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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Oct. 28


A man carries water bottles as he crosses a destroyed bridge in the frontline town of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, on Oct. 27, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
A man carries water bottles as he crosses a destroyed bridge in the frontline town of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, on Oct. 27, 2022, amid Russia's 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.

11:30 p.m.: Russian forces in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson are engaged in mass theft of medical equipment and ambulances in an effort to make the area uninhabitable, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday.

Ukrainian troops are gathered near Kherson, prompting Russian-installed officials to evacuate many residents. Kherson is one of the four regions Moscow claims as part of Russia.

"The occupiers have decided to close down medical institutions in towns, take away medical equipment, ambulances, everything. They are putting pressure on doctors who still remain... to move to the territory of Russia," Zelenskiy said.

"Russia is trying to make the Kherson region a no man's land," he added in an evening video address, saying pro-Moscow forces realized they could not hold onto the city and were therefore taking what they could,” he added.

10:39 p.m.: As Russia is escalating its war against Ukraine Kremlin propaganda is becoming more aggressive.

According to the Kyiv Independent, Russian propagandists are gloating over the suffering and deaths of Ukrainian civilians caused by Russian attacks.

The initial taboo on using the word "war" has been lifted, and Kremlin mouthpieces are now portraying the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a "holy war" and a repeat of the so-called "Great Patriotic War," a Soviet term invented to glorify the USSR’s conflict with its former ally Nazi Germany during the World War II.

Russian propagandists are now routinely calling for total war, wiping Ukrainian cities off the map, continuing the destruction of civilian infrastructure, murdering civilians, and even killing Ukrainian children.

Russian propagandists on TV and social media pose as individuals with independent opinions, but act as a coordinated network. The people behind the calls to destroy Ukraine are usually employed by state-owned or pro-Kremlin media.

Often, they spread similar narratives at the same time, implying that they are coordinated.

9:09 p.m.: In his evening video address, Zelenskyy questioned Russia’s commitment to ending its draft of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine. “Today the enemy reports about the alleged completion of their mobilization... About the alleged needlessness of new waves of sending Russian citizens to the front,” he said.

The Ukrainian president said those reservists are “so poorly prepared and equipped, so ruthlessly used by the command that it allows us to suggest that Russia may soon need a new wave of sending people to war.” Zelenskyy said, Ukraine is preparing for this based on “The fact that the current Russian leadership will look for any new opportunities to continue the war. In particular thanks to its accomplices in Iran,” said the Ukrainian president.

“That is why we are working with our partners every day to strengthen our air defense, our other defense capabilities. Every day we strengthen the protection of our critical infrastructure, primarily energy,” he added.

8:15 p.m.: Canada will sell a government-backed, 5-year bond to raise money for Ukraine, the first country to do so. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday, Canada will impose new sanctions on 35 Russian individuals, including Gazprom executives, Reuters reports.

"Canadians will now be able to go to major banks to purchase their sovereignty bonds which will mature after five years with interest," Trudeau told an annual meeting of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Winnipeg.

Trudeau did not say when the bonds would go on sale.

"These funds will go to support the Government of Ukraine so they can continue to support the Ukrainian people," Trudeau added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Trudeau on Twitter, saying the bond "will allow everyone to contribute to our victory."

In a statement Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the proceeds will "help the (Ukrainian) government continue operations, including providing essential services to Ukrainians, like pensions, and purchasing fuel before winter."

7:04 p.m.: Reuters reports faulty oxygen equipment may have caused the fatal crash of a Russian military jet in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, Sunday, TASS news agency cited investigators as saying on Friday.

Two pilots were killed when the plane crashed into a two-story house. At the time officials said the plane, a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter, was a test flight.

According to Russia's state Investigative Committee investigating possible violations of air safety rules, the crew had lost consciousness.

"The investigation is checking whether the onboard oxygen equipment malfunctioned and caused the two pilots to lose control," the agency quoted a committee spokesperson as saying.

