deal, which comes as Romania needs to replace its obsolete Soviet MiG-21 fighters amid the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine, will see the fighters delivered in 2023 and 2024 after being overhauled, the Norwegian defense ministry said.

The contract includes the sale of spare parts, maintenance and training of technicians.

Norway finished taking its 64 F-16 fighters, purchased in the 1980s, out of active service earlier this year as it deploys fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters.

9:44 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing Russian company Nefteservisnie Tekhnologii to acquire U.S. oilfield services provider Baker Hughes' Russian assets, a Russian government document published on Friday showed.

Baker Hughes announced in March that it was suspending new investments in Russia after Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions when Moscow ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. In August, Baker Hughes announced it had sold its oilfield services business in Russia to the local management team.

9 p.m.: In Izium on Friday, residents lined up for DNA testing in order to identify missing Ukrainian relatives from the war with Russia, The Associated Press reports.

Dmytro Chubenko the spokesperson for Kharkiv Prosecutor's Office said that the DNA swabs would not only help locate and record individuals but also to gather evidence against Russia for possible tribunals in the International Criminal Court.

"In large cities, such as Volchansk, Kupyansk, there is a problem in identifying the dead since we have both mass graves and individual graves where relatives and neighbors buried people," Chubenko added.

8:12 p.m.: A new investigation by Schemes, the investigative unit of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian Service, has found that the Mohajer-6 Iranian drones contain electronic components produced by companies from the United States and the European Union, both of which have sanctions restricting the export to Iran of such technology that can be used for both civilian and military purposes – dual-use technology. Read more on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

7:37 p.m.: Foreign ministers of the world’s richest democracies, expressed their unwavering support for Ukraine against Russian invasion. Wrapping up their two-day talks in Muenster, Germany, the G-7 ministers pledged military and security equipment to bolster Ukraine’ defense, more sanctions against Russia, “we’re aligned, we’re united and we’re working together as never before,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, The Associate Press reports.

7 p.m.:

6:45 p.m.: Ukrainian forces using captured weapons fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut on Friday as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.

Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks against Bakhmut and nearby Avdiivka in the Donetsk region but are being pushed back with what Kyiv says are heavy losses.

"Last week there was very intense fighting ... there are a lot of them (Russians), both people and equipment," said a soldier who gave his name only as Moriak, the Ukrainian word for sailor.

Reuters journalists saw a captured Russian T-80 tank and a 2S23 Nona SVK self-propelled mortar, now controlled by Ukrainian crews, firing at targets outside Bakhmut.

6:10 p.m.: Ukraine has sufficient gas supplies for this winter when planned imports are taken into account, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Friday, as the country prepares for further Russian strikes targeting its energy systems.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Shmyhal said Ukraine now had sufficient amount of natural gas in its underground storages, Reuters reports.

"Taking into account expected deliveries from abroad, this amount is sufficient for the heating season," Shmyhal was referring to the October-April period when Ukraine switches on centrally supplied heating in homes.

Ukraine faces a perilous winter as Russia fires missiles and loitering munitions at its power, water and heating infrastructure.

Winters in Ukraine are usually very cold, with temperatures often plunging well below zero Celsius.

At a press conference in Muenster, Germany, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinker, said Russia “has destroyed some 40% of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, including thermal energy plants that provide many Ukrainian homes, schools, hospitals." He added, “President Putin seems to have decided that if he can't seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission," he said.

5:33 p.m.: Residents in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Friday snapped up a new postage stamp commemorating a blast that damaged a major bridge linking Russia to Crimea in a blow to the prestige of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported.

"There isn't a corner of the world which hasn't asked us to send them (the stamp)," said Liudmyla Samoilova, among dozens of people who lined up to get the stamps when they went on sale at Kyiv's post office.

"We've sent them to America, Australia," she said as she stuck the stamps to envelopes. "People are excited about these events and wait for the good news."

The bridge, a showcase project of Putin's rule and crucial supply route for Russian forces in Ukraine, was partially wrecked in an explosion last month. Russia blamed Ukraine but Kyiv has not claimed responsibility.

4:40 p.m.: The Netherlands will supply Ukraine with tanks and other heavy military equipment with a total worth of $119 million, the Dutch defense ministry said on Friday, Reuters reported.

The Netherlands said it would spend about $45 million on T-72 tanks, as it cooperates with the United States and the Czech Republic on a shipment of 90 modernized Czech tanks.

4 p.m.: A Russian-installed official in the Ukrainian region of Kherson said on Friday that a curfew had been imposed in the city but then swiftly backtracked and said no such limits were in place, Reuters reported.

