Russia-Ukraine war updates for Oct. 17, 2022

Additional 4 million children pushed into poverty due to Russia’s war, UNICEF says

A child waits on the train to Poland at the central train station on April 11, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Russia’s monthslong war in Ukraine coupled with rising inflation has pushed more of the world’s children into poverty, according to a new report by UNICEF.

UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, says an additional four million children across eastern Europe and Central Asia have been pushed into poverty, a 19% increase since 2021. 

“Beyond the obvious horrors of war – the killing and maiming of children, mass displacement – the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine are having a devastating impact on children across eastern Europe and Central Asia,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

“Children all over the region are being swept up in this war’s terrible wake. If we don’t support these children and families now, the steep rise in child poverty will almost certainly result in lost lives, lost learning, and lost futures,” Khan added.

— Amanda Macias

EU approves Ukraine training mission, arms funds

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell speaks during a news conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, February 27, 2022.

Stephanie Lecocq | Reuters

The European Union approved a military training mission in Europe for thousands of Ukrainian troops and to provide around 500 million euros ($486 million) in extra funds to help buy weapons for the war-torn country.

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

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

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

— Associated Press

New UN rights chief urges halt to drone attacks on civilians in Ukraine

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

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

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

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

— Reuters

Five vessels to leave Ukraine carrying more than 122,000 metric tons of agricultural products

An aerial view shows ships at the anchorage area of the Bosphorus southern entrance in Istanbul, on October 12, 2022.

Yasin Akgul | AFP | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of grain from Ukraine said it has approved five vessels to leave the besieged country.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal among Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey, said the vessels are carrying 122,315 metric tons of grain and other crops.

Two ships are set to leave from Ukraine’s port of Chornomorsk and are destined for Pakistan and Italy. Two more vessels will depart from Odesa to Libya and Turkey. The fifth ship will leave from Ukraine’s Yuzhny-Pivdennyi port to France.

Read more about the Black Sea Grain Initiative here.

— Amanda Macias

Kyiv and Moscow carry out largest prisoner swap of the war so far

This handout picture taken ad released by Ukrainian presidential chief of staff, Andriy Yermak on October 17, 2022 shows freed Ukrainian female prisoners posing for a picture after their exchange in an unknown location in Ukraine. Ukraine announced had swapped more than 100 prisoners with Russia in what it said was the first all-female exchange with Moscow after nearly eight months of war.

Str | AFP | Getty Images

Moscow and Kyiv carried out one of the biggest prisoner swaps of the war so far, exchanging a total of 218 detainees, including 108 Ukrainian women, officials from both sides said.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s staff, said there were 12 civilians among the freed women.

“It was the first completely female exchange,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding that 37 of the women had been captured after Russian forces took the giant Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol in May.

Separately, Ukraine’s interior ministry said some of the women had been in jail since 2019 after being detained by pro-Moscow authorities in eastern regions. Earlier, the Russian-appointed head of one of the regions said Kyiv was freeing 80 civilian sailors and 30 military personnel.

Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) walk after a swap, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in an unknown location, Ukraine October 17, 2022.

Andriy Yermak | Ukraine’s Presidential Office via Telegram | via Reuters

Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) look out of a bus window, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as they arrive in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 17, 2022.

Stringer | Reuters

Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) react, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as they arrive in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 17, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukrainian prisoner of war (POWs) reacts, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as she arrives in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 17, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukrainian prisoner of war (POWs) reacts, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as she arrives in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 17, 2022.

Stringer | Reuters

A Ukrainian prisoner of war (POWs) reacts, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as she arrives in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine October 17, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Blinken says Russian drone strikes ‘a sign of increased desperation’

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia’s recent targeting of civilians is “a sign of increased desperation,” following widespread drone strikes that hit residential buildings and infrastructure in major cities.

“We’re seeing these drones as you said. What are they doing? They’re attacking civilians,” he told reporters. “They’re attacking critical infrastructure, like power plants, hospitals, the things that people need in their daily lives that are not military targets.”

While this points to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s desperation as Ukraine has begun to push back against Russia in occupied territories, he said “it’s also a sign of the levels that they will stoop that we’ve seen repeatedly when it comes to foreign civilians, and civilian infrastructure.”

