LIVE – Updated at 19:31

Russian troops taking vehicles, art and even religious artefacts from Kherson; UK says Russia struggling to train new recruits.

A summary of today’s developments

19:31
  • Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.

  • President Zelenskiy dismissed talk of limited Iranian supplies to Russia, saying Kiev had downed 11 drones on Friday alone. He said: “If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation.”

  • Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said Iran “should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support”.

  • Russian troops have been looting Kherson ahead of a potential withdrawal. The things taken range from art and cultural exhibits to ambulances and tractors.

  • Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro River.

  • There is increasing speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.

  • A 24-hour curfew was imposed in Kherson city.

  • Russian troops are allegedly searching for residents in Kherson who are refusing to evacuate, before its forces potentially withdraw from the west bank of the Dnieper River.

  • External power has been restored to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant two days after it was disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged high voltage lines, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

Other developments from the conflict

  • The Nato general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, has said he does not believe Russia will use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

  • The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.

  • Scheduled power cuts will take place today in seven oblasts, regions of Ukraine, and major cities including its capital, Kyiv. Other areas affected are Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy and Poltava.

  • About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.

  • There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk, on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.

  • The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.

  • At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced a nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.

 

19:27

External power has been restored to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant two days after it was disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged high voltage lines, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

Both the plant’s external power lines were repaired and reconnection started on Friday afternoon, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said.

Grossi reiterated his call for the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant to prevent a nuclear accident, adding: “We can’t afford to lose any more time. We must act before it is too late.”

 

19:04
The artists of the Kharkiv Opera House hold a concert on the parking of a shopping mall due to the safety in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Kharkiv and surrounding areas have been the target of heavy shelling since February. Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA © Provided by The Guardian The artists of the Kharkiv Opera House hold a concert on the parking of a shopping mall due to the safety in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Kharkiv and surrounding areas have been the target of heavy shelling since February. Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA

 

19:04
People hold flags during a rally in support of Ukraine at Arco Della Pace in Milan, Italy. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian People hold flags during a rally in support of Ukraine at Arco Della Pace in Milan, Italy. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

 

18:51

Residents of the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are living in dire conditions, with civilians killed and wounded daily, the deputy mayor said on Saturday, Reuters reports.

Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s military in its slow advance through the Donetsk region, one of the territories the Kremlin claims to have annexed after what Kyiv and the west say were sham referendums in September.

Kyiv’s military says the area is the site of some of the heaviest fighting with Russian forces, and the deputy mayor, Oleksandr Marchenko, said Russia’s troops were “trying to storm the city from several directions”.

Reuters could not independently confirm his account of the battlefield situation.

“With every day it’s becoming harder and harder to survive in this city,” Marchenko said.

He said more than 120 civilians have been killed in Bakhmut since Russia’s invasion.

“There are districts where we don’t know the exact number of people killed because active fighting is ongoing there or the settlements are temporarily occupied (by Russian forces),” he added.

Ukrainian troops are “firmly holding the frontline”, Marchenko said, while describing a deteriorating humanitarian situation facing the city, where the population has fallen from its pre-war level of about 80,000 to as low as 12,000 today.

“We’re holding on and hoping that the armed forces of Ukraine will be able to repel the enemy further from the city,” he said

 

18:48

President Zelenskiy dismissed talk of limited Iranian supplies to Russia, saying Kiev had downed 11 drones on Friday alone.

He said: “If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation.”

Separately, the US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted it was untrue that Iran had sent a few drones, Reuters reports.

“They transferred dozens just this summer and have military personnel in occupied Ukraine helping Russia use them,” he said.

 

17:46

Here is further information on the story about Alexander Nikulin, a judge in a Ukrainian town controlled by Moscow, being in a “serious” condition after surviving an assassination attempt.

Nikulin was on a judicial panel that in June sentenced to death two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and a Moroccan, Brahim Saadoune, who were fighting on the Ukrainian side.

The two Britons were captured in Ukraine but returned home in September.

Related: Judge in Russia-occupied Ukraine in ‘serious’ condition after assassination attempt

 

17:26

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Iran of lying about sending a limited number of drones to Russia.

He said Kyiv’s forces are shooting down at least 10 drones a day, Reuters reports.

 

17:03

German chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was heavily criticised for a trip to Beijing this week, said that getting Chinese President Xi Jinping to oppose the use of nuclear weapons over Ukraine had been reason enough travel there, Reuters reports.

 

16:40

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has highlighted the success of the United24 scheme, which was launched to collect donations for the country’s war effort.

He said the initiative has received $214m in donations since the war with Russia erupted back in February and has thanked benefactors.

 

16:19
Sixty-year-old nurse Tatyana inspects a damaged medical centre in close proximity to the frontline, in the northern Kherson region, Ukraine. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/EPA © Provided by The Guardian Sixty-year-old nurse Tatyana inspects a damaged medical centre in close proximity to the frontline, in the northern Kherson region, Ukraine. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/EPA

 

16:18
A Ukranian woman sits in a car with her family after they managed to flee from the Russian occupied territory of Kherson. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian A Ukranian woman sits in a car with her family after they managed to flee from the Russian occupied territory of Kherson. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images

 

16:17
A Ukranian woman speaks on a mobile phone as she sits in a car with her family after they managed to flee from the Russian occupied territory of Kherson, in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian A Ukranian woman speaks on a mobile phone as she sits in a car with her family after they managed to flee from the Russian occupied territory of Kherson, in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images

Summary

16:02

It’s just gone 6pm in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Here’s a round-up of today’s news from the war.

Iran admits supplying Russia with drones

  • Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has said that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.

  • Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko responded and said Iran “should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support.”

Evacuations continue from Kherson ahead of a potential Russian withdrawal

  • Russian troops have been looting Kherson ahead of a potential withdrawal. The things taken range from art and cultural exhibits to ambulances and tractors

  • Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro River.

  • There is increasing speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.

  • A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city.

  • Russian troops are allegedly searching for residents in Kherson who are refusing to evacuate, before its forces potentially withdraw from the west bank of the Dnieper River.

Other developments from the conflict

  • The Nato general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, has said he does not believe Russia will use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

  • The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.

  • Scheduled power cuts will take place today in seven oblasts, regions of Ukraine, and major cities including its capital, Kyiv. Other areas affected are Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy and Poltava.

  • About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.

  • There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk, on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.

  • The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.

  • At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced a nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.

That’s all from me today. My colleague Nadeem Badshah is taking over for the rest of the evening.

 

15:39

The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said he does not believe Russia will use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, during an interview with a Turkish television channel.

