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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Nov. 8

A Ukrainian soldier of an artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut, Nov. 8, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A Ukrainian soldier of an artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut, Nov. 8, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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

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

11:45 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday posthumously awarded the highest state decoration to pro-Kremlin archpriest Mikhail Vasilyev, who died in Ukraine over the weekend, Agence France-Presse reported.

The archpriest had said women should have more children to ease the pain of sending their sons to the military operation in Ukraine.

He received the Hero of the Russian Federation medal on Tuesday for "the courage and heroism shown in the performance of his civic duty," according to a decree on the presidential website.

He was killed on Sunday morning "in the zone of the special military operation in Ukraine, while performing pastoral duties," the Orthodox Church said in a press release.

11:15 p.m.:

11 p.m.: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Tuesday that the U.K. will continue to play a vital role in NATO for generations, ahead of a visit by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Agence France-Presse reported.

The NATO chief will be the first international leader Sunak has met in Downing Street since he took office last month.

Wednesday's talks will center on U.K. support for Ukraine after Russia's invasion in February, and the alliance's future, Sunak's office said.

Stoltenberg will meet Sunak after visiting a military facility where Ukrainian troops are being trained by British military.

Britain has offered to train a total of 19,000 Ukrainian recruits in vital battlefield skills including marksmanship, weapons handling, urban and trench warfare and first aid.

Sunak announced on Tuesday that the UK is sending Ukrainian soldiers extra equipment to help them get through the harsh winter, including more than 25,000 sets of extreme cold weather clothing, 12,000 sleeping kits and 150 heated tents.

10:15 p.m.: Kyiv's forces have repelled several waves of Russian attacks in the Donbas, the Ukrainian military says, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the heavy losses sustained by the Russians on a daily basis highlighted the "madness" of Moscow's strategy of attack, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

In the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine accused Russia of looting empty homes and occupying them with troops in civilian clothes in expectation of a Ukrainian offensive to retake the city that was the first to fall to Moscow's forces at the start of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

9:20 p.m.:

8:35 p.m.: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that Russia wanted to press its advance in eastern Ukraine beyond the Donetsk region, but Ukrainian forces would not yield "a single centimeter," Reuters reported.

"The activity of the occupiers remains at an extremely high level — dozens of attacks every day," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

"They are suffering extraordinarily high losses. But the order remains the same — to advance on the administrative boundary of Donetsk region. We will not yield a single centimeter of our land."

The focal points of the conflict in Donetsk region are around the towns of Bakhmut, Soledar and Avdiivka, the theater of the heaviest fighting in the country.

7:41 p.m.: When Russia held large-scale military exercises in Belarus in February, the two countries described them as defensive in nature, aimed at repelling outside aggression, namely from Ukraine and NATO, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

But as the exercises wound down, many of the 30,000 Russian troops stationed in Belarus then poured over the border of Ukraine as part of President Vladimir Putin's invasion, now in its eighth month.

New satellite imagery obtained by RFE/RL's Belarus Service shows thousands of Russian troops may have returned to Belarus, raising questions about whether another incursion into Ukraine from the north is imminent — or if Moscow, with the help of Minsk, is merely trying to distract Kyiv.

7 p.m.:

6:17 p.m.: The Financial Times spoke with several Ukrainian prisoners of war, who described the battle for Mariupol as “one long day in hell.” The prisoners discuss the fighting over control of the port city and how they were treated by their Russian captors

5:40 p.m.: The Italian government is readying a new arms package for Ukraine including air defense systems, a governing coalition official said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Western nations have been delivering more air defense hardware to Ukraine since President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month asked the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations for help to stop the Russian missiles raining down on Ukrainian cities.

The Italian coalition official, who declined to be named, said Rome was ready to provide Ukraine with a variety of air-defense systems, including the medium-range Franco-Italian SAMP/T and Italian Aspide, as well as portable Stinger missiles.

4:53 p.m.: After eight months of war that has devastated their front-line village, residents of Huliaipole in eastern Ukraine are preparing for their next big battle — the approaching winter, as Reuters reports.

Sixty-year-old Natalia sleeps in a dark and dingy basement with several neighbors, their beds lined up, side by side with barely any space between them.

Conditions are tough, and there is no electricity, but the cramped basement has helped them survive.

Huliaipole is part of the Zaporizhzhia region that Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had annexed at the end of September, in a move condemned by Kyiv and its Western allies.

The village has at no point been occupied by Russian forces although many buildings have been destroyed and many civilians have fled. Those who remain regularly take cover as the crump of shelling echoes through the village.

"The winter starts and it is very cold and so we try to support the people with warm shoes and food – what they need," said Benjamin, a German volunteer among aid workers who are helping residents prepare for winter.