The Russian-installed deputy governor of the region, Kirill Stremousov, said in a video message on Friday that a round-the-clock curfew had been imposed ahead of an expected Ukrainian offensive.

But an hour later, he posted another video in which he said that no limits had been imposed and reposted an edited version of his earlier video message without any reference to a curfew.

It was not immediately clear why Stremousov denied his own remarks. Reuters was not able to immediately verify if a curfew was or was not in place in Kherson.

2:50 p.m.: The United States on Friday announced an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including refurbishing T-72 tanks and missiles for HAWK air defense systems for Kyiv, according to Reuters.

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters that the U.S. would pay for 45 T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic to be refurbished and fund refurbishing some missiles for HAWK air defense systems.

Singh said in addition to the funds to refurbish the HAWK missiles, the pledged $400 million Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds would refurbish the Soviet-era Czech tanks and give them "advanced optics, communications and armor packages." There was also funding to buy 1,100 Phoenix ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems and 40 armored riverine boats, among other capabilities.

The tanks would be refurbished by privately-owned Czech CSG, according to a person familiar with the matter, who added that once work is complete they would be equivalent to the T-72 AVENGER, which has been modernized to improve protective systems and to add modern night-vision and communications equipment. A spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In October, Reuters first wrote about the initiative to furnish HAWK interceptor missiles to Ukraine. They would be an upgrade to the Stinger missile systems - the smaller, shorter-range air defense system - that the United States has already sent to blunt Russia's invasion.

2:45 p.m.: U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said during a visit to Kyiv on Friday that the United States' support for Ukraine would remain "unwavering and unflinching" following next Tuesday's midterm congressional elections, Reuters reported.

"We fully intend to ensure that the resources are there as necessary and that we'll get votes from both sides of the aisle to make that happen," Sullivan told reporters during a briefing at the Ukrainian presidential administration.

Some Republicans have called for U.S. aid to Kyiv to be scaled back if they win control of the U.S. Congress in the November 8 vote. Last month, top House Republican Kevin McCarthy said Americans should not "write a blank check" for Ukraine.

But Sullivan, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said President Joe Biden was committed to bipartisan cooperation "under any scenario" to keep economic, humanitarian and security aid flowing.

11:25 a.m.: White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told VOA it is encouraging to hear Russians saying they are not interested in a nuclear exchange. “We hope that they actually mean that, because we agree that a nuclear war should never be fought. It certainly can’t be won,” he said. But he added, Washington is “judging them” not by what they are saying but by what they are doing on the ground such as calling up 300,000 reserves, conducting “a sham referendum” and establishing martial law to try and politically annex ground they could not occupy militarily as well as seek military help from countries like Iran and North Korea.

11:10 a.m.: Russia’s flag has been removed from the main administrative building in Kherson leading to the impression that Russia is retreating from the area, but Ukrainian officials say this may be a deceptive scheme by Russia while it is ramping up reinforcements for an offensive westward. According to the Hill, the flag is the latest sign of Russian surrender in Kherson.

11:00 a.m.: In an interview with VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Pentagon will announce shortly additional funding to help refurbish T 72 tanks the Ukrainians know how to operate. Kirby said that the U.S. “is working in lockstep with the Ukrainians.” He said the Pentagon and Kiyv talk almost every day on Ukraine’s military capabilities, what they need and what the Washington can provide for them. The spokesman said that the US is looking at providing more advanced capabilities to help Ukraine knock down drones and cruise missiles that the Russians keep firing on civilian infrastructure. “We are also working with allies and partners of some 40 other countries [who] are contributing security assistance to Ukraine. France, Spain, Germany have been real big contributors with respect to providing some additional air defense capabilities,” Kirby added.

10:30 a.m.: The Czech lower house of parliament approved on Friday a steep 60% windfall tax on energy firms and banks, aiming to raise $3.4 billion next year from profits to help people and firms hit by soaring electricity and gas prices, Reuters reports.

Energy prices in Europe have risen sharply since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and reductions in Russian gas supplies.

The center-right government in Prague is looking to tax extra profits from energy groups such as majority state-owned utility CEZ CEZP.PR, and other energy traders, miners, oil refiners, wholesale fuel traders and from large banks.

The tax, similar to those imposed by other European countries, will apply for three years from 2023. The bill must still win Senate approval.

The tax applies to profits exceeding 120% of the 2018-2021 average and comes on top of a 19% corporate tax rate.