In an appearance on NTV, Stoltenberg said Russia’s behaviour was “irresponsible and reckless”.

According to the independent news website Meduza, he added: “The risk of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine is not great, but the consequences would be enormous, so we’re taking it very seriously … there are no winners in a nuclear war.”

 

15:19

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, has responded to Iran admitting it had supplied drones to Russia (see 10.47am).

Nikolenko refers to a claim made by Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, that Ukraine had pulled out of a meeting a fortnight ago about the use of drones.

In a post on Facebook, he said:

Iran’s foreign chief has publicly admitted that Tehran was supplying Russian combat drones allegedly months before its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Previously, Iran had extensively denied the supply of weapons to Russia, which it uses in the war.

The Iranian minister has spread insinuations about the Ukrainian side’s seemingly refusal to meet with Iranian experts under pressure from western partners.

Ukraine is taught to trust only facts. Therefore, the foreign ministry led by Dmitry Kuleba, as well as in close coordination with Ukrainian involved agencies, will continue to take maximum strict measures to prevent Russia’s use of Iranian weapons to kill Ukrainians and destroy our critical infrastructure.

Tehran should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support.

 

15:18

After the news about Odesa reviewing its Catherine II statue (see 2.16pm), Moscow’s occupying authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol said they had put a statue of Vladimir Lenin back up, seven years after it was taken down following Kyiv’s pro-EU revolution.

The Moscow-installed head of the Zaporizhzhia region, Vladimir Rogov, posted a photograph of workers in the city reinstating the tribute to the Bolshevik leader, Agence France-Presse reports.

“After seven years the statue to Vladimir Lenin has returned to its place in Melitopol,” he said.

Ukraine dismantled Lenin statues across the country after its 2014 revolution overthrew a Moscow-backed regime as part of its “de-communisation drive”.

It was seen as an effort to break away from Russian and Soviet influence. Moscow condemned the move.

Almost all cities in Russia have a statue of the founder of the Soviet Union in their central squares.

Melitopol fell to Moscow’s forces on 1 March.

 

14:48
A rocket crater in front of a house near the conflict’s frontline in northern Kherson, Ukraine on Saturday. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/EPA © Provided by The Guardian A rocket crater in front of a house near the conflict’s frontline in northern Kherson, Ukraine on Saturday. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/EPA

 

14:38
The monument to Catherine II in Odesa, after being vandalised by protesters. Photograph: Future Publishing/Ukrinform/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian The monument to Catherine II in Odesa, after being vandalised by protesters. Photograph: Future Publishing/Ukrinform/Getty Images

People in Odesa, the port city in the south of Ukraine have voted to dismantle a statue of the Russian empress Catherine II.

Another insight into the cultural dynamics in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, the city is home to thousands of Russian speakers. Its evolution as a city and location has meant it has a hybrid of Ukrainian and Russian influences.

Russian history has traditionally celebrated Catherine II, but she also destroyed the Cossack state and Zaporizhzhia. Russia’s invasion in February has prompted debates over the monument’s future.

It was doused in red paint in September and October, and an executioner’s hat has been put on it.

The voting took place on the Publicly Active Citizen platform, and a majority voted for the removal of the statue from Kateryninska Square. Odesa’s city council will now vote on it.

Euromaidan news agency has reported the city’s major, Hennadiy Trukhahov, saying: “I believe that the results of free voting on the Publicly Active Citizen platform will be taken into account by the representatives of the city council, who will make the final decision. Personally, I will vote for the dismantling of the monument and its transfer to the park of the imperial and Soviet past, the idea of which I talked about a few months ago.”

Russian troops loot Kherson as lines redrawn ahead of final battle for city

13:50 Luke Harding

Our correspondent Luke Harding, reporting from Kyiv, has written about how Moscow is deporting Kherson residents along with stolen art, tractors and cars as Ukraine’s forces close in.

“Things are disappearing in the Ukrainian city of Kherson at a rapid rate. Some are physical objects. Russian troops are taking away ambulances, tractors and stolen private cars. Cultural things are going too: archives, and paintings and sculptures from the art and local lore museums. Even the bones of Catherine the Great’s friend and lover, Grigory Potemkin, have been grubbed up from a crypt in St Catherine’s Cathedral and spirited away.”

Related: Russian troops loot Kherson as lines redrawn ahead of final battle for city

 

13:49

A judge in a Ukrainian town controlled by Moscow is in a “serious” condition after surviving an assassination attempt, a separatist leader in Donetsk said on Saturday.

“There was attempt with the use of firearms on a judge of the Supreme Court of the Donetsk Republic Alexander Nikulin,” the rebel leader of the self-proclaimed republic, Denis Pushilin, said on Telegram.

He blamed Kyiv, saying the attack took place on Friday evening in the town of Vuhlehirsk, in the eastern Donetsk region.

“The Ukrainian regime continues to show its vile terrorist methods,” Pushilin added, saying the judge had been “giving sentences to Nazi war criminals”.

“His condition is assessed by doctors to be stable but serious,” he added.

 

13:23
People demonstrate for peace and against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a protest in Rome, Italy on Saturday. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters © Provided by The Guardian People demonstrate for peace and against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a protest in Rome, Italy on Saturday. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

 

12:59

More than 250 captured Ukrainian national guard members have been released by Russia since the start of the war, according to the group.

In a tweet, it said that 268 soldiers had been freed in exchanges, including 24 women.

Russia searching for residents refusing to evacuate Kherson, says Ukraine

12:45

Russian troops are allegedly searching for residents in Kherson who are refusing to evacuate from the Russian-controlled territory, before its forces potentially withdraw from the west bank of the Dnieper River.

On Friday Vladimir Putin said people living in the Ukrainian province must evacuate. More than 60,000 have already been transported away from the frontlines by Russia.

An update from the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian forces were still trying to hold the captured area in the south of the country. It is still carrying out offensives towards Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novoplavlika.

The update also said infrastructure was being destroyed and the city was being looted.

 

12:16

Scheduled power cuts will take place today in seven oblasts, regions of Ukraine, and major cities including its capital, Kyiv.

“The consumption limits are necessary to … avoid repeated accidents after the power grids were damaged by Russian rocket and drone attacks,” state-owned grid operator Ukrenergo said in a Facebook post, according to the Kyiv Independent.

As well as Kyiv city and wider region, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy and Poltava oblasts will be affected.

Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been targeted by Russia in drone and missile strikes. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said “30-40% of its energy system” had been destroyed by Russia in an interview on 1 November.

Iran admits sending drones to Russia for first time

11:59

This from Reuters, reporting comments by Iran’s foreign minister, who says the country did supply drones to Russia but claimed that it happened before the invasion of Ukraine.