4:10 p.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said another meeting on Sweden's NATO membership bid would be held later this month after hosting Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Ankara on Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kristersson was hoping to persuade Turkey to drop its opposition to Sweden joining the U.S.-led military alliance, with Ankara accusing Stockholm and Finland of harboring outlawed Kurdish militants.

After meeting Kristersson at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital, Erdogan said a joint meeting would be organized in Stockholm later this month, without specifying the date.

3:18 p.m.:

2:30 p.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Ankara conveyed its expectation to see concrete steps from Sweden to fulfil anti-terrorism obligations under a deal clearing bids by the Nordic country and neighboring Finland to join NATO.

In a joint news conference after a meeting in Ankara, Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he understood Turkey's fight against terrorism and vowed to fulfill security commitments the Nordic country made to get Ankara's backing for its entry into NATO.

"In our meeting, we have openly shared our expectations for concrete steps regarding the implementation of the provisions in the memorandum," Erdogan said.

2:05 p.m.:

1:30 p.m.: Russia's invasion of Ukraine has distracted world governments from efforts to combat climate change, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video message played at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

"There can be no effective climate policy without the peace," he said, highlighting the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on global energy supplies, food prices and Ukraine's forests.

"This Russian war has brought about an energy crisis that has forced dozens of countries to resume coal-fired power generation in order to lower energy prices for their people ... to lower prices that are shockingly rising due to deliberate Russian actions."

"(It) brought an acute food crisis to the world, which hit worst those suffering the existing manifestations of climate change ... the Russian war destroyed 5 million acres of forests in Ukraine in less than six months," Zelenskiy said.

12:50 p.m.:

12:25 p.m.: Satellite photos analyzed Tuesday by The Associated Press show a rapid expansion of a cemetery in southern Ukraine in the months after Russian forces seized the port city of Mariupol.

The images from Planet Labs PBC highlight the changes in the cemetery in Staryi Krym, an occupied town located northwest of the city. Comparing images from March 24, when Mariupol was under attack by the Russians, to one taken October 14, months after the city’s fall, shows significant growth to the cemetery’s southern fringes.

An area of some 1.1 square kilometers (less than half a square mile) appears to have been freshly dug over that period in the cemetery’s southwestern corner. Another area of just over half a square kilometer was dug in the southeast corner.

This Oct. 14, 2022, satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows an area of recently dug graves in a cemetery just northwest of Mariupol, Ukraine.
This Oct. 14, 2022, satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows an area of recently dug graves in a cemetery just northwest of Mariupol, Ukraine.

It remains unclear how many people were buried in the cemetery during the roughly 7-month period.

The Center for Information Resilience, a London-based nonprofit that specializes in digital investigations and has monitored the Staryi Krym cemetery, estimated that more than 4,600 graves have been dug since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

11:40 a.m.:

11:15 a.m.: Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Tuesday he saw no need at present to evacuate Kyiv or any other cities that are not near the front lines in the war against Russia, Reuters reported.

He made his comments at a cabinet meeting following Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy system, and after the mayor of Kyiv told residents to consider everything including a worst-case scenario where the capital loses power and water completely.

"Right now, the situation is far from (needing to) announce an evacuation," Shmyhal said. "We must say that to announce the evacuation of any city not near the front lines, especially the capital, would not make any sense at present."

10:30 a.m.:

9:45 a.m.: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, reassured Ukrainian farmers Tuesday that extending a wartime deal to facilitate Black Sea shipments of Ukrainian grain and other commodities is a priority for the U.N., The Associated Press reported.

The agreement, which Russia and Ukraine signed separately with the U.N. and Turkey, is set to expire on November 19. A Russian diplomat on Tuesday cited Moscow’s dissatisfaction with its implementation.

Speaking to farmers and reporters at a grain storage facility in Kyiv, Thomas-Greenfield said she saw Ukraine “as the breadbasket of the world.”

“This (war) really has had an impact on the entire global food market that you are not able to get your grains out,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Russia briefly suspended its participation in the deal last week, alleging a Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea on Oct. 29. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ukraine and Russia both are major global exporters of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other products, and the war has caused shortages and fueled worries of a hunger crisis in poorer nations.

9:15 a.m.:

9:05 a.m.: White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has been engaged in confidential talks with senior Russian officials aimed at lowering the risk of a broader war over Ukraine, Reuters reported Tuesday, quoting a source familiar with the conversations.

The source, who asked to remain unidentified, said Monday that the talks are ongoing. The Sullivan talks were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Sullivan said in September that the United States had communicated publicly and privately with the Russians about Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.