10:25 a.m.: The Group of Seven wealthiest democracies rallied their support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion and agreed to coordinate their efforts for repairing, restoring and defending Ukraine’s energy and water infrastructure. Deutsche Welle reports the foreign ministers of the G7 are wrapping up their two-day meeting in the western German city of Muenster and are going to release a statement on their joint positions on Ukraine, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

9:35 a.m.: In a tweet the Kyiv Independent reported estimates by the Armed Forces of Ukraine of Russia’s combat losses as of November 4.

9:30 a.m.: Greece sent the first batch of armored vehicles to Ukraine, The Kyiv Independent reports. Meeting with the President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked her for the first batch of BMP-1 fighting vehicles that arrived in Ukraine from Greece. The presidents also discussed defense cooperation, the strengthening of sanctions against Russia, and Ukraine's post-war reconstruction.

"The community of Ukrainian Greeks traditionally lives in the south of our country... a large part of which was badly affected by the Russian strikes," said Zelensky in his video address. "When we return the Ukrainian flag to all the cities and villages of the country's south, we will invite Greece... to participate in restoring normal life there."

Sakellaropoulou said Greece would never recognize Russia's illegal annexation of the occupied Ukrainian territories, according to the President's Office.

"We've been on your side from day one. We support your determination to protect your territorial integrity and will support you as long as necessary," she said.

9:05 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing the mobilization of people who have committed serious crimes but excludes those who have been convicted of child sex abuse, treason, spying or terrorism. The report came from RIA news agency, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Putin said, Russia has drafted 318,000 reservists for military service since September 21, when Moscow announced a "partial mobilization" after military setbacks in Ukraine.

9:00 a.m.: Civilians in Ukraine's Kherson region should be evacuated from the conflict zone, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, Friday.

"Now, of course, those who live in Kherson should be removed from the zone of the most dangerous actions, because the civilian population should not suffer," Putin told pro-Kremlin activists as he marked Russia's Day of National Unity.

Reuters reports, this was the first time the Russian president acknowledged the deteriorating situation in a region he claims to have annexed.

Putin's remark, which came unprompted after one activist told the Russian president on Red Square about his work delivering Russian flags to Kherson, was shown on state television and reported by state news agency RIA.

On Thursday, Kherson's Russian-appointed deputy governor Kirill Stremousov issued several video appeals for civilians to leave the part of the province on the west bank of the Dnipro river. He said that Russian forces will likely give up the west bank of the Dnipro to Ukraine.

Kherson region, the majority of which Russia has controlled since shortly after launching its military campaign in Ukraine on Feb. 24, is seen as strategically important controlling both overland access and much of the water supply to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

5:14 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Russian authorities may be setting conditions to imminently transfer the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Russian power grid.

Meanwhile, the update said, the Russian military continues to face pronounced issues in the supply of critical military equipment, the Russian Ministry of Defense is likely continuing mobilization efforts covertly and Russian occupation officials continued forced evacuations in Kherson Oblast.

4:09 a.m.: U.S. personnel are inspecting stocks of American-supplied military equipment in Ukraine as part of efforts to keep track of gear provided to Kyiv's forces, the Pentagon said Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

The United States has committed nearly $18 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the country in February, and Washington wants to make sure it is not misused.

"A small team comprised of US Embassy Kyiv – Office of the Defense Attache personnel have conducted multiple inspections of US security assistance deliveries within the last couple months at locations in Ukraine," spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement.

"These locations are not near the frontlines of Russia's war against Ukraine," Ryder said, adding that the "inspections are not reactive – we have no evidence of widespread diversion of U.S. security assistance in Ukraine."

3:06 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said that due to low morale and reluctance to fight, Russian forces have probably started deploying “barrier troops” or “blocking units." These units threaten to shoot their own retreating soldiers in order to compel offensives and have been used in previous conflicts by Russian forces.

2:09 a.m.: Two U.S. senators met with families in Ukraine's capital Thursday and promised continued humanitarian support for the war-torn country as winter nears, The Associated Press reported.

Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Rob Portman emphasized their commitment to the people of Ukraine while visiting a distribution center in Kyiv and speaking to families bracing for a dark, cold season with inadequate heating and electricity.

1:03 a.m.:

12:02 a.m.: Some 4.5 million Ukrainians, more than 10% of the pre-war population, were temporarily without power Thursday evening because of Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his video address Thursday night, Reuters reported.

Zelenskyy said those affected were in Kyiv and 10 other regions. He urged local authorities to save power, saying this was not the time for bright shop windows or signs.

Some information in this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press.

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