The Su-30 is built at Irkutsk's Aviation plant. Investigators are questioning workers there to see whether they broke rules when maintaining the oxygen equipment, the report said.

6:16 p.m.:

5:35 p.m.: When the Nord Stream gas pipelines ruptured near the island of Bornholm last month, residents felt the Ukraine war move a lot closer, exposing the isolation of Denmark’s easternmost point and renewing fears of Russian aggression, Reuters reported.

The rocky Baltic Sea island of about 40,000 people has a strategically important location between Denmark’s capital Copenhagen and the Russian city of Kaliningrad.

“The situation with Nord Stream 1 and 2, it renewed our crisis awareness, and there are many residents who might think it came a little bit close,” said Ulrik Skytte, Chief of Bornholm’s Home Guard, a volunteer branch of the Danish military. “The seriousness has dawned on all of us, and therefore Bornholm’s location in the Baltic Sea has become much clearer and much more important,” Skytte told Reuters on Almegard military base near Ronne, Bornholm’s largest town.

World leaders called damages to the pipelines, which connect Russia and Germany under the sea, an act of sabotage, but it still remains unclear who might be behind the detonations.

4:54 p.m.: Kremlin-appointed officials in an occupied region of southern Ukraine have urged residents not to switch to daylight saving time along with Kyiv and the rest of the country, The Associated Press reported.

“In the Zaporizhzhia region, the old time remains. The clocks will not go back in 2022,” the administration on Friday said in a post on its official Telegram channel.

The Russian-installed mayor of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant is located, called on residents to ignore the time switch in a separate video message posted on Telegram.

“We live in the Russian Federation, and our city lives by Moscow time,” Alexander Volga said in the video.

The Zaporizhzhia region is one of four Ukrainian provinces that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month and subsequently put under Russian martial law. Kremlin-backed officials in occupied areas have sought to replace the Ukrainian currency with Russia’s ruble, and to align local laws with Russian legislation.

Russia switched to permanent winter time in 2014. The move came after nationwide surveys found that Russians largely disapproved of an earlier government decision to put clocks on year-round summer time, and struggled to adjust to long hours of darkness in the mornings.

4:06 p.m.:

3:18 p.m.: Russia's finance ministry has significantly cut expectations of taxable oil production for 2023, according to the draft budget for the next three years, in the expectation Western sanctions will mean an overall decline in output and refining volumes, Reuters reported.

Selling oil and gas has been one of the main sources for Russian foreign currency earnings since Soviet geologists found reserves in the swamps of Siberia in the decades after World War Two.

In comments to Reuters, the finance ministry said it drew its assumptions on the economy ministry's projections of exports and other parameters.

2:30 p.m.: Ukrainian troops are largely in control of a key road that links two Russian-occupied districts in the east of the country, Reuters reported Friday, quoting pro-Kyiv officials.

After taking swathes of territory in a lighting offensive, Ukrainian forces are now slowly pushing their way east into the Luhansk region and aim to seize the Russian-occupied towns of Svatove and Kreminna, which lies 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of Svatove. The towns are the primary settlements in districts of the same names.

"The road from Svatove to Kreminna is practically under the control of the armed forces of Ukraine. Our soldiers are advancing daily," Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk region, told national television.

A Russian-backed separatist official on Wednesday reported heavy fighting in the Kreminna and Svatove districts, which have been at the frontline since Ukrainian forces routed Russian troops from neighbouring Kharkiv region in September.

2 p.m.:

1:25 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the military to improve training for the newly mobilized reservists and provide them with necessary equipment and supplies, The Associated Press reported.

Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday that the military needs to make sure that all 300,000 reservists who have been called up are trained and provided with what they need for combat “to make people feel confident when they need to go to combat.”

Activists, Russian media and The Associated Press have reported that many of those called up have been told to procure basic items such as medical kits and flak jackets themselves and failed to receive training before being sent to combat.

Shoigu acknowledged that “problems with supplies existed in the initial stages” but told Putin they have now been solved and the reservists have received all the necessary items.

Putin ordered Shoigu to submit his proposals for reforming the ground troops and other parts of the military on the basis of their performance in Ukraine.

