Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- President Biden said that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at its highest since the Cuban missile crisis, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not joking” about the potential use of nuclear weapons as his army struggles in Ukraine. Biden’s remarks at a New York fundraiser Thursday comes after administration officials have said there is no indicationRussia is moving its nuclear weapons in preparation for an imminent strike.
- Zelensky, in a speech delivered via video, said the newly formed European Political Community offered “not just another format of cooperation in Europe but an extremely powerful opportunity to restore peace in Europe,” The Washington Post reported.
- “We do not think that any objective investigation is possible without the participation of the Russian side,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement, regarding Sweden’s Nord Stream findings. Moscow has sought to blame the West for the explosions.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu faced intensifying political pressure Thursday over a series of disorderly retreats in Ukraine, as powerful nationalist figures openly attacked Moscow’s military command for setbacks in areas President Vladimir Putin claims to have annexed.
- Two Russian nationals fleeing President Vladimir Putin’s call-up of military reservists landed by boat on a remote Alaskan island in the Bering Sea and are seeking asylum in the United States, U.S. officials said Thursday. The unusual incident highlights the lengths some Russians have gone to avoid mobilization, with an estimated 200,000 Russians having fled since the call-up.
- The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency met with Zelensky in Kyiv on Thursday to discuss a protection zone around the embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Rafael Mariano Grossi said at a news conference it is “obvious” the Russian-occupied plant is a “Ukrainian facility,” but the circumstances require him to discuss terms with both sides and he will soon visit Russia for “very high level” talks.
- USAID Administrator Samantha Power visited Kyiv on Thursday, leading the first high-level U.S. delegation since Russia announced its illegal annexation of vast swaths of eastern and southern Ukraine. Power said the United States would provide an additional $55 million in aid to help Ukrainians this winter.
- Moscow is pushing for a secret vote for when the U.N. General Assembly considers whether to condemn its illegal annexation of four Ukrainian areas next week, Reuters reported. The Kremlin said a nonpublic vote would allow countries to resist Western pressure.
- At least seven missiles struck residents “sleeping peacefully at their homes” overnight in Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter, adding that more attacks came Thursday. At least three people were killed according to local officials, Reuters reported. “Attention. Another enemy missile attack. Stay in shelters,” Zaporizhzhia’s governor, Oleksandr Starukh, wrote Thursday on Telegram. Zaporizhzhia was one of the four regions Russia claimed to annex, in defiance of international law, in a process finalized this week.
- Russia has deployed most of its “severely undermanned” airborne troops to defend the southern Kherson region, the British Defense Ministry said Thursday. Zelensky said Thursday that Ukraine has recaptured more than 500 square kilometers of territory in Kherson since Oct. 1.
- A lawmaker allied with Putin’s party proposed seizing cars abandoned along the border by men fleeing Russia’s military mobilization, state media said.
- Russian forces in Ukraine’s Donetsk region blew up a dam, flooding a nearby area, according to a statement posted to the Facebook page of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine….
STAVKY, Ukraine — Racing down a road with his men in pursuit of retreating Russian soldiers, a battalion commander came across an abandoned Russian armored vehicle, its engine still running. Inside there was a sniper rifle, rocket propelled grenades, helmets and belongings. The men were gone.
“They dropped everything: personal care, helmets,” said the commander, who uses the code name Swat. “I think it was a special unit, but they were panicking. It was raining very hard, the road was bad and they drop everything and move.”
After months of static fighting and holding the line under withering Russian artillery barrages, Ukrainian soldiers are exulting over their smashing of Russian lines in the northeast three weeks ago, and their recapturing of swaths of territory seized by Russian troops earlier this year. They have almost retaken the whole of Kharkiv Province, as well as territory in each of the four regions that President Vladimir V. Putin claims to have annexed for Russia.
There has been little time for reflection for the Ukrainians as they press their counterattack, focused on keeping the pressure on the retreating Russian army to prevent it from regrouping. Yet after months in the trenches never seeing the faces of the enemy, Ukrainian soldiers and commanders have now engaged the Russians up close and gotten a chance to size up their opponent.
“We have the strength to do this,” Swat said. “Because right now they are in panic, they really are in panic.”