Latest Developments in Ukraine: Oct. 17

2022-10-21 17:08:33 By : Ms. ANN PAN

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

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

Latest Developments in Ukraine: Oct. 17

11 p.m.: Canada announced new sanctions on Monday against 34 Russian journalists, actors and television presenters, as well as state-owned national TV Zvezda, calling them "propaganda agents" for their government, Agence France-Presse reported.

The list includes Vladimir Mashkov, best known in the West for his work in the films "Behind Enemy Lines" and "Mission Impossible," Pavel Gusev, editor-in-chief of the Moscow daily Moskovskij Komsomolets, and Kirill Kleimyonov, head of the news division at Russia's state-owned Channel One.

Ottawa accuses them of "spreading false narratives that serve as pretexts for the Russian regime's unjustifiable war" in Ukraine, according to a statement.

9:36 p.m.: The United States agrees with British and French assessments that Iran supplying drones to Russia would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers, U.S. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said, according to Reuters.

"Earlier today our French and British allies publicly offered the assessment that Iran’s supply of these UAVs (for) Russia is a violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231," Patel told reporters, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones. "This is something that we agree with."

Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.

​7:37 p.m.: Russia and Ukraine completed a prisoner swap Monday, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, The Associated Press reported.

It said 110 Russians who were freed included 72 seamen from commercial vessels held since February, while 108 Ukrainian female prisoners of war were handed over to Kyiv authorities, with two saying they wanted to stay in Russia.

The Ukrainian side confirmed the exchange but not that two Ukrainians decided to stay in Russia.

6:56 p.m.: The Pentagon is considering paying for Elon Musk's Starlink satellite network that helped restore communications in war-torn Ukraine, Politico reported on Monday, citing two U.S. officials involved in the discussions, Reuters reported.

SpaceX, which operates Starlink, and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

The most likely source of funding would be the U.S. Department of Defense Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, designed to support the country as it fights Russia, the report added.

The move comes after Musk on Friday said SpaceX could not indefinitely fund Starlink in Ukraine, but quickly backtracked over the weekend to assert the rocket company would continue to fund the service in the country.

5:23 p.m.: The Belarusian defense ministry said on Monday it will conduct live fire exercises and anti-aircraft guided missile launches as part of its joint grouping with Russian forces, Reuters reported, citing Interfax. "Military units from the formations are planned to be deployed at four training ranges of the Republic of Belarus in the eastern and central part of the country, after which they will start conducting combat training activities," Interfax quoted a Minsk defense official as saying. The Belarusian defense ministry said last week that Russian troops would deploy to the country to form a new "regional grouping" amid claims from Minsk that Ukraine is preparing to attack its territory. Belarus has offered no evidence of Ukraine's aggressive intentions. Belarus is a close Russian ally that has provided logistical and political support to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. 4:37 p.m.:

4:07 p.m.: Prague and other Czech cities are donating old trams and buses to war-torn Ukraine where public transit systems across the country have been damaged by Russian bombing. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

3:18 p.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ordered ministers Monday to prepare to keep all of the country’s three remaining nuclear plants running until mid-April, putting his foot down on an issue that had threatened to split his three-party government, The Associated Press reported. The decision comes as Germany tries to prevent a possible energy crunch due to cuts in fuel supplies from Russia over the war in Ukraine. Scholz’s office said he announced the decision in a letter to the Cabinet, an unusual move reflecting the deep divisions that had riven his junior coalition partners on the issue in recent weeks. 2:30 p.m.:

2 p.m.: Discussions will continue on extending and expanding a U.N.-brokered deal allowing Ukrainian Black Sea grain exports, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday, after U.N. officials held “positive and constructive” discussions in Moscow on the deal, Reuters reported.

The July deal has allowed more than 6 million metric tons of grains and other foods to be exported and could expire next month.

U.N. trade official Rebeca Grynspan and U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths met on Sunday and Monday with Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, Dujarric said.

Grynspan also held discussions with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov on facilitating exports of Russian grain and fertilizer to global markets and Griffiths met with Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexander Fomin to discuss more effective implementation of the deal.

Facilitating Russia’s food and fertilizer shipments is a central aspect of a package deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 that also restarted Ukraine’s Black Sea grain and fertilizer shipments.

Russia has criticized the deal, complaining that its exports were still hindered. Moscow could object to extending the pact allowing Ukraine’s exports beyond late November.

1:40 p.m.: A Russian fighter plane crashed into a residential building in the southern Russian city of Yeysk on Monday, engulfing apartments in flames, the regional governor said, Reuters reported.

Footage showed a large fireball erupting from a multi-story building. Russian news agencies said the pilots had ejected.

Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said the plane was a Sukhoi Su-34, a supersonic medium-range fighter-bomber.

RIA news agency said it crashed during a training flight from a military airfield. TASS said the crash was caused by an engine fire.

12:45 p.m.: Moscow's mayor said on Monday that military mobilization in the Russian capital was now complete while St. Petersburg sacked the official in charge there, the latest sign of problems with the unpopular and chaotic draft for the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin thanked Muscovites for their sense of patriotism and told departing soldiers in a blog post: "We will hope and pray that you return alive and healthy."

He said mustering points in the capital were closing on Monday afternoon and draft papers previously issued to men who had not yet reported for duty would no longer be valid. Opposition activists reacted skeptically on social media.

State-owned news agency RIA reported that St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov had sacked the official in charge of the call-up there, but it did not give a reason for his removal.

12:10 p.m.: Belarus is to host a total of 9,000 Russian troops and 170 tanks as part of a new joint Russian-Belarusian military force, The Associated Press reported.

That’s according to Belarusian defense ministry officials Monday.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced the formation of the new force last week. He said it was being created in response to Ukraine plotting an attack on its ex-Soviet neighbor in the north. Lukashenko didn’t provide any evidence to back up his claim.

Moscow has used Belarus as a staging ground for its full-scale invasion and regular rocket attacks, but Belarusian troops have not been directly involved in Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

Lukashenko’s statements stoked fears that the joint force would attack Ukraine from the north, aiming to disrupt corridors used to transport Western-supplied weapons across the country.

Belarusian military officials, however, insisted that the force was being created for defensive purposes only.

As Russian soldiers were deploying in Belarus, Belarusian authorities arrested at least four activists they accused of plotting terrorist attacks to sabotage the operation.

11:35 a.m.: The United States and Britain will further their cooperation on sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine as well as on other targets, top financial officials for the two allied nations said in a joint statement on Monday, Reuters reported.

"Over time, we expect to realize the benefits of our collaboration not only in relation to the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also across other common sanctions regimes," Andrea Gacki, the head of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, and Giles Thomson, the head of Britain's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, wrote. 11:20 a.m.:

11:05 a.m.: A top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is blaming Iran for the death of Ukrainians in Russian drone strikes, The Associated Press reported.

Mikhailo Podolyak also warned that sanctions may not be enough to deter Tehran from supplying Moscow’s forces with the deadly suicide drones that killed at least four civilians in Kyiv on Monday.

“A country that oppresses its own people is now giving (Russian) monsters weapons for mass murders in the heart of Europe,” Mikhailo Podolyak tweeted.

He said there could be no “concessions to totalitarianism.”

Podolyak also called for the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations to expel Russia from the organization.

10:40 a.m.: European Union countries generally agree that sanctions should be imposed on Iran if investigation proves the country provided Russia with drones used in attacks in Ukraine, the Polish foreign minister said on Monday after meeting his counterparts in Brussels, according to Reuters.

Earlier Monday, the EU’s top diplomat said the bloc is seeking concrete evidence for any Iranian involvement in Russia's war on Ukraine.

"We will look for concrete evidence about the participation (of Iran in the Ukraine war)," Josep Borrell told reporters as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, adding Ukraine's Dmytro Kuleba would take part in the gathering.

Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.

10:10 a.m.: Elena Mazur rushed to the blast site of a Russian drone attack in Kyiv on Monday when she received a phone call from her mother saying she was trapped under the wreckage of a residential building, Reuters reported.

"Please find someone to help me urgently! I'm buried under the rubble," Mazur, 52, cited her mother as saying as Mazur later stood near a ruined building where rescuers were digging.

She was still looking for her mother.

"We asked, we were told someone was taken to hospital, it might have been her but we do not know. She is not picking up the phone," Mazur said.

Hours earlier, residents of several Ukrainian cities had scrambled for cover for the second time in a week as Russia launched attacks with drones and missiles, striking residential areas and energy infrastructure.

Four people, including a woman who was six months pregnant and her partner, were killed when a "kamikaze" drone hit a block of flats on the edge of Kyiv's central Shevchenkivskyi district, the city mayor said.

9:35 a.m.: Ukraine’s capital is reeling from a Russian barrage of suicide drones packed with explosives, which killed at least three people, The Associated Press reported.

The blasts set fire to Kyiv buildings and sent people scurrying to air raid shelters. Some tried to shoot down the kamikazes.

One of the drones slammed into a residential building, killing three people, according to the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

Energy facilities were also targeted as Moscow tries to disrupt Ukraine’s heating supply as winter approaches.

