Accessibility links

Breaking News

Latest Developments in Ukraine: Oct. 25

People shelter inside a subway station during a Russian missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 25, 2022.
People shelter inside a subway station during a Russian missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 25, 2022.

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

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

8:03 p.m.:
In Russia's latest advocacy campaign over its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has focused on accusations that Kyiv might be planning to use a so-called "dirty bomb" - a conventional explosive device laced with toxic nuclear material.

Reuters published a look at dirty bombs and how they might be used in Ukraine, either as a real threat or as the basis of propaganda:

6:04 p.m.: Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator said Tuesday that Russian forces were performing secret work at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, activity that could shed light on Russia’s claims that the Ukrainian military is preparing a “provocation” involving a radioactive device, The Associated Press reported.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made an unsubstantiated allegation that Ukraine was preparing to launch a so-called dirty bomb. Shoigu leveled the charge over the weekend in calls to his British, French, Turkish and U.S. counterparts. Britain, France and the United States rejected it out of hand as “transparently false.”

Ukraine also dismissed Moscow’s claim as an attempt to distract attention from the Kremlin’s own alleged plans to detonate a dirty bomb, which uses explosives to scatter radioactive waste in an effort to sow terror.

Energoatom, the Ukrainian state enterprise that operates the country’s four nuclear power plants, said Russian forces have carried out secret construction work over the last week at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.

Russian officers controlling the area won’t give access to Ukrainian staff running the plant or monitors from the U.N.’s atomic energy watchdog that would allow them to see what the Russians are doing, Energoatom said Tuesday in a statement.

4:57 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday commented on the potential use of a “dirty bomb” in Ukraine. VOA’s White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara shared his remarks on Twitter.

3:46 p.m.: Russia on Tuesday took its accusation that Ukraine was preparing to use a dirty bomb - an explosive device laced with radioactive material - to the United Nations Security Council, voicing its concerns during a closed-door meeting of the 15-member body, Reuters reported.

"We're quite satisfied because we raised the awareness," Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters. "I don't mind people saying that Russia is crying wolf if this doesn't happen because this is a terrible, terrible disaster that threatens potentially the whole of the Earth."

Russia has alleged that Kyiv has ordered two organizations to create a dirty bomb, without giving any evidence. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia sent a letter to the United Nations on Monday detailing the accusations.

"We've seen and heard no new evidence," Britain's Deputy U.N. Ambassador James Kariuki told reporters, referring to Russia's "transparently false allegations." He added: "This is pure Russian misinformation of the kind of we've seen many times before and it should stop."

The U.N. nuclear watchdog — the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — is preparing to send inspectors in the coming days to two Ukrainian sites at Kyiv's request — an apparent reaction to Russia's dirty bomb claims.

2:30 p.m.: A Ukrainian mortar team takes pride in accurate strikes, even at a distance and at night, aided by drones that provide the exact location of Russian troops and military equipment. The team leader, a former life insurance sales manager, says the targeting data helps his fellow soldiers remain at a safe distance during artillery duels in the Donetsk region. But, he adds, they need to move quickly after firing. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

1:30 p.m.: The U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus withdrew a letter to the White House urging a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine, Chair Pramila Jayapal said on Tuesday.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine," Jayapal said in a statement. She added: "The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting."

VOA’s chief national correspondent Steve Herman shared more of the details on Twitter.

12:45 p.m.: President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for more streamlined decision-making in Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, addressing a new Coordination Council designed to boost support for an invasion now in its ninth month, Reuters reported.

Putin set up the new council last week as he imposed martial law in four partly-occupied regions of Ukraine that he has declared part of Russia, where his forces have suffered several defeats by a resurgent Ukrainian army.

His comments and those of some of the council members amounted to a tacit acknowledgment that Russia was not fully prepared for the resistance it has met in Ukraine, whose capital Kyiv it failed to seize at the outset of the war in February.