— Rocio Fabbro

UN Human Rights Council votes to investigate human rights abuses in Russia

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to create a Special Rapporteur to investigate Russia’s “dire human rights situation.”

“The resolution expresses grave concern regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia – including severe restrictions on freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly,” the U.S. State Department said.

The resolution was led by 26 European Union member states and cosponsored by the United States and 40 other countries. The Rapporteur will independently review the Russian government’s domestic repression that endangers human rights and “facilitates disinformation that enables Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” according to the State Department.

— Rocio Fabbro

White House says Iran is lying about Russia’s use of its drones

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, September 23, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

The White House said Iran lied when it claimed the country’s drones weren’t used in Russian strikes on Ukraine.

“There is extensive proof of their use by Russia against both military and civilian targets,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a briefing. “You all have seen as well the reports this morning of what appears to be an Iranian drone strike in downtown Kyiv. Yet Iran continues to lie about this,” she added. “They have not been truthful.”

She also noted that Iran is considering sending more weapons to Russia, despite claiming to oppose the war in Ukraine. Iran has denied supplying weapons systems to Russia throughout President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. The deepening Russia-Iran relationship could pose major global security threats, she said.

“We’ll continue to vigorously enforce sanctions on both the Iranian and Russian arms trade,” Jean-Pierre said.

— Rocio Fabbro

Russian fighter plane crashes into apartments in southern city near Ukraine

A view shows a site of a plane crash on residential building in the southern city of Yeysk, Russia October 17, 2022.

Stringer | Reuters

A Russian fighter plane crashed into a residential building in the southern Russian city of Yeysk, engulfing apartments in a huge fireball, and officials were quoted as saying at least two people were killed.

Video published by the military news channel Zvezda appeared to show explosions aboard the plane, identified as a Sukhoi Su-34, as it plunged towards the apartments. News agencies quoted emergency officials as saying at least 15 people were injured. They said the pilots had ejected.

State-owned RIA said the crash took place during a training flight from a military airfield. It quoted the defense ministry as saying the pilots had reported that an engine had caught fire on takeoff, and the plane’s fuel had then ignited when it struck the building.

Russia’s state Investigative Committee, which deals with serious crimes, said it had opened a criminal case and sent investigators to the scene. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had been informed, and had ordered all necessary help to be provided to victims. He ordered the health and emergencies ministers to fly to the region, it said.

“Emergency services are already working on the spot – all regional fire and rescue garrisons are engaged in extinguishing the fire,” Veniamin Kondratyev, governor of the Krasnodar region which includes Yeysk, wrote on Telegram.

— Reuters

Ukrainian official warns residents in Kyiv to not post anything on social media following drone attacks

Firefighters appear on the scene to put out a fire in a four story residential building after a “kamikaze drone” attack early morning on October 17, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Paula Bronstein | Getty Images

The Ukrainian official in charge of Kyiv’s military administration told residents to shelter in place and not post anything on social media platforms.

“Residents of the Kyiv region! Stay in shelters! Take care of yourself and your loved ones,” wrote Oleksiy Kuleba, head of Kyiv Military Administration on the Telegram messaging platform.

“I emphasize, do not film or post anything on social networks,” he said, adding also not to film the work of the Ukrainian military.

Kuleba’s warnings came on the heels of fresh Russian drone attacks across Kyiv.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. discusses price cap on Russian oil with UAE finance officials

Wally Adeyemo, deputy U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo met with UAE’s Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs and other senior officials from UAE’s Central Bank on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meetings.

“They discussed global macroeconomic trends, financial support for African countries, and the price cap on Russian oil exports,” according to a Treasury Department readout of the call.

Adeyemo also expressed U.S. concerns about Russian attempts to evade international sanctions. Since Moscow’s late February invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies have imposed rounds of coordinated sanctions vaulting Russia past Iran and North Korea as the world’s most-sanctioned country. He called for the continuation of bilateral cooperation.

— Amanda Macias

More than 6,300 people have died in Ukraine, U.N. says

People react as they visit the graves of fallen Ukrainian soldiers at Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv, to mark Ukraine’s Defenders Day on October 14, 2022.

