Moscow stepped up attacks across Ukraine on Monday, killing four people and cutting off power in a series of kamikaze drone strikes in the capital. Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmygal, said Russia launched five strikes in Kyiv, as well as attacks against energy facilities in Sumy and the central Dnipropetrovsk regions, knocking out electricity to hundreds of towns and villages.
Elsewhere, at least three people were killed when a Russian warplane crashed near the border with Ukraine. The plane struck a residential area of Yeysk, a town in southwestern Russia, news agencies reported, citing the defence ministry. Both pilots managed to eject before the crash, but many locals were taken to hospital with injuries, local authorities said. Health minister Mikhail Murashko said three people had died and 19 were injured, the state-run TASS news agency reported. The ministry of emergency situations had earlier given a toll of six dead. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.
Ukraine announced that more than 100 prisoners have been swapped with Russia in what it said was the first all-female exchange with Moscow after nearly eight months of war. “The more Russian prisoners we have, the sooner we will be able to free our heroes. Every Ukrainian soldier, every frontline commander should remember this,” Zelensky said.
In the south, Ukrainian troops have been pushing closer and closer to the large city of Kherson, just north of Crimea. Kherson is one of four regions in Ukraine that Moscow recently claimed to have annexed.
Ukraine’s foreign minister called on the European Union to sanction Iran for providing Russia with kamikaze drones that killed at least four civilians in Kyiv on Monday.
Iran said again on Monday that it had not provided Russia with drones to use in Ukraine. “The published news about Iran providing Russia with drones has political ambitions and it is circulated by western sources. We have not provided weaponry to any side of the countries at war,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said. The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc would look for “concrete evidence” about the participation of Iran in Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The European Union has agreed to create a mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers. It will also provide a further €500m to help buy weapons. An EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday approved the two-year training mission, which will involve different EU forces providing basic and specialist instruction to Ukrainian soldiers, in Poland and Germany. Officials hope the mission, which is expected to cost €107m, will be up and running by mid November.
Israeli officials refused to comment on comments from Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president, that Tel Aviv is preparing to supply military aid to Ukraine. In a Telegram message on Monday, Medvedev, currently deputy chair of Russia’s security council, warned Israel against arming Kyiv, calling it a “a reckless move” that would “destroy relations between our countries”. Israel has tried to maintain a neutral stance, as it relies on Russia to facilitate its operations against Iranian-linked actors in Syria.
Marina Ovsyannikova, the former Russian state TV journalist who staged an on-air protest against the war in March, has fled the country, according to her lawyer.