12:25 p.m.:

12:05 p.m.: A senior Ukrainian official has asked citizens staying abroad not to return to Ukraine for the winter to conserve power from facilities Russian forces have heavily damaged, The Associated Press reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk made the appeal on Ukrainian TV on Tuesday, saying, “We need to survive the winter, but, unfortunately, the networks will not survive” increased demand.

Vereshchuk said “the threat of shelling, cold and hunger remains” eight months after the Russian invasion forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes.

“To return now is again to expose yourself, your children, all your vulnerable relatives, who may be either sick or with limited mobility,” she said, urging citizens to return in the spring to help restore previously occupied regions that are again in Ukraine’s control.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Russian troops destroyed 30% of Ukraine’s power plants. Ukraine is conducting rolling power outages for at least four hours a day.

11:50 a.m.:

11:30 a.m.: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused Russia and its president of acting “outside the circle of civilized human behavior” during the war against Ukraine and pledged the United States and its allies will stand behind the Ukrainian people “until victory is won," The Associated Press reported

“Eight months into Russia’s own provoked unjustified war against Ukraine, the deaths, displacements and destruction continue,” Pelosi said at a summit in Croatia of parliamentary speakers from some 40 countries. “In the last two weeks alone, Putin has launched a further campaign of horror, unleashing swarms of drones against cities visible from the streets, designed to terrify and to kill.”

The summit in Zagreg, Croatia, on Tuesday took place under the Crimea Platform, an initiative Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy launched last year to denounce Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month illegally annexed four other regions of Ukraine.

The United States and key Western allies have accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones to attack civilians and power plants in Ukraine. Iran has denied it is supplying Russia with the explosive-laden missiles but the distinctive triangle-shaped drones have been seen in the skies over Ukrainian towns.

“Putin is also targeting and destroying Ukraine’s power stations seeking to deprive Ukrainians of heat and power as winter approaches,” Pelosi said. “Using rape, kidnapping and other atrocities, kidnapping of children, as a weapon of war, is outside the circle of civilized human behavior. Attacking civilian infrastructure is a war crime.”

11:10 a.m.:

10:45 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the country needed to speed up decision-making in relation to the military campaign in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Speaking at the first meeting of a new coordination council to manage the government's work on the home front, Putin said increased coordination of government structures and regions was necessary.

10:30 a.m.: Russia's war against Ukraine is said to have forced more than 1,000 children with cancer and other serious diseases to flee to Kyiv or farther afield to continue their treatment. The war has made it nearly impossible for them to receive proper medical care in their hometowns. However, some families are now returning to Ukraine despite the ongoing war. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

10:10 a.m.: Ukraine’s prime minister says his country still needs more weapons and ammunition to win the war against Russia, The Associated Press reported.

Denys Shmyhal told reporters at a conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction in Berlin on Tuesday that Kyiv has received good support so far with weapons and training of soldiers.

But he said: “We need more weaponry, we need more ammunition to win this war.”

Shmyhal added that “we need tanks from our partners, from all of our partners; we need heavy armored vehicles, we need additional artillery units, howitzers.”

Ukraine and its allies have been coordinating military assistance in the so-called “Ramstein format,” named after the U.S. air base in Germany where a first meeting on the issue was held earlier this year.

9:55 a.m.:

9:35 a.m.: Poland may have to build a barrier on its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to stop a wave of African and Asian migrants who could start trying to cross in the coming weeks, a top Polish official said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Poland accuses Russia and its ally Belarus of using migrants as part of a "hybrid warfare" campaign to destabilize Europe, and with tension running high due to the war in Ukraine, Poland fears a repeat of a crisis that saw thousands of African and Middle-Eastern migrants try to cross the Belarus border in 2021.

Krzysztof Sobolewski, general secretary of the ruling Law and Justice party, told public broadcaster Polskie Radio 1 that Poland was considering building a barrier, similar to the one it has constructed on the Belarus border, on the frontier with Russia's Kaliningrad.

9:15 a.m.: The U.S. government was quick to react to a Russian court’s decision to uphold U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner's 9-year drug sentence.

