Russia-Ukraine war live: Russia targets Zaporizhzhia with explosive-packed drones, as death toll from missile strike rises

Volunteers in the rubble of a building looking for survivors after a strike in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

Volunteers in the rubble of a building looking for survivors after a strike in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

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Russia targets Zaporizhzhia with 'kamikaze drones' for first time

Lorenzo Tondo

Russia has targeted Zaporizhzhia with explosive-packed “kamikaze drones” for the first time, as the death toll from a missile strike on an apartment building in the city rose to 11.

The regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones damaged two infrastructure facilities in the city. He said other missiles also struck the city, injuring one person.

With its army losing ground to Ukraine’s counteroffensive, Moscow has started to deploy drones to attack Ukrainian targets. According to Ukrainian military officials, “kamikaze drones” are cheaper and less sophisticated than missiles but have proved effective at causing damage to targets on the ground. The Shahed-136 drones are able to remain airborne for several hours and circle over potential targets before being flown into enemy troops, armour or buildings and exploding on impact.

On Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani denied supplying the drones to Russia, calling the claims “baseless”. However, the Ukrainian military said its forces had shot down more than 20 drones over the last 24 hours and that most were Iranian-made.

Key events

Here are some of the latest images from Ukraine and beyond that we have been sent over the newswires.

Ukrainian soldiers clean the muzzle of a howitzer D-30 near Siversk. Photograph: Inna Varenytsia/AP
Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) Samantha Power lays flowers at the memorial to soldiers in Kyiv. Photograph: Future Publishing/Ukrinform/Getty Images
A big screen showing Russian President Vladimir Putin reads: "Happy birthday to President Vladimir Putin from the Serb brethren!", in Belgrade, Serbia. The posters are signed by a Pro-Russian right-wing group. Photograph: Darko Vojinović/AP
Ukrainian soldiers take a knee as their comrades carry coffins during a funeral ceremony in Lviv. Photograph: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images
Russian citizens drafted during the partial mobilization begin their military training in Rostov, Russia. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Every vote will count next week when the UN general assembly gathers to vote on a resolution to condemn Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories, the German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, has said.

The international community must “make clear to Russia: these areas belong to Ukraine”, Reuters reports that Baerbock said in Berlin after hosting talks with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, her counterpart from Pakistan.

Russia targets Zaporizhzhia with 'kamikaze drones' for first time

Lorenzo Tondo

Russia has targeted Zaporizhzhia with explosive-packed “kamikaze drones” for the first time, as the death toll from a missile strike on an apartment building in the city rose to 11.

The regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones damaged two infrastructure facilities in the city. He said other missiles also struck the city, injuring one person.

With its army losing ground to Ukraine’s counteroffensive, Moscow has started to deploy drones to attack Ukrainian targets. According to Ukrainian military officials, “kamikaze drones” are cheaper and less sophisticated than missiles but have proved effective at causing damage to targets on the ground. The Shahed-136 drones are able to remain airborne for several hours and circle over potential targets before being flown into enemy troops, armour or buildings and exploding on impact.

On Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani denied supplying the drones to Russia, calling the claims “baseless”. However, the Ukrainian military said its forces had shot down more than 20 drones over the last 24 hours and that most were Iranian-made.

CNN is carrying a report today that morale is plummeting among the Wagner mercenary group’s troops in Ukraine. The news outlet says it has interviewed a former Wagner commander now seeking asylum in Europe and been given access to Wagner recruits fighting in Ukraine. It reports:

“I am convinced that if Russia did not use mercenary groups on such a massive scale, there would be no question of the success that the Russian army has achieved so far,” Marat Gabidullin, a former Wagner commander who was once in charge of 95 mercenaries in Syria, told CNN.

In touch with former comrades now fighting in Ukraine, Gabidullin said that Russia’s use of mercenaries has ramped up as the Kremlin’s execution of its war had fallen into disarray.

“The Russian army cannot handle [the war] without mercenaries,” according to Gabidullin, adding that there was “a very big myth, a very big obfuscation about a strong Russian army”.

At least 5,000 mercenaries tied to the Wagner group are operating with Russian forces in Ukraine, Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency who has been monitoring Wagner in Ukraine, told CNN.

Yusov also said that Wagner is increasingly being used to patch holes in the Russian front line. That has led to significant logistical challenges, he says, with the need to supply Wagner troops with ammunition, food and support for extended operations, all while Ukraine has upped its attacks on Russia’s logistics.

Bodycam footage purportedly from Wagner fighters in August passed to CNN by the Ukrainian defence ministry shows mercenaries complaining of a lack of body armor and helmets. In another video a fighter complains about orders to attack Ukrainian positions when his unit is out of ammunition.

You can read more of the report here: CNN – Morale is plummeting in Putin’s private army as Russia’s war in Ukraine falters

A member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle directly confronted the Russian president over mistakes and failings in the war in Ukraine, the Washington Post has reported, citing US intelligence.

