Russia-Ukraine war: at least three people killed in Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia apartments – latest | Ukraine

 Russia-Ukraine war: at least three people killed in Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia apartments – latest | Ukraine

Third death confirmed in Zaporizhzhia

Ukrainian emergency services said that a total of three bodies have been pulled from rubble after a Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.

Other residents are trapped under rubble, the regional governor and emergency services said.

Key events

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the UK’s Labour opposition party, has issued the following statement on Prime Minister Liz Truss’ visit to Europe:

I think it’s very important that the opportunity is taken to reassert and re-emphasise the unity of response that we have in relation to (Vladimir) Putin’s aggression and imperialism and I think that’s the single most important thing in relation to the meeting today.

Whatever other issues we have with the government, in the UK, I’ve made it clear there will be no political divide in our support for Ukraine, and standing up against Putin’s imperialism.

Helena Smith

Helena Smith

The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has reassured his Ukrainian counterpart that Athens is in lockstep with its EU and Nato allies in strongly condemning Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

Using the inaugural meeting of the European Political Community in Prague to hold talks with Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, Mitsotakis said Greece would never recognise the change in borders, which he insisted was “in flagrant violation of international law”. Instead, he said, Greece saw the regions as an integral part of Ukraine and fully backed today’s EU council decision to impose a new package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia.

Mitsotakis and his centre-right government have said persistently that Greece has elected to be on the “right side of history” by supporting Ukraine after Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion on 24 February. Support has included using the strategic port of Alexandroupolis, in north-east Greece, for the shipment by US armed forces of military material to Ukraine.

What were once traditionally strong ties with fellow Orthodox Moscow have been badly strained in the process. This week, Greece’s anti-money laundering authority confirmed it was also investigating what the Kathimerini newspaper described as the “suspicious transfer” of large funds from Russia to the all-male monastic republic of Mount Athos, where monies had been directed to Moscow-friendly monasteries and monks. Several senior Russian officials have visited the Mount in recent months.

Reuters has a quick snap that Volodymyr Zelenskiy has asked Ukrainian parliament to approve banker Andriy Pyshnyi as the new chairman of the country’s central bank. Earlier today, the parliament formally accepted the resignation of Kyrylo Shevchenko, who abruptly submitted his resignation on Tuesday, citing health reasons.

Third death confirmed in Zaporizhzhia

Ukrainian emergency services said that a total of three bodies have been pulled from rubble after a Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia.

Other residents are trapped under rubble, the regional governor and emergency services said.

Russia has submitted preliminary objections to a genocide case against Moscow brought by Ukraine.

The International Court of Justice, which is the UN’s highest court for disputes between states, has tweeted that it had received the objections on 3 October, but these have not been made public.

Parties can file preliminary objections if they believe the court does not have jurisdiction in a case. In a letter to the UN in March, Moscow argued that the ICJ did not have jurisdiction because the genocide convention does not regulate the use of force between states.

NEWS: on 3 October 2022, the Russian Federation submitted preliminary objections in the case concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (#Ukraine v. #Russia) before the #ICJ.

— CIJ_ICJ (@CIJ_ICJ) October 6, 2022

The filing signifies a change in Moscow’s attitude to the ICJ case. Russia is now engaging with the court, whereas it has previously skipped hearings and not filed documents directly with the court.

Ukraine filed a case with the ICJ shortly after Russia’s invasion began, saying Moscow’s justification, that it was acting to prevent a genocide in eastern Ukraine, was unfounded.

The next step in the case will be a hearing on the objections against the jurisdiction of the court. No date has been set yet, but it is expected to take place in several months’ time.

Reuters has a report on the problems that Russians opposed to the war in Ukraine or fearful of being sent to fight have encountered upon fleeing to Kazakhstan.

Worries about money, sudden large increases in housing costs in response to the Russian influx, and scarce jobs are compounded by pressures from family back home – some have even been accused by relatives of betraying their country.

And the scale of the exodus has given rise to concerns from some Kazakhs who see the incoming Russians as a potential economic burden and even a security risk.

Rents have soared in Kazakhstan and other central Asian nations – as well as Georgia, where some landlords have started adding a “no Russians” clause to their rental ads.

The Kazakh government said this week that more than 200,000 Russians had entered the country since Putin’s announcement, and 147,000 had since left.

No data is available on their final destinations, though some are thought to have headed to neighbouring former Soviet republics.

About 77,000 have registered in Kazakhstan’s national ID system, a prerequisite for getting a job or a bank account.