While Sullivan had said publicly that there would be tragic consequences should Russia resort to nuclear weapons, it was unclear how this message was being communicated privately. The source said the talks had been taking place in recent months.

8:50 a.m.: The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, is in Kyiv, Ukraine, to meet with government officials and humanitarian aid workers, VOA’s U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer reported Tuesday.

Thomas-Greenfield said she was there “to reiterate the United States’ unwavering support as Ukraine defends its freedom and territorial integrity amidst Russia's brutal and unprovoked invasion,” according to a media statement released by her office.

She will discuss America’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, the Black Sea grain initiative aimed as easing the global food security crisis, and she will meet with humanitarian agencies working to support vulnerable Ukrainians impacted by the war, the statement said.

8:30 a.m.: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was due to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday, in a bid to persuade Turkey to drop its opposition to Sweden joining NATO, Agence France-Presse reported.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-held policy of non-alignment and applied to join the military alliance. But Turkey has stalled ratification of their bids, accusing them of harboring outlawed Kurdish militants.

Erdogan — who is seeking re-election next year — is in a position of strength, having persuaded Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to stop blockading Ukraine's grain exports.

He and Kristersson were due to meet at the presidential palace at 14:15 GMT and then give a press conference. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Ankara last week to press the countries' case.

8:10 a.m.:

8 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will take part in a summit of the Group of 20 major economies next week, most likely attending virtually, his spokesperson told the Suspilne public broadcaster on Tuesday.

Zelenskyy had said last week he would not take part if President Vladimir Putin attended the November 15 to16 summit in Indonesia. Serhiy Nykyforov, the spokesperson, did not say whether Zelenskyy had changed his position.

7:45 a.m.:

7:30 a.m.: Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said Tuesday that his country has started paying for some of the natural gas imported from Russia in roubles, Reuters reported.

In an interview with broadcaster TRT Haber, Donmez said that in the coming months the share of local currency payments in energy trade with Russia would increase.

Russia, hit by Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, is increasingly asking buyers of its energy to pay in roubles to help bolster its currency. Most international energy deals are settled in U.S. dollars or euros. Turkey is also trying to boost trade using the lira, which has been hammered by unorthodox monetary policies.

Ankara and Moscow agreed in September to start rouble payments for natural gas supplies.

When asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal for a natural gas hub in Turkey, Donmez said Ankara would layout a roadmap by the end of this year and may hold a conference for suppliers and buyers.

"We could organize an international gas conference, perhaps in January or February, to bring together gas suppliers and importer countries to take their opinion, we will proceed according to that," Donmez said.

Last month, Putin proposed Turkey as a base for gas supplies as an alternative route after the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea were damaged by blasts. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he agreed with the idea.

The European Union, which previously relied on Russia for about 40% of its gas needs, is seeking to wean itself off Russian energy following the invasion of Ukraine in February.

7:15 a.m.:

7:05 a.m.: The U.S. Treasury and the State Department have tacitly asked major U.S. banks, including JPMorgan and Citigroup, not to refuse to cooperate with "certain strategic Russian companies" to minimize the adverse effects of sanctions, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

In particular, officials urged banks not to refuse to provide "basic services" (money transfers and conversion into dollars) to companies that are not directly under sanctions, such as Gazprom, Uralkali, and PhosAgro.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said it wants banks and businesses to keep the money flowing to non sanctioned sectors of Russia's economy. But the extent of its conversations with the banks hasn't been previously reported.

6:50 a.m.: Kremlin-installed authorities in Ukraine's southern region of Kherson said Tuesday that power had been fully restored to its main city, after blaming Kyiv for attacks that disrupted water and electricity supplies, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kherson city was the first urban hub to be captured by Russia after Moscow announced its "special military operation" in February and it has suffered outages after strikes Sunday for which Moscow and Kyiv have traded blame.

"There is electricity, despite sabotage and attacks," Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of the Kherson region said on social media Tuesday.

Ukraine troops have been pushing closer towards the city in recent months and its capture by Kyiv would be a significant defeat for Moscow.

6:40 a.m.:

6:30 a.m.: A senior Moldovan official said Tuesday that his government could sue Russian state energy company Gazprom over a sharp cut in natural gas supply and is studying its options, Reuters reported.

The small ex-Soviet state is reliant on Russian natural gas supplied by Gazprom and is grappling with a 40% cut in deliveries that has hurt its ability to supply enough electricity to its 2.5 million population.

"The lawyers are analyzing the possibility of applying sanctions for non-compliance with the contract on the issue of supplying the entire volume of gas," Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu told the PRO-TV television channel late on Monday.

"When it becomes clear, we will decide what actions to take and in what direction to act."