1:05 p.m.:

12:55 p.m.: Tens of thousands of Czechs have used a national holiday to rally again in the capital against the pro-Western government and its support for Ukraine’s fight against the Russian aggression, The Associated Press reported.

The rally on Friday follows another two at Prague’s central Wenceslas Square in September.

With soaring energy and other prices among the issues, the key demand by the protesters was the resignation of the coalition government led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala and opposed the country’s European Union and NATO membership.

The government has dismissed those demands and several ministers are planning to visit Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Monday.

12:40 p.m.: Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he had received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian on Friday and that he had demanded that Tehran stop sending weapons to Russia.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of sending 'kamikaze' drones to Russia which have then been used to devastating effect by Russian forces in strikes targeting Ukrainian infrastructure. Iran denies the charge.

"I demanded Iran to immediately cease the flow of weapons to Russia used to kill civilians and destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine," Kuleba said in a tweet.

12:25 p.m.: At a Pentagon briefing Friday Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said the U.S. is announcing a new security assistance package for Ukraine valued at up to $275 million. VOA’s national security correspondent Jeff Seldin shared the details on Twitter.

12:10 p.m.: The mayor of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv said Friday that regular electricity supply to the city will likely be restored within 2-3 weeks, The Kyiv Independent reported.

Vitali Klitschko said that some 20-30% of the city’s electricity supply was affected, adding that the restoration of normal electricity supply may soon be possible if Russia does not continue to target Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, according to the media organization.

The Kyiv Independent quoted Klitschko as saying Kyiv has received new air defense equipment, which he hopes means “there will be no more (Russian) attacks and provocations with kamikaze drones.”

11:45 a.m.:

11:30 a.m.: Russia announced on Friday it was finished calling up reservists to fight in Ukraine, having drafted 300,000 people in a month, with more than a quarter of them already sent to the battlefield, Reuters reported.

The announcement appears to bring to a close a divisive mobilization drive that had seen tens of thousands of Russian men flee the country and brought the first sustained public protest against the war.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was shown on state television informing President Vladimir Putin that 82,000 reservists were now deployed in the conflict zone and another 218,000 had entered training.

“The task set by you of (mobilizing) 300,000 people has been completed. No further measures are planned," Shoigu said.

11:15 a.m.: The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Friday that it delivered over 2 million COVID vaccines to Ukraine, as part of the U.S. government’s COVAX program. Ukraine’s Ministry of Health confirmed receipt of the vaccines, according to The Kyiv Independent, and distribution will be countrywide.

10:55 a.m.: The head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, spoke Friday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s nuclear conference on a range of issues including nuclear risk and the war in Ukraine. Speaking about visiting local staff at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility, he said, “I was moved - but not surprised - seeing these people work in these conditions.”

Repeating his frustration at the slow pace of establishing a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia facility, Grossi said, “Establishing a protection zone around a nuclear power plant is as self evident as anything can be. How can you shell a nuclear power plant, for God’s sakes? And it is happening.”

Grossi pledged to carry out all verification missions without any political influence, and said it is essential to work with nuclear inspectors who are technologically capable.

“When you work in non-proliferation, you have to do it in the fundamental ethical belief that science should be used for good, always,” Grossi said, when asked what advice he would give youth considering going into his career field. “This is not a business for few, but a business for all,” noting that more people from a greater diversity of backgrounds are needed to enter the field in the future.

10:40 a.m.: Ukrainian authorities on Friday announced further rolling blackouts in and around the country’s largest cities amid ongoing Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure, The Associated Press reported.

The press service of Ukrenergo, the sole operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines, said in a statement that “emergency outages” of four hours a day or more had resumed in the Kyiv region.

The capital region’s governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, said on Telegram on Friday that residents could expect to see “tougher and longer” power outages compared to earlier in the war.

Oleg Syniehubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, announced on Telegram that daily one-hour power outages would begin Monday across the province, including the regional capital, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city.

