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Ukraine updates: Zaporizhzhia strikes leave 2 dead

October 6, 2022

The Ukrainian-appointed governor of the region has blamed Russia for rocket attacks on the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, which is located near Europe's largest nuclear plant. DW has the latest.

Rescue officials work at the scene of a building damaged by shelling
Several people are still missing beneath the rubble following the early morning strikesImage: Ukrainian Emergency Service/AP/picture alliance

Russian missiles strike apartments in Zaporizhzhia

Russian rockets hit residential buildings in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia early Thursday, killing two people and trapping five others, the region's governor said.

The Ukrainian-controlled city is in one of the four regions annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin — in violation of international law — and lies close to Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

"One woman died and another person died in an ambulance," Ukrainian-appointed regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said in a post on social media.

Starukh said that at least five others remained trapped beneath the rubble.

The attacks came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that three more villages in the region had been retaken.

Putin on Wednesday signed a decree declaring that the nuclear plant would be taken over by Moscow. Russia has occupied the territory around the facility, which is close to the frontlines of its war in Ukraine, since March. But Ukrainian technicians have continued to operate it.

Last week, a convoy of civilian vehicles was shelled in the Zaporizhzhia region leaving dozens dead.

Ihor Zhovkva on Conflict Zone

Here is more news from or concerning the war in Ukraine on Thursday, October 6.

Biden fears nuclear 'Armageddon'

US President Joe Biden said on Thursday the world risks nuclear "Armageddon" for the first time since the Cold War and that he is trying to find Putin's "off-ramp" in Ukraine.

Biden said Russia's army is underperforming so much so that Putin is "not joking" about using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons to win the war.

"We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis," which took place in 1962. Biden said at a Democratic party fundraising event in New York.

He added that even a tactical use of nuclear weapons could quickly spiral into global destruction.

Macron: Europe to send French 'Caesar' howitzers

French President Emmanuel Macron said that European countries would send Ukraine more military equipment to support its war effort against Russia.

The equipment would include French Caesar-type howitzers.

"We are working indeed on several requests, with several members of the EU, including on new Caesars," Macron said.

Macron made the comments at the European Political Community meeting, a forum which was initially proposed by the French head of state.

France's president said that the meeting "displayed the unity of 44 European countries [that] clearly expressed their condemnation of Russia's war and their support for Ukraine."

A green howitzer artillery system
The 'Caesar' howitzer seen at an arms showImage: Vaclav Salek/CTK/dpa/picture alliance

Russian duo seeking asylum land in Alaska

Two Russians who fled military conscription have landed on a remote island off the US state of Alaska, according to a statement from the office of State Senator Lisa Murkowski on Thursday.

"The Russian nationals reported that they fled one of the coastal communities on the east coast of Russia to avoid compulsory military service," a spokesperson for Murkowski told the Associated Press.

A spokesperson for Alaska's other senator, Dan Sullivan, said it was believed that the men arrived by boat at the island of St Lawrence, just 58 kilometers (36 miles) from Russia's Chukotka Peninsula.

IAEA chief says Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is part of Ukraine

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi confirmed on Thursday that the UN's nuclear watchdog considers the Zaporizhzhia facility to be a part of Ukraine.

"This is a matter that has to do with international law ... we want the war to stop immediately, and of course, the position of the IAEA is that this facility is a Ukrainian facility," Grossi told reporters in Kyiv.

"For us, it is obvious that since it is a Ukrainian facility, the ownership is Energoatom," he said, referring to Ukraine's state nuclear agency.

Grossi is set to travel to Russia to hold talks after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plant would be taken over by Russia.

EU imposes fresh sanctions on Russia

The EU has officially imposed its eighth round of sanctions on Russia, which the bloc said was in response to Moscow's "sham 'referenda'" in occupied Ukrainian regions.

The sanctions expand bans on imports and exports between the bloc and Russia, including a ban on all cryptocurrency transactions.

Thirty individuals and seven entities were also blacklisted by the EU. This included a number of Russian artists deemed to be engaging in pro-war "propaganda," as well as a number of Russian and Moscow-installed officials.

The legal text on the sanctions published by the EU also outlined a price cap on Russian crude oil exports but left the details of the measure to future deliberations between the EU and the G7 states.

US believes Ukraine was behind killing of Daria Dugina

US intelligence believes that some members of the Ukrainian government were behind the car bomb attack that killed Daria Dugina near Moscow in August, US newspaper The New York Times and news channel CNN reported.

Dugina was the daughter of prominent far-right Russian nationalist, and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexander Dugin who is believed to have been the actual target of the attack.