"We are aware of the news out of Russia that Brittney Griner will continue to be wrongfully detained under intolerable circumstances after having to undergo another sham judicial proceeding today," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

VOA White House bureau chief Patsy Widakuswara shared the full statement on Twitter.

9:00 a.m.: A Russian court on Tuesday dismissed U.S. WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner's appeal against a nine-year sentence for possessing and smuggling vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, Reuters reported.

Griner and her lawyers had asked for acquittal or at least a reduction in her sentence, which they said was disproportionate to the offence and at odds with Russian judicial practice.

The presiding judge said the verdict was upheld "without changes" except for the counting of time served in pre-trial detention as part of the sentence.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested on Feb. 17 at a Moscow airport, a week before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, and her case has inevitably been viewed in the context of the ensuing crisis in U.S.-Russian relations.

The U.S. chargee d'affaires in Moscow, Elizabeth Rood, who attended the hearing, called the sentence "excessive and disproportionate."

8:30 a.m.: Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, said Tuesday on Twitter that he is grateful for the “prompt response” by the head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, who has promised to send an inspection team to Ukraine soon. Kuleba said allegations by Russia that Ukraine is developing plans to use a so-called dirty bomb containing radioactive material amounts to a “disinformation campaign.”

8:10 a.m.: European Union energy ministers are meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday to discuss a bloc-wide gas price cap and to map out their next moves, although it is likely to be weeks before any final decisions are made, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The 27-member bloc has been looking into ways to tamp down high energy prices after Moscow reduced gas supplies following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, prompting a record rise in power prices in August.

Ministers meeting in Luxembourg are expected to debate the principles of how an EU gas price limit could work, as well as possible drawbacks.

Gas prices have dropped in recent days, amid mild weather and as countries have filled storage tanks,

But some EU officials said a cap was still needed to guard against potential price spikes as Europe heads into winter.

7:55 a.m.:

7:35 a.m.: A Ukrainian official says that Ukrainian guerrillas have staged several explosions in a Russia-held southern city, The Associated Press reported.

Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the city of Melitopol who is now in Ukraine-controlled territory after spending time in Russian captivity, said that a car bomb exploded Tuesday near an office building that houses the headquarters of the Federal Security Service, Russia’s top security agency, and a local television company.

The Moscow-appointed administration in Melitopol said five people were injured by the explosion.

Fedorov said that Ukrainian resistance fighters also staged seven other explosions in the city overnight.

Melitopol is in the Zaporizhzhia region, part of which was captured by the Russian military early in the invasion. It was annexed by Russia last month along with three other regions of Ukraine.

7:20 a.m.: The Kremlin on Tuesday repeated its claim that Ukraine plans to use a radioactive "dirty bomb", warning the West it was dangerous to dismiss Moscow's position, Reuters reported.

Ukraine, the United States, Britain and France have all rejected Moscow's claims - voiced by several officials in recent days - that Kyiv could be preparing to detonate a radioactive device in Ukraine.

Russia intends to raise the issue at the United Nations Security Council later and has urged U.N. chief Antonio Guterres to do all he can to "prevent this heinous crime from happening."

In a briefing call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this was a foolish approach given the gravity of the situation. Moscow has provided no evidence for its claims.

"This is an approach that is not permissible against the background of the seriousness of the danger we are talking about ... Once again, we emphasize the great danger that lies in the implementation of Ukraine's plans related to a dirty bomb," he added.

A "dirty bomb" is an explosive device laced with radioactive material.

7:10 a.m.:

7:05 a.m.: The Kremlin-backed head of the Russian region of Chechnya has called for wiping out entire cities in Ukraine in retaliation for Ukrainian shelling of Russia’s territory, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities in Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions that border Ukraine have repeatedly reported Ukrainian shelling that damaged infrastructure and residential buildings.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the regional leader of Chechnya, previously sent troops from the region to fight in Ukraine. He said Tuesday that Russia's response to the alleged Ukrainian attacks has been too subdued.