Yuriy Dyachyshyn | AFP | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 6,306 civilian deaths and 9,602 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher, because armed conflict can delay fatality reports.

The international organization said most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, as well as missiles and airstrikes.

— Amanda Macias

Kuleba calls on EU to impose sanctions on Iran for drones used

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, pictured here at the Ukrainian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, called Russia “worse than ISIS” after apparent evidence emerged of civilian atrocities near Kyiv.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the European Union to sanction Iran for providing Russia with drones used in attacks on Kyiv.

“The time has come to apply sanctions against Iran for supplying weapons to the Russian Federation,” Kuleba said in a video statement.

Kuleba, who spoke from a bomb shelter, said that Russian forces were using Iranian-made Shahed drones in fresh attacks across Kyiv. The head of the Ukrainian president’s office also confirmed in a social media post that Shahed drones were among those used in the strike.

Iran has denied that it has equipped Russia with drones for its war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

NATO begins nuclear exercises amid Russia war tensions

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures during a news conference with Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde, after Finland and Sweden signed their countries’ accession protocols at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 5, 2022.

Yves Herman | Reuters

NATO began its long-planned annual nuclear exercises in northwestern Europe as tensions simmer over the war and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use any means to defend his territory.

Fourteen of NATO’s 30 member countries were due to take part in the exercises, which the military alliance said would involve around 60 aircraft, including fighter jets and surveillance and refueling planes.

The bulk of the war games will be held at least 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) from Russia’s borders.

U.S. long-range B-52 bombers will also take part in the maneuvers, dubbed Steadfast Noon, which will run until Oct. 30. NATO is not permitting any media access.

NATO said that training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting Steadfast Noon this year, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom. The exercises involve fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but do not involve any live bombs.

The exercises were planned before Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in February. Russia usually holds its own annual maneuvers around the same time, and NATO is expecting Moscow to exercise its nuclear forces sometime this month.

— Associated Press

Death toll from Russian drone attacks in Kyiv rises to four

Smoke rises from a destroyed building after Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. It was reported that at least four explosions were heard in Ukraineâs capital Kyiv on Monday as authorities reported attacks by Russian kamikaze drones.

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Ukrainian mayor of Kyiv said that the death toll has risen to four following fresh Russian drone attacks across the city.

“The rescuers discovered and retrieved another body of a dead man. Search and rescue operations are ongoing. There may still be people under the rubble,” Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram post, according to an NBC News translation. He said three victims were hospitalized and two of the victims are employees of the State Emergency Service.

Earlier in the day, Klitschko said that a woman who was 6 months pregnant was pulled from the rubble along with her husband.

— Amanda Macias

President Zelenskyy issues update following Russian drone strikes in Kyiv

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Independence Square on Aug. 24, 2022, the country’s Independence Day. “I believe that the Ukrainian flag and free life will return to Crimea again. We will liberate all our land, all our people,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Sunday.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia “acts insidiously” following drone attacks on Kyiv that killed four people.

Russia, he said in a Telegram post, that Russia killed civilians, hit housing and damaged infrastructure.

“Today, as a result of the occupiers’ attack on a residential building in Kyiv, 4 people have already died,” he said. “Among them is a young family that was expecting a child.”

This marks the second week of Russia’s renewed strikes in Kyiv that have targeted both civilian residences and infrastructure in what appear to be attempts at weakening Ukrainian energy supplies ahead of the winter.

“Terror must lose and will lose, and Ukraine will prevail,” Zelenskyy said. “And will bring to justice every Russian terrorist – from commanders to privates who carried out criminal orders.”

— Rocio Fabbro

Russia facing logistical challenges after Kerch Strait bridge damage

Logistical issues faced by Russian forces in southern Ukraine are likely to have become more acute following an attack over a week ago on the Kerch Strait bridge linking Russia with Crimea, according to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence.

Repair efforts are ongoing and the bridge crossing is open to some traffic but a large queue of waiting cargo trucks remains backed up near the crossing, the ministry said on Twitter Monday.

This picture taken on October 13, 2022 shows workers restoring damaged parts of the Kerch Bridge that links Crimea to Russia, which was hit by a blast on October 8, 2022.

Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

“Russian forces operating in southern Ukraine are likely increasing logistical supply flow via Mariupol in an attempt to compensate for the reduced capacity of the Kerch Bridge,” the ministry said.

With the Russian presence in Kherson in southern Ukraine “strained” amid an ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, and the supply routes through Crimea degraded, “the ground line of communication through the Zaporizhzhia region is becoming more important to the sustainability of Russia’s occupation,” the U.K. said.

The Kerch Strait bridge, or Crimea bridge, was hit by an explosion on Oct.8. Kyiv has not said it was responsible for the attack. Russia made a spate of arrests last week following the incident

— Holly Ellyatt

Death toll rises from drone attacks

Smoke rises from a destroyed building after Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. It was reported that at least four explosions were heard in Ukraineâs capital Kyiv on Monday as authorities reported attacks by Russian kamikaze drones.

Metin Atkas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Three people are now known to have died in the drone attacks on Kyiv this morning, with a pregnant woman among the fatalities.

“During search and rescue operations in a residential building in the city center, the bodies of three dead civilians were pulled out,” Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

“Among them is a young couple, a husband and wife who were expecting a child. The woman was 6 months pregnant,” he said.

— Holly Ellyatt

Kyiv’s mayor gives an update on drone attacks

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko speaks to press after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko has issued an update about this morning’s drone attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

He said 28 drones had flown in the direction of Kyiv and that while most had been shot down by the city’s armed forces and air defenses, some had hit the city with one hitting a residential building.

“Rescuers continue extinguishing the building’s structures and work on dismantling the debris. Earlier, 18 residents of the building were rescued. Two were under rubble. The dead woman’s body was recently recovered. According to preliminary data, one more person is under the rubble. Search and rescue operations are ongoing,” he said on Telegram.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. embassy condemns drone strikes as one death confirmed

A Ukrainian serviceman attempts to shoot down a drone during an attack in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has condemned a series of kamikaze drone attacks on Kyiv this morning.

At least four drone attacks were recorded in the city this morning, with 18 people rescued from a residential building that had been hit.

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said later this morning that the body of a dead woman was recovered from the rubble of a house in Shevchenkivskyi district, where an explosion occurred earlier this morning as a result of a drone attack.  

“Another person is under the rubble.  Search and rescue operations are ongoing.  Three victims were hospitalized,” he said on Telegram.

Ukraine shot down 85-86% of Russian drones involved in latest attacks, air force says

Ukraine has destroyed 37 Russian drones since Sunday evening, around 85-86% of the number involved in attacks, Ukraine’s air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said on Monday.

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

— Reuters

‘Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine,’ President Zelenskyy says

Firefighters conduct work after the Russian drone attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. At least 4 separate explosions were heard in Kyiv, while authorities reported that the attacks were carried out with kamikaze drones.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has issued a statement amid a wave of drone attacks on the capital Kyiv.

“All night and all morning, the enemy terrorizes the civilian population,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram Monday. “Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine,” he added.

“A residential building was hit in Kyiv. The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us.  The occupiers will get only fair punishment and condemnation of future generations. And we will get victory,” he added.

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klischko said 18 people have been rescued from a residential building struck by a drone.  “According to preliminary information, two residents remain under the rubble.  Rescue operations are ongoing.  Extinguishing of fire in destroyed building structures and demolition of rubble is ongoing. We are clarifying the information on casualties,” he said on Telegram.

— Holly Ellyatt

Drone attacks on Kyiv ongoing, residents urged to shelter

Firefighters at a destroyed building after Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on Oct. 17, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Drone attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are ongoing, according to officials in the city. Air raid alerts are in place, with residents being told to shelter.

The Kyiv city military administration said on Telegram this morning that “the enemy continues to attack. A residential building in the Shevchenkiv district was hit. Currently, information about the victims is being clarified. Please stay in shelters!”

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported further explosions on Monday and posted an image purportedly showing the remnants of an explosive-carrying drone.

One Kyiv resident told the BBC this morning that she and her husband were sheltering in their building as drone attacks appeared to be taking place every 15 minutes.

“The last two hours we can hear explosions and the noise of the drones flying over our building almost constantly. Believe me, once you’ve heard a rocket flying over your building, or a drone, you can tell and feel the difference. The drones fly lower than rockets,” resident Ksenia said, saying rockets make a whistling sound while drones sounded like a “very huge 200 kilogram motorcyle flying over your building, it’s really freaking scary.”

