Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War

Oct 20, 2022, 1:49 AM | Updated: 2:06 pm
FILE -  Volunteers work to clean the debris on a site where several houses were destroyed after a R...

FILE - Volunteers work to clean the debris on a site where several houses were destroyed after a Russian attack at a residential area in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. Russia has declared its intention to increase its targeting of Ukraine’s power, water and other vital infrastructure in its latest phase of the nearly 8-month-old war. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

(AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine says the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the country has new dimensions.

That includes dealing with the acute needs of people as winter approaches, getting to newly accessible areas in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions and dealing with people traumatized by the war.

Denise Brown said Thursday that many Ukrainians displaced by the war are in “collective centers” like universities, training centers and former orphanages that aren’t well equipped for winter.

Brown says helping people in newly accessible areas in Kharkiv and Kherson is “extremely complicated” because of land mines and other remnants of war.

She says the trauma of people who spent months mainly in bunkers and underground is acute and must also be dealt with long-term.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— Ukraine’s utilities threatened by Russia in war’s new phase

— EU leaders head into divisive summit on energy crisis

— US busts network providing technology to Russian military

— Russia asks Philippines to honor helicopter purchase deal

— Pence warns of ‘unprincipled populists,’ ‘Putin apologists’

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian army general staff says there is a heightened chance that Russian forces could launch an attack from Belarus to cut off supply routes for Western weapons and military equipment.

Oleksei Hromov, a deputy chief of the general staff’s main operational department, said Thursday that Russia was deploying aircraft and troops to air bases and military infrastructure facilities in Belarus.

“This time, the direction of the offensive may be changed to the west of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border to cut the main logistical arteries of the supply of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine from partner countries,” Hromov said.

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BRUSSELS — The European Union has imposed sanctions on Shahed Aviation Industries in Iran and three Iranian armed forces generals for undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity by helping supply drones to Russia for use in the war.

Russia is believed to have sent waves of Iranian-made Shahed drones over Ukraine to strike power plants and other key infrastructure.

In response, the EU imposed an asset freeze on the company, as well as an asset freeze and travel ban on the three officers who are also suspected of links to Iran’s drone program.

EU headquarters said in a statement that Thursday’s move “is a signal of the EU’s resolve to respond swiftly and decisively to Iran’s actions supporting Russian aggression against Ukraine. The EU condemns the delivery of Iranian drones to Russia and their deadly deployment in the war of aggression against Ukraine.”

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has rejected claims that it was sending missiles and drones to Russia for Russian forces to use in the invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Twitter Thursday that he has spoken on the phone with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the issue.

Amirabdollahian describes the claim Iran was sending missiles and drones to Russia as “baseless.” He adds that “we have defense cooperation with Russia, but without a doubt, sending weapons and drones against Ukraine is not our policy.”

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KYIV, Ukraine — More than 3,000 people have called a Ukrainian hotline for Russians who wish to surrender rather than fight, organizers say.

The line dubbed “I want to live” was launched in mid-September by the Ukrainian military authorities along with a Telegram chatbot. The idea was born after Ukraine recaptured areas in the Kharkiv region from Russia and wanted to give Russians a chance to give themselves up.

“We had the cases of Russians calling us when they weren’t drafted yet,” project spokesperson Vitalii Matvienko told the Associated Press. “Now there are more calls from recently drafted soldiers.”

Matvienko said operators have received calls from men in tears, lost because they didn’t want to participate in the war and feared being drafted. The number of calls rises every time there is a Ukrainian counteroffensive somewhere, he said.

Matvienko said Russia has blocked the project website but hasn’t managed to stop the word from spreading.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine has launched a power-saving campaign following Russian strikes on energy infrastructure.

Starting Thursday, Ukrainians are being asked to reduce power usage from 7 a.m.-11 a.m..

Rolling blackouts may also occur as the country tries to response to an increasing number of repairs needed to power stations and other facilities damaged by Russian shelling.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say at least three civilians were killed and 14 wounded overnight in shelling across the country.