“Our response has been too weak,” Kadyrov said in a statement posted on his messaging app channel. “If a shell flies into our region, entire cities must be wiped off the face of the Earth so that they don’t ever think that they can fire in our direction.”

Kadyrov has repeatedly made hawkish statements urging the Kremlin to intensify the war in Ukraine.

6:30 a.m.: All relevant political actors in Germany, and everyone in government, agrees that Ukraine's territorial integrity must be preserved, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in response to a question about calls from within his own party for more diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine.

Social Democrat caucus leader Rolf Muetzenich caused a stir at the weekend when he pointed in an interview to opinion polls showing many Germans wanted to see diplomacy aimed at ending the war begun when Russian invaded Ukraine in February.

6 a.m.: A Russian court on Tuesday began hearing an appeal by U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner against a nine-year jail term for having cannabis oil in her luggage.

Griner participated in the hearing via video link from a detention center outside of Moscow.

The twice Olympic gold medalist was arrested February 17 at a Moscow airport with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is banned in Russia. She was sentenced August 4 to nine years in a penal colony on charges of possessing and smuggling drugs.

"She is very nervous waiting for the appeal hearing,” Griner's lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said ahead of Tuesday’s session. “Brittney does not expect any miracles to happen but hopes that the appeal court will hear the arguments of the defense and reduce the term.”

Griner pleaded guilty at her trial but said she had made an "honest mistake" and had not meant to break the law.

The United States says Griner was wrongfully detained and has offered to exchange her for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

Moscow has also suggested it is open to a prisoner swap.

5:45 a.m.:

5:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday asked the international community to cover an expected budget deficit of $38 billion next year for his war-torn country, Agence France-Presse reported.

"At this very conference we need to make a decision on assistance to cover next year's budget deficit for Ukraine," Zelenskyy said via video-link at a reconstruction conference in Berlin. "It's a very significant amount of money, a $38 billion deficit," he added.

5 a.m.: Five people were injured in a blast Tuesday in the Russian-held city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported citing the pro-Moscow administration.

"A car exploded near the ZaMedia media group building in Melitopol," damaging it and nearby residential homes, the local pro-Moscow administration said on Telegram.

"Five people were slightly injured, including employees of the media group. One was hospitalized," the administration said.

Photos showed a grey building block with windows ripped off and burning debris on the ground.

There was no official confirmation or denial by Ukraine that its forces were responsible for the explosion.

But the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian administration in exile showed photos from an explosion.

It added: "This is what the heating in the buildings of collaborators and propagandists should look like! And it will become hotter."

The television and radio studio are continuing their work, the pro-Moscow administration said on Telegram.

Melitopol, a city with a pre-war population of just over 150,000 inhabitants, is located in the region of Zaporizhzhia that Moscow claims to have annexed.

4:55 a.m.:

4:30 a.m.: Russia's sustained drone attacks represent a new low point in its war against Ukraine but are also a sign of Moscow's desperation, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a conference on Tuesday to plan for Ukraine's reconstruction.

But Germany's own history showed that it was possible to rebuild even after a devastating war, so it was important to plan for Ukraine's future as a prosperous and democratic European Union member and exporter of green energy and high-tech goods, Reuters reported.

"This conference is about creating a Marshall Plan for the 21st century," he said, opening the Berlin conference. "The commitment to Ukraine as an EU member is one of the most consequential geopolitical decisions of our time."

4 a.m.: Seven civilians have been killed and three injured in the Ukraine city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, the regional governor said Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Three bodies of civilians killed earlier were also discovered in two places in the region, which has been at the center of intense fighting with the Russian army for months, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram.

The Ukrainian army said Russian troops were on the offensive in the Donetsk region towards the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

On Monday, Ukrainian troops said they had pushed back Russian assaults around 10 settlements in the eastern regions of Donestk and Lugansk, including near the city of Bakhmut.