Iran has acknowledged for the first time that it supplied Moscow with drones but said they were sent before the war in Ukraine, where Russia has used drones to target power stations and civilian infrastructure.

The Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said a “small number” of drones were supplied to Russia a few months before Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine on 24 February. He denied Tehran was continuing to supply drones to Moscow.

“This fuss made by some western countries that Iran has provided missiles and drones to Russia to help the war in Ukraine – the missile part is completely wrong,” the official Irna news agency quoted him as saying. “The drone part is true and we provided Russia a small number of drones months before the Ukraine war.”

Read more:

Related: Iran says it supplied drones to Russia before Ukraine war began

 

11:57

The BBC’s international editor, Jeremy Bowen, has filed a dispatch from Mykolaiv, after spending days on the front line between the Ukrainian city and nearby Russian-held Kherson.

He says that Ukrainians are “serious” about the return of Kherson to its control.

The officials said Russian commanders could be preparing to pull back to the more defensible eastern side of the river, also known here as the left bank, taking advantage of its qualities as a formidable natural obstacle.

Since the summer Ukraine has run a media offensive about its plans to recapture Kherson. It telegraphed the announcement of its military plans so clearly that some analysts decided it was a feint to cover a rapid and successful offensive that recaptured a considerable amount of territory in north-east Ukraine.

However, one soldier told Bowen:

It’s very hard to make progress here. It is necessary to concentrate a large amount of force in one point to break through the frontline. Our job is to hold our position. We attack from time to time so that they don’t take their reserves and transfer them somewhere else.

It is very difficult and slow going. They control the sky. They’ve got much more military equipment, more people and more ammunition.

Their people are not trained, but they just go straight forward shouting ‘Hurrah’. We don’t have as many cartridges as they have people.

Summary

11:33

As it has just gone 1pm in Kyiv, here’s a roundup of today’s news in Ukraine – including Iran admitting for the first time that it supplied drones to Russia.

  • Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has said that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.

  • The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported. In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.

  • Vladimir Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro River. There is increasing speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.

  • A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has thanked the Netherlands, Czech Republic and US for the 90 T-72 tanks it will receive. They will come alongside a US aid package that includes funding to upgrade American Hawk air defence missiles. They have longer range than the Stinger anti-air missiles that have been sent to the country already.

  • About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.

  • There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk, on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.

  • The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours. The Guardian has not been able to verify the figures, and they differ from those provided by Russia. The latest update includes another 12 drones Ukraine has shot down, bringing the total to 1,462. Its army has killed about 75,440 soldiers, up from 74,840.

  • Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of Nato until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has told the head of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.

  • At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced a nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.

  • Ukraine’s state postal service has issued a commemorative wartime stamp dedicated to the strike on the Crimean Bridge last month.

 

11:24
A woman walks her dog during a blackout in Kyiv on Friday night. Photograph: Andrew Kravchenko/AP © Provided by The Guardian A woman walks her dog during a blackout in Kyiv on Friday night. Photograph: Andrew Kravchenko/AP

 

11:09

Ukrainian forces using captured weapons fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut on Friday as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.

Reuters reported that Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks against Bakhmut and nearby Avdiivka in the Donetsk region in the east but are being pushed back with what Kyiv says are heavy losses.

“Last week there was very intense fighting … there are a lot of them [Russians], both people and equipment,” said a soldier who gave his name only as Moriak, the Ukrainian word for sailor.

Reuters journalists saw a captured Russian T-80 tank and a 2S23 Nona SVK self-propelled mortar, now controlled by Ukrainian crews, firing at targets outside Bakhmut.

Ukraine’s military says both were seized in March and took months to be refitted. The eight-wheel Nona – commanded by Moriak – has a 120mm mortar capable of firing a maximum of 10 rounds a minute.

They left us this gift, and it has high, very high [precision], and it now works against them, it helps us push them away.

Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s armed forces in a slow advance through the Donetsk region since Russia took the industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July.

Ukrainian forces fire from a self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian Ukrainian forces fire from a self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

 

11:05

The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.

The figures have been released as part of its daily preliminary update of battlefield totals. The Guardian has not been able to verify them, and they differ from those provided by Russia.

The latest update includes another 12 drones Ukraine has shot down, bringing the total to 1,462. Its army has killed about 75,440 soldiers, up from 74,840.

 

11:02

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has thanked the Netherlands, Czech Republic and US for the 90 T-72 tanks it will receive.

They have been described as “the most advanced on the battlefield”, and come alongside a US aid package that includes funding to upgrade American Hawk air defence missiles. It has longer range than the Stinger anti-air missiles that have been sent to the country already.

Zelenskiy tweeted: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine are pushing forward and need this equipment. We value the help of partners. Together we stand for protection of freedom & democracy!”

 

10:59

Russia wants the west to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request, made during talks to extend a deal on food shipments from Ukraine.

Reuters reported that Moscow suspended its participation in the secure Black Sea grain corridor a week ago but rejoined after four days, easing fears of further disruptions to Ukrainian grain exports amid rampant global food inflation. President Vladimir Putin has reserved Russia’s right to halt the UN-brokered agreement again, while the UN chief, António Guterres, is pressing Moscow to agree to it being extended beyond its scheduled expiration on 19 November.

Russia has not detailed its demands publicly beyond calls to unblock Russian fertiliser stuck in European ports and warehouses and resume exports of ammonia – an important ingredient in fertiliser – through a Russia-Ukraine pipeline.

The four sources, who declined to be identified, said Russia was asking western countries to allow state lender Rosselkhozbank to restore its relations with correspondent banks despite western sanctions.

This would allow the bank, which has not had a major role in the international grain trade so far, to process payments for Russian grain and other foodstuffs, two of the sources added.

Before the latest sanctions, such payments were handled by international banks and subsidiaries of other Russian banks in Switzerland.

The sources did not say what response, if any, Russia had received to its proposals.

A UN source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said facilitation of payments for Russian food and fertiliser through Rosselkhozbank was being discussed with the EU and other parties.

A Ukrainian serviceman in front of grain silos at the Black Sea port of Odesa in July. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters © Provided by The Guardian A Ukrainian serviceman in front of grain silos at the Black Sea port of Odesa in July. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

 

09:43

About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.

Counties including Slovenia, Slovakia, Denmark, Germany and Spain sent the pieces of kit through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The UK sent 500 mobile generators in March after the outbreak of the conflict.

 

09:29

There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine.

Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, as well as Moroccan Brahim Saadoune, should be killed by firing squad, had an attempt made on his life in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital after being shot on Friday night.

