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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 5

A Ukrainian woman sits in a car with her family in Zaporizhzhia, after they managed to escape from the Russian-occupied southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, Nov. 5, 2022.
A Ukrainian woman sits in a car with her family in Zaporizhzhia, after they managed to escape from the Russian-occupied southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, Nov. 5, 2022.

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

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

9:27 p.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday call on Russia to rule out the use of nuclear weapons, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"We call on Russia to clearly state that it will not do so. That would be a line that must not be crossed," he said at a convention of his Social Democrats party in Berlin.

Earlier Scholz defended his trip to China as "worth it" because of an agreement to oppose the use of nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

Speaking to a meeting of his Social Democrats a day after his 12-hour visit to Beijing, Scholz hailed an accord with Chinese President Xi Jinping that a nuclear escalation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be avoided.

"Xi underscored the need for China and Germany, two major countries with great influence, to work together in times of change and instability and contribute more to global peace and development," Beijing's Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.

8:10 p.m.: Tens of thousands of Italians marched through Rome on Saturday calling for peace in Ukraine and urging Italy to stop sending of weapons to fight the Russian invasion, Agence France-Presse reported.

"No to war. No to sending weapons," read one large banner carried by protesters, as a vast crowd broke into cries of "give peace a chance."

NATO founding member Italy has supported Ukraine from the start of the war, including providing it with arms.

New far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that will not change and the government has said it is expecting to send more weapons soon.

The peace rally was attended by some 30,000 people, Rome police told Italian media.

7:20 p.m.: Residents of the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are living in dire conditions, with civilians killed and wounded daily, the deputy mayor said on Saturday, as fighting between Russian troops and Ukraine's forces rages around the city, Reuters reported.

Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia's military in its slow advance through the Donetsk region, one of the territories the Kremlin claims to have annexed after what Kyiv and the West say were sham referendums in September.

Kyiv's military says the area is the site of some of the heaviest fighting with Russian forces, and deputy mayor Oleksandr Marchenko told Reuters that Russia's troops were "trying to storm the city from several directions."

Reuters could not independently confirm his account of the battlefield situation.

Ukrainian troops are "firmly holding the frontline," Marchenko said, while describing a deteriorating humanitarian situation facing the city.

It has already been without electricity, gas and running water for nearly two months.

"We're holding on and hoping that the armed forces of Ukraine will be able to repel the enemy further from the city," he said.

6:33 p.m.: In Ukraine's Kharkiv region, Russians continue to shell what has become a ghost town, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report.

5:25 p.m.: In a video address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy countered Iran’s allegations that it only provided a few drones to Russia prior to the war in Ukraine, calling it a lie.

“We shoot down at least 10 Iranian drones every day, and the Iranian regime claims that it allegedly gave little and even before the start of the full-scale invasion. Only during one day yesterday, 11 Shahed drones were destroyed," he said. "We know for sure that Iranian instructors taught Russian terrorists how to use drones, and Tehran is generally silent about it.”

3:50 p.m.: Ukrainian attackers shot and seriously injured a judge in an eastern Russian-controlled region of Ukraine who sentenced three foreigners to death in June, a pro-Moscow official said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Denis Pushilin, the administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine's Donetsk region, said Alexander Nikulin had been injured late on Friday in the town of Vuhlehirsk to the northeast of the city of Donetsk.

In June, Nikulin passed death sentences on two Britons and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine, ruling they had tried to overthrow local authorities.

The three men were released in September as part of a major prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia.

3:40 p.m.: If Republicans win the House or Senate in the midterm elections next week, it can throw a wrench into the efforts of the Biden administration to defend Ukraine, The New York Times reports. Democrats fear a GOP victory would lead to more polarized national security in Washington.

3:35 p.m.: External power lines have been restored to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant two days after it was disconnected from the power grid when Russian shelling damaged high voltage lines, the International Atomic Energy agency (IAEA) said on Saturday.

IAEA Director general Rafael Mariano Grossi repeated his call for the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant to prevent a nuclear accident. "We can't afford to lose any more time. We must act before it is too late," he said.

1:55 p.m.

1:40 p.m.: Heavy fighting is reported in the Ukraine's southern Kherson region. Russia continues targeting Ukrainian cities and villages inflicting more damage on the country’s energy and water infrastructure and killing civilians, The Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, over the last 24 hours Ukrainian forces attacked nine locations with Russian troops and military equipment as well as an ammunition depot in the Kherson region.

