Ukraine latest news: Putin facing 'inevitable defeat' in southern Ukraine (2023)

Key points
  • Warning of 'uncontrolled escalation' as Russia makes 'dirty bomb' claim
  • 'Save your lives': Russians evacuate Kherson ahead of expected battle
  • Russian-installed authorities announce local militia in Kherson|Russians facing 'inevitable defeat' in key city
  • RT presenter suspended after saying Ukrainian children should have been drowned
  • Podcast:'They are killing civilians because they can't do anything on the battlefield'
  • Updates from John Sparks in eastern Ukraine and Dominic Waghorn in Moscow. Live reporting by Michael Drummond

14:03:49

Russia claims - without providing evidence - that Ukraine has contacted UK about creating nuclear weapons

Russia has claimed - without providing evidence - that Ukraine has been in contact with the UK about the possibility of creating nuclear weapons.

In a lengthy post on Telegram, the Russian defence ministry echoed comments by senior Kremlin figures that Ukraine is planning a "dirty bomb" attack (see 6.33am post).

It claimed that the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been in contact with UK representatives about the possibility of obtaining technology for the creation of nuclear weapons.

"For this, Ukraine has an appropriate production base and scientific potential," a Russian defence ministry spokesperson said.

"So, in Ukraine there are nuclear industry enterprises that have stocks of radioactive substances that can be used to create a "dirty bomb"."

It's important to note that so-called dirty bombs are not nuclear weapons and are instead conventional explosives laced with radioactive material.

Ukraine does not possess nuclear weapons, having given up the ones it inherited from the Soviet Union in 1994.

Russia, on the other hand, has a huge stock of nuclear warheads.

13:22:13

Inspections causing delays of Black Sea exports are 'politically motivated', says Ukraine

More now on the situation regarding grain exports from the Black Sea.

As we reported below, Kyiv has accused Moscow of blocking full implementation of an agreement to resume grain exports from Ukraine's southern ports.

The United Nations said today that "urgent" steps are needed to relieve a backlog of more than 150 ships involved in the agreement.

Now, Ukraine claims that Russian inspections creating these "significant" delays in the Black Sea are "politically motivated" and a cause for concern.

(Video) Russian defeat in Ukraine is inevitable - ex-commander of US Army Europe

"We have reason to believe delays in Russia's inspections ofthe grain initiative's vessels are politically motivated," theforeign ministry said.

13:04:26

'Urgent' steps needed to relieve backlog of 150 ships in Black Sea grain deal

The United Nations said today that "urgent" steps are needed to relieve a backlog of more than 150 ships involved in a deal that allows Ukraine to export grain from the Black Sea.

The comments come as Kyiv accused Russia of blocking full implementation of the agreement, which was brokered by theUnited Nations and Turkey in July to ease a global food crisis.

It will come up for renewal next month - but Russia has threatened to pull out.

Vessels carrying grains and other foodstuffs to and from Ukrainian ports must be inspected by teams organised by the four-party Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) at anchorages in Turkey.

"There are currently over 150 vessels waiting aroundIstanbul to move and these delays have the potential to causedisruptions to the supply chain and port operations," saidIsmini Palla, UN spokesperson for the Black Sea GrainInitiative.

The four parties to the deal - Russia, Ukraine and brokersTurkey and the UN - are currently negotiating a possibleextension and expansion beyond its 19 November deadline.

"The UN convenes the parties daily and has urged full andgood faith participation in the [deal] and the need foradditional urgent measures to be taken so the supply chain doesnot get disrupted and the initiative continues to deliver moreand much needed food to the world," Ms Palla added.

The grains-export deal paved the way for Ukraine to resumegrain exports from three ports that had been shut since theRussian invasion.

Moscow also won guarantees for its own grainand fertiliser exports.

12:51:31

Ukraine's economy to shrink by 30% in 2022 - deputy prime minister

Ukraine expects its economy to shrink by 30% in 2022, after it was unable to export its main produce - sunflower meal, oil, and seed - for months.

Exports have resumed in small numbers, but it is likely this halt in exports contributed to the economy shrinkage reported by deputy prime minister Yulia Svyrydenko.

Ukraine has been at war with Russia since February, when troops amassed at the border invaded and attempted to topple Kyiv.

(Video) Why Ukrainian officials are confident they can defeat Russia

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian economy ministry said finances had shrunk by an estimated 30% in the first three-quarters of 2022, compared with 2021.

Ms Svyrydenko also told a Ukraine-Germany business conferencethat inflation and unemployment were both seen at 30% this year.

12:33:04

Romanian defence minister resigns over Ukraine claims

Romania's defence minister Vasile Dincu has announced his resignation, citing problems working with the president.

Mr Dincu has been in post for almost a year.

It comes after he controversially claimed last week that Ukraine's only hope of winning the war is by negotiating with Russia.

This is a breakaway from Romania's official stance on the conflict.