He said the measures “are necessary to stabilize the power grid, because the enemy continues shelling (Ukraine’s) energy infrastructure.”

10:25 a.m.:

10:15 a.m.: Finland and Sweden are committed to joining the NATO military alliance simultaneously, the Nordic neighbors’ prime ministers said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Sweden and Finland launched their bids to join NATO in May in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but ran into objections from Turkey, which accuses the two of harboring what it says are militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other groups.

All NATO members except Turkey and Hungary have ratified the applications.

"It is very important for us, of course, that Finland and Sweden would join NATO hand in hand," Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters, adding that she had discussed Turkey's concerns with its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Prague recently.

9:50 a.m.:

9:20 a.m.: Ukraine’s finance minister says the country needs $38 billion a year for post-war reconstruction, The Kyiv Independent reported Friday.

The media organization reported Finance Minister Serhii Marchenko as saying that the Ukrainian government can take the funds necessary for Ukraine's reconstruction from the state budget, but it must look for other sources too.

"We are currently looking for resources for critical recovery... We are talking about roughly $38 billion a year," The Kyiv Independent quoted Marchenko as saying.

Marchenko also said the government could use Russian money which has been seized within Ukrainian territory for future repair works, it reported.

8:55 a.m.:

8:25 a.m.: Ukraine has shot down more than 300 Iranian Shahed-136 'kamikaze' drones so far, air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat told a briefing on Friday, Reuters reported.

The drones have become a key weapon in Russia's arsenal during its war in Ukraine and have often been used in the past month to target crucial energy infrastructure.

Iran has denied Ukrainian and Western accusations that it is supplying drones to Russia.

8:10 a.m.:

7:50 a.m.: Turkish defense company Baykar is planning to complete the construction of its manufacturing plant in Ukraine in two years, Reuters reported Friday, quoting its chief executive. The company became highly renowned for their drones' success in thwarting Russian forces.

The aerial drones supplied to Ukraine by Baykar were instrumental in Ukraine's defense against Russian armor and anti-aircraft systems in the first few weeks of the Russian invasion.

Its Bayraktar TB2 drone gained so much prominence with the public that Ukrainians composed a song about it and some allies launched unprecedented crowdfunded campaigns to buy more.

As part of an agreement between Turkey and Ukraine, signed just before Russia's Feb. 24 invasion, Baykar had agreed to build its second manufacturing plant in Ukraine.

7:35 a.m.: Ukrainian troops are targeting Russian-launched drones, fighter planes, and helicopters, using Soviet-era antiaircraft systems with limited radar capabilities. They also use Western-supplied, shoulder-launched missiles like the Stinger, but factors such as the weather can have a major impact on their effectiveness. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

7:10 a.m.: Sweden has ordered additional investigations to be carried out of the damage done last month to the two Nord Stream pipelines, the prosecutor in charge of the case said in a statement on Friday, according to Reuters.

Sweden and Denmark have both concluded that four leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2 were caused by explosions, but have not said who might be responsible. World leaders have called it an act of sabotage.

"I've decided together with the security police to carry out a number of additional investigations at the scene of the crime," lead prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said.

6:45 a.m.:

6:30 a.m.: The U.S. and its Western allies have dismissed Russia’s claims that banned biological weapons activities are taking place in Ukraine with American support, calling the allegation disinformation and fabrications, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador said Moscow will pursue a U.N. investigation of its allegations that both countries are violating the convention prohibiting the use of biological weapons.

The dispute came Thursday in the third U.N. Security Council meeting on Ukraine-related issues that Russia has called since Tuesday. This one focused on a 310-page document that Russia circulated to council members this week alleging there is “military biological” activity in Ukraine with support of the U.S. Defense Department.

The document includes an official complaint to the council, allowed under Article VI of the 1972 biological weapons convention, and a draft resolution that would authorize the Security Council to set up a commission to address Russia’s claims.

6:15 a.m.:

5:27 a.m.: According to the UK Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence update, "In the last six weeks there has been a clear move from Russian ground forces to transition to a long-term, defensive posture on most areas of the front line in Ukraine."