The news organisation Nexta, which was set up in Belarus but now operates out of the Polish capital, Warsaw, reported the news on Saturday. A similar report has been carried in Novaya Gazeta, a Russian independent newspaper. They both reference a report from the interior ministry of the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donetsk.

Aslin, from Newark, Pinner, from Watford, and Saadoune were released in a prisoner swap in September.

Russia stuggling to train 300,000 conscripts as experienced officers and trainers already killed, says UK

08:23

The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.

In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.

This is partly due to a shortage of munitions and facilities and partly because many experienced officers and trainers are fighting in Ukraine, with many likely already dead, the MoD added.

It said:

The Russian armed forces were already stretched providing training for the approximate 300,000 troops required for its ‘partial mobilisation’, announced on 21 September 2022.

These issues will be compounded by the additional regular autumn annual conscription cycle, announced on 30 September 2022 and starting 01 November 2022, which is usually expected to bring in an additional 120,000 personnel.

Newly mobilised conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all. Experienced officers and trainers have been deployed to fight in Ukraine and some have likely been killed in the conflict.

Russian forces are conducting training in Belarus due to a shortage of training staff, munitions and facilities in Russia. Deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability.

 

08:23

The UK ministry of defence has released a promotional video showing British troops training Ukrainian recruits for battle in their home country.

It includes an interview with a Ukrainian woman who is working as an interpreter between the two sets of soldiers, and a troop commander.

 

08:20

At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show.

Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February and president Vladimir Putin moved to quash opposition to the war at home, according to Georgia’s government. The second wave came after Putin announced the nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.

Georgia’s economic boom has confounded many experts who saw dire consequences from the war for the ex-Soviet republic, whose economic fortunes are closely tied to its larger neighbour through exports and tourism.

Dimitar Bogov, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s lead economist for eastern Europe and the Caucasus, said:

Despite all expectations that we had … that this war on Ukraine will have significant negative implications on the Georgian economy, so far we don’t see materialisation of these risks. On the contrary, we see the Georgian economy growing quite well this year – double digits.

But the stellar growth is not benefiting everyone, with the arrival of tens of thousands of Russians – many cashed-up tech professionals – driving up prices and squeezing some Georgians out of parts of the economy such as the housing rental market and education.

Business leaders also worry that the country could face a hard landing should the war end and Russians return home.

The Georgian side of the Verkhni Lars checkpoint between Georgia and Russia, about 200km from Tbilisi, in late September as Russian authorities acknowledged an influx of cars trying to cross from Russia to Georgia. Photograph: Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian The Georgian side of the Verkhni Lars checkpoint between Georgia and Russia, about 200km from Tbilisi, in late September as Russian authorities acknowledged an influx of cars trying to cross from Russia to Georgia. Photograph: Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images

 

08:15

Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of Nato until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has told the head of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.

Agence France-Presse reported on Friday:

President Erdogan noted that the steps to be taken by Sweden and Finland would determine how fast the approval process … would go and when it would be concluded.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants it deems “terrorists” and held back on ratifying their Nato membership despite an agreement in June.

Erdogan and Stoltenberg held a private meeting in Istanbul on Friday that was closed to the media.

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and moved in May to become Nato members, after Russia invaded Ukraine. Erdogan threatened to block their bids and sought concessions, leading to a deal in June between Turkey, Finland and Sweden that included provisions on extraditions and sharing information.

Sweden’s new prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, is to visit Ankara on Tuesday to meet with Erdogan in a trip Stockholm hopes will lead to Turkey’s approval.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Jens Stoltenberg during their meeting in Istanbul on Friday. Photograph: Turkish president press office/EPA © Provided by The Guardian Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Jens Stoltenberg during their meeting in Istanbul on Friday. Photograph: Turkish president press office/EPA

Washington accuses Moscow of trying to ‘freeze’ Ukraine into submission

07:04

The United States has accused the Russia of wanting to “freeze” Ukraine into submission since it has failed to win on the battlefield.

Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure with missiles and explosive drones while Kyiv’s forces have advanced against Moscow’s troops in the country’s east and south.

Agence France-Presse also reported that the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Thursday that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine’s energy network had left about 4.5 million people without power.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Friday after G7 foreign ministers met in Germany:

President Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission.

Antony Blinken after the G7 summit in Muenster, Germany. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian Antony Blinken after the G7 summit in Muenster, Germany. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The top diplomats from the world’s wealthiest nations agreed on a structure to funnel aid to Ukraine to replace infrastructure targeted by Russia after holding two days of talks in the German city of Muenster.

The US is also examining options to address the damage.

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday to reaffirm US support to Ukraine.

Sullivan told a press conference in Kyiv that Ukraine had an “acute need for air defence in this critical moment”.

The Pentagon announced it would fund the refurbishment of T-72 tanks and Hawk surface-to-air missiles as part of a $400m security assistance package for Ukraine, bringing its total security aid to more than $18.2bn since February’s invasion.

Summary

07:03

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here’s a rundown on the latest developments as it just passes 9am in the capital, Kyiv.

  • Vladimir Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro river. The Russian president’s comments came amid mounting speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.

  • A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city, which makes up part of the Ukrainian province Russia annexed in September.

  • Nato has released footage of its latest nuclear exercise over north-western Europe, with the majority of its exercises being held at least 1,000km from Russia’s borders, over Belgium, the North Sea and the UK.

  • Russia wants the west to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request.

  • Xi Jinping and Olaf Scholz have condemned Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, with both leaders expressing their desire for the conflict to end. The Chinese president stressed the need for greater cooperation between China and Germany in “times of change and turmoil”, while the German chancellor said Moscow was in danger of “crossing a line” if it used atomic weapons, in what was his first meeting with Xi.

  • The US announced $400m worth of additional security assistance for Ukraine, including refurbishing T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and missiles for Hawk air defences that could be used against Russian drones and cruise missiles. The package brought US military aid for Kyiv to more than $18.2bn since Russia’s invasion in February.

  • The US talkshow host David Letterman has travelled to Kyiv to interview Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Netflix made the announcement on Twitter, saying the Ukrainian president will appear in a coming episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.

  • Ukraine’s state postal service has issued a commemorative wartime stamp dedicated to the strike on the Crimean Bridge last month which sparked celebrations across the country.

  • Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, discussed the situation in Belarus and agreed the need to keep sending a strong message to Russia that intimidation would not work, according to a statement from Sunak’s office.

  • Indian IT services company Infosys, from which the British prime minister’s wife collects £11.5m in annual dividends, is still operating from Moscow eight months after the company said it was pulling out. The company retains a staffed office and is paying subcontractors in the Russian capital to carry out IT services for a global client, although a spokesperson said they were looking to end that arrangement.

