Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 4

Russian forces are pressing ahead with their military operation in Ukraine to counter what they call a “threat” to their national security from the pro-West Ukrainian government. Kiev and Russia’s Western adversaries call the operations an “invasion”. The situation is fluid in Ukraine right now with both sides claiming victories on the battlefield. Iran Front Page brings you the latest developments on the ground live as they unfold in Ukraine.


Russian ruble plunges nearly 30% against the dollar

The Russian ruble dived around 29% against the dollar on Monday morning, as markets assessed the impact of sanctions on Russia amid a growing backlash against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine talks to begin on Monday morning

Talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations will begin in the morning on Monday, a source told TASS.

“It is not a postponement. The meeting will begin in the morning. The reason is the Ukrainian delegation’s logistics,” the source added.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 4

Australia imposes sanctions on Russian president, top government officials

The Australian authorities have imposed sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of top government officials, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in a statement.

“From midnight last night, Australian targeted financial sanctions and travel bans came into effect on the Russian president and remaining permanent members of Russia’s Security Council: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev,” the statement reads.

Turkey’s cabinet chaired by Erdogan to discuss closure of straits for Russian warships

The Turkish cabinet chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss Ukraine’s demand to close the Black Sea straits to Russian warships on Monday, the NTV broadcaster reported.

EU closes airspace to Russia

The European Union has closed its airspace to Russia due to the situation in Ukraine, according to a document published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Oil prices climb as Ukraine crisis deepens

Oil prices jumped Sunday night, as President Vladimir Putin’s order to put his country’s nuclear forces on high alert overshadowed hopes for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.

The announcement by President Volodymyr Zelensky that a Ukrainian delegation would meet with a Russian delegation near the Ukraine-Belarus border for talks “without preconditions” was viewed skeptically by oil traders and most political analysts and Western officials.

Satellite images show large unit of Russian troops near Kyiv

As Ukrainians continue to repel Russian advances around Kyiv, new satellite images show a more than 3-mile-long Russian military convoy is on a roadway that heads toward the capital city.

According to Maxar, the convoy was seen on satellite images on Sunday on the P-02-02 road near Ivankiv, which is about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of the Ukrainian capital. The P-02-02 road goes toward Kyiv.

Maxar identified fuel and logistical trucks, in addition to tanks, infantry vehicles and self-propelled artillery moving in the convoy.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 4

Mayor of southern Ukrainian city says Russians have taken control

Oleksandr Svidlo, the acting mayor of Berdyansk on Ukraine’s southern coast, has confirmed that Russian forces have entered and taken control of the city.

Berdyansk, which has a small naval base, has a population of about 100,000.

Turkey restricts Russian Navy access

Ankara is set to restrict the access of Russian warships to the Black Sea over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

“It is not a couple of air strikes now, the situation in Ukraine is officially a war… We will implement the Montreux Convention,” the official told CNN Turk in a live interview.

“Turkey will implement all provisions of Montreux Convention in a transparent manner,” he added.

England will not play Russia in any international football matches

English football’s governing body, the Football Association (FA), announced that England will not play any matches against Russia “for the foreseeable future.”

UN Security Council votes to send Ukraine issue to General Assembly

The UN Security Council voted to send the Ukraine issue to the UN General Assembly for a Special Emergency Session due to a permanent member deadlock in the council.

Russia vetoed a US resolution to condemn Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine claims successful drone attacks against Russian forces

The Ukrainian military has claimed successful attacks by its Turkish-made force of drones against Russian forces.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine released footage showing the destruction of armor by a drone, and said it was carried out against a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile system.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, stated the drone attack took place near the town of Malyn, 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) northwest of Kyiv.

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 4

European Commission president: EU wants Ukraine to join bloc 

Ukraine belongs in the European Union (EU) and the bloc wants them in, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a televised interview with Euronews.

“We have a process with Ukraine that is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market. We have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example. So many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in,” von der Leyen added.

Portugal closes airspace to Russian airlines

Portugal has closed its airspace to Russian airlines.

The Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs announced the closure in a tweet, saying it was being taken “in conjunction with our European partners and in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

PM: UK will provide additional $53 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine

The United Kingdom will provide an additional $53 million (£40 million) in humanitarian aid to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of the country, according to the UK Prime Minister’s office.

Boris Johnson “doubts” Russian President’s Vladimir Putin’s “sincerity” in entering talks with Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London on Sunday, Johnson noted Putin has “decided to wage a war of choice against the people of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian military says Sunday was difficult for its forces

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces described Sunday as “a difficult time” for the military, saying Russian troops “continue shelling in almost all directions”.

In an English-language post on Facebook, the general staff added defence force members in the Vasylkiv military air base southwest of Kyiv were resisting artillery raids and Russian attacks.