Uzbekistan’s government said on Tuesday it was strengthening border controls, with border guard troops to be involved in vehicle and cargo checks alongside customs officials.

Some Kazakh businesses have publicly announced job offers for those fleeing the Russian draft, but some of those offers explicitly stated they were aimed only at ethnic Kazakhs.

Reuters has posted a helpful summary of its Ukraine-related reporting from today:

  • Ukraine said its forces have retaken more settlements in Kherson, one of four partially Russian-occupied regions that President Vladimir Putin formally incorporated into Russia in Europe’s biggest annexation since the second world war.

  • A Russian rocket strike destroyed a five-storey apartment block in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least one woman and leaving other residents trapped under rubble, the regional governor said.

  • The bodies of two Russian soldiers lay bloating in trees on opposite sides of the road, close to the blasted hulks of the cars and the van in which Ukrainian army officers said the dead men’s unit was retreating into the eastern town of Lyman.

  • Dozens of firefighters doused blazes in a town near Kyiv after multiple strikes caused by what officials said were Iranian-made loitering munitions, often known as “kamikaze drones”.

  • Reuters was not immediately able to verify the battlefield reports.

  • Putin signed laws admitting the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Luhansk People’s Republic, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region into Russia in the biggest expansion of Russian territory in at least half a century.

  • He also said Russia would stabilise the situation in the regions, indirectly acknowledging the challenges it faces to assert its control.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, accused Russia on Thursday of “nuclear blackmail” over its seizure of the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine.

  • The Kremlin said it was preparing to welcome the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to Moscow soon.

  • Putin said he expected sanctions pressure on the Russian economy to intensify, in televised remarks from a meeting with government officials.

  • The European Union gave its final approval for a new batch of sanctions, the bloc’s executive arm said. They include more limits on trade with Russia in steel and tech products, and an oil price cap for Russian seaborne crude deliveries through European insurers to align the EU with Washington.

  • A crime scene investigation of the damages on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines has strengthened suspicions of “gross sabotage”, Swedish security police.

  • Alexander Novak, the Russian deputy prime minister, said Moscow might cut oil production to offset negative effects from price caps imposed by the west over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

  • Europe may limp through the cold winter months with the help of brimming natural gas tanks despite a plunge in deliveries from Russia, only to enter a deeper energy crisis next year, the head of the International Energy Agency said.

  • The Kremlin denied reports that 700,000 Russians had fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive to call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.

  • US intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorised a car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist, the New York Times reported.

The Opec+ group of leading oil producers decided to reduce output by 2 million barrels per day to stabilise the market, according to a Kremlin spokesperson.

Dmitry Peskov also said that by agreeing to reduce output, Opec+ has confirmed its credentials as an organisation responsible for market stability.

The Saudi-led Opec+ cartel at a Vienna meeting on Wednesday ignored pleas from the White House to keep oil flowing and agreed the cut, its deepest since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Separately, Peskov said that the Kremlin is preparing to welcome the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic energy agency (IAEA), to Moscow soon. The visit is likely to focus on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in southern Ukraine in territory that Russia has proclaimed its own.

He added that he understands there are no plans to invite Moscow to join an investigation into Nord Stream gas leaks. Nevertheless, Russia considers it is impossible to conduct such an investigation without Moscow’s participation.

Kremlin denies reports of Russians fleeing draft

The Kremlin has denied reports that 700,000 Russians have fled the country since Moscow announced a mobilisation drive that it said would call up hundreds of thousands to fight in Ukraine.

In a briefing with reporters, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he did not have exact figures for how many people had left the country since Vladimir Putin’s announcement on 21 September of a “partial mobilisation” that has called members of the general public up to the military.

During today’s Kremlin briefing, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was asked about Wednesday’s New York Times report, which revealed that United States intelligence agencies believed parts of the Ukrainian government authorised the car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist.

The report said that US officials feared this was an element of a covert campaign that could widen the conflict.

Peskov’s response was that Russian intelligence had always argued that Ukraine was behind the August killing of Darya Dugina so it was “positive” that the United States appeared to share that assessment.

Kyiv on Thursday rejected the claims it was involved in the attack.

Rachel Hall here taking over the blog – if there’s anything we’ve missed, do drop me a line.

Summary of the day so far …

  • Russia hit the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia with seven rockets, flattening an apartment building early on Thursday morning. The city’s authorities told Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Suspilne, that at least two had died and at least another five were trapped under the rubble, although later reports revised the death toll down to one. Rescue workers at the scene said they saved a three-year-old girl. Zaporizhzhia’s branch of Suspilne reported more explosions in the city at mid-morning Kyiv time.