Moldova, which has denounced the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine, has a contract with Gazprom that fluctuates from month to month based on the spot market price of gas and oil.

5:58 a.m.: German investigators are searching branches of Swiss bank UBS in Frankfurt and Munich in connection with a case involving Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing Spiegel weekly.

The searches were focused on gathering evidence related to a money-laundering case, Spiegel quoted a spokesperson for the attorney general's office as saying.

5:28 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said he was open to talks with Russia, but only "genuine" negotiations that would restore Ukraine's borders, grant it compensation for Russian attacks and punish those responsible for war crimes.

5 a.m.: The secretary of Ukraine's Security Council said on Tuesday the "main condition" for the resumption of negotiations with Russia would be the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity.

The powerful official, Oleksiy Danilov, said on Twitter that Ukraine also needed the "guarantee" of modern air defenses, aircraft, tanks and long-range missiles

4:28 a.m.:

4 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin will join next week's G-20 leaders summit "if the situation is possible," his Indonesian counterpart and the meeting's host said on Tuesday, adding that Putin could attend virtually instead.

Joko Widodo, who is this year's chair of the bloc of major economies, said Putin during a phone conversation last week had not ruled out attending the summit in Bali, and would join if possible, Reuters reported.

"But if not ... maybe he'll ask to do it virtually," Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is popularly known, told reporters during a visit to Bali. He did not elaborate.

The Financial Times newspaper earlier quoted Jokowi as saying that his conversation with Putin had left him with a "strong impression" he would not attend. The Bali meeting is expected to be dominated by tensions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation."

The Indonesian foreign ministry and presidential palace did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

As G-20 host, Indonesia has resisted pressure from Western countries and Ukraine to disinvite Putin from the leaders summit and expel Russia from the group, saying it does not have the authority to do so without consensus among members. Jokowi in an interview with the Financial Times said Russia was welcome at the summit, which he feared would be overshadowed by a "very worrying" rise in international tensions.

"The G-20 is not meant to be a political forum. It's meant to be about economics and development," he was quoted as saying.

Indonesia has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy, who has said he would not take part if Putin does. Several other world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are expected to attend.

3:40 a.m.:

2:25 a.m.: Chinese authorities behind a major trade expo in Shanghai pulled an opening ceremony address by the European Council president that was set to criticize Russia's "illegal war" in Ukraine and call for reduced trade dependency on China, diplomats said.

The pre-recorded video by Charles Michel was meant to be one of several from world leaders and heads of international organizations including Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Friday, three European diplomats told Reuters.

The diplomats, who cannot be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters they were surprised the speech was removed.

"President Michel was invited to address 5th Hongqiao Forum/CIIE in Shanghai," Barend Leyts, a spokesman for Michel told Reuters. "As requested by the Chinese authorities, we had indeed provided a pre-recorded message which was ultimately not shown. We have addressed this through the normal diplomatic channels.”

No one from China's foreign ministry or the co-organizers of the expo, China's commerce ministry and the Shanghai city government, responded to Reuters requests for comment.

2:00 a.m.:

1:30 a.m.: Russia and the United States are discussing holding talks on strategic nuclear weapons for the first time since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing Russian newspaper Kommersant which quoted four sources familiar with the discussions.

Talks between the two sides on strategic stability have been frozen since Russia began its military campaign in Ukraine on February 24, even as the New START treaty on nuclear arms reduction stays in effect.

The talks may take place in the Middle East, the paper said, adding that Moscow no longer saw Switzerland, the traditional venue, as sufficiently neutral after it imposed sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

12:52 a.m.: For much of the past month, Russian strikes have heavily targeted Ukraine's energy infrastructure, severely damaging the electricity network.

To ease the strain on the grid and avoid a total blackout, national energy operator Ukrenergo has imposed controlled power cuts in the capital and elsewhere across the war-torn country.

Residents can consult the official schedule for rolling blackouts to pinpoint exactly when their lights will go out.

The buildings in the neighborhood in northern Kyiv experienced three four-hour power cuts on Saturday — from midnight to 4:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and again from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Residents who spoke to Agence France-Presse describe the daily struggles as Kyiv adapts to blackouts.

12:02 a.m.: North Korea denied American claims it's shipping artillery shells and ammunition to Russia for use in its war against the Ukraine, and on Tuesday accused the United States of lying, The Associated Press reported.

The denial came in the wake of dozens of weapons tests by North Korea, including nuclear capable missiles with the ability to strike the continental United States. It said it was testing the missiles and artillery so it could "mercilessly" strike key South Korean and U.S. targets if it chooses to. U.S. officials recently confirmed a U.S. intelligence finding that Russia was in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea.

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