Ukraine denied accusations from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) that it was responsible for the attack.

But the US believes the plan was authorized by someone in the Ukrainian government, although it was not clear if they suspected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of being connected.

The US insisted it was not aware of the plan ahead of time and had no involvement, The New York Times reported.

Russia claims to have taken village in Donetsk region

Moscow said it had taken the village of Zaitseve in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said more than 120 soldiers were killed on the Ukrainian side.

The German dpa news agency said it could not independently verify the claim.

Russia has recently suffered a number of battlefield losses to Ukrainian forces, including the strategically important city of Lyman in the Donetsk region.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine must win so Russia won't 'advance on Warsaw, Prague'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv must win the war against Russia so that Moscow's forces won't "advance on Warsaw or again on Prague."

While speaking by video link at the first European Political Community meeting in Prague, Zelenskyy reiterated Ukraine's demands for more weapons deliveries.

Ukraine's president also urged European countries to "punish" Russia for the invasion by stepping up sanctions and expelling it from international organizations.

Among the over 40 members of the European Political Community are the EU member states, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the countries of the western Balkans. Russia and its ally Belarus are not part of the new organization.

Russian opposition activist charged with high treason

Russian opposition activist and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been charged with high treason, Russia's TASS news agency reported.

TASS cited law enforcement agencies as saying that Kara-Murza was accused of "discrediting the Russian armed forces." Russia's secret service also suspected the journalist of "cooperating" with a NATO country, according to TASS sources.

Kara-Murza was arrested in April on charges of dissemination of deliberately misleading information. The case against him was launched over his speech on Ukraine to lawmakers in the US state of Arizona in March, after which Moscow declared him a "foreign agent."

Ukraine says recaptured large part of Kherson region

Ukrainian officials said their forces recaptured over 400 square kilometers (155 square miles) of territory in the Kherson region in less than a week after Moscow claimed to have annexed the southern region.

"The Armed Forces of Ukraine have liberated more than 400 square kilometers of the Kherson region since the beginning of October," Ukrainian southern army command spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk said.

For its part, the Russian army said "the enemy had been pushed back along the Russian defense line" on this southern front.

The Ukrainian army announced its counteroffensive in the south in late August. Ukrainian forces have also retaken control of nearly all the northeastern region of Kharkiv

Zelenskyy: 'World would never forgive' a Russian nuclear strike

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday it was "hard to say" whether the risk of nuclear war had increased after his military's territorial gains, but he said the "world will never forgive" a Russian nuclear strike.

When addressing the Lowy Institute international think tank in Sydney via video link, Zelenskyy questioned whether his Russian counterpart had enough control over the campaign to direct a tactical nuclear strike. The Russians found it "hard to control everything that is happening in their country, just as they're not controlling everything they have on the battlefield,'' Zelenskyy said.

Russia says it is 'fully committed' to avoiding nuclear war

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it was "fully committed" to the principle of never allowing a conflict to turn nuclear.

Fears have grown over a possible escalation in Ukraine with President Vladimir Putin recently saying he was "not bluffing" over his willingness to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia's territorial integrity.

IAEA chief heading to Kyiv for nuclear plant talks

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, is expected to discuss the creation of a security zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with officials in Kyiv.

"On our way to Kyiv for important meetings. The need for a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone (NSSPC) around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is now more urgent than eve," Grossi said in a tweet.

He is expected to travel to Moscow for talks with Russian officials following his stop in the Ukrainian capital.

Moscow facing dilemma as Ukrainian forces continue to advance — UK intelligence

According to the latest UK Ministry of Defense intelligence briefing, Ukraine's forces are continuing offensive operations in Kherson Oblast.

Troops had managed to push the frontline by 20 kilometers (12 miles), making gains along the east bank of the Inhulets river and the west bank of the Dnieper, but were "not yet threatening the main Russian defensive positions."

The ministry said that Russia was facing a dilemma: "Withdrawal of combat forces across the (Dnieper) makes the defense of the rest of Kherson Oblast more tenable; but the political imperative will be to remain and defend."

It also said that "Russia has committed the majority of its severely undermanned airborne forces, the VDV, to the defense of Kherson."

This in turn meant that there were fewer additional, rapidly deployable forces on hand to stabilize the front, and would likely result in the deployment of mobilized reservists.

Ukraine claims rapid advances in south and east

More DW content on the war in Ukraine

Find out more about Russia's efforts to regroup amid an effective Ukrainian counteroffensive. 

And click here to read more about Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree to seize control of Europe's largest nuclear power facility.

ab, jsi, kb, sdi/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)