A passenger train and cars drive on the Kerch bridge, after an explosion destroyed part of it, in the Kerch Strait, Crimea.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties rising on both sides.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced Russia’s annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions following referendums that Western nations called a “sham.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are mounting a strong counteroffensive against Russian troops, reclaiming territory lost when Moscow launched its invasion. Ukraine has managed to withstand the Russian onslaught with the help of Western military aid, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more. For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.
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Note: Nikkei Asia decided on March 5 to suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code. Entries include material from wire services and other sources.
Here are the latest developments:
Monday, Oct. 10 (Tokyo time)
10:30 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of orchestrating the explosion of a key bridge linking Russia and Crimea, an act he described as terrorism. “There is no doubt. This is an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure,” Putin said on Sunday in a video on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel. “This was devised, carried out and ordered by the Ukrainian special services,” said Putin.
4:06 a.m. A nighttime Russian missile attack on apartments and other residences has killed 17 people in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, according to preliminary data cited by Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych.
The predawn strikes were the second such attack against the city in three days, Reuters reports. Arestovych calls the latest strikes President Vladimir Putin’s revenge, presumably for the recent bombing of a bridge linking Russia and Crimea.
1:08 a.m. The International Atomic Energy Agency team at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has confirmed that the offsite power line lost the day before has been restored and that the plant is reconnected to the grid — “a temporary relief in a still untenable situation,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi tweets.
“A protection zone is needed now,” Grossi continues. He writes that he will travel to Russia and later meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to establish the zone.
Grossi’s update comes after he retweets World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who calls the situation at the Russian-held, Ukrainian-operated plant “deeply concerning” and pushes for an agreement on a nuclear safety and security protection zone. “Russia must end the war,” Tedros concludes.
12:43 a.m. Russia is scrambling to restore transportation links across the explosion-damaged bridge to Crimea and Russia, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Railway traffic of long-distance passenger and freight trains “proceeds under the statutory schedule,” the Transport Ministry says in a story from the Russian government’s TASS news agency. Suburban train traffic was to resume at 7 p.m. Sunday local time, according to the ministry. TASS reports a partial restoration of auto traffic.
Two hundred fifty trucks waiting in Crimea will be ferried across the Kerch Strait, and Crimea residents are asked not to use the bridge in the coming days without an urgent need, TASS separately reports, quoting official sources.
The damage to the 12-mile bridge, critical for moving arms, ammunition and other military supplies, could hurt Moscow’s war effort in southern Ukraine.
Sunday, Oct. 9
1:30 p.m. Dozens of people have been killed or injured in overnight shelling in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Sunday.
“Overnight, the Russian occupiers cynically struck the residential buildings and civil infrastructure,” the military’s central command said on its Facebook page.
“Information about victims is being confirmed, but it is already known about dozens of dead or injured.”
A rescuer works at a site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia on Sunday.
6:50 a.m. Ukrainian troops are involved in very tough fighting near the strategically important eastern town of Bakhmut, which Russia is trying to take, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in video address on Saturday.
Russian forces have repeatedly tried to seize Bakhmut, which sits on a main road leading to the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Both are situated in the industrial Donbas region, which Moscow has yet to fully capture.
“We are holding our positions in the Donbas, in particular in the Bakhmut direction, where it is very, very difficult now, very tough fighting,” said Zelenskiy, according to Reuters.
12:06 a.m. Russia’s Defense Ministry names air force Gen. Sergei Surovikin as the overall commander of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.
Surovikin, who has led Russia’s Air and Space Forces since 2017, marks Moscow’s third senior military appointment in a week.
Commanders of two of Russia’s five military regions were reportedly sacked in the past week as forces suffer dramatic reversals in northeastern and southern Ukraine.
Saturday, Oct. 8
11:21 p.m. Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has switched to emergency diesel generators after overnight shelling cut off external power, according to Ukraine’s state nuclear company and the U.N. atomic watchdog.
Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for shelling at the site of Europe’s biggest nuclear plant.
Although the plant’s six reactors are shut down, they need a constant supply of electricity to keep the nuclear fuel inside cool and prevent a meltdown.
2:42 p.m. An explosion causes the partial collapse of a bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with Russia, damaging a key supply artery for the Kremlin’s war effort in southern Ukraine.
Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee says a truck bomb caused railway cars carrying fuel to catch fire, resulting in the partial collapse of two sections of the bridge. Three people were killed in the blast, Russian authorities say.
Ukrainian officials have threatened to strike the bridge, but Kyiv stopped short of claiming responsibility.
The 19-kilometer bridge across the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, the longest in Europe, opened in 2018.
7:20 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a newly published decree to set up a new operator for the Exxon-led Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project. Japanese and Indian investors are partners in the energy venture. Read more.
7:00 a.m. “We must de-occupy all the lands that the Russian occupiers are trying to keep for themselves,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says in his latest video message.
Zelenskyy refers to the Ukrainian parliament’s resolution supporting the Japanese government’s position on the Russian-administered islands that Japan calls the Northern Territories.
“Russia has no right to these territories,” he says. “Everyone in the world knows this well. And we must finally act.”
The president says Ukrainian forces in their ongoing counteroffensive have liberated 2,434 square kilometers of land occupied by Russian forces.
5:55 a.m. The International Monetary Fund says its executive board has approved $1.3 billion in emergency financing “to help meet Ukraine’s urgent balance of payments needs.”
The financing will be issued through the newly created food shock window of the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument, which is available to member states facing a balance of payments crisis. Ukraine’s need stems in part from “a large cereal export shortfall,” the IMF says in a news release.
“The Ukrainian authorities deserve considerable credit for having maintained an important degree of macro-financial stability in these extremely challenging circumstances,” IMF also says.