The Russian military said they used “long-range air and sea-based high precision weapons” to strike Ukraine’s military and energy facilities.

The attack came a week after Russia unleashed its most widespread strikes against the country in months and as Moscow struggles to halt a Ukrainian battlefield counteroffensive.

Kyiv’s daily life soon resumed in a city that has become grimly accustomed to attacks.

9:10 a.m.: President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has set Russia on a path towards turmoil that could unseat the Kremlin chief, trigger civil war or even break the country apart, said a Russian diplomat who resigned over the war, Reuters reported.

Boris Bondarev, a counsellor at Russia's permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva, resigned in May because he felt the war had shown just how repressive and warped his homeland had become.

In a 6,500 word critique of Putin's Russia, Bondarev said the state was infested by sycophantic "yes men" who repeated the Kremlin's line, allowing Putin to make crucial decisions in an echo chamber of his own propaganda.

The future could be laced with chaos, he said.

"If Putin is kicked out of office, Russia’s future will be deeply uncertain," Bondarev, who worked at the foreign ministry from 2002 to 2022, said in an essay in Foreign Affairs. 8:50 a.m.:

8:40 a.m.: The European Union on Monday approved a military training mission in Europe for thousands of Ukrainian troops and a plan to provide around 500 million euros ($486 million) in extra funds to help buy weapons for the war-torn country, The Associated Press reported.

The mission, which will have a headquarters in Brussels and be under the command of French naval officer Vice Adm. Herve Blejean, will initially run for two years with a budget of almost 107 million euros ($104 million).

EU headquarters said in a statement that the mission’s aim is to allow the Ukrainian armed forces to “effectively conduct military operations,” so that Ukraine can “defend its territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, effectively exercise its sovereignty and protect civilians.”

It said that the EU will provide “individual, collective and specialized training.” Countries that aren’t part of the bloc will be allowed to take part in the training effort. The aim initially is to train about 15,000 Ukrainian troops, chiefly in Poland and Germany.

It’s hoped that the mission will be up and running by mid-November.

Several EU and NATO nations are already training Ukraine’s armed forces on a bilateral basis. Asked what added value the Brussels-headquartered mission would bring, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday that he’s “strongly convinced that putting together the capacities of the European armies we can offer a much better product.” 8:20 a.m.: Tajik authorities are investigating media reports that say at least two Tajik nationals were involved in a shooting spree at a military training base in Russia over the weekend that left at least 11 Russian men dead and at least 15 wounded, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The Tajik Interior Ministry told RFE/RL in a written statement on October 17 that "Tajikistan's embassy in Moscow is trying to clarify whether or not Tajik citizens were involved in the deadly shooting."

Meanwhile, relatives of a 24-year-old Tajik man, Ehson Aminzoda, told RFE/RL that Russian authorities had identified him as one of the men who opened fire on October 15 during military training near the Russian city of Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine.

Ehson Aminzoda's older brother, Firuz, who resides and works in Moscow, told RFE/RL on October 17 that Russian authorities had informed him that his brother was identified as one of the shooters. 8:05 a.m.:

7:50 a.m.: The U.S. embassy in Kyiv condemned Russian attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities on Monday and said the United States stood with the Ukrainian people, Reuters reported.

"More desperate and reprehensible Russian attacks this morning against civilians and civilian infrastructure. We admire the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people. We will stand with you for as long as it takes," the embassy wrote on Twitter.

7:15 a.m.: Germany will end a program aimed at helping Ukrainian refugees exchange their hryvnia currency into euros on October 30, Reuters reported, citing a joint statement from the finance ministry and the central bank.

The move has been agreed with Ukraine's central bank, they said on Monday. Brisk demand has diminished considerably, and only very few transactions have been carried out recently, according to the statement.

7:05 a.m.: NATO on Monday began its long-planned annual nuclear exercises in northwestern Europe, as tensions simmer over the war in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use any means to defend Russian territory, The Associated Press reported. Fourteen of NATO’s 30 member countries were due to take part in the exercises, dubbed Steadfast Noon, which the military alliance said would involve around 60 aircraft including fighter jets and surveillance and refueling planes, and will run until October 30. The exercises involve fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but do not involve any live bombs. The bulk of the war games will be held at least 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) from Russia’s borders. The exercises were planned before Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in February. Russia usually holds its own annual maneuvers around the same time, and NATO is expecting Moscow to exercise its nuclear forces sometime this month. 6:55 a.m.: NATO said Monday that Neptune Strike is underway and described it as a “multi-domain exercise, organized and conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces.” The exercise is being conducted between October 14-28 in the Mediterranean Sea. This is in addition to NATO’s annual nuclear exercise, Steadfast Noon, which began Monday in northwestern Europe and will continue until October 30.