US, France urge citizens to leave Russia

The United States and France have issued security warnings to their citizens in Russia.

“US citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available,” the US embassy in Moscow said.

The French Foreign Ministry said “all French nationals should leave Russia immediately.”

Ukraine: Russia’s invasion kills 352 civilians, 14 children

The Ukraine’s Health Ministry has reported 352 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

It also added that 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded.

US and allied partners to Ukrainian FM: “We stand with Ukraine”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his G7 counterparts “underscored” the “unified response to Russia’s invasion,” in a call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Sunday, according to a State Department readout.

“Together we are supporting the Ukrainian people and imposing severe costs and consequences to hold Russia accountable for its war of choice,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, adding, “We stand with Ukraine and recognize the bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people.”

The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union were also on the call.

Kyiv’s mayor: ‘We are encircled’ but full of fight

Russian troops are drawing closer to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv’s mayor has said, adding that the capital is now encircled.

Vitali Klitschko stated it was impossible to evacuate civilians if Russian troops managed to take Kyiv.

“We can’t do that, because all ways are blocked,” he told The Associated Press news agency, noting, “Right now, the most important question is to defend our country.”

FIFA moves Russia home games to neutral venues, bans flag and anthem

FIFA has responded to the invasion of Ukraine by telling Russia to play home matches at neutral venues and banning its national flag and anthem from matches.

The governing body of world football said Russian teams would play as the “Football Union of Russia”.

It announced it would continue dialogue with other sports organisations to determine additional measures “including potential exclusion from competitions”.

EU says 300,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the bloc so far

At least 300,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into the European Union since Russia began its offensive, the bloc’s home affairs commissioner has said.

“I am proud of how the European citizens at the borders are showing concrete solidarity with Ukrainians fleeing this terrible, aggressive war,” Ylva Johansson told reporters on her arrival for a special meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels to discuss the fallout of the war in Ukraine.

She also added the bloc needs to prepare for even larger numbers of arrivals yet.

EU approves closure of airspace, further sanctions

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said the bloc has approved crippling sanctions to Russian financial markets, including the exclusion of some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system.

“We are going after the wealth of Putin’s elite,” Borrell told a news conference in Brussels after a virtual meeting of foreign ministers on the crisis.

The EU has also approved the closure of its airspace to Russian aircraft and unblocked 450 million euros ($500 million) for members states to buy arms for Ukraine.

“We are afraid that Russia is not going to stop in Ukraine, and the Russian influence can start working in the neighbouring countries,” Borrell added.

President Raisi says Iran are ready to help restore peace to Ukraine

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi stated Tehran is ready to help restore peace to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the European country.

Raisi noted that based on its foreign policy’s principles, Iran is opposed to any domination and acquiescence to domination and it supports the right of nations to decide their fate.

Ex-minister: Putin aiming for full victory by March 2

Russia’s former deputy foreign minister Andrei Fedorov said President Vladimir Putin is aiming for a full victory by March 2.

Speaking to Al Jazeera’s Start Here, Fedorov stated “everything will depend frankly speaking on the coming two days because, according to my knowledge, Putin orders for complete military operation with a victory by March 2.”

Fedorov added that Moscow was taken aback by Ukraine’s fierce resistance and by the decision on the part of European states – who are largely dependent on Russian gas – to impose harsh sanctions.

[These measures have] caused a lot of problems over here now,” he continued.

“Invasion of Ukraine’s Russia’s biggest mistake since collapse of USSR”

An Iranian political expert has described the invasion of Ukraine as Russia’s biggest mistake following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Hassan Beheshtipour said the Russians cannot remain in Ukraine in the long run and have no choice but to accept political talks, adding the invasion of Ukraine has severely damaged Russia’s image.

EU expects more than 7m displaced Ukrainians

The EU’s executive said the number of Ukrainians displaced by the war could be more than 7 million.

“We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many, many years. The needs are growing as we speak,” Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, told a news conference in Brussels.

Russia admits ‘killed and injured’ troops in Ukraine

Russia’s army admitted for the first time that there were “killed and injured” soldiers among its troops in Ukraine, without saying how many had died there.

Ukraine calls for more anti-tank and anti-air missiles

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba put out a fresh call for the weapons that have been crucial to the country’s fight against Russia.

“We need weapons to fight to defend our country. We specifically need anti-tank, anti-air, anti-missile weapons,” Kuleba said in a news conference.

“We need more air-to-air and ground-to-air missiles to counter invaders. We need more drones, more vehicles aircraft artillery, guns, machine guns, ammunition,” he added.

World Bank president warns of global financial consequences from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

President of the World Bank David Malpass warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have dire financial implications for the entire global economy, including Russia, but said there are some promising factors at play.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Malpass noted the invasion of Ukraine would affect the Russian ruble and in turn the Russian people.