Romania is a NATO member and a key ally of Ukraine, as it sits on its border.

Since the start of the war, it has regularly hosted multinational battlegroups and air defence systems for NATO.

Mr Dincu said he quit to avoid hindering decision-making in military programs and "to not block a number of projects absolutely necessary for the optimal function".

No successor has been announced.

12:04:26

'Such a threat exists': Kremlin spokesman reiterates dirty bomb claims

We've been reporting today on Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu's claims that Ukraine could use a "dirty bomb" - one laced with radioactive material - in a major escalation of the current conflict.

Despite widespread condemnation of the allegations by Ukraine and its Western allies, the Kremlin's spokesman is standing by them.

Speaking to the media today, Dmitry Peskov said: "Their distrust of the information that has been provided by the Russian side doesn’t mean that the threat of using such a dirty bomb doesn't exist.

(Video) Ukraine War: Kyiv targets Russia's supply lines around Kherson

"Such a threat exists, and the defence minister has given the information about it to his interlocutors. It's up to them whether to trust it or not."

Mr Shoigu made the claims in calls to his UK, US, French and Turkish counterparts - but they later rejected his remarks in a joint statement.

11:45:24

Rebuilding Ukraine after war will cost $750bn and counting

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has been speaking at a German-Ukrainian business forum this morning.

After thanking Berlin for their continued support, he claimed that reconstruction costs across Ukraine currently stand at $750bn (£663bn).

Entire cities, such as Mariupol and Bucha, have been destroyed since the war began in late-February.

Experts vary on their view of how long the conflict with Russia will continue – from months to several years.

Seperately the European Bank forReconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Monday it willcommit up to three billion euros to Ukraine over 2022 and 2023 tohelp shore up its warn-torn businesses and economy.

11:25:59

Ukrainian spy chief plays down effects of possible dam bombing

Last week Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia was planning to blow up the Kakhova hyrdo-electric dam near Kherson.

But his military spy chief, Kyrylo Budanov, has today played down the impact of such a bombing on the Ukrainian advance.

He claims it would only slow down his troops by around two weeks – and it would also backfire on Russia by flooding territory occupied by them.

The head of the Ukrainian defence ministry's main directorate of intelligence said on Monday: "They will get a total flooding of the (Russian-occupied) left bank of Kherson.

"They will lose even theoretically the possibility of supplying water to the North Crimean Canal, to Crimea...

"Of course, they would complicate our advance for a certain period of time. And this, by the way, is not a very long period of time, around two weeks or thereabouts."

(Video) Defected Russian soldier describes life inside Putin's war in Ukraine

He added that it would "destroy the possibility of the existence of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant because this facility is inextricably linked to it".

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility, the largest in Europe, has been occupied by Russian soldiers since the early days of the war.

Ukraine claims the Russians have mined the dam and are preparing to blow it up – while the Kremlin says the Ukrainians are planning to do the same thing.

10:41:20

Experts to visit Ukraine's nuclear facilities to prove 'dirty bomb' claims are false

We've been reporting this morning on a false claim from Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu that Ukraine could use a "dirty bomb".

He made the claim in calls with his French, British and American counterparts - who all later made a statement rejecting the idea.

Even so, Ukraine's foreign minister is inviting nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send experts to Ukraine's nuclear facilities.

Dmytro Kuleba said he had spoken with IAEA head Rafael Grossi and invited the organisation to "urgently send experts to peaceful facilities in Ukraine which Russia deceitfully claims to be developing a dirty bomb".

Mr Grossi had agreed, he said.

"Unlike Russia, Ukraine has always been and remains transparent. We have nothing to hide," Mr Kuleba said.

Western experts have said Mr Shoigu's claim was part of a Russian disinformation campaign aimed at discouraging the West from supplying weapons to Ukraine.

10:20:55

Kyiv seen in darkness as city tries to save power

This striking image shows Ukraine's capital shrouded in darkness, save for car headlights.

Kyiv has been going dark for four-hour blocks to conserve energy after Russian forces began hitting Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 30% of the country's power stations had been destroyed.

(Video) ‘Defeat in Ukraine could be the end of Putin’ - expert explains

Ukraine is hoping it will be able to keep the lights and heating on as it heads into the winter.

Russia has stepped up attacks on energy infrastructure in recent days after struggling to make progress on the battlefield and preparing for a likely defeat in Kherson.

Videos

1. Newborn killed in Russian strikes on maternity ward in southern Ukraine
(CNN)
2. A footage of an attack by Ukrainian troops on a Russian column | Military Mind | TVP World
(TVP World)
3. Russia in humiliating retreat from crucial Ukraine city
(Channel 4 News)
4. Is the war in Ukraine nearing its end?
(The Economist)
5. How War in Ukraine Will Cause Russia To Collapse
(The Infographics Show)
6. Ukraine Can Win the War Against Russia: Esper
(Bloomberg Markets and Finance)
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