Russian troops taking vehicles, art and even religious artefacts from Kherson; UK says Russia struggling to train new recruits.
Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.
President Zelenskiy dismissed talk of limited Iranian supplies to Russia, saying Kiev had downed 11 drones on Friday alone. He said: “If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation.”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said Iran “should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support”.
Russian troops have been looting Kherson ahead of a potential withdrawal. The things taken range from art and cultural exhibits to ambulances and tractors.
Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro River.
There is increasing speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.
A 24-hour curfew was imposed in Kherson city.
Russian troops are allegedly searching for residents in Kherson who are refusing to evacuate, before its forces potentially withdraw from the west bank of the Dnieper River.
External power has been restored to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant two days after it was disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged high voltage lines, the UN nuclear watchdog said.
Other developments from the conflict
The Nato general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, has said he does not believe Russia will use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.
Scheduled power cuts will take place today in seven oblasts, regions of Ukraine, and major cities including its capital, Kyiv. Other areas affected are Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy and Poltava.
About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.
There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk, on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.
At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced a nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.
External power has been restored to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant two days after it was disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged high voltage lines, the UN nuclear watchdog said.
Both the plant’s external power lines were repaired and reconnection started on Friday afternoon, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said.
Grossi reiterated his call for the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant to prevent a nuclear accident, adding: “We can’t afford to lose any more time. We must act before it is too late.”
Residents of the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are living in dire conditions, with civilians killed and wounded daily, the deputy mayor said on Saturday, Reuters reports.
Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s military in its slow advance through the Donetsk region, one of the territories the Kremlin claims to have annexed after what Kyiv and the west say were sham referendums in September.
Kyiv’s military says the area is the site of some of the heaviest fighting with Russian forces, and the deputy mayor, Oleksandr Marchenko, said Russia’s troops were “trying to storm the city from several directions”.
Reuters could not independently confirm his account of the battlefield situation.
“With every day it’s becoming harder and harder to survive in this city,” Marchenko said.
He said more than 120 civilians have been killed in Bakhmut since Russia’s invasion.
“There are districts where we don’t know the exact number of people killed because active fighting is ongoing there or the settlements are temporarily occupied (by Russian forces),” he added.
Ukrainian troops are “firmly holding the frontline”, Marchenko said, while describing a deteriorating humanitarian situation facing the city, where the population has fallen from its pre-war level of about 80,000 to as low as 12,000 today.
“We’re holding on and hoping that the armed forces of Ukraine will be able to repel the enemy further from the city,” he said
President Zelenskiy dismissed talk of limited Iranian supplies to Russia, saying Kiev had downed 11 drones on Friday alone.
He said: “If Iran continues to lie about the obvious, it means the world will make even more efforts to investigate the terrorist cooperation between the Russian and Iranian regimes and what Russia pays Iran for such cooperation.”
Separately, the US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, tweeted it was untrue that Iran had sent a few drones, Reuters reports.
“They transferred dozens just this summer and have military personnel in occupied Ukraine helping Russia use them,” he said.
Here is further information on the story about Alexander Nikulin, a judge in a Ukrainian town controlled by Moscow, being in a “serious” condition after surviving an assassination attempt.
Nikulin was on a judicial panel that in June sentenced to death two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and a Moroccan, Brahim Saadoune, who were fighting on the Ukrainian side.
The two Britons were captured in Ukraine but returned home in September.
Related: Judge in Russia-occupied Ukraine in ‘serious’ condition after assassination attempt
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Iran of lying about sending a limited number of drones to Russia.
He said Kyiv’s forces are shooting down at least 10 drones a day, Reuters reports.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was heavily criticised for a trip to Beijing this week, said that getting Chinese President Xi Jinping to oppose the use of nuclear weapons over Ukraine had been reason enough travel there, Reuters reports.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has highlighted the success of the United24 scheme, which was launched to collect donations for the country’s war effort.
He said the initiative has received $214m in donations since the war with Russia erupted back in February and has thanked benefactors.
In 6 months, @u24_gov_ua united hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world in helping 🇺🇦. We are grateful to everyone for supporting our values, for believing in 🇺🇦 and our victory. We feel that the world is supporting 🇺🇦, and this gives us strength in our struggle. pic.twitter.com/gNj0ZeCjmz
It’s just gone 6pm in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Here’s a round-up of today’s news from the war.
Iran admits supplying Russia with drones
Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has said that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko responded and said Iran “should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support.”
Evacuations continue from Kherson ahead of a potential Russian withdrawal
Russian troops have been looting Kherson ahead of a potential withdrawal. The things taken range from art and cultural exhibits to ambulances and tractors
Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro River.
There is increasing speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city.
Russian troops are allegedly searching for residents in Kherson who are refusing to evacuate, before its forces potentially withdraw from the west bank of the Dnieper River.
Other developments from the conflict
The Nato general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, has said he does not believe Russia will use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.
Scheduled power cuts will take place today in seven oblasts, regions of Ukraine, and major cities including its capital, Kyiv. Other areas affected are Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy and Poltava.
About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.
There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk, on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.
At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced a nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.
That’s all from me today. My colleague Nadeem Badshah is taking over for the rest of the evening.
The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said he does not believe Russia will use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, during an interview with a Turkish television channel.
In an appearance on NTV, Stoltenberg said Russia’s behaviour was “irresponsible and reckless”.
According to the independent news website Meduza, he added: “The risk of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine is not great, but the consequences would be enormous, so we’re taking it very seriously … there are no winners in a nuclear war.”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, has responded to Iran admitting it had supplied drones to Russia (see 10.47am).
Nikolenko refers to a claim made by Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, that Ukraine had pulled out of a meeting a fortnight ago about the use of drones.
In a post on Facebook, he said:

Iran’s foreign chief has publicly admitted that Tehran was supplying Russian combat drones allegedly months before its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Previously, Iran had extensively denied the supply of weapons to Russia, which it uses in the war.

The Iranian minister has spread insinuations about the Ukrainian side’s seemingly refusal to meet with Iranian experts under pressure from western partners.

Ukraine is taught to trust only facts. Therefore, the foreign ministry led by Dmitry Kuleba, as well as in close coordination with Ukrainian involved agencies, will continue to take maximum strict measures to prevent Russia’s use of Iranian weapons to kill Ukrainians and destroy our critical infrastructure.

Tehran should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support.