Ukrainian president skeptical of Russia talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a brief televised statement that he doesn’t expect much from a meeting between Ukrainian and Russian delegations on Monday.

“I will say frankly, as always: I do not really believe in the result of this meeting, but let them try. So that no citizen of Ukraine would have any doubt that I, as president, did not try to stop the war when there was even a small chance,” Zelensky stated.

“And while our guys are there, the president is here, the chief of staff is here, the prime minister is here, the army is here, the commander-in-chief is here. We will all defend our state and our borders,” he added.

‘Ukraine’s Zelensky made miscalculation by joining Russia’s enemies’

An Iranian academic said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky failed to learn a lesson from Russia’s response in 2008 to the then Georgian leader’s pro-West policies and made the same miscalculation by joining the camp of Russia’s Western enemies.

Elaheh Koulaei, a political scientist and professor at Tehran University, added Russia had designated the US-led NATO military alliance as an “enemy” and a “security threat” in the latest updates to its National Security Strategy.

EU bans Russian news outlets RT and Sputnik

The European Union has banned Russian news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, according to its top diplomat Josep Borrell.

Speaking in a joint news conference in Brussels on Sunday, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announced that the bloc would ban the two outlets in a bid “to fight” Russian disinformation.

“Today we are taking a crucial step to turn off the tap for the Russian’s information manipulation in Europe by banning Russia Today and Sputnik from broadcasting in the European Union,” Borrell added.

“We are killing the snake on its neck,” the diplomat continued.

More than half of the central bank reserves of Russia will be blocked as part of new EU sanctions against the country, Borrell added

Speaking alongside European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen in Brussels, Borrell said he would provide the political endorsement of the 27 EU member states for a new package of sanctions against Russia.

Sweden to send military aid to Ukraine

Sweden will send military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, helmets and body armour, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said.

EU to close airspace to Russia, curb media

The European Union will shut down its airspace to Russian aircraft, seek to ban Russian state-owned media in the bloc and target Russian ally Belarus with sanctions, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said.

Von der Leyen also added that the EU would for the first time finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country under attack, meaning Ukraine.

“This is a watershed moment for our Union,” she stated at a news conference in Brussels.

Russia-Ukraine War

Stoltenberg: NATO increases deliveries of air-defense and anti-tanks systems to Ukraine

NATO is increasing deliveries of anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems and ammunition to Ukraine, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated.

“We are stepping up [assistance] with more air defence systems, more anti-tank systems, ammunition and we do that to… help Ukraine to uphold its right for self-defence,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with CNN.

US official: Putin has used two-thirds of Russian total combat power amassed for invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used two-thirds of the Russian total combat power “he applied to this invasion,” a senior US defense official told reporters.

This “still means he has a third outside Ukraine, which is not insignificant,” the official said.

The US has assessed that “as of this morning” Russian forces “have launched more than 320 missiles.”

The majority of those missiles are “short-range ballistic missiles,” the official added.

Ukraine’s envoy to US: “We’re ready for peace talks, we’re not ready to surrender”

Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova welcomed the news of talks with Russia as a possible way to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine but added her home country is “not ready to surrender.”

Markarova said in an ABC News interview Ukraine’s focus has always been on using diplomacy to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in response to news Ukraine has agreed to meet with Russian negotiators at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

“Our president, from the beginning, even before the war started, always focused — was focused on the diplomatic solution,” Markarova stated, adding, “And even after the war started, he actually called for peace talks all the time, but he always said, we’re ready for peace talks, we’re not ready to surrender.”

Markarova also called on the West to offer more military aid to the Ukrainian military and pushed the US and its allies to issue further sanctions on Russia. Markarova also called on US businesses to consider divesting from Russian businesses and financial institutions.

Spain says closing airspace to Russian carriers

Spain said it was closing its airspace to Russian carriers, following similar moves by several European nations over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

FM: Putin’s nuclear readiness move attempts to put pressure on Ukraine

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s order to put Russian deterrent forces on alert was an effort to raise pressure on the Ukrainian delegation at Monday’s scheduled talks.

“As you notice, this order by President Putin came shortly after the announcement was made about the two delegations ready to meet. And we see this announcement this order, as an attempt to raise stakes and to put additional pressure on the Ukrainian delegation,” Kuleba said a briefing in Kyiv.

Kuleba added, “But we will not give into this pressure” and noted, “We will approach this talks with a very simple approach.”

WH: Putin’s move on deterrence forces “yet another escalatory” and “unnecessary step”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put his country’s deterrence forces, including nuclear arms, on high alert, is “yet another escalatory and totally unnecessary step,” a senior Joe Biden administration official stated.