The individual, whom the Post did not name, reportedly expressed concern to Putin about the mismanagement of the war effort and mistakes being made by Russia’s military leaders.

An unnamed western intelligence official told the paper:

Since the start of the occupation we have witnessed growing alarm from a number of Putin’s inner circle. Our assessments suggest they are particularly exercised by recent Russian losses, misguided direction and extensive military shortcomings.

Another senior official said:

There are a lot of people who are convinced this isn’t going well or the right course of action.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, acknowledged there had been disagreements over the war but added that it was “all part of the usual working process”.

Peskov told the paper:

It is not a sign of any split.

Clea Skopeliti

Anna, a Russian energy sector worker, describes how her husband fled Russia for Kazakhstan following Putin’s mobilisation announcement and explains why the couple have decided to make a new life in Turkey:

My husband left Russia for Kazakhstan five days after Putin’s mobilisation announcement with just a backpack carrying his toothbrush, warm clothes, peanuts, chocolate bars and water.

We had been against the war from the beginning, attending anti-war protests in Moscow but after the partial mobilisation, my husband started looking for a way to leave – we were worried he could be drafted at any time because he has an engineering background. Needing him for military purposes was a horrible thought for us.

At the border, it was almost all [Russian] men – and volunteers from a Kazakh border town saved the day by cooking food for them. It was late and very cold and Dmitriy paid a driver $200 to get him across the border. It took 12 hours. The driver ended up taking a total of six people – it was a great money-making opportunity and as the night went on, the price to cross the border by car rose to $1,000.

Now he’s in a hotel in Uralsk and plans to fly to Turkey in the next couple of weeks – flights out of Kazakhstan were so expensive that it was cheaper to stay in a hotel there for three weeks than to fly immediately. He is making friends there. People are happy to meet fellow Russians. Everyone is friendly but also depressed, trying to keep it together.

Read Anna and her husband’s full story here:

Nobel peace prize winner: Putin should face international tribunal

Vladimir Putin should face an “international tribunal”, the head of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties said after the human rights organisation was awarded a Nobel peace prize.

Writing on Facebook, Oleksandra Matviychuk called on the Russian president and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, and other “war criminals” to face an international tribunal in order to “give the hundreds of thousands of victims of war crimes a chance to see justice”.

Matviychuk also called for Russia to be excluded from the UN security council “for systematic violations of the UN charter”.

The Center for Civil Liberties was established in 2007 and has done extensive work documenting Russian war crimes during the seven month-long conflict in Ukraine.

Matviychuk said she was “delighted” the organisation was awarded the Nobel prize with “our friends and partners at Memorial and Viasna”.

Russian diplomats in the US will hold a “telephone conversation” with two Russian men who fled to Alaska to avoid conscription to fight in Ukraine, Russian state media has reported.

The two Russians crossed the Bering strait by boat to avoid being drafted into the military and landed on a remote Alaskan island earlier this week, where they have appealed for asylum, according to reports from the region.

The Russian embassy in Washington “is aware of the situation with the detained Russian citizens in the state of Alaska”, Nadezhda Shumova, the head of the consular department of the Russian embassy in Washington, was cited by Russian state-owned news agency Tass as saying.

Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, has urged Russian fighters to lay down their arms, promising them “life and safety” if they do so.

In a video addressed to Russian troops, Reznikov says:

We guarantee life, security and justice to everyone who refuses to fight immediately. And we will get a tribunal for those who gave criminal orders. You can still save Russia from tragedy, and the Russian army from humiliation.

Russian troops have been “deceived and betrayed” by the Kremlin, Reznikov said, adding that they are now paying “with blood for someone’s fantasies and false goals”.

He said many in the Russian army had already realised that they were “sent to die not for a good cause”, adding:

You will remain in memory as thieves, rapists and murderers ... you will be made guilty. And they will betray you again, as they have already betrayed you more than once.

On Putin’s 70th birthday, Ukraine’s Defense Minister addresses Russian soldiers and highlights their leaders’ hypocrisy:

“Our president is visiting the frontline… He is with his army. And where is yours?”

One of the hardest-hitting speeches I’ve seen from anyone since February pic.twitter.com/2l1ggNS5jv

— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) October 7, 2022

Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, has said Russia must leave occupied parts of Ukraine in order for the conflict to end.

Asked by reporters about a potential off-ramp for Russia to end the war in Ukraine, Marin replied: “The way out of the conflict is for Russia to leave Ukraine.”

At least 11 people killed in Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia, says Ukraine

The death toll from Thursday’s Russian missile attacks on the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine has increased to 11, according to Ukraine’s state emergency service.

The bodies of eight civilians were recovered under the rubble of a residential house, it said in an update on Facebook.

At least 15 people are still missing, according to Zaporizhzhia city council secretary, Andrii Kurtiev.

Oleksandr Starukh, the head of the city’s regional military administration, said in a separate update that at least 21 people have been rescued and that crews are still working to find others.