Iran’s foreign chief has publicly admitted that Tehran was supplying Russian combat drones allegedly months before its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Previously, Iran had extensively denied the supply of weapons to Russia, which it uses in the war.
The Iranian minister has spread insinuations about the Ukrainian side’s seemingly refusal to meet with Iranian experts under pressure from western partners.
Ukraine is taught to trust only facts. Therefore, the foreign ministry led by Dmitry Kuleba, as well as in close coordination with Ukrainian involved agencies, will continue to take maximum strict measures to prevent Russia’s use of Iranian weapons to kill Ukrainians and destroy our critical infrastructure.
Tehran should realise that the consequences of complicity in the crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine will be much larger than the benefits of Russia’s support.
After the news about Odesa reviewing its Catherine II statue (see 2.16pm), Moscow’s occupying authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol said they had put a statue of Vladimir Lenin back up, seven years after it was taken down following Kyiv’s pro-EU revolution.
The Moscow-installed head of the Zaporizhzhia region, Vladimir Rogov, posted a photograph of workers in the city reinstating the tribute to the Bolshevik leader, Agence France-Presse reports.
“After seven years the statue to Vladimir Lenin has returned to its place in Melitopol,” he said.
Ukraine dismantled Lenin statues across the country after its 2014 revolution overthrew a Moscow-backed regime as part of its “de-communisation drive”.
It was seen as an effort to break away from Russian and Soviet influence. Moscow condemned the move.
Almost all cities in Russia have a statue of the founder of the Soviet Union in their central squares.
Melitopol fell to Moscow’s forces on 1 March.
People in Odesa, the port city in the south of Ukraine have voted to dismantle a statue of the Russian empress Catherine II.
Another insight into the cultural dynamics in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, the city is home to thousands of Russian speakers. Its evolution as a city and location has meant it has a hybrid of Ukrainian and Russian influences.
Russian history has traditionally celebrated Catherine II, but she also destroyed the Cossack state and Zaporizhzhia. Russia’s invasion in February has prompted debates over the monument’s future.
It was doused in red paint in September and October, and an executioner’s hat has been put on it.
The voting took place on the Publicly Active Citizen platform, and a majority voted for the removal of the statue from Kateryninska Square. Odesa’s city council will now vote on it.
Euromaidan news agency has reported the city’s major, Hennadiy Trukhahov, saying: “I believe that the results of free voting on the Publicly Active Citizen platform will be taken into account by the representatives of the city council, who will make the final decision. Personally, I will vote for the dismantling of the monument and its transfer to the park of the imperial and Soviet past, the idea of which I talked about a few months ago.”
Our correspondent Luke Harding, reporting from Kyiv, has written about how Moscow is deporting Kherson residents along with stolen art, tractors and cars as Ukraine’s forces close in.
“Things are disappearing in the Ukrainian city of Kherson at a rapid rate. Some are physical objects. Russian troops are taking away ambulances, tractors and stolen private cars. Cultural things are going too: archives, and paintings and sculptures from the art and local lore museums. Even the bones of Catherine the Great’s friend and lover, Grigory Potemkin, have been grubbed up from a crypt in St Catherine’s Cathedral and spirited away.”
Related: Russian troops loot Kherson as lines redrawn ahead of final battle for city
A judge in a Ukrainian town controlled by Moscow is in a “serious” condition after surviving an assassination attempt, a separatist leader in Donetsk said on Saturday.
“There was attempt with the use of firearms on a judge of the Supreme Court of the Donetsk Republic Alexander Nikulin,” the rebel leader of the self-proclaimed republic, Denis Pushilin, said on Telegram.
He blamed Kyiv, saying the attack took place on Friday evening in the town of Vuhlehirsk, in the eastern Donetsk region.
“The Ukrainian regime continues to show its vile terrorist methods,” Pushilin added, saying the judge had been “giving sentences to Nazi war criminals”.
“His condition is assessed by doctors to be stable but serious,” he added.
More than 250 captured Ukrainian national guard members have been released by Russia since the start of the war, according to the group.
In a tweet, it said that 268 soldiers had been freed in exchanges, including 24 women.
‼️ За результами обмінів, які вже відбулися з початку широкомасштабного вторгнення російських військ на територію України звільнено всього 268 військовослужбовців Нацгвардії, з них 24 жінки. pic.twitter.com/NEpLQkT1xj
Russian troops are allegedly searching for residents in Kherson who are refusing to evacuate from the Russian-controlled territory, before its forces potentially withdraw from the west bank of the Dnieper River.
On Friday Vladimir Putin said people living in the Ukrainian province must evacuate. More than 60,000 have already been transported away from the frontlines by Russia.
An update from the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian forces were still trying to hold the captured area in the south of the country. It is still carrying out offensives towards Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novoplavlika.
The update also said infrastructure was being destroyed and the city was being looted.
Scheduled power cuts will take place today in seven oblasts, regions of Ukraine, and major cities including its capital, Kyiv.
“The consumption limits are necessary to … avoid repeated accidents after the power grids were damaged by Russian rocket and drone attacks,” state-owned grid operator Ukrenergo said in a Facebook post, according to the Kyiv Independent.
As well as Kyiv city and wider region, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy and Poltava oblasts will be affected.
Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been targeted by Russia in drone and missile strikes. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said “30-40% of its energy system” had been destroyed by Russia in an interview on 1 November.
This from Reuters, reporting comments by Iran’s foreign minister, who says the country did supply drones to Russia but claimed that it happened before the invasion of Ukraine.

Iran has acknowledged for the first time that it supplied Moscow with drones but said they were sent before the war in Ukraine, where Russia has used drones to target power stations and civilian infrastructure.

The Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said a “small number” of drones were supplied to Russia a few months before Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine on 24 February. He denied Tehran was continuing to supply drones to Moscow.

“This fuss made by some western countries that Iran has provided missiles and drones to Russia to help the war in Ukraine – the missile part is completely wrong,” the official Irna news agency quoted him as saying. “The drone part is true and we provided Russia a small number of drones months before the Ukraine war.”


Iran has acknowledged for the first time that it supplied Moscow with drones but said they were sent before the war in Ukraine, where Russia has used drones to target power stations and civilian infrastructure.
The Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said a “small number” of drones were supplied to Russia a few months before Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine on 24 February. He denied Tehran was continuing to supply drones to Moscow.
“This fuss made by some western countries that Iran has provided missiles and drones to Russia to help the war in Ukraine – the missile part is completely wrong,” the official Irna news agency quoted him as saying. “The drone part is true and we provided Russia a small number of drones months before the Ukraine war.”
Read more:
Related: Iran says it supplied drones to Russia before Ukraine war began
The BBC’s international editor, Jeremy Bowen, has filed a dispatch from Mykolaiv, after spending days on the front line between the Ukrainian city and nearby Russian-held Kherson.
He says that Ukrainians are “serious” about the return of Kherson to its control.