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has appeared to admit severe losses in Ukraine, conceding the severity of the Kremlin’s recent military reversals and insisting Russia would “stabilise” the situation in four Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – it illegally claimed as its own territory last week. “We are working on the assumption that the situation in the new territories will stabilise,” Putin told Russian teachers during a televised video call on Wednesday.

  • The UN nuclear agency chief is en route to Kyiv to discuss creating a security zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, after Putin ordered his government to take it over. “On our way to Kyiv for important meetings,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head, Rafael Grossi, wrote on Twitter, saying the need for a protection zone around the site was “more urgent than ever”. Grossi is also expected to visit Moscow in the coming days to discuss the situation at the plant. The IAEA said it had learned of plans to restart one reactor at the plant, where all six reactors have been shut down for weeks.

  • Ukraine’s forces are pushing their advance in the east and south, forcing Russian troops to retreat under pressure on both fronts. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Ukraine’s military had made major, rapid advances against Russian forces in the past week, taking back dozens of towns in regions in the south and east that Russia has declared annexed. Military experts say Russia is at its weakest point, partly because of its decision not to mobilise earlier and partly because of massive losses of troops and equipment.

  • Ukraine has extended its area of control in the Kherson region by six to 12 miles, according to its military’s southern command. Zelenskiy confirmed the recapture of the villages of Novovoskresenske, Novohryhorivka and Petropavlivka, saying the settlements were “liberated from the sham referendum and stabilised”, in an address on Wednesday. Kherson region’s Moscow-appointed governor, Kirill Stremousov, said the withdrawal was a tactical “regrouping” to “deliver a retaliatory blow”. The extent of Russia’s retreat remains unclear.

  • Moscow’s forces have left behind smashed towns once under occupation and, in places, mass burial sites and evidence of torture chambers. In Lyman, which was retaken by Ukrainian forces on Sunday, more than 50 graves have been found, some marked with names, others with numbers, the Kyiv-based outlet Hromadske reported on Wednesday.

  • Leaders of 44 European countries on Thursday in Prague will send a clear signal of Russia’s isolation and try to create a new order without Moscow, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said this morning. “The meeting is looking for a new order without Russia,” he told reporters.

  • The UN has warned Russia’s claimed annexation of Ukraine territory will only exacerbate human rights violations. Christian Salazar Volkmann said UN experts had documented “a range of violations of the rights to life, liberty and security” and warned the situation would only worsen as Russia pushes forward with the annexation of some Ukrainian regions.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I am handing over to Rachel Hall. I will be back later on.

Here is a video clip showing some of the scenes in Zaporizhzhia after today’s attacks.

Russian missile destroys residential building in Zaporizhzhia – video

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has urged Nato to “demonstrate that they are not afraid of Russia”. During a video-link interview with the Lowy Institute in Australia on Thursday, Zelenskiy was asked whether he had received any response from Nato, and how quickly he expected the alliance to act on the application.

He said his key message was: “You don’t need to be afraid of anyone.”

Zelenskiy said it was important to build “security guarantees for the whole world so that nobody would have even a thought to become autocratic, and even if you’re autocratic that you shouldn’t have even a single thought that you can conquer the other territories or other nations”.

“For that, you must have to be united. And I think that without Ukraine, Nato is not such a strong alliance, particularly the European continent. I believe for the strength in the east of Europe this is a very important step. We can offer this chance to Nato. We are grateful for their support to Nato. We are giving this opportunity at a very important moment.”

Zelenskiy appealed for his Nato partners to show resolve.

“Not only Ukraine has to demonstrate its strengths to Russia, but the alliance has also to demonstrate that they are not afraid of Russia. It’s a question to Nato. But I know that everyone realises that security guarantees for Ukraine are something that is necessary. And I think we are on that path. We shall definitely take this path. How fast it’s going to be, unfortunately, it depends not only on Ukraine.”

Zelenskiy announced last week that Ukraine was officially applying for membership of Nato, after Vladimir Putin said he was annexing four Ukrainian provinces.

Maria Zakharova is giving her weekly press briefing for Russia’s foreign ministry. So far she has stated that it would be impossible to investigate the damage to the Nord Stream pipelines without Russian involvement, and accused Denmark of being unwilling to cooperate and said that the west was creating obstacles to the repair work.

She criticised Ukraine’s contribution to the grain export deal, saying it was depriving grain exports to poorer countries, and denied claims that Russia had damaged grain silos or agricultural land, reiterating that the armed forces of the Russian Federation only target military infrastructure.

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