6:40 a.m.: At least six people were killed by Russian attacks on the capital and the eastern region of Sumy, Ukraine officials said Monday, after dozens of drones were launched at Kyiv, Agence France-Presse reported. "As of now, the number of people killed as a result of a kamikaze drone attack on a residential building has increased to three. Nineteen people have been rescued. [Rescue] work is ongoing," the deputy head of the presidency, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on social media. In the eastern region of Sumy, the regional governor meanwhile said three people had been killed and several more were injured. "At 5:20 [0220 GMT] in the morning, three Russian rockets hit a facility of civil infrastructure. At least three people died. Nine are injured. There are still people under the rubble," Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said on social media. Prime Minister Denys Shmygal earlier said Russian strikes had hit energy facilities in Sumy and the central Dnipropetrovsk region, where, according to the presidency, attacks had left some people killed and injured. 6:25 a.m.: Ukraine’s agriculture ministry data showed on Monday that Ukrainian grain exports in the first 17 days of October were just 2.4% lower than in the same period of 2021 despite the closure of several seaports and the Russian invasion, Reuters reported. The country's grain exports have slumped since February as the war closed off Ukraine's Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East. Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The ministry's data showed that Ukraine has exported 2.12 million tons of grain, mostly corn and wheat, so far in October, versus 2.17 million tons in the same period of October 2021. The data also showed that Ukraine has exported a total of 10.8 million tons of grain so far in the 2022/23 July-June season compared with 16.5 million in the same period of 2021/22. This season's volume includes 3.99 million tons of wheat, 5.88 million tons of corn and 896,000 tons of barley. 6:10 a.m.: Russian kamikaze drones hit tanks with sunflower oil at one of the terminals in the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv late on Sunday, the city mayor said on Monday. One of Ukraine's largest ports, Mykolaiv halted shipments at the start of the Russian invasion, but Ukraine is pushing to open the port to expand shipments of food under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. "In Mykolaiv, three drones hit an object of industrial infrastructure, where tanks with sunflower oil were ignited," Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Senkevich.

6 a.m.: Russia's defense ministry said on Monday it had carried out a large-scale attack on military targets and energy infrastructure across Ukraine using high-precision weapons, Reuters reported.

In its daily briefing the defense ministry said it had hit "all designated targets" in the latest bombardment of Ukrainian cities and also thwarted an attempt by Ukraine to breach its defenses in the southern Kherson region.

Several people were killed in Russian air attacks on Ukrainian cities on Monday, Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said.

"During the day, Russia's armed forces continued to strike with high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons at military command facilities and Ukraine's energy system. All designated objects were hit," the Russian defense ministry said.

Russia has escalated its missile strikes across Ukraine after an explosion hit a landmark bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula earlier this month.

Following that blast, Russia unleashed its largest missile attacks since the start of the invasion, hitting targets in more than a dozen cities and regions across the country, and has launched several follow-up missile strikes in the days since.

5:30 a.m.: The new United Nations human rights chief, who took office on Monday as Russian drones struck the Ukrainian capital, said attacks on civilians in Ukraine had to stop.

"We have received reports from our colleagues on the ground about these drone attacks and it is absolutely important that...civilians are not targeted, this is very difficult in densely populated urban areas," Volker Turk of Austria, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

Respecting international human rights law and humanitarian law was "absolutely critical, so the big call is to de-escalate," he told reporters.

A new wave of Russian drone attacks hit Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities on Monday, causing people to scramble for cover during the morning rush hour for the second successive week.

Turk, a U.N. veteran who had been a senior aide to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, succeeded Chile's Michelle Bachelet, whose term ended on August 31.

5 a.m.: Ukraine's air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said on Monday that they have destroyed 37 Russian drones since Sunday evening, around 85-86% of the number involved in attacks, Reuters reported.

"That's quite a good result for the work of our air defenses and that number will rise in the future," he told a news briefing, adding that all the drones had flown into Ukraine from the south.

4:30 a.m.: Iran said on Monday that it had not provided Russia with drones to use in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

"The published news about Iran providing Russia with drones has political ambitions and it's circulated by western sources. We have not provided weaponry to any side of the countries at war," said Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani during a weekly press conference.

4:15 a.m.: Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said after a new wave of Russian drone attacks on Ukrainian cities on Monday that Russia should be expelled from the Group of 20 major economies and other international groups.

"Those who give orders to attack critical infrastructure to freeze civilians and organize total mobilization to cover the frontline with corpses, cannot sit at the same table with leaders of G20 for sure. Time to put an end to Russian hypocrisy. The Russian Federation must be expelled from all platforms," he wrote on Twitter.

