Ukraine updates: Arrests made in Crimea bridge blast
October 12, 2022
Russia's FSB security service has said Ukrainian intelligence orchestrated an attack on the key transport link. Meanwhile, Ukraine's Zelenskyy has called for an "air shield." DW has the latest.
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, and its director, Kyrylo Budanov, was behind Saturday's explosion on the Kerch Bridge.
The FSB said on Wednesday it had detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia over the blast that caused massive damage to the Kerch Bridge that links Russia to Crimea.
Ukraine's Interior Minister spokesman Andriy Yusov dismissed the allegations as "nonsense."
Dramatic footage of the explosion showed a truck exploding as it crossed the bridge. The bridge partially collapsed, but one section for cars remains intact. The bridge is a strategic supply and logistics artery for Russian forces in Ukraine's occupied Kherson region.
DW correspondent Killian Bayer said the Russian investigation determined 22,000 kilograms (48,000 lbs.) of explosive was transported to the site of the explosion via Bulgaria, Armenia and Georgia among plastic wrapped wooden pallets.
"We should be careful with this information, as it seems they have conducted their investigation very quickly," Bayer added.
Ukraine has not officially confirmed its involvement in the blast, but some Ukrainian officials have celebrated the damage.
Key bridge between Russia and Crimea hit by blast
Here's more news concerning Russia's war on Ukraine from Wednesday, October 12
G7 vows to stand with Ukraine 'as long as it takes'
The Group of Seven (G7) leading democratic economies vowed to "stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," pledging to help Kyiv meet its financing needs and urging Russia to end its "unjust and brutal war."
Together with the international community and in close cooperation with the Ukrainian government, the G7 will continue to work to support Ukraine in the months and years ahead, G7 finance ministers said in a statement.
Ukraine's most urgent financing needs for the current year are covered by international support, the ministers said. But the country faces a significant financing gap in 2023 to secure basic services and address critical infrastructure deficiencies.
In addition to military and humanitarian support, budgetary aid amounting to $20.7 billion (€21.3 billion) has already been provided, and a total of $33.3 billion (€34.4 billion) has been pledged for this year.
France to deliver anti-air systems to Ukraine in coming weeks
France will deliver radar and air defense systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks, in particular to help Ukraine protect itself from drone attacks, French President Emmanuel Macron said.
Speaking in an interview on France 2 television, Macron did not give details on what type of anti-aircraft missiles or how many would be delivered. Paris has previously supplied Mistral shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.
Macron also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin must "must stop this war, respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and come back to the table for talks."
Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs $38 billion in 2023
In a virtual address to a high-level forum during International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that increased financial support from international donors will help end Russia's devastating war in Ukraine more quickly.
He also added that the country needs $38 billion (€39.1 billion) to close next year's estimated budget deficit.
"The more assistance Ukraine gets now, the sooner we'll come to an end to the Russian war, and the sooner and more reliably we will guarantee that such a cruel war will not spread into other countries," the Ukrainian president said.
According to Zelenskyy, Ukraine is seeking a new IMF lending program valued at up to $20 billion.
Canada announces new military package for Ukraine
Canada said it will provide over C$47 million ($34.06 million or €35.08 million) in new military aid to assist Ukraine in dealing with Russia's invasion.
According to Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand, the package includes equipment from the Canadian Armed Forces' inventory, including 155mm NATO-standard artillery rounds, fuses, and charge bags compatible with M777 howitzer artillery guns.
It also includes 400,000 pieces of winter clothing and additional specialized drone cameras.
Canada has committed or donated C$600 million in military equipment since Russia began its invasion in February.
Western allies vow to get air defense to Ukraine 'as fast as can'
International backers of Ukraine vowed to deliver new air defenses "as fast as we can," after a US-led group of some 50 countries held talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
"The systems will be provided, as fast as we can physically get them there," United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after the meeting, without giving details on any new pledges.
"We're going to provide systems that we have available ... We're also going to try to provide additional munitions to the existing systems that the Ukrainian forces are using," he said.
A first Iris-T medium-range system has arrived in Ukraine after Germany decided to ship it before even giving it to its own troops.
The United States has also said it is looking to expedite the delivery of its NASAMS anti-missile and anti-drone system to Kyiv and a first batch of two is expected in the coming weeks.
"There's other systems out there throughout the world that are available," US top general Mark Milley said. "The task will be to bring those together, get them deployed."
EU countries won’t recognize Russian passports from occupied territories
The EU states do not want to recognize Russian passports issued in the occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia.
"We will never tolerate violations of Ukraine's and Georgia's fundamental rights to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan on behalf of the current EU Council Presidency.
The EU Commission proposed the procedure at the beginning of September. The next step is for the EU countries to agree on a position with the European Parliament.