The Ministry added that, "This is likely due to a more realistic assessment that the severely undermanned, poorly trained force in Ukraine is currently only capable of defensive operations."

5:02 a.m.: The Associated Press reports that fighting is heating up around the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. The city has stayed in Ukrainian hands, stymying Moscow’s efforts to capture the entire Donbas region.

Taking Bakhmut would rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and allow Russian forces to press on to the key Ukrainian strongholds of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

According to the AP, the line of contact is now on the city’s outskirts, and mercenaries from the Wagner Group are leading the charge.

4:38 a.m.:

4:01 a.m.: Ukraine's military says Russia is massing troops on the right bank of the Dnieper River as both sides appear poised for what could be a key battle for the city of Kherson in Ukraine's south, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Oct. 28 that Moscow has sent in up to 1,000 recently mobilized soldiers to make up for personnel losses suffered at the hands of an ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson region.

Kherson, one of four partially occupied provinces that Russia proclaimed to have seized last month, controls the only land route to the Crimean Peninsula that Russia illegally annexed in 2014 and the mouth of the Dnieper that bisects Ukraine.

3:44 a.m.: AFP reports that evacuations from occupied Kherson, organized by Russia’s forces during a Ukrainian counter-offensive, have been completed, according to Sergei Aksyonov, the Moscow-appointed head of Crimea.

“The work to organize residents leaving the left side of the Dnipro (river) to safe regions of Russia is completed," Aksyonov said on Telegram late Thursday night.

3:30 a.m.: As Reuters reports, a Russian official’s threat to “strike” Western satellites aiding Ukraine could open an entirely untested area of international and space law.

Senior foreign ministry official Konstantin Vorontsov told the United Nations that, as a response to the “extremely dangerous trend” of Western satellites helping Ukraine, “Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike."

"There’s always been a sense that this could happen, but never has somebody actually said that they might do that out loud,” Michelle Hanlon, co-director of the University of Mississippi School of Law's Air and Space Law program, told Reuters.

In response to the threat, Iridium chief executive Matt Desch said that, “Space has gotten to be quite messy."

Ukraine relies on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink network of roughly 3,000 satellites to provide broadband internet. U.S. communications company Iridium’s satellite network aids communications devices across Ukraine and firms like the U.S. Maxar capture sophisticated satellite imagery of the war as it unfolds.

2:50 a.m.:

2:15 a.m.:

1:40 a.m.: On Friday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said that Seoul has not provided any lethal weapons to Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The statement came in response to a remark Russian President Vladimir Putin made at a conference in Moscow on Thursday. Putin had said that such a decision would destroy their bilateral relations.

"We have been in solidarity with the international community for peaceful, humanitarian aid to Ukraine and have not provided any lethal weapons, but that's in any regard a matter of our sovereignty," Yoon told reporters when asked about Putin's remark.

A U.S. ally, South Korea has maintained that it would not provide Ukraine with lethal aid, and has sought to avoid antagonizing Russia, both for economic reasons and the influence that Moscow can exert with North Korea.

12:47 a.m.:

12:15 a.m.: When Hurricane Ian tore through western Cuba in late September, causing an island-wide blackout, it left the government grappling with a deepening energy crisis and simmering discontent among Cubans, The Associated Press reported.

It also once again thrust the Caribbean island into the middle of an escalating tug-of-war between its seaside neighbor, the United States, and ally, Russia.

At a time when Cuba is urging the Biden administration to ease U.S. sanctions that it says stifle hurricane recovery efforts, Russian oil has flooded into the island, providing relief to debilitating blackouts.

Russia has shipped an estimated $352 million in oil to Cuba since the start of the Ukraine war, the biggest inflow from Russia this century and enough to cover about 40% of the shortfall in the island's supplies, according to independent estimates. The sales also potentially alleviated the weight of international sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

In an increasingly complex geopolitical situation, the island nation has been left with its hands tied.

12:05 a.m.:

Some material for this article came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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