The officials said Russian commanders could be preparing to pull back to the more defensible eastern side of the river, also known here as the left bank, taking advantage of its qualities as a formidable natural obstacle.

Since the summer Ukraine has run a media offensive about its plans to recapture Kherson. It telegraphed the announcement of its military plans so clearly that some analysts decided it was a feint to cover a rapid and successful offensive that recaptured a considerable amount of territory in north-east Ukraine.


The officials said Russian commanders could be preparing to pull back to the more defensible eastern side of the river, also known here as the left bank, taking advantage of its qualities as a formidable natural obstacle.
Since the summer Ukraine has run a media offensive about its plans to recapture Kherson. It telegraphed the announcement of its military plans so clearly that some analysts decided it was a feint to cover a rapid and successful offensive that recaptured a considerable amount of territory in north-east Ukraine.
However, one soldier told Bowen:

It’s very hard to make progress here. It is necessary to concentrate a large amount of force in one point to break through the frontline. Our job is to hold our position. We attack from time to time so that they don’t take their reserves and transfer them somewhere else.

It is very difficult and slow going. They control the sky. They’ve got much more military equipment, more people and more ammunition.

Their people are not trained, but they just go straight forward shouting ‘Hurrah’. We don’t have as many cartridges as they have people.


It’s very hard to make progress here. It is necessary to concentrate a large amount of force in one point to break through the frontline. Our job is to hold our position. We attack from time to time so that they don’t take their reserves and transfer them somewhere else.
It is very difficult and slow going. They control the sky. They’ve got much more military equipment, more people and more ammunition.
Their people are not trained, but they just go straight forward shouting ‘Hurrah’. We don’t have as many cartridges as they have people.
As it has just gone 1pm in Kyiv, here’s a roundup of today’s news in Ukraine – including Iran admitting for the first time that it supplied drones to Russia.
Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has said that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.
The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported. In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.
Vladimir Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro River. There is increasing speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has thanked the Netherlands, Czech Republic and US for the 90 T-72 tanks it will receive. They will come alongside a US aid package that includes funding to upgrade American Hawk air defence missiles. They have longer range than the Stinger anti-air missiles that have been sent to the country already.
About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.
There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk, on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours. The Guardian has not been able to verify the figures, and they differ from those provided by Russia. The latest update includes another 12 drones Ukraine has shot down, bringing the total to 1,462. Its army has killed about 75,440 soldiers, up from 74,840.
Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of Nato until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has told the head of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.
At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced a nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.
Ukraine’s state postal service has issued a commemorative wartime stamp dedicated to the strike on the Crimean Bridge last month.
Ukrainian forces using captured weapons fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut on Friday as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.
Reuters reported that Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks against Bakhmut and nearby Avdiivka in the Donetsk region in the east but are being pushed back with what Kyiv says are heavy losses.
“Last week there was very intense fighting … there are a lot of them [Russians], both people and equipment,” said a soldier who gave his name only as Moriak, the Ukrainian word for sailor.
Reuters journalists saw a captured Russian T-80 tank and a 2S23 Nona SVK self-propelled mortar, now controlled by Ukrainian crews, firing at targets outside Bakhmut.
Ukraine’s military says both were seized in March and took months to be refitted. The eight-wheel Nona – commanded by Moriak – has a 120mm mortar capable of firing a maximum of 10 rounds a minute.
They left us this gift, and it has high, very high [precision], and it now works against them, it helps us push them away.
Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s armed forces in a slow advance through the Donetsk region since Russia took the industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.
The figures have been released as part of its daily preliminary update of battlefield totals. The Guardian has not been able to verify them, and they differ from those provided by Russia.
The latest update includes another 12 drones Ukraine has shot down, bringing the total to 1,462. Its army has killed about 75,440 soldiers, up from 74,840.
2️⃣5️⃣5️⃣ days of full-scale Russia’s war on #Ukraine.
Information on #Russian invasion.
Losses of #Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine, November 5. pic.twitter.com/OBMnIOtOGM
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has thanked the Netherlands, Czech Republic and US for the 90 T-72 tanks it will receive.
They have been described as “the most advanced on the battlefield”, and come alongside a US aid package that includes funding to upgrade American Hawk air defence missiles. It has longer range than the Stinger anti-air missiles that have been sent to the country already.
Zelenskiy tweeted: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine are pushing forward and need this equipment. We value the help of partners. Together we stand for protection of freedom & democracy!”
We are sincerely grateful to 🇳🇱, 🇺🇸 and 🇨🇿 for providing significant and much-needed support – 90 T-72 tanks. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are pushing forward and need this equipment. We value the help of partners. Together we stand for protection of freedom & democracy!
Russia wants the west to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request, made during talks to extend a deal on food shipments from Ukraine.
Reuters reported that Moscow suspended its participation in the secure Black Sea grain corridor a week ago but rejoined after four days, easing fears of further disruptions to Ukrainian grain exports amid rampant global food inflation. President Vladimir Putin has reserved Russia’s right to halt the UN-brokered agreement again, while the UN chief, António Guterres, is pressing Moscow to agree to it being extended beyond its scheduled expiration on 19 November.
Russia has not detailed its demands publicly beyond calls to unblock Russian fertiliser stuck in European ports and warehouses and resume exports of ammonia – an important ingredient in fertiliser – through a Russia-Ukraine pipeline.
The four sources, who declined to be identified, said Russia was asking western countries to allow state lender Rosselkhozbank to restore its relations with correspondent banks despite western sanctions.
This would allow the bank, which has not had a major role in the international grain trade so far, to process payments for Russian grain and other foodstuffs, two of the sources added.
Before the latest sanctions, such payments were handled by international banks and subsidiaries of other Russian banks in Switzerland.
The sources did not say what response, if any, Russia had received to its proposals.
A UN source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said facilitation of payments for Russian food and fertiliser through Rosselkhozbank was being discussed with the EU and other parties.
About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.
Counties including Slovenia, Slovakia, Denmark, Germany and Spain sent the pieces of kit through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The UK sent 500 mobile generators in March after the outbreak of the conflict.
Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been severely damaged. ⚠️
To sustain access to electricity and heating, 17 EU countries 🇸🇮🇸🇰🇮🇪🇦🇹🇸🇪🇪🇸🇩🇪🇮🇹🇩🇰🇫🇮🇪🇪🇧🇪🇧🇬🇱🇺🇨🇾🇵🇱🇫🇷 have sent 500 power generators to Ukraine via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. 🙏#StandWithUkraine #EUsolidarity
There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine.
Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, as well as Moroccan Brahim Saadoune, should be killed by firing squad, had an attempt made on his life in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital after being shot on Friday night.
The news organisation Nexta, which was set up in Belarus but now operates out of the Polish capital, Warsaw, reported the news on Saturday. A similar report has been carried in Novaya Gazeta, a Russian independent newspaper. They both reference a report from the interior ministry of the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donetsk.
Aslin, from Newark, Pinner, from Watford, and Saadoune were released in a prisoner swap in September.
The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.
In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.
This is partly due to a shortage of munitions and facilities and partly because many experienced officers and trainers are fighting in Ukraine, with many likely already dead, the MoD added.
It said:

The Russian armed forces were already stretched providing training for the approximate 300,000 troops required for its ‘partial mobilisation’, announced on 21 September 2022.