“At every step of this conflict Putin has manufactured threats to justify more aggressive actions — he was never under threat from Ukraine or from NATO, which is a defensive alliance that will not fight in Ukraine,” the official said. “The only reason his forces face a threat today is because they invaded a sovereign country, and one without nuclear weapons. This is yet another escalatory and totally unnecessary step,” the official added.

NATO chief: Putin’s nuclear rhetoric is ‘dangerous’ and irresponsible

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, said “this is dangerous rhetoric” over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to put the country’s military deterrence on high alert.

US Ambassador says United Nations can isolate Russia

US Envoy to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia can be isolated by the United Nations and will be called out by Washington and its allies for invading Ukraine in upcoming meetings.

She vowed that the Joe Biden administration would impose more sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and added that US officials had not “taken anything off the table.”

Canada’s airspace closed to all Russian aircraft operators

Canada’s airspace is closed to all Russian aircraft operators effective immediately, according to the Canadian Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra.

FM: Ukraine will ‘prevail’ amid Russia’s assault

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated Russia’s goal is to “destroy Ukraine as a state”.

“But we will not fall,” Kuleba said in a televised address.

“This is a war between President Vladimir Putin and the people of Ukraine. We are determined to fight back fiercely as long as it is needed, to defend our land and our people … and I am sure that we will prevail,” he continued, adding, “We will not give up a single inch of our territory.”

Russia: Ukraine’s forces use banned phosphorus munitions outside Kiev

Ukrainian forces have started using munitions filled with phosphorus near Gostomel Airport outside Kiev, the Russian Defence Ministry has claimed.

Czech Republic to urge EU to stop issuing Schengen visas to Russians

The Czech Republic will urge all other EU member-countries to stop issuing Schengen visas to Russians in retaliation for the military operation in Ukraine, First Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister Vit Rakusan, said.

Chief negotiator: Russia ready for peace talks any time 

The Russian side is prepared for holding talks with Ukraine with the aim of achieving peace at any moment, Russia’s chief delegate, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, stated.

“Let me say once again – every saved hour to us is equivalent to saved lives of our brothers – Ukrainian citizens, civilians – and saved lives of those Ukrainian soldiers who are not on the engagement line yet. We are prepared to hold talks. The Russian side, the Russian delegation are ready for holding peace talks at any time round the clock with the aim of achieving peace,” Medinsky said at the Russian embassy in Minsk.

Mayor says “no Russian troops” in Kyiv

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko claimed there are no Russian troops in the Ukrainian capital.

“There were clashes and skirmishes at night. Destroyed several large sabotage groups,” Klitschko posted on his Instagram account.

Klitschko claimed that nine civilians, including one child, have been killed in Kyiv since the Russian invasion began, as well as 18 military and territorial defense personnel.

“It is for the safety of the residents that we have imposed a curfew until tomorrow morning. Do not go outside. You can leave only if, at the signal of the air alarm, you go to the shelter,” he said, adding, “Russia is shelling residential neighborhoods in the Ukrainian capital. Russia is killing Ukrainians all over Ukraine!”

US announces $54 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the US is sending nearly $54 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Zelensky: Ukraine agrees to hold talks with Russia at Belarus border

Ukraine’s president says Kyiv has agreed to send a delegation for talks with Russian officials on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

“We have agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet with Russian [officials] without prior conditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, in the area of the Pripyat river,” Volodymyr Zelensky stated.

He did not give a precise time for the meeting, but noted Alexander Lukashenko “has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on Belarusian territory remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s travel, talks and return.”

Spain to send military equipment to Ukraine

Spain announced that it had sent military equipment — described as mostly personal protective gear — to Ukraine aboard two of its largest transport planes. The Spanish authorities has stated that a cargo plane had been dispatched with humanitarian aid, rather than military aid, to Ukraine.

More European countries ban Russian flights from their airspace

A growing number of European countries announced that they were closing their airspace to Russian planes.

Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy and the Netherlands joined at least a dozen European countries that had made similar announcements.

Map: Russian troops advance in these regions inside Ukraine

Live Updates: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 4

Putin puts Russian nuclear deterrence forces on high alert over NATO’s “aggressive statements”

Ukrainian commander in Kharkiv claims dozens of Russians surrendered

The commander of Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Oleg Synegubov, has claimed that dozens of Russian troops have surrendered amid continued fighting in the city, which is some 20 miles from the Russian border.

He also claimed that the captured soldiers had complained of demoralization and not understanding the mission, as well as being short of fuel.

He warned civilians to stay indoors, saying that “Leaving their positions, Russian fighters try to hide among the civilians, asking people for clothes and food.”

France closes airspace for Russian aircraft

France has announced that it will follow other European countries in shutting its airspace to Russian aircraft to punish the country for invading Ukraine.

“France is shutting its airspace to all Russian aircraft and airlines from this evening on,” Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari tweeted.

Putin’s aide: Ukraine’s delegation heading to Belarus for talks with Russia

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