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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Oct. 22


A Ukrainian serviceman reacts as a self-propelled artillery vehicle fires near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Oct. 22, 2022.
A Ukrainian serviceman reacts as a self-propelled artillery vehicle fires near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Oct. 22, 2022.

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

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

10:28 p.m.:

9:22 p.m.: Ukraine's state energy company responded to Saturday’s missile strikes by Russia on key energy infrastructure sites by announcing that rolling blackouts would be imposed in Kyiv and 10 Ukrainian regions in order to stabilize the situation, The Associated Press reported.

In a Facebook post Saturday, Ukrenergo accused Russia of attacking “energy facilities within the principal networks of the western regions of Ukraine." It claimed that the scale of destruction has been comparable to the fallout from Moscow's first coordinated attack on the Ukrainian energy grid, Oct. 10-12.

Both Ukrenergo and officials in Kyiv have been urging Ukrainians to conserve energy.

Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on consumers to curb their power use between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. daily and avoid using energy-guzzling appliances such as electric heaters.

Over the past two weeks, Moscow has increased its attacks on key civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. Officials said about 40% of the country's electric power system has been severely damaged.

8:10 p.m.: The Ukrainian presidential office said in its Saturday statement that five explosive-laden drones were downed in the central Cherkasy region southeast of Kyiv, according to The Associated Press.

Ukraine's top diplomat said Saturday's attacks were proof that Ukraine needed new Western-reinforced air defense systems “without a minute of delay.”

“Air defense saves lives,” Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, said on Telegram Saturday that almost 1.4 million households lost power as a result of the strikes. He said some 672,000 homes in the western Khmelnytskyi region were affected, while a further 242,000 suffered outages in the central Cherkasy province.

7:13 p.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says the use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in the war in Ukraine would be considered an "act of hostility against humanity,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

"Russia's act of threatening the use of nuclear weapons is a serious threat to the peace and security of the international community and absolutely unacceptable," Kishida said Saturday during a visit to Australia.

In May next year, Kishida is expected to host leaders from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Hiroshima, where a U.S. nuclear bomb was dropped August 6, 1945, resulting in the deaths of 140,000 people.

The Japanese city of Nagasaki was hit three days later.

Japan remains the only country to have ever been hit with a nuclear bomb.

Kishida said the 77-year period of no nuclear weapons use "must not be ended."

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, President Putin has made several thinly veiled threats about his willingness to deploy tactical nuclear weapons.

6:19 p.m.: The newborn peeking out of a pink blanket in a hospital on the north bank of Ukraine's Dnieper River may never see her grandparents back home in the Russian-occupied south, Agence France-Presse reports.

Her mother fled for the relative safety of government-held Zaporizhzhia to make sure the baby was born a citizen of the country the Russians invaded eight months ago.

But her grandparents stayed behind and out of reach on the opposite side of the shore.

"It may be too late for them to get out," 19-year-old Anastasia Skachko lamented while stealing glances at her still-nameless girl. "I don't even want them to try. The roads are all either mined or getting shelled."

5:27 p.m.: Spain said Saturday that it would send 14 fighter jets to Bulgaria and Romania to bolster NATO's eastern flank, Agence Frace-Presse reported, as the defense alliance strengthens its deterrence capacity following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Madrid will send six Eurofighter jets and 130 soldiers to Bulgaria between mid-November and early December to train local forces, the Spanish defense ministry said in a statement.

It added that a further deployment will see eight F18M fighter jets and 130 air force personnel sent to Romania between December and March 2023 as part of NATO's "reaction and deterrence" strategy.

A long-range aerial surveillance radar has also been deployed in Romania since October 17 and could remain until late June 2023, the statement said.

4:11 p.m.: In Romania, protesters blew horns and banged drums to voice their dismay over the rising cost of living. People across France took to the streets to demand pay increases that keep pace with inflation. Czech demonstrators rallied against government handling of the energy crisis. British railway staff and German pilots held strikes to push for better pay as prices rise.

Across Europe, soaring inflation is behind a wave of protests and strikes that underscores growing discontent with the spiraling cost of living and threatens to unleash political turmoil, The Associated Press reports.

Europeans have seen their energy bills and food prices soar because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The fallout from the war has sharply raised the risk of civil unrest in Europe, according to risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

European leaders have strongly supported Ukraine, sending the country weapons and pledging or being forced to wean their economies off cheap Russian oil and natural gas, but the transition hasn’t been easy and threatens to erode public support.

“There’s no quick fix to the energy crisis,” said Torbjorn Soltvedt, an analyst at Verisk Maplecroft. “And if anything, inflation looks like it might be worse next year than it has been this year.”

3:17 p.m.: Ukrainian forces are using Soviet-era T-64B tanks to defend the area around the key city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Russian troops have been making slow but steady progress in the area. RFE/RL's Maryan Kushnir followed a tank crew from Ukraine's 30th Mechanized Brigade as it targeted Russian logistical supplies like fuel and ammunition. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report:

2:23 p.m.: Iran has criticized a call by France, Germany, and Britain for the United Nations to investigate accusations that Russia has used Iranian-made drones to attack Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said October 22 the initiative announced the previous day by the so-called E-3 group of countries was "false and baseless" and that it was "strongly rejected and condemned."

Ukraine says Russia has struck its infrastructure with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones that cruise toward their target and explode on impact.

Both Iran and Russia have denied the accusations.

In a letter signed by their U.N. envoys and seen by Reuters, the three European countries backed Ukraine's call October 17 for a U.N. probe, arguing that the drone use breached a U.N. Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231 endorsing the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.

1:18 p.m.: Many Ukrainians risk their lives to save pets and domestic animals.