Starukh added:

There are neither military nor important objects near the hit site, only civilian buildings, and apartment buildings.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has congratulated Vladimir Putin on his birthday, applauding him for his “distinguished leadership and strong will” in the latest sign of deepening ties between the two countries.

In the birthday message, Kim spoke of Putin’s achievements in “building powerful Russia” and said the Russian leader was “enjoying high respects and support from the broad masses of people”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok, Russia, 2019. Photograph: Reuters

Russia is “reliably defending the dignity of the state and its fundamental interests from the challenges and threats by the US and its vassal forces”, he added. “Such reality is unthinkable without your distinguished leadership and strong will,” he said.

Cooperation between North Korea and Russia had been strengthened “as never before”, Kim said, adding that he hoped their personal ties would play a bigger role in further developing the friendly relationship between the two countries.

Summary of the day so far …

  • In the northeastern Kharkiv region where Ukrainian forces regained a large swathe of ground in September, the bodies of 534 civilians including 19 children were found after Russian troops left, Serhiy Bolvinov of the National Police in Kharkiv told a briefing. The total included 447 bodies found in Izium. He also said that investigators had found evidence of 22 sites being used as “torture rooms”.

  • Joe Biden has warned the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to try to win the war in Ukraine. The US president made his most outspoken remarks to date about the threat of nuclear war, saying it was the closest the world had come to nuclear catastrophe for sixty years. “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said. “We’ve got a guy I know fairly well,” Biden said, referring to the Russian president. “He’s not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.”

  • The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties.

  • Ukrainian sources are attempting to clarify what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meant yesterday when he talked about “preventive strikes” being necessary to stop Russia using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov seized on the comments, interpreting them as a call for Nato to use nuclear weapons against Russia, and said the comments showed why Russia’s “special military operation” within Ukraine’s borders had been necessary. Advisor to Zelenskiy, Serhii Nykyforov, said “Colleagues, you have gone a little too far with your nuclear hysteria and now you hear nuclear strikes even where there are none. The president spoke about the period before 24 February. Then it was necessary to apply preventive measures to prevent Russia from starting the war. Let me remind you that the only measures that were about then were preventive sanctions.”

  • The headquarters of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has claimed to have captured three settlements from Ukrainian forces in Donetsk.

  • At least five people were killed and as many injured after Ukrainian forces struck a bus while shelling a strategically important bridge in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, Russia’s Tass news agency has reported.

  • The office of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has issued a brief read-out after he held a call with his Russian counterpart. The pair discussed the latest developments in Ukraine, and Erdoğan repeated Ankara’s willingness to do its part to peacefully resolve the war.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. Léonie Chao-Fong will be with you shortly.

Ukrainian sources are attempting to clarify what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meant yesterday when he talked about “preventive strikes” being necessary to stop Russia using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov earlier seized on the comments, interpreting them as a call for Nato to use nuclear weapons against Russia, and said the comments showed why Russia’s “special military operation” within Ukraine’s borders had been necessary.

Reuters reports that adviser to Zelenskiy, Serhii Nykyforov, has written on Facebook:

Colleagues, you have gone a little too far with your nuclear hysteria and now you hear nuclear strikes even where there are none. The president spoke about the period before 24 February. Then it was necessary to apply preventive measures to prevent Russia from starting the war. Let me remind you that the only measures that were about then were preventive sanctions.

Nykyforov went on to say that hints at the use of nuclear weapons were “afforded only by the terrorist state Russia. You will never hear such calls from Ukraine.”

Earlier US president Joe Biden gave his starkest warning yet about the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, saying the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin elects to use the weapons.

Russian and Ukraine human rights organisations among Nobel Peace Prize winners

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties. You can follow the latest on that with my colleague Sam Jones.

Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast, has posted to Telegram to say that the city of Nikopol “shuddered all night from the explosions”. He wrote:

Almost 40 Russian shells arrived in Nikopol. In the city, several high-rise buildings, more than ten private houses, farm buildings, a transport infrastructure enterprise, gas pipelines and electricity networks were damaged.

The claims have not been independently verified.

The office of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has issued a brief read-out after he held a call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Reuters reports the pair discussed the latest developments in Ukraine, and that Erdoğan repeated Ankara’s willingness to do its part to peacefully resolve the war.

The headquarters of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has claimed to have captured three settlements from Ukrainian forces in Donetsk. The RIA Novosti news agency quotes an official source saying:

As of 7 October, on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a group of troops of the DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) , with fire support from the Russian Federation armed forces , liberated Odradivka, Vesela Dolyna and Zaitseve

The three settlements are close to Bakhmut. The claims have not been independently verified. The DPR and LPR are only recognised as legitimate authorities by three UN member states: Russia, Syria and North Korea. Donetsk is one of the regions of occupied Ukraine that Russia has claimed to annex, despite not having full control over the territory.

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