The reported Russian Security Council meeting comes after a fireball engulfed the key Kerch Strait Bridge between annexed Crimea and the Russian mainland on Saturday, causing extensive damage. It marked another blow to Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine as his troops continue to struggle to hold back a Ukrainian counteroffensive. The bridge is now partially reopened to traffic.
A dozen Russian missile strikes on apartment buildings and other targets in Zaporizhzhia killed at least 12 civilians and injured dozens more. The southeastern city, about 50km from the namesake nuclear power plant, has been under escalating attack.
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On the ground
Russia struck residential buildings and civil infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia again overnight, with dozens dead or injured. Representatives of the Russian occupying authorities in Luhansk and in Nova Kakhovka in the vicinity of Kherson have reportedly taken their families to Crimea amid advances by Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian troops pushed forward further in Luhansk, moving toward the strategic town of Svatove, the region’s military administration said on Sunday on Telegram. The army had liberated seven villages, it said.
White House says US nuclear posture unchanged
The US has no indication that Putin has decided to use nuclear weapons despite his threats and battlefield losses, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “Nor have we seen anything that would give us pause to reconsider our own strategic nuclear posture,” he said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
Kirby’s comments reaffirm those by other US officials that no fresh intelligence led to President Joe Biden’s warning last week that Putin’s nuclear threats could lead to “Armageddon.”
Russia says another ferry in operation for Crimea transit
The Lavrentiy ferry has arrived at the Black Sea port of Kerch to assist with passenger and car shipments after Saturday’s blast temporarily stopped traffic at the Crimea bridge, Russia’s Transport Ministry said. Another ferry started operating earlier on Sunday. The ministry said it was considering bringing in more vessels.
Putin to gather Russian Security Council on Monday — report
The reason for the gathering wasn’t immediately announced, but will come two days after the damage to the Crimea-Russia bridge. The council is composed of top state officials and the heads of Russia’s defence and security agencies, charged with coordinating national security matters.
Russia says trains moving again over damaged Crimean Bridge
Movement of passenger and freight trains across the sole bridge from Crimea to Russia’s mainland is back on, Russia’s transportation ministry said on Telegram.
“It is almost certain that some vehicle transits via the other two carriageways have resumed, but capacity will be seriously degraded,” the UK Defence Ministry said in a Twitter update.
Germany finalises new aid package for Ukraine — report
The German government has put together another package to support Ukraine, to the tune of €11-million, according to Der Spiegel.
The aid package, which includes winter clothing, heatable crew tents, mobile power generators and food packages, follows a request for winter equipment from Kyiv. Berlin wants to deliver the equipment as quickly as possible, Der Spiegel reports.
Zelensky says air defence is Ukraine’s top priority
Ukraine is seeking anti-aircraft systems from its partners as soon as possible as Moscow’s forces step up attacks on its cities and towns with missiles fired from aircraft, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Saturday.
“It is one of the highest priorities for our diplomats to speed up the decision of our partners to provide Ukraine with modern and effective anti-aircraft systems,” Zelensky said in his nightly address to the nation.
His comments came hours before Russian jets fired at least a dozen missiles at the city of Zaporizhzhia overnight. Ukraine’s military said on Twitter that having such anti-missile systems “could have prevented such tragedies.”
EU ‘to train up to 15,000 Ukrainians in European winter’
The EU agreed to a new training mission for Ukraine and plans to train as many as 15,000 of Kyiv’s troops in EU countries this winter, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reports.
Operational headquarters will be located in Poland and Germany, with an initial mandate of two years. The EU also plans to massively expand military aid to Ukraine within the next months, according to Welt.
Ukraine calls on Belarus to resist Russian provocations
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said its ambassador to Belarus was summoned on Saturday night to a meeting where officials accused Kyiv of planning a strike against the territory of Russia’s ally.
“We categorically reject another insinuation of the Belarusian regime,” Ukraine’s ministry said in a statement. “We do not rule out that the handed diplomatic note is part of a Russian Federation provocation plan.” Ukraine called on Belarus “not to succumb to provocations.”
Two missiles were launched by Russian jets from Belarusian air space last week for the first time since late August. They hit the area near Shepetivka in central Ukraine, hundreds of kilometres from the eastern and southeastern front lines.
Russian strikes on Zaporizhzhia kill multiple civilians
Moscow’s troops hit civilian targets in Zaporizhzhia overnight in an aircraft-launched missile attack, killing at least 17 people in dozens of apartment buildings, city council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev said on Telegram. Other estimates put the toll at 12 dead so far. Dozens more were hospitalised. At least five homes were also destroyed and dozens damaged. Ukraine’s state security service has opened a probe into attack.
Ukraine’s regional military administration said Russia used planes to attack the city, firing 12 missiles. Some infrastructure and many cars were also damaged.
Zaporizhzhia has been under heavy attack from Russia in recent weeks. It’s part of one of four regions illegally annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. DM