Dogs, cats, and even goats have been evacuated from combat zones in Ukraine, including a dog called Crimea that was the sole survivor of a Russian missile attack on a family home in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

12:08 p.m.: Pro-Russian authorities in Ukraine's southern Kherson region, which Moscow claims to have annexed, Saturday urged residents of the region's eponymous main city to leave "immediately" in the face of Kyiv's advancing counter-offensive, Agence France-Presse reports.

"Due to the tense situation on the front, the increased danger of mass shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left bank of the Dnieper river," the region's pro-Russian authorities said on social media.

11:12 a.m.:

10:13 a.m.: Finnish officials will arrive in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss their country’s bid to join NATO, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

A delegation from Finland’s Justice Ministry will meet Kasim Cicek, the head of foreign relations at the Turkish Ministry of Justice, Anadolu Agency said. The talks will focus on the extradition of individuals Turkey regards as terrorists, the report added.

Both Finland and its neighbor Sweden applied for membership in the defense alliance in the wake of Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, abandoning long-standing policies of military nonalignment. Becoming a NATO member requires the unanimous support of all current members, including Turkey.

Turkey has threatened to block the process unless Finland and Sweden meet its demands. In particular, Ankara wants them to crack down on people it considers terrorists, such as supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and members of a group said to have orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.

9:16 a.m.: In late June 2019, a Russian man named Yury Orekhov met in a European hotel with a businessman representing a California-based company involved in consulting and logistics. Orekhov, the co-owner of a German industrial equipment and commodities trading company, told the businessman that he wanted to buy U.S. components to be used in a Russian Sukhoi fighter jet.

According to a U.S. federal indictment unsealed this week, Orekhov allegedly told the unnamed businessman that the paperwork would have to be falsified to show a fake Malaysian company was the purchaser, in order avoid U.S. export restrictions, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

Not long after, a Russian woman who worked for Orekhov followed up with the businessman, requesting help to buy sensitive military technologies including “tactical air navigation interrogators and multi-mode receivers, radiation-hardened, military-grade two-terminal temperature transducers.”

The sale never went through, according to U.S. prosecutors -- but others arranged by Orekhov’s company did, including “a variety of sensitive, military-grade technologies in five transactions totaling over $250,000” purchased from a New York company between 2018 and 2020.

8:20 a.m.: Hundreds of thousands of people in central and western Ukraine woke up on Saturday to power outages and periodic bursts of gunfire, as Ukrainian air defense tried to shoot down drones and incoming missiles, The Associated Press reported.

Russia has intensified its strikes on power stations, water supply systems and other key infrastructure across the country, the latest phase of the war as it nears the eight-month mark.

Ukraine's air force said in a statement Saturday that Russia had launched “a massive missile attack" targeting “critical infrastructure,” hours after air raid sirens blared across the country. It said that it had downed 18 out of 33 cruise missiles launched from air and sea.

“Several rockets” targeting the capital were shot down on Saturday morning, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging service.

7:51 a.m.:

5:34 a.m.: Russian soccer clubs will challenge FIFA at sport’s highest court next month over emergency rules that let players suspend their contracts and leave since the country’s invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport set Nov. 21 for an appeal hearing brought against FIFA by eight clubs including Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg.

The interim contract rules first applied by FIFA in March and renewed in June let players and coaches leave on loan to join clubs in other countries. Russian clubs are suspended from European competitions this season but the national league has continued.

The chief executive of Zenit, Alexander Medvedev, said in June the rules amounted to “robbery” and did not compensate clubs for players that left.

Ukrainian clubs like Shakhtar Donetsk also objected, and said agents tried to exploit uncertainty around its future and take contracted players for free.

4:37 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said Russian forces continue to reinforce crossing points over the Dnipro River, and have completed a barge bridge alongside the damaged Antonovskiy bridge in Kherson. It's likely the first time in decades the Russian military has needed to utilize this kind of bridge. If the barge bridge sustains damage, the update said, it is almost certain Russia will seek to repair or replace damaged sections quickly, as their forces and crossing points over the Dnipro river come under increasing pressure in Kherson.

3:18 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that The Russian withdrawal from western Kherson Oblast has begun. Russian forces likely intend to continue that withdrawal over the next several weeks but may struggle to withdraw in good order if Ukrainian forces choose to attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demonstrably setting conditions for Russia to continue a protracted war in Ukraine, not for a negotiated settlement or offramp. Meanwhile, Russian and Ukrainian sources reported fighting northeast of Kharkiv City along the international border, on the Svatove-Kreminna frontline, and west of Lysychansk.

1:43 a.m.: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko insisted on Friday that Minsk was not preparing to enter the Ukraine conflict, Agence France-Presse reported.

The autocratic leader, a close ally of Russia's Vladimir Putin, was on a visit to inspect Belarus-made drones, which he said had the potential to cover the border with Ukraine.

"It would not be desirable for these (drones) to be used in Ukraine," the 68-year-old Lukashenko said. "After all, (Ukrainians) are our people."

On Friday he insisted Minsk did not want to become involved in any war.

"We are not planning to go anywhere. There is no war as of today. We do not need it," he said.

12:02 a.m.: A Russian employee of Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) was killed after being mobilized to fight against Ukraine, despite his bank writing to the draft office seeking an exemption, his lawyer told Reuters on Friday.

Timur Izmailov, 33, an IT specialist at Raiffeisen's Russian operations in Moscow, was conscripted on Sept. 23, two days after President Vladimir Putin's partial mobilization order, and died on Oct. 13 after being hit by mortar fire, his lawyer Konstantin Yerokhin said.

Certain workers are exempt from the draft, including commercial bank employees to ensure the stability of the banking system.

But when Izmailov went to his recruitment office to explain that he was entitled to deferment, "The military commissar told him he was not on the deferment list, so he had to be mobilized," Yerokhin said.

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