Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 253 of the invasion

Vladimir Putin says Moscow will rejoin grain export deal; US alleges North Korea covertly supplying Russia with a ‘significant’ number of artillery shells

  • The UN nuclear watchdog said on Thursday it found no sign of undeclared nuclear activity at three sites in Ukraine that it inspected at Kyiv’s request, in response to Russian allegations that work was being done on a “dirty bomb”. “Our technical and scientific evaluation of the results we have so far did not show any sign of undeclared nuclear activities and materials at these three locations,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said, adding that environmental samples taken would be analysed.

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, reacted strongly to the results of the nuclear inspection, saying Russia had confirmed its status as “the world’s top liar”. He said “The IAEA has checked three Ukrainian facilities in focus of Russian disinfo and found no evidence of any ‘dirty bombs’. I thank Rafael Mariano Grossi for IAEA’s excellent and prompt cooperation which helped counter Russian falsehoods. Russia has confirmed its status of the world’s top liar.”

  • The Russian delegation resumed work at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) that runs the Black Sea grain deal operations in Istanbul and joined vessel inspections on Thursday, the UN secretariat at the centre said. It said the queue for inspections has been significantly reduced, with currently over 120 ships waiting to move, mainly those planning an inbound voyage.

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had said Wednesday that Moscow would rejoin the grain export deal brokered by the UN and Turkey with Ukraine, but that it reserved the right to withdraw if necessary. “We demanded assurances and guarantees from the Ukrainian side that nothing like this would happen again, that the humanitarian corridors would not be used militarily,” Putin said during a video meeting with his coordination council on Wednesday.

  • Russia on Thursday urged the United Nations, which sponsored the deal, to help fulfil the parts of the deal intended to ease Russia’s food and fertiliser exports. “We still do not see any results regarding a second aspect: the removal of obstacles to the export of Russian fertilisers and grain,” the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, told a news conference in Amman, Jordan. Russian agricultural exports do not fall explicitly under sanctions imposed since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February, but Moscow says they are badly hindered by the restrictions imposed on its financial, logistics and insurance sectors.

  • A Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson said that, contrary to Russian claims, Ukraine has made no new commitments that go beyond the terms originally signed in July.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, welcomed Moscow’s humiliating U-turn and hailed “a significant diplomatic result for our country and the whole world”. “Implementation of the grain export initiative continues,” he said in his Wednesday evening address. “The Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine. This shows both the failure of the Russian aggression and how strong we are when we remain united”.

  • The Russian flag has been removed from the Kherson regional administration, a building located on the west bank of the city where Ukrainian forces made significant advances a few weeks ago. Russian forces moved their regional headquarters across the Dnipro river to the left bank of Kherson city, according to Ukraine’s Centre of National Resistance. One of the Russian-imposed leaders of the occupying authorities in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, posted to Telegram encouraging further civilian “evacuations” from the city – a move that has been described by Kyiv as forced deportations. Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Command, is urging caution, saying that Russia’s unusual manoeuvres in Kherson might be a trap to lure in Ukrainian forces.

  • Ukraine’s grid operator Ukrenergo has confirmed that Russian missile attacks hit energy infrastructure in the Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk late on Wednesday, further complicating the work of the energy system.

  • Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of Dnipropetrovsk region described “a tense night of massive attacks” but said on Thursday morning there were no known casualties. Russian attacks in the Donetsk oblast and Kharkiv oblast have killed at least five civilians in the past day, officials said.

  • The armed forces of Ukraine are estimating that about 730 Russian soldiers were killed yesterday alone, bringing the total to 68,900 personnel lost so far in the invasion of Ukraine.

  • Ukraine’s Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant has been disconnected from the power grid after Russian shelling damaged the remaining high-voltage lines, leaving it with just diesel generators, according to the Ukrainian nuclear firm Energoatom.

  • Olena Zelenska, the wife of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said she hoped that Elon Musk’s tweet about a peace deal to end the war with Russia was a “chance mistake”. “He supported Ukraine from the very first day and that’s why Ukrainians really admired him,” Zelenska told the Guardian in an interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon. “So it was extremely sensitive for us to read the tweet. Let’s be honest, even the smartest person can’t say the smartest things 24 hours a day. There are mistakes. And we hope it was a chance mistake.”

  • A small anti-British protest in Moscow greeted British ambassador Deborah Bronnert after she was summoned by Russia’s foreign ministry. Russia said in a statement that Bronnert was told “confrontational actions by the British pose the threat of an escalation and can lead to unpredictable and dangerous consequences”. The Russian foreign ministry objected to British agreements to train Ukrainian naval personnel, and accuse Britain of being involved in assisting an attack on the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol last weekend.

The British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert arrives at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a protest is held.
The British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert arrives at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a protest is held. Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
  • Hungary’s parliament will decide on when to schedule a debate on the ratification of Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join Nato, its foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, told a press conference this morning.

  • Switzerland has committed to providing $106m for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure recovery.

  • Russia said Wednesday it was fully committed to preventing nuclear war, and that avoiding a clash among countries that have nuclear weapons was its highest priority. The Russian foreign ministry said it feared the five declared nuclear powers were teetering “on the brink of a direct armed conflict” and that the west must stop “encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction, which can lead to catastrophic consequences”.

  • The White House has accused North Korea of covertly shipping a “significant number” of artillery shells to Russia in support of its invasion of Ukraine amid mounting evidence of shortages for key weapons systems. US National security council spokesperson John Kirby said the US believed North Korea “is covertly supplying” the ammunition to Russia and “trying to make it appear as though they are being sent to countries in the Middle East or north Africa”.

  • Putin called for weapons used by Russia’s military to be modernised during a meeting of his coordination council on Wednesday. “Weapons must constantly, continuously improve and remain effective. To achieve this, I repeat, it is important to ensure that there is active competition between manufacturers and developers,” he said.

  • The UN security council has overwhelmingly rejected Russia’s attempt to establish a commission to investigate its unfounded claims that Ukraine and the United States are carrying out “military biological” activities that violate the convention prohibiting the use of biological weapons.

  • Details have been published of the damage caused to the Nord Stream gas pipeline by explosions at the end of September. Nord Stream AG said that about 250 metres (820ft) of the pipeline in the Baltic Sea was “destroyed”.

  • Two Russian oligarchs and business partners of Roman Abramovich have been added to the UK government’s sanctions list. Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, whom the UK government said were “known to be business associates” of the former Chelsea FC owner, were on Wednesday among four new Russian steel and petrochemical tycoons added to the sanctions list.


Samantha Lock, Martin Belam and Vivian Ho

The GuardianTramp

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