These issues will be compounded by the additional regular autumn annual conscription cycle, announced on 30 September 2022 and starting 01 November 2022, which is usually expected to bring in an additional 120,000 personnel.

Newly mobilised conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all. Experienced officers and trainers have been deployed to fight in Ukraine and some have likely been killed in the conflict.

Russian forces are conducting training in Belarus due to a shortage of training staff, munitions and facilities in Russia. Deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability.


The Russian armed forces were already stretched providing training for the approximate 300,000 troops required for its ‘partial mobilisation’, announced on 21 September 2022.
These issues will be compounded by the additional regular autumn annual conscription cycle, announced on 30 September 2022 and starting 01 November 2022, which is usually expected to bring in an additional 120,000 personnel.
Newly mobilised conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all. Experienced officers and trainers have been deployed to fight in Ukraine and some have likely been killed in the conflict.
Russian forces are conducting training in Belarus due to a shortage of training staff, munitions and facilities in Russia. Deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability.
The UK ministry of defence has released a promotional video showing British troops training Ukrainian recruits for battle in their home country.
It includes an interview with a Ukrainian woman who is working as an interpreter between the two sets of soldiers, and a troop commander.
Ukrainians from all walks of life will spend today taking part in training programmes across the UK, learning the skills needed to defend their country and one day return to their normal lives.
🎥 Meet those proud to train them👇#WeStandWithUkrainepic.twitter.com/ukLbYQhaSi
At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show.
Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February and president Vladimir Putin moved to quash opposition to the war at home, according to Georgia’s government. The second wave came after Putin announced the nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.
Georgia’s economic boom has confounded many experts who saw dire consequences from the war for the ex-Soviet republic, whose economic fortunes are closely tied to its larger neighbour through exports and tourism.
Dimitar Bogov, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s lead economist for eastern Europe and the Caucasus, said:
Despite all expectations that we had … that this war on Ukraine will have significant negative implications on the Georgian economy, so far we don’t see materialisation of these risks. On the contrary, we see the Georgian economy growing quite well this year – double digits.
But the stellar growth is not benefiting everyone, with the arrival of tens of thousands of Russians – many cashed-up tech professionals – driving up prices and squeezing some Georgians out of parts of the economy such as the housing rental market and education.
Business leaders also worry that the country could face a hard landing should the war end and Russians return home.
Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of Nato until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has told the head of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.
Agence France-Presse reported on Friday:
President Erdogan noted that the steps to be taken by Sweden and Finland would determine how fast the approval process … would go and when it would be concluded.
Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants it deems “terrorists” and held back on ratifying their Nato membership despite an agreement in June.
Erdogan and Stoltenberg held a private meeting in Istanbul on Friday that was closed to the media.
Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and moved in May to become Nato members, after Russia invaded Ukraine. Erdogan threatened to block their bids and sought concessions, leading to a deal in June between Turkey, Finland and Sweden that included provisions on extraditions and sharing information.
Sweden’s new prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, is to visit Ankara on Tuesday to meet with Erdogan in a trip Stockholm hopes will lead to Turkey’s approval.
The United States has accused the Russia of wanting to “freeze” Ukraine into submission since it has failed to win on the battlefield.
Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure with missiles and explosive drones while Kyiv’s forces have advanced against Moscow’s troops in the country’s east and south.
Agence France-Presse also reported that the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Thursday that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine’s energy network had left about 4.5 million people without power.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Friday after G7 foreign ministers met in Germany:
President Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission.
The top diplomats from the world’s wealthiest nations agreed on a structure to funnel aid to Ukraine to replace infrastructure targeted by Russia after holding two days of talks in the German city of Muenster.
The US is also examining options to address the damage.
President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday to reaffirm US support to Ukraine.
Sullivan told a press conference in Kyiv that Ukraine had an “acute need for air defence in this critical moment”.
The Pentagon announced it would fund the refurbishment of T-72 tanks and Hawk surface-to-air missiles as part of a $400m security assistance package for Ukraine, bringing its total security aid to more than $18.2bn since February’s invasion.
Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here’s a rundown on the latest developments as it just passes 9am in the capital, Kyiv.
Vladimir Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro river. The Russian president’s comments came amid mounting speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city, which makes up part of the Ukrainian province Russia annexed in September.
Nato has released footage of its latest nuclear exercise over north-western Europe, with the majority of its exercises being held at least 1,000km from Russia’s borders, over Belgium, the North Sea and the UK.
Russia wants the west to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request.
Xi Jinping and Olaf Scholz have condemned Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, with both leaders expressing their desire for the conflict to end. The Chinese president stressed the need for greater cooperation between China and Germany in “times of change and turmoil”, while the German chancellor said Moscow was in danger of “crossing a line” if it used atomic weapons, in what was his first meeting with Xi.
The US announced $400m worth of additional security assistance for Ukraine, including refurbishing T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and missiles for Hawk air defences that could be used against Russian drones and cruise missiles. The package brought US military aid for Kyiv to more than $18.2bn since Russia’s invasion in February.
The US talkshow host David Letterman has travelled to Kyiv to interview Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Netflix made the announcement on Twitter, saying the Ukrainian president will appear in a coming episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
Ukraine’s state postal service has issued a commemorative wartime stamp dedicated to the strike on the Crimean Bridge last month which sparked celebrations across the country.
Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, discussed the situation in Belarus and agreed the need to keep sending a strong message to Russia that intimidation would not work, according to a statement from Sunak’s office.
Indian IT services company Infosys, from which the British prime minister’s wife collects £11.5m in annual dividends, is still operating from Moscow eight months after the company said it was pulling out. The company retains a staffed office and is paying subcontractors in the Russian capital to carry out IT services for a global client, although a spokesperson said they were looking to end that arrangement.

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