Czech Republic imposes entry ban for Russians with Schengen visas
The Czech Republic has decided to impose an entry ban on Russians with Schengen visas issued for tourist stays, sporting or cultural events.
According to Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, the measure will apply from October 25, and it does not matter which EU member state issued the visa.
Shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, the Czech Republic suspended issuing new visas to Russians with a few exceptions.
Now the country is following the example of Poland and the Baltic states, which have already imposed entry bans on Russians with Schengen visas.
Dutch to give Ukraine €15 million worth of air defense missiles
The Netherlands will deliver €15 million ($14.55 million) worth of air defense missiles to Ukraine, the government said in a letter to parliament, in reaction to Russian air raids on Ukraine earlier this week.
"These attacks ... can only be met with unrelenting support for Ukraine and its people," wrote Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren.
Meanwhile, the German Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter that more Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers and MARS II multiple rocket launchers will be handed over to Ukraine in the next few weeks.
External power to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant restored
The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, wrote on Twitter that the external power supply to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had been restored.
Earlier on Wednesday, the UN nuclear watchdog said the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine had lost all external power needed for vital safety systems and the plant was relying on backup diesel generators to keep the systems running .
It was the second time in five days the power line supplying the power plant has been cut.
Grossi also said that he is on his way to Kyiv after holding talks with Russian officials on setting up a protection zone around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
Russia expects Turkish offer to mediate Ukraine conflict
Russia believes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will formally offer to mediate negotiations with Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was scheduled to meet Erdogan for talks in Kazakhstan on Thursday.
"Now many say that the Turks are ready to come up with other initiatives in the context of the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict," Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.
"The ball is in the EU's court. If they want to, then the taps can be turned on and that's it," he said said.
In a speech at an energy forum in Russia, Putin also said Moscow could redirect gas supplies to the Black Sea and set up a gas supply hub for Europe in Turkey.
Massive amounts of gas were released into the Baltic Sea after both links of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and one of the two links of the
Nord Stream 2 pipeline were ruptured on September 26.
Putin again claimed, without proof, the US was behind the explosions.
Nord Stream 1 has not transported any gas since August when Russia shut it down for repair works.
Nord Stream 2 contained some gas sealed inside, despite never becoming operational after Germany halted its approval when Russia invaded Ukraine.
US President Biden says Putin 'miscalculated'
US President Joe Biden said in an interview for the CNN broadcaster that Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin made a mistake when assessing Moscow's ability to occupy Ukraine.
"I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly," Biden said during the interview.
"I think… he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, and that where he was going to be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated," he said.
However, when asked on Tuesday on the likelihood that Putin could use a nuclear weapon, Biden said "I don't think he will."
Pope condemns 'relentless' bombing
Zelenskyy calls for 'air shield' following Russian strikes
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the G7 countries to help Kyiv establish an "air shield" following Russian strikes on a number of major Ukrainian cities.
Zelenskyy said that "millions of people would be grateful" for the shield. He added that Russia "still has room for further escalation" beyond Monday's missile strikes.
Ukraine's president said that Russia had fired an additional 28 missiles on Ukraine on Tuesday. He said that 15 drones, which were "mainly Iranian drones," were involved in the attacks, and that most of the drones had been shot down.
Ukraine's general staff said that there had been attacks on more than two dozen cities and villages across the country.
Earlier, Ukrainian officials said that seven people were killed after an attack on the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.
Pope Francis condemned Russia's 'relentless bombings' of Ukrainian cities.
The head of the Catholic Church again urged "those who have the fate of the war in their hands" to stop. His appeal comes follwing a wave of Russian missile strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
On October 25, the pontiff will pray for peace at the Colosseum in Rome with representatives of other religions in a "cry of peace."
Germany's Lambrecht says Putin's 'contempt for people' increases
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Russia was "terrorizing" civilians in Ukraine.
"Our support for Kyiv must continue unabated," Lambrecht said ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers.
"With the missile bombardment on Ukrainian cities, Putin is shamelessly terrorizing the civilian population," said the German defense minister. "His contempt for people clearly increases alongside the failure of his plans. "
Former US Army commander calls for condemnation of Russian strikes
Former commander of the US army in Europe Ben Hodges told DW that the international community label Russia's latest attacks on Ukrainian cities as war crimes.
Hodges said that the name of each individual officer responsible for launching the missiles should be released. "The whole world should know who they are," he said.
He also urged Western countries to provide Ukraine with more air defenses.
"All of us have got to continue to find ways to protect these European civilians who are being murdered by Russian missiles. That means more air defense systems," Hodges said.
Hodges said that Russia's military was losing in Ukraine and that it needed to keep the conflict to undermine Western support.
"The Russians know this. So, their only hope is to try to prolong the conflict and to cause us to lose will to support Ukraine. They surely are not going to break the will of the Ukrainian people," he said.