4 a.m.: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday that Russia had launched a barrage of drone and missile attack across his country but that the attacks would not "break" Ukrainians, Agence France-Presse reported.

"All night and all morning, the enemy terrorizes the civilian population. Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine. The enemy can attack our cities, but it won't be able to break us," he said.

He confirmed a residential building in Kyiv had been hit, after the mayor of the capital said two people had been trapped under the rubble.

3:30 a.m.: The European Union is seeking concrete evidence for any Iranian involvement in Russia's war on Ukraine, Reuters reported Monday, citing the bloc's top diplomat.

Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.

"We will look for concrete evidence about the participation (of Iran in the Ukraine war)," Josep Borrell told reporters as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, adding Ukraine's Dmytro Kuleba would take part in the gathering.

The EU could decide to move towards imposing new sanctions against Iran over the matter, according to two diplomats involved in preparing talks among the ministers, though no detailed decisions were expected on Monday.

Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said the EU should react strongly to new air attacks on Kyiv where drones struck buildings near a central railway station during rush hours on Monday morning.

"What we can see now: Iranian drones are used apparently to attack in the middle of Kyiv, this is an atrocity," Kofod said, saying the EU had to take "concrete steps" in response to that, as well as Tehran cracking down on protesters at home.

3:15 a.m.: Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was disconnected from the national power grid on Monday following Russian shelling, prompting backup diesel generators to kick in, state nuclear energy firm Energoatom said.

"Russian terrorists once again shelled critical infrastructure substations in Ukraine-controlled territory, resulting in the shutdown of the last 750 kV ZNPP-Dniprovska communications line at 03:59," it said in a statement.

Russian forces have occupied the plant in southern Ukraine, Europe's largest, since shortly after invading Ukraine nearly eight months ago but it is operated by Ukrainian staff.

3 a.m.: Ukrainian army spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said that Russians have begun the evacuation of "state institutions" from the Kherson region to Crimea, according to The Associated Press.

He added that due to the mobilization of medical workers, civilians are being denied medical care in the Belgorod region.

Shtupun said the Ukrainian army carried out 20 strikes over the past day.

"Seventeen areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, as well as four positions of the enemy's anti-aircraft missile systems, were confirmed to have been hit", he said.

2:25 a.m.: Multiple explosions hit Ukraine's capital Monday, with the head of the Ukrainian president's office saying Russian forces had attacked using Iranian-made drones.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klichko said blasts took place in the central Shevchenko district, the same area where Russian missiles struck last week as part of widespread airstrikes across the country.

Klichko said Monday's attack damaged several apartment blocks and sparked a fire in a non-residential building.

Andrii Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, attributed the attacks to so-called kamizake drones, a tactic Russia has used recently to crash drones into a target.

Last week's attacks interrupted a long stretch of relative quiet in Kyiv.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said those strikes and the ones elsewhere were in retaliation for an attack on a key bridge linking Crimea to Russia.

1:45 a.m.: In response to the morning attacks on the city of Kyiv, Ukrainians are seeking shelter in basements and subway stations, according to multiple media reports. The targets of the attacks included the headquarters of Ukraine's national energy utility, Ukrainian officials said, according to The New York Times.

12:34 a.m.: Logistical issues faced by Russian forces in southern Ukraine have become more acute following damage to a key bridge to Crimea on October 8, a British intelligence update said on Monday.

"With the Russian presence in Kherson strained, and the supply routes through Crimea degraded, the ground line of communication through Zaporizhzhia Oblast is becoming more important to the sustainability of Russia’s occupation," the U.K. Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin.

Russian forces in southern Ukraine are likely increasing logistical supply flow via Mariupol in an attempt to compensate for the reduced capacity of the bridge, the update said.

12:05 a.m.: Daniel Boffey, The Guardian's chief reporter, tweeted about three Kamikaze drone strikes in Kyiv.

12:05 a.m.: Pope Francis said the need to reform the United Nations was "more than obvious" after the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war exposed its limits, in an extract of his new book published Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse.

The Argentine pontiff said Russia's February invasion of Ukraine highlighted the need to ensure the current multilateral structure — especially the U.N. Security Council — finds "more agile and effective ways of resolving conflicts."

"In wartime, it is essential to affirm that we need more multilateralism and a better multilateralism," but the U.N. is no longer fit for "new realities," he added in an extract published by La Stampa daily.

The organization was founded to prevent the horrors of two World Wars from happening again, but although the threat represented by those conflicts was still alive, "today's world is no longer the same," said Francis.

Latest Developments in Ukraine: Oct. 17

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