12:15 p.m.: The number of blackouts will increase across Ukraine in an effort to conserve energy, said the national grid operator Saturday. Russian missiles and drones have targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, destroying about 40% of it, according to Ukrainian figures. The New York Times reports the blackouts are meant to protect the country's power grid from failing.

12:05 pm.: Ukrainians are preparing for a determined fight by their Russian foes in the southern city of Kherson in the coming weeks for the control of the strategic port on the west bank of the Dnipro River. According to The Kyiv Independent, several explosions have been heard in Kherson.

Russia is stepping up its evacuation of residents from the conflict zone it claims to have annexed. At least 70,000 civilians have been moved from Kherson. Putin has endorsed the evacuation, his first acknowledgment of a deteriorating situation in the area.

Meanwhile, Russia’s “newly mobilized conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all,” Britain’s defense ministry said Saturday in its intelligence update.

9:25 a.m.: Sweden's new government will distance itself from the Kurdish YPG militia as it tries to win Turkey's approval to join NATO, Sweden's foreign minister told Swedish Radio Saturday, according to Reuters.

"There is too close a connection between these organizations and the PKK ... for it to be good for the relationship between us and Turkey," Tobias Billstrom told the public service broadcaster.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and its political branch PYD are considered by Turkey extensions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which launched an insurgency against Turkey in 1980 and is regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Sweden, along with the United States and several other NATO countries, has supported the YPG in the fight against Islamic State.

"The primary objective is Sweden's membership in NATO," said Billstrom.

9:20 a.m.: In a tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked everyone who has supported Ukraine in its fight against Russia's invasion. His initiative, UNITED24 launched six months ago, has been the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. “We are grateful to everyone for supporting our values, for believing in [Ukraine] and our victory. We feel that the world is supporting [Ukraine], and this gives us strength in our struggle,” he said.

8:55 a.m.: Russia launched fresh drone attacks on targets in central Ukraine as Kyiv's forces fought battles in the east and Moscow-appointed authorities continued to evacuate people from Kherson in the south in an apparent preparation for a potential Ukrainian offensive, RFE/RL reports.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said on Saturday that its forces managed to stop Russian attacks the previous day in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east.

The Ukrainian military, meanwhile, said it launched 11 strikes against Russian positions, while Ukrainian air defenses shot down an Orlan-10 drone, 11 Shahed-136 drones, and two Kalibr cruise missile according to RFE/RL.

Russian troops have been actively using the Iranian-made drones in recent weeks to attack critical civilian and infrastructure targets.

8:15 a.m.: Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday acknowledged for the first time that his country has supplied Russia with drones, insisting the transfer came before Moscow’s war on Ukraine, The Associated Press reports.

The comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian come after months of mixed signals from Iran whether it sent drones to Russia that have blasted Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets.

“We gave a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war,” Amirabdollahian told reporters after a meeting in Tehran.

Previously, Iranian officials had denied arming Russia in its war on Ukraine. Just earlier this week, Iran’s Ambassador to the U.N. Amir Saeid Iravani called the allegations “totally unfounded” and reiterated Iran’s position of neutrality in the war. The U.S. and its Western allies on the Security Council have called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to investigate if Russia has used Iranian drones to attack civilians in Ukraine.

5:11 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said Russia is probably struggling to provide military training for its current mobilization drive and its annual autumn conscription intake.

Newly mobilized conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all, the update noted, and deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability.

4:15 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Russia’s costly force generation measures will likely continue to weigh on the Russian economy and generate social tensions. Russian forces continued to prepare existing and new defensive lines in Kherson Oblast and to conduct offensive operations around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City.

3:07 a.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.

1:23 a.m.: Bulgaria's parliament Friday approved a deal to buy eight F-16 fighter jets from the United States in addition to another eight it ordered in 2019 but has not yet received, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Balkan country, which has been a NATO member since 2004, has been looking for some years to replace its aging and dwindling fleet of Soviet-built MiG-29 planes.

But since Moscow's forces invaded Ukraine in February, it has been unable to buy spare parts or engines to service those planes from Russia.

The country paid $1.67 billion for the first eight F-16 jets from Lockheed Martin, hoping to receive them in 2023.

But their delivery has been delayed and Interim Defense Minister Dimitar Stoyanov has said they might now not arrive before 2025.

In order to guard its airspace, Bulgaria is looking for ways to rent or buy used fighter jets from Sweden or France.

For now, aircraft and crew from Spain, the Netherlands and the United States have taken turns helping with air policing, with six Eurofighter jets and 130 crew expected to arrive on a new mission in Bulgaria in mid-November.

12:02 a.m.:

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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