In September, the Ukrainian army claimed thousands of square kilometers in counteroffensives in the northeast and the south.

Battles now center in the east and in the south towards Kherson.

Donetsk is one of the four Ukrainian regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to have annexed, and where martial law has been imposed.

3:30 a.m.: At a Ukraine reconstruction conference in Berlin, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “Ukrainians are showing us that they have hope and confidence in the future and that they will keep fighting for it.”

Von der Leyen condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure calling it “pure acts of terrorism.”

The world must not squander time but help Ukrainians rebuild their country swiftly, von der Leyen said on Tuesday, adding the EU was ready to coordinate the reconstruction measures with a secretariat.

"We have no time to waste, the scale of destruction is staggering. The World Bank puts the cost of the damage at 350 billion euros ($345 billion)," she told a reconstruction conference for Ukraine in Berlin.

Von der Leyen said an international coordination platform for the reconstruction needed to launch "as soon as possible, preferable before the end of the year or early at the beginning of next year," adding the EU's executive Commission was ready to provide the secretariat to it.

3 a.m.:

2:30 a.m.: The recent visit of a Russian megayacht to Hong Kong has sparked warnings from corruption investigators that the city could become a haven for oligarchs and officials hiding from Western sanctions, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Nord — a $500 million vessel linked to Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov — spent a little over three weeks in the Chinese territory before leaving last Thursday.

Mordashov is among tycoons close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who have been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union and Britain following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Multiple jurisdictions have seized Russian oligarchs' yachts and other assets this year. But Hong Kong made clear it would not do the same, saying it only implements United Nations sanctions, not "unilateral" ones.

2 a.m.: Germany and the European Commission are hosting a conference Tuesday in Berlin to discuss the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine and to show the international community’s ongoing support.

The conference involves representatives from national governments, academic institutions and international organizations. The EU says the talks will cover how to prioritize Ukraine’s needs and what options exist for financing projects.

No financial pledges or political agreements are expected.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to address the conference.

Ukraine’s government, along with the European Commission and the World Bank, estimated in a September report that it could cost $350 billion to rebuild the country after Russia’s invasion.

The World Bank on Monday disbursed $500 million, supported by loan guarantees from Britain, to Ukraine to help the government maintain essential services.

1:30 a.m.: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Ukraine for a surprise visit on Tuesday, his first trip to the country since Russia invaded on February 24, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing German broadcaster n-tv.

The country’s newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Steinmeier arrived in the Ukrainian capital. Last week, the newspaper added, the President's trip to Kyiv was canceled due to security reasons.

Steinmeier wants to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the trip, added the broadcaster.

"My message to the people of Ukraine is: You can rely on Germany!" he said in the statement.

Besides military support, Steinmeier added, his trip would focus on helping repair destroyed infrastructure, such as power grids, water pipes and heating systems, as quickly as possible before winter arrives.

1 a.m.: Rebuffed by Western countries, Russia doubled down on its claim that Kyiv is preparing to use a "dirty bomb" in Ukraine and said it would bring the issue to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

12:30 a.m.: Ukrainian authorities are claiming increasing success in shooting down Iranian-built drones launched by Russia to terrorize the public, The Associated Press reported.

The head of Ukraine’s intelligence service said Monday that Ukraine’s forces have shot down 70% of the approximately 330 Shahed kamikaze drones that Russia has fired through Saturday.

12:01 a.m.: National leaders, development experts and CEOs gather in Berlin on Tuesday for a conference on what its hosts say must be a "Marshall Plan" to rebuild Ukraine after Russia's invasion, now entering its ninth month, Reuters reported.

The conference, hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the European Commission, will not involve concrete pledges of cash towards the estimated $750 billion reconstruction cost, a task the hosts compared in scale to the United States' Marshall Aid program for rebuilding Europe after World War II.

Thousands of people have been killed and homes and factories have been destroyed since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February, an act Western countries condemned as an imperialist land grab but which Moscow styles a "special military operation" to rid its neighbor of extremists.

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

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.