The Russian military overnight fired drones and missiles at eight regions in the southeastern part of the country, the president’s office said.

The attack on southcentral city of Kryvyi Rih damaged an energy facility and a plant, leaving the city without electricity.

“Now every illuminated business sign, billboard or washing machine can lead to serious emergency shutdowns,” regional Gov. Valentin Reznichenko said.

The city is President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown and an industrial center.

Fighting continued in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions that were recently illegally annexed by Russia.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Thursday that Russia’s war in Ukraine has “entered an even more serious phase,” and that the security political situation in Europe has become more tense after Nord Stream gas pipelines were damaged in the Baltic Sea.

“It has moved closer to us in Norway,” Gahr Støre and added that “nuclear weapons must never be used. A nuclear war can’t be won and mustn’t be fought. The Russian regime also knows that.”

Gahr Støre said that when a neighbor threatens to use nuclear weapons, it naturally creates fear. And should there be radioactive fallout in Norway, “we have good nuclear preparedness.”

NATO-member Norway’s has a nearly 200-kilometer (around 125-mile) border with Russia in the Arctic.

Gahr Støre told a news conference that there was no direct military threat to Norway.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces have hit anew industrial and energy facilities in central Ukraine, pressing with attacks on infrastructure.

Russia has declared its intention to increase its targeting of Ukraine’s power, water and other vital infrastructure in its latest phase of the nearly 8-month-old war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Moscow’s forces have destroyed 30% of the country’s power stations since Oct. 10.

The latest attacks overnight this night in Kryvyi Rih region, Dnipropetrovsk region, inflicting damage, according to regional administrator Valentyn Reznichenko.

He gave no other details.

Russian forces also struck a school in Zaporizhzhia region early on Thursday, the deputy head of the president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko on Telegram.

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BRUSSELS — European Union leaders head into a two-day summit with opposing views if and how the bloc could impose a gas price cap to contain the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its strategy to choke off gas supplies to the bloc.

The need for rock-solid EU unity in confronting Russia will be underscored by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He is set to address the 27 national leaders by video conference from Kyiv asking for continued help to get his nation through the winter.

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BERLIN — Chancellor Olaf Scholz is underlining Germany’s concerns about the idea of a cap on natural gas prices, which many other European Union nations are prepared to embrace.

Scholz told Germany’s Parliament before an EU summit starting later Thursday that “a politically set price cap always carries the risk that producers then sell their gas elsewhere — and we Europeans ultimately don’t get more gas, but less.”

He said the EU must consult closely with other gas consumers, such as Japan and South Korea, so that they don’t compete with each other; and that it’s important to talk with gas producers about “an appropriate price.”

Scholz added: “I am convinced that countries such as the U.S., Canada or Norway, which stand by Ukraine in solidarity together with us, have an interest in energy in Europe not becoming unaffordable.”

The German leader said that the best answer to short energy supplies is to expand renewable energy quickly. But he said that in order to replace Russian gas, “we must also work with countries where there is a possibility to develop new gas fields,” within countries’ commitments under the Paris climate accord.

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BERLIN — Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Germany will train a brigade of up to 5,000 Ukrainian troops as part of a European Union training mission approved earlier this week.

The EU on Monday approved the mission, which will run for two years initially. Its immediate aim is to train about 15,000 troops, chiefly in Poland and Germany, and it’s hoped that the mission will be up and running by mid-November.

Scholz told lawmakers in Berlin on Thursday that one of the headquarters will be in Germany and “by spring, we will train a complete brigade with up to 5,000 soldiers.”

He said that “with this, we are underlining are readiness to participate in the long-term building of strong Ukrainian armed forces, hand in hand with our partners.”

Scholz also says “scorched-earth” tactics won’t help Russia win its war in Ukraine and stressed that “deliberate attacks on the civilian population are war crimes.”

“They only strengthen the determination and staying power of Ukraine and its partners,” said Scholz. “Russia’s bomb and missile terror is ultimately an act of desperation, just like the mobilization of Russian men for the war.”

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War