4:00 a.m. Ukraine’s parliament has passed a resolution supporting the Japanese government’s position on the Russian-administered islands that Japan calls the Northern Territories.
The resolution describes the islands — which lie to the north of Hokkaido and form the southern tip of the Kuril chain — as Japanese territory occupied by Russia. It calls on the international community to support Japan’s position.
Efforts by Japan to negotiate their return had faltered even before Russia invaded Ukraine. Now, with Tokyo joining Western-led sanctions against Moscow, prospects for restarting talks on a peace treaty to formally end World War II look even more distant.
This marks Ukraine’s latest expression of support for Japan on the Northern Territories. In 2020, Kyiv said the islands should be returned to Japan.
1:25 a.m. Asked why U.S. President Joe Biden used the word “Armageddon” when referring to Russian nuclear threats, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says the U.S. had seen no reason to adjust its own nuclear posture and had no indications Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons.
In a press gaggle on board Air Force One, Jean-Pierre calls Russia’s talk of using nuclear weapons “irresponsible.” She says Biden’s comments were meant to reinforce how seriously the White House takes these threats.
U.S. President Joe Biden take Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats very seriously, the White House says. (Source photos by AP)
1:00 a.m. A Russian navy submarine along with a destroyer and a submarine rescue ship have been observed transiting the Soya Strait north of Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Joint Staff says.
The Kilo-class submarine and other ships passed from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Sea of Japan starting on Thursday, according to a Joint Staff news release.
The Soya Strait, also known as the La Perouse Strait, lies between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and Russia’s Sakhalin.
12:45 a.m. Ukrainian troops have reported outages of their Starlink communications terminals made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the Financial Times reports, citing a senior Ukrainian official who called the loss of communication “catastrophic.”
12:40 a.m. British diplomat Simon Manley sends a birthday message of sorts to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Friday, Oct. 7
11:10 p.m. The U.S. has unveiled its new national strategy in the Arctic, warning of “increasing strategic competition” exacerbated by Russia and China and calling for greater cooperation among allies to “uphold international law, rules, norms and standards” in the region.
The strategy, which is an update of a 2013 document released by former President Barack Obama’s administration, covers the U.S. agenda in the region over the next 10 years.
The document says that as an Arctic nation itself, the U.S. has the “authority and responsibility” to steward and protect the region.
“The United States seeks an Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and cooperative,” it says. Read more.
6:20 p.m. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is going to jailed Belarus rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Ukrainian organization the Center for Civil Liberties, the award’s judges say. Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the judges wanted to honor “three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the neighbor countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.”
The superyacht Nord, connected to Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov, anchored in Hong Kong on Oct. 7. (TVB via AP)
4:50 p.m. A superyacht connected to Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov anchored in Hong Kong this week amid moves by Western governments to seize yachts connected to sanctioned Russian businessmen. The yacht Nord — worth over $500 million — arrived in Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon after traveling for over a week from Vladivostok, Russia, its last port of call. Mordashov is the main shareholder and chairman of Severstal, Russia’s largest steel and mining company.
11:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, after Russian officials spoke of the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons after suffering massive setbacks in the invasion of Ukraine. Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a guy I know fairly well” and was “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.” Biden added, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” He suggested the threat from Putin is real “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives in New York to attend a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reception on Oct. 6.
8:00 a.m. Russian missiles hit apartment buildings in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia on Thursday, leaving at least seven people dead and five missing in a region that Moscow has illegally annexed, the regional governor said. Two strikes damaged more than 40 buildings hours after Ukraine’s president announced that his military had retaken three more villages in another of the four regions annexed by Russia. Gov. Oleksandr Starukh said more than 20 people had been rescued from the buildings.
5:55 a.m. Two Russian nationals have sought asylum in the U.S. after sailing to an island in Alaska, the state’s U.S. senators say.
The Russians landed at a beach near Gambell on the northwest tip of St. Lawrence Island, according to a news release.
Only local and state authorities had the capability to respond immediately, while “Customs and Border Protection had to dispatch a Coast Guard aircraft from over 750 miles away to get on scene,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski says.
Sen. Dan Sullivan says the incident makes it clear that “the Russian people don’t want to fight Putin’s war of aggression” and that “our state has a vital role to play in securing America’s national security.”
Republicans Murkowski and Sullivan push for the administration of President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to strengthen American military capabilities in the Arctic.
5:45 a.m. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi has held “a positive and constructive meeting” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, discussing the Russian-held, Ukrainian-operated Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the IAEA says.
The talk also covered Grossi’s proposed nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant. Grossi and Zelenskyy agreed to meet again after Grossi visits Russia.
“This is a particularly dangerous moment for the safety and security” of the plant, Grossi says in the IAEA news release, referring to demands that workers there sign on with Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom. “Staff at the plant are being forced to make a hugely difficult decision for themselves and their loved ones. The enormous pressure they are facing must stop.”
The IAEA team at the plant has also reported shelling in an industrial area close to the access road.
12:30 a.m. The head of the International Monetary Fund warns of a “darkening” global economic outlook for next year, blaming “multiple shocks” including the “senseless” war in Ukraine.
“We estimate that countries accounting for about one-third of the world economy will experience at least two consecutive quarters of contraction this or next year,” Kristalina Georgieva says in a speech ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. “And, even when growth is positive, it will feel like a recession because of shrinking real incomes and rising prices.”
In addition to the war, the IMF managing director also blames the COVID-19 pandemic and climate disasters for “driving a global surge in prices, especially on food and energy, causing a cost-of-living crisis.”
“Far from being transitory, inflation has become more persistent,” Georgieva says. “High energy and food prices, tighter financial conditions and lingering supply constraints decelerated growth.”
For earlier updates, click here.