A “kamikaze” drone approaches for an attack in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Explosive-carrying drones can fly low, tend to be sent in waves or “swarms” to attack, and are harder to track on radar or to counter by air defenses. One image on Getty today showed police trying to shoot down the drones.

A police officer fires at a flying drone following attacks in Kyiv on October 17, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine has said repeatedly that Russia is using Iranian-supplied Shahed-136 drones. Iran has denied supplying such weapons despite evidence to the contrary.

— Holly Ellyatt

Dramatic images of drone attacks on Kyiv

Dramatic images of drone attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are being published by Getty Images, showing a so-called “kamikaze” drone targeting a location in the city .

A “kamikaze” drone approaches for an attack in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Other images showed city officials trying to shoot down the explosive-carrying weapons.

A police officer fires at a flying drone following attacks in Kyiv on October 17, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

A police officer fires at a flying drone following attacks in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images

Other images showed an explosion in the city this morning and first responders arriving at the scene of another blast.

This frame grab from AFPTV video footage shows smoke rising past first responders in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

Dylan Collins | Afp | Getty Images

A man falls on the ground following a drone attack in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Heavy fighting hits Soledar and Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine

Heavy fighting is taking place in the eastern region of Donbas in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday, with Ukraine’s military stating that Russian forces were on the offensive around Bakhmut.

“The key hot spots in Donbas are Soledar and Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “Very heavy fighting is going on there.”

Bakhmut is a key target for Russia’s forces who are seeking to make and cement territorial gains in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that make up the Donbas, particularly after having to retreat from other settlements to the north, around Kharkiv. Bakhmut is strategically important and sits on a main road leading to the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

A woman crosses the Bakhmutka River on a makeshift wooden bridge next to a destroyed bridge on Oct. 12, 2022 in Bakhmut, Donetsk, Ukraine.

Carl Court | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Zelenskyy said while the situation on the front line has not changed significantly over the last day, the fighting in Bakhmut and Soledar — which lies just north of Bakhmut — was intense, with Russian forces throwing “everyone they could against our forces,” including criminals and mercenaries, he said.

In its latest military update, the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Twitter Monday that “the enemy is trying to go on the offensive in Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.” Avdiivka lies just to the north of Donetsk city.

“The opponent is trying to hold the temporarily occupied territories, focusing efforts on attempts to contain the Defense Forces actions in individual directions, while trying to lead offensive actions in Bakhmut and Avdiiv directions,” the update on Facebook said.

“The enemy shells the Ukrainian positions along the entire contact line, reinforces its defensive positions and lines in certain directions, conducts aerial reconnaissance, hits critical infrastructure and civilian houses, violating the norms of international humanitarian law, the laws and customs of war,” it added.

Last Friday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense noted that Russian-backed forces had made tactical advances over several days toward the center of Bakhmut. Private military company Wagner Group “likely remains” heavily involved in the Bakhmut fighting, the ministry said in an intelligence update.

— Holly Ellyatt

Kyiv hit by kamikaze drones, casualty numbers still unknown

Ukrainian firefighters works on a destroyed building after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Residential buildings in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv have been damaged after drone attacks on a central district, according to the city’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko and a senior government official.

“As a result of the drone attack, a fire broke out in a non-residential building in the Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv. Fire departments are working. Several residential buildings were damaged,” Klitschko said on Telegram.

He said medics are on the ground and that more details on the number of casualties is being clarified.

The head of the Ukraine president’s office, Andrii Yermak, also reported “explosions in Kyiv,” posting on Telegram that “the capital was attacked by kamikaze-drones,” a name given to explosive-carrying drones that Ukraine says Russia received from Iran.

“Russians think that it will help them, but such actions are like agony. We need more air defense systems and as soon as possible. We have no time for slow actions,” he said. CNBC was not able to independently verify the claims.

Russia has stepped up its use of drone attacks on various targets in Ukraine, particularly of energy infrastructure, largely in response to Ukraine’s counteroffensives and following an attack on the Kerch Strait bridge linking Russia and Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

— Holly Ellyatt

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